11:00 AM

Hearty Wintertime Soup

Do you want to know the number one rule about soup? There are no rules! It took me years to realize that soup is just throwing stuff in ...

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Things I Forgot About Babies {Reminders For Care-Takers Who Have Been Out Of The Baby Game For Too Long}

Some people are made for babies. I am not one of them. There has been no harder stage of life for me than when I had mini people in my house. A seeming endless forever of waiting for them to become complete humans*; for vibrant personalities and meaningful conversations and for thinking myself more than a frumpy, bouncing milk machine. It was never a question of loving them or not but there were days {years?} of questioning whether I loved myself...of even knowing myself.

The Things I Forgot About Babies {Reminders For Care-Takers Who Have Been Out Of The Baby Game For Too Long} - Alanna Rusnak, SelfBinding Retrospect
When my sister contacted me because her daycare provider was down-and-out with a sinus infection I said yes. Monday is my day off. I like her baby. Simple.

You often hear how women forget the pain of childbirth the moment they lay their eyes on their baby. That's a load of {ahem} diaper filler. I remember every little bit. Vividly. {Probably because I was awesome at it!} What I did forget was what life with a baby is really like. I have stricken that from my memory like some poison trauma that could destroy me had I hung onto it.

Let me be perfectly clear. I love my niece. I love her like heaven loves the stars. I love her pretty blue eyes and her darling giggle and the way her little bum shakes when she tries to crawl. She has my heart in a ninja grip and I'm fully inclined to allow it.

BUT babies are WORK!

I can't believe I forgot. No wonder I spent the first month of Noa's existence crying.

Here is what our Dear Elsie Rose {who just celebrated her first birthday} generously reminded me about babies:

They are the most selfish creatures in this or any other universe. She wants a cracker. She wants it now. In fact, she's starving to death and if you don't get her one immediately she'll flat line into the table top. So you get her a cracker. She throws it on the floor. "You numbskull! I wanted a bottle!" {insert raging wail here} She wants a bottle. She wants it now. If you don't deliver said bottle in exactly fifteen seconds she will rip your curtains right off the rod and use them to wipe her nose and smother the cat. So you get her a bottle. She takes one sip and spits milk in your eye. "You numbskull! I just need a nap!" {insert flailing limbs and a mini-fist-punch to the solar plexus here} She wants a nap. She wants it now. She's rubbing and rolling her eyes and if she doesn't get one immediately she'll sob until your heart breaks. So you rock her until she's sleeping and you carefully lay her down. She opens her mouth in a silent, terrifying scream. "You numbskull! I wanted a cracker!" {insert raging wail until your heart breaks here}

They think you love doing laundry. If it's not tears or slobber or puke or poop it's snot caked down the entire length of your sleeve. And she does it with a sly little look up at you like "That's right, lady, you've just been boogered! You're welcome!

Fifteen pounds is really sixty-seven pounds. Because babies are the most selfish creatures in the world and because I have auntie spoiling privileges and because I can't listen to her scream past the point of that skull vein bulging out, I hold her. And, of course, she snuggles in and proves that I am a fool and she is a genius and she turns those baby-blues on me and smiles a sneaky smile, "I own you, sucka!" while my arms slowly go numb and she turns into an adorable five ton mack truck.

The Things I Forgot About Babies {Reminders For Care-Takers Who Have Been Out Of The Baby Game For Too Long} - Alanna Rusnak, SelfBinding Retrospect

Diapers. Oh, lordy, I forgot about diapers! I spent eight years changing diapers. Eight! And since the final nappy of 2011 I haven't touched one. Because ew. I hallelujahed that finale like a soul gone to glory and to face it again? Listen, just because I can get a job done doesn't mean I have to like it!

Don't make eyes contact! Don't make eye contact! Don't make eye contact! Much like the Baby Philosophy of Peek-A-Boo {if I can't see you, you can't see me} if you avoid eye contact with an almost sleeping or a just-woke-up baby they may think you weren't really there and just drift away into dreams. Unfortunately I forgot this which resulted in a whole lot of screaming things that translated into "Are you kidding me? You're right there! There's no good reason on this earth why you shouldn't be holding me for every moment of this Mommy-forsaken day!"**

There are moments when you think if you had one more ounce of love your heart would explode all over the living room wall.  They are powerful creatures. I don't know how they do it. Exhaust you to the end of yourself but somehow wrap you in an understanding of the universe that you just don't get from adults. A little piece of heaven shines through when a baby smiles and so we make fools of ourselves trying desperately to make that happen: silly voices, weird faces, made-up words that have no meaning, tickles and dancing and Sir Mix-a-Lot sing-a-longs.

