☀️ Come

all who are weary and burdened,

which if we are honest,

is all of us:

fishermen and tax collectors,

doubters and zealots,

betrayed and betrayers,

women and children,

lame, blind, lost, bullied,

teachers, preachers, seekers,

carpenters, welders, garbage collectors,

doctors, mechanics, managers.

Regardless of skin colour,

earthly status or physical health,

or anything else —

the invitation is always, “Come.”

Come to me; listen and live,

follow and see what I, the Lord God,

have done…am doing…will yet do.

Come and find rest in me.

☀️ Blessings Keep Flowing

A Sunday Doxology

Praise God from whom

all blessings flow:

A warm home during

Extreme Cold Warning weather

lasting for days on end

Birds that flit and fly and sing

even in Extreme Cold Warning cold

Untouched snow and cloudless skies

Sunrises and sunsets and sun dogs

Bowls of chili and cups of hot tea

Conversation, laughter, prayer

with my husband of forty

Valentine’s Days

A day of Sabbath rest

days of goodness

weeks of hope

years of grace

Praise Father, Son, Spirit.

Amen.

☀️ This Love

A Sunday Doxology

Praise and thanksgiving to God on high who made himself low

left his heavenly throne to walk his footstool with feet coated in the dust from which he once formed humanity

set aside a crown of glory to feel the weight of crudely woven thorns sprung from the ground once good now cursed through sin

emptied himself of all the fullness of God which fills heaven and earth to embody love upon a tree of life-giving death

this love so wide and long and high and deep reaches beyond the limits of my understanding, leaves me bereft of words, weeping in gratitude, overwhelmed by grace.

☕️ How to be a Listener

A Saturday Caesura

Make space for stillness.

Attune your ear, yes, but especially your mind and heart and hands.

Eschew all enticements to wander off beyond focus.

Steel against conclusions prone to back-flip over beginnings.

Resist fixes and platitudes which run rough-shod over love and grace.

Offer a whole presence though it may feel too easy and too hard and never enough.

Choose a heart posture that allows stories to breathe vent weep groan gush stumble spill sigh trickle scream…

Catch them. Hold them. Just hold them even if they leak between your fingers and feel sticky or heavy or slippery or awkward.

A Listener carries stories that aren’t meant to be carried

alone.

☕️ The Spaces We Live In

A Saturday Caesura

The view from the hotel window captivates me only because of the constant movement: trucks and cars ad nauseam, gyrating cement trucks, a stout armoured car, convoys of b-train dump trucks, fluorescent green GFL garbage trucks, a Smart car, toy-like among the steady stream of freight-liners emblazoned with company slogans – CN We Deliver, FedEx The World on Time, Grimshaw Trucking Gateway to the North – a load of farm equipment, travel trailers and RVs in search of summer, an occasional motorcycle.

Beyond this ever-flowing tributary sits terminal, tower, and tarmac – the stuff of international airports – where roaring jet engines regularly overpower the thrum and rumble of the freeway below.

If we were in this hotel for holiday reasons, we would probably reconsider the choice to stay here.

The freeway and the airport are liminal spaces – those in-between places of transition between somewhere and somewhere else, between a starting point and a destination, between a beginning and an end. How much of my life has been spent in liminal places, I wonder.

Our hotel and others, each one a liminal space of its own, are queued up along the freeway to entice travellers of both land and air. In the foreground between hotel and northbound lanes is a ditch populated with bulrushes and surrounded by shelter-belt trees, still in their youth and in mixed stages of vitality. In the close middle-ground, a no-man’s land of sorts between the going-north and heading-south strips of asphalt. The far middle-ground between freeway and airport is plowed into furrows and fringed with self-seeded squatters – alphalfa and various grasses. These are the marginal places, the borderlands, the edges.

But they are far from empty.

In the foreground ditch lives at least one pair of mallard ducks, visible only when arriving or departing from some enclave deep in the bulrushes. Several male blackbirds, with or without red and yellow shoulder patches, and their nondescript brown female companions make the fledgling trees feel useful as perches and places for playful cavorting. Occasionally a few of the birds dart across the northbound lanes to the middle-ground meridian and back again, if for no other reason than to say they did it and survived.

