Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Moving Day

Today, I have some exciting news!

No, no, no. I am NOT pregnant. Very funny.

Maybe I prefaced that wrong... I have some news to share that is very exciting to me. I have no idea whether it will turn your crank.

After much labor (pun intended) on the part of a couple very special women, my real, live, grown-up web site is ready to go!

E. Tyler Rowan

You'll notice that my website is .ca - that's because I'm Canadian. :) But, you'll also find it if you use .com. Go ahead, try it! Cool, eh? (I know. My adolescent excitement is a bit much.)

I do hope my giddiness hasn't scared you away from coming along with me on this interwebby move!

Technical Details:

If you are a regular reader here, and you get blog posts by following, through RSS feed, or via email, I'd love it if you headed over there and subscribed to the new feed!

But, if you're like me (lazy), you don't have to. From now on, when you come here, you'll get sent there. And if you subscribe through my feedburner feed, I do believe you'll get forwarded. Dontcha just love it when you don't have to do any work?!

However... If you do not get a post delivered to you tomorrow through whatever feed means you use, please remember me and subscribe to the new site! (You never know when those technical glitches will affect things.)

Just to make sure they get their props:

Thank you so much to Holly of Crown Laid Down Designs. She is responsible for all that you see on the new site, with the exception of the words. Holly has spent many hours over the past two weeks dealing with my constant emails asking to switch this and tweak that. She is incredibly patient and detailed, and she was not satisfied until I was utterly in love with every detail! If we met in person, I just know we'd get along fantastically!

And a special thanks to my friend, Louise, of real life, Facebook, and Twitter, without whom I wouldn't have even begun to try. Louise patiently sat with me for hours (in a hotel room with sketchy wifi access), holding my hand through the process of starting up a wordpress page, cheering me on every time I wanted to cry and give up. Her confidence and creative genius convinced me that "I can do it!" I love you, Louise. Not just for all your help, but for who you are.

And to my old friend Blogger... I thank you for making it easy for me to get my thoughts out there onto the world wide web. And for being free. And for being easy to use. In spite of your limitations and technical difficulties, I will forever have fond memories of you.

So, what're you waiting for? Go check it out!

1. My blog was imported over there a while ago for testing purposes, so it's missing a few posts. It will be totally up-to-date by tomorrow morning when my new post is up.
2. Also, if you're like me and you hate the "click to continue reading" thingie, you'll notice a tab for Blog along the top of the page. To avoid the "click to..." and to not see my little "welcome window" (as I fondly refer to it) every time you visit, you can either subscribe (via RSS or email) or add the blog page to your favourites. Does that make sense?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pouring Out

We've all heard it said, "We can't pour out until we're filled up."

It's our way of saying that, unless we're close to God ourselves, we can't really bring His love into the lives of others.

Or perhaps it's our excuse to delay sharing His love with the world until we feel perfectly prepared and equipped.

Here is a statement that I believe to be more accurate...

Until we empty ourselves, pouring out in service of others, there's no room for God to pour into us.

Think of mixing a pitcher of juice. The pitcher starts out empty and is filled. But even before that initial filling up, the goal is to empty the pitcher. The juice is poured out, cup after cup, until the pitcher is empty. We don't try to keep the pitcher in a perpetually full state. And if we try to refill it when it's only partially empty, the result is often juice that is either too sweet or too weak. But if we fill up cups until the pitcher is empty, it is in the perfect state to be refilled with fresh, cold, perfectly-mixed fruity goodness.

Perhaps we just need to begin emptying ourselves and loving others, regardless of how "filled up" we feel. And through the act of pouring ourselves out, we will discover the true refreshment that comes when God fills us back up.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I recall a few times in my life when I was truly 'others focused.'

I thought about how I could bless someone else before I thought about what I wanted. If a friend was in need, I would sacrifice my own desires in order to be there for them. I was open and listening to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit, even though adjusting my own plans was an inconvenience.

I had a heart to serve others. But it appears I had an undiagnosed heart attack along the way.

These days, serving others seems to be the exception to the rule.

The rule: Convenience, comfort, my plans, my timeline... Self.

My schedule is pretty full, so instead of dropping the housework in order to join a friend at the playground we fumble around trying to schedule a coffee/play date in a gap in our calendars. I don't have any $1 or $2 coins handy - only the $50 bill I've set aside to put in a wedding card - so I tell the man humbly begging for money in the grocery store parking lot that I'm sorry. I've grown weary and discouraged of being the sole initiator in a couple relationships, so I just gave up and let go.

Sure, there have been moments mixed in there... Moments of generosity, of self-sacrifice, of offering up my time and resources to serve others. But having spent great lengths of time in a culture of 'giving life' to others, I'm no longer satisfied with moments.

The occasional generosity lesson won't teach me all that God wants me to learn; I need full immersion.

The longer we walk with God, the more willingly we serve and obey Him, the less satisfied we become with a life that is anything less than radical.

