i caught wind of this story on the Today Show last week, about two sisters, 83 and 87 years old, one of whom is suing the other over a $500,000 lottery win.

it seems that at one point, given their collective passion for gambling and all things lottery, they had an agreement to split all winnings. then there was a falling out {they don't even remember the cause} in 2004, and they haven't spoken since.

until one of the sisters bought a lottery ticket with their brother, and they won $500,000. now, the ousted sister wants her share.

she doesn't want to come to Easter dinner, but she wants her money.
"I miss her so much, and I love her, and I don't like what's taken place," Sokaitis said. "But all I want is what is rightfully mine. All I want is my share, nothing more."
* * * * *

i shake my head and wonder at the ridiculousness of this. how could you get so far into life, and have money be more important than a sibling?!

but as my head stops shaking, there is a little voice inside my head pointing out all the petty, insignificant things that i tend to put in front of my relationships.

        unforgiveness for a careless word spoken in my direction.
        a favor unreturned.
        hurt feelings.
        unreal expectations.

and while suing others would be absurd, i tend to withhold kindness, friendship, words...making me no worse than these two sisters— no, worse than them, because i have already judged them ridiculous for their pettiness, while standing in a cesspool of my own small-mindedness.

much as i laughed initially, i find myself thankful for this story, and for the spotlight it has shown into the darkness of my own soul.



you know how every once in a while you have to do something, it doesn't really matter what it is, and for whatever reason {procrastination, fear, unsure of how to do it well or perfectly, etc.}, you put off doing it right away.

then it gets a bit bigger. so you wait a little longer.

then it gets bigger. surely you cannot do it at this time.

then it gets even bigger.

then it is huge.

and what at one time was just a thing to do, has now become this huge, looming undertaking that is closer to impossible than you'd like to imagine.

this has happened to me recently, and i hate the feeling of helplessness that accompanies it. i don't want to be the girl who is afraid to face the hard things, even when they are hard only because of my own decisions.

so, this morning, when i woke up at 5:00 am, instead of doing my Life Journal and writing as the plan usually is, i had to pull out some old boxes filled with stuff i haven't seen in a really long time, and search for things that i wasn't sure were still going to be there.

but they were.

i found them.

the time spent worrying and wondering was wasted, as everything i need is sitting in the desk drawer beside me as i type this.

when will i learn?


favorite things

i really love these favorite things of mine... some of these are old and have been with me for years, some are new, and more than one is vital to my sanity.

i don't remember when i first started wearing scarves, it is another of those things that feels much like i have been doing it the whole of my life. much of the fun i now have with my scarves is remembering where i bought them each time they are worn. the black, white and pink one in the photo i got in Niagara-on-the-Lake when Angie and i went there. the orange one i found calling out to me in the window of a little shop on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris. *sigh*

kraft barbecue ranch salad dressing
this little gem of deliciousness i found at Longo's last week, and it is nothing but pure goodness. so far, i have put this on not only salad, but a grilled chicken sandwich, hamburger, and oven fries. i have yet to discover something that it could not make better. now, i haven't tried it with ice cream, but i don't think i'm going to go there!

the Moleskine website says that their aim was to bring back the legendary notebooks of great artists, such as Vincent van Gogh and Ernest Hemingway. i haven't talked to Vince or Ernie lately, so i don't know how they feel about Moleskines, but i LOVE them. my first one was a black reporter notebook that Ang got me for my birthday one year, and with that, i was hooked. for the past three years i have used their red daily planner as my portable brain, and most recently i have been scribbling furiously in my Moleskine NYC City Notebook all the things that i want to remember when i get to the Big Apple. it is a rare day when you can catch me without one.

saturday mornings
i love a lazy saturday morning. last week, for example, i was awake before 6am, which is normal. so i gathered up my things and walked over to starbucks {with a stop at the Town Talk bakery for one of their blueberry scones first}. there i sat for over two hours, drinking my cafe americano, writing, reading and watching the world of Streetsville pass me by. it really was pure bliss, and i will do it again and again as often as i can.

