Friday, May 10, 2019

May 2019 -Week 19

Wednesday morning, as I was engaging in an extreme sport getting dressed (more specifically, pulling up my pants) I heard my shoulder crunch. And then I felt it. Shooting pains. And an immediate inability to move my arm in certain directions.

"This is going to be bothersome" I predicted.

After work, I drove into Vancouver to walkntalketc with a friend. We walked through her neighbourhood; me catching Pokemon and capturing images (absolutely committed to not allowing my impaired shoulder to interfere with my fav activities) - her talking about a recent thing in her life.

"Yeah, so this guy, who I met last year, but lost touch with, asked me if I wanted to sing back-up for him. He's in a band and they had a gig coming up at the end of May in White Rock ...

... so I said, sure, I'd love to.
We met and talked and he was great. He works in two different gyms as a trainer, and he sings in a band. He's around my age (early 40's), tall, black, fit..

... the other night, he put his hands on my shoulders and suggested I walk taller, with my head held high and my shoulders back... he's a really nice guy...

... Anyway... the band practice was coming up on Monday, so I told him to text me the address and I'd be there.

But I didn't hear from him on the next day. Or the following one. So on Saturday evening, I texted him and reminded him I needed the address...

I hadn't heard from him on Sunday, so I thought, "hmmm. Maybe he changed his mind, and doesn't want me there. Maybe he found someone else. Maybe he doesn't like me anymore. Maybe I did something wrong...

... so I checked Facebook to see if he had unfriended me.

... and it turned out, he had died.

He'd had a heart attack.

And died.

He's gone."

I was not expecting her story to end that way.
I had to stop and take a breath.

SO young. (From where I'm standing.)
So random. (He works in gyms. He's FIT.)
So .... something. I don't know what. But it was like a sucker-punch to the gut. And I didn't even know the guy.

About two minutes later, my shoulder needed attention. So as I lifted my arm to change equipment (alternate light phone for heavy camera) my shoulder yelled, my grip loosened and my camera crashed to the sidewalk. The lens was in pieces and the body was broken.

I picked up all the pieces, tucked everything into my vest pocket; then carried on walking and talking about men and dating and ice cream.

After we had our McDonald's McFlurrys, hugged and said goodbye, I sat in my truck for a few minutes looking at my messed up camera. I texted my kids. Who were immediate in their responses:

Drew: Oh no, mom!

Max: (who has the same camera as me) You can use mine, mom.

Clint: Good thing it was the 50mm lens. Sounds like it took most of the impact. Cannon cameras are very durable. It's probably fine.

I felt so known and so loved.

(I popped in on Clint at 11 pm on my way home, to show him the camera. Which he thinks might be repairable. He'll take it in for me.)


Do you know who Rachel Held Evans is?
Before May 4 I didn't.

But today? (I'm writing this on Sunday May 5)
I do.
I spent the day reading one of her books;

On April 12 she tweeted:
Between my trip to San Francisco and the flu, Dan has basically been solo parenting 2 little kids for a week and a half. When I thanked him for stepping up, he looked adoringly at our little girl and said, “Well look what I’ve got to work with!” 😭

On April 14:

If you’re the praying type - I’m in the hospital with a flu + UTI combo and a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me. (I’m totally going to miss GOT! 😢)

And then a little while later...

Note: We’ve got HBO Go! So I won’t miss it entirely. Was just looking forward to the live experience. 😉 Thanks for your concerns on this which far exceeded concern for my health. Ha!

On April 19, her husband updated Rachel's blog:

During treatment for an infection Rachel began exhibiting unexpected symptoms. Doctors found that her brain was experiencing constant seizures. She is currently in the ICU. She is in a medically induced coma while the doctors work to determine the cause and solution.

And on Saturday May 4:

Early Thursday morning, May 2, Rachel experienced sudden and extreme changes in her vitals. The team at the hospital discovered extensive swelling of her brain and took emergency action to stabilize her. The team worked until Friday afternoon to the best of their ability to save her. This swelling event caused severe damage and ultimately was not survivable.
Rachel died early Saturday morning, May 4, 2019.

