It’s been 8 years…

Sunday morning rolled around like it does every week.  We got up and ate oatmeal.  Enjoyed a leisurely coffee and then as always one of us (usually me) looks at the clock and we realize we must race to get ready to make it to the church on time.   We slid into the pews at the back, greeted my mom and settled in for announcements.  When the minister (my dad) asked who had an anniversary this week I was super grateful that he had forgotten the anniversary in my life.  My hands slid under my bum and I shrunk down.  It’s been eight years.  It’s been a long time.  This week, eight years ago I was ordained.  This week I’ve been doing a lot of thinking around this and I wasn’t ready to to talk about it.

Eight years ago I stepped into what I thought would be my life, my calling.  I figured it would be an adventure of sorts.  I felt completely unprepared and I wasn’t.  I have learned over the years from many mistakes and would say that I’m much better at certain things now than I once was.  I have some joys to look back on and other things I regret.  It’s been a journey.  It’s been something.

I’m a little unsettled about it all if I’m going to be honest.  I’ve worked full time in ministry for 25% of the time I’ve been able to.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I didn’t expect to have things work out the way they have.  No one does, do they?  It’s a beautiful life I’m living so I can’t complain.  I have a lovely family and our days are filled with joy and laughter.  There are joy-filled moments, hard moments and all kinds of other moments in between.  I’m not sad about things, more reflective as I reach this milestone.  I seem to have lost my voice in the midst of all the things happening around me.  It’s interesting and sad and perplexing really.

I think this is why I call Autism the great silencer.  It’s funny when you think about it.  As X. develops more and more skills involving communication I feel as though I’m loosing my ability to communicate.  The farther away I get from things the harder it is to fight my way back to where I was.  I wonder what happened to the things I felt I had to say, to do, to be.  I wonder why God at times seems so silent.  I wonder when I will find my voice again.

Eight years ago this week I was ordained.  Why?  I’m not entirely certain.
I suppose God knows.
One day I may know as well.
One day the answer that I seek will likely arrive in a most unexpected way.

One day I will know.
One day…

It’s laughable really…

I had written a piece about ownership and taking control of my life last week.  Looking back on that post I find myself laughing.  I haven’t owned my life or been in control since I wrote the piece.  I never found time to edit it.  I am only now writing because I’m ignoring Lord Business on the couch across from me and the pile of baby toys on the floor.  I begin each day with the intention of carving out some time for me.  I intend to write.  I intend to read.  I intend to move through the day with ease and grace.  These are all wonderful intentions.  How the day usually unfolds is closer to chaos than ease and grace, well grace is given from God and not necessarily seen in my movements and living.

We’re happy here. We live a good life but it’s crowded. It’s overfull.  Personally I feel stuffed to the gills with things to do and things that are happening to me. I started out this year intending to take ownership over my days. Intending to be the captain of the ship so to speak. I was going to take back the house (sometimes I feel as though I’ve lost it to therapy), invest my days in things and people that mattered, really focus on the stuff that counts. I haven’t had time for any of it. If anything since the first of the year I’ve discovered that I have no ownership. My days are not my own.  I may make decisions but in the end things are often out of my control and I have to have faith, I have to trust it will work out when I let go and surrender.

I suspect God is laughing at me right now. Surrender is something I’ve always struggled with and if you’re a regular reader you know that. Turning over my life and control is not easy. Maybe my word for this year should be surrender. Maybe I need a reminder that sometimes dreams change, life isn’t always easy and surrender is important where God is concerned. Surrender is important. I also know I’m not the only one who has struggled with this. The Israelites wandered for 40 years before they got where they were going. I don’t really want to end up like them though. Hopefully I can learn this lesson before 40 years is up. Wandering in the desert really isn’t my idea of a good time, be it real or metaphorical.

Does thou shalt not kill apply to spiders?


One of my favourite sensations is the feeling of a hot shower on a crisp fall morning. The frosty air melts away into a pool of delicious warmth. I enjoyed one this morning and it was heavenly. Too short but heavenly nonetheless. As I exited my shower and wrapped a towel around me I was greeted by the most unfriendly sight of the world’s most horrid spider. It was monstrous. The length of a quarter and legs that stretched beyond. I haven’t seen a spider that large in ages. Instinct kicked in and I picked up the lotion box beside me and smacked it without thinking. The spider is now gone and I am left reflecting upon the age old question, does thou shalt not kill apply to spiders and why was I so afraid of it?

Our instincts get the best of us at times. We instinctively try to make things easier, less scary and seek to protect ourselves and those we love from the world around us. The can both help and hurt us at different times depending on the situation. How we react and live in this world can really make a difference in the lives of those around us. As Christians do our instincts reflect our beliefs? If we react instinctively are we living by the standard to which we aspire? How do we ensure we are living out our Christ given mission here on earth? So many things to ponder all because of a stupid spider.

Are you afraid of the dark?

I walked out into the hall carefully shutting the door behind me. Only 10 minutes since I’d gone to bed but there was something (or rather someone) nudging me to go try and be alone in the dark for a while. “I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that saved my life over and over again, so there really is only one logical conclusion.  I need darkness as much as I need light.” She said. That she being Barbara Brown Taylor who wrote the book I was reading Learning to walk in the dark.

