Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cheese Sauce Prayers

I made a yummy cheese sauce last week that brought back a funny memory. I was a young teenager, testing the waters of real deal cooking - when I say, real deal, I mean, ingredients that didn't consist of bright orange powder and dried macaroni in a box. I was making homemade macaroni and cheese. Boiling the macaroni was easy - make water boil - add macaroni. It was the cheese sauce that had me on the brink of tears and a full scale tantrum. Add flour and butter to a pot and stir together for 2 minutes. Slooooooooooooooooowly add milk. Continue to whisk until milk thickens...Herein lay the problem. I whisked, and whisked, and whisked, and WHISKED...NO THICKENING HAPPENING HERE! I called for my mom, she looks over my shoulder and calmly says.."Just keep stirring". "I've been stirring foreeeeeever Maaaaaaaawm!" (insert whine here). I figured I must have done something wrong but gave it a try anyway. I stood and stirred and, after what seemed like 3 hours, (which in reality was around 8 minutes) my whisker started to meet with just the tiniest resistance. Within minutes I was able to add cheese to my perfectly thickened sauce and finish cooking my first real meal. Victory.
I was reminded of that little episode because I started to feel the same panicky "it's not working!" feelings last week as I made a similar cheese sauce for my veggies (way to negate everything that's nutritious about veggies...). I stirred and stirred but there was no action. I took a second look at the directions and noticed that it said the thickening process should take around 7 minutes. I breathed a tiny sigh of relief as I had been only stirring for around 5. Still, that's a lot to happen in only 2 minutes...But, seriously, at 6 minutes and 50 seconds (give or take a couple seconds) - it happened. Victory again.
So, what does cheese sauce really have to do with prayers? As I stood over my simmering pot, I thought of how cheese sauce looks so hopeless for the greater part of the cooking, then, in the tiniest last moments, it happens. My prayer life has been like this often. I have prayed for days or weeks or even years and have never seen action, but then, just like the miracle of cheese sauce (o.k...I'm probably taking that a little far...), it happens. God shows me what He's doing. Truth is, He's probably been working all along, doing things behind the scenes that I can't see. But then, it all unfolds and He gives me a glimpse of His power and how He has answered my prayers.
I love the first verse of Luke 18. It says; " Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up."
If you've been praying or want to pray about something that may seem hopeless. Jesus doesn't want you to give up. Keep praying. He will come through.

(for the rest of the parable - read below)
2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

I love The Sound of Music. Call me sappy if you want, but I delight in all 3 hours of it...(I think I hear my husband's eyes rolling). Remember the song; "My Favorite Things"? Don't worry - for your reading pleasure I will post the words (o.k., so if it's not your favorite thing...feel free to skip).

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens;
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens;
Brown paper packages tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels;
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles;
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes;
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes;
Silver-white winters that melt into springs;
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

By Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers

S0, I think I needed Julie Andrews around today. I WAS SO CRABBY! Our son woke us up early...yeah...3 year-old early. Not to mention that 3 year-old has been feeling poorly this week. My teeny toddler, who is usually quite happy and all sunshine in morning - was not sunshine. And, felt I was coming down with whatever my son was fighting. Blah. I was trying to be nice and sweet - but it wasn't working. I just stood by and watched my crabby words float out of my mouth and onto my unsuspecting family...well my husband suspected...suspected I was in a bad mood.
I realized that unless I did something - I was headed for a bad day. So, I prayed. I prayed that Jesus would help me turn things around. Because of the depths of the crabbiness I had succumbed to - it seemed almost an impossibility. But, if you know Jesus, You know that He is the Master of impossibilities. I was just sweeping the floor when it happened. I started to think about how I liked the new floor my husband put in. Then I thought about how nice it was to have such a good husband. Then I thought about how blessed I was to have two children. Then I thought how great it was that we could give them food every day...every hour. Then I thought about how blessed we were to have a home. And just like vapour, my crabby thoughts dissipated into thin air. Sigh.
Before Julie Andrews ever sang the words - "I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad" - God inspired these words;

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers,
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:4-8

Next time you have one of those days, tap into God's strength and let Him remind you of all of your favorite things. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rest Easy

