Archive for the ‘life’ Category

I am not a father. I do not know what it is like to be a father. That said, I think it must be tough to be a dad.

The biological part is, of course, the easiest.

The role of father has many expectations … spoken and presumed of, wordlessly.

Dads are expected to do everything a mom does, from earning a living, to changing diapers, to snuggles at bedtime, to helping with homework, to fixing the car, the meals and the owies. In all of that (and more), dads and moms are expected to do all that is needed to raise a little human into an independent and contributing member of society. This is good, as it is only right that both parties should invest equal effort to do such an important task as raising a real live human.

But, equality is not often reality. Sure there are some tasks (feeding, helping with homework, bandaging cuts and making a nut-free lactose-free gluten-free sandwich that either parent can manage, but not all parenting tasks are for both parents.

Our kids know that I am most definitely NOT the one to call if they have questions about phone plans, car insurance or their tire pressure. Sure I could Google it, but I just do not know, and do not care to know … because their dad has more interest, more knowledge and more experience in those areas of parenting.

They also know that their dad is the one who is most likely to order pizza, take them for Chinese or buy them a burger.

Both of us can offer a hug or sit and chat for hours, but I am more likely to initiate these … because that is how I am inclined to speak love to our kids. Whereas their dad is more likely to drop whatever he is doing to help them with whatever they request … because that is how he is inclined to speak love.

It is tough for dads, because, often, their love language is often not one of nurture (though it can be for some, as there are always exceptions). We, humanly, see love in a very narrow way … as affection … but love can be expressed in so many other ways, in so many other languages … we just need to tune our ears to the language that is being spoken.

In our world today there is so much negativity spoken about men, about the failures and weaknesses of men. Yet, there are also the good men, who have lived their lives as a service to others, to their kids.

The ones who take the place of one who only contributed biologically.

The ones who toss their kids in the air for the joyful giggles that follow.

The ones who race into the packed auditorium just to catch their child’s school performance.

The ones who tell dad jokes or the when I was a child stories.

The ones who take their kids to swimming, to football, to their friends houses, or pick them up late at night.

The ones who drop whatever they are doing to help their kids figure out their phone plan, their car insurance, to sell their vehicle, to figure out their bank account,

to order pizza …

To all those dads who do so much more for us than we often acknowledge … simply because we see love through a definition that does not include your unique expressions of love and commitment …

Thank-you … don’t give up!


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I sat across a table listened to her share her horrific, childhood-stealing moments of her life. Her words, spoken clearly, as though recounting every detail in her mind’s eye … as though walking through each and every event, as though a part of her was that awkward adolescent, hurting all over again.

After she recounted her story, for over two of the fastest moving hours of my life, she looked into my eyes and said, “thank-you for listening to my story. Next time, I want to hear yours, because I think you have a story to tell too.

I smiled, for she was right and because she knew what I know …

the pain in our own lives awakens our subconscious to the pain that others try to hide.

Recently I was watching a clip from the BBC’s A Royal Team Talk, and a statement by Prince William caught my full attention:

“It (bereavement) also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved. So instantly, when you talk to someone else … You can almost see it in their eyes sometimes.”

As I digested his words, I realized that ‘bereavement’ could be replaced by the word ‘pain’ or ‘trauma’ … words that signify an injury, a mental or emotional bruising that can only be seen by eyes, by souls who recognize it … mirrored through their own lives and experiences.

Psalm 56:8 gives us insight into the understanding God has of our pain, trauma and grief:

“You number my wanderings.
You put my tears into your bottle.
Aren’t they in your book?”

Ellicott’s Commentary speaks of this verse:

wandering, which, from the parallelism with “tears,” must mean “mental restlessness,” the “tossings to and fro of the mind,” “my inmost things.”

The pain a person carries is a most mentally restless scar … one that is worn, quite often, under a broad smile. It takes an understanding, a knowledge that such pain can, that it does exist for it to be seen beneath the bandage of a cosmetic smile.

It is quite amazing when another crosses our path, who really sees, who clearly sees what lies beneath the joy on our faces.

God sees … he sees the pain and grief because he knows pain and grief, because he has collected our tears, even the ones that never left our eyes.

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June has arrived with it’s lengthening days and starry nights. Our dark and wintery cocooning patterns altered by the warmth and beauty outdoors. Whether we prepare for summer vacations or days of work with time off spent out of doors, June is a reprieve from the usual, mundane patterns of the everyday.

There seems to be rest, recreation and rediscovery in the very air we breath, in the beauty of the sunsets, in the freshness of new growth all around us.

More frequently as I drive to work I yearn to be driving off into the horizon to somewhere, anywhere … just to be going. Going means moving forward, into new places and sights and adventures that rekindle what the French so beautifully call, joie de vivre … joy of living.

There is anticipation in this lighter, warmer month. There is hope in it’s brightness, in it’s turning the corner from one way of living to another, from one outlook on the days, on life.

