Monday, December 14

No, I have NOT had a baby yet

Sorry to disappoint.

You've gotta love that change in people's voices when I call, then proceed to discuss mundane business.

"Hey, it's Rae. How's it going?"
"Good! How was your weekend?"
"...Oh. I thought you were calling to say you were in labour."

Pretty sure that conversation would've gone more like:

"Hi! Labour's started! Can you call _____ and let them know? We'll call to give you an update as things progress!"

Even better than the disappointed voices on the other end of the line are the in-person meetings. "I thought I wouldn't see you this week!" (as if I had changed my plans and re-scheduled my due date).

"'re still here?"

The best is:

"No baby yet?"
Um, actually, we had the baby, left it at home with the dog, and then I shoved a beach ball under my shirt for this outing.

Honestly people! Do you really think you want this baby to come out more than I do? And do you really think we'll let it happen without informing you? Trust me, when we have the baby (and it better be sooner rather than later), we'll let you know.

Until then, I will continue to disappoint you with mundane phone calls.

Thursday, December 10

That Darned Cat

We used to have a cat. He was nice (kind of, to some people, on some days). He disappeared when we moved (he was an indoor/outdoor cat - we figured he'd come back to the new house like he had last time we moved. He didn't).

My mother is relieved (she was also afraid of him). She thinks it's providential that he disappeared not long before our baby comes. She thinks he would've jumped in the crib and smothered the baby. He was a big cat.

Twice today I have looked out the window and noticed two different cats chase the same large tabby across the street. It looks like Monty.

I miss Monty.

Tuesday, December 8

Things I Could Do to Alleviate Boredom

I'm bored.

It's cold and dark, and I'm home today without a car, and am left to my own devices to keep myself entertained within these four walls. Which, shouldn't really be THAT difficult, considering James was home all morning and I didn't start being home and alone until, 1ish. I should be able to keep myself occupied. I put on a movie and knit for awhile, then took all the knitting out (for a second time) because I screwed it up AGAIN (at some point I should learn to fix the mistakes, 'cause when I'm 3/4 done a project it's going to be a lot more upsetting to take it all out than when I'm still in the first 10ish rows). Then I watched another TV show...then I decided I was bored.

Now, I know I don't have to be bored. I have lots of things I could do, and I know this. In fact, some of them not only I could do, but really should do, but am seemingly lacking the motivation. What could I do? I could...

- clean up the memory card for the camera so that it's full of room for baby pictures (and so that when I want to print those babies, I don't have to wade through a year's worth of random photos).
- write and address Christmas cards, getting them ready to just pop in a baby announcement and then send
- fold the basket of laundry that's sitting beside me
-clean the bathroom in the basement that hasn't been cleaned since we moved into our house because I am laaaaazy (I did, however, take down a cloth, cleaner, and rubber gloves 2 weeks ago. I'm well on my way to having it cleaned, really).
-cook up some food to put in the freezer for when the baby comes
-plan our worship service for this coming week
-brush up on Christmas carols on the piano
-brush the dog
-organize the back bedroom - specifically my crafty stuff
-try knitting (again)

...or just sit here being bored and making lists of things I could be doing, but not do any of them and instead just contemplate how bored I am. Hmm.

Where would you start? Any suggestions?

(finally - shameless plug for my blog. I know many of you read this on facebook, which is fine and all, since I publish it there as well. But, really, you should check out my blog. I think in the next couple of weeks I may stop doing the facebook publishing part, so, if you wanna know, you'll have to check out the real thing.) It's

Monday, December 7

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things...

Life is good, and I am thankful. Thought I'd take a quick minute and tell all about my lovely weekend. Blogging is wierd, and I am aware that this is grandstanding to a degree, but, hello internet culture, apparently this is what we do.

Friday night I cooked a nice supper for St. James, who finally got his weekend off - no working, no emptying sheds out at our old house (which is officially no longer ours as of Friday - hooray for only owning 1 home!), no extra church responsibilities, no projects on the books at new house. Downside of cooking nice dinner in current home is that the only working oven in our house is in the basement. The kitchen is on the main floor. The woman we bought the house from had a summer kitchen of sorts in her basement (for canning etc, I'm assuming), so there was a second stove down there. Both that stove, and the stove in the kitchen, are probably around 50 years old. Stove in the kitchen died the second time we tried to use it. Not completely true - the oven died. The stove top still works. So, when cooking a meal that requires both, rather than just standing and stirring something at the stove top and then bending over when it's time to put something in the oven, or check on something in the oven, cooking in our house currently requires running up and down a flight of stairs to put things in the oven while hoping that the things on the stove upstairs are ok and that there's nothing on the counter that the dog is eating, and trusting that things in the stove downstairs are ok, 'cause if you expect I'm hauling my pregnant butt down there AGAIN just to check on the stinkin' whatever it is, you're wrong.
Where was I...Friday. Dinner with James (including pumpkin pie, because, I can be a good wife SOMETIMES), and chillin' in front of the TV - we got caught up on Glee and Ugly Betty. Good times.

Saturday. Baked for church fundraiser, then Maker's Market with Tracy and Sanda. Pretty things, good company, nice morning. Home to lunch with James, then had a nice visit with his parents, did some Locke St to look for Christmas presents (no luck), then to Ottawa St. to buy diapers, then home to read a magazine/nap before heading out to go bowling with some peeps from church. We had a 6 yr. old with us, so we got bumpers in our gutters. The 6 yr. old beat me 2 out of 3 games. I blame the belly.

Sunday. Church - was good. I kind of sketched out the themes and sermon topics for our advent season this year, and it's a little wierd and nerve-wracking to anticipate a sermon preached by someone else based on your idease. You hope that they caught the gist of what you were trying to communicate in the short little write up you gave them. Matt did an awesome job of summing up my ideas and communicating them super well. Interested? You can listen here. Afterwards, people came back to our place for lunch, and then we all just kind of lounged together for the afternoon, reading, knitting, playing video games, etc, until we received a dinner invite from James' brother, and we kicked our friends out of our house to go eat ribs. Mmmm. Then we hightailed it from there to Kitchener to hear a concert of Steve Bell and the K-W Symphony Orchestra with my fam, which was fantastic. Steve Bell is probably my favourite singer/songwriter.

And now it is Monday morning. I am sitting in my jammers still (desparately in need of a shower), my kitchen still has dishes to be done from yesterday, and I have 2-3 loads of laundry that need to be folded and put away, so I should really get moving. So thankful to have had such a great weekend though. I feel rested and refreshed and ready for a Complete with a baby. You hear that kid? Time to come out...

Monday, November 23

Monday, November 23rd...and somehow this is a good thing?!

I've discovered in this new not-working life that my attitude toward Monday has totally changed. No longer is it that dreaded beginning to a long week. No, Monday has suddenly become the sigh of relief at the end of a jam-packed weekend. I found it funny when I realized that I was thinking "if I can just make it to Monday, then I can slow down and relax a bit."
On the other side of the coin, St. James is amazing, and had an equally busy weekend (church stuff, tying up odds and ends at our old house before the sale finalizes, etc), but doesn't get to wind down. For awhile. No, he has to work all week, and somehow also find time to prep a sermon to preach on Sunday. After this weekend, I am legislating a day of rest for the husband. The poor man actually woke up this morning and asked me if I was having contractions. When I said no, his reply was "...I guess I have to go to work then."
Besides Monday, another thing often dreaded is November. Which, again, is not the case this season. It has been strangely gorgeous - not dreary, or grey, or blustery, or any of those other typical November things. Nope, it is sunny and mild, and I, as well as my neighbours on either side, have our clothesline full today. How bizarre! And glorious - no complaints here.

