News

News: Well folks, as of March 27th, I am now Dr. Squeaks. That's the latest news :P

--5 April 2020--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

May 25, 2020

20.05.25 - They Sent Me A Casket {a poem}

I love writing poetry (as I'm sure you can tell if you've followed my blog for some time now). Today was a rainy, foggy day - therefore, it was the perfect sort of day to write something :) 

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Also, a side note, but this little blog was featured on Feedspot's Top 25 Christian Poetry Blogs list! So if you're into this kind of stuff, you can check out that link to see similar content.

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20.05.25 - They Sent Me A Casket
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I am here amongst the creature comforts of a silent world. 
Everything is hushed between the falling raindrops,
Everything holds breath, waiting for the ready - set - … 
I am poised with pen in hand, hoping for a whistling muse,
But all I hear is echoing stillness in my mind. 
Life blooms - green bursts forth from hard-hewn trees,
Bending with flowers and leaves, bending with dew,
But somehow, someone planted a casket in my heart
And I am wondering where to bury the dead thing.
Rich soil makes for beautiful growth, like flowers and fruits,
But in my gazing on this unwanted gift, I can’t see how it would bring life.

I’d give it back - I’d return to sender, but they haven’t left an address. 
It belongs to the people: to many untilled hearts of dross with silver. 
I am filled with a queasy sense of unease - I think that’s what they wanted. 
I mourn, not for death, but for lost life. For the moments passing by
Where we could have walked between the trees, fresh dirt, and filtered sun,
Laughter lilting pleasant-like through the boughs, drifting west to the setting place
When the fog rolls in, we’d grab sticks and stones and chuck merry at the roots
And my home would fill with the fullness of a hearty meal and hot tea
We’d recline on the chairs, curled like cats, content and peaceful;
And between your furrowed brows I’d find recognition and knowledge
And all my toiling to bring the harvest would be fruitful. 

The glow of the flame on the map of your face is soft and solemn
But not the kind of solemn in a cathedral, hushed and marbled in tartness - 
Rather, the solemn of awe-inspired nature at its prime -
Faithful to wither under sun and bloom against all odds from beneath heavy snow. 
This is what I mourn. 

You’ve judged unjustly, my still frame and burdened mind. 
You’ve handled me unrighteously from a throne of iron 
And on the edge of the sword my words run like blood to unmerciful ears. 
Thank God Almighty you are not my final judge. 

Now I am here, casket before me, garden behind me - 
I won’t stain its soil with this disgraceful detritus. 
So. Like any good soul, I take it, drag it, heft it to the edge of my little property line
And shove it down the hill. 
It disappears, tumbling through old grass, gaining momentum, until at last
It slips with a final chorus of noise, into the rushing river below. 
Good riddance. I wipe my hands on old worn jeans, 
And turning, with not one return glance, I pad my way back to the garden gate
Barefoot and smudged with loam, I open - enter - shut, 
And again I am surrounded with solace 
Into the beauty grown from the labour of my own two hands. 

I’m not in the business of accepting dead things from other people.
I hope you feel the same. 
Let us plant gardens of life for the rest of our humble, lonely journey 
On the face of an embracing, tempestuous planet.  

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Signed with leaves, 
Squeaks.

April 21, 2020

Galaxy Soul: The Dreamer and the Seeker - Book Launch!

AH! I wrote a book! Finally! After +10 years of telling myself I wanted to publish something as a Canadian writer, I have done it (excluding my academic papers - that's a different conversation for a different time). 



GALAXY SOUL

THE DREAMER AND THE SEEKER



Available on: Kindle || Amazon Paperback

Galaxy Soul is a poetry collection that dives deep into the mystery of human consciousness. Mental health topics on depression and anxiety are elegantly spoken on from the perspective of someone who has lived through the darkness and now shines brightly on the other side of recovery. Galaxy Soul is infused with tones of hope, forgiveness, and compassion that arise from the author's Christian faith. 

If you are a wanderer searching for a little rest, constantly prone to feeling misunderstood or alone in the world - this might just be the book for you!

This collection has a very special place in my heart - it covers complex topics like mental health, grief, and loneliness yet manages to do so with notes of hope and tenderness. As a Christian, I write from a place of deep faith; perhaps it may be of encouragement to someone somewhere.

There are 4 parts: Part 1 (Galaxy Soul) celebrates the strength of character that grows within people battling depression and anxiety. Part 2 (The Universal Puzzle of the Human Soul) is an attempt to understand the 'why' of our confusing human existence. Part 3 (Lost in Thought) threads into the complexities of the human mind and the process of deep thought and overthinking. Part 4 (The Little Things in Life) gently touches on the process of dealing with grief and loss, while also exploring how we can find beauty in simplicity.

