Saturday, December 31, 2005

I asked for silver and You gave me gold

Every December 31 I find myself flipping through my journal entries of the past year and evaluating the year gone by. How do I sum up 2005 based on what I’ve read in my journal? So much has changed this year. It was a year of calling out to God for so much and Him providing me with more than I could ever imagine. It was a year of discovering who I really am and seeing glimpses of who He wants me to be. It was a year of surrendering. It was a year of great excitement and anticipation. A year of miracles, a year of wonder and awe.

Artistically, I saw my prayers being answered over and over in unexpected ways. I was able to get a glimpse of how He will continue to use my singing to glorify Him. The tremendous responsibility of being a steward of this gift has really hit me and at times has been extremely overwhelming. I find myself feeling more and more ill equipped to carry the responsibility yet at the same time more fulfilled as I hand it all over to the Holy Spirit to do His work through and in me. This year started off with a real answer to prayer. My desire to see a community Christian artists collaborate was fulfilled with the beginning of Celebration of the Arts. God has blessed so many artists with incredible gifts all of which have inspired me creatively and spiritually. I can’t wait to see how He will continue to use this ministry to glorify Him. Another artistic highlight were the June performances of the Magic Flute, Cosi Fan Tutte, and Carmen. No doubt conquering the role of the Queen of the Night was a huge accomplishment (Despina and Frasquita had their perks too.) More importantly I was able to form relationships with the rest of the cast. As a result the unique bond that artists share became so apparent to me. It is so easy for me to connect with other singers, there's almost an instant trust and understanding of one another. As a result I found it easy to have conversations about my faith and Christianity with my fellow cast members. The words of Dr. Kavanaugh, director of the Christian Performing Artist Fellowship, kept ringing in my head during the rehearsal and performance process “you are an artistic missionary, you speak the language of your fellow artists and you understand the culture therefore you must treat every opportunity to work with other artists as an opportunity to share the gospel.” Being an artistic missionary, that is definitely a calling that is making more sense lately.

Ministry wise, this year has been unbelievable. God has seriously challenged me to stretch myself into uncomfortable territories. As a result I have experienced so much growth and so much change. He has truly shown me and continues to show me that there really is nothing more fulfilling than serving Him. Never did I imagine myself serving in these ways. I look at how much He has taught me about myself and others, and more so how He has revealed Himself over and over as I've served. I have seen His beauty and His majesty in the faces of others, I have heard Him speak directly to me through my brothers and sisters, I have been encouraged by their words and their work, I have been humbled by His ability to move and work despite any of my efforts. My church family has truly become just that - a family – I am so blessed to be able to call RAC home.

My immediate family experienced the miracle of new life this year. The highlight of my year was without a doubt the birth of Julia. Our family has been changed. And as a result the love I feel for each member of my family has been magnified. There’s something incredible about witnessing the beauty and wonder of His creation together as a family. Julia is indeed a precious gift from God. Alleluia!

I think the biggest internal change for me this year was finally listening to and acting upon God's prompting to make myself completely vulnerable in everyway. Of course that vulnerability had a lot to do with learning to trust and fully rely on Him. I'm still struggling and growing in that area but He has blessed me in so many ways as I’ve taken baby steps and opened myself up. I have formed some incredible new relationships in a short time frame and my old relationships have been strengthened and renewed as a result.

At the end of it all when I look in the mirror today I see a very different woman from who I was only a year ago. I look at myself and honestly don't recognize who I am. Who is that woman? All I know is that I am a woman who is being changed by the love of Christ. A woman who is being refined, a woman who is learning how to surrender everything to Him.

I don’t know what 2006 will bring. There are many opportunities that lie ahead and there are several hurdles to conquer. After reflecting on 2005 what I really see is His grace completely covering me. Having experienced His unending grace time and time again, I know by faith that whatever He has in store for 2006 will without a doubt reveal even more of His power and His glory. He will continue to confirm why the only real satisfaction in life comes from worshipping and trusting Him with all of my heart. I wonder what kind of a woman I will see standing before me in the mirror on Dec 31, 2006.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'll start with you

