Wednesday, December 29, 2010

[FULL]



full.
yep, I'm full: of Christmas food and gifts (oh, the resolutions that will come of this...), and WORD - as I say "thank You, thank You" in the darkness lit by candlelight.

my eyes have been renewed - and I see them standing there, finally in His presence - in Light. and I say 'thank You, thank You'

Emmanuel, filler of space hidden in darkness. Lighter of hearts cold and longing.
The fullness of God - miracle of Incarnation, in this inconsequential village on a lakeside. Incarnating, again and again - so we light canldles, warm at their flickers and sing "Joy'.

we adore Thee.

Monday, November 29, 2010

taking in the trash.

Okay.
I am going to confess. I've had a wish, a tiny dream: of all things, for a trashcan.
A nice stainless steel one, that's bigger than the tiny thing I have under the sink.
But, j'ai une petite budget - and a nice trash can, would be a splurge.
Who would spend gobs on a trash can!? I have been tempted no doubt....
Only a Fool.

But today, when I got home from a trip to see my parents - there it was at the bottom of my stairs - newish, just the size I had researched, and stainless-beautiful-steel! Cast away because it was broken at the hinge - but oh, so fixable!

I actually jumped out of my car - and thanked God. yep, I was wooping in the drive...
Speaking praises to the One who already knows I like stainless best. And that some of you like plastic, and others have never thought of such a thing.
The Lover who pours His God-Fool love and grace out over broken, trash cast-offs and aways.

Fixer-up, never-giver-upper.
Today, I'm so thankful for all the many ways He loves the rumpled and shines up the dull.
Woot!


”holy

Friday, November 19, 2010

the light of Life.

It's snowing and I have my rain boots on
and I smile thinking about this:
If I were at work, I would be thinking - assessing, 'wow, this person is not dressed appropriately'
and make judgement. Intervene.

Hee =) I'm nobody's patient today, under the scrutiny of my Holy God who loves me.
Today, these boots are just bringing me joy - these hand-me-downs with diamonds and hearts.
I smile.

My uncle is sort of a legend when it comes to duck-boots, and I'm not trying to perpetuate that... I'm not for annointing rubberboots.
But, I'm thinking about His gifting Self. How those silly boots are a gift. How He brings joy. How He bestows the simplest treasures only a fool child's eyes can see and heart can hold.

I giggle at sparkley things. I keep bubbles in my purse.
I like to laugh, really loud and hearty - until tears come, because why laugh just a little when you mean it.
And I love Jesus Christ.
Because I'm overcome in His foolish love.

He says He's the light of life. And that the dark in us and of us, doesn't get it. The laughing Messiah who brings joy in the midst of real sorrows. How can a chuckle cast away all of our fear-stained longing for change?
His smile weighs hearty in the victory celebration of the soul. His hand slaps to His side to the rhythmic clap of my boots that call out to puddles to jump in, though the day is sunny - melting the white.
He laughs for His Kingdom is come, and there is joy. Though tears still stain our faces, and pain will pierce our hearts, and times are unhappy - the Joy King sows seeds of His Kingdom in the simple and blinds us with light that makes us know and grow in joy.




Please join me dear ones, and sharing a joy treasure or two.

much peace.




(P.S. It's over half November, and who wants to contain Christmas-ness any longer? Not moi.)


Friday, November 05, 2010

no more want.

my life consists of the fluttering of paper.

the pages of Word,
the print-outs of new knowledge - of ideas,
of observations,
of inspired hopes,
of disillusioned reality.

I am reading, reading, reading - for Life, for work, searching for conceptualization of what will become my thesis.
What will be hours, blood, sweat, strain and passion: poured over in conversation and rumninated over in the mind;
What will begin to describe current reality and hope of future.

He helps me climb, what seems insurmountable. Right now, I just climb up from my knees and open my hands to open the pages, and open my mind and heart to embrace His way. No farther than He guides, no more vision than Hope. No more want than His peace.

This is my journey prayer.
Amen.

Monday, November 01, 2010

woolying up.


the air is cool
leaves mostly on the ground,
wet from early snow,
the others, with colours fading cling to the trees.
Winter is coming.
guess I'd better wooly up ;)


It's November 1st.
The first day of the global charity fundraiser, Movember, raising awareness and funds toward Prostate Cancer.

Quiet and insidious, prostate cancer can become well developed before becoming (if ever) symptomatic.
But, it is effectively detected with routine screening.
Many of the men I care for are in the end stages of this disease, which progresses from organ to others, and bone and brain.


Love your man.
Love men.
Embrace the Mo. Grow one if you're able, or compliment someone who can.
They may look funny, or hairy, or... creepy,
but recall our deep kinship through Christ, care and advocate for them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

jubilee.

Funny that it started as the day finished,
just like that first day:
me hearing You. me in full want, grasping Your grace ... just even to remember the anniversary. even to know what day it is.
and, yes - the celebrating.

Yesterday marked seven years of history,
of following,
of repeating: running,
down,
falling,
knees,
and Your grace, incarnate in history,
even still,
running down to me on my knees.
Your glory, bursting to life a heart wantonly wilted,
now willfully surrendered.
You and I celebrate. Each day, together.



It's Your way,
humbled and the cross
of entering the celebration of You - Your grace.

Seven years. Amen. Seven years.
Captive free. Debt cancelled. Amen.

Monday, October 25, 2010

gasp. touch.

sometimes they grab at my arms
hands open, gasping to touch -
in the rage of why?
or the fear of how?
the despair...of when?
movement. emotion. moment. intensity.
and each passes into the next.
to be near.

reaching out to be close.
letting go.

isn't this what we all want? to be close, to You.

Monday, October 18, 2010

the gospel. Monday at dusk.

on my couch, surrounded by piles of academic papers and bunny-fuzz
I used to think a house should be squeak-clean
but now, I think differently
it's meant only to be devoted back to You.
and the dishes, are half done. The laundry, still in the dryer and the bed never was made.


Monday afternoons, I used to think should be rigidly defined. By work, and with work's purpose, and structure,
but, it's only meant for Your purposes:
so I give thanks for the nap that I had and needed; for the permission to do so, because the paper-writing would so not be happening right now otherwise. On to a second cup of coffee, and an evening - just like the day, filled with Christ and His word when I listen.

You measure with justice, mercy, love and grace.
I give thanks. Thanks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

unfurl

remaining
means to let go:

palms upturned,
work-fingers quieted,

and be caught up in His wild, loving embrace
made colour in His stroke
and beautiful as He blows through ash and soot,
Seeker of clay, Breather of this life

to unfurl, for All -
into All
He is.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

living. hope.

:)

Happy Thanksgiving.

Give it. It's His to have, your hands to clap
at good news.

and a hope that is living.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

letting go to the Centre.

worst days are for remembering what you've prepared in all the rest:

Somedays it's just plain difficult.
And I come home angry and frustrated and exhausted.
Like yesterday, after a week of hard hard working. Of mustering the energy to cheer them on toward the goal - of laughing and living with them along the way, though every moment knit together will make it very sad to see them no longer.

Because dying, is hard hard work.
Because it's so much work - this letting go, this living in the full,
this being shaped and growing up -
this walking alongside the grieving, of grieving yourself.


It's hard sometimes to do the next thing, the right thing - it's not easy because it's right; lesser than often does right come with the euphoric sense of well-done, more often it comes with opposition that will threaten to beat on your most tender place - your heart. It's hard to come home with the biggest questions weighing heavy in your mind and short-term memory - hard when they come with names and faces.

But easier - when you remember this is a child, of God - Caller of them to His home, lover of them dearly more, through death to life. And you, thank God! as well. Easier when you remember that He meets you together in your moments of nurse and dying, where you each play your part, right. This, is our fellowship.


How! You are the softest, strongest place to fall dead-centre into. The bounds of the heart, soul, body and strength - the One acquainted with salt-traced and testing-stained faces, and companion to the deep burning angry, so as not to become bitter all together.

How long Oh Lord? We don't know.
Until then, Lord have mercy - hold us still, together.


Giving thanks for:
quiet evenings reading with friends
sunny fall days
my sweet, brave NM

Thursday, September 30, 2010

there, your treasure

treasure

is buried

leaves, dirt, rocks, sand - mess

And you believe, it's better that way:



part of it's worth is in the planning

the dig, the find

the raising up and glory of it

as it crests the edge of the earth and is lifted above



settled for a life of dirt?

settling in the dirt,

sifting through - down to a laden trunk's temporary bed

Seeking and found by the One that is sought.





searching & finding with Em & more at:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Compassion: It begins with a child. It begins with you.

