Sunday, September 20


                                                           Refined Silver

...I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, "They are my people," and they will say, "The Lord is our God."
~ The Bible ~

Sometimes it's not about getting rid of our pain. It's not always about medicating or comforting or squelching grief. If we want to grow ~ to change, to enlarge our understanding of our world and our neighbors ~ we will need to, sometimes, surrender to the process of sorrow.

Like silver being perfected in most intense heat, our souls, minds, and emotions undergo transformative, purposeful purifying if we will let the searing struggle of our everyday do its work.

I wonder: What will come if we set aside our comfort food, our cigarette, our drink, our tv show, our isolation ~ if we set aside our pacifiers and fall into the torturous heat of this day's grief.

What does your life, purified, refined, perfected look like? Who are you on the Otherside of surrendering to your right-now heartache and imperfection? Who are you becoming?

Thursday, September 10

I Asked 20 Gals a Question

I asked twenty women, “What makes you smile with contentment?”
They replied,

 When I see two old people in their 80's, married 60 plus years and can see they totally love each other.

 A hot, clear, sunny day -- especially at the beach

 A crumb-less kitchen floor, or counter, or table

 Bills paid

 Fresh sheets

 Soft toilet paper

 Reading

 Good conversation

 Psalm 119

 Solitude

 Family home together and safe

 Answers (and eating) after a day of prayer and fasting

 Smarties...I don't mind if they do melt in my hand, I can lick it off.

 Brunch with a friend

 Sitting on my mom-in-law's deck having my morning cuppa

 Meals I don't have to prepare or clean up

 Children playing together...nicely

 Anything that turns out well

 The end of a great work day

 A good meal made for company

 A song that I've written and enjoy singing over and over

 Sometimes it involves people...but other times it's a solitary thing

 Reading a book before bed

 Listening to CBC radio chatter

 Discovering a new place to walk or drinking peppermint tea

 Hershey's Bliss Dark Chocolate melting in your mouth

 A dish of President’s Choice Chocolate Fudge Crackle Ice Cream

 Relaxing on the deck with my morning coffee and a good book

 Surveying a room after I have spent the day house cleaning and seeing everything clean and in its place

 Crawling into bed with clean linens

 Cuddling under a quilt with a cool breeze blowing in the window

 Knowing my family is all safely at home during a storm

 The feeling I get after my grandson’s spontaneous hug of greeting

 When I'm out walking in the woods, especially near the river (with my dog 'cause seeing her enjoyment of the walk definitely adds to mine), and my brain quiets down enough for me to just enjoy the beauty around me ~ then it feels like life is good and everything's okay, I can breathe; and God is near.

 When my kids are really actually loving each other, or someone who needs it

 When the house is quiet (and clean!) and I don't feel lonely, just relaxed

 A really good hair and face day

 Watching my children do something kind or caring, or that they excel at or love -- then I know I'm doing something right as a parent; seeing them become the person God made them to be

 Good sex

 Watching the two people I love most – my daughter sleeping peacefully on her daddy’s chest, with her ear laying right over his heart

 Everyone sleeping peacefully

 Cheese is right up there

 Watching my children play and laugh -- Seeing my husband being attacked by our children

 Watching a glorious sunrise

 Visiting with good friends

 Knowing God is in control over everything

 Knowing I am deeply loved just as I am

 Long, leisurely walks with a dear friend

 Looking up at the stars at night

 Quiet moments with God

 Good questions with insightful answers

Sweeping The Lawn and Other Excercises in Domestic Futility

I woke up to three three dead plants, a soggy loo, and a generally disasstisfied family. I couldn't see our kitchen counters: they're covered in school supplies and last night's supper muck.

By ten o'clock (still morning) I had a rolicking headache and had threatened a complaining child (the one who, just last night, spent a solid ten minutes making a case for why he is no longer a "child") within an inch of his schooling life. The words "boarding school" careened around inside my head but, thankfully, never escaped my lips. By eleven o'clock he was out in the backyard working off his attitude in a most tedious and ungratifying manner.

I cannot find the replacement part that I need to repair the (borrowed!!) power washer that I broke.

Moments ago I discovered that the dogs, in silent protest over the recent grooming they received (hairless dogs are a beautiful thing), have been digging ENORMOUS holes in the backyard tree and flower beds. Too lazy to trek all the way to the shed for a rake, I just grabbed a nearby broom and did an expletive-laden sweep of dirt back into offending hole.

I find myself unable to tap my creative resources to come up with yet another Phys. Ed. 20 "long-term objective." Even though my high school lad "kind of need(s) it right now." It's tough to be ingenious when the tap AND the fridge are leaking, the floor's sticking, the laundry's piling, the dog doots are smelling, and there are males everywhere.

But at 12:20 (insert soundtrack of otherwordly music here and find yourself bathed in a holy glow), with a mess of peanut butter, tuna, and old soup making it's slow march across every surface that is not covered by a book or a drawing or a school list, I cracked open my first ever box of the Mr. Clean "Magic Eraser."

Oh yes. I did.

I was skeptical. So skeptical. And I was cranky. Very cranky. But a friend had generously dropped some by for me to try, and they were sitting right there (smushed between the marker bin and the tea pot), so I had nothing to lose.

And now? All wrongs have been righted. ALL wrongs. A lawn that needs sweeping? Who cares! I can clean scuff marks off of the baseboards! Scuff marks, I tell you! A half-hearted little scrub of the fridge has the door shining ~ sparkly new! The footprint left on the front door by firefighters (Yes. That was two years ago.)? Gone! I've tried everything to remove that mark...and now, thanks to Mr. Clean, it's gone.

Magic. My sons can attest to the transformation I'm undergoing as we speak, "Look," Jamy said just moments ago, "the little cleany thingy is making Mom squeak." They're mocking me, I know, but I just don't care because, in the days ahead, the smudges and smears and gashes that have been adding to the befuddlement of my haggardly housewifey brain will all be gone. 

And you can bet that the next Mr. Clean claims "magic" as part of their results, I'll buy into it. My deepest hope, in this domestic moment, is that the next product on their list is a wand. A magical, magical wand. One flick of the stick and all will be righted. Clothes, hair, walls, loos, dogs. All. We're counting on you, Mr. Clean.