Monday, December 3, 2012


We trust. We believe. We have white knuckled hope and belief that the God we believe in will answer our prayers...and that His answer will be Yes.

We hold on tight...til the end with that mustard seed faith and peace in our hearts; our trust being stretched to what seems to be snap back proportions. The emotions rise and fall like breath itself....

and then it stops. Then it is just over...and a new journey begins.

Faith is fascinating to me. Being a person of such a description, I can tell you that the pathway is often clouded with vapour, and winding....winding into places of unknown depths of self, of life, and of eternity. Being a person of faith allows a certain assured kind of shelter in seasons of monsoon. Life whips around you with destructive intent...and the One who holds you in the palm of His hand assures...

My ways are higher.

And there He holds me, and us, and any who will choose to believe. He holds us above our circumstances, He holds us tightly through our circumstances...and He stands beside us to endure our circumstances. While His answer may appear to be No to that which you've hoped for....for yourself, or someone you love...or someone you gave birth to and nurtured til their dying breath, I have to believe that the very maker of each and every one of our spectacular souls,


Knows the end of the story from the beginning, knows the depths that He will walk through with us, and still, assures quietly and sometimes with the likes of a starters bugle...

I am here for you. I am FOR you.

Today I choose to believe this. I am challenged everyday to believe this. I fail at believing...over and over...and over again, and still, He loves me, and walks with me. I trust His higher ways, and I believe He is conspiring for my good.

For those I knew a long time ago, who buried their 11 year old daughter today, I pray that the shelter of peace will be palpable and gentle. I pray that the God we know will show you the miracles of who He is...everyday...every moment. I pray that everyday will continue to be a marvel for you and your family. May you be amazed daily. You are loved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Just Breathe

Breath. Breathing. Breathe.

It's crucial, and yet, it's automatic. It's absolutely essential to life, but it's rarely pondered unless you're an athlete, someone working to relieve stress...or someone who is dying.

I used to be skeptical and quite cynical towards those people who say, "just breathe" when life gets tough or hectic or unmanageable. Secretly, on the inside, I wanted to tell them where to go, how to get there, who to meet when they check in, and what to order on the menu. I didn't buy it.

                                                                                    At all.

But as with so many things in life that we learn, we either choose to open up to something new, or we are forced to face the newness anyway with resistance and resentment. I am learning...the first one is way easier for everyone. Being defiant to learning new things is really just an unyielding to change, don't you think?

I have found my breath. It couldn't have come at a better time. Everyone has stress, and deals with it in their own unique ways.... mine has always leaned towards being introverted and introspective. It's something I have chosen to work on...and it's hard. It's very hard. It's hard to change who you've always been.

So it came back to a rebirth. It came back to the beginning...and that place where all I have to do is commit to one thing.

To breathe.

It's restored focus. It's restored peace. It's allowed me to be a kinder human being. Kinder in life, and to those I do life with...and mostly, to myself. It's healing with each calculated inhale...and exhale, and it clears my mind of the daily information hurricane.

I allow it to be a prayer. I allow it to be an expression between myself and my Creator. I allow it to be an outward expression of my gratitude, and am mindful that each breath surely has purpose, has restoration in it's very fibre...and is a measurement of my life.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Things That Matter

When I look at the world I know, I see a bright prism of things I love.

If you were to ask me my perspective on any world issue, I'd have to tell you I am a black and white kind of gal; fiercely driven by the right, the just and the kind.

You wanna know what matters to me? Here goes:

1. Tolerance. Not that tug of war between your opinion and my opinion, or either of us trying to convince the other of our rightness, and the others wrongness. No. Tolerance is a chosen skill, and it takes work. Tolerance does not require acceptance, but it DOES require understanding and a glimmer of respect for someone else's opinion, conviction or chosen path in life.