The Canadian Tire Guy is without a doubt gifted in the art of selling useless products. I’ve finally succumbed to his superior sales technique and I have to say that I now officially trust the Canadian Tire Guy. What a great guy! He's so honest and intelligent and so manly with that clean cut beard and those grandpa glasses . . . . Gotta love him!
The other day as my Dad was watching the hockey game I happened to be walking by the tv as a Canadian Tire commercial came on featuring the Canadian Tire Guy. I had to stop and watch because Canadian Tire Guy, dressed in his usual plaid flannel shirt and neatly pressed khaki's, was passionately sharing with all of Canada the greatness of the new Canadian tire reflex windshield wiper blades. He gave a neat little demonstration of how they work explaining that: "the revolutionary reflex design leads to continuous even pressure of the blade to the shield leading to a superior wipe in all weather conditions" and " the hingeless design virtually eliminates ice and snow build up", and of course one can’t forget how "the low profile technology leads to superior aerodynamics virtually eliminating windlift." I told my Dad how “great” I thought they were and joked how truly that was all I really wanted for Christmas. My Dad laughed and told me that they are no different from the wipers that I already had on my car. So I went on my merry way back to my diva life.

Funny thing should happen though, as I was at the piano rehearsing that night I couldn't seem to stop thinking about those "special" Canadian tire wipers and how badly I needed them. My thoughts transitioned from: 'How great would it be to always have reliable wipers? Wipers that held up and stuck to my windshield in the horrible ice and wind and snow.' to "my current wipers are worn out, maybe it's time for a new pair' to 'How dare my old smelly wipers cause me such trauma! I need wipers with a "superior" wipe'. I envisioned myself driving with a sparkling clean windshield, and not having to worry about the ice tearing the rubber, etc. I fell asleep that night with visions of hingeless windshield wipers dancing in my head.

The harsh reality came the next morning when I had to face the sad truth - a diva would never dare step foot into a Canadian tire store, there's just not enough sparkle and far too much testosterone to bear :) And that nauseating rubbery Canadian Tire smell is just so not healthy to be breathing in for any extended period of time - too much strain for my fragile soprano vocal chords :) So I convinced myself that my life would go on if I didn't have the Canadian tire reflex windshield wiper blades.

But on Christmas day what should I find sticking out of my stocking? Yes indeed, two Canadian Tire reflex wiper blades. "AAAAAAAA!!" I could hear the sound of the Canadian Tire angels singing. And seriously, the Canadian Tire Guy really knows what he's talking about. They work!!(they could use a bit of red sparkle paint, but what’s a diva to do, as long as there are men in flannel shirts and khaki dockers designing these things I’ll have to settle for blah black.) I can finally see out of my windshield without the horrid smears though. The superior aerodynamics do eliminate wind lift, and the hingeless design does eliminate the snow and ice. I finally own the blades with a "superior wipe." Yaaaay!

Thank you Daddy for believing the Canadian Tire Guy too. I love my new reflex wiper blades!! Ooooo, you know what else Canadian Tire Guy says is great? The Motomaster Hot Wash. No more scrapping the ice off the windshield and freezing my dainty diva fingers in the -30 cold. Just spray the windshield with some heated up washer fluid and go. Hmmmmmm, I might just be willing to expose my "fragile" soprano vocal chords to that nauseating rubber Canadian tire smell for something like that.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

He shall speak peace

"He is the righteous Saviour and He shall speak peace unto the heathen." - from 'Rejoice Greatly'- Handel's Messiah.

He has spoken peace into my life but How do I express the kind of peace that comes from knowing the Righteous Saviour, Jesus Christ?
My artistic mission for this week - to communicate the assurance and salvation that Jesus Christ provides using only the word 'peace'. How do I give my testimony in such few words? How do I express what knowing Jesus Christ means in my eyes, in my face, in my posture, in my voice.

What is peace?

stillness, tranquility, assurance, inner silence, lifted burdens, calmness, knowledge of the truth, heaven, freedom, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, mystery, tranquility

Times that affirmed the peace of Christ in my life:

1. When I first became a born again Christian. I remember sitting in the kitchen the next morning, eating my breakfast and being so overcome by an incredible sense of peace. Like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I remember the tears just pouring - tears of relief, of thanksgiving of awe and wonder. The only word I could use to describe what I was feeling was peace.

