How much easier life would be if I could learn a lesson once, and then walk away sufficiently grown and brilliant from that experience, ready for the the next one?

But then, I guess I wouldn't be human. Perhaps I could be Vulcan*, but I have a feeling that being a Vulcan, always so concerned with logic, wouldn't exactly be a party. I guess I will have to stick with humanity.

With everything that has gone on the in the last eight months with my nephew Jayden, you might think that I would be more quick to trust God, less quick to worry.

Unfortunately, if you thought that, you would have been wrong.

Last week, when I went for a pre-surgical check, before the minor surgery I am scheduled to have on my leg tomorrow, the doctor discovered that my blood pressure is high. Dangerously high were her actual words.

Not something that I was expecting.

Then there were other complications, some of which will have to be dealt with today, my last work day before I am off for the surgery.

Again, not something that I had planned.

So, what is a girl to do when all her plans seem to be preempted by intruders?

Well, this girl's first step is to worry. Then, thanks to some well-timed reminders, to pray. And then, this morning, when I pulled out my Life Journal, and let God's Word speak to my mildly turbulent soul, I was reminded that there is always Truth.

And Truth is strong.
Truth does not back down easily from a fight, because it doesn't have to.
That Truth can shine alone in the dark, because it can.
Truth cannot be bullied.
That Truth does not change with the circumstances.

And the Truth is, that God is love. And He loves me. And He wants me to be the very best version of me, the one that He created. And that doesn't include worrying about things beyond my control, but rather to trust in Him.

So today, no matter what happens, no matter what comes my way, I will stand firmly on Truth.

Standing anywhere else would be silly...

*For those of you who are not into Star Trek, this is a shameless Trekkie reference. I cannot even bring myself to be sorry for it. Live long and prosper.


The Reader {#280-282}

Last week, in the Year with Rilke, I came across this poem, and it resonated deeply within me...
The Reader
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Who has not known a child like this,
who sinks into a deeper level of his being,
undisturbed by the swift turning
of each brimming page?
Even his own mother might wonder
if it is really he who sits there
saturated with his shadow.
And we, can we know
how much of him
disappears, as he reluctantly looks up
with eyes that yield
to the ready-made world without complaint?

—New Poems
How often, as a child did I find myself lost in book, preferring the world encountered on the page to that which we called real life? How many times did I choose to ignore my brothers to read and play with my favorite characters in a book? And when there was no book to read, how often did I pick up pen and paper, writing my own stories, creating my own worlds to dance and play in?

I couldn't put a number on it if I tried.

If I could choose to leave one part of myself to my niece and nephews, it would be this love of the written word, this love of books. Nothing makes my heart happier than when one of my little people picks up a book, either on their own, or to ask someone to read to them.

* * * * *

Today I am thankful for...

280:: for parents who, while they didn't fully understand my desire to constantly have my nose in a book, let me spend countless hours doing this thing that I loved.

281:: for authors who sacrificed their time, energy and stories to bring my imagination to life and create for me the infinite and endless playground of imagination.

282:: for the Bible, the ultimate book, and love letter from God. If there was only ever to be one book, this would be the one.


A Good Reminder

For a while now, I have attempting to incorporate more prayer into my life. To help do this, I have been using a great book called The Divine Hours, which takes you through the four sets of prayer offices—morning, midday, vespers and compline.

To be honest, there have been times that I have been more faithful than others, but the process is one I will continue to weave into the fabric of my life.

This is an excerpt of my morning prayers. I know I have read it other days this week, but this morning, the full weight of the reminder hit me...
Grant to me, Lord. I pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that I, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
...I, who cannot exist without you...

In the busy-ness of life, I forget that I cannot exist without God.

In my self-importance, I forget that without my Creator, I am and have nothing.

That I have no hope of living the life He has called me to without him.

That all I have and all I am is solely because of Him.

Today, when I am surrounded by all the things that will demand my focus and attention and time and energy, I will remember this beautiful reminder.


You would think...

For someone who has been a follower of Jesus for as long as I have, I dwell way too much in the land of the humanly possible, the physically believable. Those things which are provable and measurable by human and earthly laws.

But for someone who believes in a God—

        who created everything from nothing

        who made a walking path through the Red Sea

        who gave a donkey the words someone needed to hear

        who arranged a ride for a wayward prophet in the belly of a whale

—you wouldn't think that I would get so hung up on the challenges of my own life.

You would think that I would trust more in a God—

        who used a little mud to cure blindness

        who walked on water

        who raised his friend Lazarus from the dead

        who raised Himself from the dead

—than in my own logic and only that which my eyes can see.

You would think...


One Thing {#270-279}

He (the formerly blind man) answered, "Whether [Jesus] is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." {John 9:25}
When he woke up that morning, of all the things that this man, blind from birth, thought that the day might hold, I am pretty sure that looking into the angry faces of Pharises defending the circumstances of his healing was not at all one of them.

After all, the poor man was just sitting there, minding his own business, when Jesus saw him, made some mud with his saliva, and gave him the gift of vision he had never had before.

But, as usual, where Jesus is concerned, people like to complicate things.

First there was the matter that the vision-inducing mud-making happened on the Sabbath. Then, they had to drag the man's parents in to confirm that he had indeed been blind since birth, and not just faking it. The parents are afraid, and tell the Pharisees to ask the man himself. They are afraid to say anything remotely good about Jesus, because the Pharisees only want to hear people say he is a sinner. That there is no way he could be God.

The whole situation seems to have been blown quite ridiculously out of proportion.

But for the blind man—seeing angry faces for the first time, marveling at what the sun looks like suspended in a cerulean blue sky, watching leaves on trees dance in the wind—for him, there is only one thing. All the proof he needs about who Jesus is is wrapped up in this one thing—yesterday I was blind, today I can see.

Sometimes I over-complicate not only my life, but my relationship with God. I feel that I must do this, and this, and this, and then, if I have messed up on any of them, I must get it right before God can love and accept me. But in my overcomplication, I forget the one thing that I know...