The majority of these poems were written from the depths of my heart - so as you might imagine, it's a little scary setting that free for people to read and critique and dissect. My search for hope in the midst of loss, grief, and darkness always brings me back around to Jesus. You'll find that all of the heavier poems in this collection resolve themselves with hope because of the peace I have found in Jesus. He truly is my saving grace and I really want the world to know that!

In all honesty, a large portion of this compilation sat on the shelf for 2 years, since I completed the first copy in 2018. I just hadn't the heart to publish it at the time – and I’m glad I waited, because several critical poems on grief were written after the fact. That being said, I think now is the right moment for Galaxy Soul to benefit the broader community of readers. So here she is!

Paperback copies will be coming very soon (my Facebook author page, Mackenzie A. Lockhart, will have updates on that) - I'm just waiting for Amazon to approve the final manuscript arrangement. In the meantime, if this sounds like something you'd read, then Kindle e-copies are available in most countries!

If you do purchase a copy, I would absolutely LOVE it if you rated my book and wrote a brief review on Amazon/Goodreads to let me and future readers know what you think! Or, if you run a blog or have a wide-reaching audience on social media, just shoot me an email at hiddendoorways[at]gmail[dot]com or message me on Facebook/Instagram and I'll see what I can do about getting you a pdf ecopy in exchange for a review :)

Much love & appreciation,
Mackenzie A. Lockhart

April 20, 2020

Hidden Doorways Makeover



Hi all!

As you can tell, if you've recently visited this page, I have given Hidden Doorways a very unexpected makeover. It's a new season and time to turn over a fresh page (let's be real though - it took me 10 years to revamp my blog... things were getting stagnant and needed change).

I have some really exciting changes coming soon, so keep your eye out for an update in the future!

In the mean time, what has everyone been up to? I'm assuming my readership consists mostly of dusty skeletons - your dry bones may take a bit to revive ... and I certainly cannot count on my own consistency as a blogger to do that reviving for you :/ sorry!

If you want to connect, you can now visit the following social media platforms to follow my progress as a poet/author:

I plan to fix up my other social media over the next month, so bear with me. Things will be changing around here shortly! I hope you'll stick around to find out exactly what that means :) 

Signed with sunflowers,
Squeaks.

April 5, 2020

{A Review} - Let the Ghosts Speak by Bryan Davis



I received an email from Bryan Davis' publicity manager quite a while back, with an inquiry as to whether I would be interested in reviewing his latest book, Let the Ghosts Speak. In all honesty, I saw it several weeks after it was sent and then promptly forget about it in the midst of the coronavirus news and finishing my PhD thesis (yes, folks - and if you're a long time reader of my blog... yes... anyway *ahem*). It is quite VERY unlike me to not jump instantly on a chance to review one of Bryan's books. He is, after all, a very dear and favourite author of mine that I've grown up with.

That being said, I reached out just before I defended my thesis and asked if copies were still available for an honest review, and received the happy reply that indeed they were! So here we are, me in my arm chair with my luke-warm coffee (yuck) and you perched wherever you might be scrolling through these words. Let's take the plunge, shall we?

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Let the ghosts speak - but will the sane heed their counsel?
In 19th century Paris, Justin Trotter, an immigrant from England, is making his way as a book translator while paying his blind twin sister's care. One evening, Marc Noel, Justin's well-to-do friend and fellow thespian, invites him to a masquerade party at an abandoned schoolhouse. Justine hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know Marc's lovely though sharp-tongued sister, Francine. 
At the event, Justin meets four ghostly strangers - two adults and two children - who warn him that the party guests are in danger, and they must leave at once. True to their prediction, a murder takes place, and Justin is the prime suspect. He escapes and becomes a fugitive, hiding in the Paris catacombs. 
Mystery and intrigue swirl as the ghost of Joan of Arc and other martyrs guide Justin on a lonely journey to prove his innocence and protect his sister from an abusive caretaker. Who really committed the crime? Marc? Francine? A ghost? And does seeing these ghosts mean he is going insane? Maybe he really is the murderer after all. 
There is only one way to find out, to let the ghosts speak as they reveal the mysteries within Justin's mind. {excerpt from Goodreads}
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Let the Ghosts Speak is very different than anything else Bryan Davis has written. However, if I had to compare it to something, it would probably fall somewhere between the serious voice of the truths covered about life and death in I Know Why the Angels Dance and the pure heart of Sapphira Adi that is slowly revealed in Eye of the Oracle. In Let the Ghosts Speak, we are plunged into the storyline of Justin Trotter who finds himself wrapped up in the middle of a murder while also somehow managing to be privy to observing the tutelage of Joan of Arc as she seeks to teach the ghost of her killer the true love of God. The setting is 19th century Paris and with it comes a relatively well written Victorian-esque theme (although, being a bit of a nerd for all things Victorian, the writing style is certainly modern but Bryan does employ some unique words and tones throughout, which I quite enjoyed!).

