Oct 202016
 

I’ve reached this sort of burn out that I didn’t know I could get if I wasn’t post-partum. This exhaustion that cuts into the marrow of my bones and sucks me dry. A weekend, the kind where you relax and have happy family time isn’t in the foreseeable future, but when is it when you have teens?

Between teens wandering off and sports I am beginning to believe I live in the car. My autoimmune issues are in a constant flare-up, my allergies are beginning to feel like a disease and I have literally dangled by my hair from the seatbelt trying to escape the all-wheel drive jail cell.

I should be grateful for all that I have, and in actual fact, I am. I know that I have far more blessings than so many people in this world but that doesn’t change that I am falling asleep everywhere, not sleeping when I need to, and have a to-do list a mile long with worry on my mind and pain in my soul.

I actually look forward to a Monday now because that means the hectic weekend is over and that I can check off some of those boxes and try to detox my soul by sinking into the Word while allowing it to sink into me.

Don’t ever ask a stay at home mama what she does all day, because it is really exhausting, even if you are healthy.

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
Oct 092016
 

Funny how over the years the words “Post-It” have caused flashes of ugly little squares of paper with a sticky back to flood the brain. Then you go to buy the darned things and see the cute owls and the off brands and you literally stand there wasting time debating price, color and cuteness all for a note that likely won’t stick.

A reminder that will be lost before it’s been forgotten.


I look through my Bible tabbed with Post-It’s the same way that my daughter has her textbooks tabbed. Interesting how something that I had only began doing that she didn’t know about is something I had spotted her doing the same. I wonder if this is normal or if its some form of inherited colour-coding mother-daughter neurotic trait. Lord knows our lives closely mimic each other without intention.

I guess it doesn’t matter too much though if we aren’t purposely trying to be like the other.

I don’t want her to be a yellow or pink or acid green Post-It note that everyone has or can achieve. I want her to be unique. Her own shade with her own tackiness.

I want her to make her own mistakes and be victorious over Satan slain. Even if each of us must crush that cursed serpents slithering head with the heel of boots of steel made for hard work again and again.

Jun 252016
 

Tears are the pain my soul displays when it has nowhere else to go

Pain are the words my soul speaks, the black shroud that makes the dimmest of stars blindingly bright

I’ve needed a rest from words lately. A lot of rest. I don’t know why, maybe because I was diving deep in search of words for so much of the winter and spring.

It is exhausting to go into yourself, into the darkened depths where you have everything chaotically stashed away in mounds that would give a librarian a heart attack. Much like the wall of post-it notes that only an author can decipher and turn into a grand story.

Only life isn’t a post-it and no matter how big they decide to make those sticky sheets it won’t all fit and the darkness will creep over like fog over a marsh when the mercury rises, blanketing over the muck with a reflective dew that disappears with the rising sun and somewhere along the broken road you place your hand in the palm of the Son who has risen and you simply rest.


And yet here I am with the thunder booming in the background and the lightening flashing down on a blackened earth and my fingers are tapping away the thoughts that linger in my head and fear greets me in places I had forgot existed and I wonder who I really am?

Am I the child that hopped from rock to rock over snail infested ponds to find a place to sit and soak up the sun, the child who looked at metal barrels laying in the water 20 years ago and wondered why someone would do that to the earth?

Am I the adult who see’s a saltwater tank and grieves the loss of corals and anemones and secretly blames Finding Nemo for the tang’s and clown fish being stolen from our oceans just to beautify someone’s home?

Am I the girl who prays for the whales and the dolphins and has considered jumping ship just to land in the Antarctic whale sanctuary to protest, protect and fight for the whales whose song often falls on the ears of poachers?

Am I the 16-year-old girl who found herself pregnant and madly in love with a child growing within or am I the mother of that child whose smile is enough to light up any room and whose tears threaten to drown me because her pain are the nails through my hands and feet, the spear in my side. The pain a parent must bare in a twisted way so that their child can be fully alive?

Is that how my parents felt? Is that what Jesus told Himself as He felt the weight of His flesh tearing him apart, the sweat stinging into deepened wounds as the sins of the world separated the darkness and the light causing Him to cry out to God, “Father, why have You forsaken me?” before the sky turned angry and His flesh became Spirit?

And then there is my son, the child who nearly drowned drinking water because his laughter got the best of him and the water rushed into his lungs and sent those watching into a near panic and as he told the story he tells me “I wondered if Darin knew the Heimlich, when he pushed on my belly I knew he didn’t.” And I wonder why I worry more about the girl then I do my boy. Is that how it’s meant to be? That the boys can brave this broken world in a brotherly solidarity where the desire to protect outweighs their fear?



A world where your lungs fill with water and moments later you are playing football in the grass with a fire burning down in the background and your laughter and the sounds of your mother and your sister chatting are what fills your world because the moment you drowned you were also resurrected with a lesson learned?

Did my child really have me in stitches on the clouded, stormy ride home and did we almost hit that blur of a deer that for all I know could have been a golden shrub? Did he really just tell me that 50,000 of my cells die every day and that over the course of 7 years every cell in my body passes and has been replaced with one that is new and fresh? Did he just tell me that a sunburn hurts because the cells are protecting us from cancer and committing suicide so they don’t mutate?

How did you become so wise young children? Where did you learn these things and when? Why is it that I see so much of myself in your love for everything and then sometimes I look at you and don’t see me at all?


I am proud of you, both of you. Because you aren’t me and because you are pieces of me that I never allowed to develop and grow. You take big leaps and tiny steps and go where the wind blows, color outside of the lines and walk against the grain all at the same time. You are far more brave than I ever was or ever will be and I am so happy that you aren’t me. That you walk your own paths.

I love that you embrace conflict and hurt and pain because as the saying goes “no pain no gain” and I want you to gain. I want to see you suffer because that leads to growth. I want you to fear because that leads you to cling to the One who alleviates the need. I want you to love fully and be passionate and chase your calling, whatever it may be, whether it’s the Antarctic whale sanctuary where you take on the poachers of the world, or into a mission field learning a new culture and language and sharing your own journey with the world in the name of the One who saves you each and every day. Maybe your dream is to be a mom or a dad and never leave this small town and you want to plant your roots down deep and firm.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be in the cheering section while simultaneously handing you to God, because while this may be your journey, He is the one who holds the map.

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.

Jan 212016
 

I had everything pulled off the counter and was wiping the far-to-reach corners of the backsplash while standing on a stood (short person problems) while she sat and talked to me from the table. I had planned to start dinner and then go sit down and hang out on the internet. Maybe watch some YouTube videos or scroll through social media, but instead I grabbed a rag and had started to scrub and before too long the counter was clean and even the crumb trays on the toaster had been wiped to a shimmering shine.

She talked and I talked back. We talked about school, how she finished her homework in her gym class because she can’t participate because of her knees, we talked about boys and “ships” and girls and their “ships” and all of that stuff. She showed me a few videos of what she found fun today and talked about her best friend not using his phone today while on the school bus so he could actually talk to him.

Yeah, I was present. I was present for the moments that make memories. I don’t want to be remembered for napping all the time and for being on my computer when I am conscious. I want to be present. I want to be the one that the kids talk to while dinner is being prepared. I want to help with their homework and learn about their interests.

It fascinates me that social media has given us this amazing gateway to be connected and yet we are excruciatingly disconnected from the ones that mean the most. I am not one who has their phone in their hand or beside them at all times. I don’t even have a phone. But, that’s not the point. I have spent so much time being depressed and hiding out, hiding behind the screen and fostering relationships with people I will likely never meet that I am guilty of neglecting the ones who sit right in front of me.

And while Jesus was The Gift, the ultimate Present. It was his presence that gave us redeeming grace. What would Jesus do? He would sit in the kitchen and talk over chores or leave the chores to wait. He wouldn’t say the internet is bad, but he would likely say real life is better.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

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!!

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