All posts by Dana Brown

Dad’s Home!

Are Dads really all that important? Are they not just the ones who bring home the money so that Mom can do her job? This seems to still be a common stereotype in our society – bloggers Carli and Dana answered June’s Question Of The Month:

What’s Dad Got To Do With It?

Dana

I was driving down the street last week, and the car in front of me turned on his signal to make a left hand turn into his driveway. Awkwardly, there were a million cars coming the opposite direction so he had to sit there and wait, while subsequently creating a lineup of cars behind him. I didn’t mind, because I wasn’t in a rush and it was a beautiful day. As I sat there, with the windows down, I saw that this man’s children had come outside on the front lawn and were cheering, “DADDY’S HOME! DADDY’S HOME!” They were jumping up and down and non-stop screaming in pure excitement that their dad was about to pull in the driveway. It made me remember that my sister and I used to do the same thing when our dad came home from work. We would be cheering in the backyard waiting for him to open the gate and greet us. For some reason, I don’t remember ever cheering for my mom to come home, which is weird. It was always my dad. (Sorry Mom, I love you too!). There was just something really exciting about dad coming home.

This got me thinking about our theme for June: “What’s dad got to do with it?” Dads are interesting to me. Maybe because I’m not a guy. I will never know what it’s like to be a dad. I feel like it must be awesome, but also weird. I imagine being any type of parent is hard, but I could see dad being a particularly hard one. Everyone I know has a very different relationship with their dad, and each dad is a different “type” of dad. No two relationships are quite the same when it comes to dads (in my inner circle, at least). Even my relationship with my dad is very different from my sister’s. It’s odd because, although everyone’s relationship with their mother is different, there are some very common mom-child relationships. I think my sister and I have the same type of relationship with our mom. Dads always seem to be a little different, and I don’t know why. I mean, moms are there, taking care of you from the beginning like it’s no one’s business; and that maternal instinct is just so strong. I don’t know how dads feel or compare when it comes to their paternal instinct. Moms are tough to beat; maybe it’s because traditionally they have become more nurturing and loving?

My dad was a great dad. He wasn’t the most lovey-dovey dad, he was a pretty serious guy but was always there for my sister and I and always said I love you. It’s strange that a lot of people don’t get the “I love you” from a parent, more specifically from the father. He was very into athletics and health. He was busy and had a lot of things he liked to do: he was a rower and a rowing coach his entire life. He took my sister and I out in the coach boat every day during coaching season. He bought us snow cones after (if we were good), or donuts on Sunday mornings (again, if we were good). He drove us to our friend’s houses, gave us our allowance, and made us do our chores. He taught how to canoe, kayak, camp, and signed us up for art classes. He was hard on my sister and I sometimes. We got into a lot of fights during the teenage years. I remember I had some of my girlfriends over, and my dad had just finished a work out in the basement. He came up to get a glass of water in his tight spandex shorts, and nothing else. I WAS MORTIFIED! But once he went back downstairs, my one friend said, “I don’t think my dad even owns a pair of spandex shorts.” Once again, MORTIFIED. But hey, that was my dad.

As a female, I think it’s natural to draw away from your father a little more when you get older. I went from celebrating his coming home from work to having a more distant relationship. I didn’t need him as much; I was doing my own thing. I relied on my friends more for support because they seemed to understand me more. Looking back, all the “tough” times I’ve had in my life, it was my dad who gave me some of the best and brutally honest advice. I will never forget the things he has told me during my darkest moments. Recently I started #hardcoreadulting, and all these big life moments were happening, and it was all happening really fast. I was feeling overwhelmed, and the person I wanted to talk to and ask for advice was my dad. These things were happening, and I was making my own decisions, but I wanted my dad’s approval. I love my mom, but I knew I need to talk to my dad about this stuff. I needed his opinion. I know I will be relying on him a lot as this “adulting” continues, and I hope he knows how much I respect him and how highly I think of him. I may not be jumping up and down when he comes home from work anymore, but I’m very glad and extremely appreciative that he is always there for me. So what’s dad got to do with it? The answer is for me and my life, a whole lot!

