Jan 202016
 

Standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes while my girl reads to me the lost chapter she is writing for The Giver for her English class and I can’t help but think how much like me she really is. Only, this sweet child doesn’t know how to type very well and is growing increasingly frustrated because her typing isn’t able to stay caught up to the story in her head, giving her a case of writers’ block, which, I am definitely familiar with. I put the last dish to dry and wiped my hands and went and sat beside her at the table and read what she had, her paragraph cut short mid-way through and her having no clue where she was going with that thought because typing had hindered her.

I lean in close and she pushes her computer over to me and the story springs back to life, only this time my fingers are the ones bouncing up and down off the keys and she says to me with a bit of amazement in her voice “how do you type like that?” and she leans down real close with her face nearly on the table and her eyes staring horizontal across my fingers as they tap away and she watches me type, like she had never seen me do it in the 13 years she has walked this jagged line.

Within a few minutes her story is complete and she is proof-reading it, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes before I transfer it to my computer where software will do that. She edited away like she had done it a thousand times and deleted the odd sentence or paragraph that didn’t really make much sense and then I transferred it over to my laptop for a run through the software and to print.

I have been doing a lot of dishes lately. Yeah I know, I am a mom and that’s what we all say. But really, my mom normally does the washing up but I have been doing it the past month or so. There are a couple of reasons, one being that I really hate having dirty dishes in the sink and beggars can’t be choosers… I absolutely hate having to clean the sink to grab a glass of water or to fill the kettle but a family of five does that to you, even with a dishwasher, so I have been purposing to stay on top of the dishes just so I can save my sanity.

But you see something happened when I started doing the dishes. The girl child, she started sitting at the table while I do them. She comes out of her room and sits and chats, about everything and anything and that is the BEST REASON EVER to do dishes! She puts things away for me too which is also helpful, but praise the Good Lord for the 20 minutes a few times a day that she comes out and is simply with me. I enjoy our time together. I had no clue that we would grow our relationship over dirty dishes. Had I known, I would have started doing them more often a long time ago!

I am definitely a mom in the minority when it comes to having her kids do chores. They don’t have any designated chores. Why? Because they go to school from 8-4 and have homework when they get in and I don’t work outside the home and I would rather my children go to bed at a decent hour and worry less about chores and more about getting a good education, focusing on their grades. They help when they are asked and they often offer, which is fun because I get to see where they really enjoy doing things and where they don’t.

If my kids had chores I wouldn’t know that my son likes to work outside with my dad, especially when it comes to working on the tractor or anything with tools. I wouldn’t know that my daughter likes to cook, especially for me, and that she has a servants’ heart and takes great care in the things she prepares and how they look and taste, because once it becomes a chore, we treat it like a chore and school is a big enough chore for them right now and I absolutely love seeing what they have created or found while doing what they truly enjoy.

FYI my daughter is a bit OCD and does her own laundry on weekends and puts it away. Her bed is either completely unmade without a bottom sheet or made to the point you are scared to wrinkle it. My son is not a clean freak and is quite messy. He needs help cleaning his room and getting those types of things done because he has no clue how to even start, but if you say a wall needs built he’s in there like a dirty old sock (is that still a saying?) ready to help out!

I am so blessed to see some of the Proverbs 31 woman come out in me and to be able to, prayerfully, be a good influence to my children.

My daughter said tonight that her favorite song is inappropriate and my response was “sin is often easier, but it isn’t better.” I left her to think on that. Maybe we all need to think on that.

Jan 172016
 

Sitting at the dining table reading old Robert Munsch books with my daughter who is 13 and laughing at how silly the stories really are and enjoying the moments and having fun with crazy voices and her reading to me like she was 3 again instead of a young lady who found some old books while cleaning her room without needing to be asked.

I realize how much I miss her. I mean, I see her everyday. I see both the kids everyday, after all, I am their mom and we do live together, but we also live with my parents and in a lot of ways I often feel robbed of being “mom” so when these days come they are bittersweet, reminding me of the past and of what I am missing out on in the daily because we really are a family of five with 3 adults instead of a mama and her two kids.

It really is in the mundane that I find the most joy. So many people think I am boring. Maybe I am. No, I definitely am. The highlight of my day today was battling the cupboard to fit the mixing bowls in because my mom seems to be addicted to them and has like 30. It was mixing bowl Tetris here and when I couldn’t figure it out my daughter climbed up on the chair and took on the challenge until those bowls fit, and we laughed.

We laughed while I was on the floor cleaning behind the toilet. We laughed while dishes were being done. We laughed while eating dinner that my brother lovingly bought and brought over to us in the minus 40 cold. We laughed while sweeping when the pile got dropped after meticulously getting it all into the dust pan. We giggled while watching movies past bedtime and found that there simply is NO cupcake emoticon to be found, and my daughter pointed out that if you put a cup and a slice of cake together you get a cupcake.