I love my bed. Every night I breathe a sigh of thanks as I sink into my new pillow top mattress and I snuggle in just a little bit deeper each morning before I get up. I thought about my bed when I was reading some old journal entries a few days ago and came across a quote that I had jotted down from a book. The book was written in 1942 by a lady missionary, Hannah Whittal Smith. In, "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" she writes;
"But suppose you had doubted the strength and stability of your bed, and had dreaded each moment to find it giving away beneath you and landing you on the floor; could you have rested then? Would not every muscle have been strained in a fruitless effort to hold yourself up, and would not the weariness have been greater than if you had not gone to bed at all? Let this analogy teach you what it means to rest in the Lord. Let your souls lie down upon the couch of His sweet will, as your bodies lie down in their beds at night. Relax every strain, and lay off every burden. Let yourself go in a perfect abandonment of ease and comfort, sure that, since He holds you up, you are perfectly safe. Your part is simply to rest. His part is to sustain you, and He cannot fail."
Sometimes I am so guilty of not fully trusting God, of straining in fear, just waiting for God to let me down. I was glad of the little reminder from an insightful pen from the past. God knows that perfect peace and rest comes when we put our faith and trust in Him.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight(NIV)."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Life's A Beach

We loved taking our little family to the beach this summer. The boys found endless amusement throwing stones in the water, digging holes and running from the waves. Daddy enjoyed the cool water while Mama soaked up the scenery and tried to stop littlest boy from swallowing too much sand (I have probably removed a whole beach from his diaper this summer). On one of our recent excursions I was helping little sand-eater walk in the water. He's really too small to stand very deep so I was helping him walk close to the shore where the waves were...ankle deep..before I let him go.
The minute I let go of his hand I was reminded of a verse from 1 Corinthians 10:13.
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
Just as I would never have let go of my tiny son in the midst of big waves that were too much for him, God would never put me in the midst of something that He knows I couldn't handle. As I watched my boy toddle off safely I thanked God for another of His reminders. Remember, His depth of love for you will never leave you in a place that is too deep. He always has a way out for you. Be encouraged.

Friday, August 13, 2010

All the Single Ladies

Today, my husband and I have been married for 5 years! He woke me up with a kiss and a whispered "your presences is requested in the kitchen in ten minutes...". I walked into our kitchen to find him working over a hot stove and a delicious, gourmet (if you ask me) omelet full of bacon (who can resist bacon?!), peppers and spices. Fresh orange juice was waiting on the table along with two freshly changed children. Yesterday he had surprised me with a beautiful, delicate orchid and had also planned a beach picnic for this afternoon. I feel more then blessed. :)
If there's one scripture that sums up my marriage to SM ( "SM" being a private joke between the two of us...stop guessing...back to that scripture...) it is Ephesians 3:20;
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..."
When I was a young girl, I did a lot of "thinking" about my Prince Charming. I thought about what he might look like, what he would like to do and most importantly of course, how he would treat his "princess". I imagined how I would meet him - would he save me from a ferocious beast or would I meet him in the library? How many children would he like to have? And, would he like them? I imagined star-lit nights and roses and dancing and all the other dreams little girls have about 'the one'. Well, with age and time, my dreams seemed to take less grandiose paths. I thought that Prince Charming may be a little too high to hope. So, here's where the story gets exciting...well...give it a few years...but then it gets exciting!
I found that God was challenging me to fight for His best plan for my life. Whether He had someone special out there or a special life of singleness - whatever it was - I knew that God's plan would be the best and most exciting for me. Sometimes it was great fun and full of days of hope and promise of what might be around the corner. Then, there were doubting days that were hard and lonely and not so much fun. One wonderful thing I came to see was that each day was a gift from God and that I could be content and fulfilled in my relationship with Him. Leaving the "I'll finally be happy when..." mentality came with a sense of freedom.
Then, God decided to blow my mind and introduce me to my very own, personal, Prince Charming. He has done "exceedingly, abundantly" above all I ever could have dreamed up as a little girl. My marriage has indeed been filled with star-lit nights, roses and dancing. Of course, it has also been filled with occasional misunderstandings, tears, tantrums (from me and the children), spit-up, burnt pancakes, rolling eyes, and other things that would test any Prince. However, God continues to work His grace in our hearts and our marriage grows even better every day and I honestly am amazed at the goodness of God's gifts.
So, on the fifth anniversary of being quite happily married, I want to encourage you single ladies to wait for God's best for you. You are so worth it! My heart wrenches at the thought of 'all the single ladies' who sell out and settle. God's got something amazing for you! There may be some of you who aren't necessarily waiting for the right one, but you're waiting for the right job, or the right child, or the right opportunity. Don't give up - wait on God - He's got your best in store.
The neat thing about Ephesians 3:20 is that God assures us He can help us wait for His plan. The full verse goes like this;
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
God is more than able to work strength, wisdom and patience in you that will help you wait on His perfect timing. Don't give up.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sleep in Heavenly Peace...