When they finally settle and are peacefully sleeping away the afternoon you miss them. Like a crazy person. Like you left a piece of your soul on the quilt beside them and even though you tiptoe and whisper and turn off the ringer on the phone a big part of you can't wait to be needed again and that's the most confusing, insane, powerful feeling I can't even begin to define. 

The most rewarding things are sometimes the hardest. That's what makes them precious. Blessings to all the Mommy's and Daddy's out there raising their little ones. Seek joy in every moment. When they're big enough that you can borrow their sweaters you'll miss their sweaty little heads tucked against your neck at 3 am.

*Yes, of course babies are complete humans. They're also psychological vampires. Tread lightly.
**This post took me four hours to write. Because I was coddling a vampire {who I love more than life} who is now - finally - asleep. And I miss her. Like a crazy person.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dear Walmart Father {Children Are Like Flowers}

I understand that you've probably had a tough day. The dirt on your jeans and the stains on your hands tell me that you've worked hard. The slant of your eyebrows and the furrow of your forehead tell me that you are tired, that you'd rather be at home watching Storage Wars, that this is the last place on earth you want to be: here with your lovely wife and two beautiful children.

How old is your son? Four? Five? He oozes a bright curiosity that reminds me of my own. 

The questions are exasperating. Believe me, I know. You think they won't end. That there's no finale to the answering. That nothing can ever happen where he won't demand "Why??!!"

I'm here to tell you, it does end. And when it does, your heart will shudder and you'll find yourself begging him to talk to you, to ask questions, to wonder about the world beyond Minecraft, to hug you, to say "I love you, too."

When did you stop asking questions? When did you stop viewing the world like a giant floating ball of opportunity and excitement? When did you stop looking at the sky from the perspective of a dandelion or imagine yourself a revving engine in the middle of the frozen foods aisle? Can you remember how big the world was? What it was like to always have to look up? How airplanes were superheros and how sure you were that you'd find dinosaur bones in the sandbox?  How, by growing up, you stopped fully living?

"Juice boxes? Juice boxes? Why do you want to buy juice boxes???" He was so darling, standing right beside me, his chin resting on the lip of the counter, his finger tapping the juice on the conveyer on it's way to the cashier.

"My kids like juice boxes for school," I told him. "Do you like juice boxes?"

"Oh yes!" he said, grinning.  

Until you yelled at him.  Loud enough for them to hear you in the men's department. "Get back here! Don't be rude!"

His little head fell like a petal from a flower. 

There are only so many pieces of a child you can break before the world that once was vibrant becomes gray.  There are only so many times you can strike him with words before he strikes back with his own.  

The most important job you have is teaching him what it means to be a man. You are his example. Boys want to be like their father. Be the man you want him to be. Even if you've had a hard day. Even if you're stretched to the end of yourself. Gentleness speaks a language much louder than anger.

I am far from perfect. I have let bad days inform my parenting. I have made poor choices and caused hurts that took much more than a band-aid hug to heal. I have learned hard lessons. I have marched my children from this very same Walmart, steam pouring from my ears, because one son kicked his sandal on top of the produce rack - marched them right out, him with one barefoot - so I could unleash my 'Are you kidding me???!!!" in the privacy of our station wagon. I have spoken too quickly, reacted too harshly, hated myself for the way my anger hurt them. I am writing this letter as much for myself as I am for you.
"Children are like flowers; tend to them and they will grow into something beautiful, step on them and they will wither." Alanna Rusnak, SelfBinding Retrospect

Raising children is a forever vocation, an eternal education, the greatest gift and the highest hurdle. We parents won't ever be perfect - but if we're trying, if we're loving through our trying, if we're humble, quick to apologize, slow to anger, generous with our praise and consistent with constructive discipline, we will raise up sons and daughters - men and women - who address the world with a vibrancy of character that we can be proud of.