* * * * *

well, that i all i have for now... although i am listening to the Emma soundtrack right now, and it being pure bliss itself is my bonus favorite thing for you. the whole album is amazing, but there is one song in particular that makes me stop and notice it no matter what else i am doing. it's called Cliff Tops, and is heartbreakingly beautiful.

have a most super weekend, and as always, i'd love to hear about your favorite things, if you'd like to leave a comment and tell me.


where to go?

i haven't done this in a while...

as i walked to work this morning, i saw three airplanes taking off from Pearson International Airport. and because i cannot see an airplane taking off and not wish i was on it, naturally my mind went to where i would want to go if i could be on one of those three planes.

if i could go anywhere right now, my top three destinations would be...

3. Italy's Amalfi coast i love the pictures of the towns of yellow and pink houses built into the cliffs overlooking water so blue it could break your heart. i'd like to be near water so blue it could break my heart right now.

2. Romania i have wanted to go to Romania for so long. to see the history. roam through castles and fortresses. visit the black sea. and yes, even Transylvania...

1. Calgary, Alberta last week i got to talk to my niece and two of my nephews, and while talking to Nicky, he said, "i miss you, aunt suzi. when are you going to come visit me?" and since i would fight tigers for Nicky, this is naturally the place i want to go most.

{i omitted Paris this time, since i always want to be in my favorite city, it's more of a lifestyle than destination choice!}

where do you want to go?


happy day


it seems to be another time of sleep eluding me. for the most part, once i am asleep, i am {unless dragged out} able to stay there. but the act of falling asleep seems like gambling... not a lot of return for the effort and desire expended.

not sleeping is generally a time to pull out my journal, and go through all that is written in there. the Moleskine that i carry with me every day has everything in it from my own writing, to Rilke's poetry to quotes to sermon notes.

this is one of the quotes in my journal...
men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. yet it might be so simple. is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him? | Brother Lawrence
i am such an inventor of means and methods at coming at God's love. i know that too often i make things more difficult than they actually are, perhaps partly because of my personality, but probably mostly so that i, myself will feel more worthy.

so i can feel more worthy? what kind of craziness is that?
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. | Romans 5:8
given the complexity that i usually create in my life, i love the simplicity that Brother Lawrence presents in these few words.

might it really be so simple?


too alone

tonight is one of those nights. actually, it's been this whole day.

i know that Jesus said not to worry.

        but i'm worrying.

fear is on the 'avoid' list as well.

        i am more fearful than i want to let on.

there is a world of difference between alone and lonely.

        in this moment, how i wish i were simply alone.

i know it won't last. and i am aware that Sundays sometimes bring this out in me, especially when i know that my family is 2689 kilometers away laughing and playing games in my parent's new kitchen, as i sit alone here in mine.

when i am feeling this way, i crave the words of my favorite poet, Ranier Maria Rilke. this is from his Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, and there are few inanimate objects on earth than i love more than this book. {although, i do wish i still had my copy...}

I am too alone in the world
by Ranier Maria Rilke

I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every hour holy.
I am too small in the world, and yet not tiny enough
just to stand before you like a thing,
dark and shrewd.
I want my will, and I want to be with my will
as it moves towards deed;
and in those quiet, somehow hesitating times,
when something is approaching,
I want to be with those who are wise
or else alone.
I want always to be a mirror that reflects your whole being,
and never to be too blind or too old
to hold your heavy, swaying image.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere do I want to remain folded,
because where I am bent and folded, there I am untrue.
And I want my meaning
true for you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I studied
closely for a long, long time,
like a word I finally understood,
like the pitcher of water I use every day,
like the face of my mother,
like a ship
that carried me
through the deadliest storm of all.
Rilke writes things so much more breathtakingly beautiful than i can sometimes endure.
...where I am bent and folded, i am untrue.
i also desire to be unfolded, and true. the process is seldom a painless one, and in these times when i must face that which i would rather not, i must remember that the gain is worth whatever the unfolding brings.

        i want to unfold.


favorite things

it's that time of the week again, when i get to share some of my favorite things in the world with you.