She was 37 years old; wife of Dan and mom to a 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter. And she was a history maker.

My Facebook timeline is bursting with posts of how her writing and her ministry have impacted lives. Quotes from her books are all over my Twitter feed. A hashtag to follow right now on Instagram is: #becauseofrhe

If you are a woman of faith, open your Insta account, search that hashtag and be inspired. Her one, short life, made a difference.

The book I read today, had these as the first words, written in the Foreword by Glennon Doyle Melton:

"Whenever I want to scare myself, I consider what would happen to the world if Rachel Held Evans stopped writing."

I started to cry when I realized I was reading those words the day after Rachel stopped writing.

Jen Hatmaker wrote this:

I have been unable to know how to talk about Rachel Held Evans since we lost her. My brain cannot catch up to my shattered heart. I can't make sense of the loss of her nor the future without her, so I've just been flattened. Irrationally, my mind keeps thinking, "But we need her." And why can't that obvious objection reverse this terrible loss? Doesn't God know we need her? Dan needs her. Her babies need her. Her sisters and friends need her. Her readers need her. This world needs her. This is patently unfair and unjust. I wanted to be by her side for another forty years.
So all I know to do is join the TENS OF THOUSANDS of people bearing witness to her faithfulness. The stories of her influence and friendship have laid me flat. I texted our friend group: "She was even better than I knew." I invite you to pay attention to #becauseofRHEand see what good fruit actually looks like.
It looks like beloved people who came back to Jesus because of her kindness. It looks like marginalized folks welcomed, celebrated, elevated, and honored; thanks be to God. It looks like righteousness. It looks like life and joy and abundance and godliness. It looks like a sister who led with courage, a lead blocker who cleared the way for hundreds of thousands of image bearers to move forward in Jesus. It looks like faith leaders from all across the spectrum, even those who sparred with Rachel on key issues, taking off their hats to honor a woman of great valor and even greater faith.
Thank you Jesus that you allowed me to be loved and led by Rachel. I know you have welcomed your faithful servant into glory. Tell her how much she was cherished. Tell her we love her and will see her again. There will one day be a line fifty miles long in heaven to thank her for her witness.

If you want to heal, you will always find the balm.


Also on Facebook today?
A post made by my friend, Brita:

I have real sadness to share.
My nephew Ron Renville, 47, passed away last night unexpectedly as he and Kristi were watching TV. We don’t know why yet. He was a Vancouver Firefighter, super Dad, followed Jesus, loved his wife and kids and family SO much.
HE is just fine.
We are all devastated.
My niece Kristin is strong and deep, but her beloved is gone and Ethan 14, and Zoe 12, have lost a guiding light.
We mourn with them and their friends, even as we all have hope, and know and rejoice that Ron is truly ok in heaven. They are so well loved by their strong friend group, church, firefighting community, and families.
Pray for courage and peace as many decisions are made. They are in the midst of building a house on their property and the visual reminder of their future will be ever present as it goes up.
We don’t ask why. Death is a guaranteed part of life. But we grieve.
So thanks in advance for your love and prayer.


Three deaths in the past 3 days. 
I didn't know any of the deceased personally, but am feeling some strong feels about their passing. 

They were all young (37, early 40's and 47) and my heart hurts for those who are grieving with their whole beings. 

God, comfort the hurting and fill their hearts with hope. Please. Amen


Things I'm thankful for: (written in my journal at a picnic table on beside Mill Lake on Saturday May 4 evening. Due to an accident on the freeway, I was 40 minutes late for church. Instead of walking in late, I drove over to the park and wrote out a few things I was thankful for:)

