Monday, 31 March 2014

Show you care, buy fair trade

Hello fellow world changers! Today I want to spend some time talking to you about fair trade and ethically sourced products. Fair trade is basically buying products like  chocolate, coffee, clothing, shoes, and jewelry that are made overseas for a fair living wage, in safe conditions, and not under any for of slavery. I started to get into fair trade buying when I got more interested in learning about the slave trade and human trafficking. After realizing how many people in this world are currently oppressed I knew I needed to become a consumer that does not validate the actions of slavery, and cheap consumerism. Let me give you an example, the bracket in the picture above is one that I bought from Free the Children. Free the Children got the bracelet made my Mama's living in the Massai Mara in Kenya. Those Mama's are giving a fair wage for their product, the supplies they need to make them, and safe working conditions to make the product. My braclet was then pal cages and shipped to canada so I could buy it and support the Mama's as well as the charity Free the Children. I know there is a lot of push back about fairtrade as buying things may be more expensive or harder to find but I promise you, knowing that you are helping someone less fortunate while still getting the things you want is a good feeling. As a consumer I buy fair trade coffee, t shirts, hoodies, jewelry, and tea. The first step to becoming a more conscious consumer is to educate yourself. Look into the brands you support see where and how their products are made. If you find that a particular brand has been associate with slavery look for alternatives. Once you understand the basics of slavery and fair trade the next step would be to explore ethically sourced products. Since I've been into buying fair trade I have accumulated a list of places that I like to buy from that I know do not use slave labour to create their products. This step takes a little bit of work, and research but there are some amazing companies (that I will list bellow) that you can buy from and support. The last step to becoming a more ethical shopper is spread the message. It's really awesome that you choose to buy fair trade, but pass it on. Explain where your shirt was made, and how other people can get involved. Most people that I talk to have no idea that they even have these options to buy ethically sourced products. I hope you all enjoyed this post, and have a great time find your own favourite fair trade products. 

Micayla's personal favourites: 

Friday, 28 March 2014

Presenting, humbling, and hope

This past Tuesday I got the opportunity to present in a grade 2/3 class room about my journey to Kenya this summer. Since I've been back I've been going to schools sharing my story, and how young people can get involved in make a difference in people's lives overseas. I'm not going to lie but I was nervous for this one. Before I went on this journey I was an awful public speaker, but since I've been back I feel rather content as I am sharing my story, and something I care about therefore I am at ease because I just need to be myself. This presentation was a little bit different as I was the "special guest" in my little brothers classroom. It's hard to speak to a group of little kids about issues that are so complex and dark in this world, but at the same time it is so exciting to know that we are at a point where we can educate kids this young about the problem our world faces. I got up there, and like every other time I do I shared my story, and the kids just loved it. It was a humbling moment to see a group of kids no older than nine get so excited and pumped up to learn about the lives of people they have never met. Kids like this give me hope that our world isn't such a bad place and that we can have faith in generations coming up to step up and change this world. Usually people look down on young people because they are incapable and not willing to step up, but if we give them the chance who knows what they will do. I closed off my presentation by answering a question of "what can we do to help?" This is the kind of world that I want to be apart of, young people (no matter how young) can make a difference, we will be the change. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

5 reasons why I love Starbucks

Amongst many of the things I like Starbucks would make a very high position on that list. I feel like people either love Starbucks or hate it. If you were to hate it you would complain about how over priced every there is, and how that the line ups are too long, and that you can get just as good of coffee next door for $3 cheaper. So to combat all of those valid arguments to why Starbucks sucks I thought I would make a post that list my top 5 reasons for loving Starbucks.

1) Customer Service: So I usually go to the same Starbucks everytime I choose to by a beverage. There is nothing more that I appreciate about a buissness than too notch customer service. Starbucks unlike many other corporate coffee shops goes above and beyond in this area. Everytime I walk in the door of my favourite location I get greeted with a hello, my order is taken and they are quick to recommend a new product, or cater to my specific requests, while my drink is being made usually the barista comes up with some form of small talk, and then I am sent off with a lovely "have an awesome day" (or something to that extent). Customer service makes every buissness more desirable and Starbucks knocks it out of the park on this one. 

2) Hot Drinks: Alright, so during the fall and winter months I generally stick to the hot drinks that Starbucks offers. These are where I find people bring the most criticism. Everyone is quick to brig judgement to the $4 mochas and lattes Starbucks sells but is quick to speak before tasting the quality. I'm one that tries new things, it's just what I do. If in out and there is a coffee shop near by I usually will pop in and grab a mocha or something of that sort. Usually I get an average tasting, watered down beverage that really barely satisfied my love my coffee. I would rather spend more money and get a well made espresso based beverage, than get a cheap mediocre tasting one any day. My favourite hot drinks are the White chocolate mocha, the caramel macchiato, and the caramel flan latte. Seriously though quality or quantity wins for me any day. 

