Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We're one week into the 40 Day vigil at the abortion clinic & wow... do these times (the 40 day vigils) ever change me so completely.
i'm a horrible "pray-er"... & yet - God just won't let me be.  He's relentless in calling me to prayer.  So i keep trying... & i'm learning... & it has been months now - of learning, growing... but mostly just... praying.  & it's long and laborious.  Sometimes i feel like i'm talking to myself.  Sometimes i'm just saying words... Sometimes i recite prayers - or read them off of a paper, trying to meditate on them.  Sometimes i sing praises & worship - or just freestyle it - as my catholic friends like to say.  Sometimes He speaks - & i think i'm getting better at hearing His voice.  Even his rebuke is a welcome thing.  i've told my so many of my friends about the day that He gave me a swift, sudden, unexpected rebuke that made me cry (but it also made me want to shout for JOY because it was so obviously HIM...) & sometimes He has spoken only one word... leaving me sorrowing, but clinging to the Truth that that one word allowed me to claim. i'm learning to pray when i don't feel like it - and i'm also learning to take advantages of the moments when i do. This prayer thing... it's changing me. 
He's claiming me... & i feel myself, "His".

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

chop down the tree

It comes to me in a dream, and i know even as i'm dreaming it that i'm going to blog it for my children.  
i'm walking on land.  The land is mine.  It belongs to Neil & i & the grass grows, the sun shines.  The flora & fauna abound & there is evidence of health and life. 
In the middle of our land, a big tree is growing.  It's huge. 
Generations old. 
The trunk is gnarled and black - and i know it by sight.  It is both ugly and dangerous. That tree is poison.  It grows so that it blocks the sun and it's twisted roots rob the soil of nutrients. 
The tree has to go. 
i cut it down.  & even though the land belongs to Neil & i both - & our children run & play on this land that is ours, i know that this tree belongs to me & that it will be my hands that bring it to it's end. 
Once down, the sun tenderly licks the ground that has been in the shade for far too long.  i'm sweaty, emotional and exhausted... but i know that i can't be finished yet.  & so i set to work on the roots - & Neil... mild & silent beside me is forced to watch and wait... because it's my tree, not his.  He's patient, but he makes no move to take the tools from my hands as i dig out those long twisted roots - piece by miserable piece.  The ground becomes a mound of sifted soil.  It has been turned fresh and black by my toil - as fragment by fragment, the monstrous tree is unearthed and discarded...
The soil is good. 
Things can grow in soil that is dark, rich and fertile like this soil... now that the poisonous tree is gone. 
i'm relentless. 
My nails tear - my hands are full of tiny burning cuts and i'm covered in dirt - my whole body is an aching shivering mess.  i pick out pieces of root that are as small as my baby finger - i refuse to allow even one sliver of it to remain... to re-root... to continue to rob my land.  Every shred of it must go.  On one side, i stack the blackened poison wood that is set aside for destruction... on the other - there is the mound of soil that is ready to be worked and prepared.  The soil is eager to produce a crop that will no longer be tainted by the tree that stood for so long - sucking the good to sustain it's growth. 
i'm doing this for my children. 
This is the land i'm passing down to them... i wish that there was a majestic oak in the middle of the land that i give - one that has stood for generations before me in it's pure beauty, and certainly, in different spots on our land generations old trees do grow.  We sometimes take them for granted, sitting in their shade, enjoying their fruit, admiring their aged beauty... but in this spot - i won't leave a beautiful tree. Instead - my gift is that the tree that stood there before my time stands no longer.  i am satisfied that this freshly tilled, fertile soil... is a gift too.  Now they can plant a new tree, sown with a seed of Truth - and begin a new tradition that will last for generations to come... watching it grow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

i'm in kindergarten

Alternately titled: what i'm learning. 

God loves me. 

& i know i've posted about this a lot. 
But it's a long, long way from my mind to my heart.  & circumstances cause delays and back tracks & pain, but i see Truth still. 

God loves me. 

Neil could leave me, my kids could all walk away from me.  My father & mother could despise me & my brothers and sisters reject me... but...

God loves me. 

i could be a hot mess of ugly tears, i could strive to reach Him in every way imaginable - but my freaking arms are so short... too short... & so He reaches for me, because...

God loves me. 

i can read His Book, fast and pray... i can love Him exactly how He created me to love & worship Him... & it's all meaningful because...

God loves me. 

