Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Lights

We drove to North Rustico to look at the lights, and ended up out on the point, past the lighthouse and up the dirt track, with the water on our right and darkened summer cottages on our left. Up to where the dunes parted for the boat launch and the row of rocks stretched out into the sea. We put the windows down and turned the engine off. The kids put their heads out the windows, and so did I. There it was – the sound of the waves.

Sometimes I forget that sound in winter. We don’t think to go to the beach in December. But tonight I’m glad we did. The old roving light illuminated the rocks in its steady sequence from somewhere behind us. We could just make out the white of the breaking water on the sand, and from there out all was dark and the sea and thy sky seemed one dark mystery save for a few stars overhead. Where are the boundaries between heaven and earth anyway?

There are nights when the veil is thin. Holy nights kissed by the salty air. Hushed nights when we turn our revving, striving, sputtering engines off and look out to sea.

We sat eclipsed for just a few minutes, silence peppered with the questions and exclamations of small children out past bedtime. Transcendence can creep up on you when you least expect it. Before we rolled the windows up, the kids called a goodbye to the ocean. “See you in the summer,” they said, and Arden blew a kiss into the night – “I love you.”  


Sunday, 21 December 2014


On this the darkest day, the longest night, I’m left wrestling with an angel who dares me to let go, but I won’t because the morning has not yet broken, and I have not yet been blessed. These angels are not fluffy bundles of feathers and painted smiles. They can put the fear in you and your bones right out of joint. I am tired of this fight, this lengthening night, but I am locked in embrace till I see your face. The light will dawn and you will say my name, and then I will know my contender. Then my limp will be my trophy.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Free (lyrics)

Long my spirit lay with no hope in the darkness
Couldn't see my way through the shadows of night
Then the Saviour came, stepped right into my sorrow
Lifted up my head, filled this dungeon with light

My chains fell off
My heart was free
And I heard the voice of the Risen One call out to me. . .

Rise up, rise up and follow Him
Cast off the heavy weight of sin
And be free
Free indeed
Rise up, rise up and follow Him
Run to the prize that won't grow dim
You are free
Free indeed

Bound and broken one - He is hope in the darkness
Weak and weary one - He's your song in the night
Lost and lonely one - you have not been forgotten
Oh lift up your head, He comes flaming with light

'Tis mercy all
Immense and free
The amazing love of the Risen One calls out to me. . .

Rise up, rise up and follow Him
Cast off the heavy weight of sin
And be free
Free indeed
Rise up, rise up and follow Him
Run to the prize that won't grow dim
You are free
Free indeed

Let every chain be broken
Let every heart be free
The curse of sin and death and hell is crushed beneath His feet

(with inspiration from Charles Wesley's hymn, And Can It Be)
* Acts 12:1-10, Hebrews 12:1-2, Philippians 3:12-14


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Memory of a river

The Slave River, Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

And even in the dead of northwest winter, with a silver hush over all the world, the rapids murmur. There are waters that run so fast they never freeze, never succumb to winter’s sleep. In the silent nights, their voice is heard, the hopeful lullaby of December. Summer’s roar is a powerful whisper still, a testament to the faithfulness of living water. Perhaps it is their music which calls down the northern lights to dance wild rose above the white river. Perhaps it is their music which echoes in the ache of a distant island. Perhaps even these eastern waves and breakers can hear it, a dozen parallels away, singing over Canadian shield to this sandstone, you are not forgotten.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

New Article: At the Heart of Christmas

Click on over here to read my latest article in Testimony Magazine.

"The mystery of the Incarnation hovers over Christmas, whispering through the twinkling lights and beckoning in the silent nights. That “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made”  should come down from heaven and put on our tattered flesh—here is awe and wonder! Here is joy to the world and all the true magic of Christmas. Immanuel has come: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory …” (John 1:14).

But what a home we gave Him then. “No room at the inn,” the story goes. Bethlehem hospitality fell short that night in what could only be described as an epic fail. Now, eager to make amends, we sing, O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, There is room in my heart for Thee. We want to clear a space, sweep away the dung and stale hay, and prepare a proper bed for baby Jesus. If God is choosing to make His home in us, then we feel we need to have things just right on Christmas Day.

Yet, almost inevitably, the turkey burns or the cat throws up under the tree. Tensions surface between family members or we are stuffing our mess into a hall closet two minutes before company is due to arrive. It’s so hard to get it just right, so hard to make space in our cluttered souls. How many times do we lie awake the night before Christmas whispering, “I’m not ready”?
But what if Christmas is not so much about making room in our hearts for God as it is God making room in His heart for us?"

