I’m not in Love, and so can you.


I recently had a conversation with a close friend about the nature of relationships. They were struggling with the thought of ending a long term relationship, one of the reasons given being that they didn’t feel the same way about their partner anymore. They worried that the relationship had simply run its course, and figured it must be time to move on given the lack of romantic passion that once was present. In its place was deep Love and friendship, but they just weren’t “in Love” anymore.

I tried to nod and be supportive – I really did – but if you know anything about me, you know that withholding something from someone I care about is just not something I do, no matter how hard hearing it might be. And so, I spoke. And this is essentially what I had to say.


I want to start by saying that you may or may not have very valid reasons for ending your relationship. I don’t know what happens inside of it, so I cannot make any judgment on that. You may be right that you will be happier apart. You may be right that this is the right thing to do. You may have a million very good reasons for why you need to be single right now, or why your partner isn’t the right person for you, or why a break up is inevitable.

But not being in Love is not one of them.

It’s not your fault that you believe it is. Not really. Our culture has been telling us for years that the key to happiness is finding our soul mate and living happily ever after. We are supposed to have 50-60 years of wedded bliss, mind blowing sex, total romantic connection. Sure, we are allowed to have our disagreements – after all, that’s a sign of passion. But we are never ever ever supposed to feel bored, or question our choice of partner, or be attracted to anyone else, or feel totally and completed disconnected from our soul mate. Because those are all signs that either the relationship has hit its expiry date or it was never really meant to be in the first place.

I have news for you: IT’S A BIG FAT LIE. And at the root of this lie is the idea that we are supposed to base our relationships on falling in Love in the first place.

I fell in Love with my husband. Boy, did I ever. Hit me like a truck and dragged me down the highway at top speed, leaving me with a major case of road rash. He was charming and charismatic and from literally the first moment I saw him I knew I had found something amazing.

That lasted for about 3 months.

After 3 months, our lives started to get very real very quickly. I won’t go into specifics because this is not the time or place, but needless to say, things got HARD. I don’t mean we had our first fight and I gained 5 pounds. I mean shit hit the fan in pretty much every major aspect of life. And pretty quickly, I fell out of Love.

Let me stop you here. I know, you think this sounds horrible. I mean, I just admitted I FELL OUT OF LOVE WITH MY HUSBAND. But it’s the truth. The shiny happy feelings of the early days were replaced with a lot of stress and worry and fighting to stay afloat in the midst of the storm around us. Our lives were anything but romantic. I didn’t have the naive, head in the clouds, we will always be happy feelings of the days of yore. I had a very real and very difficult decision to make: do I really want to fight for this relationship? Is it really worth it?

Clearly, you know the answer to this question. Let me tell you how I got here.

Once I fell out of Love, I decided to start living IN Love. In order to do that, I needed to figure out what Love really and truly looked like. So, I looked at my husband and I asked myself:

Does he respect you?

Does he make you a better version of yourself?

Does he make you laugh?

Does he support you even when you aren’t very likeable?

Does he challenge you and force you to grow?

Does he tell you the truth?

Do you feel safe to be your true self with him?

Does he choose you first?

I asked myself these questions, and I found that the answer to each and every question was a resounding “YES”. (*Disclaimer – we are human, and not every single situation we ever find ourselves in will result in a “Yes” to these questions. Answer in regards to the overarching themes). I may not have felt “in Love” with him the way I once had, but I was very much living in his Love. It was surrounding me and lifting me up. I just needed to know where to look.

And so, I asked myself a second set of questions.


Do you respect him?

Do you bring out his best qualities?

Do you laugh with him?

Do you still see the man he is, even when he makes the choice not to live up to that?

Do you push him to keep growing?

Are you honest with him?

Do you make him feel safe to be himself?

Do you choose him first?

