Meet Culture Rebels

A radical challenge for the new year!

I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, Natasha Robinson.  She is starting a radical challenge on her blog, “A Sista’s Journey”.   I love the challenge she’s doing and so I thought it would be fun to join her!  I’ve posted the link to her challenge here so we can get going right away!   Feel free to share what you feel compelled to do on the challenge!  People all over the world are doing this challenge together!


Ready to get started?  Let’s do it!  Here’s the link:

The coolest thing happened to me last Friday….

After my blog post on our finances I got an email from a friend asking to visit me.  “Oh no”, I thought.  I didn’t want charity or hand outs.  But that’s not what she came to give me.  What she gave me was one of the coolest things that happened to me in a long time.


She gave me an envelope and told me how she was given this envelope.  At a health seminar, Jeff Koep her chiropractor, had given an envelope to everyone in attendance.   He told them all to think about what they could do with the contents of the envelope.  They could either keep it, or give it away.


My friend went home and prayed about what to do with her envelope and felt the contents of the envelope were to be entrusted to me.  She left, giving me the same instructions as her chiropractor had given; I could either keep the contents, or give it away.


When she left, I opened the envelop to find forty dollars.  My son’s eyeballs came out of his sockets with excitement.  I asked him what he thought we should do with the money.  He instantly answered; “We should KEEP IT!”   I laughed. When I told  him that we already bought his Christmas present and that maybe someone else needed it more, he offered another idea, “Maybe we could just keep half of it?!”   When I asked him why we should keep the money he answered, “I just really like money”.


At least he’s honest…


Twenty four hours later, the envelope was in another’s hand.   With my son’s approval (and slight reluctance), the envelope parted from us into the hands of someone in similar circumstances.


What I loved about that experience was that:


  • It tested me.  I could have used that money for a daily Starbucks I haven’t had in awhile, or for a boxing day adventure.  My greed was tested…. and I overcame.


  • it was a great teaching moment for my son about generosity and not holding onto money too tight.


  • it was a chance for me to experience the high you get when you give money away!  (I seriously don’t think anything beats it)


  • I was blessed that someone out there in his chiropractic business was teaching others the power of generosity.  I can’t help but wonder about all the amazing stories of where those envelops went!


Who knows the journey each one of those envelopes has seen!  Imagine we could share all the amazing stories!  But we can’t.  It remains a mystery where they found rest.  What we do know is that someone was blessed because someone decided to give a challenge.


I wonder what would happen if you and I each gave an envelope of money to someone with the same instruction?  Who knows where it would go, who it would bless, and what great need it may meet?…..


People like Jeff Koep are creating culture through their businesses!  You should check out Jeff’s chiropractic work on facebook:





Feet for the Street – local grade 5 classes put their feet to action

I stumbled upon this project a local school is doing this year to benefit the homeless in our city.   I love sharing stories like this.  I pray they inspire you to see how simple it is to do the little things that make all the difference.

Here’s the letter I read from the teachers:

Dear Parents:

This year, Glendale School is hosting a “Feet for the Street” campaign in support of the Mustard Seed. The Grade 5 classes are studying the homeless issue in Calgary, so when we heard about “Feet for the Street”, we decided to bring it to our school. Some of you may remember participating a few years ago in this program.

“Feet for the Street” is a program that collects a pair of socks, stuffed with helpful items for a homeless person. We are asking students who are interested in participating to bring in a stuffed sock (don’t forget to put in the other sock!).

Items to include in the sock may be:
-toothpaste/toothbrush/dental floss
-deodorant (women’s and men’s)
-soap/hand sanitizer
-mini shampoo and conditioner

Please do NOT include any alcohol-based products such as mouthwash, rubbing alcohol, etc. Also, we ask you not to include any sharp objects such as razors or nail clippers.

We will be collecting these socks from Thursday, November 16th to Friday, December 8th. There will be a box set up outside of the office where the socks can be dropped off. On Monday, December 11th our Grade 5 classes will be taking the socks to the Mustard Seed ourselves. We are very excited to collect as many as we can!

Thank you for your support of this project!


Mrs. Liddell and Miss Temrick

Another amazing teen making culture!