This one thing I know: God is love.

When I feel most alone and unlovable and hopeless and pathetic and useless, God still loves me. When I have messed up more than more my share, when I have failed to be who I know God wants me to be, even if everyone else justifiably turns their back on me, God's love will never fail.

I need to remember the simplicity of this.

Like the blind man, yesterday I was blind, now I see. No one else could ever have brought about such a change.

I am going to stick with Him.

* * * * *

Today I am thankful for...

270:: the One Thing of knowing that Jesus loves me.

271:: phone calls that remind me how blessed I am to have all the beautiful people I have in my life.

272:: passport photos that don't make me look like a felon this time around.

273:: finding a cookbook I really wanted for only $5.

274:: that there are only 60 days left until I leave for Paris.

275:: the leaders of my church, and how much time, effort and love they put into serving.

276:: the lemony smell of Pledge after you finish dusting.

277:: crockpots, and walking into your home at the end of a long day, and knowing dinner is ready, even especially if you live alone.

278:: coffee, beautiful coffee.

279:: the beginning of a new week to serve and glorify God.

How blessed I am...


How to be a better listener

Given the silence theme of my week, when I came across this TED Talk by sound expert Julian Treasure, I decided to give the video the eight minutes.

I was not disappointed.

Mr. Treasure begins the video with the words, 'We are losing our listening.' I could not agree more. He goes on to talk about the world we around us, how we listen to it, and how to become better listeners.

The first of the five exercises designed to help us listen better is [*spoiler alert*] silence.

Enjoy this, it's well worth the almost eight minutes.


Unafraid of What Is Difficult

You know how at times it seems like there is Something out there trying to send you a message?

Yeah, me too.

After yesterday's Life Journal entry, the one from Psalm 62, about silence and waiting, when I turned on my Kobo this morning, to read today's reading from, A Year With Rilke, this is what greeted me:
Unafraid of What Is Difficult
Don't be confused by the nature of solitude, when something inside you wants to break free from your loneliness. This very wish, when you use it as a tool for understanding, can illumine your solitude and expand it to include all that it is. Bound by conventions, people tend to reach for what is easy. It is clear, however, that here we must be unafraid of what is difficult. For all living things in nature must unfold in their particular way and become themselves at any cost and despite all opposition.
—Rainier Maria Rilke
Rome, May 14, 1904
Letters To A Young Poet

Yes, silence and solitude—heck—ALL the spiritual disciplines are difficult. Everything that causes you to grow has difficulty that comes automatically with it. I don't need to discipline myself to eat potato chips; that comes perfectly naturally to me. But I do need to push myself to eat broccoli.

So, while yesterday's goal of the week may not have started out well, I am continuing to press on...


Silence & Waiting {#259-269}

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. {Psalm 62:1}

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. {Psalm 62:5}
Waiting and silence.

To be honest, not exactly my two favorite things.

I've wrestled with waiting, and I know its importance. I understand that waiting isn't always a spectator sport, that sometimes, when you are waiting for something, the most important thing you can do is to keep living, keep learning, so that when the thing you are waiting for arrives, you are ready.

But the addition of silence to the equation changes things immensely.

Silence—the removal of noise and distractions and diversions, all the things that can help one forget that they might actually be waiting for, or lacking something—leaves just me, sitting before God, no toys to amuse me, no words to nothing to draw God's attention away from all the areas that I still don't trust, still am not obedient, still am lacking.

Waiting in silence removed the facade of words that I tend to use to attempt to justify my bad ideas and actions, or excuse my bad decisions.

Silence is a game-changer.

I am comfortable with noise. I get noise. When I am working, there is seldom time when I do not have music, or a movie, or a podcast playing in the background. As a young girl with three brothers who had an uncanny ability to make a ridiculous amount of noise, when they wanted my attention, and I wanted to read, I would curl up in front of our stereo's huge speakers, my left ear pressed against the music, a finger in my other ear, and happily read for hours.

Again, I am comfortable with noise.

But if you believe David's words above, silence needs to go hand in hand with waiting, to give us the vitally important things we need for our daily lives—things like hope and salvation. And I do believe this, it is just hard.

So, this week, I am practicing the spiritual discipline of silence. The New Living Translation of Psalm 62:5 reads, "Let all that I am wait quietly before God."

This is my goal for this week.

* * * * *

Today I am thankful for...

259:: homemade strawberry jam to share with friends.
260:: COBS cranberry custard scone and tea.

261:: baking mini jam tarts for coworkers.
262:: a quiet evening at home to attempt to get my world back to 'normal'.

263:: having the opportunity to read and review some amazing books.

264:: a walk through the Farmer's Market.

265:: getting to have one more movie night with Alicia before she heads back to Senegal.

266:: my dear friend Alicia herself, who has a beautiful hospitality of presence, you cannot help but feel comfortable and at home with her.

267:: my weekly coffee date with Laura, where we fix the world and laugh at ourselves.

268:: a holiday Monday giving me an opportunity to do all the little things that I need to before surgery later this month.

269:: for the reminder to wait in silence before my God.


A Clock of a Different Kind

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. {2 Peter 3:8,9}
It doesn't look like we humans have changed all that much since Peter wrote those words shortly after Jesus' death. We still want what we want, when we want it. And if we have to wait longer then we deem necessary, things begin to fall apart.

The folks Peter is writing to are waiting. Waiting for God to keep His promises. Waiting for Him to move, and to fulfill that which some of them heard from Jesus' own lips.

But nothing happens.

Well, not exactly nothing. Life still went on, but what they were waiting for didn't happen.

And while they are waiting in the nothingness, questions and doubts walked right in through the open door.

But Peter reminds them—and us—that God has a different kind of clock and calendar than we do. A different plan. He does things His way, and is not limited by human understanding, or merely what His eyes can see.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. {Isaiah 55:8,9}
It's not my job to understand and to know the full timing of God's plan in my life or in the world. My job is to trust. To be faithful. To love justice and mercy and to show them to the world. To believe that regardless what my eyes see, God is still in charge, will keep His promises, and has a plan that isn't for me to worry about.

