Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Listen Love Repeat

Today is LAUNCH DAY!!! I'm so excited for others to get to read this book now!!!  It is such a beautifully written book, filled with such simple ideas that you can't help but do them.  Everything from giving a bottle of water to your mail delivery person, to loving the prickly people in your life. 

I have gotten so many beautiful quotes to remind myself to "scatter kindness" that I can't help but become more others focused. 

Use your ordinary life for God's extra-ordinary purpose. Karen Ehman in her newest book Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World

I don't know if you noticed all the fabulous videos on Facebook under the tag #5dollardash, but you should totally check them out.  Karen's fabulous assistant came up with the idea of the ladies from the launch team pulling together to surprise Karen with a $5 dash where the ladies would find someone in their life that needed a little pick-me-up, and they would drop off $5 and an encouraging note for them, and then challenge 3 people in their life to do the same.  And OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!  It was so fun.  You should totally search them on Facebook and have a good laugh.  And then go out and scatter that kindness.  It doesn't matter if you've been formally challenged or not.  What matters is that in this world filled with heartache and hurt we go out and be a light to others. 

And if you're looking for a good book to inspire you to love on others, I can't recommend Listen Love Repeat enough. 

Here's a sneak peak at one of the wonderful ladies who did the #5dollardash!

http://mrsdisciple.com/scatter-kindness-5dollardash/

Friday, 28 October 2016

Prayer Prompts

I have been reading Karen Ehman's blog and following her on Facebook for a while now.  And she does something that is just so simple, but so powerful. 


She talks about it in her newest book "Listen, Love, Repeat."  I love how she does it!  She has this daily routine of praying for those around her.  While she is wiping down her kitchen counters, she prays for her family to be able to wipe their slate clean.  She prays for certain people while she brushes her teeth.  These are all times when our minds could be busy with other details.  We as Mom's always have something on our minds.  And you certainly wouldn't have to do the same things, or pray the same prayers.  But wouldn't it be wonderful to have those prayers for those special people in your life become daily?

She still stresses the importance of regular prayer time each day, but reminds us how important it is to be speaking to Him throughout our day.  To come to Him first.  After all, if we made Him the most important, He will make the rest fall into place.  His faithfulness never changes, no matter whether our actions are constant or wavering.

I have struggled with regular prayer time in my life.  I have three small children, a husband who works wonky hours, and I regularly suffer from health problems that can make it difficult for me to get a good night sleep, much less wake up at the crack of dawn.  At this particular point in my life, committing to prayer every day at 5 is just setting myself up for failure.  But you know what I can do?  I can pray while I wash the dishes that God would help me to discover the sins of myself and my family, and for him to help us, and wash ourselves of that sin.  I can pray when I fold laundry that we would be strong.  That we would cling to him rather than the trappings of this world, trying to fold ourselves into the conventional.  I can thank Him each night for all the blessings in my life before I go to sleep, choosing each night to focus on all He has done instead of all that I have not. 

None of these steps are going to be huge leaps.  But they will impact my family.  And every journey starts with a single step, right?  So today, let's do what we can to take a step.  Just one.  And God will surely help us to walk this journey. 

Heavenly Father, I am so blessed in this life.  You have surrounded me with people that draw me closer to you.  Thank you for all of them, even the ones that have "sharpened" me.  Thank you for the process of refinement, and that you do not give up on me.  Lord, I ask that you would work within my heart to make my life in your a priority.  And that you would open my eyes to the opportunities around me to see you.  Those little prompts that are you whispering to our hearts.  Help me to hear those whispers and lift others to you.  In your name.  Amen.

If you are struggling with something, please leave a comment.  I would be honored to lift you up tonight.  I don't need the details if you don't want to share.  He knows them already.  I just need a name as I have faith He will do the rest. 


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Prickly or Plush

As I was reading (finally!) the chapter for this week from Karen Ehman's newest book "Listen, Love, Repeat", I was reminded of a sweet elderly lady we met a few years ago.

Karen tells us of this curmudgeonly old neighbor of hers that was, well, pretty mean.  He chased animals.  He yelled at kids.  But she made the conscious effort to find out more.  To try and get to know him.  And after a few months, he waved back.  No smile.  No words.  Just a wave.  And she was victorious.  Later on, she found out that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's. 

Well, this man reminds me a little of my Ida.  We used to go visit my GGPa every Wednesday morning at the seniors' home in town.  And my kids would play downstairs in their coffee area, where everyone say waiting for lunch.  I don't know how many of you have ever been in a care home for the elderly, but they always have a gathering place, often in a little coffee room.  Some people go down there with their companions, so chat and pass the time.  Some just sit at a table by themselves looking lonely and forlorn.  Ida used to sit just outside, on a loveseat.  Often, she'd be asleep, or just watching everyone else.  GGpa used to wait in the doorway for us.  Others sat on their walkers, or by the fireplace.

It was such a precious time for me as I look back on it.  It gave my precious littles the ability to see people, not disabilities.  They never really seemed to notice the canes, walkers and wheelchairs.  Or grumpiness. 

