Monday, January 31, 2011

Finding Healing Welcome

The excerpt is from Mary DeMuth: This week I’m launching my Audio Healing Retreat, Get Past the Past. In celebration of that, I’m inviting friends around the blogosphere to share their stories of healing. Ann Voskamp[1]Today’s guest is by Ann Voskamp, a story poet who shares her life in the most stark, beautiful ways.

My Mama was diagnosed with split personality disorder and my dad loved me more than her.

We all split.

I remember how my heart did, how the shards drove into everything. How bearing secrets made the breathing hard.

My mama nods now that it is all true and no daughter should ever feel that and no mama should ever live knowing that and…

There are things a family never breaks the silence and faith to speak aloud, for fear they’ll break.

My Mama did.

The end of one summer, the end of August and it’s heat, she signed herself into a psychiatric ward, all the inner places shattered. We weren’t to speak of that. Dad told my brother and I, my baby sister, straight and firm: the neighbours, our teachers, our cousins, were never to know where Mama went. We were to keep the secret.  How was he to know we’d become the secret’s dark underbelly?

I went to Mr. Perrie’s grade 4 class everyday all through September and all through October and all through November and I never told a living soul that I had no Mama at home, that we visited her on the weekends in a locked ward, that I did my own laundry and I made every meal for us us, every pork chop and baked potato, and I tucked my baby sister into bed every night and made my brother’s lunch for school the next day.

And every night my dad asked for my ear to hear all his hurts and my heart could hardly hold it all.

I was nine.

When the walls of my heart cracked, I leaked out slow, in the dark, in my pillow, in my begging prayers. I never told my best friend, Melanie Vermeer, where my Mama had gone. I never stopped pressing the lips tight. In her ward room in the city, my Mama sat in shadows and wrestled the demons, and  secrets of what her own father had done to her in a long ago dark.

Why repress our stories? Isn’t that all we have — our story and The Word who keeps writing our story?

Tight lips can suffocate till life lies limp, and secrets can smother and leave you for dead.

Mama was living proof that keeping secrets keeps you sick. Or maybe her and I were both the dying proof of it.

I grow up. I keep my secrets tight and my secrets keep me tight.

We all  thought the secrets would save us…  but they slowly slay us.

I can show you my scars.

I have six babies.  And the last, the freckled and mopsy one, she loves this game where she hangs an arm around my neck and pulls me close, cups my ear in her dimpled hand and she lisp-whispers warm and thick.

“I’m gonna tell you sumpin’ in your ear, kay? Then you tell me sumpin’ in my ear, kay?”

This child tells me her secrets. She tells me, bits of her brushing up against me, and her words tickle close and open and brave and I think: this is a meeting. This is a holy revealing. An invitation. A way to heal. She’s telling me who she is on the inside — the only real side.

Then she turns. Her mop of curls falls to her other shoulder. She waits for me. She wants me to whisper right into her who I really am. The child shows me:

The only way to be real … is to reveal.
The only way to heal… is to be honest.

With ourselves, with God, maybe with one other person.

Can I?

My Mama writes the past in a prayer journal. I come to write my skin on a screen. When ink lays the secrets bare, God unveils a bit of Himself in words because that is who He is, Word and Truth, and this is what binds up my wounds.

I know the terror of telling the truth. But for me, after my Mama’s childhood, after mine, I am far more scared of the secrets. Because it’s keeping secrets that keep us from being real. From being fully alive. From really healing.

It is true: I am terrified to be real. But I am far more afraid to be false. Which would mean I cease to be.

I lean in close to this child waiting.  I tuck one stray spiral strand. I cup my hand to her curl of ear, fuse us together, and isn’t it that it is worth everything to tell our secrets?

Because our story is who we are, and if we deny it, we deny not only our own selves – we deny the very Author Who’s writing this redemptive epic.

I whisper to this child of ours, “I have sumpin’ to tell you.”

And she nods, and I tell a secret to our little Shalom, daughter whose name means peace and healing and wholeness.


Photos and Text: Ann Voskamp @ Holy Experience


50* I am in awe still of that day in June on top of little mountain, as we entered into a holy union of Marriage.

51* I still feel it in my chest, the first time I looked at each of our children.

52* I still feel the loss of letting go of each of our three waiting children, to the holiest of playgrounds. Heaven.

53* I am forgiven though I still wait for the truth to set me free.

54* By His beautiful grace, this moment is my life.

55* For the hug from an intuitive friend, without words in the gentle firmness I know, strength.

