Calgary International Film Festival

A Story of Hope

           Norway House – Students at Helen Betty Osborne School

Tonight we went to the Calgary International Film Festival to see “Our People Will Be Healed,” produced and directed by Alanis Obomsawin. This National Film Board of Canada Film, is a wonderful story of hope. The film opens at Norway House Cree Nation, where the school is doing an effective and caring job of enabling indigenous young people to value and use their gifts to become the best people they can be. Only after we have celebrated the wonderful accomplishments of the children and adults connected to this school were we given the story of one young woman who was murdered when she went to high school in The Pas, Manitoba in 1971. Ms. Obomsawin’s gift as a film maker enabled us to fully identify with the young woman’s family. When the film ended, Ms. Obomsawin came forward to answer questions.

Tonight was my introduction to attending a film festival. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was a privilege to see “Our People Will Be Healed”. I recommend it.

For more information go to the Helen Betty Osborne School website and Wikipedia’s file on Alanis Obomsawin. You will be impressed.

I Can Do It!!!

I listened to a most interesting radio program, “Word on the Hills” this morning. Gwynn and Felicity interviewed today’s author, Reva Nelson who has done workshops and written a book on risk taking. As I listened, I realized that I started my life with a wonderful sense of adventure. My friend Nancy said to me about 20 years ago that I was willing to try anything. She wasn’t talking about physical risk taking. She was referring to my ability to set aside fear and feelings of incompetence and try a new recipe, a new job, whatever. My ability to take this kind of risk is a quality that helped me answer God’s call to ministry and begin writing and publishing books.

My thoughts shifted to the present. For the last three years, I have been thinking about sending a manuscript off to a publisher or an agent. I told myself my writing wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want the rejection.  I continued my self-publishing with the same moderate success. A month ago, I discussed my desire and my fear with my editor. She listened to my talk about lack of competence for about five minutes, then looked at me and said, “Give it up, Jan. Just do it.” Her words have stayed with me.

Today’s radio interview with Reva reinforced Ruth’s words. I can take the risk. I used to just step forward ready to do my best, trusting that God will use whatever I do for something good. I used to take risks easily. Today, I am choosing a new mantra. “You can do it. Give it a try. Whatever happens, you will survive.” Thanks to “Word on the Hills” and Reva Nelson, for giving me the push I need, at this moment.

I Love My Body!

I woke Sunday morning at 5:55. My alarm was set for six. My first thought, I love my body. God has gifted me with an inner alarm. I usually don’t trust it so I set my clock alarm, but I don’t have to. I automatically wake up just before the alarm rings. Tom appreciates my gift, too, especially on days when he doesn’t have to be up early.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember ever before thinking, I love my body. Usually, I look at my body and groan. Twenty pounds lighter would make my knees much happier and my clothes look better. I’ve got love handles, and a tummy that is rounder than it should be. My ankles are slightly swollen. My skin is dry. I’ve got lots of wrinkles. Those miserable brown age spots keep popping up here and there. Yes, normally I’m not at all happy with my body. And I don’t think I’m alone in this world.

Our society has taught us to be dissatisfied with our bodies. Watch your weight. Don’t eat too much. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. Try this diet. No, try that one. If you want to be beautiful, you have to be thin. And so, the messages come at us, fast and furious.

My daughter is a child psychologist. She speaks a different message. “Learn to love your body as it is,” she says. So today, I suggest, appreciate the wonder of your body. Across from me is a vase filled with majestic, brightly coloured gladioli. On the windowsill, are delicate sweet peas. I can see their beauty and smell their sweet fragrance. At night as I go to sleep, I hear Tom whisper, “I love you.” I wake up, and I can still walk. My arms can reach out to hug my fabulous granddaughter.  And those are only a few of the wonders of my body. There is a children’s song titled “Oh, What a Miracle Am I.” It’s time we all tried chanting that line.

Yes, I can love my body even though it’s aging. I have decided to repeat those beautiful words, I love my body, every day as I get up. And give God thanks. What better way to start my day.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

The Last Time

This is the last time I will ask for your opinions on the pitch for my new novel, “Seeking Safety”. I have tweaked and tweaked. I am ready for your thoughts and recommendations. Thanks in advance.

Seventeen-year-old Renée Grenville and her dad, Steve, are slowly rebuilding their lives after Serena’s death. Now, Steve’s readiness for a new relationship threatens to topple Renée’s fragile security. While researching her mom’s past, Renée discovers a tiny book with faded writing. Her great-great-grandmother, a Barnardo child, had kept a diary.

When a refugee family from Syria, arrives in Catalpa Creek, tension mounts. Prejudice and fear surface. Both the Grenvilles’ and the Ahmadi’s safety is jeopardized. Renee’s stress peaks when death takes a victim once again.

Written in the voices of both Renee and Steve, Seeking Safety is a coming of age novel, not just for Renée, but for her Dad and the Catalpa Creek community.

Please comment.