Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31st  2011 Blog #30 
Confessions and dreams of a middle age woman  

Dear Tania

I like your question…

The first ritual I think of is church… more specifically the liturgical church… like the one we are at. I like rituals built into it that have been going for 500 years.. or longer. They help me connect to something outside of my own culture and dial into something that is solid and connected to the past. Past Christians.. even Calvin and Luther who I admire and respect. One of my heroes. Of course I would like some things more to update… in particular incorporating modern worship and projectors… but I do value the rituals.

In my own day, I guess a ritual is that I come down and open the computer up and read the email devotionals sent to me. But you have made me think.. Because lacking from that ritual is the prayer that should go with it… hmmm I need to make that happen.

Sitting down this morning I realized that I did not take my medicine... a new ritual I must do. Have never had to meds before.

A ritual I’ve always wanted to do but have never succeeded in, is to drink a glass of water before my meals… silly eh.

I’m not sure that I have any others… rituals I guess can be like boundaries and I struggle with creating those for myself. Doing things in routine or with the same discipline… I guess that is why I struggle with blogging and journaling. I’ve tried it at least 50 times but have yet to do it routinely, or with discipline. I guess that’s what makes this blogging so important to my life. It’s a routine/ritual/discipline that I am forcing myself to continue and not stop. It’s only because I am accountable to you that it works!

Does accountability fit in here? Is that the sister to ritual? Is that the part that helps ritual work? Being accountable to someone, something, other than ourselves? Perhaps that is why I struggle with routine so much. I’m not accountable to others for what I do.. just myself. And obviously I’m an easy pushover. Hmmm need to think about that so more.

Have a good day Tania. I need to help Savannah get a train ticket today to go home. I miss Abby in Belize… Having some fun adult times with Hannah. And Elijah… well that’s another days

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


March 30, 2011
Dear Suzy,
so i have notice that i value rituals in my life.
not the traditional rituals that pop into the mind when you hear the word,
but rituals that personally define my day.
tania's day.
rituals such as tea with honey before anything else each morning.
quietly whispering to myself,
"this is the day the lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it"
each morning.
the ritual of my gratitude journal each evening before i go to sleep.
some nights i struggle to write more than one or two items,
but i dig. i dig deep until i can fill that page.
rituals like making sure each of my children have had a piece of my time
and i have given them a piece of my heart before i end my day.
rituals like blogging with you.
who would have thought
and this week of not blogging has thrown me for a bit of a loop and i almost forgot!
rituals have value i think
they slow me down, create comfort and stability.
there are some rituals that are less than pleasant in my life these days.
rituals like taking my medicine each morning.
rituals like monitoring my symptoms, my food intake and all that.
rituals that i dislike strongly but participate in because they are the right thing to do.
what are your rituals suzy?
love tania

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a new perspective

March 29th  2011 Blog #29  Confessions and dreams of a middle age woman  

Dear Tania

It was nice to see you, Owen, Gideon and Hannah… and of course Kate.

It was a real tough week in many ways… very stretching--à mentally, emotionally and psychologically.. the reward though was closure. I came away with a renewed spirit and some definite closure in my life regarding many things..

One of the things that struck me is the relationship between the temporary and the permanent. We are so attracted to the temporary in terms of life, jobs, people etc. And yet we know as Christians that our life here on earth is temporary… yet when tragedy hits us we grieve so much for the temporary and it’s hard to appreciate the eternal at those moments. At least this is what I have seen and experienced. Though I must add that the eternal brings comfort when it comes to death. Knowing death is the gateway to the next life… the eternal life. In those moments of loss a resentment of the temporary has taken hold of me. A rejection of this time and all its heartache... focusing instead on the eternal.

So I came back to Edmonton with a fresh glimpse of myself and my surroundings. Because of many things… fair and mainly unfair, (fair is such a weak word to use) let’s just say because of life... I think to large part I had consigned myself not to appreciate the temporary and I think I (dare I say our family) had become transients on this journey called life. When things are taken, stolen, ripped away, or lost… we lose hope of life being anything more than what our experience has been. We lose the drive to do more, be more, try more because life has become one big disappointment rolled into another one.   

