Goderich Reflections, One Year Later

Last year around this time I went with my sister, her boyfriend and his family for a mini-getaway to Goderich. We stayed at Cedar Lodge and spent the day sight seeing and shopping along the main road. The trees were in full blown sunset shades and I was cozy in my warm knit sweater. It was a tough time in my life but this getaway was the beginning of something.

I purchased a thin leather wrap bracelet with the Serenity prayer on it. I tried to memorize it in my head as we watched the sunset and I prayed for healing and peace. One year later I can truthfully say I have that peace I prayed for — my Heavenly Father cradles me safe in His love and promises. Even though I don’t know what the future will bring, He does, so I choose not to fear it but hope for it.

I don’t think it’s naive to be optimistic, or to dream, or to believe in great, powerful things. Focusing on hope leads us to hope. We go where we look. Sometimes life throws unexpected misfortunes at us and often we sink to unbelievable lows, but that’s not the end of the story.

Turn the page :).


Objection: Love Doesn’t Hurt

People say love hurts and love is pain but that’s a terrible lie. Love does not involve hurt or pain because love is untouchable. Our culture has always “loved” to equate love with affection, emotion, feelings and thoughts, when love is more than that. Love is the unshakable, unmovable, unstoppable force that drives people to do good, to make sacrifices for the betterment of others and to overcome the most earth-shaking tragedies.

The reason for this hurt and pain is not love, it’s reality. Life is not a fairy tale. You don’t always win the heart of your first crush, one mistake can ruin years of friendship, a university degree does not always guarantee a job, buying lottery tickets every week does not guarantee you’ll ever be a millionaire. We’re faced with hurt and pain because evil exists and it’s everywhere. Love is the force that sustains us, keeps us, guards our hearts and gives us hope. Love keeps us believing things can get better, love encourages us when negativity starts to wear us down, love restores, repairs and revives. Love gives new meaning to life when previous ways have failed us.

So don’t blame love for causing you hurt. If you’ve been betrayed or heartbroken, don’t punish love for the real culprit’s mistake. Don’t allow bitterness from the disappointments of this world to grow inside your heart and don’t let a bad attitude and negative thinking prevent you from experiencing love in your life. Take control of your thoughts, make active choices about who and what you invest yourself into. Remember love is not the criminal; love is the hero. When life gets tough, and it will, remember this. Love is the only thing that will get you through to the end of the road.

Love Is

With love,


“Get Off Your Phone!”

The other day I was hanging out with my boyfriend watching Stargate… actually, he was watching Stargate… I was scrolling through my phone. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but he took my phone out of my hands and overhanded it across the room! Then, holding both my hands together in his, he looked me in my eyes and sternly, but with a smirk on his face, said, “Get off your phone.”

Selfishness at the Root of the Problem

At that particular moment I wasn’t interested in Stargate. I didn’t feel like watching it. I wanted to do something else. Out of boredom I started going through my phone, not considering whether it was disrespectful. Most of us don’t realize how often we do this until someone points it out, but it’s not a good habit to have especially when we’re in the presence of another person. In my own experience, I’ve been annoyed with seeing groups of friends or couples at a restaurant or coffee shop on their phones, totally disengaged from each other yet all seated together. It doesn’t make sense to venture out of our homes into our social circles only to consume ourselves in tiny, lonely, palm-sized, digital worlds that allow limited room for face-to-face communication. We’ve developed a terrible habit substituting real interaction with digital convenience. We all experience this distaste for how technology steals away the attention of the people we interact with, yet we all fall victim to the contagiousness of mobile technology.

Communication Issues

Our obsession with mobile devices prevent us from building proper communication skills. While we spend the majority of our days occupied with the fascinations of a little device, we’re unable to interact with people the way we used to before the rise of technology. We even miss out on powerful real life experiences like music festivals and performances because we’re looking at them through our phones! I do it too and I think it’s insane!

We’ve also developed shorter attention spans and impatience. When a stranger sits beside us on the bus and says “good afternoon” we’re more annoyed they’ve distracted us from achieving a high score on Candy Crush, than interested in making friendly conversation. We’re so addicted to entertainment from mobile games and social media that we don’t get enough human interaction and intimacy. We’ve created a self-involved, self-modified digital life where we are in total control of what we choose to see and what we don’t. As a result, we forget how to show respect, listen, understand, relate, empathize and use our words wisely when interacting.

