Mother’s Day in Ottawa

Mother's Day in Ottawa - JanessaMann.Com

I’m very lucky that Nic and I live in Ottawa near our parents. The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I invited my moms out to lunch. We had an amazing brunch at Wild Oat in the Glebe (definitely going back!) and enjoyed a walk through Ottawa’s Tulip Festival.

I got the wild breakfast plate, two eggs, homemade bread (with their own jam!), yam hashbrowns, and sauteed vegetables. SO good. I can’t wait to go again!

Mother's Day - JanessaMann.Com

Mother's Day - JanessaMann.Com

I definitely love being back in Ottawa again – great to be with family, and the city is so beautiful!

Central Experimental Farm

Looking for something fun to do in the spring in Ottawa? The Central Experimental Farm has lots of baby animals that you can meet. Obviously one of my favourite things to do!

We went to the farm with Nic’s family, and the piglets, baby goats, lambs, kits (baby bunnies), calves, etc., were so adorable. For lunch we went to Rosa’s on Dow’s Lake, then walked around Hogs Back Falls.

Nearly done second term of grad school… Where have I been?

2 Terms of Grad School in  - JanessaMann.Com
Studying hard!

Where have I been? That’s a great question.

This term (January-April) I have been taking 2 courses for grad school (full-time), working as Mennonite Central Committee Canada’s Ottawa Office research internship, still at my part-time House of Commons job (30 hours of work a week total), singing in Cantata Singers of Ottawa and church choir, as well as volunteering as a youth sponsor for church. Sometime between all that, I get to the gym, hang out with my husband, family, and friends, and attempt to keep up with hobbies.


You read that right.

No wonder I haven’t felt interested in posting here.

I have to admit it though, I have missed having this outlet to share my life. Get ready for hopefully one post a week.

On top of my regular school work, this term I have to submit my research proposal. More on that later.

2 Terms of Grad School in - JanessaMann.Com

Looking forward, this summer term (May-August) I’ll be on co-op. That’s going to be my first time working full-time for the whole summer. That seems strange considering all the jobs I’ve had, but sometimes it’s been a couple part-time jobs combined, or working at camp 2 months of the summer only. Obviously the paycheck is going to be phenomenal, as well as having weekends off (last summer I worked Saturday morning and Sunday evenings) to go camping or to the cottage.


A Statement of Affirmation and Acceptance

Affirmation - JanessaMann.Com
It’s time to heal in God’s presence

Sunday night, my home church finally voted on a statement of affirmation for the acceptance and participation of queer Christians in church membership, baptism, leadership, and pastorship. It’s been a long, emotional year for our congregation, and I’m so happy to see that we got an 89% acceptance of the affirmation statement. I can’t wait to see where this takes our church!

I had prepared a statement to read at the congregational meeting. I knew that I was mostly talking to a small number of families who were not affirming, but I needed to remind them how much OMC (and churches in general) should be a place of refuge. I also took the time to thank everyone in our church for being my home. Of course, I was in tears the whole time. And managed to get a lot of other people to tear up.

OMC has been my home my whole life. I was born and raised in this church, was baptised here, was married here, and every time I come back, I feel comforted. I was accepted when I was angry at God for injuries and mental health, and encouraged to seek healing in God’s word. There are so many wonderful, loving people in this community who have shaped who I am, and I am thankful for that. I see so much potential in our church for living into our Christian faith through our words and actions. A large part of this means supporting the statement of affirmation in each of the four aspects. God made us in his image, and loves us for who we are. The church is supposed to be the safest, most encouraging place in the world. Jesus taught us to love each other, without fail. I urge you to consider what we are teaching our youth and children about God’s love if we even remotely consider excluding queer Christians from church participation. This year has been so hard for those in the congregation who are queer or an ally. This morning, we sang about having the strength to love our brothers and sisters: for some of you, this process will be very scary, but OMC should be a welcoming home for all of us. I pray that God will mend our broken hearts so we can move forward in his Kingdom.

I’m so proud of so many people who stood up and expressed their feelings. There were so many beautiful “mic drop” moments, and the youth and young adults started doing poetry slam “snaps” to cheer people on silently. Thanks for all the words of encouragement after the meeting. Thank you to Carrie for being so strong throughout this, we’re all indebted to you. Thank you to the Discernment Committee and Church Council for the challenging work done over the last year.

I’m so ready for queerness to not be a thing, and people to just love each other for who they are. Like I said, God made us, and loves us. Let’s love each other.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

New Year’s at the Cottage


New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com
Friday Skiing

This New Year’s we had some of our friends from undergrad up at the cottage. We had amazing weather, fresh snow, and lots of fun.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

Always gotta take this shot of the cottage. We had about 15 cm of fresh snow during the weekend.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com
Lying through our teeth

We played Resistance, which is like Mafia and some other stuff, but wayyy over my head. Except for the last round, where I realized (with the help of some wine) that I sort of got how to win.

We cleared off some snow from the lake (8 inches of ice in the two spots we checked) to skate on. Maddie made a great sled run onto the lake, and we also went skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

It was fun hosting these friends (I was much more relaxed about it this year than two years ago!) and turning on the water went a lot better.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

What a great group of friends!

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

Christmas 2016 - JanessaMann.Com


Nic and I had a wonderful second Christmas together. On Christmas Eve we woke up and shared presents, cuddled with Toby (whom we’re bunnysitting) and went for a tea date at Black Squirrel Books. In the evening I had the privilege of singing in the service.

Christmas 2016 - JanessaMann.Com

Christmas Day Nic and I drove out to my parents’ house where we celebrated with them and my brother and sister-in-law. We had lots of fun singing Christmas carols, opening presents, playing games, and exploring in the snow. We even got to see 5 deer running across our path, although the pictures didn’t show much.


On Boxing day we hosted both our families for games and pizza, then went to see Rogue One. December 27 we had Christmas with Nic’s family, which ended with a rousing game of Boggle as usual!

We had a wonderful Christmas catching up with family and friends, were blessed with great meals and presents, and got to play outside in the beautiful white snow. Merry Christmas to you, and I can’t wait to get to the cottage for New Year’s on Friday!

Fall 2016 In Review

Yes, you are right, I ignored my blog for most of fall. I had great intentions to write a post or two a week, but when I did have free time I used it to work out, hang out with Nic, family, or friends, and relax. Hopefully in the winter I’ll be able to slip blogging back into my schedule, because last year I loved sharing about my life and projects here! While doing the final edit of our Christmas letter, I realized I really needed to get up a summary post.

Fall 2016 in Review - JanessaMann.Com
Studying hard!

Grad School:

This fall I started grad school at the University of Ottawa in Globalization and International Development. I’ve been so happy being back in school. My brain was definitely rotting at Bed Bath & Beyond and at GoodLife Fitness (co-workers, discounts, and lots of gym time were great but…) so it’s been fun getting back into it. I took Introduction to International Development, Research Methods, and Gender Security and Development. I worked very hard, and made some great friends.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.Com


Nic and I have loved exploring Ottawa now that we live here (Nic hasn’t lived in Ottawa since high school graduation). It’s been a lot of fun trying new coffee shops, restaurants, and going for hikes all over. We live very close to lots of cool places, so walking around is easy.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.ComFitness update:

Yup, I definitely fell off the bandwagon for a bit this term. I
gained 5 lbs and most of that was body fat (except I’m using a different body comp scale now that I’m in a different gym, so it’s hard to be sure what the exact increase is). It’s been hard going from working out 6 days a week to 2 or 3. I think it’ll be easier in the winter when I’ll only have two courses, and only one part-time job (which is a block away from my gym!). This means that my gains were slower, but I’m still happy with the new PRs I got. I’ve been focusing a lot on my bench and pull-ups, and am very proud.

Mental health:

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in Ottawa. It feels like home, and there are so many wonderful, soul-feeding people and places here. It’s been great being back at my home church, seeing my parents regularly, singing in choirs, and spending tons of time outdoors. You don’t see the pollution like you do in Toronto, and it’s way easier to get outside of the city. Of course I miss friends and family in Southern Ontario, but some of my strongest supporters are in Ottawa, so it’s good to be back with them.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.Com


Our new apartment is probably more than twice the size of our Toronto place. It’s cheaper, and less character, but man, that space has been fantastic! We even have a balcony, which we didn’t have last year. Our second bedroom is my office, where we store the bikes (Nic has a wall mount) and my closet. Hopefully soon I’ll do a blog post about what our apartment looks like!

I’ve loved having my own space to do my work, it’s super handy for times when I don’t want to go onto campus to do work.

We also have lots of plants which Nic keeps alive (I’m only good for cacti and succulents) and personal touches everywhere.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.Com

Thanks for reading!