Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I am a list maker. I make lists to pack for trips, shopping lists, To Do lists, camping lists, reading lists, Christmas card lists, writing project idea lists.
I plan dinner parties with lists. I even dream about future projects with lists, even unlikely ones. I've imagined I'm the administrator of an orphanage in Africa, and I've spent hours planning how to make it run smoothly. Or I've imagined being called on to be the cook at a Seminary, cooking two meals a day for thirty people, and I've listed all the food I know how to make or would like to make.
Why do I do this? I've never questioned it before. It's just what I do. It's my way of making my frivolous daydreams somehow concrete and valuable. So that if one day, I AM the administrator of an orphanage, I'll already know how to make it work, or if TBS calls me, I can grab my lists of soups, salads, mains, sides and desserts and generate a month's worth of menus.
Do I do it to appear more organized? After all, it takes a lot of work to make something look effortless. Am I losing my memory and overcompensating by writing everything down? I don't know. My maternal grandmother had Alzheimer's Disease. That fear is in the back of my mind. I would hate to lose my memory. Sometimes, when I can't recall a conversation with one of my kids, they'll say, "Mom, don't forget me!" as if it has already begun.
If it does happen, get out my old notebooks and have a laugh at all the things that absorbed me for a few hours of my life, when I threw myself into an idea and brainstormed, even when it would appear to be a worthless exercise.
The thing with us daydreamers is, interspersed with all the nonsense could be a few good ideas. I hope so anyway. That's what Creatives do. We imagine, we dream, we plan, and then we get to work.
I saw a journal at Chapters called Listography. It made me smile. I guess I wasn't the only one.
I'm not really one for Top Ten lists. I've done a few but I'm too indecisive to prioritize. Mostly I catalogue as many things as I can. I've recorded the name, author and value of every book in my library. I add to the list as I purchase more books. Why? Maybe one day I'll put all that data into the computer. Or maybe I'll add it up and see the value of my library. Oh, wait, I already know: Priceless.
Maybe making lists just legitimizes my daydreaming; so I don't feel like I'm spending hours on something useless, which I am. If so, don't tell me. I'm not likely to change at my age. If anything, I'll be making more lists as my memory fades.
How about you? Do you engage in Listography?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year End

Outside my window...snow. Now, after Christmas is over. It might as well stay away. The moment is gone.
I am thinking...this has been a fascinating year. Protests everywhere, the death of Osama bin Ladin, Khadafi, and Kim Jong Il, a royal wedding, and our 25th anniversary trip to Europe.
I am hoping...they won’t close my unit this week and send me to another floor. I hate that.
I am thankful for...a relaxing Christmas. We had a few family celebrations and a lot of food, including a deep fried turkey at my sister’s house. It takes 3 minutes per pound and is crispy and juicy. You use cottonseed oil ( available at Bass Pro Shops) because it doesn’t transfer flavour. You can make donuts immediately afterward and they won’t taste like turkey.
I am yoga pants, a red Roots t-shirt and a black sweater.
From the kitchen...stuffed mushroom caps, Atlantic salmon, basmati rice, baby carrots, salad, chocolate mousse. We were supposed to have guests over but they had to cancel, so more for us.
I am daughter and her friend watch the family channel.
I am reading...The Memoir Project by Marion Roach.
Around the fourteen days off end tomorrow. Sigh. I know I can’t complain, but they did go fast. I got some writing done, some closets cleaned and Christmas done. We’ve had lots of people over.
One of my favourite things... new books. I got six, plus two more I ordered with my Chapters card. I also got two BBC Jane Austen movies, a Scrivener program, Turtles chocolates and coffee.
Some plans for the two nights and have some friends over on New Years’ Eve.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Reading List 2011

1.As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers
2.Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson
3.Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns-Clark
4.Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon
5.Serendipity by Cathy-Marie Hake
6.Sweet Devotion by Felicia Mason
7.A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers
8.Thirsting Soul by Roger Fellows
9.Sunset Beach by Trish Perry
10.Within my Heart by Tamera Alexander
11.Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter
12.The Lightkeeper’s Bride by Colleen Coble
13.The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble
14.While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin
15.A Tailor Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
16.Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer
17.To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
18.Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck
19.Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones
20.Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith
21.A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher
22.Yesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West
23.The Perfect Blend by Trish Perry
24.Tea for Two by Trish Perry
25.The Winter War: a Novel by William Durbin
26.Unforgettable by Trish Perry
27.Me Talk Pretty One Day by Neil Sedaris
28.11 Secrets to Getting Published by Mary deMuth
29.Flames of Rome by Paul Maier
30.When Danger Calls by Terry O’Dell
31.A Cup of Cold Water by Christine Farenhorst
32.My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
33.The Writer’s Manifesto by Jeff Goins
34.A Billion Reasons Why by Kristen Killerbeck
35.Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher
36.Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner
37.The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund
38.Pompeii: City on Fire by T.L. Higley
39.Hook, Line and Sinker by Susan May Warren
40.A Proper Wife by Winnie Griggs
41.The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
42.A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons
43.Legacy of Faith by Lydia Brownback
44.Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley
45.The Help by Kathryn Stockett
46.City of the Dead by T.L. Higley
47.Life of Christ by James Stalker
48.The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke
49.Every Writer's Dream by Jeff Goins

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Goals for 2012

The beginning of a new year always brings about the inevitable questions about New Years’ Resolutions. Because most people are notorious for not keeping them, present company included, I’ve long since given up on even making any.

However, I do set goals for myself. I find if they are realistic and measurable, I can usually attain them.

I break them down into categories: physical/health, spiritual, professional/intellectual, relationships, household/financial, and hobbies. Then I think about what I’m currently doing that’s worth keeping, plan to continue that and improve in some small way in each category, so I’ll grow. New for this year, I’ll have a separate category for writing.

For example, when my daughters were still very young, I didn’t have much time for reading. So, back then my reading goal was for four books per year, because I figured I could manage one every three months if I worked at it slowly. It seems laughable to me now, since I usually read over 50 books a year. But, as I said, I made my goals realistic for how my life was at the time.
So, I think 60 books is a reasonable goal for next year.

As a Christian, I don’t think it’s unspiritual to set goals. I still need God’s help to reach them. But I do think that if your goal is to be a spiritually mature person, you’ve got to take steps to get there. It’s like saying, “I want to be a world-class pianist”, and then never practicing the piano. It doesn’t work that way.

So, that being said, I’ll share my goals, partly to make me accountable. I can check back at the end of 2012 and see how I did.

My Bible verse for this year is: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

-Yearly screening mammogram.
-Yearly physical, dentist twice a year.
-Walk Kody 45 minutes each day.

-Attend church twice a week
-Increase weekly tithing amount.
-Bible reading: Five chapters a day. Let’s try again.
-Attend at least one Christian conference.
-Continue with nursery, kitchen, lead College and Careers group, speak at Ladies’ Meeting.
-Take on support of a new ministry.

-Work full time.
-Obtain at least 20 hours of oncology nursing continuing education hours to keep up my C.O.N.(C) certification.
-Do the College of Nurses quality assurance requirements.
-Hospital on-line inservice and continuing education as required.
-Read at least two books on current events/social issues.
-Watch the news. Stay current on world events.

-Marriage—continue weekly dates.
-Travel with my husband for our 26th Anniversary in July.
Daughters—girls only trips, shopping trips, mani-pedi dates. Family photo shoot at Thanksgiving.
-Extended family—keep up socially, with facebook.
-Attend social events.
-Send Christmas letter update.
-Friends—facebook, twitter,blog.
-Entertain friends at least twice a month.

-Pay off Sears credit card.
-Continue to support other charities.
-Set aside money for daughters’ university fees.

-Read 60 books in total
-Watch as much soccer as possible. (I love goals like this. Everything isn’t about work.) Take in a TFC soccer game, if possible.
-Write book reviews as I read.

-Complete first draft of one of my works-in-progress, work on the others.
-Continue to blog at least twice a week.
--Read three books on the craft of writing.
--Attend ACFW writer’s conference in September, if possible.
--Find a critique group or partner.
--Read blogs and articles about writing.
--Continue to journal once a week.

