Monday, December 31, 2012

As the page turns...

A new year's coming. I must be getting old. I've barely gotten used to 2012! It's gonna be a big year ahead. Some pretty major changes, which I'll probably be sharing a bit about soon. (No, not getting married or anything.) :P

It was a good Christmas. I think some of the tragedies - Newtown and other things closer to home - actually helped get the focus on spiritual things rather than on the fluffy stuff. To think about others rather than ourselves.

Sometimes the greatest gifts are the smallest things. The things we already have, but perhaps need to rediscover. The cozy, quiet room downstairs. The spontaneous gifts from small friends. The thrift store finds.

There's this wanting to hold onto time that's so quickly slipping away. I dream sometimes of driving, unable to stop. There's a terror in it - a realization that I'm no longer in control. Waking reality is much the same. No matter how hard I press the brakes, I cannot change the speed of life, but only the speed I live.

I realize life's shortness when I look ahead to eternity. I realize its importance when I look and see those traveling with me.

I want to be "all there." I want to show people that they matter. I want to be willing to slow down, to make conversation deeper than the "how are you" and "good, how bout you?" that repeats without meaning week after week. I want to do hard things. I want to stop wishing other people would change, and simply live how Christ has called me to live.

I want to glory in the small things, in the joy and illumination of thinking God's thoughts after Him, in making things with my hands, in enjoying beauty and creativity.

I'm thankful for the gospel of grace. Without it, I would be doomed to fail in any resolution I could make. I'll still fail, and fail often, but thanks be to God, I am made perfect in Him! Looking to Him is the reason for hope; He is the one I follow even when I realize I can never follow perfectly. Anything good achieved through me is His gift, His work.

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas Adam!

For an explanation of the title, you can see last year's Christmas Adam post here. :) Yes, my lame attempt at humor. Sorry.

This Christmas, I've been thinking about Genesis. Adam and Eve. The tower of Babel.

I love how God has woven HIStory together in scripture - His divine plan, the light shining forth against the darkness.

~ ~ + ~ ~

Adam. The man who wanted to be God. The bringer of sin. The man of innocence, corrupted by pride. The man who brought death to every man.

Jesus. The Author, the Light, became Adam's Son. The bringer of righteousness. Man of sorrows, humble, small. The Man who brought life to souls corrupted by darkness.

I doodled this while waiting for my last exam to start. :)

Babel. The fist that was shaken. The worship of stars. Created worshiping created, subjected to futility and frustration.

The Stable. The place where the Servant King was born. Where the star shone in worship of the Creator who lay wrapped in a manger. Light for all men.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
Luke 2:14

~ ~ + ~ ~

Have a blessed Christmas, friends! Let us worship the Saviour whose strength is made perfect in weakness, whose humility destroys our pride, and treasure these things in hearts that have been transformed by His light.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Time is [almost] Here!

Ah... what a wonderful time of year! Crazy it's halfway through December already, and only 10 days until Christmas. Didn't even realize that until I just counted! Life is going at breakneck speed, though I'm trying to enjoy and give thanks for every moment. Only one exam to go - after Monday I'll be able to totally get into Christmas mode.

We decked out our tree last Sunday - the most gorgeous tree we've ever had, if I do say so myself. :) I'll see if I can find a picture of it soon. Such a blessing too - we got a really good deal from a local homeschooling family who grows Christmas trees.

I love the Christmas baking...

Yummy date balls I made this week!

The last minute presents being finished and wrapped up...

Baby sweater and hat I did a while ago... not actually a Christmas gift. :)
 The snowflakes coming at last... and the hoping for a white Christmas, so rare here...

The view from the window right now - it's still coming down out there!
The joy and nostalgia of listening to Christmas albums that have been played every year for as long as I can remember: Boney M., Alabama, Kenny G., Bing Crosby...

I'm thankful for the time being spent with my wonderful, crazy family, just simply being together. It won't be forever, and I'm realizing what a gift a close family is. The most wonderful gifts are not the ones seen and touched, but the ones that are revealed in the heart and known through the Spirit, brought by the Prince of Peace.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bona Fide Belief

I get these short devotional segments by Bonhoeffer in my email every day. Today's was especially good, so I thought I'd share. :)
You complain that you cannot believe? No one should be surprised that they cannot come to believe so long as, in deliberate disobedience, they flee or reject some aspect of Jesus’ commandment. You do not want to subject some sinful passion, an enmity, a hope, your life plan, or your reason to Jesus’ commandment? Do not be surprised that you do not receive the Holy Spirit, that you cannot pray, that your prayer for faith remains empty! Instead, go and be reconciled with your sister or brother; let go of the sin which keeps you captive; and you will be able to believe again! If you reject God’s commanding word, you will not receive God’s gracious word. How would you expect to find community while you intentionally withdraw from it at some point? The disobedient cannot believe; only the obedient believe.
While the grace we receive is not by the merit of our works, or even our belief, it must be accompanied by obedience to be proved genuine, and not merely counterfeit. Hard words, but so good! May we not bring shame to the name of Christ by our unbelieving actions, but live in the freedom of obedience to the one who bought us with His blood.

