Friday, December 29, 2006

Done, I think.

I just finished reading my 41st book of the year. Titled "Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year," by Anne Lamott, it was 251 pages of pure, raw emotion. Lamott is 35 and single when she has a baby boy. The book is a record of her journey with Sam (her son) through his first year. As a former addict to both drugs and alcohol, and also a firm believer in God, she comes at life in a rather unconventional way. Her fear and pain bleed through the pages as she talks about her best friend getting cancer (she passes away a couple of months after Sam's 3rd birthday), about losing her dad to brain cancer many years earlier, and about how she longs for Sam to have a dad.
Interspersed with the fear, and the pain, and the worry, are the hilarious moments, and the incredibly precious moments. Lamott revels in her son's every new development - waving goodbye, learning to crawl, the first time he ate a plum, dancing, babbling from the carseat. There is a sense of urgency about her life, as she feels everything so deeply and experiences such great highs and lows in one year.
Definitely one of my favorite books of the last 12 months.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I heard a commercial on the radio today:

"Self-indulgence is not a luxury, it's a necessity."

Makes me want to boycott radio and tv just to avoid all the "me-first, I-deserve-the-best-of-everything" advertising.

Self-indulgence has become a god in our culture these days. How often do you hear "indulge yourself" in one form or another throughout the it expensive cars, a cottage at the lake, a day at the spa, a new flat panel LCD tv...or even something as simple as chocolate.

And I think all of these things are well and good, but slowly the message has become you deserve, no, you need these things. That's what I take issue with; not the thing itself, but the pressure to have it all.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I am blessed.
I am blessed for so many reasons, but particularly at this time of year I am blessed because Christmas is a happy time for me.
I am blessed to have family close by with whom I will get together on Christmas day and eat, laugh, open presents, and share life with.
I am blessed by friends with whom I will also get together and eat, laugh, open presents and share life with.
I am blessed with great co-workers, and a job where I get a Christmas bonus. A job where we can get together and have a fantastic food day (such as today!); where people are easy-going this time of year and work just doesn't really seem like work for a little while.
I am blessed to go to an awesome church, where we will gather tomorrow night and celebrate God sending His Son to earth, and all the myriad things that means for us.
I am blessed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I feel thankful for so much...
my friends
my family
my job and my co-workers
my home (with the Christmas tree I put up tonight)
money to buy Christmas presents (I've enjoyed shopping a lot this year - how wonderful to have a time of year to celebrate the people in our lives)
my reliable car
my cat who makes me smile and keeps me company
my computer that allows me to keep in touch with friends
the thick frost that covered the trees on my way to church Sunday morning, along with the sundog in the sky (first time I'd ever seen one!)
and so much more...
Thank you God!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I love my cat

I love my cat.
Just thought I'd share that.
She came upstairs to find me, and is currently sitting on my lap, purring so loudly, her head resting between my hands as I type.
sigh....she likes me...she really likes me!


I can't believe it's already December 7. I know people are always talking about how fast time goes, but I think this is especially true in December. Every year I say I'm going to get all my shopping done early and take the whole month of December to celebrate the season, but here it is, already Dec 7 and my tree still isn't up. I don't have any lights or decorations put out yet, but am determined to get them up sometime between now and the end of Sunday. I have a few presents yet to buy, all of them to wrap, chocolates and cards to make and mail, and oh how I feel stress and panic trying to worm their way into my life.
So here's what I'm going to do. I am going to celebrate Christmas, every day for the next 18 or so one way or another. Tonight I am going to read the Christmas story for the first (but probably not the last) time this month.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sandi Thom

I discovered a great new artist the other day on the Galaxy music channel - Sandi Thom. I heard her song "I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker" and checked her out on iTunes. I bought the CD today and loved it the very first listen-through.

Driving Lessons

I almost ran myself over with my own car today. True Story.
I parked by the mailboxes, unclicked the part of my keychain that holds my mail key, got out and collected my mail.
Here's where it gets a little dicey.
As I was rounding the front of my car it started driving towards me. That's right. Towards me and also heading towards the huge metal garbage cans. Not even rolling. Driving. I opened the door and jumped in, jamming my foot on the brake, quite heroically I thought. (Although perhaps straining a groin muscle in the process.) Looking down, I realized that I had left the car in drive. drive.
Did I mention it took me three tries to get my driver's license?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's all in the Adjectives

I was at Nutter's today buying chocolate melts for Nicole and me - it must be Christmas! Because it certainly is Winter. The ruts in the parking lot were, I'm sure, Olympic quality moguls. No kidding.

