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Showing posts from September, 2010


We cancelled our cable television just over a month ago. The idea was that after we returned from our vacation, we would sign up with another provider who was offering a deal on satellite tv that included a free PVR. That hasn't happened. The truth is, we don't really miss it that much.

The only times I miss watching TV is when I do my ironing. A home improvement show always made an unpleasant chore much more bearable and helped the time pass quickly. For a few weeks, I ironed in silence, facing the silent, dark TV screen. Not that great. Then I decided to watch a DVD while I did my weekly ironing. Six shirts and three pants were not really enough to get into a movie, so that idea kind of bombed. Last week, I tried something new. I set up the ironing board in the guest room, opened up the curtains, and did all my ironing in front of the patio doors which overlook our neighbourhood.
While I ironed, I watched the sky, which is always changing this time of year. It started out br…

thoughts on my birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. My 50th birthday. Some people think that's a big deal. To me, it is just a number that states how many days I have had the privilege of waking up and getting out of bed to explore life. And that thought causes my heart to become full and expand with a whole lot of thankfulness and awe at life itself. Yes, indeed. These were some thoughts I had yesterday:

I get to open my eyes every morning and see sunlight. Some days it is full-on, unclouded, make-your-eyes-hurt, kind of sunshine that greets me. Other days it is misty, rainy, curtained light, but it is always light. And I am blessed to see it every day.
I get to wake up next to a warm, cuddly, funny, wise, generous, and faithful man every day. He often stares at me with adoring eyes, and takes me on dates pretty much every week. He can fix almost anything electronic and always knows where we parked. He can keep a steady beat no matter how eratic and chaotic the sounds are around him. I am blessed to have s…

hello, my name is...

Hello, my name is Matte and I am a student. Seems fairly straightforward, right? Not really. You see, I have been reading the story of Abram again in Genesis, and I noticed a thing or two about the difference between what we call ourselves and what God calls us.

Abram's name meant "exalted father." He did pretty well with the exalted part (had a knack for getting rich and for the most part, enjoyed a good reputation), but the father just wasn't happening. If Abram were to introduce himself to us, it might have sounded something like this:
Hello, my name is Abram, and I grew up with a father who didn't follow through on what he said he would do. Genesis 11:31-32. His father set out for Canaan but settled in Haran, which was about halfway there.
Hello, my name is Abram, and though I have a lot of potential, I find it hard to leave everything behind and pursue the call of God. Genesis 12:1-6. He left his home, but not his family behind, taking his nephew with …

my election story

The city where I live had a provincial by-election on Monday. Politics in Quebec are a different bird than anywhere else in Canada, so many times it is not so clear who to vote for. The options presented to us were the Liberal party (the party currently in power dealing with some integrity issues), the Parti Quebecois (official opposition who rallies behind Quebec's sovereignty), the Action-Democratique du Quebec (a relatively new and untried party trying to put some new blood and new ideas into government but little idea of how to do it), the Green Party (environmental concerns are the main platform), and the Quebec Solidaire (feminist and sovereignist leanings). Like I said, not that straightforward, but I tried to do my best. Here is what happened.

The afternoon was fading away on Monday as I put aside my homework for a bit in order to read up on the parties before I headed off to vote. I was leaning towards the Liberals, that being the strongest and most visible party, but thou…

the man in the wig

I was on the subway a few days ago and noticed an older man with an odd hairstyle. Long, graying brown strands were tied in a thin ponytail at the back of his neck. There was nothing strange about this, but the top two-thirds of his head was covered with a thick, medium brown crown of straight, perfectly combed hair. The point at which the graying, uneven strands met the brown cap was obvious to me, even from a quick glance halfway across the subway car. I looked at this aging man for a few minutes, wondering why he would wear such a badly matched wig and trying to discern if it really made him feel better about himself. I came to no conclusions about him, but did come up with some questions about my own habits.

We all do things to change our appearance slightly - for the better, we hope. I dye my hair, I wear make-up most days, I shave my legs (more often in summer than in winter), and I wear clothes that accent certain parts of my body and camouflage others. The goal is to have this …

what I did on my summer vacation

I landed back at home on Monday night. In the two days since my vacation officially ended, the treadmill of university life has been going at a steady, fast jog. I bought my books, attended my first Method in Theology class, met with my advisor, began my stint as a TA in Christian Spirituality, and finished notes on another Underhill book for my ongoing reading course.

But before I leave the vacation totally behind, I want to savour a few of the moments in those ten days that stood out. They were not moments that one would normally think of when relating vacation highlights. They were not spectacular adventures, awe-inspiring views, or once-in-a-lifetime events. Or maybe they were. All I know is that these precious moments were offered to me like a finely prepared meal of grace and mercy, and I sought to partake of them as best I could.

My mother has volunteered at a local personal care facility for many years, and she asked if we wanted to stop in and see an uncle that was now challeng…

where I come from

It is interesting being back in the place where I grew up. While there are a lot of positive memories here, there are also some dark ones, and I was surprised to have a few of them surface on this trip back to the prairies. One of my responses was to get annoyed at the small town dynamic and the restrictive nature of this whole place. And then I realised that freedom is never an external issue: it is a battle that is won or lost in my own soul. The fact that this place could call to life feelings of disappointment that made me want to leave town was not primarily an indication of the shortcomings of said community, but a sign that I was not truly free inside. Freedom is free anywhere! That's its nature.

So I went to the only place that always shows me a way out of my every predicament: the place of surrender. I told God that I was willing to let go all the disappointment (legitimate and illegitimate), forgive all the misunderstandings, and release all the idealistic expectations an…