Wednesday, October 30, 2013


These past few months seem to have flown by so quickly...and have been packed so full!

In the midst of it, I've paused to enjoy some beautiful sunsets, gorgeous waterfalls, the crunch of crisp autumn leaves. The colours of fall never cease to fill my heart with joy at the glory of God.

I was reading Ann Voskamp's blog (again) today, and so appreciated what she had to say about leaves and the love of God.

I am blessed by gifts every day, and I want to capture their beauty, even just for a moment, to remember: a freshly baked cookie, an orange pumpkin, a smile and a prayer with someone who is hurting, a beautiful melody dancing with its harmonic equal, a blazing fire making a cold day cozy, warm lips pressed against mine, knitted mittens on a crisp autumn morning...
I breathe in the presence of God and exhale gratitude.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

.a life well lived.

This has been a full month.
Work is back up and running full swing - including 3 3-day retreats at Camp Crossroads. They were fantastic, yet exhausting, but totally worth it.
Just before retreats began, my grandmother passed away. It was good to celebrate her very full life. She was a remarkable woman.
I love this shot of my grandparents on their wedding day

So stylin'! I love grandma's hat!

I know that at funerals people always speak of all the accomplishments and impact of the person whose life you're celebrating, but wow did my grandma ever set the bar high! I hope that when my time comes people will be able to speak of how my life was lived for the glory of God and celebrate the ways in which he worked through me. I want to live life to the full, not for myself, but for him.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Summer has flown by. It's been a good season, but also pock-marked with some sadness. What keeps coming to my mind is God's goodness in it all. What other choice is there, but to trust in Him? He has shown himself to be Good time and time again, and we can trust that he will continue to be Good and Faithful and Healer and Freedom and Peace and Life and Joy. And what a joy it truly is to watch him at work in my life, and in many lives around me.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


If people were like mosquitos, I'd be super popular and never left alone. Can't mosquitos appreciate that the feeling isn't mutual?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Often I feel alone.
I know this is a lie, but sometimes it's hard to shake that feeling. And loneliness is such a miserable feeling.
God keeps reminding me that I'm not alone, even when I'm physically alone. It's a pretty beautiful thing. And if people walking past me see me laughing and think I'm crazy, so be it.
Oh, how I need these reminders. And how blessed I am to be the recipient of love from a God who cares.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

.I am from.

I am from kilts and haggis and from the true north.

I am from parks and bridges, from beaches, lakes and rivers.

I am from weeping willows, swing sets, teeter-totters, and a whistle calling me home for dinner.

I am from summer days of swimming, from riding bicycles, from scraped knees, and from sunburns.

I am from books and flashlights under covers, from secret knocks on bedroom walls, and slaying monsters under the bed.

I am from rolling down hills, from stepping stones across the river, from climbing the crab-apple tree and hiding in her branches, and from hide-the-penny at grandma and grandpa's.

I am from knowing by heart, from hands on hips expounding proverbs, from roller skates on kitchen floors.

I am from suitcases of books on vacation, from Adventures in Odyssey, and from "are we there yet?"

I am from asking and learning, from practicing piano and braiding hair.

I am from the smell of freshly baked bread and cinnamon buns, from peanut butter cookies and rice krispie squares.

I am from tobogganing, skating, and cross-country skiing, from frozen toes, hot chocolate and gingerbread houses.

I am from "think before you speak" and "be kind to one another."

I am from family games nights, from popcorn, from devouring books, from shared memories both fictional and real, and from laughter.

I am from exploring and traveling, from new tastes and smells and sights.

I am from making new friends and savouring the old.

I am from dreaming, from delight and hope, from faith and peace.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

.briefs thoughts on community.

This isn't a new topic of thought for me by any fact, I wonder if people are sick of me talking about it.
Truthfully, I'm getting sick of talking about it. I want to live it.
What could it look like to live in community, here in St. Catharines, in 2013?
How can we be intentionally invested in each others' lives?
I think loneliness is an epidemic, and that even people who are constantly surrounded by others still feel alone.
How do we combat this? By living in authentic, vulnerable, risky, intimate relationships with each other.
I know that we are created in the image of a relational, communal God, and that as such we must live in communal relationships to be fully ourselves.
So why is it so difficult? (especially when it's something that I believe everyone craves as a core need.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

.note to self.

