Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God With Us

Our home has been privy to many epic battles. In fact, come by any given morning and you can be thrilled by daring escapades and courageous rescues. Many times I am right in the middle of these adventures. I pass through my living room with the laundry and hear that Tico the squirrel is saving Sophie the giraffe from imminent hurt as she clings to the edge of the couch. Other times I suck up Cheerios right in front of Minerval the stuffed chicken and Iron Man as they duel for the coveted treasure chest. I have even had to politely excuse myself as I dusted around T-Rex and Buzz Lightyear as they worked on a plan to conquer the window sill. The excitement never ends...My son Josiah loves his super heroes. He loves having the good guy overcome obstacles with his super powers. It wasn't long ago that I sat and watched him reenacting yet another battle scene. The morning sun was like gold shining on his bent head and I marveled at how he was growing. And as I observed his little superheroes I found myself praying that he would realize who really was the greatest Hero of all. I prayed that in the time of trouble he would really know Who to call upon. Immanuel - God with us. Christmas is a time to remember that God. Is. With. Us. He is no little plastic friend of Dora who has no power to save. He is not a dollar sign who is useless when our heart is breaking. He is not just a man who will make mistakes. He is God.

All powerful.
All knowing.
Always present.
Always loving.

This Christmas, I pray that you are reminded daily that God sent Jesus, His Son, to be WITH you. God with you. Immanuel.

"...and they will call him 'Immanuel' which means 'God with us'". Matthew 1:23

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hugs From Andrew

Here's Andrew. How's that for cute? He actually looks EXACTLY like his daddy did at that age (funny thing - you do all the work and...). ;) Andrew has the most soul satisfying way of hugging. When I lift him up on my shoulder, he wraps his chubby little arm snug around my neck. It's extra special because he's still so bitty (well...over 16 lbs of bitty at 5 months). Those snuggles are heavenly to any mom.
How much do we love it when our little ones jump in our lap for a squeeze?! Just this afternoon my older boys went running for daddy when he came home for lunch. My middle son squealing; "I want a tiss (kiss) too daddy! I want a tiss!"
We love our children unconditionally and seek to show them in many ways throughout the days. Some days it may feel like all we hear are 'requests'...
"Can I have a cookie?"
"Can we go outside?"
"Can I jump in that puddle?"
"Can I unroll ALL the toilet paper in the house?" (ok., sometimes they don't actually ask...)
So, when, out of the blue they turn around and show a genuine display of affection for mama...it's pretty heart melting.
Just a couple days ago I had lifted Andrew and was delighting in his tiny hug when I thought;
"I wonder does God feel like this when we love Him back? Does He delight in me running to Him each morning and whispering thanks each night? Does His heart swell when I can tell Him I love Him? Have all my conversations with Him today been requests?"
Remember today that as much as God loves to hear and meet our prayers and requests, He also delights in our genuine affection for Him.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
Zephaniah 3:17
17 The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Stands Still

As a little girl, the first snowfall of the season was a monumental occasion. The first little puffy flakes floating softly to my face set my mind dreaming of things to come...skating figure-eights, hiking through quiet woods, late evening snowball fights and Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. That first snowflake meant that Christmas was on it's way. And from the beginning, my heart would be torn with not being able to wait for it to come - and not wanting it to come too soon - because then it would be over. No little one wants Christmas to be over. Too soon the wrapping paper would be littered around us, the turkey dinner gobbled and the surprises over. In the midst of the presents and family and carols, my heart would grieve just a little that the season was drawing to an end. A whirlwind of red and green, lights and decorations, new dresses and church, gifts and food.
But one year - Christmas stood still. One night, it paused.
I was a little older now, 17 to be exact. I was on the edge of childhood and verge of becoming an adult. This would be my last winter at home before I left for college. I stood outside our home. Everything was quiet and muted by the blanket of deep snow that had fallen. The Christmas lights were casting a warm glow on the white front yard. Big, soft flakes lazily floated down. And then Christmas paused. A moment full of God's presence and awareness of His hand in my past and His purpose for my future. All is calm. All is bright.
Over a decade later, I sit across the table from two little boys. Two flames flicker and cast a warm glow on their faces, it's light reflecting in large brown eyes like their daddy. My heart aches for Christmas to stand still for them. For their own moments full of God's presence and awareness of His love for them.
So, in this season of Advent, we light candles every evening and make moments. We relish in Christmas - in Christ with us. And we pray we make Christmas stand still in their hearts - stay still in their hearts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


