Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayer for Newton

 
It doesn't matter where in the world it happens or whether or not you know the person, you feel the pain of someone losing a child. You can especially feel it when it is a violent circumstance and the limitations of your protection are apparent. The vulnerability of the precious little souls under your care and you own heart is painfully obvious. God has connected humanity in such a way so that we can hold one another up in prayer and, for those able, in service. 

I read all kinds of comments regarding the Connecticut school shooting referring to the depth of evil that has occurred and the heartfelt sympathies expressed. It seems that words are not near enough to ease the victims' pain...which we all want to do. 

My limited imagination seems to conclude that all of the worlds' hugs and well wishes would never satisfy the torment I would be experiencing at a time like this...it would help, but never satisfy. It seems to me that a big dose of supernatural hope and miracle of the heart is in order. Christmas is all about Jesus coming to save the world. Well, I know a little corner of the world that could use a little saving today...Newtown, Connecticut. 

For those who look to God in anger, looking for an explanation, He went through it himself. His own son experienced the pure evil of humanity unleashed on His own precious son, once upon a time. For reasons maybe not completely clear to you now, this allowance is necessary. Believing that God's intentions, plan and provision are all good, all the time, is the key to peace...peace on Earth and in your own heart. I personally find the existence of a good God much easier to believe in than good people. The Bible clearly emphasizes the unwavering, tender love of God toward little children. You can be sure, all of those beautiful little ones lost to us yesterday are sitting on the knees of Jesus, enjoying eternal protection and love from the maker of their souls.

All I can do is continue a prayer of God's comfort upon these people. A prayer of revelation for their minds. That somehow, God would reveal His good plan for their lives and fill them with unbelievable hope. That they may see the reality of reunion with their lost loved ones and eternal fellowship with Jesus. 
If my prayers will stretch a bit to the length of Jesus mercy and grace, I will pray for those who are responsible for this kind of evil. People who do these kinds of things must be tormented in some way too. They were once someone's precious baby. Even though it is too late for this perpetrator, there are many out there in desperate need of Jesus forgiveness and transforming power. Not one psychologist, not one medicine and not one power of man can touch this kind of evil heart...only Jesus. One breath of His holiness holds the power to change this kind of heart. His love is irresistible and His power causes demons to flee. 

His holy breath can change an evil heart and hold together one falling apart from pain at the same time. 
Only Jesus...can make Christmas Merry.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is the University Gountlet necessary?

 

 I highly value my university years. The first two were the ultimate best. Grounding me in my faith, making life long friends and seeping with romance as I met the love of my life. The last 4 were plugging through, jumping the hoops in order to get that blessed piece of paper that I "needed" in order to be "successful" or to get a job. I wasn't very engaged in my studies, but I was a good studier and learned to work hard at something you really don't like. I developed a fascination for Biology and began to think much deeper about education and life in general. Along with the blessing of not coming out in debt, it was good experience for me and not at all regretted.

That was then. This is now. Things are not the same. Tuition, post degree job opportunity and the moral temperature of universities are VERY different now. Sending my kids to university is not the same as me going there in the late 80's/early 90's. I'm thinking that the decision to commit to a 3-10 year training session in university should not be taken lightly. It should not be the normal, run-of-the-mill thing to do. Much consideration needs to be done before beginning the gauntlet run. There are other ways find a profession and to prepare for it...that's another blog post altogether. For this one however, I just want to clap my hands loudly, just once, wave them in front of some faces and gently encourage parents and high schoolers to REALLY think before making that university commitment. Go to University with your eyes wide open...not to mention your wallet...and impressionable mind. Be ready for the financial burden, the politics and persecution if you don't wear their worldview glasses. 

This is not a boycott University call, we need good students in there to be salt and light, to reform the intellectual and moral status quo, but not everyone is called to do that. Not everyone should go to university, as is the compulsion. The idea that the system, all too often, wastes thousands of our young students' debt dollars and a decade or so of their prime time, making them jump through the hoops is an important one to make people aware of. I tend to like Anthony Fury of Sun News Network, a Libertarian and a good communicator. I don't always agree with his point of view, but this one was right on:


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Days...All in the Family

 
My kids have been watching boxed sets of old TV shows that we used to watch as kids...since our only choices on TV now are garbage, garbage or more garbage. They have been through The Beverley Hillbillies, The Three Stooges and even some Petticoat Junction. I don't really care for those ones, but the laughter I heard from them while being entertained by Granny and Moe was worth every penny of the $5-10 I paid for many episodes!  I recently got Different Strokes for them and a flood of memories followed. Just hearing the theme song took me back to casual carefree days in the Hanson household. 

