Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm searching for purpose in writing here again.

Haven't lost inspiration. Just nerve.

On one hand, I hope people read it.

On the other hand, I hope it's people I don't know - so I can speak my mind.


I know.

Tell me about it.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Today, my stony heart has been cracked. As though tapped with some sort of magical tool. One that can penetrate even the hardest of hearts. The swell of emotions that threatened me had to be re-routed, ignored, pushed down - and still it's on the brink of overflow. I have been distracted by it all day. What happened?

I was forgiven.

And old friend contacted me today. Completely out of the blue. A name I hadn't heard in 15 years - and didn't expect to hear ever again. But, the name alone conjured up a mix of wonderful and difficult memories. A relationship started in innocence, and then twisted and ravaged by cruelty, hurt, resentment... and then ended in deafening silence. Time didn't heal this wound. This wound that I inflicted on another... and on myself.

It was a brief, pleasant... and straight to the point conversation.
"I hurt you. I'm sorry"
"You hurt me too... and I forgive you."

Forgave me.

The words echo in my mind. A simple, short relationship. Long time ago. Long forgotten. No one remembers me from back then. I didn't matter. I meant nothing.

"You hurt me."

The words didn't accuse... they weren't meant to harm or blame. It was a fact. I'd hurt someone. Me. The wallflower. The free-spirit. I'd been careless... unthoughtful... even hurtful... I caused real pain. I was stunned. Me? I was free-falling.
But before guilt could kick in and do it's damning work... the words that followed...

"I forgive you."

Immediately I was saved. Snatched from the free-fall. I was safe.
I was safe, and didn't deserve it. I was at the mercy of the forgiver.
And, then. It was over. The conversation was done as quickly as it had started.

My mind has been restless. The wrinkle in my forehead (the one I get when I think too hard) had moved in - threatening to stay permanently. I was distracted. Calm. Serene. Peaceful. Distant. And, every once in a while - misty-eyed.

I had mistakenly believed that I was the only one wounded. I was the one being challenged to forgive. I suffered. Me! I was preparing myself to "grant forgiveness" to those who had caused me to suffer. I had a list! I'd been praying about it... reading about it.

But first... God wanted me to experience forgiveness. Reminding me of my own participation in life's cruel games. Reminding me that I too, had been a player.

And, today - I was forgiven.

Today, because of an old friend - an unlikely connection... I am understanding just a little more about forgiveness.
I am humbled.
I am not worthy.
But I am forgiven.

And my stony heart is broken.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


I've been making biscuits a lot lately. I make the world's best buns - two kinds! But lately the simplicity of making biscuits has appealed to me. I've served them at breakfasts, lunches and suppers... and never without complaint!

I suppose my switch to simple, uncomplicated, delightful, homey biscuits is a reflection of just how things are going at home.

Homeschool has started... and with it, excitement with new books, delight in learning something new. But after all these years of homeschooling, this year I've decided to try a new approach. Instead of the "six-subject-days", I've decided to work on one subject at a time. The worries about retention levels went out the window when I discussed with my sister her success in homeschooling her eight kids. (One of whom graduated Magna Cum Laude in University.) She has her kids work on one subject - finishing 10 pages per day. And mine are too.

My kids toddle off to their study area of choice - a bed, a well-lit desk, or the dining room table - and count out their ten pages. And, as new concepts challenge them, they come to me with questions. Homeschool can be done in about 3-4 hours for a typical student. Longer for those where cursed with my inability to sit still and think about anything for too long.

But homeschool isn't the only place where simplicity is settling things down.

Breakfasts are at exactly the same time every morning. I write the menu on the kitchen chalkboard so that the kids will have a clue what to set the table with. Lunches are identical - sandwiches, veggies and fruit - and a granola bar or dried fruit treat. Suppers are quick, uncomplicated 3-4 menu items.

Chores (or duties) are listed in my household notebook with some detail about my expectation for how they are to be finished. Perfection isn't required, but great effort is certainly appreciated.

Our schedule has been simplified as well. One church event mid-week. One skill-builder (piano lessons will start soon). One apprenticeship (trade preparation for "real life"). That's it.

My interests - arts and academia - are pursued when homeschool is "out". Fitting my fitness in is my next challenge.

Simplicity. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. It's as easy as biscuits. Fewer ingredients, less time in the kitchen, more time enjoying the product of your work.

