Dear Friend…

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Hey friends, happy Saturday!

I hope your week has been going well. It’s been a pretty busy one for me here at school. Aside from classes,work, and skating on the canal, I’ve also had interviews and training for some volunteer organizations I’ve been working on getting involved with here in Ottawa. More to come on that as soon as it’s all confirmed!

But this week I also set aside an hour of time to do something seemingly small but oh so special. I wrote a letter to a friend who’s currently living out of the country. I bought a pretty card, caught her up on what’s been going on in my life, wrote some little encouragements, decorated the envelope and then sent it off. I wrote another one to my sister, wishing her luck with her high school exams. It’s such a small thing to do but I know that when I get a letter in the mail it is so exciting. I think this is for two main reasons.

  1. It’s unusual. With the crazy connectivity of social media, we kind of have no reason to send each other “snail mail”. It’s just not a social norm anymore. Why bother when you can send someone a text and get an instant response or call them on FaceTime? So when you get a letter in the mail, it’s totally out of the ordinary and that makes it exciting.
  2.  It’s personal. Getting a letter means that someone was thinking of you. It means they took time out of their day to intentionally sit down and communicate with you, even when you weren’t together. It shows that they truly care enough to keep in touch. I think that letter writing is the most personal form of communication other than actually talking face to face.
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A letter I got a while back from a camp friend

Honestly, it’s just special. And I love doing it, it’s kind of fun to sit down and actually write things by hand and make little jokes and address the envelope….it feels novel! So here are some “tips and tricks” to send some snail mail of your own!

  1. Write naturally. This is your friend! You don’t have to try and sound the way you think a letter is supposed to sound or start and end a certain way. Greet them the way you do in real life, tell them a story. Remind them of an inside joke. Write the way you talk. It’s just an ink and paper chat.
  2. Be encouraging. Getting a letter in the mail can be such a joyful occurrence. It’s like an unexpected ray of sunshine in a regular day! So write some kind words of encouragement, tell them you’re proud of what they’re up to or that you’re grateful for their friendship. It’s just nice to hear and be reminded of the things they already know. And the best part about it being written in a letter is that they can read over it another day when they need a friendly word.
  3. Decorate the envelope. This is my absolute favourite part! It’s so fun and the envelopes look so cute afterwards. I always draw flowers and little designs on the envelopes when I send mail to people. In my mind, I also always think that it might make the mail carriers smile. It’s worth the extra time.

Maybe it’s because my love language is words of affirmation or just because I love to talk and letters are an excuse to jabber on without interruption, but I really think that writing mail is a lost art form that we should revive. I realized how much it means to me to get a card at camp the past couple of summers; getting mail literally gave me so much joy it was ridiculous. Especially when it was from my old campers!

I tend to be pretty bad at keeping in touch with people long distance (sorry friends) but writing a letter is an intentional and momentary activity: a one shot deal. I’m actually able to “talk” to people without feeling like I have to be in constant contact via Snapchat or text.

So that’s that. Just a quick little post about something I’ve been trying to do more of and why I think it’s so great. Send a letter this week to someone you love and let them know you were thinking about them!

Until next time,

-Sam

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I’m hoping Dayna doesn’t see this before she gets it, hehe!

 

 

 

 

We’ve Been To The Mountain Top (AKA Waterloo)

1-thessalonians-3_12 You know those “You had to be there” moments that are just about impossible to describe no matter how amazing they are? That’s what this entire weekend was like, but here it goes trying to explain it anyway because it was just too great to go not talked about.

 

This weekend I went to Overflow which is basically a conference for Christian youth. We come from all over Ontario, over 2500 of us to meet and praise God and learn from each other and hear amazing speakers and just have fun. This year was my 3rd at Oflo and somehow, it just keeps getting better every year. My difficulty comes when I try to describe it to friends and do it justice. I mean I kid you not, I just texted a friend describing it as ” Like we were just praising Jesus and there was a mosh pit and a guy had a chain saw and there were bouncy castles and God really spoke to me and I got to hang out with all my favourite people and see cool bands and it was basically a rave but about God with no drugs” Sorry what? I’m super eloquent about these things, I know. I’ll see if I can do a little better for ya’ll

A view of the stage during worship *not my photo*
A view of the stage during worship *not my photo*

Overflow is a really good representation of what I believe church should be about. Fun, fellowship and honest discussions about God and what a relationship with Him means. There’s no strict rules about how you should act or what you have to do to be Christian because we all realize a relationship with Jesus is a personal thing. The pastors talk about the Bible in ways you can seriously understand and make jokes we can relate to. It’s engaging, funny and real. It was a place you actually wanted to be.

Theme for the weekend
Theme for the weekend

Outside of the services, you get to hang out with your friends and encourage and build each other up which is refreshing after the gossip and backstabbing that characterises the hallways of a high school. And I was serious about the bouncy castles, not to mention hockey and basketball tournaments, a bunch of cool bands (including my new favourite, Juno award winning The City Harmonic. Seriously go check them out) and some serious dance-offs. It’s honestly nothing like what most people my age think “church” or “religion” looks like. One of my favourite quotes from this weekend was said by Mike Miller during Friday night’s session. In referring to the a-typical church services he said Seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit! It’s okay for church to be FUN!”

And while Overflow is a ton of fun and you end the weekend filled with laughter, memories and inside jokes, you also leave having had a real encounter with God. I already knew and loved Jesus before this weekend. Tons of people at my school have heard me talk about God or my youth group so I’m known as a “Christian kid” (ironic since I go to a Catholic school haha) However I’m still learning and growing and trying to understand this crazy thing called grace, which in short is God’s love for us. As I grow closer to Him, He teaches me how to love the people around me, helps me to overcome everyday struggles and reveals His plans for my life. It’s crazy for me to think that there really is a God who love me unconditionally, knows the number of hairs on my head and my future. But I believe because He’s proven it to me time and time again. This weekend was no different. This weekend He showed up and did amazing things in the lives of all of us who were there. He taught me how to be still in the craziness of life (or the craziness of a conference room with 2500+ people) and just be in His presence. And it totally refreshed me to go back into my everyday life knowing I’m not in it alone.video So, if you’re still reading this and think I’m absolutely nuts, sorry! Well actually I’m not sorry ’cause this is my blog and I’m going to post what I want but I do know this is the first non travel related post and may not have been what you were expecting. So hopefully, you have somewhat of an idea of what my weekend was like. I can tell you it was absolutely amazing! Feel free to ask any questions about God or whatever as I’ve never really shared my faith to this extent on social media!

Some of the best moments happen on bus rides
Some of the best moments happen on bus rides

Finally thanks to our AMAZING team of leaders, TSL (my youth group) couldn’t be more blessed to have them, the Overflow team and worship band for putting on an INCREDIBLE weekend and to my lovely friends for loving me despite my constant chatter, confusion and loudness, they ROCK. This weekend will be one I will look back on with a smile for years to come as life-changing and laughter inducing!

“Take your problems to Facebook for attention, take them to Jesus for answers” 

Also, this is the song I’m referencing in the title of this post

‘Till next time everyone, I hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

P.S. I was a bad blogger this weekend and took a limited number of photos so the entire first gallery and a few other of these pictures were taken from the album on my youth groups Facebook page, credit goes to them if it’s captioned as not being mine 🙂