Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time Flies

So here I am on the eve of my return to Camp. It is amazing to me that 6 weeks have passed since I was there last. Crazy!

Ladies Retreat. An amazing weekend with an incredible speaker, Robyn Dykstra, who challenged us to see God as our Refuge.

I shared in a breakout session at Ladies' Retreat a message entitled From Here to There, practical ideas to becoming the woman you want to be.

As I wrote my thoughts I realized that there was so much more to say than I could fit in an hour. There were so many ideas that would take time to mull and process and "do" without feeling overwhelmed.

I intended to come home and start posting sections of my notes. To be honest, this thought scared me. I was a little overwhelmed, to say the least. So here I am six weeks later, still struggling with this but going out on a limb and trusting that something I have to say may resonate with someone. somewhere.

This is the road that I have been on. Things that I have done or want to do. My thoughts. My desires.

So....here we go.......

We are all on the same basic journey. We are born and live until we face our eternity. Though this is true, each of us is at a different place and our circumstances make our journey unique.

I want to preface this by saying I don’t have it all together. I don’t have all the answers and I haven’t reached the “there”. I feel like I am just moving past the here.

I hope that through our discussion, you can find the place that you are and be encouraged in your journey.

Please join me each week as I share an expanded version of what I covered at Ladies' Retreat and all that I didn't manage to get to.


This weekend I am heading with my two eldest children for P & H. I am looking forward to being in the Word. Connecting with my Camp family. Enjoying a little R&R (or more realistically, late nights, early mornings, lots of laughing and way too much fun!)


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Me. Alone.

"Once upon a time, in a town not so far away, an idea for a book was born. “Diary of an Old Maid” was the first title
I chose for it– I was twenty-four years old."

I am a guest today on this beautiful lady's blog. Kerrington is a lovely young woman with a heart for God and a joy that overflows. You cannot help being drawn to her. I am privileged to count her as a friend.

Join me over here to read the rest of the post.
 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's One of Those Days

I'm sure you've had one. I think we all do at some point or another. Today was mine.

Nothing was going to go right. Nothing.

The littlest had too runny of a nose to go to Co-op, so I had to stay home for the morning. Just when I thought I could get in a shower before he awoke, he started stirring. Disappearing for an extended period with no opportunity to hear him awake is NOT a good idea.

What could have been a productive morning was not so much. He was clingy and needy and since he was not feeling well, it would have been mean and un-motherly to just let him cry. I do admit to feeling, at moments, un-motherliness however, I generally give in before the mommy-guilt completely overtakes me.

Days like this I find it hard to be naturally thankful. I tend to over-think the unpleasing and have to force myself to see the blessing. How glad I am that my list is not limited to THIS day.

140.  Arriving home safely from a late night drive.
141.  A friend who can see below my surface and enforce a much needed break.
142.  Kind words of concern from a man I respect.
143.  A belated birthday dinner out with my "bestie" - lots of good delicious food!
144.  The safe arrival of TWO camp grand-babies!
145.  My mom sharing our family history with the two eldest.
146.  Leo having the opportunity to golf twice and fish in the course of a week.
147.  Chemical free cleaning!
148.  Chocolate Truffle Cake - for a birthday treat - to die for
149.  a Sunday morning message that hit home for me.
150.  This hair system - my hair feels like silk! Thank you BzzAgent for the opportunity to try products and share experiences -this one was a winner by far!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Never Too Late For Thanks.

121. An unexpected thank you - colourful arrangement of daisies and Tim's
122. A piano and a tea cup - memories of my beloved Aunt Mary.
123. My thoughtful girl buying her brothers "bribe" candy for her babysitting and long hours without complaining.
124. A clean washer.
125. The eldest snuggling with the youngest. ♥
126. Kids that understand harmony and use it during family worship.
127. Historical fiction that takes my mind off today.
128. An amazing deal for my girl - her very own keyboard.
129. Clean rooms and properly sorted laundry.
130. A thoughtful gift of connecting time away with my love.
131. Assorted fudge sample pack from Harbourtown Fudge.
132. A relaxing escape


133. Refreshing infused water - I am addicted.
134. Cheese cake to go from Killer Desserts


135. Walking through the picturesque quaint town of Port Stanley




137. Children taking good care of each other.
138. Creamy homemade rice pudding with friend.
139. Schoolwork without a hassle.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Abundant Blessing

A new beginning to my gratitude. I think I am a thankful person but I have found that documenting makes gratitude flow more abundantly.

