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(forgive me, this is disjointed, unedited, and perhaps cryptic)

I pulled on my mittens and the tuque my mum knit me last winter as we walked out to our cars. Work was finally over and it’s getting cold outside again. For some odd reason the darkness was bracing, the cold comforting. Behind the steering wheel I took a deep breath and reeled in a days worth of wandering thoughts. Its time to go home, time to reflect, and to prepare. Nearly time to be with dear friends and remember those who are no longer here.

This morning, my friend Brian went on to glory. And here we are grieving while he is so fully alive in ways that I cannot yet begin to understand. It feels so short sighted on my part, but here I remain and this is what I feel. Tears fall as memories of laughter abound.  To tell you Brian was a man full of joy is an understatement. He lived every moment of his 27 years. He was faithful even unto the end of his life here with us. I am blessed beyond measure for being able to have called him friend- to have those memories of laughter.

Within moments the snow began to fall- an odd sight here, but welcomed nonetheless. And, despite the grief weighing heavily on my heart, I smiled. There is always grace and always beauty here in this world ransacked by sin and death. And it dawned on me, as I drove home, that we can celebrate my friend’s life with our tears just as much as we can with our memories. That mix of happy and sad always (always.) backed by joy and a knowledge of the truth.

Rest in peace, worship in glory, dance with joy until we meet again my dear friend.



I am roasting pumpkin seeds in the oven. There are a ridiculous number of them, really (though I did only use half of those available!). Three baking sheets full of these tiny, flat, pale seeds that will go unseeded, becoming snacks for the co-workers who begged me to save them.  I don’t even like pumpkin seeds: it feels like I am chewing on a wooden skewer every time I pop one in my mouth. But they are in the oven anyways, an act of love, I suppose. Spicy, cheesy, and sweet. Each flavour a metaphor for the one from whom the request was made. Beautiful really.

A week ago today I turned 25. The age of feeling like an adult and needing some change in order to help the feeling be genuine. I had a wonderful birthday to usher in a new phase of my life, full of celebration, love, and joy. So far 25 has been lovely and I venture forward with confidence and excitement.

And I guess that is all I have to say unless you would like to read yet another post about my undying love for autumn in all its deadly beauty. Believe me…I could wax poetic on this subject for ages and probably will.


I have been faced with an odd sort of dilemma: what to do when a quilt comes back.

  “Pinwheels for Poppy” was placed lovingly back into my hands by my Gramma just last week. I parted with this quilt only seventeen months ago sending it and many prayers in a box to my poppy’s nursing home. It was oddly sized, painstakingly pieced, and meant for one man only. I have been told that this quilt was loved and gave back plenty of comfort.

And now?

Well, it sits awkwardly in one place or another around our room. I cast my gaze to it every few minutes- it deserves more than the tears it brings to my eyes.  I alternate between being thankful that I can have it back knowing what it meant to Poppy, and finding it incredibly weird, eerie even.

So what is a quilter to do when a beloved piece returns to them?

Keep it closed up in a box ? Save it for a maybe-someday-son? Leave it out, hoping that one day the tears will subside?



It is the second day of September.  Lucas and his brother are off vanquishing evil, Gary has settled himself into his new bed, the rest of the house is quiet. Between laundry and other everyday tasks, I breathe. Summer is, thankfully, over.

As you can probably guess from my unexplained absence beginning sometime in mid-June, my summer was full. Too full. Despite the honest truth that there were moments of pure bliss and goodness, my summer was somewhat of a disaster. For eleven weeks, I worked an average of 50 hours, ate most of my meals in the car or at a desk, and had no full days off. It nearly killed me, and often succeeded in wounding my spirit. It cannot happen again. But rather than delve into the depths of my mistakes and the pain of living much too thin, I want to share with you the best moments then move on. I have learned from my mistake and have already put safeguards in place for myself this autumn.

Riverside- Early in the summer, I thought that my hours at the pool were too few. I was wrong, but unaware of that fact. In an attempt to bolster my paycheck I offered to host off-site swimming lessons for COTS. It was an excellent decision. The first few weeks were bitter cold in that outdoor pool with the broken heater and cloudy overhead skies, but it was well worth it to see some kids making huge strides in the swimming. Some of my proudest moments as a swim instructor to date happened in the eight weeks I was teaching at Riverside. By the end, I could hardly believe I would be getting paid on top of all the joy and triumph I felt on behalf of my students.

Four- Lucas and I managed to slip off for a couple of days to celebrate our wedding anniversary in what could only be described as perfect for us. We went to an arcade, drank tea, stayed at an old schoolhouse converted into a hotel, watched Harry Potter, and went swimming.  One of the best anniversaries yet, by far.

