Friday, July 30, 2010

M & M #4

Edited to add my verse for M & M #4:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~Matthew 6:33
To keep ourselves saturated in God's Word this summer, a few of us are joining together in Scripture memory. Every two weeks, we choose a new verse and share it here. I would be honoured to have you join me. Even if you're brand new here, you can start today! Just leave a comment telling us which verse you plan to work on (we'll focus on this verse from July 31st to August 14th).

Wondering exactly how to do this mediation and memorization (m & m) thing? Check out the first M & M post.

How did you do with your memory verse these past two weeks?

If you joined in last time, tell us how you did. Try writing your verse in the comments - from memory. Don't worry if you don't quite have it down! Remember, even as you work on new verses, you continue to practice the previous ones. And if you chose a larger passage of Scripture, you just might need to stay focused on that one for the whole month.

Which passage of Scripture are you going to tackle for the next two weeks?

Here is my last passage:

If anyone speaks, let him he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, let him he should do it with the very strength God provides, so that in all things God is glorified may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen. ~1 Peter 4:11

(Ahem. Clearly, I haven't been working on this one every morning. But I'm close, so I will still choose another verse and will continue to practice this one and all the others I've done so far this year - which, to be honest, doesn't amount to many.)

Here is my passage for the next 2 weeks:

Okay, I don't actually have a verse selected yet. ;) Based on my experience last year, I know that God will be speaking to me a great deal all weekend at She Speaks. I am waiting for Him to show me what my next verse will be...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't be a Moses

I am reading Exodus right now, and it's definitely one of my favourite parts of the Bible. As I read I can envision scenes from "The Prince of Egypt" playing in my mind. Of course, those images are overlapping with visions of Charleton Heston standing on the mountain, beard waving in the breeze, holding two tablets of stone in his arms.

Rather than allowing myself to be carried away by the story (as I usually am reading the great history laid out in the Old Testament), I am trying to take things more slowly - a couple chapters per day - in an effort to glean more wisdom from the pages. Today, I am reflecting on Moses' calling from God and his response. (Below is my paraphrase of the whole situation.)

- Moses sees a bush on fire that is not burning up. The bush (the Lord) speaks to Moses, telling him that he has been chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into freedom.

- Moses says, "Who am I, that I should do this?"

- God reassures Moses that He will be with Moses the whole time.

- Moses asks, "Well, what if the Israelites don't believe You sent me?"

- God tells Moses to say "I AM sent me."

- Moses then asks, "Well, what if the Egyptians don't believe You sent me?"

- God gives Moses miraculous powers AND assures Moses that He will reach out His hand over Egypt and they will recognize the Lord.

- Then Moses tells God, "But God, I'm no good at public speaking!"

- God reassures Moses that He will put the words right in Moses' mouth.

- Next, Moses whines and asks God to pleeeeease send someone else.

Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses. (Exodus 4:14a)

By the time I arrived to that verse, my anger was burning against Moses! I was so annoyed with him, thinking, "Moses, you dufus. He is GOD! Stop questioning Him. Just do what He says and trust that He will lead you every step. Sheesh, dude!"

And then I felt a quiet question whisper in my heart. How much time do I waste questioning God and His call? How far do I push with my lack of faith and trust? Do I bring the Lord to a place of anger or frustration before I finally listen and obey?

I can think of two areas where I'm pretty sure I've provoked God's ire...

God called me to write this book at least a couple years before I wrote the post about it. Part of the writing, I'm sure, is for me and me alone. While there have been huge improvements in my struggle with anger, there continue to be days where I feel as though I've fallen right back to the beginning. I believe that God's full deliverance will come once I have finished what He asked me to do. I'm still (slowly, and at times barely) working on it.

When we moved, I had a strong sense of awareness that God was calling me to a new ministry. A shift of focus in my ministry to women. I think that God knew I would not be able to let go of WOW to do something new (but would instead try to do it all). We arrived here and I knew that I was supposed to make my ministry focus threefold: writing, speaking, and ministry consulting. That was eight months ago.

Man, I am burning in anger at myself! What happened to my desire to serve? When did I become such a wuss? Why in the world have I been holding off on doing what I believe God has called me to do? Fear. Insecurity. Loneliness. Laziness.

Taking the BLAST course has been instrumental in building my confidence in my calling and teaching me the practical steps to take in order to move forward. And signing up for She Speaks this year has given me the kick-start I desperately needed to actually take those steps. I am ready to stop annoying myself and God by acting like Moses. Instead, I want to be an Isaiah.

Here am I, Lord. Send me! (Isaiah 6:8b)

How about you? Is there an area in your life where you've been a Moses lately?

P.S. If you think BLAST will help you launch your speaking and writing ministry, Shannon is taking applications for the fall class now. If you sign up, let her know I referred you - I get a little discount on my course costs if you sign up because of me. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Perfect Mom - part 2

If you haven't read it yet, you may want to check out part 1 first.

Okay, I did promise to help throw the monkey of guilt off our backs, didn't I? So let's get started.

Am I a bad/neglectful mom if I work outside of the home?

Me - No, that's ridiculous! First, some moms don't have a choice. Family finances dictate that mom needs to bring in some income (especially in single-parent homes). Second, while quantity of time certainly does matter, I do believe the old adage that quality is more important. If your time with your child(ren) is limited, you may need to be more intentional about how your time together is spent to feel that you are engaging with and training up your kids, but the fact is you are MOM. Especially in the younger years, your influence has the most impact (regardless of how much or little time you have).

In fact, dare I say that many working moms are better at engaging with their kids than us SAHMs?! Being a SAHM gets you into a particular routine with the household and the kids, and I (maybe you, too?) frequently find myself saying things like, "Not now/ later/ soon/ I just have to get this done first." I tend to think that working moms are less inclined to "put off" their kids in this way.