Good things to think on near the end of this stressful, busy, rainy day. It's a busy season, but school's almost out for me!! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Scones Revisited


I posted this recipe for pumpkin scones way back on November 12, 2010, and they're still a family favorite, and perfect for this time of year! You can find the recipe by clicking on this link. They are so good - just the right blend of spices, and lovely fresh out of the oven with a cup of coffee (yes, I love my coffee!) on a Saturday morning!

A couple of tips with this recipe:

As with any biscuit or scone recipe, don't over-mix. You want to still see small chunks of butter in the dough - this is what keeps them light and flaky, rather than tough and flat.

Also, I like to cut down on the sugar content, so I make only the spiced glaze, which seems to be just the perfect amount of sweetness.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Singing in the Rain

November. Many years, just the name of this month makes me want to say, "no." No November, thank you kindly. No cold, dark, wet, grey. No midterms or group project presentations or sprinting to the bus on dark mornings, lugging books like a bedraggled camel while balancing my umbrella and hoping my socks will dry before it's time to come home again.

But if I said no to November, there wouldn't be the joy of watching these last few leaves fall to the ground in bright, crunchy carpets. There wouldn't be the wonder of seeing the sky shine bright blue through thinning branches in the midst of weeks of rain. I wouldn't have had the joy and fun of watching the kids on Wednesday night, building marshmallow and spaghetti towers of babel, and laughing along with them.

The trees on my university campus - so beautiful! Photo credit - Nelson.

Things have been getting busier and busier. I haven't been as disciplined as I should be. My courses aren't as interesting as I thought they'd be. Many dear friends, church family, and family, face serious trials. Sometimes I just feel helpless... helpless... in the face of hurts that only God, and only truly knowing Him, can heal. But there are jewels found amidst suffering. There is forgiveness. There is the incredible joy of eternal life even when flesh wastes away. But still, the wound of life is raw. There is forgiveness rejected despite desperate prayers. There are choices made that tear apart fragile faith. Sometimes life draws my eyes to stray from His goodness.

November. Just another month in this short life. Yet in His perspective, it comes down to being "His possession - to the praise of His glory." (Eph 1:14) In God's economy, it's not about good and bad, but about giving everything to Him. Just spending a couple moments reading scriptures, remembering who I am, who He is - that's what brings it all back to joy - pure joy - because He measures out every circumstance for good.

Sometimes I still wish I could say no to November, but the beauty He will bring is worth it all - for it's no less than His Glory.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I love my home.

I love the smell of fresh bread as it's being pulled from the oven.

I love the warmth of flannel sheets that cocoon me on chilly mornings.

I love the smiles and laughter and inside jokes that are part of knowing someone forever.

I love the memories created here.

Home means comfort; acceptance; a place to belong and feel safe; a place where I grow and my mistakes are covered by love. I've learned to value this place and these people highly. God has blessed us.

And to give me greater blessing, He asks me to forsake it. No, not to forsake in the sense of abandonment or ceasing to love, but to consider all things as secondary to following Him. To serve and love even more for His sake. And yes, to be willing to step beyond comfort.

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (Matt 19:29)

If we are not "at home" everywhere He leads us, we are not in a spiritual state that is prepared for heaven.

Christ himself must become our home. He must become everything. Is it any wonder that scripture describes God in the terms of almost every human relationship? He is our brother, friend, father, healer, guide, bridegroom, king, master, shepherd, saviour, teacher, and the list goes on. He is our shelter, food, drink, and comfort. He is the one who clothes us with His righteousness!

When we realize this earth is not our home, nothing can hold us back from Him. All places will be home, for His glory is our refuge. We will be ready when He calls us away from that which we have at once renounced and embraced for His sake, and will fly with the joy of fulfillment to the presence of Him who was our only vision.

I'm writing this because, well, I'm a wimp sometimes. I need to remember, not just when it's fresh and real to me, but when my soul faces tumult and doubt. I am inspired by the words of Paul in Philippians 3:7-12

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
I love Paul's postscript there - "not that I have already obtained all this".... but that "Christ Jesus took hold of me."

It's about knowing Christ. It's about coming back to the Father who waits with arms wide open! (Luke 15) Home is where Jesus lives - and whenever my heart surrenders to Him, I am home.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What I'm Learning...

It's been a busy week... I'm not used to eating most of my meals either before or after the rest of the family, or spending more time out than at home. The hardest part is not being able to have much of a schedule. New things have popped up unexpectedly, and my work schedule is sporadic to say the least. Thankfully, I have a few days where I'm not working now, unless someone calls and asks me to take a shift.

It's those days when I'm out of the house at 8 am and not back until 9 pm, tomorrow's homework still needs to be done, the bathroom is getting scary, my bed still isn't made from yesterday, and I can hardly read a Psalm before I crash, that I start to wonder why I'm doing this.

God has a plan.

And goodness - He's teaching me so much.

I'm learning that although I'm grateful for this opportunity to take a semester at University, I'm not going to be doing this for another four years, unless it's for something practical like nursing. (Which is still a possibility - waiting to see where the Lord leads for that one.)

I'm learning what it is I love about learning.  Those years of homeschooling were what taught me to love and value knowledge - and not just knowledge, but to begin to seek wisdom, something that is not the basis or goal of university learning.

But far beyond that, He's teaching me some incredible things about seeking Him and putting everything in His hands. I can't get over how beautiful life becomes when the reality of who my God is - as Saviour and Creator - is at the forefront. It really doesn't matter what's going on, because though I often don't understand, and sometimes kick and scream a little, He is sovereign. He's making beauty that I can't even imagine yet.

