Friday, July 27, 2007


Having gone to the Salvation Army church until my late teens, the first thing that comes to my mind is the old song "Victory in Jesus." I tried to find it online but there are mostly horrendous .midi versions. In case you've never heard it, I did find a fancy piano version (I have no idea how to embed it), but I always imagine a brass band, tambourines and triumphant voices in harmony:

I heard an old, old story,
How a Saviour came from Glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

O victory in Jesus,
My Saviour, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and bro't
To me the victory.


I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in Glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory.


E.M. Bartlett 1939

The words are inspired by 1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." This song was all I could think about today, despite today being a day of victory for me: I finished two more classes toward my degree. A victory dance (like one my friend Michelle saw in the hallway when a guy finished his last class for his degree) is all very well, but it isn't representative of the kind of victory that lasts forever.

The only victory that can last is victory over death. God gave Jesus this power: He rose after three days in a tomb. And now, when someone accepts Christ as their Lord and Saviour, they too gain victory over death. Not the kind where they inhabit the earth after they die, but an even more glorious victory! Anyone who accepts Jesus into their heart has everlasting life in Heaven, in "a mansion [God] has built for me in Glory." We need not fear death when there is something better than life on earth awaiting us. There is no better victory than victory over death.

Some of you are aware that I have two friends whom I call "Aunt" that are battling cancer, which is why I am doing this blog-off. I've consciously tried to withhold cancer references from my posts, trying to see each week's word in a different light. But this week is different, because tonight I heard that Aunt B has chosen to enter hospice care. She was diagnosed almost three years ago and told she had six months to live, but she's still with us... it's only now that she feels it is necessary to leave home for more constant care. She is one of the most incredible women of my acquaintance: a gifted musician, very caring, genuine, and a strong Christian. She is also one of those rare people who ask "How are you?" and really want to know.

Thinking about music, and in particular a song I learned at the Salvation Army, brought Aunt B to mind. Tonight's phone call really struck me: I had to write this post about the old chorus, and about a woman who has been victorious in her battle with cancer thus far. She said to me several months ago that she didn't want to go yet, because she still had work to do for the Lord. Yet she will be content when God calls her home, because she will be going to that mansion, and she will leave the earth knowing God has secured her victory over death, the one thing which so many people are afraid of. While it seems to the medical profession that Aunt B has had an "extra" two and a half years, not to mention a time yet to be determined, none of this is truly borrowed time. It is all in God's plan. Her victory is in Jesus' name, and with Him on her side she has nothing to fear.

Victory does not wave a white flag. It goes down fighting the good fight.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Well, I must say that I never thought I would title a blog entry "Breasts." But in the interests of the Blog Off for Breast Cancer, here goes!

I have a friend called Ian. (Cue Evette slapping her hand over her mouth--yes, Evette, *that* Ian.) About five years ago, Ian was invited to dinner at my best friend's parents' house. I wasn't there, but our friend who had a little crush on him was, and by the time the evening was over her crush had waned a bit.

The good dishes were on the table, and a nice meal had been prepared. By the time dessert was ready to be served, Ian was full of good food and feeling very comfortable. He began sharing stories about his recent trip to France with his best friend Dave. One of these stories began, "Dave and I found a great beach, eh?"

Turns out it was a topless beach, and Dave and Ian, who were in their early twenties, really enjoyed their afternoon. Ian, who has never been shy or self-conscious to my recollection, thought nothing of sharing his thoughts on the subject of the topless beach. "Bruce," he said to my friend's dad, "I'm sure you'll agree with me. And Margaret, you're a woman. So I just have to say this:
Breasts are beautiful!"

So, there you have it! Breasts are beautiful.

Take it from Ian.

Click if you can give a donation to help Courtney with her 3-day walk!

If not, please click to fund free mammograms. The breasts will thank you!

Friday, July 13, 2007


Today marks two months of marriage for Jody and I. It seems appropriate that this week's word is something that has been pivotal in our relationship.
When we met for the second time (the first being several years ago and briefly), I wasn't expecting him to be anything more to me than a great ballroom dance partner. I'd just gotten out of a relationship that had never reached great emotional heights, and went to a casual swing dance, where I was surprised to see Jody. We partnered each other for most of the night--which was unusual for me--and found that we moved really well together. When I asked him, he seemed really interested in taking some ballroom classes with me. And at the end of the night, he walked me outside and wouldn't go home until he saw me safely onto my bus. He said a lady shouldn't wait alone at a bus stop, which made me wonder all the way home.

It appeared that Jody had harboured a hope of dating me since the spring, and a summer of my seeing someone else had only dimmed it a little. He arranged for us to practice dancing at the fabulous Butchart Gardens, and once we were there I couldn't help but suggest we stay and roam around once the dance was over. I hoped the connection I was feeling was more than dance connection.
At the wishing fountain in the Rose Garden (pictured), we discovered that our hopes were not unfounded.

