Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year, friends and family...

i have a new blog that i'll be using for this coming year, with a different theme and a different "feel", i think.

please check in from time to time- i love you all!

http://sunshinenshadowz.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


two German schnauzers.

^)^
i'm sick.

coughing, sore throat, heavy chest, plugged-up nose, headachey...you know. the horrors of the common BAD cold.

however.

i continue on, making meals, tidying up clutter, entertaining little ones, and FUN FUN FUN-

learning all about our new puppy!

Bella.

Bella-Bella...such a musical name.

she's a living doll.

Emma's christmas present- every child should have a puppy for Christmas at least once in their life!





sneeze cough cough.

hope Bella doesn't catch this...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

i vowed several times this week that i was done Christmas shopping.

and i went again, and again, and today- TWICE!

what is up with that.

i'll tell you.

it's about thinking of someone, and then someone else, and then remembering someone else, and thinking of what they would appreciate and how you can bless them...and so you brave the traffic and the crowds and the noise and the chaos to find that special something for that special someone.

it's about giving.

it's about budgeting...planning...saving...and then flexing so that there's enough budget to go around.

it's Christmas.

but as of today, with 36 hours to go, I AM OFFICIALLY DONE.

AS IN DONE.

anyone i've missed will have to wait till after Christmas Day.

now.

let's talk about baking.




sigh.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010



pondering today, my heart is, the Christmas story and what it means to me.

Happy Holidays?

Happy?

Merry Christmas?

Merry?

What was happy or merry about this burst of God-flesh being born in the filth of a barn, laid in straw, and rushed away to Egypt to save his life at just a few months old, while the mothers of Israel wept in anguish for their slaughtered babies?

what was happy or merry about the fact that there were no children within two years of his age in his town, because they had all been murdered in a desperate search for him?

this baby was born in the shadows.

lived his life in the shadow of a looming cross.

Those of us who thoughtfully follow him because we love him, ache for the years he must have spent even as a child- looking into the future to the horror that waited there for him.

a baby in the shadow of the cross.

a little boy knowing he was going to die.

a young man preparing himself to be a sacrificial lamb.

a messiah walking with measured tread the long slow road to calvary.

not happy, not merry.

ponder it, think about it, oh heart of mine.

and somehow find a way to celebrate a joyous season with deep reverence for the shadow of the cross.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

we are camping.

we are in a temporary rental home while waiting for our real house to be finished.

this is my desk.
























don't judge me.

i have no explanation, other than that there is nowhere to put stuff.

perhaps next year i'll have a clean desk...

then again, perhaps not.

because last year, it looked like this.




















oh well.

they say a clean desk is a sign of an empty mind.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


today they mowed the grass.

the roar of the terror filled the morning

cutting, hacking, crashing, slicing

the fields were in agony under noonday sun

the birds swept frantically to and fro, mourning their lost nests, searching for the little ones

my ears ached with the screams of the living wounded things

but

after the anguish and the death and the weeping

came a calm

and then

a fragrance rose from the stricken fields

a sweet sigh of pure beautiful pain

even though it was only meadow grass

the sweetness was there

and the merciful sky

wept a soft rain

onto the rows of fallen flowers

and the fragrance swelled and hung

in the gentle air

and my heart wondered at the awful beauty of the mowing.

Monday, December 13, 2010





they've left the grass uncut.

in the heat of the afternoon, the fields give off the sweeter smell of flowers finished blooming and beginning to die.

rusty plants pour all their might into seeding for the future- withering stems and roots hunched high in the cracked dry earth...using every means possible- wind, dogs running through the field, our pantlegs- to fling the seeds out into the air.

there to lie, in the scorch of sun and the cool of night, until the rains come again.

help me to remember, when the withering comes, that there will be a gust of wind- or something- that will carry the seed somewhere

and that the rains will water it

and it will grow.

they've left the grass uncut.

Saturday, December 11, 2010





a small nun in a simple white cotton robe changed the way the world thinks.

she didn't mean to.

she just lived out her consummate radical love of people , and God used her to shake the foundations of humanism.

she was in love with everyone.

death was her constant partner; life her constant passion.

she walked her own road; did things differently; sought no titles; bowed to no one except Jesus; lived her life for one sole purpose- to love.

for a woman who never married, never bore a child, she loved far more than most wives and mothers do. the world was her nursery, the church was her husband.

i wish i could have met her.

i believe some day i will.

and i will thank mother theresa for showing us a way- to lay aside all of self and simply love.

Sunday, December 5, 2010



no two sunsets are the same..

i stand on my road, eyes to the west, letting the flames of the dying fireball wash over my face and shoulders like warm soothing fingers.

sometimes there is a clear sky, and the light is too brilliant to gaze at. i have to look away from the unbearable brightness.

more often, there are an infinite number of cloud designs, from shattery wisps to glowering thunderheads to palaces of foamy silver that catch the dipping dance of light and throw it wildly across the whole greying arch of the sky.