2. The morning of Tutty's funeral when Jen, Achilles and I were walking up to the church ready to face the extreme difficulty of the day. I envisioned myself grasping tightly to the robe of Jesus and when I did He picked me up and carried me in His arms allowing me to do nothing but grieve. Knowing that I was in His arms brought an enourmous peace.

3. While at Masterworks 2004, the night I spent on my knees in my room praying, calling out to Him and soaking up His word - a sudden stillness overwhelmed me. I remember it lasting for a very long time. I could do nothing but dwell completely in His presence. The silence was beautiful, it was a warm silence. An assuring silence. His presence was so apparent. As though His hands were on my shoulders. He affirmed His unending faithfulness in my life that night. And the worship song "Faithful one" gained new meaning for me.

"you're my rock of peace." That's what Christ is, a rock of peace. A hard, solid rock of tranquility. One that can't be destroyed. The assurance of salvation that Christ provides is the only kind of peace that will never go away. Other kinds of peace are temporary. The peace He offers is unending, an eternal peace. Even when my life seems like it's falling apart there is always that rock of peace to cling to.

How beautiful is the peace that Jesus Christ has spoken and will continue speak unto the heathen.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


"Rejoice Greatly Oh daughters of Zion, Shout oh daughters of Jerusalem! Behold thy king cometh unto thee." from Handel's Messiah based on Zechariah 9:9-10

Rejoice =
To feel joyful; be delighted; To fill with joy; gladden.
v 1: feel happiness or joy 2: to express great joy; [syn:
exult, triumph, jubilate] 3: be ecstatic with joy.

To me, rejoicing is a direct response to the awesomeness of God. It is a word that automatically indicates an ecstatic overwhelming response to His majesty. A response as a result of witnessing a miracle or receiving a gift from Him. A word divine word.

What does rejoicing look like?
Leaping, dancing, skipping, running, spinning. Quick movements interspersed with long drawn out pauses. Arms wide open receiving, worshipping. Huge smiles, Eyes wide open looking to the heavens. Eyes closed looking to the heavens. Tears of joy. Jumping for joy. Beaming faces. Looks of amazement and wonder. running through the fields.

What does rejoicing sound like?
Ecstatic laughter. Giggles. Singing. Music. Silence. Joyful Shouts. Higher pitched tones. Sighs of amazement. Angels singing. Operatic "Ahhhhhhh!!". Bells ringing. Crowds cheering. quick trills. long handel-esque melismatic runs. (hence runs on rejoice)
"Alleluia!" "Praise God!"

What does rejoicing feel like?
Like your going to explode. Like if you don't respond physically in someway you'll be overcome by the excitement. Like an incredible release. Like all burdens are lifted off your shoulders. Like you could walk on air.

My recent moments of "rejoicing greatly":
-The day I heard the news that Jen was pregnant. I rejoiced in the new life that was to come. I rejoiced in the work that God was doing in this new little person. I rejoiced in the miracle of a new creation. I rejoiced for what was to come.
- The day Julia was born. After nine months of anticipation I rejoiced that she was finally here, that she was healthy. I rejoiced in the miracle of His creation and the beauty of new life. I was ecstatic, relieved, excited. There was a lot of skipping, a lot of singing, no sleep, a little dancing, laughing, worshipping, reflecting on His majesty. Daddy was singing and dancing a lot. Motc immediately cried tears of joy. Mommy babbled with excitement.
- The day I witnessed my friend receive Christ into her heart. My automatic reaction was that of joy and praise. I experienced tears of gladness. I automatically sang and worshipped, I raised my hands in exultation. A time of complete and utter awe. There was a desire to share the news with the world, I couldn't keep it to myself. I wanted to shout from the roof tops "My God is an awesome God." I was overwhelmed with joy, I was like an overflowing pot of boiling water.

"Behold Thy king Cometh unto Thee"
How could I not rejoice in the King that reigns in my heart? How could I not rejoice in the salvation that He ensures? He is here He is present. God is in my life working, moving, revealing Himself. His majesty and His awesomeness can do nothing but invoke a response of rejoicing. I have no reason not to be constantly rejoicing.

