about me

Can I testify just a little bit today?

I'm sitting at my desk at the church and my monday morning jobs are done.  I'm glad to be here today because I didn't think I'd make it in for my regular monday (van in the shop for the millionth time since friday!)  After my husband called and said he made a way for our day to go on as usual, I started to get ready to come and I got to thinking....  and when I think about something for an extended period of time, the thoughts almost always pour out here!

Do you love your job? 

I haven't always loved the jobs I've had.  My first job was at McDonald's and I actually really liked it.  There I learned hard work, clean as you go and the camaraderie of being a team.

My next job was as a receptionist - actually I started as a file clerk and was promoted to receptionist.  I liked that job enough, I'd say.  I liked the feeling of working at a desk and not ending the day covered in grease.   There I had to overcome my some of my insecurities - go figure, answering the phone was part of that journey and heaven help me if I had to make an outgoing call!

From there I moved to a very large insurance company where I became a claims adjuster.  I liked learning the computer programs and becoming confident in my abilities but began to find working in a small cubicle lonely and meaningless.  (which isn't to say that work is meaningless - it was how it made me feel!)  When I had my first baby, I went back to the insurance company after 6 months away.  Every dissatisfied feeling was magnified now that I had a beautiful baby at home that my husband was getting to spend the day with!  I quit after 2 months and spent my time "working" with my children!

The amazing thing to me is how the Lord has used the experiences in these jobs to help prepare me for what I get to do today!

"In your heart you plan your life.
But the Lord decides where your steps will take you."
Proverbs 16:9 (NIRV)

I started taking piano lessons when I was 8.  Apparently this was rather late for a beginner, but the playing field was leveled as I quickly moved up grade by grade.  I enjoyed playing the piano, but wasn't the most dedicated practice-er.

When I was thirteen the regular (and only) pianist at our church left to attend elsewhere.  The leadership was at a bit of a loss, so they looked around and saw 2 girls who were taking piano lessons and called us to duty!  How gracious the people of that congregation were as we struggled to learn to play from the red hymnal.  We submitted lists of songs we could play (relatively well) and worked to add songs with more sharps and flats.

By the time I left for Bible School, I had come a pretty long way, baby!  I continued to take piano lessons through this time and had added voice lessons, musicianship clubs, school programs and more.  Music was a big part of my life but I was beginning to realize that of all the things I did, church music seemed to be my strength. 

At Bible School I was introduced to the concept of a live worship band.  I was so honoured to be invited to sing with the Focus on Worship Band.  I didn't contribute much (besides harmony!) but as I watched gifted leaders arrange music and lead worship times, my mind was being stretched.

Returning home a year later, I was on fire (Bible School will do that to you!) for the Lord and tried to share my passion for worship.  I met a guy who liked what I was saying (I mentioned it here) and encouraged me by providing opportunity.  This guy and I fell in love and got married.  The church he attended became "our" church and we worked together leading Sunday morning worship, building a band bit by bit.

This is certainly not the short version of the story.....

Five and a half years ago, we moved from our hometown for my husband to pursue his academic career.  Over the course of 3 years and 2 separate congregations (in 2 different countries), I was blessed and encouraged to serve with the worship ministry and learn from two people who quickly became friends.  In our church in Ontario, the Worship Pastor was not only a gifted musician but had (has) a passion for leadership and developing new leaders.  This friend pushed me out my comfort zone (graciously) and inspired me to explore what the Lord could do with what He'd given me.

And so here I am today.  In my third year as Worship Director at the church where I first attended with my husband.  All the pieces come together and I feel content, blessed and in awe of how the Lord works.  I love the organizational part of my job.  I love the opportunities to get creative with music and more in order to inspire people to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.  I love working with friends who are devoted to serving in this way and I (like my friend in Ontario) have developed a passion for encouraging new leaders to emerge!  Directing a choir for the first time ever has been an enormous blessing to me and I still get to play and sing for my Saviour on a regular basis.

Sure, there are things that are tough about this job... working with volunteers, maintaining vision and persevering through personal dry spells, not being able to take weeks of vacation during the summer - it's a real balancing act at times....  but when you are sure that the Lord has brought you to a certain place, you simply can't complain!