God's Word - I wonder if, like me, you've read about the Proverbs 31 woman and secretly hated her? She's got it all together! Here are a few things I've noticed about her lately:
- In verse 15, it says she gets up really, ridiculously early to provide food for her family and servants. We often assume that means she's doing the day's cooking in the wee hours. But could it mean that she is out working? Or out in the fields? Or at the market? She may be working outside of the home, while her servant girls are there to tend the children. Maybe not, I'm just sayin'.
- Verse 16 refers to earnings. How does a woman earn money? By working, I presume.
- In verse 17 it says "she sets about her work vigorously." It doesn't say that she sets about her housework, or cooking, or child-rearing.
- While many people use P31 to make their case for being a SAHM, I believe that may be a case of using the Scripture to suit your own agenda. In fact, throughout God's Word, when I search for the word "mother" I cannot find any absolute direction that states, "a good mother must stay home all day long with her children and should never find work outside the home."

Must I homeschool my children in order to fulfill God's parenting requirements?

Me - First, let me say that I have nothing but admiration for parents who homeschool their kids! You gals (and some guys) rock my socks! And I am aware that many of you may disagree with MHO, which is totally cool with me. I welcome your thoughts on the matter!

Of course, you know I am going to say, "no, i don't think God requires us to homeschool our children." If I did, I would be. I know that many homeschooling parents do so because they feel that HS is how God intended children to learn. But there are also many HS parents who do so because they believe it's a matter of personal preference, gifting, and calling. I tend to be from the same camp. Some parents are definitely called to educate their children at home! Some are not. While I admire HS parents (and somewhat envy their ability to do what they do), I want to state clearly that I do NOT believe that either way is the only right way. Neither method is superior, preferable, or without its issues. Both options come with big, fat lists of pros and cons. Good mothers homeschool. Good mothers send their children to public school. Good mothers send their children to private school.

God's Word - One of my favourite passages, Deuteronomy 6:7, is often quoted to encourage parents that they are solely responsible for the education of their children...and for ensuring that all aspects of that education include God. What the Lord is referring to in Deut 6 are the 10 Commandments He laid out for His people in Deut 5.

Can you impress the importance of following God's Commandments on the hearts of your children while they attend a public school? Surely you can! The fact is, our children learn much more about our faith and morals by observing how we live than they do by what we tell them. So we can spend 3-6 hours per day incorporating God's truths into our children's school curriculum, or we can spend every moment we have with our children living out our faith (even if they are spending 6-8 hours of their day, 5 days per week, out of our care).

Research has shown that, regardless of where children spend the majority of their time, their parents remain the #1 influence on their attitudes and actions. There is also substantial evidence to support the assertion found in Proverbs 22:6, Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Faith Begins at Home, Mark Holmen)

Does every good mom bake and cook like Betty Crocker?

Well, I think you get the point...

Here is the thing: God's Word does not tell us the specifics of how to live out our lives. He has given us The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Commandment, and The Way of Salvation. For all the rest (such as how to be the best mom you can be, or rather - how to be the best mom God wants you to be), He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our paths. You cannot look in the Bible to find answers to questions like: Which job should I take? Should I go on a missions trip to Kalamzoo? Am I supposed to be a stay-at-home mother?

Want to be the perfect mom? Here's my suggestion.... Love God. Let your kids see how much you love God. Love your kids. (If loving your kids is easier for you (as it is for me) when you have something fulfilling to do - such as work or ministry - do it.) Do your best in all the things to do with being a wife, mother, homemaker, friend, servant of God. Sometimes that means getting help - having a housekeeper or a babysitter is NOT unscriptural! And if you've got tough decisions to make, pray and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The most important thing we can all do to be the mothers that God wants us to be is to ABIDE in Christ, wage battle against the enemy, and not let guilt or pride influence our decisions or our relationships. Oh, and for goodness sake, get some other mom friends! Nothing brings more freedom than knowing that we are not alone.

In case you are still looking at your list and tallying your points, know this: God chose YOU to be the mother to YOUR children for a REASON. Trust His judgement.

See ya, monkey!

On a side note, I know that I've got a few friends who read here who do not have children or whose kids are no longer kids living at home. From me to you - there are a lot of mothers out there who need help, love, friendship, encouragement, and maybe a little babysitting! ;) We love it when our community backs us up in raising our children to love the Lord! And if you see one of us in the grocery store with an armload of children, you have no idea how much a smile and a kind word blesses us! God has a special plan for you, too - and if that plan means you are out of the child-rearing phase or you do not have kiddos, know this - God chose YOU for the exact role you are in, around the very people who's lives you have influence in, for a REASON, too!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Perfect Mom

Do you have a picture in your mind of who the perfect mom is? Perhaps she's a real person that you know. Maybe she's a proto-type that fits a list of characteristics and qualities. Have you found, over the years, that your image of what makes a perfect mom is changing?

Us women, we are all about perfection, aren't we? It's not okay to just be a good mom (or even a great mom). Nope, the goal is Super Mom! Unfortunately, when we fall short of our perfect goals, we carry around a big backpack of guilt. After all, if so-and-so can handle this and do it that way, why can't I?

I am here today to throw that monkey off my (and your) back! Get lost, guilt!

Here is my image of the Super Mom:
- She stays home with her children (probably a dozen of them).
- Her house is usually immaculate.
- She bakes yummy goodies for her family all the time.
- She provides colourful and well-balanced meals three times per day.
- She has a set snack time, where her children eat at the table.
- Her laundry is virtually always caught-up.
- She probably home-schools her children.
- Her kids are incredibly well-mannered.
- She leads the children in Bible study and prayer time every single morning (and/or evening).
- She dresses nicely and wears make-up every day.
- Her children are the recipients of utterly consistent discipline (though they rarely need it).
- She wears nice shoes.
- Her kids don't really fight with one another (not even at home).
- Her cupboards don't contain sugary cereals or potato chips.
- She is always patient with her children.
- She never raises her voice.
- Her husband is greeted with a hug, a kiss, and a hot meal the moment he walks in the door each day.
- She always has a smile on her face.
- Her children seldom watch television or play video games, unless there is educational or spiritual merit to it.
- She never swears, even if she stubs her toe really, really hard.

