Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grey Dey

She: It's a BBC Miniseries. We should spend a weekend at the lake and watch it.
Me: OK

This was the weekend.
Me, her and the BBC miniseries.
I brought chocolate as well.


This is what the lake looked like when I got up this morning/afternoon:









Could've been the Grand Canyon out there ... Zero visibility past the shore.
But even though I couldn't see them, I knew the mountains were there.

Which got me thinking.
I know the mountains are there because I've seen them in the past.
I can count on them being there.
I've driven around them, hiked up them, and taken a gazillion pictures of them.


So, just because I can't see them TODAY, doesn't make me doubt their existence.

The nature of a mountain is that it is solid, and (mostly) unmovable.
I can depend on that.
That's, like, a character trait of a mountain.

And, if say, I brought a friend from the Prairies to join me for a weekend at the lake, and it was all cloudy like this, I'd have to tell her, 'even though you can't see them, there are mountains all around this lake. Over there. And over here. And at that end. And they go up this high.'

And I might tell her about my Teapot Hill hikes. Or I'd show her a photo album full of photos.
And I'd explain how those mountains take on different appearances during different seasons. And how even though the colours and shape and impact those mountains have on the lake alter through the seasons, they never change and they never leave.

You can have confidence to know they are always there.


And if you're from, say. Saskatchewan, you may not have any clue what I'm talking about. You've never experienced anything larger than a parking lot speed bump.

So I'd have to say, 'Well, hang around for abit. The mountains will be revealed eventually. They don't stay hidden forever. We can go for a hike as soon as this blessed, never-ending rain stops. The best way to get to know something is to spend time on/with it. So, let's explore. Drive up some mountain roads. Walk along some paths. View them from this angle, by the shore. View them from the top at a look out.'


My enthusiasm for the scenery, my love for the view, my positive experience with the landscape, my history, my knowledge, my invitation, is probably what's going to inspire her to hang out and see for herself just what the heck I'm talking about.

And what's also cool? Is that if my Farm Girl friend were to talk to, say, Drew or Danica about mountainsin general? Well, she would hear totally different 'selling points' because their experiences and love of mountains? Is about snowboarding. And winter. And SunPeaks. And fun. And laughter. And exercise. And freezing temperatures. And quad chair lifts. And, and, and...



.
.
.
.
.

And yes.
This whole mountain thing is a metaphor.
You've likely figured that out by now.



Clearly I'm talking about the new iPhone.
And how everyone should have one. Even if you're not tech savvy, it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Just ask people who have one. They'd love to share their passion for it with you. They'd love to share their life-changing experiences as a result of that phone, with you.


.
.
.
.
.
Hahaha.
Just kidding.
That was a metaphor too.


.
.
.
.
.
Anyway.
Moving on.

New topic.


The thick cloud cover didn't last all day.
All of a sudden, there was a lifting.
And all that was left was the mist.

So, still wearing what I'd slept in (which, uh, wasn't much. And not very, uh, current in style [OKFINE. I was wearing my red and black striped Mickey Mouse maternity shirt that I wore when I was pregnant with Drew and short stretchy pants] with neon orange & grey runners with Heel-Spur-gel-pads added, plus a long purple knit sweater. My face hadn't been washed. Teeth were unbrushed. Hair ignored. No hair had been removed from my chin. Nor my legs.

I?
Was a vision.

But I wanted to capture the effect of the fog clearing and the mountains appearing.

It was quite something.


So.
Obviously anticipating that no one would be outside on a day like this, I slipped out the back of the cabin and limped to the lake.


It was breathtaking.






And haunting.






























And so worth the walk.































And then?
When I moved from the lake shore to the creek shore?

A neighbour came by to check on the water levels, just as the rain started.

And I felt so ugly/vulnerable/embarrassed. And wet.

I know what I look like when I make no effort. It is not pretty. Not even a little bit. And when I'm wet. Whoa Baby. Shield your eyes. Just walk away.

He didn't leave.

So, I turned and said, "Hi? How're you?"

HOW'S THAT FOR SMALL TALK?

And from there, we just dived into the deep end and talked about death, divorce, the nature of God, the impact of loss, the acute sensitivity that comes from deep pain, the beautiful, healing nature of the lake and mountains. The call of God.


The whole time I kept my camera in front of my face, (because, Face. Shudder.) and because the mist was swirling and alive and it needed to be captured.






























We parted when I was good 'n soaked.




And walking away? I knew that had been a divine appointment.






























And the rain?
Which DRIVES ME MENTAL when it falls on my head, was adding some magical beauty to the colorless foliage on my walk back across the lawn to the cabin.





























































And the lake? Looked like this minutes later:































So we put on the DVD. And immersed ourselves in grey.




(which was dark and grey and sad and difficult to watch in places. This? Was not the BBC we were expecting. There was absolutely no shaggy haired man in a white puffy shirt walking through the mist getting ready to declare his love or give a kiss. Oh no. It was not.)

So, even though it did have a satisfying ending, we needed more. (We are girls after all...) 
So we watched this:






which managed to have two happy endings.
So win/win/win for us all.


:)



Three things I'm thankful for:


1. First walk with my camera (walking across the lawn to the shore is so a walk. Quit judging.) since Christmas Day at Crescent Beach. So thankful I was able to see beauty in grey. 

2. A completely and utterly laid back weekend. 

3. Two phone messages from two different doctors regarding a lab result and an xray. Yes to bone spur - its a big one. I'm to expect pain for about 3 more months and should try to keep off it. And yes to bladder infection. It's a very rare and difficult one to combat; there's only one antibiotic in the world that will clear it up. (Hahaha. OF COURSE. I'm betting it will cost $5000.) So I should come in again to pick up a prescription. In the meantime, I should drink cranberry juice. 

So thankful for doctors, medical equipment and meds. SO thankful I live in this time and in this place. 

