January Blogathon!


Announcement time!


I’m a few days late in boarding this train, but it’s decided. I am going to blog every day for the remainder of January. Writing is my craft of choice and the only real way to improve is to practice and practice a whole lot.

Each day there will be an alternating post on this, my main blog, and my health blog.

Daily blogging seems daunting. You may get tired of me by the end of the month. But gosh darnit I will blog on.

Moving my fingers over the keyboard as if in a trance at two in the morning when I can’t sleep, it’s natural to me. Pounding the words out into some shape and form that is relatable to other humans who stumble across this place is cathartic. Processing the unending ideas and stories that circulate in my brain brings me peace. Blogging for me is about sharing and learning and teaching and growing through writing. It’s a community, it’s a soapbox, it’s a journal.

On this blog, I have shared my life. Ups and downs, my passions and pet peeves. On my health blog, I gained an awesome community of support and inspiration when I began my journey in 2012 to train for and run a marathon and change my health for the better. When I share my dreams and goals, I hope I inspire others to dream big also. When I tell my invisible audience I’m going to do something, it makes me want to follow through. Beyond reading, blogging gives the chance to connect and gain feedback.

That being said, I challenge you to come back each day for the new post and to chime in on the questions I ask on the post, or tell me what you liked or didn’t like. Give me suggestions. Tell me about your day. Anything! I want to connect with you, as I share this crazy ol’ life with you. Don’t be shy!

Are you doing a January blogathon? Let me know and I’ll link to your blog and maybe you can link to mine so we can share in this journey. 

I’m not done making mistakes and taking chances.


“NOTHING GREAT IS CREATED SUDDENLY.” It was just a kitschy plaque I saw at the grocery store, but it stopped me in the aisle. If you read my blog here regularly, you know I am passionate about constantly improving and about following your dreams.


When I was introduced to secular music for the first time, I was very influenced by Jason Mraz’s early albums like Waiting for my Rocket, Selections for Friends, and Mr. A-Z. His lyrical prowess was unlike anything I’d encountered in my sheltered musical experience. His flow, storytelling and impressive range in vocal skills made Mraz one of my favourites and remains so to this day.

I’ve been in my new home for two months (a 3,555 km move from the West Coast to an arctic island). Just before I got here I downloaded a bunch of Ed Sheeran’s stuff. Immediately, I experienced the same love of his mastery of words and sounds to tell stories. I might be late to the Sheeran party, but if you look at my iTunes you will see many of his songs show 27-35 plays (and that’s not counting any of the plays on my phone, only my computer). I listen to his stuff one at a time on repeat. There are several songs that have hit me with chills or brought me to tears on the very first listen. There have been songs that have spun me backwards and made me deal with things in my past. There are songs that give me total hope for my creative future.

Why do I love these guys?

They have lived.

I heard Take it Back for the first time today while I was out running errands. I set it up for repeat. I went and bought a coffee and walked down the rocks of the beach over faded yellow ropes and discarded seal skins to the very edge where I could feel the wind hit my face and I was as close as I could be to the water. Me and my black coffee, I closed my eyes and I could feel it all. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It just hits me. I was not discouraged by how inadequate I feel in comparison to his song writing. I feel inspired and I know the more I listen to people who are great, the closer I will get to creating something worthy of further inspiring others.

But it’s not just practice. It’s living. My favourite artists have taken chances, had rough times, had great times, they’ve gone to the university of life and that appeals to me so much. I’m 5th child after a doctor, nurse, teacher and business man. Both my parents have worked at a university. I just want to go places and meet people and keep saying yes. I’m done three years of uni, but it’s hard to think of going back when I have so much I want to do outside of expensive books and minds that are learning so much but reach the world and have no idea what they are passionate about or value. They wrap themselves in their degree and face the world, find someone who likes what they’re wearing and take a safe job to pay for their new condo and pay for the normal life they have always been expected to live.

I don’t know if I can take this route. 

