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 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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

hope & receipt

You can't deny that present actions affect future possibilities. We work toward today, in hope of that His promises make of tomorrow the end of wait, and pain, and tears, and death.
Hope, in real things to come - just as He said.

That's why we can ask now for just those things He's promised - living out hope in our asking, in our want of Him and His promises in fullness.

Isaiah 60 speaks of Israel in communion with Yahweh, foreshadowing the culmination that came in Christ Jesus,
"to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious." (v 13b)

"you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the Mighty
One, of Jacob". (16b)

"I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness." (v 17 b)

"You shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise" (v 18b)

"Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified." (v 21)

We are a people meant for unimaginable inheritance.

I want, with a desire that I've not known before, to be ready.

A child of inheritance - having received, receiving and waiting to receive.

Instead of ignoring it, thinking it's something way off for the far less jaded, like I have been. Instead of romanticizing about it, that the Spirit will so daintily place it in my lap without effort on my part. Instead of being disillusioned by past pains and unfulfilled aims, where the promise has seemed impotent.

I am thankful for:

  • 'the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace'.
  • Enjoying: together, & purged closets.
  • Impromptu concerts in a park.
  • Hope in Christ's promise.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

short. sweet.

I am thankful for:
  • F.D. standing beside me today at work, teaching just in time
  • God sharing lessons in birds.
  • slow stirs in a bowl in a hot little kitchen.
  • courage and softness.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

taking the heat

It's hot, very hot in my apartment.
89 degrees to be precise, and it was 93 earlier.
I actually don't mind heat. Heat works on our bodies as cleansing - pouring out, so that we drink in. As God's fire refines us, as we nestle ourselves deeper into the warmth of His embrace so we feel the sweat of cleansing, the pace of cleansing, the pressure of cleansing that makes us want to almost step out of the process - we call out for, receive, and appreciate drink in cleansing.

Nutmeg (my rabbit) and I, nestled in here, live on - at a pace dictated by the heat with ice cubes in our water :)

I am thankful for:
  • movement; in general, and of air.
  • warm-day naps.
  • remembering a cucumber's coolness.
  • water.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Our point of utter brokeness is too our moment of greatest openess. Come, Lord Jesus. We wait on You.

I came home from work on Saturday night, knowing death was near. Of course, right - I work in Palliative care.
But, in other ways, I've been oppressed by it since I took the step to move to the city and into the life He's called me to.

The next thing I know, I am wailing - beyond even my own comprehension of what I was crying about - wasted out for the next few hours, and some moments it was difficult to breathe.
Briefly, I thought, 'Oo, perhaps I need some help here...', yet the Lord's firm peace presided over His tiny child breaking on the floor. Speaking His gentle Word over my exhausted mind and heart and body.

He is always near. Even though I'm sure the situation appeared a mess, He taught me to say, "Lord" in that moment.

We are in a state of great need - new things often make us aware of that; old things remind us of that too. It can be so tempting to take upon ourselves the task of filling - with rules and things; making idols of them.
It has been months of waiting for Him - when you live alone, there is little to distract you from the posture of waiting (yes...thank God). I don't know why that night, at that hour, while still in my scrubs, sobbing on the floor that His Spirit descended to testify to His Lordship. I was near beside myself in happiness when I realized, a few hours later arriving at Sunday service, that this week was the Sunday celebrating Pentecost. Very cool.

This is the truth: that He moves, that He comes down, that He descends to us who are earth, that He ministers in and among us, that He ascends our hearts as thrones bringing about His Shalom.

And with great thanksgiving:
  • we need and receive.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

true things.

Truth never gets old. It is.
I used to think of Truth as isolated facts, once learned the lesson is mastered - yep, I liked multiple choice exams ;) a lot.
But, knowing truth is much more about: a deep desire, a penetration of the depths, a discipline and a submitting to hard work, a standing where you don't know the 'how?' or 'when?' or 'where?' with the Truth-teller - letting old notions and presuppositions fall away, making room for new creation and renewal.

Our need of Truth is like our need of water; we need water, or we don't function as we're meant to - from our ability to maintain blood pressure and temperature, to the work of billions of tiny (but fantastic!) neurochemicals flowing throughout our bodies maintaining balance of phsyique, and mind and emotion.
Truth is just the same.
Sometimes I don't remember it, but we need to drink it often, and deep -to replenish our reserves when it's been spent throughout the day, so it can be spent again. God's truth flowing in and out of our lives - again, and again, and again.

I am thankful:
  • that seeds are resilient.
  • that God pours out His Spirit of counsel and truth.
  • for life together.
  • for scrubs fresh washed for a weekend of work.
  • that God is already in the mysteries when I arrive upon them, having revealed the Truth.
  • that Truth is the final, whole Word.

