Thursday, April 30, 2015


For the past couple weeks had the sweet opportunity to have my little sister, Caiah, here in Toronto with us. The kids got so used to having her around, and Ella barely new what to do with herself, not having "Caiah's room" to wander into each morning when she woke up.

I can't imagine life with out my sisters, and am so thankful for the time we got to spend with Caiah this Spring.

One of the highlights of her time here was a visit to Stratford to see my Grandpa and my Mom. During our time there, we walked around the river, enjoyed the swans, and the kids had the first official scooter ride of the season.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


It is wonderful to hear young children pray--wonderful because they're learning something of deep and lasting importance, and wonderful because their prayers, childlike as they are, are being heard.

But it's also wonderful because children pray the sweetest and funniest things. 

On the sweet end, there is a woman in our church family who no longer makes it out to service that Ella prays for every single night. 

And there's no shortage of the funny stuff, either.

The other night we were praying together during family worship and it was Ella's turn to pray. Now before I can record her prayer, the back story.

Ella has a dear friend named Molly. Ella talks about Molly all the time, and has even been known to urgently wake her mother up in the middle of the night to ask if she can visit her friend Molly the next day. Yes, she loves her friend Molly dearly.

This means that Ella often prays for Molly as well as the rest of the Clary family. A few weeks back, in what was an unfortunate unfolding of an ordinary afternoon, the Clary's car was towed. Ella must have heard about this from Molly at some point and, though I have no idea why, it must have been on her mind when she began praying that night.

With bowed head and clasped hands, she began.

"Father, I pray for the Clarys. I pray that the monsters wouldn't take their car ever again."

Her brothers were trying hard not to chuckle, but both of them started laughing. All eyes were now open, and Ella glared indignantly at her brothers, so Josh explained. "We're not laughing at you, Ella. It's just funny because there were no monsters in the story. Their car got towed, that's all."

Clinging to her dignity, Ella simply said, "Oh."

Then, with serious face and folded hands, she began again.

"Father, I pray that the Clarys car would get towed again."

More hands pressed tightly over mouths as big brothers tried to resist laughing.

Hearing muffled giggles, her eyes once again flew open. "Boys! This is not a time to laugh! We're praying. This is serious!"

Again she was assured that no one was laughing at her. This time Jake explained. "It's just that the Clarys really don't want their car to get towed again. So it's just funny to pray for it, Ella. That's all."

Our baby girl, Ella Grace.
So much laughter and joy, this little one brings

Friday, April 24, 2015


Watching him walk over, I didn’t think he’d try to sit down beside me.

It was 7:30am and I was one of many silently commuting into Toronto’s downtown. We’re a quiet bunch, Toronto commuters. During the morning commute, we’ve got coffee in one hand and either the paper, a book, or, predominantly it seems, a Smartphone in the other.

We’re together, often almost touching, but quiet and alone.

Like I said, watching him walk over, I didn’t think he’d take the seat beside me. There were already two of us on the small three-seater bench. On one side was an older man, reading, and I was in the middle with a coffee in hand and my bag stowed away beneath my feet.

This guy was big—probably at least 6’2 or 6’3 with broad shoulders and a bulky frame.

“Is it okay if I sit here? I’m going all the way to Broadview and I’m going to be tired if I don’t sit down,” he said loudly.

“Of course I don’t mind,” I told him, though he was already squeezing himself into the seat beside me before I’d even finished speaking.

His explanation continued and, because we were sitting side by side, bodies touching, our faces were now no more than a few inches apart when we looked at each other. “I’m going all the way to Broadview station for work. I work at Loblaws and also for a catering company,” he told me, still in an overly loud voice.

Then, even though I felt no intuitive reluctance to interact with this guy, I was thinking through whether or not I should be careful and cautious in being too friendly—the normal mental process women have with unknown men. I could tell immediately there was an obvious sweetness and innocence to this man, and I could also discern right away that he was lacking in what most of us would consider standard social boundaries.

Nonetheless, I was still momentarily deliberating the wisdom of ongoing conversation when he lifted his arm, shoved up his coat sleeve and said proudly, “Look, I got a new watch. It always has the right time. It’s so handy. If I need to know what time it is, I just look at my wrist and I know. 7:39, that’s what time it is.” Pulling his phone out of his bag and showing me the phone’s face, he continued. “My phone is always ahead. And I don’t know how to change it so that it stays at the right time. So now I have a watch.”

By this point, I was enjoying this sweet, friendly man beside me.

“Well, I’m sure there’s someone who could fix the watch on your phone for you. It can’t be that hard to fix. But I’m not that person. I’m no good when it comes to troubleshooting.”

He clarified his intent. “I wasn’t asking you to fix it. I was just telling you about it. It’s always fast. And now I have a watch on my wrist that’s always the right time. I’m on my way to Loblaws, and it’s all the way at Broadview station, so I have to sit down or I’ll get too tired.”

“How come if you live on the west end you work so far east?” I asked him.

“It’s just where I work,” he answered. And then, without a transition, he continued. “This summer I’m going to Newfoundland with my parents. I’m flying by myself. It’s going to be my first time flying by myself. I’m excited, but I’m scared too.”

“Well, I thought you said you’re going with your parents? Where will they be? Why aren’t you flying with them?” I asked him.

“They’re going to Nova Scotia first, and then I’m flying to Nova Scotia to meet them, then we’re driving the rest of the way together.”

Graham, as I later learned was his name, and I talked the rest of ride. I told him about my recent trip to Newfoundland last summer, and my family who lives there. He shared his excitement about going on the overnight ferry. We talked about his siblings and how, even though he’s 31 years old, he’s still the baby of his family. I told him about my family, my husband, and my children. Still in his loud voice, he told me about his first nephew who is 13 months old.

When the subway arrived at St. George Station and I needed to transfer trains, I stood up, shook his hand, and told him how much I’d enjoyed talking with him. As I was getting off the train, I glanced back at him and he’d already moved on and was starting a conversation with someone else.

The doors opened and, moving along with the silent throng, I felt my eyes fill with tears as I realized that in a month of commuting downtown each day, it was the first time I’d enjoyed a real conversation with a stranger beside me.

Every morning when I transfer from the Bloor Line and walk up the stairs to get on the University Line, I always listen to the echoing sound of all our footsteps. We’re mostly quiet, not saying a word, and in the hollow of the underground, there is only the stamping rhythm of our feet. It's a transfixing sound.

We’re all coming and going so quickly, eyes ahead, joined only by shared space and the sound of our footsteps.

That morning after climbing the stairs, as I stood beside so many others, quietly waiting for the next train, I was wiping away tears. I couldn’t figure out why I felt sad, or even if I felt sad. I just knew that Graham was a special person, was thankful God caused our lives to cross paths, and am so glad he squeezed into that small seat beside me.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


It's already been such a full and wonderful Easter weekend... and it's only Saturday morning! In many ways the best is yet to come, with the anticipation of Resurrection Sunday.

Though I didn't manage to get any pictures of our Good Friday service with New City Baptist in the morning, it was an awesome morning. Somber. Reflective. Joyful. Then we spent the day here at our place with the young adults crew from our church. Good Friday concluded downtown at Convocation Hall with another wonderful service. Great day!

This morning when the children woke up, we had an Egg Hunt here. As has become our Galotti family tradition, there were jelly beans hidden throughout the house, and then this year I created some hastily written clues and the kids followed them to find an outdoor hunt at the school playground around the corner from our home. When we arrived back home, they dug into their small baskets here, and opened cards from relatives.