My hands get sore now - maybe it's a sign of age... of wear and tear.  My eyes puff up and wrinkle up when i cry.  i talk too loud.  i say way too much... but also too little.  i'm horrible at being a real friend.  To my friends: you know who you are... thank you for giving me grace... But despite it all...

God loves me. 

i play my drum for Him.  Every act of motherhood, every sacrifice - intentional or otherwise - is a solemn beat on that tiny drum, offering myself always and only for Him.  Every moment i allow myself to be vulnerable - to take the pain & glory of Love... the intense struggle of allowing marriage to consume my self-absorption... more complicated rhythms and patterns  - forming a song... for Him.  It's a pittance, but i do it because...

God loves me. 

He doesn't love me because i'm precious to the world.  In the world's eyes, their most trusted appraiser would examine me under his microscope.  He would know every intimate detail and crack - every tiny bit of beauty or goodness.  He could see exactly what i am - & what i have to offer... & then - after this exhaustive examination... completely laid bare, i would be found wanting.  "She's ok," he would shrug, "Nothing i haven't seen before - we could take her or leave her..."  But He, my Father, has never used the world's appraisal methods...

God loves me. 

& it occurs to me that this complete disconnect between what i FEEL and what i KNOW to be true... even this little pain... He might find useful.  So... take it, Father.  Take your daughter's confused struggling.  i'm pouring it all out.  i'm not willing to base my relationship with you... or with others... on feelings that i know are false.  Lies.  The truth won't change... & what's true, is that...

God loves me. 

So that's how kindergarten is going... How are the rest of you doing? 

Friday, February 24, 2012

if you know my husband... (edited)

If you know my husband, you'll know that he's the last person that you'd ever expect to suggest that you need to watch a sermon online... but that's just what happened. 
It was February 12th, & i knew even the night before that i wasn't going to church in the morning. 
"Bess, i got nothing..." i told him, "Can you just take the littles to church in the morning?"
& so he did...
He packed up the bigs & left me at home with the tinies.  When he came home, he said, "Babe, i think that sermon was for you... with your prolife stuff... i think you need to listen to it online."
"Whaddyou mean?" i asked.  i'm not a fan of watching sermons online & he knows that... but he persisted.
"He talked about the paralytic's friends who brought him to Jesus.  i think that's like you, praying at the abortion clinic.  i know it's uncomfortable & hard, but i think you're doing something that needs to be done..."
& he left it at that...
& i didn't watch it. 
Life is busy, Neil's out of town a lot, i have little people to feed, laundry to fold and blogs to pretend to write...
But then, one day he asked me...."Did you watch it yet?  That sermon, did you see it?  'Cause i think that you should..."
& so another business trip came & i found myself with the time & the inclination to spend a half hour in front of my computer...
It felt like i received a love letter from my husband. 
That he could see the eternal value in what so few support... & that he could hear a message of, "press on... keep going... don't stop..." & know enough to pass it on to his beleaguered wife...
is better than chocolate. 
You can watch the sermon from February 12th HERE.

ps - i posted my heart over on the Calgary 40 days for life blog... i'd love it if you would read it.  It's my constant battle - to be able to understand that my Saviour loves me - when i see myself so utterly unworthy.  But this is the thing isn't it?  He doesn't love me because i'm worthy, He loves me because i'm His girl.  You can read my post HERE.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

if you don't like abortion...

i couldn't tell you how many times i have read that phrase from those who advocate unlimited access to abortions, "If you don't like abortion, don't have one..."
& i get what they're trying to say. 
i totally understand that an unplanned pregnancy can be a tender thing - full of shame and uncertainty.  Watching women going in & out of that abortion clinic has solidified this view for me.  These aren't liberated, confident women... these are fear-filled women; many of them are coerced - and i'm willing to bet that none of them feel like they have any "choice" in the matter. 
The reason i feel like i can't be silent about abortion isn't because i want a hand too, in manipulating these vulnerable women... it's because there is another life at stake.  There is a little one in danger of being torn from the safety of his mother's womb. 
A baby. 
To say that i should only consider my own children borne of my own body when i consider the world-wide epidemic of abortion, seems rather short sighted.  That's like saying that if i don't like child abuse, i shouldn't abuse my own children....
Should i not speak out on behalf of the little ones who are battered and wounded at the hands of their parents?  Or is it enough that i don't lay a hand on my own, since child abuse is such a personal matter, between a parent and child. 
Should we not seek to protect the vulnerable ones... both born, and unborn?  Whether they're ours, or not?
Standing at the abortion clinic and praying - is the most effective thing that we can do to change hearts and lives.  We often hold signs to remind those mama's of the tender life they carry - not in judgement - but in compassionate mercy. 
Hey, mama... you have other choices.  We love you - and are here because you and your little one are precious in His sight... i know it hurts to see us here.  i don't want to cause pain, but i do want to save you from the permanence of abortion... 