At 8:12 pm tonight my boys were both sleeping peacefully. 8:01 pm was a different story. Neither of my boys LOVE to go to sleep (that is one of the few things they haven't inherited from their father...). In fact, tonight as I read "Fankin" the Turtle to big brother, little brother wailed from his crib in the next room. The crying next door was not completely conducive to peaceful story-time, so I went in to console our little guy. There he was, standing up in his crib, fat tears rolling down his little cheeks and arms out for mama (how does one resist that?). His eyes were drooping with sleep but he was so sure he wanted to be awake. I cuddled him close and brought him out to finish story-time with brother. "Fankin" finds out he likes school after all and story-time is over. Now our big guy, eye-lids also drooping with sleep, is sure he wants to stay awake too and the wailing starts anew. I tuck him in, kiss him good-night and take the little one out to rock to sleep. It isn't long before both tired boys are in dreamland.
I suppose I could let them stay up until the cows come home and they fall asleep on the floor or in the middle of their blocks or while watching a movie. However, despite their protests, I put them to bed because I love them and desire what's best for them...good, refreshing sleep.
Sometimes, I do a lot of protesting too. I complain and wail and want it my way. I question God and the wisdom of His plans. I worry about the future and try to figure it all out. But God keeps reminding me of one outstanding thing. He loves me. He LOVES me. Our children don't always understand why we have bedtimes, or time-outs, or limits on junk food but we make decisions based on our love for them and what we think is best for them.
If you are in a time of indecision, fear, anxiety, doubt or even anger at God. Let this one word stay fixed in your heart - love. You may not be able to understand or even fathom what is going on around you, but know that God LOVES you and wants your best, always.

9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Do not depend on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways remember him.
Then he will make your paths smooth and straight. Proverbs 3:5

For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son. John 3:16a

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Big Helper

Today I got to use my dormant basketball skills on my son (I use the term "skills" lightly and "dormant" - not so lightly). My teeny toddler was being a big "helper" and trying to help me sweep the floor. By "help", I mean - using a Swiffer Duster to spread my growing pile of dirt to all corners of the universe. I chuckled as I realized that I was actually in a classic basketball position to keep him away from my dirt as I swept as fast as I could. My college coach would have been proud.

My oldest son also loves to help. He loves to use our keys to open the car door when we're already late. He likes to help his little brother push the gush-water-all-over-the-floor button on our water cooler. He likes to help himself to a drink of a milk from the fridge - and then use a towel to "cean" up the afore-mentioned milk. He likes to help make up his bed by lying in the middle as I spread the sheets. He likes to help me write my grocery list - I assume the big circles mean...apples? Today he helped me put back his daddy's ties by gathering as many as he could in his little arms and throwing them up at the tie rack. My boys attempts at helping make me smile. Their intentions are cute but not always so...helpful.

I was rocking that teeny toddler sweeper to sweep...I mean sleep..a few nights ago. The night was quiet and I was just pondering life when I started to worry about something. I can't even remember exactly what it was...just that it was completely out of my hands. What I do remember is one moment being anxious, and the next, being reminded that I have a Helper.

In John 14, Jesus is giving some last-minute encouragement to His disciples as He knows that His time to leave is near. In verse 26, He says; "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

There will be so many situations in life in which I will need a Helper. I daily need help in making the right choices or knowing how to treat my husband and raise my children or remembering truth for my life from God's Word. But it is refreshing to know that no matter what is thrown at me, I have a Helper. He is not someone who will bail out, or who really has no idea what to do. He is to be trusted in and counted upon. He is sent by the Father, in Jesus' name - and there can be no better Helper.

P.S. If you need to be reassured of His help in your life. Grab a Bible and and read John 14-16!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Perfecting My Swing

Golfing season is upon us...much to my husband's delight. I remember the first time I ever tried to golf. I had watched it on television and the pros made it look so easy, so graceful (I was to find out quickly that they're called "pros" for a reason). I have some athletic ability - I can almost touch my toes - and figured that it shouldn't be that hard. So, I ventured out on a little golf tourney...

Thankfully, for all those on my team, it was "best ball". I fumbled through the game and managed to make it out - proud that I at least didn't win the "congeniality" award.
So, a couple years later I decided to try again. This time I had my new fiance to impress. We were out with another couple - good friends...the kind you don't mind having laugh at you. My then-fiance (now husband) steps up to the tee, drives the ball quite a distance, quite effortlessly -ppht! My friend steps up to the tee, a seasoned baseball player, and she makes it fly down the course! I step up to the tee, take a swing, miss...o.k...let's try that again...swing..miss. When I say miss, I mean that my swing COMPLETELY missed the ball. Shuffle my feet a little, firm up my grip....put my whole back into it...swing...MISS! I'm surprised I didn't hit the back of my head with my follow through. By this time, I want to reiterate, that I was glad I was with friends whom I didn't mind laughing at me. My wonderful, chivalrous fiance patiently and delicately gave me some little pointers and I tried again...shuffle feet...reposition hands...swing...and HIT..around 10 feet. Oh the power.

