…i can be your long lost pal

Posted: February 20, 2014 in life
Tags: , ,

it’s been a slow, rainy, get things done sort of day.

and wile admittedly, i haven’t got that many things done.. i have done what felt necessary for the day.

i signed up for the daily IF:Equip emails, which have been a good reminder to stop and take 15 minutes to see what’s going on in the book of john. i’m a day or two behind the current day, so there’s usually a good amount of discussion already in the comments section. it’s been nice to be reading something, jornalling a few thoughts and then listening to tthe insights and comments of a whole community of women. it’s been valuable i think, because i have been recognising that i need to carve out more time to actually start listening to what God might have for me in this time and space. and it’s really scary to me to face those ideas. i know that this is a new chapter. i didn’t really want the last one to end though.

i’ve also been going through some of the million pictures from the last five years or so, trying to work out how to commemorate some of life. there are so many ways to create permanent/semi permanent reminders.

and i’m beginning to see life blossom. even in the midst of the rain.

plus, there’s listening to paul simon.

sitting

Posted: January 22, 2014 in everything else
Tags:

I realised that I feel like I need to have something worth saying in order to post it here. so you all don’t really get that much of a look into life. sorry…

maybe I’ll get better at this blog, time will tell, I guess.

make me wish i was someone else

Posted: December 26, 2013 in life
Tags: , , , ,

i’m listening to the weepies radio on pandora, as i do from time to time- most especially often in the darker months, it seems.

i’m trying hard to gather thoughts and stories and start forming them into a coherent whole- i’m the storyteller at my church meeting in two weeks time.

i’m breathing deeply, trying to appreciate all the moments for the beauty and weight that they have, without being upset that they will soon be over, and new ones will take their place.

i find myself walking and driving familiar paths and having to catch my breath because of the familiarity- that soon will be a memory.

i’m struggling here with the way to tell these stories. i spent a god amount of time today looking at pictures from the past year, organising some of them, andremembering the stories attached to them.

i feel like people hold the key to this story telling: who are the people who have had the most impact on me, and who are the people on whom i have had an impact- what story can i tell out of that? what did i give, what did i receive?

i hate (and love, but mostly hate) talking about myself- oh, i did this great thing, or that great thing. but it’s a story that should be told, right? i think. i think there’s value in this. how to talk about humility- how to talk about your job, your life, without sounding like a braggart, a know-it-all,i do this so much better than you.

every paragraph (until this one) began with ‘i’. ha! that’s funny.

in case you’re interested, all the pictures are on my google+ account, here

this weekend, and this week, have been full.

i’ve been surrounded by people- good, great, people but nonetheless, a lot of them.

i’ve been reminded to connect with the artist in me.

i’ve been reminded to be courageous.

i’ve been reminded that who i am is enough.

it’s been good, it’s also been pretty tough.

being at the summit, and just not knowing if i’ll ever see some of these people ever again… that was really hard yesterday. even if i only see them for two days, once a year, some of those people are precious for all that. because we are a family, we’re a community. and so i don’t mind giving up things for this family, i don’t begrudge the extra time. sure, sometimes i moan and complain about it, but hard work and long hours are in my blood, and when it’s something that i believe in, and somewhere that i love, and filled with people who believe in and love the same things i do… well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

i wrote some poetry, i made some art, i felt some connections.

IMGP8952

it was good.

(i wrote this poem during one of the sessions when i should have been paying attention… but Jessie, from Miami, had given me such a powerful image that it just had to get out. so. here.)

(i couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the extra lines that keep getting put in there, so it’s a lot more spacious that i intended. well. that’s ok. the real spacing/ formatting is here)

a tree (inspired by Jessie. and Psalm 1.3, Jeremiah 17.8)

She will be like a tree planted by the river

sending her roots deep into the water.

She will be like a tree –grown from a seed, planted firmly.

She will be like a tree, strong trunk, firmly planted, weathering the storm, unafraid of drought, or heat, with roots… rooted in the deep.

rooted in the deep, deep water. wading through the shallows, cutting through the dirt, settled in the deep waters.

rooted.

She will be like a tree grown by a river, ringed by sorrows.

ringed by joys.

fed on the dirt, the dank, the underbelly of the earth.

fed, rooted, planted in the dirt, in the reality of life, of community,

rooted through the throw-away, the decomposing, the shit. reaching deep, bringing forth the newness of life.

She is a tree, planted deep in the water.

currents move, things flow, seasons change and She.

Is.

Rooted.

She is a tree planted by the river with roots planted deep in the water.

heat and drought come, but She will still produce fruit.

ringed: ringed with life. ringed with the holy & the present & the mud & the dirt & the grime & the fruit…?

the fruit                       is good.