My boys are not wanting for stuff. They have an ottoman full of toys in our living room that gets dumped and picked up again around three zillion times a day. They have toys in the sandbox outside. And we can't forget the little toy box in their room. They also are not wanting for food "experiences". I think Samuel could say "fries" before he could say "mama" (don't worry, it's all in moderation...). So, when I stopped by our little corner store yesterday and saw some little red marshmallow candies, it wasn't for lack that I bought them for my boys. It was for the mere pleasure of seeing their eyes shine when I would tell them I had a "surprise!" (Side note/Disclaimer: I cannot promise shining eyes if your child gets whatever they want..whenever they want ;) So, was it worth it? You bet! Josiah, with wide eyes, gets his precious little grin, rubs his tummy and says "Mom, they were bery, bery good!" In that moment I thought of two things.
1. Sometimes God just wants to delight us because He loves us. Sometimes that sunset...is just for you. Sometimes the $5 on the sidewalk was a special surprise. Sometimes the half hour of quiet was a gift and...
2. Do I show my appreciation and gratitude? Do I look to the heavens and say "God, that was very, very good!"?

I pray you find surprises from God today. He delights in you.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Friday, September 16, 2011

Timing is Everything

Today, my little Samuel asked to run in the "sprink-a-ler." T
his summer, it was not an uncommon request. We would crank that hose and let her run. Our big 3 year old would go running right through the centre where all the action was while little 2 year old Samuel would go skirting around the edge of the spray. We made it through many hot days with the help of the "sprink-a-ler."
However, today was not hot. In fact, today was the middle of September and I think I may have smelled smoke from a wood stove. Today was cold. Today was not a day for little boys to run half-naked through a cold spray of water. In fact, it would not even be caring of me to let my little Samuel (who is also sporting a runny nose) run through the sprinkler on a day like today. I explained to him that it was cold but he didn't quite get it. His words were actually; "Look mom! It's nice outside. It's not rainin'."
I think I'm probably like a two year old more often then I would like to admit. How often do I ask God for something and sulk when it doesn't happen right away? Little do I know or understand the big plan behind His answer. I remember when I first met my husband. I think within a few days I probably mentioned to God that He should make something happen - soon. Nothing happened (that I could see anyway). A few years after that (4 to be exact) I was wondering what in the world God was up to. No action there (that I could see anyway). Then, it happened. He marched up to my office and asked me out. I honestly wanted to dance when he was done but thought that might scare him away. So I did the next best thing - called my mom. When I look back at that season (yeah...yeah...hindsight is 20/20), I know that God had a big plan going on all along. He knew when we would really be ready and what was best for us - even though it was hard to wait sometimes. I thank God for those years of waiting now. It deepened my relationship with Him and that is something I would never trade. It also make us each more ready for the other. I believe our marriage is all the more enriched for that time when we waited on God.
Don't be discouraged. Keep asking in faith but also be open to His answers and His timing. He knows what's best for you - His timing is always the best timing.
Blessings friends.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Got it all together?

This is me in Grade 3.
I did not have it all together.
However, there was this one girl who did. You probably had one like her in your Grade 3 class too. Long, flowing hair. Perfect teeth. Beautiful smile. Pristine nails with perfect white tips (how did she keep them so clean?!). Latest New Kids On The Block pencil case. Greatest high-tops ever. The teachers adored her. Girls fought to sit next to her at lunch. Boys (at least those who had gotten over the cootie phase) dreamed about being her 'boyfriend'.
I've always thought that post-conversion Paul had it all together too. He was so brave, so encouraging, so hard working, so close to God. It was hard to think of him having a down day. After all, he was the one who said; "count it all joy when you go through trials." However, this morning I read this in 2 Corinthians 7:
"5 For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within."
Paul feared?! Yes, he did. Paul was like me sometimes. As much as a revelation that was to me, the greater revelation was what came next;
" 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus..."
Paul knew God's comfort in the midst of His fears. He knew God to come through and saw Him do it. In the midst of my fears and my not-having-it-all-togetherness....God will come through for me. He will come through for you. So, don't beat yourself up when you're dealing with fears and inadequacy - but wait to see how God will comfort you.
Blessings friends. :)
P.S. To Grade 3 Girl: In case you're reading...you still have great hair and nails. ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This morning our rooster woke us up. My husband hopped out of bed and jumped into the creek for his morning bath while I roasted toast over the open fire. The kids clambered to the table and I served them their toast and milk (freshly squeezed from Molly who's grazing outside of the house). I started the water boiling so I could get started on the laundry...where did that scrubbing board go?
Yeah, right! This morning our nifty alarm clock woke us up. My husband did hop out of bed, but into a nice, warm shower - pouring in even streams from a shower head. I did make toast, but in a hot pink toaster (thank you sister-in-law...) and the milk came from a cow at some point before it made it to the bag. I'm sure it did. And the laundry? Well, let's just say there was no boiling water and my knuckles are still nice and whole.
Convenience. What state of mind would us comfy North Americans be without it? My eggs cooked for exactly 45 seconds this morning at the touch of a button. My husband took our van for a meeting this afternoon instead of saddling up the horses.
We're pretty spoiled. So, when we are inconvenienced, we notice. This morning I was reading 2 Corinthians 6 and just look at all the inconvenience Paul and his friends suffered;

"Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all."