If you know me, and you're keeping score, I get 1 point for staying home with my children (but maybe it's only half a point, because there are only 5 of them...and I was in university and then worked until the birth of the third). I'm curious, what would be on your list and how many points would you get?

Here is something I think we all need to remember - there is an enemy, and his goal is bring death and destruction to our families. And he will start his nasty work right at the family's heart - the mother. He's got two dirty little strategies that manage to catch all of us at one time or another: the "I'm not good enough" and the "I've got it right."

I think that the enemy likes to lure us into the trap of "all-or-nothing" thinking. He wants us to believe that we must be everything on our list to be good enough. And if he can't wear us down with guilt, he'll fill our heads with a sense of superiority. If we are doing all (or many) of the things we think are right, we are certain that our way is the only way and those who don't do what we do are falling short.

Before we go one step further, I just want to name the devil's tricks for what they are - PRIDE. The latter is obvious, but keep in mind that thinking badly of yourself is still simply "thinking all about yourself." Whether we think we're awesome or pathetic, we are caught in the trap of being solely focused on ourselves (aka: prideful).

Here are some questions that wander through my mind (and maybe yours) a lot. Do I have to be a full-time stay at home mother to be a good mom? If I work outside of the home, am I a bad or neglectful mom? Must I homeschool my children in order to truly fulfill God's parenting requirements? Is sending my children to school a cop-out (or even detrimental)? Does every mom really bake and cook like Betty Crocker?!

This post is getting long. My four younger children are being cared for by the "electronic babysitter" and Hannah Montana. My eldest has been sent away for the week. My house is dirty. The laundry pile is enormous. And I haven't brushed my teeth yet. So given my multiple failings (according to my list of perfection), I better get to work! But tomorrow, I'd like to tackle the answers to some of those questions. (Said tongue in cheek.) ;)

Disclaimer: Lots of what I have to say on this here blog spot is solely my personal opinion. But I don't say much on here without hitting God's Word to see what He has to say on the matters I think about, and I seldom click the "publish" button without praying. I pray that my words will not offend, but will encourage (and I pray the same for your thoughts posted in the comments - so if you disagree, don't be mean, okay?! *grin).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Window Shopping

Here are some must-reads from last week that I simply had to share!

Another (incredibly well-written and poignant) perspective on the journey my friends are walking.

Two great words of encouragement that I desperately needed this week.

Nine one-liners to live by.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Night I Met a Man Named Mr. Moon

Today, I have the very special honour of introducing you to my friend Danielle. Though we have never met, I consider her friendship just a real as if we spent every Tuesday morning having coffee together.

Danielle blogs her thoughts at Mama Bird Muses and Babbles, and shares her family escapades at Our Own Little Nest. She is a homeschooling Mama Bird to four small children (they are gorgeous, by the way!) and she's got a handsome and hard-working hubby! I'm sure that's one of the things that drew me to her (not that her hubby is handsome, but that his work requires her to do the whole parenting thing single-handedly more often than is ideal). On top of all her super-ness, Danielle is also a business-woman, creating beautiful and original designs at Danielle Designs.

Without further adieu, I will invite you to grab your Kleenex box and enjoy hearing about how God has been moving in Danielle's world lately!

I turn down the bread aisle and scan the shelves for my favorite bread.

What time is it anyway?

7:45. I need to get the kids from Vacation Bible School in 30 minutes.

I locate the bread I want, and as I start piling loaves into my cart, the cheerful old man sharing the aisle with me strikes up a conversation.

"You know, my doctor told me I needed to stop eating so much bread because of my high blood pressure. He told me I can only have one slice at breakfast time, but you know that's just not enough to fill me up."

He chatters on, and as he's doing so I notice his unkempt gray beard, his scraggly gray hair, his thin plaid shirt, his raggedy blue suspenders. I smile and exchange pleasantries as he continues on, this time about ice cream, all the while thinking about how I don't have time for this.

I'm SO going to be late. How do I ditch this guy?

A few moments later, someone I barely know comes walking down the aisle, and I cringe inside.

I hope she doesn't think I know this man, or that I'm friends with him.

I finally find enough of a break in the man's stories to excuse myself and wish him a good day. A wave of guilt comes over me, but I shrug it off.

Oh well.I'm a busy mom. I don't have time to chit chat with him.

I look at the clock and realize I really need to hurry so I'm not late picking up the kids, and I grumble to myself.

Great.a rare hour away by myself, and I have to rush because an old man doesn't know when to take a hint and stop talking.

I get some beef and ham from the meat counter and head to the last aisle. As I'm loading gallon after gallon of milk into my already full cart, I notice the old man shuffling towards me with his almost-empty cart. He eyes all my groceries, then says with a smile, "It looks like you have a pretty big family."

"Well, I have a husband and four kids, and two of them are growing boys so this milk'll be gone in less than a week!" I laugh and busily load more necessities into my cart, hoping he'll see that I don't have time to chat.

"Oh! Four kids huh?! Well.I'm just an old bachelor." His voice trails off like he's ashamed of what he's just admitted, and I'm not sure how to respond.

I reassure him, "Hey there's nothing wrong with that either!"

"Yeah." He stops to think what to say next, or maybe he's working up the courage to admit a sad truth, but his expression prompts me to slow down - and then stop - so I can listen to this man who has seen so many years. He looks me in the eyes, and with a smile that fails to hide the sadness, he continues, ".but in my old age it sure would be nice to have family around me."

And for the first time, instead of looking at his eyes, I look into them. I watch as the rims redden and wetness threatens to take over. He blinks and gets nervous, and I do the same. My throat tightens, my nose starts to tingle as I fight back the tears, and I realize that I'm not here to get groceries. I'm here for this man. Or maybe it's the other way around.