After being greeted at the door by my sweet warm mom, we cozied up to the wood stove with a fresh cornmeal roll or cookie and we 4 ladies talked of the days happenings. Sometimes laughing, sometimes frustrated, but always comforted and guided my mom's discerning heart. Her listening ears were always available and sincere. After my dad arrived home from that stinky old pulp mill with dangerous hugs and whiskery kisses, we ate supper together to the tune of  Lavern and Shirley or Happy Days on the kitchen TV. Don't listen to people when they say that laughing while eating isn't good for you. It was regular at our house and no one died in the 17 years I lived there. If I had to be excused in the middle of the meal, I'd typically return to my seat with my plate mysteriously missing. My dad's poker face trying hard not to give away his secret...it was on top of the fridge...it was always on top of the fridge...never a new hiding place...never a bad joke :)

Dad usually spent his evenings in the garage under a Ford, Mom knitting, reading or giggling with us while we did homework, then made popcorn or pizza and watched more TV...mostly innocent, good, clean shows, without much agenda pushing behind it. We didn't rush and run to sporting events or musical practices, we were just home, laughing and loving, soaking up the comfort and safety of a really good family. Of course my sisters and I NEVER fought. We just always thought of the other one before ourselves, always said kind things to one another and cleaned each others rooms. Ok, it's true, the good memories always seem to outweigh or erase the bad.  That's alright, I wouldn't feel comfortable telling you all the terrible injustices that were done to me by those two blonde instigators ;)

I admit, I mooched my older sister's cool clothing while hoarding my own money and bullied my younger one out of the bathroom a FEW times to make one last check in the mirror to ensure each curl on my head was staying in it's place. They had their fun with me. I could get so engrossed into a TV show that they would play with me by casually asking me to get things for them during the show and I would hypnotically comply until after 3 or 4 times. Eventually I'd wake up and endure their victory dance. They really never danced, that would be Mom and Dad, occasionally moving the kitchen table out of the way and cutting a rug...or a pine floor as we had. I can't tell you how much that kind of parental relationship builds a child's character. You can be sure their is a regular dose of dancing in my house. My husband complies with a smile and my kids wait their turn with me on the dance floor. I have a great set of speakers in the kitchen :)

The sounds of these old shows bring back wonderful memories and now my kids are singing their tunes around our house. They are only TV shows, not perfect, but better than anything I've seen lately. It's their attachment to the past that gives them their value. Good, clean laughter is good for the soul. I guess Allan Thicke is a becoming a regular guest in our house :) Remember these?? I think I might check some out and see if they can't find their way under our Christmas tree this year.

The Cosby Show
Who's The Boss
Night Court
Newhart
Growing Pains
Too Close For Comfort
Benson
The Jeffersons
All in the Family
Taxi
WKRP in Cincinnati
Mork and Mindy
Chico and the Man

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This Present Brightness

A young princess sat thoughtfully in her castle one early morning, pondering the happenings of the concluding week...months...seasons. Being Thanksgiving, her heart was reminded of all the good things and ignored the bad...not giving those memories a moment's worth of honor. Only the laughter, the accomplishments and the friends were given play in her mind. Then the verse, "Be thankful in all things", 1 Thessalonians 5:18 came to mind. She was very glad that the verse did not say "Be thankful FOR all things" but "IN all things". "I can do that", she reasoned...with practice. Her memory slowed down a bit, backed the truck up and stayed for a cautious moment on a bad memory. With furrowed brow and tightened lips, she felt the pain of an occasion and forced herself to glance up at the grace that hovered over that darkness. At the time, she didn't look up, just straight forward at the ugly, visible reality. Now, after the fact, she had the strength to be thankful IN everything. IN that situation, there was a hidden reality. The beautiful truth that she was being held up by strong arms, comforted by divine words and moved forward by an omnipotent Guardian. Saved form the fire breathing dragons.

It is so clear to see now and the spiritual truth is far more valuable than the fleeting, physical circumstances. If only she could overcome the addiction to the physical. Her dependence a bubble baths, extra coffees, chick flicks and the dozens of servants constantly waiting on her. If only she could put on a pair of enchanted, four dimensional glasses that had the power to fade the physical and reveal the spiritual reality always present. That would be cool. They could be small, round and Harry Potterish glasses. Your choice of colors and come with a handy carrying case and spray wash. Eventually, when you become convinced of their worth, you could graduate to contact lenses, allowing you to be in constant awareness of "This Present Brightness". Her creativity continued on to manufacturing, marketing and success. Sometimes creative minds need a good set of brakes. Again, how did she get back to something physical? It's that addiction thing again. 
Seems a little contradictory to need something physical to enhance the spiritual...but isn't that the human way. Chuck the Potter glasses, surrender the hunger to say you must know, have the courage to say I believe, for the power of paradox opens your eyes and blinds those who say they can see (favorite Michael Card lyric).
Practice.
That's what it takes.
Just practice.