I've played a few times since then, and honestly, I love the game. I love the quiet dignity of golf, I love the journey of a game, I love the feeling of hitting the ball right on (I've experienced it...once or twice) and perhaps my favorite part is - I love that it's played outdoors. All of these things pulls me back to the game despite my frustration of the times I'm not quite "getting" it. It's like I wanted to be great - right from the start. It looks so effortless but is actually so hard. I suppose when you watch the pros, you don't see the number of hours and the self-discipline they have put into the sport. I realized pretty quickly that in order to be a good golfer, I was going to have to put in the time.

Sometimes I feel the same way about my walk with God. I read in Proverbs 31 about the "ideal" woman and feel frustrated that I don't always "get" it right away - rising early seems sooooo hard some mornings. I read about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 and remember how I lost self-control and most definitely cried over the third cup of spilled milk that day. I read in Ephesians about loving your husband and cringe at the way I snapped at him in the midst of buckling car seats and trying to beat the clock. Yeesh! Why can't I get it perfect the first time around?! Maybe you struggle with the same thing. You look at other people who seem to have it all under control...spiritual giants! They seem to do everything right and you seem to pale in comparison to their self-control, joy, peace, love, and relationship with God. But we don't always see the years of prayer and faithfulness they have put in to that journey. I'm sure they would be the first to admit that there was a time when they seemed to "miss" more then "hit" and that they still have their share of "misses".
Jesus loves us so much. He loves seeing us try with all our heart and is proud of us even when we do mess up sometimes. He just wants us to keep trying. To keep putting the time in. To keep swinging with all our heart. And gradually, He'll see us start to hit more than miss.

Galatians 6:9 says "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (NIV)."

Let's not give up. Keep perfecting that swing. You'll get it.
See you on the course!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ABC'S & 123'S

My oldest son is pretty busy all day playing with blocks, hockey sticks, his brother, our cell phone, books, the dog, dried pasta, golf clubs and other favorite things. However, right before nap time or bed time, he sometimes likes to watch a movie. I believe he's entered into that wonderful "never grows tired of the same movie" phase. I guess, on a positive note, the present fascination is with an educational type movie - complete with catchy little tunes about numbers that keeps playing over and over in mama's brain...

It's so neat getting to see my sons learn. I love to hear the cute first words, even though "Mama" came after "Daddy", "Ball"and "Chance" (the dog). I love hearing the words being put into little sentences - "Chance chase Bunny? Chance no like Bunny!" :) We love to see them get new concepts and see their understanding growing. We have found ourselves being full time teachers - learning colors while eating a freezie and counting Cheerios at breakfast.

Today, as I was counting the stairs with my son and a load of laundry in tow, I thought about a bible passage from Deuteronomy. It says;

"Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them to your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (NIV 6:5-9)."

As I counted my way up the stairs I wondered if I was doing as good a job teaching my son about God's love and His ways as I was 123's and ABC's. I read a book that told the story of a mother who had raised many children to love God and be passionate followers of Him. One of her friends simply stated that she lived her life before them exactly how she wanted them to live. You know, God makes it so easy. We don't have to have a degree from a Seminary to teach our children how to live for Christ. He just wants us to follow Jesus in the simple everyday things - the "everydayness" of sitting at home, walking along the road, lying down and getting up. When our children watch how we handle the cranky cashier lady, how we treat our sick neighbor, what we give to the poor, how we talk to our spouse, or how we react to another spilled sippy cup of milk...then they learn about God. The next time I'm singing a silly ABC song over and over and over...I'll be reminded that my children learn about God through me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Forget!

As a little girl I quite clearly remember my mother's make-up routine. She would come out each morning and set up her station at our table. The most important part of this set up would be the little round mirror - propped up to get the best view. Then, like an artist, she would begin her masterpiece. Foundation would be dotted on and then rubbed in and spread evenly. Blush would be applied to cheek bones followed by a swipe of eye shadow and eyeliner and completed with mascara. I remember her turning her face right and left in the mirror to catch the good light from the window and make sure everything was even.

One morning, as I watched her dab on little dots of foundation, she told me a story.

It was a few years before she was married and she and her cousin boarded the city bus to get to work early one morning. They had just grabbed their seats and got settled when her cousin's eyes got a little wider as she faced my mom. My mom just looked back and said; "What?!" "I'll tell you when we get off the bus", she replied. Of course my mom implored her to tell all and I'm sure she started checking her teeth for leftover breakfast and made sure her shirt was buttoned up right. But her cousin remained tight lipped, explaining that there was nothing she was able to do about it now.

