August 24, 2014

Scenic Sundays: Terrace BC

((A quick look at some of my favourite scenic photos I've taken.
All of these shots remain untouched and unaltered.))
One of my favourite childhood destinations was always Terrace, BC. My mom was born and raised in this Northern city and we spent many summers at my Grandparent's home and at the local lake. The mountain scenery is spectacular!
This year I visited Terrace in April with my mom and aunts after my lovely grandmother passed away. We drove from Smithers to Terrace and visited Lakelse Lake, a place holding so many memories for myself as well as my mom and aunts.
We always took over this entire shelter whenever we came out to the lake. There were usually 20-30 of us (cousins, aunts, uncles etc) and we enjoyed many hot dog roasts, card games and Uno cakes here.
There is just layer upon layer of gorgeous mountains as far as you can see!

The canopy of huge cedar trees overhead.

It's difficult to see the massive scale of these roots and trees. Look for me in a photo below for some perspective.
We often played in and amongst these huge roots. Many photos were taken of us as children climbing up them.

See, they are huge!!!
I love Terrace and Lakelse Lake! One of my favourite places!
Here we are, me at about age 7-8, playing in Lakelse Lake.

Click HERE to see more of my Scenic Sunday posts.

August 22, 2014

Powerful Words

What will you tell your daughter about her body?

First of all let me clarify that I do not yet have children.

I would like a few and I would of course love to have a daughter.

However, when I think about my own daughter growing up, going to school, my eyes well up and I get a dreadful churning in my stomach.


Because although I was confident and spunky as a young child I was ruthlessly teased all throughout school.

The first few years of school were great, I had good friends, great teachers, loved learning.
But when about grade 4 and 5 came along I was made very aware that I didn't look like most of the other girls at school.
I had a rounder face, and though I was a bit of a tom-boy, I wasn't interested in sports at all so I began to get just a little bit soft and chubby.
I wasn't overweight or abnormal by any standards, but for some reason a handful of kids, mostly boys, at school made it their mission to constantly put me down, call me names and tease me.

Their words began to cut deeper and deeper.

I remember feeling so helpless and hurt that I soon began lashing out, getting angry, using my fists to solve these problems.
I was scrappy and ended up in more than a few fights at school or on the bus home.

The teasing and name-calling continued into Jr. High.
This time, mean-spirited girls would make fun of something I wore, or my hair, or some not-so-perfect part of my body.
I was dreadfully hurt and angry but I no longer fought back physically.
I shoved my pain deep, deep down, burying it beneath layers of walls so I wouldn't have to feel that way all the time.

I did have great friends all throughout school.
Friends that I could count on to laugh with and have fun.
But most of them never knew how much other people were hurting me.

I also had an amazing family.
My Mom and I have always been close and she has always been an encourager and lifted me up when she knew I was down. Many times she breathed life back into my sails when someone else had knocked the wind out of me with their words.

It still hurt.

It still hurts.

It's taken me many years and many dark moments to get over some of the damage that was done to my innocent, young-girl confidence.

For years I constantly judged others because I felt constantly judged.
For years I compared myself to everyone because I thought that was what everyone was doing to me.
For years I became angry and bitter in response to many of the situations life threw my way...or the situations I thought I should have had that life didn't throw my way,

It's taken years to move past it, to dig it all up and let it all go.
I did it with God's strength and love, as well as the love of my family and friends.

It hasn't been easy and yes, sometimes, it still hurts.

If, one day, I am blessed with a daughter, these are the things I will tell her about her own body:

  • That it is her body but God made it, He knows every hair on her head and knit her together piece by piece, and so she should treat her body well.
  • That even when someone makes fun of how some part of her looks, she is still beautiful.
  • That it's okay to have soft bits and hard bits. 
  • It's beautiful to be both strong and smooth around the edges.
  • That as she grows up, she should do her best to know what is going on with her own body. Check what needs to be checked, keep healthy, don't ignore what her body is telling her.
  • That she is unique. There is no one in the world that looks just like her and that is awesome!
  • That flaws are not flaws, they are just the little ways that make us different and our own selves.
  • That if she wants to, she can play sports, or dance, or swim, or sing, or try anything as long as she is happy doing it.
  • That pushing her body and muscles until they ache is sometimes a good thing. Don't give up on something before that good ache.
  • That she can use her body to express herself. And I would hope she would use it to express joy, life and happiness.
  • That if she is my biological daughter, we are always going to be just a little bit shorter than everybody else. But I didn't mind always being the short one!
  • That she should never compare herself to others. She will, but she shouldn't dwell on it. We are all beautiful in our own skins and it just wastes time enjoying life when we compare.
  • That she shouldn't listen when she gets teased. She shouldn't let it ruin her day. She should try to bite her own tongue and be kind or walk away. Words can hurt but they don't define us. We don't know what struggles go on underneath someone's dark words.
  • That I love her. I love her if she is short, or chubby, or slim, or tall, or with long hair or short hair. I love her because of who she is, inside and out.
  • That she truly is beautiful!
 __   __   __   __
 This month, a blogger I enjoy reading ( has set out some writing prompts for us fellow bloggers or writers to share our real-life stories. The theme for August is: Body Image, with 31 different topics to write about.

