Monday, December 14, 2009

Portia's haircut

Portia cut her hair a little bit ago. When I told her that we would have to cut off the rest she sobbed....literally! So I didn't pursue that further and set my mind to doing her hair so you couldn't tell. We used clips and headbands and all was well until she took them out. I figured I would just let her hair grow back in and trim the other hair so the shorter stuff could catch up.
On Thursday my niece Sam woke up and wanted her hair cut short. So Becca cut it and then sent me a picture. I showed it to Portia. She now wanted her hair cut too. She said, "I'm not concerned anymore mom. We can get my hair cut now." (There are days when she sounds 14 not 4!) So on Saturday, while we were at Shaun's side of the family Christmas Dinner Auntie Becca cut her hair.
So here is Portia before:
during the haircut:
(it was a community event)
(I think she was a bit nervous)

all that hair...gone!
and the final result...
she wanted to stand next to her "twin" Sam...
Still adorable as ever!
The next morning when I was doing her hair she commented that she wanted hair pretties so she didn't look like a boy. I think she is not quite sure about this look...but we keep reassuring her that she looks beautiful and that her hair will grow back.
Mercedes, on the other hand, is QUITE pleased about Portia's haircut because her hair is now longer than Portia's...which is a first!










Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2 Different Nutcracker Experiences

My Mom took Mercedes to the Nutcracker when she was 4. Mercedes loved it. It was an extravagant gift that was wonderful! Her favorite part, and the part that he found the funniest, were the mice. She thought that it was SO funny that they wore clothes. She loved the dancing. After it was over she talked about it for quite awhile. My Mom told Portia she would take her when she was 4. So this last American Thanksgiving my Mom took Portia. She even wore the same beautiful dress. They drove off to Seattle for their big date! Portia had been looking forward to this for 2 years.
It was a very different experience. I think my mom wanted to poke her eyes out by the time it was over. This is what my mom said, "The first part of the Nutcracker with Portia was great because she wanted to buy the swan at the gift shop before the ballet began. When I told her that the swan was for a different ballet, Swan Lake, she said, "Grammie, we can just call it a goose!" Duuhhh! What was I thinking?During the first half of the ballet, she whispered in my ear, "... See More Grammie, the goose-swan just laid 17 eggs!". Ten minutes later she whispered again, "Grammie, the first egg just cracked!". So I got the giggles with Mercedes at four over the mice--she couldn't stop laughing because the mice had clothes on and everyone knows that mice don't wear clothes--and I got the giggles with Portia over the goose-swan and her eggs! I am SO blessed to have such wonderful girlies!!!"
It was just too long for her. She could not sit still and she was wiggling and squiggling and had to go to the bathroom during the best part. She said to my mom "The dancing is nice but it's just too loooooooong Grammie! I want to go!". My mom had a candy cane...so she asked Portia if she wanted to stay if she had a candy cane. Ohhhh that got her attention. She ate her candy cane and watched the rest of the performance quite happily. ...because of the candy cane. When asked what her favorite part of the performance was...the candy cane! My Mom gave a child CANDY!!!! Only a Portia could get my mom to give her a candy

Too funny!

hmmmmm...nothing to say...oh wait, apparently I do!

When I started this blog I felt like I had so much to say...and I did! Lately, I have had not so much to say...not because I actually have nothing to say but because I think I get tired of writing the same story again and again. Or maybe it's because I have been learning and changing and growing and I didn't want to write anything until the process was complete so that I could see the results. Or perhaps some of it was that a few of the things I have to say are too private or don't need to be written. We have had a few losses lately and they have really hurt...but it's not something I want to talk about. It's not earth shattering or too life altering. I see others in much more pain...so sometimes it doesn't feel like I need to add my two cents of puny pain to the noise when there is deeper pain. We've also had some pretty cool things going on but more "my life is average" cool as opposed to SUPER cool...if ya know what I mean.
Really I am rambling. I felt the need to post something for no other reason than "it's been awhile".
People don't always want to hear that my marriage is great! The girls are awesome! and I love homeschooling! Which is the truth but it's really funny how people respond...they want more dirt or to see me fail at the whole homeschooling thing. Some days I find it humorous...other days...not so much. Well here's one for ya...today I wanted to shake M until her eyes crossed. I didn't of course...didn't even touch her other than to hug and kiss her. Her favorite thing to say to me for EVERY conversation for the last 2 weeks (and we have MANY conversations in a day) is "I don't want too!" or "I can't" in a really annoying winy voice. And today I was done. I told her those phrases are banished from her vocabulary and if she says them again she won't like the results. I love my girl and she is amazing. But lately I have had to pray A LOT more for wisdom when dealing with her...which I guess is not a bad thing!
Shaun was out of work for about 3 months. That was really rough. He got laid off due to the economy and so he restarted his renovation business. And if you have ever had a business you know that it takes a bit to get the wheels going before you get contracts...so we are still in that process. Shaun is working very hard and he is AMAZING at what he does.
As for me...really nothing super exciting. Homeschooling, with the exception of today, is going so well that most days I am just thrilled out of my socks. I have been slowly and fairly methodically going through the house and culling all the extra unnecessaries that make up clutter and mess. I am in the process of reading a book called "Sink Reflections" and it motivates me to keep going.
Pretty much every Monday night we have young adults (college age) over for a meal and hanging out. It's super fun and the group changes every week. We are back attending the church we were attending before we moved. It's a bit of a drive but it's worth it. I will be back on the worship team as of January after a year and a half break. I am looking forward too it.
We really are enjoying living in Fort Langley. It's such a nice small town feel in the midst of the city. I am not sure will ever want to leave.
I think that we are getting to the place in life where we would like to stay put and put down roots as well as build the business and not be detoured. I've never experienced that really so it will be a new kind of way to live. It sort of freaks me out and makes me happy all at the same time.
ok there ya go...over and out. 10-4 good buddy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

sowing

"Sow a thought and you reap an act;
sow an act and you reap a habit;
sow a habit and you reap a character;
sow a character and you reap a destiny."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

He satisfies my soul

I am enjoying my days this year at a much more relaxed pace than last year. I actually have time to laugh with our children instead of watching them giggle together as I pass by. I have time to cuddle them and tickle them. I have time to sort through the mental files of my life and look at each page in that file and read it and ponder what it says. I have time to ask God to make me more like Him and actually listen when He responds with a directive of grace. I have time to notice when the house needs to be cleaned here and there and to actually do it. I have time.
I am finding, with a great amount of relief and joy, that I am thriving in this homeschooling adventure. I love organizing the lessons and getting everything prepared. I love teaching the girls things and getting through the material. I am learning many things as well. I love watching a light turn on. I love learning how to make that light turn on. I have a ways to go but I am looking forward to my own learning curve. I got to teach Mercedes what a Laconic Answer is...do you know what that is? I didn't but now I do and so does she. That makes me smile :D.
I don't dread the day because there is too much in it to accomplish this year. I look forward to the each day with energy and joy.
I am satisfied!
Psalm 103 says it all:
"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-
with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wife/Mother...a page from the life of Mary