The bus finally came to a stop and as the girls stepped off the bus my mom's first course of action was to find out what had caused such a reaction. She finally gets an answer. As they had sat down, cousin had looked across at mom only to find that my, usually, meticulous mother had forgotten to rub in her makeup! She still had a nice, glistening dab of Beautiful Beige on her forehead, each cheek, nose and chin. My mom was mortified and quickly ran to the nearest mirror to fix the great faux pas. She wouldn't let that happen again!

For so many of us, it is almost second nature to do a quick check in the mirror before we leave the house. We make sure that there are no mustard stains on our cheek or pizza in our teeth. To make sure that fly away hairs are tamed and our collar is not folded. Of course there are the mornings that we fly out the door without time to do a check and then get caught with baby spit on our shoulder but usually, if we get a gander at a mirror, we'll fix the problem. It would seem absurd for us to spot that bright yellow mustard on our face and just leave it there.

James 1:23-23 says; "Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

As silly as it seems to forget what we look like, it is just as silly to forget the lessons God teaches us through His Word. But how often am I guilty of this very thing. I find a good verse from the Bible about God giving strength to the weary and the very next hour am complaining about how tired I am instead of letting Him strengthen me. I read an awesome book about letting faith conquer fear and I continuously, habitually, let fear get a foothold. I read in the Bible about the importance of loving others and the very same day indulge in juicy gossip.
Thankfully, our Father is full of grace. But that doesn't mean we give up the fight to hang on to the lessons He wants us to learn. James goes on to give us a powerful promise...

"But the man (or woman) who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does (1:25) (NIV)."

So, friends, let's not take those lessons for granted. Let's be true examples to others as we let God's Word really change our lives. As if having our lives changed is not enough, God promises to pour blessings on top of it.

Let's not get caught with mustard on our face! :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Perfect Love

If you've ever been a nursing mother, perhaps you're familiar with the nifty little "family rooms" they have at some malls - complete with comfy rocking chairs, handy diaper changing table and sometimes even a magazine to peruse. A while ago, when my oldest son was just an infant, I was taking advantage of one of these rooms when the conversation between some of the other moms caught my attention. I wasn't eavesdropping - I had actually been a part of the conversation but when talk went from baby weight to husbands and stripclubs...welll...I just...clammed up. The ladies talked about their husband's unsavory behaviour as nonchalantly as they would discuss what they had for lunch. Yeesh! I left the little family room quite sad for how 'normal' infidelity was for some of these ladies. I also left with a thankful heart for my husband.

I feel blessed to say that I don't worry about 'other women' when my better half leaves the house. I don't have doubts fly when he comes home late. And if I found lipstick on his cheek...I would probably assume his mother had been around. :) I know my husband is not perfect (though close...) but I do feel confident in his love. His actions and manner with me over the years have spoken of his deep commitment and love.

God used my marriage this week to remind me of His own faithfulness and love. I was praying for His peace to replace fears in my life. Fear of the future, the unknown, of what God might allow in my life. I had let fear overshadow God's character. He showed me how I trust my husband and his actions towards me because I am confident in his love. Why couldn't I trust God and His actions towards me? He has shown me His faithfulness over and over as He has provided for my needs. He has shown me His delight in me in quiet moments when I sensed His presence. He has showered me with gifts of sunsets and meadows, friends and family, babies and my own prince charming. :) He has shown me unconditional love by giving His own Son for my wrongs. So, why would I doubt Him? Why would I not trust His actions towards me?

1 John 4:18 says; "There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (NIV)."

God's love is more perfect than we could imagine. We can have complete confidence in God's plans for us because they are made from perfect love. I pray that when fears come I let the proof of His love drive away doubts.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Daddy, Come?

My oldest son's world revolves around his father. "Daddy fix?", "Daddy's coat?", "Daddy's 'tar (guitar)?", "Daddy work?", "Daddy's 'soos (shoes)", "Daddy go?", and a million times every morning before lunch..."Daddy, come?"

Josiah knows that his daddy comes home almost every day for lunch. He will go about his morning routine of playing with his toys, sneaking dried pasta from the pantry, climbing up and down the stairs, upending our boot tray, chasing the dog with his mini hockey sticks and 'loving' his brother. However, numerous times he will stop, look at me and ask, "Daddy, come?" The first few times I tell him "Daddy will be home for lunch", and then as noon hour grows nearer I say "Daddy will be home soon". That gives him enough reassurance to keep on playing.

His longing for his dad is quite adorable and warms my heart. Josiah longs for his dad's return for a number of child-like reasons...wrestling, laughing, playing, singing, guitar playing, jumping, running ("fast" as he likes to say...) and watching Handy Manny together. But mostly just to be with his dad.

