Friday, December 23, 2011

The Auntiehood

She has wet hair. It looks like unravelled rope, and hangs wrecklessly almost to her waist. She is indigo eyed, with a perfect little girl giggle... she liked chocolate and can't wait for Ho Ho to get here on Christmas Eve.

He is a toe head. A term I had heard a bazillion times..even when explaining me, and mine. But trust me when I say, you will n'er see a more ideal specimen than you will in this boy. He prefers white chocolate, and likes ketchup on his Kraft dinner. He's one of the sweetest souls I know.

I live with them. My niece and nephew are under the same roof as my sister and I, for an undetermined amount of time...and life is perfect.

As someone who has wanted a family of my own...a home a flurry with plastic cups and dishes, milk before bed, and unceasing, brightly tinkling laughter - I was certainly at a loss on the timeline of the arrival of these things. When life spun a wee bit off course, and circumstances fell into place. It's not in the manner of my expectations...but it's exactly what I have wished for.

Children change you. Any parent would tell me I surely don't know the half of it. Perhaps because they are fluttering through that brief, yet flawlessly radiant time in life when all things are new...expectation is paramount, and disappointment lasts about as long as it takes to kiss someone on the end of the nose - I am aware pretty much every moment with them, that I am priviledged to be a part of this. The shaping of their ideas on happiness, and security...what is right...and what is wrong... all of those fundamental core beliefs about life are being formed...right before my eyes, right in the very shadows of my grown up life...every minute...everyday.

As I watch the precious littles dance in my room, often to music far too complex for their minds... I am breathless with the realization that they have had no one has told them they're not good enough, pretty enough, or too chubby to do it...they just feel it, and go. My nephew thinks he's an A1 breakdancer at 4 years old...and my niece is the baddest little spinner this side of the talisman in Inception. Perhaps I am biased? They, along with my other 2 angelfaced nieces are the best thing that ever happened to me.

Christmas will come in the wee hours of the dark just a little more than a day from now. We'll create our traditions for them...we'll be the fearless memory makers, just as our parents were...and theirs before them.

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. ~Neil Postman

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Let It Be

Sometimes I find life quietly lulls feels as if it's bobbing lazily along with the stream of my life. Of course, things are plodding along as normal, but those "shake you awake moments" seem to be sitting dormant and silent on the sidelines. And all at once, I seem to be whirling and buzzing with the bittersweet beauty of clarity...and those snapshot moments that I wish so desperately I could put on the inside of my deepest, most secret pocket.

Goodbye's. Or maybe those moments you realise something is, in fact, over...are rarely happy. October presented a chalk full 31 days. A television unforgettable vacation, a car accident, 2 brilliant concerts, a double dose of goodbye...and a night spent with 2 children caught in the wonderment of Halloween. I can say the month didn't end without my heart brimming to uneqivocal overflow.

Those perfect moments of the month keep everything in perspective...and the good surely does outweigh the bad. But with honesty, the goodbye's are bruising. They leave dull, aching pain and reminders of when life was a little less complicated...and when the unknown was exciting, and not scary. Learning that things aren't as you thought they were...well, who is prepared for that?

Goodbye means change. Sometimes it means a reboot of sorts, and a chance to start afresh without the constraints of ankle weights holding you to the past. It frees both sides to grow...if they weren't meant to grow and intertwine together. It inevitably, administers relief to one, or both parties. Sometimes, amidst the release...there is still the unresolved, hanging in the air like wispy smoke. choose to live with the "why"...because "why" lives in a place called 10 minutes ago...and it just doesn't matter anymore.

So, now 5 days into a new month...I look back on October with a grateful smile...a renewed sense of what I want for my one and only life...and a few tears that I won't wipe away just yet. I accept what is...and I will let it be...whatever that may be.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fair Trade

Everyday we trade things. I began trading stickers in primary school. Two scratch and sniff stickers were fairly negotiated for a puffy Scooby Doo. I was an avid reader as a girl. Library books were traded and consumed over and over again. Global economies are upheld by a trading system of commodities and stocks, and our financial stability is waged on the culmination of good and bad, long term and short term decisions.

I traded 2 days of travel for an adventure between the Sea and Sky. I spent many hours in airports and airplanes, so to visit my incredible friends on the west coast, and one hell of an amazing city. As I flew across the country last week...over mountains and prairies, through cumulus clouds and time zones...I thought about the trade off.

If we place the highest worth on those things that are most precious and impossible to duplicate, then the expense of our time should have the highest trading value in our lives.

Sometimes we realise after a transaction, whether it was financial, emotional, spiritual or an increment of time, that perhaps, we made an unwise decision with our investment. As it may be, the pay off wasn't equal to the contribution. Or we realise what exists, was bound to change and develop...and the initial investment grows into a very valuable and strangely prismatic personal masterpiece.

We don't get our time back. Hopefully, we mindfully trade into those things and people that are going to provide a continual and flourishing return. A fear faced and conquered provides the most gratifying return on your trade. A fear faced and failed at, still provides valuable lessons and tools for the future. When we know better...we do better.

So think about what you're trading...your time..your heart..your money..your peace. Choose honesty. Work to follow your heart in your trades. Be fearless. Even if the only outcome you land with after the leap is clarity...I venture to declare, it was worth it.

“You have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.” ― Candace Bushnell

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I am somewhere else. I am sitting in the apartment of someone I know, in a city on the other side of the country...and I feel somehow like a newer, more attuned me.

I found a key on the sidewalk yesterday... in this city that I don't live a place I haven't been before. It's unusual, and like no other key I have seen before. It is slightly tarnished, and a shape that I am not familiar with. It's now on the inside of my red purse, and I will string it around my neck when I get home as a reminder of my vacation.

It somehow serves too, as an even bigger reminder that keys are falling in front of me all the time. That new things are being opened up to me as I step into life with just a whisper of faith sometimes...believing that those magic, crazy kismet moments I hear about...those moments that seem to happen to everyone else...well, they may just be springing up as my toes hit the pavement.

No one needed to tell me that there is a certain amount of clarity and calm exhale that comes from taking a break. I remember a break I took last year after the worst loss of my life...and truthfully, and with 100% honesty, that escape to another country and into the arms and company of my deeply kindred and most beloved best friend saved me. Being away and being home with her all at once, was more soothing and cleansing than any church I could enter. I found, love and understanding in that hiatus from my chaotic life.

And now, in this moment, I am in a city that boasts sea and mountains, and houses some amazing people I am lucky to call friends. I am renewed again. I will head home in a few days, and somehow feel rejuvenated and wildly excited about the next chapters of my beginnings as I step off an airplane headed East, and home...

and a key to remind me to always chase new beginnings to open up my own happiness.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Not Me

I used to bask in the naivete of youth. There was a quickly fleeting belief in the unbreakable chords binding my safety. The long list of things that happen to other people was neither read, nor considered by me to have any capability of impact on my life. Funny enough, the list included both good, and bad things...unconciously, perhaps my expectations of life were low, and high, all at once.

