, , , , , , , , , , ,

“Dad had such a deep voice,” I said to my mom on the phone a few weeks back.

“Yes, that’s why I called him my Brummelbär (Brummel bear), his voice rumbled from deep within,” she replied with tenderness in her voice.

I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about dad lately, with Father’s Day and his birthday looming closer. I used to dread June because it brought Father’s Day, my brother’s birthday and my dad’s birthday, and when I didn’t have a lot of money, it seemed taxing to buy three cards and gifts in one month.

Man, what I wouldn’t give to have that worry back, to have dad back.

Yet, I can’t really complain. I was blessed for 52 years with the best possible man for me, as my father. He was a good man, a kind man, a peaceful man. And he loved us.

As best as I can tell Brummel means rumble. And mom’s right. His voice rumbled from deep within like a bear. And it remains in my heart, in my DNA it would seem, guiding me, and still brings me comfort when I most need it.

So glad I captured his voice in this video!


Somebody Cares


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The other day, my beautiful daughter, Michaela, posted the letter below on her Facebook page.

If you are in your tweens/teens and feel alone, please know that you are not the first to feel like you don’t quite measure up. Things will probably get better and the things you’re learning now are making you stronger.

If you are the parent of a tween/teen remind them every day how much you love them and not just because they’re you’re kid and you have to, but because he or she is a beautiful person worthy of love.

Dear 12-year-old Michaela,

The first thing I want you to know is no matter how alone you feel right now, no matter how much you think nobody cares, your mom is your best friend and she gets you.

Being chubby is not the end of the world. I’m sorry that your peers seem to think it is. Fat does not equal ugly. Being mean and cruel is ugly. You are beautiful.

I know something really bad just happened to you. I know you’re scared. I know you are ashamed. Talk about it. Tell people. Talk to a counsellor. It’s not your fault. I promise you it’s not your fault.

I know you think you’ll never be one of the pretty girls. You are a pretty girl. Nobody needs to tell you. You have a beautiful heart, and soul and your outsides are beautiful too. Stop comparing yourself to them. You’re nothing like them.

Not everyone is going to like you, and that is so far beyond ok. It’s nothing you did. I know how hard you’re trying but sometimes people just don’t click. Michaela, let it go.
The sooner you learn to love yourself and that you are worthy of love, the happier you will be. It’s hard, it’s so so hard. But it’s coming.

Don’t feel ashamed for talking to a therapist. They are there to help you and everyone should. Shit gets hard, Michaela. You’re not weak, you’re human. Don’t be afraid to move. It’s not going to be perfect but so much good will come out of it, it doesn’t even matter.

Tell people you love them. It’s not lame. If you feel it, say it. It will change people and people will love you for it. Don’t ever be afraid to love.

Be proud of who you are, Michaela. You’re good enough. In fact, you’re so far beyond just enough. You are kind, and generous and sweet. You have so much love to give. Give it. It will come back in waves.

Never stop playing sports. I know there will be a time where it feels like you don’t even have time to breathe, but when you get that time back, get back to it.

On the same note, never stop doing what you love. Don’t let anyone’s darkness steal your passion. Your passion and joy is amazing. It isn’t lame. Screw anyone who says it is.

12-year-old me, I love you. I’m so sorry it’s so hard right now. I’m sorry you feel alone but people love you. You have no idea how good it’s going to get so please don’t be afraid. You are so beautiful. You are worthy. You are amazing. I love you, girl. It’s going to be ok.

Thank you Michaela for allowing me to share your beautiful letter on my blog. I hope it will help someone else to not feel so alone and hopeless.

Love you kiddo,



It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’

Martin Luther King Jr.

When I moved to Calgary in 1990, I accepted a housekeeping job at a hospital.

I was so embarrassed by this job, when people asked what I did, I said I was an environmental engineer, which is what they called my position, and then quickly changed the subject before they could ask what that was.

I hated working there, so I cut corners and consistently scored low when my employer did surprise quality control checks.

But I started to feel guilty. So I decided to be grateful that I had a job, many did not, and I cleaned each room as if the next patient was Jesus.

A funny thing happened.

I began to take pride in my work.

I did little extras for patients.

I consistently scored 100% when my employer did surprise quality control checks.


Friday Pick 208 – Ubuntu



A few days ago, I read the post I’m featuring as my Friday Pick today. I was deeply moved by the raw honesty expressed in this post and the deep gratitude it inspired in the writer of the Renegade Press. Depression and suicide are often a taboo subject and I admire Chris’ courage to express his own experience here. I’m sure many others who feel the same way, will find comfort in knowing they are not alone.

In Chris’ own words:

Chris Nicholas is a twenty seven year old student and author from Brisbane, Australia who often refers to himself as an aggressively creative world eater. Priding himself on his willingness to challenge his own preconceptions and push the boundaries of his ambitions, he aims to create beautiful literature that will inspire his audience to do the same.

This week, I’ve chosen the post below as my Friday Pick.