It's 7am.
Me - I'm dragging my tired body out of bed. I worked late last night.

Shaking off sleep, and remnant threads of depression luring me back to the seeming safety of a bed. Bringing this 'vessel' of me, what feels like a bag of bones to the bathroom vanity - I'm praying 'Your will, not mine, be done'. And I put on the coffee. I make oatmeal ... delicious.

Getting up, to look more like my Lord. Who compells the body to move - the mind to think - the heart to beat and love.
He wills that I move, and asks 'will you take me at My word - whatever I say?'

Today, and every day before this - get up. It's Sunday so I will go to worship with other Christians in the morning and later head to work with a nice big coffee for the evening.
Great still - it's September 26th, and here at Following After You we are briefly partnering with Compassion Canada's Compassion Sunday.



Even though I'm nervous, deadly apathy terrifies me more. I have felt its wasting tug. And it's siren song that bids to give up life - that life to the full promised by Christ.

I have been sponsoring a child through Compassion Canada for five years in Jesus' name.


Slum you see here was my home during the summer of 2006. It is home to over 2 million people.



That red soil - burdened with raw, flowing sewage are as much a reality as the floor beneath your feet now.



The limited, unclean water and lake-fish, sitting for hours beneath unbroken sun and clouds of flies, are as real as the meal you last ate.


In this place of poverty and places similar around the world though, God does His restoring work - beauty building in the broken: in the material lack of developing nations, and in the lacks of my own heart that many comforts other than Christ pacify.



It was in 2006, that I held Pauline in my sight - and then in my arms - and then on my lap as we ate a meal together; the small Kenyan girl whom I'd only know just over a year, through letters, photos and crayon drawings.


It is my great honour to be acquainted to this young girl and to sponsor her through Compassion. I am one of many in her community supporting her as she grows: assisting with her needs of food and water as they grow scarce, the provision of healthcare, education and a knowledge of the loving and compelling God, Jesus Christ. With a lessened burden from school costs and supplemental food, Pauline's mother was able to go to school for early childhood education and is now serving in her community.



Poverty. It is overwhelming, insurmountable by our human desire, incomprehensible and at worst, deadening. Daily, my call is to confront the Lord with my own failure to partcipate. Sponsoring a child was an intimidating prospect when I first began as a university student.
But, the sisterly bond that has grown between Pauline and I over the years - as I know the joy of the Lord who drew us both into our friendship, timidity no longer lingers.


This is opportunity. Life, and joy and:

Compassion: It begins with a child. It begins with me. It begins with you.



in Jesus' name.








For more wanderings, thoughts, prayer and information, please visit: http://www.compassion.ca/

Thursday, September 23, 2010

none spectacular

There is nothing spectacular about these bushes before me through the window of this coffee shop; with sporadic, springing branches, see-sawing in the summer's end breeze, with August-sun drawn green-gold leaves. They aren't pretty, at all.
But I am comforted by these terribly humble, jagged leaves and the living life they whisper - of a summer growing and tales of warmth in the sun. Their thick and full is waning, the branches of the bush dip and bend, down toward the rest that comes of winter. Dead blooms, withered, hang.
There is nothing speactacular about these bushes.
Yet, they are quiet talking teachers still - professing to any who will wonder long, breeching the 20 minute lingering limit of the shop. Witnesses of the summer's Sun, preachers of bold and right growth, however wiley and sporadic; told in hues that will only ever be fair.

And now, dying deaths without wild witness.

Christ, gentle hand to the bent, broken and pale - liberator of seed, that life to the full might be plentiful to us. He is near.



giving thanks.

Friday, September 17, 2010

if I didn't know I have nothing...

I'd never learn how sweet the rain and wind are
even if it messes your hair.

I'd never notice the dance of light on rock,
as a sweet answer to prayer.

I'd never know the delight it is,
to be embraced and to embrace.

I'd never be drawn to You,
to satisfy, to teach, to lay and learn in listen

I'd never know that You are - Everything;
without You, no being.



Joining Em & Ann today - broken, cracked for He pours out.

peace to you this weekend, in His fullness.


Enjoy a favorite song :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

experience celebration

neither you, nor I are likely to know what you'll get when I hit the kitchen.
And it just kills my mother, who loves the 'recipe',
that her child might regard it simply as a rough 'guideline'.
So it happened when I started my birthday cake this year-

that turned into a pie, of no-consequence.


hunting through cupboards and fridge with my nose for all that gives great, unique delight






lemons and blueberries and chocolate;




et, ma piece - nuts. Candied nuts.




and I served this, to other people... who humbly received the offering of, "what did you say that was again?"


finishing with a, "that was an experience".


Ha! Blessed!








To the God who, creates, giver of time to think, and roll and bake;


maker of willy-nillies in the kitchen,


and life,


and friends who will submit themselves to trying a piece of you-pie ;)

Monday, September 06, 2010

walk

When I read you, watch you
other-steppers and faith-walking seekers, followers of the Way:
I see all the ways we are walking before Him
Not many ways to -
For there is One and only One.
But how many ways to fall and crawl into His outpouring of mercy!
And lap like a wee kitten to its spill of milk…
Or a thirsting man lapping at puddle-side in drought.

When anxiety rises at the breadth of my gait - the measure of my steps
And, if they are good and right and true?
I need only remind myself to trip into your grace.
So remembrance rinses away pretense and pride-
And Fills and envelops with you, Graceful Master, Gentle Lord.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

what you need to say.

Its hard to say what you mean,
because you take life elsewhere - higher.
Away from the common murk -
from easy, trite conversation
and into the holy of Truth:

Where sin mettles,
where grace might prevail should you lay beneath it,
and where love between us, and God is real.


What you need to say is simple -
and that's why it's profound;
it's why you stand uneasy in it,
for we are complicated in our depravity.


prayers for you and me dear ones, entering new chapters of fellowship - in spirit and in truth.
Happy September :)



Joining Em and others for:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

asante way.

Four summers ago, I flew in a plane over the familiar sight of Europe to an unfamiliar Africa.

Making tracks and change, leaving loved ones behind in Canada - to Him who is able: to hold all the tears no one man can hold, and use them to water dry lands.

I followed His voice, His word and direction - and it led me to Kibera, Kenya.
It still perplexes me why I should be given the honour to travel to such a place, to meet those who touched my heart and inspired the soul. Standing together, lifting voices in praise we were not different, but we were church. Here and there, we all need the Lord - we are all blessed in His gift.

I came home culture-changed. When I don't use a clock or watch, when I keep the lights out at night and burn flickering candles, when I treat myself for the lasting effects of typhoid et al., when I bake chapati on my electric stove, when I syncopate my clapping in Sunday services, I remember Kibera.
In the slum, I learned another means to be thankful for another means of richness: Thanking Him for the water that came once through the week, the intermittent electricity, but mostly for what we had in our lack of Canada, and full of Kenya- more of each other, of feeble Kiswahili attempts, of cultural-missteps and tears and laughter with kindest of friends.

The crushing contrast arriving back here at home haunts me still - my first glimpse at my home country, far more striking than my first gaze at the dusty, smelling vista of the the shanty-city-become-temporary-home. But, it wasn't all about that.

This morning, I felt a twinge of impending guilt as I awoke in my bed nestled in a soft and safe nest, with pillows and a fresh blanket. How many times have I internalized a speech that expostulated my responsibility for the material difference? How these platitudes motivate us in fear, and paralyze us from our responsibility to our brothers and sisters.
So, I made it to my knees to thank Him for much this morning. I gave Him my question why? and how? too.

Only out of the heart of thanks can He move to make well the poverty - our pity is uncharitable. From the posture of thanking we are moved into our daily of His work, and the truth shows up in His way. This is how we might love one another.

I pray for nests of Shalom in Kibera - though this is not the whole reality there now, there are those working diligently to envision and build them - carpenters like their Brother.
peace to you dear friends & His strength in your hands.
Asante.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

somewhere along the way, I fell...

well it happened last night,
on a major street downtown - down to my knees
after a toe-dive into that pot-hole.
they are bruised today.
Rectified with a laugh and Friendship.

How often do I find mysef here?
How often have I questioned?
was that a misstep, or a normal one in uneven territory?
and here's the thing,
the bumps still happen and I still fall laughing-
in Love.


giving thanks to the One in all steps, jumps, flailings and landings.
its a great journey - thank You for letting me live it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You sooner

sooner, rather than later. I need You.
help me where I ramble before running into Your arms,
and looking to Your face.

