Thursday, August 28, 2008

Taste of Heaven

Last night I went up to Jackson's Point. It's one of my favourite places on earth. It's a place where my life always sort of fits together. We used to go there as a family and rent a cabin and spend the days building sandcastles, swimming in the lake and playing croquet. Then I worked there, and went to national music camp there and had some amazing times with God in my teen years. So many memories...

I dropped by to see my uncle Ray, who lives in the neighbourhood. He is 86 and has trouble walking around, but his mind is sharp, and he was so happy to see me. He said I'm all grown up and gorgeous (and his eyesight is still good!) He was the youngest in a family of 12 kids (my late grandfather was the second youngest) and now he is the only one still alive. He was saying that as soon as he goes, the whole family will be gone. It was sobering to think of a whole generation of people gone. But that's life. It was also kind of cool to think that a whole new generation is coming up - and will start by coming out of me (ours is the first baby among all my cousins/siblings). Ray was smiley, gracious and kind. I hope I'm like that at 86.

The reason we went to Jackson's was for a concert and the music was beautiful. All kinds of music bless and touch me - gospel, classical, brass band... There was this one piece that reminded me of Heaven, and I got this vision of being up there and seeing some of my friends from Zimbabwe being seated in the best thrones in the place and given a beautiful, plentiful feast of delicious foods. These friends are humble, hard-working, suffering people, and so they were trying to give up their seats, but they just kept being told, "no, this is where you sit - you've earned it." Of course I cried, because it made me so happy to think that one day there will be no more suffering, and one day those who have had the worst lot in life will have the most wonderful celebration for all eternity. A planet where some of us live here in North America and some of us live in Zimbabwe doesn't really make sense. It's too unfair. But maybe it all works out in the end...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Do you ever feel like you want to be everywhere and nowhere all at the same time?

Do you ever feel dissatisfied with your society's continual state of dissatisfaction?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your social life and lonely all at once?

Do you ever feel like your head, body and heart are all in different places?

Do you ever wonder where you really belong?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good things and Not so good things

Good things:

- On Sunday my Jamaican mother (Joy) said that she wanted to listen to her grandson. So she put her ear up to my belly and right away the baby kicked her in the face! She was shocked and so happy! She said she can't wait to meet her first white grandchild. (This kid's actually got a lot of black grandmothers as well as his white ones... what a heritage!)
- John slow-danced with me even though he was tired (I'm so in love with him - I feel so blessed to have found him...)
- My co-worker brought me a home-made chocolate chip cookie out of the blue this afternoon
- Our friend Kim made us a roast-beef dinner last night
- My mom and I have been going on a walk each day this week
- Hope is flying to the USA today. Hope flies! God is good (and thanks to those of you who helped him out)

Not so good things:

- We saw a great (but sad) movie - "Lars and the Real Girl." I thought it would be stupid, but it really moved me. Loneliness is a hard thing.
- Work has been stressful (although I'm thankful to have a job...)
- The other day mom and I were walking in my neighbourhood near the mosque (and Tim Hortons). A guy about my age asked if we knew where we were going and we said yes - we were just out for a walk. He seemed really angry. Then he asked if we - as Christians (I guess he knew we were Christians from my mom's Sally Ann uniform) thought the devil could come to earth in human form. I didn't have a lot of time to think this through theologically so said no. Then he turned to me, pointed his finger in my face and said, "I curse you to hell." He said all we have to do is look at all of the evil white people in prison to know the devil could come in human form. Then he told us to go back to our Christian building. It was so unsettling! It's not nice to be cursed to hell...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A church service

So, it's right back to Toronto life... we're both busy with work and getting settled back into our "new" life. The sexual trafficking work is very interesting. Sad, but interesting.

