Saturday, February 28, 2009

Now This is a Diet Plan Worth Trying!

Here's the MSNBC article; check out the video, too.

The Plan:
- get 7 1/2 hours of sleep each night
- no caffiene after 2:30pm
- no alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime

After 10 weeks, the women who experimented with this method had lost between 7 and 15 pounds (and the one who lost 7 was already skinny!).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All the Growing Up

We have entered into a new phase in our family - one where mom no longer has to do everything.

Today, I was able to send Abbey to the downstairs fridge to bring up a jug of milk.

Braeden's new daily job is to take out the garbage and recycling.

All four of the bigger kids are taking their plates to the counter after a meal. Whoever is done last takes Kai's plate (that's usually Meg, she's a good eater).

Shea likes to help me with the Windex.

Meg loves to dust with the little electro-static Swiffer duster.

Every job I do has become less mine, and I love it! To be honest, I don't completely love the help all the time - let's be real, kids helping is often more like "teaching hour" than anything resembling productive. What I do love is seeing the pride on their faces at a job well done. Each child is developing a sense of ownership over his or her chores. And seeing a sibling working hard at a task inspires the others to do likewise. What's not to love? Well, except for that nasty part of step-by-step training them in the tasks...

I also discovered another great idea today! It's very crazy to try to do three kids completely different homework at once. With Meg just learning to read, she needs my full attention as she reads her book. But I really needed Braeden and Abbey to practice their spelling words. So, I handed Braeden Abbey's list and Abbey Braeden's. I told them to take turns reading each other a word that they could spell out on their paper.

Not only did this ingenious idea save me time and energy, it was amazing for Braeden's speech! He had to concentrate so hard on pronouncing each word clearly enough that Abbey would know what it was, and if she couldn't understand she just asked again and again until he said it in a way that she got it. Never again will I do spelling practice with my children.

I must say, the mourning period over the "I'm never again going to have another wee, tiny, beautiful baby" might just be coming to an end. This growing up, it is neat stuff!

The Anger

It's a palpable presence, overtaking the room, sucking away the air.
Turning the heart black, choking out the love.
Vision grows blurry, each sound intensified - echos.
The anger weaves in and out, around and around.
Taunting, calling out, whispering, nudging.
One thing, then the next, the pressure builds.
Arms spread, mouth opens, welcomes it. Invites it.
Releases it.
In its wake, emptiness.
A vacuum of silence. Tears of devastation.
Windswept and weary, emotions pool and puddle.
The Anger - life-killer, joy-stealer, pain-bearer.
What must we do to cease its wrath?
Release. Let go. Turn it over.
Only He.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to my BFF

Tomorrow is a special day - it's my BFF's birthday. Some years we let one another's birthdays pass quietly, but this year I wanted to take some time to think about why we've been friends so long.

We have been friends now for about 10 1/2 years. It started in college - I sought her out in the study lounge. I was a young mother in a place where mothers were those bossy people who gave you trouble for wasting away reading week drinking beer. I spent my first year of college awkwardly not fitting in with anyone I tried to hang out with. But then, in one of my child psychology classes, a girl piped up about the differences in girls and boys, and used her own FOUR children as an example! I wasted no time in finding and befriending her.

By the third year of our degree, we were planning our class schedules together and our university instructors referred to us as the "Bobsy Twins." Though it's difficult to be that inseparable now, with our children at such different ages and stages, my heart remains inseparable from hers.

Christine and I have a tradition where she creates an amazing, upright Barbie cake for my little girls' fourth birthdays. The final one will be this April. Since boys aren't usually into Barbie, she created a race track cake for Braeden's fifth (and I'm assuming Kai won't be left out). My tradition with her kids is a little less crafty - I phone on random birthdays and sing an off-key version of the birthday song. It's been done at least once for each kid (they love it, I'm sure).

She loves my children like her own. So much so, that she firmly disciplines them when they give her guff. Her parents gave my kids a Christmas gift this year, and I know that they pray for me like they do for her. Her kids know better than to let me hear about it if they've been getting into trouble at school - it will promptly be reported to their mother and we will delight in their discipline together (LOL).

