Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em

Best summer recipe down at the bottom. Oops. If you are visiting from WFMW, consider the home reno thought a bonus! :-)

Some thoughts on do-it-yourself home renovations...

Doing it yourself will always take longer and cost more than you expect or plan for. When we began gutting the basement in May, I was telling people that our expected completion date was the end of June. Ha! My new, more realistic, six times revised date of completion - mid-August. My only goal is to have the kids moved at least one week before school starts.

It is worthwhile to weigh the the time expense of doing some jobs yourself versus the financial costs of having a contractor take care of them. We got new (larger) windows for the basement. The labour costs to have them professionally installed were in the ballpark of $700-800. This job is one that will easily be completed in one day by my very capable husband and father-in-law. On the other hand, the mudder/taper that we hired (this is one task that I believe MUST be done professionally or you will be left forever regretting it) also offered to hang the drywall board. His costs for this task are $800. My workin' guys estimated this task at roughly two weeks worth of work (evenings and weekends). Two weeks. Um, yeah, $800to cut two weeks of work down to two days - totally worth it!

Here are some updated pictures to show that we really are making progress down there...

Look at all the pretty insulation!

A newer, larger window (this one is actually big enough for someone to climb out of, if necessary).

This is what 108 sheets of drywall looks like! Installation is scheduled to begin either Friday or Monday (depending on when our contractor finishes moving his family to their new home).

Bathroom. And no, the toilet will not remain in the tub permanently, lol.

My little laundry room right at the bottom of the stairs. And it now has a handy pocket door attached to it!

Doing it yourself, and knowing when not to do it yourself, for home renovations - this works for me! For more WFMW, check out We are THAT Family.

(Okay, I apologize. I totally suck. Apparently this week was a themed WFMW on "best summer recipes." So to make it right, here is my best summer recipe::
- buy a large watermelon at your local grocery store
- cut into slices, then take several pieces and mush them up
- add to 1L of orange juice
- mix in blender
- pour into popsicle moulds
- freeze
Voila! Yummy real fruit popsicles. *grin*)

For earlier updates and to track our progress...

Gold Nuggets

So yes, I did promise updated renovation pictures today. I lied. Not intentionally, of course, but I got busy with laundry and dishes and email. Thus, the pictures did not get taken. Sometime this week then -okay?

I've decided instead to share my nuggets of learning from Sunday's sermon (in point form, because I am notsomuch in good writing mode this early morn), based in Deuteronomy 4-6.

- refusing to trust God results in us forfeiting our claim to the Promised Land

- there is an unending chain of influence through the generations

- we each have a responsibility to invest spiritually in suceeding generations to ensure continuation of Biblical fairth in the One True God and the fulfillment of His mission on earth

- one of the biggest hinderances in people's pursuit of bold faith is their parents ("You can't go to Africa, it's too dangerous!" "Maybe you should have a back-up plan in case this ministry thing doesn't work out." etc.)

- four things we can do to mentor the next generation: share God's stories (past and present); model the blessing of obedience; let our love for God show; encourage bold faith; mentor young leaders (um, that's five - the last one is a freebie)

This just wouldn't be my blog if I didn't tell you what all this means for me...

1. The God Chronicles is a darn good idea! And more of you should participate. Mmmkay?

2. I need to be telling my children about those tough things we do to walk in obedience.

3. I should stop being such a wuss when it comes to sharing my faith and stepping out in faith. I am so easily swayed by "what will s/he think," "so-and-so won't agree with this," "I don't want to stir things up," etc. Bold faith is not being afraid to give Jesus the credit, even when I'm around others who won't 'get it.' Bold faith is about doing what God tells me to do, when He tells me to do it, and not hesitating because I'm afraid that friends/family will think I'm crazy. (I mean, look what happened to all those people who thought Noah was crazy! I'm just sayin'.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Crazy Mom

You may have noticed (or not) that I was absent for a few days. Those days were filled with basement progress and some warm weather/ outdoor pool fun. (I'll pop up some pics of the reno tomorrow.)

