something bigger

Last night I had the joy of being able to go to a really big show - I mean really big!  Apparently it had been 14 years since U2 came to town...I was there and I'm pretty sure it hadn't been that long!  (you know how time flies the older you get!)

I happen to get to go to these concerts with the biggest U2 fan around, my sweet husband.  This time though, we also went with a great group of friends and though I didn't sit with my man, I had an awesome time sitting with the girls (who aren't all present for the picture), dancing, enjoying the music and being cold!

As we waited for the main act to come on, I looked out across the stadium at a sea of people: everyone there for the same reason, energy bouncing.  I couldn't help but think of the Church.  I thought about followers of Jesus across the world - living, serving and waiting for the Kingdom to be fulfilled -and what it would be like to be all in one place for just one night.

I surveyed the huge crowd on the floor and saw a small group of 6 people waving in my direction.  I reluctantly waved back, not knowing if I really was the one whose attention they were trying to attract. When that little group started jumping up and down I realized (finally) that I did know them! They were my eagle-eyed friends who spotted us up in the stands.  How cool is that?!

And maybe that's more like the experience we're meant to have in the here and now of the Church.  Small clusters of people - call them churches, assemblies, gatherings - in a sea of unbelievers, shining our Light.  All seeking to share the love Jesus and jumping up and down at the sight of someone they "know."

We are not alone.
We do not need to be separated by small doctrinal differences.
We are part of something bigger.
We are a part of God's plan for the world.

And just like the lights from the stage at the concert that filled the sky and were seen from miles around, we must shine where we are and seek to serve God together.

"You are the light of the world-
a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden."
Matthew 5:14


is this a problem?

My aunt is an amazing cook and seamstress, and she recently has taken up painting.  As no surprise to me, she's really good at it!  I asked her if she paints regularly or if she needs a shot of inspiration to hit in order to produce something.  "I have to be inpsired to do it," she replied, "It's the same with my sewing."  Intially I was really surprised!  I just assumed that she would carve out time in a day to create.

But creativity of the very best sort requires inspiration, doesn't it?

This is when I really began to wonder about the balance between inspiration and discipline.

Is it possible that a disciplined approach to creativity can yield the same results as an inspired approach?  Or to the contrary, could I wait for a sudden jolt of inspiration and then produce something creative without much practice?

And then another question surfaced:

Is inspiration my problem?

Could it be that I have become an inspiration junkie?

I admitted in the last post that I have a tendency to be drawn into the latest, greatest of things - everything from devotional books, to home magazines, to exercise dvds....  But when I turn to these things, what exactly am I looking for?  And what exactly are the results I get?

I tell myself that I'm looking for inspiration on blogs and in books and magazines and other peoples homes and stories.  I try to make myself believe that if the pictures and testimonies are powerful enough, these things will change my life.  These things will become the driving force behind making the choices I need to make in order to live the life I want.

But what I've ended up with are hours wasted online, stacks of pretty magazines and a drawer full of dvds....with the same life, the same struggle day to day.

I've come to learn that what I hoped to get from things was not inspiration, as I've told myself, but discipline.  The small steps and purposeful choices one makes not because they feel like it (or are inspired to do) but because they have decided.  Pretty magazines cannot change my mind.  Christ in me is what changes my thinking; (Galatians 2:20)   Because of that I can discipline myself to become who the Lord intends for me to be.

Please allow me to finish my thoughts with 2 disclaimers:

1 - I'm not saying there's anything wrong with getting inspired by any of the above mentioned things.  It is always about balance (hence the picture of my son walking across that tight rope).  As inspiration, these things are fun and great for ideas....as a replacement for discipline?  not so effective!

2- Maybe you, fine reader, think I am crazy to struggle with these concepts.  I wouldn't be surprised in the least, given that I generally walk around thinking that everyone has a more disciplined life than I!  But if this has spoken to your heart, I pray for you as much as for myself, that we wouldn't leave Truth in our hearts alone, but that it would flow out through our words and deeds.

