Monday, June 22, 2020


For the past couple years, every time Vancouver-Kim and I saw a movie, we drove along Hastings to get to the Cineplex Theater. EVERY TIME I felt sick about what I was seeing. Physically ill.

I pray my way through this corridor, from the comfort of my truck, asking God to do something.
(Then cautiously asking, am I supposed to do something?)

When I attended a Tony Campolo (5 + 2 Ministries) event in February, I was convicted that I needed to stop feeling guilty about my lack of involvement. So I volunteered to provide a hot, healthy, home-cooked meal to the hungry and homeless, on the fourth Saturday of every month, in Abbotsford.

(Abbotsford isn't Vancouver, but maybe someone closer to the city center will feel nudged to help in their neighbourhood?)

As I've mentioned in past posts, I am not known for my cooking or baking abilities. So this is a bit of a stretch. And as I've mentioned in past posts, the unexpected blessing from this whole experience is seeing the people in my life participating, CHEERFULLY, wholeheartedly, generously, randomly, willingly. It reinforces my belief that people are ultimately good.

The May meal was planned by Maxine; sausages, perogies, sour cream, Caesar salad (with homemade dressing, homemade, croutons, fresh Parmesan and real bacon fried in her kitchen) and an individually wrapped dessert square with a bottle of water.

Ambitious, yes? Her philosophy is that she won't serve anything to those folks (who gather in the empty lot on Saturdays at 5) that she wouldn't serve to her family. She has never bought salad dressing or croutons, and she wasn't going to start now. (She texted me on the Friday night she was preparing the meal and said her kitchen smelt amazing and she was having so much fun.)

And those sausages?

Came from Stapleton Sausages ...

(You've got a hankerin for some sausages now, don't you?) 😃

And the baked bits came from friends who were happy to make some sweet things in their kitchens.

Serving on Saturday:

Jesse sets up a folding table at 4:55. We put our food on it. At 5 pm, they're serving.
By 5:20, all the peeps have a meal, the table is put away, we pack up, and it's over.

It's my very favorite day of the month.
And it's NOT because of the thanks I get for bringing the meal. No, it's my favorite day because I can see The Happy on my friend's faces as they contribute. I love being part of something way bigger than myself, something that allows my people to shine. I liken it to being in a rock band. Everybody has their role/instrument, and my job is the behind-the-scenes non-musical, get-everyone-a-bottled-water role. The magic happens when the house lights get turned off, the stage lights up, and all the musicians come together to do what they love to do - bake cookies and fry bacon. And the audience just eats it up.

I may be mixing up my metaphor with real life, but you get the idea.

My sister asked if her and Daryl could provide the hot part of the meal in June; in order to give Maxine a break. They've been wanting to do something like this for awhile and would like to help out too.


Our conversation went something like this ...

Her: We'd like to help. Daryl and I will look after the main dish.
Me: That'd be amazing!

Her: Uh, you'd still look after all the other parts of the meal, right?
Me: Sure, no problem.

Her: I just don't know if we'd have anyone that would want to bake or make salads or whatever.
Me: You might be surprised. There are some wonderful people out there.

Her: But just in case, can you ask your friends?
Me: Yup. Oh, and this time? Instead of cookies for dessert, I'm thinking of asking for muffins. We supply a pretty substantial meal, and it's mostly men and I thought we could give them muffins they can keep for breakfast.

The next day:

Her: ALL our friends want to help. And want to do this more than once. And want to plan future meals. And are so excited to do this with us!
Me: YAY!

Her: Oh, and one young couple have offered to bake 10 dozen fresh blueberry muffins the night before.
Her: And we're going to make coleslaw from scratch. Everyone wants to chop or fry something...


Meanwhile, out in the real world, chaos is reigning. There are deaths and riots and looting and demonstrations and protests and instead of it bringing us all together, it feels like everyone is mad at someone. You can say these three words to support these people, but you can't say these other three words because it shows you are stupid and uninformed. You should support this cause because this issue matters, but not that cause because that doesn't matter. Everyone has rights. No one has rights. We support this group of people until the following week when we don't support them anymore. We are destroying statues, banning books, removing movies from libraries, rewriting history.

All this ^ with Covid still hovering in the background, still causing fear and death.

We update the rules daily. No you can't gather in groups (stay safe) (and if you do anything that's not essential, you are selfish and ignorant) yes you should gather in large groups (protest all the injustices and if you're not protesting, WHY NOT?). If you don't say something against an issue, it is assumed you must be for it. Every company/organization, in addition to making policies to protect their staff and customers from Covid, is also now coming up with public statements about their stand on racism.

My birthday landed right in the midst of the uproar.
There was just so much angst and anger.
On my Twitter and Facebook feeds, people were saying, If you believe/say/support/don't believe/don't say/don't support - I WILL UNFRIEND/UNFOLLOW YOU because you are evil.
If you don't agree with me on every single issue, I don't want you in my life.

What a mess.

And then.

And then my sister calls.

One of her friend's inlaws heard what they were up to and had an opinion; "Sloppy Joe's on store-bought hamburger buns? Pffft. As if."

They're baking 90 fresh kaiser buns on Saturday morning for the meal.


I just had a little cry.
While people are out there marching in the streets, with their signs and their anger to bring about change -  there are others, who are making a difference by getting up early on a Saturday morning to bake eleventy gazillion buns for those who're very very hungry.

The best part of this?
My sister gets to experience FIRST HAND, how awesome it is to have the people in your life show their compassion in such a tangible way. She gets to see their love in action. She is experiencing the joy of being in a rock n roll band.

It's a beautiful thing.


