studying for finals

inside the cozy lit
indecisive grey skies, 
an escapee drop here and there
and the weight of wisdom, 
solid and satisfying
praying that it will seep in
saturate my heart


so good to me

This has been a gratitude-filled fall if Thanksgiving dinners are any indication - I've had three =)  One Canadian celebration with family, since I was home for the wedding on the same weekend, one a few weeks later with fellow Canadians in the area (and some additions), and one American thanksgiving with other homeless students.  All of them were lovely, although of course being home with family and having family from the states made the first one very very special.  In the spirit of the most recent one I thought I would share a few more "gifts" from my Ann-Voskamp-inspired gift list. I'm going back to the wedding but there are so many I can only share a few or you'll be here all day!

 3034.  The moment I saw Dad walking towards me on the street in TO, new beard and all (I love my Daddy, I can't even express how wonderful a moment like that is)

 3036. Heidi surrounded by wedding things

3037.  A peaceful and lovely lunch with Heidi, aunts and Oma at the Mandarin

3046.  The quiet moments early on Saturday doing Heidi's hair

3048.  Heidi's expression when Deanna started playing the panflute

3049.  Tim, when Heidi appeared =)

3051.  Being sandwich hugged by Scott and David in the cold after the newlyweds left

3053. Mom sleeping 3 hours Sunday afternoon

3054. Aunts who dance in the kitchen (I won't say your name, haha!)

 3056. That missing my bus gave me precious moments to catch up with very special family members, and a very special Thanksgiving day

3062.  The moment I discover my hard drive is not fried, just floating free in the compartment

3064.  A phone call from Dad because there's a sale on Starbucks coffee

3068.  Community, when your burden is heavy

3071.  Classmates who notice when you miss class

3078.  Letting things fall out of my hands into God's where it's really been all along

3080.  Playing a strategy game with two other students...  Since when do I play strategy games with strangers?

3084.  Canadian Thanksgiving; caring people and good conversation

3090.  Monday morning coffee counsel with lots of whipped cream =)

3100.  "Rock of Ages" Jimmy Needham style

3101.  A Global Missions Fellowship lunch where I discover that one of my classmates has been doing mission work on a reserve in North Dakota (and of course talk their ear off afterwards)

3106.  A morning thunderstorm

3120.  "Whiteman's Gospel" arriving in the mail from Mark, even gift-wrapped

3141.  Long overdue phone conversations with friends (and a newlywed sister) back home

3145.  A tour of the old CCEF building

3163.  A Thabiti Anyawile sermon

3170.  Classmates willing to share their wisdom

3172.  A counselee brave enough to come and share their story

3173.  Said counselee's hug

3190.  Finding out some of my classmates who will be in my classes next semester

3193.  Mail from super special people (Melany & Josh)!

3197.  A morning at the thrift store with a friend, and the amusing things we find their (Arnold Schwarzenegger workout record anyone?)

3199. American thanksgiving - an evening of much laughter

3202.  Spending approximately $40 on gas per month (last year this time was close to $200 a month!)

3204.  Reading bedtime stories at the Jessops

There are so many more...  But this post is plenty long and I have plenty of studying that needs to happen!  What are you thankful for?  Or, to put it in Ann-Voskampesque terms, where do you see God's love in your everyday moments?



I don't really like this template, but it had come to my attention that the other one wasn't displaying properly, and I found one I liked, and tried to install it but it just wasn't being nice to me.  And right now I really don't have time to figure it out so instead you get this lovely background...  reminds me of lima beans.  
You're welcome.
I messed it up again.  These things just don't display properly and I still really should be doing homework instead.  Frustrated, giving up for the moment, thank you for your patience, have a good day.  I will get something acceptable on here someday.