You guessed it....I was listening to another Driscoll sermon :D. This one is the 3rd sermon from the Luke series. It is called "Luke: Jesus' Birth Prophesied" (www.marshillchurch.org/media/luke/jesus-birth-prophesied). You might be saying...alright already with Driscoll... ok. But this one...at the end touched to the very core of me.
In this sermon he talks about Mary. There are several things he goes through. But let me be brief. Mary was a girl of between 12-16 (likely, more like 12-14) years of age. She was a peasant...illiterate. From a backwater town of between 50-200 people. So she knew everyone and everyone knew her. She was betrothed Joseph. A poor, likely, illiterate, farm boy who was probably about her age. We don't even give this age driver's licences never mind the job to raise the son of God. They had likely known each other their whole lives. She was a good girl who loved God. She had a path set out all scripted...she would be betrothed for a year, marry Joseph, then have babies and raise a family.
Gabriel the angel shows up to Mary and says, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
Mary asks how this can be since she is a virgin. The angel says, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
and Mary says, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
She took God at His word and in that moment she was willing to give up her identity, her good name, her marriage...her script for her life.
She also chose to devote her life to being a wife and mother. In our world this is the last thing a liberated woman of the 21st century does. Do you realize that being simply a wife and a mother is looked down upon? It's not enough...it's one of the things to do but not the only thing and certainly not something that you let hold you back or down...after all the next generation is obviously not that important. Aren't you missing out on your true life's purpose? That is the thought of our day. I hear it all the time. I was not a great singer but I sung a lot and in many different places. I cannot do that now. I am a mom and a wife. My first priority is to those things. Many people ask me when I will start doing that again? And am I just wasting my education... my degree? I have wondered that as well. After all I am JUST a stay at home mom. I must be missing out on my true calling as I am watching the years stack one upon the other.
Well I think I will take a page from Mary's life. One of her son's was the Saviour of the world, another one (James) lead the first church in Jerusalem that had the biggest missions focus ever...and wrote a book of the Bible, and another one wrote another book of Jude. I wonder about her other children. She was a member of the first church her self and had a front row view and participation of the greatest events our world has yet to see. I think Driscoll is right, I don't think she was disappointed by her choice.
Choose your role models carefully. Those choices may impact generations to come.

From the Womb

I was listening to another sermon from Mark Driscoll :D. This is his second sermon from Luke called "Luke" John the Baptizer's Birth Prophesied" (http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/luke/john-the-baptizers-birth-prophesied) Luke 1:5-24 talks about how the angel Gabriel showed up to a man named Zacharias and told him that his prayers have been answered and his wife will have a son. It says this, "But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
Driscoll pointed this out...John was named by God, set apart by God for ministry, and filled with the Holy Spirit...in the WOMB! If that is not an argument for person hood from conception...
Like John, every baby ever conceived (whether born into this world or not) is known to God. Considering our cultures love for murdering our own children in the womb...and on the other hand every baby lost in miscarriage is known by him as well.
Shaun and I called our daughters by their names from the time we knew of their existence. They were named, loved, looked for. We anticipated them with deep love. How much more does God, the one we call Abba Father, love each one of these babies. He too is a parent.

A look at, what I thought was, a well known story.

I was listening to Mark Driscoll preach his first sermon on a series he has just started recently. He just got back from Israel and has started a 3 year series on the book of Luke. The first one is called Luke: Eyewitness To Jesus (http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/luke/eyewitness-to-jesus an hour well worth your time) anyway, he mentioned something that really caught my attention.
When Jesus was on the cross, right after He said, " Father forgive them" (Luke 23: 36, John 19:28-30, Mark 15:36, Matt 27:48) the Bible says (depending on which book of the gospels you read) "After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst." A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
I always thought (and was taught that this was an act of mercy...the sour wine being given to him. But Mark pointed something out. They had, in that time, public washrooms. You would sit on these platforms with holes in them in full view all lined up...there was a little canal of fresh water that ran near their feet. They would use that to clean themselves after using the bathroom. Some poor people saw a way to make money so they took a stick and stuck a sea sponge on the end and would wet it in that little canal and then clean the people once they were finished as they did not have toilette paper. After awhile they realized that people were getting diseases from using one sponge for many people so they would dip the sponges in vinegar or sour wine to clean them...so when Jesus was offered this "drink" it was not mercy it was one more taunt. This was Jesus' last taste on this earth. And He still offered forgiveness, love, mercy, and his life for ours.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Giving Thanks

Lately, for some reason, (well to be honest I know the reason but they are other people's stories so I shan't share here) I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by life and the sadness of it. Really, I have nothing, personally, to be sad about! I am one blessed woman. But I have been having a hard time being thankful. So I was pondering this the other day and remembered averse in Psalms 51...well Psalm 51:15 to be exact. And it says this, "O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise."
So I prayed that and God was gracious...and I have been praising Him slowly but surely.
Sometimes we need help. And He offers it.
For that I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This old world

Ohhhhhh this old world...this decrepit sinful old world. You still contain so much beauty but the sorrow and misery, the pain and tears that go along with you sometimes feels like too much to bear. One day you will be gone and in your place will be a beautiful perfect version of you. He will wipe every tear from our eyes.
I am looking forward to that day...especially on days like today. My heart hurts and is weighed down...not for me but for the pain I hear about.
With every breath I live in hope for that day.
.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As side note on our theology on parenting

After the last post if you think all is rosy at our house always...let me shatter your delusions. It's not so. We, as parents, are very strict and require much of our children. We fail and have agonizingly frustrating days as a result. But our plumb line is that we believe the Bible. And with that we believe that the Bible sets out some pretty high standards for kids and for parents to follow.
Proverbs 29:17 says, "Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart." and Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." and Proverbs 13:24 "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him" tell me 3 things:
1) Children are to be a delight...and if they are not being a delight something needs to be done so that they are. It's pretty easy in a situation to decide if they are being a "delight"...just ask yourself "is he/she being delightful right now?...you know the answer.
2) They need training in how to be a delight.
3) There is a big difference between punishment and discipline (one is correcting a wrong and the other is training)
*** on a side note: and NO i am not advocating beating your children. There, again, is a vast difference between discipline and abuse of authority when you allow yourself to lose your temper and take it out on a child.
When Shaun and I actually sat down and looked at the Bible as our handbook for parenting we were a bit shocked at how much it had to say. So we pray for wisdom for each child and proceed with caution and tenacity. There are also many good books...one I highly recommend is "Shepherding Your Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp.
Proverbs 19:18 says, "Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death." We have all seen undisciplined kids. If you follow it through to the end of the story...if they are never taught discipline they live undisciplined lives. Undisciplined lives most often leads to wrecked sad lives.
And Moms my biggest advice to you (since you asked :-D) is to LET your husband be a father. Don't step in an interfere with "oh she's just tired" oh "You haven't been here all day. You don't know or understand what is going on." God created dads with a completely different skill set than us mommies. We are the ones who know when our kids are dry and empty. But dads can spot resistance and rebellion a mile away while we mommies need to be smacked in the face with it a few times. Men are conqueror oriented. They are brilliant in sensing opposition in an opponent...and their children. We do our kids no favours by stepping in (again we are talking about healthy stable homes here...not abusive ones). They simply learn to look around daddy and ignore the vital lessons he has to teach them b/c mommy with save them. Not only do they succeed in dividing and conquering their parents but nothing is more emasculating for a father and husband and nothing more detrimental for your marriage and more defeating, in the long run, for your kids. And then on the tail end of that mommies...when Daddy has disciplined let daddy comfort his child. Don't let them run to mommy and be comforted and then look at daddy with that victory look that says it all, "HA! I got my way in the end!"...that basically erases whatever daddy has just done...And Moms while Dads do things differently, like comforting, it doesn't mean they do it wrong. It means they do it differently and God did give your children 2 parents with different skill sets for a very specific reason...they need the differences. So viva la difference!
I could keep going...
Actually there is no point to all of this if there is not an ultimate purpose. Hebrews 12:5-11 is the longest passage in the Bible about discipline.
"And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son,do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."
It is for discipline that you have to endure.God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good,that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."