When she comes over for coffee (which hasn't been nearly often enough lately - hint, hint), she'll help me clean the kitchen or fold laundry. She babysat yesterday while I was parent helper at school, and I came home to find the dishes done and laundry switched and folded. She's so gifted at practical helps that she doesn't even realize it's a gift! I am the pain in her butt that pushes her to get out and do fun stuff more often. Sometimes it means rounding up those kids of hers and feeding the herd at my place so she'll go for dinner with her hubby. Other times it means shoving movie tickets into her frugal hands.

She pulled me out of the pits of parenting disaster when I felt like I was melting down and could take no more. I argued and debated with her until she found her way back to God. She cheered me on...I cheered her on.

We balance each other out in so many ways. She toughens me up as a Mom, and I loosen her up a bit. Over the years, I've become less of a soft touch and she's learned to cry more often. She taught me to be more frugal with my money, and I'm still teaching her to splurge every now and then. She tries to make me watch over my children more closely, I try to make her let hers go a little further. In so many ways we're polar opposites, but less so after nearly 11 years.

We have prayed each other through some serious valleys, and called each other back from our desert lands. We celebrate one another's victories, and refuse to let the other settle into defeat. We laugh, we cry, we sit in silence, we even argue occasionally. Friendship is beautiful and messy.

There seem to be seasons where I feel as though I am the taker - I am dry thirsty grass and she spends her days pouring water on me. Then we reverse roles. And there are the seasons of other busy-ness that keep us distant from each other. Over the years, I have lost track of who's done what how often. I think that's the way God intended it to be. Friendship is not a score card. (And I suspect if I had a score card I would be busily and frantically trying to keep up.)
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, [her] friend can help [her] up. But pity the [wo]man who falls and has no one to help [her] up! Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
Happy birthday, my friend. You....complete me. :) (Did I mention that we're both suckers for a good, cheesy, teary movie? Yup, we're even going out to one tonight!)

P.S. As her birthday gift, I am going to sit on the phone with that silly girl all morning and get her blog started up. I'll add a link so you can all go meet her as soon as we're up and running.

Monday, February 23, 2009

An Important Reminder About Priorities

I heard a story once about a woman in in ministry who had a dream one night. In her dream, the Lord came to her and took her up on a hill overlooking a valley. Standing in the valley were the thousands of people who had come to know the Lord through her ministry. as she stood there beside the Lord, surveying all the people, she thought, "It doesn't get any better than this." She looked over at the Lord and tried to imagine what He was thinking. Eagerly, she waited for Him to lavish her with praise for a job well done. Imagine her surprise when He extended His hand, gesturing to the mass of people below and asked her, "Where are your children?"

* An excerpt from For the Write Reason, edited by Marybeth Whalen.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Be Glorified

I want my children to love God. I want them to love His Word and discover the life, healing, and power within it. I want them to love people and treat them with compassion and kindness.

But more than anything on earth - tears fill my eyes as I write this - I want glory to come to God through them.

I want a thousand things for my children, and I ask without hesitation, but I want nothing more than that God would be glorified. Life is just a breath. All that will matter forever in our heavenly state is the glory that came to God through their lives and ours.

* Taken from "Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith all Year Long" by Beth Moore (a devotional book).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Was Here, But Now I'm Gone

Since I know tone doesn't always carry well in the written word, please allow me to set the tone of this post for you: dry, sarcastic, a combination of amused and irritated, slightly mocking in a way that is not unkind, and mostly just designed to fill the vacancy left by the last post. :)

You may have noticed a post here this morning entitled "The Name Game."

In case you didn't notice, it is now gone.

Apparently having some personal info on here (yeah, like I haven't given you all a lot of personal info as it is) created stress (not for me). So, being the submissive and obedient girl that I am, I have chosen to remove that post. Not because of the information about me, but because it contained information about others.

So now it's gone, and you can all breathe a big sigh of relief that not many people at all read this and learned my mother's maiden name, my first pet's name, my second favourite colour.