111. our vacation home - "The Farmhouse" - newly renovated.
112. having all of my family under one roof
113. Farmhouse worship - a crowd of teenagers crammed into the living room lifting their voices and hearts with abandon.
114. connecting moments and moments of breakthrough, like a ray of sunshine through the storm clouds
115. a rainbow that starts and ends in Canada - a perfect arch.


116. seeing old camp friends - their kids camping with mine
117. being encouraged by my "Farmhouse kids" from the past.
118. Facetime with a sweet girl in Senegal. The chance to pray.
119. lots of pictures posted of my kids at camp
120. the safe arrival of a precious baby and the transfer of love to his new parents.

Monday, June 23, 2014

DEL|IVER ME!

I had the privilege of being a guest on my friend Katie's blog this last weekend. Unfortunately, I am not at home, and couldn't link to my post on its release date however, here is a glimpse:

UGLY…FAT…UNWANTED...UNLOVED…UNFORGIVABLE...TOO MUCH…NOT ENOUGH.
 
Words that confuse.

Words that accuse.

Words that wound.

Words that leave scars.

Words that haunt. 

In the darkest moments they rise up taunting. Overwhelming. Overpowering. Bringing me to my knees.

"In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue" (Psalm 109:1-2).
 
 You are welcome to read the rest of my post over here.

Friday, May 23, 2014

THESE ARE THE YEARS

I had the privilege of sharing some thoughts at a baby shower a couple of months ago. I think the message is one that I need to be reminded of regularly so I thought I would share them.

"According to Barna Research in an article entitled, How Teenagers' Faith Practices Are Changing:
  • teenagers are much less inclined toward spirituality than were teens a dozen years ago
  • teenagers today seem much less inclined to have spiritual conversations about their faith in   Christ with non-believers

 In their article What Makes Faith Stick During College?, Sticky Faith states:
  • studies indicate that 40 percent to 50 percent of all youth group graduates fail to stick with their faith or connect with a faith community after high school.

 In 5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to ChurchBarna Research also shows:
  • 6 in 10 people born between 1984 and 2002 (the Millennials) that grew up in a Christian home will walk away from their faith.

  • Only ¼ of 18-29 year olds are practicing Christians (attending church at least 1x per month). (most evangelical churches I know wouldn't even consider that “practicing” – I wonder what percentage attend church 1x/week?)

 To address growing and concerning trends, Ken Ham has written  Already Gone – “Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it.”

So you may be wondering why I am talking to you about teenagers and young adults, when you've just added a beautiful baby to your family and your other children are so young.

I am sure that you have often heard that you should enjoy this time because it goes so fast – it’s true  it does go fast…WAY too fast. But when we are in the midst of 

the diapers 
and 
nursing or bottles 
and
crying
 and
the never ending dependence 
we sometimes long for the next stage. 

And
 when they are
little and learning 
and
need help with everything 
from
washing hands 
to
 wiping bottoms
to
 math and spelling
and
 we long for respite in what comes next.

 And
 when we have to deal
with growth spurts
 and
hormone changes
 and
attitudes
 that make you wonder what happened to that sweet child from yesterday. 

Don’t wish this stage away. 

Our children are on loan to us for a very short period of time and we have a job to do. 

Enjoy the gift and the blessing of these days and these stages and use what God has given you to fulfill His call on your life to instill into their lives.

These are the years that we have to invest and instill into our children’s lives.

According to a national survey from the Search Institute measuring the top five people with the most significant religious influence through the teen years –

 the number one influence

 averaging at about 75%

 is….

MOM 

.......followed by dad in the low 50 percentile. 

(I noted that the church influences – pastor/elder/SS teacher/camp counselor – all are around 20-25%. This doesn't negate the Body of Christ - we are called to encourage one another. To train. To teach. To gather. So even if you have no children or are before or beyond the child raising years, I am still speaking to you!)

I strongly believe that the relationship that we build during the childhood years sustains our children during the transitional teens and further carries over into a strong influence in the young adult years. This time is crucial for their growth and development and laying a foundation for our children in their spiritual walk.



The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 says:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

When we read this verse often think of missions trips and third world countries where they don’t have to deal with the Polar vortex.  A vacation in the sunny south spreading a little of the Good News sounds nice but could I challenge you that the “nations” aren't just a continent away but are right outside your bedroom door? (Potentially banging at the most inopportune moments..... but there they are the nations of whom we are called to make disciples).

