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I’m giving up Donald Trump for Lent

on Mar 1, 2017

I’m giving up Donald Trump for Lent Let me explain. Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season, which for churchgoers—or anyone with a little history of the church—means the 40-day period leading up to Easter. For those of you who don’t have the benefit of a lifetime of church attendance, allow me to give you just a bit of background. It’s important. Consider this your Reader’s Digest Condensed version. The history of Lent can be traced as far back at 325 AD when the Council of Nicaea made it a thing. The Council issued 20 some statements or canons for practical faith, one of which included the mention of Lent. Although there had been recognition and celebration of Holy week and Easter in the Christian church long before, it was the council which declared the 40 days beforehand to be of significance. The background features the Israelites—God’s chosen people...

Monday Morning Musings: An unconventional beauty

on Oct 24, 2016

I visited an exhibition of some works of the Dutch and Flemish Masters a few years ago, during a short visit to Amsterdam. There were works by Van Gogh, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Rubens, to name a few. These are considered priceless pieces of art, held under lock and key, deemed museum-worthy by someone’s standard. Crowds line up to see these masterpieces, and though some of these meticulously painted canvases are breathtaking in their detail and portrayal of subject, occasionally, I fail to see what all the fuss is about. I am the beholder and I don’t see beauty. My eyes see crude brushstrokes and muddy colour, lack of depth, distorted faces and shapes. I guess that’s why I’m not curating any museum collections. One of the pieces I had the pleasure of viewing was a little known work by Dutch artist Egon Schiele, called Portrait of Edith. Edith is the artist’s wife. By earthly...

Engagements and the lasting properties of tin foil

on Oct 21, 2016

Sixteen years ago this week, my husband got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I answered yes (obviously). But the bigger question here is, who remembers an engagement anniversary? (Except for my niece, whose engagement video (yes, video) went viral on Youtube and ended up on syndicated television in the US. I can see how maybe she might remember that 16 years on.) But the rest of us. Really? Or maybe it’s just me? I’m not really great with dates in general. But for some reason this one has made its way into my love’s Blackberry calendar. (He’s evidently not that great with dates either.) So, we celebrate the engagement. I won’t ever complain about dinner out. While I don’t have any recall on the date, I do remember the occasion perfectly. He hatched the plan one evening, getting my two daughters—who were eight and 10 at the time—to scheme along with him. I was taking...

When you least expect it, but most need it… Let God surprise you

on Oct 7, 2016

“Sometimes, more than band-aids or Bible verses, more than rescue or repair, our friends just need someone willing to sit with them in the muck.” ~ Alicia Bruxvoort (Proverbs31.org) In conversation with a friend last week, she asked, “How do you get through a cancer diagnosis without antidepressants?” It’s a valid question. Those who know me know that I have struggled with depression and, over the course of the past 20 years, have been on and off antidepressants and in and out of counselling. In large part, much of it was postpartum related; manufacturing human beings is taxing work. The toll on a mother’s body, heart and mind is great. But life can be hard too. For me, a separation, divorce, single parenting, going back to school, keeping a roof over my head, all these things stretched me far beyond what I had the capacity to manage. During those years, I had a host of people who came...

Be Still and Know: a reminder for everyday

on Sep 23, 2016

I’m not much of a jewelry wearer. Though I love the sparkle of diamonds and can seldom walk purposefully past a shop window glittering with gemstones, I’m not dripping in diamonds and most days can be found with the same pair of little studs in my ears. My wedding rings usually stay on. Occasionally I’ll wear a necklace. Almost never a watch. But I have this bracelet. I wear it most days. It’s not gold or silver. It’s not expensive nor does it glitter. But it is precious to me. Because it carries a simple message that whispers to my heart. Life is crazy, isn’t it? Do you feel like that sometimes? You’re in a season of life and it’s full and busy. And we think there’s salvation in the next stage. But each stage has its own crazy and busy. Each is different and yet so much the same. Don’t misunderstand me. There is so much good in each season too. The crazy and the busy aren’t...

