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A Stanley Cup (loss) Theory

23 Jun

I listen to the Team 1040 on the radio, a lot. Yes, I’m a chick and I listen to sports radio. In fact, it consumed my airwaves over the past few months during the Vancouver Canucks storied, and ultimately, heartbreaking Stanley Cup run. I couldn’t turn it off for fear that I would miss an important injury update, intriguing statistic or controversial comment. And as a huge music fan, I started to feel guilty… almost like I was cheating on music. But I continue to be drawn to listening as the various on-air personalities break down what went wrong with the Canucks, analyze areas of improvement for next year and offer their insight for the upcoming draft and looming free agency deadline.

Last night the annual NHL Awards were held, so again, I was glued to the radio as I listened to see which Canucks would take home hardware this year. Amongst many, the Canucks’ GM Mike Gillis was named GM of the Year. He was asked if winning this award took the edge off the disappointment of losing the Stanley Cup in game 7 to the Boston Bruins. His answer? A simple and concise, “No”. (My sentiments exactly.) Gillis then went on to discuss the extensive collection of work that has been published on the theme, ‘before success, comes failure’. In Gillis’ case, the theory suggests that before his team is able to experience the ecstasy of success, they need to endure the agony of defeat in order to brutally learn what it takes to overcome every single hurdle imaginable to reach the ultimate prize. This theory got me thinking about the correlation between heartache and love.

If one must go through the devastation of failure before revelling in a great achievement, is it so far fetched to think that before being able to love another and learn how to put one’s need before their own, one must first wallow in the waters of of heartache? Of course this is not an absolute as it’s definitely not the case for everyone, but when I say “one”, I really mean myself. Truthfully, before having my heart broken, I didn’t know how to love another and put their needs before my own. I wanted to, but I constantly tripped on my own shortcomings and inexperience and instead of getting up and seeking help, I got up, only to trip and fall flat on my face again. Sometimes, I think I’m someone who has to learn things the hard way. Well here I am, two years later, with the gift of another chance in a relationship to love someone and put their needs before my own. And wow, thankfully, I have learned a lot. Maybe it’s too early to tell (but then again, maybe it’s not), but it’s looking like Mr. Gillis’ reference to the theory of ‘enduring failure, before achieving success’ in regards to the Canucks can accurately be translated to the theory of ‘enduring heartache, before experiencing love’… for me at least. And hopefully, the former theory holds true for next year’s Vancouver Canucks.

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Let’s Try This Again…

3 Feb

Okay. Last time I proposed some name options on here for my new writing venture, I was completely shot down… and rightfully so, all those options lacked any ounce of creativity and well, kind of sucked.

So I’ve done some brainstorming and asking around for other’s input and thoughts and now have a new round of business names that I’m putting forward to my blog readers for their opinions. Please kind in mind that some of these names are variations of names that I’ve had to adapt due to domain name availability. Also, whichever name I go with will be supported by a descriptive and appealing tagline to provide more context to the business name. Alright, here it goes…

This first group of options use the word ‘Reed’ in the title which is another word for ‘Pen’ which can also mean ‘to write’…

Reed-On Creative

Reed-On Communications

Reed Comp Communications

Reed Comp Creative

Reed Originals

These next few options use ‘Blue Pencil’ in the name, which is another phrase for editing.

Blue Pencil Communications

Blue Pencil Concepts

Blue Pencil Creative

These next two options use ‘Quill Driver’ in the name, which is another phrase for writing.

Quill Driver Creative
Quill Driver Communications

A few other options.

Drop A Kite Communications (‘Drop A Kite’ is synonymous with ‘correspond’ or ‘to communicate in writing’)

Feather Agent (‘Feather’ is another word for ‘pen’ and I just like feathers)

Born Concepts (because ‘Born’ is my last name)

 

So please let the opinions flow and if any of these names inspire another option, by all means, please share it. Thanks for reading and offering your insights – I really do appreciate it!

