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It snowed overnight in Gaylord, MI.  We woke to a lovely dusting on the ground.  And about three inches covering the car.  It was still snowing gently as we pulled out and continued our journey.  We crossed the most amazing bridge into St. Ignace before stopping for brunch at 11:00 am.  We met two of the loveliest ladies who helped us choose which route to take…and we’re glad we followed their advice.

The one main challenge was the long stretch between Marketta and Ironwood.  We were hoping to stop for the night about an hour after we left Marketta, but there was nowhere to stop.  The motels along the highway were all booked because of SnowFest happening this weekend.

The driving was much slower than yesterday, the roads were slippery and at times we were driving through freezing rain.  But we made a point to stop, stretch, check out local places of interest, usually involving cheese and/or jerky, and then continued on our way.

I left my pillow behind in Gaylord and realised it only after about six hours of driving…so I sent them an email asking if they can ship it to me in B.C.  If they say yes that’s awesome.  And if not, it means I need to get a new pillow.

Tonight we chose a hotel which again had a pool and hot tub.  So after we walked to supper and back again we donned bathing attire and headed to the pool.  I repeated last night’s bliss of floating silently on my back.  While the water was not as warm, it was just as soothing.

We haven’t looked at tomorrow’s route yet, but I’m thinking it will involve Wisconsin, Minnesota and possibly Manitoba.  We have crossed into Central time.  Today we traveled 600 kilometres, that’s 1,100 in total.  We’re getting there…nearly half way!

And now to make a cup of tea, relax and look at maps.  Life, as they say, is good.

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Today started a mess, and ended quite well.  I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I had hoped and this morning when I started packing the car I realised I still had too many boxes. So eight of them were shipped, the rest, including my clothes were loaded in and my traveling companion and I headed west.

Crossing the border at Port Huron was a breeze.  I was asked to put down the rear window and the border guard asked if it was like playing tetris trying to get everything in.  He asked where we were going and then advised us on how far we could get before we stopped for the night…Gaylord, Michigan.

Tonight, after a long day on the road and the emotions of saying goodbye to the home I’ve known for eight years, it was good to simply float in the warm water of the hotel pool.   I exercised myself for half an hour and then I floated…it was bliss.

Not much to write tonight, still processing the past couple of weeks, especially the last week and weekend.  Tonight is for relaxing, something fun to watch on Netflix and early to sleep.

Then tomorrow, once again, we will be on the road as the adventure calls us West.

Thus far we have traveled 500 kilometers.  Only about 2,700 to go.   🙂  Look out, here we come!!!

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On Wednesday I was traveling to Niagara Falls to the Mt. Carmel Spiritual Centre.  The Clergy of the Diocese where I am a priest gather annually to spend time together in contemplation, in worship and in continuing education.  A colleague and I were driving together and did not have the radio on.  It was only over lunch with another colleague that we learned of the shootings at Parliament Hill.

Canada has always been known as a safe place to be.  Our reputation is one of tolerance and collegaitlity.   We are a polite people.  On Wednesday we stepped outside our comfortable place as spectators to terrorism and became entrenched in the centre of abject fear.  A lone gunman opened fire and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Monument in Ottawa.

Only days before Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run over by a speeding car.  He was deliberately run over.  Because he wore the uniform of a Canadian Soldier.

This kind of hatred is enough to strike  fear in the hearts of most law-abiding people.  We feel afraid to go outside, afraid of what the world is becoming, and especially, we are afraid of the stranger.  And that is exactly what we should not be doing.

The role of Sgt at Arms is one that is primarily ceremonial.  The job of the Sgt at Arms is to protect and keep order at meetings of a deliberative body, such as the House of Commons.

While the soldiers who guard the National War Monument and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier carry unloaded firearms, the Sgt at Arms has a sidearm at the ready.  On on Wednesday, the Sgt of Arms for the House of Commons, Kevin Vickers calmly drew his weapon and ran down the hall upon hearing gunfire.  Members of his security team shouted where the suspect was hidden and without hesitation Vickers put himself before the suspect while firing his weapon.  Once the suspect was on the ground the rest of the security force opened fire.