1. Spring
2. green
3. fresh air
4. city lakes
5. families that walk, laugh, spend Saturday evenings together
6. couples who hold hands
7. weekends
8. non-rainy weekends
9. hope of eternal life
10. joy-filled people
11. the energy and enthusiasm toddlers have
12. birdsong
13. picnic tables
14. walking paths
15. patient friends who wait for me to take pics along the way
16. patient friends who don't mind if a catch a Pokemon or two while we walk
17. patient friends who listen to me talk and talk
18. friends
19. my kids' friends
20. young women who support and celebrate each other
21. water parks
22. warm breezes
23. comfy runners
24. fully loaded external batteries
25. sons
26. daughter in laws
27. tax refunds
28. friends who like to hang out, and read
29. book clubs
30. MY book club
31. lily-of-the-valley scented handcream
32. co-workers who help with challenging tasks
33. king size beds
34. ice cubes
35. inspiring sermons
36. good books
37. challenging talks
38. Advil 
39. pretty
40. friends who feed me. :)
41. flat screen hi def TV's
42. British shows
43. notebooks
44. friends who sacrifice entire evenings to binge-watch your favorite actor with you
45. kids who love traditions
46. super hero movies
47. the smell of cut grass
48. people who don't cringe when I take pics of them
49. my team at work
50. forgiveness


"This week" is actually about 2 and 1/2 weeks... from April 22 - May 10:

  • Proudest moment this week: Instead of going to the accountant who's done my taxes since 1983, (last year they charged me $750) I stopped in at an H+R Block kiosk at the mall and got them to deal with my 7 tax papers (T4's and recepits). Only cost $150. How proud am I? Not as proud as I will be NEXT year when a friend will help me do it for free. But still. It was my proudest moment since my last blog post.
  • Most embarrassing moment of the week:
  • Funniest moment of the week:
  • Biggest achievement of the week: One of my senior designers is going to Israel for a year, and because we don't have a HR person right now, the process of hiring a replacement kinda fell on me. SO very grateful for the support of an amazing team who are standing by my side as we go through resumes and conduct interviews. Wasn't expecting to care so much for those who are applying. I've learned so much during this process; the biggest one being I sure whine when I have to do something new for the first time. Sorry to everyone who's had to listen to me. 
  • Best moment of the week: I've just looked through my calendar to see what I've been up to. MAN. SO many good days in a row. All have been 'the best' ... walk Ft Langley with Andrea, walk the seawall with Heather, binge watched TV with Jenn, read-a-thon with Sherri and Kim, celebrate Clint and Dani's birthdays, walk through Vancouver with (the other) Kim, caught Pokemon with Heather, walked around Aldergrove Lake with Maureen, walked the promenade in New West, walked around Granville Island and False Creek with Sandra ... (you'd think all this walking was making a difference wouldn't you? Life is unfair sometimes.) But maybe the best moment was today. Today is Thursday May 9. It was 28 degrees out, so I took the day off. I drove up to the lake last night, and slept in (natch) this morning. Then sat in the sun on a lawn chair and breathed deeply. I was By Myself. No make up. Minimal clothing. Delightful breeze. Warm sun. Soft grass under my bare feet. Birdsong to break the silence. And an entertaining book that I read in one sitting the way the author intended. I surprised myself by sobbing near the end; I was utterly caught up in the story and it just touched a soft spot. Best days are always those days when books make you cry. 
  • Best holiday memory of the week: There were no official holidays this week, but Flex Days and Birthdays SHOULD be counted as holidays. So, with that in mind, the best holiday memory of the week was last Sunday when Clint, Max, Drew, Dani, my mom and I met at The Keg to celebrate Clint's and Dani's birthdays. Everyone was in good moods, the food was delish, as per usual, and someone from our way back past popped by to say hi. (One of the Van Dyke boys from Killarney Park, then Fraser Heights days. A fun blast from the past.) Afterwards, as per usual, the Ofam wandered over to Colossus to watch Avengers, End Game, where a few tears slipped out. Because the best superhero movies make your eyes sting and your heart hurt. Everyone knows that.
  • Best advice I heard this week: It was suggested that I should try intermittent fasting. 
  • Most grateful for this week: At the risk of sounding terribly materialist, I am most thankful for an unexpectedly large tax refund. Yay! More teeth getting capped this year. Haha. (I've used up my lifetime allotment of dental work on my work plan. Sucks to be me. The hair follicles on my head may spring forth much fruit, but my teeth are crap.)
  • Favorite family memory of the week: While Sunday April 28 was fun and good, the three sentences on our family chat the evening I dropped my camera was my favorite family memory.  
  • Biggest regret of this week: Only made it to the gym twice. I am ashamed and embarrassed and avoiding going back to my doctor's because, despite all the walking, I haven't lost a pound or an inch and I probably still have crappy blood sugar scores and why the hell can't I hate chocolate? 
  • Best thing I learned this week: With Clint's (somewhat) patient prompting, I learned how to connect my laptop to my TV with a HDMI cable. I also learned that there is no difference between a $200 HDMI cable and a $14.99 HDMI cable.
  • Biggest change I made this week: Sad to say, my phone has been back in my bedroom at night. Arrrgggh. 
  • Best gift I received this week:
The words in the card were more than enough. But the lined, coil-bound notebook was lovely too.

