Hope Robertson

Fashion - Style - Books - Interior Design



April 2014

Hope, She Wrote: In Praise of Slowness

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Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone! It’s so easy to get caught up in circumstances and day-to-day activities, but it’s so important to — regularly — take time to slow down. I need to remind myself of this almost every day (and it’s a challenge). Here’s my latest column with five ways to practice slowness.

Every year, things seem to move faster than they did the year before. Personally, the past few years of my life have involved so much activity that it’s difficult to remember a time when I moved at a slower pace. This is thanks in part to advancements in technology that allow for us as a society to do so much more. (Theoretically at least.) We live in a society where it’s just not cool to stay in and go to bed early; where clocking over time, taking on excess work and personal responsibility aren’t appreciated – they’re expected.

I recently discovered that I belong to a growing number of young professionals who are “dual-device” – people who carry two cellular devices, one for work and one for personal use. While in some ways it’s an advantage to be continuously connected – I can tell you at any given point in time what the latest news headlines are, how certain stocks are performing, and even see fuel prices at the nearest service station, – being continuously connected is also a growing concern. People everywhere are always plugged-in, and with this expectation that we should be that way, when and how are we supposed to slow down?

I’ve written before about the bad word “busy”, and Carl Honoré (Canadian journalist and guy genius), has written a series of books on the subject of the “slow” revolution. He practices this whole psychology that slowing down allows us to savour more of life – applying the art of slowness to relationships, food, and even medicine. Both of Honoré’s books, In Praise of Slow and The Slow Fix should be mandatory reading if you frequently feel “stressed” or like you never have enough time to finish everything that needs to be done. (Note to self)

With this notion of “slowness” in mind, here are five practices that I find help me slow down and live more fully. Easy enough to write, these are areas that I actively have to keep in check.

  1. Shut down screen time. In the spirit of being always connected, it can be a real struggle to shut down technology in the evenings. Nights when I’m at home, the hours between 6pm and 10pm are crucial for unwinding.
  2. Sleep. I frequently hear “sleep is over-rated” and “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” from people who want to make the most of out life and enjoy every moment. One of the keys to enjoying every moment to its fullest is being properly rested. Do some research on sleep stages for more on this.
  3. Cook. It’s no secret that I love food, and experimenting in the kitchen (or at the ‘Q) is something I’ve really grown fond of the past few years. Ever heard the saying “it tastes better when it’s made with love”? It’s true! When you’re relaxed, the process of preparing a meal somehow makes the food more flavour-filled.
  4. Face-to-face communication. Whether it’s taking a walk with a loved one, or making a “no phones at the table” rule during dinnertime, actually having a conversation with someone is not only meaningful, but can help combat stress as well.
  5. Decompress. I refer to this in #1 as “unwinding”. For me, decompressing involves reading, exercise, writing, or watching PBS (although I limit direct screen time right before bed).

I’ll leave you with a quote from Carl Honoré: “Much better to do fewer things and have time to make the most of them.” What are you doing in your life to promote the practice of more fulfilled living?

Robertson, Hope. “In Praise of Slowness.” Minto Express 9 April 2014: 5. Print.
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April 2014

Hope, She Wrote: 10 Ways to Encourage Others

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We don’t always realize the impact that our words and actions can have on the lives of those around us. Something I’m learning every day is how my words and actions can affect those around me (even if it’s not intentional). It’s so important to speak encouraging words and share encouraging gestures. Last week in my column for The Minto Express, I shared 10 ways to encourage others. Easy and practical, these are suggestions I’m challenging myself to practice more diligently.

The ‘E’ Word

You know those people in your life with whom you absolutely love spending time? What draws you to them? Consider all the people you’ve encountered, both past and present, who have made an impact on your life. Our biggest influencers are individuals who challenge us and move us to become better people; individuals who encourage.

I love the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition for the word encourage: “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.” The first known use of the word was in the 15th century, the Middle English encoragen, from the Anglo-French encourager, ‘en’ being French for ‘in’ + courage (‘cor’ is Latin for ‘heart’).

Each of us has the potential to become a person who encourages. That’s an incredible ability! Think about how many people you see each day. Some of them you may know personally, some of them you may see today but never again in your life. Can you imagine what our world would be like if we each attempted to encourage every person with whom we had a personal encounter? That’s a powerful thought.

