First Week of Winter Term at Okanagan College

by Christine Reeves

It all began the week of the mini winter storm, my blessings turned into overflows of relief as I headed back to school. The roads were a mess, my heart was filled with built up grief and my student loan was due to come at any time. Thanks to Saint Vincent de Paul and my parents I was able to survive the Christmas season.

During my first week, I managed to win the grand prize at the Kelowna Winter Carnival! The prize came from the Student, Graduate, and Co-op Okanagan Employment Centre. This was the first prize I won of the season at the College. Well, that isn’t completely accurate I did win a chocolate candy at the Christmas party. I spun the wheel and managed to get ‘naughty’ twice! I am now a newfound believer that good things happen to those who keep trying to win contests that the college has!

My second day of classes I ran into some major issues with my having a dead battery and missing Sociology. How is this possible that my battery dies on the most important day of the week– the 2nd class!!!!! Nothing like a grand prize to fill an empty bucket! I drove to school today new battery in place, wearing a new sweater to brighten the day only to end up late for my second class because I drove around campus for 20 min looking for a parking spot. The good thing about today is that there was lots of spots for me in the overflow parking for students on Gordon! Yes, I was 20 minutes late but, I was wearing a really nice sweater that I won so, I was happy!

One of my New Years resolution is to be super organized, I decided to ensure I do all homework and prepare ahead of time! I stayed up all night last night to do this quiz only to realize when I got to class today that it wasn’t due until next class. This is great I am living up to my resolution. Overall this has been a great week, I have been humbled, and blessed, destroyed, and hope filled, and to top it off my student loan came through just in the nick of time.

The joys of being a 2nd term first year student has its challenges. I believe anything is possible because God is the rock on which I stand and put my trust on.

I am looking forward to the amazing adventures I will embark on as I move to the rhythm of college life. The song that comes to mind for the start of this journey is by Whitesnake, ‘Here I go Again’.

Whitesnake-Here I Go Again

The Sun, the Earth and Digital Media Connections

I used Canva to design this poster

“A blade of grass is a commonplace on Earth; it would be a miracle on Mars. Our descendants on Mars will know the value of a patch of green. And if a blade of grass is priceless, what is the value of a human being?”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Everything under the sun is important to us. As much as trees are to roots, as much as roots are to the ground. As much as humans are to family, as much as family is in relationship to one another. We humans are much more than body mass and bone we have a spirit and like the stars that stream through the sky we are connected to each other in mathematical brilliance. Human connection is love, if we don’t know the Sun’s power that connects and interacts to the Earth then how do we know that the Sun ties all living together?

“The connection and interactions between the Sun and Earth drive the seasons, oceans currents, weather, climate, radiation belts and auroras.” NASA Science SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION

Light is something we all have access too. The Sun is the source of natural light, and in its great gravitational balance we are sustained by the sun and its effects on everything on earth. We are connected by its power through time and space code and form, particles and cells. Our technology guides our views in the sphere of light and dark by the movement of our mind to our actions. Without the Sun we would freeze and all life would die. (A Meeting with the Universe Ch 3-1 The Sun and Us), Our bodies are made up of around 60% of water in a human adult.
(USGS science for a changing world The Water in You: Water and the Human Body Overview P1)

The Earth is about 71% of water and 29% of that consists of continents.
(Matt Williams, 2014, Universe Today What percent of Earth is water?
What does water have to do with our sustainability and the use of our technology? Water is necessary to sustaining life on Earth. All the water is exchanged or evaporated into the atmosphere through the Sun to circulate and repeat so that we have what we need to survive. Our technology that we use from phones, to television, satellites and radio, even what we create using technology, computers, moving images on screens.  (NASA Science Share the Science

Technology shows us that we exist. At one time Earth was viewed as flat, over time due to data analysis, and exploration, then digitally shown to the world, that the Earth is in fact round. Digital media has evolved over time, not as we view the world but how technology enables us to view the world digital media has evolved and we have evolved. Let’s go back in history of Digital media: click this link to view:

Below is a video of the evolution and the Digital Era:

Through digital media we are able to see what we could never see centuries ago.  Are we smarter now that we see? Do we really know more than what we did? The mass of liquid and hydrogen to the weight of a water bug floating upon the surface of a pond is held up by the water, we humans are heavy upon the earth but take us to space and we float. Gravity is the source to distance and space to weight and mass. We are only as smart as we documented in pages of history. We once drew on rocks and cave walls, we now code on screens that were once written on scrolls. I don’t know if we are smarter or if we are simply evolving into repeated history.

