Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas thanks (730)

"It's Christmas, a time to praise the Lord,
a time to lift our hearts in worship,
Saviour to adore..."

That's a line from the finale of the Christmas musical we performed last night. It was really a family affair for us this year. All of my kids were involved in the production (acting, dancing, singing and props), Kelly was on the keyboard and technology stuff and I was co-directing with my good friend/cousin-in-law. The whole thing went so well I was just thrilled.

This Christmas has felt different for me somehow. Not so stressful. Part of that has been that we started our Christmas shopping way early which helped cut down on the shopping panic. As well, I've been trying to 'shop'n'pray' - Keeping things simple and not necessarily making or buying something because I feel obligated to but because the Lord has moved my heart to do so...I'm finding way more joy in that process and none of the making or purchasing has felt like a burden in any way.

I've been trying to keep Jesus the centre of my focus which isn't always easy to do when you're running to practices and trying to get things done. When you add family stresses to that - things that are, unfortunately, common to our household and a little sickness, things can weigh you down pretty quickly. But God has been faithful to me through this stressful time and I am so grateful. I realized I haven't been adding to my thankful list for awhile, so I think it's time to do so again.

717. I am so thankful for friends who call at the last minute to say, "I was thinking of setting up the dessert tables for the program with tablecloths, red napkins and poinsettias, would that be okay with you?" Would it? Of course it would, what a blessing to have a pretty table. Thank you Linda.

718. I asked one of our church ladies to bake a birthday cake for Jesus for the end of the program, she completely outdid herself and made not only a delicious and beautiful cake but one rich with meaning as well. Thank you Mary.

719. I'm so thankful for our church family and how they chip in and get done what needs to be done.

720. Thankful for all the people who showed up in -30 degree weather to cheer the kids on.
721. Thankful for all the kids and youth who did such a great job of singing, dancing, acting and getting things ready.
722. Thankful for the musicians, not only for their skill and ability but that they recognized when it might be better to use the soundtrack on a couple of the more difficult songs.
723. Thankful for the support people, sound, costumes, dressers, and all of that.
724. I'm thankful my sister-in-law went ahead and bought tickets for the Steve Bell concert on Saturday night even though it was crazy to go. He played with the Saskatoon Symphony and it was beyond amazing - an incredible, unforgettable experience. I LOVED IT.
725. Thankful for friends of my kids who are excited to see them this coming weekend.
726. I am grateful for the skill the Lord has given me to make bread. There is no better scent on a cold wintry day than fresh bread right out of the oven.
727. I'm thankful for the generous gift from one of our congregation that allowed us to purchase a family game that we've been thinking about for over a year but was out of our budget.
728. Thankful for the beauty of Christmas, the internals and externals. I LOVE sitting and looking at my pretty tree in the dark of the evening after the kids are in bed.
729. I'm particularly thankful that we have a reason to celebrate the season, it isn't just about money and gifts but has a deeper, richer meaning that commercialism can't erase.
730. Today I'm thankful to be able to sit here in the sunshine and be thankful...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

tornado warning

I've never actually been in a tornado, but I think I have an inkling of what it might be like. Every once in awhile a tornado in the form of my son rips through our house leaving devestation in its wake. Broken things, hurt emotions, frayed nerves. How do people survive who live in 'tornado alley'? Why do they stay there when they could move? Why do we stay here for that matter and endure harsh winters and drought filled summers? Because it is home.

In spite of the possibility of being devestated by the weather we remain because we can't imagine living elsewhere. It is the same with our son. We will continue to work these difficulties out day by day, moment by moment because one day, the weather patterns might just change.

In the meantime we'll clean up the broken glass and search out how to mend the bent emotions and work toward reconciliations and healing. Life is just so messy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

slowing down (716)

"Slow down mom, you're going too fast."

This from my daughter while I'm reading Ann's post about that very thing. I am almost always too impatient, wanting things to happen. Not wanting to take the time for things to come to me. Wanting for everything to fall into place the first time. And in my hurry I rush towards anxiety, fear and disaster. Help me slow down, Lord, help me wait a little, learn to trust a little more. So often I have short-circuited the blessing you intended by taking matters into my own hands. Today, this moment, help me to trust you and to be thankful that you are working on my behalf, arranging things better than I can, today, help me walk a little slower so that these young ones who are trying to follow can see where I am going...

Let my gratitude to you slow me down a little...

691. the majority of the harvest is in, just one little slough of canola (after the wind these last two days, we may not have to worry about it, it may have blown away)
692. everyone working together to collect bales for the first time

693. repentance and remorse after one brother unintentionally hurts another
694. forgiveness offered and love extended
695. being mom of a winning team member who feels like he contributed something to the team
696. four walls around me as the bitter winds whips around the corners of the house
697. the sweet cacophony of kids testing out their skills on instruments
698. the joy bubbles breaking on faces of father and son as they both realize that this little boy has natural rhythm
699. "band" practice in the living room, all flying sticks, trombone, keyboards and smiles
700. the face of my husband, back in the family circle after a long harvest season
701. a day without tension between my behaviourly challenged son and myself
702. truth from God's word reminding me that he is WAY bigger than the issues we face
703. fruit developing in the kids we try to make a difference with
704. changed lives
705. community that supports and helps in difficult times
706. the Canadian health care system that means we aren't forking money out every time we show up at the health centre with another emergency
707. the taste of sun-ripened tomatoes fresh from my garden
708. the anticipation of salsa making with my good friend
709. piling on more quilts to stay warm as the weather turns colder
710. finding something that inspires my ADD son to do schoolwork without being nagged
711. the anticipation of going away for a few days with my sweetheart to retreat with other pastors and ministers of the gospel, enjoying each other's company, good food, games and rest
712. a perfectly brewed cup of tea on a cold day
713. hope is rising
714. the discovery of egg rings - maybe not huge, but it shows me somedays that these kids are actually observing the world around them

715. first attempts at sewing
716. the little package I got for my birthday that turned into this....

Friday, September 18, 2009

more grace (690)

I am officially tired of harvest. My husband puts in ridiculously long hours. There are days when we don't even see him except for the indent in the bed, so I know he splept at some point. We are nearing the finishing line and I'll be doing a happy dance when we do!

I know I shouldn't complain there are tons of single moms out there doing this ALL the time, I pray that God will give you much grace for the race, I don't think I'd be very good at this full time. I'm sure my kids think I've turned into the wicked witch of the west - but that's what lack of sleep and constant demands will do to you. I've been plagued with headaches for the last week so that hasn't exactly contributed to a happy mommy either. I'm thinking I should quit griping and find some things to be thankful about...

678. Harvest is actually going pretty well.
679. We have had really good harvest weather.
680. Found the sweetest little skirt for my princess at Value Village.
681. Homeschooling is going pretty well so far, even though I still don't really have lesson plans, etc. figured out.
682. There are huge trucks coming to pick up our lentils today - hopefully that will take the edge off of our financial squeeziness.
683. I am thankful for Advil, doesn't take the headache out completely, but it does take the edge off it.
684. Last Saturday my kids worked really hard with very little nagging, because of that my garage is clean, I had no idea that my eldest could work that long and consistently on something that he would normally hate doing.
685. I got some fabric in the mail, it took awhile but it finally came.
686. I danced in the kitchen with my boys, how often does a mom get to do that!!
687. My son sat me down and insisted I learn to play their new LOTR game online, he's a pretty good teacher.
688. I have a wonderful hard-working husband who farms with integrity and loves me completely and pastors with passion. How I love him.
689. The writer's group didn't tell me my writing sucks...they actually liked it.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Joy of Giving

Mmmm, just had to write something today, it's been too long for someone who loves playing with words, juggling, casting, auditioning. Words are such a powerful too to convey so much. Think about what we use words for, we convey every emotion, spill out our thoughts, teach.

