A Return to Love and Becoming my Own Soft Place to Land.

My current view feels like an omen :: flowing life force. A change in perspective. Soaring to new heights.

I feel myself expanding.

My soul is opening.

Our walls and harvest table are a testament to that : I leave paints and canvases and paper out, for whenever our hearts fancy

At first, it was for her- my joyful toddler, who spends hours at a time creating. But over the days and weeks, it’s become about me, also.

When my girlfriend asked what I wanted to do for my birthday. I told her, “Teach me to paint. Im sick of coffee shops and restaurants and sitting just talking.”

I’ve forever fancied her walls, adorned with personal sketches and paintings. But my C in High school art class told me, “No. It’s not for you. You’re not good enough.”

But my soul wanted it- it has for a lifetime. And I’m finally letting go- giving her permission to come out of hiding and paint for the joy of it.

No judgement, no shame, no expectations, I’m delighting in the pleasure of creating once again

And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was greater than the risk it took to bloom. – Anais Nin

Through the art of allowing and the gift of permission, I am taking what is rightfully mine: freedom, play, delight, joy, wholeness… LIFE abundant.

Filling my home with bows of fresh greens and red berries tied up with string.

Lighting an advent wreath-  the swoosh of a match stick- and lingering long enough to breath in it’s aroma.

Taking time- again and again- to choose the perfect scent.  1…2….3….4 drops of essential oil into a diffuser.

Five deep breaths to imprint the moment, and the benefits, on my mind and heart.

Letting music waft through my walls and speakers.Taking time to listen, appreciate and move to it’s rhythms, whether I’m in my kitchen cooking, doing yoga by myself, shaking off the energy or bopping with my toddler in the living room.

Sitting in silence. Focusing on the life moving inside me. Trusting that my words- and the world- can wait… until I’m full of Love and Peace and Reverence:  what I need to serve my people well.

Wearing threads, soft and feminine, that wrap me cozy and comfortable: pyjamas that make me feel beautiful.

Mundane routines like washing and cleansing, peppered with natural agents, luscious scents and kind, gentle attention. 

Reading the words of others-  sages and ancients and wisdom of old- allowing Love to shape my perception and reception.

Dreaming and longing for romance and travel and making room for it in my future. Calling it what it is:  Important and Set Apart- Nurishment for my soul and relationships.

Indulging – in that second cup of coffee, that day of shopping, too much tv, simply sitting- with zero guilt. Instead honouring as sacred space and shared time- with God, others and myself.

Smelling the coffee grinds before pouring in the water. 

Saying sorry. Forgiving old hurts. Re-inviting people to my table and my heart.

Allowing others to think different. Believe different. Trust different. And leaving it as OK. Welcoming them, even, as teachers-  not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Listening to Body and giving her what she needs: water, food, rest, sleep, massage, movement, connection and release. All of it Holy and Good.

Allowing pleasure to ignite me and give my days meaning.

“I am living what I’ve secretly longed for….” I told my hair dresser. “The things I’ve dreamed about, saw in movies and envied in others simple, yet spacious choices.

The things I reserved for vacation and weekends only- I’m living them in my everyday. And my family is being remade by it. I’m coming alive,  more beautiful and radiant than before.”

She smiled knowingly.

“It sounds like you’ve befriended your soul again. You’re re-embracing what makes you feminine.”

Yes, I thought.

I am restoring, reawakening, redeeming what has been mine from the beginning – my sacred and feminine wholeness

I’m living my freedom to enjoy.

I’m delighting in my senses.

I’m letting pleasure lead me home.

You don’t have to fling yourself around the planet searching for those things outside yourself. You only have to go back into the stillness to locate it. The treasure you’ve been searching for so long was there all the time. – Shauna Niequest | Present Over Perfect

I’m reclaiming my innocence, my curiosity and my faith without borders.

I’m reconnecting with my soul: my love for movement and art, music and dance- the language of my body’s self expression.

I’m resurrecting self love, self acceptance, self reverence: my sensuality, my sexuality and feminine power.

And’m finding them in the silence- the stillness within. I need only to return – to myself; to breath with Love – the love that befriends and consumes and transforms.