 

Click here to read Carli’s take on our question of the month!

The Many Ways of Christmas Giving

During Thanksgiving, I was talking with my friend who lives in Kelowna, BC with her boyfriend. They moved out there in April and the two of them have been living together and trying to make new friends, but both of their families are still in Ontario. She told me she bought a turkey so she and her boyfriend could make themselves a Thanksgiving dinner, but then decided that they didn’t need all that food between two people. I asked her what she was going to do with the turkey, and she said she was going to donate it one of the homeless shelters or food banks. What a great idea, I thought!
I never thought about donating a turkey before. But, that’s probably the most expensive item to buy for holiday dinners. I thought that was a great idea, and that got me thinking about what I can do to make a little bit of a difference during the holidays for others. I think I’ve hit that age where, I don’t really need anything for Christmas (of course, I want things, but I don’t need anything, and for that I feel very lucky), but definitely could be using my time or a little extra cash for people who do need it. Continue reading

Mom, You Just Don’t Understand!

Today I am writing about “generational differences” when it comes to finding a job and starting your “adult life”. We came up with this topic at our last bloggers meeting, we were talking about how older generations think the younger generations are lazy and don’t have a great work ethic. Oh, and that they expect a lot.
The younger generation thinks the older generation just “doesn’t understaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand” (in whiny voice)
what it’s like trying to get a job in this day and age, and that they aren’t lazy, and all they want is a job. Any job will do. I’m sure everyone reading has an opinion on this or has their own experience finding a job, and I do think there is a misunderstanding when each generation tries to understand what the other has gone through or is going through.

When I started to write this blog post, all I could think about was every teenager in the world saying to their parents in a very whiny and annoying voice “You just don’t understand what’s it’s like being me!”, or something along those lines. And all the parents roll their eyes and are thinking inside, “Uh, yeah, I do! I was a teenager once!” But they weren’t a teenager in 2015, they weren’t a 20 something fresh out of school trying to find work and pay off their student loans in 2015, and of course teenagers and young adults of today don’t know what it was like to be their parents back then. It was different, and it is different now.

I actually love talking about this topic with other “young” people because we all go on rants about how clueless our parents are about our struggle to get a job, and to basically “get ahead” in life. When I’ve brought this topic up with my own parents, they will usually just roll their eyes, but one time we had a really good conversation about why it’s so hard being a young person trying to find a great, stable, exciting career. Actually, we talked about why’s it’s so hard to get a job. Period.

When I finished my undergrad, and then my post grad, I was working at a retail store for about 6 months looking for a “better job”. I literally applied to everything, made a separate resume and cover letter for each job saying how excited I would be to be a receptionist/event planner/marketing coordinator/recruiter/hr
professional/dancer/popcorn popper because it’s my passion and I have so much to offer! I never got calls for an interview. I was living with my parents, and they always asked me “Why aren’t you getting any interviews?” and “Maybe you should try a little harder!” or “Why don’t you go hand out your resumes in person?”

Insert: “You just don’t understand!”

Well, my parents really didn’t understand. Finally I explained to them what it’s like trying to get a job. How you are either over qualified or underqualified, or just as qualified as 500 other applicants. How people with Masters Degrees were fighting to get a receptionist job or even a job at Shoppers Drug Mart. How you have to apply online and employers will not accept resumes in person, and you cannot call them to ask about the job. How a lot of companies scan each resume through human resource software that look for key works and dismiss the ones that don’t have those words. How if you don’t have a post grad specialization you won’t even be considered; oh, and how you need at LEAST 5 years experience for that entry level position. I told my parents that it’s luck of the draw and the stars have to align if you want that awesome job (or you have to know somebody, which I never did). Finally they started to listen and stopped making those comments.

