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If you’ve known me for any length of time, say and hour or more, you probably know that I have not lived in Canada my entire life. In fact, though I have lived most of my life till now in the same general area, I still feel that in some ways I spent a huge chunk of my life away from here and therefore I do not belong anywhere. I will probably explore this more in another blog but I wanted to bring this up because this experience has impacted me in an interesting way. Because of the moving I have had a hard time feeling completely at home, anywhere.

In the past many years I have been working through a lot of those feelings of loneliness and aimlessness, feeling like I don’t belong or more so, that people don’t think I belong or don’t want me around. Growing up I would dream of a place where I could be myself, where people besides my family would want me around and love me as I am. Perhaps this is something that doesn’t completely exist in our broken world, something that we will only truly experience in heaven, but I think we can get glimpses of it if we look around. And yesterday was one of those times, a peek in the door, if you will.

When I was growing up, once we moved to Canada, occasionally our family would take an afternoon to make donuts. Now for me this is normal but as I chat with people, and when my husband found out about this, most people, including him, are surprised and somewhat intrigued since they have never experienced it before. But for our family it would be a project we would do together, sort of. My mom would make the dough and get the donuts cut and onto pans. Then someone would fry them in hot oil in the garage to keep the smell out of the house, I used to do it but then my sister started taking over once I headed to college. While they would be preparing the donuts I would make a glaze so that as soon as they were fried they could be dunked in the sugary goo. Many donuts were eaten by whomever happened to be around, but they were also passed out to the neighbourhood. That was my dad’s job, mom would keep him running with full paper plates lined up to be brought around. It was always a good day when we made donuts.

When B heard about this he wanted to see it in action so last Christmas during a storm that snowed us in we made donuts. It was great. Everyone did their jobs and by the end of the day the whole neighbourhood was full of the sweet goodness of fresh donuts. Once he had seen it he asked if we could make donuts too. Eventually I got an extra electric frying pan from my mom and we decided that yesterday was going to be donut day. And what a day…

We started thinking of a few people who might like to come over, when Mom makes them there are tonnes to go around so we cut the recipe in half but wanted to make sure they got eaten fresh, since they’re the best right out of the oil and dunked in sugar glaze. B invited a coworker over, warning he he would have to help make the donuts. I invited a friend too, so I wouldn’t be outnumbered by guys. B had invited another friend too and so he came by with his wife after she was done work, and I had randomly texted a friend I knew would not turn down fresh donuts, he brought my cousin along too.

Needless to say it was a full house, well, apartment. But just that morning we had picked up a great find on Kijiji, four dining room chairs, and they were put to use right away. So our afternoon was spent with friends, eating donuts just out of the oil and chatting a lot and enjoying each other’s company. It was a motley crew, people from very different backgrounds, experiences, and at different places in their lives but it was wonderful.

I’m not sure how I can explain it any better but it really felt like home, like our home, like community and caring and fun. The donuts seemed to make everyone relaxed. I didn’t try to host, I just welcomed people in an gave them space to be themselves, and they let me be myself too. B made delicious Transcend coffee and people helped themselves. It was so neat to see everyone interacting and people getting milk out of the fridge for their coffee, comfortable, like they would if they were at home. Sounds cheesy, maybe, but it made me feel a bit more at home too.

So what makes you feel at home? If you were to pick one memory that epitomizes home to you what would that be, I would love to hear it. 🙂


In the past few weeks it has gotten cooler around here. If you look closely you can see fall peeking in around the edges of a fading summer. Everyone is heading back to school again, that or they have been there for a while now and life is taking on a new routine. This is the first time in three years that I will not be returning to school at all and, in all accounts, I may never formally be going back again. This is bitter-sweet to me.

I love to learn and, since I enjoy interacting with and learning from other people, I consequently love school and all the people I get to meet. While the three r’s of grad school, reading, writing and research, sometimes seem to drain all the fun out of life I still liked being ‘forced’ to spend time growing my mind and changing how I think. Now, if I want to continue to intentionally learn something specific I will need to be self motivated to take the steps to read and think.

Life has changed a lot for me in the past year. Not only have I completed a two year graduate program in three years, I have also gotten married and moved to a familiar but new city, I completed my term at the part-time job that was helping me fund my education, and am now trying to figure out where to go from here. Ultimately, I am in that endless process of transition that is part of being human. This time I am transitioning from being an independent student/employee with a regular schedule and a school full of friends around me to being the wife of a shift worker with a non-static schedule living in an apartment building where we know only a few people.

Lets just say that life has changed completely for me in so many ways. Now before you think I am complaining or that I hate my life please know that I feel so blessed to be right here, right now. I have been given a wonderful husband who has taken such good care of me in so many ways. He has been key in giving me the opportunity to do what I am doing now, something that I have desired since I was a girl. It is really because of his hard work and support that I am able to be home and have the opportunities that I am blessed with because of it.

It has been neat to see the opportunities that have been given us to connect with people and each other over the past few months as I have finished with school and work. Since B has such a crazy schedule, sometimes working long days, sometimes working all night, it was difficult to see each other some weeks when I was working and studying. This was super tough in our first few months of marriage and brought up some things we really had to work through early on. In those weeks, when we could not count on seeing each other, very often it was difficult to think of reaching out to others as well. That was our story at the time and so we worked in that framework, and we made it through.

Now, with me at home most of the time we are better able to connect with each other and we are able to connect better with the people around us, building friendships that we are so excited about. I’d like to think that it also helps that I love to bake and cook so when we hang out with people there is usually (good?) food around. I am also better able to support B in his work and work with him to figure out how we can live a full life even with shift work taking so much of his time and energy.

For those of you who have ever worked shift work you know what I mean by that last sentence, and for those of you who have lived with someone working shift work you also know what I mean. One of the biggest things we have had to work on in our marriage of almost a year is how to function with shift work. It was really tough at first, who am I kidding, even now there are times when it is really tough, especially since there don’t seem to be many resources for living in community with shift work. It seems that the most helpful thing many shift work resources suggest is just to become friends with other people who work shift work too and hope your schedules allow time to get together. This isn’t always possible so we have been exploring ways to be as ‘normal’ as possible with a very abnormal schedule.

The best thing is that B loves his job, which is helpful if you’re working different hours. It allows me to support him in it and helps us work together to find solutions to combat shift work’s control over our lives. It is also helpful that, because of his hard work, I am able to take time to be home and do some of the things that need doing differently because of his schedule and not feel pressure to find a job. I have always wanted to be able to have a home that is open to those around us, a place for people to come and connect and feel comfortable for a while, a place with good conversation and good food, a place to rest for a little while. I feel that right now I am able to do this in some small way with what we have and I have been so blessed by the many friends that we have been able to spend time with.

And that is how I feel right now. So blessed. I want to enjoy the moment and experience the feelings and events as they are happening. Through my studies one of the things that we talked about a lot was how important it is to just be. In a world where it can be easier to live in the future, perhaps in a place where we are judged by our output or busyness I think it is intensely important to ‘breathe in the moment’ as it were, to be in the here and now, experiencing it as a gift. Easier said than done, I know, I have often lived my life in the future or the past, fearing what the present would bring, but now, right now, I want to be here, I want to experience what is now. I want to revel in the many wonderful gifts and blessings that are all around me and work through the many fears, stresses and difficult times that come with really living life. I guess I’m just saying that I want to live.

And you? How have you changed or been changed in the past year? What are the blessings that you have been given?