“WELL, SOME HOPED, even if the Earth isn’t at the center of the Universe, the Sun is. The Sun is our Sun. So, the Earth is approximately at the center of the Universe.” (Sagan, Pale Blue Dot 1997 P20)

Our bodies are form and matter, and within us we carry the centre the core of the sun that lights, that illuminates the darkest spaces.  We in relation to each other move into action long before we move, this is our mind, the intelligence of our brain.

“And if the lights in the sky rise and set around us, isn’t it evident that we’re at the center of the Universe? These celestial bodies—so clearly suffused with unearthly powers, especially the Sun on which we depend for light and heat—circle us like courtiers fawning on a king. Even if we had not already guessed, the most elementary examination of the heavens reveals that we are special. The Universe seems designed for human beings. It’s difficult to contemplate these circumstances without experiencing stirrings of pride and reassurance. The entire Universe, made for us! We must really be something.” (Sagan, Pale Blue Dot 1997 P15)

We, in relation to each other move into action long before we move. This light can be seen directly related to the stars that fill the cosmos. Our actions reveal to another the very messages we long to convey, see me; look at what I can do, I have something to offer; let me show you what I have that can help, learn from me, let me relate to you; I can solve this, and so on.  This brings me back to digital media. As much as we connect one to another, and held by gravity, alive through the power, the energy of the Sun, we have ‘us’. Moving images that help us to see what is in front of us. Sharing language helps us communicate with one another, text messages, social media technology keeps us connected. Video technology helps us to see ‘live’ right now what is happening in another place in the world. The medium of design touches the heart of our senses in ways that the Universe touches our elevation and our depth of wonder.
Beautiful old lady from Darap(Sikkim) village
explore-d; #10 on Thursday, May 24, 2007

HTML coding is designed and created to make images, color, sound, video and art. The act of a human will to create a reality of what exists to another to be viewed to the conceptual map we call our own built on long standing traditions, values, morals a past and how ‘family’ is one as a whole is now shared to the world of social media and broadcasting throughout the world. What we like, and don’t like is systematically traced. But, what cannot be traced is the heart of a creature in relation to the digital images shared. Touching a heart moves us to want to do more, yes, and this is where what is dark, is given light to the minds of the viewer. The light of designed algorithms, data reaching one solitary star in the galaxy to another, the other side of the country.

“We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.”(Sagan, Pale Blue Dot 1997 P15)

Is it worth the effort to design a blog, make a video, take a photo? It wouldn’t be worth any of it if it weren’t for those viewers who look upon the very means you place the message on the web for the audience to view. Community of urban cultures tap into desires that lead a human creature to click on what they like, this is saved in cyber sites that read your platforms and guard your analytics, find where you are on the map connecting to each other. One mind at a time, or one heart, to another. Does this make us richer by the connections we make online? I am richer for the communications I have made through social media. I am richer by those I write about on my blog you are reading now.

Digital media is by far the greatest and worst means we have organized and created. I want to see and so I care. The act of this journey we make in the world by loving, caring, touching, tasting, feeling, while we gaze at the beauty that the sun shows while its sunrise and sunset are the real core of what powers us humans, like the Sun powers the Earth, love powers us.

“These days there seems to be nowhere left to explore, at least on the land area of the Earth. Victims of their very success, the explorers now pretty much stay home.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Moving photos,and videos, building beautiful websites with the idea we are making a mistake in our coding because the picture and finished product of my blog looks wrong…we must be precise in what we do, and if we aren’t then our image will be faltered in some way…like a shooting star that falls from the sky. Technology has certainly created quite the stir in the Universe, and satellites hang in the cosmos we build our digital lives and this puts us at ease. But, there is a very important fact that many of our scholars are missing, everything we code and do here affects over there, our water, our Sun. What we say, how we say it in our language and in our mind effects each other, this affects our planet Earth. Do you really believe that what you think in your head isn’t getting through to another person? Think again, because in this great Universe of ours, we are connected to one source just like our WIFI is connected to the cell tower. Our images we place from the heart, the sound we create in music that motivates us is a mirrored reflection of our thoughts which comes outward unto the mediums we use which is the message we give out that effects everything and everyone.