Sometimes, living out our faith, experiencing our faith, will be inconvenient. Things won't always go as we want them to. However, we buckle down and remember that in the midst of these "inconveniences" we can be "recognized by God...terrifically alive...always filled with deep joy...enriching many...having it all." (The Message)

(P.S. I'm trying to remember that as I wait for my house to sell...any takers?) ;)

Blessings Friends.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One of Those Days

Last week I had one of those days. You know - the kind where your bundle of joy kept waking you every two hours the night before, your two older bundles of joy insist on making you a referee every 1.5 minutes, the laundry is still waiting to be folded, hubby can't make it home for the elaborate meal you prepared (well..frozen meatballs anyway), the dog wants out AGAIN, and you've put the same toy in the toy box exactly three hundred and twenty-three times. You know - one of those days. I think I cried twice.
I believe it was in the midst of one of the crying spells that I had a little epiphany. I had a choice in the midst of these moments. I could crush Ming-Ming the Wonder Pet under my heel and never have to pick her up again or I could gently remind oldest son to put her back when he's finished the latest imaginary adventure.
I used to think that "taking up your cross", just referred to what our brothers and sisters in foreign countries are doing when they are thrown in prison, taken from their family, harmed and even killed for their faith in Jesus. I sometimes feel unworthy to carry this name "Christian" when I think about their "cross". But I think Jesus reminded me that He has put me here in this place, for this time. Carrying my cross may not mean bearing physical harm but it may mean beating down my pride to say "I'm sorry" to my husband. It may mean silencing little nagging thoughts of bitterness that try to pop up. It may mean smothering harsh words with gentleness when dealing with my children. It may even mean letting Ming-Ming the Wonder Pet have yet another adventure. When I see my everyday struggles as an opportunity to bear a cross for Jesus, they take on new meaning. They are an opportunity for God to perfect His work in me. I pray that every toy, runny nose, fighting toddler, sleepless night and lukewarm meatball will give you the occasion to grow closer to Him.
Blessings friends.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." Mark 8:34-35

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shriveled Strawberries

Nothing says summer like sun-warmed strawberries clinging to the vine. My boys had great fun yesterday picking strawberries with their grandma. Naturally, more went to their little tummies then actually in the bowl. The novelty of pulling them from the vine far outweighs sneaking them from the plastic container Mama brings from the grocery store. This morning I passed by the bowl of leftover strawberries and noticed how quickly they had turned from the small, bright, red burst of sweetness to a smaller, dull, shriveled burst of...mush. Not so appealing today. Away from the life-giving vine, the strawberry doesn't hold it's appeal for long. I recognize the same process in my life. There are times in my life that I let doubts, fears, routines, grudges, anger and bitterness cut me off from the Vine. I forget about God's glory in my life, His provision, most importantly, His life-giving Love. It doesn't take long for me to shrivel. It's funny how often I think I can do it without His help.
John 15 (The Message) says;

4"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

5-8"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing...
9-10"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love."

My prayer for you and myself today is that we stay connected. Stay bright. Stay flavorful. Cling to the vine. :) Happy summer!

Friday, April 29, 2011


This feels like the longest wait for Spring. EVER! (I'm yelling that in my mind). Between the cloudy, cold days and muddy dog prints all over my kitchen floor - it feels like I'm living in perpetual March. At first, I was pretty optimistic...I was one of the ones who cheerily thought - "April showers brings May flowers!" Now I feel more like saying "Bah Humbug!" Bring on the warm, sweet breezes already! But, wonder of wonders, I have noticed something these last few days.
Bright, spring green grasses poking up through mud puddles.
Chatty birds singing and singing in the rain.
And, I woke up this morning to see that the buds on our Red Maple tree had burst into blooms under a grey sky.
Cold winds, grey skies, rainy days - it feels more like March - but, things are growing - and changing.
Spring IS here.
Sometimes our life feels like March. Cold. Grey. Dull. Our soul cries out - "What's happening here?" "When will things turn around for me?" The blooming buds on our Maple tree reminded me that, even in the midst of the dreary or downright cold circumstances that may come our way, God can still be bringing growth and change to our hearts.
Remember Moses? The novelty of sleeping under the stars to the bleating of sheep may have worn off after a few years. Do you think he ever wondered if God even cared? If God had a plan for his life? Would spring ever come? Little did he know that God was using the time in the midst of the sheep to shape Moses into a shepherd for the people of Israel.
Perhaps our cold days won't seem so cold if we remember that God can still be working in the midst of them to help us grow.