During that same conversation, my dad told me about his experience finding work straight outta highschool. Yep, he finished grade 12 and instantly had a plethora of jobs to apply for. He walked into a factory one day and was immediately hired. They needed people, they wanted to train you and they wanted you to work for them. So, my dad worked his butt off for about a year. He told me he showed up on time, worked the overtime when they asked, never called in sick, and never took a vacation day. He did everything they asked and was doing well.
After a year, he felt it was time for a vacation. He asked his boss for a week off, and his boss said no. Since he was on contract, he wasn’t entitled to vacation. My dad said that was ridiculous and since he’s proven he’s a reliable and hard worker, he deserves a week off after a year of working non-stop. His boss still said no. My dad said, “Fine. I’m taking my vacation in a week and I won’t be back after. See ya.” And walked out. Yes. He did that. Two days later his boss came and found him and told him that the vacation had been approved, and thanked him for his hard work.

I couldn’t imagine talking to a boss or supervisor like that. My job is too precious. I know there are at least 20 people who applied for the same job who are as qualified or more qualified as me. If I demanded vacation, a raise, or anything, it would be so easy to say no and to replace me. I would never ask. I have never negotiated my salary, or negotiated my contract, or asked for anything extra. I won’t be late, I won’t call in sick unless I really have to, and of course I want to meet my goals and keep my job. Most people cannot do that in this day and age. There are just too many of us who are extremely qualified and there are so few jobs that pay a fair salary and provide the right perks. You are lucky if you find something close, and if you do, you aren’t letting it go.

I had a conversation with my mom, and she was upset when I told her that I was looking for a new job and wanted to move on from a previous position. She said I needed to put down roots and prove my worth at one organization and move my way up. I told her it
doesn’t always work like that, some organizations don’t do performance reviews, they don’t give raises, they don’t have room to move up or advance. Some jobs are just a dead end. She has worked as a nurse all her life and worked her way up and she saw her salary, benefits, and seniority increase. She has worked hard and enjoys what’s she’s earned. I told her I didn’t have that option currently, but that’s what I was trying to find. I was trying to find a job and an organization where I could do all those things, but it’s hard. I think after my parents and I talked honestly we understood the differences of our careers and lives. They won’t be able to expect a wedding or grandkids from me when they thought because I am behind from where their generation was.

Back then, you could choose your job, work hard, move up, and have job security. You could buy a house, start a family, and not worry about your insane amount of student debt. You didn’t need to constantly go back to school to get another designation or certification. You could start your adult life by the time you were in your early twenties. Things are different now. People are buying houses and getting married when they are 30 or older, having kids when they are 40, and are switching jobs to constantly find a better one. That’s just the reality. It’s not because this young generation is lazy, or expecting too much, it’s because that’s what it is. Your age or when you grew up has nothing to do with your work ethic, which varies from person to person regardless of which generation they belong to. Although my parents and I have had different work experiences, we still know we have to work hard and never give up if you want to get ahead and live the life you want. That won’t change, no matter what year it is.

Friday “Feud”: Khloe & Amy

I thought I would post this Friday Find because I saw something in the news that really went along with our theme of “Where is the love, Where is the Line?” for this month. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I do watch TMZ every now and then, and follow celebrity news and watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Khloe Kardashian has always been my favourite, I’m not sure why, it might be because I find her the most “real”, and definitely the most funny. Unfortunately she has always been dubbed at the “fat” or “ugly” Kardashian sister, because she doesn’t look like the others.

