Fancy Chicken Noodle Soup.

One of the many ways we have experienced God’s provision during this pandemic has been through the generous donations of various people – individuals, businesses, foundations, and other churches just to name a few. One recent partner is a restaurant in midtown Toronto called Uncle Betty’s Diner. They have offered us multiple containers of soup a week, along with a package of bread, cutlery, and a napkin. The soup is really great (from what I have heard), homemade and delicious. This week instead of bread to go with the soup, they included some of their homemade donuts! We are so grateful for a meal that is really dignifying to give, and adds value to the community.

We have taken to handing out the soup during our Thursday afternoon outreach time which is a new addition to our routine. After handing out our to-go breakfast to the community we warm the soup up in our kitchen and re-package it. We each take a box of soups, and we walk our usual route on foot West along Queen and back. Along the way we meet our friends, new and old, and some strangers too. We offer the soup and bread and are often so blessed in return.

Today as we did our soup walk, we ran into someone we had not seen in a long time. We did not recognize him at first but he remembered us and after reacquainting he prayed over us as he weeped, having endured some hard things over the last year which he told us about. We were so glad to see our friend again and receive his blessing.

We also ran into Steve* outside the LCBO who often pan handles in that location. Today was no different except he had a huge smile on his face as he was “baby sitting” four dogs for someone while they shopped inside. I didn’t think it was possible for our friend Steve* to get any happier.

Steve* with his dog pals and soup!

On our way back to the church we stopped by a local coffee shop, Capital Espresso. They have always been so gracious to The Dale by offering their friendship as well as their muffins to include with our breakfast to the community. We eat them gladly and have had many a good chat over a Capital muffin. Today as we received a bag of muffins we were also thanked and offered coffee as a refuge from the rain even though we were already the ones receiving a gift. The hospitality in Parkdale is something I will always be so humbly glad for.

This new addition to our schedule brings me much joy. I have found myself more brave during outreach when I used to be timid. I love laughing with the girls as we walk and talk about marketing this soup as “fancy chicken noodle” because it’s so special. I love seeing people that we know and meeting new strangers – people get so excited about soup!

Thank you to Uncle Betty’s for their generous hospitality to our community. You may be closed due to COVID but your soup is travelling far and wide. I will forever think of chicken noodle soup as fancy. What a gift!

Peace to you this week. May you find joy in generosity.


I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries. For me, doing this work means inviting others into my journey of ministry – prayerfully and financially. If you would like to support the work that I do at The Dale, I would love to chat. Please email me at

A Different Kind of Letter to Myself.

I went running on Saturday evening. As the sun was setting and my baby was asleep in her room and my husband showering from his own run, I walked across the street to the open field and started. I opened my app (Couch25K in case you were wondering) and turned on my music and was guided by a lovely woman in my earbuds telling me to begin.

This app starts you out slowly, as the name of it suggests that you are likely starting from sitting on a couch (which I was). There is a slow 5 minute walk, and then 20 minutes of alternate walking and jogging, followed by another 5 minute cool down. It started off well. I was confident in my ability to at least begin. And I did. But then, as most things in life, it got harder. The longer I ran the more blood I could taste in my mouth. The more my skin started to turn red as the heat coming off me met the cool evening breeze. The more I wanted to scream at the nice lady in my ears instructing me when to walk vs. run (especially when she let me know that I was in fact only half way done even though it seemed I had been running for an hour).

But I finished. I completed the workout, ending in my backyard with a stretch. I walked back into my house and found the cup of water Ian had poured me. I flopped down in a chair and commiserated with him about how much that sucked (in kind of a good way). And I took a shower.

This is a seemingly mundane story. But I think it has a wider meaning.

I have started the journey of acknowledging that the anxiety I live with has in fact become too large for me to manage on my own. I am not sure when I will be ready to share that more broadly, but I would like to name that it helps me to make connections in my head about seemingly mundane things and how they can relate to a bigger picture. I was reminded of this today when I realized we had passed mid-April – April 17th to be exact. That was the day I started at the Dale four years ago in 2017. Every year I usually write myself a letter of encouragement to remember time passed. Last year I was obviously away on maternity leave and with a world wide pandemic and all, I just did not have it in me. This year, I forgot.