 (P.S. Any web designers out there??  HELP!  lol)

Finally, something is sort of working.  I hope this displays properly for the people who actually read this blog.  If you can see the background, yay!  I see a tiny bit of it.  I am going to be content with this for a while at least.



the distant train whistle
the silence of a baby who has forgotten what it was like
for someone to come when she cried
a token of love shattered into ceramic slivers
the wild frightened glance of an adolescent trapped in their mind's tricks
the scent of dying roses
old letters from a love that spun apart,
questions that remain
the way the colours sink into the ground after the late fall rain,
leaving only muck
the roaring silence and the old man's dull stare
it hurts, oh it hurts
unexpected, a flooding whisper overwhelms the pain
"This is not where the story ends, dear one.
This is not where the story ends."
And, setting in with the chill after the sun's set, a peace.
In the dark, we wait and hope.
It is enough.



...that's what I'm doing right now.  I have papers to write but I am so slow this morning.  I'm sitting on the awesome kitchen stool we have with my laptop on the counter beside the kettle and my towel hanging off the cupboard door, just enjoying my coffee (Dunkin Donuts Hazelnut, it was on sale...  On of the things you don't find in Ontario) It's a happy morning.  I don't exactly know why...  Perhaps some recent blessings are sinking in.  God is providing for me, I have a bit less uncertainty about the next little while, and I've enjoyed a lot of good phone conversations in the last little bit...  And some good in person conversations too =)  
 On a random note there are roses on the table, snipped from the bush outside.  Roses in November!  I walk past a big rosebush to get to my car, almost every day.  I love it. 

This just started on my playlist so I will share it with you, it's a favorite.

Speaking of favorites this is an oldie but if you haven't heard the song, you must.  Favorite song ever.  The video is pretty good but it can't quite measure up.

While I'm sharing links, here's an interesting article.

Oh and a classmate shared this with me last night...  Wonderful.  His dad was doing it for the talent night that we missed (it was happening at the same time as our class.)  I think his dad, one of the professors, was reading from Winnie the Pooh =)

And before I decide to go be productive, here are a few photos I have from Heidi & Tim's wedding...  All my photo editing software trials have expired so I will have to wait until Christmas to fix them up.  So you get to enjoy these in all their imperfection =)
As tired as I was, I will treasure these moments of the day for always.
Neither of us look very energetic in this.  But I love and miss this guy.  (I'm always telling people "I have a brother who is a genius"... This is him =)  Well maybe not in those words exactly.  But a lot of people hear about my brother. All of my siblings actually)

I am definitely one of those people who always talks about their family.  Don't know if that's a good thing but with a family like this how can I help it?

GAH.  Case in point.  Here is my Oma.  She is my hero.  

 I like this =)  
So cute!  
Special moment =)  I wish it wasn't so terribly obvious when I'm tired.  


This is the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. =)  Love her so much.
 Wasn't this an awesome send-off? 

So cool!

Alright that's that.  Time to go work on my paper...  Or I might start dragging furniture around.  My bed is right under the window and I've had a sore throat for a week.  It does get a little chilly.  And my dresser happens to be blocking the one heater vent...  Plus I picked up a rocking chair from the side of the road (it's an interesting feeling, joining the elite ranks of garbage pickers) and it's kind of in an awkward spot right now.  

Sooooooo that's it.  Life is good.  One of these days I may post some of my thankful list again.  It makes me happy.




to soften the edge of busyness
to stop and smell the roses 
twice in one day
to sweep the farthest corners 
and do all the laundry
to explore
and sing
to feel the warmth of the sunshine
and pray
to try something new
but slow is only good
when it means everyday worship prospers
and slow
is for choosing, carefully, how to fill the moments
slow shouldn't be idle
because consecrated moments aren't meant to be wasted
and so
when you slow
invite someone in
make something and give it away
slow is meant to be shared.


moments of adventure

Some of the 'gifts' from my gift-list, as of late.  Also some random pictures of life since leaving Canada, in no particular order.