If you don't like abortion... join us & pray.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

in the quiet

i've been quieter lately.  i've been getting in trouble from friends & family for neglecting to return emails or texts.  i fight the inescapable desire to ignore incoming calls & my blog folder is exploding with unpublished drafts. 
The beads of silence are even surrounding me in my own house - & i find i like it. 
i know it seems like kind of a morose thing to cut yourself off a little... & honestly, i do feel guilty - because people are important & the gentle probing questions of the ones i love shouldn't go unanswered... but i feel like i'm in those in between moments - you know those moments between wake and sleep?  Where you're neither asleep, nor completely awake.  It's kind of a blissful place - a little foggy and interesting and confusing.  i like it.
But... even if a little reprieve is ok... there comes a time to wrestle out of it. 
It's just that learning makes me so insecure and tired :) 
40 days for life begins tomorrow.  i'm gearing up to blog over there for the whole 40 days.  If you would like to contribute to that blog, or participate at the prayer vigil, be sure to let me know. 
Waking up... getting the sleep out of my eyes now... pressing on. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

on losing your island

i often think in pictures rather than words. 
With the loss of my intact extended family this year, a picture keeps coming back to me... it's like being in the middle of the ocean - in turbulent seas... & suddenly, i've lost my island.  All along, i had this little land mass - a place where i could come up out of the deep, grab my breath & regain my sense of direction.  It wasn't a big chunk of land - i was familiar with every square inch of that small stable place, but now it's gone... Maybe sunk beneath the roaring surf, maybe crumbled by the pounding waves, maybe i drifted too far & now it's out of sight & impossible to reach ever again. 

i lost my island. 

And i'm not even saying that in a heart broken way - though my heart is broken.  i'm just stating it in a matter of fact sorta, 'what're you gonna do now?' way...
So, doggy paddling since my island went under, i have been thinking about this new reality, recognizing loss.  i lost something that was pretty cool too... something i was pretty lucky to have for a lot of years.  Yeh, it wasn't a perfect island - it had it's inclement weather patterns & it's rocky shores... but i was still blessed by that little island.  And the loss of that island has created some sadness & pain. 
It takes more endurance to press on when you don't have that little oasis to fall back on, doesn't it? i'm gonna get stronger because i have to.  i'm gonna rely on God more because He never fails.  i'm gonna press on because He's all that i want.

At my girls' violin recital the other night, my eyes were drawn - as they often are in these days - to the parents of the flamboyant girl who always arrive separately.  Their separateness is more obvious to me than others in their same situation... maybe it's more recent, more painful... & maybe it's rude of me to even notice it, but i do.  She's the spitting image of each of them combined on one radiant face.

She lost her island too...
& she seems ok... full of life and hope. 

And maybe one day i'll be ok too. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

i miss

We got home from swimming on Saturday & i threw my hair into a sloppy pony tail 'cause i had to hurry to to get to our last 40 Days for Life planning meeting on time.  i asked Neil if i could take his spanking new work truck to my meeting and he looked at me like i gave him a sucker punch, so i quickly amended, "Oh, actually, i'd rather just take the big van.  i'm used to it."  Relief flooded his features & i laughed, grabbed my keys and ran. 
i wasn't even down the block before it hit me like a sucker punch. 
i miss Fawne. 
How many times have Fawne and i driven this exact road from McKenzie Towne to our city's large, free-standing abortion clinic?  She moved to Phoenix how many months ago now?  i miss how she could always speak my language... We are a funny little set of friends.  She's a teacher and prophet... at least... that's how i see her... & even though i have no idea what my "spiritual gifts" are... i'm fairly certain that teacher and prophet are the farthest things from them.  She's a warrior with a burning desire for justice.  Me?  i'm weeping mercy.  She's brown hair, brown eyed beauty.  i'm blonde & blue eyed... She's the first born leader, i'm the baby, a born people pleaser... and yet our conversations seemed to always leave me just a little more ready, a little more willing, a little more open to following through on those ideas and truths we so often talked about. 
One time, i remember praying on that corner by the Kensington abortion clinic.  It was so busy that day - with cars going in and out of that packed little parking lot.  i was the only one there during the hour that i prayed and at the end of my time, knowing that i needed to get home for my children and family, i hated to leave, so i lingered...i begged God to send someone in my stead, and reluctantly loaded my kids back in the van for the drive home.  Later i found out that minutes after i left, Fawne had arrived and continued to watch and pray - after listening to that still small voice that bid her to come - and obeying. 
But now she's gone, and we won't share rides, keep each other company or spell each other off on that lonely sidewalk anymore.  i flicked off the radio that was filling the van with noise.  And then i started to pray.  & i didn't pray quietly in my head either - i took advantage of my solitude and i prayed louder than i was comfortable with.  i told Him that i wanted to choose to do right, no matter what... no matter if i'm in my big van by myself, or surrounded by believers who think i'm doing the right thing.  i don't want to be influenced by loneliness - because my mom taught me a long time ago that loneliness is only the invitation of God - & Oh, Father, i wanna enter in to that invitation to follow you...  
Even if i ache with the knowledge that the truth is going to bring pain to so many... i want to speak it.  Even if i burn with embarrassment to stand on the street corner and plead with my Father for the unborn... i want to stand and pray.  Even if i get lonely and wish that there were more who shared my calling... i want to hear His voice and follow.  Even if i feel uncomfortable siding with the unpopular truth - the side that is mocked, judged and distanced by believers and non... i want to stand and be counted.

