Sunday Sundries: Ottawa Trip

 

It was very moving to see the First People’s of Canada led the parade ahead of our Prime Minster and his guests. The Indigenous community has first place of honor in our Pride Parades this year, both here in Montreal and in Ottawa today.

 

I am home from a Whirl Wind trip to Ottawa to visit my best friend.

I took an early bus out, because I arrived at the station earlier than I had anticipated, so they let me on an early bus.

Pictured above … The Pride Parade in Ottawa this afternoon. The Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, fellow Parliamentarians, and The Honorable Kathryn Wynne, the Premier of Ontario, led today’s parade through the streets of the Gay Village in Ottawa.

You can see the Private Security AND the POLICE. And I have to say there was one particularly HUMPY officer on a bike … WOOF !!

As the Prime Minister marched past us, a counter demonstration was coming back at us from the wrong direction, chanting “NO COPS in the PRIDE PARADE …” As many Officers on their bikes were riding with them in the opposite direction.

There were TWO Counter COP protest groups in today’s parade.

If I had the chance, several of them would have had broken limbs, had the cops not been escorting them, against the tide.

Nuff said about those asshole …

Unlike last year, the sun was out and we got quite burned standing on the sidewalk on the sunny side of the street. We took up several positions as the parade came past us.

It was much bigger, and many more groups marched this year. Last year it pissed down rain all afternoon.

All of the Political Parties had groups marching. The Canadian Military Services also marched, and one of their buses was in the parade itself. And we thought this funny that the Military Band that marched in the parade was playing … wait for it …

IT’S RAINING MEN ….

By the Weather Girls. My bestie said to me as they came past that they should have been playing “In the Navy” by the Village People. Both songs would have been appropriate.

We have some seriously good-looking men in uniform.

It was a good day, that ended in a Second Cup over coffee and conversation.

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Friday …

I arrived around 5 o’clock into Ottawa, and we had reservations to see Kontinuum.

Ontario is building a METRO system in Ottawa Proper. due to open next year.

There are two lines, A North – South Branch and an East West Branch running through downtown Ottawa, Several Stations will be servicing Parliament Hill, in the area, almost adjacent to The Hill.

Kontinuum, is a Multi Sensory, Light, Video and Sound show that was built to highlight the Metro System, under ground. The stations are not yet complete. So as we entered the System, we came in on One Side of the station, where we were greeted by a sensory overload light show that began above ground with a movie, sound and light show.

Over the next half hour we moved underground, into that station, as light, sound and video showcased the Metro System. On the Track platform, which hosted both sides of the station, like we have here, an inbound and an outbound track. Sound and light served both sides of the platform.

It was quite dynamic.

I have video of the tunnel, but this blog does not have video functions …

UGH .

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Saturday …

 

Saturday was a full plate kind of day. With my friends Parliament Hill Access, and an invitation from a Member of Parliament, we got in to see Parliament Hill, from the Inside. A beautiful day.

 

Parliament Hill is a beautiful building, with many different rooms. Every part of the building and every sculpture, column, room, carving and marble floor tile, has a specific meaning. Elements from ALL over Canada went into building the site. As Parliament Hill went up, and Canada grew into Confederation, and all the provinces and territories were at some point, all are represented in the building itself.

We saw the House of Commons, which is done in shades of green. Each seat in the room is party specific. The murals on the walls, and the wood carvings around the room as well, all have stories attached to them.

 

The Senate Chamber is Red. And also there as well, there are meanings carved in the wood, the murals in the hall, and as well, in both committee meeting rooms, that are used during the week for consultations and deliberations of House Business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Parliament Hill, we Toured the Canadian National War Museum.

The War museum is a HUGE building. And tells the story of the men who served Canada in all of the wars and conflicts, around the world, over time. I do not know, on my grandmothers side of the Canadian branch of family, if anyone in that branch, served in any military campaigns. I need to go look through my family tree. I do have one here at home.

The museum is beautiful and tragic. Sad and Sorrow filled. So many men lost their lives over the century. And the War Museum gives their stories, tells of their service, and honors their sacrifice to a grateful nation that is Canada.