3) The Reason I Go: This point is less about Starbucks itself and more about the meanin behind it in my life. I started going to Starbucks because there was one right beside my church. Every since then Starbucks has become a place where I hang out with the people I'm closest to in my life, my church friends, and small group leaders. That coffee shop is the place where I laugh, hang out, talk about some of my biggest struggles, and get to know the people I love in my life. Starbucks has always been the place for us to just enjoy being with each other over a cup of coffee and sit and listen to each other's stories for hours. I love Starbucks because it's where I became close to some amazing people, which is just great in itself. 

4) Cold Drinks: Like I said earlier I drink hot beverages in the fall and winter, which means in the spring and summer I stick with the cold. I absolutely adore the cold drinks at Starbucks. They have so many unique cold drinks, that keep me hooked all summer long. Above and beyond your normal ice coffee, or I've latte you can try things like iced tea, frappuchinos, or your favourite got drink in an almost better cold form. One thing I am hooked on right now is the Passion Tea Lemonade. This drink is so good, it is made with herbal tea, it is under 100 calories, and it is a great alternative to sugar free iced tea that we normally get which is awesome. I find with the cold drinks there is something for everyone whether it be a coffee base, a tea base, caffeinated or decaffeinated there is something for everyone and it is definitely worth experimenting to find your perfect drink. 

5) Custom Orders: At Starbucks they are very keen on letting you order exactly what you want to order. Unlike many coffee shops, especially cooperate ones the drinks are prepare from a machine so you get little say in what goes in them. At Starbucks you basically have a free reign to decide how you want your drink made, which includes what syrups are used, how much, the amount of espresso, how much ice goes in. You name it. For example if I was ordering a caramel flan latte I would get it with skim milk, half sweet, and extra drizzle on top. Your barista will have no problem making your drink exactly how you pictured it to be. You can also add things to you drinks as well, if I was ordering my usually venti passion tea lemonade I would get it made with half ice, and 2 pumps of raspberry syrup. For you haters of Starbucks, don't bash it until you go and literally get a beverage made exactly how you want it. You get what you pay for, and my money is worth the great service, the memories, and quality of drinks I get from Starbucks. 

Reading assignment- so what?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Six word memoir #6- Me

(1) How does the image and the words fit together?
This six word memoir was kind of a last minute one, it wasn't my original ideas for me. I find myself not ever being into just one thing, but rather having a set of morals and adventuring through what those mean to me in a variety of ways. I see hope in the darkness is actual a set of lyrics from the chorus of a song I wrote called perfect harmony. That song is original and represents my world view as a young person. This song was actually my entry for the PotashCorp youth trip scholarship trip to Kenya, and as you may know I was selected to participate on their first ever scholarship trip overseas. This song connects a lot of aspects of myself together, like music, my trip to kenya, the start of the love praise serve project, and my over all love and longing to make a difference in this world. This image I took last year in photography, and I thought it was a great literal representation of a more metaphorical concept. Symbolically I would like to that spark that lights up a room, and changes this world, and this image does just that. I was in a pitch black room with a lighter and a single flame brought light to the entire frame. I see hope in the darkness, a methaphlrical phrase is brought to life though a very literal visual. 

(3) How did you use punctuation to clarify your message?
Like many of my six word memoirs I kept with a theme of simplicity, conveying powerful message in the simplist way I possibly could. I also took this directly from the lyrics of my song "Perfect Harmony" to keep it as authentic to myself in that moment as I could. To me I still believe that simplicity is the best way to convey a powerful message. I could've put something like: "I see: hope in the darkness." But again that would be turning something rather practical and uncomplicated into something that wants to be sophisticated rather than true to it's meaning, and really that's not my personality. By giving a bare boned structure it allows the viewer to contemplate what is darkness? What is hope? And develop their own personal connection to my personal memoir, creating deeper meaning. A period is not only simple, but to the point, exactly what I was looking for. 

