Friday, September 30, 2011

7 quick takes

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1. i'm not one to take part in a blog carnival, but i'll try anything once.

2. um... if i'm stuck at #2, does that mean i'm not cut out for this gig? Just kidding. We have big plans for this weekend, starting off on Friday by an evening praying for a little baby boy who is still growing inside his mama, and who has a dangerous cyst growing in his head. Will you pray with us for healing & wholeness for this little boy & for peace for his worried family?

3. Saturday i get to see both my sisters & i'm almost delirious with joy. i miss them both unbelievably & they've both been through so much since we've seen each other. Jessie's little girl, Sadie is rocking her chemo treatments (if anyone can rock a chemo treatment...) - She is in love with BLT sandwiches & her mama (possibly in that order). My other sister Stephanie recently moved & is blooming beautifully in her new soil. i need desperately to reconnect with my peeps.

4. Sunday is the LIFECHAIN here in Calgary.  i have never gone before & i'd like to go & see what it's all about.  i'm not sure if i'll make it there or not, but it's on my hopeful list. 

5.  i found a way that i can see how many times a link has been shared on facebook.  The new 40 Days for Life blog has been shared 39 times.  i have some amazing ladies praying for me as i work hard at this little project.  Thank you for praying and encouraging me - as i have felt so vulnerable & weak.  (& a special thank you to those of you who have linked to it in your sidebars or shared on facebook or twitter!)

6. (six? Already? This game is easy.)  Neil was away all week and i hardly cried.  But i did.  But i tried not to. 

7.  i got asked to sing/speak at another ladies function.  It makes me nervous since i do not have the 'gift of teaching'... & yet i want to be obedient & useful... That makes 2 events in November.  (Don't worry, Kari - they don't conflict with the wedding of the century!!)

And that concludes my first edition of 7 quick takes.  Have an awesome weekend!! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

prolife is not my passion...

it's kinda horrifying. 
Painted in oil on canvas with rich, vivid colours... capturing the accepted inhumanity of the day...
The eighteenth century slave ships would throw over the dead and dying mid-voyage so they could collect the insurance for loss of "cargo".  If those shackled ones made it to shore alive, and then died - the cost would have been just. too. much.

"Prolife isn't my passion."

It needs to be... this is where the battle is for us - in this country - in this decade of this century.  Our humanity cries out for justice - and science backs up that cry...
Life - a person from the moment of conception with it's own unique DNA - someone worthy of protection. 
& there have been times in my life where i have done less - or more - for life.  There's no guilt, or condemnation - there's just the challenge, "right now... this season... today... what could you do?"  (Men, don't leave this to women.  We need you too.  Take courage, speak with gentleness and love.) 
i imagine there were many who murmured to the abolitionists, "The freedom of those slaves... it's not my passion..." or during the Holocaust, "i'm not even part Jewish..."  It's easy for us now to look back, and cry to the ones who should have spoken up against injustice, "it's so clear!"
When my grandchildren look at what our culture currently deems acceptable - and it's as revolting to them as the thought of throwing sold, half starved, abused, sick and dying human beings overboard mid-voyage is to me.... i want to tell them this loss of life broke my very heart too.
(*for those wondering, this is another jmw turner print _the slave ship_)

Looking for a place to start?  Follow along HERE - and see where it leads you...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

since you been gone

You wanna know one of the really bad things about Neil travelling? 
There's way less levity. 
yeh, i have a lot more patience than him - but he brings the humour - he pulls me out of the deep waters and forces me to live, rather than just think. 
When he goes - i overthink, i bluster and mull, i quietly give up...
When he comes home - i slowly, achingly switch gears, i get new ideas and i begin to hope. 
What is it in a marriage that takes two people like us; both so broken... both so lacking... and unites us... one lending strength, one lending gentleness, one lending wisdom.
If we could just be one person, i'd rather we be Neil... but since i'm here too - i'm glad he wraps himself around my very core - & makes me better than i would have been. 

40 days begins today... Wanna follow along HERE?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it gets like that...

Apparently, "it gets like that" wasn't the response my husband was looking for in answer to his question, "Why is our house such a horrible mess?"
(it wasn't that bad). 
Spinning plates lately - some fall - some worthier ones picked up. 
What plates of priorites have you changed out lately? 
In other news - happy 15th birthday to the sweet girl who made me a mama. 