Shalom,
xo


Friday, January 23, 2015

Seven Years Ago

It was Jan 22, 2008.
I was in Puerto Vallarta for my very first time and absolutely adoring it.

Until the last day.
That's when Heath Ledger was found dead.

It sucked the life out of me. I blogged about it.
I may have had a slight crush on that boy and it was Just So Sad.






His was the first (celebrity) death (besides Diana's) that hit me in the feels.

Three years later, in 2011, Max went into rehab, and my commitment to pray for folks struggling with addiction was fueled.

Two years later, Cory Monteith died of an overdose and it just hit way too close to home. I blogged about it. 






It's now 'a thing' with me. Praying for not only real people, but also pretend people in the entertainment industry who have drug/alcohol dependencies.

Sigh.

That was a sad start to this post, no?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


So.
My foot.

I bought Gel-Pads-for-Heels-with-Bone-Spurs last night and put them into my new runners. Hurt like the dickens. Man.

This morning I transferred those pads into my boots and NO KIDDING, not a word of a lie, my pain levels dropped by 50%. (Not that these things are measurable, but, it was less. By about half, I'd say.)

A Thursday morning miracle.

I still have the boots on, 19 hours later.

I may never take them off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was involved in a conversation this week about hair.
Hahaha.
(If it's not hair these days, it's wrinkles. Or, sigh, sore feet. SO many conversations about our bodies.
Shudder.)

And if was suggested that 'at this stage in life, we should start thinking about having age-appropriate hair styles'. Namely, short.

I suck at these types of conversations.
And I suck even more at being age appropriate.

I don't even know what that means.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Gel pads. Who knew?

2. PVR's. Watched the first 3 episodes of The Book Of Negroes tonight.

3. It's gonna be a lake weekend. Yay.


Shalom,
xo


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Interesting article on addictions. Read it.
"Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster's -- "only connect." But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live -- constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us."





Thursday, January 22, 2015

3

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. X-rays are a 2 minute procedure.

2. A day without rain + many after-work errands = a decent day.
(Hospital (for foot X-rays), eyebrow threading (seeing I was in my old neighbourhood), bank (my favorite drive thru, yes, in my old neighbourhood) pharmacy, (for anti-inflamatories and shoe gel pads, Pfff). Maxine's house (to pick up my truck key), Chevron (because, gas) Dam's Ford (to get oil light re-set), and Post Office, (might as well send out Change Of Address forms. I guess.)

This was all possibly too much for my pounding heel. I had two more stops to make but I skipped them and came home. If anyone ever wants to whine about bone spurs, I Am Your Girl.

3. Light bulbs.

4. Answered prayer. I had been praying about a guy who needed work yesterday (blog post. Actually I had 4 people in mind when I got to the 'job' bit) and today there was a photo of him, smiling, doing some roofing work with a friend. Haha. NOT AT ALL what I was thinking he should be doing when I was praying, but I can see now that this was likely the perfect answer to that request.

(Regarding prayer. It just occurred to me that I haven't prayed about my heel yet. Not once. Maybe because I think I deserve the discomfort? Maybe I don't want to bother him about my little pain, when given the choice, if He only has So Much Time, I'd rather He spend it on bigger issues? Like friends with life and death health issues, or people who need work, or sex trafficking in the far east? Anyway, I might ask tonight. I'd love to go for a walk this weekend if it's not raining. So, I guess that's two things: no rain. And the ability to enjoy it. Sigh. What if the answer is no? I hate 'no's'.)

:)


Shalom,
xo

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dentist. Doctor. God.

Dentist

He: Open up? Let's have a look to see how that extraction site has healed.
Me, opens up.
He: Wider?
Me, still as open and as wide as possible.
He, putting his full hand, a toy truck and an old Christmas tree inside: Hmmm. Not much room in here.
Me, still open, nods.
He: Too small. Your bones didn't heal as I'd hoped they would. They are 2 mm too narrow and low.
Me, not surprised in the least, nods.
He: I'd like you to go get a CAT scan. It's not covered by your dental, so you'll have to pay for it up front, but everything is so small and narrow in there, I'd like a better blueprint of where your nerves are and where this bone ends.
Me, so very tired of this project, nods.
He: You're going to need a bone graft.
Me, not wanting to spend any more money on my mouth, nods.
He: And after the bone graft, which will take 8 months to heal, and will cause some discomfort in the beginning, after that, we can get started on the implant. That won't be covered by your dental plan, either, by the way. We'll need to get paid directly from you.
Me, nods but is being very non-committal. I hope he isn't counting on this procedure to help him to finish paying for his new swimming pool.
He: And then you go back to your regular dentist and get a crown put in place. I'm not sure if that will be covered. You'll likely be paying for that directly as well.
Me, very much bored with this entire conversation, nods.

He walks me to the front desk. Makes sure I've got all the forms. Then pretends his hand is holding a phone receiver to his ear and says, "I'll call you."

Pretty sure I'm not going to answer.

Doctor

My doctor's office's parking lot is full. I can't find a spot.
Sadly, I drive a block and find parking in another lot. The closest spot is furthest away from the parking meter.
I lock my truck and limp over there, counting each footstep.
VISA only.
My Visa card is not in my wallet. I've left it at home in my jacket pocket.
I limp back to my truck and drive over to the hospitals's parking lot. The only open spot is in the furthest corner, away from the meter and across the road from my doctor's office.
I get out of my truck and start limping.
"JANE! Is that you? How are you?
I, for the life of me cannot remember her name. Or where I know her from. She is familiar, but from where? A past job? A Fundy mom? A friend's sister?
"What're you up to ...."
We make small talk for a few minutes, and I start to worry about how late I'm going to be for my appointment. I've been driving around parking lots for at least 15 minutes.
"Oh, by the way. My appointment was cancelled and I still have an hour left on my spot. Here. I'll pull out, and you can have the receipt."
"Oh my goodness, THANK YOU. You have no idea..."

(Turns out she was a Fundy mom. And a friend's sister. And one of Max's friend's moms. Of course, I remembered that an hour later...)

