Lenten journey reflections

I went into this journey having no idea what to expect. But looking back I see that I had some unackowledged expectations if what would happen. While I knew that giving up something would be difficult, I think I thought that my relationship with God would be all butterflies and sunshine. Ah yes, such a delusional place.

Instead, and I am thankful for this, tge depravity of my sin has come to be revealed to me over and over again. I see the darkness of my heart, the mistakeness if my reactions and simetines the unhelpful nature of my words.

I have not been wallowing in this (I don’t think) but it has definately become more apparent to me. I am ever so thankful for grace. I am thankful for the studies this year that the Woman’s leadership team thought we should go through, stretched and shaped me and turned a mirror on those thibgs that are in constant need of change.

So this journey has been much different than I expected and perhaps for sone its a cleansing fast which seems to be what I’ve stumbled into, though not ohysical but spiritual.

And I have come to.see in part that I have been deaf and blind as Isaiah speaks of…and that I have been astray in spirit snd am on the journey to understanding.

Isaiah 29:18-19, 24 ESV

In that day the deaf shall hear, the words of a book,and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel…And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

FMF — What Mama Did


Five Minute Friday: What Mama Did

In just five minutes. Tell me all about what your mama did that made her yours….


my mom loves to read. Sometimes i’m not sure how far back I can remember, but in recent moments she’s never far removed from her books. As a leader for griefshare she has been reading books on grief and how people deal with it. That is her ‘not so fun’ reading, though incredibly helpful when she interacts with so many very hurting individuals. For my parents 30th year with their mission they recieved a gift of a Kobo (which is the Canadian version of a Kindle) and so she downloaded some books to it and has enjoyed reading in this new way. But much like me, she has always been fond of holding a book in her hand. She loves a good historical romance, but most of all she likes suspense and mystery. She loves to try to figure out all the plot lines and put them together. I am sure that when i was young she spent much time teaching me to read, I was a superb reader by my years in elementary school, although learning phonics had alot to do with that (which my mom also helped with), My parents always made sure that there were books readily available for me, wether from the library or simply that they had borrowed from others. Even though I could read, some of my favourite memories are of my parents reading to me at night. They had to keep the pages turned away from me or i’d read ahead and tell them to turn the page before they were finished. i loved reading the Laura Ingells Wilder series with them and Grandma’s attic. My mom’s example of loving words and sharing words with me, is something that makes her uniquely my mom. While she’s never judged my choice of books, she’s always been more than willing to journey with me to a used bookstore, a big wholesale shop or the internet to find something to read. And its always been interesting to dialogue about the stories we find ourselves to be a part of. I am thankful hat my mother has instilled in me a love of reading and i hope that her love of reading and her enjoyment of books is something she’ll keep always.


today I’m linking with Lisa-Joy for Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

facing the giant’s ahead

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
Corrie Ten Boom 

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
ao tzu

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.
H. Stanley Judd 

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
Edwin Land 

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.
Bill Cosby 

Don’t be afraid to see what you see.
Ronald Reagan 

Some people are afraid of what they might find if they try to analyze themselves too much, but you have to crawl into your wounds to discover where your fears are. Once the bleeding starts, the cleansing can begin.
Tori Amos 

I am not afraid… I was born to do this.
Joan of Arc 

…failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Sara Blakely 

Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.
Chuck Palahniuk 

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
Audre Lorde

all quotes found at http://www.brainyquote.com

Mary Oliver goodness

the following are ‘quotes-in-tweet-form’ from the unofficial twitter of Mary Oliver…and sometimes its just amazing what kind of gut-punch or heart-song can be found in a certain amount of words blended just right together.

(Love) solved a great many things but not everything. Yet left me as grateful as if it had indeed, and thoroughly, solved everything.

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

“I am trying to live the examined life. But there are days I wish there was less in my head to examine, not to speak of the busy heart.”

“I think it (caterpillar) took nothing with it except faith & patience. Then one morning it expressed itself into the most beautiful being.”

“Come to the pond or the river of your imagination or the harbor of your longing, and put your lips to the world.”

“You sing, I listen. Both are necessary if the world is to continue going around night-heavy then light-laden”

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

“The world grows rich, grows wild, and you too,grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too were born to be.”

“Have you ever found something beautiful, and maybe just in time? How such a challenge can fill you!”

“Dear morning, you come with so many angels of mercy so wondrously disguised in feathers, in leaves, in the tongues of stones”

“Someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star, both intimate and ultimate,and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.”

“Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot. Eventually, tides will be the only calendar you believe in.”

“Your clocks, he says plainly, which are always ticking, do not have to be listened to.”

“Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.”

“I love this world, even in its hard places… So, even if the effort may come to nothing, you have to do something.”

“The broken year will make no change upon her wise and whirling heart. She knows how people always plan to live their lives, and never do.”

Let us risk the wildest places, lest we go down in comfort, and despair. For what is life but reaching for an answer?”

“What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.”


Saturday. I filled out as much of my passport as I could. I needed to find two people for references, one for an emergency number while travelling and someone with a passport who has known me for 2 yrs. So I am off to the passport office tomorrow hoping that everything is in order andit can start processing. Next I will be starting on my taxes…hoping to get the last three done before I leave for the conference God willing.

What seems to b the problem?

9 weeks til Jumping Tandem and I have neither a flight nor a passport.

The flight is because of money still coming in, the passport cause I seem insanely obstinate for some reason. I have been signed up for the retreat since November (I believe)… More than enough time.

God break my stubborn heart. I know I have things to learn, I know i’m self sabatoging and I have no idea why.

first love

i remember it all very clearly.

i remember meeting him for the first time. a girl at school (first year of college) told me there was this guy she was totally crushing on, and i had to meet him. it was interesting to think that those people that i met that night, and the girls i was hanging out with that night…would pretty much make up a lot of my friend base and the drama of my college years. but i digress.

it was about 10 or 11 on a school night. since we all lived in the dorm we headed down into the ‘social’ area to chill. the guys (as usual) were playing pool. this would be something i would do on many a late night with friends.

she pointed him out and since i felt that i had nothing to lose since she liked him, i went over and said hi and started playing with the guys. we ended up just chatting for a bit…and i had fun. i told her i thought he was a nice guy…but also at the same time didn’t tell her that i was attracted to him…alot.

so that weekend she headed home for the weekend and i thought hey what’s the harm in chilling with him…i thought i’d make the excuse that i was getting to know him better for her. yeah right. he was on security at school that night and every so often after his rounds would need to hang around the front desk for awhile. so…i made the premise of talking to this girl at the front desk (who would become my roomie at some point in the next four years) and whenever he came back again we’d sit and chat for a bit. we actually hung out a fair amount that weekend.

on sunday night when she returned i got taken to task for my hanging out with him. she said that she’s heard that i’d been with him all weekend and what was i trying to do when i knew she liked him. i said she could have him…but deep inside my heart i knew that i still liked him. so i let her pursue him and tried to remain friends with him. since we were freshman most of us has the same classes together so i’d see him and some of the other guys and talk to them…all the while knowing that i was being watched with cat eyes by her.

a ‘tradition’ at our school was for people who were interested in each other to walk to Second cup on little ‘test and see’ dates…and some people would just go there on a date. it was actually pretty funny to end up at second cup on certain nights and be like WHOA…are they dating?!?!?!? or are they just here as friends. we had some great chats over steamed cider. we would often get our drinks to go and continue on long walks around the block.

there were so many things we discussed that i don’t remember but there are several moments that stand out to me: one when he told me he felt that GOd might be calling him to go somewhere where he might be martyred for the Lord (which scared the crap out of me) and two that after listening to me talk through why i was frustrated with my program (social work at the time) and what i wanted to do with my life…he encouraged me to change my plans and get into a BA with the end goal of teaching. I had wanted to be a teacher for forever but for some reason i decided that social work would be a good way to go…after a long chat one evening in the middle of the local schools playground I remember coming away resolved that was where GOd was leading.

we had a good many talks about what he was learning in his courses..i think he was doing a general course in Theology so we were talking through Bible verses he was studying and stuff. it was always a challenge to me. he didn’t grow up in a Christian household, in fact…he came to the Lord when he was in his late teens.so it was refreshing to hear a new perspective on the Bible from someone who was delving into it soo deeply.

