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The sweetness of doing nothing

Confession 1: I love check lists.

I use them every day at work and constantly update them according to how the day has progressed. As the end of my shift approaches, I rewrite the list for the next day and arrange my priorities so as to accomplish the most important task first. When I get home (on days when my wife works an evening shift and I’m home alone with my toddler), I’ll create a detailed list of things to get done before my wife gets home. Then, when I’ve completed them all, I’ll retreat to the couch and fire up Netflix.

I have taken greater care to prioritize my time with my recent freelance contracts. Last weekend, I had two major deadlines to hit by end of day Saturday. My wife worked the day so I had to utilize those two hours my daughter would be napping (fingers crossed for a full two hours!) and then the evening hours after she was asleep. It’s a fine art of organized madness, and I managed to meet my deadlines (with an exhausted Todd at the conclusion).

Confession 2: I love chick flicks.

Don’t judge me too harshly. I love my indies, blockbusters and pretty much any Oscar contender, but I have a sweet spot for feel-good stories that are detached from reality and make me feel all the feels.

When I was in university, I always worked best with a movie playing in the background, one which I was familiar with enough so that I wouldn’t have to pay attention but could look up from time to time and know what was going on. The Devil Wears Prada and Definitely, Maybe made regular appearances, and they still do when I’m doing freelance work at home.

On the aforementioned crazy Saturday, my flick of choice was Eat, Pray, Love. I was about an hour into my daughter’s nap and working away, stressed that I wouldn’t hit my targets before she woke up. Naturally, I was also stressed about all I still had to finish by end of day. Here I was, filling what was supposed to be a restful day with my daughter with too many deadlines and enough stress to flood my mind with anxious thoughts.

Then I looked up, and saw this.

Thank you, Italy. Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Confession #3: I’ve made room for nothing.

I pride myself on completing lists, beating deadlines and proactively working on future projects. I always get done what needs to be done, and I love to plan and use my time wisely. Part of that utilization has been allowing myself to make room for the sweetness of doing nothing. In that “nothingness,” I’ve found the life-giving rest I had forgotten I needed.

One of my biggest takeaways from therapy was that my mental and emotional wellness deserve just as much care as any other aspect of my life (all the more so as an introvert), and really should come first so that I can live and love more fully.

I’m not starting my own Eat, Pray, Love journey (although I wouldn’t complain about eating more pizza); I love my full, busy and chaotic life. But I’ve let go of that false guilt that shames me for slowing down and saying “No” from time to time.

Have you said “yes” to doing nothing lately? You should. It’s a beautiful thing.

“Wisely and slowly; they stumble that run fast.”
― Hugh Howey, Wool Omnibus

When grace hits . . .


Most often for me, it hits me when I don’t realize how much I need it.

When I’ve forgotten how badly I need it.

And how much I’ve missed it. Read the rest of this entry »

Found, lost, rediscovered: A tale of four memoirs

“Memoir” (n): A collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author’s life.

I am discussing three books here. I’ll explain the title later.

Also, this is not a review, as I don’t feel that it’s possible (or fair) to review someone’s experience. It’s their truth, whether or not it’s agreeable, and it’s a sacred privilege to hear another person’s truth. Read the rest of this entry »

On dreams, healing and anticipation of a perfectly ordinary 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 9.04.41 AM

I started this blog with big dreams and high hopes. My words would garner followers who would grow interested in what I had to say. My novel would then be received with eager anticipation. My dreams of entering the publishing world would be realized.

Want to know the crazy thing? It actually happened. Kind of. Read the rest of this entry »

Why I stopped reading the news

Let’s get one thing clear: I am an information junkie.

  • I love social media and enjoy seeing what’s being posted and who is talking about what (sometimes chiming in to the conversation as well).
  • I focused my undergrad degree on journalism and political science, which required me to stay on top of current news and familiarize myself with past news.
  • I work in the field of corporate communications, which sees me listening in on what’s going on the company and how the public are talking about their needs, then creating an intersection between their needs and our products and services. To help accommodate these different areas, I would begin each day by going to a selection of nearly a dozen different news sites to see what was going on in the world at the moment, then monitoring developments throughout the day.

Then I started to get tired. Very, very tired. Read the rest of this entry »

How yoga impacts storytelling.

I am a passionate advocate for yoga. Not just for the physical benefits, but also for how it promotes mental and emotional wellness. I practice it because I have a very busy mind that constantly looks back and looks forward; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it gains too much momentum, it becomes exhausting.

Yoga helps calm my ever-busy mind, reels me back from dwelling on the past and makes future worries seem a just bit more off in the distance. I can take inventory of what’s around me, express gratitude and refocus my perspective. And when I’m there in that present moment, I can listenYoga 2

Read the rest of this entry »

What I observed about storytelling during a Backstreet Boys concert.

028Yes, I just admitted that. Backstreet was back (alright!) in Vancouver last night, and I was singing along to nearly every song. I was admittedly a bit secretive about attending, but once I was there, I had no choice but to sing (sing, croak, whatever it was my vocal cords attempted to do) – and I had a lot of fun.

While I did watch the boy band (“boys” who are now pushing 40) recap their wide catalogue of Top 40 singles and get down (and move it all around) to the original choreography, I spent most of the night looking around at the audience – mostly made up of millenials like myself along with many middle-aged women (my wife even saw one of her college professors busting it to “Larger Than Life”). Nearly everyone was singing, swaying and smiling to every line of factory-produced cheesiness in the songs. Read the rest of this entry »

Book review: When We Were On Fire

When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over

When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over

Having grown up in the evangelical world, gone through youth groups, rallies and missions trips – and with my personal faith journey changing and evolving still to this day – I was eager to dive into When We Were On Fire, a memoir of an “evangelical survivor.”

After the first couple chapters, I was worried this would just be overtly critical and cynical without offering any real critique. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find it much more on the “show” side than “tell,” taking the reader through the author’s journey through evangelical obsession, gradual disillusion, spiritual exhaustion and eventual depression, and then slowly reconstructing her faith and her relationship with the faith community. Read the rest of this entry »

Book review: Less Than Zero


Less Than Zero (Vintage Contemporaries)

I hated this book, and I gave it five stars on Goodreads.

Less Than Zero, the debut novel from Bret Easton Ellis, is probably one of the most hopeless, lifeless, plotless stories I have ever read. It’s about a group of rich kids in LA wasting their lives away on drugs, crime and excess. There’s no remorse, no development, no consequences. No one to root for. No one to be redeemed. No judgement or message from the author. No feeling of hope or even a hint of resolution at the end.

And that’s where the horror kicks in: none of the characters seem to care at all. They have nothing to live for, nothing to aim for. Read the rest of this entry »

The first impulse comes from emotion.

“I think the first impulse comes from some deep emotion. It may be anger, it may be some sort of excitement. I recognize in the real world around me something that triggers such an emotion, and then the emotion seems to cast up pictures in my mind that lead me towards a story.”

~John Hershey



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