Thursday, June 30, 2005

Observations from the Kitchen

Grandma is Queen of the Kitchen and the aroma of her baking wafts through Linwood House. She loves to bake butter tarts for a certain Pastor from North Vancouver, butterscotch pie for Jen and Sue, cereal cookies for Rob and apple pie for Ron. Two large tins of cookies were waiting on the shelf for the women that arrived to participate in The Journey. Dorothea was given a pan of Matrimonial Squares for her birthday and Grandma baked a rich double chocolate cake for the joint birthday dinner of Doug and Dorothea. When it gets very crowded in the kitchen she bows out and leaves the cacophony of sound for the tranquillity of her suite.

Last week was a hectic one with The Journey numbering 28 guests and workers, one day break and then a team of painters, making our meal time number 35. But all in all, it was about community, gathering at the table and sharing, everyone participating and moving forward.

It never ceases to amaze me just how profound sitting down to "break bread" together is. Laughter or tears, stories and tales, listening then speaking, pondering, watching, enjoying, or at times even retreating. There is a flow like the underground stream beneath the house. It is the essential ingredient to life - living water.

The first meal for our friends from Downtown Eastside Vancouver was prepared with comfort in mind: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots in creamy onion fresh herb sauce. Grandma made apple crisp and it was served with dollops of whip cream. Comfort food that was designed to subtly invite them to come in, find safety and to remind them perhaps of happy memories from childhood (if there are any). Having been at Linwood for only a few hours most of our first time guests were still very much in protective mode and controlling what they can - that happened to be what they did, or did not eat. Many plates came back with portions of the meal untouched.

The last meal we prepared for these beautiful women was designed to be living food (fresh greens with as many raw ingredients as possible without being intimidating) as well as a portion of some essential food for women's health - salmon with Omega 3 oil in it. Women should eat salmon and broccoli at least once a week. With fragrant rice and fresh bread we set the banquet out and suggested they help themselves. This meal was the one meal where there were no leftovers!

Those who come to the table may not be aware of how or why this particular menu was chosen. What is important is that you enjoy it, enjoy community as you eat and that you be touched by the fragrance of the Kingdom. The aroma of unconditional love and grace.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


The house is full of guests today. The next Journey is in full swing and we are excited to have newcomers in this session.

Sue, Jen, Elaine and Gwen have put together the theme of "crossroads" and there are various stations outside for them to go to with specific tasks. I love it when Sue and Jen arrive and focus on getting every detail in order for these wonderful women to experience when they arrive.
Our friend Jackie is here to observe, assist and just absorb the essence of what this is all about too.

These are amazing women from Vancouver's downtown eastside. Many of them have a soul that is hemoraging, and has been for a long time. A local friend is also staying with us - her soul has been hemoraging for a long time too. Perhaps here at Linwood, we can encourage each of them to come to the intersection where Jesus stands. His only "agenda" for their lives right now is that He meets with them at the intersection and He invites them into relationship together. How that looks, how it works - that is as unique as each individual.

So pray for us as a team as we understand our own crossroads, and that every intersection we have with each other will have the breath of Yeshua in it.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Wisdom of Years

Speaking truth is a powerful voice. Speaking truth is essential in our journey, and along with that we must soak ourselves in Jesus love and grace. Then when we speak truth it comes with wisdom and honor. Jesus says that "the truth will set you free".

Anyone who has been to Linwood House knows that this family believe strongly in speaking truth, with love and grace and honor. Grandma, at 92, can get away with almost anything! But in her years of living, of speaking truth, and the matter of fact way she addresses things, her words can hit home with clarity.

A friend of our is travelling a tough road of change just now and when Grandma sat and chatted with her these words the words of truth delivered:
Get out of the dirt and find your wings

So for those in a stuck place today...get out of the dirt and find your wings! And allow that truth to set you free. And once again the Jesus words of life are if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Just Enough Light for this Step

A book title on my bookshelf is “Just Enough Light for the Step I am On”. Perhaps that best describes this week at Linwood House.

Gwen has been in Vancouver and spent some time with several women who are in transition, change, cataclysmically changing their thinking processes. The change is towards freedom, hope, health and a heart, mind and body that is alive in Jesus love; one step at a time towards change.

At the house we have been walking with friends who are in transition, change – the process of walking towards restoration, hope and a mind, heart and body that is alive in God’s design.

There is an old song that says “One day at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking from You”. The reality is that in the wrestling even one day can seem impossible. It becomes more of a minute by minute and hour by hour journey with just enough Light for the next step, just enough breath to keeping breathing in this moment, and giving oneself permission to step out of routine and listen to the rhythm of the heart.

As the wind gently causes the pampas grass, the purple foxglove and yellow poppies sway in my line of vision, I am reminded of the gentlest whisper of Divine love and the unwavering gaze of our God who sees us as free and as colourful as the blossoms on the hillside. He sees beyond these moments of anguish and pain but remains with us through it. That presence is the Light and Breath of a Triune God giving life.

King David understood this journey well and Psalm 121 reflects that:
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from the mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.
God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you –
Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from the moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
He guards you now, he guards you always.

The Message


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Body Psalms Written at The Dance Workshop

Body Psalm

At the beginning of the month we held the first workshop for The Dance. Celeste Snowber, author of Embodied Prayer, and co-leader of this workshop had each of us write a Body Psalm. Before I share a few lines from various ones, I quote the following from Celeste’s book. This gives you some insight to “Psalms”

“The psalms capture our hearts with total immediacy. The words no not slide across the skin but penetrate to marrow and bone.
Our emotions cannot hide when the psalms grip us. The psalms explore the emotional terrain of pain, joy, turmoil, hope, doubt, anger, or feelings of abandonment by God. The psalms encourage us to give ourselves permission “to be” and “to live” in the emotional terrain of our own lives. As John Calvin said the psalms are an “anatomy to all the parts of the soul”. They uncover the skeletons hidden in our body-soul and give fuel for the road of transformation. Our bodies become a reminder to our hearts, giving us warning signals of what is spiritually and emotionally needing our attention. When our hearts betray us, our bodies ring true. The psalms ring true to every part of us. By including the language f movement in praying or reciting the psalms, we allow God’s word to take on a deeper dimension in our lives. As we begin to express the words and nuances of the psalms with our hands, feet, and torsos, its powerful metaphors sink into our spirits. Inner barriers are broken down, and we can truly pray the range of the psalmist’s prayer from lament to joy.”

Here are some quotations from Body Psalms the participants wrote:
“Sing loudly in the cocoon of my bathtub not caring who awakens. Stretch largely and groan with volume even if someone will ask what is wrong. Ask for what I need without focusing on what is needed.
Soar on wings of praise with the feel of the wind beneath my body lifting me higher and higher to dizzying heights of joy.”

“Live dangerously with tenderness, the tenderness of a ripe melon waiting to be eaten. Don’t ask why so much. Cease analyzing and trust – this is a new land for you. The land of trusting what and who comes in your life.
Stay with the rhythms that are life giving– quieting, swimming, stilling, walking, listening, writing.”

“Swim at your own pace, ground your energy in your feet. Recognize your woman story, look to those moss covered rocks not as relics, but as symbols of sustenance, nourishment and order. Allow. Allow without words. Allow. Don’t answer questions; live questions and dodge answers.”

“Dance with the voice expressing every timber of sound it can. Pointing toes, aching shoulders, back and knees. Stretch the hands that ache with unseen tensions. Open my eyes to see that it was created with the hands of Designer knowing.”

“As the Lord loves me, I should love me.”

“The breathing exercise – in the stillness of the process, makes me aware of myself as part of the universe, a spiritual communion of oneself and God. This whole learning process is very liberating. I love my body as not confined to my old definition of skin-covered flesh, but as part of the universe, part of God’s creation, and loving my body because it is from God, and everything He creates is good and perfect.”

"Nap during the day, listen to my body, play, create, look forward to things - and then enjoy them. Be content while I wait..."

"To laugh again, deep in my belly laughs, as I discover the truth, hidden for millennia by fear engraved on the ancient paths. You challenge me to think, to reject illusion and lies, to seek authenticity regardless of the cost, for You are my supply."

Discovering the physicality of psalms became very practical - discovering a psalm that made our own physicality very tangible.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Treasures in the Junk

Grandma is a great one for bargains and her daughters and granddaughters have joined the treasure hunt! Finding what some cast away and making it useful again. Finding value with a second look and seeing beyond the surface to what the real truth is. In part that is what Linwood House Ministries is all about. Not only is this sacred space for stories to be told and the redeeming colours to be revealed but it is also holy ground where Yahweh changes our vision. On holy ground and in sacred space the Almighty can change our feelings of worthlessness into ones of truth. When we feel safe we are willing to be vulnerable and allow Jesus to exchange the lies we have used to determine value for the truth of our worth in his eyes.