56* For the familiar church with the angles that I have watched being built, wrote on the studs of the foundation, attended many years, cleaned all rooms, greeted new faces and dear friends, smiled and sobbed, watched many children be greeted for the very first time....

57* The lost look in a friends eyes, missing that knowing cup of tea, with the inside comments that are endearing.

58* The way he closes me in his arms, rests his chin on my head. If I turn my head just so; my ear hears his heart, feels the warmth of breath, and tender grace.

59* How our children play so well with new friends, and we share a peaceful afternoon.

60* A knock on the door with an unexpected gift. Treasured for many years, but passed on to me because she sees a need.

61* Beautiful blogs of friends whom I have met on this side of our earth, and others that may just keep passing on their gifts of writing without ever meeting in person.

62* Colleen who shared beautiful blog awards

63* Kimberley and her gift filled list that opened the doors of my gratitude offering.

64* Ann, her poetic gifts, and this quote:

65* The only way to be real … is to reveal.

66* The only way to heal… is to be honest.

67* Secrets to unfold.

68* The line from a worship song. "Open the eyes of my heart Lord"

69* All colors vibrant & dull.

70* Many dolls that are willing to have tea parties with her.

72* How all of her bags that are packed, all have a gift for someone else to share with.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a little knitting

& felting

To have and to hold

From this day forward.

Writing on Marriage, oh how I feel the need to express a joy that is patiently blooming from trust.

His hand reaches out to me and I still try to climb down the tree of fear.
The soothing voice, the wrapping arms. Tenderly waiting..for me.

This musician has played many songs and waited for my season to end. I have thrown myself into the role of an ever adoring wife, who admires, who listens, and who shrinks away when the spotlight is turned directly in my direction.

A gift of Marriage, a holy union. One that I dreamed about from an early age, and was frightened to want.

"Let’s sail away to the deep seas, and leave all the worries behind. When the tidal waves crash into the shore, we will watch from a distance from the safety of this realm.”

I am willing to give up the limitations that make my life a secret. Along with the guidance of a knowing counsellor, this is the time to write more. To place those missing puzzle pieces together precisely, now at an early age. With knowing prayers. A peace that blankets me at night as I rest. Surrounded by my family in this home, although craving the silence.

by myself

Listening now to the heavy sleeping breaths, eventually it is time for rest, as every hour passes. My shoulders curl in with a searching for our bed, leading me to a warm sanctuary to rest in. 
I fall asleep near him, comforted by this familiar place.

You have my heart dear husband. You are patient & kind. Protecting & caring. Joyful & prayerful.

for our family,

all encompassing surrounding this life,

for us.

The peace of a quiet still voice encouraged me forward.
Open my heart to the constant renewing of love pouring in.
I am willing to give up the worried dreams from the past.
To write it out on pages, with the dust of many years.
That as each day starts I am led into the day being prayed for from the beginning.

Lord I pray for my husband & I as his bride. May peace and grace be given within this life for the time that You give us together on earth. I pray for this journey that is our life, a holy union. Bless each one of us truly by the other, with the gifts You give us. Please make Your face to shine upon us all our days forever together. Amen.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Ethan

You came into the world with a robust wail, letting the world know you had arrived safely. As I slept your Dad held you, to gaze at a new son, a beautiful boy. As the weeks passed your smiles grew more frequent, so big, so joyful. I want to remember all the stories I have heard you tell, the memories that you can recall so vividly. The dreams of the future, the hopes for tomorrow.
Ethan Alex Wilson. Your name you would tell anyone, means:
Strong Defender of man. You my son, a blessing, a believer, and I cannot wait to see what this year brings for you!

41*  You see life differently then we do, you always find an interesting way to view the world.
42*  Celebrating 9 years of knowing you. Believing that.
43*  Silly smiles and wiggly teeth, holes in the knees of your pants from being wild at play.
44*  Math, numbers, equations, how much I treasure playing these games with you.
45*  The one good friend that you have had since birth, that laughs at all your jokes, and is serious when you need him to be.
46*  The dark hair and intense brown eyes
47*  For your Dad & I, who are thankful for you every day.
48*  Your body clock and the way you are awake before anyone else.
49*  Joy comes in the morning, and I pray it rests with you in the night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Last breath

She grasped my hand. Hung on for dear life.
I felt every pulse from our life together, in those last minutes.
There was no way I wanted to let go.
33 years from the moment she held me in my first moments, seconds before my first wail..she would leave in the evening of the very same day. As I grasped a little gentler, her grip tightened.

I love you dear.

