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A lot changes in a week.

Even more changes in a month.

I am not exactly sure what started all this change- really it was a long time coming and a lot of small things building up. I was unhappy (and was, apparently, the only one who couldn’t understand why). I was in desperate need of a new normal.

Yes, it’s true that I have often verbalized a desire to leave, to move on, to get out of that mess I called my job. I had never acted on those words.

And then… there was that saturday at the end of January. The one where I was pushed just a little too far and I finally, (finally.) spoke the words I had secretly been dying to say:

I am leaving.

In that moment I felt a flood wash over me- nearly knocking me silly with relief and joy, fear and elation. I had done something forbidden. I had done this for me.

I made the right choice (even if it would scare me half to death over the next few weeks).
It has been hard- leaving is never easy until you actually get your steps into motion. I considered, too many times, changing my mind and returning. Eat my words, don my apron again and again, wear my heart pinned to it for far too long.

And so here we are today: exactly one week post starbucks. I am working full time at the pool. I come home exhausted, but it is good for my soul. I cry less- I smile a lot more. I am happier and I barely even knew that I was unhappy before.

Perhaps the most amusing thing to me is that I no longer stare down the highway contemplating missing my exit to keep driving until I reach the ocean: I don’t feel a longing to run away, to escape even for a moment.

Here there is peace and joy.



(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.


It’s cold here today.

We have slipped out of cool and into cold- at least for here anyways. It seems that this last week has been marked with change for a lot of people. And, while change is one the oddest constants, some weeks you just notice it more than others. In the news, the Mayor of Portland announced a change in how the whole Occupy movement would be tolerated and handled- protesters were no longer welcome to camp in the parks. Thankfully, that change remained mostly peaceful despite our worst fears.  At the pool, children changed and grew and learned.  At Starbucks, we reorganized and redecorated changing from regular retail into holiday. Lucas will begin a new job on friday, changing from floor staff to manager, one theatre to another (one city to another). And today, my sister begins her 24th year blessing us with her life and love.

In between the closing shift and the Holiday set-up shift, I sat with one of my dearest friends and coworkers in the back room. Perched on ladders with take-out boxes on our laps and tired eyes betraying our feelings, we talked about change and we confessed. My confession: I used to fear change, but I do so no longer. Sure, I absolutely take comfort in routine and the familiar, but change is not so bad either. The times in my life with the largest changes have been wonderful, terrible, and difficult in many ways, but they have always turned out right and good. Yes, sometimes the worst did happen, but we survived and God’s will was done. Most of all, I hope that God was always glorified.

The weather is changing and we do likewise.

As for me? I am not sure what’s changing right now except for all that which is going on around me. I feel a bit like this time of my life is spent living up to a name given to me long ago by some wise friends: authentic observer. Some days, I almost feel as though I am watching everything around me from behind some sort of partition, blessed for any opportunity to interact and speak into the lives of those around me. Forgive me if that sounds sad- I think it is quite rare and beautiful. Oddly enough, it is the one aspect of my existence I hope will never change.


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.


snow day. officially: my workday was cut in half.
unofficially: my work tripled when i realized all that could be done with an extra 5 hours to myself.

It has been a month of silences from my end.  And, really, what is there to say? Lucas and I have settled into, what I suspect, is normal adult life in the first few years of marriage: a complicated, yet wonderful routine of working too much, being too exhausted to consider much beyond next week, and yet longing for the days we hope are ahead of us. We each picked up an extra job sometime in November bringing the total jobs between us to four. On any given day Lucas donnes his red Regal shirt and/or his blue Bestbuy shirt, while I settle into Starbucks black or a bathing suit to teach lessons at a private swim school.  For me, the decision to get a second job was complicated. Sure the money is great and I like the feeling of ending a day physically tired, but really, it all came down to needing a job that meant something. Serving coffee simply wasn’t enough to satisfy my desire to make a difference in someone’s life. COTS just sort of popped into my field of vision at the exact moment I had reached my breaking point (after having been turned down by another church), and we needed eachother. So now, as of Sunday I will be teaching my first ever unassisted classes in 30 minute segments and I couldn’t be happier. I am not sure that it is the sort of thing I can do long term, but for now it is enough and it is good.

