Friday, September 30, 2005

Ah, public transit

I've often said that public transportation is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment.
Yesterday I was taking the subway to the doctors'. This older lady got on the subway, and she was taking her seat as the train started to move. She stumbled a bit and then basically fell into this guy's lap. I sat next to her on the other side, and she was looking a bit flustered. She looked at me, and I said, "don't worry - I think it's ok to flirt on the subway." She LAUGHED and smiled - it was so cute!
Then coming home, I was on a crowded subway car, and this teenager started singing, at the top of his lungs, "Old MacDonald" and all these other tunes. It was obvious that his voice was changing, and he kept singing right on the crack of his voice. Everyone on the car was smiling and giggling - what community!
P.S. Props to Kim - who has let me shower at her place every morning this week. Hot water - you've got to love it!  

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Biblical equality

I was intrigued by a post by Steve Court from Wed. Sept. 21 (see side panel). He talked about Biblical Equality and referred us to the website (among other things). All I can say is Hallelujah! Equality between men and women as a biblical concept - go figure!

I'm tired of hearing sexist comments and hearing people naturally accept those comments because they say they're based on the Bible. I'm tired of meeting Christian men and women who think that "feminism" is a dirty word meaning "man-hater" or something. I'm tired of references to how I'm not doing my Christian wifely duty if I'm not cooking for my husband. I'm tired of meeting capable, talented, intelligent Christian women who are being held back in their churches because of their gender. I'm tired of hearing that most women simply can't be effective preachers or worship leaders or whatever because of their "womanly" characteristics.

The Salvation Army was initially revolutionary in its value of women, its acceptance and promotion of ordaining women, encouraging women to preach, etc. May it continue and be radical (rooted) in its view of Biblical equality.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You never know what you're going to get

Monday night I went to go see Joel in the opera Carmen. He had a fairly small role, but he played it with passion. :) An old friend of mine had one of the main roles. I used to sit next to her in choir (T.M.Y.C.) and now she's this opera star. Amazing!

John, Johnny and I spent the weekend in Ottawa. We had an awesome time with Heather & Jason, and Johnny loved it - it was the farthest he's been away from Toronto, and he was just so happy the whole time.

Part of the reason we went to Ottawa was for me to attend my grade 8 reunion. I was in a "special" class from grades 5-8, and there weren't many of us, so we got close. It was fascinating to see all of these people who looked exactly the same as grade 8; just a lot bigger. I asked the guy next to me what he's up to now. He designs and builds weapons to go on tanks headed for the U.S.A. He used to have a job "monitoring" foreigners in our country. WHAT?!??! He asked me what I've been doing, and I explained about working with newcomers to Canada, then doing social work and now preparing to move to Africa. His response was, "well, don't I feel like a piece of s---!" I thought it would be rude to say, "well, you sort of are."

It's amazing how we can all turn out so differently. You never know what you're going to get.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


When I was a kid, I was sort of fascinated by my Dad's chores. My mom did almost everything around the house, but my dad mowed the lawn and did the vacuuming. I guess I saw these as sort of elite chores, thus the intrigue.
Well, we're staying at the Ryans' and their water heater started leaking Sunday night. We discovered this at 3am, when the basement was flooded. Because of some sort of "efficient" system, it will only be looked at this afternoon. So, I bought a wet-vac yesterday morning, and I've been vacuuming up water from all the carpets - over and over again.
I'm afraid to report that the whole fascination/novelty of vacuuming has worn off.
Only 4 days until we move in with my parents! I can't believe it... time is flying. Please pray for John - this is his last week of work, and I have this horrible habit of stressing him out.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Young and old

Last Saturday I baby-sat my friend's 1.5 year old daughter. I made a mess of the feeding and changing, but we had a lot of fun. As we were playing with all of her toys, I was wondering how her little life would have been different if, like her mom, she had been born in west Africa rather than Canada. Every once in a while, she would come up to me, look me in the face, smile, put her hands on my head and in my hair and then start speaking her own personal language. Talk about prophesying in tongues...
It reminded me of this one day I was at a water fountain and this tiny, crinkled, almost toothless Chinese woman kept smiling at me and talking away to me in Mandarin and raising her hands to me.
They say that people who are touched by the Pope have an "experience" - I wonder if it's like what I felt when this little girl placed her hands on my head, or when this old woman smiled at me and blessed me....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Customer appreciation

Yesterday we were in Kitchener for James' birthday. I love James (my brother-in-law) - he brings out this kind of silly/zany side of me - which my own brothers do as well. We had yummy Indian food.

