Sunday, June 2, 2024

Wisdom: Meeeee

One year older... 365 days wiser? 

Totally debatable. 

When I first thought about this (Women and Wisdom) project, about a year ago, I had no idea what the next 12 months would bring. (Probably that's normal, why would I assume otherwise?) But I guess I was anticipating a slower, gentler year than the one previous, because THAT was a ride. Haha. That was just the pre-game show. 

And while I thought maybe I'd have some wisdom to share, just like my friends (I'm hoping to post at least another dozen entries by the end of the summer...) now that I've typed out my responses I'm not sure any of this could be classified as wisdom. (Insert woman with shoulders shrugged emoji). 

My hope in doing this (sharing my story, as well as my friends' stories) is that maybe someone who needs to be encouraged because their life is a pill at the moment ... will be hopeful about the future. And, despite the challenges and hurts and loneliness, there will be joy and surprising moments. Old age is nothing to fear. 

I've been on an extended, work-related, unpaid medical leave since early January. My doc calls it one thing, my therapist/counsellor calls it another. The books I'm reading refer to it by something else. All I know is I'm a bit of a broken mess these days. 

I'm doing All The Things one is supposed to do but the process is taking too long for my liking, and I'd like to accelerate my journey on this road to restoration. But Time will tick along at 60 seconds per minute no matter how badly I want to speed things up. And Time is what it's going to take to fix the bits that're wonky. 

With that disclaimer in mind, here are my answers to the questions I've been been asking everyone. My responses may change as the old Jane resurfaces through the muck ... (?) (or maybe a totally new Jane 2.0 will immerge?) in which case, I'll update this in a couple months. But for now, for what it's worth, this is real, this is just how smart I am, or amn't. 

What would I say to a younger version of me?

I'd tell 16 year old Jane to find a physical activity that makes her sweat and brings her joy. Reading, doing cross-stitch, making macrame hangers, and going shopping are gonna give her a big butt and squishy gut. (I'm 100% certain that trim/fit teenaged Jane won't heed this advice.)

I'd tell 26-year old Jane to chill out re: babies. She'll have a couple more, and despite her fears,  she'll manage to get them all to adulthood. Their cries don't mean she's terrible at this.

I'd give 38-year-old Jane a long hug and tell her it's gonna be ok. The coming years will be about as challenging as she's expecting, BUT there will be so much joy and relief and peace and love and fun and friendships and travel and surprises... She needs to know that. Her divorce isn't The End.

What makes my life meaningful?

  • Relationships.     
  • Service.
  • Being in that sweet spot. 

My life is meaningful because of the relationships I have. First one being, (and this is the Sunday School answer) my faith/my belief in a God who loves me. THAT is my defining relationship, and everything else comes from that. And immediately after that, kids (obvs), the rest of my fam, my friends, work mates, random people I meet who touch my life ... 

The second thing? Is the opportunity to do something that makes a difference to someone. There's a bit of a feel-good rush that comes after I've done a selfless thing. 

And lastly (for now. This list could get longer as I get older) ... my life feels good when I'm totally present in the now moment and I know I'm exactly where God wants me to be. I'm doing what He created me to do; from working at my desk, to managing projects, or encouraging a team of creatives, or connecting with someone over coffee, dinner, art projects, or, or being with a son under a mind-blowing sky unexpectedly exploding with Northern Lights... All of these things bring meaning and contentment.

My mentors? People who've inspired me? 

  • Judy. She was the owner of Hobby Hut, and my first ever boss. She hired a 16 year old shy, inexperienced girl, encouraged her to try crafty things, believed she was smart enough to do all the retail things, and celebrated all her wins. It was because of my experience at this first job, that I changed my mind about becoming a teacher and decided I wanted to go into marketing management. I wanted to do something with creative people. And ten years later, Billie's Country was born.
  • Brian Friesen, Doug Remple, Mary Peters. They too, gave a quiet teen confidence to use her voice in the church she grew up in. Each one of them gave me opportunities and encouragement to lead in various capacities.
  • My mom and her friends. They were role models in that all of them had careers AND raised families. (In most cases they worked/started their own businesses not out of necessity, but rather a desire to use their talents and gifts in meaningful ways outside of their homes.) I have worked non-stop since my 16th birthday; they normalized this for me. 
  • Steve Brown and Derek Rogusky. Steve is hands down The Definitive Servant Leader. Working with/for him at Arrow was eye opening (life changing), the absolute best experience. I want to be more like Steve when I grow up. And Derek was one of my six bosses at Focus. His leadership style changed me. He led with grace, he invested in my journey, encouraged and believed in me when I had lost confidence. He made me feel like a hero. I lead the way I do because he led the way he did.
  • Melanie, Wendy, Sitawa, Glennda ... women in leadership. I watched and learned. And have been so, so grateful for their influence. 
  • Due to a severe lack of divorced single moms in my life, I limped my way along the parenting journey by watching and learning how married moms were doing it. So thank you, friends (dozens and dozens of you) and family (my dad, Val and Julie, specifically) for coming along side, investing in me and the Obros, and inviting me watch y'all parent with a front row seat. 
What do I like about being this age? 

