Okay, This is Pretty Cool

It’s been over three years ago since I began penning what would become my first complete novel, “The Gift”. Unlike anything I had ever written before, it became what I consider to be my most impacting story and some of the most fun I’ve ever had staring for hours and hours and hours in front of a computer screen. Everything I do with this project is new and a bit scary. The end of the first draft: is this truly the end of the story I want to tell? The daunting task of re-drafting multiple times, releasing it to my beta-readers: will they think it’s as good as I do?,  and now I have secured myself a spot in an editor’s queue. How much will he think needs to change? My baby is going under the keen eye of professionalism, how will it stack up?

While these questions certainly are in the back of my mind, I couldn’t be more excited to announce this amazing news to everyone who has been tracking with me throughout this journey. While this doesn’t give me a certain time for release (still stuck on the dilemma of self-publishing vs. seeking out an agent- it’s a question of cost vs. patience), it does bring me one step closer to realizing something pretty awesome. July 1 is my start date with my editor, a man who has edited for one of my literary heroes New York Time’s Best Selling Ted Dekker, and another favourite, Tosca Lee, so I couldn’t be more excited at this stage of the process and I remain confident that this investment will pay off!

The book is slowly coming, don’t lose faith.

 

 

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Helping the Church Overcome Sexism (with grains of salt)

Guys, young men of the Church, I want to talk with you for a few minutes. There’s an issue I feel like the Church has abandoned you on, has left you to your own devices with, and I want to start rectifying that right now. As a woman who’s grown up in the Church I have to attest that this very issue has been so thoroughly taught and expounded on for us, but never you. This is unfair to you growing up in our current world and unfair to the young ladies around you who have to deal with the struggle brought about by the lack of knowledge imparted to you. So young men, I want to encourage you and help build you up, empower you in your walk with Christ. I want to talk about clothes and fashion.

I know your wardrobe wavers between, “whatever Wal-mart has on sale” to, “I’m a fashionisto” but it doesn’t matter where you buy your clothes, it’s how you wear them. Just because you’ve got it doesn’t mean you should flaunt it. By making girls stumble by what you wear doesn’t help bring them closer to God, which is the man’s leadership role in a relationship, it sets up an environment ripe for sin and reflects poorly on your own level of self-respect. Modest is hottest and always remember to dress appropriately, bringing glory to God through your actions and not distracting from that by your choice of clothing.

Here are some do’s and don’t when dressing modestly to help you navigate today’s degrading fashion standards and expectations for the modern man.

Skinny Jeans: Controversial to many, skinny jeans have shown their staying power and don’t look to be disappearing anytime soon. Here’s what you need to know.

Don’t

skinny no

Too tight around the hips showing a bit more than what either wearer would like to be seen or general public would like to see.

Do

skinny yes

Long shirt covering all the immodest bits. Hat is optional.

V-Neck T-Shirts: Who doesn’t like a good v-neck? They’re relaxed and sharp all at the same time but all v-necks are not created equal so beware.

Don’t

v no

The plunging neck line reveals too much of the chest. “Hey, eyes up here!” During the summer be mindful of where you hang your sunglasses. Hanging them off your shirt drags your neckline ever lower and can turn even a modest v-neck into a not-so modest one.

Do

v yes

Notice how the neck-line drops nicely but not too low so as to be distracting or off-putting. The shirt fits comfortably, not too tight, not too loose.

Proper Fit: When buying clothes and trying to decide if the size it too tight or just right, remember the mantra: Too-tight means loose morals. It’s always safer to buy a size bigger. You want to attract godly women, and godly women aren’t attracted to men who wear suggestive clothing.

Don’t

fit no

Even though he’s wearing an appropriate v-neck, see how the shirt leaves nothing to the imagination? See how those jeans fit him maybe just a little bit too right? Dressing like this is going to attract the wrong kind of girls.

Do

fit yes

Layers are your best friend. They allow you to play with different lengths, different colours, (not shown in example), different styles, and best of all they keep you looking great and modest. Every girl loves a well dressed man in a suit!

Bathing Suits: We’re fortunate in North America not to have to deal with the same kind of popular beachwear that much of the rest of the world has to struggle with. When dealing with how to best dress for the water, don’t forget that you want too meet your future wife hiding in God, you don’t want to be digging her eyes out of your abs and pecs.

