Wednesday, February 19, 2014

love month

it's the love month.
whether you buy into it or not, you can't help but be bombarded with big puffy red hearts come february.
they're everywhere.
i'm sorta on the side that says valentine's is a bit of an over-commercialized holiday.
heck, it is a great excuse for one on one time with the person you love (hellooo, DATE night!?)
but i don't really buy into the advertising hype about showing love with a gift.
"buy a gift from the heart..."
"this valentine's day, buy her..."
"show your love this valentine's with a gift from..."
course, my love language is not gifts.
so what do i know?
ok, what i do know is that no one wants a forced gift.
i'm sure we've all been there... either on the gifting side, or the receiving side.
at the end of the day, those are pointless gifts.
it sounds so trite and clich├ęd but the only real gift we can give someone is love.
pure, unconditional love.
it's easy to throw around the word love nowadays.
it's overused and abused.
love is not an emotion or feeling.
love is a verb. (or LUV is a verb... can i get a 'what, what' my fellow dc talk fans!?)
in all seriousness... it really is a verb.
which means action.
doing stuff.
love isn't how you feel towards that person.
you simply love someone and, in turn, want to do something for that person.
not should or would or could... you really just want to!
it's natural.
like kiss on the forehead for your child,
a hug for a dear friend,
an offer for a ride,
or a trip to the grocery store for your neighbour.
but... sometimes people make us mad.
they hurt our feelings... make us sad... bitter... resentful.
it's easy to focus on our emotions.
especially as women... because, let's face it, we are emotional creatures.
it's how we were woven together.
but guess what?!
i have great news... for women and men.
for everyone.
we don't need to love people on our own merit.
but we can love people with the love of Jesus.
on our own, we cannot love people the way we're supposed to.
but His supernatural love can intercede for us.
and when we love with His love, we will naturally do stuff for others.
and here's an even bigger surprise... we won't even just love those that are easy to love.
with Christ's love in us, we can love those that are unlovable and difficult to love.
in fact, we will want to love on them.
and sometimes, that just might mean gift giving.
but not because we have to.
we do it because we want to.
so instead of focusing on what we should do for those that we love...
or focusing on how we've failed those we love...
just focus on loving Jesus.
with His love, we will be loving them for exactly who they are and how God made them.
we won't be looking anymore at their quirks, annoyances, faults and sins.
we will look past the bad choices and sinful actions.
because that's what God does for us.
each. and. every. day.
all. the. time.
God's love is always constant and full.
and His grace is never ending.
now let's go out and share that kind of love during the love month.
and... if that means you go out and buy a gift for someone... then you go and do that.
but only do it because you want to!
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
 (i hope you enjoyed these old pics of my girls from valentine's day 2010)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

