"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Saturday, February 06, 2016

meet Andie

So ...

This little package of delight joined our household last night.  

Her name is Andie. She's five months old.  

Last night, she sniffed every single square millimetre of our apartment, several times over. 

And then she sniffed the air. 

All night long. 

She was too distracted by the puppy in the mirror to sleep much, bouncing joyfully over to meet the puppy bouncing just as joyfully in her direction. 

She's very bouncy.

And everything is new. 

And it's exhausting to move to a new family. 

Night-night, Andie. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

iPad preacher

Friday, my printer wouldn't work properly. Couldn't print my multi-coloured, highly organized notes for Sunday morning.

So ... Enough already. It's 2016 and all that. Use the iPad, for goodness' sake.

You understand
that if I swipe wrong
or something crashes mid-Sunday morning,
it's not gonna be pretty, right?

Paper doesn't crash.
Or swipe in the wrong direction.
Just sayin. 

But the printer wouldn't print. And I like tech, basically. How bad could it be?

Dear God,
thank you for the pastor-friend
who walked me through the app I needed,
and didn't mock me (out loud).  

So everything worked just fine this morning. Small moment of panic during the music when I remembered I needed to turn off the auto-off and couldn't remember how. Thankful for Media Dude who responded to my whispered request for help, also without mocking (to my face).

Thought I hid my anxiety well, but maybe not. 

Found out later that our Music Dude had a back-up plan, should anything go wrong, to snatch the extra notes from the Power Point operator and vault over rows of chairs (with people in them), to ensure that I would receive any necessary backup notes within seconds. 

That would have been interesting.

Friday, January 22, 2016

a kinda perfect day

Mes parents sont ici!

For a whole weekend, they're visiting. 

Our first guests in Montreal. 

We took a little trek to the top of Mount Royal. 

Oh my. 

Quelle vue!

Who knew you could bring a lunch and find a cozy spot in front of a window with a magnificent view? (I know. Everyone knew. We didn't.)

It would appear there's a special affection for squirrels. 

Even at Maison Smith, where the historic paintings on the wall include squirrels. 

Why was there a squirrel on a chair in the water in 1643?

Also a squirrel watched the band in 1876.

After that we took a little trek down Rue Sherbrooke. 

Where ...

I got myself un petit chapeau. C'est très jolie. 

Oh la la!

Monday, January 18, 2016

mangez ici

"Welcome to Montreal!"

"I made a list for you of places you should eat."

Seriously. How great is that??!!!

Monday, January 11, 2016


This past Sunday, I skipped church.

Oops. Let me re-phrase that.

I had the chance to speak at Le Campus, our church's francophone site. And since my talents don't include being in two places at once, that meant I wasn't at the main site.

Don't worry. It was all covered.
They didn't even miss me.

Spike and I had a blast. We don't speak French - yet - but that didn't stop us from singing along. The words were on the screen and we assumed they were good words. People laughed and chatted easily, and there were several first-timers like us, so we grinned and welcomed each other with broad gestures.

I should make a small correction.
We don't speak *much* French.

But every child that grows up in Ontario takes French for several years in school, and bits of it start to come back when you move to a French-speaking province. Plus - when the anglophone pastor comes to visit, and the francophone pastor introduces her to speak, with a little joke saying, "She doesn't understand a word of what I'm saying right now" - everyone giggles, and someone obligingly whispers a translation.

I didn't mind.

I smiled graciously, came to the front, waited for the translator to get his mic, and then said, very sweetly,

"Pastor Normand has had a little fun telling you all that I don't understand what he's saying. But ... Pastor, you should know that I understand more than you think I do, и может быть, если я говорю по-русски, ты не понимаешь."

("... and maybe if I speak in Russian, YOU don't understand.")

I felt good about that.

Friday, January 08, 2016

book filler

I'm an action-step kind of girl.

Not really a surprise to anyone who knows me, but this is why I'm so bad at small talk. I have to work at it. I want conversations to go somewhere. I've learned that for some people, small talk IS "somewhere," and so I have learned to participate.

But it ain't easy. Sometimes I drift.

Same goes for books.

I love to read. But I'm picky. Don't give me fluffy one-line solutions. Don't give me inapplicable (albeit deep) theory. And don't - DON'T - try to convince me to read what I'm reading. I'm already reading it. I was convinced by the back flap, or the people who recommended it, or something I saw when I did a random flip-through.

I bought a leadership book this week that promised all kinds of things. Was highly recommended by authors I trust. And most importantly, was along the lines of the "next thing" I was seeking.

Chapter 7 is where the value began.

Six chapters, my friends, devoted to why the topic matters, why I need their knowledge, why THEY know more than others selling books along the same lines, and why their scholarship is credible.

I was losing it.
Skimming faster and faster,
"So WHAT?? What ARE the five principles?
HOOWWWW do I put this into effect???!!!"

It was like one of those TV news shows that keeps offering teasers about the story you REALLY wanted to hear, the one about the heroic kid, but they keep putting it off to talk about the snow removal on Pine Street, and when they finally get to the heroic kid - an hour later - you realize you already know the story. There is no more story. The teasers had it all.


There WAS useable content after all. I might use this book with others. But if I ever hand un livre to you, and tell you to open it to Chapter 7 - you'll know why.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

the mic

There's been one repeatedly difficult moment on Sunday mornings since we've arrived here.

The mic.

It's practically invisible, with decent quality sound. Leaves my hands free to wave in all directions. Which is a bonus. 

Theoretically, the mic hooks gently on one's ear and stays there, unobtrusively but firmly in place, fully adjustable and bendy-like. 


The first week, I went in for a sound check several days before. The first guy showed me how to put it on. It wouldn't stay. Made it smaller. Nope. Smaller again. It fell off when I turned my head. 

He handed me off to a second guy with a polite comment about my "diminutive ears". That guy worked on it for awhile. Long hair is not one's friend in these instances, FYI.

First guy came back and they two worked on it together, one of them standing on a chair towering over me to figure out HOW to make the thing stay on my apparently freakishly tiny head. 

Finally got it in place. Judging by the level of pain, it involved thumb tacking it gently into my skull. 

And that's how it's been every week. If you notice me wincing at the end of the third service as I remove it from my head, that's why. 

When we had a guest speaker (*cough* Evangel's former pastor *cough*) he burst out laughing at the mangled, tiny loop to which it had been reduced. "What is THIS??" he gasped mid-guffaw. I couldn't help but laugh with him. "It's my head ... I guess it's weird ..."

But New Year's Eve ... oh joy ... it slid right into place! Couldn't even feel it. And yesterday morning ... it wasn't bad at all! Just a tiny twinge from time to time. Somehow it fits. Or I've tormented the nerve endings into a state of permanent numbness.

Either way is fine with me.

We were *this close* to buying a new mic - and that thought made me crazy. I could hear my grandmother - maybe it was my mom - let's be honest, it was my own head muttering away about spending money when we already have a perfectly good mic. Now ... maybe ... we don't have to. 

Hooray. :)