Insecurity and Intimacy

I mentioned how our obsession with our phones prevent us from engaging in human interaction and intimacy. This is a serious and common problem. One thing I’ve observed is the secrecy the online world provides. When you have a password-protected mobile device or laptop, you can keep a lot of secrets. I’ve experienced this and my obliviousness to someone’s secret life, hidden under the veils of the Internet, cost me a lot of time and caused me a lot of hurt. Life online is not on open display. It’s so easy to delete a shameful conversation or revisit a coworker’s photographs on Facebook without getting found out. There’s an ugly kind of secrecy that can develop from the privacy we have from our devices and I think it’s one of the current leading causes of trust issues in relationships. And as if the threat of secrecy wasn’t enough, our constant use of our phones can build a wall between us and the people we love.

When we’re at home watching a movie with our families and we’re browsing through our phones, our body language sends signals that we’re not interested in sharing the experience with our families. Similarly, when we’re on a date, the last thing we should do is whip out our phones to start a texting conversation with our friends. It’s disrespectful and it shows the person we’re with we’re not content with their company. Nothing is wrong with checking our phones, but constantly being glued to it really holds us back from experiencing intimate and special moments. In the end, we’re the ones missing out on life.

The Solution is Simple

Okay so we admit we’re a little too hooked on our phones, so what do we do about it? I say, let’s be deliberate about not allowing it to consume all our time. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few suggestions:

– Delete the apps you’re obsessed with and take a break
– Keep your phone in your purse or pocket when you’re out on a date
– Turn your phone on silent and keep it away from your bed when you go to sleep beside your spouse
– Leave your phone in another room during family time, especially at dinner
– Make time each week to sit together and talk, instead of just being in the same space doing different things
– Once a month go on a “retreat” by abandoning your phone and spending the day in nature

Becoming aware of how often and why we idle away on our phones will keep us from getting too dependent on having it as an appendage.

After all, what’s more valuable? Checking my like count on Instagram or watching another episode of Stargate with my boyfriend, regardless of my initial disinterest? I’d say the latter. Quality time together is much more valuable than trying to escape a moment by diving into our phones.

Disclaimer: Stargate really isn’t that boring… my boyfriend is just going through all the seasons. From now on I’m going to eat humble pie and just watch it with him! Maybe when it’s over I’ll get to pick the next show ;).

Thanks for reading!

With Love,


A Grammar Lesson in Heroism

I was browsing one of my social media networks when I came across this image:

If that doesn’t shock you, well. Culturally, we have drifted into a pattern of redefining terms based on our confusion of their true meanings, over-exaggeration of situations and events and embellishing things to make them seem greater than they are. We’ve created shortened invented terms like YOLO (you-only-live-once) and LOL (laugh-out-loud), which cause little harm, and use words like “clutch” to express how cool something is.

Despite the seemingly harmless recycling of words, this liberal way we (ab)use the English language has eroded our ability to define and use terms correctly and appropriately in situations when word use is vital. When we take a word like “hero” or “courage” and use it in situations where a person has made a personal decision for their own benefit, we begin to lose sight of the people who sacrifice themselves for the well-being of others. When you watch superhero movies, the heroes don’t become great because they do something out of selfish ambition, they do it for the greater good of mankind and for the safety of their communities and the world.

Here are some fundamental things heroes do:

– Acts of selfless service

– Accomplishes goals to build themselves up, for the purpose of benefiting others

– Does these things despite fears or disadvantages (mental, emotional, situational or physical)

– Rises above a challenge and becomes a greater quality person, and achieves a richer quality of life

It is overwhelmingly tragic how media has become so blind to what true heroism is. In all sense, how does this veteran’s selfless sacrifice and victory pale in comparison with the self-serving change of another celebrity? It doesn’t and it shouldn’t. Glorifying people’s self-serving actions in the name of heroism is wrong. We give too much credit where it is not due and it comes from our obsession with our own self-motivated interests and desires. Even if a person’s selfish action encourages others, we still cannot define them as heroes. Their action may have inadvertently caused inspiration, but they did what they did for themselves and no one else. That does not make a hero. It might make them brave, but we have to use our words carefully.