Farms- More than any other year in my life I have had to joy of spending some spare hours on our local farms this summer. The abundance of fruit and veggies has made me giddy with delight for this odd little city where we live. I have probably managed to eat my own weight in berries and peas in the last two months. It was also really awesome to share these places with my friends and their friends.

Canada- We just returned last night from a whirlwind trip to visit my family. It was among the greatest blessings I have had the privilege of which to partake. I finally got to visit my mum and dad in their new home and meet their friends (and new cat!). I was so happy to see that they have found themselves in the midst of a community that loves and respects them. I have missed my sister, and saw her for too short of a time, but a great time nonetheless. We even had the rare joy of visiting my dear friends Ron & Becky for a morning.  My only regret is that these people whom I love so dear must live so far away- but perhaps that makes our visits all the sweeter.

I find myself believing that the coming of September should be celebrated with the same mix of exuberance and reflection that is usually saved for January.  This is the only time of year that has ever really felt like a new beginning anyways. The summer, though spotted with some beautiful memories, was too much and I am craving the changing of the season, so to speak.

So, here we are: moving forward, moving on. Leaving ourselves some breathing room for the autumn so that we don’t repeat the mistakes.


we drove more than twelve hours round-trip so that i could have  tea with my best friend.
it was exactly what i needed and it was the best cup of tea i have ever had.

The vague nature of this blog has become aparent as of late. I suppose that you could blame it on my limited time (there are only so many hours left in a day after working two jobs and taking care of life) or perhaps on my new fascination with habit– a blog in which the simply stated is beautified with everyday photographs. Would I fault those things? Maybe a little, but not really. The realitive silence and simply stated here is quite honestly a reflection of the stillness in my mind as of late.

But, in the interest of not leaving you, my loved ones, in the dark, there should be more said. And here it is:

I write this surrounded by boxes [half-full], a cat [currently ignoring me] and a cup of tea to bolster my courage. The boxes, now numbering above 20, began about a month ago. It was a warm day in late February when a letter arrived in our mailbox declaring our rent woul dbe increasing; we had the choice to stay and pay or leave. More than anything I wanted to stay, but realistically that rent would be too much for us to handle without getting into financial trouble. We pondered options which ranged from difficult to implausable and all were turned down. Thus, we knew that we would need to move on from this place.

I spent days, perhaps even weeks, scouring rental adds and mortgage options in our area, but came up empty handed when each lead was followed to its end. Our current apartment was the best option, but it wasn’t an option at all. I then spent days trying to figure out how we could press ourselves to the limit to make enough and make it work, but quickly realized that we were already reaching the breaking point when it came to energy and patience. The endurance at our limit would prove to last two, maybe three months at most, before damaging us somehow.

There are just somethings that are not worth that kind of prospect.

(Here is where I may get slightly philosophical on you, but it is in the interest of honesty and explaination- besides, what is a little philosophy among friends?)

I have never liked nor admired the phrase “Two steps forward, one step back”. To me it has long seemed incredably foolish and terribly unnecessary. But I have learned that, sometimes, you really do take two steps forward only to realize that it was one step too many and you are now required to muster up as much humility as can be attained taking that one step back. This is what has happened to us. Or, rather, this is what we are in the process of doing: going through actions that lead down a path of hopeful humility  in that one step back.

Just as a new wife is eager to please her new husband, so is a wife rejoined with her husband after an extended absence. A year ago I was anxious to move out of the generous hospitality of my in-laws home and into a place of our own. My own. Desires, seemingly pure (to care for my husband, create family, become independant together) became something other when they drowned out the voice of God in our lives. I greatly doubt that moving into our own apartment was plainly against God will: the process was blessed and has been often in the last year. It was, however, more for me than anyone else. I desired to be a good wife, but ultimately got caught up in idealism and not biblical definitions.  At the heart of the matter there was selfishness and pride.

We took our steps forward at my insistance, and now we must take our step back in humility.

And there it is: when you no longer know what to do, it is time to go back to the last thing.

With the generous offer of my in-laws, by friday we will be moving back both proverbially and physically to the last place. We have an assumed timeline of 6 months to collect ourselves, re-centre ourselves, save money, and then take one step forward at God’s leading alone. The timeline, unlike the purposes, is flexable and subject to change.

The decision was difficult, the process is proving somewhat easy but only because I now recognize it as undoubtfully necessary.   I have found packing the boxes to be an oddly formed version of catharsis. Above all, my thoughts have become settled, void of worry, rich in peace. The whole process is rather beautiful in a heartbreaking way. It is good because God is good and He is faithful even to the end.

So that is life right now.


