Feb 022017
 

He sat there absorbed in his video game and me in my book and as the hours ticked by I could see he was holding his breath more often, afraid to breathe but trying to ignore the silence of the phone. No news is good news, right?

Finally, we laid down and slept for a few hours -smack in the afternoon and into the early evening, and his breathing relaxed, his stress slipped away as I watched him before dozing off myself.

When the phone rang it’s awful ringtone he shot out of bed like a cat, straight into the air and answered it quickly.

He held his breath when it was his dad and not his mom who said she would call when her surgery was over.

When his dad passed the phone to his mom the audible sigh of relief that escaped his body caused tears to roll down my cheeks, quickly swiped away by the blanket.

She was okay. He was okay. I was okay. We could breathe knowing his mama survived the surgery.

The holding your breath and doing your best to focus on the good and handing it to God thing seemed to be working through the day, it was a nice day, but lingering in the back of our minds was a part of our souls that just needed the know what God’s plan for us that day actually was.

Breathing out the negative and breathing in the relief felt fresh, new, amazing.

Suddenly we both wanted to eat and found ourselves thirsty, realizing we hadn’t done either all day as we did our best to stir our minds from the what-ifs.

It was only 2 days before that I was the strong one, standing on the stairs into the night speaking to his mama about her faith and her journey through the church, through life, and her telling me that I was reminding her to just trust God.

Why is it so much easier to say than do? Preach but not be preached to?

I hold my hands in reverence to the One who is in control of it all, whose plans I will never know until I am walking through them. To Him I give praise, because praise is deserved even in the darkest of days. Gratitude in the middle of chaos. He triumphs as I stumble. Picks me up when I fall. When the air is knocked from my soul, He breathes life back into me. CPR for the soul. The Bible my personal First Aid Kit!

Oct 112016
 

Author and Farmers Wife, Ann Voskamp, has written a whole book on giving thanks. The hard eucharisteo, and for me her words flowing off the pages was absolutely life changing. I think they were for a lot of people given that One Thousand Gifts was a New York Times Number 1 bestseller for some 60+ weeks.

As someone who reviews books I have an idea of how many are published every single day so earning that spot is insane, earning it and keeping it for over a year is unheard of, or at least it was.

My journals filled each year and put into the box in the closet filled with the blessings of the year, the good and the bad. The unspoken-broken that needed to be acknowledged.

Now, I see that this fellow Canadian who is used to waking long before the sun does, who collects eggs in the snowy minus 40 has written another book, The Broken Way, and while I have yet to read it I also completely understand how broken life can be, how in order to experience wholeness I must first experience a shattering of the soul so that God can place me back together.

I am excited for this book. Even the trailer speaks to my soul-holes and brightens the shadowed spots with the One that is the Light. And, we could all use a little more God, stronger faith, more Light.

As the days shorten my faith grows long.

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!
$18.99 USD

New York Times best-selling author of One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp sits at the edge of her life and all of her own unspoken brokenness and asks: What if you really want to live abundantly before it’s too late? What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This is the one begging question that’s behind every single aspect of our lives — and one that The Broken Way – also a New York Times bestseller – rises up to explore in the most unexpected ways.  

This one’s for the lovers and the sufferers. For those whose hopes and dreams and love grew so large it broke their willing hearts. This one’s for the busted ones who are ready to bust free, the ones ready to break molds, break chains, break measuring sticks, and break all this bad brokenness with an unlikely good brokenness.  You could be one of the Beloved who is broken — and still lets yourself be loved. 

You could be one of them, one who believes freedom can be found not only beyond the fear and pain, but actually  within it.

You could discover and trust this broken way — the way to not be afraid of broken things.

X

$22.99 USD
Jul 262016
 

As I sit here loading the word document to write I notice that the sky outside looks like cotton candy and I spring to life at 9:30pm wearing my pj’s and grabbing my camera once again to capture a couple of glimpses of the sky that God painted just for me.


I have seen a lot of amazing sky’s out of this window while sitting on my bed. It’s amazing how different it can look from window to window only to be the same exact moon and stars that we all get to see. It is fun to talk to a friend 18 hours away and both be looking at the moon or hunting down the big dipper. Somehow the universe as we are able to see it, seems so big, and I feel so small and yet I know that my place in this world is exactly where I was created to belong.


I’ve been feeling more like me than I was at the beginning of the month. I think it’s fair to say I was having some sort of mini-breakdown, if they can be mini… I think I had a dozen or more cold showers in the midst of panic attacks over nothing, almost always in the night.


The past week I have been picking up the pieces here and there. I am still behind but things are getting done. I’ve been dusting and vacuuming and lighting candles again. Cleaned off some surfaces, switched my purse to a different one for the first time in a couple of years, and I even made myself iced coffee. When I am feeling bleh I don’t drink coffee for the most part, so having a homemade iced mocha made me feel human and gave me a good 14 grams of protein along with the caffeine!