And the words that come out of my mouth surprise me, because I know they aren't my own, but the Spirit's.

"Well, you should have dinner with me and my family sometime! Do you live here in town?"

He looks at me as if he hasn't heard me right. "What?"

I repeat the question, and he tells me he lives in Attica. I smile even bigger as I realize what God is up to. I tell the man that we also live just north of Attica, way out there in the country, and that I'm going to call him and invite him for supper. His humble, quiet response breaks my heart.

"Oh, you wouldn't want to bother with an old man like me."

And I look into his eyes, no longer seeing the defects for which I had judged him before, and I tell him gently, "It would be no bother. We'd love to have you. Please.what's your name so I can call you?"

He shares with me his name - Mr. Moon - and I assure him that I'll be calling him. He smiles at me, and the look on his face makes me think he's seen an angel.

I tell him goodbye and as I drive away from the store, I sob. Tears stream down my cheeks.

Tears of regret. How could I have been so judgmental? Tears of shame. How could my thoughts have been so callous? Tears of redemption. Thank you, Savior, for a second chance to love that man. Tears of gratefulness. Thank you, Father, for a family with whom to grow old. Tears of excitement. Lord, how will You use us in the life of this man? How will You use this man in our lives? Tears of appreciation. Thank you, God, for helping my blind eyes to see little better tonight.

I think again about the way Mr. Moon looked at me, as if I were an angel.
And I wonder. With all that I've learned about myself and about the love of God - all because of brief interaction with this old man - is it possible that he is the angel?

Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
-Hebrews 13:1-2
Or, I wonder, is God showing me how to love someone that I initially deemed unlovable? Is God teaching me how to love "the least of these"?

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' -Matthew 25:34-45
Tonight, I met a man named Mr. Moon. He needed a bath, a haircut, and new clothes, but that matters not.

For he's a human being.
With feelings.
A soul.
A heart.
Made in the image of Almighty God.
A person.
Just like me

Danielle, words cannot even express how thankful I am for you! Beautiful. Your words are the piece de resistance on this week. Thank-you for sharing your poignant encounter!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Easy to Forget

It's easy to forget to pay attention to the little details of life, especially when things are going smoothly.

The marriage has been happy and comfortable with no major conflict. Wife feels well loved, husband feels respected. There's nothing to "work" on, so they take a break from working on things and sit back to enjoy the season of contentment.

Children have been well-behaved, obedient, respectful, and loving toward one another. It's easy to let one little incident of disrespect slide...after all, s/he has been so good lately that it seems over the top to discipline that one little slip up.

Finances, spiritual life, friendships - same story. Being good stewards of the gifts God has given us can take a lot of work (it can be downright exhausting), so after periods of hard work all we really want to do is take a rest. During seasons of relative harmony, we let don our guard and become less vigilant about maintaining the standard. It only takes a short period of time before struggles arise. It can feel so sudden - out of nowhere, even.

Imagine that you own a precious, priceless, astounding piece of jewelry. Or an invaluable historical document (think "National Treasure"). You have hired someone to guard what is precious to you, so that it does not get lost, stolen, or damaged. The unthinkable happens. Your treasure is gone!

Understandably upset, you ask your security guard how this possibly could have happened? The guard tells you that things had been going so well...there were no robbery attempts, nothing was amiss, things seemed so your guard simply took the day off. After all, the guard had worked so hard for so long to protect your treasure - a break was certainly deserved.

The logic doesn't stand so well anymore, does it?

God has given each one of us things to guard on His behalf - our marriages, our families, our finances, our spiritual lives. He has charged us with the job of protecting these gifts as the treasures they are. They belong to Him, and we do not have the luxury of "taking a break."

This trip (Disneyland, 2009) has reminded me of that truth. Our family was in a glorious season that many referred to as "blessed." Peace, contentment, and stability reigned. And after what felt like years of hard work at managing finances/marriage/children, I kicked back on my heels to take a little rest. I let the little things slip - a bit of overspending here, allowing myself to react in an overly-emotional way to something my husband said (that I know was not intended to insult), ignoring a few words of sibling bickering - because they'd been so good, and if I'm honest because I didn't want to put out the energy required to deal with it.

The struggles on our way down here, as unwelcome as they were, have been a blessing. God's wake up call to me. He has called me to do a job for Him, and there are no days off. I am the only one He has "hired" for these specific jobs - there is no relief staff. If I walk away and take a day off, enjoy a little nap, or let just a couple things slide through, the treasure could be lost (or stolen).

Some things can be too easy to forget; thankfully I have a loving Father who helps me to remember.

A re-post from the archives.

Interesting tidbit - could have written this post again today, as God has been gently reminding me to stay focused and alert, diligent in all that He's called me to do (time with Him, being a good wife and patient mother, financial stewardship, writing, speaking, being a friend...).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trading Arm Pit Noises For Estrogen

Today I'd like to introduce you to someone very special to me. If I were Elijah (which I am NOT), she would be Elisha. I had the great privilege of "passing the mantle" of women's ministry leadership into her capable hands.

Stacy is a wife, homeschooling mom to three beautiful (and well-behaved) kids, and a true friend. If you want to get to know her better, you can read some old posts over at her blog, my simple walk. If we're lucky, maybe writing this guest post has gotten her creative juices flowing and she'll start writing for her blog again. ;)

About a year ago I inherited a wonderful women’ s ministry. At the time I didn’t understand what God was doing. Honestly I still don’t get it...even though He continues to tell me with a very bold and loving voice. One of those moments occurred just recently.

I have been a full time volunteer in the children’s ministry for a very long time. I have three children who are there and I whole heartedly support this ministry and for me that means being actively involved in it. I was a leader with our 56er’s group. The grade 5 and 6 kids. It was a great experience, but I can say I questioned my better judgement after the first month. I am a pretty structured person with a fairly small funny bone. Needless to say a table full of 10-12 year old boys was a little challenging for me. I wondered what I had got myself into. As the year progressed, I began to think maybe I should be in the nursery holding babies instead of talking about all the different noises I can make with my arm pit! I wasn’t going to quit and back down though and was trying to decide if I should give it another year.