My job is to be faithful...


Fairy Tale Junkie

Is it just me, or does this look ridiculously, brilliantly awesome?

Why I think this will be brilliant:
  1. I love all things fairy tale-ish.
  2. I love stories that begin with, 'Once upon a time...', even if they don't end, 'happily ever after.'
  3. I still miss LOST, and if the writers are half as good in this as they were there, then I will gladly open my life back up to the joy of television that brings mystery and wonder into my life.
  4. If I was ever going to give up city life, it would be to live in an enchanted town, even it it was ruled by an evil queen.
  5. This all reminds me of one of my favorite Rilke quotes,

How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. {Rainer Maria Rilke}

And how perfectly delightful that the show doesn't begin until after I get home from Paris!?

Are you a fairy-tale lover as well?


Review: Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process by Blaine Hogan

{Normally, book reviews would happen over at my Page Addict blog, but this one is different, given my recent thoughts on creativity, which is why we are here today.}

Every once in a while you come across a book that you know will be important to your life.

Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process is exactly such a book.

I used to believe that truly creative people didn't and shouldn't have to work at it. That brilliance should flower and swirl out of the tips of a creative person's fingers even when they weren't trying. But now, after more than half a decade as a graphic designer, the days when it feels like I will never have another creative idea again, outnumber the others more than I want to admit.

Every person in an even remotely creative field knows the pressure of having to create something from nothing in a compressed time period. Blaine Hogan, creative director at Willow Creek Community Church, also knows and understands the demands of needing to be creative under the relentless pressure of deadlines.

This understanding has given him a unique and passionate outlook of the courage and—yes— hard work it takes to meet the creative demands of our work and life. While not pulling any punches, it is a conversational, practical and hope-filled manifesto, written by someone who has traveled this road before us.

It doesn't matter what creative field you find yourself in, Untitled will make you better at what you do. Even if you are not in a traditionally creative field, there is still much you can glean from this book.

I could gush—and friends would tell you that I have—about this book, but honestly, I don't need to. Right now, go buy the book, let it speak for itself. Read it. And when you are finished reading it, don't be surprised if, like me, you want to read it again.

You simply won't be sorry.


Showing Up

I've been thinking a lot about the creative process lately. Given some books I've been reading, as well as the blogs of some fantastically brilliant people, this topic is one that keeps coming up again and again.

When you work in a creative field, it sometimes feels like you have to be creative on demand. At PORTICO, there is always a new sermon series coming up, or brochure, and every week there has a Sunday means that there are a whole lot of elements that go into our worship services.

There are days when it feels like the demand for creativity far exceeds the supply I have.

There was a time when I believed that to be truly creative, one shouldn't have to work at it at all. That creative energy should just flow like swirls from the fingertips. That a truly creative person could sneeze onto a window pane and it would be a thing of beauty.

I no longer believe in this fairy tale.

Which is part of the reason I've been thinking about all this. In truth, I am still solidifying exactly what my creative process looks like. There are elements that I are fairly set into my routine. The three pages that I write every morning {a la Julia Cameron's morning pages in The Artist's Way}, as well as read whatever I can find on the subject, and limit the amount of time I spend in front of a screen or monitor.

And every month, I sit down and design a desktop calendar, mostly for myself, although I have recently discovered that there are those out there who use them as well, which is kind of fun.

The 'rules' when I design my desktop calendars, are simple. Every month, my goal is to make this month's calendar like nothing I have worked on in the last month. If I have used a photo in a certain way in the previous month, or learned and used a new technique, or even drew a flower in a certain way, then it cannot be done for this month's calendar. Whatever the idea is, it has to be like nothing else I have done in the last 30 days. Sometimes it works out, sometimes...not so much.

When I began working on August's desktop calendar last week, I had a specific Bible verse that I wanted to use. But every time I started typing the words, I ended up typing, 'Be still and know that I am God'. Not the verse I wanted, but I ended up giving in to it. After a while, I got tired of fighting it.

Here is the final product:


Then, my sister-in-law Loralie wrote a post on Jayden's CaringBridge blog yesterday afternoon. In her beautiful way, she described how these past few months have affected her, and how she had been running, avoiding, keeping busy for fear that she wouldn't be able to hold it together if she actually stopped and though about her son having cancer.

Then, she had a breakthrough. I will let you read the post in her own words, but I will share the last line of her post...
"So today I sit and rest and be still and know that He is God."
As I read it, I simultaneously started to laugh and cry. Suddenly, I knew that this one was for Loralie, not me.

This grace-filled realization that sometimes, you can do all the planning—all the prep work, come at it with armed with sketches and dreams and preconceived notions—but sometimes, you just need to show up to do the work, and God will take you and what you've brought, and breathe a breath into it that makes it into something far greater than you ever imagined.

Sometimes, you just have to show up.


Who holds my hand {#247-258}

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I am the one who helps you.' {Isaiah 41:13}
There are times, when looking at certain situations in my life, that the overwhelming emotion is one of hopelessness.

A bad habit to overcome.

Situations well beyond my control.

Good changes that never seem to stick around for more than a few days.

Somehow, I get it into my head that if I only try harder, then it will all work out. That it will mean more if I can do it myself, and then bring it to God to show Him that He is right in loving me, because I am not a total failure.

And to make things worse, the harder I try, the bigger and grander failure and disappointment seems to be... and the more alone it all makes me feel.

And then I come across a verse like Isaiah 41:13, and am reminded that I was never supposed to go it alone. I once again remember Who it is who holds my hand, and when He whispers, 'Don't be afraid, I am here to help you', it is not a reprimand, but a reminder of truth. And that I was never meant to do it all on my own, but rather to walk with my God, who wants me to trust him.

I need to remember Who holds my hand...

* * * * *

Today I am thankful for...

247:: He who holds my hand.