I've gotten used to my face. 
(Wrinkles are a kinder facial flaw than acne.)
Freedom to do The Things. (Things I want to do, things I'm called to do, things I'm passionate about.)
Having a solid sense of who I am. 
I'm kinder, more patient and extend more grace than I did when I was younger. At this rate I'm gonna be a friggen saint in 20 years. 

What I am looking forward to:
  • Summer. 
  • Heaven

(and watching my boys continue to grow into the men they were created to be.)

Greatest Fear(s)?

My greatest fear is that the people I love will never believe that God loves them unconditionally, created them uniquely, tries to get their attention daily, and wants an eternal relationship with them desperately. 

Also dementia. 

Three Big Highlights?

  1. Becoming a mom; it's my favorite role and my favorite name, "mom". I didn't want babies because I loved babies... I wanted babies because that's how you start/build a family. And families are the bomb. Ever since I was a young girl I looked forward creating a family. I've used the word mom, babies and family way too many times in this paragraph. 
  2. Creationfest summers hold very special memories. The heat, the music, the people, the river ... ALL OF IT, so very very good. 
  3. Farm memories. Growing up on 25 acres in Surrey was The Best, The Funnest, The Healthiest, The Sweetest environment to play on, learn from, mature on. But what makes it even better is that it's a magical place in my kids' memories as well. THEIR childhood is also deeply steeped in that plot of cow-shit soaked land too. 
  4. Yeah, I can't count; math isn't my jam. There will be more than three highlights. Another highlight is the traveling experiences I've unexpectedly been given the opportunity to participate in. Europe, New York, Montreal, London, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Palm Springs, Florida, Colorado, Hawaii ... each trip changed me a teensy bit and I'm grateful to all my travel mates (friends and family) who've put up with my snoring in cities around the world. 
  5. Cabin memories... Since 1994 we've had a place at Cultus Lake. Time spent there is always a highlight for me. From those early years when, on summer weekends, we'd pull into the side yard, swing the gate open and the chain would rattle, signaling our arrival ... and the neighbour kids (our summer friends) would come running over to greet us and hang out. To 2024 when Max and I watched the Northern Lights on the lake shore, and Clint and I sat around the fire for a few hours, watching for shooting stars. These precious moments are highlights. 

So Jane, any challenges? Life changing events? Didja learn anything? 

Life was boring and predictable and lovely up until I turned 38. And then every day after that felt like an extreme sport with non-stop learning experiences. 

Let's start with the big one: Divorce ... (both mine, years ago, and now Drew's)
I learnt that relationships are fragile. That the pain of divorce/death of a marriage lingers a long time and is felt by extended family members too. I learnt that loving someone is a decision. I learnt that I can eat my lunch by myself. (Eagles, "Already Gone".) And I guess the most important lesson, is that God is my strength when I am weak. (Weak, scared, ill-equipped, overwhelmed, unprepared, alone, heartbroken, rejected ...) I learnt that a marriage-minded Mennonite momma CAN have a rich, full, exciting, satisfying life as a single woman.

The other challenge was watching someone I loved spiral and disappear into a life ruled by a drug addiction. The fear was crippling. (Is he going to die?) The prayers were incessant. (Please God; protect and save him.) The self-blame/guilt was crushing. (This is my fault. I'm a horrible mother.) I learnt that God is bigger. And that there is life after addiction. It does not have to define you forever. Those who struggle can and do get better. 

And my last challenge, also a D word, is diagnosis's. My dad's dementia diagnosis was an absolute gut punch that rocked my world in a sad way. My cancer diagnosis was a potential death sentence, (drama queening again) which forced me to think about the fragility of life. And now my brother and brother-in-law's cancer diagnosis's are bringing us to our knees. God is the author of our lives; we will not live one day longer or one hour less than He has determined. 