At Parliament Hill, in the Memorial Hall, is listed every soul who lost his life serving our country. We saw the Peace Tower on my last trip.

Myself as well as my best friend, we are both immigrants to Canada.

Both of us Citizens of Canada.

One can get misty eyed while walking those hallowed halls of memory, and think of all those men, who took on the evil of war, many died, but also many came back. And Canada honors their service to our country.

It was an amazing experience. Last Summer when I went to Ottawa, we were both on the hill together, watching a light show on Parliament Hill, and as new citizens, together at the same time, ON the HILL, as they played Oh Canada … I wept.

That was the most important night of my Canadian Life.

I did not get a citizenship meetings, nor a hand shake, nor the anthem, when I got my papers in the mail, just a Welcome to Canada letter, from our Now Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, who was serving as Immigration Minister when I became a citizen.

As we exited the Museum, I said to my friend that, unlike many Canadians, we did not have any blood connection to anyone represented in that museum. But nonetheless, we were moved to tears in the halls, and we honored their memories, by sharing in this tour together.

We Honored all the men and women who served our Country.

Because War is not just a male oriented duty. Because we know that when a man went to war, his wife, girlfriend, family, and community did their fair share of service, IN service of the war and the men fighting over seas.

We all played a part in the success of the men who served, by doing what we could to serve the greater good, when it mattered. And in death, there are MANY memorials scattered all over Ottawa, for us to visit and REMEMBER …

Right across the street from the War Museum a monument to the Holocaust is going up. It will be another beautiful monument to the survivors and all of those who died in the worst genocide the world has ever seen.

The unspoken genocide that took place right here in our Country was the eradication of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The Government, and we as citizens, are on the road to mending those very valuable relationships, and the people who survived that very hushed genocide of those who were here First. Which is why they are front and center of Pride Parades in Canada this year.

Every time I go to Ottawa, my visits are always educational oriented.

With every step in Ottawa you take, you walk on hallowed ground. Every stone in the ground, every building that is restored or maintained, every monument that goes up, every park you sit in, and every street you walk down, has a connection to the history of the men, women, and indigenous Peoples who inhabited this land, well before the white man came to this area of Ontario.

There are thousands of stories to learn, and to be heard. There are many, MANY lessons to be learned about the history of Canada and her people’s.

Ottawa is a city of Remembrance.

And we are making slow but serious strides to heal the rift that exists between its First People’s and what we took from them, and returning what is rightly theirs to begin with by honoring their stories and their people, from yesterday and today.

And tonight, I am a lot more grateful to the country I call home.

Because of the sacrifice of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect this nation and the world at large from the evils and horrors of war.

We also must commend all the men and women and their service to build this wonderful city of Ottawa, and its myriad of museums, so that no story goes untold, nor forgotten.

We Remember …

Wednesday: Part 2, Covenant – All In

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Tonight’s discussion revolved around Mercy, Grace, and Covenant.

Each of the terms Mercy and Grace has an independent meaning, but the two words are often used interchangeably. Mercy refers both to an attribute of deity and to a universal law that allows a specially qualified third party to pay the penalty of justice on behalf of one who is subject to such a penalty.

Grace, on the other hand, is the means by which mercy enacts many of its miraculous effects, particularly the blessing of the atonement. Grace is a “divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ” and is “Made possible by his atoning sacrifice.”

In my life, as sobriety goes, from the very beginning, I know this is true; I would hear a topic, I would listen to a share, I would get to talk about it in discussions, then, God would say, (as if He spoke this) now go home and put this topic or concept into practical use. As in, see how this applies to your life, an figure out how it works for you.

That has been the way it has always gone for me, all these years later. And from the very start, I made covenants to people, and in a way God, because, God as we understand Him, speaks to us in our group conscience.

But let me backtrack first before I explain further.

I have had a handful of “All In” moments in my life. Where I had to make a decision, to throw everything I had at God, my life, my will, and my fears and my pains.

When I entered Seminary at age 19, I believed that a life serving the church, (read:God) was what I was called to do, and so did the men who got me into that seminary. At that young age, I knew that I was ALL IN. Sadly, a man made institution was not ALL IN with me.