Words, what a lovely gift the Lord gave us. (677)

The other day my daughter and I got a little giddy! We started going through the school supplies I purchased this year, after we sent the public school kids off there was still a pretty good pile. We took out what we figured we'd need for our homeschool efforts and still had a few things that were extras. The pile was intriguing, we knew we didn't really need it.

So we started filling a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Pencil crayons, wax crayons, a pair of scissors.

"Oh, she'll need paper, we have lots of that!"
"Yes, yes, some lined, some plain."
"What about glue sticks, we have lots of those."
"Certainly, and go find some colored cardstock."
"What about this little purse, it could go in, couldn't it?"
"I'll get some fabric."
"Oh, then needles and thread are a must."
"Embroidery thread!! Lots of colours!"
"I think I'd like to get this box!"
"Me, too! What else can we put in?"
"Candy! Do we have any?"
"Not at home, we'll have to get some at the store, there's still room in here. More fabric?"
"Can I decorate the top of the box?"
"I'll print out the label."

We had so much fun. I was supposed to be working on something else but the joy of giving grabbed us and wouldn't let go. What a wonderful way to spend an hour, doing something for someone we don't know, who has little to nothing. We imagined where the box might go. A refugee camp in Tanzania? A poor neighborhood in South America? We imagined the delighted look on some young girl's face as she discovered the treasures we put in the box, things we love to do going to someone else. We blessed the box to go to someone for whom these treasures would mean the world. Maybe they'd be able to sew a little and sell the items for food. We don't know, but we were dripping with joy.

Perhaps we'll get the chance to make more boxes this year. I'm hoping for six, one for each of our children. It isn't much really. May I encourage to be a giver, if you're searching for joy you will surely find it there!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

School Started? (676)

I think 'school' may have started today in my house. I wasn't intending to, it birthed itself. My 5.5 year old wanted to learn to read something before he starts grade 1 on Monday. So we learned the 'at' family of words, wrote a little story, he illustrated it and now he has a book he can read all by himself. I LOVE the lights that come on in their face when they realize that they're getting it!! I used to want to be a teacher in a school because of that very thing, then got very turned off by the college of Education that I was enrolled in. I decided that if I was going to be forced to teach the garbage that they set out and submit to those who called themselves leaders in that college then I was done.

However, during that year I did a project for a class that contrasted public, private and home education. I had never heard of home education really, it was very foreign to me. That assignment planted a seed that sprouted and grew. We haven't ever home-educated all our children at one time (who knows, that time may come at some point) but have been home-educating one or two of them at a time for the last 7 years, with the exception of a year or two when Samuel and Sasha were born.

While I was in the middle of teaching Sasha to read, Samuel asked for some difficult words to read. So I tried to think up some things that should be difficult for a kid going into grade 2. Words like hippopotamus, grotesque, tsunami, jugular, sympathy and stuff like that. It took him a seconde to realize sympathy wasn't symphony and other than that, grotesque was the only word that gave him any pause.

From reading and vocabulary we launched into French. The three of them asking me what this was in French and what that was. Asking me to speak sentences and translate them. This sparked Abby who knows some French to start teaching her brothers what she knew. They went over colours and some other common objects. We were having quite a bit of fun with that.

After that we got to talking about Karate Kid and martial arts and suddenly everyone was seeing how high we could kick - a little phys ed thrown in. Earlier they had been asking each other what 2-1-1 was and what 900 + 900 was as they played with a calculator.

Isn't that how learning should take place. Naturally. Not overwhelming. Little pieces at a time that are easily swallowed and digested? Older children helping younger children. I love to learn with my kids. I love when the lights come on for them. Granted at times if feels overwhelming and more than I can bear, especially when I get behind in marking! But we're going to try a bit more of the Charlotte Mason approach in narration and seeing what they know rather than testing to find out what they don't know and showing them all their failures.

A few more gifts to share:

673. A good day with my difficult son yesterday.
674. A big brother helping a little sister without being prompted by mom.
675. Fun with schoolwork, without even trying.
676. Praying with my sister-in-law as we try to encourage each other through our days.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Birthday gifts (672)

Today is my birthday and I have so many things to be thankful for. I want to give all my praise to the author and finisher of my faith, without that, I would be nothing and have nothing. Without Him, I deserve nothing and yet I have so much.
641. Salvation - spiritual birth that is worth more than life itself.
642. Grace - I so need Him to get through each and every moment.
643. Mercy - cause I am not that good at being good!
644. Truth - beats the lies every time.
645. Peace - in times of great stress and trial, it is there, underlying all the other stuff, waiting.
646. My family - what a joy they were today. The six of them worked together this morning to clean the kitchen and living room while I was away serving at a funeral. They were all alive and happy with one another when I got home.
647. My little boy who swiped a piece of fabric from my stash last week, wrapped it up and kept it hidden so he could 'surprise' me today with a 'blanket' just for me. How sweet is that!
648. Once again, thankful that my children are alive, healthy and learning to love Jesus.
649. Thankful for the skills and abilities that I have been blessed with.
650. Thankful that I get opportunities to share those gifts and skills with others.
651. The ladies that have become my friends in this town, you are truly a gift to me.
652. My mom and dad who have hosted my kids for the last bit - they had so much fun.
653. My husband's family, we spent the afternoon with them yesterday, what a great bunch. And the ones we didn't see yesterday, they're amazing, too.
654, The rest of my family, close and extended are pretty wonderful, too.
655. My big boys, playing with their little sister on the beach today.
656. The man at the concession who bought me a bottle of water today for my birthday - so sweet.
657. The beach today, quiet and calm and so beautiful.
658. A non-stressful day today.
659. Good fiction.
660. Inspiring reading.
661. Scrapbooking - such a fun way to share the stories of our family.
662. Upcoming events - the're a gift to anticipate, sitting unopened.... I love surprises.
663. Fresh green beans from my garden.
664. When the numbers on the scale actually start going down!!!
665. Chocolate cake baking in the oven - that is truly the best recipe ever!!!
666. Possibilities of tea dates and quilting dates.
667. New projects.
668. We finally started combining.
669. The joy in my husband's voice that he is sitting in a combine taking the crop off.
670. Our spiritual family - you rock!
671. The opportunity to encourage someone towards Jesus.
672. Uncles who ask you encouraging questions.
673. Homemade loveliness from my mommy.
674. Storebought loveliness from my other mom.
675. My sister.
676. My nieces and nephews - growing up so nicely.
677. The beginninig of another youth year starting soon.

My cake is ready to take out...I'm going to ignore the fact that I should really avoid that cake tonite in honor of my birthday and eat it...guilt free!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Passing from death to life

There is nothing like a near death experience to bring you face to face with the reality of the gift of life, especially when it's one of your kids. My oldest son almost died today but because of God's grace he did not. Some people may consider all that happened a series of lucky coincidences, we say that is the hand of God sparing us a tragedy beyond words.

Kelly and Josiah were moving grain this morning. Josiah was in the back of the truck when Kelly started lifting the hoist. Josiah lost his footing and got sucked down into the gate of the truck while tons of grain poured down on him. He managed to keep his hands free and started throwing grain to signal Kelly that he was in trouble. Fortunately he had a dust mask on or his lungs and airways would have filled up with grain by the time Kelly got to him.

Kelly saw his signal and his first thought was that he was just being silly but decided to go check what he was doing. He saw his rear end stuck in the gate and realized that Josiah was in big trouble. He tried to pull him out but couldn't. Quickly he went and lowered the hoist to take the pressure of the grain off of him and started digging him out. He moved fast enough that Josiah hadn't passed out but his lips were definately blue by the time he got to him. As I said, with that much grain on top of him, without a dustmask on, he would have been dead by then, drowned in wheat, the very thing that puts food on our table.