Thoughts on Beauty?

From my years of photographing people, I've realized you can't take a bad pic of a happy person. 
Do whatever dental work is required so you can smile confidently. 

Being comfortable in your own skin is mega sexy.

Have a hair stylist you trust. Tip her well. 

Aim for 'healthy' as being your perfect size. 

Eyebrows are more important than you might think.

Wear a bra that lifts your girls off your belly. 

Kindness is beautiful.

General Wisdom; any topic:

  • Don't be easily offended. Toughen up. 
  • Have a friendship group that includes women of different backgrounds, different ages, different (or no) faiths ... 
  • Always be open to learning about and learning from the people in your life.
  • Live your best life about 5 days a week. It can be exhausting, so give yourself a break and be a slug some days.
  • Live within your means. Put 10% into an RRSP. Give at least 10% away. 
  • If you're a woman, and you're not married by the time you're 40 - get a good government job that has great benefits and a full pension. You *may still find your Prince Charming, but just in case he's lost on some highway in Kansas, be prepared to look after yourself. 
  • If he's married, do not befriend him. 
  • Make peace with God. 
  • Pray. Or if that's too hard, just talk to Him. 
  • Hire a cleaning lady. She needs the money and you need to spend less time worrying about floors and toilets.
  • One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is an empty garage, cleaned out closets, a spotless basement and an un-used crawl space. Leaving all your treasures for them is not a gift. It's a burden. 
  • No one is going to love your collections (Precious Moments, Hummels, Wooden Dolls, Spoons, Guns, Hot Wheels, Stamps, Coins) as much as you do. These are not financial investments. Be OK with giving it all away at some point. 
  • When's the last time you did something for the first time? Keep trying new things. 
  • Don't take a checked suitcase to Europe. 
  • Get 8 hours of sleep. In a row. 


Flower - Snapdragons and peonies

Snacks - LoveHearts, SweetTarts, Rockets, Warm-from-the-oven cheese biscuits with butter melting on top, Honey Crisp Apples; peeled and quartered, leftovers, frozen milk chocolate, mango slices. 

Favorite Christmas Memory - 2021, I had a treasure hunt for my kids (as per usual) but this year it was in my new condo... from the garage to the mail room to the elevators, to the garbage room. I had just moved in a few weeks earlier and it was fun using the entire building. Usually I make up clues; this time I gave them keys, fobs, and cards.  

Favorite Song - Footloose. (Kenny Loggins) The Chain (Fleetwood Mac) December (Collective Soul) Every song recorded in the '80's. Any and almost all worship songs. How Great Thou Art. Theme song right now is Hallelujah Anyway (Rend Collective).  

Favorite City - I have three; Vancouver. Palm Springs and The Algarve.

Favorite Verse/ Quote - "For such a time as this ..." (Esther 4:14)
Bloom where you're planted.
Psalm 37 is meaningful to me during this season.

Activity that brings joy: being with my boys is #1, but a close second is sitting on a beach, on a sunny day, with a good book and a basket of snacks. Annnnd, I also get joy from sitting around with friends - from dinners, to coffee-talks, to rock-drop walks, to movie nights, to crafting around my table, to reading weekends. Annnnd, I love putting stamps on envelopes/sending cards. Haha. 
(see what I mean? How is this wisdom?)

Surprising Moments - Well that third pregnancy was the best surprise ever. 
Finding myself in the driver's seat of a motorhome, that I'd rented, filled with teenaged boys, driving down the I-5. The part that was surprising was it didn't tip over - which I was sure was going to be the outcome.
Painting my first mandela rock was an absolute unexpected joy. 
The act of buying a condo, and for the first time in my life I was planning on living entirely by myself. I didn't anticipate the flood of emotions I had to sort through with that decision. 
The first phone call I received from my British actor/screen-crush, Jonas, long distance from India to me at the lake. I was gobsmacked (and thrilled) (and paralyzed with frozen-blonde-brain) x 1000. That was a fun surprising moment.
Random, but very welcome opportunity to rent my condo to the Hallmark people as the setting for their new movie. THAT was surprising, but so was the hug from the lead actor/producer, and the invitation to stick around and watch the filming. 

