Thursday, June 25, 2009

speaking of pain...

...so here i sit after 2 hours of flinching and crying in the chair while my sweet little dentist jams FILES down into my tooth...with an open cavity, nerve exposed, hoping desperately that the DEPULPIN does its murderous job...- 4 ampules of lidocaine could not freeze this nerve. 48 more hours of this. then try again. there are no words. but i shall try to find some. later.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

purity of pain

there’s a look in the eyes of someone who has suffered much and come through it to the other side. a certain clarity - as if the tears had washed away the haze of everyday taken-for-granted life.

it's the look on the face of a woman who has gone through endless hours of pain and labor and holds in her arms the living breathing result of her agony. and she does not remember the pain...her exhaustion and yet her ecstasy creates a pure glow about her that is almost holy.

it's the lines of sorrow printed on a face to whom the finality of loss has come to make shadows that weren’t there before, but they are not awful shadows. Instead they are the difference between an amateur painting and one done by a master, with careful strokes of light and shade that give character and depth. The finger of God is evident.

The artist of heaven takes our unlined, dull and inanely contented image…the "botox beauty"... and He paints with deep blood colors. I’ve looked in the mirror after weeping…and my eyes are different. Even swollen and red, they reflect a soul that has tasted the reality of life with its bitterness and sweetness, and I hardly know myself. but i see a soul that is less clouded, less detached...

anguish is not easy, but perhaps it's necessary to see clearly.

an old song says "He washed my eyes with tears, that I might see...the broken heart I had was good for me..."

gethsemane.

calvary.

but there is always a morning.

theology according to sarah joy

my granddaughter sarah joy was at my house today. her latest thing is to sing everything...she sings to herself, loudly, and makes up little songs about everything.

i happened to hear her singing this: "jesus is my fairy godmother..."

i didn't say anything. why disturb a 4-year-old's idea of jesus. if that's what she thinks he is, that's ok. it wasn't the time for a theology lesson, she was happily chanting away to herself and it was very sweet. i'll leave the straightening out to her mom and dad. where she got the idea i don't know, but all in due time it shall be clear to her.

i wondered about my own theology though...

do i sometimes think of jesus as a fairy godmother?... with a magic wand that will fix everything and make the bad stuff go away in a cloud of blue sparkly mist?

hmmmm. perhaps my theology needs a little adjustment once in a while too.

jesus, thank you that you are not a fairy godmother. you SO don't wave magic wands. but you are there when i "just call out your name", and i will never turn into a pumpkin on your watch. (how's that for mixing metaphors...)

thanks, sarah joy, for reminding nini of who jesus really is, and who he isn't!

Monday, June 22, 2009

daughter of the islands

recently (this morning) i realized why i am so comfortable living on an island, and why islands and island lore fascinate me. it's because i am a descendant of the vikings. the northern craggy bits of rock at the top of the earth are deep in my ancestral memories, tucked away in the misty subconscious zone that each person reserves for places on the planet.

although i was born on the prairies of canada, and i do feel a connection and a security there, somehow i am drawn to islands. pitcairn island of "mutiny on the bounty" fame is one. iceland, another. haiti...jamaica...sri lanka...ireland, my soul's home...all of great britain, my ancestors' second home...they came in swift and terrible raids from the north...norway, sweden, denmark...although not islands, technically, all places i could call home.

now that i have lived for 22 years in the tropics on an volcanic island the size of ireland, just longer and narrow where ireland is basically a circle, (think spoon and saucer), it's even more fun to understand why i love my island: Luzon- the northernmost island of the Philippine archipelago.

you can get to anywhere on my island in a day or two. the part we live on (metro manila) is situated on a strip of land about 100 km wide. from the south china sea to the pacific...the sun rises eastward...storms roar in from the mighty pacific eastward... sunset and stormset over the south china sea in the west.

when we went to guam a couple of years ago, i fell in love. you can drive all around it on a tiny coastal road, in about 6 hours. every inch of that coastal road is pure tropical beauty. golden sand, blue ocean, palm trees, idyllic valleys, rugged mountains right beside them, and sunrise-sunset views from almost anywhere on that tiny bit of mountaintop poking up out of the pacific.

islands. the brave tips of mountains embraced in the tender arms of mother ocean. i love them.