In the meantime my new role in the women’s ministry was taking form and my mind was spinning. I would be organizing ticket sales in the cafe for a women’s event and headed upstairs to lead a group of kids. At some point, honestly I can’t recall when, I began to ask God to rearrange my day so that He was my priority. I didn’t want my time with Him to be another task on my list, and I didn’t want to feel like He was always sitting in my living room on the couch waiting for me, all the while I was busy “doing” things.

As the year came to an end, I was called in by the children’s coordinator. She told me that she felt like I needed a break from children’s ministry and since I wouldn’t give myself one....well she would do it for me. She said that God called me to lead the women and I can’t do that while trying to pull my thoughts and heart in three different directions. I was in awe. Little did she know that I had been praying for the Lord to rearrange my day, but thank goodness for her obedient and willing spirit.

On the way home that day the song Oh How He Loves came on. I was in tears.... and belting out this song American Idol style as I drove home. God was telling me that He loves me so much, he was taking a burden away from me that He knew I couldn’t do myself. He also once again told me that he placed me in leadership over the women of my church. He loves me and he wants to teach me. He is gentle with me when I refuse to get the message, and wants to wrap me up in his love.

If you have never heard that song need to. It is one of the greatest ways I think God has chosen to tell us how much he loves us. Thank goodness for obedient hearts and a God who loves us like a hurricane and keeps us tucked safely away in the eye of it...most of the time.

Thanks Tyler for the chance to share that moment with God.

Stacy, thank-you for sharing the way God has been speaking to you. If I could pick one thing that resonated with me, it was this:
I began to ask God to rearrange my day so that He was my priority. I didn’t want my time with Him to be another task on my list, and I didn’t want to feel like He was always sitting in my living room on the couch waiting for me, all the while I was busy “doing” things.
My heart, too, longs for relationship with my Jesus to be deeper and more meaningful than simply another task I cross of my list.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

God is in the Quiet Whispers

I had good intentions of taking my morning quiet times to seek God, to read my Bible, to pray, to journal, to write for my book proposal. But the reality of camping with five children altered those plans.

My heart was not okay with spending four days and three nights starved for His Word and His voice. I had to find a way to spend time in His Presence that was different from my usual way.

As I lay in my bed in the early morning, awakened by the cawing of crows, I asked Him to be with me that day. He whispered, I am with you always.

While sitting on a park bench watching the children climb and slide and climb again, I recited His Word (my memory verses) in my head. He whispered, take the bread of life and eat.

Standing on the beach, turning slow circles and counting heads 1-2-3-4-5, I begged him to inspire me. He whispered pages of words for me to write to glorify Him.

This morning, as I savoured my still quiet, I praised and thanked Him for the way He stays close to me. He whispered, When you call on Me I will answer you; seek Me with all of your heart and you will find Me.

What has He been whispering to your heart lately?

A re-post from the archives.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ever Wonder About Marketing? - con't

For this first part of this post, click here.

We left off with a question hanging in the air. Should a speaker/writer be promoting herself, or should she just leave that up to God?

As you know, I am a big proponent of people serving in their area of giftedness. I absolutely believe that every Christian MUST learn what their spiritual gifts are and then do all that can be done to develop those gifts and serve God with them. Romans 12:6-9 says, We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We are instructed to use our gifts and use them well! (Luke 12:48 CEV) To be confident in our calling. (2 Peter 1:10) To invest wisely with our talents, not burying them. (Matthew 25:14-28)

Through these Scriptures, the counsel of the Holy Spirit, and the teaching of others (Shannon Ethridge through BLAST, Proverbs 31 Ministries through She Speaks, to name a couple), my perspective on marketing has slowly been changing. I am realizing that by not doing the self-marketing required to move ahead in this ministry, I am:

#1 - Not using my gifts as well as I could be;
#2 - Not totally confident in my calling or in God's ability (and desire) to use me;
#3 - To some degree, burying my talents.

While I continue to believe it's important not to become prideful (that is, being proud of MY gifts rather than thankful to the Giver), I am also learning that I have some serious obligations in this ministry. An obligation to other women (women who may be walking through some of the same stuff I've experienced) - to share with them that there is a Hope of something beyond their current circumstances. An obligation to myself - to be the very best I can be, not selling myself short or giving into fear and insecurity. And most importantly, an obligation to God - to ensure that He gets all the glory for how my messed up life has anything beautiful in it. After all, I have been entrusted with this life and these life experiences.

All this to answer my own question from the last post - Do I agree or disagree with the statement, "If God wants me to be marketed and get published, He will make it happen?" My answer is yes and no.

Yes - God can and will fulfill His will in my life.
No - I cannot simply sit back and wait for it to happen.

God and I, we're in a partnership in this thing (life, ministry). He can do it all without me if He wants to, but that wouldn't build our relationship or grow me spiritually. He wants me to be an active and willing participant in His work.

So, what do you think? Has your opinion changed from the last post?

And is there something you feel God is calling you to do that will further your ministry for Him and His glory?

Just a quick note to let you know that there's going to be some fun and excitement here this week. While I am off having much fun and excitement camping with my mom and kids, I've got some special things planned for you. There will be a couple "gooders" pulled up from the archives, but even better - TWO AMAZING GUEST POSTS! You are going to love these girls as much as I do, I just know it! I promise that you will be ending your week with a full heart and misty-eyes...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ever Wonder About Marketing?

As a developing speaker and writer, one of the words that keeps popping into conversation is the word "platform." No, it's not quite the same as political platform. In this case, the concept of building a platform refers to building a following. Essentially, the wide world of publishing would like any unpublished authors to come to them with a pack of "groupies" already established. Kidding. Sort of.

