100 million thank yous


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Here she is with a grateful smile thanking the anonymous donor bestowing $100 million to CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) to support research into mental illnesses, “The donation is by far the largest ever given to a mental … Continue reading

Let me get this off my system.


Indian CoffeeLet me get this off my system.

If you are looking for Starbucks in India, good luck! You can only find the coffee shop in the Airport, departure area.

And if you are looking for a freshly brewed coffee, there is no such thing! Everything is instant coffee in India. The famous one is Nescafe or Folgers. Kate Crimmins  are you rolling your eyes yet?

It was a problem, a very big problem for me. But hey, I am a pilgrim, this is not Club Med.

So, what is Indian Coffee? Pretty basic:

  • Instant Coffee – two packets if you want it strong
  • Hot Water – very small amount to dissolve the coffee
  • Warm Milk –lots to combine it with the dissolved coffee
  • Sugar – if you want it sweet.

Oh, some make it frothy to give it an espresso look. There’s hardly any coffee in this cup but bubbles.

I was kicking myself to get a “caffeine kick” to it. There’s hardly any caffeine in an instant coffee. Drinking two or three cups of this first thing in the morning is my form of “flagellation” for seventeen days to wake me up. I survived.

The minute we arrived in Canada, we stopped over at my sister’s place and I asked for a real good brewed coffee, mug size.

Aaahhhh…. good to the last drop followed by a refill.

I am so glad to be home.

Talitha Koum

z talitha kuom

Little Girl, Rise! Talitha Koum is a Spiritual House of Healing for women in conflict with Society who are recovering from alcohol and drug addictions.

Starr Peardon has since retired and a new star takes over.  Meet Kimmie Jensen, the new Mother of Talitha Koum.  Kimmie and I met at the church and heard her story.

This is part of her story.

I have struggled with addiction since the age of 6.  For many years my family and the people I love became victims to my drug addiction.  Although I am not able to change the past, the regrets that I have around the people I love and society as a whole, I am making positive changes in my life so that I can be someone my children will be proud of and a positive influence in the community and society at large.

While in prison, Talitha Koum was available to me.  I had heard of this house that will take women who are falling through the cracks when no one else would. I was willing to do what I had to, to change my life.  I made a call and took the direction given to me over the phone by Starr.  I called her for about 2 months straight and on the day I was to appear in court to get out on bail, she was there to support me.  I arrived at Talitha Koum in January 2007 from Surrey Pre-trial and my journey began.

I came into the house broken spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.  I had lost any kind of beliefs or values I had.  I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t trust anyone, especially myself. I didn’t believe that I deserved to have a good life because of the damage I had done through the years.  I simply existed, not living life.  I didn’t think that the walls I had put up would ever come down.  I recognize that the walls were shame, guilt, anger, fear, low self-esteem, abandonment, judgment and control. I had no clue what the walls were; I just knew that I was a mistake.

I can remember the first time I walked through the doors of Talitha Koum; I felt peace wash over me and something I had never felt before.  And for the first time in my life I thought everything would be OK.  I know that what I had felt was the love of Starr and of all the people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself (that is God’s love).

Even the dog and cat at Talitha Koum showed me unconditional love.

Although I am not a religious person, I do go to Church to learn discipline and obedience to God.  I have a belief that religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell, and spirituality is for people who have been there (Hell) and I don’t want to go back!  The opportunity to search out various Churches, I  have since found a church community who holds the same beliefs of the Beatitude’s spiritual principles.

I am blessed to be a part of something so amazing.  I wouldn’t have taken the risk had it not been for the program at Talitha Koum.  I have received so many gifts in my recovery and I have God, Talitha Koum and the program of Beatitudes to thank for this, for the women God has brought into my life and never giving up on me.  Even when I went astray God accepted me back by placing people in my path to help me and teach me forgiveness and love.

I have the honor and the opportunity to continue the vision that Starr has started.  To freely give back what was given to me, love, compassion, empathy, structure and a new way of life.  To be given this privilege to believe in a woman until she can believe in herself.  To see life come back in these women and reunite them with family and their children is the most ultimate fulfillment.  To walk this journey with them and truly understand where they came from is a gift for us all.  Every time I share my experience, strength and hope with another woman, God’s presence and healing.

I believe in Talitha Koum and all that it stands for.  I believe what the founder Starr Peardon has begun and vision she sees.

Related links:

Genie in a bottle or 12 Steps program

Did you say major changes? Sure, I want to have a baby, let me go window shopping and buy one.  Sure, I will visit the a sperm bank to find good genes.  What a silly decision. 
I made a 360 degree turn yesterday and I am still thinking about the what if situation.  
Yesterday was Sunday and I left the mass early because the priest is boring.  I could have easily changed the situation but I stayed until closer to the end.  I did not wait for his blessings. 
Walking as fast as I could in a cold rainy February zigzagging around people, I made a 360 turn.  What made me do that?  My peripheral vision saw a person sitting on the cement outside the mall.  
Meet April in February 3, 2013.  
I asked are you ok?  Then she started crying.  She’s a new face in the block.  I recognize most of the street people in Metrotown Mall.  April made a wrong decision last night according to her, was accused of lying and hates being called a liar.  She left the facility where she stayed for two months to change her life, slept on the street last night and unfamiliar with the city. She came from the Island, up north of BC.  The time was about 2 pm. 
All of this happened out of a blue, don’t ask me why I paid attention to this stranger.  I don’t like WHY question.  Therefore, I did not ask April the why question. 
Did I make a conscious decision to help her?  Yes or No? No. Did I hesitate?  There was no hesitation in my part, I just acted.  She needs a place to stay for one night; she’s looking for the Aboriginal Lodge. 
I’ve asked April only one thing.  April, I want you to pray to your God to help us find you a place.  She sheepishly said yes with a worried look on her face. 
Skipping all the details, I found her a place to stay by 7:30 pm.  An emergency shelter.  We were wet, shaking like a leaf, tired, cold.  We shared a cigarette before we parted and made sure she was inside this beautiful blue looking mansion in a residential area that I’ve never thought it existed closed by where I live. 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Changes.  Come and join us, it will change your life.