Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Today we brought Clementine home from my sister's farm and she melted the hearts of all six of us. We had been debating the adoption of a pet for almost as long as our oldest could say, "kitty". Lately, anytime we drive anywhere, our four children will spot people on the street with their pets and sadly croon, "Another person walking a dog--and it's not us". But it wasn't until we saw this caramel coloured tabby that we buckled. We named her, Clementine, just because it suits her and we call her, "Tiny", for short. People have always reminded me that pets are great for children and after seeing my husband snuggle her to sleep, I have a notion they're good for grown-ups too.
Clementine, we're all smitten.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Snippets of Our Homeschool Year

(Preparing hearts for Easter)

Making crosses

Find the perfect spot on the trail

Thank You, Lord for the gift of Your Son
Look what arrives on the scene!

Art Attack

Trip to one of God's Wonders: Niagara Falls
(States' side in background!)

"Dragon" (?)

Wonder of Creation

(more to come another day...)

Summer Job

It's a little thing but it's big to her. Meghan is so proud to be watering the extensive gardens around our home for a weekly allowance. It's the first time she's being paid to do a consistent job that will last her the summer. Chores are chores, but a real job? Oh the possibilities! Her dad made a big deal about it all, interviewed her for the position, negotiated a wage, showed her the ropes... she took it very seriously.
My heart swelled as I took a few photos of her, and as I lowered my camera, she flashed me a quick smile over her shoulder as if to say, "I can't talk right now. Gotta finish my job!" Just then, I had one of those mommy moments when you're proud of your child's maturity and realize they're slipping from your hands at the same time. This thing called time, will it ever slow down enough for me to sponge up every little detail of my kids before they're gone?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Inside and Out...

Earlier today, Molly asked if she and Emily could pick some flowers from the garden for the dinner table. They took a pair of craft scissors and walked around the yard gathering a lovely and eclectic bouquet. It was sweet to see them take such pride in their collection. We had been enjoying the blooms for a few weeks but I had forgotten to display some in a vase, as I usually do. Our ordinary table was suddenly turned into a homey and colourful presentation.

As I was cleaning up the dinner dishes, still marveling at the girls' fragrant little contribution, I thought about how often I am concerned about the outward appearance. Do I appear to have it altogether? Am I dressed appropriately? Do people see me as the Christian I desire to be? I can get so busy fussing over how I appear, that the inside of me gets neglected. Just as I enjoyed the flowers in my yard, and forgot to bring their beauty inside, I put more emphasis on what was seen about me from afar. While my family needs to revel in the blooms at a closer view, I must care about the interior of my "home", as well as, the exterior. Spiritually speaking, this means, I must be sure my heart matches what I'm displaying outwardly to those I'm in contact with daily.

The Mirror of God's Word

I was reading this morning about how God's Word is a mirror of His character, as well as, a mirror of our character. I tend to look at things through my own eyes but the mirror of Scripture helps me to see things so much clearer. Catherine Martin, in her book, Knowing and Loving the Bible says, "Feelings are like the caboose of a train that must be hitched to the engine of God's Word." (p.73) Isn't it good to know that there's a Greater Power who knows the beginning from the end? Someone who sees so much more than we see, so that we can relax in knowing that we don't have to figure it all out?
"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." (Jeremiah 29:11)

holy experience

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." (IICorinthians 4:16)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Big Dreams For Little People

Our occupation in life is very important since it relates directly to our purpose. We teach our children that whatever they decide to do when they grow up is okay with us as long as they know that they are where God wants them to be, anything else results in dissatisfaction and a longing for more. Occasionally as parents, we ask the kids what they'd like to be when they grow up. Molly, in response to this question, has said, "Just me."---a child-like but profound answer! Meghan has said, along with several other choices, "a petting-zoo keeper" (doesn't every child at one time or another?). But today, both girls shared new and thoughtful responses.
Meghan has been working, with vigor, on her blog each day and it has been a great source of learning in her language arts education. I've watched her writing blossom and change and the emotion that it evokes in her has been exciting to see. So, along with her dreams of caring for horses and kittens, working at her Dad's nursery, and becoming a dance instructor, she now has great aspirations of being a writer--much to my delight, of course.

