Thursday, December 31, 2015

When The Answer is the Unexpected.

We pray. We fast…...and pray.

We cry out for mercy. for truth. for wisdom. for justice.

but the answer is

NO.

We check our motives. We make sure that it is an unselfish heart cry for more time. more opportunity to pour out grace. to serve.

but still the answer is

NO.

There is no question. No second guessing. No mistaking it.

The answer is clear

NO.

Sometimes what we see as right, doesn’t quite turn out that way. Sometimes what doesn’t make sense is exactly the answer.

My dear friend, Sarah, would often say “Our economy is not God’s economy.” What doesn’t make sense to me makes perfect sense to God.

I remember reading the account of Martha and Mary, sending word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill. (Luke 11) When Jesus arrives 4 days after Lazarus has been buried, Martha runs to Him and greets Him saying
 
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Then, when she was called, Mary quickly came to Jesus, she greeted Him saying:

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

They had sent for the Lord. They knew that He was the healer and He would heal the “one he loved”. But He didn’t. He didn’t come. He didn’t heal. Not even from a distance.

The answer was
NO.

Jesus knew that Lazarus was ill and He could have arrived in Bethany in time. But He chose not to. Not because He didn’t love Lazarus. Not because Martha and Mary were unimportant. Not because He was too busy or just didn’t care.

He says to His disciples in verses 14&15

“Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”

He comforts Mary and tells her

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Jesus prays to the Father that the witnesses of this miracle would believe that He was sent by God. And then He does the unthinkable. He calls Lazarus to “come out!”

In March 2011, a speaker at our church, Sean Lee, shared these thoughts:

The disciples questioned his wisdom.

The sisters questioned His compassion.

The crowd questioned His power.

Martha questioned His methods.

The only one who didn’t question God was Lazarus. 

Christ said “Come forth!” and Lazarus did.

In the every days of life. We do what we are called to do.

The answer is His.

It may throw us for a loop, but His answer is better and has a purpose we may not see.

Trust Him with it. Embrace the unexpected and you will see the glory of God.

Monday, December 21, 2015

That Christmas



Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. I love decorating the house and the festive spirit that permeates the atmosphere. I love to sit in the peaceful quiet circle of light surrounded by deep inky darkness.Maybe 1500 lights are too many for a Christmas Tree but my tree is larger than life in my cozy living room and it deserves to be dressed well. The effort is well worth the effect and every year I eagerly anticipate those quiet Christmas evenings.  
Every year but last year.
To continue reading, please join me over here, for my last post at Uniquely Yours Ministries

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Grace Filled Words

A dear, sweet girl posted this link today. I wandered over and am so glad I did.

These words, I embraced. I have lived them and can testify to their truth.

There was a time when I wondered if I would ever be worthy. Would ever be wanted and treasured.

And there was a day when I discovered contentment in my singleness.

Oh to have read these words during those wondering days:

"The ground is level at the foot of the Cross."

My dearest is a picture of grace to me. A reminder of truly how much my Saviour loves me.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Real Encouragement

Over the years in our time working with teenagers at a summer camp, we have instituted a tradition called “The Encouragement Box”. Every day everyone that lives in the Farmhouse has opportunity to write a note of real encouragement to another person in “the house”. We get to spend time with some amazing teens. 
One particular week this summer, I wrote a note to sweet Kaylee. Kaylee is a blond haired, blue eyed beauty with a smile that is infectious and a love for Jesus that overflows. She loves to talk and loves to sing. She bubbles over with joy. The following night she read this letter in response to the encouragement she had received:
To keep reading, please join me over here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A message from "Mom"

As a second “mom” and mentor to many young men and women over the years, I often find myself faced with having to speak this message with as much compassion as I can. They can be hard words to hear, even harder to act on. They are difficult to speak but necessary.
Here is a letter similar to one that I wrote to one of my dear “kids”:
Please join me at UYM continue reading.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

28 Days (Wilson's Story)

Wil’s story begins about 5 years prior to his birth. About a year after our 4th child was born, I had a dream. I don’t put tons of stock into my dreams but this was different. It was like God spoke to me. I woke with a deep knowing.
I wish I could explain it better but that is what it was. The message was clear – I was going to have another child and I was going to be older. I didn’t know what “older” meant.
Please join me at UYM Miracles Week to read the rest of Wil's Story.

The first picture I have of Wil in the NICU.

Wil, this summer, after going off the zip-line "by his-self".

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It's Good to Remember

Revisiting a guest post I wrote a year ago.

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 sure that sounds quite ridiculous, twenty-four seems a bit young to be labelled as such but at that time, I felt old.
My friends were finding “the one” and walking down the aisle before me. Regular questions of “Do you have a boyfriend?” or “Any men in your life?” peppered every conversation, or so it seemed, and I felt somehow that when I answered “no”
I came up lacking…
Join me over here to keep reading.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Fading Flowers



Can I be honest with you?

You may be young and your skin beautiful and dewy, your hair thick and glossy and your body toned and healthy but you are aging. 

It may not feel like it but it is true.

We live in bodies that are growing and changing but aging from the minute we are born.