I see it as I sit waiting for the bus, looking up at the incredible fall colours of the giant maples across the street. My God made those trees! Yes, I see Him more and more in these small (but oh so majestic!) things, but also in the big things as well.

In pain, in tragedy, in changes and new births, HE IS SOVEREIGN. In everything, may my desire be simply to follow Him.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quiet Heart

I'm thankful for peaceful evenings... 

 the quiet of the trees...

the sun sinking over a placid lake...

being blessed by these people and these places, where God's beauty shines so clearly,

reminding me to keep a quiet heart.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Life

This is just a poem I jotted down one night (I very rarely write poetry, as I'm really not a poet, but this is how the words came). I journal a lot, so this poem is, on the surface, about writing. On a deeper level, however, it's a metaphor for a life that struggles to make sense of itself, but prays to "write" the things that count.

My heart is full, the page is white,
And words make shadows in the night.
They float through mists like birds aflight,
But phantoms cannot catch the light.

Thought runs swiftly into feeling,
Tumbling, into darkness reeling,
Words are quickly over-keeling,
Senseless things, devoid of meaning.

The page lifts up its gentle face,
Still pure as winter's white embrace.
I close the book and breathe a prayer:
May gold, not dross, be written there.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

At the closing of a chapter...

When the blog has been quiet for a while, it usually means life hasn't been. ;)

Working part time has been a real blessing this summer. It's starting to get busy with back-to-school shoppers, even though it feels like summer has barely started. Staples is a good place to work. There are high and low points of course, but I am so grateful for where I am right now. Having a few days off each week means there's time to help with laundry and cleaning, as well as work on my crochet and sewing projects. And I was even able to take a week off to visit some friends on their farm and doing a bit of camping with my family.

As it's getting busier at work, I'm coming face to face with the reality that I too, will be going to school this year. And not "back" to school either. For me this is a first. After a good 13 years of home learnin', I'm going to sit as a student in one of those dreaded "institutions" for the first time. Though I have my moments when I feel like a kindergartener, I'm excited. I know I'll never fully know what to expect until I begin, but I feel prepared, and secure in that while I may not know what the Lord has for me in the next few years, I am where He wants me to be right now.

I'll soon be entering a new chapter... one in which impromptu family vacations and my dear familiar online teachers are relegated to the happy memories of bygone days. But as I leave some things behind, and stretch in new directions, I know that Christ will use all for my good and His glory, to conform me more into His image. There are many possibilities opening before me that I never would have dreamed of a year ago. Perhaps the road will lead me there, perhaps not. But I know this: the Way beneath my feet is firm.

Friday, July 13, 2012

River Flow

make my heart a quiet river,
flowing deep

springs rise up to water the earth
God's green earth
where seeds are planted
and grow

by water and the spirit
they will grow
they will grow

water, spirit, and the blood,
which opens hearts to flow again
broken hearts to flow anew

make my heart a quiet river,
flowing deep

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Life goes by so quickly... but it is so full.

No posts in June... but that's okay. I'm not a "blogger", really. ;) I just want to record parts of my journey, and hopefully encourage some in theirs. I've been spending a lot less time on the computer this summer, as I'm not taking any courses right now, and it's so nice.

After a cold and rainy June, we're finally getting some summer weather. It's been sunny and around 30 degrees celcius for the past several weeks, and the forecast predicts it to last until the end of the month! I'm loving it - the garden is finally growing, flowers are blooming, and we've been doing lots of barbequing and making smoothies. It's wonderful! :)

I've been doing a lot of reading, more housework, working on different projects, and working at Staples - I just got a job there in May. A very nice change from school. :)

I'm off to deal with some mint I harvested from my chocolate mint plant today... I'm going to experiment with drying and freezing some, as well as keeping some fresh for tea and garnishes. It smells delicious!

I'll be putting up a few more spontaneous, shorter posts as I have opportunity. May God bless each of you, and draw you more fully into abandonment to Him!

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Mexico 2008

How can we see, how can we understand the way we should?

Everything becomes relative... the horrific becomes history, rendering it commonplace. The deaths of 6 soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan have a greater impact on us than the deaths of 6 million Jews during the holocaust or the 53 million victims of Roe v. Wade - but soon even last week's casualties grow old, and we become jaded to the sorrow others face. We can't afford to dwell on it, to let ourselves take on the cares of the world, can we? How would we be able to enjoy life?

Waiting 20 minutes at a restaurant for our food to arrive makes us more upset than the fact that 20,000 children died that day of malnutrition.

You say, "I had a horrible day," because the rain ruined your hair or you didn't pass a test. Not because your father was thrown in prison for being a Christian, or because you lost your home in a tsunami.

Is it all relative? No, it's not like the pain we face should be ignored or belittled because someone else is experiencing a greater pain. But maybe, just maybe, we are becoming so fixated on the petty trials of the North American middle class that we are closed off to the greatest needs. Are we just doing what's easy? Only what will ease our consciences?

Are we becoming dull to real needs? We need to look outward. The gospel must be central, but if we say we love God, 1 John says we WILL love those who are made in God's image, not only those who help boost our image.

