31 December 2014

December Books

My stack of books grew taller. There is much to do. So many books to read. So much to learn. Can you buy, for me, some time in which to become engrossed in these books?

I did finish two books a few days ago. Then started two new ones. Good thing I have this large, lovely mug my Mum got me, which is big enough to hold a lot of coffee.
What are you reading now?

I just finished reading:

The Discarded Image, by C.S. Lewis - I wrote about my delight when I found this book HERE. Lewis writes about the worldview from the medieval ages and what their thoughts revolved around, with particular attention to the authors of that time. These are images we have mostly discarded in our modern day. He goes through the heavenly, the earthly, and the literary views of those living up through the 15th century. I feel like I learned so much about the medieval worldview and astronomical beliefs mixed in with some history. It's an academic book, which is something I need to really focus on when I read, but it is very accessible. The depth of his knowledge on this era and subject is so clear, and his examples really help paint the picture.

Kiss the Wave, by Tara Leigh Cobble - This is her fourth book and I have loved all her books. She is a singer/songwriter who travels and gives talks and concerts. Her books, though, are like reading her journals and her musings and I love that. A young woman who deals with being single in a world of married friends and family. She looks deeply into herself with insight and Biblical guidance, and deals with living with other girls, dating, moving, illness, and wondering where she is meant to be in this world. What is she meant to do? Well, to me, write books that are inspiring and that I can relate to and be inspired by so easily.

I just started reading:

Surprised By Hope, by N. T. Wright - Through current readings, interests, podcasts, lectures, and blogs, I keep seeing a recurring theme of the doctrine of New Creation, and with the more studying and learning I am doing the more I am seeing how New Creation encompasses everything we know today in our present story and also what is to come. I am diving into this book, which is extremely readable and thought-provoking. I hear Wright's British accent as I read (you should YouTube his lectures. I really enjoy listening to his talks) and his thoughts on how New Creation is already begun, which is why what we do matters so much. Our talents, our art, our writing, our leadership. It all matters. As I get deeper into this book, I know more musings will grow in my mind and onto paper.

The Irrational Season, by Madeleine L'Engle - This is the third of her books of journals. I read the first book in this series when I was in high school, and I think it made me into a better journal writer, just in terms of what I write about and think about. She inspires me to expand my thoughts and let my imagination wander, especially in my journal. What I write doesn't have to be perfect. My poetry doesn't have to have win awards. But reading her journals (this one is from the late 1970s) is comforting, inspiring, and challenging. She writes about her life at that time, living in New York City, with words filled with love of family and the depth of her thoughts and ponderings.

30 December 2014

Garden Visit

The day after Christmas. The last place I wanted to go to was a store, where everyone is returning items and snatching up 50% sales. I imagined crowds and traffic everywhere. One errand I had to run, though, was to the post office. I prepared myself for a crowd and a line, with lots of people mailing packages they didn't get to mail just before Christmas.
I get to the post office (the large one downtown) and not a soul is in sight. It was deserted. I was shocked.

Since my post office excursion only took a few minutes, I decided to drive to Hollis Garden to see if it was open. It was, and it was empty. Another pleasant surprise!

I may need to keep up this tradition each year the day after Christmas. Going to the opposite places of everyone else. It was such a beautiful day, and still chilly in the shade. I shuffled my feet through fallen leaves as big as my head and slowly walked through the garden. I sat in my favourite spot, overlooking one of the open, green squares. I sat on a cold, stone bench and wrote in my journal.

There was a sense of Autumn in the air, with the nice chill, and also on the ground with the fallen leaves decorating the grass. But the sun was bright and warm. A large butterfly danced along the grassy square. Florida is a bit behind in the seasons, but I am okay if we are just at the beginning of the chilly seasons. I love the thought of more to come. 

29 December 2014

He Loves Us Still

Since God knows everything, including the future, is it ever possible to disappoint Him?

In other words, since God lives outside of time, He sees what I am in the future as He sees what I am right now. He just oversees it all at once. There is no present or future in that sense. So, how can I live out the knowledge that if I fail I do not disappoint God? He already knows that I have failed and will fail, and He loves me still.

He knows all of our sinful natures.
He loves us still.
He knows we are going to make the wrong decisions sometimes.
He loves us still.

I think sometimes we put caps or limitations of God's love for us, not necessarily by intent, and we don't fully understand the unconditionality of His love because none of us is capable of loving like that.

So, by our very limited nature we have a hard time seeing beyond what we know here. We are even told by some that this is all we have, this life, and we shouldn't console ourselves with beliefs and churches that disappoint us. Sure, we can be disappointed by people and church, because they are run by people who are all fallen. He is the one who loves us when we are unlovable. He is the one who does not disappoint.

It requires much of us, I think, to equip our minds with the knowledge and wisdom of God's love to the depth that we cannot display ourselves. It requires letting go of oneself and trusting God down to every detail that His plans are perfect. We can contemplate forever, but until we soften our hearts to let that sink in.

27 December 2014


When do we become adults and turn in our affinity to daydream? Is it when we graduate college? Is it when we get a job? Why do we let the world consume our mind and restrict it?

I am one who will not let go of daydreaming. Is it a result of not wanting to grow up? Perhaps, but in the sense that I want my imagination to expand beyond my small scope of the world. I want my ideas to roam and venture out. I want ideas to blossom into creation.

I have been letting my daydreams venture to distance lands. It is not that I am trying to escape from the present, but rather incorporate more of the imaginative in the everyday. When I do that, I find myself creating more. Creating poems, stories, ideas, gestures of kindness, and goodness to bring to the present.

I am reading one of my new books I got, which was neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree, and I read this passage yesterday. Of course she is referring to the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, which is one of my favourite books for imagination and daydreaming.

Like the White Queen, I find it a good discipline to practice believing as many as seven impossible things every morning before breakfast. How dull the world would be if we limited ourselves to the possible.

The only God who seems to me to be worth believing in is impossible for mortal man to understand, and therefore he reaches us through this impossible.

- Madeleine L'Engle

26 December 2014

Christmas Glimpses

 After church I caught a quick moment of my niece, Elliott, pausing by the large tree in the courtyard. This was the calmest she was the whole night. She is our entertainment and a joy to watch, so naturally she is in most of my photos.
 Christmas Eve dinner with the family.
 First present goes to Elliott!
 Uncle Jason attacking Elliott with a toy reindeer and Elliott erupting in giggles.
Elliott claiming her present. When her parents said there was something special for her, she ran right over and climbed on top.
 Some essential Christmas grocery shopping. Elliott picked up all the vegetables for dinner.
Elliott already understands the selfie. 
Coffee coffee coffee. Trees on my feet.
The light of the season has come. God is with us.

25 December 2014

Christmas Words

Come Emmanuel.
Love came down.

God with us.
O night divine.

Do you have a favourite song or carol at Christmas? Or particular words that bring the merriest, warmest feelings to you? I am drawn to the old carols, of course. Older is better in my mind, and this year the carol that has almost constantly been in my head is "O Holy Night". I can blame it on my pastor who talked about it in his sermon several weeks ago, and how he never paid attention to the words until then, and he read the words, like a poem, to the congregation.

What I love about the old carols and poetry is the words of depth and longing. Of comfort and joy through beautiful words. 
The influx of heavenly influences in a few words. And the feeling of stillness in a single moment. 

Stillness // For a moment everything halts and the world slows down.
The beating rhythm of life melds into a moment, which fills our minds with thoughts, all colliding into one another and ultimately with the firmness that is God's love.
My heart sings a different tune.
A restoring of energies and focus is the result.
Letting go of oneself, just for a moment.
Knowing God is God.
No room for doubt.
Just a stillness deep down that surpasses all other momentary feelings.

I have been replaying this version of "O Holy Night" about every ten minutes these past several days. The group, The Hunts, is a band of seven siblings who all sing and play several instruments. If you know me, you know that I absolutely love watching talented musicians play and sing in the sweetest harmonies. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I have been enjoying it.

Merry Christmas!

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

24 December 2014

Snow on Snow on Snow

Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet moon.

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I am dreaming of a white Christmas. And I will have to keep dreaming...

There is nothing better than wrapping up warm to venture outside, and come back in to a warm plate of scones or biscuits and tea. To snuggle under a blanket with a book. To warm your hands in your pockets. I realize I probably romanticize Winter much more than I should, for you are probably thinking it is miserable to be freezing! And perhaps I would feel less love toward Winter if I lived up north where the weather outside is frightful. I am not sure, though, I really do love the cold, and I dream of snow.

So I fictionalize a white Christmas by decorating with a lot of white and on these very warm days we have been encountering preceding Christ's birth, I start to think more about the poems of Christmas. I love how this poem mingles the earthly and the heavenly realms in a cold and dark atmosphere that expresses such hope and jubilation of a world-changing event.

Whether you are having a bleak, cold Winter day or a humid, cloudy Winter day, may the light of Christ shine into that darkness and remind you how the heavenly realm is present and God came to us. I have been dwelling in that thought for while. He came to us. It is a love we don't fully understand, but it is so great, that heaven cannot hold Him back from showing us that love.  

In the Bleak Midwinter
by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

23 December 2014

Grace Upon Grace

For from His fullness
we have all received,
grace upon grace.