If you made it through to the end of this long post, I hope you've been encouraged.  God does indeed work all things together for His good and I will never be able to deny that He always has a plan.

"For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness."
Psalm 26:3



the first Sunday of Advent.

I've never done it before, but I have decided that I will have a theme for our family and home this Advent/Christmas season.  When I saw this wall hanging on our trip, it spoke to me...

Thinking about a time of year that can have a tendency to be more rushed than reflective and harried than peaceful, these words caused me to pause and wonder what my home would be like if these words represented how we would be doing the holiday season.

Comfort - not comfortable, for that's something entirely different - but to choose activities and traditions that bring rest and peace to our hearts...not just something to fill up every night from now until December 24th.

Joy - not an obsession with being merry, the ho-ho-ho of it all - but things that reflect real, lasting joy and the peace that comes only from above.  Choosing to do things with meaning, building into a sense of contributing the God's Kingdom work.

And of course, I was drawn instantly to the "&" because it looks very much like and treble clef and that represents the power music has (at least in my life) to stir up feelings of comfort and joy, peace, hope and love all in a few notes!

So my mission for the next 28 days is to ponder, wait and celebrate, to consider the Gift of my Saviour in terms of comfort and joy and to be a source of both of these in my home and to the people around me.

 May your unfailing love be my comfort... 
 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, 
   for your law is my delight.
psalm 119:76-77



What do you do when you're in need of some encouragement?
Where do you turn?

I mean, I know the proper answer: prayer and bible reading - I do both of those too - but I'm actually asking....

is there a website or blog that you find uplifting?

is there a type of music that you find inspiring?

is there a book that always lifts your spirits?

Today was supposed to be a quiet morning in a warm house baking mini muffins until after lunch when the race would be on once again.  Instead, I had a sudden request to drive my husband to work - blast this one car business - which meant getting out of my pj's and slippers and onto the roads with their newly acquired 10+ cm of snow.  Upon returning home, I settled down with my now lukewarm cup of coffee to finish reading my youngest her stack of Arthur books when the phone rang.

"Please come and retrieve your sick child from school."

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that most of the mothers reading here are likely more gracious than I, because I felt like telling the school secretary, "excuse me, but I don't have a sick child."

And can I just say, indeed I don't!  The teacher explained that the child seemed a little "peaked" and was bothered by her new retainer.  Peaked?  Yes, certainly she is tired, but as she all but skipped down the front steps of the school, this mama knew her instincts were accurate.  Back on the snow packed roads, only to have to drive the youngest to school in an hour...

so where do you turn?

I love books and I have a few.   With my now cold cup of coffee sitting bedside me, I picked a book off the shelf that I remember being meaningful to me years ago called Intimacy with the Almighty by Charles Swindoll.  As I flipped through it, I came across a chapter called "Four Decisions, Four Disciplines."  The first Decision is "reordering one's private world: the discipline of simplicity."  Now that's appealing!  (Does it involve not going to pick up a not-sick child??)  ok, it doesn't say that at all.  But there is a verse:

"God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated."
Ecclesiastes 7:29 (TEV)

Now there's some truth to chew on!

grace, patience, love and acceptance:  these are truths that are plain and simple.

suspicion, grudges, frustration and rejection:  these make my life very complicated.

grant me Your grace Lord, teach me your patience.
help me to love the way You love.
for Your glory.

Are you in need of encouragement today?
Where will you turn?


wiww - week 6

So it's amazing how just taking one week off makes me feel all nervous and uncomfortable with this again.

Nevertheless, here I am, linking up with the Pleated Poppy and all the other mamas out there trying to take the schlump out of our stay-at-home wardrobe!
[busy Thursday - made perogies with friends,
staff mtg in afternoon, piano lessons and Christmas shoebox
shopping and packing with the kids.]
jeans - dkny
white long sleeve - old navy
tank - old navy 
(it has cute embellishment that you can't really see)
locket - mom's

[Sunday - church, VIP lunch, Young Families small group]
black dress - gap
black long sleeve - old navy
necklace - pier 1