Children are like flowers. Tend to them and they will grow into something beautiful. Step on them and they will wither.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

If My Tear Ducts Weren't Frozen I'd Be Sobbing Right Now

 I could see my breath when I woke up this morning.

My first thought was that this was just like waking up in grandma's old farm house - the way the blankets were so warm but my nose was like ice.

My second thought was that the fire must have gone out over night.

My third thought was what if we put heated cork floors in the basement?

I leave my bedroom to find Zander and his best friend on the couch, piled beneath a mountain of blankets. 

"It's freezing!" I say.


"Why didn't you sleep upstairs?"

"It's colder up there!"

Of course this makes no sense because upstairs is heated by the furnace and Zander's room has been the warmest space of all.

I climb the stairs and feel the temperature lower as I reach the top. It's like I'm sliding into cold water. I check the thermostat. Twelve degrees.  Twelve! The air pushing through the vents is freezing.

"If we're out of propane again, I'm going to scream!" I say, as I pull on my boots and march outside.


I don't scream but I feel panic working up in my stomach.

It's only been a month. We filled that monster ONE MONTH AGO!

Anger feels like vomit and worry makes me nauseous and this is the first moment that I've actually missed that tiny little house in town with its electric baseboard heaters

I call my dad and he agrees with me - we should not be out after such a short time.

I call my husband because I don't know what to do and he's angry because 'of course we shouldn't be out AGAIN!' and I want to cry and I feel it building but I can't because my tear ducts are frozen.

I contact The Boss and tell him I'm not coming to work - I have to figure this out - I have to warm up the house - I have to have my breakdown in the privacy of my own home.

I build up a huge fire like I'm trying to signal the Russian Space Station. I clean the fan filter again so that more warm basement fire air will make its way upstairs unhindered. I plug in the old garage heater by the dining room table so I can try and get my work done. I make coffee. I make tea. My fingers are frigid as I type.

If My Tear Ducts Weren't Frozen I'd Be Sobbing Right Now - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

 Sweater, scarf, quilt, slippers, hot drink, heater. My seasonal rage alone should warm me up.

And outside the sun shines. What a devil!!! Spring is the evasive mistress of winter-weary souls!

If My Tear Ducts Weren't Frozen I'd Be Sobbing Right Now - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak
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Monday, March 10, 2014

How Ted Dekker Got Me The Perfect Tea Party Dress

How Ted Dekker Got Me The Perfect Tea Party Dress - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

The day after I purchased three more of his books I got an email saying that Ted Dekker was the keynote speaker at a conference I'd already decided to attend. To say I was excited is to put it mildly.

And to be clear, excited means I felt like I was going to throw up.

I want to be classy and eloquent and memorable. 

I have a better chance of being a dorky, stuttering book geek. Or bursting into tears. Or both.

This is causing me some anxiety.

And the most important thing of all - WHAT WILL I WEAR???

So when a text from my sister asked if I wanted to go with her to Value Village I responded with:

I need a 'meet Ted Dekker' outfit
Her: Yes you do. Something slinky?

I also needed...er, wanted...some spring clothes because I'm so tired of this tired season and all its bulky sweaters. For the last three days we've climbed over freezing for a significant portion of the day. It is time.

I adore thrifting. It's an adventure, digging through racks and racks of 'never-know-what-you're-going-to-find' and actually discovering something you want to take home.

This trip was a huge success. $50 for 9 items! {It was a half-off sale!}

thrift store finds

thrift store finds, lace top

I'm sure I'll be able to create something worthy of The Big Meeting among my lovely spoils. {T minus 96 days! Ack!!}

And had I not been searching for such an outfit I would never have found The Perfect Tea Party Dress.

The Perfect Tea Party Dress - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

I can't even properly articulate how I felt when I put this dress on. I was immediately picturing garden parties and daisies in mason jars and twinkle lights in the trees. I felt like summertime. I felt romantic and lovely.

Needless to say, I will be planning a darling tea party for Noa's 6th birthday which gives me approximately five months to make the gardens perfect.

And if it weren't for Ted Dekker and my dorky book-geek vanity, I may never have found this and it would remain hanging between the fuschia prom dress and the denim jumper, poor thing.

I'm basically a hero.

You're welcome, Perfect Tea Party Dress, for pulling you from the despairing depths of a 1996 sandwich. 

