Sunday, December 4, 2016

so and so winked at you, my email read.

i clicked on the click bait, only to find out that the man who winked at me was 55 years old. glad to know his eyelids work at that age, i thought.

moving on.

another wink. another old man.

what is with these older guys winking at me? i must change my profile. *erases "enjoys long walk[ers] on the beach" and "i can knit a mean blanket" out of the 'about me' section*.

seriously, though. WHAT IS WITH OLD MEN WINKING AT ME?

or indecisive men, or crazy men who scream at old ladies on the subway? [true story].

i paid for match dot com for three months [try no match dot com] and ... nothing. i was talking to two men at once [savage!] - even got to the 'texting stage' - even planned-ish two dates [not on the same night, thankfully] and then ... they didn't follow through. one texted me two nights later with a "hey you - what's up?". [i'll tell you what's up] - and the other vanished right before we were to meet. he was too busy with his two year old any ways. [which i admired about him].

a few weeks a go, i joined christian café, because, well, i like men and coffee. both black and strong, actually. [i'm somewhat kidding here - adding a little cream to your coffee never hurt any one].

as i was saying.

i got a lot of winks - like a lot of winks - but i don't reply to winks. like, say hi, or something.

finally, someone did. but he said way more than hi. in fact, he was yelling at me, telling me how HE LIKED MY STORY ABOUT LOVE AND WANTS TO LIVE AND DIE WITH HIS WIFE, TOO! except, i don't know where he got this 'too' business; i never said i wanted to die with my husband. i don't. BECAUSE THAT'S WEIRD. i think he missed the whole "until death do us PART" part.

any ways.

you'll be happy to know that i got a wonderful email from a lovely man a few days later. one worth responding to for once. of course, i asked him if his eyelids worked [definitely a non negotiable], but i asked him other stuff, too. and he asked me stuff. after all, this is usually how this getting to know you thing works, you know.

you guys - he's white, as in not dark skinned, and i still gave him a chance.

we hit it off really well. i felt myself getting butterflies every time i saw that he emailed me. i smiled, and laughed, and went to bed smiling, and laughing. it was weird for me. especially at this stage.

he even humoured me and played along with some of my silly 'play on word' games, and he was good at it.

but then, a dozen emails later, he dropped the bomb. the "i saw my ex at a family and friend gathering yesterday and i still have feelings for her' bomb. he reassured me that it 'wasn't me', and that i'm 'flipping awesome' [which i am], and left the café for good. i felt a little sad for a few days. drinking coffee alone over here. but - and there's a but - i have a feeling that a good guy will come and sweep me off of my feet one day, and an even bigger feeling that i'll end up liking him a latte.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

growing up, christmas was nothing short of magical.

first, weeks prior, my parents would buy a few cartons of egg nog, some cheap, but delicious, christmas cookies - you know, the ornament shaped ones with the sprinkles on them - and we would decorate the tree together as kenny rogers' christmas album played in the background on repeat. it was a castrucci favourite, after all.

weeks later at the crack of dawn, we'd find ourselves around the same tree, only this time, watching each other open presents. as cliché as this sounds, looking back, it wasn't about the gifts - it was about the joy found in giving. i can still see the light in my dad's eyes as we opened 'santa's gifts', and it wasn't until after he passed away that i realized the very cost of those gifts. my mom told me years later that my precious dad would pick up extra shifts at work just to make sure that we got all that we wanted, and we always did. but now, decades later, i would trade every single gift that ever sat under that tree for a chance to spend just one more christmas with him.

our last christmas was so special. we spent it at the nottawasaga in alliston, where three of us used to work. i never went to breakfast with he and my mom that morning before everyone arrived because i needed some peace before all the troops arrived. mental illness will do that to you. but regret does so much more.

regardless, we had a great day that day! we pushed my dad in an impromptu wheelchair race against my brother-in-law's mom [obviously my dad won], ate a yummy dinner, [i still remember how excited my dad was for the buffet that night], and topped it off with 'operation spoil our parents'. it was perfect.

the next day, i said goodbye to my dad for the last time, and somehow i knew it. i hugged him, he hugged me back, and said, "bye, hun. see you soon" as i walked out the door. three days later, he died in his sleep, and christmas hasn't been the same since.

last year, we brought christmas to my mom on the seventh floor of a hospital. we decorated her windowsill with a small christmas tree, brought her presents she would never be able to use [but brought them any way], wore silly hats, and took even sillier pics. it was rough in many ways, but beautiful in so many others. for me, christmas will always look like this. maybe it will look like this for you, too.

i'm trying really hard here.

trying to find balance between treasuring the memories i have with my parents and grieving the fact that i can't make more.

trying to find balance between feeling insurmountable loss and pain, and celebrating the magic that still remains. the birth of Christ. his presence. christmas lights. stockings. kenny rogers. egg nog. cheap christmas cookies covered in the most colourful sprinkles.

my family has chosen to go our separate ways this christmas. for them, it means christmas with their respected families. for me, it will look like serving hundreds of delicious meals with my regent park family like i do every other saturday, falling asleep in a hotel watching cheesy made for TV christmas movies, and thanking God that no matter what my circumstance may look like, the reason of the season remains the same.

"the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" [which means "God with us"]. amen.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

my team and i were enjoying a lovely breakfast on a hot summer's day in malawi a few summers a go when my eyes were drawn to the rustling i overheard coming from a tree near by. to my surprise, a monkey climbed down the tree, jumped on a table next to me and stole a piece of toast out of the hand of a fellow traveler. i guarded my toast in disbelief and laughed. seconds later, a second monkey came down, jumped on the same table, and grabbed the jam. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?", i thought. "if that third monkey comes down and grabs a knife, i'm gonna die" [of laughter that is, not from a monkey stabbing].

this whole experience baffled me for years until my friend reminded me of the familiar saying, "monkey see - monkey do" the other day. those monkeys had been up in that tree watching us humans lather our toast with strawberry jam, and decided to follow suit.

and somehow, in this random brain of mine, i linked this whole thing to leadership.

those you lead don't listen to what you say, they watch what you do.

i can't tell you the amount of times that i've been told to do something, only to have the one who told me to do it turn around and do the complete opposite, leaving me feeling confused and wondering whether or not i could trust them as my leader.