Over the past year or so, Khloe has lost around 35 pounds. By no means was she ever overweight, or even unhealthy looking, in my personal opinion. But she didn’t look the kind of thin that Hollywood wants. So now, Khloe is 35 pounds lighter and looks great. Since I follow her on Instagram, I can see that she’s at the gym every flippin’ day (which is more than I can say for myself), and on a recent episode of KUWTK, she was saying how she can’t eat candy. Well, I feel her pain. I think we all know by now that there’s no magic trick for losing weight and getting healthy, you HAVE to eat healthy, cut out the crap food, and work out on a regular basis. Now I obviously I don’t know what Khloe Kardashian does every day, but she looks great and I think she looks healthy and is going about weight loss in the right way. Her Instagram pictures of her at the gym make me think that she really is just working her butt off to feel better about herself. I like that.

This past weekend comedian Amy Schumer (who I usually love so much!) did an SNL monologue and mentioned Khloe. She said that Khloe used to be the average girl’s idol/the most relatable Kardashian because she was “bigger”, and now that she’s lost weight she no longer is. Well, this got people talking. Including Khloe, who tweeted:

“No need 2 tear down others just 2 make urself feel bigger. It actually makes u quite small. I’m on a healthy journey. I don’t care 4the hate”

Once I saw all this online it made me think of the “where is the love” question. I mean, Khloe Kardashian looks great and she didn’t drop 35 pounds in 2 weeks, I don’t see her pimping out special detox teas, plastic surgery, or other crazy methods of weight loss. She has said she is on a healthy journey and loves how she looks now. Isn’t that the GOAL here people? To be healthy and love how you look? Especially for women and girls, when the standards of beauty are so high, this type of joke towards Khloe really upset me. Khloe has a realistic body, one that looks healthy and attainable (to me, at least) and it looks like she works really hard for it. I think that’s a good message for everyone. There’s no magic trick, you have to work hard and stay healthy, and you have to do it for you. I don’t think it’s fair for someone to judge or joke about someone else’s weight loss, especially someone who seems to be doing it the right way. I still feel that Khloe is relatable, and I admire the hard work and dedication she has put into her body. I relate more to her than other celebrities and I don’t feel like she is less of a role model, or less relatable now that she’s “skinny”. I know that a woman’s weight is a very private matter, and a very sensitive matter, and it’s hard for women to love their bodies.

I agree that we should all support each other and congratulate each other on reaching goals and being healthy, and most importantly, loving your body. I wish Amy wouldn’t have made that specific joke, especially because in her show and acts she plays a more relatable character and makes fun or challenges “gender roles” and “female stereotypes”. I wish she would have congratulated Khloe and shown women that we DO need to support each other instead of bring each other down. So I ask Amy Schumer, “Where is the love?”, and I want to tell Khloe, “You look awesome!”

A Girl’s Guide to Safety

After our last blogger’s meeting, I realized that I didn’t really know much about personal safety (especially being a woman) other than lock my doors and carry a cell phone. Most of us on the committee had never been taught any specific “personal safety” precautions,
and what we did know what mostly based on old episodes of Oprah, from horror stories, or from the internet. So I thought I would take on the challenge of summarizing the basics of “being safe”, specifically for women and girls, so that we all might be a little more educated.

I wanted to start out with 3 basics that I found everywhere in my research online, and through my research of talking to other women. Before I get into specific tips and things to remember, I want to talk about these basics, because I feel they are the most important and all other safety measures stem from them. So, here they are (and sorry if they are completely obvious to you!)

  1. BE AWARE

This was the general theme of our conversation regarding safety at the bloggers’ meeting, and we realized that most people (women and men) are not aware of their safety and the possible dangers that are out there. Now, I’m not saying you have to be paranoid and always looking over your shoulder, but you should always try and take a minute to take in your situation, your surroundings, and ask yourself if you’re okay. It’s nice to be carefree and just roll with the punches, but when you are vulnerable (and let’s face it ladies, most of the time we are vulnerable just because we are ladies) it pays to be aware and have a general understanding of what’s going on around you. Plan out your route, your errand, know where you are, where you are going, and keep your eyes open and your ears listening.

