Friday, June 29, 2012


All over facebook this week, I've scrolled through pictures of diplomas, prom dresses, caps and gowns. As the boys and I finished up our last days together with concerts, pool time, and a piñata smack down with the Johnson kids, vacation time is clearly in the air!
Among the celebrations this week, my precious cousin, Julia graduated from grade 8 along with her peers - many of whom were in the same kindergarten class where I had the privilege to do my grade 12 coop placement. Seeing photos of the class all grown up, and Julia as such a beautiful young lady, how I yearned to be there to cheer her and all the others on.

... It's funny how the Lord ordains moments across our paths even when we doubt His timing. They may not always be what we hope for at first, but His joy is unmistakable.

And so it was this morning, when I got to watch 102 high school graduates cross the stage at the School of Hope's commencement ceremony. It was just another picture of the Lord's handiwork bringing hope and promise into the lives of our Haitian community as many of the audience's sons, daughters, sisters and brothers graduated for the first time in their family. The joy on the faces of the young men and women, all decked out in their caps and gowns was priceless. You couldn't have fit any more pride and potential in that open-air sanctuary if you tried!

It may not have been a sentimental, small-town, Winger school graduation, but sitting alongside my dear friends on the front-row bench and celebrating the hope of education in Haiti was a pretty good trade off.

Thank you Lord for never ceasing to shine joy in the most marvellous of ways.
PS - To all of the graduates of 2012... Congratulations! In the words of Met Soufrann, the School of Hope principal, may the Lord take you farther and higher!

Monday, June 25, 2012


I admit, I have no idea what movie or character this article is referring to. I also admit that this is probably not the best preface for what I've included below. I'm sharing it anyways though, because after giving it a read myself, I felt so wonderfully compelled and challenged. I hope it inspires and taps into something new in you like it did for me. To change and be changed - that's our choice every day, but sometimes I forget, and this was my reminder tonight.

Don’t Settle for Being Brave
Life lessons from Pixar's first leading lady.

Full disclosure: I want to be Brave. I don’t want to be brave, but I want to be Brave—I want to be that Scottish girl with the crazy red hair, the black horse, the sweet archery trick shots. Google tells me her name is Merida. I prefer to call her Brave.
And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I live in Los Angeles, where billboards for Brave tower over me everywhere I go, and I have yet to hear a single friend say they’re not excited about this movie. And when they say they’re excited, what they really mean is, “Let’s get serious and just bring the whole Kleenex box, because you know this is gonna be a claaassssssic Pixar cry-fest.” A cry-fest in the best sense. All of us—from average “I love The Expendables” dudes to highbrow “Wes Anderson is just too mainstream now” film snobs—all of us recognize there’s something special about this movie, even if we don’t yet know exactly what it is.
Part of the appeal may be the girl hero. At least, it is for me—and not just because I’m a grown-up girl myself. Many film critics and culture watchdogs have already written at length about the number of Pixar firsts in this movie—first female protagonist, first princess, first fairy tale—so rather than blather on about the socio-political importance of a proactive princess in the Hollywoodland of passive Bella Swanns and Anastasia Steeles, I’d rather just focus on the appeal of Brave—okay, okay, Merida—as a character, just a person on a journey. Granted, her femininity is significant, since—according to the trailer, at least—her journey has something to do with her spirited defiance of traditional gender roles.
But her age may be a more crucial element in her characterization. She stands at the threshold of adulthood and, with it, all the expectations of domesticity and “settling down.” She doesn’t want to be married; there doesn’t seem to be a romantic interest. (Quite the opposite of Disney’s princesses past, and perhaps quite different than what many of us young evangelical women have been taught in Sunday school.) She represents a true hero, something to aspire to—not just for young girls, but for grown men and women.

The word “hero” gets tossed around frequently. People in Hollywood, and likely the Pixar folks up in Emeryville, Calif., tend to define it in mythologist Joseph Campbell’s terms: “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” (For those of us who did not study the classics or literature in college, we may be familiar with Campbell as “that one guy who is constantly referenced in the DVD extras of Star Wars.”) Campbell analyzed world myths and broke down their key beats into something popularly known as “the hero’s journey,” outlined in his famous book Hero With a Thousand Faces. As a Christian, there are many aspects of Campbell’s universalist philosophy with which I disagree, yet in it there are as many brilliant insights that ring true. In Campbellian terms, a hero is not defined by her state of being. A hero is defined by what she does. She hears a call to adventure. She resists the call at first but then meets someone or is put into a situation that changes her mind. She crosses a threshold into a new world full of terror, excitement, allies, enemies and tricksters. She endures ordeals and tests, is purified by sacrifice and returns home with the power to transform the world just as she has been transformed.
The trailer for Brave succinctly summarizes the Campbellian call to adventure: “If you had the power to change your fate—would you?” It’s an intriguing question, and rather than engaging in an esoteric debate about predestination versus free will, for which I am hardly qualified and for which this is hardly the forum, I’d rather focus on its idea of change. According to Campbell, a hero is not defined by her state of being but rather by the change in her state of being. And the hero’s journey is not about character growth. It is not about being a better person. It is about complete and total transformation. You see, no one goes to the movies to watch someone undergo a few stressful situations and change a little bit as a result. We go to witness revolution. Rebirth. Resurrection.
Thus, a good story—and arguably a good life—isn’t about being brave. It is about doing brave. Living brave. Making a choice. Crossing the threshold. It’s not about waiting in a tower for your prince to come and whisk you off to a Cinderella castle. It’s about going on a journey, facing your deepest fears and surrendering yourself to the possibility that in attempting to change your fate, you will inevitably be changed. And perhaps also discovering, along the way, that sometimes coming home can be as brave a quest as going out into the world.
So let’s not settle for being brave. Let us instead aspire to do brave things. Let us live boldly. Let us transform the world as we have been transformed. Heady words, but grounded aspiration for young girls as much as it is for old men. While I have not yet seen Brave, I suspect this idea is the spine on which its story bends.
As for so-called fate, well, I don’t know. But if “fate” should decide to bestow me with a fast horse, curly red hair and mad archery skills ... I’ll take it

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Ever since the Zumba fad started, I've been dying to try it out. Many of my Canadian friends attend regularly, and I've made an effort to join them on occasion, but it never seemed to work with my summer schedule.
Tonight though, Zumba came to me.
This week, there just so happens to be an instructor here, who made it his personal mission to offer Zumba sessions after dinner. So tonight, on the cement loading deck of the new warehouse, I got to break it down with 67 other staff, interns, hope house kids, and guests. It was by far the largest, hippest and most hilarious workout I've ever had. After the cool-down song ended, the entire crowd cried out an encore. And dance we did.
So with the sun setting over the mountains to my left, and Bailey, Katie, Elizabeth, Kelci, Kelly, Georgie, and KaraLynn, among the many others grooving to my right, my heart did more than just speed its beats per minute, it swelled with sheer joy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Eyes to see.

A few evenings ago, I took a stroll with Julien, one of the twin babies who lives at the Hope House.
His curious eyes and pointer fingers were fully engaged as the chickens skittered across the gravel paths, the trees waving in the wind to the clouds above, and the vibrant flowers bursting from their branches. His little voice narrated in baby talk all that he was taking in - Everything was so new and exciting to discover.
I followed his eyes and we left the sidewalk to get a little closer to the beautiful pink blossoms bursting with life. There I held out a cluster of petals where I watched him touch and smell and learn how to say 'fle' (Creole for 'flower'). 

It was a moment I will cherish - guiding Julien in his discovery of God's incredible creation, while at the same time, having a fresh discovery of my own. 
I wondered in that moment what it would look like if I had eyes to see like this little boy in my arms. If everything was new, and full of life and potential. Because as I wrap up another year on this island, sometimes my tendency is to forget the lustre of life, as the 'newness' has worn off. I want to look through an untainted lens, but instead Satan wants to trip me up with a mundane outlook that prevents me from seeing and experiencing the joy that is happening around me.

