March 31, 2012


Yesterday I hydroplaned all the way from western Michigan to southern Ontario. A total blast (not at all).

Wayne has this upcoming week off (I believe the Americanos call it Spring Break) and I was lucky enough to get the week off as well, so yesterday we jumped in the car and drove through pouring rain down the highway for 6+ hours trying to avoid obnoxious semis with an annoying habit of throwing gallons of sleety precipitation on our windshield. By the time we arrived I was no longer able to blink. But -- we made it. And now we have a week ahead of us filled with copious amounts of family time, fun, and Easterly feasting.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the day on which Christians celebrate Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem, the day we remember the waving palm branches and cloak-laden road, and the humble entrance of a King heralded by loud Hosannas. A celebratory day, to be sure, but what about the part after Jesus entered Jerusalem -- the part where he wept over the city, devastated over its rebellion and rejection of the true Messiah (Luke 16:41-42)? Jesus came to Jerusalem knowing the suffering that he would face, but he came anyway. He came knowing that he'd be arrested, beaten, abandoned by his closest friends, and killed. But he came anyway. He came to pay our price and win us back from death.

And now, because Jesus so lovingly entered Jerusalem to face his enemies, I get to drive back to my hometown in peace, I get to enter it freely and spend time with my family and reminisce on the beautiful love of our Savior without fear of judgement or death, despite my sin and shame. Hosanna, indeed.

March 19, 2012

how to celebrate st. patrick's day

I'm not Irish. I don't claim to be Irish. I don't need to be Irish in order for my husband to kiss me. Nor is being Irish a valid excuse to be kissed by a random stranger. All this being said, I think Irish people are great. I know some Irish people, and they're really lovely. Plus, they have fantastic accents. I think the fact that Ireland has a holiday to celebrate St. Patrick and his life is quite nice. St. Patrick was a cool guy, and though not actually Irish, he worked really hard in a country he loved for the God he loved.

St. Pat was kidnapped from Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave. While there, he converted to Christianity. He escaped back to Britain, but felt called to return to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. It was hard work. And the story about him driving the snakes out of Ireland? False. There were no snakes on the island to begin with. The water is too cold. I'd love to go to Ireland one day, but if I had to swim there, I probably wouldn't do it, so I can see why the snakes passed up on immigrating to Ireland.

St. Patty's day is celebrated in a variety of ways. Google has enlightened me to the following methods of celebration:
Use shamrocks as much as possible. Everywhere. Irish lore says that St. Patrick used the shamrock to symbolize the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not sure if that's true, but it works well.

Be Kate Middleton and wear super fantastic and fashionably festive clothes, and hold pretty flowers. And smile really big.

Have a hearty Irish feast...

Go to a fun St. Patrick's Day parade in Ireland!

Eat some Irish soda bread, yum.

Be Kate Middleton and pass out shamrocks to the Irish Guard and a huge wolfhound, aka scary monster dog that reminds me of Mr. Rochester.

Go to Chicago to see the river dyed green. I still find this slightly odd.

Have a Guinness!

Panic over your completely devastated March Madness Bracket, and go to bed far too late because it's necessary to stay up and watch a game whose outcome depends entirely on your viewing participation... aldjfo;aigalflkj;lajfg;hijl ARGH! Upsets galore this year! I'm sleepy.

Or, if you're really cool, you can travel to London, Ontario, and take part in a totally pointless, violent and dangerous St. Patrick's Day riot composed mainly of overly inebriated college students who believe that a holiday isn't complete without throwing beer bottles at cops, causing $100,000 of damage to public and private property, and setting vehicles on fire, then standing too close and being surprised when it blows up in your face, and hoping that the doctors in the emergency room will believe you when you say you just had a serious run-in with birthday cake candles, then posting it all on facebook and being surprised when you get arrested. How did they find out it was me!??!

Excuse my sarcasm. These people are ridiculous.

Other than the embarrassing show put on by my dear fellow Canadians, I hope your St. Patrick's Day was full of fun, and that your March Madness bracket is in better shape than mine.