As the murder mystery unfolds, we see multiple threads from side-stories unravel into what becomes a very beautiful fabric resembling a classic Bryan Davis book. As per always (I've come to count on it, because I find it most encouraging), there are deeply embedded themes of forgiveness, redemption, and sacrifice taken from a solid Christian foundation. In all honesty, when I read the initial synopsis of the book I was a bit concerned that the topic may veer away from the Biblical foundation I've come to know Bryan for always building off of. However, I was not disappointed, and you won't be either, as he manages to weave a beautiful story in a unique setting that teaches the principles of agape love in a culture full of religiosity and selfishness.

Now, before I give away the whole plot - can't do that! - let me break this down into my typical categories :) Hopefully, by the end of it, I will have given you a good reason to get yourself a copy of this fabulous read!
  • Goodies: 19th century Victorian-esque setting. A maze :O (we love Bryan's mysterious underworld subplots). Dripping candles and burning lanterns. Bones...lots of bones. Green glowing things (I shan't say more). Multiple languages including Gaelic. Sharp wit and vibrant verbal exchanges. Carriages and mud. Ghosts. Lots of fire. Murder (obviously, lol). A masquerade with fabulous costumes. A mysterious library (don't we all love books?). Hallucinations? Poison? Or was it all a lie?? Hmmm....

  • Character Development: (4/5) Justin Trotter, our relatively soft spoken main character, shows himself to be a stalwart individual throughout the progression of his story. He goes through classic development and change, as should be expected of an MC. However, his main components (honesty, integrity, servitude) remain strongly intact. He struggles with his feelings and is, in a way, blind to certain character flaws of those around him. I found this intriguing because his twin sister suffers from physical blindness. Marc and Francine, two strong supporting characters, are relatively static in their contributions to the plot, as most good side-characters are. The same can also be said for the majority of our ghostly visitors. However, Joan of Arc, while also a static character, displays very strong and vibrant emotion during her scenes and truly was one of my favourites. The one point off comes primarily from the fact that character development was strictly in Justin's domain. It's more of a personal preference - I would have loved to see others develop a bit as well, but I do understand this is Justin's story. 

  • Content Snatchery: (4.5/5) Quite fabulous. While the plot was a little slow to get off the ground, once it was in the air it was well and truly in the air. The story has a lot of physical movement - we are constantly following characters back and forth across the region. We jump in a carriage, get thrown into the mud, cross a river, climb a ladder, put out a fire, start a fire, etc etc. If you're one for lots of action then this a certain the tale for you :) The only thing I will pick at here are the river scenes... there were SO many river crossing scenes that it did become a bit predictable (perhaps my mind was tired of imagining these poor characters soaked to the bone and shivering... I have personal experience with cold rivers and it isn't very pleasant). 

  • Boring Parts: (minimal to non-existant) Except maybe the multiple river crossings. I read this novel in ~3hrs straight - yes, my mother has called me a book pig before, it's ok, I accept this fate. So if that doesn't tell you anything about how captivating it is, then nothing will I presume. 

  • Romance: (some kissy scenes) ... they weren't over done and had been placed strategically to develop the plot. Also, given that this is in 19th century Paris, these scenes were written with a very conservative hand. I approve (I'm not a fan of overly romantic plots). 

  • My eyes are sweating: (2/5) I think, in this case, it would be more along the lines of, my-eyeballs-are-about-to-fall-out :P While there were some endearing moments that took be back to the good old Oracles of Fire days, I didn't specifically shed any tears (although my eyes MAY have welled up a couple times). Primarily, there were plenty of anxiety-inducing scenes that resolved (thankfully) and so let that be a forewarning as you read :) 

  • Sensitivity content: I normally don't have this bullet point in my reviews, but I do need to put it into this one. I must place a strong sensitive content warning because of two particular topics covered. In addition to the discussion of beheadings, deaths, murders, allusion to prostitution, and so forth there is also mention of both physical abuse and an illegal sexual act. I think all of these topics were handled well, were not gratuitous. They also resolved with a strong lesson at the end of the novel. However, I admit that the very latter point was one I personally thought to be unnecessary to help the plot of any story along (hence my final rating). So be forewarned in your readings. Because of this sensitive content, I would absolutely advise that this is not a tale for those under the age of 16. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this tale. It had a strong message of sacrifice, redemption, and salvation. It highlighted key issues with the religious spirit and drove home the message that the position of the heart towards God and others is a very important thing to regard carefully. On the outside, we may appear godly, honest, and concerned about the welfare of others. However, God Himself knows where we truly stand and what lies we tell our hearts to feel better about our misconduct.