August 14, 2014

Charge Me Up

This month, a blogger I enjoy reading ( has set out some writing prompts for us fellow bloggers or writers to share our real-life stories. The theme for August is: Body Image, with 31 different topics to write about.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?

When I'm stressed, or tired or just need some time to myself there are a few places I like to go.

I love the ocean!

I love walking near the shore or scrambling over rocks or just sitting on some driftwood and watching the waves.

I'll find a beach close to town or even drive to some secluded wild west coast beach.

Rocks or sandy, it doesn't matter.

I love the ocean.

But today I want to share one of my new favourite summer retreats.

It may be for a few hours or it may just be for a few minutes, but my patio garden is where I can always go to recharge.

I sit on my lounge chair facing my back yard, shoes off, toes wriggling freely in the fresh air and relax.

My plants and flowers in my patio garden oasis glow with bright shades of red, pink, purple and orange in the light.

I can hear the birds singing and chirping and twittering.

I can feel the breeze against my skin, hear it among the tree branches and see it rippling the shades of green around my yard.

 I may have a book in hand or not, depends on how tired my eyes are.

I may have a cool drink siting beside me.

My little white dog is usually scampering around in the grass, sniffing where the wild bunnies have traveled or chasing the mostly elusive little lizards into their hidey-holes.

The best moments that leave me sitting frozen still and prickly with excitement are when I hear that familiar thrum and a tiny humming bird comes zooming in from the bushes to check out the glass feeder I've placed near my hanging flower baskets just for them.

They hover and twist their heads towards me, down below them, wings all blurry in a flurry of movement.

If they decide I am not a threat, I am still enough and quiet enough, they turn their tiny jewel eyes to the feeder and zip in and out, assessing if it's something good to sip.

They take a drink, quick as you can blink.

And again, and again. Then finally feel comfortable enough to cease their exhausting wing beating and sit on the feeder perch to indulge in a deeper drink.

I smile and know that I probably have the best and sweetest offering on the block for these dainty creatures. I make a super-sweet and sugary boiled syrup for them, filling and refilling it almost every other day.

The little sharp-beaked bird, once drunk its' fill, then zips off lickedy-split!

Those moments recharge me.

The quiet. The trees. The fresh air.

The feeling of being close to something so small yet so very alive.

I feel the burning knowledge that God, Creator of everything, cares about that little bird.
And if He cares about just one tiny, delicate bird, how much more infinitely does He care about me and my life?

I need to feel that once in a while.

I need those moments.


What about you? 
What are some of your favourite places to recharge?


Here are the other Body Image posts I've written about so far:  

August 12, 2014

Single Rider

This month, a blogger I enjoy reading ( has set out some writing prompts for us fellow bloggers or writers to share our real-life stories. The theme for August is: Body Image, with 31 different topics to write about.

Have you ever dined out, gone to a movie, or traveled alone?

Why yes, yes I have.

I never thought I would feel comfortable doing any of these things alone.

As time goes by and I find myself single as friends around me settle down into family lives, I find the prospect of getting out and doing things on my own less daunting and more exciting.

I've taken two larger trips to conferences alone. Traversing large airports by myself and managing to catch my flights. I have even rented vehicles on my own and made my way all over city of Dallas and enjoyed an afternoon at a Six Flags park on my own. (So Fun!)

A huge benefit at any amusement park is using the "Single Rider" line. At Six Flags I cut out hours of line waiting time by darting ahead in that special line and getting to the front of almost every ride!

Riding the "La Vipera" roller coaster at Six Flags, Dallas - no track, just wheels and a tube!)

Sure, I would love to always have someone with me, to share in my experiences, to talk to, to laugh with.

However, if no one is available, I am quite happy to travel or seek out fun on my own. 

I always manage to meet or chat with interesting people along the way.

I find solace in the crisp quiet of a hotel room all to myself.

This is me, in Dallas at the super cool Aloft Hotel.

I always get to do the things I want to do, shop where I want to shop et cetera.

Dining alone? Movies?
I don't know if, aside from while traveling, I would venture out and dine in a nice restaurant on my own but I certainly have seen movies solo.