2932. Linda's sweet cards, one for each day of my first week...  And another to be saved "For a sad day"

2934.  Discovering the park up the road with Heidi

2935.  Stringing pearls together....  =)  (There will have to be a follow-up photo of our creation sometime!)

2936.  Sharing a coke with Heidi before she got on the bus

2937.  Becky's fresh bread

2940.  Finding the little Saturday farmer's market at the end of the road (complete with 10-year-old busker, cafe, and train station)

2942.  Audrey Hepburn movies free online =)

 2944. Whipped cream in my coffee

2945.  The AOC songs ripped from youtube on my mp3 player

2946.  A sweet "do-not-open-until" card from Heidi to help make my birthday special

2949.  How everyone at church seemed to know it was my birthday

2951.  Two cakes!

 2954.  The perfect breakfast smoothie

2957.  The old CCEF building

2958.  The way Mike Emlet's whole face lights up when he smiles

 2961.  Scrapbooking all over the kitchen
(good thing my land-lady was on vacation!)

2962.  The smell of roses after rain

2963.  Playing the J.'s piano

2968.  The Jersey shore twice in one month!  

2969.  Nathaniel telling me I should hold him

2971.  A lovely Sunday afternoon at the E.'s, crammed with interesting people and good conversation

2975. A Mark Dever sermon and crocheting

2977.  Conversation on the way out of class

 2981.  How life-savingly helpful my random-purchase not-white whiteboard turns out to be

2982.  A free venti Starbucks latte for my birthday, and how the Starbucks has a whole upstairs that is perfect for studying

2983.  Saturday night Bible Study!

 2985.  A lovely Sunday walk through the graveyard with Willow, Ellie & Autumn

2987.  Caroline & Michael with their accents and British English

2988.  The little girl crying in the hall because her mommy was in class and how when I stopped to talk, she talked my ear off

2991.  Chicken penne rigato with spinach and parmesan

2992.  Kitchen conversation with my landlady

2995.  Watching counseling in action and how love slows to walk through each painstaking detail...  And the hope in the reality of it all

2996.  The first day of autumn, and how new seasons roll in like the tide...  Flooded with grace and light


settling in...

Just a few pictures for fun:  

 The night I moved in. 
 These flowers were waiting on the dresser in the empty room, with a sweet note from Anna J, who had stopped by that afternoon.  What a lovely welcome!  I just wish I hadn't been too tired to notice that my one quick snap of them was terrible quality.  Ah well.  

And today, more or less settled in:
 Still a couple things to do, like hang up my calendar (and eventually a few more things on the walls, yay!) get a bedskirt, and finish crocheting my crazy colored blanket that you see in the bag on the floor.  I'm getting there, but there are so many little things to do between class and class-related things...  Life is good.


living out God's thoughts

I am here! 
 Last Monday I left Canada and headed to the States to begin a new season of life.  =)  I'm studying at CCEF for at least a year, and Heidi drove down with me to help me settle in.  It was nice to have almost a week of sister-time before she gets married...  The week felt like a bit of a whirlwind though.  We arrived just in time for supper at our friends' house, spent the next day shopping, Wednesday went to the ocean and then another family had us over for dinner on our way back, Thursday spent the morning with wedding preparations and then the afternoon visiting, and I had my first class that evening.  (!!!)  Friday we stopped by Heidi's former landlady's place for lunch, hit the thrift store and spent some time exploring on foot before driving downtown for Heidi to take the bus back home that night.  Oh, and there were things to do for the wedding inbetween most of the cracks =)  Saturday I mourned the absence of my sister a little, and also discovered a cafe/train station with a weekly farmer's market in the parking lot at the end of my street, did errands and watched an old Audrey Hepburn movie.  

Today was my birthday.  I'm twenty-three today.  I was pondering the matter of ages and I think there is a trend at the end of the summer that everyone asks about your age and the ages of your siblings (because of school starting?  More changes?  I do not know) and it just so happens the majority of our family's birthdays are in the fall.  This means I say "I have one nineteen-year-old brother, one turning seventeen, and one turning thirteen."  I was starting to say "I'm turning twenty-three" too.  All that rambling to say it doesn't feel weird to me when we all do turn twenty-three, seventeen and thirteen because I've been talking about it for a while.  

I wasn't expecting today to be much out of the ordinary because my family is all up at the cottage where our cell phones don't do too well and I didn't think my friends here knew it was my birthday but I was pleasantly surprised by a phone call from most of my family before church, and then at church Anna J seemed to have notified the whole congregation that it was my birthday!  =)  I even ended up with two cakes, one from her daughter and one at the parsonage where I was invited for lunch.  It was a lovely day.  