Call me dramatic but our privileged part of the world is becoming a lot like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World;” blind in our self-fulfilling desire for entertainment and pleasure. We follow trends, filter our news to nonessential entertainment and gossip, and hop on causes without using our God-given common sense. The fact that I even have to write an article like this makes me realize how consumed we are in the distractions of selfish causes and how unconcerned we are to the real crises happening around the world. As the insightful author of “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” Neil Postman, wrote:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

Attitude Check… For The Ladies

Women are incredible, inspiring, beautiful, nurturing, considerate, compassionate creatures. We love deeply and have the capacity to forgive after endless wrongs, whether they’re from our friends, boyfriends, husbands, siblings, parents or children. Women have emotions that run deep to the core of our being and they motivate us to make decisions and chase our goals. Our emotions are a wonderful gift from God that can be used to change lives for the better.

I’m writing this because I realize how challenging it is to continuously use this gift for good.

I’ve never had an issue with attitude until my 20s. I was very naive and didn’t know much about the harsh reality of the world. I was pretty carefree, joyful, positive and fearless. Now I have days when I struggle to have the right attitude about the things that go on in my life. For example: I currently work as a receptionist; the typical 8-4 weekday shift. It’s not my passion or my dream career but it’s where I can gain a decent income. There are two attitudes I can have toward it:

1) I’m bitter that I studied five years and still can’t get a job in my field, I don’t make lots of money, I dread every day I have to wake up to go to work, I’m miserable and crabby about my life not being where I want it to be; or,
2) I’m thankful I have a decent paying job, I make use of my evenings and weekends to fill my life with activities, learning and fun, and I appreciate the easy, stress-free commute to and from work.

When it comes to attitudes we really only have two basic options: we can be blessed or bitter; positive or negative; grateful or complaining. We can look at it in a light of hopefulness and strength or defeat and weakness.

Emotions can be a cool stream that guides our actions through love, or it can be a raging fire that destroys and hurts everyone around us. I speak from experience when I say it is challenging for a woman to make a decision completely exclusive from how she feels about it. Therefore, we have to practice the right attitude so when we are faced with choices, we don’t let our emotions cloud our judgement.

It is so sad to see women using their emotions as an excuse for mean behaviour:

“He betrayed me so I’m gonna make him jealous.”
“If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”
“If you can’t make me happy, I’m leaving.”
“I was hurt in the past so you’d better earn my trust, or else.”
“I’m only her friend because she makes me feel better about myself, lol.”
“You’re so pretty [I’m jealous and I talk behind your back].”

I even saw a woman at the mall, screaming at her husband while her baby in the stroller was sleeping. She must have been fed up about something and exhausted from taking care of the child, but does that honestly excuse her behaviour? What long-term effect does her attitude have on her husband and the way their child will understand husband-wife relationships? It only takes a tiny pebble to cause a ripple effect, so imagine what an asteroid could do.

If we really care about how we make others feel (and I think we should), it would be wise to take time alone to reflect and ask ourselves questions like:

  • How do I feel about myself and my life?
  • How does that affect the way I communicate with others?
  • Do I have secret resentment or bitterness about something that happened in my past?
  • Where can I get help to heal from that hurt? (I would suggest sharing it with someone you trust or getting counselling if the issue is severe, praying for healing and perspective from the One who knows us better than we do, and observing self-controlled, wise, loving women.)

I see great potential in women today thanks to our increased opportunity to lead and guide. Women do have a voice and we can impact the world for the better. I challenge every woman to reflect on her attitude as a daily practice, start her mornings with a view of awareness and gratitude (not self-criticism or complaint), and pat herself on the back for every time she triumphs with kindness despite a bad mood. When we do good, God blesses us, and when we come to an understanding of His love and mercy, we can claim the confidence that identity gives us. That means trusting who God says we are and what He says we’re worth: valuable and capable of greatness. I am inspired by women who have extremely unfortunate and difficult lives, yet persevere in a positive attitude. There is always someone in a worse situation with a better attitude.

