purpose. plan.


“don’t be disappointed. i have a purpose and a plan.”

i heard this three weeks ago, when we first learned of the baby boy. tried to ignore it. met the birth mom, did the paperwork. began to get excited. began to think of buying a bassinette, a stroller.

may 7th wasn’t far off. we were finally being blessed. God knew our baby had been due may 14th. this was his way of saying sorry. of showing grace.

“don’t be disappointed.”

she sounded so calm. i did too. i didn’t recognize my own voice. i listened as she told me CAS had come that day, convincing her to keep the baby. to try and make it work. i said ‘okay.’

thought of the letter i’d mailed her that day. the letter telling her how grateful we were. we’d been wanting a child for so long…

“goodbye” i said. hung up, and broke down.

how much longer, Lord?

“i have a purpose and a plan.”

God owes me nothing. he’s already given me everything i need.

if only i could believe that, right now.



mum and dad dancing at christmas

mum and dad dancing at christmas

sometimes i wonder if i’ll make a good mother.

it seems a daunting task: mending shirts and hearts, baking bread, kissing hurts and administering discipline.

then i watch my mum who, despite missing her frontal lobe, is still able to mother. who, with a simple pat on my arm–a pat which doesn’t cease because she forgets to pull her hand away–or with a smile that puts a sunrise to shame, she makes me want to be a better person. makes me want to know the God who puts the dance in her footstep. the God who gives her grace to love amidst the throes of cancer.

in her, i find courage. to one day be a mother that believes, that fights, that lives moment to moment in faith and beauty.

and i breathe.

dust to dust

every wednesday we meet. mum and i. we meet, and we sing, along with thirty other women. it’s coffee break.

we break, each week, from mop buckets and frying pans. we break to unite, to find purpose as ladies in this village called blyth.

we talked about death. about heith ledger winning awards after he’d died. about the impossibility of taking physical objects to heaven.

we talked about today being ash wednesday. dust to dust, the bible says. we are dust. mum and i, dust. our smiles and our laughter, particles, filling the air for but a moment. soon we’ll be gone…

reunited in heaven. mum, free of brain cancer. me, free of worry.

it’s humbling, thinking of myself as dust.

i take time to spread my ashes in this home. on this earth. hope the wind doesn’t blow too strong, too soon, or my ashes will disappear. floating, like white moths, up to heaven.

cling tight

we stand close, cling tight in the middle of the kitchen. outside, a storm. wind blowing snow like white strands of hair.

and together, in that embrace, we pray.

thank God for the day. for the things he’d done. for the many ways he’d said, ‘here i am. trust me.’ for the silence in which he’d waited… waited for us to see him. for the angels surrounding our car. for the fact that mum had made it to church. for the bread we’d eaten. and for the person in our arms.

we cling to each other, and we pray

while the world swirls around us. white and stormy.

cheese string

last night i fell asleep crying. thinking of her. sitting there, eating her poutine, cheese string hanging from her mouth. we were at a restaurant. i was at the other end of the table, couldn’t reach her. didn’t want to draw attention.  just wanted to quietly swipe at the string, make it go away. she sat there, letting it dangle, trying to figure out how to move her hand. how to remove the blunder. eventually, the string fell. landed in an orange spiral on her sweater.

she looked up at me with big blue eyes.

“is it tasty, mum?” i asked.

she nodded. “oh yes, it’s delicious.”

i smiled. i had to, to keep from crying.

tow-truck guru

“you should go into politics,” i tell him.

“i am in politics,” he says. “in greek, the word ‘politicos’ means ‘having interest in politics.’ i am in politics, as we all should be.”

his name is andre. his face is pointed, soft with beard. his eyes stare straight ahead. our car has been injured. he’s towing trent and i home.

“we’ve given up on change,” he states. “we don’t believe in anything. we need to turn off the **-box and open up some books.”

andre is russian. he loves his home country. tells us of chechnya, putin and stalin who’s “very misunderstood.” stalin wanted unity. russians loved stalin. craved peace. his eyes get teary.

andre is 25. he lives with his mother and brother in toronto. his father, an electrical engineer, couldn’t stand the city. returned to russia. andre worries for his mother. worries she’ll be sucked dry by the economic vacuum of the city.

andre learns i am a writer. tells me my job then is to educate myself. “you have a great responsibility,” he says. “people believe what you write. you need to know the truth.”

“is it possible to know the truth?” i ask.

“yes,” he says, without flinching. “without a doubt. the truth is out there. we just need to find it.”

he speaks of george soros, of lyndon larouche. tells me not to waste my time ranting about things that don’t matter. i nod, humbled by what i don’t know.

we pull into our driveway, unhook our car. shake his hand. watch him drive away. wonder how to continue life without our tow-truck guru.

my valentine

he slides along the kitchen floor in slippers and fuzzy blue pyjama pants, grabs his nachos and root beer, then races back towards the tv room. “it’s starting!” he calls.

that’s my cue. i put down my book and grab my snack of milk and cookies. protest loudly as i hear the show starting. he’ll rewind it once i get there. he starts it so i’ll get moving.

it’s what we do every evening before bed. it doesn’t matter what we watch–just that we’re watching it together, side by side, munching quietly, dropping crumbs on housecoats and pyjamas, laughing.

we’ve been married five and a half years. i can still recall the early days: days of darkness-days when we’d scream, doors would slam, and hearts would hang, disheveled. those days are over–as is my eating disorder. he waited for me, and i came around.

now we sit side by side, my valentine and i, eating and loving in this house full of grace.dsc_0148

french-fries and pancakes

today she’s okay.

yesterday, mum’s mind was playing tricks on her. telling her the french-fry is a pancake, and where is the syrup?

the day before that, she couldn’t talk. could only drop her neck, breathe in sleep.

at church, i play my guitar and sing. i glance over at mum, sitting all alone, surrounded by people she doesn’t recognize, wondering why we’re having church on a tuesday… time is mum’s enemy, playing tricks on her.

sometimes i wonder who i’m trying to fool with these hymns.

then dad stands up, begins to preach. his hair is grey, his face tired, but his voice is strong. no one knows his back is strained from when mum fell off the toilet and he had to pick her up, all by himself. no one knows he doesn’t sleep for wondering, what will she be like tomorrow?

but his voice is strong. because he believes that one day, she will be okay. forever. and that’s all that matters.

i pick up my guitar and sing. it’s my gift to him.

magical mornings

morning has broken. it shatters with silent dignity. we sit, break bread together. i with my coffee, he with his milk. we read our bibles, pray. i in my housecoat, he in his suit. then we part. i hear the sound of the diesel cursing, groaning. our car is temperamental; it hates mornings. i like them, when the sun is awake. the sun is a wand, turning mornings into magic.

i pitter-patter in my slippers down the hall to my purple office. listen to my computer hum to life. sit in a puddle of sunshine. look outside, feel my breath catch. diamond necklaces are draped across trees and bushes. glistening. the ground is covered in plump piles of white and silver gems. i can’t stop staring. i want to run outside in my housecoat and feel beautiful.

the computer begs me to turn, to type in my password. i finally do. and when i look back, the sun has dipped behind a cotten fleece cloud, and the diamonds have turned to snow.



i like to

sit on a pink blanket

in the middle of a grey sidewalk

collect stones

put them in my pocket

say hello in a high falsetto voice

and flap my arms

like a baby bird too scared to fly to touch the


pluck petals

watch them fall


pieces of tattered cloth

play my penny whistle

feel the



like broken glass from a

perfectly blue plate of