Take some time to be a guest

Let me begin this post by saying wow! I cannot believe July is around the corner. June has gone by in the blink of an eye. If you are wondering where I have been, the answer would be, it feels like everywhere!

This past month has been the craziest, most busy month I think I have ever experienced. This is due to multiple factors of course such as family commitments (with kids sports eating up 4/5 weekdays for the past two months); traveling up, down and sideways across this beautiful province; two travel media conferences; multiple deadlines for print contract work and, oh yes, not to be forgotten my full-time day job. Phew.

Now although I have been busy please don’t mistake the above for blogging apathy or excuses. Let me explain why I haven’t posted here in awhile and why it has been a healthy thing.
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Stepping in front of the camera for Uganda

More coverage for Uganda! Although this was painful for me as I prefer to be behind the camera I lent my side of the story to Pink magazine for their April issue. Here you will get to learn a little bit more about me, how I got into storytelling and of course my great adventure in Uganda. Enjoy!

Pink cover

Read the full story here: Cover story Pink.

Co-operating for change

In my ongoing quest to share the story of how Ugandans lives are changing for the better as a result of the partnership between the Canadian Co-operative Association and the Ugandan Co-operative Alliance, I made this video.

I hope that it provides clarity on the purpose of our mission and just how much can be accomplished by communities when they work together within a credit union and/or co-operative.

Hard times, big hearts in Uganda

Today the story of the Candian Co-operative Association’s international development work and highlights from my own personal adventure were the subject of an article in local paper, the Leader-Post. Many thanks to the Leader-Post and to Will Chabun for sharing this (and to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix for adding it to your paper).


Uganda article LP

Knowledge is light

I must preface my blog posts to this page. Although this blog is generally based on travel, the content I post on the mission to Uganda may not fit the normal profile you have been used to reading on this site. I assure you there is a reason. This and pending posts regarding the IFAPI project describe what are important conclusions from my perspective. I also feel strongly they are stories that deserve to be shared.

So onward I go.

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Take a lesson from the birds

So after a couple of days in Uganda I know a couple of things to be true:

1. It is hot here and I hear we are just coming off of the winter season.
2. There are a lot of people here, albeit, friendly, warm people (35 million-ish, comparable to the population in all of Canada in the space of about 1/2 the province of Saskatchewan).
3.On a journey to discover how highly functional co-operatives can be in a country such as this I have I already learned that even the Ugandan birds co-operate.

Yes, I have found a way to sneak the birds into my Uganda stories. But there is a point, I promise.
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Help get Jenn to Uganda!

I am reaching out today to friends of my blog, social media contacts from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I need your help.

You see, I have submitted an application to visit Uganda as part of a Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) mission. The opportunity exists for up to eight Canadian communicators to take part in this trip of a lifetime.

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Need a reason to believe? Listen to your stomach.

No I am not talking about the growling going on below. What I am referring to is that three letter word that women often ignore or are told doesn’t really exist. Their G-U-T  feelings. Intuition is a gift that sets women apart from men and more often than not, they tend to push intuitive thoughts out of their mind and pass them off as simple inexplicable feelings.

Gut feelings are instinctual and can be quick and intense. Whether it is the mother that awakes in the middle of night to come to the aid of their child, who needed them; a women who knowingly chooses to make a whip smart decision without rhyme or reason, or the wife who suspects a cheating spouse; the common thread women share is that ability to nearly foresee something or make a choice based on a feeling.

What is most interesting (to me at least) is that these strong feelings or sensations can literally be felt in the gut and are for the most part unexplainable. We can’t explain things but we are sure we know them to be true. Jung defined intuition as “perception via the unconscious”: using sense-perception only as a starting point, to bring forth ideas, images, possibilities, ways out of a blocked situation, by a process that is mostly unconscious.

Something in that unconscious of ours urges us to make a decision, think twice about something or even hold us back. These feelings that feel a lot like butterflies may be housed in the stomach but that is merely a result of signals that originated from our brain.

There are the sceptics though. Dr. William Ickes, author of Everyday Mind Reading suggests that women don’t have mystical intuitive powers but they do tend to try harder to have what he calls “empathetic ability” upon motivation. I tend to respectfully disagree.

Ickes tested both genders to try and understand these types of abilities but I think he missed the point. Intuition isn’t forced. It’s felt or reactionary, and I would argue that it is more or less unpredictable. I would also guess that perhaps not all women experience gut feelings; and I am sure that among those that do, there are varying degrees of intensity.

Call it my gut feeling but I think that is men simply don’t want to admit that women may have the upper hand when it comes to instantaneous thinking. It exists, ask any women what it feels like and they will describe it in an eerily consistent manner.

Honestly speaking, decisive isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I think of men. For the most part, they do tend to always weigh out everything decision, nearly to death. This admittedly, sometimes can be good for us. Just don’t repeat that to my husband. Ok, so maybe sometimes we can be irrational but that doesn’t mean our guts don’t frequently properly guide us to making the right decisions.

So next time that you are having feelings of doubt from an overwhelmingly sensitized spot below, if the situation allows, listen to it and get better at listening to that little voice telling you what you really think. It just may have something to say.

My love for grackles and why it all makes sudden sense

So, this is kind of interesting, at least to me. Recently, while doing some bird research I stumbled upon a note about grackles. For anyone that knows me, I have had an odd fascination with these birds for some time now.

We have many grackle visitors in the back yard during the spring-fall seasons and I sometimes can’t help countless hours watching them. Besides their obvious intelligence, they have outright personality and are very social. I love the way they call – flailing their heads back and squawking with authority.

And, they really are truly beautiful birds. Their plumage has a simply radiant sheen and shades of blues, purples and greens can often be seen in their jet black feathers.

When I chat with bird enthusiasts about my love for these birds, it is most definitely not well received. In fact, most ‘real’ bird lovers have nothing nice to say – which surprises me.

They scare all the other birds away!

Grackles are a nuisance!

Mmm, I guess I never seem to see what others see in these birds. We still have many other types of birds in the yard and I don’t find them a nuisance at all. In fact, they all seem to get along just fine so I don’t really buy into the bullying characteristic that’s often associated with these misunderstood birds.

Anyhow, regardless of what others say about my bird friends, I feel a connection to them. When I came across this grackle write up it made sense to me in more than one way. It said:

Grackle - Grackles are very happy birds that look past the emotional turmoil and find joy in the smallest of things. Black is the color of the inner and the feminine and the purple and bronze coloring about the head especially usually indicates that emotions are coloring the thinking process. Situations are not always what they appear to be; particularly when dealing with emotions. Emotions that are not dealt with can even go on to produce physical congestion in the body. Grackles love to live in pine trees and the essence of pine can be used to help alleviate strong emotional states, particularly feelings of guilt. The grackle showing up is a sign that it is time to clear away emotional congestion and to deal with your emotions.

What do I deduce from this? I feel I may be grackle like in spirit too – finding joy in small things. Or medium, grackle sized things at least. And, I think this may explain why they visit me so often – must be trying to get me to deal with stuff. Again – smart birds.

Point taken. I will get to work. In the meantime though I hope they keep coming by to keep me in check!

Excerpt taken from: http://www.spiritwalkministry.com/spirit_guides/bird_animal_spirits

For more beautiful grackle images – click here.
Image above from – http://www.redbubble.com/people/van049/works/3265453-flight-of-the-grackle