Friday, November 20

Citizen Mom...what does that look like?

So, apparently I'm not good at blogging when I have the time to do it. Blogging seems to be one of those things that is a great distraction from the rest of life when it's super busy, and something that falls to the wayside when the busy-ness dies down.

Like now. There is noooo busy-ness. There is just one large, unemployed preggo who naps excessively and devours novels. And doesn't sleep (THAT'S when I should be blogging - when I'm laying in bed staring at the ceiling, after peeing for the 5th time that night wondering if that strange twinge might turn into labour...).

We are now nicely settled into our new place (with the exception of the basement, which looks more like the dust has just settled after a bomb went off...yikes). Baby's room is ready, car seat is in the car, and I am sooo ready for this munchkin to come out. Although, on days like today, when I have a crazy-bad migraine, I wonder how I'll manage with a baby. I've always been able to just turn the world off on migraine days - call in sick, crawl in bed, come out when I feel better. Something tells me that the baby won't allow this, and since I can't find a wet-nurse section in the yellow pages...I guess I'll just have to suck it up.

I'm practicing that today (the sucking-it-up). I got up despite headache, put on sweatpants, made my grocery list (based on a MEAL PLAN for the next week - oh yes, I am becoming a domestic goddess), and am contemplating going to buy said foods. Also contemplating laundry, but the sky can't seem to decide if it will be sunny or cloudy, and I'm not sure I can trust the weather network's prediction of no rain. There is a good breeze though. And it is currently sunny. I should go put a load in.

So, despite enjoying the domestic life thus far, I'm realizing I'm going to have to be pretty intentional about finding some non-domestic pursuits to balance what goes on between these four walls. I've spent a LOT of time in this house the past 2 weeks, and while I have enjoyed resting and nesting, I have also been finding I am getting lonely, and not feeling all that purposeful. That, and, I picked up a magazine and was reading about some social justice issues, and, let's be honest, my meal plan is not going to help with any of those things, and, we are called to "seek justice and love mercy..." so, I'd better find a way to do that.

Balance is not something I'm good at. I usually throw myself into something wholeheartedly (like school, or right now, home-managing & parenting), but am not good at doing other things alongside my main pursuit. I want to be the BEST parent I can, and I want to take time to enjoy everything that the next couple of months brings, and I think it's important that my focus is on mothering this babe in the next little while, but I think it would also be good to ensure that I have one or two things beyond that to put some time and energy into (even if it's just a tiny bit of time and energy). When I was in school, I focused so much on school that I hated it by the end. I wanted to do my best, but that came at the expensive of participating in other stuff that would've potentially made the over-all school experience more fun, rathar than just incredibly tedious please-make-this-end-soon, give me my diploma and get me OUTTA HERE! I think I fall to the opposite extreme of those people who say yes to everything and have no balance. I have gotten really good at not over-committing, and saying no to protect the things that are important, but to the extent that my sphere of importance can become quite small. Somewhere there is a mid-point - I need to find it.

So, that's the challenge for the next little while: find something that I can be a part of, that is meaningful and contributes to the well-being of those beyond my realm of selfishness (my nuclear family), and find a way to make it fit with being a mom, which is my primo priority in the next...oh, 18 years or so.

Friday, October 23

Moved, and not Moving

Once upon a time there was a pregnant woman who moved house and then had a 50 hr. work week. That sums up my week. But it's been pretty good, despite tiring (and painful at right now).

So, last Friday I packed up my kitchen (when I say "I", I mean, James, Tracy the amazing, and I), drove it 5 minutes, and unpacked it. The next day, we ("we" meaning James and other helpful man-friends, Hilary, Mom and Tracy the amazing again) treated the rest of our belongings in like manner. The move went pretty well, from my perspective, which was mostly as a box-director and unpacker. Then, Sunday, I worked a 12 hr shift. All-in-all, perhaps one of the busiest weekends of my life. Have I mentioned that I'm 33 weeks pregnant (Speaking of which, one of the baby websites that provides a count-down to your due date just told me that I should have a baby in 45 days. FORTY-FIVE DAYS!!! Yikes.)?

This week has been craaaazy. I have done a poor job of managing the schedule for the two separate parts of my job (group home/teaching), which resulted in me realzing on Tuesday that I was scheduled to work over 50 hrs, which is not allowed. Also, we had carpet installed on Tuesday (yay!), but up until then we were sleeping in the living room, surrounded by boxes of stuff. Bedroom finally moved on Wednesday, which was excellent (and BEAUTIFUL!). After two years of waking up to the ugliest wallpaper known to mankind, it has been SO nice to wake up to a pretty room. With nice squishy carpet on the floor. And a bathroom a mere 10 feet down the hall, rather than on the other side of the house (although my old neighbours may miss the naked dash through the living room and kitchen that I made an a regular basis; I never have been good with curtain-closing).

Think living with an over-scheduled, pregnant, just-moved-and-living-out-of-boxes woman sounds like fun? James would tell you otherwise. It seems that even a saint has limits, as I discovered at about 10:45pm Wednesday night when he firmly declared "I'm going for a walk." Oops. Note-to-self: learn when to shut it (my mouth, that is).

James took packing tape and flyers saying "LOST: House Cat" with him on his walk. Our cat, who has always come and gone as he pleased, left Saturday morning from the new house and has yet to return. I'm feeling sad and guilty and like a bad pet-owner. In my defense, last time we moved, he found the new place no problem, so I just assumed that, 2 years later, he'd still be as smart. A couple people have tipped us off to look-alike cats, but Monty has yet to appear. We've also checked the old house daily, as it's not that far away. I think some well-intentioned person, wooed by Monty's good looks, adopted him. Which is better than something bad happening to him, but makes me sad to think about 'cause it's less likely that I'd get him back, if that's the case.

Today has been the first day this week that I didn't have to be anywhere before 4, which is when I was scheduled to work. I've done some laundry, some unpacking, made the living room look like a living room, and had my sister over for lunch, which was all good. I'm supposed to be working 4-11 tonight, but at about 2:30 I turned and had a sudden awful pain shoot down my back and leg. I've had managable sciatica for the past couple of weeks, but this doesn't fall under that heading. I pretty much couldn't walk. Called into work, said, if I really need to, I could come in, but probably wouldn't be much help. They called in a staff from another house, but it's not an ideal night to not have familiar staff. My manager was going to make some more phone calls, and let me know in a half hour...that was an hour ago. So, I'm sitting, wondering whether or not I should try to get comfy for the night or gear up to go to work.

So, that's my week, in a nutshell. Lots has happened, and most of it has been good, but, man, will I be glad when my 12 hour shift is over tomorrow night...(and when I can walk again).

Tuesday, October 13

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've had a couple people ask about the recipe for these babies, which is one of my fall favourites, so I thought I'd post it for all to enjoy. I'm eating one now. Mmmmm.


4 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I'd add more...and maybe some nutmeg)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
16 oz pureed or canned pumpkin
1 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts (if you want)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Add pumpkin, oil, eggs, milk and vanilla; beat on medium speed until well mixed.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375 F for 13-14 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. (I find my edges begin to brown closer to 8-10 minutes...)
Cool for 2 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


The batter for these guys is really gloppy, and they are deliciously soft when done, and so can be deceiving to tell how finished they are. Don't worry if you're spooning runny stuff onto the pan, as long as it sort of stays together, and watch closely to see when they're done on the bottom, 'cause they can look deceivingly "un-done".

Tuesday, October 6

This day is brought to you by the letter 'P'...

...and was pretty much perfect (perfect - a p word, see?)

I was reflecting on the greatness of this day, and was surprised by how many things in it started with the letter 'P', and figured that was worth sharing. I'm annoyed that I left our camera at the other house, because a bunch of these things could be way more fun with pictures (what! another great 'p' thing!). I may in fact repost it with some tomorrow when I have the camera.