[Monday at the church office and birthday dinner for my nephew
and husband at my mom & dad's]
jeans - gap
(they're not black, just really dark blue)
blouse - gap
cardi - gap
(you can't see it in this picture, but I'm wearing 
the necklace my husband gave me for our first anniversary.)
[Tuesday at home for the morning, errands in the afternoon]
ripped jeans - gap
(i think i may be too old to wear intentionally ripped jeans,
but every time I wear them my son tells me i'm cool)
green cami - jacob
blue v neck - gap
necklace - new from etsy

Since the lighting is so bad in my room, here's a close up
of some of the necklaces I've worn this week:
from the top:
my mom's locket from 1973
(my older brother is the baby and that's my folks on the left -before I was born)
outoftheblue "music" necklace
diamond pendant - first anniversary gift
green beads - pier 1

"Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach....
No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it."
deuteronomy 30:11 &14


too soon

it was supposed to be a light-hearted joke, but came out biting and resentful....

it was meant as an innocent question, but sounded intrusive and like gossip...

two examples too many of when I




I have lived long enough, at this point, to know that there is no value in talking "out of school."  Gossip will always come back and bite you and besides being sinful will ruin your reputation.  But alas, there are times when something comes out of my mouth in a way I never intended - by tone or by words. 

I like to think that I'm not a "worrier" and that I can keep most things in relative perspective, but the one thing I have a very hard time letting go of is the thought that my words or actions have hurt or offended someone.  Even if they don't seem to hold it against me, I tend to hold it against myself.

I know perfection is for the other side, and I work hard to be content with "good enough"....but if there's one thing I'd like perfect control over (or rather, be able to completely allow God to control)  it's my tongue.  Scripture talks alot about it and if you know anything at all about people, you know it's important to most everyone.

Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; 
   keep watch over the door of my lips.
psalm 141:3

a little bit more....in increasing meausre.....full submission...


in advance

Back from the road trip and feeling blessed to be home.  I love being on the road and having time with my family (although my son was....excited? tired?...can't seem to find the loving way to say 'completely off kilter and super frustrating'...oh well, we all have our days, right? but I digress..)...

I love being on the road and having time without the phone ringing and everyone running in a million different directions.  I was going to take LOTS of pictures to post and commerate the family times.  was.  I took two.  2.  Maybe I was living in the moment and not worrying about capturing each turn?  More likely I just kept forgetting I even brought the camera and didn't want it turned back on me while I was sailing down waterslides in all my white-flesh wonder.

Anyway, this isn't what I'm really thinking about today.

Today I'm thinking about a song I just listened to on the new CD I bought while away.  Apparently the song isn't new, but the CD compilation is fairly recent.  I absolutely love compilation CDs because you get a taste of many different artists, and usually it's the best song of their latest album.  The WOW people do these best, so when I saw WOW Gospel 2010, it mysteriously popped into my shopping cart!

Third song, first album - Marvin Sapp sings a song called Praise Him in Advance.  Check out these lyrics:

i've had my share of ups and downs
times when there was no one around
God came and spoke these words to me
praise will confuse the enemy

so i started singing, i started clapping
i started dancing, people were laughing
they knew my problems, they knew my pain
but i knew God would take them away

that's why i praise Him with my hands
that's why i praise Him with my dance
He's given me a second chance
come on let's praise Him in advance

that's why I praise Him with a song
when things are right and when things are wrong
He's given me a second chance
come on let's praise Him in advance

Sometimes when I'm wading through the waters of life, I look forward knowing the Lord will bring me through and have hope for the praise I will be able to offer.  I have seen Him at work enough times (and have read enough of Deuteronomy) to know of His faithfulness even amid my faithlessness.  I know when I come through to the other side, I will see all the reasons to lift His name high and rejoice at His goodness.

But what if we chose to praise Him in advance?  That takes trust to the next level, don't you think?  What if, like the prophet Habakkuk, we chose to rejoice and be joyful in the Lord even when everything was falling down around us?

"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 Saviour."
Habakkuk 3:17-18

It makes me wonder - where in my life do I need to praise Him in advance?

Maybe it's because of an extended time of "togetherness" with my kids that they come to mind.  It's so hard to be a parent that's intentional and perservering in patience and grace when there are seasons that show little fruit.  Yet today the Lord tells me that I can praise Him in advance for what He is doing and will do in and through these lives entrusted to me for a little while.