Read more here...


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Run for Covenant

What I want to say is this: In the face of the bewildering nature of human interaction, there is nothing better than to throw oneself headlong into those relationships defined by covenant. When you want to run for cover, run for covenant. When restlessness calls like the mythical merfolk out beyond the sandbars, don’t waste your time splashing in the tidepools straining to hear more. Turn and run for the hills, to the Mount Zion of your relational landscape. Run to the shelter of timber and hearth before the storm surges up and sweeps you out to sea. Run to the fortress of covenant.

The only true freedom to be had is that of obedience, and the sacred bonds of spoken vows will only chafe unless you are close enough to run together. It is not restriction – it is the place of revelation. It is not limitation – it is the face of love, whose lines can only be traced, caressed, transfigured in the constant whispering of the covenant oath.

Here is grace.
Here is truth, when the tempter’s lies buffet.
Here is trust, when trials should come.

Our original response to original sin is a patchwork cover threaded with shame. And there are days when the old bruised heel still aches along the stony way of life. But even though the path back may be laced with thorns, the healing balm is held by the hands of covenant.

It is the covering for shame.
It is the context for sanctification.
It is the geography whose contours lead to the horizon of hope and whose ridges all rise in ascent to the holy city.

What I want to say is this: Run for the covenant. For Christ Himself will always be found in the relationships He institutes. He is present in the sacramental mystery as King of the mountain. He is its heart. So run for covenant. Run for love. Run for your lives. Run to Christ.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Terror, Love, and Living Free

And with all this "terror" round about us, what is the antidote to fear? Oddly enough, not courage, not even faith, but love. When the shots ring out and the doors lock down, we do not hold on to bravery, but to love.

"Perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:8)

Bravery alone steels itself for the onslaught to come. Love puts on the armour of God and sets out to do good. To be sure, this making vulnerable takes courage, but bravery must be put in service of this end if it hopes to be a virtue.

To put our hearts in lockdown - this is the true tyranny of terror. To hide our faces from the other, to stockpile hate, to execute hope - this is the victory of darkness. But hearts in love are free from fear, for love's end is always, eternally life. Hearts in love are free to give unconditionally and serve sacrificially, because they are secured in a reality stronger than death.

Love is the only thing which will loosen fear's grip. If we are afraid, the first thing we must do is find some way to love - love concretely, love generously, love in new and strange and difficult ways - because it's the only way we will ever face the last thing when it comes.

Love your child, love your neighbour, love your enemy's child. Make a cake, make a peace offering, make a friend. Say a prayer, send a letter, start a movement. Give your stuff, give up your seat, give your life. Where fear blows a hole, step in. What we need most now are love's boots on the ground.


Friday, 19 September 2014

Last words

At the end of some days there is nothing left to do but exhale. I have reached the limits of my capacity, used up all my oxygen. My voice is gone and I am turning blue.

My prayer is nothing more than a death rattle:

Holy Spirit, breathe.

I wait in the cold.

Then, the stirring of warmth, a breath against my cheek. Mouth-to-mouth, you give soul CPR, inflate what has collapsed till all my blood runs bright. It's your breath in my lungs and I could live another day if you stay near, if you teach me to breathe. I could sing another day, a thousand years to exhale your praise.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

"The Armor of Worth"

~ Excerpt from The Mystery of Marriage, by Mike Mason

"It is not intimacy itself, therefore, which is so distasteful and intimidating to the world but rather the moral condemnation that comes with it. People crave closeness with one another, but are repelled by the sin that such closeness inevitably uncovers in themselves: the selfish motives that are unmasked, the pettiness that spills out, the monstrous new image of self that emerges as it struggles so pitifully to have its own way.

Of course, only God can give people the strange desire to know the whole truth about themselves, and the strength and courage to live wide-open, exposed lives before one another. And how does He do it? How does He slip us this bitter pill, coated with intense desire and determination? Fortunately, the pill is also lavishly coated with the mystery we call love, which is the only thing in heaven or on earth which can shield us from the horror of knowing what we are really like. That, in fact, is what God's love is: it is His armor, an armor of forgiveness and acceptance that we put on over our corruption, an armor of worth or worthiness that completely covers our own worthlessness. God's love is, in a sense, the courage to go on living in the face of our sin, in the full knowledge of who and what we are. This intolerable knowledge of self must, indeed, be exchanged for knowledge of the Lord, and supremely for the knowledge of His saving power through the love of His Son Jesus Christ. That is what it means to "put on" Christ: it is to assume His strength and purity and goodness, recognizing that we have none of our own. Such an actual transfusion of character is possible only in the depths of loving intimacy with God in Christ.

