Love is a battered work coat

A meditation on 1 Corinthians 13:4 ~ “Love is patient”

Love is a battered work coat.

It is long-suffering, built to last.

It carries the marks of its patient protection – 
oil spots, wood chips, paint blobs, 
ground-in dirt, a small tear,
the smell of manure and chainsaw exhaust,
edges frayed from many days’ friction.

These stains are the beauty marks of love,
Love in action for the other,
Loved exposed to the elements,
Love for all seasons. 

Love is not a gossamer dress,
put on for special occasions 
or when the mood strikes.
Love is a strike-anywhere match. 

Love shoulders the burden of for better or worse,
in marriages, in families, in communities.

Love has no shape until it is put on,
and takes the form of those it embraces.

Its primary virtue is its ruggedness,
a dogged determination to weather the weather,
and find warmth within,
together. 

~ Lindsey Gallant

S. D. G.

Book List 2019

Illustration from Who Has Seen the Wind
W. K. Kurelik

The List

Fiction

The Blythes Are Quoted – L. M. Montgomery 
Who Has Seen The Wind – W. O. Mitchell 
Middlemarch – George Eliot 
Emma – Jane Austen
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy 
Marilla of Green Gables – Sarah McCoy
Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery 
The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey
Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder
The Snow Goose – Paul Gallico 

Study Group

Excerpts from:
The Rule of Saint Benedict – St. Benedict
Wars of Justinian – Procopius
History of the Franks – Gregory of Tours
Book of Pastoral Rule & The Dialogues – Gregory the Great
Ecclesiastical History of the English People – Bede

The Confession of St. Patrick  – St. Patrick
The Life of St. Columba – Adomnan of Iona
The Voyage of Brendan 
Beowulf – translated by Seamus Heany 

Read-Alouds

Cartier Sails the St. Lawrence – Esther Averill 
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
The Secret Garden – Fracnes Hodgson Burnett
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien 
Homer Price – Robert McCloskey
The Family Under the Bridge – Natalie Savage Carlson
& Many picture books!

Education 

Pocketful of Pinecones – Karen Andreola
Parents and Children – Charlotte Mason (ongoing)

Non-Fiction

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson
The Alpine Path – L. M. Montgomery

Spiritual

You Set My Spirit Free – St. John of the Cross
Reunion: The Good New of Jesus for Seekers, Saints and Sinners – Bruxy Cavey
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Pete Scazzero

Humour

Is This “One of Those Days” Daddy? (For Better or For Worse) – Lynn Johnston
It Must Be Nice to Be Little (For Better of For Worse) – Lynn Johnston
Strange Planet – Nathan W. Pyle


Thoughts . . .

Favourites:

Who Has Seen the Wind – This was a heart book for me, and an unexpected favourite. Mitchell drew me right into Saskatchewan and right into the small-town world of Brian. (I lived in Saskatchewan for a year as a child.) The part about the Christmas skates brought me to tears. I also loved that it is Canadian!

Beowulf – What can I say? This was epic. I understand now why this is foundational to English literature. And where Tolkien got Smaug from!

Emma – I just love Jane Austen. Though Emma is not my favourite of her heroines, I enjoyed the storytelling, wit, and insight into human nature which makes Austen such a beloved author.

Anything read with others – My book club and study group continue to be a highlight of my literary life! I’ve loved reading through some of the more challenging classic literature with friends, and learning more about the medieval mindset from the writings of that time.

Most impressive:

Middlemarch – George Eliot was a genius. This book was a huge banquet of ideas from so many different streams of thought. Well drawn characters. Masterfully done. However, it didn’t resonate with me on a “kindred spirit” level, and I think this speaks to Eliot’s own worldview.

Most fun:

The Hobbit – I read this with the kids over the winter. I had fond memories of my dad reading it to us as kids, with Gollum’s voice and all, and reading aloud with my own children did not disappoint. They loved the story and the way it was told. There were lots of giggles over Tolkien’s language, and that was a joy to experience together. They are on the edge of their seats and now want more Middle Earth!

Most influential:

You Set My Spirit Free – This was a book God used to speak to my spirit in 2019. Thanks to a tip off from a friend as we discussed the idea of a “dark night of the soul,” I found it on my shelves and it became a kind of companion. I read it slowly. I read some passages over and over. I journaled them, prayed them. This helped give me a frame of reference for what I was experiencing in this season of life.