I wonder if God longs for us to have the same excitement for Jesus' return? Do we long to see what delights God, in His creative power, has waiting for us in heaven? Do we anticipate the music that will accompany God's glory? Do we look for the day when we will see loved ones who have gone before us? Do we imagine what it will be like to be free of every pain, worry and fear? Do we long to be with Jesus and finally see Him face to face?

John 14:1-3 says; "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may know where I am."

I can learn a great lesson from my son. As much as he loves to play and go about his busy day, thoughts of his daddy coming home are never far from his mind. As an adult, I can definitely get caught up with laundry, dinner, work, schedules, husband and kids...but how far away are my thoughts on Jesus' return and eternity?

1 Thessalonians says that His return is something that we can encourage one another with.

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words (NIV)."

So, be encouraged. Jesus, come? Soon!

Monday, March 1, 2010

For Tom...Vancover 2010

So, my husband loves (is obsessed with...) the Olympics. He said I should write a blog about the games even. So this is in honor of my favorite sports enthusist...

The fact that the Olympics were in Canada this year added to my husband's fascination. Our conversation was peppered with who was playing and when. I listened to who was in the running to win while eating my eggs, heard all about the story behind a hopeful gold medal winner while fixing my hair, found out who lost by a millionth of a second while putting on my get the picture. He knows all the athlete's names and where they're from - even in figure skating! This may be the only time in the next four years that he will tolerate ice dances - whatever would get our nation another gold. I was more excited for my husband than for Team Canada when they won the "big game" on Sunday night!

I have to say, I enjoyed the excitement myself. I especially love watching figure skating...I know, so girly of me...but I do.

I was so impressed again at how seamlessly the athletes dance their program. They make it look so easy. They are performing in front of the whole world with the pressure of a country depending on them for a medal and yet they seem to skate with such ease. They don't pause and try to remember the next step - it seems to come as natural as breathing. We watched one pairs team practice in a hallway with no skates and it looked as if they had been doing those same lifts and spins for all their life.

But, we all know that it didn't come that easy. The years of discipline and practice and falling and getting up again and early mornings and long hours all came down to that few minutes where now the choreography was almost a part of them. Perhaps that's how Joannie Rochette was able to perform so beautifully and capture a bronze medal after her mom passed away just a couple days before. All the hours of practice enabled her to complete her dream and her mother's even in the midst of such circumstances. The dance had become second nature.

It made me think of when Job, from the Bible, fell down to worship God even in the midst of great sorrow. I don't think it was a spur of the moment thing. I believe that Job's life had been a life of honoring God and drawing close to Him.

"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil"(KJV) Job 1:1.

When destruction hit, it was just second nature that he would turn to his Lord. I pray that my life would be full of drawing near to Him so that in surprising moments, His will is my second nature. I pray that I would perform beautifully when someone buts in front of me in the line up or that I would answer softly when my child makes mistakes or that I would be ready with an answer for what I believe for the person sitting next to me in the airplane.

Let's get training!

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil...that you may able to withstand in the evil day, and have done all, to stand firm (NLT)." Ephesians 6:10-13

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Planes and Priorities

I have to admit that I'm not completely fearless with regards to flying. The thought of me sitting in a machine that weighs a bazillion tons and having nothing between it and the earth can be a little disconcerting.

This past week I boarded 4 planes with my youngest son on a visit to see his nanny and poppy in another province. I settled him in with his bottle and took a look through the channels on the little t.v. screen in front of me. Out of curiosity, I stopped on a channel about the airline I was travelling with. It showcased it's values and services and ended with a little slogan something like -

"Your safety is our top priority."

My first thought was..."Well...that's nice (shouldn't that be a given?)." I kind of chuckled to myself because I imagined what if it was - "Your comfort is our top priority"? Our leather plush seats will have you sitting in the lap of luxury...but we can't promise that our engine is running smoothly...

Or, "Your menu is our top priority." The steak we serve you will melt in your mouth and is grilled to perfection...but we haven't had a service check in five years.

Or, "Your schedule is our top priority." We will get you there on time...even if we have to skip the deicing.

Thankfully, life-savingly, our airlines have their priorities in order. Yes, having an airline that made it's top priority something other than our safety seems ludicrous...but don't we do the same sometimes?

What about the man striving to get to the top while his family longs for his love and attention? Or the young lady that starves herself - trading health for her idea of perfection? Or the teenager who compromises and ignores his values to be popular?

What about when I put cleaning the dishes in front of a giggle with my son? Or read another chapter instead of spending time with my husband? Or how about when I let all my daily "duties" crowd out time with God?