Through this simple and sacred practice, I’m receiving every Good thing I’m longing for:

  • Kindness- for myself, then others.
  • Energy to live my life, heal my physical body and do the things my soul loves and dreams of.
  • Joy that becomes my life song.
  • Embodying my Feminine Wholeness.
  • A Return to Love- my very innocence.

I know it’s better here, here in the place of love.

I will rejoice not over monumental accomplishments, but rather microscopic improvements that are closing the gap between who I am today and the woman I want to become- my Truest Self.

Like showing up and starting over- again.

Waking early to give my soul space.

Signing up for the thing that scares me.

The well is within us. If we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth. – Rich That Hanh

This is my bridge, my pilgrimage to new awareness of Love- of God’s profound and wild and wondrous presence.

It is here that I will blossom and transform; once again become a soft and sacred place to land.

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Permission to break rules + be idle.

Six days my daughter was sick- flu ridden and couch bound. Then three days more for me… and counting. 

It’s been oddly refreshing and freeing- if I’m willing to admit it.

In the midst of fevers and sore throats and tummy troubles, I’ve found myself swimming effortlessly, in Rivers of Grace. 

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Without judgement, I’ve given myself permission to let her watch tv: for 6 days straight and eat whatever she wants. Without guilt, I’ve given myself permission to be with her, tucked in and cuddled down on the couch. Then I did the same when it was my turn to be sick.

I’ve indulged in too much tv. I’ve read for hours on end. I’ve dreamt and journaled about frivolous things. I’ve shopped online and perused social media feeds. I’ve texted with friends and blogged for long hours. I’ve stared at photos Ive seen one thousand times.

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And while that might seem menial and insignificant, it’s a miracle in my books. Because I did it all willingly, without reluctance or guilt; in full acceptance and delight!

I felt zero remorse for the meetings I cancelled (and there were many), the things I didn’t show up for and the people I couldn’t help. I let friends bring me food and my husband keep the house and run errands.. including things I haven’t “let him touch” in years!

I broke my own rules of discipline and moderation, revelling in the excess of rest and play. I didn’t count down the hours or the days until life would go back to normal and I could get things done.

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My house remains undone. So does my to-do list. 

And it’s long.... with important, time sensitive obligations.

But for now, it waits and will remain that way until I’m fully better.

There will be no mustering of energy or cutting healing short.

No Madame. Not this time!

So, if you’ll excuse me, another Netflix binge is calling. I think I’ll indulge myself in a Hallmark Christmas marathon this time.

 

Soul Tending + Unearthing Feminine Longing

This book is a reminder that in order to receive Truth, we must be ready and willing to receive it…

I’ve picked it up twice in my life- different stages and ages.

The first, I couldn’t relate. The second, it made me angry- triggering things inside me.

So, I put I down. I said it wasn’t for me.

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Now two years later, my hand caresses it on the library shelf and I know it’s time to try again….

I was stalking up- my max allowance 100 books- during our small town library’s closure: three months for renovations.

The little girl inside me swooned at the frivolousness of 100 books!

It felt romantic and scandalous.

Never could I read that many books in such a timeframe, but permission was enough.

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Permission: something my soul’s been craving of late.

Permission to expand.

Permission to explore.

Permission to be curious and re-investigate life- the things I’ve thought, believed, put aside and forgotten.

The things I once loved and longed for.

The hidden passions and dormant dreams.

The sites and sounds that have captured my heart since childhood. 

…. that’s what my soul is hungry for.

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Permission to re-embrace the parts of me I’ve suppressed for various reasons: pain, fear, shame, religious conditioning.

Permission to dream dreams without accusing it a power plight.

Permission to create without a care for productivity or purpose.

Permission to enjoy and feel and delight in, without labelling it frivolous or selfish or secular.

And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was greater than the risk it took to bloom. – Anais Nin

I read it in my birthday card.

My mom and I grinned.

How apropos.

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The more I embrace permission, the more I feel myself opening up, blooming into the woman I was created to be-

the woman God imprinted on my heart and in my soul, when He created me in The Hidden place- The Sacred Place: the womb

…. life force, vitality and creativity- creation birthed from Love. 

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My femininity is wooing me back to her; gentle, gracious and tender.

I feel myself in a dance with Divinity, hidden within my feminine being. And that feels scandalous… wild… scary even.

I find myself praying regularly: “God, hedge me in. Do not let me be led astray.”

