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.

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i am a failure

So for a year I’ve been telling people that I am going to give up wearing makeup for Lent. Jes suggested it when I was in Camrose a year ago and I figured by the time this Lent rolled along, I would be totally ready for the challenge.

I am not.

Granted, I don’t wear a ton of make up but I do wear foundation, mascara and a bit of eyeliner, and the odd dust of blush. More than being a fake face, it’s a matter of routine. I do well with routine. Plus I would have non existent eyelashes if I didn’t wear mascara and my eyebrows without a little clear mascara would be like a bad hair day on my face. So needless to say, I am STILL warming up to the idea and I don’t know what to think of myself. Maybe I will give up one category of make up per week until Easter, ie: no mascara on my left eye this week, graduate to right eye next week. That’d be fun hey?

In other words, I need something else to give up for Lent… any body have any ideas/challenges for me? I am thinking maybe facebook. Not that I am that hardcore about it either, I’ve been trying to quit, but yea. Ideas? Challenges? Double-dares?

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of what I’ve given up in the past:

-milk/cream and sugar in my coffee
-coffee in general
-wanting to be ‘in the loop’ of people’s lives/gos
-chips (I think that was dumb because I don’t eat them very often
-other vices not blog worthy

So give me ideas!

(For those of you confused, Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter and for the majority of my life, circa early 90s when the Pederson tradition caught on at the Stam house, we’ve picked to give up something (food, habit, vice) for those entire 40 days. A type of fasting. Last year I gave up coffee and I all but died. Thankfully, when I started my fast I started a week too early so when I cheated a week before Easter, I actually had completed a full 40 days. I rock.)


this is so stupid it’s awesome

Right before reading break (which was last week), I wrote a midterm for my Weimar and Nazi Germany class (awesome, awesome class). The Prof is a bit of a Nazi (in the loosest sense of the word, he/she’s outta control intense and hard) him/herself so I was nervous about it. When I wrote the lame thing, I all but cried to my mom, etc. over how brutally I did and I even wanted to skip that class today for I knew what was waiting for me. By the time 1:00 pm hit, I had worked myself into a painful acceptance for the 55% I was sure was waiting for me.

I got an A! That NEVER happens. Usually if I say I did bad and felt bad about it, I DID do bad. This is historically stupidly awesome and I want you all to share in my joy! JOY I TELL YOU.

Hip – Hip – HOO-ray!

In other news, Amanda made me chef’s salad for dinner tonight, I got a new basketball, had coffee with a friend, talked to Ang, found out I may have a computer virus which sucks, saw a gorgeous prairie sunset on Jes’ blog, and decided that I need to take some more time to myself.

In other words, sleep tight my friends.




Nadina officially secured her place in my eventual wedding party as a result of yesterday. I mean, who better to stand up for me than the person I first learned how to over-estimate the amount of peppers we needed with (thank God for Thrifty’s and letting us return them!), under-estimate the amount of tomatoes we needed, worked in tandem to create our very FIRST batch of salsa EVER, and finally, the very FIRST time we’ve  ever used a canner/processed jars? That’s right! Yesterday was a day of MILESTONES for us… and I think we made it through relatively unscathed. Doesn’t taste bad, either! We’re so grateful to Ky to let us invade her kitchen with our chopping and music and artichoke and asiago cheese dip. Success? I think so!



Nadina's handiwork!

Nadina's handiwork!

Our yield... delicious!

Our yield... delicious!



Three weeks ago:
Me: Hi, I locked my keys in my car at UVic…could you send someone to help me out?

BCAA: Sure, I just need your card number and name please.

Me: 5555555555 and my name is Lucy.

30 minutes later:

BCAA: Hi, Lucy? Which car is it and I need your card.

Me: It’s the blue one. Thank you so much, I think I am in love with you. How’s your night going? (It was pouring rain and I had to go study.)

BCAA: Ohh not too bad, I just got on shift. (We chatted a little bit).

Fastforward, in the meantime, Mom has brought me my own BCAA membership. She sent me with hers for the interim at Christmas since her new car has roadside included for 3 years and since they never ask for id…

Friday afternoon:

Me: Hi, my starter is not working and I am stuck at the Can West Mall, could you send someone to tow me to a mechanic?

BCAA: Sure, I just need your card number and name please.

Me: 5555555555 and my name is Katie.

BCAA (upon arrival): Hi, Katie? Which ca…Katie?

And what do you know? The same guy came to help me this time.