Take for a moment the blog I made, it is visually appealing and crisp, clean just like I wanted it. Does that mean my life is like that? Even opposites can make an effect into the world. Living, breathing, babies growing in the womb within water, even babies in womb can hear and feel the mother’s heartbeat, the sound of her voice the light of the Sun shining over her tummy. How does this happen? How does a living creature hear touch and move? My faith in God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth makes all things new.  God is who we are connected to He is the Master creator, the Greatest designer, and through our love, our own Earthly creations and inventions we are at the Mercy of God, and this kind of connection surpasses all understanding, all beauty and even surpasses the evolution of digital media.

Scholarly and non scholarly sources:


Design template using Canva

In the beginning I began thinking and reviewing concepts in my mind of what kind of blog I wanted. I had this idea of a art piece on canvas filled with news and graphics. I reviewed the top five website builders for 2019:

  1. WIX
  2. Squarespace
  3. SiteBuilder
  4. Site123
  5. WordPress

The only one I did try briefly was, but decided to use WordPress for the challenge and because our instructor in Digital Media class talked about WordPress.

I found the space of WordPress like equations without solutions and frankly that left me so frustrated that I felt like I was drowning the first day of working with WordPress. I am not one to give up, so I took the weekend to dive right in and tried several themes. I tried newspaper theme, then another and another. In my desperation Bonnie from my digital media class sat with me and helped me find an easy to use theme design that could work with the type of content I had, and that was Shawburn in WordPress.

so much work of redesigning, customizing oh my!

The platform enticed me. I spent more time in the ‘design’ section under ‘customize’ than any other area because I couldn’t get my posts linked to the menu’s.

I had this vision in my mind of what my blog should do and it wasn’t matching my dream of what I imagined it to look like. This was when I would spend most of my nights and weekends working on customizing and designing, tagging and adding to make the platform of my blog easy to navigate for those who read it.

Setting up menus was another frustrating time of much needed breaks, after diligently working through the problems in my background and what the reader may see.

Evolution of Space: I wanted my website to have a clean and fresh look. When someone clicks into my space, I visualize the look to be tactile to the touch of what touch would be perceived to be, because its online how can one touch… but to visually look at the images and buttons, and make it look so real! The rest of the blog wanted it to be smooth, water colored texture mixed with bold colors to visually captivate the audience and for the look and feel of the blog would be non threatening. I also didn’t want my blog to be overly busy that the reader would be confused.

Analytics and Social Media

The beauty I incorporate here is the fact that WordPress has a jetpack that allows an analityc study of my blog stats. At first the stats were zero no views, no target areas on the map of the world. I started to use social media to the mix and tagged and placed buttons of social media to my blog. The ratings went up slowly. Then I wrote a community profile in my blog about Shannon and her Service Dog my ratings went up.

This is not the end of my blog because the semester of classes are over for the fall term. I will edit and re-edit I am sure, and perhaps even redesign my blog at some point. For now I will keep blogging, exploring as I journey.

Interesting Observation

“When you do the things that you can do, you will find a way.”
― A.A. Milne

The projector didn’t work in class last Friday, and our instructor found a temporary solution and asked us to gather around in a circle, in order to view the videos he had chosen for his lecture. We all moved tables and gathered around in a large circle. For the first time EVER since I started classes at OK College, I never experienced a lecture sitting in a circle to which I was surprised over what occurred once we fixed the layout of the classroom and moved our chairs.

What I observed was rather uncanny. Students that normally I have never heard speak before, began engaging to the questions in the lecture. All of us it seemed to me were more engaged with our instructor. We were able to actually see each other whereas the layout of our desks before we never really engaged much with each other because we were all facing the front. I wonder if anyone else in the class observed the same thing? I grasped the discussion more fully, instead of the instructor talking at us, in the ‘circle’ it felt he was talking to us.

I haven’t had time to look at the layout of classrooms pedagogy study or anything but I did find it interesting to see the transformation in my fellow students in class.

Here is a video I found to further think about seating arrangements:

Reflections on the Tools for Design

As you can see from the above links, I used a few tools. In fact I went tool crazy trying to figure out which one I would like, and frankly I didn’t like many of them. If I had more time to learn the mechanics of the applications, I believe I would enjoy them more.

The application I chose to use to create my poster for my blog post: ‘Meet Ripley, A Therapy Dog’ was from That was the easiest design platform for me. I enjoyed viewing all the choices of designs. I had fun picking a template that I could incorporate for the profile interview I am going to do with Shannon and her therapy dog. I chose the poster template with dog foot prints because the colors were perfect. The text enhanced the image I wanted to portray that is eye catching and bold.