a decade

you know, you hear mother's say it all the time.
where did the time go?
and i sit here saying the same line i've said countless times before.
where did the time go?
yesterday was her actual birthday.
january 25th.
it's been 10 years.
an entire decade has gone by since my first baby was born of my womb.
in some instances, it feels like just yesterday.
i can remember seeing her face for the very first time.
i can remember being wheeled through the hospital hallways from the OR to our room...
proud and beaming (and a little sore, i might add), showing off my new little girl.
a girl!
yes, a baby girl!
i was so shocked and so thrilled to have a daughter.
i had thought for sure it would be a boy.
but a girl!
a little bundle of pink.
my heart's desire!
God is so good and knows what we need, and when we need it.
in other instances, it feels like so long ago that she was born.
so much has happened since that frigid day.
more babies, more happiness, more pain.
life has passed by sometimes at a snail's pace.
most especially in those stretching times.
but here i am.
10 years later from the day i officially became mom.
watching my baby grow up has been wonderful, full of joy, immense joy.
but also full of heartache.
some of it because of my own selfish heart in wanting her to stay little.
i am accustomed to the feeling of trying to hold on too tightly to what i can't.
it is difficult for me to move on, difficult to embrace the up and coming and try not to live in the past.
and although i feel there are moments i'm living in denial that i now have a tween living in my home...
i also feel like God has been preparing my heart for this time.
He's been gently prodding me to open my heart up to these changing seasons.
because she is changing.
whether i like it or not.
yes, she is naive to many things in this world, and i will protect that fiercely if i have to.
but i don't keep her in a bubble either.
i want her to know that she can be different from those around her, in a good way.
she should be different.
but i also realize that this is tricky when you're growing up with a fragile confidence.
here's a story to evidence this.
i took big k shopping last weekend.
not just any kind of shopping.
specific lady undergarment shopping.
yup!
it's time.
for modesty sake.
this is me trying hard to protect her.
anyway, enough of the reasons... just know that i, as her mother, felt it was time.
she has been very vocal about expressing her opinion about this issue.
she is not impressed.
she's made that very clear.
she does not want a bra.
so we went shopping, and i took her shopping without telling her what we were going for.
oops.
well, this was going to be the only way, it seemed.
we went to the first store and she browsed around.
they had lots of dance wear and athletic clothing geared to tweens.
cute stuff.
and they also had some cute little sports bras there.
she wanted to try on some pants and tops and stuff... then i gave her a bra.
she gave me "the look".
she could not hide her disdain!
not from her mama.
she gritted her teeth, grumbled "no", shoved it away from me and walked away.
i patiently went to her changing room and had a conversation with her about it.
i just asked her to please try it on and then put a shirt over to see how it looked.
after a long discussion, she finally relented.
and after more discussion, she finally conceded to me purchasing one.
great!
we got one.
i would have bought a couple, but they were not cheap in this store.
so only one was bought.
after this store, we went to eat and did some more enjoyable shopping (re: clothes and browsing the apple store).
it was a fun evening.
towards the end of our excursion, i tried to get her to try on some more bras because i felt it would be good to have a few.
you know, when one gets dirty then she has another one.
she again, didn't hide her feelings on this.
i brought her to the changing room to try on again.
while in the changing room, refusing the try on, she started crying.
then she said through muffled tears, "i'm only 9 years old!"
and she just cried.
and then i cried.
i pulled her into my arms, held her close and comforted her as best as i could.
we cried together and i told her, "i know, i know, it isn't fair."
my heart broke in that changing room.
my tenderness was so strong for her in that moment.
it was so distressing to see my daughter as she first experienced growing up as a hard thing.
she doesn't want to be different.
she wants to be the same as everyone else.
in some ways, i don't blame her at all.
who wants to be singled out in this way?
but because she's my daughter and my precious girl, i want her to buck the norm!
i want her to see how beautiful she is and how God created her perfectly just the way she is!
i want her to embrace the changes that are going on and to feel confident in Christ!
this is my prayer for her as she enters this next phase of her life.
the next decade is so formative and i want her to come out the other side positive.
but today, this is my little girl (who's not so little anymore).
she is an interesting mix.
she's quirky and funny.
she loves to make people laugh.
she loves nothing more than to get her nose in a book.
she's constantly reading and finishing a novel every couple of days, it seems.
she also loves to play piano and recorder (much to our chagrin, as parents).
but funnily, she does not like to sing, at least not in front of us.
her music teacher tells us she's one of the loudest singers in class though.
go figure?!
she is extremely social and asks almost every day to play or see a friend.
she is not a cuddler, but she is obsessed with babies and holding them.
i love knowing that she got that trait from me!
she's incredibly bright and gets perfect marks in school.
she hates math and complains about it, but still gets 100%.
that makes me laugh.
she's a talented dancer and really enjoys it... but sometimes i think it's more for the social aspect.
but oh, do i love to watch how graceful she is.
it's such a joy!
she's not driven or competitive and this she also gets from me.
sometimes this is hard because i know she could do better but it's been a good lesson for me too.
she will do things her way, not the way we think she should do things.
and i have to trust that God will lead her down the path she needs to take to find her special interests.
she loves art, lego, ipods and playing outside.
she still plays petshops and pollies with her sisters.
she likes to write in her journal and be alone in her room.
she loves to wear my high heels.
she's in between a little girl and a teenager.
confused in her changing body, having a hard time letting go of what she's known (the little girl world).
she has the most beautiful genuine smile.
when she's happy, you can't help but be happy too!
my girl, my first born!
daddy and i are so proud of you and who you're becoming!
our prayer for you is that you'll keep growing in confidence in yourself, remembering that Christ is the one who is always strengthening you and upholding you.
look to Him when you're happy... look to Him when you're in pain.
He's always there!
we love you sweetpea!
happy 10th birthday!

faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don't see.
hebrews 11:1 


Friday, January 10, 2014

new year, new word.