Surely, no one in my immediate family will ever experience a divorce. We aren't that kind of family. Coming from a long heritage of Godly and strongly moral people, this concreted my belief that it would never impact our family. But it has. It is in front of my face daily as we, the unequipped due to lack of experience, wade through that which is so unfamiliar and chaotic. The lessons learned already are many...the blessings too many to count...we are sheltered by an incredible network of praying family, friends..and strangers. One persons selfishness ripples out from the initial strike...but that which was intended to harm, debilitate and destroy only makes us stronger...and we are thankful for the beauty that rises out of ashes.

Surely, I won't lose someone I love in an untimely manner. Surely, those I love will live to be old, and we'll live out our years with health and prosperity and all die in our sleep. Surely, if an untimely death is to occur, it won't happen as a result of suicide or addiction or a raging disease. Of's knocked on my door, time and again...deeply kindred friends...beloved family members, parents, children and siblings of those I love so much. Not me, doesn't apply. The unparalleled joy of loving people is far greater than the fear of losing them...we are blessed to love each other and to share our matter how long we get with each other.

Surely, I won't have a house...children in my dream job, my dream car...or someone to cherish me. And of course...I do. They've all come to me at different times in life, but each one has arrived at the right time, when I was ready to receive. Having enough presence of mind to recognize the value of each good thing has humbled me. While I feel undeserving and somehow unprepared at times for the life I am in fact, right in the middle of...I know it's all working together for my good. Those are His promises. So for all of the good things around the bend, I am cautiously optimistic as I raise my hand. The response is no longer, "Surely, not me", it whispers confidently in my ear:

WHY not me??

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Full Circle Life

I didn't know. When life was flying by like a milkweed on the fragrant wind of my youth...I wasn't thinking of the future.

The sidewalks I skipped down...the cracks I leaped over so to not break my mothers back... they all absorbed the imprint of my childhood. The towering maple tree in the front yard of our familes house that has a well worn branch from our tire's still there. I wasn't thinking then about what I was leaving behind, I was powerlessly flung into my future and somehow feel like I woke up in my mid thirties...back where it all began.

Resistance to the familiar and to your own history is pretty normal, I like to think. Most people want to spread their wings and venture towards the unclear horizon...and towards where they think their future lies. I have always wanted to go out and find life...make big things happen, and quietly, and introspectively marvel at quite humble beginnings. This has perhaps been with the notion in mind that surely, I won't come back to where I came from. I will escape and close the chapters of a biting, bittersweet past...and I will be done.

And here I am. Back in the city that taught me all I needed to know..about life, about family...about joy, disappointment and resolution. It's all here...and I am conscious of the peace I feel right now, to be home. No street is unfamiliar. I see people I know regularly. My memories live between the earth and the sky here...airborn and landing everyday like they were waiting for the moment I returned.

I am watched over by a deeply kindred spirit. I think of him...and feel him present on the pavements here like nowhere else. I sometimes think if I look closely enough I will see his footprints fade in front of me, like watery impressions on a sandy shore ..and in every Tim Horton's drive thru between here and the highway. He is here...and I feel like I have more of him closeby now as I drive past the indelible imprints of our friendship in this city, and can look out my bedroom window to a church he frequented.

Back where I began. I am watching Treehouse with my niece and nephew...and banana muffins are in the oven...the air is cool, the sun is setting into lavender and coral ribbons, and tomorrow is a school day. A well placed quote, to sum up my life in this moment,

"The wheel is come full circle." William Shakespeare

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Jingle Dancer

Everyone should find pride in who they are. With strengths and weaknesses, idiosyncrasies and quirks...unashamed beauty and fractured self at times.

Mariah was a different kid.






She danced the Jingle Dance as part of her Chippewa heritage. That native dance costume was a reflection of Mariah...brilliantly coloured, flowing like an accomplice in the dance...and free to the wind and to the skies. Great meaning is placed on the sacred garment as explained by Evelyn Thom...a 76 year old jingle dress dancer:

"It is a gift to be able to dance. The jingle dress was a gift from the Creator. It is important to carry that healing vision to the people".

Complex. Aren't all teenagers? I don't think there is a parent out there who is raising, or has raised a teenager who wouldn't tell you that escorting a young girl from childhood into adulthood isn't a tireless job. But if you knew might say her mother was luckier than most. She effortlessly achieved good grades, brilliantly expressed herself through art, and volunteered her time with seniors in the evenings. She was a different kind of girl.

But she was the same too....she was in the throws of her first love. She loved Jersey Shore and found herself plunked on the couch when it was on...bumpit in place and a room full of GTL companions. She loved MAC makeup and Coach handbags...and she loved her family...immediate, and extended.

Mariah has inspired a movement. The circle that has started adds new members everyday...hand to hand, arm to arm, in the battle against teen suicide. No one is immune to this. Everyone will know someone either personally, or second hand, who has lost a sister or brother...daughter or son as they have died by suicide. Don't look away and ignore the obvious.

This circle aims to surround those battling depression...young and old, wildly successful, or just getting by...Mariah's Mission aims to shield and guard those most vulnerable...those who want to harm themselves and don't see a reason to live with the pain anymore.

So dear sweet girl...tonight we gather, and honour you for your 16th Birthday Bash. We will laugh, and I am sure shed more than a few tears...and we will carry on your desire for advocacy.

Dance on, beautiful jingle dancer....and we will carry out your mission of healing to the people. xo

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clover Honey

The mission is simple.

Be real.

Repeated attempts to conquer it are far too many to number. Because truly...what does being real really look like anyway?

I had a very honest conversation with a good friend a while ago, and for some reason truth spilled like clover honey...thick and heavy and consuming. The overwhelming results of my actions in life up to this point were mirrored in front of me. I was faced with the weight of my dissatisfaction with life and my anxious frustrations about the future. A revelation filled me to overflow...I am living in the aftermath of a closed life.

No one intends to be closed. To be guarded and protected. I find it hard to believe that anyone conciously decides to shut down, and build walls. But with brutal honesty...I did it. I did it a year ago. I had a monumental heartbreak and swore never again...NEVER. It's hard to admit. It's risky to admit defeat...and to admit you're not as strong as people believe you to be. So...the walls have armoured soldiers on the perimetre and you assume the post of commander...and swear you'll never hurt again.

My friend challenged me. The conversation hurt. A lot. I don't know why he said the things he did. I don't know why in that moment I was ready to hear it...but I was. Perhaps it's because he knew my Michael...which changes everything in my heart. Michael breaks me open...and I know if someone loved him...then they might just get me like he did. It left me unsettled and angry...tears flowed in frustration because I knew he hit the bullseye...and so began the process of breaking me open. What a journey that is.

Living authentically is hard work. It's respecting your own boundaries, but confidently sitting atop those parametres and looking at a life that is aching to be lived. Atop the wall life presents like a parade...beautiful and invigorating to watch. The choice to watch it from inside your safe place is not uncommon...spectating is a fairly benign activity.

