Friday, May 29, 2009

A bird in the hand...

Well, this little experience was definitely worth "two in the bush" for Meghan. What a thrill to help provide for these tiny creatures. The trust they have is incredible.

The girls are working on bird projects and we have learned so much already! One of the great benefits to home-teaching is that I am constantly soaking up amazing facts about the world that I either missed as a child or didn't take an interest in. Wow, creation seems so much more intriguing now. I pray that my excitement will pique the kids' curiosity about their Father's world. "Hello!"

All the world's a stage...

Where: Our Place
When: Every chance possible

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Moment of Truth

We have the most wonderful Children's Pastors at our church and once again, they put on a fabulous presentation with the kids. Our oldest was part of the choir and was simply giddy about a little secret she was keeping about the play. I watched her intently the whole way through, trying to capture this surprise she had not even hinted about, with my camera! With heavy arms, I lifted the camera over and over, determined to document it.

In one particular song, I recognized that face of concentration which donned a suppressed smile and I knew this must be the moment of truth. Within seconds, she proudly thrust a sign, bearing the seventh commandment, high in the air. Oh, the rippling excitement that surged through my body as I snapped a shot of her very special job. Terry and I looked at each other and laughed at the sweetness of it all. "Did you get it?" he asked. I nodded. Knowing she would be anticipating our comments, I had the satisfaction of holding the evidence. I had triumphed in the world of motherhood.
Thanks again, Pastor Randy and Esther! You love the kids of our church and you're talented too! The message of the presentation was amazing and I'm sure many were touched by it.

Worship Painting

This morning I marveled at my children's art spreading freely from the ends of their brushes as we worshipped simultaneously. I played worship music while they responded through painting. Molly was frustrated, at first, when her idea didn't work out and then, when I encouraged her to let God show her something new, she stood silently for a minute. Soon, she smiled and began sweeping her strokes into a totally different scene that was clearly from Him. They began to enjoy the flow that came as a result of their quiet meditation. In the end, both girls had "stories" that they felt accompanied their pictures. It was an invigorating experience.
Lord, let every part of our lives be worship to You. Let us always marvel at Your works and share with the world how we feel about our Great God through our creativity.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Build

Song by Nichole Nordeman

It's bigger than we thought
It's taller than it ought to be
This pile of rubble and ruins
The neighbors must talk
It's the worst yard on the block
Just branches and boards where walls stood
Did it seem to you
Like the storm just knew
We weren't quite finished with the roof
When it started?

So we build
We build
We clear away what was and make room for what will be
If you hold the nails, I'll take the hammer
I'll hold it still, if you'll climb the ladder
If you will, then I will, build

On any given day
We could simply walk away
And let someone else hold the pieces
The lie that we tell
Says it's better somewhere else
As if love flies south when it freezes

What I'm trying to say
In some clumsy way
Is that it's you and only you for always
What I'm trying to say
In some clumsy way
Is that it's you and only you, not just for now, not just today
But it's you and only you for always

The Pain of Being Pruned

Here I am at the altar again (my knees are becoming calloused).

"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:2

"...because the Lord disciplines those He loves..." Proverbs 3:12

Love In My Garden

Monday, May 25, 2009

UNO Fine Game!

Small, nail polished hands flip colourful cards over and over, while hearts bond, and minds grow.
I love watching the kids play games. They teach each other the rules--sometimes their own made-up rules. This is a wonderful stage in their development when they still squeal with delight when they pick up a "good card" from the pile. In beautiful cooperation (with the occasional tattling that someone peeked at the other's cards), they grow closer as sisters. These memories when intense laughter made the game twice as long, will be with them always.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Precious Friendship

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands, we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends.
song by Michael W. Smith

Farewell, Kyla, Gerome and Gillian. We will hold you in our prayers and see you someday soon!

