Friday, August 31, 2012

change control to trust


I like change...when it's my choice.

But when change comes that I didn't ask for, didn't look for and do not want...well, the results aren't always pretty.

It's my control factor. I like to be in control. And change sometimes means I can't plan for every detail, every eventuality and I don't know how to operate in uncertainty.

And that needs to change.

I've thought recently how the desire for control indicates a lack of trust. And I was thinking of children. How they are more accepting of change, they tend to go with the flow much easier than adults. Perhaps it's because they don't live with a set of expectations (yet).

And perhaps that's what I love about the baby stage so much. The only thing a baby wants changed is its diaper. Other than that it's content to lay in the arms of those who would keep it safe.

Rambling thoughts will stop here. How I'd love to flesh this idea out more, but the clock says stop. Sigh.

Joining in the crazy fun 5-minute writing experiment at Lisa-Jo's...
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, August 30, 2012

it's a book that could change you

I devoured "7" (It's a book by Jen Hatmaker). Lapped up every word. But it’s often like that when I read a book exactly suited to a season in my life – God speaking to me through the words of another. Plus I can’t remember the last time I laughed and cried, hard, in just one chapter and the first one at that.

Perhaps this chapter hit hardest because I’ve fasted from food before for the wrong reasons. I thought I needed to “punish” myself for my apathy to others’ real hunger instead of understanding what it really means to repent and accept God’s grace. I feared entering a food fast for the wrong reasons ever since, convinced God would not ask me to enter an area filled with doubt, confusion and pain. A valley of shadow.

So the questions Jen outlined on page 25 were ones I didn’t want to face, especially the second one. I shook after reading them, waves of anxiety washing over me...

“What causes an unhealthy change of attitude, personality, or focus when “it” becomes threatened?”


Especially if I don’t have access to vegan, organic, pure foods (i.e. free of unpronounceable chemicals, oils, volumes of sugar, etc.). Though I don’t throw a visible tantrum, I throw a mental one.

Read Days 21 and 26 and you’ll understand why I become angry at what the food industry is doing to our “food” and the land, and most importantly, people. In a way, I’ve already chosen to fast from the indulgences of the modern food world. Which is why question two sent me into a bit of a mental tailspin.

I began to ask God if He wants me to give up my grip on eating healthy foods and if this whole healthy eating thing is an idol to be cast down. But I argue back how unhealthy eating them would be and remind Him of the digestive issues which follow show that something just isn’t kosher.

Sigh. So very confusing.

Reading Jen’s reference to Isaiah 58 in Month 2, Days 12-13 and Day 25 of Month Six helped (applicable for each month).  A reminder of His heart for others and for us. And perhaps the point isn’t so much what or how I fast, but what He wants to teach me through it.

Because I want to develop a heart of compassion for others and not one that just cries over injustice and leaves it at that. But a heart that is moved to do something for the least of these. To use the information and food fuel He graciously, undeservedly bestows upon me for His good purposes. To change the reality of cheap fodder tossed to the poor into a reality of equal access to rich nourishment.

As Jen quoted on page 175 “Oh Lord, may we be focused on the least; a people balancing the fasting and the feast.”

Linking with the "7" book discussion through Bloom at (in)courage

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

when you want to give a gift that never wears out

Ever since our children starting receiving party invitations, I’ve perched on a mental teeter-totter. It’s a gift giving one. To gift stuff. Teeter. Or not to gift stuff. Totter.

With every invite I agonized over the desire to provide a “cool” meaningful gift versus following my conviction that I was contributing to our culture of excess. Up until this year I leaned heavily to the teeter side. And then God stepped in with an answer...
image credit
Please join me over at Amy Sullivan's today for the rest of this story. She graciously invited me to write a guest post on gifting experiences after I commented on this post she wrote.

And, if you've never met Amy before, stay awhile and click around her blog. She has a big heart for others and her posts inspire the servant heart to shine.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Luke's first day

I didn't cry this time.

Perhaps because we brushed 2/3's of first day firsts out of the way last week. And perhaps because we've been eagerly anticipating this day for a while.

Or it could be Luke's business like demeanor. See...

His grim expression belies his excitement. Really, it does.

He's been counting down the days until he officially started kindergarten. He had no problem braving a rainy walk and was happily escorted down the hall by Reese with the rest of us in tow.

He found his seat and then in continued business-like manner, he solemnly emptied his supplies on the supply table. (BTW...I forgot there was a "n" in solemn. Crazy silent letters. Crazy English language!)

The only thing that would have made this perfect was him dressed like this:

But that might have overdone it.

And here's our trio of school-goers. Brie and Reese obligingly took their "first day" pictures again.

And Ben and I? What did we do with a much quieter house? Chores.

Terribly exciting I know. 

And Luke's first words when he saw me after school?

"Mama, I didn't have to go to the principal's office once today!"

May this be sign of his school career to come. ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012


Oh how this theme speaks to me...join.

In my head I see it as: JOY IN

The is joy in joining in. Meeting together. Participating. Building community.

Joining with others who believe what I do and have a heart for many of the things I do has been laid deeply on my heart, especially in the past several months. I love that idea of community where there is a natural outpouring and overflow of the good stored up in our hearts.

I think it's easier to find this online. Just enter the key words on your heart and I'm positive it would lead to blogs, social media pages, websites etc. that fit your ideal community description.