I've often become frustrated by the large messes Molly can create while she's designing something "artistic". She loves to search the recycling bin for odds and ends for these "sculptures". I asked her what she was planning on doing with all this junk and she said, "Mommy, I'm going to be an inventor when I grow up!" Wow! Heaven forbid I should stand in the way of an inventor!
Keep dreaming big and using your wonderful imaginations, Girls; just remember to tidy up once in awhile :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

So Unchanging

As the heat arrives, evidence of God's unchanging seasonal cycle unfolds. Spring turns into summer, which inevitably becomes fall, then winter. A couple thousand years ago these words were written, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8).
Although the world will not last forever, creation parallels Jesus' unchanging character, in that, He is predictable. He wants us to "search" Him and find out who He is so we can trust His character and see that He is immutable. When history causes us to be mistrusting, our hearts ache to know a perfect, loyal friend who will never forsake us.
When we come to know this Jesus, who is worthy of our trust, we can begin to release the past. If we truly trust that He has our best interests in mind, the control we work so hard to maintain will no longer be necessary. "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56:3,4).

Lord, You're so faithful and unchanging. Help me to trust in You fully so that I may walk in complete freedom.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Meghan has always been a determined little girl. Since she was two years old we could see a drive for excellence in her. When her class was learning splits or another difficult dance move, she would come home and practice over and over until she had mastered the skill. A precious gift God has given this girl is a relaxed and easy-going personality.

Today was Meghan's ballet recital and you could feel the excitement in the air. Her first two dances were smooth and lovely, however, in her last dance she made a couple of mistakes. She returned to the dressing room a little sad because she felt she had let her group down. It didn't take long for her to cheer up and to watch and encourage her friends in their dances.

Meghan, we are so very proud of your talent but most of all, we are proud of your character. You are a good friend and a loving daughter. Keep allowing God to shape you and you'll always be "perfectly" who He's made you to be.

Friday, June 19, 2009


The air up here smells sweeter,
All the world is clearer,
And I am so much wiser,
In my little tree house.

by Heather

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Words of Life

What is Rhema? It's God speaking to us through His living Word. Scholars believe it to be a special revelation to the individual. I'm learning to read with listening ears. What is God saying to you? His Logos, or His Word contains the answers to our questions but do we always search there first? Make it your goal today to meditate on His Words of Life for you. Have you heard Him speak lately? Ever? Begin with prayer and ask Him to give you the gift of His response. Read a Psalm and something from the New Testament, then be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Use the words of Samuel, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening (1Samuel 3:10) and wait. Journal what comes to you. Sometimes it's the need to confess something, which is often a blockage to us hearing God. Make it a habit to really study the Word of God. Look up words and phrases that are difficult to understand. Memorize portions of Scripture that are particularly meaningful to you at this time. Ask the Lord to give you a special chapter, verse, or word. Try to live by these Words of Life daily, and when you fail, which is inevitable for us all, allow Him to pick you up, dust you off and begin again.
Join me this summer in memorizing Psalm 103.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Favourite Kind of Day

I've often heard people comment on a rainy day, "It's miserable out there!" but a rainy day is my favourite kind. I'm not exactly sure why, but I know that it has always calmed me. When I used to work outside the home, I thoroughly enjoyed a "gloomy" day. Now that I'm home full-time, it's even better! There is a peace in our house right now as the rain soaks our surroundings. The darkened sky quiets us and draws us to cozy corners to read or draw. We try to keep the lights turned off as if to remind ourselves it's really daytime. Occasionally, we find ourselves staring out the window, mesmerized by water droplets splattering off leaves and the interlock driveway. Rainy days are not rare, but they are a gift. What would we do without them? My older children know that God is watering the earth today, but the little ones simply see the joy of puddles.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We Interrupt This Program...