I love what Ephesians 5:14 says of the light:

“the light makes everything visible.
This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
 rise up from the dead,
 and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:14

As I read this verse I found it interesting that the arising comes before the light is given …

It is as though we need to first do our part … awake, then Christ will provide the light. We arise in faith that the light, that makes all things visible, will be given to us.

I feel that June (and all the summer months) are that gift of light, that we have been arising in anticipation of, throughout the winter months … and now everything is visible.

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My Story

I write about wonder, and about the greatest theme of all stories … redemption.

Recently I saw a young woman with a visible disability … and something within me whispered that I just had to tell this story …

So … more revisions that for any post before … here I go:

In everything I have shared, I did so with one caveat, one condition …

I only share
from the perspective of
my own experience.

I cannot have words to speak on that which I have not personal understanding, experience or education.

I was born in March of 1969 … fifty long years ago, in a hospital, to a single woman. She was unmarried to the man who contributed his DNA to my creation … the man who skedaddled soon after discovering that (in the words of my kids, when they want something from us) “sex has consequences”.

It wasn’t until the day after she had pushed me from her body that a kind nurse asked if she had seen her baby girl (because, why would a single woman want to see her illegitimate child in 1969?). When my mother tearfully, shook her head … then that nurse made heads spin as she sought and brought me to her arms.

I was brought home to sleep in a bed by my mother’s, in her parent’s home … where her father lived … her recovering alcoholic father, who abused she and her siblings repeatedly throughout their childhoods (who also abused me, as an adolescent).

Just a few weeks later (four or six), I was left in the care of her mum, as she did not live in a time and place of paid maternity leave. She had to work so as to pay rent (to her parents), childcare (to her mother), all the necessities of a child as well as her own needs. She worked in a clerical position.

My life started as a crisis pregnancy, my mother made choices (some her own, some thrust upon her). It was not a smooth start … there were bumps and horrors along the way, but …

My life has purpose … present, future and past … I have, I will have, I did have purpose … from the very beginning.

Flash ahead to October or 1995. Hubby and I had an almost three year old, and a pregnancy success to failure rate of 1:4. I was taken to hospital in excruciating pain. After pokes and prods and a sonogram, an ‘old school’ surgeon told us that I had a perfectly functioning heartbeat in my fallopian tube, that had ruptured and my abdomen was filling with fluid. The tiny heartbeat would not survive and could not be relocated to the uterus. My own life was in grave danger without the removal of the other.

Two days later I was released from hospital … no tube, no heartbeat.


That stings
to write those words.

My choice to live resulted in the end of another … even though I had no other option. Reality, or a ‘good medical rationale’ doesn’t change the sting … consequences are real and they last a lifetime in a heart that feels the loss as well as the gratefulness for every breath.

Recently, in a restaurant, I noticed a young woman, with a visible disability … just after I had read a ‘post’ about these life and death choices.

As I observed her, I found myself considering all of the people I have worked with, or known in my life who have also had disabilities, those conceived from rape, those adopted from orphanages, those born alive after a late term abortion. I wondered how many of them have felt the sting from a society with a pyramid scheme of value … that not all are created equal. That the inconvenience of their existence … to society, to their mother … is reason enough to end their lives, to deny their most basic human rights.

I know that they have, they will have, they did have purpose … from the very beginning.

I have felt the personal sting of the comments … because I am a woman, who bore two woman, born to a woman who could have aborted her crisis pregnancy.

I was that crisis pregnancy …

I will never say that abortion should be a criminal offence … for a pregnant woman, for a doctor. I also will never say that it is just about a woman’s body … for all lives have purpose.

Here is what I will say …

There need to be more services, more opportunities for women who are in the midst of a crisis pregnancy. Not every country has the opportunities for women that Canada does, with a year of paid leave and coverage of medical costs. In some areas free daycare is even available. There needs to be more access to understanding the option of adoption. There needs to be counselling that considers, holistically, the needs of the woman and of the child, short and long term, including group support.

Crisis pregnancies are about two lives, and they both matter.

I only share
from the perspective of
my own experience.

I know that I have, I will have and I did have purpose … from the very beginning.

This is my story … of wonder and redemption.

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When the week began so did the stalking.

Phrases, quotes, devotionals, things said that I overheard … all to do with being thankful. I heard … but didn’t really listen.

Then I happened to click play on a video that a friend posted, and my ears were attuned to the message that had been stalking me all week.

Thankful, grateful … those words and their meaning. Their capacity to alter our hearts, our minds and mood. Their power, through the simple (?) act of choosing them. Choosing them over fear, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, despair.

So, today, let me share a prayer for you, and five minutes of a video that I hope helps you hear of how much there is to be grateful for … in spite of the dark and twisties of life.