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (romans 12:1-3)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

sweet 16

It's not a date we generally celebrate.  i think i sloughed it off in it's shrouded shame after we married & didn't think too much about it.  But i was thinking about it this week.  February 16th is the day he proposed to me. (i actually had to check my old journal to be sure).  It was reading break & we got a precious few stolen days together - since i was studying music at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton & he was working in Kelowna, our time together was very limited. 

 i remember how foggy it was at the dock & how strange & guilty i felt - like he might feel forced by the tiny one who was growing inside - no matter how vehemently he denied it.  i remember how i didn't want to go back to edmonton & finish school, but i wondered if i would regret it if i didn't.  & he wrote me scrawled notes - telling me to be strong, that i should finish... he called me his dream girl, his soul mate, his perfect match.  i remember feeling that burning shame with every person i saw that i knew & i remember even feeling ashamed at how much i loved him.  Surely it was a shameful thing to love someone so completely, surely i wore adoration on my face everytime i looked at him, or spoke of him.  It seemed impossible that he could love me that much too - and here i was... found out... i felt desperate, needy and painfully hungrily in love.

Love is such an embarrassing thing - if you love deeply enough, you're completely exposed, at the mercy of another.  It's a dangerous thing to love with no caution, with nothing held back, with no expectations or control exerted over the other.  

And still 16 years later, i'm still drowning in the floods of love that began back then.  i'm perplexed by the ferocity of the heaving tides of love - did i think they would fade over time?  Instead they've just magnified & carried me deeper and farther than you'd think any love should go. 

& i know he hates love letters... this one is written for me. 
i want to remember this day in 2012 - i want to remember it when things are hard, when i'm angry, cold and distant.  i want to remember it when he hurts me and i hate the vulnerability of marriage.  i want to remember it when anniversaries pass in greater numbers and our children grow and have children of their own...

i choose love.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

graphic images

i thought i already posted this on here... if so... sorry for the repeat - but i think these are important days for prolifers to get on the same page... and even if we're not on the same page exactly, we need to be able to get beyond the things that separate us & encourage each one who has chosen to enter the fray on behalf of human life.

i know that graphic images are such a painfully contentious issue... & there are still so many parts of this battle that i fail to understand... & so i've ended up making up & changing my mind so many times in regards to method and strategy in exposing the painful truth about abortion.  This is where i'm at right now...


Dear CCBR,

This past while, i have been working through my own views on the topic of graphic images, and i wanted to share them with you.

When i was 19, i found myself pregnant and unwed. i had always been strongly prolife - and i knew - even in those first moments watching that pregnancy test turn, that there was another tiny person growing inside me, and that she was precious. My husband & i married (he was only 18) & despite the cries we could hear of, "foolish", we soon became parents to the most delicious little girl. We moved to a small town where we could afford to live, and only a few short months later, we found out that another tiny life had come... at 11 weeks, we went and heard that precious heartbeat, and were told that our baby looked perfect, but then unexpectedly at 16 weeks, our son died.

It was 1997 - and i had already had one daughter, but i remember asking the doctor who i was seeing if my child would be "whole" when he was born.