And so I decided that on some level I had to appreciate the temporary… the gift of life once again. Take simple pleasures where we can. Like the gift of colour. The manse is all white walls except for the dining room which is a murky brown… ugh! Once again, not being in our own home left me feeling… well … resigned to ‘no attachment’.. just accept and muster up gratitude...don’t put any $ into it.. I guess a ‘put up with attitude’. Sad eh. Shows my exhaustion with life!  Coming home I decided that instead of being satisfied with that I was going to make a few changes. Attach in the sense of ‘becoming alive’ again. So with my last $28 I decided to purchase a tin of paint. Hannah came with me and off to the paint store we went. We looked through all the colours and dreamed of all the possibilities. In the end we choose an odd colour called ‘Jamaican heat’ … kind of a salmon bownish/orange.. putting it on I thought perhaps a different colour would have been a better choice.. But now that’s it’s up I like it! My small wall when you walk in the door, I’ve decided to make a collection wall.

When I was a kid and went to my best friend’s house (Veronica) her parents had a giant cross on the wall. I fell in love with her parents and family that day as I saw them standing strong for something they really believed in. My love and respect for them has always remained. Recently a friend gave me a cross from a trip she went on to Mexico… so I decided that I am going to make it my ‘cross wall’. The idea I should say, was also inspired by another friend’s wall. So today I put on the second coat and will put up my small cross to mark a new beginning! An accepting of the temporary with an eye on the eternal, after all both were created by our father; and until he decides on my last breath… I have to live here. Live in the temporal with the passion and purpose I saw that day in my friend’s parents. Accepting there is purpose behind the temporal as well as the eternal. So I am choosing to let go of past disappointments and not let them dictate my future and for me, my cross wall with its beautiful colour will be my reminder!

Monday, March 28, 2011

yay! we are back to blogging!

hello suzy!
welcome home to you.
i have missed blogging but was blessed to have a quick tea with you while you were here.
catch up would be good i think!
so, here at my house Kate has moved in with us.
she is settling in nicely and we are thrilled to have her
the garden is turned over, waiting for warmer weather
but the peas and lettuce went in yesterday.
what else?
well, my medicine isn't working as it should and so i am back on
prednisone...i was only able to be off it for a week and
became very sick again, so back on it i went.
i have 2 more weeks to go before we know for sure
what the other medication is doing...
i find that as time drags on, i am having
a harder time remaining positive about my situation.
fear creeps in, lonliness and disconnection.
i need to go back to a few month ago,
when i was diligent about taking care of myself.
that isn't happening any more and is something i need to work on.
anyhow, duty calls, i have diapers to change and mouths to feed.
looking forward to your post tomorrow.
love ya,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


i had planned to blog about something else but
when i read your post and heard your struggle
with valuing your acts of kindness to others
i wanted to share with you what i feel
about small, daily acts of kindness.
kindness comes cloaked in many forms: simple acts
such as holding open a door, smiling at an unhappy countenance,
saying thank you, to larger acts like forgiving the unforgivable
and giving until it hurts.
your gifts to others are always enough. they are not measured
by some external tape which declares the gift worthy or unworth.
the very act of giving is enough.
"when you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside.
It is as though something inside your body responds
 and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel" harold kushner
and even if there isn't a happy rush of endorphins, we know that
kindness is the right response.
giving of our time, our gifts, our resources, our simple selves
is what we are called to do.
i love your lent list.
i love that you were thoughtful to remember your sister and her vegetarian ways.
i love that you spent time with one of  your children
and it is sometimes a sacrificing of ourselves to do just that.
your gifts are numerous, mainly unseen and valuable.
the lives you touch on a daily basis are changed because of the encounter.
please suzy, don't doubt.
your gifts are enough. your kindness is contagious.

