Saturday, October 9, 2010

Summer Adventures Part II

A few days later Amber and I decided to go to the art gallery, we hadn't been to the new building yet and we really wanted to check it out, look at art, look at arty people, chill out and hang out with a great friend. There were some fantastic galleries set up within the metal curvy building, Warner Bros., Canadiana, and then came the 3rd floor, the modern art gallery. I have been so blessed to walk through art galleries and museums around the world, mostly classic art, always breathtaking, but never had I been in an actual modern art gallery before. I understood some of it, I loved the autistic display of clocks in order, they were logical and orderly, and I got that, fascinating! We walked around browsing, laughing, and whispering about the strange and the quirky. There was around one corner a photocopy of a picture hanging on the wall, and underneath it there was a stack of about 5000 copies of the same picture. I casually picked it up and thought, these are surely for us patrons to take along with us, it wasn't until I was walking away that the truth came to me. It was part of the artwork you silly dolt! I was stealing it, but it was too late to put it back, I had just rolled it up, so I hastily jammed it into my purse and clutched my hands around the opening so that I wouldn't be discovered by a snippet of paper giving me away. I was MORTIFIED! I was an art thief, I was going to get caught, my life would be over at 30! I was wrong, and Amber had to keep reassuring me when I giggled that I wasn't the first person, or the last to do it. I am keeping that art, and making it my own, it shall be making its debut on my wall within the week, I just need to get a frame worthy of it now.
Oh the adventures go on and on!
There was a music festival that I went to, alone.... I was so nervous about going by myself, if anyone remembers me from when I was a young girl I was terribly shy, and I had a really hard time venturing out on my own, but God keeps showing me that it is alright to be alone.
As I gain more independence as a human being, I am getting more and more dependent on God, I would not be able to go places and see things alone of God was right there beside me showing me the way. GUH! SO GREAT!
More on the music festival in the next post!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Summer - Part 1

Adventures that can only happen in the summer time
I turned 30, yes it is true, the fact that Kim will ALWAYS be older than me helps me to sleep at night I think! I am just kidding, I am not only happy to be entering my 30s, but I am excited to see what is going to happen next. I don't know if it is because I have turned 30, but I seem to have a different perspective on a few things, or perhaps it is because I am enjoying where my life is and where it seems to be heading, but I wake up most days with a smile on my face, excited about the possible random adventures.
Everyday is an adventure, and I love getting to see and experience so many things. Today I saw a motorbike with a sidecar, kids in sumo suits in the park, and the oldest man in history with pants hiked as many inches as his age! And that was just on my supper break.
On my 30th birthday there was no exception, it was FILLED with adventure.I worked a day shift and was wished many happy well wishes from everyone there, hugs from Lorna, and Kelly remembering was so great, she took my breath away. When I was leaving work I was excited to go for supper at my favorite restaurant in Edmonton – the Sicilian Pasta Kitchen, it had been raining, my tires on my car are almost bald, I hit the ditch. No, let me correct that, I didn't hit the ditch so much as slid in, and as I was sliding slowly into the ditch I thought, “ok, I'm going in, lets see if I can just keep driving and make my way out again.” Well, I was hugely mistaken! I kept going for a while, probably 50 feet before my tires really started to bite deep grooves in the slick mud. I sunk down deep, right to the frame on the driver's side, stopping, and no amount of rocking would bring me back out, I crawled out the passenger side door after a long weepy phone call to my Mom, and another to AMA to get pulled out. There was success, and I was pulled out, after all that drama, I needed to use the washroom, but as I flushed the water away, it didn't go down like it usually would, it started bubbling up, at first only lapping the the rim, and then things took a huge turn for the worse, it flooded over and started filling the floor with water, I screamed, and then cried some more. Reality was sinking in, I had turned 30, there was no going back, I was no longer in my 20s, I had to grow up, and I mean really grow up, I just wasn't sure what that meant for me yet. I had almost decided to call the whole evening off, the dinner with my friends, but with some poking and prodding and encouragement from my Mom, I decided to get my butt moving and actually get ready to go. I am so glad that I did, because after a glorious meal with great friends, Amber, Jeremy, Darren and I went to the pub and witnessed a man eat the largest sandwich ever created by a human, instantly I was reminded of John Candy in The Great Outdoors and the 96 ounce steak, this was the start of the summer adventures!
A few days later Amber and I decided to go to the art gallery....
To Be Continued!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coffee Time

I was able to spend the evening with my dear friend Bethany.