For Posterity

*The other day I put the girls down for a nap as they have had some late nights and have been a little under the weather. They had been up there for about an hour, and hadn't slept yet, when I heard this sobbing. Went upstairs after a minute to see what it was about. Upon peeking into their room I saw Mercedes leaning back against the wall in a sitting position with Portia's head on her lap. Mercedes was stroking her hair and talking softly to her. Portia was sobbing her little heart out and saying, "I just waaaant to be fooooouuuuuuuuuurrrrrrr." Over and over...and then....,"I don't want to be an adult" and I don't want any more birthdays...I just want to be foooooooooooouuurrrr"...she was wailing and sobbing like her heart was breaking. Mercedes was saying, "But you are four Portia. It's OK." Which brought on another round of the same. I took over at that point and just held her and and said "OK you can be four". (b/c anything else I said just brought on fresh sobs). I still have no idea what brought this on. It came on the heels of a very frustrating, busy, and exhausting week for Shaun and I. Once she calmed down to just hiccup crying she said that while she did not want the birthday parties and she still wanted to have the presents and she wanted Mercedes to still have parties.
*Mercedes learned how to ride a two wheeler on our 11th wedding anniversary. She had been practicing in our backyard for about a week all on her own on a little bike...basically getting her balance. So on this past Saturday we were finally able to have the bike great bike that was given to us fixed up and go to a big field near our house to "teach her" how to ride. When we got there Shaun was all prepaired to run alongside her and help her. She said, "No don't help me. I will do it." Shaun gave her one instruction to start on a bit of a hill. She got on her bike and pedaled away. No help! HA! She did it all by herself and she had it! Not one fall. That's Mercedes. She studies things carefully for awhile and then she executes it pretty much perfectly. It was pretty fun and amazing to watch.
*Shaun was cracking up the other day while loading up the car to go somewhere. Portia was chattering away and using words like "Apparently". Shaun had asked her a question and that was her answer. Not yes or no...but "Apparently!". It's quite a big word for a four year old and when said by said four year old is VERY CUTE!
I was pondering both the girls last night. Mercedes is a gem of a child. She has her moments of course but she pretty much is a very obedient, patient, helpful, responsible, thoughtful, good humoured, and sweet girl. There are many more wonderful adjectives I could use to describe her. At 6 she's just a delight! She is exploring her world and it's so much fun to watch her. She is growing so quickly. She pretty much stands as tall as my shoulder. She has lost one tooth and another one is on the way out. She is very tidy and organized and if you ask her to do a task 99% of the time you can count on her to complete it in a timely manner with excellence. She loves to be outdoors. She has a lot of energy. She could hike without tiring for hours. In fact her Papa is planning on making her his hiking buddy when she's just a little older. She is a born teacher. She has taught her sister so many things from grammar to etiquette.
Portia is a gem of a child as well but in completely different ways. She is hilarious, wherever she goes she brings joy, very creative, good humoured, sweet, She is pretty much the antithesis of her sister in how she goes things. Here is what I mean: she is very artsy, more random, she is very capable of organization but she goes about it in a more scattered creative way. But the finished product, if given enough time, is done with excellence and creativity. She enjoys the process. She is not competitive. Whenever Mercedes has done something or learned something (i.e. got her ears pierced or learned to ride a two wheeler) we have asked Portia if she would like to do the same and she says something like along the lines of "No I'm good." In fact the other day when Mercedes had ridden her 2 wheeler for the first time...upon being asked if she would like to do the same she said "No I am practicing piano right now. I need to celebrate that." She is really good at letting Mercedes celebrate and have her moments...which is important to Mercedes. At 4 she is a delight.
Both girls are amazing playmates to each other. As sister I am constantly amazed by their deep love and affection for each other. They pretty much get along...although I do have to say that the rule in the house is "If you do not get along you do not play. You sit on your bed until you decide you are willing to play sweetly." They have sat on their bed for, probably what adds up to, several hours. Each time they don't get along the time gets longer (escalating consequences and all) They have done the math and decided it's better to get along.
Anyway, I am thankful for these 2 precious treasures that God has entrusted into Shaun and my care. They are amazing girls. And we are having fun!




Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mining

There is a reason why the Bible says that "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12, 13).
I was reading today in 2 Timothy. This is a letter that Paul wrote to a guy who was a son to him while Paul was waiting for his execution by Nero. These words were some of his last before he died. So as you can imagine they were clear and to the point. They mattered. Here are some of the words that stood out so far.
"For the Spirit that God gave us is no craven (or cowardly) spirit, but one to inspire strength, love, and self-discipline." (1:7)
"I am suffering, bound in chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound." (1:9)
"Share in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops." (2: 3-6) It's not easy street. Make no mistake about that.
"If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him;
If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, he also will deny us;
If we are faithless, He remains faithful - for He cannot deny Himself" (2:12, 13)
"God's firm foundation stands bearing this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His' and 'Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity'." (2:19

It's only by mining the word of God for yourself that you will recover gems beyond price for your life.

Tattoed and Robe dipped in blood.

This morning I listened to a sermon about Revelation....about Revelation 19 specifically. Mark Driscoll was the teacher. I HIGHLY recommend it. It's about an hour. It's the 9th in this particular series of 10. If you want a vivid picture of what Jesus looks like now...tattooed, robe dipped in blood... (as opposed to the Richard Simmons/hippy pacifist we seem to picture Him as) take a listen. This is the kind of God I can worship. If you want to know what the Bible says about the end of time and what's gonna happen. Take a listen. This sermon about sums it up for me.
http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/revelation/revelation-1-the-revelation-of-jesus-christ
P.S. SOMEBODY has got to get a better picture that depicts this more accurately. No more hippy Jesus.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Provider

Lately we have been having some interesting time with finances. Shaun got laid off from his job. It always takes awhile to get a business back up and running. He has been working very hard at doing that but still...in the lapse of time it's been hard. Before, when we've gone through this sort of thing we've altered our whole world out of panic. I have had sleepless nights with with stress in the past. Shaun and I have spent hours talking about solutions. When the reality was we just needed to stay put and keep pushing ahead with life as is. I think we have finally learned.
What has really been ringing loud and clear for me this time around is that God and God alone is my provider. He provides me with everything down to my every breath.
Hebrews 1:3 says that "He upholds the universe by the word of His power". WOW.
Philippians 4:19 says that He is our provider.
Luke 6:38 says if you give you will receive pressed down , shaken together and running over. We use the word Karma and think we have a new modern concept. It's actually a Biblical one...on a rabbit trail. I find it rather humorous when other religions or belief systems take what God said long ago and claim it as their original thought. OK off the rabbit trail.
Ephesians 3:20 says He can do more than we can think or ask.
Hebrews 13:8 says, "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Isaiah 40:27-31 says, "Why do you say...'My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God'? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Matthew 6:25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
I could go on and on and on and on...
I have been thinking about some other things along this line. I have been thinking about the blessings that have been poured out on my life. So much so that I often cannot contain them. In North America we think "blessings" equals money. That if we don't have money then we are not "blessed". How twisted is that? I mean really! As I go through my Bible some of the most blessed people certainly did not have a nice comfy cozy life. And perspective here is essential...comparatively to the rest of the world we are so rich it's confounding...no matter how poor we are by our North American standard. I also know our choices impact us. For me to be a stay at home mom where we live...it costs us in the money department BIG time. But it's that important to us. We put a HUGE emphasis on family time and Shaun not working long extreme hours so he can be around and a very active dad. The money is just not that worth it to us if it means Shaun is never around. So there are consequences for the way we've chosen to live (as well as huge rewards). I am not discounting that.
In these times that try the soul, as it were, I see character woven into my life. I see myself more on my knees and more dependent on my Creator and looking less at the creation to satisfy me. I also can look back on the road that I have already traveled and see that God and I we've been here before and that last time we were here He was faithful and I know I can put my trust in Him again because He IS trust not just trustworthy. And in that I can rest. "He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul."
It all comes down to this, Do I really believe that God is my provider? And am I going to live like it?
Shaun and I are learning that for us the answers to those questions are "yes". And you know yet again God has proved faithful! We have not gone without...we have gone with less but not without. We have found that we have been in a position to be humbled and receive grace and blessing from others...a hard place to be but not a bad place. It's been a good thing...