Monday, September 26, 2011


We gather in the grey light of early dawn... yawning and with voices low; catching up, planning visiting... They pull down the quilts i have folded over the couch and snuggle in - some freshly showered, some littler ones still jammy clad with tousled hair - ready for our morning prayers. 
Cai tells me how they were challenged at youth to read the first 3 chapters of Mark as many times as they could this week, and that she has read them twice so far.  Sloanie tells me that she's finished second Peter and is excited to complete her New Years resolution to read whole bible. 
"aw - i'm proud of you girls..." i begin. 
Suddenly, a shrill operatic *clearly soprano* voice shatters the dulcet, alto tones of our morning conversation, "i'm AWESOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!!!!"
The wheels of the conversation wobble and waver and finally fall completely apart. 
All eyes turn to Mollen. 
"i don't like it when other people get attention." She states matter-of-factly. 

ps - have you taken a peek at the 40 days for life blog yet?  i'd love it if you'd share the link on twitter or facebook and join the site to follow along as we begin our 40 days of prayer across Canada & the United States.
If you have any suggestions for me to make it a better place - to help get the word out (you wouldn't believe how many people told me they've never heard of 40 days for life - and i hadn't heard of it before last spring) - i'd love any input you have to share!  Thanks in advance :) 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

not. another. blog

i started another blog - but this one is purposeful and temporary.  i'll still be blogging here too... Crazineness :)  Will you join & be a part of what is happening this fall as we kick off our 40 Days for Life vigil?  i don't care where you're from - we just want to spread the word...
See you there! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life begins on September 28th.  Within this next week, their volunteer calendar will open up for time slot sign ups. 
i have agreed to be their 'blogger' - so i hope i can get it together & make something presentable that will have an impact... i'll share here as soon as i know where & how we're doing it. 
i feel a great certainty - especially after the planning meeting i attended last night - that this is a ministry that i wholeheartedly want to be a part of.  There is a loving humility in the family that organizes our local vigil... and their desire is to speak gently and to pray earnestly for those hurt by abortion...
o God - be Truth and Light and Love... in us and through us.  
i posted this on facebook this morning, but i want it to stand here too...

"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.

And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign." Mother Theresa

i think the impact goes so much farther than the fight over the legality of abortion - (or euthanasia, or infanticide... the line ever changing...) It has changed our very hearts towards our children, spouses and families - and it is a change that i personally, have become painfully aware of in our current social climate...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Friday tomorrow...

Funny - my second Friday is the first time i felt like quitting. 
People that i love are hurting, my baby boys have been sleeping horribly, i clung to Neil like never before - weepy, aching and defeated.  i felt powerless to take away anyone's agony - and at 11:30 - i thought of giving up...
But i didn't...

Texting back and forth with my mom, she said, "Neither on the mountain or in the temple... in spirit and in truth..."

i replied, "Yes... that's not to say He won't ever ask you to go to the mountain or the temple though, He's saying it's about the internal.. Sometimes an outward expression of the internal is what will bring Him glory... Or pleasure?  It's not required... it's offered.  If He wants me to kneel in my kitchen, throw my hands over my face, or go to my church to pray... i wanna do that."

i want to take this tiny step of faith - and offer up this outward symbol of submission. 
i listened to that small nudge that suggested i was onto something with this change in posture, and i shoved my feet into flip flops, grabbed my keys and headed to the church. 
The 15 minutes felt like forever - opening my heart to the One i love - allowing Him to speak Truth and to minister to my spirit....
"Meet me, Father..."
There was no magical ease as i turned the key in the ignition and headed homeward.  The difficult remained difficult - the sick remained sick - the broken remained broken... but i cling still to Him - listening, watching, waiting, hoping, trusting...
The shame still hits this week, "Paige, you are doing something useless and foolish..." - the thought makes my cheeks burn.
But i still wanna be willing. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


we bought this print...
i remember the first time i saw it - i was flipping through an art book - and i stopped cold as my eyes fell on this one... angry ocean blending together with the fury of the snowy sky - and a steamship - in the middle.  i almost cried to see an image so terrible - yet still buoyed, in the midst of a storm - yet not sunk. 

It's called Snowstorm by jmw turner.

He has others - one of a horrifying shipwreck, one of a warship being tugged to her 'final berth' all beaten and broken... but this one is my favourite. 
i think i love it because that giant steamship - is shown to be so small - it almost appears as a part of the roaring waves... seemingly insignificant - but seen by the artist.  The 'grand' steamship, painted in it's frailty... in it's great struggle moves me. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

heard... seen...

does He who fashioned the ear not hear? 
does He who formed the eye not see? 
ps. 94

& i picture myself - a kind of bumbling cartoon.... seen by the very Creator of the Universe...
slipping and full of anxiety...

