Saturday, April 23, 2005

If You Looked in the Window

If you could see in the window….

- You would have heard the laughter, the awe, the whispers of delight.
- Women who restlessly wandered inside and paced as they smoked outside. The years of addictions are hard to break and the restlessness reflects the inner battle for change.
- T who shyly stays in the kitchen after dinner and talks one on one letting her tears fall. She wears her years with heaviness.
- In an evening group these women share what Jesus looks like to them. One has no idea but she does see Jesus in women around the room.
- One who runs to hide under the bed when memories of repeated rape by a pastor surface.
- G who goes looking for her and draws her out.
- If Jesus was playing a game with them what one would it be? Hide and seek with either Jesus or them hiding at any given time, and not wanting to be found.
- Luise up on the hill planting brilliant yellow daffodils with the girls. They have no garden at “home” but they can return to see their flower grow where they planted it.
- Meals times when they all rush to eat, as much, as fast as possible. Scarcity and abundance principle.
- Women who are so used to shutting down their emotions, wrestling with them as they surface, remembering the events lying behind that.
- Those who are willing to seek the truth and others who are willing to sit with them as they open that up.
- Grandma who is a magnet for them all, gives to them lavishly with her baking her laughing eyes and loving heart
- Grandma who when asked if she thought Pope Benedict XVI was too old said indeed he was! What would she have done at 78 and her reply was “oh for women age is just a number”! Grandma spoke Norwegian and A responded in Swedish.
- Marilyn and Karen patiently assisting each woman with new make up ideas. Heather who gives massage, Sue and Jen running the spa, Gwen and Dorothea being where ever they are needed, Sue-Ann finding her niche.
- Each girl is given a mirror and on it is written “fearfully and wonderfully made”. She stands up to speak her name, that she is a child of God and fearfully and wonderfully made. That woman in the mirror is a woman of God.
- The latte machine runs constantly and I think we have gone through 11 – 4 litre jugs of milk in 7 days. Warm, soothing and comforting cups of steaming beverage you can wrap your hands around.
- Now a new group is here – young women who are teen Moms. Their life experience is being used in leadership.

If you looked in the window would you see yourself in the reflection?

If you looked in the window would you want to join in?

If you looked in the window would you know you too are fearfully and wonderfully made? Would you know your own labels are washed away and the words “Child of God” are for you?


Wednesday, April 20, 2005


One of the themes running through events and thoughts is the story of Hagar:

Where have you been?

Where are you now?

Where are you going?

As you sit with Spirit in those questions what are the lies that can be erased like the chalk on those stones last night? What are the truths that can be written in permanent ink into your story? What patterns of truth seeking and behaviour can come as you sit and let those questions be breathed upon by the Trinity? God knows the answers to those questions and in that knowing loves you deeply, honestly, unconditionally and forever.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Sound of Humming

The hum of the washer, in tune with the hum of the dryer have been harmonizing all day Monday and Tuesday. Add to that the notes of steam as the sheets are ironed and you have the melody on Monday. Tuesday started with the discordant screech of the vacuum, the mix master where Grandma is making more cookies and cakes, along with the intermittent beeping of the oven timer. Add to this the smell of yet another batch of granola and you have the aroma of Linwood House in preparation for the next set of guests/friends.

Right on time our friends from the Downtown Eastside arrived and filled the house with laughter, chatter, scuffing slippers on hardwood floors and the hissing of the latte machine. This is the hum of those arriving in the front door of Linwood.

Sue and Jen began the first session of The Journey with worship, journaling, thinking about labels, and rewriting that label. Each woman picked a smooth stone and in white chalk wrote those negative labels. You could see the agitation in many of them as they sat with those labels, wrestled with them, some shutting the door to addressing the subject. Sue and Jen then had each woman come and wash those labels off, take a permanent marker and write their name on the rock and beside it “Child of God”. Tears were flowing and the wind of the Spirit was gently touching them.

It was great to embrace those who had been before and see them enter with the inner walls down a little more than last time. Hearing their laughter at dinner was a beautiful humming sound. E who is very nervous came to help wash the dishes, T is very shy and I enjoyed sitting quietly with her after the tables were cleared. Every one of them loves to come and see Grandma and be engulfed in her bright gaze and infectious laughter.

All of this combines into the sounds of humming that belong to the heart when it experiences, whether momentarily or longer, a safe place for the heart. I believe these sounds of humming are also heard beyond Linwood House.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Steady Day

The house is full with 23 women up for a prayer retreat. They have practiced listening prayer, listening to each other and waiting in the quiet for the Spirit to speak.

I arrived in the kitchen at 6:30AM and it wasn’t long before women wandered down in search of the coffee they could smell or a cup of tea to wrap their hands round and let their body wake up.

Once the breakfast was cleaned up it was right into preparing lunch. Our friends Pat and Gerry had brought us a whole salmon. We were all under the impression it had been cleaned but when we thawed it yesterday we discovered that wasn’t so! That took a better part of the afternoon yesterday but today it was ready for stuffing with leaks and lemons, tied up and then Ron had it cooking on the barbeque for an hour. That salmon fed 33 people and there was enough left over for 2 more.

Mike was up working on paperwork but we sure appreciated when he stepped in, rolled up his sleeves and washed dishes. That is our Executive Director by the way! The President, Gwen, was setting tables, sweeping floors, and joining in the prayer time with the women. Grandma was disgusted that most of her sugar cookies were consumed last night but they are just too good. Rob was out working on the studio, Pat and Gerry and family dropped in and joined us for lunch, Dorothea was busy serving tables and Doug and Ron have been out chopping wood and burning the garbage.

And once lunch was cleaned up, it was right into supper preparation!

Now it is time to close the kitchen, turn out the lights, let the hum of the fridge be the lullaby and we will start it all again tomorrow!


Friday, April 15, 2005

Fish Tale

We have a huge salmon to cook for lunch for 23 tomorrow. And I discovered it isn't cleaned yet!! UGH.

So the major task on my plate today is this fish tale, to be beheaded and de-tailed!


Love in Action

Being loved where we are and for who we are – that is how God loves us. Safe places for the heart hold this ingredient as essential in walking the journey to wholeness and healing. Leadership at Linwood House Ministries knows this is the model Jesus gave us and asks us to follow. We want it to permeate every detail of word and action here.

This week our friend L from Downtown Eastside was here for a few days. We also had a group of School District leaders here for an overnight business/brainstorming session.

In our partnering with DTES there is the balance of loving them as they are, where they are, and speaking the truth in love. We want them to feel safe here but also to see that it helps if they will step up and take responsibility. Gwen had our friend serving at meal time and she did a great job, and showed us some of the finer points to waiting on tables.

I watched Jesus model permeate this visit of all the guests this week. When the School District leaders took a break and went for a walk, they invited our DTES friend to join them. In the conversations they discovered one of the teachers had worked in L’s home town in the North. That evening when L made popcorn for herself, she also made a big bowl for the leaders! And they received it with the same joy with which L had prepared it for them.

L’s eyes were shining the next morning when she bounced into the kitchen to tell us about the popcorn. And when the business group was leaving their eyes were shining as they related how L had brought her gift to them the evening before.

This was love in action accepting, honoring, permeating and flowing to each one who enters into Linwood House.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Monday Monday

Monday. Laundry. Sorting. Preparing. Catching up.

All the ingredients of a Monday in the start of this work week as we continue to prepare the details of the Ukraine trip, the family waits for Scott and Idelette’s new baby to arrive, and the house is readied for the 4 groups that run almost back to back for the next two weeks. Luise continued to prepare the garden for summer. On the front porch there is a Victorian plant stand that had Christmas greens in it and she spruced it up (no pun intended) with some red camellia and some kiwi vines. Nestled in this beautiful display is the tiny delicate nest of a junko bird! We will guard this new place of life.

Our friend from Downtown Eastside is hanging out for a few days, continuing her journey to hope and healing. She is trying to get into a recovery center – pray that this door will open for L.

Monday afternoons Gwen meets with a friend from the coast for “Happy Hour”. Nothing to do with having an alcoholic beverage but everything to do with drinking in the water of life in a time of sharing and prayer. This Monday was no different. Time to stop, slow down, and let the Spirit speak. Gwen has started Jane Fonda’s new book My Life So Far. Jane has three sections to her book, to her life: 1) gathering- putting together the details of events in her life. 2) seeking – finding the defining moments in what she has gathered and finding the lies and the truth, 3) beginning – taking the truth and beginning again. This book is very detailed and some may not appreciate that but if we are ever to tell our story, we must know those details to be able to discern the lies and find the truth. Put together these ideas of gathering, seeking and beginning, use it to help others and you have come full circle! You get to the place where your story leads others into Light and gathers them into community. Looking at the woman of John 4 we talked about what it must have been like for Jesus to look into her eyes, really see her, know her past, present and future and love her completely. How did she know to trust Jesus, and how was it she got such confidence to go and tell her story to a group of people who never let her have her voice before? Close your eyes and let yourself see Jesus looking into your eyes, knowing every detail and what would He say to you there? Try it and wait for Him to speak with you.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Weekend Glimpses

Sitting down and hearing the journey of others is such an honor and gift. Every moment is precious.

Now we have a few days where it is full steam ahead on ensuring that the bookings for the Ukraine are firm, that we each know what we have to do to apply for visas. There are a lot of details that must be put into place and many that will unfold as we go along. Our team has now grown to 8, and it could well be we will have 10 before we depart on May 13. The concern is to make sure we all have our Ukrainian visas issued in time for that departure. We required $3000 to fund the cost of printing the Prayer Journal in Russian.

Scott and Idelette’s little one is to arrive at anytime and the family eagerly awaits the arrival. Although not as eagerly, I am sure, as the parents themselves!

Dorothy and Doug are holding down the fort with Grandma this weekend. Dorothea is baking the croissants this morning for the 2 couples and 2 children. These guests are guest speakers at a local church and as we had some room available they have been able to stay over.

Rob and Mike have been working on the studio, putting some beautiful beams in place.

Last Monday Gwen’s friend Anne spoke about knowing “the power of His resurrection”. Easter is such a big event to celebrate for followers of Jesus and somehow I had just assumed that resurrection morning was full of this celebratory flavour. Celebration is connected with numbers, noise, and a party atmosphere. When Anne spoke of resurrection morning being quiet, gentle and very unassuming it was a reminder that we in solitude and in community know “the power of His resurrection”. The power of Jesus presence is within because He breathed it into us.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Ketchup Theology

Something you have to know about Linwood House. There really aren’t any rules. Except that is at the table: no ketchup bottles, no mustard bottles and no pop bottles! That just isn’t done here.

Our guests Anne, Nathan, Jackie and Beth are visiting and one of them wasn’t aware of this rule and wouldn’t you know it the ketchup bottle came to the table. Not the proper thing at all.

Monday was another “table talk” day. Nathan wandered off to putter at various things while Anne, Gwen, Jackie, Beth and I shared stories, ideas, questions – you know, just “table talk”. Jackie had had this marvelous vision in the night and God had revealed some future plans to her. It was amazing, marvelous, awesome and then right at the end it was dashed, all because of her mistake at putting the ketchup on the table! (She thought it was dashed). Those little mistakes/distractions we make that consume and overpower all the beauty and wonder of the amazing that happens in our lives. How do they get such power over us?

Just some snippets of the conversations:
- The story of Hagar, “I know where you’ve been, I know where you are and I know where you are going. I am with you”.
- What parts of our story are debilitating?
- What parts of that are we willing to bring into the Light, be vulnerable and allow healing?
- Meekness is about being a risk taker, speaking with the authority of the Spirit, not silencing the mind, body and heart.
- How do we create new patterns to move forward? Practice and being vulnerable.

Usually on Monday afternoon a friend of Gwen’s comes over to share her heart, be mentored and know she is in a safe place. Anne, Pastor Anne as we call her, is a great friend and mentor of Gwen’s. She read to us from Philippians 3 and opened the discussion of how we experience the fellowship of His sufferings and the power of the resurrection. Resurrection morning was not a loud celebration, in fact it was a silent power. Anne shared a few stories of her life with us. On a visit to Brazil she felt overwhelmed by the despair and suffering of the children and had voiced that she wished her heart was just a little colder in order to not be overwhelmed by the pain of the others. Her translator reminded her that “if you have a broken heart, you leave a piece of it everywhere you go. Let God continue to break your heart.” How many pieces of our brokenness have become pieces of Jesus love to others?

“We don’t need to bring people to Jesus as much as we need to bring Jesus to people.”

Sitting down to a turkey dinner, Jackie brought a beautiful little jug to the table – with ketchup! Those little things that niggle may follow us around, but if we place them in the Light and along with the beauty of life they will have no power to distract us. That is the ketchup theology!


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Table Talk

There are 3 large tables used for mealtime at Linwood House. The Dining Room is fairly formal, the Parlour has another table from Doug Rae’s house that provides a cozy atmosphere, and then there is the Kitchen. The kitchen table is a unique piece, made in Quebec, and is one long piece of a warm honey coloured pine. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a kitchen table is old, new, designer style or funky, it is still a place where conversations ebb and flow.

We love hearing the heartbeat of different generations and this weekend they were between 20 and 30 years old. Gwen was sharing the heartbeat of Linwood House Ministries with them and from there conversations at the kitchen table began, flowed and will continue at another time and place for some.

It was great this morning to hear them talking of late night prayer time and deep conversations as they enjoyed cinnamon buns (fresh out of the oven) and coffee. Holy moments that just evolve, Kingdom conversations, seeing characteristics of Jesus; many of them take place around one or all of the tables.

Last night after dinner they were singing “His Banner Over Me is Love” and the sweet sounds encouraged us as we cleared up. Yes there is a banner, it is love, and it is over us with grace, mercy and faithfulness.

I know it is all part of the ministry of Linwood House, but along with that it is simply the adventure of discovering God in the holy moments that are life, living, breathing, hoping, wrestling, and being in the work that is right in front of us.

“He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:10 The Message


Friday, April 01, 2005

Just the this and that of this day!

Whew into April already! Wow where does the time go.

Grandma is back and into baking right away. Good thing because I hate baking and we need heaps of cookies for the group this weekend. Grandma’s cookies, as many of you know, are an addictive thing. Rob, we call him the “cookie monster” is always sneaking them when he is not working on the new studio across the parking space.

A busy hive of activity today around here. Pastor A is enjoying his last moments of quiet before his team arrives for the weekend. It will be almost full house with 22 of them coming. One of the secrets to having things go smoothly in the kitchen is to get as much done before hand as possible. So Grandma is going to make butter tarts, the angle food lemon dessert needs some finishing touches, I will shortly grill the veggies for the grilled vegetable pasta lunch dish and a fresh batch of granola is ready for their breakfast. Right now a pot of stew is simmering for supper tonight. It’s a new recipe I saw where you have beef, heaps of onions, carrots, herbs and two bottles of beer and then just let it simmer. Smells not bad! Ron and Gwen are off on a “dump date”. Dumping and dates are not meant to go together are they? There is just a lot of stuff needing to go to the dump today and Gwen knows if she goes along Ron will take her out for coffee! You have to grab every moment you can in a busy life right? And we had a weird lunch today, we had pancakes. Funny eh?

So the rooms are ready, the welcome letters are on the bed, the food is under control and if we can get the tables set for lunch tomorrow we will be okay. Anticipation is what we are feeling about this weekend and we hope the guests will experience it too.

We’re off to the Ukraine in May – want to join us?

That is the news, weather and activity schedule for this Friday afternoon on the first of April 2005, from Linwood House!

| Weblog Commenting and Trackback by