So Here’s What I’ve Been Up To

Derek Ouellette —  June 27, 2011

The past two weeks have been exceptionally busy. So much so that where as I have been in the habit of posting a blog article three to five times a week, you’ll notice that over the past two weeks I’ve managed to slide only one or two in.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

We’ve Moved!

I’ve been married for four years now, and for the past three of those we have lived with our in-laws. Our first year of marriage was a blast, but it was wrought with poor financial decision compounded upon poor financial decision until we found ourselves in a place where we could no longer sustain our living.

We placed our valuables (including my library) in a storage unit and have found a measure of contentment with only one small room of personal living space. Near the end things grew exceptionally hard, but recalling Dave Ramsey’s principle to “live like no one else now so that we can live like no one else later”, we believe it was well worth it.

My wife and I have been immensely blessed with all of the folks who helped to make our move happen, those who donated their time and some, their material. Currently our new place is livable and every room relatively the way we want it with the exception of my library room. I have seventeen piles of books on the floor from between knee to waist high not counting two full bookshelves. I am looking forward to buy more shelving units and organizing the books. It’ll be like Christmas in July.

But because of the move I currently am internet deficient, which makes keeping up with facebook and blogs quite difficult.

Warehouse Sale and Christmas

As many of you know I work as a marketing manager for a Christian bookstore. We just had our annual Warehouse Sale which has commandeered a superfluous amount of my time. Just as we were about to send out our mailer piece to four thousand customers we received word that Canada Post mailing service may strike. Because this would throw a huge wrench in months of planning and cost us potentially thousands of dollars, we panicked and our leadership team had an emergency meeting to determine alternate means to getting word to our customers.

Among the various avenues to help promote this event we sought help from the churches and received a disappointing amount of support. While it was, to some extent, a break-even sale, our numbers through the door were thirty percent less than previous years. What makes this surprising is that we went ahead and risked a mailer which successfully landed in people’s homes before the strike took effect, and on top of this we invested in facebook and kijiji ads, hand delivered to some of our best customers and did get about a thousand flyers into a few helpful churches. That is, we did more to promote this event and received about 30% less response.

This is both discouraging and a reminder that as a Christian retail store we need to change the way things are done and perhaps even widen our target audience. Christian bookstores operate largely on the premise that there is a Christian culture within the broader secular culture. But the Christian culture is not a distinguished from the secular culture as it once was. I’m not going to explore all the possible reasons why actual visitors to our store are declining (internet probably also a major factor), but only to acknowledge that this sale took a lot out of me.

I’ve also been – gulp – thinking about Christmas… a lot! That is one of the downsides of marketing, you’re always three to six months ahead in your thinking. Beginning to draw up plans for October – December sale events and details related to that.

A Local Minister; who, me?

Last Monday the board members of my church bestowed upon me the honour of a “Local Minister’s License”. This is something I received only after months of talks with my pastor and many more with close and trusted friends. Let me be clear: I am not an ordained minister.

In the Nazarene church a local minister’s license is bestowed upon an individual who “feels called of God to preach or to pursue lifetime ministry through the church”. When my pastor recently asked me if the board could bestow me with it, I must admit I struggled. I have a long history of struggling with whether or not to go into ministry in an official “ordained” fashion. The decision in my Pentecostal days was made for me by default by the fact that I did not speak in tongues. Back then I could not imagine myself doing anything but full-time ministry, something most of my pastor friends would have readily testified too by their own observation. So you can imagine how frustrating it must have been to be told “no” because I did not speak in tongues after devoting half of my life in that church with half of that time focused on the goal of ministry.

I have all but given up on that and turned my attention to a more academic interest. I don’t know at this point what the future holds for me, but in the mean time I am happy continuing to do as I have been.

No time to read or blog

In short, with everything going on in my life right now I have not had much of any time to read or blog. Usually I read at night, but these past two weeks have found me so exhausted that the moment I slip under the covers, I’m out.

Hopefully things will be slowing down enough for me to get some more articles out here or there. I notice often in the blogosphere that bloggers will take a few weeks off in the summer, sometimes longer. I think next summer I’ll do the same. Perhaps July or August.

In any case, I’m back! :)

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Wendy Hedrick

    Your new home looks wonderful… Mimi and Yecenia look very content and so do you sitting amongst your mountain of books!
    Love Always…..Mom

  • Paul Bruggink

    I once had to put the bulk of my personal library in boxes in a storage unit when we were between homes for nine months, so I have an idea of how you feel about getting reacquainted with them again, not to mention the fun of figuring out how best to arrange them. Best wishes!

  • Morgan Guyton

    Congrats on the move! We moved into our house a year ago and we’ve still got half our stuff in boxes.