31 December 2013

more need of breaking

my heart is brittle
silent as the frozen fields
surrounding our haven of warmth
and shelter
broken yet struggling
to find words
for more need of breaking

one year ends
another begins
we cycle in His hands


30 December 2013

lessons in December

The month of December is coming to a close, and with it another year shall end, this one even quicker than those that came before.  I will take time to reflect on what 2013 taught me as the new year begins.  But for today, I'm joining in at Emily's to share what December had to teach.

I learned - time doesn't take away the ache of missing Mom.  The pain may not be as jagged or acute, but the empty space in my heart is chronic.

I learned - the tighter I attempt to hold time, the faster it escapes.  Holidays pile up in a heap, one after another, year after year after year.  The speed blurs the memories.

I learned - there is still much more of me than I want or need.  Surrender continues as day by day I again attempt to lay down my self and step into Him.

I learned - by some peculiar mind twist, an artificial fire crackling on a flat screen television can indeed make the whole house feel much warmer.  With the temperatures plummeting to -35 here this is useful knowledge.

I learned - parts of my heart are already saying goodbye to this Canadian life and stepping forward into the unknown, into Africa, preparing for the multitude of lessons still to learn.

come see what others have shared at Emily's


29 December 2013

everything beautiful

He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds 
[a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages 
which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy],
yet so that men cannot find out what God has done 
from the beginning to the end.

singing in the Sunday choir with Deidra

28 December 2013

stark quiet shining

The best remedy for those who are afraid, 
lonely or unhappy 
is to go outside, 
somewhere where they can be quiet, 
alone with the heavens, 
nature and God. 
Because only then 
does one feel that all is as it should be.
Anne Frank 

in the stark quiet shining
of a prairie winter
it is easy
to feel alone
yet He Is there
surrounding me with beauty
declaring His glory
in frozen rainbows
back in the stillness with Sandy


25 December 2013

annual Christmas love letter

It is a tradition for my husband and to write love letters to each other, place them in the decorated tree to read on Christmas eve.  This year the letters waited til morning as we were out visiting friends till much too late last night.  These are the words I penned to my beloved:

Dear Rick: 
It is our 13th holiday season together.
I sit lost in the beauty of our tree 
where you wove the glittering lights.
Snow fills the view outside the window
and I hear the moan of increasing winds.
Christmas is family and friends and frosty temperatures.
We wake together on Christmas morning,
snuggled in down and body heat.
This is familiar.  This is what we have come to know.

But we have given the lives we know to the God
we continue to learn about
and soon nothing will look familiar but the love He has for us
the love He has given us for each other
and the love He has developed in us for the red dirt of Africa

I have walked by your side through 13 winters
and by your side is where I shall remain
following a narrow road, but the best road
honoring you, respecting you, assisting you
and loving you always until the end of this life we live
and then forward into eternity

I am His, and I am yours,
in hope and joy,


24 December 2013

less of me for Christmas

This was originally written and posted in 2010.  It is as true now as it was then.

this has been another year of wanting to learn 
what it means to surrender
to desire more of Him and less of me
to lay down my plans, offer my heart
to come as I am knowing His love will accept me
but also change me.

this has been a year of learning 
how much of my "self" still fights for life.

so for this Christmas I want less
less of who I think I am and more of Who He Is.
that I might loosen my grip on this alabaster jar 
even knowing it will fall
shatter and empty 
pouring out all that I am.

this year I will again wrap a box
to place beneath the tree
as a gift to my Lord, an offering of a place emptied
prepared, waiting to be filled.

my Christmas hope, a miraculous exchange
that would leave none of me
and all of Him.

22 December 2013

Mary's song

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.

singing my praise with the Sunday choir at Deidra's


20 December 2013

in the stillness before Christmas

The time draws near the birth of Christ: 
The moon is hid; 
the night is still; 
the Christmas bells from hill to hill 
answer each other in the mist.

in the hush
holy settles soft
in the waiting
He comes
and lingers
in the stillness with Sandy


19 December 2013

let it be unto me

Bonnie asked us to think 
about which character in the Christmas story 
speaks to us most deeply 
and I think of Mary

but we are not yet in Bethlehem
nor are we on the way
my spirit trembles, resonates 
with the pre-Christmas story