Friday, June 19, 2009

serendipity journals continued...

…a happy day…we took the dinghy out for a trial run. Dinghy’s are necessary for sailors. They get you to shore when the coastline is too rough to get close, and they apparently can save your life when the boat crashes on a reef, capsizes, or springs a leak in a gale. (sailing is an expensive way to try to commit suicide- this is what I gather from some of the sailing magazines Dennis has passed my way, in hopes that I would be less pessimistic. I personally call them the magazines of death…)

moi, pessimistic? When my only wonderful sailing experience has been two capsizings during our previous sailing days in Saskatchewan, both of which almost drowned me- Dennis clutching my wrist and dragging me along in the wake of the boat with my poodle Magic clawing at my face and my kids watching aghast from the shore??? (I still have nightmares…”I’m going to drown, and all my kids are watching!!!!!!!”)

Anyway…I only had one accident as we tried out the dinghy. Dennis rip-started the motor and clocked me full on in the back with his elbow. Took my breath away, I tell ya! Fortunately I was wearing a lifejacket which absorbed some of the impact. I only whined about that for an hour. 

We left the next morning at 4 am to come back to the city. As I mentioned, it’s a 3 hour drive. It had been monsoon raining all night, which was lovely for sleeping, but not so nice to go out in. Pitch dark. Cold. (for the tropics…about 70*) Dennis had already made the first trip laden with all the cushions to take home and have them washed…I had an adventure as I tried to get off the boat. Picture it. I’m laden with his briefcase (15 kilos) and my purse (5 kilos, no seriously, it’s only 5) in either hand, plus a couple of other bags. No umbrella and it’s pouring rain so I poked holes in a garbage bag and put it over my head and arms. Staggering in my wet sandals cuz I had left them outside the hatch, I stumbled to the edge of the boat and attempted to step off onto the pier.(note to self: never wear sandals on a boat- should be full shoes, laced up tight) Felt a sliding and a catching…the briefcase caught on a stanchion (the post thing that holds the fence-wire that goes all around the boat, I’ve forgotten the name- oh yes, the dodgers) and down I went in the rain in my garbage bag at 4 am. Resigning myself to falling into the ocean, I desperately held on to the briefcase, knowing that if I dropped it my dear sweet husband would not be a happy camper…er…sailor.



Snag….the little floater thingies that attach to the side of the boat to keep it from bashing against the dock caught me just above the water line in the dark in my garbage bag at 4 am. Saved! But stuck! Can’t move! Bags too heavy! Rain too intense! Slowly sling the left-hand bags over on to the pier, oh thank you Jesus they made it. Reach left hand over to grab briefcase and other bag, sling them on to the pier. Hallelujah, didn’t drop the briefcase. I can’t believe I’m still alive and not in the ocean! In the dark in my garbage bag at 4 am!!!!!!!! Slowly claw my way up holding the cables…expecting every minute to lose my grip and topple into the space between the boat and the pier…but the mercy of God was with me and I fell forward onto solid concrete.

Oh my stars. Bruised and blinded, I staggered up to the truck with my two armfuls of luggage, only to be met by a guard who had the gall to ask me, “Is this your truck? Are you a member here?” to which I not very sweetly replied “Yes and yes” and climbed wearily into the truck (sailors have to have trucks, not unlike farmers in Saskatchewan) and wrapped the sopping pillows around myself as protection against the airconditioning which one must have on to keep the windows from fogging up. Dennis finally appeared (he had gone back for the final load and to lock up Serendipity) and we began the long drive home. Made it safely. Rain stopped on the east side of the mountains. Manila was dry and hot.