Did he recognize me, you ask? Absolutely. And with an awkward, hilarious laugh at me, he asked for id this time. Shook his head, and got my car started and I have since got the part replaced. Atleast I am memorable?

In the words of Luke: What do you always say Kate? There is a lesson in this.

In the words of Amanda: Rewind…Delete.



cinnamon-hearts (If anyone is thinking about it, my favourite Valentine treat are chocolate truffles and cinnamon hearts. But not the fake truffles. Or fake hearts, for that matter. I am just sayin’.)

I wonder sometimes why and how I am so abundantly blessed by all of the fascinating, wonderful people in my life. Then I remember that it doesn’t take very much to make me smile or make me want to know more about a person. After that I wonder if I do anything to touch other people’s lives the way that they touch mine, even if it’s in the smallest way.

Recently, Jocelyn came over for a walk and she brought me a coffee, which was unreal and much needed… but what I’ve loved and needed more are the weekly talks we have, heart to heart over coffee at Starbucks (10:15 every Friday if you want to crash). Later that week I sat side by side with Amanda and Brooke (missing Mal) in Starbucks, giggling over the silliest little things, while Ryan made us vanilla lattes… for free, which was fabulous. Luke spent the evening distracting me from studying, with much more compelling and delightful topics than WW2 history..and way more fun.. and Troy and Kieran cooked me dinner and made me laugh so hard it hurt the night before, right before Paul called for the first time in eons. My stomach and soul jumped this afternoon when I got a text from Nadina saying “we should make SALSA next week”… a day cooking and a day with Nadina is like soulfood in and of itself.

And I already mentioned how wonderful it was to visit with Nana, but I forgot to say how special it was to share some quiet moments with my aunties Cornelia, Anita, Tanya and my mom while they came down to play-nurse for their mom; or how wonderful people like Alicia, aunties Monika and Sylvia have been in rearranging their lives in a way to accommodate the recent events (and continually envelope their ‘stray’ nieces into their homes). I am waiting patiently for auntie Carolene’s visit in April.

Mom and Jayme were here for the week and if there is any evidence of heartstrings-tied-tight, it’s written all over my heart whenever they (or I) have to leave. My sister Marli called me and we hadn’t talked to each other in ages, and I couldn’t tell you how cherished and worthy I felt by hearing her affirmation in my life that I might be doing okay. Or how I grinned when Jes e-mailed me to ask me to come visit, sometimes feeling wanted matters so much to me. I think my heart actually swelled when her sister in law, Amy, sent me a photo of the sweet baby that she’ll be having in the summer. And I just adore the other mama-to-be, Chrissy, for giving me a place in her and Trav’s lives.

I miss Ang way too much, long for coffee with Billiejean, and think life could very likely be complete if Megan lived in the bedroom beside me and Leanne upstairs, down the hall. When life affords me moments to check blogs and ‘check in’ on everyone, I head to see what Avey and Michelle have been up to first before making sure Chelsey and Maya had a good day, as they always seem to do!  I simply love making conversation with random people on the street or in coffee shops or class who seem to nestle their way into my corner of the world. Or reconnecting to find the heartstrings never to fade away.

And I need to save a whole chapter on my blog for the ways Kyla continually touches my life with her friendship and kindness and wisdom and unending patience (and hilarious dates with her husband).

(I kinda got carried away, and I didn’t miss people intentionally, by any stretch what-so-ever, I was just trying to make a point).

The point I am trying to get at is that every time I invest something in someone, and feel they’ve invested in me, I have given them a piece of my heart that I don’t mind being without. I love the feeling that family, friends, and new faces in my life do to my soul. I remember once Jes asked me what I was passionate about and I didn’t have an answer for her. But I think it’s people. (Am I allowed to be passionate about people?) I would way rather spend an evening hearing your heart, sharing my own, and embracing you with my heartstrings than anything else — especially if there is coffee involved. I love how worthy it makes me feel that I am a part of something greater, something invaluable, something more intricate and intimate and intensely personal other than myself — I get to play a small role in your lives which is something I do not take for granted for a second. I could spend a whole jar-of-cinnamon-hearts worth of time listing people and things that have touched me and taken a piece of my heart in the last week, or in the last few years, and continually stoke the flame of my greatest passion, but I think I will share it with them first.

