Guest Post – Pursuit of Passion

Toni’s friend from college and fellow marketing grad, Krista joins us today for her first blog post with the Sisterhood!

So I have been laid off from work for over five months now. Yeah…still hard to say it.

Your work becomes part of your identity. People meet you and they say “so, what do you do?” or “where do you work?”. For some reason having to say you have been laid off can feel like a failure. I got down on myself, spent a number of days having a Netflix binge and seeing 5 pm roll around feeling so unproductive. Another failure.

I wasn’t fully happy at my old job. I wasn’t used to my full potential and felt where I did excel, they didn’t need me. Don’t get me wrong, having a job is great. You get to talk to people, finish something, work on projects, have that team atmosphere, get paid…all that good stuff. But what I have failed to realize is how important passion is. Passion drives all of us and unfortunately I had put mine in the back seat.

Slowly, I have been trying to work at discovering what I am passionate about. Finding tasks, projects, or events (or parts of them) that really light that fire inside of me. Get that inspiration going that makes you feel on top of the world. So I started keeping tabs on what makes me feel that way:

I know I love helping and doing random acts of kindness

To me I find helping people so selfish. I get this high from doing it that I have never experienced anywhere else. I have always been like that. Whether it be sending gifts at Christmas to families that can’t afford toys for their kids, buying coffee for strangers and having a conversation with them, always being there for my friends (any time, any place), complimenting people, holding doors, waiting for CAA to arrive to help a stranger who locked their keys. I never expect anything in return and it is shocking how many people are surprised. What I do know is that one act of kindness has a ripple effect. Not just for the other person but for myself too. I knew I needed to volunteer more to experience this more often. I am organizing the kids area at this year’s Waterloo Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk. This is a whole new world for me, but I have already met some amazing people and couldn’t be more excited to see how it all turns out. I also volunteer with Victim Services of Waterloo Region as a Crisis Responder. I offered to come into the office to help to get some extra hours in on top of the shifts I take every month. Both these organizations I am passionate about. I am a Type-1 Juvenile Diabetic and have been a victim of robbery at gunpoint. I know why both these organization exist and it gives me so much satisfaction being able to help in areas that I am really passionate about.

I know I love being creative

I have always been that person, trying new art projects, taking classes or just randomly grabbing a paint brush and hitting the canvas. I started being more creative. I got out my old jewelry making supplies and made some necklaces, I painted a few pictures, I started colouring, and taking photos. I realized that I love creating something that has no guidelines. Something purely personal that probably only I will ever see. I know I could never make a living with it but I know now that I need to keep the creativity in my life. It is something that lights that fire of passion inside me.

creative

Garden creativity at its best!

I know I love connecting with myself

I took a yoga class. Yoga is an activity that gets me back to the present. It keeps me focused on the here and now. Not what was or what could be. I realized in my funk of being laid off that I was focusing too much on the past and the future. What good is that going to do me? I guess it was something to think about while zoning out on another One Tree Hill episode. That cycle had to stop. I know that wherever life leads me that I need something to keep me grounded and focused in the present. I could spent a lot of wasted energy in the past or the future while my present becomes the past….something I can’t change.

I know I love animals

Spending so much time with our dog Wallabee has been AMAZING – do I ever love that guy! When they say petting a dog reduces stress, they were not kidding. There is something about that wet nose on your lap and that wagging tail that makes me so happy. Wallabee and I were close before but being home all day with him as made our bond so much closer. He got sick the other night and when he came back to bed he wanted to cuddle up right next to me (and not my boyfriend which I think made him mildly jealous lol). Melted my heart. I need animals in my life – it lights that fire, plain and simple. That unconditional love you receive is like nothing else.

Wallabeeeeeeeee ♥

Wallabeeeeeeeee ♥

I know I love baking

I started making pies, cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. There is something therapeutic to me about mixing things together and out come these delicious treats. That not only taste good, but you can make them look good. I get to be creative and make treats! The fact that I get so excited about it leads me to believe I have some serious passion for it. It makes me so happy to see how much people love my baking. I sent some cookies off to my boyfriend’s work and someone asked for the recipe. I was so proud and then realized that I really improvised the recipe….now to try and recall what I did…uh-oh. But I knew that feeling of passion is inside when I have the oven on and the house smells delicious.

Yeah, I did that :)

Yeah, I did this 🙂

Finding a life full of passion is more than a job. I am looking at this lay off as an opportunity to figure out what I need in my life to feel fulfilled on all levels. It is unlikely I will find a job that incorporates all of the above. What I do know is that it has to have passion. I need to keep checking in on myself and ask “what do I need?”. I need to ensure that no matter what job I end up at that I remember what is important and it is not the pay cheque. I am truly lucky to have a really supportive and loving boyfriend who wants me to get the right job, not just any job (did I mention I am passionate about him? I totally am). When I have days full of all the things I am passionate about I notice an immense difference of what comes my way. The positivity from people is almost overwhelming. I want that feeling every day of my life.

I am a 29 year old woman on the pursuit of passion and I wouldn’t have had this chance if I wasn’t laid off.

~ Krista

 If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

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WVS Gift Guide for the Geek

Oh, it’s coming.

Can you feel it?

The Christmas season is ramping up. And that means that Christmas shopping is beginning…or, if you’re one of those people, it’s over already and you’re sitting under your cozy blanket, sipping your cocoa, watching Christmas movies smugly while the rest of us are still in brainstorming mode.

