Tag Archives: love


It’s always kind of weird to come back to where I grew up. I’ve been back in S. Park the past few days for a mini vacation due to Thanksgiving, and sitting here in my childhood bedroom, I’m struck by how many memories this one room holds for me. The walls are bright blue and green, a testament to my teenage taste and personality, the furniture maple-toned, matching the hardwood floor that runs throughout the house. It isn’t a large room, but yet the furniture fits comfortably, the single bed marking that period in my life where I wanted as much floor space as possible so I could stretch undisturbed (though how often I actually did that is debatable). If I think about the walls and furniture, though, I must remember that they weren’t always that way, not when I was in my prima ballerina faze and white furniture handed down from my mother stood in the room, softer pinks, blues and greens dominating my décor. Yet even before then, as a small child, primary colours chosen by my mother were all the rage, stuffed animals my most intimate friends and devoted company.

I look back at the walls and notice that though the colour is bright it sometimes is hard to make out due to how many objects cover them, from ceiling to floor. The objects on the wall document everything from festivals and performances I participated in, to past travels, accomplishments, birthday parties, and art projects. They range in age, some dating back to the last few months of the 80s, others to just a few years ago, a timeline of the most important events within my past 26 years: a photo of my first Christmas, a poster of my first semi-professional Ukrainian dance tour, spoons from various places I’ve traveled, my university degree. Every object tells a story, hearkens back to the fleshed-out moment it now symbolizes.

The books do the same. Stacks upon stacks of books are piled into every nook and cranny, books I haven’t finished, books I’ve read once or twice, and books that have been supremely loved over the years. Each book, each photo album, each journal and notebook represents a part of me, my interests (whether they remain the same or have changed), my story, another timeline. The old school binders tell an even more specific story as they showcase the work I actually did, the subjects I excelled in and those that provided an intellectual struggle (whether I wanted to admit it or not).

Most important, though, of all these things I find in my room are the little secret things hidden in cracks and at the back of drawers, the sneakiest places in the closet. The paper notes my friends and I passed in class (before anyone had a cellphone); the ticket stubs of movies and shows I’d seen; the paint chips I saved in anticipation of having my own house; the musings I wrote down before I started a blog. When I read those notes and take out the ticket stubs and paint chips and travel back to each moment in time, I can see that I truly have lived. I had opinions and feelings in each of those moments, and those opinions and feelings motivated me to write that note or see that film or dream about what was yet to come and put those thoughts on paper. And looking back to then from now, I can see how this girl who is myself has grown from the person I was to the person I am, never changing completely, but rather becoming more and more me as each day passes.

You may be wondering what the point of this post is. I’m not sure I truly know myself. All I know is that for the past hour or so I’ve sat here in silence, taking the time to appreciate the experiences I’ve had while anticipating those to come, something I hardly ever do.

I think I’ve just had Thanksgiving.

Joyanne 😀



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That moment when you realize you just had a perfect night.

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January 20, 2015 · 10:28 am

We’ve Hit Another New Year’s Eve???

I always seem to miss the anniversary of this blog by one day (Happy 3rd birthday to us!), which then reminds me that I haven’t written in here for quite some time (I guess that whole “Mini Moments” test in breaking procrastination failed slightly…). But that’s what New Year’s is for: for making copious amounts of resolutions and then failing to accomplish every single one within days of the new year hitting. But, well, maybe this year will be the year. All it takes is a bit of motivation, organization, and time management to make a resolution stick…

Hold on. What am I saying? That’s why I always seem to fail with resolutions: motivation, organization, and time management are not usually my strong suits. I feel like recognizing my shortcomings, however, is a step in the right direction, isn’t it? Baby steps, my dear Watson, baby steps.

And yet… I just went back and reread last year’s New Year’s Eve post and you know, I feel like those things that I hoped to accomplish during 2014 really did come true. For the most part my family, friends and I have been in good health, and I have had my share of blessed experiences that have, I believe, helped me continue to grow into a woman I love and am proud of.

Perhaps that’s what I need to remember for this year too, that it’s enough to take each day as it comes and seek the little moments that make the bigger picture fantastic. Indeed, I have already begun to speak the mantra “One Day at a Time” several times a day. It really does help put things into perspective and take the pressure off ‘future-thinking’ (which I do a lot).

So, with that in mind, I take my leave. The only thing left to say, it seems, is I wish you all God’s blessings for the last remaining hours of 2014 and the beginning of 2015!

Joyanne 😀

P.s. I totally will start the “Mini Moments” thing… Promise!