I wish I could say that my answers to these questions were all “Yeses” too, but they weren’t. I had been relying on him to Love me, and I had been relying on my being “in Love” so much, that I had forgotten to BE Love. I had forgotten that I too needed to consciously and actively Love my husband. And so I made a choice. I made a choice to live in Love with my husband, to surround him with Love in the same way I wanted to be surrounded. I made a choice that every day I would Love him. In big ways and small ways, I would Love him. I would Love him when I was in Love with him, and when I fell back out, I would Love him even more. Because being in a committed partnership is not and should not be about being “in Love”. It is about being IN Love, by choice, through it all.

You may be right – this might not be the relationship for you or for him. But if that’s the case, it’s because your answers are more nos than yeses. It’s because you aren’t ready to be in a place of choosing a life in Love, or he isn’t someone who makes you feel safe, or you don’t even know who you are yet so how can you know if he helps you be the best version of that unknown self. But no longer being “in Love” is not a valid reason, because no matter who you choose in the end, sometimes you will not feel in Love. It’s just the nature of our fickle emotions. And yet, in those moments where you aren’t uber connected and having great sex and feeling warm fuzzies, you will find you are experiencing a Love far more profound, both being given and being received.

One last thing: he won’t always be “in Love” with you either. If he’s living in Love with you through that, then you know he’s a keeper.




Love Is



Simple. Concrete. Easy.

Love is a thing of beauty.

A masterpiece created with broad strokes strewn across the canvas haphazardly.

Love happens to us. Falls upon us, or us upon it.

It engulfs us, transports us, reorders us in a single breath.

Love is a force.

Outside ourselves, beyond our control. An overwhelming, uncontrollable urge, a voice so loud it shakes our very being.

It screams our name and demands that we answer, now, NOW.

Love cannot be ignored.

Love cannot be ignored.

It whispers quietly, “I’m here, always. Take your time.”

Tucked into the deepest corners of our being. A choice to be made, a voice so quiet we often mistake it for nonsense.

Love is a whisper.

It patiently waits, chipping away inch by inch, year by year at our hardened hearts.

Love offers itself up, to be embraced or rejected at will.

A masterpiece created with careful strokes, each one in its place.

Love is a thing of beauty.

Complex. Abstract. Exhausting.


Sorry, Kid, You Just Aren’t That Important


I am heavily addicted to my phone. It’s gotten worse over the years as my phone has become smarter and connected me to more and more social media, made messaging simpler (QWERTY keyboards anyone?!) and essentially become a mobile, talking, limitless source of both entertainment and information.


I know this sounds far from a bad thing. And don’t get me wrong: I think smartphones are F#$@ing AMAZING. WE LIVE IN THE FUTURE. Many of my Star Trek fantasies are fulfilled by these amazing mini computers. They can make our lives so much easier and connect us instantaneously to loved ones around the world. This is a miraculous thing. However, I am a firm believer that it’s generally not WHAT a thing is that makes it good or bad, but rather HOW we use it. And herein lies my problem.


Imagine for a moment if you will that your phone is a person. For the sake of this illustration, I will give my phone the name Marcel. Now, Marcel is an incredibly fascinating guy. He can take pictures for me to share with my family. He knows about nearly everything on the planet and can give me answers to almost any question I have at a moment’s notice. He is funny, tells great stories, catches me up on everyone’s lives. He can chat for hours on end. He’s amazing company. Marcel comes literally everywhere with me.


This morning I woke up, and before I even said hi to my husband or kids, I rolled over to ask Marcel what time it was. I checked in with him to see if he’d heard anything from my friends overnight. There were a few not-so-interesting tidbits from a couple of websites, and a couple of nice messages from my dad. Then it was time to get out of bed, so I put on some pants and Marcel and I went downstairs.


When I got there, the kids and Tory were up already. I said good morning to everyone. Cindy (Tory’s phone) was chattering in the background about sports. Lovely girl, but she really does talk a lot. The boys seemed busy with each other and breakfast, so I grabbed Lazarus while Tory finished getting A’s things together for school and we went to sit on the couch with Marcel. While Lazarus was busy looking at me, I checked in with Marcel again to see what was happening on Facebook. Lots of fun stuff, mostly from people I don’t know well. I guess I could have been paying more attention to Lazarus, but honestly, Marcel was just more engaging.