While at Nutter's I picked up some Real Brew Draft Root Beer, and boy was it good! I used to collect bottles of all sorts (which are now in storage at my parents' house) and I admit I was drawn to this particular beverage because of the description on the bottle:
" A complex flavour of sweet birch, licorice root, sarsaparilla, cinnamon, clove, anise, and wintergreen"
"A draft root beer unlike any other. To give our root beer a subtly rich, creamy flavour, we add pure bourbon vanilla to our recipe"
How could I not pick up a bottle?

I've recently discovered CBC Radio 3 (independent Canadian artists) on the internet, and one of the new songs I heard has been playing in my head ever since. It's by a group called Two Hours Traffic, and the song is "Better Sorry than Safe." It's got me thinking about risk taking, and how sometimes its better to take a chance and have it not work out than to be safe and never risk anything.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If You Are Wise

I was cleaning out my closet tonight when I found a poem I'd long forgotten, by William Arthur Ward. It's quite long so I won't reprint the whole thing, but it's called "If You Are Wise" and there are so many lines that challenge me. The three main themes are

If you are wise...
you will forget yourself into greatness
you will empty yourself into adventure
you will lose yourself into immortality.

Under each of these, the admonition to

Forget your inconveniences, but remember your blessings.
Empty your days of the search for security; fill them with a passion for service.
Lose your cynicism. Lose your doubts. Lose your fears. Lose your anxiety. Lose your unbelief.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Angels Unaware

I went for a walk tonight. It was beautiful out in a winter sort of way. During the last stretch of my walk I happened upon a vast expanse of unbroken snow with a slight crust on top, along the side of a small hill. "Perfect," I thought to myself. Perfect for making a snow angel. After looking around to make sure I had no spectators, I launched myself backwards into the snow and spread my arms. There is something wonderfully pure about playing in the snow, and I thought of my friend Kyla, who would surely approve of snow angels at night.
I lay there for a minute, then slowly got up and admired my handiwork. "It does look a bit like an angel," I thought, and smiled the rest of the way home.

Riding the Bus

For various reasons, I had to take the bus home after work today. Well, I shouldn't say I "had" to, it was more like I "got" to. With my fare money clutched tightly in my mittened hand, I felt like a child again. I noticed the late afternoon sun lighting up the taller buildings, felt the cold wind whip my hair around, felt alive for some reason I can't explain.
The bus driver was friendly, giving us updates on the time and weather over the speakers.
There were 2 ladies with mental disabilities riding near the front who were hilarious. In fact, I think they were the happiest people on the bus. When another bus passed us and the white-haired, smiling driver waved enthusiastically to these 2 ladies, they roared with laughter. They remind me of the lady in the book I'm reading right now entitled "Riding the Bus With My Sister." It's about a woman with cognitive disabilities who has chosen to spend her days riding the city buses where she lives, and for one year her sister decides to join her. Many are the stories of friendly bus drivers and the impact they have on people's lives. Maybe that's why today's ride home was so special - I was riding with an awareness of others and attempting to "tune in" to the bus culture.
Also, I felt connected in a way that just isn't possible sitting alone in traffic in my car.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Music Ministry

I just bought a new CD off of iTunes - The Crane Wife by The Decemberists.
I slipped on my headphones minutes ago and started listening and blogging.
It is music I can lose myself in. Such talent and creativity...
Praise be to God for giving us the gift of music.

Engage the Senses

I want to feel
the wind blowing my hair around
the melted snow running down my forehead
my nose getting red in the cold
the crisp air kissing my cheeks.

I want to indulge in Winter
to fight with it
and make it give something back to me.

I want to bundle up against the cold
go for a walk
and return hot and cold at the same time
refreshed and triumphant .

Thursday, October 26, 2006


This morning on my way to work I was just cresting a small hill (I live in Saskatchewan - all we have are small hills) when the clouds parted and the sun shone through with brilliance. The light was this perfect golden/pink morning light, and it made everything beautiful, including all the construction going on. It was like the curtains parted and the light bathed everything in goodness and beauty. For a few seconds I saw things in a different light.
When I got downtown, the bare trees and grey river seemed all the more bleak after my moment of golden light, and I thought about the difference light can make. A construction site - dirty and raw, made beautiful; A riverbank of trees flanking a grand river - dull and dreary.
Then I thought about the difference Light can make in our lives, transforming us from ordinary, worried, wearied, and worn-out people into people of radiant beauty.
And I wonder about the difference Light could make in our city. I wonder about how it could transform individuals, families, neighborhoods.
Every day when I read the paper, when I read about break-ins, stabbings, poverty, and vandalism I wonder what would happen if God's love flooded this city. I wonder what's possible. If God can do more than anything I could ask or imagine...well I can imagine a lot.
And God can do more than that?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jungle Berries

Sunday, October 15, 2006

You've Got Mail

I was looking on the USPS website to try and find out what kind of things can be sent throught the mail, when I discovered something interesting. Apparently you can mail animals, as long as they are not "injurious to human beings, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, wildlife, or the wildlife resources of the United States."

