Allow me to introduce you to a small project that changed my life in forty days.
Lent wasn’t talked about at the baptist church I grew up in. Spiritual disciplines? Sure. Specifically Lent? No. But somewhere along the line as a young adult, I adopted the practice of 40-day aestheticism in preparation for Easter.
At the time, our family occupied a three-bedroom apartment on the east coast of Scotland. We were nearing the end of a unique season, living the expat life in St Andrews so my husband could complete his Ph.D. Life was very simple then and I had a hard time discerning what I needed to lay down for Lent.
Then a suggestion stirred in my heart: time. I sensed the call to sacrifice the time in my margins. Isn’t Jesus funny?! Asking a weary mother of two to sacrifice time in a nutty schedule of sippy cups and cheerios? My spirit laughed but then over the days that followed I felt this pressing urgency to spend my time in service, writing affirmations and acknowledging people who had influenced me. Obedience was the only option.
But who, Lord?
So I asked God to bring people to mind. I remember standing over my sink, staring at the cookbooks on the wall ahead, eyes welling up with tears as I explored my history, recalling the characters God had used to shape me. The practice changed my life. No exaggeration. The days leading to Easter 2016 were an unforgettable blurry mess.
I say unforgettable because the exercise rewired my heart. Writing acknowledgments to the world at large transformed my relationship with humanity. I became fully aware of the layer of divinity just below the surface. It opened my eyes to the power of influence we each possess.
I say a blurry mess because a) I perpetually had smudgy eyes from weeping tears of joy and b) I went through an impressive amount of dry shampoo. Just ask my husband.
The Top Forty
Here is a menu of the 40 posts. I highly recommend taking up the challenge of #40shoutouts40days. Talk to me and I’ll tell you why.
- My ninth grade English teacher, Mrs Hoogsta
- Donita, my first ballet teacher
- Mrs Narbett, the saint otherwise known as my high school Textiles teacher
- Chef Malcolm Bain from the VCC Culinary Arts Program
- Michael Leunig, Australian cartoonist
- Sarah Williams: brilliant academic, beloved teacher, and friend
- My Grammie June and Grandma Marion
- Ina Garten and all her butter
- Vikram Vij & Meeru Dhalwala, masters of Indian cuisine
- The Italian restaurateur who taught me about true hospitality
- Robert Farrar Capon, author of The Supper of the Lamb
- The man with the ponytail who used to work at Oyama
- Ashley Rodriguez, food genius and author of Date Night In
- Alisha Adams, the girl who told me to drop out of university
- The barista who played Lauryn Hill’s live album in the coffee shop
- Stevie Wonder, full-time lover
- Chip Wilson, the wild and wonderful founder of lululemon
- Carmen, the first boss who called me out on wasting time
- The students I had the honour of tutoring
- My boss at my first Big Girl Job
- Penny, B&B owner and soul nurturer
- Katie, one of several favourite badass managers
- lululemon’s corporate class of 2011
- Dr Colleen, the neurologist who literally saved my sanity
- Chiropractor Extraordinaire Shelley Adams
- Lance Odegard, poet and author of At The Pool We’ve All Got Bodies
- Michaela Evanow, writer and heart behind #mamagrief
- Anne Lamott (who hardly needs an introduction)
- Elizabeth Koda-Callan, author of the gimmicky book The Silver Slippers
- Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Love Warrior and Oprah’s latest BFF
- My cousin Heidi, the best bad influence available in 1995
- The multitude of spectacular artists I call friends
- Vancouver’s mysterious Opera Man
- Youth workers in general (but specifically the ones from SDBC)
- Rob Lee, Director of Camp Firwood, and his wife Val
- Terry & Michelle, mentors and bullshit police
- Tim Keller, wise pastor and genius communicator
- Lorne and Mary-Ruth Wilkinson, Regent College legends and friends
- Brother Lawrence, perfector of the practice
- My Heavenly Father