Friday, November 25, 2011

nanowrimo live-r

i have six days of nanowrimo left, and i am so so so pleased with my progress!  i didn't think i would be able to persist ... but here i am, almost done, with a gorgeous word count of 41055!
i took a screen shot of my nano stats.  just had to share:
i know it's kind of little, but if you look at the bar in the top right beside my avatar, it's a visual representation of my progress.  yay!
it's been a fiercely sleepless month, though.  i am really looking forward to early bedtimes in december. :)


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

november 23

what i wish we were doing right now :).  happy birthday, dear friend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the way up is down, and other paradoxes

i've been thinking about this life.
this life where i'm a sinner and holy God loves me and paid with Jesus' blood for me.
this life.

it overflows with paradox.

the way up is down.
the way in is out.
the way to joy leads through sorrow.
the path to motherhood goes through an empty womb.
fullness comes by pouring out.

when i find myself struggling with pride - that sneaky beast who insists on her own way, and all too often wins - God reminds me that the way up is down.  He exalts the humble, but abases the proud.  i writhe with the tension of it.  i want to be right - best - first, but the deeper and truer part of me longs to fall back into grace.  in stillness and in silence, i remember, and let go.

the way up is down.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

swallowed up in life

a few weeks ago, my cousin gwen posted about her grandmother's passing.  she quoted 2 corinthians 5:4, and the last phrase jumped out at me "what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."  i can't stop thinking about that.

for a christian, a funeral isn't a sign of life being swallowed up in death.

it's death, being swallowed up by life!

our lives here, compared with heaven?  ghastly spectres.  we are not what we will be.  we will be truly, fully, gorgeously alive.  like a candle: the match scraping, the burst of flame is not the end; it is the rich and true fulfillment. life beginning.

and today, it dawned on me that every time i die to myself (choose God's way and not my own, like when i want to punch that lady in the face for staring with horror at sam's bump and i don't), my sinful self is being swallowed up by life.

i long for the day when the death in which i dwell will be entirely consumed by the blazing sun of life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

nanowrimo live

so today is the tenth day of nanowrimo.  TENTH!

and i'm still going.

i'm ridiculously pleased.  i struggle with continuing; perseverance isn't my strong point.  but i'm determined that nanowrimo won't defeat me.

actually, i've learned a few things (and other people always say these, but i guess i mean i've learned them for myself).

1. even if you get stuck, if you write through it, it will get better.
2. it's not that hard writing 50000 words in a month.  even with a busy life.
3. sometimes it takes a few sucky chapters before you hit your stride and start writing well.
4. no matter what you've got planned for your characters, sometimes they just take the reins and do what they want.

also, i love to listen to classical music while i write, and i've discovered that my music player has a sense of humor.  at sam's bedtime, it played brahm's lullaby; when he was suffering through a much-hated bowl of peas, it played allegri's miserere mei; and when he finally fell asleep after fighting a nap, it played handel's hallelujah chorus.  :D

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

snakes :( (joey, sniech, don't read)

a couple of weeks ago, patrick and i were running errands with sam.  on the way in to our building, i was carrying bags, and patrick was carrying sam, so i wasn't really looking where i was going, just trying to get upstairs and into our apartment without dropping things or losing circulation in my wrist.

i heard patrick gasp, and he said "just keep going.  keep going."  i could smell gas in the hallway, and i thought maybe he was worried that something was wrong. 

when we got into our apartment, he said "you just killed a snake."

i almost died.

i had apparently crushed its head with my heel.

i hate snakes with a completely irrational loathing.  even when i simply think about them, my insides cringe up with a knotty twisty fear.  when i see them, i shake and cry and struggle not to throw up. (and scream and run and shake some more.)

it kind of makes me mad.  i don't want those slithering little beasts to have any sort of control over me.

anyway, after i knew that snake was there, i avoided that stairwell unless patrick was with me. 

i remembered something people in zambia said - if you see one dead snake, watch out whenever you're in that spot, because another snake will come to mourn its death.

and i was pretty confident that wouldn't happen.  we walk through a long-grassy path on our way to town, and we've never seen a snake.  on all our hikes, we've never seen a snake.  and among our tbay friends, only one has ever seen a snake here.

but on friday last, a friend was on her way in to our apartment, and she saw a snake in the same spot.

i died.

i can barely take a step without looking for one.  i lie down at night worried that one will slither under the door.  i wake up a few times a night and peer out of our bedroom, expecting to see one sliding across the entry floor.  i can't even bear it.  when sam cries unexpectedly in the night, part of me shudders at the possibility that there is a snake on him.

i seriously need help.

i've been praying that God will give me the same peace He gave me when i went to zambia.  (He told me that if i went, He'd worry about the snakes for me - and He did.)

if you'd pray for me too, i'd really appreciate it.  this snake thing is driving me up the wall.

Friday, November 4, 2011


the night before i left halifax, joey gave me this *amazing* book.
one thousand gifts, by ann voskamp.

little did she know, i'd already been reading the author's blog, and am completely in love with it!

anyway, on the plane on the way back to tbay, i started reading it (and weeping like the mccracken i am).  voskamp talks about all the gifts God gives - how everything is gift.
i won't summarize here - i couldn't anyway, it's too lovely to reduce - but one of the things God showed me when i was reading it was that His bringing us to tbay is a gift.

which i should know already, right?  beside the fact that i believe God is good and trust Him to order my steps, sam is the most precious and astonishing gift, and we would never have him if we weren't here.

but sitting on the plane, flying away from my ocean, my sweet home, my incredible loving family, with the discomfort of goodbye still a lump in my throat, God showed me that this isn't a punishment.  or a trial.  (had i really believed that?  ouch.)  it's His gift.

so i kept reading the book and God began opening my eyes to see His gifts.  and they're everywhere.  i started keeping a list.

it's astonishing.
how much God loves me.
He's just pouring out gifts all the time.
and i wasn't even noticing.

so i started noticing.  (i had a lot of time to think, because i forgot my computer cord in halifax and the day after i got home, patrick's computer crashed.  so while i missed keeping in touch with everyone, i loved the stillness and quietness of my mind.)  i started thanking God. for warm boots, translucence of eyelids, late-october birdsong, baby giggles in the morning, a note on the table, french bread, soapy water glistening on a tiny back, rest, being read to, milky sam-kisses, fresh laundry hanging, pumpkin seeds toasting ... 
and on it goes. 
(and goes - He keeps giving.)

then one morning the phone rang, and the postman came up with a parcel.
i was gleeful - i thought it was my missing cord.
then i started opening it, and found a card - an unsigned card - from an incredibly sweet and thoughtful person who knew i was homesick and made me something.

a gift.

it was an utterly beautiful windchime made of seashells.
(my sea!  how i long for you!)

 i love it.

i cupped a shell to my ear and listened to the roar of the ocean, the echo of the surf. 
listened to the echo of the God's heart in this gift, in the heart of my secret sister.
this is the song of love.