We had plans today and I was excited about them. We had been invited to a pond-study-birthday-party at a conservation area with some other homeschoolers. There's something about catching frogs, searching for tadpoles, and examining new species of bugs that gives me a little thrill. Believe me, I'm serious :) However, a little virus kept some us from all the fun.
We arrived at the park and I dropped off my oldest as Emily began to exhibit symptoms of nausea. She had been awake in the night with a slight fever but we thought she might "shake it off" by morning, as often happens with our kids. This was not the case today. I set up a mini tail-gate picnic for the three youngest and myself, far away from the group; thankfully, I had lawn chairs in the trunk from a barbeque the night before. The photographer in me dreamed disappointingly of toad legs popping through grubby fingers, sun-kissed faces peeking from behind bulrushes, and crouching kids pointing to unfamiliar insects. I had plans today, but my girl was sick.
After passing out some snacks to her siblings, I pulled my tiny daughter up on my lap, her body warm against my skin. She obviously felt better in the soft breeze and began to droop. I sighed and leaned my head back and closed my eyes. Birds sang to us and the sun soaked us in cozy comfort. I opened my eyes and watched a butterfly flit haphazardly around us. I deeply inhaled the fragrant peonies swaying in the heritage home's garden, adjacent to us. Then, I looked down and drank in the beauty of my sweet, dependent little one in my arms. Emily's long, black lashes had closed in heaviness and her grip on my arm had eased. I wanted to be nowhere else. I whispered a prayer for her health and confessed my trivial pursuit. While we waited for the party to end, I sat contentedly holding a precious interruption to my plans.
This is how Emily often sleeps. She slept the afternoon away when we arrived back at home. Poor girl.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Are You A Statistic?

Families break up. Teenagers no longer attend church. Christians are not viewed as being tolerant of their
"neighbours". Are you a statistic? Do you have children or grandchildren who have fallen away from the Lord? Have you suffered a severing in your marriage that you never dreamed of when you began that walk down the aisle? Do you find it difficult to love someone because of their "unmentionable" sins? We must fight against becoming a statistic! If we have already succumbed to the numbers, we must fight for a come-back!
God is a God of great "come-backs". The surveys may represent high percentages in the defeat of the followers of Christ, but we can rise up and demonstrate what happens when the mighty grace of God drives Christians to greater heights. We are all fallen soldiers in some capacity. Can you reach down into the trench and help a wounded comrade to become all she was designed to be? The Bible is full of examples of how God powerfully used "Plan B" for His miraculous work. When "Plan A" has failed for you or someone you know, lift them up to the One who can turn their destiny around! Together we can be the statistic of Christians who fought, by the Holy Spirit's power, to make awe-inspiring come-backs.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Found in Creation

Breathless wonder, Creation's embrace,
Day's worry melting in this place,
Oh, Morning Star, here found with ease!
Whisper the Name and bend the knee.
by Heather

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Isn't She Lovely?

She throws her hair toward the south
Bending frail and spiny frame
Foliage of lace quivering
Unforgiving winds to blame
Twisting limbs in growth unnoticed
Silent stretch to heaven's care
Bony fingers humbly opening
In her meager offering there.
by Heather

This is our Japanese Maple and I think her character is beautiful. As I was taking photos around our yard, I noticed her winding and twisting growth and it reminded me of how circumstances and pain can cause us to become a little bent over and worn on this journey called life. But as we reach heavenward and open our hands in trust to our Creator, we find sufficient grace for each new day. Our wounds, if offered to God, shape our character into something admirable.
A woman who knows the pain of a few broken limbs but stretches out her arms to the needy--isn't she lovely?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Love You! (From Meghan)

( While Meghan was waiting for me to finish bedtime prayers with her younger siblings, she made this blog entry for me...)

Dear Mommy And Daddy,
I love you so much I don't even know how to say it!
All I can is:
Thank you Mommy and Daddy for all your hard work, and all
your time, and all your love for us. I love you so much!! You guys are always going to be special to me even when I'm 1,000 years old, well lets say from 0 years old 'till whenever I die. You guys are the most special people in my life, and thanks a lot for being in it.