Don’t

swimwear no

Just say “no” to anything tight and form fitting. What are your motives in wearing this? Look in your heart and search God’s will out when selecting your swimwear. Imagine yourself going to the beach with your mother; would you feel comfortable wearing this in front of her? Would Jesus wear that?

Do

swimwear yes

Board shorts are great, easy to find, and they meet all the criteria for modest swimwear. Adding a loose fitting t-shirt or tank top not only reveals your pure intentions and pure heart but also adds a level of protection against the damaging sun.

Sunglasses: I can hear you protesting this one, or even laughing, but hear me out. It is no secret that accessories can draw attention to certain parts of the body or accentuate the whole packaged deal so they shouldn’t be overlooked or dismissed. Because sunglasses take up so much space on your face, the first thing people see when they meet you, sunglasses can make or break all your efforts.

Don’t

sunglasses no

Just stop. This is…I can’t even…I just can’t…I…I…are your motives pure when wearing those aviators? I’m moving on.

Do

Say what you want about the Biebs, but he wins this one. For those who still can’t get over ‘Lil Bieber, I’ve included a less controversial photo. Find sunglasses that fit your face (there are hundreds of good guides on-line, or taking an honest friend shopping with you always works), but make sure they don’t unwrap too much of the gift for the wrong girl.

There certainly are more suggestions and modest fashion tips out there and I hope that in the future the Church starts to pick up on more of these, educating the young men and instilling in them value where the world has robbed them of so much. Feel free to comment below with your “Modest is Hottest: Men” tips!

 

 

Dear Diary,

3/15/15
Dear Diary,
It snowed last night. Actually, it still snows this morning. It’s pretty, snow always is, everything is covered in white again just like a Thomas Kinkade painting. Some might say the earth is in mourning, covering the woes with a clean slate; mourning over what would be up to interpretation. Maybe it’s winter sighing its last breath, or the death of freedoms, or a moment of silence in honour of the Ides, I suppose it depends on the person. Others might embrace it more jovially, the skiiers holding on for one last hurrah, the dogs who love frolicking through it, kids who suddenly become religious and start praying that the sparse flakes turn into an overnight blizzard. Maybe this snow is a little bit of everything and more. As for me, well, Diary, what this snow really means for me is hope. Hope that one day, when I wake up with snow outside my window where there’s supposed to be green instead, there is a chance I will be in Narnia.

Why I Do What I Do

When I was six years old my Mom moved me to a different school. I had been caught in an incident of school yard gang violence and I kicked a girl in the stomach when she was down. I don’t remember who the girl was that I kicked, who I was with, or what the incident was about, but I do remember what it was like to sit in the principal’s office afterwards. And I do remember what it was like that first day of Grade 2 in a new school and what it was like for the next eight years being the one bullied. Karma sucks.

I guess it was inevitable then that fighting would come back into my life and by fighting I mean Martial Arts, because I don’t do Fight Club and this time I knew a thing or two I didn’t when I was six, mainly, that it’s not cool to be a thug. So what I want to talk about today is what Martial Arts means to me, or more precisely, what Martial Arts doesn’t mean to me because having a girl talk about martial anything is often like a girl talking about cars- a lot of people still can’t understand the two being in the same sentence together. So let’s get some things straight.

Martial Arts does not mean that I watch Anime, have a collection of fantasy weapons on my wall, and think that metal underwear is somehow a good way to go into a fight. It doesn’t mean that I have forsaken my gender, or that I’ve bought into girl power. Martial Arts isn’t a fad like Zumba where I get to model cute pink boxing gloves and I get to sound tough by using words like “round house” and “upper cut” in my selfie hashtag. My fist kickboxing class was in a concrete floored room with a hanging banner which said “House of Pain” and was taught by one of Canada’s Lightweight Champions- there was nothing chick about that class.