I am pretty crazy about her, we both love music, art, photography, and Jesus. So, I love when we get the chance to hang out because we can talk about the most amazing things!

I am sorry my dear friends, but I am going to keep our conversation private, because I can.

I wanted to tell you about something that I saw while Bethany and I were in the coffee shop.

Earlier in the evening, people had been going in and out for the evening, mostly the younger crowd, seeking a hip coffee shop.

About half way through our very long coffee date, an older couple walked in; Nice looking, dressed like they are in the height of their retirement, happy and smiling.

Ten minutes later Beth and I heard this loud talking, we looked at each other questioningly, wondering what was up.

They were skyping! Using the free wireless available to patrons.

It was great, though not quiet, it was not obtrusive, and everyone else in the small building grew to a hush, not wanting to disturb their conversation.

I couldn't see them on their laptop, but Bethany watched the couple talking with their family from wherever they were.

Beth described them as leaning into the screen smiling broadly and beaming with joy. That is something amazing, and of course I wanted to catch a glimpse of them as well!

So I got up from my side of the table, and picked up our dirty dishes to move them to the bin, which was conveniently right beside where they were sitting.

I saw them, their faces shining from the blue of the computer and the joy within them.

I could hear upon my approach that they were talking to someone with a little voice, a grandchild maybe.

I smiled as I placed our dishes quietly into the bin and stood up. By the time I reached my full height again, the man of the couple was waving at me to come over.

I cocked my head to one side, in a way that said, what?
He said, yes please come here I want to show you.

I walked up and the sound from the speaker got louder and I could tell it was a little person indeed, and as I rounded the corner there he was!

Small, 3 years old and blonde as blonde could be.

I leaned over and watched him move and talk about spiderman to his "Gramma".

Grandpa said, "look! There is a lady here who wants to say hello"

I was unsure at first, but went along with it. He moved the camera so the little boy could see me and told him to wink at me. To which the little one obliged blinking forcefully both of his eyes at the same time.

I was instantly in love with his little face and voice as he said "guess what Gramma".

I thanked the family and walked away.

Bethany just smiled at me, knowing full well that I often find myself in the middle of someone else's family, and loving it.

I felt so honoured to be able to be a part of their lives for a moment. It was a moment the grandparents will never forget, even if the child does, and one I won't forget anytime soon either.

Love is a many splendored thing.

When the couple left they thanked me for coming to see him, and asked me so everyone could hear, just how beautiful he is.

I said yes, he truly is, and I thanked them both.

As they left Bethany and I discussed the love and joy and pride of that Grandpa, and we both thought whimsically how great it would be to have that when we are older.

We are both happy, so happy in where we reside right now, living in exactly the right place at the right time for us, but it was so great to see a happy future that is beaming down, shining a light for us both.

I love that I got to see a family so full of love, maybe someday I will get that too, but for now I am so overjoyed in getting to witness, and sometimes be a part of, a family.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Smile Train

Please note this has been slightly edited.

For those of you who have not heard about Smile Train, I wanted to pass this along.

This is an email sent by Brian Mullaney from Smile train. Take your time, read through the email and then watch the video he made.

It is truly Life Changing. Imagine if these stories were being told about Canadian kids? Imagine the public outcry that would happen? Why is it that these people are being forgotten? What are we scared of? What are we hding from by not being willing to open up and give our hearts?

here it is...


I just returned from an eye-opening trip to one of the poorest places on our planet.

We went to visit Dadaab, a sprawling refugee camp, on the Somalia – Kenya border.

It is a safe haven for all the people who have fled Somalia due to the violence, Islamic insurgents, famine, etc.

And it is one of the poorest, saddest, most horrific places I have ever seen.

The camp was built as a temporary solution in 1992 to house 90,000 refugees – 18 years later it holds 300,000 wretched souls of which 20% are under 5 years old. More than 5,000 new refugees show up every week begging for food and shelter. But there is no more room and no more food.

We met with Dr. Dan, our partner surgeon who is a true, modern-day Good Samaritan and bonafide Saint who has been saving children and adults here for the past 5 years. His commitment and passion – even after 5 very difficult years – were really inspiring. 

These 300,000 children and their parents in Dadaab are truly stuck between a rock and a hard place.