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Looking 25 in the Face

I sit on my couch on the eve of my 25th birthday, not wanting to go to sleep, but not having any reason to stay awake either. So, here I come to my trusty blog to write nonsense and… nothing at all, really. It feels weird to know that tomorrow at 7:31am I will be a quarter century old. Doesn’t that just sound old? Granted, I’ve been working up to saying that I’m 25 by telling people I’m “almost 25,” so simply saying the phrase “twenty-five” isn’t the weird thing. It’s that I used to think that 25 was so old, mature, and professional, and I feel anything but. I used to think that by the time I was 25 I’d be an established professional, no doubt working as an actress in the Edmonton theatre community. I used to think that by 25 I would perhaps be in a steady relationship on its way to marriage. I used to think that I would know what I’d want.

But now that I’m looking 25 in the face, I see the truth, and the truth is that I still don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not an established, professional actress, and I don’t know that I want to be one anymore. I’m certainly no closer to marriage than I was 10 years ago, and it may take several more years before I feel like I’m ready for such a commitment. Instead I find myself three years out of university preparing to go back to university for schooling that won’t get me a job any easier than my first degree.

Sometimes I really wonder what in the world I’m thinking.

It all comes down to discernment. I read an article late last year about that very subject. See, the gentleman who wrote it spoke about discernment coming after making a decision, not before, and that completely blew my mind! It’s what spurred me to finally bite the bullet and decide to study Eastern Christian Theology at the Sheptytsky Institute in Ottawa. The closer I come to actually leaving Edmonton again, however, the more I wonder if my decision was a good one. Obviously I don’t know anything yet because I haven’t started my studies, but still the thought resides. I think it’s mostly just anticipation for a new life once again and being anxious for change. Another thing I learn by the time I’m 25: I’m not as rooted as I thought I was.

Hmm… this makes me think about other things that I’ve learned over the past 25 years, things like
1. Don’t touch a hot stove (Age 2)
2. Being called a crybaby only makes you cry harder (Age 6)
3. If you hit your brother and then scream that he hit you, he will get in trouble, not you (Age 10)
4.  A diary always helps you feel better (Age 12)
5. The world sucks, but you have to keep going (also Age 12)
6. Skid row actually isn’t so bad, though the nearest bathrooms totally are (Age 16)
7. You’re never going to get a man by standing aside and doing nothing (In theory–Age 19; in practise–have yet to learn)
8. You actually are pretty cool (Age 22)
9. So are your parents (Age 24)

Above all else, I’ve learned that I am actually a pretty resilient person, much braver than I thought I was, and capable of loving deeply. Though I have all this uncertainty in my life, let me consider this a blessing and just another example of the adventure I have invited into my life. No, I have no idea where I’m going and what the next 25 years will bring. But I do know hope, and looking forward, that hope shines like a beacon. Now, only to remember it in my old age.


Joyanne <:D

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From Death to Eternal Life

I had this dream while I was napping:

I was at my Baba and Dido’s house in Two Hills. My Baba was sitting in the green armchair Dido always used to sit in, but it was in the bedroom I always sleep in. She was hooked up to a heart monitor. Suddenly, the heart monitor registered she was going into cardiac arrest. I called out to my Mom, who was in the next room. I turned back to my Baba, but it was too late; in the blink of an eye, she was gone. I sobbed. I couldn’t believe she was gone.

I turned to my Dido, who had just appeared. And in that moment, as quickly as she was gone, my Baba was alive again. I went to her and I said, “Baba, you just died,” to which she responded with something like, “Oh, that’s why I feel like something weird happened.” The doctor checked her out (I think the doctor was my Dad) and said she was fine, me adding, “Except for old age,” as my Dido looked on in a concerned manner.

I think it’s interesting I had this dream today, on Easter Sunday. My Baba passed away 4 years ago the week before Easter, my Dido leaving the earth 7 years before. I’m not a dream analyst, but I can tell you what this dream means to me, in the context of this great day: they are alive. My grandparents are alive. I witnessed my Baba die again in my dream, but I also witnessed her wake back up again, just like Peter and the other Apostles witnessed Jesus rise from death. My Dido’s concern is nothing more than making sure my Baba got through the passageway okay, and according to the doctor, she did. Where my “Except for old age” remark fits in, I have no idea. But maybe it has something to do with my lack of enlightenment, my lack of understanding of what had truly taken place before me. I thought Baba was still the same as she was before she died, but in reality she had just become immortal.

