Identifying as a Christian

I drafted an essay, about 4 or 5 years ago, that was a pain to write. I had an idea of what I wanted to get down on paper but the connections were awkward, the structure confusing and the emotion unwieldy. Then, last month, while looking for something else in my writing folder, the essay fell out. I picked it off the floor and sat down to read it with fresh eyes. By the last paragraph, I decided I wanted to salvage it because I still feel the same way, and because it explains what I cannot easily articulate in everyday conversation.

Convivium, an on-line magazine that “fosters rigorous conversation, shares profound stories of faith, and explores some of the most difficult questions of our time”, published it this week…

I don’t believe there’s anything after this,” Connie says. “We get one time around and when we die, it’s all over.” She pauses, then adds, “There’s nothing more, nothing less.”

Lying on my back, staring at the bunk above me, I sense she pities anyone naive enough to rely on a religious crutch to explain our existence. Spiritual leanings, hard-wired into the modern psyche because of evolutionary advantage, are nothing to her but the result of legends used for societal control and group cohesion. The more I listen, the more I dread coming out…

Click to read the rest here!

If, by the end of the article, you still have time and energy to comment, I’d love to know how you relate to the piece. Does it feel familiar? Unsettle you? Surprise you?

Thanks for reading. I’m honoured, as always, that you’re here,




Wonderscape 2018

I’ve been learning a lot, in the last decade, about where ideas come from. Lately I’ve been starting to feel uncomfortable with some of the language I’ve used regarding this topic. My perspective has changed. I don’t have ideas; I receive them. I don’t come-up with ideas; I listen to them. Ideas certainly don’t originate with me, but if I’m lucky, I catch them and sometimes I even get to work with them.

It’s been a couple years since I first conceived the idea of a gathering where creators come to work on their projects and spend time learning from each other. I could not have imagined, cross-country skiing on that cold night in January 2016, what the idea would look like two years later. You, thankfully, do not have to try and imagine it either. Simply check it out here 🙂

poster 2018

Registration opened about a week ago and it is already over half-full, with makers of all disciplines hailing from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Yukon. Wonderscape is designed as an intimate retreat (maximum around 40 participants) to facilitate authentic discussions during group sessions and a cozy atmosphere. I’d love to see you there. Please contact me at if you are curious.




If I understood hashtags
or knew why I should use them
I would type out a whole slew:
And it would all be true
expect for the parts that
were left out.

Like when I lost Stan at the start and was left without wax or water or food
and teared up,
partly because I thought we were in this together–
but mostly because of the food.
And then, when I found the girls six kilometres later,
one of them had a breakdown and refused to move an inch farther
and yelled crazy things
and I yelled crazy things back
and smiley men in spandex swished past us, commenting on the
superb day,
while we feigned pleasantries.

But that’s not all that would be missing.
The catchy phrases wouldn’t describe
the wood smoke or braided rugs or sliced oranges
at the warm-up huts.
They wouldn’t ring like the laughter of the hut-host who invited us in for sausage
and gave my thirteen-year-old advice about boys.
Or capture Mary skip-hopping while she skate skis
like a forest nymph or Susanna’s flushed cheeks
or Belén whooping through birch and pine.

Hashtags would certainly be quicker and easier
but sometimes quick and easy isn’t as
satisfying as sore biceps and stiff hips and sweaty necks
and run-on sentences that
a poem.



My Valentine’s Day Gift For You

Pretend you’re sitting at my kitchen table. Pretend I offer you something to drink, like chocolatey-chai tea. Pretend I have to take a dirty cup out of the dishwasher and wash it. Pretend I hand you your tea, but forget to give you sugar or honey or a spoon. Pretend I give you a red construction paper valentine. Pretend you open it and find…

Bee and Me. I just “read” this wordless picture book to Vivi, got up from my couch, set her in front of the IPAD, and opened up my blog to write this. That’s how much I liked it. It’s a story about a girl and a bee and wildflowers and hope, likely found at your local library!

(I was attracted to the cover of this book because I knew my husband would be intrigued. On a side note, tasting honey in winter is a bit like pillow-cases that smell like last summer. Stan’s honey, or rather the honey made by bees with whom Stan spends inordinate amounts of time, has a different taste than the regular canola honey I’m used to. It’s more floral and reminds me of the miracle of tasting wildflowers while the snow falls.)


This book. So proud of my friend and writing coach, Kirsten Krymusa, for curating her summer in a French cottage for the rest of us to read, laugh about and imagine.


The poem, Staying Power, by Jeanne Murray Walker (thanks for the recommendation Kirsten). Here’s a teaser:

…Pick up any language by the scruff of its neck
wipe its face, set it down on the lawn,
and I bet it will toddle right into the godfire
again, which—though they say it doesn’t
exist—can send you straight to the burn unit…

And today’s song, When Love Meets Dust , by Alana Levandoski. I’d like to meet her someday, she doesn’t live too far away! (Thanks for the recommendation Rebecca.)

alana levandoski

…Pretend these beautiful words and notes spill all over the table. Pretend it’s my gift to you.

Happy Valentine’s!

Artist Blessing

I’m fighting with filing cabinets and piles of receipts and spreadsheets and my eye-lids feel heavy. I hate financial record keeping! Two hours later I’m still shuffling papers, trying to prepare my final Wonderscape report  for the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Maybe I need to eat. Maybe I need to sleep. Maybe I need to take a break from all this. A moment later I come across the Artist Blessing I read together with my fellow Wonderscape participants last September.

It buoyed me somewhat.

