Thirty three and counting…


Being 33 means 7 years till 40.  The roller coaster of life is picking up in speed.  Double 3 double trouble?
This is what I wrote on facebook:

“Jesus was 33 when he gave the best love gift ever and my hope for 33 is that it will be a year where love conquers fear and impossibilities become realities.”

In honour of the occasion here is a list of 33 memories, lessons, quotes and other random items..  enjoy!


  1. Rain is a gift.  I can sit curled up and cozy while someone else waters my plants.  After such a long dry summer I told my orthodontist, “I can’t wait for it to rain again!”  “Melody, don’t say that!”  Rain can bring all kinds of flooding problems but I can’t help enjoying it.  Somehow the water the cleanses the air cleanses my heart and mind too.  Forest glanced at me from under his umbrella dancing in the sweet showers that fell on my head and said, “you’re weird.”  Personally, I think he’s the one that’s weird.

2. I didn’t say my first words until I was 2.  So if your kid is a late bloomer don’t worry.  By the time I was 3 my family was calling me a chatterbox.                                            3. I have three siblings. I am the third, hence “thirdconchie”.  My older brother and sister take their roles very seriously and have looked for me many times.  My little brother was my cuddly buddy and joyful musical companion for a little over a year before he moved on to eternity.

4. Four in mandarin is “si” (pronounced as suh). Ten is “shi”  (shuh).  14 is “ten-four” “shi-si” and 40 is “four-ten” “si-shi”   the word “is” is also “shi”  here is the tongue twister, try it out! ”  “si shi si,  shi si shi shi si, si shi shi si shi”  (4 is 4, 14 is 14, 40 is 40) :).

5.”Those who have no pride in their hearts are happy, because the earth will be given to them.” (Matthew 5:5).

6.  Two of my favourite people.  Mama Li’s cooking is the best Chinese food in town and her joy is contagious.  I never dreamed that I would marry a Chinese man and inherit Chinese parents but I am so glad I did.


7.  I was seven years old when I was baptized. I didn’t understand all of the theology and academic theories about the ritual but I knew that I wanted to follow Jesus and start a new life with Him.  I got a lot of water in my nose and wow my dad had big glasses.  Fourth of July.



8.  Honey is a great cleanser for your face. Massage a teaspoon on to your skin and then rinse.  Its antibacterial and moisturizing qualities reduced my acne in one day!

9.  why is 6 afraid of 7? Because seven ate nine.

I have 9 ethnicities in my DNA.  I call myself Forest’s “European beauty”… Scottish, English, German, Scandanavian, Italian, Jewish…. to name a few.

10.  “Although often misused as a synonym for ‘destroy’, the correct meaning of the verb ‘to decimate’ is ‘to reduce by a 10th.'” (  Therefore I could say that I decimated my garden. lol. I have been so brainswashed by the destruction use.  I got rid of a couple of plants.  Or if a person is tithing one could say “I decimated my pay cheque” for dramatic effect.

11.  Eleven is a peculiarity of the english language.. Mandarin numbers (as mentioned in number 4) make a lot more logical sense.. eleven is “ten-one”  twelve is “ten-two” etc…  In his book “Outliers” (2008),  Malcolm Gladwell argues that how numbers are written may be a reason why Chinese children are often more advanced in math than English speakers because they can learn to count at a much younger age and figure out math sooner because they are already doing addition just by counting.

12.  How many commas should I have put in the previous sentence? Although I have a teaching degree I still don’t know all of the comma rules. Run-on sentences are so much easier but painful to read. Help please!

13.  I was thirteen when I got my first pimple right on the tip of my nose. It was bright red and painful.  The greater pain though was when my loving siblings discussed how cherry, or strawberry flavoured candies should be made and called “zits”.

14.  The ponytail that I cut off in June was 14 inches.


It took a while for the reality of my lockless head to sink in.  A few times I would wake up in the morning having totally forgotten about the event.  What a shock when I looked in the mirror.  For the first time I had a tangible taste of real fear about how I looked.  I cautiously entered rooms and slowly took off my hat.  The odd looks that I was expecting though never really came.  I live in Greater Vancouver after all and my husband works near Commerical drive where extraordinary hair styles is the every day ordinary.   The buzz stage quickly passed to porcupine and now pixie.  But I am grateful that I had perhaps a tiny taste of struggle facing the kid who is now wearing my hair.