On one side they face violence and death in Somalia.

El Shabab is the leading Islamic terror group in Somalia and we were told they make Al Qaeda look like a bunch of Boy Scouts. Recently they sent a suicide bomber into the middle of a Somalia medical school graduation ceremony killing all 20 new graduates and their families and professors. Somalia, the leading failed state in the world is quickly getting worse and today El Shabab controls two thirds of the country.

On the other side, is a very high barbed wire fence and the Kenyan army.

Somalians are not allowed into Kenya - or even outside the camp. We met a woman with 5 kids, no husband, and legs left lifeless by polio. We asked her questions and then when we finished she asked us one: “We have been here since 1992 – what can you do for us?” You can see her if you look at the photo of the ramshackle hut with a young boy in the doorway holding a baby. She is sitting on the ground next to the hut on the right.

Most of the photos are taken at the one of the 3 health clinics for 300,000 people.

We were surrounded by hundreds of children and adults with all kinds of problems from clefts to club foot to burns to gunshot wounds to hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can be easily treated. It’s a problem where there is excessive fluid surrounding the brain and the head swells quite severely. Untreated it results in brain damage and then death. To reduce the swelling you have to drain the fluid which requires a special tube-like shunt that costs $20. They don’t have one. So all the children with this problem in this camp die. You’ll see them lying on the mats on the dirt. Because they don’t have a $20 tube.

We also saw a lot of children suffering with club foot. You’ll see a photo of a girl sitting on a bench with horribly twisted and deformed feet. She, and all the other children with club foot who are 12 years and under could have their legs and feet totally repaired with a miracle cure that doesn’t even require surgery, just castings, much like braces for the teeth. This “cure” costs just $80. But chances are slim that any of these children will ever receive it. $80 might as well be $800,000 in Dadaab.

As we moved around the clinic, Dr. Dan was besieged by parents begging for help for their children, waving pieces of paper in his face with his handwriting from a month ago, six months ago, a year ago, promising surgery. We didn’t need a translator to understand they were all begging for help for their children.

Poor Dr. Dan has one operating room and a waiting list of hundreds of children. Many of the children who are waiting will die before their number is called. Notice the ribs Dr. Dan is showing by pulling up the shirt of a baby with a bad cleft palate. The baby cannot feed normally because of his palate; without surgery he will die. We asked him if he will be able to operate on this child and he said he didn’t know. I think his answer is as diplomatic as our question was na├»ve.

They also took us to the “nutrition ward” where they try to save babies on the brink of starvation. As we went bed to bed, you will see the blank expressions on the faces of mothers whose babies are literally dying in their arms. The baby lying down without a mother is a 7-month-old little girl who weighs 7 pounds.

In America 7-month-old babies weigh 20 pounds. In America, childhood obesity is a major problem as is adult obesity. The #1 cause of death in America is coronary disease related to obesity. Americans are literally eating ourselves to death.

Last week First Lady Michelle Obama launched a campaign to fight childhood obesity in America. Having three young kids who eat way too much ice cream and junk food I understand how serious a problem this is. But I must admit, I was a little shocked to hear Mrs. Obama explain that America will spend $150 billion this year alone to combat obesity in America. (We will spend less than one tenth of that trying to save children and adults in developing countries from starving to death. Imagine how many lives would be saved if we swapped those two budgets and overweight Americans only received $15 billion in aid and starving children received $150 billion.)

The attached video is about 4 minutes long and it begins with a clinic we visited in Ethiopia in a place so poor, people are living on $40 a year.

People are so desperate for cleft surgery, many of them had traveled 200 to 300 kilometers to come to our clinic. I have never seen so many older folks with unrepaired clefts. I met a woman who has waited 63 years for her 45-minute cleft surgery.

You will see a 50-year-old farmer whose daughter we show the surgery of. He traveled for 5 days straight with his daughter to reach our clinic. I sat and talked with him while we operated on his daughter and he told me how he used to own livestock and land. But due to various famines over the years, they gradually had to sell off all the livestock to stay alive. And then the socialist government came and took most of their land. So now he is a poor sorghum farmer trying to keep his wife and 10 children alive. Someone asked how the current famine had affected his village and he said, “Look at my face.”

I asked him about how this surgery will change his daughter’s life and his face lit up. “Yes,” he said, “she can go to school now.” I asked him what he wanted her to be when she grew up. He answered me very slowly and deliberately, “I want her to be… in America.”

