It’s Here.

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Another semester fast approaching. A new contract signed. A yearning to “give back.” A running bug caught.

Life doesn’t slow. It keeps flying along, and I find myself challenged to dive in. I have this annoying need to control everything and an almost debilitating need to do everything perfect. The pace of life is beating that need out of me. It’s one thing to do things well: to pour yourself into them, but it is another when it is never good enough. When you’re afraid to try something new because you might make a mistake… that’s when you have a problem.

So right now my prayers (amongst many others) are to let go. To dive in. To live in faith of one so much greater than me.

Today I officially transitioned from “intern” to jr. designer. I have been given a permanent, full-time position which will allow me to take on more as a designer as I learn it. Today I was running all over a house that we will be renovating with a laser measure. I was assisting with our architectural lead in dimensioning everything so that he could go back to the computer and draft up an “as is” floor plan. It hit me: I’m exactly where I should be.

The blog won’t be fancy, and the text might be sparse, but I want to make record of this journey. My goal isn’t glamour. Instead, it’s to delight in simple things. To be proud of working hard. To find depths of faith and be endlessly grateful.

Happy September. It’s officially my favourite time of the year. The photo was taken on the first night of our vacation on the Sunshine Coast. Since returning from New Zealand, I have been in a mad love-affair with the west coast. Don’t get me wrong, New Zealand is stunning. I left a piece of my heart there, but I realized my soul lives for the west coast. If only the two were closer…

Where Do We Go From Here?

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After passing by this little gem at school last month (yeah, BCIT is a concrete prison), it all made sense to me: I would rather a life of quirk and quaint over luxe and glamour. I often look at those women who are put together so perfectly and feel a bit slobish. I bring it on myself. I feel silly when things match too well, and I tug at my ponytail until little pieces of hair fall down around my face. I feel out of place when I walk into a boutique. Instead, I feel I am at my best in a thrift shop. I confidently flip through those clothing racks at lightening speed and march around like I belong.

I’m just not one of those fancy girls…

…but I ain’t no tomboy either.

I have more nail polish than I can keep up with. I love my eye makeup. My liquid liner and mascara are waterproof, and I’ll proudly wear them to the beach. “Oh my gosh, that’s soooo cute” is sighed daily as I gaze at something that just “get’s to me.” I’ll never own enough shoes and I am happiest in dresses. I cry just thinking about how much I love my husband, or my family, or my cats, or this new career path I am following. I am a total (and proud) girl.

Truth be told. I am just like the other 97% who never felt cool in high school: I’ve always felt awkward and I’m so relieved that the world is full of other awkward people. And I am beyond thrilled when that awkwardness is parlayed into creative genius whether music, literature, art or design.

I think it was this little moment between the car and another drafting class that gave me a moment of clarity I have never quite had. A moment when I breathed out and accepted that I’m not rich nor fancy. I’m not even particularly exciting. But I am happy. I contantly notice and I am inspired by the things that are different. I see humour in the little details. My heart jumps out of my chest whenever something sparks a new idea. I think all of my awkward friends are the funniest people I’ve ever met. I like to hum and sing when I am walking, and I don’t really care that I always get “busted” by strangers (standing at a cross walk, thinking I’m alone and then I notice the three people standing behind me… stopping now would only be embarassing, so I act like I knew they were there).

A guy made fun of me for living in one of the oldest apartments in town,

“I looked at those when I was looking for a place, but they were way too ghetto for me” (I stared at him in disbelief, partly because I couldn’t believe he was ok with being that mean to my face and partly because I ADORE my little apartment and all the cute elderly neighbours that live in it).

A coworker whined about her “old” (2006) car until she finally caved and bought a new SUV (my civic is a 2001, we have driven it into the ground, and I will cry my eyes out when it bites the dust- I have been preparing myself for that tragic day for quite some time).

I find myself in these moments all the time. The ones where people are complaining about the very thing I am thanking God for.

I count myself blessed. I’ve never cared much for the Jones’ and what they do. And in light of that previous post about finding a better way to use this blog, I think I’ve found a direction: sharing the little things, the quirky, the quaint, the cute and the swoons.

You’ll see what I mean soon enough.

I just want what I put out there to make people feel better about their lives and not jealous of mine. I don’t want to come across as a braggart, but rather, a thankful heart. There are so many great things in the everyday life that often get overlooked. Inspiration exists everywhere, and a beautiful life lies in the details. For those of you who know me and have (bless your hearts) followed me from blog to blog- my stumbling block has always been that I feel an inner conflict in that the blogger-world can often feel far too self-promoting. I feel uncomfortable with the hey look at me mentality (let me be clear, I pass no judgement on other bloggers. I am the girl who feels much happier to celebrate other people’s birthdays than my own, and I’ve been known to go as far as to keep my birthday a secret because I don’t enjoy being the center of attention. I am ALWAYS more than happy to celebrate other people).

Celebrating the details of life is something that everyone can relate to. It isn’t exclusive. A good book, a pretty sunset, an inspiring artist or a really great recipe are all things accessible to everyone in their everyday lives.