March 16, 2012

dies natalis

The seminary Wayne attends celebrates its 136th birthday today. How does a seminary celebrate its 136th birthday, you ask? Well, for one thing, everyone has the day off. No classes, the professors get to wear jeans, etc. Everyone loves seeing a dude with a PhD in Biblical Studies wearing jeans. Since the office where I work is closed on Fridays, I was able to go into the seminary this morning with Wayne to join the big ole seminary party -- there's a catered breakfast, and then the student senate puts on a big variety show that completely shreds the professors, all in the name of the seminary birthday celebration. Nice.

While all these brilliant men and women are getting satired to pieces (fyi satired isn't a word, don't use it in your essay that you're avoiding writing while reading this post), there is also quite a vast sprinkling of seminary jokes within the dialogue. Seminary jokes which I totally don't understand because... well, eschatological and hermeneutical humour is only relevant to a very selective group of people. I'm not one of those people. I'm married to one of those people, but the humour is lost on me. But I pretend. Someone's up there making jokes about exegesis vs eisegesis and everyone else is letting loose these huge belly laughs and I'm slapping my knee, all "HAHAHA that's hilarious", meanwhile I'm clueless (Though not anymore! Wayne just explained the difference to me not 2 minutes ago, so the joke would totally make sense now... if I could actually still remember it).

But all the difficult-to-understand jokes aside, I think it's really neat that there's such a strong feeling of community within the seminary, despite differences of opinion regarding the Belhar Confession and women in office and Martin Luther's love of beer. It's kind of nice to be surrounded by a whole bunch of people who are on this wild journey with us -- makes you feel a little less crazy. Although... not quite sane. I mean, we are still laughing at jokes about Bible software. Weird.

March 14, 2012

take heart.

I drew this card for my friend and her husband who welcomed a baby boy into their family this past January. Last year I sent them a card around the same time, but for a totally different reason. Their newborn son is their second child. Their first, a daughter, was born last February, two months early, and without breath in her lungs.

Theirs has been a journey I know nothing about. Though I've experienced sad things in my life, I can't even begin to comprehend how devastating it would be to lose a long-awaited child. Yet my friend has embraced the circumstances she is in, and she has been honest about the hardships she's had to face in learning how to grieve the loss of her daughter while celebrating the life of her son.

Jesus didn't promise that our lives on earth would be easy. In John 16:33 he says that "in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Though it seems nearly impossible to find light in the dark experience of losing a child -- in losing any loved one -- we will always have that steadfast and sure hope in our Hero Jesus, who will one day come to conquer sin and death, and will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

March 12, 2012

aldi adventures.

Monday is grocery-shopping day! Not sure why. Just sort of happened that way.

We're lucky enough to live just around the corner from our grocery store. It's a nice little store. It carries the basics and everything is superbly priced. Bargain groceries at their finest!

Aldi was started by two German brothers. Though one is retired and the other deceased, they are/were the two richest men in Germany (I wonder if they shopped at Aldi?). Aldi is all over Europe -- although it's called Hoefer in Austria. I shopped there while living in Vienna and sometimes used the grocery bags to tote my stuff around in while climbing up the Styrian Alps. This is not a joke. In the picture below, the person to the far right is at the top of a mountain in Styria holding a plastic Hoefer bag. That person is me. Apparently a knapsack would have been too much trouble.

The natives laughed at me. They called Hoefer grocery bags "Yugoslavian Suitcases". My German language skills were lacking at the time (who am I kidding, they're still lacking) so they were probably making fun of me auf Deutsch behind my Canadian back. I love Austrians. More on their loveliness later.

Back to Aldi.

You won't find the upper crust of American society at Aldi. You'll find lots of people like me. Students. Middle-lower class. Cool beans class. People who scoff at the idea of paying $9 for a gallon of organic milk or $6 for a pack of spaghetti noodles. People who like the idea of paying $2.50 for a bucket of ice creamy goodness.

I like Aldi for more than the prices. It has serious character. The employees there are super friendly and helpful, and a lot of the time the other customers are fabulously entertaining. Monday morning at Aldi is always an adventure. For example, this morning the guy in line ahead of me asked the cashier for a phonebook. He was suddenly in desperate need of a consignment shop because his truck was full of "all kinds of fine, finnnnnnne clothes!"