Well, that’s me. I know that equals a busy life. Sure, I could sit around and watch mindless t.v. instead, but what is there to show for it at the end of the year? I hope this inspired you to make your own goals, instead of resolutions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Way of All the Earth

Outside my window...pitch black. I’m wide awake at 6 a.m. on a day off. I’m proving my theory that the older you get, the less you sleep because you don’t have much time left.
I am Kim Jong Il died. I wonder what that will mean for North Korea since his son isn’t much better, apparently. Also, Christopher Hitchens died this week. He was a “famous” atheist who wrote a book called, “God is NOT great.” If he died as defiantly as he lived, then he knows better now, sadly. Also, at the judgment, he’ll understand what the Bible means by, “and their works will follow them”. Anyone whom he has influenced will be added to his account.
I am have a productive week. I’m off for FOURTEEN days, and I’d like to get at least one special project done each day. I have some end of the year paperwork to do and a few closets to clean.
I am thankful for...getting my Christmas letter and cards sent. They were late, but at least they are DONE. Some years I’m organized. This is not one of them.
I am wearing...pajamas. Hey, it’s 6 a.m.
From the kitchen...chicken stir fry and rice, banana cream pie.
I am hearing...the howling wind. I’m glad I don’t have to walk the dog for a few more hours. Hopefully it’ll warm up when the sun rises.
I am reading... Every Writer’s Dream by Jeff Goins. It’s an e-book about a different approach to writing.
Around the house...ready for Christmas, mostly. We’re not too big on gifts this year, which is fine. We don’t need anything. I’ll be getting a few new books (don’t act surprised), and after Christmas we’ll buy a new t.v. since my husband has been in mourning since the last one died.
One of my favourite things...having my family around me. I not only love them, I like them, too.
Some plans for the week...writing projects. I have a lot of ideas for the Scarlet Thread project as well as more Interviews. Also, since our family Christmas events are hosted by someone else this year and we have Christmas day free, we’re trying to find something “helpful” to do on that day. The fact that it’s on a Sunday kind of messes things up a bit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Break

Outside my window...sunny and relatively warm. Amazing December so far.
I am thinking...typical CTV news. Ten minutes in and they’re already doing animal stories. Is nothing happening in the world? Like the elections in Congo?
I am thankful for...a peaceful family life.
From the kitchen...Schezuan beef stir fry and rice.
I am wearing...jeans and a cream coloured pullover.
I am reading...The Answers Book by Don Batten in preparation for my January message on Noah.
I am Mother-in-law’s heart procedure goes well today. This is her second one and I know she’s really nervous about it.
I am hearing...and 80’s channel on the t.v. Yes, I’m still in a time warp.
Around the house...I’m stringing Christmas lights on everything: beds, railings, bushes, and the tree. My mom came to the Christmas banquet Saturday morning. Then we decorated the tree. I found the decorations. My eldest was home, sick. She’s finished her exams and she quit her job at the bakery because it was too stressful as she wasn’t treated very well. We told her to concentrate on her last few months of school. Only four more to go. Yesterday, my daughter’s boyfriend came over for dinner and we had guests after the evening service and one overnight guest. My husband desperately needs a vacation, he’s not sleeping well and hasn’t had a vacation since Europe, which was an exhausting vacation. In my job I have a lot of time off, which I appreciate.
One of my favourite things...Christmas get-togethers. We had the Elders, Deacons and Wives Christmas banquet on Friday night at the Imperial Buffet. Saturday morning we had the Ladies’ meeting Christmas Brunch. We renamed ourselves to Women of Faith. I spoke on Esther and it was well received.
Some plans for the two or three nights. I’m going to take one of them off for bereavement as one of my uncles in Finland died. Then I’m off for 14 days! I know it’ll go quickly but I have much to catch up on since I haven’t even sent my Christmas cards or done any Christmas baking.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pikku Joulu

Outside my window...raining again. It's supposed to get colder later this week, down to one celsius, which is more seasonal.
I am was another good weekend. On Saturday we went to London for our Pikku Joulu, which literally means little Christmas, but it’s basically an advanced Christmas celebration with my extended Finnish family whom we can’t see over Christmas week. We usually get together in London as my cousin has a big house and we all stay overnight. Finnish Christmas food is mushy. My husband always comments that he doesn’t think Finns have teeth. Yeah, yeah, same joke every year. The little ones get gifts to open after dinner and then we went in the hot tub and sauna. Our family is growing as the boyfriends come to stay over, too. They didn’t seem to be scared off by our crazy family. One of the five year olds opened her gifts and said, “I’ve been wanting this my whole life.”
I am get Thursday night off. I’m supposed to work four nights, but I have one more vacation day to take before the last two weeks of December. I hope I get it.
I am thankful puppy. He is one today. We love him more all the time and can’t imagine life without him. He’s getting a big ham bone today. We saved it from the weekend. He’ll be happy. When we were away, his former owner came and stayed with him. He obviously missed her. He didn’t bark as if she was a stranger. He was so excited.
I am yoga pants and a purple sweater.
From the kitchen...cod and fried rice.
I am daughter getting ready for school. She also got tickets to a band called Marianas Trench so she’s so excited. She may be on t.v. again.
I am reading...The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.
Around the house...We still need to buy our tree this week.
One of my favourite things...I got my Christmas gift early. It’s a 30 day trial of a new software program for writers, called Scrivener. I tried to figure it out yesterday but it didn’t go very well. Even the video tutorial was too fast for me to follow. I’ll try again today. It has a lot of features that will be helpful if I could just figure out how to use them.
Some plans for the three nights, hopefully. Decorate the tree Thursday night. Go out Friday night for dinner with the Elders, Deacons and Wives for Christmas. Speak on Esther at the Ladies’ Christmas Brunch on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Scarlet Thread

Outside my window...rainy and dark. It's supposed to rain all week. I don't mind since I'm working, You don't have to shovel rain. I can't believe it's so mild at the end of November.
I am was a good weekend. On Friday my cousin's son visited from the Yukon. I made way too much food for one person. Then on Saturday morning I spoke at the Ladies' meeting at church. I spoke on Christ as the Plumb Line, the Veil and the Mediator. That evening we attended our best man's 50th birthday. We're all getting older. Mine is 2-1/2 years away and I already know it'll be a crisis age for me. I'm planning a big party so I won't think about it. Sunday was church, and a lovely rainy day nap. That night I got some writing done.
I am find a box of Christmas decorations I misplaced. I don't know how, since I put all the boxes together last year so I'd find them all easily. Or so I thought.
I am thankful for..the good feedback I received on Saturday morning. I was hesitant to present my Scarlet Thread material becase that's what I'm compiling for a book, but at least this way I got some idea of the impact it has on people. It seemed to be a blessing. Some even sent e-mails later on to tell me the same thing. That encouraged me to write more that night. I'll speak on Esther in two weeks at the Christmas brunch we have planned.
I am wearing...jeans and a hunter green top and pullover.
From the kitchen...lasagna and salad.
I am hearing...The Next Iron Chef.
I am reading...Life of Christ by James Stalker.
Around the house...half of my Christmas decorations are up. We just need the tree. I hope we can find one as nice as last year. It was a balsam fir and was perfectly symmetrical. My mom didn't come to the ladies' meeting or church, again. My Christmas letter draft is done.
One of my favourite things...getting my Christmas cards out early, which I have not even started yet. Some years I'm ahead of the game. This is not one of them.
Some plans for the three nights. Buy gifts on Thursday for kids we'll see on the weekend. Clean and prep to leave for London. Kody will be left at home with his former owner. She misses him and it'll be nice for both of them. He still remembers her. We'll go to visit family on the weekend for our Finnish Christmas with extended family. Lots of food.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Move Over, Movember!

November 21, 2011.

Outside my window...dark and cold, but no snow yet. First time it dipped down below zero Celsius this fall. It's been a pleasant November so far.
I am thinking...we were at the SGF Assembly in Tottenham on the weekend. You wouldn't think a two day meeting to discuss church business would be interesting, but it was. It was encouraging to hear the reports from the churches, both their highs and lows so we'd know how to pray for them. We also accepted two new churches into the fellowship. One came with a seminary. I guess we just inherited a seminary! There was great preaching, fellowship and food. The church there was worried how they'd manage, since their building is so small, but they did a great job. I even managed to get through my five minutes of "public reading" without fainting or vomiting. I could feel my voice shaking, but no one seemed to notice. After that, I enjoyed the weekend more.
I am thankful for...good books. I really enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Now I'm ready to see the movie.
From the kitchen...southwest chicken and salad.
I am uniform, at work of course.
I am reading...City of the Dead by T.L. Higley. I have a new favourite author.
I am hoping...Movember will soon be over and men will be clean shaven again. I'm glad my husband didn't go for it. His would have grown in grey. I have nothing against fundraising for cancer, I just think this is a man's way of being a rebel for a month and claiming it's for a good cause. Kind of like the playoff beards. I hate that. They all look like lumberjacks.
I am hearing...a quiet unit. Only a dozen patients out of a possible 21.
Around the youngest is writing an exam tomorrow for a potential summer job as a border services officer. It would be a good job, probably at the airport. If she gets it, we may need to buy a car. She can't study for this test, so they are probably questions that test her character or scenarios to see how she'd respond.
One of my favourite things...meeting new people. We hosted the guest preacher on Sunday. He is from South Africa.
Some plans for the three nights. Help my husband choose new reading glasses. Entertain a relative from the Yukon on Friday night. Speak at our Ladies' Meeting on Saturday morning. Clean and shop. Attend a party for a friend's 50th birthday on Saturday night. Church on Sunday. Our eldest will be 21 on Saturday. She's like her father and doesn't want a party. We bought her a watch of her choice.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Moving Along on the Treadmill of Life

Nov. 14, 2011

Outside my window...dark, rainy, but not cold. A very mild November so far.
I am thinking... a co-worker of my husband died on Saturday of cancer of the pancreas. He was a believer, thankfully, so he is now face to face with His Saviour. Sad for his wife and daughter, though. My husband got to visit with him the day he died and he said he was ready to go. We've been thinking about growing old and dying lately. When we went out with our friends on Friday night, we talked about retirement, parents dying, and we compared aches and pains. If that doesn't show we're old, I don't know what does! And I haven't even hit 50 yet!
I am thankful for...hobbies. I like to have time to write and read, entertain and do crafts.
From the kitchen...jerk chicken legs, broccoli, spaghetti a la carbonara.
I am wearing...jeans, a pink t-shirt, a navy pullover. I bought two new sweaters and black dress pants for this weekend away.
I am reading..The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. I was hesitant to read it because of the setting (1960's southern U.S.) but I'm liking it. Oh, and I won a free book by Don Brown, one of my favourite authors, for commenting on a blog. So excited.
I am some miracle that there won't be a municipal strike next year. On the news they're anticipating a long one, about six months. I can tell you the thought of it is already stressing me out. The last one, three years ago, lasted 33 days and it was all for nothing because the mayor caved and gave them what they wanted, when he was so close to breaking them. Since my husband is in management, he has to be locked in, to keep water coming out of the taps and fire hydrants. He had only short visits home. It was horrible. I don't know how military wives manage. I didn't cope well with the separation and being alone.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the mom planned on coming to church for the luncheon, but then she woke up and said she slept poorly. I think it's just an excuse. The longer she's away, the harder she thinks it'll be to go back, even though no one would say anything that would upset her. My eldest visited with her boyfriend again on Sunday, and then she and I went shopping this morning. My youngest met the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and shook his hand. He was the guest speaker at U of T today.
One of my favourite puppy. Yeah, he's a lot of work, but we love him.
Some plans for the three nights. A relative is here from the Yukon (I can't believe I have a relative living in the Yukon!) and we're hoping to see him either Thursday night or next week. On Friday and Saturday, we'll be in lovely Tottenham for the SGF Assembly. Sunday, church.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Full Plate

November 7, 2011.