God of 'not choas'; of might, strength and compassion; of faithfulness and all true:
make us humble-low
lifters up of Your name.


Not usually a fan of pop, but! Lights brought this out in an acoustic version - so now I can listen to lyrics I like, with simple strums.
peace to you in your listen.




Thank you:
  • that You forgive
  • that grace is apparent if you show it up
  • that my fears are fears, and not always true
  • for finally giving into djembe... hallelujah! ;)
  • sweet, sweet August
  • burning flames

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

overcoming winning-over

John the Baptiser’s prayer is mine.
More of You,
Less of me.

So that Your love is my work.
So that Your love is my life.
So that I am me, and my actions.
So that I forgive - and know, myself.
So that I take up the mantle.
So that I don't withold a thing, as offering to you.

So that I don’t buckle under burden not my own,
But flourish in Yours.

Lord this day, I cast my cares,
For I am afraid of a torrent I can't control.

But I can take me, and give me to You.

Giving thanks for:
  • organization :)
  • food for the day.
  • Nutmeg bouncing over for apples - so happy

Monday, August 16, 2010

believing just went out the door.

a gift given this weekend.
time off when I was ready to work.
what to do?! wah!
stand there on the unit like I did, in scrubs
shaking with excitement.
hardly able to believe.

in weirdest, greatest ways He comes down, lays down -
takes you up and leads you on.
'Who do you say I am?'

belief keeps growing,
as you walk down steps,
though the door,
run down the street
burst through another - and pack, and hurry, and not take too much time to think about whether to receive the gift given.

and realize that this is choosing to believe.
allowing receipt,
and gobbling it up like an excited pre-teen, growing boy.
no regret. just thanks.
hurtling down the highway toward what you are so grateful to have.

still believing, though traffic gets heavy and competitive;
though en route you realize you forgot some essentials;
and though the clouds lay a downpour too -
though you're bringing just a rumpled-up you to the party.
still believing because you haven't turned back.
He provides -
you just went out the door.


thanks from the road:
  • good waves goodbye.
  • CBC Radio 2 - I heart you and your folk songs.
  • golden sunsets at your back.
  • big, blue skys.
  • dark, lightening-striken ones.
  • patient rabbits in the back seat.
  • ! the group 'canoeing' from the windows of their farm truck.
  • laughing at them, and thus having them drive by thrice to show off sweet 'paddling' skills.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

mama's B



to the woman who waited and waits for me
with faithful anticipation...


Happy Birthday!
it's my mom's birthday today.


I love her. She becomes dearer to me with every day.
Every phone chat.
Every tense moment of me moving from little-girl to big-one.
Every shopping excursion that ends in me listless and her frustrated with my shop apathy :)
Every way that we are the same, but "black-is-white".
Every tear and tearing hug as we part.
Every excited long one when we see each other again.
Every pen scratch on the page as she studies.
Every selfless moment in the kitchen where she doesn't really "love" to cook (but man, can she!)
Every moment where she is wisdom.
Every moment where she doesn't know something, and says it - where she feels, and shows it.


thanks mom.
you are you, fearfully and wonderfully you:
the first to point out to me the tenderness in your love of soft and little.
the one to teach me love of water and sand, and sound of tree frogs... or june bugs... or whatever.
the one who goes miles for being together :)

love ya much.






Friday, August 13, 2010

Him & sisters

Just looking back at what I've written down here the last few months is sort of interesting. What started with complete thoughts, and structured paragraphs has changed - into dips of sharing:
heart-hymn,
axiom,
fragment,
aphorism...
I'd like to thank You,
piecer of all things together; author and perfector of faith;
holder of me in the dark and light places.

I'd like to thank you.
Sisters, who wonder and wander and write together -
those who don't write at all.
I am humbled as I am shaped - and He has meant us to meet. to sharpen. to share.
your words are His beauty to me,
your struggles are often mine to as I learn to be
in God's Maker-hands,
and I am so blessed by your acquaintance.

more of His peace.
more of Him for us.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

that amazing grace.

the anger slips like time
with every breath for thanks
and toddler/teenage angst against the hearing Father
subsides.

I have deep wonders -
I don't have answers
to questions shot forth
from the rumblings of distressed soul.


rather, I have more of Him
a map of His face, rather than the road ahead
and a heart knowing His gift giving behind.
amazing grace, sufficient

more of Him as I lost
and was found:
rest,
time,
deep laughter,
glimpses of sparkling eyes and souls



thanking Him for:

  • Ann Voskamp
  • FD
  • fresh market fair
  • warm smells of summer-end
  • first IV, in! WOOP!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

thankyou.thankyou.thankyou.

passing under tire tread
slipping through breaths,
and meals,
and chats late into the night over bottles of draft
thank you. thank you. thank you.

it's where You started -
dark room, taking breath
so that was all that could come out
and wondering...

it's to see days like this,
and night's like last -
she and I sat in the kingdom
talking of all it's new shades
and how we're timid and unsure of how to be in this newness
of twenty-three and twenty-four

it's to thank as we've tried on
hats and dresses -
on teacher and nurse
until they seem familiar,
but not that familiar

it's to see shackles fall in our confession
she's broken
so am I
she, the one recognized from a word and a photo,
and we made friends in a stairway

It's to thank and love for the joy of finishing sentences -
laughter filling the booth with His triumph.
He is not content to leave or forsake us,
we pursue Him with what and all that we have.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • Day 101 WOOP!!!

Monday, August 09, 2010

tea & books

Him in tea sips
and an afternoon read,
listening to life in the office
and the old dog's tail wag in her sleep

Christ comes.
Creator to keep creating.
Into tea time and a book.
Into this house.

Into laughter.
Into seriousness,
hammer blows,
and drizzly days
is Christ.

The new
sense
mind
heart
of those created.

99 days of giving Him thanks,
I will be thanking God when tomorrow comes...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

growing. older.

near 100 days of thanking Him

learning to thank

seeing how unthankful I can be.



I am overwhelmed in the multitude,

like I was;

like we always are in His riches.



and He makes me appreciate and love them

rest and trust and wait in His all,

because on my flowery-own I cannot.



All things in Christ.



Peace on your weekend: I'm heading home for yep, more wedding!!!

be lifted high.

in cracks
of voice and holding back
we worship

we find ourselves
in melody together

messing up lines
in passion
because we are lost in Him

brought close together
by Him
as we draw near -
one, and one, and one after another
crying out to the High and Holy
finding that He is near
in brother and sister
sitting in the next chair
and on the pillow across the room.

Great is He who unites and bonds
who calls us to together
who makes the joints of this body work to His rhythm
and teaches each part of His tune

Praise Him. Be lifted high.

Today I give thanks:
  • for liking peanut butter and honey, very much
  • for Pearl
  • for lights out in the neighbourhood
  • for growling summer storms
  • for getting soaked.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

uncontrolled anticipation.

like a little kid,
spunky and enerved, ready to pounce on deep Holy-cultivated desire.
and I see how I have much room for more risk,
more hope,
more space to anticipate more of Him.

Perhaps, you like me, don't know right now where He will take you -
He's giving you glimmers that you couldn't hang a hat on, and He's calling you to lay your life down.
Oh my God.
That's just it -- my God.
The One and Only for shady doubters.

my hands are loosed in greater grip,
and soft feather-breaths of hope come to rest on Him:
the Strong and Kind, the Hallowed and Near One,
willing us up from amidst the desert's thousand grains of sand -
in His way of wooing us to fall soft in Him.

In talking about plans,
dreaming dreams,
and telling Him about them.
in praying for things to for things to come,
wanting "Thy will be done".

About learning new shades and signs,
choosing ways,
taking a path
to follow Him on.
Trust in His hands known gentle,
with holy lips speaking God-life into all of me.

Hope is boundless and palpable,
He perfects my hoping as it's used and I care less about all that's not Him.
We talk of where we are and about hoping for more,
for change and for future.
All satisfied in wanting of Him.

Today, I give thanks for:
  • looking and finding.
  • open doors.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

clouds of witness

"It's like a ... cloud." she whispered, eyes straight ahead looking, in rapture at the Holy Baker. Only eating cheesecake, the restaurant became sanctuary - the table an altar, and we received Christ, laughing together - reverence for God's (cheesy) gifts.

