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!

Feb 022017
 

I go through the motions of the day like everyone else does while worrying about the everyday things like money and bills overdue and how I am going to find a way to pay them and then I place it all into God’s hands and do my best to continue, trusting that He has provisions for me and He will meet all my needs.

I am reminded of the Israelites wandering for forty years, given manna everyday and told never to take more than they need, or save any for later. Trust that the Lord will provide the next meal too.

A family that vlogs on YouTube who I began to follow over a year ago, because of a cleaning motivational video posted a life update today. The mom, Christy, was very upset as she sat in the car talking about her faith and her family and how their oldest son, 22 years old, passed away this week and that they have had to humble themselves before the Lord during this extremely difficult time, by having to start up a GoFundMe page just so they can pay for the funeral for their child that will be held this weekend.



And tears fall from my own eyes as I see how upset she is, how she knows to trust God but her heart is broken either way, how I have watched her shop thrift stores to care for her large family, how she has purposed to be more modest, shared her raw testimony and allows us in to her hectic homeschool life while working full time and still struggling to make ends meet.

My own anxieties and problems with money suddenly become trivial. Who cares about the credit card debt from years ago, at least I am not burying my child. My family is healthy. That could all change tonight or tomorrow or when the phone rings, but right now everyone is good and that is a blessing. That is todays manna. The sustenance that will sustain me, even if creditors are calling and threatening to ruin me, I cannot be ruined because Christ has me and he has my family and if/when something does happen, He will still stand firm and still give me exactly what I need as I need it.

Will Christy’s son be buried and have a lovely service? Yes! And, because of people who realize the need of this family who have put away a little bit here and there, Christy and her husband Jimmy SR will not have to worry about debt when they are mourning and looking for ways to be grateful and intentional.


We put so much value on “things” and “stuff” that when there is a tragedy like a young man, a child, passing away, our own lives are put into perspective and we strive to be more intentional and make the moments count. I don’t think anyone has ever lost someone and said they spent too much time with the person or have too many memories, rather people lose and then they feel guilt that they should have could have would have done more if only they knew.

In life, we rarely get to know any of these things ahead of time, but one thing is for certain, we are all on the same paths, regardless of time, and that is physical death. Our souls will rise and God will embrace. So, why don’t we live everyday like it is our last without having to be told we are dying?

My One Word for the year was “Intentional” and unfortunately it took someone passing away at a young age for my heart to shift to a place that reminds me to be more intentional with my children and family, and the ones I love.

God is absolutely amazing in allowing the negatives of our own lives, and the lives of others, to remind us of His Word and to live life to the fullest.

I ask that you pray for the Overlin family this coming week as they figure out what normal is as children of God and as parents to a son gone too soon. Placing their faith in Christ and knowing that their oldest boy is now sitting with the One Creator.

Live intentionally dear friends!

Jan 062017
 


I have been disconnected feeling for so many years, from myself, from others, and worst of all, from God. And, when I have had the opportunity to connect I have pulled away, recoiled like a snake stepped on whose only reflex is to tangle up on itself.

I have purposed this year with my OneWord365 to be “intentional”. How that is going to play out, I don’t know. But, I am excited to be intentional with my children, my parents, my boyfriend, and of course my relationship with Christ -my God.

The desire to connect to myself and to others, especially the One who created me, has overridden the desire to pull into myself and hide from the world the way I used to. I want to, no I need to, live life in the love that was ordained by Christ Himself when He spoke to us saying “And a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you…” He didn’t add in an “if, and, or, but, unless” etc to the command, so I am going to live with the intent to connect through Christ, to connect in love and to work at connecting with my soul and strive to reach my potential.

I love connecting with each of you every week as we flash-mob write. As we tweet about sports and justice and chocolate and ask for prayers. Connecting through our own words and the Word of God, the words in the books of our dear friends as they follow where they are to be lead.

I am excited to see who will join us this year and who I will connect with and what we will connect over, maybe a favorite dish, children the same age, mentors or a friendship that makes no sense to the naked eye but simply feels natural and right.

We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can’t do or will never be. But that’s not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters–women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God’s peace-, purpose- and joy-filled callings.

With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to

· Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings
· Pray panic-, blood pressure- and stress-reducing prayers to usher in lasting peace
· Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greatest gifts
· Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed through the day
· Participate in a 12-week study guide to foster new courageous habits
 
Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be.
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Nov 102016
 

I often feel like an outcast, like I don’t have much in common with the Christian community or the secular community. I am a single mom who has lived through hell -literally. I struggle to see other families married and having kids and being on the same page and all of that when I am co-parenting with my own parents and I was a teen mom.


And yet, I feel like I belong at the same time because Christ didn’t accidentally make me fall in line with the people in my life, He didn’t cause me to check and email, stumble across a blog post or fall into a chapter in my Bible that spoke to me by accident.

No, He invited me in, even when I feel like the world may not want me, and I am learning that rejection is not only okay, but it is often necessary, because when we reject something that isn’t good for us, or are rejected by someone or something we thought was good for us, we are vulnerable and that vulnerability allows us to open up even further to prayer and to God’s love and plans for our lives -that is, if we allow Him in!

I no longer believe in coincidences. I believe that there is a reason for everything and while a LOT of those things have hurt and hurt really badly over the last weeks, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am walking a path that the Light is guiding me down.


I am amazed by the kindness and care I have received. The things I have in common with people I never met and the quirks I have and that they have that blend us together and make us work.

I have spent a lifetime praying to a God that often doesn’t seem to answer and yet these moments of commonality and acceptance are like a big ole swat upside the head from the Father that loves beyond all, saying to me “Child, if you would just have some patience!”

Practicing patience as a virtue is hard when it’s something you weren’t born naturally doing, and yet because I was created in His image, just like you were, I know that it is something I can strive towards, I also know I will never be perfectly patient, or perfectly anything, other than His and I have learned that I shouldn’t strive for perfection, I should strive to be in the presence of the One who is always perfect!

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

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Oct 102016
 

When you see me in the grocery store smiling and laughing you don’t see the pain behind my smile. The unknown’s that are hidden behind my eyes but right at the surface of my brain. Almost like if you were to pluck out an eyeball instead of gore you would have thousands of thoughts just pour out of me.

Ones that only a very select few even know.

Ones that often scare even myself.

I don’t know how tonight will go or what tomorrow will bring or if the risen Son will give me the gift to rise at all.

The unknowns are in everything, the everyday mundane, in the isle that hasn’t caused an asthma attack in a year that made me sick today. In the strange smell of fried onion wafting through the town at 9:30 this morning or the smell of blueberry tea around noon.

They say you learn something new every day. I never used to believe that, but then one day I realized that Christ was the gift that keeps on giving, the teacher who keeps teaching, the preacher that keeps preaching. I am His lamb and He is my shepherd. A hook to gently guide.

The only thing I know for certain is that Christ is the One constant, the One that is steadfast, faithful, unmoving, every changing and not changing at all.

 

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.

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