Friday, February 26, 2010


I am having a much harder time than I anticipated, not being at our annual Leader's Summit in Portugal. Troy is there, and a few of our elders as well. There were good reasons for me not going (financial, the fact that our kids didn't have school, and wanting them to have some consistency and normalcy amidst all the transition, to name a few.)

But now that it's here, I am so sad I'm not there. I wish that I had tried to make it work out, to take the kids with us, or something. I don't know. I know it's another part of the grieving.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wind and Oil

seeing the wind in my mind, originally uploaded by mistubako.
I found this poem in my filing. Not sure when I wrote it.

Wind and Oil

I walked out wrapped in somber spirit
Hope not dead
but surely subdued

Braced against expected cold
Instead I found
a sweet wind
sending clouds on their way
unveiling clear rain-washed blue
this wind
it carried the warm autumn
scent of fallen leaves
it lifted the corners of my shroud of sorrow
the edges fluttering in defiance of my grief

I was held captive and warm
in the sweetness of shared
spirit and the relief of lifted prayers
oil blazed the shape of hope
the cross
anointing me

Wind and oil
Blowing, soothing my lament away.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

If you want to reach me...

Hey people! My blog is automatically fed into my facebook, so many of you read on my facebook "notes". Troy has noticed that some of you have left me comments on my fb page, but I am fasting facebook for Lent, so it would be great if you would visit my blog directly, Heather Between, and comment there :) I'd love to hear from you before I get back on facebook after Easter.


Canadian Passport (86/366), originally uploaded by Chealion.

I am a Canadian; I have a Canadian passport. How much time have I spent living in Canada? Not much. So everywhere I have lived for most of my life, I have been a "legal" alien.

This stresses me out to no end. I have always been stressed by any immigration process. Even when I was a kid and we would drive into Canada from the US on furlough, I would be a nervous wreck.

My US green card is expired, so now I have to reapply, which stresses me to the point of tears. Thankfully Troy can help with this one. All I have to say is that after I am all legal in the US again, I will definitely be getting naturalized, if they will have me!

I think 41 years as an alien is quite enough!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Psalm 43

bokeh lantern, originally uploaded by Will Montague.
Troy and I are taking the 40 days of Lent to pray without ceasing about our future: possible jobs, locations, pretty much everything we have been thinking and dreaming. We want to hold our future with open hands, and for God to speak clearly, for Him to open or close doors, to confirm or to bring new dreams to mind.

I have been trying to go through things little by little in preparation for our move.When I was sorting through some paperwork this week, I found this Psalm I had written in pencil on lined paper

"Give me your lantern and compass,
give me a map,
So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,
to the place of your presence.
To enter the place of worship
meet my exuberant God
Sing my thanks with a harp
magnificent God, my God." Psalm 43:3-4 The Message


Friday, February 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday #2


Even though I am fasting Facebook for Lent, I still find myself framing my life in facebook status updates, if only in my brain.

Today at school, a second grader dared tell me that I wasn't rolling my r's enough when pronouncing his last name. I looked at him, dumbfounded. I told him firmly that his tone was not very nice, or respectful, when I really wanted to fly off the handle about how I spend four hours a day trying to get him and his fellow students to say "Spain, stop, star, student" instead of  "eSpain, estop, estar, estudent". I was thinking "Seriously, little man? SERIOUSLY???" Needless to say, no sticker for him today.


I have not seen a single Olympic event. It's always hard to try and watch the events here. I have also heard rumors that Spanish TV is switching to digital signal this week, so if I was motivated enough to actually turn on the TV and look for Olympics I am not sure I would find anything at all.


It's supposed to rain again tomorrow. I think Spain has been relocated to England. And no, I don't want to hear "the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain". That may be, but there is never this much rain!


Our community group just finished reading and discussing The Ragamuffin Gospel. I have read it before, but it always knocks my socks off.


I just got my friend Mary DeMuth's memoir Thin Places in the mail. I can't wait to read it!


I am VERY happy it's Friday! The end.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now is the time

Now that only a bit more than four months remain
Now that everyone knows
Now, when we don't know for sure if we have a job for July
Or a place to live that we can afford
Now, when we have to think about schools
That are decent and safe and not too daunting

Now is the time for faith.
Now is the time to trust
In God's provision of income

So many things to wonder

But now. Now is the time
for faith.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I did not grow up observing Lent. In fact, it has only been in the past few years that it was even on my radar. But now that I have experienced it, I really look forward to it every year. This is the third year I have given things up for Lent. The first two years I gave up both facebook and blogs (reading and writing both). This year I am giving up Facebook again but I am going to keep reading blogs. I also hope to use the time to write more myself. I've learned that it's not only good for me to give something up, but also ADD good things back in.