Here's my recipe:

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup frozen butter (use cheese grater to "cut" butter)

1 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together. Toss in grated butter. Toss lightly. Add very cold milk. Stir with fork until just blended. Toss dough onto floured board. Knead 10 times. (Any more and you'll have tough biscuits - and you want to keep the dough very cold.) Roll out to 3/4 inch thick. Place on ungreased cookie sheet in a preheated 400F oven. Bake for 12 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serve plain, with butter, jelly or sausage gravy!

To reheat biscuits, place on a cookie sheet and cover with aluminum foil in a 350F oven for 10 minutes. (Microwave makes them soggy, uncovered makes them dry and hard.) Baking fresh biscuits is so easy, re-heating yesterday's seems hardly worth it.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's been stifling hot this August. Not hot in the traditional "it's 100 degrees outside" - for it's only been in the nineties. But - Canadians generally don't have air-conditioning in their homes, and even churches and stores. It's been a humid 90 degrees for a few days. The sun goes down, but the air hasn't moved in weeks.

So, it's been hot.

Today was especially overbearing - the rain was threatening to come - but first we had to endure thick, oppressive, stuffy humidity.

The last several nights we've slept with just sheets leaving the doors and windows open. The kids have called me into their rooms late at night asking me how they can cool off, and wishing that they too had a ceiling fan in their rooms like Derek and me.
But - I reminded them - we also live on the second floor. It's even hotter up there.

Tonight as the sun was setting between the clouds, a huge rainbow lit up in the sky. And not just one or two - but as our family gathered on the porch, we counted four rainbows in one and then another a significant distance above that. FIVE rainbows! Glorious!

I stayed outside a moment longer and relished in the cool breeze flowing over the mountain. The rain is coming - and with it - relief!

My weeping willow tree is moving for the first time in what seems like ages.

I've realized that I'm still a cold-weather person. I've never acclamated to the regions I lived in - Arizona, Arkansas and California - because I stayed where it was air-conditioned and was careful to never be caught in heat's immobilizing trap. I remember rushing to the van and cranking up the air-conditioning as high as it would go and praying it would just hurry up as it blew my hair back. And, within a few miles it would deliver. And the walk from the van to the store seemed like the green-mile, but when the doors parted, the air-conditioned blast was ever-so- welcoming. And in reverse, the walk to the van was hot and brisk and the desperate rush to get the air-conditioning going again was on...

Most of the year here has been without the need for air-conditioners. Even on hot days you can step into the shade and find the relief you're looking for. Or, if you still find it too oppressive, there's always a body of water a quarter of a mile away - whether it be a river, lake or ocean. And no matter how hot the day, the breeze off the ocean is always the right temperature.
So, I'm not complaining in the traditional sense. I think I might be appreciating the rest of the year through the lens of these few weeks.

I lamented that I didn't have enough memory on my camera left to take a picture of that rainbow. I was reminded that I could use my cellphone to take a picture and so I did. And walked away. A few minutes later as I prepared to send the picture to my mailbox, I realized I had failed to "save" the picture... and rushed out to take another snapshot of the rainbow...
But the rainbow was faded and nearly gone - and now just a memory...

All of our doors and windows are open this evening. We're sure we're going to freeze and have to get up in the middle of the night to close up the house. But that will be a welcome relief.
We'll all return to our beds and pull the comforters up from the bottom of our beds...
And snuggle in their warmth.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm writing to you from my newly assembled armoire/desk in the living room. Yes. I know. Exciting stuff.

I've been going through a sort of "gotta get rid of it" phase in my life. I'm clearing all sorts of things out. Furniture, extra clothes and toys, cat toys and condo, and soon I'll be clearing my art studio too.

There's nothing as difficult as facing a heap of "stuff" and realizing that you've shuffled it around the house several times in a winter-long phase of avoidance. My art studio had become a dumping ground. Anything the kids didn't know what to do with landed on my table or desk. I've had several projects in the last few months (baby showers, wedding showers, bible camps) and it's left my creative space in a wreck.

I lamented this to Derek and told him of my plan to turn the hallway built-in bookshelf into a family computer area. It would hold everything including the office supplies and need only a few things to get it up and running. Things like electricity and lighting.

He talked me out of it. Smart fella.

I settled for a new armoire in my living room. (I like my electronics to be hidden. It's this thing I have.) The other thing about having the computer in the living room is that it's a safe-zone for the family. Keeping the computer in plain sight keeps temptation for looking or listening to anything unworthy at bay.