Huh. Mailing animals. Who would've thought.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Running Around

The Amish are the modern-day Pharisees.

Hmmm...that seems like a judgmental statement doesn't it? Just the word "pharisee" conjures up a picture of hypocritical, self-righteous, excessively pious people; people who love to follow the rules by the letter but totally miss the heart of them.

I may be wrong in my comparison, and I realize it's a bit of a blanket statement that obviously wouldn't apply to all Amish, but I'm reading the book "Rumspringa" by Tom Shachtman and the similarities seemed to jump off the pages.

For instance:

"The unwritten list of them [rules], the ordnung, covers everything from the number of pins that an Amish woman may use to hold together her dress to the directive to defer to men's judgment in all-important matters to what constitutes improper fraternizing with the opposite sex."

They legislate the number of pins used to hold together a dress?!? How can this possibly be important? It seems so similar to all the rules the Pharisees made up, in addition to the moral laws given by God.

One girl remarked that her parents seemed more upset about her wearing jeans than about her going to parties.

Their practice of "Rumspringa" is also very interesting to me. This begins when a person turns 16 and lasts until they decide to be baptized and join the church. Technically the period is "to give youngsters leave and ways to find an appropriate mate. The community's expectation is that, upon completion of the courtship task, a young Amish couple will end their Rumspringa by agreeing to marry and concurrently making the commitment to be baptized."
That's technically what it's for, but many young Amish take the opportunity party wildly, getting drunk, smoking, doing drugs, etc. They go out on Friday, usually with English friends, and do not return home until Sunday night. It seems the attitude among many of the adults is that young people need to "get it all out of their system" before they can settle down to the traditional Amish life. Technically, because they haven't been baptized, they are not subject to the rules yet, and so this is all ok.
The letter of the law not the heart - go be wild because you haven't been baptized yet, but tomorrow when you are baptized, those things will be wrong.
Of course, not all young Amish behave this way - a lot simply go out with friends and enjoy some time away from their parents, having fun but not seeing the need to engage in rebellious behavior.
So, I don't know, maybe for some of them they need to try everything before they can make the decision to join the church. I understand that they want their youth to come to the church of their own free will, but perhaps the choice would not be so difficult if their rules were not so stringent.
I guess they are probably just trying to keep the world out of their lives, and maybe having a list of rules makes it easier for them. Keeping things black and white, allowing no "grey" areas, makes it easier to see if you're on the right path - you can check off the do's and don'ts and see how you're doing. There are no difficult decisions to make because the Order has already established a rule for just about every behavior.
I imagine the more I read the more I will learn about the "why" behind their way of life and there will be good things to it as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jazz Pictures

"Often the photos were scratchy, the only copy of an image fixed near the
beginning of the twentieth century - but they contained such power. Today, of
course, images are reproduced digitally ad infinitum, and we are drowning in
them; they have in many ways lost their value...But these older images were
powerful and unique, often showing fold marks or tears; they had been smuggled
out of the past as if containing an important message that the past wanted us to
know. Whoever had held onto them had wanted them to endure. "

- "Why New Orleans is Important" The author is referring to old black and while photos of jazz musicians in the city.

This is what I desire in my photography. I want my pictures to be powerful and unique. I want them to mean something, somehow, 20 or 50 years from now. Together they tell a story of what I see, and how I see.

Falling Meditation

I had a wonderful lunch hour last week. It was, I think, the last really warm day of Fall and I spent it in Kiwanis park down by the river. I sat in the sun and read until I got too warm (imagine!) and then moved to a bench under one of my favorite trees. The sun was hot, the sky clear, and the leaves were positively golden. The breeze was so slight, just enough to stir the leaves and send them on their way.