I'm looking forward to my two classes tomorrow...  I would like to meet some new people from class.  Thursday's class there were students from Florida, India, England, Canada (one besides myself!) China and a few other places I'm forgetting - all that in a class of approximately 17 people!  There is a young Irish couple attending my friends' church who are also from Westminster, too.  I love their accent =)  It's fun to start making connections.  I'm so excited to just LEARN.  I've been a teacher for three years, now the tables are turned.  I love it.  I love the stuff I'm learning and I love having interesting people around to study and learn from too.  I pray that the things I take in, in this year/year-and-a-half, will be things I can turn around and share for the rest of my life.  And I pray that I will have the courage to take the opportunities that are there - or hunt them down, if they don't seem to be there.  It is easier to be alone.  It's tiring to be friendly to people you don't know that well.  But I've been learning that life in Christ is life in community.  (For example...)  And I've been so blessed, especially this past year or so, by random and not-so-random relationships in my home church.  Which I definitely miss.  But I know what has been can never be erased.  Sometimes I've wished it could be.  But I think I'm learning, little by little, how much better God's plans are than mine.  He decided, before the beginning of time, that we would have seasons in our lives, people in our lives, each for a time to teach us and bless us.  If one never ended, we couldn't fit them all in.  I remember John Piper talking about how we weren't made for separation.  How closing a chapter of life hurts because we were made for beginnings.  And he reminded me that the good things that end, only end temporarily.  A new heavens and new earth mean an eternity of beginnings.  Can you imagine, we will be remade to be able to withstand that much glory?  All this to say...  I think it means I need to invest in eternity.  In my everyday moments.  To feed on the Word and talk to my Lord instead of to myself, to love others, even imperfectly, to seek wisdom and trust the future to the One who fashioned my days "when as yet there were none of them."  I've lived 8395 of those days, and He has been perfectly faithful in every one of them.  He hasn't told me how many more I have, but I know He will continue the work He has begun.  
Thank You, Lord!



summer dawns
and I'm a wanderer
neither here nor there
chapters closed
and not yet begun
but what lies between such a sweet rich freedom
time to
to savor, to enjoy
I've said plenty of goodbyes in my time
but you'll always be a part of who I am
you've taught me how beauty and dignity mesh
you've given me confidence
taught me how to sing
and how to weep
I've let go the little hands that reached
into my mourning heart
and claimed my love and care
when I thought I was done with loving
oh, the Lord knew better
and I've left them in good hands
now things I'd let go of,
the Lord brought them back
He is sovereign over opportunity
so I'll love
because He loves me first


carry my burden

when I call myself a loner
will you come and sit with me
if I feel out in the cold
will you be the bridge between
when I say my heart's uncaring,
will you shed your tears for me
when my days feel dark and despairing
share the joy and grace you see

if the grace of Christ has changed you,
will you let it flow to me
if you know the truths of Jesus,
please tell me what they mean
will you act the always faithful love
of the pursuing Friend
will you sing the song of hope to me
until I can sing again

if I choose to be rebellious
you've got to tell it like it is
be gentle and unyielding
don't give up on me just yet
if I tell you of the horror,
don't pretend you understand
be patient, walk beside me
if I can't see, take my hand

if the grace of Christ has changed you,
will you let it flow to me
if you know the truths of Jesus,
please tell me what they mean
will you act the always faithful love
of the pursuing Friend
will you sing the song of hope to me
until I can sing again


that time of year

treetop moon
bursting through
flurried kitchen concoctions
ruffled thudding
on my window
we're restless, you and i.
let's pretend to be poets,
snobbish and elusive
truth is,
we don't know what to do with ourselves
hungry for summer
for release
but today is a gem
whether we know it or not.

image from justcalendar.org


Lord of my moments

day to day breathing is heavy sometimes
giving You control has me trembling with fright
surrender overwhelms me like an incoming tide
the weight of forgiveness burns soft, deep inside

my life bears Your name and I'm cupped in Your hands
but I build crumbling castles as fast as I can
set me high on the Rock, wash away all the sand
hour by hour trusting in Your perfect plan

