that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


through the ages

Thanks to the brilliance of the internet, I now know how I would’ve fared in the last 6 decades:


1960s (click to enlarge)

1970s (click to enlarge)



The year 2000

AND, saving the best two for LAST:

My Personal Favourite: 1956, the year my mom was born.

Andddddd…. below, 1985 – the year I was born!

I think I’ve aged quite nicely!!!



keen about keens

Add a dose of old-school styling to your wardobe with the Briggs from KEEN. Classic design combines with casual appeal using subdued colors and soft, waterproof leather. The metatomical last shape provides broken-in comfort out of the box. The non-marking rubber outsole lets you traverse your daily terrain with confidence.

Doesn’t that just make your heart melt? Or at least, your feet get excited? ANYWAYS. A few years ago, Mark bought Jessica a pair of Keen shoes for Christmas and every time I saw them wearing their Keens, I thought to myself “gee I’d like to own a pair”. Then last year when I moved to Victoria… and out of the “Ugg” Boot phenom (it’s still a phenom, just one I grew out of), I realized my boots were not going to cut it against the torrential rains that consist of 80% of my time in Victoria…winter. I asked Jes periodically about her Keens, how they held up in the snow or rain or anything and she was always incredibly positive — they mold to your feet, keep her feet dry, still look sharp even though she’s had them for a few years, and they last a really long time. So, after I moved back to Penticton for summer ’08, I decided to devote part of my tax return to the shoes and wait until I was in Alberta for my vacation to buy them “PST Free” — they are quite expensive.

When I got them in Camrose, the first time I wore them my feet were covered in blisters from my 25K walk to town so NOTHING felt good on my feet. And since it’s been so nice in Victoria the last couple weeks, I’ve tried to hold out with the flipflops. But last Friday I started continuously wearing my Keens and they are so stinkin’ comfortable, you have NO idea. And then today we got some of that torrential rain I was telling you about so I so I laced up my Keens and away I went. It was a dream! My socks were not wet at all and therefore, my feet were warm and for the very first time of being at school during a rainy or cold day, I was comfortable. It was everything I imagined and more. And I got compliments. And some guy in his Crocs flip flops wanted to be me, I could just tell.

I cannot remember my life before my funky PST Free Keens.


weathering the storm(s)

I am feeling totally discouraged and I would just ask that you keep me in your prayers right now because, though my problems may seem minuscule to you (see my post from a few days ago), they are like torrential floods to me:

My car was broken into last night and my cd player was stolen. I need new tires and Troy and I did some price estimating yesterday and found a good deal. But what I saved in new tires I cannot afford in putting towards replacing my stereo.

Pastor Al was talking about generosity this morning at church and how God blesses those who bless others. I am all for that idea, and I guess I consider generosity is “freely giving” not being “freely taken from“. So on top of being frustrated, I am just confused. I don’t understand why people do these things — I innocently believe first in the good of people and I am just really struggling. So please, just pray for me. It’s been a long week.


mighty to save

I have recently fallen in love with the words of this song and the feeling I get when it comes on the radio, or especially when we sing it as a church. I just can’t help but believe the words to be true. Happy Friday!

Everyone needs compassion
A love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

Savior He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save

Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
And fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender I surrender

Savior He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing for the glory of the risen King…Jesus


losing my mind

I just want to clarify that I am not as responsible as I appear. Or as organized.

Case in point:

A. Last Thursday, after she had repeatedly told me it was cancelled and wouldn’t be happening, I went to ‘family dinner’ at Auntie Monika’s, ergo forcing Uncle R. to order us pizza as a result of my forgetfulness.

B. Monday I took off my new watch in the library while I was reading only to realize two hours later as I was walking to my car I wasn’t wearing it. I ran back to the library to find it sitting under my chair, much to my delight.

C. That same Monday, I spilled my tea in the morning all over my seat (this issue has two parts, first the tea spilling) and it was a hot day so I assumed it would dry up. The reason I was walking to my car was because my books were getting really heavy so I wanted to dump them off. I put them all on the said tea-spilt seat only to find at 5:00 pm that the seat had not dried before I put the books there so my brand new textbooks boast tea saturated stains now.

D. That same Monday I was praying in my morning devo about finances and struggling already and God just reminded me he’s taking care of me. That being said, I decided to go and buy my $70.00 textbook that I was trying to avoid purchasing. UVic has “cubbies” in the bookstore where you put your bags before entering the store. I bought the said book as well as a binder and notepad so in the process of putting those two items in my bag, I failed to put in the very-expensive-prayed-about-item and walked away. This was at 9:30am. At 4:00 pm, driving home, I was halfway back to Colwood (far) when I realized I hadn’t seen that book all day. I mad dashed in sheer hysteria back to UVic, praying that someone from the bookstore would hear my case with compassion and honour my receipt. As I ran into the bookstore, I glanced over to the cubbies and lo and behold, there sat — after seven hours — my history textbook. I estimate hundreds of students walked in and out of those doors but there. It. Still. Was. God was 1/2 smiling on my that day.