A few weeks went by, and we were entertaining thoughts. Serious thoughts. Yet we both felt unbalanced, insecure in our burgeoning feelings, certain we must be imagining something so suddenly wonderful. But we continued to hope, building our relationship around that light, enveloping feeling that we belonged together. We mentioned hope constantly, trying to hold onto it, as though we were afraid it would slip away.

Eventually we realised that our hope came from a genuine desire to commit ourselves to each other. The hope that we would still be involved with each other next week, next month, next year, became love that was founded in a mutual trust in that initial wisp of emotion. Hope is sometimes seen as a dangerous sentiment, one that can carry us beyond the realistic plans we make for our lives. "Dare I hope?" you might hear someone ask. Hope carries a certain amount of risk. It is only a positive feeling because it lifts us away from believing in a negative alternative.

It's as though it's as weightless as a balloon, this emotion that buoys us and gives us a childlike trust in the unbelievable. And like a balloon, hope is hard to hold onto. It might vanish into the sky at any moment, should you let go. But it is worth holding on. It makes all the difference.

Click the banner above if you can help Courtney by giving her a donation in support of her 3-day walk!
This post is part of the Blog Off for Breast Cancer.

Friday, July 6, 2007


And so begins the second round of the blog-off! Our first word is SURVIVOR -- read my post below, please. I am really excited to be doing this; hopefully it will kick-start my creative noodle as well as raise money for a good cause. Check out Five Second Dance Party, Courtney's site, for more info. Kudos to her for doing a three-day walk to fight breast cancer!

You can also click the link on the right to fund mammograms.
Thanks for visiting!


For some, it's a reality TV series. For others, it's a media-made hero who walked away from tragedy, or a friend who lived through a ravaging illness. But not everyone has FOX, watches the news, or has an inspiring story that begins in a hospital bed.

There is another kind of survivor: yourself.

You don't have to be Lance Armstrong to be a survivor. Just as your picture on the cover of TIME Magazine or a million dollars would alter the course of your life, so can the simple realisation that you are already a survivor. You've come this far, haven't you? Made tough choices, worked hard, maybe uprooted yourself or made a stand in a crowd.

Each day you inhabit the earth with purpose, you survive.

I know many people who belittle their victories. They're afraid to share what they've accomplished, certain they'll be seen as arrogant. While their high school friends are working, they're the ones at college, pretending to like it but feeling alone--yet they will themselves to go to class, focused on the goal. There is the young woman who fought her way out of an emotionally abusive relationship, and later opened herself up to the possibility of a new love.

Why should these types of victories be any less of a success than the "outwit-outplay-outlast" mentality of Survivor? The so-called reality show pits contestants againts each other in a short-term, all-out battle for money and notoriety. Theirs is a battle of strength and wit, but nothing at all like the daily battles we each face. The toughest opponent you will ever know is yourself. And when you fail, it is on your own terms, and you can't vote yourself off the island. You still have to pay your bills, even if it means there is nothing to eat but tuna and apple juice for a week. You still have to go to work, even if you have been demoted unfairly, until you find a new job. You still have to communicate with the outside world, because life doesn't stop while you get yourself together.

If you're a survivor, you will find a way to overcome the things that burden you. Not ignore them, but overcome them, no matter how insignificant they may seem alongside political disasters or grave illnesses. We all bear different burdens, strengthening our spirits in the process. Many of us are quietly surviving, with others unaware of the struggles we face daily. Perhaps we ourselves are unaware of this tenacity we bring to every day. Each of us has a purpose to discover, a quest that tests and fulfills us. Giving yourself over to that purpose, every day, is what makes you a survivor.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

6 weeks and counting...

Wow... we've been married six weeks already!
I have to say, when you get married you know it won't all be kisses and long walks on the beach. But you hope it is.
Jody and I have been very very busy, and still we feel there is too much to do, even for two of us. We have fallen terribly behind on thank-you notes. We have taken on too much -- fixing computers, trying to reorganize the entire house in one month, dump run, helping my parents move, attempting to sort out a budget before we buy anything big (ie; a bed).

Our strategy has changed to unpacking one box a night, no matter how tired we are. Some days we do better, so we are down to only 3 more boxes of my stuff that needs a home. My mom brought home the Ikea bookshelf we asked for from Vancouver, so I used my new screwdriver set to put that together in about half an hour on Sunday and it's mostly full already. I do love books... and candles. Jody was in shock on Sunday when I unpacked a box and a half of PartyLite. Hey, he has games complete with a racing wheel and flight stick... I figure I can have some tealights and pretty holders.