Friday, May 22, 2009


So tiny, so frail, so dependent, these baby robins. We watch a new nest of them year after year and our amazement never diminishes.
Little Miracles.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Eyes

It's all a matter of how you look at it.
You may be able to see your glass as half full, which is positive thinking; but to have new eyes is the power of God in you. Tragic circumstances, betrayal and emotional pain can only be healed by a God who loves you more than you can imagine. He gives you new eyes to look at yourself and your situation. Sometimes you cannot change what has happened or what is happening in your life but your Heavenly Father can remove the sting of the pain and hide you in the shelter of His wings (Psalm 61:4). But there must first be a willingness to receive this love and healing. Part of that restoration sometimes comes through forgiveness.
Did you know that unforgiveness is a blockage to your healing? Ask the Lord today if there's anyone you need to forgive and then wait for Him to reveal that to you. Once He brings a name or names (including yourself) to your mind, forgive them out loud, by the act of your will. The feelings don't always follow immediately, but they will over time. Also, people don't always deserve your forgiveness but those feelings of resentment keep you in bondage. This is the beginning of the road to recovery. God will then give you new eyes to view your situation. How you look at yourself, others, and your circumstances is very instrumental in your healing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sibling Revelry

A pinch, a shove, a little squealing of my name and I'm back to one of my most frequent jobs--Refereeing. Sibling rivalry? Well, yes, we have some of that. Doesn't everyone? I whole-heartedly believe though, that this doesn't have to exist. I haven't quite figured out how to completely abolish it yet but I'm working on it. My most often used statement is, "Don't forget, we're on the same team!"
The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that even though I may witness more arguments than some, I get to watch the most beautiful relationships blossoming before my eyes. These little ones of mine are learning to share out of necessity, to teach each other new skills and to love each other deeply. It makes it all worthwhile when I peek around the corner at Meghan reading to her siblings or Molly making a sandwich for her baby brother or Emily helping someone clean their room. I've heard this called Sibling Revelry and with God's help, this is what our team is aiming for--daily.

Driven by Eternity

This morning I was listening to Steven Curtis Chapman being interviewed about losing his little daughter. He spoke about a letter someone had written him reminding him of this: "She is a bigger part of your future than she ever was of your past." What an amazing comfort for those who are in Christ Jesus!
Am I future-focused enough to be in the world but not of it? Am I viewing each person in my life as a soul rather than someone who hurts me or needs me too much or is a bother to me? If eternity is forever, than what are eighty, or so, years?
Lord, help me to be driven by eternity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh, the Grace!

Wilted, ashamed, defeated, I scolded myself for blowing it. Just when I thought I was doing so well...
The Lord has been wooing me, changing me, growing me. I've felt it in my bones, the way a warm blanket saturates the shivering. It wasn't a pride really, just a knowing that I was moving from a place of thoughtlessness to a place being Spirit-led.
But yesterday, I failed embarrassingly.

The Scriptures that ran through my mind about the taming of the tongue and that whatever is in the heart comes out of the mouth... what I spoke aloud was not in my heart. But how I can quickly give way to carlessness without thinking. Worst of all, our neighbours were passing by, walking their dog, enjoying the sunshine. The deep desire and intent to be a witness to my neighbours--crushed.

But He met me in that place. Pulled me up out of my shame in disappointing Him, reminded me of His forgiveness, His love, regardless of my failures (Psalm 103:3, Psalm 139:17, Hebrews 4:15). Oh, the grace! And as He's teaching me, I am able to pass it on to my children. My daughter just confessed something she also was ashamed of saying yesterday. This morning, we shared in that grace together.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just a Little Bit of Spring Fever!

Just a little bit of hot water,

Just a little bit of Kraft Dinner,

Just a little bit of laughter,

Just a little bit of chanting, "This is the warmest day in the world!" through the shivering,

Just a little bit of Spring Fever!

You girls are so silly. (My girls and their cousin, Maddi on a 13 degrees day)

Why Do We Worry?

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these...

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?...

Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'... For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things." (Matthew 6:28-34)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hide and Seek

On this beautiful Sunday afternoon, we had the blessing of meandering around our breath-taking, quiet nursery that is resting before a bustling, pedestrian-filled week. My three youngest enjoyed the freedom of playing Hide and Seek here, while I had the pleasure of watching how this little game played out before my eyes. It was quite amusing and it went something like this...
"Okay, Oliver, you're "it". You go count while we hide."

"One, two, free... ready, here I come!"

"Where'd they go?"

They hid here...

and there...

and even here...

"Hey, how come he's not looking for us anymore?"

Oliver had given up.
He decided to throw stones in the pond instead.