Life went on. I would not enter another covenant for many years to come.

When we make a promise, or we speak a vow, or we find ourselves in a situation where, we must rely on another human being for our survival, (read: God) we make a covenant.

For me there are specific instances where I see, in Hindsight, that I made a covenant with someone greater than me, for my survival.

That someone would have been Todd (read: God).

The days prior, when everybody ran from the fire, when sickness came, Todd, in his wisdom ran right into that fire. The only person that walked into that fire, and said that He would care for me. The caveat was, that I would throw everything I had at him, throw my sickness up in the air, and trust that Todd, had my back, which he did.

I believe in my heart of hearts, that on that day, and the days, weeks, months and years that followed, I had made a covenant with God, that I would give Him all I had, and in return He would give me all He had to give me.

I was ALL IN.

I know what that felt like. Practical experience with Mercy, Grace, and Covenant.

God had Mercy on me, I received God’s Grace, through the vehicle of the covenant. I made a solemn declaration to Todd (read:God) that I would trust to my death, everything that I was asked to do, without fail. Neither abandoned me in my time of need.

That was the most important covenant I had ever made with Him.

I survived. I am still alive. By Heavenly Father’s Grace, Love, and Forgiveness

I also know what happened when I broke that covenant with Heavenly Father.

I made a decision, based on greed, the desires of the flesh, and what I felt was my own good. I stepped off the beam. And into the pit of hell. I was there, I know what happened.

I was unrepentant, until the day, Heavenly Father stepped back into my life, not of my own choosing, but because I needed Him, and that decision was made for me, because I did not know any better.

I began my long journey back to Heavenly Father. And it took a LONG time. I don’t know that I had begun to atone for my sins, but that was coming.

When I got to that pivotal day, that I uttered the name of God, and I got on my knees and Prayed for the first time in a long time, that covenant was renewed.

I asked Heavenly Father for help. I threw all of me on the table. I gave it all up to Him. And I swore an oath to Heavenly Father, that I would do whatever He told me to do, and to go where ever He wanted me to go.

Once again, I was ALL IN.

When that covenant was renewed, Heavenly Father opened doors for me that I never knew existed. He put people in my life who led me here. And in thanks, the first thing I did when I got here, was to go to Notre Dame Cathedral in Old Montreal and say Thank You.

When I met my then boyfriend, we knew, we were both ALL IN. Even before we hit that church on the 20th of November 2004, Heavenly Father tested us both to see how ALL IN we really were. We got married and have been ALL IN from the very first moment we spoke.

Fifteen years later, I am on my way, to making the biggest covenants with Heavenly Father I will ever make. Last week, I was given that list. And I came home with that list. And over the last week, Heavenly Father is whittling away everything I need to get rid of in preparation for when those covenants must be made, which will lead me to the day when I reach the Waters.

I told my Missionaries tonight that I was All In. I’ve been all in. And they, in turn, have said that of all the men, in my specific situation, that they have had discussions with, I have come the farthest, in the shortest amount of time.

I know Heavenly Father, (read: GOD) I have heard his voice. And I know that He exists.

I am told, after conversing about Sunday’s observations, people who have been in the church for so long, tend to forget, why they go to church on Sunday and to keep the Sabbath Holy.

They tend to forget about Mercy, Grace and their commitment to covenant.

Getting sober is an act of penitence. It is an act of rehabilitation. It is an act of, in time, of letting go and letting God.In the process of the Steps, we begin to atone for the wrongs we have done, and they people we have hurt.

Twenty two years ago, I made that first covenant that saved my life, I wasn’t so connected to healthy sober people, and I failed in that attempt.

But Heavenly Father was there, I just turned my eyes away from Him.

I began the slow journey back to health. I began to restore my spirit. I began The Work that has continued into my fifteenth year of sobriety. I wanted and prayed for a new experience.

Becoming a Latter Day Saint IS a new experience for sure.

It was Elder Sorenson, who approached me on that platform, he had thrown it all in, and struck up a conversation, which led to Elder Christianson, which led to discussions, which led to tonight.