Make yourself look up and say it. Thank you God for...

...this rainy day, it sounds beautiful.
...this peanut butter sandwich on dry bread, it smells nutty.
...this wayward child, who is teaching me to love you first.
...this load of laundry I get to go outside and hang in the fresh air.
...this hospital bed, clean and adjustable.
...no "fun" money which causes me to use my imagination.
...this throbbing pain that modern medicine can take away.
...these wrinkles, gray hair and extra weight that...ok...I have nothing for that one, but I'm working on it.

It gets easier and easier to do once you get the hang of it, but you must make up your mind to do it or it will never happen on it's own. Sometimes I have to walk away from situations, grab my Bible and sit in my hammock to do it. Eventually, you start to run to that non-physical place where the sky is always blue...just don't stay there too long. Many people decide to stay there, forget the physical world altogether and no one gets supper or clean clothes ever again. Learn to take it with you.

Ever meet those people who are always smiling, never in a rush and always listen to how YOU are doing? I think they have it. They are usually older because of the practicing requirement. I am almost 42 and still grumble too much, walk too fast and end up talking about me somehow. But, I am thankful. Thankful that I know this much, have a desire to change and personally understand the secret to contentment...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, September 28, 2012

Peephole People


Opportunity knocks. Do I open the door or pretend I'm not home?? 
I've been talking to my kids a lot lately about opportunity...not for advancement, but for negative influences or even deadly assaults. See, I was informed by one of my dear ragamuffins that he or she should be given allowance to do most everything and only have it taken away if they use it improperly. I do believe that facebook was one of the things that they "deserve" to have. Obviously, I like facebook, but I also like driving a car and I still refuse to let my 9 year old drive through Montreal on summer vacation. Someday, she may...just after she administers a mild sedative to her mother in the back seat. Call me overcautious, but I also think it a bad idea to go pub crawling among flesh craving 40 something men, even though I'm completely content with my own husband. I suppose the argument might be stronger if I used an example of something I actually desire to do...even a little bit. 

The point is, testing your resolve to do right by putting yourself in tempting situations is foolish. For younger people whose brains are not completely and fully developed yet, the classification of situations as "tempting" or "dangerous" should be left up to Mom, Dad, Grandparents and in some cases, even your dog with his instinctive sniffer. Not to insult young people...it's a biological thing. I think teens should be encouraged to recognize their capabilities and develop the guts to live within reality. They are much stronger than society gives them credit for. Giving teens the "follow your heart" line or "you need to make your own choices now" is nice and all, but real life and consequences are no respecters of niceness and good intentions. We don't live in a movie script with happy endings all the time...and loving our kids always means saying "no" at times...let's be real...a lot of times.
 
These questionable situations are not always bad nor good for everyone across the board. They must be custom made labels based on the bent of each person considering participation. I never felt it a bad thing for me to enter a bar as a teenager. The temptations there on a scale from 1 to 10 was about a -30. The only bad thing I would have been tempted to participate in there would have been judgmentalism toward the drinkers. But for the next 17 year old, trying to forget the pain they left outside the bar door, opportunity for many dangers is higher than the room's collective partiers. Outside of things like murder, lying and wearing pastel pink, I'm convinced that each child God has graced us with has different needs and may require different guidelines than the others.

In our desire to develop high self-esteem in our children (and to be a cool parent) we often put our precious kids at unseen risk. Sometimes I hate the fact that I see danger in things and long for blissful ignorance, but I'm trying to change my perspective. I should be very thankful for the insights God reveals to me in order to do my Mom job properly. The time, effort and grief that is often required in parenting is admittedly high, but in this case, the cliche "I'd do anything for my kid" would be appropriate.

Be wise...be prudent...be safe...use the peephole before opening the door to your home and those treasured souls that reside there.
"...and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:27

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Autumn Dance



I walked into our local fruit and vegetable stand in late August. I caught the scent of fresh dill and, for me, summer was over. 

Yes, we made several more trips to the beach while in southern Ontario since that day, but in my heart, the season had changed. I did not reject the offered, summer delicacies, but in my mind I was packing up the long evenings, populated streets and tank tops. Nothing is more welcome in my life right now than a routine, a cozy sweater and fewer activities. Hopefully, there will be fewer activities...one can dream.
Fall is, by far my favorite season. I have gone on before about the scented wood stacking, perfectly colored leaves and pumpkin pies, but the ending of one season and the beginning of another is all about hope. The rich colors and comforting textures of this season remind me of the promise of God to move us forward. The beautiful death of leaves pushing me forward in faith, believing that promise that "All things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose". When things look dead, we can believe in life. The bars of the physical world must be overlooked. Beyond the cold steel bars is a force unimaginable, yet more real than the pile of paperwork, dirty dishes or broken family I might see with my eyes. God is reminding me of Himself lately. 

