still waiting...

perhaps it is in preparation for the coming season of advent {or just the nature of life itself}, but i have been drawn to and seemingly drawn by all things that have to do with waiting. so, it could only be fitting that tonight, as i prepared to shut down the computer and head to bed, did i stumble across a Rilke poem on this very subject, called the wait. enjoy.
it is life in slow motion,
it's the heart in reverse,
it's a hope-and-a-half:
too much and too little at once.

it's a train that suddenly
stops with no station around,
and we can hear the cricket,
and, leaning out the carriage

door, we vainly contemplate
a wind we feel that stirs
the blooming meadows, the meadows
made imaginary by this stop.

translated by A. Poulin



every year, this {real} thanksgiving week makes me feel like i am missing something. seriously, we are so close to the US it's a wonder we cannot smell all the turkey cooking from here! it's like knowing that there's a huge party going on next door with parades and football, and for some obscure reason, you cannot be invited.

i hate being left out.

speaking of things beyond our control, what are you doing about the things that are within your realm of control? if you're anything like me, you spend way too much time focusing on that which cannot be changed, while letting the opportunities of things that you do have the power to affect get away.

...encouraging someone going through a tough spot.
...simply spending time with your friends or family.
...buying shoes for someone who has none.
...spending time reading God's book or simply hanging with him.
...planning how to be intentionally relationship-focused this holiday instead of gift focused... and then use that money to buy shoes.

oh, did i mention that you could buy shoes? we have 34 days to go, and so far have raised the funds for only 6,732 pairs of shoes out of our goal of 50,000. that's like a million shoes still to go. i'll admit, when i first heard about this project, i thought that this would be a piece of cake. that's only 25,000 people sharing $5...and almost everyone has $5. but, as in all of life, things rarely work out as i expect them to.

so, let me encourage you that whatever you do this {real} thanksgiving week, be intentional. be relational. and do something, anything, that will cost you, but will enhance the world in which you are a citizen.


beautiful explanation

perry noble explains, better than i ever could, why i refuse to ask a guy out...

Beautiful_02- Single Guys Outtake from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

good question

last week i went on a road trip with some of my fellow church staff to the catalyst one day conference in granger, indiana. it was a great conference, and i am still sorting out the things that craig groeschel and andy stanley taught, and i think i probably will be for a while.

one of my highlights of the trip was the conversation we had in the van on the way there. we covered a boatload of topics, and i cannot even begin to expand on it, simply suffice it to say that it was completely remarkable.

the thing that stands out in my mind, however, was a question that owen black asked me as we drove through my old stomping grounds of windsor, ontario. since my family moved to alberta, i haven't been back to windsor in probably five or more years, so seeing a place that was at one time so familiar, and now so different, was slightly dali-esque. as we drove down huron line, owen asked me,
if someone offered to drop me off anywhere in the city to do whatever i wanted for however long, where would that place be?

of course i had an answer immediately {my friend deb's house... i truly believe that a couple hours in her kitchen talking and drinking coffee with her would be more therapeutic than a week of vacation!}, but what struck me was what a great question it was. and how often in life we get asked really great questions whose answers reveal part of us to others and ourselves... but also, more importantly, how infrequently i ask really great questions, to get to know those in my life better.

thank you, owen. you have helped me see how much more deliberate i need to be in all my relationships. i owe you one!



when in the course of a week i hear about something once, unless it is spectacular, it rarely gets a second thought. having it mentioned twice gives it more credence. but coming upon the same previously unknown poem three times in the course of five days, all from different sources is definitely cause to start really paying attention.

it started with phil aud mentioning the poem while talking about his new eugene peterson book, tell it slant, while we were in indiana. on friday i ran across the same poem in a magazine. then, last night, i was looking at some online writing courses from seattle pacific university, and, there it was...the same poem in the margin of the page.

this is the poem, by emily dickinson:
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -
Success in Curcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
the Truth's superb suprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind -

i have never been one of those people who has a natural patience with people. if i understand something, then i expect that those around me should also have the same basic understanding. but i am coming to realize, and this poem is another step in this journey, that my patience level for those around me needs to grow exponentially if i am to be even the tiniest reflection of my God.

so, i am learning to tell it slant...to not jump right in and hit people hard with truth, but rather, ease others into truth, as Jesus did, using stories and infinite patience.


familar ground...