the truth is, we've all been there.

your boss stresses the importance of showing up to work on time, and comes in 20 minutes late each day himself.
your mom tells you to hang up your jacket, but throws hers on the kitchen chair when she gets home from work.
your prof emphasizes the importance in deadlines, and yet hands your paper back three months after you handed it in.

you get the picture.

truth be told, true leadership isn't proven in one's ability to 'talk the talk', but in their ability to 'walk the walk'.

because, well, monkey see - monkey do.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

it was intimidating at first, even for me, to walk into a room full of 1000+ strangers. naturally, i slipped into observation mode. who was here alone? with a group? which conversations looked too deep to interrupt? was the lady glued to her phone screen busy? or simply covering up the fact that she, too, felt a little intimidated?

i did what anyone else would do at the moment. i went to the bathroom. it was in there that i decided to stop 'stalling' [pun intended]; i left there ready to do what i came there to do in the first place: to connect.

it didn't take long for me to start a conversation after that. i made eye contact with another woman as i came up the stairs. found out she was in the health profession. turns out she knows my housemate. we chatted, and made our way into the conference hall together.

i can't begin to explain the feeling of honour i felt when i saw the stage. tedx is something that i'm familiar with, and something i enjoy listening to, but being there in person seemed nothing short of magical. i couldn't wait for it to start.

talk after talk, i found myself feeling inspired. here were ordinary people doing extraordinary things; a courageous syrian refuge who chose to use his experience to help others who find themselves in the same boat, a doctor whose research and practicality is changing the face of occupational therapy, another who's passionate about encouraging healthy communication in the work place, a 19 year old who decided to change the world by providing water to those who don't have it, and the list goes on. and that includes an inspirational author who asked a lot of thought provoking questions, and a hilarious MC, who climbs mountains. literally. like, the ones you see on postcards.

but then, the clincher. nick saul, president & CEO of community food centres canada, took the stage, and it didn't take long for me to realize why i had a seat with my name on it that day.

i wanted to jump out of my seat when he started talking about poverty. there was so much truth to what he was saying; when we think that hunger is the problem instead of poverty, we believe that handing out sandwiches is the solution, but if we acknowledge poverty for what it is [broken down systems and cycles], we start searching for, and finding, other solutions. 'handing out sandwiches' isn't bad - food is necessary for survival - but so is connection and community, which is the whole reason 'connect2' [the name of my non profit/ministry] exists. hearing nick saul speak confirmed to me that i am on the right track. it's all about connection.

i wondered in that moment, and again during the after party, why every day can't be like this? why does it take a conference for us to listen to others' ideas, and share our own? or an organized event for us to put our phones down and connect?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

i thought i would be married by now, and have kids, and at the very least, a good and reliable circle of friends.

instead, i'm doing what i normally do on a saturday night. and sunday nights. monday nights. heck, even tuesday nights; i'm sitting alone in my empty house while everyone else is hanging out with their family and friends. at least, that's what facebook is telling me they're [you're] doing. and all of the cars parked in my court.

now before you start telling me i need to reach out to people, i have. many times, in fact. i made some plans just this week alone, and my friends either cancelled, or coincidentally broke their phone in the middle of our conversation, or something.

i'm trying not to take it personally. really i'm not.

i mean, "the way people treat you has nothing to do with you, and everything to with them", right?

but how do i not take this loneliness personally when i'm the only common denominator in all of this?

most of the time, i just grab a book, sit in my backyard, and occupy this brain of mine, but tonight, i feel sad and feel like dwelling on it [and blogging about it] for a bit.

after all, i'm all about the #realtalk; i'm tired of fake crap, and highlight reels, and i'm certainly tired of being alone.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

i saw a picture today, and it made me mad. like really mad.

it brought stuff up, man. negative stuff. hurtful stuff. past stuff. stuff i had worked through. stuff i had forgiven.

as i felt my blood start to boil, i thought about jesus's words in matthew 18.

"then peter came to jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall i forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “i tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times".

now, some people misinterpret this verse and believe it to mean that you should let people walk all over you, but that isn't the case.


spouse hits you. forgiven.
spouse hits you again. round two.
and again. forgiven three times.
74 more punches to go.
74 more doses of forgiveness.

how i interpret it:

choosing forgiveness again and again when your mind and emotions play a trick on you and you're forced to relive what happened, or when you see a picture like i did this morning, or run into the person who hurt you, or have no choice but to face the consequences of their irresponsible and selfish actions every. single. day.

the seventy seven times wasn't mean to be taken literally [who counts that much any ways?], but jesus was making a point. he always did. and he brought the point home in the parable that followed. [see verses 23-35].

i believe:

1) that Christ died on the cross for my sins
2) that i'm forgiven because of his sacrifice and because i have asked him to [and continue to ask him to] forgive me for my sins [and trust me, i have many].

which means:

i have no choice but to forgive the trespasses of others ... even if it takes me seventy seven times.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

i was hours away from heading to the cottage with my friend from work, her boyfriend, and his entire family, when i started feeling really anxious. i'm in no state to meet anyone, i thought. i've been feeling really fragile lately; what if i cry and make a fool out of myself? what if i need alone time and can't get it? or, even worse, what if i get eaten by a bear?

my heart started racing as i dwelt on the whole bear thing - the big and hungry - bigger than me bear.

of course, these thoughts were unfounded, but it took a friend of mine to walk me through it, and a few [okay, a lot of] deep breaths, to be able to see it.

i took another deep breath, prayed a brief prayer, grabbed my bags, and left for the cottage, and am i ever glad i did; i had a lot of fun with old friends and new, managed to squeeze some alone time in, sat on a dock and in a boat, made delicious smores, caught fish [okay, one fish], and didn't - get this - didn't get eaten by a bear ... or a coyote, or a snapping turtle for that matter. [i did, however, get bitten by a donkey. jackass].

i also learned a lot about how patient love is as i watched my friend's family take such good care of their mom/grandma, who is sadly on the onset of alzheimers, and i helped where i could because, as i've been learning, compassion is useless without action.

we live in a world where liking a status, sharing an article, writing a blog, or reposting a video is synonymous with having compassion towards something. don't get me wrong, it's definitely a start, but it's not enough; we need to make sure that what moves our hearts actually activates our hands.