After Tory left to take A to school, L sat down next to me. He was talking, but I just kept talking with Marcel over him, because 4 year olds aren’t that thrilling sometimes either. L kept trying to talk to me, and while I half heard what he was saying, he knew I was more interested in the conversation I was having with Marcel. How could he not? Marcel always had my attention, and it didn’t matter what L was saying – if Marcel said he had a new message I’d start talking to him immediately, even if L was mid-sentence. Sorry, kid, you just aren’t that important.


Lazarus decided he had enough of playing with his toys eventually, and wanted to play with me instead. Of course, playing for a 4 month old can be pretty boring – making faces, giving kisses and tickles, singing silly songs. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with him, but I’m a grown up, and I’d like to use my grown up brain sometimes. He gets mad when I keep looking at Marcel instead of him. Sorry kid, you just aren’t that important. I’d rather spend time with Marcel. At least he will grow up knowing this from day one.


I checked in periodically with Marcel throughout the day. Marcel is clearly the most important person to me – I’ll interrupt pretty much any conversation I’m having to talk to him. Even if he’s not trying to get my attention, sometimes I’d just rather be listening to his witty 140 character stories than engage in another conversation with Tory or L. At least, that’s what I do, so that must be the case.


Before dinner, the kids are playing with their friends downstairs and Lazarus is quietly hanging out, so I figure maybe I should leave Marcel in the other room for a few minutes so I can spend some time with Tory alone. I sit Marcel at the kitchen table and head to the living room, proud of myself for finally setting Marcel aside. “See how important you are, Tory?” I think as I sit down in the reclining chair. Unfortunately, I look up and Tory is busy talking to Cindy. Great. I try to engage Tory in conversation, but we keep getting interrupted by Cindy, obnoxiously poking him to pay attention to her instead. Even though Tory tries hard to balance both conversations, she always gets her way. I try not to be upset, because I know how hard it is to ignore her. Just like Marcel.


I know that checking a text on your phone may FEEL less invasive than cutting someone off mid-sentence to have a conversation with someone else, but the truth of it is, it’s not. My relationship with my phone appears far more problematic when I start to view that phone as another person in the room. What kind of a message am I sending to my friends and family? What does it say to my kids that the little white box I carry around with me garners more of my attention (and keeps it much better) than they do? Do I really want the people in my life to feel like they matter LESS to me than my phone?


Every time I answer a text instead of listening to my 4 year old talk, I am essentially telling him that whoever is on the other end of that message is more important and more interesting than he is. When I decide to scroll Facebook while talking to my husband I am letting him know that catching up on the lives of everyone else is more important to me than catching up on his. When I can’t manage to give my 4 month old 5 minutes of my time just to be present with him, what I am communicating is that the little white box matters more than he does.


None of those messages are true, and yet, I send them nearly every day.


I don’t think you should never be on your phone around others. I can sit with my husband and enjoy his company while chatting with other friends. I can go to the park with my kids and talk to the other moms while our kids play. Taking photos or saying hi to a friend or reading a few anecdotes is not the problem. The problem is giving my phone precedence over everything else in my life. My phone has its place in my life, and in that place, it can be an incredible tool. The thing is, I need to keep it there.


Sorry Marcel, you just aren’t that important.


I’m going to spend some time with my family now. I’ll talk to you in a bit.

Confessions of a Stepmom


Since giving birth to Lazarus, many well intentioned people have commented to me that while I may have two step children, having my own child is “different”. I happen to agree with this statement – it IS different. However, it’s not what is being said but what is so often implied in that kind of statement that bothers me.


