Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Ahhhh summer.
Books and Movies and Walks and Talks and Eats.
So many good evenings.
So many fun things to do.
So many amazing friends to hang with.

SO MANY DAYS that start with, "I can hardly wait til later. Gonna be such a good night ..."

On Sat July 14, (after a week of feeling crapppppy) I woke up, looking forward to my day.
Tyler (one of my designers at work) and Victoria were getting married.

I'd never been to a wedding like it.
When the groomsmen came in from the side door and took their places at the front, the audience erupted with cheers and clapping.

And as the parents were escorted down the aisle to their seats?
More of the same.
Crazy, happy, excited friends and family.

Boisterous excitement each time someone new walked down the aisle.
It was so lovely to be a part of that.

And yesssss, I did feel like a blonde whale in a sea of black cichlids.

From there I went to Cultus to have a nap.
I tell ya, that bug I caught just drained ALL energy.

But Clint, Drew and Dani were going to be at the lake, so I could HARDLY wait to get there.
It only took three hours.

THREE hours because everyone in Canada decided to head east at noon.

And ten million people got off the freeway in Yarrow and clogged up the road leading into Cultus.
I've never had such a good look at the farms on the Columbia Hwy as I did that afternoon.
This blueberry picking machine intrigued me:

Traffic completely stopped for minutes at a time, so I got a good idea on how this strange contraption works. It's likely replaced the jobs of a dozen or so pickers.

Nosey hydrangeas, needing to see what's on the other side of the fence:

The lake was packed.
This is what summer looks like:

It felt like the day was mostly over by the time I got to my end of the lake.
My people were there tho.
It was sunny.
And I didn't feel nauseous. (As per the entire week before...)

It was the #besteveningever

We sat on the deck, under the stars and played Sequence, then Scrabble eating Smarties by candlelight.
Heaven will be exactly like this.

Sunday was a day of relaxing x 1000, for me and Danica.
Clint, on the other hand, had PROJECTS.
He got Drew to help him finish building the walls around the hot-water tank, then load up All The Crap into a borrowed trailer.  (Years of Tetris are paying off.) He was gonna do a dump run first thing in the morning. (Yeah, he's pretty awesome.)

Drew left at 4, I made stir-fry for Clint, Dani and I, then my girl and I (and Toto, my grandfur baby) sat on the deck and played games while Clint worked. Yes, I know how lucky I am. I DO not take this for granted at all. I have a daughter-in-law who chose to spend her day off (Monday) with me. At the lake.

Seeing this is not a travel year for me, I am 'spending' my vacation days taking random sunny days off work. Monday July 16 was one of those.

By the time I got up, Clint had dumped our junk in Chilliwack, returned the trailer to South Langley and was at his office in Vancouver by 9 am. I am taking applications from women interested in becoming another one of my daughter-in-laws. He's a good catch, ladies. :)

A bit of excitement on our beach at noon:

Also, exciting for me, at the kitchen table, my hair-stylist companion for the day, did THIS to my head:

I want it to be like this forever and always.
(Finally something to do with those bangs that are half-grown out.)

And then, for the first time in three years, I put my lawnchair in the lake and read a book.
Light summer reading:

This was a selection (I think), for my book club a couple years ago, but I never started. So better late than never.

If underlining something on almost every page is an indication of a book's 'goodness' - this was very good. Excellent, even. I just loved the way he spelled it all out. Conversationally. Digging a bit deeper with each passing chapter.

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” 

“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” 

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” 

“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.” 

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.” 

"Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” 

“The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise to never have a headache or always to feel hungry.”

"It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.” 

“The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ's words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism - for that is what the words 'one flesh' would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact - just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument.” 

“For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” 

ANYWAYS, while I was reading, Dani and her sis were floating:

and paddling:

They had a birthday dinner to go to, so they left at 4 and I stayed til dark. Reading. Puttering. Doing laundry. Counting down the days til I'd be back. 