  1. BE CONFIDENT

Or at least, pretend to be. This is something I remember seeing on Oprah back in the day, that your body language and the vibe you give off is really important. I am not the most confident person, and I definitely don’t walk around or live my daily life with extreme confidence and strong body language. I will admit that I slouch and I used to always look at the ground when I would walk past someone on the street. DON’T DO THAT! If there’s one time to fake uber confidence, it’s when you are by yourself – maybe walking alone, biking alone, or out with a small group. Stand up straight, walk tall, keep your eyes and head up and be on alert. Act as confident as possible, and act strong. The confidence you give off might just change an attacker’s mind when they see you strolling down the street. Don’t make yourself an easy target.

  1. ALWAYS TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING

Now, this should be a no brainer and very easy! Everybody should do this. If you are going somewhere alone, always tell someone where and when you are going. Text your mom or dad when you are going out with friends, text your partner when you are picking up snacks at the convenience store late at night, tell your friend when you are walking to the library at night. Just tell somebody! Then you are accounted for, and if something were to happen to you, someone will know where you were going and at what time. Keep your cell phone with you – that’s what it’s for!

(Does anyone else whip out their phone when they are walking alone at night and call someone to talk? I always do that because then if someone were to come up to me, the person on the other line would be able to hear it all go down)

Okay, so the basics are out of the way. Now I’ve just got some general tips for you to up your personal safety on the regular. Props to you if you already do this, and if you don’t, maybe you don’t need to, but maybe you can add it to your routine and take a little more precaution. I don’t want anyone to be paranoid, freak out or start living their life scared all the time – so don’t! Just remember these little things and feel a little bit more secure. Hopefully knowing these things will make those solo walks a little better.

Car

  • Make sure your doors are locked, duh! If you are driving a newer car, your doors will lock once you start driving. If you are driver an oldie, make sure you lock them once you get inside (and if you are going to sit and text in your new car,
    make sure you hit the lock button before you start driving). I remember a story someone told me about a woman in her car who was stopped at a red light late at night, and a man jumped inside her car and attacked her because her doors were unlocked. Keep ‘em locked, ladies!
  • Have an emergency kit in your car. This is just a smart move for everyone! Have a blanket, some snacks, some water along with a kit you can buy at Canadian Tire. You never know when you might be stranded and without cell service.
  • Be safe in parking lots, especially at night. If you are working late or leaving a party and the walk to your car is more than 30 seconds away, ask someone to walk you to your car. Or walk to your car with a friend.
  • Communication! Something my friends and I always do when leaving each other’s houses is text each other once we get home. We did it when we all lived in the same neighbourhood (and that was the same for walking home) and we do it now that we live scattered across Ontario.
  • Something I read online that I never thought about is not parking near vans, or sketchy vehicles. Now I know we are all picturing the same stereotypical sketchy white van right now.
    I don’t know if there is any actual evidence that backs up this claim, but maybe just park in a different spot if you think your car neighbours are #sketchy.
  • Don’t stop to help someone on the side of the road! I know this sounds mean, but you don’t know who you are stopping for. If you are feeling really bad, keep your doors locked and talk to them through your window (only down a little bit) to see if they are okay or offer to call for help from inside your locked car.

Home

  • This is pretty obvious but lock your doors! Lock them when you leave, when you get home, just lock ‘em. What’s the harm? You never know when a weirdo might come through your door (one time a stranger came into my parents’ house at 2 in the afternoon because she was lost, but the back door was unlocked so she just came in).
  • Have lights! Motion sensor lights are always good, and they might help in scaring away a burglar or a peeping person. Keep your lights on when you are home alone, make it obvious that someone is home.
  • Lock the windows! I always forget that I have left a window open. It’s pretty easy to sneak in a window and cut through a screen. Depending on what type of window you have, someone might not be able to get in. Just make sure you know what’s open and what’s locked.
  • Keep some type of “defense tool” around the house, maybe at the front door, maybe beside your bed. Don’t rely on the boyfriend/husband/dog/dad etc. to protect you! I’ve heard of a screw driver, a baseball bat, a frying pan, and a field hockey stick. Find something you are comfortable with and know how to use it!
  • Be cautious when answering the door. Something I like to do is look through my peep hole before I answer. If you don’t have a peep hole, try locking the screen door after you come in and then taking a peak behind your wooden
    door before answering it all the way. That way someone can’t push the door in and come into your house. I remember there was a team of 2 men and one woman, and the woman would go knock on peoples’ doors and ask to use their telephone because her car broke down. The two men were waiting on the sides of the doors, and once someone opened they were push the door in and rob them. That being said, don’t let anyone come inside your house if you don’t know them.