2. Having a heart for the world and the things I believe God holds important. This excludes politics and agendas, and national opinions and big mouths with small minds. The God I know grieves at the starving child in Africa, or in the grade 1 classroom in your city. The God I know weeps for those caught in a storm of genocide and a world that turns a blind, unimpacted, indifferent glance. The God I know looks at the grieving, the broken hearted, the discarded and societies "less than's" and sends out a YOU, and to ME. His question is, "What are you going to do about it?" The God I know doesn't measure sin on a sliding scale of bad to worse, nor does He punish this way. The things that break the heart of the God I know are real heart issues, NOT whether or not gays can marry or be given the same rights as everyone else. Any Christian thinking of throwing their opinion and hatred at this issue should remember that Christ always had a heart for the opressed and shunned, and when asked to pass judgement or mercy? He ALWAYS chooses mercy and love.

3. Making a difference. It used to be abstract to me. Out there, inspiring me in my highschool classroom with a guest speaker, or an amazing trailblazer being featured on a TV show. It has hung over my head for years, without a form or an identity, until I ventured to do something revolutionary. What was that, you may ask? It's one small, 3 letter word.


Your foray into service doesn't have to be loud and splashy. Paying for a strangers coffee? You just did it. Serving in a soup kitchen once a month? Bravo. Offering to take the kids for a stressed out Mom? You'll never know the full weight of this kindness. You may never know the ripple effects of your actions, but I assure you, that your attempts along with millions of other people everyday who choose to do one kind thing a day...they matter. They bear value..and they restore those frayed edges  of humanity.

4. Love. It's so many things that create a happy life. It's patience. It's kindness. It's slow to anger. It's HARD work. But choosing everyday to love, those who you do life with, and those who life forces to the's the only thing we've got sometimes. None of us will get to the end of our lives wishing for more time at work, more money in our bank account, or a bigger TV in our livingroom...but we will hopefully all be ushered into the next life surrounded by those who love us deeply and are sending us into the expectant arms of those who love us even more.

5. Understanding. On so many levels, aren't we all just trying to understand and be understood? I have chosen over the last few years, that being around people who inspire me and push me, and are honest with me...those are the people I want to be understood by. The ones who have my back at the best and worst turns in life. I've turned my back on some who relentlessly question my judgements, or my intentions, or my heart...because they will never understand me, and I will never understand them. I wish them well, and I let them go. I'm on a mission to understand so much.

 I think the biggest queries are finally finding their resolutions as I knock on 37 this year.

I hear a resounding response when I ask just what this life is all about. The God I know speaks to me so I understand...and do you know what He says to me?

"Roll on've got this."

Where's your list, friend? xo

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Runner

Think of the thing that most scares you, and you will have found yourself in my Adidas pink and grey trainers a number of months ago. Throughout my whole life, there have been vapoured limits. Limits imposed by my peers, by my very insecure self.

You're not smart enough.
You're not thin enough.
You're not wealthy enough.
You're certainly not fit enough.

I bought a pair of proper running shoes years ago. I didn't know I  had bought "running" shoes, until I looked the model up online recently, just to see what the heck I've been putting my feet into. Sure enough, this non-runner had the makings of destiny at her feet...waiting to be stepped into...

and forward.

Forward into a life where I don't give a damn about what you think I am capable of. Forward into a life where I am no longer the hopeless fat girl from highschool, because I run 5-10k four times a week. Forward into the race of one....the race of WON.

Trying is scary. So I set my own pace...I run for me...and I run for the girls I see everyday who are special and unique and beautifully unusual, the ones people don't care to understand, or the ones who drown in the lonliness of not being "normal".

My hope for them and for all of us really, is for us to realise that life is to be run in our own lane, without too much adherence to the negative darts of disillusionment that fly by everyday. We keep running, we aim to be better...we breathe air into our own lungs, we perspire our own sweat, and we achieve our own small and monumental goals.

Why? Because we can.

I am a runner. YES, I am.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fragile Freedom

Take a deep breath.

Breath is something we take for granted. Clearly, claiming a breath is something we do every few moments out of necessity and automatically. When that innate signal ceases we will fade from vibrancy into memory.

There is a balance of elements in life that finitely determines our existence. Should oxygen and CO2 get tangled and lose their proportions, life as we know it would instantly change, and we'd be gone.

But with all of lifes uncertainty, seemingly unparalleled unfairness and horrible injustice, I am confident in the questionless points in life.

