chips and dip?

at 9pm?


Confession time, friends!  Last night after our Young Families Group left, we got things cleaned up and the kiddies settled into beds, and then decided to watch a movie.  (This is not unusual for us because after a long Sunday of ministry, my husband and I are equally worn out but wanting to have some time to relax together.)

I had enjoyed some lovely snacks provided for the growth group that evening, and yet there I was digging into one of (many of) my favorite treats.  WHY?  Was I hungry?  um....NO.  I just wanted it.  Are deep-fried chips and creamcheese based dip something my body needs or benefits from?  again - NO.

This morning as I rolled (ROLLED!) out of bed, heavy-laden from salty water-retention and over-fullness, the scripture that came to mind was from our friend Paul in Romans 7:

"I do not understand what I do. 
For what I want to do I do not do,
but what I hate, I do....
I have the desire to do what is good,
but I can't carry it out."
vv 15 & 18b

Maybe this seems a little extreme to you, after all it's just chips, right?

The problem is, I have been through the waters with the Lord in the area of food, and He has shown me how to have peace in my heart in this area:  Eat when my stomach is hungry.  Stop when I'm satisfied/politely full.  So when I give into the cravings of my heart (or mouth), I'm outside of my Father's best for me.   Of course like most people, I'm generally aware and conscious of making good, heathly choices for my body to operate at it's optimum, but I don't feel called to have a restrictive diet.

And so - the chips.  What made me dive in without even giving it a second thought?  My sinful nature longs for instant gratification, but my inner being delights in God's ways for me (Rom 7:21-23).  How do I move past this?

"Those who live according to the sinful nature
have their minds set on what that nature desires;
but those who live in
accordance with the Spirit
have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."
Romans 8:5

"Because through Christ Jesus the law of
the Spirit of life
set me free
from the law of sin and death."
Romans 8:1

Jesus said,
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners..."
Luke 4:18 

Jesus Christ came to set me free from the power of sin - choosing to go my own way.  He desires for me to live according to the calling He has given me, and you to your calling also.

There is a passage that I love  in Isaiah that refers to the Sabbath, but can refer (I think) to other areas of life too:

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Isaiah 58:13-14

Isn't this what we want - to find our joy in the Lord, to ride with Him on the heights and sit down to the feast He has for us?  Praise God, He gives us everything we need (2 Pet 1:3)!



One of the goals I set for myself this new year was related to FUN.  I saw myself getting bogged down with just "getting things done" and found I wasn't really showing many signs of enjoying the process.  I also resolved to Smile more.  I'm very careful to not frown too frequently (how I loathe those lines between my eyebrows), but noticed that my go-to facial expression was just neutral...not a smile, not a frown, just nothing.

I think I've been doing pretty well with the smiling so far, I've been more aware and have been able to make the effort and think it's had a positive effect.  This fun thing, though....

I'm wondering if I've become a little like the psalmist who wrote: "My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away." Psalm 38:11

If I take more time to engage - will that make me more fun?  Of course I'm mostly thinking of my kids, but there are times I have struggled to be light and fun....even here, on this blog.  I certainly can't wait for everything in life to line up perfectly before I can find joy! 

{10 minutes later....}

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Biblegateway.com? After I typed the word joy I checked out the same word at my fave bible search engine and came up with a dozen verses that spoke the TRUTH of God's joy into my heart!

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Why?  I'll tell you: it's because...

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the height!

And the special ending that made my smile even bigger:

For the director of music. On my stringed instruments

...if you don't know, "director of music" is my job title in ministry!
now, how fun is that?


good medicine

"A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

Today we had a surprise!
About ten minutes after Gavin left to take A & E to school,
in the midst of the twelfth reading of Humphrey's Bedtime this week,
I heard a happy voice -
"Hi Mom!"

A water-main break had occurred and school was

Now, I can't say I'd always respond well to that kind of information, but today the Lord must have blessed me with an extra measure of grace because a smile spread across my face and I welcomed them to join us for the rest of the story (and the next, and the next...).

I didn't get everything on my TO-DO list done today,
but the kids had a great morning playing outside....

and having hot chocolate!

And after an afternoon apart,
at preschool,
staff meeting,
and piano lessons,

we met around the table for warm beef stew from the crockpot and buttermilk biscuits!

(and yes occasionally we have wine with a mid-week meal!)

Spending a surprise and mandatory vacation day together was a real blessing,
truly, good medicine!



This morning I drove down Portage Ave on my way to the church and I was completely awestruck.
I looked for a picture on google image, and nothing could do justice the sight I saw as
I drove past Assiniboine Park and over the Charleswood Parkway.
calorie-free frosting
dusted the trees and lamp posts, while the bright sunlight caused the glitter to glow.
What a lovely sight!
I wished I had my camera, or at least time to stop and stroll through the park.
I thanked God for creating such a beautiful reminder of His Glory and His Grace.

It has been so cold in this part of the country.
Yet, only in Manitoba can you have beautifully blinding sunlight shining off clean, white
frosty snow.

The Lord has brought our family to this place and we have so many reasons to praise Him.
He is good.

"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other."
Ecclesiastes 7:14

I'm not a fan of winter in Manitoba.
I'm not a fan of being cold,
of windchills,
of needing to plug my car in
and then letting it warm up for twenty minutes...

People who live in gloriously warm places don't get to see the beauty of frosty trees.

And in that thought I hear the gentle word of the Lord...
"I have made the one as well as the other.  Trust me."


it's winter

it's winter.

ok, so I know that's not exactly new information, but there's something about the first couple of weeks of January that cause an unsettled feeling in me.

I love to be surrounded by things that are pretty, and as I've said many a time, I consider it my mission to create a home that is warm and inviting, comfortable and cozy.