Both of my kids (I only had 2 littles at the time), LOVED to share with Ida.  Whether they had brought something for their own version of show and tell, or they just wanted to chat, they always chose Ida as their companion.  And Ida HATED it.  She would push them off.  She would tell them she wasn't interested.  She ignored them.  But they kept coming back, week after week.  They would climb up on that loveseat beside her and love.  I always thought that maybe she sat on a loveseat rather than a chair because somewhere deep inside, she wanted someone to sit beside her.

Little by little I began to find out more about her.  She did not have an easy childhood, with war and famine everywhere.  She was originally from Poland and had immigrated here for a better life.  If I remember correctly, she used to be a camp cook.  She was a survivor of many difficulties.  Things we probably won't ever have to go through.  After her husband passed, her children had placed her into a home.  We understand that after she arrived, she had very few visitors.  Personally, after visiting weekly for almost 5 years, I had never heard anyone mention she had visitors.  Not once.

I think I might be a little angry at the world if that happened to me too!

Her children may have given up on her, but my kids sure wouldn't.  And after about 1 year, she began to let them sit there.  This time, without a scowl on her face.  And about a month after that, she would watch the kids and listen to their stories.

One day, when we walked in, she waved.  And smiled.  Ohmygoodness.  I almost cried. 

I remember the day she waved clearly.  I came home that day so proud that we had worn her down.  She was starting to like my kids.  I mean, who wouldn't?  My kids are adorable.  ;)  I came home and told my husband at lunch what had happened.  I was glowing all that day.  Because I had someone smile at me.  If someone doesn't have a smile, give them yours, right?

After that, if GGPa hadn't made it downstairs yet, or if he'd gone back up to his room, she let us know. 

She started to hold the kids hands when they sat and talked to her.   

Karen reminds of us this old saying, "Preach the gospel always.  When necessary, use words."  I hadn't actually heard that particular saying before, but it certainly us beautiful, isn't it?  My kids didn't have "gospel" words.  They were 3 and 1 when we first started going.  They certainly had a lot of words, or noises.  But their actions spoke volumes.  Their love shined through.

And if we had never invested that time?  If we hadn't shown interest and respect?  I can't say that we changed her life, but she sure changed ours.  

We are all a work in progress, learning more about ourselves, and those around us each day.  Could we make it a mission to soften our edges, and maybe invest in others too?  Could we shine the light within us as a beacon to those that are lost, lonely and hurting?

Heavenly Father, we thank you for all we have.  That we have what we do now because of those that came before us.  That went through harrowing times and just kept going.  Thank you for the gift of knowledge and experience in those around us Lord.  I pray that you would open our hearts to them.  That we would be open to seeing past the exterior and discovering the wealth they have to offer Lord.  I ask that on those days where my exterior is prickly, that you would fill me to overflowing with your love, to lighten all those dark places. We pray for the world, that we would make it part of our daily lives to see the people we interact with every day for who they are inside, not their reactions that day.  Help us to be examples of Your unconditional love Lord, to those who need it the most.  In Your name we pray.  Amen.

If you have someone if your life that you are trying to "crack open", I would love to lift them up in prayer.  Leave a comment and I will make sure to include them tonight.




Monday, 17 October 2016

Confessions!

Image result for "Listen Love Repeat

Okay, so I am a little behind on the launch team posting for Karen Ehman's Listen, Love, Repeat.  Sorry!  We went on vacation and then came home to a broken furnace (I live in central BC, Canada, and its October people!), and I homeschool, so life has been about the basics these last 2 weeks.

I posted about Chapter 6 earlier, and then finally put my baby to bed and sat down to read Chapter 7: The Lonely and Unloved.  Ohmygoodness.  The tears!

She gives us this lovely example of how she has chosen to open her home to all of those around her, and the difference it has made in the lives of others.  She is known as "Mama Karen" to many of her kids' friends.  She tells us of one who even thinks of her house as his. 

I have my own special Mama. Mama Cyr.  She is an amazing woman.  She is so quiet, but so strong.  Her life story is a true testament to living a Christ centered life.  And the most amazing part of the story, to me anyways, is that she loved me before she even really knew me.  You see, I worked with her, well, let's say in my youth.  Goodness, it's been a long time since I was a youth.  I used to work at a local bar during the night, and with her at a grocery store during the day.  I wasn't really living a Christ filled life.  Kind of the opposite.  And rather than judge me, or scold me, do you know what she did?  She prayed for me.  She prayed that I would find a Godly husband.  That I would find Jesus.  That I would find me. 

She didn't even know me.

And over 10 years later, when I walked in to her church, do you know what she did?  She welcomed me.  She gave me a great big hug.  She continued to love me.

It makes me cry just to think about it.  I don't know where I would be without her prayers.  I certainly didn't have many people praying I would find Jesus at that particular time in my life.  I didn't even know she was praying for me.  Such a little thing that had such a huge impact.

Such a beautiful spirit who saw someone struggling to belong, to find who she truly was.  Someone who knelt down to lift me up.

To those of us lucky enough to have someone that beautiful in our lives, you know the gift that they truly are.  To those who have had that experience, can you think of someone you could reach out to today? 