I want to introduce you my girl, Rhe, who never ceases to inspire me.   She has recently started a business called Cariño, which buys artisan items from women with financial need in Bolivia.  She started this business at only 19 years of age after returning from a trip to Bolivia last year.


It always amazes me when young people like Rheanna use what they are good at to make a difference.  Interestingly enough, there was a girl very similar to Rhe doing something along the same lines back in the 60’s.  She too bought local handiwork from Puerto Rican women and sold it to friends back home in North America out of the trunk of her car and basement.  That young girl’s name was Edna.  Today, Edna’s business retails over TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS each year that help people in poor countries improve their standards of living.


You may have heard of Edna’s business.  It’s now called Ten Thousand Villages.


I have asked Rheanna to share with us a Christmas shopping event for all you culture-rebels that she is hosting THIS SUNDAY in Calgary.


Rheanna says:

“Calgary needs one place where people can shop for Christmas with a selection of fairly-produced items. This can include supporting local artists, buying fair trade, or items that are made with the environment in mind. Although there are many stores in Calgary that sell things of this nature, it would be nice to have it all in one spot on one day at a fun event where you can meet neat people! So births: Christmas With a Conscience.


Although there are wonderful markets in our city that I love attending, many of them do not allow imported items to be sold there. This is great because it encourages the Calgarian community to flourish, but is difficult for businesses trying to support friends in other countries.


This is the first time doing it, so we’ll see how it goes. But I would love to see it grow and become an event that people are aware of every year, and that can hopefully helps us to stray away from the Christmas binge shopping we unfortunately do, buying things mass-produced through unfair labour in other countries, or spending a ridiculous amount of money on items that really have no meaning.


This is meant to be an ethical market where the things you are buying were made by hand, created with heart, or support someone living in a developing nation. I hope that Christmas With a Conscience will be able to transcend into your holidays underneath your tree. And don’t forget to bring your own mug for tea!”


Culture Makers like Edna and Rheanna make our world better.


What’s in your hand?







A couple of ideas other culture rebels are doing this Christmas

I asked the question on the Culture Rebel facebook page: What are you doing to save your family from stress and consumer-mania this Christmas?  Here’s what some are doing.  What about you?  Everyone who shares their thoughts in the comments will be entered to win the book “How to Forgive Ourselves Totally” by R.T. Kendal (which has no relation to the theme of overspending, by the way. haha)

To get your juices going, here’s what others said:

Tracey: We stopped buying christmas gifts. We put some of that money to a family night away in the mountains at new years and its about spending time together

Marilou: I buy throughout the year to save the stress before Christmas

Rebecca Harnum: I’m using @Pinterest to find DIY gift ideas for family and close friends, freeing me up to help out people in my community.

Ben: My wife and I limit each other to stockings that we prepare for each other with a $50 limit. I usually go a bit over though 😉

Sharla: This year for Christmas we have one present for all the kids to share. It’s simply a tyco race track that we picked up once at a garage sale for $5. (We’ll probably let Grandpa and Grandma buy each of them a car for the track) I don’t see the point in purchasing a whole bunch of things that they don’t need just for the sake of having something to open. We’ve already done 3 Christmas shoeboxes and then each Sunday of Advent we will follow a German/Dutch tradition that my husband grew up with. The kids put a shoe out each Saturday night on a window ledge.   Sunday morning they check their “shoe” and they will have a little gift in it (ie. an orange, lego man, pair of Christmas socks, inexpensive items). We also have a nativity scene from Usborne Books that is actually an “Advent” calendar. We’ve tried to teach the kids that Christmas isn’t about the gifts. We spend time reading alot of neat Christmas stories during November/December. Christmas day we will also have a Birthday cake for Jesus. That’s our Christmas in a nutshell!


Your turn!

A local company’s radical idea to use their Christmas budget to make a difference

Clear motive is a perfect example of a company that is setting a new standard and example of business being capable of making a change in our world.  I want to share with you their story of Red Express.  I pray this encourages other business owners to see past the bottom line and to see business as vehicle to make a dent in the problem of poverty.   This story shows that everyone has capacity and influence to do something.


Clear Motive has taken their annual Christmas Budget normally spent on Christmas cards to customers (that most likely will just throw out) or the typical gift basket, and using the money to purchase toys for less fortunate children.  To the company, this seemed to send a better message of appreciation to their customers than the typical Christmas greeting.   Instead, they starting sending e-newsletters of pictures of what the company did on the customer’s behalf!  This freed up funds to use the company to be a blessing to the less fortunate!