Must go my girlies are needing mama time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kiva

At Leadership Summit 2009 I had the privileged to sit and listen to a young woman, who is a Stanford graduate, be interviewed. Her name is Jessica Jackley. She is a co-founder of a company called Kiva.org, which means "agreement" or "unity" in Swahili. This company is "the world's first peer-to-peer online micro-lending website which allows individuals to lend as little as $25 to specific entrepreneurs, providing capitol to help them start or expand a small business. On average $100,00 is loaned on the Kiva website every 24 hours." Their payback percentage on these micro loans is 98.5%. It was started in 2005.
Here is a video clip http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/uganda601/uganda-601.html?&c=4qt
I was captured by her and her heart for people. I was also captured by the concept. It was so simple and so amazing. It goes along with all that Shaun and I have been learning and seeking out. It helps to alleviate the poverty by not just handing over money but by "teaching someone to fish" as it were.
Take a look at http://www.kiva.org/

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Liked Quotes from Leadership Summit 2009

“”When something is missed it’s not because it was unforeseeable it’s because it was unpalatable.”
–Gary Hamel- (really loved how he articulated things)

“The Longer you’re down in the trenches it becomes easier to mistake your rut for the horizon”
-Gary Hamel-

“It’s ironic that most churches have been trying to turn themselves into organizations while organizations have been turning themselves into causes.” –Gary Hamel-

“Relationship trumps vision. We don’t need more visionaries. We need more relationaries.” –Dave Gibbons-

“Forgiveness does not mean: forgetting or that it’s ok, release from consequences, or reconciliation. Forgiveness does mean: that you give up your right for revenge.” –Wes Stafford (Compassion president…the book that we got at the Summit is called “Too Small To Ignore”)

“Not every reader is a leader but every leader is a reader.” –David Gergen-

“It’s easy to confuse motion with progress” –David Gergen- (this is the guy who served 4 US Presidents)

Chip and Dan Heath are 2 brothers who are Stanford and Harvard grads...one is a prof there...I loved how they worded things. They were talking about "change and problems"
-They mentioned something called "bright spot therapy". It's where a counselor will not delve into all the problems of a person but look at the things that ARE working...the strengths. "Big problems are rarely solved by big solutions"
-"we owe it to people to prepare them for adversity in change...how to deal with failure (which they called "the valley of insight")...have a growth mindset and built into this mindset is a tolerance for failure. It's not something to be avoided- it could be an early warning sign of success."
I really liked them.

“Irreducible core” Tony Blaire
He was talking about this "most people like to be liked as a leader. There are things to take a stand on and not be flexible. This is your irreducible core...even if it's uncomfortable for other people stand and possibly fall by it... Be prepared to walk away. " I just liked how he put it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting Settled In To My Calling of This Season

Hi my blogging friends. It's been awhile since I've had time to sit down and think. To be honest, I really don't have time today but I am taking it anyway. Sometimes you just gotta! The girls are playing happily for the moment. The dog is annoying the guy who is laying carpet in one of the bedrooms. Shaun is off working hard on someone else's house. I am putting aside all my mega tasks that I have on the table at the moment to just sit down and think for a few minutes.
Last week Shaun and I had the privilege of going to the Leadership Summit. Last year I had found it intensely frustrating. We were leaving a great church that we were involved in leadership in a few areas and moving to a church unknown. I was feeling a need to be a leader outside of my home to get away and have a break from motherhood responsibilities. And while I think that is all good and well, one year later I have a bit of a different perspective.
This year as I listened to the various phenomenal speakers I realized that I was mentally applying it to my roles that I do every day, the roles of wife and mother...but mainly mother. We will be homeschooling this year and, I think, for the first time I am settled into being at home and doing these things as opposed to filling in time at home and wanting to be doing the things I spent the pre-mother years doing and that which I am trained to do...my passions. While many of my friendds have managed to do both I, I have come to find out, am an all or nothing girl. Whatever I am doing I am fully engaged and focused on and I cannot do other things well. That is my default. I am learning, slowly, how to work around this...first I had to realize that's how it was for me though. So for me to be at home but longing to be doing other things meant that nothing actually got done well. In a sense I freeze. I don't know what to do b/c I can't do everything with all my strength...so I just stop. You would not be able to tell this by looking at my life. It looks very busy and somewhat productive. But mentally this is what goes on. I am not sure that I am articulating this very well, likely, because this is a new revelation for me and so I have not fully processed nor conquered
Another thing that goes along with this is that I am not a multitasker...yeah I know I'm a woman and that people assume that a woman and a multitasker are one and the same...this is not the case for me. My mom is an amazing multitasker and still doesn't get how I am not. She often looks at me in bewilderment when I just can't multi-task. It is a detrimental thing when you are a mom. The job basically requires it as a starting point. Motherhood is a constant interruption of thoughts and tasks. There are days when I wonder if I will go insane! But by the grace of God the love of my husband and children I do not!
I have to say that over the last year I got SO frustrated with not being content with where I was at that I finally started praying. Imagine that! I prayed that God would give me a passion for all that I needed to be a mother to these precious PRECIOUS gifts that He gave to me for this season. He took me up on this request and slowly and graciously has begun to grow this passion. I know it will be a process but I am encouraged. He has grown it to the point that homeschooling the girls is not an overwhelming burden on my heart but I am actually looking forward too it. I do not know what this year will hold or the next. I am kind of glad about that. It would be overwhelming I think.
If you talk to any mother, who's children are already grown, they will tell you that these years go by so quickly and to cherish each moment. A friend once told me that "the days are long but the years are short". It is a bittersweet thing. On one hand you sort of long for the never ending barrage to end. On the other hand you never want it to end. It's the hardest and best job one could ever have.
I do not want you to think that this is the complete picture of my motherhood experience. For it is not by a looooooong shot. It's just that, at this point in the journey, this is what God is working on in my heart and life. These beautiful girls bring me SO much joy, a fresh perspective, and a river of love that I never knew existed before I had the privilege and joy to be their mother.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