Anyone who reads me regularly, though, likely knows who I (really) am and where I'm from...and I'm okay with that. I really don't believe I have a lot to fear from a few stay-at-home mothers and women's ministry leaders as far as hunting me down and stealing my used vehicle (of which you can also probably find the make and model listed somewhere in my archives, along with a great picture)!

Except, you really couldn't steal my vehicle anyway. It appears to have decided I am a thief and has gotten itself locked in anti-theft mode. Apparently, even with the keys that contain a special microchip that works with this - and only this - vehicle, it will not allow itself to be started and/or stolen. Mwahahahahahah - your pernicious plans have been foiled! (Erm, along with any plans I may have come up with for this weekend.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

The God Chronicles - 02/20/09

If you have never heard of the God Chronicles, you can read this post to find out what it's all about. The short version is that we are making note of God's fingerprints in our lives.

I would love it if you'd join in! Please check out "the rules" about the hows and whatfors of linking up. The two key things to remember are: link to the actual post you've written for TGC, not just your blog; and please link back to me and this post in your post, to send your readers my way if they want to read more TGC stories.

Mr. Linky will be ready and waiting for you to join in until 9pm MST.


For my story today, I am linking back to an old post. Partly, because I haven't got anything new and exciting to write (or maybe I'm just too lazy to write it). Partly because it's a great story of how God uses the people in our lives to bless us, to correct us, and to encourage us.

Please read Undeserving and then use your back button to return to this GCH post and leave me a comment! Because you know I'm a junkie for that comment love...

The God Chronicles Participants
1. Hope@Pinkadoodledoo

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Friday, February 20th.

Linkies open from dawn until dusk (my time).

Don't forget to write your post, link up, refer your readers back here, and share how God is working in your life!

For more info on The God Chronicles...

P.S. New post is here (or below). :)

Time is in His Hands

Just a quick follow-up to yesterday's post about allowing God to schedule my time.

First - It is waaaaay harder than I though it would be to pause after each activity and ask God what to do next! I'm in the habit of running my own days, so when I complete one task I keep catching myself just flowing into the next logical thing. It is taking a conscious effort to take that minute and seek God.

Second - I sometimes like my own plan better than God's! He keeps telling me, "no, today is not the day to plan out your trip." I really just want to sit here for a couple hours, plot out my map on mapquest, find hotels/cabins/vacation rentals, book, and have all the details settled. But it wasn't on God's list either yesterday or today.

Third - It is totally amazing to me how God can ensure I get all the important and urgent stuff taken care of in one short day! Amazing...

Here is yesterday's list...
- pick up fresh produce - not today
- go to bank - not today
- write for book - not today
- exercise - yes
- meet with ministry co-worker - yes
- sort out ministry binder - yes
- mail out e-News - delegate
- put away laundry - yes
- vacuum, sweep & wash - just s&w kitchen
- plan out Disney trip - not today
- retreat meeting - yes
- send out reference letter - yes
- Bible time - of course, first

* Of course, a few things not on my list of "to dos" came up throughout the day - dealing with emails, phone calls, feeding people, etc. I tried to take a moment each time another task popped into my head to ask the Lord about it.

It was neat, because during my quiet morning time, I really felt I needed to go exercise before the kids needed to get ready for school, but God told me to just stay and hang out with Him a while longer. He assured me He'd provide time to exercise later. Once two kids were off, the other three settled in for a movie and I was able to go for a good 20 minutes on my new (to me) recumbent bike. If you can believe it, there was time for me to do all of the "yeses" plus do lunch, play "Guess Who" with kiddos, do supper, receive and reply to more than 50 emails, and I even read a novel for 15 minutes!

I am a bit frustrated and confused that He has told me for two days in a row NOT to write, as I have also felt nudged that I'm supposed to be spending some dedicated time writing. When?! I know He can make enough time, and give me the words so the writing goes quickly, but I'd just like to have it all mapped out a little more clearly. Ha! I guess He'll tell me when to write.