Love ya,

Back to the Good

It's close to an hour's drive to my sister's place but being there feels like a mini-vacation. Holly married into a Mennonite family and she has since altered so many of her City-Girl ways. My new Country-Girl sister finds solace in this little town where neighbours stop to chat while you sip lemonade on your front porch, where the local church pastor pops by to pick up a carton of cream and the owner of the little shop down the road knows your name.
Holly is juggling twins, blogging, scrapbooking, cooking, canning and of all things, gardening. My younger kids frolicked in her yard, picking flowers while my oldest helped her aunt water her vegetable garden. To find out more about getting "back to the good" or the "100 Mile Challenge", visit my sister at:

Let Me Be Your Teacher

What can make a four year-old girl, born third of four children, feel very wise and important? When her two year-old brother gazes at her adoringly as though she holds the world's knowledge in her hands.
Emily poised herself beside Oliver as he plunked the narrow keys with his chubby fingers. In perfect imitation of our beloved piano teacher, Mrs. Beth Anger, Emily sweetly remarked about his excellent "skill" and gently guided his "blunders". In perfect harmony, these little ones of mine sat and played teacher and student for quite awhile. Isn't this what family is all about? We take the hand of the one below us as we look to the one above us and only then are we able to experience a daily rhythm that binds us together in unity.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

By His Stripes

The flavourless piece of cracker dissolves in my mouth as I examine my heart. I drink that which represents His sacrifice for me and my eyes glaze. I've been in this place of brokenness all weekend. Having just returned from the Women of Faith Conference the night before, I savour this moment with renewed passion.

Thousands of women sang, "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord" and I had wept as we neared the lines,

"You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name"

Could I choose to bless Him and give thanks in all circumstances? The speakers who poured their hearts out and exposed their deepest and darkest places so that we might learn from them, chose to say, "blessed be the name..." How could they do it? Because they had encountered His great love.

I push the sweetness of the grape juice to the back of my mouth. This love is what I'm tasting: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) Pastor reads the scriptures and he pauses partway, removes his glasses and wipes his tears. We are all broken. My eyes well up again. I survey this congregation of wounded people. Some rush toward the altar for prayer, others linger long and then hesitantly move forward, still others, pray from their seats, physically unable to go. But we all need His touch. His sacrifice and submission to the Father's will made it possible for us to kneel at the altar and receive restoration. Blessed be the name of the Lord, for by His stripes, we are healed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Keeping All Her Petals

My oldest daughter is a part of a girls' group from church called "Blue Cord". The title represents the blue cord that was to be sewn into the garments of the Israelites and then into the garments of each generation following.
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD...' (Numbers 15:37-39)
Last week, the girls' teen aged leader, Angela, gave each of them a flower and spoke with them about purity. The flower represents the gift they will someday give their husbands. She shared that as they grow up and become interested in boys, they will need to be strong in their decision to remain pure. With each relationship they develop with a boy, whether it be emotional or physical, they lose another petal from their symbolic flower. Rather than teach them how to become a better mate, these relationships tear parts of their hearts away. Perhaps their hearts will be broken more than once or they will learn to mistrust. Finally, when they meet the one they will spend the rest of their lives with, they have very few, if any, petals left on their flower. They cannot be completely whole and no longer have 100% of themselves to give to the one who will always be with them.
Thankfully, there is a beautiful and encouraging gift when God restores the petals that have perhaps already been pulled off. He always has an answer for those who make their decision to be pure later in life. Regret may be there but He never requires His girls to walk in shame. Many know the pain of "practicing" with others before settling down for life. The memories of those relationships often still sting a small place (or a large place!) inside. Our prayer for our daughters is that they won't know this pain but will develop into whole and strong women who are able to give the gift of a flower with all of its petals.
Now, would someone please volunteer to begin a group like this for boys?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Surprise Tea Party

On a school day when we work well into the afternoon, we have "Tea Time". This little ritual consists of a special snack with drinks and some thoughtful reflection about art, music, poetry or listening to a read-aloud while painting. My children love this part of the day when we slow down and enjoy the "finer things" in life.
As the girls were preparing, I could hear them whispering and I knew they were probably finding the treats left behind from a barbeque we had last night with friends. When they called me into the kitchen, I was surprised to find a little tea party set up, complete with fairly healthy snacks. Their small, feminine display of flowers and china was sweet and I smiled as I sat down to tea with my three daughters who are practicing the art of hospitality.

Coming or Going?

Do you ever feel like this? Am I coming or am I going? Am I living in the will of God? Am I being all I am created to be? Do I even care right now as I struggle to merely survive? Carve out a piece of your day today to rest in Him. Allow him to fill you. Oh, how He desires to do this! It may not feel like it right now but you will more than survive; you will soar! He promises. Hold on, dear Sister, hold on to Him and He will never betray you, nor will He ever fail you.
Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.