-Jamie

The Year That Was Part 2

10 Jan

Continued from my last post…

Feeling very ready for a change of scenery, an adventure, less distractions, inspiration and some time alone with God, I left for a two month road trip across the US of A on Monday, June 7, 201o. Why a road trip across the States? Good question. I don’t have a perfectly articulate answer as to why other than this idea was placed on my heart and the more I thought and prayed about it, the more it just kind of fit. And for other reasons that I can’t explain, I was fascinated with the idea of the Southern US and wanted to experience for myself what it was like. (Which, by the way, was all I’d hoped it would be and more. The South is lovely and somewhere I want to go back and spend more time). I won’t get into all the details of the trip (if you want to read about it, check out my archive for the months of June-August), but I will say that it turned out the be one of the best things that I’ve ever done. And to think, I almost bailed just three shorts days in. Even now, when I think back on what I did, I’m still amazed that it happened. There were times when I was spooked, lonely, lost, overwhelmed and unsure, but God had me covered in grace and protection the entire time and is the only reason that I was able to do this. The trip was good for me in so many ways – I gained a better understanding of who I am in Christ by being stretched beyond comfort zones and forced to rely solely on Him, I learned more about who Christ is, I met wonderful people, I saw amazing things and I felt a refreshed sense of creativity and inspiration. And I experienced an adventure that was fun, challenging, random, scary, insightful, lonely, enriching and soulful all at once. Something my soul had been craving for a long time!

While away, my grandpa (my mom’s dad) unexpectedly passed away. I was in Charlotte, North Carolina at the time I heard the news, staying with a couple that I just met. The day before I arrived in Charlotte, I emailed them asking if it would be okay if I stayed with them for a night – I had never met them and they had no idea who I was (other than a distant connection) – but they said yes. We became fast friends and I ended up staying for five nights. And what a blessing that turned out to be. When my grandpa died, rather than being alone seeing the sights in Asheville, NC (per my original plan), I was surrounded by compassionate, supportive and wonderful people. In the midst of sadness, it was amazing to see how God knew exactly what was going to happen and ordained a situation to meet exactly what I was going to need in that moment, under those circumstance. This couple and their friends will always have a special place in my heart and I am so grateful to them for giving me a place stay, food to eat, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and some really great laughs during a tough time. It was during this time that I really began to understand what true hospitality and community is and has become something that I strive to foster in my life…. authentic, transparent, welcoming, accepting community.

Upon arriving home from my trip, I had five quick days at home to unpack, catch up with as many people as possible and then repack for my move to the Sunshine Coast for three months to work as a temporary office manager for my aunt and uncle’s company. I decided during the trip to make the move and at the time I was really looking forward to it because I thought it would be a great chance to debrief everything that happened during my time away and build momentum off of the renewed sense of creativity and inspiration I gained. But instead, it turned out to be a really challenging time… a bit of an isolated island experience. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time living with my aunt and uncle and two younger cousins and was really grateful for their warm hospitality and opportunity to get to know them all better, but it was a tough time for me. I was coming off such a spiritual and emotional high and naively assumed that it would continue once I was back on more familiar territory. I thought I’d write some books, work towards big dreams and figure out exactly what my next steps would be. It didn’t quite go that way.

In hindsight, those three months were good for me. One of my greatest weaknesses, patience, was tested and grew – albeit it, incrementally. I learned what it’s like to go away for awhile and return only to find out that there is a transition process looming and needs to be gone through in order for the feelings of not belonging to subside. In doing so, I gained a better understanding, if only a glimpse, of what several friends have endured in moving away for work and then having to readjust when they’ve moved back a few years later. Perspective… it’s a funny thing. But not ‘ha ha’ funny.

My stint on the Sunshine Coast was nearing its end and the awareness that I had squandered away nearly three months without a clue of what I was going to do next struck me in a big way. Guilt from time wasted set in, anxiety for the future took over and  feelings of inadequacy showed their ugly face. Oh me of little faith. But God had something up His sleeve. A few weeks prior to moving back home from the coast, I got a message from a former colleague asking me if I wanted to take on a big writing and editing project. Honestly, the timing could not have been more perfect and the project, more exciting. It was the first time since arriving home from my trip that I was genuinely excited about something. You see, I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a writer for at least a year, but lacked the courage and confidence to step out and do it. This project was the step I needed, and God put it right in front of my feet, all I had to do was inch forward onto the path laid out before me.

This marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life and brings me to where I am right now. I’m officially calling myself a freelance writer and editor and, although cautiously and gradually, have been trying to build my client base over the past few months. It’s exciting and freaking scary at the same time. I make my own hours, work from wherever I want and am accountable to myself. That might sound wonderful and yes, at times it really is, but going from having my time dictated by someone else to being completely governed by myself is quite the adjustment and requires a level of discipline that I haven’t quite figured out yet. It’s a work in progress. But to be doing something that I truly enjoy is refreshing and fulfilling and I’m so thankful for how God has provided in this way.