A question was once asked to Hollywood director and writer Joss Whedon, “Why do you write strong female characters?” His response was perfect: “Because you’re still asking me that question.” I’m entertained when people find out that I train in Krav Maga or Martial Arts and they suddenly become really awkward. Some people still don’t know how to be around a girl who would rather play with a sword than a credit card and I won’t lie, I like to throw out jokes about curb stomping and throat punches to these people because it really is fun to see just how uneasy they will become. What they don’t understand is that Martial Arts answers so many of the gender issues which have arisen in recent years and that they should foster it girls and women not be afraid of it. Martial Arts means never being the victim, and it means not having to let someone else fight your battles for you. It means being strong by virtue and not from abused human right claims. And most encompassingly, Martial Arts means not letting anyone have power over you unless you give it to them.

Do I live and breath the sparring floor? No, but it is a place where I came full circle to where I began my journey back in elementary school. I only have myself to prove anything to so no more kicks to the stomach while the person is down, but I’m no longer the victim either. I just take numbers.

Christmas Conflicts of Interest- Holiday Birthdays

There are two types of people in this world: the people who have birthdays at some point during the year, and those who have their birthdays during the Christmas holidays. Those of us who are truly unfortunate have our birthdays on or between December 24th and January 1st and since mine falls quite snuggly between both Christmas and New Year’s, I am one of these chosen few. Yes, our life is as hard as everyone who pities us believes, and, like the sympathetic but unactionable masses walking past that homeless man with the friendly dog begging for money so that the dog can eat, those who pity us keep declining to show at our pathetic attempts to host our own birthday celebrations thereby furthering the problem rather than making it any better. This blog post is thusly dedicated to us chosen ones who are strong in spirit and relentless in our resistance to the pressure of the holidays to try and squeeze our unique and individual birthdays into a single meal of birthday and Christmas/New Years.

Post your own experiences with the dreaded “Christmas Birthday” in the comments below and together we can educate the common rabble.

sad birthday

No, I do not want one large present though I will take the large present and expect another just like all the other kids get. All humanity was born equal, or does that not apply to matters of self-esteem? I also will not satisfy your eagerness to open both Christmas and birthday presents on one day. It’s like a steak dinner. The steak is delicious and so is the ice cream sunday afterwards, but eaten together….well, that’s just gross.

The emotional collateral damage us Holiday birthday people have to endure from everyone trying to plug us into their schedule is boarder line with first world human rights infractions.

Once I invited Chuck Norris to my birthday party, but when the party time came and he didn’t show up, he excused himself by saying that he said he was already there- in the future. So I round house kicked him because I was mad that even Chuck Norris had to come up with an excuse for not coming to my party. He said the kick didn’t count because he wasn’t actually there to be hit- he was at msad-birthday-caty future party.

Please, tell me again how much it must suck to have a Christmas timed birthday. Maybe instead of telling me how crappy the time of my birth was, you should be confessing to a priest for all the 6 year old souls you destroyed by giving them a combined birthday/ Christmas gift.

It’s less disappointing to pretend that your birthday doesn’t really exist than it is to believe that THIS year will be different.

When I was a kid I once had a real birthday party at a pool where my friends actually showed up en masse. A pool party at a hotel, I was the coolest! But in their Christmas fervor, the hotel double booked and I had to share my pool party with a stranger and their even bigger group of friends.

Thanks, Casual Acquaintance, for the offer to go grab birthday drinks, but staying home alone eating Christmas leftovers and the birthday cupcake I bought myself is less awkward than you trying all night to convince me that my birthday matters to everyone who didn’t show up to celebrate.

Us Holiday Birthdayers will never get a surprise birthday party. And if we do it will be littered with left over poinsettia napkins and bulk plastic cups with next year’s date on it.

A few years ago I tried moving my birthday party to July so more people could come and I could party like everyone else. Two people showed up- me having an actual birthday party was too unheard of, no one knew whbirthday bummerat to do, so they all stayed home.

Unlike the streamlined convenience of today’s world, I am not a thing to be made more convenient for your use, I am an equal person who would like to feel original and unique for one day just like everyone else and not penciled in between getting over your food hang-over and your getting ready for your champagne hang-over.

On a positive note though, with the snow, the Christmas lights, evergreen, and holly, outdoor skating rinks, polar bears, penguins and angelic music routing the likes of Niki Minajnana and Meghan forgottoinclude-that-bass Trainor (every time that song plays, another angels looses their wings), us Christmas birthday celebrators have the most beautiful time of the year to call our own.

