Monthly Archives: January 2013

Colour me surprised.

Not too long ago, Canada didn’t have a single female premier, and it didn’t look like there was going to be one anytime soon.

Well, now there are 6.

Yep.  Out of 13 provinces and territories, 6 of them are run by women:

Eva Aariak – Nunavut

Kathy Dunderdale – Newfoundland & Labradour

Christy Clark – British Columbia

Alison Redford – Alberta

Pauline Marois – Quebec

Kathleen Wynne – Ontario

Not only are there 6 female premiers, but women lead provinces that make up 87% of the Canadian population.


Unfortunately, I suspect Christy Clark and Kathleen Wynne will likely suffer the same type of defeat that former Primer Minister Kim Campbell did back in 1993.  But for now, this is pretty amazing.

Why the change?  Some of it is probably circumstances, but then again, maybe people are finally starting to be okay with women leading.  I hope that’s the case.

But, like Campbell said in an op-ed a few days ago, men still account for 75% of politicians across the country.  We need more women in politics.  Research shows that when women are involved in decision-making and when they make up at least 30% of the decision-making body, women’s issues are more effectively dealt with (I read a book on this a couple of years ago, but of course I can’t remember the name of it now).

I would love to get involved in politics some day, but I hate the partisanship that goes along with it.  I’d rather run as an independent candidate, but that’s nearly impossible in our system.  And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

So how can we get more women involved?  Part of the problem is that political parties are often run by old boys clubs and it’s hard to get nominated unless you’ve been with the party awhile.  But maybe we need to start joining these parties to change the balance.  Then again, I’m not going to join a party just so I can run.  I’ll only join a party if I actually believe in it.

Another problem is the fact that a lot of women are mothers, and political life is all-consuming.  Trying to maintain balance between family and work is very tricky.

It is amazing that we have so many female premiers; they are role models for those of us with political aspirations.  But make no mistake: politics is still largely a man’s world, so we must continue to help and encourage those women among us who can lead to take the step and do so.


What does God look like to you?  Have you ever really thought about it?

When I was little, for some reason I pictured God looking a little like my Uncle Wes.  It was a headshot, actually.  He had a comb over, some grey at him temples, and was dressed in a nice suit.  Kind of like this:

Except in colour and with a smile.  He was up there in the sky, with only a head.  I have no idea how that image got in my head.

Jesus always looked like this:

That image is pretty much stamped in my head.

I have no idea what God looks like.  These days I think of God more in terms of a presence rather than a physical person.  Jesus, yes, I think of Him as above, but with darker skin.  It’s amazing how we’ve literally ‘whitewashed’ Christianity here in North America.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what God looks like lately.  Before Christmas, I started praying (as little as I do) to God as a girl instead of a guy.  God is ALWAYS referred to as a male in church, and in most Christian churches.  This has recently struck me as rather sexist and arbitrary (and no, I haven’t looked in the Bible to see what gender it refers to God as, although it’s probably male).  So, one night I started praying to my Mother in heaven, rather than my Father in heaven.  At this point it’s more of an experiment, but so far I like it.  God as a woman is easier for me to relate to in a lot of ways.  But honestly, I think God is a conglomeration of female and male characteristics that defies categorization.  For now, though, I’m going to keep praying to and thinking of God in female form and seeing where it goes.

What do you think God looks like?  Does God have male and female characteristics?  Could you believe in a female God?

To me, giving is an essential part of citizenship.  There are multitudes of ways to give; money isn’t the only thing organizations are looking for.  Honestly, most organizations just want your time, whether it’s simply paying attention to what they’re trying to say or actually volunteering some of your time to help them.

Giving isn’t only good for those on the receiving end; there are health benefits!  So here are some of the organizations I either currently give to or have been involved with in the past.

I haven’t found another organization that stretches your donation dollars farther than Kiva.  That’s because your donation isn’t so much a donation as a loan.  Microloan financing is one of the most sustainable forms of giving, as your donation is loaned to an entrepreneur who uses the money to invest in their business which is then paid back to you.  You can then choose to either get your money back or reinvest it.  Like any loan, there’s a risk you may not get your money back, but the risk is extremely small.  I have a whole $75 invested in Kiva and I’ve re-loaned that money 11 times.  The success stories are amazing.  So if you’re looking to make your charitable giving contributions go farther and last longer, Kiva is the way to go.

World Vision is another favourite charity of mine.  You’ve seen the ads on TV, no doubt.  And that’s how I got my Mom to sponsor a little girl from Kenya many years ago.  My current sponsor child is from the Congo, a country involved in perpetual civil war and where stories of women being brutally raped are commonplace and a fact of life.  World Vision is one of the most reputable charities in the world and is involved nearly everywhere in the world.  I enjoy getting progress reports about my sponsor child, seeing her grow through pictures and learning how my money is making a difference in her life and that of her community.

If you’re from Saskatchewan, you know exactly what Telemiracle is all about.  The Telemiracle foundation helps those with special needs and those who need assistance to access medical treatment.  What I love best about Telemiracle is how the entire province gets into the spirit and raises money that stays within the province.  Sometimes we think we need to go on volunteer or mission trips in order to help others and in the process we ignore the huge needs that are in our own backyards.  Telemiracle exemplifies the best of the Saskatchewan spirit and it has helped people I know.  Telemiracle has raised funds that contributed to the purchase of the handi bus my Dad drives everyday to bring special needs adults to their sheltered workshop.  It gives money to families who have needed to go out of province with their children in order to obtain medical treatment not available in province.  The fact that the marathon is still going strong 37 years later shows not only how great the need still is, but how it has become a part of our province.  It’s possibly the thing i love best about Saskatchewan.