She is a tree, a tall, sheltering, productive tree, lined and ringed with a life fully lived.

planted firmly in the mire by a river, flowing, living, changing, and her roots go deep. and her fruit is good.

you.

are a tree replanted in eden. bearing fresh fruit every month. never dropping a leaf. always

in

blossom.

 

someones always coming around here

Posted: November 3, 2013 in life
Tags: , , , , ,

i just spent the better part of the afternoon reachig out to the world… from the little cocoon that i’ve made of my messy room. still in my pj’s, but i called a lot of parents about the allnighter tomorrow night, and i wrote to people about the messy place that i’m living in with visa things.

anyway, i wanted to keep reaching out, right? and there are a few things that i was thinking about the past few days that are awesome, and i don’t want to forget them, nor their shiny beauty.

-shydel. one of my first camp kids. he would come around just itching for a fight. talking about knives and people who had made him mad. hurting for a listening ear, and a soft hand on his head, and someone to care. so tough. so young. so responsible. the caretaker of his beautiful younger sister. wearer of too-big hand me downs.

-an eighth grader this year, who wrote a stinking beautiful poem about love.

be patient / and kind and / loyal too. before / you say those / powerful words / i love you / love is strong / and powerful too / you see loves [in] people / eyes in relationships to / show they really love each other / words are so powerful / and we never know / what state of mind / someone is in at any / time. you choose your words, / but you cannot choose the / affect they will have / on people. always speak / out of love or your heart. / true power does not / crush others, but helps / them to see their own / greatness. 

sheesh.

-Jailene and Adrianna talking about apples on the way home last night: Adrianna wanted to know exactly where an apple came from, past a seed, where did the seed come from? Jailene ‘i don’t know the whole history of a apple!’ (apparently we should be covering that in high school or college or something.

 

that’s really all for today, exceot the sky is so blue out of my window, and the leaves so red, and it’s just so much beauty.

bus driving

Posted: October 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

some days i feel like Miss Frizzle on the magic school bus, pointing out all the magical things in the world…

other days i feel like Ernie on the Knight bus, dodging and navigating, and wondering how it is that i fit through all these tiny spaces…

some days i really do think that things jump out of my way like magic.

this life is quite a rollercoaster.

i’m in the midst of a stomach-churning unknowning. a lot of you know this about me: i am not a natural decision maker. i don’t like to say that this is what i want.

whether that’s because i feel unworthy of it, or because i value your opinion more than my own… i don’t know, but i do know that i am not good at making decisions.

and yet.

yet, i have been here, here, in this place for four years. and at several times i have chosen, and articulated that choice, to be here. i want to keep seeing the good work that is growing here.

but then the unknowning comes in. i do not have permission to remain here indefinitely. so i have to work through the system in order to do what i have chosen to do.

this is why i don’t make decisions: it’s so much work. and it’s tiring, and messy and disappointing. and i have no control.

so, i’m waiting, sitting in the tension. i’ve filed to extend my visa, and the governnment is wary. they want to know more, they’re pushing back against us. we have another shot, one that i’ll grasp with both hands, the last chance to choose this thing.

but if that fails? if this piece of my life is over…. pheeeuw.

there’s a ball of lead sitting in my stomach. i don’t know how to articulate these things. i love this, what life is right now, but i am also so excited to see friends in scotland/the uk. but if i leave like this, i’ll be overwhelmed with sorrow. and yet, there are so many great opportunities out there. but what about longevity? about being stable, creating and providing safe spaces?

but, but, but, but… 

there is nothing that is further from my control. there is nothing i feel more things about. there are so many tiny tiny threads connecting my heart to each of these possibilities…

yet… the bigger thread, the one that i am learning to lean upon, give my trust to, dangle unknowingly from… is the one that connects me to Jesus and his purpose.

sometimes, that’s enough. knowing that Jesus has me.

sometimes, that just makes my throat itchy, makes me want to run and scream, and say ‘NO! let me have THIS thing. screw you! i want what i WANT.’ 

there have been a lot of deep breaths, of long silences inside my head. of feeling… how do i burden you with this… and yet, how do i not?

there are a lot of people involved. some of them know, some are aware of the things that are swirling. some, a lot, important people- my kids- are not fully informed. last they knew, i was applying for a new visa. and the deadline was approaching. they don’t really understand what that even means. i haven’t yet told them that there is a real possibility that this may not work out the way we want it to.

how do i tell them? especially… how do i tell them without breaking down and just freaking them the fuck out? (sorry mum.)

i’m having a hard time concentrating on work. at least on anything that is not relating to kids or people. but i’ll get it done. because as a good friend said: we will do our best for you, because we love you. so i’m taking her lead.

and i’m going to keep choosing. choosing resurrection. choosing relationship. choosing love. choosing open-handedness. choosing to trust.

god have mercy.