But to march. To be part of be on the inside and look out and feel the satisfaction that you're exactly where you should be...that's the beauty, isn't it? It's a real, concious, mindful and voluntary behaviour...and it inspires the soul. Because life is too short to not let people inside the's too damn short. friend sparked something in me. He helped me realise just how much is going on out there. He didn't assure me it's a clear mission...or that it's not risky...but he told me it's worth it, and more importantly..that I'm worthy and deserving of more. Guess what? I don't have it all together. I'm like you, trying to find my way. But now, my toe is dipped in the stream, and I am cautiously contemplating wading in...and apparently I have always known how to swim, I just needed a well placed friendly nudge.

Thank you meant a lot.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Broken Open

"If it ain't broke, then don't fix it".

You've heard it. I have heard it. I thought it was quite amusing the first time I heard it as a child. My juvenile comprehension of the concept went to those things that are tangible and red bike with the banana seat, or my mothers green Oster blender.

As an adult, I have come to realise that brokeness isn't always a fatal incident. As walls crash down, as dust swirls and rubble is assessed...opportunity has been released from the inside for something new to emerge. That place that was being protected on the inside suddenly has the access to move outside of its confinement, and towards destiny...towards liberty.

Of course, it always comes back to choice. Doesn't life always present that way?

Be broken.

Or be broken open.

I have seen people at their worst possible low. It's always as the result of a loss...a death, a failed relationship or marriage, a job that declared the person redundant. Perhaps it's a loss of how things "should" have been...expectations being shattered. Some of the worst examples of brokeness I have witnessed are as a result of a loss of confidence...a loss of self. I have been this person at many different intervals in my life. We have all been there. But if I know anything about how humanity works, there is always a bust before a boom.

We break. We repair. We refine what's important. We move forward with new understanding.

Someone I love with my entire soul has faced the biggest challenge of her life. The loss of how life should have been is unmatched. As I have witnessed the rebuild with my own eyes, I have seen miracles rise up like giant sunflowers...large, blatant and evident. Just as a sunflower follows the sun throughout the day as a basic, yet magical characteristic of its DNA, so has she kept her eyes on the Son...the source of light, and strength, and rebirth. It's inspired me beyond comprehension. The miracles are not questionable or subtle...she is being taken care of. The brokeness is absolutely, unequivocably being overshadowed by the untold blessings that have already materialized, and those that are ready to appear just on the break of the horizon. It's already been proven to her...and to us;

Hope survives.

Assess your brokeness. Allow it to let the light in. Don't hold tight to the shards of the debris...or you will continue to hurt. Be present in it. Feel the grief of the loss.

Take charge. Move forward. Embrace change, even if you just give it a weak handshake, know that agreement will move you forward.

Broken or broken open. Bust to boom. Make the right decision for your one, only, precious fleeting life. I believe you're worth it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Michael Has Poked You

Life is taking some interesting turns lately. Somehow, I am very clearly aware of the places I can be better. Be better at what you might ask? So many things.

I can be better at being thankful for what I have.

I can be better at being present in my own life.

I can be better at pushing through fear to understand the unknown.

I can be better at letting people love me.

I can be better at trusting.

A few funny things happened today. Niether of them are so earth shattering that anyone else would take to their blog and write about them...but I am learning in unusual, and wierdly wonderful ways these days. Mostly out of choice...because I want to change those things I can be better at, and I want to feel peace in the process. Let me tell you, it's tough.

I picked up a hitchhiker today. I didn't do it on purpose, and I didn't even notice I had a passenger until I was miles away from home. At first, the detection of my companion was alarming and freaked me out. Green...6 legs...long antenna, and about 4 inches big. A praying mantis, hanging on for dear life on my passenger side mirror. I thought for sure, it would be caught by the wind, and disappear into the windscreen of the unfortunate car behind me. But no, the creepy crawler kept adjusting its position to survive the ride. I am sure it didn't have any intention of moving 30 miles away from where it found me. But then, this is my first mantis relocation, perhaps, they crave a change of scenery regularly? Someone let me know. It stayed...for a long time. Between multiple stops, it hung out in the sun, hid behind the mirror...but just found contentedness where it was. And when I got to my sisters house, it found it's way out of the mirror, and onto the lawn...and was off for a new adventure. Oh to be so trusting of the process...accepting of the new and unfamiliar, and willing to take a risk.

I visited someone who has a damaged door. The dead bolt is fine...but the doorknob fell off in the hand of the homeowner. It has yet to be repaired. While watching tv tonight with my friend, we heard a slight bump somewhere in the house. We wondered what it was, but it wasn't alarming and we didn't check it. Much later, we realised the door had blown wide open.

How long has the door been open in my life? How long has the door been open in yours? Letting in the fresh air of opportunity...sending gusts that blow off the thick film of fear that lingers on the surface of life? How long has it been ajar, and waiting for me to find it. I keep thinking...when I've been ready in the past, I have found open doors....and doors opening.

I heard a song on the way home that played at the funeral for my dear friend Michael. It speaks of heaven, and what he'll do "When I get where I'm going". I smiled and listened...and felt him around me, whispering to me to just relax, stop overthinking everything, and enjoy life more already. I felt myself saying..."I'm trying Mike...I'm trying hard." Then a car pulled in front of me with the licence plate "MB 88", and the emotions overcame me. I need to live life more authentically...and I want to live it to make him proud too.

So Michael, I have learned be a brave traveller absolutely takes risk, but can take me somewhere new and wonderful if I just trust the that life is happening as it should, and all is well. As for the door being blown open...well....I hear it loud and clear my friend...and I am getting ready to walk through it into my destiny. Enough of the pushing...a poke will suffice. ;)

Love you and miss you every single day. xo

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just a Girl

Some people have it all. Youth. Unbounding talent. Originality. Fame.

If those 4 things a happy person could make, then gossip magazines and television entertainment shows would surely find themselves emaciated for content. There wouldn't be stories of eating disorders, run-ins with the police...drinking binges or hopeless drug addiction.

But as another young lady with the world in her hands snuffs out her own life as a result of addiction, I feel not cold or cynical...I feel deeply sad for her, and those who loved her. To them, she wasn't a celebrity...she was a daughter, a aunt and a friend. Just a girl with a big life.

Having loved someone very deeply, and having them torn from your life is unparallelled. Parents aren't meant to bury their children...20 somethings aren't supposed to have their kindred extinguished quietly like final smokey embers of a cigarette butt. But it happens all the time. We embrace a cynical, calloused attitude because won't happen to us, or to those we love.

I assure you it will. Someday, somewhere, life will blind you with it's unfairness...and you will begin processing just how precious it is to love someone through their weaknesses and frailties. Once that person is will change. You will become bitter and hard...or you will alter your outlook on the world, and become a respector of the whisper that is this life. You will look at the daughter of a cab driver...a tattooed, birdlike, beehived soul singer from England who struggles everyday with addiction...and you will feel compassion for her. Because she didn't get it. She didn't see what her life was. She was ravenous for the high...she longed for the buzz...and she wanted to repeatedly escape.

She succeeds...she breathes her last breath...and she dies alone.