To rejoice greatly; be jubilant or triumphant.
v 1: feel extreme happiness or elation [syn:
walk on air , be on cloud nine, jump for joy] 2: to express great joy

To be victorious or successful; win.
To rejoice over a success or victory; exult.
To receive honors upon return from a victory in ancient Rome. Used of a general.
The fact of being victorious; victory or conquest.
A noteworthy or spectacular success.
Exultation or rejoicing over victory or success.

v 1: celebrate a jubilee 2: to express great joy

conclusion: rejoicing is an act of worship and adoration.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Hardly ever does God go, “Do you want that? Why didn’t you ask sooner? Have it right now.” More often God is like, “You might think you want it now, but I’m going to give it to you when you’re ready to receive it. I’m going to use the process of waiting and trusting to make you into the woman that I want you to be. I want you to wait.” - Dr.James MacDonald

What an absolute fool I have been. My entire life is being spent trying to convince God that I am "ready to receive it" now. Who am I kidding? Clearly He wants me to wait. It's time to stop fighting the process by running around in circles, doing things that aren't ever going to make a difference. It's time to sit, to be silent, to do nothing. It's time to allow Him to do His work. It's time to trust that my God is taking care of everything, preparing me to be the woman He wants me to be while I wait patiently.

Friday, December 16, 2005

lessons in letting go

There's something freeing about having a one sided game of catch with God
I toss it to Him,
He catches it,
He keeps it,
He does with it what He will,
Game Over.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lessons from Auntie "Diva"

(Julia's first gown)
Never ever pass up the opportunity to wear a gown.
Gown wearing is without a doubt one of the most exciting thrills of being a diva!!
5 diva tips on how to pull off the art of gown wearing:
1. Never look too excited when wearing a gown, eventhough of course you're dying inside because of all the crinoline, satin and sparkly. Don't let on though, Play it cool! (see above photo)
2. Make it look as though your gown is the most comfortable outfit you own and that wearing a gown is an everyday occurance for you. (see above photo)
3. A true diva can never go wrong with the colour red. (see above photo)
4. A little bit of faux fur can never hurt a look. A little something sparkly is nice too,
however if you have that natural diva sparkle in your eyes, the extra sparkly is not necessary.
(see above photo)
5. Always choose a gown that says, "I've got flare, so there!" (see above photo)

Martin Luther's Definition of faith

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace.
- Martin Luther

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Boots For A "Real" Woman

So, I've been challenged by one said Tenor from Texas to stop being so "darn serious" in my blogs and blog a bit of "the hilarity of my diva life." I hate to disappoint you mon petit "Romeo", but I live a "complex", "dramatic", "deep", "intellectual" life . . . . . . Aaaa! who am I kidding I've got a bit of " hilarity" happening too.
Dan, I dedicate this to you,
for all the moments of "hilarity" that you’ve blessed me with over the past year.
Diva kisses. mmmmmmwa!

My New Boots
(a true story by a "real" woman)

So a couple of weeks ago I decided to go boot shopping. I needed a new pair of winter boots this year as my old ones are rather worn. (not to mention that they so aren't working with my fertility clinic "professional" attire.)