{Rating} - 4/5 Stars

Now, if this review has won your heart over and you want to purchase a copy of Let the Ghosts Speak, please check out the following links to grab your copy!


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To learn more about Bryan Davis, check out the following links! 


Signed with a lantern, 
Squeaks.

December 17, 2019

All the Enemy Wants is Blood


This phrase has been on my mind: “All the enemy has ever wanted is blood”. I heard it from a preacher at a Prayer Canada meeting back in July 2019, and it has resonated with me ever since. Just look at our society today; what is on the rise? Rates for suicide, self-harm, violence (as per usual), abortion, dishonour, lawlessness etc. I’m particularly concerned with the former two, especially within Christian communities. There are so many people who profess faith in Jesus who struggle to live righteously. We say we read the Word of God, but we do not practice the teachings – do we truly have streams of living water flowing from within us? Or are we shedding blood to pay for a sacrifice that we can never even hope to cover? Why are we not living under the peace of God with His joy overflowing our hearts?
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All the enemy has ever wanted is blood. Look at the Bible – the pagan cultures in Moses and Joshua’s days were offering people as blood sacrifices to satiate their false gods. The prophets of Baal (whom Elijah mocked, by the way) spent hours cutting their bodies for a god that never once showed up. There were constant battles and injustices against a multitude of people groups. Can I go off on those prophets of Baal for a second? How often do you feel hopeless when you’re stuck in the repeating cycle of a self-harm addiction? How often do you find yourself thinking, “I want to stop! I hate this! I’m ruining myself” only to continue the pattern because of the temporary relief it offers? Kind of sounds like those prophets of Baal – calling out to a god that they think has promised to show up… but he never does. It’s all an illusion. It’s all part of the enemy’s overarching plan to spill more blood and undermine the final sacrifice Christ paid.

Has it even changed? No. The enemy is just as sneaky about how he requests that blood. He does it through your mind – he perverts the body of Christ by tempting her into sin (pornography, gossip, adultery, impurity, self-injury etc). He calls her worthless and says she must pay the price. He mocks your beauty and your confidence; tells you who would even care about you because you are too little of this or too much of that?

Church! Jesus paid that price! You are squandering the gift that God has given you. You are living unrighteous lives when you know better and you will stand on account for your actions if you do not lift your face out of the pig sty and fix your eyes on Jesus.

He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the only one capable of covering a multitude of sins and robing us with His righteousness. He is the one who will teach us how to be pure and holy as He is pure and holy. The enemy is always on the hunt for fresh blood – you need to put on your spiritual armor, turn around, and say to his face, “I command you in the name of Jesus to get away. I have been covered in the blood of Christ and His sacrifice pays for all of my sin. You have NO authority here so you must go, in Jesus name.”

Be bold. Do not be ashamed of your God. Jesus said to us, 
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Mat 7:13-14)
He also said to the Church in Laodicea, through the revelation of John, 
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16)
Finally, I want to bring to your attention one last thing from the book of Revelation; we are told this about the return of Jesus: 
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Rev 22:14-17)
Jesus is going to return and the church needs to be prepared. Are you sitting around with an empty lamp that has no oil? Are you immersing yourself in the ways of the world until you look just like all the other people who do not have the Spirit of the Living God within them? Will Jesus look at you and say, “I do not know you”? Just read Luke 13:25-30. There will be those who know OF Jesus, but do not truly KNOW Him. Now is the time to humble yourself before God, in repentance, and sit at His feet to begin to truly know Him. He longs to hear from you – He desires a relationship with you. He is not a God who condones the structures of a religion or an institution – He is a God of relationship and intimacy and He wants His people to be in His Word, dedicated to praying with all sincerity.

So that is what I have to say on this matter. All the enemy ever wants is blood – and that is all he pursues to this day. It is his purpose to see the people of God shamed and brought low by foolish actions, words, and choices. It is his joy to see blood spilled in the hopeless pursuit of peace and fulfillment outside of Jesus Christ. Christians – pick up your cross and follow Jesus. Humble yourselves before God that He may raise you up. Get into the Word, no matter how miserably hard it is most days, and fix your eyes on Jesus. Refrain from all behaviours that have you looking like the world and lead holy and pure lives. You are a royal priesthood called to live according to the path of righteousness that God has laid before us.

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This is a race, not a walk in the woods. This is a battle, not a playfight. There is a real cost at stake here – are you squandering what you have been given, or are you living fully and completely on fire for Jesus? Examine yourselves, church. This is not a game; lives are in the balance here, and Jesus is calling you to fulfill your purpose.


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Signed with love, 
Squeaks.

June 24, 2019

19.06.23 - meadows are where i wander

The first stanza of this poem came to me during church service yesterday. I wrote it down and promptly forgot about it... then picked it back up this morning and added on some additional verses during my morning commute. I'm quite enchanted by this one. It has a nice feel to it :) 

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meadows are where i wander

In the heart of a hind, a hollow lay, hewed
And the heat of the heart held a hole here imbued
With the whistling of wind - oh that willow-bark breeze
Set aside under moon-shine and wintery freeze.
Let my wolfish heart laugh with a lilt to the tune
As I stamp to the beat of that blueberry moon.

* * * * * * *

Honeyed my little nut thoughts I sequester;
Hidden beneath creamy drifts in December.

Timbre's of oak chilled in summertime’s smile, 
Lean-to’s in meadows that stretch for a mile
Here under blossoms of cherry-trees bowed
Here I am harmonized, heaven my shroud. 
Cleanse clean my palate, oh sweet citrus sun,
Sift through my soul until steady we’ve won
All of the war beats and weapons and wills
All of the westerly warbles and thrills.
Each on his own little merry way.. gone;
Each unto treasure, and wholeness, and song. 

Here in my mind I’m middling my path
Each little hope has gone straight to the draft;
This is a war zone and weapons we wield
Against every friction that prays we may yield. 
Deep in the gloom, in the gloam, in the gutter
Deep in the darkness we vibrate and shudder.
Drawn in the darkness our shadow-selves merge
Out with the brightness; to cleanse and to purge
All of the bile and the bitterest breathings
All of the hellscape that undos our healings. 

Drawn with a paintbrush - lines will unfurl
Dipped in the paint-pot, these images curl. 
Off of my mind - onto paper with pen
My heart now is breathing and beating again. 
Born out in poetry, born out in verse
This is my living: against every curse. 
This is my choosing: to warm out my folds
That crinkle inside me - rejecting the mold. 
All of these pieces of paper I hold
Close to my heartstrings. Now mellow, now old. 
Yellowed with yearnings to be understood
To gaze upon carves of compassion on wood
That bleeds out a peace I could hardly have fathomed
A royal red peace that was bled out of passion.
 
So eastward I look and westward I sow
Northward I shiver and southern I blow
All of my limbs become dust in this breeze
My heart is unheavied as empty thoughts cease. 
Pick up my poetry, this is my soul!
This here, my musing, is how I can cope. 
Caught in the cavernous maw of a crow
My fingers imprint all the patterns I grow
Deep in my laughter and under my gaze

That’s where it matters. Yes, that’s where I’ve changed. 

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Signed with shades of purpose, 
Squeaks. 

June 21, 2019

19.06.21 - And Again

Inspired by I'll Keep You Safe by Sleeping At Last <3

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Learn to dream again -
Here, clothed in liquid silver silk, 
You are a sight to behold. 

Learn to sing again -
Every solo’ed melody spilling over
Roots and mosses, coming to life. 

Learn to dream again - 
Tucked in between my fingertips,
You are protected and safe.


 
Turn the gears in the clockwork, 
Set the ancients in motion,
Humming honeyed melodies.

You are sweeter than the sunrise
"One" by Sleeping At Last
Soaking the horizon in molten gold
Saturating morning in awe. 

Tilt up your face, love,
Feel the fauna - forested freedom
Languidly grazing in the groves of your mind. 

Like fire this freedom feeds passion
And into the mountains we run,
Picking paces that clip clouds from the sky.

I’ve painted your portrait -
I’ve laid the foundation and built up these walls.
My dream as a builder - breathtaking

You’ve bound yourself to the edge,
To the ends of the earth, to the sea. 
Reflecting your face in the distant galaxies. 

Light the parchment with cobwebbed candles, 
Sparkling futures and thickened grace,

Here and now, seeking peace.


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Signed with hope, 
Squeaks.