Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How do you spell...

This morning I was giving the little miss her pre-test for this week's spelling words.  They are not allowed to study for this. It kind of gauges how they have improved by the end of the week when their final test is given.
One of her words was Mississippi.
She wrote "Mrs. Sippy".
Best. Answer. EVER.

Heaven Shifts

A few days ago I had the privilege of being in a room of about 20 mighty women of God.  These girls are world changers.
We were at a birthday party. Let me tell you I love how these girls do birthday parties.  We brought lots of good eats.  We chatted for a little bit. Then we sat down and went around the room and each person present verbally blessed the birthday girl. And then the birthday girl verbally blessed us.
I love listening to people's stories.  This practice of verbally blessing someone gives the listener a chance to learn more of a person's store and how their story weaves into other people's stories.  I love listening to people share how others have touched their lives, made an impact, made it better, and have drawn the other closer to Jesus as a result.
We then prayed over the birthday girl. Have you ever been in a room with 20 women praying with all they have? If not I highly recommend it.  That night I saw and felt Heaven shift as these women prayed.  God met us there. One of the sweetest sounds all night came at a moment when we were all focused in on praying for the birthday girl...and then she started praying.  She began to pray over one of the dearest ones among us.  We had been gathered around our birthday girl and then as she began to pray I could hear the shuffling over of knees on the carpet as they gathered around this dear one.  It made my heart smile.  It touched me to the very deepest parts of my soul.
When women are united in one purpose...watch out world!  And when that purpose is around the purposes of God....I'm telling you, Heaven shifts.

I'm not very good at attending things that have no purpose other than to sit around and gossip.  Likely, I'm like this because I have learned the hard way that my tongue, when rudderless, will steer me in a destructive way, without exception.  I have to have purpose in what I'm doing.  I think this was another reason why I enjoyed this night so much.  This is not to say we didn't have many great laughs.  We were in no way serious the whole night. These girls know how to laugh! And laugh!

They know how to laugh and they know how to cry.  We need both. It weaves out hearts together. It goes a long way in refreshing our souls.

I pray that you have a night that you see Heaven Shift.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Word Aptly Spoken

Proverbs 25:11 says "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver."
This has been a verse that I've thought a lot about since I was about 10.  It's gone around and around in my head. This is probably the main thing I have asked God for in my life as far as character...I've asked for wisdom in words.  I've failed over and over and over and over again when I speak to people to boost their souls. I've failed relentlessly in this...giving a word fitly spoken.  But still I desire this.  I desire it strongly.   And I'm beginning to see that God is giving me one of my heart's desires that's for me.  We all have heart's desires for many circumstances and often they are for other people. But this is one of my strongest for me personally.  I am beginning to think it takes time to gain this gift.  It takes life experience so one has the compassion, experience, and wisdom to be able to speak these kinds of life-giving words.  
I think one of our biggest privileges is to be able to cheer each other on.  This week I got to sit down with a friend and we got to chat.  We got to sharpen each other.  It really set me to thinking even more about this.  What do I desire in a conversation?  I desire to walk away from it saying, "my soul was touched. I was sharpened. I was challenged. I was propelled towards Truth. But more than that...did I do that for my friend?  Did I give her just a little bit more courage to face the day?  Did I inspire her?" I often walk into a conversation with that prayer on my heart.  Sometimes I walk away from conversations having succeeded...most of the time I walk away saying "I shouldn't have said this this and this...it did not help my friend." As I have mentioned....I've failed a lot.  But I do have hope that as I keep seeking this it will happen more and more.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


