Friendship Collateral

I didn’t know I needed other women.

Yes, I had a mom and sisters and girlfriends and aunts and the rest of it, but I didn’t know I needed them. It wasn’t until we moved to Ghana in 2006, when I saw how the women interacted there. Women were so connected and near to each other, demonstrated physically in how they would sit together or walk together, often touching or holding hands, even in that hot, hot heat.

I was an observer, an outsider, for a long time and that might be a clue as to why I became sensitized to the need. I didn’t have what they had.

At first, all I had were my long, long distance connections back home and friendly smiles and nods to my neighbours. I was the only “Obruni” (foreigner) in the group of women with whom I wished to belong.  And they did their best to welcome me, even though language was a barrier. If they couldn’t talk to me, they would still gesture for me to sit beside them. Those who could speak some English would translate from time to time. The important stuff, like when it was time to stop sitting. Continue reading

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I believe in the dining room table

I’m writing this in our dining room at a table, a holy gift.

We purchased this table thanks to the generosity of our Barrie Free Methodist Church family. On our last Sunday there, before we were to head to Toronto, they gave us notes of encouragement and gifts of money as a send-off. We were overwhelmed by this show of love–I wept for three days straight after reading the cards and still get teary when I think of it. We knew instantly that we would use the money for an item that would extend the legacy our church had offered to us over the years – one of love, hospitality, and a sense of home.

This table, upon purchase, was instantly put to good use. Right away, it showed signs of wear and tear as we welcomed guests into our new space and to the table. I always suggest we meet here instead of going out for coffee or tea. Already this table is the hub of stories and laughter with our friends, new and old. Continue reading

Going Grey – Five Months In

It has been exactly five months since I last coloured my hair. I’m missing my hair stylist, Barb, like crazy. 

A couple weeks ago, I had my very first pang of regret for having decided to grow out my grey hair. I had my hair up to wash my face before heading to bed. J-M walked into the bathroom, stopped in his tracks, and looked at me soberly.

“Your hair is really white, eh?”

“It is, isn’t it,” I replied.

I could have cried myself to sleep that night. Continue reading

Why it’s important to talk about Renee’s face

I wrote this over a week ago, but I didn’t post thinking Renee Zellweger’s new face would turn out to be a hoax. I couldn’t ignore it as a compelling writing prompt, especially considering my focus these days on exploring a scriptural, foundational understanding of beauty.

And so, before I grapple with beauty’s origins, I post about cosmetic surgery.

Renee

I put up this picture on my Facebook profile on October 21, the day after Renee made her big reveal, a new face. I put it up to prompt discussion, but I was also worried because I thought people might perceive me as an agitator, leading the march against plastic surgery. I wouldn’t go so far.

Renee’s new face disappointed me. That is me admitting my visceral reaction. Both Renees are physically gorgeous, but in my mind, one of them isn’t Renee. Instantly, I miss her endearing squint. I didn’t even know I would and now it’s gone forever. But, like, who am I to Renee? And suffering children are dying in this world.

Except I think this issue is important because, in fact, children are actually dying over the issue of body image and beauty. Continue reading

Diary of The First Snow Fall, Dreams About Teeth, and Daylight Savings Time

First Snow Fall

When the white stuff flew through the air this morning, I was a little cheesed off because this was the deal: I move to Toronto and I’m free of snow.  “It’s supposed to be another killer winter like last year,” they’re telling me, everyone, apologetically. The Farmer’s Almanac said so. These farmers, so smart and hateful.

But November 1st – it’s too soon. Give us a week and we’ll be more ready, promise. We first want to make sure we find a matching pairs of gloves, put our antifreeze in the car, and do a quick exchange, umbrella for ice scraper, thrown in the back seat. Just one more week, please.

I sigh because we still have salt stains on our car mats from last year. From April to date I’ve been embarrassed every time I’ve given someone a ride. “Ignore the salt stains, heh-heh” I say. Whose car should we take? I never volunteer. Wait. Now that it’s snowing, it’ll just look normal again.  Dude, Snow! You saved my butt – and just like that you are welcome to stay.

Dreams About

Last night I had a dream that my teeth were falling out. Even in my dream I knew it meant something other than I should find a dentist in Toronto soon. Strangely, I felt some elation in my dream that maybe now I would give myself permission to get these darned crooked bottom teeth fixed. Then the top teeth started falling out randomly. “Oh, that’s a problem,” I dreamt to myself.

I looked it up online this morning because online knows everything about dream interpretation. The non-weird websites said that this is a common dream for those going through major transition in their lives, signifying the loss you are feeling because of it. By day, I have been feeling pretty good about this move, recognizing that it’s a big change, but we’ve got our act together, we can fake it till we make it! Honestly, just this past week, I thought I’d turned a corner and was getting excited about how much this house, this area, these friends are feeling like home. But by night, my subconscious has been in cahoots with my REM, lulling me to sleep despite my fears and leaking out my worries when it thought I wouldn’t notice.

I thought I loved change. I thought I loved new. My teeth disagree.

Daylight Savings

One of my new Toronto friends said that she is petitioning the government to get rid of Daylight Savings. She hates it, just hates it. She feels there are several mothers of young children who would support her cause. When I speak to her, it honestly makes no sense that we would mess with our internal clocks AND the one on the microwave twice a year. Perhaps it is a ploy of all the shiny, happy morning people to steal our daylight. She makes a good case, with the support of several countries around the world who don’t ever feel the need to control time.

Tonight, however, our family has stayed up late watching a movie. As we’re asking what time it is because it feels like midnight, I remember that we “fall behind” tonight. I perform some mental gymnastics before I’m fully, fully sure that means a whole extra hour of sleep. “This is the first time we’ll get to bed on time in a long time,” my youngest daughter tells us. I’m sorry, friend, maybe bring your petition by in the spring. Because tonight, these night owls are rejoicing that the night is still young.