The rest of the tools that I used I explain below in the chart on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The video I created using Lumen5 was a free video, I was challenged and frustrated with trying to get the video to link in WordPress, which I finally accomplished!

Overall, great experience and I am excited to work with and see how that platform of ‘story’ goes.

Meet Ripley, a Service Dog

Ripley is Shannon’s ‘miracle’ dog, since she has arrived into her arms.
“I have much more confidence, she hears what I cannot hear even with my hearing aids, when there is lots of noise or if the music is loud, Ripley hears what I can’t pick up. My stress is significantly better.


There are three kinds of service dogs:

  1. Service dog
  2. Emotional support dog
  3. Therapy dog

Ripley is a service dog because she has two purposes:

  1. DIRECTIONAL HEARING: If I hear an alarm or an assault where I work, I can’t tell if the sound is left or right, or front or back.  Ripley will alert me as to the source. If I tell Ripley to take me to the source she will.
  2. PROTECTION (SAFETY AND SECURITY): She’s in training to be a personal protection dog because I work in a vulnerable environment.  At home she does not have her working service vest on, but she goes wherever I am 24/7.
Ripley Watching my feet as I walk around


Ripley already uses her trained skills to tell me which doorbell someone is approaching. If someone approaches me she can alert me where they are coming from. She is currently being trained for being a ‘protection and hearing dog’.

I got communicated with a girl at work who has a service dog through the Lions Club, ( )but at the time there was a 2-year wait, and PADS (Personal Assistance Dog Service) ( which had a 4-year wait-list.
I decided to find my own private breed. I researched, studied and found a breeder:  her name is Melody Whitrow from Vista Rolls, ( ), for Shar pei’s she is considered number one in Canada.  She is a full registered breeder.  I interviewed the breeder and in prayer I found the right breed for my needs.

The Shar pei breed has 3 attributes that I was looking for:

  1. Size
  2. Loyalty
  3. Intelligence
  4. Physical appearance, because she will grow to look muscular rough and tough

After picking the Shar pei puppy, I had to consult how I was to get her to British Columbia from Saskatchewan.  I had to pay for her.  She is $2,000 for the price of the dog.  I didn’t have the funding but an anonymous donor provided for part of the funds. Through prayer she knew that she would be more lenient with the process.  Melody agreed to deliver the puppy to me because of my physical challenges.

The breeder knew what type of service I needed and started to work with Ripley since birth to receiving her with house training and socializing. There was an instant connection at the airport.

Shannon, Ripley, Melody Whitlow


I went through the Government:

Ripley is still in training and abides by all the rules.  I have a service dog card, the License cost may vary. The proper training and education is ongoing as needed until she is properly skilled.

This is Shannon’s Service Dog Card
at Gellatly Bay Waterfront


Immensely, my husband at first tried to ignore her, because he knew that she needed to be my service dog, but she melted everybody’s hearts. It is important that she has a bond with someone else other than me in the case of an emergency and I am gone she needs to not be lost.  So we have to have that plan in place. 

Shannon’s husband with Ripley


Ripley wants to be friends with the other pets but they are afraid of her because she is big and makes funny sounds and looks bigger than them. Ripley is very routine oriented. She goes to bed every night at 8:15 PM. I make sure I give the other pets extra when Ripley is asleep or having a nap. I take that opportunity to make sure my other pets have my attention and time.

Next year I will be able to go back to work and Ripley will be going with me but for now I am on stress leave and Ripley and I will be going back in slow increments of hours to start with.

Shannon and Ripley


Only if the person is fully committed 24/7, 365-day relationship with their partner, and they are very well educated on what they are in for because it is a lifestyle change. You have to be able to take the dog wherever you go, public places non public places with that dog you have to be able to trust they can behave and handle the environment. That is why she has to wear a service vest.

She knows that she is working when her work vest is on she is a working dog. When her work vest is off she is a regular puppy. 

Ripley at home without her working vest on

Dogs can be more than just a part of the family, they can be a part of a solution to those who suffer from illness or other challenges and this makes for a healthier life.

The Focus for My Blog

“Life is a Journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved”, Winnie the Pooh

When I think of community, I think of a culture of people who live in the same town who communicate based on culture, interests, inspirations and social connections.

I focus my blog on the communities where I live. The Okanagan Valley View is the literal focus representing my views linguistically to connect with a broader community here in the Okanagan and the community on the Web.

I belong to a community of faith that has enriched my life from the ground up. I have experienced many facets of people I’ve come to know by serving in my local church family. I know that we hold so much as people that we can’t all place life in a snapshot and discuss it in depth over everything, so my focus is brief encounters that make a difference

where I am

there you are.