But the more I give in and let go- surrender to my own desires and inner longings- the more Radiant and Light and At Home I feel.

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Joy.

It’s joy I’m rediscovering.

Not from an external place or in hot pursuit or running away or filling a void or covering my pain, but

from a place of inquisition and unearthing- of retuning Home to myself.

Like a pilgrimage of sorts.

I am learning, yet again, how to be a soft and tender place to land- a safe and sacred refuge for my own soul. 

God chose it- to make my body his home and my soul his respite.

Why shouldn’t I?

This feels magical and romantic and somewhat forbidden.

At least that’s what I’ve told myself these last number of years- sacrificing myself  on the altar of “selfless service”…

giving myself away until there’s nothing left- for the sake of Good and Others.

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I’ve landed on this truth a zillion times:

“Love your neighbour as yourself.

… as yourself, you say?
That means I must love myself first.

I’ve been telling myself that for years:  I can only give away what I’ve first been given [and received] myself.

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Like the Eternal Child I am, I’m learning what this means practically, as well as, spiritually, in my faith and in my life: as a mother, wife, friend, speaker, leader, writer…

most profoundly, as a woman.

And it’s surprising me.

With every unearthed finding, a new longing appears- and while new, it feels oddly Ancient and Sacred.

Like I’ve stumbled upon old ruins- a sisterhood of femininity.

I’m finding fossils everywhere. 

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It’s with fresh curiosity, I give myself permission- grace soaked and swimming- to ask [forbidden] questions and explore Answers of Old.

Lessons in the Silence and the Art of Contemplation

I feel the words bubbling below the surface – my voice, my thoughts, my desires, rolling on low simmer.

Boil is approaching with a life force of it’s own.

God made me this way.

Ideas and metaphors wax eloquent within my mind. Then, they make their way out into the world- their analogy becoming clearer as I type.

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Words have always been my teacher; I, forever, their pupal.

My heart is open and willing- yearning, even– to understand and empathize with their teachings.

But in the quiet, I’ve discovered a new teacher- and I have listened with fresh curiosity.

Her voice is sweet, gentle and compassionate; her lessons pointed and encouraging….

encouraging me to rise higher, to new levels of faith and prayer. 

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Silence, meditation, contemplation and the breath – this is where I’m seeing and experiencing Jesus, right now.

They help me stop, be still and know .

So quick to speak, these practices teach me the art of listening….

and in listening, I’m brought into God’s Presence – the present moment, now.

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For me to know, I must feel.

I must experience it with my heart.

Because true knowledge, for me, is heart knowledge- a knowing, so embodied, that it’s truth permeates my being…. like breath.

These practices – silence, meditation, contemplation and the breath – have helped move truth from my heart down to my heart – to see and experience Jesus in that space.

Like the lyrics of United Pursuit’s, “Head to Heart’:

From head to the heart, take me on a journey- from letting go, to getting lost in you.

More than words more than good ideals, I found your love in an open field.

I first started exploring contemplative practices about a year ago, but it wasn’t until this summer, that God took me to new and deeper levels.

It’s been three months now, since I first logged off and went silent.

I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked their use on my computer. My goal was one month, but when the time came, I knew I was just beginning.

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I’m slowly reemerging, but in the quiet, I learnt some valuable lessons I’ll take with me:

While “disconnected”, I feel and hear God clearly – sometimes loudly and in uncanny ways. I see Him present in the mundane and His hand, in the nuances of my day….

As if i’m standing in the centre of a windstorm, declaring:  “Can you see that?! Can you feel it?! This is God’s Spirit moving!”

Before, I was too distracted to notice.

Too stuffed to taste.

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Breath work and meditation help slow me down.

Four counts in …..

1

2

3

4

and four counts out ….

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2

3

4

intentionally releasing and letting go.
While focusing on my breath, I consent to work of The Spirit within me. I Feel the moment and whatever it brings, choosing to be still with it.

In time, I hear him. Then I see him or I feel him.

In the stillness I know:

The Spirit is doing a deeper work than my mind can grasp- a healing work I must simply surrender to; be open and willing.

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I’m learning to prioritize rest and self-care- choosing to love from a full tank, rather than refuelling after.

Practically, that looks like working from a place of rest, rather than resting from my work.