Last night, we had a slightly spontaneous girls' night out. By "slightly" I mean that some of us (yes, me) needed a little more than one hour's notice, but were able to pull it off with a day's notice.

I was positively giddy as I bid my family good-night and headed out the door! I think I even made Pat giggle. It has been a while...

We enjoyed far too much food, a bit of shoe shopping, and a very girly movie. By "very" I mean that the entire theatre echoed with the sounds of women sniffling, nose blowing, and giggling at themselves through their tears.

We saw My Sister's Keeper. I would give it two thumbs up for story line and emotional satisfaction, but one thumb down (if I had three thumbs, that is) for using the Lord's name in vain repeatedly (even the children in the movie) and a bit of teenage sexuality. If you haven't heard of it, the story is that of a girl who was conceived with the purpose of being a donor to save her older sister from cancer.

The ethical ramifications of genetically engineering a baby in order to help save your other child are huge. Regardless of whether or not I would take those same measures, though, I understood that mother's heart.

Throughout the movie, this mother was depicted as a little crazed and highly controlling. When her children or husband tried to express a view that did not match hers, you could feel the tension in the theatre as we all waited for the explosion. I know there were people watching the movie thinking to themselves, "That woman is nuts! I can't believe she's doing this! She is going to destroy her family and ruin her children forever." I know it because those same thoughts crossed my mind.

But at this one moment where she lost all control, I had a revelation. She wasn't a crazy woman out to control everyone's lives. She was afraid. Terrified. This was a mother whose greatest fear - losing a child - was playing out in front of her eyes. And she was doing everything she could to not let her child slip away.

My heart moved from judgement to a deep compassion. I understood that fear...those reactions. On a much smaller scale, I became her only a few short weeks ago when faced with Braeden's school change.

We women are so hard on one another, so quick to judge. Yet the things we criticise in other women are so often things we ourselves think, say, or do - and we hate them (and ourselves for them).

How much more willing would I be to come alongside another woman if I viewed her actions from a heart of compassion instead of my pedestal of judgement? How much lighter would her burden feel if I encouraged her rather than looked down on her?

Next time I see a mother parenting in a way that I don't understand or agree with, I hope I will remember that I could be just one tiny life change away from being in her shoes. In fact, I've been the crazy mom before; it just depends on the day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two more days left...

...until school's out for summer! Yahoo!

The kids can't wait to be allowed to stay up later. I can't wait for them to sleep in later. And none of us can wait to chill at the beach doing nothing. Ahhhhh, sweet nothing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ths God Chronicles - 06/24/09

The God Chronicles is a blogging carnival where we link up and share the stories of how we have seen God working in our lives. We do this because we believe in the importance of writing down and recording our "God sightings" - both so that we will remember them, and so that they can be passed down to our children. Our stories are also an encouragement to others, so that they can see that our God is real and that He is actively working in our lives. For the origins of TGC, read this post.

If you have a story to share, big or small, please join in and write your own TGC blog post. (You have no idea how excited I get when someone links up...or how depressing it is when no one does, lol.) In your post, link back to this post so that your readers can come back and read through the other links if they like. Then, once your post has been written and you've hit "publish," come back to this post and add your name and the URL for your TGC post to Mr. Linky at the bottom (please link to your actual TGC post and not just to your blog's main page, so readers can find your God story easily). For all the technical details, read this post.


I often try to find a "big story" to put here on The God Chronicles. But because I see God's work in my day-to-day life, too, I wanted to share some of those "smaller stories."

Throughout my day, people I know just come to my mind. For example, I could be cooking tacos - which are one of my nephew's favourite things to chow down on at my house - and suddenly I'm thinking of him and wondering how he's doing. When this happens, I try to take a minute to pray for that person. Not always, but sometimes this happens at just the right moment when someone was really in need of a little prayer. Periodically, I'll even wake up in the middle of the night with someone on my mind and pray for them.

