Many moons ago, buried somewhere in the depths of the archives of this space, I wrote about how Matthew told me, “Everything you touch turns to gold.” He was not wrong. It has been the story of my life.

It was a perfect storm for success: A gifted student, who skipped third grade and who exceeded academically through high school and post-secondary. Parents who told me that I could to anything. Anything. Being a pretty girl with big blue eyes and fantastic hair  (I love my hair! I own that) gave me extra privilege, once I stopped being a chubby girl with poor fashion choices.

I also have white privilege. That last one has been simmering in the background since long before the US election and, oh. I have so much to say about that, and I will. I just need to get back to why I blew the dust off of my keyboard. In the meantime, may I point you to my friend Kelly? If you don’t know Kelly, you should. And check out her site Being Black at School. Go.

Back to me and the last…year? A good year and a half. So many changes, and so many things I would use writing as therapy for but I couldn’t and so it was all stuffed inside. A while back friends were linking to a quiz that rated how likely you were to have a nervous breakdown. Moving, job changes, cancer in the family, and so many other things I checked off and I can’t remember the exact result, but it was something along the lines of, HOW ARE YOU STILL FULLY CLOTHED AND IN YOUR RIGHT MIND?

I also lost that feeling that I’d always had — that everything would be good. It’s always good, because I am Angella and it always is. Everything that I touch turns to gold! It’s what happens. Until it doesn’t.

I threw out my internal furniture, and set the remaining things on fire. I was left empty. I had nothing left. Nothing. It was terrifying and freeing at the same time.

I have been taking time to re-furnish my soul and it looks good in there. Sparse, but thoughtfully decorated. No more clutter, and space for the things that need to be added.

Now that my internal house is back in order, everything is falling into place once again. I feel that God gave me a kick in the pants (through some humans I love) to move in a direction. I have always believed that if you move toward a door, it will either be closed or it will be open. My doors are being blown WIDE OPEN.

I know that I’m back on my right path, and it feels good.

Details to follow, soon.

*** NEEDTOBREATHE, of course. I see them live again next month and I cannot wait to sing along with all of my being. Their words speak to my every day.

Winter sky
I’ve been a runner for quite a few years now, and I run three days a week. This is the 5th winter that I keep my running routine outdoors, because I hate running on a treadmill (and I love the outdoors!). Truth be told, I prefer winter running to summer running because your body temperature doesn’t go through the roof.

That said, it is COLD here again. I swapped out two of my runs this week for power walks with a friend because it’s too dark to navigate the icy roads at my running pace. But today! Today I was off work early and the temperature had “warmed up” (-11 Celsius, not including windchill) and there was still daylight. My body was itching to run, so I bundled up and headed out.

For the first 2 km my face hurt and tears streamed from my eyes and my fingers turned to icy blocks inside my gloves. But then! Then my body warmed up and the next 4 km were as good as it gets when you’re wearing YakTrax and navigating icy roads.

I’m home now, and feeling a little bit badass. And also a little bit woozy.

Nathan and Emily both took up baseball two years ago and loved it. They loved it so much that they played it again this past spring at their respective age levels. Nathan then tried out for the Penticton summer rep team, made it, and they went on to play at Provincials. Nathan is now playing Peewee AA fall ball with the same (amazing) coaches he had this summer and they have some weekend tournaments coming up.

We are officially a baseball family.

I grew up in a hockey family and Matthew was/is a basketball superstar, so this whole baseball thing has been a big learning curve. We’re catching on, with the help of our young baseball fanatics. Every Blue Jays game is on our big screen T.V. with all three of our kids completely engrossed in it. (Graham may not have picked up the same love of playing baseball, but he sure does love watching it and cheering on the Jays.)

During one of the Jays games, we decided to look up when they next played in Seattle. Flying the five of us across the country to Toronto is more expensive than taking our family to Mexico, but Seattle is close enough for us to drive to. We took in a Jays/Mariners game last year and it was more than worth the drive down to see them. There were three games scheduled for this September, with the second game being at night and the third game being held during the next day. Two games and only one night’s cost of staying at a hotel? SOLD.