"no one act of kindness,however small, is ever wasted"

Thanks for helping Hannah and happy birthday Barry (if you are reading this over your wife's shoulder)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15th  2011 Blog #28  Confessions and dreams of a middle age woman  

Dear Tania

My Lent Journal

Monday: Looking to give or pay it forward… Nothing seems big enough to count.. here we go again.. J Remembered my sister was a vegetarian (new since new year) and I had purchased some fake crabmeat (she eats fish) so when she comes I have things to serve. She came to help work on Phantom.. brought our fake crabmeat which we had in a Bagel. It was good. Drove her home so she didn’t have to take the bus. Not sure it counts… I would have driven her home anyways. Gonna keep looking for opportunities.

Tuesday: Gave time to one of my kds when I felt like they were being silly and too self consumed. Tried hard to love unconditionally. Does that count… that’s just being a mom.


Overwhelming! Don’t want to hear or watch more because I feel so powerless. Not because I don’t feel compassion but because I feel powerless. What can I do? I don’t have $ to give… I know I can pray.. but that seems to lame when I think how desperate the need is. Really hard to see the world in such a mess. Haiti still has over 1 million living in emergency tents. OMG!

Our Blog

Feels like my bi-daily therapy session. A way of purging my thoughts and feelings. How does it feel to you?


Went to a Ladies Night Out on Monday. It was good. Had a comedian and a speaker. As I listened to the speaker I was thinking, if I could choose any job in the world right now… that would be it. I would be a speaker to ladies. That’s what I would do. That’s all I could think about as I was listening.


I think I’m going to write a book. Or at least try. Funny cause you know how I feel about it. But I feel like I have a book inside of me.. for several years now… weird.

Ok.. I think I’m done for today. I’m going to make barrys cake and wrap his present. It’s his birthday tomorrow!

Blessings Tania. 1 more Blog before I leave for Victoria.


Monday, March 14, 2011

moving stories from Japan...

Here are some moving stories from the people of Japan I found them on a blog that I follow and wanted to share them with you and our readers..Despite horrific circumstances, these beautiful people are finding love in their hearts...

Here are a few of their (translated) stories:

A foreign friend told me, they were shocked to see a long queue form so neatly behind one public phone. Everyone waited so patiently to use the phone even though everyone must have been eager to call their families.

In the super market where all the things fell, people were picking up things so neatly together, and then quietly stand in line to buy food. I was glad to be a Japanese.

I saw a little boy thanking the station staff saying “thank you so much for trying hard to run the train last night” the staff had tears in his eyes, and I was crying…

The traffic was horrible!! Only one car can move forward at green light. But everyone was driving so calmly. During the 10 hour drive (which would only take 30 minutes normally) the only horns I heard was a horn of thank you. It was a fearful time … but then again a time of warmth and it made me love Japan more.

Last night when I was walking home (cause all traffic stopped) an old lady from the bakery shop which was totally passed their closing time was giving out free bread. Even at times like this, people were trying to find what they can do and it made my heart warm.

When I was waiting at the platform, so tired and exhausted… a homeless person came to us and gave a cardboard to sit on… even though we usually ignored them in our daily life… it was so warm

Suntory (juice company) are giving out free drinks, phone company creating more wi-fi spots, 1000000 noodles given from food company… everyone is helping the best they can. We have to do our best too, to stand up.

When I was walking home for 4 hours… there was a lady holding a sign that said “please use our toilet” they were opening their house for people to go to the restroom. When I saw that, it made me cry feeling the warmth of people

At Disneyland, they were giving out candies. High school girls were taking so many so I was thinking “what???” but then the next minute, they ran to the children in the evacuation place and handed it to them. That was a sweet gesture.

When there is a black out, there are people working to fix it. When the water stops there are people working to fix that too.. and when there is problem with nuclear energy there are people going there to fix that. It doesn’t fix automatically. While we are waiting for things to be fixed saying we are cold.. there are people risking their life to fix it.