I forgot. How did that happen? Do you want to know how? Because I think my life at The Dale is a lot like running. I started off slow, brutally aware of every week passing. It was maybe easy at first to put one foot in front of the other and move but once I started really going I was taking gasping breaths wondering if I could continue on (with relationship building, fundraising, the newness of it all). The good thing was that I had someone in my ear and on my team, much like the woman in my app… however I knew them by name – Erinn and Joanna. They instructed me and encouraged me and helped me to keep moving. I had people around me doing life as they have always done it, much like the people around me on the field that night, no matter that I had inserted myself into the space. I had Ian much like I always have, cheering me on from the sidelines. And as time passed and I kept going, pushing myself mentally out of my comfort zone, it got easier. Much like I imagine running will. Soon I will be able to run for longer stretches of time, not noticing every minute that passes. I won’t be sore the day after (and the day after that) just as my growing pains of being new in a community slowly passed. I will be more easily able to trust myself to continue on and keep going, just like I learned to trust those around me when they reached out with encouragement.

So maybe I can continue the tradition on in a different kind of letter to myself even though it is late, and even though I forgot. Running can be exchanged for ________(insert hard life activity here). We all need encouragement. We all need a push. We all need someone in our ear saying “You can begin” and “You’re half way – keep moving”.

My time at the Dale is a lot like running. It gets faster, easier, and more enjoyable with each passing year. And now that four years have passed, a lot has changed. I can do hard things. My labouring breath has slowed. And I am stronger now than I was before. That brings me joy, much like this job. I was called to the Dale four years ago. I will be forever grateful for that.

Peace to you this week.

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries. For me, doing this work means inviting others into my journey of ministry – prayerfully and financially. If you would like to support the work that I do at The Dale, I would love to chat. Please email me at

Looking More Closely.

After the winter passed, Ian and I started taking Charlotte on more walks outside. When she learned to walk it was December – cold and snowy. We kept her in the stroller until a couple months ago when the snow cleared from the ground and she has been enjoying learning to walk in shoes after being barefoot for most of her life, go wherever she pleases, and just explore the world at her own pace. She has taught me many things just from simply walking around on her own. I have learned to trust in her and that she will learn to pick herself up when she falls, to be patient when she is slow and just enjoy not being in a rush, and to look more closely at pretty much everything.

Charlotte loves looking at little things. Any stick, pinecone, or leaf she can find becomes a treasure to be shared. She picks up even the most crusted up nasty pinecone and runs to us with it in the air above her head and a smile on her face. She places it excitedly in our hands and grunts (since she can’t speak yet). She even makes sure that we keep it for long enough until she finds the next thing to bring us. Recently she has learned what a tree is. She keeps her hands up in the air in the stroller pointing to every.single.tree she sees and trying in her own way to say “Tree!” I remember that the world is still so new to her, and am amazed and what it must be like to see things with fresh eyes. Imagine the joy we would feel if we all tried to look at things with fresh eyes.

When sitting down to write this blog I had no inspiration. I asked Ian and my mom both what to write about and was finding it hard to accept any suggestions. So I tried to sit down and lean in. What was I feeling? Heaviness, despair, sadness. The world around us feels so dark. More COVID restrictions, violence, death. How can my daughter find joy in pinecones when there is so much to worry about? It is because she looks closely. She can only see what is right in front of her – each little piece. If she looked at the whole playground like I did, she might see all the garbage, the mess, the kids not in school, and the adults with stressed faces. But she doesn’t know that yet, and I am grateful. She knows beauty in sticks and grass. She knows to listen for the sounds of birds and wait for dogs to walk by. She is learning how to run and talk. Her brain is too new to see the bigger picture. She must look more closely. And I think I need to do that as well.

