Nice To See Happy!

Death can occur at any time. When death takes a loved one it can be particularly painful. And when that loved one is a long-term spouse, one wonders if the grieving process can ever end. So many memories and shared life experiences! Is a new chapter ever possible? Many do not believe it is, but this weekend Betty & I were witness to the answer for Betty’s brother, Bill, and his new wife, Marie: a resounding YES. It’s so nice to see happy again for both of them!!

As our ferry began the two hour voyage to Vancouver, the coastline of Nanaimo receded in the background.
A smaller ferry, in B.C.s large fleet, heads to one of the many coastal islands, as snow-capped mountains overlook the Strait of Georgia. Our captain pointed out a pod of whales near-by, but I was unable to capture a pic.

Long story short: Bill and Marie met as children in Sunday School in Toronto, and were great friends. As time went on, Bill met and married Heather, and Marie met and married John. When death took Heather and John, Marie contacted Bill to express condolences, and they became reacquainted. Through the marvels of social media, they were able to bridge the distance between Bill’s home in Ontario, and Marie’s in British Columbia. They discovered that they enjoyed each other’s company, and decided to start a new chapter in life – together.

Marie and Bill joyfully start a new chapter of life together.

Due to current COVID restrictions, the nuptials were a small affair, with Marie’s son and grandchildren joining Betty & I to witness the wedding in a New Westminster, B.C. church. The service was relatively brief, but particularly moving as Marie and Bill shared the heartfelt vows they had written for each other.

Rev. Blair blesses the union of Marie & Bill, as they exchange rings and share their vows.
At the church, Bill and Marie are joined by Marie’s grandson Ryan, son Jeff, and granddaughter Keira .
Betty & I were happy to bear witness to the start of a new life together for Marie and Bill.

After the service, we all returned to Marie and Bill’s condo where we enjoyed a fabulous wedding feast, including some of the fine wine referenced by the minister in his remarks about Jesus’ wedding miracle – where Jesus turned water into wine for the wedding guests. An unexpected delight!

To wrap the newlyweds in a warm hug, Betty spent hundreds of hours sewing a colourful quilt for them. It is called “Sunshine” to wish them sunshine and butterflies during this last chapter.
The cheerfully coloured quilt matches its new owners joyful dispositions. lol.

The weekend provided a great opportunity to get acquainted and reacquainted. We went for walks along New Westminster’s picturesque boardwalk, edging the Fraser River. The river and boardwalk are two short blocks away from Bill and Marie’s condo, although it is straight downhill to get there, and all uphill to get back. A much-needed workout!

Betty & I enjoyed the sunshine and view from our balcony in the Inn At The Quay, New Westminster.
Our hotel room jutted out over the Fraser River, providing marvellous views of strollers on the boardwalk below and ships up and down the river.
Our room at Inn At The Quay was on the far right of the structure, providing a great view of the mighty Fraser River. Thank you to Bill and Marie for this lovely surprise.

It was so nice to see the love and joy in the faces of Bill and Marie, and to get a glimpse of the happiness they are experiencing as they enter this new phase of life together. When the death of a loved one occurs, we often think there can be no future. This weekend Marie and Bill proved to us that a new joyful chapter is possible. Nice to see happy again!


Its early February and buds have formed on the bushes surrounding our motorhome in Nanaimo – a sign that new life is possible!
This artistic? pic might better have been included in the “Matter of Perspective” post. But I captured the Coastal Inspiration ferry’s funnels with my new telephoto lens on our trip from Nanaimo to Vancouver this weekend.

A Matter of Perspective

How do we view people and things around us?

I got a pic of Betty in silhouette, as she takes a pic of our surroundings on a recent hike on Vancouver Island.

In the 1980’s, Howard Zehr wrote a thought-provoking paper for the Mennonite Central Committee, comparing and contrasting a retributive model of justice with biblical justice, and what he termed “restorative justice”. Zehr subsequently elaborated on these concepts in a seminal book entitled “Changing Lenses”. He challenged the reader to see justice from a number of perspectives, leading to different definitions for crime, and potentially more satisfying outcomes. The restorative justice paradigm continues to grow around the world. 

Since we returned to Vancouver Island after Christmas, the view from our campsite has been limited by almost daily fog.
In one of my first pics with the new telephoto lens, the ships come into sharper view, but the mountains behind remain shrouded in clouds and fog.

This Christmas I received an amazing gift from our son, Andrew – a new telephoto lens for my camera. As a result, I have been able to change lenses, and see what is around us from other distinct perspectives.

A passing sailboat is dwarfed by the snow-capped mountains in the background of this pic, taken from Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, B.C.

As with my camera, the new lens has a lot of bells and whistles, and it will take me a while to master it. But it’s a lot of fun to see and experience things differently. This post provides a few of my first shots.

With my new lens, I was able to radically change perspectives, zooming in on the same sailboat and its inhabitants. The name of the boat “Strait Wings” now comes into view.

Back in Nanaimo, people have talked about how unusually cold it has been on Vancouver Island this winter. But Betty & I can tell you that, having spent a month in Manitoba’s deep freeze, the weather here is definitely a matter of perspective! lol BTW, at 10.6c, today Nanaimo was recorded as the hot spot for Canada!

Waves crashed against the rocky shore, as Betty & I hiked a scenic trail around Neck Point Park.

When we travel, Betty & I meet others from many interesting places, with divergent backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives on life. Next to campfires and through casual conversations, we are challenged to see people and things around us through different lenses.

Back at our campsite, we can see more clearly the ferries and cargo ships that pass up and down the Georgia Strait. With a more dramatic view of the mountains in the background, the telephoto lens allows me to read the name of the cargo ship – the “Conquistador” from Valletta, Malta.

Whether or not one has opportunities to break out of a mold and do some travelling, I hope that we can all take the time to see the beauty around us through alternate lenses.


For my birthday this week, Betty prepared my all-time favourite Italian dinner: saltimbocca alla romana. Yum yum!
A new sweater, knit by my sweetie for my 70th birthday, looks much better than the person wearing it. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. lol