So, Derek bought and assembled my armoire right away. I've since hit the dollar store and organized the entire piece of furniture to death. A dry-erase and cork-board to my left. Two wire baskets (holding post-it's, scissors and pens) hanging to my right. Below that is my monthly menu on a clipboard. A funky little desk lamp installed. Bamboo pencil case, hooks, etc. I love it. My kids think I'm nuts.

But this organizing/nesting thing has been going on for some time. The last time all of my laundry was done, I did more than fold my clothes and put them away... I hung all my outfits on hangers by colour. Even my t-shirts are organized by colour.

I might be losing my mind. (But it sure is fun!)

So, my little white board tells me I still have to finish the bedroom, plan our vacation and relocate all our homeschool materials to the main floor bookshelf. Can't wait!

Maybe with all things organized and in their places, I'll spend more time blogging. Wouldn't that be nice?

But first... I need to alphabetize my spices again.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


Granola Syndrome.

GDD (Granola Delusional Disorder)

I don't know what I have, but apparently it's contagious.

I was blending smoothies when my husband came home with the following:

  • apples (okay, that's normal... but read on)

  • strawberries (lucky me!)

  • pineapple (yummo... but read on, it get's weirder)

  • dried mango (ya feel me?)

  • vegan, low sodium, no transfat trail mix with dried fruit (yah.)

  • two tire tubes for his bike (which he will be riding to work from now on)

And then he said the following:

"Oh! I forgot the Yogurt!"

We're finally taking a turn for the healthier. My husband recently found out he has really, really, rediculously high blood pressure. He's fit as a fiddle... "has the body of a god" as they say. (I do too... Bhudda.) We've decided to quit complaining and do something about it.

I've been working out 5 days a week, controlling my refined sugar intake... and he's been controlling his sodium intake. I've lost a few pounds... and he's dropped a few points.

So, these granolas might be on to something.

Just hope their fashion-sense isn't contagious too.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

I think I'm turning into a "granola".

"What's a granola?" you ask.

A granola is what I started calling those strange northwesterners who wore earthy-toned clothes, toques (beanies, or knitted winter hats for my American friends) year round, they ride their bikes instead of taking a car, grow their own vegitation instead of buying from the local grocer, wash, sort, recycle and compost everything instead of smashing it all into a green trashbag, they eat granola... with soymilk for the sheer pleasure of it. They've been known to hug trees. And, they probably like tofu.

A granola.

So... I think I'm turning into a granola.

This morning, I woke up and peered out my bedroom window to see that we had been blessed nearly a foot of snow. Yes. In mid-April. It's a wonderland! But, my first thoughts went to my garden and my bushes. My rhodos (formerly known as "the big bush in the back with the huge pink flowers") were bent over under the strain of the heavy, wet snow. I grabbed my robe and shuffled to the den to see a big-picture window view of my neighbour's yard... snow EVERYWHERE. Thick, heavy, white and quiet. Beautiful. I looked down... my fluffy white "what's it called" bush was nearly flattened. My eyebrows krinkled together in concern.

I made my way to the studio and peered toward the mountain past my weeping willow tree. Covered. The mountain, every tree, every rooftop, the road... and... then I saw it.

My weeping willow tree lost a major limb and was laying half-in my driveway. I rushed downstairs to the living room for a better look... It's my favourite branch... the one we drive under and pretend it's a carwash... as it tickles our car when we pull in our out of our house. Gone. And I was... sad. I was sad for the tree. What the mess? What's happening to me?

I got dressed, put on layers of socks and headed outside. I grabbed a rake from the garden shed and went around the yard knocking the heavy snow from off of my bushes. It was so pretty to look at... the snow covered flowers and spring bushes... but I knew that while the young bushes would recover, the older bushes might just snap under the strain.

I was out in my yard... saving the trees.

When I returned to the house, I shook off the snow and put things away. And, I found myself going on and on about how sad I was to lose that limb. Derek seemed sympathetic to how I felt, but rather unconcerned for the tree. He was just trying to figure out how to get it out of the driveway.

I wondered what could be done with the wood... the long, willowy branches. Could I make something? Is weeping willow tree wood any good for anything? I was starting to sound like a granola. Recycle, reuse. What would the Indians have done?

I'm still rather upset about the tree. But, I've gathered my senses. A friend is going to bring his chainsaw and help us cut up the limb and haul it off.

So... I made my way to the kitchen and toasted some whole wheat toast and made a cup of organic tea for breakfast.

The teabag wrapper went into the recycle bin, the teabag went into my compost.

Granola anyone?


