Moments of Transfiguration

Up and up  

They work to climb.  

 

Muscles burning in their calves  

Breathing a little harder 

Sometimes tripping when  

They don’t lift their feet high enough.  

 

Jesus just keeps going up and up,  

And they don’t quite understand  

His purpose  

And his steady sense of direction,  

But they are getting used to following  

With an open mind  

And with hope.  

IMG_5662

Their eyes are on where they came from,  

(a gleam)  

Their eyes are on each other,  

(a glimmer)  

Their eyes are on the ground,  

(a glisten)  

Their eyes are on the sky,  

(a burst)  

And then their eyes are on Jesus. 

(GLORY)  

 

They have never seen his whole self before.  

(So this is who he is!)  

Wonder.  

The joy of it.  

All of those years. 

All of those laws.  

All of those prophecies.  

Jesus pulls it all together and holds it firmly and lovingly

And it is  

BRILLIANT.  

 

Does such glory not demand a response?  

Peter gives it.  

“Jesus! Let us honour you! We will build-”  

 

A bright cloud.  

A voice.  

 

When you need to respond to the glory, you make it about yourself.  

This is not about you.  

This is purely about the glory.  

Stand still, for once,  

And just be covered.  

Just take it in.  

It’s not about you.  

It’s about  

The Glory.  

IMG_5665

This is terrifying. 

To allow yourself to be so small.  

To recognize that you have nothing to add.  

To only think about the glory.  

 

They fall and cover their faces.  

What else is there to do?  

 

Jesus touches them,  

And they go down the mountain together.  

When they look at Jesus they still see 

Gleams, 

Glimmers,  

Glistens,  

and 

GLORY.  

 

They will never unsee it.  

Their eyes are open now.  

 

Sometimes, they see that glory  

In the dark places,  

In other people,  

And even in themselves.  

Small bursts.  

Never complete,  

The way Jesus shone.  

But small bursts of glory.  

Glimmers of who they truly are  

And the Spirit they have within.  

 

Jesus just keeps going up and up and up. 

We are following with a trusting mind and with a hoping heart.  

Up and up,  

We work to climb,  

With  

Glimmers of glory guiding.  

IMG_5687

Where have you seen glimmers of glory? 

Final Reflections on Christmas

Final Reflections on Christmas

I know.

Christmas is over, but I’m still talking about it.

I’m sorry.

I don’t feel great about it either.

But I’m going to attempt to blog somewhat regularly again, and this was the only thing that I could think of to share today.

There are three things that I learned over the 2019 Christmas season that I want to remember for future Christmas seasons.

 

  • ALLOW TIME TO ANTICIPATE GIVING/RECEIVING GIFTS.

I figured out why I like gifts so much. It has always been a bit concerning to me how important presents feel to me. It seems materialistic, in a way, or like you have the wrong focus. But this year, I had a moment that clarified things for me.

IMG_5576
I may come by my gift-loving tendency honestly. My Nana  (Jean) was a very gifty, generous, thoughtful person, and I see that in my mom (Janice Jean) too, and I think that aspects of it trickled down to me (Jasmine Jean) too. One might say that gift-giving is in our genes. 

Ricky and I bought each other Christmas gifts, and in the week or so before we exchanged them, we just had a whole lot of fun speculating and investigating and teasing and poking. When it came time for me to finally open my gift, I had a humongous feeling inside me saying, “DO NOT OPEN THE GIFT.” I recognized that feeling from other Christmases, although it was stronger this time than ever before. There is something sad about opening a present, because then you will know what it is inside. The anticipation is over. And there you have it: although I’m always grateful for the actual gift, the anticipation is what makes me love giving and receiving gifts. I want to embrace this and acknowledge it in my gift-giving and receiving all year round.

A fun fact for you- Ricky and I unintentionally bought each other the same gift this year! We bought each other suitcases- blue, hard shell suitcases. That reminded me that opening a gift can be pretty great too, in a different way than anticipating the gift is. A gift that was never opened would eventually grow sad and useless. There is a season for anticipating and a season for unwrapping. They both contain joy.

IMG_5570

(A side note: Giving gifts used to be stressful for me, because what if the person didn’t like the gift I got them? That changed when I realized that I can alleviate (most of) that stress by simply taking time to thoughtfully choose a gift. Some things that have helped me with this are writing down ideas throughout the year as they come to me, not waiting until the last minute to do my shopping, and wrapping gifts in advance to avoid any last-minute scrambles or stresses.)

  • PLAN WAYS TO APPRECIATE THE STILLNESS THAT COMES AFTER CHRISTMAS.

I typically feel rather “let-down” after Christmas. All the things that I was anticipating and preparing for are just… over. This year, I didn’t feel that as heavily. I’m grateful, and also want to explore what made the difference. I think part of it was that I was simply relieved to be at home again after everything was over. I worked full-time in December, right up until 6:00 on Christmas Eve. We drove straight to my family’s house from work. The next day, we went straight from my family’s place to Ricky’s family’s place. The next day, we went straight from there to Wisconsin for several days. It was all so good, but wow, it felt wonderful to come home again at the end. Perhaps my appreciation for the stillness overshadowed any let down feelings that may have been there. I also knew some things about my schedule for the week after Christmas. I knew that I was only working two days, that Ricky and I were just going to hang out quietly together on New Year’s Eve, and that I wanted to spend time reflecting and writing on New Year’s Day. Having these small things to anticipate and look forward to took away from the empty feeling that can come after a big event for me.

  • SCHEDULE THE SMALL THINGS THAT YOU WANT TO DO.

It’s easy to attend an event that you bought a ticket for or a banquet that you agreed to bring cheesecake to. It’s not always as easy to take time to watch your favourite Christmas movies, make Christmas cookies, make garlands, pray by candlelight each night, play carols on the piano, or walk around your neighbourhood to see all the lights. In the future, I want to be more intentional about scheduling some of these things that I enjoy.

wreatheday-7

That’s it.

That’s what I learned this Christmas.

I’m ready to move forward now.

My motto for the coming year is to do stuff.

Or, put more eloquently, move forward.

I’m excited.

IMG_5587
I know that I’ve done it twice in a row now, but I don’t actually plan to end every blog post with a picture of myself. 

What did you learn this Christmas- about Jesus, about yourself, about the people around you?

What are you hoping for this coming year?

Are there any topics you’d like me to blog about this year? I’m just curious about what you want to read about! 

2019 Recap

2019 Recap

There are a lot of different ways that I could go about writing this post. So many that it’s a little overwhelming. I spent some time trying to figure out the most efficient AND comprehensive way to reflect on 2019, but found that all my answers to the thoughtful questions that the internet provided felt stiff and forced. So instead, I pulled out my journal and just made a list of what came to my mind when I thought about 2019. That is (more and less) what I will be sharing here. It’s long. It’s very long. 


A word for 2019-

DISORIENTING.

Not the worst year of my life,

Because what could be worse

Than being fourteen years old?

But seriously

DISORIENTING.

 

Made of so many bits and pieces-

How does one string them all together?

Do they even belong on the same strand?

I’m still trying to figure out what goes where,

And where the patterns appear.

IMG_5970

IMG_5968

 

Some patterns are there.

Pursuit is a serious weakness of mine.

I’m great at doing a lot of work without accomplishing anything.

(This is not a good thing,

In case you are wondering.)

FOMO (fear of missing out) is a huge factor in how difficult I find it to make any kind of decision.

If I choose one thing, I sacrifice another thing,

And

I WANT IT ALL.

I actually do.

I want the babies and the career and the education.

I want Toronto and I want to live close to my family again.

I want tradition and I want to start fresh.

IMG_5594

 

2019

Had a lot of decisions in it.

 

I don’t think I made a single one of them.

I’m serious.

Not any of the big ones.

I did choose to paint our living room white,

Even though it was already a

Pretty nice green.

This was

ABSOLUTELY

The right choice.

 

I just about went crazy

With the decisions bubbling and brewing constantly inside me.

I’m still trying to figure out how to

Thoughtfully consider a decision

Without becoming consumed by it.

 

How do you make a big decision

When you feel like you’re up against a wall-

You feel like you simply cannot choose?

How do you do it?

IMG_5602

 

I wrote half of a play again this year,

With my dear friend

Meghan.

I struggled.

By struggled, I mean that

Every sentence

Had to be dragged

Kicking and screaming

From the trenches and mines

Of my heart and my soul,

And that might sound artsy and poetic,

But let me tell you-

The trenches and mines inside me

Seemed to be bent on producing

More lumps of coal

Than gold.

I had a mass of ideas, emotions, and truths inside me,

And NOTHING fit together

No matter how many index cards and charts I wrote.

I produced writing that was

Too much

In some places

And

Not enough

In other places.

At the end of it all,

I had to complete and release a creative project

That I had not yet started to fully love.

The love might come later.

I’m hopeful.

And scared.

I pray to be humble enough to watch the play in the spring without comparing and cringing,

And humble enough to try again in the future.

IMG_4402

 

In the fall, I job-searched.

I went to several interviews

Without getting the job.

Let’s just say that

I took it personally.

(Even though I knew I shouldn’t.)

One place had me come for a trial shift.

And then they asked me to come for a second trial shift.

And then I never heard from them again.

This bothered me a lot.

But also, both times that I was there,

I felt absolutely sick with anxiety even after I left.

I’m think I’m thankful it didn’t work out.

But I’m also sad,

Because they had the best croissants

And because

I don’t know what I did wrong.

IMG_5607

My faith has changed.

I don’t know of how else to say it.

I think about the Bible differently than I used to.

A friend asked me to expound on that statement,

And I floundered.

I realized later that I literally didn’t have the language to explain what I might be starting to believe now.

I’m learning a new language, and some authors like

Science Mike and Rachel Held Evans

Are helping me.

“The Bible isn’t an answer book. It isn’t a self-help manual. It isn’t a flat, perspicuous list of rules and regulations that we can interpret objectively and apply unilaterally to our lives. The Bible is a sacred collection of letters and laws, poetry and proverbs, philosophy and prophecies, written and assembled over thousands of years in cultures and contexts very different from our own, that tells the complex, ever-unfolding story of God’s interaction with humanity. When we turn the Bible into an adjective and stick it in front of another loaded word (like manhood, womanhood, politics, economics, marriage, and even equality), we tend to ignore or downplay the parts of the Bible that don’t fit our tastes. In an attempt to simplify, we try to force the Bible’s cacophony of voices into a single tone, to turn a complicated and at times troubling holy text into a list of bullet points we can put in a manifesto or creed. More often than not, we end up more committed to what we want the Bible to say than what it actually says.”
― Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood

One thing that has been hard this year

Is that I have been feeling like

I want God to speak to me,

And so I ask Him to,

But He doesn’t.

Sometimes He does, I guess.

There have been moments

Where I know He is giving me

His presence.

But mostly,

I struggle to feel Him.

And I just wonder

Why-

If I want to feel Him,

I can’t

?

I still wholeheartedly believe He is there and watching and loving,

In case you are wondering.

IMG_5547

 

2019 has been a weird year for my body too.

For the past couple years,

I have struggled with some acid reflux issues.

It seemed to come and go,

But was becoming more consistent this year.

I grew frustrated with feeling yucky so much of the time,

And made a bold move-

Gave up meat, sugar, dairy, and gluten for ten days

To see if it made me feel better.

The good news is,

I felt GREAT.

The bad news is,

WHO WANTS TO GIVE UP ALL THAT DELICIOUS STUFF?

Not I,

As evidenced

By the battle of acceptance and self-discipline that ensued.

I’m still trying to figure this all out.

I’m learning to be grateful for all the delicious food that I can eat that does make me feel good.

I’m trying to want to learn to just say no to the things that make me feel sick,

Rather than using special occasions as an excuse to consume those things anyways.

Because eating something that you KNOW is going to make you feel sick?

That sounds like a mentally unhealthy place to be, to me.

The good news is that

I lost twenty or so pounds

(what with all this healthy eating),

And actually started to like the way I look,

Which is a new one for me.

The bad news is that

My clothes all fit funny

And I still don’t know what size I should be wearing.

But NOT COMPLAINING.

 

 

In 2019, I learned that

it is good to let myself feel hungry sometimes.

Not every desire needs to be satisfied immediately.

I’m pretty used to getting myself what I want when I want it.

Instead of following through on every impulse,

I am going to try letting them guide me to what I am truly hungry for.

(I’m not talking about just food here, anymore.

What I eat, yes, but also

How I spend money,

How I spend time,

And my emotions and reactions.)

IMG_5542

In 2019, I found out that I am self-disciplined enough

To give up some things entirely,

(social media and gluten, to name two things)

But not self-disciplined enough to do well with enjoying these things in moderation.

I do not

UNDERSTAND.

What makes me

This way?

 

 

2019 has brought me out of my little Mennonite community more than any other year.

I’m struggling to find

My place in the world.

I am feeling like I actually was brought up in a different world

Than “non-Mennonites”.

The differences sometimes feel big,

And I just don’t know how to offer myself

And the good things that my upbringing has instilled in me.

It feels like there are a lot of

Loud,

Opinionated,

Entitled,

Sensitive,

Disgruntled,

Selfish,

Negative,

Disrespectful

People out there.

NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE THIS, AND NOT EVERYONE IS ALL THESE THINGS, AND MENNONITES CAN BE THESE THINGS TOO. I am not trying to be judgmental.

These are some attitudes that I have come across.

I’m just saying,

I feel like I come from a place where

Peace

Respect

Listening

Positivity (or at least not blatant complaining)

Selflessness

If-you’re-upset-internalize-it (this isn’t necessarily good- just a contrast I see)

And general meekness

Are valued,

And I honestly don’t how to offer these

generally gentle gifts

In a

generally loud world.

I think that is what I am saying.

I do know that the answer is not to just

Stay in my comfortable circle.

 

 

I think that’s quite enough

Looking back.

 

Looking ahead…

 

Someone asked me recently what

I do for fun.

It reminded me that I’m not good at

Doing stuff-

Even when it’s stuff that I like.

In 2020, I want to choose to

Do stuff.

I want to mail letters.

I want to make wise, thoughtful life decisions,

And be gracious enough to let go of the things it’s time to let go of.

I want to read

And write

And take pictures.

I want to keep asking God to speak to me.

 

To start 2020 out,

I am wearing owl socks from Grandma Schrock,

And just feeling really good about it.

IMG_5614

I am also doing some things that I didn’t have time to do in December,

But really wanted to do.

Like making an orange garland.

IMG_5627

I am also going to be making some January cookies at some point.

I am glad that I am giving myself permission to do these things

Even though Christmas is over.

Thank you, Self.

 

This is my favourite picture of myself from 2019:

IMG_4062

A shadow,

Small and blurry at the edges.

That’s me.

Dancing

And still in the light.