Outside my can't get any darker. I can't see anything outside the window of the train. The time changed this past weekend. Is it summer yet? This morning though, it was so sunny and warm when I was walking the dog.
I am other news: Michael Jackson's doctor was found guilty; there have been many shootings in Toronto lately; my mother-in-law left for an 18 day trip to South Africa; my husband is busy at work; my puppy submitted to his first real bath today, it only took 11 months; I need to review the update I need to present in two weeks at the SGF assembly; Christmas is coming; I haven't even begun to draft my Christmas letter and we didn't do a family photo shoot yet. Breathe.
I am thankful for...six free books on Kindle. Free is my favourite price.
From the kitchen...burgers on the bbq and Greek pasta salad. Not bad for November in Canada, eh?
I am wearing...jeans, a navy pullover and my windbreaker.
I am reading...In the Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley, set in the ancient Greek city of Rhodes. I think I found a new favourite author.
I am find more time for writing. I have so many ideas, so many WIP's (works-in-progress), and so much work to do to improve my blog. There aren't enough hours in the day.
I am hearing...the train and quiet conversations.
Around the daughter and her boyfriend came over for dinner again on Sunday. I'm starting to clue in that they do it so they won't have to cook. I don't mind. I made her a vegetarian meal of cucumbers vinaigrette, baked parmesan tomatoes, arugala salad with feta and watermelon, cheese biscuits, shrimp fetuccini alfredo, pineapple and strawberry punch and chocolate fudge cake. Also, in honour of Movember, I made paper handlebar moustaches on a stick and we posed for pictures.
My youngest daughter was on a retreat with her church in downtown Toronto.
We went to a housewarming party at my sister's house on Saturday night.
One of my favourite things...wearing a poppy. My favourite veteran died recently. I think of him.
Some plans for the FOUR nights. I'm tired just thinking about it. Thursday night will be time and a half. Yay! Friday we're going out with the friends we had hoped to go out with last Friday. They suggested Mexican food, so we'll try it. Saturday morning my husband has a Men's breakfast. Sunday there is a luncheon after the morning service. Some missionaries we support will be there. I'm hoping my mom will come out to church after a two month absence.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reformation Day


Outside my window...a mild fall day. Half the leaves are off the trees already.
I am is Hallowe'en, as well as Reformation Day. We don't celebrate Hallowe'en. I've noticed that some adults are as into Hallowe'en as much, if not more than kids. Kids like it for the candy and costumes, adults like it for the costumes and a reason to party. I've also noticed the costumes are becoming more 'trampy'. I know someone who dressed as a Playboy bunny. Really? You want to dress like a porn star? Very disappointing since this is a baptized, professing Christian. Or was, anyway.
I am thankful for...Martin Luther.I know he lived 500 years ago, but he's one of my heroes. On this date in 1517, he nailed 95 theses, or propositions to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This was like posting something on a bulletin board in those days, to spark debate. And spark debate, it did! This was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The motto of the Reformation was, "After Darkness, Light." It marked the end of the dark ages and the beginning of the middle ages. The printing press was also invented then, and the Bible was printed into the common languages. The Reformation was known for five foundational truths, known as the five Solas: Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Fide (Faith alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), Sola Gratia (Grace alone), and Solo deo Gloria (for God's glory alone). Amen!
From the kitchen...frozen pizza. My daughter is at school this evening and my husband is eating a Jamaican soup his mom made him.
I am wearing...jeans, a t-shirt and a pull over.
I am reading...A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons. So cool because I can picture it since we were there this summer.
I am have enough energy to work tonight. Some days the sleep deprivation of shift work kills me.
I am hearing...the train. Still loving my commute.
Around the husband preached yesterday morning on the Paradox of the Cross. Pedro Rodriguez preached in the evening on why Christ spoke in parables. His preaching style is more teaching, and it always makes me think.
Our puppy has a kennel cough, which he probably picked up at the dog park. He's on antibiotics. We had to take him to the vet to remove a tic, too.
My eldest got herself a job at a bakery near to where she lives. I assume it's for the extra money rather than for the baked goods. We'll see if she starts to gain weight. :-)
My husband is working hard and has a course with homework on top of everything else.
I was pulled to another unit last Thursday night. Not a fan of that. It's stressful to be in a new place.
I thought my mom would come out to church yesterday since my husband was preaching, but she didn't. No explanation.
We're starting to use the hot tub again now that the weather is cooler.
One of my favourite things...good preaching.
Some plans for the three nights. Get together with friends on Friday night. Clean my house. Attend a housewarming party at my sister's condo on Saturday night. She kept her condo when she got married, and moved back now that she is widowed. Church on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Post by my Puppy, Kody

Hi, I'm Kody. Pia is my mom, well, not my real mom, but she and her family adopted me. I lived with Ashley before I came to live here. I didn't realize how much I missed her until she came to visit me.

I am almost 11 months old, still just a puppy. I am a Huntaway, or New Zealand sheepdog. I am a relatively new breed. I'm a mix of Beauceron, Bloodhound, German Shepherd, Rotweiler and Golden Retriever. Most people think I look like a small German Shepherd. I probably won't get much bigger than my 70 pounds. I am told I have nice colouring and markings.

I've been to obedience school. I even have the embarassing graduation photos to prove it. Some days you wouldn't know I've been to school, though. Dad calls me Bad Boy. Mom says it's because I'm part Finn, whatever that means. I need a lot of exercise and Mom walks me every morning after her night shift, either 20 or 40 minutes. Dad (who doesn't like to be called my Dad) takes me to the dog park in the evening. I see my friends there. I especially like Zira and Edie.

When I'm at the Dog Park playing off leash with my friends and we see the gate open, we all look over to see who is arriving. It's kind of like being in a bar. Then we go over and sniff the new dog and play Chase. Some dogs play too rough, so I steer clear of them. Usually I signal that I want to leave by heading toward the gate so we can walk the trails.

I also like to swim in the creek. I don't like baths (an understatement), but I learned I like to swim. It started by just going in after the ball. When I got into deeper water I discovered I could swim. It's starting to get colder now, and darker earlier, but I still try to go in if they let me.

I don't get car sick any more. I look around and see other dogs on the street. Sometimes Dad takes me with him when he goes to pick up Leah from the train station.

I like to eat people food. It tastes so much better than kibble. My favourites are cheese, peanut butter and apples. Sometimes I get to taste meat, like chicken or ham. I also squeeze between Mom and the counter when she's preparing food, hoping she'll drop something. Pia's mom lives downstairs and she gives me special things like milk and homemade gingersnaps.

I have a good life. I get exercise, discipline, love, food and family. I like to be with people. I sleep by the door to guard them. Some afternoons Mom lets me sleep under her bed when she naps.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview with Inspiration

By Pia Thompson

“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work all manner of workmanship.” Exodus 31:3-5

“He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.” Exodus 35:35

Pia: Today I’ve invited Inspiration to my blog. Welcome.

Inspiration: Yeah, thanks.

Pia: Many people have some acquaintance with you, especially artsy types. Maybe you can tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do for a living?

Inspiration: A living? Yeah, right. Well, mostly I work behind the scenes. You know, I fancy myself a Muse, of sorts. I have ideas. All these ideas. Floating. And sometimes, someone will ‘catch’ one, you know?

Pia: So, you don’t do anything concrete? Nine to five?

Inspiration: No, no. I don’t keep banker’s hours. I can work anywhere, anytime. Sometimes I work best when most people are sleeping. The problem is most people won’t wake up and write my ideas down. They assume they’ll remember in the morning, but inevitably, they don’t.

Pia: So do you feel you serve as a useful member of society?

Inspiration: Oh, yeah, for sure. Life isn’t just about the corporate world or even a hard day’s work. I like to think I’m the colour in a drab world. I inspire great creative works; music, poetry, novels, paintings, sculptures, dance, handicrafts, decorating, cooking, advertising, preaching. There’s no part of life you don’t find me.

Pia: So tell me about a typical day. Do you have an office?

Inspiration: I can work in one, but usually you’d just see me standing by the window, deep in thought.

Pia: So when it would seem to an onlooker that you were doing nothing, you’d actually be having a productive day?

Inspiration: I think so. But I only inspire. I’m all about ‘possibilities’. I suggest maybe five different directions a plot can take, and then it’s up to the Creative to choose one and run with it. I’m not responsible for their action or non-action. I’m merely the Muse.