Actually, as I think about this, every good thing that's happened since Mark left has been surprising. I don't know why, but seeing I'd had such a good run up until I turned 38, I guess I was prepared for everything to go downhill from there. But it hasn't. One good thing after another, just keep surprising me. If your life is falling apart/not turning out as you planned, know that some of your best days are still ahead. Truly. 



Sunday, May 19, 2024

Wisdom: Faye

Earlier this week, Faye and I were out for dinner, trying to remember which year it was that we met. We recall vividly the occasion, but not the actual date. Twas summer (2003? 2004?) and we were both helping out with Kids' Camp. She was the music director (naturally) and I was the craft lady (of course). Brenda Pue, a mutual friend, introduced us by saying we had something in common and we should talk. 


If Brenda tells you to do something, you do it. So we talked. Turns out we had a few things in common:

1. We lived in the same neighbourhood.

2. Our heads looked identical from the back; blonde hair foreverrr.

3. We both had three kids (hers were girls, each 4 years apart. Mine were boys, each 3.5 years apart).

4. We were each in our own ways, figuring out the new-to-us single-mom lifestyle...

5. ... and we were reluctant, certified, middle-aged members of The First Wives Club.

After that introduction, Faye and I began a deep friendship. Deep is the only way Faye knows how to do it. There is no shallowness in her. She dives right in, and is a safe person (the safest person?) to share your burdens with. She holds your stories tight and talks to God about them for you.  She is intentional in her relationships; with friends, with her girls and with her grands. She invests in them, delights in them, honors them, prays for them. 

Her daughters (in their Facebook posts) describe her as sweet, radiant, loyal to her people, caring to her family, magical to her grands ... and steadfast in her faith. They are thankful for her wisdom, selflessness, and devotion. 

A few days ago, (time is just a blurrr), Faye was celebrating her 60th birthday. Her daughters invited a few of her close friends, her sister and sister-in-law to a lovely dinner. I wrote about it here. But I want to highlight what was said during the evening:

Each of us shared, out loud, (which of course brought tears), how Faye has blessed us. We talked about special memories, we affirmed her gifts and talents, we encouraged her in her plans, we told her we loved her.

Her daughters shared too. About her sacrificial giving, her endless capacity to love, her creativity. her patience, her joy. But they also talked about their mom's friendships. And what an impact that had on them. How her friends were THERE. How, during the tough days, the friends showed up. And stayed. How those same friends were there on happy days, and filled the house with laughter. How it was the friends who supported, prayed, loved, fed, stood beside their mom ... how it was these friendships that inspired them to gather friends like that around themselves.

And that's the point of these blog posts... I want to share the wisdom and the experiences of my friends so that our girls can get a glimpse of lives well lived. So, with that introduction, meet Faye:

What would you tell younger Faye?

I would tell her not to be afraid to ask for help. (I tend to try to handle everything on my own.)

What makes your life meaningful?

FAMILY. This includes time with my kids and hearing what's on their hearts. I delight in my grandchildren and time with each of them is a treasure! I want to help my kids and their families in any way they need. 

I teach piano, and it is meaningful to see the same students each week for a few years ... I hope I am an encourager to each of them, and inspire them in their music journey. 

Who has inspired/mentored you? 

My friend, Brenda Pue (who passed away from cancer a few years ago) was steadfast, supportive, encouraging, and prayerful. She always saw the best in people. And she reminded me to bring every concern to God in prayer (and not panic during difficult situations, but to wait on Him.) (She modeled this during her final year.) 

I am in a group that prays for each other and our families, weekly. These gals have such faith and I admire their commitment to prayer.

And each of my daughters has inspired me: 
Tessa (and Jesse) said yes to being respite foster parents while she was pregnant with their third daughter. It wasn't easy and often chaotic, but her heart for these little ones and believing that putting children above her own comfort was important - it was truly inspiring. I want to be more like Tessa. 

Bailey is a parttime Peds ER nurse and has 4 busy boys but always seems to make time to bring meals to those she has heard are sick or struggling. Her and Johnny open their home with warm, easy hospitality to gatherings of family or friends. I am inspired by her and want to be more like Bailey. 

Michaela is a teacher and an artist and has a heart for those who're hurting emotionally. She is a busy gal but always makes time to meet with those who need a listening ear. She loves to travel (hasn't inherited her mom's fear of flying) and always has a concern to share her faith with those from other cultures. She inspires me and I want to be more like Michaela. 

