Emerge Annual Exhibition – Opening Reception

Before Tuesday of last week, I had no idea what kind of work went into installation art, especially one that has 110 items to hang.  The first day of set up was spent calculating and measuring walls, hardware, letters, and gaps.  We asked for multiple opinions, made last minute trips to IKEA, and I learned how to use a drill and level.  Using the lift was fun and getting that first wire hung was a pretty monumental feeling.  It had begun.

I literally could not have done this alone.  Alisha, the Curator of the Emerge Annual Exhibition, along with the Executive Director & Curator Laura, and the Assistant Curator Kate were absolute lifesavers.

Watching my vision come to life on the walls of the gorgeous Reach Gallery was an absolute dream and being a part of such a celebrated event was a true honour.  When Laura spoke about the emerging artists of the Fraser Valley, I felt like I was a part of something real and felt rooted in my new community in a whole new way.

The event was attended by 120 people and the conversations I found myself in ranged from answering questions about the time frame of the letters, all the way to asking if we were somehow related because of my grandparents last name (there are a lot of Wiebe’s in Abbotsford).  Seeing so many fellow artists, collegues, family, friends, customers and complete strangers enjoy the letters was quite something, and I could feel Grama and Papa smiling down.

Adam & my love story was highlighted in a pretty unique way as well. Along with the 110 love letters that Grama wrote to Papa, I had my old cell phone on display with a glimpse into some text messages that Adam and I sent to one another while I was in London.  By presenting these modes of communication side by side, it really asks the viewer to consider human-to-human connection both now and then.

Having Adam there, along with our growing little baby bump made it even more special knowing that this baby will be coming into the world surrounded by love not only in this community, but also in the generational lineage that he/she is being born into.

I could feel the love on Thursday, and have felt sparkly ever since.

photos taken by the talented Sharon W Huget & Connie Hackett



This Thursday I have the honour of being a featured artist at the Emerge Annual Exhibition.  My Grama’s letters will be on display (all 110 of them for the first time EVER!) as well as a glimpse into the type of communication Adam & I used most frequently while I was living in England.

The exhibition is aptly titled  dis://connections and goes into the following themes.  TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS continues to accelerate at an unprecedented rate. Considering the impact of this rapid technological progress, how do we navigate human-to-human connections and communication? What are the benefits of technology? What are the drawbacks? This exhibition will explore the positive and negative impacts of technology and how it continues to affect our relationships and interactions.

I look forward to the conversation that this exhibition will surely evoke.  If you’re in the Fraser Valley, come check it out.

Emerge Event

Join us on Thursday, November 24th at 6pm for the opening reception of DIS://CONNECTIONS: Emerge Annual Exhibition. The exhibition will run from November 24th, 2016 – January 8th, 2017.

Darby Arens
Carly Butler Verheyen
Mallory Donen
Julie Epp
Rachel Selinger
Kendra Schellenberg

Curated by Alisha Deddens


A request for you.


Some pretty exciting things are a-brewing over here & I need YOUR help.

Do you (or someone you know) have a family heirlooms that is a piece of handwritten work that is near & dear to your heart?

Perhaps a cookbook that’s been passed down through generations, a postcard, a letter, a journal, a scrapbook.

I’m curating stories for a new column I’m starting with the amazing folks at Handwritten.  If interested in sharing, please send a photo of the heirloom & a small paragraph explaining why it’s so important to you.  Use any of the questions below as a prompt to help you share:

  • How did you come across this heirloom? Was it gifted to you? Did you find it when you were cleaning out a cupboard?
  • What does it mean to you to have this piece of handwritten work?
  • What has it inspired in you?

I’d love to hear about it. Please email me at lifesletter@gmail.com.

Can’t wait to share more soon.

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When in doubt…DANCE!


I’ve officially lost count of the number of times I’ve filtered a pretty picture, and drafted up a status update to let you all know how I’ve been doing since the original agent pitch 2 months ago. Since then I’ve gone out to 22 agents, received 6 gracious rejection letters, 7 are currently reviewing the proposal & 9 I am yet to hear from, which is totally expected in the industry (most agents get hundreds of query letter submissions every week).

The in-between time of waiting to hear has been up & down. I’m happy to say that up to rejection #4, and a few days after rejection #4, it’s been mostly up. And it’s been that way because I’m at choice. Every single day we’re at choice of how we’ll handle things…and I’m choosing joy, connection, gratitude & trust.

After the first few rejections, I said that I was trusting the process, heck I was even hashtagging #trusttheprocess (we all know that shit gets real when you hashtag). But I really wasn’t fully trusting the process until rejection #4 came in. Rejection #4 brought me to the fetal position curled up on my bed, scrolling through my phone to find my dial-a-fellow-writer life line. I felt punched in the face. I was taking this one personally. I was sad.

With the help of a precious few, I slowly came back to a seated position. Still on the bed, still tear soaked and snotty, still bruised for sure, but I was slowly rising again. In that moment, I publicly declared to myself that for the rest of this process, however long this may take, I would be choosing joy.

So I starting making rejection dance videos & sending them to my nearest & dearest. The ones that won’t judge me, will laugh with me, and tell me that they’re going to hang on to the videos to send to the media when my book makes it big haha. Some people print off rejections letters & paste them to their walls, some give themselves gold stars…I dance.

Knowing that I’m not alone, has helped immensely too. One writer I know was rejected 15 times before finding her agent. Another took 6 months to “change her voice” because an agent didn’t like her writing style (she learned in the end that changing her voice was not the answer…and waiting for an agent who fell in love with her was). The author of The Help Kathryn Stockett was rejected by 60 agents. J K Rowling received 12 rejections from publishers before Harry Potter was picked up, and I saw on Buzzfeed that someone told her not to quit her day job. Ha.

I’ll admit, I got a little caught up in the romance of New York City dreaming, the talk of big book deals, and picturing my book on shelves. While dreaming is permitted in these situations & also encouraged and essential, losing touch with reality and unconsciously placing expectations on the manifestation of dreams doesn’t usually work in your favour.

So I’ve let it all go. I’ve done my part, and the universe will take the lead from here, as it truthfully has been since day one of this journey. I really do believe there is a plan for this book. I believe it has a life of its own. I believe that I was called to go down this road since that magical moment in Long Beach, California in March of 2012 as I stood in front of the Queen Mary doing the first recreation of a photo of my grandparents. It was the moment that gave me this whole idea in the first place.

So there ya have it. I wait. I trust (no hashtags required). I enjoy the calm, quiet space of the in-between. And I celebrate with dance videos.

Don’t give up your dreams, peeps. I’m cheering you on every step of the way!


New York State of Mind

And it’s off.  I’m currently listening to Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind on repeat, dreaming of what’s to come in the next few weeks.  Guys, I did it.  I officially sent my query letters off to New York City agents.  I’ve been thinking of this moment for months (years, even!) & it’s FINALLY here.  Like I said in my last post, I would not be here without the love, support and expertise of my amazing book coach Sandra O’Donnell…as well as my amazing husband, family and friends.

Since I was little, I’ve had a fascination with New York City.  I used my music for young children piano bag as a briefcase & remember pretending like I was on my way to a big meeting in the city.  I had no idea how I’d get there, or what that would look like…but here we are.

New York City, here I come!

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