A steady watchful presence patrols the close middle-ground. A hunter. A Swainson’s hawk scans for life in the meridian grasses that are deep enough to swallow him for the final foot of his plummeting dives. Sometimes he rises on wide wings with empty talons; other times he clutchs a furry morsel, incentive enough to continue this pattern all day. He is agile, soaring back and forth, high and low. With amazing dexterity, he can anchor himself to a singular space of sky in a stalled hover.

The far middle is far enough away to lack sensory detail, but there is a constant swirling animation of gulls settling and rising around the muddy shores of a large puddle sprawled across the dark plowed ground. I can imagine their gossiping chatter and mildly alarmed or offended squawking, but of course too much noise reverberates from the comings and goings of liminal space to actually hear them from my seat by the hotel window.

What is missing from that window view are permanent dwelling places. There are no houses – just hotels, hangers, terminals, and outlet stores. Even the birds living contentedly in the marginal spaces are seasonal visitors, here only for the warmer summer months. They have their own liminal spaces, the laneless migratory freeways of the sky.

And maybe the house, the home, we return to after our sojourn in the hotel too near a freeway and an airport, after a successful heart procedure, after a five hour drive – maybe this space where I now sit watching birds flit through the trees growing in the margins of field and marsh, maybe this isn’t the permanent dwelling place I perceive it to be…

When I sat long enough and paid close enough attention to what initially presented as a lack-luster view from a hotel window, I began to understand the uniqueness of the spaces we live in.

The in-between liminal spaces often feel confusing and disorienting, but without them I cannot grow, learn, change. Without them, I’m stuck.

I live in the mundane margins, part of the greater world, but certainly not the centre of it. And that is okay, because by God’s grace I have all I need to thrive here.

I appreciate the rootedness this house has provided for the past twenty years, but it is not an eternal dwelling, which is very different and far more desirable than any sense of worldly permanence.

Transitional, marginal, temporary though they be, there is goodness in these spaces where we live because God is present in them all.

☀️ Feasting

A Sunday Doxology

Praise to the Creator of all—

You fill the skies with birds that sing

and swoop and dive and flit and swim,

but can’t sow or reap or build barns

yet feast on abundant goodness

because you care for each of them.

Of how much more value are we

who walk and work and till the ground,

we who live and move and have breath

because you breathed in us your life,

and ever mindful of us, you

set eternity in our hearts

that we might ever sing your praise

and feast at your table of grace.

Random Spring Thinkings

🌿Green sprinkled like pixie dust
gradually spreads
downward
outward
stark skeleton branches
now lush and full with
shimmering reminders
that the dead of winter
still cradles life.

🌳The trees are gushing green and I can’t stop gawking at them. Is it a northern thing to consciously count Weeks of Leaves?

We’re on Week Five.

🌱The seeds I tucked into garden soil two weeks ago have all died and come to life again.

Saskatoon bushes and choke cherry trees have bloomed, liberally wafted their perfume, and are now settled into the slow labour of fruit-making.

🌿A few years ago, I carved out a home for a solitary fern under the sprawling diamond willow near the back corner of the yard. I envisioned a whole forest of fronds reaching upward to provide moral support to the sagging and aging willow.

Every spring since, I’ve had to poke around to find my little friend and then sigh with relief when it finally uncurls its fiddleheads to let me know it survived winter cold and spring flood.

But this spring? Oh my!

My fern is now part of a village and there is just something about all that wavy lacy fresh green contrasted against gnarly wrinkly grey-brown bark that makes me love both the ferns and the willow. They make each other that much more.

Maybe we people could let some of our differences do the same. Maybe.

🌻Last night, after a day of yard work and other such Saturday doings, we decided to treat ourselves to MacDonalds $1 ice cream cones and then we (as in my husband) needed to go to Home Depot and of course I said he could find me in the Garden Centre when he was done.

And oh my!

There is just something about the cacophony of colour with so many flowers and the evening sun touching them just right and setting them all alight.

So I just wandered and drank it all in and breathed gratitude for colour and beauty and flowers and trees and ferns and life and love and grace.