It means taking time each day to do the things that fill me up and keep me healthy: things like prayer, yoga, reading, naps, and getting outside regularly. Eating clean, drinking water and getting plenty of sleep at night.

It looks like asking for help and taking intentional time to be still – morning, mid afternoon and before bed.

And I’m learning to reward and pamper myself first, not after I get the job done!

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A funny thing has happened:

My joy has doubled, and my peace magnified. And see Jesus in everything. 

Revelation and wisdom come to me out of no where- and I’m eager to do the daily grind.

I do more in half the time I used to and I’m finally able to leave things unfinished.

I trust that God willl provide- the time, the resources, the knowledge, the answers – everything I need to do His will.

His job is to provide; mine is simply to ask and to trust.

 

Through the art of silence and centering, I’m taking myself off the throne and giving God back his rightful seat in my life.

Because when God puts me somewhere, he’ll keep me there, but if I put myself there, I have to keep me there!

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Where I was once was chasing perfect, I am now choosing present.

Where I once was busy and striving, I’m now intentional and content.

Where my mind was once cluttered, my heart is now calm.

And I finally feel centred in my soul...

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I’ve found the sanctuary and holy ground, where God has always dwelt.

A note on my silence + an invitation to upcoming speaking events

It’s been crickets around here lately, but it’s intentional.

God’s been leading me to new spaces: through a season of stillness- of rest and silence.

Like a bear whose hibernating, I trust this is my time to slumber-  to let my online work and presence rest deeply, in complete ignorance of what’s happening in the rest of the (online) world.

I thought it would be hard, but four weeks in, I knew I was only getting started.

It’s not a forever thing.

I know with certainly I will return.

This is just a season….

In the in-term, I’ve been enjoying my people, face to face. Even online acquaintances have become offline friends!

I’d love the same to be true for you and me.

I have a few speaking engagements on the October Calendar and would like to invite you.

Women’s Worship Night: “See Jesus”

Friday October 13th 7:00pm -9:00pm

Coquitlam Alliance Church, Coquitlam BC Canada

I’ll be sharing on the topic of Rest and Silence: How God’s been using these two- and what that looks like, practically – to draw me closer to Him and deeper in my faith walk. 

RSVP online

Dessert Banquet and Fundraiser: “Voices of Hope”

Saturday October 21st 7:00pm -9:00pm

Riverside Community Church, Port Coquitlam BC Canada

I will be speaking about my work with local youth on the topic of relationships, sex, media and peer pressure. Here’s a quick 2 minute video.

While it is indeed a fundraiser, you are not obligated to give! I would simply love for you to hear about what we are doing in the Tri-Cities/ Pitt Ridge area and how God is using it for good and change. It’s been one of my greatest life adventures!

RSVP to me personally or to pcevents@pregnancyconcerns.org

If you plan to come, email (or message me) so I can be sure to keep an eye out for you.

PS: No playing shy! I would sincerely love to connect (and give you a hug)- at the very least, put your beautiful face to a name. 

The sound of silence and letting it be

I’m so tired of talking-

of trying to control, manipulate, convince, clammer, prove, and get it right.

Not only with the world, but with, The Lord.

I’m tired of trying to grasp the things that are already grasping me; tired of holding on, like my grip is the only thing keeping it together.

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I’m ready to let go- to release my death grip on life: the now and my future.

Tired trying to control and constrict; manipulate and maneuver, I want to let it be and let me be, along with it.

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I want to be still.

I want to be silent.

And remain there. 

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I want to behold the touch and stare of my Beloveds, letting silence speak louder than words…. let our souls do the talking, communing deeper than mere words could ever penetrate.

I want to speak only when my speaking adds something beautiful to the silence- to this world or another heart.

Yes, more.

I want more of this:

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More silence, less talking.

More listening, less convincing.

More stillness, less striving.

More being, less doing.

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I am ready and I am willing…

to delve the depths of contemplative prayer- not just in my devotional time, but with my life.

Contemplative Prayer goes deeper.

There are times when we speak, weep, groan and shout. But there are also times, when we simply sit in silence and are held by our Beloved…

He reveals to us what God is like with flesh on.

-Book of Common Prayer : Marks of New Monasticism 

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I feel content to be; no need to hurry or rush, to plan ahead or prepare- for now or my future.