While it's not quite about gathering groupies, having a platform is about finding people who believe in you and believe in the message you have to share, who would already be committed to buying your book, even before you get it written. (I am hoping that a few of you fall into that category. *wink*)

Here's the thing, selling yourself in an effort to develop a following feels somewhat contrary to the whole concept of Christian humility. In fact, Pat told me nearly two years ago that I needed to "sell myself" and I flat out rejected that suggestion! I'm pretty sure I said something along these lines, "If God wants me to be marketed and get published, He will make it happen."

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

More on this next week...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

M & M #3

To keep ourselves saturated in God's Word this summer, a few of us are joining together in Scripture memory. Every two weeks, we choose a new verse and share it here. I would be honoured to have you join me. Even if you're brand new here, you can start today!

Wondering exactly how to do this mediation and memorization (m & m) thing? Check out the first M & M post.

How did you do with your memory verse these past two weeks?

If you joined in last time, tell us how you did. Try writing your verse in the comments - from memory. Don't worry if you don't quite have it down! Remember, even as you work on new verses, you continue to practice the previous ones. And if you chose a larger passage of Scripture, you just might need to stay focused on that one for the whole month.

Here's my last verse, from memory (hopefully I've got it down; I was a little lax in my practicing!): If God has been generous with you, He will expect you to serve Him well. If He has been more than generous, He will expect you to serve Him even better. ~Luke 12:48b (CEV). (Okay, confession, I had to look at my index card to remember where in the Bible this verse came from! I had James in my head.)

Which passage of Scripture are you going to tackle for the next two weeks?

Because I'm preparing for She Speaks, and have been very focused on my writing and speaking these days, I have chosen 1 Peter 4:11:

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the very strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Gift You Never Wanted

It's a special day. Feels like you've waited forever for today. Finally, it's here!

People begin to arrive for the celebration, many of them bearing gifts. You eye the brightly-coloured packages with a sense of anticipation. Fluttery feelings dance through your stomach. Today is the day!

You notice something unusual - there is a package, just peeking out from a polka-dot gift bag, that is wrapped up in plain brown packing paper. For just a moment you wonder about that package, but soon the joyful mood around you distracts you from your musings.

The excitement builds until the time for opening the gifts arrives. At last! You begin with care, trying not to tear the pretty paper, but that only lasts for a moment before eagerness wins out and you tear into each package voraciously.

As each present's wrapping and packaging is tossed aside, a pile of precious items grows at your feet. You open one package that promises blue eyes, another offering curly brown hair. Sweet baby smiles and coos...endless childhood hugs...bundles of dandelion flowers...

You are done, and there is so much joy. But wait, that intriguing box - the one wrapped simply in brown paper - remains. You aren't very excited about opening that one. In fact, the thought of accepting that gift is a bit scary. But you know that if you ignore it, the giver will be hurt. It is with trepidation that you take this gift in ugly wrapping onto your lap, slowing pulling back the corners.

It can't be! No. You want to stop opening it. You can tell that this box holds something much different than baby-powder smells, booty-covered toes, or bassinet naps. This is big. Scary. What is this thing?! There are a million words to describe it, to understand it, but the explanation that reverberates in your head is, "Something is wrong." Sometimes this present is called Down Syndrome or heart defect; in my case it was called Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy.

You wish you had never even noticed that package. Sometimes you wish that you had never come to your special day. But you have no choice, you place that present in the pile with all the others.

As days and years go by, you have moments where all you see are the treasures that came out of the first several gift bags. They are like gold coins from a treasure chest. Other days, you will find yourself seeing only the stuff from the other package - the unwanted gift. Beside the gold coins, they are lumps of coal.

The passage of time reveals a surprising discovery. Something seems to be happening to those coals. You see a glimmer peeking through the dirt and ash. Suddenly you remember - under the right circumstances, coal becomes diamonds. Diamonds! Diamonds such as unbridled joy at a new accomplishment, unconditional love for others, unexpected moments of beauty. Each diamond is valuable beyond measure. Certainly more precious than a handful of gold coins.

You think to yourself, "If I had never opened that gift in the ugly package, I would never have discovered these precious gems!"

A woman with a handful of gold is rich. A woman whose gold coins lay among a pile of coals knows she's rich. A woman whose coals slowly turn into diamonds not only knows she's rich, but knows that she is blessed!

Having a child with special needs and/or medical issues is like receiving that gift wrapped in packing paper. At first, we may not really want to open that gift because the wrapping doesn’t look as pretty as we hoped it would. But once a Mom tears into that paper to see what’s inside, she will discover unimaginable treasure! Sure, there will likely be a number of cubic zirconia stones (and more coals) mixed in with all the treasure – each will bring new disappointment – but the discovery of real diamonds makes the gift worth every moment of discouragement.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Doing Life Together

Pat and I are looking to really get connected in our new home. We've talked about joining a life group (aka small group/ home group) and we've also discussed starting a group. We've considered a weekly Bible or book/DVD study group and we've pondered a group that simply "does life together." (Phrase stolen from our old stomping grounds, CrossRoads Church.) We've wondered whether a group should be solely for Christian fellowship or if it should be a comfortable and welcoming place for unchurched friends to see faith in action.

I thought it would help us to find out what others are doing. What works, what doesn't. So I created a survey. :) If you are currently in a small group, or if you have been in one in the past, would you mind taking a couple minutes to answer my questions?

Click here to take survey.

And for the comments section:
If you have never been in a life group, why not?
If you were in a group in the past but aren't any longer, how come? What happened?
What do you think makes a successful life group?
Why do you think some groups fail?

Thank-you, dear friends, for helping us navigate the waters of doing life in our new home.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Burning Coals

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each wit six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send" And who will go for us?"

And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

~Isaiah 6:1-8

It's been five months since I read this passage. Five months since I fell on my face before the Lord in repentance. Six months since I proclaimed this to be my year of consecration. Yesterday, as I stood in church and let the words of the prophet Isaiah flood over me, I sensed the Spirit asking me for a halfway point progress report.