I'm scared of Your mercy - it's lovely and hard
Your goodness like fire rearranges my heart
be Lord of my moments, You've stained them with joy
like swallowing sunshine, I make You my choice


lessons from my students

(this list could go on for a very long time, actually.)

everyone needs to stop and just stare at the blue sky sometimes.
ask questions.
make the people in your life feel like celebrities when you greet them.
fresh air and exercise helps to keep you from going crazy.
rainbows are the coolest things ever.
never be afraid to ask for help.
pray for ants.
it's ok to cry.  loudly.  and then sit for a while - but only as long as you need.  then get up and do the next thing.
always be extra kind to people who've been crying.
mud is good.
real men like flowers.  and killing bad guys, no matter how many zillions of times they're told fighting is not allowed at school.
everyone should appreciate jellyfish.
food is a big deal.
singing louder is always better.
God is the answer to everything.


long-time burden

it’s an unceasing weight
tears bottled up
my unanswered question
broken telephone lines
unresponsive heart
love through a clogged artery
how long, oh Lord?
yearning for it, maybe force it
but it is good that one should hope
and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
patient perseverance,
submission to sovereignty
until we sing again.


it's time for another post...

...But I need a little processing time before I can write something about the things that are in my head right now. 
Thought for the day:  
The Lord works everywhere, all the time.  
Think about it.



from blue heavens
a trail of wax and feathers
like a fallen star
into darkness and fire
my own way.
bent on destroying
the Sun of righteousness
on the wings of the Morning
with healing in His wings
a captive of grace
surrender is inevitable
holy fire 
sanctifying, healing, guiding
into His arms

imagesource: "The Fall of Icarus" by helene
Reference to Malachi 4:2


there is something inspiring...

...about a good pen.
it should be quiet,
and leave lots of ink without being
and retractable tips are better
because then you don't lose your cap.
and they should definitely not be
or red.
the darker, the better
it makes you want to
just keep writing

What do you think?  Pens or pencils?  Lined or unlined paper?  Blue ink or black ink?  What's the best pen in the world?


best of 2012

The best recipeIndian Tomato Chicken - a family favorite. And great to make a huge batch of, it seems to improve with reheating.
The best book(s), John Ploughman’s Talks by C.H. Spurgeon and Speaking The Truth in Love by David Powlison.
The best song that you just couldn't get out of your head? The Invasion (Hero)
The jeans that fit best? A random pair given to me by a cousin =)
The best week of 2012: The CCEF National Conference. Make a resolution in 2013. Go to this one. Even if you are not a counselor.
Best habit? I made a goal to make sure I read, wrote, sang, exercised, invested in a friendship and created something at least once every week.
Best holiday? I think Good Friday. Just because it’s always my favorite. So stripped down, so simple, the heartbeat and climax of History.
Best risk taken - to reach into more of the lives around me.  Goodness, I am still so introspective, but I have been SO blessed by God working in other people's hearts.  
Best memories:  Dad reading in the sunshine on the front porch, countless coffees shared with people who are so precious to me, Mallory reading Hosea all the way through chapter nine at camp, the Unashamed Toronto concert
Best word:  Perseverance.  
The best scripture: Psalm 91, and Jeremiah 20:9
And in it all, He is faithful. In loneliness, in depression, in joy, in sorrow, in gains and loss, in blue sky dry days and crashing thunderstorms. Always He Is. And He is holding me in the palm of His hand.
Please share some of yours!



moment by moment
singing God's faithfulness at a dear cousin's wedding
Dad on sabbatical and how he slows, smiles more, trusting
My sister meeting a special young man, and how he slips into the ebb and flow of family
learning to love and care for people, learning to change
road trips to see, gospel breaking in, breaking through
Mark off to university, stretching, reveling in this new stage of life
births and weddings, joy upon joy
a death that hit close to home, reminding us where home really is
frustration and exhaustion to teach me dependence
surprising joy when I least expected it.
Every day, the struggle to live thankfully,
one step at a time.
I am blessed.
I am held.

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Sometimes I am melodramatic... Bear with me. My favorite thing is finding hope in hard places. If you enjoyed something (or not) I would love to hear from you! You can make me very happy by leaving a comment :)


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