We're all a little shaky today, sobered by reality. We learned a valuable lesson in safety and a spiritual lesson as well. Sometimes our kids are doing what appears to be silly or foolish, but they're really sending out a desparate cry for help, if we draw near, quickly, we might be able to hear something that we wouldn't have otherwise.

While I am still shaking inside I want to give praise to my heavenly Father for saving my son today, for giving my husband the ability to think and act quickly on his behalf and that I wasn't there to see it!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Glasses Angel

I think maybe we have a 'glasses angel' looking out for us. Between Sasha and myself we keep that fella busy. However, for the last month I was pretty sure that our angel was on vacation.

Last September we noticed that Sasha's eye was turning in and he was closing it in order to be able to see. Off we went to the eye doctor, sure enough glasses were in order. I made sure we got the most indestructable glasses they had. As good as those glasses were, they were still no match for a 4 1/2 year old whirlwind.

Right before we headed off to Colorado I noticed that his nosepieces were completely gone. There was no time to get them fixed before we left so off we went. The silly things were so loose on his head that they'd fall off without him even noticing. Unfortunately that happened somewhere up on Pike's Peak and we never saw them again.

Off to the eye doctor to retest and get a new pair. Fortunately for our bank account he needed a new prescription so insurance paid for the new pair. Whew! We've managed to keep that pair for 6 1/2 months. However, in that time frame they have been misplaced any number of times. Once I found them while I was cleaning up Lego, he and Sam had been wrestling so he very carefully put them in the tray of his sister's stroller and forgot where he put them. I came upon them quite by 'accident'. I think the glasses angel made the sun shine off them or something.

We getting ready to head home from one of our many excursions to camp and I'd felt the Spirit warn me that Sasha was going to lose his glasses. So it came as no surprise that as I was about to put the van in reverse I glanced back and saw his barren face. We started looking, running around camp to the places he suggested they might be. We were about to give up when Noemi suddenly made a sharp detour and went to the very spot where we had been parked and picked his glasses up off the ground. They were lying just outside the door where we had been parked, we could have stepped on them at any time as we looked but we didn't, the glasses angel protected them from us and told Noemi where to find them.

Now here we were again. We had just recovered the things from another lost episode and he had them on his face when we went out for the evening. A few days later I realized that he hadn't had them since then and he couldn't remember where he'd last had them. I asked the babysitter if she remembered anything about them but it was a couple of weeks later so I didn't expect that she would (she had been working at camp). I wasn't overly concerned because the case was missing, too, wherever they were, at least they were in the case. So I started searching in the likely places, top of the fridge, microwave, beside same, under the bed, couch, etc. Nothing. We prayed and asked God to show us, still nothing. I was beginning to despair.

Yesterday I was sitting at my sewing machine and pleading with God, we don't really have the cash to fork out for a new pair and he really needs them before school starts. One more time I asked him to show me where they were. I was chatting with my eldest son and glanced on top of the fridge. It couldn't be, but yes, there was a slim black case that looked an awful lot like Sasha's missing glasses case. Remember I've looked for them on top of that fridge any number of times. I popped open the lid and his glasses slid out. Even my son said, "You're kidding, they were right there?"

I am convinced the glasses angel was alerted by my prayers and was told to put them on the fridge for me yesterday. Or maybe he's been having some fun with me and Jesus told him that was enough already, put the glasses back. Whichever way it was, I am thankful for answered prayer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

thoughts for today (634)

I am toying with the idea of moving to a new blog page. I can't seem to edit any of my layout and it's really annoying me. Hmmmm...

gift #630. My littlest boy is excited to start school (Grade 1).

631. My oldest son came back to the house and did his chores that he had failed to do earlier without me reminding, nagging or yelling.

632. Got all the laundry caught up today.

633. Sewed up a really cute lunchbag for that Grade 1 boy to use for school. Why buy when you can sew!

634. I am so thankful for the ability to sew, I'm not sure what I'd do without that treasure!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

gifts (629)

613. Not my news, but news of our good friends who've been waiting FOREVER to find out who they will be adopting from Ethiopia - they know and now can wait with anticipation! You can read their story over here.

614. My baby chicks are home. As lovely as it was to have a quiet, clean house, the level of life was a little less than I liked! I missed so many gifts that I take for granted...

615. "MOM, MOM, MOM....I HAVE AN IDEA!!!!"
616. Little girl voice chirping along with daddy's beautiful baritone, singing, "I love you Lord"
617. Sweet, sticky hugs from small warm bodies.
618. Sparkly eyes
619. Crooked smiles.
620. Mommy, can I sew with you tomorrow? Good excuse to get up close and personal with my machine I'm thinkin!!

Seriously, I thought I'd do crafty things but didn't do one single crafty thing. Did however, weed alot of garden space before all the rain came (621). I got started on the accounting for the farm that I am, oh, like 7 months behind on! It's coming. I spent some time with my 11 year old when he got home on Wednesday (622 and 623) truly, non-stressful time with him is a double gift!

We did have a lovely evening with friends (624). Went to the drive-in with our son and his friend (625). Got to have my honey along on the long drive to pick up kids from camp and go get kids from grandma's because of the rain (626). Got a great djembe for the 11 year old on his birthday (627). Got most of the school supply shopping done (628).

629. I am so grateful for my husband who supports me in difficult journeys that I don't want to go on because I'm scared to fail. He comes in and wipes away my fears with his faith, I am so blessed to have him.

Okay, gettin' tired. my man-child and husband are up from the depths...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yesterday (612)

I slept in until 9:30 because no one woke me up.
588. getting a full night of sleep is a gift.

Had breakfast.

Devotions out on the deck.
589. Warm sun on my back.
590. Birds flititng in and out of the trees and near my feet.
591. A great devotional book that I'm going through (90 Days With Jesus by Beth Moore).
592. Leaning agains the deck rail - I love that deck even if it isn't finished yet.

Weeding in the bean patch.
593. Discovered there were new tender beans ready to be picked.
604. Got accosted by my loving dogs - all 3 at one time.

Finding out the fridge had been turned off by our little one a couple of days ago.
594. Chicken noodle soup.
595. Banana bread.
596. A nice mid-afternoon snack.
597. Didn't have to thaw out meat for supper.
598. A lovely clean fridge and freezer.
599. On behalf of the dogs - a gift from a little girl - they enjoyed their supper!

Washed the floor.

Took time out to read here and there.
600. So thankful for the gift of literature that the Lord has given us.
601. Thankful for the authors who chose to use their gifts to bless so many.
602. Rekindled desire to write.

Made a delightful supper of new potatoes, onions and beans from our garden with sausage on the barbeque.
603. Ate supper on the deck.

Worked together with my wonderful husband in the yard until it got dark.
605. Work that satisfies is a gift.

Watched a good movie.
606. Thankful, too, for the film industry, especially when they produce a really good picture.

607. Danced in the moonlight with my husband.
608. Bright moon.
609. Bright stars.
610. Soft breeze.
611. Privacy to do such a silly thing.

Finished reading a novel I started, a wonderful picture of God's gift of grace to us.
612. God's grace to me, who didn't deserve it.

Yesterday was a good day. Thank you Lord for a stress-free day.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

gifts from this weekend (587)

we are home from a powerful weekend of worshipping, listening and participating with God in what He wanted for us...a weekend full of gifts...

551. God's amazing provision for a place for this gathering to be held, He literally took the wheel off our truck on the highway way back in April so that we could meet the owner of the lake where we wished to hold the gathering.

