Me and Hills!

I’ve attended Blissdom Canada every year since it began. I’ve been a speaker, an ambassador, and a community leader. When I got an email about the offshoot ROAM event happening in Kelowna, I was amazed that a (non) conference was going to be in my area of the Okanagan. I knew that it was something I had to be a part of, because everything related to Blissdom is amazing. This was a different concept, with only 40-ish people, but I was pretty sure I was on board. Then Hillary texted me to ask if I was going to attend and then I signed up immediately. Because, Hillary. (It was her first conference (non-conference) and I was so happy to have her as a roommate.)

The timing was the best, and the worst. I signed up before our house sold, and the conference started on the Sunday after our house sale closed. There was so much to do, but I had done so (too) much. It was great to stay in a nice hotel and talk with creative people and escape the turbulence of our daily life for two days. It was two days of sitting with people in our one (non) conference room, of walking to local businesses for presentations, of talking over breakfast and lunch, and of sitting in the pool with these amazing people and laughing from my gut.

I would write all of the nitty gritty details, but Angelique and Tiffany and Christine and Merry all have posts that summed up what I want to remember and run with.

Another highlight for me was meeting Dai Manuel and his wife Christie for a Monday morning run and workout. It was them, me, Gillian (World traveler!), and Alex (Instagram fashion queen!). We ran 1 mile (1.5 km, everyone not American) and then he talked about HIT (High Intensity Training). We would do 30 seconds of a cardio workout, followed by 30 seconds of rest. The rest time was a plank. THAT’S NOT RESTING, DAI. We ran stairs and did jumping jacks and lunges and burpees. BURPEES. While “resting” in between with planks. Hillary had been sad that she forgot her runners at home but when I returned to the room and told her what Dai made us do, she was no longer sad.

(Thanks for pushing us, Dai and Christie. I hope to work out with you again one day.)

I’m hoping that ROAM happens again next year, and that some of you lovelies join us. (Not sponsored, I just loved every single minute.)

Goodnight, moon

The past six weeks have been, hands down, the hardest six weeks of my life. We sold our house (an acreage) and had four weeks to get out. 3,000 square feet, 3 acres, and 14 years of stuff. That is no small task, especially when you work full-time, your husband works full-time, and he’s also taking Masters courses. There were many other bumps along the way, some of which you’ve heard about on Facebook, and some of which don’t need to be shared on Facebook. To sum it up, every day a bomb (or three) dropped and while I cried a lot (I’m a crier), it got to the point where when another bomb dropped, I just started laughing. Because OF COURSE my work computer would blow up when people were waiting for financial reports.

(That is one teeny, tiny example of the many things that went sideways and upside down and then exploded in a fire bomb.)

(But then I cried, because I’m a crier.)

We sold our house, which is what we wanted to do, and felt we were supposed to do. It took eight months, not because there was anything wrong with our house, but because it takes a certain type of person who wants to live on an acreage in the mountains behind our wee town. Those people came along and I know that they’re going to love raising their kids there.

Getting out was an enormous task. We had crews of human angels who packed our house contents and played Tetris with our storage container and cleaned everything. On the last Monday there were fifteen men and a few ladies who descended to cram the container and take stuff to the dump and bring shop tools to store at their property and made me believe that we would get it done. Our church family is so great in any situation. You need help? WE’RE ON IT.

The last night at the house, we ate pizza on the deck with the other Dykstras, and I walked the the kids through the house to say goodbye. It’s the only home I’ve ever owned, and the only home they’ve ever known. It was so hard to say goodbye to our home. The home that Daddy made ours. The kids cried all the way into town as we headed in to our temporary accommodations.

(We’re staying in a basement suite near the school until the end of the school year, then will be living at Apex until we have a new home.)(All of this uncertainty is fun!)(Not fun.)(Living out of a suitcase for weeks on end is also no fun.)

I know we made the right choice to sell in order to be in town. The kids are loving their new independence. They walk to and from school, they walk to the playground when they’re bored, they’re connecting more with friends and hanging out with them outside of school. This is where we both want and need to be.

I just want a home. My home. Our home. A place to unload our container and to hang clothes in the closet and put pictures on the wall and to build memories. We have something in the works, and if you could pray for the process to play in our favor, that would be amazing.

GHES Marathon 2015

I’ve written about the “marathon” at my kids’ elementary school a number of times, and my April post about the kickoff sums it up pretty well. Last Friday was the last two laps to complete their 42.2 km to complete the marathon, though many kids ran many more laps than were required because they wanted to run. I love it.