have compassion on the poor? spend less and give more.
feel sympathetic towards your grandma who has alzheimers? sit with her and tell her stories.
feel 'bad' for a friend who's going through the thick of it? pick up the phone and check in.
feel infuriated over what's happening in the states? check your own heart and figure out a way to bring about change.
[insert whatever else makes your heart ache here].

whether you can relate to the above list or not, your heart beats for something. it has to. and whatever it is that has been placed inside of you has been placed inside of you on purpose. the key is to do something about it. it's time we stop spending so much time 'liking' things and start focussing on turning our compassion into compACTION.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

i told an older lady that i liked her hair this morning, and she looked at me with confusion in her eyes as if she was wearing a wig. that, or she thought it was weird that a stranger just complimented her.

can you blame her, though? it is kinda weird, but ... it shouldn't be.

ironically, a few minutes later, i felt my skin burning as another lady on the bus took it upon herself to look me up and down, followed by what appeared to be a very judgemental glare. [we all know that she's just jealous of my calves].

this got me thinking [as most things do].

ladies, we have it all backwards; let's make my first story the norm, and my last one the one that's uncommon and weird. let's start accepting our own bodies [something i am personally working on lately], and doing what we can to encourage one other and build each other up, instead of comparing ourselves to every other woman out there and judging each other ... even if that means telling an old lady that you dig her wig ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

i haven't been the best version of myself lately.

my heart is full of anger, and my mind? suicidal thoughts [with no courage to follow through]. i wish i could. believe me, i wish i could. heaven seems a lot more appealing these days; heaven feels like ... home.

nothing else does, really. i live in a beautiful and safe place, but it's not permanent, and it's not mine.

nothing really is.

i feel like a vagabond; the home i grew up in is nothing but a memory, the town i lived in seems oddly vacant, and the two people who brought me into this world are gone. somehow it always comes back to them being gone.

i'm barely hanging on. i'm merely just going through the motions at this point, hoping that one day soon, i will feel like myself again.
"my dad has been given days to live", my friend's text read.

my heart instantly broke for her because i know what the next few days entail. the sitting and waiting. the praying that God would end her dad's suffering yet trying to process what that means for the one praying it. the questions. the pain. the uncertainty. everything. every single thing.

it brought me right back to february 2nd when i was sitting at my mom's bedside, holding her hand, telling her i love her, giving her permission to go, the whole works, which naturally led to february 3rd when she took her last breath right before my very eyes.

grief has a way of interrupting your life.

without fail, a mother and son have come into my restaurant every tuesday and thursday since it opened over five years a go. a couple months a go, i noticed the mother deteriorating; she got to the point where she couldn't even finish one very small piece of toast. a week later, she never returned. neither of them did. until yesterday, that is. the son came back, only this time with his brother. i couldn't get rid of the pit in my stomach for the life of me. i didn't have to ask; i knew. and it brought me back to the meal i had with my siblings right after my mom passed away.

no matter how hard you try, you can't escape it; grief follows you everywhere.

Monday, July 4, 2016

for me, brampton has always been a launch pad.

in 2002, after spending a year here, i got on a plane and headed westward to vancouver for an internship.

seven months later, i came back to brampton, where i spent three years before heading to edmonton for college.

and three years after that, i came back to brampton.

in 2010, i moved back to BC for a second time, followed by ottawa, toronto, mississauga, and then, you guessed it, back to brampton, where i have been for the past year and a bit.

this city has also been a place of healing for me; a place i knew i could run to when i needed shelter, or love; a place where i felt safe enough to heal, and grieve the loss of both of my parents, but, as i mentioned above, it has always been my launch pad, too.

i know this feeling all too well. the feeling where the fear of change and closure meet the desire and the need for a fresh start, and a crazy adventure.

it's the same feeling i had in 2002, 2006, and 2010 before i moved, and it's the same feeling i've had ever since returning from the dominican - and still have today as i type this.

only this time, other than a feeling that my time in brampton is coming to an end, and an inkling to apply to jobs in calgary, i have no other direction. zero. zip. zilch.

i do, however, trust that everything will work out the way it's supposed to - calgary or not.

"in their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps" [proverbs 16:9]

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"why complain about something in your life when you're the master of it? if you don't like something, change it", she said.

she, being a random girl i met yesterday.

she wasn't talking to me directly, mind you, but what she said hit home any ways.

the truth is, whether it's about our job, the weather, a relationship, or the amount of traffic we get stuck behind during our morning commute, all of us can be guilty of complaining at times.

even truer, most things we complain about can be, like my new friend so kindly put it yesterday, changed.

and for the things that can't, our attitude can.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

as mentioned in my previous post, i recently joined [more like]. granted, i'm only a week in, but things aren't going so hot. that is, unless you think i should date 50+ year olds. i seem to be a hit with them. [yes, them, as in multiple 50 year olds]. they seem to really like me.

so did one cute younger guy, actually. lucky for me, though, by the third email he told me that all he is looking for in a woman is 'tits and ass' [pardon the terminology]. i get it; we're sexual beings. i like men's bodies, too, but bodies don't last. bodies gets wrinkly, and old. so do tits and ass.

one guy favourited me. not gonna lie, i was pretty flattered. that is, until i read his profile and saw something about a green card. maybe i'd consider it if i were 40, but i still have a few years to go until then, and a heck of a lot more to go until i'm 50. sorry, fellas.

i met - or shall i say, reconnected with, a guy in chapters over a month a go. we spent half an hour catching up, exchanged numbers, and some physical contact. [relax, people. it was a hug - okay, maybe two hugs; i don't kiss in bookstores]. we sent a few texts that day and then he disappeared until two days a go when he found me on instagram, liked a few pics, and has called me a few times since. not sure what any of this means, or why he disappeared for a month, but i'll take in stride.

i mean, what else can one do, really? i guess i could consider changing my mind about those 50 year olds, rethink the green card option, or buckle down and send an email to 'chippedteeth' [who ironically smiled with his mouth closed], 'jesusismybestfriend777', or 'bigdaddyfp", all of which i hope don't find my blog lol.

stay tuned for more updates.

