What keeps you afloat?

Tomorrow lent begins and while it isn’t traditionally practiced in my denomination, I pay attention to, and follow the Christian calendar. I think there is a lot to be said for the rhythms and disciplines that keep your head above water when you start to sink. When you can no longer tread the depths and need assistance with the buoyancy of your faith. When you don’t know what to pray, sometimes a book of prayers works. Pray the psalms when you can’t find your words.

That is what lent is for me. It is the season in which I ask myself, what is it that is keeping me afloat? I challenge myself to remove anything that could become my first or only and ask ‘how am I facing up to this life’?


Recently I have been thinking of all the ways I cover for God. All the ways I tread water with dying-flesh strength instead of floating on the generous gift of His spirit. There are so many ways I seek the applause of man instead of the clear and succinct well done.


Whenever it is that I start to tread water in my very own strength, when I start to believe that I am really nailing this life, whenever I achieve some success, without warning my insecurity rises up. Whenever I attempt to build my reputation I disintegrate. I can only really thrive when I am under the thumb of God. The truth of it is I am entirely too small to be the centre of my own universe, I create a black hole, collapse in on myself. Keep back or I will take you with me.

For me, this lent, is not about removal but renewal. This Lent it will be about all the ways I am taking my life, my pain and my pride to Christ. I will crucify it with Him and for me the only way to do that is pen and ink.

So for lent…join me here

More than a Scavenger

DSC_0225Before I moved to the woods, I believed bald eagles to be noble fisherman, mighty hunters. I had only ever witnessed them darting from trees over Shuswap lake, pulling out salmon, congregations of them at the river head waiting for the spawn; Sitting like royalty on the edge of the Kettle River, curved beak pointed toward us, keen eyes watching us cooley as we floated by.

Now though…Now I see them mostly sitting at ‘road kill corner’, the place on Highway 33 where the wildlife dies. We most often see the dead white tail deer, though once there was a small black bear, an elk, more. And now we see the eagles there too. The animals cross over there, from the good eating on Black Knight mountain on down to Mission Creek for water. Eagles have become, much less the noble creatures I once believed them to be. Now they sit and attack the vultures, get chased by the murder of crows who make this home. Watching an eagle rip into a deer carcass has changed the image for me.

Why does he eat maggots? Does he not know he is the top of his food chain? The mightiest in his family? How did he forget?

He chooses what is easy…that is all. Don’t you?

Don’t you, so often, choose what is right in front of you, the path of least resistance? Don’t you, sometimes, choose just what gets you by instead of what raises you up? How often do you revert to your base instincts?

How often do we let our fear rule when Christ should?

How often are you picking off of dry bones when you should be sitting down to a feast?


These days, I can barely read the news, so many giving way to the worst of themselves…letting fear rule. It was no mistake that we are told to ‘fear not’ more than we are told anything else. This world can be/is always a scary place. We were never told it wasn’t. We are asked to be brave anyways. To let love rule.

Rise up. Rise up and be a force of Love to this desperate world. Rise up and join the prince of peace. Rise up and care for the widows and orphans. Rise up and do the thing you were made to do.

Please don’t settle for a life of fear…

You are called to be so much more than a scavenger.

Makin’ Peace: 11:11:11

How can you be part of #wagingpeace this advent season? Love to hear your thoughts!

one thing blog

Sometimes the world just feels so sharp. Blade to flesh. Sword to heart.

I watch one soul slay another with a word, or by withholding them.

I watch a man speak icy to wife, she feels the frost and pulls herself away… bit.

I see a mother chop down child…right at the knees. I watched him crumple before her.

All of them clinging to the hand that will inevitably slam hard against the cheek.

And there were the others. Those that shopped alone. Lonely. They sought to make eye contact with me and we did and I smiled warm and I felt frost melt and I felt soul draw near and I knew soul deep loneliness from across the meat cooler. I tried to tell them I loved them with eyes alone. Say we’re in this together you and I. When I lifted bran muffin mix she requested from the…

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A Mother Letter: On the Peace

I will be spending these days…all the weeks leading up to Christmas thinking about ways that I can #wagepeace. I am developing a calender with 30 ideas for the advent season of ways that our family will be part of waging peace. I would love to have you join us! Share with me your ideas? Till then I will be sharing some reblogs from the archives!

one thing blog


Dear O,

When you asked for a pistol for you birthday it got me thinking.  Being your mamma always makes me ask the hard questions. This time I wondered about THE PEACE and how we are living it.