Jesus preached a message of repentance. His first concern was for spiritual things. But this was the miracle of the incarnation - that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He carried our afflictions, healed our diseases, fed the hungry, gave sight to the blind, and brought the dead back to life. Shouldn't we also care about those kinds of needs? In Matthew 9:36, it says Jesus felt compassion for the people who were like sheep without a Shepherd. These were people to whom He offered the "gospel of the kingdom," and whom He also healed and fed physically. Jesus said, "Whatever you do to the least of these, you did it to me." That isn't just a positive statement, because He also said,  

"Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46)

What is our perspective?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


For all you techies out there, check out the latest....
The iCrochet.
Yep, that's right.

iCrochet dish cloths.

And it - I mean "i" - also does tea cozies.

I thought that was funny.
But then again, maybe not.
I'm in a random mood tonight.

I have a more serious post scheduled for tomorrow though. :) It was a draft from a long time ago that I found still totally resonated with some things God's been putting on my heart lately. For now, I'll say goodnight. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Patchwork, because this post is going to contain a crazy, mismatched blend of what I've been up to lately. Just as a heads up! (Unfortunately nothing to do with actual quilts, although I'd love to make one someday!) I'm rather sad that I haven't been able to blog regularly, but that's just the way life is sometimes... so this is a bit of an update.

Working... I got a job a few weeks back at Staples! It's been a challenge, but definitely an answer to prayer, and I'm very thankful. I'm praying for opportunities and boldness to share Christ there. It can be really hard sometimes, because I don't know what to say, or how to start. But I know God has put me there, and I know He will grow me and use me in that.

Reading... Let's see... over the past few weeks I've read several great books.
  • "The Secret of Father Brown" by GK Chesterton. Yes, I finally got to it! Thanks mainly to Amanda who commented on a post a while back and prompted me to make that my next read. I love his writing style, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out a single mystery before Father Brown started untangling it! A great book.
  •  "The Pastor's Wife" by Sabina Wurmbrand. I'm almost left without words after reading Mrs. Wurmbrand's testimony in these pages. An incredible account of suffering on behalf of Christ. I'm struck with the marvel of Christ's beauty being revealed in God's children through suffering. The beautiful spirit of Sabina Wurmbrand is a true inspiration to me.
  • "Miracle for Jen" by Linda Barrick. This is the true story of a 15 year old girl who suffered a horrible brain injury when her family's vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. Through her pain and physical brokenness, her spiritual side was completely untouched. I was so encouraged and challenged by her faith, and the ways in which God is using her to minister to others.
Memorizing... 1 Peter 1. I started memorizing this passage quite a while ago, and got up to verse 12. I've been wanting to memorize more, and I love 1 Peter, so I'm reviewing and moving on to the next verses. :) This past week, it's been so good to have those verses ready in my mind to strengthen me throughout the day at work. His word is so necessary, so life-giving, helping my mind and my energy to focus on what He says, rather than on my emotions or the things that come at me from the world. "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:13) Even in that one verse, I'm recalled to an eternal perspective, and reminded of my call to obey Christ.

I think I'll wrap up this post there... I have a lot to do today, but I do have some post ideas for next week. :) God bless you all!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cross-Centered Discipleship


Follow Me. Matt 4:19a


And I will make you... Matt 4:19b

Deny yourself, take up your cross. Matt 16:24

And I will raise [you]... John 6:44

It is a call worthy of great contemplation. It is a call that is impossible. A call that is irresistible. Not irresistible because it promises pleasure or attraction to us, but because of the authority of the One who calls.

It bids us come and die.


The Living Water is a deadly drink indeed. It means that all we valued before the call becomes a rotting corpse.

Suddenly, none of that matters, because we see the appalling sight of His glorious, perfect life becoming sin at Calvary.

We see our sin transformed into His glorious life as He rises from the grave.

What grace this is, to be called to Him! It is a loss of all things, to gain that One thing. A reality almost impossible to express, because it cannot be fully understood. Even in suffering, His grace is what leads us. We are called to be disciples; but He is the one who makes us so. We are called to deny ourselves; but He is our resurrection. Without His call, we would still be living in death, but now we die with a great and glorious hope! Praise Him, for He has done it.

This is the gospel I must fix my mind on, because in Him, even though I may fall, I have been raised to life.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Truth, Sin, and the Cross

 We've been reading "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a family, and we read a portion the other night which really stood out to me, especially as I've also been reading "Living The Cross Centered Life" by CJ Mahaney. I took the book to my room last night to reread that passage, and I ended up staying up way too late, as I couldn't help reading ahead. :P Sooo good. But anyways, since I don't have anything longer and more original, and I wanted to post something today, I thought I'd share a bit of it. The bulk of the book is an exposition on the sermon on the mount, and this particular chapter was focusing in on Matthew 5:33-37.

The commandment of truthfulness is really only another name for the totality of discipleship. Only those who follow Jesus and cleave to him are living in complete truthfulness. Such men have nothing to hide from their Lord. Their life is revealed before him, Jesus has recognized them and led them into the way of truth. They cannot hide their sinfulness from Jesus, for they have not revealed themselves to Jesus, but he has revealed himself to them by calling them to follow him. At the moment of their call, Jesus showed up their sin and made them aware of it. Complete truthfulness is only possible where sin has been uncovered, and forgiven by Jesus. Only those who are in a state of truthfulness through the confession of their sin to Jesus are not afraid to tell the truth wherever it must be told. The truthfulness which Jesus demands from his followers is the self-abnegation which does not hide sin. Nothing is hidden, everything is brought forth to the light of day.