Well, there are my two cents this Easter Sunday. I hope you have the chance to celebrate this greatest of feast days with your family and friends, sharing in fabulous food, conversation, and prayer.

God bless, Khrystos Voskres, Christ is Risen, Happy Easter!

Joyanne 😀

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No, It’s Not Okay! But I Still Love You

Think about this: if someone wrongs you in some way and then apologizes, do you say, “That’s okay,” or do you say, “I forgive you”?

For the past little bit I’ve become aware of the fact that I never ever say the words, “I forgive you” to anyone who apologizes to me after hurting me in some way.  I always say, “It’s okay.”  Problem is, it’s not okay, but for some reason I feel so awkward saying the words, “I forgive you.” Why is that? I don’t know, but I’m thinking I’m not the only one who says, “That’s okay” even when someone really hurt you and it’s clearly not okay that they did so.

Why does this matter? Well, I feel like when we say, “It’s okay” we brush aside any responsibility the other person has in aquiring our forgiveness, and any responsibility we have in forgiving them. I’m sure you have heard that forgiveness is the key to successful relationships, whether they be platonic or romantic, and I think the reason why this is is because when we say, “I forgive you,” we acknowledge that what the other person did was indeed wrong and/or did hurt, but we are willing to move past it. When we say, “That’s okay,” we literally say, “I’m fine with what you did, so let’s not talk about it anymore.” BUT IT’S NOT OKAY! Are we honestly such pushovers that we can’t say to someone, “You were wrong and what you did hurt, but I still love you”? I know I am, and it sucks to realize that.

But now that I’ve realized the enormous difference between the two phrases, I’m going to try my best to actually forgive someone instead of pretending that everything is okay.  I hope you join me in this quest for being brave enough to forgive!


Joyanne 😀

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Reflecting on The Five Love Languages

Well, I’ve finished another book. I feel like every time I find that I have something to say, it’s usually because of something I’ve recently read. I suppose that isn’t a bad thing; it’s just a pattern I’ve been noticing.

Anyway, The Five Love Languages: singles edition by Gary Chapman is the book I’ve just finished reading and (as I tend to find with several inspirational books) I feel like this is another one everyone should read. Why? Because it just makes sense. What Chapman argues in his book is that the number one thing every human being craves is feeling loved. I feel like that’s quite accurate; I know I want to feel loved. However, we are not always in ‘loving’ moods, so how can we make sure that everyone feels loved all the time? Well, Chapman also argues, “Love is not a feeling; it is a way of behaving” (p. 212). We have to consciously decide to love people, whether it’s a significant other, a family member, or a coworker. There are five main ways to show love: Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch. What Chapman theorizes is that every person has their own primary ‘love language’ (one of the five) that they most like receiving (though receiving all five is important). The challenge with this is that what one person really responds to might not be very comfortable for another person to offer. But if you truly want to make the other person feel as though they’re loved by you, then you make the effort to ‘speak their language,’ no matter how difficult it may be for you at first. As Chapman says, “‘After you [try speaking their love language] the first time, it will be easier to repeat it the second time and the third'” (p.44).

What a concept. In order to love someone, you have to think about what would make them feel loved, not how you are comfortable with showing love (and when I say ‘love’ I also mean respect, appreciation, etc, depending on the type of relationship and what’s appropriate: all things inside Chapman’s book). The more I observe the way people communicate in today’s day and age (myself included) the more strongly I come to feel that no one really knows how to communicate anymore, even though we have the most advanced communication tools of the day with internet, mobile phones, and social media. What I have come to believe is that having all this access to instantaneous communication has actually made us lazy and selfish. I remember someone saying that we don’t even have to talk to anyone anymore to find out things about people’s lives; all we have to do is creep them on Facebook or Twitter and we’re caught up. It’s not about the other person anymore; it’s about ourselves and this illusion of ‘staying in the loop.’

Doesn’t anyone want to have meaningful relationships anymore? I hope the answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ because so do I. I’m sick of pretending like I care. I want to care, even if it’s difficult, and I truly believe this concept of the five love languages can really help take the focus off myself and make me more receptive to the needs of others. At the end of the day, it could help one become a more perceptive person, one who is able to relate better with those around them.

So, I challenge you to pick up this small, white book, and give it a read (check out the website too, for videos and more links). See if it can’t help you enhance the relationships in your life.

Good luck!


Joyanne 😀

P.s. Thanks to Erin for lending me her copy of The Five Love Languages: singles edition; you may have created a monster!

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