In fact, 15 minutes before a film started tonight I felt like going to a movie, so I did!
The parking lot was packed and line ups streamed out the doors but while walking from my car to the theatre, I quickly purchased a single ticket online and snagged one of the very last seats for that showing.
This time, if I had been with someone, we would not have sat together and probably wouldn't have been able to even get in.

Sometimes going single has its' perks!

I don't mind being single at the moment.
I do enjoy the company of others, but I always enjoy my own company.

I'll never let being single hold me back from anything I want to do. 
The world is waiting to be explored, experienced and enjoyed and I just may have to venture out all on my own. And that's just fine with me.

What about you? 
Have you ever been brave enough to do something on your own??

I'd love to hear about it in the Comments!

Here are the other Body Image posts I've written about so far:  
Dear 25-Year Old Me, My Confidence Bucket List

August 8, 2014

My Confidence Bucket List

This month, a blogger I enjoy reading ( has set out some writing prompts for us fellow bloggers or writers to share our real-life stories. The theme for August is: Body Image, with 31 different topics to write about.

Here's My Body Image Topic for today:

#12 - The Confidence Bucket List: 10 things you one day hope to have the confidence to do.

1. Sky Diving! I am sort of afraid of heights (and death!), but I have always wanted to try sky diving...the adrenaline, the conquering of fear, the rush!!!

2. Travel to Europe, especially Ireland & Scotland - This may not seem like a big deal to many, but I have never travelled overseas and whether on my own or with someone, it would be a big deal to me!

3. Be able to easily talk to men about relationship issues...I've always been such a chicken, not liking confrontation at all! I'm working on it and hopefully in the future will do better. (examples here)

4. Get a tattoo! Yes, I said it, don't bash or hate me if you're ultra conservative. I'm not waiting something huge just a little something for myself. I've wanted to get one for years, but never built up the courage to just do it! (And I may never decide to go through with it, so stop fretting...Mom!)

5. Ask a guy out on a date. An official, absolute, honest-to-goodness date. Not a "hang out" or coffee, but a date. I'm gaining confidence but I'm not THAT confident...yet.

6. Run in some sort of 5 or 10 K. I am working on leading a healthier lifestyle (read about it here) and that has resulted in losing some weight, toning up and feeling better about myself. Better about being healthy. I need to start being more disciplined about running and build up to a longer event soon!

7. Share my own story about being teased all throughout school...I may share it here soon. But not yet. Sometimes it still feels like yesterday.

8. Somehow be "ON Camera". I've always lived and worked behind the scenes or behind the camera...maybe one day soon I'll feel confident enough to let someone else take photos or video of me without me editing or deleting it right away.

9. Finish the book I started over 5 years ago! It's still there...mulling around and living in my brain. Someday it'll all come tumbling out.

10. Dress up for a ComicCon - yep, I'm a geek/nerd girl and proud of it! I've dressed up for many parties, a medieval wedding, a local outdoor festival, but one day I'd LOVE to have an awesome costume for a big Convention like ComicCon or DragonCon or Fan Expo in Vancouver. Someday! a costume...for the Luminara Festival that is no more. 

What are some of your Confidence Bucket List Items? 

Leave a comment and I'll comment back or comment on your blog in return. :) 

August 5, 2014

Dear 25 Year Old Me...

I am an avid blog reader.
I read blogs for new ideas, to be inspired, to check out work by other writers and designers.
I also love reading blogs for the real-life stories behind the screen.
I love it when writing and sharing can bring people closer together or just make one person feel less like they are alone in how they are feeling or in the situations they face.

One such blogger is Brittany. She is an advocate and an unabashed speaker for the plus-sized woman in our beauty and skinny-crazy culture. She's funny, well-written, speaks frankly from her mind but one thing I love about Brittany...she makes us feel like we are already best friends! She shares her (sometimes very personal and "PG-rated") stories about life, relationships, clothing, parenting and much more and her blog has become an inspiration to share our own stories.

This month, Brittany has set out some writing prompts for us fellow bloggers or writers to share our real-life stories. The theme for August is: Body Image. She has given us 31 different topics to write about. You can write every day or choose one or two to write about anytime. Then we post a link to our blogs in the comments of her post and marvel at the wonderful stories we all share with one another. I don't know a single woman out there who doesn't struggle somewhat with her own body image and I am eager to read other stories and excited (and a little terrified) to share my own.

Writing about personal feelings or struggles puts us in such a vulnerable position, but I have learned that if only one person feels less alone in their own struggles because of what I have written, then it's been worth it to share a part of my inner self.

Here's my Body Image topic for today:

1. Write a letter to yourself 10 years ago. What do you know now, that you wish you'd known then?

Yes, this is me circa 2004-2005. Taking a selfie before selfies were invented!