here it is.
OPEN!
my new word for 2014.
i'm putting it out there.
kinda scary.
i have to admit,
i like my little bubble.
but this word will be good for me.
and i've been feeling nudged into this place.
i really don't think i can experience and take in all of God's goodness for my life unless i'm open.
opening my heart to His love.
opening my hands to serve Him.
opening my home to loved ones, acquaintances and strangers (eep, i just wrote that).
opening my mind to think outside the box, to experience the grey.
opening my mouth and speaking for those that can't.
opening my hands and letting go.
i want to live my life in 2014 open to everything God will have me experience, good and bad.
like i said, this is very scary for me.
my word from 2013, change, has abled me to see that God doesn't want me to live life like anyone else.
He wants me to live life as me, to embrace me.
2013.
it was a season and year of growth and change.
to be more confident in who God made me.
i needed to change my outlook on life, letting go of anxiety and worries.
i won't say i'm fully changed and done away with those things...
but i feel like i'm changed in that i'm handling them much better.
my perspective is changed and still changing.
i'm a work in progress.
and now i'm here, trying to be open.
open to where God is leading me... leading us, as a family.
eager to see where He will take us and sometimes, a little frightened.
but i'll put my trust in Him, close my eyes, open up my hands and my heart and step out in faith.



"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t."
romans 12:1-7

Monday, December 23, 2013

merry christmas

i'm laughing while i sit here typing.
all three of my girls are in the bath, giggling, splashing and squealing.
the bubbles are long gone but they're still having fun!
it's christmas holidays and we're happy!
they slept in 'til almost 9 (after a late night yesterday) and i'm still in my jammies at 11am.
it's also -31 degrees celsius outside... for that, i'm not so happy.
but that's life in the frozen armpit of canada.
(wait... isn't the armpit supposed to be hot and sweaty??)
we don't have anything particularly exciting up this week.
just family down time, a couple of gatherings and celebrating the birth of Jesus.
we'll open a few gifts, some home made, some dollar store treasures and eat good food.
i hope you'll enjoy the holidays as well!
merry christmas from our home to yours!


i bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
the savior -- yes, the messiah, the Lord -- has been born today in bethlehem, the city of david.
luke 2:10-11

Monday, December 16, 2013

true christmas joy

there's so much joy to be had in Him!
joy, not in our surroundings, people or things...
but true, attainable and abounding joy in our King!
He lives in my heart and guides me daily, hourly, by the minute and second.
His presence and peace are mine before i even think about them.
He's always there for me even if i don't feel Him.
i have faith.
and His blessings come to my spirit when i need them.
but i have a human tendency to forget Him and look for Him only when i need Him.
forgive me, Jesus!
for you are always there for me.
waiting patiently and loving me onward especially when i do not deserve it.
i rejoice at your birth!
your lowly arrival amidst the cattle, crud and shadows shows me that when i dwell in darkness, you are still with me.
you humbled yourself a poor, pitiful, helpless babe, to remind me that you too, are the least of these.
no one is below your merciful hand.
you offer your guiding light to everyone.
thank you for your gifts, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
i celebrate immanuel and take true joy that you are always with us.
tell fearful souls,
"courage, take heart!
God is here, right here,
on his way to put things right
and redress all wrongs.
He's on his way! He'll save you!"

blind eyes will be opened,
deaf ears unstopped,
lame men and women will leap like dear,
the voiceless break into song.
springs of water will burst out in the wilderness,
streams flow in the desert.
hot sands will become a cool oasis,
thirsty ground a splashing fountain.
even lowly jackals will have water to drink,
and barren grasslands flourish richly.

isaiah 35:3b-7 (the message)


"take a good look at my servant.
i'm backing him to the hilt.
he's the one i chose,
and i couldn't be more pleased with him.
i've bathed him with my spirit, my life.
he'll set everything right among the nations.
he won't call attention to what he does
with loud speeches or gaudy parades.
he won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt
and he won't disregard the small and insignificant,
but he'll steadily and firmly set things right.
he won't tire out and quit.
he won't be stopped until he's finished his work --
to set things right on earth.
far-flung ocean islands
wait expectantly for his teaching."

isaiah 42:1-4 (the message)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

in saying no...