Pia: Creatives? Do you mean artsy people?

Inspiration: I think Creative is a more accurate term. A writer, for example, may not be able to decorate a room or knit a scarf or even draw a stick person; yet they can create a whole world, like Lewis’ Narnia or Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Pia: So, do you claim credit for every work of art and every novel ever written?

Inspiration: No, I wouldn’t make such a bold claim. There are so many factors involved. But I do flatter myself that I am the spark that ignites the flame. For some people I must be the firewood that keeps the fire going. I have to hold the hand of so many Creatives. They claim they can’t work without their Muse, their Inspiration. They don’t understand that after I give them their idea, they have to put their B.I.C. (butt-in-chair) and do the actual hard work. I can’t stay with one person all the time.

Pia: Do you work better in certain settings?

Inspiration: Oh, like in a cabin by a lake or in a crowded coffee shop?

Pia: Yes.

Inspiration: I work in different ways for different people. I can inspire during the night, during a boring lecture, on a commuter train, in nature. I see possibilities everywhere. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the potential projects out there.

Pia: Do you ever help to see anything through to completion?

Inspiration: Occasionally, but I’m often available only at intervals. I find something bewitching about new projects. The ‘next thing’ is always more appealing than the hard work of actually finishing a project.

Pia: I know that! I have a shelf of unfinished stories. As soon as the ideas ran dry, or the story didn’t flow, or the work was too difficult, I’d think of a new project. Should I blame you for that?

Inspiration: I’d rather receive credit than blame. I have feelings, too. Sometimes I can be offended and leave for a long time.

Pia: What lures you back to a person?

Inspiration: Sometimes certain music will remind me of when I first shared the idea with the person. Kind of like being in love and going back to the old haunts. Mostly, though, I’m impressed to see the dedication to the original idea; to see how they work with it, and sit down every day to plod. When they perspire, I inspire.

Pia: So you have no part in plodding?

Inspiration: No, no! Plodding is much too mundane. I’m all about light bulb moments and plot twists and planting seeds of future projects. The Creatives plod, I show up once in a while to cheer them on. Then I leave them to their work.

Pia: Do you enjoy your work?

Inspiration: What’s not to love? I make the world a beautiful place.

Pia: Well, I’ve heard that some Creatives have a love/hate relationship with their Muse. They love it when you’re there, and they hate it when you’re gone.

Inspiration: That’s good. I must have suggested that to you.

Pia: Maybe. That makes me wonder; who gets the credit for creating great works of art, you or the artist?

Inspiration: I think of it as a symbiotic relationship, but I must admit that God is the Ultimate Creative and people create to a lesser degree only as much as He has gifted them.

Pia: Well said. Thank you for coming to visit my Blog today, Inspiration.

Inspiration: Good bye, Pia. I hope to see you with your B.I.C., finishing those great story ideas I gave you.

Pia: (hanging head in shame). Yes, you will.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Outside my window...dark. I should be asleep but I’m up with my daughter who is watching a Zombie show. Quite gross. Too graphic and violent for me. Apparently this is a big new genre. I don't get it, but then I didn't get thevampire thing either.
I am thinking...I’m worried about my friend’s health concerns.
I am thankful ...our dinner party went well. I was feeling stressed but managed to get done with five minutes to spare. I made an amuse-bouche of meatball in apple butter and maple syrup, an appetizer/soup course of homemade tomato basil soup and grilled cheese made with calabrese bread and herbed havarti cheese, a layered salad in a margarita glass, macaroni and cheese, individual pot pies with herbed dumpling crust and apple pie tartlets with hazelnut vanilla coffee. Then we talked using a conversation prompt game called The Ungame. Then we played virtual bowling on x-box. It was fun.
From the of the rainbow trout my husband caught, salad,hassleback potatoes.
I am wearing...p.j’s.
I am reading...The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Who am I to criticize a New York Times bestselling author? But his first three chapters were all backstory, he tells instead of shows, and he uses the word had up to ten times in a paragraph.
I am find time to get my haircut this week.
I am hearing...The Walking Dead. Ewww.
Around the daughter and her boyfriend came over for dinner today and then they went to the dog park with my husband and Kody while I had my afternoon nap.
One of my favourite things...books. I went to find a new release by one of my favourite authors, and it wasn’t there, so I consoled myself with nine others. Shhh, don’t tell.
Some plans for the four nights. No other plans for the weekend, which is a nice change.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Interview with Compassion

By Pia Thompson

Pia: Today I’ve invited Compassion to my blog. Welcome.

Compassion: Thank you so much for inviting me. I appreciate the time you’re spending with me.

Pia: No problem. I just wanted to begin by talking about your name. Most people have a vague understanding about it. They think of mercy and acts of kindness, but they may not know that Compassion literally means “suffering together.”

Compassion: Yes, it does.

Pia: I think a person can feel sympathy for someone who is suffering, or even empathy, imagining themselves in the same situation. But to get to the point of compassion is the next step. It’s an action word. It’s the time you roll up your sleeves and get to work, or you reach out to help in a tangible way. It’s not just crying over a problem.

Compassion: That’s a good way to describe it.

Pia: I remember that in the early years of our marriage, we talked about supporting a child in a developing country. We felt sympathy. We had the desire to act. But for one reason or another, or one excuse or another, we didn’t do it for several years. Once our daughters were school age, we finally chose a girl in Haiti, and she was educated alongside our own.

Compassion: That’s just wonderful. Thank you for doing that.

Pia: I’m not saying it to boast, because it was no hardship for us, but rather I regret that it took so long. We saw a need, but didn’t act on it. All the sympathy in the world won’t feed and educate a child. It’s that leap over to compassion after we are stirred up about something, that makes a difference.

Compassion: I understand.

Pia: I think it’s easier to show surface compassion, if you know what I mean. Like my example, sending money every month was relatively painless. Yes, it made a difference in the life of a little girl, but it didn’t really cost me. I didn’t suffer together with her.

Compassion: It’s still an act of kindness, and it did require action.

Pia: Yes, perhaps it was more of a kindness. When I think of compassion, I think of being there with a person in their extremity, like working in a slum with street kids, feeling the fear of violence like they do.

Compassion: Do you not see yourself as a compassionate person? After all, you’re an Oncology Nurse. Nurses in general are considered to be compassionate individuals, and some would argue that Oncology Nurses are even more so. It can’t be an easy field in which to work. Surely the emotional investment you speak of is involved in your work?

Pia: Yes and no. I think there is a bigger emotional investment in my patients because they’re facing a life-threatening illness. I think most people, when they think of an Oncology unit, think it must be the saddest place. Usually when someone hears I’m an Oncology Nurse, the response is always the same. They tilt their head to the side and say, “Aww, that must be sad.” Really. Every. Time. That’s why it was refreshing to go to the Oncology Nursing Conference. There were 7,000 Oncology Nurses who all understood. They “got” me. And we all wanted to do this job, and if it’s not wrong to say this, we like our jobs. It’s good to be there for someone, teach them what to expect so they’re not so scared, listen to their “story”, and be there for them. There is conversation, humour and very rarely, tears. So yes, there is some compassion there. I think I felt more compassion after we dealt with it in our family. My husband’s cancer made me a better oncology nurse because I understood what the caregiver was going through and how cancer impacts the whole family and all areas of life. But before you start to think too highly of me, let me tell you that I do keep my emotional distance from patients. It would be too much for me if I didn’t. I leave my work at work. I don’t interact with patients outside of work in any way. I have never attended the funeral of a patient. I do this on purpose. Maybe I don’t even have the emotional strength to be truly compassionate. I wonder, sometimes.

Compassion: Now, I don’t believe that! Tell me about some other concerns close to your heart.

Pia: Well, I have my daughter, Leah to thank for making me aware of some of these things. Through her, I learned about the International Justice Mission, modern day slavery, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labour and fair trade products. Through Falling Whistles, I learned about child soldiers in the Congo. I also care about medical missions like Mercy Ships and Christian Blind Mission; general missions like Emmanuel International or To Every Tribe; or Bible missions like Wycliffe Bible Translators or The Bible League. But again, sending money or wearing a whistle around my neck doesn’t seem like much.

Compassion: Don’t underestimate the need for senders and supporters. Perhaps that’s your role at this stage in your life.

Pia: Maybe.
Compassion: Do you think you’d feel better if you physically went over there?
Pia: Perhaps a short-term missions project. It’s been on my mind for quite a few years now. But again, that leap from desire to action just hasn’t happened.

Compassion: Far be it from me to hold you back, but you also need to look to God for His timing, and then you’ll see all the pieces fall into place. When the time is right, you may go, but in the meantime, keep responding to those promptings to do what you can where you are. And also know that there are many ways to ‘suffer together’ with some here in your own country. Ask God to bring those situations into your life.

Pia: Thank you so much, Compassion. You always make me feel better. Sometimes I feel so useless as a Christian. I feel like the extent of my action is signing a cheque. I know I need to continue to be faithful in that, and ask God for new opportunities to serve. It’s a hurting world out there.

Compassion: It was a pleasure to be here. Let me give you a big, compassionate hug.

Monday, October 17, 2011

His and Hers Wedding

October 17, 2011.