I just thought you might like to know that my heartstrings are tied tight around you, and I am in awe, as always, at the people I get to love in my life. It’s very much a privilege and I love that you can have a piece of me…because as hard as it can be to share my heart and my flaws, I know with you, it means I’ve gotten a piece of your hearts just for me– heartstrings woven ever-so-close and threaded deep within my soul.

To my soul friends, you are loved and cherished and appreciated. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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joshua radin

I’ve been listening to Joshua Radin for about 5 years now, before he was a relatively ‘big deal’ so now that I heard him on the tele today, I thought I would share him a bit. He’s seriously such a treat. Find all of his tunes.

Here’s lyrics to “Winter”

I should know who I am by now
I walk the record stand somehow
Thinkin’ of winter
The name is the splinter inside me
While I wait

And I remember the sound
Of your November downtown
And I remember the truth
A warm December with you

But I don’t have to make this mistake
And I don’t have to stay this way
If only I would wake

The walk has all been cleared by now
Your voice is all I hear somehow
Calling out winter
Your voice is the splinter inside me
While I wait

And I remember the sound
Of your November downtown
And I remember the truth
A warm December with you
But I don’t have to make this mistake
And I don’t have to stay this way
If only I would wake

I could have lost myself
In rough blue waters in your eyes
And I miss you still

Oh I remember the sound
Of your November downtown
And I remember the truth
A warm December with you
But I don’t have to make this mistake
And I don’t have to stay this way
If only I would wake

I also saw a delightful duet between Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz this morning on Ellen. That was a fun event as well.

…nothing, though, makes up for the agony Luke and I were feeling on Saturday with not getting to see Bryan Adams. I think that he might’ve been just humouring my pain, but yea. That was a letdown.


my nana

"Love, and say it with your life."

"Love, and say it with your life."

Life comes at you so fast sometimes, it’s hard to catch your breath when it is all said and done. A number of weeks ago, Nana had an open heart surgery here in Victoria and her recovery period has made me learn things and appreciate more about her.

A couple weeks ago, I spent the whole day with her and she was the best that day than I had seen her since the surgery and it was amazing. From heated discussions (and I mean really, really heated) about President Obama and all things politics, God and trust, family, heart aches for home, my future, and just the occasional flip to ‘Price is Right’ on the TV, I’ve felt like I truly have gotten to know her over the last few weeks, connect with her…particularly that day, and it was a total God-thing.

For example, did you know that Nana’s dream to have a large family (9 kids!) started during the WW2 era when she was working in a orphaned children’s home? The home was atop a large hill and when storms hit, the children would gather into her bed in her room of this house and they would wait out the crashes of thunder and lightning together. It was with this piled of children in her bed that she started to dream of having some of her own. And it was so neat to hear her explain it and to see her eyes as she remembered those days for me.

When I asked her which one of her grandkids she thought would have the most kids of their own, she kind of blushed and said ‘I don’t know’… yet those of us in the room settled on Stef. hehe 🙂

Nana is a superhero because she delivered my mom on her own in the little old cabin they lived in. She’s also a superhero because she’s the greatest prayer warrior I know and ever will know. She can name all of us grandkids, greatgrandkids, in-laws, and others by name and prays for each of us all of the time, everyday, with no question that Jesus hears her.

One of Nana’s closest friends is one of my closest friend’s mom. Somehow that gives us something to talk about when there’s not really much to say. It makes me wish sometimes that the four of us could hang out together, drinking espresso and hearing more stories. Or that I could just hang out with Nana and have nothing to say at all.

I watched a movie recently that strongly portrayed life and love. I left the theatre coming undone at the power of both of those things. For life is meant to be lived, literally, yet what is it without love? Any kind of love. Of lovers or friends or children or sunsets or passions or desires or whatever. Each cord of life has tremendous beauty and intricacy that love has to find its way there. Otherwise, what is the point?

Nana, with her stubbornness and age, sense of humour and quiet calm, reverent faith, experience and bravery, gentleness and mercifulness, grace and perserverance… somehow recaptured my heart in the moments of transferred care: I got to look after her. And in some small way, God was whispering that life has come full circle and He is to be truly and miraculously celebrated in this. I know that it was hard for her to be dependent on us for awhile, but I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. I am sure I could talk myself in circles over this, but I just learnt a pretty valuable lesson through spending time, and remembering, with my Nana… she has the connected life and love way of doing things figured out. I hope that I inherited some of that in myself. And I sure don’t mind being her prayer warrior for a change; it’s really too bad that she got better and had to go back to Smithers! 🙂