552. the gift of lovely weather, even the storm felt like His blessings being poured out

553. the interaction of generations, blessing...releasing...loving one another

554. watching the team of leaders, interacting, waiting on the Lord, not pushing agendas...

555. the sweet spirit of love

556. sharing, interacting, waiting together

557. the young people responding, dancing, laughing, singing, praying together, and for one another

558. watching covenants be made

559. seeing the face of one who I knew should be there finally arriving

560. hearing the testimonies of lives changed by His grace

561. seeing grace poured out in my son as he took up the flag of fire and waved it with all his might

562. seeing my younger sons, dancing and participating in every session

563. watching my daughter dance and love Jesus with all her heart

564. listening to my husband lead with authority and clarity, covered by the other leaders, walking shoulder to shoulder with him

565. seeing my daughter and my niece (one caucasian, one native) playing and dancing together, not concerned about skin colour or racial differences, they just love one another

566. seeing the army of God advancing through worship and praise

567. sweet moments of grace as one prays for another,

568. encouraging words offered

569. sunburned noses lifted to the Son

570. someone else running an errand so my husband could play with his kids

571. a young lady taking my little girl to play so I could rest

572. our van, with enough room to sleep - not in a tent

573. matches from the neighbouring campsite

574. finally meeting people you've only heard about and finding out how wonderful they really are

575. leadership of young people, on fire for God, walking in their gifts.

576. spirit-led prayers of tiny hearts led by the spirit

577. offers of prayer, walking alongside, being there

578. phonecalls from friends including us in good news that they've been waiting for for so long

579. radiant brides bouncing with anticipation on their wedding day

580. handsome grooms with awestruck glances as they view their bride coming toward them

581. wonderful weddings filled with God's blessings

582. friends
583. family
584. family of God

585. being fully, spiritually awake enough to enjoy all of these gifts

586. to be able to fully contribute and participate because my spirit is awake!

587. the glimmer of a new song, being formed in my heart

so many good things this weekend, I can hardly contain it

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fishing with Jesus

scattered thoughts...

random tasks...
having a hard time grasping the next thing...
"Cast off and throw your nets out."
"But we've been doing this all night."
"I know, just go and do what I said."
murmers, wondering
what could he be thinking?
"Look at that, hey, we need help, come over."
"Fish, tons of fish!!"
"You're kidding, we've been out all night with nothing to show for it."
"Well, we've got a catch now, help us, our nets are breaking."
"Okay, okay, we're coming."
"Wow, I see what you mean! C'mon, lean in fellas, we've got work to do."
The master fisherman/carpenter/teacher smiles from shore and waits for his fishing friends to come in.
Lord, help me to pull it together, to get my nets into the water when you tell me, too. Pull me out of my complacency and help me fish with you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Example from the Word, by the Word

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark,
Jesus got up,
left the house
and went off to a solitary place,
where he prayed.
Simon and his companions went to look for him,
and when they found him,
they excaimed:
"Everyone is looking for you!"
Mark 1:35-37

I have to admit that getting to the Word is often difficult. Doesn't seem to matter how early I get up or how late I stay up, someone is always looking for me...and they always find me. I get terribly frustrated by the intrusions. This morning as I meditated on the words above a sleepy, still warm from bed little body inserted herself into the space between me and the Word, not talking, just needing to wake up slowly in a safe and comfortable space.

At first I was annoyed with the intrusion, rushing thoughts in my head..."how am I supposed to get close to the Father when I'm always interrupted?" as I shifted my bible and journal and devotional book and pen to make a place for this wee treasure. My mind wonders how Jesus can relate to mothers with many children always interrupting...

...I look down again at the passage I am reading, he had gone off by himself, sneaking away while it was dark to get a minute with his father...but they were looking for him...

...and they found him, bursting into holy moments they had no idea of. I wonder if they clued in, these noisy, uncouth men, did they know that they were interrupting communion? Probably not, the need of the now consumed them. But, Jesus didn't tell them to get lost, he didn't even rebuke them or tell them what he had been doing, simply got up and led them to minister somewhere else.

I shifted my books again and brought my little girl a bit closer to my heart, a little closer to my holy moment. I pray that this morning she felt her mamma draw her near to the father even just a little as the Word showed me how it's done.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Awakening (550)

I find myself in the unusual position of having only 2 kids at home. All 4 boys are off somewhere else. It is exceedingly quiet. My dear husband's plans for today were rained out, so he is taking a much needed rest on the living room floor watching a movie with the girls. One can almost hear oneself think, it's a little shocking to my synapses!

I wrapped myself up in a blanket (it's really quite chilly today) and lay on the couch to finish reading Off the Map by Sandy Rosen. This book is the story of their 5 year journey from sea to sea with a motley crew of believers taking the gospel of Jesus to the streets and towns of Canada. They would only go as the Lord opened the doors, they only had the finances that God provided as they went. These are the stories of how God showed up when His people took Him seriously. An inspiring adventure to see the least. Also a reminder of what God has done in our lives as we have stepped out in faith to meet Him. We have stories to tell like those in that book. We are in the middle of just such an adventure, living in a tiny town on a tiny farm with 6 kids and a big God. We are out here because He moved us here. We believe that He wants to do amazing things in this little part of the world to affect our province and our nation - we believe it and we will stick here until we see it happen or He moves us to another place.

This weekend the nation is coming to visit whether our little town knows it or not. We are having a gathering at a little lake between our town and the next to worship and announce that Jesus is Lord on the prairies. We are going to rattle the heavens a little and people are coming from across the country to join us, because they, too, believe that something is about to break loose here and want to see it happen. I wasn't much excited about the whole thing a few weeks ago quite honestly. We're involved in the planning, we're going to be in the midst of it, but I have been so wrapped up in my own exhaustion and spiritual inadequacy that I haven't been paying the thing any mind.

However, in the last few weeks God has been awakening my spirit again. Starting to blow off the apathy that so pervades this region, awakening me from spiritual slumber, taking the plugs out of my ears so I can once again hear Him whispering to my heart the things He wants to do. We will be swept up by Him once again, caught in His Spirit, listening to His heart and doing what He says...

548. The gifts he has planted in us to share with others, are a gift.
549. The gifts that God has given to his body to be shared, are a gift.
550. The freedom we still enjoy to worship in the middle of a field, is a gift.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week (547)

This week my friend and 5 of her kids were out for the week. Usually, we enjoy ourselves and have a great time, however, we have dubbed this week, the terribe, rotten, horrible, no good, very bad week....

Monday morning - my youngest son cuts holes in the trampoline with a pair of scissors
Monday afternoon - our two oldest daughters disappear without a trace for about 45 minutes due to a lack of communication. We had no idea where they were and could not find them anywhere
Tuesday morning - S & S (our 5 year olds) decide they've had enough of VBS, excuse themselves to go to the bathroom and don't come back. So, while I am teaching ladies how to make a purse, the VBS director comes in to inform me that my son and his friend are no where to be found and are not on the church grounds or in the building. So, after checking the nearby parks and grandma's house we come back to the church, they haven't returned. ONe of the ladies I'm teaching says she saw them heading in the direction of our farm. I head out once again and find them, hand in hand, walking the gravel road toward home. We were not amused, even if they were pretty cute.
Wednesday evening - Elizabeth falls and cuts her hand on glass, badly. The good news is that I prevailed upon my friendship with the doctor's wife and headed over to their house with her because the cut was really deep. Fortunately, because of where it was located, right in the fold of her finger, we didn't have to go for stitches.
Thursday morning - the SS team gets up super early and heads out to trash the neighbors quad that he left where he was going to build fence near our field. If that wasn't bad enough, when we have assessed the damage and informed the neighbor and go to head into town, my keys are missing. The boys had used them to try to start the quad and lost them. We sent out the team and they were able to find them under the quad. We spent an hour after lunch relocating all the stuff that they had tossed off the quad. We are even less amused with our sons.
Thursday afternoon - We take the crew over to Uncle Bill's where the uncles have rigged up a movie theater to amuse all the cousins. As we're getting out I swing the door shut at the exact moment that my friend's baby inserts his index finger into the hinge of the door. Let the screaming begin. We head back to town for stitches (4 of them) in his tiny little finger.
Thursday evening - We are heading home from the uncle's when my oldest yells to stop the vehicle as screams are emanating from the back seat. My youngest son has managed to get his arm stuck out the window and can't get it back in.
Friday morning - the SS team is at it again and they let the dogs in the house. One of my second oldest son's webkins is later found eaten by the dogs (that particular son is off in Ottawa with his dad - did we mention that the daddy's weren't here this week? well they weren't)

So, we need to be thankful that this wasn't worse than it was....what are our gifts from this terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week?

