Family Life Music



Tonight we celebrated Sean’s birthday in a traditionally nontraditional way. Greek food. For a man who didn’t like to profess to having favourites, this was something he enjoyed immensely as a family in those moments when he wanted to celebrate a victory or to even embrace a defeat. He would have been 42 today. It’s a far out emotion. Unlike my shallow self, he loved birthdays and the entering into a new year of life. I panic with birthdays. I panic with the inevitable process of aging. But 42. I think of the dreams he had and the visions, the endless vision he had for our family, for our community, for the church, and for every person he befriended. It was nonstop…and it is mind blowing how that the vision has stopped in time- to some degree- when he died at 40. Life has continued to move forward, of course, and I do believe we are beginning to learn the rhythm to this unfamiliar tune. Tonight after putting the kids to bed, I saw that it was only River who drew pictures in the birthday journal we made for Sean last year. Nola said earlier she wasn’t ready to write in it and Memphis, well, he’s a thinker. I don’t want to put pressure on the kids to have to do anything. I want to leave this journal as mere option- write it or not. Be free. My heart broke for River, though. He was quite young when Sean was diagnosed and really witnessed a lot of the gruesomeness sickness does to one’s well being. He missed out on a lot of the fun things his dad did or at least would have remembered him doing. To have been a 4 year old with a dad too sick to play or to go on adventures with, he seems to have this unspeakable grace for the whole thing. Does he not remember how horrible it was? Or perhaps he only remembers how loved he was by his dad and those other things don’t really matter to his young heart. I am not sure. For this Dennis the Menace meets Tom Sawyer boy, there is a kindness and an inner strength I pray continues to grow and develop with whatever diversity comes his way. God I pray he would remain grounded in the solidness only love truly can instil.

Family Life Personal

Ash Monday.

I remember November 18th well. It was a Friday and I went to a cremation place to pick my husband’s ashes. I remember what I was wearing. The weather. Who I was with. I remember I did not drive. My friend Lizzie was my chauffeur for two weeks after his death. After we picked him up, we went for pizza. The day before I had shopped for the outfit I would wear to his funeral. When I got home, because my house was in the process of being absolutely renovated, Sean’s dream, I put his ashes in a storage place in our basement and didn’t look back. And I hadn’t looked back at that white linen bag with the cardboard box containing the urn with his ashes in it so carefully placed, since then. Until yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I woke up before six, went into the basement, removed Lacrosse sticks and school projects from the hiding void. I grabbed the white bag and the weight of it all surprised me. I remembered the great details of our waiter and the exact lunch and beverages Tiffany, Lizzie, and I shared that day in November, but the weight of these ashes? No. I was surprised how heavy they were while putting them in the trunk of my vehicle. I knew Monday the 21st of August, I had to spread his ashes. It was time and it was what I had told him. August. It was in August we had difficult conversations last year about where he would love to be and it was always in August we would be together as a family enjoying our favourite place to rest.

My hands shook uncontrollably as I really faced the box for the first time. I cut through the tape with the scissors and had to break to stare in awe of my hands trembling. I walked away for a moment to collect my thoughts and pray under my breath…It was time. I didn’t want to deal with it, I really didn’t, but I had to. This is how life is sometimes. There are moments when we just have to seize it and not refuse or run from it. Death is the only guarantee we have in this life. No escape. No denial. Only acceptance. I just didn’t know that I would be doing this at 38, that’s all. However, like his death, this day now too has sealed us. A connection that is beyond tangible. A marking, an awareness, and a depth that only death, tragedy or even trauma brings. I don’t walk this journey alone. I know that. I have not once thought it. Can everyone relate to it? No. But that is okay. I don’t need that, what I need is presence, and sometimes that is all anyone really needs.

Health Journey Update

This Made My Day

Today has been a pretty good day so far! For some reason I thought it might be somewhat emotional with this being the one year mark since the diagnosis. Just yesterday Jamie admitted to me for the first time that there was a time when she didn’t think I would make it to see River’s 5th birthday.

Well, I am still here and still fighting!

It was nearly 6 months ago when I experienced a breakthrough in regards to the mental game of fighting for your life. The first six months being I was consumed with my mortality and actually believing I would survive this diagnosis.

Then the breakthrough came!

Since then, death is not something I give any thought to. I take each day I am given and do my best to make the most of it. Today was a good day, and for a couple of reasons, but only one I want to share here in this post.

This morning before church I was sitting on the bench outside of the school where we meet each Sunday. I happen to be sitting with my two boys – chatting about the day and what may happen. As we were sitting there, Jill Burkinshaw – a woman who was instrumental in pairing up Jamie and I 12 years ago was walking down the path towards the front of the school.

(Not only was Jill key to Jamie and I meeting, and eventually getting married – she has been an incredible blessing to our lives and the lives of many others.)

In her hand was a white bag and she headed straight for the boys and I. We greeted one another and then she handed me the bag. In it was a beautiful potted, yellow flower. At first I thought it might be for Jamie, but she handed it to me and congratulated me on making it through this year.