on joy

Posted: August 4, 2013 in life
Tags: , , , , ,

these thoughts have been mulling around in my head for the last week or so. this is where i’m leaning into.

i wrote that last post amidst wrestling with the consequences of working with kids and teens who have never experienced loving boundaries. i wrote it from a place of scared frustration. and it is all true, these are the things that i am struggling with and learning from the most right now. but there are also so many things that are cause for great joy and celebration.

one ‘something’, that i’ve realised this week, is that i have gotten to be here for the long run. it is an incredible honour and privilege to be part of these kids lives on a regular basis. to know that the majority have seen the whole of me, that we’ve built relationships of trust, and that they understand that i’m doing what i can. it’s nowhere near perfect, but i’ve been given this gift of relational ministry time for this period of my life, and i love it.

it’s been four years, and i still love what i do. i think that says something. that even in the midst of the frustrations, and although there are days that i can i think of a million other things i’d way rather be doing, at the end of each day, i know that i’m taking steps toward creating safety for a group of kids who need it. and i’m getting to know them. and they’re getting to know me, and so see my heart, and hopefully something of what the kingdom looks like.

i was encouraged these past weeks by friends, and interns. i had sent out an email expressing some of the ways that i was being challenged and stretched this summer, and one of the responses allowed me to breathe again. it helped open up my lungs, gave me a chance to see grace, to feel justice. to move with mercy.

i think a lot about what to say to these kids, and so often i get caught up in the rush of all the other stuff we need to do, but this week, i took the time out to really talk to them, about the way that i’ve experienced Gods love, and the way that we’re seeking to show that to them.

living a life of mercy, walking the path of peace, generating justice, seeking grace? these are things that i hope i never forget to do. i hope that i will always seek Jesus face in the faces before me.

knowing and being known.

Posted: July 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

IMGP6353

 

it’s a tricky dance that we do, between revealing everything, and knowing nothing. i’ve found myself in the place of being around people who want to know me, and are willing to let themselves be known.

i’m so tired, of being misunderstood, or being half-known, of trying to use words to communicate a truth that is deeper than words can get. i’m tired of trying to love kids and people who don’t understand that love has boundaries, that unconditional love isn’t the freedom to do whatever the .. you want. i’m so tired of having an unending argument about what is ‘fair’. life. is. not. fair.

oh. there are many joys and frustrations in this life, and today is one of those days where the frustrations are outweighing the joys. i’m having a hard time seeing through them, at any rate. so.

i just read this poem, and i liked it. so i’m going to post it here. (it’s from here)

Bending Toward a Rightness

I’ve become too old for
bullshit fantasies of invincibility.
At any time God may dispatch
an angel to bind my tongue
or allow evil to scour all I cherish.
Those things have not happened to me
but other things have.
Has my age made me brave or empty?
Yes.
A number of my peers have recanted,
found God just too wild.
Oh they still rise to say the creeds but
there is no blood in their mouths.
I expected by now to learn the language of God
but I have only learned to love him.
I no longer listen for his voice.
I listen to the wind.

shake it off

Posted: June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

is what i keep telling myself. life is too short to be ‘busy’ but unproductive. there are enough things that i actually can, need to, and will do that i don’t need the pressure of feeling like i’m not doing all these other shoulds.

in any case, life is getting ready to be really busy again. and i don’t know if this is just my thing, but i’m feeling underprepared for what i have going on.

i know i’m capable of teaching what i need to teach well, and of giving the interns a real idea of what it will take to be present and real and true this summer… but i also know that there are SO many things left undone.

and there are conversations that need to be had. this week has been full of thunderstorms. literal thunderstorms every afternoon. it’s been my favourite part of every day so far. the clouds, the wind, the rain. god, i love it. it makes me feel alive, and like a cleansing is happening.

i’m really excited for this summer. i have such good people around me, and i work with some of the most funnest (ahem) folks that there are. but there’s still… thunder in the air, maybe.

life is trotting along, as it does. four years here are almost completed. i’m dragging my feet on the visa- not intentionally- i just haven’t scanned my passport yet. shoot, i really should do that tomorrow. but i’m feeling the drag, the tension, the thunder in the air. i love what i’m doing, i’ve grown tremendously these past four years, i have a home. and yet, some part of me longs for scotland, for what is familiar and well-known and easily shrugged into. something that there’s no context for here.

friends get married- it happens when you all reach a certain point in life, babies too- and it prompts lots of statements like “when i get married…” which also necessarily prompts some introspection. when i get married. who said there would be a when?

thunder in the air.

here are some pictures of rain, and clouds. two from St Louis, one from the porch of the parsonage.
here are all my disjointed thoughts. sorry it’s been so long.

clouds are like explosions of joy in the sky

clouds are like explosions of joy in the sky

storm ahead

storm ahead

clear skies behind

clear skies behind