You said you  “want to shoot down a tree and to shoot down the power lines”, and there isn’t anything wrong with this, hear that clear. It just made me stop and think for a moment. Little boys love guns and wars and battles of all kinds. My daddy said no guns at our house but we found ways to make our own, turn the garden implements to battle staffs for our ninja club. Children find ways to fight. I just want you to know that you are part of a better way.

You need to know that your daddy and I? We believe the Peace.

You can watch us. The way…

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A life’s work in the margin


The snow fell yesterday. You can drive 8 minutes down the road and the white hills turn to green. But here the wind is blowing and the ice is staying. Winter has come. I know my place. My place is here on this hill, with the children who are so full up with life it leaks from their mouths in exuberant bursts. There is no stopping it. They are carbonated like their daddy. Bursting. The snow means they go back outside. The pop of energy echoes in the snow of Sun Valley.

Last weekend I preached a woman’s retreat like a bonefide lady. Like a maybe, someday, almost,  preacher. I felt the ragged edges but I felt alive in the tightly woven midpoints. I want to stay there. God keep me from my own periphery. You know I am at risk to disintegrate when I live in the pulled threads. The “more” than I am called to.

I have more than a couple of opportunities these days. There are a number of things I could do and one could say I am spread more than a little bit thin. It is currently more difficult then ever for me to say yes to the things that matter most.

But yes I must. And no…well it is time to learn. Here is what I know today:

  • I am called to free Joel to do whatever ministry he is called to. Free him. Did you hear that? He is released by me, for his very best of work. I will stand beside him in that call. Make him more free, stronger, by any stretch or means I can.
  • I am to know Jesus. Deep and true. And not to waiver on my task.
  • My work is about advocating for healthy and whole communities…to work for the safety and wholeness of young people.
  • My work is to mother from my deepest healing…never, ever from my weeping wounds…never my greatest fears.
  • My job is to write it all down…

We were warned…weren’t we? Our purpose might be pushed from central just a little when we are family zoned. Please do not let it get out to the thread bare edges. The life’s work may be pushed a little, but we can find our way to the margins, the dawn breaking, the night shadow. Don’t forget to draw firm lines…oh please don’t forget. We need to see your masterpiece. Say no to the other things, the things that you are not made for, the things that drain you, the things that anybody else can do.

Please say yes to the 18 inches around you. Take the step that you need to to claim the space of your sacred yes. And don’t be afraid to say your no.





Magic, Mischief and the Grind (What I am into October 2015)


October was Thanksgiving (with so much gratitude), Halloween, short work trips, birthday partys for small people, and more. It was full…and wonderful.

So, what I am into?

I am into the fall burning up all red and orange, hot drinks back in my hands most moments of the day. I am into two jobs and really believing that we can corrupt systems that oppress us and find new ways to be human. That most of our suffering is the complete lack of authentic communities, ways of loving each other, hope deferred. How do we be the Hope People in even the most hopeless of contexts? I am not always exactly sure but I will spend my life chasing it.

I am into knowing, exactly what I am called to in this season of my life, feeling my heart breaking wide open for young people who just all appear so vulnerable to me. Again, I don’t know what to do always, but I know it involves showing up, loving well, giving up myself to serve.

I am into preparing to speak at a women’s retreat this weekend. I am so excited about it that I don’t quite even know who I am. The messaging I am preaching has been burning in my bones for months. I cannot wait to share it with you!

I am into new sports for the kids. I am sad that I have to be away while my son plays in his first basketball tournament this weekend. I cannot express to you the joy it brings me to watch this little person learn this game. He is the smallest boy on his team, he is one of the only first year players, but oh my word…the hustle. It is just the best.


I am into exploring with the family and getting into the woods as much as we can muster. The kids love it as much as we do so we have got out a lot in the fall air.


I am into my kids growing up and the wise and wonderful things they say sometimes. Last week Joel was flipping through the channels and stopped briefly on one of the James Bond films. It happened to be a scene with a lot of shooting. My son, who was building lego at the table said “hey dad? Are you sure that is a good show? Maybe you should think about guarding your gates?”. This phrase I adore and stole shamelessly from my friend Sarah Bessey. We have explained it to the kids that whatever we let in our lives is often there for keeps and so we are wise when we consider what we let into our hearts, when we guard it and fill it with the beautiful, noble, and hopeful. We fill our hearts with the future we hope for.