Next Monday we are going to take Serendipity out for a spin and unfurl her sails. Why are we doing this, you ask??? Well, at mid-fifties, you begin to realize that if you don’t live your dream now, you never will. To see my husband’s face as he unfurls the mainsail and hoists the spinnaker (oh how he loves that spinnaker…it is spread all over our living room even as I write, drying out) makes it all worth while. Evan will come with us- he’s going off the deep end I’m afraid…talking about mounting automatic machine-guns on the port and starboard bow as protection against pirates. Having read about the murder of a round-the-world sailor somewhere in the islands of the South Pacific or something….




A Fresh Wind Blowing

One day I’ll go out with a fresh wind blowing,
(And no one will know that I am going!)
And all the dreams that didn’t come true,
I’ll leave to another captain and crew.

My craft will be sturdy- my sails new and bright-
I’m downwind and tacking- almost out of sight!
I’ll dump all the cargo I have in the hold,
Treading deep water- carefree and bold!

When I sail out with a fresh wind blowing-
May God take note that I am going…
And hold the compass and charter the sea,
While I sail for the harbor intended for me!
-Vivian Page Wheeler

Sunday, June 14, 2009

poem

A Prayer for a Little Home

God send us a little home,
To come back to, when we roam.

Low walls and fluted tiles,
Wide windows, a view for miles.

Red firelight and deep chairs,
Small white beds upstairs-

Great talk in little nooks,
Dim colors, rows of books.

One picture on each wall,
Not many things at all.

God send us a little ground,
Tall trees stand round.

Homely flowers in brown sod,
Overhead, thy stars, O God.

God bless thee, when winds blow,
Our home, and all we know.

-Florence Bone

Saturday, June 13, 2009

music- some of my favorites.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


saturday morning sunshine



thank you, sweet baby girl, for brightening up my day and my life. my sunshine! (hums "i've got sunshine, on a cloudy day..." and "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." )

Friday, June 12, 2009

snails

my granddaughter merry faye loves snails. she wears them as body jewelery too...hmmmm..

here's a beautiful poem about the snail.

Wise emblem of our politic world,
Sage snail, within thine own self curl'd;
Instruct me softly to make haste,
Whilst these my feet go slowly fast.

Compendious snail! thou seem'st to me,
Large Euclid's strict epitome;
And in each diagram dost fling
Thee from the point unto the ring;
A figure now triangular,
An oval now, and now a square;
And then a serpentine dost crawl,
Now a straight line, now crook'd, now all.

Preventing rival of the day,
Th'art up and openest thy ray,
And ere the morn cradles the moon
Th'art broke into a beauteous noon.
Then when the sun sups in the deep,
Thy silver horns ere Cynthia's peep;
And thou from thine own liquid bed
New Phoebus heav'st thy pleasant head.

Who shall a name for thee create,
Deep riddle of mysterious state?
Bold Nature that gives common birth
To all products of seas and earth,
Of thee, as earthquakes, is afraid,
Nor will thy dire deliv'ry aid.

Thou thine own daughter then, and sire,
That son and mother art entire,
That big still with thy self dost go,
And liv'st an aged embryo;
That like the cubs of India,
Thou from thyself a while dost play;
But frighted with a dog or gun,
In thine own belly thou dost run,
And as thy house was thine own womb,
So thine own womb concludes thy tomb.

But now I must (analyz'd king)
Thy economic virtues sing;
Thou great stay'd husband still within,
Thou, thee, that's thine dost discipline;
And when thou art to progress bent,
Thou mov'st thy self and tenement,
As warlike Scythians travell'd, you
Remove your men and city too;
Then after a sad dearth and rain,
Thou scatterest thy silver train;
And when the trees grow nak'd and old,
Thou clothest them with cloth of gold,
Which from thy bowels thou dost spin,
And draw from the rich mines within.