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Being sick isn't even remotely cute.

A few days ago, I woke up with a "rattle" in my chest. Nothing big. Didn't stop me from going to work. Or to Seattle for that matter.

A few days later and I'm a coughing, wheezing, sneezing, ear-popping, red-nosed, feverish snot factory.

Take yesterday for example: My husband's been busy since I've been home, so he'd only popped in a few times to see me. And when he did I'd do my best to straighten up and be presentable.

But who am I kidding? There was nothing cute about sitting in pajamas among a foot-deep pile of used kleenexes. And, all the Menthol Halls candy in the world probably didn't do a thing for "sick breath". I'd taken showers to clear my head, but I hadn't done my hair... so frankly my reddish/brownish curly hair resembled that of an orangutan that lost a fight. But, I pulled it behind my ears and smiled sheepishly past my chapped nose and said something sweet to my husband who asked if I need anything.

When my nose wasn't runny, it decided it was done working all together and stopped up. The only relief in that is that the sneezing stopped. But I'd rather have sneezed than have breathed through my mouth with the wheeze that came from my chest... I'm afraid I'd started to sound like one of those walking trees in The Lord of The Rings.

So, I popped off the cap of my Drixoral nasal spray. I jammed the spray nozzle up my chapped nostril just in time to see my husband walk in. Nozzle in, I smiled sweetly and blasted two cold shots up that side, and quickly pinch my nose and put my head back. Other side. And, head back. Got it. Stuff worked in seconds. Amazing! But, man it was bitter as it slid down the back of my throat. I spit the goo into a tissue and began a coughing fit. I hacked and wheezed like I've been smoking non-filtered Camels my whole life. And it was done. Sweet husband took the dirty laundry downstairs without uttering a word.

I retreated to my den and tidied up. It's then I realized I should have taken stock in Kleenex brand. Wondered out loud if I should recycle them?

I wrapped myself in my red, sparkly blanket and set myself up for hours of channel flipping. There is nothing good on Saturday nights.

I went to bed only a few minutes before Derek. He was downstairs doing the dishes. When I crawled into bed, I could breathe, so I didn't think to check how long the Drixoral was going to last. It lasted up until about 2:30 or 3am. I coughed throughout the night. Knocked over a few things on my nightstand as I blindly reached for kleenex. When the coughing fit was over, I'd sit up and groan. Disoriented, I'd force myself to lay down again... only to repeat the ordeal every half hour or so.

I woke up this morning in a sweat. My fever had broken some time early in the morning. My pillow was wet, but my mouth was dry... the roof of it grainy and my tongue felt like leather. It took me a minute to realize that I had slept with my mouth open all night. THAT must have been delightful - sleeping next to Darth Vader-turned JAWS. I'm surprised Derek didn't pop in some winter-fresh gum and force my mouth closed!

I think it's days like these that my husband must really really love me. He must pull from this deep well of affection to put up with a drippy, red-nosed, green-eyed, orangutan-resembling shell of a wife. Because... there's nothing cute about being sick.

Now excuse my while I sneeze.

Thank you.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

I've been a bit of a spaz today. Before I got to work, my boss called and let me know there was very little to do... so I could open shoppe myself and fire up the ovens. Only 11 pies this morning. Two Coconut Cream, 2 Banana Cream, 3 Strawberry Rhubarb and 2 Apple Crumble, 2 Lemon Mirangue. No problem. Bake the shells. Bake two extra. Set out the pastry. Got it. I was gonna get out early today!

So I promptly started the apples. Prepped the 8 pie shells I needed to bake... popped them into the oven. Opened a new box of frozen fresh apples. Things were moving fast! I was deep into it when I suddenly realized I was boiling apples to make THREE - not two apple pies! Ack! I moved forward hoping the extra pie would sell. Grabbed another pastry from the freezer to make up for it.

Moved along to the Strawberry Rhubarb. No problem. Three pies. Got it.

Moved along to make the cream pies. Two of each. Made the puddings and grabbed the bananas. And peeled enough for THREE banana cream pies before I had realized I was only supposed to peel enough for two! ACK! (Again!) Made two coconut cream and THREE! banana cream. Hoped the extra pie would sell. Grabbed yet another pastry from the freezer to make up for it.

Baked the two extra pastries.

Made the Lemon Mirange pies. No problem. Beautiful mounds of fluffy mirangue... and... what's that? I baked two extra pie shells for nothing. I had started out with the right number of shells in the first place. ACK! Hope we can use them for tomorrow.

