What I know and believe about life has been shaped by the caring environment of a loving family growing up and by opportunities for a good education, but also by the onset of a serious chronic illness in my mid-twenties from which I have learned much through struggle, grief, and loss. I continue to discover that all of life’s experiences can be great teachers and I recognize that my learning will be life-long. This is partly because I literally keep going back to school and because I am challenged, rewarded, and refined by paths that traverse pain and lead toward joy.
I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, and completed a double honors BA degree in English and Political Science at the University of Saskatchewan and an MA and a PhD in English Literature at the University of Alberta. That chapter of my life offered me post-secondary teaching experience in the English Department at the University of Alberta and opportunities to author several books on Shakespeare for an American educational publisher.
In the most debilitating, life-changing years of my illness, self-care became the primary task. When I began to emerge from those full-time challenges, I entered the learning track again, completing the two-year certificate program in the ministry of Spiritual Direction, known as Presence, at Providence Renewal Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2006. Then I completed a Master of Theological Studies degree (MTS) at Newman Theological College, also in Edmonton (2010).
I really doubted I was completely finished with schooling even then and that has proven to be true. By 2014, I completed educational and formational requirements to be ordained as a deacon for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), my denominational home since birth. My primary calling as a Lutheran deacon is as a spiritual director for the Synod of Alberta and the Territories. I have also been appointed as one of two ecumenical officers for the Synod, which involves participating in ecumenical dialogue and fosters ecumenical relationships with other Christian denominations.
In 2020, I began school yet again, this time in the Doctor of Ministry program (DMin), through the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. My project for this degree focuses on human experiences of brokenness and how grace allows redemptive threads to be woven into our stories whether our brokenness is a result of sources such as broken relationships, broken dreams, broken hearts, broken bodies, and so on. Hope and healing become the most meaningful and desirable when we move into and through our various encounters with brokenness. These redemptive possibilities can happen through prayer, the support of others, our connection with our faith communities, conversation with a spiritual director/companion, and simply learning again and again how to be patient with the mysterious movements and stirrings of the Spirit in our lives.
I continue to reside in Edmonton and am self-employed in my various ministry and editing roles, working locally, abroad, and online. In this era, there are almost no geographical barriers. My personal pleasures include walking and running, dancing, reading, writing poetry, photography, engaging in meaningful conversations, and indulging in a daily dose of dark chocolate!