we've arrived home from granger, IN, where we attended the catalyst one day conference. while i was a little too close to the dreaded notre dame, AND i had to go through the very dreaded state of ohio, it was a great trip. both the conference and the conversations en route were mind-expanding and much food for thought and growth.

i am tired. so very tired. so that is all you're getting for now.

good night...



as usual, tonight my living room was filled with the laughter that has always accompanied my small group. we are a group that knows little of solemnity, and as someone who has laughter as one of her core values, this is a very good thing.

tonight, we welcomed two new members...and even though it was their very first time, they both fit in so beautifully to our madness, that yes, i already consider them part of us.

each young woman in the group has added a dimension to my life that did not exist before i met them. each of them has helped to make me a better person, a better Christ follower, and for that, i will always be immensely grateful for the fact that they let me share in their lives, and their own life journeys.

as always, Rilke's words say better how i feel about each member of my small group:
“i'm so glad you're here. . .it helps me realize how beautiful my world is.”


what's on your feet?

right now, what do you have on your feet?

when is the last time you thought about what you put on your feet, beyond whether or not they match what you are wearing?

let me digress a moment...

i had lunch with a friend recently, and we were talking about a family that we had heard of who recently arrived in canada from a bad situation in their home land. they were in need of things for a new baby, and my friend had arranged for a number of items for them, they just had to come pick them up.

the man arrived in a tiny car, in no way adequate to get the items that had been gathered for him. had it even been possible to fit everything in the vehicle, it would have taken no less than five trips, and his gas tank was already below empty.

my friend felt horrible, having known that this couple had no money and extremely few possessions, to have not been able to arrange transport {which she did end up finding, and all the items arrived at the family's apartment}. she felt that she should have realized the gravity of the situation.

but as i thought about it, i realized that given the situation, i don't think my friend was being insensitive, i think that like so many of us born and raised in north america, we have no idea what it means to truly be in need. we don't understand, because we've never been there.

i have no framework for real poverty. my mind has no construct for true need, because i have never truly, materially been in need. even in my poorer days, when i got hungry, there was always kraft dinner, crashing at the parent's, or the knowledge that gramma would come to town soon and we'd go grocery shopping. i have never gone without something that i have needed...and for this i am so thankful.

but if i stop at simply being thankful, then i have grossly missed the point. if the realization of how much i have, in contrast to others with whom i share this planet, does not spur me to action, then what is the purpose of being thankful at all? am i truly thankful for what i have, or am i merely thankful that i have what someone else doesn't? how can i ignore someone in need, while acknowledging the fact that i have plenty? what would God think of such a terribly selfish attempt at gratitude?

back to your feet...

in the past four days, the 50,000 pairs in 50 days challenge has had 3,726 pairs of the 50,000 we need donated for people who have no shoes. we still need...well... LOTS of shoes {trust me, this will go much quicker if you do the math!}. but i believe that when we begin to understand, even in a small way, what it means to truly be in need, we can make this happen.

talk about the need. talk about this project, or find one that you believe in and are passionate about, and go make a difference in some one's life from all the you have been blessed with.

don't be merely thankful for all the gifts that God has given you.

do something with it.


everything or nothing?

after our discussion on a Christ follower's responsibility to be good stewards of our planet as well as care for the souls of those living on it, i have to wonder, with all the worthy causes and needs out there, how does one sanely decide what their part will be?

do you ever feel like caring for one thing, be it shoes, clean water or whatever, means that you have to care for EVERYTHING? it seems, at least in my life, when i start to feel like i need to do everything, it becomes far too easy to do nothing.

how do you decide what gets your time, energy and money?



i love this video. it's exactly where my heart is these days. will you join the conspiracy?


dreaming big

tonight at small group, we finished up mark batterson's wild goose chase. i've already blogged about it, so i won't go into too much detail, but the book ends with one lingering, haunting question.
what are you waiting for?

having begun to dream with God again, and discounting all of the usual culprits that tend to be the answer to the question {fear, failure, assumptions, etc.}, the question too easily causes the heart to skip a beat and lose any sort of courage that had been mustered up.

it is also too easy to discount small steps taken towards a big dream. perhaps all the details aren't figured out, and the reality is, when we do have all the details drawn out in pen, something happens that appends our initial plans, and we need to hit costco to buy liquid paper by the gallon. but we need to celebrate the small steps...even if that step is simply allowing yourself to dream again.

i've quoted this rilke poem before, and to be honest, i'm sure i'll quote it again. i come back to it regularly in attempting to figure out my life, so i will share it with you tonight. i hope that your heart, too, will echo these words.