Have you ever had a time where it seems like the same message is being repeated, over and over again? I once had a friend who said to me, "I don't know what God's trying to tell me, but the parable of the Prodigal son has appeared at least six times in the past week!" I get that. I think God must know my hard-hearted nature, and the way I assume every message I hear is just perfect for someone else. In order for me to get it through my thick head that He's speaking to me, He needs to get that message to me repeatedly - through devotionals, sermons, books I'm reading, movies I'm watching, stories friends tell, and so on.

Delays and interruptions can be so annoying. I am a "schedule person." I thrive on order, organization, and time-tables. I can sometimes get so structured that I miss out on God's still small voice in my day. There are days, though, when nothing goes as planned. (Like the two days I lost internet a couple months back. Argh!) It's funny, though, that in the midst of days filled with frustration and schedule glitches, I begin to seek God a little more. It often starts with me praying, "Lord, nothing is going as planned. Please help put my day back on track." And then I sense Him telling me, you needed to be a little off-track today, because otherwise you would not have come to Me. Ah-ha.

God is just as present in the everyday things as He is in the parting-the-sea style miracles. Sometimes it just takes me a little bit before I catch on...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Worth Your Reading

Some posts I have cried over recently...

Choose Your View - When things in life don't go our way, we can either stare at a wall or gaze at the flowers.

The shape of our lack - "I ask that you, God, fill that space between what I feel and what I know you can provide."

In Honour of Father's Day - A beautiful tribute to her man.

Happy Birthday, Bethie! - Proverbs 31:28a says, Her children arise and call her blessed. My heart's desire is to leave a similar legacy in my family.

And this one, it hit me right between the eyes; a review of Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges. This book is now in my amazon.ca wishlist.

Monday, June 22, 2009

We interrupt your regularly scheduled home renovations...

...for a day of family fun.

Abbey was the racer of the day (red car, blue helmet, centre). How do you like the new helmet? (I think she kinda looks like the Great Gazoo.)

Abbey consistently came in second, which gave her a ranking of fourth among her age group.

Family, good friends, and their kids came out to watch and volunteer. It was a beautiful sun-shiny day. And apparently I had my camera on the wrong setting for all that sun. Oh well! (Abs is at the front right with the hair in her face.)

Even the parents got in on the racing action.

Everyone went home happy and exhausted.


Again, it seems the 20th has slipped by without The God Chronicles! So get your stories ready to share on Wednesday (the 24th). I beg of you, my friends, please share your stories - not only to encourage my heart, but to keep a record of the things (big and small) God is doing in your life.

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
~Deuteronomy 4:9

Friday, June 19, 2009

Giving IS Frugal

One of the things I've learned over the years, quite by accident, is the art of trading services.

Actually, "trading" is not quite the correct term! Really, it began as me trying to think of things I could do to be a blessing to the people around me.

You see, I am not a very talented person. I don't say that to be self-deprecating; I'm just bein' honest. For example, I can't offer friends in need delicious baked goods, because I can't bake! But I am pretty darn good at administrative things: schedules, organizing, and budgets (thanks to Christine at Passionate Homemaking...Becoming P31).

At some point I decided to stop feeling guilty because I wasn't signing up to bring casseroles to the new mom, and instead began to listen for people needing help with things I could do. A couple friends were talking about over-spending, so I offered to help them create a customized budget. One friend was feeling over-run in her kitchen, so I came over and helped her purge and organize. Someone's toilet was plugged, so I sent my sweet hubby over to help (he apprenticed as a plumber, and is quite gifted with the "handy" skills).

If you're reading this from "Frugal Fridays" you may be wondering how in the world this has saved me money. Here's the how... It's kind-of a "pay it forward" concept. Be a blessing, and chances are you will be blessed. It's not really a trade, because often those we help out aren't able to help us in return (which is fine, because we also usually have little to offer to those who help us).

I believe that if we are good steward of the money and gifts we have been given - and that includes giving them away without reservation or hesitation when we feel God calling us to do so - we will be blessed for it. That is, if the heart is right. We should not be motivated to give in order to get back. Our motivation needs to be both obedience to Christ and a desire to be a blessing.