James 1:2-5(NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. 5 If you need wisdom - if you want to know what God wants you to do - ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sometimes I'm scared. The world is full of scary things. Tsunamis. Car accidents. Affairs. Cancer. Burglaries. War. Economic collapse. Nuclear reactors. I know you can name them too. Perhaps one of the scariest things for me is how my feeble self would handle the real scary stuff. Would I fall apart? Would I have grace in the moment? I was reading in Luke a few days ago and Jesus' words reminded me that I can be sure how I would hold up. Just read this from chapter 6.

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Jesus makes things so simple for us. Do you want to be sure to be full of grace under fire? To stand up under pressure? To come forth as gold?
He says three simple things:
Come to me
Hear my Words
Put them into practice

Come. Hear. Do.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Sometimes, doing laundry is not fun. Neither is vacuuming. Not to mention changing the diaper "Genie" (because, Mr. "Genie", you do not grant my wish of having 20 smelly diapers disappear). Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...unloading the dishwasher...uugggh! Then, there are the days when my sweet boys "color" all over the bedroom wall or when they "feed the dog" by joyfully shooting dog food across my floor with mini hockey sticks (Note to self: look under the oven next time we run out of dog food). A few weeks ago they t.p'd my upstairs and this week discovered all the gems hidden in the fridge - I found my Worcestershire sauce in my coat closet.
Then, there's another way to look at the daily life of a wife, mom and home maker...
I could remember how blessed we are to have clothes as I drop the whites in the bleach. I could remember how blessed we are that we have toys to pick up before I vacuum. I could whisper a prayer of thanks as I clean the diaper pail - we can afford diapers. All those dishes that come out of the dishwasher held good food and memories of little boy laughter around the table. My sweet boys and their antics...I am blessed that they are healthy enough to have fun.
It really is all in the way you look at it.
Psalm 68:19 says; "The Lord...daily loads us with benefits." Daily. Loads. Let's not miss out on His benefits by always looking at the negative side. Be transformed. Let Him renew your mind so that you can see His love and His daily load of benefits.
Here's a video and a link to a blog of a lady who wrote a book on His blessings...can't wait to read it!

holy experience

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Little Handprints

I was washing my windows last week and came across a tiny hand print on our front window. I imagine it was a print of something rather sticky...which could have been most anything if it belonged to my littlest guy. I'm thinking anything from yogurt to water-sogged dog food. It could have been placed there in the midst of the daily ritual of waving to Daddy as he drives off to work. It could have been pressed there as he excitedly exclaimed; "Mama! Do-Do! Do-Do!" (meaning, "Look Mama, a DOG! Oh wonder of wonders!). For whatever reason it was there, and whatever sticky substance may have made the print...I didn't want to wash it off. I stood with my cloth poised over the window as I thought about that little hand print. It was too sweet and too near a reminder of how quickly my boys are growing. I am sure I have had days in the midst of a hundred piles of laundry, spilled Cheerios, spilled dog food (again), unrolled paper towels ("see my road, mom"), smashed banana on my socks, teething, potty training, full toilet paper rolls in the toilet and the other fun things that come with children, where I have visited the thoughts that this would be easier if they were older...like 30 maybe. Then I see a little, sweet, sticky hand print and I'm reminded of when God tells us; "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" (Ecclesiastes 3:1) I believe He wants me to enjoy this season of time with my children and enjoy each day to the fullest - not wishing it away. I need to find and see the lessons He would like to teach me through my children now, today. I need to stop and fully realize the blessings that surround me now. I need to appreciate these days as days He gives me to get messy, laugh till our belly hurts, eat Spiderman fruit snacks, see my husband in the light of fatherhood, build snow forts, read storybooks again, kiss sticky cheeks, smell sweet clean curls, tuck in two little boys, watch eyelashes laying on plump cheeks, and all those blessed things. It won't seem long until they will be 30 and I'll be contemplating leaving a grandchild's hand print on my front window. :) Enjoy your day. Enjoy your now.