Voiceless Hits Theatres October 7 [Movie Review]

You know how we live these quiet, normal lives and we have things we believe and then something bad happens and we doubt everything?

Or is that just me?

And you know how we make mistakes but we get through them and we’re better people and then something bad happens and we’re thrown right back into our worst-selves and you realize you’re not over anything?

Again…just me?


Voiceless brings us to a rough area of Philadelphia where Jesse and Julia move for Jesse’s new job at a church. At first everything seems normal—they go to work, they do their jobs, they live their lives. But then something happens and we learn perhaps Jesse and Julia aren’t doing as well as we thought.

Near the church is a women’s clinic, which performs abortions. Jesse feels compelled to visit and witnesses a protester outside the building. He watches the crowd yell insults and abuse at the protester and something changes inside Jesse. He visits the clinic more and more and finds himself in confrontations with clinic staff, pregnant teens, and passersby. The church doesn’t approve of Jesse’s apparent political swing. His wife can’t understand what has got into him. Jesse faces opposition on all sides yet continues visiting the clinic.

Through the film you witness the struggle of a man who thought he had dealt with his past but must face it again. You see a man wrestle with his faith, violent tendencies, demons from his past, and unresolved trauma. You see a couple forced to face their issues, buried deep down. Through Voiceless you are taken on a journey where you learn to follow your gut even if it’s dangerous, stand up for what you believe even if no one stands with you, and to tell the truth even when you’re scared.

On the surface this is a faith-based movie with a pro-life slant but I think if you look deeper it is a movie challenging you to confront the things you’d rather avoid, to let yourself feel and hurt, and to be brave no matter what.

This film made me think and I’m glad for it. It was ambitious and tried to accomplish many layers of plot and character development, which left me a bit confused, but overall I appreciated the journey. Voiceless is not a stereotypical faith-based pro-life rah rah experience. It goes deeper, it shows you life happens to everyone (even Christians), and we all have skeletons in our closets.

The sooner we realize we’re just like everyone else, the sooner we can accept others as they are and start helping people.

Voiceless Synopsis

Jesse Dean is a recently discharged soldier who had a rough upbringing, but because of his wife, found God and now is totally devoted to his faith.

He and wife move to Philadelphia so he can take a new job as an outreach leader at an old church whose membership has been declining. As everything is going well and as he starts connecting to the community, he discovers there’s an abortion clinic directly across the street from the church.

He goes to the pastor and to several others in the church and tries to get their help to no avail. One day something tragic and personal happens to him while he’s going about his everyday routine. He comes to the point that he begins to take action himself. He gets involved but the more involved he gets, the more resistance he gets from those in church and community. His wife, who thinks his actions will get him fired or land him in jail, also comes against him.

Finally, it comes down to him having to make a choice: is he going to take the easy way out and back off, which is what everyone wants him to do, or will he face a major confrontation which will require him to put everything on the line…not just his job, but his freedom and marriage as well.

This film encourages people to stand up for what they know is right, particularly as it pertains to taking God’s truths into society to address social issues. It addresses the spirit of retreat as it pertains to engaging the culture that has developed within the Church.

How to Change Your Cabin Air Filter [tutorial]

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFresh #CollectiveBias


Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I love DIY but I am not a DIY car person. In fact, my current vehicle has only ever visited the dealership for work. I know what it sounds like.

In fact, it’s because I know what it sounds (and looks, and is) like I decided to do the unthinkable: change my own cabin air filter and engine air filter.

The difference between a cabin air filter and an engine air filter is one filters air in your vehicle’s interior and one filters air in your vehicle’s engine. The engine air filter is straightforward so I’ll skip to the cabin air filter change.

How to change your cabin air filter (because if I can do it, I am quite certain you can too)

What you’ll need:

  • Cabin air filter (you’ll have to check the book for your vehicle’s make and model to get the correct sized/shaped filter)
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • The guts to remove your glove box

That’s it! Wondering if your vehicle even has a cabin air filter? If it was built after the year 2000 you have an 80 per cent change of having one installed. Again, check the book to be sure. When I purchased my FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter and FRAM Extra Guard Air Filter I checked the book at Canadian Tire for my exact make, model, and year so I knew I was getting the right products.