I am currently burning a blueberry scented soy candle that is tucked inside of my REDEEMED holder, reminding me that “Everything is beautiful in its time” and that while I fell behind on household tasks there is no reason that I can’t just hop right back in and tidy up and do what I can while doing my best to take care of myself and not risk burn out again. You can check out DaySpring for inspirational home décor, cards and so much more. I have purchased most of my décor from them as well as a purse and makeup travelling bag! You can also earn up to 6% cashback through my Swagbucks link and right now you can save an additional 25% sitewide during the customer appreciation sale with coupon code THANKYOU

I LOVE these wooden letters and this Bible cover has enough space for me to tuck in extra papers, small bible studies and so much more!


Apr 282016
 

The sky seemed to be another evening boring grey and then just as I was about to write, as my Word document sprang to life the passing of the sun caught my window and shone streaks of orange across the wall. I grabbed my camera because I don’t have a phone and I ran to the window, to look at the magic of the sky. Hues of pink and blue and purples, and yes orange, danced perfectly painted. I couldn’t pass them up. I have said it before and I say it now, it’s like God painted the sky just for me.


In a lot of ways He did! No one else has the view from my window. Theirs all show a similar sky from a different perspective. They don’t get the shadows of the truck or the tractor or the trees and while the angle is all too familiar from sunsets and sunrises over the years, they are never the same.


All those colors like the sky is in itself a rainbow. A promise of better things to come and I pull the blanket a little bit tighter as my eyes feel a little bit more solemn and I shoot a prayer up into those heavenly lines knowing that they can’t escape the rainbow, a direct line to God Himself.

In only a few seconds I have prayed for my best friend who has been missing a year, I pray for Andrew, I pray for the money I don’t have and for broken hearts to mend and friendships to restore. I pray that I can feel a bit more lively tomorrow and get my Bible study finished with eagerness instead of weariness.


I crawled onto the bed and my knees cry out that they are sore, but my heart it is the gaping door to my soul that is vulnerable. Ready to be wounded, ready for whatever is in store.

In life we only have a set amount of sunsets before we exit into Heaven and while I don’t know the number, He does, and it is He who I need. I can chose the achy knees to witness His art or I can pass up the bounty He places in front of me and become a victim of myself.

Mar 252016
 

As some of you may know I have been having serious financial issues, like feed my kids or pay the bills. I have never been in this position before and I am honestly humbled by it and I am definitely getting more creative with shopping and making things go further.

Earlier this month I saw the Maybelline Dream Velvet foundation in my local Walmart, and then I saw the price and knew that I couldn’t afford the 12 dollars and still be able to pay for my medications and feed the kids. Kids eat a LOT for some reason.

Since my Walmart doesn’t have testers I wasn’t even sure what color would match me to ask for it for a birthday or risk the splurge. After moping (literally, I was sad) about the financial situation and not being able to treat myself to something that makes me feel beautiful and feminine I reached out to Maybelline Canada and explained my situation and asked if they had a sample. They said yes and asked me what color I was, I explained that I wasn’t sure what shade I would be and said that I am a neutral fair. They said that was great and that my sample was on it’s way.

I was honestly only expecting a couple of those tear out samples you get from magazines but instead I got a package from them and I literally cried when I opened it because this company who clearly doesn’t need to advertise to sell their products was beyond generous to me and gave me so much. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen a photo I took the other day while playing with some of these products!

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation in 10 Porcelain Ivory


Maybelline Master Conceal by FaceStudio Camouflaging Concealer in 10 Fair


Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in 101 Very Black

Maybelline Colorblur by LipStudio Cream Matte Pencil and Smudger in 50 I Like to Mauve It


Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss in 15 Fuchsia Flicker


Maybelline BrowDrama Pro Palette in 250 Blonde


Maybelline Color Molten by Eye Studio in 304 Sapphire Mist

Maybelline Master Hi-Light by FaceStudio Hi-Lighting Blush in 30 Coral

I am beyond grateful and beyond words for how excited I am that a company would go out of their way like this to help out a struggling mama, helping a mama to feel beautiful and uplifted! It really amazed me to find out there are still companies in the world who care about the individual. I am so excited to put together looks and try out these products. It has been well over a year since I have been able to purchase anything for myself and I am so happy that Maybelline Canada decided to bless me in such a way! Even my 11 year old boy was excited for me and was amazed that a company would just send me so many things!!

Thank you Maybelline!! You really knocked this out of the park. I have used most of the products so far and they all worked perfectly and without causing any irritation to my sensitive skin!

Feb 192016
 

I clean the bathroom on Thursdays unless it needs it otherwise. Call me crazy for leaving it a full week before doing it again but Thursday seems to be what works for our family so that’s what I do. This week though I have been feeling sick still from the flu I had last week. Exhaustion comes simply from thinking and naps have been a must for the past 10 days or so. I did clean the bathroom last week so I wasn’t really behind. Yet yesterday I just slept most of the day and had no energy so it got moved over to the to-do list for Friday.