In this post Chris shares his deep gratitude for those who stood by him when he needed them the most…

Ubuntu by The Renegade Press


*I’ve closed my comments in hopes that you will leave a comment on the writer’s page*

Vulnerability and Truth


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

― Brené Brown

It’s scary to be vulnerable, isn’t it? It makes you feel weak, and even worse it makes you appear weak to others.

Suppose you don’t know what to do about a situation at work, if you ask for help, would it seem like you cannot do the job you were hired to do?

Suppose you are grieving the loss of someone close to you, or are worried about the circumstances a loved one has found themselves in, if you talk about it or cry, would it seem as though you are too emotional?

What if you’re afraid to go to the dentist, or a job interview, or know you need to admit you were wrong about something, if you hesitate or show any anxiety, would you look like a coward?

I grew up believing it did. Crying was weak. Smiling or laughing made you look foolish. The only acceptable emotion was anger, which somehow proved that you were strong.

It can take years to finally know that vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.


How to Tell Your True Story

I was immediately drawn to the title of this post and enjoyed it so much I had to share it with you. ❤
“Our temptation is to reduce people to one story. People are considerably more complex than a single story could ever convey.”

Looking for God in Messy Places

As the seventh graders started lining up to exit the classroom, the teacher said, “Not you, Sam Owensby. You sit back down. You’re staying right here. You’ll just ruin the whole assembly.”

View original post 930 more words

Nature’s Lent


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winter makes me question all sorts of choices I’ve made. It passes slowly, each day seemingly the same as the one before. The alarm goes off while it’s still dark out. I drink coffee, shower, dress, get in my car and go to work. I come home, eat, watch some TV, go to bed, maybe read a chapter or two. The alarm goes off while it’s still dark out.

It’s a low time for me, a time when nature sleeps beneath the snow. I reflect on the past. I think about the things I could have, should have done differently. I mourn what is lost. I let go of things I can’t change, things that aren’t important. I re-prioritize. It’s a time when I feel as though something is missing. A time when I long for something else, when I long for summer.

But this year before the spring, in January and February when it felt like I could not take the dark, stillness and cold anymore, or the day-in, day-out sameness, it occurred to me that maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be. Maybe it’s what allows me to start again with a fresh perspective.

It’s nature’s lent. A time of rest and reflection and yes, a time of maddening boredom too. A time to long for the sun’s warmth, and yet, somehow, the perfect springboard to an all-the-more enjoyable summer.

And I do love summer. And this past Sunday’s afternoon bike ride was well worth the long wait!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


You Have More In Common With The World Than You Think


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.

William James (1842-1910)

The things that make people interesting are their unique talents. Like someone whose guitar playing moves us, or someone whose storytelling captivates us, whose art transports us, whose passion inspires us to change the course we’re on.

Sadly some things that make us different also divide us, like the colour of our skin, our level of education, our societal status, our culture, our belief system. Different takes us out of our comfort zone, makes us feel vulnerable. The unknown is frightening.

So we vilify those who aren’t like us. ‘They’ are less civilized, less intelligent than us. We create rules and laws that hurt them. We find ways to protect ourselves from them while overlooking the injustices we impose upon them.

The above quote is a good metaphor to clearly illustrate how we are all connected. What will it take for us to remember that although we are separate on the surface, we are very connected in the deep?


I am so moved when the woman in the video learns she has a cousin in the room…


Humility, Gratitude and Service


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I had the privilege of interviewing someone yesterday. Someone whose childhood was marked by abandonment, abuse and neglect. Someone who coped by making bad choices as a result.

His story was heartbreaking and made me question…

No, it made me wrestle with the whys. Why do people treat other people so horribly? And not just other adults, but children. Children who need a better foundational start at life.

But to be honest, that’s not the part of his story that stuck with me.

What stood out was his gratefulness. For every time someone showed him kindness. Every time someone reached out to help him. Went out of their way to give him hope. Saw him, loved him for who he was, took action to make a difference in his life — and did it all without judging him.

His story reminded me of all the people in my life who were pivotal, who were catalysts in changing my life for the better. Most did not even know to what extent they impacted me, inspired me, motivated me to find purpose in my life by serving others.

His story reminded me how important it is to reach out and help others just because I’ve been helped. To pay it forward, to never forget where I came from, to stay humble and grateful.

It’s what brings out the best in humanity. Don’t you think?


Love is the Answer


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Love is the power to see similarity in the dissimilar.

Theodor Adorno

Once, while watching one of those nature shows, I saw a leopard kill an animal and then discover that animal had a young one. The leopard then proceeded to care for the baby. We’ve all seen photos of animals caring for other animals outside their species. Of animals caring for humans and humans for animals. It’s an amazing thing to witness.

I don’t know what to call this, except to call it love. It is the kind of love that compels us, human or otherwise, to act compassionately and with kindness toward all other living creatures. The kind of love that too often is missing within the human race, within our own species, especially when they look, or believe, or live differently than us.

We haven’t suddenly become this way. It has been like this from the beginning. It’s too bad, really. Especially since the answer is so simple and obvious, so clearly within our grasp. So able to make us see that we are more alike than we are different.


Don’t you want to know love like that? I know I do.