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A Holy Experience


(audio reading of this post:)

When Murielle Lowe knocked at the back door there, I about died to let her in.

There was no time to toss Mount Rushed LaundryMore onto my unmade bed and fling shut the door.

Not enough time to run a comb, straightener or miracle through my mess of rooster-tailed, cockamamie hair.

Not enough time to breathe heated distress over my smudged glasses and rub the lens like a maniac with the hem of my rumpled t-shirt, like there are ways to circle around things to make people see you differently….kindly.

Murielle Lowe had to step over the dump of shoes in the garage.

She saw the egg splattered stove.

She walked past the bedroom with its stack of laundry on a dresser leaning like a tower of Pants, the books splayed all over like dreaming dogs, a pile of clothes hurled out of the belly of a closet over the limbs of one indecisive girl.






I wanted to wave my hands in a flailing hello that doubled as a wand that somehow made everything — poof — Pinterest pretty.

I wanted to pull a paper bag over my mop of neglected hair and somehow become invisible.

Sure, I smiled thinly and Murielle Lowe tried to hide her averting eyes crawling slow over everything, but yeah, I sorta wanted to — disappear

I confess how it came unbidden: Shame is a bleach that can seep up the hem of you, peroxide away your brave face, the place in you that holds the courage to change.

My dad was a perfectionist and I was never good enough and my grandad once hauled a ladder to my bedroom window to see if the bed behind my locked door was made tight enough to bounce a well-aimed quarter off. It’s taken me more life than I care to admit and even more self-castigating to agree with the pain of the diagnosis:

Perfectionism is slow death by self. Perfectionism will kill your skill, your spark, your art, your soul.

And I have no idea why all us Murielles and neighbours and women down the street and across the table keep holding each other to a standard of perfection instead of letting us all be held by the arms of grace.

No idea why don’t we call a cease-fire to the constant women wars, stop the missile volley of judgement, subtle and not so subtle, that we hurl across the playgrounds and church foyers and back fences and front porches and screens at each other?

No idea why it’s taken me so long and why I keep forgetting:

Judging others is a blindfold. Judging others is a blindfold that blinds us to our own grime and blinds us to the grace which others are as eligible and entitled to as we are.

If I have loved breathing in grace for me, how can I deny you the same oxygen?

Who of us isn’t a hypocrite in metamorphosis? Who of us is who he wants to be — yet?

Earth is our chrysalis. We all can get to fly away to glory, a loosening of slippery bindings. (It is in the space of aloneness that the caterpillar has space to grow wings. Never fear the aloneness — it’s a way you’re given a way to fly.) There are unlikely wings unfolding unseen everywhere.

We can’t notice in days what is happening in years — there can be this becoming someone different, someone remade.

I’m standing in a mess of a kitchen with Murielle, this nervous wreck in a wreck of a house pulling fidgety at my necklace –— this chain with a key around my neck.

A key that feels like it might swing open a cage at the core of the world.








And all I can think is: We need Key Women in our lives who emancipate us from crushing expectations. 

Key Women who unlock the courtrooms where we’re judged and assessed and weighed on these scales that feel like millstones around our necks, Key Women who believe that we can change, things can change, kids can change, minds can change, the world can change.

There could be this rising of Key Women who are soul abolitionists, who end the enslavement of women to the self-appointed judges, Key Women who unlock and unleash women to transform into their own unique calling and giftedness. Because — if you aren’t encouraging women to live out their particular calling, you may just be idolizing a particular idealized form of yourself.

There could be Key Women who turn to their sisters and unlock everything with their own anthem coming like a freedom song:

I won’t judge you for dishes in your sink and shoes over your floor and laundry on your couch.

I won’t judge you for choosing not to spend your one life  weeding the garden or washing the windows or working on organizing the pantry.

I won’t judge you for the size of your waist, the flatness, bigness, cut or color of your hair, the hipness or the matronliness of your clothes, and I won’t judge whether you work at a stove, a screen, a store, a steering wheel, a sink or a stage.

I won’t judge you for where you are on your road, won’t belittle your offering, your creativity, your battle, your work.

The key to the future of our communities, our culture, the church is whether there are Key People — people who will not imprison with labels and boxes but will unlock with key words, with key acts of freeing.

There could be Key Women who link arms with their sisters and say we will be the few Key Women: Key Women release you by not judging your mothering, your cooking, your cleaning, your clothing, your kids.

Key Women liberate you from cages and boxes and echo chambers in your head.

Key Women free you to be your best you, your unbound you, your beautiful you.

Twisting the key necklace around my finger, there is this quiet unbinding:

We are not here to be perfect. We are here to be real – to let Christ be real in us.

Before Murielle Lowe leaves, steps back over the dump of shoes on the back step, I slip off my necklace and press it like a brave hope into her hand —

We all need a few Key Women — ”

She smiles and touches my shoulder.

Like there’s this movement of women who have a key to open up our doors and come in —- and let us go free.



Related: The Great Challenge Facing All Women [& Why We Need To Stop Judging Each Other]
Dear Women & Daughters: When You are Tired of Media Voices telling you what Beauty & Love are

Resource: our favourite “I am the Bread” breadboard


Ssometimes you just need someone to storm heaven for you

Sometimes you just need someone to hoarse whisper it for you —

Father of the Tired & Broken-Hearted…

oh, hear our prayer….

Give Your Child the wisdom to know it this week:

Hiding when you’re hurting won’t heal you and growing isolated can just let infection grow.

Give Your Child the love to live it:

The secret way to heal a broken heart is to let love leak out like an ocean through all the cracks.











Give Your Child grace to do the crazy impossible:

It’s the hurting and wounded who are always the ones called to be medics — to administer lavish grace, to cast the messy in the best, merciful light.

The best way to tend to your open wounds is to open your arms.

Out-loving is the only ointment that healed anything.

Let the broken choose it:

When you’re most wounded by words, run to the only Word that always brings healing.

Let the broken see it:

When you’re wounded and need dressing, look in the mirror, touch you face, and see how He clothes you in righteousness, wraps you in promises, swathes you in a Saviorwho saves.

When you have Jesus on the inside, you’re never on the outside.

Let the broken say it:

When you’re bruised by lies, believe truth and whisper it louder: I am my Beloved’s.

When Love’s got hold of you, there isn’t a lie in the universe that can pull you apart.

Let the broken trust it:

Giving the benefit of the doubt — is what benefits the people of the Faith.

Doesn’t love always believe the best, not the worst?

And may that wind the brokenhearted Child, may it fly her hair like a glory flag,

And may the hills that rise before her be but an exhilaration,

And may all her trials be but a trail,

all the stones on the way be but grace stairs to God.

:In name of Jesus  –

who broke His heart to heal ours…




Resource: best candles with these perfect scents, the ones we keep lighting here… perfect for the tired & brokenhearted prayers. [Every candle from Claro has a different giving outcome that fights social injustice in our world.  Whether your purchase plants a tree, provides a meal, sends a child to school, clothes and feeds an orphan, or fights for the rights of abused women, your purchase has a lasting impact in the life of someone in need.  Burn a candle. Bring light.]

Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Faith, Prayer | Visit Post


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Come exhale with a 5 minute mini-vacation around our world?

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Breathtaking photos of ocean waves on a stormy evening

God allows Himself to be the Lighthouse to see us through our storms.
And then God allows storms so we love our *Lighthouse* long after the storms.”

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 How Pets Wait For Their Humans To Return

yeah, so the farm kids here thought this was funny? “Do you want to drive my tractor?” (Frozen Parody)

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5 friends travel the country, spread kindness to strangers

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Are you raising nice kids? 5 ways to raise your kids to be kind: A Must Read

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Family home in a tree house? But you should see the inside?

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when Chinese Christians choosing to trust God for their 2nd child

66 years in love — Glory.

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Don’t look at anything the same again. There is a wondrous person behind everything.

Everyone’s work can be art. Everyone’s work can be worship. Beautiful.

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How to tell someone’s age when all you have is their name —  so the kids and I found this fascinating!

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22 little ones and their big dogs – 100% Smile Therapy

I believe in the Scriptures: David Bowden

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Free Devotional from this farm girl and her Women of Faith friends…

free devotional to make this a summer of beautiful soul growth

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A heart that responded with gratitude even when the brain and mouth could not.


After a week like this in the world — reflecting long on this:

When there are Wars and Planes fall out of the Sky: How to Face the Problem of Evil

How one Dad Arrives Home From Work to his little girl… what if we all greeted each other with a party?

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Why readers are the best people to fall in love with 

“I Used to be in Love” : David Bowden is one phenomenal word poet who’s heart beats hard after God

( we’re backing his new album over at Kickstarter — check it out & join us in creating art? )

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Think you’ll be up to this at 105 years old?

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 Christmas in July?

Our kids (& their cousins) have been working hard on  The Advent to Lent Way of Light wreaths and if you were thinking of a deeply meaningful way for your family to celebrate Christmas this year? In July, they’ll slip out a wreath to you with 25% off shipping (& for the month of July, I’ll gratefully tuck in a signed card/ornament for you… a small way of thanking you as each wreath helps to sponsor these 12 beautiful children from Compassion)


What’s on the stack here at the farm:

Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity

“Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills—against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. . . . Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. . . .” 

Jen Hatmaker has written a compelling, transformative read here that lights a deep and lasting fire. She’s beating hard with my heart and I’m turning pages fast and returning slow and lingering.

Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look

“God will always get it right. He’s the one that sets burning bushes alight. He is the one who gives us holy ground.
No matter where we are, because God is there, the earth is sacred.

Emily Weirenga’s Atlas Girl is a memoir of one woman’s way back Home.
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both our Hearts and Minds

“For years I viewed my interaction with the Bible as a debit account: I had a need, so I went to the Bible to withdraw an answer. But we do so much better to view our interaction with the Bible as a savings account: I stretch my understanding daily, deposit what I glean, and patiently wait for it to accumulate in value, knowing that one day I will need to draw on it. Bible study is an investment with a long-term payoff. Rather than reading a specific text to try to meet an immediate need, give the benefits of your study permission to be stored away for future use. What if the passage you are fighting to understand today suddenly makes sense to you when you most need it, ten years from now?

 Be encouraged that you are storing up treasure, even if you don’t see or feel it in the short term.”  

Women of the Word whets the appetite for more of Him. 

What this dog does? Inspiration for every single one of us.

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Post of the Week from these parts here — yes. 

How Your Life Really Can Change [and why not to be afraid when change comes]

( and this farm hick recorded an  audio reading of the post )


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Bob interrupts with a sweet disagreement, “Way over. Way over the mark.”

This story and video? a moving must See

The kids were wide-eyed smiles with this one

Today — we change it. For someone? We change it.

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Hey soul? Come close here– It’s going to be okay… 

That Mount Everest you’re climbing today? God is greater.

Those obstacles you’re facing right now? God is greater.
This storm you’re weathering through? God is greater.

Today, just hold on to these three words,

your refrain for the climbing, the overcoming, the pressing through wind:

God. is. Greater.

[excerpted from our morning devotions in our little Facebook community come join us?]

That’s all for this weekend, friends. 

Go slow. Be God-struck. Grant grace. Live Truth.

Give Thanks. Love well. Re - joy, re- joy, ‘re- joys’ again

Share Whatever Is Good. 

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 | Link Wanderings | Visit Post


Audio for this post:
if you’d like to listen to today’s post — just click above on the arrow (not the text) for  an audio recording of this farm girl reading today’s post — and then scroll through the post?  {Consider turning off music by clicking the speaker bar near the bottom of  the left margin?}

The kid went to get a big machete.

A year and a half later, I think of that everyday.

How he and his brother took off down that dirt road with their last handful of American tourist dollars to spend on that one longed for glint of steel before the flight home.

How miracles happen and you better believe it — or you don’t have to, and they still happen anyway. 

How there’s this space between your vision and your hand and your heart that can only be measured by longing. 




Ralph Martindale Machete


Now, honestly, I was of the mind that there was a snowball’s chance in any flame-blistering place of your choice that either of the boys could get their hands on a machete.

Yeah, sure Madame Cheap Cheap (a name like that when you’re peddling? Sheer marketing genius!) —  yeah, sure she had a a clattering pile of blades down at the makeshift market but the thing was the kid didn’t have enough greenbacks for what Madame Cheap Cheap was asking.

“Look, boys, first, you don’t want to insult her.” I walked quietly behind our two oldest boys.

“And second, are you sure you want to spend your last American coin on a machete? How are you going to get that on a plane?” Most times I do a poor tootin’ job of masking my maternal angst.

“And how are you going to make sure none of your little brothers ends up wearing a five inch machete gash?”

“It’s called checked luggage, Mom.” Smart boy. “And using your brains and being safe.” Yep, brilliant. Gets that from his father, he does.

“Look, I’ve wanted a machete all week. No —- I have wanted a machete a whole lot longer than that,” Caleb turns and hollers it back at me over his shoulder.

“And c’mon, how often does a farm boy from Canada really get a chance to buy a machete? Yeah, I don’t have what she’s asking — but I’ve really wanted one for a long time and I’ll just offer her what I’ve got and see what happens? It can’t hurt.”

Actually, boy —— there’s lots of things that can hurt… but that doesn’t mean that we’d ever want the ache of them to go away because of what that would mean. 

I hang back when we get to Madame Cheap Cheap’s.  It’s not that her Creole accent is thick, hard to understand, as much as it is that bartering makes me break out into hives and my throat grow thick and dry.

Because really, I’ve never figured it out: How do you reconcile your frugality and haggling with someone else’s dignity?  

