Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quiet Worship

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
James 4:8
(My three youngest worshipping by creating in Creation.
Art is one of our favourite ways of drawing near to God.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Partially completed tasks. Things left undone. It's easy for discouragement to set in when I feel like I don't have time for all the work I must accomplish before day's end. In the past, I've based my worth on how many items I was able to check off my list, but now, I'm seeking a greater plan.

Early in the year, God gave me the word, "Adonai", through my devotional readings, as my word for the year. I looked it up and thought it was interesting and would pray to God as, "Adonai" to be sure to use the name He revealed to me.
The name means, "Lord" or "Master" and I felt that God obviously was sharing how He wanted me to view Him. I claimed Him to be my Lord and merrily went on with my day.

I became more and more discouraged as dishes piled up, kids didn't get their schoolwork done, I didn't have time to call that friend in need, and I wasn't always spending the quiet time with God that I desired.

Finally, I learned that when He says He desires to be Lord of my life, He means in every area. Suddenly, just calling Him Master or worshipping Him as Lord was not enough. I realized that a servant does what her master asks, without questioning his requests. Often, the servant only sees part of the picture but the master knows the end goal.

So, knowing what His Word says about Him, that He's slow to anger, has plans for my life, wants to pour out His blessings on me, disciplines me when I stray, and is unchangeable, I can give Him my day's agenda. In the early hours of the day (not too early!) I ask Him to make my checklist. Does He audibly tell me what to do? No, but I feel a sense of peace when I offer Him my day and all my goals. If I'm listening, He begins to sift them like flour and reveals what is important and what is not so urgent.

Control. That's a tough one for me. I'd like to have full control of everything in my life, but that's not how God's designed me. He wants me to rely on Him and others so that I don't become too independent or proud. These characteristics actually are a detriment to me. I should know, I've struggled with both!

Today, as I was driving, the Lord revealed to me the fact that I was stewing about something. Since He's convicted me of stewing in the past, I immediately confessed this. He desires to hear my thoughts, my fears, my anxieties so I can leave them at His feet. He alone can take care of them anyway. What a relief! All the mental fiddling in the world will not accomplish anything. This only creates a snowball effect in my mind which makes the situation larger than reality. The sheer obedience of handing over the control is what is going to free me and eventually solve the problem. He always sends an answer when I finally let go.

In giving my day, my thoughts, and all that is left undone to Him, I release myself of burden, guilt, and wasted time. Would you, dear friends, continually remind me of this? Thanks.

Master and Lord, daily You find me giving back control because I seem to want to solve my own problems and create my own agenda. I often fail. Your servant is listening and desires to follow Your ways. (Give Mama a big hug for me on her earthly birthday!).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Ever lose a shoe in your shoe closet? Missing mittens? Umbrellas? Hats? No job is too small for Mini-Miners :)
Meghan and Molly made these mining hats for science this year by connecting batteries to a homemade circuit with a light bulb. They had a great time learning about mining and then searching for "gems" in the snow in the backyard. Since we don't have a cave, our shoe closet also became an equally daunting location! Is it crazy of me to be looking forward to school "officially" starting again?
Lord, thank You that You give us so much scope for the imagination. There are endless things to learn about in Your world!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not For Me...

Do you pray fervently for others while your own requests lurk in a secret corner, untouched by the Lord? Do you truly have faith in the power behind your words of petition when it comes to your loved ones, but you can't seem to believe God wants to heal your life? Do you feel unworthy of His love and restoration? We read in Scripture that Paul was a murderer of Christians, that Peter denied Christ, that David committed adultery, and these were a few of God's most faithful followers.
Why is it that you feel your "junk" separates you from His heart more than that of others? That somehow our Great God judges your life a little harsher? You believe His divine touch and even miracles are for anyone who asks--except you.

Oh, so many of us feel this way! We feel ugly, undeserving, and unlovable. We think, How could God look at me as usable? Why would He want to choose me?

But He did choose you. He loves you and knew all about who you'd be before you were born. He took you back after you fell away, just as Hosea embraced his wife after she betrayed him (read this beautiful story in the book of Hosea). His thoughts of you are precious (Psalm 139:17a). Is this deep love only for certain people? Do you get to decide who is worthy? He already made it clear in His Word that we are all unworthy without the sacrifice of Jesus to bridge the gap between us and God. If you've accepted that sacrifice, everything He offers is for you. Trust it and embrace this truth today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fifteen Years

You slide your hand across the restaurant table to cup mine, as you have done many times before. We bow our heads and you lead us in grace for our meal and in thanks for our fifteen years of oneness. That number seemed so very far away when we first started out together, in fact, we couldn't even fathom it. We knew we'd be married forever but marking numbers was unattainable in our thinking back then. Four children, two fish and a kitten later, we stand on the brink of the rest of our lives together. Life as parents, life in ministry, life as one. It hasn't been an easy road, but it's been a road full of grace.
When we said, "I will", did you picture this? Things as they are? The blessings? From driving each other to university classes in the morning and taking the afternoon off to "play house" to parenting in the night watches and growing in wisdom. We were so young and idealistic. Did I even know how to be a wife? Would I have listened had anyone shown me? The matchless grace! It covers a multitude of mistakes. Thankfully, we know the One who marks our way, who buffers our straying from the straight road.

