that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


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love

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Fourth Sunday of Advent.

The fourth candle symbolizes love.

Treasuring borrowed words from a beloved poet:

“Here I came to the very edge
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning. ” 
                                                                                       -Pablo Neruda
Love, in every form, goes something like that. Being mindful of this truth in these final moments.

The wait is almost over.


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joy

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Third Sunday of Advent.

The third candle symbolizes joy.

Anybody have any grand ideas for this one? Years ago, my dear friend [then Pastor] Nathan explained that joy comes internally, externally, and always from God. Yet what about those moments, like this moment, where joy is a little harder to come by? Harder to find? Sometimes it is just more of a struggle, and we feel like we spend so much time looking for and grasping at hope and peace that seeking joy just feels more like a chore. I have written several times on this blog about actively trying to live my life one of joy. And how hard it is. When joy, the beautiful return for waiting for and the gift of Christ, should be so simple. Do you have any ideas? I don’t really know what to think about joy today because I am waiting, it feels like everyone is waiting, for the joyous part of this season. Amidst the haste of tasks we associate with the season and busyness of trying to connect with loved ones in heartfelt, meaningful ways…we pressure ourselves to find joy. As we focus on the desire for healing and hope and peace and then – that the suffocating, intoxicating, brilliant thing of joy will comes to overwhelm them all. Us all. And we didn’t have to really do anything at all.

Where does your joy come from? …What fills you? [story.donald miller]

And personally, I do not mean simply waiting for the joy of Friday, December 20 – when school is out! What a blessed relief that day will be, the joy in the quiet breaths I can take during a few weeks away; a time with my family that I long for 11.5 months of the rest of the year.

Calgary has grown cold, and the blustery days of snow have produced some magic in the prettiness of white. And it’s so very quiet out there tonight, a first in awhile, perhaps here to settle us in for the last full week of anticipating this gift.

grace and peace,

Kate

[adapted from d.08]


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in these moments [too]

Our journey can feel staggering, and faith feels wavering, amidst an altered path. Or – when something happens to contradict what we hoped for, prayed for, or when we decided and determined ourselves what is going to come. Then – that is when our true and far reaching roots are formed. With all my thoughts and love somewhat far away today, I can’t seem to put much into words.

“There is a complete awareness of our desperation [and weakness]. Through what God decided to reveal in a few moments of brokenness – when life happens to us, it’s not as simple as [singing a song]. I think sometimes we all need to admit…we don’t know what the heck’s going on.” – All Sons & Daughters, paraphrased from a 2011 interview.

I love that.

Grace and peace.


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all i know

The best I know how.

Amidst a conversation the other day, my teaching partner asked me how I handled a situation amongst a few of our kids. Not unlike many of the incidents or experiences in the first two months of our year, I felt helpless and hadn’t predetermined a strategy, so it felt fitting that he asked me post-handling. All too often, we’ve felt uncertain about how and what we’re doing and, as I’ve mentioned before, been overwhelmed by the fragility of our ‘clientele’ this year. It feels as though the distances between corners-turned are quite lengthy, and we’re teaching ourselves how to have some more grace for, well, ourselves. Anyway, some tough days. So within a conversation regarding these matters and how we do, I think I smiled weakly, but said directly, “I just do it the best way I know how.”

The best I know how.

I am in a space right now that happens every so often as the season changes and it seems as if I’ve been evolving at a little slower of a pace than usual. Self-reflection overrides all other aspects of my time and I am caught up in having tea with myself, wondering what lesson I am supposed to be learning or when I will be enveloped within a challenge that I cannot foresee the reason for (yet). I should apologize to those around me, because I tend to be a bit of a bother during these times as I don’t know what to say, for fear of being found out that I am [heartfully, mentally] journeying again.

I realize that I don’t have answers or understanding or awareness for absolutely everything, but I do know that I live and act the best I know how to. As a daughter, I try to honour my parents for the ways they’ve raised me and the role they uphold within my life. As a sister, I know I’ve come up short here and there, but trust that the love, grace, and forgiveness that I wholeheartedly extend to them in moments will ultimately be sent my way. The best way I know to be a friend is to think of them, be intentional with my honesty, care, and support, and pray for that in return. In my profession, I don’t know how to teach or be a colleague or mentor in any way other than the way I do it. I am growing, learning, changing, and sifting through different ways that I believe I can get better.