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
~Matthew 25:29

There are so many times I walk away from a situation, feeling as though I should do something, and yet do nothing. It's not an easy thing to be generous with my money or my abilities when finances and time are tight. But little by little, I am learning to listen to God's gentle nudgings to give. And often, at times I least expect it (but most need it), I find myself being blessed and encouraged by the love and generosity of someone else.

For more Frugal Friday tips check out Life as Mom.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Learning to Ride

In our family of five children, we've accomplished many milestones over the years.
5 first steps
4 potty trainings
3 first days of school
2 established readers (and one well on her way, I might add)
1 first time riding a two-wheeler (yes, only one)

Braeden (11) has cerebral palsy, and he's got a super-cool adapted bike to ride, and we don't really expect that his strength or balance will reach a point where he will be able to ride a "regular" bike.

Abbey (7) decided two summers ago that she wanted her training wheels removed. Pat ran behind her holding on to the back of her seat for about 30 seconds before she took off like a shot!
Shea (4) and Kai (1) will eventually need to learn, but that will come later.

We have one holdout on the bike-riding. Megan (6) simply has no interest in learning. We took off her training wheels this summer in hopes of helping her learn; instead she has been using Shea's bike. She doesn't like the unbalanced feeling. I also suspect she is not particularly fond of the amount of effort required to learn this new skill.

I'm honestly not very concerned about it (though I do find it odd to see a six-year-old with training wheels), and I don't feel the need to push, but when I saw this post offering the chance to win one of these running bikes - I just couldn't resist entering the contest. (And given the fact that we've got 3 remaining kids to teach, I am considering just ordering one if I don't win. Or at the very least, removing our kids' pedals along with their training wheels to get the same concept.)

I vaguely recall learning to ride my banana-seat bike without training wheels the summer before Kindergarten started. When did you learn to ride? What about your kids?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Read the WHOLE Book!

Have you ever decided, "I'm going to read my WHOLE Bible," gotten started in Genesis, and three months later been stuck somewhere around Numbers of Leviticus? I have started reading my Bible countless times, only to give up at this stage.

About two years ago, I decided to try something different. I picked a book from the Old Testament to read, and when I finished that I moved to a book in the New Testament. I put a check beside each book's name in the Table of Contents as I completed it.

It was out-of-order, and sometimes I needed to go review something from somewhere else in the Bible to make sense of what I was reading, but about a year and a half later I had marked off every. single. book! I'm now on my second time through using my random Old/New method, turning my check marks into "x's."

Our Pastor recently suggested that we do this, but he added a new twist - he said we should read one book from each testament at the same time. So during our morning quiet time, read a chapter from Proverbs and a chapter from John, for example.

Those long and sometimes difficult OT books are so much easier to work through when you know you've got something completely different to read (in the NT) once you're done there!

(Just a note: there are more books in the OT than the NT, so when they belong together - such as 1 and 2 Chronicles - read them as if they were one book. This should help keep you from running out of NT books too soon.)

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Weight Loss Tip

My facebook status for today, courtesy of status shuffle:

FACT: Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. (Warning: Do not try this at home... maybe at work.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Week in Pictures

Skeletons of walls are cropping up around the basement.

Look - it's a bedroom!

One crashed-up car has been repaired and paint has been touched-up.

A whole new car has been built and painted.

Kindergrad has been celebrated.

(Next year, three out of five will be in school full-time. Breathe...)

And sleepy-movie time in Mom & Dad's bed has been enjoyed. (Yes, each one of them is sucking their thumbs and cuddling a special blankie. If the wee one were pictured, he's be doing the same. In fact, only one out of five has not had either of these habits - though he will bring cars and small stuffies with him wherever he goes.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finance Savvy

For some great posts on managing finances wisely (and Godly), check out this one! There are links to a couple other great posts on the topic at the bottom. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Girls will be Girls

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Got Excuses?

I am currently reading an e-book called "Your LAST Acne Solution" by Leo Kiesen. Now, before you all email asking me how much I spent on this book, and don't I know these things are scams... I cannot count how much money I have spent in the past several years trying to simply manage my acne (with no hope of getting rid of it). So a few small dollars on a system that addresses the causes of acne and makes claims of getting rid of it forever - worth a shot, I think.

