Complaining seems to be as much a virus as Covid-19 and, although not fatal, can be debilitating. I know I am just as guilty of complaining from time to time as the next one, but experience has taught me that it is not good for my mental health and, since my mental health impacts my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, not good overall. And who likes to sit and listen to somebody who is given to whining and complaining? Not many people. As the saying goes, ‘misery loves company but company does not love misery’. Ain’t that the truth? It is so easy to get trapped into a cycle that can quickly become a downward spiral into depression. At least that’s been my experience.

 I have been making a concerted effort to pay close attention to my thoughts and to guard against negative thinking. It’s not easy at times such as these when there are so many unanswered questions concerning the corona virus and its impact on life as we’ve known it. Yet, life itself is so fragile. Not one of us have a guarantee we will be here tomorrow. There is so much we have taken for granted in the western world. ‘First world problems’ is a phrase I often see bandied about. Such things as not being able to visit the hairdresser or go to a concert or out to dinner.

Perhaps this virus will help us learn more about ourselves, about our values, about what is truly important to us. Perhaps it will help us learn that social connection is much more important than we’d previously realized and treasure time with loved ones and friends much more deeply. Perhaps we will learn that care of our health and the health of others is more important than that trip to the hairdresser or to see a movie. Perhaps we will learn that life, all life should be valued, including that of the planet itself. Perhaps it will help us turn over a new leaf, to realize we are not the be all and end all of the universe. Perhaps we will become less self-centered and less selfish. Perhaps it will make us all better people, more caring, giving, and loving. Perhaps this is a golden opportunity for self growth and growth of society at large. Perhaps …..

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” – Ronald Reagan

“A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it. – Frederick Douglass

For Brittany

I never really knew you well

But I remember the young girl

With the bright, wide smile

Speaking poetry with a put-on accent

That made us grin and giggle

You were a delight and a total ham

Drinking up the accolades with relish

No false humility there!

It has been many years since we met

Yet, that one meeting had an effect

And you are remembered fondly

I know you now through stories told

By those who know you much better than I

Of your struggles and your pain

And of how you’ve soldiered on

Through it all

May you marshal your courage once again

To meet this new and foreign terror

That has swept the lands

And invaded your every cell

I think of you as you were then

And pray that young girl that lives within you

Gives you strength to beat this thing

Be well, young friend, be well


Over the past weekend we learned that a young woman who has struggled with type 1 diabetes, kidney failure, and other health issues has been diagnosed with Covid-19. She has been through a lot in her young life and if you will, I invite you to join me in praying for this courageous young woman for her recovery and for good health. May God bless Brittany.

Things we take for granted, like clean water

I haven’t been writing much. This past week or so has been grueling with almost daily trips out of town, or returning home. The drive is very pretty but having to do it so often really is tiring. It takes us approximately three and a half hours each way. But I have good news, that situation has finally been resolved and we will not have to travel for dialysis any more. Our local hospital has been able to truck in clean water (we are still under a boil water order that will last into September).

I’ve been hearing a lot of grousing about the boil water order. Yes, it’s a bit of an annoyance. The water is fine for showering, laundry, washing dishes etc. but brushing your teeth, cleaning fruits and vegetables, cooking, etc. etc. must be done with water that has first been boiled. It’s an inconvenience and I totally understand the complaints, but really, it’s not such a big deal. After all, we have running water. We don’t have to carry water in jugs or pails like many do in developing nations. I guess it’s all in your perspective. And, let’s face it, we are pretty spoiled and have become complacent about these things we take for granted, such as clean water from the tap, electricity, natural gas, and all the like that make our lives so much easier. In the midst of a pandemic I’d say it’s the least of our worries.

First fires then a pandemic and now floods. Please tell me this is it

Its been a rough few days. It’s only Thursday but it feels like forever since the Athabasca river overflowed and came inland. On Monday the ice jam was 25km long, it is now 13km long. That’s a lot of ice! But it is dissolving slowly and the waters are receding, so that’s good news. The bad news is that many people who had finally moved into newly rebuilt homes that they lost to the fires have lost them again to the flood. It puts things into perspective. Hubby and I have been inconvenienced. We have to make the three hour drive out of town for his dialysis, but we still have a home. Unfortunately this situation may last another week. Yet we are able to rent a motel room in this lovely little community of Lac La Biche and it’s a very comfortable room. My brother continues to wait for news concerning his house and whether or not it sustained damage. The whole downtown core was flooded out. Around 13 thousand people had to be evacuate. My daughter and her boyfriend were also among them. And the adventures continue.

The biggest challenge has been maintaining social distancing and isolation. My brother and sister in law had to go stay with a granddaughter, whom they had not spent time with since the lockdown. I imagine there are many in similar situations.

And so I am asking for prayers for our city as we continue to cope with these often overwhelming challenges.

More trials and tribulations for Fort Mac

Every year in Fort McMurray the ice breaks on the rivers that criss-cross the city. Most years it’s not a problem. Unfortunately this year it’s a problem – a big problem. The Mayor has asked the federal government to send in the military to help. Scenes of flooded streets and news of mandatory evacuations have filled my social media feeds. We live in an area of town that is not affected by this newest dilemma. Unfortunately my daughter as well as my brother and his family live downtown where the flooding is bad. Certain low-lying areas have already been evacuated. My family members have bags packed in preparation, just to be on the safe side. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but there is a distinct possibility. Pictures my daughter sent me show water encroaching on her street. It’s a worry. We cannot get to her as the highway that leads downtown has been temporarily closed to traffic.

