Loading...
Home 2017-04-17T07:03:24+00:00

Her lessons in chess are lessons in life

By | February 11th, 2017|

I’m not one to see a miracle around every corner. If things worked that way, the real deal would get awfully cheap. But I got a haircut the other day. The gentleman cutting my hair – he informed me his name was Maxwell – said it was a miracle. Not my haircut. My question.

Grace and mystery in a UCU classroom

By | January 30th, 2017|

The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” is a story taught in my literature class at UCU. It’s written by esteemed American writer Flannery O’Connor. At its end, the grandmother, a character in a lady-like flowery dress, is shot three times in the chest. It’s a horrible and violent death. The rest of her family had already been killed.

Our faces are doorways into our lives

By | January 27th, 2017|

There was a time when I’d walk down the street and look at people’s faces. Any city would do as long as it had a downtown drag of even modest substance. The first was Kitchener-Waterloo where I was a student living away from home for the first time.

I hereby resolve – No more children, no, not ever

By | January 7th, 2017|

I don’t know how we get on these things. We were talking about the dog. Next thing we’re talking about my manhood. I don’t know how we get on these things. We were talking about the dog. Next thing we’re talking about my manhood. Did we get the dog fixed? Nobody remembers. The boy thinks yes. The girls say no.

Awe and joy on the journey

By | December 24th, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 24, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was just past sunrise in Congo at a mission refugee camp. This is when I walked into it. It was a certain and gentle light. It was in a church. I was alone. It wasn't much of a church, just plain with a dirt floor and simple benches and open ceiling. The space was empty. Still. Voiceless.

Winning, like losing, is about more than meets the eye

By | December 9th, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 9, 2016) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ The story of 2016 is the story of surprise. Surprise isn’t always the worst thing in the world. When all goes as expected, day after ordinary day, it’s hard to remember what matters in life.

How a simple skipping rope changed lives

By | November 12th, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, November 12, 2016) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ It started with a skipping rope, a plain green skipping rope, the kind you’d find at any dollar store. It was a simple investment. You’d be forgiven for opting to instead spend the money on your morning double-double.

Belief, truth and monsters who are all too real

By | October 22nd, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, October 22, 2016) KAMPALA, UGANDA – It's hard to know what to make of it somedays, what to make of these remarkable matters like belief and truth and monsters. I mean, when I was a young reporter I wrote about a monster that nobody believed in, and even that caused a stir. It was the so-called Lake Erie Monster, affectionately known as LEM.

On gardening, grace and writing

By | October 8th, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, October 8, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ Someone (a writer, naturally) once said that writing is like prayer. Prayer, it seems to me, is like gardening. I’ve struggled with all three. The small garden behind our African home is testament to this. Many seasons it’s been a disappointing annoyance. Nearby trees steal valuable sunlight and nutrients. I suppose the space should never have been chosen to start.

(Flying around) a small world

By | October 6th, 2016|

It’s the other day and, unbeknownst to me, an old friend of mine, a Canadian we knew from Yemen way back in the day, is about to become a father. His name is Gabriel and, [...]

Answering the tough questions

By | September 27th, 2016|

The Children’s Mother has returned from Tanzania which means, besides the addition of some fresh flowers in the house, I can focus anew on what it is that I do. When you discover what this [...]

Wherever we are, we all need grace in our lives

By | June 30th, 2017|

I’m a white Canadian. But I easily imagine myself as a dark Arabian. A Muslim. There, on the streets with a kufiya on my head. Or there, I’m a Muslim woman with a beautiful, but hidden, face, walking along the beach. I’m just telling you. I mean, what if I was born in, say, Yemen.

For Gloria, the fatherless girl we left behind

By | June 17th, 2017|

She's the Ugandan girl who we left behind in a part of the world where, this weekend, there is no Father's Day. And even if there was, this girl, our friend, has no father to honour on it. So while it's only suitable that so many fathers and children be given one day a year to consider how ...

Many Ontario doctors caught in euthanasia dilemma

By | June 2nd, 2017|

He’s a friend. A doctor. His name is Stuart. I stood at the front door of his home, my son beside me. Stuart is the keeper of the children’s bicycles while we’re abroad. We swung by to make arrangements to get them. That’s all it was, an ordinary May evening. But the world was somehow different. Its axis had shifted. At least for Stuart. He’d just returned from Queen’s Park, he informed me, with other doctors lobbying for a

Saving mothers, one modest step at a time

By | May 12th, 2017|

In sub-Saharan Africa they call childbirth “war.” If you’re a woman about to deliver a child in that part of the world, this is your fate. Imagine it. You’re young. (Younger than most Canadians can imagine.) You're poor. You're alone.