In the Fall the gardens peak and then fade, but the glory of autumn colours come alive on the trees surrounding our home.  As the last leaves are falling, it's time to pull out all things red and green, berries and pine.  The house comes alive with colours of Christmas and the scents of cinnamon and baking!  By January, I have packed away our decorations and usually what follows is a good clean and purge!  (I just can't bare to have too much "stuff" around me.)  Then...

it becomes painfully obvious....

it's winter

I can think about my flower gardens and what I'd like to plant this year, and how I might try to keep it alive for the whole summer, but  I can't do a thing about it.  The snow fills my flower box, tops the deck, covers the trees.

This year in preparation for Advent, I read a book I mysteriously found on our bookshelf (I literally have no idea where it came from) called A Winter Name for God by R. Scott Colglazier.  While I didn't quite do all the daily readings (so busy, that Christmas season!), I was blessed and encouraged by these devotions.  Each chapter is dated for the days of December and it really helped me shift my focus toward the purpose of Advent.

But it was more than that.  It spoke of the winter we can often experience in our souls.  Those cold, dark times where the night is so much longer than the day; where "the leaves of what we have believed might be stripped and blown away but the tree remains, as do the branches and roots." (p 97)

There is a corner of my heart that has had winter for quite some time.  I try to stay positive and I try to trust and seek the Lord, but without warning it can appear - like a shiver down my spine.

On day 23 of his book, Colglazier suggests that a spiritual winter is a good time to ask, "What do I most believe about life?"  He goes on from there to talk about HOPE.

Hope is not necessarily the same as optimism. It's the choice to believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.  It's knowing that He has laid out the paths of our lives and desires for us live in the fullness of His joy.  (see Psalm 16:11)

During the winter times of my faith journey, I choose to believe.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

"I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.'"
Psalm 16:2

"You will be secure,
because there is hope."
Job 11:18a

And until I can plant flowers in my window box, I'll pile up the softest blankets and light many fragrant candles.  I'll hunker down and get cozy until the winter passes again.


i don't scrapbook

At the beginning of December, I read The Red Tent.  This book was an interesting fictional take on the stories of Genesis.  The whole concept of the red tent is that it was the place where the women would gather at the start of the new moon and share their stories.  As girls became of age, they too would enter the tent and learn the history of their mothers, their families.

Women are often the ones who are the memory keepers in a family - preserving, telling and retelling the stories that their children and grandchildren will preserve, tell and retell.

The modern version of this is the scrapbook.

I remember well the first time I saw a Creative Memories demonstration.  I loved all the papers, the special scissors and stickers!  Instinctively I knew, however, that I would not be a scrapbooker.   I wondered if there might be a way for me to have the best of both worlds - stickers and pretty paper without the (perceived) pressure of keeping up elaborate albums.

Eventually I found my solution and have been creatively keeping my memories (wink, wink) in my way ever since!

This afternoon, in an effort to keep a renewed-by-the-new-year goal (resolution!), I decided to catch up on a stack of pictures that needed organizing.  I keep my photos in those handy, inexpensive little albums and decorate/notate the covers as much or as little as I see fit.  Here's my finished product:

I think the people who have the on-going hobby of lovely scrapbooks have a special gift, and will likely have real joy as they pass them down to their children.  I have wished at times that I were one of those people, but for the majority of the time, I'm ok with passing down my little books!

To scrapbook or not to scrapbook.....essentially it doesn't matter.  I'm pleased to offer the photos of my children and the things we've done and the places we've been, but what matters more is what I'm passing down to them that will last for eternity.  This is why I love Deuteronomy 6:5-9!  We are to love God with everything in us and pass it down to young lives entrusted to us!

Impress them on your children.  
Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
(v 7)

Praise God that He knows each of us and our gifting well enough not to add, "when you scrapbook it and when you embroider it onto pillows..." (unless that's your thing!).

May my children see more of Him, lovingly expressed in my life and acts of service!


small change

A new year - a new look for the blog!

I felt like something different and it was either this or get all my hair chopped off.  Believe me when I say that this was the better decision.

Short hair does me no favors. :)

full circle

we're finally slowing down...

the parties are over...
the concerts completed with pizzazz!

the tree and decorations are put away and stored under the stairs...
tummies are full to the brim with more sweets than we can handle...
the new year has been rung in with minimal hoopla.

the first day of 2010 is coming to a close.

I sit back and reflect and I come full circle - to where this blog began....resolution.

Many people say resolutions are a waste of time.  My own husband/pastor preached from the pulpit that resolutions are not valuable, only attainable goals are worth setting.  But - (as I preached to him in the van on the way home from church!), I think there's value in resolutions.  And I think it's ok if they're a little lofty.  I am going to actually run a full marathon this year - or even lose the 5 pounds I've been wishing (but not working) to lose for the last 4 1/2 years?  probably not.  Will I read a non-fiction book each month?   Will I read the whole Bible cover to cover this year?  maybe I can!  I like to think about how I might grow and change and become a more lovely and worthy Christ-follower.  I like to dream about what my life would be like with perfect patience, joy and peace.  In my heart I know perfection isn't something to be achieved before heaven, but I also know it is the Lord that puts this dream in my heart.

peu à peu - (bit by bit) This expression is coined by "the French Woman" (who doesn't get fat).  She emphasizes in life and health that a french woman never makes a drastic change but rather does a small new thing each day.  

I think there's biblical truth there, too!

"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16

The Message says the end part like this: "not a day goes by without his unfolding grace." 

I have the power and strength to be all the things God calls me to be, and He enables me to make the small changes it will take to become the vision He has for me!

I look up the long flight of stairs and dream about being up top, but take one step after the other to get there.
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