And so I sat, watching the leaves dance through the air, thankful for everything God has given me; content just to be.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Literary Pull

So I've just about finished the last book that I took out of the library and had decided to read one of my own, but there were several on the "new book" shelf at the library that were calling my name, and I came home with 4 more books to read (all non-fiction). They are about donuts, New Orleans, Springtime, and starvation. Should make for some interesting and diverse reading.

Speedy Gonzales

Isabelle (my cat) can run a lot faster than I can.

It's one thing for me to know this, but something else entirely to have it witnessed by a stranger walking down the street.

That would be me tonight, running full tilt with Isabelle 15 feet in front of me, (the length of her lead) my arm stretched to the max while I try to keep up with her over grass and sidewalk, weaving around parked cars, and trying not to run into the above-mentioned stranger.

The thought of what we must have looked like (cat running as if from a house on fire, owner madly flapping along after her) made me smile. Even more so because I was wearing my biggest, fluffiest winter coat and my cheap-o earmuffs that stand out from my head a little but sure do keep my ears warm.

Leaving Soon

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Haute Cuisine?

So I've finished reading The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, albeit not while I was eating. For one year the author hunted, fished, caught, and otherwise scavenged for enough animals/fish/birds/creatures to create a 48 course meal from an old cookbook that he'd found (Le Guide Culinaire). He invited a bunch of friends to sample his creations via a Thanksgiving feast.
And what a feast it was...

wild boar headcheese
duck soup
turtle soup
crayfish mousse
souffle of goose liver and pheasant
pate of brandy-marinated cottontail rabbit and salted black bear fat
elk heart with bechamel sauce
tongue of wild boar with sauerkraut

These were just a few of the courses on the menu. Now, granted, I haven't tried any of these dishes and so cannot say that I wouldn't like them, but the mere thought of them just about gave me an upset stomach. I had to put the book down on numerous occasions when I was eating. (Yes, I read while I eat.) So, it was an interesting journey, and while I learned a lot about hunting and the journey food takes to get from "the wild" to my dinner plate, I think I'll stick with my white-meat turkey sandwiches for a little while longer.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


a walk in the woods

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

that's just not true

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, and am starting to feel like reading a really good novel. So I've been looking for one at the library, (not sure what's wrong with the ones on my shelf at fact I think I even have a couple of them started) and I'm finding that most fiction is so...well...false. So many writers write with so much detail that just isn't found in non-fiction that their novels immediately flash "fiction" with a bright neon sign. So I decided to look for a fiction book that isn't trying to be real. And I think I found one - JPod by Douglas Coupland. I read the first chapter (really short) at the library and decided to check it out. Well, I actually read the first few pages before chapter one, and that's when I decided to check out the book. On the page where the dedication usually is is the quote "Winners don't do drugs" by the director of the FBI. Then there are a few pages of words that I don't really understand the significance of, followed by 2 pages of really small stream-of-conscious writing, one page of dollar signs, finished off with a page of the words "ramen noodles" repeated over and over. It was the ramen noodles that sold me. [aside: my sister asked me recently how I choose the books I read and, well, that there is a pretty accurate description. Either the title or the cover art will draw me in, and then I'll read the first couple of pages and see if it hooks me. Pretty rare that a book will get me before chapter one, so I'm expecting this to be good.]

Now I just need the discipline to finish the (non-fiction) books I've already started...

Still Life with Chickens
The Coroner's Journal
The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Isn't it funny how all of a sudden you can be aware of a sensation that you've probably felt a million times but never really noticed before? Like today, I suddenly noticed how sticky my lips get after eating an apple. Weird.

On a completely different note, I discovered (via Billboard magazine. I think. It could have also been Wired magazine) a cool site featuring music reviews, downloads, news, etc. It's called Pitchfork.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I like spaces in my life; spaces more than scheduling. Tonight was a perfect night in that respect. There was time to watch "House" on TV, time for laundry, time for reading, time for a bath, time for a bit of blogging. And spaces in between.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I'm reading a fascinating book right now called The Boy Who Loved Windows. It's about a child threatened with autism, and how his family worked to draw him out of his world and into ours.

