IMG_2103I am currently in Toronto for the board meeting of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. This morning our Executive Director led us in a theological reflection that included, in part, a reflection on the life that can come out of death.

Twelve years ago this morning we lost mum. One month ago this weekend, I was given her wedding band and a promise. Out of death has come new life. Amen.



The countdown is on. In 16 days, I’m getting married!


(Our engagement photos and wedding photos by Blue Iris Photography:

We are getting married Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving) in our adopted home of London, Ontario with our families, friends, and classmates around us. While stressful at times, it has been a lot of fun to plan out our liturgy and ask friends and classmates to play meaningful roles in the ceremony. Now, a little over 2 weeks out, all of the details are nearly sorted out and we’re just waiting to have fun celebrating with everyone.

While Thanksgiving weekend is smack in the middle of our penultimate term of seminary, having our celebration on a weekend in Autumn (my favourite season) where our classmates could be with us made a lot of sense. We met here at seminary at Huron and our classmates and professors have played a big part in our lives together thus far.

The last 21 months with Matthew have been amazing. I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

Month in Review

I’m still here!

It has been a slow start to writing in 2015, mostly because I broke my hand just before Christmas and am only a few days back into having two hands available for typing. It is a wonderful feeling to have all ten fingers working[mostly] properly again! It was a freak finger jam of the finger I dislocated as a kid and I spent the second half of December in a bright blue cast from finger-tip nearly to elbow, then the last two and a half weeks in a removable splint. Thursday I was set free to “take it easy” which, obviously, I have been doing…

The last month in review:

IMG_1827We had a lovely Christmas week at Matthew’s family’s home outside of Ottawa, then down to Montreal for a few days with some of both sides of my family before heading to Sarnia for New Year’s Eve with that fantastic gang.

School has begun again, rather uneventfully. Some good courses this term, with a nice balance of practical and academic. I remain in placement at St Andrew Memorial Church and have been refining learning goals for a new term of new learning.

Matthew and I continue to plan our wedding – we’ve met with one caterer and will meet another next week. The date (October), venue, and priest to do the ceremony have all been settled. Fitting for two priests-to-be, the things we have been deliberating on most have included liturgy and who will read what for the service!


Three friends got married on Saturday. Obviously I cannot be in three places at once and did not even really want to try. So I took the ferry over to Vancouver to stay at Dad’s place and go out to Langley for my friend, Nicole’s wedding.

I remember seeing Nicole (left, in China) a few times in my first year at the University of Victoria (six years ago). She would come to the occasional IVCF large group meeting on Friday night, with her assistance dog, Vespa. They kind of stood out so it was hard not to notice her. I didn’t really get to know her at all until my second and last year at UVic.

A few weeks before the fall semester began, a whole group of us from UVic, plus others from universities all over the province, drove to Kelowna for SLC – Student Leadership Camp. There, we spent a good few days in Bible Study and games, preparing for the year ahead. We were the leadership team of the InterVarsity chapters at our respective schools. While there, the provincial directors of IVCF presented to us the idea of going to China the following summer as a part of a Global Partnership. Right then and there, I knew I would be going; there was never any question in my mind. I wasn’t really the “world traveller” at that point that I am now. Up until then, I had been to the Netherlands with my family and lived in Australia. That was the sum total of my off-continent travel. So it was not really about the travelling… I just knew that I was supposed to go on that trip. So I signed up, and then started encouraging others to go.

Nicole and I began to get to know each other as the semester progressed. I don’t even really remember how it began, I just remember her asking me about “this trip to China.” She thought it might be fun, I told her she should go. She talked to the director, and next thing we knew, she was coming!

We spent six weeks in pretty close contact while we were in China. She and I were hotel-room buddies whenever we stayed in hotels (about two weeks of that six), and did some other stuff together.

After China and my subsequent trip around Europe, I needed a place to live in Victoria while I was preparing to go Offshore. Nicole had a room in her condo, a beautiful place about ten minutes walking from the shipyard. It was perfect, in more ways than one.

Nicole’s was a wedding I was looking forward to. I like to think I had a hand in it all: she met her now-husband in China.