248:: that Jayden's bedsore is healing!

249:: butternut squash pasta with butternut squash pasta sauce. pure yum...

250:: a brand new jar of sweet pickles.

251:: a super comfy Roots chair to take a Sunday afternoon nap in.

252:: my beautiful, beautiful niece, Megan.

253:: that there are only 74 days left until I get on a plane to go to my happy place.

254:: books, and the ability to read.

255:: living so close to the GO station, making trips to downtown Toronto so very easy.

256:: emails that make me smile.

257:: a job that I love!

258:: that every day is a new chance to trust God more.


How To Be Great

by George!

He {Hezekiah} trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. {2 Kings 18:5}
In a sea of kings of Israel and Judah whose primary descriptor was, 'he did evil in the eyes of the Lord', Hezekiah stands gloriously out. Not only did he do 'right in the eyes of the Lord', but he also trusted God, and according to the verse above, that trust made him great.

I don't know about you, but when I think of great people, it's usually the blindingly intelligent, the charismatic leaders, the overwhelmingly talented, the fearless fighting for injustice, or the hugely selfless giving themselves to improve the world, that I think of.

But here we find another yardstick for greatness, and the secret to Hezekiah's success. This one thing that set him apart from his predecessors, and all who came after him was this one thing: he trusted in God.

I am subscribing to King Hezekiah's One-Step to Being The Best King Ever plan: Trust God. Keep trusting God. And when you get up tomorrow, if the world seems to be crumbling before your very eyes, keep trusting God.

After all, who doesn't want to be great?


You are what you chase...

They went after false idols and became false... {2 Kings 17:15}
There's an old saying that goes, you are what you eat. Moms tend to throw that one out there when their kids prefer Twinkies over vegetables, thinking that somehow the prospect of being broccoli would be better than being golden, spongy, cream-filled goodness. {Clearly this argument didn't get my mom very far!}

But in today's Life Journal reading, when I read the middle of verse 15 and found the words above, it hit me that it's not only the things that we put inside of us that determine who we are, but also the things that we follow.

In the NIV translation, false is translated, worthless. The NASB calls it vanity. No matter how you stack it up, it's not good.

Even after being given strict and direct instructions from God Himself to worship and follow only Him, the Israelites still went off in the other direction, worshiping golden livestock, and every other god they could find from whatever rock they could dig it up under. They always seemed to want more.

How very much like the Israelites we still are today.

Sure, our idols may not resemble cattle, but we follow them nonetheless.

        Entertainment with—at best—questionable morality.
        More stuff.
        Mindless diversions.

And these things that we follow leave us much the same as the things themselves: greedy, empty, hollow, immoral. Not a life anyone would claim to aspire to. And greatly contrasting to the life James talks about in another of today's Life Journal readings...
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. {James 3:17}
So, the question of the day is, who or what are you chasing after?


Unshakeable {#237-246}

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. —Hebrews 12:28
If there is anything I have learned in this life, it is that nothing is secure. Things shake and wobble and fall down and break.

Nothing is secure.

Sitting here, I can think of many of the ways that my world has been shaken over the years. My family's car accident back in 1977. Gram's heart attack. Work issues. Dad's stroke. Death. Mom's cancer. Most recently, my nephew Jayden's cancer.

So many things that could leave one feeling turned inside out and upside down.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken...

As crazy as life can get, how grateful my heart is that none of the things that take my breath away, take God by surprise. None of these things that so shake my world, cause even a tremor is His. He, like His kingdom, is unshakeable.

And for this, today I worship my God...

* * * * *

Today I am thankful for...

237:: God's unshakeable kingdom.

238:: air conditioning on a crazy hot day.

239:: working my way back into routine.

240:: crossing things off the to-do lists.

241:: turning the last page of a delightfully entertaining book.

242:: starting and finishing a beautifully written memoir in 24 hours!

243:: the anticipation of a weekend visit from a good friend.

244:: a beautiful day to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake with @labellaverita.

245:: conversations full of both laughter and tears.

246:: the gift of two decades of friendship.


Being Broken

One of the daily readings books I have going this year is Henri Nouwen's Bread For the Journey. The reading from this book for today is one that has hit me where I am, and I wanted to share it with you...
Being Broken
—Henri Nouwen
Jesus was broken on the cross. He lived his suffering and death not as an evil to avoid at all costs but a mission to embrace. We too are broken. We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds, or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships.

How can we live in our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God's blessing for our purification and sanctification. Thus, our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.
May we all find God's peace in our brokenness...


86 days until...

...I can walk in le jardin du Luxembourg once again.



I make no apologies for the fact that I read.

A lot.

So, when I say that I have read an absolutely brilliant memoir, and that it would be in everyone's best interest to do so as well, I don't say it lightly.

Today, on my Page Addict blog, I have posted a review of Ian Morgan Cron's, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. I loved this book. And I am fortunate enough to be able to give a copy away to a lucky reader. All you have to do is comment on the review, answering the question at the end of the post {and shoot me an email so I know how to contact you if you are the winner}.

Good luck... and see you over there!


Leaning {#215-236}

"In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy one of Israel, in truth." —Isaiah 10:20
As I read this verse this morning, the thing that struck me is that the people of Israel, in the good days to come, are not standing on their own two feet. There is no expectation for them to stand, but instead to lean. To me, I would assume that their standing would be the goal. But no... it is the destiny of God's people is not to stand, but instead to lean. And not just lean, but lean on the right thing—God and His truth.

As an independent person, a single girl who lives alone, I am a big fan of standing on my own two feet. My parents did a great job of teaching me how to do just so. After all, when you are the only one, you've got to take care of everything yourself. If I don't take the garbage out—as much as I hate the task—it doesn't get taken out. For the most part, I have become pretty adept at standing on these two size-ten feet.

But again, the assumption in this verse, and in others that have come to mind as I write this, is that our natural human posture isn't so much standing, but leaning.

The question—the truly important question—is what are we leaning on?