Anyway, before we got to dinner, we stopped in at Zellers. My mom-in-law and I got to the counter and the Zellers lady had this huge "Customer Appreciation Week" button on. I, of course, started to talk to her (a trait inherited from Grandpa and then Dad). I smiled and said something like, "Wow! Customer Appreciation week! Is that this week? Are we appreciated?" She grimaced, looked down and said, "I haven't even read it - they just told us we had to wear them." Then she quickly got us through the line. We sure felt appreciated!

It's irresistable to add a moral to this story, so here goes! Let's appreciate people! I've been doing an informal study for years on saying "how are you?" to people behind counters. It almost always throws them off (because that's THEIR line). An upside down sort of kingdom...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Notebook

I saw "The Notebook" for the third time last night - and, again, I bawled my eyes out. True love!!!! It is such a romantic film.
I wonder if I can still be a feminist if I like "The Notebook" so much...
John and I have seen two other films recently - "Crash" and "The Constant Gardener." Both of these movies made me furious. True, I'm not usually the "furious" type, but who could not feel angry about the prevalence and truths of racism and oppression? They're both excellent movies - highly recommended. But they might make you mad. Well, I hope they make you mad...
But then if you're too mad, you can always watch "The Notebook" again to brighten your spirits! ;)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Let's face it....

Some people were just born to model.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Canada failing its poor

Inequality and homelessness are rising in Canada despite a sustained economic boom and repeated federal promises to cut poverty, says an international study.

Poverty is rising among children and new immigrants, the middle class is finding it increasingly difficult to afford education and housing, and there are 250,000 Canadians living on the streets, says the study by Social Watch, a coalition of 400 non-government organizations from 50 countries.

Read full article here.

Why I love Aaron White

Why I love Aaron White (and people like him). A nine-sentence essay by John McAlister

I like Aaron White because he has deep thoughts. Really deep thoughts. But the reason I LOOOVE him, is that he spends almost every available moment helping those hard to love (crack addicts, criminals, prostitutes).

There are many others I know who have deep thoughts. But they seem to feel that they should spend their lives cuddling up with their deep thoughts rather than hugging someone who’s lonely.

I wish more people were like my friend Aaron. Then, they could take all of their super special ideas about God and the Church and dedicate their lives to loving God and serving their neighbours instead of just talking about it. That would be really, really cool.

Get off your butt and do something!!!

This message brought to you by the Friends of Aaron White, a non-profit organization. Donations always welcome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Jesus Creed

By Brian McLaren

We have confidence in Jesus
Who healed the sick, the blind, and the paralyzed.
And even raised the dead.

He cast out evil powers and
Confronted corrupt leaders.
He cleansed the temple.
He favored the poor.
He turned water into wine,
Walked on water, calmed storms.

He died for the sins of the world,
Rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father,
Sent the Holy Spirit.

We have confidence in Jesus
Who taught in word and example,
Sign and wonder.
He preached parables of the kingdom of God
On hillsides, from boats, in the temple, in homes,
At banquets and parties, along the road, on beaches, in towns,
By day and by night.

He taught the way of love for God and neighbor,
For stranger and enemy, for outcast and alien.

We have confidence in Jesus,
Who called disciples, led them,
Gave them new names and new purpose
And sent them out to preach good news.
He washed their feet as a servant.
He walked with them, ate with them,
Called them friends,
Rebuked them, encouraged them,
Promised to leave and then return,
And promised to be with them always.

He taught them to pray.
He rose early to pray, stole away to desolate places,
Fasted and faced agonizing temptations,
Wept in a garden,
And prayed, "Not my will but your will be done."
He rejoiced, he sang, he feasted, he wept.

We have confidence in Jesus,
So we follow him, learn his ways,
Seek to obey his teaching and live by his example.
We walk with him, walk in him, abide in him,
As a branch in a vine.

We have not seen him, but we love him.
His words are to us words of life eternal,
And to know him is to know the true and living God.
We do not see him now, but we have confidence in Jesus.


Salvation Army grid::blog

A short and unusual post. Why? Because the famous Gordon Cotterill
requested it.