Dear 25 Year Old Me,

First of all, good for you for going back to University and finishing off your Bachelor's Degree!
I know it's not easy and I know it seems like a never-ending journey towards that piece of paper, but it's worth it. That feeling of accomplishment in our world where we start many things and rarely finish them, it worth it. Work hard, do your best and try not to procrastinate too much!

About how you feel about yourself right now...I know you always put on a brave, happy face and hide how you feel deep down inside. This is something you need to work on. Yes, it's great to look happy and sometimes it's not the right moment to show how you feel, but don't let negativity fester. You will have some low moments, even months, in the years coming up and you need to learn how to let go, forgive and move on from hurts. There will be struggles and there will be times you'll feel lonely and lost, but you are not ever alone. Hold tight to your Faith and let others speak into your life with encouragement and love.

I also know that you do not like your body and shape at all. I know because I was you. I know how you secretly judge others but only because you fear everyone is always judging you and how you look. Don't dwell on that! Be confident! It wastes so much time feeling insecure. You are a beautiful person! You have a smile that lights up your whole face. You have a laugh that is infectious. You have a wonderful sense of humour that I never want to see squashed by self-doubt. Be you! Yes, I know we would love to look differently and be more in shape. It's going to take a lot of discipline and a confidence boost to get us there. Keep working at being active and...maybe eat a little healthier.

I know it may seem like your life is not too exciting and you constantly compare yourself with your friends and peers. Your life is your own right now and you get to have as much fun as you wish. You can enjoy this time of learning new skills, meeting new people, forging new amazing friendships and, sadly, letting go of the ones that are no longer meant to be in your life.

You are soon to be embarking on a new job and guess what? That job will take you places and hone skills you never dreamed of! Be inspired! And inspire those around you! Look forward to working with people in the long term. Don't be afraid to dream big and ask for ways to increase your knowledge and skills that will benefit everyone at the office.

A few tips:

Practice Patience - learn to wait, learn to take time to get the details right and learn to deal nicely with those around who tend to frustrate you. No one likes an impatient person!

Hang on to Joy - it will be difficult at times, but keep holding onto the joy of the little things. You are naturally a fun person, so keep finding the fun in everyday.

Stop Comparing! Comparison is the thief of joy! You are unique, fun, amazing, creative, skilled, smart and talented in may areas, STOP comparing your beginnings to other people's middle or ends! You are YOU! Be the best version of You in what ever stage you are at!

Most of all, start enjoying who you are. You will be amazed at the confidence that will rise up out of you once you start believing that you are a beautiful person! You are worth being loved. You are worth being someone's friend. You are worth more than just settling for what's leftover. Your life has a purpose and your journey will be full of meaningful moments.

Be yourself and you will find happiness and joy!

Much love,

The Future You

August 4, 2014

Thankful for...100 List: #51-75

As an exercise in positivity, I am continuing to make a list of the:

100 Things for Which I am Thankful.

(Note: They are listed in no particular order, other than my rambling thoughts at the moment.)

51. the feel and smell of soil while gardening
52. lots of ice for my glass of water
53. the ability to sing, to share my voice in worship music, even if my ears are the only ones that hear
54. quality time with my family during our annual summer vacation
55. finding an item that I can actual eat on this crazy healthy plan!
56. fresh, ripe summer cherries
57. good friends I can hang out with and be silly
58. good friends I can talk to about anything
59. though I may have said it before, my loving parents!
60. waking up and remembering a dream in vivid detail, even if it's a weird one
61. how cool (in temperature) my home is on a hot summer's day
62. mini golf! I need to play more!
63. finding a dairy-free, gluten-free, naturally sweetened sorbetto gelato
64. also finding some awesome cool treats I can have called Tea Pops!!
65. a crisp tart apple (McIntosh or Spartan are my favourites, Granny Smith in a pinch)
66. HUGE raspberries from local Gobind Farms, they always remind me of my grandparent's house
67. the feeling of my dog all warm and cozy, sleeping on my foot right now!
68. precious hugs and kisses from my nephews and niece
69. getting an awesome DVD in the mail that I ordered online: "Descending"
70. Pinterest - a place to find ideas, recipes, inspiration and to link back to the original source
71. inspiring stories of missions projects that one day I hope to join. (Check out this blog.)
72. no bad sunburns for me this summer. I'm a lot smarter about using sunscreen than years past!
73. I never thought I'd say this...but Dark Chocolate!
74. finally getting in with a new, nice Doctor and a new, great Naturopath!
75. Mostly right now I am thankful for the continued JOY I strive towards every day. I know I have my moments and I know obstacles will get in the way sometimes, but I am trying to see the good, the positive and the joyful in everyday. I'm still choosing joy!

Definitely a random order!
Watch for more updates to this list in the coming days.

What are you thankful for?  

 Start making your own list.  

(PS - It does wonders for your current state of happiness.)