Back to School and What it Means to Fail

Dear O,

I will never forget that day this past June when I found you beneath the bleachers. It was the day of your first track meet and I swung by on my lunch break to watch you, to snap a photo, to thumb through all the red and blue ribbons on your chest.

Instead, I found you hiding, your backpack on, you asked me to take you home. And when I asked why your shoulders began to shudder and the tears began to flow. You had lost all the events you were certain you would win. How could they all be faster than you? You have always felt the wind in your hair, barely felt the ground beneath your feet. You were certain there wasn’t anyone faster…that you would win this race.

You didn’t though and pinned to your chest, just the purple participation ribbon.

I sat with you under the Apple Bowl and I accidentally cried with you. I didn’t mean to. It was ridiculous really.

It is good for kids to lose sometimes. I know this.

It is no big deal. Of course it isn’t.

It is just a grade four track meet. And yet…

You whispered “why is everyone better at everything than me” and I was undone.

I did not take you home. We pushed through the last events. We cheered for the other kids who feel like losers. You rode the bus. You were brave. I was so proud. And you need to know…THIS is what it means to win.

Life was easier, wasn’t it? When I made sure that the kids we played with were nice to you, when I choose activities I thought you would succeed at. You have to fail at things now, face conflict and I must confess, it is so hard to watch. In fact, it is nearly impossible, because the truth of the matter is  I have more faith in you than is logical too…you are a super hero in my universe and my eyes don’t seem to see you with much realism. My pride in you is something like intoxication, all I see is the miraculous wearing flesh, shock, and awe that you came to be in our home after I nearly gave up that dream.

We are not called to succeed the way the world sees it. I will never hope that for you. You are a part of the upside down kingdom where the last are first and the weak are the strongest. You are called to seek placement with the broken-hearted and the system weary and the unloved ones. You are one of the joy dwellers, the hope bringers, the peace keepers, the light holders. Most of all we are grace chasers, picking the crumbs we need, leaving a trail behind us. 

That is a lot of words isn’t it? It boils down to this: Our legacy is love…of God and man. That is all.

So forgive me, when the fear of man looms large and I care more about how you behave than where you heart really is, and I seek to compel your facade. Sometimes I want you to be the best athlete, the best student because it is fun to win and because it matters that you work hard in whatever is set before you. Always remember, your success or failure in any of it doesn’t define your worth, will not change your true status, cannot make your dad and I more or less proud of you. That issue is settled…remember? I have no capacity to see you rightly. I think mamma eyes are glory laden and perhaps we can only see the heaven in our kids…an extraordinary capacity to ignore the hell.

Wherever you fail, you will find me there beside you, seeking the hidden treasures and finding ourselves walking on water. We will find beside us those who fall through our societies cracks, the perfectly shaped holes for the meek and mild and we will walk beside them.

With all my love,


E to Grade 3!


My favourite food is: “Pizza”

My favourite colour: “turquoise”

My favourite toy: “stuffies”.

My favorite TV Show: “AFV”.

My favourite movie: “Nacho Libre”

My favourite thing to do outside: “Explore”

My best friend: “Leah Aylard”

The coolest person in the world is: “You guys”

My favourite sport is: “Highland dancing and swimming”

My favourite animal: “DOGS”

My favourite thing to do with daddy: “Going on daddy daughter dates.”

My favourite thing to do with mommy: “Mommy daughter dates”

My favourite place to go: “Marble Point”

When I grow up I want to be: “A song writer and an artist”

My favorite snack is: “Cheetos”

I LOVE to…”Go quadding”

My favourite thing about me is… “My personality and my brains”

This year I want to…”Learn how to handwrite”


O to Grade 5!


An interview with O on the first day of grade FIVE

My favourite food is: “Sushi especially dynamite roles”

My favourite colour: “Orange”

My favourite toy: “Hammock”.

My favourite TV Show: “Looney Toons”.

My favorite movie: “Nacho Libre”

My favorite thing to do outside: “Either relax in my hammock or go in the hot tub”

My best friend: “Emily”

The coolest person in the world is: “Emily”

My favourite sport is: “BASEBALL. It is the best thing that ever happened to me”

My favourite animal: “Blue ringed octopus”

My favourite thing to do with daddy: “Quad and play baseball”

My favourite thing to do with mommy: “Hang out in hot tub and going on mother son dates”

Favourite place to go: “Marble Point”

When I grow up I want to be: “A pastor”

My favourite snack is: “Peanut butter and crackers”

I LOVE to…”go to marble point”

My favourite thing about me is…”How I have improved in pitching”

This year I want to…”Not be inappropriate at school”


The Stories They Tell

I feel sometimes as if I were a child who opens its eyes on the world once and sees amazing things it will never know any names for and then has to close its eyes again. I know this is mere apparition compared to what awaits us, but it is only lovelier for that. There is a human beauty in it. And I can’t believe that, when we have all been changed and put on incorruptibility, we will forget our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence, the great bright dream of procreating and perishing that meant the whole world to us. In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don’t imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try.

-Marilynne Robinson, “Gilead”


I can’t get this idea out of my head. I don’t know that this is good theology, but I also don’t know that it isn’t. I mean, all this will not just be forgotten on the other side, will it? And so what will the tale they tell about me be? How will I be Helen of Troy? It isn’t hard to seduce a man, but it is very hard to enchant him, to hold him, to trigger an epic battle for the heart.