Pickles with Mom

Mom came over to our new house this morning and helped James and I make a batch of dill pickles, which are one of my most favourite things in the world. We have now canned in our new house, and it has the piano in it (WHAAAT piano! a 'p' word! this is getting eerie), which I think makes it home. Pickles and pianos - honestly, what more could you want in a home than music and homemade edibles?

"Putzing" with Mom

Is putzing a real word? Part of me wonders if maybe it's one my family has made up...anyway, to "putz about" is to take your time enjoying pretty things, often in good company, where we come from. Mom was driving me to my in-laws to borrow a car from them, when she exclaimed "We haven't eaten! You need food!" I reminded her I was about to go home and get lunch...but we ended up at the lovely organic crepe and fair trade coffee restaurant on Locke St, and of course passed a few lovely stores that needed visiting between the car and the restaurant.

Ok, so obviously Mom has come been covered. James' parents graciously shared their car with us today, as they do on a regular basis, and it makes our lives SO much easier. Um, and I have I mentioned that my house looks great because it has been painted top to bottom by my crazy wonderful father? We are so blessed to have such awesome parents.

Pam is our real estate agent, who came by today with the papers to sign because we finally SOLD OUR HOUSE!!! What a relief! Um, did I mention she also brought a beautiful housewarming present? If you're looking to buy or sell a house, I give her the most high recommendation I possibly can.

Pea Soup

Ok, so, I don't actually really like pea soup. But I do like that I have a husband who cooks, and is a pretty good cook, and a good planner when it comes to food. I came home today to a crockpot full of pea soup, which will be frozen for James' lunches/last minute dinners. Better than the pea soup is the partner. :)

Potent Pumpkin Spice Smells

Last week when I was in Brantford I stopped in one of my favourite little shops, Serenity, and bought those little waxy things you melt above a candle and my house smells amaaaazing. I'm enjoying a quiet night of tidying, listening to good music, and the lovely good smell of this stuff, which the owner of the shop makes herself.

I can hardly believe that 9 months has become 9 weeks. I'm getting pretty darned excited about this babmino coming, although I had a total space cadet moment this morning, sitting at the computer, and I looked down at one point and was actually startled by my belly, and wondered for a sec how/when I got fat. Then remembered that it's not fat. More random is the fact that I was researching diapers while this occurred. Oh well.

Point Made?

P has been good to me today. I'm feeling pretty blessed by the goodness in my life. Any linguistic trends in your life lately?

Friday, September 25

A Recommendation

I am so excited to have just discovered It's a music website that allows you to put together a library of artists that you enjoy, and will play you a personalized "radio station" based on your taste - brilliant!
They give you a 30 track trial, and after that it's $3/month - which so far, I think will be worth it. They also give you the option to "love" or "ban" certain songs, so if one comes up that you'd like to hear more often, or never again, you can have that degree of control. It also gives you recommendations of other artists you might like based on the ones you've entered already.
Wanna see what I've been listening to? Here's my profile.

Monday, September 21

"These are the people in your neighbourhood..." your neighbourhood, in your neigh-bour-hood, oh these are the people in your neighbourhood. They're the people that you meet, when you're walkin' down the street, the people that you meet each day."

Where in my childhood is that song from? Some TV show, I think, although I can't totally remember. Mr. Rogers? I just remember him singing "Won' neighbour?" If you have any leads on that one, I'd be thrilled.

Back to the topic at hand. Neighbours.

James and I got our new house last Wednseday (YAHOOO!!!!) It's amazing to me how block by block, every little mini-neighbourhood has its own little community culture. The street we're on now is a keep-to-yourself, cut your grass regularly and don't bother anyone street. There is one neighbour who says hello to people, but other than Dave the wonder-neighbour, I don't know anyone else, and we've lived here two years. Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. I know the name of the reclusive woman who lives next door, and have had maybe 2 brief conversations with her, and I know the name of Steve, the single dad who lives across the road and down a bit, who bought James' old guitar from us for his daughter at a garage sale we had in the summer. That's 3 people in 2 years. I'm sure there are reasons that this culture has developed, and I'm sure I don't help it any by being shy (although I do TRY to smile and say hello - I just have a hard time jumping in with my "Good Morning!" when people won't even make eye contact. We struggled with this in our condo too.)

As we were preparing to get the new place, I said to James "We have to do a better job at meeting our neighbours this time! We need to be upfront and introduce ourselves at the first chance we get." It was agreed. We would be pro-actively neighbourly.

We didn't need to.

Within a few hours of getting our keys, we were chatting with Isabella and Frank, an older Italian couple who have lived next door for 45 years. The friendly Spanish family on the other side told us about how she was expecting when they bought their house, and that she actually gave birth on the closing date (I'm so glad that's not me...oy). Crystal from two doors down said hello and if we ever need anything, she's at #84 (ironically her son's name is what we picked out for our boy's name, and then I saw somebody's baby pictures on facebook with that name - and I thought it was fairly unique! grr.). Mike and Debbie and little Keyana from across the road wandered over and welcomed us to the neighbourhood, told us they really like it and hoped we would really enjoy it. The neighbours mingle and gather to chat in one another's driveways, kids are playing ball and rollerblading up and down the street. It's lovely.

I am so excited to have "real" neighbours, although it certainly takes some getting used to. Anything outside takes a little more time when there's always someone to say hello to. I think that's good - and I think the time to build those relationships is well spent. I just need to adjust my mindset about running out to the shed - if Isabella's in her garden, I just might be out there for awhile.

Wednesday, September 2

A Confession

We put our house on the market last week. It was a crazy busy week of painting, cleaning, organizing, and dealing with all of those little things that you think "I'll get around to that someday..." (like the missing piece of trim in the front room) and all of the sudden you need to do it, ASAP. But, it all got done (thanks to endless hours of work by my Dad, help from good friends, and a husband who came home from work, to work almost every day). It looks pretty darn nice around here, if I do say so myself. Last night I sat in my magazine-perfect living room with some candles lit and thought "this will be kind of hard to leave..."
Because we're trying to sell the house, Charlie-dog has been living with James' brother and sister-in-law. That way I don't have to vacuum twice a day, and scramble to find somewhere for him to go when our agent calls to say someone would like to see the house this evening, when James and I are both at work, neither of us able to get the dog out of the house.
Here's the confession:
I don't miss Charlie. I like not having a dog around.
It's been nice not to have to carry around a lint roller and de-dog myself every time I get out of the car; nice not to have to vacuum daily, nice not to have to feel guilty about being too busy for walks, nice not to push past a large, furry, four-legged friend with an armful of groceries.
I mentioned this to James this morning. He was appalled.
"But! But! like Charlie more than you like not having him around! You must!"
I don't know if I do...
I do love Charlie. He's a great dog. In fact, it's been said by a couple of people that if Charlie didn't shed, he'd be the perfect dog. He's friendly, fun to play with, and obedient. But he's sooooo hairy. And big. get the picture.

(, I might miss that happy face and wagging tail greeting me when I come in the door. Maybe just a bit...)

Friday, August 28

All I Ever Have to Be...

Yesterday morning, as I was making breakfast, an Amy Grant song came into my head. I proceeded to sing it to James, who missed out on the gloriousness of cheesy Christian music in his adolescence. I then proceeded to dig up the tape and blare it through the house while I went through my morning routine. James proceeded outside to cut the grass where he would not have to endure my 80's Christian pop, complete with amazing drum machine beats, great synthesizers and a smattering of sickening cliches. Good times were had by all. Or just me.