No desire to set goals, personally or professionally; in my marriage or family. There are no flags waving- red or white– staring me in the face, needing attention.

I have no qualms leaving the space between silent- unmotivated to fill it with my words and thoughts and ideas.

I just want to leave it- to let it unfold with the natural rhythms of life.

Instead, I want to be in it, to experience it and feel it; to savour it, un-muddled by manipulation or expectation.

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Recently, we celebrated six years of marriage- and a decade of life together, as a couple. More than any other man or friend, I have given Him my passage of time…..

It’s funny how we can remember the past as if it were yesterday; every detail sharp and etched in stone: the pain, the heartbreak, the baggage we’ve since carried with us. And yet, that moment- that relationship- as compared to the 3650 days I’ve shared with Him, is nothing but a blink: a blip on the map of my pilgrimage journey.

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As we sat at the top of a rock cliff, looking out, I realized: I’m ready to leave it all behind. I’m no longer looking back; only forward- with hope, excitement and anticipation.

Through force and anger and suffering, we stopped. We remade our life from the inside out. It took three years, but we did it: the hard work of healing, rebuilding and laying entirely new foundation.

And in the last year, we’ve walked that out- applied the lessons and convictions, we nurtured in that season. We put our money where our mouth is…

and it’s worked.

We’re here:

No longer in the thick of it, we’ve ascended the mountain, seen the peak and trail blazed our way back down. Now we’re leaving the forest through the trees.

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What’s I see now, is a beach: a break, a breather; a moment to bask in the sun of our hard-earned sweat and glory.

Don’t be fooled, it was a fight: the hardest battle we’ve ever fought. But the war is over- at least for now.

Now, it’s time to retreat.- to return home to our people and place and just be, with them. To refill and rejuvenate and rest in the arms of love…. and linger there. To give thanks for all thats been and all we’ve come to be, through it. 

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It’s no wonder my husband and I long to reinvest: in friendship, in community, in extended time with family. 

Where we once pulled back from these (in order to protect and focus our efforts on healing), we now feel the need to retreat from the battle grounds- abandon the places we waged war and found solice in the thick of it: research, reading, healing programs, social media, writing and justice work. 

Our hearts longs to be at rest and remain there for a period of time.

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As we waded in the water, I felt compelled to jump in- to get wet, clothes and all; no longer care about proper or order or what other people may think. And so I did…

I lay there, fully clothed, fully submerged, allowing the ocean waves to take me away.

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I didn’t fight it.

I embraced it:

My fear replaced by trust; my innocence returned. 

Then Dave joined me, plastic wine glasses in hand. We found a rock mid- ocean and sat there staring out, half submerged in water.

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No need for words, our hearts did the talking.

We cheersed, he kissed me and all was well with my soul.

 

 

Breathing Room

So many stirrings.

Such depths of longing.

Yet, few words will form- or suffice.

I want to make concrete these stirrings I have- this growing hunger for more: more space, more freedom, more ease, more breathing room- but I can’t quite yet.

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It comes like a leaky faucet- in drips and drabs and droplets: the prayers, quotes, songs, pictures, and metaphors of others. Ones for now, I’ll gladly borrow:

The TeacupIlluminata, Breathe with Love. The Coffee ShopStarlight in the Darkness, yoga in the morning. Floating Clouds, open ocean, rustling wind within the trees.

They whisper my unformed words – silent soliloquies.

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It’s a tune I recognize from a pit of knowing-  the woman who longs to emerge and stay:

Who wants more love, less judgement.

More being, less doing.

More get to’s, less have to’s. 

More listening, less talking. 

More living, less striving. 

… In both my external world and my internal.

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In these four weeks of silence, I’ve rediscovered a best friend- the voice I once knew and followed with passion…. my soul.

I hear her again. And her voice is so sweet.

We’re starting at last to honour our own discomfort, to think that maybe we weren’t crazy after all, chafing for years under the oppressive weight of our cultural nonsense.

Millions of us now reach out for our lost, buried souls, and once we begin the search, we’re bound to find it. – Illuminata by Marianne Williamson

….  like an old familiar friend or a cozy sweater; a timeless love song, set to a moody ballad.