Emma DVD
even though i have only received this little gem in the mail today, i already know that i can count it among my favorite of things. this version of Jane Austen's Emma aired on PBS last month, but not here in Canada. so i patiently waited for it to come online. after all, even last year's Lost In Austen showed up online eventually, keeping me from a long and {self-induced} painful wait.

but alas, only the first two of the episodes showed up online. and there are four! how is a girl to live through that kind of disappointment?!

well, fear not, my friends, i will not have to live through said disappointment, thanks to my good friends at Amazon.com. so, if you wonder what i'll be doing this weekend...

the music of Matthew Mayfield
iTunes tells me that the first time i bought one of Matthew Mayfield's songs was in early october of last year. given the extent to which i love his music, not to mention the fact that i cannot go a day without listening to him {Lives Entwined is playing on iTunes as i type}, it feels like i have been loving his music for much longer.

i love, love, love his lyrics and his music. can i say more than that? except maybe that my favorites of his songs, at least today, are As Long As You're Not Leaving, Maybe Next Christmas, and the previously mentioned, Lives Entwined. but since it changes every day, you never know which will be my favorites tomorrow. since there isn't a bad one in the bunch, it doesn't even really matter!

i absolutely love to learn new things. take on new challenges. right now i am learning {or re-learning} french, a new computer program, how to navigate New York City, and how to not let HTML code make me want to pull my hair out of my head.

if i had to choose between continuing to learn or continuing to walk, i would definitely turn in my feet. a life where i am not constantly improving and growing is unimaginable to me.

* * * * *

once again, these are a few of my favorite things... i always walk away from these posts with the song of that title from The Sound of Music. whatever you're doing, i hope you can hear it too!

happy weekend!



there are times in my life when i have so much discipline that i amaze myself... unfortunately these periods of amazement are usually swiftly followed by times when i am as undisciplined as a bowl of jello.

so much for consistency.

i own more than a few books on the topic of spiritual disciplines. were you to look at my bookshelf, and see the highlighted portions of these many books, you would probably assume that i was one of the most spiritually disciplined people you could ever hope to meet.

unfortunately, the opposite is true. i am drawn to books on the disciplines because i am so hopelessly undisciplined most of the time.

i am in a rut of undiscipline right now.

things were going good until about a week ago, when, for a stupid, emotional reason, i allowed myself to be derailed, and am now fighting to pick it all up again. being the queen of self-induced and irrational guilt, i constantly beat myself up about it... which, strangely enough, isn't very inspiring. you'd think i'd have figured that out by now.

the bottom line is that i want to be better. i want to love God better today than i did yesterday. i want to be a better designer and writer. a better daughter, sister, friend. and the only way that that happens, is if suzi is a more disciplined girl.

not that there is magic in the disciplines. there isn't. but they help to put me in a place where i can actually hear God speak in the midst of all the noise i cram into my life. and because of that, they are fully necessary.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. | Philippians 3:13,14


miracle or not

"there are two ways to live your life—
one is as though nothing is a miracle,
the other is as though everything is a miracle." | Albert Einstein

i am the one...

real life is rarely as dramatic as it is in my head.

and if i'm honest, then i would even have to admit that much of the drama in my life is conceived too often within the confines of my own brain. not to mention that many of the problems i face arise from my own doing.

   :    : poor decisions.
   :    : words spoken in anger.
   :    : laziness & its friend procrastination.
   :    : thinking that i can do it all on my own.

sometimes being honest with yourself is one of the more painful things that a person can do.

   :    : at least this person.

this person who has a seeming inability to not extend grace to herself when she fails.

i forget things.

forget that there was a great price paid for my freedom, my life.

forget that, as Brennan Manning put it, "i am the one Jesus loves."

today i will not forget.

i will live in the space of these words:

   :    : i am the one Jesus loves.


favorite days

happy favorite things friday! this week i decided to do something a little different...

there are some days of the year that are simply more special to me than others. here is my top ten list of favorite days.

10. the first day of autumn {september 23, 2010} it means summer and its accompanying heat, which i loathe, is finally over, and the best season in the rotation is beginning!

9. july 14 {bastille day} vive la france!

8. october 31 {the day i put up my christmas tree} while the rest of north america gets dressed up and goes begging for candy, i love being home, watching christmas movies, and decorating my pretty, pretty tree.

7. september 27 {shawn cassidy's birthday}

6. july 1 {my parent's wedding anniversary} i love that they tried to get in on windsor's canada day parade while driving around after the ceremony. i love that they've been married for 44 years and still like hanging out together. simply put, my parents rock!