Now, as much as I would like to surf the net and plotting out my map, I just took a moment to seek guidance and it's time to get something ready for supper. Then I'm interviewing 2 potentials for childcare providers, and God did tell me to vacuum today...

Fourth - Now I know why the Lord commanded us to take the Sabbath day and rest! He wants us to busy working all day. After six days like this, I am going to savour a day of rest!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God Makes Time

Have you ever wondered, "how will I ever get it all done?"

We have so much to do in each day, so many activities and obligations packed into our weeks. It's a symptom of our ADD, over-stimulated, immediate gratification society. Some would argue that we need to remove ourselves from society's mindset, but I'm not sure that would solve the problem. In fact, if we aren't keeping up (in our work, ministry, family life) with the rest of society, we're likely to encounter other problems.

So how can we live IN this world (and function at the level required to do so), without becoming OF this world?

I believe the first distinction is how we establish our priorities. I have found, by trial and error, that setting my heart on God and His ways first thing each morning has the power to alter my entire day. If I start out taking time with Him, the many other things that require my time that day tend to get done. If I start out my day on my own strength, though, I spend the next fifteen hours feeling as though I am one step behind.

Romans 12:2 says, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. Taking time each morning to renew my mind helps establish His priorities for my day, rather than my own.

This week I am taking an experiment in life. Each morning, after my coffee time with Jesus, I am going to make a list of all the things I think I need to accomplish for the day. Then I'm going to ask the Lord to show me what to keep, what to move to another day, what to toss altogether, and what to add. Once I have turned over my list into His (much more) capable hands, I am going to ask Him, "Lord, what do you want me to do now?" At the conclusion of each activity, I'll ask that question again. I can't wait to see how He uses my time!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Criteria for Choosing a Husband

Pat and I don't "do" Valentine's Day. We came to the agreement a few years ago that it seemed foolish to make a big deal about a random day. (Don't worry, we still buy heart-shaped candy for the kids and make heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. They're not deprived.) At some point in our relationship, though, we both realized that we are not the kind of people who are big on showy displays as a means for demonstrating our love and affection.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good gift! I melt for a special date that has been all planned out (right down to the childcare) by my love. But to insist that it needs to happen on a particular day in February seems like a waste of time and effort. And money. I mean, we just did Christmas for seven, then my birthday!

That being said, there was a time that these types of traditions and trappings were very important to me. The amount of effort a boy would put into planning out a special Valentine's surprise was a clear indication of his love and devotion. Wasn't it? For fun, I am going to share the tale of my worst Valentine's day ever.

I was just out of high school, dating a guy who I was thinking might be "the one" (who was I kidding, every guy I ever met between the ages of 12 and 18 was measured against my list of criteria). We had been dating about four months, and I just knew that he would have something special up his sleeve for me.

It was not a good sign when, at 4pm on Valentine's day, he asked me where I would like to go for dinner. In my most sugary-sweet voice, I suggested that we should probably go to whichever restaurant he had made reservations at two weeks ago (when I not-so-subtly reminded him of the upcoming day of love). He assured me that he had an infallible plan, and I should just go get dolled-up and ready to go.

He picked me up an hour later, and we proceeded to drive, stopping at each and every restaurant in our path. For two hours I endured the torture of his impromptu plan. Eventually, he accepted the inevitable - we would not get in to a restaurant on this particular evening. I was right and he was wrong (story of my life, ask Pat).

His next grand plan, "Why don't we just go hang out at the bar?" I suggested that the fool drop me off there, where I would spend the remainder of my Valentine's evening waiting to meet my new boyfriend - one who would love me enough to plan ahead for special days! (All the nice guys are found in the bars, right?)

Our break-up came close on the heels of this ill-fated Valentine's date. Now, I'm not saying that I am the kind of girl who just dumped boys willy-nilly on the basis of shallow things such as forgetting to plan ahead. But, we did break up. I'm just sayin'.

Anyone else got a great (terrible) Valentine's story? If not, I am willing to accept submissions of wonderful Valentine's dates, as well. Share your story in the comments.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Q & A

I am speaking on this topic today for our women's group, and I thought I'd "poll the audience" (of two, lol)...