A year ago this week the girls and I were in a car accident.  It was at a slow speed and we were rear-ended.  The girls seem fine.  I, on the other hand, have had a bit of a year. I got severe cervical whiplash.  A week after the accident I started throwing up all day and all night and didn't stop for 2 weeks. It awful.  It was disheartening.  It was hard.
The doctors didn't know why I was throwing up.  This had happened to me once before about 5 years back. At that time they put me on meds for an ulcer.  It calmed whatever it was down.  As they had no ideas what was the cause of this this round I mentioned that those particular meds had worked before so they gave them to me again.  It worked again.
In January we got a new family doctor and as we were going through my medical history she said she wanted me to have a battery of bloodwork done so she could start to get a grip on what might have caused the 2 weeks worth of throwing-up.  I went and had the bloodwork done.  She called me in very quickly and said that I need to go have an ultrasound done on my liver.  Something was not right.  My liver?  Huh?  Ok!
Move forward to May....I had the ultrasound and upon having it again I was called into the doctor's office very quickly.  What showed up was that I had a fatty liver.  They wanted to send me to a specialist. I was too young to have that so something was wrong.  I asked my doctor if a fatty liver had to do with being overweight. She assured me it did not.  It was either genetic or from drinking too much or from having Hep B or C.  I rarely drink...I don't have Hep B or C so...maybe it was genetic?  I asked her if this had anything to do with my gallbladder being taken out and the liver having to make up for the loss of that vital part of the body.  She really didn't know but maybe?  Did it have to do with doing the HCG diet and losing weight rapidly and then gaining it back rather rapidly?  Maybe.
It was a nerve-wracking time.  She scared me because of her deep concern and her quick movement on this.  I remember sitting in church one Sunday morning before any of this was clear other than there was something not right with my liver and the doctors were very concerned.  I had no idea if it was fixable.  That morning I faced my mortality.  I faced that this may be the time that I leave this earth.  I did a lot of soul searching sitting there in that morning service.  And God met me in that moment.  My soul found rest in Him. He took the anxiety. He took the fear. He took the gut-wrenching sadness. He taught me, in that moment, with more depth and clarity than any previous lessons...that no matter what He is there beside me.  There is no promise of ease. There is no promise of tomorrow. But there are promises of His right there every single step of the way.  There is a difference experiencing that.
I began to pray. I began to ask God to direct me in this path.  Others prayed with me.  Others cheered me on.  It's been a team event.
I started reading about what fatty livers are.  I started educating myself.  I went to a naturopath.  In my reading and from going to the naturopath I started to get a clearer picture of what a fatty liver was, what caused it, and what I needed to do to get better.  Because a fatty liver is the beginning of a journey that, if left, can lead to liver cancer.  I knew I did not want that!  The first step is a fatty liver (completely reversable), the next step is cirrhosis of the liver (scarring of the liver not so reversible but because your cells regenerate it is somewhat reversible around the scaring), and then on to liver cancer (not so reversible).
I started making changes to my diet. Mainly I started reducing gluten and sugars. I noticed a marked difference.   I started working out on purpose. :D  I started taking a liver support supplement from Usana (of which when I showed it to the naturopath he was amazed and said he didn't have a supplement that was more perfect! YAY!).
Yesterday I had my long awaited speciality appointment with a gastroenterologist.  I was nervous and scared. I had no idea what he/she would do to me in that appointment. I was only told it would take about an hour.
I sat down with her...I was happy this doctor was a her.  But I was still nervous.  I haven't had the best luck with doctors regarding my health.  I have found there are some excellent doctors who take the time to actually listen to someone about their own body and they work well with you.  Then there are the others who think they know everything because they carry the title doctor and they disregard the person who lives every single second of every day with the body they are discussing and making medical judgments on.  They are often wrong and  cause much harm....mainly due to their arrogance....even specialists.  Sound harsh to you?  Well that is experience speaking.  And yes I do feel rather strongly about this...I am happy to report that this specialist falls into the category of excellence.  She is good! I could see within the first 2 minutes. I could tell that a more naturopathic approach sat well with her and didn't clash.  This was a relief. I get so tired of doctors who will not integrate the two.  I see the absolute need for both.  But they are 2 very different disciplines.  One is for health and the other you need for sickness...I'll step down from my soapbox now :D
We went into her office and she started off my saying "I am amazed that they caught this at this stage. You are so very fortunate. For most people this is not caught until they are dying and there is nothing left to do.  Livers very rarely give any indication of a problem until it's too late. Plus you are so young."  She asked me how it had come about that I had gotten all the bloodwork and the ultrasound.  I explained.