You see, when these well intentioned people make these kinds of comments, by manner and tone  – and sometimes even more directly by words themselves – they imply that having my “own” child is somehow MORE. And that is a sentiment I must wholeheartedly stand against.


When I met Tory, I knew that he had two sons. I knew that unlike most people who start off their relationships as single non-parents, I would never have Tory’s undivided attention. We wouldn’t date through our infatuation, grow into Love, marry and move in together, get to know each other as a couple before committing ourselves to a family. No, if I decided to have a relationship with Tory it would mean forever (and from the very start) sharing his heart and our home with these two children whom I had no part in bringing into this world. I would never be his singular focus, and he could never be mine. It would mean working every day for the rest of my life to find a place in the lives of these kids who already had two Loving and capable parents. Anyone who has faced this choice can tell you that this is not something that is entered into lightly, particularly when the kids are so young. Not knowing what the future would hold, I chose very consciously to enter into a relationship not only with Tory but with these two precious children. And in doing so, I encountered what would become two of the greatest Loves of my life.


I wish I could say that from the start it was easy and happy and we all Loved each other. The truth is that at first it was easy, and then it was hard, and then it was very hard, and then it got better, and so on and so forth. I worked so hard to walk the fine line between friend and parental figure, trying to ease my way into the hearts of these two young boys as they eased their way into mine, without threatening the place of their already present mother. But while I had the wisdom (though minimal…) and insight of an adult, they had so little experience to work with and so much to work through. They struggled first with the falling apart of their old family and then with the coming together of their new one. They struggled with liking me and being afraid of betraying the Love of their mother. They struggled to understand how and where I could fit into their newly chaotic lives even while they were still trying desperately to figure out how they fit into it themselves. And so we trudged through, day by day, learning and growing and healing. And slowly but surely, Loving.


The boys still struggle – will always struggle – with my place in their lives. We are the kind of family that they never wanted but that they have come to Love and accept. Every day we work together to figure out the rhythm of our family. Our hearts continue to weave in and out of one another, knitting us together into a far more perfect pattern than anything we could have designed on our own.


So, is it different having stepchildren than having my “own” child? Yes, in so many ways. My Love for Lazarus grew alongside him, miraculously conjuring itself up within me only to burst forth in a brilliant and instantaneous overwhelming force all at once the moment I first held him in my arms. It reordered my very being in the blink of an eye in a way I will never fully comprehend. My Love for the boys grew slowly and carefully, cautiously creeping in bit by bit, only to consume me in the end, just as my Love for their brother did in a moment. My Love for Lazarus is transformative and beautiful, but my Love for his two brothers is edifying and humbling in a way that only that Love can be. Loving them has required of me to step aside and truly Love without expectation of anything in return.


At the end of the day, having Lazarus is different than having the boys, and yet, it is with my whole being that I Love them all. They are all my boys; they have forever changed me, each one. I will continue to struggle every day to be mother and stepmother, Loving each of our children in the way they need and deserve to be Loved while inhabiting my unique place in their lives and hearts just as they inhabit their unique but equally significant places in mine.

Your Will Be Done


This past year, none of our plans worked out.

At the beginning of the year, I (Brynn) began applying for other jobs. I knew I didn’t want to stay in my current job forever, but I also knew that there was very little opportunity for me to move up at my place of employment. So, I decided to find something else, something that would give me the opportunity to increase my seniority and eventually make enough money to help support our family in a more substantive way. I reached out to friends and family for help. Leads poured in. Having never had trouble finding work and with a decent amount of experience and living in one of the strongest job markets in Canada, I was certain I would get something new in no time. Then: nothing. Nothing panned out. In the over 100 jobs I applied for, I didn’t receive a single interview. What was going on?

Tory had a very good year in 2013. He was able to be employed in town for the entire year, a blessing given our ongoing custody issues. We finally felt like things were settling into place for him professionally. When we began to look at he 2014 season, so many opportunities for employment were there. There were a number of shows, all that had great roles that would be a great fit. Things were looking great. We were confident. Having just found out I was pregnant, we needed Tory to have steady employment as I would be going on maternity leave in the new year. We had it all planned out. Then: nothing. Audition after audition, show after show, nothing was panning out. While we understood that sometimes that is just how the industry works, we couldn’t figure it out. What was going on? We were facing the prospect of no more than a few months of work the following year and no way to possibly meet the expenses of our life. Tory began looking at opportunities outside of Calgary. More offers came his way, asking for him to submit. And then, more nothing.

In May, Tory and I went to dinner on a gift card a friend had given us. As we were sitting there, Tory began asking me about law. We have been involved in an ongoing custody dispute for the past year and a half for which I had done much of the legal work. I researched, wrote many of our legal documents, developed legal arguments and organized our evidence and documentation. I had learned an incredible amount about our legal system and family law. Our lawyer had come to rely heavily on me, and in spite of why I was doing the work I found I loved doing it. And I was great at it. Tory asked me if I had ever considered pursuing law. I told him I had thought of it in passing, but that I couldn’t seriously consider it – it was too expensive, we had too much going on, I needed to be there to support the family and I wasn’t even sure I was smart enough. Tory stopped me, looked at me and said “Brynn, I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. If this is what you want to do, you should do it. I will support you 100%”. Or something like that.

Had my plans to find another job worked out, I never would have considered law. I wouldn’t have had the time or energy to devote to the legal work needed to successfully resolve our custody dispute last month. Because my plans didn’t work out, I will be attending law school starting in September of 2014, which is so much better than anything I could have dreamed up.

And Tory? Last month – in the span of about two weeks – he lined up work in town for the much of next year, with more opportunities still on the horizon. Better work, in shows he likes, that won’t require him to be gone when I give birth.

None of our plans worked out this year. Thank God for that.

To the Love of my Life



I want you to know some things. I think it’s important that you hear them.

I am thankful for you, every day. Not because of what you do for me, though what you do is so appreciated. No, I am thankful because you are you. And because you are here, with me, beside me. And just by being you, you make my life so much richer. Thank you for your companionship.

I am empowered by you. You celebrate me every day. You take joy in my successes. You encourage me to push myself, to take risks that I would never take on my own. Your faith in me fills me up and gives me the courage to take on the world. When I see myself through your eyes, I see someone so very beautiful and capable. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself.

I am safe with you. Your dedication to honesty with yourself and with me gives me the freedom to trust. I can fall into you and believe that you will always catch me. I know you are human. I know we will hurt each other. But I know it will never be intentional. I know I can tell you all my secrets, and I know that you Love me just as I am. Thank you for seeing me and allowing me to see you.

I am in Love with you. I didn’t fall into it, I leapt in willingly. This is how I know I will not fall out. I choose you, every day, and I do so with such joy. I work hard to live that Love, in the big moments and in the small. It’s far from perfect, but I use my whole heart. I Love you with Holy Love, as I am Loved and you are Loved: without condition or expectation. And you Love me the same. Thank you for Loving me and for letting me Love you.

That’s all. For now.

Midnight Ramblings


You animals of night and nymph
You careless creatures carved from sin
You wretches wreaking of your right
You foul mouthed devils filled with spite

I think you thought I could not think
So filled with lust and grogged with drink
But I knew you, I saw, I see
And nothing new will ever be

Be gone from here
Be fast
Be far
Be foe
Be friend
Be one less scar

Be scattered scareless careless free
Be anyone, but don’t be me

I Want


To be seen.

To be seen in full daylight. To be seen through.

To be seen with all of my faults, all of my shortcomings.

To be seen with all of my attributes, all that makes me wonderful and good.

To be seen, past, present and future.

To be held.

To be held not on high, as an angel or saint.

To be held not in low regard, as worth less than my fellow man.

To be held beside, in company with.

To be held as equal in both fault and virtue.

To be accepted as fully myself.

To be known.

To be human.

To be Loved.