I really don’t mean for this to be discouraging but it is a reality we all must face.

Please join me over here to finish reading.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Doubly His

I remember the first day that my mom gave me a “clothing allowance”. I had received an allowance growing up but this was different. I received $60.00 each month with which to buy clothes, shoes, school supplies, gifts, as well as the occasional lunch at school. The idea was to teach me to budget and plan my finances to meet present requirements and anticipate future needs.
One of my first clothes shopping trips by myself, I had such a difficult time spending my money. I was a bit afraid to buy the “wrong” thing. Eventually after wasting about three hours debating with myself,  I bit the bullet, made a decision, and left the mall with three new shirts with which to start my grade nine year. I remember these shirts like it was yesterday. That moment was significant in my purchasing history.
They were special. I paid for them and they were mine.
To keep reading join me over here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Don't Dehydrate

As the younger brother to two older sisters, it is typical to be surrounded by and participate in the “girl”side of childhood. Dolls, dress up and princess movies are par for the course. In our house the girls were quite taken with Polly Pocket and the first movie was on regular rotation through the DVD player. Little brother was captivated by the movie, also.
Polly and her friends are on the cutting edge of fashion and quite aware of the latest beauty tips which are shared liberally throughout the show.
During a last minute flight to a private island, Polly, hostess extraordinaire, provided her guests with a satchel filled with “everything a girl needs for the lengthy overseas plane ride: flavored lip gloss, ionized face mister, bottled water and moisturizer. Everyone who’s anyone knows the #1 rule of flying…”
My boy would join enthusiastically in chorus with Polly’s friends “Don’t dehydrate!”

To continue reading, please join me at UYM.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Your Walk Talks

Jon Glock, currently Vice President for Advancement at Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa, then a Youth Ministries Worker in Murfreesboro, Tennessee came to our youth retreat as the guest speaker. His passion for youth and his captivating preaching style had our attention from the get-go. He spoke with a bit of a southern drawl and one of his phrases has stuck with me over the last 17 or so years. 
Your walk talks and your talk talks but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” (try saying that 10x fast!)
It can be a tongue twister for sure but don’t let the truth of it get twisted in your mind. I am sure you have heard another version of this truth. “Your actions speak louder than your words.” 
What you do matters.
To keep reading, join me over here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Bugs Life


Remember that moment in Pixar’s, A Bug’s Life, when Heimlich transforms into the beautiful butterfly, but he doesn’t?

I admit that in that moment I felt let down. 

The overweight, unrefined caterpillar was supposed to emerge from the cocoon as a majestic, distinguished, exquisite creature. Instead he was the same old, same old with some minuscule winglets popped out for good measure. He enthusiastically embraced his new life as a butterfly but there really wasn’t much of a change to celebrate.

You can continue reading here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

HIS

I am a photographer and scrap booker. 
A writer. 
A baker.  

But I am not a crafty person. 

At all. 

I try. And fail. 

I want to be crafty but rarely do my attempts turn out pretty or even useful. My sister is a creator. She has done it all in the crafting department, it seems, and everything she puts her hands to is beautiful work. Ceramics, toile painting, upholstery, stained glass, pottery. She finds beautiful craft ideas and just does them. 

I am envious of people who can create naturally because I just can’t.

Please join me at Uniquely Yours Ministries to continue reading.

Monday, July 06, 2015

New Journey

SO, I have been feeling for quite some time, that I am not quite fulfilling my commitment as a blogger.

I have so many things to share.

photos......thoughts......encouragements.....speaking notes.....my thankfulness list....

and yet, I am not that great at the discipline side of blogging.

The just doing it.

I prayed about this and made lists and then a lovely young woman asked me to pray about joining her new ministry as a regular blogger.

To be honest, I didn't have to pray long to be able to confidently answer YES! This is the discipline I need - the accountability to write regularly.

I am excited to join the Uniquely Yours Ministry team for a season of sharing my heart.

I hope you will join me in this journey.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

WEEK TEN - SENSES

So, this weekend a couple of friends and I met halfway between our cities in a little town outside of Jackson, MI, at the Hankerd Inn B&B . This is one of those hidden treasures. This was a wonderful retreat and opportunity to work on my scrapbooks, on which I am VERY far behind. It was comfortable with a nice opportunity for rest. A time to laugh and reconnect.

The Innkeeper, Jan is so sweet and friendly. She is a very talented cook and quilt artist.

What stood out the most was the incredible feast we enjoyed over the course of the weekend.


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


Saturday Brunch


Artisan Bread


Saturday Dinner


Salad with a lovely vinaigrette dressing. 


Sunday Breakfast.


Food with ambiance.

I hope I didn't make you too hungry with my bragging about the food this weekend. The pictures cannot possibly do justice to the taste.

If you are looking for a lovely place for a getaway. I recommend checking out Hankard Inn B&B.



Sunday, March 01, 2015

WEEK NINE - TIME


The beautifully restored mantel clock that sits on my piano. A gift from my uncle.