Thank you, Monsieur Ted, for making me nervous enough to go shopping. {And please be gracious when I say something of absolute geekery like, "Er...my son did his speech on you last year."}

How Ted Dekker Got Me The Perfect Tea Party Dress - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring {The Evasive Mistress of Winter-Weary Souls}

The sun. Instead of a 'Help Me, Batman' beacon into the night it's a 'Joy & Bliss' beam that glows down through the dining room curtains.  

We petition for warmth. The sun is heaven's prayer for us.

It is also a teasing little flirt.

We went looking for The Turning Of The Season.  "Let's go on a Scavenger Hunt!" I said to the kids. "Whoever finds the most signs of spring gets a hot chocolate!"

"No thanks," said Zander.

"Grumps get snow down their backs!" I promised.

"Fine!" He got into his snow pants.

There's a park in town. We call it 'The Beach' but it's really just a river with some sand dumped on the banks.  It was eerily beautiful to see it completely covered in snow almost to the height of the bridge. A fool might think they could walk across it but we could hear the roar of the water churning beneath the ice on its way to McGowan Falls.

Spring {The Evasive Mistress of Winter-Weary Souls}, McGowan Falls, Durham Ontario, no beach patrol

When the sun glows bright and the sky paints blue shadows across a pristine river of snow and the temperature hoovers just shy of freezing, there's a {brief} moment when you can say, "Winter's not so bad."

Spring {The Evasive Mistress of Winter-Weary Souls}, McGowan Falls, Durham Ontario,

We followed the trail along the water; our soundtrack the call of birds, the occasional crack of breaking ice, the rushing of the river, and the lovely cacophony of complaining children.

"Can we be done?"
"Let's turn back!"
"I haven't seen one sign of Spring!"
"This is BORRRRING!"

Ah, my sweet lovelies.

They were right, though. No signs. Aside from the breaking ice and the sun and the fact that I was thinking everything was so pretty that I may not have to pick up and move to Mexico after all. 

And for all their complaining, I think they had just a little bit of fun.

Spring {The Evasive Mistress of Winter-Weary Souls}, snow hill jumping
Spring {The Evasive Mistress of Winter-Weary Souls}, snow hill jumping
Spring {The Evasive Mistress of Winter-Weary Souls}, snow hill jumping

This winter has not been easy. We have lived through a broken furnace, running out of propane, piling wood in the frigid cold, missed days of school, broken boots, torn snow pants, falling through ice.

BUT we have each other, our health, and a whole lot of quilts.

Sure, there's snow up to our window sills and it's going to cost us a fortune when it's time to square up with The Man With A Tractor who clears our driveway...but spring is coming and great things are worth waiting for.
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Until then, I will keep on dreaming of a beautiful garden that is not the hot mess it was last year. I will keep dreaming of a chicken coop and three laying beauties. I will keep on dreaming of the sun and hope against hope that we have enough wood to last us until it's committed to a change of season.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It Sounds Like Hallelujah {That Time I Freaked Out But Everything Was Okay}

This is in response to my frantic post of yesterday. {Click here to catch up first!}

It Sounds Like Hallelujah (That Time I Freaked Out But Everything Was Okay} - SelfBinding Retrospect

I left the car parked where they set out a parade of ice sculptures for a winter festival we hadn't known about until it was over.

I left it there like a monument to my pain and suffering, thinking that my license plate was a tomb stone, marking it's final resting spot.

What makes a car run anyway? Is it gas? Willpower? Prayer?

Hours later, when Scott went to check it - to decide on a tow truck and a course of action - it ran perfectly. And I am the 10 km/hr idiot who spent an entire day in a panic.

Maybe I imagined the whole thing.

We took it to the mechanic just outside of town to make sure everything was okay. Because I Did Not Imagine The Whole Thing! I'm 99% sure!

We waited all day today to hear the verdict. And it came just before five o'clock.

It was a computer misfire.


Can I get an Amen?

Can I get a High-Five-Some-Angels-Dance in the kitchen?

Because $60 sounds like hallelujah!

This is what I've learned:
Someday my VW Bug will be more than a toy on a shelf - SelfBinding Retrospect

So for now I am calm and I am grateful and I'm pretty sure somebody out there said some kind of prayer.  Miracles don't happen on their own!