5. december 26 {phaneuf family shopping day} every boxing day it is the phaneuf family tradition that we all trudge to the mall together, not so much to shop, as to watch the crazy shoppers aiming for whatever deal they can find. that's not to say that we don't buy anything, but the goal isn't the shopping so much as the family outing. these are even better now that my niece megan is old enough to join us!

4. may 8 {the anniversary of the first time i went to paris} i am unashamed to say that when my airplane landed, i cried out of sheer happiness. the man next to me asked if i was okay, and i'm pretty sure he thought i was mentally unstable, but i was too busy reveling in the fact that my feet were on the floor a plane whose wheels were touching french soil...er, tarmac.

3. the day advent begins {november 28, 2010} i love advent, and the weeks preceding christmas. i don't know why or how, but these days somehow feel magical, almost as if the most impossible thing in your life could actually happen.

2. april 19 {my birthday} need i say more? except possibly that i think the whole month of april is magical...

1. the day daylight savings time ends {november 7, 2010} it only goes to follow that tomorrow, when daylight savings time begin, is my absolute least favorite day of the year. getting robbed of one solid hour of sleep is bad enough, but when one wakes up at 5 am, it is a downright tragedy!

* * * * *

now you know my most favorite of days. do you have any days that always make you smile? if so, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about them.

have a most wonderful weekend, and if all it does is rain all weekend, as the weatherman is threatening for us, i hope you have a good book to keep you company.



why is it so difficult to say the words, "you hurt me", even to those who we are closest?

if someone runs over a child's foot with a wagon, there is no question that that child will use all the powers available to them to tell the world that they've been hurt. children clearly have little problem in expressing it when pain comes their way.

but as an adult, i am always more prone to shield my true hurt feelings inside of me, downplaying them as effectively as i can to the rest of the world.

is it my pride, not wanting to be hurt further by a casual brush-off?

do i somehow think that suppressing it is the 'Christian' thing to do?

am i afraid that if i say the words that my hurt or anger will translated itself into tears, and what i have to say will be written off as 'emotional'?

or am i simply ashamed to admit that i was so delicate as to have been hurt by the situation?

if it was me, and i had hurt a friend, i would want them to say something, especially if i appeared oblivious to it, so that i could right the wrong.

it's probably wrong to hope that my friends and family have not done to me what i find it too easy to do... not to mention a bit hypocritical... or maybe a lot hypocritical.

i don't think that i will magically find a way to do this overnight, but i do need to find a way to express my hurt without anger, without it being discounted by emotion, and without downplaying it.

how do you handle it when someone hurts you?



i am living through the longest part of today right now.

in approximately 20 minutes, i will be able to go upstairs, and get the final load of laundry out of the dryer. after carrying it downstairs and folding it, i will be free to do what i've been longing to do since i outfitted my most comfy bed with sparkling clean sheets, which is attempt to read myself to sleep.

reading myself to sleep isn't something that usually happens. when i start to read, i could stay up for hours, continuing to enjoy the book until something—say the end of the book—stops me. but tonight i am tired, and so these few remaining minutes standing between myself, my bed, and Rosamunde Pilcher's The Blue Bedroom seem like just so much madness.

apparently, when i'm tired, i'm not one for delayed gratification.

so, in the interest of moving forward, i am going to turn all the switches to off for the night, and perhaps, if i am lucky, by the time i get everything wound down, it will be the magic hour.

goodnight, my friends...



You must fear the Lord your God, and worship him and cling to him. | Deuteronomy 10:20 {NLT}

Be careful to obey all the commands I give you; show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and clinging to him. | Deuteronomy 11:22 {NLT}

the ESV translates what the NLT calls 'clinging' as 'holding fast'. a much more politically correct way of looking at it, i think!

when you think of someone who is clingy, it is rarely ever in a good sense. clingy usually means needy; someone that you cannot shake loose from, like a static-filled something that wants to be part of whatever you are wearing and annoyingly won't leave.

as i said, nothing good.

but here, God wants the Israelites to cling...to him! he desires—no, commands—that they hold fast to him throughout their days. it seems that in God's book {unlike mine}, clingy isn't annoying, it's obedience.

i fancy myself independent enough that i never want to be known as clingy or needy. if i err in a direction it will most likely be uber-independence and wanting to go my own way.

but when i examine the true state of my heart, my hyper-propensity to sin, then i know that on the most base level, i am needy. there is no way that someone as hopelessly human as i am could ever hope to save or rescue herself.

so, i need hold fast—to cling—to God with all i've got, if for not other reason but to protect myself from my own better judgment, which history has proven a bad idea far too often.



you may recall hearing me whine talk about a video script i was writing last fall, when the words just didn't seem to want to come together. here is the final product.

