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 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 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 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 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 ( 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!"
( 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) can I ask YOU a question?

O: oh yeah sure.


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."