So maybe, life isn’t perfect. No actually it definitely isn’t perfect. BUT, it is glorious and exactly how it should be. God is amazing and His presence is always known. I could have counted 1000 things today to add to my Joy Dare, my One Thousand Gifts.

I am blessed to be a mama. Blessed to have a bathroom to clean, laundry to do, dishes in the sink, too many bowls, and love beyond measure. Even that dog who talks back and argues over his need for a bone is a blessing that must be counted.

I am grateful for today, yesterday and for whatever tomorrow brings. And, when things need a little bit of color we have a purple vacuum upstairs and a pink one down, because life should be fun, regardless of what we are actually doing! God is good everyday and everyday God is good!!

Dec 102015
 

They say to pause and reflect and at this time of year that can certainly be a lot more difficult. With shopping and kids and accidents and trying to find time to eat and write and all of that normally fun stuff.

As some of you may know, Ann Voskamp’s book literally changed my life. I mean literally. I was often suicidal and felt like I had no direction and that God had no direction for me. Then I started counting those gifts and what a world of a difference!! Looking for the gifts is easy for a day or so but after that it becomes a little bit more than difficult. Yet I still count on.

I have reached over a thousand gifts again this year and right now I take time to pause and reflect each night as I get snuggled into bed and write out the gifts from the day in my journal. It is so fun to see those gifts adding up. So amazing to know that even when I am physically assaulted by pain that God is blessing me with so much!

This has also shown me that it is NOT God who assails me, but Satan. God only wants good for me. While we all face trials He encourages growth. So instead of moping around because I am in pain it is a lot easier to look up to God and sing a worship song (off key) or simply ask Him “what would You like me to learn from this Father?”

His answer normally is empathy. Learn empathy.

Not that I am someone who is cruel or whatever, its actually quite the opposite, however I used to feel sympathy and sympathy really doesn’t help encourage anyone. But empathy does. I can relate to the girl who was beaten or raped and I can relate to the pain patient, the struggle with finding good doctors and proper medications and I can relate to dealing with a disease that won’t be going away. This gives me perspective and when I get the chance to hear a friend complain or feel useless my empathy can kick in, I can reflect on my own experience and do my best to encourage her from my own experience and my own prayer.

We are all different. Yet God is ALWAYS the same!

Dec 072015
 

Yeah, it’s already week two on the countdown to Jesus, God with skin on. We lit the Peace candle and the light grows strong and excitement and joy over what comes next grows.

Mary heavily pregnant with the messiah inside, kicking her ribs and tickling her sides. Following her husband dutifully to Bethlehem.

I wonder what she was thinking and how she felt. Knowing that she was carrying the Son of Man.

Was she scared every time she didn’t feel the baby move, did her ankles swell and ache? Was she excited to get the pregnancy over or did she want to keep Him safe inside forever.

As mama’s we deal with so much through a pregnancy from wondering what our baby will wear and how we will afford diapers to fears of miscarriage, stillborn, a disability, SIDS. We worry. We wonder if we will find out the sex and if we should tell if we do. Yet beautiful, young Mary knew!

She knew before the first flutter kicks that she was carrying a child. She knew it was a boy! She knew what His name would be. She knew that the world would forever be changed but surely had no idea to what degree. She expected to have a healthy baby because He was the Son of God. All of the things we consider while pregnant she knew and so did Joseph. And they didn’t need an ultrasound or some sort of techie gear to reassure her that everything was going just right.

So imagine the shock, the momentary fear, when her water broke and contractions came hard and she had nowhere to rest, nowhere to lay her child’s head. Imagine wondering if you could properly parent Jesus?!

The world contracted too while she struggled to catch her breath. The stars aligned to announce the coming of the King. The angels came and began to sing. The nations heard of this boy-child who would be king and began to slaughter every little boy forcing them to run and protect the only true innocent One.

There is a reason that we look to Mother Mary and strive to protect, defend, and be grace-filled as we chug along praying for the best.

And prophesy of old was fulfilled because out of the stump of Jesse grew a shoot and that shoot did in fact bear fruit –Jesus!

Nov 262015
 

Today in the USA people from corner to corner sat around table’s big and small enjoying family and friends and good eats. Up here in Canada we did this in October which is equally as fun, though I will say the emphasis seems to be a lot more on family and friends than on the sales the day after. I mean, I get wanting to save money but there is more to this day than the sale on Friday.