Are you praising in advance in the middle of your own storm?


wiww- week 5

Fifth Wednesday linking up with the Pleated Poppy.
Can't say I'm getting better at this.
I left my camera at my mom's for a couple of days,
and a couple of days I just plum forgot to photograph my amazingly creative outfits.
~can you tell I was joking?~
I did forget...it's the second part that was tongue-in-cheek.

(funny thing, growing up I wasn't allowed to wear pants to church 
and now more often than not, I wear jeans...)
jeans - dkny
black shirt - old navy
belt - club monaco
(another funny thing - my good friend/fellow 'pastor wife' was also wearing
dark denim with a black button down shirt and a skinny belt.  
the only difference was that her shirt had white polka dots with a solid coloured  black belt...
I've had this polka dot belt for 2 years and have never worn it until this day.
What are the chances??
too bad my camera was at my mom's...)

these are the shoes I was wearing that day and wear ALOT
I love them.
I'm not usually a fan of toe cleavage and yet these work for me.
Bought on the clearance rack at Target years ago.

I'v had a relatively lazy week -my husband and I are on vacation this week....
so why am I still in bedroom, you ask?
Let's just say the term "vacation" is relative.
We heading on a road trip with the kids this weekend - our favorite type of trip.

here's Monday, running errands:
jeans - gap
grey long sleeve T - gap
dark grey cardi - plum
purple scarf - target
{too bad the lighting is so bad that you can really see the true cuteness of the scarf}
ok, so the colour is pretty bad here...
[breakfast with a friend and meeting in the afternoon]
long sleeve oatmeal t - joe fresh
dark jeans - gap
drapey brown sweater -gap
necklace -??

Hoping to pick up a few new 'unique' things on our

stay tuned, it can only get better....i hope. ;)


what you think you want

I don't remember how it came to be, exactly - an ad in a flyer? a tv commercial?

All I remember is wanting it.  NEEDING it.  begging for it.

Getting it, opening the box and reading the instructions led to the first disappointment.  You don't just set up the fun maze and start playing the game of MouseTrap, you painstakingly put it together bit by bit, turn by turn.  You don't even activate the marble until the very end of the game - disappointment number two.  The third let down?  Surprise, surprise, the plastic pieces are not the highest quality and once one piece breaks, the game is useless.

Fast forward a good chunk of time....

I'm in the Toys'R'Us aisle with my kids, each with money to spend.  After MUCH convincing, I coerce them into each choosing a game.  My eldest spots the colourful Mouse Trap box and squeals in delight, "I've always wanted this game and it's ON SALE!"

Now Mom has a choice.  Does she tell the tale of heartache in years gone by, describing in great detail the disappointment the child will have to endure with this game?  Or does she smile and agree to the purchase. Inwardly, this mom wrestled a little.  Knowing what she wants and what she's about to get - and the vast canyon between the two....

She got it.
And I watched her go through the rise and fall of delight to despair.

If I had told her, I don't think she would even have believed me, truth be told.

How often what I think I want out of life turns out to be wrong.  I think I understand what I'm getting myself into.  I think I've thought of everything and yet....

The ultimate example of grace and mercy, my God lets me find my way - twisting and turning down every path - to His best for me.  Yes, sometimes it means disappointment along the way.  Yes, it can lead to despair.  But as I continue to align myself with His will, His goals and purposes, I will not be distracted by what the world tells me I need.  I will not make decisions based on preference or an effort to take the easy road.

The things I think I want - these ones that don't live up their promises - aren't the things that are best for me.  What the Lord wants for my life, the direction He would have me go, these are the things I need to build into my life - for His glory and my good.

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, 
who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 
encourage your hearts and strengthen you 
in every good deed and word."  
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17


this girl

Age 4
Question:  How many times can one mama gush about her babies?

Answer:  again and again and again and again!

Last November I wrote about my first born daughter on the occasion of her 9th birthday.  I guess it's the first of these milestones that just feel so huge.

Well, this week, it just got HUGER (that doesn't look right, but my spell check isn't chastising me, so I suppose it is).  DOUBLE DIGITS.