If you followed along on Instagram or Facebook, this is old news, but here are some photo highlights from the trip:

Safeco stadium

The field

If you get to the stadium when they open the gates, you can run down to centre field and watch the teams practice. If there’s batting practice, kids can collect the stray baseballs. There wasn’t batting practice before the day game, but after warming up, a number of the players walked along and gave autographs.

Dermody Estrada and the crowd Estrada Grilli

To say that my kids were thrilled is a gross understatement.

(I got a text from my Uncle Tim as we were driving home that he saw me on the highlight reel standing behind the kids as they got their autographs. Neat.)

Day 2 Seats

It was a very quick trip: We were away from home for exactly 39 hours, took in two baseball games and managed about eight hours of sleep on Tuesday night. Having teens/preteens may have its challenging times (emotionally), but travelling with them is a billion times easier than when they were wee. We all had the best time and this is looking to be the second annual of many more annual trips for our family to cheer on our favorite ball team in person.

Team Dykstra

Team Dykstra

The Beach

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a pretty repetitive feed of blue skies and water. I’m working shorter hours for the summer so that I can take the kids to the beach. It means that less money is going into my bank account, but it also means that less money is going out to pay for things like camps and whatnot to keep the I’m Bored complaints at bay. Bonus: I get to go to the beach and read books/flip through magazines while my kids frolic in the water. Everybody wins.

We had talked about whether we should go on a family vacation somewhere, but we live in the Okanagan for crying out loud. It’s where people from all over B.C. and Alberta come to spend their summer holidays. Why would we leave? Plus, we have Apex to go to if we want to escape the heat (Higher altitude) and take a break from our daily return at home.

The kids have embraced summer as well and are at the stage where they sleep over at friends’ houses or friends sleep over here and I can have a Suburban full of beach bums, or I can be down to only one of my own beach bums to hang out with. That happened today, with Graham and Nathan out with their respective friends. Emily and I took the opportunity to rent a couple of stand up paddle boards for an hour and get out on the lake.


So fun.

Happy! August, friends. Soak it up before September comes and lazy days are just a distant memory.

Header Image

GHES marathon 2016

We live in a small town (Population 11,000 ish) that consists of many retirees, as well as many young families. It may look like your average sleepy little hamlet, but anyone who lives here — or even visits –will tell you that there’s something special about our community. A large part of that is reflected in how we take care of each other.

Volunteering is something that is woven into the fabric of our town, and it’s not just those with political aspirations or retirement “free time” who volunteer. Entire families volunteer their time and the kids love it. Here are a few kid-friendly volunteer ideas if you’re wondering how to get your family involved.

1. Your local food bank. I was on the board of our food bank for a few years and would take shifts in the store. My kids loved to come with me and help people shop. If that’s not your comfort zone, food banks are always in need of people to help sort food and stock shelves. If you have teenagers, that age group will dress up on Halloween and trick or treat for canned goods. They get to channel their inner little kid, and the food bank gets extra donations.

2. Sporting events. We live in an area that is full of active people. Our town hosts some pretty big sporting events (5K and 10K races, triathlons, mountain bike races, a long boarding competition, etc.) and neighboring communities host event bigger events (I.e. Iron Man). Sign your family up for any number of ways to help out and in addition to making participants smile and boosting your town’s reputation and economy, you might even get a t-shirt or other souvenir out of the deal.

3. A soup kitchen. I was at a conference in the spring where we split into different volunteer groups. My group went to the Salvation Army where we helped prepare the food, and then served it. It was AMAZING. Last week, my eldest son and members of his youth group went to a soup kitchen in a nearby city to serve dinner and when he returned, he talked my ear off about how fun it was and how he can’t wait until they go back in a few weeks.

How do you and your family volunteer? I’d love to try something new with our family.


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