Enjoy a bit of JJ Heller and the truth of the words He is always speaking :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Father love.

I saw a little girl racing along a path through a park on her scooter this evening- doing it because she loved it, with the wind blowing back her hair and widening her huge smile.

And then she hit a rock.

All of that momentum stopped and she hit the ground with her scooter.

Her dad was up and running toward her with a timing that would make you wonder if he had known future things. But he's a dad - anticipation and protection go hand in hand. His fatherhood was made in response to her daughterhood - even when she was just a hope.

He loves her with father-love. He kissed her forehead, as she straightened herself, and her scooter, up.

He picked up the rock that had stopped her fun, and the wind in her face. He threw it far into the grass, away from the path.

Then he picked up the peices of her now-broken bell. The two of them chatted about that broken bell, because she was upset about it.

To the on-looker, it was just a bell and a scuffed scooter - but it mattered to this dad because it mattered to his daughter. Just as it matters that his daughter loves riding the scooter and ringing the bell. His daughter loves riding the scooter and ringing the bell.

With his kisses and words, she was back on the scooter - riding out dreams and energy with scuffs of remembrance on it's handle bar and one on her knee.

Today, I give Him thanks for:
  • warm afternoon naps.

  • the sound of water over rocks.

  • voids that make you curious.

  • His Fatherhood.

  • daughter-living.

  • my own father-love, who called me when I was buckled over by papers, work and life a few weeks ago - who spoke his words of fatherhood over me, and who sent me flowers as good as kisses.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

little garden

Hands in the dirt. Dirt on my knees, and my shorts, and my toes - even my left shoulder.
It's a tiny little plot, like, really tiny, but it doesn't really matter because my hands are in dirt.
Picking out stones, weeds.
Turning the soil.
Thoughts of patterns of flowers - an abundance of possibilities, certain to be beautiful no matter what the final arrangement.
The trowel digs deep to make nests ready to take on the purposes of growth.

And then, in they go.
One by one. Little by little. Some with tickles of colour - that, gah, just hint to you that they are going to continue to speak His glory - more and more, deeper and deeper in hues, as the summer will pass. Catching eyes, reminding us to slow: to consider, perhaps even with a smile.

Watering. Slowly and deliberately - to nourish and not to overwhelm.

I am thankful:

  • for the little garden.
  • for bright pink trowel and rake, and knee pads.
  • for slow walks down market aisles, touching petals.
  • for words that make us laugh.
  • for neighbours, who like snapdragons and surprise chats through windows.
  • for a Lord who takes on the soil of our lives, and enlivens it, grows us in it - with His Word, with His life.

The last two

Life in the past few days has been like, the sigh after hard work.
I don't want to make an idol of Rest - in fact, don't want to think that I should need or enjoy more the specific things I write here, more than I need Him.
Alternatively, I do not want to shirk the gift of enjoying break. God holds the balance.
It has been so good - I have gotten a little more sleep! A few days of living in what has accumulated - acknowledging it and giving Him thanks for it.

Two days have been full of gift:
  • thankful for my twenty-three years, no more, no less.
  • thankful for the conviction of sin and of mercy.
  • thankful for time to be attentive to 'fearfully and wonderfully made'.
  • thankful for storage room reminders to care for my soul as I work with those who suffer.
  • thankful for old friends, chatting late into the night with ice cream and tea.
  • thankful for enjoying crosswords, vintage hats and music - together, because.
  • thankful for sisters praying on the summer grass, and working out His beauty and salvation in their steps.
  • thankful to be humbled to listen - to let His words resonate anew, to hear them as if for the first time.
  • thankful to be humbled to speak, and to speak like a child. His child.

May "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit."

~ Philippians 4:23

Monday, May 17, 2010

a joy and crown.

My friendship with L is a gift.

She was the first of kindred spirits found here in Ottawa.

L and I hike together, sweat together, crawl through caves together, dress up and go for dinner together.

L and I chat about life, food, good hiking socks, trees, men, grad school, fish, haircuts, photography and our first Love.

I am so thankful to the Lord to know her and for the plans He has for her as she leaves Ontario for Saskatchewan. He makes us ready.

Today, we traipzed aroud 15 km of gorgeous hiking trail in the warm sun, and enjoyed each other's company another time - in the knowledge of tomorrow, yet enjoying today in its fullness. I'm thankful for that.

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4: 1, 4-7

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In between...

It's 1am now. I suppose it's technically 'tomorrow', but I'm still in 'today'.

I'm thankful for:
  • a productive writing day.
  • His grace, so abundant.
  • that He is one, and we are one in Him.
  • meeting up with random friends on the street on their way to a coffee shop, and going off to do school work together.
  • tomorrow. The paper is not quite done - it's close and just needs some tweaks.
  • my little Nutmeg tearing around the apartment, like a bunny gone mad. What else do you have to laugh at when it's Saturday night and you're still writing a paper at 1 am!
  • that we have limits, and that I am going to bed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Restful work.