I was at work on Tuesday, and even though I'd slept on it, I kept my braid in. 
You'd think I'd never made an effort with my hair before. So much attention. I really need to figure out how to deal with my head. 

Day two of Dutch/French braid:

After months of trying to arrange a date, Marj and I were FINALLY getting together to walk the seawall after work. All day long I was looking forward to it...

This pianist was good. But we thought we should bring Shelly or Faye along for a walk this summer. They'd be AMAZING...

Here's the thing with Marj.
She likes diving into the deep end of conversations about real life with the transparency of saran wrap. So much honesty and authenticity.
We talked and walked for hours.

We made lists of things to pray about.

Had some gelato, watched the sun set,

... then caught the aqua bus back to Science World parking lot.

Some days are just crazy good.

On Wednesday Jenn and I celebrated!
Her follow up book to Sleight. (Scheme) is done! She finished writing! We went to her happiest place on earth.
The VIP theatre at Coquitlam Cineplex.

An edge-of-your-seat, nail-biter all the way through. EVEN THOUGH you know how it ends, your back will be so tense it'll feel like it's on the verge of snapping by the time it's over.
Her movie-boyfriend is Dwayne, PLUS this movie was filmed in Vancouver, so there was lots to keep us focused on for two hours.

I love the entertainment industry.
And for the record, I kept my braid in on THIS DAY TOO:

Thursday night was an evening I won't forget. I picked up Inca and Alex, (two young (late 20's) women who left Focus last year to pursue other options and took teensy bits of my heart with them) and drove us over to Cactus Club at English Bay.

We ate and talked for hours. And hours. Long past the sunset. Long past my allotted pre-paid parking time. Long past someone's bedtime. Haha.
We had lots to catch up on. But also lots to look forward to.
It felt like 'soul talk'. About how God was working in our lives. About how God was working in our loved one's lives. We talked about hope and healing. We talked about moving. And moving on. And we talked about blogging.

And why I do it.
And why I encouraged them to do it.

I said it had something to do with living an 'examined' life. Something to do with pausing and reflecting on the good times. The tough times. The Times. All the times. Because, I suggested, if we don't make a point to remember, we will forget.
We keep piling up memories on top of activities on top of sick days on top of lazy days on top of scary moments on top of hard challenges on top of great days and they'll all blur. And one year later, or maybe even one month later, you will have forgotten. Forgotten how amazing it felt to be out with two former co-workers, talking about jobs and bosses and opportunities and faith and God's hand and new places to live and adventures. If you don't pause to write it down, or take a photo, you might not remember the stories of forgiveness and perseverance we shared.

If you don't write it down, and share it, it will get lost.
And that would be a shame. Because some of the stories, some of the feelings, some of the memories should be told again. Shared again. Used again to encourage someone who may be struggling.

Our stories are God's stories. And they should be told over and over.

Here's Inca's Facebook post the following day:

By the way, I took my braid out for Thursday night.

The roots were so oily, it had to be washed. So I had flat, straight, lifeless hair for the dinner on the beach. If I were stupid rich, I'd have a live-in hair stylist. Because really.
Left to my own devices, this is what my hair has looked like since:

All day Friday at work I was countin down the minutes til 5:30.
Because she's a piano teacher and most of her evenings are tied up with kids plunkin on an upright, it's been months since Faye and I have chatted. We'd set aside THIS Friday night to have fish n chips on the beach then walk n talk til we had nothing left to say.

We've both been divorced a long time.
So we've gotten used to the lifestyle that comes with that. There's stuff that we hate, but stuff that's kinda OK.
We talked about dating, about not-dating.
We talked about our moms. (Both of our dads died in the past few years.)
Our kids.

Our lives.
Our faith.
Our church-life.

Our friends.
Our jobs.
Our retirement. Hahahaha.
Our futures.
Our fears.

There are some things only another divorced, unmarried, not-quite senior citizen, understands.
After we'd done the beach, we sat in my truck and talked for another hour.