Customer: "Hey sir, you got a phone book? I gotta find a consignment shop bad!"
Cashier: "Uh... I'll go look for one in the back." (Aldi employees are well-trained in dealing with the totally unexpected.)
Customer (to Suzanne): "You wouldn't believe the goods I have in my truck! I've got some finnnnne clothes! You see what I'm wearing? The clothes in my car are in wayyyy better condition than what I've got on!"
Suzanne: "Really?!"
Customer: "Yes ma'am! I got some real fine t-shirts, some nice slacks, oh you should see the slacks, the slacks are real fine!"
Suzanne: "Hmmm!"
Customer: I ain't gonna just donate them to some store, right?! They in real fine condition, those clothes! Imma get some cash for them at least!"

The friendly cashier arrived with the phone book just in time -- Suzanne may have been persuaded to go and check out the fine slacks.

I love Aldi.

March 08, 2012


I have nothing awe-inspiring to write today. I do, however, have a summary of some not necessarily but perhaps interesting things going on right now.

1. Flame is a hip hop/rap artist for Jesus with some suuuriously tight lyrics. He dropped his sixth album on Tuesday, appropriately entitled "The 6th." He ended up having the #1 album in the hip hop category on itunes (and apparently also the only one without an explicit warning?!), and #8 overall. Kickin it for Jesus. I'm pumped to have a whole new album to dance to. More on the insanely fabulous world of Christian hip hop at a later date.

2. The bird feeder continues to be further mangled by the possessed neighbourhood squirrel. I will get you one day, evil squirrel.

3. We built a snowman in front of our neighbour's front door for no particular reason. We're just annoying like that.

4. It was really windy last night. The BBQ was not in this position when we went to bed. Thank you Mr. Chain.

5. I have a part-time job as a receptionist. This is my office chair. Slightly dangerous? Perhaps. I have had 4 near-disasters thus far. On the plus side, it's fun to bounce on to the music in the waiting room.

6. My crocuses are blooming! Spring? Yes please!

7. When I went to the bank yesterday the super perky teller couldn't get over my outfit and said "I'd pin that." I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or concerned. I was quite thrown off since my fashion sensibilities extend to whatever's on the sale rack. For example, I think that everything in this collection is super ugly, so I don't know why everyone is freaking out about it and why there are newspaper articles written on it and why people are lining up to buy said ugly clothes. I'm sorry fashion people. I don't understand you, but I'm sure you're all very nice.

Thanks everyone. Keep it real. Listen to some Flame, and have a great Thursday!

March 06, 2012

adiantum pedatum

I have a lovely friend who's a born-and-raised bonafide country girl. She spent her childhood building forts in a swamp. She has a dog and a miniature horse. She cleans out chicken barns. She can back up a truck that has a trailer attached (This, my friends, takes serious skill). She likes nothing more than spending the day in the great outdoors, never mind whether it's too cold, or too wet, or too sunny, or too windy, or too snowy. She's there with a smile on. I might be there too, but if it's too cold I can't promise that I'll be smiling.

Since she's such a lover of the outdoors, I decided to try and do something for her birthday that would bring the outside in. So -- I drew and framed three pictures of native Ontarian wildflowers. These are them. Since my bathroom walls were very bare I printed myself some copies and hung them up and now wish for spring every time I brush my teeth. It's coming so soon!

March 05, 2012

double double, please!

On Saturday night we drove 4 miles through this...

So that we could get this:

Because we're totally ridiculous. And also because Wayne needed to escape from sermon-writing.

We're from the land of Tim Hortons. We moved to the land of Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme. It's rrrrrrroll up the rim time, and our fingers are itching to rim-roll. By some fantastic twist of fate, a Tim Hortons was built down the road from us and just opened a few months ago. We were concerned that because it wasn't a native Tim Hortons, the generally sub-par coffee wouldn't be up to... par. Delight of delights! It tasted like Tim Hortons! Yay.

Neither of us rolled our rims successfully. Bah.

March 02, 2012

the wedding pt 3: the dress

The absolute pinnacle of a woman's life: the purchase of a wedding dress. Or so I hear.

About a month after our engagement, I had the hall and church booked, and it was around this time that I realized that wedding planning probably wouldn't be my cup of tea. I ran out of steam. I decided that only 1-2 months should be allotted for wedding planning, not 11-12. Total waste of brain space.