Today, I am writing a massive paper - the last one for my statistics course. It is the culmination of slow progress resulting in new understanding. And I have to admit, at this point, my nerves are a little rattled. I look forward to the rest that is coming, the great gift of rest - the anticpation of rest.
But, I've got admit that I sometimes have the tend to see rest as something empty - you know, like at the end of the semester, when you let all that you've learned fall out of your head as you walk out the door of the exam or as the paper drops from your hand to the desk of your professor.

Rest, rather, is part of completeness, wholeness - the SHALOM of God; it is part of the insitution of His Kingdom, now. I'm thankful that it's meant to be full and restorative, and replenishing - for, in character being so, it honours the work that has been done - the tiny accomplishments made. When God rested on the 7th day of Creation, that day was filled with the fullness of HIM. wow.....

Best yet, rest is not merely a hope deferred until tomorrow evening at midnight (when this lovely paper is sent off to the inbox of my professor). Rather it is now, and it is as inherent and fundamental a drive as work - as I respond, momentarily, to my body's need of water and food and a look out the window.

Rest can be found, in quiet abundance, in the almost imperceptible act of glancing off the computer screen, in the white spaces between words on a page, in the transition between paragraphs and ideas - punctuating work with its gift of space.
  • thankful that rest makes us work better.
  • that work makes us rest better.
  • for cups fresh water.
  • for people who have written 10+ page reports full of numbers.
  • for greater understanding of what those numbers represent :D.
  • for a holy experience

Thursday, May 13, 2010

being a nurse.

It's National Nurse's week.
My colleagues - they are fantastic. Wonderful nurses.
It was my joy to watch them let loose tonight at our staff party and my honour to be ushered into their celebration.
  • grateful for the calling to nursing
  • a profession that I love - that challenges me so thoroughly
  • for a good work to do
  • for chats with old friends
  • for taking time to be refuelled, and to

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I am grateful today:
  • that home is important.
  • for honest critique.
  • for the feeling of sun light.
  • for bunny nibbles on my slipper.
  • for some hot chocolate mix still in the cupboard.
  • for the word, 'cozy'.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

big & LITTLE

So, last night I was thinking... yep.
It's just wild how this life goes. The profound butt right up against the simple, the mundane, the ordinary - no music, no grand step back, no space to collect thoughts or create art - that moment is meant for spontaneity, that is what all of our discipline, and submission to the hand of our God and Christ is meant for. This is the mystery and praise and glory and miracle of incarnation. The little gets made big. Sometimes, I watch final breaths - and then five minutes later, the moment requires of me to provide a laugh to a lonely patient. And later I, well, I don't even think - I'm just like, 'Whoa...' That moment of final breath is so much the richer, and maybe even more confusing, because of all of the laughs and life before it.

I'm thankful still for coffees :) and water, and coffee and water...
For one more paper, almost done.
For trying your best.
For LUSH lovers ;)
For Beavertails on sunny days with friends and their parents
For laughing at the whipped cream I willingly put on my face, and then at the smears of chocolate residing on my cheeks unbeknownst to me :)
For sisters in Him - A.D., C.W., J.H., T.C.
For the sacred gift of music & lyrics

Monday, May 10, 2010


#94. grateful that my God is Who He is.

#93. hearing heartbeats.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

bisous & volunteers

Today was a celebration of Volunteer Week at work - these people, I cannot be thankful enough for them. They do so so much on our floor - diligently responding to the many many needs of other people that arise during a shift. They've been my eyes and ears to medical emergencies, the people who can sit and chat with a patient who needs someone to talk to. They make coffee for families, and read books to patients - they help them with their meals. They go to get blankets, water, straws, ice cream, cookies, and spoons for people staying with us on the unit. And this is just what I've seen.
In addition to what they do on the unit, they are simply beautiful people. What I was met with at the door to the staff room this afternoon were open arms and two great big kisses planted on my cheeks from an eighty year-old volunteer who bakes us cookies every weekend, in thanks for the party thrown in their honour. Then she emphatically stated, "My dear, you couldn't be a day over 18" - sigh...
These people melt my heart - the dedication and humility is stunning; they care.
They love.

Friday, May 07, 2010


My thanks today for is for time.

One of the most beautiful things I learned a few years back while in Kenya, was that time might not be the entity we westerners perceive it to be - one was "on time" if they arrived - refreshing, hey?
And it's been so good because it has perpetuated a change to the way I understand and 'relate' to time. Time - not measured merely in the ticks of a clock, but by the fullness of I AM.

Today was full day, I am so grateful for time:

To still see a face and hear a voice again before it slips away into the mysterious Loving arms of our Father. Time to touch that hand - to laugh and joke, and choke up together another blessed time.