I went home in dire straits. I had had enough. Thinking the week could “only look up from here”:

E. Yesterday, I felt like junk. Like someone had taken my throat, head, and stomach out of my body, stomped on them, and put them back in. So I decided to skip my last class of only 2 classes of the day. As I am walking back to my car, I realize I don’t have my keys. Sure enough, they are locked in my CAR. What now you wonder? Well, bless his heart, my Dad (and his BCAA membership) were heading to Victoria that evening for dinner at my Aunts. Would he leave a little early? Sure he would! But that didn’t eliminate the awkward girl sitting on the curb right beside her car, in an act of fear someone would steal her pretty little car, reading for two hours in anticipation. (That was me, in case I lost you). By the time Dad arrived, called BCAA, tow truck never arriving at all, Dad takes matters into his own hands and in an act of true heroism and bravery, lassos a pieces of rope through the crack of the window and, with the aid of a long piece of wood, manages to open the window enough to reach in, it is now 6:15 pm and my skipping class to go home to bed is a distant memory.

The whole time I am thinking: My joy is being tested. My joy is being tested. My joy is being tested. My JOY IS BEING TES….ARE YOU SERIOUS, GOD?!?!

Like, enough is enough. I am sick of near-catastrophic events! I haven’t had a bad day in about 12 months… why now a bad WEEK?

On the upside, this week:

A. I sent Jes’ birthday present on time for the first time in a long time.
B. I finished all my History 315 readings early as well as finished three of my Young Adult lit readings on time.
C. Finished three items on my new “to do” list.
D. Successfully went down the blue (and tumultuous, freakishly scary) waterslide at our private swim at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre.
E. Witnessed a miracle. (It’s not an emotional, but rather hilarious, one for which you need my voice, animation, and excitement over the matter to explain. And it’s only amazing if you know the person it involves.)
F. And finally, after a year of dreaming, planning, devising, calculating, waiting, Joce and I took our rollerblades out on the Galloping Goose trail. It was a dream, I tell you, a dream. Complete with the misty eyed viewing and sun ray bursting setting.

See? It’s apparently not all bad.



There is nothing quite like rekindling a relationship with an old friend. As I get older and meet new people, I am fascinated by the simple fact that my new friends (new-ish as well) are often better friends than the old. There is no assumption or expectation on new friends’ parts, merely (if we’re lucky) a simple intrigue to get to know you. I can say this because as a new friend to many people over the last number of years, I find it simple to kill an hour with a new person because there is so much to learn and see and ask and it goes on and on. And sometimes with old friends, I struggle with conversations because the connection might’ve passed, we’ve got little in common, and just don’t seem to enjoy each other the way we used to.

Little do we know that when we are younger, and still to this point, each new friend has the ability to be a forever friend, we just don’t know it until much, much later as forever seems to evolve. So when I look at my best friend or lasting friendships from days passed, I can only gather that we remain true and honest and blessed by one another because once upon a time, during the ‘get to know you’ part of our friendships, we decided that we would forever be ‘getting to know each other’ and still enjoy doing so. And if that foundation was initiated by a genuine curiousity at the start, then all the better.

I fortunately have been blessed by solid foundations a couple times over. Last night I was able to reconnect with a friend that I spent my late elementary years dreaming about (I swore we would get married and I didn’t know him aside from being on my soccer team), my middle school year trying to get his attention and potentially just even be his friend, our whole high school experience doing everything together from watching movies to working at the rink to being the first person to drive with alone when I got my ‘N’, being my grad date and everything in between. I even remember one fateful birthday when I was the only girl invited to his party and I had to learn quite quickly that ‘system link’ meant hooking up 4 x-boxes to 4 tvs and playing with 16 people and that Chinese food is an activity on it’s own when eating with a bunch of guys. We fought a lot, too. He was always right and I was always wrong and he’d always apologize and I would always yell louder.

The thing I most appreciate about him is that he has always taken an active interest in my family, genuinely concerned about my parents moving or excited that Jes got hitched or Marli in culinary school…all of it. And the reversal – his Mom and sisters and the rest of his family always welcomed me to a point where I never just miss him, but all of them (his sister was my very first skating coach!). It makes all the difference when someone not only knows the names of my five sibling and parents but wants to know what they are up to and how they are (we bond now not so much over having older siblings who didn’t get in as much trouble as we did but instead, our excitement to be an aunt or uncle to those said siblings’ children one day hehe).

