09 October 2019

too too soon


the beginning of 2014
January through April, perhaps a bit of May
winter slipped under the doors
painted pictures on the windows
while we were lost in dreams
of a life hotter, fuller in Africa
and in August that same year
we left the prairies below us as we flew away
there were visits back
2016, 2018 but always summer
never did I miss the ice
the bitter winds
or the snow, no
not at all
yet, today I find myself here
the sky dull
constant cloud cover 
dripping rain and yes,
snow,  early October
shivering deep beneath my skin
winter hardly begun
the long season of fleece
down, woolly socks and hot tea
is upon me and the thought
of hibernation tantalizes
new snow tires on the vehicle
but oh, if I had my way
I'd remain inside
until Spring's thaw
months and months from here




30 September 2019

open heart

my trip to the mountains
resounded with gasps
"wows" and tears
beauty opening my heart 
to unexpected wonder

having seen
I cannot un-see
having felt
I cannot un-feel
what God has done
what God can do
around, in
and even through me

25 September 2019

still


the worries of the world
 rush over me
power pounding
attempting to distract


but I find safety
in the Rock
that holds me fast
solid in the chaos
this is what He teaches
this is what I'm learning
be still
know



19 September 2019

The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted and Rachelle Dekker

Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker are the father/daughter duo that co-authored the most nerve rattling novel I have read in a long time, The Girl Behind the Red Rope.

The hills of Tennessee is the hiding place for an extreme, religious community that believes that following impossibly strict rules will keep them faultless, pure and ready for the world to come. Doubters, wanderers and strangers can not be tolerated. Life is lived within a perimeter marked by a red rope.

In this fear based world, it becomes impossible to tell the wolves from the sheep, the darkness from true light.

I read the book aloud to my husband as we travelled long hours cross country. There were many times we were sad to have to take refuelling breaks, so caught up were we in the story.

If you'd like a calm easy read, pass on this book; but if you want to be challenged, baffled and engaged, don't miss The Girl Behind the Red Rope.

An advanced reader edition of this book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications. All opinions are my own.

17 September 2019

breathless

I have been silent here
for good reason
awed by His creation
now that my breath is back
words will return

26 August 2019

Overcomer - a review

I was blessed to view an advance screening of Overcomer, the new film by the Kendrick brothers.

The outer shell of the story is about high school sports: a coach, football players, a young female runner and their families. But the deeper story that weaves through the entire film is about where each one finds their identity. 

As one who has learned the lesson of needing to find my identity in Christ, I found myself nodding in agreement throughout the movie.

Those who found Fireproof, Courageous and other Kendrick films a bit heavy handed with their sharing of faith will probably stumble over the same here. I would hope however that people can watch this with open minds and open hearts, allowing the truth of the message to touch them.

Screening link has been provided courtesy of Sony Entertainment Releasing Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.



21 August 2019

ever a door

there is ever a door
ahead, open
or closed, asking
what will we do here?

will we stand, stubborn
afraid to knock
or touch, or push

will we crawl under, squeeze
through, jump high
hurdling over

will we peek through
and uncertain
turn to face another door
another time, another place
there is ever a door ahead

Strive to enter by the narrow door
[force yourselves through it], 
for many, I tell you, will try to enter 
and will not be able.

19 August 2019

thick clouds

friends dear to us
have had their hearts exploded by tragic loss
clouds dark have settled over us all

in my quiet time with the Lord this morning
He spoke these words

in Africa funeral houses fill with wailing cries
this, when there are no words
they do not fear the depth of mourning

this makes sense to you now
your people, your village is shaken
I hear cries that they think they should suppress

there is no need, no reason 
to be strong
I Am the strength for all

stand together in your weakness

those who already have answers
did not hear them from Me

29 July 2019

around the curve


I have been frozen in my brokenness
dry, splintered, fragile
the road ahead and behind
rocky, rutted, slippery
hard to see signposts
in clouds of dust
my steps are small, painful
both in body and heart
yet surely the refreshing
the eruption of new life
is waiting, ever waiting
just around the next curve

For I will [fully] satisfy the weary soul, 
and I will replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.