I got home at midnight, packed up my backpack and left for the lake.
I am an introvert and all these evenings of being with people had me aching for silence.

I was ridiculously excited about 48 hours all by myself.
I read another book:

Unintentionally this is the third book in a row that I've read this summer, written by an English author.
All have been good summertime reading choices. Each has been on opposite ends of spectrums.
This book is a companion story to:

Harold Fry is walking across England to meet with Queenie Hennesey who is dying of cancer and living in a hospice getting palliative care. As heavy as that sounds, it's really a lovely book with many unexpected delightful characters who share Queenie's story and her journey.

Queenie Hennessy - "I am here to die."
Sister Mary Inconnue - "Pardon me but you are here to live until you die. There is a significant difference.

“I am starting again, I thought. Because that is what you do when you reach the last stop. You make a new beginning.” 

“Don’t try to see ahead to the nice bits. Don’t try to see ahead to the end. Stay with the present, even if it is not so good. And consider how far you’ve already come.”

“When I first met you, I was ready. I had a space for you.” 

“I’d made my sea garden to atone for the terrible wrong I had done to a man I loved, I said. Sometimes you have to do something with your pain because otherwise it will swallow you whole.” 

“PEOPLE CAN LOVE in different ways,” I told David. “You can love full-on, with a lot of noise, or you can do it quietly, over the washing-up. You can even love a person without them knowing.”

“Sometimes you cannot clear the past completely. You must live alongside your sorrow.” 

Because a two day weekend just isn't long enough, I took another Monday off. And sat in the lake. Because everything about sitting in a lake when the air is 34 degrees is perfect. 
I also spent 6 hours making an excel spread sheet for my inventory of Pokemon. 

Me: Any chance you're free this evening? Coffee? Starbucks or anything?
Val: Want some chicken and rice leftovers?
Me: I'll be there by 7.

All day (Monday) long I was looking forward to dinner with her. 
We sat on her patio, looking out at the corn fields and blue sky and felt the fresh breeze on our faces as we ate leftovers and caught up. Some places are 'home'. Eating rice and sitting in her backyard feels like home to me. 

I left her place late and got to my moms house even later. 

(I spend a good amount of time on the freeway.)

I was super excited about my Tuesday-after-work-date. 

Karin (friend at work) and I were going to Regent for one of their Free Public Lectures. (My SECOND one this summer. Banner year for me...) This one was called Living With The Never Ending Expectations of a Leader. We got free books, pre-typed lecture notes and an hour's worth of good advice. 

As per usual though, the best part always happens in my truck on the drive into and back from Vancouver. And even though the night was all about leadership, I don't think we even touched on the topic. TYPICAL.

People's lives are just so interesting.
Upbringing. Original families. Home life. Expectations. Education. Jobs. Living situations. SO very different than mine. So very much it doesn't matter in friendships.


Wednesday morning started off with a three hour team meeting about our Birkman results.
At one point, near the end of our time together, we were all handed printouts based on our individual scores. The title was: How I Prefer Others to Talk to Me. There were 5 - 6 phrases that could be true for someone with my profile. I was to choose one or two of them and read them out loud to the rest of my team. These were mine:
 "Get to the point. Don't worry much about hurting my feelings."
"Asking me how I feel about the matter under discussion can generate more cooperation and yield significant insights."

The other sheet was Biggest Mistakes Others Can Make With Me.
At work? Given the five phrases suggested? I'd say it's: "Forcing me to think and act competitively." But in other relationships? Like say with my family? It would be: "Paying insufficient attention to what I am feeling as well as what I am saying." 

However, haha, that said, if someone were to make one of those big mistakes with me?
All that would happen is I'd withdraw, stop engaging, and think bad thoughts. Mostly about myself.
So, no biggie.

All afternoon I was countin down the minutes til 5:30.

Rob and Maureen did a 5 week house swap in England and they were finally home! I was so looking forward to dinner with her. I wanted to hear all about their trip.