The only thing I am absolutely certain of is that this part, the part where I am looking at what I am doing and how I am doing with an honest heart, is truth. My truth – what informs me, guides me, criticizes me, molds me, might look different than yours, but it’s all I know. I struggle with comparisons (I think we all do, to some extent) because I think that comparison is unfair to the nature of who we are. If everyone is operating honestly for themselves, then I believe co-existing with each other might be a much more gracious task. So as to look at one another and whisper “your way of doing, of being, is different from mine – but we’ll find our way.”

I read somewhere today that “broken bones heal stronger, and so do broken [people].” My brokenness surfaces during these seasons for me; when the noise of what I am walking through magnifies the parts of my truth that I need to piece back together and fix. But I am working towards deeply understanding that this is not a bad place to be – vulnerability, trepidation, quiet. In a moment, I wait for the next [light hearted] time where simplicity masks the contemplation of where I am at. It can be easier to be satisfied and not question, than to crave and look for more to cultivate your truth.

The best I know how.

I only know one way to be, and that’s how I am doing it. I seek to understand others in my desire to love them for where they’re at when they meet me at “this” (undisclosed/unspecified/proverbial) place. I find that knowing people, asking questions, and truly listening helps me see the best parts of them and maybe use some of their ways to help me with mine. I am not sure if I’ll ever get it right – being daughter, sister, friend, teacher, but I know that I am doing my best with what I’ve been given. I try to appreciate, and be grateful, for that awareness.

Someone told me once that his way of looking at what he does is by ensuring that he “doesn’t get in his own way.” Profound, was my understanding – don’t over think or question too hard what is smouldering in your hearts, otherwise you might inhibit yourself from seeking those truthful, honest, natural desires and truths. And in not getting in my own way, I certainly hope I don’t get in the ways of others. The best parts about me seem to require an ever present you (in any defined form) and I am at a point where my excuse for being is that I am doing it [all] as I can, as it should be… for who I am.

Garrels' Quote


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the year.

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I remember back in university when I got in the habit of seeing the year as September – April, as opposed to January – December. It seemed fitting since every September brought something new – classes, people, living arrangements, and sometimes, a new city. Instead of holding the opportunities for a fresh beginning, January simply became the continuation of this – second semester of third year (or whatever was appropriate). Then, come April 30th, I would round out my year by working for 4 months to save/provide for my next year…and so on. Since I did this for 6.5 years, I got the hang of it.

This cycle persists. Approaching the end of September, it fits to reflect on it as the first month of my new year, not as the 9th month of 2013.

Colder temperatures are setting in as I am cozied up in my bed this Saturday morning. We had a beautiful Indian Summer here on the prairies, and for that I am grateful. The summer months were woven together by celebrating the love of those around me. It was a blessing to travel and participate in weddings during July and August, but the busyness begged for some time to enjoy the weather at a bit of a slower pace – yes, even though summer heat in September can be an upward climb for teachers and students!

Summer brought – a wife for my brother, a union for two of my dearest friends, another for friends I adore, yet I see so rarely, fresh fruit, coffee to overflow, Okanagan beach days, Bulkley River nights, the living skies of Saskatchewan, and countless precious moments to steal away the loneliness that can set in when family and friends feel so far away. I was prepared for my new year with the hope and renew that comes from trust in the path set before me.

Here now, I am back in grade 6 and with the same teaching partner I was blessed with last year. I am grateful for a year that breaks from the transitional patterns I’ve had for so long. The children in our room this year are complex – their genes, hearts, and experiences bring us unparalleled difficulty. To clarify: it’s not a negative struggle. Difficulty doesn’t mean bad. It simply means that the fragility of people becomes more powerful and true to me as I experience the world through my desperate desire to help these kids. They’re all heart as I like to say… and you can interpret that as a characterization of their enthusiasm or how much of me it’s going to take each day. The only way to approach it is in love and reflection and truth that my career is a gift, each new year bringing a different energy and focus than the one past.

September represents new. But what is new does not always look the way we think it will. Upon adjustment, my view is clear and approaching a different type of beauty.

The year – looks to be promising but definite a pull at my heart. Walk with me as I learn another new and different way of doing; a deeper, more gracious and humble way of being.

