love letters

Under my bed, in a hand-painted box, there are treasures to find.
~ticket stubs
~enclosure cards from flowers
~little trinkets that wouldn't make sense to you, but mean everything to me
~and, most importantly, a big stack of cards and letters.

The summer after Gavin and I became a couple (almost a year later) I spent 7 weeks away at camp.

I'm not ashamed to tell you we were already very much in love by this time!

He visited usually twice a week, but just as much as the visits, I loved to receive his letters. The mail was distributed at lunchtime every day, and three or four days a week, I would hear my name called. As the campers all "oooh-ed" I tried to appear calm and casual as I collected another card from my one and only!

Most of the time the sentiments were not overly sentimental - just a run-down of the day- but I cherished every word. I read the letter over as many times as I could before rest period was over. Then I would tuck it away to read again before bed.

Fifteen years later, those warm feelings returned like a flood when I received a much anticipated email from my beloved. This time, he's away and it's only for four and a half days, but we've sure missed having him around! (And it's really not because the grass needs to be cut!)

Warm fuzzy feelings at this stage of our life and marriage are so welcomed. It certainly isn't the norm (unfortunately). The day-to-day grind of getting things done and caring for a family sometimes causes me to forget all the reasons I fell in love with this man, who I now refer to more often as Daddy.

It's too bad that this same situation can occur in my spiritual life.

I get busy.

I get overwhelmed.

I start to do things my own way.

I forget about the love He has shown me, and the passion I once felt....or, I can't remember any of the verses that once spoke power and vision into my life.

I don't have to dig out a dusty, painted, wooden box to find the Love Letter - I need only to open the Word. Many of my favorite passages are underlined in pink!

Here's the one on my heart tonight:

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

I love to be loved!


things of beauty

The day is wet and grey.
Gavin is away for the weekend and the kids and I are hunkered down enjoying the cozy feeling of snuggling under an afghan with a hot cup of creamy coffee....oh yeah, that's just me - A, E & C are huddled around the computer! Regardless, I've had a lovely morning with a stack of magazines that I was given but hadn't had a chance to savour. I love glossy pictures of pretty things! And I love it when the editors add in thoughts and quotes that give me pause as I reflect on the beautiful images.
Like this one attributed to Elsie de Wolfe:

"Be pretty if you can,
be witty if you must, but
be gracious if it kills you."
But when I came across this quote from John Keats, I suddenly
no longer saw the picture behind the words.
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
This simple phrase stopped me in my tracks (mental tracks, since I was still sitting on my couch). I have a strong desire - no, really I call it a vision or mission statement - to create a home for my family that is beautiful. Not because of the things that fill it (though I have a fondness of pretty things -have you seen my shower curtain?), but because of the feelings that I hope they can associate with being Home.
Sights, smells, things to touch all the senses.
~freshly baked sticky buns on swim lesson night
~soft, warm blankets on the ends of our beds for cold nights
~flowers - even if they're fake - to brighten up a room
~bbq burgers enjoyed al fresco on bright yellow macrame placemats
~stories and prayers at bedtime
~digging in the black mud to make the colourful flowers bloom and grow
Today, however, I'm reminded of two scriptures that have been favorites of mine for years:
"Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame."
Psalm 34:5
"The King is enthralled by your beauty;
honor Him, for He is your Lord."
Psalm 45:11
I long to reflect His beauty to my family and look for ways to create and encourage the growth of His loveliness in each of them.
May the Word of the Lord inspire us toward His grace and goodness.


about a boy

We just got home from a wild celebration for Ethan's 7th birthday.  His day isn't actually until July 18th, but in an annual attempt to get kids to come before they go on summer vacation, we held his party a few weeks early.  E and I were very excited to see the best turn-out yet!  The boys (and Abbey!) had fun at U-Putz and now we're all putting our feet up in reflection.

Since I'm going to camp the evening of his birthday, and since I'm feeling rather sentimental after this occasion, I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you about my son!

(If you start to feel nauseous, close your eyes and the feeling should pass!)

Ethan Nicolas Donald Hall was a much desired and eagerly welcomed member of our family.  We had a lovely daughter and hoped that we might receive the joy of a son.  I laboured the longest with Ethan and received my only epidural.  When he arrived at 2:10am, my first thought was, "Oh!  He looks just like Abbey!"  The next morning, after a couple of hours of sleep I realized he looked nothing like his sister! ha!

Ethan has always been very attached to his mom, but happily took dad (in a pinch!).  He grew to become the single-most educated 3 yr old on all things ANIMAL!  You think I'm exaggerating?  I'm not, I have endless proof that I would be happy to sit down and show you.

Ethan is kind and sensitive, caring and nurturing.  He is an excellent artist (focusing most of his energy on Star Wars depictions) and a brilliant pest - who knew there were so many ways to bother his sisters!  He has a servant heart and is sentimental about his collections.

I pray Ethan will grow to become a man after God's heart.  That he will seek the Lord in all he does and that the Lord will honour his efforts.

When we dedicated Ethan to the Lord as an infant, we used a popular, but completely heartfelt scripture.  It continues to be our prayer as we watch our precious son mature and develop.

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."
1 Samuel 1:27-28


hard habit to break

I went to peek in on Cassidy this evening and found this sweet sight!  My baby asleep - fairy wings intact!  Of course, the other thing I quickly noticed was that thumb in her mouth.

We've talked about quitting.
~discussed why one shouldn't suck their thumb
~googled books on helping your child think it is their idea
~planned for rewards, should we undertake the task of really breaking this habit

And yet, a month after her fourth birthday, I wasn't at all surprised to see this tonight.  I know there are likely equal numbers of people who would say, "oh, don't force it - she'll quit eventually" and "I can't believe you've let it go on this long!"

Honestly, I'm not ready to commit to making it stop altogether, so for now I gently remind her when I see it - and sometimes turn a blind eye.

Here's a question:

If you're my friend (or you have some other friend) and you see me practicing a bad habit (maybe something worse than nail biting....gossip?...road rage?....over-indulgence?...), what do you do?  Do you call me on it?  Or do you assume I'm already working on it?  Or do you think I'll quit eventually (the Holy Spirit will convict me of this issue eventually)?

Here's another question:

If you're my friend - am I ready to hear this kind of constructive criticism from you?  Am I going to judge you by suddenly noticing with new clarity that you don't exactly have your act completely together?  Am I going to sulk, broken-hearted that people don't love me 'just as I am'?

Put on love! ~ see Colossians 3:12-17 ~

"Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (v 17)

I'm thankful I have people in my life who are willing to take a stand for my good and tell me (gently!) things I need to improve upon.  

And I'm working on being the kind of person that can apply godly knowledge to encourage those I care about!


see my heart

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing a dear friend's "bun in the oven." How I love ultrasounds! I remember with perfect clarity seeing each of my three babies on that fuzzy black and white screen. (How could I forget the pain of having that much water in a bladder being poked and prodded....)

Before I could even feel them, I could see this tiny love squirming around - hands and feet waving and kicking.

I remember the technician pointing out the heart: "see the 4 quadrants, formed and operating?"

That was good news, of course. But truthfully, I was more interested to see the footprint they were able to zoom in on for Abbey; the profile of Ethan's face -looks like daddy!; and the sweet layer of baby fat they pointed out on my week late Cassidy. (and that gender was crucial information!)

How did I miss the importance of the heart?

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

How often do I miss the importance of my heart, all the while being careful to serve my Lord with my hands and my feet.
I wanna sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hands
Lay back against You and breathe - feel Your heartbeat
This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand
I melt in Your peace, it's overwhelming.
take 4 minutes to worship through the first song on my newly installed playlist!
mind your heart.


out of the mouths of babes

Moments after arriving home from a long bike-ride/playground outing with the kids, I heard the thing that motivated me to get the kids out of the house in the first place.


Bah! They were supposed to be getting their pj's on while I finished tidying up the supper dishes but instead I heard the sounds that somehow have the ability to make my blood boil in an instant:

stop it! do-oon't!

I dried the last dish and counted to 10 (or was it 100?) before I headed up the stairs to see what the problem was....this time.

Turns out, Ethan was arranging his lego star wars characters in preparation for a movie he was planning on shooting the next day (no school!). Abbey was trying to be "helpful" by moving the little guys around and dictating how the scenes would play out (ah, first born!). Oddly enough, Ethan was not thrilled to hear her input.

[Cut to Cassidy, happily looking at books in her room, waiting for evening prayer.]

As we gathered to say bedtime prayers, I tried to reconcile A and E by talking about Ethan's use of the video camera for his movie.

"Maybe Ethan and Abbey could work together on this project tomorrow morning," I said soothingly.

"Maybe tomorrow morning I could be broken-hearted!" Cassidy wailed.

Poor sweetie - she hates to feel left out (and who doesn't?)!

But her precious sentiment brought to mind the many times I have anticipated the way I might feel if this or that happens tomorrow or next week, or if I happen to run into such-and-such person; I agonize over how I might handle a certain situation or I project my insecurities onto others, assuming they will think the worst of me.

Remember the words of Jesus?

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

So familiar and yet it sometimes seems I should have these words embroidered on every pillow in my house.

Perhaps today I can settle for searing them onto my heart.



Today I'm at work, planning for the Father's Day service at ACC. Actually most of the work is done, but I was hunting for one more 'little extra' to add. I read endless cheesey poems and some that brought tears to my eyes. I read some prose that expressed anger and sadness - some that openly rejected God as Father.
And then I came across this video:
What a beautiful use of scripture and an awesome reminder of how much our Heavenly Father cares for us - for me!
I have a wonderful relationship with my own dad and I have had the fun of watching my beloved husband as dad to our children. Both men are a testimony to the loving way with which God parents us; both pointing to Abba Father and His grace. I'm so thankful! How easy it is for me to accept God's love, having experienced loving acceptance from my earthly father. How deeply my kids will understand God's goodness and mercy having known their dad in such a close, intimate way.
My heart is full.
"I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:18
thank you, Lord.



I have had the most lovely, home-body kind of weekend! I spent hours and hours puttering around outside, happily planting more flowers (is enough ever really enough?), and cleaning up the deck. I also decided that since my husband was away, I would serve him by doing a job he had been putting off.....ok, that's a nice way of saying I simply couldn't wait any longer for it it get done!

I decided to pull the weeds out of our back parking pad.

How bad can it be, right? I can safely say (and my poor back will agree) it was bad!

As I began tugging up the deep-rooted dandelions, at first it was almost fun. Yes, I do know that's weird, but there was such a feeling of accomplishment when I would twist the plant just so and know with all my heart that I had pulled up the entire root! As I slowly and methodically pulled weed after weed, I got to thinking - this is not nearly as satisfying as pulling the weeds (all 5 of them) out of my new window box. This job was tedious, literally painful (again, my back!) and not completely successful (so many weeds....).

In the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13, Jesus calls the weeds "the children of the evil one."


I started thinking about sin in my own life and how when I've caught it early, before I grew too attached to it (before the roots went down too deep) it was fairly easy to repent and release said sin.

I continued yanking (are these dandelions multiplying before my eyes??) and I thought about the times in my past when I've allowed a "pet" sin to grow and grow, thinking I could control it and it wasn't that big of a deal.....after all, God has alot more important things to worry about than my problem with ________......

After a particularly stubborn root knocked me off my feet (such a sight for the neighbours to behold!), I remembered the sorrow, pain, and discipline it took to clear that sin out of my life. It didn't happen over night, that is for certain!

O Lord, keep me from going there again. Help me to be honest with myself and honest with You, so I can keep short accounts of the ways I stray. Grant me Your grace to admit I can't live a moment without Your touch.

"Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope."
Job 11:13-18



Don't most kids go through this phase where when you ask them to pose for a picture and say, "smile!" this is the face they make?  I love it!  It almost seems like they so desperately want to show you how very happy they are, and that the only way to do it is smile for all they're worth!

I like to think I'm a fairly joyful person...most days.  I have no expectation that my life should be easy, smooth or even "happy."  But I do believe God's Word when I'm told that joy is possible for me.  

but, on a day like today when I have unanswered questions and problems I'm not sure how to solve, I have to ask.....How?


Take a look at Isaiah 55!
If I choose to believe that only He can satisfy. (v 1-2)  If I choose to believe that He hears me and always keeps His promises. (v 3-4)  He  has made me splendid! (v 5)  He will let me find Himself and He will  show me mercy. (v 6-7)  He knows my situation and myself better than I do and always sees the big picture. (v 8-9)  He has given me purpose and will help me reach His goals for my life! (10-11)  He will bring me joy and peace! (v 12) 

I'm smiling harder already! 


and so it begins....

I'm new to the world of blogs.
But ever since I started reading the blogs of some friends and some strangers, it got me to wondering: why would a person do this?  Also, would I ever feel like I had something to blog about?  

As recently as this morning, I decided again, "no.  no one would want to read something I would have to say.  there's nothing to be gained by it."

or is there?

This afternoon I started a new bible study.  It suggests that you get the most of it if you do it in a group.  Well, I guess I'm not going to get "the most" since I'm doing it on my own.  
The study is about body image (and I'm not ready to go there yet!) but it got me thinking about other areas of my life.  While the study led me through scripture passages about being appreciative of the body the Lord made for me, I thought of other areas of my life in which I seem to never be happy.

This pile of books sits on my night stand and represents the many areas where I have tended to see myself as "not good enough."

~Why can't I be a better wife?  How can I get him to be better to me?
~Why won't my kids just obey?  What am I doing wrong?
~I'm supposed to be a worship leader...am I living that from Monday-Saturday?
~Oh devotions!  Will ever do it right and get up at 6am for that special time?
~I want to be a leader that casts vision...yet I feel so blind!
~Shouldn't I know at least most of my Bible by now??

These books, written to teach, encourage and inspire me.  I've let them taunt and chastise me.  Not because of their content or the way they're written - because of how I see myself.

Today it changes.

Don't be alarmed by the title of my blog.  I'm not looking to get more "stuff" and I'm not looking to achieve my list in 6 easy steps.  I want to look for ways to live out 2 Peter 1:5-8 each day.  Just a little bit at a time.

I won't be perfect.  That's ok.

I won't get it all right every time.  Don't give up.

Some days, it will seem like I'm not adding, but subtracting!  No one is keeping score!

a little bit more.....

care to join me?
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