Good is everywhere. Expecting good actually changes your soul and the way you fit into the world. Expecting bigger, more beautiful things out of life propels you into possibility. That bottomless wishing well of chances, fullfillment and joy spills over so you don't even have to peek inside. Your feet will be immersed in the run off of life's promises. It starts with your glorious ability to use the most powerful word in our language (in my humble opinion) and that is:


The beauty of choice, is that it has no stamped expiration date. Choosing to finally change, choosing to finally forgive, choosing to be kind in the face of aggression, and choosing to claim your own peace...all of these actions are valuable the first time, the tenth time...and the last time. They matter. They always matter. Not exercising these intuitive instincts is as a result of one thing:


To stay in a bad situation is believing the lies...that we've told ourselves...and that have been projected onto us. Choosing to live in unforgiveness harms the the unforgiving much more than the unforgiven. The unforgiving fears a loss of control. Choosing to face aggression with kindness goes against our natural instincts, but I assure you, soft words turn away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)

Choosing your own peace is the lesson that serves the greatest personal reward. It actually allows the reclaiming of your life. It's hard. It's VERY hard. Choosing to release control of other peoples reactions and actions, and focusing on your own responses only is like loving the orchestra, but choosing to close your eyes and only listen with a headset. Realizing, your response to the situation, and your feelings from the situation are all that matter at the end of the day. Fear will tell you you need to own it all... peace will whisper, "you're truth is all that matters...and you only have to say it ONCE."

Your freedom lays in your hands. It breathes, and lives...and deeply inhales hope...hope that you will create something timeless everyday no matter the size or the measure. It lies fragile, and full of anticipation...and it completely trusts you and that you're doing the best you can right now...and if you're not, don't knows you're trying and you will get there.

Freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice it, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Dear P.~

The road has arrived. The spinning, unsettled wandering has halted. You have caught your balance, steadied your stance, fixed your eyes on a point on the horizon...and you have begun. Begun to walk.

The lost? It's over.
The hurt? It's dying...and being compensated with unending fullfillment.
The anger? It doesn't have to protect you can lay it down and let complete healing begin.

The life you have known, the past that chased you for so long, and pursued you with the intention of consuming's finished. Those hard edges that provided an insurance of sorts...a sure fire way of keeping good out, they're slowly chipping away...crumbling and revealing what they have been so carefully concealing...

An immeasurably valuable masterpiece.

Don't be afraid, dear one. You're braver than you even know. You're infinitely stronger than you could ever fathom. I promise you that your life is out in front of you...and not behind you. All of the underground wishes in the deepest part of your heart for the life you want- they're out there and they're now pursuing you. You'll be amazed. Those things that have made your heart hopelessly thirsty...those real desires for an extraordinary life...they'll creep in, one by one.

And you'll be ready.

Feel it all. Don't run from the real. Take your stance. Whether it be on your tiptoes reaching, looking your demons in the eye and being able to conclusively dismiss them...or on your knees, mindful of the fact that you've layed down the biggest battle of your life...and in doing've won. Feel it. Don't wish away the process. Embrace the fragile beauty of brokenness. Spark those dry and whithered parts inside, and set ablaze all of the pain, crippling disappointment and unending defeat.

It's done.

The rebuild is now. The ashes are glowing...and the phoenix is emerging.

We're imeasurably blessed to bear witness to it.

J. & T.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Leap

The leap.

Close your eyes....hard. Cross your fingers...tight. Take a deep breath...fully. Exhale slowly.
It's in those moments of decision, that I believe, your life is created...right in front of your eyes. It doesn't mean it's clear. Not by a long, random shot. But it does mean that you've somehow flung faith out like a boomerang...and have begun to see the comeback.
It's also about doing those things that make little, to no sense to others. It's about surviving brutal scrutiny, mere patches of support, and championing what appears to be a lost or losing cause. It's doing what is non negotiable to the risk of being inauthentic to your convictions for the rest of your life.
Being an innovator can be a lonely venture. Surveillance of actions and behaviours seem to be more scrutinized than any normal, daily activity. Why? Because it's not expected behaviour. It's following your heart while wielding a blade that clears the brush of a completely untrodden path. The excitement of discovery is exhilarating...the work is tireless...but it's worth it. It's all worth it, because it's a masterpiece in the making. What it is, is undecided....until the decision begs being made...and YOU make it.
My journey is as much on the outside, as the inside. My work has found passion has been ignited. I challenge you to find something that makes you feel useful, to feel purposeful...and to feel gloriously alight. So many people talk about finding their purpose...and I am solely convinced....
You don't find your's on the inside of you, and is waiting to be detonated.
The first step?
The scariest.
The first step?
Is one of the best ways to feel ultimately ALIVE.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The conversations bear weight. They tip the scales on fluffy, light, airy chats....and shoot directly for the blazing target in the distance.

