The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen King, Different Seasons

 

shared by Kris Camealy on facebook

escapeourselves

For the Beauty of the Earth (by Pierpoint)

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies…

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

When we are self-conscious, we cannot be wholly aware; we must throw ourselves out first. This throwing ourselves away is the act of creativity. So, when we wholly concentrate, like a child in play, or an artist at work, then we share in the act of creating. We not only escape time, we escape our self-conscious selves – Madeleine L’Engle

Song = FMF

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joining with the other lovely writers at Lisa-Jo’s for FMF. we write for five minutes on a topic and then link up and read some of each others posts and see how one words speaks into hearts and souls differently. Check it out!

Today’s Prompt: Song

GO

I have always loved musical instruments. Watching the deft fingers of performers bringing the beautiful strains of music from them makes my heart sing.

When I was younger we had the opportunity to go on stage before a concert and meet the musicians and interact with their instruments. I know that the stage was full of instruments, but the only thing I remember is the beautiful HUGE harp and getting to try to strum it. Its one of the most beautiful sounds, harp music and when played by an artisan seems effortless, but when you get up to it and try to interact with it without knowing its secrets, its a hard taskmaster.

It was a concert specifically designed for children, so we settled down into our seats and enjoyed hearing the sounds made by professionals after our clumsy fingers had known the joy of trying them out.

In my teen years were were blessed to live about an hour from Toronto and we attended several amazing musical and theatrical productions. We were able to sit on the floor seats (as opposed to the balcony) and were allowed to wander up to the front and peer over into the orchestra pit. it amazed me that so many instruments could fit in this space under the stage and that they would be part of the theatrics. After returning to my seat and the play beginning it was fascinating for me to realize (after the fact) that the musicians had seamlessly entered into the tale and my heart had been filled with rapture even when I wasn’t consciously discerning mere lines from an actors mouth and the music that accompanied their tale.

in the later years of high school we attended several beautiful productions at the Symphony London building and it always filled me with great joy. i remember paying particular attention to the gentleman on first violin because I knew that it was such an honoured position. The movements of the conductor always fascinated me, that his facial gestures and a hand with a mere wand could create such move and flex in the music we heard. I also watched the musicians with awe as they interacted with their instruments in a manner that seemed as if they had become one and embodied the music.

While I was certainly intent on seeing how the music was formed, I also found myself getting lost in it. And for the moments that it filled my ears and my heart…I was swept away.

END
Five Minute Friday

Stones litter the journey

 photo 934986_10151535578203672_173080186_n_zpsbd8f3b60.jpg
(photo courtesy of Laura Boggess)
Jennifer Lee wrote today :

“I turn the rocks in my hands, weeping for all the ways that we cast stones at ourselves, making ourselves believe we’ve never been good enough, and we never will be.”

This past weekend at Jumping Tandem: The Retreat, we were challenged by Jennifer to write down our fears, the things that were standing in our way, of chasing our dreams, of stepping up to the challenge of walking the journey laid out just beyond the gate before us. We wrote them down on river rocks and then surrendered them to woven baskets reminiscent of those holding the loaves and fish. Offerings which seem so small in our eyes and yet God turns and multiplies for his glory. And in this instance, the multiplication is the peace in our hearts and the glory of Him in our lives that begins to be renewed and re-flame once again.

Jennifer shared that she would pray over each of these rocks, that she would pray for the woman who had shared each fear and that she would lift those to God. It had been a visual sign for us to relinquish our fears in this way, and for some it was quite difficult to walk up and surrender…not knowing what life without those fears looks like. I have been guilty of choosing to live in a ‘less-than’ life, because facing the unknown seems to be far more scary then moving out into the life of dream chasing and faith living.