She turned 10.

did you hear me?


Watching my daughter grow and mature is like watching the Lord work a miracle before my very eyes.  I remember so clearly the first time I watched her play with a shape sorter.  As she worked to put each piece in the correctly shaped hole, I stood off to the side amazed because I had never taught her how to do it.  She  tried and learned to do it all on her own.  I was at the same time proud and saddened by the fact that she was becoming her own person.

And now, ten years later, she is indeed her own person.  She has her own thoughts and dreams and ideas.   I stand to the side watching in wonder as the Lord works in and through her, calling and drawing her to Himself.  She's not perfect, but she's learning a little bit more each day.

On the eve of her birthday, she stood in a group of 60 children and sang her first choir performance with our school division's Grade 5 choir.   My heart hurt with pride and my eyes stung with tears at how far she's come....and the realization of how much further she's yet to go.

If you had come to my house this week, I probably would have made you sit down and look at page after page of photos of my daughter...instead here are a few:

daily activity at 1 yr old - still loves to read!
5 months - sitting up

loving on her baby brother

even though everyone wasn't thrilled to meet #3 -she was!

kindergarten in NC - the year she spoke with the most
adorable southern accent.  here singing a tribute to
Martin Luther King Jr.
she loves her daddy!
in niagara falls, on -our family favorite!

so glad she has a sister
holding her favorite new baby - cousin Gracie
And now that the candles are all blown out and the celebration week is coming to an end, I thank God for her - this bright, sensitive child that He has given me for this little while.
(sniff, sniff)


wiww- week 4

So I've already lamented that I've been sick all week...really since last Wednesday.  Needless to say, I was not creative or cute at all - ALL week.   But in an effort to be a woman of my word, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to show you what I've been wearing.

I will say, that I did get dressed - I even went to church - but I didn't even think of photographing what I was wearing because I felt so icky.

In the last week I wore alot of this:
yes, those are my jammies.

I also spent a great deal of time wearing this:
if i lay my head on the brown pillow at the end it's perfect for sickly tv watching.
the cream afghan was made by my aunt for our wedding shower 13 years ago-
it is aged to perfection!

and every chance I got, I wore this:

Sorry for the let down! :)
I had hoped that maybe this morning I would feel alive and revived and put together some sassy outfit,
but alas, I'm still in my jammies.
I will have to get dressed to do my 'busy wednesday' stuff, so come back next week to see if I finally got my act together!

....I guess it's a bit a cliffhanger? 



I've been sick now for several days, and so it seems like my head is a little fuzzy....or maybe it's that I feel a little stuck inside my head.  The stuffiness of a head cold makes it seem like I can't hear, the sore throat makes it feel like I can't speak.  Even when I'm communicating with others it still feels like it's some sort of out-of-body thing - like listening to two people have a conversation through a tunnel.

I think this is why my thoughts seem so loud.

I don't like to be the devil-behind-every-corner kind of girl, but I beginning to wonder if the devil isn't using the volume of my thoughts to bring me down.  I keep thinking about how half-empty my glass is.

I can't seem to let things go....

my parenting failures (or worse, his parenting failures)

my disappointments

my imperfections

my house that is in complete disarray (and exactly how does that happen after being under the weather for just a couple of days??)

the ways I want to be better

the things I'd like to change

the feeling that I'm not capable of change at all, so why bother?

wow, that's really alot for a girl with a cold!  could it be the fever talking?

What do you do when you come to this place?
Do you have tips and tricks to be released from an sicky-induced funk?

The only thing I can think of is to go to the Word of God.  It is true. It never changes.

"For this is what the high and lofty One says - he who lives forever, whose names is holy:  
'I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, 
to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'" Isaiah 57:15

"I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; 
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. 
 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
 that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself....
O LORD God Almighty, who is like you?  
You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you....
Your arm is endued with power
your hand is strong
your right hand exalted....
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, 
who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.  
They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. 
 For you are their glory and strength."  Psalm 89:1-2, 8, 13, 15-17

God's Word is Truth!  Be my strength, O Lord...give me Your songs to sing...Your love and faithfulness never end and never fail....You are mine and I am Yours.

"On hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.'"  Matthew 9:12
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