it's amazing what almost a week will do.
i sat here last week on my blog space writing about feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
i sorta fell apart in real life.
i cracked.
i did a bunch of crying, to be honest.
ok, ok, ok... i can blame some of it on the hormones.
it was that magical "time" of the month but i do not regret it.
it was a good time to reflect.
today i'm in a much better head space.
i'm feeling peaceful and more able to engage in life.
i said no and have spent the majority of my time at home with my family this past week.
has it been hard to say no?
absolutely.
but it's been good for me.
very good for me.
and here's the gift that i've found.
in me being purposeful about saying no, i've actually been able to say yes.
i know that doesn't make sense but let me try and explain.
i hate to say no to people.
i hate to think that someone might have a poor opinion of me because i let them down.
i know, i know.
this is a problem.
i'm a people pleaser.
really, being a people pleaser is not something to be proud of.
i put others before myself and my family too often.
and it was evidenced last week that it needed to be stopped.
since i've begun to say no to things, i've given that much needed time and energy to my family.
am i still yelling at my kids when i'm frustrated?
am i still impatient with them when we're trying to get out the door in time?
well, yes... i'm ashamed to admit.
but... i can say it's happened less frequently.
look, i'm totally not an expert and not trying to be.
it's only been 1 measly week.
but i feel like i have some clarity right now and that's why i'm sharing this.
anyway, let me get back to the gift that God has given me when i say no.
because of me being purposeful in staying home, i have renewed energy to say yes when i want to.
there have been a couple of times that i've been able to help out people i love.
and i'm not talking about the guilty, i need and should help them attitude.
i'm talking about the smiling, genuine, actually wanting to help someone attitude.
my cup is full so i can help fill someone else's up.
this has been a gift!
and i can't believe the Lord has been gracious enough to show me this in one week!
actually, why am i surprised?
i surely shouldn't be.
He can and He does fulfill my needs.
i need to be able to say no... in order to say yes.
it's all a bit confusing, i know.
maybe it's better left described in person?
whatever the case, He's teaching me lessons already about His perfect peace and His infinite love.
and His love flowing through me is how i continually want to be.
as your time feels more and more consumed this holiday season... don't be afraid to just say NO!

and He will be our peace.
micah 5:5

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

peace




i sit here in the dark, waiting for the impending snow storm to hit.
they say there's at least 15-25 cm of snow expected.
i just saw on the tv that there's school cancellations in north dakota.
it's coming... but i see nothing out my window.
is it really going to arrive?
my mind has been swirling.
my life has been a flurry of activity.
places to go, people to see, things to get done.
it's the complete opposite of how i want my holiday season to be.
and it's, once again, stressing me out.
how i miss the christmas' of my childhood.
easy, relaxed, full of wonder, enjoyment.
why do we make it crazy as adults?
why do we jam pack so much in?
my mental health hasn't been great lately.
perhaps it is my impending womanly time...
but i'm thinking it's also from the Lord, gently tapping me on the shoulder.
you can't do it all.
it's ok to say no.
and so i'm going to do just that.
i'm waiting... readying my heart to take in the advent season that's begun.
i've been reading in my bible.
how hard it must have been to wait and wait and wait on the messiah.
i don't doubt that women, thousands of years ago, felt some of the same emotions i deal with today.
we women are delicate and emotional creatures.
they were looking for a saviour, just as we still do.
today, however, we forget that we have access, full access to the one and true creator.
wonderful counsellor...
the mighty God...
the everlasting father...
the prince of peace!
PEACE!!
we have direct accessibility to that!
why don't we take advantage of it?
i'm desperately trying to get through my days on my own strength when Jesus reminds me that i don't need to.
what am i teaching my daughters about overcommitments and running yourself dry?
what i'm trying to do in the next couple of weeks is be intentional.
intentional with my time... and my people.
my family of 5, in particular.
we've been going through a particularly rough patch and i think the answer is more time at home... together... as a family.
i'm a yes person... so if i say yes to you in the next few weeks, ask me a second time.
make sure i'm making the best decision for my little family.
to bring peace into our life.
to wait with anticipation as we read and instil hope during advent.
i hope you'll do the same?
this is what we're reading to prepare our hearts.
and as i sit here typing, still waiting for the storm to hit, i realize i may just need to go to bed.
i need to rest and wait.
it will come, like they said it will, i'm sure of it.
just like peace will come, and i will find it when i rest too... in Jesus.

and here we are this past weekend, picking up our christmas tree... and decorating.






sisters, sharing secrets.

little k took the next few shots all on her own!


blurry, but i sorta really like it!

putting the star up!



some of the snow that's already dropped today.
not nearly enough to cancel school... just yet.