Too often I tend to trust my own 'wisdom' as my leaning post. (Apparently I have a short memory, as my own wisdom has, at times, been about as solid as a bowl of Jell-o!) Emotions, fickle as they can be, are no where near strong enough to lean on, especially in the dark, hard days.

Far too often in my life I have chosen to lean on things never designed to bear my weight or be trusted, and I have felt the accompanying pain of stumbling, and even hitting the ground.

There is only One that I can truly lean on, who is strong enough to hold me up, even when I am at my weakest.

Oh, for the grace to lean only on my God and His truth...

* * * * *

Today I am thankful for...

215:: the glory that are to-do lists.

216:: summer roasted vegetables for dinner.

217:: having lunch with my favorite niece, Megan, on her birthday.

218:: getting to read Jayden one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories.

219:: handing out with the parents.

220:: a clear day to see the mountains from afar.

221:: finding the good coffee at the Alberta Children's Hospital.

222:: getting to watch SYTYCD with others who love it too!

223:: a good night's sleep after a horrible one.

224:: the excitement of our summer interns at PORTICO.

225:: a day off.

226:: being so blessed as to live in a free country.

227:: Starbucks Passion Fruit Lemonade on a hot day.

228:: not needing glasses!

229:: connecting with old friends visiting from Africa.

230:: a photo wave 'hi' from the Alberta Children's Hospital all the way to Mississagua.

231:: surgery going well, a little boy home playing trains.

232:: walking to the Streetsville Farmer's market with Saundra and buying the most fragrant strawberries ever!

233:: movie night with the girls and strawberry belgian waffles.

234:: a whole weekend of good sleep.

235:: waking up early to do my Life Journal, another step to getting the routine back.

236:: a God I can fully trust to lean on.


surviving summer

July 1. Canada Day. The official beginning of summer, with all its heat, humidity and glaring, burning sun.

The only word that all this brings to mind: ick.

If you don't know me, or haven't been around my little corner of the internet, then you may not know that I hate summer, and all that it brings. My usual goal for each summer is simple: endure until life gets more bearable.

In an effort to not just endure, once again this summer, I am giving myself a to-do list of things that hopefully will keep my mind off of the unbearable heat and on something more productive, more creative.

Here is this summer's list of diversions...

  1. The 25 books of summer. If you follow my Page Addict blog, you would be well aware that my goal of reading 60 books this year has been seriously derailed during the first half of this year. I am considerably behind. But with this new mini reading goal, 25 books will definitely catch me up. The one I am reading right now, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me' is absolutely brilliant. I began it last night, and will be surprised if I am not finished it by the time I go to bed tomorrow night. My review will be on the PA blog, and I will even be giving away a copy of it to one lucky reader.

  2. RWE writing prompts. Back in the beginning of June, I began to do some writing exercises from the Ralph Waldo Emerson website. Unfortunately, my vacation in Calgary kind of derailed me from that, first being so busy as I was immersed in family, then the tiredness and mini-jet lag once I returned. But this summer, I have no reason to not continue them. There are still 29 to do, and my goal is to have them all done by Labor Day.

  3. Being a local tourist. It has been a while since I have done some at home touristing. The AGO, Casa Loma, downtown Oakville, Niagara-on-the-Lake are all places that I would love to visit sometime during these 68 days.

  4. Re-establishing routine. Since vacation in June, my routine has been absolutely demolished. Every morning, my goal is to write three pages in a composition notebook before I do anything else. Julia Cameron calls them 'morning pages' and the goal is to clear out the mental cobwebs and anything else lingering in my head before the creative work of the day begins. There is also my Life Journal, daily Bible reading and jouraling, that has taken a hit in the consistency department in the last few weeks. My goal for the summer is to get back on track in both of these disciplines.

  5. Finding beauty. Of my three words of the year: beauty, grace and simplicity, the one that I have been ignoring the most is definitely beauty. There are multiple reasons for this, but this summer, I plan to focus on it. Every day, my goal is to take a photo of something that I consider beautiful. It will mean bringing my camera with me everywhere, which is something I have grown unaccustomed to, and taking the time to look for the beauty shielded by everyday life. These I will post to my Creative Disorder blog.

  6. Study french. Given that I will be visiting my happy place, Paris in 98 days, it is important to me that I learn as much as I can of the language of my heart's home.

Well, there you have it. This is my plan to survive summer. What about you? Do you have any summer plans/goals/to-do lists?


Ah, fear...

#Trust30 Writing Prompt
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now. (Author: Mary Jaksch)
* * * * *
Ah, fear.

For a long time I had convinced myself that fear played no real part in my life. But the reality is that even if you put a different label on something, it doesn't actually change what it is. As I write this, I cannot help but hear Juliet's infamous quote, as written by William Shakespeare,
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet."
By the same token, calling fear anything else, does not change what it actually is.

So, what is it that I fear?

I. fear. failure.

You have no idea how much those three words pain me. They are just so banal. So common. So prosaic.

So everything that I don't want to be in my life.

But it is true. I fear failure. It keeps me from trying things that I really want to do. It intimidates me when I lie awake at night, taunting, telling me that what I have done, what I can do, isn't enough, and never will be enough. It prods me towards procrastination. Makes me second guess and question the validity of both my design and writing work. It makes me stay in the safe, well-lit playgrounds of creativity instead of heading out to discover the dark, undiscovered, dangerous ones. Keeps me silent, for fear of being wrong, or thought stupid. It keeps me craving a perfection that does not exist, ignoring the beauty that is right before me.

When it all comes down to it, fearing failure is kind of ridiculous. How can you get anywhere without learning, and what better way to learn than first-hand experience?

And besides, for someone who has failed as often as I have, and gotten up and kept going, shouldn't I be less afraid of something that I know isn't actually fatal?

What a beautiful grace that the fears, and failures of our past, do not have to define us, so long as we don't let them.

Choosing to be brave...