Daily, I am discovering an odd collection of emotions wrapped up in, and likely exploited by, a tight, sometimes exhausting, schedule. Mostly, it is a feeling of extreme contentedness in today combined with a deep need for a different tomorrow. The contentedness comes from a memory of what once we did not have in our lives and knowledge of the blessing that it is now (a home together, food in our fridge, Gary… the list goes on, and I digress). The longing stems from a-long felt knowledge that, while all of this is an unpresidented blessing, we must continue to move on, to change and to grow into our callings both together and as individuals. Simply put, what we have is very good, but there will be more.

Perhaps oddest of all, lately I am feeling old beyond my years and yet left behind by my same-age friends. Interpret that as you wish without concern for my wellbeing- see above. If I had anything to complain about, I suppose it would be that there are simply not enough hours in the day to keep our little apartment as clean as I desire. And really, if that is all there is to complain about, my life is beyond good.


(lets try to keep the silence shorter this time)

So there we were, standing at the end of my parents driveway in the cool darkness of pre-dawn each trying not to be the one to initiate goodbye. I had packed the last box, nestled the snack cooler in an acessable spot, and turned my face away to hide the emotions that threatened to spill out. It felt surreal. To date, there have been few harder moments in my life than watching Lucas get into the car and drive away that morning. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrible driving away must have felt. It sounds terribly dramatic to tell you this now, but I really did simply sit down at the end of the driveway for about half an hour after the car vanished from sight. Only when the sun actually made an appearance did my legs carry me back into the house.

The remainder of that first day would be an accurate foreshadowing of the month ahead: survival by means of distraction. Distraction came in many forms, from shopping to laundry, television to walking the dog, and everything in between that kept my mind occupied or my body moving. Without it, I was lost. In the moments of silence and inactivity, I felt paralyzed in mind and body. Lies circled my mind like starving vultures: we deserved this- we weren’t following God’s will- I had been to zealous for England and must now suffer the consequences- (worst of all) we’ll never see each other again. I, just barely, kept them at bay by acknowledging their presence. And so, because the state of shock was too great to handle, I set to treading water the only way I knew how: industrious survival. I will probably never again in my life accomplish more in a month than I did that October. 

Most importantly, I set to finding a job.  I must have put out a hundred applications in the city by the end of the first week. Exhausted at the end of a long day of pounding the pavement (so to speak), I wandered into the local Starbucks and found myself  in the hands of people whom I would come to love. After a nerve-wracking interview, in which I may or may not have cried upon explaining my then current situation, I was offered  the incredable gift of a job. A job that would be so much more than a paycheck.  A job that would lead me into the lives of dear friends. A job that would be a saving grace in the coming year. It was a struggle for the first few weeks, what with the insane learning curve, but before Halloween I felt confident. I had purpose in making lattes, learning names, and arriving each day.

 Near the end of the month, Lucas came to visit. It was a peaceful and enjoyable visit made possible by his family. We just existed together for a few days, slowly dissapating the irrational fears that we would forever remain apart. In particular I was reminded of the fact that God had been merciful, patient, and faithful to us and  He would never fail. Especially not now, when we needed Him the most.  The small change in perspective would sustain my hope for the future and cradle my fragile optimism for the days ahead.

October was a month to be survived- and survived it was (on a wing and a prayer, most days).

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.


About a month ago, Lucas and I were on our way home from his parents house when we stopped to visit a little park on the island. We’d been here before: it was where our wedding photo’s were taken over three years ago. In the fading sunlight, everything looked surprisingly different and even more beautiful than I remembered.

Our visit was brief.  As we crossed the fence-line to the parking lot, a little piece of paper taped to the handicapped parking sign caught my eye. If we were anywhere else, I doubt that I would have given it a second thought let alone walk back to see what was written on the water streeked paper. However, the oddity of it’s location on a sign in a parking lot that you have to intend to get to, piqued my curiosity. Written on the note, in hurried handwriting was the following message.

We were worried about you. If you ever need anything just call.
Cheryl & Sarah (XXX-XXXX)

Now, weeks later, this note is still on my mind.  Why is it that Cheryl & Sarah “were worried” and not “are worried”? Perhaps it is a simple misunderstanding of grammar or their rushed situation that caused the wording. And why is it that this note would be in such an oddly remote location in search of David? The story behind this note will likely go unknown to me for the rest of my days, but it is intriguing nonetheless.

Want to know the most interesting part? The note was there two weeks later, but had vanished by week three. Did David return and seek out Cheryl & Sarah?


a tea for everything

More Pictures

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