McDonald's and circuit training do not cancel each other out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

.St. Patrick's Day.

In light of St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to share my favourite part of it. (Although, homemade Irish stew and soda bread with Magners was a good way to celebrate too. And watching Once.)

"...I do not know how to provide for the future. But this I know for certain: that...I was like a stone that had fallen into a deep mire. And He Who is mighty came and in His mercy picked me up and indeed lifted me high to place me on top of the wall...Who was it that lifted up me -stupid me -from the middle of those who seemed to be wise and skilled in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all matters? And Who was it that inspired me -me! -above others to be such a person (if only I were!) as could do good faithfully -in gear and reverence and without complaint -to that people to whom Christ's love transported me and gave me: if I should prove worthy in short to be of service to them in humility and truth? Consequently, I take this to be a measure of my faith in the Trinity that, without regard to danger, I make known God's gift and the eternal comfort He provides: that I spread God's name everywhere dutifully and without fear; so that after my death I may have a legacy to so many thousands of people...whom I have baptised in the Lord."
~St. Patrick's Confession, fifth century

Almost 8 years ago I copied that confession into my journal, sitting on the floor of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. (Probably that's a major faux pas, sitting on the floor, but it was the only place where I could read the plaque and write it down at the same time.) I love that confession...and hope that it is true for me too. So beautiful.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

.beautiful thoughts.

I just read a book called "The Clear Light of Day" by Penelope Wilcock. The plot is virtually non-existent and predictable, but is the necessary framework for some delightful insights. A few of the characters have great conversations and beautiful thoughts, so I thought I'd share a few quotes here.

 "I believe in the stories you hear of people who died and were resuscitated. Those stories about a long tunnel leading up to the light. And the light is full of love and truth. I believe that. Light that sears and light that dances, exquisite to take your breath away, blinding bright. Light that could cut like a laser but also nourish and heal and clean like sunshine. I believe in that. And that one day I will find my way home there. Or maybe not. Is that God --what I believe in?"

[Seer Ember explaining her name]
"Seer. 'Tis a word, you know, you a holy woman. One who sees, a seer is. Inside sight. And I expect you come across an ember before today. The embers is all that's left when a fire dies, but the real heat of the fire is there, under the ashes. Embers look like nothing, finished --but woe betide you if you don't treat 'em with respect. 'Seer Ember.' See?...I bow my head to Jesus Christ, for he walked, and he stopped, and he was nailed; he understood the speed of love. Love burns slow. Enduring. But I want my own name. I'm nobody's property. I am what I am, and my name's my own self. Seer Ember. I sit in the ashes now, but I still got a spark, and I know reality when I see it."

