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

Monday, March 30, 2015

patti's public service announcement

Just before Christmas, you may recall, our door was kicked in.

Somewhere in between then and now, our insurance rep was sucked into a vortex of some kind, which prevented him from returning our calls. He hasn't been heard from since. Meanwhile we got a new insurance rep.

And today - just before Easter, the door has been replaced.

I'm pretty sure there's no spiritual or religious significance.


So, if you are a door-kicking type, looking for quick and easy valuables, here's what you need to know.

#1 We don't have valuables. The door was the biggest cost. We didn't ask insurance to wash the big muddy footprint off of the duvet cover.

#2 The new door has a multi-point locking system, a killer deadbolt, and many extra-long screws holding it in place. There's also a motion-activated taser and a big, nasty, frothing dog on the other side, just in case. And an evil clown troupe, just waiting for a reason to encircle you. So if I come home again and have to call 9-1-1, it's not going to be because the door is lying on the ground. It's going to be because you are.

Consider yourself warned.

Monday, March 23, 2015

student delight

This weekend, I was doing some research for a paper I'm working on.

The prof allowed us to choose our own topic, but encouraged us to check it with him. When I did, he suggested three scholars I should look into, two by name, and ... "Um ... I can't remember his name ... uh ... he's at Ottawa University, I think ... does Ukrainian studies ... just Google him."

So I did. Double-checked a bit to see if the name I found was likely to be the guy my prof was thinking of. Looked down the list of his published papers, and found one that reviewed work by ANOTHER guy, describing him as a "towering figure in Ukrainian studies".

Thought to myself, "Hmmm, THAT name looks familiar." Glanced over at my bookshelf, and sure enough, there's one of his books, purchased years ago when I was searching for something - anything - about Ukrainian history.

Apparently it was a good buy.

This has been a delighted moment in the life of a nerd student.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Spring is here!!!

My most favourite of seasons. 

(pass the Claritin, please)

Happy Outrage-Free (and first-day-of-spring) Friday!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


My neighbour leaves for work early most days. 

This winter, his parking spot in front of our house was overtaken by snow - Mr. Plow decided that was where aaallllll the snow should go on our tiny street - so Mike had to park elsewhere for awhile. 

He and his wife helped me out that night before Christmas when I came home to a break-in that had left our door on the floor. 

We have great neighbours. The best.

And the snow is melting quickly. 

This morning, I heard Mike's truck start up, while I sleepily hit the snooze button. He's back where he belongs. I smiled and mentally wished him a great day as he drove away, then drifted back to dreamland for just a bit longer.

Good morning, all!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

st-p's day

Text exchange with Spike this morning. 

For your amusement. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

in my journal

I journal. Have, on and off, for years. Most of what I write is too mundane to be noteworthy; or too private to be shared. Where there are periods of time with only one-sentence prayers ... or with nothing at all ... those are likely times in which I was just trying to survive either too much busy-ness, or, frankly, pain that hadn't yet found words.

Today, the sun is shining outside my patio door. Today finds me excited about the future, and it begins with a leisurely coffee, interacting with scripture and with my God.

If you're interested ... here's what I wrote today ... unedited ... starting with the scripture segment that jumped out at me. It's from the ancient prophet Isaiah, looking forward to a time that has not yet come.

"Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain. The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God, ocean-deep, ocean-wide." 

When I imagine this - it is peaceful and safe, yes. But not at all boring. Not even serene. It is filled with adventure and life and excitement; my energy doesn't have to be used to fight evil, prevent pain. Rather, I can live - "live all the days of my life," as I heard (one of my heroes) say once.

"Brimming" is a word with action, so close to tipping, spilling over, flooding. It has anticipation in it, excitement.

"Knowing God-alive" - how could that be anything but amazing and living?

"Ocean-deep, ocean-wide" - the exploration would never stop. The adventure, the learning, the discovery would be unending.

My God, there is nothing I love more than an adventure. Plunging into something new, swimming around in there, discovering its nuances and complexities. To do this without the weariness of the world we are in - wow. Smiling in anticipation.

Happy Monday to you.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

"on the seventh night"

A few months ago, some of you were part of sending funds to help refugees from eastern Ukraine, through an organization called Loads of Love, which is run, in part, by my very good friend Ed Dickson.

Spike and I had coffee with Ed on Saturday. He's in Canada for a couple of weeks. He had just received a letter from Viktoria, the woman holding the bag of food in her lap. With her are her parents, her son, and her sister. She has a daughter as well, not in the photo.

Here is the letter (translated, I'm sure).

Ed read it to Spike and I slowly, so we could hear and imagine each phrase. You might want to read it the same way.

When we were all hiding in the basement (on the seventh night) there was a loud roar of bombs and I prayed, “God, I don’t even really know how to pray, but if you will just save my children, I promise, I’ll change, I’ll love more, I’ll forgive, I’ll do whatever you want.”

One day my husband went outside because we were starving. When my husband didn’t return, my father went out and found him dead. Killed by a bomb. Later that day, terrified, we somehow found the strength to grab our documents, and escape our village, while laying on the floor of a bus. How do I explain to my children that their father is gone. We weren’t even able to bury him.

We left our home, where we have our favorite beds, our beloved dog, where every little corner of our house tells stories about our lives. Now we’re living in a dormitory, with a shared kitchen, shared bathroom, not enough food and rarely hot water. But I am happy to be alive, but am still ashamed to admit that we are hungry.

Then one evening a girl from the “Christian mission” calls us and asks if we need food for the children. I remember immediately hugging my son and saying, “God has not forgotten us.”
When it was time to send our children to school, we did not have proper clothing for them. I remember the used sandals someone gave us for my daughter were two sizes too big, but she said, “Mom, don’t worry, I like these sandals,” but I knew she didn’t.

Once again, in the evening, the girl from the Christian mission called, “Loads of Love” knocked on our door and said they had clothing for the kids. I don’t know what “Loads of Love” is, or who those people are, but I know that evening, Jesus knocked on our door and He loves us.

My thanks to all of you, on behalf of Viktoria and her family.