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!

First Cross-Country Skiing of the Season

Cross-Country Skiing in November - JanessaMann.Com

On Thursday, November 24th, we got lots of beautiful, fresh powder in Ottawa. I waited very, very impatiently through class, and Nic coming home from work, for us to go cross-country skiing. We walked to the Rideau River, and then skied along to Vincent Massey Park.


We definitely got weird looks when we were walking down Bank Street with our skis, but once we got to the path, there were a couple tracks that looked like skis. We’re very lucky to be so close to an easy trail, right by the water.


Nic and I chose the wrong wax for my skis for the temperature, so I couldn’t move much at first until we scraped it all off. Once we did so,  I could ski much faster.


I’m looking forward to learning how to photograph at dusk. And in the winter. Not sure which setting this was, so I’m pretty sad.


It was such a beautiful evening, I can’t wait for more snow to come soon because I’d love to go for longer. That can be my cardio.

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

I ❤ Fall Tag

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

Yes, I know I haven’t posted since I started grad school. Sorry about that! I’m hoping that now that I’ve been in school for almost two months I’ve figured out scheduling, so I’ll be able to post once or twice a week here! I figured I would start back off with some fall inspiration, and soon I’ll get to posting about our new apartment and all the things we’ve been doing since moving back to Ottawa!

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

1. Favourite fall lip product

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick #124 “Bordeaux”, Clinique Chubby stick intense #08 “Grandest Grape”, NARS “Funny Face”, and MAC #A74 “Kinda Sexy”

2. Favourite fall nail polishes

Essie “Wicked” and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails #120 “Bad to the Bone”

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com


3. Favourite Starbucks fall drink

(Non-fat, no-whip) pumpkin spice latte, but really all I want is a tea latte. Probably a nice, spicy chai, or a London Fog.

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com
Pumpkin candle from DW Home

4. Favourite fall candle

Anything pumpkin and spicy

5. Favourite fall scarf or accessory

Last fall I bought this awesome reversible blanket scarf from the Bay. It was a promotion during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and supposedly some of the money went towards research. I had been looking for the perfect size, pattern, and warmth, and this fit the list. It was even 100% manufactured fabric, so no wool to give me hives! I love to wear it open, or wrapped all around me. This weekend on the Greyhound I used it as a blanket. Perfect.

6. Haunted house, haunted hay ride, or haunted corn maze?

I had really wished we would have had time to go to Saunders Farm outside of Ottawa this October, but I’m busy every weekend, and we don’t have a car to drive out there. In high school it was always lots of fun, because you get to go around being scared by people, go on the hayride, watching their satirical play, and drinking hot apple cider. My least favourite parts were the haunted houses.

7. Favourite Halloween movie?

I definitely don’t watch scary movies, but if I was going to watch something creepy and fun, it’d be something along the lines of “Hot Fuzz.”

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com
Pumpkin cream cheese pop tarts

8. Favourite treat?

If I’m not going for pumpkin or apple pie, it would have to be these amazing pop tarts I made for one time we hosted friends!

9. Favourite fall activities

We all know how much I love to hike, so obviously that’s my favourite. I also love baking lots of fall things, celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family, and carving pumpkins!


August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

August Favourites

Is it better late than never? Not so sure when it comes to favourites posts. Oh well, I need a break from doing my readings. As you probably know, Nic and I moved back to Ottawa August 31st, and spent the past week setting up our new home. I can’t wait to show you pictures of our new place once it’s properly decorated. We’ve still got lots of things on the ground, but the most important things are done. August was a really awesome month-I didn’t work much (which was problematic for our bank accounts) but that also meant we got to visit our parents in Ottawa, go to the cottage, go camping, and go on a canoe trip to Killarney Provincial Park.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Killarney Canoe Trip – Heading to lunch on Norway Lake

No one is surprised that Killarney was one of my favourites. I had such a fun time, and can’t wait to go on another canoe trip, maybe Temagami next!

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Drake Hotel

Toronto is famous for brunch, and I’m sad to say the only time we went for brunch was our last weekend there, but the Drake Hotel was worth the wait.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Yoga Mat Spray turns to… facial setting spray?

One of my friends who is a makeup artist and only uses cruelty-free and vegan products, suggested using water and essential oils for a makeup setting spray. I turned to my yoga mat spray, and it was definitely refreshing this month on days where it was 30 degrees out.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Super cool Nalgene

I haven’t had a Nalgene water bottle in years, so I was pretty excited to get this one. It has a mountain lion on it!

Maddy, Alina, and I lived together in my fourth year. Maddy is getting married next week, so the three of us went out for dessert at Cacao70 to celebrate. If you have one in your scity, you HAVE to go. AMAZING.