Providing encouragement can be easy; it doesn’t require some grand gesture. Here are ten ways we can all incorporate a little ‘in’ courage into the lives of others:

  1. Be sincere – Authenticity is everything.
  2. Be specific – This goes for all of the points below. Encouragement doesn’t work when it’s generic. You’ve got to be personal.
  3. Listen – Encouraging another isn’t about providing advice, in fact, sometimes it’s just the opposite. Sometimes what a discouraged, weary soul needs is an open ear.
  4. Smile – Try putting it into practice every day. While thinking, or listening to another, we can subconsciously take on a more serious expression. Remember to smile!
  5. Give recognition – When someone does something outstanding that you think is awesome, recognize it!
  6. Give recognition to an everyday event – Don’t wait until something huge happens to encourage someone. Start with their everyday life and provide a word of affirmation. It will work wonders.
  7. Show Gratitude – We should all make it a daily practice to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. [Try combining numbers 4 and 7 and see how well it works.]
  8. Share Something – Have you been thinking about or praying for someone? Tell them about it! Give them a call, write them a quick note, send them a text. Knowing that you’ve got others who believe in you can make all the difference in the world.
  9. Offer practical help – Someone you know is going through a trying time. Ask them specifically if there’s an area in which you can assist them. [see also number 2. Instead of saying, “Do you need anything?” why not say “Could I help you by ___?”]
  10. Practice the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Knowing the difference that encouragement has made in your own life, why not spread some of that courage to the hearts of others!
Robertson, Hope. “The ‘E’ Word.” Minto Express 26 March 2014: 5. Print.
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March 2014

Bill Cunningham: Facades

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Biographies / Style Icons


GM Building, New York City. Photograph by Bill Cunningham, via New York Historical Society.

GM Building, New York City. Photograph by Bill Cunningham, via New York Historical Society.

Cannot wait to check out Bill Cunningham’s Facades exhibit at the New York Historical Society Museum! As much a landmark of New York City streets as the subjects in his photographs, Cunningham has dedicated a lifetime to capturing a whole history of the city’s architecture and fashion scene. What makes his images really stand out is how natural they are; there’s nothing too posed or too expected.

Bill Cunningham: Facades opened last week at the New York Historical Society Museum and runs through June 15. Facades follows Cunningham’s photographic essay of the same name, in which he paired models in period costumes throughout different historical settings throughout the city. Interestingly enough, one of the models featured in Cunningham’s Facades essay was his own muse, Editta Sherman.

Besides the artistic significance, the photographic essay indirectly touches on a pensive period in New York City’s history, where there was a lot of focus on the urban landscape. The collection features 88 prints (which Cunningham originally donated to the Society back in 1976).

Bill Cunningham’s Facades is on exhibit at the Historical Society Museum March 14-June 15, 2014. You can find more information here: http://www.nyhistory.org/




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March 2014

Inspired By: Bunny Mellon

Written by , Posted in Gardening, Interior Design, Style at Home

One of the gardens at Bunny Mellon's Upper East Side town home via Curbed.com

One of the gardens at Bunny Mellon’s Upper East Side town home via Curbed.com

Bunny Mellon will be remembered for many things, and one of the most inspiring — besides being the ultimate BFF and confidante to Jacqueline Kennedy — was her talent for gardening and her reputation as a horticulturist. Probably the most notable example of her gardening acumen was in the early 60s when she redesigned the White House Rose Garden for Jacqueline Kennedy. Also, Mellon’s Virginia estate. The gardens to this day are impeccable and inspiring.

Mellon’s Virginia estate gardens were featured in Vanity Fair in 2010, and to this day, I find these to be some of the most inspiring images.

Gardeners and green thumbs, delight!

Jane Canfield rabbit sculpture in Bunny Mellon's garden. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Jane Canfield rabbit sculpture in Bunny Mellon’s garden. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Courtyard on Bunny Mellon's Virginia estate. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Courtyard on Bunny Mellon’s Virginia estate. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Some have a potting table, Bunny Mellon had an entire room. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Some have a potting table, Bunny Mellon had an entire room. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.


Quiet vignette featuring  spiderworts (Tradescantia virginians). Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Quiet vignette featuring spiderworts (Tradescantia virginians). Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Bunny Mellon's vegetable garden. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.

Bunny Mellon’s vegetable garden. Photo by Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair.



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March 2014

Hope, She Wrote: Some Habits Are Actually Good

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When we talk about habits, we tend to talk about bad habits. That being said, there are some really good habits we should all get in to and start practicing. I talk about five good habits in my Minto Express column this week.

