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Showing posts from 2015

Christmas, New Year's, A Prayer of a Song

It's the week after Christmas. NYE. The chaos has (mostly) died down, and we're all recuperating, right?

This year, Christmas Day was quiet for us; gifts don't take long when there are only two of you.

I made cinnamon buns, and then butternut squash soup. We missed (and then watched) the Queen's Christmas message, and a fascinating episode of The Nature of Things about Stonehenge and its neolithic history.

And then after dinner, I cried.

Despite the near perfection of the day, especially its lack of busy-ness, I felt overwhelmed by life, by the reality of family expectations, by life change, and by my inability to pinpoint exactly what I "want" in life - especially in light of my nearly-complete Master's degree.

"It just doesn't end," I cried, "I feel like it's all too much. Is this what the next 30 years will be like??"

The next day I sat chatting with two quite delightful moms of young kids. Both readily admitted their ongoin…

Learning to Listen Differently

Once upon a time, I got into a very big fight with a friend. The kind of fight where bad words are said, and voices are raised, and tears are shed.
We lived several provinces apart at the time, and since it was our only option, we skyped to try and resolve things. The first conversation ended in a stalemate, and we agreed to connect again in a week.
At the beginning of the second call, we established something important; although her friends thought I was being a (w)itch and my friends thought she was being a baby, we were not willing to give up on our friendship. So we talked. Through the entire Super Bowl. And at the end, we still hadn't sorted things out. 
I remember walking into the kitchen a little later, praying, "Jesus, if there is something I need to say or do that I haven't, show me what it is. Because I honestly don't know how to fix it."
Then it hit me. So I sat down and emailed her. And she emailed me back. And it was over.
The next morning, I texted…

Fridays & Rest

On Fridays, I don't go to school. And I don't go to work.

I stay home. I still have work to do, but I do it at a desk in front of a big window, with a dog sleeping beside me.

I listen to music (like Great Good Fine Ok), I might bake, and I do laundry. Loads and loads of laundry. Sometimes I nap. I hang out with my housemates (dog and husband).

This afternoon, we might go see a movie. Maybe we'll bike to the Distillery. Or grab lunch somewhere. Maybe we'll go watch the game at a pub, or maybe we'll stay home and try to survive the stress together.

Any way I look at it, today is a gift.

I have a full week next week, and this past one was full of job stress. I have had a cold for approximately 7 weeks (I am not even kidding you, folks). But today the sun is shining, and I'm allowed to say no to the things that are adding stress, and a resounding yes to the people and activities I love.

Fridays are a gift, and sometimes they're a gift I turn down, letting fear …

On Giving Up

Earlier this month, I found an unpublished blog draft that is one line long. It reads:

I give up my right to understanding.

I don't know why I wrote it. I don't know what prompted it, or what it was that I thought I deserved to understand. But it struck me as still profoundly applicable to my life today.

I want to understand everything. If it doesn't make sense, I don't accept it. If I can't wrap my head around it, I'm not okay with it.

But what if.

What if I gave up the assumption that I need to understand everything? What does it mean to trust something (or someone) I don't understand? What does it look like to stop demanding that explanations must fit my brain's way of working?


Marriage is teaching me a bit about this.

I'm often confused by this other person, the way they do things, their logic for decision-making, their assumptions and presuppositions. Sometimes, trying to understand him goes a long way in bridging whatever gap or obstacle se…

On Incomplete Families (W&F VI)

Throughout this series, I've been thinking about my friends who feel their families are in some way "incomplete." That is, the family they long for or once had or almost had is not their current reality. There's a loss, a lack, an absence that stays with them.

This is true for almost all of us, in one way or another. Maybe an adult parent or sibling has died. Maybe there is estrangement that can't be overcome. Maybe we've experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or very early death. Maybe a divorce, or a widowing. Maybe there is simply the lack of a partner.

We live in a world of loss, imperfection, and incompletion. We long for what we do not have. We grieve what we once held.

This is not something we can remedy. But it is something we can give space for, something we can recognize and maybe assume, and treat gently. 


I've loved the conversations that I have had both on and offline because of this series. Thank you all, once again, for participating! I…

Careers & Motherhood: Are They Totally Incompatible? (W&F V)

When I wrote about the possibility of infertility, many of you said I was courageous for sharing my story. I'm grateful, and, as always, encouraged by your responses and kind words.