Mary was busy with the details of life
yes, she loved her God
but she also loved her betrothed
promises, dreams and plans 
swirled through her thoughts
day after ordinary day

promises, dreams and plans 
swirl through my thoughts
day after ordinary day

but God interrupts
with plans of His own
sending word
before shuffling the deck

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, 
for you have found favor with God. 
And now, you will conceive in your womb 
and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 
He will be great, 
and will be called the Son of the Most High, 
and the Lord God will give to him 
the throne of his ancestor David.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, 
and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 
Mary said to the angel, 
“How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 
The angel said to her, 
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, 
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; 
therefore the child to be born will be holy; 
he will be called Son of God.

perhaps Mary could have said no
perhaps I can say no
when what He asks doesn't seem to suit my desires
but I hear the quiet voice as the Holy Spirit sings
reminding me of my quest
a life laid down, surrendered
to reply, boldly as Mary did

Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; 
let it be done to me according to what you have said. 

I have tasted the blessings of obedience
and I hunger for more of the same
let it be unto me
let it be unto me
let it be unto me
as He wills

jamming with Bonnie about characters in the Christmas story

18 December 2013

hands captured open

For three nights in November I lingered by the banks of the Frio River
side by side with bloggers I had only known in a virtual way
comrades in Christ
washed in the spirit that inhabits Laity Lodge
holy, generous, accepting
a space for hearts to open
rent by truth, we leaked
upon the stone floor, the comfy sofas
each other, passions
secrets, life poured forth
even more than we were aware

I often felt the fringes
the all too familiar voices
you don't fit here
they know each other, but not you
no not you

but I was seen
I was known
I was heard
in ways I never expected
in Him
through Him
captured in pixels and shared
via social media
after my return home
I loved this image of Karin Fendick's hands. A common sight - coffee in one hand, talking with the other. Evidently I was fascinated by her hands. So open to what is being poured into them...a testimony in and of themselves. Perhaps someone could use them as another inspiration for "empty vessels"
thank you Lord for giving Your eyes to another
thank you Tina for the pictures and the words
they were a flood of healing to my fractures

walking with Emily in broken imperfection yet perfectly loved


17 December 2013

find the cross

the sparkle, the lights
the house warmed
by scents of fir, cinnamon
ready to calm a restless heart
shake snow off boots
shed layers of protection
take time to settle
look close
behind the tree
and find the cross

14 December 2013

linger tarry ponder

The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon 
the likes of which we have never seen before… .
What is possible is to not see it, 
to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. 
And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, 
like Moses in the cleft of the rock, 
watching God’s [back] fade in the distance. 
So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. 
Wait. Behold. Wonder. 
There will be time enough for running. 
For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. 
For now, stay. Wait. 
Something is on the horizon.
Jan L. Richardson in Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas
silent and still with Sandy

13 December 2013

light pours through

Bonnie's prompt this week was the little girl in you
and as I pondered what to write
my urge was to run and avoid the topic entirely
that is the little girl in me

she knew she was loved by mother and father
maybe by two older brothers when she wasn't annoying them
she was clever enough, intelligent and quick with words
but there was just too much of her
too much flesh spilling out of clothes unable to contain her expansion
too much emotion that didn't fit the required mold of happiness
too much, too much
and nowhere to hide

she had not yet heard the quiet voice
the whispered invitation 
to come away to a place of stillness
where she would never be too much
and always be enough
and love flowed pure and free

she knows better now
I know now

I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!

My head knows
the grown-up me
but that little girl resides in deep
in the heart spaces still being healed
and still He redeems
 His light pours through
the broken places

 jamming with Bonnie


11 December 2013

sweet lingers

My hands have been at work
measuring, stirring
shaping cookies
the oven adding both warmth
and aroma
to a home so quickly filled
with winter.

I am preparing
old favourites
but also testing new 
recipes and ideas
aware that this may be
my last time
to cherish a Canadian Christmas.

As I try to imagine
the next years
(perhaps many, many years)
in Africa
I sample the results
of my work here
a sweet lingers
leaving longing on my tongue.

walking with Emily, imperfect but chosen and loved


10 December 2013

focus blurs

focus blurs, there is
a softening
ice crystals suspended
mid-air, perhaps
a weariness of the eyes

thoughts of wandering
cease, this is
a time for home, hearts 
settling deep in 
unexpected surrender

hanging out at the pub for the last time until the new year


09 December 2013

Yankee Doodle Christmas and a giveaway!!