Now hast thou chang'd thee saint; and made
Thy self a fane that's cupola'd;
And in thy wreathed cloister thou
Walkest thine own grey friar too;
Strict, and lock'd up, th'art hood all o'er,
And ne'er eliminat'st thy door.
On salads thou dost feed severe,
And 'stead of beads thou dropp'st a tear;
And when to rest, each calls the bell,
Thou sleep'st within thy marble cell,
Where in dark contemplation plac'd,
The sweets of nature thou dost taste;
Who now with time thy days resolve,
And in a jelly thee dissolve,
Like a shot star, which doth repair
Upward, and rarify the air.

would anyone like a translation? what's that? you can't understand a word? never mind. just remember the phrase "softly to make haste"...and that's all you need to know.

denie.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

being real

one of the blogs i have followed for months has turned out to be a scam. i have even emailed the author several times and had replies. turns out it's all false, an emotional fiction used to get money. (not from me tho) i am amazed. shocked. saddened. frustrated. confused. horrified that this woman, in the name of christ, has pulled the wool over people's eyes with brilliant writing, excellent timing, and no slip-ups till the very very end of the drama.

see mckmama's blog for details...www.mycharmingkids.net

it makes me stop and think, however...

how real am i?

how transparent am i?

how accountable am i?

how much do i "use" emotional appeal to make people see me or my work in a favorable light?

OUCH.

lord, help me to be honest.

help me to see the danger in my own heart to twist things, to exaggerate things, to tell white lies or half-truths for the sake of material gain or to feed my own emotional needs.

help me not to hide behind anonymity.

help me to be just who i am, and to be accountable for my words, deeds, and thoughts.

real.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the old post

this is a poem i wrote when i was about 12 years old. my sister-in-law told me the other day that she has set it to music! of all my poems, it seems to be everyone's favorite, i'm not sure why. there is an image in my mind of this old post, silvery-gray and slightly tilted, standing out in our farm field. my vivid child's imagination must have been inspired. here it is, unedited!

The Old Post

Standing in a lonely field
Over which the crows have keeled
Within you lies a secret sealed
You old, old post!

You look so lonesome, so forlorn;
The grass about you all is worn,
You stand from evening until morn,
You faithful, old post!

Perhaps a swallow’s downy nest
Has rested on your grey old chest,
And baby birds launched from your crest,
You staunch old post!

You watch the seasons come and go
With wonders marvelous and lo!
The spring, the summer, fall, and snow.
You staunch old post.

Yes, standing in that lonesome field
Over which the crows have keeled
A precious secret lies deep-sealed,
You old, old post.

Monday, June 8, 2009

heaven

"we won't know why until heaven, and then it won't matter at all..."...marybeth chapman

words...

A Jingle of Words

By Betty Scott Stam (1906-1934). her story can be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_and_Betty_Stam

Don’t you love the common words
In usage all the time;
Words that paint a masterpiece,
Words that beat a rhyme,
Words that sing a melody,
Words that leap and run,
Words that sway a multitude,
Or stir the heart of one?

Don’t you love the lively words—
Flicker, leap and flash,
Tumble, stumble, pitch and toss,
Dive and dart and dash,
Scramble, pirouette and prance,
Hurtle, hurdle, fling,
Waddle, toddle, trot and dance,
Soar and snatch and swing?

Don’t you love the lengthy words—
Subterranean,
Artificial, propagate,
Neopolitan,
Revelation, elevate,
Ambidextrous
Undenominational,
Simultaneous?

Don’t you love the noisy words—
Clatter, pop, and bang,
Scrape and creak and snarl and snort,
Crash and clash and clang,
Crackle, cackle, yowl and yap,
Snicker, snare and sneeze,
Screech and bellow, slash and howl,
Whistle, whine and wheeze?

Don’t you love the colourful—
Amber, rose and gold,
Orchid, orange and cerise,
Crimson, emerald,
Purple, plum and lavender,
Peach and Prussian blue,
Turquoise matrix, jade and jet,
Hazel, honeydew?