At first her voice was quiet, like a soft whisper I strained to hear. But now she’s singing with octane and the innocence of an untamed child.

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Curious, she is; whimsical and passionate; in love with life- her life.

She sees good and beauty everywhere; from an orange, to a butterfly, to the faces of neighbours passing by.

She knows what she wants and it’s not the things this world tells her she does.

She worships in surrender, with a kind of teenage love. Uninterested in religion, but fiercely hungry for God.

She’s inclusive of others, regardless of differences- asking questions without forming opinions first.

She shines bright- Light in poise and manner. Unconcerned with words, she sees no need to explain herself. She lets actions, speak louder.

It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. – James 3:13 (The Message)

Like a lighthouse, she feels no need to draw attention inward. She shines outward for the sake of others- a light left on for pilgrims on the journey.

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She delights in her senses and revels in flavour.

She feels at home – in her body and her community.

She sees abundance in place of scarcity and trusts implicitly.

She flourishes in simplicity and blooms inside the margins- with time, in the waiting. 

She’s unhurried and unrushed, trusting in the process and her pleasure.

It’s the journey she’s after- one of meaning: connection and joy; contentment and faith.

This is the legacy she wants to leave.

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As I’ve listen to her voice and befriended her longings, I found new space to thrive- breathing room.

It was there all along, like an unopened present, just waiting for me to see it.

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I was too busy and distracted to notice; to hurried in my tasks to care. I chose instead, the beat of expectation- my own, the world’s, what I thought the church (and God) required of me. 

Now, I find myself rebelling- pushing back against the fence walls that boxed me in and stifled the lyrics of my soul.

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Like my ideas of faith and God, my life is expanding- and in that expansion, I’ve found myself, again- my true self, my soul.

Like a reunion of saints:

Her innocence, my maturity. Her whimsy, my experience. Her freedom, my longing. Her joy, my suffering.

Together, we are better. 

In our union, we’ve found home. 

 

 

 

 

How I got here | Talking Sex, Love and Relationships

I always felt comfortable on  stage- most like myself, actually- alive and free; whether I was dancing, presenting, competing or public speaking.

I thought I was destined for New York.

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While I grew up Roman Catholic- going to church and private school – I was twenty one before I came to Jesus; largely through hours of driving, listening to Praise 106.5.

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I accepted Jesus in Seattle, in-front of thousands, in a public arena. Somewhere in that time, I stumbled upon this video. It was a complete accident– a divine happenstance. But as I watched it, I began to sob.

In my heart I heard these words, as clear as day: 

This is what you’ll do…

The video was of a fiery Latina, who preaches Jesus to students. She was hilarious and real and honest in a way I hadn’t yet experienced. I was very new to Evangelical Christianity- still ribbed by the staunchness of the Catholic Church.

I laughed. Cried more. Then rewatched the video a dozen times.

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It didn’t make logical sense…. how could this possibly be my calling?!

I was a rebellious, religious screw up, currently living with my boyfriend and sleeping out of wedlock. My sin card was overflowing. I’d barely tasted Jesus and I didn’t know my bible. Plus, my sights were set on buying a wedding business. 

And yet, deep within my heart, I knew it was true.

It was an other-worldly knowing and I’ve carried it’s assurance ever since.

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Years later- perhaps five– I was wrestling with my purpose. I was knee-deep in building my (wedding) business, I was successful and yet, I struggled.

One afternoon, I stumbled upon that video again and just like the first time, my heart responded. 

Then over the course of twelve months,  three different people referred me to an organization- the same organization. I dismissed each one of them.

I saw no connection to myself, my gifts and this non-profit. In fact, I wasn’t sure I even believed what they did!

Then a friend- who I later understood has prophetic gifting- took matters into her own hands. She submitted my name and credentials to them…. and then they called.

So, I relented and went in for an interview

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…. I didn’t even know what for and neither did they! There were no formal openings or jobs posted, but they we’re always looking for volunteers.  For whatever reason, they knew I was meant to be there- I was, “supposed to be part of the organization…” as they put it.

They invited me to a leaders conference with three of their board members. I hadn’t even been hired yet and this was uncommon practice for volunteers.

While there, I became triggered and broke down in the women’s bathroom. One of the board members came in and held me in her arms. I ended up sharing my personal story.