It is easy to get caught up in:

the shopping 
and 
the bill paying
and
the laundry
and 
the cleaning 
and 
the providing for 
and 
the just doing of the “stuff” 
(don’t get me wrong clean underwear and hydro with which to do said cleaning are crucial) 

We can so fill our hours that we lose track of what is important.

And even with what is important we can fill our time so full of every meeting and Bible study and Christian service activity. We can cram our “extra hours” with good spiritual activities that we lose sight of what is important. We see this in the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was busy doing – I am sure she was a wonderful cook and her home was well cared for but she was missing out on the communion with her Lord. 

Attending the meetings of the assembly are good and important we are told not to forsake the gathering together of ourselves. 

Using the gifts God has given us IS important but all of these things CANNOT be at the expense of our own spiritual walk and the relationships with our spouse and our children.

WE have a duty to preach the gospel to our children. 

At the end of the day, if I fail to introduce my children to the Saviour, I have failed. 

I want to take a moment to clarify because I want to be sure that no one hears judgement in my words. 

I have heard from many sources “God doesn't have grandchildren”. This is true. Our children will not inherit our salvation or ride into heaven on our coattails. 

We cannot force our children to believe - to choose to become followers of Christ. They can repeat a prayer and it mean nothing. 

I remember when my girls were little overhearing an eager McKenna threatening Braelyn with consequences if she didn't repeat “the prayer”. Mc understood salvation was important but didn't yet understand that it is more than words. Matthew 12:34 says

"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."

We can only introduce them to the Lord but we cannot force a friendship. 
We can encourage them in their walk but we cannot walk it for them. 

They are responsible with what they choose and they will stand before Him to give their own account. We will give our account. Will it be wood, hay and stubble - the non eternal or gold, silver and precious stones...eternal investments.

We need not to hold onto guilt but only to be faithful.

Deuteronomy 11:18-20 says

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates,

It isn't a daily check list:

  • Framed Scripture verse in every room…..................................CHECK
  • Read a verse over breakfast…(in between yelling about the spilled milk and the need to get teeth brushed)….................................................................CHECK
  • Listened to Adventures in Odyssey in the car…..................................CHECK
  • Prayed over all our meals out-loud(even the ones in public….woohoo getting a little radical)…….................................................................CHECK
  • Another car ride oooooh! We can mix it up with some Christian music……BONUS CHECK for each additional trip
  • Bedtime prayers and even possibly a devotion story….................................CHECK

Certainly sending your child to a Christian School deserves some extra CHECKS for expense and homeschooling deserves some for the sacrifice of time and sanity.

rather this is a way of life. God’s Word should be so indwelt in our minds and hearts that it naturally pours out in what we say and how we live.

There is a saying that is commonly attributed to Saint Frances of Assisi – he didn't actually say it but I think the saying has some merit. 

“Preach Christ always, use words if you must.” 

I have heard that saying denounced by believers. I understand. We ARE to PREACH Christ. We often hear another saying that we accept more readily “actions speak louder than words”. If my preaching of Christ and the sharing of my faith isn't supported by the life I lead – even in the safety and comfort of my own home, where I am more real than anywhere else on earth - then there is a problem. And the people who see that disconnect more than anyone, are my husband and my children.

I am not perfect. WE are not perfect but I think we often get so focused on what is on the outside, what people see, that we don’t focus on the inside and what truly matters.

One of the recent speakers said

 "If we are only raising our children to be obedient we are raising Pharisees.” 

Obedience is important but a heart surrendered to Christ is more important. Out of that heart flows true obedience.

If I wear a head covering in meeting but have a rebellious un-submitted spirit – it is just a piece of cloth.

Mark Holman, in his book Faith Begins At Home says 

“As parents we pass on things to our children every day. They’re watching us, learning from us and emulating us. The question is not ARE we passing things on to our children but what are we passing on to our children?”

Dr. David Anderson once asked a group of parents 

“How many of you wish your teenager had a stronger faith?” 

every hand in the room went up. He then made a comment that I’ll never forget. He said,

“While it’s good that everyone desires that our teenagers have a stronger faith,. The truth is that what we see in our teenagers’ faith is a mirror image of our own faith. So the issue is not their faith but your faith.”

I don’t think it is ever too late to grow in your faith and influence your children but I think that growing your walk with the Lord in a vibrant and living, visible relationship is the best foundation and example that you can provide your children. Your life as an offering supporting the gospel that you are preaching to the nations within your reach –that is a fulfillment of the Great commission and the call on your life to raise up your children.