So back to this past weekend, I made a long weekend of it and spent two days in Vancouver before the wedding, visiting some friends I hadn’t seen in too long. The wedding was utterly wonderful as well. The ceremony was outside in a gazebo and then we had dinner in a lovely glass conservatory. Apparently I took absolutely no pictures of the entire thing, except for the candle on the table… I’m hoping friends send some my way soon!

Perhaps the best part of the wedding, other than witnessing my friend marry the love of her life obviously, was the table I sat with at the reception. At the table were some of my nearest and dearest friends from university. At least one of them I had not seen since we graduated. But being there reminded me of how much I love and care for them and cherish the time we had together. These were people I struggled and questioned faith with (and still do, apparently, when we get back together), people I laughed with and cried with, goofed off with and studied with, and people I spent more time than I care to remember with. A great group of people and it did me good to see them and spend time with them. We closed down the dance floor.

Katie’s Married!

This weekend, the entire offshore crew trekked over to the mainland for the wedding of Katie and Matt.  It was a great ceremony full of intimate moments and hearty laughs.  The bubble-boy and ring bearer (youngest two of Skipper’s kids) did a fantastic job as well!

The reception afterwards was lots of fun.  I enjoy wedding receptions where I know lots of people and those people are as crazy as the people I work with.  Pretty much nothing phases us anymore and we have no problem making fools of ourselves…  This is evidenced in our offshore tradition of re-writing famous songs in our songbook for special events on the boat, thus far, that has been pretty exclusively birthdays.  We decided to make an exception, and did a one-time only performance of a song we wrote for the wedding.  Antony, Sarah, Tony and I wrote it in about half an hour on Thursday after breakfast.  Karen suggested some changes then away we went.  We had two guitars and were supposed to have a kazoo but it missed its ride to the ferry (aka was forgotten).
The lyrics, below, are to the tune “I Will Survive”…
At first she was afraid, she was petrified,
Didn’t know how long she could go on and still survive.
She spent oh so many nights just dreaming of his face,
Because it was embroidered on her pillow case.
She took the year, let herself go
It’s the only time she could and Matt wouldn’t know.
She never shaved her legs and she tooted in the night,
Her hair was left unwashed and her clothes were getting tight.
Go on now go, sail out to sea,
Don’t turn around now, don’t you worry about me.
Weren’t you the one who softly said goodbye,
My name is Matt, I am a man and I don’t cry.
Oh no not I, I’ll grow my hair.
As long as I don’t cut it, your touch will still be there.
I’ve got only one year to last so I hope it goes real fast,
But I’ll survive, I will survive, hey hey hey…
(Drum and Kazoo duet…)

It took all the strength she had not to fall apart,
She journalled every day to you right from the start.
Matt you should know that you were really missed,
She brushed her teeth, just waiting for your kiss.
I must admit, I’m feeling blue,
I am so far away but still in love with you.
I was dreaming you’d drop in, just to visit me
Cause I’m saving all my loving for the one who’s loving me
And then you came, to Hawaii
With no shirt and a scooter down upon one knee.
You were the one that I wanted for all time
I could hardly wait, and now tonight you’re mine
And that’s the start, they will survive,
As long as they know how to love we know they’ll stay alive
They’ve got all their lives to live and all their love to give,
They will survive, they will survive, Amen.
And now for the requisite photo accompaniments:
The mildly offside, but oh so Katie, cake topper

George walking Katie up the aisle.

Katie and Matt

The cooks…

And the girls

BC Day (and the last week)

Happy BC Day! Today British Columbia celebrated 150 years. Of what, I’m not sure. Canada hasn’t even been a country for that long, but the land has been around much longer than that. I think it is 150 years of being a British Colony. Because time begins when Britain makes you a colony.

Enough of that.  Here is my week in review:

Purden Lake, where we stayed the night before driving out to Edmonton from Prince George. Colleen’s sister has a cabin here. Very nice! It would have been ever better had we had time to enjoy the things one can do there, like getting out on the lake! Next time.

On the drive… Mt Robson!

To Edmonton we go for Carlynne’s wonderful wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and the reception was lots of fun. I had a great time catching up with people I haven’t seen in at least a year, most more.