Quick write- Perfect Playground

Quick write: teenagers brain

Monday, 17 March 2014

Just a thought

Ecclesiates 3:11&12 

If it isn't already clear through what I have posted this far on my blog, I am a Chrsitian. I am not ashamed of who I am and what I believe, and I feel as though posting a bible verse as a personal addition would make clear sense as it represents me. So many people I think try to hide what they believe so they can come across as inclusive, but who says you can't do both? A huge misconception of Christianity, and one that may be a reality for many people is that Christians are judgemental hypocrites. Believe it or not it is biblical to love everybody, yes everybody, no matter how their beliefs differ from yours. I'm not here to post about how I believe I as a Christian is better than anybody else, and their belief set, but rather show that I do have a strong world view based around Christianity and that my opinion on others does not change whether they agree or disagree with me. I think a common value for everybody, above all their other rules, beliefs, and guidelines is that love should not stop just because opinions clash. I could write here about how I feel about every single controversial subject, and I could sit here and rant about how I think I'm right, but that would get in the way of being able to show love to others. Love big, and don't allow differences to seperate you from loving others.

Skype mini lesson

(1) What topics did you present?  How did you go about making in "stick" with your audience?
My group presented on punctuation at the skype reading on Thursday. We presented four forms of punctuation, periods, commas, exclamation points, and question marks. We presented using driving as a visual for the different punctuations. I think that it stuck with the kids because they connected different aspects of driving to punctuation. The red light represented a period, stopping the sentence. The yellow light represented a comma, slowing down and pacing a sentence. The green light represented an exclamation point, something abrupt. The question mark was represented by a pot hole, swerving around it and wondering why it is there. I think overall people were receptive to the simplicity that we brought as well as being metaphorical about punctuation. 

(2) How do you feel your mini lesson went? Strengths? Weaknesses?
I think that our mini lesson went off better than we thought it would. Overall I think that it wasn't fantastic but for sure was better than we thought it would be. I think our strengths were the amount of visuals we had, and the interactive aspects we added by allowing the kids to answer the questions that we asked. I think our weakness was just being unprepared, and having to finish our visuals before the skype call instead of having them done earlier. I think we were slightly disorganized in terms of who has what role, but played it off well in the actual lesson. 

(3) What did you learn about the process of teaching and learning?
I think that I learned and understood how much prep goes into making a lesson that sticks with the listener, that makes sense to a different age group than myself, and doing so in a creative and unique way. It's hard to relate to people in different age groups than yourself, and it is difficult to think of an effective way to convey your message when you forget who you are teaching. That was a big take away point for me, learning how to relate to an audience who may have a different understanding than yourself. I remember my first presentation to a group of elementary school kids, and how rough it went because I didn't talk as though I was talking to kids 10 years younger than me, I was speaking as though they had a similar understanding that I would've had... Obviously that would not be one of my best presentations. I think this was a good take away point for me, especially having presentations to younger kids in the future, to remember your audience. 

(4) What should we do next?
I think that it would be a good idea to do a pen pal type thing where we send the kids in Thompson actual letters. As much as I love using technology as a form of quick communication, I still find it more personal to hand write letters to people. It would be fun to do a pen pal assignment where we write to them, and they write back to us. That's really the best idea I have got. 

Six word memoir #5- Love

(1) How does the image and the words fit together?
This photo is more of a literal representation of a more metaphorical concept. What I wanted to achieve with this statement is showing how powerful love is beyond just our own relm of thinking. Love is such a loosely used word and I wanted to allow my viewers to think of love outside of how they see it in our society. Love has the ability to change the world, and to radically change the so corruption our world sees. I took this photo on my family trip to Colorado last spring break, in the Garden of the Gods. I added some effects on Photoshop to make the photo seem more abstract to fit the abstract concept of love. If love can make something as big as mountains move (metaphorically) then we can get a better understanding of how powerful it really is. 

(3) How did you use punctuation to clarify your message? 
So as like many of my other six word memoirs I chose simplicity in terms of sentence structure and punctuation. In order to convey a powerful message you need to do it in a simple way. If you add too many variable suddenly you are more focused on the presentation rather than the message itself. To give rhythm to my sentence I chose the words make and shake because they rhyme and keep consistency within my memoir. With the sentence I chose I don't think that a comma or exclamation point would have been appropriate because there is no specific place that makes sense to put it. Overall I think it was a good choice to stick with a simple period rather than over complicate things with other punctuation. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Six word memoir- #4 Hate

(1) How does the image and the words fit together?
This image that I chose I created from the ground up. I wrote out the hello my name is sticker, photographed it, and edited it to create the effect I was looking for. Right from the start I was going after a mood of darkness and shame. The one thing I hate in this world is injustice especially when it involves children. I wanted people to be exposed to a potentially shocking reality before they read my words which expresses my hate for that reality. If people don't understand there is a problem, then how would you develop a hate for it? I believe this is a dark hate and this image brings a tone of darkness to match my feeling on this issue. Overall I feel like hate is a strong emotion and if you intend on expressing it you need to do so in a way that is expressive, and creative, and not just through aner but through sadness and longing. 