What is beautiful?


Who sets the standard?

What makes you feel beautiful?

Describe the last time you felt beautiful.

Anticipating your answers in the comments...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So I Don't Forget

I love watching my children's personalities develop. It will be fun to see if some of the characteristics that are peeking through now will endure as they grow up.

Braeden (10) loves long and hard. Periodically, he will get a little teary-eyed and share with me that he misses something or someone. This includes: the red van (our very first van that we sold when he was three years old), his friend C (who we lived next door to in our old house - more than three years ago), his old teacher, a stuffed animal we "lost," and so on.

Abbey (7)has a heart for God and a love of His Word. Her favourite bedtime reading is her early reader's Bible. Yesterday, she spent over an hour scurrying about the house cleaning up - supper dishes, toys, laundry... Apparently the lesson from Sunday school this week was about serving your family.

Megan (5) is a leader in the making. She loves to be the organizer (read: boss) of any fun and games in the house. When it's going her way, she is the most fun person to be around, full of contagious giggles and silliness. When things are not going her way, everyone (in the entire neighbourhood) knows!

Shea (3) is still fairly young and a bit harder to read. I see in her a tender heart that is easily hurt, coupled with a forgiving nature that never holds a grudge. There are glimpses of a generosity of spirit that strains against her natural three-year-old inclination to say everything is "mine!."

Malakai (1) has a twinkle of mischief in his eyes. You can see that he is fully aware when he is doing a "no no," yet he gets a little half-smile, a twinkle in his eye, and watches you as he does it anyway. We may be in trouble with this one!

It will be fun to revisit this post in a year or two, or five, and see where these five little personalities are at.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Wandered Down the Rabbit Trail for a Couple Days

If you're wondering where I've been lately...

I have been having far too much fun and excitement planning things (and far too little productivity on anything else remotely important).

Our team has been working out the details of our upcoming women's retreat.

I have been planning and booking for a trip that four of our team members are taking to She Speaks.

And of course, I have been plotting out the family Disney adventure!

Tomorrow, I have two goals:
#1 - write something interesting for the blog, and
#2 - clean the house! (Because it is very, very scary around here, people.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

He Equips

Is the Lord calling you to do something for Him? Do you put if off, saying "I'm not qualified...I'm not prepared...I can't..."? Here's His response to me and my excuses.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. ~Hebrews 13:20-21

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Heart of a Man, The Heart of a Woman

Today I'd like to share some things I learned at the Break Forth Conference last weekend. Specifically, from John and Stasi Eldredge. I've read their companion books, "Wild at Heart" and "Captivating," and they really changed the way I thought about men and women. When I heard them speak on these topics on the weekend, their words resonated for my children.

The foundation of their message rested in "male and female He created them" in His own image (Gen 1:27). The deep down heart of a man, his passions and desires, the things that drive him - those are given by God. The very spirit of a woman, her longings and loves, the things that bring her to tears - given by that same God. We were both created in God's image, and both are good (Gen 1:31).

The Heart of a Man (and Boy):

Eldredge shares three longings of the heart of a man... Man longs for a an adventure to live. An adventure is the man's answer to the question of his soul, "do I have what it takes?" Living the adventure brings him alive. He desires a battle to fight (Exodus 15:3 says the Lord is a warrior). For some the longing for battle is not obvious (for example, the man who doesn't love paintball), but shows itself loud and clear in other situations (such as when a "stupid person" is driving ahead of him. The third cry of a man's heart is for a beauty to rescue.

If these desires are not filled, a man (or boy) will go underground to fulfill them. (This statement rocked my world.)

For my sons, I understood this to mean that they need to be allowed to experience adventure. Even when my mother's heart may want to keep them close and safe, I need to encourage them to try new things, to challenge themselves and push their personal limits. I need to send the message, "you have what it takes."