15.  Halfway there!!!!  (oh almost, right, I’m not 30 anymore…. 16.5…)

Some of you may have heard of Micah 6:8 “He has shown you….”  I recently discovered Micah 7:8 and it has become my victory cry:  “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy. When I fall, I will rise. Even though I am in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”  That is a theme in my life!  7+8= 15,  a victorious number if you’re playing crib!

Victory cries lead to laughing songs:



(William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience)

16a. “Sweet Sixteen” is similar to, but much less elaborate or formal than, Quinceañera, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday in Latino communities in the U.S. and in parts of Latin America. Quinceañeras originated from Aztec culture around 500 B.C.  (   Now we are halfway to 33!!

16b. I got my Learner’s license on my sweet 16 birthday and passed my road test, three years and three attempts later, when I was 19.  As Winston Churchill says, Never, never, never give up!

17.  In high school literature I encountered William Blake’s poetry so was delighted and felt very sophisticated to discover this little gem at a bookstore:


The picture is kind of scary but there are some beautiful poems.

here is poem 17:  Wept for me for thee for all,

When he was an infant small,

Thou his image ever see,

Heavenly face that smiles on thee,

Smiles on thee on me on all,

Who became an infant small,

Infant smiles are his own smiles,

Heaven & earth to peace beguiles.


18.  Started college at the age of 18 at North Island College in Courtenay.  Ten years later I emerged with a BA in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor of Education. (I worked part time and did school part time and switched majors a few times). Many say that a big university is the place to be but I would argue that the close-knit community of a small college, free parking, free printing (for a while) and having the chance to actually have several conversations with a prof. and not be  $30 thousand + in debt is a pretty good payoff.  Thanks NIC for a great decade.

19.  My parents took me to our neighbourhood pub for my “first drink”.  I have to admit that it wasn’t my first drink… at family meals I was often allowed to taste wine and beer. The plus side is that by the time I reached 19 alcohol wasn’t a big deal.  I did appreciate the access to pubs so I could sing karaoke 🙂

20.  What happened 20 years ago? (1997 in Canada-wikipedia)

  • The Confederation bridge was built.. still have a dream of going to the maritimes one day
  • CBC started rating tv shows and CTV started broadcasting, I honestly miss 90s shows.. Family Matters, Road to Avonlea, Wonder Years… they don’t make ’em like they used to.  I know I can pull some of them up on youtube but it’s not the same as looking forward to the program on the old dial tube.  No cable, no internet, just CTV and CBC..  (lol nostalgic, but I am not planning on cancelling my internet and getting tv buny ears anytime soon.. nostalgia only goes so far).
  • The federal government makes it harder to obtain unemployment insurance (is it easier now or harder?)
  • Princess Diana tragically died.  I remember watching the news broadcast at a video store.
  • Newfoundlanders voted to switch to secular based school system
  • 1 person dies in a train derailment in Saskatchewan.
  • Canada destroys the last of its land mines (whew!)
  • In Ottawa, representatives from 121 countries sign a treaty prohibiting the manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel land mines. However, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and Russia do not sign the treaty.


21.  The age that I daydreamed about getting married when I was kid. Afterall, what else would I do? Life usually doesn’t turn out the way you plan.  Instead, when I was 21 I was living at home and going to college and working part time as a home support worker.  I got married ten years later after living with a whole variety of roommates.  It worked out just fine.

22. I remember being in awe when I read Psalm 22 for the first time. It basically describes Jesus’ life and how he would die etc.. hundreds of years before it happened.

I gladly do this: “I will make you known to my brothers. In the center of the meeting of worship I will praise You.” Psalm 22:22

23.  Forest, my husband, is exactly three months older than me.  I was so relieved when I found out that my new boyfriend was so close to my age.. Young guys like me afterall! I thought.  After working with seniors for 6 years  I got a lot of appreciation from the older gentlemen and not a lot of attention from guys my age. Partly because I kept myself so busy with work and school.. so I kind of developed a complex that only old guys were interested in me.. Forest is older than me but three months is definitely acceptable!