Five Years—either way

There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
What would you say to the person you were five years ago?
What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?
(Author: Corbett Barr)

* * * * *

The unthinkable will happen. But none of it will take God by surprise.
Without the unthinkable, you wouldn't be who you are today.

Many of the things you think are vitally important today won't matter in ten years.
What things?

Take your good intentions and power them with hard work and love.
The cost of making dreams come true is forgotten in light of the gain.

Many things, including making pie crust, aren't as hard as you think they are.
Pass the pie, please.

Stop thinking you need to do it all yourself.
Needing community is not weakness.

Your heart will break in ways you cannot imagine.
There is a beautiful grace in heartbreak and beyond.

Stop worrying about being perfect.
Some of your greatest achievements were 'mistakes'.

Don't let fear control you.
Don't let fear control you.

Keep watching LOST. You won't be sorry.
I still don't get the whole polar bear thing...

Never give up.
Thank you.

* * * * *

ay I am beginning #Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day there is a prompt, and the goal is to take that prompt and go from there.


remembering the gratitude... {#207-214)

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." —G.K. Chesterton
There are weeks when the gratitude—the seeing and naming of the gifts of God—seems to flow like a swollen spring stream. Then, there are others when I must force my eyes to see what is right in front of me.

Then there are weeks like these that I am in.

Weeks of crazy busyness.

Days when all that runs around my mind are the things yet undone, all those details that must be taken care of before I can get on the airplane on Friday night and feel as though everything here is good.

These are the days I am living in.

And the thing that gets sacrificed, is the noticing. I know the gifts are there. I can see them all around me, the ways God shows His love for me... I am just too busy to write them down. And at the end of the day, when my head finally stops spinning, remembering them to write them down is almost impossible.

So, there are not many gifts this week, not for a lack of them existing, just for a lack of paying attention.

This week, no matter how busy it will be, I will force myself to pay attention.

* * * * *

I am thankful for...

207:: a co-worker who always remembers to send me what I need before I need it... actually, well before I need it!

208:: a bus shelter in a torrential downpour.

209:: blonde{r} hair!

210:: Italian strawberry cake {photo to come}

211:: gracious friends who ate and raved about the cake, even though it wasn't completely baked, albeit very yummy, if I may say so myself!

212:: movie night with the girls.

213:: Sunday afternoon naps.

214:: "I have not stopped thanking God for you..." {Ephesians 1:16} All the friends who make my life the beautiful place that it is; this week in particular, my movie night girls, Barbara, Erynne, Merrilee, Jenn & Lyndsay. And, although absent geographically, always present in my soul on a movie night, Alicia...who comes home this week! {something else to be thankful for!}

What are you grateful for?


128 days


Change your words. Change your world.

One of the church communications people I follow, Tim Schraeder, tweeted this video. Its message is immensely powerful to me, both in my role as a church communications chick, and a writer.

Perhaps, even more simply, as a human being.


Good Words {#191-206}

Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. —Proverbs 12:25
I love how this verse perfectly explains the power that one person's well-placed words can have on a heavy heart.

I can think back to times when my own heart was heavy and anxiety-ridden, and a few simple words from a friend, or even a stranger, made what was seemingly impossible to carry a bit easier, a bit lighter.

Too often, only the negative gets expressed in our culture. There seems to be no shortage of people and words designed to correct us, chastise us, or tell us what someone else thinks we are doing wrong...

...or nothing gets said. When something positive comes to mind that I could say, too often I choose not to, thinking that the other person probably doesn't need to hear what I have to say, or will think that I am a creeper, or just weird.

But as I sit here over my bowl of Cheerios, to my recollection, no kind, heart-lightening words ever spoken to me—by friend or stranger—was ever unneeded, ever unwanted.

Not one.

And if I could use some good words in my life, then chances are, so do those around me.
"In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load." —Brian Tracy
* * * * *

I am thankful for...

191:: the end of fireworks and the beginning of sleep!

192:: the first read of what has become a new favorite book, full of love, wonder and hope.

193:: a few days of quiet and rest to regain what I had lost.

194:: having both cotton puffs and ear drop to fight off an ear infection.

195:: the fact that wisdom isn't hidden, but still must be sought after.

196:: finally booking our flight to Paris!

197:: getting a room at my very favorite hotel in the world—the only place in Paris I have ever stayed.
198:: getting to now actually plan the trip. {130 days!}

199:: D & L getting some great news about Jayden, and the fact that he doesn't need to have radiation.

200:: a raspberry white chocolate scone from Kate's Bakery.201:: two words of life: Cafe Americano.

202:: time spent with a good friend, sharing our lives.

203:: making pie crust for the first time, and the fact that it actually worked! {no more fear!}

204:: that my parents are living a dream and are going to Ireland.

205:: for a job that I love, and the excitement to get back to it this morning.

206:: for all the kind words ever spoken to me—in person, electronically, on paper—and how they lifted my heart when I needed it.


favorite things: 133

Happy Friday, my friends!

If you've spent much time in these parts, it would be no surprise to you that my favorite place, favorite city, the place I always want to be, is Paris, France. Old news.

So, why is 133 one of my favorite things?

Because as of last night, in only 133 days, my friend Barbara and I ARE GOING TO PARIS!

That is right! After months of talking and pre-planning and getting our hopes up, only to have them dashed by rising fuel costs and their way of ballooning air costs, last night, we booked not only our flight, but also {and I just got the confirmation email} my home away from home, the Familia Hotel. {11 rue des Ecoles, Paris, FR 75005—just in case you were wondering!}

We will see this...

And climb this...

And drink this...
And walk on bridges over this...

Only 133 more sleeps!

But Wait...There's More!

As if yesterday wasn't fantastical enough, with Paris finally being a go, not to mention So You Think You Can Dance is back on television, but D & L {brother & sister-in-law} got some good news about Jayden!

I'll let Doug tell you in his own words...


As Each Day Requires {#178-190}

"Christ... is always there at the door of our souls, wanting to enter in, though he does not force our consent. If we agree to his entry, he enters; directly we cease to want him, he is gone. We cannot bind our will today for tomorrow; we cannot make a pact with him that tomorrow he will be with us, even in spite of ourselves. Our consent to his presence is the same as his presence. Consent is an act. It can only be actual, that is to say in the present. We have not been given a will that can be applied to the future." —Simone Weil
You know those times when it seems like God is trying to get you to pay attention to something, and in your humanness, you either write it off to coincidence, ignore it for the diversion of whatever is in front of you, or you just simply don't get it?

Yeah, I'm having one of those times.

My favorite Moleskine journal happens to be my very first one. Christmas 2006, my friend Ang gave me a Moleskine Plain Reporter's Notebook, and with that fantastic gift, my love of all things Moleskine was born. In this notebook, over the years, I have a collection of words—not only mine, but quotes of others, sermon notes, song lyrics, meeting notes—and even the occasional illustration or doodle. This journal contains my very favorite of things that I never want to leave home without.

When I was wandering through the journal last week, I once again was taken by the above Simone Weil quote... and this idea that we only have today.

This is something I struggle with. When I begin something, I want to know that I have the ability/resources/will power/ whatever to be able to continue doing something for the rest of my life. In my mind, if it is worth doing right now, it is worth doing forever... and conversely, if I cannot do it forever, then why should I bother doing it right now?

I also like to live in the future, to dream of the good things to come. A visit with my family, a new book, wandering the streets of Paris... somehow these things become much more delightful to dream about than whatever I am supposed to be focused on right now.

Ridiculous, right?!

Then in yesterday's Life Journal readings, I read Solomon's speech as the temple was completed, and noticed this in 1 Kings...
"Let these words of mine, which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day." {vs. 59-61, italics mine}
As each day requires. Solomon, in all his wisdom, understood what Simone Weil also got, that all we have is today.

Each day must be lived on its own. I cannot change the past, I cannot manipulate the future, the only thing I have in my hands is today, this moment. This is the place, the arena, the playground where I can make the good choices, make a difference, make my mark, make my stand, make a life.

Here—today—is where I live.

The gifts I count today...

178:: homemade strawberry scones baking in the oven.

179:: the smell of freshly cut grass.

180:: waking in the gently falling rain.

181:: poetry. all poetry.

182:: seeing an opportunity to help a stranger, taking it, and seeing the gratitude in eyes I will never see again.

183:: super fun paper clips!

184:: holiday weekends, the chance to slow down.

185:: a steaming cup of tea on a cool, rainy evening.

186:: attempting a new slow cooker recipe, and having it be a success.

187:: hearing Jayden sing in the background while I talked to his dad on the phone.

188:: a telephone conversation with Nicky, the birthday boy, hearing how grown up he sounds, and simultaneously how funny he is.

189:: getting a chance to talk to Loralie.

190:: for today...for all that today will hold, all that it won't hold, and the grace to live it to the full.


Favorite words...

It's been a while since I've done a Favorites Fridays post, but this week, when I read this poem, I knew that it was time for another one.

I've made no secret that Rainer Maria Rilke is my favorite poet. The more of his writing-both poetry and letters- I read, the more I love them. The first time I walked into the Rodin garden in Paris, France and saw his name on the plaque on the museum wall, it was like running into a friend in a place where never would have expected to find one.

Like G.K. Chesterton, I feel like Rainer and I would have been friends, had history and geography been kinder.

This poem is from 'A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke', one that I am reading this year. I could gush and tell you how wonderful it is...but I think that is what this whole post is anyway!

Here is the poem...

A hunger drives us.
We want to contain it all in our naked hands,
our brimming senses, our speechless hearts.
We want to become it, or offer it—but to whom?
We could hold it forever—but, after all,
what can we keep? Not the beholding,
so slow to learn. Not anything that has happened here.
Nothing. There are the hurts. And, always, the hardships.
And there's the long knowing of love—all of it
unsayable. Later, amidst the stars, we will see:
these are better unsaid.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Duino Elegy


What I'm Reading...

Visit my Page Addict blog to find out...


my prayer for today...

...as echoed from my favorite poet's words.
Put out my eyes, and I can see you still,
Slam my ears to, and I can hear you yet;
And without any feet can go to you;
And tongueless, I can conjure you at will.
Break off my arms, I shall take hold of you
And grasp you with my heart as with a hand;
Arrest my heart, my brain will beat as true;
And if you set this brain of mine afire,
Then on my blood-stream I yet will carry you.
—Rainer Maria Rilke


doubt + faith {#159-177}

Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum.

(I doubt, therefore I think; I think, therefore I am.)

—Rene Descartes
I've known the second half of this quote forever. I think, therefore I am. Even quoted it in some of my more 'existential' moments. But only last week, when I was working on collecting quotes about doubt for work, did I discover that it was only half of the equation. That I was missing the first part.

The part about doubt.

Doubt isn't something I tend to think a lot about, until it is staring me in the face. It's one of those things that creeps up on you. If you're anything like me, you might even be able to convince yourself for a period of time that what you're feeling really isn't doubt, but something more a bit prettier... skepticism, perhaps.

But then comes the moment when you wake up in the middle of the night, and the thing sitting on the edge of your bed is none other than doubt himself, and he has no plans to let you go back to sleep.

Recently, I told my small group that my favorite person in the Bible is the father in Mark chapter 9 who brought his son to be healed of an unclean spirit by the disciples. But the disciples were unable to cast the spirit out. Jesus, after the father explained the situation to him, tells the father that anything is possible for the person who believes.

The father's response is one I have echoed in my heart so very many times, especially in the last six months:
I believe; help my unbelief! {vs. 24}
Too often, I forget that we humans are bundles of paradoxes. That we are capable of multiple and contrary things simultaneously. This father's desperate words on behalf of his son reminds me that the mixture of emotions that runs through me is perfectly normal. And this prayer has become one of my most frequent.