"When i said, "My foot is slipping." your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. 
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

& i'm held by the One i love.  He meets me in the deep - and consoles me in my confusion. 

When you feel it - the struggle... could it be He is preparing you? 
When you stand firm... could it be He is upholding you?
When you take courage... could it be because you know... deep down... that He heard you?

& just as i know -(in my often failing heart) - that i'm heard and seen... so much more is the hunger increasing to hear, and to see Him.  i find myself silent before Him - listening and hungering for communion. 

What, my King, would bring you glory and pleasure? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

an update from chrysalis academy

*Chrysalis Academy is the name of our little homeschool.

School pictures will come... i think. 
With a couple of weeks under our belts, i figured i'd maybe give a very rough outline of what school looks like for us this year.  It's sure a different sort of year - with my big girl choosing to go online for her grade 10 year. 
It was a funny moment of decision last spring... we got in our van & drove out to meet with the "high school counselor" at our school board.  As we got back in the van after asking questions, taking notes and reviewing some options, we both heaved a sigh, "Well, it's probably pretty obvious what we should do eh, ro?" i said as we pulled away - thinking that it would be a good idea to continue what we're doing - supplementing with the occasional class (in various sciences etc...) as needed. 
"Yeh - i guess it's all online for me next year!  i want my Alberta diploma for sure." she stated confidently. 
i was a little surprised - we had been in the same meeting, and had come out with different conclusions. 
But i looked at my big girl... sitting poised and beautiful in the seat next to me - and felt a supreme comfort in the fact that she knows what she's about.  If she wanted to pursue her traditional diploma this way - who was i to say that wouldn't be best? 
"Well..." i continued - on this new footing, "if you're going online anyway - would you like to just go to school next year?"
"Um, NO!!  Are you trying to get rid of me?" She laughed, "i don't want to deal with all that drama - i just want to do the work at home..."
And she has proved me right, my big girl... owning her school work and creeping up to her brand new computer after our morning bible and prayers (o, and she stays for Mr. Popper's Penguins, our current read-aloud, too i've noticed...) and scanning, printing, typing - problem solving, listening to lectures and answering questions.  It feels strange - not having her answer to me.. i miss her in our discussions... and she does find herself pretty busy.... but she can do this... i know she can.
Then there's my softie girl - entering grade 8 this year.  She asked if she could do a class online this year too - just to see if she likes it.  We chose LA for her - and were pleasantly surprised to find out that her cousin is in her class.  So far so good :)
Sloanie is using Saxon Math, a mish mash for science - (various books to study, starting with one on the human body).  For Social, we're doing it as a group again, we're using the Story of the World volume 3 (continuing on from volume 2 last year) - "Early Modern Times".  It's mostly a reading/ discussion based type approach that we're using, but i like that :)  & the small fry seem to like it too.   We're also reading and discussing poetry (using a children's anthology right now) and our Latin and Greek flash cards -(we use those every year). 
PJ is in grade 6 this year - she's pretty nevous because it's a provincial achievement test year (grades 3, 6 & 9 in our province).  She'll probably use Exambank (online practice tests) - to get comfortable with the procedure.   She's also using Saxon Math this year.  For science, she's using Exploring Creation with Astronomy (i used this last year with Charter & Mollen - & we're still plugging away at it... i liked it so much, Peyton is starting it this year too). For LA, she's using Bob Jones - a new addition to our homeschool this year... so far?  Love it.  (As an aside, i spent $120 on teacher's manuals that i'm pretty sure i'll never, ever use... bummer.  At this age, i think the readers & work books, along with the answer keys are plenty).
Charter is in grade 4 this year, so it's his first year using Saxon.  He used Jump math last year - and the transition to Saxon has been seamless.  Love that.  He's also using Bob Jones for LA.  Their readers (both of the ones we got - for grades 4 & 6) are fantastic.   We're gonna finish up Exploring Creation with Astronomy before hopefully borrowing another from the Young Explorer's series from a friend for him & Mollen to tackle.  We didn't purchase the writing program (which is separate with Bob Jones) - so Peyton and Charter both have to be assigned writing from me daily.  THIS is one website i hope to use to help out with that...
Miss Moo is in grade 2.  She loves reading, so i'm just feeding her books off our shelf right now.  Her LA program is English for the Thoughtful child (volume 2 - she did volume 1 last year) & it's comprehensive enough that i don't think i'll need to supplement it with much of anything.  She's also still using Jump Math.  i was surprised that so many of my friends who have used Jump really didn't like it... it worked really, really well for us - so just goes to show you there are no hard & fast rules with homeschool... there's often trial & error - & unfortunately $$ wasted & curriculum unused.  i'm glad we finally found a primary math program that i really like, since there was never one i loved before (we had tried quite a few: Bob Jones, Mathsmart, Horizons among the first i can think of off the top of my head)... We'll follow this pattern until it no longer works for us: Jump for grades 1-3, Saxon for grades 4-9 & then online for whoever wants to attend University :) hehe. 
Then there are the little boys... Gagey is only 3, so he still doesn't have too much of an attention span.  He has fun playing, learning - a little starfall, a little letter of the week  :)... i'm trying to teach him & Ephraim to sit still during our morning bible time... So far... with extremely limited success.
Ephraim.  We are hoping that he will attend the University of Potty Training this year.  i'm not holding my breath, but wouldn't that be awesome?