That was nice to hear from a 50-year-old Muslim man. “Look at you people,” he said. “You come all the way here, just to help me and my daughter, to help all these poor people….” He was shaking his head, smiling. I suggested maybe one day she would be in America and he would come visit her. He laughed and said, “No, it is too late for me. I am too old and I am too poor.”

Sorry I have rambled on as long as I have. Hope you watch the video. It’s nothing too fancy; pictures I took and then put together myself into a homemade video that will probably not win an Oscar. :)

Let me know what you think.

And of course, if you have any money left over from the holidays and want to make a donation - of any amount - that can help change the life of a kid who is living in Somalia or Haiti or Afghanistan or any of the 77 extremely poor and desperate countries where we work, we can always use your help. TO MAKE A DONATION CLICK HERE!

This year alone, about 160,000 new babies will be born with clefts in developing countries and most of them, because they are so poor, don’t have a prayer of ever being helped.

These kids need our help.

And we still need yours.

Thank you for reading this long rambling email.


P.S. If you are looking for a way to help Haiti with a charity you know and trust, we have bene working down there for 5+ years and have 3 partner hospitals and an orphanage that we are helping get through this nightmare. To make a donation that helps Haiti CLICK HERE."

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I know by looking at the title, it would be easy to think that this would be a post about some exciting espionage story involving spies and lots of running and car chases. Nope, sorry to disappoint, but this is about my own personal sabotage.

For some time now I have been feeling this growing hunger, and surging lack of enthusiasm in attending church. I like my church, I like the people in it, I like the pastor especially, but I am still feeling this sinking feeling when I go.

I feel lonely, I am often surrounded by people who I know and love, but I am still lonely. I know God is with me, that I cannot deny, but for me personally I haven't been meeting Him in my church.

Maybe I need to shop around for another church, maybe I need to get more involved in my own I do not know right now. What I do know is that it all started when I heard about the new kitchen being put into the basement. I didn't see the point, I saw a perfectly working stove, fridge and dishwasher and I didn't see the point in using up money for something that to me seemed a little bit of a waste.

I know, the people who labour in the kitchen during weddings or funerals may find it annoying or even a hassle, but it seems to me it is like adding a new stained glass window, very pretty, but in reality useless when it could have been spent elsewhere. Kind of how Shane Claiborne outlined his distaste in his book The Irresistible Revolution, here is a link to The Simple Way.

There is also a very large disconnect with our community, some people are working really hard at getting the youth involved, at spreading the good word, but others seem to be so stagnant.

This may be the way in ever church, but when I find it time to go to bed at night on Saturday nights, I feel this sense of dread and longing, longing for something more? Longing for something less, simple, more like how Jesus first did it, the way it is meant to be. Missional!

So, on Sunday mornings, I wake up to my alarm, and lay there and think about my choices. Go to church to hang out with the people I know and only see once in a while, which is a big draw, getting little out of the sermon, (not the fault of the pastor, maybe I am just shut off?) or to stay in bed and push the snooze button, ultimately sabotaging myself by sleeping too late.

Is it like ripping off a bandaid? Or like going to the gym at 6am? You just need to do it and it feels better.

What do I need to do? I know that I need to find new experiences, to seek out new life and new civilizations, (oh wait, that sounds oddly familiar!) to boldly go where no man has gone before, or gone before, but I have not.

Where can I find it? The missional community that I am desiring, the one where it is possible to openly ask questions, to have debates, to welcome that drunk man shoveling the sidewalk into church for a cup of coffee instead of sending him away in disgust.

I have seen that before, I have attended a church much like that, but it is a bit of a distance to go on Sundays, especially when I work. In Winnipeg I saw this. It was a home, a family, open to all, and at the base of seeking God and making Him known.

I need to stay here, I have made a commitment to school, and I am not turning away, I LOVE it. I am supposed to be here taking classes. I just need something more. You know?

This is a very personal entry and I welcoming challenges, comments, personal opinions, advice. All of it. I think bloggers blog because of those things, and more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti Relief And Awesome Music

This is a note from my friend Devon's band.

They are releasing a single on Jan. 27th and along with that they are donating miney to the organization One Days Wages. I have said enough, here it is straight from the band themselves!