(3) How did you use punctuation to clarify your message?
In this six word memoir I used two forms of punctuation, a period and a coma. Both I believe were necessary in order to convey an impactful message. I think that adding the comma allows the reader to digest the idea that "my heart breaks" those words are rather heavy and I think that it takes time to fully understand what it feels like to have a broken heart. I didn't say my heart is sad, or my heart is rattled, I said my heart breaks. By allowing a place in the sentence for the reader to comprehend the magnitude of those words it brings more impact to the back half of the sentence. Now at the end I explain why my heart breaks, it's "when innocence falls." Again this is a more complex idea, and makes you contemplate what innocence is and what it means when it falls. In the end I put a period because it is a statement, and didn't really need an exclamation point to get a strong point across. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Six word memoir #3- Family

(The photo credit is in the bottom right corner but unfortunately it faded out a little bit too much) 

(1) How does the image and the words fit together?
When I look at this picture I think about this moment of togetherness. A few days ago these people with me were strangers. These people came from all parts of Canada and now we are like family. As important as family in terms genes is, I believe that family comes from who you spend time with, and who you grow together with through experience. I think this picture expresses diversity and shows a group of people coming together with a common mindset and working together to become family to me. I guess this photo highlights the togetherness that the word family would expreses, while highlighting the diversity that the "than just blood" part is talking about. 

(3) How did you use punctuation to clarify your message? 
In this particular case I don't believe I chose a period for a specific reason but rather that there was really no need for any other form of punctuation. A common thread throughout all my six word memoirs is simplicity, and being too the point. I think that this is yet another example of that. I would rather have a more simple sentence structure and stay true to my message than be more abstract and stray away from the true meaning of my words. I believe this picture has a lot to analyze in itself and creates no reason for me to add a complex sentence in order to explain the meaning behind it. 

Six word memoir #2- Growing up

(1) How does the image and the words fit together?
As you may have noticed, this six word memoir does not actually contain a photo. This was an intentional choice of mine so that I could create a contrast between the words and the background, as well as the literal representation of the symbolic phrase. White in this case represents purity, and newness. These words are symbolic of my religious journey growing up, and how Christ has changed me and made me a new person in him. Christianity isn't complex unless you make it complex, just like this picture isn't complex unless you make it complex. In order to make these six words effective I wanted to stay true to the simplicity of it's message. 

(4) How did you use punctuation to clarify your message?
In this particular six word memoir I chose a simple period to convey the message in my six word memoir. I feel as though my message is very to the point and adding comas and semi colons would just take away from what I am trying to say. I think that simplicity in this case is almost symbolic as I believe that Jesus washed my sins away by taking them on the cross with him. I am a messed up person, but because of Christ I have redemption. There is no question about that, there is no If's or stipulations that's it. I am saved period. Simplicity is going back to what Christianity is Jesus saved me, no strings attached, and that is what I chose for this message to convey. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Six word memoir #1- Confession

1) How does the image and the words fit together?
This picture is the most memorable picture I can look back on. When choosing words it was hard to depict the feeling and emotion that this picture contained in only six short words. Ultimately I went with something very simple. This moment and these words wrap up my entire experience over seas by connecting the love I felt for the people in Kenya, the work that I did there, and ultimately my heart still being there because my work in Kenya is yet to be finished. Augustine, the girl in this photo specifically holds a special piece in my heart as she is the one that made me fall in love with serving other people. The idea of leaving your heart somewhere is about having a special connection to a certain place, it's something that will never leave you, something that changed you as a person. My life is for ever changed because of this moment, and these words are just a glance into the emotion I felt in this moment. 

2) What editing techniques did you performed on the photo? Why?
This photo didn't really require a lot of editing but I did use photoshop to enhance the colours, and make the photo more saturated. This photo in particular I placed a heavy value on keeping it as close to the original money as I could. I think that having a raw and realistic aspect to your photo is something that should be valued just as much if not more then adding numerous effects. From there I used my favourite photo editing app Studio to add the words, and the photo credit. Other than those few manipulations there is no difference from the photo to the actual moment. 