Go out and experience it, she urges. Meet yourself in the dark and discover what you find.

I crept into the hall quietly, determined not to wake my husband or the baby. Closing the door I found myself looking at nothing. Not a haze of outlines or even shadows of grey. There was nothing in the darkness. Nothing ahead or behind. It’s a cavernous hallway of nothing.

Nothingness as most of us know it is not so bad. I’ve never been afraid to be alone with myself. I love to read and have spent many an afternoon tucked away with a good book. I have often slept in the sun like a cat on the love seat in my living room on Sunday afternoons away from the world and it’s distractions. There can be nothing happening in the house and I am happy to putter and move around completely content to be alone and quiet. This nothingness as we know it in our culture is different from the nothingness that comes from being in the dark. This nothingness is chosen. Darkness just comes, each night to meet you if you let it.

When vision is no longer an option you’re left relying on other senses, other ways of experiencing the world and that can be challenging when one is used to seeing. Those of us who have vision rely heavily on sight. I hadn’t really thought about how heavily until I started reading Rev. Taylor’s book. What we see often pulls us away. We see dinky cars and lego scattered on the floor that needs to be dealt with. We see piles of dishes and stacks of paper that need to be put away. We notice things that must be done and find ways to entertain and distract ourselves. In the dark I see none of those things. I just exist in this moment and space. Any distractions are of my own making. I have to control my thoughts and surrender to the nothingness. I started to get a sense for why she encouraged this exploration. The darkness offers something completely different to the light. Did I want to accept what it offered? Was I ready for what it could give me?

I come face to face with myself in the dark. In the quiet stillness I can hear more of what is being whispered to me. With no distractions I am able to commune with God on a different level if I allow it. The question remains, do I want to hear it? The darkness brings with it a forced time of reflection and contemplation. If I turn off the lights and embrace what darkness offers I have chosen to exist in a way that was long ago forgotten. This is the age of street lights and night lights, of monitors and digital alarm clocks. Darkness in this age is hard to find. I wonder if the extension of day into night in our age of progress and productivity is merely a reflection of our fear of being alone with our thoughts and our God. I wonder what would happen if we consciously embraced the darkness and all it offers.

When therapists attack…

Okay, they don’t actually attack.  Maybe ‘take over’ is a better description.  My son’s therapists have moved in and essentially claimed every area that is not our (my husband and I) bedroom as an acceptable place to do therapy.  The type of IBI that X. is currently engaged in is all about learning within the real world so that the skills he learns are transferable to many different situations.  I am behind this 100% but it has left me with almost nowhere to retreat to.  They’ve even claimed my office as it seems to be the most comfortable place to do puzzles and play games.

I don’t want you thinking I can’t live in my own home. I can. I am allowed to play with the baby anywhere and we can co-exist with the therapy but I need some quiet time. I crave quiet time in the day.  So does my little guy.  He cannot nap in chaos.  I don’t think many of us can.  After a month of hanging out in the relative quiet of my bedroom while my son napped in his bassinet mid-afternoon I found myself dreaming of a place where I could leave my computer out and have a few books in a stack.  You know, an office of sorts kind of like the one that was stolen from me.  This dream has become a reality.  While I was walking through Costco last week I found a cheap folding table that was skinny enough to fit in front of my bedroom window.  I’m writing on it right now!  It’s fantastic.  There’s room for a few books, a cup of coffee, my elbows and my laptop.  Have I mentioned it can be easily converted into a sewing station?


I feel like a new woman.  Like this week I may write an epic love story or the next great theological text.  While in reality I may just send a few emails and post a blog or two this has folding table has given me the opportunity for a little quiet in quite a loud season and I am thrilled to have found it.  Here’s to the little things in life!  They sometimes make all the difference.

Where would we be now?

“There were a lot of political films coming out of Europe during the late ’60s. Movies like Costa-Gavras’s ‘Z’ and stuff like that. I used to go see all of them, and I realized that my righteous indignation was a form of entertainment for me. I loved getting pissed off at injustice. I didn’t do anything about it, I just liked the feeling of being pissed off.” 

                                                                                                                          – Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis made me laugh. He made a lot of people laugh. From Ghostbusters to Groundhog Day there were so giggles and belly laughs tucked in with bits of wisdom along the way. Today while I was catching up on some news I happened upon an article that celebrated the contributions he made to the world of entertainment. As I read a quote by Mr. Ramis something resonated inside me. “…I loved getting pissed off at injustice.  I didn’t do anything about it, I just liked the feeling of being pissed off.”

Sometimes when I’m reading blogs and articles on the church I get caught up in the momentum of the ‘movement’. The idea that change is needed and the truth is I do believe it. I come from the Reformed tradition. I believe that we should always have movement and growth, that we should always be seeking and discovering. The words are inspiring, the ideas thought provoking and emotionally charged. There never fails to be a response from within when it’s written well with passion. The trouble comes after the reading. With thousands of people reading these blogs, where is the response? Where is the action? Where is the moment when we step out from behind the words and into the moment Jesus is calling us?

