Tag Archives: book club

Be Reflective About the Last Year

Last Saturday as I was folding laundry, yet again, I cried out in anguish as the waves continued to pound me down. I cried out to Jesus, “I need a friend and I need someone now! Please Jesus save me!”

As I finished my last sentence, a car pulled up in front of my house. It was a very good friend from my first days in Vtown and paddling. She was driving past and had to stop in. She threw me a life preserver as I grabbed her and bawled my eyes out. She saved me from drowning. Her small action helped me tremendously. It brought me back to my life and got me thinking about the last year.

Last night, I went for a hike around my favourite mountain with an old volleyball friend and now new neighbour. We got a good sweat on and my mind worked a few things out. Throughout my life, I have found moving my body quite often moves my mind into new thoughts and patterns. I have the tendency to get on ‘the hamster wheel’ in my mind when I am worried about a relationship and situation. Exercise helps me to spin those thoughts right out of my hamster wheel.

After my hike up Knox last night, I spent time hanging out in my holy laundry room folding laundry. I love this disorganized, warm place where I can let my thoughts ‘hangout’. Since the day I laid on my laundry room floor this space has become a safe place for me. I find that as I grieve there is nothing I can ‘do’ to help this process along. Each day, I go through my day and I never know when the next wave of grief will hit. This last week has been pure torture for me. It started off seeing my son’s birthday card with only ‘Papa’ signed at the bottom. The first card without Nana’s name on it. This started the pounding waves of grief as things kept coming up day after day. I couldn’t catch a breathe. The waves in this storm kept pounding away.

I couldn’t get over how things have changed since April 2013.

One year ago:
🔹living in Vtown, not KCity
🔹seeing my mom every day.
🔹mom was getting ready to go on her cycling trip to Spain
🔹my dad was still working and living in PG part time.
🔹 our close friends had just moved to the Island
🔹 our dear family friend O’Wen was just talking about moving back to PG but still living in Vtown and a huge part of our life.
🔹Our family had an incredible group of people that we would eat with, play with… PP, PB, DD, our church family…
🔹our neighbour, Lizzie, was just across the street encouraging via window phone calls and ‘street talk’.

20140422-205119.jpgIntroducing Liz, who came to hike up Knox with me a few weeks ago before the latest wave.
🔹every day we would have one or two people drop by our house as they walked by or dropped something off.
🔹Sexy Neck was in the first year of his new job.
🔹I was going to the gym with my mom
🔹my mom and I took turns volunteering at CC’s preschool and JC’s kindergarten class.
🔹 I was involved with an incredible group of women who met in a book club once a month.
🔹A neighbourhood friend and I would prayerwalk together once a week.
🔹I attended an awesome Tuesday night bible study.
🔹I could walk downtown and ‘know’ at least three or four people.
🔹I loved visiting my ‘school’ friends at work.
🔹My mom would often pop into our backyard on her bike as she rode around town.
🔹We ate at least one meal per week with mom, and dad, if he was in town.

Now, I sit.

Alone.

A lot.

We have infrequent visitors.

A new city, school, house, neighbours, community.

Creating friendships.

Finding where to buy bread.

Yearning a life past.

Trying to find a future.

Painting.

Digging.

Talking.

Growing roots.

One day at a time.

The waves will come.

But I have learned that God will throw me a life preserver.

Through new and old friends.

Through sweat.

Through nature.

Through His Holy Spirit all around me.

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Be ‘Carol Shaben’ Writer Extraordinnaire

Tuesday night at book club, we Skyped with author, Carol Shaben, who wrote ‘Into The Abyss’ in 2012.

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Tomorrow will be the twenty-ninth anniversary of the Northern Alberta plane crash that this book is based on. This is not only a book based on a true story, but a story of Carol’s determined heart and mind.

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My understanding of the back story on this incredible book are from reading about Carol Shaben in preparation for book club and hearing her talk on Skype.

Wow! We were all blown away by the connection we felt while she was talking about her book. She is a real woman!

This story had been brewing in her mind and heart since she was twenty-two living in Jerusalem. On October 19th, she was reading the Jerusalem Post and she saw a small story that her father had been in a plane crash. Can you imagine?

She wrote the book in her loft office using a gigantic bulletin board and cue cards to keep all the individual stories and lives straight. There were ten passengers in the plane that horrific October day. Only four survived, her dad, a cop, his prisoner and the pilot. I won’t tell you anymore, but the story will eat you up.

The story is written like a delicious chocolate mousse. It is smooth, textured and rich in the development of the characters. A page turner that only took me two days to read. I do devour books, but i think this book devoured me. Sometimes it is hard to imagine the the story is true.

Our book club is extremely grateful that Carol Shaben took the time to talk with us. She is incredibly down to earth and her love for writing, this book and her father flew through the computer screen. Thank you for sharing your gift Carol.

Congratulations Carol on your Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction that you will receive on November 13th along with a $10,000 cheque.

Be In Some Sort of Book/Foot Club

Four years ago I decided I wanted to develop deeper relationships with a few women surrounding me. I decided that I was going to start a modern-day quilting bee which is formally known as a book club.