What a thoughtful gift!

Even in the midst of Jill walking out her own journey with her husband’s health she thought about the importance of this day, and gave such a beautiful card with such meaningful words – and a beautiful flower!

This definitely made my day!

Thanks Jill for your thoughtfulness and your love for us as a family.

We love you!


Blog Life My Story Update

Almost One Year Later

I can remember a time when I didn’t think this day was possible. Tomorrow marks one year since our lives were radically altered. That day is still so vivid in my memory banks! I find it somewhat difficult to articulate the range of emotions and feelings I experienced that day! If there was just one – I would say anger!

My anger was directed at myself and God! How could He allow something like this to happen? Doesn’t He know who I am? After some time, the anger I felt was now directed at myself. How could I allow this to happen? Why didn’t I act sooner? Why did I eat so horribly? On and on it goes.

If I was honest – I would say that the anger is still there – but not to the degree that it once was. Nobody wants to live with cancer. It is such an unwanted houseguest. It barged into our lives without any announcement and it moved right in. Everyday since the diagnosis I have been doing what I can to evict this horrible disease!

Throughout this year I (and my family) have experienced many highs and lows. We have felt the incredible love and support from so many! Our family and close friends have been amazing! Even complete strangers have embraced us! It has truly been a difficult, yet life changing experience!

There are not enough words to describe the support we have been shown. It has been overwhelming at times, but it is just what we have needed. We have also experienced heart ache through this experience. We have suffered loss, but sometimes in life ‘things’ need to die in order to usher in new life. We have learnt so much through this process which we hope to share with anyone who wants to listen.

This journey is far from over, and I am ok with that. Obviously I have my days and I wish things were different, but I know there is a bigger picture to view. We take each day that we have and try to make the most of it! No matter what – our hope lies in Him!


I Lost My Wedding Ring In The Garbage Dump

Yup, you read the title correctly. I lost my wedding ring at the Point Roberts garbage dump yesterday! Obviously, not one of my best moments in life – but hey, we all have our moments from time to time.

After loading up the Flex yesterday with a bunch of stuff from the cabin, I headed out to the local dump to dispose of everything. It wasn’t a busy day at the dump. Usually, the line up to get into the dump is enormous! I received my instructions from the guy who was working the scales and headed to the bins where I was to dispose of all our garbage.

I backed up the Flex and started to unload. Now, before I continue any further, you need to know that because of my recent health issues, I have lost some weight – even in my fingers. I have know for some time that my wedding ring doesn’t fit the best, but hey, it’s my wedding ring, and I wear it faithfully! It is a daily reminder of the vows I made to my wife over 11 years ago. My ring is important to me!

Back to the story…

As I was unloading all the garbage from the Flex, I needed to throw it all in a large bin below me. Everything was going according to plan, when all of a sudden I threw two bags at the same time into the bin, and my ring cam flying off into the bin! Crap! Where did it go? Now you need to understand that the bin was pretty much completely filled to the brim with small, disgusting garbage. What was I going to do?

I approached the guy who was working near the bins and told him about my dilemma. It wasn’t to keen on allowing me to enter the bins to search for my ring. He cited safety reasons. I told him it was my wedding ring and I really wanted a chance to look for it. He was reluctant at first to allow me to get into the bin, but after some convincing he let dumpster dive! This was nothing new to me. Not that I am proud of it, but I have entered many garbage bins in my time.

I jumped right into the bin without any hesitation. I was a man on a mission! After about 10 minutes of searching the area where I thought it was – there was a small part of me that wanted to quit. How was I going to find a needle in a haystack? I can’t quit! This is my wedding ring. I said a quick prayer in my head and continued to search. At that time, a couple of guys showed up and started throwing things out in the same bin I was crawling around in. They looked at me and stated the obvious – did you lose something? I said, “yes, my wedding ring.” The one guy looked at me said, “I hope you find it.” My response was “so do I.”

Not two minutes later I looked down at my feet and staring right at me as it clung to a black garbage bag was my wedding ring! Can you believe it! It was a miracle! I was in shock! Honestly, how do you find a wedding ring in the midst of all the garbage that filled that bin. ONLY GOD!

I climbed out of the bin and headed back to the top of the hill where the Flex was and the three guys who were there also. The one guy responded when I yelled out – “I found it” by saying praise the Lord. I looked at him and said – “you’re right, Praise the Lord.” I continued to tell him I was a Pastor and that I had just prayed a quick prayer in my head. He responded by saying – “hey, I am a Christian too.” The two other guys who were there then responded by informing us that they too were Pastors from East Vancouver. What a crazy experience! We all just stood there and marvelled at what just had transpired.

This was another reminder to me about how much God really cares about His kids! He really does. He cares about every detail of our lives – whether you believe that or not.

I said my goodbyes and hoped back into the Flex and headed back to the cabin. The entire ride home I kept looking at my ring! Even as I write this post, I am in awe of what transpired at the dump in Point Roberts.

Anyways, thanks for reading this! I hope you have a great day! Remember, God cares about you!