Anyway, that's not even the point. The point is, he says something in his book that smacked me right in the forehead. I don't know if it's a "Leo original" or if he's heard it before (sounds like something I've heard before), but it's one of those sayings that is well worth repeating and mulling over for a while.

You can have excuses or you can have results, but you can't have both.

Want to lose weight? (see above)

Want to manage your finances? (see above)

Want to be more productive? (uh-huh, look up)

Want to get your children's behavior under control? (up there)

Want to grow closer to God? (yup, you guessed it)

It's actually worth saying again, because the simple profoundness of it applies to all things in life that require any amount of effort on our part.

You can have excuses or you can have results, but you can't have both.

It would seem that there is a bit of a theme going on in my world these days...

By the way, Bobbie, I am sorry that you hated my post yesterday. If it makes you feel any better I have slept in the past two days in a row. *hugs*

So what do you want to change in your life? And if you are not seeing results, what's your excuse?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WFMW - Morning Time with God

I recently had a friend pose the following question to me: I think God has been telling me to spend more time with Him but I still don't know how. I want that deep relationship - but I don't do what I need to do to get it. When can I carve out the time?

A few months ago, I asked God that very question. How can I find the time to spend with You? Over the next week I came across The 5:16 Club, and The 5:00 Club, and How to Become an Early Riser, and HTBAER part 2, and Proverbs 31:15, and Mark 1:35... Oddly, Pat even came to me during this same week to tell me that he had committed to getting up at 5:30am to exercise and have some Bible time.

So to the question of carving out time to spend with the Lord, the answer is to get up earlier. I realize that this sounds overly simplistic; it is very difficult to change your entire routine (trust me, I find it difficult every morning!). Here are my suggestions on how to make the change:

1. Tell someone what you want to do, ask them to pray for you regularly, and ask them to periodically ask you how you're doing. My friend Christine, when I was first developing the discipline of rising early (which was 6:30am back then), used to wake around 6:15 every day and pray for me to get up. (I know what you're thinking, you don't know anyone who would get up so darn early for you. Well, it wasn't something I asked her to do. And it wasn't even something she wanted to do. But like clockwork, God woke her up at that time, and as soon as she prayed for me she fell back into a sound sleep for another hour or so.)

2. Pick a time of the morning, set your alarm, and get up at that time - every day - for 3-4 weeks (yes, even weekends). Yes - you will be tired! But in letting your body get tired, it will begin to direct you to going to sleep earlier. Or it might just adapt to less sleep. And feel free to grab a little cat nap every now and then (just make sure you don't sleep so long that you can't sleep at night). Once the habit is ingrained, you will be able to sleep in on Saturdays without making the early rising more difficult.

I followed Steve Pavlina's method outlined in his two-part series (linked above), with some modifications that worked for me. Basically, though, it's all about practice and self-discipline (he's got a six-part series on self-discipline that I found helpful). Just a note: Steve Pavlina is not a Christian, and in his blog you will come across certain beliefs and/or practices that do not "fit" with my faith - I am not promoting everything he says or does, but I did find his suggestions about getting up early incredibly helpful.

For other ideas on making your time with God each morning productive, check out this post.

The most important thing to remember: don't give up! I can't tell you how many times I give in and smack that snooze button. But with God's help, we can all make changes in our lives that will bring us closer to Him. If He can deliver drug addicts, raise the dead, save the lives of babies in the NICU, surely He can do a little thing like help us get up earlier!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
~Philippians 4:13

For more Works for Me Wednesday posts, visit We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


My mom and I started Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred on Sunday. Twenty minutes of exercise daily for a month that is supposed to transform your body. I may never know if it works, because there is no way I can do it every day! Things like reaching in the cupboards and walking down stairs have become new forms of torture for my aching muscles. I keep telling myself that walking around in all this pain has to be burning calories.