At this stage of life, there are many friends and family (extended family too) who've faced (and are facing) incredible life challenges, that carry heavy burdens. I have seen these people not just survive but thrive and continue to embrace life and its blessings. They have all inspired me.

(Note from me ... this bit feels awkward to include: "you are amazing Jane. Your purpose, passion and gift for gathering people inspires me. You are someone who has survived, thrived and you inspire me".)

ALSO, my mom! She's 91 and has purpose at this stage in life cooking for others. (Casseroles, baked goods etc,) She has a heart for the hurting. She struggles with mobility but her determination to keep connected and help others is inspiring! I hope I can be like her in my twilight years. 

What're you looking forward to at this stage in your life? 

1. I want to find new ways to add meaning and purpose at this stage of life. I am praying about this and wondering what it would look like. 

2. Being creative, in any way. In many ways. Life was so busy for so many years... I am appreciating having time to try new things like drawing and painting and 'noodling' on the piano for fun. 

3. And of course, I am looking forward to watching my grandies grow. 

What is your greatest fear?

I struggle with lots of fears and self-doubt. But I guess I am most afraid of fear itself, that it would blind me or keep me from experiencing being fully present and full of joy. 

Can you share three major life highlights you've experienced so far?

Biggest highlight: The good Lord blessed me with three amazing, wise, witty, kind, beautiful daughters. And of course, three wonderful son-in-laws and incredible grandchildren. I have so many rich memories with each of them.

Another highlight, looking back: is the wonderful church experience (2000 - 2010?). Murrayville Community Church closed over a decade ago, but the love and care my daughters and I experienced there changed the way I see church. I hadn't experienced it before (and sadly, since), but it left a lasting impact on me. The friends that are part of my prayer group are from that church season.

And one last highlight is that I am experiencing currently is the opportunity to teach five of my grandies piano. It is so meaningful to me to be part of their musical journey, even if just for a short time. The big bonus to this is a get to have 30 minutes with each of them alone, every week! 

Have you had a life changing event? What did you learn from it?

I guess suddenly finding myself single at 42 and raising my girls on my own was the biggest event that changed my life. I can't deny it was a dark time, but I learned that God is good and there are always blessings to be found. The community of friends that rallied around in support certainly brought light, comfort and love. I learned I was stronger than I knew. 

Any thoughts on beauty?

I have no tricks up my sleeve on this topic and probably need some help at 66. I am trying not to fear the changes! The most beautiful people I know have kind eyes and gentle hearts. Be mindful to keep your inner selves soft; don't hang on to bitterness or anger... this will be reflected on the outside. 

General Wisdom on any topic you'd like to pass along to younger women?

Faith: Keep praying real prayers that are honest, even if you feel like God is far off. Bring every concern to Him. If you need to experience more of His love, ask Him to show Himself to you in new ways. Some prayers are prayed for years. That's OK.

Relationships: Forgive, be gracious, encourage. Life is short. Let those you love know it; say it, show it. Hug them.

Aging: Embrace each stage, don't compare yourself with others (re: appearance, energy, houses, income). Be happy with your own accomplishments, big or small.

Risks: Try one new thing every once in awhile. 


Book: I love all of Jane Austen books, especially Pride and Prejudice

Movie/Show: Love the movie (both versions) of Pride and Prejudice. I rewatch once a year. 

Song: This one, Bailey singing:

City: Victoria is where I was born, grew up and I love the sea air and beaches there. The ocean was a huge part of my growing up. So were ferry rides. 

Verse: Psalm 34:8  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed are those who take refuge in Him!
Proverbs 3:5,6 (and Psalm 23 is another passage I re-read regularly). 

Activity that brings joy: Watching my flowers bloom in the summer. Seeing my grandkids run around my backyard. Babysitting. Time, meals, walks with family and friends. Art. Teaching piano. My holiday week with all my family at Camano Island with all my family has been a rich highlight for many decades. 

Note from Faye: What a great question! What brings you joy? I feel the blessings overflow as I ponder this and remember ... Perhaps this exercise in thankfulness is what the Bible talks about. There are SO many reasons for joy!

Surprising moment: My trip to the UK with Michaela. I didn't know I would enjoy it so much. It was amazing to do this with her (and tackle my fear of flying). 

and travelling to Disneyland with all my family - we all had so much fun!

Flower: Roses

Snacks: Tea, chocolate, peanut butter and jam, twizzlers and apples.