She bought a new one, for the camera feature, and gave me her old one as a birthday present. More storage. Newer than mine. Just need to figure out sim cards. Or something. 

... and a freshly bake craison orange glazed scone. Yummers.

  • New friend this week:  Haha! 17 NEW friends this week! From all around the world' Japan, Italy, Brazil, Indonesia, Sweden ... All I had to do was tweet "Anyone want to be my Pokemon Go friend?" SO many friendly Pokemon catchers around the world. 
  • Most inspiring person this week:
Rachel Held Evans

  • Word to describe this week: Rich
  • Unexpected obstacles I faced this week: My office is so hot. Some afternoons it was a real challenge to stay at my desk. 
Even on rainy days when I wear my boots, my feet are on fire. I sit barefoot at my desk when no one's watching.

And I wear sleeveless tops exclusively. 

I bought a full size fan and have it on all day, hoping the circulation of air will help with the temperature issues I'm having.

This is my new Facebook profile pic. I hate selfies. 

But this is what I look like at work. Reading glasses all day. 

  • Unexpected surprise this week: My team did a "Creative Types" online test (takes 3 minutes) and I thought I'd be a Producer (seeing I'm a Project Manager n all) but it turned out, I am a DREAMER (which is horribly accurate and not anything I'm particularly proud of.) Oy. Dreamer. What are you? 

The world is a place of beauty and magic in the eyes of a DREAMER. Where others see facts and figures, you see symbols, metaphors, and hidden meanings.
You’re deeply emotional and intuitive, with a vivid imagination—the quintessential idealist and romantic. The inner world is always where you’ve felt most at home. You’re happy to roam your mental landscape of thoughts, emotions, and fantasies for hours on end.
You’re naturally drawn to express your inner world through literary pursuits, music, and the visual arts. Think of yourself as the “magical realist” of the creative types: like the literary masters of that genre, you naturally infuse your everyday life with the beauty and wonder of the imagination.
Your greatest gift is your depth of sensitivity and empathy, which allows you to give voice to universal human emotions in a way that touches people on a profound level. Your greatest challenge is learning to balance dreaming with disciplined action—which starts with coming back to the present moment. Let your mind roam free, DREAMER, but don’t forget to return to the here and now. Practicing mindfulness will go a long way in helping you turn your dreams into reality.

  • Best place I visited this week
  • New skill I learned this week:  
  • Biggest obsession this week: Trying to find a way to get all the crap out of the garage.  
  • Best food I ate this week: Anything not prepared by me. Italian pasta made by Kim, cinnamon pullaparts made by Sheri, chowmein made by Heather, steak and shrimp at The Keg... THIS IS WHY I LOOK LIKE I DO. 
  • Best TV I watched this week: Who has time to watch TV? (Other than the 6 hour binge that Jenn and I did...) 
  • Best movie I watched this week: Avengers End Game. 
  • Books I read this week

  • Best song heard this week:
  • Most excited about this for NEXT YEAR: A trip! With my kids! Next May! Not sure where yet, but it will be epic. 
  • New skill I want to learn NEXT YEAR:
  • Place I want to visit NEXT YEAR: All the places. I have a list about ten miles long. 
  • Something to try NEXT YEAR:
  • One thing to work harder on NEXT YEAR

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