Some of our children are killing me! Like stabbing knives in my heart.
- Abbey (7) has informed us that Jordan loves her. But she doesn't love him back. Phew. No, she loves Colby. Sadly, Colby loves someone else in their grade 1 class. What?! You are too young for this! I'm not ready!
- Shea (4) shared recently that she has a boyfriend at playschool. When she speaks the name 'Cooper' she blushes (seriously, she's four and blushing over a boy?!) and giggles hysterically.
- Thankfully, Megan (6) has thus far resisted the advances of the naughty boys in her kindergarten class.
- Call me sexist, but the fact that Braeden (11) has apparently been Jessica's boyfriend and Kassidy's boyfriend over the past couple years just doesn't cause the same level of myocardial infarction as hearing my girls giggle over boys.

The basement renovation has been at a relative standstill for a week. Pat has been away for work, and I have enjoyed the noticeable absence of banging and bashing coming from the basement. But I have to say, Hello?! We've got a schedule to keep here people! Let's get back to work now. I would really like my children to be a little more spread out before the crummy weather of August hits.

Another thing that's been getting in the way of renovating progress is the upcoming soapbox derby. You might remember that Braeden raced last year; not sure if I mentioned it or not, but in his last race he had a small collision with the sidewalk. While his car needs some repairs and touch-up paint, a whole 'nother car needs to be built and painted! Abbey is going to be joining in the downhill fun. In a little over a week!

And since his name is missing from this post, I'll just give you his adorable little face. My Malakai (1.5). Blurry photo courtesy of camera-stealing child.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On Relationships and Forgiveness

We are doing a series on Sunday mornings called "Be Transformed" based on the book of Ephesians and on the principles of Celebrate Recovery. This week's sermon was entitled, "Repairing Relationships." The verse for yesterday's sermon was:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (TNIV)

If you have time to listen to the sermon, please do! In the course of the sermon, a couple shares their profound and powerful testimony of how God can restore broken-beyond-repair relationships. (To listen, look down the left sidebar on the church's website and simply click the play button.) Heck, after next week I would seriously recommend you get your hands on the whole series! (I hear we've entered the age of technology and you can now download sermons from iTunes. Someone more technical than I will need to explain how to get there. Maybe just try searching "CrossRoads Church" in the iTunes store...)

If you don't have the time to listen, I'll do my best to summarize the key points.

3 Reasons why we should forgive:

1. God has forgiven us. (I will never have to forgive anyone more than God has forgiven me.)

2. Resentment doesn't work. (Not forgiving makes me angry, resentful, isolated, bitter, lonely, miserable, difficult to be around, and just plain unhappy. Unforgiveness hurts me, but it doesn't actually hurt the person I am withholding forgiveness from at all.)

3. We are going to need forgiveness in the future. (Matthew 6:14-15 (WENT) says If you forgive others for the wrong things they have done, then your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you for the wrong things you have done.)

How to forgive:

1. Reveal our hurt. (Think of the people that have hurt me, how they've hurt me, and be honest with myself about it.)

2. Release the person that hurt us. (Whether they ask for it or not, for my sake and God's I release them/ forgive them for what they've done. God cannot do all His "good stuff" in my life if I am bound up by anger and hurt.)

3. Replace our hurt with God's peace. (I need to trust God to right the wrongs and serve justice, and ask Him to fill my heart with His peace.)

This sermon really struck a chord with me. I know that healthy relationships are the foundation of a happy life. They are the manifestation of a healthy walk with Christ. They are so important that God gave us a command about them: "The most important [commandment]," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29a, 30-31, TNIV)

Nothing is more important than our relationships with God and others. Yet I find myself constantly messing them up. It's so easy to let myself be hurt by something someone does or says, then carry that hurt around with me like a badge of honour. (Maybe it has to do with hormones and emotions...)

This past week, I have been pretty much bombarded with messages about forgiveness. In The Love Dare, in Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman, encountering a messy family relationship where unforgiveness dominates, this sermon. One thing I have learned is that if God keeps sending me the same message a hundred different ways, He's trying to get my attention. I guess I better settle in for some time with Him to hear what He is saying to me...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Conversation Ordained

Unless you're in the habit of searching back through the archives of these ramblings, you might have missed out on a God-ordained encounter I had yesterday. It was so profound, yet so simple that I had to share.