I think criticism is important. Much of our history is built upon the art of self-critique and growth from it. But what happens when we think of the ways we need to reform and fail to move into action?

Jesus often talked of what was necessary. He spoke of how we should live, love and relate in this world. Jesus used words, he was ‘the Word’ and we need those words in order to grow, expand and change. But it shouldn’t stop there. Words are alive and need to be lived. It’s not enough to read or even absorb them. They must put into action and stood behind if they are to have power.

Jesus was God in action. As Christians we must surely be people of action. We must take the words that we read, that we share, that we know and live them. When I signed in to Twitter this morning to meet my #hellomornings group a quote from Nehemiah flashed on the screen which got me thinking about a life filled with action and purpose.

“so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”” – Nehemiah 6:3 NIV

While the context is not one in which any of us would wish to be found with enemies seeking to harm us, I find this to be a great representation of what I want my faith to be. I want to read and reflect as I find it essential for growth in my personal faith life.  But I don’t want it to stop there. I want to to be interrupted in life, to be able to say “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down”. This is what we should be doing. We should be carrying on great projects for God. Doing the things he calls us to do. I don’t want observation to be all that my faith experience is in this life.

It’s not enough to see. It isn’t enough to comment. As a people we must act upon these observations. We need to respond to the paths God shows us. Imagine if all Jesus did was observe. Imagine if he just provided commentary on the world as he saw it. Where would we be now?

There is a way we can help: Typhoon Haiyan

My heart wasn’t in this morning’s post. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book, I did. It’s just that over the past week I’ve been reading news reports and my heart has been with the people of the Philippines. Seeing the devastation that flooded the airways is nothing compared to living it I’m sure. I cannot imagine what it is like to watch friends and family members die, to have lost people so dear to you in an instant. There is desperate need in the region. Food, shelter, warmth and hygiene essentials are much needed and there are ways we can help.

First off, we all need to be praying for the people living in the aftermath and those who have gone to help. Also, if we are able we can donate to relief organizations that are making a difference right now. I know not everyone can afford to do this and that’s ok. But if you have some extra, consider sharing. As I’ve walked through my life this week I realize how blessed I truly am. I have a warm home. My son is safe and secure. My only concern this morning was the new socks I purchased that were too tight to get on my feet. I know I cannot do everything but I can help a little and if it makes a difference in even the life of one person, it’s worth it.

Presbyterian World Service and Development is accepting donations to aid in the work of it’s partners Church World Service-Asia/Pacific and ACT Alliance who are already there,
working at assessing the damage and determining the needs of the people in this region. They are looking to support the immediate needs of those affected most and will be providing life essentials as quickly as possible. I think the work they are doing is important and I just thought I would let you know of one way that you can make a difference in the lives of those living in this disaster. The Government of Canada has announced that it would match all donations for the relief efforts made between November 9 and December 9 of 2013 so if you’re thinking of donating might be nice to do so in this time period. We can double our impact!

I borrowed the donate now button from PWS&D. I figure they’ll be ok with it as I’ve linked it right back to their website which will give you more information if you’re thinking of donating.

donate now


Shaking my head: The Rob Ford Saga

I’ve found myself shaking my head more times than I would like this week regarding the Rob Ford saga. Clearly he’s made extremely poor choices but honestly, I wasn’t shaking my head at those choices. I knew he smoked crack when the Gawker video story surfaced this past summer. It’s not surprising to me to hear that this happened. What surprised me and had me shaking my head was the reaction of my friends, a great many of them Christian with regards to his confession and clear problem with substance abuse.

Tell me this, if someone says to you they have ‘drunken stupors’ are you not concerned with this statement? The plural ‘drunken stupors’ seems to imply that he drinks quite regularly, to the point of excess and it happens enough that the time he decided to try crack he can’t quite pin down. To me this is sad. It may be a complete lie, he might know exactly when and where he smoked up but that too is sad to me. His life is clearly not what it could be. He’s making choices that hurt not just himself but also the city he governs. He has gone down some dark roads, made really poor choices and like him or not, he needs help.

I have to wonder what Jesus would be doing if he were here, right now with us. I suspect instead of making snide comments, or spewing hate on Facebook and Twitter that he would be knocking on Rob Ford’s door saying you’re not living right and I’m here to help with that. Now none of us are Jesus. I’m not suggesting any of us head on over to Mr. Ford’s house, we’d likely be arrested for trespassing. I am however wondering where our compassion is and why we think it’s ok to berate, judge and condemn people.

I’m not against stating the obvious nor do I support Rob Ford. I never did for what it’s worth. I feel he should resign. He should’t have lied. He really needs to think things through. I know that’s not looking promising but I wonder how helpful it is for any of us to be throwing hate out into the world. I feel like Rob Ford’s confession is bringing out the worst in people and that makes me sad. Clearly this man needs help in many ways. As Christians there should be some part of us that responds to that need and wishes against all odds that he would get that help, shouldn’t there? This whole thing has left me unsettled and sad. I may not support Rob Ford but I see that he is a man who is in clear need of help, guidance and the light if ever there was one.