A New Week

We have our marching orders for Monday. The whatmusts and wherefores.

We know what we ought to do, but when our feet hit the bedroom floor and our hearts are already muddled up, what can we say into the morning? How do we preach Sunday to the devilish doubts before lunch?

This. This song that we sing in the face of our sinful hearts.

“When Satan tempts me to despair

and tells me of the guilt within”

upward I look and see Him there

who made an end to all my sin

because the sinless Savior died

my sinful soul is counted free

for God the just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me”

~C.L. Bancroft

And praise God that this anthem is ours.


Five Minute Friday: Beauty

Well this isn’t hard. A theme roaring in my ears every minute of every day.

It’s the mirror lie, gawking back at pooching bellies or dimpled knee.

It’s the drive to pick up socks, shirts, jeans and blow the dust off table tops.

One step and then two, it’s the face we look into when our own shabby bones give up the ghost and sink on our knees.

Beauty is the thing we can dig deeper into, learning new ripples in the rock. Each developing ring the marker of another year, another lesson under our belts.

It is a very gift to remind us what lies ahead. The rainbow clouds spelling hope in rainy sky. It’s not what we deserve, but what we need.

Beauty in the promise of things made whole.


From the Shelf: Current Events


The first book I read this year was Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. A friend had sent it to me after Christmas, because the author lives and practices law in Alabama. In fact, one of his cases involved an accidental bombing in Dothan, 1977.

The main thread of this book explains the ultimate release of Walter McMillian, a man on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. As Bryan Stevenson works on this case, he uncovers many examples of a dysfunctional justice system. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and Alabama one of the highest in the country. This book outlines through many examples, some of the reasons why.

It was sobering to read the ways in which a zealous system misfires. Stevenson explains the role that politics play in election of judges, or even community pressure to lock someone, anybody, up for a crime. His stories talk about sloppy lawyers, unconcerned in defending the people who cannot pay and the resulting incarceration of innocent people. Stevenson tells stories of children prosecuted as adults receiving life sentences without parole, or those with severe mental disabilities who are imprisoned for life. He talks about all white juries in racially divided communities, perhaps not intentional but certainly unwise in the pursuit of justice. Prisons operating for profit, futile drug laws, the death penalty, the list goes on.

The question for me personally, is not so much if I should care, but how. I love my new home and state, but that doesn’t mean I have to blindly believe it’s the best at everything. Or that I can just assume every person on death row deserves to die. Loving is caring enough when things are terribly wrong and we should care when justice isn’t served. Or even when we should consider meeting justice with mercy.

I’m no opposer of the death penalty and those who pose a risk to society should certainly be restrained. Depravity is real and consequences of sin surround us. However, this book has made me think more deeply at least about my Christian response to the incarcerated, or those at risk to be. I want to be slower in talking about “those” people, the riff-raff, poor people, the ones who don’t look like me or make poor decisions. If I truly believe in the sanctity of life then there are no lines I can draw in the sand and I should certainly care about extending what Christ gives to me, ironically something like the title – just mercy.

*Bonus Read: Hillbilly Elegy*


I added this to my list on the basis of its title alone.  It’s the memoir and opinion of J.D. Vance. Now a successful lawyer and author, Vance tells his story of growing up in Appalachian dysfunction. He writes in a deeply personal voice that explores the ‘why’ of white, working class poverty. The attitudes, the cycle of abuse and many other factors that contribute to generations of disadvantage.

This was the perfect book to read as counter point to Just Mercy. No one group has the market cornered on sad stories. Together these books have broadened my horizons and compassion for the mission field at home. I think the best way to sum things up is found in Hillbilly Elegy (pg.255). In writing about a boy named Brian who Vance mentors, he says;

“Any chance he has lies with the people around him – his family, me, my kin, the people like us and the broad community of hillbillies. And if that chance is to materialize, we must wake the hell up…I believe we hillbillies are the toughest g*%@ people on this earth. We take an electric saw to the hid of those who insult our mother…But are we tough enough to do what needs to be done to help a kid like Brian? Are we tough enough to build a church that forces kids like me to engage with the world rather than withdraw from it? Are we tough enough to look ourselves in the mirror and admit that our conduct harms our children?

Public policy can help, but there is no government that can fix these problems for us…These problems were not created by governments or corporations or anyone else. We created them, and only we can fix them.”

If nothing else, food for thought.





Making All Things a New Year

Hanging at the front of every end, is beginning.

In the death of pat answers, safety nets and preconceived notions, we have the start of something else.

It’s a plan beyond our best intentions, beauty from ashes, a fresh start in it is finished…we sing…

“the lamb who was for sinners slain, is making all things new”

Death opening to New Life. Shaking ground becomes sure.

Resolutions that might fade into memory by February, instead become mercies new every morning. Safe in the Saviour of every failing.

And despite each pain of this year, the Puritan says…

“Nothing hurts the godly…all things…shall cooperate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings.”

He is worthy and able to redeem 2017 – dead, buried and resurrected Jesus.

How much more can He benedict the days before us? The very Lord of hope and life.





Merry Christmas To All

Christmas is a season of abundance. Feasting, generosity, and a time when we count up our life challenges and blessings closely.

In that sense, I often find it a season of reflection too. A time to take stock of the year. Perhaps there is no better time to do it than when we’ve eggnog in one hand and cookies in the other.

Our first year anniversary corresponds with this time of year as well, which means a whole other set of milestones. A whole year of life as two opinionated individuals learning to be one.

There have been plenty of firsts as you can imagine. Our first road trip together, (we narrowly missed having our windshield broken by flying tire rubber in traffic). Buying a new car together (an over thought decision that we finally pulled the trigger on because we were very hungry).

Wesley bought some brush clearing machinery, advertised and had as much work as he could handle over the summer. The result has been plenty of happy customers and (of course) their life stories. Bonus: a complimentary ATV ride from an old lady wearing a straw hat.

We’ve made lots of friends this year, bumped into some old ones, been gifted rice pudding from one neighbour and chased a thief from the car of another.

I’ve had plenty of new cultural experiences this year as well. These are not limited to; chewing tobacco, the National Peanut Festival, local flea markets or the outrageous bumper stickers on many cars. Coming with all this of course, is so much sweet tea and the pay off of a hundred friendly strangers.

As an answer to many prayers, my immigration paperwork cooperated with a visit to Canada in September. It was a much enjoyed time of cooler weather and seal watching on Deer Island.

Mom and Dad also came to Alabama twice and have fallen in love with the winter temperatures of the south. Their jury is still out on the beach…Pro: dolphin sightings while we ate. Con: sting rays a little too close for comfort.

And as we come to the end of the year, there are many things we refuse to take for granted, among them Wesley’s continued employment at Farley Nuclear Plant, a roof over our head (even when the trees outside drop limbs that damage our car), a loving church family, so much sunshine in this fair weather state, and of course each other.

2017 has been a doozy and truthfully, we can’t expect anything less from the coming year. Christ is faithful to redeem every detail of our lives and we look to Him as we walk through each day. We are so thankful for His guidance and grace!

Much love to you all, our family and friends. xo

Olivia & Wesley






The Joy of Man’s Desiring

“Jesus, my refuge and deliverer 

Jesus, the ground of my confidence


Jesus, mighty trampler on the serpent

Jesus, light of my life


How my heart longs for you

dear Jesus, painfully!


Come, ah come – I wait for you!

Come, O dearest Jesus.

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The One we long for. The One we need, The One who has come before and will be back again. Come quickly, indeed!