Nearly a year ago I did a little series on respecting your husband. If you've never read it, it's totally worth reading (if I do say so myself, lol): part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4. Anyway, God's providence had a new visitor land on that post and give me a little Holy Spirit nudge.

She said,

Okay -- so I don't know how I landed on your blog (wait yes I do...amazing how HE puts us in the path of perfect strangers to reach us :) - you are really hitting home. If ever you get discourage because I know posting takes time please know HE is really working through you to reach people like me. Short and sweet...I am a faithful follower every Sunday/Wednesday our family attend church and we (I) try and surround ourselves with those people who I feel like have the same love for the Lord but I don't share any of my marriage, parenting, etc struggles because I feel like I'm the only with struggles in our peer group...somehow I landed on your blog and just like that FINALLY I feel normal. Many thanks for all you do for those like me...I'm learning so much!!!

And I replied,

Anonymous friend,

I'm not sure if you'll be back here to read this comment, but thank-you.

Almighty God just brought you to me, a year after this post was written, to encourage me!

You will see on my sidebar that I am working on writing a tough book, one that requires me to share more "real life" stuff than I would like to put out there. And today I realized I am less than 2 months away from my publisher appointment, with only 10 pages in writing. And the discouragement I felt with that realization had me ready to call and cancel that appointment.

With your words He is showing me that women NEED to know that they are not alone; that not one of us is perfect. And He needs me to put my sloppy imperfections out there to show them. And I can do this - I can write two more chapters in under two months. With HIM, I can!

Thank-you, and bless you. (I'd love it if you could email me a link to your blog if you've got one, so I can get to know you a bit.)

God is so good!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Learning from Beth

Honestly, there are few things that give me greater joy than doing a DVD study with Beth Moore. The Word comes alive through her teaching! And I just love the discipline that comes from working through the daily homework. Through her studies, I experience so much growth and learning.

My study guide is full of scratched out phrases and verses, and I have a need to jot down a few from this past week. Just to put it in context, this entire study has been about destiny (how God has a plan for our lives), and how He will use all the circumstances of our lives to fulfill that destiny.

God can't turn a table that was never set against you.
If we don't encounter enemies along the way that are working to discourage us, beat us down, and wear us out...if life flows smoothly and nothing ever seems to go wrong...that leaves no work for God to do. The best way for Him to display His glory is to turn the tables.

How will we ever know victory if we never face anything difficult enough to experience God turning it around?


Seeing purpose in tough scenarios increases the trust required for a turnaround.

Beth also shared many wise words on deliverance from those tough circumstances, so that we can walk into our destiny.

God's grace is given according to our need, NOT based on our vain imaginations.
What she was talking about here is fear - feeling God's strength during a battle, but living in fear (of going down that road again) after the battle is over. Beth shared of how God delivered her from fear in areas of her life just when she needed it, but later that fear returned. And as she pleaded with God to deliver her she felt Him telling her that she was not in need of deliverance, for what she was going through was all in her head and of her own making (a vain imagination). Make sense?

and this little gem...

Big battles are won by teams... We remain in bondage when we keep our struggles to ourselves.

What about you? Have you walked through seemingly impossible circumstances to find that God did have a plan for them, and they did play a role in your destiny?

I'll share first. :)

Several years ago, my marriage seemed like a lost cause. Completely hopeless. No chance for improvement. What had started out as a couple "rocky years" had been growing more and more difficult. I was growing in faith, and he didn't believe in faith. In fact, he held any faith (but in particular my faith) in contempt.

Insert a number of other difficult circumstances here: child with a disability, husband working away, two people in a marriage who had come from broken families, add more children - very close together, a big move, post-partum depression, another big move, a trashed house, and on it goes...