Holding on tight is hard to do. Running a difficult race can be tormenting. Longsuffering is exactly what it says it is. But when the time is right, our all wise Father does what He always intended to do. When you least expect it, He unleashes a small bit of His power and blows you away. You wearily stand in an open field, enveloped by fresh winds blowing those sacrificial leaves all around, and cry pent up tears of  fear and relief. Prayers of confession flow as you admit your days of doubt mingled with prayers of laughter and joy at what He has done. Enjoying Him in the moment. My heart and body can do nothing but dance. So thankful for this season. Fully aware of the future valleys to be endured, but knowing this step will make the next one easier to take. For today however, I will indulge in the revelation of His sovereignty.

I see, smell and feel hope all around right now. I don't need to know what He will allow to happen or how a story will end, I just need to know more about Him. The mind of Christ is the richest possession. It brings freedom, peace and hope as well as strength to endure all things. As we walk in obedience and faith, once in awhile, He makes His move. He does something to "show" us His beautiful, welcome and irresistible will.There is no other faith whose Savior is alive, all powerful and completely love. How I wish you would know Him today...for the first time...or in a renewed way.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God"
Ephesians 2:8

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I must share a little of our first week of homeschooling this year. With MUCH convincing, my second son allowed me to post this. His American geography is good, but his singing the states...to his own "tune" is even better. Thank you Gabe for your cooperation :)

video


My eldest...whom we shall refer to as Jethro...would like to major in junk food baking this year. I made him throw  a bit of whole wheat flour into the mix, just for my conscience sake. He won't major in the subject, but everyone appreciates a hot cinnamon roll every now and and then. 



Yes, we did math, reading, grammar, science...yada yada yada...but those pictures were boring, so no posting. 

Pretty good first couple of weeks back at it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Different Kind of Carrot

"The things of the world grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

At first, the excitement of life, the things I could get, the things I could become and the experiences I could have were very alluring. My dreams were all very earthly and American pie. Bucket lists are written, plans are made and efforts begun. It's good to have a plan, to think positive and to have a goal, but what on earth do you do when things don't work out or when the thrill of worldly things fizzles out and leaves you unsatisfied? Ravi Zaccharias said, "Hopelessness is not found at the end of suffering, but at the end of pleasures"...it's like a Monday morning. 

The end result of a worldly pleasure seeker is hopelessness. This earth is a beautiful, awesome place as God's creation and some of the things that God has enabled man to build, conceive and accomplish are outstanding. Stand in awe of these and give God the glory for the abilities He gives. The status quo however, and the typical "North American" dream are empty and void of virtue. 

The summertime is a good time to examine and reflect on this. What are people living for? Saving vacation time and money to do what? This is the time when desires are fulfilled and people are pushing to the front of the line to get their due. Scrambling for the best spot in the sun, the cool drinks and the "Pleasure Dome". Don't even get me started on the casting off of clothes in celebration of the sun god and skin. The whole thing just makes me sit back and think. If this is how people have "arrived", then I don't think I want to go there. I'll take a cold drink and the sunshine, but the Pleasure Dome is way overrated...and no vacation time is ever long enough.
Everyone has a different kind of Pleasure Dome, but we all have one...or two. For some it's a baseball diamond, others it might be a shopping mall or a Star Trek convention. Water parks, Caribbean Islands, golf courses and  art galleries. I have a few. they still have their draw and I would never say no to enjoying one if it presented itself, but I seemed to have stopped chasing it. I've stopped living for it. I'm tired of the race, the distraction and the disappointment of not having it more often or that it has lost it's appeal. The carrot hanging from the front of my cart seems to be changing form. 

I've opted for a carrot that I can have anytime, anywhere and without cost. The pleasure of Jesus presence, fellowship with His people and enjoying His creation is sweet, satisfying and sustaining. It's a fail-safe with this as my "thing worth living for". No one can take it, I don't have to save up for it and it is mine for the asking...any time of year. After years and years of chasing pleasures (and I'm sure I'll try again) it has finally dawned on me. I'm like the hamster in the cage, exhausted by the wheel. Hopefully, I won't forget too soon. 

As this summer passes by, I won't wish that I had enjoyed it more or dread the cold to come. My joy will not be dependent on the season or the circumstance. I'll take each day as one step closer to my real home and rest. I'll try to appreciate the little graces God gifts me with and accept the difficulties as He did for me on the cross.