Christmas memory: I don't know if this is a favorite, but my first Christmas as a single parent (my husband had left a month earlier), our cockapoo had seven puppies. Seven beautiful cuddly puppies! These puppies brought such joy and delight to me and my girls amidst the most difficult time. I felt they were our 'little angels' and certainly a wonderful gift all things considered. 


Thanks, Faye. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Wisdom: Marj

"Would you and your kids like to join us for lunch after church next Sunday?"

That's my first memory of Marj. I think it was 2003. My kids and I landed in Murrayville after a two-year best effort at living in Fraser Heights. The boys didn't want to change schools, so I was driving from Surrey to Langley (to three separate schools) twice a day. It just made sense to sell my new home and move into a family-oriented neighbourhood closer to their schools and friends. 

There was a church that met in one of the local elementary schools, so we decided to give it a try. It felt like home, so we stayed. 

And Marj invited us over; a single mom with her three boys. I'd heard about people doing this; inviting strangers to their homes, but had never experienced it before. Her generous hospitality and authentic offer of friendship scared the crap outa this introvert. 

Haha. An auspicious beginning. I'm so grateful she 'took a chance' on me. 

Marj is married to her high school sweetheart; forty years and still going strong. Together they have three kids, three kids-in-law, and 10,000 grandkids. (TEN grands.) They all live near each other, most of them on farms. They get together for bi-weekly family dinners/games nights, go camping every summer, race (dirt?) bikes as a 3-generation team and even appeared on Family Feud last year.  

Right?! Perfect life OR WHAT?!?

I think Marj was the first person who introduced me to the idea that it didn't matter what you did, God could use your conversations for His purposes. She often referred to her hair-stylist chair as a Holy Place, which 100% inspired me to be more aware of the passenger seat of my vehicles. 

Marj is a prayer warrior, a mom, a grandma, a hair stylist, a farmer's wife, a camper, a worshipper, a baker, a music-lover, a Christian, and a friend to many - including me. And she's got some wisdom to share:

I'd like to add, that so far, she's the only person who's said, "I've had fun answering your questions..." (haha, everyone else is overthinking/second-guessing/worried about their answers.) THIS SUMS UP MARJ PERFECTLY. She has fun doing life. Let's all be like Marj.

What would you tell your younger self:

Don't worry so much; God really has it down. 

I feel like my younger self should tell me that now. I think I worry more now than I did then. (I know too much now.) BUT, on the other hand, He truly has never let me down. 

What makes your life meaningful?

  • Jesus. (Haha, such a Sunday School answer...) Honestly. He is the #1 reason my life has meaning. 
  • Our family. We have such rich conversations, lots of fun and we love each other. Simple as that. 
  • Friends. Again with the rich conversations and fun. It's so good having someone in your life who just gets you. Also? It's awesome having a variety of friends from all walks of life who bring new things to your life. 

Who has inspired you?

  • Sue Priebe (friend) has inspired me by the way she lives intentionally. She puts her all into everything she does. She's an amazing teacher and loves all her students. Plus, she's the coolest Grandma ever. 
  • Verna Reimer (client for 30 years) led a Bible study when I was in Greendale and has taught me so much about life. She's now in her 80's and she doesn't realize it but she's teaching me how to grow old well. 

What're you looking forward to?

Heaven. Seriously. No tears. No pain. No evil. No worry. 
But also summer and camping. 

(I don't have big dreams; I take life as it comes...)

What's the best thing about being your current age? 

I'm done parenting! (At least in the formal sense ...) I just love my adult kids and all my grands. Also I can do pretty much anything I want. 
Annnnd, there's some financial stability when you're 60. 

What's your greatest fear?

  • Getting sick. Pain. Being in a hospital. Sitting in the ER with assorted sick people. (Oh, that might be more of a phobia?)
  • But then... there's the Big Things that I avoid thinking about... like the kids or grands walking away from the Lord. 
  • Or... one of our kids or grands being badly injured or sick (like brain damage or paralysis or cancer.)
Three major highlights:

  • Having kids. Like, actually pushing them out. I can't believe I did that! And being a mom. There is nothing more rewarding than raising a family. 
  • Living in Mexico. 
  • Going to Bible School after I graduated from High School. Even though it was forever ago, I used to say it was the best time in my life. 
  • Oooops. This is 4... but another highlight is getting to raise our kids on a farm. 