In this question of truthfulness, what matters first and last is that a man's whole being should be exposed, his whole evil laid bare in the sight of God. But sinful men do not like this kind of truthfulness, and they resist it with all their might. That is why they persecute it and crucify it. It is only because we follow Jesus that we can be genuinely truthful, for then he reveals to us our sin upon the cross. The cross is God's truth about us, and therefore it is the only power which can make us truthful. When we know the cross we are no longer afraid of the truth. We need no more oaths to confirm the truth of our utterances, for we live in the perfect truth of God.
("The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pg. 138-139)

How clear this is, that only those who know Jesus Christ and have looked to the cross can be unafraid of truth. The cross, the place where we see the depths of the horror of our sin as we realize the cost of the atonement through the sacrifice of God's only Son, is a place of mockery for those who love their sin.

God's truth about us. What a heavy thing, for that truth reveals us as completely ugly, completely unworthy. And yet, where that sin is revealed, it is also atoned! This two-fold truth about sin and sanctification is the marvel of the cross, the crowning jewel of the revelation of God's truth, and the foundation of our faith. This is the truth Christ calls us to live in every day. I was really encouraged by this passage, and I hope you were too. :) Let us be encouraged that even when others revile us for clinging to the truth, it is for the sake of Christ.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, 
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

19 and Counting

Please forgive me for putting such a weird picture in there, right at the get-go. That cupcake was pretty special, but I have to confess it didn't assuage my weirdness in the least. ;)

I just celebrated my birthday on Sunday - another year has come and gone. Nineteen seems unreal in some ways. I find myself reminiscing about things 10 or so years ago, and it seems like the time has flown by. I'm reminded to treasure each moment and not let it slip by in complacency. I'm also reminded of the faithfulness of my God - He truly uses everything for good, even the painful and the ugly. It's good to think back and remember.

It was a beautiful day... though it was a bit gray and rainy in the morning, and I complained because my birthdays have been sunny for as far as I can remember. And on a SUNday, no less! Absolutely unforgivable! But I jest. :P The afternoon actually turned out quite nice, and I went outside to pick myself some cherry blossoms and tulips from the garden. Really, the weather wasn't the only factor in it being a beautiful day.

God orchestrated it exactly the way I needed it, I think - to not let the focus be entirely on me. Going to church in the morning, worshiping God and being reminded what a holy, holy, holy God I serve... I needed that. There is such joy in seeing His glory - truly, that joy is the greatest of all joys! After lunch, going back out to play hymns on the organ (eep) at a retirement home. Organs scare me, quite frankly. All those unlabeled pedals and buttons and switches. :S But ultimately it turned out fine, though by no means perfect!

Back home, to have a spot of tea and a relaxed family meal at last. My lovely mom prepared a simple, but exceptionally tasty supper of chicken strips, baked potato, and peas and carrots, as per my request. And for dessert - me oh my! The most rich and scrumptious iced cream cake I've ever tasted, homemade to dark chocolate perfection, eaten while watching an old Wallace and Gromit movie, The Wrong Trousers. Coincidentally, it was premiered the year of my birth. It's been a while since I've plugged in an old VHS like that!

Okay, so that was an overload of description, but I don't want to forget. ;)

As for what the next year holds? Only God knows for sure. How thankful I am that He does know, because I might else feel as if things were falling apart, should my plans somehow fail. Lord willing, I'll still be a daughter, a student, a teacher, and all this is in His hands.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I randomly thought of The Fellowship of the Ring the other morning when I heard the word "fellowship". The ring, standing for evil, for temptation, brought together a company which together sought to destroy and defeat its dark power. Fellowship isn't a passive thing - it has to constantly be engaged in building unity and carrying one another's burdens.

Sometimes I find true fellowship difficult. I think it has a lot to do with today's society, and a lot to do with sin. Being social in our culture often means constantly checking our phone for texts or spending hours on facebook. For some, it means going to parties, or maybe in the church it means going to every Bible study and event you possibly can. Sometimes the most "social" people are the hardest to really know. I know for me, pride and false assumptions and expectations can become a barrier to true fellowship.

I think we all long for community, real community. And the tough thing about this is that seeking community and fellowship can sometimes become an idol that keeps us from seeking the truth and purity of God and His word. But I don't think it has to be that way. (There I go again, using "and" and "but" to begin sentences.)

What is it that makes the fellowship found in Tolkein so important and memorable? I should think it is the fact that they are brought together for a common cause - to fight and destroy the power of evil, even the evil that is within themselves.Yet what about the times when we feel alone, when we feel frustrated by a "lack" of fellowship?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Love community and you will kill it. Love your brother and you will build it." That is such a profound reality, because it is only in obedience to the command of Christ and love for our brothers and sisters that true spiritual community exists. Once again, I'm reminded of the definition of love - sacrificing, unconditional, and not self-seeking. “Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.”(Bonhoeffer, Life Together) It is our common redemption in Christ that gives us fellowship. We are not to pursue an ideal or a vision, but rather offer ourselves to God in service and compassion, even to the least of these. 