We are all changemakers: a follow-up to starting over

on Sep 16, 2016

Four kilometers in four months. That’s how far I’ve managed to get to since I “started over” back in April. It seems like a lifetime ago that I resolved to become a beginner again when I wrote this post. I was no longer starting a fitness regime from a place of being relatively fit. Instead, I swallowed a heaping dose of humility and mentally and physically put myself back on square one. I laced up my sneakers and started running from lamppost to lamppost, literally. At the start, I could maybe run a stretch of about 25 metres at a time. Walking the 25 metres in between. My total distance was a humbling 2 km. All the while, the voices in my head—like a tiny angel perched on one shoulder and a devil on the other—competed for my attention. “This is embarrassing! You are so out of shape! Go home, sit down.” My inner naysayer reminded me over and over again all the reasons I couldn’t and...

The remedy for a terminal diagnosis (a.k.a. life)

on Sep 9, 2016

I was at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre a few weeks ago for my regular six-month check-in with my CLL specialist. My wait was a little longer than usual, which I don’t mind because I know when the time comes that I need a little extra, it will be there for me. Cancer is hard. When she finally entered my little examining room, she apologized profusely. Her eyes sad and heavy, “Sometimes I just get a patient that I don’t know what to do with. Even with some time after diagnosis, all they can wrap their heads around is ‘Oh my god, I’m going to die.’” I get that. I really do. I know that not everyone’s story is the same as mine. Each cancer has its own personality, each patient his or her own reality. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Ultimately though, the diagnosis is always terminal. That’s the nature of life; it ends in death. (Such a cheery thought, am I right?) In that...

Monday morning musings: Starting over…

on Apr 11, 2016

It occurred to me not too long ago that I’ve been living in the past. Reflecting on the past has its uses for sure: developing character, instigating change. But, in general, it’s not a good idea to dwell there as a substitute for actually living in the present. So, on that note, there’s this little niggly thing that’s been bothering me that I need to deal with once and for all. Confession: I am no longer fit. (Crickets) It’s not even the outward appearance that I struggle with the most; a good outfit can hide a multitude of sins. It’s the fact that, despite my quite obviously unfit body, in my head I still think I’m in the same place I was 15 years ago, fitness-wise. In my head I’m still a lean, mean running machine. I could sit on my rear end all winter and get up in spring and knock off 5 km like nothing. Heck, I ran a marathon! But really, how long can you NOT run, and NOT be fit,...

Always moving. Going nowhere.

on Apr 6, 2016

I feel like a caged animal. Always moving. My calendar is full. My schedule is busy. I have lots of important things to do and places to go and people to see. You know those animals in the zoo? Not the little guys, or the reptiles. The big ones. Lions. Bears. You know the type. Their environment dictated by walls and fences. In the wild, they’d be roaming. Covering hundreds of kilometres in search of food. A mate. Family. Migrant. Moving. Going somewhere with some purpose. But in the zoo, they are confined. And so they go. But it’s around and around. Wearing a path on the perimeter of the enclosure. Always moving. Going nowhere. In a rut. That’s how I feel. I’ve erected walls and isolated myself in an enclosure. It keeps me safe and spectators firmly at a distance. I don’t let many people in. And I rarely venture out. It’s generous in size, and yet, it’s more confining than what I was...

Peace… relatively speaking

on Jan 21, 2016

These two. They are two years and six months apart. You would think that would be enough distance to allow each her own space to be the individual she was created to be. They are as different as night and day both in physical characteristics and in personality and character. And they bicker. Oh.my.goodness. There are days when I want to pull my hair out. Some days, the pettiness and the vitriol that comes spewing out of their mouths causes my blood pressure to spike. I can feel it. And then, there are days like this one. Where they are best friends. Each other’s number one fan. I never know which one it’s going to be when the sun rises. And from how it begins to how it ends can be two entirely different things also. Who knows what triggers the swirling, pre-pubescent emotions of a young lady? But for this day, I’ll take the peace that accompanies the excitement of a new instrument...