I lay my head on her lap and felt the words rising. A song.
Quietly ending with whispers, uttering..there lay a blessing with both of our hearts. “Over the mountains and the sea..your love for me now overflows, ..and I will daily lift my hands, I’ll let the healer set me free..

She took one last look at me soaking in all the moments we have had, all the times that we shared. Her eyes gave me a clear message, that I was a deep part of her life, and she knew from that long pause in this short life that it was time..I felt my soul ache for a moment. The knowing look, that heaven was waiting.
Our last encounter,
our goodbye.

This song is an invitation to let go,
When you have a chance to listen, enjoy.
From her album Finding Beautiful.

(c)2004 Jaylene Johnson

You always found a way to be in wonderland
You could turn your head and laugh at bitter days
So as I held your fragile hand I couldn’t help but think
That my sadness for your broken life seemed out of place

Cause in the loneliness and sorrow of that sterile room
Amid the waiting that hung heavy in the air
A glory meshed with murmurings your efforts made
And approached you as the end came near

And I could almost hear the angels
As they sang their heavenly song
I could almost hear them saying
Welcome home

I watched you as your glazed eyes looked around you
And I wondered at the things that you could see
Then spirit met raw life in suspended time
And I didn’t dare breathe

They bent to kiss your cold forehead and say their last goodbye
Their tears fell warm upon your face
But with quiet peace, joy at your release
You embraced a brand new day

And I could almost hear the angels
As they sang their heavenly song
I could almost hear them saying
Welcome home

Monday, January 17, 2011


26*  A soft cheek, to kiss good morning.

27*  A morning hug & ‘Hi my gorgeous’ ringing through the halls.

28*  A leap & A bound, learning that this morning is not for school, it is for play.

29*  An inquisitive son who wants to know if he can dress up as a Jedi to go to the science center.

30*  A silent prayer, for tender hearts, answered gracefully.

31*  Laughing.

32*  A half written song.

33*  Lyrics written years ago, that still sound new.

34*  The smell of freshly washed hair, as they snuggle in to warm up after a bath.

35*  11 years old and sensitive to a hug & a good cry for the love of family.

36*  Music played with the feeling.

37*  Watching him play music in front of crowds again.

38*  A Welcome sign.

39*  The memory of washing each others feet.

40*  The first notes of a favourite song.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My HipstaPrint 0
You can say they are Awesmazing!

1 cup unsweetened applesauce (or peeled, cored apples-blended)
1 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cups almond flour*
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chunks of your choice.
To Make:
Preheat oven to 350.
Use coconut oil liberally to grease 9 by 9 pan.
Mix the applesauce, 1 tsp. coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients. Then mix the wet ingredients with the dry. Mix them together well, but do not add any more moisture even if its a bit dry.

Fill pan & bake for 20 minutes.
Try to watch them: The brownies are done when they are barely firm to the touch on the top.
Let them cool for 10 or so minutes before eating.
To add an extra whip on top: mix 1 can of chilled coconut cream and 1/4 cup icing sugar then add right before serving.

~Posting a favorite recipe again with a different flour.*
Almond flour is one we have tried using in baking instead of wheat.
While rice flour is more being used for anything needed to thicken our soups or make sauces.
Another amazing recipe*

Monday, January 10, 2011

Your Hands

I felt the all too familiar feeling of falling off that cliff
into the Psalms for comfort.
In one moment our life changes dramatically in a way we hoped and prayed it wouldn't. We topple off into thin air.
Either way, we're safe, we're protected. Either way we can trust that we'll land in Your Hands. Knowing, the Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. I have become like broken pottery, but I trust in: 'Your Hands' Lord, to restore me.


I listen to our piano when he thinks we are distracted, as he plays we soak in the melody. The harmony, the richness of choruses our children have grown up listening to since they began safe in my body. Cherished there for months waiting, listening, and entering the world listening to their Dad’s voice, playing throughout the delivery room. Fingers that are surely feeling the music, while passing it on to another generation.


~While the moments continue on in multitudes.

12*  Watching & listening to all of our children practice music together.

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13*  Stay here with Me.

14*  Take my life make it clay, shape my life in intricate ways.
15*  Driving quietly, with assurance both ways, for 26 hours.

16*  Staring at the grandeur of the Rocky mountains out the window.

17*  Sinking my nose into fresh ground coffee beans while breathing deeply!

18*  Remembering a coffee shop we built, co-owned and operated when our oldest was 8 months old.

19*  Granville's coffee shop. German chocolate mochas.

20*  Tea house gatherings.

21*  A family of friends who embrace us as we are.

22*  Watching the tip of ice fields out our windows.