Time to acknowledge the richness of silence, and let another's tears finally come, in the fullness of time.

Time to laugh, to enjoy and to share the profound and mundane with community. To glean from the experience and expertise that comes only in time.

Time to be silent. Time in solitude. To pray.

Time to learn - to change, to grow.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


It’s nearly eleven thirty at night, and I have been awake since six with about 4 hours of sleep last night. Sleep. Sometimes, it doesn’t come so easily. I want the day to not end: I just get so excited with what went on in the day that I have difficulty sometimes settling down – quieting my mind and allowing myself rest. Or sometimes, sleep escapes me as I try to make plans for the all 'nexts' and 'to do's' of life. On the same token, sleep is priceless – regenerative. Grad studies, shift work = sleep deprivation (and if you're me, fondness of coffee).
If there is one thing I've learned in sleep deprivation, it is the effect it has on my perspective, mood and cognition. How vital it is for us, how beautifully fashioned, and frankly, how enjoyable when you get down to it :)

Tonight, I am thankful that in a few minutes, after a lazy cup of chamomile tea, I will be tucked into my wee bed - my thoughts and hopes for tomorrow resting in the Hands of the One who creates tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wide-open possibility

Last night, I was challenged. What would I do when I came up against things I found difficult to be thankful for? Being thankful and being happy do not always coincide – I could see the challenge mounting: gratitude is a discipline.
I will admit that possibility is something that I have been struggling with being thankful for. I’m a bit of a dreamer, and that can throw me miles ahead into ‘what ifs?’ and ‘hows?’ Sometimes I worry that I wont make much of all that He has given me – a wonderful career, education, a beautiful family, lovely friends. All this, I naturally manage by analyzing and making plans because I want to live my life well for Him. That’s kind of been my standard of Christian life up until this point – clamp down for Him.

You can see I'm missing the fundamental piece (peace) of the gospel:

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not
submit again to a yoke of slavery.
~ Galatians 5:1

In the midst of wide-openness, I’ve been feeling pretty raw. You’d think a person would be glad about unlimited possibility of living for God, eh? Well, I confess to you, I am asking God every day to give me a heart of thanks for His possibility. I want one; I’m just not there in fullness yet.
He tucks me under His arm, and shows me wonders, and my little heart is overwhelmed by His beauties.
Sometimes, I just have to close my eyes and let my heart settle, I just have no words. And all I can do is snuggle up closer to Him, centered again.

This is a good time.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Nearly every day when I am not at the hospital, I go to a nearby coffee shop to write, to read, to do: homework. I have a coffee maker in my apartment (which is great for my pre-shift 5:30am mornings), but being able to go to a coffee shop for the morning or afternoon is a reallly wonderful thing. God has planted me in the midst of a plethora - each with their own brews, and cute & querky communities.

I am thankful for coffee shops, firstly for their coffee cream! (I don't tend to keep it stocked). Second, it keeps me in some way connected to this new city of mine - I could do my work at home, but I'd rather be out seeing and enjoying the living of lives that God has placed in this city. The third reason I'm grateful for coffee shops: coffee. It keeps me peppy, and there's a bean, flavour and roast to suit your 'need' or mood. Even better - fair trade.

Monday, May 03, 2010

God gave me Georgia.

# 100. Georgia, is the spanking-nouvelle name of my laptop. It fits somehow… And, uh, I once saw this photo of a little puppy called Georgia-Peach (believe me it’s unbelievably sweet) and since I have been keeping that name on the back-burner to name something Georgia. My laptop runs HOURS per day, puts up with my multiple commands and demands, and has a pretty, flowery background. She plays my iTunes and youTube playlists.
For a few months now, since moving to a new city, and going into, at times full-time, online grad studies I have not liked the fact that we ‘spend’ so much time together. Indeed, I have been just plain turned off – wishing to be outside, or hanging with ‘real’ people, anything but checking my email the dozens of times a day and listening to classes on line. On top of that, I think – what sort of person does this make me? Chained to a desk?! Well, for a season yes, while I finish school in due diligence.

Bad attitude. Unthankful attitude. Attitude not looking for Christ, but one threatening to undermine His gift.

Photo: :) and yes, this will someday be Georgia's background...

One hundred days of thanks.

I’m onto a challenge here.
On Sunday, when I received Christ’s body, the pastor looked at me and said, “Heather, receive Christ’s body, broken for you, with thanksgiving”. Ah, this is so not where my heart has been lately. And a conversation with a friend a few weeks back made me realize just how untrusting I was of the Lord’s goodness – I was overwhelmed and afraid of His abundance. I was convicted by my own voice…

Preamble: I am thankful for His abundance: of mercy, of grace, of patience, of forgiveness, of love.
So, here goes - and feel free to join along friends :)