It was my first year being completely in charge of the logistics, but I have the most amazing team (I’m looking at you, Jenny, Kathy, and Darcy) who did as much — nay, more — than I did to make it all come together. The sponsors we got on board last year came back, and we even had some new ones, which meant that every kid, teacher, sponsor, and volunteer got a sweet shirt of the best quality.

Marathon shirts!
Pretty shirts aside, the entire event had me smiling. Kids are being active, be it running or walking, and loving it. The race atmosphere of the chute (Thanks, Peach City Runners!), saw kids high-fiving other students as they finished their laps.

The finish line!


(That’s me and Emily crossing the finish line above.)

As we did last year, we had our school race day on the Friday of Summerland’s ActionFest weekend. Since my friend Alana started the GHES school marathon three years ago, the number of kids entering the 5.4K run or triathlon has exploded, with a few kids running the 10K. Matthew walked the 5.4 K route (His achilles is healing!) with Emily and Graham.

Team Dykstra!

Nathan ran the 10K last year with a time of 1:12 and wanted to run it again this year and beat that time. It was hot this year (34 Celsius/94 F) but we have angels in our community who sit in their driveways and spray you down with garden hoses in between water stations. God bless them. (At the water stations, we would drink one cup of water and pour one cup of water over our heads.)

Nathan (Age 10!) has a new personal best of 1:09, without training for it beyond the school marathon. He’s a Sporto. And a rock star.

Mr. 10K

I love that we live in an active community, and that our wee town comes out in full force to run, to volunteer, to sponsor, to cheer, and to hose you down when the temperature feels like the surface of the sun. Summerland wins.

I have been one to capture moments since I was a teen with a Polaroid and a tiny Canon point-and-shoot of the film variety. I have albums full of me and my friends during my teenage and college years. Once I became a CPA, I treated myself to an SLR as a commencement present (Also with actual film) that was (and is) a Canon (I still have it). As our family expanded and digital quality got better, I was swayed to give up the film camera for a Canon Rebel DSLR camera. When shooting using the manual settings ‘clicked’, I upgraded to a Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera and a few lenses that I love (and one I still hope to get).

I find that the Canon brand is intuitive and recommend it to anyone who asks. I love it so much that there’s a wee page up top called ‘About My Camera‘ that I’ve had on my blog for, oh, eight years or so. The lenses I have (and the one I want) are listed on their site, but I will tell you that the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens is my “every day” lens and the 50mm 1/4 is a really fun lens to shoot with. The EF 16-35 mm 2.8 IS USM lens is AMAZING, from what I’ve seen. After looking at the lens candy on their site, I think my wish list may have expanded.

Canon has asked if I would partner with them and I said yes, of course. All they asked of me is to share some tips with expecting and new Moms. I do that often in real life and in posts online, so this was a no-brainer. New and expecting Moms, I’m here to help you capture the little moments.

1. Keep your camera handy. My camera’s home is on the island in my kitchen, and has been there for the past 12 years. Moments happen and they will be gone by the time you dig your camera out of its case/your purse. You see a great moment happening, you grab your camera, and BOOM. Moment captured.

2. Composition. The ‘Rule of Thirds’ may sound like math, but I’ll make it simple. Take a photo that is off-center.

Off Center

3. Get in close. Whether it’s a newborn foot or hand, or a toddler’s sweet face, get in close and you’ll love the result.

Baby foot

4. Pay attention to the background. Remove any piece of clutter that takes away from your photo.

Cluttered Background

5. Keep clicking. The joy of digital photography is that you can shoot photos rapid-fire at no cost. Click away, and when you have time to sit down and look at the photos, you delete what you don’t like and save the rest. (An insider secret — you only share your best work. We all take photos that are not great, but we weed them out to get those money shots.)

Keep Clicking

Do you have any questions about capturing moments? I have three kids and many photos and posts about photography. I love to help people take great shots and I want to help you too!


We sat on the deck of the only home we’ve ever owned — a home that we took from a seventies special to something so much more, a home that we made our own and that all of our babies came home from the hospital from, and I’m just going to stop with The Feels right about now — and we thought we should take one last family photo on site. Jennifer (She of The Other Dykstras) thought we should recreate one of our first family photos of the five of us.

From 2007:


From 2015:


The moral of this story is that Matthew and I have aged and our kids are now pre-teenagers and too big to sit on our laps and when did that happen, exactly?


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