Monday, 31 March 2014

What Millie Learned in March 2014

1. It is possible to get an OREO from your forehead into your mouth without using your hands. I have seen it done.

2. We have a rainforest in Canada. (Located in B.C., of course.)

3. Apparently this has been the worse winter (weather-wise) in our area since 1978. The height of the snow banks around here and the number of cancelled church services confirm this report.

4. Women in Victoria novels suffer from the most extreme fragility of health. One disappointment sends them into paroxysms of sickness. Perilous times!

5. The most nerve wracking thing in the world: Being responsible for deciding if all the food is hot enough before taking it out of the ovens at a potluck lunch.

6. There are so many little good things every day. It's just life. But accepting life as a gift makes all the difference.

7. There are some people out there with pretty awful names: Martin E. Marty, Mary Berry, and Rip Torn. Yep. Not even kidding.

Here's to a green April...Please, please, please!

- Millie

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

On Giving Thanks

      We made picture frames out of old barn boards, pulled right out of the rambling building that used to be glorious and now is decidedly not. And the boards were covered with aged manure.  I meant to chip or sand it off. At the time we joked that it was symbolic, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

     I embroidered “Give Thanks.” The words were etched in the middle of a pretty scene of a house and flowers. And I love it, by the way. Then, I punched this scene right into the middle of manure caked on dark stained wood. Did anyone say real life?

     It’s easy to give thanks when things are going in a way that meets our definition of good – when the harvest is great, the baby is thriving or you’ve just met the love of your life. These are good things and blessings and we ought to give thanks – and we do. These are moments of joy and we should let ourselves fall into a sea of praise and laughter marvelling at the providence of Him who gave us air to breathe.

     But what if the money in the bank is growing thin? What happens to joy when babies die, or are killed…when no eligible man is to be found within a twenty mile radius? Give thanks? This isn’t good. This isn’t a gift from God. Satan whispers “it’s a curse.” Can “no babies” be just as much of a blessing as a baby bump? If you choose to believe that God does not curse his children, if you choose to believe that “all things work together for good” then giving thanks never stops. It was read from the pulpit on a Sunday    Psalm 116: “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving.”

      I will give thanks even when it hurts.  I will give thanks even when the car won’t start and I’m late already. I will give thanks when I fail tests. I will give thanks when the dirty laundry pile is higher than me. We live in a world where children are abused, people are killed for their faith, and words are flung like arrows to wound sensitive hearts. These are moments of sorrow and we should let ourselves fall into a sea of praise and tears wondering at the providence of Him who gave us air to breathe.
     Really? Give thanks in the midst of this dung caked world? Yes, really. Because thanksgiving is a form of prayer and prayer never stops. Prayer does not change God but it does change you. It changes tiny definitions of “good” and narrow views of providence. It does not make us happy all the time. It does not always take away sadness and anger. And death is always an effrontery.  But thanksgiving makes the difference between seeing the curse and seeing the blessing. Thanksgiving, with the work of the Holy Spirit, tears away the blinding scales off our eyes and makes us read and remember what comes before Psalm 116: 17 – “You have loosed my bonds.” Can we trust the One who saved us from hell and has promised everlasting life when the casserole is burnt to a crisp? Can we give thanks even when we don’t feel like it? (Begin by thanking God we don’t have to do this alone. The Spirit is there. Let him help.)

     And so I leave the frame caked with manure just the way it is, and the flowers stand out all the brighter. 
- Millie


Wednesday, 12 March 2014


"The Christian is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. the Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars."
~Francis Schaeffer

Not only our freedom, but our heritage.


That thing that we cannot force through any door, and when it comes, it does not knock.

The stuff of dreams and flying with both feet on the ground. Fairy stories, ogres, Medusa and Jo March.

Some cry "lie," but are we sure? What is truth, but the first words, "In the beginning." Who saw? Yet we believe.

And when you think of what in all our souls we rise and sleep on - what have you actually touched?

The God became man. Real. But do we smell or taste forgiveness, sacrifice, atonement?

The very rocks we are built on, in fact, are the intangibles. There, but not there.

So then.

Why do we tell them, "no such thing?" Why don't we shoo the monster out of the wardrobe? Say "is that so?" rather than "it is not." Wonder aloud if the stars are singing.

Why shouldn't we teach them that the invisible can be true, and the untouchable real?

L'Engle says, "The world of fairy tale, fantasy, myth, is inimical to the secular world, and in total opposition to it, for it is interested not in limited laboratory proofs, but in truth."

The "real" world will rear it's head soon enough and we will know it...but it is Truth that sets us free.

So we train ourselves by grace to look past what we see, the Shadow Lands, to the ultimate Real of Heaven. What we now see in a mirror dimly, where a dwelling place is built on walls of beautiful, holy, invisible love and the perfect comes and the partial passes away.



Thursday, 6 March 2014

In Which I Ask a Question

So I need your honest answers.

The question came to me as I glanced in the mirror on my way out the door...and maybe I caught someone's eye as they stood behind me...or maybe it was a twinge of adult conscience....

But does everyone smile at themselves when they look in the mirror?

And I don't mean a smug closed lipped affair...But like you're meeting yourself for the first time and you think you're cute.

Please tell me the answer is yes.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

What Millie Learned in February 2014

1. I'm far too practical to ever be romantically involved with a country singer. (Besides the fact that I don't have blonde hair, blue eyes, or weigh 120 pounds.)Because if he wanted to run through the woods waiting for the night train in some Southern state, all I can think of is "snakes!" For the same reason, I would eschew muddy river banks. And I don't drink beer. Yeah. So, I think we've ruled out country music stars.

2. My five year old niece pointed out to me that the letter names of the white keys on her family's piano are written at the very back of each key. How did I not know this ever before? Sadly, this phenomenon is not present in all pianos. But, if you have a piano, it's worth checking out.

3. Apparently I am a "Rational Mastermind (INTJ)" in the Keirsey Temperament Testing realm, which kind of sounds like I'm trying to take over the world. But, really I just like to be efficient and tend to be rather intense about something in which I'm interested. Rational Masterminds also are often led into such job fields as "scientific research, design engineering, or environmental planning." How sad that I think my own personality is boring! What's your Keirsey temperament?

4. Working lots of evenings this month on fourth grade curriculum with my sister has shown how capable we are to laugh at the silliest things when we are tired. Who knew that mispronouncing the word "plurals" could be so funny?

5. This month I discovered that I'm turning into the sort of person who gloats about an unexpected money saving moment. I'm not sure that I like this discovery...

6. Apparently, for a fourth grader, getting a first penalty in hockey is cause for rejoicing.

7. Receiving flowers is really something I need to work on. I never realized it was such an art to gracefully and adeptly get them out of their wrapper, find a vase, pour in the powdery stuff in the little packet and arrange said flowers in an attractive manner!

8. I learned that the accordion is the instrument to transcend all races, religions, and countries. Don't ask me how, but I managed to find a playlist of accordion music on YouTube that included the following cultures: Jewish, French, Ukrainian (?) folk, Israeli orchestral, and bluegrass. I personally think this chap does quite well for himself.
And who doesn't like a good farmer tan? (Hey! maybe I could go for a country singer, after all?)

9. What I did at age eleven is definitely not what I would do at age twenty. In other words, home videos are traumatizing.

10. Whenever I write something that I think is horrible, everyone seems to like it. When I like it, no one else does. Why is this?

11. Children with foreign accents are so cute! And kids that take snowballs in the face without flinching are awesome.

12. This world is hurting. But the Healer is more powerful than the hurt.

Here's to March and all the lessons we have still yet to learn!

- Millie