Something I’m thankful for is having a core set of friends who share the same foundational beliefs, who challenge and exhort each other to live fully and count life’s blessings. Recently, some of us have been making a more conscious effort to really jumpstart our joy. And it’s working a little bit like exercise: When you have an accountability partner (or partners) who are into making effective, positive life changes, the changes are that much easier – and sometimes even fun – to implement.

Here are some habits that we should all develop and green light to positively impact our lives:

  1. Be yourself. Judy Garland once said something along the lines of always being your best self, otherwise you’ll end up being a second-rate version of someone else, and you’ll never amount to your most truly awesome potential. I’m totally paraphrasing, but this is huge – not trying to be different on purpose, just being you.
  2. Accept failures. Very difficult to put into practice. If I counted all the times I’ve failed or made a mistake… well, let’s not go there. The point is, accept your failures, correct your actions, and continue to try. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Also, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
  3. Compete with yourself, not with others. The game of comparison and covetousness is a dangerous one. Learning to compete with myself and trying to be my best self every day is one way to avoid this. What’s the old adage, “The grass isn’t greener on the other side; it’s greenest where you water it.” So start watering.
  4. Be real. A friend of mine shared this awesome calendar entry with me last week, which referred to speaking the truth in love. Wow. There are some difficult topics to discuss in this life, and addressing them with authenticity is key. Sure, authenticity can be arduous (and sometimes even awkward), but a few minutes of awkwardness is better than a lifetime of avoidance (or some other equally lame alternative)
  5. Start living. Take it from the 14th Dalai Lama: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow. So today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live.” BAM. That about sums it up. Don’t put off to the morrow what you can do today. Sure, there are seasons when we have to practice patience, but always remember: Patience and procrastination are entirely different.

Wondering how to develop these positive habits and incorporate them into your life? One small step at a time, every day. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.

Robertson, Hope. “Some Habits Are Actually Good.” Minto Express 12 March 2014: 5. Print.
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March 2014

Robertson’s Reads: Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

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Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

Only the second of Christie’s Poirot novels that I’ve read, Sad Cypress follows the story of Elinor Carlisle, who stands accused of murdering her ailing aunt. This is the first Christie novel I’ve encountered that happens in three parts, but the novel flows very well all the same. The first part finds the reader hearing an account of the death of Laura Welman (Elinor Carlisle’s aunt). The second part focuses on Poirot’s investigation. The third and final part takes place in the courtroom, where Elinor is being tried.

Sad Cypress opens with engaged couple (and cousins) Elinor Carlisle and Roddy Welman as the recipients of a mysterious letter which warns them that a suspect is taking advantage of Elinor’s rich aunt, Laura Welman (from whom Elinor is set to receive a fortune when Aunt Laura dies). Elinor suspects Mary Gerrard, the daughter of the lodge keeper where Aunt Laura is living, of taking advantage so she can inherit some of the fortune from Laura. Needless to say, the letter inspires a visit to Aunt Laura.

Laura Welman is in a weakened state after suffering a stroke, and her physician Peter Lord insists that she is ready to die. While Elinor and Roddy are visiting, Laura suffers another stroke, and Laura asks Elinor to have her lawyer prepare a will, to make it clear that Mary is her beneficiary. Shocked and jealous, Elinor discovers that Roddy has fallen in love with Mary. That night, Aunt Laura dies (before the new will is prepared), and Elinor inherits Laura’s entire estate as she is known to be Laura’s sole surviving relative.

After Aunt Laura’s death, Elinor and Roddy call off the engagement, and Elinor offers him money, as well as Mary. Roddy refuses the gesture, but Mary takes the money. Elinor has Mary and the nurse over for tea, where Mary is poisoned by a fish-paste sandwich. It is after this that Elinor is suspected of murdering Mary (for obvious reasons), and put on trial. Aunt Laura’s body is exhumed, and after some testing, it is revealed that both Laura Welman and Mary Gerrard died of morphine poisoning. Evidently, during a visit to her Aunt, Elinor was granted easy access to the drug through the nurse’s handbag (and it happens that some went missing from Nurse Hopkins’s bag).

In part two of the novel, Poirot enters the scene to investigate, after being convinced by Peter Lord that Elinor is innocent. Peter is madly in love with Elinor and wants Poirot to acquit her. Poirot focuses in and uncovers some interesting truths. This leads up to the third part in the book, where Elinor’s defence seems to be failing, until Poirot comes to the rescue.