By the end of the first side of the tape (hahahaha...tapes...with oldschool), I noticed a definite them of identity, and finding our identity in Christ and who he has made us, rather than in striving to be what we think we should be, or what others think we should be. Here's the lyrics to one of the songs that jumped out to me:

All I Ever Have to Be

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.

But Im still hurting,
Wondering if Ill ever be
The one I think I am.

I think I am.

Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.

And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.

Who you are...

And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.

A good reminder for me, as someone who has always struggled with seeking affirmation by being "good enough". It reminded me of a Henri Nouwen book I have been reading lately, The Return of the Prodigal Son (an excellent, excellent, excellent book - I highly recommend it). The book came out of Nouwen's meditations on the parable as depicted in a Rembrandt painting, in which the Father's arms lovingly embrace the returned son. In Chapter 2, Nouwen talks about the fact that a return implies that there was a previous leaving (34). He discusses how the son rejects his identity and goes looking for meaning and importance elsewhere, and says that we too are prodigals when we look for value and meaning outside of the embrace of our father.

I leave home every time I lose fiath in the voice that calls me the Beloved and follow the voices that offer a great variety of ways to win the love I so much desire. (40)
As long as I keep running about asking: "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" I give all the power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with "ifs." The world says: "Yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much and buy much. There are endless "ifs" hidden in the world's love. These "ifs" enslave me, since it is impossible to respond adequately to all of them. (42)

Nouwen concludes saying
I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found. Why do I keep ignoring the place of true love and persist in looking for it elsewhere? Why do I keep leaving home where I am called a child of God, the Beloved of my Father? (43)

Why do I keep searching for unconditional love where it cannot be found? Why do I try to be things other than what he made me? I'm sure there are a multiplicity of complex factors, but there is one that really jumps out to me.

I have to be close enough to hear the voice of the Father telling me that I am the Beloved. I have to be still enough to allow him to embrace me. When I don't take the time to still myself, to settle into his embrace and listen to his voice, I am far more vulnerable to the voices around me that say "I love you if....", rather than the only voice that matters, that simply says "I love you." And once I have heard, and allow myself to believe, that I am loved, I can simply be, without striving. Now THAT is freedom!

(Stopping is counter-intuitive, especially in a culture that so values productivity, and beauty. I have to confess that, although I tell myself that of the things I need to do in the morning being in the presence of God is the most important, it usually comes after I've spent time in the mirror, and after I've tidied the house, and then I often don't have time. Perhaps more time with God first would make the other two matter less? My personal challenge in this area.)

Tuesday, August 18

August Anticipation

Haven't blogged in awhile, and while I don't have anything particularly thought provoking or meaningful, I figured it was good time for an update.

So, we bought a bigger house. Woohoo! The deal was all finalized today, and we get the house in less than a month - September 16. I am SO looking forward to more space. 3 bed, 2 bath, finished basement - bring it! Of course, it comes with the need to sell our house (I know, we do things a little backward), and move, which I'm not loving, but, the result will be worth it. This week is devoted to all the little touch-ups our place needs to be market-ready. The only frustrating thing is that being pregnant and all, I'm not much help with heavy lifting, or painting, or seemingly any of the things that need to get done, or will need to be done in the new place before we move in (it needs some serious updating, unless you love pink EVERYWHERE, which I don't. Upside - NO wallpaper ANYWHERE!)

Pregnancy is going great - I feel awesome, and am finally looking pregnant, and not like I just ate too much Christmas dinner as one friend said. I'm 24 weeks along - only 16ish to go, which is kind of soon, believe it or not. Christmas SOUNDS far away, but...when you say that between now and then you're going to pack up house, move, update new house, prepare to welcome a new life, and give birth before then, trust me, it seems like it's just around the corner. I'm getting pretty excited though. Wee Wallace is starting to move a lot, although, husband Wallace can't seem to feel it much yet.

Tonight I enjoyed being domestic. I spent some time freezing the abundance of blueberries and home-grown beans nana gave us this weekend, as well as baking some zucchini brownies to use up some of the never-ending zucchini supply coming from the garden. It was nice just to be in the kitchen and putter away. I'm a fan of being domestic (did I mention the summer kitchen set up in my basement and the large cold storage room full of mason jars and stock pots that we included in our deal?). Definitely looking forward to doing more gardening, cooking, and preserving when I'm home with the baby next year.

Tuesday, July 28


I had my 21 week ultrasound today! Here's the first-ever pic of our baby!

Positively NOT Pollyana (or: My Husband Could Have a Street Named After Him in Quebec)

So. Last week James and I went to Quebec for a little holiday. We drove there all day Monday, spent Tues-Thurs there, and drove home Friday. It was lovely. Quebec City is gorgeous, and one could walk for hours down the quaint and picturesque streets admiring the beautiful buildings and stores packed with expensive pretty things. We had three days in which to do this, which is not long. The problem is, you can only do so much walking without becoming exhausted, especially when pregnant and prone to bad headaches which are aggravated by bright/hot sun which July seems to offer (albeit very infrequently, this July).

Now. I used to think, when I was a teenager, that I could handle any affliction. I had naive visions of being diagnosed with a fatal illness, and with my incredible combination of positivity and reliance on God, I would wow the world with my upbeat attitude and strength through what would obviously have been an incredibly trying experience (likely ending in death, which would've made them all that much sadder, because I had been such a picture of grace throughout the experience).

A few years later, having watched some loved ones experience hardship, with a better understanding of myself (believe it or not, I am not perfect - although this was hard to come to grips with), and having walked around Quebec city in the sun, I can tell you I am not actually all that gracious when I am in discomfort. In fact, I am down right awful.

Tuesday morning we got up, hit the road, wandered through the Plains of Abraham, Chateau Frontenac, and some ruins of the basement of a castle that burnt down. And then it was noonish. And we hadn't decided where to go for lunch. And I needed to eat 20 minutes ago. And I had a headache. And I was becoming increasingly irritable...And obviously we dropped everything and got to a restaurant, pronto.

Wednesday we slept in, which I felt guilty about, but in retrospect was a good choice, and we didn't really get out to do much until early afternoon, which was also good, 'cause who can really walk for that long and still enjoy all the pretty things? Apparently not me. (Plus, it rained until like, 3:00 anyway). Wednesday was a good day, because of my newfound awareness for needing to plan meals ahead of time, and our lack of packing the day too full.

Thursday. Ah Thursday. We started slow again, as we had felt that Wednesday was a successful mix of rest and sight-seeing. And then, I...I don't know what. Something happened to me. I couldn't seem to motivate myself to move. I didn't know what to do. I was laughing and crying at the same time (at my ridiculousness), and my poor husband was lost for words). Eventually (like, very eventually - maybe 1:00?) we decided we would drive the 30 minutes to check out St. Anne's Canyon. The website said they had a restaurant, so we decided we would have our big meal there for lunch, then wander around the canyon, then come back for a quick bite before the Cirque du Soleil show we had scheduled for the evening.

So we drove to St. Anne-de-Beupres. I slept the whole time, after sleeping the whole morning. We found the Canyon, after first going to the ski hill. We parked, I tried to wake up (of course, feeling kinda nauseous and headachy). We walked to the "restaurant." We discovered pre-made yucky looking sandwiches, offered with an old pot of soup. I had another meltdown. We left looking for a decent restaurant. We went to 3 greasy burger joints before finding a beautiful gourmet sandwich cafe. We ate delicious sandwiches on a lovely patio. It was too late to return to St. Anne's Canyon, so we drove back to Quebec. I effectively ruined a whole day (after driving James nuts earlier in the week telling him we must use every moment wisely 'cause we're only here for THREE days!).