Isn’t that how everyone wants to spend their Friday evening?

I woke up from my long nap around dinner time, everyone had eaten and I had no appetite yet again. I sat on the bed contemplating whether or not being awake was a good thing and I wondered how babies sleep in such awkward positions without being stiff. This extremely deep thought forced me to conclude that that is why babies cry -stiff joints after a good nap.

I pulled out my planner to see what I hadn’t done this week and the list was a mile long and the bathroom stood out to me like a sore thumb. After some deep Biblical talk (yes seriously) with myself about cleaning the bathroom to serve the Lord I got off my butt and went upstairs and used that highly toxic mint scented toilet bowl cleaner and wondered to myself how on earth getting cancer was godly, then, I noted that I am only going to use natural cleaners once that bottle is gone.

I removed everything from the counters and wiped away, got mold out of the window, finished with the 7 toothbrushes and toothpastes, refilled the soap dispenser and then pulled out my trusty and equally toxic Lysol wipes and quickly gave the outside of the toilet a once over. Then, it hit me.

I was cleaning the bathroom to serve God and my family BUT I wasn’t doing it with a servants heart. Revelation right there on the floor. I pulled out a few more wipes and torqued my body around the toilet and wiped it properly, I was actually pretty grossed out by how much my once over missed and continued to clean. This time while talking to God about how I need Him to continue to work in my heart to help me make the mundane into something that can bring Him glory. Yes, I want my toilet to shine, not just for me, but to show God how grateful I am to have a toilet to clean, a family to mess it up and the cleaning supplies to get the task done.

I grabbed the toilet brush and scrubbed away while humming some of my favorite worship songs and for the first time in awhile it felt like cleaning the bathroom wasn’t a chore, but a duty asked of me by God.

When I was done with that I cleaned the mirrors in the rest of the house that didn’t have a streak free shine despite having just been done, because I wanted them to sparkle for God instead of just being half-done or done incorrectly just so they could get a check mark. I swept the floor around the dog crates, put 2 gallons of water in the fish tank and wiped down their glass.

I am still behind on my chores for the week, but I am excited to be approaching them with the mindset that I am serving not only my family, but the One who has gifted me all that I have.

Growing up I often heard that cleanliness was next to Godliness, and while I don’t believe that to be true because we all have different standards and ideas of what clean is, I feel that God is moving in my heart to do the job to the best of my ability whether I am wiping up crumbs, scrubbing a toilet, or simply taking care of myself. He isn’t calling me to be perfect, He is calling me to serve.

Jan 292016
 

I look out the window and stare at the blank slate of snow covering the ground and weighing heavy on the tree branches. My mind floods with to-do’s for the day and my body aches to crawl back under the covers, out of the cold and into the comforting down. The kids didn’t have school today and the weather is finally warm at just below freezing.

I have spent the last few days sick with my stomach and have no energy left. Dehydration ravishing my body in ways that it hasn’t felt in over a year. The exchange rate is killing me, quite literally, because I can’t afford the products that restore my health.

I toss on an old maxi skirt that has seen better days, a hole on the seem down by my ankle and another from one of the dogs nails poking through on the other side. No one can see them, but I know they are there. My black and white skirt topped with a sky blue tee and my hair in a French braid. Am I really ready for today? I look the part but I certainly don’t feel it.

A quit run to the store for coconut milk and fruit coming home and having an English muffin with an egg, cheese and a cup of green tea. The desire to go back to bed possibly stronger than it had been when I had crawled out this morning. I pick up the dog and carry him upstairs to the bathroom and run the water. Keeping my foot in with him the whole time as I sit on the edge of the garden tub and I am grateful for the wide edge to sit on comfortably.

I lather him up and rinse, and then I repeat for good measure. Stimulating his hair follicles through massage in an attempt to help him grow back his hair. He doesn’t fight it. The warm water feels good and when he is done I lift him out and swaddle the little man in a towel like I did my own children way back when. As he shakes off the towel and then shakes off the wet I give the tub a quick scrub and a rinse of it’s own.

The blue sky replaced by cloudy grey and snow turning into slush falling from the sky adding more to the piles that are already several feet deep. A fresh cup of tea waiting for me and even though the day was more than mundane- I can’t help but count the blessings, the dog not fighting his bath, the tub being accommodating to sit on, the beauty of freshly blanketed earth and the stark contrast of the red car peeking through it’s white covering, watching TV with a daughter, watching the dogs play, and of course, plenty of opportunity to pray.

It amazes me how handing it all to God brings new energy and life to an otherwise blah day.

As I snuggle down into my warm bed again and wear my pj’s I think of a hot shower and an early night.

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