She is not unique. Incredibly talented, vibrant people die everyday as a result of addiction. But know this, a pop star with an addiction is the same as your baby cousin who has an addiction. It's the same as the successful Insurance broker who has an's the same as the veteran prostitute who will sell her fluttering soul for her addiction. It's all the same. Resources are available to all of these people...but it takes surrender to crawl out of the torture and towards recovery. Many don't make it...maybe most don't make it. It makes loving them, in all of their incompleteness...and their delicacy... that much more timely and necessary.

So to those I have loved and have taught me. Your release from a tortured life is horrendous to live with...but I am happy for your freedom, for your peace, and for your emancipation from the insatiable hunger. It's not easy...but it's been an honour to love you.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Little Things

If my profession in the beauty industry has taught me anything, it is this:

the small things are the most pleasurable, desirable and coveted.

I can show my clients amazing new products, awesome promotions, and endless ways to be more profitable...but at the end of the day, when it comes down to what excites people most, it seems to be the mini' sizes of their favourite products.

Life is funny. I think if we were to keep our eyes on the little things; those little sparks of temporary childlike bliss, they may just create all of the magic we need in life. For all of the striving to get have more, and to be more, I think we so often miss the moments.

Does frustration relentlessly tamper with your peace? Call you a failure, an habitual screw up, or point it's knobby filthy finger at you with accusations of not being enough? How often does your past look down its crooked nose at the life you're in right this very minute...and tell you, surely, you should be further ahead. Sometimes, we need someone to remind us of all the things we have accomplished, or are accomplishing right now. All of those little achievements, the baby steps...the steady chipping at the marble slab of your life...are revealing a unique masterpiece, one chisel stroke at a time.

So the next time you hold the chubby Smarties stained hand of your niece, like I did today, realise...she won't be 2 forever...and that was a moment of pure magic. The next time you speak words of encouragement to someone who is breaking...know that seed will be responsible for something beautiful one day. If you got a promotion, or started something entirely new...know you stepped toward your future, and that the universe is smiling fondly on you. Maybe you made your final car payment, and now have extra money to save for something special. Perhaps like me, you caught the scent of campfire on the wind...or freshly cut grass while watching the sun slowly melt into the western horizon, and realised something profound.

Don't you know? God made those moments...and they're His expression of adoration to you. He, like any Father...finds joy in your successes, miniscule and tiny...momentous and monumental...He is there for all of them, snapshotting them, and cheering you on. He knows your favourite things...and He drops them on your path to display His unending affection towards you. Campfires, cut grass, fireflies and sunsets...those are the ones He sends to me.

So choose to be present in life...even just once a day. Stop. Look around...count your achievements and your blessings. They are big...and they are small...but they are propelling you forward. You're not're not stuck.

You're making this little thing at a time.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Proud. Patriotic. Free.

These are 3 of the biggest identifiers of being born a Canadian.

We are a confident, and quietly different breed of North American. We are peaceful, polite, and passionate...we are connected to the greater good inside, and outside of our country. We have a social conscience.

There are so many things I love about being a Canadian. I love that we sit smack in the middle of 3 oceans, and have fresh water lakes dotting the landscape from coast to coast. But please don't be fooled by your idea of a "lake". Any one of the Great Lakes appears to be an ocean to the naked eye...with water as far, and beyond what the eye can see. We have it all...we have the Rocky Mountains, and we have rainforests in British Columbia, we have the wind swept Prairies, and the high spirited Maritimes...and no one can say, that Canada doesn't deliver 4 seasons.

We know what a toque is. We eat poutine, and think french fries a la carte are quite bland, really. We have turned out the greatest hockey players in the world...and will continue to do so. And just as an FYI, it's hockey hair...not a mullet. We have eclectic, quirky humour, and trust know a Canadian comedian when you see one. They have something special. A mosaic of off colour and quick wit comments, mixed in with true observations and a little self deprication just for kicks. Why not? Canadian's are famous for apologies.

Most of us know Oh Canada in English AND French. We likely have more than one childhood memory of a snowsuit under a Halloween costume. We know the May 2-4 weekend could be anything...balmy, rainy, cool...or why not snow. We feel patriotic when we see Molson Canadian commercials. We know Kraft has a Canadian founder, and quietly realize...Kraft Dinner MAY be keeping the Canadian economy afloat. Canadian's recycle. We love our country...and we don't want it marred by litter. ( Not trash, if you're American).

We know what a double/double is. We go North to cottages for the weekend, in summer AND in the winter. We know eating a Beavertail is actually suitable for vegetarians. We have a Roots sweatshirt now, as we did 20+ years ago. We may still have Roots buttons kicking around in a junk drawer...along with some Canadian Tire money. We know ketchup chips are the bomb, eh.

We have universal health care. We have a Prime Minister, not a President, and he's not a celebrity. We are welcomed the world over, as travellers, and as Peace Keepers.

So now, on the eve of Canada Day, you'll have to excuse me. I am going to go eat some maple cookies, drink some Red Rose tea, watch some reruns of Degrassi Jr. High (what will that Joey Jeremiah get up to this week?) while wearing my Roots track pants and Joe Fresh t-shirt. Later I might watch some Anne of Green Gables while eating some Pizza Pizza. I'm thinking of going to an IMAX movie to watch some Superman, or maybe just stay home, and talk on that wild invention of Alexander Graham Bell's...the telephone? You may have heard of it.

I LOVE being a Canadian, I live in the best place on earth.

The true North strong...and free.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Water Therapy

It flows. It swirls. It runs, it recedes.

It whispers, it calls to, it soothes and comforts. It absorbs, and listens with complete intent, and full non disclosure. It remains silent, and keeps your secrets.

If you are someone who has an affinity for water...then you understand what I mean. I feel most like myself when I am close to water. Perhaps it's that it's always in motion...or that in 99% of's just so much bigger than me. It helps me find perspective on a chaotic life...and on an infinitely capable God. It calls to me...and I seem to always breathe more deeply when I am with it...whether it be a lake, a pond, or any ocean. It's a silent, supportive friend, and it has held my heart for years.

Some of my favourite memories are on water. Childhood moments building sand castles on a beach...chubby hands sticky from bubblegum ice cream..and sun streaked whispy blonde hair. The tide playing in the background of my innocence like a metronome...keeping time, and steadily marking the passing seconds without my noticing.

I had a magic night with a friend years ago...quietly walking together, close to the shore in the night through long feathery grass toward the faithful, weathered lighthouse. We found a bench at the edge of a cliff, there in the quiet of night...and watched the millions of stars like a glistening cosmic chandelier. We challenged each other to spot satellites...and we talked about life. That may be one of the most honest moments of my life...the steady tides...and my summertime friend, have kept confidences close to their souls...and have never spoken them out loud again.

I sat on a beach...broken hearted, and very far from home...and contemplated how to order chaos. I picked up milky sea glass, and put it in my pocket. I listened to a party on a houseboat... the funny accent of those bobbing along in the harbour...and shared my disappointment with the sea. I took a walk to the top of a hill along the shore, and felt accompanied by a friend...that harbour to my left, stood silently beside me, and protectively listened to my heart.

I've found peace drifting in a canoe...I've felt the thrill of the wind in my face while skimming the surface of a lake in a speed boat. I've dangled my feet off the end of a dock, and let the water tickle the bottoms of my feet. I've sat bankside eating lunch....and just today, I stood with my sister overlooking the river that has run through my entire life...and I felt peaceful in my soul.

In a way...all that I have shared there, is coming back to me when I return, but it comes back solved. No matter the shore where the conversation has happened...the inevitable flow has taken it out, and away...and has returned it back to me...washed, fresh...and clean. The secrets I have shared far from home have echoed back to me on local shores...and I am sure that sharing things to the river, will someday be found in the sea...for it's all the same...

no matter where the water has consoled me...the remedy has flown past me later...and has offered me conclusive peace.

"Don't you realise that the sea is the home of water? All water is off on a journey unless it's in the sea, and it's homesick and bound to make its way home someday." ~Zora Neale Hurston

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy's Girl

Some kids are army brats. I have known more than one PK in my day...Pastors kid to the non church goers. There are kids whose dads listen to black glossy records on hazy Sunday mornings, with a cup of tea... or those that take their kids out on Saturday morning to give their mom a bit of peace.

If you had a dad with a hobby, then you're sure to remember the days of being dragged somewhere against your will...dusty musty antique shops... canals to watch the boats come in, a boat that bobs silently, where you are without your permission, holding a fishing pole...and hoping nothing bites.

I was a baseball brat. My dad was a semi professional athlete for many of my growing up years. We didn't watch the games, my sisters and I...we would make mud pies under the bleachers, hope there was a park closeby...and swing our hearts out til the final inning finished..and we were summoned back to the mini van. I remember the smells of those days...a worn in baseball glove that had a chalky leather smell...and fit my Dad's hand like a second skin. The smell of muscle ointment for repair after a no strike winning game. My Dad was an incredible pitcher...I remember him pitching 90 mile an hour line drives. I knew that was a big deal in some way...but never knew why until I was a grown up.

He fostered a love of the old in me. He has an eye for the beautiful, and the unusual as he has spent my entire life being an antique dealer. We've swooned over glorious vintage jewellery, incredible first edition books...and some historical items that no one would believe hung out at our house. There wasn't much in our house that wasn't for sale...I remember coming home one sunny afternoon from school, to find all of my grandmother's china strewn on the diningroom dad had sold the hutch and the buffet.

Mom? Not so impressed.

He has taught me so much. To have passions in life. To be silently kind and generous. To work hard. To be fiercely loyal. To question what is wrong...unapologetically, but with humility. He is the fixer...and he is someone who makes things happen. He isn't just talk...he follows through.

A glimpse into my relationship with my Dad, is really secured in the last chat I had with him... the 3 things he said in that conversation sum up who he is to the core:

God is faithful.

I am proud of you.

I love you.

I am a lucky woman...still my Dad's Jenny. xo

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the Still

There is a's red brick, has white trim, and a parking lot to the right. It has a billowing oak tree in the front yard...and a long buried baby robin in the flowerbed from 25 years ago. It used to have a sour cherry tree in the back yard, until my dad chopped it down. The neighbors doted on 3 small girls with slushies in the summer, and excessive halloween candy every October 31st.

I grew up there. I loved that house...I dream of that house all the time, and secretly think, maybe...perhaps if I win the lottery one day...I will knock on that white glossy door, and offer the current owners a ridiculous sum of money to move out...and they'll somehow give me back my childhood.

I drive by all the time...I remember every square of concrete that lead to my elementary school...the corner store where we bought penny candies...the snowballs we used to whip at the kids who went to the catholic school across the yard. You know...those days when the worst swear word you could muster was "JERK"!!! It's a touch stone in a way... it's a place that I drive by, and remember a simple life...before the monsters of loss and grief and reality and frailty forced me to grow up...and be more human than I ever thought possible.

I am learning, that in times of times of pain and unrest, we find those things...those sacred places, those saviour people who help us make sense again. We are compelled to find them, because they know us. They are a part of our fibre...they are ours, and we, theirs.

There is a camp ground I went to every summer with my sisters...our crushes still echo there if you listen closely...the wind that breathes in the trees and causes them to sway seems to whisper..."hello dear friend...I have kept it all here, safe and come see it whenever you want". So, I go back, and drive slowly, and watch the recorded memories play on the lawn in front of the tabernacle during the rosiness of dusk...I listen to that cricket song, the echo of hymns...and the faint footsteps of those who have left their imprint, but have left this earth.

So, as I live in the days where life is uncertain, for me at some points, and for those I dearly love, I am comforted by the sameness of some things...and some people. A long kindred red headed friend who has always opened her arms to me, and a century old highschool that holds my teenage an angel friend in an old cell phone I found last week that still has phone numbers for my friend Michael when he lived in Toronto...I am happy to have these things...these people...these reminders.

If I long quietly for solace...these people and these places...they are my assured gravity...and they are my reminder of who I am.

They have my unspeakable gratitude for bringing me me. xo

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Innocence Found

Innocence. What does it bring to mind? Perhaps it makes you think of gurgling babies... laughing and security.

I have realised that innocence is a tiered word...a set of steps, some intervals being much bigger than others, and some barely noticeable, but still evident in hindsight.

Most think innocence is reserved and sacred to childhood. It's kept safely in all of our pasts...locked inside a mirror that we can visit and ponder... and perhaps long for. The giddy excitement of Christmas Eve... baking cookie while wearing an apron that belongs to your grandma...flour dusted across a freckled nose, and a sugar high from eating too much chocolate frosting. Perhaps it's barefoot breezy summer days playing baseball... making mud pies or swimming in a's the sound of crickets at dusk, the lightning fast flight of dragonflies...and a dirty, chubby handful of dandelions presented to your mother with wholehearted pride.

And then you reach the next interval... when a bike or a car is ultimate freedom, and the world is truly yours. Nothing stops your dreams of movie stars and boy bands... and a key love song is the most personal expression of your heart, as proven by the repeat button. Your money comes from an allowance, your future is past the horizon...and it's all blooming...your corner of the world is creating you.

Innocence isn't confined to a time. We are progressing, from innocence into time....time into innocence. Pain teaches us to grow and forces us to constantly recreate ourselves. Sometimes by choice...often and more regrettably just by the nature of what human life is....uncertain.

Joy finds us in the most unexpected of places. Perhaps it's watching children dance, or hearing a baby laugh. Maybe it will strike you in an unanticipated way as you meet someone new, and they seem to have always been a part of you. You will find it as you give a dog a belly rub...or watch a feline in a prismatic ray of sun. They have found their sweet spot...they have claimed a moment of innocence by choice....

and so can you. xo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Time Stone

It breaks off. It falls a rapid unforgiving speed. It hits the frigid water, and cuts beneath the murky depths of the tide. It is jagged and sharp and asks no forgiveness of someone who may step on it, or catch an elbow on it as they dive into the depths. It is unapologetically sticks out, and waits.

