Monday, May 30, 2011

talking tolkien

When I was 11 I was invited to travel with my Aunt Jo-Anne, Uncle Jim and cousin Mike to Oliver, B.C.  It was a pretty crazy adventure for an eleven year-old, and was definitely the longest time I’d been away from home before.  I recall the long drives through golden prairies (Mike’s favourite at the time, which he decided were much better than “ugly rock cuts!”), camping in Drumheller and again in Banff, before arriving in Oliver where we made whips out of willow wands and ate from the plum trees to our heart’s content!

J.R.R TolkienThough we saw some amazing country, my favourite moments were those spent in the evenings.  We’d all gather around while Aunt Jo-Anne read aloud from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I had encountered nothing like it before: hobbits on the road, Black Riders who feared fire, a ranger named Strider, and an evil Ring.

When I got home I told Dad all about this story: the first of a trilogy.

“I think I’ve got those somewhere,” he said.  And as Dad often does, he withdrew to the basement and returned with the perfect solution.  He came back carrying a hardcover edition of The Lord of the Rings.

Since then, I’ve been a really big fan of Tolkien and his work.  When I went to College I realized that there was a large scholarly community who also deeply appreciated Tolkien and through books and classes I began to discover others who wanted to engage deeply with all things Middle-Earth.

Corey Olsen, the Tolkien ProfessorSo when I discovered Corey Olsen, the Tolkien Professor, and his podcasts I was instantly hooked!  Corey has recorded seminar sessions with himself and his students (he teaches English at Washington College) on all of Tolkien major works as well as his essays and letters.  They’re so great, and he’s hilarious! Josh Chalmers, if you’re reading this, go have a listen:

Anyway, my love for all things Tolkien is going strong, and I’m pretty good with that.  Now I just need to get on my reading for my summer class: C.S. Lewis, where are you!?


Monday, May 23, 2011

bread and breakfast

…is what I accidently find myself calling a B&B if I’m not careful.  I guess I just love bread so much that it wiggles its way in there without me noticing.

110523-091525It’s alright though, ‘cause this morning there was some fresh bread for breakfast.  Homemade croissants, muffins, and cinnamon buns!  So good.  And fresh fruit and yogurt (which I devour copious amounts of on a daily basis now, seemingly).

Sarah and I got away for one night this week to Spruce Lake B&B, just west of Kenora.  The suites were added on to a beautiful modern lakeside cottage several years ago by the homeowners and hosts, Henk and Linda Sluis.  Not only did we get a queen size bed and an ensuite bathroom, but the rooms open up onto a second story deck which overlooks the lake below.  It was great.

While we were engaged we took pre-marital counselling with our dear friends, Lauren and Ruth Miller.  They recommended that we make an effort to get away as a couple twice a year: once in the spring, once in the fall.  It’s a time away from the busyness to get to know each other again: to sit and talk.  Or, as the sign in our suite said, “sometimes I sit by the lake and sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.”

This weekend was a sitting weekend.

With the fast-pace of my new job at the nursery, I think I was starting to let some things pile up in my mind: worries and concerns which I had taken upon myself without my realizing.  This was a weekend to confront some of those things: some of them were set to the side, not needing to be taken up right now.  Others, I realize again, are not for me to be carrying alone: and so I offer it to Sarah and we choose to pick up and move forward with it together.

It needn’t happen in so many words.  Sometimes it’s just a word spoken and responded to.  Or a look and a nod.  You’ve let the other in, and they’ve understood.  And that is beautiful.

Monday, May 09, 2011

for mothers


Pastor Al shared this at church yesterday for Mother’s Day.  Such a true message to Moms whose long hard work is so often overlooked, forgotten or taken for granted.

Yesterday we were able to spend the afternoon and evening with Mom and Dad.  And though we didn’t do anything ‘special’ really for Mother’s Day, I think that as we sat together having lunch and visiting and just spending that time together that each of us knew there wasn’t anywhere else we’d rather be then with each other.

mothersday2009I love you, Mom.  Thank you for all you’ve taught me, and all you continue to teach me about life.  You are so special to me, and I’m so glad that we have this time to spend together. 

See you soon!




Mother’s Day 2009; walking trail along Swanson’s creek.