The heart.

The soul.

The challenges that invade life without permission...or apology. The helpless ones who stand empty handed and bewildered with spinning reality. The wounded who whisper for a lifeline..while life swirls around..and threatens to consume.

We stand in the gap. All of us do, at different times. We listen...we advise...we console and defend. Sometimes...we lead. We do so by creating the way for someone who just can't anymore...

can't stay the same... anymore.
can't face the day... anymore.
can't bear the grief... anymore.
can't believe the lies... anymore.

We spread our own personal brand of magic over a life shattered...and with great care, reassemble the dust-like shards of devastation...and help someone build. The action isn't grand...the action is not overt...most often..the action is as simple as a conversation.

We save each other. We do this everyday...we learn from each other, and grow from each other...and create our new perspectives, because of each other. It's a pretty powerful contribute to the shaping of the formless, into a masterpiece. We all create...we all have good blooming inside of us...

I believe we're all creating ourselves while we create each other. What a gift. What a miracle. What a priviledge it is, for God to drop people into our lives...and to recognize it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Grace Effect

It's a gusty, frigid Saturday morning. The view out the window to my right is bright and white. Overnight, the world as I know it has been blanketed, and frozen in time. The deep freeze is was forcasted for another time, but arrived fashionably late to the party. We wait for the rebirth...for the promise of Spring, and growth..and new life.
The access routes of my life will need to be I will need to shovel the driveway and the stairs to my front door. I need to do it for my own safety and, of course, passage out into the world. But also...I need to clear the sidewalk, so others can safely pass by on their daily journey. In essence, what I clear for myself, I also, inadvertently, clear for others as well.
It's not heave heavy endure whipping cold winds, and to clear the path. It's often thankless, and would seem pointless in a it's just going to throw down snow again, anyway. After all... you're going to have to go out there again anyway tomorrow, a few days from now, or next week to do it all over again.
Sometimes...that thankless job is a place to demonstrate a glimpse of good. Taking on the temporary challenge of lifting someone elses load...and clearing the way for them to get safely where they need to go. Because this world can seem so utterly void of connection..and compassion...and basic kindness, the act can be shocking to the recipient.
The challenge is not to get discouraged. With the unending precipitation...or the burden of the lifting...or with a silent response to kindness. The challenge is to DO, because you CAN, not because you're expecting a return, or a response. The weight of your character lies in the willingness to act, not in expecting a response.
And when the burden becomes too shovelling the the negative responses to life...I believe, His Grace is enough for me. He calls me to act...not to worry. He calls me to be a person of action..even when the well seems dry. When I say I am weak, He says, " My child, I've got this"...and I know my cares are in His safekeeping.
He COVERS all. He SEES all. He KNOWS all. He PLANS all. He BEARS all. What have I to fear?
My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Prayer for the Lost Ones

I'm watching the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The hours between February 12th, and 13th are quickly closing...1 hour, 41 minutes, and an anniversary will be upon me which changed the course of my life forever, 2 years ago.

I am watching with more intent tonight than other years. I am usually quite bored by now, and am deciding to crawl into bed. But tonight, an incredible talent...a trail blazing pioneer for African American women...a superstar, an idol...a mother, and a daughter is being honoured.

Fair enough that a legend be honoured. Not unexpected for her to be recognized for her unmatched contributions to music and film. Celebrities love to honour each other for greatness and unparalleled skill...and even for overcoming unthinkable odds.

