Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Friday, June 26, 2020

A Canada Day Quiz

Awhile ago, I saw a video of this four-year-old wiz kid reciting the names all the presidents of the United States from George Washington to Donald Trump—45 in all. I began wondering how I’d do with the prime ministers of Canada. I began with only the ones since my birth and I couldn’t even name those! I left three of them out completely. In my defense, one of them only served for three months. Plus, I was raising kids during the service of the others and a little distracted.

Here’s a challenge for you. Take my little ten-question quiz WITHOUT looking anything up and without looking at the answers at the end of this post. Total possible points is 45.

#1. List all the prime ministers of Canada since the first. (Hint: there are 29. Three of them appear on the list twice and one of them appears three times.)

#2. Who was Canada’s only female prime minister?

#3. Who served only three months?

#4. Who was the youngest when first elected?

#5. Which former prime ministers are still alive? (Hint: there are seven)

#6. Which prime minister was born the same year as this columnist? (Hint: I’m older than the current one. Shocker, I know.)

#7. Which prime ministers died while in office? (Hint: there were two.)

#8. Which prime minister was elected under two different political parties?

#9. Which prime minister lived in Portage la Prairie? (Hint: we named a school for him.)

#10. Which prime minister won a Nobel Peace prize? (Hint: the year was 1957)


#1. (one point for each name)
Sir John A. Macdonald
Alexander Mackenzie
Sir John A. Macdonald
Sir John Abbott
Sir John Thompson
Sir Mackenzie Bowell
Sir Charles Tupper
Sir Wilfred Laurier
Sir Robert Borden
Sir Robert Borden
Arthur Meighen
William Lyon Mackenzie King
Arthur Meighen
William Lyon Mackenzie King
R.B. Bennett
William Lyon Mackenzie King
Louis St. Laurent
John George Diefenbaker
Lester B. Pearson
Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Joe Clark
Pierre Elliott Trudeau
John Turner
Brian Mulroney
Kim Campbell
Jean Chretien
Paul Martin
Stephen Harper
Justin Trudeau

#2. Kim Campbell (June – November 1993)

#3. John Turner (July – September 1984)

#4. Joe Clark (age 40)

#5. (One point for each name) Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper

#6. Stephen Harper (1959)

#7. (One point for each name) Sir John A. Macdonald (of a stroke on June 6, 1891) and Sir John Thompson (heart attack in 1894)

#8. Sir Robert Borden (Conservative Party 1911/Unionist party 1917)

#9. Arthur Meighen

#10. Lester B. Pearson (for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis.)

How’d you do? Add up your score and let me know in the comments below. But only if you didn’t cheat.

Here’s a bonus question. Whether you agree with their politics or not, what does the Bible say about how we should behave toward our country’s leaders?

ANSWER: I Timothy 2:1-3 says, “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” (The Message)

I won’t ask you to share your score on that one. Happy Canada Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

When the Alphabet Starts with "Z"

It’s time for my annual “acrostic” story, but the contest organizers changed the rules this year. Instead of starting with the letter ‘A’ and working through the alphabet, each story had to begin with ‘Z’ and work backwards. They provided the first four required words, and I find it uncanny that, in 2020, that first word was “Zooming.” It was set up long before anyone knew how this year would unfold. I’m proud to announce my entry placed third and pleased to share it here along with my Happy Father’s Day to all.

A Father’s Love

Zooming across the bridge leading from one high rise medical building to another, Kaley Kincaid was glad she’d worn sensible shoes even as she blinked back tears, scanning for signs indicating the clinic pharmacy. Yellow arrows painted on the floor clearly marked the way, but all she could think about was Dr. Chu’s solemn tone when he’d shared the results of three-month-old Tommy’s tests.

“Xeroderma Pigmentosum, or XP, is caused by a genetic mutation,” he’d droned. “While there is no cure, we can treat it and try to minimize the destruction. Vitamin D supplements will be required to replace sun exposure, which Tommy will need to avoid all his life. Ultraviolet rays will cause damage to his skin just like it does to yours and mine. The difference is, while our skin heals through nucleotide excision repair, this damage is not repaired in people with xeroderma pigmentosum. Sunglasses will need to be worn during all daylight hours to protect his eyes from forming cataracts,” he continued. “Retinoid creams may help decrease the risk of skin cancer, but should cancer develop, it will be treated in the same way as it would for anyone else.”

Quartets of doctors, all of them Dr. Chu in his white jacket and stethoscope, began to swirl in front of Kaley’s eyes as she felt herself grow faint and a cold sweat begin to trickle down her back.