Reading Goals for 2020

I don’t usually like to plan too much of my reading in advance, preferring to make choices that are more in the moment. However, I do have a sizeable stack of books I started reading last year, or have been on my to-read list for awhile, that I would like to finish!

To Finish:

Consider This – Karen Glass
Beauty in the Word – Stratford Caldecott
Joy and Human Flourishing – essays edited by Miroslav Volf
The Adventure of English – Melvyn Bragg
Evangelical, Sacramental & Pentecostal – Gordon T. Smith

The Lake District

A fellow homeschool mom and I are headed to a conference in the Lake District this spring!! I am beyond excited. Here is what I am planning to read in preparation for the trip.

Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome (current read-aloud with the kids)
Lyrical Ballads – Wordsworth and Coleridge
How the Heather Looks – Joan Badger
In Vital Harmony – Karen Glass

Happy Reading in 2020!

~ Lindsey

S. D. G.

Angels of Advent: Zacharias

The Angel Appearing to Zacharias, William Blake, 1799-1800

By luck of the lot it seems, I am here.

Carrying with me the burning desires of a nation, and my own unspoken longings.

Singled out and sent in, through the golden doors and into a holiness I’ve never before experienced.

The signs of His presence greet me – lamplight, bread, a golden altar, set upon the backdrop of a curtain whose nearness sets my hands trembling.

Powdered incense – are we not all dust? – is what I have to offer. Sprinkle the mixture of stacte, onycha, galbanum, frankincense, till the fragrant smoke rises and clouds the sacred space.

Is that the curtain breathing?

I stand in the stillness. One moment more, and my duty is done. I have always done my duty. Yet, still, there is this barrenness . . .

A flash of light to the right. My fingers grip the empty golden spoon. A form appears, the shape of glory and terror. Has my luck run out?

No – this is good news. News beyond my old age hopes, beyond the murmured prayers of the court outside. A birth! A turning. A readiness for One greater yet to come. A fulfillment, filling all the empty spaces.

But how can I be sure? How can I know this is not just the mist of some aromatic dream?

The next time he speaks I am dumbfounded. He says his name – Gabriel – and tells me I will be silent until my lips speak of what my eyes can see – my own boy, John.

All I can do is bow to my sentence. Time slips away and the angel disappears. I stumble, humbled, into the piercing sunlight, and into a dozen questions. Perhaps it is a grace I am unable to give the answers just yet. Premature.

I will let them grow within me, taking form like the child in my wife’s womb. I will stroke her grey hair with wonder, smile wordlessly, and wait.

Wait. His words are a fire in my bones – John, joy, gladness. Yahweh has shown favour. I will let them glow till they burst out wild on the day of deliverance.

Stacte, onycha, galbanum, frankincense. A dust flung to holy offering. Perhaps I am imagining things, but the scent still lingers.

{Luke 1:5-25}

S. D. G.








A story in the making

Hello, readers. It’s been far too long since I’ve posted. I haven’t completely disappeared. But there’s a bigger story at work behind the scenes.

A Sabbath story.
A surrender story. 

A story that is still very much in the making, and one whose threads I have yet to untangle into words. One day. Soon, I hope.

During this strange and silent season, I have found great comfort in stepping back and immersing myself in the Story that is so much bigger than my own life.

A perspective change can be life-changing. Life-saving.

If you are looking for an Advent resource this year that drops you right in the middle of this radically reorienting Story, you can find my devotional Abraham’s Advent available now in the shop.

It’s a four week journey of hope and promise with the father of the faith, focused on the One who said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.”

If you’re anything like me, you might appreciate a few quiet moments each day by a Bethlehem fire.

Abraham's Advent Cover

I hope this resource brings a spark of blessing into your life this Advent and Christmas season.

~ Lindsey

S. D. G.

prayer :: God of unfurled leaves

God of unfurled leaves, cast your cloak of green over our weathered shoulders. Whisper to us in the rustle of shimmering branches. Let your countenance shine in dappled light. Renew us in the hope of returning colour, and the surety of your ever springing promises. As the trees of the field applaud your faithfulness, may we join the greening world in praise. 

~ Lindsey Gallant

S.D.G.