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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...

Stupid things you do when you’re diagnosed with cancer. (Episode One: Family photos)

on Jan 15, 2016

Someday, I desire for this little corner of the Internet to be more than what it is. I have big dreams for this baby. At the moment, it’s a catch-all for my seemingly random firings. Little stories, anecdotes, things that get me thinking. There’s mostly no rhyme or reason to my entries, except that in my daily battle to write and my own pressure to post, every now and then, it’s crap here. Plain and simple. I admit it. But, as with my office—which is perennially disorganized with piles of things that forever need “filing” or “sorting”—or my computer photo storage program, which, quite frankly, is a mess, my blog remains at the bottom of a pile of wishful thinking. For now. However, when my wishful thinking becomes reality, this entry will be filed under the heading: Stupid things you do when you’re diagnosed with cancer. November 2014. Three weeks post-diagnosis. Email a photographer,...

Page 1 of 365 – Faith. Hope. Love.

on Jan 8, 2016

So. Happy New Year. You’ll have to excuse my lack of enthusiasm and exclamation points. I’m having a hard time these days. I struggle with the whole Christmas season, so by the time all the festivities have wrapped up, I’m ready to just run for the hills and not come back. I survived Christmas this year, but I’m not gonna lie, December was hard. The days are short and dark and in Calgary—where I live—it’s cold. So, now it’s January, typically a time of fresh starts and resolutions. But, quite honestly, even though I’m generally an optimistic person by nature, I’m not feeling the excitement of the New Year. Reflecting on 2015, I realize that it was perhaps a more difficult year than I thought as I was battling my way through parts of it. It began with a brutal head cold. “What started as a tickle in my throat on December 29, has become a nagging sore throat, irritated, coughing and...

Hold the bacon…

on Nov 20, 2015

I felt my world shift a little bit the other day. Of course, it wasn’t a literal earthquake, but no less unsettling. Well, maybe slightly less unsettling. A friend casually interjected this piece of information into a conversation. “Oh, haven’t you heard? Some new research out of the WHO (World Health Organization) has basically concluded that bacon causes cancer. “ There. Did you feel that? I’m sure the earth just moved. And sure enough, within days of that earth-shifting revelation, this was the cover of Time Magazine. Unfortunately for this meat-loving gal, the war on delicious doesn’t actually begin and end with bacon. It encompasses an entire food group! MEAT! (With the exception of chicken, which somehow has remained unscathed in all of this.) “The categories of meat in the new study are broad and inclusive. Red meat is defined as “all types of mammalian muscle meat, such as...