Duane is taking a few days of quiet here, and quiet it is. It allows each of us to quietly do our tasks and attend to the inner quiet we need. It has been busy since we returned from the Ukraine, held The Dance workshop and attended to the upkeep here.

I found this article framed in the hallway this morning and believe it is another garage sale find!
When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay plank on plank that a time is to come when those planks will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and men will say as they look upon the labour and wrought substance of them, “See, this our father did for us”.


Friday, June 10, 2005

A Rare Weekend

This will be a rare weekend at Linwood House - there will be no guests. It gives Ron and Gwen the opportunity to truly have their sanctuary to themselves. Grandma will be puttering in the garden, or heading to garage sales if Sarah will take here, and Rob will be working on the studio.
There will be activity but an easy paced one. There is a never ending list of chores to be done and a weekend like this allows us to proceed with some of them.

Sabbath and rest. Perhaps that is what this weekend will be about - time to be paced and relaxed, to enjoy family conversations, read some books or perhaps nap in the hammock in the garden. We all need sabbath rest yet so often it is postponed to "another time".

This is then a reminder that Sabbath and rest are some specifics that Jesus asked us to observe. And we are thankful for this weekend in which to do that.

Enjoy your weekend - may it be filled with shallom.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

At the Crossroads

Coming face to face with our pain, our past, our wounds, brings us to an intersection. This place of intersection will be the healing path, the place of redeeming our story. We must choose whether or not we will walk towards healing or whether we will remain in the place of wounding. Our body, mind and heart will bear the effects of our wounding, and it will also bear the effects of our choice at every intersection we face.

Over the last few weeks our team of 9 women came face to face with our own past as we shared our stories traveling through Crimea. We saw the areas of redemption and the places we needed to bring into the Light for Jesus to work on with us. In our sacred space as a team we came to many intersections and made choices there. Oppression, suppression, abuse combined with a strange teaching that anything in your “pre Christian” life remains unspoken, has left the women of the Ukraine holding deep pain within. Their faces and their body language reveal the immense burden they carry. Over and over we saw how Jesus in the Word would heal wounds, honor the woman for her faith and then tenderly ask her “tell me your story”. Nothing can change how Jesus loves us. It was a privilege to hear the hearts of Ukrainian women, to pray with them, and encourage each other. It was an honor to stand at a crossroads with them and know that Jesus heard our hearts.

Last weekend The Dance workshop took place and it was an awesome experience. Becoming conscious of how our body, mind and heart need to connect, are meant to connect, is another decision that comes at those intersections of living. This was an amazing workshop and later on we will post some comments from those who attended.

Every Monday, M comes to meet with Gwen and have prayer time. We call it “happy hour” and enjoy a latte together, share where we are and then take this to Abba. Last night M brought along another friend, L, and we talked about “crossroads”. The prophet Jeremiah had some good advice on this subject, having us look at ancient paths, looking at our own past and seeing new ways of walking in life.
16GOD's Message yet again:
"Go stand at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for directions to the old road,
The tried and true road. Then take it.
Discover the right route for your souls.
Today I have heard several stories of friends who are at their own crossroads. They are looking for the tried and true road and choosing to take the hard road to healing because it is the right route for their soul. Choosing healing isn’t easy – but it is the road to redeeming all of our past for a Kingdom future.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Comment Update

We have finally adjusted the "comment" section here so that anyone can come and leave us their thoughts! We look forward to hearing from more of you who stop by.

The Dance was an amazing workshop this last weekend with 9 women participating. Hopefully I can share more with you this week, once I get out from under the laundry and the finishing up of details to do with our Ukraine trip.

Today has been eventful to say the least! Some friends of Grandma's came to visit and at breakfast one of the gentlemen lost consciousness so we had to get the paramedics. He is staying overnight in hospital just to ensure that all is okay so he and his wife and friends can return to their home on the Island. Then the water pressure dropped to zero and one has to become a mechanic and try to figure out the problem! Thankfully Ron was reachable by phone and it only required resetting the pump down at the well. Two young interns have come for a couple of days as well water would be not a good thing here. Our friend M will be here soon for Monday "happy hour" - our prayer time with several women. I am sure many of the things we learned at The Dance will be shared in this worship time.

There is much to write about the Ukraine still and many things to report on The Dance but it will have to wait until another day.


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