It's good to be back at our old church - 614 in Regent Park. I was quite moved several times in the service on Sunday. 2 women became official members (soldiers) and we have known both of them for a long time, so it was special. One woman had been in the sex trade for a long time, and has contracted AIDS. I remember meeting her mother a few years ago and hearing her talk about her "baby girl" and how she had had so many hopes for her and just wanted her to be at peace and happy. She definitely looked at peace and happy on Sunday. I guess seeing her become a soldier also reminded me of the many, many women struggling with HIV around the world - most of whom don't have access to the treatment that our friend is getting, and so don't have those life-prolonging, life-enhancing medicines. And that's unfair, but that's life. I was also really moved when we were asked to consecrate our lives again to God and take a piece of bread at the front. One gentleman came up in a wheelchair and gave his life over to God again, and I was blessed by that. I was also touched after the service in sharing a meal with a woman with developmental disabilities. She was asking me about my pregnancy and I stupidly asked her if she had children. Later on I started a new conversation and saw that she was crying. I don't know what about, but I was thinking that it would be hard to want to have children and to not be "allowed" - for medical or social or other reasons.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hope for Hope

We got an email from our friend Hope last week. Hope is a great guy - full of potential, leadership skills and charisma. Hope got a full scholarship to study business & economics at a university in the USA. Hope also got a visa to the USA, which is a minor miracle. All he had to do was raise $2200US for his plane ticket from Zimbabwe. When we left Zim, he was in great spirits about this opportunity, but last week he wrote to us saying that his family was not able to raise the money, so he would have to forego the scholarship. This did not seem right at all. He was $1200US short, and his parents are very hard-working Salvation Army officers (meaning they would need to work for about 1200 months to raise this kind of cash!)

I thought about what it would feel like if I were a parent, dreaming of my children having an education and a better life, and being so close - yet so far - from giving him this opportunity. Hope's parents are great, and so he's sort of like a nephew as well as friend to us. Of course, we want him to go to university. Also, it's hard not to want to help someone named Hope! So, we've committed to coming up with the $1200US. Some friends have already given us some money, but we still need about $620 Canadian. To be totally honest, we're a bit broke from our moving-back-to-Canada-we-haven't-made-money-in-years situation but we've promised him the money. We can't stop buying groceries either, because our doctor is thrilled that I've put on 22lbs (!!) and says I have to keep on eating...

So, if you want to give Hope some hope, just contact us. That's what makes a difference in this world - one changed life at a time.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's a boy! (and we're not psycho)

Sorry to let out the news to those of you who wanted a surprise, but we can't hold it in any longer... we're having a baby boy! The ultrasound lady did a triple-check and was "100% sure" (which is fairly confident...) We have the names picked out, but they're a secret (everyone needs a bit of suspense in life), so you can guess, but please don't pester John - he might cave under the pressure! :)

We have both started work. We're back at THQ (territorial headquarters) for The Salvation Army. This is starting to be a theme with us... but we're thankful for jobs. John is editing The Salvation Army's websites as well as the main magazine. I'm working on campaigning the international days of prayer for victims of sexual trafficking. We're both actually doing pretty much what we were doing before we left for Zimbabwe. In a way this is comforting. In a way it's like we're in a time warp where I'm wondering if (the 10 years is felt like we spent in) Zim ever happened. But they did.

We had our psychological debrief of our experience in Zimbabwe, and well... they let us leave the building, so that's a good sign! :) Basically the psychologist said that we both need time to seriously de-stress because we've been over-extended in every possible way in terms of stress and "vigilance." He said it's way too early for me to try to integrate our Zimbabwe experience into our Canadian life. I guess that will come later...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Huge and happy

It's our 6th wedding anniversary today. We're still madly in love. Married life is the best (as long as you marry the right person).

We got to hold a 5 day old baby yesterday (Benjamin Hutchinson). It was incredible. Seeing John hold the baby made me want to cry. Babies are such a miracle.

I feel huge!! (I know, I know - I've got to get some photos up...) I've always had a high metabolism and flat stomach (all my lady friends - please don't hate me!) so this is quite an adjustment. We picked up my parents from the airport last night (after having seen them in B.C. two weeks ago) and they both zoned in on my ever-growing belly. I think our baby is enjoying the whole "living in a country with lots of food" thing. I bought 2 pairs of shorts when we moved back to Canada and I can't squeeze into them anymore. I obviously expected to grow, but I didn't expect it to happen so rapidly! All of a sudden our double bed seems small. I feel like I hardly have any space and my loving husband insists I'm taking up most of the bed! Normally I love my big belly. I can't resist touching it and showing it off, because our little baby is in there. But at night it's a bit frustrating (who enjoys sleeping on their side?) and I feel like I've started to waddle. Oh well, huge and happy...