I was deeply crushed on this guy…and my girl friend was NOT happy. I think we had a big fight about it, and i told her that if he wasn’t making any effort to pursue her then he was free to be mine if i wanted him…and that i was also free to hang out with whomever i wanted. needless to say our friendship was never the same..there was always a bit of tension there. so him and i continue to hang out as friends and he knew that i liked him…but he made no effort to change our relationship..we just kept hanging out together or with friends. (it amuses me that i found out years later that my first year of school 4 guys had a crush on me in school…and NONE of them ever told me. thankfully one of them was this guy…as we will later see)

so i was crushing on this guy. and lets just say that over that year I cried alot over the fact that I just couldn’t get over the fact that I really liked him and he wouldnt’ commit to wether he liked me or even if we were more then friends. but every so often he’d stop and talk to me and i’d almost pass out and then there’d be nothing for a bit.

the reason that we actually talked alot at all that year was that our good friends were dating each other and were concerned cause they weren’t really good for each other, so every so often i would stop him to ask a question about how guys think or something to that effect and that is actually how we got to talk and i got to talk to him under the pretense (kind of) that i needed advice. but i also got told some very good stuff from him, like some people aren’t my problem and that they have to figure out things for themselves, and that while i am a very caring and sensative person i need to NOT take on the whole world, cause i can’t carry it on my own…i need to take it to God. good things that i continue to remember these days…though not necessarily connected to him.

in that first year there was also a snowy night that we went for a walk and while waiting for the light to change so that we could cross the street, i looked up and realized that we were standing on the corner with snow falling down and we were right in the middle of a pool of light, and being the insane romantic that i am..imagined him taking my hand or kissing me. needless to say neither of those things happened…much to my chagrin but i still remember it like yesterday, captured in the photographic memory of my mind’s eye.

that summer i went to camp in new york it was my 2nd summer there and he WROTE me letters. not too many but some…and man did i keep them close to me. I put them on the bottom of the bunk bed so that when i went to sleep at night i could read what he wrote to me. it was the first time that i had a guy that really wrote me any letters at all. I think that i recieved about 4 letters all summer from him…but it was still amazing and meant so much to my heart.

i think i also called and talked to him a couple times on a calling card. and there were a couple times when i was home that he called me as well. we were definately getting closer…and in each letter he told me he thought of me and missed me.

so when school started for 2nd year, i thought i have no idea where this is going…but i was so excited. and then he didn’t even talk to me for about a month. i was devestated. so finally i sent him an ultimatum about needing to talk to him…and just figure out what the heck happened. turns out that he was scared of how our relationship was changing and he was actually trying to pray about it and figure it out and not lead me on…but i didn’t know that until we had a chat. so we ended up continuing to hang out and acknowledge that we were good friends and that is all we could be at the moment…partially cause he had committed to not having a girlfriend or something for the year just to focus himself on growing spiritually.

that was a hard year…he ended up leaving school and going home to study. we still called and talked alot. and then one day he told me that he was praying about a relationship with me. and that blew me out of the water…and made me almost have a heart attack with palpitations. it turns out he wrote my dad a letter saying that he wanted to court me, and asking permission. turns out my dad never got back to him…but after talking it over we decided that we would attempt to be in a relationship over the phone. and it was glorious. then he came to visit and in that weekend i had such joy and such heartbreak…we hung out for breakfast for a couple mornings and it was so great and odd at the same time…since we were super close but hadn’t seen each other in forever. i had bought him a present, jim eliot’s journals…cuase i knew that he was reading some of Jim Eliot’s books. after one night of having a rough conversation we decided after really ‘dating in real life’ for two days that dating wasn’t right for our friendship and neither of us, even though we really wanted it…didn’t have peace about it at that time. it was really very upsetting and yet i knew it was how it was supposed to be.

i remember having a conversation about how i was realy looking forward to actually being able to touch him cause he was mine but i was afraid cause i’m such a physical person…and he said that he was struggling with that ttoo. in the past i’d just bumped into him on purpose to make it a ‘mistake’ but the funny thing is i dont’ even think we held hands…but did sit together closely a time or two. in my heart..those memories still linger.

i did love him. so dearly. so deeply. and there is still a part of me that does. he was my first love.

it took me so long to get over him, but we knew that at least in the years that followed we would be grand friends…and we were. i ended up  having a couple boyfriends…i still called and talked to him. when i was engaged he expressed shock (it happened pretty fast, and i didn’t really tell him i was dating, cause i wasn’t really over him) and so when i couldn’t answer some of the questions he asked me positively it was really a tough conversation we had. so we didn’t talk for awhile…but he was invited to the wedding. i def had to have him there…and then i broke it off. he was the 2nd person i called…after my friend andrew (2nd love). after heading to nb/ns for a week to recover (attempt to be on the journey of recovery) i ended up calling him and through a series of moments found out that he was dating a girl that he was sold on as ‘the one’. i had to say that this was devestating…but i was also happy for him, cause i could hear such joy and peace in his voice, something that neither of us had for each other.