As I watched Julien take in the sun setting in the west, the countless leaves of green, the kids running and jumping and laughing on their way to the kitchen, I wondered if I could see it with the same eyes of wonder and enthusiasm. The Lord is so faithful in bringing across such never-before-seen beauties, I just have to take the time to notice.

And so, as I step onto the brink of another school year in Haiti, committing to all that is seen and unseen, I pray that I may have eyes to see the beauties and glimpses of heaven that are to come. I want to fully re-discover the endless goodness that awaits at each turn.
Tonight the sky is clear and the stars scatter the sky in a picture-perfect display.  Thank you Jesus for giving our eyes such magnificent glories to behold. May we always have the eyes to see.

The Lord has done these things, and they are marvellous in our eyes. 
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~ Psalm 118:23-24

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Single digits!

Noah, Caleb and I are counting down to a summer explosion - happening in T-minus 9 school days. It's been a sweet year, and I've had such a blast learning and growing with them. We've battled the elements of rats, mosquitos and heat, during our mission to get through a big stack of textbooks, and we've come out on top. Just a few more days left of our morning routine, and we're gonna make the most of them.
Keeping these verses in our minds on the sprint to the finish... May all that we've acquired along the way prepare us for what's next.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Author.

I few weeks ago I wrote a post called 'Mornings that Last'. Later that same day, several of the staff and interns had a jam session, and a song was shared which Daniel had written for his new album. It couldn't have resonated any better with my blog or my heart.
This week the new album was released, and I've replayed the song enough to type out the lyrics by memory.

give me your waking thoughts.
I want your waking thoughts. 
slide out of slumber and know you are under My watch.
no better way will you find, embracing the day with reflections divine.
rise up with Me on your heart and your soul and you're Mine.

give me your waiting thoughts.
I want your waiting thoughts.
trust in My timing, the path I'm designing, fear not.
be still and know who I am, Shepherd with flock of which you are My lamb.
hear now My voice and acknowledge the work of My hands.

give me your fading thoughts.
I want your fading thoughts.
slip into slumber and wonder of all that I've taught
tell Me your hopes and your dreams, for I am the Author of all of these things.
lie down in peace, I will bless you with all that life brings.

The Author - Daniel Crawford
Check out more of his good music on the new EP, In the Maze.
iTunes link:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A familiar foothold.

 And then God answered: 
"Write this. Write what you see.
This vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn't lie. 
If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. 
It will come right on time.
Habakkuk 2:2-3

My eyes have taken in these verses more times than I've planned this week. Each time I ache for the promise of 'right on time' a little more earnestly. Piano melodies lull me to the mysteries of what's next. Anticipations. Expectations. Dreams. He knows them all. He knows me through and through.
And once again, I find that familiar foothold - my Refuge of Peace.
Because even in the questions, even in the silences. In the waves and clouds that heavy my heart, His faithfulness of provision remains. Yes, the promises of our God reign with victory and truth. And He will not delay.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Jesus Calling.

A few months ago I started reading through the daily devotional 'Jesus Calling' by Sarah Young, but due to last week's retreat, I fell a few days behind.
I love how the Lord ordains our moments, even down to the delayed things, because when I picked up the devotional earlier this week to begin my catch up, the words could not have been more perfect for that exact moment.
Let me 'read' it to you...

May 26th
In a world of unrelenting changes, I am the One who never changes. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Find me in the stability for which you have yearned.
I created a beautifully ordered world: one that reflected my perfection. Now, however, the world is under the bondage of sin and evil. Every person on the planet faces gaping jaws on uncertainty. The only antidote to this poisonous threat is drawing closer to Me. In My Presence you can face uncertainty with perfect Peace.

In this anticipation of the 'new', the arising unknowns, and of course, the unrelenting change, I am so very grateful for the truth of these words. Words that break through to the very core of my yearning and seeking for peace. It's His presence that continually finds me and comforts my anxious heart. Come what may, He will draw me ever near.

When I am afraid I will trust in You. ~ Psalm 56:3