Have you experienced a life changing event and what did you learn from it?

Yes! Living in Mexico for a year when our kids were little.
I learned that Stuff means very little; relationships are everything.
Money does not make you happy.
I loved the absolute richness of experiencing God in every thing and every conversation. There were so many very obvious God moments and miracles...
Also, learned that you can't live like a Mexican in Canada. :)

Thoughts on beauty, got any?

No matter what your age, woman always want to be beautiful. Take pride in how you look; it doesn't matter what you weigh. If your hair is done (haha, spoken like a hair stylist...), you have a touch of make-up on, and you're wearing appropriate clothes, everyone can be beautiful. 

Spandex is a privilege not a right. 

How about some general wisdom thoughts? Got any?

You don't need a best friend. Each friend brings a different gift; some you can bare your soul to, some you just have good times with. Some friends you listen to, others you pray with. Don't put expectations on friendships; just enjoy them. 

Jesus. Seriously. Without Him, life is waaaaaay harder. 

Tithe. Be generous. It's good for the soul.


Book(s): Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers. What's So Amazing About Grace, by Philip Yancey. Another Gospel, by Alisa Childers. 

Movie(s): You've Got Mail. The Notebook.

Song(s): The Goodness of God (for worship and tears). Old time hymns like My Jesus I Love Thee and Great is Thy Faithfulness. 
The Best Make Out Song, EVER (back in the day): Every Woman in The World by Air Supply. (Oh, the memories... Hahaha.)
The Best Song to Dance To: Old Time Rock n Roll.
Anything by the Proclaimers brings back Mexico memories. 
Huey Lewis and The News: The Heart of Rock n Roll is Driving to Cultus Lake to go Skiing Music. 

The favorite place I've ever lived is Greendale. Can't beat a small country town. 

Proverbs 3:5 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. DO NOT lean on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge him and HE WILL direct your paths. 
But, that said, my all time favorite passage is Psalm 139. Oh My Gosh. This amazing God of ours, who made me, knows absolutely everything about me and still loves me more than I could every comprehend. 

Activity that brings joy:


Surprising moment:

When DJ and Sheri told us they were pregnant with who we now know was Lincoln.




Sweet Georgia Browns

Favorite Christmas Memory:

The one we had in Mexico. Coming home from somewhere, we saw there was a Christmas tree set up outside our trailer. We made paper chains and decorated it. I made a turkey dinner for 20 people who were missionaries we got to know. So fun. 

If you'd like to hear a from Marj herself, this is a talk she did at her church a couple years ago:

Thanks, Marj. 


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Women with Wisdom

So I had this idea during the summer of 2023. It was inspired by the project Katie had undertaken a few months prior regarding her Beauty over 40 Photoshoot. It was a fundraising initiative to celebrate aging and make money for the Surrey Women's Centre. (Katie is a professional photographer and the daughter of my friend, Marg.)

I responded to her Facebook post:

I am looking for 40 women, aged 40+ that want to CELEBRATE the beauty that comes with aging, AND help raise money for a great cause at the same time!

There is a Jamie Lee Curtis quote that I love. She says “The word ‘anti-aging’ has to be struck. I am PRO-aging. I want to age with intelligence, and grace, and dignity, and verve, and energy.”
At a time when mainstream media is obsessed with youth as the standard of beauty I would like to smash down that pre-conceived notion and celebrate the beauty of women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond! For some of you, being the model in your own photo shoot might take a whole lot of bravery. I know I personally have struggled with allowing myself to be the one in front of the camera, but I can tell you, it really is an empowering thing to be photographed as “just me.”

I signed up for a portrait session, had my hair and face did up all fancy-like by hair and face professionals, answered some questions about beauty and decided I really like false eyelashes. 


SO THAT got me thinking ... not so much about BEAUTY but about wisdom. In particular, the collective smarts that people my age (and older) have accumuated due to our advanced years. We've lived through some things and learnt a bit along the way. And maybe some youngin's (women who haven't chalked up as many rotations around the sun) could benefit from our learnings? 

I'll be interviewing the friends in my life over the next year, asking them a series of questions, then posting their answers here. On Pixnprose. I'm excited about this series. 

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Friends who are (going to be) enthused about answering my invasive, probing questions. :)


3. Hallmark's decision to film in my suite! They're beginning on Friday! Autumn's Gift ... watch for it this fall. 

4. Friend who did a 'bestie' photoshoot with me...