Sunday, November 4, 2018


He lost his words for 7 years.
During this dark season, he and his wife daily asked each other, "What are you grateful for today?"
And they talked about those things.

He is Brian Doerksen, a songwriter/musician, and after that long dry spell, he is back.

I was at Central Heights last night at his #Grateful concert. (Central Heights is where he and his wife were married 34 years ago. It was the venue for one of his more significant concerts in 2002. And it's where his mom's memorial service was 5 years ago. That building oozed memories and meaning for him.)
Hallowed ground.
I felt privileged to be there.

Music. It slips past your brain and goes straight for your heart.

November is my most challenging month. Not necessarily because of anything too specific, nor because of painful memories. But because it ushers in the dark season. The view from November is nothing but winter with it's gloomy days and long nights ahead.

I've been so busy at work and at my not-work, that I haven't really taken notice of October ending and November slipping in. But my internal clock was keeping track of the passage of time, and my emotions have been doing a fair bit of swirling. Which I've mostly been ignoring because I Have Things To Do. This week, in particular, I've had a lot of conversations, with colleagues, in my office, or with friends, in coffee shops, where one or both of us, has tears bubbling up just below the surface. Quietly, I promised my soul that I'll have a good cry eventually. Especially after I read this tweet by Diana. (Dr. Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series.) (I am a secret admirer of hers. She unknowingly mentors me in matters of social media responses, relationship maintenance and aging.) (Thank you, God, for Twitter.)

Tears are physically cleansing, not just emotionally. It's a way for your body to excrete stress hormones like cortisol.

I'm at the lake this weekend with Jenn who's working on the final edits of her follow-up book to Sleight.

We left Surrey at 7,  then stopped in to see Dani and her dad at the Vintage Barn Market in Chilliwack, where I had the pride (and joy) of watching my girl (and her family) chat with customers and sell the beautiful items they'd created. Ahhh. Memories of Billie's Country slamming me upside my heart. I love seeing Dani doing hair, but I REALLY love watching her make things. And I am thrilled that she is able to sell them.

Meanwhile Jenn was hanging out in my second favoritest booth - the bookstore on wheels:


"Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.")

ANYWAYS, (that was a bit of a rabbit hole) our next stop was to buy a pizza which we ate in the front seat of my truck in the Safeway parking lot, (Yes, A Weekend with Jane at the lake is a classy affair) before going in and buying some groceries for the weekend. 

We ate snacks while watching Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime til 3 am. Life doesn't get better. 

She spent Saturday writing her little heart out. I spent mine sleeping, and doing nothing. Because for me, Saturday is my Sabbath. (Hahaha. Let's come up with a spiritual excuse for being lazy as a teen.) I met Sandra at Central Heights at 6:30 and we chatted, (well, OK, I talked non-stop for 30 minutes) and then the music started. 

And it was like a reset button had been set deep within me. 

I was doing OK until Today, I Choose. 
Singing along? Was super hard. Words and emotions got trapped in my throat. Saying the words "As for me and my house, we will serve you" affected my ability to swallow and see clearly. Tears slipped out. But I had to reign them in before my nose got involved because I had no kleenexes with me. 

By the time Brian and his band were belting out The River, I was using all my energies to keep it together.

(Ugghhh. His videos are the worst. Hearing him live, with a band, and not having Papyrus font ruining the experience is how I suggest you listen to his songs.)

The best moment of the night, in my humble opinion, was when Brian invited his 82 year dad to join him on stage to sing "It is Well". Oy. 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

I said goodbye to my concert-going, stoic, Pentecostal, non-crying girlfriend, and walked to my truck promising my tear ducts they could overflow as soon as we were on the road back to the lake. 

But I changed my mind when I got onto the freeway. Both the heavens and my eyes cannot be dripping great drops at the same time. Haha. Visibility would have been horrendous. Wildly irresponsible. So I just said all the words. All the words in my heart. I said them out loud, assuming God was sitting in the passenger seat listening. And by the time I got back to Cultus, I was at peace. 

So I baked brownies and cheese biscuits and we watched 4 more episodes of Jack Ryan. (Turning the clocks back really worked in our favor.)


I woke up Sunday and dealt with this. 
Rotting garbage on the side porch. 

(Here's the thing. We don't have garbage collection at the lake, so everyone always takes their garbage home. But this is the second weekend in a row (and third time this fall) that one of us has had to deal with the aftermath of raccoons rummaging though rotting garbage.)


So I cleaned it up like a responsible adult then went outside to breathe fresh air in deeply. 


What am I grateful for today? 


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Family on-line chat conversations. 
I'd asked my kids for their advice to a young-mom-friend-of-mine who is struggling with teens who are not doing homework, not doing well in school/faking being sick in order to stay home, not doing chores, etc. 

The conversation meandered all over the place, and in addition to them coming up with some very solid advice, they added this:
"You and other parents, blame yourselves for being shitty parents for literally no reason at all. 9/10 of the things you prolly think you failed in parenting for us, we have not thought once it's your fault."

"Nobody is blaming you of being a bad parent. I hope you understand that."

"When you stopped forcing me to do homework? Finally? I still graduated. 
But I got not-great grades. Which bites when it comes to post-secondary, but I have NOT ONCE thought to myself, "if only I had better parenting. This is mom's fault."
"The only thought I have is, maybe I shoulda tired a bit harder."

2. I am thankful for the sounds of a dishwasher washing dishes and a washing machine washing towels. SO thankful I'm not doing either activity by hand. 

3. And I am thankful for my fam. 

Shalom, friends.
Thanks for reading. 

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