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,


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

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;

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

words of solidarity -
our shared prayers:
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.

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


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

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


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


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.