They say that Thanksgiving was started with Pilgrims and Indians and all of that Jazz but really, from my perspective as a Christian, I see Thanksgiving beginning at that famous table that da Vinci painted of the last supper. Where Jesus and friends are passing bread and sharing wine. Where the Bible tells us about the upcoming crucifixion and the prophesies that will be fulfilled.

Jesus gave thanks. He sat or stood or did whatever Jesus did and He gave thanks to God the Father, teaching us to give thanks in all things, in all ways, always.

I would love to see more Jesus around the table and less shopping. And any shopping to be done with Jesus in mind. How about supporting Compassion, World Vision, Gospel for Asia, shopping fair trade and supporting the stay at home mama’s who are working from home with their home businesses. Like myself, Plexus is an awesome product that has given people health back, then we have the wonderful Mama’s (and wives) who are selling Avon, Scentsy and so many other amazing and GREAT products that support the seller instead of the billionaire chain store.

Did you know that for 30 dollars you can give medication to 10 children who are at risk of dying from preventable diseases? Did you know that for a couple hundred dollars you could buy livestock for a family so they can not only eat but make money? Did you know that while we sip on coffee and eggnog and all sorts of beverages there are millions of people who are dying, literally -for a single sip of something safe?

So let’s take our Thanks and GIVE because we need to be giving in order to truly receive the bounty of the Holy Spirit. All because Jesus mindfully spoke words of thanks around that table all those years ago!

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Nov 182015
 

The wind violent and wicked outside the windows with a smack of an extension cord bashing against the wall like its eating its way into the house and out of the fight. The sound itself is cold the rain pouring down thick and supposed to turn to snow. Puddles no longer puddles since they cross the drive from marsh to marsh, a skating rink waiting for the temperature to drop below freezing.

The sun hasn’t been seen for days. Not sure when it will appear again. The weather forecast doesn’t look promising and the scent of cinnamon roll candles permeating the air is already beginning to grow old among a winter that hasn’t yet begun. The flames steadfast and strong, no flickering tonight as the wax is growing low, you would never know there was a wind by looking at those beautiful fiery flames.

Regardless of the relentless banging everyone is in bed. The hockey game turned off, the alarms not set because there is no work tomorrow and likely no school. I watch the fish tank opposite my own bed, the albino fish munching down on algae so small I can’t even see it. I am reminded of God’s power and how He always provides. Always and for all of his creatures, like this microscopic algae that clearly tastes great to the fish choosing to munch on it instead of the fish food, and the thousands of snail babies that hatched the other day because of the vast food supply in the planted tank.

As the wind slows and is nearly forgotten before whipping back up the Gospels speak to me and I am reminded of Jesus asleep on the boat during a treacherous storm while everyone was panicking. He controlled the weather and told it to stop and it obeyed.

27 But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
~ Matthew 8:27~

And because of that, I will sleep well tonight, because God has this. He is providing for the fish in the tank, the grass that is growing strong and green and I have no doubts that He will provide for and shelter me and no storm will be one too big for Him!

So in a time where the world is full of gun fire, bomb fire and fires held in the hands of those holding vigils we have to remember that the Lord our God has this, He has us and He has the world in the palm of His hands.

24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?
~ Luke 12:24~

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
~Ephesians 6:19~


Trying

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Nov 082015
 

I am trying to enjoy fall and its many colors and textures but it is hard when you are in pain and dealing with emotional overflow at the same time. It is beautiful though, I will admit and despite a dog covered in burrs and another dog going bald and a cat who thinks she is a dog I have been able to soak up a few moments outside. Today I decided to take pictures because really, who doesn’t smile when their dog is smiling up at them?


I sang hymns while walking through the woods and climbing the rocks because it is hunting season and the last thing I need is to be shot while walking my dogs. Katie’s version of Lord, I Need You still sticks in my head and is often on my lips and it was today as animals and I trekked through the Canadian terrain.



Climbing up the highest rock I could find just to see what I could see. While telling animals to stay away from the edge of the small cliff because I was NOT climbing down to get them if they fell. And that blue sky? Yes! Not a cloud to be seen.



Though, I did happen to find some of this. Yep, snow. Just hanging out on the trail like it is later on the in the year than it is, like it wasn’t 50 degrees out today with the sun beaming warm. I guess we all fight to survive, even if we are snow.


And then at the end of the trail that we managed to find again after going off road (it’s a good thing I have a great sense of direction because really, no one would have found us had we got lost) we found the lake. The beautiful blue lake peaking through the trees on the horizon beckoning us to come down and see.





And yeah, there was some beautiful colors growing up over the rocks and there was a beautiful sun falling quickly behind the tree line.




And yes, the cat walks with us every time, the entire way. She helps little Charlie-dog navigate around the puddles and she comes when she is called.

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