I had been wondering about this. As spring gets underway so too does the annual natural disaster season. Tornadoes in the south, and flooding everywhere on the continent are not unusual fare at this time of year. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough of a challenge in and of itself! Below is a video of the flooding, it really is amazing what water can do.

There are five rivers that flow through the city. They are the Athabasca, Clearwater, Horse, Christina, and Hangingstone Rivers. There is also a waterway called The Syne which is used for float plane take offs and landings amongst other things.

The city has been facing the challenges of the pandemic as well as being hit hard by the downturn in the oil industry, which has hit the town hard economically. And now this. So, I ask for prayers and positive thoughts for this city I call home.

Faith, Belief, and Memories of past adversity

One year ago, today, my husband was sent home from the hospital in the city. He’d had a gall bladder attack and landed in hospital on the 9th of February and after spending almost month there, doctors elected to send him to the city where there was better diagnostic equipment. But, after several weeks and a consultation with the cardiac team, it was decided he was at too big of a risk for surgery and he was sent back home. He’d been air lifted to hospital but we had to find our own way home. Thankfully a friend of ours was able to come pick us up and drive us home. It was a brutal trip. My husband endured it but was in pain the entire journey.

Less than two weeks later it happened again – another gall bladder attack. Once again, he was air lifted to the hospital in Edmonton. This time there was no choice in the matter, that gall bladder had to be removed. I remember sitting with two friends I’d made during his previous stay as I waited through his surgery to learn what the outcome would be. And praying, praying, praying. Needless to say, he survived the surgery. But the lessons I learned about faith in the midst of adversity have stayed with me.

Now, I have written about our experiences before, but as I sit here, I remember the fight to have him return home by plane or at least by ambulance where he could lay flat instead of enduring the long four-hour drive sitting up in a car. He’d just had surgery and was in no condition for that. Every day was stress filled as our local hospital insisted he be released because they didn’t have a bed for him. Back and forth it went with me being adamant that he could not face the long drive in an upright position; that he was still not well enough to come home. In the end he was air lifted back home and readmitted to our local hospital. He would spend a further few weeks there before finally being discharged.

Today we have the shadow of this corona virus hanging over all of us. But my experiences with my husband last year have strengthened my faith and my trust in a loving Creator who answered every prayer last year and during every day since. Yes, I’d had to fight for him, for us. Yes, it was hard. But it is during times of seemingly hopeless situations that hope is renewed, faith is renewed, trust is given. During those days last year, I spent many a sleepless night, often in prayer. Often a “peace beyond all understanding” settled over me. And so I write this, as much to remind myself as it is to share with you the lessons I learned: “God is not dead, nor does he sleep,” are part of the lyrics to the Christmas Carol, I heard the bells on Christmas Day, and these words came to me again and again as I faced the possibility that my husband might die. I also learned to “let go and let God”. I learned the value of prayer that keeps us going and sustains us, even in seemingly dire situations. And so, my friends, take heart. We are not alone. The Creator knows our every need, our every want and desire and sees the big, wide picture, while we see only a small part of it. I don’t know why this is happening. I don’t know why so many are sick or why so many are dying. But I will keep faith in the God who helped us through our situation last year, and who continues to sustain us today.

Stay well. Follow the regulations. Stay home and please, stay safe! As for me, I will continue to pray for you, for me, and for all peoples of our world.

Just checking in….do you have any scintillating news to share? I do not!

It’s been a little over a month of self isolation for hubby and I. It started on March 13th right after we got back from a trip to the city where he’d had a medical appointment. A couple of days before we left the news about the corona virus was beginning to get more intense. But the city of Edmonton had just two cases, that was on Tuesday by Thursday there were twenty. It was rather stressful being in the city as there were so many unanswered questions, there still are, I know. At any rate with hubby’s health placing him near the top of the list for vulnerability neither of us were keen on taking any chances at all. On 13th of March I also received word from my employer not to come in to work the next day. By Monday we learned the library would be closed until further notice.

So, what to do with all the time I now had on my hands? How were we going to cope? Except for missing my coworkers and the regular patrons at the library I am doing okay. It wasn’t a huge leap for us anyway because hubby’s health has kept us pretty much home bound for years now – so we had practice, not an awful lot of adjusting to do. It is only now, a month later, than I am beginning to chaff at the bit. How much television can one watch without going bonkers? I am not much for t.v. at the best of times, but have been watching much more than I usually do.

I am trying to keep busy sewing home-made masks for whomever may need them. (I need to double-check the site to see who is asking for them still.) I dislike house cleaning but I guess the place could use a spring cleaning. On a positive note I saw two Canada geese flying overhead this morning, a sure sign spring is on the way. I was thrilled to see them. I am looking forward to the spring weather, even if it only means sitting out on the balcony watching the world go by. Admittedly the world is going by at a snail’s pace so that may not hold my attention for long. Then again, I cannot tackle much that requires a lot of attention. My brain is doing the flickering thing like a light bulb about to burn out. Reading books is a challenge, for example, as I often have to read the same page several times before it sinks in. I am just too distracted.

Can you tell I am getting rather bored? What are you doing to handle the boredom? How are you handling this forced isolation? I find it more interesting to read the thoughts of others’ than to continue to sit with mine, which tend to run in circles more often than not the past few days. At any rate, I hope you’re all doing okay and managing the inertia this isolation thing has brought on (well, for me anyway). I would love to hear what you’re doing and how you’re spending your time. Take care everybody and stay safe.