I want to make more mistakes. Learn more through the people I meet. I want to get lost. I want to stay up all night talking to strangers.  I want to buy a ticket and leave with no luggage. I want to write and sing and draw everything I see. I want to extend my heart to those in need. I want to drive until I run out of gas. I want to busk. I want to photograph things that no one but me sees. I want to notice the small details of the world and bring attention to them through art and music. 

For me, there would be nothing worse than turning 30 and feeling like I settled. I am 8 years away from 30. Jason Mraz is 37, Ed Sheeran is 23. I don’t necessarily aspire to fame, but I aspire to create big things. Important or at least meaningful things. Music, writing, art, maybe movies. I want to make stuff that touches people and changes them. That makes them think, like my favourite songs, books and films have made me reconsider my assumptions.

Back to the quote I found in the grocery store at the beginning.

I found extreme joy and hope in this quote. “Nothing great is created suddenly.” There’s no pressure. It’s up to me to remain driven and focused, but I can rest in the fact that I’m on a journey that can lead to greatness with each choice I make. I can achieve what I desire with time and hustle.

What choices do you wish you made? Is it really too late to make them now? What’s holding you back from taking the risks that could change your life?

Here’s the full quote: 

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” -Epictetus

What is the proverbial fig in your life? Are you rushing too much in hopes of ripening it faster? How are you developing your passions and skills to harvest a sweet fig at the end of your hard work?

When I Grow Up


The plan was always to become a writer and an artist. 

I am reminded of this as my nephew who I nanny tells me his dreams for the future. The NHL, an olympic speed skater, American ninja warrior (even though we’re Canucks), NBA… and finally, an artist who sells his work.

chalkAs a nanny, my job description is diverse and ever-changing. My sister did a back to school photo shoot with her boys last week and I got to be the chalk artist for her.

So, technically, I got paid to make art. I didn’t sell anything but my time and talents were valued enough for her to ask me to do it for her. It was an a-ha! moment for me.

I want to keep doing the things I love always. Whether I am paid to do them or not. I must create; I must absorb and learn from other people’s creations; I must keep asking questions.

Now that I am working two jobs, my time to create is somewhat limited. But I try to play some music, do some drawing or writing and some reading every day. It keeps me sane and feeds my soul.

Today, I was off nanny duty, so I started my #radicalselflovebible.  It was great to just curl up in bed, put on an audio book (Harry Potter again, of course, what else?) and create something of importance to me.

I hope you hold on to the dreams of your youth and pursue them with gusto. And if you are having trouble finding what you want in life, hit the rewind button and look at what you spent time doing as a child. What did you want to be when you grew up? 

The Art of the Playlist

Love, Music, Thoughts

Lately, I’m all about the snail mail. You know, being 3,500 kms away from home does that to you. The internet stops working when it rains here, so that leaves me with a lot of time to write while the boys are playing or napping. 

There are a few ladies at my old work that are just awesome and I miss a lot, so I wrote them letters a few weeks ago. In addition to asking them how the sunny coast was and updating them on #arcticproblems, I also made them each a playlist. 

3 playlists

When Bangerz was just emerging, I watched an interview with Miley Cyrus, and she talked about how she loves to give and receive playlists. She talked about how that was a great way to get to get to know someone. Mixtapes and CDs have been a big part of my musical upbringing. This concept has stuck with me, though it’s taken a while for me to break down the assumption that making a mixtape has to be a romantic gesture. Sounds silly, but I thought it would be weird to just hand my friends a playlist or ask for one. 

I remember my sister making me a CD for my walkman for my trip to Quebec in grade 8.

I remember recording Party in the USA on cassette tape in my room when I started listening to secular radio secretly at night. Oh, 2009. 

I remember someone I danced with loading up my iPod with all of his favourite artists (many of which are still my favourites). I didn’t sync my ipod for 2 and a half years because I didn’t want to lose all that music. 