We are each "ring bearers" of sorts, constantly battling our flesh. But even when we feel alone, we are not alone. We fight a battle, "not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph 6:12)

You are no longer foreigners and strangers, 
but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, 
with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 
In him the whole building is joined together 
and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 
And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling 
in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph 2:19-22)

Now that, my friends, is an extraordinary promise! He has given us a fellowship with Him and with the redeemed that can never be taken away. Though our relationships with one another will never be perfect, and will never "fulfill our needs", He himself will supply our needs as we "follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Eph 5:1-2) I want to truly learn this, as I pray for a greater fellowship with my brothers and sisters, and a more abandoned obedience to Christ.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Here and There

Well hello there! It's been a long time since I've really written a decent post... and I have to confess, they're still going to be few and far between. The reason for the most recent hiatus however, is that I've been away, without internet, on family vacation for a week and a half! And I have to say, I'm very thankful for the break from technology and everyday life. Being forced into close quarters with my family was a blessing... to be able to relax and laugh together and really talk.

 Aren't these little mosses and lichens just the cutest? :)

It was lovely to be by the ocean again, 
even though it was pretty cold most of the time.

My dad and brother made this wood stove out of an old propane tank...
it worked great to keep us warm, and we even cooked on it a little bit!

So now you know what I've been up to!

I'll have some more posts up soon, so stay tuned! ;)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bookly Beauty

 To me, books are fine art -
and the older, the better.
If you see me walk into an antique store,
you'll soon find me in the book section,
gingerly opening the crumbling pages.

I have to say I'm not really sold on the whole Kindle/e-reader thing.
I suppose it's practical, but nothing could ever replace my book collection.
So why not have a little photo shoot with some of my antique books?
Yep, that's what I did. ;) 

 Each volume is unique.
Each possesses the power to carry a willing reader
to magical lands,
to discover unchangeable truth,
 to bring colour and light through those printed words in black and white.

Some from book sales, other from family, or given as gifts. 
The speller and reader above came from my grandparents.

The reader has some wonderful illustrations,
and the stories are quite delightful.

What are your favorite books, and why?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Homeschooling moments...

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to homeschool two adorable little girls about one day a week. Hannah, the oldest at 7 years old, is the thoughtful, responsible one. She has no trouble taking charge, and, to her sister's frustration, is usually right. Lilly, age 5, has perfected the puppy-dog look, and can go from irrepressible exuberance one minute to miniature drama queen the next.  I love listening to their prayers as we start the school day...

"God please help us share and listen good and learn lots about you..."

"Please help Hannah not be scared at night..."

And some more amusing than sweet, like, "Help Lilly be nice and not mean and help her share the toys with me, especially the cash register that she wasn't sharing yesterday..." And the little indignant sounds that result from such pointed prayers, coming from across the table.... ;)

Teaching is such a rewarding task. I just love watching those light bulb moments - when it finally clicks - and the huge smiles when they get the right answer to a tough question. There is nothing like watching the frustration and tears of trying to sound out a new word melting into the exhilaration of achievement.

All cuddled up on the sofa last Tuesday, one girl glued to each side with a book in the middle, we read the story of Jonah. Hannah listens quietly as the story progresses and the consequence of Jonah's disobedience to God becomes apparent. As the curriculum text finishes talking about the importance of obeying God and our parents right away, Hannah pauses and then thoughtfully says, "That was a good story for Lilly and I to hear. I think we really needed to hear that today."

I honestly think this is the best job in the world. ;)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Catching up...

Just thought I'd share a bit of what's going on in my everyday life lately... point form! :) Hopefully there will be some new posts up in the next week.

  • I got my hair cut on Wednesday! Crazy how much difference that makes... I got about a foot off, making it fall just above my shoulders, and it feels so much different. I loved that I was able to donate it!

  • I'm taking a first aid course this weekend. Okay, that was random....

    • The job search is on. Newness can be uncomfortable, and I'm a little nervous about these new experiences that are opening up just beyond where I can see, but I'm praying for the right opportunity. I've handed in a few resumes with no results so far, but there are some possibilities on the horizon, so I'll just wait and see what the Lord has in store.

    • I've been accepted to university! Still praying about this one - it's a big step, but I feel like it's the right path for now, and I'm trusting that God will continue to guide.

      • I'm nearing the end of Bonhoeffer's biography at last... a truly fascinating account, set in a society so similar to our own. Bonhoeffer's writing contains so much wisdom, and much that applies to me and the world we live in today. I'll share some quotes soon. :)

      • In a way, I feel like I'm relearning old lessons, as I've been going through some rough times lately. But isn't that the way life is? We are sanctified by learning obedience not only once, but continually, learning to respond with faith in the midst of every trial. A new turbulence comes from an unexpected angle to combat the peace of my soul, and I so easily fall prey to fear. But how beautiful it is to learn that God is still faithful.

      Friday, February 17, 2012

      Love Lived Out

      With Valentine's day this week, I've been thinking about a love that is so much more than easily spoken words or roses or candy hearts. We need to keep this in mind - that the cross of Christ is the greatest manifestation of love this world has ever seen. His blood was poured out for us. As Jesus said, "greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." I've been challenged to contrast that with my own life, because I know I'm not living that way.