Hey everyone, its the guys in A Cry Farewell here. With everything going on in Haiti we feel this was a perfect time for us to help. Our debut single "The Rain" will be available on iTunes (hopefully) the 27th of January. We see this as a great way for us to help. So for the first week that The Rain is available on iTunes we are donating 20-25% of sales to "One Days Wages" towards the relief in Haiti.

You can preview "The Rain" on our myspace.

Help us get the word out and forward this to everyone!


Josh, Devon, Kyle, Justin

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a safe place really?

Is this really a forum where I can share my true feelings about things?

I honestly think not.

Not only is this page really open to anyone on the internet but it is (I think) read by people who care about me.

I do want to keep writing lovely inspiring posts, or updates about how things are going for me.

This is a personal blog, so I shouldn't feel bad about nattering on and on about myself, and also I should not feel bad about sharing less than stellar things.

But then I wonder why? What is the rationale behind me wanting to share things?

Am I venting? Which isn't necessarily a good thing all of the time.  Or am I wanting someone to read what I have to say without me saying it to their face?

I don't write things because I worry about other people's feelings, and sadly what other people will think of me.

So the question today is, is this really the place to talk about upsets? Is this a place to share real feelings about frustrations and challenges? Or not?

So anyone that reads this weigh in on what you think! I look forward to comments!

Labs And Clinicals - An Update

Well seeing as I am in my second term of first year, it has begun, yes, labs and clinicals where we learn the skills necessary to assist patients with activities of daily living.
I have been a health care aide for a number of years now. 9 to be exact, and along the way I have picked up some very important skills, as well as some bad habits.

At the start of this whole school business I was worried that I would be either over confident (cocky) or under confident (self conscious) because of being in this field for so long.

Well, it turns out I am under confident, I know I know this stuff, last week we learned about hand washing, this week was bed baths... simple skills that I was thrown into in my first day as an aide long long ago when I worked in long term care.

I feel like I am dumb (sometimes purposely so so I can start fresh learning a skill (and I worry that because I have been an aide for so long that people are looking to me to have answers and to know ALL of it already (I certainly don't and I would never think I do).

I am sharing my feelings about lab and this new process of being full immersed in school and learning new skills, unlearning old ones.

As I mentioned before we were learning bed baths today, and to learn our skills we get to practice most things on each other. 

My lab partner is Daphne, we have gotten quite close in the last few months, but I am unsure of whether or not our personal relationship influenced practicing in a positive or negative way.

Daphne is great, she is kind and patient and so giving, and when I was nervous about doing things right she so encouraged me to keep going and that I was doing alright.

At the end of it all I realized my skills weren't as bad as I had thought and that its alright to be nervous.

I also learned what it feels like to be bed bathed (and I even got to keep my shirt and shorts on) I can only imagine how it feels to be getting a real bed bath.

I think that for me as a seasoned aide who has some of these skills already it was good to be on the other side of the proverbial coin, or in this case the towel.

I just hope to remain humble for the rest of my life in seeing that I don't know everything, and there is always more to learn. And that it is for His glory that I am pursuing this with the fervor I have been trying to maintain.

I think that its alright to be nervous, and right now is the time to learn and make mistakes and ask questions.

I don't have to deal with a sucking chest wound yet, just bathing and catheter care, which is the best news I have had yet today!

Deuteronomy 8:15-18

He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.

He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.

You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."

But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Concerts and my Love of them

I have always liked concerts, truly.

It seems that seeing my friend Phil go to as many concerts as he does spurred me on to start actually going to concerts I want to see!

So This last few months (really when I started school and not having much free time is when I chose to start doing this) I have been attending shows.

I won tickets to a show, I bought tickets to another, and most of the time, it is spontaneous.

Today I decided to go see Blue Rodeo, I had no idea that they were going to be in Red Deer this evening, not at all, it was advertised on a country station and I am not the biggest fan of country.

I was in a dilemma, who is going to come with me!?

I haven't been to a concert by myself before, and even though I know I am capable, I didn't really want to go by myself.

I asked a whole gamut of people, and only one person actually was able to make it. I was ok with that, although I really wish Bethany could have come with me as well.

Cuff the Duke, The opening band was so super, they put on a good show as well and had some great songs.

 I find I like the opening bands almost as much or sometimes more than the headliner - but shhhh don't tell them that!

I just wanted to share that little story with you, a little to brag but mostly to tell a story.

Night all