Before leaving for the retreat I shared with some of my dear friend what some of my fears were heading into the retreat. They prayed about them with me…but some of them were still present when I entered the building. I had this idea that there are ‘big B’ bloggers, those who are well known, have a platform and in my mind are ‘achievers’ of perhaps what I desire for myself. Big blog names that everyone seems to know and follow. Then there were some of the others of us ‘the normal b’ bloggers, the ones just getting started, who were rarely known and were trying desperately to figure out how their desire to write fit into this crazy life that God was calling them to walk with Him by their side/my side.

What a misconception. I had thought through (and been reminded by my friends) that each of these women (and men) were merely human and that they hadn’t ‘arrived’ as I had  thought but were also journeying along and figuring out life and had their own insecurities and questions as well. It took me time to realize this was true, but only through interacting with them…and geeking out a bit. However it seemed that the lie of ‘what am I doing here and what do I have to add to the conversation’ came out into the light again in one of the sessions on  Saturday. and i was reminded gently that sometimes the voice speaking loudest in the quiet, is not the quiet calm of my dear Saviour, but rather the Lie speaker pretending that truth comes from his mouth.

And as I read Jennifer’s beautiful entry today, I began to ponder the following: that my own voice is my worst critic and speaks my fears so loudly. Perhaps its not others who are yearning to throw that first ostracizing stone but rather my own hand…’He who is without sin’…thank you for getting my heart stuck on that idea, and see how much I need to cling to grace and see that He has paid it ALL…

I am referring to the woman who has been caught IN sin. She has been brought before Jesus by the religious leaders to trap him into saying something that they could arrest him for. Instead Jesus puts forth a loaded statement and then stoops down and writes in the dust.

Jesus calls them out by saying “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7). We don’t know what he’s writing in the dirt. I like to imagine that he’s writing by her feet…that her head is hanging down in shame, she is on edge not knowing what this Rabbi will do or say, but she is intrigued that he has bent down near her and begun to write in the dust. Perhaps he writers her name, perhaps he writes sins that they were all guilty of, we do not know. What we do know is that he gave each person the chance to realize that he had turned their very clever ploy on its head and knew that they couldn’t possibly claim to be completely without sin. And so one by one they wander away, probably trying desperately to figure out another way to trap Christ in what he said. However, As she stood quiet, perhaps tears running down her face, perhaps in defiance, waiting for her judgement…I’m sure his words are very confusing to someone who knew the rules of the day.

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)

His question must have taken her by surprise. She was being asked about her perpetrators…she wasn’t being asked about her sin, whether what she was being accused of was true or not, but rather if she was still standing there. And when she replies (As Jesus already knows) ‘No one’ remains, he speaks truth into her life that she couldn’t possibly have expected, and yet I assume, drank in deeply.

I do not condemn you…go and sin no more. such short commands and yet so full of promise of new life and a new journey. His acknowledgement that he knew she had been involved in sin was brief, he didn’t read her a list of her indiscretions and tell her how she must pay for each one. Instead he spoke of her sin and how she had not been condemned but rather set forth (go!) and challenged to change her life, after meeting Christ.

sometimes…i let the words of the deciever grow so loud, that I lay in torment accepting the blows. if only I opened my eyes, I would find that the one who throws those stones that rip my dreams to shreds and leave me quaking in fear…are resting in my own clenched fist, ready to be hurled at my wounded heart.

Lord…i need your grace, let me cling to your promise ‘Neither do I condemn you’. You have paid IT all. There is nothing that I can that will slip by the waves of grave. ‘Go and sin no more’ is your challenge to seek healing for our hearts, by seeing that all we could ever need or desire can only be found in YOU and no where and no one else. Let my eyes not continue to be blinded by my misguided beliefs of not having much to offer or say. Thank you Lord for giving me words, for giving me a passionate heart, for giving me a compassionate soul…

thank you God…for the hope that can only be found in you.