Just last night we ordered wedding photos. It was difficult; not only were there so many beautiful ones, Jody actually teared up looking at his "lovely bride" and I got a bit emotional thinking what a wonderful ceremony we had. Plus, we were a little stressed out two nights ago because we were feeling the pressure to order before the photos went offline, and what I wanted was a nice time together--instead I was cranky over how rushed we were. Last night was much better because we knew it would take three hours, so we planned for it. Our order is in, and should be here soon. Also, I took some in to Blacks, and they turned out nicely up to 8X10. I don't know that I would trust a close-up of faces in an 8x10, though, so that's what we ordered professionally printed from our photographer -- plus one 11X14 of the kiss behind the parliament buildings fountain, which seems to be a favourite of anyone who's seen the photo collection in its entirety. 587 photos. Good grief.

We are trying to make time for ourselves and our friends. We've had an ice cream date, walking around downtown with gelato in hand, pretending it's summer. We went out to Swans and Swing City for dancing, but not as often as we'd hoped. We had a nice dinner out with Mitch & Pam at 5th Street, and have made many meals together, some of them with wine or fancy dessert. We pored over the Boulevard cookbook we received in the mail from our dinner-out restaurant in San Francisco, deciding we will have hero status if we manage to make ANYTHING.

Michelle has joined us for dinner & the first two Pirates movies at home. We hope to make this some sort of a tradition. She and I saw The Painted Veil together when Jody was out and our friend Sarah was consumed with busyness from work. It was sad, but well-acted; we were, however, disappointed in the ending. And one of my roommates was in the kitchen banging around on a really pivotal, quiet scene. Grr.

We've set up my computer on the house server so I can play my music on the speakers attached to the TV, through some technological miracle of Jody's PS3 interacting with my computer. Don't ask me how. We also use that to watch episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and are nearing the end of Season 3 now.

I joined a book club and have just finished reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy, but no word yet on when we'll discuss it. Should be interesting, seeing my English friends outside of cram time. And I am thinking of participating in a blog-off to raise money for a girl going on a 3-day walk to fight breast cancer.

I have been trying to ride my bike more, but it's a bit scary. I went down a street with no bike lane to get downtown the other day-- it was busy and I got sworn at, then nearly cut off to the point where I had to pull over and give up and get on the sidewalk while someone backed into a parking space. So I can't say I'm too thrilled, despite my new lock and helmet and flashing light.

My folks are moving in less than a month now. They've bought a house, which my dad fully intends on restoring before they leave (reality: my mom does the work). So that's keeping the whole family busy. We are also making trips to Vancouver to see Unc, and our cousins are playing lots of field hockey. Never a dull moment.

Anyway... that's about what I've been up to the past month or so since the wedding. Just last night Mom called and asked if we could loan her a teapot until they move... And I said no, absolutely not. We have none to spare; we need all seven. At once. :)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Counting down!

The wedding is almost here!
The tally so far is:
8 more sleeps
85 RSVP's
1 bachelorette
1 shower
2 cakes
1 hair trial
54 bobbypins
5 haircuts
1 out of town guest (Nana)
35 favours done
45 programs printed
2 passports
2 excited fiance(e)s

I can't believe it's so soon! :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

One more thing...

Twenty. Days.
In just under three weeks, Jody and I are getting married!!!
We're so excited we can barely stand it, and I can hardly wait until my last exam is over and I can actually think about seating arrangements and vehicles and showers and what on earth I'm going to do with my Nana when she arrives on the 2nd.
But for those of you who are wondering, the cake and flowers and photography and food are all set up and it's all going to be wonderful. And tasty--definitely tasty. The cake and food, that is.
So, if there are questions about bachelorette party stuff please talk to Michelle, my best friend/Maid of Honour; if you're wondering about a shower there's a rumour of a surprise shower being perpetuated by my Gramma but I really don't know. My mom's back in town on Tuesday afternoon, so hopefully she has some knowledge that I don't.
We are registered at The Bay, which you can view by our names (Jody's last name is Garnett with two t's) online or in-store, if you don't know where to start. There isn't anything we desperately need aside from new furniture, which we're saving up for. We most definitely do not need any tea. We likely don't need any books either, but we'll always take books. :) We like games too, and music for our iPods, and we both like to cook but aside from Pyrex and Epicure we are well-stocked.
But really, if we've invited you it's because we want you there, not because we want stuff from you. Just come. Enjoy the party, bring a camera and your dancing shoes, and remember to hug your mom the next day because it's Mother's Day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The busyness!

Jody and I were busy with many things over the weekend-- premarital counselling, the menu, the guest list, talking about the honeymoon... not to mention going to church, sorting through boxes I'd brought over to his place, cleaning and reorganizing, and taking a bit of time together just to relax.
Wedding planning is not for wimps!