Poirot’s investigation reveals that Nurse Hopkins poisoned the tea that fateful day when Mary died, but that Nurse Hopkins was not affected as she injected herself with an emetic to reject the morphine in her body. Poirot also reveals that Mary Gerrard is not in fact a Gerrard at all – she was the illegitimate daughter of Laura Welman and a Sir Lewis Rycroft. If she had lived, she would’ve inherited Laura’s fortune. Nurse Hopkins knew this, and encouraged Mary to write up a will, leaving her distant aunt in New Zealand as the beneficiary. As it turns out, Mary’s distant aunt (who she believed was in New Zealand, was actually Nurse Hopkins. When called to the witness stand, Nurse Hopkins has already left the court room.

The book closes with Poirot chastising Peter Lord for planting evidence (in an attempt to clear Elinor’s name). Poirot encourages Lord to pursue Elinor, as she actually shares the same feelings.

Purchase Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie on Amazon.ca

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March 2014

Hope, She Wrote: Jumpstart Your Joy

Written by , Posted in Hope She Wrote, Hope's How-To, Quote of the Day

Choose Joy quote by Henri Nouwen

Having a consistently positive attitude can be incredibly difficult, especially when it’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day circumstances. In my latest column for The Minto Express, I discuss ways to jumpstart your joy, and get on the road to a more consistent, joyful heart attitude.

The winter can be a difficult time, with the shorter days, grey skies, and cold weather. (Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, people!) I don’t think I’m alone when I say that there are definitely days when hibernation seems like it would’ve been a good idea.

So what can you do to jumpstart your joy? The great thing about joy is that it’s a constant, and a deliberate choice you get to make each day: Joy is not dependent on your present circumstances or your mood, because true joy comes from within. Joy is something that starts with your heart attitude.

You might think that jumpstarting your joy could be the happiness you experience when you buy a new pair of boots, or that feeling you get when you score some cute clothes at an incredible half-off sale at your favourite store, but here’s something many don’t often think of: Joy and happiness are two entirely different things.

Happiness by definition is a state of well-being or a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Joy (which comes from the word “rejoice”) is to be glad and content. Happiness is always the result of a circumstance or something happening around you, whereas joy is the consistent, content heart attitude that is unaffected by your surrounding circumstances or happenings.

For example, if you have a really bad day at work, or you get a mustard stain on your favourite white skinny jeans (hey, it happens), or you receive disappointing news – you wouldn’t be happy, right? But, throughout these circumstances, you can still choose joy. It doesn’t mean that you walk around with a dopey smile on your face all the time, it just means that you have perspective, and that your source of contentment comes from inside, not from outside.

Some simple ways to jumpstart your joy:

  • make a list of the things that you’re thankful for in life
  •  forgive someone who’s wronged you
  • volunteer with an organization that helps others
  • provide for another’s need
  • listen to a friend
  • pray

Do you see a theme with jumpstarting your joy? One of the key components of joy is putting others first. When I was younger, there was this song we used to sing in Sunday School, called, “JOY” and it was an acronym for “Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third” And that’s totally true. When you stop looking in, and you start looking up and out (by putting others first), the results are powerful and can have major impact on your life.

There’s a quote by the writer Henri J.M. Nouwen that gives some pretty sound advice: “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” Choose joy!

Robertson, Hope. “Jumpstart Your Joy.” Minto Express 26 February 2014: 5. Print.
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February 2014

Quotes about Joy

Written by , Posted in Quote of the Day

I’m a huge fan of winter. I love grey skies, cold winds, and any excuse to sit inside with a piping cuppa and a good book. That being said, it’s long winters and dull days that attribute to the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Here are some verses and quotes I love on the topic of joy, that I hope will uplift you when certain seasons seem unending, and inspire you to jumpstart your joy.

Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the LORD is your strength.”


Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy…”

“Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” Leo Tolstoy

“Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.” Aboot Coumba Marmion

“Joy springs from within; no one makes you joyous; you choose joyfulness.” Unknown


“Joy is a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters.” Oprah

“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.” Mark Twain

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” Richard Wagner


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February 2014

Robertson’s Reads: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

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The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit was Agatha Christie’s fourth novel, and it is an absolute adventure, from the first page to the very end. It all starts with a secret agent named “Nadina”, who has stolen some De Beers diamonds, “keeping” them from a heist performed years before. Then the reader is introduced to newly orphaned Anne Beddingfield, who moves to London to live with her father’s former solicitor and his wife (aka for the chance of adventure).   While at the Hyde Park tube station, Anne witnesses a man falling onto the track (he dies). A doctor in the crowd examines the man and pronounces him dead. When the man leaves, he drops a note, which Anne promptly picks up and pockets. The note reads “17.1 22 Kilmorden Castle”. Anne keeps the note.

The dead man’s death (his name as “L B Carton”) is ruled accidental, and he had in his pocket a real estate agent’s information on a house for let in Marlow. The very next day after the incident, Anne reads in the newspaper that a dead woman has been found at the Mill House in Marlow. Furthermore, the Mill House in Marlow is owned by an MP, Sir Eustace Pedler. The woman’s murderer is a suspect known to be wearing a brown suit. Anne puts two and two together and realizes that it was not a “doctor” that examined the man from the tracks. Anne takes matters into her own hands and goes to the Mill House to investigate, where she picks up a canister of undeveloped film. She discovers that Kilmorden Castle is actually a ship sailing on January 17 1922 from Southampton to Cape Town. Anne books a room, and once on board she meets a whole cast of characters, including Suzanne Blair, Colonel Race [Race also appears in other Christie novels], Reverend Chichester, and Sir Eustace Pedler (the MP who owns the Mill House in Marlow). Pedler has two employees also on board: Guy Pagett, and a man named Harry Rayburn.

After a mishap with getting the right cabin, the evening of the 22nd, a man gains entrance into Anne’s cabin. Anne realizes that the man has been stabbed, tries to help his wounds, and he in turn is curt toward her. They have a row, and the man leaves her cabin. Several nights later, Anne is spending time with her acquaintances, and Colonel Race tells the tale of a diamond theft (about a hundred thousand pounds worth) several years earlier. Supposedly, the theft was championed by John Eardsley (the son of a South African gold magnate) and his best friend Harry Lucas. The two were eventually arrested, and Eardsley’s father Sir Laurence, disowned his son. Later, Eardsley was killed in the war, and his father’s fortune was passed to his next of kin. Lucas was MIA. While Race is recounting the tale, Harry Rayburn enters the cabin, hears the story, acts strangely, and then leaves. Race then reveals that he is actually the next of kin.

Anne becomes close to Suzanne and reveals to her the steps that have brought her aboard the Kilmorden Castle. The two quickly deduce that the piece of paper with the mysterious message could actually be referring to the very cabin where Anne is staying (cabin 71). They also realize that this cabin was earlier booked for a “Mrs. Grey” — one of Nadina the Russian dancer’s pseudonyms.  Anne and Suzanne figure out that Nadina was likely the body found at the Mill House. They also found diamonds inside the photo canister (which was dropped in Suzanne’s cabin on the 22nd), and conclude that it is likely that Harry Rayburn could be the “man in the brown suit”. When Anne is attacked on the deck of the ship, and Harry Rayburn comes to her rescue and saves her. After the rescue, she proposes that Rayburn is actually “Harry Lucas”, to which he vehemently disagrees, and the two go their separate ways, once again on bad terms.

After arriving in Cape Town, Anne finds herself lured to a home in Muizenberg, where a bearded Dutchman imprisons her. She recognizes the voice of another person at Muizenberg, the Reverend Chichester, talking with the Dutchman about the Colonel. The next day, Anne escapes and goes back to Cape Town, where she discovers that Harry Rayburn has gone missing. When Eustace Pedler asks Anne to come on as his secretary for his trip to Rhodesia, she accepts, and once they board the train, she is reunited with Colonel Race, Suzanne, and Pedler. Anne meets Pedler’s new secretary, Miss Pettigrew.

Once in Bulawayo, Harry sends Anne a note, and she follows the trail by the hotel to meet him. She is chased by someone not Harry, and she falls into the ravine. She awakes in a hut on an island in the Zambezi, about a month after falling into the ravine. Harry Rayburn rescued her again, and reveals to her that someone caused her to fall. Spending time together, Anne and Harry fall in love, and Harry confides in her the his true identity of being Harry Lucas, and the diamond discovery he made with his best friend John Eardsley years ago. The two were caught up with a woman going by the name of “Anita Grünberg”, who stole their real diamonds and substituted fake ones. In the war, when Harry was listed as MIA, he came to Africa under a new name, Harry Parker. Harry realized that Anita was working with a man named Carton (the dead man from the tube). Harry explains to Anne that Carton actually killed Nadina at the Mill House (Harry had followed them there). Harry also suspected that the diamonds ended up on the ship, which Anne confirms (these were in the canister that was dropped in Suzanne’s cabin on the 22nd).

That night, the Dutchman and his crew attack Harry’s island. Harry and Anne escape, create a “code” for future communications so neither is deceived again, and Anne returns to Pedler, and her friend Suzanne. Sir Eustace is traveling ahead, and Anne finds out that diamonds are somewhere in his luggage. She also receives a telegram from “Harry” asking her to meet him. She ends up running into Chichester (who actually turns out has been acting as Pedler’s secretary, Miss Pettigrew). It is revealed that Sir Eustace is the Colonel, and he takes Anne hostage, forcing Anne to write to Harry to lure him to his office. Anne writes the note, but does not include the “code”. Once Harry arrives, Pedler thinks he’s captured them both, but Anne pulls out a pistol and she and Harry turn the tables on him. Race eventually turns up to help, but somehow Pedler escapes. Race reveals that Harry is actually not Harry Lucas, but John Eardsley. John is the true heir to the fortune (which Race earlier claimed to be). Anne and Harry marry, and move to his island in the Zambezi.

The Man in the Brown Suit is one of my favourite Agatha Christie novels, undisputed. More than a mystery, the Man in the Brown Suit is actually more a story of adventure. There are no lulls or boring points in this book; it is all action-packed and filled with details. Christie calculated every character, every move, every last facet of the book so that the reader has to pay close attention. This novel is a stimulating brain-teaser, but it still reads incredibly well, to the very last sentence. An unlikely duo, Anne and Harry are refreshingly different than any of Christie’s other protagonists.

You can purchase The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie on Amazon.ca


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February 2014

Hope, She Wrote: The Art of Patience

Written by , Posted in Hope She Wrote, Hope's How-To


Here’s an excerpt from my latest column in The Minto Express:

Two words that I have always been fascinated by – and admittedly, sometimes annoyed by – are patience and longsuffering. Ever found yourself to be in the midst of what you’d call a “trying” time, where you feel tested or like a certain “life season” will never end? Welcome to the club! And isn’t it annoying when someone says to you “just be patient”. Way easier said than done!

Patience and longsuffering are another couple of words that are destined to be together – if we’re going to be successful at either.

Our English word patience comes from the Greek word hypomone, which is a compound word composed of hypo (a preposition that means ‘under’) and moneo (a verb that means to ‘abide’ or ‘remain’). From this, we take that patience is to ‘abide’, ‘endure’, or ‘remain under’ difficult circumstances when we can’t avoid them and have to go through them.

Similarly, our English word longsuffering in Greek is makrothumia, which comes from the compound makros (which means ‘long’ or ‘far’) and thumos (temper, referring specifically to ‘wrath’ or ‘fierceness’). So the Greek definition of longsuffering indicates remaining emotionally calm in the face of trying or unfavourable circumstances.¹ The point of what I’m trying to say here is this: Patience is practicing endurance in this race we call life, and longsuffering is the attitude or frame of mind we have while we’re going through whatever life throws at us. Makes sense, right? The hard part is putting it into practice.

Here are a few ways to put patience and the attitude of longsuffering into action:

  1. Identify what makes you feel impatient: Are you stressed out with too many deadlines? What about personal commitments? Are you stretching yourself thin by “burning the candle at both ends”? What can you let go of, or delegate to others?
  2. Recognize unhealthy patterns: When you feel impatient or stressed, keep track of these instances, and address them head-on.
  3. Let it go: I know, this is like that annoying “just be patient” statement. But seriously, practicing an attitude of “longsuffering” (emotional calmness) can have incredible impact on your patience. Adjust your attitude, pray about it, talk to a close friend – all healthy exercises. Also, look out rather than in – instead of focusing on the circumstances that make you feel impatient, refocus to put others first.

The virtue of patience can mean the difference between good and great for your life. If you’re feeling impatient when things don’t happen right away, remember that it takes 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce, and only 13 hours to build a Toyota.

¹Garland, Tony. “Patience vs. Longsuffering.” Spirit and Truth, December 28, 2012.

Robertson, Hope. “Practicing Patience.” Minto Express 12 February 2014: 5. Print.


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