And this is where we get to the topic of street naming in Quebec. Almost every street is Rue Saint Someone-or-Other. I'm not sure it is really possible to have that many saints, but, seeing as the title seems to be given out so freely, I'd like to nominate my husband. Somewhere in Quebec city, near where I had one of my "I need to eat half-an-hour ago!" whiny ridiculous meltdowns, there should be a Rue Saint James. I was no picnic to travel with, and he was incredibly patient and gracious, and aside from one very calm conversation in which he told me I was being frustrating, you'd think I was the perfect travel partner by the ways he responded to me. I wasn't, trust me. He, on the other hand, may just be a saint.

Tuesday, July 7

Some Little Thinks, July ed.

Newsflash: It's July. This is a very good thing. Mostly, because it means June is over, and June was madness. I am enjoying reclaiming my time and space from the overcommittedness that was June. I also got a new day book that started in July, and it has been a good good thing. I have been spending much of my adult life searching for the perfect daybook, and I just may have found it. It has both a month at a glance calendar, and a weekly lay out that has 1/2 hour time slots for each day of the week. Which I have actually been using, and this means that I am actually exercising, actually praying, actually eating a meal with my husband, actually cleaning my house, actually meeting friends at times that make sense and not just because they called me up and I felt guilty. Actually enjoying my life. It's gooooood.
Also good? I met my midwife today, FINALLY!, and she's great, and I think we're a good match. There's something about walking in to a room and facing another freckled red-headed, glasses wearing, orange wearing free-spirited person nursing a baby in a sling that makes you think "We just might have something in common" (even if it's all externalities). I definitely felt most comfortable with her compared to the other midwives who did my earlier appointments, so that's good. Perhaps it's just the knowledge that she will actually be my midwife, and not just a fill-in that made me more comfortable, but, either way, I was happy, and that is good.
Baby is also good. I have not gained any weight, and am hardly showing which I was a bit concerned about, but, she said not to worry, so, I'll try not to. I heard the heartbeat again, it's a healthy 145 beats per minute, and she seemed pleased with everything, so that's good. Next up - ultrasound! 3 weeks away. Looking forward to it!
Another good thing? Our house. It's clean. And organized. And almost ready to sell, which is relieving, considering I'd like to be moved and settled before I am massively pregnant, and getting the house ready to sell is one step closer to that. A few minor repairs/painting, and we'll be ready to put the sign up. And hopefully find a new house soonish.
Finally, I leave you with a website recommendation. It's brilliant. It's a blog/website with advice on home management and family and other good stuff. They've just started a "back to basics" of home management series which I'm really excited about. It's just full of practical good stuff that makes you feel good, and the main editor is a Christian, which is also neat. Check it!

Monday, June 15

A Great Grandma

My Nana Giesz died last week. She had a stroke early Wednesday morning, and by the end of the day, she was gone. The events of that day, and the days that followed, culminating in her funeral on Saturday afternoon, have left me with much to think about.
Nana was in the beginning stages of dimensia, and struggled with lung disease. While her death was sudden and upsetting, there were difficult roads ahead that she didn't have to travel, and I am grateful for that.
Nana's funeral and visitation were also incredible reminders of the impact that a simply-lived life of love has on people. There were probably 200+ people packed into her tiny country church, a testimony to how well loved Nana was. Nana didn't have many accomplishments that would be considered great successes in the eyes of the world. What she did have were the firmest, longest hugs, and she would pull back and look at you with tears in her eyes, hardly able to whisper "I love you" because she was so moved by that love. She would make your favourite pie just because she overheard you saying you loved it last time she saw you. She loved so many, so well. I hope she knew in life how loved she was, as I saw this weekend as person after person with tears in their eyes reminded me what a good grandma I had.
I have never lost anyone close to me before. The suddenness of Nana's death has reminded me of the importance of living with intentionality. The day before she died, I was driving home from work in Kitchener, and thinking that I should call Nana. I hadn't seen or spoken with her in a long time, at least 3-4 months, and hadn't yet shared with her that I was expecting her first great-grandchild, news which would have brought her great joy. The regret and guilt I feel over that lost opportunity are feelings I don't expect to dissipate quickly or easily. Those feelings are also motivators to not be put in a position again where I will regret missed opportunities or feel guilty about time poorly spent. I am going to spend some time this week considering who and what is most important to me, and to adjust my calendar to reflect that. Nana, although perhaps not knowing it, was to be, but always had been, a great grandma. I don't want to lose anyone else without knowing for sure that they knew of their great importance to me.
Love you Nana. We'll miss you.

Tuesday, June 9


(disclaimer: this is not about Big Thinks, this is very much about the mundane every day interests of my life in the past week or so)

I am sitting in my living room, which happens way too rarely. I just happened to look out the window and noticed that my neighbours have a leather-looking couch and chair sitting on the second floor balcony of their 100 year old brick house. Only here.
It has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks! I am tired, and get more tired as I look at my calendar. Holy cow!
So, have you heard the news? I assume by now most people have, but, am surprised every now and then when someone I'm sure would've heard through the grapevine says "What!? You're pregnant!?" (sidenote - I learned via my friends at the CBC this past week that !? is an actual form of punctuation - it's called an "interabang." Which makes me think that maybe the question mark should go first, followed by the "bang", but I don't like how that looks. I have also learned in the past week or so that I have this great way of trying to slip that information about my pregnancy into random conversations that are not really related and then try to move on before people have been able to absorb what the info I absorbed 14 weeks ago). So yes, I am pregnant. We found out just before Easter (which seems like AGES ago, and, P.S., that's a long time to keep something so exciting a secret), and the wee one is due December 8th. James is thrilled to be expecting a baby so close to Christmas, considering we have in our combined families 2 October birthdays, a November one, then 3 in the first week of January. Oh well. First trimester went great, no concerns at all, and we are pumped to be parents!
I graduated on Friday afternoon from Wiflrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Global Studies with Distinction on Friday afternoon. Glad to be officially done! (I need to remember to take the diploma out of the backseat of the car, and maybe, like, frame it). We headed straight from convocation to a church leaders' retreat for the weekend.
As we were trying to navigate the crazy traffic into the convocation ceremony, I got a call saying that I got a job I had applied for within Christian Horizons. Along with my hours at the group home, I am now a part-time instructor in our training department, which I am really excited about. I just got home from two days of train-the-trainer training, and am looking forward to (read - petrified by kind of excited about) actually teaching.
So that's my past week. This week James and I are heading to Toronto for the annual Assembly for our denomation, which will be both exciting, boring at times, and great to connect with people. And reminds me that I need to find a dog sitter AGAIN. Twice in one week is a bit much. Oy.
So, while all of these things combined is EXHAUSTING, they're all pretty great. It's a pretty exciting time to be me. I feel like the tripple-whammy of graduating-pregnancy-new job is like "Hello. You're a grown-up."
Except...somehow grown-ups keep their house tidy, and cook/eat healthy meals. I haven't yet figured out how that works when both the grown-ups in the house are working 10+ hour days and come home tired. I think the ones that can afford it hire a house keeper and get take-out, but, that doesn't work for us. Any suggestions?

Friday, May 22


I know. You're thinking, "Wow. Lucky me. Two posts from Rachel in one day."

This will be brief. I just thought I'd share my random ironic moment.

I am cleaning behind my stove. This wouldn't be so bad, if I didn't share my accomodations with small rodents, who, along with pooping behind my stove (which would be somewhat understandable), have gotten into every nook and cranny and vent opening in the back of my stove, I have discovered. Which would explain the smell that led me there to clean in the beginning, as I have apparently been roasting mouse poops everytime I use my stove.

The funny part is, as I'm starting this, the song that I'm listening to goes to the chorus, which starts:
"Hey, hey, I'm crawling in my skin. Hey, hey, what have I gotten into...?"