(Also turns out, I was 20 minutes late for my appointment, so I lost my spot. She saw my face, though, and pulled me into an examining room right away. I heard her deal with the wrath of other patients in the waiting room afterwards.)


I'm seeing a her for the first time ever. My regular doctor, a male, is Just Too Busy.

Her: So, what're we in for?
Me: My heel. I think it's a bone spur, but I want to get it checked, just to make sure. It's been two months and the pain keeps building. There have been days when I've absolutely been unable to put any weight on it at all.
Her: Have you fractured it before?
Me: No.
Her: So no previous injuries?
Me: None.
Her: Let's have a look.
She presses all the points that make me wince.
Her: Yes, I'd say you have a bone spur. Let's get it xrayed to make sure.
Me: K.
Her: But you realize there really isn't anything we can do, right? Take anti-inflamatories. But those are likely hard on your stomach?
Me, nods.
Her: Maybe get a gel-pad for you shoe?
Me, nods. (But thinking to myself, this pain is WELL PAST A GEL PAD.)
Her: You could try getting it massaged?
Me: Seriously?
Her: Couldn't hurt. Might help...
Her: Or maybe, uh, acupuncture?
Me: What? Are you kidding?
Her: I dunno. I can't recommend anyone and it's probably not covered, but you could try.
Me, putting sock and boot back on: Well, OK, thanks.
Her: Oh, and by the way, you were right. You do have a bladder infection.
Me, nods.

Her: Here's the x-ray form. You can just walk over to the hospital and they'll do it now, if you want.
Me, nods.

I limp out of her office, walk through the parking lot and realize my 'free' parking is up. If I want to stay in this lot, I'll have to walk over there to pay for another hour. And then walk over there to the hospital, and then walk through the halls to get to the lab and then walk all the way back there to get back to my truck.

I can't do it.

I want to nap. And wonder if there's anyone that can scrape that bit of bone off my heel and put it into my tooth socket. I have everything I need. They're just not all in the right places.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


God? 

I'm thinking of all those people in my life today who have real health issues. Brenda with cancer, Mrs. Bartel with meningitis, Katie with severe epilepsy, plus a whack of others - and I'm praying for healing and peace for the whole lot of them.

Give their doctor's wisdom and provide them with insight when choosing a plan for recovery. Give those who are suffering relief from their pain and peace about the care they are receiving. God I pray their families will feel supported and encouraged and I pray Your will be done. Use these circumstances for Your purposes. Help us all to see The Bigger Picture and open our eyes as we recognize Your hand at work. At the end of the day, let there be a bunch of 'WHOA, God! That was awesome"'s being exclaimed.

And, God? Those people I love and even those I don't, who are struggling with drug and alcohol addictions/dependencies? Can you step in? Accelerate their trip to The Bottom, so they hit it sooner, rather than later. And while they are down there, needing help, I'm praying that You've got someone there, waiting. Enable them to grab that offered hand and get the help they need. I pray for those who you've called to be the helping hands. Equip them. Embolden them. Fill them with strength and compassion. Give them the endurance to hang in there over the long haul.

God I pray for the communities that come alongside people in recovery. God I pray you would infuse those gatherings with joy and hope. And that Your angels would stand guard against evil entering. I pray that those who seek help with addictions, find You in the process.

God? Could you be preparing folks to walk alongside those in recovery? Life is hard. And learning to do life without drugs and alcohol is a challenge. Provide friends to those who need them. And protect their time together. Make it rich and meaningful and laughter-filled.

Also?
God?
Relationships.
Wow.
Do we ever screw them up sometimes, no?
SO Many Messy Ones...
Can you do something? Help us? Open our eyes to see each other as You do? Give us extra doses of patience and understanding exactly when we need it most.
Help us end the relationships that are not part of Your plan with kindness and love. And help us repair the ones that You have affirmed. If we need to work on some personal crap before we can deal with relationship dysfunction, provide us with counsellors and friends who help us see our part in the mess. God, in regards to marriages, could you help restore the magic? Clear away some of the baggage for a sec so we can see a glimmer of the spark that used to be there.

And jobs.

You've created us to work.
And mostly, we love working at jobs that align nicely with our gift and talents.
Help those I love who need meaningful work to find it.
Close doors that they need'nt bother going through. FLING OPEN the doors that they should.
And push them towards the right door... they might not know which building it's in. Maybe put a neon sign above it - with an arrow, and a lit walkway and a personal guide?

Could their work-mates be awesome? Handpicked by You. For Your purposes?
Could their bosses be amazing? Chosen by You for such a time as this?
Could their jobs be perfectly suited for exactly who You've created them to be?
Could, at the end of their first shift, say, "That was excellent. So glad I'm working here..."

Could you be with my dad? Keep his mind safe and his body from breaking further. Surround him with your angels.

Could you be with my mom? She'd probably love being surrounded by angels too.

And those that don't know You? Or are running from You? Or are scared to come back to You? Could you just go overboard in getting their attention? Like, go nuts. Be profoundly personal. Be extravagant in Your displays of love. Whisper the words that their souls need to hear. Yell the words they are too stubborn to acknowledge. Wrap Your arms around them when they are vulnerable. Fill their days to intersect with people of Your choosing. Bring friends and companions into their lives who love them and (re)introduce them to You. Don't give up.

Please don't stop calling them.
Please don't grow tired of woo-ing them.
Please don't get weary of loving on them.

Please use all of creation, every little bit of it, to speak to their souls, And enable them to hear.

Dispatch those angels to protect and guard them.
Mostly? Your will be done. Your will be done. YOUR WILL BE DONE.

Amen.


Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Foot doesn't have to be amputated.
2. Can eat just fine without that molar.
3. God is always at work. Even when I forget to ask.


Shalom,
xo












Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Twitter

I have two twitter accounts.