As i remember that moment today, it makes me think... Why did i wonder if my child would be whole? Was i that brainwashed by a culture that called this little one a "cluster of cells", or "parasitic tissue, not unlike cancer"... Had i not felt his tiny feet in my womb, and seen his sweet form on that ultrasound screen?

"Yes," the doctor assured me... "He'll be whole." i asked him if i could touch him, hold him... love that wee frame of that tiny son who i wanted so badly to mother.

The doctor told me he would be fragile, but that yes... we could hold him.

The next day - i gave birth to our son. He fit in my hand - every finger - every toe - in delicate perfection. We took only 2 blurry pictures - the nurses rushed me... obviously uncomfortable with my agony... and they took my little one away (something i have always regretted).

4 children and 10 years later, i found myself in another dimmed ultrasound room - hearing what i already knew in my mama heart. Another longed for life, gone. This little one barely measured 10 weeks (8 gestational weeks). i did things differently this time and waited for baby to come on it's own. After 2 agonizing weeks, i wondered if i'd even be able to find my baby when my miscarriage finally began, but God was merciful - and i did get the chance to hold that wee one - smaller than the tip of my baby finger, and marvelled at God's creation. i could see - even at this delicate stage - tiny threadlike arms, and legs - two eyes... my *baby*...

Anyway - i know this is long, but i wanted you to understand why - i was so very tender in considering the topic of graphic images...

At the National Prolife conference, i went to Jojo Ruba's session on Saturday morning. He showed a movie that cut to my very heart... Tiny babies aborted at the very same stage of pregnancy that i had miscarried mine. It was earth shattering... horrible, sickening, heart breaking...

Oh, but i can hardly bear to type this; it's the reality.

i think that part of the reason i have been so very strong in my prolife convictions in my life - is because God so very gently showed me my very own set of graphic images when he let me see, hold and say good bye to two of my very own little ones.

So, maybe He'll never ask me to hold graphic images - or maybe He will - but regardless, i want you to know that i stand behind you in the work that you are doing. Jojo's sensitivity - and obvious compassion helped me to be able to see beyond my own ache - to the horror that those mama's must face when they realize one day - (because they'll all realize one day) what they've done.  What an unkindness to keep what's being chosen by thousands in our city every year, hidden.

What courageous love to speak such uncomfortable truth...

Monday, February 13, 2012

valentines chocolate

He runs out to get a few things.  i know he won't be home very much for the rest of the month & he wants to take care of me.  i can tell that he thinks i'm sad because i've been so quiet lately, but i'm not sad.  i'm just quiet.  Even God must think i'm sad 'cause people have been contacting me, "you're on my mind, can i pray for you?" but i'm not sad... i'm not angry, depressed or despondent... i feel even-keeled... happy even...
Just quiet. 

i'm not surprised that he's brought me a bag of chocolate.  i should tell him that he can't keep trying to satiate my hunger for him with sugar... i'll either get fat or lose my taste for chocolate, & who wants either of those things to happen?

He watches me pull a big cheesy heart shaped box out of the bag & i smile at him... February has always been an interesting month... It was the month Caleb was due, the month we lost our baby Hope and the month that both of our bonus boys showed up.  i love February.

He keeps passing too close to me as we get lunch on the table & put away the miscellaneous groceries he picked up.  His enormous hazel eyes follow me more than usual & i can't even fathom any light fluffy words to make him worry less.  Besides, i like his eyes on me. i feel bad that i'm leaving him confused though.  i'm confused too... but not sad.

The volume around the lunch table rises as Mollen's high pitched voice joins the drone of conversation.  i glance at her, leaping from her seat in exuberance & grin.
My big girls are rushing through the meal, flushed from a busy morning, preparing for fiddle classes in the afternoon.  My tiny boy catches my eye, and slides eagerly off his chair, toddling around the table to be lifted into my arms.  The action bubbles & churns like a river during the spring thaw... A boy flirted with Peyton today, Charter's almost done his Hardy Boys novel... constant chatter & motion, the filling of cups, the clatter of cutlery.

i feel full & happy.  i feel grateful & ready.  i feel tired, but willing just...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Hardy Boys