He gave us eyes so that we would see His work

and hearts, softened, that we might feel His glory

and hands to touch, and clasp, and press together in prayer and supplication;

with pain and questions and anger;

with hope and faith;

with thanksgiving for His promises

His work, interwoven - perfect in our lives,

bringing peace,

unity,

focus and purpose.




How beautiful You are!

How mighty and grand Your wonders to witness.

Friends, how good He is.

How I am reminded when I witness Him in you.















giving thanks as I slip off to work:

  • for the reminder to go explore
  • for licks of September on summer breezes
  • for Nutmeg - my feisty, sweet rabbit.
  • for a place to go.

Friday, July 30, 2010

lone gospel.

As with many things, just when you think something is becoming clear, you realize that there is more to the picture.
I read Bonhoeffer's Life Together, and it presses - it illumines; it is so small but makes me think so big.

to be alone:
in necessity beautiful, refreshing.
in circumstance, a discipline.

the day alone, to make rich the day together.
the day alone, to push me toward Him, to draw me into Him and
them.

the day alone to work out the plans of together.

and days together to make plans for the day alone.
the day alone is where I confront my fears and demons, and where Christ
begins His ministries to my person.

A common misinterpretation of solitude leads to a resentment for together, and
and yet, and yet ...
Not alone, for aloneness is not good.
Here with my God: Man & Love.
Day-thoughts punctuated by others, for others.
solitary gospel.
it's a good story ;)

tonight I give thanks for:
  • northern lights!
  • ro-tic time with R.
  • chat with auntie.
  • day alone.
  • sweet buns.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

rugged's words

Hiking finished with a stop at the beach - to dip feet in gentle water, to dip my heart into His poetry and revel. Ahh - He is so good.

He brings me to David, and gives words to the heart and soul, gives bounds to the body and purpose to the living:

we write together -
this man of passion.
wicked like me;
redeemed.

so often his words,
my words.
so often affirmed -
united

words of solidarity -
our shared prayers:
whispers,
shouts and songs

his words are His gifts.
his words are His light.
He chose his words
For him
For us


giving thanks for:
Em & others writing Imperfect Prose

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

holding hands

I wish that I can always hold it:
this hand.
I've had to for many procedures and waves of symptoms now.

I am in awe at how holding hands makes it better for him.
I am in awe at how tender we remain to the touch of Shalom, though we are far from whole ourselves; at how Christ can touch him through plastic gloves, isolation gowns and masks covering faces.
still he jokes and calls me sweetie as a needle passes through.
I love him, even though he will be gone soon. I can't think on that much or I would stop loving him - withdraw and start protecting me.

Christ love is costly.
it poses danger. it hurts.

And it also heals, and wholes, and values.

Countless, I have loosened the grip of my hand.
Yet, in great, great mercy Christ firmly grabs up all of me -
I'll learn to do the same.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • T&M - bubbles. Thank you.
  • work.
  • planning ahead.
  • spontaneous visits from grandparents.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

silence meet Word.

Everytime that I am on the unit or explain my work in conversation, I am surprised.
I work primarily with oncology patients.
I purposely avoided the profession of nursing for years, for the implication that I might work out my frustrations with cancer. And yet, in my job I am brought daily to the ravages of that damned illness. It opens up a wound in me that lies like a broken-hearted little girl over a parent with cancer.
By His grace, this tender spot is transformed into an altar for offering thanks.
For many good reasons, my brother and I weren’t told much about my dad’s illness when we were young, but (and this is a bit of a plea should you know parents undergoing illness, with children) though young, children are so aware. With a lack of conversation and explanation, I experienced the wrecks of a wee mind with daddy’s foreboding diagnosis – I thought I was losing the man I loved.
The cancer was treated, the remission still (and I thank and thank Him) sustained, and life was resumed as normal – trauma avoided?
No. Trauma without an oral tradition, but written deep with gnarled script into heart and soul, and man’s body.

Know that I know
Trust me,
I know.

You think, and we say:
Big for a too small mouth.
Baby girl is tugged to quiet shadows.

But that’s not it.
For from tongue flows heart
Beats big, as He is big.

I know.
I know. But, I don’t understand what.
I never learned the words.

Words now,
With straight backs, and schooled gesture.
Time for Word to take us back to little on lap.

Pitied, yes,
For the brokenness,
Not for the knowing of it.

Still,
Knowing what I know
Makes you cry the tears that would heal you.

We try so hard to shake our hurts rather than live through and with the phantom pains can linger over surgical scars. I try not to fidget at it, but I struggle to trust – creates this cornered sensation in me and I become incensed – frustrated at being as helpless as an angry, helpless, untrusted, quieted seven year-old.
Trusting, is learning to see how God has me here for a purpose. Trusting is living His word in the silences of life.
Each step up the hall and into a room is a memory of away-daddy, lost men, wounded women - with cuts, old and deep. It is communion with the pains of my Brother, and Father. I open my mouth, and out come words – prayers between patient and professional, of stark truth and raw life. Out of the silence of childhood has come the adult passion to draw out words, from others, from myself, from God - to draw out Truth, drawing on His health to cleanse the fester.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Child’s grace.

I am home briefly on a day's interlude between weddings;
Wisps of empty moments fill with sleep and remembering His work.
Dear friends are married - one, as He is One.

While out west the week of the wedding, I had the deepest pleasure of staying with the bride's family - enjoying parents and children, and Him in them in their ways.




Thursday night - clothed with tradition, wife-and-husband-to-be had honoured the bride's parents and elders with warm cups of tea. Ceremony of thanks and refreshment.
And in return, they were showered, and they were blessed: in flows from Father through quiet, strong daddy, sweeping them up sure and free in Hesed of small, faithful Jacob-mama, made ready in His time.

I wept so happy - for each of us is child-longing, waiting to receive, steadily opening to blessing-prepared and faith-shared.

and here I write of Child's grace...


Hands that held her
And made me -
I long for them to bless.

Burn, hard, real and deep;
Soul heat.
I long for the words of Christ on your lips.

I am child-blessed if I look,
Where you don’t know yet He shines.
And wait and wait and pray.

For your hands to clasp,
Knees to numb to feeling ground,
And heart enlivened, pounding as at birth.

And for you to bless me;
For you to speak to me Christ-
Father, my prayer.

You, in whose womb I rested long and grew -
How I long for you, Mother-Christ:
For drawing me in deep and down where blood washes sin.

To teach me this body too -
To anticipate its needs and nurture,
And to revel together in His glory - woman.

I long for days when rugged faith
Walks into future from bearer to born,
And His Cross is yours and mine.

Grace, and grace, and grace again –
Grace only can make children.
Grace only can let them wonder for grown-up things.

Tonight I give thanks:

  • for safe flights.
  • strangers, friends & in-between.
  • bouquets of flowers.
  • leads & follows.
  • patience.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

a day full

I'm in my kitchen,
licking batter from a spatula - lapping up the dailyness as I bake, and the good smells from time-tested techniques that fill.
Wondering at who thought of pricking the dough before you bake it - or who discovered the binding properties of eggs?

My thoughts on a million things, as work season passes into season of celebrations.
I'm all nerves of excitement; I'm all nerves.

So, I bring my bundle to Him: as I slip a pan into the oven, and then as I close the fridge door to ingredients back in their place, and again as I ice cake tops - slow, careful, creamy.
I bring my requests to Him, in thanksgiving.

Thankfulness reminds you of the honey-and-milk land you live in when He is your Home;
reminds you that in Him, you are in the midst of the Promise.
It calls you to pause at the beauty of the flow, drink because there is thirst, and rejoice at it's quenching.

peace to you dear ones, as I am away to celebrate with brides & grooms, friends & family for a few weeks.
may your days be full of Him.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Done.

I'm sitting here at my kitchen table.
final paper of a long year swift away - just.
grace after grace to make it, and grace finally taking it from my hands.

done. done?

well, for a little while and a break and a breath.
there are dishes in the sink and laundry to be folded - all the 'fun' things that have been in wait until I was 'done'.

After a while - the laundry, the work, and the dishes will fill up the space where papers have filled for 11 months, and I will anticipate the work again after rest. I must learn now to discipline myself not to steal looks at the future, and just rest in now.

I feel like dancing around this tiny apartment,
Or maybe just going to bed.
either would be wonderful.
And Nutmeg just chewed my toe. Ha! It really is just another day, done.