And so it is in marriage that when the Lord draws a man and a woman together in the most intimate of human associations, He does so by giving them His love, which is all that can shield them through the searing experience of self-revelation they are to undergo. This is an experience that all people both crave and fear, with a fear that is conquerable only by love. Only love can drive out the constant threat of condemnation and rejection that otherwise haunts and spoils all experiences of intimacy. People cannot seem to refrain from judging one another, and in the crucible of marriage the judgment can be so intense and oppressive that the only recourse is a loving forgiveness of the other's wrongs, and in turn a courageous willingness to see one's own sinfulness exposed, conquered, and actually replaced by the other's love. In such a relationship, a true transfusion and transformation of characters may take place as each puts on the good qualities of the other and forgives the bad. Each is armor to the other, each is the other's strength and worth."

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Mortal Hope

We are frail. A puff of breath, too soon extinguished, a gathering of dust, too easily scattered. We wrestle with this mortality in the face of the invisible armies of disease, the ravenous wolves of cancer, the bottomless appetite of pain. We long for healing, for wholeness. We clamour for invincibility against the onslaught.

And yet, this mortality is also a gift.  Our broken bodies remind us that the facts and figures of our physicality are not the only reality. We are nomads in tents, desperately patching the rip and fray of our rubbing against the world,  and a hurricane could blow the covering right off, but sooner or later we will all pack it away, and where will be our home?

The tents may fray, but home may still be had even in the gale and gust. There is wholeness and peace that can enter into the center of it all, the perfect calm of spirit that comes from connection with the One who first breathed into dust and brought life. He promises life beyond pain and love beyond death and a home right now where soul healing can be found.

God our Healer has hands that hold us in all our frailty, and when the dust settles our names are still written on his palms, right beside the scars. Here is hope. 


Monday, 11 August 2014

Fools in love

Facedown, hands up, guts out singing with gusto, the swaying, shaking crazies who weep and shout and whisper in strange tongues, this is who we are. All these bodies and all these stories coming together, people with arms and tattoos and voices and histories, a mass of grateful people come to offer what they have to a living God – this is our lively worship. We are just people who were grabbed from the brink of hell and now can’t help but sing our thanks. Some worship with pure rhythm, and others with their offbeat, awkward offering, and it all ascends to heaven. To love God with heart, soul, mind and strength – yes, the greatest command, the greatest joy. We are all fools in love, and isn’t this what worship is?


What We Did.

I wrote about how I felt about Iraq on Friday. Responsible. Today I’d like to do something unusual for me and share what we did. Not because I think we are so great, but because I want to show that we can all do something, be it ever so small. We can help. Iraq is not the only tragedy in the world. I think I really would feel paralyzed if I had to act on every nightly news clip. But we can all leave our hearts open to love, and when love speaks, whispers, shouts, bangs on our doors breaking us bit by bit, it is our responsibility to act.

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:16-17)

We prayed. I prayed for the protection of the innocent as I watched mine running and playing in the yard. There were times I wanted to shut down, to ignore the little duties and delights of the day. I sat in our house and felt guilty, not for all our meaningless stuff, but for the peace and joy we experience within these walls. This is the prize, not the American Dream, this is the gift for which we give thanks. This carefree summer day is what every child needs, and God does not begrudge us this. I sat on the green, green grass and prayed that one day those suffering would find joy. I prayed that evil would be halted in its tracks. I prayed that love would prove victorious. We keep praying that our hearts would remain open, that our hands will find fitting expressions of help.

We gave. After looking at a few different options, we gave a one time gift to an organization on the ground in Iraq providing relief to those persecuted and fleeing, no matter their religion. Was it thousands of dollars? No, not even close. But it was what we had this month. And then, we committed to monthly support for a local family we know who work in Lebanon, providing services to refugees from the Middle Eastern conflicts. Again, it is not a large amount. I wish it could be more. Maybe one day it will be. But it is our commitment not to forget after the fuss dies down.