One is my normal one...I've had it for years. I don't have many peers with twitter accounts, so I have very few followers whom I know. Most everyone who follows me is a stranger.  And usually? I just post links to my blog and my instagram accounts. Every once in awhile I'll use it to thank a business for great service, or to thank an author for a great book - but I don't tweet daily.

My second twitter account is 'special'. It's my playground. It's where I'm totally anonymous and it doesn't link to any of my online properties (blog, instagram, facebook, etc.) I have a made up name. A made up gmail account. There is absolutely nothing about me or traceable to me in that account.

So.

I'm experimenting with it.

I started the week with NO followers.

And I post 4 - 5 tweets per day. Promotional tweets. Encouraging readers to attend a particular movie, watch a certain TV show or buy a recommended DVD. All week I 'promoted' (raised awareness of) the same three products. I personally wasn't selling anything. This wasn't about sales.

Day 1, I simply posted pics of the product (movie poster, for example) and linked to a trailer. And maybe hashtagged a star's name.

Day 2, my tweets included some pics from behind the scenes, or screen caps from the trailer. And I hashtagged 2 - 3 actors in the movie/show/DVD who had big fan bases.

Day 3, I still added pics, but I also looked up the twitter addresses of any actors, and instead of hashtagging them, I "@" them ... meaning they were notified that I'd tweeted about them.

Day 4, I got very creative in my use of 140 characters. In addition to photos of cast and photo of the product, and hashtagged names of actors, I said 'thanks' to the producer with an "@", so they would see the tweet.

Day 5, I posted quotes from the script along with professional, appealing (sexy) headshots and included lesser known cast members in the tweet with a "@".


The shows I was promoting/experimenting with are all small time shows, produced overseas. Very few North Americans in the productions. I know nobody and nobody knows me.


Want to know how what happened?

Not much.

At the end of 5 days, I gained 11 followers.
Total strangers from the other side of the world.

I followed them back.


On the first day, my 4 - 5 tweets were seen by maybe 50 people. When a tweet is 'seen' it is called making an 'impression', So Day 1, I had/made 50 impressions.

Engagement is when the user clicks on your tweet to check out a link, watch an embedded video, view a photo, follow at hashtag, favorite-it, reply to it or retweets it. My first day? No engagement.
From what I can tell in my research, having a 4 - 5% engagement rate is average. Certain times of day, certain times of year, bring in higher engagement rates than others.

That changed by the end of the week. This is the chart from Twitter Analytics: (click to enlarge, if you've even still reading this)

















(Day 6 is Jan 20, Which started in Europe a few hours ago. This side of the Atlantic is mostly sleeping.)

But as of Monday, Jan 19? I had 4,100 impressions. (!) (I think that is deserving of an exclamation mark.)
And those tweets? Were averaging an engagement rate of 11%, with at least one tweet a day getting a 25% engagement rate. (!) Haha. What. The. Heck.


And?
The fan club folks want to chat with me about the upcoming movie/TV show. While the lesser know actors have replied to the tweets saying 'thanks'. And I've gotten to know (as much as you can know in 5 days and 140 characters), one of the star's best friends through private messages.


OH my goodness.
It's so addicting. And fun. And I JUST LOVE IT.

And so.
Twitter - my new hobby.
At least it was this week.

(And probably? In the grand scope of things? These numbers are pfffft. Nothing. But, boy howdy it was fun watching them rise each day.)

Next week?
Going to play around in Instagram.

I guess I still have a 'marketing' soul after all these years.

:)











Blue Monday?

Apparently in some parts of the world it was Blue Monday today.

It was Book Club tonight. How can anyone be blue on Book Club night?
Haha.

We talked about Still Life with Crumbs which I loved, because, hello? I could SO identify with Rebecca Winter. On like, 17 levels.

:)


If you're a divorced, not-remarried, photographer, mother of a grown son(s), who had to move out of your home for financial reasons (and has had issues with raccoons in the attic and holes in the roof) and has a parent with dementia living in a care home... then read this book.