Tonight, I give thanks for:
  • two beautiful brides and their grooms.
  • finding my heartbeat in sticks.
  • brother.
  • clean dishes & clothes.
  • CORN ON THE COB (I forgot what summer tasted like...wow)

Friday, July 09, 2010

the way of disciplines.

tapping away at the final paper of the year. in twenty-four hours, I will begin two months free of school demands.
it's always the suck and the push at the end, yet I am enjoying this final time of writing.
It's defined in a bit of chaos, chair-sitting, and (this paper-writing session), Lindt pear dark-chocolate with almonds - just as I have learned to like it.

knowing that change is soon upon me, makes me reflect on these past months.
Nursing changes before me with every turn of page, every conversation, every touch to a patient's arm and press into a syringe.
Nursing has changed me. And so nursing changes.
the way of disciplines.


Today, I am thankful for:
The way that the gentle procures the blush.
The way forward that creates space.
The way of discipline and focus and long-suffering that creates perspective.
The way of hurt that makes us want for health.
The way of kind that stands beside, and creates.
The way of God that grows, and gives hearty to our laughing.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

things & signs

Things are not often as they seem.
Or maybe, they're just more.
For personal instance: a person who like cats can become a best friend (though retaining an affection for cats...).
Considering this, I am so glad and humbled.

Little tiny-big glimpses of the Infinite, of the Incarnate -winks to the holy through His Ways.
Delighting, tantilizing and inviting through the rough-edged, cracking and part-polished.
This is His Way for us with others. His way for us in beautiful artwork. This is God's way to us, and ours to Him.
There is more beyond the surface of what we know through sense and discipline - encounters with truth to open us up to great Truth.
... I'm sure it ALL has grander name and scope; one (or is it many), that I can't possibly imagine, define or utter.
Left to awe, and wonder, and make steps in faith toward the One who speaks of such wonder, and promises to make it near, to make it fully mine and ours with Him.

Today I am thankful:
  • for work together in teams.
  • for not being able to do all, but doing what you can.
  • for new Words.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

close: dim & warm

walk down a quiet street.
in city dark, dim burning-gold light filtering through thick maples to the street.

the heat is close,
the only breeze from moving forward.
the heat is welcomed and so it holds me like a soft, long hug.


I've longed for summer, and it's July.
I've longed for Christ, and here He is with me in this quiet, close summer night. In the not profound walk home after ice-cream and talks, swings and prayers.

I am thankful for:
  • laughing.
  • sun.
  • focus.
  • a workshop.
  • a companion.


holy experience

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

sufficient

It's likely part my rural upbringing, partly growing up in town and not the farm, and partly being female raised in these places that I battle daily with the calls of 'lazy'.

"Lazy's" threat beckons so many of us from bed each day - anxious not to waste it, anxious that we might really be lazy if we don't make enough of our lives, if we miss the mark. Lazy pins us into a corner of Martha's and lays waste to His gift of grace. It makes me spin with more and more - do and do.

Lazy and productive are not the defining dichotomies of the Christian life.
I found when I moved out on my own (literally, educationally, and professionally), I struggled to define myself in my new space. I used old standby's, like 'doing' and 'lazy' and 'productive' - they helped with getting at the dishes and papers, and a feeling of pride when I'd been successful in accomplishing something. But they left me bearing the weight of their emptiness and negative drag, because I simply could not uphold all of the standards I'd set for myself.

A sinner still, needing His grace to accomplish.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
~ 2 Cor. 12:9

Slowly, the old and broken of my daily vocabulary is phased out, and I settle for a dealing of His words full of grace, defined in the paradox of Incarnation.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • early mornings.
  • the tickle of steam on your face with that first sip.
  • great women to read about.
  • His way of mercy.

Monday, July 05, 2010

a Monday writing

Monday of a working grad student = writing that one last paper, still scouring articles, and writing, and looking out the window with a blank stare and head full of thoughts.
Today, I am getting such pleasure out of this now familiar process. Not really because after this I get a few months of study-freeness, but because grace and thanks changes your mind, renews your perspective and reminds you of who your God is and who you are in Him.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • getting to dip daily in His word
  • finding lost email addresses.
  • communing in word.
  • room filled with the sounds of friends’ great playlists.
  • french bakeries around the corner.
  • promise of new books.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

soft

Two nights ago I finished a dear nightly routine, of reading Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love. In the second last of his journal entries he acknowledged to himself a choice he had to make, of remembering his time of struggle and depression as a moment of epic failure or as the point where God opened him up and drew him in deeper and closer.

Is this how I will remember the last several months? I have the choice to do so.

Will I choose to remember the past, and see His hand – see Him molding me? Several moments in particular cause me anxiety when I think on them, but as I bring my pain home to Christ who is the centre and knitter-together of me I see healing and health.

I see that in the moments of desperate confusion, He is making me just as I should be – that He is strong as I am made more weak, when I go soft:
The moments where I stood shaking beside Him, confronting fear itself and He conquered.
The moment when I drove hours away from a man I love in a hospital bed to care for others at Christmas, hating myself with every kilometer that passed, yet have found as I arrive to this city He has placed me in that even still, Love will never fail.
The moments alone in my little place, feeling just that – alone, yet drawn nearer to Him than I have yet been.
The moments when I was grasped at and asked to ‘save’ life slipping away and in the next breath to ‘just take’ it away – when my utter helplessness was revealed, I see His profound grace that I continued breathing, continued standing, found the right words to say with hands I pray were vessels of His comfort.
The moment when I made that phone call home to admit weakness, the walk to work to share the toll suffering has had on my naivete, the email to professors dolling out unanswered questions toward an uncertain future, the conversation with the unfamiliar physician of the physical symptoms of a life brought to brokenness – the points of real honesty, where I am utterly broken and He is utter justice and good and love and health, and He holds with infinite hands the eternal questions of a finite mind.
The moments where the mind is utterly blank and the gift of logic goes, and His gift of faith in His Son paints the truth through all of me. And I fear less losing the things I’ve held dear, if I lose it for Him.
The moment, where in His ways you open up and later, reeling without familiar guideposts of propriety, question who you are and what you’ve done.
But then, you quiet in the realization it’s all His peace and grace, and vulnerable is God in you. Where shame used to reside, may the Lord take His place – and I with bended knee and simpler speech am more aware of my need and His gift.

Today, as I remember I give thanks:
  • for His grace through rambling efforts.
  • for His mercy on me, on them, on us.
  • for that Sunday night.
  • study sessions with J.
  • home is whenever I'm with You.

Friday, July 02, 2010

men with chests.

Four strapping men sit at my parent’s table and prove C.S. Lewis wrong (! Sorry Lewy… this pains me to type it). Or maybe more that there is more truth beyond the truth he wrote on. The premise of Lewis’ The Abolition of Man is that the post-modern man-without-chest represents humanity’s collective loss of heart as it loses it's connection to Love.
These four are a hope of a remnant; His gift of common good and grace. They are carpenters, with work-hewn hands who first showed up on the doorstep of my family home with pizza in hand and a rented movie. They have been living there, week by week since February.
They said they ‘didn’t even think about it’. They said ‘it’s what friends do’.
But they became my brothers the moment that they loved mine.
They stepped into my family when so many others left, who were unable to bridge the gap of illness and mystery that only love can.
It’s not mushy love.
It’s the sort of love that pounds nails into my brother’s house.
It’s the sort of love that teases me at the table that I should maybe come home more often for family dinners (I live in a city 7 hours away).
It’s the sort of love that lives together for a week at a time in my parents' basement, affectionately renamed, “The Orphanage”.
It’s the sort of love that takes international flights together without fear of ‘what if’s?’
A love that doesn’t focus on the count of the cost – because love is priceless.
It’s the love Christ spoke of,
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
- John 15:13
And this love sits at my family’s table every weeknight, talking about facial hair grooming techniques, bicep size, Mom’s cooking and how Grandma (now nicknamed, Gwen Stefani) has a new haircut. And we are blessed.

Today, I am thankful:


  • for A, C, D, & G (the 'bro-skis').
  • lavender.
  • the way of flags in soft breezes.
  • linking arms.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

country people.

a people of celebration:
of preparation.
of being together, to eat and drink and joy and talk.
of remembering past, of hoping future.
of playing and resting.
of standing still, in awe of flashes in the sky.
of spontaneously breaking into song.
of keeping close and mingling in the crowd.
of red. of white.

this country is what I know, made of familiar mountains, lakes, city towers and winding paved roads - made of people, coming from many places to make Canadian together with those who speak the land and air and water. a nation, like other nations that the Lord loves and desires to redeem.
it's good to celebrate that.