Yes, with just the common words
In usage everywhere,
You can capture incidents
Beautiful and rare.
In words you have a weapon
More mighty than a gun;
You can sway the multitude
Or stir the heart of one.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

the serendipity journals



this is the beginning of a few episodes i wrote about years ago when we first had "serendipity", our little boat. much has changed, and i promise i will write some new ones, but these are the first, and probably the best. enjoy!

"Journals of a reluctant sailor…

Having a boat is hard work!

Dennis and I just spent our first two nights aboard “Serendipity”, a little 25-year-old Taiwan-made 36-foot cutter with an ocean-friendly full keel and a retro look that is very endearing. Let me tell you about “Serendipity”…

(In case you don’t know, you must refer to boats as female people. Therefore, Serendipity is a girl and shall be referred to as “she” hereafter.)

She has a fiberglass hull (“petrified snot” as it is cuttingly referred to by the “wooden boat” magazine people) that is designed to look like wood. Her deck is teak and everything below decks is teak as well. None of these modern, sleek white walls and wide windows for Serendipity. Oh no. She is deep and dark and snug, wide in the beam and slow on the water…like a middle-aged woman with comfortable hips and broad arms.

Our co-owner (I’m not sure which half of the boat is his, but I do know for sure that all the stuff aboard is his, and it would fill a spare-parts junk-shop!) is Steve Cadd, a fellow missionary whose boys, Jesse and Benjamin, went to school with Josh and Melody, our two youngest. We bought half of his shares in Subic Bay Yacht Club as well, that was part of the package. He is actually in a company called “get out of metro manila fast” and those were the shares we bought.

Anyway, he is out of the country most of the time and so we will have the monopoly of Serendipity for the next six months…long enough to get acquainted and attached.

As I snuggled into the v-berth aft (wait- it shall all be clear later) into the womb-like curve of the dark wood, with the low ceiling, the tiny night-lights, the upright racks on the walls for books, the little electric fans blowing to keep us cool, the hatch open to the sky and the stars, and the gentle waves rocking the boat, I fell asleep and slept like I haven’t since I was a girl in my bunk bed on the farm in Sprague. Woke up after 12 solid hours to sunlight streaming in and Dennis sorting through the dozens of shelves and drawers filled with miscellaneous tools, batteries, medical equipment, extra pieces of things, unbelievable…

We spent the whole day cleaning…wiping up cockroach droppings (how do cockroaches get aboard a boat, I ask you?) scrubbing the tiny inconvenient galley (kitchen, for you landlubbers who don’t know nautical terms) opening and sorting out every single locker on the boat (cupboard, again not a landlubber term) stubbing our toes on the very limited floor space occupied by curved edges, locker hinges, and ladders…and in general getting acquainted with our new home away from home! Oh the darling brass portholes…the sunny skylight…the charm of the tiller wheel, an actual teak circular one like you see in the movies…see attached picture…




…a happy day…we took the dinghy out for a trial run. Dinghy’s are necessary for sailors. They get you to shore when the coastline is too rough to get close, and they apparently can save your life when the boat crashes on a reef, capsizes, or springs a leak in a gale. (sailing is an expensive way to try to commit suicide- this is what I gather from some of the sailing magazines Dennis has passed my way, in hopes that I would be less pessimistic. I personally call them the magazines of death…)

moi, pessimistic? When my only wonderful sailing experience has been two capsizings during our previous sailing days in Saskatchewan, both of which almost drowned me- Dennis clutching my wrist and dragging me along in the wake of the boat with my poodle Magic clawing at my face and my kids watching aghast from the shore??? (I still have nightmares…”I’m going to drown, and all my kids are watching!!!!!!!”)