I feel like an SA spy writing in secret code...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Handcuffs and pepper spray

Picked up one of my Regent Park children at Sick Kids Hospital last night. He had an altercation with his principal earlier in the day (ie the principal was chasing him around the playground – at least until the child climbed a tree), and so the principal called the police.

When the police arrived, they got him out of the tree, handcuffed him and threw him into their cruiser. But the kid didn’t like being handcuffed and so started kicking up a fuss in the police car. Then the police pepper sprayed him to get him under control.

Did I mention that the child is 10 years old? He’s got red marks all over his wrists and is still shaken up after the temporary blindness and face-burning episode yesterday. Okay, so the kid went a bit wrangy, but do two police officers really need handcuffs and pepper spray to control a small 10-year-old child?

Today was spent taking him back to Sick Kids for a psych assessment. He’ll probably be off school for a few days at least. Way to start a new school year.

Please pray for this child, his family and the various teachers and other professionals working with him. And also pray that a suitable mentor (I know you’re out there) will be found to watch over him when I leave for Zimbabwe.


Job 29:14 - 17
"I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a parent to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth."
I thought this would be a pretty cool epitaph at the end of my life (although I'm not sure if I'll ever wear a turban...)

Monday, September 12, 2005

My sister

My sister Kirsten just moved out to Vancouver to be a student at the War College for the year. Yep - strange name, but it's a Salvation Army training school for people to live with the marginalized in the worst part of Vancouver (the downtown eastside) and to basically share life with them. I'm sure she will have many adventures, and you can read all about them through her blog.

I love my sister very much. She is very bright, very fun and full of passion for God. I admire her confidence, her sociability, her discipline and her desire to go deeper. We don't look a thing alike, but we have a similar heart for God and for others.

It sucked to say goodbye to Kirsten (I miss her already!), but the thing is that we're sisters and we'll always be close no matter how many kilometres or continents separate us. I am the oldest of four kids, and feel very blessed to be so close to my siblings. It's nice to know that you have people who will just always be there for you.

Kirst - I'm proud of you, and I love you so much! I have been praying for you lots.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The love of work

Last night a bunch of us went to hear my cousin - JP Carter - play trumpet with some other jazz musicians. He's really good (and I'm allowed to brag - he's my cousin). A lot of the music was "experimental" so you couldn't always pick out a tune. But what I loved about it is that the guys playing all looked so content - like they were created to play that music. They were in their element.
The other day I opened an account at Blockbuster (video store) and the guy behind the counter talked to me for about half an hour about all the different deals and options. He was so happy. He loves his job.
Ah, to be passionate about one's job...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Giants of the faith

We spent some time this weekend with our friend "Sue." Sue left a 30 year long abusive marriage last May, and is now trying to reconcile with her daughter, and son (whom she hasn't seen in years). Sue has been through a lot and yet always holds on to faith and to the belief that God hears her prayers and will answer them if she is patient. Sue has joy.
Sherri and I also visited Kim, who has been in and out of hospital most of her life, and yet keep smiling, and sharing God with other patients, and holding onto to God unswervingly. Kim has joy.
Women who suffer and yet keep going every day, and keep trusting in God, and keep demonstrating joy. Giants of the faith.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A week with John

It's been an interesting week. I launched - a new online resource for young people that features a daily blog site, a monthly magazine and a biweekly podcast (please check it out); hired a talented, young editor - Ashley Elliott - to replace me (she's going to be great); and started my last month of work (my final day is September 30).

We moved out of our apartment last weekend and put all of our stuff into storage. We're currently house-sitting for Geoff and Sandra Ryan while they're in Australia, so that's our home base for September. In October, we go on two weeks of holiday, which we will spend with both sets of parents. Then, in mid-October, we go on a two-week mission prep course to help us adjust to life in a new culture. Hopefully, after completing the course, we will be heading off to Zimbabwe. We're still waiting for our working permits, but feel confident that they will be approved. But it would be great if you could pray over that process.

Rochelle is up at Jackson's Point spending time with her family at the Territorial School for Music and Gospel Arts. It will be good to have her home on Saturday. We've been so busy lately that we haven't spent much time together. Tonight's mission: planning a romantic date for next week.

My friend *Kieran is beating me at an extended game of Risk. But don't worry, when we resume our battle tomorrow morning, I'm confident that I will become conqueror of the world. Isn't mentoring fun? I'll make sure to throw in a prayer or two between battles...