Today I give Him thanks for:
  • music still going.
  • brave people who holler their excitement.
  • weekend switches.
  • one paper.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the routine

For 7 hours near straight today, I cranked the music and I sang, like there was only One listening - and no one watching ;)
The moment I am settled alone in the driver's seat of my car, the music is on and drivers of Ontarian roads get a show. This has been my driving routine since I began making my many epic treks across the country in university and continues today.
Music is so much a sacred space. It helps me concentrate (and, when driving long distances solo, it's a whole lot more appealing than talking to yourself when you've become bored).

When I'm buckled in, Pearl is my sanctuary, where I sing His name.
The same CD's have been in there for ages.
Elohim, the Creator - as green, blues, and buds, and raindrops flash beside me; as others pass me and I pass them, and smile at them laughing at me as I sing.
Songs of His character, joy in Him - singing out frustrations, and questions. Songs of prayer. Meditations to melodies.

Today, I am thankful for:

  • sleepy first hours together on the front porch.
  • time for breakfast with N.
  • driving toward a rainbow.
  • smiles.
  • stretching.
  • coffee in to go cups.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

more and more and more.

In the early hours of tomorrow I'll have one last cup of fresh ground coffee with my Dad and I'll be off - bunny in the backseat, CD's in the front, ready to be sung to for the next 7 hours home.
And every time I turn north-east, more home comes along in the back of my truck.

Investing more pieces of the past into all of this now that you might continue toward His hope and promise. becoming less that He might become more.
letting Him have more and more and more
it's not mine anyway.

Today I am thankful for:
  • five days in Blyth.
  • another road trip.
  • breakfast tomorrow.
  • trajectory.
  • the bro-ski(s).
  • crazy laughs at the table.

Monday, June 28, 2010

handing over

I found a photo at Thanksgiving.
I was sad that he wasn't in more of them.
But then I noticed something I hadn't yet before.
His hands. And a "half a cup of diet Pepsi".

Farmer's hands.
Inventor's hands.
Painter's hands.
Hands that painted fences into his eighties, gripped a cane and pulled his body up into a loader to clear snow from the lane.
Rough hands - arthritic hands.
Hands that used to smooth up my arms as a little girl, as his voice would tease that that arm was as tempting as peaches and cream corn.
And then he would nibble and give me grandpa kisses.
He would send me into giggles.

I went to the farm today. It's changed from when he & she were there together.
And I find little things to take with me to remember.
The farm is moving on in the family, as it should.
And I don't quite know how I feel as I look through the familiar things set up unfamiliar on the basement table, to be taken home by grandchildren.

This home was not on the walls, or in the chimes of a certain clock, or the colour of the rugs.
Home dwells within, and is shared.

Her hands hold mine just the same as when I was five.
They are small and soft, with the gift of soothing to sleep, and mocking one-finger wags that rehabilitate the worst offender with a laugh.
And we kiss each other's cheeks and laugh at all the purses you collect over the years.
And we miss him together and share so much excitement at preparing her new home for this next chapter in life.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • Book after Book.
  • our fellowship.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

sunday morning.

Pearl and I pulled into the drive this morning - back from our yesterday's adventure for friends' shower and dance and party.

I come into the house - loaded with bags.
And unload the burdens.

In here, I sit in a worn chair.
They've gotten some new ones too since I've been away.

I hear familiar sounds. An old creaking fan, the dog's tail thumping as she chases frogs in her sleep, our grandfather clock ticking away the bounds of Sunday.
And outside, I mostly hear birds and nothing but pre-storm breezes, and the occasional car through the village - maybe a lazy lawnmower breaking Sunday's quiet.

Sunday's have been my favorite days.
Collective sleepiness of Christians and small communities.
Everyone walks slower - talks longer.
Strangers rest in stares and smiles in parking lots.
We sip coffees, and silence.
We turn pages slow.
We find cozy blankets, and windowsills lit with gentle Sunday light - and sleep.

Today, I am thankful:
  • for face to face.
  • T & M and one month.
  • M's nap.
  • J's stories.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

road - trip

Homework, then bed, then one sleep, then hit the road. nice and early.

I'm going to

Sweet country roads calling my name, and a weekend with oldies and goodies.
been itching for a road-trip for a while.



I am thankful for:
  • Pearl.
  • work today.
  • peace which surpasses all understanding.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

saucy ribs.

It's Rib Fest in the city.
Friends and I sat on the street edge, fingers slick and faces messy - and enjoyed the finest offerings of spare ribs. Mmm.
These two friends were guys, and were rooting for the 'manly' meal choice for the evening.
But, without hint of gender identity crisis I conceded, because I really do like ribs.

And here's where we go for the stretch, but track with me :)

I do acknowledge that it's pretty confusing to be a man or a woman nowadays - this topic consistently comes up in conversations I have with male and female friends alike.
The shelves at bookstores devoted to the topic hints at the trouble.
I was part of a gender studies reading group in my last year of university: grappling with men, women - girls and guys, who (to my thanking heart) were just as confused at who they were and what they were to be doing.
Men struggling to find place for impulses to provide for women who slam the door of their chivalry; women struggling to find a place for desires to be settled who are disrespected for not having goals. And there are a whole host of other tensions to navigate without the bounds of clear roles of how to go about it anymore.
In one respect, what a freedom to be celebrated.
On the other hand, what a landscape to navigate - to risk vulnerability in.
Who will be your guide?
at this point I am not suggesting any prescriptive material here (issues, I have issues with such things...), but to wonder at who you are, and who man is.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
To wonder is to ask Him.

The creation story tells of woman,
being made by God, from the rib of a man.
A companion and helper - the woman to work the ground and tend creation with man.
Her to fill in the space she came from with a womb.
Him to keep her near the ground he was raised from.
Dirt and bone worship.

I'm celebrating with a couple this weekend that are soon to be married.
They are so great - they worship and wonder at their Creator. Each as their own self, and soon together as one, bound together by Him whom they worship.

What is so striking about this friend is her assuredness - I'm not sure she sees it that way, but from a friend's perspective, I have watched her grow in confidence and transform in love.
She is sweet, playfully giddy, affirming and yes... even, in the cleanest possible of ways, a bit saucy at times. I've seen the pleased smile as she finds the perfect peices to adorn God's already-made beauty.
In love. And she draws us in - him in.
It is the becoming more of woman; in deepening touch with with deep-in-bones self, who invites another - others into space.
Space where God does His work - fashions, molds, builds into the bones.

Today I give thanks,
  • for reconnecting with L.
  • playing tag, late at night with bunny.
  • chance to pray.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

housework.

Today - the third day of summer, I spent part of the day on housework.

Some might call this anal - I stay on top of it as I go along. And, with the change of a season comes new priorities.

Dusting, scrubbing, laundering, sweeping unseen corners, taking into account stock in the cupboards, and, my summer edition to household chores: checking, setting, and fine-tuning mouse traps (yes, what a fun thing to discover on my foot the other night...ugh).

Life is like that - at the change of a season, God shines His love-light so I see all of Him in me, and the streaks of friction on over-used parts and dust gathering where work has stopped.

And together we take account and prioritize steps ahead: Him shining and sharing, judging and redeeming; and me, thanking, resting, wanting and willing to be wiped clean again, so I reflect better - to be rolled through the wash cycle and set out to dry warm in the sun, so I smell of His fragrance.

I am thankful for:

  • laughing - because it's ironic when you are feeding the mouse you are trying to catch.
  • floating soap bubbles.
  • big, dark storm clouds.
  • surprise.
  • a hidden book of prayers.

with supplication and thanksgiving...

Today, I give thanks for:
  • cuddles with a sick bunny.
  • solidarity.
  • warmth steaming up from sidewalks at dusk.
  • phone calls for nothing to say.
  • reframing.
  • cool lemonade.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

back to work.

Soft crying in the dark - given hugs tight, and kisses to tear stained cheeks.
It's pain that doesn't have a pill to chase it. It's bearing cross pain.
Wait and look, see what to say. Maybe nothing at all.
Maybe just stand near.

With family gathering, breaths lingering.
Living pain subsiding and looks of peace on face.
And hold hands, cradle head. Annoint lips.

I get to be here. And watch Christ here.
I get to participate, in my little way.
And wonder at what it is after that 'end'.

And it's incredible.
And I never do it alone - because I never could participate in something like this myself.
It is too much to grasp for feeble ones like myself.