To those who are waiting, I believe that God is faithful.  He is good.  He has plans for you that are truly beyond your imagination.  I am living, breathing proof of that.  Could I pray for you now?

Heavenly Father, I thank you for all the blessings that you have given me.  Even the ones that I don't know about.  I thank you for the challenges that have brought me to today.  I pray for all the people who are struggling right now.  I pray your peace, wisdom and protection over them.  I pray that they would feel your living arms envelop them, Lord.  That they would know your presence.  Lord, that you would put someone so directly in their path that they could not help but know that it is You, and that you love them.  Right where they are.  No matter what they have done.  They are worthy of love.  They are valuable.  And I pray that you would give us a heart to see those hurting around us Lord, and to help us to know what to do to ease the burden.  In Your powerful name I pray.  Amen.



Invest in Yourself by Investing in Others

I have been reading Karen Ehman's new book "Listen, Love, Repeat" these last few weeks, and it has inspired me to try and return to investing in others again.

Life can become so consuming with daily tasks, the mundane things that we have to do: school, laundry, house cleaning, cooking.  Those things that you kind of do on auto-pilot, not always with a lot of joy.  I forgot how much fun it was to really plan to think about others.

I know that some days it can be stressful to fit one more thing into your day.  And I'm not trying to encourage you to add more stress in to your day.  No one needs more stress!

I'm talking about stopping to pray for a friend whose at a really tough juncture in her marriage.  Or who has suffered a loss recently.  Or is up for a new job or a promotion.

I'm asking you to consider stretching your dinner a little farther and inviting someone else to join you.  Your house doesn't have to be perfect.  Your food doesn't need to be gourmet.  You'd be surprised how mac and cheese can brighten someone's day.

I'm suggesting "love bombing" someone's door.  You don't even have to stop and talk.  I've had other people drop off gift packages if I know they are going to that end of town.  I always have a few (too many) gift items in my closet that can be used to cheer someone up.  I have books, candles, cozy socks and other items that can be given whenever I feel God asking me to say yes.  Because you never know.  That "yes" could be the answer to someone else's prayer.

If you have some time, you could always make up a meal to deliver to someone struggling with life right now.  Or taking them a cup of coffee.  Or folding their laundry.  Or just being there.  If you're like me and you feel awkward, know that often just being there is all that you need to do.  Or, if you're like, me, you can nicky nicky nine door them with a package and run.  ;) 

Life doesn't need us to be perfect.  It needs us to be willing to put aside what we're doing to concentrate on someone else for a while.  To let someone know that they are thought of and loved.

And who doesn't need a little of that in their day?

It may seem like a lot to add one more thing to your day.  But I promise you, it can become addicting.  And no matter what kind of day you are experiencing, it can always be made better by focussing on the need around you.

If you have a prayer request, I would be honored if you would leave it in the comments.  I would love to lift you up in prayer.

Image result for #listenloverepeat

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Gift of Time

This phrase brings two images into my mind every time I hear it.  One of them is that each day is a gift.  It may not always feel like the best gift, you may even wonder where the receipt is so you could exchange it.  Maybe you could get a day at the beach instead?!?

The other is that each person's time is valuable.  And where they spend that time says a lot about who they are.  You see, I believe you invest yourself in what matters to you the most.  And the more the personal investment, the more time you spend and the more you give of yourself.

Take my husband for example.  He is a hardworking businessman.  He spends the majority of his time working.  Even when he's at home, he doesn't get to stop.  He is working hard to make a good living for his family.  He sacrifices time working for his family.  He misses out on dinners because that's when is most convenient for our clients.  He doesn't make them feel bad that he will be reheating his plate when he gets home, he just does the job.  He invests his time making sure our needs are met.  And he is an amazing example to our children of what happens when you work hard making an honest living.  And I know he's not the only parent out there making that sacrifice.

As a result, I get to be a stay at home Mom.  We have three beautiful kids, two of whom I homeschool.  And my time is used for family and friends.  I invest time in our business (I do the books), and the rest of my day is school, housework, and life.  I have discovered that even though I don't necessarily have a lot of spare time on my hands, I can do small things for other people.



I have a collection of inspirational photos saved on my phone that I use to send to friends who are needing a little pick me up.  It gives them a positive thought (maybe not that beanch day, but a little something), and they know that someone is thinking of them.  That they are not alone in whatever they are facing.

I can deliver a meal to a friend who just not be thinking about dinner today.  Maybe they are a new Mom, maybe they've just lost their Mom.  Either way I can deliver a meal from my heart to their home.

We have taken days to bake and deliver treats to local RCMP or firefighters.  We are a small town, so most of our fire department is volunteer.  I never want to take for granted that these men and women put their lives on the line for others.  That's a pretty big deal to me.  And we've decided as a family that any time we hear a siren, we will pray for the attendants, and the victims.  I figure that we can never do anything better than God, so we should always start there.

So what are your doing with the gift of time you have been given today?  And how can you do small things in love today?

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the gift of today.  I woke up this morning to 3 beautiful, healthy children.  My husband has a job.  And my extended family is healthy.  I really can't ask for much more than that.  So thank you Lord, for all you have already done in my life.  And help me to see those around me that are there for a reason.  Help me to hear your call to spend that time with them Lord, and to see it as a blessing, not an interruption.  Amen.