Also.
There's a love interest. Fifteen years younger.


~~~~~~~~~~~~

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Friends who like to talk about books/story lines, life.

2. I slept a total of two hours last night. From 6 am - 8 am. (I was in bed by 2 and simply watched the clock advance four hours. With nothing to do, I spent a whole heck of a lotta time praying. If you crossed my mind, I prayed.) I am thankful that I stayed awake all day and am now going to re-set that silly internal clock and get a full 6 hours tonight. Unless of course, I don't. In which case, there will be much chatting with the Almighty again.

3. I am thankful that washing one's hair with Foaming Bath Gel does not cause baldness.


Shalom,
xo


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sore Foot? Have I Mentioned That?

Haha.
OH MY GOODNESS. I limp around like a person with a sore foot.
And it aches like crazy man.

At work I plan the excursions that will take me away from my desk.
...I need to go to the printer. And eventually I'll have to drop in at so-and-so's office. But my glass of water is still half full. So I'll wait til I need water as well, and then I'll do all three things at the same time.

Silly way to work.

ANYWAY, with The Foot being such a liability, walking is not an optional evening activity for the foreseeable future.

And it's winter anyway. Time to hibernate, apparently.

On Friday? I came home from work, made myself supper (a steak and bowl of Special K cereal), then went down to my bedroom, hopped on my bed (fully dressed, still wearing boots) and messaged a friend. It was 6:16 pm, "Hi, if you're bored and want to see a movie, let me know as I am bored and want to see a movie."

She responded 4 minutes later but I didn't get the message because I was fast asleep. By 6:20 pm.

I woke up at 10:30 pm. Fully rested.

So I had a shower, snooped around the internet, did some reading, and next thing I know? It's 6:00AM. I fell asleep. And slept and slept 8 solid hours, and woke up refreshed at 2:00 pm.

I know. I know.
There's nothing you can say that I haven't already told myself.
Steak and cereal is not a balanced meal.


It's now 4:25 am.
Tired?
Nope.
Not even a little bit.

So let's blog shall we?


Know what I've been washing my hair with for the past month or so?
This:




























It's exotic.




















And alluring.



Drew popped in tonight:


Taking a hard hat selfie.


























I haven't seen him since Christmas, so we had lots to talk about.

He stayed til after 1:00 am.


So that was lovely.
:)


Three things I'm thankful for:


1. The Joshua series at church is so good. Listen online. If you want.
2. Seeing a doctor this week about my foot. Hoping they don't have to amputate.
3. Supper tomorrow with the kids.


Peace, friends.
xo

Thursday, January 15, 2015

We are hiring!

Work with me.
In my department.
Along with a range of super awesome responsibilities, you'd be helping me with my filing :) (I so suck at filing.)

So fun.
Apply.
Seriously...

Job description:

Do Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest mean more than relationship statuses, #TBThursdays and chalk paint to you? Are you passionate about social marketing, well-crafted communication and appropriately placed punctuation? Then this position is right up your alley! If you’re an organized Jack (or Jane) of all trades when it comes to the world of creative services, here’s your opportunity to use your skills to help families.

Consistently named one of the 10 Best Christian Places to Work in Canada, Focus on the Family Canada is a forward-thinking and dynamic place to boost your writing and social marketing career. Our vibrant creative team is proud of the work we feel called to do, and we are looking for an energetic and detail-oriented editorial assistant who is passionate about social media and communications, and who loves to inspire people with words and images.

This is your opportunity to use your creative and editorial talents at an organization you can believe in.

Your responsibilities will include:
  • Managing Focus on the Family Canada’s social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This involves strategizing for high engagement, regular content creation and curation, brainstorming and running seasonal or promotional campaigns and more. Success in social media will require a broad knowledge of all ongoing ministry initiatives.
  • Working with the editorial team as needed with print or online communications, always ensuring quality and timeliness in all facets of the organization’s publications, including messaging, length, orthodoxy, style standards, hyperlinks, consistency, etc.
  • Handling administrative tasks, such as filing vendor quotes, matching invoices to orders and filing in appropriate dockets, and maintaining a sample library of print projects.
  • Additional communications-related administrative tasks as needed, such as screening incoming product reviews on Focus on the Family Canada’s online bookstore.

As the ideal candidate, you have a four-year university degree in English, Journalism, Communications or New Media. Experience as a print or online editor, and/or a background in social media, would be considered a strong asset. Strong computer skills in MS Office programs is crucial. A keen eye for what works visually for design campaigns is a perk. You demonstrate excellent written communication skills, a strong grasp of grammar and familiarity using writing style guides – familiarity with the CP Stylebook is a plus.

Success in this position is dependent upon a drive for excellence in detailed tasks, along with an exceptional ability to coordinate numerous tasks with a respect for timelines and deadlines. You must be a flexible team player with the ability to take direction, be a self-starter and work independently. Your strong organizational skills mean you are comfortable taking initiative and coordinating project details in a fast-moving and rapidly changing environment. Above all, you must be a consistent witness for Jesus Christ, and maintain a courteous, Christ-like attitude in dealing with people and adhere to the Christian Foundations and Standards.

It DOES work!

Remember, a few days ago, I blogged about THE LOVE GAME? And how, if you and (someone who is interested in exploring the possibility of falling in love) answer the 36 questions honestly, then stare into each other's eyes for 4 minutes, you will fall in love?


Haha. Well.
IT WORKS.
It totally works.

Mandi Len Catron tried it:

Last summer, I applied it in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man's eyes for exactly four minutes.

Let me explain. Earlier in the evening, that man had said: "I suspect, given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone. If so, how do you choose someone?"

He was a university acquaintance I occasionally ran into at the climbing gym and had thought, "what if?" I had gotten a glimpse into his days on Instagram. But this was the first time we had hung out one-on-one.

Read the whole article here. I LOVE it. And if you're not going to click the link, these are my fav parts:



  •  one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening.
  • I Googled Dr. Aron’s questions; there are 36. We spent the next two hours passing my iPhone across the table, alternately posing each question. (HAHA. Just like us standing in line ups at Disneyland. 'cept the phone is not on your forehead. Or beside your forehead. And you're not "playing" with your mom and brother.)