      I was just listening to part of a message by Francis Chan the other day, in which he said something about the fact that our generation is getting some of the best, most biblical teaching that has been around for a long time. He was concerned with our propensity to respond with "Wow, that was such a convicting message!" But as to what we're going to do about it? "Well, I'm going to go back tomorrow and hear another one!"

      His point was so convicting for me. And yes, I realize the irony of that statement. Wow, yeah, another great biblical, moving, convicting sermon... but, uh, what am I going to do about it?

      You see, I'm getting tired of this lukewarm Christianity that I so often see creeping into my life, and the lives of so many others in this generation who profess Christ. As Francis Chan said, we will face a greater judgment because we have been exposed to greater truth.

      Jesus talked about that kind of judgment in Matt 11:21-24, when He says it would be more tolerable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for the cities which witnessed the living truth of Christ himself. In Luke 12:48b, Jesus warned that "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." I, and probably most who read this, have seen and heard much about Jesus. We've listened to compelling sermons, attended Bible studies, accepted sound doctrine, and probably read our Bibles daily. But have we believed? Have we sold ourselves out to this truth we claim? Our spiritually rich environment is only magnifying the judgment if we fail to produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

      So what's stopping us? What's stopping me? Fear. Fear of failure, of rejection, of discomfort, of embarrassment. But God says perfect love casts out all fear! If we truly love Him, this will radically alter our lives. 1 John 2:3-6,9-11 states this clearly,

      "We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.
      Whoever says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar,
       and the truth is not in that person. 
      But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. 
      This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did...
      Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  
      Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, 
      and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 
      But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. 
      They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them."

      Are we blinded by darkness? I have to think of the many times I've bought new clothes to put in my overflowing closet, when so many families don't have shoes to wear, or the times I've overeaten when millions don't know where their next meal is coming from. I can't help but think of the many times I've kept my mouth shut when I could have proclaimed Christ. I think of the times I've clung to my pride rather than asking for forgiveness. I fail at this daily, but oh how I want to give as God has given to me! By His grace, I can see Him beginning to work this in my life, though it is a slow and painful process.

      I think the reason we'd rather go to a convicting message than actually live it out is that real life is hard. It feels really good to have all the right knowledge, to be able to spout it off in "Christian" settings - but when we're at the place where the rubber meets the road, we can no longer depend on ourselves or our own knowledge. It is the power of the Spirit who works in us when we step out in faith, and He produces that supernatural fruit in us. I think of the scripture in Jude 1:12 that warns about those who are like "autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted - twice dead."

      I've been reading in James lately, and was so convicted by these verses...

      "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:14-17)

      Which reminded me of this song - which is what I'll end this post with - "Asleep in the Light" by Keith Green. Another convicting tidbit - but I'm praying that this wouldn't just end with a feeling of conviction, but would truly get us on our knees, seeking the Lord for how to live out the grace He's given us in Christ Jesus!

      Thursday, February 2, 2012

      Of Crashing Waves and Winter Sunsets...

      I wasn't able to post as often as I would have liked to last month, but I'm hoping I will be able to blog a little more regularly again. My apologies! The past few weeks have been a bit crazy... not super busy, but just an unpredictable schedule. There have been many things to bring before the Lord - many dear friends who are going through trials and much pain. There is this feeling of being utterly powerless and inadequate, of not knowing the right words to say. And through it all, learning to leave everything in God's hands, trusting with everything within me that He will accomplish His good purpose. It's humbling to know that, if He wills, He will even work through my stumbling words. I sometimes feel like a child trying to ladle out tiny cups of water from the Ocean of Christ's love with a cracked teacup, but in reality He is the one whose waves crash down over the highest walls, and in that I can rest and rejoice!

      I wanted to take a few moments on this second day of February to share tonight's beautiful sunset with you! I hear the groundhog saw its shadow today, but around here, it looks like spring is on its way. With February's arrival, the skies are beginning to clear, but the clouds that remain catch and throw the rays of the setting sun in brilliant patterns of light and colour.

      Without further ado, the promised pictures!

      When I first went out on our back deck to take some pictures, the rays of the sun were splendidly diffused through the clouds above. I took several shots before going back inside.

      Five minutes later, I turned around and it looked twice as amazing. It was just sneaking down beyond the western horizon, spilling its last drops of molten gold.

      Oh, whaddyaknow! It happened again! Once again I was just inside when the clouds above began to glow with pink and purple light. Out I rushed again to capture the ever-changing majesty. What a beautiful message of God's sovereignty and provision - the very same One who sets the path of the sun is the One who establishes my path!

      Psalm 113 

      Praise the LORD.
      Praise the LORD, you his servants; 
      praise the name of the LORD.
      Let the name of the LORD be praised, 
      both now and forevermore.
      From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, 
      the name of the LORD is to be praised.
      The LORD is exalted over all the nations, 
      his glory above the heavens.
      Who is like the LORD our God, 
      the One who sits enthroned on high,
      who stoops down to look 
      on the heavens and the earth?
      He raises the poor from the dust 
      and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
      he seats them with princes, 
      with the princes of his people.
      He settles the childless woman in her home 
      as a happy mother of children.
      Praise the LORD.

      Thursday, January 19, 2012

      Canadian winter, eh?