I hope one day that I can teach Charlotte about grief. I want her to know that hard things exist and that the world is heavy. I want her to be able to feel a range of emotions and be empathetic towards many people. I hope she is compassionate and kind and holds space for people. But I hope she remembers to look closely too. To focus on one thing at a time. To see beauty in small things. To look at one thing before examining the bigger picture. To keep learning and exploring and finding joy in being patient.

I know these days are hard. I still don’t think I know what to write about. But I do know that there is hope in a few things… that being the joy of children and flowers. So I hope today’s lesson from Charlotte speaks to you and I hope this picture helps as well. We see this tree on our daily walk and we stop to watch the flowers open. We take our time and look closely. And from this angle? Well, the world seems a little less scary.

Peace to you.

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries. For me, doing this work means inviting others into my journey of ministry – prayerfully and financially. If you would like to support the work that I do at The Dale, I would love to chat. Please email me at

Like the Grass.

When Spring comes, it is easy to notice new growth practically everywhere. Crocuses, Daffodils, Tulips, new buds on trees and bushes… the list goes on! I have the pleasure of working with some flower loving women so my knowledge on flowers is definitely growing as well. Finding the beauty in bright, vibrant new flowers does not take much effort. Their colours draw you in, large buds opening up and blooming right before your eyes. Before buds emerge, green stems shoot from the ground seemingly overnight. The growth of Spring flowers happens quickly and before we know it, flowers have emerged all around us – a sign of hope after a cold winter.

What is maybe not so easy to observe are the little blades of grass. They are often small, teeny tiny little blades. We see puddles and mud most of Spring and only hope for grassier ground that we can eventually lay out on in the sun, but the way the grass emerges does not seem as obvious. There are no tall shoots of stem, no buds waiting to erupt, no yellows, pinks and purples to draw you in. Grass is everywhere, while flowers seem special.

Maybe I have grass on my mind lately because of our tomb garden baskets that we grew together as a church over Lent. Or maybe it is simply the season of growth that is causing me to look more closely at the ground. But in being amazing by the flowers, I have tried not to forget that we can also be amazed by the grass.

It grows slowly and steadily. In little spurts it pops up, somehow on pavement and beside sidewalks where it is easily trampled. It gets rained on, walked over, pulled out by the little hands of children. It is abused by pets and large shoes. Yet somehow, it remains. People are careful of flowers… but grass? Not so much. Yet grass is what makes up most of the earth covering it and sheltering it.

The growing grass has reminded me of some relationships that I have with people in the Dale community, most specifically with my friend John*. John and I are civil… we get along. There have been times that we have disagreed and there will be times again. I have been accused of being too harsh by John and of talking too firmly in response to his yelling (which is kind of funny in a way). We have had our ups and downs, that is for sure. But since returning from maternity leave I have tried to be careful with John. I have treaded lightly, not stepping too firmly. I have waiting a little longer for words to come through the silence. I have tried to be more patient, knowing that there are and were many hard days that John has walked. And like the grass, our relationship is slowly blooming. There are more hello’s coming my way, more laughs, and more shared stories. I feel more open in my heart too, looking for things on my travels that I know he is in need of. This giving and receiving is causing us to grow with each other.

As I said, John and I are like the grass. We have been trampled on, even sometimes having stepped on each other. Our relationship is not as vibrant and obviously beautiful as flowers. We have taken time, but have somehow grown where people have thought we wouldn’t, like in cracks through the pavement. We are steady somehow now, through years of trial and error. This is not to say that we will be perfect. Grass is funny that way… it grows brown when dry. It is easily pulled out and tossed aside. But it is resilient. I have learned that I am okay with having relationships with people sometimes that are similar to how grass grows. If it takes time, is steady and resilient, and has hope to continue to grow despite hard times, I will take it. Flowers come and go, but grass remains.

May you find peace in steady things that take time. They are worth it.

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries. For me, doing this work means inviting others into my journey of ministry – prayerfully and financially. If you would like to support the work that I do at The Dale, I would love to chat. Please email me at