A Little Hello from Above.

One beautiful thing about working in Parkdale is the sense of tight community. I think Parkdale feels like this in general, and working at the dale has made it even more true for me. Participating in community meals, walking outside for outreach, connecting with so many different people – we start to see and know each other. As a staff, we love walking to the store, walking to get our van, walking to the coffee shop or library… because we see a good handful of people each time and those little connections where there’s no “stuff” given or received or no expectations are the best kinds of little hellos.

On Tuesday, Joanna and I walked through the Parkette to get our van from its parking garage. We were chatting away and in my mind I was thinking of a friend, Samantha. She lives in the building we were passing by, along with a large handful of other community members. It’s hard for her with her aches and pains to get out sometimes, so we don’t see her as much as we used to. I was missing her, and wondering how she was.

Suddenly, I heard a loud yell from above. “Hi, Meagannnnnn!” I looked up to the apartment towering above us and saw Samantha from her 8th floor balcony. She was waving and smiling. “I was JUST thinking about you!” I yelled in return, blowing a kiss up to her. “I love you!” I yelled, not caring how loud I was or who was watching. We had to get going so the exchange was quick, happening all in the span of 5 seconds. “I love you too!” She yelled, blowing me an air kiss back.

And that was it. A little hello. A showing of love. Comfortability. An answer to my prayer that Samantha was okay. Connection. Community. Knowing. Familiar. Family.

I love my work at the Dale. I love relationship building, praying for each other, walking around and knowing people. Each person in their own spot, sitting or panning, each with their own personality. We can walk by and wave, chat, cry, pray, smile, sing, dance, pet dogs and cats, worry, be assured, and so much more. I love the familiar.

I hope you have a pleasant little hello today… they’re the best.


My job with The Dale requires that I fundraise my entire salary! If you would like to support me in my work, visit thedale.org/donate and indicate that your gift is for me. Thank you for your prayers for my work, community, and family. Your support of these ministries is a blessing.

Finding Common Ground.

Often, as children especially, we make friends though doing the same things. Whether that be school, sports, church, or musical groups – the common ground is in place before you meet, so you have something to talk about as the friendship grows. Through my time here at The Dale, I have come to learn that building friendships with a community that is so diverse takes time and patience. Sometimes, it is harder to find a common ground. You may have come from different neighbourhoods, different backgrounds or family lives, different experiences of home, church, race, gender, age etc. In that case, what do you talk about?

Not knowing what to say can be scary. I know this to be true from my own experience. I have also learned that silence can be golden. Holding space to be present with each other is important, without always having to fill the air with words. Sharing a meal can help bring that common ground, which is why I do miss eating around a table together at The Dale (hopefully one day soon we can share this experience again!). But time and patience is key. Sometimes, it starts with small talk. The weather… sports… Parkdale life. Then asking questions. Trust is built. I offer information about myself. They do the same. Sometimes I offer my name and no name is offered in return. One step back. Soon, they tell me their name. I think when I first entered into this kind of work, I was very intimidated and shy. I thought, “What do I talk to These People about?” These People. That’s the wall right there.

I am these people. You are these people. Common theme? People. WE are people. There is no us and them. So even though talking to a community that has experienced houselessness and poverty and addiction can seem intimidating at first as I thought, there is still common ground. You may be addicted too, to your phone, food, or money. You might have experienced trauma, loss, grief, sadness. You may have lost something important to you such as an apartment or job. We all have things in life that we go through, just differently. Once I learned this, I realized we have a lot more in common than I thought. And this is a beautiful thing, because it allows for the giving and receiving that we talk about at The Dale. I have been prayed for, cared for, asked how I am doing and loved on more than I can count.

There is a community member here at The Dale who I don’t know too well. I know his name, and we say hi to each other in the line or on outreach. We talk about the weather. But recently I started cycling to and from work – a habit that keeps my mind and body happy. And this guy? He cycles too. Everywhere! So now we talk about bikes and riding and bike lanes and gear. He offers me tips and advice. I am grateful because as a beginner, I need all the help I can get!

Finding common ground is not as hard as I thought it was. Sometimes, with some people, it just may take a little longer. A little time, a little trust. With some people, as I have experienced, it is fast and easy. This is community. It is not always as you would expect. Sometimes, it’s hard. Sometimes, it’s not. Just like lots of other friendships we make in life, where the common ground is there before we are. I am thankful that God maybe feels like this with us too – sometimes we come to Him easily, sometimes not. But He is there always, waiting for the common ground. I think that is Love.


I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto. In order to do this work that I love to tell you about, I need to fundraise for my entire salary. That means asking people like you to partner with my financially and support my work here. If you are able to give, please consider visiting thedale.org/donate and indicating online that your donation is for me!

Peace Filled Eyes.

A couple of weeks ago, Ian and I went on vacation to British Columbia. We went back to Salt Spring Island, a little island off of Victoria, where we honeymooned nearly five years ago. Charlotte stayed back here with my mom and had some quality grandma time… for that we are so thankful. It was peaceful to wake up every morning, look at the ocean, watch the sunrise and take in the beauty of the mountains. I found myself taking lots of pictures… of the sky, the mountains, the flowers and trees, the ocean – everything. We went on hikes, drove around the island, ate great food, and took time to slow down and breathe. I found myself feeling more at peace, relaxed, and able to be present in the moment. It felt like time stopped when I sat on the deck to watch the sun rise.

View from the deck!

One morning while we were there watching the sun rise, I prayed and asked God to help me to keep this feeling upon returning home. This feeling of peace and security, of being present and not just looking but really seeing what was in front of me. I have thought about that prayer a lot, and I know that God has been testing me.

I love living in the city, but there are many distractions. Advertisements for this and that, the internet, work, parenthood, social media. Some of these things are so beautiful – like parenthood. And some of these things can be so bombarding – like social media. I have already succumbed to being distracted, spending too much time on my phone, being busy, and looking but not seeing. I try and capture the beauty of things… Charlotte’s smile, a flower, the sun. But I have a hard time slowing down, and being in the moment. I look and think, “How nice…” and then the next thing to do pops into my mind.

I know this is a part of life, and maybe until I am retired I won’t have the pleasure of sitting and looking at the sky and mountains for hours. But maybe that’s not what I was hoping for when I prayed that prayer back on the island. Maybe I wasn’t hoping for a life without distraction and worry… I think that is impossible. I think I was hoping for an inner feeling of peace and presence that comes from God. I know when I look at the mountains and sky that God created those things and maybe some of that is what brings me a feeling of peace. But I want to feel that when I am in traffic, when I’m looking at a grey sky, when I eat a delicious bite of food, when I hug Charlotte and sing to her, when I am at work… In all things.

This can take a lot of practice. I can’t just switch on “peace” and feel great about everything. But I can practice, ask God for help, and choose to look at things with peace filled eyes. I know practice makes progress. I have trusted this progress through my work at The Dale. Five years ago, it was all new. I had a hard time being in the moment, not worrying about the future, and seeing the beauty of it all. Now with time, patience, experience, and help, I can see that there is beauty here and love and joy and hardship and pain and that it all goes together – hand in hand.

I pray today that through practice I can see the beauty in life’s everyday, simple mundane moments. And I pray that for you too. May you see things today with peace filled eyes. We all need a little practice!

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto. In order to do this work, I must fundraise my entire salary. If you enjoy these blogs and hearing about life here at The Dale, my pondering, and what I am learning I hope that you would consider becoming a financial supporter so that I can continue to do this work. Please visit https://www.thedale.org/donate/ ! Thank you!