he had started dating her about the time that martyn and i broke off…and he didn’t want to tell me in the midst of all the pain, and i appreciate that cause he was looking out for me…but it still hurt. in fact he told me that she reminded him of me a bit…which was hurtful and good at the same time. over the year and a bit that followed we kept in touch every now and again…and he told me about what he was doing for her for a special date, for valentines and then when he got engaged. at each conversation i treasured each moment, although a bit of me seemed to fall away after every conversation….and then when we talked about the wedding and he told me i couldn’t come…since it was only gonna be about 25 people i was heartbroken. i still really am sad about it. but i know without a doubt that was totally God at work as well…since it would have been one of the hardest days of my life..i think i might have cried that night almost as much as i cried when i was trying to figure out what to do with my wedding that i eventually broke off.

i became ‘friends’ with his wife on facebook. it seemed a bit pretentious..i tried to make conversation. of course she doesn’t really want to chat with me. i’m from the past. i don’t have the guy. etc. and once or twice he mentioned her and i meeting..which i’ve now come to realize and my mom agree’s would be a very bad idea…especially for my heart. i know the reality is that they are together…as of this summer will have been married for 4 years…and yet that place is still so soft and tender and raw and hurt still. i just choose to forget from moment to moment that it exists. and every now and again something reminds me of him…and it aches a bit.

strangely enough he was my first love and i will always remember him, and i’d had a boyfriend before him….but though i said i love you i didn’t know real love until that relationship.

lenten begins

Lent has never really been something that has appeared on my spiritual life radar much.

My dad grew up in the Presbyterian church (in NY state) and so when we visited my grandparents one year (perhaps march break) I remember helping my grandma serve Lenten luncheons at her church. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved serving people (pretending to be a waitress) and I got to have my own little plate at the end of the day and eat with all the ‘dressed up’ ladies.

my friend is studying to be a United church pastor, and she often informs me about the ‘ways’ of the mainline church. She also informs me about the reading ‘schedule’ that many of those churches follow for the church calendar, which is a wonderful way of being introduced to similar ideas throughout the year and yet continues to delve deep into the Lord’s word.

so this year I decided I needed to do something different. alot of the blogs that I read had been mentioning Lent and I was particularly struck by Margaret Fienburg‘s statement:

Originally, Lent was designed as a time of preparation and worship for the believer. The forty days before Easter were set aside for penitence, prayer, and self-denial….But maybe the question we need to ask as we enter Lent isn’t, “What are you giving up for Lent?” as much as “What do you want to lay hold of during Lent?”  The wonders of God are waiting for you during Lent. This season is laced with opportunity that will stir your hunger to know God more. How will you lay hold of the wonders of Lent? Beginning on February 13, we have the opportunity to spend 40 days passionately pursuing God. How will you choose to seek God during this time? What expressions will your desire for God take? What do you want to lay hold of in greater measure through Lent?

When I begin something that I’m really excited about there is always the tendency to want to get it right. I mean do it the right way the first time. I’m all about perfection, i know, something that I’m still working through. And so in some sense I think that part of the giving up, besides an actual physical think that I will notice missing in my life (facebook) that perhaps it will also include a surrendering of the desire to be perfect, to do things perfect and to just BE and to just learn…and while that probably looks messy, there is no idea of striving for perfection in reflecting on our Lord’s journey towards the cross, that perhaps this will refresh my heart in its desire to know that there is a fallen-ness that is only redeemed through the beauty and horror of Easter’s celebration and mourning previous to the Lord’s resurrection.

she further states: take some time today to ask God what He’s calling you toward. and to me there is quiet in this. Staying quiet and listening are to things that I have a hard time doing. I know that to be a good friend that listening to hear what people are truly saying (not just their words) is an important thing. And I’m not too fond of silence, for some reason I often feel the need to fill up the space with words. But sometimes I find that I’m so busy talking at God that I don’t have time to stop and listen to Him. and then I wonder why it seems that its been so long since He and I last communicated in a way that I thought I began to even understand where He’s coming from.

some other thoughts that I’m reflecting on today:

Consolation of Mirth’s Ash Wednesday poem:

The ancient ash marks a weary brow.
This is not shame but blessing.
Line on line a simple cross;
Marked as one of God’s own. […]
Throw off the coverings.
They weigh you down.
Dust swirls in the light.
To dust, to dust, to dust…
you shall return.
We buckle under the weight,
and forget the blessing;
The miracle of what God can do
with the old dust.
Where the cosmos was gathered.
God-breathed, man-born.

