November 29, 2012


My name is Annie MacDuff, and I am an only child. My entire childhood consisted of me having my own room right up until I started university. My first two years of university were spent living in an all girls residence, but still in a single room. This is not where the story ends. Last year I had a roommate for the first time in my life. I'm still living with said roommate. 

My name is Annie MacDuff and I'm here to tell you that:
Having a roommate is nothing like in the movies. 
I LOVE my roommate. She is beyond fabulous. 
So I thought I would take the time to give you the top ten reasons why I love my roommate. 

10. Food. She makes it, brings it, or buys it. There is no question that food is part of everyday life, and I'm thankful for every spoonful. My ex-vegetarian roommate isn't grossed out by raw meat, she is willing to go to three fast food restaurants just so I have have my ideal fastfood meal, AND did I mention that she works at Subway? Yeah, that needs no explanation. On a side note, I'm currently looking at a chocolate bar that is sitting on my desk, I bet you can guess who it's from. 

9. My roommate makes terrible first impressions, and uses adjective interchangeably. The first week of meeting my roommate here are some things that she said to me: 
"Don't you own any other clothes? All you seem to wear is that purple sweater." 
"You realize that you're never going to ge married because you're so short, right?" 
"Your friend really needs new shoes."
Aside from this she mixes up words such as "aggressive" and "abrasive", and lets not forget all of the times she has tried to compliment me, but ends up coming across terribly "abrasive". These things made it to the number 9 spot, because I think it demonstrates just how valuable her friendship is. If I didn't think we could be such great friends I may never have looked past all of the unintentional insults. 

8. My roommate stands up for me when I am bullied by sales associates, especially those at pet stores...which happens more often than you would think.

7. My roommate carries the heavy matter how many jugs of cranberry juice I buy, and no matter how far of a walk we have. 

6. My roommate plays with my hair when I'm sleepy, warms my toes when they're cold, ties my shoes when my hands are full, gives me piggy backs when I'm tired, tucks in my right mitten (because I can do the left), and never complains when I have to make a bazillion trips to the bathroom when we go shopping. 

5. My roommate lets me pick the movie, and plays board games with me...even if she doesn't stand a chance. 

4. My roommate learns new things, sets high goals, and is a go getter. 

3. My roommate brings snacks for me when we go on road trips. (This may be for her benefit not I tend to get a when I am hungry.)

2. My roommate may not always listen and heed direction....but she always accept full responsibility for her actions. Remember, you can often choose your actions, but you can't always choose the consequences. 

1. My roommate takes life seriously. In the past 2 years she has come to know Christ. She has taken steps to better her life and to live life to the full. She has been baptised, she reads words to help her life, she delights in fellowship, she says grace, she is thankful, she encourages, she donates, she strives to reach her potential, but most importantly: she loves. She loves God, she loves others, and she loves herself. 

Those are my top ten reasons why I love my roommate. I don't just love her because I'm told to, I don't just love her because she needs it. I love her because she loves, and most of the time she makes it pretty gosh darn easy. I've been so blessed to get to know her, watch her grow, and to be her friend. 

In this instance my roommate walked for 45 minutes with me to buy this VBS kit, then walked another 45 minutes home. Isn't she great?!?

She also helps with chores! hehe

PS. That was a really great chocolate bar. 

November 26, 2012

seluR (aka backwards rules)

A couple weeks ago I was roaming around the amazing used bookstore downtown. I really wish I could spend more time there. Anyway, while I was there I was looking around at my own pace, scoping out the Christian non-fiction section, but I soon became caught up in what was playing on the radio. It was an interview with a christian author from the states. Her name is Rachel Held Evans and she was being interviewed because many "Christian" Bookstores are refusing to sell her new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. The reasoning that bookstores are giving, is that the book contains a female anatomy word. The human body is very much a part of life. Evans was responding in the interview, stressing that people should read the book before debating it's place in a bookstore. If a book that could bring women closer to God is being banned from so called "Christian bookstores", (which by the way I don't like that term) then what does that show about Christianity? 

You know what I don't understand? Rules that counteract their reason for being.

I'll give you an example from the life of Annie. 
In my first year of university I lived in a female residence. On school nights we would have to keep our doors shut after ten pm to insure a quiet atmosphere. Now, my door, no matter how I closed it, would make a loud banging sound when it closed. So one night when I went to brush my teeth, I stuck a doorstop in between the door and the door casing so that it wouldn't bang and the door would still be almost shut. I came back to my room with a Residence Advisor standing outside my door, aggressively reminding me of the quiet-hour rules. I tried to tell her my reasoning behind it, but ultimately it was her job to in force the rules, not quiet, so every time I left my room after 10pm my door would make a loud bang and my neighbour would complain.