I flew back to Victoria from Edmonton because I knew I wouldn’t have time to drive back down to Vancouver and then get over to Victoria to get in the van to drive up to Port Hardy to get back on the boat. Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it! This is flying into Vancouver where I had a 2 hour layover. The fact that I had to wait 2 hours wouldn’t have been too bad except for the fact that there were  approximately 5 flights for Victoria that left between the time when I landed and the time my flight was. Why they couldn’t have put me on one of those, I don’t know.  I tried to change my ticket, but I had checked luggage. Speaking of which, Air Canada has gotten even stupider and now charges you if you have more than 1 checked bag. One more good reason to fly WestJet.

Finally, Victoria! I had time last night to set up my new room.  There were a few things I still needed to pick up this morning (like hangers), and there are still a few modifications to be made, but here is where I sleep and hang out when I’m actually in town.  (Janis, if you’re reading this, yes, this is your old room!)

TV room – room you walk into from outside.  Roommate’s TV, not mine. Large collection of DVDs on left, his. Smaller amount on right, mine. The three closest to the middle on each side are the same: Lord of the Rings, Extended Edition. At least we have some similar tastes!

Kitchen, as seen from TV room.

In my celebration of coming home last night, I heard from one of my friends in town and she told me there was a sweet concert going on tonight at the Legislature.  Upon further research, I discovered there were lots of things going on at the Legislature today. So, after doing all the things that needed doing this morning, I headed down for noon to see what was going on. It seems that BC Day is a pretty big deal. Who knew? There were about 8 MPs, an MLA, a mayor, a Premier, and a Prime Minister all sitting up on the stage. I’m not sure why some of them, like Stockwell Day, were there (he needed a party to flash his grin at??), but it was fun none-the-less.  Gordon Campbell spoke first and introduced our mascots for the Olympics. A funny thing happened while he was speaking. A lady got up quite close to the front and started yelling at him for cutting down all of our forests. This old lady sitting near her apparently didn’t appreciate her comments because she got up and tried to slap the yeller. Next thing you know, there’s a full-on slap fight going on between them. It was fairly humorous.  There were a number of protestors who showed up during the speeches, but they, for the most part, got booed into silence by the crowd.

Next, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, spoke. As bad as his french is, I liked it better when he attempted to speak french because none of the protestors seemed to understand him: they only booed when he spoke English (and I’m pretty sure I was in BC, not Quebec!).

Then, the next thing I knew, the Snowbirds are flying overhead. It was kind of freaky because I’ve never seen them fly that low before. I’ve also never seen them fly over a major city before – only over the prairies or large air fields. I was minorly hyperventilating the whole time. It was strange because they would periodically disappear behind buildings and then they’d come back for a fly over. It was quite a fun show though!

After that excitement, I wandered around town, reacquainting myself with Victoria after a 14 month absence. I got lunch, went in a few shops, visited my favorite coffee shop in town, and eventually parked myself with a book in the rose garden at the Empress.  From there, I could hear the sounds of bands playing at the Legislature – Alex Cuba, Burton Cummings… but I was comfortable in the shade.

I met up with my friend around dinner, we hit up a classic Victoria institution for dinner before heading back to the Legislature to take in the rest of the festivities. There were a couple more people there than there had been in the morning, but we managed to worm our way into the crowd and find decent spots to watch…
Sarah McLaughlan…

…and Feist.

I left before the show was done because today was a long day and the next month is going to be even longer. I head up to Port Hardy tomorrow to rejoin the boat and sail back around to Victoria. I’ll be home sometime around the end of August, beginning of September. Don’t expect to hear too much from me as there isn’t (shock, horror) Internet in the middle of the ocean. I know, its hard to believe. I don’t anticipate much cell reception either. I’m looking forward to getting back on the boat and spending time with some of my favorite people to sail to exotic places with. While this will be no Tahiti or Papua New Guinea, the west coast of the Island is some of the most beautiful and untouched landscape in all of Canada, if not the world. Maybe BC really is The Best Place on Earth.

PS – the concert will be broadcast on CBC on August 30, so you can relive all my fun then!