We ate beans and bread. Pizza Friday is a bit of a tradition in our house. We make pizza and celebrate the onset of the weekend. But this Friday I couldn't. Couldn't celebrate, couldn't pile on the extra cheese. So in our own way, we fasted. I set the table, lit a candle, put a picture of the family we wanted to support next to it. Then I opened a tin of beans. Cut a few slices of bread. Sat down and explained to the kids why we weren’t having pizza tonight. We talked, on a four year old level, about people who were sad and needed to be safe, and that we were going to try and help. “Maybe those people could come to our island and live in safe houses here,” my daughter suggested. Oh, the simplicity of childlike faith.

On Sunday in our church one of these children of faith showed a picture he had painted. Two people walking toward a big red sunset. He is painting pictures to raise money for his grandmother in Kenya, who feeds dozens of hungry children in her own home, daily. He sells the paintings here in the community and sends the money to her. His idea. He’s just a kid.

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)

Perilous times call for particular acts of love. Change happens hand to hand, bean by bean. We can choose to love. We can choose to walk away from darkness, toward the sun.


Friday, 8 August 2014


Something is horribly wrong. One of my children watches early morning kids tv while the other sleeps quiet upstairs.

Meanwhile, there are children starving on mountaintops and children being beheaded in a park. I put the kettle on for coffee, survey the happy mess of yesterday’s play. I put toast in the toaster and the birds whistle outside the window. How would I feel if it were my daughter, my son? It is. They are distant, but they are part of my own body.

I feel responsible. Not for the crimes, but for my brothers and sisters, and all the children distorted by suffering. I do not feel able, not in the least. What is my response?

Coffee’s ready and the sun stretches out lazily through our little valley, the same sun that burns angry over the brazen evil in another land. This evil, this is not new. Braver and better people face it every day, challenge it every day, in thousands of ways all over the world. But sometimes a heart can get whiplash, and mine is here aching for Mosul and Mount Sinjar.

I feel helpless. I have a few extra dollars, a few extra prayers. We try not to think too much on these things, lest our lives be soiled by their awful truths. But I cannot look away. I must not forget, when my children are screaming in laughter, that others are not. I don’t have answers, and only a small voice, but I will denounce this vomit of hell. I have a heart, and today I will let it be stained with the sorrows before me.

My children are safe. My toast is cold. My heart is broken. Perhaps, together somehow, our love can make a way even into this hate and horror?

*Part II - What We Did


Friday, 1 August 2014

The kiss of God

"You've come and burned me with a kiss."

What is the kiss of God if not a burning coal from his mouth? A live coal from the altar, the temple of His body. As love begins with a kiss, our union with God begins with this encounter. A being of unclean lips trembles before the Consuming Fire, and if we draw near, dare to do so, in desperate desire to touch Him or die, touch Him and die if necessary, then He does not spit us out of of His mouth but draws near with this burning kiss. It's a kiss of death to sin and its icy hold, to all the lies we've ever told, the kiss that purifies, unlocks our lips to sing "Holy, holy, holy" and ignites the soul blaze of true love. There can be no intimacy without it, for this is what brands us as His own.

"And my heart burns for You. . . "

*Psalm 18:8, Isaiah 6:1-7
lyrics ~ "Obsession" by Delirious 


Thursday, 3 July 2014


Be still, oh beating heart.

I sidle close after this swirling mess of a day with its tears and tantrums and timeouts. Night has fallen, and with it a veil that softens the rough edges of glaring hours. I find your little body, a slight form under the blankets, and pull tight, hoping to grasp your heart somehow in all these layers. I’m pulling and praying and begging God to make this connection when I’ve gone and frayed all the edges. I fear the hypocrisy of my feeble words, so I put my hope into these breaths that rise and fall with yours, calming, slowing, till I feel this space between us tauten and still.


My soul, the Lord is on our side and he speaks peace to hurricanes, yes, even ours. One green eye peeks out from under the blanket hideaway, then a hand finds my face, and, oh, a multitude of sins are covered. Let the world somersault around us, I have found the one my soul loves, and we are anchored still.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Over the Cliff*

The day he died we all went right over the cliff. Hearts in our throats, lungs screaming noiselessly for air. How could he be taken? He, who carried all our hopes in hands of power – a grip now broken asunder. Now we are left powerless, helpless, without him. The world has been ripped out from under our feet, and this is a freefall of deepest grief and confusion. He is not here, and all is lost, we are lost and flailing.

After the fall, the silence. The silence of empty air, empty promises. We are simply scattered ashes in the vacuum of his absence. Waiting for we know not what.