You lift your head, our eyes lock and in a moment, fifteen years flash by in my mind. How we got here so quickly, I don't know, but what I do know is that I want to spend the next fifty holding your hand across the table.

Time Well Spent

Cleaning and scrubbing Can wait 'till tomorrow,
For babies grow up,
We've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, Dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby,
And babies don't keep.

Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My beautiful neighbour has four children under the age of eleven. She has always inspired me because she is a woman who loves with a passion. Ask her about her kids and her face lights up. She's always sharing about how they bless her, how wonderful they are. I've only heard the positive about her husband too. She's a tender soul who strives to be a loyal friend. She loves the Lord and prays for those around her because she is burdened for hurting people. My neighbour has a healthy outlook on life and a heart that beats for her family. My precious friend also has a brain tumour.
In the midst of pain, trial, suffering, and questioning God, she remains faithful to Him. I shake my head when I walk away from her home, wondering how she makes it through one more day. There are some very bad days, to be sure, but somehow, His strength enables her to smile, share a hug... go on.

Dear, sweet Jill, when the rest of us are complaining about our circumstances, whining about our colds, nit-picking about our families, teach us to love each other, cherish each other. Teach us how to be healthy.

Continuing to lift you up for a mighty miracle.

Measuring Worth

Twisted hands, legs unusable,
Feeding-dependent, speech impeded.
Worthless to society?

Contented faces, joyful laughter,
Sparkling eyes, healing spirits.

Want to know God?

Want to know peace?

Want to find purpose?

Spend time with His Precious Treasures
and experience your cares melting away.
These are some of our friends from Friendship Club.
I wish I could post photos of their wonderful, joy-filled faces
to brighten your day, but it would be infringing
on their privacy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


2009. Here we are somewhere along the timeline of His Story. Since the beginning, God has demonstrated His love for His people. He created humans in His image, protected, cared for, and disciplined His children throughout the Old Testament and sent His only Son to rescue His loved ones from themselves and from their enemy in the New Testament. He gave us His Holy Spirit so we could know Him intimately through His Word. He left us the book of Revelation to give us hope for our future. It's not over. He's not finished with us and He didn't leave us to fend for ourselves.
God's amazing plan carries us through the generations until we meet Him face to face. Our comfort is in knowing that none of this life is in vain, but while we're here we have a job to do. We must care for the orphans and widows, bear the burdens of others so that we will be healed, draw the "lost" to His arms. We are His hands and feet. That is how He's designed it. We must stop looking at the injustices of the world as hopeless, but instead, roll up our sleeves and do the loving. We are the church and whatever "sphere of influence" we've been given, we must serve in it. So as we live out each minute, hour, and day, let us be mindful that our place on this journey called life has meaning and purpose. We are part of His Story.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Treasures From Little Hearts

Rainbow art, little notes, a ball, a horse, a feather and some other bits of things are dumped out of a treasure box that Eden brought to our home. "Here, Emily, this is all for you!" Emily's cousin is a mere five months older than she and the two girls love each other. This summer, in particular, we seem to be just a little busier than usual and our families haven't been together regularly. Both preschoolers have remarked how they are missing their mutual playtime.
Emily carefully unfolds each paper, Eden helping her--a tender age when eagerness wins over patience. She describes what each design is to my girl and I smile at this growing bond that is reminiscent of their older sisters, who are nine months apart. The older girls are now ten and eleven and inseparable.

We gather the "itty-bitties", as Emily calls them and I encourage her to save them in a special place. This friendship is very important and rare. Many people come from families full of good people but one holds great treasure when one finds a friend who is a true kindred spirit :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Giving Back

He repeats the name of this place to himself and pulls the memories from the back of his inner file to the front. "Isn't this your place?", he asks and I lean toward his ear and tell him, yes.
"It's beautiful here, and so many nice flowers. It's a wonderful day, isn't it?" I lean forward again and share my enthusiasm in the perfect weather.
"Remember coming here, Grampie?" I ask as I push him along the colourful rows, antithesis to the closet-footage that houses the hospital bed, small dresser and t.v. where he spends his hours.
"Yes, yes, I do."
We glide together, his wheels and my stride, in silence for a moment. Then he thanks me for treating him like a king, for bringing him here. Tears come to my eyes and once again I lean low, place a hand on his arm, and choke out the words that my heart is swelling, "It's the least I can do for a man who cared for me my whole life, Grampie." He draws his frail and veiny hand across his chest and pats my hand.
"I always liked you. God bless you."
Gliding again, I point out an apple tree that is bearing golf ball sized fruit and he asks for one. I chuckle and pluck him an under-ripe apple, warning him it may be sour. He can't even bite into it and hands it back, telling me they're not usually ready till September. Silly me. His eyesight is deteriorating so I motion to the horses beyond the fence, hoping he can make out the large shapes but he doesn't seem to be focusing. I remind him that I used to call them sorsies when I was little and he laughs. He remembers.