Bonnie Belle- spring 2009

I was in the middle of writing my next post in the Set Apart series when mum sent me a message on the computer. My darling Bonnie Belle had passed away. I had just finished typing a whole paragraph on how much of a blessing this sweet creature had been to me in the 15 months Lucas and I were seperated- the sentiment remains. She was quick to love, eager to please, and had a gentle spirit about her. She accompanied me with enthusiasm on countless adventures- even when she grew old and tired easily. She was the only dog I have ever loved- maybe the only one I ever will seeing as I am more partial to cats. So, after 13 years of service and friendship to our family, we are saying goodbye to a loved on today. I know for me, it will be weird going home and not seeing her smiling face and tiny stub of a tail wiggling her whole backside in excitment.

Bonnie Belle, you will be greatly missed. We are better off for having shared life with you while we could.


My darling 3lbs-soaking-wet, cuddly, adorable, and sweet kitten…

Gary the Cat- 3 months

has turned into a (hopefully) fully-grown, 14lbs, playful, “helpful”, curious and independant cat.

Gary the Cat- 11 months

Granted, he is just as adorable now as the day he peed on my leg in the Humane Society waiting room- though now he has, thankfully, grown into his gigantic ears. When I held him in my hands for the very first time, the OHS volunteer assured me that he showed all the signs of being a lapcat. The words “eager for love” may have even crossed her lips to my ears. Even the adoption papers cited his cuddly behavior.

Well, like all good little ones, my darling kitten has decided to defy all predictions and run (practically) screaming from my lap should I ever attempt to put him there. Instead, my oversized fluffball has decided to latch onto a habit we probably should have nipped in the bud when he was still small: shouldercat. In my defense, it was super cute when he was only 3-5 lbs and mewed like a tiny little parrot as he perched up there, too scared to jump down.

Shouldercat has mostly learned that he is no longer capable of perching like he did as a baby- mostly because he has become big enough that I could wear him like a scarf should he try. However, he has taken up residence on the back of the couch as if it is the only place in the house worth visiting when others are home. Sometimes he doesn’t even notice when I sneak away and leave him curled up where my shoulders used to be.

Shouldercat- 11 months

Even at night, when we yell “Gary! It’s bedtime!” He runs into the room and cuddles up on my pillow next to my head.

Lapcat of my dreams he may not be, but as far as shouldercats go, he is the best.

Yesterday, I was super woman.

I accomplished more in one day thanI have in ages: 7 hour shift at work, cleaning the apartment, dishes, a week’s worth of laundry, showering, grocery shopping, a visit to the library, making dinner fr four, and reading an entire 183 page novel. All between the hours of 4:15am and 10:30pm.

Today, I am exhausted.

With the exception of a 6.5 hour shift, the most I have accomplished today is consuming a bowl of left-over taco salad whilst Gary looks at me accusingly. I am not necessarily disapointed with today’s inactivity- I just find it sort of amusing.  The plans for later are not exactly lofty either: make bread, eat dinner, go to bed.

Tomorrow, I will try to find the happy medium.

There is yet another shift tomorrow, and a considerably shorter to-do list to accomplish. Mostly, I am telling you this simply so that you might be able to read between the lines and know I am happy. There is always joy, but lately I am also happy. I am taking a great deal of comfort and pleasure in the most mundane of activities or lack thereof.

Until next time, check the mail, wash your face, read a good book, hug someone you love, and remember that those are among the most amazing things in life.


Over the years, I have learned a lot of things from my mum. She is really quite an incredable woman- and I am not just saying that because she is my mother, but because it is true. If I were to try to compose a list of all the things mum I learned from her, we might be here all day. Among the top five, in no particular order, are:

1. Singing is a vital part of life- rarely is there a need for musical instruments to accompany.
2. Even the simplist meals can be the best (Spanish rice anyone?)
3.  Black and white are colours, few matters of life and faith are that clear.
4. It is good to see things through to completion- even if it is a degree or a cross-stitch rooster.
5. Always (always!) clean the house before you leave for vacation.

Number five is on my mind today, though we are not exactly leaving for vacation. Tomorrow, Lucas and I will drive out to the church camp in eastern Oregon to spend a week with some pretty amazing teens. I haven’t been to camp since before we married 3 years ago and I miss it. Last we heard, we are both slotted to be counselors for the 4-day camp and, as you can probably imagine, I am currently all mixed up with excitement and nervousness. Mostly its excitement. And, though I doubt this was one of the things my mum intended, to stave off the nervousness I am cleaning our apartment. Besides, this place has become a mess lately in part due to packing and in part due to the sheer volume of busyness we have endured.

I am sure that I will be thanking my mum on Sunday when we return to a clean apartment.

a tea for everything

More Pictures

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