Tonight, I give thanks for:


  • Counsellor.
  • trust.
  • hope.
  • expert colleagues.
  • ... but you have the mind of Christ.... (1 Cor 2:16)

Friday, June 18, 2010

secret heart.



not in anxiety, but in trust.


kyrie eleison.










The lyrics of this piece are Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy), Christe eleison (Christ have mercy).
I have been singing them out of an anxious heart, because my heart tends to be anxious - tender spots that still spike pain and I try to defend. My heart is shy - and I often stress myself out trying not to be (counter-productive, believe me), because I grew up receiving and believing that it wasn't good to be just myself with my peers. I know I am not alone here.

I've grown up. His victories through fears abound.
And I know I am still quiet country-girl, now with Saviour-friend and lover, university degree, laptop, stamped passport and the ability order a latte without fumbling over words in shear awe of "grande" and "venti" ;) - who likes wide, gravel roads best over paved, but who has had love cultivated for many in tight city-spaces.

His gentle love calms my storm of fears and stills my frustration with my shy-at-deep-self, my not-yet-there-self, my why-do-I-do-what-I-do-and-don't-do-what-I-should?-self. His eyes are of forgiveness and love that conquer my fears, so I can repent, forgive and love.

Lord have mercy on this anxious heart, that it would trust You more and more.

Today, I am thankful for:


  • her face :)
  • early morning walks.
  • last-minute preparations late at night.
  • "love you too".

(photo credit: Second Book of Masses, 1598 edition, http://www.vox-pop.org/gallery.php)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

steadfast.

Today time just seemed to really sneak by.
His graces remain steadfast and solid. Time passes, He punctuates :)

Tonight I am thankful:
  • that the Lord hears.
  • for safety.
  • for being held.
  • for grace and mercy.
  • for Skype french lessons.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

around all the letters

...on a page of type and words, there is white.

White is all of colour combined. Whole as He is whole - He is in all things, and through all things, and is all things - He holds all things together.

! I am in the final weeks of a policy course before a few months of break - then there will be less discourse on written word which has been long-holding a prominent place in my schedule, hehe ...

But, looking at a page of words, I've been thinking about how I've found myself pretty absorbed in the marks that spot the page of life - on the quality and number of letters, and how they are arranged. Those things aren't anything without the page - they have no place or meaning without a page to be written upon.

It seems basic (acutally, it's fundamental) remembering the Page lives are written upon; God in the white space around my marks, the white showing up the dark of a life script - the margins giving place, the white giving them sense and showing up mispellings and grammatical error.

Today I'm thankful for:
  • His mercy.
  • a place.

Monday, June 14, 2010

sweeping

Every day is a resurrection.
I was thinking about this as I got my sleepy bones, sore muscles (from yesterday's very great and long bike ride) and tired mind up from under the sheets and to my feet - to step into the kitchen for breakfast; to step into the day for its opportunities.

Today is a chance to walk with Christ, out from the cave marked Death to surrender to the power of His resurrection - to be lifted up, not by man but in the glory of Christ. In today is always the chance to embrace His Shalom heart; to find that others and you are swept up in the breeze of His ascension. The same is there for us tomorrow - and in the next and in all nexts.

When I tuck myself into bed tonight I will be changed, because of His love and power and will, because the day is about resurrection - from less of our condition into more of our beautiful hope.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • participation.
  • thanks in wooden bowls.
  • new, real bookmarks.
  • the paradox of the general and the particular ;)
  • hope held out on handle bars.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

until we meet again.

Soft breeze drifting in skirts and sun glows with dusk-rich intensity though its slipping into hiding. Hugs given, eyes captured once more - grace until we meet again, with grace and stories and papers behind us. Sunlight rich at lake and city edges and in reflection of moon; reminders that it has been and will be again.
My mind is full, my heart ready for quiet evening, full of song and dance and rest to Him - as the week's work has been to Him.
Nestled into summer's night in that hammock way with reading ready. Doze. Smile at bunny jumps and kisses and bites.

I am thankful for:

ties that hold

We've been sitting around the table, talking hope for the future.
We come together to be sent out.
So, we will go off again to walk out that hope - in ties that hope, that hold fast to vision and dreams and faith.

I give thanks for:
  • walks home.
  • suppers with such incredible colleagues.
  • ducks catching crumbs tossed at rivers edge.
  • friends with common languages.
  • tenacity.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

okay.

We pass through times:

Of standing and sharing - of declaring intentions, commitments, acheivements, imagination and hope. Excited joy meeting holy dread. Struggling to learn this new movement in unfamiliar clothing: checking and rechecking labels, just to be sure it really is meant for you;"will I grow, up into this?" asks a heart and head captured in this moment of drooping sleeves, hems past knees, tightness at neck and new colour. Knees shake, cheeks blush - cold and hot, sweat. Mind racing, and wondering if there will words or voice - and then the mind blanks as if thought had never dwelt there.

Open eyes, heart, ears, will and faith to God. And you step, step, step...



Do not be alarmed if you find yourself wondering who and where you are; wondering how the mantle fits; wondering why this path and when is the right time to move? Ask and He.



it is okay if you get tossed in the tumult - for He calms torrents.

it is okay if you don't have the strength to move - for He is the breath teaching lungs to expand.

it is okay if you can speak only silence - for He is Truth and Word.

it is okay if you are vulnerable and weak - for He clothes the naked, heals the broken and gathers children - nestling them beneath His wings: comfort and protection.

it is okay if you simply are - for you are fearfully and wonderfully made; He has redeemed you from all Hell's grasp and He has called you His - you are His; as you are, as you will be.



it is okay.



Not polar, discrete, or one way or another - just a simple, okay.

Peace, filled of gentle and might, finds us - finds me there;

in the flux of wait and hope and blossoms of fruit trees.



Today, I am thankful for:

  • blushing side glances of small girls.

  • flushed faces of intention.

  • quiet, courageous eyes, looking out and taking in.

  • sleep, in quiet corners of an old house.

  • a few, brief, rich words with a dear dear friend.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

greens.

Today I am thankful for:
  • bunches of fresh, leavy market vegetables stirred in pasta for friends.
  • being new and inexperienced.
  • cultivation and spontaneity.
  • embracing the new things and cocreativity.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

white clouds.

I'm looking up at the clouds - with their sunset golden tops and deep purple-blue bellies floating gently away from where I sit here on my deck, reading articles on my laptop. It's been a long and intense day in the classroom - ideas and names and new terms floating around in my head. He was in that room, in the midst of us, His temples - individuals, shining out Him in every crevice, crack and detail. The depth of Him - down, down, down in mysterious, wonderful human souls and soaring minds.
This time to sit out under the sky and remember Him in His vast grandeur is precious. The white space to let one absorb all of His goods.
Praise Him from whom all blessing flows......

Today I am thankful:
  • for finding a friend at the end of the road.
  • red licorice :)
  • the diligence of others.
  • cool nights in June on a back porch.
  • building trust.

Monday, June 07, 2010

her of Him.

Settling down to homework and soon bedtime.
I am listening to the beautiful work of Helma Sawatsky.
So striking. So rich. So home for me.
Drawn to the mother-breast of God - in an infant's awe that memorizes her face; drinking in everything about her in touch, and smell and taste.
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
Psalm 34: 8

I am thankful for:
  • the resonating words of my mother.
  • the book I can hardly remember, written on child-painted paper, telling things she loved - simple things.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

common cup.

My Master's classmates just arrived to town today for the beginning of a week-long course.
We're all sitting around, looking tired, sharing what the last 6 months separated physically and connected online has been like. We are finding encouragement in the common confessing of crying and general emotional exhaustion during our last statistics course, and listening to each other's new ideas for theses and projects with weathered looks of determination on our faces.
We are nurses, and we love what we've been called to. We want to see it in God's Shalom.
We are resting with and sharpening each other in shared meanings and words. We are each surrendered to the more and better of the plans He has for us and our profession - taking up our own place at the table, taking our own sips of needed wine (bitter, dry, sweet, refreshing & atoning all combined) - but we are supping and drinking, together.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • a good laugh at installing my new air conditioner, when its 18 degrees and raining :) but it's ready.
  • proximity.
  • becoming a regular at the grocery store. unanticipated.
  • asking questions.

Friday, June 04, 2010

submission.