2 Conversations with the girls.

Today we were coming back from Victoria, the girls and I, on the ferry. We were eating and all of a sudden Portia says in a not so quiet (and yet not too loud) voice, "Look at that fat man mommy!" Now I knew someone was sitting down behind me about a foot away so I figured they heard. I whispered to her across the table that it's not nice to say stuff like that. She just looked at me quite unconcerned. About 2 minutes later that "fat man" asked me if I would like any of his ketchup packets as he had too many and he had noticed that we were using ketchup. Then about 15 minutes later when he was finished eating and leaving he stopped by the table and said "You girls are the 2 best behaved little girls I have ever seen" and then went on his merry way. At this point Portia started giggling quietly at first and then she burst out into a full giggle. When asked what was so funny she turned to Mercedes and said "MERCEDES he said we were BOTH LITTLE girls. I am the only little girl. You are a big girl right?" Mercedes agreed and they had a good giggle. As did I.
After we got off the ferry and were driving down the rode the girls saw a helicopter in the sky. Mercedes pointed it out to Portia and I. Portia said "helicopter". But she must not have pronounced it quite correctly because Mercedes started breaking down the word for her. She started with "Hell" "I" "Cop" "tor". started to repeat after her "hell" and then she stopped. "Hey Mercedes isn't has that a word 'hell'? Mercedes do you know what 'hell' means?" Mercedes replied, "No do you?" Portia "No but it is a word right" Mercedes said it was. At this point I jumped in and told asked them "Do you want to know what hell is?" They both said yes. "When we die we either go to Heaven or Hell. If you believe in Jesus and He knows you then you go to Heaven. If that is not the case then you go to Hell. Hell is where Satan lives and he is the most evil being. Hell is an awful place. " At which point Portia piped up VERY emphatically, "Well I am going to Heaven because God knows my name Mommy! He knows MY name!" I asked her if she believed in Jesus and she said "YES! And He knows my name". And then Mercedes and Portia went off the fact that God owns everything and had made the cows and the peacocks and the....everything! It was a lengthy list.
Those are the precious moments that I cherish.


Monday, July 13, 2009

I Love Summertime


Well summer is here, mostly. We have had some wicked hot weather and I have soaked in every ray. Summer, for me, is the lazy time of year. The time of year to let your hair down and just relax. I don't think you actually end up relaxing more physically but mentally you do and that makes all the difference. So it's a mental thing.

Shaun is home now and I can't tell you how happy I am about that. It just makes my world go 'round the right way. The girls are more content...I even think the dog is more at ease and relaxed. There are berries to eat, flowers to pick, butterflies to catch, sunshine to absorb, tans to get, mud to roll in, and friends to hang out with. The world is beautiful and I am enjoying every second of it. I hope you too are having a relaxing and reviving summer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Home again home again jiggity jig

Well I couldn't take it. After posting the last blog I booked it out of BC to cow town with the girls in tow to see Shaun and hang out until he was free to come home. We had a great time! We got to hang out with the Milner and Miller clans. What fun 6 adults and 9 kids pretty much take over anywhere you go. Let's see we had 3 six year olds, 3 four year olds, a 2 year old, an 18 month old, and a 8 1/2 months old. It was riot. The kids got along so well and played and played and played.
I hadn't been to Calgary since 2000. If I had to pick a city in Alberta to like it's Calgary. I have so many good memories there. That's the city that we would head to for fun times in college, that's where Shaun and I would go on dates when we were dating, and we lived there for a short while.
There is nothing like old true friends with whom you just know you are loved regardless. Shaun and I are truly blessed. These 2 families are amazing. Their children have the joy of children who have 2 parents who love them and whose families are stable and strong. In our world this is a rare and wonder gift to behold. I don't know...I've said it over and over again in this blog but it bears repeating. Friends that one has walked down the path of life with for a long time and still remain your friend are people to cherish. They are a balm to the soul. They are one of God's richest gifts here on this earth that is so full of heartache. They are a reminder of all that is precious and true. I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful that we got to spend unexpected time with THESE friends over these last few weeks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sad but Thankful

Today I came home from Calgary. I was in Calgary because Shaun is working there for...well he has already been there for 2 weeks and it could be another 4 weeks or it could be one more week. We'll see.
My mom graciously came and took care of the girlies from Thursday to Sunday so I could go and hang out with my husband for a few days. Last week Shaun came home after being gone for the aforementioned 2 weeks and basically slept the whole time as he has been working 12 hour night shifts.
Now here is what I am thankful for:
*I am thankful for God: my sustainer, the One who orders my days, the One who is all
*That Shaun has work and that he is a good and willing provider for our family
*That we are all safe and healthy
*That we got to see him.
*That this time away is not for several months or years
*That we love each other enough to achingly miss each other (even after being married for almost 11 years)
*The girls. I can't imagine life without them and they speak to me everyday of God and of Shaun and my love for each other.
*That the girls miss Shaun so much means that he is such an amazing and involved father that he is worth missing...a rare thing I think.
*That our bills are getting paid and some of our debt is getting a little whittled down.
*That I have a mom who is willing to give of her time, energy, and money so that I could go and spend some much needed time with my husband sans enfants.
*I got to spend an evening with my dear college roomie, Dorilee, and pick up where we last left off
*I am thankful for our students that live with us this summer. It makes the time not so lonely and miserable, especially Laura.
*I am thankful for Keiko my scary guard dog. She may lick people to death but don't mess with me or the girls you might find yourself on the wrong end of her rage.
*I am thankful that I got to go away from the girls and I am thankful that I get to be home and be mommy. I love my job. It's the best job in the world because of our girlies.
I am sure there are more things to be thankful for but that will do for now.
Really, Shaun being gone SUCKS! I HATE it. It feels like a part of me is missing and I physically ache. And you know what? I am thankful for that. I am thankful that after knowing him for 13 years I still love being with him and yearn to be with him and hate being away from him and can't wait to see him again.
Oh, and one more thing I am thankful for...that my husband HATES being away and he misses the girls and me. I am thankful that he can't wait to get home too!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Portia-isms

There are so many stories that I could tell you about the hilarity level of my Portia. She is a RIOT! She just turned four and since she was born she has had this amazing belly laugh. It's, flat out, the best sound in the world. Well no, let me correct myself, it's one of the two best sounds in the world. The other one is when her and her sister are laughing together. Her second middle name is Allegra...which means joy and she has this incredible ability to bring joy where ever she goes. She makes me laugh out loud at least once a day...usually much more often.
Today was no exception. I was unloading groceries from the shopping cart into the car. She was sitting in the cart facing me. This lady walks behind the cart heading towards the store and Portia, without moving her head to look says in a somewhat loud voice, "HI LADY!" as she keeps staring straight ahead in the complete opposite direction of the lady to whom she was addressing the comment. She, of course, had a very impish look on her face. This was after she had been addressing me all morning as "Bay-buh". "Hey Bay-buh Mama" "Bay-buh what ya doin' Bay-buh?" Later, as I was getting her out of the car to go into the house I said very sternly to her "Portia you are not being very obedient!" To which she promptly replied, without so much as batting an eye with equal sternness, "Mommy you are being VERY grumpy today!" To which I replied, "No Portia I am being stern not grumpy. There is a difference!" "No Mama YOU are BEING GRUMPY!"
Yesterday, we were all driving to church and we were joking back and forth, all of us in the car, because Shaun was speeding in order to get to church on time. He was saying if an officer pulled him over he would say, "Office..." and before he could day anything more a voice pipes up from the back in a Boston accent "Forget about it! Don't worry about it!" Sounding very Sopranos or The Godfather-ish.
Honestly, I really don't know where she comes up with half the stuff that she comes up with but she is so good with words, rhyming and rhythms. She is a charmer and her comedic timing is impeccable! She is very bright and very quick to pick up on things. Between Portia and Shaun our house is in stitches much of the time.
And I am thankful. As the good book says, "A joyful heart is good medicine." So laughter is the best medicine and we are careful to take out daily does.