If you have a prayer request, please leave a message in the comments.  I would love to lift you up in prayer today.

Blessings.  :)  

Monday, 19 September 2016

Appreciation

I've mentioned before that I am reading Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman.  And the world seems to be joining in.  My Facebook wall has been like reading a wall of blessings.   I have one friend that kissed a lot of toads before she found her one true prince.  And she takes the time from her day quite frequently to thank him for all he does for her and their blended family.  And he does the same for her.

We have friends who live out of town who keep us up to date on their lives, always taking time to count their blessings, no matter how small they might have been that day.  They are always there if you take the time to look for them.

I know a lady whose husband was in a terrible work related accident this spring and they are still waiting by his hospital bed, waiting to see how much of him they get to have back.  They have had to uproot their lives to another town, change schools, and move to a new place without their support system.  And you know what she says almost every day?  That God alone has given her the strength to get up each morning and tackle the day.  That He is her saving grace.

I have a friend who I met through my wonderful mother in law before she passed.  She has stepped into our lives and always has something funny on her page to make people smile.  She takes the time each day to tag people in posts that she thinks they will like, just because.

There is a local business that is running a contest about celebrating a special woman.  Someone who has made a difference in your life, even though she may not know it.  I was blessed to be able to nominate a close friend.  She was literally an answer to a prayer.  I had been asking God to put a great Christian woman in my path.  Someone who could understand where I've been and challenge me to become much more.  She has only been a friend for the last couple years, but the difference she has made in my life is outstanding.  I don't know what I'd do without her.




This week, we have been challenged to #NoticeTheNecessary.  We have a photo challenge, and I just happened to get a great picture of my Dad this morning, with all three grandkids on his lap.  He is just taking it all in while they all want his attention at once.  He has always been there for me, no matter how badly I managed to mess things up.  He would let me know he was disappointed, and then he would go about quietly making it right.  He has worked all his life to provide for his family, and bless those around him with the little he has left over.  He has been an amazing example of #ListenLoveRepeat to both his kids, and all of those he comes across. 

It's amazing how concentrating on looking for the blessings can change things around.  My cup runneth over.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for all the blessings you have given me.  And I thank you for renewing my passion to look for them in the every day.  God, I am so sorry for all those days where my focus has been taken away from all the love you have provided.  Even on those hard, challenging days, You are there, if I only look.  I pray for wisdom to know when my attention is being diverted, and the strength to reject anything other than your love.  Amen.

If you are struggling, or just need to know that He is there, I would be honoured to lift you up in prayer.  Leave your request in the comments, and know that I will be praying for you.

Blessings.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

That Special Guest




I have been reading Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman this week.  I was fortunate enough to have been selected to be a part of the launch team for this amazing week.

I got lost on Facebook tonight.  I started out looking up something for a friend of mine, then, well, Facebook.  That vortex that just sucks you right in and makes time disappear like the Rabbit Hole.

I was catching up on things that friends had shared, things that had happened in our community today, and silly images of cats and such when this video came up about who would you like to have dinner with.

Oh, the tears.  So many tears.  I am a bit of a type A personality, and I homeschool two of the precious hearts that have been entrusted to me.  And it is so hard for me to see the world through their eyes.  I have to really stop and think most days about what it must look like to them.  For me, what I am requesting is just so simple, so why can't you just do it?

And no matter how many times I say the wrong words, or get exasperated with their questions, they love me.  They strive to do better.  Even when I am the problem, not them.

I have really been trying these last couple weeks to be a fun Mom.  One they can look back on as a teacher, and someone that they laughed with.  Who would do silly things just because.  These things used to come naturally to me, before I had to grow up. 

Karen's book is all about listening to something called "heart drops."  These are little hints dropped in everyday conversation that can make all the difference in someone's world.  If only we can stop focusing on US and really listen to THEM.  You know the "heart drops" I want to become an expert in?  The ones my kids drop.  I am only one person, but if I can really listen to them, and teach by example for them to do it with others, I have now equipped 3 other people to love on others the way they want to be loved on.  And isn't that just amazing?

This week, and hopefully every week after, I am going to challenge myself to really listen to these tiny people.  To really love on them, and let them know how special they are, since they are the most special guests in my life!  Maybe you could do the same and together, we can really change the world.

Image result for dr seuss caring quote

If you have a prayer request, I would love for you to leave it in the comments below.  It would be a privilege to lift you up in prayer.

Blessings.


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Our Gathering Place

I am smack in the middle of week 1 of the Listen, Love, Repeat launch party.  This week we have been challenged to post a photo of somewhere in our house that people gather.

Sadly, this house does not have a kitchen island.  But I have smooshed a really large table into our kitchen!  It's always covered with shrapnel from the day.  I am just a person who loves to put things down to deal with later.

