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Unexpected Gifts: letting go of perfection and embracing reality

on Nov 21, 2017

How do you find the balance between embracing all the beauty the Christmas season has to offer while keeping your expectations realistic? Sometimes, God works in the most unexpected ways. Read on…

Your story, your walls, and writing your own ending

on Nov 15, 2017

I have a sign in my office that reads, “Your story begins at home.” We all have a story–each one unique. What are the things that characterize your story, and how are you writing the ending?

In search of contentment: moving towards good. and enough.

on Nov 8, 2017

Blaise Pascal wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which can’t be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator.” A recent trip to Target shone a glaring spotlight on my heart, and I didn’t like what I saw. Do you struggle with discontent? Read on…

Monday Morning Musings: On the relentless pursuit of rest

on Oct 30, 2017

I spent many years chasing busy. Thinking that somehow my life would have more value or meaning if I was doing ALL THE THINGS. Turns out I was missing my best life because I was simply too busy. How about you?

Monday Morning Musings: On stubbornness and perserverance

on Oct 23, 2017

“Hello, my name is Janine and I’m stubborn.” If you can relate to this, then maybe I’ve got something that will help you turn that trait around. Read on…

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...