It is grief. It is is a stone.

An interesting understanding has graced me in the last weeks and days. Time has a way of refining the hurts in life. Of course...everyone has heard that "time heals all wounds". I think that's a patronizing statement in the thick of a crisis. It means nothing as a giant stands on your expectations of life...or laughs haughtily at an incomprehensible loss. But as time separates you from the confusion of the gently assembles your life back together...corner to corner...piece by piece.

Time is like sand against that stone in the sea. At first, surely, that stone will cause harm and inflict pain on whoever crosses its path, for it is freshly separated from its base. The separation by nature has caused it to tumble and shatter...out of control until it lodges in a place where the weathering can begin. That stone will defiantly lodge in the will strike unexpectedly to passersby...causing a wound... leaving a scar. But with each touch...with each grain that swirls around it...with each ebb of the tide, it will change, it will diminish. The bladed edges will melt..and it will become something new.

Someday... it will be a smooth, glasslike thing of beauty. It will have a history, it will have a million untold stories of contact. Each interaction will shift that instrument of pain into a cool glistening and polished gem of sorts.

Perhaps, someday... that stone will find itself on a fireplace mantle...or maybe on a beautiful coffee table. It could very easily work as a paper weight in an office...or as a door stop in a bedroom.

Time will refine those pains in life that injure us. It will carve out a softer, more peaceful identity for each and every one. That peace will come over time...over the days, over the tides of life. It will manifest in understanding, or at the very least... surrendered acceptance. As for the stone, it is still what it has always been...a stone. But now it's found beauty, and purpose. For it has changed forever all that has touched it....and all that it has touched.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

True Story

What is the last good book you read? If you're not a novel you remember a great newspaper article, witty advertisement or unforgettable movie that got on the inside of you? The sequence of events that was developing that just spoke to you?

I am betting that story has resonated with you, because there is truth in it. I am confident that it spoke to your life... your position, and your journey and told you something. Maybe it revealed something new to you, or maybe it whispered to your identity and made you feel clearly understood.

I love a good story. I love a million different kinds of writing. A great love story will bring out 2 things in me...hope, and cynicism. A great mystery takes me back to the rainy days of watching the Goonies, and hoping a treasure hunt is really possible. A psychological thriller will remind me why I love the intrigue...and why I walked out of a class in Forensics.

Stories should be told. Stories should be written...whether they are fiction or reality, our story is a fundamental base of our identity. When we fail to share our story, especially the parts that best identify *who* we are, and *where* we are at any given point in life...we cheat others of knowing who we really are. Worst of all... we rob ourselves of honesty and integrity as well.

Bravery lives in a story. Any story well told, that captures your attention and makes your heart clench in anticipation, is not likely to be one without challenges, drama, sadness and change. We love those stories because we can identify with the scenario. Imagine the value in sharing YOUR story...even when it's scary... even when it's possibly going to end unfavorably...even when you may not get your happy ending. Imagine the risk..imagine the rush...imagine the clarity and relief of being fully understood.

The best stories are the ones that are real, that are unashamed... that are honest. The people who have shared themselves with me on that level have my unending gratitude and thanks. You have changed me... you have mirrored me and told me it's going to be okay just by being brave.

True Story.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We Will

The deepest and most valuable satisfactions in life come from being present in the small things. I believe life will arrive as we have wished it, as we are mindful in each interaction, transaction, and reaction to life. We will all do things in life...things we think are uniquely ours, completely solitary to us, and us alone. But rest we all need each other, and mirror each other in our humanity...there are things we will all encounter and endure.

We Will

1. Love. Love those who love us back...and sometimes, regrettably...not.

2. Laugh. Most often with others. However, on occasion God will drop a magic wink into your world, and you and He will laugh together.

3. Lose. None will be spared loss... unfortunately, it's a large part of the human journey.

4. Listen. Whether it be to our own voice...our intuition...or popular opinion, we will absorb that flutter in the soul that urges us in one direction...or another. Hopefully, it will be according to our own convictions and passions, and not the voices of a chaotic world.

5. Grieve. We will all be forced to let go of those we love. It may be the loss of love, it may be the loss of the familiar. It will find us all as we bury our kindred. Parents...friends, siblings, spouses...pets. The lesson is to love now. Make memories NOW. For you....for them.

6. Change. No person will be the same from year to year...experience to experience. Change will hopefully refine us...and not consume us.

7. Fight. Yes... we will. We do. Lets settle on fighting fair, and coming out the other side with understanding and not resentment. And, if it is unresolvable... may we walk away knowing we did all we could, and that we have retained humility and dignity.

8. Clarify. Defining moments. Forks in the road. We will all come to those junctures where we will make hard decisions. Hopefully we will choose what is right...not what is easiest.

9. Resolve. To be. Maybe it will be intentional in be purposeful. Maybe it will be to not take anymore from someone who isn't good for us. Perhaps it's to retain peace in the midst of a storm. Resolve makes us creates destiny.

10. Share. We will all do our lives with other people. Anyone, and everyone, has family...has peers. We will let people in. We will allow them to carve their names into the fibre of our identity. We will do this, because, at the end of the day...we need people. We need each other...we are stronger together than alone.

We will all miss someone. We will be glad we had them, even if for a blink. We will remember them everyday, in quiet and out loud. Their absence will sometimes be painfully tangible. We will feel things on their behalf. We will hope..and wish...and yearn for contact.

They will find us. They will soothe us...they will inspire us.

Miss you much MB, thank you for sharing those moments...every last one. xo

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


15 years old.

I was 15, going on 16 in 1991, as was my brilliant friend, Keri. We had talked about getting our drivers licences, we thought down the road to the careers we might chase...and the lives we dreamed of having. We visualised our apartment in Toronto with a glass block wall in the entry way, and a part of the livingroom that would be void of furniture, and only pillows.

That's who we thought we'd be.

She died. She died 20 years ago today. Her life came to an abrupt end, and the trajectory of my life was forever changed that day. The loss is not lessened due to time...the emotion and ache is merely more tolerable, but not less persistent when I permit myself to think about her...and us, and our childhood moments that should have stretched out into adulthood.

I stood at the foot of her grave today. The wild wind whipped around me and felt strangely comforting. Snow began to swirl, and I heard echoes of who we were. I closed my eyes...I felt the moment...I embraced the sadness like an old friend, and I remembered. I remembered all the things I was so scared would leave my memory.

She used to pick my nailpolish off in church. She bit her nails down to the nub, so she would occupy herself in a boring church service picking mine off. We often skipped Sunday School, or service and would hide out in unoccupied classrooms...sometimes under tables in dark rooms, just daring someone to catch us. She wore insanely baggy jeans. She wore high top Converse. She had her own phone line. The smell of baby powder still reminds me of her. We used to sneak into her brothers room when he wasn't home and read the scandalous love letters he got from his girlfriend. We swung on the rope swing in the barn. Her lovely sweet dog Sandy was a faithful companion and staple around the yard. She had a crush on a boy in a far away town...and she used to write him love letters.

