March 18, 2020

Community.

--- I wrote this a couple weeks ago. Obviously. I'm looking forward to our next trip to the coffee shop, whenever that may be. ---

Community.

I’m reading Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey right now, and she talks about community as being an intimate thing. I don’t disagree, but I find her definition too limiting.

Every Saturday morning, our little family walks into Sidney and we go to our favourite coffee shop. We bring our own cups and almost always order the same things. The kids each get a cookie, I get a peanut butter crunch bar, and Karl gets a muffin. Decaf americano for me, and a dark roast for Karl. Then we sit outside on their patio and eat.

We skipped church on Sunday to go for our walk because we were out of our routine this weekend and did something different Saturday. The kids wanted to ride their bikes in the driveway instead, so I left them with Karl while I picked up our grocery order and stopped for coffee on the way home.

I gave them our order and handed over our cups. I made small talk with the barista who, a couple weeks ago, made my day by remembering my ordering as “Decaf….?” This is all I have ever wanted from life, someone to remember my coffee order and maybe even greet me by name when I go to order it. I have peaked.

As I was leaving, that same barista asked if I wanted to take any chocolate covered coffee beans home with me for the kids. He remembered. I’m not saying that made my day, but I will remember that moment every time I feel sad for the entire rest of my life.

So is community a small, intimate thing? Yes, but it’s also at that coffee shop we go to every week, where they’re learning our drinks, remembering our faces, and will someday be the godparents to our children.

February 08, 2020

Influencer Status

When Photowall reached out to me to collaborate with them, I thought they were spam. I've had this blog for a long time, and over the years I've had a few emails come in from people wanting to collaborate. They usually want me to write a post and link to them, and offer nothing in return other than a virtual high five. I did it once, because I liked the prompt they gave me, but when they asked me to make some changes to the post after the fact I stopped responding to them. So when a company reaches out to me, a blogger with an average of 26 weeks between posts in 2019 and a private Instagram account of less than 200 followers, I just assume they aren't legit.

I finally gave in to my curiosity and, after a quick search, found out that Photowall is not only a real company, they have over 48,000 Instagram followers. I figured what the heck, and responded, telling them about my limited sphere of social media influence and that I was interested if they still were, and, to their credit, they said they were.

Check out their website or Instagram and you'll see that their specialty is some really beautiful wallpapers. Initially I thought I would order some for our bedroom. Our bedroom is weird. There are two tall windows that flank the only reasonable spot to put the bed. It if was a single it would fit between them, but our queen does not. We sold our squeaky bed frame when we moved back to B.C. so we don't have a headboard anymore above our bed and it looks kind of bare. A wallpaper seemed like the perfect way to fill the space.

It was so close. I had the tape measure out at 11 p.m. two Fridays ago, ready to figure out how much we'd need to order for the wall. I think I've heard that painted accent walls have kind of gone by the wayside, but wallpapered ones? I had a beautiful grey roses picked out that Karl liked, too. Hello, gorgeous. Except - spoiler - we didn't get wallpaper.

When our house was built, they decided to go with rounded edges for all the windows and walls (not the ones at the corners of the rooms, but ones by the stairs and without doorways). It's great. It makes baseboards really fun to install and adds potential annoyance for wallpapering.

I thought about it, too, and did I really want this very cool influencer opportunity to add stress to my life? The wallpaper is supposed to be very easy to install, but do you know what's easier than installing wallpaper? Hanging a picture.

Photowall also offers a huge variety of art. It was almost overwhelming looking at all their options. Canvasses. Frame pictures. Posters. You can even customize them.

I thought for a hot minute about getting a customized wallpaper to put in our 14 foot entryway. It would be a family portrait, tastefully nude, of course. But then we've got the rounded corners and installation stress again. And nothing adds stress to a marriage like wallpaper on a high ceilinged staircase.

We almost bought a pirate map because it was fun and late at night and doesn't everyone like pirates? I had it in my cart, then thought better of it. It's one thing to order a super cool pirate map, but it's another to put it up somewhere in your house.

We ended up deciding on a black-framed floral print. Our walls are grey and our curtains are neutral and I do so love colour. It also felt more grown up. The intention was to put it about our bed, to make up for our lack of a headboard, but I could also think of at least two other places in the house it would look nice if we didn't love it there.

I ordered late Friday/possibly early Saturday morning (that's how excited I was about it) and could not believe it when it arrived later that week. It shipped from the UK to Vancouver Island in less than five business days. I can't get Christmas cards to ship to Ontario in that much time.

I posted this picture to my Instagram. That's why it's so edited looking. I shared some other thoughts about our bedroom over there, too.


It's the perfect size for our wall and looks really nice. I do kind of wish I'd ordered a white frame instead of the black, but the black still looks nice. I like that the frame is lightweight and was easy to hang. I find the plastic a bit shiny, though, so when I walk into our room at night time the movement reflected in it usually surprises me. It's only been up for a week, though.

I almost wish we'd ordered a canvas instead, but the frame looks much more finished than a canvas would have. I also wish I had looked more into their poster options, because I didn't realize until I did a deeper dive into their Instagram how lovely they look.

I guess what I'm saying is, they have a lot to offer. So much, in fact, that you could probably spend the rest of your life going through their website and trying to find the perfect thing. And, if you do, please don't blame me. Because I warned you.

I don't have a coupon code to offer you, but they're really easy to find if you want one. With the exchange rate, it isn't the most inexpensive option for art, but I think it's reasonably priced for what you get, especially since there's such a big selection. And if you can find a coupon code, so much the better.



Thank you for joining me on this journey of becoming an influencer. Like Eminem says, you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.

August 15, 2019

Losing


Loss is a strange thing. You can mourn the life that someone has lost, is losing, will lose.


With cancer there is hope. With most things there is hope.


With ALS there is no cure. No real treatment. Just a diagnosis and whatever time you have left as your body slowly, but never slowly enough, shuts down. And then it's in this state of almost shut down, but still there.


Some cancer doesn't give a lot of hope. But it's still there, even just a little. Until it's not.


With everything we can pray for a miracle, but do we always believe it's going to come?


With faith, you look at death as an opportunity. It's not an end. There is that hope of eternal life, in a new, better, healed body. A perfect ending to an imperfect illness.


But without faith...


It's hard to know how to feel. It's heartbreaking.


Emotions are complex. You never know how exhausting they are until that grief and loss is weighing down everything. It colours ever day.


Right now, we're in a season of preparing. Getting ready. I don't know if the waiting for the end will be worse than the end.


For ALS we've mourned. I think. I haven't been this close to loss before. I don't know what I'll feel. We've done our mourning. We've talked through it all. We've made our peace. But I'm not sure what it will actually look like on the other side for those of us left behind. But when ALS finally wins, I know what's on the other side for her and it will be worth the battle.


With cancer it's different. It's at arm's length. I am not at peace with this. And it's coming imminently.


Illness is not fair. Death is not discerning. It comes to us all, but that doesn't mean it isn't heavy. Watching loved ones suffer is excruciating. And what about everyone they leave behind? It's not going to go away for them.


Oh me of little faith, I find it hard to pray for healing when there is no known cure. But I pray for salvation. For everyone. And, if anything, that is what breaks my heart the hardest.