Now, I've been blessed with what I like to refer to as tree trunk calves. My calves are . . . well to put it bluntly, large. Over time I've learned to love and accept the thickness of my "inverted bowling pin" legs. The way I see it is that they are part of my instrument, divas need all the support we can get to hit those ultra high notes. And look at trees, they've got the large trunks for support, but they also are radiant with delicate limbs and graceful beauty on the top. I'm willing to compromise :)
That being said, boot shopping has never been fun for me. I remember so many winters of disappointment after numerous attempts of zipping up and failing to squeeze my calves into those stylish winter boots clearly not designed for the "real" woman. I've always had to settle for short boots designed for grandma "cankle".
Seeing that it's 2005 I was thinking that perhaps the boot people have caught up with the rest of the fashion world. Maybe they had finally heard the voice of the "real" woman and responded by making boots for sausage calves. So I decided that the only way to save time and energy was to go into the stores, confess that I have large calves and bluntly ask the sales people if they have any long boots designed for the "real" woman.
My first stop was a trendy little shoe store called Transit. I walked in and had a look around, looking only at the pairs of boots that looked like they'd fit my "trunks". Not too soon after, a pushy shoe sales guy stood next to me and with his "shoe salesman" smile and started to put on the "I need you to buy shoes from me cause I gotta meet my quota" charm. I looked at him and immediately began the "real" woman rant: " don't they make boots for real women?" "Why?" "Not all women have legs that can snap in half like twigs you know!!"
The guy looked at me, smiled and tried the "hit on the sad, insecure girl with big calves to make her feel better" shoe sales technique. (It's amazing what those shoe people will do for a sale.)
So Shoe guy said in the most sincere way he could muster, "Oh you're beautiful. Look at you. You don't have big calves. No way." In my head I was thinking, 'oh puh-lease, You haven't even seen the meatiness of my calves yet. Enough with the charm. Just find me some wide legged boots so that we can both get on with our days.'
He started showing me boots that according to him would "definitely" fit. Being me, not having the heart to burst shoe guy's bubble, I smiled back, laughed and told him to bring out the boots to try on. (Of course I told him to bring out size 9 instead of my usual size 7, strategically thinking that surely the upper part of the boot will be larger too, just like the foot part.)
Before he went to the back to get the boots, he stopped suddenly, looked at me and asked, and I quote: " hey yo, what's up with that thingy on your necklace, what's it mean?." I explained to him that it's a Jesus fish, a symbol of Christianity, that I am a Christian. "cool", he said. And waltzed to the back.
Lately evangelism has been at the forefront of my mind, so as I was sitting on the bench waiting for shoe guy to come back with the boots, I found myself thinking, 'perhaps this is a divine moment. What if he asks more about my fish, my Jesus, my church? Maybe this was an opportunity for some real dialogue.' So I prepared myself to share the good news of the gospel.
The now "seeking" shoe guy came back with a pair of black leather long boots. "Here try these first.” he said. I looked at the boots and I knew that there was no way the boots were going to fit my calves. I said, "no, they're not gonna fit." "oh try them!", he replied. So for the sake of evangelism I put them on, and started zipping. I was expecting the zipper to stop moving as soon as it got to my lower calf. Well let me tell you, not only did it stop moving, but it got stuck. I attempted with some force to unzip the boot and yes, the zipper ended up splitting. And "seeking" shoe guy was standing there watching this all unfold.

So the boot was still on my foot. Stuck above my ankle and I couldn't get it off. I was sitting on the bench yanking away. Having thoughts like 'oh no, they're going to have to get a chain saw to cut me out of the boot.' Being the gentlemanly type that he was, "seeking" shoe guy started to help me by trying to pull the boot off my foot. What a moment.

This guy was determined to get the boot off. He pulled so hard but the boot wouldn't budge. I, on the other hand, began to slide off the bench as he tugged with all his might. So there I was, in the middle of the trendy shoe store with a broken boot stuck on my foot. By this time laughing my pants off cause, of course I realized the "hilarity" of the moment? All the poor "seeking" shoe guy could do was stand there not knowing what to do or say. It was the Cinderella moment I had always dreamed of!!
When we did get the boot off, I quickly got up, apologized over and over for breaking the boot, thanked "seeking" shoe guy for his help, And went on my way leaving him there trying to fix the zipper for spaghetti legs, who will one day buy those boots never knowing that rigatoni legs broke the zipper at one point in time.
So my quest for long boots ended rather abruptly that day. I decided that it wasn't worth the humiliation. I did find a pair of hush puppies last week though. Guess what? The Hush puppies shoe company has heard the voice of the "real" woman and now make boots for sausage calves like mine. Yaaaaay hush puppies!!!!!

It's too bad that I didn't get to share the gospel with "seeking" shoe guy. Maybe the Lord will restore my dignity and prompt me to go back and buy a pair of shoes from him someday. In the mean time, I'll pray that a twig legged evangelist shows up at transit to buy one said pair of lovely long black leather boots with a repaired zipper.

Monday, December 05, 2005


The wearing down or washing away of the soil and land surface by action of water, wind or ice.
It takes so long for something to become this beautiful.
be the water, wind and ice in my life. Do what you have to do, use what you have to use to wash away the soil and surface dirt from my life. Make me into a beautiful creation marked by the glorious and intricate wounds and scars of erosion.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Do I trust Him?

Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

trust =
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
3. Something committed into the care of another; custody, care.
4. The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one.
5. One in which confidence is placed.
6. Reliance on something in the future; hope.
7. Reliance on the intention and ability of a purchaser to pay in the future.