Funny that. I have often wondered about him and his sister when the name of their town has entered my mind. A month ago, my sister went to a ladies retreat, and unbenounced to her, as she talked to a new friend, Keri was an unexpected connection they shared from that life those many years ago. She named her oldest daughter after her. In some small dear friend lives on.

I miss her. Every year the missing is different. The older I get, the more I wonder who she would be. Sometimes I like to think about her life out a far away busy city, where she is a graphic artist, or a hippy chick with a guitar, with a fabulous loft apartment, and a black cat named Jinx. I think she'd have amazing laugh lines around her mischievious eyes by now, but the glorious sound of her laughter would still be that of a 15 year old girl...

The girl I knew. The girl I know. The girl who is forever a part of me.

Miss you much, George.


Jenaroo. xo


Friday, April 1, 2011

Ugly Beautiful Truth

Sometimes you come to your end. Somedays...there isn't enough left inside, and the tank runs dry...leaving you emotionally stranded on the edge of your own life. Sometimes, the suffering, both personally and to those you love...and to a broken world is just SO exhausting that there is nothing left to do except surrender to a break.

I do believe there is cleansing in tears. I have fallen under their medicated washing, I have succumbed to the flood on occasion..and I have felt relief at their end.

But sometimes... it just hurts more. Sometimes...there aren't enough to cover your head in glorious submersion...there is merely a misting on the tips of your toes.

Then what?

I know we have all had those days when we feel that surely nothing more can be endured. Perhaps, it's a season of darkness that violently swallows the light of peace...the glow of possibility. It's likely a time in life where it appears that everyone else is finding their way...and you are painfully behind. Or maybe, it just appears that they are better equipped than you are to bear the burden.

I'm not built for a broken heart. I'm not built for rejection, or dishonesty... half truths, or ignorance. A broken heart paralyses me. Rejection and dishonesty claw at the thin membrane around my soul. Half truths and ignorance taunt me and buzz in my peripheral.

The only remedy I can come up with tonight for these things is to fall back on my resolution for 2011. Don't be that person. Live with integrity. Live in open minded and realistic about boundaries. Be ruthless with what is and isn't acceptable in this life. Stick to it.

As for a broken heart? What can I say? I don't have a means of seeing myself out of it. I have no recommendations for survival. Letting someone go who isn't good for you is a chosen grief. I suppose, it comes down to a quote I hope to someday tattoo on the inside of my everyday consciousness,

"Don't be reckless with other peoples hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours". ~Mary Schmich

Friday, March 18, 2011

Urgent Life

Urgency. I often get emails with little red exclamation points beside them, indicating that the content is of the utmost importance...critical. It's usually something that needs to be attended to immediately... a phone call, a report due, and change in the company... or something that can't be missed.

What if situations in life were that easy to segment and identify? You would wake up in the morning, and your blackberry would send you a reminder..."Tell your Dad you love him today". Perhaps it would tell you to pay attention to that stranger, save a $20.00 bill for an emergency or start decluttering your life. The possibilities are endless, really.

I made a mental resolution as 2011 emerged on January 1st. It was to have difficult conversations this year... to say what I feel, to be honest to my core, and to carefully set and stick to my boundaries. This is applicable in all areas of my life.

A funny thing happens when you consciously make a decision like this....the opportunities find you. The challenges are mirrored in front of you, and your course of action now determines your character. Do you avoid a conflict and also inevitably compromise your integrity? OR, do you speak your mind with kindness and humility, and a resolute heart? I am choosing the latter this year...and it's been empowering, a little scary...and strangely liberating.

Someone once said, "When you know better, you do better".

I know much better. I know that life is precious...and it is happening NOW. After all, this isn't a dress rehearsal, this is our life. (Thank you to The Tragically Hip for that incredible line).

So tackle those things you are putting off...or conveniently not thinking about. Attempt to resolve the unresolvable.

Saving Money? DO IT NOW.

Losing Weight? DO IT NOW.

Telling someone how you feel? DO IT NOW.

Putting your own happiness first? DO IT RIGHT NOW.

One life, friends. Chase the dreams... pursue the authentic.

It's an urgent situation.


No regrets.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Superhero Mom

Have you ever thought back to where you learned the rudimentary, basic skills of life? What about those quirky, interesting, not so everyday tasks that required someones expert guidance?

I guarantee you, dollars to was likely a parent... and I'm even more sure, it was probably your Mother.

I know people who have lost their Mothers. I feel like people my age are much too young to be losing parents. I am in my mid thirties, and feel like I still have so much to learn from my Mother. I still feel like a girl...even though I was 9 yrs. old when my Mother was my age. Oh, how the world has changed.

Over the last 24 hours, my Mother has stepped in, and done what she does best...





I realise, how much she knows, just by virtue of being who she is...and the lessons she has decided to learn herself, and then pass onto me...and the hundreds of Grade 6 students she taught over 38 years. She is an invaluable resource...she is a tireless cheerleader...she doesn't do it FOR you, she shows you HOW. She is amazing.

She helped me wallpaper last night. She came over with soup and cake for me, just because. Secretly, I think she does it as a way of still taking care of me. She told me how she and my grandmother used to wallpaper together...I loved the stories. Today I asked her to fix a tear in my favourite black I have a million times, and she had it repaired in a few minutes. She has helped me move, make curtains, hang a towel rack...and has listened to my woes of brokenheartedness time and time again...did I tell you she is amazing? Because she is INCREDIBLE.

So Mom, know I appreciate you...I see you as a woman determined to love, support, befriend and lead. I have learned the big and small things in life by watching you live them in front of me.

I will always need you..I will always love are my rock. xo

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Boy on the Hill

It's like watching a storm role in. You see it on the feel the air change and whip around you... you feel tension in the atmosphere, and you want to head for safety.

It's like hearing about a terrible accident on the radio, and knowing that is the exact route you are driving have to approach it, look at it, drive past it and let it into your consciousness for a brief time.

It's just the same as remembering where you were when you first found out about 9/11... where you were when you found out Princess Diana had perished in a highspeed car chase... where you were when you heard about the Tsunami, the Haiti Earthquake... Hurricane Katrina.

My earthquake is this Sunday. It will force me to review a year... and to let the grief in again. It will jolt me awake early, with aggression and brute force. It will slap an expiration date on the last year, and taunt will flash like a sign in my consciousness...

He's been gone for 1 year.

The wish in my heart is not to have Michael back. I know he is unthinkably happy. I know he is whole, and has conquered his struggles. I know God saw my dear friend that early morning, and called him home for something greater... something so great that my feeble human mind struggles to find meaning in. I know this last year has had moments of such unbelievable coincidence and joy, that I am left to believe, those moments were truly orchestrated by my tell us he is ok.

I wish him here for selfish reasons..for human reasons. Selfishly, I want to see his sheer disbelief... I want to see the pride swell inside him.. I want to know he has seen the unspeakable love, the selfless acts..the sacrifice of many hours of sleep...the tide of tears, both joyous and grievous to serve those he loved and had a passion for. I want to see the smirk on his face and him shaking his head as he overhears conversations between people who were strangers a mere year ago. I want to assure him, with all that I am...and all that I have...that his legacy has JUST begun, and that he too, can "trust the bigger picture".