A beautiful life lies in the details…

My new mantra (did I steal that from somewhere? Probably).

Deep End.

Many moons ago, I worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor. It was one-part boring (life guarding) and two parts fun (co-workers and teaching… although, after 4 hours in the water, it could get kinda cold).  I taught a lot of the little kiddie classes. I remember getting so wildly excited when a kid would actually swim for the first time (this stuff actually works!), and it was always so amazing how quickly they would learn.

The biggest leap was the one they took into the deep-end. It was generally always the same: we would climb out of the shallow end, make a single-file line and march down to the deep end. I would climb in first, move a few meters back from the wall and invite each student (one at a time) to jump in a swim to me. For the most part, the reaction was always the same: nervous fists tucked up under the chin, toes to the edge, deep breath….

……..jump.

They would come up and look panicked for a moment, and they they would realize that they were swimming in the deep end. A smile crossed their face as they reached my arms  before they turned and pushed off from me with confidence back to the wall. Confidence grew with each time they went.

If I used two words to describe this internship, it would be DEEP END (and some days, deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep end). I think I’m still kinda in that coming up after jumping in with that panicked look on my face. I’m not drowning. My head has come back up above the water, but I’m feeling a little out of my element (ok, a LOT). But with each day, I am checking more and more things off my “to do” list. Becky (a BCIT grad and incredible designer) has been the best guide. On Friday she was guiding me through how to do door ordering through referring back to AUTO CAD drawings and a door schedule and she said, “you won’t even learn how to do this in school until 3rd year” (for the record, I am just finishing 1st year).

Total deep end.

But now I know how to read door schedules. And I guess my boss has been impressed, he was talking about me to Becky and said something along the lines of me being a person who has has grabbed this internship by the balls. So I must be pretty good at covering up my moments of panic, or maybe it’s that my drive to learn and master everything just outshines the fear.

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The What and the How

We’re going to a memorial this afternoon. Forever frozen at 27 years old. Beyond the shock and sadness of it all, there is a deep sense of gratitude. I realize that I am beyond blessed, and I’ve been feeling it a lot lately. I am endlessly thankful for the life I have been given.

There is also inspiration and motivation to live like a thankful person. I am learning the lesson that it’s really less about what you do and so much more about how you do it. The sudden end to such a young life is a testament to that. I’m such a work in progress, but I am trying to be mindful that everything in life is an opportunity: an opportunity to be kind, to love, to learn, to inspire, to be inspired…

I’ve come to know a few of my customers in the restaurant from simply serving them food. It has turned into hugs when they come in the door, and conversations about life, even some tears. It’s a funny thing when you start to realize that even waitressing can be deeply fulfilling. That it is the how you do it that makes all the difference.

His life was short. Mine could be too, or it could be long. All I know is that I need to cultivate more gratitude. I need to focus on the how, and not always on the “once I achieve ____ I will be happy.”

 

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2013

Yesterday could have possibly been my worst serving experience ever. There were two of us servers and one hostess and a full restaurant of people wanting New Years Day brunch. While we managed to hold it together, I have never been so crazed in my life trying to take orders, bartend, expedite food, bus, host, split bills, refill coffees, put on new pots of coffee, slice and butter toast. It was pure mayhem. I was physically shaking because the adrenaline was so high. Servers have this unreal ability to hold about 40 different tasks in their head all at once (this table needs more cream, that guy needs a steak knife, these guys need pizza plates, I need to food check that table, I’ll print the bill for these guys, food is up for those guys and I need to see how much longer that table needs on their appetizer….), but I have never had so much in my head as yesterday… it was hell. Luckily our kitchen puts out amazing meals and food complaints are very few and far between (I had zero yesterday), so customers left happy.

2013 holds much promise for some. I’ve noticed all the positivity and excitement on Instagram and facebook. Many feel like this is the fresh start and a new chapter in their lives. They have big plans, dreams and hopes. They expect the best things this coming year. Flowing from a lean Christmas, I know this year will be a lean one as well. The only expectation I have on this year is that it’s going to be full of a lot of hard work. We worked NYE and after we were done at the restaurant, we dragged ourselves (Scotty worked two jobs that day and I served for 9.5 hrs) to Scotty’s parents for some food and some laundry. After the countdown was over, we loaded our car with clean laundry and went home (the first thing I did in 2013 was kiss my husband and then iron my work shirt). I want, hope for, and dream of a lot of things, but all of them require a lot of hard work to get there. It’s only fitting that I embrace the fact that we’ve got a busy bee type year in front of us: work for it is this years’ mantra, and I feel a sense of peace and acceptance over this. Yesterday was my initiation. It was brutal and poetic (it provided me with the rest of our rent payment).

And that bit about finding beauty: December 31st captured my heart (on my morning walk) as the day that it snowed on the beach. I can’t describe, nor do justice through photos to its magic, but seeing the feathery flakes disappear into the glassy surface of the sea was such a blessing to experience. God is so good.

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