Author’s Note: I have to personally give credit to my family who really have made great efforts for doing their best to keep my birthday and Christmas separate from each other. When the rare people stand up to defend the birthday rights of another, they deserve public lauding.

Innocuous Devilry

On a list of the top 10 things to say before something very bad happens, I’d probably rank “what could possibly go wrong?” in the top 5 right beside “Hey, watch this!” and “I saw this on YouTube!” So as this story goes, I went into the optometrist’s office the other day to discuss an ill fitting recent prescription and, because I have a different prescription in either eye, a quick fix was suggested: switch the contacts around. That was the kind of mistake newbies make, one which I had never made after over 8 years of being a contact wearer but I was willing to entertain the possibility that my trippy, vortex-like vision for the last 2 weeks was my own mistake so I agreed to the experiment. Now, I like to think I present myself as a fairly capable person able to navigate my way through life with a few less broken pieces than the average….well, stupid person. (If you haven’t faced the reality that people are collectively stupid, you’re only fooling yourself.) It would seem that the optometrist’s assistant also believed that I was a capable person when he sent me, alone and unattended, into the contact lens room to test the theory. If the feeling of developing superhero eye powers disappeared, then the experiment was a success. It was going to take 30 seconds-max.

A loud, obnoxious warning siren should have gone off when I thought to myself that there’s nothing to worry about here in this doctor’s room full of plasticy things, and clear liquids with technical names which could give horror to any high school chemistry student.

Nothing could possibly go wrong. I’m not even touching anything.

A table with a backless roller stool on either side awaited me and a mirror standing on the table facing one side was standard. Wall to wall cubbies stocked with mini-drawers of contact lenses of all brands, purposes and strengths wall papered the three sides of the walk-in room. Posters of disgusting eyeballs after improper care tried to work their freak show of scare tactics but I ignored them. On the counter beside me were mini-cupcake liners and a small pharmacy of saline solutions to choose from. They didn’t have my brand so I grabbed one of the bottles from the back and squirted some liquid into a little cup where I could rest one contact while I switched the other one out.

One contact out, in the solution, the second out, then back into the other eye….Tapping my index finger into the solution I picked up the first contact and put it in my other…- OH MY &@#^&!*&$#*!!!!!! IT BUUUUUUUUUURNS!!!!!!!

I felt like the Wicked Witch melting one eyeball at a time as my eyelid shut itself down in Red Alert mode as it just burned and watered and fought my every attempt to pry it open and take this torture out of me. I won the battle soon enough and threw the contact back from whence it came and just let my eye cry its little heart out while it burned with the fires of Hades blazing and the claws of the kraken scratching itself out a lair one layer of cells at a time.

With one hand I clutched my eye and with the other I grabbed the offending bottle of imposter saline by the neck roughing it up to confess its dirty lies of deceit. And it coughed up the goods alright- all 3% hydrogen peroxide worth of confessions.

It was a deep cleansing solution (who gets their contacts that dirty to necessitate hydrogen peroxide I have no idea) and after removing your contacts from the solution, they were not to go near your eye for SIX HOURS after removal! Beneath this piece of instructional information, in the little all caps lettering that is supposed to get your attention like an ant stealing your picnic one pea at a time, a warning read: DO NOT HAVE DIRECT CONTACT WITH EYE. No. Freakin’. Kidding.  There was no added clause about, “in case of contact, reach your nearest poison control centre” so I took that as a good sign and as I frantically flushed my eye with the running water of the God-given tap conveniently placed right there (as though they knew). I wondered why on earth this wolf in sheep skin was even there. This was supposed to be room to fit contacts, to train the newbies on how put them in and out, this should be the natal room of optometry offices full of soft fabrics and rounded corners and instead we have an ER room full of abrasion and as much death as life.

Eventually I took a look at my post-trauma eye and found it as red as case of pink eye and I knew it wasn’t going away in time to make a shameless exit back into the main office especially after being in there for a nearly solid 5 minutes. I told them I pinched my eye pretty good chagrined of my “stupid people” tag I had just earned myself. That cover up might have earned me another “stupid people” tag but at least it would be one that only I knew about.

As a post-script I did conclude that my prescriptions really did only need switching. The even better part is that there has been no lasting damage to my eye despite being flushed with hydrogen peroxide.