But can I be honest? This topic is way more scary to me.

It's scary because my fertility is something I have no control over - there is no shame for me in that, no regrets or if-onlys.

But my choices about career-building are exactly that - choices. I have agency in these decisions, and that agency opens me up to errors, fear, judgment, and so much more.

And where I stand - not quite a year into marriage, with two terms left in my masters degree, it's all a tangled bundle of thoughts and feelings and desires and uncertainty, and internal pressure, and offhand comments, and impossibility.

It's impossible to do it perfectly.

It's impossible to have everything I want.

It's impossible to defend my decisions to the world.

This creates a great deal of inner turmoil for me. It isn't si…

The Right Way To Build a Family - In 12 Million Easy Steps (W&F IV)

This post has taken me longer to write than I expected. I started, but it very quickly became a rant. It rambled; it griped; it wasn't something I was proud of. So I scrapped it and waited a few days, and here's what I've got now:

I don't have a recipe for building the perfect family. I don't believe in how-to guides for life, or one-size-fits-all solutions.

I'm quite opposed to the idea that such a thing could or should be possible.

There are simply too many variables. There are too many stories.

It's as simple as that. Build your family in the way that makes sense, fits your life. Invest in them. Love them.

I know many of you are doing this, in a myriad of ways....

So. Based on the overwhelming kind response to my last post, and this firm belief that sharing our stories is one of the best ways we can help each other learn, I'd like to invite you to send me your stories around family, family-building, child-bearing, not-child-bearing, or a related topi…

Babies Not Guaranteed (W&F III)

This is my story.

From the time I was hardly more than a toddler, I knew I wanted to be a mother. I have loved babies (and kids) for as long as I can remember. Having babies of my own was always an assumption in my life. Until I hit 25. And was still unmarried. And I started thinking that maybe I would never be in a stable, long-term relationship.

And then there was another factor. The biological one.

A friend of mine had stopped getting her period a few years earlier; when she finally went to the doctor, she discovered she was in danger of developing osteoporosis.

When I heard her story, I grimaced internally. My own period had been on the decline over the past few years; I'd never been "regular" and by 25, I was maybe getting it twice a year. To be honest, I didn't mind too much. It's not like anyone I know enjoys having their period. In the back of my mind had been the fear of infertility, but it seemed so remote, so far off. I hadn't thought about other h…

All Families Are Messed Up (W&F II)

In the fall of 2006, I moved to Vancouver. My first weekend there, I made an IKEA run with a friend to purchase furniture for my tiny new bedroom, as one does. We were walking out of the store, pushing a trolley with a stack of boxes, when my phone rang.

It was my older brother and his wife, calling to tell me that they were pregnant. I remember being so excited, but also very aware that the distance between Vancouver and Ontario was significant enough that I wasn't going to be present for most of the milestones this would lead to. I wondered how to involve myself from far away. I started realizing that it's my responsibility to contribute to these relationships, that I needed to be intentional in what I wanted to build.

This phone call kick-started a change in how I think about family. It was the first moment that I realized being an adult in the family is completely different than being a kid.

(this post, I realize, is less of a woman's issue and more of a grown-up issue,…

Real Talk: Women and Family

Y'all know I'm not afraid to open up the big ol' taboo box and pick a topic and then wave around a brightly lit flag that says, "OVER HERE! LOOK OVER HERE AT WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT." I've done it before. And I want to do it again.


It's the start of August, and the closest I have to vacation time this year, so I think it's time for some straight talk about big things, thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for awhile, questions that keep me up at night, and dilemmas that, quite frankly, need more attention.

Let's get real.

Let's talk about some lady things.

Now before you men run off and say, "OH, OKAY, SEE YOU LATER," I'd like to ask you to stick around. Because all men have women in their families, and likely have lady-friends, and lady-colleagues, and other kinds of relationships that involve ladies, whether professional or personal. And  I (almost) guarantee you that these posts will help you understand wom…


We've been married for six and a half months now, and I finally feel like I'm beginning to surface.

I'm surfacing and I'm settling.

I mean, I knew what I was getting myself into. I've seen marriages, I've talked about marriages, I've thought a lot about marriage.

"It's not easy. It's a lot of hard work. It's a lot of compromise. It's exhausting."
"I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's incredible. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me."

It's all true.