Monday, June 27, 2016

it's been said that there are seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining [this stage is more for those who are encountering a breakup, or the loss of a job etc., not the loss of a loved one due to death], guilt, depression, and acceptance.

the thing is, though, that unlike most systematic stages in life, there's no order to this one. in fact, the opposite is true. one minute you can be on stage three, and the next, back at stage one.

there are moments when, even nearly five months later, i find myself picking up the phone to call her; moments where i have a question that only she can answer. but then reality hits; no one is there to pick up the other end. no one but a loud, repetitive, dial tone. denial.

there are other moments where i find myself drenching my pillow with tears as i watch [and re watch] a video my sister sent me of my mom a month before she died, letting me know that she's "fine", followed by a typical, yet heartfelt, "love you. bye".

and there you have it. sadness. deep, deep sadness.

there are times when i feel really angry and get swallowed up by the unanswered 'whats ifs?', the'why me's?", and the unexplainable "why does so and so have two parents at age 65 and i lost both of mine at 36?". real talk. real anger.

thankfully, i had zero guilt/regrets when my mom died, but i attribute that to knowing that she was going to pass away and having time to process what that meant for her, and what that meant for me. something i can't say is true when my dad passed away. of course, it helps that i had all the time in the world to travel back and forth to ottawa to spend time with her throughout her sickness, time that i deeply valued then, and deeply value now.

and then there's the acceptance stage.

to me, accepting something used to be synonomous with being okay with it, but now i have a different perspective on it.

i'm not okay with my mom passing away, or my dad for that matter, but the fact of the matter is, whether i'm okay with it or not, it happened. whether i'm okay with it or not, i'm an orphan. that's right, the writer of this blog is parent-less at age 36.

i'm finally [and i use that work loosely] getting to the point where i am ready to turn my pain into purpose. i've been wracking my brain all week by trying to come up with a memorable tattoo idea in honour of my mom as well as trying to come up with an even more meaningful way of honouring her beautiful life.

on september 10th, my sister and i will be joining thousands of others on a 25km walk to raise money for the princess margaret cancer centre, a place that was very dear to my mom's heart, and a place i feel forever indebted to because of that. want to help us reach our goal? copy and paste the following link in your browser [i can't seem to make it work otherwise]:

until next time, friends.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

i turn into a child when i see an airplane; i get giddy at airports, excited when i board, feel a high when i take off [no pun intended], and a heck of a lot of adrenaline when i land. i was born to soar. literally, and figuratively.

after last week's mental breakdown, i feel like i've been given a second chance at life. i've revisited some goals, made some new ones, and made steps to achieve both. after all, it's been said that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". well, it's time to do things different.

1) a career change.

i left my full-time management role at a catering company downtown toronto when my mom got sick in exchange for a part-time serving gig here in brampton. this not only paid my bills, but opened up my schedule to travel back and forth to ottawa to visit my mom, and enabled me the time i needed [and need] to grieve after she passed away. it's been four months since she died, and even though i am nowhere near being 'okay' without her [is there even such a thing?], i do acknowledge the need to move forward.

and so i job search.

my love for planes, adventure, and hospitality is pushing me in the direction of becoming a flight attendant [something i have been thinking about for a while now], and my passion for youth and the poor is pushing me to continue building my non profit and doing what i can to break down the stigma attached to homelessness by educating youth about such a topic while encouraging them to give back to their communities. i believe that both of these worlds will collide for me as i passionately pursue both avenues.

2) meeting people at the steeple. [rhyming intentional]

i went to church for the first time in a very long time on sunday, and left with a desire to get plugged into one again. i'm not going to lie; part of me is extremely hesitant and cynical, but another part of me misses being connected to others who share the same faith as i do, and belting out hymns with others who believe in what they're singing as much as i do.

and so i church search. [rhyming intentional here, too].

3) a better me: "an unexamined life if not worth living" [socrates]

a healthy mind: to keep my crazy brain occupied, i carry a book everywhere i go. i'm a few chapters away from finishing R.A. dickey's biography "wherever i wind up", which has not only made me be able to relate to the guy and feel less alone in life, but has very easily turned me into a fan of his. you really don't have any idea how powerful your story is until you share yours and/or connect with someone else's story.

a healthy spirit: music hits me so hard. (makes me say 'oh my lord') [some of you are way too young for that song]. but seriously ... music is my voice when i feel like i don't have one. it encourages my brain and fills my soul - and so does the bible - both of which i try and include in my life each and every day.

a healthy body: i got a wee bit off track this past month in this area, and am feeling lethargic as a result, so i went to the store today and bought some veggies to start juicing again [as in making fresh vegetable juice, not taking steroids - enter wink emoticon here], and bought my fave white fish and broccoli for dinner. i also emailed a personal trainer prospect, and plan on biking and swimming more to get my heart a pumping, and my pants a little more loose.

healthy emotions: as you would know from reading last week's blog, my counselor is a great fit, and writing [via this blog, and my journal] provides a good release for me. i also plan on seeing a doctor this week to check out some options ... but i'll save that for a whole other blog. maybe.

until next time, friends.

ps. i decided to give a whirl, but i don't know which category to fit that into. just imagine the stories i'll be able to share with you on this blog! [enter my second and last wink emoticon here].

Friday, June 17, 2016

i sat there
staring out the window pane
tears rolling down my cheek
my silence echoed the pain of great loss
and deep heartache.

and hers, compassion and empathy.
professional or personal, i may never know,
but it spoke none the less.
long enough to let me stay silent,
loud enough to make me feel safe.

"what's the point?", i finally blurted.
words that seem to roll off of my tongue without effort these days.
how much disappointment can one endure?
how much loss can one person take?
and better yet, how do i end this vicious cycle of darkness and pain?

the night before, i only had one answer to that question.
that morning, i only saw one way out.

but now, i see another.
now, i have enough hope to make it through another day.
all because of a counselor
who sat with me in silence,
asked the right questions,
helped me set goals,
gave me a high five,
told me i have it in me to make it through this,
looked me in my tear stained eyes and quoted one of my favourite movies, 'the help':

paula, "you is smart. you is kind. you is important"

and you, dear counselor, saved my life today.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

most things, in excess, are bad.

a glass of red wine can compliment a good steak, but drink too much of it and your liver's at stake.

good food should not be wasted, but too much of it is bad for your waist.

netflix passes time, but too much of it may cause your eyes to 'film' over.

too many puns and ... nevermind, you can't have too many puns ;)

but seriously, moderation is key. especially, i find, when referring to social media.

i just kept scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling. more babies. another engagement. a kick ass promotion. and the list goes on.

normally, in a healthy state, i would celebrate my friend's accomplishments, and milestones, and celebrate them well.

only this time, i wasn't healthy. only this time, i became found myself becoming jealous, and fighting feelings of discontentment.

so i did what anyone with an extreme personality would do, i deactivated my facebook account and shut off from the world.

it wasn't all bad. in fact, it turned out to be really good for me.

good for me in the sense that i refocused my brain, regained my footing, and put my 'thanks-living' suit back on. good for me in the sense that i found my bearings, and feel like myself again.

and good for you because you can now read my blog ;)

moderation, good. excess, bad.