Christmas was good, although being the first Christmas without grampa, a noticeable void was felt that was filled with sad moments, joyful memories and a few tears. One thing that I’ve become increasingly aware of over this past year is that I’m truly blessed with a wonderful family. I’ve always known this, but the reality of it just kind of hit me this year. Sadly, not everyone is blessed with a great family and it’s something that I’ve taken for granted, but I’m unbelievably thankful for them… even when we make each other mad.

All in all, 2010 was a year of heartache and joy, love and loss, transformation and change. In the past, I have not responded well to change, but God has lovingly forced it on me and I’m learning to just let it happen… it’s simply easier that way (and I use the word ‘easy’ loosely). I think I’ve learned a lot this year. But it’s funny, in learning, I realize that there is not an arrival point for this. In other words, I will never learn everything. If learning was a cup, it would never be possible to fill it. I know that may sound pessimistic, but it comes from a realistic place – a place that is allowed to not know everything, to not have all the answers, that doesn’t have all the proverbial ducks in a row or even knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. Maybe this place sounds stressful to you, but this is a place that has eluded me for quite some time and I’m finally able to find a varying degree of rest and peace here and face (and hopefully enjoy) the moment that’s right in front of me because that is what I’m given.

If you made it all the way through this, I’m impressed and thank you for reading. I’m excited for a new year. I know that a new year is just another flip of a calendar page, but there is something about it – it’s almost like the flip from December to January represents the opportunity to start from a clean slate. It’s interesting, I have no idea what this year holds, sure I have my hopes and have jotted down a list of goals/resolutions, but I go into this year with an open heart and mind to wherever God leads. And just pray that when He does, I’m listening and follow suit.

life giving water

20 Sep

It’s not a secret that poverty is a massive international crisis. In North America, we are constantly exposed to the stats, stories and images of the more than 3 billion people in the world living on less than $2.50 a day. Personally, I find the issue so daunting that it’s difficult to even know where to begin. But I’ve found a non-profit organization that I truly believe has found the right approach. Through their strategy, Poverty Revolution, FH Canada’s aim is to eradicate poverty by empowering developing communities in impoverished regions around the world to become self-sustaining. Rather than simply putting a band-aid over the issue with short-lived handouts, FH Canada and their international counterparts partner with communities and work with them to implement a 5 to 9 year plan focused on reaching the ultimate goal of becoming self-sufficient – able to take care of themselves and each other. Yes, resources are provided, but it’s more than that. Instead of imposing our North American practices, FH Canada identifies what a community already has and offers training to the people on how to maximize their current resources while offering emotional, physical, spiritual and educational support along the way.

FH Canada is currently working in 11 communities in 10 different countries, one of those being, Sasiga, Ethiopia. The reason I mention this community specifically is because a few months ago the local Christian radio station, Praise 106.5, chose to partner with this developing community to provide support, encouragement and assistance to them as they strive to become a community that is self-sustaining. Currently, one of the greatest needs in this community is a clean, sustainable water resource. So FH Canada and Praise have joined forces to try and raise $20,000 to build and install 20 wells in Sasiga, providing life saving water for 10,000 people.

Thursday, September 23rd at midnight is their goal. And on Saturday, September 25th, Praise and FH Canada are hosting a Poverty Revolution Block Party to present the cheque for the wells to the leader of the community of Sasiga, Ethiopia who is currently visiting the FH Canada headquarters in Abbotsford, BC, and celebrate this huge step towards helping this community reach its goal. They have currently raised $16,000 – enough for 16 wells – and have $4,000 to go to reach their target of 20 wells. I write this with the hope that maybe we (me and those of you who read my blog) could please help Praise and FH Canada reach this goal. It doesn’t need to be a lot, anything helps. And then come celebrate with Praise, FH Canada, the leader of Sasiga, Ethiopia and others at the party on Saturday, September 25th at the new Bakerview Eco Dairy on Sumas Way in Abbotsford from 12 to 4pm.