The darkness creeps quickly from the east, jealous of the glory. The grass waits, the trees wait, the houses wait, for the enveloping shadows, staring sadly as the last final red glow kisses the horizon and pulls its mouth away like a lover's kiss.

i wait too. i stand on the road and wait. the darkness comes up behind me and wraps me in his cool velvet jacket, nuzzling my neck with apologetic whispers while the stars twinkle their friendly eyes as if to say sorry.

never the same. no two sunsets are the same.

except that final moment of goneness.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


funny, the things that make me cry.

laughing really hard makes me cry.

the wind in the grass at sunset makes me cry.

watching my baby girl sleep makes me cry.

and, this week, losing a precious pet is making me cry frequently.

tigger died.

suddenly. unexpectedly. in the blink of an eye, he was gone.

kind of off in the morning, worse by afternoon, took him in and he was gone.

he was a bouncy, happy dog. a cheerful, smiling dog. even with that beagle look of droopy face and sad eyes, he was full of life and mischief and spark.

our little doggie. faithful, friendly, funny doggie.

we laid him to rest in the gentle earth, and i'm going to plant a tree on his grave and get a little headstone that says:

TIGGER
a little dog with a big heart
always loved, never forgotten.

and...i'm crying again.

don't even tell me dogs don't go to heaven. because i know they do.

Monday, November 29, 2010







oh my little emma.

someday i hope you know that i tried to teach you to dance.

to dance the dance of life.

to whirl and twirl and sing and laugh and throw your arms open to the world with abandon and just let the joy of living sweep over you till the crazy whirl of it all sent you spinning and tumbling down in a hilarious heap on the ground.

Sunday, November 21, 2010



sometimes in my dreams i see this picture.

i hear the wavelets lapping on the sand and the dry rustle of grass in the small breeze.

i smell the tangy scent of salt water and the strong nose-crinkling odor of sea creatures hiding on the beach in their snug little holes.

i see the thousand blue-greens of the ocean and the paler blue of the arching sky.

i feel the kiss of the wind, the warmth of the sun, the tingle of the sand between my toes, the stretch of my eyes to the horizon.

i taste the spray when the breakers roll in, taste the sweat on my lips, taste the deliciousness of this perfect spot in the universe.

some people love mountains...fields...flowers...deserts...hills....

me, i love the sea.

this is my perfect place.

Friday, November 19, 2010



i am the picture-taker in our family.

to get a picture with me in it, i have to hand the camera to someone and say, "please take a picture of me and so-and-so..."

so here is a rare picture of me and my little girl emma, starting to decorate our little christmas tree yesterday morning. it was very sunny out, hence the squints.

i love tropical christmases...nothing prettier than a palm or pine tree with twinkly lights.

in other news, we are thrilled that our daughter and her husband will welcome a third child to their family this coming february. grandchild #10!!!! emma will no longer be the baby of the family!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

last night when we went to bed, we noticed little lights in the darkness.

fireflies!

in our room!

what an amazing thing- this living close to nature. it has its ups and downs (rats, for instance) but fireflies in one's bedroom is definitely a positive thing.

all night long, every time i opened my sleepy eyes, there they were, blinking and blinking their tiny lights.

made me think.

an insignificant, fly-like insect with the power to create light.

what a Creator we have!

(i'd post a picture but i was too tired to take one, and they don't blink in the daytime heeheehee.. well, maybe they do but you can't see them...)

Monday, November 15, 2010



body language tells so much. here, merry faye, my 11-year-old granddaughter, is on the soccer field as #3, getting ready to "dig". she's a digger.




i loved watching her play. not a star, but a digger. not too much self-confidence yet, for her body is gangly and growing and she doesn't really know her own strength, but a good player. her team came in third out of 12 entries...i am so proud of her.





much to be learned from team sports...cooperation, commiseration, celebration...

Thursday, November 11, 2010



the salt covenant.

a Biblical ceremony where each person brings a few grains of salt and adds them to one container, so that all are mixed and inseparable.

it's meaningful.

we did it at church last night- to symbolize unity and inseparability. each of us part of the whole. together.

as our church enters this new phase of life, it's important to really be connected. one blessing of the smaller sanctuary is that we get to talk to each other more.

we connect more.

we are closer.

covenant...where no matter what you do, you cannot get out of the relationship.

forever together, just like that urn of salt grains.

we are salt. we are light.

and we must keep our saltiness- the world needs our flavor!

Sunday, November 7, 2010







how's this for a blueprint...a plan...

take a stone, scratch on a wall, and presto...the plan for a window.

except that this won't work. it's too vague. no exact measurements. can't really be interpreted.

sometimes life throws us stone-scratched designs on rough walls.

somehow, we have to find a skilled translator to actually put this into a workable plan.

thank You, Father, for being our translator. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who teaches and interprets.

thank You for blueprints.