539. No one is dead.
540. We found all the missing persons.
541. I was definately praying a lot.
542. We've had some very teachable moments with our sons.
543. The ladies in the ladies' time out where very good sisters in surrounding us with hugs and prayers throughout this week.
544. We really did have a good time at VBS.
545. We've had some good times with our oldest boys reminiscing about all the stupid things they did when they were 5.
546. We are thankful the big boys didn't do anything too foolish since they are capable of doing things that are far more dangerous and foolish.
547. We remembered to keep our eyes on Jesus and not walk in fear.

Friday, July 17, 2009

addition to wonderful tastes....

Sorry K, Salsa gets its very own post. Cause salsa is definately a gift from God and deserves recogition as such. Not just any salsa mind you...the recipe I make, which isn't originally mine or anything, its just perfect salsa, really.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wonderful Tastes (537)

Taste. What an amazing gift, so unique to each person, what I love, you hate. Such variety...

516. Chocolate, melting in your mouth...I'm partial to those Lindt ball chocolates - hint, hint.
517. Creamy Earl Grey Tea with just the right amount of sugar and milk.
518. The first chip
519. Really good pizza.
520. baked potato with butter and salt (Krista I tried the cheese whiz thing and that totally rocks)
521. perfectly cooked steak
523. Ginger beef at Genesis
524. Crab rangoon also from Genesis
525. the noodle bowl at Saigon Rose
526. Thai Chicken Salad from Alexander's
527. spring rolls
528. penne alla campasino from Chianti's
529. Any really richly flavored soup. I could get probably 20 more if I start listing all the soup I love to taste!! potato/sausage/dill borsht, cabbage borsht, hamburger soup, corn chowder, mushroom cheddar chowder, chicken noodle.... I really could go on, I love soup, it truly is a gift from God. I once had pumpkin soup, wow was that good.
530. cheese sauce - homemade of course, rocks...yumm
531. sweet and sour meatballs or ribs

okay I better stop I'm making myself hungry, I haven't even gotten to things like fruit
532. fresh peas out of the garden
533. corn on the cob dripping in butter and salt
534. fresh salad greens with dill and oil and vinegar dressing
535. strawberries
536. grapes
537. cherries

really, I have to stop. No wonder I'm overweight, apparently I like food!! Have a happy day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wonderful Sounds (515)

After yesterday's post on smells I lay in my bed, listening. I realized there are many gifts that God has given through our senses. So today, I want to hear, wonderful sounds of God, walking in my day...

501. Cries of, "Mommy, I missed you." as they tumble in the door from a week at camp.
502. Stories spilling out of excited lips of all they've learned and done and friends they've made while they were away.
503. Deep breathing as they finally sleep.
504. Lisping prayers as a little one learns to talk to her Father.
505. A polite decline rather than, "I hate that!"
506. Sweet quiet as I listen to siblings talk, glad to all be together again, content, watching a favorite movie.
507. Birds singing in the still damp trees.
508. Rain hitting the window, you can almost hear the thristy earth drinking it up.
509. The hum of the sewing machine as something lovely takes shape under my hands.
510. Husky night time, "I love you's."
511. An 'hello' from a voice you haven't heard for awhile.
512. Worship music spilling from the CD player, lifting my spirit, reminding me of who God is.
513. Outdoor nights sounds of crickets and frogs and birds and dogs.
514. The comforting hum of the dishwasher that tells me that things are cleaned up for another day.
515. My Father's voice, whispering to me that he loves me, leading my heart on the path of righteousness, perhaps I can't hear it with my physical ears, but my heart can, all the same.

Sounds of life and love. Life is messy and sometimes the sounds are strident, but we are hear and we can hear the cadence of life - present and accounted for. Thank you Lord.

Friday, July 10, 2009

wonderful smells (500)

As I was driving home today I was thinking about wonderful smells. What a gift God has given us in wonderful smells. I was going to say close your eyes and let the memories of these smells waft over you but then you couldn't read them. I've heard it's very hard to read with your eyes closed unless you are familiar with Braille. Anyways, this is a bit of my 'wonderful smells that are gifts' to add to my growing list.

478. the scent of rain hanging in the air
479. freshly washed children
480. bread coming out of the oven
481. lemon anything
482. gardenias
483. pepperming
484. vanilla
485. garlic and onions sauted in butter
486. oregano
487. pumpkin pie
488. sage dressing
489. campfires
490. freshly dug earth
491. the clean scent of the earth after the rain has fallen
492. laundry just out of the dryer
493. laundry just off the line, dried by the sun
494. Murphy's soap
495. satsuma oranges
496. coconut
497. shea butter
498. green apples
499. my husband
500. I can't think of anymore right now, but my family just drove up and after a few days apart, seeing them in a few seconds will be a gift

Feel free to add to my 'wonderful smells' list, I'm pretty certain I haven't covered them all.

Kathrin and Sabrina, you really ought to come visit you know...both of you...together.

Monday, July 06, 2009

the beginning of summer gifts (477)

We've just returned from family camp. It was different this year than it has been in other years. Good but different. I read a lot, was somewhat anti-social and ran after my three year old for the most part. I think I need to add to my gratitude list, it's about that time...

449. I am thankful for authors that make me think outside my boxes. I've read some excellent books recently and I am pondering them.
450. My little girl snuggled on my bed with me while I read my book this morning it was nice to have her warm little body curled up next to mine, not demanding, just being.
451. The opportunity to just sit in bed and read for awhile this morning was almost magical, I could use a few more like that.
452. It is a gift to be decisive sometimes and think quickly.
453. I am glad for deadlines. There are times when it is very good to know that something will be done at a certain time and after that time comes, and you've completed that task, you won't be doing that thing again.
454. Summer camp is such a gift, giving parent and child a little space from each other so that both can grow.
455. FUnny moments with my children are a gift...This conversation occurred while we were discussing the things that can wreck a garden and weeding. "I think the golfers could really wreck a garden, couldn't they mom?" I am thinking, "Golfers?" Out loud I say, "I guess if they're swinging near the garden, but..." I stop myself as I look around and suddenly realize he doesn't mean golfers, he's talking about GOPHERS!! "Yes, son, gophers can definately wreck a garden." To myself, "But golphers would certainly be no help either." I have a good chuckle as we weed and I picture a bunch of guys in their polo shirts swinging away in my corn patch.
456. I am excited to report that I have had my first really good idea for a story since I don't know when. I haven't felt like writing anything beyond the drivel I put on here for almost two years. To have a spark of inspiration is a wonderous thing.
457. Insight is a gift not to be overlooked. When sudden awareness of the foundation to a problem suddenly shows itself it is a lovely gift, wrapped in embossed paper and tied with a silken ribbon.
458. The train finally came and the grain is being hauled, thanks be to God.
459. Rain on a dry and weary land is a gift. Still I wonder if it was too little, too late. Lord, help me not be anxious when I look at our sparse fields.
460. Finding a package of Greek marinade in the cupboard after I just purchased a package of ribs - I guess we'll see if it was a gift at supper time tonite!!
461. Fresh baked foccacia bread - yum, if that's not a gift, I don't know.
462. Cooperation.
463. Terms of endearment.
464, A freshly weeded garden.
465, a package of cookies left over from somewhere, so i don't have to bake
466, that my little girl loves to color and that she'll stay occupied for a LONG period of time if coloring is a wonerful thing
467. watching my children make friends with former strangers - a gift indeed
468. listening to the wise words of my husband as he counsels heartbroken young boys as he tucks them into bed
469. the wisdom to know when to say no to yet another road trip wasn't just a gift to me but to my children
470. the writings and thoughts of a dad who went unexpectedly - a gift to his kids, oh to be a parent who leaves such lovely things behind
471. the renewal of friendships long neglected
472, the words, "I'm on my way home."
473. putting the last of the laundry into the dryer
474. seeing a stain come out
475. the ability to make clothing for my children
476. the ability to make yummy things to eat
477. the greeting of my canine friends as we return home