"I believe in the mysteries of Christianity, don't mistake me. Where I stand in life I can well see the cross, and I comprehend its power to transform. I see the resurrection, too, how it lies at the heart of things. If a thing is true, then its truth runs through all of the universe; you take soundings anywhere and you'll find the same truth. Every winter and spring, every sunset and sunrise is the melody of resurrection, and the Christ sits at the heart of it like the pip at the heart of the cherry. There's a deep reverence in me for who Christ is; I know him. I know. But when I told you I got no time for the church, I'm speaking about the house of cards that's built on the top of the mysteries. I'm not interested in all of that. It interferes with the nature of things like Victorian corsets interfere with a woman's body. What I live by is the interweaving and interdependence of all life. The vitality of Spirit is in all creation like sap or blood or breath --even in the stones and the dust and the light, everything. So I believe in treading gently; in healing it where it's hurt and holding it where it's in danger; not using up too much, not taking what isn't given. I think I'm not separate from anything that shares life with me; if I hurt you or disrespect you, I diminish myself...We are all one thing, the being of God expressed in creation, most lovable, most profoundly to be adored. To me 'integrity' means the out-living of that oneness in accountability; looking after things, being trustworthy, keeping faith."
"..I suppose what you mean is the relationship between holiness and wholeness. In the Lord's Prayer, 'hallowed be thy name,' the word hallow means holy but comes from the same root as in the Old English greeting wes hal! which means 'be thou whole!' and is the basis for our modern hallow. Healing, completeness, come from the Spirit."
"...I believe we are held in God. It is all sacred because it is held in the mind of God and maintains its being because it is held in the heart of God. We are in God as the save is in the ocean; and God is in us as the ocean is in the wave...
"When I was a child Mother had a text framed...IF GOD FEELS FAR AWAY FROM YOU --WHO MOVED? After Dad and Mother died, I took it down because I never liked it. Because I think if you feel far away from God that's just part of the loneliness of being we all suffer. Maybe it means you need a hug or a cup of tea with a friend or an early night, but it can't possibly mean you moved away from God; I mean, where would you go? 'Whither can I go from thy Spirit?' God wouldn't be God if God had finite being --love you could stray outside of...
I believe every agony, every cruelty, every adversity is a chance to learn wisdom and compassion, a better way. Patience. Like the paintings that show Christ's hands open, with the nails in their palms. Not clenched. Agonized, but open. It isn't how it must have been, physically; it's an icon of the spiritual wisdom of the cross. And even while I'm struggling to explain, I know it doesn't all tie up neat. There's just some things I don't understand. But in my heart I feel it."

"Simplify; small is beautiful; cherish the living earth; bless the community where you live; think globally, act locally; watch your boundaries; choose what is handmade with love; don't eat food you don't like; don't be deprived of firelight; don't take anything seriously; and don't let people get you down."

"Ember, do you pray?"
"I light fires...Anywhere. In the orchard. In the little hearth in my bedroom. At my old place I lit 'em in the garden near the hedge. Under the stars is best. Fires is fragrant, and calls to the Being at the heart of it all. Twig by twig I makes 'em. I takes my time --just little fires we're talking about, not roaring great bonfires. On the burning I lay dried pinecones from the woods and the roadside. Slips of rosemary, dried sage. In the smoke is all my yearnings. Dreams that never came to be. My sense of home. In the smoke is the brown bears, kept in cages, their gallbladders tapped for bile for Chinese medicine. And foxes, running for home, not knowing their earth is blocked by the hunter. And the forests, cut down for loggers and cattle ranchers. And the streams, fouled with factory effluents and sewage corpses. In the smoke is the bluebell woods and the daffodil woods, the brilliance of the moon, and a bird singing after dusk on a warm summer night. The sound of the surf on the shingle, and the wind in the tops of the pines. I sits by the fire, and I says nothing, although sometimes I weep. I'm not sure what deity is, my love; but life is sacred, life is wise. One day, if my smoke finds the way home, and wakes the great Spirit, then the face of life that is death will come speeding silent like a hunting owl, and take the cancer of humanity off this poor, stripped, raped mother Earth, take it silent and quick, no more than a squeak of alarm; and the mountains will have their peace again, and the oceans give back the heavenly blue. The guns and the cars will rust, and the televisions will be quiet at last, and the factories and schools and government buildings will be for the bramble, the rat, and the crow. Is that what you call praying? Or is it just fires?"

"Take quiet time every day. Invite your God. Say, 'God, have you got your full attention on this moment? Good. So have I.' I tell you what isn't prayer, my love. Worrying isn't."

"My experience is limited, but I guess you have to be wary of eloquence. In general, if a man is in love --I mean really, deeply in love --you won't get much more out of him than the bleat of a strangled sheep when he tries to tell you how much he cares for you. Never trust the staying power of a love that can be expressed as 'I adore you, darling!'"