So I spin her wooden globes.

The Final Cut



Saint Lucia Day 2 (Feb 3, 2011) (74)






I spin her wooden globes, polished and tilted, without the texture and roughness that is reality.

Hand drawn and grainy. All the world perched on a wooden stand— a flurry of mountain ranges flinging shadows out across plateaus of ocean waves, shorelines that keep kissing waters that never stop pulling away.

It’s all mere suggestion, these haphazard marks on Madame Cheap Cheap’s wooden spheres. You can’t draw the valleys of grief, the craters left by the dreams and stars and planes and people that fall from the sky.

You can’t map the way of migrating wings, the way of people trying to find their roads and each other and meaning, you can’t map the way hope persistently flies.

Go ahead — how do you put your finger on the place and your people and trace their way back to the place where anything is beautifully possible? What do the headlines and heart fractures mean about the kind of world in which we’ve been set down? How do impossible things revolve and change?

I slowly spin Madame Cheap Cheap’s globes.

The boy who takes after his Dad and has made peace with haggling somewhere down deep in the recesses of his own soul, he nudges my shoulder to show me: he’s 12 dollars poorer but he’s wielding a machete and is grinning like he gently swallowed a canary — and not the sharp edge of the blade.

“Happy, Son?” The kid grins ridiculously.

“Yep — now let’s go fly this baby home.” He cannot stop running his hand along the gleaming edge of silver.

Then the kid turns. I’ve got a globe in my hands, a curvature of two oceans, oceans of pain and the impossible. And he reaches out to spin it— “You like this globe?”

Yeah, boy — I like this globe.

I like this world of wanderers and and wonder-ers and the brave who don’t know how to believe that good is coming around the bend anymore for them.

I like the doubters and the dogged fighters in places no one ever sees, I like the limping and the weary and the busted and the lame and the prodigals who can’t for the life of them remember their beloved name.

I don’t say all of that —- I just say yeah. Yeah, I like this globe.

The kid with the machete nods. I slip the teetering globe back on the shelf. Tap the flashing edge of his prized blade. “Nice.”

And start the trek back up the dusty road, back up the road that is straight up hill that no one’s ever bothered to give a name.

But when the boys catch up to me, halfway back up the hill — there’s no machete. All Caleb’s got in his hand is just that: one wobbling globe.

“Wait —- whaaaa?” I stop short, mid hill.




What can I say, Mom?” Caleb half smiles. “You mean the world to me. Well — at least a globe.”

He winks, shrugs his shoulders like it’s no big deal, like the weight of the world really can slip off your shoulders.

“So I changed my mind.”

And I etch that: Minds can change, kids can change, things can change, people can change, the world can change.

The unlikely happens, the unbelievable proves to be believable, and the unexpected turns around and brushes up against you and you remember your name, the hope in your DNA.

You remember: We get to change the world— every time we choose to change personally.

We get to change the world every time we choose to have a heart change.

The same Jesus Who changed water into wine can change the hard kid into the kid with the big heart, can change your wounds into wisdom, can change your impossible into the impressive, can change nightmares into that which is only dreamed.

They say time changes things — when mostly time only changes your scenery. You need One beyond time to change everything else.

And the old Best Book, it testifies to the honest thing: that God works everything together “for the good” of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). And what in this tilting world, pray tell, is good? Good means being changed to be like Him who is Best. (Rom. 8:29). Thus — all change is meant to be good change, changing us to be like Him who is Best.

We fly home from that Haiti island in the middle of it’s own aching oceans. I put that wooden globe on a shelf as a global witness that machetes can be exchanged and things and kids can change, minds can change, the world, your world, can change. And there is not anything to fear.

Change is as positive as the promises of God.

That one little wooden world sits here with it’s own turning, this quiet dawning that I feel: There is no soul growth without change, no change without surrender, no surrender without wound. Wounds are what break open the soul to plant the seeds of our growth.

The children keep growing, growing up and away from all that was.

The clock ticks on at the top of the stairs. There is time and history and headlines and the moving sun and you can always count on things changing and there is one sure revolution:

You can handle change as you much as you take His unchanging hand.

The globe that’s made from the wood of a surrendered Tree, it sits on the shelf and you can see —

How it moves from dark to light.



Related Post: When You are Looking for Hope

and the audio of today’s post:

and if you wanted to listen to the audio of this post, click above on the arrow (not the text) for a recording of me reading today’s post from the farm. {Consider turning off music by clicking the speaker bar near the bottom of  the left margin?}

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 | Eucharistic Living, Faith, Family, Haiti | Visit Post


Friday, July 18th, 2014 | Guest posts | Visit Post

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