24. If you are still reading, I applaud you! Thanks for sticking in there!

25.  I remember telling everyone “I am a quarter of a century!”  I truly hope to live to a hundred.  My ever conscientious husband said, “well, I better do a cash flow to make sure we can afford it… 35 years of retirement..”  I love Forest. Always looking out for me 🙂  I attended the 100th birthday party of one of my home support clients. I got to buy one of those cards with the age on it.. so special! My grandpa is 92.. hoping I can give him a card in 8 years too.

26.  My brother and sister both got married when they were 26 and their spouses were both 32.  When I was 26, I found a new roommate, Tanya, and had a wonderful, fun year sharing a home with her.  I didn’t follow the family tradition… but Forest made up for that.  When he met me at the altar he was 32!

27.  No matter how much I want to learn something it is always hard for me to sit down and practice.  I am supposed to practice my badminton swings 20 times a day and practice piano regularly. ummm, I’m doing okay…. Now I understand how my students felt when I was teaching. Digital screens draw me like a magnet. Which is why I am only going on facebook on Wednesdays.  It is helping a little.  Happy Wednesday everyone! (This has nothing to do with the number 27, unless you can make some sort of connection.)

28.  My age when I hopped on a plane to go to my first teaching job in China.  Literally flew from the nest in so many ways.  I had to crawl back into the nest for a little while afterwards.  So grateful for family that is there in every season.  And grateful that all was not lost.  Every experience counts.

29.  time for a picture:


This is Billy.. it’s hard to take a photo of him because he is always moving.  My desire to connect with neighbours and animals has been fulfilled.  Liz is around my age and has 3 dogs so I grab a leash and enjoy good conversations and beautiful creatures.

30.  A solid era.  Many people joke about being 29 forever but I was grateful to get out of the “roaring” turbulent 20s and enter the thriving 30s.  I don’t have as much youthful vigor to jump out of bed with but there is more peaceful serenity.

31.  I was 31 when I started this blog.  On the blogarama site I describe “Glad to be here with you” as Sharing life lessons and community insights through travel, sports and literature.  I enjoy writing about badminton and China and books that I have read.  I am thinking of writing my next post while travelling around New Westminster. 

This blog has grown and changed as I have. The subtitle used to be “Treasures in the darkness” and many posts describe painful and powerful memories of suffering and the treasure that has come forth. 

Sharing these stories online was birthed out of my distress when physician assisted suicide was legalized in Canada.  I understand that this is a complex controversial issue and you may not agree with my perspective and I respect that. I rarely speak about controversy and political issues but… After spending 6 years caring for seniors and people with disabilities (see post They Dream Too) and after spending a year struggling with mental illness and often not wanting to live,  I have had a small taste of hopelessness and suffering.  I have also seen the beauty of hope, not necessarily hope for better health, that was rarely the case with my clients, but hope when love was given and received and dark moments could somehow be treasured with the squeeze of a hand and words of a song.   I am angry that while efforts are being made to provide assisted suicide to the farthest corners of the nation, palliative care is still lacking.

I am sad that so many people are left alone to live out their last days plunked in front of a tv and endure suffering alone.  For several of my clients, I was the only person that saw them during the day.  I am angry that a lethal injection is the solution for dying with dignity.

Because the internet is already full of angry responses and debates to controversial issues I created this blog to celebrate life instead of intensely joining the fray.

Hence my blog post “Glad to be here with you”.  I am glad to be here with you.  I am glad to be alive.  I am glad that when I swallowed too much Tylenol, and told my ER doctors and nurses that I wanted to die and “please kill me” they gave me iv treatment and said “we don’t kill people.”

I am glad to have sat with some of my clients during their last days singing songs and holding their hand.

Again, this issue is so complex with so many perspectives and I appreciate that and certainly don’t understand it all.  I am glad that I can share my perspective too.  I am sad that life can be so painful that it becomes unbearable.

One of my greatest hopes in writing is that my stories, whether they are about my neighbour’s dog or a traumatic memory that will receive hope and joy in the midst of whatever season you are living through. 

32.   The age that Melody Rose Conchie became Melody Rose Li.   “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”  Psalm 118:17

33.  Here we are! Thank you for reading.  I appreciate you and the motivation that you give me to grow as a writer.  Will 33 be double trouble?  Maybe but also


 Stay tuned for “New Westminster”.  







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