She said she knew why I was there: God wanted me to be a part of Healthy Relationships- a team of presenters that goes into high schools and talks to youth about sex, love and relationships. It was honest, raw and vulnerable work, that took brave people willing to get messy and share their story.

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I had barely begun to process this part of my story- the years of pain and heartbreak in my relationships-  but again, my heart knew.

I was terrified.

I had no idea what this would entail, but I said yes and so I began. 

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I volunteered for two years, when the directors role for the program became available. My boss (and his boss) asked me if I’d consider taking the position. I said no. Three times. After all, I had a successful wedding business to run and that was my plan.

Six months went by.

No one applied for the job.

Then, someone didn’t work out.

Still, the position sat open.

Then one morning, a women sat-in on my talk.  I asked her why she was there and if she was considering volunteering for the team. She said no… She was interviewing for the directors role.

Suddenly, I was nerved. Then I became furious. The whole way home, I yelled at God… about nothing. What was this really about? Then, he showed me:

The position was always mine.

I just had to take it.

And accept His Call.

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When I told both bosses what happened, they laughed. They’d known along along…

I felt like the punch line of a bad joke! Like I’d been kept from some grand scheme!

They told me they’d been praying and patiently waiting…. for my stubborn streak to clear!

We completed formalities and the position was mine. I was now the Director of Healthy Relationships Community Education. 

Shortly thereafter, God told me to close my (wedding) business, but it was six months before I obliged.

I knew then, that God was asking me to lay down my life- the hopes and dreams I had and the vision I’d held of my future….

The choice was mine.  I could choose my will or God’s.

I could settle for a life I could build on my own, or I could choose the adventure and trust Him- even though, I couldn’t see what was ahead.

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It’s been two and a half years since then and my life has changed dramatically.

I am living that video, walking inside my calling.

It’s beautiful and scary; natural, yet hard. But, it’s all together wonderful! I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing the thing God made me for… in this season of my life, anyway.

God has used this position to heal and remake me, from the inside out. It was a lifeline in my darkest season. He’s refining my character through it and cultivating in me a humble, servants hearts. He’s teaching me compassion and perseverence in the face of suffering and I’ve become a prayer warrior because of it!

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It’s front lines battle work; spiritual warfare in enemy territory. It’s the lions den – every day- as we fight culture and the lies of darkness: the perversion and deception that has infiltrated our world’s view of love and sex.

But I have never in my life, seen God move like he does in this program.

It’s powerful, crazy, edifying work.

I have more God stories and seen miracles, than I can count!

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I know, every day, that I am part of something so much bigger and I’m making a difference.

I’m fighting for the one, where no one fought for me .

 

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The silent scream that slapped me into now

A two year old almost drowned… right in front of me, today.

She wasn’t my own; nor was I looking after her. But she was still right in front of me- in my direct line of eyesight.

I could have- should have– seen it. I could have- should have– caught it. But I didn’t….

Her mom did, thankfully in time.

As her mother gasped, I looked down. I could see her there, sitting under the water, paralyzed and unable to move. Her eyes were bug-eyed wide and open- staring back at me.

They had a desperate plea about them, silently screaming “Help me. Do you see me?!”

But I didn’t.

I had no idea a child was drowning right in front of me- less than a foot away.

I’ve held this notion for a while now – that we hear danger and accidents as they happen. That if anything should happen to my daughter, I’d be aware of it, because I’d hear it.

But today proved otherwise. 

It happened in an instance- in silence and I was completely unaware.

So was her mother, for a time.

I couldn’t shake the thought all day. I tried not to personalize the experience – to make it about me– but the whole thing spoke clear:

Kailey, wake up. Be alert. Things happen in an instant and if you’re not paying attention – if you’re distracted by your phone or even your thoughts- you’ll miss it.

All love begins with the act of paying attention. Stay here. Remain in the present moment.

I’ve watched social experiment videos, where people stage child abductions … many times, right in front of their parents eyes. I’ve read blog posts about children who drown or run into traffic… many times, right in front of their parents eyes.

And I’ve judged.

I’ve made sweeping assumptions about what kind of parents they were or how they were choosing to spent their time, rather than watching their children. [insert exaggerated huffing sounds of disapproval]

Then today, I was that person! 