Sometimes I get lost in the intersection of knowing that my omnipotent God can do everything and anything, but just because He can doesn't mean that He will. Just because He is limitless, it doesn't mean that my desired, preferred, suzi-approved solution will be the one that God in His infinite and perfect wisdom will choose... especially given that my wisdom tends to be more of the selfish and human variety.

Is this doubt? Sometimes I think so, sometimes not. Most days, I think it is just the oh-so-slippery surface of faith.
“We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;
we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
—C.S. Lewis
But even in the midst of all that is, and all that could be, there are bright spots. Gifts from God that shine through all the stuff that I would rather forget, illuminating them in a way that I don't believe I would have ever seen them.

It is these gifts that I continue to count today...

159:: a new hair color & the absence of gray!

160:: a quiet, restful day on the sofa to nurse a cold.

161:: that even after days of not writing down the gifts, they are still there, waiting for me to notice them.

162:: a plane ticket to Calgary, and a chance to hang out with my favorite little people for a whole week in June!

163:: closing my office door behind me at the end of a long week, knowing I worked well, and everything is ready for Sunday.

164:: that no matter what happens—or doesn't happen—God is love.

165:: that I was born in a free country, into a family that loved and protected me.

166:: for my mom.

167:: the fact that you don't have to be a biological parent to make spiritual investments into the next generation.

168:: laughter at work.

169:: a quiet, peaceful morning.

170:: for a niece and nephews that I couldn't love more if I had given birth to them myself.

171:: that doubts are not fatal.

172:: friends who seek me out to pray with me when my heart is breaking.

173:: the perfect cafe Americano.

174:: that after the tickle-torture part of the pedicure, the massage part comes.

175:: khaki-colored toe nails.

176:: the knowledge of eternity, and how things here are hardly the end.

177:: that doubt and faith can co-exist, and that faith can win.



I don't think there is anything in life that actually prepares you for one of the children in your life to be sick. That being said, I think my brother and sister-in-law are handling Jayden's illness, and the roller coaster of emotion and information as well as anyone ever could.

The waiting, however, is the part I could do without.

Loralie, my sister-in-law wrote a great post on Jayden's CaringBridge website about patience. She sums the virtue up brilliantly.

And while I wholeheartedly agree, there are times in life when I wish the road of faith wasn't so darn slippery, shifting, unpredictable and unknown. But, I suppose, that would like wanting water to not be wet.

Apparently wishes do not need to be rooted in reality.

I read this poem/prayer from Walter Brueggemann's brilliant book, Prayers For A Privileged People last week, and knew that there would be a time when I would need it. Today is that day.

Waiting and Longing
—Walter Brueggemann, Prayers For A Privileged People

God of the seasons,
God of the years,
God of the eons,
    Alpha and Omega,
    before us and after us.

You promise and we wait:
                          We wait with eager longing,
                          we wait amid doubt and anxiety,
                          we wait with patience thin
                                                and then doubt,
                                                and then we take life into our
                                                                            own hands.

We wait because you are the one and the only one.
We wait for your peace and your mercy,
    for your justice and your good rule.

Give us your spirit that we may wait
    obediently and with discernment,
    caringly and without passivity,
    trustingly and without cynicism,
    honestly and without utopianism.

Grant that our wait may be appropriate to your coming
        soon and very soon,
        soon and not late,
        late but not too late.

We wait while the world groans in eager longing.


Guardians of the Soul {#158}

Confession: I set my alarm clock, got up early, and watched the royal wedding on Friday.

The way I saw it, having 'attended' Prince William's mother's wedding in the same manor 30 years ago, I felt it only right that this sparse, although long-standing tradition be continued.

The one thing that most struck me, in the deluge of information that came at the world through the lens of the media, was a photo released on Wednesday, of Kate and her sister/main of honor Pippa leaving their home, and driving to London for the big day. Photos captured them smiling, looking comfortable in each other's company, as they headed towards all that lay ahead.

When I saw those photos, I started to feel sad for the late Princess Diana. Thirty years ago, the hours preceding her wedding weren't filled with laughter with a friend. She had no equal in age as her maid of honor, just a bunch of children as bridesmaids. A friend, who is an avid royal watcher, told me that in the 24 hours before the 1981 wedding, Diana was alone at Clarence House, her last meal as a single woman was served to her on a tray by a maid. She didn't even receive a phone call from her soon-to-be groom.

You can think all you want—or don't want—about Britain's royal family, but no matter how you feel about them, I cannot imagine anyone thinking that this was a good way to begin what was supposed to be a happy, fairytale-ish, new life.

All these thoughts came the same day as Life Journal reflections about David and Jonathan's friendship. It all started with these words of David in a Psalm...
Look to the right and see:
there is no one who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.
—Psalm 142:4
You can feel the pain in David's words. While I am not sure of the timing, either David would be missing his friend Jonathan because of Saul's madness, or Jonathan's own death. Either way, how David's heart must have ached for the friend of whom he said in 2 Samuel 1:28b (ESV), "your love to me was extraordinary". It was clear that even among all the mighty men that David was surrounded by, he did not find Jonathan's equal.

It is easy to find others with things in common. It is also easy to believe that an actual friendship can be had with someone, even if you only ever see their face on a monitor. But a friend who 'cares for your soul'? This is a much more rare and beautiful gift.

The poet Rilke wrote,
I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other. —Rainer Maria
Basically, to care for each other's soul.

I am so blessed to have friends who care for my soul. From the friendship that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, to those the have come into my life more recently, but are no less vital. Beautiful women of God who not only care for my soul, but allow me the privilege of caring for theirs as well.

Without a doubt, I know that the night before I marry my own prince—should that day ever arrive—I will not be alone, but will be surrounded by my beautiful friends and family, caring for my soul as always.

And if one of them wants to serve me dinner on a tray, I don't think I will object too strongly!

* * * * *

Although there is only one thing on today's list, it is a big one, and should encompass many more than one...

I am grateful for...

158:: the friends, the guardians of my soul, who so enrich my life, laugh with me, hold me together when life falls apart, and make my world a much better place.


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