Thursday, March 31, 2005

End of First Quarter of 2005

Today ends the first quarter of 2005. Where does it go? Like the pouring rain outside, it seems to seep away and yet the good things will be seen as the season progresses.

Ron and Gwen are back from holiday and Grandma will be home tonight. It has been quiet without them around.

Pastor A is here this week for some quiet time and his group of young adult leaders will be up for a weekend retreat. We have discussed safe places for the heart and he sees the generation in their 20’s being more open and vulnerable in their church small groups. We need more of this in the Body. We talked about living outside the box that defines who is in or who is out of our “group” in the faith community. It looks more like it simply needing to be a group that is defined by those who are looking toward knowing Jesus. Maybe only beginning that journey, maybe on the deeper learning of Jesus heart, but the defining factor is that we are turning toward Him.

Sitting round the table last night with Ron, Gwen, Pastor A and myself, eating baked potatoes and BBQ ribs we laughed, shared and dialogued on the gender issue within the church, why we do or don’t dissect various passages of the Word.

Read a good comment this morning from another blog, which quoted Ravi Zacharias who said that convictions should always be wrapped in love.

Love and grace – extravagant amounts required, rather like the pouring rain outside. Love and grace water the soul, water the Body, water the Word and are essential to holding it all together and letting the beauty emerge as the seasons of life flow.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Speakers at the PASCH Conference

Gwen was recently at the PASCH in California, accompanied by Dr Faith Auton Cuff (on Linwood House Ministries Board of Directors).

Henry Cloud, PhD, spoke on leaving the past behind in the journey of healing from abuse. He referenced the biblical story of Lot and his family. You can leave the place but it doesn’t leave the past behind. There are a lot of great points in this talk but the one I am digesting today is rewriting our past. Our experiences of a moment ago because part of our past. Every step we take towards healing, towards change becomes a rewritten part of our past. This is a key to letting healing into the wounds of the past.

Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart is a good book.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Surprises and Celebration

This has been a weekend of celebration as Dottie celebrated her 50th birthday with friends and family at Linwood. She had no idea her husband and family had planned this party for her. Hearing the laughter, the gasps of surprise one was delightful. They relaxed, played games, filled the house with music and danced together. On Sunday morning Rob began the sharing thoughts on “safe places for the heart” and how that fits with his wife and family.

We then shared a bit of who and what Linwood House Ministries is. It is a place of safety for the heart and for telling of “story”. We each have a story and God writes that story with us. Therefore when they began to share some of their own stories together, this safe place of Linwood House was once again validated.

At the same time as Rob and Dottie were celebrating here, three other women were also here, walking the tough road that withdrawal from addictions calls for. Our friend that we have met through The Journey is so courageous but the battle she faces in her walk to freedom will demand everything she has. Leaving addictions behind is a vicious battle and we are praying for her and Jen and Sue who are walking with her in these days.

It’s now Monday and the heaps of laundry are being worked on, the cappuccino machine is being fixed, there is cleaning to be done and we begin the process of getting the house in order again for those who will arrive this weekend.

Often people refer to this place as a Bed and Breakfast, which is really isn’t. Yes we do have people come and stay for retreats but there is so much more. We are called to be a safe place and hold this as holy ground for the telling of our sacred stories. Another piece that isn’t verbalized enough is that this is a place for change. Jesus had breakfast on the beach after His resurrection and He called them to change. Every encounter we have with Jesus is meant to change us; to whatever degree we embrace that change or are conscious of it. The Ruach, the wind of the Spirit blows here just as tangibly as of the wind outside.

Outside the sun is shining, which is a change for the torrential rain yesterday. In the mundane chores of “Monday cleaning” we ask for the courage to allow the Spirit to continue to change us. I pray that change will come for each one that encountered God this weekend, whether they were celebrating or wrestling.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Meditation on the word MADE

Making granola (Luise’s Peace Lovin, Groovy 60’s, Crunchy Granola) you could smell the blending of almonds, cinnamon, honey, sesame, sunflower and coconut.

The word that seems to be hovering today is “Made”. A couple of weeks ago Wes Roberts gave the breakfast blessing and spoke about the day that God has made. It is already created and complete in God’s mind but it will unfold throughout every second of what we call today.

God MADE the heavens and the earth and was satisfied. God MADE man and woman. God MADE dry bones be covered in flesh and again and gave them breath and He said LIVE. Created, designed, make in His image, under construction – whatever way you wish to think of it, it still involves making.

Something is always in the making at Linwood House. Dorothea will be making a birthday cake for the 50th birthday party that begins tomorrow. We are making the house ready for them, putting flowers in the bedrooms, on the dining room and kitchen tables, and ensuring that everything will be in place when they arrive.

Anticipation goes along with the word “make” because there is the longing that all the pieces will come together, take shape and you will be satisfied with the completed task.

Linwood House has had no guests this week. Emails keep us in touch with people all over the world. Phone calls and conversations keep us in touch with the heart beat of others. One of our friends is walking a new journey with God but she faces huge challenges that are consequences of some former choices. She has been MADE new. This weekend Sue and Jen will bring her up here and will make their presence a safe place for her heart in the storm she faces. God makes His presence a safe place for us and we in turn strive to learn how to be made in His image and provide refuge to His children.

“You’ve always given me breathing room,
A place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
An open invitation as your guest.”
Psalm 61: 3-4 The Message


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Spring Will Come

It is a quiet day here at Linwood House. One of those days where you move with the gentle rhythm of ordinary tasks that fit together in making this an extraordinary place. Grandma is still away visiting with her older sister (who is 94) and Ron and Gwen are enjoying a much needed rest and time for reflection. It helps that it is also in warm and sunny Mexico!

Luise is working in the garden, clearing out the debris of winter and preparing for spring. Colourful primulas give a hint of spring. She works steadily and quietly digging, sorting, clearing, moving and at the end of the day will stand back to view her progress. Standing back to view our progress sounds like a good idea. Luise's "peace lovin groovy granola recipe" will soon be placed in our recipe link.

Rob is out working on the studio, placing cedar shakes on the east wall. The infinte care to each detail takes time and from the outside you cannot see the fine details unfolding within the four walls. Rather like our lives where God does so much inside us and it takes time for that to be reflected on the outside. Max and Luke, Rob and Sarah's two beautiful black Labs, patiently watch from their perch in the bed of the pick up truck. Their loyalty and patience is so beautiful.

One of the themes here at Linwood House is "safe places for the heart". These two beautiful creatures paint a picture of one quality we can offer each other in that theme, loyalty and patience.

Sorting cupboards one of my tasks today is this sorting of the kitchen, getting rid of what isn't necessary and keeping what we need readily available for use. There are little bits and pieces that are not useful so it is time to get rid of them. I find myself looking at inner sorting as I work in the quiet and stillness of the house. It isn't the big things, but rather those little niggly things that get in the way and cause clutter on the inside of us.

Wes Roberts was up here last week and today he is having some surgery. We pray the outcome will be favorable and he will recover soon.

One new book we are reading is To Be Told: Embracing the Stories of Your Life, by Dan Allender. Linwood House is so much about story so this will be a great book to place in our library (after we return this copy to its rightful owner Mike Todd)

It is St. Patrick's Day today and I look out at the shades of green that Creation placed upon this earth. In nature the shades never seem to clash do they!

The quiet is soothing today. The house will be busy this weekend with a surprise 50th birthday party happening. Twenty guests will be here and there will be lots of laughter, music and dancing too. Spring quietly will arrive and then the party of summer will soon be upon us. Ahhh it's nice to watch it all unfold. A quiet day at Linwood House also holds anticipation for we know guests will soon arrive again.

Meditating on these words today, Balaam has some wise words to sharing:
Decree of balaam son of Beor
decree of the man(woman) with 20/20 vision,
decree of the man(woman) who hears godly speech,
who knos what's going on with the High God,
who sees what The Strong God reveals,
who bos in worship and sees what's real.

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