  • The questions reminded me of the infamous boiling frog experiment in which the frog doesn’t feel the water getting hotter until it’s too late. With us, because the level of vulnerability increased gradually, I didn’t notice we had entered intimate territory until we were already there, a process that can typically take weeks or months.
  • I liked learning about myself through my answers, but I liked learning things about him even more.
  • It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time.
  •  ...staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life.
  • ... love is an action. 



Then there was a follow up article (with the complete listing of 36 questions) here.
  • mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.
  • Re: 4 minutes of eye gazing: “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified,” she told me. “Four really goes somewhere.”



That's all. 
Just thought, with Valentine's Day looming on the horizon, a love story would not be amiss. 

:)


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Urban Dictionary

2. Instagram. (William and Kate have an account!)

3. Visit with my dad tonight:
He: I am happy.
Me: How come?
He: I have no pain. And I get to wake up in the morning.


4. Anne Lamott's Facebook posts. Today's:




Let's settle this God thing once and for all.
God, or no God?
Who on earth knows?
Any proof, either way?
None, except for Bach, foxes, forgiveness, elephants, bulbs and my dog Lily, may she rest in peace. Also, the fact that someone like me could have 28 years without alcohol or the non-habit-forming marijuana I smoked on a daily basis for 15 years. Also, ripe peaches, books, and Mr. Rogers.
There is Infinite good and beauty and heroism and artistic genius everywhere we look. Is this proof of God?
No, because there is also infinite evil and madness. I am not going to name names.
What do we even mean when we use the word "God?"
For the sake of argument, let's say we mean a Higher Power--a power greater than our thinky thoughts, good ideas, grudges, positions and opinions: a divine Mind, a benevolent intelligence of some sort, some kind of bankable Love energy. Something that hears us and cares, when we cry out in our pain and mortification. I also like the Deteriorata's definition of God as the Cosmic Muffin.
But what if the most illustrious atheists and agnostics hear that we actually believe this?
It's none of your business what they think. To plagiarize from my book, it is like worrying about some guy wandering around the Mojave in a wet suit, reciting the poetry of Edgar A. Guest. People get to think and believe what they think and believe. You will never change them, or they us. Surrender: lay your weapons down. Let me make you a nice cup of tea.
What if they say you are ignorant, and a danger, in public?
It would have nothing to do with you. Maybe they are having trouble at work, or a spastic colon.
So do you actually believe that the soul is eternal? That death is just the end of dying, not of life?
Yes. Also, that there is a dessert section in heaven, and that it in fact makes up most of heaven, except for the ponds, and gift shop.
But we still die, correct?
Of course, and the question we ask ourselves, is, How do we live in the face of that? How alive are we willing to be? Why do we keep hitting the snooze button? What will it take for us to stop squandering our time?
Well? What's the answer? What does it take to get serious about this life we've been given, even if we don't know if God gave it to us, or chance?
Usually either a terminal illness or a DUI.
Is it legal to believe in evolution and all aspects of modern physics, yet also believe in a personal god, a Beloved, a sacred dimension to our lives?
Yes, in some states.

Peace, friends.
xo

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

World's Most Boring Post

I have a sore foot.
I may have mentioned that.

I don't mean to go on and on about it, but keep in mind that I have it.

Because it's central to this most boring post.

So.

I live in the basement. And to get there, I got down an interior set of stairs. It's been my experience that I've never descended those stairs with empty hands. I'm always carryin' something. Laundry basket, purse, laptop, snack, camera, glass of water. In fact, I'm sure that 90% of the time both hands are full.

Such has been the case these past few weeks.
Both hands are taking something downstairs. Which, in the past,hasn't been an issue as I simply walk down the steps.

But now?
With that sore foot?
I need to use the railing.

So I've needed one hand to do the work of two. One carries EVERYTHING, while the other? Lessens the weight on my sore foot by using the railing as a cane or a walker or a support beam.

Today I analyzed why going to the basement has been an especially arduous chore.

Here I am at the top:





My left hand is holding my laptop, charger, note book, phone, mail, hand cream, and container of Advil (not all pictured), while my right hand is going to grip that hand rail. That hand rail on the right side of the stairs.



Five steps later, I arrive on the landing and turn to the left, prepared to go the rest of way, about 50 hundred steps. 








Oh but wait. What lunacy is this? THIS is why I struggle the rest of the way. Not because there are still some Christmas decorations at the bottom (let's all guess how long it'll be before I store those)... but because for this descent, the hand rail is on the left. Up until tonight, I just carried on down those steps, like I did before my foot hurt, forgetting that I needed the handrail. But not tonight. No. Tonight I stood on the landing and transferred everything over, dropping some bits and having to pick them up, and used the railing on the left. On the LEFT SIDE OF THE STAIRS.

Is that common? To switch railing sides half-way through a flight? Because I can tell you, its a hassle for the handicapped person who has planned her descent at the top.


Hey.
I warned you.

The World's Most Boring Post.

As a bonus for reading this far, here' s a fun pic that I took half-way down this second set of stairs. (Do you remember the Clampets of the Beverly Hillbillies? Do you remember their dining room table?

This might make you chuckle.

(The cleaning lady was here today, and she tidied up the furniture.)





Haha. 

Dining room chairs around the pool table. 
Classic.


And well, that's it. 

Thanks for popping in. 

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Last night. A friend and I felt like we hadn't had a good visit in a long time, So we met at a gas station half-way between our homes and visited at the table next to the chocolate bars and chips aisle. Haha. We were somewhat overdressed for our environment. 

2. Tonight I met a friend at a movie theatre half way between our homes and saw The Imitation Game. Have you seen it? I hightly recommend it. I love a good story.And this was brilliantly done. So good.

3. Today at work we had an all staff meeting and I ended up at the same table as the President.  He asked, in general, everyone at the table, if anyone had made any New Year's resolutions. A few people mentioned eating healthier, throwing out the microwave, doing some weight training, and then I offered that I hadn't made any resolutions, per se, but I HAD made a list of 101 things that I'd like to do in the next 1001 days. 

He was taken aback,

I explained I was an overachiever who made lists in her sleep. 