Here at the Sisterhood, we’re in full Christmas mode. Some of the sisters and babies went to the local Santa Claus parade this past weekend, we’ve made plans to decorate a tree together, as has been the tradition for the past few years, and sugarplum visions are definitely dancing.

Lillian and Sophie with their boosters

Lillian and Sophie with their boosters

So, what to get the loved ones in your life? The hard-to-buy-for? The have-everythings? We’re here to help! For the next few weeks, each sister will give you a gift guide to help cross people off your list or add stocking stuffers you might not have thought of.

My gift guide is for the geek in your life, the kid that never grew up, the adult who loves their toys – a.k.a. Ben.

It’s tough buying for a geek when you are not a geek yourself. If you don’t speak Warhammer or Game of Thrones or Star Wars, what the heck do you do, short of asking for a detailed, specific list, including where to buy such things?

And Ben is like most geeks: he’s particular. He likes what he likes and nothing else. This can be a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, you can’t just go to Google, type in ‘gifts for geeks’ and pick something willy-nilly. You’ve got to know your stuff. In fact, when I was coming up with this gift guide, I had to ask him clarifying questions about which games he played and what systems he subscribed to. Geeks are TOUGH. But, it also means they have likes – there’s nothing worse than trying to buy for someone who just doesn’t care. My biggest tip? Before purchasing anything, double check what you should be buying. You don’t want to get a Star Trek hoodie just to discover your geek likes Star Wars. TRUST ME.

For my geek, I wanted to get things that could be useful and fun – we have kids and limited funds, so purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of miniature-painting items make no sense. He has no time, our babies would eat everything, and I want more bang for my buck.

Ben likes to build things. If Isaac were older, we’d totally have Lego building parties, but since we’re still in Lego-can-kill-the-baby stage, we are firmly in Mega Bloks land. But, saying we were in the tiny building block stage, I would totally get Ben some Lego.

Like this Lego Minecraft set. I asked him which one and he said The Forest. And then he started to hum and ha about it. So, I’d get him a couple. And then maybe a gift card for more. Because what do I know?!

Lego Minecraft - The Forest

Lego Minecraft – The Forest

Something I do know about is coffee. This Build-On Brick Mug is perfect for the block lover on your list. It’s practical (CAFFEINE) and fun! It also works with whatever block set you have, so you don’t have to buy new blocks to work with your new mug. Win-win.

Build-On Brick Mug

Build-On Brick Mug

Beyond Lego, I can see Ben and our babies (after they’re all done swallowing screws and small parts) building other things together, like this catapult. I’m not saying I would condone such projects, but I think they’d have an absolute blast putting something like this together and then shooting things across the house. At me. Maybe this shouldn’t be on the gift list.

Catapult Kit

Catapult Kit

My geek LOVES t-shirts. Would wear them all day, every day, if his job didn’t require a collar. This t-shirt is totally him – it’s graphic, doesn’t have a crazy saying on it that he couldn’t wear everywhere, and it’s from The Big Bang Theory, one of his favourite shows.

Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, anyone?

Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, anyone?

He also likes to cook. And he’s in charge of all the knives in our house (read: I can’t be trusted). I saw this knife set and knew it was over the top. And expensive. But, if money were no object and I didn’t care about our home decor (I legitimately don’t – my design ethic is ‘won’t kill yourself walking around’), this would be the knife block I would get him. Note that it’s Star Wars and NOT Star Trek.

Star Wars X-Wing Knife Block

Star Wars X-Wing Knife Block

Maybe he could whip up a fitting lunch to go in this geeky lunch bag. Chemistry, anyone?

Periodic Lunch Bag

Periodic Lunch Bag

To go with his super nerdy lunch, Ben could also take this scientist-fueled calendar, based on the popular Mythbusters show, and put it on his desk at work. A myth busted every day? With scientific explanations? GEEK-HEAVEN. Maybe not great for productivity, though…

Mythbusters Page-A-Day Calendar

Mythbusters Page-A-Day Calendar

Ben and his family love playing board games together. It’s a little daunting playing with them since they have been doing it for so long and have this secret language and code, especially when playing Clue (I’m SO out of my league!). Ben and I have been having weekly date nights and for some of them we play a game or two. The last game we played was chess, whereby Ben whooped my butt a hundred times. The board we used is mine from high school and it’s missing a pawn, the felt is wearing, and the board is starting to fall apart. I love the look of this board, it folds up nice and small, and would be a welcome upgrade to the ghetto one we have.

Vintage Chess Set  - so Ben can kick  my ass in style!

Vintage Chess Set – so Ben can kick my ass in style!

His love and skill for chess stems from his number-minded brain. I work in words, he works in digits, sums, and math (gross). This numbers puzzle would be right up his alley. Not mine.

Aristotle's Number Puzzle

Aristotle’s Number Puzzle

My geek also has the weird addition of being a jock. And that piece of his nerdom can’t be ignored. He’s an avid football (NFL, not European) fan, and specifically LOVES the Baltimore Ravens (something about defenses and his high school football career and other stuff). He also likes biking, as in, bicycling to work. This backpack would be perfect – branded with his team and big enough to carry all of his work clothes so he’s not sweaty and gross all day.

Baltimore Ravens Black Trooper Backpack

Baltimore Ravens Black Trooper Backpack

I almost wish that I hadn’t already bought Ben his Christmas present this year (Toni, Jacqui and I are taking our football-loving boys to a Baltimore Ravens game in December!), because I would definitely be getting him items off of this list. Ah well, there’s always next year!

~ Julia