I am praying again, Awesome One.

You hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.

I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.

In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
in wordless beseeching, that I may find again
the eyes with which I once beheld you.

I am a house gutted by fire
where only the guilty sometimes sleep
before the punishment that devours them
hounds them out in the open.

I am a city by the sea
sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart–
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God–spend them however you want.

–Barrows and Macy, trans. 1996. Rilke, Rainer Maria. Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God. Riverhead Books.


it's finally here!

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge

if you know me, you know that almost more than anything else in the world, i love shoes. i love boots. i love pretty much all things that go on feet {with the possible exception of cowboy boots, but that is more a principle thing}. so, imagine my sheer joy to discover that there is a way that to help those less fortunate by meeting the hugely practical need of providing people with shoes!? trust me, all the village peasants were singing and dancing in the streets of Streetsville...

the goal is to raise the necessary funds to purchase 50,000 pairs of shoes for people who may have never owned a pair of shoes in their lives, in only 50 days! i've already bought a few pairs myself {i couldn't buy only two pairs, i have a rep to uphold!} and would love it if you would join me in this endeavor.

all you have to do is click on the graphic above or on the sidebar and donate only $5 to buy two pairs of shoes!

Soles4Souls is an international charity dedicated to providing free footwear to those in desperate need... and i don't know about you, but in my books, that's as super cool as it gets!

drop back here after you make your donation & let me know you joined the challenge!

if you are already involved in a project of your own this holiday season, please know that there is no pressure to join another one, but rather let me know about it! i would love to pray for you in your endeavor to help those less fortunate.



in the twitterverse and blogosphere i am hearing a great deal of speculation about what impact barack obama's presidency will have on the church...

shouldn't we, as the body of Christ, be less concerned with someone else's influence, and more concerned with the impact each of us is making on our world daily?

and on that note, be sure to check back here tomorrow for the big, shiny, exciting new project i am involved in! you won't want to miss it!



tonight, i am tired.

but even though i am going to bed early, i think i will be up for a while, as i have a book waiting for me.

the book? it is a beauty called take this bread, about sara miles, an athiest, lesbian, left-wing journalist who found God through wandering into a church one sunday and taking communion. it seems about as unlikely as anything you could imagine, but i am intrigued by the beauty in that.

i think that too often we feel the need to be God's PR people, trying to get him better press, when, as is illustrated by stories like ms. miles', God doesn't need our help. he only needs us to love him to the distraction of our lives.

what are you reading?



as far as season go, i am a big fan of fall. it means the oppressive heat of summer is over, and sweaters and boots and falling leaves and the promise of snow is upon us. but one of the things i most love about fall, is that it ushers in my favorite time of the liturgical calendar, advent.

advent is a time of expectation and waiting. the word itself means 'coming' or 'arrival', both signifying the lack of something for those doing the waiting. originally it was the israelites, awaiting their Savior. today, the bride of Christ awaits his return. but if we are honest with ourselves, we are all waiting for something in our lives.
  • a family member to return.
  • a dream to be realized.
  • healing.
  • reconciliation.
  • a promise to be fulfilled.
waiting is not an easy pass time, because it reminds us that we are lacking something now. many don't want to be reminded of what they wait for, or even acknowledge it, as it almost seems like setting oneself up for failure, if the awaited thing never actually arrives.

advent asks us to slow down, and remember that as long as we are on earth, we will be lacking something. there is no way around it. and this paying attention can be painful. when you slow down enough that you can almost hear the israelites' heart cry, 'o come, o come Emmanuel', you can hear your own heart's hollow echo of the things that it still waits for.

but the beauty of advent is this: the awaited Messiah came. even though he was waited on for centuries... four hundred long years of waiting, painful silence between God and man, and even though he did not come as he was expected, Jesus still arrived right on time. the Messiah came, and while he was nothing that we thought he should be, he was everything that we needed.

so, whatever it is that you find yourself waiting for, take heart. the God who has his own timetable, who is more concerned with what we need than what we want, who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine {eph. 3:20} has not forgotten you.
wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord. {psalm 27:14}



...today is video day. i found this beauty at beyondrelevance.com.

further thoughts on earthly stewardship

to add to our discussion from last wednesday, this is the video enn mentioned...

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