I guess I'll quit for now, my train of thought has been derailed and I must get back to business. Thanks for reading. Thanks to those who stop me every now and then and tell me they read. I like that...maybe I'll start writing that story right here...sneak previews or something. I think I'll start something like this...

I have now accomplished what I wanted to do since I was a little girl. So now what?

what do you think? a good opening line or a little weak?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

slow day

It's Saturday and for a change I have absolutely nothing on my calendar. It's quite shocking to my system. I have spent the morning talking to friends, reading blogs, writing - wow, haven't done that in awhile and just generally being relaxed. Eating hasn't been important, the kids are all cruising around having fun. Just a nice day. Think I might go sew a bit...

Monday, June 01, 2009

2 modest proposals

After researching modesty both through what the Bible has to say and polling the male citizenry for their opinion I have come up with two equitable solutions. In the spirit of Jonathon Swift I offer you this modest proposal...

Our current society seems not to view modesty as an important issue. There is no regard for hemlines or bustlines whatsoever. Young women are not taught how to sit, stand or pick up something off the floor in a modest way. Our economy is struggling greatly and the average family is having difficulty making ends meet. In order to help these families with daughters who want to bare it all and empty the wallets of their parents, I say to you, why not let them. Let's level the playing field and save ourselves a lot of money at the same time.

Off with their clothes I say. All of them. If everyone would simply not wear clothes we would revolutionize our entire society! Of course we'd empty out all of Canada and the northern states but wouldn't a more concentrated population help improve the economy in the more southern areas? Just the first of many benefits to my plan.

Without clothing, gone are the judgements based on what we wear. Name brands would be a thing of the past, no more costly trips to the mall for that sale that will only be on for two hours to get the perfect shirt. Shopping would be much quicker altogether without all that shopping for covering.

All the overworked designers and seamstresses would have time for family and other pursuits.

There would be far less judgements about body type. We're all just out there as we are, no more covering up the bulges, lifting up the fallen and padding the non-existent. Far more time for gainful pursuits like reading and gardening, caring for others and visiting.

With everyone hanging out, so to speak there would probably a natural inclination for exercise, a new desire to care for one's body since that's all there is to see. This national epidemic of obesity would be a thing of the past with everyone getting fit.

Yes, we would really see each other as we are. Save the economy and put everyone on a level playing field. What a plan.

The second option would be to live in a completely segregated society in our public spaces. Male and female would only see each other in the privacy of their own homes. Work places would have a women's section separate from the men. Schools would be the same. Marketplaces would display wether they were a women's or men's facility. Only in the privacy of their own home would men and women see each other.

How would people meet and create new families? By arrangement of course. Through their outside relationships, parents would simply find out what potential mates were available and choose one through application. We wouldn't need to bother with television, cameras or the internet. A quieter and simpler society there couldn't be. Then modesty wouldn't be an issue. We wouldn't have to worry about what we're wearing so much since only those of the same gender would ever see us in public.

There you have it, two possible solutions for dealing with this issue of modesty. One of them should work don't you think? If you don't like these options, please read the next one.

The Spring Tea and a Modest Proposal

A week later and I still haven't written about our Spring Tea...

Last Sunday we had a lovely tea-party with moms and daughters and women of many ages. We drank tea, ate cheesecake and talked about why modesty is important. We had a funny little 'unfashionable' show as our older youth demonstrated some of our current fashions and how NOT to wear them and then how to wear them in a modest way. Jodi Kozan from Women's Journey of Faith came and shared her story with us of how pain and insecurities and wrong choices can influence how we present ourselves to the world. She encouraged us to look to our Saviour for His ideas on what to wear and how we present ourselves. He is the one who gives us our identity, he is the one who tells us we are beautiful and the one who loves us more than anything even when we get it wrong. In light of all that we have researched and talked about in the last few weeks I offer you...

A Modest Proposal

I realize that this is a very cliche title but I'm going to use it anyway. We are aware as women even though it may only be subconsciously, that we are being sold a bill of goods by the media that is untrue. Yet, we still strive to be that model in the magazine. Oh to have flawless skin, the perfect size breasts, the trim, flat belly and of course, gloriously long legs, no matter what our height is. If only we got that particular sweater we would then be able to attract the kind of man that we have our heart set on or to be acceptable with the group of females that we want to associate ourselves with. It is all a vicious lie which is spilled out on a daily basis to keep us unhappy with ourselves enough so as to open our wallets and purchase something else to make us beautiful. The whole thing is a marketing gimmick.

So what is the truth? How are we to present ourselves? What is beautiful? We have all heard the saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" the key is to know who's eye we want to be 'beholding' us. As Christian women, we want our hearts to be turned to our Saviour, to dress and act and live for HIm alone, our glorious bridegroom. So how does he want us to look, and what about those male creatures that are down here, what are they thinking? After a look at scripture and asking the male creatures, I've realized that they're saying a lot of the same things. They would rather have our parts covered so that our true beauty is not overwhelmed by what we are wearing.

We conducted a short survey of men from ages 12 - 70+ asking them what causes them the most discomfort in women's dress. We are aware that men are visually stimulated so how we present ourselves has a profound effect on their thought life. While we are not fully responsible for how another person thinks, we do have a great influence on how they think and are partly responsible for those thoughts when you take into consideration scriptures like Romans 14:1-4 which talks about those whose faith is weak. So, what did they say exactly?

They said alot. We had an amazing response, very thoughtful and very helpful. Overall, the fellows who responded said they don't want to see cleavage, overly tight or low cut (either shirts or pants) anything. Clothing that shows off skin where skin shouldn't be showing is difficult for them. Basically, to put it very succinctly, no breasts, no bellies, no bums. They have no desire to see our underwear, either through our clothing or coming out of our clothing. They seem to have great respect for those who respect themselves enough to reserve their bodies, visually, for the man that they may marry one day. Believe it or not, they are not fond of bikinis, these are a nightmare for them visually speaking, as one of them said, "Who made it okay for women to go out in public in the equivalent of their underwear...or less." This is a particular issue when an event is a church sponsored thing, like a beach party or hot-tub event, they're thinking they shouldn't have to fight quite so hard because we girls would have them in mind, unfortunately, this is generally not the case.

