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.

Beach Throwback

That time we drove to the beach and watched fishermen. Watched the sunset, ate blackened fish and then drove home.

An efficient use of several hours, plus it resulted in two (rare) selfies of us that best can be described as IG worthy vs. Reality….

❤ you guys!

Two by Two

After two days of copy work about Noah’s Ark, a trip to Two by Two Petting Zoo seemed appropriate. Besides, the name rhymes.

We enjoyed the pony rides, parrots, bunny snuggles and feeding all the animals. There were free popsicles and why are goats so cute??

When we got into the car, Brin asked Lulu – “Is your underwear sweating?” Which made me laugh, because thanks Alabama for so many loads of sweat soaked laundry and all the showers.

Life sure is fun.

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!

 

Boredom’s Eulogy

I’m pretty well sure that boredom is the devil’s work. Spinning out from a semi-productive day and when you sit down to relax, it raises its ugly head. Not enough, it whispers. Nobody to talk to. Nowhere to go. Empty, empty life. 

I’ve wallowed this winter, I think, and let boredom get the upper hand. So these days, when I rise to shake it off I feel my knees shake. They’re out of practice.

Time for a walk. Podcasts, music, I don’t care, just take those steps and feel the miracle that is strong, sure legs.

Maybe to clean an old drawer or closet. Stacking and sorting and throwing out a grocery bag full of years old geography quizzes.

Time for music, the best kind – I’ll be bossy and say it – the Classical kind. Just sit for a minute and let yourself slow, slow down and be happy for where you are.

Sit and read. Of the very book you like best, and don’t try too hard to impress anyone else.

Do something that is a little bit scary-new, like visiting an art museum by yourself. Talk to a stranger there. Don’t run away.

Buy fruit or vegetables from little old men under umbrellas, by the road, on the back of a truck. They surely will be grumpy but…that’s the point.

Or pray. Without ceasing. About the craziest things that lurk in your mind. About your health, sins and the vaguest of fears for the future; and your husband and that person you don’t know very well but can’t get out of your head.

The world is too big and God is too good, to be bored.

I’ve been told it’s a bad word.

As they say here, “Can I get an amen?”

 

 

From the Shelf: Psalm 84

                                                   this morning, a verse for immigration frustrations                                                                 to redefine home                                                                                                                                     and wait on the Lord                                                              

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

in whose heart are the highways to Zion….

For a day in your courts is better

than a thousand elsewhere…

(and) no good thing does he withhold

from those who walk uprightly..:”

 

 

Like Him

Our parents let us play in the woods, made us eat our vegetables and took us to bed and breakfasts on vacation.

One of these places was nestled in a New York state village, few minutes from where Almanzo Wilder grew up. We picked apples from his orchard and the next morning woke up to breakfast in a white kitchen.

The B & B owner was chatty and despite her intentions to leave us be, she ended up sitting at the table with us. She was unaccountably enthralled with our life, where we lived and where we were going.

She told Millie and I that we were such strong and healthy looking girls, which I didn’t think was complimentary then, but now I know better.

And near the end of our meal she leaned forward and said, “Girls. Make sure you find a man who treats you like your dad.”

We felt embarrassed and squirmed at the urgency in her voice. She didn’t say it because it was a nice thing to say. She said it out of fear and experience, knowing that kindness is special.

Years later, when my sister’s co-workers were amazed by a man that would wait and listen, I thought about the B&B lady’s words.

And when Dad put my hand in another man’s open palm, I thought about it again. How one had taught me to inform an opinion, and the other loved to hear them.

How Dad modeled analysis over drama. Forgiveness over gossip. Reading a book over seeking greener grass. How to enjoy Jim Croce, hugs and coffee ice cream and how to suck it up and do your taxes.

And how the man I married cherishes who I am and when I figure stuff out by myself and how excited I get about making things from scratch.

Shoes are always too big to fill and some are meant to stay on a person’s feet forever. But my dad’s worn out dress shoes made a straight path that showed me how a man is meant to love.

So to that lady somewhere in New York, I didn’t marry the same man as my father, but I married one who lives like Him, the one Father. And that, it turns out, is kind of the same thing

Thank you, Dad.