the perils of being a (newby) choir director

…when you get so into your conducting that your arms feel like you just aggressively slapped an invisible person for two hours straight.


the joys of new lenses….

I bought a new lens this week (85mm 1.8) and, as I always do after purchasing new camera equipment, I’ve been experimenting with it all week. The results seem promising…



joyful singlehood

This was written about two years ago. My feelings are still the same today – perhaps even more so now that I just entered my 30s, still single (horror of horrors!).

  I had one of those “aha!” moments the other day. Granted, it wasn’t a moment where I solved a complicated problem, or discovered a better method of cleaning my bedroom, or invented the mop that would forever change our world. It wasn’t even something new that I figured out. It was a moment where I realized something that I had always known, but for some reason, this time it made sense.  

I am single for a reason.  

Now, I know what you are thinking…which is probably what I briefly thought after I realized this…”Um, duh?” And yes, as a Christian, I recognize that everything happens for a reason. That much is clear. But as much as I may have known this before, I think I’m starting to truly understand it.   It started with a simple conversation about continuing education. I mentioned to a friend that it seemed that homeschoolers (at least, the ones in this area) don’t place much importance on considering higher education for their kids. This idea is especially prevalent when it comes to daughters. I would probably consider myself a sort of anomaly in that respect, having going to college for four years. And while everyone seems to think it was great for me to have gotten my bachelor’s degree, nobody else appears to want to make a go of it for their daughters. And if you were to talk to these same girls, the one word in their vocabulary that never seems to go out of style is: marriage. These teenage girls have but one goal in their minds, and that is to marry young…preferably before the age of twenty. Not a single consideration for maybe going to college, maybe having a career or some sort. Just…marriage. There is absolutely no other possible option.  

Just to be clear: I am not knocking marriage. I’m not disparaging the idea of young marriage or even suggesting that having a career is the best way to go. I would like to get married some day, and I’m sure if the opportunity had come up when I was in my early twenties, I would be well on my way to having my very own troupe of crazy little munchkins. But that didn’t happen for me. And it may not happen for other girls. In some ways, I think it’s a little cruel (and somewhat short-sighted) to suggest that marriage is the only option for Christian girls. Because what if that plan, no matter how good and Biblical it may be, just doesn’t work out? What if she’s not married by the time she’s twenty-one? Has she failed somehow? What if she’s still single in her mid-twenties or (God forbid) her thirties? I’ve had many discussions with people about this, and universally, there is no Option B. No Door #2. No alternate ending. In the book of your life, Chapter One is supposed to end with your marriage. Then real life begins. Not before.  

I have been tremendously blessed by my parents in this area. Marriage was always set as the ultimate goal, but my parents never treated it as a “best before” date – there was no expectation that I should be married by a certain time, and for that, I am very grateful. I can’t imagine how depressed and frustrated I would be now, had I been raised with the idea that I would be married shortly after finishing high school. But that appears to be what most (if not all) young Christian girls are expecting. I can’t point fingers at this point and say definitively that such expectations are coming from the parents or peers or the church or whoever. All I know is that these girls wear a veil of sheer panic when the idea of “getting married when you’re older” is mentioned. It literally freaks them out, to the point where they cannot even comprehend such an event. And of course, that makes people like me (an “older” college-educated single woman) appear as an almost cautionary tale, the sad spinster who, bless her heart, sits in her lonely little cottage, without the ability to fulfill her true calling.  

That’s when I decided that being single is, at least for now, my calling. And perhaps it’s my calling in this sense: to show other girls how being older and single isn’t the worst thing in the world. Maybe a girl can have a very enjoyable, fulfilling life apart from a husband and children. Maybe (horrors!) such a life can even be productive and God-glorifying in its own way and within its own sphere of influence. Maybe you can have an exciting career, full of new things to learn and experience. Maybe you can learn to help other people more, with various volunteer work or just plain old visiting. Establishing these friendships, working at a normal job, or volunteering your services in different venues should never be looked upon as just ways of passing the time until Prince Charming shows up. This is the life that God has given you and throughout this life, He will bless you. Your single life can be rewarding and incredible and fun, even without a boyfriend or husband. To suggest (through discontent, resentment, or plain old immaturity) that somehow, your life won’t really get started until the ring is on your finger is to say that God’s plan is somehow faulty. That yours is infinitely better. I’m sorry to burst that particular bubble, but it just isn’t true.  

There’s nothing wrong with having a game plan, a mental checklist of things you want to do in your life. And again, I’m not at all opposed to the idea that “marriage” should be one of those things. But please – please – don’t make marriage your idol. There is only one God who is worthy of your worship and His plan is far, far better than anything you could have dreamed of.    

leftover cranberry sauce, begone!

Cranberry sauce is probably my least favorite thing about holiday meals. I rarely eat it, and it appears that most other people rarely eat it, as my two-cans-of-cranberry-sauce contribution to the church’s Easter dinner seems to indicate. I brought an entire bowl of sauce and returned home with that same bowl almost completely full. What to do now? I’m certainly not about to eat it all.

How about making an amazingly delicious cake?


Oh what fudgy goodness….easy to make and it got rid of all that horrible unwanted cranberry sauce…and did I also mention it is absolutely scrumptious?

So here’s “Outrageous Chocolate Cranberry Fudge Cake”, taken from the Ocean Spray website. Minor changes: I used the jellied cranberry sauce all the way through and it still worked just fine. And I am currently boycotting microwaves, so I just did it all on the stove. Still worked great. So bring on the cranberry sauce!


For cake:
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 cup Ocean Spray® Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For glaze:
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup Ocean Spray® Jellied Cranberry Sauce


Make cake:

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with foil. Coat foil with cooking spray. Dust pan with flour, tap to remove excess.