Here is an example of me on the other side of things. 
A few years ago when I was working for a church, and I was asked to type up an environmental awareness notice in the weekly bulletin. The church was making a step in the environmentally conscious direction and wanted to inform the rest of the congregation about this...the only thing was that the notice was printed in the bulletin....a two page and stapled document that got printed 70+ times, folded, distributed, looked at, and then thrown out, or at best recycled. I suggested just making a poster, but I was stuck and had to do what I was instructed, even though what I was asked to do defeated the purpose of why I was doing it.

Sometimes rules are really silly things. Can you think of any rules in your life that counteract their existence? Think about it, there just may be more than you realize.

I have added
"Read A Year of Biblical Womanhood" 
to my life list. 

November 24, 2012

Losing it

My Name is Annie MacDuff, and I RARELY lose ANYTHING. Even if my room becomes messy I know where things are. I know where my roommate's things are. I've never had to replace a debit card, I've never had to remake a key, and I know where to find each of those little extra buttons that come with fancy shirts. I can drop a hair elastic under my dresser in my closet, and weeks later when I'm in a rush I know right where to find one. 

In my whole life I have permanently lost 4 things. One was a winter head band that I accidentally left at elementary school up on the shelf above the coat hooks in grade 3. I lost an "A" charm from a necklace. I left a black and white rain jacket belt at a house in Moncton, and I lost an earring at my school. 

In my first year of university I lost my keys, and after searching for well over an hour in my tiny room in residence I couldn't find them. Even though I had company, I dropped everything I was doing and searched for my keys. Later on a girl who had been visiting me earlier came to tell me that she had left with my keys and then realized she had two sets. 

In the past few months my life has been a tad bit hectic, in all honesty, just a tad, and so I've been misplacing things. Right before I was scheduled to move back up to university and start math classes I misplaced my graphing calculator. I've left my travel mug in a classroom, almost lost my calculus text book, and most recently my student id card went missing. 

I'm losing it! 
I'm going to go mad. 

I set my student id on the corner of my desk under my debit card. It's missing. My room is tidy, and I've searched for it multiple times. No luck. My student id card is my bus pass, my library card, and the key to student discounts at retail and grocery stores. I did the walk of shame to the id place, then to the admissions office to pay, then back to the id place to get the id, and back to the admissions office to get the id validated. The strange thing is, that even though I have an id, I'm still searching for the old one. It matters. It may seem insignificant, but it matters a great deal to me, it's my id card. 

This whole reflection of losing things makes me think of a story that happened a long, long time ago. A few men went down to the Jordan river to build a house where they could live. They started chopping down trees, when all of a sudden the axe head flew off into the river and sank. The devastating part was that the axe had been borrowed, and the men couldn't afford to replace it. They asked one of the men who was with them, the one who was a leader figure,  for help. They took him to where the axe head sank and the man threw a sick in the water. The axe head then rose to the surface and the men were able to get it and return it to its owner. 

Yes, you've probably guessed that Elisha was the leader figure, and God mad the axe head float. It's an example of how God takes care of even the smallest needs that we have. On the same day that I needed a new id card, I was given a ten dollar bill, you know, which is the cost of a new card. I'm not one to say that God is the one to make parking spaces miraculously appear for those who pray in the parking lot, but I do think there are many small blessings that we overlook. I didn't overlook the ten dollars. Though an axehead and a plastic card may seem insignificant  I can assure you that a pricy borrowed object, and a university student's passport are held with value. 

My name is Annie MacDuff, and I don't always lose things, but when I do I combine a little elbow grease and prayer and hope they will turn up...maybe even out of the blue (water)

November 19, 2012

Brains, Heart, & Courage

The Wizard of Oz: a movie most of us are familiar with. The story of a young girl and her three new friends whom on a journey seeking courage, a heart, a brain, and a way home to Kansas. I recently finished reading the original book by L. Frank Baum, I couldn't help but think of the journey I had in the summer. As part of my summer job I was paired with a mentor to meet with on a weekly basis. She was an older woman who I believe was an Anglican priest at one point in her life. Going into this mentoring relationship, my boss told me to think about something that I wanted to focus on for the summer, something that I wanted to learn from her. I did not take this lightly, I thought, and I thought, and I thought, and I knew. I wanted to focus on being good. I wanted to focus on being good opposed to just being nice, because there is a difference, and I wanted that difference shown in my life. So as the mentor meetings carried on, I patiently waited for her to ask me what it was I wanted to focus on. Each week I would show up at her house, sit on the small sofa in her living room, listen to her stories, share my news, and wait to be asked my focus. Well as you have probably guessed, she never did ask me what it was I wanted to learn, and at the end of the summer I left the mentoring experience a tad disapointed. 