We grow restless when we feel 'settled,' because we've experienced the Holy Spirit inspired rush that comes with living a life of sacrifice. We are dissatisfied with mediocre, for our hearts have lived the passionate outpouring of full-out serving God and others.

So as I seek (once again) to live a life that leaves me unsettled but inspired, self-sacrificial but passionate, uncomfortable yet wildly blessed, this verse thrums in my spirit...

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
~ Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing...nothing...not even one thing. Value others above yourself. Do nothing - no, not a single thing - with selfish motivations. Nothing...

It's a challenge issued to us - believers. A challenge to "up our game." To serve wholeheartedly rather than half-heartedly. To be willing to give up some self for the love of others.

I've decided to accept the challenge. Will you?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dinner Table Chatter

At the supper table last night, Pat was asking each of the kids about their day. He came up with the idea of asking them if they had done something loving for someone else.

A couple of the kids named things like playing with the new student in class and sharing a toy. A couple of them couldn't think of anything.

Tables turned, and the kids asked us if we had done anything loving during the day. Pat replied that he hadn't, but he would work on it.

I was about to voice the same sentiment. I worked, I came home, but I wasn't especially kind or thoughtful to anyone.

But before I finished speaking, Shea piped up, "You got me a drink!"

Megan shouted (if you know Meg, you know that nothing she says is particularly subdued), "You made supper!"

Abbey, Braeden, and Kai all named things, too. They spoke at the same time, so all I heard was, "You clean/laundry/help/dishes/cook/bathrooms [garbledegook]!"

They were mostly naming my jobs around the house, so I felt compelled to correct them. I think it was the guilt - because I do all those things, but not necessarily with love in my heart.

But when Shea proclaimed, "Wow, Mom! You sure do a lot of stuff!" everyone's laughter would have drowned out my objections.

Don't you just love those family moments filled with laughter?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Everyday Offering

Take your everyday, ordinary life -
your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life -
and place it before God as an offering.
~ Romans 12:1 (Msg)

I often feel like I need to offer God something big. That if I don't make a massive sacrifice, I'm not really loving and serving Him.

But I'm beginning to think that this way of thinking is actually more selfish than self-sacrificial.

The grand gesture is...well...grand. It's an event. It's notable. It often brings us glory. Oh, look how willing they are to serve God! It's, dare I say, easier.

Easier than...

...choosing not to call the driver who keeps braking for green lights an idiot.

...turning away from the dishes to make eye contact with a child telling you an nonsensical story.

...taking time to talk to God before sitting down with email, Facebook, TV, etc. - daily.

...thanking your husband for all that he does and choosing to hold your tongue on those things you wish he'd do differently.

...heading to work with joy in your heart and on your face, even if (or especially if) your job stinks.

It's easier to go on a big diet for a month than to change your eating habits every day for the rest of your life.

But God isn't satisfied with our crash diet acts of service. He longs for our everyday, our ordinary. The daily laying down of our own wants, our bad habits, and our selfish attitudes - these are the offerings He desires.

This is the hard stuff, the true sacrifice... An everyday offering.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Musings of a Working Mom

Sitting in front of a computer for five hours each day brings with it an inexplicable sense of exhaustion.

Not only is it difficult to cook supper after working, it's next to impossible to decide what supper should be!

Children really do thrive when given responsibilities, and will usually rise to meet your expectations.

When your work is all at the computer, you lack any desire to sit in front of the computer at home.

Suddenly, your husband's need for a few minutes of "alone time" right after work makes a lot more sense.

Sometimes, a movie marathon weekend is the best idea for family fun.

Packing lunch the day before is vital if one wants to eat during her half hour lunch break.

If you can't do laundry daily (or even every few days), you better pray everyone has enough clothing to keep them going for a week.

When laundry is only done weekly, it is an all-day marathon.

When do working moms wash bedding?!

Date night at home becomes more appealing than date night out. (At home you can wear exercise pants and sprawl on the couch.)

You are awe-struck by the working moms who do it forty hours per week. Especially single moms. Wow. Heroes.


On a little side note... So far, I am really enjoying my job! There is a lot to learn, but I feel like I'm "getting it." I've always loved planning events, so the fact that we're all working towards one big event is highly motivating.

Through a series of God-ordained circumstances, I am actually working in a different position than originally planned; I am the Speaker/Artist Coordinator. My job is to help find speakers and musicians for the conference, then to keep in touch with them and their needs. How cool is that?!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Malakai's Birthday Blessing

A birthday blessing for you, my baby boy. The one we named with God's purpose and plan in mind. (Malakai means "messenger of God.")

Malakai, I pray that you will know and do all that the LORD requires of you.
And what does the LORD requires of you?
To act justly
and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. 
~ Micah 6:8 (NIV)

* I have decided to find a verse of blessing to pray over each of my children this year. On their birthdays (or - ahem - this Christmas), I will give each child his/her verse in a frame to hang above his/her bed. Have you ever done something like this for your kids?