Thursday, 27 June 2013


Last night I held a baby chick in my hand, one that hatched here in Wheatley River, part silkie. So soft, so fragile, clinging to life by a dropper of sugar water and a heating lamp. It had been too cold yesterday afternoon. The day before was sweltering near 30. But then a shift, a sudden drop, and this little one was overtaken by shivers. I marveled at the delicate intricacy of its emerging feathers, of the warmth of its faltering heart – one of God’s creatures. It died before morning, and our eyes leaked salty water.  

This morning we found the first strawberries down by the chicken coop. We had unearthed the patch quite by surprise, clearing out brush early this spring. Arden brought one in to me, perfectly red, perfectly ripe, as if timed to my breakfast. Fruit in season – what could be sweeter? You can’t buy that life on a shelf.

Today I thinned the carrots and turnips. Too many, too close, and the harvest will be thin and twisted. So I pulled up the tiny roots, already veggies in miniature. I marveled at the faint purple of the turnip roots, the hearty green of suncatcher leaves, the very life of these seed babies. I tossed them in the compost pile. Maybe I’ll eat them next year.

This afternoon I found a chipmunk, dead, in the grass by the old tractor. One of the cats must have got it. I swelled at my cat’s hunting skills while mourning the chipper motion that was halted forever, here on the lawn. I lifted it with the spade and laid its life to gentle rest beneath one of the hedgerow’s rotting logs.

Life – size does not determine its significance. Creation whispers as powerfully as it roars, and I am caught up in its Gloria.

Life – it comes and goes between my fingers, and all I can do is try to catch the joy and cradle the sorrow . . . keep my hands cupped open. 


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Father's Day 2013

To the fathers who have chosen the narrow way,
who have made wise decisions, and brave decisions,
whose conviction has kept us strong,
and whose faithfulness has kept us together –
Thank you.

You are not perfect, but you've chosen the path of grace –
the ancient wisdom, the courage of sacrifice,
the strength of a Good and Perfect Father
whose faithfulness has kept you together.

You have chosen love,
over and over.
You have chosen us,
over and over.
Thank you.

*For Micah, Dad, Alan, Grandad, and the fathers who have already heard, "Well done, good and faithful servant." With much love. 


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Motherhood Prayer

The God-graced moments in the plain of this life,
where I lift up my eyes,
and my soul is lifted to the mountain of God.

A long, hot shower,
those quiet moments nursing,
the view out the kitchen window over the stack waiting to be washed.
These are my vistas to Zion.

The mountain descends in the midst of the day, and the still, small voice whispers over our domestic noise. I do not always have the luxury of a long ascent. But the grace of this season is that just one step is enough, and He comes running the rest of the way, and He does not despise my dirty dishes.

Motherhood is a constant march to Zion – beautiful, beautiful Zion! – and each step can be worship, and each day can be prayer, and each home can be host to the city of God.


Friday, 7 June 2013

Prayer to God of the Mighty Hand

God of the Mighty Hand,

Make my arms strong for my task. These little lives are the weightiest thing I have ever held. My hands are full, and some days weary, but let me hold on to love even if all else drops. Make these arms patient and kind. Help them to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. 

Your outstretched arm never fails, so I lean in when mine go limp, leaning on an everlasting strength. Though I am weak, I will not lose heart, for what I hold here is a glorious weight. I will stretch these arms out yet again and let the little children come. Love lift us all. 


Thursday, 6 June 2013


We are going to make a garden. We don’t know much yet, but we figure we’ll give it a go. We don’t see much yet, but the ground whispers beneath our feet and we know it is ready.

And so we begin to cultivate.

We wrestle the earth from this overgrown chaos, this slow moving spread of stinging nettle, this formless and fruitless void. We peel back the sod to see if the worms still wriggle like when we were children, digging these digitized hands back into the dust of the earth. We remember a time of play, of creation. The sun smiles warmly on our little plot. Yes, this is where we will remake Eden!

We are all hope and dreams and seed catalogues, and so we are somewhat taken aback by the resistance. The fresh soil, so promising in its appearance, does not yield to our fingers. It is hard and clumpy, almost rocklike in its determinacy to stay just where it has always been. And what is this – shards of glass? slivers of tarred shingles? shreds of plastic bags? They are practically glued into the clay, some twisted potter’s practical joke.

We get out the garden rake, the old rusty one we found in the back of shed next to the oil cans and chicken wire. It claws a pattern into the stubborn ground but barely penetrates. We pull and grunt and manage to break apart a few of the clods.

We frown. Swat a fly. Sense a blister forming.

What we have here is not enough. All our effort and we would still have only clay pebbles. The rain would come and the soil would clump. The sun would shine and the surface would crack. The seeds would sprout but their roots would choke. What we have here is just not good soil.

And so we put the rake away. Put our precious rattling packages back on the shelf. It is not the time to plant. Not yet. We are going to get a whole lot dirtier first. The green life will come, but what we really need just now is more death. A few big wheelbarrows full. The plot is lost without it.

Good loam. When the weeds have been pulled and the trash has been plucked and the rocks have been tossed; when apple cores and ashes have turned to black beauty and what has long fallen becomes fertile ground; when the sharp spines of work-shined tools cut room for the worms; when the only Life-Giving Death has made its way to our rotted core, and when the clay submits to the New Earth – then we will plant.

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