May God richly bless you as you reflect Him to your children in your marriage and your home.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Just One

A snow day today gave me opportunity to be productive at home.

I am known for note-taking. Jotting notes during a service keeps me focused and my Bible is packed with note papers. These eventually find their way scattered through my home. I will come across random papers and take a moment to read through them. I keep those with greater impact on the re-read.

So, today, I found a box with a small stack of these notes. In reading through, I found some gems that I will share over the next few weeks.

This I found fitting after choosing one word for 2014:

The Challenge - Just One*

*KNOW
-study 1 whole book of the Bible
 -memorize one chapter, book or passage
 
*PRAY
- for one country all year
 
*GIVE
-sacrifice for one specific cause
 
*GO
-spend time in one ministry new to you
 
*ASK
-for one soul
 
 
How hard is just one?


*notes from the 2013 Ladies' Missionary Conference, Oakwood Bible Chapel, Windsor, ON.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Another Year, Another Word

For a number of years I have chosen a "word for my year". Initially inspired by Ali Edwards in her "One Little Word" campaign, and encouraged by Ann Voskamp as she names her years, I began my journey in 2010 with Intentional. I have been told that I am very intentional but quite honestly see others that are significantly better at being intentional with their time, their work and their words. I don't think I succeeded that year and may need to revisit Intentional in the future.

2011 was the year of Follow. Little did I know that year was going to test me in my willingness to follow, as we, early on, discovered that I was pregnant for number 5. After a six year gap and having thinned the baby stuff to the bare minimum, God blessed us with another. My planned "home-birth party" was replaced with an urgent five-week early trip to the hospital where after a couple of hours we welcomed a beautiful little boy into our family but not our arms or our home. Being in our arms would have to wait for a number of days while he fought to keep breathing. Being in our home would be postponed for four weeks as he gained strength and weight. I learned to appreciate the ease in which I birthed and nursed my first four and understood the difficulty of the battle when things don't go as planned. I also found strength in the hard times as the faith I had lived out in the easy times held me firm through the tough days.

2012. The year of Abide. This was the first year I chose to wear my word around my neck as a daily reminder to abide, to rest, to dwell, to remain. 

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
   where she may have her young— a place near your altar,
   O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Psalm 84:3-4
 


Pursue....my husband....my children.....my God. 2013. A very direct call. Clear and concise. I am so thankful for beautiful jewellery  that expresses my thoughts. This was a year of battling my selfishness and focussing on my primary relationships. I may not have always chose well, in how to spend my time and energy but I was very aware of the priority that needed to be given.


So we come to 2014. I knew my word for 2014 earlier last year when I had the following conversation:

"Though being able to be home with my kids is my goal, it isn’t feasible for that to happen in the next year..... Provided we have no more financial hiccups, that will hopefully work for our family...... Every time I feel we gain ground, something happens. In the year I was off we had to replace the computer, fridge, stove and microwave! The bathroom was seriously falling apart so we needed to do that renovation. Both the car and the van needed major repairs and then the furnace. They messed up my EI so was without income for about 4 months while they got that resolved.  Now both my washer and dryer are acting up. I’m telling you, it is almost laughable – I can’t stress and cry anymore, I just shake my head when the next thing falls. It can be so discouraging because I had a good plan laid out and started but once the baby came early and spent the time in the hospital – added unexpected expenses. Though, we have pretty well replaced everything so I am not sure what else could break down - :-D"

"I know what you mean about finances: our roof needs replacing, our geothermal furnace is on fumes  - we just spent 2000 on our Ford 500 and now the air conditioning is shot and the taillights are flashing. Our dryer hasn't worked for months....on it goes.

It is laugh or cry. I choose to laugh. :)"



"I am with you on that – I have turned to laughing.
 
Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
 
My goal  - rather than wallow in what the enemy would drag me into, I will seek wisdom and truth. Walking with Christ in strength and dignity therefore I can laugh at whatever the enemy sends my way knowing that my God has it all under control.
 
I know you know this but I think today I needed to “say” it out loud. Put it in writing cements it on my heart and in my mind.
 
Thanks for listening! ♥"
 
"Laughing with you"
 
And so I begin 2014, [Learning to] Laugh
 
 




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About Me

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I am the very blessed wife of my best friend. The humble mother of five precious children. Walking a life-road that is more amazing than I could ever imagine.
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