As the sun rises, as we rise this day …
Remind us to not just lift the bedcovers off our bodies,
but also that we lift our eyes …
to the flowers,
to the trees,
to the bee buzzing in the garden,
to those around us,
to the sky,
to you.
With each rise of our eyes,
may we …
be thankful for what we can
Lord, this day of Sabbath,
may our choosing gratitude,
turn what we have into enough.

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The countdown is on … nineteen class days until the end of the school year (plus exams)!

More than any school year before … I don’t just want, but I know that I need a break.

It has been a great school year, with fantastic colleagues and amazing students who allow us to come alongside and shore up their weaknesses, their struggles … so that they can successfully thrive in the academic hoop-jumping that is high school.

So it is not so much that I desire an end as I need to be shored up in my own weaknesses and struggles … so that I can thrive.

A year ago I was completing my first year at a new school, preparing to move (physically and emotionally) and walking the unfamiliar, precarious road of life with loved ones with debilitating illness.

This year, my body, mind and soul need a rest, renewal!

How about you? Are you in need of a break? a change of pace? renewal?

Though the Song of Solomon is written as an erotic love (hear it as though Barry White said the word love) manual, I read the following verses recently and they sounded less erotic and more of a love that will go the distance for you, a love that protects, renews … a love that gives a complete rest that is beyond comprehension.

“My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing has come …”

Song of Solomon 2:10-12

Ah! The winter is past … bring on the flowers and the singing!

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I read a blog the other day about mothering in the middle, when one feels a bit like a taxi driver, fast food cook supply manager, academic assistant, nutritionist, administrative assistant and cheerleader. I found myself reminiscing through that non-stop stage.

It happened to be on a day I was utterly bored.

You see, I am at the mothering young adults stage, the hands-off mothering stage.

The movement from mom in the middle to mom of young adults is similar to a hairpin turn driving down a steep mountainside … you’re moving at speeds you didn’t know possible, then, all of a sudden, you make a sharp turn facing the opposite direction … and the sun is obscuring your view, making it hard to see where you are going.

Our kids are all finished with high school and in varying levels of study and work. Two of our three are still living at home, one in another community. To be honest, I vacillate between wanting them to all be out and independent and wanting them all under one roof (mine).

This is the stage of hands-off mothering … unless they need me … RIGHT NOW! I am talking drop everything and help them right now.

This is where, I guess, boundaries should be developing … but I so need to be needed, and really, no one needs me as much as I desire to be needed anymore. So, I am struggling to draw those boundaries … wanting to be available if someone might have need of me (the struggle is real).

Then there is the I am gonna sever my tongue, from biting it so frequently part of this hands-off mothering stage. They need to be making their own decisions about their faith, their schooling, their work, their income and relationships … I just SO want to offer my opinions … all of the time.

As I was writing this post, hubby let me know what time one of our kids got in last ‘night’ (aka this morning) … gotta say, I really didn’t want to know … that ostrich with it’s head in the sand? I am getting to know him (or is it her) quite well.

I am learning that they need to make mistakes … their own. Live with their own consequences. It was a freedom I was graciously offered by own parents and I believe that I need to regift this freedom to them.

Then there are the heartbreaks … they are so real, so lasting at this young adult stage (though many can come to them earlier). Their relationship struggles, loneliness, uncertainty in their abilities, in their future, their jobs. Life for a young adult is not what it was thirty years ago, when I was twenty. There is little in society today, for a twenty-something that is typical … other than nightlife. And if they are not heartbroken for what is (or is not) going on in their own lives, they live vicariously through the hurts of their friends.

These heartbreaks ripple into my own heart … stories that include suicide, health struggles, drug addiction, sexual assault, homelessness and single parenting get processed with mom on SOS … and I have no answers when I am invited into these conversations … but I pray … how I pray.

At this stage, their friends are not necessarily ones that I know, have met, have made cookies with and carpooled to various events. Their friends are often faceless names that remind me that their life is their own.

Then there is the attempt to get everyone together for one meal … Oh my lanta! I think world peace might be easier to attain!

But …

They are learning, they are seeking, they are even thriving. They do good work, love deeply, seek justice, care for each other …

and they ask me to pray.

When they or their friend is in a tough place, they still ask me to pray.

And if that is the common thread of their need of me, at this hands-off mothering stage … then I will pray.

There is a video that I would return to (over and over) in those mom in the middle years, called The Invisible Woman (below). I realized, the other day, that it still has something to offer me at this hands-off stage of mothering:

“At times my invisibility has felt like an infliction to me,
but it is not a disease that is erasing my life.
It is the cure for the disease of self-centeredness.
It is the antidote to my own pride.
It’s okay that they don’t see,
we don’t work for them,
we work for Him.
We sacrifice for Him.
They will never see,
not if we do it right,
if we do it well.
Lets pray that our work will stand as a monument to an even greater God.”
Nicole Johnson

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