Thursday, September 5, 2013


Faith Lessons from the Blue Team Soccer Coach

This is Ellie's NINTH season playing rec soccer. She loves everything about it. I've made it to almost every game but I can count on one hand the number of times I've sat and watched an entire practice. I always seem to find an hours worth of chores or tasks that I need to accomplish during practice time. I don't think I'm alone in that as I rarely see any parents camping out to watch practice. Last week, as I kissed my 9 year old good-bye and told her I'd see her in an hour, she said "Mommy, pleeeeeeeeease stay and watch this one practice. Will you please?" As any parent knows, there are certain ways your kids ask for your time that just pierce your heart. Suddenly I forgot what my important tasks and errands had been. I took my water bottle and a book out to the field (thinking I could at least make good use of the time and read).

Little did I know...I was mesmerized for the next 60 minutes.

About 10 minutes into the first scrimmage, her coach taught me a valuable life lesson. I know he didn't mean to. I know he didn't know I was listening or that I would HEAR what he said.

It all starting with a question posed to the girls..."Girls, when you are in the game and you're getting tired or you just can't go on anymore, what should you do?"

The 9 year old girls responded in unison..."RAISE OUR HAND!"

"and then what?"

"Make sure you SEE us coach"

"and then what?"


"Right. You make sure I see you. You put your hand down. And then you keep playing. You keep playing as if you've forgotten all about how tired you are. You don't look back and double check that I remember you. You trust that I SAW you and I will send in help as soon as I can...and then you just run and play your heart out some more"

The girls all nodded in agreement. They had definitely heard this instruction before and knew what they were supposed to do.

I, on the other hand, was almost in tears.

"ask for playing"

How often have I been exhausted, dropped to my knees, prayed "God, please send help"...and then just waited, wondering if he heard, wondering if I should say it again. Maybe I didn't phrase it properly. Perhaps he was too busy at 7pm to hear me and I should check back in with another plea at 8 or 9 or both.

What if, in those moments, I just raised my hand to my Coach- telling him I need help- and then I just kept going. Kept playing hard holding on to a faith that HE did hear, and He WILL send help as soon as possible.

I'm not sure what else Ellie's coach said for the rest of practice. I spent the rest of my time in the grass just watching my daughter run her heart out, happy as she could be to be right there, in that help needed.

Next time I need help, I'm going for the option. You?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Hunter and the hunted

The Hunter and the Hunted
(last night i dreamt...)

When I release the arrow,
its as if I blink,
or my heart beats-
it's a reflex.
My fingers wrap around the bow.

I feel the arrow and then,

like a blink,
it's gone.

I don't think or wonder,

it just happens.

in the moment i felt the arrow pierce my neck, a butterfly landed on a piece of grass at my foot.
i didn't see the arrow coming.
i felt it though-
something in the way the air moved
i knew it was coming.
i looked up to the sky
the sun beat down
a bird sang.

I couldn't see over the hill but, I knew
I had hit her
I never miss so, I never wonder.

i couldn't see over the hill but, i knew
who was there

I walked up the hill

i walked up the hill

She stood before me,
looking into my eyes,
past my eyes-
into my soul.
I felt a scar buried deep inside of me
begin to rip open.
I felt an ache.
The arrow, my arrow,
was in her neck.
Small drops of blood trickled down her back.

he stood before me,
his bow strapped to his back.
his eyes met mine.
i didn't move.
the pain was silent.
the earth stopped breathing.
his hand reached for the arrow.

I took the arrow
out of her neck.
It dripped,
red with her blood.
I turned it toward my chest,
my heart,
my scar.

he pressed the arrow to his chest.
it pierced his skin and
blood dripped from him.
he dropped the arrow to the ground,
to the grass.
the butterfly flew.

And we left.
Both wounded.
Both stronger.
Both weak.
Both powerful.

The Hunter
and the hunted

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Zachary and Winfield- A History Lesson in Paint


Do not tell me the details or the formality of my task. Do not expect me to inquire about your rules or expectations.
I need only to know the purpose.
I will command the situation -any situation- without refinement and with unwavering determination.
I will be the commander, the hero, the president. I will dominate.
I am rumpled, I am "rough and ready".
I am Zachary.


When you see me, when I walk by you in the street or you happen to catch a glimpse of me across the field, you will always notice.
I am elaborate- some have said "pretentious". I say to hell with pretension.
I insist on discipline. Discipline of behaviour, discipline of tactic, discipline of appearance.
When you see me you will feel my power of discipline come over you and you will want to follow me.
My ostentatious accoutrement, my "fuss and feathers" will command that you follow me- over a bridge, across the border- anywhere I go.
I am Winfield.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

i am a nurse

I am a Labor and Delivery nurse. The immediate reaction I always get when I say this is something like,
" work in the happiest place in the hospital."
There is some truth to this. It is fun but, not fun like a birthday party or a jog around the lake. It's fun because it's human. It's fun because everyday I hear a new story, everyday I become a part of someone's story.
Labor and Delivery is, at times, the happiest place in the hospital. It is also the scariest, the riskiest and the saddest.
I have been collecting my stories with my patients for ten years. They have woven together with my personal life stories of trial, triumph, growth, loss and love.
Four years ago, the way I express and cope with my stories changed.
Four years ago, I delivered Chloe. Chloe's parents had been married for ten years and had been trying to have a baby for five. Even after all the emotional stress and heartache they had been through, Mike and Jeannie were still madly in love with each other.
Mike and Jeannie were excited and anxious about the birth of their first and only child. Jeannie was 40 and knew this would be her only baby.
One Friday, Jeannie went to her doctor for a routine check-up. She was 39 weeks pregnant (full term) and hoping to go into labor. Everything was going perfectly and she was scheduled to have her labor induced in 3 weeks.
On Monday, Jeannie came to me. She came for no particular reason. She said she felt "off".
I spent the next 12 hours caring for Jeannie and Mike as they coped with the Labor and Delivery of their only child, now, dead in Jeannie's uterus.
As the sun rose on Tuesday morning, Chloe was born. Her mother and father wailed and her heart did not beat.
I have delivered many babies. Hundreds, both living and dead. But, my experience with Chloe effected me in an unusual and unexpected way.
Nurses cope with the stress and emotional and physical trials of our profession by sharing stories. We listen to our patient's stories, we tell our patient's our stories and we share our stories with each other. Until Chloe, this had been enough for me. To simply tell the story over and over until it solidified in my head and in my heart.
The combination of my life circumstances and this particular story demanded something more of me.
I dug out my paints and brushes and, for the first time in my adult life, I painted.
And, that was the beginning...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

milk and the anti-christ

When a baby cries his mother offers him milk
When a child is hungry , or cold , or tired his mother gives him milk
The last time you heard the words “do you want a glass of milk?” -
they were spoken by someone who loves you
Milk is of love
Milk is not water
Not wine
No one blesses milk. No one has ever blessed milk
It is just here, in our homes. Every day
The way a young child just knows there is a spiritual power greater than they
you have milk in your fridge
No one buys bad milk
Milk goes bad
We smell it to see
We taste it and, if we think its bad,
we ask someone else to taste it too
Because we don’t want it, or we don’t believe it
But we always do
When there is an anti-christ in out lives we always taste them
Then we ask someone else to taste
We don’t want them in our kitchen but, we bring them there
And then, we smell and sip and share them
No one craves bad milk
No one craves the anti-christ
No one opens the fridge and hopes to smell sour
No one opens their heart and hopes feel deceit
But when its there, for some reason, we always drink it up
Before we dump it out

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

about death

today, i was posed the question "what do you think about death". oddly, in the past 2 weeks, i've been asked this question in some form or another multiple times.
here is my answer.

death is as final as life
and, simultaneously, as infinite.
in life we connect, through a living breathing matrix, to all of humanity- to all things living
when we are no longer walking or talking or breathing our life continues to have a timeless effect on this matrix.
we continue to touch, to the far corners of the universe, all things living.
the energy that we pour forth in our time multiplies, feeds and becomes entangled with the energies poured forth by everything before and to come.
to that end- nothing is final about death.
nothing is final about life.

i will continue when i have time to address morality, mortality, destiny and divinity. maybe tomorrow.....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

an atheist easter

there is a group of people who have assumed the luxury of the atheist christian holiday life.
these people have somehow designed a way to celebrate all of the established christian holidays without the added burden of actually having to "be" christian.
they are the atheist christians....or, maybe the agnostic christians. the just in case christains, the hallmark christians.
i have never run into an atheist or hallmark jew, or muslim. i suppose, in theory, they're out there. i just haven't met any.
probably just because the christian holidays are so much more fun.
i just celebrated an atheist easter.
it's tuesday. which, when you're a hallmark christian has absolutely no bearing on when easter is.
i mean, after all, the plastic eggs and candy and rabbits have been in the stores for weeks. we can celebrate easter whenever we want. right?
we hunt for the plastic eggs and chocolate, fill or baskets with jelly beans and stuffed bunnies and chickens. we sit around a table decorated with flowers and fruit and...
we wish each other a "happy easter".
what does that mean coming from you?
happy easter, at this table, means nothing to me.
"happy birthday" has meaning. "happy new year" i understand but,
when you are offended by the offering of a prayer, when the idea of a church or a god or a man on a cross offend and repel you- why do you say happy easter?
the most interesting a disturbing part of the hallmark christian, for me, is their adament aversion to spirituality.
i understand struggling with religion. i understand the internal debates surrounding the ideas of a personal god, deity, saviour etc etc etc...
why then the need to observe easter and christmas?
the idea of prayer offends you to the same degree the words zodiac and crystal offend the christian.
i sit at your table and offer my hands in prayer. i sit at their table and offer my thoughts on their birth month and, you are all offended. like my words and actions will somehow penetrate and disrupt your safety in your own personal delusion.
celebrate what you will but, in the midst of the celebration- do it ith reason and intention. celebrate spring, celebrate chickens, celebrate plastic eggs.
there is no atheist easter. there is no christian rain dance.
even if i try, i connot offend you as much as you offend yourself.
happy easter.