Saturday, February 28, 2015

WEEK EIGHT - TEXTURES

from my living room










from our wine tour at Pelee Island Winery










Monday, February 16, 2015

WEEK SEVEN - LOVE

Well the week that ends with Valentine's Day - it is fitting to focus on the theme of LOVE.

This is an easy one for me. Love exudes in our family.

Not that everything is always peaceful and perfect but we truly and deeply love each other.

It is a common sight to see kids gathered close watching a video on a device or reading something. Listening to music. Playing a game. Reading a book.

I took a ton of pictures of moments in which Little Man was snuggled up with each of the kids individually throughout the week. It seems that he figures his place is there in the midst and he assumes that the kids will be happy at any moment to have him climb up.

There were many moments that I didn't capture. I honestly was living and enjoying the moment and I didn't want to break it by running for the camera.

In any case, rather than overflow with too many pictures of my children, I chose one. A posed portrait of the five children that have stolen my heart.



Thanks to my wonderful sister and brother-in-law, My dearest and I were able to get away for a night.

Yesterday we headed to the beautiful town of Kingsville, where we enjoyed a wine tour at Pelee Island Winery.

We headed back to check into our room at Inn 31. The Garden Room, in which we stayed was a very pretty, bright and cheerful room.

Before we headed down to dinner, while we still had beautiful natural light, my dearest willingly participated in my attempts to capture a picture of us together.

I am SO pleased with how this turned out.



We went down to a delicious dinner at Jack's Gastropub. Burgers and fries in a wonderful ambiance. Very friendly staff. We indulged in desserts of Vanilla Creme Brulee and Chocolate Chevre Brownie. I was thankful that we did not have to leave the warmth to get to our room. It was a lovely, relaxing retreat from the chaos of the everyday.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

WEEK SIX - DETAILS

This week was little man's first swimming lesson ever.

He was beyond excited to start and had been talking about it for months.

I tried to capture some of the excitement and what sights might have filled his wondering eyes.
























Monday, February 02, 2015

Our Love Story ♥



"I love love and I love stories. So love stories are a doubly special treat to share.


I truly love MY love story and I am excited to share a shortened version with you."

I am privileged to be featured as a guest today in anticipation of Valentine's Day. #14daysofLOVE

Please join me here to read the rest of our story. 



Sunday, February 01, 2015

WEEK FIVE - LIFESTYLE

This challenge theme stumped me. I honestly had no idea. Nothing really struck me with an ah-ha moment. All week I thought about it but....nuthin'. Now the weekend has come and gone.

So..... you get a sampling of things that captured my attention.

I guess these are glimpses into the life we lead. It fits.....kind of....

I love chocolate. I also love strawberries. The two together are a magical combination.




Our living room was full of teenagers and Little Man had way too much energy. When he finally crashed for a few minutes he pulled a pillow into the middle of the room so he wasn't too far from the action.


In this age of abundant selfies, I enjoy being the one behind the camera rather than in front of it. It is a rare photo that I like however I am learning to allow myself to be a part of the documented memories. 
Photo credit to may amazing daughter, McKenna, who is becoming a wonderfully creative photographer.


I am my beloved's and he is mine. ♥
Song of Solomon 6:3

In the midst of a snow storm and my son goes out without a coat. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!


The thick blanket of snow covering my front yard. 
Hard to believe that it had already been shoveled. 
And more is coming! 





I loved the contrast of the dark remnants against the driven snow...
Hello February!!!











Monday, January 26, 2015

Stop!

I love my friends. Wonderful people who have heard the cries of my heart even if only over facebook and through my blog. Dear ones who see, and hear and read and think of me and send sweet reminders.

I woke this morning to this message from one of my dear, sweet camp daughters.



Only someone special can speak this truth with love that it is embraced in my heart as such.

Guilty.

I am.

I know it's true.

Prideful in all I can accomplish and all to which I commit myself. I don't like to say "no" because to refuse is to admit I can't handle it all. But the reality is I can't handle it all. Not well, anyways.

So today I am reminded that I don't need to glorify busy-ness but enjoy rest.

Thank you my dear daughter, for this hug filled with truth and love.

I am indeed blessed.

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest.
 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
 for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Sunday, January 25, 2015

WEEK FOUR - LIGHT

I was quite excited at the prospect of capturing light. With the expectation of snow, I was anticipating morning sunlight glistening off of snow covered fields. Diamonds sparkling on ice covered tree branches.

Contrasting the beauty of the ice and cold with the winter sun warming our living room while the children played peacefully together.

But this was not to be. The snow came but each day was cold with blustering winds and swirling white or overcast and dreary.

I rethought my plan and decided that I also enjoy the lights of a winter evening.

I am always amazed at how the snow reflects light making the night seem bright like the day.



I love the ambiance of this house. Especially at night. In the snow.



Driving to the River, I found myself surrounded by lights.



The Bridge at night always captivates me. This night it was lined with trucks from one end to the other. 





When I turned the other direction the Detroit Skyline was another series of lights reflecting on the cold water.



As I left the river, thankful to be warm, I couldn't help but notice Assumption. My husband's family was an important part of the history here and in Detroit, when it was still a fort! 
It was worth braving the cold again to capture these.









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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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