Clear Motive states; “Red Express is about making Calgary children smile over the holidays by giving them the gift of toys that they may not have otherwise had.   To truly tell the story of Red Express I have to share the personal experience I had when we dropped off the toys for the first time. My wife and I arrived at the CUPS One World Child Development Centre with my 4Runner filled to the brim with toys.  This is when things became very real for me.  As we were leaving the toys at the foot of the Christmas tree, I turned to my wife and asked what I thought was an innocent question, “If we had not have brought these toys what would the kids have received at the party?”. She looked at me and said, “They wouldn’t have”.  That was it for me right then and there, this was going to become more than just a better way to let our customers know we appreciate them, it was going to be a mission to ensure that as many children as possible received a gift at Christmas!”


The Red Express has been running now for four years.  This year the company’s goal is to give $10,000 in toys to the CUPS organization.


Scott C. Todd in his book “Fast Living” says of the business world; “The power to leverage consumerism for social good is enormously important. When consumer purchase decisions are influenced by the promise of a better world, the forces of consumerism and capitalism can be harnessed to create it.”


Businesses have  power to move our culture towards healthy consumer marketplace interaction AND do their part in poverty solutions.  Companies like Clear Motive are spending their power in helping others create horizons of possibility in their world and leading the way of doing business like a Culture Rebel.

Some university students making a difference in a young boy’s life

I’m always on the lookout for young people doing things to impact their culture.  They always amaze me.  I want to make a point of celebrating the ones who are stepping out to impact their world.  This University class is a perfect example for this week’s Culture Rebel.


A sales management class at the university of Calgary, nicknamed Selling Smiles 101, is working with the Children’s Wish Foundation.   They have created, Dance For Chance, a fundraiser to raise money for the wish family the Selling Smiles 101 classes is sponsoring this year. Hip Hop professionals from around Calgary have donated their time to teach different dance classes this Sunday!


Chance is a 6 year old boy with Tetralogy of Fallot (a congenital heart defect). Chance’s first year of life consisted of emergency airlifts to major hospitals and weeks of not knowing whether he would survive. In addition to several emergency surgeries, at just six months old, Chance underwent his first open heart surgery which lasted 11 hours. They repaired the damage to his valves and corrected his heart failure. He remained on life support for weeks, developed bowel failure and caught endocarditis, a rare and very serious infection in his heart. Amazingly, Chance conquered everything life threw at him and responded well to all the therapies.


For the next three years Chance had very few complications but then, at four years old, he experienced heart failure once again. His second open heart surgery was a success and he amazed his doctors by running and playing just two days later. Fast forward to today, Chance continues to beat the odds and is thriving.


Through Dance For Chance, the University students hope to make Chance’s wish come true, by raising money to help send him, his family, and his friend’s Aunt to Disney World. He really is an amazing and adorable little boy and I’m excited that we get to help make his wish come true!


Thanks to these University students donating their time and creative resources, a child’s life will be that much brighter.  Imagine we all found someone to love on in this manner!   Community is a culture-rebel trait and these University students get that, yes, even strangers are our neighbor.


Instructors Tara Wilson, Lady C, Albert “Styles” Mejia, Sabrina Naz, BBoy Rein, Tony Tran, Edmar Fuentes, and Oliver Reyes will be teaching different styles all day on Sunday, December 4 in the Aux Gym at the U of C. Classes start at 11am and go until 8pm. There will be a special Kids Only Hip Hop class from 2pm-3pm. The cost of each class is a $10 donation to the Children’s Wish Foundation. The full schedule and details can be found at:


If anyone requires information about this event please contact Colleen at:

403-808-7973 or

A story of some boys who ended bullying in their school. It can be done.

I am encouraged by this story.    Who knew a couple of teens would lead a nation-wide initiative that schools all participate in each year?!   All they did was decide to not be a bully, not be a victim and not be a bystander.  They decided to be the difference.   Here’s the story:

“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied for wearing the color pink…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school.

‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’

So Mr. Shepherd along with other students headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag.

As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled.

The bullies were never heard from again.”

Now every school I know of  in Calgary participates in “pink shirt day” to encourage youth to stand against bullying.   Imagine these two teens just ignored what was happening?

It’s normal to just be average and deal with every day problems the way the average would like us to.  But that’s not what our world needs.  Our world needs pink shirt culture rebels who decide they’ve had enough.  We need you to break out of average and start the change needed in the world that surrounds you.

The pink shirt guys weren’t trying to save the world – they were caring about the ONE, which in turn, inspired the world around them.  You and I can do the same, it just means rebelling against the status quo.


Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,

for the rights of all who are destitute. – Proverbs 31:8

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” -Albert Einstein

Bullying in the workplace – how Val Cade is putting a stop to it

Does bullying really exist outside school walls into the adult world?  Sure does, but it looks different.  We adults are civil, so bullying is subtle and almost hard to to “pin-point” as that.  It leaves the victim confused and wondering if they’re over-analyzing the situation!

So welcome to my blog expert speaker and author, Val Cade, who knows all about adult bullying.  She is the author of “Bully Free At Work”.  Val has great insight on how to recognize when you’re being bullied and how to deal with it!   And the tactic she brings up in this blog, surprised me!

Connie: So Val, what does adult bullying look like?

Val: Think of a time when you were ignored. Think of how you felt. Hurt, sad, puzzled, stressed… Did you think, “What’s wrong with me?” or “How come I was left out?” Or how about when you were brave enough to reach out and ask ‘why is this happening?’, and were met with a polished answer from the person that left you with more self doubt and no answers?

Now think about being ignored, left out and pushed aside…day after day…after day…after day…This repeated ignoring is one of the worst types of bullying known.

Social or interpersonal rejection occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from an interpersonal or peer relationship. A person can be rejected by an individual or by an entire group of people (mobbing). Furthermore, rejection can be either overt, with acts of aggressive bullying; or passive such as ignoring a person, shunning or shaming.

Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic:
Being overlooked can feel distressing; we’ve all felt this from time to time. Being perpetually ignored feels rotten.
To the degree a person is important to you, or to the degree you have expectations of that person that are not met, the more pain and rejection you will likely experience.

Being perpetually ignored is a bullying tactic and it involves what might appear as slight brush off’s to the target in order for the bully to gain the upper hand. Remember, when these ‘slight brush offs’ happen over and over again, they evolve from slight to deliberately drastic from their continual impact of isolating the target. Examples are:

  • Not making eye contact with you in a meeting, but making eye contact with everyone else;
  • Walking into a social situation and reaching to shake another’s hand but brushing by you; not giving you the same level of interaction;
  • Engaging with others in conversation, asking them questions, perhaps joking around, then being tight lipped, formal and professionally polite for appearances sake, but by no means displaying the connect-ability they are with others, toward you.
  • Leaving you out of email loops, formal information sharing and informal information sharing.

Have you ever been the last person to find out about the holiday schedule or have you ever been going about your work happily and you see a flock of co-workers discussing something in an unofficial capacity, but you were not asked your opinion; you were not invited in the first place?

But Wait, There’s More: How the Bully Further Isolates a Target:
Skilled charming bullies will quickly double up their social interaction and attention they pull away from you and deposit it into others in order to gain favor with others…against you. Has this ever happened to you:

  • You have friends at work and you see the bully talking to these friends; joking around, really connecting and you are not invited.
  • The bully starts to create social situations, even talking casually at work, but always with you absent.
  • The bully shares ideas, jokes, social time with everyone else but you. There is an event; everyone is invited except for you. Everyone else thinks you couldn’t make it, but you know differently.
  • The bully starts to spread false innuendos about you to this group, further isolating you.
  • People that don’t even know you start to believe what is being said. Ever heard of ‘group think’?
  • These new people start talking about you to others based on what they’ve heard and think to be true.

Why Is It So Painful?
Rejection is emotionally painful because of the social nature of human beings and our basic need to be accepted in groups. Abraham Maslow and other theorists have suggested that the need for love and belongingness is a fundamental human motivation. According to Maslow, all humans, need to be able to give and receive affection to be psychologically healthy.

Psychologists believe that simple contact or social interaction with others is not enough to fulfill this need. Instead, people have a strong motivational drive to form and maintain caring and respectful interpersonal relationships. People need both stable relationships and satisfying interactions with people in those relationships. If either of these two ingredients is missing, people will begin to feel lonely and unhappy. Thus, rejection is a significant threat. In fact, the majority of human anxieties appear to reflect concerns over social exclusion.

The experience of rejection can lead to a number of adverse psychological consequences such as loneliness, low self-esteem, aggression, and depression. It can also lead to feelings of insecurity and a heightened sensitivity to future rejection.

So How Can You Cope?
Many people will advise you to ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’. Most of the time, this is said by people because it makes them feel better to say it! What about you? Your feelings are real; the bullying is real. It can be very difficult to ‘just get over’ being ignored, isolated and abandoned from expected social interactions.

But your big question might be ‘But why me’? Excellent question. It is not fair to be perpetually ignored.

So, here are my top 5 suggestions for coping with being perpetually ignored:

  • First of all, practice acceptance of the reality, not necessarily the behavior. The more resistant you are, the more pain and anger you will feel. If you accept the fact that you are being ignored no matter how good person you are, it will make it easier. Even if you don’t agree with it, it is the first step.
  • Put a time limit on the time you devote to trying to figure out ‘why this is happening to you’ and then have something else you can focus on; this really works!
  • Know you are not alone. This can help one feel connected to the 1000’s of others who have suffered as well and to know that you are not being isolated because of anything you did…it has more to do with the bully. Ever negative feeling the bully has about others is really a reflection of the negative feelings they have about themselves. What drives bullying? A need for control over another, rooted in envy. This is about the bully, not you.
  • Seek out a community or group that you can feel love, acceptance, kindness, generosity, tenderness and support. You might wonder if such a group exists. Try We are all in recovery as human beings!
  • Stay plugged in and protected. Keep learning so you are empowered. If you haven’t walked through the Bully Free at Work exercises and self-tests yet, be sure to do this soon! What gets measured gets treasured; you are a treasure; don’t forget!

I’ll leave you with this: some things we will not understand. Some things we will be unable to change. One thing we can change, protect and empower is ourselves. Keep protected. The truth will rise to the top and keep shining…

Connie: Wow, thanks Val.  I never saw “perpetual ignoring” as a form of bullying.  I’m sure many of us have found ourselves in that place.  It’s good for us, as adults, to know  what bullying looks like in our world and HOW to deal with it.  This can be applied to those in the workplace to stay at home moms.   Some of us may have never thought of this as “bullying” before.

I pray that you can find the self-respect God desires you to have in the depths of your core so you can respond to any bullying that comes your way with courage and strength.  Some of you reading this blog need to know that its OK to stand up for yourself!

There’s more to bullying in the workplace than that!  For more information about bullying in the workplace, feel free to contact Val!



Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of “Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!” which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide.  For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to


How a bootcamp owner is making a difference in her city


Belinda Morrison is making a difference through her bootcamp company, “Be More Fitness”.   “I am very big on helping the community in any way I can.”, says Belinda.


After watching an episode of “Build It Forward”, Belinda got an idea of how she could use her bootcamp business to help those in need.   She already hosts many charity bootcamps and sponsors a family every year, but she wanted to take it a step further.


That’s when “Volunteer for Vitality” was birthed.  Anyone who volunteers twenty hours from agencies recommended on her website gets twelve bootcamps FREE!!  Agencies involved include, Inn From the Cold, Drop-In Centre, Calgary Dream Centre, and Calgary Humane Society.


All people have to do is download the form from the website and get the form signed every time they volunteer.  What a great way to reward giving-back!


“If every Calgarian did one hour a month to  help someone else, what an incredible change that would make!”, Belinda states.   What a great thought.


Here’s the deal; we often think others will do these kind of ventures, but imagine we all did?  Many are awakening to the idea that we are stewards of our earth.  Rather than just consuming, the idea of making significant contributions to society are being birthed in the hearts of many.


Belinda just started with what was in her hand and needs she could see.  What about you?  What do you have in your hand that gives you an opportunity to give?  It may not be a bootcamp business but there’s SOMETHING you have!   Now, what do you SEE?  Look around.  See with new eyes today and you’ll be amazed at how many needs there are!  And if you’re doing something, let me know!  I’d love to feature you on the blog!


You can find Belinda’s website at

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