Jesus knows we are so easily distracted by the things around us. In Matthew 6, He talks about things like money and food and worry and how these will fight for first priority in our life. With just a few words He affirms that He understands our needs and is happy to provide them but exhorts us to put our priorities in the right order.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (NIV)." Matthew 6:33

I have to mention one more thing. God sent His Son to die for the punishment of sin - our sin - He was raised to life to show that He had conquered sin and death - our sin and death - and longs for relationship with us so that when we die we will be with Him forever. Going through life and being the best one can be, getting the best job and raising the best kids and looking the best in skinny jeans but not entering into that relationship with Jesus is like flying on an airline that makes cleanliness their number one priority - a spotless plane means nothing if the machinery is not working.

Let's take a look at our priorities.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Big Cover Up!

A few days ago my husband came home with a dozen yellow roses and a bright red pair of new 2010 Winter Olympic mittens for me. No reason. Just Because. That's just the kind of guy he is. He also changes more diapers then me. He lets me sleep in most mornings while he feeds and dresses the kids - all before he goes to work. He asks me how my day went and then actually listens while I tell him how many loads of laundry I did, what I found under the fridge or how many toilet paper rolls the kids destroyed. He encourages me to "get out" and takes interest in my hobbies. He laughs at my corny jokes and still makes me feel pretty. He is an answer to prayer and more than I could have dreamed up. But, today he annoyed me.

Here's the story...we were getting ready to go out. The kids were hanging off our legs as we crowded into our little bathroom - me finishing my fluffy hair while he tried to shave. I asked him a question and he answered me in a tone that I did not appreciate. I made some little comment and then put on my "I'm offended" face, expecting an apology. No apology. I left the bathroom in a little huff grumbling in my head about how he needs to say he's sorry. I walk past the door of the bathroom with a little pause - giving him time to notice my displeasure. No apology. I continued my traipsing and grumbling to myself while I formulated the perfect comeback. Then, like the first raindrops of a shower, scriptures began to fall into my thoughts one after the other...

"love covers all wrongs" (Proverbs 10:12)

"keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13: )

"be slow to speak" (James ).

Great. I could satisfy my need for justice or listen to Jesus. I grudgingly listened to Jesus. I can't say my actions and thoughts were quite in sync yet because I was still debating with God as we drove to our destination - "But he should say he's sorry...that's not fair!" and "Why should I let him get away with it?" Before I barely finished the thought - I had another. More a thought picture - a picture of Jesus struggling through the street with a cross beam on his bloodied and bruised back as the crowds spat on him, cursed him and humiliated him.

He didn't say a word.

He didn't call ten thousand angels to his defense.

He didn't show off his glory.

He just carried his cross and suffered through it all. And then in one final act of love he gave up his last breath to cover up the sins of his accusers.

The Ultimate Cover Up.

"Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs." Proverbs 10:12

"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

Covering my husband's little moment of imperfection was nothing in comparison to how many sins Jesus has covered for me. I hope next time I'll be quicker to let it go as I think about the Ultimate Cover Up.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Flowers and Truth

I love the earth. But before you get your "Hug a Tree" badges out, though a worthwhile cause, this is not about being "green". I love how God lavished us with His creativity in nature. Yes, I'm that kind, the kind that ogles sunsets and breaks my neck to look at stars. One of my favorite things to look at is a meadow. I love to see the soft wind rippling the grasses and flowers nodding their heads. I love the sweet smell of a meadow and how the mix of colors is just right - arranged by the Ultimate Florist. Meadows can delight us from spring to fall with different flowers springing up with the seasons. And then, as the breezes get cooler and the sun a little less warmer, they slowly drop and fade into the grasses leaving us with memories of their splendor.

I met a lady a who reminded me of a sweet flower. She was a delight to watch because she was so full of peace and contentment. She radiated a quiet joy and seemed to long for others to share it. Her conversation was full of grace and her words were full of wisdom. Anyone who spent more then a few minutes in her presence would realize that her character came from a long life of leaning on God and using His words as a guide for her life.

This precious lady asked to hold my youngest son when he was just a few months old and I felt privileged as I laid him in her arms and she quietly cooed and fawned over him. It was not long after that when I heard the news that she had faded from this world and into the presence of her Lord. She is no longer here physically to comfort her loved ones - but her words are. The legacy of her life - lived so fully for God - will endure for generations to come.

A bible passage I read today reminded me that the most enduring and lasting thing we can give our children is God's Word. Our tidy house won't last forever (or even 5 minutes some days...). Our gourmet meals definitely won't stay around for eternity. The oodles of toys and gadgets will end up in a yard sale or thrift store some day and allowances will slip away like sand through your fingers. But we can give them God's Word to live their lives by. We can teach them the wisdom of Proverbs and be confident that we have given them a guide to make good choices with. We can teach them the grace of the Gospels and know that we have given them the knowledge that Christ accepts them just as they are and longs for them to return to Him always. We can teach them the hope of Revelations so that they will look for Christ's return and to their future with Him in eternity.