(3) How did you use punctuation to clarify your message?
In this particular sentence I chose simplicity over complexity. I think that I chose to end my sentence with a period because I wanted to keep my message clear and refrain from overthinking the meaning of my six word memoir. I wanted people to focus more on how much emotion and love was in the photo rather than dwell on the words themselves. Like famously said a picture says a thousand words, that's exactly the dynamic I am going after. Another reason I chose the simplicity of the period is to portray the childlike and innocent mood of this photo. When you are in an environment that is full of poverty and you get to experience happiness it's hard not to feel childlike, and innocent all over again. Children are simple, and innocence isn't complex if you don't over thinking it, therefore I wanted to stay true to that mood by choosing a single period.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Photo scavenger hunt

So for each collage and each photo I would like to share what it represents, and briefly why I chose the photo. 
1) Alone- this frame is of one of my favourite passages in the bible to read when I feel alone Psalm 69 
2) Love- the second frame is by far my favourite picture I took while in Kenya. This picture reminds me what love really is, and how great love should be. 
3) close-up- this another photo taken in Kenya and I just thought it was an interesting perspective of some wooden giraffes that you would see all over the country. 
4) Hate- this is a graphic I created and basically it states the one thing I hate which is injustice. 27 million is tw number of people who are currently enslaved and that is a number is despise. 
5) Metaphoto- this is a shot of my album cover from the first Love, Praise, Serve CD I made, which is a huge accomplishment and pride of mine. 

1) Friendship- these are some of my most dear friends that I met while in Kenya. I chose this for friendship because I felt that friendship should not depend on distance. 
2) Black and white- my thinking on this photo was what better photo to select than a zebra! I took this picture on safari and just fell in love with it ever since.
3) Passion- for me I think this picture is simple yet encompasses my passion, helping other less fortunate than me but doing that through love, and acts of kindness. 
4) Silhouette- This is yet another picture from my journey to Kenya. If you look closely you can see the outline of the beautiful trees in the Massai Mara, one of the most awe filled moments I've experienced. 
5) Reflection- when I saw the word reflection I thought that I would take it literally as well as symbolic me. This photo is of me looking at myself the way I ideally would like to see myself. I want myself to be the reflection of God's love on earth. 

1) Symbolism- this photo is of a wooden cross and as a Christian the cross is a symbol of many things like love, hope, sacrifice, and it reminds me of Jesus's love for me.
2) Metaphoto/Family- this is a Metaphoto of my family on my Dad's side at our annual New Years Eve party. 
3) Words- these words were written by a young Kenyan girl to motivate her self during the school day, I felt it was inspiring to see such truth in someone with so little. 
4) When I was little- this was a picture of my siblings (minus one who was not born yet). 

1) Talent- I would consider music to be a talent of mine, so I thought this photo of guitar chords would be a good depiction of music. 
2) Confession- I have a slight love for Starbucks... So much so that I am a proud owner of this gold card. 
3) Past- this is a photo from our band trip to Cuba last year. I used this as a past photo because I have grown so much since this moment. 

1) Future- I am not 100% clear on how I see my future but I know I see it as loving God and loving people, so I think these words are an accurate representation of that. 
2) Metaphoto- This photo is of my second family, my small group from church. There is no replacement for these people. 
3) Words/Silhouette- this is really a filler photo but it still has a special place in my heart. Spelling Kenya out while watching the sunrise.

Don't forget the lyrics

Last night I was thinking about music, and how lyrics play such a deep part in creating a mood for the listener. I made this image last night taking some of my favourite lyrics from the song Sinking Deep by Hillsong Young and Free. When we as the listener take the time to digest the lyrics, and understand the meaning behind them it makes music a greater experience than our culture proves it to be. When I write a song the most important thing to me is why I am doing it. If I have no object to write a song, then there is no meaning, there is no purpose. Every lyric has purpose, all words have power, it's how you interpret them that makes a difference. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Reading Assignment #4

These are my reading tweets from week 4 from the book A House in the Sky taken from the authors perspective:

I wonder if there is more to this world than just what my eyes can see?

The world around me is beautiful. There is no danger or ugliness, it is strange, yet pretty. My world is simple.

Escaping this violent and broken lifestyle in lifes greatest beauty is worth every penny i spent.

My world is not here, my world is far away. In the depths of Africa, and the heights of the middle east, my world is far away.

My life ahead in the big city is full of possibility, I can't wait to see where my imagination will take me.

Big news, Jamie and me moved in together! We are so excited to be able to support each other.

The love song my boyfriend strums for me on his guitar make me fall head over heals for him everyday.

Although i may not have a lot of money at the moment i couldn't be happier, things are going so well.

Job hunting today! Let's hope I get hired, i really need to start making more money.

I feel like life is too comfortable right now. Everthing is the same and i don't like it.

Love is the only thing that can hold me together when everything else seems to be going wrong.

Getting ready to leave for south America tommorow! Can't wait to see the world beyond my own backyard.

I don't want my fear of the unknown to get in the way of experiencing all this world has to offer.

Travellers note: When buying a guidebook do not buy a 5 year old one, it will fail you!

I saw this place in one of my magazines as a child, now I am here. The world is beautiful.