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