“Put your head down between your knees,” the doctor told Kaley with little sympathy as he grabbed his prescription pad and began scratching something on it. “Our pharmacy across the skywalk can supply you with a pair of child-size dark glasses immediately, the kind that tie around the baby’s head. No need to be distraught. Many people with this condition live to an almost normal life expectancy, provided they use extreme caution.”

Life expectancy? Kaley wanted to clamp her hands over her ears, squeeze her eyes shut, and will this awful doctor and his miserable diagnosis away forever. Just when the medical community had finally gotten to the bottom of their baby’s symptoms, just as she and Mark believed hope of a cure was within grasp, just when they were anticipating sharing the good news with everyone, all had come crashing down in two minutes.

“If…if I understand you correctly,” she stammered, “not only will our boy never get to play outdoors but you’re saying his life will be cut short too?”

How could she be having this conversation, and why, oh why, hadn’t she insisted on Mark coming with them to the appointment like he’d offered? Grabbing the handle of Tommy’s baby carrier with one hand and the prescription slip with the other, Kaley stormed out of the doctor’s office and across the glass enclosed bridge to the pharmacy.

Fighting tears while she placed the tiny sunglasses on Tommy’s head, she felt relief at the sound of Mark’s ringtone and the vibration of the phone in her pocket. Even in his shock over her news, Mark managed to speak words that calmed Kaley and filled her with hope—just like he always did.

“Don’t think for one second that we can’t get through this together, Sweetheart, no matter how difficult it becomes. Challenges are part of life just as much as good times, and we signed up to face both—as a team. Best part of it is, now that we have Tommy, we’re a team of three instead of only two.”

A heavy cloak of despair lifted off Kaley’s shoulders and she knew that when she pulled into their driveway, Mark Kincaid—her husband of six months and Tommy’s proud stepfather—would be waiting for them with open arms, eager to form a circle of love and light that no diagnosis, no darkness, no doctors, could ever dissolve.

Friday, June 12, 2020

While You're Waiting...

Does the pandemic have you feeling like you’re just waiting? On hold? Biding the time? While many artists have been stalled—musicians with no concerts, actors with no shoots, dancers with no stage—nothing is stopping writers from continuing their craft. Writers can still write, blog, submit their work electronically and receive payment the same way. They can take advantage of writers’ webinars and online conferences that have sprung up due to the pandemic—events they might not have been able to afford in person. Their readers have more time to read. For many, the isolation works in their favor.

Or you’d think it would.

I’ve been surprised to find, both in my own life and in connecting with others online, that the opposite has also been true. While you’d expect writers to relish the opportunity, many have found themselves in a slump. Unmotivated. Uncreative. Unambitious. I don’t understand the psychology of it, but I’ve experienced the lethargy too. In March and April, my current novel-in-progress seemed completely stalled out about a quarter of the way in.

Then something happened on May 8. The Word Guild announced its awards short-list. I had entered two pieces: a column that appeared in this paper last summer called “No Such Thing as Unplanned,” and a manuscript for an unpublished novel called “April’s Promise.” Both made the short-list! The novel is up against four others, and the winning book—to be announced on June 13—will be published by Canadian publisher Castle Quay Books in 2021.

Obviously, I’d love to win.
Odds are four to one that I won’t.

The first question I asked myself was, “What will you do if you don’t win, Terrie? If you haven’t used this waiting time well, your current novel will still be just as far from completion, you’ll be less motivated than ever, and you’ll be five weeks older.”

Maybe there was an alternative.

I did some math. If I wrote 10,000 words per week, I could reach the end of my novel-in-progress by June 13. That way, win or lose, I’d have something to celebrate on awards night.

Challenging? For sure.
Impossible? Not with prayer.

I’m on track. My little mind game has provided the motivation I needed to hammer out 2,000 words each weekday, making up any shortfall on the weekend. Though I still have a ways to go before I can type THE END on my manuscript, I did reach the word count goal and the finish line is in sight. What’s more, I’ve been falling asleep happier at the end of each day knowing I’m accomplishing at least part of what God put me on this earth to do.

How about you? Are you in a spot saying, “all we can do is wait?” Ask yourself if that’s really true. Fill the waiting. Use the time well, because when the awaited day arrives, you’ll be five weeks older or five months older or five years older whether you do the work or not. Use whatever mind games or creative tricks you need to accomplish your goals. And don’t forget to pray.