I just started guitar lessons today.
The session was pretty fun - I want to learn what I don't know, and improve my skills.
I have been adamant with myself that with will power, I could teach myself enough - but that initiative began over four years ago, and little progress has been made. Independence can sometimes be a hindrance to better music...

Submission is a choice, an honour given us, an act of will.

So, I've chosen to learn under someone else - to give creative control of my guitar playing skills over to someone who knows how to assess my needs, who sees potential pitfalls and encouraging signs, who offers wisdom and perspective. Submission allows the other to shine in their abilities and character as you grow into your own.

Submitting to the Teacher is an act of trust and hope toward His better music.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • villages and their people.
  • kinship.
  • fresh produce in the market.
  • keeping up history.
  • trusting in others.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

quiet. simple. normal.

... just sitting quiet here, in dimmed light, on the floor, with an emptied cup of coffee - dishes washed, books and papers stacked in my lap, a good movie over, windows opened for breeze (carrying currents of thready rock music from the market...not so 'quiet', hehe) and a bunny quietly munching hay - self-returned to her cage. Not much to say, or that I can say - it's nice.

Simple and normal. I am thankful for it - to co-create this tiny inheritance afforded me in His holiness and smile and grace.

I'm going to go to bed. As usual. Like we all do.

peace. the day and night is full of Him.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

wounded. healer.

I'm processing the last day I had at work, as I prepare for the next. I had one of the most, well -profound wound dressing experiences of my career - it lasted 1 1/2 hours and required two nurses. That wound was doing what wounds untreated do: consuming - a body, time, resources, whatever it could take. As a team with the patient, we worked diligently to quench it's gluttony and to promote the health: of surrounding tissues, the patient's emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Sometimes I get consumed in the illumination of my sin and the pain of my condition without recognizing the light of God's grace, and its implication toward health and restoration.

Perhaps, you've known the situation. You're dealing with a wound - sin, and that wound makes you sick - you're repulsed by the wound. I don't know about you, but I so don't want to be the sinner hurling insults at Christ dying on a cross for me...

But if you aren't careful, you make you out to be sick - you're so repulsed by yourself that you lack the capacity to believe that you can be healed.

I've seen it happen with my patients: some who suffer as their self becomes consumed with illnesses and physical wounds. (To be honest, I've been there...)
Others though, have been held fast - centred in who they are created to be.
I would say that we probably all toggle between the two ends of the spectrum in different seasons and circumstances.
And the truth remains: Christ is always offering the healing and redemption we need in His sacrifice - once, for all - it just doesn't stop; it's on a healing, restorative trajectory.

Each of us knows the courage it takes to acknowledge, and to enter our wounds - to orient ourselves to saying 'Yes, Lord' as He first reveals our wounds' ugliness, then takes to cleaning them out, and covering them.
Hard still, our wounds need many treatments by the Physician. Our Selves (just as our bodies) are wonderfully created for wholeness (thus healing), but the wounds must be prepared and tended to like gardens, full of the promise of beauty. Our wounds need time penetrated by the hands of the Healer - gently covered with His remedy: God - intimately acquainted with our condition, and wounded for our transgressions.

Today, I'm thankful for:
  • studying on the beach.
  • space to warm up, slow.
  • a thunderstorm!
  • time again with B :)

Two great reads: Henri Nouwen's The Wounded Healer and The Inner Voice of Love. Henri is a dear companion in Christ, and a gentle writer of Truth :) Peace.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

sign of seal

I need to know that I am protected, looked out for.
For all of the independent ventures of modern women, there remains a tenderness needing to be cherished in its delicacy. Same goes for our brothers too.

Sometimes (…lately, with work), I find my soul and heart feeling so raw, so over exposed as I'm working out the call to love God and others.
The rawness is disorienting and disturbing, and so I am given a critical opportunity to reflect and meditate upon this - deep in the Song of Solomon,
‘...Me as a seal upon your heart…’

I am getting more deeply acquainted with how great this truth is:

A seal: something used both for the marking of an impression in a soft substance, and also to the tenacious substance itself; a method of authentication or security, confirms, ratifies – making stable, assured – preventing the loss of contents and the infusing of impurities; that which affixes paradoxical edges.
(thank you Webster’s dictionary)


Aside from secluding oneself: building up walls of defense or veils of secret & superfluous that the Lord's only desire is to take down, is the option to sumbit ourselves to the impression of the One who desires to guard us, His treasured possessions - His weak children, as we encounter all that we do in the lives and calls He's placed before us.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • an air conditioner waiting for hot days - bring it!
  • together prayers and dinner.
  • an opportunity to learn.
  • the Rain (thank God! thank God!)

Monday, May 31, 2010

a Name

This morning this blog received a new name - only a slight variation, but a critical one. After four years of being, 'following hard' , it reads simply 'following'.

Names are important - using language, words to allow nuance and restrict undefinition, to create freedom to be and boundaries of not being something. In the garden, God created humans with the intent to give names to His other creatures (Genesis 2:19) - and what man named, so it was. I think in the act of naming, there's a little of calling things what they essentially are (i.e. what they are in and by their Creator), and the freedom to apply God-given human creativity to shape and form just as our Father does.

The 'hard' represented my real intention toward God and my Christian walk - my desire to get it right for Him, my real desire to pursue Him.
A 'hard'-following, committed Christian, as if 'Christian' wouldn't be enough.

Quite simply, as I'm beginning to see it - with heart renewing everyday in His word and love, and with fresh eyes - this walk is defined by the 'following', not the 'hard'-nosed intention to follow. It's about orientation to the One worthy of being followed and not self-orientating adjectives - that is the freedom of Christ, that is the name He bestows upon us. Following is desire and pursuit of the One who taught us to desire and pursue.

Christ is enough.

I am following through the thick and thin, soft and hard that one encounters in life- just as each of you who blog, who read blogs, and His faithful who don't even know what a blog is or how to turn on a computer, follow :)

Today, I am thankful:

  • for my own flower-name.
  • for sleeping in.
  • for a new class.
  • for kitchen pep-talks.
  • for activity.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

plans.

"...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".
- Jer. 29:11b

I used to be pretty "plan" oriented until I became a Christian.
Through a series of painful experiences, I came to the conclusion that it was best to go with the flow, because God would work at random and intervene. Believe me, He has done some incredible things - praise to Him, but my means of interpreting those things was imperfect.
I began to work under the principle that I should make no plans.
I became this passive player in His grander scheme - convinced that my created mind, so flawed, would plan nothing good toward His ultimate will.
I trusted nothing of my own doing - for my own initiatives, however well-intentioned and clear conscienced, had met pain and seeming failure. I would trust only that which was inexplicably Divine revelation - that would be infalliable. A principle born of hurt and fear; not of God.

Means that I began to feel incredibly vulnerable before my God - harassed and ravaged by Him in the winds of life, rather than comforted and protected.
Means that I honoured that priniciple more than my God in my misunderstanding.
Means that I got hurt.
Means that I felt frustrated and impotent in the life He'd given me.
Means that my capacity to trust myself and the truth of Christ in me atrophied significantly.

It's been a continuous process of learning the balance of acknowledging 'Lord' and the freewill He has created us to act out within the confines of our createdness.
I find the plans He has for me are written still within, weather-worn and Heather-torn as I've fumbled through this season of fumbling.
You cannot erase the name He's written for you in His hand - a word calling you Beloved and dignified and worthy, for His sacrifice makes it so.

Today, I am thankful:

  • in focus and fuzzy.
  • for fresh eyes for treasured things.
  • for dealing light to dark.
  • for this city.
  • for His daily renewal and indwelling.
  • for new drafting pencils :).
  • for the inner voice of love, and time with H.N.

familiar tunes

It was a different lake, and a different part of the province - but the sound of water gently lapping at lake-front resonated deep as I waded in the shallow.


I have spent the majority of each of all my summer's on the lake of my upbringing.

Thinking about it brings up tears of gratitude and swells of joy.

The lake makes up my memories of toddlerhood, highschool breaks, winter adventures, and in between times. The lake is where I found my first kindred spirit. The lake is where I took risks in trees and learned caution over sticks and shells in the sand. The lake is where I came to welcome gathering and solitude. The lake is where I would read and write open-handed dreams in the sand to be carried off with rhythmic waves, where I learned season's pace and weather's frustrated furry - where I first wondered at 'glory' of heavens. It's where I learned a longing for cleansing and restoration to wholeness.

Today, I am grateful for:
  • memory.
  • things and signs.
  • being at the lake, and in the lake.
  • B & J and great artists.