Internet

I won’t go too deeply into this because there will be a blog post dedicated solely to this topic later in the month. Let me just say one thing:

If you put something out there on the internet, it’s out there for everyone to see. Be safe and smart.

Worst Case Scenarios

Now we are getting into the worst case scenario type of situations. I think another blog post will cover self-defense tips and how to defend yourself, so I won’t go into much detail either. I’ve listed my top 3 tips if you happened to get attacked:

  1. RESIST: Don’t go along with your attacker, make noise, fight back, and run if you are able to. Don’t ever give up.
  2. GO FOR THE EYES: I’m sure you have heard this before, the eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body. If you can, try and poke your attacker’s eyes HARD. This may give you the chance to escape.
  3. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ELBOWS: Your elbows are the sharpest point on your body, so if you can use it, use it. I’m sure we’ve all been accidentally elbowed by someone and it does hurt. If you are grabbed and are close enough to elbow your attack, give it all you’ve got.

Stay tuned for more helpful safety tips this coming month on the blog! I hope you learned something from my tips, I know I did. I think the number 1 thing to take away from this is to be aware of your surroundings. I know some people are good in a crisis, and others are not, but the best thing you can do is to stay calm and focused and try to come up with a plan if something bad happens. Be safe out there, everyone!

Creative Corner: Homemade slip n’ slide

written by Sam Graves

One of my favourite summer memories was building our own homemade slip and slide. Not only did we have fun using it but we enjoyed making it as well. With summer coming to an end, I am looking for an activity that will be favourite memory for all. This blogger added another twist and created a DIY Water Balloon Slip & Slide – www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/how-to/tanya-memmes-diy-water-balloon-water-slide . I can’t wait to try this with my niece & nephew on our next summer sleepover.

Friday Find: The Feed Your Baby Project

We received a message from one of our Facebook followers, Rachel Brencur, who is a newborn and family photographer based on Vineland. She wrote a great post on her blog about breast feeding and formula feeding, and how each mom and baby are different. Check out her blog post and the beautiful pictures that accompany it! Let’s remember to celebrate and accept each other and our differences!

 

Living Wage

Written by Carli Taylor

I often dream about how relieving it would be to receive my telephone or hydro bill and be able to immediately log into my bank account and make that payment— instead of having to wait for my next paycheck.

And this is coming from someone who works full time and has a husband who works full time.

My husband earns a decent salary and carries the lions’ share of our expenses. While I may earn above minimum wage, it certainly doesn’t stretch very far—but as I’m often told, such is the life for those working in the social services sector. That’s my cross to bear (and unfortunately my husband’s too).

I consider us pretty lucky though. We own a beautiful home. Drive nice vehicles. We eat pretty well and can afford our insurance and monthly bills. We can afford some evenings out for some stress/work relief. However, at the end of the month, there is little to nothing left over for saving for the future. This is a constant worry for us—and we are among the lucky ones.
Throughout the Niagara Region homelessness and poverty continue to reach epidemic levels. Too many families are struggling just to get by. They work hard, but with ever increasing basic living expenses—groceries (not just food, nutritious food!), utilities, clothing, transportation, health care, childcare and hopefully education never mind the uncertainties we all face such as illness, caring for elderly parents and saving for retirement and the likelihood that you have debt to repay—How are we supposed to keep up?