Three things I'm thankful for:

1.  A couple quiet evenings each week, to escape life's challenges to play with rocks and paints. I'm especially grateful when someone wants to sit outside and paint with me.

2. I'm thankful for this safe place where I live. I can go for evening walks, by myself, along the Vedder, through the streets of Surrey, along the seawall in Vancouver, with no fear of being harmed. I understand this is white privilege - there are millions of women around the world who don't have this freedom. I ache for them. And don't take it for granted that I am able to wander around, hiding rocks for little ones to find. I KNOW I live a blessed life. I am grateful.

Tonight's walk was at Cultus:

I park here. (Coincidentally there are three Pokestops in this parking lot.)

I left a rock (not one of my favorites) in the sign, on the lower cross bar, left corner.

I walked through Main Beach park and ended up on the path beside the lake:

This is my granny's bench ↓

Kay (Tina, Kathy, Katerina, Katherine ...) was my mom's mom.

It seemed a fitting place to leave my LOVE rock:

From there, I walked through Sunnyside campground with my third rock (another non-favorite). (I won't use metallic paint to base coat again.)

Sometimes a rock in one's hand feels comforting. It's a mystery.

Last Thursday I did something similar along the Vedder.

I left the Bloom rock on a rock:

And the Shine rock was placed at the base of a tree:

That rock fit in the palm of my hand nicely.
I just sound weird now, don't I?

3. Once again, and I know I sound like a broken record, I am thankful for the arts. Movies, TV shows and books in particular. I guess I could be educating myself on All the Issues by research or interviews, but I've been doing it by watching shows and reading books.

  • The Hate You Give (both the book and, to a lesser degree the movie)
  • Just Mercy (both the book and the movie)
  • 13th (documentary on Netflix)
  • Amazing Grace
Grateful for documentaries and memoirs, brave people and change makers. 

Some of us stay home and bake cookies. Others go outside and use their voices. Thankful for both.


Sunday, June 14, 2020


After weeks (months?) of hoping/thinking/planning/saying I was going to leave some painted rocks on local paths and trails this Spring, I am FINALLY ready to hide some treasures. (If you're here, reading this blog, because you found one of my rocks, thanks for dropping by. Are you keeping it? Do you have a collection? Or are you re-hiding it? Let me know in the comments.)

The rock-painting process is time consuming.

1. Get inspired. (Seeing actual rocks while one walks, goes a long way to sparking inspiration. It is delightful to discover a tiny work of art while trying to get your 10,000 steps in.)
For example, this evening, while catching Pokemon along the Vedder, I noticed this treasure under a bench:

Lovely, yes?

Another source of inspiration is Pinterest. Yeah, most of these are intimidating. This is my pinterest page.

Or just google "rock painting" and click on images.

2. Get rocks. Hahaha. This was not as simple as I thought it'd be. The best rocks are near the water. So, think, lake, river, ocean. (Or your neighbour's landscaping rocks are perfect for this.) I decided to pick up rocks on one of my usual walks. And just put them in my pockets. Like a 5 year old boy.

Know what? Ten rocks are heavy. Five in each vest pocket, and my vest was hanging to my knees in the front, and the back was riding all the way up to my shoulder blades. And then I had to walk 2 km back to my truck looking like that.

Thinking of maybe bringing a bucket along next time.
(Or just knicking my neighbour's landscaping rocks at midnight.)

3. Wash rocks. And vest. Because both are covered in sand and dirt.

4. Dry rocks overnight. They should be totally dry before you paint on them.

5. Gather supplies. At some point, you'll need to make sure you have acrylic craft paints, an assortment of not-sucky brushes, and some sealer. Or hang out with a friend who has these items.

The first time I painted (with Maxine and Heather) I thought I could get away with some old Billie's Country paints and brushes. But Billie's has been closed for about 20 years and those colours? Were not happy. Haha. Hard to be JOYous with colours like dull green and mustard yellow. BLOOMing isn't exciting when you're painting with barn red, golden yellow and sad blue. Oy, those folk art colours of the '90's were not cheerful.

So I picked up a package of cheap, but better brushes and a dozen smiley colours, including two metallics and one glitter paint. I miss Billies. Shopping for craft supplies at Walmart is just so sterile.

6. Start painting. Invite friends over to paint too. WAY more fun than doing it by yourself.

My rocks:

Maxine's works of art:

And Heather, who is a MACHINE:

Just got some pics from a friend who's a piano teacher. She's painting a rock for each student:

It's now mid-June and all I've done is three rocks, that I never got around to finishing or sealing. So my plan this weekend (besides reading my Book Club book, doing a couple loads of laundry, walking every evening, doing a blog post, watching 13th on Netflix, cleaning the bathrooms and sleeping 12 hours each night,) IS TO PAINT THE REST OF MY ROCKS. (And collect another dozen.)

Next time I'll put down a plastic table cloth.

And have more snacks on hand.

Accepting the fact that I can't write on rocks very well.

That sealer is powerful. Whoa. Left the rocks in the bathroom with the door closed and fan on so I wouldn't pass out from the fumes.

Printing a word on top of dabs of paint is not easy or fun. That's 6 coats of white paint for SHINE. I won't do that again.

Joy looks a bit more joyous with the glitter paint added, yes?

AND WHOA I SUCK at using a paint brush. ABSOLUTELY no control. Those stars in the night sky look like a 6 year old did it.

This one was the easiest, most relaxing one to paint.

Lastly, I added my blog address to the back, so whoever picks them up, can see who made them.


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Wildflowers, especially those blue ones, along the side of the roads and in ditches.

2. Four-day work weeks.

3. A hair appointment! Mid-July. Last time my head had any attention paid to it was before Christmas.

Wash your hands,
stay safe,