Monday, May 9, 2016

in every season, there are lessons to be learned if we're open to them. for me, grief has been a deeply sorrowful experience, but also a great teacher. below are some of the lessons i'm learning as i walk through it.

1) you can't take your belongings with you.

i sat there staring at my mom's possessions, which were piled neatly into a corner in my sister's spare room. there, all of her belongings sat, dusty and unused. i stared at her shoes as tears rolled down my cheek, i opened boxes to see what was left of her before opening her closet and touching her clothes. god, i miss her, i thought. i miss everything about her.

my A.D.D of a brain then went off on a tangent and i got thinking. obviously we need things; we need clothes, and shoes, and [insert whatever else you need here], but as i was reminded of this past week as i stood over my mom's belongings, you can't take your things with you when you die, so why not live accordingly now?

2) focus on experiences instead.

shortly after i snuck a peak into my mom's closet, i looked down on the ground and saw her silly raptors' hat. she loved hats; crazy, fun, and silly, hats, and this one fell right into that category.

memories started flooding in as i held that magical hat to my chest like baseball players hold theirs during the anthem; it was magical in the sense that it brought me right back to the ACC that night. it was her dream to see the raptors play after all, so my brother and i took her to see a game for her birthday, and she loved it. man, did she love it. but now all that was left was a memory; a painful, yet extremely comforting, memory.

create as many of those as you can, with as many people as you can.

3) as humans, we are constantly changing.

i feel like a different person ever since my mom died.

on a negative side, with both parents now gone, i feel lost and detached from the world, really angry, forgotten [especially yesterday being mother's day], deeply lonely, and misunderstood by my friends. on a positive side, i feel more aware and thankful, less determined to let small things bother me, and more determined to make my life count ... whatever that looks like. grief also has a way of making you re-evaluate your life, and causes you to search your way through the meaning of it. it also changes you. at least, it's changing me.

Monday, May 2, 2016

"i'm not afraid to die, " my mom said to the doctor after he dropped the terminal bomb on her. "i've lived a full life"

i sat there speechless, his words sinking in, but more so hers, as i pondered what a full life meant to her.

i don't know much about my mom's past. she never really spoke of it. but what i do know wouldn't necessarily constitute a full life to most of us.

she was adopted. her brother vanished from her life when i was a kid. she was cheated on, spent 42 days alone in a hospital after my older brother was born [she was in between marriages then], had a lot of financial trouble despite working very, very hard, spent 16 years taking care of my dad as he decreased in health, saw him through surgery after surgery, underwent heart surgery herself, recovered like a champ, and took care of my dad some more. in fact, outside of her 'saggy bottom café' visits each morning as he slept, she never left his side. i mean, never. though she never knew what their marriage would entail when she vowed to take care of my dad 'in sickness and in health', she followed through with her promise, and stood by her commitment to love him until the day that he died.

grief stricken, she got word that she had cancer, underwent surgery and radiation, was pronounced cancer free as a result, and a few months later, sat in a doctor's office and got told that she would succumb to this cruel and vicious disease, and three months later, she did.

and yet, she lived a full life, she said. a full and meaningful life.

her words keep replaying through my head as i sit here and reflect on the last few months of her life, and the past few months without her.

you see, the world is full of victims. people who walk around with a chip on their shoulder, bitterness in their heart, and revenge on their mind.

"i can't believe she did that". "i don't deserve this". "i'm going to make him pay", etc., all the while, we make ourselves pay because we become prisoners of our circumstance.

lord knows i've been there. we all have. but what my mom taught me by the way she lived her life up until her last breath was this: we can't choose our lot in life, but we can choose how we view it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

a big part of healing/taking care of yourself is doing things that bring you life, and making sure that you have things to look forward to, and things to look forward to i do!

next week - road [well, train] trip to ottawa
june: dominican republic with my BFFN
july: see the jays play in arizona
august: see them play in baltimore

and in between? a lot of work, some more blue jays, counselling, healthy eating, and exercise, all of which have been set in place to keep my mind busy and help me heal.

another thing that has been helping me heal this week especially is an attitude gratitude, or as i like to call it, thanks-living.

if you know me, you know that i'm a firm believer that thanksgiving trumps christmas for the best holiday of the year. why? because christmas can be sad for some, and stressful for most, but everybody is thankful on thanksgiving. on that one fall day in october, everybody focuses on the good.

this week, i have decided to be intentional about focussing on the good.

the smell of fresh cut grass and beautiful weather. good coffee. a comfy bed and peaceful home. baseball. my friends and family. love. life. adventure. and the list goes on.

and you know something? it's made the world of a difference.

i think the apostle paul was onto something when he wrote philippians 4:8:

"finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things" [philippians 4:8].

what good and lovely things will you dwell on today?