Speaking of41TJVoBrIsL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_ Sarah Bessey, did you know that she releases her new book TODAY!? I will be honest and say that I have not got to read it yet. I have had access to an electronic pre-release and I tried and tried but could not get it. BUT TODAY the hard copy is available! I have no doubt that this book will be as deep and beautiful as she is…and will be the story that I have watched her live through her blog. The story of easy answers that don’t hold the water you hope they will, the challenging seasons that make you question everything and then, still, always, Jesus.

Also Seth Haines has a  book releasing today…”Coming Clean” tells the story of his journey through alcoholism and he makes the assertion that many of us are addicted to something. That we are all coping the best we can but usually not in the best ways. I can’t wait to get my hands on that one too!

October brought some good reading my way as well. This month it was Erwin Mcmanus “The Artisan Soul”, Glennon Melton “Carry on Warrior” and Susie Larson “Your Sacred Yes”. All great. All recommended.

I am also into taking off for the weekend with my little family. We left our phones in the car. Do you ever do that? For us it is the bread and butter. We live in an idylic place, I know. But still, we end up working all weekend if we stay home. J and I both love taking off and hiding in strange hotels. We bring our kids, eat in bed, swim in the pool. It is so refreshing for us. What do you do when you hit that wall when you just need to get away? I encourage you to take your family with you..

What are you into this month? Best album? Best book? Best adventure? Would love to hear in your comments!

What I'm Into

On Terrifying Lucidity


Today I stayed in bed till 10 am, went downstairs made pancakes, held both the small people in my arms and napped while they watched a movie and then promptly went back to my bed with my third cup of coffee. I also had a bubble bath at some point. So you know…my life is rough.

I started a second job a month ago so while my time is actually manageable my brain is spread a fair bit thinner then perhaps it should be. Our community, our family, has been under pressure and to be honest I am out of the fog but am still needing to nestle in, read, stare at walls. It has been…All the people. All the time.

My new job has to do with youth mental health and not to be a pessimist but with a youth pastor father and a youth mental health advocate mother it is almost assured that our children will be raging, strained teenagers. Here is my plea: Joel and I both just believe in building community that will help to catch your kids if they start to fall. We trust you to do the same. How about we just show up for each other ok?

O spent the day building Rube Goldberg machines with dominoes and marble runs. There was a dog treat dispenser and a book closer (important for a son like mine ;-). He called me seventy-seven times to come watch and of course I did (though my book was great and my bed was soft)…watching their passions emerge is the greatest honour of my life. Last night O played his first basketball game and I got so close to the edge of my seat that I actually fell off. Turns out it was a stage and I fell onto the court. Bless. So thankful my son is not yet the raging teen he just might be.

Elvis Costello said his grandmother (while tremendously ill with Alzheimer’s disease) had moments of terrifying lucidity. I have finally had those again lately. Do you know those? The moments of profound and intense and terrifying lucidity. I am certain you feel it too. When, just for a moment, the world of life and death and real and true hits you right between the eyes. The instance when you see another parent with your identical parenting style and it terrifies you. The moment when you watch a women in her older adulthood still so bound by fear and insecurity that she can’t choose her own life. Can’t listen to the call of God.
It beckons us doesn’t us? The moments when we just can’t ignore the nudges and inklings and can no longer eclipse the truest of the trues.

If I were a writer I might have called it writers block but I think of it more as spiritual dementia, profound aphasia that I am finally overcoming. I feel myself waking up, able to speak…watch out world.

Today the children dug into my hope chest, which at this point in life is actually a time capsule. I held my high school diploma and E found a cheap ring Joel gave me as a joke in high school. O found my basketball jacket and various sports medals. I found my poetry and small books I had bound when I was seven. These words have always been my way. Broken and terrible, weird and intangible.

I am too busy for this blog.

I am going to do it anyway.

On Hope

wpid-wp-1443367558392.jpegWell hello. Are you still there?

I am and I’ve missed you.

If you want to know the truth, here it is- my emotions have been a bit too raw to stand up and say ‘this I know’ even though I do.

This summer  set me on the edge of life and death and forced me to peak over. I knew what the bottom held but still, I didn’t want anyone to go over. We miss them don’t we?

I guess you can know, I stopped at traffic lights and cried sometimes. I had to stop reading the news. There are things we cannot understand, answers we don’t get to know.

I’ve healed now enough not to weep at the kind words of a friend or even the commercials on TV. I don’t blog when the wounds are raw. I want to show you all my scars well healed, the strength in my spirit healed flesh.

So here, this is the truth I know for sure:

Life can be just so painful. Hope does not disappoint and we are never alone…not once.