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{Because I believe in giving credit where credit is due, 'Sounds Like Hallelujah' by The Head and the Heart is one of my most favorite songs and I listened to a stripped down version on repeat while I wrote this post, hence the highly appropriate but slightly stolen borrowed title. Interested? Click here to check them out.} 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Money Sucks {And Other Reasons Cars Are The Punchline To The Devil's Cruel Joke}

Money Sucks {and other reasons cars are the punchline to the devil's cruel joke}

There is frost on the windshield {but the thought of scraping it off makes me mad at every groundhog in the province} so I hike up the defrost fan and spray the wiper fluid even though my dashboard light tells me it's time to refill it.  Snow blows at me as I pilot myself down the driveway and I turn up my heated seat and think about how meteorologists are probably so sick of complaining people and how I was pretty foolish to wear this dress and how 'frigid' is the wrong day to wear pantyhose.

It takes three minutes to get to town - four to get to the coffee shop - and I coast down the hill to the sign boasting our small town beauty. {We're so little we don't even have a website!} I press my foot against the gas pedal.


The engine is still running.  I let my boot push down to the floor.


I glide off the momentum from the hills decent and make a painfully slow turn into The Crazy Dollar Plus parking lot {yes, that's a real store name}.

I am automotively-handicapped {no, that is not a real word}.

I call home. No answer. He's still sleeping.  

I call my father. Because you're never too old to be rescued by your daddy.

While I'm explaining to him what's happening, I step on the gas. The engine revs like normal.  "Maybe it's okay...?" I say.

"Try and drive over here and we'll see," he tells me.

I squeeze my eyes in a quick little prayer and pull out...er, creep out. I floor it like I'm in The Fast And The Furious but I can't get the needle over 10 km/hr.

I turn left at The Beer Store to avoid the main street and I keep it gunned to the floorboards but it does nothing. There is no revving, no grinding, no smoking. Everything sounds normal except that I'm crawling painfully along Queen Street. 

I can't find the four-way flashers ANYWHERE!!!  Where are they??? 

I'm anxious and I feel like my embarrassed heartbeat is making my throat swollen.

A truck comes up behind me. He's right in my rearview and he can't get around me because people have parked on the street so they can use their snowblowers. 

I just have to get to the parking lot across from the gas station.

Just a little farther.

I think I can. I think I can. I...think...I...can.

So embarrassing.

Seriously...who stole my hazard lights???

I creak into the lot. This must be what being 97 years old feels like.

I call my dad again. "I can't make it," I tell him.

"I'll be there," he says. God bless him!

I turn off the engine because I have a sudden fear that the whole car might explode if I don't.  

My phone finally reaches home. After five tries. "The car's broken," I tell him.

"I'm going back to bed," he says.

I start thinking about how my toes are slowly going numb...

And how the radio is only noise unless you actually listen to it...

And how I just want a tiny bit of sympathy...

And how this was going to cost us two thousand dollars and we don't have two thousand dollars...

And how Roll Up The Rim To Win makes me think I'm getting a new car every single time and then they slap me straight across the face with a big fat, Heck No...

And it'll have to be the money set aside for The Husbands Manly Weekend - maybe that will cover the car...

And how in the world will we pay for all the extra snow removal we've had this year...

And why oh why oh why don't we just have a horse because I'm quite sure hay is a lot cheaper than gas and oil changes and mechanics with $87/hr price tags! 

Cars are stupid! Money Sucks! Being a grown up is overrated!

My father's van pulls up behind me and he is sunshine for my freezing feet and I am exorbitantly glad to leave my tomb and climb into his money-pit and leave my own stranded until someone less automotively-handicapped can attend to it!

cars are depressing money pits!

It's like a heart;
this ticking thing who reaches failure into snow.
It's like a heart;
this broken thing of a country song that seeps it's creep into your soul.
It's like a heart;
this devil's joke, the cruel punchline {God only knows}.
It's like a heart, a piecemeal heart;
if you don't love her, let her go.

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Now go and read the GLORIOUS part two!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hearty Wintertime Soup

Do you want to know the number one rule about soup?

There are no rules!

It took me years to realize that soup is just throwing stuff in a pot. How great is that??!!