Monday, April 25, 2016

there's a huge difference between loneliness and solitude.

solitude is defined by those moments where you isolate yourself on purpose because you need some peace and quiet, or sleep, or some time to think and reflect. i, for one, am good at solitude.

i am not, however, good at being alone.

i have this unusually deep desire to connect - really connect - with people, and all of my efforts are put into doing so. the problem is, i find, that most people don't crave the same connection that i do, or at least their actions don't line up with their desire if they do.

people make plans to hang out, and break them, show up with their phone glued to their fingertips, and if they do follow through with their plans and put their phone down, most avoid going any deeper than small talk. "how was your day?" "good. yours?"

does anyone else feel this way?

i sit at home feeling lonely, hoping someone, anyone will text me and ask me how i'm doing [lord knows i do this to so many], or initiate some quality time with me so i'm not sitting at home replaying my mom's death over and over in my head, or desiring to be with her.

i'm really trying here, you guys.

i reach out and initiate contact. i get up every day and go to work. i do what i can to have fun, plow through my bucket list, and keep my brain occupied. i'm seeing a counselor, and the list goes on. but i can't for the life of me shake this lonely feeling, or seem to make my way through this dark and messy thing called grief.

dr gary chapman talks about the ways in which we give and receive love in his book "the five love languages". throughout his book, he claims that the reason why so many relationships fail to work is because we're not speaking the language our spouse/friends/parents need us to speak.

some of us exhaust ourselves trying to show love to our significant others by speaking life into them, when all they really need is a hug. or cooking dinner for them when all they really need is a word of encouragement, or spending hours at the office to provide for them when all they desire is quality time.

for me, words are huge. if sincere, nothing makes me feel more loved than a word of encouragement. a simple "i appreciate you" can keep me going for weeks. secondary to that, quality time is of utmost importance. i believe that if you love someone, you'll want to be with them, and make time for them.

of course, this is how i operate. if i love you, i'll tell you. a lot. i'll send you random texts, write you letters, rearrange my schedule to see you, and spend a few hours on a bus just to have a quick coffee with you without thinking twice about it.

the problem is, these two love languages are the hardest for people to speak [words can be awkward and time is a hot commodity these days], so regretfully, i wrestle with feeling unloved at times. especially now as i mourn the loss of my mom and need it the most.

Monday, April 11, 2016

to say i had a happy birthday is an understatement.

i spent the morning reading through some of your wonderful facebook messages and texts, reflecting on my last 36 years of life [at least what i can remember of it], and dreaming about my future. life has been good to me so far, and judging by this year's bucket list, it looks like 36 will shape up to be that way, too.

special thanks to:

my BFFN for taking me to my fave burger joint for lunch and an upcoming jays' game, for a sweet, and healthy, new cookbook, and more importantly, her company and friendship, which trumps all.

my work friends, who outdid themselves by throwing me a party with the best colour co-ordinated decorations, homemade cupcakes, yummy ice cream cake, flowers, blue jay hats [yes, plural], homemade cards, a thoughtful book full of encouragement letters that i will cherish forever, and much, much more.

my wonderful housemate and friend, sharon, for the devotional and boston spending money [go jays!], and my dear friend stephanie for breakfast, an upcoming jays' game [do you see a theme here?] and especially for having her adorable grade four class call me on speaker phone to collectively wish me a happy birthday. i love and appreciate you a great deal. all of you.

you know, the more i get older, the more realize how important the people you surround yourself with are. society would tell you that living the good life means making a lot of money, owning a huge house with a white picket fence, driving an expensive car, and having a bunch of degrees hanging up in your corner office, yet i have none of these things and feel like one of the richest people in the world.

thanks, everyone. hold your loved ones close today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

i was filling out an easter card for my world vision kids the other day [they sent it to me after easter lol], and one of the questions they asked me was what food i ate the most as a kid. truthfully, i had no idea, and the sad part is, i don't have anyone to ask. as odd as this may sound, this was a defining moment for me. losing my mom meant grieving some of my past.

my sisters and i were together not too long a go when my younger sister said, "i'm so happy that mom was here for my wedding. sorry, robin" [who is getting married again sometime in the future], to which she replied, "that's okay; i'm just glad she met brian and knows that i'm happy".

unbeknownst to them, my heart sank in the backseat of the car as i started to think about the things my mom would miss in my own life. she won't be here to see me flourish, meet the man of my dreams when he shows up, or rock my babies to sleep when i can't due to sheer exhaustion. i no longer have a mom, my future husband won't have a mother-in-law, and my kids, a grandma. losing my mom meant grieving part of my future.

and the present, too.

i wanted to call her for advice the other day, and very quickly realized i couldn't. i want to text her about how excited i am to see my jays play at fenway, but can't. i want her to be able to call and wish me a happy birthday on friday, but she can't ... and the list goes on.

grieving some of my past is hard, grieving my future without her is harder, but grieving her presence in my life today is the hardest.

miss you every single day, mom. xo

Sunday, April 3, 2016

there's an inner conflict that comes with losing someone you love.

on one hand, your life is consumed by a hole; a deep, and painful, un-fillable hole.

but on the other hand, you know that life is a gift, and you have a lot to be thankful for.

some days, the hole consumes you, and others, gratitude does; the key is to learn to live with both.

my birthday is coming up this week, and i just feel ... weird. it's my first one without my mom [and without a parent, period]. how does one celebrate a day without the two who are responsible for bringing you into this world? i mean, i will - obviously - because i have a lot to be thankful for, but i'd be lying if i didn't say that this is one of those times where the hole seems all consuming.

either way, i'm determined to make this my best year yet.

i have a trip to boston planned in a few weeks to see my boys in blue take on the red sox, a trip to ottawa planned in a few weeks, an all inclusive one planned for june, and am in the midst of working on a trip to arizona in july to, you guessed it, watch my jays play in the desert.

i've dedicated this summer to 'healing and fun', before making a potential career change in the fall, but hey, let's just take one day at a time, shall we?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

i did something that i'm not proud of today [something that i'm not comfortable enough to blog about, or even share with anyone at this point], and sadly, doing something i'm not proud of seems to be the norm for me lately.

the truth is, i hate who i've become ever since my mom died.

sure, you can tell me that i have 'every right to feel the way i do' - and you're absolutely right - but the loss that i feel isn't an excuse for me to turn into an angry, negative, monster, complaining about anything and everything, and becoming irritable - really irritable - with the wonderful people i know and love, and even those i don't.

my 'go to' when i feel like this is to disconnect from everyone by turning off my phone and facebook and hide in my room, and THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I FEEL LIKE DOING, but the one ounce of health that's left in my mind today is telling me not to, and to reach out instead.

the thing is, guys, i don't know what to do.

i know how i feel, and how scary my thoughts are at times. i know how much i hate myself and who i've become, but feel ill-equipped to combat it, and believe me when i say this, i want to be able to combat this more than anything.