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


get 'er done

When my kids were small - really small - one of things I loved to do was organize all their sweet little onesies and sleepers and such.  As they grew and as the seasons changed, I would dig into bins to find the things they finally had grown into (you know when you think they'll never be that big!) and put away the now tiny items to save for another baby.

Well, now that my kids are not-so-small-ish, one of my least favorite jobs to do is organize their clothes.  I can't even (or at least shouldn't) complain, because our kids aren't the fastest growers, so it's not like this is an every other month type of job.  BUT, when the weather changes, my *sigh* can probably be heard across the land as I start the tedious process of digging out too-small clothes and searching through our shed for will-now-fit clothes.  Part of the issue is that our home is almost a hundred years old and the closet space is minimal, so there's no way to keep winter and summer clothes all in one place!   Thankfully, when the weather's nice this job can happen on the deck!   

There's nothing quite like seeing your poor children in jeans and long sleeves in 22C weather to help you gain a little inspiration

There it is again - this word that keeps rattling around in my brain....though this time, it might also be called desperation.

Inspiration is that thing where you suddenly are motivated to something. Maybe something you really enjoy, or maybe it's something you need to do and are surprised by the energy and willingness to complete it.

Inspiration calls me to my glue gun at odd hours to make something... it helps me see beyond the messy closet to a new idea for getting organized... it tells me I CAN be a better wife, mother, person....it draws me to a pretty magazine, or a new devotional book, or a new exercise dvd....

Inspiration can be found in a quote like this one I read on a friend's facebook page:

"If you do what you've always done,
you'll get what you've always gotten."

Inspiration can come from books we read, websites and blogs we visit, and from conversations with friends. There's nothing quite like hearing about a friend's success with some area of their life that will make you think, "I can do that too!"

The best inspiration, of course, comes from God's Word.  The scriptures teach us and correct us.  They show us the way to the life God intended for us to have.  They remind us of who He is and speak of His unfailing love.  (One of my faves is Psalm 143:8-10)

What inspires you?


a place to start

A lot of what I write here is about being intentional.

In fact, if I had to describe the main theme or purpose of this blog, it would be to talk about intentional living.  

I like to see what google images provides when I pop a word into the search box, and when I did that with the word intentional I found some interesting connections!


Here's a book I bought (and haven't done more than flip through...)


Here's a blog I read (written by the same author as above) with so many great tips and ideas!

This blog I started reading because of it's title!  It sounds so purposeful....so intentionally passionate!

My theme verse (every year) is about intentionally building Christ-like qualities into my life:

Philippians 1:9-11

This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.

It's good to see I'm consistent, am I right?

Well, let me be clear about one thing:
I don't think, read, talk and write about intentional living because it's what I do and who I am to my very core.  
I do it because it's what I long to be,
aspire to do,
hope to become.

But what I've been thinking about over the last couple of weeks (especially after my Grandpa passed) is about the difference between inspiration and discipline.  
I think
this could be the key for me to living the life I've always wanted;
my best life, if you want to go there! :)

can we talk about it?


SO last week

you know your life is way. too. busy. when a special girl celebrates a special day without her mama getting a chance to gush about it on her blog....

(although, i'm aware i gush about this girl a LOT.)

my baby turned 6 years old last friday!

Cassidy Rebekah Joy
birthday morning with required
homemade cinnamon buns!

was born the day before Mother's Day in 2005, 
just 2 1/2 months shy of her big brother's 3rd birthday.

It took a long time to decide if we would try for just one more.
We had a girl
and the boy to go with her;
would one more just be greedy?

of course not!

Cassidy came into the world "sunny side up"
and has been a ray of sunshine in our family every day since.

I praise God for this girl for she has made me a better mom.
Her delicate sensitivities have forced me to lower my voice,
make my tone sweeter,
and use more grace.
I really believe that was part of the Lord's intention with her life.

She has a strong sense of belonging 
and loves being part of our family.
She loves Jesus and talks to Him like He's really in the room.

