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Monday Morning Pep Talk

December 3, 2012

Source: minnamayblog.com via Jen on Pinterest

The Return of Thankful Thursday

November 23, 2012

What better day to bring back Thankful Thursday than on Thanksgiving?! (Even if it isn’t Canadian Thanksgiving. On a day when millions of people just across the border are giving thanks it totally still counts right?) So, friends, without further ado:

When I was a kid, my favourite gift to ask for at birthdays and Christmas was a “runaway bag.” Yup, I hoped that my parents would buy me a bag that I could pack up with favourite toys, cookies, maybe a blanket (you know, the essentials) and run away. I never got farther than the backyard, but I had big plans. (Don’t get me wrong – I loved my family and my home, but I wanted adventures. Especially if they involved climbing things.)

But today? Today I’m so thankful for home. Even if it isn’t building-a-pillow-fort-in-my-parents’-living-room home, or climbing-the-tree-in-my-grandparents-backyard home, or even summer-reunions-with-my-bestests home, I’m thankful for my own bed in my own apartment and the friends and loved ones I surround myself with here and now. For the past two months I’ve been busy working and travelling and letting the days blur together into one big adventure; it’s a new kind of wonderful to stay still.

I don’t say it nearly enough, and I’m really pretty terrible at showing it, so: thank you, thank you, thank you to the friends and family in my life, whether I text you 5 times a day or haven’t seen you in months (eep, I’m sorry x12). You mean the world to me – all of you – and I’m so thankful you’ve stuck around.

Thankful Thursday: Win & Régine

February 10, 2012

This story starts in an embarrassing place: until a few days ago my mother knew more about the members of Arcade Fire than I did.

(…..I know. No really, I KNOW. In all fairness, you should know that my mother’s knowledge of Arcade Fire is limited to one pretty spectacular-sounding radio interview she heard on the CBC.)

After my mother finally convinced me that Régine really is from Haiti, they really did take part in relief efforts after the earthquake, and I obviously needed to read everything about Arcade Fire I possibly could,  my roommate directed me toward this:

Win Butler and Régine Chassagne’s first date was also their first jam session… That night, in Butler’s apartment, the pair wrote “Headlights Look Like Diamonds,” which would eventually appear on Arcade Fire’s debut EP. “The countryside’s deserted / there’s no one on the farms,” Butler croons; perhaps not a terribly romantic tune, but when was the last time you composed a song on a first date?

-Drew Nelles, The Walrus

Maybe this is because it’s almost midnight, I’m exhausted, and I have a piano waiting in my parent’s living room for me to find a place of my own, but doesn’t that story kind of, a little bit, maybe make you believe in magic?

 

The full piece from The Walrus is here.

 

Monday Morning Pep Talk

February 6, 2012

you are an explorer

From here.

You Can Fix This Picture: The Girl Effect

October 11, 2011

 

One of the happiest girls I’ve ever met doesn’t own a pair of shoes. She is less than ten years old, but she has more responsibility on her small shoulders than I had at 15, or 20, or even today. Her name is Mercy, and I met her in a rural community in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya, where I was building a school. This little girl had no shoes, and carried her younger sibling on her back, but she had a family and friends, clean water to drink, and she was going to school. She pulled me away from the work site and across the grassy field to her classroom. She sat down with me at her desk, and with the proudest smile I’ve ever seen, she read to me.

I grew up in a part of the world where girls are empowered and educated, but it wasn’t until I met Mercy that I realized how lucky I was. I realized something else that day, too. Something more important, something bigger than me and my small life. Sitting in that classroom listening to Mercy read, I knew just from the determined look on her face that I was looking at a little girl who would grow up to be a leader in her community. I couldn’t have felt more sure that these girls—if given the opportunity—will lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.

This post is part of the 2011 Girl Effect Blogging Campaign. Visit the Girl Effect site to find out about the movement and to find out what you can do to help girls!

Ojos que Sienten (Eyes that Feel): Photography by the blind

October 1, 2011

Photo released by blind photographer Alberto Loranca (AP/Alberto Loranca - Ojos que Sienten)

This photograph was taken by a visually impaired photographer named Alberto Loranca who is learning photography through Ojos que Sienten (Eyes That Feel), a foundation in Mexico City that works to promote the integration of the visually impaired into society and the workplace. How cool is that?! (Hint: it’s really, really cool.) The lighting, the photo composition… I’m so in awe.

Photo from here

Thankful Thursday

September 29, 2011

This week I’m thankful for…

1. Public speaking! (I know what you’re thinking: “Public speaking? Jen?…I must be reading the wrong blog.”) On Saturday I gave my maid of honour speech at my sister’s wedding, and even though I was so nervous that I saved my dinner for afterwards, it was actually…fun. I KNOW. I’m shocked too.

But here’s the thing: I shouldn’t be shocked. Because two years ago, I gave a speech about my experiences volunteering overseas that I’m still proud of today. So somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew. I knew that if you have that one thing, that one secret ingredient, public speaking can actually be a really rewarding experience.

Two years ago, I wasn’t sure what that thing—that secret ingredient—was. The fact that I was sitting next to DVDs of The West Wing—hands down the best speeches on television—while I was writing? Maybe. That inimitable, calming setting? That probably helped. (If you haven’t been to the desert in August—where you can sit outside a house that positively breathes with love and history—and watch the storm clouds rolling in, go. Go now.) The incredible facilitators who challenged and guided me? I’m sure all of those things played a part. But the thing that really made that speech something I can be proud of was my passion.

I had it that day in the desert, talking about my friends in Ecuador and Kenya and the things they taught me, and I think I must have had it on Saturday when I was telling everyone about growing up with my big sister. I’m so thankful for this reminder that when I’m scared, I just need to focus on my passion and my message, and they’ll shine through my fear.

2. Naps! Seriously, napping should not just be for the kindergarten-and-under set. My nap on Sunday afternoon when I got home from the wedding was quite possibly the best nap ever. (It must have been—I’m even blogging about it.) It would have won gold in the napping Olympics, it was that good. Whether in a bed, a hammock, or maybe even a blanket fort in the living room, I’m so very thankful for naps this week. (If you prefer that last option, I’m inviting myself to your place at naptime.)

3. Family! Family, family, family. Did you know that I’m a brother-in-law richer this week? It’s pretty great.

 

 

Photo of microphone from here. Photo of cat napping from here.

 

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