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

Friday, April 04, 2014

hey. you're ok.

For your Outrage-Free Friday pleasure.

A minute and a half song, with story attached.

I promise - best part of your day.

Click here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

meaningful moments

Most days are like other days, more or less, yes? That's how it is in my world, anyway.

Except last Saturday. That was a different sort of day. It started normally, with laundry and study and coffee. Spike went for a haircut.

But then ... oh THEN ...

We headed off to the big city down the road, where ... after years of waiting ... and months of seeing pictures ... we finally met ... in person ... Deepika!!!

Just over 6 weeks ago, Deepika lived in an orphanage in India. Maybe 6 months ago, she didn't know that Canadians were working hard to come and make her a part of their family. And over 6 years ago - well, she was a new little life without any family at all.

But she has family now! Her dad - a pragmatic, management type - will stick a pink bouncing bow on his head without a second thought, just to see her smile. Her mom - a strong-minded, gifted pastor - laughs as she helps her daughter get out of the car and run for the toilet. Both mom and dad are tired. And content. And happy. And Deepika - well, she's quickly learning what it means to be in a family at all. She giggles, plays, experiments with English, and keeps them both as near to her as possible - a solid sign of bonding.

What a pleasure to meet her. So grateful that we get to be part of watching her grow up.

I'm just going to pause and think about that for a moment.


And then ... oh THEN ... we went north-ish. Not too far, just a half hour or so. You will, of course, remember The Crusty Professor, turned friend? He had another book published, and it turned out to be dual-award winning, so he invited a few people to celebrate with him, and Spike and I got to be part of the celebration!

We all met first at the house, introductions all around, and then we all made the trip together to a little pub another 20 minutes north-ish. A couple hours of eating, drinking, laughing, telling stories and listening to each other. We solved the problems of the world, all of us together. The band came in and started with a Norah Jones cover, and then the volume went up, and we headed out, back to the house.

A warm, friendly, relaxing evening with people I didn't know, but would be happy to see again.

And you know what was amazing? For me? It's a long story ... but my friend and I have had quite a few email conversations about grief and love and the agony of it all. His world was devastated when cancer took the love of his life. And somewhere in those conversations, I offered the phrase "grace in the wilderness" - out of Scripture - as a prayer for God's comfort, even when a person still feels lost. That phrase resonated, and he passed it on, others passed it further, and it even came back to me at a moment when I really needed it. It led to a service at our church, that surely will take place again.

Anyway - one of the people who are closest to him, brought a photo book of memories that she had designed as a gift for him. "There's a tribute to you, Patti," she said on Saturday night, with a smile. I opened it, and there it was, inside the cover, underneath a beautiful photo - "grace in the wilderness".

Which was about as meaningful as something can get.


And for both of those moments, I am profoundly grateful.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"don't stop belieeeeeving..." oh wait. except for this. don't believe this.

On the run today ... Annual Business Meeting is tonight.

But yesterday's speech by Russian President Putin to his own parliament ("Duma"), just prior to signing papers that officially welcomed Crimea from Ukraine into Russia, was ... um ... interesting.

*gives meaningful stare*

I tweeted as it went, and then copied to Facebook, with my own comments. If you didn't see it in either place, here's my summary. Posted in the interest of Monday's post.

Note: My source for this was primarily the Kyiv Post, with a few others that I have been following for some time, and believe to be credible. If you see differences in quotes from other sources, keep in mind that the speech was in Russian, and the English is a translation. Different translators might use slightly different words.

Here we go....

Happening now, Putin's speech re Crimea joining Russia: "We couldn't even imagine Russian and Ukraine would become independent. Unfortunately, the Soviet Union collapsed" // Um... Note the use of the word "unfortunately".

"There is still no executive power in Ukraine. There's nobody to talk to." Government made up of "usurpers" controlled by radicals // note: not true

Putin re Maidan: "Who instigated this (revolution)? It's neo-Nazi, nationalist forces in Ukraine. Descendents of Bandera, who was associate of Hitler" // note: ??!!!

Putin: "We could not leave Crimeans alone in their time of need. It would have been treachery plain and simple." // Note: what time of need?

Putin tells Duma that majority of ethnic Tatars voted in favour of #Crimea joining Russia. // Note: Tatars say they boycotted the vote. (Duma is Parliament, btw)

Putin: we didn't use armed forces in #Ukraine. Russia didn't have its troops in #Crimea. We had our Black Sea Fleet based there. // Note: and troops without insignia, who spoke Russian, and said they were from Russia.

Putin: "If Crimean self-defense hadn't taken the situation under control on time, there could've been victims. Thank god it didn't happen." // note: He kept a straight face while saying that.

Putin: "We were cheated and deceived by the West... Now we are threatened with sanctions."

Putin to Ukrainians: "We always respected territorial integrity of Ukraine, unlike others, who split Ukraine. They're to blame for divisions." // note: this is the exact opposite of the truth

Putin (telling Merkel): "We supported reunification of Germany. And we hope that Germany supports us" // note: this was reference to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall

Putin: "Crimea was and will be Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar." *applause* // oh ... applause was part of reporting; I did not applaud.

Putin: "I'll put it straight. We're not just neighbors, we're one nation. Kyiv is mother of all Russian cities. Ancient Rus is our roots." // note: said this right after saying they only wanted Crimea, not the rest of Ukraine. Note: Kyiv is not in Crimea.