In only three days my friend Sheila has a novelette being released!

Sheila Seiler Lagrand, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. As an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, she studied anthropology and literature with an emphasis in writing. You will find her blog on the home page of this site. Sheila is a member of The High Calling. As a young woman she published poems in dozens of literary magazines. She has also contributed to anthropology journals and contributed a chapter to the book Fieldwork and Families: Constructing New Models for Ethnographic Research.

More recently, her work has appeared in Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (BibleDude Community Commentary Series), and a few volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has work forthcoming in Soul Bare. 

I was blessed to be able to read an advanced copy of this warm and delightful tale about a bit of a Christmas mix-up.  I also had the opportunity to have a sort of virtual coffee date with Sheila to ask her some questions.  Why don't you go pour yourself a cup of something comforting and join us.

Sheila, your novelette Yankee Doodle Christmas is releasing in just a few days.  That seems like a wonderful gift for a writer. What other gifts would you like to receive this year?

Karin, thanks. It IS a wonderful gift. I would love to receive the gift of time--more time--to spend with our extended family. 

What are your favourite gifts to give?

Something that shows I've been paying attention, I guess. We took three of our grandchildren to the tall ships festival and Ayden, the 9 year old, was very interested in a book about pirates. We bought him one for Christmas. 

Your main character struggles with the need for approval.  What would you say to others who share the same struggle?

Oh, that's a hard question. Because I want to say, "God made you just as you are for a reason. Of course you're 'good enough.'" But I know when I've been in the throes of insecurity, that statement wouldn't soothe my spirit. I might be more likely to pray for that person rather than dispense advice.

What was your most memorable Christmas? 

Oh, that's a tough one. They've all been memorable. Maybe it was the Christmas I spent in the hospital when I was 14, recovering from a ruptured appendix. My parents were there with gifts at 8 a.m. That left a sweet impression on me. 

Coming from the Midwest and now living in Manitoba, to me winter has always meant snow and cold.  How do you make it look and feel like Christmas in California?

We hang lights, put up a tree, decorate, drink eggnog. Sometimes it gets all the way down to the 50s, you know.  And some years it's 80 degrees on Christmas. I've lived here all my life (except for a year in Polynesia, where it's even warmer) so I really don't have anything to compare it to. Snow is something that happens in the mountains and we drive to visit it. 

Mrs. Delsey's butter cookies are mentioned often in your story.  Do you have a recipe?

What a great idea! I don't. Do you?

Now, I ask you all the  same question?  What is your favourite butter cookie recipe?  Share it with us in the comments and you'll be entered to win a free e-copy of Yankee Doodle Christmas as soon as it releases.

Winner will be chosen by random draw on Wednesday night, not by bake-off!

08 December 2013

God spoke "Light"

First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—
all you see, all you don’t see. 
Earth was a soup of nothingness, 
a bottomless emptiness, 
an inky blackness. 
God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss. 
God spoke: “Light!” 
And light appeared.  

rejoicing in Him in community at Deidra's


07 December 2013

quickly winter

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you. . . 
In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other;
only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches
when you can savor belonging to yourself.
Ruth Stout

winter has fallen
hard, fast
the air cracking with cold
dawns come late
nights early
in the silent dark
I return to the Him in me
in the stillness with Sandy who is flying off to Haiti. Let's keep her in our prayers.

05 December 2013

waving the white flag

For thirty-one in October I posted each and every day about surrender.
As the month ended I knew surrender never ends.
I have continued to learn, day by day
surrender means so much more than I first imagined.

I knew it meant letting go
letting God be God

Be still, let go, cease striving, relax and know that I Am God
Psalm 46:10

I knew it meant giving in
a daily laying down of rights, dreams, desires
before One Who knows and sees all
and has a much better plan than I could conjure.

Today as Bonnie asked us to ponder
what we are giving ourselves permission to be or to do
another form of surrender popped into my mind
when I can not accomplish a task on my own
I need to learn the art of giving up
for it is in my weakness He Is strong.

So I am giving myself permission
to wave the white flag
boldly and without fear
proclaiming my weakness
unashamed of my total dependence.

Without Him I can do nothing
but in Him
nothing is impossible.

Whatever I have, wherever I am, 
I can make it through anything 
in the One who makes me who I am.

jamming with Bonnie