but how? the last four counselors i went to either weren't equipped to help me or didn't know how to, abandoned me [true story], or accused me [even though that's a poor choice of words] of being a lesbian in my first session and assumed that i had a hard time 'coming out of the closet because of my religion' [in case you, too, were wondering, i am not a lesbian; the reason i haven't been in a serious relationship is because 1) i am petrified of intimacy and abandonment, and 2) i haven't found a good fit].

even still, i'd be willing to try counseling again if i found someone who could actually help me at an affordable price.

and then there's meds. [this is me being vulnerable here]. i've tried a few to conquer my depression and anxiety in the past, both of which have increased since my mom passed away, but those haven't helped, either.

so i sit here feeling lost, and decided to put it out there in hopes that one of you may know what to do since i don't. all i do know is that i don't want to feel like this any longer; i want to feel like myself again, and live my life to its full!

ps. please don't give up on me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

cancer brought my mom and i closer.

we shared amazing memories throughout her six week stint of radiation at princess margaret in toronto. with the exception of a few days a week, i made the trek downtown after work every day to have dinner with my resilient mother. physically, i was drained, but emotionally, i left each night feeling inspired, and thankful.

she fought cancer like a champ, and everyone knew it. she was her shuttle bus driver's craziest passenger, security's biggest source of entertainment, and a light to all those who were fighting the same, dumb disease. it wasn't uncommon for me to show up and find my mom surrounded by every other cancer patient at the lodge and making them laugh. she was a magnet that one; her magnetic personality was impossible not to love, and want to be around.

"this is the lot i have been given", she said to me one day after treatment. "i can bury my head in my knees and give up, or i can fight"

and fight she did.

for six weeks she endured radiation. for six weeks we walked to subway, discovered an incredible breakfast spot a few blocks away, went for coffee, sat outside in a beautiful garden, played crib on a gigantic crib board, and celebrated her completion of treatment by enjoying a nice dinner at the keg with her friends, all of which i cherished deeply.

i felt an odd sadness when my mom had finished radiation because i knew that our time together would come to an end. she headed back to alliston where she lived at the time, and i stayed here in the GTA, car-less.

when she came back for appointments, however, we met at our favourite diner for breakfast and talked about life, and when we couldn't, we'd text, talk on the phone, or skype.

a few months later, once the scans showed no sign of cancer, she moved to ottawa like she had always wanted to, and though i couldn't help but be happy for her, i felt a void in my life knowing she was now five hours away, instead of just a little over one.

but little did i know then, i would be spending more time with her in the next coming months then i had in years.

you see, just over a month later, her cancer came back full force, and a few short months later, it was labelled terminal.

i ended up taking the trek to ottawa every two weeks at that point. the first trip, we made crazy memories at walmart with her scooter and a few funny hats. the next, i stayed with her for a week while my sister and brother in law went on a much needed vacation. she wasn't feeling the greatest then, so we spent a lot of time watching wheel of fortune, family feud, and jeopardy like we did in the good ole days before i had to become an adult, but it was nice, and it was ours; i was happy to be able to spend some alone time with her.

fast forward to a few weeks later when i got the scariest call of my life three days shy of my next planned trip [see previous blogs]. thankfully, the doctors were wrong; my mom ended up making it, and i ended up getting to spend an extra week with her. granted, it was in a hospital room, but we spent time together none the less.

and then again during her last waking moments in february.

would i change her diagnosis and the outcome if i could? in a heartbeat. but if my mom taught me one thing about life by the way she lived hers, it's this: there's always good we can cling to. always. and for me right now, the good just happens to be the fact that this dumb and horrible disease brought my mom and i closer.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

he sat there in the corner with his cane, his lip quivering in attempt to hold back the tears. "i miss her so much", he said over and over as he stared intently at the slideshow that was playing in the background.

only, none of us knew who this man was.

it turns out that he was a patient at the doctor's office that was attached to the coffee shop that my mom spent her mornings in. she was a permanent fixture there, really; she sat at the same stool and drank her usual coffee with the same people day afer day, and took it upon herself to help any incoming patient find their way to the appropriate doctor. "doctor so and so is just upstairs to the right", she'd say. everyone knew her, and everyone loved her.

so you can understand why it wasn't a shock when i walked into a full house yesterday. people flooded the dining room, living room, kitchen and hallways. stories could be heard from every corner, and laughter from every room. at least, my laughter. [insert wink emoticon here].

my aunts and uncles were there, along with my cousins, second cousins and even third. some of our old neighbours showed up, her friends from the coffee shop i just mentioned [the 'saggy bottom café' as she called it], people who knew her and my dad from way back in the day when my dad apparently roller skated [you learn something new every day], her coworkers, my sister's coworkers, our youth pastors and friends, my roommate and her sister-in-law, and my grade four teacher, who didn't just come to remind me how good my spelling was back then, but to let me know how much he enjoyed talking to my mom, who lived on his street, while he was out gardening. she was always one to stop and smell the roses, after all.

i sit here even a day later overwhelmed by everyone's love and support. thanks a million to all of those who came, to those who wanted to but couldn't, and to that unnamed elderly man in the corner, who, not only donated a crisp $20 bill to the cancer society in my mom's name yesterday, but proved to be the perfect reminder that my mom's sphere of influence exceeded far beyond those she held close.

miss you, mom. thanks for setting such a great example of how we all should live our lives: simply, and surrounded by love. xo

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

about a year a go, my friend from the states posted some pretty sweet kicks on facebook, and i 'liked' them. next thing you know, thanks to her kindness, i get a package in the mail and all of a sudden, i had a pair of my own.

true story.

ever since then, i've had this really unnatural desire to run. it's as if these shoes had super power, or something.

ashamedly, even though i thought about going for a run many times since, my very new [and free] shoes did nothing but decorate my closet.

until monday, that is.

i don't know what it was about monday, really. maybe it's because i'm getting sick of looking at my disgusting stomach in the mirror every morning, or maybe, just maybe, it's because i need an outlet for all of this anger i feel ever since my mom passed away, but i laced those babies up and took them to the streets.

my already huge block seemed even bigger, and i huffed and i puffed enough to bring the first little pig's house down [and maybe even the second], but i felt like a champ after i got past the all consuming pukey feeling. and i felt like a champ this morning, too, when i faced the wind and rain and did it all over again.