I offered to buy one. Making a chocolate cream pie at home today. Just for the fun of it.

Starting to wonder if I have some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder with the number 3.

Starting to wonder if I have some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder with the number 3.

Starting to wonder if I have some kind of... oh. Hehe.

I have a hard time remembering words. Today in the middle of Costco with my son I found myself pointing and asking him to grab that "what's it called?" Lemonaide. ERGH.

I think my mind is on some kind of hiadas.

I think my son might have been "touched" by my... what's the word? I dunno.

Today after his very first Chiropractor appointment, he was telling me how amazing it was that the doctor would touch his neck (he gestures to his neck) and it would fix his elbow (he gestures to his ankle). Huh?! We both started laughing.

He said it was time to take analogy classes again.

"You mean anatomy?"


We started laughing all over again.

Yes. My son is touched too.

Good thing we're not rocket surgeons.


Friday, March 28, 2008

There's really no excuse for not being here. I just didn't want to write.
My mind is so full of thoughts and ideas... but my heart just hasn't been into it.

Until today.

I was going to tinker in my garden today... under the promise of sunshine. But... when I woke up this morning... and glanced through the blinds... I gazed upon my neighbour's snow-covered roof. Sigh. My brave early blooming flowers are shivering under a blanket of snow. And, I am sitting in my warm studio with the kettle brewing.

I'm stalling.

I'll tell you what's really going on.

Since I've been in Canada - 10 months, now... I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have had such - traumatic? - experiences in churches past, that I have been holding my breath - wondering if or when we'll get canned - again. I've been holding back. Waiting. I haven't deleved into ministry like I usually do. I've certainly helped my husband with his... but I haven't jumpstarted my own like I usually do in a new place. I've waited. Wondering what God has in store... but at the same time... wondering if it's all too good to be true.

Utter faithlessness disguised as self-preservation.

Last night during our young adult bible study, I let my mind wander for a minute. I was faced with my very personal struggle... and I forced myself to define it.

Early in our ministries I kept myself guarded from real, intimate relationships with people around me. I suppose it really wasn't anything more than just the fact that I wasn't mature enough to know exactly how to handle it. Nothing sinister... just half-grown. (How absolutely ineffective was I?) Later on, I dropped the "act". I was ready. And... just like any other human being on the planet... I discovered both immeasurable joy and devistating pain in those flawed relationships. I've nursed the hurts long enough. I'm over it. And, I think I might be ready again for real heart-to-heart ministry.

This is where the revelation interrupts my thinking last night... and sheds light on my actual struggle. It isn't with flesh and blood. It isn't even with the churches. My personal relationship with God has suffered through all of this. I have remained faithful TO Him, but am no longer intimate WITH Him. I have continued in His service, but have neglected to continue in my dialogue with Him. Not completely. Not intentionally. But - the effects have been the same.

My fear that the other shoe will drop has less to do with the church that I am working with... and more to do with my lack of faith in the God I serve.

So, a preacher's wife has a lack of faith? She struggles with intimacy with her Creator? You bet. Satan's been busy. I've been distracted. I've been running on fumes. I've been... maybe... a little bit self-absorbed. And, now... I risk being absolutely ineffective in the work He has planned out for me. And no work right now is as important as restoring my faith in my God.

So, it's no wonder that God has placed us in ministry in a place where there are no real expectations of me. (I was confused for a while, thinking it would just take time to realize what my special ministry was.) God wants me to re-introduce myself to Him. He's given me the time. He's taken me to a small island, filled with His beauty. He's surrounded me with people who have incredible patience and understanding. He's even sprinkled the congregation with former preachers' and elders' wives who completely understand... and have reached out to me.

And 10 months later... my stubborn soul has just come to realize it.

The other shoe isn't going to drop. I am safe in His care. Right here, right now. Always have been.

So... that's what's been on my mind. I've been restless. Uneasy. Until today. Now I know what to do. And I can't wait to get started. Guess it's good that it's snowing... my water's boiling and my bible is waiting.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Job asks: "Where is wisdom?"

28:1 “Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they refine.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from the ore.
3 Man puts an end to darkness and searches out to the farthest limit the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4 He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;they are forgotten by travelers; they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread, but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
6 Its stones are the place of sapphires, [2]and it has dust of gold.
7 “That path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
8 The proud beasts have not trodden it; the lion has not passed over it.
9 “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12 “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 “From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say,‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
23 “God understands the way to it,and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man,‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”