Monday, June 25, 2012

White Water



There once was a girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was bad...she was very, very bad. Well actually, she didn't behave very, very badly, but she was very, very bad in her heart. Sometimes, she felt so bad that she would lie on her bed and cry, struggling in confusion over the flesh and spirit battle within her little curly head. Ultimately, God kept her from destroying or even tarnishing her life and that of those around her very much, because of His great mercy. 

Although very thankful for His protection, there was always a teeny tiny part of her mind that wondered what it would have been like had she went ahead and acted on some of those curiosities and self centered pursuits. Not ever enough to actually act, but enough to cause certain emotional times to become much more traumatic than appreciated. Kind of like holding on tight to a life preserver while white water waves try to pull her under to the deep darkness (we did a lot of canoeing growing up). Those testing episodes never ended, but they did grow weaker and less frequent. Too many examples of painful lives all around you eventually convince a person to stop entertaining those lies and just trust that God knows what He is talking about.

With many silver strands now highlighting those curls, the little girl cherishes those often unappreciated principles and precepts of scripture. Like Thomas, she is tempted to ask Jesus to show her the scars to prove His truth. How much more blessed we are when we have the courage to trust His word, rather than to insist on experiencing the truth and bear the scars ourselves.

Thomas said:
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25

Jesus responds:
“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

The heart never stops having moments of distrust, but the closer we stand next to the One who bears the scars for us, the less intense and powerful those moments become. All the enticements of this lying world cannot compare to the joy and peace found in Jesus. Being well past the eye of this spiritual storm, I see many young souls just heading into it. My heart prays that they will find courage to brave the storm, hold tight to His nail scared hands and  overcome the waves. As Michael Card so eloquently captured the thought:

"So surrender the hunger to say you must know,
Find the courage to say I believe"

...and be blessed.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jots and Tittles

It's difficult to write when there are so many thoughts going through your head at once. Sometimes it's easier, and safer, to not write. A fool says everything that is in her heart. Once the thoughts are calmed and the intentions of the heart are discerned, then God can lead the pen. The Bible instructs to let every word be for edifying and building up, not for tearing down, so careful jots and tittles are necessary. I am so grateful that God is refining my heart and saving me from myself everyday. Rescuing me from certain shame and causing damage to the souls of others. This explains great gaps of time between blog posts. Sometimes it is better to remain silent and enjoy the pure white paper.

The last couple of weeks have been really enjoyable with school events, garden planting and GORGEOUS weather!! I love to do laundry in the Summer. I hang the clothes on the line very slowly, taking in every ray, breeze and bird chirp. 

My hammock and mountain view give me a reprieve from the days requirements. Stealing a few moments in this peaceful prayer place is an allowable offense.

New summer reading (with kids and without) provide cheap and hassle free vacations to amazing places and people. We are enjoying our first Lamplighter book, "The White Gypsy"...very pleased. 
 

The berries are starting!! Another small blessing to focus on is the sweet, juicy little bundle of freshness that only summer can provide. I have an unhealthy aversion to the slimy frozen then thawed strawberry. Nasty critters...good only for the blender.
 
When the ragamuffins come in at the end of the day, with tree pitch in their hair, dirt on their feet and stories of adventure, I embrace the scent. Cuddling them very close, I smell their sun-kissed cheeks, stroke their wind blown hair and listen (not so closely) to their tales. Hugging them like a cherished Teddy Bear has come to life.
 
Jumping into my world of color also brings joy. I thank God everyday for the opportunity to create.
 
 At the end of the day, I get to cuddle with my best friend in the whole world...and eat popcorn...with butter. It's the simple things I love...in reference to the popcorn, not my husband :)

When the big things in life are too overwhelming to ponder and bring "junk feelings", it's the little things that need attention. Get the microscope out and ponder the wonder of the joyful details of life. Don't overlook the regular. Take a closer look and stay awhile.





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Maturity of Silence



Some of us have a lot to say. It's not that we have hoards of advice to give, it's that we think so much that we feel the need to think out loud. It drives my husband nuts. At first, he thought that everything I said was a conclusion of a well thought out idea. Not so. In fact, my rambling is usually the process of working through an idea, exploring all sides and leaving opportunity for his input. Eventually, I come to a conclusion or opinion, all the while sending listeners to the moon and back with a migraine. People like my husband, do much thinking, but not aloud. They carefully and privately work through ideas, as we (the ramblers) ask them for the third time, where the car keys are or what they think of our new shoes. They sometimes appear slow and stupid, but really, they are preventing the inevitable label of being impetuous that I often earn. I have learned to count to five after asking Guy a question to give him time to finish his important thought before responding to me. I appreciate it now. Loading...loading...