I am challenged in College life, by diverse experiences that open my eyes to another culture, the culture of the young, and the culture of the community within the walls of education. These experiences move me to come outside of my comfort zone into students’ and instructors’ educational system that may test my views, and expand my knowledge at Okanagan College.

I hold the truth in my heart.

And the learning systems of knowledge I embrace.

There you are.

My views can be controversial at times. Not only to raise awareness for you reading my blog, but it also raises awareness in me in ways that I share, care and express. My blog is not a journal. It’s the views I have of what is going on while I drive, walk, witness, experience, taste, touch, and live. There is a vast amount of family in community, friends, and acquaintances, advertisements, that I think to myself, wow, this is amazing, and interesting to share? How else can we get to know each other unless we get a little vulnerable.

To see what’s inside

And know I’ve shared an experience

where you are

The community profile section I bring to my blog is those in my faith community, my college community, those in our town, and the surrounding area I sense is something to share and available to be read.

The profiles I bring to you can be conversational pieces of literary language that let others step inside a room where we view others who have something to say and to come away thinking, hmmm, exciting, or I didn’t know that.

To see you here

hear what you say

And move on your way changed for the better part of the day.

My blog’s content may interest be related to the local news, the writing and digital community, the tourism industry of the Valley and beyond; however, my blog is too new for this to be anything but a window of parts that I haven’t developed.

My blog is where community meets my feet

where you are

where we meet.

Where Does the Extra Parking Money Go, When It Doesn’t Dispense Change Back?

My friend paid $3.00 for parking at the Museum in Kelowna but the ticket meter’s total was for $2.50. I was surprised that she was losing .50 cents.

“You know some meters in Kelowna are like this one, where they don’t give change back.  I wonder what the city does with all that extra money? ” my friend Maria asked.

I started thinking about that.  I called the City of Kelowna’s Parking Coordinator, Andrew Wilson today to get some information about where the accumulation of funds go from all the parking meters that keep the change. I’m glad I talked to him, it put to rest some misgivings for me.

“The department isn’t funded under taxation, to build parking structures, we rely on reserves. The extra monies that we accumulate goes towards the reserve funds and then used towards the purchase of land, and maintain the city parking areas. There are different ways one can pay for convenience, there is the pay by phone app where you can be anywhere and pay for extra time on your parking meter or there is also the credit card option,” said Wilson.

I don’t park much downtown, and if I do, I usually pay at the parkade or I usually park after 5 PM or on holidays when I am in Kelowna.  Now that I am more informed, I can easily download the ‘pay by phone’ App on my phone for convenience.

When I looked further into what the city has for Kelowna’s parking structure on this particular issue, I found a document that is online called, ‘City of Kelowna Parking Policy Framework’, this was a final report dated on March of 2013. One of the goals the city mentioned in the document was to reduce transportation demands while ensuring adequate parking to support businesses.  The other goal was to reduce automobile traffic to support Kelowna and the community. (31)

You can also take a peek by clicking the below link, titled ‘Parking Policy framework’, page 27 where the city shows how much parking revenue was made. Meetings 2013%5C2013-05-13%5CRegular AM/Agenda Package – Regular AM Council Meeting_May13_2013.pdf?#Page=8

Events Coming up to watch for:

My Sociology Professor shared an event that Mind of Mine Foundation is putting on a Mental Health Forum on January 29th. There are wonderful speakers and it is well worth attending. Student Services has tickets. I am going to try to attend!

photo by Christine Reeves

My Digital Media Instructor shared a documentary movie showing here in the Okanagan Valley at different locations and different times throughout the Interior. I am going to go to this screening, it took 10 years to make!  The documentary movie is called Us and Them.

You Touched Me!

I wonder, how you would react if this happened to you?

I drove to school, the traffic was light and I parked my car with ease. After my first class I was walking towards the library from the courtyard, then something extraordinarily strange happened. A student slipped his hand in mine and walked with me a few steps. I turned to him and said, “What are you doing, do you think I’m someone you know?” That was the only thing that I could think to say. He said it was for his psychology class. Another one of my random moments that made me giggle and think, ‘how peculiar’.

My curiosity was peaked, so I found an article online that I read and found it interesting called, ‘Why Holding Hands is important, According to Science’ by Sarah Wolstencroft, (2017) . I would never have looked that up if it weren’t for this strange encounter.

%d bloggers like this: