Thursday, October 27, 2011

What a Ghost Town Says

Crumbling walls, gaping frames, and empty door frames are the only remains of the Lower Bankshead Lamphouse near Banff, Alberta. The ghost town has a crunchy coal pathway winding through what once was a thriving coal mining operation. A couple of coal cars sit frozen on a piece of track. Glimpses of foundation walls poke through prairie grass. History leaves her ugliest secrets silently buried here, but proudly flaunts the good that happened.  

Upper Bankshead was the village where the miner's families lived. Only the steps to the community church remain. The weathered sign says that these isolated families of several different ethnic and religious backgrounds sat and worshipped together in this place. Peacefully.

The lamp house is where I spent most of my time. It haunted me. The plaque read: 

I wish every community of any kind had a lamp house

Sometimes a person's light goes out, but there is no one to go searching for the missing owner of the lamp. No one knows. No one cares. The empty spot on the shelf goes unnoticed. Lord, forgive us. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Young Folks Do

One folds paper into flowers
One sets a table eclectic
One prepares simple food ~ 
tomato soup
hot crusty rolls
salad wedges  
roast with rustic veggies
 while peach crumble 
finishes the meal 
passed hand to hand
around the table 
touching hearts 
knitting us together 
 warming the night 
with music 
and light

Saturday, October 22, 2011


"He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely." 

~ Eugene Peterson's The Message

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sucker or Succor?

Packaging, advertising, and the right color at the right time lures me. I easily believe and buy if these conditions intersect with impulse. This little plastic gizmo was $9.99. I know better, yet placed it willingly on the check out counter. It was bright green.

The other day I had a cooking disaster with the simple syrup for pear tarts. Recovered from the trauma, I started over the next day. The pears from our tree needed used immediately.

The tart gadget promised picture perfect miniature pies all the same size and uniform shape.

After the pears were peeled and sliced, spices and syrup added ~ I rolled out the pie crust. Opening the gadget I made two boring tarts that didn't look anything like the glossy picture. It took more time than usual and brought zero pleasure, so I stopped and went back to the way my sisters and I, my mom, her mom, and her mom's mom have been making them since forever ago.

It was satisfying to roll out uneven rounds of crust, put some filling in, fold them over and do the familiar pinch around the edge. The result was pleasing. Rustic. Natural. Honest.

Tarts are pockets of love.  They are able to deliver succor to the recipient who is given a batch.

The plastic didn't deliver anything. Turns out it was just a trickster making a sucker out of me. Why do we so easily believe the glossy is true?

I'd be glad to send a gadget your way, postage on me. Just ask. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Artistical Disaster

The pear tart called for some simple syrup. I forgot about it being on the burner until the smoke filled the house. It was close to bursting into flame when I grabbed the pan and ran outside to lay it on the rock patio. It looked like a puffy chef's hat, a smoking black one. It was fail/fail because it seemed like my favorite pan might have been wrecked. Brita came outside to see the damage. Her curiosity changed my perspective and the experience.

Hunkered down beside the mess, she poked and prodded. With a knife, she slit the top to explore what was inside. I bent over to watch tiny little beacon flames flicker out and turn into prisms. Burnt sugar looks like a lava flow, or black spun glass, but it is as ethereal and fragile as soap suds.

It made me think of the beauty that artists like Andy Goldsworthy notice and capture. Their curiosity is a gift ~ framed, displayed, or bound in a book for us to exclaim over.

Most days, I wake up and beg to see ~ really see. Today I forgot, but my daughter saw for me. Noticers refine worship with simple curiosity. Thanks my love.

This is the progression. Burnt Sugar Study. Beauty for ashes.