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Lessons I learned from Ann Mainse

I know what you’re thinking – That’s not Ann – that’s Brad! What does she have to do with Mr. Pitt!? You will find out! Brad is cool, but I love Ann Mainse. I know that there are many of you out there that love Ann too. Ann and her hubby, Ron were the cherished hosts of well known Canadian TV show “100 Huntley Street”. The Mainse family has had an enormous impact in Canada throughout the years. Along the way, they have acquired a faithful audience, my own Grandmother surely being one of their biggest fans.

Over the past decade, Dan and I have had the privilege to get to know Ann and her family. Before kids, we lived in Ron and Ann’s basement apartment. Ron and Ann weren’t just our amazing landlords, but their family became like family to us. We spent countless hours hanging out, watching movies together, and playing many many many rounds of the game “Settler’s of Catan”. They may or may not have a bit of a competitive streak when it comes to board games ;). Ron and Ann are just as godly, loving and sweet (check out Ann’s sweet potato recipe below!) off screen as they are on screen. In our travels, when people have asked us about them, we always say that they are the real deal. 

It was such a joy for me to be able to introduce them to my Grandmother. Grandma didn’t fully understand the concept of pre-taping though, and it always gave me a chuckle when I’d be talking to her on the phone while she was watching them on her television. I’d tell her that at that moment they were actually just upstairs probably cooking in their comfy clothes, and that would really throw her for a loop! lol! In the months before my Grandmother passed away, and she was not feeling well, Ron and Ann were so kind to send her a get well video message, which completely lifted her spirits. This is just who Ron and Ann are.

Now that Ron and Ann’s time hosting 100 Huntley Street has come to a close, they have newly taken on the role of heading up Heart to Heart Marriage and Family Ministries. They fit the bill as a couple who can teach and equip other couples who desire a healthy marriage and strong family foundation.

Ann is also the writer and voice for podcasts at Faith Strong Today. You can subscribe to Ann’s daily “Sincerely Yours” podcast here – Sincerely Yours. The entry I have for you today is one of her podcasts.

Having been in front of an audience, I’m sure this might happen to Ron and Ann as well: depending on where I go, I could be asked if I’m “Dan Macaulay’s wife” (they say with stars in their eyes). On other occasions I just might hear someone yell over to him “Hey Danny! How are ya!?”, as if he’s an ordinary joe. Whenever he is called “Danny”, I know this person must originate from Brantford, Dan’s hometown where he grew up. We are all ordinary to some and great to others. That is a good thing. To some people God may seem unimportant or even unreal to them. For others, He is incredibly astounding; meaning everything to them. The difference is how much you know Him. When people get to know Ron and Ann, or Dan, they find out that they are great people, but also just like them. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. But, it isn’t until we get to know God more, that we no longer underestimate Him. If we think little of Him, it’s because we know little about Him. But, if we have a bigger revelation of who God really is, our response to Him will look much different. When you think of God – think BIG. You cannot think big enough! Our minds truly cannot conceive Him. Read on, where Ann tells us about a couple other guys who may have been underestimated…


Seeing Beyond

We were living in Springfield, Missouri for my High School years. I enjoyed those years, and after awhile even the name of my High School didn’t bother me. Kickapoo High School. I know. You can laugh. Our school was named after an Indian tribe, and so we were known as the “Kickapoo Chiefs.” You’re still laughing, aren’t you? Go ahead; get it out of your system. I’ll wait. Because you may not be laughing after I tell you about one of the students in my school.

He was in the grade behind mine, even though he was only 3 months younger than me. We shared many of the same friends and so our paths crossed frequently. While we weren’t best buddies, we were casual friends and felt very comfortable together. Now, this guy, while he was attractive, was no ladies’ man. No, he was more comfortable being everybody’s friend than hitting the dating circuit. Besides that, he was very involved in the school dramas. Yep, all in all, my friend seemed like your everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill guy.

So, you can imagine my shock when, a few years later, I heard his name on TV. Yes, the Brad Pitt of my High School yearbook had moved far beyond the walls of humble Kickapoo High, into the glamorous world of Hollywood; and in the process, became one of the best-known actors of our time. But if you would’ve told me then that Brad would one day make millions in Tinsel Town, I would’ve said you’re dreaming. He was my friend. He was the guy I ate lunch with. He was… Brad. And now that I think about it, I might know just how the people in today’s reading may have felt.

It’s in Mark chapter 6 where we find Jesus had just returned to His hometown of Nazareth. It was the Sabbath, and as was His custom, Jesus went to the synagogue. And this is where our story unfolds. Not only did Jesus attend the synagogue, He began teaching there. And His wisdom left the townspeople astonished… at first. They could hardly believe their ears, until their eyes reminded them of Who was talking. This was Jesus, a hometown boy. Surely He couldn’t speak with such authority. Verse 3…

“He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary… and [they] refused to believe in Him.” Mark 6:3 (NLB)

I like the way The Message Bible put their reaction to Jesus.

“They tripped over what little they knew about Him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further.” Mark 6:3b (MSG)
This was Jesus, Mary’s Son. They thought they knew Him, but they did not. There’s an old saying that “an expert is an ordinary fellow… from another town.” But with Jesus, it was more than that. Their “ordinary” eyes couldn’t see His “extra-ordinary” Power. These people saw Jesus, as they saw themselves – locked up by limitations, hindered with humanness. But while the people of Nazareth were spiritually tethered to their own city limits, Jesus, the Son of God, had a “lifeline” that was out of this world. And when He saw the skepticism in their eyes, He was amazed at their unbelief.

Unbelief. It’s a powerful thing. Someone once called it the only limitation to omnipotence. While faith releases God’s power, unbelief holds it back. That doesn’t mean that God is any less powerful. It just proves all the more that He is respectful, never forcing Himself on anyone.

To believe Jesus is Who He says He is. It is where it ALL begins. And then invite Him in… and watch Him do the miraculous.

Ann’s Sweet Potato Casserole

5 cups (approx. 6 potatoes) mashed sweet potatoes (poke several holes and microwave until tender… about 12 minutes… cool & skin comes off easily)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered (I spray Pam) 2-quart casserole dish (I use 9-13 pan so everyone gets lots of topping). ☺ Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes, until hot and browned.
Serves 6 to 8.


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