He knows where I've made strides, where I've but taken a few steps, and where I've not moved at all (or fallen back to where I started). He doesn't need me to present Him with a report card. Yet I clearly sensed Him asking, "Tyler, how have you been doing? Are you any closer to the holiness I desire in your life than you were at the start of this year?"

My answer, a feeble, "Well, I think so." Conviction. "A little bit." More conviction. "I guess I could have put more effort in, been more intentional." Even more conviction. "Oh Lord, woe to me! I am a woman of unclean lips! In spite of my desire to do better and be better I continually fail. My lips spew forth impatience, selfish words, profanities." And I know in that moment that the impurities that spill from my mouth are but an overflow from a mind filled with filth and a heart set on selfish desires.

Once again, I will stop and turn. Turn away from the evil that I repeatedly find myself drawn into; turn back towards the God who loves me. And I will try, once again, to follow Him, be like Him, and serve Him.

Thank-you, Sandy, for giving us the opportunity to share how God speaks to us this summer.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I received a story by email recently (you know the ones) that I actually opened and read. (This is not typical for me. I tend to see that it's one of those "inspirational" forwards and delete without ever opening.) I got a few chuckles out of the "proverbs" for life. Maybe you will too. :)

* Just accept that some days you're the pigeon;
and some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet -
just in case you have to eat them.

* Always wear stuff that will make you look good
if you die in the middle of it.

*Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be
"recalled" by their maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again,
It was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time,
because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well.
Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird,
sleep late.

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

* When everything's coming your way,
you're in the wrong lane.

* Birthdays are good for you.
The more you have, the longer you live.

* You may be only one person in the world,
But you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp; some are pretty; and
some are dull. Some have weird names; and all are different colours;
but they all have to live in the same box.

* A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tithers Are Recession-Proof

I came across a post this morning that echos loudly every thought I have on the matters of tithing, giving, and personal finances. While the post was written toward those considering adoption, the truths Linny shares are relevant for all of us.

Below is an excerpt, but make sure you visit A Place Called Simplicity to read the whole post and a multitude of other fantastic posts about God's hand in the life of this family! (The post, written in January of 2009 and entitled "Middle of the Night Thoughts" is down the page a bit, below the blog intro called "Our Boatload of Dreams.")

Yes, the economic system in our world is in serious, major, humongous trouble. BUT God's economy is plentiful. Yes, people are losing their jobs (our sweet son-in-love, Ryan, lost his job last Wednesday) BUT Almighty God is the ultimate Job Placement Agency. Jehovah Jirah is still on the throne and He is the meeter of all needs.

If we were to do a study of God's principles an over-riding theme is that God deeply loves three specific groups of people and we are commanded to care for them. The poor, the orphan and the widow.

So call me crazy: BUT I do not think that when the economy is struggling that the King of Kings changes His plans and says, "oh I didn't realize that the dollar would be worth far less and you guys would lose your jobs and so yeah, don't worry about the poor, the orphan and the widow. I didn't realize that this economy would go 'bust' and yeah, ummm so, you guys really better button up your giving and hang on to every penny you get."

Absolutely not!!! He has called us to care for the poor, the orphan and the widow - period! Dw and I firmly believe that no matter what - His commands are not optional!! In fact, we are of the notion when times get tough - give more away!! When you are wondering how you are going to pay for something - give even more away to the poor, the orphan or the widow.

There is something about God watching our hearts and seeing that we are trusting HIM not the savings account, our home value, or our IRA. He says, "Give and it will be given to you - pressed down, running over..." Does that make sense? Only in GOD'S economy.

Recently I was talking to a group of friends. There is a popular notion out there that "when I get alot of money (the lottery/strike it rich in business) then I will finally be able to really do something big for God." But I think that is a very wrong game plan. God is watching our stewardship NOW. He says, "When I gave you little, what did you do?" Have you hoarded it? Have you kept it for your own pleasure - because after all, you 'earned' it and you 'deserve' it? Are your 'needs' really needs? Have you been generous with the small amount you have?? I think the word "generous" is key. Dw and I are totally convinced that He is watching our stewardship and if we are faithful and generous in little - THEN He will pour out His financial blessings BECAUSE He knows that you are trustworthy - you are doing what He wanted you to do in the first place - faithfully and sacrificially giving to the needs of the poor, the orphan and the widow - even when you had little.

Dw and I are convinced that tithers are Recession/Depression Proof. Remember David in the Psalms said: "I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread." It does not mean that times won't get "crunchier", but He is the provider!!

Dw and I are totally convinced that He is watching our stewardship and if we are faithful and generous in little - THEN He will pour out His financial blessings BECAUSE He knows that you are trustworthy - you are doing what He wanted you to do in the first place - faithfully and sacrificially giving to the needs of the poor, the orphan and the widow - even when you had little.
So the game plan?? Get out of debt! Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor. Stop needless spending. Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor. Downsize your home to have less mortgage (or no mortgage). Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor. Cut up your credit cards and pay them off. Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor.

And THEN watch and see our Miracle-Working, Mountain-Moving, Awe-Inspiring, Gasp-Giving God provide supernaturally for you!! It's gonna' be so stinkin' amazing!!

Does it get any more real, straight-shooting, down-to-earth, say-it-like-it-is than this?! And based on our personal experience, every single word is absolutely accurate. Don't believe me (or Linny)? Go ahead and test it out...

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. ~Malachi 3:10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


In our first year of marriage, I was quite insistent that Pat and I exchange the traditional anniversary gifts. I had a calendar made with pictures from our wedding for him to hang at work. (I don't think he ever did take it to work, though, because he was mostly on the road.) I can't remember what he got me, but it was definitely paper.