23*  Miracles

24*  Doukhobor borscht

25*  Bare feet all year.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Welcome Gifts

Pausing in my corner of the couch, a nook that holds pillows and trinkets from many visits from my children..

I hear a small voice...please mommy listen.. shhh did you who that, did you who that sound?
My best friend is hiding..can you who him mommy, he's singing a song.

I did hear that..he's singing can you find me darling dear, can you find me sister here..
her little fingers grasp my hand and it tangles within the wool, 'giggling' she jumps up to be carried.
Then with her still wound in the knitting, we continue to unravel the mystery of
where her brother may be.

1*   The start of a hope filled year.

2*   Listening in the middle of the night to a still small voice, welcoming prayer.

3*   Numbering an offering of thanks, with joy.

4*   2 sons, 2 brothers, sitting facing each other eager to learn on their salvaged guitars, playing while smiling as their new fingering makes music.

5*   Going ahead. Giving away.

6*   Quiet long hours lulled by the sounds of snoring, the echos of a home relaxing.

7*   One arm resting on the curve of my hip, as we sway for a moment watching the snow games            

8*   More last minute handmade gifts.

9*   Lost wooden treasures.

10* Afternoon belly laughs.

11* The leaf pendant from someone who knows me, though an anonymous gift.. wearing it I am reminded to pray often, share deliberately, and remember the peace I feel knowing I am known.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Celebrating Christmas 2010!

Incredible how much our family have fit into this
last year, and yet the time seems to still
move on.. slowly by.
We are settling in to a new town,
a new school, a new job, and a new life.
All the while missing those that we hold dear
to our hearts, near and far away.


January. After spending 10 years in an around the
town of Linden, we made the transition to move away.
We moved to a gorgeous acreage for 6 months and then after deciding to stay local (instead of building a thatch hut in Costa Rica) we moved to our new home in Three Hills.
It has all the small town charm that we have grown accustomed to and is also the town that Daryl was raised in. After all these years we are staying close to a lot of friends and family.
Though the changes have been hard for our children each one has found something that they really enjoy and are building on those hobbies.


Daryl had the chance to join a friend on the open sea for a few days on the West Coast and after hauling this salmon from many leagues under the sea he proudly sent me this photo from the boat. You can tell it was an amazing trip! Daryl continued in self-employment for the beginning of 2010 until a local recording studio was in need of another engineer and he was over the moon to be apart of that opportunity. He has returned to self-employment now, working on his own projects through the same studio. While finding time to fix computers, tune pianos and he also released another album on his birthday.

Alicia OE

Alicia (me) I have spent countless hours, doing everything that can be imagined as mommy, wife & friend. Knitting & writing has become something that I find myself enjoying when I am fully swayed by the little time that is left in the day. This month I finally published 2 patterns and they have had a lot of positive feedback. I am looking forward to the next one already. Here is one:


Azaelea is a joyful 3 year old who is now talking so much, singing countless songs while dancing to her own beat. She is the youngest and spunkiest out of our 4. Here is a debut to her piano playing.

My HipstaPrint 7

Kai is 6! He started the year at Three Hills School in Kindergarten. This is becoming the highlight of his week as every time he returns from school there are many exciting stories and new numbers that he is learning. Kai is a natural leader and you can often find him ‘figuring’ out how things work, such as flashlights, & even the clothes dryer. He even asks for help when things are too big or too complicated to put back together.


Ethan is 8 and will soon be 9! He is counting down the days to the most exciting day of the year. 23/01/2011! As he states the first Birthday in our family is his. Ethan is looking forward to the new soccer team that he will be a part of. He is asking about acting, gymnastics, tae kwon do & piano. At the moment he is learning guitar on a salvaged seagull guitar that is a prized possession. Ethan continues to enjoy school and you will find him working on many equations, reading novels, drawing amazing Manga animation as well as many interests that he does very well.

photo (9)

Asher is 11, (can you believe that!). He is having a tough time with all the changes this year and we are slowly finding new activities that he enjoys. Including swimming, mechanics, guitar, computer animation, media, building, theatre. You may find him in our garage working on his latest hobbies and interests. Asher enjoys getting everyone involved in all his activities and is often daydreaming about what the summer will bring many years ahead. At the dinner table we have conversations about his dreams for the future and that sparks a lot of different angles to everyone else's participation.

Here is hoping we get a full family photo next year.

photo (4)D&kiddosphoto (11)summerhill

Sending warm blessings of Christmas peace, from our home to yours!

Love from Daryl, Alicia,
Asher, Ethan, Kai & Azaelea Wilson