13 July 2019

short hop

travel day
that's usually tiring to even think about
but this is a short hop
mere hours
not the multiple days
to or from Africa

no meals or movies
no free snacks

2-1/2 hours for our first flight
1 hour for the next

as always
we're in His clouds
in His hands

no better place

10 July 2019

slow to change


the seasons are slow to change
this year, uncertain
samples of heat, retreat
as cool returns
two weeks into July
and summer has no foothold

this blood, thinned
by African years, shivers
I see the shrugs, hear
the snickers, loud
from those already awash
in sweat and complaints

leaves me wondering
will I ever be warm
will I ever be home
again

03 July 2019

excavating

there's a leak in the water line on our street
water is shut off until the problem can be solved
this morning the heavy equipment rolled in

sometimes the only way to fix an issue
is to excavate, dig deep
a noisy, dirty process
exposing hidden things
buried so long ago
you don't remember
would prefer to forget, but
there is no longer any choice
if you want to stop the bleeding

the only way to healing
is down, opening new paths
to freedom




21 June 2019

pinks

the glory of pink, bright
bold or muted
shedding joy, without
conscious thought
contagious, breaking 
the pain of the day
shouting life
life
life

17 June 2019

tease

summer teases, laughing
joyous colour riot
life explodes
then stills
cool winds fall
farmers fret
and I, unaccustomed
to such weather
drape a shawl
around aching bones
believing surely one day
soon, heat will come

11 June 2019

not nomads

hours run into days
days into weeks
we move along, driven
by rhythms uncountable

surely it is time
to settle, pause
end these nomadic seasons
yet the Lord reminds me

your true home is in Me
but I do give your earthly body
a place to settle
a base of operations
a centre from which to reach out
your most important job is love
before all, in all and above all
love Me first
without Me you will not have
the ability or capacity
to love those I place before you
allow My love to work through you

05 June 2019

awake with me

sleepy morning
after a night of discomfort
coffee steaming in my hand
I listened for words from the Lord

I Am with you in your pain, never are you alone
the aching in the dark, when the world sleeps?
I Am awake with you.
My promise is true to never leave or forsake you
even when you don't understand, or believe
and cry out "where are you?"
Here, always, knowing what I know.

Be still, little one, give Me the pain.
It's what I can bear when you cannot.


28 May 2019

writing room

sitting on our veranda in Zambia
thinking about new life back in Canada
reading writer's books on writing
dreaming, I jotted down the following:

what do I need in my writing space

  • a window
  • coffee mug - often full
  • water
  • computer
  • pens and highlighters (not sure why if I'm not using paper)
  • journals (answer to above)
  • comfy work chair
  • comfy reading chair
  • favourite bible
  • books
  • dog

in this house, as we settle
no matter how temporary
I have all but the dog

in time, in time

24 May 2019

dry

May draws quickly to an end
the ground is dry, cries
for the nourishment of rain
farmers fret, gardeners
itch to plant, flats of flowers
packets of seed, wait
surely there is a time
for new life

so too my spirit thirsts
for promised refreshment
let it rain, let it pour
soak us again 
until joy overflows

21 May 2019

not even the cyclone

I have questions, wondering 
about what the next months, years will hold
and the One Who has the answers
gently speaks

Be still
yes, even in the storm
even in the rushing wind
abide in Me
and the cyclone cannot remove you
from My hand
only you, little one
can choose to walk out of My hand
and into the maelstrom
Remain in the place of safety
even if the world is banging on the door
your refuge is wherever I Am
and I Am everywhere
and always.
Come. Stay. 

19 May 2019

transition

day had come
but the moon hung strong
in the western sky
the new coming
before the old surrenders

we stop here to breathe
in the middle
while the changes cross
behind and before us


17 May 2019

budding new

beauty lives in the fading
as edges begin the slow 
curl, hiding brown decay
full glory has passed

but here, waiting
life is budding fresh
as the cycle continues

so too must I trust
the new thing
that will outshine the old
while my frayed edges
crumble in the breeze


16 May 2019

extended light

the horizon cracks early
light splinters, spills
evenings extend long
as the sun tarries
unwilling to retire

I am misled
by years of the equality
of African days and nights
unable to read the hours

dinners are late
as we too,unwilling
to miss a moment
soak in the fullness of time


13 May 2019

little things

It is the first days of our return
to rural Canada
a mix of jet lag, laughter
hugs, tears, confusion
and lack of words

yesterday our prodigal suitcases
six large bags, all we could carry
made their way home
exhausted as we unpacked
we rejoiced that nothing was lost

today we opened
the few boxes we had left here
what joy to be reunited
with familiar treasures
a quilt, jewellery box
baking pans

it is little things that lift us
and little things that trip us
and there is One standing strong
calm, all knowing
in the middle of it all

I am returning
to His feet




10 May 2019

ever in place

the page has turned
we have arrived back in Canada
as I try to breathe
in the strangeness this morning
the Lord was waiting for me
before I could pick up my pen

if you know you are in Me
in My hands
then even in the rapid fire changes
you need not feel out of place

you are where I have you and hold you

in Africa, In Canada, anywhere
your home is in Me
stay here, do not move
without Me

where could you find more safety
or more peace?

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. 
[Live in Me, and I will live in you.] 
Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself 
without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, 
neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

08 May 2019

tears soften the view

through the blur of tears
there is the rainbow promise
time to move on
farewell Africa
Canada - here we come.

