Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I sat there tonight in choir, not needing to watch the notes or lyrics like I normally do, and I realized why: The song that we were practicing was above singing words or watching out for sharps and flats or flipping to the coda...It was about the power of just being "Still." So, as I sang with the rest of the choir members, I found myself in deep contemplation. Why do I fret about and worry when, in the stillness of God, all of our problems and burdens are taken care of? Especially at this time of year, the season leading up to Christmas, I tend to get sideswiped by the craziness of essays and exams, and sidetracked by the glittery ornaments and all things Christmas. (Afterall, Grey Cup weekend is fast approaching and that means outdoor lights time!)

But I guess that, sometimes, I forget in all of this that God is there and simply waiting for me to slow down, stop and take that moment to share in the awesomeness and wonder of His unfailing, "never-too-busy-for-His-children" kind of love.

Find rest, my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God
I will be still and know You...
...are God.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Saying Farewell to Stanley

I was reading the paper this morning when I came across an article about a man named Stanley AvRuskin, a lawyer who cared enough about the youth in this city to do anything to represent them when they could not do so themselves. I found his obituary/article so interesting, I could not help myself...I had to write about his passing. I'm sure that Toronto youth, at least those lost in their ways, will miss this man dearly.
- Amy

As reported in this Wednesday's edition of The Toronto Star, it seems as though the courts have lost a dear friend and pioneer of youth law in the city. On October 1, 2006, the "cowboy of the courts" passed away. He was seventy years of age and only days away from his fortieth wedding anniversary to his wife, a dermatologist at Sick Kids Hospital.

A native of Ontario, he grew up on a farm outside of the town in Elora. His understanding of the land and simpler way of life is perhaps what led him to his love of all things Western...namely Jonny Cash and Willie Nelson. The high value of a true cowboy's word, as seen and read about in so many Western movies and novels, was carried through into his daily life and actions in the courtroom. He passionately pursued a career in defending youth offenders. After graduating from Toronto's Osgood Hall Law School, he set up his own practice which, even after his death, is still called at all hours of the day and night. People trusted him because they always knew where he stood. Right was right, wrong was wrong, and the innocent were innocent until proven guilty.

His daughter, Hayley, stated to The Toronto Star: "He loved defending young offenders. He did tons of legal aid work and we would get collect calls at all hours of the night from jails everywhere."

This ongoing desire for justice combined with his pleasure and humor of life was even conveyed by his office answering machine: "I'm back in the saddle and riding the trail of tears for justice. This is S. J. AvRuskin, criminal defence lawyer, the old desperado in the big, black cowboy hat, the Willie Nelson of the defence bar."

AvRuskin's impact in the justice community was felt so strongly that the Jarvis St. provincial youth court is closed today until 2pm so that all can wish Stanley a final farewell.

As per the family's wishes, do what Stanley J. AvRuskin would do: Say "Howdy" and give some food, coffee or money to someone less fortunate on the streets of Toronto...

...but please, mention that it's from the "man in the big, black hat."