More stuff from the girls

So I should be asleep...and I was until my youngest came in crying and crawled onto our bed at 12:50 a.m. "Mommy" she wailed "I have gum in my haaaaaaaaaaaaaair!" Yep she sure did have it MASHED right in there...in her hair, on her face, and her arms. I tell sleeping husband I need his help "#$%&&* just cut it out@##$%" (he is not so much helpful at night) "No! I am not going to cut it out. It's in a bad spot to just cut it out. I will get it out with peanut butter" "PEANUT BUTTER?!!!?!?!?" "Yes Peanut butter. Can you please check her bed to make sure that it's not all over?" "#$%^%&*" Only my Portia would get gum from her stash at bedtime and then fall asleep with it in her mouth. She was very cute though during the whole extraction process.
And now I am wide awake so I will tell you some more tales from this household.
On to the "most terrible mother award" story: A little over a week ago Miss M was going on a field trip to the fire station. She told me that she needed to bring some canned food for the food bank. OK. Well the morning of the field trip we get to school and get in line and I realized that I had not brought the canned goods. I exclaimed my dismay to a couple of the moms standing near and one of them said not to worry she brought extra just in case. Phew! So she hands me some items and I went over to my daughter. "I forgot to bring canned foods M but don't worry Bethany's mom gave me some. Isn't that wonderful?" She looked straight at me and nearly rolled her eyes, I think. Then she says, "Mom I brought some. They are in my backpack. See!" Niiiiiiiiice. My 6 year old is more responsible than I am!
More Portia cuties:
*Daddy and daughter were out together at Long and McQuade. As they were leaving the store daughter looks up at daddy and says " It's good for 3 year olds and daddys to hang out and blue eyes to stick together." (They both have blue eyes)
*I was getting Portia out of the car and then carrying her when she asked me a question regarding something she wanted to buy in the store. I promptly told her to "ask her father". She kind of muttered under breath "father? oh that is like mother" and then she said in a very commanding voice "MOTHER PUT ME DOWN!" and then she ran to "ask her father". I just cracked up.
*I had told Portia to get her bathing suite on so she was hunting for it. "Daddy have you seen my bathing suite? It's the one with the boob straps!" At which point Shaun and I look at each other with a "What did she just day?" look. "Shaun asked Portia "What kind of straps?" "Boob straps Daddy. You know the ones that hold up these" (at which point she grabs her chest and points with her other hand). Now really how in the world does one keep a straight face with that? I mean seriously! Where does she come up with these things? Boob straps?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

HE restores my soul

Lately I have been looking down ,what I hope will be, a much longer road of my life. As I look down that path I sometimes feel overwhelmed and a little anxious about it. Will I continue to seek God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Will I stay steadfast and finish well? When I stand before God, at the end of this road, will He say to me "well done enter into the rest I have prepared for you"? By the end of each day my body is weary and by the end of each week my soul has joined that rank of weariness. I often try to restore my own soul with filler things like movies and books. I often come away more taxed in soul than when I went into that time the aim of the whole thing missed.
This morning as I was at church listening to the sermon one of the scriptures read was the well known and well loved Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Do you know what stood out to me this morning as I was listening to those words? "HE restores my soul". Not "me" but "HE". It was a simple but wonderful reminder. It's a promise and it shows another facet of the character of God. I can't think of a better offer than a restored soul.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

no reason really

Today was a day. It was a day that by the end of it I am sitting here just agitated. Today was a day where I cursed and got so frustrated I could have screamed and screamed and slammed my fist into a wall. And you know why? Nothing really! Nothing earth shattering! I did not get my mental list done. And I really wanted too. And my day was just annoying, one hundred little things worth of annoying.
This morning I ran errands. I started out an hour later than I had mentally planned forgetting that I had to drop our student off an hour and a half later than normal. I spent more money than I would have liked too. I was wearing my lawn mowing clothes so I did look so very attractive! Portia looked like no one owned her. I did not get the laundry started nor the grass mowed. I was mad dashing around Costco, Walmart, and Superstore...I think all the seniors were out in full force thwarting my fast-paced efforts at every turn. I was in a hurry because I had a open house to attend at a school that we put Mercedes and Portia on a wait-list for. That meeting went 45 minutes later than it was supposed to go. Annoying! Especially since I had 2 little girls with me who were hungry and tired...oh and so was I. One kept saying in a loud voice "Mommy when are we leaving this place?" with large amounts of disdain in her tone...bet you can't guess which one! I didn't even have time to eat for the first time today until 3:30 pm. That one always messes me up!
That meeting at that school bothered me to no end. I want to like the idea of a fine arts school. Really I do! In theory, it's an amazing idea. But just walking around the school I got really really uneasy. So me agitated is never good. And I found out Mercedes 204Th on the list which puts her getting into that school at oh MAYBE grade 6! Plus the girls, who were amazingly well behaved, upon leaving said they did not like that school AT ALL! Well girls I did not either! Which that brought me to another thought...see I had been looking at that school as a solution for schooling. And with it not really being one...leaves me swimming out in an ocean of WHAT!?
Then after running more errands (and getting my children some food) I came home to see our student sitting in the middle of our driveway in his friend's brand new Porsche convertible. I don't know, today that one just rubbed me wrong. I feel like our student is slumming it with us (as he will be getting a brand new Infinity G37 convertible next month..."they are so much cheaper here!" $70K later) and I am his maid! I'm not but today that is how I chose to feel upon seeing him and his friend sitting here smoking in the Porsche. Perhaps a little jealous!
Then the girls started tag-teaming me until Shaun got home and the house was still a mess, dinner was not ready, and tomorrow is my enduring husband's birthday. I, on my mental list, had a clean house and a lovely supper when he walked in the door on the agenda. But no when Shaun walked in the door I was in tears and needing to follow through on discipline with Portia. Oh and then I finally got the laundry in and Portia (who has been having issues with accidents since her urinary tract infection but she is getting better...you wanted to know that I know :D) had left a pull-up in one of her skirts and I missed it before putting it in the laundry. So the whole load was full of falling apart pull-up.
Then at 11 pm while I am cleaning up the kitchen and unloading and then re-loading the dishwasher, my student comes out and stands right in front of me (after peeing with the bathroom door open AGAIN...must talk to him about that one!) and says "OK now I am a little bit hungry what can I eat?." (I hadn't made supper b/c he wasn't hungry at supper time and we just ate leftovers). I think the blank stare, with mouth hanging open, I gave him probably made him realize that he wasn't getting anything from me. I simply couldn't think of anything to feed him nor say to him although I should have applauded his English. So he made some ichibon and then I felt bad that he was eating soup he had bought. Oh the guilt! And now it is 12:35 a.m. so I think I will do the bills and go to bed....how relaxing! Those are a few of the highlights there were a few more humdingers but I am not inclined to type those out as I am not over them yet.
What is the point of all that? Nothing really. I might feel a teeny tiny bit better though.If you ever think a stay at home mom sits around watching soaps and eating chocolates...come to my house...I'll set you straight and put you to work on one of the 561 things that was on my mental list for that day and didn't get done!
And yet I wouldn't trade my life for anything in this world. I wouldn't trade this day with my darling daughters for anything either. God is gracious to me. He let me make a complete grump of myself. He let me ask my children's forgiveness for being grumpy and He let me hear them say that I was forgiven and then 5 minutes later hear a reminder from my youngest that I was "STILL being a grumpy mommy"! My daughters are very forgiving and patient with me. I am thankful that they are. I am thankful for the reminder from a child of what I am supposed to be.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mercedes and her cast adventure