According to what the scriptures say about women's dress (and there are quite a lot of them to be found), and the insight these courageous men have given, modesty, dressing so as not to attract undue attention to ourselves, is a vital aspect of a women's Christian character. It isn't a subject to be taken lightly. It isn't just a problem for the guys to figure out on their own. It is a battle that must be fought and one for the sake of purity in the lives of men and women everywhere. How we dress is important. How we present ourselves publicly is important. Beauty is not in our clothing or makeup it is in our heart and reflected in our character. There is nothing wrong with pretty clothes, nice hair and makeup, in fact the fellows appreciate when a woman is doing her best to take care of those things, those things just shouldn't be the focus.

So the modest proposal is this;

make modesty a priority in your life.

End of proposal

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day gifts

11:00 PM
Mother's Day
Began alone
Ends alone

Sandwiched in-between...
warm bath
handmade cards from school
worship practice
Sunday School discussions
late arrival to the platform
church service
random lunch
lovely nap
family birthday party at grandma's
delicious supper
much laughter and warmth
childish antics
refereeing disagreements
family meeting to discuss behaviour issues
bedtime hugs and kisses
gentle moments with eldest son, German daughter and husband
eating sunflower seeds as we remember the past few days
ooh and aah over lovely graduate pictures
giggle over little jokes
read a few pages in my book
enjoy ordering fabric on-line to complete projects
read sweet e-mails
find new blog
listen to the sound of the dryer running means my son can do his own laundry
fridge humming
clock ticking
house asleep
take one last look at the lovely plants I received today;
pale pink rosebush,
purple geranium,
pink begonia,
red strawflowers,
purple petunias - all so pretty - plan to not kill them
kisses from my sleepy husband encouraging me to come to bed
not such a bad day after all

plenty of gifts on mother's day

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A good mom day (448)

Today was a day where I actually felt like I did a couple things right as a mom. A couple of moms and I were talking about how we are so NOT 'super' moms. But every once in awhile you get it right and you know I had a few of those moments and they were gifts.

445. I followed the advice of many sage homeschoolers and asked my daughter what she would be interested in studying in the fall. The theory behind that (and alot of scientific research) is that when someone is interested in it, real learning takes place on many different levels. As parents we get ideas in our head about what WE think would be cool to learn only to find out that our kids aren't that interested in it. Been there, done that. Soooooooo, I asked her, since this is the time of year I plan for the following year, get my curriculum together and all that. She thought for a minute and then a dreamy, far away look came into her eyes and she breathed out, "Africa, I don't know why, but I want to study Africa...poetry, are there any books about writing poetry?" So we looked in the Homeschool and More catalogue to see if there was anything to support her whim and lo and behold there was. We will be studying Africa in the fall and writing poetry. I will put aside my agenda and go with what the Lord has put on her heart, should be an interesting year.

446. We have been praying and wrestling about son #3's education for next year. He has a strong desire to homeschool and I had a strong desire for him NOT to. However, after our Bible study this morning and several other factors that couldn't be ignored, we made a decision, it might not be popular with our small town, but in fall, he's going to be coming home. When we informed him that we had finally decided the light dawning in his eyes, the smile on his face and the excitement in his voice assured me that this too, was the right move.

447. I went to the effort of finding a ball team for son #2 to play on. He's been desperate to play ever since he got his new glove last year for his birthday. He's liked baseball for a long time but there wasn't a team for him to play on. This week I found one in a neighbouring town. He's so excited. Today, instead of working and doing things I 'should' be doing I volunteered to play catch with him so he could practice. That was a good decision, I got some exercise in my body and in my spirit. Being able to encourage him and coach him and just play with him in a positive way was such a huge gift. I pray that this ball thing will be a positive experience for him. He decided he better start working out so that he could be stronger and faster, so he made himself a work-out regime, typed it, printed it and laminated it so that he can get ready to play. Watching him is a gift I'll treasure forever. God please let this be a good thing for him.

448. After lunch I was tired and the girls were tired, so we all jumped in my bed and snuggled and rested for awhile.

A good mom day, today was that day.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Just me today

I have to admit to blogger-envy today. I get a little jealous of people who are able to keep their blogs current and interesting. People who, through their blogs have been 'found'. Incredible writers, amazing journeys that are being made, lovely things being created and shared with others. My life is busy, some say insane, and rather ordinary really. I am not on any crusade other than to learn to love my God and those He puts along my path, starting with my family. Once in awhile I find time to make something lovely, but I usually forget to take pictures, and if I do I don't seem to get around to posting them anywhere.

However, as I look through scripture some rather extraordinary things happened through some very ordinary people. Most likely I won't be discovered in this blog, I am on amazing journey learning how to be a pastor's wife/youth leader/farmer out in the country, I do make lovely things, and sometimes I write something inspired. I am thankful to live my ordinary life in this very ordinary, out-of-the-way town with my ordinary husband who loves me. Today I am content to listen the the sound of my boys playing in the living room, the kettle signalling my hot water and my little girls' voices as they inform me of their plans for today. Today I will be glad to be me, take the moments as they come and find the glory in my four walls. I will choose to be me today, and I am glad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a thankful heart (444)

I am always amazed how days slip away. Here it is almost the end of March, spring is here according to the calendar while snow falls gently outside my window. I feel like that a little, in my heart I'm leaping and stretching and breaking forth and on the outside my hip hurts, I'm tired and my hair is bad (definately not as pretty as the snow). I can't help but be thankful though, so I continue my gift list...

408. The cooperation exhibited this morning in older brothers helping younger brothers find backpack items, wrap cookies and get them moving toward the bus, what a blessing, especially since the momma woke up a little late.
409. Warbling from the living room as my daughter sings her heart out at the piano with praises to God.
410. a day that holds the potential to include sewing...always a gift to me
411. my bed got made this morning, in the midst of the whirlwind that has been the last week, that is a gift.
412. the individuals that make up my worship arts classes - what a joy to walk alongside and see the excitement grow as we worship and learn together
413. Courts of Praise youth group - what a wonderful group of believers. They so blessed us as they walked with us this weekend.
414. Another Worship Arts Weekend has come and gone and what a gift it was, it doesn't seem fair to give it only one number on this list.
415. Drama - what an amazing way to communicate truth.
416. Music - a gift from a creative God to us, for us.
417. Dance - when words don't do it
418. Art - color, shape, form, woven together to express the thoughts of the heart
419. Herb girls - a little inside joke with my youth girls and niece, what a gift that was to me to sing and play with you.
420. My husband - going on even when he's sick to lead others in worship and 421. the gift of God to him to lift the crappy feeling any time he started to worship.
422. The annointing of the Holy Spirit - I have never seen my husband lead worship with that level of passion before and then to be beside him, leading with him...ahhhhhhhhhh glory (423).
424. Sherry, for making the effort to come and bringing the others with you - yeah, how fun to work beside you once again.
425. All the willing hands to work and clean and cook to make the weekend work.
426. I praise God for the angelic cushions under my son's feet, he jumped off a very high edge and did not hurt himself too badly - thanks be to God
427. For my friend and doctor who doesn't restrict his practice to his office.
428. Salsa - I love my salsa, and it tasted so good last night after a long day.
429. Finding the perfect fabric to make into a dress for my niece's wedding - how fun was that to find!
430. I got to make up a cute, cute purse for myself the other day, love it!
431. a lovely cup of tea just hits the spot and is truly a gift to me
432. sunday afternoon naps where I really sleep, apparently the Lord took me so far in that I didn't hear my son screaming in the same room as me
433. washing machines
434. dryers
435. dishwashers
436. vacuum cleaners
437. central heating
438. air conditioning and fans
439. electric sewing machines
440. electric irons
441. hair dryers
442. water heaters
443. indoor plumbing
The above are the servants of the modern woman, as I read stories of pioneer days and the incredible difficulties that they had to face, the amount of labour involved in simply surviving every day. We are very blessed.
444. Fellow servants in the field, such a gift to walk alongside those who are on the same journey, some who have been there longer who can help you around the pitfalls, truly a gift.