My life is yours 
My hope is in you only 
My heart you hold

Your glory is so beautiful 
I fall onto my knees in awe
And the heartbeat of my life
– your glory, 
all sons and daughters


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We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold
Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are
I want to add to the beauty
to tell a better story… (~sara groves)


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trusting change

“…because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:5

And for that, I have hope to trust I am exactly where I should be. Why does it feel like there is no turning back now?

Hmm..

Cheers… to fully embracing a new adventure!


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being thankful

I don’t know.

It seems easiest to say the things I am most grateful for…starting with family, ending with health. Everything seems to roll into each other when thinking about what I am grateful for – the obvious parts of my life, the people and things in my grasp that I fear living without.

But then, this year – I think what I am even more grateful for are the challenges and unexpected confusions and left turns instead of right ones. I am so thankful for the hardest parts of life, the ones that make me feel vulnerable and unsure and keep me up at night. Those are the places of the heart that remind me of the deeper purpose and ambition I crave in this life, and that if it was always easy, I would simply be bored.

Or honestly, I am grateful for the challenges because they serve to remind me that I am still growing, still learning, and still seeking the very best and real possible outcome for it all. Difficulties show that we are alive — truly alive.

It’s organic and natural to be thankful for the best parts of our lives, but it takes something else to give thanksgiving for the trials that we don’t realize we’re thankful for until we’re reflecting on them after they’ve passed.

With a thankful soul, happy thanksgiving.

leaves become most beautiful when they’re about to die

regina spektor


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i forgot i had a blog.

And for that I apologize.

Moving on!

Whew, what a whirlwind these last few weeks have been. I know that is a cliched kind of term [that I try to avoid for the most part] but nonetheless, I am not quite sure how I got from then until now.  A recap? Sure.

May 22nd – I took my class on a ten day trip to the Island. A rite of passage, some say, the grade 7 class goes on a version of this field trip every year. When I signed up to teach 7, I knew of the trip because I myself went on it about 15 years ago (and my Dad chaperoned… crazy) but I did not know that being the teacher on the trip is quite different than being a student… ergo, it was a lot fun – relative to what it was (two weeks in Hawaii would probably be a little more relaxing!) – but I was glad to get home. Check it out:

‘I need a coffee THIS big, Fred! Pllllleeeeeaaassseeee?!’

Getting a tour of the Deeley Research Centre: BC Cancer Agency by the DRC’s finest! 😉

Touring UVic! Crazy if you run that through your mind a second.

Dallas Road beachcombing

The BC Legislature, 7s making a 7. Heyo.

Alright. So that was a good time, I laughed a lot, felt like crying a lot, slept very little, and just had an all around good time.

Two weeks after we returned from ‘The Big Vic’ (coined by my 7s), I flew back to Victoria to play witness to my cousin Jord’s wedding to his fantastic bride, Anne. The weekend was incredibly full – the wedding along with visiting with family I adore, and friends that I’ve longed for, and enjoying my favourite coffee…ever..at Discovery Coffee, I got some face time with THE one and ONLY, BRYAN ADAMS (and by face time, I mean I saw him perform). It was a blast to go with Luke, Darc, Celine, Alex, and Jocelyn and it was a moment, one I will never, ever forget. Love him. Love his music. Love that he played for 2.75 hours STRAIGHT, with no opening act. Such a rockstar. Here is the only reasonable-but-terrrible pic:

BUT…for your viewing pleasure, here is Bryan DOING HIS THING. Ignore (or embrace) Luke singing along. Everything I DO (I do it for you)… le sigh:

My weekend in Victoria was so wonderful. I couldn’t have been more thrilled for the gift that those few days were; I was so tired post-field trip and it was nice to put life/report cards on hold for 5 days.