Best Buddies is a new organization to me.  I volunteered with it last year, and it was an amazing experience.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to volunteer this year due to my health issues.  But I highly recommend it!  Best Buddies matches high school and university-aged students with people with intellectual disabilities.  My aunt has Down Syndrome and I’ve worked with community living organizations, so I really connected with this organization.  The best thing about it is that not only does it help intellectually disabled people connect with their communities and better their quality of life, but it helps to combat the stigma these people face on a day-to-day basis.  When I worked with these people and took them out into the community, other people gave us all kinds of disgusted looks and uttered mean and derogatory things mostly out of ignorance.  The work of organizations like the R-Word are also helping to reduce the prejudice that exists against the intellectually disabled.  I learned so much from my work with them; in fact, I learned far more from them than they ever learned from me.

If you’re looking for an organization to spend your time with, most cities have websites that list volunteer opportunities.  If you’re looking for a charity to donate to, MoneySense, a Canadian website, has a list of its top 2012 charities ranked for transparency, accountability and how they spend their money.

In the future, there are lots of organizations I’d like to work with.  I’ve always wanted to work at an animal shelter, but I fear I’d get too attached to the animals and want to take all of them home with me!  Having worked in an emergency foster home, I’d like to donate my time to working with children again.  There’s also an organization that allows me to use my music skills and teach inner city kids how to play the piano.  I’d also like to go on a mission trip and help build something for people in another country.  The possibilities are endless!

As citizens, we owe it to each other to give of ourselves.


I have a house guest for the week!


Faith & Religion

Richard Beck – The Location of Christianity

Sarah Bessey – In which we numb the light

Rachel Held Evans – The Scandal of the Evangelical Heart and Love: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Peter Enns – The Deeper Scandal of the Evangelical Mind: We Are Not Allowed to Use It

Kelly Chripczuk – He runs through the night for her


Stephanie Voudouris – Peeling Back the Court’s Decision in R v NS (this was the case of a Muslim woman who wanted to wear her niqab in court while on the witness stand and is an interesting case study about the limits of religious freedom)

Culture, Society & Life

Soraya Roberts – I Don’t Drink (one day I’ll write about my own experience with this)

Zerlina – How to deal with a mansplainer starring Hillary Clinton in gifs (language warning)


Andrew Sullivan – The Second Inauguration of Barack Obama

Conor Friedersdorff – The Audacity of Fluff: A Critical Reading of Obama’s Inaugural Address

Aaron Wherry – Tolerating Civil Disobedience

Martin Patriquin – 43 days and for what? Chief Theresa Spence and the status quo

Science & Nature

Gavin Heffernan – Death Valley Dreamlapse

Random & Weird

Mike Krumboltz – ‘Inigo Montoya’ shirt upsets travellers, leads to awkward flight

The Economist – Currency design: A maple [leaf] mishap (only in Canada)

What I’m reading…

Recommended reading…

I love this man’s view of citizenship.


I was looking through the files on my computer the other day when I came across some recordings of me singing that I’d done sometime in the fall. So I thought I’d share a couple of them with you. They were recorded at my Mom’s farm and that’s me on the piano, too.

The first one is ‘Seit ich ihn gesehen’ (yes, it’s in German), the first song from Robert Schumann’s beautiful song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben, which is translated as A Woman’s Love and Life. It’s a set of of eight songs that cover the spectrum of a relationship: from the women’s first sighting of her future husband through their wedding, pregnancy and finally, death. This first song is roughly translated as follows:

Since I first saw him
I think I must be blind;
wherever I look
I see only him;
as if in a trance,
his image hovers before me,
emerging from the deepest gloom
even brighter.

All else is dark and colorless
in my surroundings;
my sisters’ games
interest me no longer;
I would rather weep
quietly in my room.

Since I first saw him,
I think I must be blind.

Seit ich ihn gesehen

The second is Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Dark Side.’ It’s just me (not sure what the clicks are in the file). Some of the notes are a little wonky, but I can’t belt like Kelly. I love her.

Dark Side

Hopefully you enjoyed that little impromptu Sunday morning concert. Any requests for next time?

This is spot on.  And yeah, a card or two or some flowers would have been nice, although I haven’t seen any that say ‘Get Well from Your Depression and Anxiety.’  Actually, healthy, complete meals would have been good.  Eating well is essential during these episodes but you often don’t have the energy to make that happen consistently.

The most unhelpful things I had people say to me were ‘Don’t worry,’ ‘Relax,’ ‘You should be getting more sleep,’ ‘Just think positive,’ and ‘Maybe you should stop thinking and talking about it so much.’  Like Ruby says: Gee, I never thought of that.  And because people tend not to understand unless they’ve been there, sometimes you feel like you’re supporting them more than they’re supporting you because you’re try to help them understand.

I’m glad more people are talking about their experiences. We need to do all we can to reduce the stigma and shame of mental illness.

Visit for more information and resources.

This is a view we haven’t heard a lot of lately.  Most of the press I’ve seen is centered on Chief Theresa Spence, the meeting with the Prime Minister, blockades and that’s about it.

Unfortunately for Idle No More, in my opinion, the media has not done a very good job of showing Canadians what this movement is all about; some of this is due to the lack of focus for the movement, and the various people that have sort of hijacked it for their own means.  A big part of the problem, however, is that Canadians, myself included, don’t understand the Aboriginal community.  And a lot of us don’t really care to.

In Saskatchewan, within the next 40 years, Aboriginal people will make up over a third of our population.  We owe it to each other and to future generations (sound familiar?) to try and bridge the gap in order to live in better communities.

I came across this recent CBC documentary series, 8th Fire, today.  I plan on watching it to try and better understand my Aboriginal neighbours.  I realize this simple act is not going to save the world, but if it helps me have greater awareness of the issues, I think I have a duty to do it.


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