Learning the art of silence is very difficult. It's often out there before I think to reel it in. It is something I am working toward and want very much to master. There is a time and place for ramblers to indulge in a word marathon and I believe it is best to save it as a response to a direct question...not after someone makes a statement and I assume they want to know my opinion on the matter. Even still, I try to give short responses to questions and only expand on the matter if I am invited to by a second question. Then, I am pretty sure they are not forming their shopping list while I am talking...sounding like the adults in the Peanuts cartoons.

Some of the most admired people I can think of are the quieter ones...like my Mom, my husband, my dog and Mr. Bean. 

I have been learning a lot lately from Dr. Paul Tripp on the topic of words. Silence allows me to let go of the need to control a conversation, trust God with the outcome and save my words for the benefit of someone else. It also makes you look really mature...whether you are or not. I thought I would share a clip on the topic:



Now blogging, on the other hand, doesn't count because all anyone can hear is my clicking of the keys and Il Divo singing in the background. Plus, the beloved delete button has saved a reputation many a time.

That's all I have to say about the matter...thanks for asking :)


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Whopper of a Week

May has to be the busiest month of the year here at the Myers Farm...or Myers Academy...or the Myers Institution for the Mentally Unstable. Call it what you may, it was MAYhem this week. Actually, no one was injured except maybe my pride for not keeping up with Martha Stewart in the "beautiful home" category. Doing Sunday dishes on Wednesday can be really hard on the ole' homemaker ego...and that's after the men in the family already did some! My stress fractured foot is aching a bit...supposed to be resting and healing...hahahaha. It will be my excuse to sit and paint a lot in the near future. The twisted truth about the matter is that in the midst of the whole drama, I realized something. I liked it.

It is a reluctant confession, nonetheless it is the truth. After getting 3 history projects packed in the van, lunches for 5 made and hygiene checks all around and then spending the afternoon with 15ish teenagers, trying to teach about our 22 fascinating Prime Ministers, it was 4:00pm...very late for afternoon coffee. As I lifted the cup of grace and pleasure to my lips, the truth hit me...I enjoyed the activity. I didn't enjoy misplacing the tape and scissors every 5 minutes as the projects were madly reassembled, nor trying to stop my bleeding fingers (scissor confrontation) from messing the church floor as I carried project displays and a foam igloo under my arms into the foyer. My empathetic, fellow homeschool mom rescued me with baindaids before I got the request out of my mouth...and any blood on the brand new flooring. However, I did enjoy the activity. There is great pleasure in doing something different and productive. In between the two school fair appointments that day, my four male, teenage companions and I made a visit to a special friend, delivered 15 dozen eggs, picked up a few groceries and grabbed a Whopper at Burger King...rare treat for Mom. Why do I get such a rush out of packing huge amounts of activity into a small frame of time?! 

On the other hand, trying to pack huge amounts of information into my brain in a small frame of time makes me bust my buttons, turn green and want to throw people long distances. I like to think, mind you, just at my own pace and at my own convenience...don't push the thinking buttons. The physical pace was at a high this week...and that's OK with me. I wouldn't want to do it every week though. The day before this one had me working an election poll for 12 hours and the day after, I was privileged to join in the "March For Life" event in our capital city and enjoy a visit with my parents. Needless to say, I crashed somewhat in the middle of it all, just enough to get me through to Friday. I am not 20 years old anymore. 
The concentration of activity for the next two weeks is uncertain, but if I can get through this week, I can get through anything. Hopefully, I will be reporting lots of hanging laundry in the sun, school paperwork neatly prepared and no throbbing in my foot. This activity junkie could use a little slow motion for awhile...a short while :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No Capes Please


I know it's not true, but I feel like a terrible mother tonight. My house is messy, I forgot to make son #3 brush his teeth before he went to bed, my oldest should probably be doing more school work this evening, and I just can't seem to remember all the things I'm supposed to remind them to finish today...and I just don't care. That's the worst part. My little mind is aching and leaking. It's a traffic jam in there with honking horns, anxious drivers and lights flashing everywhere. I don't even know if I'm going in the right direction either. So, I stall. I just pull over to the side of the road, turn off the radio and the engine...and just sit. All of the commotion before my eyes and ears passes by, ignored. It's like  when someone has the TV remote and is quickly flipping through the channels...about 100 of them...and never stays on one long enough to actually get a story. Just flipping. Aimlessly flipping.
There are energetic, confident moments and then there are moments like these, when I want to hand God the keys and say "You drive for awhile...I need a nap...or a vacation...or a straight jacket". I take great comfort in the knowledge of the fact that the world will not fall apart even if I do for a moment or two. I'm sure other people have much crazier lives than I do, so why should I feel this way? It'll be totally different in the morning. I really should just skip evenings. 