Add to this bubbling stew - violin, various sports and recreation, volunteering and friends - and there you go, a rough outline of our school year 2011/2012. 
Mostly, the above is just gravy... the heart and soul of homeschooling remains the same as it has ever been since the beginning for me... i want to build relationships; relationships with my children, relationships among my children, relationships between my children and my Father... 
& it right now - Chrysalis Academy - is the best place for us to do that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

i call it!!

ok - so i admit my blog has been a little more tender as of late...
Sometimes life is like that - little seasons of serious or sorrow amidst other seasons of hilarity or joy.  Don't get me wrong - there is still plenty of hilarity at our house, but the problem is that Cai has been blog-calling it. 
Don't know what i mean? 
Well, my (almost 15 year old) daughter also blogs... and whenever something funny happens, whoever calls it first, gets to blog it.  Lately, my girl has been quick on the draw. 
The other night over a howling supper conversation, her eyes lit up and she half stood and spread her arms over the table, "i call this!!" she exclaimed, "ALLLL of it, i call ALL OF THIS!!" 
The next morning, she came to me... "um... i wrote that post, but i can't publish it.  People will think our family is nuts."
Ah yes, Cai - the ever-present problem of truth. 
To read Cai's genius, but unfortunately - not that supper conversation, click HERE.
In other news - it's FRIDAY
He's stripping another layer away...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

it's friday tomorrow

It's Friday tomorrow...
My first Friday - i wondered how i would find the words to pray... i wondered if 15 minutes would feel incredibly long - or short - to change my posture... to come to this place... to meet with Him. 
i parked my van in the corner of the little parking lot - and made my way to the front of our church.  The front door isn't used much at our church - it's just for looks - & it's usually shut... locked tight...
& it was by this door i prayed. 
i faced the fire hall first- and i prayed for physical health in families - i cried for Sadie, and for Kienan Hebert who had not yet been returned to his family. 
i turned, and faced the Towne Hall - and i prayed for our government... i prayed that softened hearts would bring about a shift in the social tide against families... i prayed that we would recognize the value in the things to easily tossed aside, and that we would elect courageous individuals - who seek to bring God glory. 
i turned again - and i was facing the gates of our community.  i prayed for those coming and going - for their jobs, their livelihoods. 
i turned again - and i faced houses... i prayed for the people... love, marriages, children... relationships... Those torn apart by separation and divorce... children who are hurt or neglected... husbands and wives - who have forgotten to be intentional in protecting and loving the other...
i prayed for families...
mine included.  It's easiest to pray - when we're praying for ourselves, isn't it? 
i turned again... i was facing our church building.  White siding - with a simple concrete step.  Stained glass window making it's face beautiful... A physical symbol - for the Church - the Body....
o God... be small enough to hear me now....
Faith, hope, love. 
My prayers were for hearts... drawn to their Creator.  Salvation - and Grace. 
"oh, Father, meet me here..."
i wiped my wet face, and checked my phone... 20 minutes had passed.  i was finished... i hobbled to my feet - and crossed the damp grass to my van. 
and went home. 