I wasn’t on my phone. I wasn’t even having a conversation. There was no multi-tasking happening! I was sitting quietly on a pool step, observing my thoughts, when I failed to see a child drowning- right in front of my eyes.

It was far too easy and quick.

Evil may have had it’s way with her, but praise God, it didn’t. Her mom caught it in time. She is safe and very much OK.

But the fact remains: her story could have ended differently- perhaps, in just a few more seconds.

I’m one week into a four week sabbatical – a break from all work – plus, a digital detox. And so far, I’ve realized how often I’m tempted to pick up my phone; to numb out and distract. Without my phone, I see too, how tempting it is to numb out and distract- to instead, choose my day dreams and my thoughts, rather than my present moment… especially when I’m angry, worried, in shame or simply bored with what’s in front of me.

Time and again I’ve caught myself.

This present moment thing is harder than I thought!

But I want it- I want to make a habit of it….not only for joy’s sake, but for prevention’s sake, as today taught me.

It’s not my responsibility to save every child. I also can’t protect my own from everything. But it is my job to be responsible – to do what I can, to hedge her from protection. And that includes being present: not just with my hands. Not just with my eyes, but with my thoughts and my attention.

My intention, this present moment. 

Lord, Help me.

 

 

Saying So-Long, Sayonara to my Teenage Companion

I’m feeling the feels- all sorts of them.

I’m praying for discernment: which ones to embrace and which ones to cast down- to let float by on the river of my emotions, without picking them up to observe.

My truck is getting towed – taken for scraps – this morning. Any minute the guy will arrive and I’m choking back tears. My heart feels heavy.

It’s not the truck. It’s what it represents: the memories.

My childhood, my innocence, my naivety, my vanity, my pride, my stupidity, my wandering, my foolishness, my mistakes.

Through it all, this truck carried me- quite literally.

I learnt to drive on the thing! I passed my drivers test in it’s elevated seat and for fifteen years, I’ve turned that wheel through the changing seasons: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I’ve cried hard tears over that wheel- mother/daughter drama, teenage heartbreak, new mom meltdowns and marital hardship. It’s bore witness to it all.

I’ve worshiped at it’s wheel singing praises at the top of my lungs and poured my heart out in song, when nothing but lyrics made sense.

I’ve driven hours to no where, just to be alone and think – to be still, without a reason to get going. I could simply sit- with God and myself: the humble beginnings of my love affair with silence, contemplation prayer and meditation.

For years, this was one of my favourite places to drive to, as captured by Wakefield.

 

I met Jesus in that truck listening to 106.5, finally brave enough to ask the hard questions I’d never uttered out loud. My truck became a safe place to wrestle and challenge. I felt free to be me, without judgement or expectation.

It’s seen fifteen years of trips to the interior: summers in Penticton, Christmas’ at Apex- family traditions that continue still.

I was sixteen going on seventeen. Now I’m twenty nine, going on thirty.

But it’s time to bit her farewell.

I find it no coincidence she’d kick the bucket now- that my truck would no longer be able to serve me and my family’s needs.

Like so many things I’m leaving behind – the emotional baggage and identity of my past – I see too, my physical world is changing.

I am no longer a girl, but a women. I feel it in my bones.  I know it with my breath.

Everything’s changed and I am different.

My interior world proves it; my exterior world reflects it.

I think of Sodom and Gomorrah- how Lot’s wife looked back as she escaped her burning city. And suddenly, she turned to a pillar of salt. She was given opportunity- to a better life- but instead she held on. While physically she was fleeing, in her heart she couldn’t let go. And I think God knew that.

Because an inability to let go, is an inability to trust God. I learnt this the hard way.

Yet I sense her struggle in myself- the urge to look back, despite knowing what’s ahead is good.

God is calling me to let go of my truck and all it represents – my past and it’s story lines; it’s fears and insecurities; the girl I was then- and not look back. He’s calling me to trust Him and look forward – to the hope of what’s ahead. 

Because rest assured, NEW is on the horizon.

–//

I missed my truck being towed away, by minutes….

I had planned to go downstairs and see it off- to take a picture to commemorate. I didn’t make it though and I know it was God’s doing- his mercy and hedge, protecting me from looking back; forcing me to look forward. And for that I’m grateful. My Father is good and He knows what’s best.