17 December 2008

So awhile back I promised a review of some of the books I've been reading. So, to start, here is my 4 word review of Anne Lamott's Travelling Mercies:

Brilliant writer. Crazy heretic.

Now, to be fair, I expected to find her to be a crazy heretic before even opening the book. But I did not realize I would be enraptured by her writing just the same. There's something so refreshing about a truly screwed up, but grace-covered Christian. If, of course, one can call her that. I'm still not sure. I wish she offered other people as much grace as she's so happy to receive. But either way, I was glad I read it, even if her views on God (or Goddess) are totally whack. 


Taking a mental picture

10 December 2008

I wish I could describe the scene I'm currently sitting in, and yet be able to do it justice. I know it's an impossible task, but still I wanted to share it with you - my anonymous friends, my sisters, and you, Donna. :)

Jackson is asleep on the couch. After we read our Advent verses (making up for a couple of missed days), we prayed. And we prayed for a long time, which is unusual. He wanted me to pray for his Great Grandma & Grandad Stecker (as well as all his other grandparents). A very sweet request as it's been so long since he's seen them, and he never really saw them that often, but he said God told him to pray for them today. So we did. He then curled up, kissed me goodnight, and swiftly fell asleep.

The lights in the house are turned off, with the exception of my trusty Ikea paper floor lamp, and a green scented candle, burning inside our little black church sitting on the mantle. The lights on the Christmas tree are on, too, and I'm sitting in a chair, between the lamp and the candle, facing the tree, listening to Songs for Christmas.

A scene so perfect that I don't even mind the toys and papers on the floor, or the dirty dishes in the sink, or the fact it's been a crappy day, or that I'm waiting on the husband (again) to return home. So perfect a scene that I finished my Bible study for tomorrow, the first time I've achieved this feat in innumerable weeks. There is a snoring child happily draped on the sofa. Another one upstairs in her own bed (for now). And I am at peace (for now).

I have found that in the midst of completely chaotic, soul-searching, heart-wrenching, hair-pulling times, God has been known to give a good gift or two. Or a sweet moment or two. Or just a chance to catch one's breath and see that some things are right. Maybe not all, but some. And sometimes, some things are just enough.

Things of interest

08 December 2008

Just a few things of interest that I'd thought I'd share with you...

Ikea Hacker - my new favourite site. I'm in love with mostly everything they feature on here, wishing I were only half as creative as these amazingly inventive people.

Advent - I wrote a lengthy post on our ministry blog about our search for new family traditions. 8 days in and I think we're doing pretty well so far.

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - OK, so book club was last week and I only got about 40 pages into this memoir, but it is so funny and nostalgic and a must for men who used to be boys and for those of us who have moms who steal sugar packets from restaurants. Also, it is a happy memoir, which is generally unheard of these days.

Sufjan Stevens : Songs for Christmas - As I told a friend recently, this is Folk, Indie, Bluegrass, Alterna Christmas at its best! LOVE IT! Available on iTunes for $15.99.

Radiant Magazine - my favourite online magazine (for the ladies) is back, revived and retooled! I have written for Radiant on occassion and would like to do so again if I can get my act together!

Finally, a picture of my sisters and me last year at Christmas. I miss them.


01 December 2008

newcastle 16

Lately I've been feeling like a cheater. I know this thought in itself is ridiculous, but still... it swims in the back of my mind on the hard days, when the support is down, the morale is down, when it feels like we came here a lot sooner - with a lot less - than we should have.

After four years of trying, we were given the chance to come here with a slashed budget for a shorter amount of time. Obviously, we jumped at the chance. It was not of our own doing, but was presented to us by the Higher Ups. By people who wanted to see us here as much as we wanted to be here. So we came, still coming up slightly short in the financial department. And I felt like a cheater.

The upside: it was the perfect timing, really. We knew it would be tough, would be a struggle, would be tight on all sides. But it was time. God had presented us with this moment in time, with a promise, or rather, the hope of a promise: it'll all work out.

And really, work-wise, it is working out. We are doing what we love, working with people we are growing to love, and getting to see something big and wonderful happen from way up close. And still, I feel like a cheater. Because between the cracks of those big and wonderful moments... still the idea of us not having measured up in that one area, still not measuring up. Never being 100%. Never being perfect.

The question of if we made this all happen, if we skipped a beat, if we didn't pay our proper dues... leaves me feeling like a cheater. Like we really don't deserve to be here. Like at any moment we'll receive a phone call, "The jig is up. The money's gone. Go home. Better luck next time."

And still, there are 176 people who at one point or another, believed in this with us, so much so as to give a part of themselves. It fills up my whole heart with hope and gratitude when I think of it.

God did that, not us. Surely, He has something in mind.