choose love

His indignant little cry rouses me almost immediately.  i throw back the corner of my blankets, careful not to wake sunshine boy who sleeps between neil & i - & run to bonus boy's room. 
He's. so. cute. 
Lately, neither he nor his 3 year old brother have been sleeping much - and it has been a marathon of sleep deprivation these last weeks, but as i walk into his room, and behold his tiny self standing sorrowfully in the middle of the room, my heart softens, and i sigh - scooping him up in my arms. 
It's dark - but the light from the street lamps outside illuminate just the outline of my little one - in his elephant jammie bottoms and the tiniest muscle shirt known to man. 
He cries and cries... i shush and pat and comfort...
People think that because i've had seven children, i know how to do this perfectly - they assume i've got this mama thing down pat... They assume wrong. 
i'm just as inept as i ever was - singing, praying out loud, "Oh, God - let me sleep!" and begging my tiny one to surrender to slumber. 
He kicks and thrashes and i grab his little legs to stop them from pummelling me and in my impatience, i grab too hard. 
"Huuuuurrrrrt!" he cries - and i want to cry with him. 
& as i run my hands over his tiny form in the bed next to me - i'm overcome. 
He's still so small. 
i choose love - again and again and again... i choose love.  i kiss him, nuzzling my face into his damp cheeks and sweaty fuzzy head. 
"Oh, honey - mama's sorry - mama loves you.  Let's rest now - let's snuggle and sleep..."
i offer a cup of cold water - and after a little drink, he falls into restless unconsciousness. 
This morning, i felt groggy... He was up before anyone else in the house, and i lay on his bed like a zombie while he prattled around, playing with toys, pulling my hair, breathing in my face.
Tiny, tender one... He won't be little for long. One day he will sleep through the night - and won't cry out for his mama.
And then  i'll be glad that i chose love. 

Tomorrow is Friday.  i'm so ready...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

will you take your love away?

Our evening services have started up again. 
They're different from our noisy, boisterous morning services... They seem more intimate somehow. 
So, in that sparsely  populated sanctuary - with lights dim and babies wiggling in their daddy's arms, it was ok to lay my head on his shoulder and cry.
And he patted me like a papa - and let me wipe my tears on his clean shirt. 
Unable to speak the peace to my heart that only my Father can give... he sat beside me playing with each one of my fingers in turn, nudging me with his knee to show that he saw my sorrow - my grief for the ones i love; his warmth lending flesh to the pastor's plea to hear and know God's love. 
O husband... How could God give me such a gift as you? 
"Strange timing... for a message like that, wasn't it?" he murmured to me as we drove home to a late supper of eggs and toast.
& i want to cling too tightly to him - because i worry that his love will run dry... that he'll disdain my tears and these present storm clouds... Because what i've seen is that love is fickle... isn't it?  Love is given - and then taken away... isn't it?  Love is temporary, painful and conditional... It ages, and grows weary and hard....
doesn't it? 
& he soothes me to sleep - and lost to comfort me, he tells me the most comforting thing; to look to my Father...
& i do.
& His love will never run dry...
because His love... it's:
His love remembers
it's directed - intentional
it's a refuge
better than life
it's great... & full of goodness
inherited, promised
compassionate, gracious
it guards and delivers
it endures,
and will continues through generations...
to a thousand generations,
His love - makes my love increase and overflow
it crowns
fills the earth
gives purpose - & fulfills that purpose
it's sincere
it binds & unites
Oh, Father!  Your Great Love!  It is:
it shows sympathy
it's rooted and established
surpasses knowledge
it's sacrificial
is kind
it appeals and encourages
never leaves... never forsakes...

i could go on and on...

& this kind of love?  This is the kind of love that can rock me to sleep - and might finally give my stubborn, aching heart rest. 
(these examples came from just the beginnings of a word search on bible gateway for God's love - wow...).

Monday, September 12, 2011

only sadie on my mind

My niece is going in for surgery as i type - to get a port put in for the chemo treatments that start tomorrow. 
She's so wee. 
With her white hair - and girly smile... her chicklet teeth, and sing song voice. 
It is a crazy thing - to watch your sister in agony...
She has researched, and produced binders of information on this extremely rare condition.  She has held the strands of hurting siblings, and aching daddy, her half crazed self - and a tiny Sadie who she would lay down and die for... and then handed them over to the Father who's got the whole world in His hands. 
Jessie's blog

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Blog Tab

See it?  This is what's in it:

"From now - till Christmas - i'm going fast the noon day meal. i'm going to go pray at McKenzie Towne Church - for at least 15 minutes at noon on Fridays. At the gates of my community... i'm going to pray for family. i'm going to plead for my marriage. i'm going to beg God to soften this city - and each individual family - and allow us to hear His voice..."