My parents are selling their house, which only makes sense. So it has to be scrupulously, ridiculously clean. Yes, I am untidy. No, I am not a slob--mostly (clean) clothes and papers/books stacked everywhere. So this constant tidier-than-tidy cleanliness is a bit much--I mean, you can't really *live* in a house when you're selling it and people can call and say, "Is it okay to open up your home in 10 minutes?"

Mom went to the thrift store today and walked off with fabulous vintage Nine West shoes that only need to be re-heel-tipped. She also found a navy blue, floaty gown with a belt--complete with oval rhinestone buckle--that fits her perfectly. Yay, Mom! She looks great.

Today I took another look at Peoples and found a wedding band I really like. This is the best one I've found yet. The lady there also looked at my engagement ring and was scandalized that I'd been wearing it, because apparently the last two people who've looked at it had not noticed one of the smaller diamonds spinning around in its setting. So, yeah. Now it's going to be retipped, or whatever it is they have to do to stop it from doing that. Apparently I'm lucky I didn't lose any of the four smaller ones, because they are loose, but especially the one on the end. And the diamonds are the original ones from the fifties, which means they wouldn't be easily replaceable. Plus it doesn't go in for appraisal until the end of the month.

I didn't think about it much until today, but having our wedding on Mother's Day weekend affects more than just the invitees. It affects the florists. My first choice for a florist is not doing any weddings that weekend. So I have to look for someone else.

On a good note, with all this rearranging and moving boxes, Jody and I are closer to deciding what we'll need to go and get a registry started. Because people have been asking, which is lovely, except that we've been too busy with things that are more immediately pressing. So hopefully we'll have an answer for those people soon...

School. Ah, school. This is coming into crunch time. And there is so much to do I wish there were two of me. And perhaps someone to read the depressing American novels heaped on me this term--it will be a wonder if I don't go into a mental asylum like Esther from The Bell Jar or find myself underground with stolen power lighting up thousands of lightbulbs like the narrator in Invisible Man. No, not H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man--this one's by Ralph Ellison. And I have to say, Oprah picks dark books. The Bluest Eye, anyone?

So that's about it for me right now. Time for bed.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

May 12th!

We've set a date, and it is now three months away!
Invitations will go out soon... bridesmaid dresses are here, and maid of honour dress is ordered...
The locations and pastor are booked and we're working on catering and other things!

Ready, set, go!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dancing fun!

Swing 3 sure is fun! Tonight we continued to work on our triplestep, plus we added the outside turn and inside turn, and a couple more moves in the Shim Sham.

Many of us suffered from the giggles as we tried to do the Tacky Annies without falling over, and as usual Tina was trying to lead with the best of 'em, despite her opposite gender and less-than-average height. It's OK, Tina; you're already leading happy vertically-challenged follows like me.

It sounds like some of us are going out to Swan's tomorrow night? But it's my dad's birthday so I can't promise I'll be there right at 9, since I am cooking him dinner.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Jody asked me to marry him, and I said yes!

(It's now been a week, and all the immediate family now knows, so I can finally post this.)

I am beyond happy, and still rather overwhelmed, as is he. There's a lot to think about and plan, and I am looking forward to so many things that were previously only hoped for.

Everyone wants to know when, and the official answer is:
We don't know yet!

I surprised Jody with a ring of his own, which we should be getting from the jeweler's soon--they should have been back from sizing today but that didn't happen--sad. Mine is very special, a five-stone diamond ring with a dainty white gold band that was his grandmother's. I'll try to get a picture next week.

Meanwhile... I guess I get to move up in the alphabet-- not that there's anywhere else to go! :)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

So this is the new year...

and I don't feel any different.
--Death Cab for Cutie's "The New Year"

It was a very busy Christmas, what with family and many of Jody's friends visiting. My best friend went away to New York and my sister worked a lot, and try as I might, most of my friends could not find time to even have a coffee with me. But I did do a lot of fun things, including:
-Dancing at Bootleg Boogie
-Bodyworlds 3 at World of Science
-Perusing several used bookstores
-Beading earrings and bracelets
-Tea at the Empress
-Walking on the breakwater and seeing a pelican and whales and seals
-Eating, eating, eating
-Baking cookies to give to aunts & uncles
-Reading, watching movies, just to relax!

It was a very nice holiday, and after spending several days in a row around lots of people I felt lonely in a house all by myself.
School had decided to start extraordinarily early this year (today!) and it is rather sad that half the money which has found its way into my bank account will go to tuition and books. Blech. But today I went to the mall to redeem gift certificates, and ended up with a DVD of the new The Producers (really funny), and Body Shop stuff, AND a Gap denim jacket that was on sale for an incredible $9.99! There was no tag on it so no one else had bothered to ask how much it was, I guess. But it fit me perfectly and I've been looking for replacement jean jacket for months on end, so I asked and was pretty much bowled over by my good luck. Yay! :)