Soup and winter go together like popsicles and summertime. {My neighbour would make us these amazing popsicles that tasted exactly like that old McDonald's orange drink they used to have. They were the greatest summer treat that no one has ever replicated since...but I digress...}

Because of the heaviness of my spirit yesterday {and because I needed to make something to take to a staff potluck and I was pretty sure someone else would take a casserole and I had celery that needed to be used soon before it was wasted} I decided on a simmering pot of hearty goodness, dusting my home with that 'every little thing is gonna be alright' kind of smell that makes you think you might survive winter after all.

Link to this page This is how I made it: 

1 lb ground beef
2 cups chopped cabbage 
3 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato juice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced 
1/4 cup rice 
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
2 tsp brown sugar (optional) 
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)  
Salt and pepper to taste 

I browned the ground beef right in my soup pot and drained off the fat. Then I added all my other ingredients and let it simmer for at least two hours to fully cook the vegetables and fully blend the flavours together. {I had to add a little water as it cooked because it was a bit thick.} It smelled so good, I was sorry I had to save it for the potluck.

hearty wintertime soup

Why brown sugar? Tomatoes are acidic and brown sugar counteracts that acid - relaxing the flavour and making it more friendly to anyone prone to ulcers or heartburn. 

Why cinnamon? Cinnamon adds a taste bud surprise that people can't always put their finger on. It will take your soup from plain-old-hearty to Hearty & Savory. 

hearty wintertime soup

Kitchen Confession. Every time I put Worcestershire sauce in something I have to say it out loud. "Wor-cester-shire," I'll whisper while I shake it into the pot, pretending I am a hobbit {because 'shire'}. I also pretend I don't know it's made from anchovys {because, ew}. 

One More Suggestion: This would be perfectly lovely paired up with my 6 Ingredient Tea Biscuits!

Happy soup making! And remember - there are no rules - you can add any vegetables you happen to have on hand.  Enjoy!

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Why I Didn't Turn Off The Radio: Exposing My Children To The Truth About Hate

The night was heavy as we drove home from town. Worship practice had ended and the kids were weary, having just completed a wild giggling Nerf gun/light sabre war in the church foyer. The darkness was thick and the headlights on my parents borrowed van barely cut through while the tall snowbanks mocked us in whispered tunes of 'spring is neeeeeever coming!!!!'

Why I Didn't Turn Off The Radio: Exposing My Children To The Truth Of Hate
A story spilled from the radio speakers, a horrific tale of hate BUT instead of turning it off to protect my dear sweet children from the incredible violence of the world, I reached over and turned it up

They were quiet. They listened. I knew by their attentiveness that they were feeling something.

Hunted in Russia is a documentary following a vigilante Russian gang who hunts down homosexuals, abducts, assaults and humiliates them publicly. We listened as they described a boy - A YOUNG BOY - who was filmed naked in a bathtub, sobbing while urine was poured on him. A weeping man with a gun to his head forced to give his name and address to a camera, the repercussions of which could cause anything from the loss of his job to his murder in the name of 'the law'.

Is the world really this broken?

This hurt me in a deep part of my soul. 

Who is less human: the one who hates because of differences or the one who simply loves differently? 

Everyone deserves the right to live their life in the manner they choose, free from fear and violence. My personal beliefs don't matter in the face of someone else's freedom. We seem to be making a good career of it but judgement is not the calling of humanity.

I raise my children by Biblical principles. I strive to instill in them the values that I hold true to my heart. What I would never do is teach them that anyone not holding to those values is worth any less. Hate is the greatest weapon we have and it is wielded far too freely. I want to raise children who respect their fellow man, who never discount a person's humanity because of misaligned beliefs.

When the story ended, I turned off the radio. The silence was palpable. I felt a tightness in the back of my throat.  "Were you listening?" I asked.

"Yes," Zander said.

"Why are people so mean?" Liam asked.

And it opened a discussion for the remainder of our drive. A conversation about respect and love and values and bullying and how lucky we are to live in Canada and more than once I had to stop talking to wipe tears from my face because I felt so broken for the people being persecuted and so proud of my kids for actually engaging in a conversation that will hopefully inform their own choices in how they deal with anyone who is just a little bit different.

It is not for us to judge. The world needs love and grace and peace and understanding and acceptance and warm handshakes and beautiful music and equality and laughter.

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