Has it been three hours? Three days? Three years?

Then, the echo of distant matter. The rumble of some new reality. Is this the bottom of the chasm? Is this death come to swallow us up too?

But what our blinded eyes struggle to see, our faces and fingers begin to feel. Water. Falling with us. The spray becomes a stream, and we are soaked but not submerged. We are landing, if such a term could be used, in a river running downward.

And suddenly, rising up from below us, a figure emerges, as if from an underground spring. We thought we left him at the top, but here he comes, racing up from the depths with the glint of triumph in his eyes, grabbing hold of these trembling hands with the grip of life, and he has caught us. The river explodes around us and for the first time since we fell we can fill our lungs because he is alive and that is the only air we can breathe. He is alive and those are the only words that matter.

The river carries us all with a rushing buoyancy, and we know that this descent has somehow saved us, because it somehow killed us, but he has brought us back to life.

*for Calvary Church


Friday, 18 April 2014

Sweet Friday

Good Friday morning and the ground is still frozen. The sun is out but the earth is slow to wake. Three holes pierce our giant maple, and the sap is running. The season was slow in coming. We’d all wished for warmer weather by now. But this latest dive into frosty nights has meant a resurgence in sap flow. Today the tree gushes blood, clear and sweet, pouring out its spring offering.  We gather the miracle water in buckets, bring it in and boil it up, till the house hangs heavy with the scent of maple.

Not everything is as we wish. Some days are colder than the calendar reads, and some winters are longer than our hearts can bear. But come to the tree, put your arms around its old rugged trunk, and you’ll hear the life rising within. Three holes pierce and water is turned to wine. Taste and see that the blood is sweet. Yes, the earth will turn and the seasons will shift and flowers will blossom from twisted thorns. The tree knows.

The syrup is thick and golden on our tongues. We give thanks for these frozen nights, these dripping wounds. We give thanks for the lifeblood of creation that makes this Friday Good.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Cabin Fever!

Cabin fever has spiked. The winter roars outside. The bears have broken in, and they are my children. Wild things, stomping and raging and growling, upending the furniture and scattering the morning’s broken pieces all over the floor. Snow days and sick days have kept us inside for far too long, and the walls are pushing in. These shaggy-haired creatures are chasing me with whining, irrational demands for kids’ shows!  and softer toast!  and smaller pirates! If their evil plan is to turn mama into a grizzly, it’s working.

I want to roar. I want to toss them out into a snowbank. Or perhaps stuff and mount silent over the mantle?

But then, the littlest cub wanders over, blankie and teddy in hand. He is wearing flannel bear jammies.
“I need uppie.”
“I need a bear hug,” I tell him, scooping him up.
“Bear hug?”

Somehow in the embrace, we feel human again.  Sticky paws turn to patting hands, the gnash of terrible teeth to a smile. This grizzly mama begins to melt. The fever breaks. Maybe, just maybe, I can see the end of winter after all.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Made for Beauty

I long for beauty. How can my heart ache for something so frivolous, so unnecessary? Isn’t it selfish to want the icing on the cake when so many are starving for bread?

But what if beauty isn't unnecessary? What if beauty reveals something desperately true about humanity, and about God?

Our God could have made a world of bread and water, of pragmatic production, of sufficiency.

But he created the possibility of chocolate, a riotous spectrum of colour, laughter and fiddle music.

We could have made do with walking, one foot in front of the other, single file please. Get the job done. But he gave us dancing. He made us for dancing. He made us for joy.

He made us to thrill at the first explosion of spring yellow – a daffodil. He made us to gaze at pigment skillfully stroked onto canvas. He made us to relish the wordplay of a master storyteller. He made us to sigh at pretty things all in a row. He made us to be captivated by that particular shade of blue in a baby’s eye.

Are these unnecessary? Well, yes. But they are not any less important for their seeming superfluity.  They reveal a God who delights in abundance, in giving freely and joyously, in a cup overflowing.

Beauty matters because it catches the glint of heaven and reflects it back to us. Beauty matters because it is the laughter of God.

So when we give bread, which we must do, can we also not give wine? When we give blankets, which we must do, can we also not give a lullaby? When we give shelter, which we must do, can we also not give a sanctuary?

We are meant to do more than the necessary, more than the sufficient. We are made for beauty. 


Monday, 10 March 2014

sonnet imperfect

How do I love Thee?

And what stands in pure love's way?

The only way I know is to love these ones You have given me. But they are imperfect and I find my love faltering. Strange that to draw near to the Perfect means to embrace imperfection.