Outside my window...cold and drizzling. It's supposed to rain a lot this week. I'm wearing my winter coat for the first time this fall. It's also getting dark earlier. Oh, Canada!
I am thinking...we attended a Muslim wedding of our former neighbours last night. We've been to one before, but this was different because they had men in one banquet room and women and children in another. So there were no common speeches or stuff like that. He joined her for some pictures, though. I was the only non-Indian, non-Muslim woman in the room. The only people we knew were the groom's family. It started two hours late. We were starting to feel welcome, but had to leave as we had an out of town guest. The food would have been good. We only had appetizers.
I am get a favourable response to a query I sent to the editor of a Christian magazine. It's my first one. It may be the first rejection letter I receive, but that's how I learn, I guess.
I am thankful husband's successful fishing trip. When he came home a day earlier than expected I thought it either went really well or really poorly. He came home with five rainbow trout, each about five pounds, and a pike. We gave away four already. We're eating one tomorrow and the other on Sunday when my daughter and her boyfriend are coming for dinner.
I am yoga pants, a pink t-shirt and a sweater.
From the kitchen...chicken breasts, hassleback potatoes and green beans.
I am hearing...conversations on the train.
I am reading...A Proper Wife by Winnie Griggs.
Around the house...I'm actually burning some fat by walking the dog for 45 minutes a day. The colder it gets, the faster we walk. My youngest daughter was on t.v. today, on Much Music Live, talking about a concert she attended last night. She looks very confident in front of the camera. My eldest was home for one day this week, to take her final driving test. She practiced parallel parking right before the test. Some random toothless guy came up to her and gave her a few pointers, which helped. We told her he must have been an angel in disguise. :)
One of my favourite things...when my puppy sleeps under my bed while I nap.
Some plans for the Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night. Prep for our dinner party on Saturday night. My theme is Autumn Comfort. I'm mostly organized. Church on Sunday. Host my daughter and her boyfriend for dinner.

Interview with Selfishness

By Pia Thompson

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Phil. 2: 3, 4

Pia: Today I’d like to welcome Selfishness to my blog. Thank you for coming.

Selfishness: Yes, well, I was rather busy. My time is valuable, you know.

Pia: Yes, I appreciate that. We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

Selfishness: True, but you don’t know everything I have to accomplish in a day! My To Do list is as long as your arm.

Pia: Out of curiosity, what does your list look like for today?

Selfishness: Well, first, I had to have my morning coffee. Everyone knows not to talk to me during my first cup of coffee. I need my space.

Pia: Sadly, I can relate to that. I basically have a no-fly zone around me until I’ve had two cups of coffee. If my husband calls from work, the first thing he asks is, “First cup or second?” If I say, “First,” he’ll say, “Okay, bye,” hang up and call back later. It’s sad to be such a slave to my addictions that people fear to approach. Even my kids know not to ask a favour until afterwards, or the answer is likely to be No.

Selfishness: There’s nothing wrong with a routine, or some ‘me’ time, is there? After my coffee I have a leisurely breakfast, often the same thing every day.

Pia: Me, too.

Selfishness: Again, it’s good to know what you want, and how you like things done. Less confusion that way. People learn what you expect of them and you can be expected to be consistent.

Pia: Or inflexible. What’s next on your plan?

Selfishness: I exercise for an hour.

Pia: Exercise is good. We need to be good stewards of the body we’ve been given.

Selfishness: I don’t know about that, but I do care about my appearance, and I want to live as long as possible. Speaking of appearance, I tend to take quite a while to get ready. I like to think I’m worth the wait, though. I have my favourite products; I must have them even though they cost more. They’re such good quality and they promise to keep me young looking. Make-up is so important for looking one’s best, don’t you think? I mean, to bring out your best features, camouflage any imperfections. And salon quality hair products make all the difference. That, and a person who knows what they’re doing. I go to Andre’s on Avenue Road, but I also took a course on makeup artistry and hair styling. I also try to keep up with the latest styles.

Pia: I see. Back to your list.

Selfishness: Well, then I had the interview here with you. How long will it take? I have an appointment with my nail-lady. I’m going to get a French manicure. I like that look on me. It’s very classy, like me! Ha, ha, just kidding!

Pia: It should only take a few more minutes. Where are you off to after you get your nails done?

Selfishness: Well, I was planning to shop. Retail therapy cures wait ails you. It’s already October and I haven’t even purchased my new fall wardrobe. All my sweaters are in last year’s colours! And there’s a new style of boots I must get.

Pia: Is there something wrong with last year’s clothes?

Selfishness: Pardon me?

Pia: Are they worn out?

Selfishness: No, of course not. But they’re unwearable.

Pia: What do you do with your old clothes?

Selfishness: Usually nothing. They stay in my ample walk in closet, colour coded and organized by type of clothing. I could stand in there all day and just admire my collection. And the shoes! I have shoes to match each outfit.

Pia: Do you ever give them away?

Selfishness: (blank look) To whom?

Pia: Oh, I don’t know. There are plenty of charities who accept gently used clothing.

Selfishness: Who would want to wear someone else’s old clothes? No, I wouldn’t do that.

Pia: After shopping, what’s next?

Selfishness: I’m meeting my girlfriends, Vanity and Epicurean for lunch. There’s a new restaurant uptown that has a famous chef. He makes delicious meals that are so pretty on the plate. There’s not much to the serving sizes, but we just solve that by ordering more courses. When we’re there we often see famous people. And they see us, too.

Pia: Sounds...interesting. What about your afternoon?

Selfishness: My friends and I are going to the new exhibit at the museum. Everyone else has already been to see it and I can’t not go! I love the arts! They’re so important to support.

Pia: Do you support any charities?

Selfishness: Do you mean, like giving to the museum fund?

Pia: No, I was thinking along the lines of supporting Christian organizations or social causes; helping those less fortunate than you.

Selfishness: Well, let me see. I did pass on some of my knowledge about makeup artistry to my friend’s sister. She really needed the help. Does that count?

Pia: It’s not really what I had in mind. They say you can tell what matters to a person by looking at their calendar and their chequebook. Do you do anything that costs you, either in time or money or convenience?

Selfishness: Oh, I see. That’s why you think I should give away some of my clothes. Well, I may get a few things together, if I find the time. Have I mentioned how busy I am?

Pia: Yes, I think you may have mentioned that. Where are you going after the museum?

Selfishness: Well, after exercising, and then all that walking from shopping and the museum, I’m sore all over. I’m going for a massage.

Pia: A massage?

Selfishness: Yes. It’s absolutely necessary or I’ll be too stiff to accomplish anything tomorrow. I have a big party to plan and I need to be ready for it. I have a regular masseuse who gives the most delicious massages. They use scented oils, aromatherapy, and the men who work there are my eye candy. (wink) It’s my little indulgence for the day.

Pia: That’s quite a full day.

Selfishness: I know! Didn’t I tell you I was busy? If the massage wasn’t so relaxing, I’d need an afternoon nap. Most days I do. Just 30 to 60 minutes with no distractions; on the deck in the summer, on the couch with a roaring fireplace in the winter. I love naps. I don’t know why toddlers fight them. They’re just the thing.

Pia: What’s for supper? Are you making your family’s favourite?

Selfishness: Oh, no, you must be joking. We either eat out, so we all get what we like, or it’s every man for himself. I like to think I’m teaching them independence. They’ll thank me when they’re older.

Pia: Do you need to help your kids with their homework or take them to music lessons or sports?

Selfishness: Oh, no! I’m much too busy for that.

Pia: So you said.

Selfishness: Yes, the computer is great for helping with homework. There’s that wiki-thing.

Pia: Wikipedia?

Selfishness: Yes, that, or they walk to the library and study with their friends. I don’t want a crowd around in the evening. I need to relax after a full day. They don’t want to hang out with me anyway. As for sports or lessons, I told them I don’t have time to be their chauffeur. I’m a busy woman. Have I mentioned that?

Pia: Maybe once or twice.

Selfishness: Besides, by the evening, I’m exhausted. What more can one woman do? I need to put my feet up, have a glass of wine and watch a romantic comedy.

Pia: Do you do anything to improve yourself?

Selfishness: Haven’t you been listening, my dear? Everything I’ve done is for me! To improve my health, my appearance, my cultural awareness, my social standing, my acquaintances, my perfect little family. What more could I possibly be doing? There are only so many hours in a day and I’m just one woman. I can’t be expected to change the world, can I?

Pia: You could try.

Selfishness: (looking at watch) Well, I really need to go. My nails are atrocious and I can’t be late for my appointment. This went longer than I expected.

Pia: I’m sorry. I know your time is valuable and you’re a very busy woman. This talk has been an eye-opener. I think just hearing you tell me about your plans today has made me see how much you’ve been an influence on my life and my thinking.

Selfishness: That’s very kind of you to say so, dear. I do hope we can get together again, soon, maybe for coffee or lunch at that new bistro. I heard their calamari is delectable. Oh, and will you send me a copy of this interview? I want to show it to my friends. They’ll never believe I found the time in my busy day to be interviewed. But you know me; I like to think of others.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thanksgiving, Big Time!