15 on Friday... for family.
Posture - part 1
Posture - part 2
Posture - part 3


why for family?
As i prayed about being involved in Calgary's 40 Days for Life campaign this fall - i kept feeling burdened for families.  Divorce is rampant - because our hearts are hard.  Babies are aborted for the same reason, and the sick are left to die alone. If we had strong families founded on the Word - there would be a change in the social tide... Prayer is the most powerful offering and contribution i can make to any person or cause.  i hope that God uses my prayers to soften me too... i hope that He changes me so i can better serve Him. 

why fasting?
Fasting is something i want to learn more about... i think there is power in praying this way - but more so, i was told that when we fast - we are *pleading with God*... i'm at a place where i'm ready to explore this beautiful thing that Jesus taught us by example.  Maybe i'm a wimp - shaking and hungry after missing the noon day meal, when my Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness... but it's the tiny beginnings of my offering - and He sees it. 

why 15 minutes? why go to the church?
The 15 minutes is the time i'm changing my posture... This is the time i will spend - on my feet - or knees - at the gates of my community at McKenzie Towne Church.  i don't know why 15 minutes... i don't fully understand why i should change my posture... but i am stepping out - willing to look foolish - to learn. 

why till Christmas?
i think it's because God is kind - and like a papa.  He put a parenthesis around this so that i wouldn't be afraid. 

are you trying to start something?  why are you sharing this on your blog? 
i have felt no prompting to ask or to try to get anyone to join me.  (Even though 2 people in different cities have offered to join me in the fasting and prayer).  If people join me, Praise God.  If they don't - Praise God too...  i'm sharing because this is my heart... because what's at stake seems so desperate - and worthy.  This blog is ultimately for my little ones - i want to go on record saying, "life is precious, children are a gift from God - & family is meant to be a reflection of something amazing...  "
i believe God hears our prayers - and can work miracles on our behalf. 

Read my sister's post on the same subject here. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

posture part 3 - Noon day

  A while ago, i blogged this:

When i wrote that, i felt like i had clear direction.  My Father wanted me to hurt.  He wanted me to hurt & care - to be impacted by injustice, burdened for truth.
i still feel that. 
But now, i feel like He wants me to change my posture. 
From now - till Christmas - i'm going fast the noon day meal.  i'm going to go pray at McKenzie Towne Church - for at least 15 minutes at noon on Fridays. At the gates of my community... i'm going to pray for family.  i'm going to plead for my marriage.  i'm going to beg God to soften this city - and allow us to hear His voice...
15 on Friday... for family. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

But you can't

We were at the fountain - and now in these last hot autumn days, my sunshine boy has discovered a love of being wet and wild and crazy.  All summer long, he would sit and swelter - while the other little ones splashed and played - but now he's the first one under that frigid spray... racing around and around in his faded swim trunks - blue eyes laughing as he comes wet and dripping to his mama. 
This day, he left his shoes where they landed mid step - his inside out shirt was dropped so near someone else's belongings that we almost lost it.  Before i had settled myself - face turned up to sunshine, he was laughing and running 'round. 
All of a sudden, tiny crooked foot landed funny - and he slipped on that wet concrete - and he did a belly flop on that hardest of hard ground.  With finely tuned instincts, my son picked himself up - his mouth already formed in a perfect howl - and he ran to me.  i reached for him, arms outstretched to hold his sadness - to examine him from head to toe - to smooch his face and soothe his wounded pride. 
When he was an arms length from me, he stopped though.  He stopped and said, "B- b- b- but you CANNNN'T!" 
"What do you mean, i can't, Darling?" i asked, reaching - pulling myself up to go to him... but he held himself away. 
"You can't hold me 'cause i wet!"
With one swoop i grabbed him - his heaving dripping shoulders dampening my still dry clothes.  i felt the water roll down my throat as his spiky white hair dripped on my chin - and he choked back his sobs as i wrapped my arms around his tiny wet form clinging to me in relief. 
o  tiny one... i can.  i can hold you - i can dry you... i can comfort you.  Your state matters little to me... because you. are. mine. 
And with just the tiniest catch in my throat, i turn to my waiting Father... dripping wet... disheveled, dirty, broken, messy... and find myself asking, "Can you?"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Gratitude changes the *flavour* of grief... we still taste it, but it's sweetness comes out - rather than it's bitterness.
It was a strange week... a struggling sort - a tough kind. 
Finally at night - lying next to my near-sleep husband, i whispered, "Do you think i would still be struggling so hard if it wasn't the first week of September?"
He let out his breath - in a long exhale...
"Why don't you just tell me these things instead of making me wonder why you're so sad?"
& it's because i hardly know them myself... they come upon me like night comes upon day - i'm not even aware of it - till the leaves turn - i see a calendar - i want another baby... or at least to enjoy the dream of another wee one.
& i curl my body up next to his broad back already taking it's deep rhythmic breaths - i trail his hairline with my fingertips and will myself to sleep - while grief and gratitude co-exist in this first week of September  mist.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

when you're open to more babies, but he's not...