Microwave 2/3 cup chocolate chips, butter and unsweetened chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on High for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Microwave for 30 more seconds if necessary to melt chocolate.

Add cranberry sauce and sugar; mix well. Add eggs, vanilla, flour and baking powder mix well. Pour batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 30 minutes. Refrigerate 1 hour or until cold.

Make glaze:

Microwave cream and chocolate chips together in medium microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute on High. Stir until smooth. Microwave for 30 more seconds if necessary to melt chocolate. Add cranberry sauce; mix well.

Turn cake out onto serving plate; remove foil. Spread glaze over top allowing some to drip down sides of cake. Chill 1 hour or until glaze is firm. Can be made a day ahead of time. Store at room temperature.

Makes 10 servings.

on the steps of the alberta legislature

We in Grande Prairie had been blessed with an opportunity to go protest Bill 2 in Edmonton, so I decided to take advantage of that. I dragged myself out of bed at 4:45, just so I could board a bus with about sixty other people at 5:30. Alertness may have been down, but our spirits were high, as we visited, sang psalms, and passed around buckets of candy (thanks, Oma B!). When we finally arrived in Edmonton, we soon found ourselves as part of a large group of over 2000 protesters. It was a tremendous experience, and I am so grateful to have been a part of this.

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an open letter to the education minister

I am not a homeschooling parent. I have no kids, no nieces or nephews at this time, no boyfriend or husband. In short, I have little to no vested interest in Bill 2, section 16, insofar as it doesn’t affect me directly.

But I am a product of homeschooling. My parents removed me from the public school system after Grade 2, and from Grades 3-12, I received my education at home. That change in itself was rather jarring initially but this new type of education soon appealed to my own learning style. I went from specific classes at specific times, to classes that melded into each other, classes that flowed from one subject to the next with ease. Math transformed into science, science extended into history, and history developed into language and writing. My subjects were no longer seen as independent courses, autonomous lessons that had no bearing on my other classes, but rather as an interconnected whole. Everything was connected; everything was related. For example, you couldn’t have a science class without also learning about the history of the scientists or the geography of where they conducted their experiments. But the overarching theme of my education, the foundation that united every class, was our faith in God and in the saving work of Jesus Christ. Without the understanding of God’s hand in creation, our science class had little lasting impact on us. Without a belief in God’s all-encompassing plan for His creation, history became nothing more than disjointed stories of days gone by. Christ informs, directs, and fills our education, so much so that we cannot fathom separating our faith and our learning. It makes no sense. For the Christian, it is, in fact, impossible. Our relationship with Christ is one where we see all things as coming from His hand…and by all things, we quite literally mean all things. Our education is just one part of our lives that we submit entirely to Him, for it is only by Him and through Him that we can have true understanding.

With Bill 2, Section 16, you are attempting to legally remove Christ’s lordship from the homes and classrooms of Christians across the province. Respectfully, sir, this is something that Christians cannot and will not do. You may not realize or fully understand it, but through this bill, you are implicitly requiring that Christians submit their consciences, their morality, and their trust in a completely man-made set of standards, standards that go entirely against the teachings of Scripture. As I implied earlier, a Christian’s faith does not begin and end on the doorsteps of the church. To be true faith, it cannot be relegated to a particular day of the week or a specific location. It must be all-encompassing, overarching, and life-changing. What kind of Christians would we be if, after stating that Christ is “Lord of all”, we then agreed to push Him out of everything? We would be lying, sir, both to ourselves and to the watching world. If Christ is Lord of all, then He is Lord of all. He is not thrown out of the classroom simply because a government official has decreed it so (a government official who has been given his position by God…since Christ is Lord of all).

As Christians, we desire to obey the rulers whom God has set over us. We want to be your ideal law-abiding citizens, the ones who set the right example for all other Albertans. But while we truly respect your God-given authority in this matter, we humbly ask that you would not require us to choose between honouring our government and honouring our Lord. When such a decision is required, Christians have but one answer: we will serve God and obey His laws. We will teach our children the laws of the Lord; every day and every night they will hear of His love and rejoice in His commandments. With every breath of our bodies, our children will learn of Christ. Here we stand, sir, and we cannot do otherwise.

As I stated above, I have no children. But that is not to say that I won’t have any in the future. And as a Christian, I want to provide my future children with the best education I can. I want them to know trigonometry, biology, and chemistry. I want them to delight in the stories from the past. I want them to write, using both knowledge and kindness. I want them to sing, I want them to dance, I want them to tackle other kids during a football game and then shake hands with those same kids afterwards. But most of all, I want them to know Christ. I want them to trust Him, to believe in His word, to see Him as the One in Whom they have true and everlasting life. And I want them to find complete fulfillment in Him, not merely in a once-a-week sense, not just as the Author of a handy set of moral “guidelines”, but as the One who directs their entire life…and this includes their education. I read this bill and I see a hard road for my future children, one where this bill could possibly be used to take my children away from me, simply because I refused to follow another god. I ask: is this the future that you want? Do you want Alberta to become a place where parents live in fear, dreading the moment when the educational responsibility for their children is removed from them, for the simple reason that they teach these children from the Bible? I doubt this is your intention, but you also have no way to guarantee that this bill will not be used in such a manner. Sir, I ask you to consider the future cost of this bill, not merely the immediate problems this bill might solve. I ask you to try to see how everything in the Christian life is connected and how what you are asking us to do is impossible. But ultimately, I ask you to recognize that Christ is indeed Lord of all. May God grant you wisdom in this issue and I pray that you made the right decision.