      I feel like a real Canadian at last!! This past week has brought quite the dump of snow. It's sure beautiful, eh? Although 2 feet of snow (sorry, I should say 68.2 cm) may not seem like much in a nation often associated with igloos and polar bears, it is generally very mild in the area I live, and this is our first significant dump of snow this season. This is the first week where the temperature has consistently stayed around -10 degrees (Celsius of course!).

      It makes me happy.

      I actually need my boots and gloves and hat and scarf for once! It's amazing!!

      It's the month of Janvier (en Francais)

      I hear...
      the snow go squeak-crunch underfoot
      the whistle of wind whining at the door

      I smell...
      the clean, linen-white scent of snow
      the soup warmly boiling on the stove

      I feel...
      my nose tingle sharply from the cold
      soft warm flannel and fuzzy socks

      So what if next week's forecast is rain, rain, rain? Today, I'm a true Canadian. ;)

      /End of pointless post about my ecstatic embrace of winter

      Tuesday, January 10, 2012

      Once Upon a Time...

      The softly falling rain silences the world beyond my window as I wrap myself in a soft blanket and open the book before me. The pattering on my windowpane slowly fades away until all I can hear is the beating of dragon wings and the ring of dueling swords. My tea grows cold while my imagination is flooded with the spicy aroma of pine forests, the taut emotions of tangled conflicts, the piercingly sad beauty of loyalty and loss.

      ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

      A sense of story seems wired into the the essence of humanity. Legends, fairytales, and histories from ages past still manage to enchant us. Why story? Why this fascination with things that have no correlation in our immediate lives? What does it matter, really? That a story should have a conclusion, a "happily ever after", a rags-to-riches ending, certainly doesn't parallel what we see of reality.

      And yet it resonates.

      I don't know if you've ever found this, but there can be times when fiction seems to expose a truer truth, a higher reality than we see with our eyes. Through words penned by another soul, longings are awakened for a country beyond imagination, a place we inexplicably know is home.

      Perhaps it is because we belong to such a story.

      It is written - written for us, written of us. The cynics may scoff, but there is a spotless bride, a coming King, a sleeper who was awakened, a love that is real. God is the ultimate author of all that is good. When our souls are stirred with the beauty of a well-crafted tale, perhaps it is because it is a reflection, in some vague way, of the story He has written. Even when reality shatters romantic idealism, there is an unseen reality that shines to defy the impossible, to redeem the irredeemable.

      Existence would be flat and lifeless unless it was embodied by story. We do not read only the last page, when Prince Charming appears to rescue the princess and they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. The biting of our nails when the challenges seem insurmountable, the mirth of watching the hapless hero bumbling about, the bright fairy-tale colours on every page - these exist for a purpose of no less beauty. While prone to sin and human error, and having been used for ignoble purposes, God has gifted us with imagination and emotion because they are good. Thoughts and feelings have a purpose, meaning, and beauty - they are not reduced in meaning simply because of the greater, overarching story.

      Likewise, the love of God exists not only for a certain end, but during every moment - He loves us not for what we can perform, but at every moment, and in every season - and for each moment there is a purpose, not only as a means to the end, but because God has breathed intrinsic value into every instant of time. There is a Story of greater beauty than any that has ever been penned by men, which is lived by everyone who believes. Abraham and Sarah, living in tents in the wilderness, looked ahead to the days of the unseen, promised city. Moses, a prince of Egypt, turned his back on earthly treasure to seek the reward of heaven. Rahab, a prostitute, was declared righteous for her belief and given a place of honor as an ancestor of the Messiah. A great cloud of witnesses goes before us, testifying to His glory, which outshines the value of anything real or imagined.

      So let us imagine, let us dream, but oh! May we know the firm reality, the infinite depths of what exists for us in Christ. May we live, truly live, knowing that the great King is coming soon! The greatest love has come, chains are being undone, and we have a battle to fight!

      Friday, January 6, 2012

      first post of 2012

      Somehow as the years go by, the numbers associated with them mean a little less. Time flies faster all the time, but I want to live fully in every moment, though I sometimes feel that I am drifting through my days.

      It was a beautiful Christmas... though the child in me had hoped for snow. Isn't it exasperating when your grandparents are praying against snow while you're praying for it? ;) It was so good to spend time with family, to indulge in chocolatey goodness with a little less restraint than normal - but most of all to meditate on the magnitude of what Christ's coming means. I'm still getting back into keeping track of what day of the week it is after a relaxed Christmas break... but things are slowly starting back up.

      I'm looking forward to a year of big changes, many which are not entirely known to me yet, but here are a few goals I have for the year ahead....

      The first three biggest, most obvious ones...

      - Finding a job
      - Finishing my current courses
      - Going to university (1st time going to a brick and mortar school!)
      all if God wills...

      And some others that range from vital to trivial, but I nonetheless aim to do...

      - complete several sewing projects
      - start a prayer journal
      - declutter
      - paint my room
      - spend more time doing art
      - exercise daily
      - be more intentional about studying my Bible
      - finish my current book list
      - cook at least one meal a week
      - look for more ways to minister to my family and my church family
      - evaluate my attitudes and actions through Gal 5:22-23

      The Light still shines over the place where the Lord resides. May we glow brightly amidst the darkness of this world! He is our hope, the one who leads our steps, ever faithful. To Him be the glory!