i can't believe i'm blogging about this. 
After all these years - to expose the bloodiest, most hurting, gaping, open wound... in the most honoured, revered adored spot in my life - my marriage... To point out the single thing that has stretched me most as a wife in all of our 15 years of marriage - the thing that continues to stretch me still, the thing that causes me to flinch - in my reflex to protect it. 
But i wanna write about it too... i want my children to understand that it's not always easy to see what He wants us to do... how He wants us to react... how He'll allow us to grow. 
So, i'm going to write this post - and pray that allowing this vulnerability isn't foolishness...
We don't have unity.
There i said it out loud.  There were years i prayed, cried out to God - in frustration and sadness - to give us unity in our marriage... to give us a single mind when it came to children... to either take away my desire and deeply held conviction - or to give it to Neil.
God didn't do that. 
It doesn't matter *why* He chose not to do it... He's God - He gives, He takes - he chooses not to give... Blessed be his Name.  But, i think maybe - i'm ready to write about the things that do matter. 
Regarding children in the protestant church, there is no clear teaching... We give lip service to the truth that, "children are a blessing." But aside from saying those words, there is little in our actions (as a whole) that speak to that truth.  And so it's not surprising that Neil and i found ourselves at a cross roads where the answers weren't in black and white.  We were told it was a matter of taste, so to speak - of convenience and opinion... This casual teaching changed our marriage. 
For us?  We're one of the blessed ones... marriage has been easy.  Neil is funny, kind, hard working and generous.  i'm pretty easy going, and i have a strong desire to do what's right... we're both the babies in our families - and once we got married, fights between us were few & far between.  We had an unwritten rule... whoever it mattered to the most, won.  Our houses and vehicles mattered to Neil - so i bit my tongue and let him choose.  i wanted to homeschool - he raised his eyebrows... and then from that moment, has offered the words of praise and encouragement that have kept me going.  He golfs, i blog, we both love art and music... Easy.
And then... suddenly... something mattered to us both... something so impacting and life changing that we couldn't ignore it.  We were at an impasse.  i wanted to remain open to life; and he didn't. 
At this point, i know that a lot of my readers might be thinking, 'But that's pretty easy - don't you know that verse: "Wives, submit to your husbands..."??  Clearly you had no business questioning his choice in this matter.' 
In all honesty, i have meditated on that scripture - and i love it... i love the truth it contains, and i love it's clear direction and beautiful simplicity.  But i think it has been twisted and misrepresented to mean something that it does not mean.  i have begun to wonder if maybe women have used that verse as a cop out... allowing their husbands to wrestle out their faith for them - rather than using the blood bought gift of a direct relationship with God - to allow Him to work out their faith in them too.
Two other passages that stood out for me during that time were the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 and the proverb about the quarrelsome wife in Proverbs 27.  i couldn't decide which i was.... was i 'persistent' - in seeking justice and longing to be heard?  Or was i nagging and quarrelsome - like a leaking faucet?  i have probably been both... in retrospect - doing the best that i could, with what understanding i had...
My husband, when he asked for advice, was given the same verse from Ephesians 5, and told that he could choose what he thought best and that it was my job to submit to it.  For the record, i think this was lazy counsel.  It's only partly true.  If those friends truly wanted to be a voice of truth in our marriage, they would have talked about the passage as a whole - and because i wasn't there... they would have focused on the part that directly addresses husbands:  'Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her' (sacrificially).  They would have challenged him to love harder - even if that didn't ultimately mean having more children... his job... first and foremost - was to act in a loving way.  Beautiful.
As a result of my husband's intuitive love - and my submission -as well as our mutual respect and submission (Ephesians 5:21), our family isn't all clean lines and rules.  We have more children than we would have had... We also have less than we could have had... We've given - we've accepted - we've bent, stretched... we've talked, we've fought and cried.
It's beautiful.  It's this messy open wound that keeps me intentional about loving my husband.  It's this embarrassing lack of unity - that has served to show us how little other things matter to us - & that has ultimately - ironically - brought us *more unity* in almost every other issue.  It's this stretching - and giving - the bending and aching - that brought us to this delicate place - that deepened our love and leaves us grateful.
Unity?  It's like this beautiful utopic dream... one that i still hope and pray for, but less desperately - and more peacefully now. 
i want to honour God with my marriage - (which incidentally, is the most precious gift He has ever given me...) and *this* - is where He has brought me to do that.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing in Your sight, Father...   my Rock - and my Redeemer...