Once we were coming up on the year of cotton, we decided that buying one another clothes was dumb. Instead, we bought stuff that we wanted. Kinda like a birthday. I'm sure we did gifts for a few years, but after a while that became more headache and expense than we wanted.

The past few years, we've chosen time together for our anniversary. Last year, our tenth, we spent the weekend at the same place we spent our honeymoon. I got a tattoo. (Not really related, but hey!)

Most of the time (not just anniversaries) our dates involve doing what I like to do.This year, our anniversary was spent doing what Pat has always wanted to do - camping as a family. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement. It was great! (No one is more surprised by this than I.) Here are a few snapshots of our anniversary weekend.

Along the way you'll notice a few peeps that don't belong to us. We had 3 extra young folk on the trip, as well as a friend and co-worker of Pat's with his wife and little boy. Many of these photos were taken by said friend/co-worker.

Somebody learned to ride on just two-wheels! Yay, Megan! You go girl!

Abbey demonstrating her gymnastics skills for Shea and G.

Pat had to get in on the two-wheel riding action. This picture was posted on the wall at work first thing Monday morning.

Braeden and J were the only ones brave enough to get in that cold lake and stay in!

Wheee! Malakai put on hundreds of miles over the weekend.

Sweet smiling G. Her face had this expression on it for the whole time.

Daisy dog got in on the action. Camping plumb wore her out.

I believe they were building a city of volcanoes.

Pat and Abbey, sitting still and quiet in hopes of catching a squirrel in their net.

Kai's new buddy, Little C (or "baby," as Kai fondly referred to him) stuck close to the shiny red tricycle at all times.

This may have been the shot that caught Braeden right in the face. I think J overestimated the amount of power required to kick a mini soccer ball!

Braeden getting in on the soccer action. (Obviously, this was prior to the hit in the face. After that incident he decided to "retire." LOL!)

Here's Big C. See that gap? He yanked those two front teeth out the day we left for camping. The tooth fairy even comes to visit in travel trailers, didya know?

I'm pretty sure this was the, "Mama, carry me up!" look.

There must have been a Pat-monster chasing these kids...

No family outing is complete without a friendly match of Kung-Fu fighting.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Not for the first time, I am pondering the words of James 1:2-4. This time, though, I heard them quoted from the Message.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
What jumps out at you from this passage?

For me, the word "deficient" leaps off the page. In life, in faith, in all things, the LAST thing I want to be is deficient, insufficient, or less-than. It would seem that my best defense against being found lacking is to allow the difficulties of this life do their work, to not try to get out of trials, and to allow them to make me mature and well-developed. I don't know if, in the midst of things, I would consider pressure and hardship a gift. Yet after the fact, I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am without having had certain unpleasant life experiences.

Without a special needs child, I would have little compassion for the pain, heartache, and utter exhaustion so many parents are walking through. Because I had to fight, research, and advocate for Braeden, I feel equipped to help and encourage other parents to ask for what they need.

Had I not walked through the valley of the shadow of depression, I suspect I would be unsympathetic (and even judgemental) of others in need of counselling and medication to treat their mental health issues. Instead, I find my heart burdened to pray for my friends caught in the mire of emotional anguish.

If I had not been a teenage disaster, not experienced the loss of two pregnancies, not been a fatherless girl desperate for a man to love me, if I had not had times of plenty and times of very little, and not had empty and angry painful years in my marriage... Who would I be? In spite of the pain that each of these experiences caused me, I do not believe I would want do go back and do life again without them. For then I would be a woman who knew not the scandalous grace offered through Christ, the freedom found in offering forgiveness, the love of a Father who never leaves, the beauty of a marriage restored, the bonds of friendships soldered over shared sorrows...

What about you?

Does this version of the passage give you any new insights about your own faith walk? Looking back, can you see how certain trials have shaped and matured you? Are there struggles that you have come through, that you can now genuinely say were a "sheer gift?"

Friday, July 2, 2010

Why Didn't I Invent That?

I am one of those people who often says, "You know, someone should invent ________. That would make life so much easier!" But I am an idea gal, not a creator. So I leave it at that, and eventually, when I see that someone has invented it, I am kicking myself about how many millions I could be raking in if I'd only pushed forward with my idea.

Well, now someone has gone and done it! They took my love of lists, my enjoyment of office and school supplies, and my desire for organization and rolled it all into one GIANT awesome idea! Pre-purchased school supplies. Yup. Best. Idea. Ever.

At the start of June I got an order form sent home. (Two actually. One for each girl.) You could check off the "basic package" option, which included all the annual supplies for each class, direct from the teacher's list (such as 6 sticks of UHU glue, markers, etc.). Or you could mark off some "options" to add to the package - things you might already have at home (such as a pencil box, scissors, and so on). The order forms were due by June 15th, with payment. School supplies can be picked up in the school gym a few days before the first day.

Seriously?! Could life get any convenient?! Now, if only I could find a place to order groceries that offers free delivery here in the county. That would make life so much easier!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh Canada!

Today is Canada Day. Our nation's birthday. I know that Americans tend to be known for the patriotism more than Canadians, but the fact is that Canada is just about the best place in the whole world to live! (I say 'just' simply because I wouldn't mind a little less snow.)

In honour of Canada's 143rd year, I am going to list 143 things I love about Canada! Kidding... How about my top 10?

10. I like spelling words the 'proper' English way, such as honour and colour and neighbour.

9. There is so much space everywhere!

8. We are the best at hockey.

7. It is pronounced "zed," not "zee." ;)

6. We are known for being the friendliest nation. Canadian visitors are welcomed with open arms everywhere in the world.

5. The loonie and toonie are cute!

4. While I acknowledge some short-comings in our health care system, I definitely appreciate FREE care for all! (If we had to pay for all the services Braeden accesses, we'd be looking at up to $40,000 per year.)

3. Coloured money is the way to go!

2. The beauty of our summers (green) and autumns is incomparable!

1. Our Rocky Mountains may just be the biggest show of God's hand in this fine world!