Another aisle, then another, and I soak the sun and the seconds that pass. I think about the nurses who care for him daily. They wash him, feed him, require little of him. They maintain his basic needs and then walk in and out of his room as he remains curled up under a blanket, head tucked, most of the day. They don't know this man, who he was, what he has done, who he is. If they knew, would they stop and sit for a moment, laugh with him, urge him to enjoy the home's activities and not take "no" for an answer? If they thought about his four children, nine grandchildren, and nineteen great-grandchildren whom he adored and shared his life with, would they see him differently? If they knew he'd give his last dime to help a stranger and take the shirt off his ninety-two year-old back for someone in need, would they tuck him in a little tighter at night?
He interrupts my thoughts, apologizing for the trouble it's been for me to take him "outdoors like this". I stop the chair, squeeze his bony shoulders and my heart wants to keep this stray puppy. "I love you, Grampie, and I'm giving back a tiny bit of what you've given me."
"It's a wonderful day, isn't it?"
"The best." I reply.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Building My House

"I'm just building my house, Mommy", Oliver called to me as he moved some leftover boards around. We've been having some renovations done on our home and "the guys" were off today. Oliver pulled and dragged and slid boards all over the deck, working on his "home". He piled bricks and balanced remnants on his tricycle, claiming it was his truck. I watched in wonder, remembering my girls loving to build too, but this was different. He had a man's purpose about him. The girls would have also played with the materials but would have turned them into pretend objects. I realized I was witnessing a God-given instinct for building.
I wondered, will Oliver ever erect a dwelling with his own hands? Not necessarily, but he is called by God to build a household of faith for his family someday. So, as we raise our son in the "way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6) we pray that he will become a man of God, prepared for leading a family and building a home that cannot be shaken and that is not in vain (Psalm 127:1).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Skipping Rocks

I've been taking matters into my own hands again. How long will it take for me to realize that this doesn't get me very far? That my efforts are in vain when I don't put it all in His hands?
I'm just going to go and skip rocks...
Forgive me, Lord, for taking back control. But I'll throw one out there, Father, and see what You do with it. All I can do is choose the smoothest, flattest stones and thrust my efforts out into the water. You'll do the rest. How many times will You make this one skip, Lord? What is Your will? The last one was many skips, many successes; this one, less. I'll go where You lead, trust in Your way, and give you my best stones.

Leftover Lion

Four years old is very big when you get to go with your sisters to Vacation Bible School, but it's not very big when you're a tired lion by the end of the morning. Today was Safari Animal Day and the kids eagerly prepared their costumes the night before. My little lion happily scampered out of the van this morning, complete with "claws" on her paws and a king-of-the-jungle growl that would scare any mouse :) When Emily came home she declared to me, "It was so much fun, but, I cried because I wanted you, Mommy". Her hair was askew, her body limp and her once cheerful voice slipped into a whine. We had some quiet time and I held my small cub, her eyeliner-blackened nose rubbing against my cheek.
Tiny Lion, this Mama still loves to hear that her baby needs her. I'm so proud that you went on the stage to sing today, participated in all the games, stayed in your group, and tried hard to be a scary creature. You gave it all you had and by the end of the day, you only had leftovers to go on. You're growing up in so many ways but for a little while, you'll just be my precious cub.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sweet Slumber

My precious children, how you amaze me daily with your differences from one another! Even in your slumber, I am awestruck at how your unique personalities are evident in your sleeping positions and blanket contortions (or lack thereof). Yes, you are all truly sleeping in these photos!
Meghan, you've always dreamed of the day when a kitten would snuggle in your quilt with you.

Molly, your carefree spirit still shines as you literally sleep with a raised leg!

Emily, you're becoming very particular about how your covers are placed at night and you often remain that way until morning.

Oliver, you can easily scale that gate but you finally decided to obey and stay in your room--just not in your bed!

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
Psalm 4:8

Picking My Battles

Oliver, you love the sandbox so much that you ran to it after we got home from church. I couldn't bear to pull you away to take care of the small detail of changing your clothes. At this stage in your two-year-old little life, you have many boundaries, changes, and things that are off-limits. You've moved into a "big-boy-bed", you're wearing underwear (most of the time) and you're giving up your nighttime bottle--much to your dismay. So when I saw you take off at top toddler speed, I nearly called out, "Wait!" but I bit my tongue, picked my battle--and it wasn't this one. Enjoy, Little Man, oxy-clean was designed for this reason.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Great Blue Adventure!

Last summer, my sister and I designed the "Great Blue Adventure" for our kids that lasted a few months. Some of our other homeschool friends joined us on the journey. The purpose was to discover the treasures God has created in the ocean and we did this through the voyage of our "Purposeful Pirate Ship". We "visited" each ocean and studied the amazing creatures that live in them. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly. These photos are from the "kick-off day".

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day

This very-proud-to-be-Canadian family would like to wish you a Happy Canada Day! Of course, it was yesterday, but I can't get the photos up that quickly :)
God keep our land, glorious and free!