This is where they stayed:

And their trip sounded perfect. 
Gardens and World Cup Soccer. 
A beautiful blend of both their interests. 

Of course, the conversation meandered all over the place. We are women. With jobs, children, thoughts...

All day Thursday all I could think about was Pokemon catching with Heather that evening. 

New Westminster River Walk is The Best place to catch Pokemon on warm summer evenings. The breeze off the river is divine. The Pokestops are plentiful. And the flowers are gorgeous.

There was an entire garden of succulents that were pruned/shaped on topiaries to look like jelly fish:

I'm not used to seeing blue flowers.
These were so pretty:

I'm an old lady who takes pics of plants.

And then as we were minding our own business, catchin Pokemon like enthusiastic 10 year old boys, this fella came by for a visit.

Tis a beaver,
and he was hungry for some berries.

And IT WAS THE FIRST NIGHT OF THE FULL MOON, so patient Heather had to endure me trying to capture it in an artistic way.
One million moon shots.

These were the best ones.

I dropped her off shortly after it got dark as she has 10 consecutive grandchild babysitting days ahead. SO glad we squeezed an evening together into her daycare/nightcare schedule. Nothing but easy breezy fun on Pokemon nights.

Seeing Friday's forecast was for temperatures in the low million degrees, I had booked it off work, intending to spend it at a Vancouver beach.

But I slept in too late, needed to get my eyebrows/face threaded, wanted to pop in to the dentist office to drop of some cards (thank you to my dentist for going above and beyond, plus one to his assistant, who after 30 years was retiring and moving to the sunshine coast that day. Her and I have a long history that intersected at the recovery house where our sons hung out for a season. Plus I had some bills to pay and laundry to do and groceries to get and I wanted to get a brace for my mom's arm and some days are just like that. SO much to do. And whilst I was doing All The Errands all I could think about was how much I was looking forward to the evening.

At 4 pm I washed my hair and air-dried it while sitting on the driveway. (Only spot at my mom's house that gets full sun. It's like resting in a frying pan.) Then I changed into decent clothes, printed off the tickets and joined the thousands of cars heading east.

My destination was Drew and Danica's house.
She was going to braid my hair.
Before we went out for dinner.
And then went to see:

And it was delightful.
And we both weren't expecting to cry, but we did.
And now we both really want to go to Greece.

SOME EVENINGS ARE PERFECT. And this was one of them.
I love having a daughter-in-law so hard.

I dropped her off at home at 11:30, then headed farther east.
Clint in his truck, and me in mine, both pulled into the driveway at Cultus at the same time.

And for the first time ever in the history of me being a mom, I had a son say, "Do you have anything you need me to carry up?"

You have no idea.
You can't imagine how wonderful those words were.
It was like he was saying, "love ya mom".

How can I have so many good days in a row?


On Saturday I was making a batch of cheddar cheese biscuits just as Clint and Claire (who came to visit for a few hours) got back from a 10 k run IN THE 30 DEGREE HEAT. I love perfect timing. The three of us ate the entire batch, while they were still warm from the oven, with butter, melting into the layers as we pulled them apart.

Is there any better morning snack than warm biscuits? NO THERE IS NOT.

We chatted about life, challenges, Birkman scores (I am never going to shut up about this) and personalities. Claire wondered if I knew how old I was when I was comfortable/fully embraced my personality. When did Jane become Jane? She felt she accepted who she was at age 27. (Clint wasn't participating in this conversation, by the way.)

I felt I made a shift in my thinking when I was 40. I was no longer a wife, and I didn't think I'd ever be one again. So I embraced the whole MOM thing with all my energy. And had great peace about it. But then in 2012 when Drew moved out unexpectedly, I had an identity crisis. I still wasn't a wife. I was not a mom anymore. Nor was I a homeowner. Nor was I employed. I was starting from scratch. I could be anything.