04 May 2019

red footprints

in 2007, the door swung wide
for us to first step into Uganda
onto Africa's red dirt, warned 
how profoundly we would be 
changed, and we were

it took seven years to return
not to Uganda, but Zambia 
and in Malawi, our hearts 
found home

our future, never certain
is solid as air, God's plans
always a mystery, our feet 
will soon leave the continent
but long the dust will linger
in our hearts

Many plans are in a man’s mind, 
but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.




30 April 2019

not my road

farewells extended
still feel fragile and fleeting
how can a heart shattered
continue to break

eight nights remain
wrapped in African 
velvet darkness, wishing 
for a different end
to this story, knowing
it is not mine to write

He reminded me this morning
journal open, pen in hand

I have never set an easy road before you
will you ask for one now?
Or will you surrender to My plans?
When you pray 
"whatever - for the glory of Your Kingdom"
do you mean it?
When you say "anything"
is it your "anything" or Mine?

Your own ears will hear him.
    Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
    whether to the right or to the left.

28 April 2019

just beyond

April soon will slip away
the rains retreat, to hide in a place
we will not know, umbrellas 
useless now, tightly furled

so too our season in Africa
tumbles towards its end
leaving bumps, scratches
bruises, time alone can heal

yet there, just beyond reach
not quite in focus, waits
an outburst of new
glory unfolding, certain
as life

I show you specified new things from this time forth, 
even hidden things [kept in reserve] which you have not known. 
They are created now [called into being by the prophetic word], 
and not long ago; and before today you have never heard of them, 
lest you should say, Behold, I knew them!


25 April 2019

bold in beauty

no crisis of identity
this flowers stands
singular, unafraid
no surrounding clusters
uncluttered, no need 
for comparison
bold in her beauty
wild, bright, free
proclaiming the glory
of her Creator
would I be as brave?

If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, 
most of them never even seen, 
don’t you think he’ll attend to you, 
take pride in you, do his best for you?

23 April 2019

seeking first

a matter of trust
one day to the next
or moment by moment
as we begin our journey to Canada

in two weeks
we will be in flight
though I have felt mid-air
for months

what to drive
where to sleep
are not yet settled
leaving me tipsy
and grabbing hold
of the only One Who knows

seeking first, last
always

So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom
and the righteousness that proceeds from him. 
Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.

21 April 2019

Alive!

He is alive
and the world
is forever changed
 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said
Matthew 28:6a NIV

repost from 2015

20 April 2019

as we wonder

the day in-between
deep despair
and sparkling glory
has an unexpected weight
this year, a living portrait
of the season we have inhabited

the past behind us
the future not yet reachable
we linger here
in wonder
as we wonder

19 April 2019

never dimmed

Now from the sixth hour (noon) 
there was darkness over all the land 
until the ninth hour (three o’clock).

It is Friday
that Friday
darkness falls
yet there is light
that is never dimmed
that will not be overcome
that will rise from the grave

we are bearers, carriers
containers for that light
the empty place in which He dwells
thin as eggshells on the cusp of cracking
Sunday is coming



17 April 2019

indeed a promise

there is indeed
a promise made
a covenant held
even if our minds
squint to see
God is no less 
God when we can't 
feel Him
as we struggle
to grasp what we
cannot know
but choose over
all, to believe

we watched the rainbow
fade, cameras
trying to capture
fleeting beauty
as the rains returned

15 April 2019

fingers wide

the sorting, sifting
shifting perspective continues
and in the jumble, the crumbled
dreams, the ragged edges
tiny tasty bits, too precious
to discard 
where then, to hold 
these treasures 
found?
what release will be
required next?
my hands willed open
fingers spread wide
in a stubborn "yes"

14 April 2019

Sunday begins

I can only lay myself 
down, nothing left 
but to cry Hosanna
save me
and He comes
and He comes
and He comes
the humble One
the holy One
the only One
hail to our King

so begins a week
of passion, purpose
pain and glory

and He comes
blessed is He

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him. 
And as they went, they kept shouting, Hosanna! 
Blessed is He and praise to Him Who comes in the name of the Lord, 
even the King of Israel!

11 April 2019

cracks in thin air

light, lace, life
cracks in thin air
something hushed
but stirring
past mingles with not yet
what was, is, will be
inhale spice melange, savoury
and sweet
here I feel old, connected
to something unknown
shadowed secrets
then touches now
in the breeze



09 April 2019

shout life

vines, shoots, petals bright
new leaves and a million 
shades of green all
twisted, tangled into one
resounding
YES
thundering stronger
than any
no

in the midst of mourning
the passing of my youngest brother-in-law
I will shout praises to my God
and deny the enemy any taste of victory