It depends if you read Homer or Faust about what happens for Helen. Was she filled with remorse? Did she revel in the deaths? I wonder what tales they will tell of me? Will I be one who bent the arch of justice in the right direction? Was I one who instigated peace? What stories will they recite of me on those golden streets?

I am not much of a heroine; my audience is small and I do not lead a movement, but that is not the point. For all my writing about our Great Purpose, I hope you always know a great purpose does not mean a great achievement or a great audience. You can lead an extraordinary life between four walls. You can have only an audience of One and still live a life of epic goodness, extreme gentleness, total peace.

I read once about a man who called his wife a saint. He said he did not know anyone better. Imagine that. To me that seems like a story you should listen to. A spouse who has seen you at your worst and yet still believes you to be a saint?

Will he say of me that I upheld him? That I, as he headed up his armies, made him stronger, braver, more able? Or will he say my selfishness hindered him? Will my children say that I prepared them and released them for good fights and love? For holy mischief and our own brand of anarchy? Will the small battles I fight reflect a tale of courage and grace?

When someday I become a myth -either on this earth or the far off one – what tales will they tell of me? I am not asking for the fickle applause of man. I am asking to be aligned with the mythology of heaven. God…let me join your story.


Let’s dance

(I turned 38 last week. And I always journal my way through a prayer and a hope, a marker for the year to come. This year? Let’s dance…)

No, but really, let’s dance.

Oh my Jesus let’s dance…

Set my feet to the rhythm of grace and the anthems of freedom. Let me move with intention, by your spirit, take every lead. Help me learn to step less often on your toes.

Appoint me to be the love song and rush these feet to justice. Let me move and step lightly. Move these hands to the melodies of mercy. A living, breathing, dancing poem in this dark world.

Help me to join in creation with the trees clapping their hands and let me raise my own in worship. Help me not miss a moment to give you all the glory. Never let my dancing for you detract from you; let me always be helping people to see you…the joy you released in me. The freedom you gave me. The passion you always stir.

Oh Jesus….and when the dirge plays and some among us are mourning let  me sway even still and hold tightly to the hope I profess. Rock these hips like a lullaby and help me to be your messenger to remind the world that in the end the monsters will not win.

Teach me also, to rejoice with those rejoicing. And when they call me undignified, let me be even more undignified for your glory.  You deserve all my praise.

Oh God. On the terracotta tile of my kitchen and the industrial carpets of my work, in the street and in the church. Oh God move my body and stir my heart to the movement of your spirit, don’t let me miss a single prompt.

Oh Jesus, give me the depths and breadth of my very own life.

38…Let’s dance.








To watch you bloom


I am the sort of woman who mourns the end of the balsam arrowroot season. And who, is already sad about the lupines dying (though they will not bloom here for two weeks at least). The season for those yellow wildflowers this year was exceptional…every hillside of the valley was covered in them.

I can’t help but think about you as I see those flowers fade. How much impact those flowers had on me as they brightened up each day, as I pulled over to take photos of the sun setting on them. How much more do you matter to this planet? Your short and sweet life…it matters to us.

The energy in every room shifts when you walk in. We sense you. For better or for worse we know you are here. You are impacting every space you inhabit…what is it you are bringing to the table? What joy? What peace? What love? What encouragement and grace are you responsible for? How will you bless? What is your everyday contribution to your space and place? What of the Kingdom come are you responsible for?

A friend said to me recently, “I need a shirt that says, It is what it is” and I said NO! It is what we bring to it!

I know we can’t control everything. Oh I know. But we do get to control what we bring to it, what we take from it, how we perceive it, how we manage it, what we let ‘it’ do to us.


I have been tracing the lines of my sons hands lately, tracing his character as it develops. I want to know the depth of him so that as he enters his teens I can remind him of every good thing I know. I will teach him the impact of his courage, his kindness, his words and his love. I will remind him of his opposite potential also…how we are always growing towards one or the other.

Oh… my gorgeous wildflower…I love to watch you bloom.



Once a week we do not set an alarm. And on these days I wake to dappled sunlight warming our duvet cover. This morning I just stayed there, stretched my tired body out further. I went to the porch, read some poetry, climbed into the hot tub. It is 9:30 now…the kids are still asleep.

Sabbath rest is meant for us.

Last night my boy hit ‘the wall’. Four baseball games in a week plus school will do that to a profound introvert. He paced and hid and shouted “I just need alone time”. He reminds me always. He taught me how to rest. He helped me to see when we need it. He showed me my sin of rush and agenda and output. He is still my thermometer. He tells me when the water in our heads is getting too hot.


This week I was in well over my head. But the way I figure it…this is how we learn to swim. So swim I did and I kept my head mostly just above water. I know you are sure there is someone more equipped and better than you for the dream or vision in your heart. But it doesn’t matter. You were called for such a time as this, to such a place as your miraculously ordinary HERE. And so we step in, we serve to the best of our capacity.

And then…when you have done your good work, served the city to which you were called, loved with every inch of yourself;

You rest. You settle in with the peace that surpasses and you trust that there is nothing more required of you.


You are built for rest…it is as necessary for you as oxygen and water. Find your sacred rhythm and keep it…