So I decided (or God led me) to be a friend.
I didn't have many friends during my school years (one cousin, one mom, one sister, one bestie and one boyfriend, what else did I need?). I made a few more friends during my CBI year, but after that? And for all the years after that? My husband was my #1 person, and we had some friends as couples.

When my marriage ended, I discovered the world of girlfriends, and after all the kids moved out, that world grew larger.

I am so grateful that people still 'make friends' in the years that follow school. I'm so glad that women are happy to share their lives with me and have expanded their people-circle to include me in it. I've heard, repeatedly 'that it's pretty hard to make new friends once everyone has settled into comfortable relationships..." but I haven't found that to be true.

I've found that people, errrhmm, women, are open and welcoming and very warm about making new friends. And at this stage of life, there is only appreciation and kindness and laid back easiness about spending time together. No competition. No snark. No bitchiness.

It really is lovely.

If you're struggling with loneliness, or feel that you have room in your life for another person or two, reach out. Pray that God would bring into your life some friends. And watch your life fill right up.

Yeah, so that was a really long answer to Claire's question.
No wonder Clint got bored. Haha.


On Sunday I sat in the lake again.
Seriously. It is the best thing ever.
My comfort level was defcon eleventy million.
I lived in the minute for every minute I was sitting there. There was no place I would've rather been.
My soul was utterly at peace and my body felt all relaxed and unwound.

So I started to read another book that made me feel privileged, spoilt, lazy and guilty.

It's about the persecuted church.
And about missions in hostile environments.
And about Jesus' command to GO.

I live a very safe life.
And the joy of sitting in the lake was dashed.

I suppose I needed the reality check.
There are millions and millions of women around the world who never ever get to sit on a lawnchair in the lake after having a gazillion good days in a row.

By 5 I was cleaning/packing up to go home, but planned on stopping in on Dani for 5 minutes to see if she'd braid my hair AGAIN.
I love having it all pulled back off my face.
I love having a(nother) stylist in the family.


All day Monday at work, all I could think about was sittin on lawnchairs at the beach watching the sun set with Kim.
Our plan was to do this at Crescent Beach, but I can't talk, drive and remember to turn right at the same time so we ended up at White Rock. Which was fine, but the sun didn't set in front of us...

We ended up sitting on that bench, looking south, with the sun setting BESIDE us. Not quite what I imagined, but still wonderful. Like, really wonderful.

The air temp? Was PERFECT. Light, cool breeze, warm air, good conversation, so many things to watch and see.

Like people not sitting.

And more people not sitting and talking:

I am a slug.

We talked about guilt, the kind you get from reading books about GOing and DOing missions. And we talked about 'someone having to STAY to look after the babies and the widows...'
We talked about kids. And faith, and family vacations, and OF COURSE, the Birkman. We talked about grieving and travelling and books and bible studies and I love summer evenings. With all my heart. And all my skin. And I love sharing those evenings with friends who like to visit on benches that aren't facing the sunset.

All day today, Tuesday, I was looking forward to hanging out with my other Kim. I was gonna try again with the lawnchairs on the beach watching the sun set. This time at Kits. This time with supper/snacks. She brought the sushi. I brought the lawnchairs. We found a great log to use as a footrest, and the evening was GOLDEN.

Ok, maybe more orange than golden, but still.
A perfect evening.
We talked about dating, and being single, and working, and jobs, and goals, and routines, and Birkman scores and being introverted vs extroverted, and families and friendships and wow. I talk alot after 6 pm.

The weather is changing; our two week summer is coming to an end. Rain is on it's way; gonna be a wet long weekend.

I can't complain; if summer is done? I've had a stellar one. Of course, its never long enough, but I feel like I squeezed every drop summer joy from the days we had, even though I worked on most of them.


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. The life I get to live and the people who're walking alongside.
2. How it feels to have both sunshine and a breeze on one's face.
3. Folding chairs.
4. Benches.
5. Logs on beaches.
6. Take out sushi.
7. Ice cream bar vending machines.
8. Voices.
9. Conversations.
10. Friends.


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