Outside my window...overcast, and beginning to rain. I don't mind, since I'm working, but my husband is on a fishing trip. It was a hot, sunny weekend, which was great for Thanksgiving because we were able to stay out on the deck most of the day.
I am thinking...I was asked to do a five minute report at the SGF Assembly in November, on the Pastors' and Elders' Wives conference, which I already summarized below. For those of you with no fear of public speaking, you probably think, "What's the big deal?" But my first response was, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" but then I thought I should take this opportunity to grow, after all, I'm a big girl!
I am husband has a good time. He wasn't able to find his bag of fishing lures even though we searched through every closet.
I am thankful smoothly the day went yesterday. 27 people for dinner, all the food turned out, there was more than enough, the dog was fine with the crowd, my husband shared a few passages of Scripture before he prayed, and it was fun. We fit so much better in this house. Such a blessing! But since it was Thanksgiving, I'll share a few more things I'm thankful for: my salvation, my church, my Pastor, the Scriptures, fellowship of other believers, my husband, my marriage, my children, my extended family, my health, my job, our vehicle, my commute, a full pantry, my freedom, my country, my hobbies, my computer, my friends. I saw this quote the other day:
"What if what you had today was only what you thanked God for yesterday? What would you still have?" Jeff Eastwood
I am wearing...jeans and a printed green top, a black windbreaker.
From the kitchen...turkey pot pie with herbed dumpling crust, a.k.a leftovers.
I am hearing...Cupcake Wars.
I am reading...Hook, Line and Sinker by Susan May Warren.
Around the house...all cleaned up from the party. We ate the whole barnyard; turkey, ham, roast beef, and curried goat. Plus appetizers of bacon-wrapped scallops, stuffed mushroom caps, oriental party pack, pumpernickel and spinach dip, veggie platter. Side dishes of mashed potatoes, rice and peas, candied yams, carrots, parsnips, corn, tabouleh, brussel sprouts with honey, cauliflower with cheese sauce. Desserts of northern blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, cherry cheesecake, cookies and cream, and caramel apple cheesecake. Plus pina colada punch, berry punch, beer, wine, coffee and tea. Delish!
My husband has left for his three night fishing trip. I'll miss him, but it's better that he's gone during the weekdays when I'm working. He kept talking about how much he'll miss me, which is nice to hear.
My mom hasn't been out to church for six weeks now. At first she said it was because of John's death, and she was crying so much, but I think she is under conviction from the gospel and she'd rather avoid church than feel uncomfortable. I hope she gets so uncomfortable she flees to Jesus for relief! Lord, please save my Mom!
It was nice to have both girls home for the weekend. They were a big help with the prep.
I am over my cold for the most part. I missed last week at work. My husband put away the picnic table for the winter. I think it's too early. It's depressing to look out at that ugly blue tarp over the swing.
One of my favourite things...when writing flows. My Interviews With...have been a pleasure to write. Within two hours each one is done, and with very little editing. I'll post my Interview with Selfishness and my Interview with Compassion later this week. I had good feedback about Fear, and Darkness. So far, though, Selfishness has been the most convicting, partly because it seemed so easy to write from that viewpoint, and because it's something I struggle with (but not enough). It was more a part of me than Fear or Darkness, which were external. I sometimes had trouble knowing which one I was; Pia or Selfishness.
Some plans for the three nights. Lazy Saturday. Sunday night we are attending a wedding reception for another one of our Muslim neighbours from our old neighbourhood. It's nice to keep in touch with them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interview with Darkness

By Pia Thompson

“Hello Darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to speak with you again.”
Simon and Garfunkel

Pia: Today I’ve invited darkness to my blog. You don’t mind if I keep the lights on, do you Darkness?
Darkness: Well, yes, but I’ll put my sunglasses on. The glare, you know.
Pia: It also hides your eyes. You like to keep things hidden, don’t you?
Darkness: I have that effect. But then, most people like me for that reason. I can keep their secrets. I enable them to sin without fear of discovery.
Pia: Yes, I can see how they would think that, if they didn’t know the God who sees all. Light and darkness are the same to Him. We can’t hide.
Darkness: Thankfully, I’ve convinced most people otherwise.
Pia: I suppose you wouldn’t get the dread or respect you do if people saw how easily you could be driven away.
Darkness: Yes, dread and respect. That’s a good way to put it. Most people don’t love me. They appreciate what I give them. A cover, a cloak. Others dread me not for my own sake, but for the sake of the things they imagine I’m concealing; Bogey men or violence.
Pia: Once, when I was young, a boy locked me and his sister in my closet. I remember the feelings I had in the darkness. It was the middle of the day, but it was so dark in there, there weren’t even any shadows and my eyes wouldn’t adjust to it. The darkness seemed to close in on me. I felt the clothes over my head and the toys on the floor. I was crying and begging him to let us out. His sister tried to command him, but he didn’t do it for a long time. I never thought I was claustrophobic, but I started to find it hard to breathe. When he finally opened the door, I felt such relief. I never looked at that closet in the same way. And I’ve always feared getting trapped, since then. Whenever I’d hear about someone being trapped in a walk-in freezer, or a mine, or children hiding in an old appliance and suffocating, I could remember that place and those feelings.
Darkness: It’s funny how that happens. I show up and all kinds of imaginary things join me. I’m not so malignant, you know. Just an absence of light.
Pia: You’re not so innocent, Darkness. You said yourself that you like to provide people with a covering for their evil deeds. Do you not feel any sense of responsibility for your part in it?
Darkness: If you’re asking if I enjoy it any sense, then yes, I do. I feel I bring out a person’s true self. I help lower their inhibitions. People do things in darkness they’d never do in the light.
Pia: Yes, I know that from personal experience, sadly.
Darkness: Care to elaborate?
Pia: Not really. Paul says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:8, 11-13
Darkness: Ahh, my arch-enemy, Light. You had to bring him into this, didn’t you?
Pia: Well, you know that just as you symbolize evil, so light is a symbol for the highest good, God Himself; Jesus Christ. He said He was the Light of the world, and Peter says we’ve been “called out of darkness into His marvellous light.” It’s when I think about Jesus, and His power to create Light by speaking into darkness, it chases away shadows and fears.
Darkness: Funny how even shadows can frighten. They are only hints of the deeper darkness to follow, yet people see in them all manner of things.
Pia: You’re right. My sister and I were often alone most evenings because our Mom worked in a restaurant. Sometimes we’d watch t.v. shows we shouldn’t have, like Night Gallery or Dracula. I’d have a hard time turning out the light. I’d check in my closets and under my bed, and then turn out the light and scan the corners of my attic bedroom with my flashlight. The problem was, as soon as I’d finish one side of the room, I’d have to start over because I feared “something” had moved into the darker corner. Checking under the bed was never reassuring. I thought as soon as I fell asleep, a trap door would open up under my bed, releasing the Bogey Man. I never let my hands or feet dangle over the bed. That was just inviting danger.
Darkness: (laughing) Oh, I love it! I don’t even have to do anything and I set people trembling.
Pia: You’re not always bad, though. Sometimes the darkness can give me a feeling of solitude. In the silence, it’s easier to pray, and easier to talk about difficult issues when no one can see our faces. It’s easier to confess and seek forgivenss.
Darkness: Finally, some positive feedback. You’d think I was personally responsible for every evil in the world.
Pia: No, but you symbolize it, and you are the ultimate end for those who don’t know Christ. Hell is a place described in terms of “outer darkness” and the “blackness of darkness forever”. Darkness also implies being alone and terrified. Hell is a fearful place, but “He has delivered us from the power of darkness, and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. “ Colossians 1:13
Darkness: I am what I am. Take it or leave it.
Pia: Well, you’re here to stay for now. In Heaven, there will be no Night. It’s the opposite of hell. There will be nothing to fear.
Darkness: I guess I’ll still be working then, in that other place.
Pia: Job security will be little comfort then. Let’s talk about threats and memories, and how they come back in the darkness.
Darkness: Some of my favourite topics. What about them?
Pia: I’ve noticed that you can use one fearful event, even one that didn’t take place in darkness, like a physical assault or a threat of violence, and it comes back magnified in the dark.
Darkness: (clapping his hands) Yes! Yes! I love that! I didn’t even instigate the original event. I just provide the setting, create the mood, add a few unexplained sounds around the house, suggest to your mind that maybe you didn’t lock the door, and suddenly those threatening phone calls you’ve been receiving make you jump when the phone rings. Or you have flashbacks about a real event. So much mileage just by one turn of the earth.
Pia: Well, thank you for visiting my blog tonight. Perhaps you should go before the sun comes to chase you and your shadows away.
Darkness: (rising to leave and removing his glasses to reveal coal black eyes) Yes, I’ll go, but remember it’s always night time somewhere in the world.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Change of Seasons Cold

October 3, 2011.

Outside my, grey, rainy. As the Carpenters sang, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."
I am thinking...I'm glad I went to the conference on Saturday even though I was sick. See the summary below. It was good to see friends. We're in a good fellowship of churches. I missed church yesterday though. That doesn't happen very often. I listened to some sermons online at
I am get over this cough and cold. I tend to get them when the seasons change. I'm missing work tonight. Immunosuppressed patients don't need me coughing on them. Last night my husband said, "If you're going to cough all night, go sleep in the guest room." I guess the honeymoon is over after 25 years. :)
I am thankful job; specifically my benefits. It's good to be able to take time off for bereavement or illness, and not have to worry about losing income.
I am wearing...jeans, a burgundy sweater and a black cardigan. Oh, and a new pair of wool socks my mom knit me.
From the kitchen...Jewish penicillin, a.k.a. homemade chicken soup, chicken salad sandwiches and raspberry pie.
I am hearing...a sermon by my husband, which I missed when I was at the Carey conference. He just quoted me. So funny.
I am reading...Pompeii, City on Fire by T.L.Higley. To say I love it is an understatement. It's especially cool because I can picture all the places since we were just there a few weeks ago. It was an exciting story and really showed what life was like for early Christians, patricians, slaves and gladiators.
Around the house...No energy to do anything. My house needs to be cleaned but the maid (me) is sick. We are having 26 people for dinner in a week and there is a lot to do. We're having the carpets steam cleaned on Friday. My youngest went apple picking. I'm anticipating good desserts from them. My aunt in Finland who is 57 is just from surgery to remove a 20 centimetre tumour from her abdomen. That's a huge tumour!
One of my favourite things...fresh honeycrisp apples.
Some plans for the week...hopefully work on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Buy our turkey and ham. Clean and decorate. Host a homey Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mentoring and Being Mentored

Yesterday at Trinity Baptist Church, the SGF Ladies who are wives of either Pastors or Elders met to discuss Mentoring and Being Mentored. Thirty five women attended, representing 18 churches.