In fact— over 1.6 million Canadian households (1 in 8 families) struggle to put enough food on the table every day and over 12% of Canadian households are in core housing need. There are over 5700 families in the Niagara Region alone that are currently on the Niagara Regional Housing affordable housing waiting list.

Everyone who works in this country earns at least a minimum wage- a legislated minimum amount that employers must pay. This wage does not reflect rising costs of basic needs or basic quality of life. And this is why those who earn only the minimum wage are considered the working poor.

This is why the call for a Living Wage has begun to be heard around the world, and now specifically in Ontario and other areas of Canada.

A living wage is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their needs that are considered to be basic. It’s the possibility of an hourly wage that affords a person to pay their expenses and help lift themselves out of poverty. It’s a wage that would reflect the cost of living in a specific region and would differ from city to city.

The idea of a living wage is not to suddenly afford a person to run out and purchase a home or pay off credit or student debt— it’s only meant to ensure basic living expenses can be met. And while there are many factors and agreements to be made regarding what would actually define basic needs, I truly believe this is a necessity in our community. During our last No Fixed Address event the YWCA was actively asking members of the community to sign the petition to call upon all candidates and parties running for municipal and regional councils in 2014 to commit, that if elected, to initiate a study to cost and consider the implications of a living wage policy in our community. The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network recently reported that the living wage for Niagara is currently being calculated.

There are many arguments for and against this idea, all of them to be considered before
something of this kind of impact can be put into place. But I think it’s only fair to the thousands of working poor in our community to give them a chance— a chance at eventually rising out of poverty and in turn giving them an opportunity to change the cycle of poverty. As I for one know, I would still be considered the working poor had I not married the man I did—even though I earn above minimum wage.

For more information on what the Niagara Region is doing about poverty please visit http://www.wipeoutpoverty.ca/ and for more information on the living wage policy please go to http://livingwagecanada.ca/

Friday Find – Adult Colouring Book

I was chatting with my friend the other day and she told me that she had just ordered an adult colouring book for herself online. I asked her why she ordered an adult colouring book (I had recently heard about them online), and she said she was really stressed out and wanted to see if colouring would help relieve her stress.

I find myself stressed sometimes, and I do love art. I really enjoyed drawing and colouring as a child, and maybe it would help relax me too. Will I pay extra for a special “adult” colouring book? I don’t know. Check out this article on them, and tell me what you think!

A Letter from an Old Friend ….

An old friend of mine sent me this message yesterday. We haven’t seen each other for years, so we don’t truly know each others stories any longer. I asked if I could share hers here, in the hope that others would share it, so we can continue breaking down the misconception that poverty is an us vs them situation.

Hi Crystal,

I didn’t want to write this publicly, but I wanted to say I really admire you and what you’re doing. Three years ago I was working for at a job making 50-60K a year. When I had my first child I had to quit. I got pregnant again when she was only 4 months old. I was in a tumultuous relationship, which left me single many times throughout, and with finality a few months later. I had taken my maternity leave early because I couldn’t continue with a big belly in such an industrial environment. That being said, I finally came to the point when I no longer had an income.

I cashed out 12,000 worth of RRSPs to get by at first, and then when that was gone to my mortgage and bills, my family helped me out for a few months, until I was forced to swallow my pride and seek assistance. It was the hardest time of my life. My pride was gone, as was the sense of self sufficiency I had always known.

I have always been so judgmental towards some things I shouldn’t have been in life. Like our social services, and thinking people took advantage. Not understanding how people could be homeless etc. If it wasn’t for my family it could have been me. Obviously, I have made it through, with the help of family and resources, I have never been so grateful to have. I have such a better understanding of poverty now.

I have a plan for my future to gain complete independence again, but props to you for bringing attention to people who didn’t have the support I did.

Take care. ♡

*Story has been edited to maintain anonymity