Life outside the online that's trickier. After all we don't walk around with "tags" on our heads that speak our hearts and life theme so neatly.

If we did mine might say "Christ daughter" "mission-oriented" "advocate" "social justice" "organic" "crafter"


The cuckoo chimed my five minutes are up.

But one last thing...what tags might you wear which speak the community you seek?

happily joining with this fun five minute writing community:
Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

first day lamentations

There often are a lot of tears on the first day of school...mine.

I cried the first day of kindergarten (my mom has pictures). I cried for the first three days when Brie started kindergarten.

I cried after my first day at my new high school in England and for a month after. A combination of tumultuous teenage emotions + moving to a new country.

I don't think I cried my first day of university, though I might have after my first business math and economics classes.
And I cried today. Because first days and the change and uncertainty they bring often reduce me to tears.

It all started out well with (vegan) Back to School Blueberry Pancakes.

...and a few first day pictures (thanks for the fun card idea Jenn!)

But then there were a few bumps along the way. Mostly little things like figuring out to walk two children to two different classrooms from two different entrances and having to leave Brie, uncertain and almost tearful in her classroom.

What really set me crying though was finding out our crossing guard for the busy and dangerous intersection we face daily was cut because the city doesn't have enough people interested in taking on this worthy task. Having close calls with a couple cars today was bad enough, but it was how I handled the situation that still has me cringing because I chose impatience over trust.

I'm thinking this deserves a whole separate post because of the lessons it contains - for me - and I want to process it separately.

Thankfully, the day ended on a positive note and I feel restored again. Chalk it up to prayer and repentance, a brief cat nap and positive first day experiences for Brianna and Reese.

And to this. Cause I'm going to need it, and probably more than once a day.

In a somewhat related aside...

Although the calender says it's still summer, the first day of school tells me we're in a new season, and, as you can see (if you're reading this via email, you can click here), I changed the blog header to reflect that. I think to think of these next few weeks as bonus summer days. Maybe a second summer even? I like the sound of that. Especially since we usually have 6 months of chilly weather.

sharing with:

Friday, August 17, 2012


I reach up but my fingertips fall short of what I seek. But He sees. He knows what I desire, He knows I so long to take hold of His hand with my own. And because He knows I cannot do this on my own, He reaches down to pull me up, body stretched, fully extended.

And what if my stretching got me where I wanted to be on my own strength? What then?

Ahhh! Trying to write a post in only five minutes is challenging...a stretch itself. The above was my first attempt at it, topic courtesy of Lisa-Jo Baker @ Tales from a Gypsy Momma. Want to join the fun? She hosts this link party every Friday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


For one week we live community. Three cottages on a hill rimming beach and lake.
we arrive

I never tire of this view

Children ebbing and flowing between dwelling spaces.

we have a baseball team

Sharing meals. Sharing work. Freedom from routine responsibilities.

my "getting ready for Goderich" list
eating pizza in the car while I hunted for vegan fare in a grocery store

A time to relax. A time to breathe.

my husband's therapy

the only tools we need

For 51 weeks of the year we anticipate our return to the shores of Lake Huron. And in the years we've missed, we feel something is amiss.

This one week, a gleaming sapphire in a silver year setting, is a gift, God given.

Yet I had to fight to receive it this year - a year spent battling anxiety and overwhelm. It took two days for me to wake up without a knot in my stomach. It took conscious effort to look for the gifts each day, to learn to let go of expectations, to accept what is without question or desire to have it be anything else.

And I'm waking to the reality that I am in a dark valley season. This is not something I can fast forward through or change by changing my external circumstances. I've tried.
I write this because I wonder how many of us battle this same condition...this living in a state of anxiety, worry, overwhelm. It's not a fun state to live in and I wouldn't choose to move there, but I suspect it's how God is setting me free from all that hinders my walk with Him. And that is a good place to be.

sharing with:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Yesterday you turned nine. Aunt Amy pointed out you are now half way to college. Gulp. Less than seven years ago I pointed out that you were halfway to kindergarten when you saw children clustering into school. I'm grateful halfway to college is a lot longer than halfway to kindergarten because I have a lot of learning to do.

As our first born, you have taught me much about what it means to put others' needs first, to practice patience, to slow down when I want to speed up. I think that's God's wisdom in placing us in families as infants. As you grow, we grow. But, oh, how far I have to go.

And I need that daily reminder that as we chart your growth on the door frame and marvel over inches gained, it is the growth on the inside that really counts. When we choose to love in moments where we do not like. When we choose gentle patience over heated words of anger. When we do for others when we'd much rather do for ourselves. 

So my prayer for these next nine years and beyond is that we pay attention to the quiet inside growth flourishing in you. And learn the lessons God gives us with grace and praise. And appreciate the now that is so fleeting. And treasure the gift of you.

How do these years fly by so fast? The little years seems like a lifetime when you live them - perhaps aided by more hours spent awake than asleep (a.k.a. sleep deprivation) - yet, they are gone in a flash. And I wish I knew how to hang onto moments and hugs, kisses and whispered words of love, but all I can do is live in this one and make the most of it. And so many times I don't.

Perhaps this is why we are encouraged to rejoice in the Lord always. Always. Because when we praise the Lord our moments are never wasted, never torn, never regretted.