She asked me what I had been doing (if anything) I explained about the gluten and sugar.  She said "WOW! I am so interested in this.  I'm interested to know this worked well." I explained so more things.  She was not antagonistic. She listened. She was interested.  And then she started to explain that the liver is allowed to leak a little bit. And since the liver is near bloodvessels when you take bloodwork you can get a good grasp on the amount it is leaking.  When you have bloodwork done your levels should be at 36 or below.  Mine was at 107.  She explained there are a few reasons for the lining of the liver walls to get inflamed: alcohol, genetic, Hep B or C or fat (added info that makes sense for me).  I said "It's fat!"  I could see she was bracing herself to have to explain this gently to me because I'm overweight and it likely is a touchy subject whenever she has to explain this.  She said she agreed. I asked her what I needed to do....she said she wants me to have some more bloodwork done. She wants to send me to a dietician.  And she wants to see me again in 3 months.
I told her I was thankful for any help.  She seemed relieved not to have to talk me into anything.
I have to say I walked out of there feeling lighter than I had in a year regarding this.  I hadn't realized how much it was worrying me until it wasn't.
So...another journey continues...the one of losing weight. But not just for losing weight's sake.
I am thankful.  I am thankful for all of you who cheered me on and will continue too. I am thankful for all of you who have prayed for me and who will continue too.
And oddly enough...I am thankful for that rear-ender.  I doubt I would have found a solution to this problem that has been in the making for about 12 years.
God is good.  When you can't see what He is doing...He is doing.  It's for your good.  He loves you more than you could possibly know.
I am thankful.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Another school year has wrapped up.  In this house we will never again see Gr. 2 through our child's eyes.   It's always bittersweet isn't it.  Gr. 4 and Gr. 2 were, over-all, fantastic years for our girls....M, especially, had many giant leaps forward just in her love of the game called school.  Her teacher was exactly what she needed to gain back that enthusiasm. She finally saw what hard work could accomplish.
I think the absolute best moment of the school year for me was a couple of weeks ago she came bounding to the car with a paper waiving in her hand and a sweet smile of victory in her eyes.  She hopped in to the car and said, "MOM! I got 100% on my test!" There are a few things about that which are amazing.  First off, M has fought and fought and fought me since Kindergarten on studying for anything or even doing homework.  It has been painful. It took many more hours than it should have to get the studying done and then not always with good results on in marks.  It was discouraging and frustrating...maddening even. Second, I hadn't even known anything about this test. I usually start her studying for a test a couple of weeks before it will occur so that all the info is absorbed. It's 2 weeks of struggle.  Each test takes hours of my time and hers. So...I ALWAYS know when tests are.  I plan my life around them!
I must say it was a moment of profound relief for me, that 100% mark.  It told me we are getting places!  We'll make it. It gave me hope in this area that I have stressed and struggled and been at a loss in for 5 years...two of which were homeschool school years. The biggest relief was when I asked her if she had studied? She nodded her head proudly and said, "Yep! I've been studying every night for the last week!"  That's my girl!  It may seem very silly to derive such enjoyment and joy  from something so simple but it told me much about my girl.  But it brought tears to my eyes. I am thankful to be heading out of  this season with this dear daughter.
Gr. 2 was a struggle for my wee girl.  Over Spring Break is when I realized how stressed out she was over school.  She was a completely different child...happy, carefree, a smile on her face, her belly laugh ringing out.  As we headed closer and closer to going back to school the quieter she got.  That bothered me. I want my children to love learning.  To have it as a life-long pursuit you need to love it! I want to them to love learning. I want them to be students of life. They gotta love learning.  It distresses me to see that dimming.  It distressed me to see her isolating herself.  My little joy bubble and I had many lengthy conversations this year surrounding learning,  about friendships...she had many bumps along the way in that category this year...and that we love her.  I know she ended up alright, all around, but when your kids are upset it always upsets the mama bear. Her Daddy and her had many long conversations at tuck-in time, as well.  I am most pleased that it's summer time for my wee one.  She needed a break.
I have been very VERY blessed these last 2 months, or so, with a friend coming in most every day and helping me learn our new accounting software and helping me with in-putting ALL of 2012 in to it.  WOW! What an amazing gift that has been to me. We are just on the tail-end of finishing up 2012 and about ready to send it off to the accountant.  THAT will be a massive accomplishment.  MASSIVE! No one has seen me much over that time because I've been at my desk workin' like a crazy woman.  It's an accomplishment AND I feel a little nutty.  haha
The girls are at Horse Camp this week! They are loving every single second.  They came home yesterday bursting at the seams with all sorts of things to tell us about what they had learned to do with horses.  I loved hearing all about it.
We are so thankful to be fully immersed in our community.  It's so nice to once again have our entire lives be in our community.  This morning Shaun got to go and be a part of a surprise for a friend before work.  Can't do that if your community is not where you live. We go to the grocery store and more often than not see someone we know.  We drive around town and see someone driving along and wave...or race...either one. ;) It's really really nice.  We even have a doctor and a dentist who are both 5 minutes away.
The business is humming along. We are trying to learn to balance personal and business...it's a non-stop challenge. You think you've got it licked...and something comes along that reminds you that you are delusional! So we keep learning and growing and changing.  In other words...we keep on doing life :D.
I hope your summer is restful and rejuvenating.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Reverse Engineering my Life Part 1

Throughout my life I have thought about reverse engineering my life. I understood this concept long before I heard this term. I think it's intrinsic to Christianity. What I mean by reverse engineering my life is to look at the last day of my life and work backwards. It's even in the name of this blog... everything I do is focused around this very thought. There is a specific reason for this focus...it's not for the last day of this life. It's so that my life doesn't simply pass me by. It's so that I live with purpose.  That purpose to the very reason I was created to be here in the first place...to bring honour, glory, blessing, and praise to my Creator.
And so I look at this. I ask questions like:
What do I want my last day to look like...no matter when it arrives?
What I need to do starting today to get to that place on the last day?
This kind of thinking provides great clarity in decision making...it clarifies the details.  
Do you know that this type of thinking is not our cultural norm anymore?  Do you know why?  Because we have taken eternity out of our dialogue.  So most people have the philosophy of "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die." 
This is the first time in most of the earth's history that this is so.  

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I read the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  I was listening to the first lecture he gave, at Cornell University, yesterday. It is an hour long and it is so good that the time flies by lickety-split.  Below are some of the quotes he uses in that lecture: 

C.S. Lewis said, in his book, The Weight of Glory

"At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door.  We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing , we shall get it."

The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers, from the 17th and 18th century has a prayer that says

 "O Lord, I live as a fish in a vessel of water, only enough to keep me alive, but in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing, but there I shall have sweet and fresh gales; Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness, a warm ray to keep me from freezing; yonder I shall live in warmth and light for ever.Quicken my hunger and thirst after the realm above."

Cyprian in AD 240 said

 "Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to our own home, which snatches us from this place and sets us free from the snares of the world and restores us to the paradise and the kingdom. Anyone who has been in foreign lands longs to return to his own native land...we regard paradise as our native land."

2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 says,

 "So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord...Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."

Hebrews 11:13-19 NLT says, 

"All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

Randy Alcorn writes in his book  Heaven 

"Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for heaven. We think that what we want is sex, drugs, alcohol, a new job, a raise, a doctorate, a spouse, a plasma television, a new car, a cabin in the woods, a condo at the beach. But what we really want is the person we were made for, Jesus, and the place we were made for, heaven.Nothing less can satisfy us."

Joni Eareckson Tada writes in her book Heaven: Your Real Home,
 "When a Christian realizes his citizenship is in Heaven, he begins acting as a responsible citizen on earth. He invests wisely in relationships because he knows they're eternal. His conversations, goals and motives become pure and honest because he realizes these will have a bearing on everlasting reward. He gives generously of time, money, and talent because he's laying up treasure for eternity. He spreads the good news of Christ because he longs to fill Heaven's ranks with his friends and neighbours.  All this serves the pilgrim well not only in heaven, but on earth; for it serves everyone around him."

A.W. Tozer says in his essay The World to Come,
 "Let no one apologize for the powerful emphasis Christianity lays upon the doctrine of the world to come. Right there lies its immense superiority to everything else within the whole sphere  to human thought and experience. When Christ arose from death and ascended in to heaven He established forever three important facts; namely that this world has been condemned to ultimate dissolution, that the human spirit persists beyond the grave and that there is indeed a world to come.         The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world (as it now is) as her home, and sometimes she has listened to the blandishments of those who would woo her away and use her for their own ends. But if she is wise she will consider that she stands in the valley between the mountain peaks of eternity past and eternity to come. The past is gone forever and the present is passing as swift as the shadow of the sun dial of Ahaz. Even if the earth should continue on a million years, not one of us could stay to enjoy it. We do well to think of the long tomorrow."

Charles Spurgeon said 
"To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes."

John 14:1-3 says 
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."

In The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis he says, 
"Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains."

David said in Palm 39:4-5, 
“O Lord, make me know my end    and what is the measure of my days;    let me know how fleeting I am!Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you.Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!"

James 4:14 says 
"yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."

The apostle Paul said as he is waiting to be beheaded by the command of Nero 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 
"...the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing."

Aristides (someone assessing Christians not as one who believed the same), AD 125 said 
"If any righteous man among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby."

F.B. Meyer a few days before his death, wrote to a friends,
 "I have just heard, to my great surprise, that I have but a few days to live. It may be that before this reaches you, I shall have entered the palace. Don;t trouble to write. We shall meet in the morning."

Bede the Venerable in AD 700, said in his All Saints Day Sermon, 
"A great multitude of dear ones is there expecting us; a vast and mighty crowd of parents, brothers and children, secure now for their own safety, anxious yet for our salvation, long that we may come to their right and embrace them, to that joy which will be common to us and to them."

Isaiah 25: 7-8 says, 
"And he will swallow up on this mountain    the covering that is cast over all peoples,    the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; 
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,    for the Lord has spoken."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Topics on the Radio

So, I listen to CBC for about 10-15 minutes per day.  The topics are interesting. I like to know what is being discussed in our world and I find that one of the ways to find out.  The topics lately have been euthanasia ("self-chosen death")  cryogenics (freezing someone so that when we discover a better way to cure them or a better time to live in they can be, in theory, revived and live forever), political leaders and either their race, gender, or sexual persuasion...and how this affects their political career and our views of them as a culture, abortion, oh! and why is it that our tax system is geared towards married people...it's really unfair to the majority who is now single.  
Yeah! So, I have MANY thoughts on these topics.  But, really, they are very bizarre topics.  I have about gone through the roof on the logic given by some of the people being interviewed.  But, for me, it does force me to have to think through these things and not just have a gut reaction (of rage mostly, if I'm honest).  It forces me to sit down and think through these things and have a more succinct answer instead of only emotion.  It hasn't changed my views one smidgen. 
It also has, often, brought deep sadness and distress to my heart that these are the topics that our world is discussing because it shows so much pain and hopelessness.  
Each one of these topics has a solution that offers hope.  And that solution is the same for each of these topics...His name is Jesus.
It always it Jesus.      

A Moment in Church

Yesterday was our day of the week we set aside to Sabbath ..to rest, refresh. We go to church in the morning.  No, I don't always anticipate this. In fact the last year has been somewhat challenging for me to do this because we have been in a new church.  I haven't felt quite at home yet. That takes time.  But it is something that is important...no it's more than important.  I need that bolstering of my spirit each Sunday.  I need that time.  I always find that when I don't want to go the most is when I need to be there the most.
Yesterday, I was nearly in tears from one simple thing. I was in church and we were singing.  I love singing.  As I've mentioned, I feel God's pleasure most when I sing. I love the richness of Christian music. It has heart, hope, meaning, and joy.  I have listened to so much heartbreaking music. Music reflects a soul more easily than any other thing.    Anyway, this Sunday morning singing was...well it was even more lovely than normal.  I was surrounded by men who were beautiful singers.  Now that may sound odd especially if you don't go to church.  But let me explain.  These men (one of which was my husband) were singing praise with their whole heart and they were each harmonizing differently and perfectly.  It was not only beautiful to my ears but to my heart.  It was one of those moments.
 For most of my growing up years men were in church, absolutely! But there seemed to always be more women.  So when I would stop and listen to those singing around me women's voices were predominant. ALWAYS.  Yesterday, that was NOT the case.  I was in a room full of people...over a thousand. The service was full.  And the predominant voices I could hear (not just near me but overall) were men.  It was awesome!
Corporate worship is invaluable.  The corporate gathering is necessary.  It's not any less powerful or unique that my daily meetings with God one on one...it's different. It's a different part of my soul that is met.
Hebrews 10:25
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.