imperfect prose on thursdays

art-souls…

this is going to be a place where we dig word-deep. where we uncover language lure, and breathe poetry. prose. in the name of faith.

i am a writer, and i am a believer. as such, i believe i am called to quality word-ing. to creating beauty. to mastering the literary even as i learn. i want to honor my maker with my gift–and i’m calling all of you writers, artists, sisters and brothers of image and painting and poetry, to join me in this high calling. in this striving to perfect the imperfect prose.

maybe it’s a poem you’ve written, or simply a piece of writing that you want to share. a discovering of God in your week that you want to unravel. maybe it’s a painting you’ve done, or a quote you’ve found, or a photo you’ve taken… or a post of simple writing… maybe you want to talk about how your child has shown you God. how your husband has kissed belief into your heart. how you’re finding it so hard to believe right now, and why… how you wish to be one thing, but find yourself the other… or maybe you want to share a story you’ve written, or a thought you’ve had about the literary world. maybe you’re reading an extraordinary book and you want to discuss that.

we are broken people. let’s celebrate our redemption. let’s make a theology of the arts on thursdays.

if you want to link up with me, just use the button code below, or guide your readers to “in the hush of the moon.”

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i am a blogging nomad… visit me here, now, sweet friends: in the hush of the moon.

will you take care of me forever?

face red he lies, eyes under pillow, me touching hand where the tarnished gold of ring digs deep worn farm-boy finger. he can’t move, for the migraine blinding fast, and i remember, eight years ago, me cooling fever-forehead and him asking shaky, “will you take care of me forever?” and me falling on him in forgetful joy, forgetful of his brain-pain but him letting me, laughing a little, as we thought of marriage and children and dancing forever this slow wedded waltz, and here we are, eight years later, tarnished gold on fingers staining skin, my hand still on his brow, a little boy asleep in nearby bassinet.

and now, remembering the run in hay-fever sun, the run in which i heard heaven’s voice: “this is the man i’ve prepared for you…” and knowing now, that voice, ever closer, confirming each day, “this is the man” and me leaning on these words and us leaning on each other’s broken bodies and making most of shortened days…

and soon, to follow this man out west, to live in a house we haven’t bought, to work at jobs we haven’t claimed, to live lives we’ve never known, to go in faith, as we did seven years ago when we whispered ‘i do’ under flower-trellis in my parents’ backyard.

and i step each day in a journey that’s been prepared for us… not knowing, just mending fevered love, and touching the hand where the gold of wedding ring glints bright…

can Christians be happy?

laundry hangs checkered on line, i’m washing dishes bubble-white and he’s sitting in blue bumbo making bubbles of his own and i feel this: Happy. Utter. Laugh-Lipped. Happy.

scoop baby close, cheek cashmere-soft against mine and he coos and i remember running this morning, hard against forest trail, light slicing like butter on toast through tree-tops fringed green with spring, and then too: Happy.

yet it followed me like a dog tugging tail-end of shirt, this guilt… why, on day of clean-laundry-line and hard-soiled-run? guilt from her message, yesterday in church… message of missionary standing loving upfront with hands moving this way and that, mouth saying this: “our faith is too cheap. it doesn’t cost us anything.”

at first i think, yes. i think of her, handing bibles out in communist china and living single, ever-serving far from family and friends, and i think yes: my life is comfort. i live in tidy home with love and homemade bread and wine and home-grown garden and baby climbing tall in too-many clothes and yes, this is comfort.

but is this wrong? is being happy as a Christian, wrong? when did guilt become a pre-requisite for grace?

i try hard, making cookies for next-door neighbor, writing articles for non-profit newspapers and books for christian publishers and selling paintings cheap so they might lighten bright this blackened soot world, but, is this enough?

then, the song… “when fears are stilled, when strivings cease… fullness of God in helpless babe… no guilt in life, no fear in death”… we’re singing this standing in church-communion after missionary message and i’m daring to believe in these humble lyrics, this truth of helpless babe, this knowing that by being happy, by running slapping feet against forest floor praising light from heaven’s roof, singing spring into the everlasting moment of today, i am being His.

grace is all about what He’s doing–not about anything i have or haven’t done. salvation is me, accepting this grace, every hour.

and that is the cost of my very rich faith. that is the worship i can offer, today.

happy for:

-forest floors and swollen sunshine

-baby’s milk breath

-stroller-walks to post office

-husband kisses

-homemade bread

-daffodils yellow in wind

for more of the grateful, visit

this morning i want to fall

pupils are wide in this little girl’s face. i rub hand worn, dry, across forehead, hear aiden down the hall and want to fall on the toilet for, another sleepless night. another night of listening to husband breathe, hearing the old-man fridge break out into listless hum, the furnace, roll over and over, and my thoughts, tumbling with the furnace like a load of laundry. and i know, i must not have eaten enough that day, and i must have worried too much.

this, my confession: i don’t take time for myself, don’t give myself pleasures. i type hard assignments, play hard with baby, serve hard husband and mother, and paint hard when i have commissions, but never let myself rest and why? as if i were a martyr to my own cause…. pride. and now, i want to fall and not rise, want to call on someone to go, pick up my baby boy and nurse and care for him while i sulk in dawn’s too early light, but my someone is gone to work, and i am here alone.

and i think, when did i get so afraid? for fear drives me… fear of not making money, fear of not knowing the future, fear of not being in control, fear of becoming lazy… fear of little production. yet the Bible says REST. to not rest, is a sin.

from somewhere in the back of cobwebbed brain i hear her: “dance long dances, sing long songs, emily” and once again i remember the meaning of life: people. not things or money or book deals. and so i walk into my baby’s room and pull the drapes and sing him his good-morning song, forcing away worries of house selling, of hubby finding job, of me finding publisher for book, of anything but the little life cooing songs from deep inside his bassinette.

and when he sees me, he squeals.

and that makes this morning worth it.

and so i learn to walk, one day at a time, all over again, as if i too were a baby, needing picking up and holding when all i want to do is fall…

for more such stories, visit

whispers of flame

grandma is fragile, butterfly-spun-threads clinging to branch, back hunched in nursing-home chair, face sunken deep but eyes ever young. eyes that remember, and i look at her looking at dad, remembering him as a baby, and i see dad, silver in hair, remembering her as a mother and i look down at my son bubbling and burping, ever growing and stretching and pooping and breathing and i think, life is this: loving.

and i remember, driving home as a child, whirring of tire on pavement lullabying to sleep, and pretending still to be asleep when we pulled to a stop, and dad, lifting me strong in his able arms, carrying me to bed where i lifted eyelids, just, and asked him to stay awhile, and so he did, while outside thunder ate up the skies, and he sang to me The Lord is My Shepherd in his lovely tenor while mum lit candles here and there, whispers of flame against the terror of night.

now we’re home, i put baby to bed, tuck Linda’s hand-knit afghan around cheeks and touch head, praying God, let him know he’s loved, for it’s parents that make this world someplace special. it’s in their care that Christ lives incarnate. and it’s for this that i am grateful. and it’s for this that i am now.

for more gratitude visit

gasp for grace

he doesn’t know i’m watching him. little feet slipping fuzzy-socked leaping high on floor-boards, arms stretched wide as if to die on unseen cross only he’s very much alive, chuckling at the colours in the room, at the sounds and smells and sights only baby-eyes can see and i stop doing mother things to feel the grace in this undone moment.

it’s in these ‘uns’ that God moves. in the unfelt forgiveness, in the unspoken ‘i love you’s’, in the unheard draws of breath between sobs–these are the moments when God is. when humanity stops being, and the divine starts. in the gasp for grace.

thinking back now to when husband’s face crumpled as my words dragged sharp through his skin and he fell apart, man become boy, because of my speaking… thinking back to all the times i’ve done when i should have un-done; times when i’ve spoken when i should have stayed silent, times when i’ve heard something that wasn’t meant for my ears and it’s in these un’s that we find humility… in the un-woven tapestries of purple that will one day make royal…

i desire this grace and find it when chubby arms wrap tight my neck and slobbery mouth kisses wet my cheek and baby coos in sweet boy voice needing nothing but me.

grace in the un-doing. in the un-being. in the un-aware.

find more stories of the holy at

easter every day

the sky is beer-bottle gold. we’re driving fast along white-out lines, aiden eating red, purple, green plastic rings and me, writing an article amidst granola bar wrappers and apples slightly bruised. beside me, trent, listening to his story on the mp3.

we share a bottle of chocolate milk and some cookies. trent teases as i somehow miss my mouth, crumble cookie ‘cross my shirt. i poke his arm. silence, as we return to story and typing and grey of road passing.

we’ve spent easter in the capital city, easter on a sugar farm watching maple syrup drip from trees onto pancakes, easter playing scattegories, easter eating chinese and kissing crusty-nosed nieces and nephews. and Jesus rose, within the cathedral of a living room, the sanctuary of the woods, the chapel of a kitchen. he rose in my sister-in-law’s voice as she spoke of community and christendom and desiring to be more as a mother. he rose in the peal of child’s laughter, the squeal of bum on slide, the harmony of lullaby singing.

and now, we sit in the silence of car wheeling home and feel him rise between us, among us, the ever-present Christ making easter out of the every-day.

angels across the lawn

‘it’s like liquid sunshine,’ i tell him, dripping vitamin d into his bow-lips catching dribble with the edge of his bib and he stares out the kitchen window, giggles as morning mist rises like angels across the lawn. i brush his two teeth, wash sleep from his eye and then we sit, read his poetry bible and i show him a picture of family.

“mommy, daddy, aiden” i say, pointing to the page in the bible and he grabs the end of his bib and stuffs it into his mouth and then i kiss his baby cheek and hold him close thinking there’s nothing to safe-keep this moment. no photograph or video which can remember the smell of infant skin.

this, our morning routine, which starts after i’ve poured my coffee and aiden begins talking in his bedroom down the hall. and i let him talk, babble to his imaginary friends in his bassinette while his daddy and i make morning matter across the kitchen table with toast and coffee and grown-up bibles. then, it’s aiden time until he goes down for nap and i think, what would i do without this community?

thinking back to the other day when trent was opening a bag of milk, and speaking of hell. “i think hell is a place where you have no one,” he said in his man-boy voice. “you’re alone with your thoughts, day in and out. hell is a place without community.”

and i sit now watching my baby bang his leg up and down like a drum in his vibrating chair, chuckling at the ceiling tiles and saying words that sound like ‘mom’ and i think, if hell means no community, then this must be heaven.

legs

my mum’s carry hers on topply feet in wednesday noon light, carrying tote bag filled with bible and depend’s and her coffee mug, which she brings everywhere. she arrives, a pearl of sweat on her lip, cheeks flushed, eyes wide like the blue forget-me-knots soon to spring from my yard. she arrives triumphant, having walked from coffee-break to my house, when normally she is driven.

these are significant steps, since three years ago she lay curled on the couch days at a time unable to move or walk. the tumor is shrinking. God is moving.

staring now at my baby’s legs leaping high in jolly jumper, springing into the air like fleshy pogo-sticks, drool-goatee on his chin, mouth wide with baby delight and i see my husband in him, i see trenton’s legs and remember them running across his father’s farm, running to hop on the quad and ride far into the fields of canola, racing up and down piles of dirt and then pausing by the cows, piling off the quad and running fingers through cows’ coarse hair as they stand in moo-quiet and lick salt.

and i wonder, is it time? mum’s steps make me think it is… time to pick up from our crowded home and move to the open fields where trent can watch his son’s legs grow and chase calves and run after stray kittens and play baseball on his grandma’s lawn.

it would be an act of faith, for still, no job, no house… so, when is it faith? and when is it foolish?

and now i think of Jesus’ legs cracked and bleeding on easter-cross and i see in him, the foolishness of a weak God then, three days later, legs strong and whole, standing in the garden before Mary and Thomas and the disciples telling the world to touch and see, he is God. and he is power. he is faith. in spite of appearing foolish and weak.

begging God, then, today, to show me how to make topply steps in this walk of spirit… to know when to move. and when to stand still and wait.

for more such stories on easter, visit

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