Charter has embarked on a new fantastical journey.  He finally found a series of books that are more engrossing than Captain Underpants.  He has been flying through our small store of them as our girls have mostly left them untouched. 
The other night, a full hour after his bedtime & at least a half hour after i thought he was asleep, he came streaking into my room like a flustered, rumpled ball of pyjamas. 
"Mom, there's a bad word in my Hardy Boys book."
"No there's not." Neil laughed from behind me. 
"Yes.  There is." 
My son is the worlds biggest rule follower.  Sometimes i wonder if a son could be less like his father.  The brow of his fair skinned face is furrowed and disapproving, Neil's olive coloured brow framed with thick dark hair is open and teasing. 
"What is it?" i ask, and the furrow deepens in his brow & he pushes his lips into a thin line.  He doesn't want to tell me. 
"It starts with a D..." he hesitates. 
"Is it 'darn'?" i ask...
"No."  He looks mad & i can tell Neil's laughter is making him uncomfortable.  i pinch Neil as he begins to voice his own suggestions.  He's not helping. 
"Mom, think: Moby..." he gives me a hint.  "And, no, it wasn't the guy's name either.  They called the detective that name."
"Charter, a dick is just another name for a detective... It's not a bad word, just a word that doesn't get used all that much anymore."
"Oh..." he uncrosses his arms and i can't help myself, i'm laughing too... & pretty soon, the corners of  his sweet, justice loving pink mouth turn up in a grin too.  i love how even in his seriousness, he can still laugh at himself. 
"i guess i'll go to bed now..."
"Ya, no more Hardy Boys till tomorrow, k?"
"m'k." he agrees thumping down the stairs three at a time. 
& how will he find his way, this son of mine who sees the world all in black and white? The wonder of motherhood, the unexpected humour and twists that each tiny one brings to this place leaves me breathless. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dear Sinner,

i've been where you are.  Brave face to the world of raised eyebrows. 
Inside, you're laying in the dirt, wretched and alone. 
You feel branded - permanently marked by what you've done, and you couldn't form the words to defend yourself even if you wanted to.  You're done justifying, you're done pretending, you're done imagining that this day would never come...
Maybe your sin has robbed you of sleep, of peace, of the security that comes from being where you're called to be.  You might feel that there is no way to redeem the mess that you've made, and you wonder if anyone would care if you just walked... away...
i want to tell you some things. 
First of all - drop it all.  Drop all those crazy expectations you held on to - all the things you were supposed to do or be.  Drop your parent's antagonistic behaviour, your siblings judgements, your friend's impatience...  You are who He created you to be - and because of Him... you are able.  You're gonna need to cling to Him.  And you're gonna need to drop it all in order to cling.  The accusations will come - even years, decades from now -  like flaming arrows, but the only place you're gonna be safe is in His arms.  There is so much yet to see & learn there.  You'll see that He's faithful.  You'll see that He loves you.  You'll see that you... yes you... are His very workmanship - created with a purpose in mind. 
& yes... undoubtedly your past failings will get thrown at you like dirty rags serving as an attempt to distract you.  Don't be distracted.  Remember where you came from because it will make you His tender servant - but refuse to be bound by your past because He set you free from it. 
Learn to recognize grief for your actions, and separate it from the shame that wants you destroyed. 
You can do this. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

blogging with honesty

Hey Paige?  Writing angsty blog posts & then leaving them all to sit in all their mellow dramatic glory in your drafts folder isn't exactly blogging... but whatever... that's beside the point. 

The best writing probably has to thank the words that were not written (or that were deleted in time... or put in the purgatory of a "drafts" folder...).

Blogging can be tricky business - especially when your blog becomes for you a seeking place, a sharing place, a growing place.

It can be tempting to manipulate situations or want to be seen only in a certain light...
It can be tempting to omit the unpleasant - or to dwell blindly on *self*... It can be tempting to be cryptic or vomit a bitter spew of honesty... These are all things i strongly dislike. 

It's such a delicate, tender balance, isn't it? - & there are so many who walk that road so deliberately & inspiringly.
There is so much to learn, isn't there?

It seems crazy to me that i've been blogging these 5 years already... & in that time, i guess there are a few observations that i have found to hold some truth in blogging the tougher stuff, the growing stuff, the tender subjects that have the potential to wound.. or tear down what required a gentle building up and mending...

One thing that i've done in those situations is to imagine someone that i respect and admire holding the opposite view.  This is often very easy for me, since i know so many amazing individuals with differing opinions... i give them a voice in my head... what might they say that is reasonable and true?  How might they respond to the words i've chosen?  What would wound, what would convict, what could i say that would best represent the One i long to be like? Of course, i don't always know what they would say, i'm human and i'll make mistakes - and there are times where people will just plain disagree, but it gives me a more graceful starting point if i try first to understand. 