Anyway…I only had one accident as we tried out the dinghy. Dennis rip-started the motor and clocked me full on in the back with his elbow. Took my breath away, I tell ya! Fortunately I was wearing a lifejacket which absorbed some of the impact. I only whined about that for an hour. 

We left the next morning at 4 am to come back to the city. As I mentioned, it’s a 3 hour drive. It had been monsoon raining all night, which was lovely for sleeping, but not so nice to go out in. Pitch dark. Cold. (for the tropics…about 70*) Dennis had already made the first trip laden with all the cushions to take home and have them washed…I had an adventure as I tried to get off the boat. Picture it. I’m laden with his briefcase (15 kilos) and my purse (5 kilos, no seriously, it’s only 5) in either hand, plus a couple of other bags. No umbrella and it’s pouring rain so I poked holes in a garbage bag and put it over my head and arms. Staggering in my wet sandals cuz I had left them outside the hatch, I stumbled to the edge of the boat and attempted to step off onto the pier.(note to self: never wear sandals on a boat- should be full shoes, laced up tight) Felt a sliding and a catching…the briefcase caught on a stanchion (the post thing that holds the fence-wire that goes all around the boat, I’ve forgotten the name- oh yes, the dodgers) and down I went in the rain in my garbage bag at 4 am. Resigning myself to falling into the ocean, I desperately held on to the briefcase, knowing that if I dropped it my dear sweet husband would not be a happy camper…er…sailor.



Snag….the little floater thingies that attach to the side of the boat to keep it from bashing against the dock caught me just above the water line in the dark in my garbage bag at 4 am. Saved! But stuck! Can’t move! Bags too heavy! Rain too intense! Slowly sling the left-hand bags over on to the pier, oh thank you Jesus they made it. Reach left hand over to grab briefcase and other bag, sling them on to the pier. Hallelujah, didn’t drop the briefcase. I can’t believe I’m still alive and not in the ocean! In the dark in my garbage bag at 4 am!!!!!!!! Slowly claw my way up holding the cables…expecting every minute to lose my grip and topple into the space between the boat and the pier…but the mercy of God was with me and I fell forward onto solid concrete.

Oh my stars. Bruised and blinded, I staggered up to the truck with my two armfuls of luggage, only to be met by a guard who had the gall to ask me, “Is this your truck? Are you a member here?” to which I not very sweetly replied “Yes and yes” and climbed wearily into the truck (sailors have to have trucks, not unlike farmers in Saskatchewan) and wrapped the sopping pillows around myself as protection against the airconditioning which one must have on to keep the windows from fogging up. Dennis finally appeared (he had gone back for the final load and to lock up Serendipity) and we began the long drive home. Made it safely. Rain stopped on the east side of the mountains. Manila was dry and hot.

Next Monday we are going to take Serendipity out for a spin and unfurl her sails. Why are we doing this, you ask??? Well, at mid-fifties, you begin to realize that if you don’t live your dream now, you never will. To see my husband’s face as he unfurls the mainsail and hoists the spinnaker (oh how he loves that spinnaker…it is spread all over our living room even as I write, drying out) makes it all worth while. Evan will come with us- he’s going off the deep end I’m afraid…talking about mounting automatic machine-guns on the port and starboard bow as protection against pirates. Having read about the murder of a round-the-world sailor somewhere in the islands of the South Pacific or something….




A Fresh Wind Blowing

One day I’ll go out with a fresh wind blowing,
(And no one will know that I am going!)
And all the dreams that didn’t come true,
I’ll leave to another captain and crew.

My craft will be sturdy- my sails new and bright-
I’m downwind and tacking- almost out of sight!
I’ll dump all the cargo I have in the hold,
Treading deep water- carefree and bold!

When I sail out with a fresh wind blowing-
May God take note that I am going…
And hold the compass and charter the sea,
While I sail for the harbor intended for me!
-Vivian Page Wheeler

Monday, June 1, 2009

on humility, i think...and feeling very sorry for susan boyle

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us--don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

-emily dickenson