The box instructions say this change can take you 15 minutes but for me it was longer. The filter case is snapped in tight and because you’re up under the glove box there are other thingies in the way. Here, perseverance plus my pink utility tool were the keys. I worked away at the top of the filter until it was far enough out for me to grab it. Except for that, the entire process was a breeze.

I was curious when the last time my cabin air filter was changed so I looked through my past receipts. You know, I don’t think it has ever been changed! I see my engine air filter having two changes (yay!) but nothing for the cabin air filter (boo).

FRAM Engine Air Filter

Changing the engine air filter is straightforward because it’s easy to get to. And bonus, my vehicle’s filter only has a lid to snap off, no finicky screws or tight jammed-up spaces. I expected a bit more trouble here but it took less than five minutes once I got started.

The most time consuming part? Figuring out how the heck to open my hood and find the thingy to make it stay up.

Here’s a few reasons why you should think about changing your air filter.

  • Air filters act as your vehicle’s first line of defense
  • Air filters block dust, allergens, and dirt
  • Dirty air filters restrict airflow, which can affect your vehicle’s overall performance

This was an awesome challenge and I pass the torch to you. Need inspiration? See other #FRAMFresh stories and find additional tips for changing your cabin air filter.

Need Eggs? The Little Hen Homestead Delivers!

the little hen homestead

In August I’m thrilled to publish an article in Modern Agriculture featuring a local egg farmer called The Little Hen Homestead.

I don’t remember when but I found this little business on Instagram and was intrigued.

The Little Hen Homestead was started about a year ago, by a little girl who had a vision. She wanted to start her own farm of raising chickens from wee babies and nurturing and watching them grow. Now, she sells the eggs from her beloved birds to people in the Lower Mainland. She is passionate about building relationships with her customers. She believes that while the egg starts with a hen, it goes a long way, feeding families, and developing the local community. Her business is centred around Jesus: glorifying him and sharing the love of Christ through a dozen of eggs 🙂 (source)

When I see a neat story I file it away in my notebook for such a time when I need an article to pitch. So when it was time for a local agriculture with a modern spin…this was the obvious choice.

In my opinion the story is great—it has everything. A young girl with an entrepreneurial spirit, an egg-delivery service…by bike, bird funerals, and the belief she can make a difference one dozen eggs at a time.

She makes me believe I can do it too.

The Little Hen Homestead makes me think I can sell eggs.

Unfortunately, my place came with remnants of an old barn and chicken coop, so it’s easy to picture. The good news is the coop is more like remnants of a once-thriving hen home. Now, it’s a jungle of weeds and blackberries and the place where nettles seem happiest.

But—no problem! Because I’m inspired!



My intrepid niece and nephew showed up one Saturday prepared to battle the weeds. I followed suit and we spent the day clearing the coop.

It looked so nice. For a few weeks. And then time passed. And the nettles came back.

Do chickens eat nettles? Blackberries? How about alders…

Perhaps I’ll stick to writing about chickens.

Check out the article online or sign up for your free print subscription of Modern Agriculture

Five Things I Learned About Rice Farming in Abbotsford

rice farming in abbotsford

It has been a while since I came up with a good top five list. However, rice farming in Abbotsford is such an interesting topic it has inspired my list-making self and I’m back in business.

But first, if you live under a rock and haven’t seen the article yet please go read it on Tourism Abbotsford’s website! It struck a chord and has (to date) more than 450 likes and 250 some shares—so, people like rice farming huh? Me too!

My initial assignment was to cover locally brewed sake (rice wine) but after my pre-interview I had to go a different direction. You see, the sake is made in Vancouver—interesting but not local enough. The great news was the rice for the sake is grown in Abbotsford so I redirected and got to work.