The second thing that i try to do when i'm faced with uncertainty is to rip a post apart and work on each thought as an individual entity.  i start with the piece that i know to be the most true (with whatever small amount of wisdom that God has given) - and proceed from there. 

The final thing... is probably the most important... i wanna be teachable, correctable.  i've noticed it helps me to receive correction in writing, rather than verbally (*love* challenging, thoughtfully worded comments!)  i find i'm better able to sort out my own feelings to find what is true. i can pray about it & see if there is validity in what someone else is saying to me... (& sometimes, i'll find that it's just an attack & there is no truth - or other times, i'll find that there is truth & i need to respond accordingly).  But regardless, when a rebuke comes - verbally, in writing, by insinuation or accusation, i want my response to be to look inward - not retaliation, but reflection... it's my *goal* :) 

Anyway, a question that someone emailed me ages ago got me thinking on this topic & most of this post has been sitting in my drafts box since then... & then i read a thoughtfully worded blog post on what could be a tougher topic posted awhile ago (ahem... cairo), & i still didn't share, but maybe i will now.

What are your thoughts on blogging with honesty?

Monday, February 6, 2012

joy's birthday

i don't think i have ever in my life experienced the kind of high i had the day Gagey was born.  i had struggled with anxiety in his pregnancy (more than any other) - & as i held him in my arms, i felt like i could explode with gratitude. 
Cai remembers how i wouldn't let anyone else hold him... My face felt like it would crack from delirious cackling joy... & i wrapped & re-wrapped this tiny bundle who felt like a luxurious, extravagant gift.  i counted fingers and toes... i gently pulled down his expressive lips, and looked and his pink toothless gums. 
God has never allowed me to forget that joy.  Still, 4 years later some nights as sleep is coming on, i tap Neil's shoulder & tearfully whisper, "thank you" for relenting and allowing those bonus boys who might never have been. 
& i grin as i think of the boy my Father created for me to mother... His gentle smile, his soft heart and enormous belly laugh. 

& my gratitude heaves and crashes on the shore...

bonus boys sleeping beside our bed

Happy 4th birthday, sunshine boy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Health Care Charities

Quite the week with all the uproar on the web about the Susan G. Komen Foundations supposed pull, then not pull - of funds to Planned Parenthood. 
i'll be honest here:  i'm obviously not a fan of Planned Parenthood - but here's the naked truth... i'm also not usually a fan of health care charities either.  Neil & i made a decision several years ago to be extremely careful about donating funds to health care charities in light of their overwhelming support & lobbying of government for embryonic stem cell research. 
Don't get me wrong... i want to see a cure for cancer, for diabetes, for kidney disease... i don't want to see my family or friends suffer with illness and death... but i think the creation and destruction of tiny innocent lives is too great a cost. 
i do. 
& i'm sorry if that seems cruel or sanctimonious... i know that a lot of people would roll their eyes at a statement like that, but when we begin to weigh the value of one human life against another, we've just gone too far. 
Apparently, the SGK Foundation had decided this past November to stop funding embryonic stem cell research centers too - & this seems to me to be an indication that there are more people like Neil & i - who are choosing to be careful about health care charities until health care charities are willing to be more careful about created life. 
This isn't political, it's a discussion about who we want to be as a society - and what kind of culture we're creating to pass down to our little ones. 
Each life is precious.  The little girl battling cancer, the unwanted child in the womb, the elderly man who has lost his will to live, and the teenager who is so depressed that he's begging to die.  Let's not become a culture that applauds killing in the name of comforts or cures... It's shameful to be so passionate about the pain of one human being that we advocate the destruction of another...

