Posts Tagged ‘God’

…i can be your long lost pal

Posted: February 20, 2014 in life
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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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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




someones always coming around here

Posted: November 3, 2013 in life
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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. 


-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.

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
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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.


Posted: April 18, 2013 in life
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it seems like this is becoming a theme in my life:

discernment in the darkness. pulling out the things that are not helpful, and working to bring them into the light. seeing into the spiritual.

maybe owls are my spirit animal.

it’s been really interesting around here the last little while. i’m still processing a lot of it, so i’m sure more will come out in time.

just checkin’ in. :)

pajamas in public

Posted: December 3, 2009 in life
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this is my new favourite habit. i’ve worn my pajamas (ok, so steelers ‘pants’ and a t-shirt) to restuarants, other houses, on road trips, and now, in terminal 5. it’s a good feeling.

a not so good feeling is having to leave a place that already in 3 months i have grown to love… a better feeling is knowing that i have left most of my stuff there, so, somehow, i have to go back.

had a lovely send off from my friends at philly airport, had about a 2 1/2 hour wait for my flight, got on the plane, drank my complimentary red wine and promptly started crying… it is so hard to leave this place…

so, like i told my kids yesterday, i want so badly to come back, but i need you all to be praying for me, and for my visa… i just can’t imagine this being it.

anyway. scotland home for a little while… i’ll miss you guys!


Posted: October 27, 2009 in life
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is a day for beards, and back rubs, and using a manual camera with black and white film that contains pictures of orphans from romania. yes. today is that day.

also, for having the word ‘poop’ written across your forehead.

i will aim to finish this film and develop it and post the pictures as soon as.

and i get to start making a new beard soon (yeah josh!)


oh, but the rest of life this past week? well, friday we went to the beach. and it was cold. and i read Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott and had to think quietly a lot. it’s an awesome book. i’ll send it to whoever wants to read it…

saturday, we went to NY for the day, hung out and wandered around in the rain… spent too much money at a comedy show in the evening that a few of us stayed back for, and then slept in a bit on sunday, spoke to some VERY important people back home (yay!!) even got to see a few of their faces (sorry if you weren’t one of thosse people. you’re still important) and generally slob around in my pj’s. then, instead of going to church i went to the downtown house and we made three bean chili and banana bread. and it was good. and so was the conversation. in fact, the conversation was so good, it was like church. though i’m beginning to believe more and more that just living with christians and doing life with christians is how ‘church’ should look. cos i know that church is not the building. it’s the people.

so, then the week started up again. and it’s been good so far. better because ellen and i discovereed that we’d each love to have a beard, for real, if it were possible and (for me anyway) i could grow one that was crazy.

yeah. that’s my life. :)

so much to say

Posted: October 26, 2009 in life, people
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and yet i still haven’t charged my camera batteries.


wednesday and thursday we had the banquet days, we were rehearsing and setting up and doing an evening for the parents wednesday, which was AMAZING! and then on thursday there was the actual banquet…

so my week was pretty packed, between rehearsing kids for their speaking parts, dressing the set, running around trying to remember how to ‘stage manage’, just generally enjoying being back in the theatre again…

the show they created was full of songs and stories from the kids about what all they had learnt and how they’d grown through being part of urban.. they sang songs of God, of love, of strength and of their freedom… they spoke about their hopes and dreams… it was brilliant.

some of my favourite bits were seeing the kis who just weren’t sure at all during rehearsals really come into their own… it was awesome! this one kid, and his Mum, were up on stage talking about how he’d built a boat with urban, and they’d both been on it. They killed out there- the audience loved it- especially the first night when he forgot his line and his mum prompted him… just a really true evening. (most of the photos on the front page, here, are banquet photos)

so there was that, and now, i gotta go to camp… i will finish the rest of the fun of camden later… :)


Posted: September 25, 2009 in life, people
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my new friend/housemate Jordan has this thing for wonder.

he just marvels at the world, like a typical conversation will go

‘dude, like, think about the trees.’

‘uh huh’

‘i mean, like, it just so happens that we are these creaturesthat need oxygen to survive, and we breathe out this poisionous carbon monoxide stuff, and then it just so happens that there are these crazy things called trees that suck in carbon monoxide. and then freakin give out oxygen. huh. must be random chance. there’s no way that’s design. ha. man, i freakin’ LOVE trees….

and water!….’

and so the conversations continue… (you have to imagine a saint louis/missouri accent to get the full benefit… )

i love it, he just inspires me to think about the world in this new way.. i’m getting a new appreciation for Gods creation…

and so, week one of camp is over… :)