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A Brilliant Life That Deserves Celebrating

Today’s letter goes out to Kim A. Thomas (@kimathomas) ’cause it’s her birthday! If you haven’t yet, check out her project that celebrates the diverse daily street styles of Kelowna. Oh, and be sure to wish her a happy birthday. Dear Brilliant Birthday Girl, It was about a year ago that stumbled upon your brilliant work and huge heart for people. I remember reading your letter to Hanna and being gripped by your grasp of the human soul. As I continued to admire your work from afar, I was inspired to no end as you truly have a gift for capturing on film what it means to be human. In everything you do, your celebration of diversity and love for others shines like a beacon in an often cynical culture that preaches tolerance yet tolerates only themselves. Don't ever stop capturing the beauty of our humanity with the lens of your camera. Today you and your work deserve to be celebrated.  Happy Birthday. A Letter [to Hanna on death] by Kim A. Thomas
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A Universal Courtesy That Gives Me Hope (or “No Seriously, Where’s Waldo?”)

Dear Side Stepping Pedestrians, I realized today, as my family overtook the boardwalk with our photo shoot, that there is a universal consideration when it comes to people taking pictures. Whether it be a professional shoot or Uncle Bob taking pictures on his iPhone, everyone either stops to wait until the picture is captured or the step around, ensuring that the picture being snapped doesn't turn into a 'Where's Waldo' shot. To me this simple act gives me hope that we are not merely selfish beings that only ever care about ourselves, as some may suggest. We are in fact beings that, even on a subconscious level, don't want to interfere with those capturing a special moment in time. Just think what could happen if we applied this type of selfless universal courtesy  to areas of life other than picture taking.
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No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service…..You Didn’t Say Anything About Pants

Dear Pantless Grocery Shopper, I had to take a double, triple and quadruple take when I saw you cruising the aisles of the grocery store wearing, what appeared to be, only a dress shirt. It was is I was thrust into a stereotypical nightmare where I was out wanding in public without any pants on; except that this had to be your nightmare. With sleeves rolled up to your elbows, top three buttons undone and a gold chain resting comfortably on a nest of graying chest hair, you  acted as "it ain't no thang" to drop trou and buy some milk.  I eyed you quizzically wandering down the chips and cracker aisle when it happened. Without hesitation you reached up to the top shelf as your shirt inevitably rode higher and higher until . . . . . .  (pause for effect) I saw you wearing the shortest shorts I have ever seen a man wear. Fear is only as powerful as the individual makes it. But shorts or no shorts, I wouldn't have the balls (pun fully intended) to buy my groceries wearing the outfit that you seemed so comfortable in. Keep truckin'.
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I am a prisoner…

Dear Rolling Pedestrian, I'm not a big fan of walking.  I do it when necessary, you know, like walking from the couch to the fridge in search of my last beer.  I walk from the office to my car and from the car to my house. I've never walked to school. Other than the fact that I'm lazy, the point is that I can walk; I just choose not to. You, on the other hand, don't have the luxury of making that choice. You can't walk to school, even if you wanted to. You can't walk to your friend's house or take a stroll on the beach as the water laps at your bare toes. You are confined to a wheelchair yet you are navigating the sidewalk as if the two of you are old friends who see each other on a daily basis. In some ways I suppose your chair is like a prison, only allowing you to experience the world through the spokes of your cell. But I wonder who is really more free: the one who chooses to see the world from their limited vantage point, or the one who has the ability to see the world in all of it's fullness but chooses not to? I suspect it's the former.  -Dave
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Pretentious Assholes vs. Cynical Assumptions

Dear Lamborghini Driver, I don't know if there is a more pretentious vehichle in our town of 100,000 people than your pearl white Lambhorghini Gallardo. The stark contrast between your current mode of transportation and the overflowing shopping cart of scrounged treasures being pushed down the sidewalk by one of the many homeless was sobering. The fact that your vehicle alone could almost buy a house for he which has no home does not seem right. There are two things that occurred to me as the dichotomous situation slowly registered. One: I made a big assumption that you were a pretentious asshole who only thinks of himself while snubbing the less fortunate. Fact is, you could easily be funding one of the many low income/homeless initiatives in our city. Two: It's officially summer. Despite the uncharactistically dreary weather for the usually scorching hot month of July, when the $100K cars come out to play summer has begun.   -Dave
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Fear vs. Habitual Confidence

Dear Fearless Bridge Jumpers, The drop didn't seem that far while standing on the shore. Yet as I leaned over the bridge rail and stared into the endless black hole that seemed to lurk just below the churning river waters, I knew that risk adverse status quo of our culture gripped me tight in its grasp. Entranced by the vortex of nothingness that you continually launched yourself into, I realized that I am nothing but a creation of my own habits. By cultural standards I am an out of shape, under achiever. As I watched you stare risk and fear in the face, I could see your confidence grow every time you won your inner battle. Each time your head popped up above the ice cold water you swam faster than the time before, anticipating another, more exhilarating jump. Don't ever lose your sense of fearlessness and self confidence. Stay in your 12 year old state of mind as long as you can. It's almost impossible to get it back once it's gone.  -Dave
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The Wisdom of a 10 Year Old

Dear Passionate 10 Year Old, I have never talked to a more passionate, mature, selfless girl than you. As I listened to you pour your heart out and share ideas how people could/should be helping raise awareness about what's happening to kids and families in North Africa, I knew deep down inside that our world (the one that you are already shaping) is going to be okay. You are part of a generation that will change our world through the selfless acts of kindness and humility that are deeply woven into your DNA.  People will try to tell you that you're too young to change the world; to wait until you grow up. Here's a secret: Wisdom does not come from age, it comes from having the ability to see the world through the eyes of others (especially those less fortunate than you).             You are more wise than I.  -Dave
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Changing the World, One Spray Painted Word At a Time

This throwback to last year was originally dedicated to Dori (aka The Giant) (@DORItheGIANT) for a project she started called Project Goodfitti. It really encouraged and inspired me then and it still does to this day. I’m so glad that she is still creating. Dear Graffiti Girl,
 You're doing awesome work putting a positive spin on graffiti. To be able to walk by a wall covered in spray paint and read the words
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It’s Like Rain On Your Wedding Day…

Dear Tall Skinny White Kid,
 I found it really ironic and funny that you were wearing a t-shirt with
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Grace vs Illicit First World Expectations

Dear First World Consumer, It hit me like a ton of bricks today as I watched you glare at the cracked screen of your Blackberry while trying to navigate your social media streams: When did perfection become the standard? In our hyper competitive first world continent, it seems as though there is no room for flaw. We need the newest, the best, the fastest and if it's flawed, we deserve it to be replaced for free (even if it was our own damn fault that it got dropped and broke in the first place). Is this the reality in which we live? Are we, as humans, flawless? So why is it that we expect every product or service we use to be something we are not? We expect something from others that we can not in fact deliver ourselves. The sad part is that when we're disappointed, we take it out on the things (and worse, others) we illicitly expected to be perfect in the first place. Where's the grace in that?    -Dave