This table has fed countless people over the last 7 years.  I had found this table when we had gone out of town to provide moral support for a friend whose Mom was in the ICU.  We had gone to Jysk to look around and waste some time.  I found this table with a clearance label on it and just had to have it.  I had always envisioned having lots of people at our house, and having it being a beacon to those we know in their time of need.  I went to Ikea and found some $20 chairs that I could stain to match.  Ta-da!  I have made the wall into a photo wall.  On it are pictures of various family members, some of whom are already in Heaven.  We use this wall to remember those God placed into our lives, no matter where they are now.  I am very blessed to have that many wonderful people in my life!



We have invited over those new to town, those newly single, almost divorced, or just needing somewhere that's a distraction from whatever is going on at home.  My kids all love having people over for dinner (it gives them new ears to talk off), and are always ready to provide extra hugs.  Kids just have a way of knowing, without words, if someone just needs that little extra.  And the people that have come over love our kids.   A good friend of ours spent about 2 years eating meals at our house before he met his wife.  Now I get him back every time she has to go out of town and he's home along.

 The kitchen is just the place with the food.  The people inside the house are what draw them in and keep them coming back.  I assure you, I have no delusions about my cooking abilities!  

Maybe this week, even if you just have cereal for dinner, you could include someone that needs that little extra time spent to remind them they are loved.  

Monday, 12 September 2016

Helping Hearts

I have been thinking a lot lately about getting back to something that has brought me such joy in the past.  For most of my adult life, I have loved surprising those around me with something special.  It isn't necessarily something amazing, just something that lets them know that someone is thinking of them.  That someone has noticed them and loves them.

I have done this in fits and spurts since having children, as it isn't something that often sits at the forefront of my mind.  But my friend, it is such an amazing thing to bless those around you.  And the feeling that you get after blessing someone?  Indescribable.

In the past, my husband and I have sponsored Christmas for families around us that wouldn't otherwise get Christmas.  I don't have a need for anything, and I would much rather know that I have given someone else the gift of unconditional love than have another thing collecting dust.  I find information about the family we have selected by whatever means I can without being too obvious.  And when it is all wrapped up and pretty, my husband often gets the job of invisible delivery boy.  Who knew that playing "Nicky Nicky nine doors" as an adult could have such wonderful results?

We have also just dropped off random packages we feel that still small voice telling us that someone needs something.  We have dropped of food to those who have lost a family member, or care packages to those who have recently had a life change.  We have gifted bags to others that we feel God speaking to us about.

There was one lady that we knew at church.  She seems to lead a somewhat lonely life.  She is a beautiful soul who believes that a hug will always make someone feel better.  I had felt God prompting me with her name, so I made a gift package up for her.  She came into the church one afternoon after she had been in a small car accident, only to find that my package was waiting for her.  She told our church secretary that it absolutely made her week to receive a gift at just that moment.  She was worrying how she was going to get from A to B as her car was getting fixed, as she didn't have the extra insurance that covered a rental car.  She was concerned about how much the cost was going to be to get her car fixed.  It was just a really stressful week for her.  And yet here she walks into church, and a gift is waiting just for her.  She knew right then and there that God had this.  She needed only to trust him.  And to this day, she still doesn't know it was me.  Because I am just the delivery person.  The credit goes to Him.

I'm not telling you this to brag, or make you think I have this amazing, simple life that allows me to just do perfect things.  I assure you, that is far from the case.  I am just trying to tell you that sometimes, in the middle of your crazy, you could be an answer to someone else's prayer.  Maybe they are waiting for you to say "Yes" to that still, small voice.

It can be as simple as asking the person next to you how they are.  And actually listening to their response.  I challenge everyone who reads this to see how many hearts they can touch this week.  Tell that cashier that they are really good at their job.  Smile and tell another Mom you know that she is an amazing mother.  Call your parents and thank them for letting you survive your teenage years!

If you have a prayer request, I would feel honoured if you would leave it in the comments below so that I can lift you up in prayer.

Blessings!


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Another Book Launch!!!

I am so excited!  I was having a stressful week last week.  We have started homeschooling two kids now, and I just don't seem to be able to find a groove yet.  I'm sure it will happen eventually.

Anyways, I had applied to be on the Listen, Love, Repeat book launch for Karen Ehman.  I found out on Friday afternoon that I was accepted.

  I was blessed last year to be a part of the Hoodwinked book launch and it was such an amazing experience. And that came at the perfect time last year, right when I was feeling a little stressed out about life in general, but especially about how I was going to be perfect at everything.  You know, the way we think we are supposed to be.  Hoodwinked was all about how God never wanted or expected us to be perfect.  He created us with a purpose, and promised he would be there to fill in all the spots we couldn't.  Our job is to be His children, not spend our time competing with other people about who has the more "picture" perfect lives.  You can read my posts from last year here if you'd like.  :)

This book is all about loving those around us.  Even the prickly types that are hard to love.  It is about being an example of Jesus and doing what he came to do.  We won't necessarily be washing the feet of those around us, but we will be practicing being more loving, no matter our circumstances.

If you are also part of the launch team, I hope you are as excited as I am!  And if you aren't, no worries.  I will be blogging and posting things as they allow us to, giving you a sneak peak into this great book.  Don't forget to peek into the things that Karen has written.  She is an amazing author who has walked the trenches of mommyhood, parenting and marriage, just like us.