Jennifer and her daughters will be taking those stones, the ones we wrote our fears upon and tossing them into a natural lake by her home. Each of those stones after having been prayed over will be tossed as far as the eye can see…and come to rest in the recesses of the cool water, where only the fish and fauna will be privy to once held us in its vise-like grip. These rocks have been surrendered to forgiveness, the cleansing blood as covered them…each of those fears, has been paid for at the cross. I’m not saying its sin to fear…I’m just saying that he knew that was coming…and it has it covered. Your fear is no surprise to Him.

so I strive to remember…that fear and all the rest which might pop up are natural to be faced as I journey into my God-sized dream, but they don’t have to stay there, blocking the way, making me tremble at the thought of having them thrown at me again and again, but instead they can be seized  named for what they are, lies…and surrendered to the one who will break their hold and speak truth over his daughter (and sons) once and for all.

what if I don`t have a dream in time

It is a month and a half until Jumping Tandem: The Retreat.

Emily posted months ago that she was going to be both speaking and attending. I read through the material on some of the pages and something inside my heart just sang. I was so excited and so I wrote to Emily and told her that I was going to talk to my parents about it, and see if they would help me out. I asked them if they would pay for the registration as my gifts for both my birthday and Christmas, I would be responsable for getting myself TOO the retreat. It was a deal. I submitted my application and was accepted.

Before they decided to help me, my parents both looked at the information about the retreat. My mom said, ‘There is only one question I have for you. On the main page it says, “You may have been pursuing the same dream for as long as you can remember, or maybe you’ve just latched on to the dream of your life. Your dream may seem to have a mind of its own, or it might seem to be so big you can’t get your mind around it. We believe those amazing dreams that won’t let go, get dropped in our hearts from God.” I haven’t heard you mention a specific dream. Do you have one?” (This wasn’t as harsh as it sounds, she was just asking me a grounding question because she knows how I can get all caught up in an idea and not consider everything).

I thought for a moment and then went back and reviewed what it said on the site. It DID say that, but further on down the page it said,“Check out your dream from every angle. Turn it upside down and inside out. Get comfortable with it. Maybe even speak it out loud for the very first time. And find out what it takes to make your dream come true.“ And this resonated with me. I am not sure of a particular dream that God has placed in my heart. I do know that I`m passionate about quite a number of things. And i know that there are times when my heart beats faster and my eyes fill with tears because I am overwhelmed that I have been given a heart for this. And yet, I don`t know if its MY dream or A dream…i just don`t know. The part that most resonated with me was `speak it outloud for the first time` because I had this thought like God might reveal it to my heart right then and there. That`s alot of pressure to put on a particular moment, event and life calling.

And so now, I find my heart filling with fear.

My first fear is that I shouldn`t even be going, that i`m taking the place of a woman who already has that dream inside her that she`s longing to get out there and this would be the ideal place for her. And yet, perhaps that is just me trying to subvert what perhaps God is calling to me, or perhaps that he wants to open my eyes too. I`m not sure.

My secound fear is that I will become overwhelmed in meeting the amazing women who will be there, and I`ll begin to compare myself to them and self-destruct. These women are amazing women, on fire and striving to make a difference in the world. And so often I am so unable to see what my place is, who I am …in this world. And i feel so geeky saying it but i think I might just freak out when I meet some of them just cause they are like `blog celebrities`.  i know that this isn`t the point of the retreat. i just know myself and my tendency towards comparison, and so i hope and pray that I will see the Lord at work and not ask Him `why oh why am i here in desperation`

My OneWord365 is Brave. Yep i`m doing a great job of it. At least i`m learning what my fears are, addressing them and trying to see a way to approach things differently. But i felt it was time to be honest. To put out there what i`m really feeling about this retreat.

I am super excited. I am counting down the days…and still need to get an airplane ticket (yep, i`m a procrastinator). But I also fearful and wondering about it all…and I know that God has a plan, I just hope and pray to TRUST Him in all of this.

FMF — What Mama Did

Aside

Five Minute Friday: What Mama Did

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

Go

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.

END

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

Five Minute Friday

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.”

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.

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.

credits

from Dichotomized, released 01 February 2013 by emilyjoypoetry.com