It's OK though. I have coping skills. I don't panic anymore. Been here enough to know how things go. Put kids to bed...put earphones on with "truth tunes"...stare at the mountain in my backyard with sun setting behind it...remember who is in control and will rise the sun again in the morning. Pray for my friends who have it worse tonight...and I know it. Pull out a black leather jacket and a Popeye Cigarette and pretend I'm a rebel. Rebel against thinking I have to perfect...again. Let His grace flow and do what it is meant to do...cover me.

It's so funny how some people think that being a Christian means rules, regulations, legalism and slavery. It's just the opposite. Accepting Jesus and His rulership in my life allows me to throw off my tendency toward perfectionism and focus on His. Eventually, He'll help me get it right. No need to rush and panic. He's got me covered.

Sure, mothers are wonderful, but we are so desperately human too....some of us a little more desperate than others. Desperately needing my heavenly Father's wisdom, patience and power...which He gives generously. It is sometimes difficult to accept the responsibility that goes along with motherhood, but I want no other job. Things aren't always as peachy as they appear with us moms. It would be much easier if we didn't love our kids so darned much. It's part of the potion that drives our desire to do the job well and the curse that makes it so difficult too.

Receiving all the glory and gifts on Mothers Day is awkward when you feel this way. I sometimes want to throw off my cape and yell "I'm not who you think I am! Give these gifts to Mrs.Duggar, or Mrs.Tebow!" Although, I'm pretty sure they would know exactly what I'm talking about too. But, we humbly accept them as acts of love from our sweet  little bundles of total depravity and thank God for their hugs.

I am a mom because God made me one...not because I'm so gifted and qualified.
I'm still a little girl with fears and dreams.
There are no capes in my closet.
When I am weak...He is strong :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Favorite Pastime Products



My beautiful little girl :)
This is one of my earliest attempts...and my favorite early one.


Maybe my #1 or  #2  all time fave...although all time is only about a year and one half long :)

 Gotta be a hockey Mom!
Baby face.

 Peaceful and pure.


 First landscape...love. 


Love the colors and the fact that I used my fingers :)

Cool.

For my red barn obsession.

A "peek" from childhood.

For Dad. The only way he would accept a non-Ford on his property :)


Beautiful antique flowers.

End of day glow.

The power of the resurrection...for every day.

The stuff of winter dreaming.

Mystery woman.

Oh how I love boys!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Bunny Battle


The Easter Bunny was a little different this year. See, my four little sweethearts have been battling colds, coughs and congestion for far too long. I thought it would be unloving and unwise to pour bunny shaped garbage down their precious throats at this time. Hoards of sugar is the last thing they need right now...or ever really...but especially now. Being Mom however, that presents a dilemma...my kids won't have "fun" with treats this Easter weekend! What is a mom supposed to do in situations like this!? She diligently seeks out yummy and helpful recipes...and I did.

One is a tried and true chocolate pleasure that I have been experimenting with, but really needs no alteration...just about perfect on it's own. Mindy from The Purposed Heart is to be thanked for this wonderful new staple in my kitchen. I copied this recipe right from her blog, but you can visit it anyway:

I always add unsweetened coconut to the base and sometimes nuts, raisins, or on indulgent days...cherries. Next year I just might buy some little bunny or egg molds to be a little thematic...and hearts for V-day...trees for Christmas...you get the idea.

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Prepare a muffin pan with 10 muffin liners.

Put all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is smooth and nicely combined. (It will be very liquid-y.) Don’t over-mix.

Pour the liquid fudge into the prepared muffin liners dividing evenly between the ten of them. There will be about a half inch of fudge in each muffin liner.

Place the muffin pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the fudge has hardened. (Sometimes I use the freezer and it only takes about 10 minutes)

Remove the muffin liners from the pan and enjoy your delicious, healthy fudge! Store in the refrigerator.


The other delight this weekend was cream puffs. My family LOVES cream puffs. I had a generic recipe for the puffs but had a to experiment a bit with the cream. They were a big hit, even with the "well" people who visited for Sunday lunch. I tried using coconut milk instead of cows, for the sake of their congestion, and it worked pretty well, but I added a LITTLE whipped cream in the end for better consistency.


Cream Puffs

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Combine water, butter and salt...boil...add flour all at once. Stir vigorously until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time beating thoroughly after each one. Drop by spoonfulls on greased pan and bake at 425* for about 20-25 minutes. Slightly browned and full, they will drop a bit upon cooling. inject cream, or just cut the top almost off and fill. Drizzle the previously mentioned chocolate fudge on top if desired.