funny how our fears can stop us from doing something we know to be beneficial.

kind of like how i feel when it comes to my mom's celebration of life this weekend. i feel paralyzed at the thought of showing up, but i have to.

sigh. maybe i'll wear my 'new' shoes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

i dropped by work the other day to pick up my check, and walked out with the realization that life goes on.

everything was normal at work; the same people were in the kitchen, the same server was working her normal lunch shift, the owners were having a meeting in the booth they always do, and so on. only my life was different. i was different.

it's been a crazy two weeks since my mom passed away. i've had a lot of thankful moments [blog coming soon], and even more excruciatingly painful ones. some days i feel numb, and other days, raw, but quite frankly, i'm not sure that the loss of my dear mother has really hit home yet.

one thing i am sure of, however, is what my role is in this whole grieving process, and what you can do to help.

let's start with the don'ts [hopefully this helps you help other people grieve also]:

don't say "call me if you need anything". while the person who is grieving may pick up the phone once in a while, this is highly unlikely. the one in pain shouldn't be in charge of reaching out. pick up the phone. if they want to talk, they'll answer, and if they don't, they know you care.

don't expect a response right away [or sometimes, ever]. i'm weird in the sense that i will [eventually] reply to every single message i receive, but not everyone is like me, and not everyone can. either way, the person you send texts/emails/mail to reads all of them, and appreciates your sentiment. being thought about is most helpful.

don't say things like "God must have wanted another angel" or "she is with Jesus in heaven now". while the latter may be true, and comforting at times, the person grieving knows this, and would rather their mother/husband/child be with them now. selfishly, eternity [or whatever] can wait. it's eternity.

and lastly, don't forget about them after the funeral. grief is a process, and this is when they'll need you the most.

the dos:

let the wounded lead. my BFFN was the perfect person to greet me at the airport when i got home. she hugged me, asked me how i was in that moment, and then asked me what i felt like doing. in that moment, i felt like being normal. we went out for lunch and caught up on life, hung out with her dog, watched suits [staring at Harvey spector brings me healing], and then when i needed to, i processed what happened the morning before and cried, and she listened. she didn't assume how i was feeling and act accordingly; she asked me how i was feeling, and let me lead.

enter into their pain. we tend to distance ourselves from our loved one's pain because we feel uncomfortable, and/or avoid the elephant in the room because we feel awkward. but here's the thing [and i have to remind myself of this when the tables are turned] - we're called to "rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn" [romans 12:15], and grieving isn't about you.

and lastly, be practical, and show up.

my friends have been great. i've had cards mailed to my house, received countless hugs, flowers sent to me, meals cooked for me, money collected, and the list goes on, all of which have helped me a great deal and have kept me going during moments i didn't think i could, or had no desire to.

in times like these, my mind often goes back to the story of job. this dude knew pain. he had everything [ten kids, thousands of animals, a ton of servants, and good health], and lost everything just like that.

"when job’s three friends, eliphaz the temanite, bildad the shuhite and zophar the naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. when they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. no one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was" [job 2:11-13]

but then, in chapters four, eight and eleven, job's friends open their mouths, and, in an attempt to find a solution to his pain, start blaming him and his sin for his loss [which, as you'll notice from reading chapter one, isn't the case at all].

take it from their example, don't try and figure life [or death] out, make excuses as to why something is happening to one of your friends, or feel the need to come up with a solution. though job's friend's fell into that trap the second time, they had it right the first; they showed up, felt his pain, and sat with him in it.

now if you'll excuse me, i have some letters to write. some of my friends are going through the thick of it and could use a little encouragement themselves. [i practice what i preach].

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

i have a hard time going to church these days, and i'm going to tell you why.

1) 'picture' perfect lights.

we tend to spend more money on bright lights [and skinny jeans], and more time instagramming [very intimate] moments of others worshipping or praying with one another instead of 'entering in' [how's that for church lingo?].

2) and more importantly, it has become too 'me' focussed, and as a result, has started to produce quite the selfish culture.

sadly, i find church culture to be all about the consumer these days [what we did or didn't like about the service, how much it fed our feelings and emotions, how good it made us feel etc], and less about Christ and the people around us [inside and outside of the church].

"i didn't like the songs we sang today".

"i didn't get anything out of it"

"i didn't like how ..."

and the list goes on.

and i find the messages reflect this, too.

i wont list the sermons i have been listening to lately, because my point here isn't to bash specific churches [or pastors], but to shed light on a few things that i believe need to be addressed. [surely i can't be the only one thinking this].

almost every sermon i have heard lately has to do with ... me and my comfort level. [see a pattern here?]

"you are loved" [which is true].

"you are victorious" [also true].

"your past is your past, who cares about the choices you've made, keep moving forward" etc. [also true to an extent].

"God will bring you through" [you guessed it - true]

and the list goes on.

but here's the thing.

following [and imitating] jesus requires us to 'take up our cross' [more church lingo], and faith and love require action.

being a christian [which essentially means christ follower] should be uncomfortable.

uncomfortable in the sense that we are constantly reflecting on the crap in our lives, and adjusting accordingly. it's easy [and comfortable] to acknowledge God as our strength, comfort, healer, hope, and whatever other attributes benefit us, but not so comfortable to acknowledge him as our potter, and allow him to mould us, and change us into his image.

uncomfortable in the sense that we are putting others before ourselves [without compromising self-care or boundaries], like philippians 2:3-4 refers to ever so bluntly.

and uncomfortable in the sense that love requires action and sacrifice, which jesus so happened to model perfectly when he humbled himself and hung on the cross.

going through what i'm going through now with my mom has sent me into a deep time of reflection, and with that comes me reflecting on my faith and church, which in turn has me meditating on certain scriptures, such as the one below:

"what good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? can such faith save them? suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. if one of you says to them, “go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? in the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" [james 2:14-17]

when all is said and done, there is a time to pray for someone and 'wish them well', and a time to show up and put your faith and love into action.

disclaimer: i don't sit here and write this from a pedestal; i'm the first to admit that i, too, can choose comfort over discomfort and act selfishly at times [in fact, i can actually recount a few specific times where i acted in a selfish manner this week alone]; my point is this: that we [and that includes me] as believers can do better. i may not like where the church is heading, but i believe in it with all of my heart.