After reading The Wizard of Oz what I realized is that the characters aren't directly given what they ask for. The Tinman doesn't get a real physical heart, the scarecrow does not receive a human brain, and the lion is not kissed by a courage fairy. Instead, these characters are given situations to grow. It is the Tinman who ends up caring very much for his friends, the scarecrow is the one to come up with the brilliant plans, and the lion ends up being courageous. Dorothy finds out that she had the power to go home all along, but with her help the other three characters were able to grow in the areas they most desired. 

This week it hit me, the whole time I was waiting to go by the book and discuss "good" vs "nice", but that's not what I was given. I was given plenty of stories and circumstances with my mentor where I could have, and probably should have, spoken up and said "good" things instead of just nodding and being nice. When I heard negative things about other people I should have been good and kept my mentor on track, but I didn't. I sat and I smiled. 

It's very easy to be nice, but it is a thousand times better to be good. Just like the characters in The Wizard of Oz I was given the circumstances to grow, and even through I didn't exercise what I what I wanted to learn, I didn't lose the lesson. It wasn't a waste, just like many things I'm doing now in my life, or have done. I'm a big believer in learning. As one of my best friends puts it, I have an "unquenchable thirst for knowledge." I believe that even things we do as children can teach us things, even when we are very far away in age from childhood. I hope that I can become more aware and more observant of situations I'm currently in. I hope that I can continue to learn from past experiences. And most of all, I hope that I'll have the brains, the courage, and the heart to not only be nice, but to be good. 

Fun fact: Dorothy's shoes in the book are silver.
They were made red in the film so that they would stand out. 

November 14, 2012

Life > Math

There is more to math than the numbers.
I have been called "double smart", "super smart", "and "extra smart" by my professor of Finite Mathematics, and Calculus.
I don't speak out in class, I don't get every answer correct, and I don't read ahead in my text book. So why am I awarded these titles?

I always follow instruction and write my name on every sheet of paper when it comes to tests. I always come to class prepared. I carry coloured pencils, a ruler, a calculator, and graph paper with me. I always share my things with others around me who don't have the necessary math tools.

The first test I completed for Finite Mathematics included a graph portion. I was delighted to see the shape of a Jesus fish with a Cross in it....just like my necklace. It was a great reminder that I can learn so much more than calculations in math. Recently I learned:

the skills of listening + taking instruction +being prepared + sharing, perhaps = worth more than any math equation I can ever learn.

November 7, 2012

From Bother to Brother

Today I had the pleasure of sitting and preparing for Religious Traditions of India class with one of my very best friends. We were talking about class and how we are not always prepared as we probably should be, when my friend made the comment, "ugh, sometimes I don't speak up in that class because I don't really know what I'm talking about and I don't want to just seem like a dumb jock." I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as I thought back to the day we met. That being said, Today I'd like to share with you one of the very first lessons I learned at University. A lesson that was not learned inside the classroom. 

From preschool we are taught not to judge books by their covers, but it wasn't until three years ago that that lesson really set in. My university has a ceremony during the first few days of "Welcome Week" which involves the first year students being put into groups in the lower courtyard, and walking up to the upper courtyard and receiving a special pin on a lanyard.

The ceremony started out great, I was in a group with all of my friends, and girls that lived in my hallway, and I even liked where we were placed and the moral name our group was given. We were in a straight line and ready to walk up to the Upper courtyard, when all of a sudden this absent minded, can't-be-on-time-for-anything, smooth talking Jock that I'll never see again, runs up, and what do you know, he is added to our group. Great.

The ceremony started, we did some walking, pictures were taken, speeches were given, and then we had some social time before we regrouped to receive our pins. I start talking to an old friend of mine when one of our newer friends who had made her interest in Mr. Absent-minded, can't-be-on-time-for-anything, smooth talking Jock known, stroke up a conversation with him. It turned out they were from hometowns that were quite near each other, etc, etc. Then she asked about his tattoo, making more conversation, (to which I probably rolled my eyes), and then he told her that the number/letter aspect of his tattoo stands for a verse in the bible.

WAM. I'm just going to go bury myself in a hole now.
STRIKE ONE of me feeling like a terrible person.

This stupid, apparently Jesus-loving-Jock continued, telling my friend that he just transfered from a local bible college, and that's the reason he was late for the ceremony.


Feeling like crap, I stepped in and said that I have a few friends that go to that school. We found out that we have mutual friends, and that we both have similar outlooks on life.


Without going into lame, corny, rainbows and unicorn friendship details, Mr. Absent-minded, can't-be-on-time-for-anything, smooth talking Jock and I quickly became best friends. His presence in my life during my time here at university has been nothing but a gift from God, and I thank God for him so often. Not only was he a huge gift on my life, but God has also used him to show me many lessons, including the one I just shared, you know, about prejudice and stuff. So there you have it, World, you never know, that Absent-minded, can't-be-on-time-for-anything, smooth-talking-Jock just may end up being your big brother best friend. 