Cream

2 cans (398ml) coconut milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg
1/4 tsp Stevia extract (or a LITTLE more if you like it)
1 tbsp sugar (optional)

Boil until thickened, then add a chunk of butter and some almond or vanilla extract. I added about 1/2 cup of whipping cream and combined it with beaters after it had cooled. You might have to play with the amounts, depending on how thick or runny you like it.

Big hit...loved them...low sugar treat :)


Once they are all well again, I might break out the junk that I bought in a weak moment and ration the bunny in a more responsible and timely manner. The kids were just happy that their Easter themed treats didn't amount to carrot soup and scrambled eggs :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Arms Wide Open


And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will." Mark 14:36

One of the most heart wrenching verses of scripture to read. From both perspectives...Father's and Son's. Jesus, grieved almost to death, pleads with His all powerful father to spare Him the pain of what is ahead that day. He even calls Him Abba, or Daddy...not to be manipulative as I would have, but as an expression of a vulnerable child to His protector. Jesus knew "Daddy" is always good and loving. Trusting, Jesus lays himself at His father's feet, opens His doubly filled, human and divine heart and then with all righteousness, submits to His father's will.

I don't know about you, but submitting my will to God's or that of anyone of lesser value, is probably the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Now, I have never been asked to be tortured, mocked and rejected for another person's problems...I have a hard time giving up an extra helping of lasagna, never mind what was on the menu for Jesus that day. His example of selflessness is the ultimate so that all of the "little" things we are asked to live with or without, pale in comparison. Don't think God doesn't ask us to suffer for Him...He does.

"I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." John 21:18

If He expected this of Peter, the Rock that would build His church, then what should we expect?? A cozy lifestyle? Accolades from the world? Whatever we want? Eventually we have to grow up and allow our Father to lead us, wherever and whatever that looks like, we must go willingly. If we are truly His, then why do we act like we belong to ourselves? Doing what will please us and what will advance our own causes? Most of the time, He just wants us to be sincerely willing, but like a good Father, He never asks us to do anything difficult that is not necessary...lavishing good pleasures on His children. Most of the time. If He expected the worst cross from His own Son, why should He expect a little bit of discomfrort from me?

And then there is the other perspective...the Father's. Earlier, I said that submission was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Except for this second thing...allowing your child to suffer for goodness sake. Now, this really is THE most difficult thing to do. From those dreadful infant inoculations to letting them experience injustice and personal hurt. Overprotective parents don't get this...I'm talking to myself here...God is not an overprotective parent, or Jesus never would have had to endure the cross, David wouldn't have had to endure Saul's threats for 10 years and Job wouldn't have lost a thing. God knows what forms good character and what is "best" for His children...we think it's comfort, pleasure and advancement.

Because I have only beautiful things planned for my kids, I have to allow God to take the reigns of their lives and expect them to live by the scripture. If I don't, they will become spoiled babies in big people bodies, useless to the Kingdom of God and empty of joy. Fleeting happiness in exchange for lasting joy. They will stand before Him to give account and all they will have to offer the Almighty is "I was happy!". Missed the point. My object of worship is then my child and not Jesus anymore. Again, the hardest thing in the world to do. God did it first, for goodness sake and we are called to follow His example...always.

Eventually, Job regained everything and more then was taken from him, David got His throne and justice and Jesus was gloriously resurrected...with more honoring to come. God never asks us to suffer, and then leaves us regretting our sacrifice.

"Those who honor me I will honor" 1 Samuel 2:30

Recognize that God is "Abba" always good and full of compassion, go ahead and ask for mercy and grace, then trust His will...based in scripture, no matter how bad it looks. It will never last one second longer than necessary, because you are His precious child and He cannot love you less.

It's Friday...but Sunday's comin'!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sick of Being Sick

Tis the season for coughing. While I am VERY thankful that there has been no vomiting in our home this winter, I am much more aware of how awful coughing can be. I mean, uncontrolled, red faced, help-me-I-can't-breath kind of coughing. Whatever strain of virus found it necessary to invade our home this year, it is not welcome here again. It's two victims are still trying to be rid of him. I think 6 weeks is plenty long to torment a person. Even with antibiotics, it overstays it's welcome by a long shot. It's one persistent bug.

Meanwhile, I do my part by providing healthy soups, smiles and sympathetic back pats...reminding myself that they cannot help the death sounding hack that echos through our home. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the coping mechanisms I have used this flu season...just in case you are nodding in desperate agreement to my story.

The first is a Pinterest photo that I found...self explanatory and wonderfully helpful.