from psalm 19:

12But who can discern their own errors?

Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;

may they not rule over me.

Then I will be blameless,

innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Friday, September 2, 2011

night nursings

And in a break from my recent heavier posts, i make this light offering:

Ephraim is 18 months old. 
He's still nursing. 
The other night, Neil & i were in bed with our two little boys.  i was playing scrabble on my phone & Neil was watching sports... we were trying to be boring so that the boys would go to sleep.  Suddenly, Ephraim sat up between us.  i glanced over at him, but he wasn't looking at me, he was staring at his shirtless daddy.  After a moment of pondering, he spat out his soother and reached over to latch on.  Neil swatted him away, and Ephraim nonchalantly picked up his soother and resumed sucking. 
Needless to say, Neil & i are both feeling a little self conscious about our bodies now. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

posture - part 2

part 3 might take me awhile... so till i get what i need to write it, here's part 2. 

pos·ture (pschr) - from the free dictionary



a. A position of the body or of body parts: a sitting posture.

b. An attitude; a pose: assumed a posture of angry defiance.

2. A characteristic way of bearing one's body; carriage: stood with good posture.

3. Relative placement or arrangement: the posture of the buildings on the land.

4. A stance or disposition with regard to something: "Those bases are essential to our military posture in the Middle East" (Gerard Smith).

5. A frame of mind affecting one's thoughts or behavior; an overall attitude.

i danced on the beach in washington. 
i really did. 
and not some beautifully choreographed creation with perfectly executed pirouettes and plies... just a hot mess of arms flailing, feet jigging, twirls and jumps. 
The heat flooded my cheeks - and i double checked that there was nobody else on that sandy shore but my little family - most of whom were busily building tiny sand castles - or exclaiming over abandoned crab shells. 

What is it about our posture that can reveal so much of what we try to keep hidden?

i have noticed - sometimes - that my posture can be an act of submission.  My discomfort becomes secondary to the purpose of honouring another. 
In times of worship - i have seen His servants kneeling - or raising their hands... Changing their physical posture - as an outward symbol - of internal obedience.  This image has been on my mind these past weeks as I have been praying about my involvement in 40 Days for Life - that begins again at the end of September. 
It's not just that end destination of the abortion clinic on Kensington... It's a whole community - that hasn't offered anything better than abortions.  It's believers that understandably become uncomfortable speaking truth amidst the tide of cultural acceptance for something that is wrong.  It's families that are broken and confused - not united in purpose - but divided and hurting. 
Going to that clinic last spring was life changing for me.  It changed my posture.  (Those posts are available under the "abortion" tab of my sidebar).  i felt like for one day - for one hour - i wasn't turning my face from injustice - and my purpose there was clear. i was standing on that street corner to meet with my Father, and plead for His compassionate mercy - not just for the tiny ones growing in the secret place or the hurting families who were offered no better solution, but also for the communities that have been torn apart by the silent acceptance of the unthinkable. 
A year ago, our church approached me about committing to pray for our "zone" in McKenzie Towne.  i was hesitant.  i didn't want to promise to do something and then fizz out after a day or two.  After a little internal debate, i finally accepted the challenge to pray for each one of those houses in our tiny section of this community.  My children and i would sometimes walk that route - changing our posture - to see the houses of the souls we brought to the Throne room, and daily, we would meet together and pray that those people would be drawn to the compassionate grace of the Father who loves them so.  
September 28th to November 6th will be the next 40 day vigil for life...
i'm aching over what... He'll want me to do...
It has been my prayer this summer - that God would give me better understanding, the wisdom to speak truth and the courage to act on my convictions. 
Use my posture, Father - put me where you want me to be... let my attitude mirror You... let me shake loose the ties that want to bind my arms to my side, my feet to each other, my lips sealed... i belong to You.   


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