Five Things I Learned About Rice Farming in Abbotsford

  1. First things first, I learned it’s possible to grow rice in Abbotsford. I didn’t know that. And not just sake rice, there is table rice and ornamental rice too. Farmers Masa and Yukiko Shiroki have grown rice behind Sumas Way for the past five years. Now on four acres, they’re expanding their rice varieties and are teaching local farmers about the craft
  2. Second, I learned this is the most northerly rice production region in the world. Also the only rice paddy in Canada
  3. Third, I learned rice is started from seed in greenhouses then transplanted to the fields when the sprouts are about six inches tall. This happens with a specialized planting machine not available in Canada. The Shiroki family imported all their machinery from Japan in order to farm here. The planting machine is quite an interesting contraption. It takes trays of rice seedlings and plants them one-by-one in perfect rows. So cool
  4. Fourth, I learned rice fields are flooded for the entire growing season. Our climate in the Fraser Valley helps (rain, rain, rain) but water must also be added. Beside the field there is a ditch. The ditch water is pumped into the fields when necessary
  5. Fifth, I learned water fowl LOVE rice seeds. Love. They attack the fields just after planting and dig around the mud in search of delicious rice seeds. They can smell them or something. The ducks and geese wreak havoc on the fields but migrate in early summer so are a temporary disturbance. Once they clear out the fields are replanted by hand where the birds clear cut

Visiting this farm and learning about rice growing was an incredible experience. I have never seen anything like this and look forward to trying homegrown rice. And nearby-made sake.

Social Media Mastery Conference Review 2016

Social Media Mastery Conference Review 2016

Social Media Mastery Conference Review 2016

Held at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, this year’s Social Media Mastery Conference welcomed 300 marketing managers, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and social media account managers. The conference promised to equip attendees with the training they needed to up their social media game.

The conference centred around five steps to social media success.

  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Engagement
  • Conversion

The nine-to-five conference packed in back-to-back keynotes with entertainment breaks and time to visit sponsor booths and food trucks. There was an emphasis on participation and networking, which was embraced by attendees.

Speaker, author, and global entrepreneur Shane Gibson delivered a powerful talk on creating an effective and efficient social media strategy. He shared a social selling principal he called The Exponential Influencer Strategy. It consists of five steps.

  • Building a magnetic brand
  • The three elements of thought leadership
  • The five stages of consent
  • The nine immutable laws of social selling
  • Recruiting and connecting with influencers

My takeaway from this talk: social selling is creating an environment where an act of faith can take place.

Since he made his slides available, I wanted to share them here. His keynote was a highlight of the entire day and well worth the read if you have any interest in social selling and social media strategy.

Another speaker highlight was Social Media Consultant Katt Stearns who spoke about social media management. Not a sexy topic but critical to social media success.

She took the daunting task of social media organization and made it seem manageable by breaking down the elements into the most important aspects (content calendar, systems to maximize your efforts, and using the right tools).

My takeaway from this talk: Don’t try to be everywhere. Choose two to three primary accounts where you spend most of your social energy, a few secondary accounts you try on or know you need to be on, and leave it there.

Blogger, web developer, and marketer Matt Astifan spoke on conversion and gave three challenges to the audience to implement right away.

  1. Increase the conversion of YOU
  2. Increase the conversion of YOUR BRAND
  3. Increase the conversion of YOUR ADS

He said focus is the key to success and distractions eliminate focus (meaning email, texts, social media, etc.). To combat this he says we need to be in the active zone, focusing on completing tasks rather than multi-tasking many things at the same time.

The best way to tell if you’re focused or not is to ask yourself “Am I in the active zone or the reactive zone?”

When you’re in the active zone, you will be able to leverage social media to reach your business goals. He suggests using it to create your own reality show (selfie stories) and showing your future clients your personality.

My takeaway from this keynote: Pay close attention to what converts and do more of that while getting rid of the ads that don’t convert. By showing your audience who you are on social media you’ll attract the type of people who will want to buy from you. By using appropriate ads and targeting the right audience you’ll have a better chance of making sales.

As a blogger affiliate for Social Media Mastery Conference 2016 I was pleased the conference delivered what it promised. I left feeling better about my grasp on social media marketing and ready to take things to the next level. Thanks for the opportunity YVR Conferences!