Things That Go Bump in the Night

I’ve been spending more time alone recently, thanks to night shift and grown up obligations like…work.

The struggle, after months of bedtime company, is quite real. I’ve reverted to the wolf-dreaming child who lay awake with nervous cramps – fearing, dreading, imagining the worse.

I haven’t been this way for years, but in His goodness, the Lord has brought sunset as a way to teach faith. To teach that reason is not always the antidote to fear.

My cynical mind can’t be convinced of innocence anymore and as result, I find worry can’t be swept into the back of my mind. The unknowns put on convincing masks that no strategy of mine can untie.

So when night comes, my wisest course, the strongest choice; is to challenge them into the open and introduce a Protector like no other. The one who knows the End, the Truth, the Reason.

To admit fear out loud and give it up, is the only way to grow an inch. The only way to step outside and breath the dark in deeply. The only way to close your eyes.

So goodnight – I’m taking the gifts of busy hands and brave heart – and just hunkering down in the wings of Providence.

 

 

 

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Restart and Repeat

He knows where we are. He knows who sins against us, and who we sin toward.

He knows our thoughts and failings and the very things that keep us awake at night.

And there is nothing that can shock or shake Him from relentless, sovereign mercy.

Our sins are many. Our hearts break.

And new every morn, His mercy is more. A shelter to the brokenhearted.

Things I Learned: August Edition

  1. When you’re writing a card and a word doesn’t look right, it’s OK to scratch it out and fix it. Don’t rip up the whole card.
  2. Don’t worry if the music makes you homesick. It will be the most pleasant kind of sadness there is.
  3. Never wait until you’re thirsty to drink water.
  4. Never wait until you’re bored to read a book.
  5. Muscadines are the sweetest, best, plumiest grapes that I’ve ever tasted. They also make my lips tingle and burn.
  6. Keep more stamps around than you think you need.
  7. If you turn your back on a plant, it will be do much better than lots of careful attention.
  8. Changing sheets is the quickest path to getting your act together.

And.

9. A company makes personal essential oil diffusers. Oh my. Oh dear.

He Tells Us

Brin’s favourite thing is to do her copy work sitting in my lap, while I read from my phone with one hand, and scratch her back with the other. If I stop at one chapter she urges me to another.And the other day, in the middle of that famous winter-time story I read this,

“and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

This is not the traditional Christmas reading of peace on earth. This is special. An intent of peace-making that declares Jesus the king of it.

And the next day I read another verse, a song of heavenly hosts to come,

“He brought me out into a broad place;

He rescued me, because he delighted in me.”

And in the amen those words pleased and delighted nearly scandalized me. Because I understand the fall, justice and at least the idea of substitution. I can wrap my mind around a crisp, legal agreement where we are at least happy to scrape through and stand in the back row of Heaven.

This delight is something new all together, though. God’s pleased face as He restores peace to the chaos is an idea that seems too good to be true. And His care because He not only sees me as righteous, but also as delightful, is so deeply humbling, gratitude for grace bubbles up again.

If we set our faces to this world as those assured of God’s delight in us and His mission to bring beauty out of the ashes, we might walk the hum-drum differently. Praise God for the joy to be more than conquerors this day, and tomorrow.

 

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A Place of Your Own

New neighbours moved in several months ago, hailing from the other side of town, previously from Florida, before that in Pennsylvania and originally from Cuba. They have an American flag hanging out their back window and scoff at people who think they don’t know the laws.

“We’ve been here for fourteen years,” the wife says, “It’s people who grow up here who don’t know!”

For myself, I hardly ever let where I’m living sink in, besides the fact that it is humid, flat and far away from where I grew up. The language and rules of the road are the same, even with my New Brunswick licence. But I was carded at a restaurant one evening, and after asking to see my passport they told me that they technically couldn’t serve anyone who didn’t have current paperwork.

Because the fiance visa is issued for 90 days, it doesn’t matter if I’ve fulfilled the terms of the entry and married an American citizen within that time. My passport still has an ‘expired’ visa and without a study of immigration types and rules, I can’t expect anyone to understand.