I pray that the Lord will continue to draw her to Himself,
that we will parent her in a way that causes her to reach her full bloom
(how she LOVES flowers)
and that she will do all things the Lord has for her to do in her time here.

 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the glorious Father, 
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, 
so that you may know him better.
eph 1:17

you are a blessing to me, my baby Dolly.

(this post was edited down after some second thoughts about giving too many details of my precious girl's personality and character traits.  call me over-protective, but it just felt weird to let "the world" know who she is, inside and out.)



Last October I wrote THIS post after a day with my extended family.

Today we grieve and celebrate my Grandpa going home to be with His Lord.

It happened rather suddenly, too much of a surprise for our comfort, but we praise God for receiving His faithful servant into His arms yesterday afternoon.

I could go on for days about why my Grandpa was a cherished part of my life.  I could tell you that he and my dad built the most wonderful and well made playhouse for me and my cousins, with shingles on the roof and a window that opened to let the fresh air in.  This little house, tucked in the trees on my grandparents property was my second home - though I never had the courage to sleep in it, especially after Uncle Felix's cow got through the fence and was staring at me through the Granny-made curtains...

My Grandpa would sit in his chair when I arrived for a visit and my first priority was to go give him and hug and a kiss and grab a jellybean (or 5) from the always-full bowl next to his reading chair.

Mornings at my grandparents always included homemade bread toasted and smeared with homemade jelly - hopefully chokecherry - followed by devotions.  Granny would read the scripture passage, Gramps would read the Daily Bread devo thought.  As a child, I couldn't believe how long that took!  (As an adult I was surprised to discover how short those readings actually are!)

When my grandpa would lead in prayer, he always began with "our gracious Lord and loving heavenly Father..."  This wasn't just his "habit" this was his Truth.  This was who he had known the Lord to be over course of his life.

As my brother and I carefully looked at the pages of beautiful old books in my grandparent's sitting room, I saw that the things my Grandpa read about where the same things that are always on my heart - living a life pleasing to Lord, building disciplines and increasing my faith with God's help.  My brother flipped through one of the many bibles in the room and I noticed yellowish marks on page after page.  "He must have spilled something" I said.  "No," my brother replied, "those marks are the oil from where his thumbs rested.  He must have read in this part a lot."

How blessed my family is to have had a leader in the Faith like my Grandpa.  I'm so glad that he's finally Home.

When I read Philippians 1, I think of my Grandpa.  He's like my Paul: the example I want to follow, just as he followed Christ.  The longing with which Paul spoke to the church in Philippi, is how I believe Gramps thought of me and our family:

 God can testify how I long for all of you 
with the affection of Christ Jesus.
  And this is my prayer: 
that your love may abound more and more 
in knowledge and depth of insight, 
so that you may be able to discern 
what is best and may be 
pure and blameless
 for the day of Christ, 
filled with the fruit of righteousness 
that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

have fun with my grandpa, Jesus.  
I love you both.


cashmere in may

Waking up Sunday morning to a thick covering of snow was not my idea...

but I hoped it would melt within the day.

Waking up Monday morning to a thinner, but still present covering of snow was not in my plans... 

but I had hope that today would be the day it left us for good.

Pulling out a cashmere sweater on the second day of May was not what I expected...

but I was glad I hadn't put my warmest sweaters into storage yet.

Looking at snow in May is depressing, I have to admit.  It actually is kind of confusing to my brain and emotions -  should I be spring cleaning or Christmas baking??  But it's a resonable metaphor for life - for my life in the last couple of weeks.  Things pop up and disappear. Hopes raised, dashed and raised again. Fuzzy directions turn into clear signs.

This is life.

At least, this is my life - can you relate?

The writer of Lamentations knows this part of life:
"I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord..."

Have you been there?  How do you respond?

"I well remember...yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, 'the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' " (Lam 3:17-24)

Cashmere in May was not my plan but it's warmth surrounds me and even better, it reminds me that my God's love and presence in my life is all I need.
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