For more information on the Praise/FH Canada Sasiga, Ethiopia water project and to donate, CLICK HERE.

a successfully installed well in a community in Ethiopia (image belongs to FH Canada)

Day 22 – let it rain

13 Sep

As summer tucks itself away in routine fashion until next year, fall begins its gradual appearance in the cool, gray mornings and the changing colours of leaves. And just as we’ve gotten used to the long, dry days of summer, shorter, less dry days are right around the corner. While rain in this part of the country is something that anyone who has lived for a year or more has grown accustomed to, it can become redundant to say the least in its dreary gloominess. But my devotional today offered a different perspective on the rain – a brighter perspective. Maybe on some of those dreary days to come you can draw some encouragement from this…

“Grace is a good comparison to the rain for its purity, for its refreshing and revitalizing work, for the fact it is sent from above, and for the truth that it is a work of God’s sovereignty in either being given or withheld. May you, dear reader, have showers of blessing, and may the wells you have dug be filled with water! Consider what your efforts would be without the smile of heaven! They would be like clouds without rain and pools without water.

O God of love, open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!” – Charles Spurgeon (Come Unto Me, Sept 13)

Day 20 – keep on keepin’ on

11 Sep

I don’t know about you, but today felt like the first official day of Fall. There was this coolness in the air that rather than disappearing into the clouds come mid-morning, lingered on throughout the day notifying everyone that those long summer days may just be gone for the season. And then it rained. Once the rain came all I wanted to do was cuddle up in my bed, the couch or any other cozy place I could find to read, write and watch tv (not all at once of course). And that’s exactly what I did bringing me to where I am at this moment – very sleepy. (I really need to start writing these blogs earlier in the day).

So tonight I’m simply going to post two pictures taken on a bridge over a river somewhere between Lynchburg, Virginia and Natural Bridge, Virginia. I like what they have to say.

sometimes, that's all we can do

truth

And a quote, because as we’ve established, I like quotes.

“Dear Child of God, in our world it is often hard to remember that God loves you just as you are. God loves you not because you are good. No, God loves you period. God loves us not because we are lovable. No, we are lovable precisely because God loves us. It is marvelous when you come to understand that you are accepted for who you are, apart from any achievement. It is so liberating.” – Desmond Tutu, 2004 (God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time)

PS: If you haven’t done so already, I’d really appreciate if you read my post from yesterday. It’s about a really wonderful non-profit organization that is quite dear to me.

Day 19 – to give

10 Sep

Today, Canada was named, in a tie with Ireland, as the third most charitable country in the world according to the 2010 World Giving Index. With a 56% giving index, Canada came up only 1% shy of the current world giving co-leaders – New Zealand and Australia. Also of personal interest, apparently the city of Abbotsford, BC (close to my hometown) is amongst the leaders of the pack when it comes to giving across Canadian cities. This index, the first of its kind, ranks nations by their global generosity, taking into account the percentage of a nation’s population that has given time or money to charity, or helped a stranger within the past month (Buckland, September 10, 2010 – MSN News). When I read this on the MSN homepage this afternoon, several thoughts came to mind including the following:

1. It is so refreshing to read such positive news, especially in light of all the recent talk about Quran Burning.

2. What would it take to get Canada into sole possession of first place in this category? (There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition in such a noble pursuit, right?)

3. Am I doing my part?

In contemplating thoughts number two and three further, I got to thinking about my favourite charity – Poverty Revolution. Poverty Revolution is long-term strategy backed by the good folks at FH Canada that has one goal in mind – to eradicate global poverty. As a quick aside, prior to leaving on my road trip, I was working for a marketing company in Abbotsford where FH Canada was my main client so I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know them and their organization’s work very well.

With their headquarters right in Abbotsford, not only is FH Canada’s approach to overcoming poverty both innovative and effective, the people behind the cause are some of the most compassionate, driven, humble, people- and Christ-loving individuals I know. Rather than just giving handouts to impoverished people and communities, FH Canada’s focus is on building sustainable, thriving communities through empowering these people with the training, resources and support they require to reach this goal while coming alongside and offering them positive and encouraging relationships. Why do I share this? Well, simply stated, I just really believe in the work they do and feel strongly that more people should know about them and their mission. And maybe, just maybe, if enough people volunteer their time or give of their resources to this wonderful organization, others will catch on giving Canada that 2% boost (hopefully more) it needs to become the world giving leader. Plus, we’ll help sustain Abbotsford’s strength in this area. For more information on FH Canada and Poverty Revolution, click HERE or on the ‘Poverty Revolution’ button at the bottom of the right column on my blog’s homepage.

As for thought number three, that is something I think about almost every day and I don’t know if the answer could ever be ‘yes’. I think I could probably always give more.

Mbale, Uganda (picture belongs to FH Canada)