Someday the children we raise and look after will carry on in the ways we have taught them. Let us be good examples for young women and let us impress the women before us. :)

With love,


Playtime: A Serious Priority, People ;)

Today I wrote another handwritten love letter for my boyyyyfrieeendd. At the end of the note I drew two little chibi characters hugging, obviously representing the two of us (high five and peace sign dance if you know what chibi is). Drawing the pictures made me think of how much I miss my childhood.

I have treasured memories of when we lived in a semi and I shared a bunk bed with my sister. I’d come home after a fun and educational day at middle school, quickly finish  my dinner and homework so I could run across the street to play outside with my best neighbourhood friends. I loved those years between ages 11-16, oh, how I loved those years. I spent so much time climbing trees, playing amateur field soccer, riding my bike, rollerblading, skateboarding (more like failing at skateboarding), taking long walks to get slushies from Mac’s, playing basketball, going for adventures in the conservation area, rolling down the hill in my backyard and making dance routines to pop songs, watching Much Loud and solo-moshing in my living room, drawing anime while sitting on the big rock in front of my house, doing cartwheels and handstands, pretending to be a gymnast, and all the other wonderful, creative, fun things I used to do.

I don’t have as much time or ability to do all those things anymore but I realize how important having an active and creative lifestyle keeps your mind, body and soul healthy and happy. When we focus too much on work and our priorities (if they’re not our passion) we can end up overworked and stressed out. After a few years of workaholism we can get really down and feel like life is just passing us by. It’s important to have a balanced life that includes play whether we’re 16 or 61. Staying creative is not only good for our emotions but also for our mental health.

My goal is to keep making FUN a priority. Whether it’s playing pool with the guys, cruising with my best friend, going to the drive-in, getting my butt kicked at bowling with Boyfriend, playing cards and Chicken Foot with my family or spending the day at a park, fun needs to happen! It takes a little planning and effort but isn’t life more than just work?

Summer is just around the corner, peeps. Get off your computers and go outside! Enjoy the rich life waiting for you.

With love,


Monster Mind to Care Bear Heart

I’m usually the positive one out of my friends and have been known as such as far back as I can remember. One of the hard parts about growing up is losing your naivety and experiencing hurt. It’s difficult when you want to be optimistic, yet life experience makes you think negatively. Tonight was one of those rare days I was thinking negatively about myself. Sometimes my confidence is low and the emotions behind it makes me feel like I’m turning into the Hulk (yes, lol). I try to focus on what calms me and brings me home but it’s extremely hard, like wrestling my own soul.

I got home and took a minute to consider how my negative headspace could affect the people around me and I realized I had to get back on track. I don’t want to inadvertently bring down the people I love. I want to be consistently joyful but I’m my own worst critic. I want to be THERE: that place where I’m fully confident and I’ve built my character to who I want to be, strong and unafraid so I can give more to others. I want to be perfect but no one is, and I know this in my logical mind, so why do I get moments when I feel like this?

I was looking for some reassurance and comfort and I came across Isaiah 55. One part really helped:

For the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

I imagined this was a letter to me: I am a work in progress that will come to completion when God is done His work in and through me. It’s okay if I’m not perfect because His love for me is and His plan for me will eventually follow through, no matter how strong I think I am at ruining it. I can’t ruin it. It’s His purpose for me and I will get there.

I read on and this passage is what I want to leave you with. It reminds us that we will have joy. We will experience a blissful happiness that comes from knowing our identity based on God’s view of what we’re worth, who we are and what we’re capable of. If God, even in our messes, can still look down on us with compassion and forgiveness, then maybe we should stop being so hard on ourselves.

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
– Isaiah 55:12

God loves us. He created each of us with purpose and a desire to find and accomplish that purpose. We get lost in the disappointment of our failures but if we try to see how God is blessing us each day, we will find the strength and hope to get through those hard days. Sometimes that means stepping back and looking at our lives. When I look at mine I see how God has delivered me out of hurt and disappointment and lead me to overwhelming love and comfort. He gave me double what I prayed for. When I forget that I remind myself that what’s most important isn’t what I think about myself or what others think of me, it’s what He thinks of me… what He thinks of all of us: that we’re worth it.

With love,