What an incredible thing the mind is when it works properly, and what a scary thing it can be when it malfunctions even slightly. Reading this book has given me a fresh perspective on "reality" and how that differs for everyone. My perception of the world is unique to me, and is shaped by my experiences and my genetic makeup. Somehow this makes the world around me seem more ethereal, less defined. And, as the physical becomes tenuous, the spiritual world develops substance. Meeting in the middle, they now form a world redefined, one not subject to my presumptions.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I would like to do some traveling, and these are the places I would like to see (for various reasons):

1. Wewahitchka, Florida. Particularly Smiley Apiaries.
2. Fairhope, Alabama. I would especially like to see Henry Stuart's house.
3. Savannah, Georgia. Especially the Mercer House.
4. Venice, Italy. I would really like to see some of Archimede Seguso's glassworks, and the ruins of the Fenice Opera House.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Two Thoughts Circling

I was talking with my sister yesterday about a book she's reading called "Waking the Dead," by John Eldridge. In one part Eldridge is talking about the eternal life we inherit when we become Christians, and he suggests that it is not something separate and different from the life we live right not, but merely a continuation.

Merely a continuation...

This, right here, right now, is the start of my eternal life. This is a HUGE thought for me...and one that's hard to hang onto throughout the day, but whenever it crosses my mind, I want to do things differently than how I am doing them presently.

What does this mean for me, if this very moment is part of my eternal life?

I watched a movie last night called "The Butterfly Effect." The movie is based on the idea that when a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the world, it can cause a tornado on the other side - that is, all things are connected. The main character in the movie realizes that he can go back in time and change things, and so he does - but with terrible consequences. In seeking to right one wrong, he brings about other disastrous events.

Made me think about all the "what if's" in my life; about how one thing leads to another, and how our lives are put together one decision at a time.

This movie made me glad that we do not have the power to go back and change things, to play God, because we don't know everything. It made me think about the fact that there is an outcome to every decision we make, even if we won't see it for years, even if the decision seems small and inconsequential.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Music Found

Here's a great website that distributes indie music from the lesser-known greats:

And here is the link to a cool internet radio station that's run by a guy from the Polyjesters (from Alberta), and features bands that they've met on the road (read: good local-ish music!):

One note about the radio station though, is that I can only get it to play using itunes, and not window media player, so...just so you know.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

simply said

"Without goodbyes, hellos wouldn't be so beautiful."

- from "There is Light" by Coco Love

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Friday, February 03, 2006

Casting Crowns

I've been challenged by several songs on the Casting Crowns CD lately. (The old one.) Challenged, and moved to tears sometimes.

From "Here I go Again":

So maybe this time
I'll speak the words of life
With Your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear
is tearin' at my words
What am I so afraid of?
'Cause here I go again
Talkin' 'bout the rain
And mullin' over things
that won't live past today
And as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance
to tell him that You love Him


But how then will he know
What he has never heard?
Lord he has never seen mirrored in my life

So many times I find myself talking about things that just don't matter; things that won't live past today. And I wonder at my inability to talk about what's truly important.

From "If We are the Body":

Jesus paid much too high a price
for us to pick and choose who should come
and we are the Body of Christ.

True - the Gospel is for all people - not just those we deem worthy.

And finally, from "The Voice of Truth": (this one needs no explanation, for it's exactly how I feel)

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
on to the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again.
"Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the Voice of Truth
tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth
says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth
says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices
calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
the Voice of Truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes
to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again.
"Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the Voice of Truth
tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says,
"Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says,
"This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
the Voice of Truth

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I'm not normally much of an outdoors person in Winter, but today I wanted to take some pictures of the frosty trees to send to my sponsor child who lives in Honduras. (Reasonably thinking that he's probably never seen snow.)
So away I went, (to Lakeview Park because there are no trees in my immediate neighborhood). And it was wonderful. My legs and fingers slowly numbing from the cold, my pantlegs wet from trudging through snow off the beaten (shoveled) path, my ears toasty warm thanks to my uber-fashionable earmuffs, and my appreciation of nature duly restored. (Isn't it wonderful that my appreciation of nature can be restored in the middle of a city?) So I took my pictures, close ups and "group shots" if you will, of the beautiful frost-laden trees. And heading back to my car, only one thought was in my mind - Winter is so beautiful. Clean. Crisp. Pure. Wonderful. Praise God for seasons.
Okay maybe there were two thoughts occupying my grey matter. The other was that I am a bit of a details person. Most of the shots I took today were close-ups, the frosty designs of nature. I was reminded of the saying, "God is in the details" and I think sometimes that's right. A panorama of frozen trees is beautiful, but up close it's unbelievable. Snow fallen in such intricate patterns you just know it isn't a totally random act.
And with that thought, I was homeward bound.
[Climbing back into my car, I realized that somewhere along the way I had broken my jacket zipper and was now stuck with my coat up around my ears. Oh well. One paperclip later and I was spared having to live out my days in Board Dokter fashion.]
Here's wishing you a wondrous winter day, filled with frosty delights.