- John 1.16

Whenever I am feeling kind of empty I realize that I am longing to be filled by something more. More than what? There is something missing, as the hole inside cannot seem to grasp anything temporary here.
My longing is filled by His grace.

My soul longs for something that cannot be satisfied here. But many times it is the temporary things here that I try to fit into that spot. Nothing comes to fruition other than eventual disappointment.

It becomes clear that anything else I try to fit into my deep longing is unfulfilled because it is not eternal. Only that which is eternal can fill the longing. The temporal void otherwise lacks the essentials of my needs, even though our earthly needs can be filled for the most part. To some others in this world, that is all they trust in -- that their earthly needs are satisfied. But oh, there is so much more. And praise the Lord there is so much more!

Therein lies disappointment and lack of genuineness here on earth. A realness is hard to come by. But His grace makes what is lacking here bearable, and it also grants us the tiny glimpses of the eternal through the moments of joy and love with other people here. We are not left without some ideas and visions of the hope of what is to come.

22 December 2014

D+N Wedding

This weekend my "other brother" got married. Dave and Natasha are so good for one another, and we are all so happy for them. Dave has been a part of my family for many, many years. He and my brother Ryan are best friends, and I endured many, many years of torment and teasing from them back in the day. That's what brothers do, right? Especially when I am the only girl. But I am really proud of Dave. We all love Natasha, and wish them all the years of blessings and joy.

The wedding was at a farm in Dade City, and it was a lovely location, with an antique barn used as a backdrop for the dinner and evening. The ceremony was held out in the field area where white fences separate the horses. Under a big tree Dave and Tasha read their own written vows, which were heartfelt and emotional.

My niece Elliott was a flower girl helper, to Addison, and it they did so well walking down the aisle, and then Elliott decided to keep walking past the tree toward the white fences beyond because she loved looking at the horses. Thankfully her cousin Ethan was in charge of chasing Elliott and getting her back to the ceremony.

Dinner, dancing, eating barbecue, eating cake, and listening to good toasts given by my brother (Best Man) and Natasha's Maid of Honor. summed up the evening. As the sun set, the sky grew more colourful. Elliott loved the spotlight and danced to every song that came on, even walking out the center of the floor to dance by herself if she felt like it.  She laughed and squealed with delight the whole evening. All she wanted to do was dance. I think we can all learn from her to just have fun and enjoy the little things.

18 December 2014


I woke up floating in a cloud. My little home was adrift among white fog that surrounded the home, the neighborhood, the town. It was chilled and quiet. Fog acted as a buffer for sound, absorbing all the early morning noises. Trees were enveloped, with clouds intertwining in the branches, hanging on and settling in.

Dense. Intense. It was dramatic since one could maybe see 20 feet ahead, so driving was a different feeling where no depth perception was present. The world felt like a mysterious scene from a Sherlock Holmes story. Dark, foggy, chilled. The mystery was almost creating itself.

There is something about the overcast gloom that gets my imagination going. Sunny weather is too mundane because it is always there, and it has no story to tell. It is chock full of easy metaphors and images of happy sunshine. But the darkness presents a challenge, and there is where the story, thought, and journey come through.

I breathe deep the fog-laden air and imagine something is about to happen. Steps toward the light along the foggy journey.

17 December 2014


We are in the depths of the Christmas season. These weeks are full of sweetness if we take a moment to pay attention. Reminders amidst the hustle and bustle of "the most wonderful time of the year" that sometimes the sweetest things are those things that cause us to slow down and be immersed in something. Drawing our attention away from the go-go-go all the time and attention spans that last but a moment. I am making attempts to spend more time admiring something with proper thought, and letting a moment sink in with enjoyment in a matter.

I don't want this season to be a pass-through entity that is over before I had the chance to "be" in it. It is meant to be a reflective time on the birth of Christ and what that means for every person who ever lived. It is a time to celebrate the hope that is Christ. The promise that is Christ. And to share the joy with others through meaningful cards, messages, talks, and presents. We give because God gave Christ to us. We are free because God gave us freedom through Christ. We are not dreadful creatures, bound for gloom, but we are beautifully and wonderfully made, and loved by our Creator. That is a sweetness that cannot be outdone.

16 December 2014

Lights at Christmas

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.

- Charles Dickens

One of the things I love most about this season of chilled, earlier nights is the twinkly lights that cast the most delicate glow that is warm and comforting. Candles burn warm against the cold environment. The nights are dark this season. The air is chilly. The lights contrast it all with the loveliest glow, to warm the soul.

Let's light the candles and watch the flames flicker and burn, unafraid of being blown out. The light reaches outward and doesn't try to hide itself.

Let's be a light this season. Let's think about ways we can reach out to someone who may just need a kind word of encouragement and reminder of the light that we know.