Here it is for all of you, wherever you are and whatever kind of shuffling you’re doing today:

Artist Blessing

You were created to create.

You are gifted with an original set of experiences,

sensitivities and passions that no one else can replicate.

You are uniquely positioned in your family and community—in

this place and time in history–

to give what nobody else in the world can give.

May your eyes be opened to the abundant opportunities.

May you hear the Universe shout and whisper,

inviting you to enflesh, name, and reflect Beauty.

May you be protected from the crush of jealously,

fear and insecurity.

May your work replenish, surprise and awaken you.

May you empty yourself and your ego

so that when you release your art into the world

you are, at the same time, filled to overflowing

with more new ideas than you could ever hold.

May you live in that deep place of always-enough,

open to Inspiration,

aware of Mystery,

connected to the Creator.

-Tricia Friesen Reed


My youngest daughter, during her first canoe-trip a couple years ago

…The only reason I can half-stand what I’m doing today is because I’m already excited about the next retreat (Sept. 2018). Still hooked on this.

The Rich List

I cut apple slices and the kids pull up the homemade (and still unpainted) wooden stools to the computer screen. I bring over Vivi’s rickety highchair, the 40-year-old one I fell in love with at a garage sale (that now has a gaping crack down the back), and situate her between her sisters.

We’re watching a home-buying show and the camera pans marble counter tops, large foyers with loads of storage, gleaming appliances, cavernous showers, and sprawling acreages. The husband and wife deliberate on their final choice; how will they ever decide?

“I’d pick the third one. The Cape Cod with 4,000 square feet that’s all brand new,” says Susanna.

“Not me,” responds Belén. “The first is way better. Did you see those trails through the trees and the pool in in the backyard?”

Soon the credits roll and I sigh. Looking around my living space that suddenly seems cramped and shabby, I wonder why we’re still using the old press-board bookcase my parents gave us when we moved back to Canada. Surely we could afford something better by now! And the paint colour in the living room is starting to feel obnoxious–I’ll definitely have to change it this spring.

Belén jumps off her stool and picks Vivi’s stuffed animals off the floor. Then she heads to the craft cabinet and starts shuffling the mound of papers that accumulate daily.

“What are you doing?” I ask Belén while both Susanna and I stare. “Are you trying to spruce this place up?”

“Yes,” she answers emphatically.

Meanwhile, Susanna is thinking hard. “Mom, we need to sell our house,” she concludes. “We need something bigger. Newer. Like those houses.”

Then I realize we all feel the same way. I also realize this is exactly how we’re supposed to feel. That the producers of the show have done a fine job, if money is the bottom line and the show is meant to generate revenue for their sponsors. I also know that people buy things when they respond to felt needs. Which means we have to be made to feel we don’t have enough, to be of any use as consumers.

I explain all this to the girls and tell them to think about it the next time they want something newer, bigger or better. It’s not that buying new things is bad, or that wanting to change your paint colour is bad, or that TV is bad, or that spending money is bad. These can all be life-giving creative expressions. What I am wary of is allowing myself to be influenced by companies who benefit when I feel I lack something. Or, in other words, manufactured dissatisfaction. I tell my daughters that it’s dangerous to listen to someone who tells you what you need, especially when they end up with your cash.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves, without staring at a screen, of what makes us feel rich and satiated. Often, these very things are never mentioned in any kind of advertisement or marketing campaign. My list is very Tricia-specific and though it’s similar to a gratitude list, it’s more narrow in focus. While I am certainly thankful for my friends, family, and health, not everything I am grateful for fits on the list. The “rich list” is not abstract, but made of the lush details in my life that really do make me feel wealthy–that I have even more than enough.

This list is about butter and real whipped cream and buttermilk and full-fat yoghurt and cream cheese and having them all in my fridge before their expiry date is up, even when I don’t have a recipe in mind in which to use them.

It’s about deep powdery snow that covers the wheat stubble in the fields and sprays behind ski-doos and weighs heavily on spruce-tree boughs.

It’s about pulling a pillow-case from my linen drawer in the middle of January that was line-dried outside and still smells like last summer.

It’s about the size of my chalkboard.

It’s about leaving the library with 32 books in the stroller and telling my older daughters they have to stop reading–at least until we cross Broadway and reach the sidewalk where it’s safer with your nose in a book.

It’s about sprinkling fresh herbs on a plateful of vegetables when the world outside my window is frozen solid; green onions on sweet potato soup, cilantro on pad thai, and rosemary on roasted potatoes.

It’s about hand-made pottery mugs.

It’s about ski-pants with crotch zippers for ventilation.

It’s about burning beeswax candles on any old week night, just because.

When Stan comes home from work he steps into the kitchen with his boots on. They’re still dripping with melted snow and leaving dirty puddles on the floor, which usually irritates me but this time I don’t mention it. Instead, I stand on tip-toes and put my hands around his neck. “Welcome home–home to where your wife loves you, where you have three beautiful daughters, and where there’s insulation in the attic.”

My husband is surprised by my lavish greeting and pulls back. “Whoa… What’s this about?” he asks.

“Oh, we watched this show and thought we needed a new home, but now we  don’t.” I go back to chopping herbs for dinner; fresh green onions on sweet potato coconut curry soup. Things don’t always turn around this fast. Tomorrow I might feel the same way I did a few minutes ago. Which is why I need the list to remind myself.


*I wrote this post a year ago and it languished in my draft folder until this morning, when I re-read it. Initially I thought readers would think it trite, but it’s true, so I’m posting it.

** What makes you feel rich? Leave your lavish remarks in the comments! I’d love to know.