An old man at the evacuation shelter was saying “whats going to happen now..” and then a young high school boy sitting next to him said “don’t worry!! When we grow up, we will promise to fix it back !!” and was rubbing the old mans back. And when I was listening to that conversation, I felt hope. There is a bright future

 See @prayforjapan for more…

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blogging about Lent

Dear Tania
              Tania I am pretty wiped… I’ve literally been in 2 meetings and combined it’s been 6.5 hours of … well… meeting stuff! So sitting down to blog feels like another I know for you it is one of your creative outlets! For me blogging is purely an act of discipline with added bonus  of talking with you and keeping up on your life. Without that… I sure as heck would not blog!
Anyways.. I digress. Guess what. And I know that you are going to love this. Today I church the lady sharing a story with the kids talked about Lent. Now in Baptist/Pentecostal churches like we have been raised in.. we don’t really learn about liturgical things and traditional teachings.. so Lent is like a foreign word. However being in the Presbyterian church for 10 years now I have begun to learn and appreciate things like ‘Lent’.
Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter ~The days that Jesus was taken into the garden and tempted.  

So traditionally, Lent has been a time of reflection and giving up something in order to better appreciate the burden that Christ was under and the great gift of the resurrection.

So today it was suggested to us that rather than ‘giving up’ something for Lent.. . that we should ‘add’  something to Lent! Journal for the next 40 days (not including Sundays) what you have done for another… given in deed or word or purchase.. Paying it forward!  ~Showing the Love of Christ to another.~  I instantly liked that and so I decided that I would add to my blogging a ‘ Daily Lent Note’  … Fun eh. Told you that you would like it. So lets see if I can do it. I started this Blog by saying how hard it is for me to blog… and now I’m adding to it. LOL… Yes, laughable! But lets see. I want to journal it to have a record of it and this is the most convenient way to do it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

date night with Owen..

we have a little thing we do...owen and i
we have "date night at home"
and it involves
cooking together, yummy drinks, dessert
and we take it up to our room,
where we have a table and chairs
and we imagine that we are away from it all
and it is wonderful.
this man of mine
is my daily gift.
there is no one who completes me the way he does
i tell him often that he came into my life to
fill up the dry cracks
my heart was full of dry cracks
and he has carefully and thoughtfully
been filling them for seven years.
there is no one like him.
he is my hero
i mean really, who else takes on a single mom
with 4 kids
and devotes his young years to
caring for them and their mother
with complete selflessness and wholeheartedness?
i am amazed every day by owen
and now
am going to leave you and go have a date!

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11th   2011    Blog #?  
Confessions and dreams of a middle age woman
Dear Tania
Good Morning Tania. I trust that life has settled in your neighborhood … I am hoping that things at home are well. I really appreciated your last blog! This journey of life is sometimes more than what expect or hope for!  I have had a rude surprise this morning as I found out that my EI is no longer available. Originally told it was good through to June meant that it could be used till that date however eligible weeks were only for 23 weeks. So.. this has sent me into panic mode now as all of a sudden our family has lost significant income. … and might I say what bad timing as we leave for BC next week! So this morning I am going through job ads on Kijiji Edmonton looking for a miracle job.. high pay and flexible hours … sounds easy eh! We are just up and running for props on the Phantom and I am

 really needing to give myself to this in order to meet deadlines! So feeling quite overwhelmed this morning J Don’t really have much else to say Tania. Trying to keep the faith and put a foot and not fear in front of me this morning!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

quiet thoughts today

"Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.  We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together again and fall apart again.  It's just like that.  The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen:  room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."  Pema Chödrön
       this falling apart the quote speaks of is what my life looks like right now.
and so many lives that i am entwined with.
i am practicing mindful and deliberate gratitude, actively looking for the good, the lovely, and the miracles that are all mixed in with the pain and the grief.
today has been a mixture
of emotions
i welcome tomorrow and all it holds for us.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7th  2011    Blog #24  Confessions and dreams of a middle age woman  

Dear Tania

I thought I would share with you about my sister. My parents had separated and my dad was living the wild & free life.

I was about 18 I guess and I was in my room listening to an album.. Keith Richards I believe.. I was praying and worshiping and God told me that on a certain date (which as I remember was in march) that something important was going to happen. That day my dad came home to talk. They had a bad argument and then when my dad left my mother who was in tears told me she was pregnant. When my father had come home ‘to try and work things out’ she had gotten pregnant. On that day, the good news came. What is interesting is that I prayed for a sister for a long time as a kid.