We chatted for a few more minutes and then he went to the front to lead us in devotions. Before he got started on the Holy stuff he mentions, "I was just talking to Jane. She made 101 New Years resolutions..."

Sigh. 

By the time I got back to my desk, I had been stopped a few times in the hall.
"Really? 101? How did you even come up with that many?"
"Seriously? 101? WOW."

And so on.

So I went to my list, and took off Get a Pap Smear and Mamogram" and well as "Buy non-lacy bra" and replaced those with silly items. Then sent out this email:

Hi, all -
 
Uh. It was mentioned this morning that I have 101 New Year’s Resolutions, which wow. Can you imagine resolving to change 101 things about yourself in a year? Talk about an overhaul. Who would you even be at the end of that? J
 
What I actually have, (seeing I’ve had people ask) is a List Of 101 Things To Do in 1,001 Days. (Jan 1, 2015 – Sept 28, 2017) I’m not really resolvinganything (I’m not, like, cutting back on sugar. Or exercising more. Or trying to be more Holy, for example.)  I’m just planning on DOING THINGS. Some noble. Some stretchy. Some spiritual. Some healthy. Some random. Some (OK, most) entertaining.
 
Terence had suggested that before 2016, maybe I should lead devo’s and share my thoughts on preparing for the upcoming year. I just checked … “Leading Devo’s” is not on my list of things to do in the next 30 months. J
 
Instead, I’ll share my list so you can be either inspired or horrified, depending on your attitude towards lists with check boxes.
 
Sigh. Now you all know way too much,
 
J
Jane


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am thankful for the offers of friendship that resulted in my sharing that list. Haha. And also the invitation to submit an article for publishing on PARENTING.

HAHAHAHA.
OH MAN.

That was rich. 
Like I had a clue. Or have a clue how to parent. 

Anyway. A fun day. And I'm thankful for it. 


Shalom, 
xo

Monday, January 12, 2015

Thoughts while watching TV tonight.

The Golden Globes:

Helen Mirren is inspiring.

I love Tina and Amy.

What Joanne Froggatt!? From Robin Hood to Downton Abby to a Golden Globe! She seemed genuinely surprised and very grateful. I cried during her speech.

This could be a weepy night.

J.Lo's dress and body? Are stunning. So is her face. And Jeremy Renner? My second favorite archer. :) He seems .... drunk, maybe?

Not a fan of neon yellow dresses. (Naomi Watts.)
Says she who shops at Costco for clothes twice a year.

What is Fargo? Is it something I should consider PVRing?

I saw Birdman. I was looking for a rom com that night, so I was a bit disappointed and probably didn't fully appreciate its apparent brilliance.


Oh Colin Firth. You'll always be Mr. Darcy to me.

Julia Dreyfuss. Wow, she looks good. Are we really the same age? I need to stop eating.

Gina Rodriguez sure was seated a long way away from the stage. Jane The Virgin. Her speech got me in the feels. Crying.

Am I PMSing?

I better get a box of Kleenex if this first half hour is any indication of how the rest of the night is going to go.

Transparent? I know NOTHING about TV shows. I'm never home to watch. BUT I HAVE A PVR. I'm going to start recording like a fiend.

I adore Melissa McCarthy.  She has the friendliest face and the best smile.
And I totally enjoyed St. Vincent.
Bill Murray has 6 sons? (I just googled him, to see how old he is.)


I guess I should go see Selma. Seems important.

Katie Holmes did a fab job in her little bit.

Matt Bohmer? The Normal Heart? Sigh. I just am so out of the loop.

Amy Adams is having a fabulous career. That color looks good on her. (Pffft. Like I know the difference between a good and bad color.)  She was right. She was unprepared. Heartfelt. But disjointed.

WHOA. That was quick. HBO just aired a commercial congratulating Matt Bohmer on his Golden Globe win.

Selma Hayek DOES look stunning. I like that white dress.

I haven't seen How to Train Your Dragon 1 or 2. I need a grandson I think.

Kate Hudson. Lady? THAT is quite the dress.

I TRIED seeing Boyhood a number of times this fall. Every time the 'date' fell through, though. Patricia Arquette could've used Danica's magic on her hair.

Kristen Wiig and the guy with the very white skin. They have totally opposing skin tones. Spray on tan FOR THE WIN. And her dress reminds me of a nightie I had in the 70's.

Jane Fonda is 77.
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
If I stop eating now and do 10,000 sit ups a day, I may have a fighting chance to look like her in 35 years.


"If there's one thing I've learnt about writing The Affair, is how sacred and valuable our marriages are..."


The air conditioning is on the fritz. Everyone is melting. Faces are shiny. Makeup is dripping. A  real Hollywood tragedy.


Oh George Clooney:
"If you're in this room, you've caught the brass ring."
"It's a humbling thing to find someone to love..."
"Je Suis Charlie"

What is with Harrison Ford's nose? Does it look weird to you too?


Haha. Ethan Hawke's shirt. He had too much dinner... his tummy was peeking through. Gloriously.

Chris Patt tho.
He and his wife are too cute.

Love hearing all the British accents this evening.

Michael Keaton: Whoa. What amazing things to say about your son. Heartwarming, Tears. Again.


And then I stopped blogging.

The end.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seeing I'm amazing at multi-tasking, I found some things on the internet you might find interesting:

This article by a young man writing to other young men:

5 ways you are unknowingly destroying your wife and killing your marriage


(Want to know what they are?
1. Not providing the basics for the family.
2. Pessimism.
3. Withholding physical affection.
4. Putting other things first.
5. Not speaking her language.)

Oh come on. Just click the link and read the article.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was talking with a friend recently (in response to that blog post I wrote awhile ago about beauty/feeling ugly) and she said she'd always wanted to be considered magnificent. She wished for Hollywood-type fame. She, an extrovert x 1,000 wanted to get an Oscar or some such award.

I on the other hand, wanted to be beautiful to just one person. (And not stand out in a crowd re: appearance either positive or negatively.) And my dream, since childhood was to be happily married.

We were noticing that neither of us got what we'd hoped for. Although I said to her, "you still have a shot at getting your award. At this point, it's a matter of hard work and prioritizing your time and energy. I on the other hand, am going to have to let go of the dream, because statistically the chances that I'll get married again are very low. Less than 10%. It just doesn't happen for women in my demographic. Besides, I can't make someone fall in love with me by working hard or prioritizing my time.


AND THEN I saw this link on Facebook! Apparently it IS easy to get someone to fall in love with you. Just find someone who wants to play this 90 minute game... then play it with integrity and honesty and BOOM. True love blossoms.

Want to fall in love? Play The Love Game™

Grab a partner and together answer each of these 36 questions and complete the final 4 minute exercise.

Hahaha. You can play 'the game' from your laptop or download it onto your phone as an app. I can imagine someone playing it, say, in Disneyland. In the lineup. Like this:






And then? By the time you get on your ride, you're in love. 

Hahaha.
What the heck.