Intentionality and Productive Rest

So, my dad says to me this week "I went to your blog. There is like, nothing happening there."

A true observation.

I will remedy that now. (It's really only been 3 weeks. That's not that bad.) When I'm not hunkered down in front of the computer to write essays, the impulse to blog about things is not nearly as strong.

I've been thinking a lot about time usage lately. Well, not just lately, it's one of those things that always seems to be in the back of my mind somewhere, but, especially lately as I've finished school and started work and have different routines and different priorities. And, because I've been able to rest and slow down and use my time differently. And, because I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said "Jesus is coming. Look busy."

When I finished school, I decided that I wasn't going to jam-pack my days with ten million item to-do lists right off the bat. I was going to take some time to slow down after the craziness of the end of the semester, and after a few weeks, I would start picking up the pieces that had fallen in the midst of the school chaos. I told James that I would take care of necessities, but, maybe not have the house in tip-top fashion, and likely not make fancy meals (or any meals, for that matter), and I was going to go for walks and read and take naps, etc etc. And I did, for the most part.
During those weeks, I made a realization about the different ways time off can be used. I think there is a difference between rest and laziness. There would be some days, when I would get up, eat my breakfast, pull out my computer, and before I knew it, 2 hours or so had gone by of me reading up on facebook, people's blogs, and random other stuff. At the end of this time I felt no more rested or relaxed. I felt like I had wasted my time. It hadn't restored or refreshed me in any way. And while I didn't need to feel guilty about the way I had used my time as I didn't really have any other tasks that needed completing, it still wasn't a productive use of my time. I think there is such a thing as productive rest. Productive in the sense that it produces something - a refreshed and rejuvenated person, as opposed to one that is numbed after hours of facebook fodder.
Which leads me to the "Jesus is coming. Look busy." A phrase which makes me want to scream. Jesus wasn't big on busy, I don't think. What he was big on was intentionality. Intentionally spending with groups of people eating and talking. Intentionally waiting a few days before getting to Lazarus', who just happened to be dead by then. Intentionally hanging out with kids. Intentionally teaching. Intentionally healing. But not looking busy. Sabbath Rest was an important part of Jesus' Hebrew culture, and one he embraced. I think we too can hugely benefit from intentional times set aside for rest. And I think we should be careful with how we use these times, that they are protected for the things that will actually refresh and restore us, rather than filled with things that don't hurt, but don't necessarily help either.
"Jesus is coming. Be intentional." We'd probably be much more effective within this mindset than one of "looking" busy, but maybe not producing much.

Friday, May 1

May Day! May Day!

Ok, so it's not really that dramatic. But it is May 1st, and beautiful out, and that is a happy thing.

I haven't blogged in a while. I am enjoying my new-found freedom. And all this relaxing has led to not much intelligent thought, leaving me without many profound and enlightening thoughts to pass along.

I work afternoons at the group home. That's been good. It also means that my mornings are alllll mine. And I am sleeping in like the laziest person ever (ok. so, maybe not. but I used to be quite the morning person, and lately, it's close to 9 before I'm up). It's been great.

I just mined through the piles and piles of paper and found my desk, also good.

I walk my dog, good.

I read fluff, and nap, good.

I play my piano, good.

Basically, things are pretty good.

Oh - and - tulips blooming - GREAT!

Monday, April 20


I am DONE!

It's true. I wrote my last exam on Saturday night.
And got home to a house of nicely lit candles, flowers, and friends to celebrate my done-ness with me. Oh yeah, and an amazing cake in the shape of a graduation cap made by a devoted husband. Serious skills, eh?

The weekend was pretty busy, with church and work, so today is the first day I've been able to really take in the reality that I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands. I am torn between taking some time to just rest and relax, and writing a massive to-do list of all the things that have been put off for so long. I think today will be a resting day, maybe tomorrow I'll tackle the to-do list.

I think my piano is calling me...

Monday, April 13

Looking Forward to...

I am sitting at my table in front of my computer, with papers and books spread around me. This has become such a familiar posture...
I am also looking longingly out the window at my yard, thinking of how much I want to get out there and pull weeds when this LAST week of school drudgery is over. And that made me think of some of the other things I'm looking forward to...

- gardening. James and I are hoping to grow veggies this year, and I would also like to grow some pretty things (flowers) in the yard

- cleaning...there are some places in this house that need some serious attention. Like the tupperwear cupboard. the laundry room. the handmarks and dirt splatters from the dog in the front hallway. the back bedroom/office/general dumping ground for crap.

- establishing a new routine. I'm reallyreally looking forward to not having assignments, and readings, and other things that are constantly in the back of my head saying "You should doooo something..." I will go to work. I will live. That will be really good. More specifically, this routine will involve daily time in prayer and scripture, and daily exercise, two things I was doing ok with, but have really slipped in the past month of chaos. Also, related to this new routine thing, I am going to spend some time really carefully thinking about how I spend my time and energy. This will be a season of not committing to new things, and deciding what things are important to be committed to. A season in which I want to be a human-BEing and not a human-DOing.

- creating. I am going to find a hobby - hopefully quilting - and spend some regular time surrounding myself with colour and making something pretty. I am also going to spend more time with my lonely piano.

- investing in people. I have totally neglected my grandparents through this school craziness, and that's not ok. They won't be here forever. I hope to spend at least 1 day a month with each set.

I can't wait! One week, and I can jump into all of that school-free goodness.

Until then...I have 15 pages to write and fit into a 4-day work week (as in, being at work, and doing school work around that. Not 4 days to do school work. That would be sweet). Topped off with a Saturday night exam. Sigh...

Thursday, April 9

A Beautiful Song

A Facebook friend posted this youtube video on her page. It is a beautiful musical version of The Lord's Prayer in Swahili. (just click on it - I haven't quite figured out how to put the video right into my post).

I just took a break from studying, sat back, closed my eyes, and let this music fill my sunny kitchen.

Saturday, April 4

April 5th?

More like November 5th. It is downright gross outside my window. It is grey, and windy, and cold. The only thing that tells me it is April and not November are the little shoots of green that are popping up. But they are pretty small compared to the rest of the big blah day.

I have a lot to do this weekend. I have a paper due Monday that I am only in the beginning stages of (as in, researching, not writing yet). I have all day today, but most of tomorrow is full, and then I have to have it in by 4:00 on Monday. Yippee.

And then an exam Thursday 9th, another huge paper (15-18 pages, also not at all started) due Monday 13th. And of course, Easter weekend smashed in the middle there. Almost done...

13 days...

Tuesday, March 31

happy sigh

Well. It is the last week of class. And that does not really mean anything, except that I won't have to go to class tomorrow. I still have 3 papers, a debate, and 2 exams between now and finished, and I'm a little swamped and overwhelmed by it all, trying to figure how to fit writing around working, and the fact that exam time always seems to correspond with major religious holiday time, and next week I have to add my nephew's baptism, Passover seder, Good Friday and Easter Sunday in the midst of exams and a 15 page paper.
So, needless to say I am busy, and have used the phrase "I'm sorry, but I just don't have time..." a lot in the last week or so. And I don't. But, sometimes you need to make time.
As I was driving to school this morning after dropping James off at work, the CBC kindly told me that my friend Jian Ghomeshi (ok, so, we're not friends, but...who else talks to me nearly that often?) was going to be interviewing Yoko Ono and Bruce Cockburn. YOKO ONO AND BRUCE COCKBURN. A big deal. Yoko Ono fit into my travel time (and, as much as I was super pumped, the interview wasn't that great). Bruce Cockburn, on the other hand, was beginning just as I was arriving at school to segregate myself from the world in a tiny little cubicle in the library to get some writing done. Minor dilemma.
I made a choice. I found a sunny parking lot next to a nice park. I cracked the windows a tad, set the volume just right, laid my seat back.
And I gave myself an hour.
And I listened.
And I watched seagulls soar and dive against a bright blue sky with the tree tops just in view.
And I may have dosed off a tiny bit near the end.
And I was woken up by a group of geese walking past my car honking their brains out.
And it was good.

After my hour, the refreshed me sat up, parked my car and walked to the library. As if this day was just designed to be an oasis in the midst of school chaos, my favourite study carol in the whole entire library was open. AND there has been reliable internet in this corner of the library (so far). This could just be good.

The only down side being that I re-read a whole 300+ page novel yesterday taking very careful notes for my essay that I am planning on writing today. I left the notebook at home.

PS - Bruce Cockburn's new solo acoustic live album "Slice of Life" is being released today. I think that will be my finishing school gift to myself. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 24


My husband says I mumble; I say he isn't listening carefully. While I will not admit to mumbling, I will admit to rambling. And will now proceed to do so.
I am SUPPOSED to be using my time wisely and getting some work done in the 3 hours I have between classes. In an effort to do so, I parked myself in the lovely solarium at our school. Solarium meaning, of course, intense sunlight, producing somewhat of a greenhouse effect, plus heaters turned on because it is technically still heat-requiring weather. Just not in a greenhouse at high noon. So, I am squinting at my screen while struggling to stay awake and not actually doing any of my work yet, because frankly, Scarlet, I don' get the picture. Also because I forgot to grab the revised syllabus for the class I have this afternoon, and webct is down, so I'm not sure what I'm supposed to read. I do of course, have other things I could do, but...refer back to Scarlet. I'm tired of reading and writing.
And just tired, really. Getting out of bed this morning took about an hour of snooze button. And then for some reason, despite the fact that I didn't really have time, I asked James to make bacon and egs while I made muffins and we had a lovely breakfast together...and then I scrambled like mad to get myself out the door, leaving him with all the mess and begging him to put together a lunch for me. Which he did, because he's awesome (awesome here translating to gracious and patient with the fact that this happens a leeettle tooo often). I promised him that his life will undergo a miraculous transformation once I am done school. I may even make the breakfast and the lunch. Maybe.
So, that's it really. I am sitting squinting at a screen in a sauna. I have nothing intelligent to say right now, and I think that is due to my sun-induced stupor. So I am now going to say goodbye, pack up my stuff, and move to the less atmospheric, but also less sweltering library, and hope to have a productive 2 hours before my class.
Ciao, bellas.

Monday, March 23

26 more days...

I would LOVE to write a nice, long, thoughtful blogpost. In fact, I have a few percolating. Unfortunately, it just won't likely happen for awhile.
I am rounding the last corner in this stinkin' race to the end of school. I am also now working 24-32 hours a week now. And the bulk of my assignments are still yet to be done. Bad combo! 3 papers, 1 debate, 2 exams 'till the end.
And THEN I will be able to sit and ruminate on all kinds of things and share them with you...can't wait.

Tuesday, March 17

Some Spring Things

It's coming! I promise! Here's how I know...

James and I had a lovely weekend. On Saturday, we went for a very fun hike, which resulted in a very muddy dog. Mud, of course, a result of melted snow. Melted snow, of course, a result of warmer temperatures, warmer temperatures, of course, a result of...spring coming! (I know, my deductive reasoning is incredible).

Speaking of warmer temperatures, we had a BBQ on Sunday after church! (BBQ - sign of spring). Pulled out the old lawn furniture, wiped it off, ate burgers and hotdogs outside. It was lovely. Well, it was lovely in the sun. Unfortunately, the table had to sit on the patio stones because the ground was too soft, and the patio stones, being next to the house, were in the shade. It was still cold in the shade. But it was still great to be outside. I would sit for a short period of time, then go stand with my food in the sun. Food, sun, friends - good time.

Also on Saturday, James and I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). A first time for me. Very fun. We got a bike rack and a few other things to make it easier for me to use my bike instead of the car for errands. So, today, I rode my bike to buy a school book. Riding my bike - sign of spring.

Yesterday, did laundry, hung it outside to dry. Laundry on the clothesline - sign of spring.

You see folks? Just based on a brief analysis of my life over the past few days, I can assure you, spring is coming! I can't assure you it won't snow again, but, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel. Yippeeeeeee!

Sunday, March 8

Things I Like...

I haven't much to blog about right now, but I thought I'd make a few recommendations of things that promote to the wellbeing of my mind, body, and spirit.

- Spirit/Mind - Rob Bell's preaching (and that of the other teachers at Mars Hill Bible church). You can check out their website to access some of their teachings, or get their podcast from iTunes. They did an epiphany series on light in John's gospel - amazing.

- Body/Spirit - Under their "multimedia" section there is a link for podcasts, and there are a number of videos of different yoga practices. They are about 20 minutes each, give great instruction and videos, and it's waaaay easier than me sitting down and trying to put together my own series of poses. Try it!

- Mind/Spirit - Chapters/Indigo right now has a list of 20 books you should read before you're 20. I've read 5 - and a few of them after I was 20. I was looking at the table in Indigo last night, and would totally recommend "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. A great little thought provoking book (that caused me to stand on my desk to be able to forcefully get a point across during a discussion in grade 8). For a longer, heftier read, "The Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill just won CBC's Canada Reads . I've read it, it's pretty good. You can listen to the Canada Reads discussions and hear what other people have to say about it here


Friday, February 27

The Only Necessary Thing

Anyone out there busy? Yep, me too.
I was reminded of what Jesus had to say about busy-ness this week:

Now as they [Jesus & co.] went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 8:38-42, NRSV

Oh Jesus. Thanks for that reminder.
I think that Martha gets a bad rap. I am sure that she was trying as hard as she could to be hospitable to her guests. I bet she was wanting to make sure they had good food and drink after their travels, a comfortable place to be in. These are not bad things. But they need to be balanced, and kept in perspective. While the "many things" we have to do might be valid things, we need to remember - there is need of only one thing. Time in the presence of our Lord.

I've tried to do that this week. I'm a to-do list person. I enjoy making the list, drawing little square boxes beside each item, and the satisfaction at the end of the day of all those little check marks. For some reason, I also enjoy making the list incredibly long, which can become overwhelming. This week, as I have looked at my lists, I have tried to keep in mind what Jesus has said - there is need of only one thing. As I have made a point of doing that thing first, I am amazed at how my perspective changes - the list is no longer quite as overwhelming, and I am getting a surprising amount accomplished, even though I am "loosing" almost an hour of productivity.

On a side note - there is a collection of Henri Nouwen's writings on prayer, titled "The Only Necessary Thing." This scripture reminded me of it, and I have been enjoying re-discovering it this week. I would highly recommend it.

Friday, February 20


So, my water is turned off for awhile this morning because there is work being done on the pipes or sewers or something in my street (which I was made aware of by the nice man in the orange coat who woke me up to ask if I had a car parked on the street, or if I knew any of the places he would find owners of the cars on the street...another nice man then came back a few hours later while I was in my house coat to tell me the water would be shut off).
It's made me realize how much we take our water for granted! I don't have anything specific I need the water for, I had already showered and done a load of laundry before it was turned off, but, I still notice that I keep going to the tap. To wash an apple, rinse my sticky hands after eating the apple, wipe the counter, etc, etc. What a privilege it is to have this constant supply running through my pipes! A good reminder of how precious that wet stuff really is, and what so many others have to do to access it. If I had walked to a stream or well to draw my water, I am certain my shower would've been shorter, some of those clothes wouldn't have needed washing this time time around, and my apple wouldn't need quite as much water to wash it either. Good reminders.

Tuesday, February 17

Lent and the Looking-Glass

So, I have this hair.
It's thick, silky, reddish-blonde. Downright gorgeous, really.
The problem is, it is only this way after a LOT of work.
Another problem is, it matters too much to me.

My hair is ACTUALLY kind of wavy, not-quite-curly, frizzy and downright funny looking when left to its own devices. To avoid this, it takes about 2 hours of blow-drying and flat-ironing and hair-spraying. Which I don't really like doing (and try to do as little as possible -two, maybe three times a week). But apparently I like it more than walking around with giant frizzy-wavy locks. I have looked with envy at other women with hair that can be gorgeous without all the time and effort. Curly hair seems great - get wet, add whatever anti-frizzing but curl-holding product works for you, and voila! Asian hair dries shiny and straight (I think - I've never had it, but it looks that way). The right face shape and you can pull of the super short that doesn't need primping. I've even wished at times I could just wear a hijab...

I've been contemplating what's behind all this, as I begrudgingly stand before the mirror, brush and blower in hand. The fact is, I care what I look like. I like feeling pretty. I like being complimented. But maybe I like it too much...

I think I'm going to give up my blow-dryer for Lent. I think I've put too much stock in how I think other people see me, and how I see myself. I think I have placed too much value on externalities.

When I think about the women that I really respect, I'm pretty sure none (or very few) of them spend much time on their appearance. Some of them would be considered quite beautiful, others not so much. But, when I think about these women, it doesn't matter - to them, to me, or to most other people around them - what they look like. If I spent a couple hours a couple times a week meditating on scripture, praying, or helping those around me, would I be just as beautiful? Would I start to care less?

I'm a little nervous about this endeavour. I see the potential for me to spend just as much time in front of the mirror trying to find ways to make myself "presentable" without the tools. But the real purpose of this project is to change the definition of presentable, to "let [my] adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4) I need to remember whose judgement matters, and what true value is.

Maybe when that happens, I can plug the dryer back in.

Friday, February 13


Well, it is Friday, and I made it! I'm not a runner, so I don't know for sure, but I imagine this is what the end of a good run feels like - you've got in your groove, you're moving along, but you're looking forward to being done. I feel like this week has taught me a lot about my stamina, and now that it's Friday morning, there's no more pressing schoolwork, and I have just one shift ahead of me before the weekend, I am feeling pretty darn good.

It helps that James-the-wonderful set the breadmaker to have fresh bread ready at 6:00, and that he got up with me and is now making chili to put in the crock pot for our supper.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 11

I will NOT complain..

I was really convicted last week by Phillipians 2:14-15 last week, "Do all things withut murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent..." and I realized how quick I am to complain, about a LOT of things. Most things, actually. I noticed that complaining was often how I would enter into conversations - it seems like an easy way to relate to people, most people have some sort of sympathy for whatever situation we might be in, and it's a way to invite THEM to complain back (how uplifting). So, I've been trying not to. But it's SUPER hard! I find that when I go to fill in my facebook status, my default is to complain (Rachel has a headache. Rachel is tired. Rachel is reading...again. etc,etc).
So...I was going to complain about my busy week. But, instead, I am going to celebrate a few things.
a) I have survived this week of working/school every day, and my midterm went well last night, despite having little time to study. Only one day of school left, one day of work left, then a long weekend with NO plans! Hooray!
b) There are only 6 weeks of the term left! 6 weeks (plus exams) of my undergrad left! YIPPEEE!
c) Our faculty association has come to a tentative agreement with the school administration so a strike has hopefully been averted - THAT would not have been a fun way to prolong my last semester.

Ok. Now that I've got that out of my system, time to read and write my last assignment of the week.

Tuesday, February 10

A bit of hope...

I noticed these poking through the cold hard dirt in my garden as I walked by yesterday. Gives me a bit of hope for what's to come!

Wednesday, February 4

The Other Side of the Coin

I am really good at complaining and venting.
I am not generally all that good at talking about what's good. So I'm gonna try to do that more often, and I thought that after yesterday's lament, I should tell the rest of the story.

After wallowing all yesterday afternoon, sitting in front of my school work getting little done, I decided to move on. I got up, blasted some good music, cleaned the kitchen, went out and shoveled, and came in feeling ten thousand times better. I should've done all of that first thing in the afternoon, I think it would've made a big difference. The combination of encouraging words, seeing some progress in the kitchen, and the fresh air from shoveling did me a world of good.

I have been listening to Capstone nonstop since last night...I don't think they're still together, and was trying to find a link for them, but couldn't come up with much, but if you can track down their album B-Sides, or Integreality, I would highly recommend them. Songs especially meaningful for me right now are "Dry Bones", "Hold Me Up", "You Are My Rock", and "Invention." Check 'em out.

And today. Today has been good so far. This morning I spent some time reading scripture and journalling, two things that have been really missing from my life lately. Scripture lately has really been doing it's job of showing me where I need some serious change in my life. I am being made uncomfortably aware of some of my tendencies toward pride, selfishness, and grumbling. These awarenesses, added to the fact that I am dropping balls in almost every area of my life, are really driving home the fact that "apart from me [Jesus] you [I] can do nothing" (John 15:5). But, I am holding on to the promise that "the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6). While that is encouraging, it doesn't change the fact that it is work, hard work, and it is likely going to take a loooong time.

Victory of the day so far? Mood control, and completing an assignment that's due tomorrow by the time I set out for myself - noon. Now I can move on to other things that need to be done, without that hanging over my head.

Looking forward to - walking with Naomi this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 3

Winter blaaaaah

Ugh. I am a big blob of negative non-productiveness.
I want junk food.
I want my sidewalk to shovel itself.
I want to feel in control of my life again. As in, able to fulfill my obligations. I am falling short left, right, and centre. I am behind with school reading, my house is a mess, my volunteer stuff is going nowhere, and I am resenting EVERYTHING I have committed to.
That is not true. I committed to James. I am not resenting him. He is being incredibly gracious as I sleep and cry and not contribute to anything.
I want cookies. And chicken wings. And pizza.
I want to be able to buy a plane ticket.

I want to stop wanting. Maybe I'll wish, instead?
I wish I was good at acting on the things that I know would help.
I wish I was better at spending time in prayer. I'm pretty sure it would help.
I wish I knew how people manage a full course load, part time jobs, sports teams and other extra curricular stuff, and remain sane and get good grades.
I wish I could stop comparing myself.

Monday, January 5

All Things New

Apparently I have typed that phrase into some text box somewhere before, because it popped up automatically as I started. I guess not all things are new. At least I'm dependable.
I am sitting in the sunny solarium at school, with a fresh pile of book beside me. It's easy to be positive about academia after a long break, and before a pile of deadlines. These books look inviting even. We'll see how long that lasts...
I am looking forward to this semester, though. I am taking three (I hope) courses. Maybe four. Because of some of my changes due to the lack of trip to Prague, I may be short a course toward my Global Studies degree. I'm hoping that I can beg for the mercy of the Global Studies department to count one of my other courses toward the GS degree. It would save me a day of driving to school, and the time, obviously. The courses I am taking are "The Individualized World", "Islam Culture and Society" and "Indigenous Writers in English." Hopefully the content is as good as the titles...
Beyond this semester, I am looking forward to this year in general. This is my last semester, and I am excited to see what happens after graduation. I have my eyes on what looks to be a fantastic job, that I'm in no way qualified for but will apply for anyway. We're hoping to finish updating our little house, one room at a time. James will hopefully be done school by the end of the year as well, so it's definitely a time of transition for us.
We'll see what happens!
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