Best friends cook with you,
force you to take time just to look at the clouds,
and best friends promise to keep in touch.
Best friends teach you new things,
say goodbye before long breaks,
and go to church with you in fun ways!

November 5, 2012


So I finally admitted to myself that I am overwhelmed. 

Overwhelmed: feeling like you have so much to do that you can't even get started.

Humbly I say that this is the first year of university that I feel challenged, and I'm not sure if I'm actually enjoying it. I'm enrolled in not five courses, but six; three of which are math/science based, one is a seminar course, and the other two are highly enjoyable. I should also mention that the majority of these courses give tests (which are not my strengths) in fact, I don't think I've written a substantial essay all term.... (paper writing is my strength). Also, these tests... ALL happen in the same weeks as one another. One week in October, one week in November, and one week in December. (Oh and during these crazy weeks some of these tests are all on the same day.) I should also mention that I've been sick for two weeks. 

Isn't fourth year the year when you're supposed to be living life up, and cruising through to your degree? Well not for me. I can't seem to get ahead in any class, let alone in all of the applications. Every moment of everyday I have a huge weight on my shoulders that says, "you should be further along on those Education applications, Missy!" I can't count the number of nights I've woken up in a panic over those dreaded applications. I feel like I'm drowning. After every test and assignment the only thought I have is, "just get through the next one". Sometimes I get so bogged down that I just don't do anything. I often have the mentality that if I can't give 100% to something, then I won't do it at all, and that's no way to live. I feel like I'm running full speed on a treadmill, you know, sweating a lot, keeping up,  but not actually getting anywhere. Oh, that reminds me, I haven't had time to go to the gym in 3 weeks. I really enjoy the gym. Dear Annie, make time for the gym, you miss it. On top of everything, I have the invitation to worry about finances, because graduation is anything but affordable. I'm doing my best to resist the temptation of buying a school ring, a specialized diploma frame, and all the other money grabbing extras. 

Is this how people live? Do other people feel this overwhelmed in everyday life? If so, I am empathetic.  This weekend I learned to keep breathing. I was reminded that tasks can be broken down into smaller tasks, and I discovered that there are some seasons of life that will just be hectic. It is in these hectic times that we can find inner peace, and though I haven't quite found it yet, I've been making progress. I made a list. I really like lists, but instead of a To Do list (which I have 3 of), I made a list of practical things I can do to make accomplishing my To Do lists more bearable manageable fun! I don't want to miss out on life. Fourth year is flying by, and I haven't punched anyone who has used the "G" word around me, so I think I'm doing alright. I just never know how to answer, "Are you excited to graduate?" Yes, no, most times, sometimes...that in itself is an overwhelming question that I haven't yet answered. 

I'm still looking for tips on changing mentality of "I just have to get through this list" to "look at all the fun things I get to do!" I don't want to miss my fourth year, I have classes with Profs that I like, I live in the same city with friends whom I love, and I'm doing things that I enjoy. So how do I slow down this crazy ride? First I have to breath out the air I just breathed in.

A new song in my life is by New Wine. It is called "God I look to You".
Some of the lyrics are as follows:
"God I look to you 
I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to you
You're where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do."

I'm not there yet. I am overwhelmed, and my vision to put things into perspective is pretty clouded. I know that I need to be overwhelming my troubles with my faith. I know that being this overwhelmed isn't healthy, and I know that I will get through everything that I have to do. I just have to live life one tiny footstep at a time, because beautiful are the feet are those that bring good news. I can and I will find joy in this feeling of being overwhelmed. 

Image courtesy of

November 3, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

Last week I went to the annual poster sale at a neighbouring university. Usually I am drawn by the posters of television shows that I enjoy, bands that I like, and inspirational quotes that I appreciate. This year was different. I was absolutely taken by three prints of vintage art; so much so that I went back a few days later and purchased them. They are all photographs by an artist named Mandy Lynne. 
I purchased:
 Enjoy the Journey

 Sealed with a  Kiss

Blooming Books

The exciting part of this purchase is that I can cross "Buy Art" off of my bucket list. I think I am now one step closer to becoming not only an adult, but the adult I want to become.  I have my first set of art, and though I may still have a Captain America Poster above my bed, I am enjoying this transitioning stage of my life, and I'm actually looking forward to the day when I retire the Captain. So why did I buy art? Well, ars gratia artis, which is latin for "Art for the sake of Art". It is not necessarily symbolic for me, nor do I know the artist, but I bought art that was made for the sake of art. I'm very excited to frame this checkmark on my bucket list. 

To find my selection of art and other pieces by Mandy Lynne, click here to see her shop on Etsy.