It's a thing, that's for sure. And I feel maybe I'm just kind of getting into the groove.

Not that things are EASY, not that life has stopped throwing curveballs and not that I've outgrown my insecurities and sometimes demanding ways.
There are bumps and there are hiccups and there are fights. There's misunderstanding and miscommunication and no communication - and then there's dialogue. There's honesty and there are sometimes…

My "Personal Experience" Theology

Last week, my placement tasked me with unpacking my "personal experience theology" - writing, sharing, and discussing my personal theology around many interrelated topics. As I wrote out definitions and thought about my experience of certain concepts, I was encouraged, challenged, and a little bit nervous.

And then I shared it with my colleagues, and they asked me a bazillion questions, and pointed out common themes, and shared their insights into my insights, and it was lovely and terrifying and gave me lots of food for thought.

And now I'm going to share some of these 'personal statements' with you. And, as always, I would love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts...

Evil – actively harming another, disregarding their autonomy and/or humanity, using them for personal pleasure or gain without their consent, intentionally deceiving – when I think of my own personal experience of evil, I think of two types – my own temptations towards evil, towards disregarding the…

Things I Still Believe In

"I don't think I believe in anything anymore," someone told me recently. "Do you?"

"I do believe in some things," I said.

"Like what?"

"I believe in love, in giving of ourselves in ways that make us more, not less.

I believe in Jesus. I believe that he really lived, really died, really came back to life. I believe that changes everything.

I believe that God is everywhere, and God is always acting, and sometimes we get to join in, and contribute to redemption and healing. I believe in old wounds healing over and broken things being made whole.

I believe in relationships, in giving and receiving, in letting people in bit by bit, and discovering that we change each other, that we're not meant to go it alone.

I believe in creating. I believe in contributing honest and hope filled beauty to the world in whichever ways we are gifted. Doing math or science or fixing things or being a parent or painting or simply smiling at the cashier.

I b…

The Waking

Last week, one of my lovely friends sent me an email with a poem (few things make me happier), because she had been "musing about strength and how one can develop and foster her own strength etc," alongside a recent conversation we'd had.*

The poem was perfectly apt, and so we talked a bit about strength, and endurance and how life always has glitches and struggles that we cannot avoid. There is only one way ahead, and we have to go there.

Going where you have to go. Doing the needful, another friend calls it.

But doing it in a certain way. One that expects capacity to increase, I guess, and believes that going where you have to go is ultimately going to be GOOD.

I often think about this when things are overwhelming, or something in me resists what is inevitable, unavoidable, or already chosen: do I believe that the outcome will be good? That it will be worth it? Why or why not? If I do, then how do I help myself press on? If I don't, why do I feel the need to press o…

Oh Hi, May.

All the things.
I want to write about all the things.

About a book I read last week called The Remains of the Day.

About visiting the west coast and the mountains and some delightful friends.

About the mundane days.

About my summer placement at a hospital and whether I'll become a spiritual care professional.

About the haircut I'm getting today.

About the encouraging words from my profs this semester.

About all the feelings that surprise me and overwhelm me and give me hope.

About our dog named Pig.

About our rooftop terrace and summer patios.

I have one hour before my haircut, and the to-do list is long. Schoolwork, housework, church work, creative work - there are all kinds of things to be done.

But I took the dog for a long walk anyway, down the street and across a bridge, and past a walk-a-thon, and up the hill and over another bridge, and beside the dogpark (not in it, since an incident earlier in the week), and home again. And I breathe more slowly, and my feet are filth…

Simone Weil: On "Forms of the Implicit Love of God"

Simone Weil time again! One of the essays in Waiting for God is entitled "Forms of the Implicit Love of God." Her main argument is that before a soul has "direct contact" with God, there are three types of love that are implicitly the love of God, though they seem to have a different explicit object. That is, in loving X, you are really loving Y. (in this case, Y = God). As for the X of the equation, she lists:

Love of neighbor Love of the beauty of the world Love of religious practices and a special sidebar to Friendship
“Each has the virtue of a sacrament,” she writes. Each of these loves is something to be respected, honoured, and understood both symbolically and concretely. On each page of this essay, I found myself underlining profound, challenging, and thought-provoking words. There's so much to consider that I've gone back several times, mulling it over and wondering how my life would look if I truly believed even half of these things...

Here are a few …