Whitney didn't overcome. Whitney, the breathtakingly beautiful, unrivaled voice of a generation...Whitney, the church choir songbird died alone in a hotel room in Hollywood. She brazenly taunted addiction for years, and last night, it devoured her...wholly, completely, and quietly.

I have heard varying commentaries on her death. From tears to indifference...and grief to anger, all emotions from one pole to the other have been expressed. I by no means think that people aren't entitled to their opinions, or their right to share them. But I will venture a guess, anyone with a calloused, hard, flippant comment or opinion hasn't ever loved and lost someone to addiction.

Addiction doesn't start out as such. It is a romancer of sorts. It often courts patiently, quietly and methodically. It fills a void. It whittles off the sharp edges, and it creates a need for habitual intimacy. It alienates and an abusive, controlling lover. It seeks to consume, with consumption. It doesn't care about your position in life...who you're married to, who your father is, or what your bank account is... it's completely out for itself...and it takes no prisoners. It lies and deludes...and it makes tragic memories of incredible, broken and stained people.

The lost ones. Wealthy and famous....nameless and penniless...they are the same. They fall into the same short life club. Addiction is not reserved for junkies or losers, freaks or screw ups. It finds all kinds of people...talented, charismatic, loved, compassionate people...mothers, fathers, daughters, sons...cousins, friends, nieces, nephews...people you know, and people you hear about. They share life with you...and if they don' me, they will, or they do so without your knowledge.

My prayer, for every addict, is for them to find compassion, and to find peace - inside of their life here on earth. I pray that their race from the demons that pursue them will be conquered...just one day at a time. I pray that they will find the answers...the why's to the unanswered questions of their pasts, and that they will live out life with purpose and healing. I pray that they will find support and strength...I pray that they find Hope.

Dum Spero Spiro ~ While I breathe, I Hope.

Hope will rise tomorrow...for the lost ones will find their way. And I'm going to be a part of it however I can.

Keeping my promises to you MB, always. xo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fate Deal

Dear Michael~

It's happening. I know you know. I know you're in the middle of it...giggling...smirking, and winking at fate as it comes into focus for those of us here.

It's lifting. That hazy, thick, stifling blanket I've been using for shelter. It's protected me from the storm, in it's own way...from the drenching down pour...the flood I've lost myself in for 2 years. It's felt good to be under it's safe's felt right to be shadowed by the sadness...and the comfort of unparallelled grief.

I see it fraying...I look through the threadbare thinness of the fibres that once used to block the light...and I see the sunlight. The warmth feels old and new all at once...and the familiarity is starting to awaken what's been left stimulates me, to bloom again.

I peek through the unravelling edge...I inhale a breath of the newness, and of the opportunity waiting out there where the world is bright. I grab both edges, and in one swift motion, throw off that weary blanket that was eclipsing the future, for a brief, but necessary interval.

I stand momentarily blinded by the embrace of the daylight. I realize I've been half alive in a way...dealing with the disbelief and apprehension of your abscence. I accept daylight's embrace... and listen closely to the whisper of hope urging me to believe in the bigger picture.

And as I talk to fate again like an old friend, and a patient teacher...I am caught distracted. A man in flipflops, a white American Eagle t-shirt and an old pair of blue jeans is standing in the distance...his unforgettable laugh rings out, and he slowly nods. Fate turns to look at him, and then looks at me and confidently exclaims,

"All is well. All is going according to plan. Trust in the bigger picture."

I can finally tell you friend...I'm smiling again. I know you and fate have struck a deal for the future, and I am proud that it includes things so near and dear to your heart. I'm making you a mountain of promises, and I know you're good on arranging the rest.

Thanks for the 244. Thanks for TBW. Thanks for MH.

Thanks for being my Michael.

J. xo

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dear Michael

February 1st, 2012

Dear Michael~

It's coming again. You know, that time of year when the storm looms in the distance...and I throw back the curtains of my life...and watch it approach. There's no way to stop it, or avoid will find me wherever I am, because it's not something I can outrun, escape, or turn my back on. It's that day...and I will live it, and remember that there have been 2 years with you not here. The briskness of winter winds whip around me..and my memories. They feel hollowing, and comforting all at once. I embrace the sleeping, frozen world at this time of year...because it reminds me of when you left, and somehow, that feels like the right correlation between the living, and winters suspended consciousness of life.