About a month ago Mercedes was playing with her cousins and sister. I was downstairs chatting it up with my sister-in-law. We heard a BANG! and then a cry. It was Mercedes. She had been getting off of her cousin's bunk bed and slipped and landed on a toy horse (which helped break her fall and thus less damage than it would have been) and then fell to the ground landing on her left arm. Becca immediately wrapped the arm and put ice on it. We tried to figure out if it was just a bad fall, if she had sprained her wrist or arm, or if she had broken it. We gave her Children's Advil. She calmed down we went home and did the evening routine. Her arm was still hurting her but she was wiggling her fingers. So we left it until morning. She slept well not waking once.
Next morning I noticed she was really favoring her arm and not really moving it but instead holding it with her right arm so I decided it was time to go to the doctor. We went to a clinic at 8 a.m. They sent us to get x-rays. That was fun! It took the technician and I about 20 minutes to convince a screaming and hysterical Mercedes that the x-ray would not hurt her. From the x-ray lab they sent us to emerg. We sat there for quite awhile. We hadn't eaten breakfast so all 3 of us (Mercedes, Portia, and I) were very hungry and as we were not expecting to end up in emerg there was nothing to do b/c I had not brought a bag of stuff to entertain the girls. The girls were VERY good in all. I was very impressed with both of them. Portia was very patient...not her most developed attribute. Being such an active and lively girly sitting still and not touching anything is NOT her forte. BUT she did it. A doctor finally came and saw us at around 2 p.m. The verdict was a wrist fracture...an easy heal that would not affect her growth plates. It took all of 10 minutes for her to look at the x-rays and for her to put the cast on Mercedes. It was a pretty cool. It was a half cast so it stopped just before her elbow. She got to pick a colour. Of course, she picked her favorite colour green. It's was a fiberglass so it could get wet. She could bathe with it and swim with it. Wonders never cease. And it had to be on for 3 weeks.
Mercedes did really well. The cast was really itchy. But she rarely complained. She, however, was very embarrassed by the cast and did not want anyone to see her with it on. She kind of went into hiding for 3 weeks unless we forced her out. Her whole class signed it. They made a big deal of her at school over it. It did not really slow her down. She had her first climb on a climbing wall with it, went bowling for the first time, learned to do a flip on the tramp-amp-amp-oline, kept right on climbing trees, and turned 6 years old. She's a wonder that one!
2 days after her birthday on April 29th, the day her cast was to come off, I woke up to voice next to me saying with a giggle "Mommy look! I got my cast off!" Sure enough my clever girl had figured our how to get it off. She had put her arm between her feet and pushed it off with her feet. I was thankful she had not figured that out until that morning. I laughed out loud because I had been quite worried about her getting the cast off. They use a saw that is rather loud and with the freak out at the x-ray machine 3 weeks before I had not figured on a saw going over very well. So, needless to say, I was one thankful mama that there was no need for the saw.
We went in and got her arm x-rayed, sans freak-out this time! Again, the girls were AMAZING!!! I was so proud of the AGAIN! We waited an hour and a half for a five minute check. The staff at the hospital had a good laugh and said that her getting her cast off and HOW she got it off where both firsts! The other kids, who were waiting to get their casts off, looked on with envy. It was quite funny. Her wrist is healing nicely. Just no monkey bars for 10 days. You could see on the x-ray where her wrist had been fractured and where the new parts of the bone had started to grow. The human body is the most amazing creation. God did good!
How thankful we are that it was such a simple and not very inconvenient fix. How thankful we are that we have readily available medical access and care. Even though we waited a few hours...we still got help with minor disruption to our lives. And how thankful we are, that although is hurt like all get out, it could have been so very much worse.

The Very Words of God

In New Testament times in the Greek area of the world there was a temple in a place called Delphi. This was considered the centre of worship for Apollo, son of Zeus (http://www.greecetaxi.gr/index/delphi_oracle.html).There was an inner temple that had an oracle who lived inside. People would come from far and wide to hear what the oracle would say so they would know how to go about their lives. It was usually an old woman who would sit on a suspended tripod all day above a pit that had vapors rising up from it. Essentially she was high on vapors that contained something similar to the chemicals in glue. The priest would come to her and ask her the questions that the people had asked and she would answer. He would put it to poetry and go and announce it to the waiting people. They could wait for days and even weeks for the answers to their life questions.
Ray Van der Laan says this:
"What on earth has happened to us? Do you understand that the oracles of God, not the utterings of a woman high on something, the oracles of the creator of Heaven and Earth, have been given to you! You have them! All of them! The very words of God, you carry them around in your pack! No sheep liver. No washing. They are all yours!"
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7noqtXPrXE There is more to this teaching. It is very well done and on sight in Turkey.)
the very Words of God!

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

John 1:1-18
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known."
and at the end of time talking about Jesus...
Revelation 19:13 (New International Version)
"He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God."

Monday, May 4, 2009

The funniest conversation with a customs officer


Yesterday I received a call from a Canadian Customs Officer. It went something like this:

O(fficer): Hi this is Officer so and so from Canadian Immigration. May I please speak to Shaun or Tama Hooff

M(e): Huth....yes this is Tama. How may I help you?

O: I have a young man here from China who says he is coming to stay with you. Can you please tell me his name?

M: Ummmmm (laughing a bit) actually no I can't. They did not tell me his name.

O: OK can you tell me the date that he is leaving?

M: Uh no I can't. I really have no idea. All that I know is that he is slated to stay with us for the summer but I do not have any dates.

O: ummmm....when did you find out he was going to come and stay with you?

M: oh I don't know we do this you know. We have students live with us. I don't think I knew it was him specifically until a week or so ago.

O: Well do you know what the name of the school is that he will be attending?

M: Uh I think so it's the ESLI program at _____"

O: OK (he has a smile in his voice now but he didn't laugh...I however was laughing the whole time) well how much is he paying you a month to stay there?

M: Well...uh...ummm no actually. I really don't know the exact amount. It's between ___ and ___ it depends on if I drive him.

O: Well can you tell me your address?

M: Oh YEAH! It's _______

O: (with a bit of relief that I could answer one question straight) OK great.

M: (jumping in) ummmmm...now can I ask YOU a question?

O: oh yeah sure.

M: WHAT IS HIS NAME?!

O: Oh it's _____________

M: well did he give you a Canadian name that he will be using while here?

O: oh no he didn't....

M: Oh well OK. Thank you. Is that all?

O: well yeah I guess.

M: ok goodbye then

O: bye


I have to say it was pretty funny. I was giggling for awhile after. I mean, one always wants to answer an immigration officer with thorough concise answers. HA!

I See Him in Everything


I know that is not politically correct but it's true. Lately, well actually ALWAYS, God has been gracious to me in the little things. I have been trying to practice praying about situations and giving them into His hands instead of trying to bear burdens on my own and FREAKING out when I fail miserably in my burden bearing. These are things that are never mentioned to a living soul just stewing around in my mind. Let me give you some examples:

~Yesterday we welcomed into our home another young man straight off the plane from China. He is jet-lagged and exhausted. Before he came I just sat down and prayed that through his stay in our home he would see God. I prayed for wisdom in my dealings with him. I prayed that with the language barrier we would both have patience and not get frustrated and I prayed for many other little things. The first answer to my prayers was the moment he arrived. Not only did he arrive but a friend of his who is from his home town and has been in Vancouver for 6 months showed up as well. So the little explanations of how the house works etc. were SO EASY because his friend could translate! I was SO thankful. Now this may seem small to you...but let me tell you it saved us and him a lot of time. Another simple thing...he actually speaks enough English to make it workable to explain things to him about things like breakfast this morning. Our last Chinese guy has not one speck of English so asking him what he wanted for breakfast was a chore. Not only does he speak enough English he is very kind. There is also a sweetness about him that is refreshing. When you have someone come and live with you there is always a question. What will he be like? Will he be OK to have in our home and be around the girls? Being raised in such a different culture and mindset how will this work? It works. People are people where ever they are as Dr. Suez says.

