that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.



cinnamon-hearts (If anyone is thinking about it, my favourite Valentine treat are chocolate truffles and cinnamon hearts. But not the fake truffles. Or fake hearts, for that matter. I am just sayin’.)

I wonder sometimes why and how I am so abundantly blessed by all of the fascinating, wonderful people in my life. Then I remember that it doesn’t take very much to make me smile or make me want to know more about a person. After that I wonder if I do anything to touch other people’s lives the way that they touch mine, even if it’s in the smallest way.

Recently, Jocelyn came over for a walk and she brought me a coffee, which was unreal and much needed… but what I’ve loved and needed more are the weekly talks we have, heart to heart over coffee at Starbucks (10:15 every Friday if you want to crash). Later that week I sat side by side with Amanda and Brooke (missing Mal) in Starbucks, giggling over the silliest little things, while Ryan made us vanilla lattes… for free, which was fabulous. Luke spent the evening distracting me from studying, with much more compelling and delightful topics than WW2 history..and way more fun.. and Troy and Kieran cooked me dinner and made me laugh so hard it hurt the night before, right before Paul called for the first time in eons. My stomach and soul jumped this afternoon when I got a text from Nadina saying “we should make SALSA next week”… a day cooking and a day with Nadina is like soulfood in and of itself.

And I already mentioned how wonderful it was to visit with Nana, but I forgot to say how special it was to share some quiet moments with my aunties Cornelia, Anita, Tanya and my mom while they came down to play-nurse for their mom; or how wonderful people like Alicia, aunties Monika and Sylvia have been in rearranging their lives in a way to accommodate the recent events (and continually envelope their ‘stray’ nieces into their homes). I am waiting patiently for auntie Carolene’s visit in April.

Mom and Jayme were here for the week and if there is any evidence of heartstrings-tied-tight, it’s written all over my heart whenever they (or I) have to leave. My sister Marli called me and we hadn’t talked to each other in ages, and I couldn’t tell you how cherished and worthy I felt by hearing her affirmation in my life that I might be doing okay. Or how I grinned when Jes e-mailed me to ask me to come visit, sometimes feeling wanted matters so much to me. I think my heart actually swelled when her sister in law, Amy, sent me a photo of the sweet baby that she’ll be having in the summer. And I just adore the other mama-to-be, Chrissy, for giving me a place in her and Trav’s lives.

I miss Ang way too much, long for coffee with Billiejean, and think life could very likely be complete if Megan lived in the bedroom beside me and Leanne upstairs, down the hall. When life affords me moments to check blogs and ‘check in’ on everyone, I head to see what Avey and Michelle have been up to first before making sure Chelsey and Maya had a good day, as they always seem to do!  I simply love making conversation with random people on the street or in coffee shops or class who seem to nestle their way into my corner of the world. Or reconnecting to find the heartstrings never to fade away.

And I need to save a whole chapter on my blog for the ways Kyla continually touches my life with her friendship and kindness and wisdom and unending patience (and hilarious dates with her husband).

(I kinda got carried away, and I didn’t miss people intentionally, by any stretch what-so-ever, I was just trying to make a point).

The point I am trying to get at is that every time I invest something in someone, and feel they’ve invested in me, I have given them a piece of my heart that I don’t mind being without. I love the feeling that family, friends, and new faces in my life do to my soul. I remember once Jes asked me what I was passionate about and I didn’t have an answer for her. But I think it’s people. (Am I allowed to be passionate about people?) I would way rather spend an evening hearing your heart, sharing my own, and embracing you with my heartstrings than anything else — especially if there is coffee involved. I love how worthy it makes me feel that I am a part of something greater, something invaluable, something more intricate and intimate and intensely personal other than myself — I get to play a small role in your lives which is something I do not take for granted for a second. I could spend a whole jar-of-cinnamon-hearts worth of time listing people and things that have touched me and taken a piece of my heart in the last week, or in the last few years, and continually stoke the flame of my greatest passion, but I think I will share it with them first.

I just thought you might like to know that my heartstrings are tied tight around you, and I am in awe, as always, at the people I get to love in my life. It’s very much a privilege and I love that you can have a piece of me…because as hard as it can be to share my heart and my flaws, I know with you, it means I’ve gotten a piece of your hearts just for me– heartstrings woven ever-so-close and threaded deep within my soul.

To my soul friends, you are loved and cherished and appreciated. Happy Valentine’s Day.