So to my dearest friend... may you smile when you see what your world has become in the last year. May you laugh that raspy, full hearted belly laugh when you see some of the antics we have all gotten up to. May you sit back on a lawn chair with a triple/triple, and watch your nephews discover an amazing world. I pray you will find yourself in our dreams...both awake and asleep, as you lead us into new and wonderful opportunities that only YOU could have inspired.

And all of those things you hoped for? Michael's Hope is on the horizon....and I know the Boy On the Hill is watching over me...and us...and an indescribable destiny.

Miss you kiddo. xo

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Heaven Perspective

A Father drops off his young daughter at a birthday party. The child sits quietly on the way, hands clasped in her lap. She is noticeably anxious. If you were able to penetrate her thoughts, you would know her emotions are swirling and mixed...she is SO excited to be going to a party, it's her first one, after all! This will be the first party where she is a big enough girl to go on her own...the first party where she gets to play with her friends, eat cake, and play lots of fun games.... and inevitably, she's bound to receive many incredible gifts, and make some new friends during the day.

She has some anxiety...a flutter in her tummy... and an unsure feeling. This is the first time she will be away from her Father...this is the first time He will not be evidently by her side to keep an eye on her, and protect her. She timidly asks Him, "Daddy... what if I don't like it there? What if I need to talk to you"? Her Father smiles and looks His beautiful child in her trusting eyes..." My precious girl...don't you know? I am just a call away...ALWAYS". She sighs...she is reassured.

They arrive at the party, and the little girl is met with open arms, and excitement..."She's HERE"!! Yells the lady who opens the door.... and she escorts her into the party, where, unbenounced to her, she is the guest of honour... for she is the celebrated.

She is shocked to find all of the wonderful things in front of her. Exquisite boxes wrapped in jewel tones, with floral ribbons, and bows tied with thick velvety ribbons. As she opens the first box...she gasps in shock...for before her lies a map. It is a living document, with a starting point, and an ending point...and all of the exciting places in the middle are marked with a fuschia "X".

The next box she opens, has 2 cannisters in it. She looks curiously at them, and gently pops the lid to the first one. An explosion of silver confetti fills the air, and inside the empty container, she finds a ring...and it has an inscription on the inside of the band. It says..." Potential, Courage, Faith, Hope and Love...Love Dad".

The second cannister does not have the same explosion, but rather, a small pendant on a gold necklace...the pendant is a violin. She knows this will be a part of her life...for she has always had a passion for the instrument.

The day carries on...and the Father actually becomes homesick for his little girl. He calls to see how she is doing. He is thrilled to find that she got the ring and the necklace..for they were gifts from Him. She tells Him how wonderful her day has been. He is a contented Father.

Later the afternoon fades into evening, the little girl becomes tired. She is worn out from an amazing event... a place where she has had more fun than she could ever imagine...has been given personal, invaluable gifts that she cherishes, and has indeed, made many friends throughout the duration of the day. She has also had some arguements, shed a few tears, and even found herself with a skinned knee when she fell on the sidewalk. Just as she has the phone in her hand, to call her Father to come take her home, an amazing thing happens. He is there. Standing in the doorway...a broad smile across His kind face...arms spread wide to embrace his girl. He sees the daughter he adores...and runs towards her... arms expectant of His little girl, ready to come home. "Daddy?", she asked puzzled, "How did you know I was ready to go?" He laughed lightly, and touched her cheek. "My child...I knew the minute you would arrive, and surely, I know when you're ready to come home".

He asks her, "Did you have fun, favourite child of mine"? She buries her head in His shoulder... and she holds His neck tightly. "Daddy...I had such a good time! I played with my friends, I met so many great people who I love very much! I learned how to play so many games I didn't know how to play before, and I received gifts so perfect for me, it's like I picked them out myself".

He grinned broadly, and whispered in her ear..."my beloved...I gave you the gifts...the ones that mattered...I gave you the map to mark your path...I gave you the engraved ring so to remind you that all of those things are in you. I also gave you the necklace... it was my favourite gift to you. I knew how much you adored your violin, and you have always played so beautifully."

"Daddy", she whispered..."I want to go home, but I don't want to leave my friends...I love them so much". He looked compassionately at his baby girl, and said..."Honey... they will come over to OUR house don't have to miss them. Remember how you felt at the celebration when I dropped you off? The friends from far and away are at OUR house right now, because we're having an even BIGGER party to welcome you home!!"

As they got into the car, all of the attendees from the party rushed out to the front lawn to wave goodbye to the guest of honour. She rolled down her window, and shouted, " I am going home for another party! I get to see my grandma, and my favourite uncle, and my little sister who has been away for a long time!" The crowd of friends cheered and waved...and blew kisses to the little girl. "I will miss you!" she exclaimed, "Thank you so much for the great party! Daddy says, whenever any of you comes over, we will have a party for YOU when you get there! I will see you all soon...I love you all very much".

While sadness filled the crowd as the little girl pulled away with her Father... a collective energy raced through them like electricity. "We will see her again!" Someone said. "I can't wait to go to her house, and see what kind of party her Dad puts on!" said another. A small voice rose from the back of the crowd, and said..."I'm going to learn the violin... I will think of her everytime I play, and someday...we can play together."

"In my Fathers house, there are many wonderful places! If it were otherwise, surely I would have told you. For I am going ahead, to make ready a place for you." John 14:2

My friends, don't you want to go? xo

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Trust. I realised on Saturday morning, at 3:56am, that trust is the strong hand that grasps for Hope. If we didn't trust that life could be different...situations could change...or that God would intervene in a moment of absolute desperation...then our hope would be futile.

I watched someone I love very much leave a body riddled with cancer, and step instantly into a heavenly, eternal existence. She trusted and loved Jesus for as long as I knew her...she was a tirelessly compassionate, committed child of God. She is my mothers sister...she is my aunt.

When she was diagnosed, she put full trust in the Lord to heal her...and trusted that He would take care of her. She extended her hand of trust toward heaven, and hoped.

She wasn't healed this side of heaven. She passed away in front of my eyes...and I knew in that instant, that she was new. She was in a perfect body, she was in the arms of her Saviour. He didn't abandon her...He didn't let her down...He came to get her. Her hopes were realized as she looked in His kind face, and He embraced her like an old friend that He had been waiting for with anticipation. I imagine that she wept in His strong arms...tears of joy, gratitude and overwhelming love. He took her to the the homecoming. She had returned from a long journey...and she's now home.

So, for my Aunt Sharan...I thank you for the privilege of witnessing your unshakeable faith. I can't say I am that strong...not by a long shot. I am humbled and honoured that you let me be there as you stepped out of your sick, tired, broken body, and met our Jesus. I can only imagine that place called Glory. I know you will keep your promise to me when I get there. Thank you for going ahead of always were braver than most and loved an adventure.

But until then...I can only imagine.