Friday, November 5, 2010






the amazing Dr. Gaba brings new life once again to little girlie's teeth...cherrylyn this time, with assistance from emma, who is now "part of the team"!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010




i love my little brown girl.

once in a while she still wants to be pink. and asks for a new brown mommy. sigh.

hopefully one day she will understand that skin color difference does not make me love her less, or make her less beautiful than a "PINK" person.

oh, this skin color issue is a tough one.

just out of curiosity, i wonder what would happen if a brown mommy adopted a "pink" baby.

i wonder...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


i've linked up to ann voskamps "aholyexperience"...



consciously beginning to be grateful.

today i'm grateful - which is beyond thankful- for my husband...that's he's home, that he babysits occasionally and plays hide-and-seek gloriously with our little muffin- and that he loves me, ancient and decrepit as i am. ;)

grateful.




it's the simple things in life that are satisfying.

a simple meal- rice and fish.

a simple table...scarred and battered...

fresh cold water to drink...

and a banana leaf to eat off- with fingers!

it's the simple things.

Sunday, October 31, 2010




my daughter's little hand. relaxed, at rest. the picture of trust.

snuggled on her little pink striped blanket...






this is what's going on around that little hand...



she has learned to trust. she trusts adults. she trusted me when i told her the dentist would fix her teeth.

she trusted the dentist when he showed her all the tools and assured her that he would fix her owie teeth.

trust.

i'm so glad she's still able to trust. Lord, may she never lose this innocent wide-eyed ability to believe the good things that we tell her.

and thank You, God, that nothing hurt her little mouth that day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

my life these days has a light and dark quality to it...






early morning i'm awake, dealing with emails that request urgent prayer and much wisdom...


i delve into the spiritual bread upon which i must live,
and answer the emails
with a sudden flow of grace that bears fruit within hours...












as the day opens up, grey lowering clouds change to bright sunshine and blue skies, and hours upon hours are spent with happy children, ministering to their every need, feeding, teaching, praying, reading the Word, playing, listening, hugging, absorbing the beautiful world around us and watching their joy as i bend to the everyday necessaries of little ones.


















they go to bed...night falls...










back to the the Word, the emails, the back and forth across the planet of lonely hungry souls who need something i can channel of God's grace...




and then i too, am a receiver of grace, and the soft night enfolds my tired body and heart and i rest, and worship...



Monday, October 25, 2010

i was born in a little French town in the rolling plains of northern Manitoba, near a range of low hills called, grandiosely, "The Riding Mountains".

My earliest memories are of green forests, golden fields, blue lakes, and four seasons that changed the landscape of my world from white to green, faded into red and brown, and then white again.

The scents of the prairie seasons lies buried deep in my brain...the crisp clean nose-pinching smell of snow...the long wet watery smell of spring rain...the robust green scent of hay and wheat and flax and barley in high summer...the thin icey threatening odor of the coming storms behind the plummy ripened fruit of autumn...

deep, deep smells...memories connected to them...the explanation that the olfactory gland is near the memory center of the brain is not sufficient to say why smells make us remember, make me remember.

this morning, all in a rush, i was a little girl again, standing in the newly cut grass and surrounded, infused with the living growing waking-up smells of a country lane at dawn. i stood there, dogs nosing along in the grass beside me, and let the memories come along with the dewey hushed moonset...long i stood.

then walked again, happy dogs at my feet...walked in a gentle green embrace of remembrance...

Saturday, October 23, 2010


there was a lovely sentence in my devotions this morning...

"THAT morning's sun will get rid of a lot of fog..."

mornings here in the country are sometimes a bit foggy, misty, or smokey with the pungent scent of burning rice-straw.

sometimes the world seems to be covered in mist...fog...or smoke...where the line between truth and lies is obscured and we walk with outstretched hands cautiously feeling our way towards the light.

but there is coming a morning, a glorious morning, when all will be clear.

now we bravely shine the light of the Book on the mist and fog and see it dissipate-

but how fantastic it will be when all is clear.

when we will know as we are known.

when we will see each other, and Him, face to face...

"i see you" deeply.

when the glass is no longer there between us, darkly...

THAT morning's sun will indeed get rid of a lot of fog.

maranatha, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


quietness.

i am getting used to quietness.

the sound of crickets, frogs, and the wind is often all i hear for the whole day long.

my spirit is coming more and more to rest, too.

i've been so busy for so many years- a lifetime of pushing.

taking risks.

doing things that no one has ever done before.

striving to find the balance between sanity and creativity, stretched in the tension of call and rest.

i'm thankful that God has arranged for me to live outside of the throbbing hum of the city- which i love- and in this place of peace, of tranquility, of green things growing.

oh, how thankful i am to have green things growing.

quietness.