My sister met someone who knew you yesterday. She told me the story of this elderly lady who was your Sunday School teacher a million years ago...and how you were the most charming child she has recollection of. She said how proud she was to know you, and to witness all of the good work you did in those few short years, reaching out to the worlds forgotten ones. She spoke of how she felt when she said goodbye to you on that unthinkable February her heart the rest of us.

I think of you often when I am left to care for my nieces and nephew...and how your world too, revolved around the little ones in your life. I love them more, in your abscence...because I know you would advise me to do so. I picked up 5 bags of clothes yesterday to pass onto an out of the cold program. I will speak of you with gentle fondness, and fierce fearless, dear friend who left a countless number of hints behind...for how to live...who to be, what to believe, and where to go.

There's so much I want to tell much I hope you now know. I loved you unendingly, my friend...and that doesn't stop. Life has moved on in ways...but that magic spell, that Michael impression is forever appearing my drawing a heart into a frost laden winter window. You've left me with a, "do it now" attitude...whether it be to reach out...reach up, say something, or to create something that didn't exist's you who has shaped me into the Jenn with 2 n's I am today.

Keep finding me, in your way. You know I am still looking for you...and trust my gut when I feel you around. I know you're still present...I know you're okay. Thank you for what it was that we had...for what we were. Thank you for the honesty...I have yet to go there again with were special Michael...very special, my kindred friend.

You've become my go to answer for so many of life's questions. Why do I: Care about the homeless? Walk through grief with people? Choose to do what's right, and not easy? Tell people I love them? Give second chances?....Pick up pennies?

It's because of you, Michael...and always will be.

Miss you much kiddo..every moment, every day.

J. xo

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Tangibles

Some set goals. Some resolve to be resolute. Some make promises, either private or public...and some don't venture into commitments they feel they may not be able to uphold.

At the beginning of a new year, I don't make resolutions. I do step into the newness though, mindful of where I want to be at the end of these 365 days...and where the past 365 have brought me to.

I spent 2011 choosing to be mindful in the big and small moments of my life. I'm becoming progressively more and more aware of how the past can either paralyse your future...or it can prepare you for it. I am 100% choosing the latter. Choosing to forgive others, and myself for imperfections and flaws...indifference and lack of awareness. For I am trying to believe, that we really are all doing the best we can with where we are in our life.

One truth that has become brightly lucent and luminous, is the fact that all things tangible, when related to people...are of the highest worth. Relationships that are lived out real life, face to face. Those good, bad, ugly and sometimes confusing exchanges...are still better than any kind of cold and empty text message, email or contact through social media.

We live so much of our lives in places that actually aren't real these days. We talk about Facebook like it's a busy, happening place, and Twitter like it's the coffee shop serving up hot, steaming 140 character shots of caffeine to our ever insatiable habit for information. We are relentlessly bombarded with the endless pressure to be happier, wealthier, thinner and more fashionable..and funny enough...we're doing it to ourselves.

I have chosen, in 2012, to be present in the tangibles. The conversations, interactions, heart to heart moments...unforgettable songs, hysterical laughs and all of those blissful moments that life is throwing my way. I have in the past, often chosen to picked up the phone to check a bbm message, or check my Facebook, when a real- live- breathing human being is sitting in front of me, and engaging me in aunthentic relationship. That kind of disregard is to me now, painfully rude, and unforgivably selfish....we are all worthy of 100% attention when we are spending time with those who we do life with.

Choosing to be present is hard work at first. It requires moment to moment decisions to be out in your life...and not creating a semblence of a life on a laptop. With 2 small children now in my life, the recognition of my role in their development of self and worth is paramount. They need to know that what they say, do, dream, and believe is all important to me...and that I am 100% passionate about the quality of their lives. Truth be told...I hope any and every person who is in my life feels that way, from my family, to my friends to my co-workers and clients. I am craving authenticity...out there, in that place we call the world.

So go get it my friends. That life you're dreaming of...I assure you, is just past the other side of your first step towards it. There is a great big, marvellous, spectacular world out stop reading my blog, and go get it already!