If you have any prayer requests, I would be privileged to lift you up in prayer.

Blessing as we go into this new week.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

One of the Lucky Ones

As I wrote in my last post, there have been a lot of goodbyes in my life recently.  And they've had me thinking.  I go back to a conversation I had with a friend of mine last year.  We can choose to be sad that we've lost someone close to us.  And we're allowed to be sad.

But we can choose to be glad too.  We can choose to thank God in the midst of grief.  We are lucky because God has chosen to give us some pretty important people in our lives.  And if you're like me, and you are still crying 6 years later, then you're even luckier.  Those people that pass through your life and go on their merry way?  They are a part of your journey.  But those ones that impact your heart for the rest of your life?  What a glorious gift. 

Missing those people, wishing you could hug them one last time, or tell them you love them because you can't help but feel that you didn't say it enough,is a gift.  If you still think of them years later, you also have memories of them.  Happy memories, or funny memories.  Poignant memories.  And a legacy.

You can tell those around you that you love them.  You can hug them.  You can create memories for you both to look back at and laugh.  Or cry. 

My kids asked me today if I could tell them about my Aunt.  They wanted to know if I knew her secrets, and if I could share them.  She was one heck of a women.  From an early age life kept knocking her down.  But she never let it stop her.  She always got back up.  She was a stabilizing force in our family, always putting the family before herself.  She had a wicked sense of humor.  She was loyal to a fault.  She could throw with amazing aim (just ask me about "what's green?" one day).  And she loved without measure.

She taught me that love is unconditional. 
That family is the most important thing you have ever been given. 
Life is to be lived. 
You are never too old to learn something new. 
Forgiveness is always an option.
There is always something to be thankful for.

I don't know her secrets.  I don't know how she always got back up when she was down, put a smile on her face and kept on trucking.

I do know that she left behind a legacy.  And each time I think of her, I can choose to show my kids just a sliver of who she was.  I can show my gratitude by paying the most important parts of her forward.  Maybe that's the secret...

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Shout It Out

This week has been an emotional week. 

My friend lost her grandfather suddenly.  A man she looked up to.  A man she loved dearly.

A friend lost her husband unexpectedly.  A man that she was married to for almost 39 years.  They had 3 children, 2 grandchildren, and tons of other family.  He was a friend to all.  He loved those he knew with passion and loyalty.  He welcomed everyone into his home for help, whether you were family or not.  And he will be desperately missed by all.

Another friend's son fell into a river and we have no answers yet.  They simply have him listed as "missing".  He was only 24 years old.  Just at the beginning of a promising career doing something that he loved.  And now she lays awake every night wondering if he's already gone.  If he laying somewhere broken and afraid.  I can't even begin to comprehend the terror she is experiencing right now.

Listening to the eulogy at my friend's husband's funeral, I heard so many happy stories.  Memories that he had made with everyone.  Explanations for all those mysterious happenings in his childhood (like the floor patched because of a gun accident no one knew of, or the gravel truck being taken to the drive in because they charged by the "truck load").  He was a man loved by many. 

All of these men were.

But have you told all of those you love that you love them lately?  Have you held them tight?  Have you taken the time to make memories?  And most importantly, have you said all of those things that you want to?  You don't want to wait for their eulogy.  Tell them now.  Phone them.  Facebook them.  Meet them for coffee.  And let them know now how much they mean to you. 

There is no embarrassment in showing love or respect to those around you.  And you may not even know the most important memory they have of you.  They may remember something else.  It may be a huge turning point in your life that they didn't even know they played a role in.  And it may just need to be what they need to hear right now.

These last few years have been filled with a lot of people that I've had to say goodbye to.  And for the most part, the one regret that I haven't had to live with it "I wish I'd just said..." 

Shout it out if you have to.  But say it.

If you have suffered a loss recently, or are trying to mend relationships, please leave a comment below.  I would love to lift you up in prayer.



Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Last Great Generation

I've had a lot of time to think these last few months.  And I've pondered about GGPa.  I was so blessed to have this man be a part of my life for 8 years.  He was in his late 80's when I became part of his family, but it wasn't until his last 3 years that I really put forth that much effort.

You see, I was busy.  I had two kids.  There was always something more important calling for my attention.  All of these things are true.  And they are also so very sad. 

I was given this amazing gift.  Bill.  The man who became a grandfather to me, even though he didn't have to.  He became a great grandfather to my children.  He loved us.  He took my kids for rides on his electric wheelchair.

He stole food from the breakfast cart for us.  Because you see, even though he was 92 before I really got to know him, he didn't care.  I was his family.  And that meant that you provide.  He paid a lot to be in that retirement home.  And if he wanted to take an extra nutri-grain bar here and there, no one was going to ask.  And even from an electric wheelchair, he was doing all he could to make sure that we had everything he was able to give us.  His step-granddaughter.  And his step-grandchildren. 

His generation grew up knowing what it was to not have everything.  And I don't mean the way we think we have it now.  I'm not talking about the lastest THING.  I'm talking about food.  Food that you have to either grow or kill yourself.  That you had to take care of to feed yourself over the winter.  The clothes that you had needed to be taken care of.  There was no Walmart to run out to if you ruined your good clothes. 