Isaiah 40:6-8 says

A voice said, "Shout!"

I asked "What should I shout?"

"Shout that people are like grass,

their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field.

The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord.

And so it is with people.

The grass withers and the flowers fade,

but the word of our God stands forever (NLT)."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I love the Amish...and their cakes! (List #2)

I love the idea of the Amish way of life. Working barefoot in warm dirt. One room schoolhouses. Barn raising's. Horse and carriage. Beautiful and simple. I also like their cakes...well, maybe I should say - recipes for cakes. Maybe you've also been the recipient of a Ziploc bag of smooshy flour and milk and sugar. You get the little starter bag of "Amish Friendship Cake" mix and then add a cup of sugar on day 2 and smoosh the bag on day 4 and add more milk on day 5 and do a dance on day 7, etc....until on day 10 you add some more stuff and divide the massive concoction - keeping one for yourself to bake and passing the others on to friends. I have to admit - I've had the little starter batch given to me a couple of times and usually get to day...4...or was it day 6? Yeah...I usually lose track and as much as I love the Amish...

Anyway, a couple of my friends (Jillian/Trisha :) have been good enough to drop off a warm, sweet loaf of the finished product for me to enjoy. All the adding of ingredients culminate into quite a tasty treat topped off with sparkling sugar.

I read another list in the Bible that reminded me of adding all those ingredients. It almost reads like a recipe...

"Make every effort to add to your faith

GOODNESS; and to goodness,

KNOWLEDGE; and to knowledge,

SELF CONTROL; and to self control,

PERSEVERANCE; and to perseverance,

GODLINESS; and to godliness,

BROTHERLY KINDNESS; and to brotherly kindness,


For, if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV)." 2 Peter 1:5-8

...and that's even better than Amish Friendship Cake!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Paris, Rihanna, Jessica and The Simple Life

I have to admit that I have a little secret obsession. Well...not completely secret (my husband is quite aware of my odd indulgence) and not quite an obsession...more like an interest that is mostly piqued at the grocery store.

Nope, not chocolate (as good as that is...).

It's the tabloids.

Yes, the magazines about all the stars and the exaggerated details of their every move - because we have to know that Brad and Angelina took the kids to New York for family time...fascinating.

For some reason, every time we're waiting at the checkout, loaded up with cereal, bananas, pork chops and the like, I am inexplicably drawn to the stories. I quickly flip through the pages trying to take in as much as possible before my husband catches me with his "what a waste of time" stare accompanied by the "eye roll". He doesn't find the ballgowns, award ceremonies, galas, and gossip quite as interesting. ;)

By the sheer number of magazines sold, we must be intrigued by the glamor and glitz. By the wonder of what it might be like to hobnob with the rich and famous at exquisite banquets, have Vera Wang design our wedding dress, travel to our private island for the weekend, or have a personal chef at our beck and call.

As much as I enjoy perusing the opulence of their lives, I wouldn't trade my life with them for a second.

My heart aches for the young girl who is starving herself to be the accepted size 0 or for the couple who have fallen prey to the short life-span of Hollywood marriages. Behind the parties and money and paparazzi, I see a yearning for real love, commitment and peace.

My Christmas wasn't spent skiing in the Alps or at a resort in Maui - We packed our kids and dog into our minivan and headed to the in-law's for evenings around the fireplace, doting grandparents, walks in the snow, a nice light display in the park and a Christmas Eve service.

We didn't have a personal chef cook our New Year's Dinner or go to an upscale banquet. We spent New Year's Eve entertaining a gym full of teenagers and New Year's dinner was merrily eaten around a frozen pizza - complete with salad.

We don't have memberships to an exclusive gym but right now my husband is getting some serious cardio by "wrestling" with our two young sons.

Our house is not a $5 million mansion in the Hampton's. We have a small home that fits all of us with a yard for Chance the Dog and neighbors that are precious.

My husband hasn't starred in a hundred movies or been a quarter-back for the Dallas Cowboys (though...he might like that...). He is committed to God, his sons and his wife and I most definitely wouldn't trade him in. ;)

Proverbs 17:1 says; "A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels." When I do take a look at the lives of the "rich and famous", I am continuously reminded that money and power and social standing is not what brings peace. When the angels announced the birth of Jesus they proclaimed; "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." I feel so blessed today to have found the peace that God offers through His Son. I feel so blessed that though I may not live in a mansion or have a million dollars, I have a home of love, contentment and peace (at least during nap time...:). The amazing thing is that I did nothing for this peace except believe that God sent His Son to bring me peace and accept that gift from Him. This peace and contentment is available to me, to you, to Paris, to Rihanna, to Jessica all. I pray you - and they, find it.