~Last Thursday Mercedes was slated to get her cast off. I was concerned about this because they use a little saw and she would have FREAKED and not done well with that. So I just prayed. And Thursday morning she came into my room and said ," Look mom I took off my cast!" I laughed and laughed. Not only was it REALLY funny because of how she did it but it saved us getting the cast sawn off (she put her arm between her feet and pushed it off with her feet).

~The last little while I have been looking at scarves thinking that I would like some to wear. I don't know why really but I did. I did not have any. I had been looking at the ones from the middle east and the silk ones. I did not mention this to anyone it was just a thought I had. Well for my birthday Shaun's parents gave me a scarf from Israel that his dad brought back from one of his trips there. Then yesterday our new student arrived bearing gifts. And wouldn't you know that his home town is known for their silk...he brought us SO MUCH silk. There were among the gifts (from his mother) 4 beautiful 100% silk scarves. I layed them out of my bed and just looked at them and thanked God that He cared enough about the tiny unnecessary things in my mind to not only have them given to me but brought from the far reaches of the earth straight into my hands. It was a little "I love you" note from God to me.

These are a very few examples of late. They have been a balm to my soul. They speak to me abundantly about the character and grace of my King of Kings, about the God of the Angel armies and I find great solice and hope in that.


Psalm 3:3 (New International Version)
"But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head."


Psalm 68:19 (New International Version)
19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.


Matthew 6:25-29 (The Message Translation)

"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

SPRING!
















Friday, March 27, 2009

How He Loves Us - Kim Walker / Jesus Culture

This song has been running around my head for the last several days. I wanted to share it with you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Humbled

Well God has spoken and I must listen! Yesterday Portia had a complete meltdown after skinning her knee. It was ridiculous! I realize that hurts. I also know my daughter. She is one tough cookie. She doesn't wail FOREVER about these sort of things. But yesterday (my birthday) I took the girls swimming. Everything was going well until 5 seconds after we got out of the car Portia was running and fell. And then she set to wailing, and wailing, and wailing...I really should have just gone home but I did not want to disappoint M. So we proceeded. It was a gong show needless to say. I won't bore you with the details but it made me realize several things. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
Since we moved at the end of last August I have been sick quite a bit (like ulcers and such), likely a little depressed, feeling displaced, etc. I have not done well with this move. I allowed my self to slack off in the area of my parenting. And now I am reaping the harvest of the seeds I have sown over the last 7ish months. It shows mostly in Portia but you can see it in M as well in more subtle shades. I have been at my wit's end with my baby girl and that's the truth of it.
I realized yesterday that while Portia was wailing away my desire was for her to behave "the right way" in the situation as she was embarrassing me by being "that child" instead of wanting to understand her and her needs and using it as an opportunity...I became "that mother". Now while she did need to stop wailing I needed to be her mother. Anyway, this situation is much more complex than I have time to explain here so I don't think you will get the whole picture accurately.
Needless to say that situation was my swift kick on the backside to spurr me on to once again pursue Godly parenting which I have neglected since moving...with many "good" excuses. I woke up this morning and was praying for wisdom for today. I was praying that God would give me the grace to encourage my children and to love them as He wanted me to love them today. That in times of conflict He would show me the path to pursue...that He would help me to control my irritation and anger. I am weary so I prayed for renewed strength and joy, but most of all grace. While I was praying God reminded me of a little book that has been sitting on my shelf the last 3 years. I have read part of it and then put it down for other more interesting reads. This book is called "Shepherding Your Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. So I dusted it off and started reading. And as I read I repented of my many many sins towards my children these past months. Don't get me wrong I am not talking about abuse here I am talking about not engaging them, having a high level of annoyance, and the list goes on but it is still sin none the less. They are precious precious girls and such a gift.
So, if you are inclined, pray for me as I once again pursue this. I pursued it quite passionately until we moved. It is something that is deeply important to Shaun and I. Shaun is an amazing father. He excels at this role. But he is also at work all day and so the majority of the parenting falls on me...as it should for a stay at home mom.
Over the next little while I will write down what I learn on here. Perhaps it might help you too. This role of shepherding a child's heart is quite complex. I am indeed thankful that I have the ultimate source of wisdom to draw from.
So today that source of wisdom said this to me:
"My brother (or sister in this case) take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's (or woman's) anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19-20
AND
"The purposes of a man's (or child's) heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." Proverbs 20:5

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shiny Happy People

Yesterday Shaun and I went back to the church that we went too when we were engaged and first married. We loved it ten years ago and I think in the back of our mind we kind of wish we had never left. I am not sure why we didn't go there in the first place when we first moved back to this area. But hey! ANYWAY! I digress.

On Sunday mornings the church service is filled with the "shiny people". You know, the ones like you and me who are educated. Have a lot of the rough edges taken off. Our emotions are very "proper". We clap at the right time and sing on key. We are very polite. Our children know how to behave in a church service. And we are dressed to the nines. We look GOOD people! We don't get too exuberant. We love Jesus because it's logically the right thing to do OR perhaps we saw that life was empty without Him. We call on God when we need Him but other than that life is going pretty well thank you very much! I am not being cynical here. I is one of this group. So I get it. I am making a comparison so just bear with me.

Now on Sunday nights at this church there is a service called "Fire and Freedom". It's been going on since before we first went there almost 11 years ago...I think it was just getting going though. Well we went the last 2 Sunday nights. And let me tell you about this crowd (and it is indeed a crowd) that shows up to this church service. This is a much rougher crowd. There is a distinct smell of drugs, not just cigarettes. They aren't dressed quite like the morning group. Their children run wild and are absolutely fascinated (to the point of almost getting on stage before they get grabbed by a parent at the last moment) by the musicians. They are much rougher around the edges. There are tatties everywhere...not that I mind tatties but these aren't the nice pretty ones these are the ones with skulls and blood...the wilder versions.

On a side note, have you ever noticed that the it's these ones that are the most charismatic in personality? It is these that are the best looking...now is a rough sort of way? At our last church we had a drug and alcohol rehabilitation place and these boys would come by van to the 11 o'clock service. They would sit in the front rows and sing and praise their hearts out to Jesus. They were the ones that I most looked forward to seeing when I helped to lead worship. They did not look bored...they looked thankful and expectant AND EXCITED to be there! I always had the same feeling upon watching them that God had a powerful plan for their lives and Satan knew it. He had thwarted them and God with every trick he had up his sleeve to "kill steal and destroy"them. But God...BUT GOD! I love those 2 words put together! That says it all! BUT GOD! My life was headed for destruction BUT GOD...

Now, back to last nights service...let me tell you about their worship style because this is what caught Shaun and I the most and made us think. There is a vibrating air of expectancy. They sing with all that is within them, on key or off. There is a wild passionate power. They scream and dance and shout out to God. You get the feeling, just by being in the room, that these are the ones that Jesus loves the best. They know that from which they have been saved. They have been in the arms of Hell. They have been in the darkest places and seen the the true side, the ugly death-giving side of sin to it's fullest degree. And now they have been brought into LIFE! And they cannot possibly contain themselves. It just seemed more real like they have grasped the gift that was given to them. They understand grace.

You know, as Shaun and I were walking to our car we were talking about this. The truth of the matter, when we accept Jesus as out Lord and Saviour, is that we too were saved from the same death-giving life. The same sin-infested grotesqueness. It was just in a prettier package. For us the transformation wasn't as visibly juxtapose. So we go on being happy plastic people.

The song that Casting Crowns did "Stained Glass Masquerade" (that played on the song by R.E.M "Shiny Happy People") keeps coming to mind...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRUJrjUGGfg