Sunday, January 29, 2012


Comfort is such a comforting word.
Touch is what first comes to mind accompanied by indistinct murmurings, words blurred together into more sounds than syllables.
Seeing the familiar views, people and objects from my growing up years also evokes a sense of comfort to me.
I am blessed. 
Sights, sounds...stories shared and experiences recalled... COMFORT.
I write this post from the livingroom of my family home in South Lochaber, Nova Scotia.
I am surrounded by the familiar.
~Gorgeous landscape, sounds of logs cracking and popping in the wood stove, flames dancing and the ticking sounds of metal expanding and contracting in the heat.
~Crows are cawing this Sunday morning and the ice on the lake is groaning and popping and cracking. Deep sounds of air pushing from underneath ripple down the length of the lake and split the silence.
~My mom's voice calling good morning or bidding me goodnight.
~The arms of old friends wrapped tight around and kisses placed firmly on top of my head.
~The joy of nephews as they crawl into my lap, hold onto my neck, whispering: "I love you Auntie Juanita", as they snuggle close for a bedtime story.


I have been home just over a week and have spent hours contemplating the sheer wonder of my surroundings and my history here. I say it over and over again inside:
That in this one life I have been given, I have this to call home, these people to call family and friends, this overwhelms me and fills me with limitless gratitude.
Ordinary people surround me and yet as the days pass and I reconnect, I find myself marveling at the faith and the hope that resides in each of us. That connection deep inside us that surpasses genetics and proximity, memories and experiences.

The snow has begun to fall softly, I watch, embracing the stillness, captivated by the dancing flakes, the quiet..the rest and comfort.. what a precious gift today is.

My friend Shawntele recently started a  5 Fav's meme on her blog Rambling with Grace. Friday's topic was comfort food. This fits in nicely with my surroundings and circumstances, so today I am linking up with her and thus I offer you my Five Favorite Comfort Foods:

1. Gang-Gang's Biscuits with Molasses. (Pour molasses into a pool on a small plate and swirl half of a hot biscuit loaded with butter through, bringing the tasty morsel in an arc straight to your mouth!)
2. Lochaber Strawberries...sit in a row, ducked down and out of sight of the supervisor..proceed to pick the juiciest berry within range of your hand, remove the hull and pop in it's entirety into your mouth. (nothing else compares)
3. Fish Chowder: Befriend someone from Port Bickerton Nova Scotia and let the halibut, cod, haddock etc ROCK YOUR WORLD. With cream, bacon, potatoes and onions and whatever your family recipe entails, the rich goodness of our seafood is UNPARALLELED.
4. Baked Ham with Scalloped potatoes. (self explanatory) ( DO NOT COUNT CALORIES)
5.Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

I realize that it is not the food that comforts, but the experiences, people and memories associated with those meals that make it such a wonder.

I pray that today as you face whatever is right in front of you or around the corner, or as you spend time looking back over your life, that you find comfort in the fact that at the center of it all is God.
Author. Finisher. Sustainer of all that is...
It all comes down to love...
That is the greatest comfort of all: Love remains.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Under the Influence

We're all telling a story.
Every minute of every day we live to testify about something.
Our moods indicate our state of mind.
Our actions reveal our thoughts.
"As a man is he."
We reflect.
It is very hard to maintain a secret inner life: at some point down the road your actions mirror your inner beliefs.
You is what you think.

I can give you information about myself:

I am a middle aged mother of four AMAZING sons.
Married for almost 23 years to a GIFTED man.
BELOVED daughter to divorced parents.
Sister to 4 siblings whose homes are separated by the width of the entire continent.
I am a niece to WONDERFUL aunts and uncles.
I am cousin to their equally WONDERFUL kids.
I am a grand-daughter.

 I am more.

Yesterday I drove my old bus route to my old high school with my sister.
Driving through Sherbrooke Village, I passed buildings I worked in, recalled the faces of my classmates and workmates and as we approached the bus garages by the high school I saw my grandfather as clear as day. I could hear his voice and feel his huge hands lifting me up and twirling me around. I could smell the grease and oil that shrouded his form, felt the solid comfort of his barrel chest as he held me tight.

I have never known a day without love.

Alexander James Malloy passed away from a heart attack in June of my grade 11 year.
His mother taught me to bake biscuits in her pantry in the old farm house on the west side of the lake I see out my windows this morning. I can still feel the papery thin skin of her strong hands as we kneaded the dough together.
I learned hard work and steadfast values here in the heart of my family.
Their hands are all over my inner life and my outer life is a direct result of their love and their faith.

I am blessed. I am grateful. I am resilient. I am strong.
I am broken, unfinished, sometimes weak and afraid: but I know the healer of all wounds, the great physician, the wonderful counselor,  because they lit the way.

The influence of lives lived with integrity, with grace, with kindness and generosity...
The influence of everyday people working out their lives surrendered to God, growing in wisdom and grace and offering mercy....that influence lasts.
It outlasts recessions, hardships, sickness and disease.
It is stronger than addictions, bitterness, disappointments and unforgiveness.
It spans the distance and time zones that separate.
It touches eternity.

As I sit here in Lochaber, Nova Scotia, under the influence of the landscape, the memories, the lives of those long gone and those still living and the ever present, indwelling Spirit of God, I close my eyes, inhale, and feel the roots of trust grow ever deeper anchoring me even more securely.

I can change the world, do big things .... influence ..... by simply living and loving wherever I am and whoever steps within the reach of my life.
I know the results of that kind of life first hand.

If you are visiting my blog today ask yourself this...

What influence have you been living under?
What type of influence are you exerting on your landscape and the lives around you?

What story are you telling?
What does your life testify to?

Mine....I testify to Love.

Living under the influence every day,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It's when I come home that I am reminded again and again of the vast difference between a photo and the real deal.
Don't get me wrong: I marvel at pictures and ooh and ahhh with the best of you over the scenery presented to me on facebook, videos & tv.

I am soooo thankful for technology that bridges miles and oceans and time.

We are obviously a very visual society given that TV's have gone from tiny black and white screens to MONTROUS wall mounted beasts.
The bigger the better.
You almost feel like you are there.
NOTHING surpasses presence. 
Nothing surpasses being and participating in the environment, interacting with the people.
Active involvement. INVESTMENT.
People ...touchable, huggable...talking ...walking...moving...BEING.
Mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys.
Wind blowing, rain falling...fires crackling, snow drifting, kettles whistling.

This understanding of presence reminds me of my relationship with God.

I can view him from afar off:  Jesus died over 2000 years ago and the bible was written millenia ago. Jesus ascended into heaven and after all of that who has really seen God since?

When Jesus went to his father he gifted us with the INDWELLING Spirit.

No distance.
His Spirit...within me.

As I walk the land of my youth and memories gab hold and capture me, the most precious recollections I have are wrapped up in the understanding that:
It was HERE I knew HE was GOD.
It was HERE I knew I was His.

This is my heritage, this is my down home legacy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Am Not My Own

If everything comes down to love 
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours
I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I'll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm

These are some of the words to a song by Addison Road called : Hope Now.

 I know from experience there are those of you who are already struggling to pick yourself back up after being effectively knocked off your feet, and it's only the 11th day into a year 365 days long.

Everywhere you turn someone is trying to motivate you to work out, buy something on sale, refurbish, remodel, renovate. Change is preached like there's no tomorrow. Maybe there isn't. For some there isn't another tomorrow.

Maybe your hope has drained away bit by bit over the years, nothing left to replenish and rebuild.
The glass is not half full or even half empty, all you can see is the grounds in the bottom of the cup.

You could be battered inside where no one can see the bruises from the battles.
You might be emotionally starved, malnourished....ignored, abandoned.

The discovery I have made in the first 11 days of 2012 is that hope only lasts when it is placed in the right hands.
It only remains when it is entrusted correctly.
It is only replenished and refilled when you go to the source.

Faith, Hope & Love ABIDE. They ABIDEThese three.


If they abide, then they abide in God alone: they are held in Him.
He never changes.
As we learn to abide in Him....these three anchor us to Him securely.
It's how we were designed. It's what we were made for.
He's the only one who can be trusted.

I am not my own. He has carried me all my life. 

I have FAITH in Him.
My only HOPE is  in Him.
He is LOVE

What are you waiting for? 

Renew your Faith. Hope in God alone: Love with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
The gift of Salvation has been given. Full. Free. Complete.
He gave Himself.

Return the favor.

Whether you have acknowledged Him or not in the past or even in this now moment....

It comes down to this truth: You've been His all along.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Do You Yield?

Four sons.
Wrestling matches threatening my centerpiece on the coffee table and anything breakable from the kitchen to the living room including the bodies engaged in the battles.
This has been the story of my life for the last two decades.
Actually, long before I had sons of my own I was wrestling with siblings and cousins: arm wrestling, knuckles, hand slapping and all out throw downs with the furniture pushed back.. not to mention games of Dutch Blitz and Spoons.  
{ Battles of EPIC proportions}
Everything was a contest of skill, supremacy and dominance.
I was definitely NOT a girly girl.
I wanted to climb higher, throw harder, swim further, run faster....hold on longer.

Giving in was not an option. I fought to strengthen, to become skillful: I had to overcome.
I was so incredibly insecure.
Sports saved me. Academics gave me focus. I didn't care about what I was learning, just that I had to figure out what the teachers wanted and excel. It was about the points, the marks and the approval.

We don't live in a society that admires surrender.
Having a Lord and Master is simply NOT kosher.

No one is going to tell us what to do..who to be....

We are already into week two of 2012 and I am in the fight of my life.{again}
The battle rages and the battlefield is littered with all my excuses, all my definitions of a good life.
My expectations and demands have been read  yelled into the no mans land between us.

Opposite me on the landscape is not a dragon, a demon,  or an evil human enemy.
I am not squaring off against another person...I am squaring off against God himself.

I have spent the better part of 2012 so far telling him my demands,explaining what can and can't be done and he has stood close by while I battered myself against his indomitable love and unflinching will.

Do you believe in miracles?

There is no greater miracle than a life surrendered.

 It far surpasses a healed body, or a raising from the dead.

 "The grave up on the mountains is at the very edge of the High Places and beyond the reach of Pride and Bitterness and Resentment and Self Pity, yes, and of Fear too, as though she was in another world all together, for they can never cast themselves into the grave. She knelt there feeling neither despair nor hope. She knew now without a shadow of a doubt that there would be no Angel to call from heaven to say that the sacrifice need not be made, and this knowledge caused her neither dread nor shrinking.
She felt nothing but a great stillness in which only one desire remained, to do that which he had told her because he asked it of her. The cold dull desolation which had filled her heart in the cave was gone completely; one flame burned there steadily, the flame of concentrated desire to do his will. Everything else had died down and fallen into ashes.
After she had waited for a little and still he had not come, she put out her hand and with one final effort of failing strength grasped the natural human love and desire growing in her heart and struggled to tear them out. At the first touch it was as though anguish pierced through her every nerve and fiber, and she knew with a pang almost of despair that the roots had wound and twined and thrust themselves into every part of her being. though she put forth all her remaining strength in the most desperate effort to wrench them out, not a single root stirred.
For the first time she felt something akin to fear and panic. She was not able to do this thing which he had asked of her. Having reached the altar at last she was powerless to obey.....the indistinct figure behind the altar stepped forward and said quietly.' I am the priest of this altar-- I will take it out of your heart if you wish.'....then she continued entreatingly, 'I am a very great coward. I am afraid that the pain will cause me to resist you. Will you bind me to the altar in some way so that I cannot move? I would not like to be found struggling while the will of my Lord is done.' "
 ~~ excerpt from Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Today I stand on the edge of my life...hurting, struggling.... surrendering....trusting.

In My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers says that :

"..before we choose to follow God's will, a crisis must develop in our lives.This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God's gentler nudges.."

I am at a crossroads again today...but like Oswald..and even Much Afraid up on the altar :

"I am determined to be absolutely and entirely 
for Him and Him alone."

I yield. 

 What about you ????