Today, those tables are turned. We are a couple firmly committed to sticking together, raising our children in our faith, and walking where God calls. Of course we still argue; it's not perfect. But it is good. A complete turnaround. And I can look at each one of those circumstances now and see how it played a role in Pat's turn to faith and the restoration of our marriage. Each and every one of those circumstances played an invaluable and incomparable role in our destiny. And because they were all so crummy, so insurmountable, so impossible, the only explanation left is God. He did the turnaround.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Like I'm Thirteen Again

We've had TWO WHOLE DAYS IN A ROW of nice toasty weather now, and I can't get this song out of my head...

Which reminds me of this song...

Which has led me to this fabulous compilation representing my childhood...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Field Trip Fun

I have had the privilege of joining both Abbey's and Meg's classes on field trips over the past week.

The grade ones (three classes, over 50 kids) headed to a nearby village to see its historic creamery and the home of the pioneering family in that area. The trip was great fun on a day with beautiful weather. The bus ride, not quite as much fun. Noise, bad shocks, fifty 7-year-olds, and forty minutes - can you say Advil?

This is what happens when you allow children to run the camera.

The kindergartners got to visit the local fire hall. Everyone had a chance to sit in an ambulance AND a fire truck. Some of the kids even tried out the oxygen masks! This bus ride was considerably shorter and quieter (only 14 children).
This is what happens when you allow unskilled adults to run the camera.

And this, my friends, is what happens when you bribe uncooperative children with treats in order to get them to pose for a picture...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Non Post

This is a non-post. I have lots to say about all sorts of things, but no time today.

Instead, I am going to enjoy a morning coffee date/ play date with my good friend Kendra and her kiddos.

No workers, no banging and bashing, no stressing and decision-making. Just some good ol' fashion fun.

And I might try to get a load of laundry done before she gets here...

Monday, June 1, 2009

His Call

Have you ever felt God call you to do something impossible? Something that you know in your heart you are so ill-equipped to do that you are certain you will mess it up?

He has been asking me to do something for quite some time, and I have resisted. First, I ignored Him. Then I argued with Him. Next I submitted to Him, but with conditions. Now, though, I have finally realised that there is no escaping it. His call is irrevocable. And He is just going to keep reminding me until I finally fully submit and obey.

One of the steps in my obedience is to allow myself to be held accountable. I need encouragement to keep going, challenge to not give up, and feedback to do my best for Him. Which is why I am mustering up the courage to post about it here...

God wants me to write a book. A book about one of my worst, most shameful struggles. It's about anger - about being an angry mother - and the journey of getting out from under the control of that anger and allowing God to control it (and me).

The thing is, I am not free from this struggle. This book won't be about 'been there, done that, moved on, this is how.' Nope. Rather, it will be 'stuck in the muck of this repeat cycle of sin-confess-repent, follow me as God and I dig through the muck together, hoping and praying to come out the other side transformed.'

I think this is why I have resisted so long (years, really). I can't imagine a more humbling experience than putting in writing how short I fall at my most important job. But God is relentless, and no matter how much I resist He keeps after me, calling me to follow Him straight through this quicksand, trusting that I won't sink and drown.

I am asking for your help in this monumental task. Feel free to touch base with me and ask if I've been writing. Definitely feel free to cheer me on and give me pep talks. Please, pray for me - not only that I will keep on writing, but for protection for my family as I do so (each time I start on this, the enemy comes out in full force attempting to stir up my anger and make me feel even more inadequate).

The other way you can help me is by sharing your stories. I have heard enough older women say, "I was an angry young mother" to know that I am not alone. Yet at times I am convinced that I must be the only one out there that is like this. It would bless me if you would jump into the muck with me by sharing your experiences in the comments of this post (you are more than welcome to post as 'anonymous'). And I would humbly ask that, if you feel called, you send some of your readers my way to share their stories.

Please know that I may (or may not) choose to use some of your experiences in my writing. If you do comment here, whether you choose to remain anonymous or not, would you please add your age and your number of children? (I have a theory that's it's not just those of us who have a group of kids, but that moms of any age and any size family can struggle with anger towards their children.)

I am going to put a link in my sidebar to this post, and continue to gather the experiences of other mothers as I write. I assure you that not one of you who shares with me will pass by without my prayers, and my deep appreciation for reminding me (and other moms) that I am not alone.

Bless you,