Hello! My name is Anne. I am delighted you have chosen to read my story. As I young girl I discovered my life-long passions for reading, nature, athletics, creating, learning new things, authentic relationships, and Jesus.
In high school, I was blessed to link up with the school track coach, Coach King, who radically changed the trajectory of my life by encouraging me to focus on developing my natural athletic talents. I had a successful high school track career and after graduating went on to make the Canadian National Track Team. I continued to run for another 6 years – winning the Canadian National Championships numerous times, obtaining bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games, placing fourth at two World Cups, and making the 1980 Olympic Team.
My parents wisely insisted that I foster another side of my life while I was training and competing. Their thinking was that if I had an alternative goal there would be something else to turn to if I sustained an injury or when I retired. So while I was training on the national team I obtained my Bachelor Degree in Physical Education, a Teaching Certificate, and a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology. I also became a Registered Clinical Counsellor.
Throughout my professional career I was a high school counsellor and administrator, and in the earlier years working within the community setting as a clinical counsellor. After transitioning out of public education six years ago I became a Pastor of Women’s Ministries before I returned to university studies.
About five years ago I started feeling called to return to university studies, but initially, I resisted. Partially because returning to university had not really been part of my plans and I wondered about becoming a student again at my age! But four years ago I enrolled in the Seminary at Trinity Western University and began part-time studies in a Masters of Christian Studies and Leadership degree. I have loved being a student again after all these years and I deeply appreciate this opportunity to expand my understanding of theology and my faith.
I am deeply committed to supporting the next generation and have always invested in mentoring teachers, counsellors, students, emerging leaders, and younger women.
And while I delight in presenting, I am a bit nerdy in that I also love researching, developing curriculum, and writing. Over the years I have developed curriculum for teaching assistants, home support workers, lay counsellors, safe school teams, women’s Bible study groups, and parenting and teen courses. And about five years ago I began writing for my first blog.
Throughout all these adventures I have been married for 44 years to my best friend, Claudio. We love our family – which has expanded from our three grown sons to include three beloved daughters-in-law and four grandsons! We also deeply appreciate our very large extended families and treasured friends.
But like so many of you, we too have faced major life challenges, especially over the last few years, such as grieving my mother’s death, my father’s Alzheimer’s and death, losing a dear sister-in-law and a number of close friends to cancer, my youngest son’s major battle with Crohn’s disease, and my own health struggles with back issues and Fibromyalgia. I have grown to understand that the only way to the other side of sorrow is to walk into and through it. Discovering first hand that after loss and grief there is always the hope of rebirth and redemption. And learning that with faith it is possible to discover joy even in the midst of suffering.
Whenever I am seeking to re-calibrate and find peace I turn to quiet, solitude, prayer, writing, and walking along the many trails in the woods and by the river that are close to our home.
I look forward to continuing this amazing journey with you.
This is an immensely practical field guide and toolbox. Using Job’s story as the backdrop, Mackie Morelli gives us tools to learn the language and terrain of grief. She teaches us what to expect when considering the contours of this unfamiliar and unwelcome landscape. And yet, she is careful to note that the trajectory of grief is different for each one of us. She also equips us to comfort the grieving instead of adding insult to their injury. If we heed Morelli’s wisdom and guidance, we’ll avoid being the kind of miserable and clumsy comforters Job’s friends were. May we do so!
Marlena Graves M.Div.