The Heart of a Woman (and Girl):

Stasi E. tells us that there are three core passions straight from a woman's heart... She wants to be wooed and won, pursued and fought for, wanted, seen and delighted in. Isn't that the truth?! I found myself nodding a lot during her talk. A woman longs to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure. The key here is not the adventure (as it is for the man), but the irreplaceable role - a woman does not want to be merely "useful" in her role, but vital. A woman's heart cry is to unveil beauty and bring it to the world. Every little girl puts on a dress, twirls in a circle, and says, "Do you see me? Don't I look beautiful?"

If these desires are not filled, a woman (or girl) will turn to the men/boys around her to fulfill them.

For my daughters, this tells me that when they are asking for my attention it is because they need me to look at them - they need to be seen and admired. Their hearts long for affection. Even in the midst of the busy life, I need to stop, turn around, look, and answer the question, "Yes, I do see you. You are so beautiful."

As much as I can do to foster my children's hearts, though, the role of their father will be what changes their lives. He is the one who teaches our sons to go to battle in the face of injustice, he is the one who's affection brings our girls delight. He is the one who shows them who the Father is. I can direct them in the way of the Father, I can encourage them and cheer them on, but he can actually show them who the Father is.

What does this mean for the fatherless among us? (I was one of them...) For me, it brings home the importance of the role a man plays in the development of our children. It means that if their father is gone, we need to pray and seek a "surrogate" father for them. What about Grandpa, or an uncle? Maybe a friend's husband?

All I know for sure is this - men and women, boys and girls have these built-in desires, given by God. Somehow, we need to find a way to direct them to Christ for their hearts' fulfillment. Because if their desires are not met in Christ, they will seek to fill up through the filth of this world.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Dear blog,

I am sorry for neglecting you. I have not been giving you the attention you deserve. You have been the recipient of my rushed and scattered thoughts, with little of quality or substance.

Please forgive me, for I have been busy on google, researching this...

You see, dear blog, if I don't get out of this cold and wintry place very soon, I just may lose my mind altogether. And if that were to happen, well, you'd be forever neglected.

Now, at the end of March, I will be able to fill your little cyber-space with glorious pictures and tales from The Most Wonderful, Magical Place on Earth!

So please forgive me, my blog. I promise to make it right.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Life Changing

I was struck this weekend, when Pat sent an email to a friend and mentor, and he used the words "life changing" to describe the conference. That phrase came and whacked me upside the head.

God was speaking, ministering, soothing, and calling to us. Yet that phrase hadn't sprung from my lips. When and how did I allow the experience of intimacy with God become a routine thing? The guilt came...

In the solitude of the hotel morning, I talked to Him about this. Have I allowed my faith to become rote? Is my relationship with Him stale? Why am I not knocked over in amazement as I hear Him speak?

His truth came...

Are you surprised by the voice of your best friend on the phone? Do you feel shocked and amazed that she called you? Or did you simply know that she would - because you speak to her all the time?

Life changing has become a way of life. I expect to be changed. I count on it and claim it. And He never lets me down.

Each person's faith walk is characterized differently. Some have those "ah-ha" moments, some hear the rolling thunder, some have ups and downs like a roller-coaster ride, and some walk quietly, slow and steady. "It's neither right nor wrong, just different."

What does your walk with God look like these days?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dear Abbey,

Yesterday was your special day, and Thursday is your special party, so I decided to write you a little letter in-between.

Happy birthday, Abs! I cannot believe it was seven whole years ago that you were born.

As you grow up, I simply love your hunger to learn. Hearing you read brings me such joy; a love for reading is one special thing you and I have in common. Helping you find the answers to your questions about God is an honour. Being your Mom has brought so much wonder into my life!

Abbey, you make me laugh with your shy (and very witty) sense of humour. I love that you are confident enough to laugh at yourself, too. Remember when you tripped and fell into the paddling pool in our backyard? I can hear your giggles in my head when I think about it.

Thank-you for being you, and for loving me. You are a special girl and one of my very best friends. I love you, Abbey Dawn. Happy 7th birthday.


P.S. It makes me a bit sad that you don't call me Mama anymore, but it's just another one of those milestones that marks your growth.

P.P.S. In case I haven't said it lately, you are beautiful. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

For Today

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
~ Psalm 100:2