The morning began with singing, led by Sonya Tomlinson. Then Eva Robinson, wife of Pastor David Robinson spoke about Life in the Fishbowl.Here is a summary.

-People are always watching us and making judgments about our decisions; how we school our children, how we parent them, how they behave, or don't, what purchases we make, like cars or homes.
-It's important that we make all of our decisions before an Audience of One.
-We need to realize we are very priveleged to be in this role. We can use our time to glorify God in every area of our lives.
-Our lives are wrapped up in the needs of those in the church. This leads to teaching moments for our children.
-Hospitality is a great privelege.
-Don't place expectations on your children just because they are Pastor's Kids, but because they are believers (if thy are).
-Don't be a people pleaser.
-Involve your kids in ministry so it becomes normal for them.
-Keep balance in your life. Learn to say No.
-Don't be a slave to people's expectations.
-Ministry can be exhausting. (Call Display is a blessing).
-Seek to be joyful.

Heather Muller, wife of Pastor Carl Muller spoke on Life in the Closet. Here is a summary.

-Prayer is a difficult challenge. When Heather taught on this previously for the ladies, she had sent out a questionnaire to many Pastors and Missionaries all over the world, asking what are the challenges and helps to prayer. She shares one from Geoffrey Thomas of Wales.
-Challenges? unbelief, laziness and love of ease.
-What helps? Nothing much. Hearing a sermon on preaching stirs me up for a while, then it's back to the struggle.

Why Read God's Word?
-We need it. We don't live by bread alone.
-We need to be reminded through Biblical history that God is faithful. He can be trusted.
-It strengthens our soul, storing up Scripture for our battles.
-To learn daily.
-The world is a dark place. Sad things have a cumulative, sobering effect on our lives.
-To be reminded of promises bcause we are forgetful.
-To be reminded that God loves us. Leadership can be lonely.
-He is powerful to save. Don't get discouraged.
-To remind us we won't be cast out.
-Sermon audio, headphones (to block distractions). Youversion. Bible reading apps (12 minutes/day).

Why should we Pray?
-We are commanded to pray.
-To thank God for blessings, and even difficult circumstances.
-It's wrong to be unthankful.
-We have sins to confess. Be specific (sins get between us and God).
-It helps us find strength, balance and persepective.
-We can pray for others. This is the best thing we can do for anyone.
-To be a fellow-labourer in the ministries of the church.
-Because we have an adversary; we need to arm ourselves.
-To pray for our husbands; for wisdom and strength.
"Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees."
-Keep a prayer journal. Lists. Note answered prayers.
-Pastor's moral strength: sexual temptation, computers, e-mail.
-Pray through the church Directory.
-Always pray, and not lose heart.
-The closet is the most important room in the house.

Pamela Fellows, wife of Roger Fellows spoke on being Lost in the Crowd. Here is a summary.
-Pastor Al Martin said the loneliest person in the church is the Pastor’s wife. We are not talking about isolation, but being lonely even though surrounded by others, and active in the church.

Causes of Loneliness
-Temperament—shy, lacking in confidence, sensitive as to how others see us, feel inadequate
-Discouragement—can result in feeling lonely; perhaps feeling misunderstood
-Can become introspective, may suffer depression.
-Dissatisfaction with the congregation.
-Criticism of the ministry.
-Criticism of the family.
-Perceived failure not to meet the expectations of congregation.
-Own poor spiritual state. We can wear a spiritual mask.
-Could include health, lack of sleep, time of month or even time of life.
-Concern over children not yet saved. Behaviour of our children. PK (Pastor’s kid) expectations.
-Can’t share personal problems with members of the congregation—feel isolated.
-Difficulty of having close friends within the church.
-Husband spends long hours in study, visitation, board meetings, personal counselling—may feel abandoned.
-New Situations—new church in new locality, motherhood, retirement, change of function in church, sensory changes with age.

Effects of Loneliness
If loneliness is not handled correctly it may lead to self pity, self absorption, blaming God for our situation, blaming others, often husband or family. Also the following could be included; bitterness, unable to accept help or friendship of others, spiritual coolness, distraction, unapproachable, withdrawn, low self-esteem.

Handling Loneliness
-Don’t deny the condition; rather accept it and work on it.
-Pray. Cultivate a thankful attitude.
-Remedy loneliness-Be activate in helping others. Don’t throw a pity party.
-Turn loneliness into being solitary. Be positive about being lonely. It allows us to reflect inwardly and better understand ourselves and recognize our worth in God’s sight.
-Pray for a close friend—someone to share and pray with. Prepare to be vulnerable. Don’t feel you have to be the one always ministering.
-Remember that God sets the lonely in families (Ps. 68:6). We are part of his family in the local church.
-Recommended books: Singing in the Fire by Faith Cook and Deserted by God by Sinclair Ferguson.

Our main speaker was Cathy Clemens, wife of Jim Clemens. She spoke on Mentoring and Being Mentored.
Read Titus 2:1,3-5

Mentoring: Developing more meaningful relationships with other women of God by giving away what you have received on your own journey as a woman of God.
-Everyone is younger or older than someone else. We can all mentor someone or benefit from being mentored.
-By example. A younger woman won’t be helped to live a godly life if she doesn’t see the example in you.
-One on one conversation. Meet for coffee. Learn to listen, not just talk.
-Ladies’ meetings.
-Study God’s Word.
-Seasons of life.
-Mentor our children. This is our first opportunity.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Interview with Fear

By Pia Thompson

Pia: Today, I’m speaking with Fear. He is well known to most of us. Fear has been a constant companion to many, a casual acquaintance to others. Welcome to my blog today, Fear.
Fear: Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here. Always good to see you, again, Pia.
Pia: Now, Fear, you and I are well, I wouldn’t say old friends, but we do have a history at the very least.
Fear: Yes, we do have a history. I’d like to think we still have a connection. Wouldn’t you?
Pia: Yes, well, for the sake of those who don’t know you as well, I’ll introduce you. Fear first made an appearance in my life after the death of my Father. I was three, my sister was five. Fear is a near relative of Insecurity. Some say the family resemblance often makes it difficult to tell them apart.
Fear: If I may interject, I think I’m stronger than my cousin. Insecurity is far too fretful.
Pia: Yes, I agree. But you both bullied me in my early years.
Fear: Such a strong word, bullying. We don’t do any more than you allow us to do. Please don’t play victim with me.
Pia: Anyway, my mother turned to alcohol to cope. I felt very alone. She was often depressed and would sit in the dark at home. I remember hearing on the news about a single mom who drove into the water, killing herself and her two daughters. I remember asking, “You wouldn’t do that, would you, Mom?” Somehow her reassurances didn’t help.
And because my father died young in a car accident, I feared the same could happen to my mother and we’d be left alone.
Fear: If I may, how am I to blame for any of this? Did I drive the car that killed your father?
Pia: No, but you and your cousin whispered to me on those many nights when I slept with the light on.
Fear: Don’t bring my cousin, Darkness into this. Let’s just stick to you and me.
Pia: Very well. I turned inward. I may have been more naturally shy being the younger sibling. But in my school years, I became painfully shy, beyond description. I was the queen of malingering, pretending to be sick to avoid the stress of school. Because of my home life, I spent many nights sleeping over with friends. I was drawn to “whole” families who loved each other, talked and joked. I knew that’s what I wanted if I ever had a family.
Fear: Excuse me while I dab at my tears. So touching.
Pia: No one would ever accuse you of being sensitive, Fear. But I do have to thank you.
Fear: Thank? Me? Whatever for?
Pia: You are a motivator of sorts. You helped me want to escape, find a better life; happiness.
Fear: Did I succeed?
Pia: Yes, but I wouldn’t go so far in giving you all the credit. When I first heard the gospel, it was fear of judgment that motivated me to come to Christ, although it was love that kept me. I knew when I heard the bad news, that it was true. I was a sinner and I deserved to suffer the wrath of God. When I heard the Good News, that God had provided a way of escape through Jesus Christ, I ran into the arms of a Father who would never leave me alone. This was the beginning of my life as a Christian. But you didn’t leave me, Fear.
Fear: Well, not to boast, but I am faithful.
Pia: I knew my fears were inconsistent with a life of faith, that they showed a lack of trust in God, but a lifetime with you wasn’t easy to shake.
Fear: Oh, I recall being kicked to the curb more than once.
Pia: Yes, it was those Bible verses. They helped me see you for what you really were.

“ Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

Isaiah 43:1,2

Then said I:
“ Ah, Lord GOD!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
But the LORD said to me:
“ Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.
“ Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.“
Jeremiah 1:6-8

“ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

Pia: Why are you covering your ears, Fear?
Fear: I thought this was an interview, not Pick-on-Fear Day.
Pia: So what have you been doing with yourself, lately? Besides hiding in closets and under beds?
Fear: Ouch. Although there is merit in those things you mentioned. Some people never shake well established childhood fears. Get ‘em early, I always say. But to answer your question, I’ve left you alone for quite a while now, haven’t I?
Pia: Yes. Some of my fears and insecurites fell away as I became an adult, others left as I matured as a Christian. Once I learned how easily I could make you flee, by prayer and the Scriptures, I became more confident.
Fear: See, you found yourself a Christian man, built yourself that dream Christian family you always wanted, with love and laughter and joy. Oh, excuse me a moment while I bring up my lunch.
Pia: You’re right and wrong. My mother stopped drinking when I was seventeen. The lights turned on, quite literally. I began to know her and we now have a great relationship. God blessed me with a husband and a family. He showed mercy to me by also saving my children. Yes, I have a happy family life, like I had always dreamed. But it’s not all sweetness and light. We live in a fallen world. My husband developed bone cancer in his leg thirteen years ago.
Fear: He’s alive, isn’t he? What does that have to do with me?
Pia: Yes, he’s alive, thank God. God spared him, and all of us. During that time though, I had no assurances he would survive. I’m an oncology nurse. I know that not everyone has a happy ending. I was afraid he would die. Our girls were 6 and 8 at the time. I feared they would grow up without a Dad, like I did.
Fear: But they didn’t. I’ve kept away since then,let you go on with your storybook life, in a beautiful house in the suburbs, with your mother living with you, and a dog, no less!
Pia: Yes, life is good. I thank God for His blessings. I know I don’t deserve them. Now, though, I see your subtlety. You’re not attacking in the old way. Now you dress up in opportunities.
Fear: Please explain how I manage to scare you by opportunities.
Pia: Fear of failure is a great motivator. It makes me work hard. But fear of success is different. I know that in order to succeed, I need to take risks, step out of my comfortable world, and risk rejection. Sometimes it’s safer to stay in mediocrity; not promoting myself, not finishing writing my books, because then I’d have to push the baby from the nest. What if it doesn’t fly? Suddenly I’m an insecure child again, afraid of the world out there. All alone. That’s why I just blog for myself and keep my partially finished manuscripts on a shelf. It makes me feel I’m working towards something without ever getting there.
Fear: So, let me get this straight. I am responsible for the bad things in your life, and the good things? I keep you in your mediocre existence so you won’t take chances because of your fear of failure AND your fear of success? I didn’t know I was that good. I need to update my resume. I impress myself!
Pia: No, Fear. You’re still loathsome, no matter what form you take. But I’m wise to you. I see how you operate and I don’t have to allow you to freeze me in time. I learned long ago that you are not invincible.
Fear: Well, so happy for your insights. Glad we had this little chat, but I must be going, scaring little children and all that, you know.
Pia: I can’t say I’m sad to see you go, but I am glad we had this talk. You’re not so intimidating in person. I thought you’d be taller. And I totally wasn’t expecting the British accent.
Fear: (rising to leave) Goodbye, Pia. I’m sure I’ll see you again sometime. Think of me when you can’t finish writing something. I may be around the corner, holding hands with Success.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Time of Life

September 26, 2011.

Outside my window...a rare, hot fall day, 29 C, but it's supposed to rain the rest of the week.
I am thinking...We're getting to the age where our friends' parents are dying. Our best man's mom died this weekend. She was a sweet lady. She was a real energizer bunny at church back in the day. She developed Alzheimer's and was cared for at home by her daughter-in-law for many years. She broke her hip last week and stopped eating. Christian funerals are so different. A friend at church told me they were once at a funeral home and the funeral director had to come and ask them to keep it down, because they were talking and laughing and it upset another funeral where they were wailing.
I am blog at least three times a week until the end of the year.
I am thankful home. It's big enough that I actually offered to host 27 people for Thanksgiving dinner!
I am uniform, at work of course.
From the kitchen...bbq sausage in a bun and grilled banana with brown sugar.
I am co-workers talking.
I am reading...31 Days to Finding your Blogging Mojo by Bryan Allain. Very funny.
Around the house...I ended up being off all last week because of bereavement leave. See the blog about the funeral.
One of my favourite things...they've added an extra GO train in the morning, so I get home 30 minutes sooner. Nice.
Some plans for the four nights. Attend a conference at Trinity Baptist Church on Saturday, for the wives of Pastors and Elders. Church on Sunday.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Wonder of the Cross?

"But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." Rom. 1:23,24

As Christians, we love the Cross. To us, it is a symbol of our redemption. For it was on a cross that Jesus died for our sins. He purchased us. He paid the price we owed. He absorbed the wrath of God in His own person. If not for the work of Christ on the cross, we would have no hope of Heaven.

Over the centuries,the offence of the cross has diminished. People see it as jewellery, no more significant than a star or a peace sign.
But what if we wore a hangman's noose on a chain around our necks? Or an electric chair? What if we sang songs about the wonder of those things? Then we'd see how offensive the cross was to the people of the first century. It was an instrument of torture and execution, a place reserved for the worst criminals. It was, to modern sensibilites, cruel and unusual punishment. It was not the quick death of a lethal injection, a guillotine or even a firing squad.

Why do Christians love to talk about the death of this One? In the hymn, O Sacred Head, it says, "Yet though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine."

We see it through eyes of faith. If Christ had not suffered there, the Just for the unjust, we would have to pay for our own sins. It is, in one symbol, or one word, an image of what Christ accomplished for us. His victory is our victory. That's why we glory in the Cross!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The occasion of my brother-in-law's funeral this weekend has made me think about funerals and death. I even woke up from a nightmare this morning. In it someone was walking by, and then someone said, "Look who else is here." The person following was John, as he appeared in his casket last night.
I guess as much as I thought I was handling it, I think it still creeped me out to see him there. There's nothing "normal" about death, no matter how often we see it. And I've seen more death than I should have. I've seen the process of dying so often that I can recognize imminent death. I know the signs to watch for; no urine output, cold extremities, cheyne-stokes breathing (laboured breathing alternating with apnea). Death is usually measured in hours at that point, although I've seen it stretch to days, but that is rare and it takes an especially strong person to last for days with such effort to breathe. It's also hard on the family, who are on "death watch", alternating which family member will stay with them so they're not alone. Yet I've also seen family members who don't recognize death when it comes, even though they've been watching for it.
But seeing these signs in a family member is so much harder than with a patient.
Also,as a rule, I don't go to funerals of my patients. I was going to make an exception for my favourite patient's funeral, but then John died and his funeral was planned for the same time. I felt bad about missing it, but of course, family takes precedence. His daughter seemed to understand when I told her.
Last night was the visitation. It was so good to see my relatives, although the occasion was very sad. Of course, the open casket was important for some, for closure. I understand, and I'm okay with it as long as the person is presentable i.e. not burned, for example.
Speaking of that, they are planning to cremate him. I personally dislike the whole idea of it, especially if there is no permanent grave marker to show the person ever lived. So, to add to my blog, Funeral Plans, do NOT cremate me, you may do an open casket, and you may document the day with a video or pictures. Yes, Finns take pictures at funerals, and I'm totally okay with that.
Today the funeral service was held at the funeral home and officiated by a Justice of the Peace. She was the same person who married them a few months ago. John was from an Irish Catholic family, but I guess he wasn't very "Catholic" anyway, so they did a secular funeral, which is so different from Christian funerals,where there is a sadness amidst hope.
The eulogies were good. Even my sister spoke, which I thought was very brave. I couldn't do that. I also learned things abot John that I never heard in the five years I've known him. He had a very supportive network of family and friends.
Afterward, we went to a local pub. Apparently, it's what the Irish do. I'm glad we went.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bookaholic's Dream

There is a group on called Bookaholics. We share our common socially acceptable addiction; not with a view to change, like Alcoholics, but to find someone who “gets” us. We’ve often talked about how cool it would be to be locked in to a bookstore all night. We would be the only ones there. We could browse all night, and discuss books and the life of a bookaholic. Of course, we live all across Canada, so it would probably never work, but dreaming’s free.

Death in the Family

Outside my window...a rainy Monday.
I am thinking...My brother in law died yesterday from his brain tumour. He was 54. They had given him a prognosis of eight months and he lived nine. However, he was paralyzed on one side for the whole time. My husband and I had gone to visit him on Friday night. At that point he was unable to speak, but he was aware of people and could squeeze my hand and I think he was able to understand what was said to him. His sister was there for a while and then left, so we had some private time with him. My husband prayed for him, specifically that God would be with him and that John would turn to Christ. Then he shared the gospel with him. I’m so glad we had that opportunity. That’s the only thing that gives me comfort; that he may have cried out to God and we will see him in Heaven. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate. I have one night off from work, that’s all that’s allowed for a brother in law at my work. My husband gets four days if he needs it, but he’s only taking one day off. The funeral will be this weekend, I think.
I am have a productive week.
I am thankful for...the opportunity we had to share the gospel with John.
I am wearing...jeans and an olive green top.
From the kitchen...homemade jalapeno poppers; arugala, feta and watermelon salad; curried chicken thighs and rice and beans.
I am hearing...a cooking show on the Food Network.
I am reading...The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund.
Around the Mom is really having a hard time with John’s death, because even after all this time, it still reminded her of my father’s death forty four years ago.
One of my favourite things...Pinterest. I just discovered it. As if I needed another internet distraction! Goodbye, Productivity!
Some plans for the two nights. Clean the house in preparation for guests this weekend. Attend the viewing Friday afternoon. Go on a dinner cruise of Toronto harbour with two other couples on Friday night. Host out of town family for the weekend. Funeral on Saturday. Church on Sunday.