"I had a day when I asked myself, What is it all? What's it for? I remember it, I was standing in the lane that leads off the top of Stoddards Hill, high summer, and I just stood there and listened to the heartbeat of it, and I saw that life held out its hands to me, and that in the very core of it all there is joy. Make no difference that you got to grieve sometimes and these things happen that tear the very gut out of you. Makes no difference. Its heartbeat is joy, and it holds out its hands to you, and the only doorway into it is this living moment. Worry and fear and longing and desire is about living in tomorrow, and grief and bitterness and regret and pain is living in yesterday. Life is joy, and joy is never tomorrow. There is only now. If you ain't living now, why, then, you're dead. And trying to please other people slams the door to joy shut in your face. Walk your own track. Listen to life's voice with your own ears. Don't trust truth in packets, especially the ones got warnings and contracts with 'em. Don't parade your soul around; live quiet and small and simple. Don't blame anybody for what happens, don't ask favours and don't look for approval. There's joy at the middle, but you got to trust things enough to turn your back on the party and choose it."

"To walk with God is an unfolding rhythm of life, a wild music of many moods and tempos, embracing the shadows of doubt and disillusionment and the black dark of despair as well as the sweet blue heavens of joy and affirmation, the glorious sunset colours of the soul moved by beauty, amazed by peace."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

.Ash Wednesday.

Alicia and I went to St. Thomas' Ash Wednesday service this morning and it was good to take time to prepare our hearts for this lenten season. I want to share a quote from the canon's homily.

Fast from judging others. Feast on Christ dwelling in them. 
Fast from seeing differences. Feast on the unity of life.  
Fast from inner darkness. Feast on the reality of light within.  
Fast from thoughts of illness. Feast on the healing power of God. 
Fast from words that pollute. Feast on words that purify. 
Fast from discontent. Feast on gratitude.  
Fast from anger. Feast on patience.  
Fast from pessimism. Feast on optimism.  
Fast from worry. Feast on Divine Providence.
Fast from complaining. Feast on appreciation.  
Fast from negatives. Feast on affirmatives.  
Fast from unrelenting pleasures. Feast on unceasing prayer.  
Fast from hostility. Feast on peace.  
Fast from bitterness. Feast on forgiveness.  
Fast from self-concern. Feast on compassion for others.  
Fast from personal anxiety. Feast on trust.  
Fast from discouragement. Feast on hope.  
Fast from facts that depress. Feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy. Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion. Feast on truth.
Fast from acts that tear down. Feast on acts that build up.  
Fast from thoughts that weaken. Feast on promises that inspire.  
Fast from idle gossip. Feast on purposeful silence.  
Fast from problems that overwhelm. Feast on prayer that supports
Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with Your Presence, so we can be a gift to others in carrying out your work. Amen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Since we're all created in the image of a communal/relational God, I believe we have a fundamental need for relationships and community.
I have been blessed with amazing friends (and family!) my whole life, but since moving to St. Catharines I have been craving more intentional community. Rather than fitting into each other's schedules on random occasions, I wanted to have more significant connection with my friends.
So, since October, I've been hosting "Soup Sundays" at my house. Basically, anyone is invited to come for lunch at 12:30. There's a core group of about 6 people who try to join me regularly, and a bunch of others who have come on occasion, or who haven't been able to make it out yet.
This past Sunday, all 6 of the "core" people weren't able to make it, but 2 other people had been planning on coming out for the first time. I texted them on Saturday to let them know that they were still welcome, but that it would be a bit different than normal because none of the regulars would be there. They said they'd come another week, and told me to take a break.
The next morning at church, I bumped into a couple who had thought about joining me for lunch that day. I explained to them that I wasn't doing it that day, but they could come any other week.
Then I bumped into 2 other people who had planned on coming to lunch that day. I again explained to them that I was taking a day off.
As I was driving home, I felt convicted. If God has called me to do this, then I need to be faithful to my part, and trust that he'll provide people to come to lunch. And, even if no one comes, then at least I'll have soup.
So, I contacted people from church, whipped together some soup (with some improvisation, because somehow I was out of stock, so it turned out a bit more saucy than soupy) and ended up having a few people over.
I felt so grateful for God's provision, and I don't want to become lazy or doubtful. Obviously I don't want to be legalistic about this, but I do want to be obedient.
So, if you're in the area on a Sunday, feel free to stop by for lunch!