Manners were something that everyone used.  People opened doors for one another.  They looked strangers in the eye and smiled.  They made room at the dinner table for a friend in need.  They could stretch their pennies in ways I can't even fathom.

I heard some of the stories of his childhood.  He had it pretty rough.  And yet he still told me many stories with a smile on his face.  They didn't need so much back then.  So much stuff.

He told me about all the jobs that he had.  He did almost everything that you can imagine.  Including fight for my freedom.  And he took it all in stride.  It wasn't something that he boasted about.  It was just what he did.  When he enlisted, they knew he was an excellent marksman, and they wanted him to be a sniper.  He refused.  He became part of the motorcycle brigade instead.  And he escorted royalty.  But that story has no more importance to him than the fishing he used to do.  He grew up when you took pride in a good day's work.  And you didn't complain about a full day of work if you ended the day with a full belly.

He had a wife that he loved with every ounce of his being.  For the first year I went to see him, he told me every single time that she was gone.  And that he was all alone now.  After the second year, I hope he didn't feel so alone, because then when I walked through that door, he just smiled.  He never said he was all alone anymore.  They always said that the most important thing in their marriage was to laugh.  They swear that in over 60 years of marriage they never fought.  They were on the same side.  And rather than say that it would just be easier to start over if something went wrong, they just united against the problem.  No talk to divorce.  No comparing that they weren't as good as that person's spouse.  It was them against the world.  All the way to her last breath.  I can only pray to have that in my marriage!

I can't imagine all that he saw in his lifetime.  I can't imagine 96+ years on this earth.  But I do know that I had the privilege of getting to know a man who is part of the last great generation.  They fought for freedom.  For everyone.  Every.  Last.  One.  Of.  Us.  Not for a certain colour.  Not for a certain belief.  They fought so that we could have freedom.  So that others could be safe.  Because 80 years ago, you stood up and did what was right. 

Thank you GGPa.  And to the last great generation.  I hope and pray that my generation can put forth even a fraction of the effort to be like them.  And provide for others whatever we can.  Let's make it less about how much stuff we can accumulate, but about how many lives we can change.  Let's fix things that are broken rather than just replacing it.  Let honor them be being the next generation to affect a positive change for the world.  And let's start with our little corner of the world.  I tell my kids every day that we were given more than we need so that we can share it with others.  Not because we get to brag about it later.  But because the generations before us made the world a better place by doing just that.

If you have a prayer request, or would just like to talk, leave a comment below.  I would be honored to lift you up in prayer.  And have a blessed day.

Don't count your days, make your days count!


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Appreciate Your Tribe

I am blessed to be surrounded by a diverse group of people who all love and support me. And it has really been at the forefront of my thoughts lately what a great gift this is.

I have mentioned before my immediate and extended family.  And some friends that have stuck by me through thick and thin.

Lately I've been thinking about my Mom's group.  I have taken over leadership of the group after a friend and her family relocated. I feel so uncomfortable calling myself a leader. If you knew me, you would understand that for me, any group larger than 2 (me and one other person) is a challenge.  I don't do well in groups.  I actually spend most of my time in my house avoiding groups of people.  And yet I was called to do just that. I think God laughs at my plans once again.

The funny thing?  It's forcing me to grow in ways I never thought I would.  I now pray for people in front of a group of people. Talk about uncomfortable. My prayer life has always been a very private thing for me.  God and me.  That makes 2. Pretty much my limit.

I lead discussions. Me. The one who almost never spoke during the weekly discussions before, even though I've been a part of this group for almost 4 years now.  And now I'm usually the first to go. Mainly because everyone else waits for me to start...but I do it!

And these women are so different. Growing up in different provinces and countries.  Different decades. Different everything. And yet they show up week after week, to do life with me. They offer me advice and perspectives before that I've never considered. They are my tribe, and for better or worse, they are there for each other. Through child rearing debacles, sickness, marital discord, family issues.  And we don't always see eye to eye.  Really, when you get a group of women together, how often do they all truly agree?  But I hope I can continue the pattern of respect, openness and support that was started by my predecessor.  And that God would help me to add even a portion to these women's lives as they have given me.

I don't know if you have a tribe. Maybe you have the perfect mix of support in your life.  Maybe you're struggling to connect on a deeper level.  I pray that He would bring in women who will have your back.  Who will challenge you to grow, even when you don't want to.  And who will show you grace and acceptance no matter what.


Monday, 4 April 2016

Perspective

Perspective.  Getting to choose how you look at your current situation.

It's been one of those days. Weeks.  Months.  Where very time I turn around it feels as though something else in my life is falling apart.  Or do I just need to change my perspective?

There are always going to be those days. Or seasons.  Or years maybe.  And we are going to get through. And some will have us believe that a part of us will miss them one day.  I'm not there yet.  But as I get ready to pour my exhausted self into bed tonight, it occurs to me.

People are praying for what I'm complaining about. My husband has so much work that it feels as though he is always gone. But at least he has work. There are people out there praying for a job.  For food.  For shelter.  And I am taking that for granted.