I felt jarred and vulnerable, even when they made an exception, handed me my drink and kept thanking me for not being annoyed. The FYI was too much to swallow right then. That scrutiny and a panicked feeling the leaped up as quickly as the need to explain why I even exist here.

In a moment of clarity I understood a little more of the other side of immigration. I’m not immediately pegged as someone from ‘away’ but in that moment in a restaurant I could only imagine how it feels when your appearance, clothing or accent is a flying flag to the fact that you did not begin your life journey in this place.

I do not venture opinions about immigration policy or the wisdom of open doors, but beyond that issue is another. Once the wanderers are here, how do I treat them? Deserving or undeserving, do I think twice before I assume their story? This is not a watery porridge of tolerance – but simply the kindness to strangers, the prodigal, the Samaritan, the woman at the well that God calls us to.

A new land and heart. A redemption and changing and pathway for us to follow is at the very heart of who we’re remade to be. So this will flow to the homeless and confused and shy in the back corner of church.

Belonging isn’t something I take for granted and these days…it is most certainly something I want to share.

Eat Your Veggies, m’k?

At our house, we’re not so much health conscious…as wanting to be health conscious.

I mean, we take our vitamins and eat chickpeas and then get donuts after going to the drive-in movies and eat them in the kitchen at midnight.

After admitting I’d never even tried tofu, Wesley obliged by… frying it in bacon grease and serving with rice.

And there was that time that I made kale brownies with so many ingredient substitutes that I realized later they were vegan.

People get rabid about health and I guess it kind of makes sense. We only have one body in a sea of corn syrup and knee degeneration.

So maybe we’ll get better and maybe someday I’ll make my own crackers, but for now I go for walks when I can and avoid workout videos on Youtube.

It’s about balance I’ve been told and being thankful for strength to get up each morning.

So cheers to that!

 

A Guide to Good Adventures

Today marks six months since Wesley and I promised to have and to hold until we kicked the bucket. I thought to mark the occasion I would offer my list of ten helpful survival tips for road trips, errands, or pretty much anytime we get in the car on a weekend.

  1. Make sure your phone is charged. One car charger is all very well, but if you set off somewhere on foot, you’ll want healthy battery life in case of posting on Instagram emergency.
  2. In a similar vein, take the camera. That way you can fight over who gets to take the pictures and get video footage of anything that moves.
  3. Follow the GPS. Even if it appears to be taking you the wrong way, it actually knows what it is talking about 99.99% of the time. Wagnon Mountain Rd. might sound innocent enough, but after dark?  (Click to 6:02)
  4. Bring a book. Always, always, always. In fact, I often bring two. A book and a blanket can make the car a private little library retreat when you’re waiting in the Auto-zone parking lot.
  5. Nothing will make everyone crankier than being hungry. Correction. Nothing will make me crankier than being hungry. For everyone’s safety, bring snacks. (So many snacks.)
  6. And for the husband, bring an entire thermos or two of water. This is not a joke. It will all get gulped down and eliminates the small bottles kicking around underfoot.
  7. Since this is Alabama, I’ve also learned to bring an extra coat, sweater, shorts, hat, rubber boots and honestly, a bathing suit would also be wise. You may never know what will become weather appropriate before the day is done.
  8.  Add two extra hours onto the GPS estimated time of arrival. This machine generated guess does not include stopping at friend’s houses to look at lawn machinery, long conversations with various old men, or retracing your steps to take a picture.
  9. Pandora. Playlists are life when you’re stuck in the car. This also provides an appropriate context in which to disagree on the musical tastes of your spouse. Fight fair though and take turns in choosing the artist.
  10. Buckle up and be prepared to commentate on anything, everyone and everywhere you pass, explore, walk under, or listen to. Sharing new things is one of the sweetest perks of marrying your friend. In these first months together we’ve started our own repertoire of family stories and as the future unrolls we already find ourselves saying, do you remember when?

It’s been a wild ride so far, Wesley. Here’s to 6 months times 120 more!