Magazine empty, Vickers returned to his office to reload, ensuring that all was safe and the threat contained he returned to the room where the Prime Minister and his cabinet were contained and told them “I engaged the suspect and the suspect is dead”.  The entire room is said to have erupted in cheers.  The next day when the Sgt at Arms entered his post at Parliament Hill in the House of Commons he received a very long standing ovation.  He looked visibly moved and humbled beyond words.

We, as Canadians owe all men and women who promise to protect this wonderful country of ours.  Whether they are in uniform or not; whether they are in the military or other security force, they risk their lives on a daily basis.  It is heartening to hear of the actions of the Sgt at Arms.  For him it was just another day at the office.  But a day like no other he has witnessed before.

With Remembrance Day only a couple of weeks away, the poignancy of the two military deaths resonates loudly.  The heroism of the guards who stand day after day at the National War Memorial show us that they will remain on guard for us. I have always been proud to be Canadian.  I abhor violence and consider myself a pacifist.  And yet, I can’t help but be moved to tears at the selfless actions of Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers.  He did what needed to be done to protect his Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the countless others who were at the Parliament Buildings that day.

No matter how many times we say it, thank you is not enough.  This country owes a great deal to a man who was simply doing his job.  No matter how many honours Vickers receives (and I am certain there will be many) nobody will be able to adequately express the gratitude we feel.  Any attempt feels ineffectual.

I was elated to learn that the War Memorial guards returned to their post and that the entire area was once again open to the public.  We refuse to live in fear.  We stand tall against those who would harm us, regardless of how that harm is presented.  We will not fear the stranger.  The men who ran over and killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and the man who shot and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo will not be named in this blog.  They don’t deserve recognition.

Rather, I bring the names of the two soldiers who died for our peace-loving country.  And I bring the name of Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers before you as another example of bravery in the face of hatred.

Being Canadian means many things to many people.  Most recently we have learned that being a Canadian is about standing up for that which we believe and preparing to give our lives, if necessary.  We have also learned that being a Canadian is about standing up for hatred and terror by staring it in the face and refusing to run in fear.

“God keep our land, glorious and free.  O Canada we stand on guard for thee.”  Amen

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Twelve months ago my dad died. I miss him, more than I ever imagined I would.

This morning at 11:00 I am meeting a family at the cemetery where we will inter the cremated remains of their mother/grandmother. It seems appropriate that we will gather for this liturgy on this particular day.

M was also from England. She radiated sunshine and never spoke a mean word about anyone. Which is not to say she was all sweetness and light. When you had slipped up she would tell you, and you would know you had been told. She was fiercely proud of her family, and would have been delighted at her granddaughter’s wedding last Saturday.

M always wore Keds running shoes with a casual collared top and a cardigan. She joined our Bible Study group with some hesitation as she had never before attended Bible Study, and in the end she was the one who always started the discussion, as she had collected questions as she read.

I believe my Dad and M would have gotten along quite well, until it came time for football. Dad was a staunch Man City supporter, and M supported Everton. I would love to have seen the exchanges between them regarding their respective teams.

Today is also my sister-in-laws birthday. We are gathering tonight at my mother-in-laws to have dinner. I don’t really want to go, but I know I have to. Today is not about me.

So, after I’m finished my ‘work duties’ today, I think I will go for a walk and take in the beauty of this day. We started with fog, but it seems to have lifted now and there is bright sunshine.

Today is meant to be a day of peace.

Rest in peace, Dad, and rise in glory.

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Hello world!

This is hereto unexplored territory for me. A luddite by nature, and slow to catch on to technology and other interweb-type stuff…here I am.

The opinions I express here are mine alone, and do not reflect the opinions of any agency or organisation with which I may be involved.

This blog is an experiment in self-care and self-awareness. I belong to a profession where there is no set schedule, no 9-5 Monday to Friday world. We can, and often do work seven days a week, 365 days a year and most of what we do is not measurable. More about that later.

For now, I’ll write when I have something to say or to share. Feel free to ask questions or comment. I don’t have a smart phone or other portable device that enables me to receive messages instantly, and I like it that way.

So if you sent me a comment and I don’t reply right away, it’s not because I don’t like you. It’s simply because I’m doing something else, or I have turned off technology in order to do something fun.

Be patient with me…this is new territory.

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