My children are testing boundaries something fierce right now (and my sanity, but who needs that?!?).  But they are healthy. I am not praying for a miracle of healing.  I'm not spending time with doctors hoping to get answers. My children are healthy enough to test their boundaries all day long. And that's a privilege, even when it doesn't feel like it.  I have one baby in heaven already.  But I get the chance every single day to hold these ones in my arms and tell them I love them every single day.

So tonight, I am choosing to change my perspective. I am choosing to be grateful for all of my blessings. And tomorrow, while I am scrubbing coconut oil off the walls, I will choose to be grateful for my healthy, active kids. And I just may decide to make sure they are a little more occupied next time.  ;)

My cup runneth over, just like my grandma used to say!

God is a God of love.  And grace. And I believe, with a pretty good sense of humour. And He has given you everything you have for a reason. And it is all meant for good.  All that He asks of us is to be willing to trust His plan, and to trust in Him.  So whatever it is you are facing right now, know that He is with you. And He loves you.

If you would like prayer, I would love the opportunity to pray for you.   Leave a request in the comments, and I will be praying.


There Is Beauty in Your Story

I had the privilege of hearing the testimony of a friend recently.  She phoned me the night before she was coming to our ladies group, and told me she had never really told her story in front of a group before. She had actually only told parts of her story to people who needed to know that they were not alone.  Even her family doesn't know everything. I told her that we only needed to hear what she was comfortable with. And I explained that we have had other women share marriage advice, crafting passions, parenting tips, and baking recipes.

We are there to enjoy getting to know the, better in whatever way we can. And that we will love her no matter what she decides to share with us.

We should feel honoured when these women choose to trust us with the details of their life. These are the very things that have shaped them into who they are today. And not all of the shaping has been easy, or is something they really want to re-live.  There's bravery in their willingness to bare their souls to us. And we need to respect and realize that.

We are there to enjoy getting to know the, better in whatever way we can. And she needs to know that we will love her no matter what she decides to share with us.

Now, I won't go into details, as it is her story to tell, not mine.  But I will say that it was heartbreaking, beautiful, and inspiring all in less than 1 hour.  This woman told us how she has walked a long, difficult road, but she has felt His presence each and every step of the way.  And she knows that she has only made it through because of His strength, not hers.  She offered no explanation of why she had to walk this path, but was grateful that she always knew she was not alone, and that she was loved, no matter what.  There is no shame in her story, only faithfulness and perseverance.

Ladies, I want you to consider two things.

1) That you never know the story behind the woman in front of you in line at the grocery store, or the woman ringing in your groceries.  Her story is unique, and beautiful in its own way.  And no matter what it may seem like, she is doing her absolute best to get through each and every day.  She needs understanding and acceptance.

And 2) Your story matters. You are never alone in whatever you are going through. He is using you in ways you can't even imagine. And in sharing a part of your journey, you are an inspiring example of his love.

I see so much judgment every day.  And I'm just as guilty of doing it too.  But unless you've walked their path, right beside them each step of the way, then you can't offer ways to have done it better. Because it isn't your story. Just like they can't tell you what you should have done. But maybe we can help make the journey a little better by offering grace. Understanding.  Love.  And maybe one story at a time, we can make our world a little bit better. One step at a time.

If you have any prayer requests, I would be honoured to lift you up!

Blessing.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Spring Returns!

Life has been finally slowing down for us after the winter season, which is great!  I can finally let my kids go outside without having to worry about getting snowpant legs over boots, finding misplaced hats, searching for dry gloves, and then hearing "I have to go pee!"  Sometimes it feels like I live in a Robert Munsch book.  I have actually contemplated renaming our little dude to Mortimer!

We are finishing up Kindergarten for Sweetie.  I am so proud of her.  She is already able to read and retain chapter books!  She is a wiz at math.  She picked up the piano way faster than I ever imagined.  And most importantly, she is an amazing big sister.  She loves to try to teach everything she knows to her younger siblings!  She has become quite the little momma hen this last year.

Little Dude is my little tornado.  He is always doing something.  Seldom the things he's allowed to do.  He has such a beautiful soul.  He is a genuinely caring, loving, amazing little man.  I am so  excited to see who he becomes as he grows up. 

And my little Munchkin has really blossomed this last little while.  She has a wicked sense of humor (I mean that literally, her favourite thing to do it bonk people on the head with stuff and laugh like crazy).  She loves to giggle and laugh, and generally spends most of her days doing just that.

After the last couple years, I am just busy soaking it all in.  They won't ever be this little again, so I want to be there for as much as I can.  Which is why I haven't really been focussed on keeping up here.  I want to watch them learn and discover.  I want to get as many hugs and kisses in as I can before it isn't so cool anymore.  I want them to grow up knowing that they are a priority, not a bother, not something I'll get to when I'm done typing.  I won't disappear from here, but I will be continuing to focus on them.  And I'll say hi when I get a chance.  Thank you so much for sticking with me.  I hope as we start our new routine this fall with 2 kids in school, I'll be much more regular!

Enjoy the beauty in today!