Thursday, March 30, 2006


Since starting all of my research and policy work on sexual
trafficking, I have thought often about the issue of choice; and when
things are "real" choices. Do people ever choose to enter the sex
trade? I've met people who certainly think they have, and would be
insulted at being told it wasn't a rational choice. And yet... the
average age of entry in Canada is 14, and most prostituted persons
have histories of poverty and sexual abuse (which profoundly alters
your thinking). So, even if they're making a rational or real choice
to enter, are they really?

Or take the case of domestic violence. Do women choose to stay in
intimate relationships where they are
physically/emotionally/sexually/spiritually abused by their partners?
The simple answer is yes – some women choose to stay. But that choice
is usually made with numerous considerations, including fear,
self-esteem, poverty or economic hardship, sexism or racism, children
(and society's idealization of two-parent families), community
pressures, shortage of community resources, etc. Is the choice to stay
(or return) really a choice when you have been afraid and intimidated
for years; when you have little self-esteem or self-respect left, when
all of your finances are in your husband's name, when you want your
children to have a Daddy, and when your church community tells you
that marriage is for life and a woman's patient love and persistence
will eventually guarantee her husband's salvation?

And yet how could I ever say that women are unable to make real
choices about their lives because of their life circumstances? Isn't
that disempowering? The issue of choice seems complicated.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Blessings at the Dominion

The other day I was getting a few groceries at our local grocery
store. As the woman was giving me my receipt, she held my hand for a
moment, looked into my eyes, smiled and said "God bless you." I was so
touched! Our (temporary) neighbourhood is predominantly Muslim (from
Pakistan and Afghanistan), and there is seemingly constant traffic to
and from the local mosque. I admire our neighbours' commitment to
their faith and to spreading peace.


The other day I was in a meeting about sexual trafficking. I was
inspired by the commitment and passion that people had about
eliminating this form of slavery. I was particularly inspired by two
women who have made this their life's passion. The meeting broke for
lunch, and we all went to the hotel restaurant. I was talking with one
woman about her many trips overseas, and how most people in our part
of the world cannot even comprehend how most of the world lives; and
the degrees of poverty and suffering. She kept repeating how this was
her passion. Then it came time to order, and she spent (literally) 15
minutes asking the waiter questions about various menu items and
complaining that nothing really suited her. The other woman, who
moments earlier has been speaking passionately about ending sexual
trafficking, flipped out when her salad came because the dressing was
already on it. She was so upset, because that meant extra calorie

To me, it all seemed out of place, and lacking in integrity. But then
I shouldn't judge - I seem to always flip flop between genuine caring
and compassion about others, and then pure self-centredness and
wanting to get my own way! Ah, to be human!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Some people I admire

- Sherri (my best friend). She keeps giving and giving with a nice
combination of grace, gentleness and determination. She is super
smart, beautiful, and adventurous.
- Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. They modelled forgiveness,
reconciliation and love, as the most pure form of justice.
- Grace (the lady at the desk next to mine). She is kind and generous,
and spent her whole birthday yesterday fasting and praying for others.
She often brings little treats to my desk.
- Linda (the lady who works at the front desk at my work). She is
constantly joyful, and helps so many people. She is dedicated and has
a big heart.
- Parents, in general.
- Nana. She's over 80, and yet has an amazingly open mind, and just
continues to love people and show compassion without judging.
- Lisa (my choir director). She is real. That's my favourite thing
about her, but she's also fun, committed, talented and beautiful.

There are more, but this is a just a taste. Aren't we blessed to have
so many people in our lives?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Birthday John!

Yep, that's right - it's my honey's birthday! I'm so crazy in love
with John... May this be a year of love, fun and African sunsets for
you! xo

Friday, March 10, 2006

It's hard out here for a WHO?

By the way... was anyone else really bothered by this year's Academy
Award winning song, "It's hard out here for a pimp"? Granted, the tune
IS catchy, but oh my goodness - what an insult to all of the (mostly)
women and girls being trafficked and prostituted and exploited by
pimps. Sometimes my culture astounds me.

Fascinating thoughts

So, John has left me for a few days to go to Innovare with my Dad.
Last night I actually had to cook for myself (imagine!) I made yummy
fettucine alfredo, which John won't eat anymore because it's so
unhealthy. It was SO good though - whipped cream, butter and cheese -
honestly - what could be healthier than that? OK, maybe the confession
part should be that later on in the evening I cooked up some more for
myself! :)

Last night I watched "The Gospel" - superstar cast, good looking men
and great music. The only drawback being that Donnie McLurkin didn't
sing - what's with that?

This week I also went to see Joel's play "The Puzzled Man." It is
quite bizarre, but hilarious. I'm proud of Joel. He's living out his
dreams. I also got to see my cousin Kimberly dance ballet. Wow! She
looked so graceful and beautiful.

If I could have another talent, it would have to be dance. I used to
take hiphop classes. I felt oh so cool!

I turn 28 tomorrow. It's hard to believe - probably because I still
look 16! God is good. I thank Him for another year of my life. I love

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy International Women's Day!

Today is International Women's Day!
I am blessed to have so many beautiful, wonderful women in my life. I
have women who pray for me, and encourage me, and make me laugh, and
make me want to be a better person. This is a shout out to all of you!
Thank you.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Wedding

Well, it's official, Josh and Jenn are married. The wedding was
beautiful! My favourite parts were Josh singing a song he wrote to his
new bride (my parents were bawling!) and Joel giving a really moving
speech (he had everyone in tears). The armadillo part was fairly
moving too... It was good to see some friends of the family, and my
Nana flew in from B.C.

So, we have a new sister. She and Josh are on a cruise right now, so
we're trying not to be too jealous. I felt really proud of my little
brother. And, I must admit, I love weddings. I had some troubles with
the computer, but there are *some* ("unofficial") photos of the
wedding in our photo gallery, if you want to have a look.

My kind of man

I have a lovely lunch out with my sister today. It was good to chat
and I just love her. But afterwards, as I was sitting at my desk, I
had a craving for apple sauce. Thankfully we pass by a grocery store
on our way home from work. John indulged me (and it was on sale!) We
ate dinner, and then I tried to open the jar. Well, of course, I'm not
much in the bicep department, so I couldn't get the lid off. I passed
on the noble duty to John - who tried quite hard and even gave himself
an indent on his hand, but could not get it open. He can run really
far though.

So, I brought the jar down to the laundry room and checked out who
seemed the strongest. I must admit that it sounded like a pick-up line
when I was like, "hi! I was wondering if you could open up my apple
sauce?" I love a man who can admit his weaknesses and stand by as his
wife asks another random man to open a jar. Yep, that's my kind of

Friday, March 03, 2006

Take Action!

The federal government of Canada is planning on scrapping the Early Learning and Child Care Agreements with the provinces and instead giving $1200 per pre-school child/year. This represents $100 per month. I think we all know that this is a pittance and will negatively/unjustly impact poor and middle class families. Please sign the petition at the link below and let the government know that this is a terrible mistake.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New Date

OK, so there was a "complication" with our case presentation on the
22nd, but our new date is March 7th - that's when our case will be
presented again. I wonder if that will be THE date?

My baby brother gets married in 2 days. I get it, he's not still a
baby, but it's still crazy. I honestly have so many memories of
holding him and even changing his diapers. He was SUCH a cute kid! A
rascal, for sure, but such a cutie. I remember the time when he was a
little lamb in a play (actually, he was a lamb more than once...)

We are going out to celebrate Jenn (my soon-to-be sister-in-law)
tonight - with Ethiopian food (what better way to celebrate?)