"We love you anyway, Buddy!"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Showers of Blessings

"She must have the hat!" Lisa's mom-in-law-to-be urged. We had forgotten about this important detail. After we hunted down tape and a paper plate, she and Aunt Claire set to work on this millinery project.
Traditions--I must say, I love them. Bridal Showers and all that they represent. The little cream scones and tea cups. The ribbons and bows. Ladies, with pens in hand, frantically searching for words from the bridal couple's names before the time is up. Cousins, aunties, daughters, dear friends and neighbours, all gather with tokens of love for the Bride-to-be. We laugh, we cry, we give advice about the days to come and then we squeeze each other tightly with promises of the next gathering.
They call them "showers of blessings" and I've experienced this countless times. I'm grateful for this tradition that draws us all into a little circle. For it's in the meeting together that we are blessed. And in the end, Lisa shone like Audrey Hepburn donning that lovely, mile-high accessory--a creation made with love.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Waiting for Action

"It's not coming out, Mommy" Oliver sighs, looking for some sign of hope that I'm going to let him off the toilet. Then a little while later, and still with no action, "I did it!" I'm on to him and so I check for evidence. Nope, nothing. I tell him to remain a bit longer.
How long must we do this crazy little exchange? It's been four children and each time, I have to admit, I don't look forward to this event where I sit impatiently on the edge of the bathtub and my child learns to either move to the next milestone or delay it. Since he appears to be the last of my offspring, I try to enjoy the moment but I just keep thinking that my grilled cheese is burning and I'm sure he's thinking, this would be so much easier if you'd just put that diaper back on me.
As my husband says, "He won't go to Kindergarten in diapers, so don't worry." But, what does that mean if you homeschool? I finally let him climb off the toilet and he flashes me a satisfied grin. We've both just grown a little closer to our goal, I hope. Perhaps we'll see some action tomorrow.

Unfettered Play

Leave kids alone long enough to their own imagination and they'll come up with the most interesting world of play.

My children often wander aimlessly after doing their schoolwork, asking me, "What is there to do?" I usually offer them a list of chores and they suddenly have at least four or five ideas of exciting prospects for games and fun. As parents, we are sometimes tempted to lay out our children's courses of activity. We set up and schedule their world so much that even their play is something that is ordered with crafts and parent-run games. Kids don't need a lot of toys and electronics to keep them occupied. Give them plenty of time to play with only their imagination and each other and watch them grow in other areas too. Nature and some household items are a few of my kids' favourite things.
The other day I was calling my two year-old son to come for lunch. He ignored my first couple of calls. I found him in his room, lining up his cars in very straight and organized rows (according to size, no less!). When he saw me enter the room he exclaimed in exasperation, "Mommy, I HAVE to play!" Yes, you do, Little Man. Yes, you do. :)

"We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Number Seven

Number seven. Part of an address I've known almost my whole life. It's not my house but it was the home of my Grandma--Mama as we called her, and of Grampie, who is still with us but not in this place. I take one last walk through the nearly empty rooms before the new owners dwell here. The scent of hand lotion from Avon, Vick's menthol rub, and pumpkin pie linger in my memory. I slide my hand along the french door and remember peeking through at night to catch a glimpse of the movie they were watching while I was supposed to be sleeping. Sleep-overs here as a child were my favourite treat.
I gaze out the tiny bedroom window, adorned with peach-coloured, hand-made curtains and take in the view of this busy, little street where neighbours still stop and talk. I scan the walls that once were cluttered with photos, anniversary plates, scripture plaques, shelved trinkets and paintings. I tip-toe down the rickety steps that lead to the cellar and notice the woodpile where I once gathered pieces for them as a little girl. The "back room" echoes the sound of a white-haired woman in her house dress rocking and calling humorously, "Who's that coming in my house?" Grampie is beside her and he asks repeatedly, "Who is it, Reta?" and when he sees me, exclaims, "C'mere! Give me a kiss 'till payday!" and then to Mama, "Give her a cookie, Dear."

A stroll around the backyard, a lingering under the front bushes to witness the lily of the valley beginning to come up (her treasures) and then, the SOLD sign boldly confronts me there by the birch. None of it seems right and yet, it had to happen some time. I just never prepared myself for when.

Oh, Mama, are you skipping along your streets of gold? Are you relishing in your many rooms? Are you sitting at the feet of your Master, finally receiving the answers to the myriad of questions you had about love and people and Jesus? I can't wait to see you there! Oh, number seven! His perfect number. You're with the One who numbered the stars!

Oh, frail man, my precious Grampie, one day you'll join her-- leave us too. Can we keep you just a little while longer? I'll understand though, when you slip away to that home where you have no more confusion, where all things are clear and your stories of drawing so many people to the Saviour are a reality for you. Until then, I'll hold you and remember her too. And as I pass by number seven, I'll thank Him for the years I've had in that perfect place.