Friday, February 3, 2012

in the hearth

The bleak light from the cloud covered sun slips through her windows and lays a dappled print upon her floor. 
It is nearly evening.  He has been gone many, many days. 
They provided against his absence with heaps of wood  - food for the Homefire that ever blazes in the safety of their hearth - and she feeds it, watching carefully amidst the day's glories and pain.  The children are clean and happy - two little ones rolling like puppies on the rug in front of her, an older one in her lap with a heavy head upon her shoulder.  There is a pair whispering over the thick pages of a treasured book and another pair carrying on a secret meeting under the kitchen's sturdy table. 
The wind attempts to climb down the chimney, but the heat from the hearth refuses to allow it - it gently chides the icy threatening howl with it's blast of warmth, and those within are protected from winter's chill. 
As the sun sinks ever lower, in a last brilliant display of twinkling, dwindling daylight, night climbs into the sky to take it's place. 
There is a sudden sinister rap at the window, causing the children to jump. 
The flash of an eye in the window, before the beating on the door. 
With a sigh, the mama recognizes the voice of her neighbour calling out to her from the dark. 
The door is opened; and cunningly disguised as concern, the questions appear... tired, old questions, always in different wrapping paper... always containing the same poison...
"Don't you think he probably gets lonely when he's away for so very, very long?"  the voice whispers... "i know my husband likes to be closer to us - yours must not mind being away from the warmth of the hearth... i know i wouldn't allow..."
Crafty eyes peer behind her - into the dim comfort of her home.  Children blink wearily, ready for sleep as the neighbour's eyes take their time roaming around the one room home.
The neighbour finishes her call, and hurries back to her own homefire, and the mama gratefully closes the door behind her. 
As her little ones pull their nightclothes over tiny blonde heads, she kneels at the hearth, and with the palm of her hand, touches it's very edges.  It's hot.  It's covered in soot and ash - evidence of it's daily use.  She rubs clean the corner where the night they wed, he scraped their names into the stone with happy, broad strokes.
Deep in thought, she is startled by the click of the door shutting behind her.  His face is wild and woolly and his eyes are twinkling at finding her leaning into the fire, palm upon the hearth.  Tired children no longer, as the tiny hut fills with squeals of delight and laughter...
Little ones cling to his arms and tug on his boots - willing his stay to be long and his absences less frequent...  He glances at the Homefire, bobbing merrily in the hearth - and adds another stick to the blaze.

read HOMEFIRES here. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

toilet paper

Ahh, it's the little things in life that bring clarity to the big sometimes, isn't it? 

He had called me, but i missed it so i called him back, but he didn't answer, so he called me again & i missed it again, & finally i caught him when i parked our monster van at the college dropping off my big girls for violin. 

& i don't know why his voice is all warm sounding over the phone... the deep richness of it in my ear was enough to make me feel just a little bit desperate.  We talked about our day and i ended by saying, "ya, the toilet paper situation is pretty grim over here..."

i had found the last roll hidden in a sodden mess under a dripping hand towel before we left.  And i don't know what i expected, giving my husband this information.  Did i think he was going to fly home and pick some up?  Was i more likely hoping for some sympathy & crooning love & attention?  Was i hoping he would feel bad that there was so much to do & so little of me?

Instead, i heard the familiar smile in his voice & he asked, "Babe, don't you know how to go to the store & buy some?"

Fleshy, from the gut, stomping foot feeling of selfish wrath....

'Cause i wanna be coddled & cared for.  i felt like Ephraim feels when he's denied my arms, reaching & crying for what would bring him comfort.

i didn't want to go buy toilet paper.  

But i did it anyway, because 8 people in a house with no toilet paper is so totally not a good idea.  i scrounged around for a loonie, knowing i should probably grab few other things too & i'd need a cart.  i picked, "that cart"... you know the one that you only pick when you're already a little bit angry?  It's the one that can't turn corners & makes a loud rumbling sound every time you try to turn one, using all your body weight, till you feel like it might just be easier to hoist the whole thing on your back as you peruse the dried fruits.  i found out that 7pm is a popular time for couples to go shopping, as that was pretty much all i saw as i picked through the oranges, remembering my sweet honey boy asking me with his hopeful blue eyes several times this week, "morange?"

"WHY?" i asked no one in particular... maybe it was a prayer... maybe i was just asking myself... but i raged on... "why does my husband have to be gone so much?  i'm not the type of girl who loves her independence.  i like it when he's close, when i can feel him, smell him... i like when he helps me, when i have someone i can lean on, when we do things together..."

& over the muffled speakers playing ancient muzak, came suddenly the familiar strain of Phil Collins... i kid you not...

& i felt just the gentlest rebuke...

Gentle, because i know i've been doing the best that i can... but a rebuke none the less because my love for Neil is big enough to carry the home side.  My love is big enough to cover these absences, my love is strong enough to get in that huge van and *go* and *do*... when i want to *stop*.  My love is selfless enough to see the bigger picture... & wise enough to know when to cheer instead of whine...

& i know that i know that i know... that this isn't something that i'm to rule over.  i know that these travelling days are pruning some ugliness, growing some beauty and teaching me to run to the arms of my Father.  i know that i'm supposed to resist that temptation to control.  i know that i'm to tend to my teeny garden of children.  i know that i'm to bring my beloved - carrying him in my very arms, to my Saviour...
i have my assignment - & last night...

it included buying toilet paper. 


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