"He makes me to lie down in green pastures..."

this season of life is a blessing indeed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010





yes, the sky really was this color.

it was a typhoon day.

the problem with taking pictures of kite-flying is that you can't take a picture of the person flying the kite AND the kite. so it looks disjointed...an object in the sky, and someone grounded on the earth holding a string- with a look of joy on their face!

someone needs to invent a way to put it together.

we had a fun afternoon- no, a glorious afternoon.

even tho a killer trick kite attacked several people and gave one of them a real bump on the head.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



a catastrophic storm approaches our island.

the sky is wild...the breeze has a chill behind it.

my wind chimes go constantly for about an hour, then fall silent.

a sudden sunset, and then darkness.

yet, moments before the light is gone, a brilliant double rainbow arches in the sky.

a double reminder of God's promise that all will be well.

All will be well.

and so, thought the storm bears down on us, to sleep.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

a young man fights for his life in the hospital tonight.

my daughter sits at his side, endless hours, praying, working, strategizing, learning, guiding the doctors at times, and creating an atmosphere of light in a dark dark place.

will the boy live?

we don't know.

exactly a year ago another one of her boys died, of the very same thing.

it's too surreal.

why? why. why.....

no one knows. God sees, and weeps, and is God.

we pray.

it's our job to fight, and to pray.

it's not our job to know why.

we pray he lives.

we hope.

we believe.

but only God knows the ending, and we have to trust Him.

otherwise the tears are too much.

Friday, October 15, 2010




gecko.

ECHO.

a strange, mechanical two-syllable sound that creaks forth from some hidden location on our balcony- or roof- every night.

sometimes in the afternoon.

no use to try to find him (her)

just a sound.

a lonely little gecko searching for a friend, maybe.

"i wish we could find him and take him along when we move" says daddy.

we love our ECHO.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

RESCUED.

ALL OF THEM.

GLUED TO THE INTERNET COVERAGE, LIVE, FOR HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS, I WAS.

WATCHING THE FACES, THE STRAINING CABLE, THE WHEEL TURNING, TURNING, TURNING, THE ARMS OUTSTRETCHED...

THE DARKNESS UNDERGROUND LIT BY HIDEOUS GLARING LIGHT, ARTIFICIAL AND TERRIFYING...

THE SUNLIGHT ABOVE GREETING THE MEN ONE BY ONE WITH RAYS AS TENDER AS THE TEARS THAT FELL...

AND THE FINAL SCENE OF THE FINAL MAN, THE BRAVE MANUEL, WHO STAYED TILL THE END AS THE LAST RESCUER, LEAVING BEHIND HIM THE DEAFENING SILENCE OF AN EMPTY TOMB...

REMINDS ME OF ANOTHER EMPTY TOMB, WHERE ANOTHER MAN CAME DOWN, SO FAR, TO RESCUE US, AND THEN LEFT A SILENT HOLLOW IN THE MOUNTAIN WHERE HE HAD BEEN...

ALL OF US, RESCUED. TO THE CHEERS OF THE ASSEMBLED CROWDS WATCHING IN THE BALCONIES OF HEAVEN...

THANK YOU IS NOT ENOUGH.

EVER.







Monday, October 11, 2010






cherrylyn.

her little face is as delicious as her name. all of her is just delectable.

bright eyes, delicate nose, perfect teeth, sweet little tender lips, petite limbs, soft hair, and that smile.

that "tear your heart out" smile.

this child was abandoned on our doorstep 5 years ago, along with her siblings catherine and alex.

she's grown up in our children's institution. loved, to be sure, fed, clothed, cared for, but not in a family.

we are just now "de-institution-alizing" her.

for all of these sweet smiles, there are hours of silence, hours of sullen quietness, hours of inexplicable sadness when she retreats into a silent world where none of us can reach her.

happiness is rare for this little one.

abandonment issues have tied her up on the inside, making laughter and ease an unfamiliar companion.

yet she'll run at me full speed and throw herself at me with arms outstretched as if to say, "grab me while you can, i'm out of control"...and i do. i hold her. i love her. i kiss her.

but nothing will ever make up for the mother's love she never had. nothing can replace the arms that should have held her while she was so tiny, helpless, and needy.

cherrylyn.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


today i shared my sunset, (my sunset, huh- oh the hubris of my small self) my crickets and frogs and quietness, with a tired and weary friend.

she sat on the porch steps and drank in the smells and sounds of the sweet provincial air...she gasped in delight to hear the gecko that brought back childhood memories...

she sipped her coffee, specially made by "PD", and savored each sweet swallow...

played badminton with the grandson under the streetlights...

listened to emma's excited chatter...

shared her heart and asked deep questions, and listened intently to the responses we gave...

and left with a promise to return...

what good is a sunset if you don't share it?