In October of that year, my beautiful sister was born. There were a lot of years between us but it was an amazing prayer that was answered.  

As it worked out, because of the age difference I was well on my way to beginning my adult life. I got married, we moved to Peterborough for Rick to go to Bible College and then on to a church… and so life progressed… her in Ontario us in BC.

Funny thing, years later, we are together… she in Edmonton and me in Sherwood Park. (about 15 min apart) I am so enjoying our time together. To have my sister in my life and share this time together is priceless.

The other night we watched a movie, drank a bottle of wine and talked. No pressures… just fun. How amazing.

A funny thing is that a prophecy given to me when we stepped out on faith on our ministry journey... was that God would restore the years the locust had eaten. Of course it referred to many things but I feel it sure applies here. The damage done in our family because of our parents’ divorce was so damaging and so painful. It tore our family up… literally.
So here I am years later enjoying the fruit of God’s faithfulness! His blessings.  How cool is that. So I want to encourage you, if God has made a promise to you… He is faithful!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The 5 items on my bucket list...

March 6, 2o11
Dear Suzy,

you really had me thinking dear girl with your question of what are my 5's funny, we occasionally toss around the bucket list concept here at our house but never really do much other than that. one year for my birthday i did a 39 before 40 list and that was really fun and i might do that again this year, but those are easier because you pick things that you know you can do. Bucket lists seem to be a bit bigger. The ideas, the dreams, the hopes...they often seem just a wee bit or alot out of reach...but you know what...dreams keep us alive i think. so here you go....

First on the list would be HEALTH...i would like to live my life as a healthy individual. I would like to know that my body and I are friends, not enemies (as we seem to be right now). I would want to be able to rely on my body to support me. I also want to be spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy. I would want these things more than anything else on my list. A year ago, this wouldn't be on my bucket list because I was healthy, or at least I thougth I was...ha! life changes so fast!

SEcond on my list, and i don't think this is in any particular order anymore, other than the first one, would be to own our own home...with my very own, put down roots back yard.

Our home would be built with room for others, and with room just for us. our home would be sustainable, green and meant to would be our resting place, our gathering place, a place for people to feel welcome and valued in.  our home would have big windows and warm floors, white couches and red walls. our home would be surrounded with gardens and paths and the birds would chirp each morning, waking us up to a new day:) We would have a big deck with an outdoor kitchen and in my deepest dreams would be right by the ocean, but of course, never too cold...(which is why that is a dream, not a reality...the ocean is cold)

Third on my list would be to see the Northern Lights...
Can you imagine!!!! I know my brother, and jenn have seen the Northern Lights...i am jealous..I imagine if I saw the Northern Lights I would be in so much awe that I would be speechless...i imagine i would just want to stay staring at the sky forever and never turn away...

Forth in my bucket is to attend Journal Fest...
I would really, really love this opportunity and I think it might just happen, not this year, but perhaps in 2012. I so love my journals, and the recording of my life that they have become. I love seeing bits of me written down and remembered...

And finally, I would love to do humanitarian work with my family.  I would love to combine my wanderlust with my deep compassion and desire to make a difference. I would love to go to amazing places and help make a difference, while at the same time, experiencing the beauty of other countries and cultures.

So there you have top 5...thanks for inspiring me to think about my dreams Suzy...i leave you with this...
Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child, listen to the DON'TS-listen to
the SHOULDN'TS, the IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT'S- listen to
the NEVER HAVEs. Then listen close to me- anything can happen,
child. ANYTHING can be.- Shel SIlverstein

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 5th  2011             Blog #24  Confessions and dreams of a middle age woman  

Dear Tania

I say this every time… I’m not going to take on so much… leave some breathing space… but then, when the opportunity comes around… I can’t help but take it on… I’m excited, love the challenge, hate just sitting doing nothing! So I have no one else to blame for this crazy Saturday… but me. 
But hey, wasn’t it me who said I like my plate all filled up!
         Ok…so today as I move on to accomplish my list, I’m thinking a crazy thought… If you could have 5 things… (not world peace and fantasy things like that.. but 5 things… kind of like a bucket list of 5 for myself /family…
What would those 5 things be?