Putin: "Ukraine should be interested in preserving the rights of Russians in Ukraine." // note: Russians in Russia could also use help

Putin: This was a straightforward referendum. It took place in open way, and Crimeans expressed their free will, they want to be with Russia // note: Under unidentified military presence. In 10 days. 0.o

Putin: "95% of Russians think that we should protect our interests or interests of Russian people in Ukraine" // doubtful. But either way, where does that statement go?

Putin: "Now it's up to Russia to take political decision. It can only be based on ppl. It's always up to ppl. Addressing everyone..." // *withholding sarcastic remarks*

Putin: "Please accept two new subjects into Russia: Repub. of Crimea, city of Sevas." Standing ovation, chants of "RO-SI-YA!"

And that's that.

Oh - and all the Ukrainian arms, bases, etc., in Crimea now belong to Crimea / Russia.


That was yesterday morning.

Worth noting that immediately following this, a Ukrainian base in Crimea was stormed by "non-Russian" troops with weapons. A Ukrainian there was killed. Others were injured. So for the record: Russia fired the first shot.

If you are interested in reading the interim Ukrainian Prime Minister's appeal to the people in eastern and southern Ukraine (that's where Russia is encroaching, and is also where the most Russian-speaking people live), it is here. I found it to be quite something.

And on another note, I found this article yesterday, referring to the powerful Ukrainian strategy thus far of non-violence. I haven't crossed paths with this source before, but the article was beautiful

Thanks for caring.

Monday, March 17, 2014

a decision

A few months ago, I started posting about Ukraine (land I love), the protests there. No one seemed to know about it over here. I found credible sources, checked them with knowledgeable friends who live there, and tried to follow with intelligence.

And I told you about it.

And then the whole thing became highly visible, around the world. And suddenly everyone knew, which was a good thing, but then it became a strange thing because now everyone was an expert, reports became conflicting, and conspiracy theories began to spread widely, as they do.

It's worth noting, at this moment,
that just because something is on the internet,
doesn't mean it's true.

So I stopped talking, somewhat. I hate online fights. I really dislike being one more voice shouting in a crowd of shouting people. But I continued to follow it. And some of you asked me about it - and I told you what I knew.

It's worth noting, at this moment,
that the idea that the US hired neo-Nazis to cause unrest in Ukraine is beyond ridiculous,
not to mention sickeningly offensive to the Ukrainian people
who stood for weeks and months in a wintery city square,
some enduring torture,
and some giving their lives.

And this week, I became terrified. Not at what was happening in Crimea, but at what was happening here, in North America. People - some people - not all people - are believing the propaganda. They're believing the misinformation.

It's worth noting, at this moment,
that Russian people in Ukraine are not oppressed.
No. They're not.

And I am terrified, truthfully, by the speed at which this is happening. I am afraid that, at best, Canadians will become overwhelmed with complex issues they don't easily understand, and give up caring. Our desire for "peace and good government" is dead wrong if we equate peace with tolerating invasion and annexation.

It's worth noting, at this moment,
that a regional "referendum" 
that is called in 10 days,
under the shadow of unidentified military intimidation,
with no conversations with the current national government,
and voter lists that include citizens of the invading country,
cannot possibly be legal, logical, or acceptable.

Did you know?
...there was no option on the ballot in Crimea
to continue as part of Ukraine.
The choice was to join Russia or become an independent nation.
Rather a massive decision.
In 10 days.

The Ukrainian military has, for the most part, stood their ground without firing shots, because they know the world will turn against them easily if they are seen as "firing the first shot". Never mind that a foreign nation's military has invaded their space and refuses to back down.

And so ... deeply troubled by all this ... I made a decision yesterday.

I'm going to keep telling you about it.

I'm not an expert.
But I do follow sources that are credible and legitimate.

I don't know it all.
But I know more than some.

No doubt I'll make mistakes.
When I do - I'll own them.

Because this is not politics.
It's people.

I know this is not a fairy tale where one side is entirely evil, and the other side is entirely perfect.
But both sides are not equally wrong.

I know there are other issues.
This one is mine.

I retweet information frequently on Twitter. Follow if you want. @PattiTheMiller

And I post on Facebook, if you are one of my friends. And I'll post here too.

It won't always be about Ukraine. But it may often be.

If you choose to trust me, and follow along - thanks - from my heart.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

a love letter

Dear Ukraine -

Smiling, a little tearfully, in your direction today.
It's nice to have tears for a good reason.

Lots of tough, complicated days ahead, no doubt.
Stay the course, and do well, OK? Do well.
You can do it.

Many, many hugs to you. Hope to see you soon.

Love, Me

Thursday, February 20, 2014

without words

I have no more words. Only tears. 

God help Ukraine, land I love.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Canada in Ukraine

Today, the Canadian embassy closed temporarily in Kyiv. Phones are still being answered. Everyone is safe. But the building itself is located so close to Independence Square, it is not safe.

Yesterday, the embassy was a sanctuary for a number of protesters who needed help. It is worth noting that they caused no damage or harm while they were there.

Thank you, Canada, for all that we are doing. Please don't stop.

You can email or tweet the Honourable John Baird, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs. Or leave a Facebook comment. This was mine.

"Dear Minister Baird -

Thank you for sending medical aid to Ukraine. Please enact targeted sanctions against those responsible, as soon as possible. May Canada lead the way in helping Ukrainian people, being attacked by their own government.


If you are not Canadian - well, then you have a whole government of your own that you may want to contact. :)