I believe it is time to stop for now and attend to the needs of my household. I simply couldn't let another day go by without adding to this list.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

407 - The gifts of this weekend

393. My God who is so good to me.
394. The Pinel family for coming down this weekend to pour themselves into our youth group.
395. The Massons for coming down and doing the same.
396. Cherie for sharing her journey and encouraging us to abandon the fluff and maybe more.
397. Sarah for allowing God to open your heart.
398. Ashley, Ashton, Tim and Breanna - what a great team you are, you are such a gift to us.
399. Dayne, Ryan and Josiah for going waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy out of your comfort zone, what a gift it was to watch.
400. All of the rest of our youth group who were there and those who weren't, what a gift you are to us.
401. The intercessors who prayed into this weekend and shared their hearts with us, covered us and stood in the gap for us.
402. My amazing kids who let your dad and mom go out every single weekend to spend time with other kids - we love you so much.
403. Reconnections with our family at HOpe, how blessed we are to have been among you for so long.
404. Connections with our family at Hillside, how blessed we are to be here now, working shoulder to shoulder to see God's glory come in our midst.
405. The gift of dance, such an amazing way to worship God with my body.
406. The wonderful women who were brave enough to come dance with me last night, all the giggles and laughter - your best moves, such a gift to me!!
407. The glow of delight on young faces as they explore this new expression, how God must smile.

This weekend we timidly walked into a weekend of exploring the arts in worship with our youth group and some good friends who came to help. None of us knew what to expect, none of us were even sure we wanted to be there, however, we are so glad we moved in obedience. God showed up in our midst and met us in our fear. He gave us beauty for ashes and poured out the oil of his Spirit on us all. My heart is so full, I am fairly bursting.

Friday, January 23, 2009

392 - The gift of prayer

Our home has been a battlefront lately. We are in a battle for our children, fighting the enemy for truth, respect and peace. I'm encouraged by the hope that we might be moving in a direction that the enemy doesn't want us to go in. Since we came back from Kansas City the Lord has shifted our focus and had us enter into a new track that involves a lot of praying. I must confess I have never been a very good pray-er. Since becoming a mom, even less so it seems. Don't misunderstand, prayer happens but not the kind I'd like to see, consistent, focused, effective prayer is what I'd like to see in my life. Truly our busy household makes it difficult to find time to hear yourself think, let alone God. I am thankful for the conversational prayer that I engage in throughout my day but I have greatly desired to have a more focused time where I can intercede. The book Prayer Saturated Kids came into my hands just this week and my spirit has been leaping up and down as I read it. EVERY parent should read that, it is practical, hands on and do-able. I love it.

Our kids were impacted by Kansas City as well, they are much more eager to pray than ever. We're seeing the fruit of this and we're happy about it. One morning we were having a very difficult time getting to a place of peace, the child causing most of the disturbance left the family circle as we stood to take a stand against the enemy, it left a hole there and so we asked for another sibling to go stand in the gap, they responded immediately. (390) On another day when our volatile son was having a meltdown outside with dad, the rest of us gathered and prayed for them, I asked them to listen to the Lord and then pray as the Lord led them, they did, it was powerful (391). On Wednesday morning Sam woke up with a really sore throat and a terrible cough, since we were heading to the city we had already made arrangements for all the kids that weren't in school and we simply didn't have a time and place for a sick kid. I prayed over him, gave him some homeopathic medicine and he was perfectly healthy by the time the bus came, in fact, he hasn't shown any signs of a cold since that time. Praise the Lord, our own little miracle to boost their faith and mine (392).

I'm just rambling this morning, hoping that you'll be encouraged to pray as I am. I want to make it my first line of defence rather than my last resort, which is what I am inclined to do far too often. I hope this will encourage you to do the same. I know the power of prayer and yet I don't tap into it, that is just stupid. Today, I will holding a prayer meeting with my kids to get rid of our mouse infestation before we have company next weekend...I'll let you know how it goes, it's all out war against the rodents here!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gifts of the season (389)

I sat down at the computer to write because it was a quiet moment. Before I could sign in I was surrounded. I'm going to persevere because a rare and wonderful thing is happening in my kitchen this morning. My #2 son decided to make a 'fancy' breakfast for me this morning, he tried for breakfast in bed but I deterred him because I was just too grumpy to accept that offer. So now the table is set with a cloth and crystal water goblets. This volatile boy is quietly directing traffic and not reacting badly to the interruptions and infringements of his younger siblings. It's bordering on miraculous.

There are so many thoughts that I'd like to share today I'm not sure where to start.

The trip!

Colorado Springs is a beautiful piece of God's creation - red rocks, plains, mountains, trees, snow and warm weather!
Compassion International
New Life Church (huge but a beautiful service)
Focus on the Family
Sasha's delight in his birthday party
Garden of the Gods - a wonderful drive or walk-through place created by God for us to marvel at - huge rock formations jutting out of the ground in random patterns.
The nice neighbors that gave us buckets of water for our last night in the cabin when we ran out of water.
We ran out only on the last night AFTER the washing machine had finished the rinse cycle.
Kaleidoscope - a neat little place that Hallmark Cards created for families to come and enjoy 45 minutes of unstructured free-for-all creativity with all their stuff - glow in the dark markers, melted crayon pictures, black light, puzzle makers, all kinds of ribbon, paper, shapes all in a kid-friendly environment - at no cost!!
International House of Prayer in Kansas City Missouri - they put on a conference called ONE THING at no cost to any registrant - there were 16,000 people there.
They took offerings for the poor, their costs were completely covered by the second night of the conference so they gave away a whole pile more, because they could.
Their philosophy of copyright is the right to copy, they just want the word of God to go forth with profit, all their teaching notes are there for our use.
Ministry to the children during the conference - for $30/child they were engaged in training at their level for each of the main sessions - if we had wanted to they could have been in there for 27 hours of training - not a bad deal I'd say!
Sasha and Elizabeth were too young to participate in the chilren's equipping time so they were with us and they did so amazingly well - that was a real gift.
Color Wonder - a gift to the parent of church-going toddlers.
God's safety as we travelled, an accident occurred right in front of us in the middle of the night, no one was injured, we just knew that our angelic host was right there with us - a benefit of having a big family - lots of angels!!
Minimal fighting and crankiness in the van as we travelled.
Hundereds of sweet memories to last us a lifetime.
Kelly's mom and dad invited us over on Sunday for the afternoon, what a lovely time, just enjoying each other's company and watching the cousins play.
A warm welcome home by our church family.
The amazing diversity in the family of God that calls us and trains us to do such different things.
The worship leaders at the conference were so good at taking us into the throne room, we brought two CDs back with us that lift us to the high place!
Wonderful hotel staff that always seemed friendly - even in the middle of the night.
The warm community of ladies that work together to make quilts for the less fortunate that I am blessed to be a part of - we had such a lovely time this week.
Hand-written letters from friends you haven't talked to in awhile. I got 2 of those this season and they moved my heart that was such a gift.
All of the other cards and letters that were sent were certainly a gift as well, so many pictures and accounts of God's blessing through the year - we are truly blessed to be on the receiving end of such wonderful friends. (Especially when we haven't sent out a single one this year!!)
Mornings when our little one wakes up with a dry diaper. That is happening more and more often, we are getting awfully close to no more diapers at all!!
Fun flannels that are being made into jammies for that same little girl.
Okay, last one for today (389) my omelet is ready and I am being called to the table. The rest will wait for another day.

The trip was fabulous, we weren't even anxious to get it over with! I am convinced that the best things about this trip were definately the free ones. They were gifts and I think I will list them as such...