Joseph Smith had this revelation:

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be they constant companion.”

Doctrines and Covenants 121:45-46

I read this scripture to Elder Christianson. He laughed. He told me a story about himself, and said that my reading this to him was a sign from God. That it was his favorite Scripture.

How does an Elder know that Heavenly Father is at work ?

There are no coincidences. But since we first met, there have been many.

So they are taking their time guiding me to the waters. Sadly Elder Christainson, will leave Montreal on the 22nd of this month. We only have one more discussion together, before a new companion enters the stage.

We are ALL IN.

When you give it all to Heavenly Father, and you do all that you can, Heavenly Father will give you all that He has in return. Mercy comes, Grace is provided, and covenants are blessed, as long as we keep up our end of the deal.

A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things …. It is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God.

When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make his sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not, seek his face in vain…

 

 

Tuesday: Part 1, Keep My Commandments

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In every life, whether we know it or not, for every choice, there will be consequences, either good or bad. To begin to Honor God, in all things, one must make the sacrificial decision to step away from all things earthly, to step away from sin, and to turn one’s faith, trust and hope to Heavenly Father.

It has been made clear to me what SACRIFICE means to me.

In this Life Pivot, I trusted that Heavenly Father would point the way to wholeness and righteousness. Trusting in the words and guidance of my Elders, and the many other Elders and Sisters who know me today, I want what they have.

Wanting what they have, is a common litany phrase used in the rooms. Because we come in broken and shattered, and we learn to love, because others showed up just that day, to love US into Existence.

There is a particular Elder who has joined our group of intrepid Latter Day Saints. In fact, there are a few Elders, who minister to the Chinese community, but they join us on Monday night’s for teaching and fellowship. I have come to love them as I love my Elders who came for me.

I am impressed with each and every young man and woman who is part of our little gang of faithful. They have talents I wish I had, they have lives, I wish I could live, and youth that I wish I still had. So every moment spent with them is blessed.

This may be the last chapter of my story. And I want that story to be Grand.

Tonight, I offered the final sacrifice I know I had to make to Heavenly Father. In order to appreciate the sweet, one must have the bitter. I know what bitter tastes like. I may not always make the right choices, but tonight, I did what I had to do to make good on Heavenly Father’s command to “Keep My Commandments.”

If you cannot sacrifice all for Heavenly Father, and turn all of you over to divinity and sacred living, then you will never inherit Eternal Life.

Whatever holds you to your former life, that which tethers you to earth, that which is of the flesh and the body, you must cut it out. Cleanly. You cannot be honest with God and keep secrets in the shadows, because You know, and Heavenly Father knows.

One cannot believe that cheating on the way to Holiness will work. You cannot half ass your way to spiritual living. Because, day by day, YOU know what choices you made, and what sins you have committed. If you approach God with sin in your heart and on your lips, what does that do for your forgiveness and redemption ?

As Nephi writes … “You did not do all you could do.”

I cannot live with the shadow of wrong choices and sin on my shoulders. Because I kn0w better, I cannot claim, ignorance. With that said …

When I get up tomorrow morning, all will be done.

A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things …. It is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God.

When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make his sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not, seek his face in vain…

How It Works says …

IF YOU WANT WHAT WE HAVE AND ARE WILLING TO GO TO ANY LENGTH TO GET IT, THEN, YOU RE READY TO TAKE CERTAIN STEPS. AT SOME OF THESE WE BALKED, WE THOUGHT WE COULD FIND AN EASIER SOFTER WAY BUT WE COULD NOT. WITH ALL THE EARNESTNESS AT OUR COMMAND WE BEG YOU TO BE FEARLESS AND THOROUGH FROM THE VERY START. SOME OF TRIED TO HOLD ON TO OUR OLD IDEAS AND THE RESULT WAS NIL UNTIL WE LET GO ABSOLUTELY…

Wow … I’ve come full circle. Right now, both these reading ring so very true to this journey of faith.

I’m ready to take certain steps. I’ve taken one very huge step tonight.

Later today, I am having lunch with one of my favorite people on the earth.