{and yes, i got to be in the video as well. i'm the one in the white shirt. :-) }




The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
        His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
        his mercies begin afresh each morning. | Lamentations 3:22-23

it's saturday morning.

the sun is out. there is a bird singing what i can only imagine is a happy song in bird language. it sounds happy.

i can already feel that it's going to be a beautiful day. the weather is supposed to be 8°C and sunny. could one ask for more in early march?

it's been a long couple of weeks. having bronchitis is always draining, but i feel as though this whole year i've been moving as if through jello— slow and ineffective.

but today feels different.

perhaps because of all the walking i've been doing. or simply making time and space in my life to connect with friends face to face, to talk, laugh and/or cry together. in this technological age, it's too easy to have social needs met by lesser forms of communication. i crave less virtual, and more real interaction.

for whatever reason, today i feel as though i've woken up.

good morning, world.


favorite things

this favorite things post is a little different, as it is one person who inspired a whole bevy of favorite things...

Jane Austen
i arrived at the 'i love Jane Austen' party later than most, but it hasn't kept me from diving in wholeheartedly.

from my multi-faceted love of all things Pride and Prejudice, which includes movies like Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood adaptation of the story {and unofficial movie of our small group}, to Lost in Austen, the brilliant mini-series where a young woman from today's London switches places with Elizabeth Bennet and ends up inside the story of P&P, and as hard as she tries to maintain the original story line— which is hopelessly messed up due to her presence— she cannot keep herself from falling for the one man we all dream of, Mr. Darcy.

and speaking of Mr. Enigmatic, there is the great debate over who the best Mr. Darcy is on the screen, Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen. my theory is that whichever version you first see P&P, that Mr. Darcy becomes your favorite. my first was the 2005 movie with Kiera Knightly, making Matthew Macfadyen my ultimate Mr. Darcy. others, my mother for example, swear by Colin Firth. to each her own, i suppose. {funny, i've never heard a guy talk about his favorite Mr. Darcy...}

but it's not just about P&P, the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is also one of my favorite. and over the christmas holidays, my mother borrowed her friend's DVD of Persuasion, and it didn't take me long to fall in love with that as well. just this past month Masterpiece Theater released a new version of Emma, which i have not yet seen, but simply cannot wait to do so.

another movie, while not written by Jane, but inspired by her works, is the Jane Austen Book Club, another personal favorite. this movie was adapted from a book by the same name, which i have not yet read, but am sure to read sometime soon!

ah books... there are still some of Jane's works that i have not yet read in their entirety. i have begun both Emma and Persuasion, but have not finished them. P&P, S&S and Northanger Abbey i have read. i'm not even sure if i own a copy of Mansfield Park, i'll have to check.

but other books, inspired by Jane are also on my bookshelf. A Walk With Jane Austen is a memoir of a woman who goes to England to lose herself in the words and places of Jane's life. i haven't read it yet, but it's on my shelf. also a part of my library is Lost in Austen, a choose-your-own-adventure novel with yourself as the heroine of P&P, Elizabeth Bennet, and your goal is to marry well, preferably Mr. Darcy. i have spent many happy hours trying to marry that elusive man, and have only managed to do so once. {hmm... perhaps if i spent as much time with someone who wasn't a literary, fictitious character, i wouldn't still be single? something to ponder!}

well, these are a few of my favorite things today. i hope you enjoyed them, i know that i always do. as a matter of fact, all this talk has created in me a desire to watch P&P. perhaps tonight is date night with Mr. Darcy...

do you have a favorite Mr. Darcy?


simply love this

i quite simply love this.


happy birthday, Dr. Seuss

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy
who'll decide where to go. |
Dr. Seuss

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