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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...