Good questions tho. Would be a great date night conversation starter if having conversations on dates is not your strong suit.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moving on...

Have you been keeping up with Brenda's journal?

Her most recent post is so good:

I learned about the importance of invitation. That is, the necessity of inviting God in... into my circumstances, into my feelings, into my fears, into my joys, into everything. God doesn't force himself into my life: He always waits to be invited. 

In other words, miracles and healing don't happen apart from invitation and desire on my part. Story after story in the New Testament shows Jesus clarifying by asking something like, "What do you want me to do for you?" Invitation and desire. 

 I am inviting God into all the feelings around that scan and the upcoming results the following week


Go read the whole thing. Isn't it great? 
Inviting God in.

Inviting God into THE FEELINGS around certain events or situations. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


And lastly. 
Anne Lamott.

Her thoughts on aging necks: 


I am reluctant to say I heard directly from God the other day, because somehow Bill Maher or one of the other fundamentalists might get word of it, and condemn me as being as stupid and dangerous as Mother Theresa or the Parisian terrorists.
But I did hear from God. So sue me.
I rarely do--almost never in fact, directly, which is one of my real problems with the Divine It. Like it would be so much skin off Its nose, to slip us notes or whisper in our tiny shell-shaped ears: "Get rid of this guy." "Yes, take the damn job." "Keep the sweater."
But I did hear the other day, in the least likely of places--my church.
I had been nuts since the first of the year, in my Disease of Toxic Thinking; obsessed, shamed and controlling. I could have answered most of the 20 questions on the Addictive Thinking Questionaire; Do you ever lie about your thinking? Have you ever missed work as a result of your thinking? Do you ever think alone?
There were reasons--the anxieties of December, a month which, if I were God's West Coast Rep, I would cancel; the stress of the small victories book tour, 14 nights, 14 airports,42 fattening meals, all the losses in my family's life this fall; a new relationship that fell apart. You know the drill. It's called Real Life. It's hard here. It just is.
And my solution had been my conviction that I needed a neck lift.
A lot of us grew up in the sun, in an era when the only skin advice was that the best tanning aids were tin foil reflectors, and baby oil.
Also, then I got a little tiny bit old.
But part of my work involves being on stage, under bright lights, which are not ideal to showing off one's neck.
Listen, I have a good little neck, long and thin, which has successfully kept my head attached to my torso for 60 years now. It's a huge head, like a bowling ball, filled with sandstorms of activity, 96% of it meaningless, scary, or outright destructive.
I really do appreciate it. It's the little neck that could.
But I got fixated on it, like a helicopter mom, and had begun researching "mini neck lifts." One reads about them everywhere--less invasive, less recovery time, local anaesthesia. Magic! Yay.
Yet I am a feminist, a passionate supporter of women's rights, a follower of Jesus, especially His pleas that we take care of His poor.
So I thought I couldn't actually do it. But I was ashamed after the first of the year that I thought of it so constantly and of my conviction that I wanted to do it, and ashamed of my shame about it.
Obviously, I needed to fix this situation, which--left to my own devices--is my battle cry.
But I'm NOT left to my own devices. I believe in two things, God and my friends. They are both Love, and they stay close to me no matter how awful I am being.
Both have very low standards, which is all I have going for myself.
So I tried to heal myself of my obsessed and ashamed mind with my obsessive and ashamed mind. You know how well that works. Then I found myself in church. It was a nightmare, as my large heavy head had insisted on accompanying me.
But they say that when all else fails to follow instructions, so, it being church and all, I did what they say. It was silent confession. My usual confession is, "Look--I think we both know what we have on our hands here." But last Sunday, I said in silence that I was hating on myself for wanting a mini neck lift, and for being totally obsessed, in the face of my community's and world's profound suffering.
And in the silence, I heard a voice say, gently, "It's okay."
It was shocking. I opened my eyes to the sound, but all 25 congregants had their eyes closed. I gaped. It's okay? Wait--what?
And that was it--that it is okay to want a necklift, and it is okay to be screwed up and human and sad and cuckoo.
I started laughing to myself. This literally had not occured to me.
Grace as spiritual WD-40, as bouyancy, as vitamins, 2nd winds. I got into serious affection with myself. I said to myself, "It's okay. Get a neck lift, don't get a neck lift. I'm right here, either way."
I have been in a dangerously happy mood ever since. My friend Lori pointed out that you were chastised as a child for being too full of yourself. But I was full of myself, of amused love for my former trogydyte self. It was so Rumi, so Wavy Gravy. It was heaven.
The obsession and self-contempt were lifted. Well--ish. Mostly.
A few days later, I saw my county's best plastic surgeon.
He said "Oh, yeah--the famous mini-neck lift. Fabulous! But then you'll require the mini facelift, because the mini neck lift creates new creases in your face. So you will need general anaesthesia, and two weeks off. Also, these procedures will make the wrinkles and crowsfeet around your eyes look 50% deeper, so we'd need to fix that, too, while we're at it. And then your eyes would not be nearly as expressive. So maybe we'll do it somewhere down the road?"
I shook my head and laughed with something like joy. I said what my grandson says when he agrees to do what I say. I said, "Deal!" The surgeon replied, "Deal," and we shook hands on it. I hate to say anything that might trigger Bill Maher or Richard Dawkins, but I felt like God had reached down again and touched me. God sometimes looks like someone finally, finally telling the truth.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. The laziest weekend ever in the history of weekends. Not totally sure this was a good thing. Well. it was good for my heel (which by the way, HURTS LIKE THE DICKENS when I stand or walk. Or think about standing or walking.) Yes, I have an appointment to see my doctor. Earliest appointment isn't tile THE END OF JANUARY. Seems everyone has ailments that need attention these days.

2. Yesterday's sermon is continuing to seep into my consciousness. I have been uniquely equipped for the journey He has called me to participate in. 

3. Prayer. I am thankful that when I can't do anything else, I can pray. If a person or situation comes to mind, I'll just ask God to intervene. His will be done. Over in Vancouver. Out in New West. In Africa. In St. Anne's. On the Coquihalla. In Surrey hospital. In Hollywood. In Mexico. In AA meetings. In NA meetings. In churches. On movie sets. On TV locations. At Awards ceremonies. In neighbourhoods. At beaches. In the lives of people I love. In the lives of people I don't even know. 

I am thankful that He listens and responds. And that I get to experience peace in the process.


Shalom friends,
xo