A good playlist takes time to make. You have to use your own collection and taste and select which aspects to share with another human being. You may be consciously or unconsciously sharing the memories and associations you have attached to this music. You want it to be both novel and nostalgic for the the listener. Maybe some artists or songs they already know, mixed in with things they haven’t heard yet. You want the playlist to flow song to song; order is important (at least it is to me). 

So here are three playlists I made for friends back home, along with one word to describe the people they are made for.

for a dancer

1- Colors Amos Less
2- Orphans Kingdoms Brooke Fraser
3- Put Your Records On Corrine Bailey Rae
4- Leisure Suite Feist
5- Flapper Girl The Lumineers
6- Mercy One Republic
7- You have been loved Sia

for an adventurer

1- Little Black Sandals Sia
2- July, July! The Decemberists
3- Opera Singer Cake
4- Mushaboom Feist
5- Walt Grace’s Submarine Test John Mayer
6- You Give Me Something James Morrison 
7- Mama Do Lorde

for a free spirit

1- Mermaid Train
2- White Winos Loudon Wainwright III
3- I Never Knew You (Live) Jason Mraz
4- Brandy Alexander Feist
5- O Valencia! The Decemberists
6- Half of Something Else The Airborne Toxic Event
7- Los Angeles, I’m Yours The Decemberists

You can see the some of the same artists cropped up throughout these three little playlists. That’s what I was in the mood to share and have been listening to this summer. 

Playlists capture your tastes and preferences and mood for a moment in time. Maybe you make it for a road trip where you won’t get any radio reception in the car. Or maybe for a wicked dance party at your new place. Or maybe you make it for your significant other. Whatever the reason for the playlist, it’s a snapshot of a moment that can be enjoyed over and over again. 

Do you like to make playlists? What is one of or some of your favourites?

I’d love to know in a comment below, I’m always looking for new tunes. Hope you found something new, or were reminded of a song you forgot about.

P.S. Anyone want to buy me this? Thanks. 

Like this? Check out my last music post: SHAKE IT OFF, TAYLOR.

Know Thyself


After 30 minutes of unsuccessfully attempting to sleep (thanks, coffee), I started writing…

I like black socks over white socks, and I know nothing about the Red Sox… or any other sports team for that matter, though I like to watch sports and have played most of them at some point.

I love to be active, but also enjoy movies and TV. My favourite actors are: Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke. Good Morning Vietnam, Before Sunrise and Spirited Away are a few of my favourite films.

I can’t pass up a chance to see a band play live and I count the few concerts I’ve been to as highlights in my life. I’ve seen Ray Lamontagne, City and Colour, The Lumineers (2x). As well as a slew of Christian bands at conferences and coffee shop performances from my youth group days. On my list to see: John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Kings of Leon, Cake, Muse, Young the Giant, Metric, and Mod Sun among many others. I plan to go to Coachella, Sasquatch, Squamish Music Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

I like to be surprised but I hate to be unprepared.


If you have dreams or want to hear about mine, I could probably talk to you for hours. I love to spend time with people, but mostly those who are closest to me… I also need me time, every day, to feel sane. Time to write, take care of myself, check things off my endless to-do lists, exercise.

I am terrible at going to bed at a decent hour and just as lousy at getting up early. My snooze button and I are in a seriously committed relationship. Once I fall asleep, I’m good, but I hate to call an end to the day, and find my most productive hours are in the middle of the night when people are asleep. Then I can hear myself think… that, or listen to Harry Potter audio books while I get work done.

I’ve tried to be vegan, vegetarian, paleo… I’m always reading about the best foods, diet, and lifestyle to be my best. Currently, I’m working on eating vegan about 80% of the time. That’s a good start for me, and I feel good about making less of an impact on the environment and contributing less to the inhumane slaughtering of animals and the wasteful practices of mass food production. I’m not an extremist; I will happily listen to anyone’s food philosophy as I’m still forming my own.

I love to people watch and the audio version of people watching- otherwise known as eavesdropping. I’m inspired by the snippets of other people’s lives that I catch at the grocery store, restaurants, in the street.