When I got home, Nana had been admitted into the hospital, into palliative care. I don’t know if you would call it a nightmare as it was peaceful and beautiful to spend her final days with her, but it was incredibly hard on my heart. My Nana meant everything to me. I wrote about her here (click) a few years ago, around the time she was in Victoria getting surgery. We were friends. She left an incredible legacy of love. She also left a heavy desire in me to be more like her. I got to be in the hospital room for a beautiful, miracle time with her where she was conscious, somewhat chatty, and where I could say goodbye. But when she actually passed 5 days later, my heart broke. Death is a beautiful thing for believers but it’s not human if we don’t feel the loss. I was blessed to be asked to put together the memorial video and I loved it, I got to spend some time alone with her in that way. As I was thinking and praying through my grief, I was simply struck with how a little less ‘full’ life feels with her gone. Anyway, re-reading what I wrote from 2008 kind of stopped my heart all over again: Nana, with her stubbornness and age, sense of humour and quiet calm, reverent faith, experience and bravery, gentleness and mercifulness, grace and perserverance… somehow recaptured my heart in the moments of transferred care: I got to look after her. And in some small way, God was whispering that life has come full circle and He is to be truly and miraculously celebrated in this. I know that it was hard for her to be dependent on us for awhile, but I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. I am sure I could talk myself in circles over this, but I just learnt a pretty valuable lesson through spending time, and remembering, with my Nana… she has the connected life and love way of doing things figured out. I hope that I inherited some of that in myself. And I sure don’t mind being her prayer warrior for a change; 

I will love you forever Nana…

And then, right after Nana passed – my first full contract year of teaching ended. I don’t know if I can quite describe the emotions of that. Is it simply enough to say, once again, I will miss those represented by these? …

So that’s good. I love those kids. I will miss those kids. But yea, onwards and upwards…

TO CALGARY. I am moving there to teach! I have a full-time job for September and I am soooo excited. SO excited. More on that later as this post has ran my creative juices (or picture library) dry.

But here’s, in essence, what I am doing now. Basking in “2 months of Friday nights” – and sunbathed coffee in the morning…living the (teacher) dream:

Cheers!


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farther along

It’s all so new – this process of growing and being challenged and questioning myself in ways I’ve never tried or thought of before. My heart, it seems, needs a little attention and I’ve been finding out simple truths that are freeing and convicting and oh-so-powerful.

I can’t believe how hard it all is: life. Doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining or fun or easy or stress free at times, but navigating all of the responsibility and desires and concerns and inadequacies and hope can be overwhelming. Well, for me anyhow. It’s been a long couple months; powerful that it seems to be only in those especially hard or tiring or confusing periods that time ever feels “long”. Maybe it’s because I need to take full advantage to reflect or figure out some things and maybe, just maybe, the illusion of unending length of time is easing the process… giving me a couple extra ‘minutes’, or something.

Blah blah blah, I can hear you moaning but my thoughts are vague because it’s vague.

The coolest, most interesting, unexplored, completely wonderful thing? Myself. I am getting to know myself right now. I am going and getting help to do so but I am taking those steps, getting to know myself and it is fascinating. I like to believe that one of my giftings is an honest heart and a clear sense and understanding of what is happening around me, but recently things got a little foggy, especially where I am concerned. I was talking to a dear friend last night about self awareness and broken spirits and voicing words without meaning, how we’re maybe-kinda-sorta-hoping someone will hold us accountable to the things we say out loud for ourselves (dreams, confusions, anger, pain) so that one day, we might actually believe in and trust what we’ve shared. In other words, if we say it out loud enough, we might eventually believe or hear ourselves (fake it until you make it?).

I don’t know, I think it’s a tad frightening; I have this vision of me standing there while I am, my double so to speak, is sitting in a chair and as I stand there, I tell her all that I want her to know, trust, believe, do. It’s incredibly weird, sure, but that’s kinda what counselling feels like. That’s also sometimes the picture in my head when I am teaching and trying to engage the kids. I want to be hard but fair, fun but serious, and all those other binaries in the classroom, and I think I’ve been trying that in my own self talk/discussions.

Anyway, how does this apply to you? It doesn’t really, I just miss writing. I used to love it – I have a dream of writing a novel (or series of) and I started one a long time ago and I pulled it out a little while ago, dusted it off, I guess. It’s pretty terrible, but it’s a honest step toward something that I forgot I really wanted once upon a time. And if I really think about, still want more than some of my other pursuits. I also want to be whole and healthy again and recommitting myself to somethings I enjoy is probably a good start. I need to think about what I like to do and start doing those things again, too, because I seriously haven’t prioritized any of anything, other than school and stress, for almost a year.

SO. Here I am, a bit of a mess really, but looking forward to spending some time with you again.

And all the dust flies up in our hair
Road rushes by so fast
It’s hard to catch my air
Radio plays oh, some scratchy song
It’s keeping me moving on
Keeping me strong

Cheers!