But the point is that he was my very best friend and when his parents moved away from Smithers the year he moved away to university, I thought I was lost. But we grow up? And it was okay.

Anyways, aside from the ever present e-mails, we talk on the phone three times a year: my birthday, his birthday, and Christmas. I haven’t seen him since June of ’05 when Joce was in her accident and I went to his house in PG to stay for a week while I was hanging in the hospital. But I got an out of ordinary phonecall from him about three months ago saying “I am moving to Victoria, Kate!!” and I fell out of my chair. Last night we saw each other for a pint of Keith’s for the first time in over three years and we couldn’t get enough of eachother. It was like drinking water and when the cup is empty, you’re so thirsty you have to refill over and over and over. There was so much to say! And when I thought we finished, there was more to say! To say I had a wonderful evening is an understatement. I was giddy almost because he’s the honest-to-goodness definition of a true friend, and the foundation to our friendship (well over ten years in the making!) made it almost too easy to fit right back in. At one point he said “it’s kinda weird how with us, it’s always the same”… I guess a testament to how important it is to give room to friends to let them grow as you grow; live as you live, independently…and maybe the person will one day walk right back into your world and God taps you on the shoulder as if to say “Hey? Remember when you asked if it was worth the effort? What do you think now?” you can answer with a resounding loud and passionate “YES”.

So I am thrilled at having him only 10 minutes away from me instead of four years from me. And if last night was any indication of what I have to look forward to, I still think that new friends can trounce the old, but I am blessed by the few still standing on that foundation we worked so hard to piece together long ago.

And it doesn’t hurt that we’re both proud owners of Blue (albeit two different shades) Honda Civic SI’s… great minds think alike…and like minds think great! Like I said before, I am BLESSED.

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awkward abyss

So I am back in Victoria. Waoot (cross between wahoo and woot…I learnt that in my young adult lit class two days ago). So far, it’s been the most relaxing transition back to school yet.   Maybe it’s because I just moved into Rutherfords, which has been wonderful. Maybe it’s because it’s not all ‘new’ to me anymore, UVic etc. But I think it’s just because I am in my FIFTH year of post-secondary education and I am ready to punch a hole in the wall.

I know this dark tunnel has a light called “Katie Justine Stam, BA” at the end of it, but five years is a long time. Long time. In five years, I learnt how to cook, do my own laundry, study until 5 am, live on quesedillas, use transit systems, live in a city, mend a broken heart, trust God, rollerblade without falling on my face, cheat the textbook system (libraries), and pump my own gas… honestly, I don’t know how much more I can take.

Added to the brilliance of taking five years to do my four year first degree (I still have to do another one to be a teaher), is the fact that I transferred provinces. So this year is littered with first year courses. Which is bloody (cue the deep British accent) awkward. The other day in my History 105 class, our prof called attendence and asked us to say what our “History” experience is – and to be honest. So one by one, the students said a myriad of responses including one or all of only these three phrases: “I took history 12”; “I took History 12 and this is my first university history course”; or “I didn’t take History 12 but this sounds interesting”… until he called my name. To which I responded “I am doing this backwards, I am in my grad year, this is a pre-req, and I’ve take probably 7 other history courses and this semester I am taking Canada-America Relations, US Foreign Policy, and WWI on top of this course.”

The prof, sympathetic and full for remorse, mouthes “I am so sorry.” Then later asked me why in the world I put off an intro course for so long. I was thinking, The same reason I walked from Armena to Camrose last week… I have no idea!

On another note, my profs are all fantastic and I am taking SIX courses this semester so I am on overload… or I will be. My new “roommates” are fabulous, too. And my new car is fine but it cost 390+ dollars to buy a parking pass for UVic so I am struggling with that financial strain.

I guess with the added pain of leaving my mom behind (I love you), I really just think I need to get over myself, the fact that I am still at university and in first year courses (don’t even get me started on my Intro to Human Geography class) surrounded by first years, and embrace what this year has in store. Sound convincing? I don’t think so either. You should see the finalized list of goals I have set. It’s just so awkward.

The reality is that I am fired up to be here and graduate before starting the next and becoming “Katie Justine Stam, BC BEd”… but I am desperate to get on with my life. Ya know?

See you and me have a better time than most can dream of,
better than the best, so we can pull on through, whatever
tears at us, whatever holds us down, and if nothing can
be done, we’ll make the best of what’s around.” -DMB