Here’s my list as it sits at 8:31 Saturday morning after just making breakfast for the men’s breakfast at church this morning and on my way to my 6 hour rehearsal/prop making… & then to a camera class!
#1. I would like Alice! You know Alice from the Brady Bunch.. the amazing member of the family who cooks and cleans and helps take care of family! I would love Alice! I’ll give her my room! I’ll bless her everyway I can. I want her. 

#2. Speaking of the Brady Bunch… I loved their house. As a kid I feel in love with the sunken living room and the staircase and all the room. Please God, can I have house if I can’t have Alice?

#3. I have dreamt of back packing through Europe with only jeans and a jean jacket! Seeing all the great Art galleries and taking pictures of architecture and eating at the most amazing side street cafes! For sure a real desire!!

#4. Money… I would love to bless my family and help others and support ministries and causes… oh to have money! I’m not interested in furs or jewels..but to have $ to make a difference. To bless others in small ways and big ways.. wouldn’t that be cool? OK..perhaps this is as fantasy as ‘world peace’… so I’ll opt for a family holiday with everyone in a cool place where everybody can enjoy themselves.. and we have an amazing memorable holiday! …. Perhaps still fantasy? J

#5. Whew… my last wish… lose weight? New car?  Hmmm… this is a hard one… oh I know… my own perhaps this store, perhaps a restaurant… perhaps the 2 combined.. but yep that’s it! My own successful business!

 Tania..what's your list?

Friday, March 4, 2011

important right now Friday

being gentle with ourselves is important. listening to the wise voice rather than the condeming voice is very important
snow days are amazing therapeutic gifts in the middle of winter
rubber boots are cold, so wear warm socks
anticipating  spring is very sustaining during the last few weeks of winter
weekends are important for my mental health, i need to protect them
this too shall pass on repeat can be helpful
medicine sometimes makes you sicker before it makes you better
hugs help
affirmations work!
unconditional love is hard work
searching for and finding gratitude in all things is learned slowly and with persistence
i love the connection i am able to have with my friends through facebook and email
happy mail is just that, happy
my children are really, really great!
my husband is amazing and i am blessed with his love for me
i can't control the actions and reactions of others and that is okay
being nauseated all day sucks. but it is good for portion control
storm watching is a powerful way to remember the power of god
connection is important..with ourself and with those closest to us
this too shall pass.
a good friend can make all the difference in my day

have a wonderful, restful, therapeutic weekend suzy. do something just for you. and tell me about it next time you blog. i am thrilled to hear your numbers are coming down. this is good news! 
love tania

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March 3rd  2011    Blog #?   Confessions and dreams of a middle age woman

Dear Tania
Meet my family… we are not perfect! In fact we are sometimes downright miserable because… well we are people. We forget at times the love that binds us to each other. We forget that we love each other so much we would do anything for each other.

Crazy things have happened in our family. Things that shouldn’t happen.. but through the worst of it, we still love each other. We encourage each other by sharing our hearts and our words to uplift and exhort.

We try to hold each other accountable. Sometimes the lines get blurred and we forget that each person has to discover their own way.

 That forcing a person just doesn’t work! Love is letting people make mistakes and helping to pick up the pieces when things don’t work out. And when things do work out, perhaps admitting that just maybe ~ they had a good idea and their way did work.

              Family is not about perfection but process. It’s not about getting but giving. It’s not about leaving but loving. It’s about sharing not shouting. It’s about saying sorry not ‘see I told you so’…It’s about perspective not pointing.

   Memories! Good Memories! Forgiveness, friendship, fellowship and finding time.

 I love my family. I love that each person is unique and on their own journey. That stretches me to look to God not people. Teaches me to see the Grace of God in them and me.
Learning that God is in the small moments that we connect...
when we understand each other. When we don't take each other for granted.