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Friday, March 9, 2012

where i'm from

(inspired by ann voskamp of

i'm from an unpainted wood-fragrant little house on vast plains of farmland edged with blue hills misty in the manitoba mornings.

i'm from old houses filled with antiques and sloped ceilings and patched walls and dusty cupboards and wood stoves.

i'm from secrets, whispers, hidden things, sorrows screaming in silence, close-lipped people, bee-hives and honey spinners and barns and the smell of wheat.

i'm from moonlit nights of brilliant snowshine, hayrack wandering down rough trails, shouting children bouncing on and off and hot cocoa after. i'm from swimming in the river before may 1, beautiful summers with bible camp and weeding in the garden, and glorious autumns in the bush. i'm from winter and woodstoves and fire escapes.

i'm from prairie sun and winds, thunderstorms, blizzards, forces of nature that terrorize and enthrall. i'm from gentle summers and long bitter winters. i'm from manitoba.

i'm from school, precociousness pushing me forward on an ever-increasing tilt. i'm from classrooms and loving the smell of crayons and paper and books and the delicious thrill of learning and reading and grasping facts and translating 'les miserables' from french to english and always being the youngest in the class.

i'm from church. 3 times a week church. long church. i'm from pentecostalism, glossalalia, ecstasy, miracles, dancing in the aisles and running-the-pew preachers. i'm from church.

i'm from children- big families, hand-me-downs, tired mamas, working-away dads, simple basic poverty that didn't starve but didn't feed.

i'm from alberta, transplanted giddily to the foothills of the rockies and the exhilarating throb of an infant city on the cusp of explosion. i'm from deerfoot trail when it was just a side road. i'm from the heart of downtown calgary when there were no skyscrapers, and the tower was just a blueprint.

i'm from yet another transplant- to a small tropical island just after a revolution, where bombs still fell and the government rocked insanely from one coup attempt to another. i'm from starting a life with husband and children in a wild, hot ancient city where nothing was easy. i'm from learning that tears and laughter and fish and rice go together and that taxi-rides make your prayer life better.

i'm from mothers and babies- learning to be 'with woman'- a midwife. i'm from delivery rooms with gloves and the lingering smell of alcohol and the sweet scent of fresh babies tucked in with weary mommies. i'm from sleepless nights and years of exhaustion.

i'm from a place where inner strength comes from years and years of the slow gentle work of Holy Spirit, where like water dripping constantly on a granite rock, infinitesimal changes take place in the hardness of my heart and i begin to see with His eyes.  i'm from stubbornness turning to obedience. i'm from the big yes and all the little yeses that come with each day.

i'm from young love, early marriage, ups and downs, tough years, sweet years, and walking into the sunset hand in hand with the one i gave my heart to. i'm from living with my choices rather than making changes. i'm from deciding that this is how it's going to be, and learning to be content and grateful and -yes- joyful. i'm from choosing to fall in love over and over again with him and with life.

i'm from songs my mother used to sing- 'i found the answer'...'great is thy faithfulness'...'leaning on the everlasting arms'...i'm from pianos and guitars and scratchy records and choirs and out-of-tune singing in a country church. i'm from boy bands and keyboards and back-up singers and drums and strobe lights and -gasp- hillsong music.

i'm from children, my only legacy to the world. i'm from 'you can do it if you try' and 'because i said so' and 'do you see my lips moving' and 'there will be no more of that, thank you' and 'i love you so much i could just squish you to pieces' and 'sugarbabybuggybear' and 'goodnight, sweetheart, thank you for the whole day'...

i'm from drinking water, natural foods, brown sugar and homemade bread, my own recipes, and supplements.

i'm from teaching- over-studying, TMI, from loving the thrill of seeing a student's eyes light up and catch the truth.

i'm from being the oldest, the responsible one, the poetess, the singer, the piano player, the choir director, the shoulder to cry on, the giver of advice and reproof, the protector, the planner, the valedictorian, the over-achiever, the advocate. i'm from my birth order programming my life.

i'm from a white house on a green yard, sunflowers and banana trees, a little black-eyed girl and cats and dogs and butterflies and the scent of flowers in the morning breeze. i'm from grace- from His gifts, all for me.

i'm from life. i'm from me.