I bookmarked two pictures of flower bouquets I found online. I made a folder on my desktop called "Wedding". I made many sub-folders within the Wedding folder which remained empty. I signed up on because that's apparently what brides are supposed to do and got annoyed by their constant wedding countdown emails. I'm fully aware that my wedding is six months away. Please stop reminding me. As a side note, they're now sending me emails from REALLY?? Give a girl a break, sheeeez!

Anyway, point is, I managed to do zilch in terms of wedding planning over the next three months. Now that is a high level of procrastination that many only dream of. Then my mom said, Suzanne, you probably need a dress, and I said, yeah, probably. So I booked an appointment and went here with my mom and younger sisters:

It's a non-profit organization that receives dress donations from salons, magazine shoots, and brides, and sells the dresses for very reasonable prices, using the money made to assist other organizations in the research and fight against cancer. Kinda cool.

There is a completely random variety of dresses to choose from. You can't really go with something specific in mind, which worked perfectly for me because after browsing a couple of Maggie Sottero slideshows online I got sick of waiting for the pictures to load and gave up, resulting in Suzanne still not knowing what she was looking for.

While there I think I tried on every dress in my size. Since I'm over 6 feet tall, skirt length was kind of an issue. We prevailed, though, and found one. I didn't have an "aha" moment, and didn't weep when I saw myself in the mirror. It was more like "Will I be able to dance to MJ's Thriller in this? Yes. Yes I will. This is the one."

It needed some alternation, of course: several inches of extra fabric sewn along the bottom and some straps added to make the Thriller dancing more of a reality -- and finally, the dress was had. I put it in my closet and hoped it would still fit six months later.

Very soon after all this, I was wandering the aisles of Payless Shoe Source (well, at least the size 11 chunk of the aisles) and found my shoes. They were 11 dollars and too small. But only 1/2 a size too small. I bought them. Outfit completed! I tried to stretch them with ice in the freezer. I wore them around the house to stretch them out more. I was DETERMINED to wear my bargain wedding shoes. And I did. And by the end of our wedding day my right big toenail was a little bruised. But it was worth the pain.

Total disaster of a bride. More successful in the wife department, I think. Right Wayne?

March 01, 2012


This is my dad. His name is Norman. Today would have been his 60th birthday.

He's been gone for almost two and a half years. He died on a sunny October day while I was at work mowing lawns and raking up leaves and accidentally falling off the back of the truck bed into a pile of horse manure. As unpleasant as falling into manure is, I was looking forward to going home and telling the tale at dinner -- I knew my dad would find it funny. I was not planning on going home and getting the phone call that you never think you'll get. No one ever expects to get this phone call. Only other people get this phone call. Never me. It wouldn't happen to me.

Well, apparently it would. It did. I was 22 and happy and things were good. Then, two seconds later, two words later, I was 22 and devastated and things were bad. Very bad. Nothing made sense. My dad was gone because of a seizure -- because a cyst in his brain had decided to kick into full gear after 57 years of inactivity.

It's impossible to explain how it feels to lose a parent unexpectedly. I'm sure it's different for everyone. For me -- well, after the explosion of adrenaline that raced through my body, the feeling that my stomach had fallen through the kitchen floor and into the basement, and the waves of shivers that took over (shock, I'm told), I went into business mode within 5 minutes of hearing the news. It's funny what your mind and body do to cope with shock. We had to tell people. We had to get things done. Call coroner. Plan funeral. Will process situation and cry later.

Two and a half years later, I'm still processing the situation. I still cry on occasion. But I smile lots, too. I smile when I hear Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. I smile when I read Psalm 92. I smile when we all sit around the table and reminisce, when we retell his old jokes, when I hear the Andy Griffith theme song, when someone mentions Walter Cronkite, when I remember Dad's words of wisdom and advice, and when I remember his frank opinions regarding social networking ("Facebook is for losers.").

I still wish it hadn't happened. I wish Dad were here. I wish he had been able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. I wish he could have met his grandkids (3 thus far!). A part of me is convinced that his story wasn't done yet, but another part of me is fully aware that God's plans and perspectives are bigger than mine. He sees so much more -- so much further -- than I do. So... I trust Him. I trust that He will bring me through the trials that are put before me. He has been faithful, and will continue to be so.

Thus far the LORD has helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12