I want to make a difference in this life. Even if I am not remembered by many, I want at least one person to say when I am gone that their life would not have been what it was without something I did for them or said to them.

I like to sing. A lot. I don’t usually share this with people. As a perfectionist who has been near many people who I consider to be great singers, it’s always been difficult to step out in this area for me.

My eyes look brown, but they have a ring of green on the outside. My mom has brown eyes and my dad has green. It makes me happy that I got some of both.

I struggled with low self-esteem all of my teenage years. I always felt out of place because I compared myself to others… my skin wasn’t as clear, my clothes weren’t as expensive, I wasn’t excelling in the areas I thought I ought to… all silly reasons. My 21st year has been by far the best, and I feel like I am more confident and comfortable with myself than ever.

I will always be a dreamer.

I have a bad habit of mumbling comments and jokes when I am not sure of their laughter value.

I’m overly analytical, and I don’t mind. It makes me a good critical thinker and problem solver.

I love peppermint and hate spearmint.

Looking at photographs from middle school and high school makes me cringe. Then laugh. My favourite pictures of myself are either from my childhood- my mom took a lot of me and my siblings- and from various trips (California, Florida, Ottawa, France, Italy) I’ve taken over the years. Two things that make me happiest are being with family, and travelling to new places.

My favourite flowers are sunflowers and peonies.

Pizza is almost a guaranteed mood-booster in my books. In my opinion, pineapple and olives have no place on pizza.

I’m a gemini and I have come to appreciate and even seek out the dualism that is ever present in life. I’m adaptable and ever changing. I can be impulsive, but rarely act without thinking… Rather, I think a lot then act quickly so as not to lose my nerve. I think there are always (at least) two sides to every story. I am a good listener.

I am a free-spirit. I am passionate. Never apathetic. I feel with my whole being.

I need sun in my life, summer is my favourite season. I like running in the rain.

These are the things that make me who I am. There are many more experiences, qualities and preferences that I haven’t listed obviously, but these are the first to come to mind. The journey of self discovery is an exciting one. With it, the discovery of my place in the world around me, is just as fun.

Do you know yourself? What makes you unique? What dreams and ambitions do you hold close? What are you passionate about? 




Dear Readers, 

I find writing (and occasional, spontaneous art making) to be the most healing of all processes apart from prayer.

I just wanted to share a short part of something I wrote which maybe will help one person to feel like they can fight another day, or to begin to search for what is meaningful in their life. Whatever it does, I’m just putting it out there.

Again, this is just a piece of a larger thing I’m working on, so it may feel like you are entering a conversation half way through.


A friend tells you a beautiful metaphor. She asks what causes a tree to grow its roots deeper? It is the dry season, the drought that forces the tree to take hold of the earth, to dig deeper to find life-giving water.

This resonates with you. You’ve been in the drought and the dry, the starved, the searching for more than a year.

There’s a necessary final push to get past everything. Giving the final all-in effort to get over the past and find out what’s on the other side of this mountain. So you do.

You push. You search. You pray and plead. You intercede. You cry. You fight. You search for the light that is so elusive in the dark and the peace that is so desired in the pain and the joy that was stolen by sin.

Digging to find this water. Pushing your roots into the soil further and further, it’s painful as you grow through the tough soil, but it is growth. It is a reinforcement of your foundation. It hurts, but you are growing. You become more confident when the wind blows because you know what it does not. You haven’t just been sitting around waiting for things to get better. You have been digging. You have been pushing. You have grown and changed from last season. You have put your roots down so that nothing will uproot you. Christ has made it so. He is the foundation and the life-giving water that you have searched for. 

This imagery of roots, and growth and working to stand tall and firmly on your foundation is very important to me, and motivates me to keep working towards a life that is value-driven, love-driven and demonstrates strength to inspire those who feel weak to persevere.

I know many people reading this will not have the same faith as me, I would still challenge you to look at your foundation. What are you rooted in? Have you found peace in the way you live? What have you done in the dry seasons of your life?