For me there is almost a relief in Lent, as if I am forced by spiritual discipline to make the choices I know I should make all year, yet often lack the impetus or willpower. I have a list of things I hope to do in the time that is freed  up by my choice to stay off facebook. I know that I will not spend as much time with my computer, and that feels good.

Here are some of the positive things I am adding back in:
  • Reading. I have a stack of books. Show and tell on those later.
  • Rest. Sounds crazy, but I am going to take more naps. Often I will be tired, but I end up sitting with my computer in my lap instead of dozing on the couch.
  • Write letters. I used to write letters galore. Letters with stickers, written in circles or multi-colored ink. Over the past decade, I have lost that habit. Mailing things is expensive and annoying (in Spain you can't just buy a book of stamps at the grocery check-out.) Then I had a brainwave. I am going to write letters, then scan them and email them to people :) 
  • Journal. I also used to journal like crazy. I have some kind of block about it now, and I am having a hard time getting it back. I am hoping that with a little breathing room maybe it'll come a bit easier.
  • Update my prayer book. Awhile ago I started a photo album that I use to pray for people. I just got a new print cartridge for my photo printer and I am looking forward to spending time printing some photos.
Those are a few of the things that I am looking forward to.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spreading In

Our friend Kelly introduced us to this term; which basically means making room for one more person on the couch. I like to use it in more general terms too. To me, spreading in will mean that I have fewer moments where I feel like “butter spread over too much bread.”

One thing we hope to gain in our move this summer is a spreading in of our life. At the moment, we live on the edge of Madrid. Most of our friends don’t live anywhere near us. It takes the kids and I between 30-40 minutes to drive to their school in the morning, more if there is bad traffic. Even our physical life is spread too far out. No kids can randomly come over after school, no friends a few doors down can come over for an impromptu dinner. When there are school meetings that don’t start until 5, that means I have to send the kids home with someone else so they can eat dinner and get homework done, and I won’t be home until less than hour before they get in bed.

For now, we flex and deal with it. But I am looking forward to spreading in, soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And so it begins

Truth be told, I am ready for a break from church planting. It has been our life for the past 12 years, and one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced. It has forever changed and shaped my idea of church, and I will always be grateful for that.

But still, I have felt ready for a break from church being my job, with all the responsibility and pressure it brings.

Last night at church, the topic was dealing with transition in appropriate and healthy ways. One of the points was acknowledging the things we lose through a given transition, which was a good reminder for me. Even though I am looking ahead to the next chapter in our lives, leaving Spain was not a decision we made lightly or with ease.

As I watched people show up to church last night and they just kept coming, and there were new faces, and several families with kids, I felt that "church planter thrill." It's always so amazing and humbling to me when new people show up and seem to like surprises me. That's weird, I know. And I watched Meg greet all the new people with her habitual friendliness and sweet spirit, and I marveled at how she is already such a little church planter.

So, even though I know God is taking us on, to the next thing He has for our family, I wanted to make sure I take note of the things I am losing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday #1

This is my first 7 Quick Takes Friday from my new blog. I REALLY want to get in the habit of writing more often. I am finding it a bit difficult to break my unintended silence.

For the past couple of years I have fasted facebook and blogs for Lent. This year I will fast facebook again (which means fasting from Farmville, my most ridiculous addiction yet.) The only exception to that is that when Meg, our daughter, turns 13 on February 23, I will help her set up her facebook account and I'll log in long enough to accept her friend request :) but I won't update my status or read any feed or...(I do think this year that I am not going to fast blogs.)

I have thought a lot about the whole fb thing. For sure we would not allow Meg to join before she is actually 13. Meg has not been overly into email or anything else, and she is responsible, so I feel comfortable letting her get on, especially because she has friends and family all over the globe.

Troy and I have been working on getting some healthier habits going, especially eating. We just finished the first 2 weeks of South Beach, we both feel better, and our clothes are roomier :) We were very good and did not even cheat with Nic's birthday ice cream, Nic's birthday cupcakes, or Nic's birthday pancakes. That said, we are definitely enjoying our strawberry & yogurt smoothies this morning :)

I have been bracing myself for the new fb layout that everyone seems to be whining about today. Still haven't seen it. I wonder how many new layouts I'll miss during Lent :)


We have finally had some sun again. Driving to work has been amazing...headed right into a big orange sunrise. Love it.

I finally found some whole wheat pitas here that are good. Usually they just seem like they are "off" but these seem like they are going to be much better.

Nic, our son, turned 10 last Sunday. No more kids in single digits! He had a great birthday. I have to say that I enjoy my kids more and more every day as they grow. I am blessed with the person each of them is growing into.

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