Why do You clothe Yourself in these rags? Is there no other way to the city of God than the road of suffering? If I hope to find You in the city, I must look for You on the road, the man beaten and bloodied by guttersnipe robbers, the man ignored by those of religious persuasion, the man dying.

I am but a Samaritan, and nothing like good, but in this stoop to gather Your wounds in my arms, I hope that some of Your blood may rub off on me.

Love is a laying down.

I could count the ways this all inconveniences me, but better to throw my hands up to Infinity.

"Lay down with me," the Perfect says, "and I will show you what Love is."

Love calls in the crying child, the mess of play on the floor, the ever-bending of my will to the Will of God. He wills Love, only ever Love, and He wills it in a thousand ways, wills that these stumbling stones become a bridge that takes me to the rock solid.

A pure and perfect love - the telos of life hidden in the chaos of living. The face of God in the face of a child.

Only here, with my childhood's faith, I love Thee purely.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Open palms

There comes a time when you realize that you are grasping on to something that has already slipped through your fingers. The pain of the closed fist becomes greater than the pain of letting go. No use staring down the drain either. The Coriolis effect is mesmerizing but it wont drown the sorrow.

The sorrow will recede, even though the phantom pain quivers. Step back, and stretch out your hands. Offer up the creases, the callouses, the cramped knuckle joints. Let them find other hands that will hold and help and heal.

True gifts are held in open palms.


Friday, 14 February 2014

Kingdom Field Notes - February 14

The sweetest water sings the song of descent. When the river tries to hold it in, hold it back, it floods with muddy silt, the stench of stagnancy. The music drowns.

Living water is giving water. Love is a downward motion, its beauty in the emptying. It only sings downstream.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Single-Handed Theology: Naptime Prayer

A child prays and all of heaven leans in for the whisper.

“Dear God, thank you for this beautiful boy and the house that you made. Thank you for giving Jack and me as a present to Mommy and Daddy. Bless you with joy, Amen.”

This ordained praise rearranges my thoughts and reorders my loves, renews me in a kingdom truth. This prayer uncensored becomes sweet incense in the room, suspending us all in a held breath of heaven.

She is leading me to our Father, and though I falter I need only bring my scraped knees to Him.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Kingdom Field Notes - February 11

The memory of a vision warms a winter morning. How is it that one can remember something which hasn’t happened yet? This place is full of those wrinkles in time, the sudden appearing of some creature or phenomenon with the distinct character of another world. The blinking eye beneath the hedge, the gilt edge of the day's first page.

Here the rivers run eternal. They cycle through the heavens and into the calling deep, whispering, murmuring. They are the language which every living thing interprets. They are the undertone of every forest’s hymn, every songbird’s aria. They are the bloodlines running clear and clairvoyant through the countryside. Here there is a spring which never freezes, even in February.

These visions – maybe it’s something in the water. 


Monday, 20 January 2014

Book List 2013

The tally:

5 fiction
1 biography
3 theology/Christian life
6 nonfiction (mostly education/parenting related)
15 total

This year I also did a lot of reference reading in garden books and commentaries on Luke and Acts (part of a Bible study).

Persuasion (Jane Austen)
Phantastes (George MacDonald)
The Hurried Child (David Elkind)
Desperate (Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson)
Lillian’s Story (Lillian Kristensen & Jessie Chapin)
Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (Anthony Esolen)
Casti Connubii: Encyclical on Christian Marriage (Pope Pius XI)
Boys  Adrift (Leonard Sax)
The Well-Trained Mind (Susan Wise-Bauer & Jessie Wise)
The Kalahari Typewriter School for Men (Alexander McCall Smith)
The Wanderings of Odysseus (Rosemary Sutcliff)
Why Gender Matters (Leonard Sax)
The Well-Educated Mind (Susan Wise Bauer)
The Ministry of Motherhood (Sally Clarkson)
A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)

In progress: Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)

Most influential: Les Miserables, though I haven't finished it yet! (Around 700 pages in.) This for a combination of style, story and substance - it's a classic for a reason. It's fiction, it's history, but also theology. The life of the Bishop of Digne alone is a weighty challenge to embody Christ's love in the world. 

On the wish list for this year...
Jane Austen - either Emma or Northanger Abbey
More fiction! Any suggestions?


Friday, 17 January 2014


"Contemplation is nothing else than a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God, which if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love."

~ St. John of the Cross
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