and from Common Prayer:

O Love that keeps the heavens turning : draw us to you in all our yearnings.

a good reminder:

…so rare to have the opportunity to be intentional about seeking the Lord.

the wonder of it all


I see you standing there
lost in the moment
that for you lies
just beyond the window pane.
Your innocence
reminds me
that the world hasn’t always been
seen through jaded eyes.
There is still wonder in everyday objects
seen for the first time,
moments that fill you with wonder.
These things don’t cause me
to stop and notice any more.
I’m too busy ‘doing’ life
to stop and just be part of it.
I listen as you talk away
in your own little language,
telling me of those things
that bring such wonder
to your heart and soul.
I begin to wonder,
at what moment
did my heart become so cynical
that sometimes even a sunrise fails
to capture my attention
as worthy of awe.
I wonder
when this creation
of mind blowing proportion
begins to settle
into just merely being commonplace for me.
Its in the stopping
in the wonder of the moment
in seeing things
with fresh eyes
new eyes
un-jaded eyes
that the world is seen
truly seen
the wonder of it all.

by Janel Andrews Written Feb 7/2013

spoken word = see me not see me

this spoken word totally hit me between the eyes and kept be reeling…i’m saving the words here cause i don’t want to just hear them and not remember…they are part of my heartbeat.

I want you to love me

I want you to love me.

No really, I want each and every one of you to love me.

I want you to buy what I’m selling.

I want everyone around me to see what I want them to see 

And I simultaneously want them to see me and not see me. 

I want you to see how great I am but I don’t want you to see me weak.

I want vulnerability. But I want it on my own terms, 

Administered in small doses not big enough to scare me or make me feel exposed. 

I want control. And I want you to love me.

I want the truth to be sexy.

I want people to listen to me when I speak 

Even though I know most will walk away and reject me.

I want you to buy what I’m selling.

I want everyone to believe that their words don’t hurt me. 

That I have an umbrella for unkind remarks 

And they just drip down to the ground around me 

And I don’t lay awake at night thinking about how

Some guy told me “no one will ever love you because of what you believe.”

I want vulnerability—God, I need it! 

But every time I’ve tried it I’ve been betrayed by it 

And I’m starting to wonder if it’s a good idea after all. 

But I still want you to love me.

No really, I want each and every one of you to love me.

I don’t even really want you to know me, 

I just want you to know the me that I show you 

And I want to show you the me that’s brave enough

To get behind this microphone and show you myself.

But sometimes I don’t even know myself 

And you can’t show someone something you don’t know. 

And I want to show you how strong I am!

And how thick my skin is and how

I don’t lay awake at night thinking about how

Some guy told me he wished I was pretty, cause then he would be with me.

I forgot all about that.

But I want you to love me.

I want you to prove wrong every person that’s ever left me 

And I know that’s a lot of pressure to put on you and I’m sorry.

But you are all gods to me and I need you to come through for me.

I’ll worship you if you worship me, 

Cause if somebody doesn’t approve of me 

Then I don’t know who I am, 

And half the time I don’t know who I am. 

But I still want you to love me.

And I want vulnerability.

And I want you to buy what I’m selling.

But I am selling nothing dressed up as something.

I am selling an empty shell of who I really am 

Because who I really am is too scared to show you myself. 

And sometimes I don’t even know myself

And I start to believe all the lies I’ve been telling everyone else

About how strong I am

And how I don’t lay awake at night thinking about

How I don’t lay awake at night thinking about 

How many different times I have been made to feel that 

Who I really am is not enough or too much. 

But I know if you don’t know me then it’s not really love. 

And I want you to love me.

No really, I want each and every one of you to love me

And I want you to know me for who God made me to be. 

And he made me to be something I’m still learning to be ok with 

And I hope that’s ok with you.

I hope the back and forth I put you through isn’t too much for you

And I hope you stick it out with me if I stick it out with you. 

Cause I want vulnerability. 

I want you to know me and I want to know myself 

Enough to get behind this microphone and show you myself.

And sometimes I still don’t know myself

But I am myself because you are yourself and God is himself 

And we are all connected to everybody else— 

We are images of God trapped in these shells 

Trying so hard to show ourselves to somebody else 

And hoping it doesn’t backfire.

And every time it backfires we do it again and again and again

Because that is what it means to be human: 

To trust that showing you who I am is worth the risk. 

And I hope it is.


from Dichotomized, released 01 February 2013 by emilyjoypoetry.com