I have just arrived home from book club and I have to introduce you to these four real women. I think there should be a television series about them.

The first cast of character in this lovely book club that I look forward to every month is:

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• Princess P. She’s the sage one of the group. Her laughter could set off a tsunami because it is so wide and deep and contagious. Princess P is one of those people that is a deep friend. I worked beside P.P. in my first couple of years of teaching. Since then she is always been a good friend to me, Sexy Neck and all three of my boys. In fact one of the treasured thing that my boys have are the quilts that she has made each of them. She’s married to a smart businessman and public servant. She has raised beautiful, grounded and independent twins and a third child who loves life, her family, friends and firefighters.

The second cast in our crew of book lovers is:

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• Dreadlock D. D is an early 30’s. She loves everyone, well except her neighbour by the same name. She is an inspiring person who loves to cook, care for her two sweet children, her Electrician husband and the extended family. She does not want to be a lunchtime supervisor even though that might be in her future one day, but she will definitely be an inspiration to many people no matter what she does. She’s one of those people that is always there for you no matter what. She can light up a room with her humour and a few F-bombs thrown in for good measure.

The third character we will call PTP

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• I have known PTP since I first moved to Vtown thirteen years ago. She has been a steadfast friend,pre-kids,during kids, during labor,pregnancy and all sorts of stages and crazies. She is an athlete with fortitude and strength that you wouldn’t believe. She is a paddling physiotherapist. She is a previous Ballerina turned rower extraordinaire now runner, cross-country skier and I could go on. She is a fierce athlete and an amazing friend. PTP takes care of her amazing kids, her Educator husband, and the dog. She’s a pretty incredible, thoughtful and caring person.

The last character in our beautiful bookclub is:

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• Dr. K. She not only takes care of our eyes, she takes care of her family too. Her husband loves planes, trains and automobiles. (Okay maybe the trains should be replaced with helicopters.) She encourages all his passions, takes care of their wonderful Kindergarten son as well as the dog. Kim is also an incredible friend. She has provided more food, encouraging words and time during this cancer, torn Achilles, sickness, pregnancy, childbirth stage in my life. She is also pretty incredible neighbor and I wish that we had never moved off the street. In the midst of great Hawaiian themed parties, hockey and exercising she manages to keep everything in balance, especially her relationships.

This cast of four beautiful women started off as a book club but have become to me like four humongous feet! Yup, I said FEET.

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They are all different shapes and sizes. They have helped me stay standing and even walk through this time. Sometimes I have needed them to be my own feet and sometimes they have walked beside me nudging me along. Sometimes we all get a little smelly, especially me, but no matter what feet are very very important and I cannot tell you how important these women have become to me as I go through this time of moving cities, new beginnings and new relationships and really a new life through this disease called cancer.

These women are also like feet because
they have five toes sometimes all going in different directions with their family, their work, their friends, hobbies (do we have hobbies?), and their dreams and they managed to somehow always stay ‘attached’ and grounded no matter what’s going on. They are able to be real about their marriages and their children and what it is really like to be a mother and a woman in the 21st-century.

I’m so grateful for these beautiful feet/Book Clubbers and I’m so grateful that we can spend this time together and I can’t wait to see what the year entails for all of us.

Now make sure you have a glass of wine, some good appetizers and a good book, but most importantly be in a “Club”!

PS. We skyped with a real live author tonight at book club. Did you know that authors did that? We didn’t. This author was a force. Post coming soon.

Be Looking for Balloons and Book Clubbers

I dropped our middle guy, CC, off for his first day of preschool and then saw this out the window.

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Tonight, I was able to see light and hope in my mom’s beautiful blue eyes.

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Then I was fortunate to end the evening with my magnificent book Clubbers sitting in a candle-lit garden talking about a book, life, kids and other miscellaneous topics. Glory.

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Be Mildly Rebellious

Today I am wearing the t-shirt I slept in!  Rebellious, I know.  Maybe tomorrow it will be “no bra” day.  Ha!

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I try very hard to “be” a woman who stands by her word, that does what she says she will do and live by the guidelines of the culture I live in.  But I have been inspired lately to be a bit more rebellious towards these cultural guidelines.

Thank you Tim Ferris and his book The Four Hour Work Week. 

[Sidenote: Last year, my book club gave me the award Actionator 2012 because I really do try and put into to practice what I read and am inspired by.]

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In The Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris gives the reader what he calls “Comfort Challenges”.  One comfort challenge that spoke very personally to me was the “Relax in Public” challenge.  My understanding of the activity is that you find a busy sidewalk and lie down.  Don’t explain yourself, just take a rest.  Hmmm… thought provoking isn’t it.  Why is this not culturally acceptable?  If I am tired, why not lie down? As a mom of three boys under five, I think I am going to instill this into my daily life.  I am going to give it a try next week.

Here is my last thought from Tim’s book: “It isn’t enough to think outside the box.  Thinking is passive.  Get used to acting outside the box.”  Well said Tim.  I am a good thinker, but now I am going to aim to be a better Actionator!