being a parent is way harder than i ever imagined it would be.

when i had babies, it was all about feeding, changing and cuddling.  i worried when they cried for a long time or slept along time or ate more/less than usual...

when i had toddlers, it was all about routine, play and cuddling.  i worried about teaching them rules for life - clean up after you make a mess, say please and thank you and the like....

as they started school, it was still about routine with plenty of time for play and less-frequent cuddles (by their choice).  i worried about them fitting in and making friends, being able to do school with some degree of 'success' and developing Christ-like character...

my kids are still young, but now that they are learning more about the world and people, my heart breaks regularly.  it is so hard to hear how they process friendships.  it is so hard to hear them say they feel stupid in a particular situation or like they don't fit.  it is so hard to watch them struggle.  i've never known such pain in my heart.  honestly, sometimes i wonder if i'd known how much this would hurt...

and they're not even teenagers yet.

i've heard mothers further along on the journey say how having children drove them to their knees more than ever before.  i don't think i could say i fully understood that when they were babies, toddlers, pre-and-early-schoolers.  don't get me wrong - i've always prayed for my kids, and i probably would have told you i understood the real need for prayer at every stage.

but now.

tears and questions that i have no answers for lead me to lean on Jesus in a new way.  the angst of my child brings angst in my own heart - sometimes reliving my own youth, sometimes watching something i've never seen before.  i desperately want to have all the answers.  where are the books that give me all the answers??  i want to make it all better, like kissing a boo-boo and applying a colourful bandage, but i just can't.

and so i give lots of hugs and listen even more.  i try to reassure and encourage.  i point to scripture and tell my own stories.  and i pray, and pray, and pray.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you 
with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 
18 may have power
together with all the Lord’s holy people, 
to grasp how wide 
and long 
and high 
and deep 
is the love of Christ
19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure 
of all the fullness of God.
eph 3:16-19


unexpected blessing

As I poured my second cup of coffee, I stepped in front of my kitchen window and noticed my full bird feeder.  We loaded up the feeder a couple of days ago, and I have yet see a bird there, I thought to myself.

At that very moment a bluejay flew into view.

A small gasp escaped my lips, followed by a smile and a prayer of thanks.  I thought of our dear friends, for whom a bluejay is a special symbol of God's love at the most difficult times.  I thought of how it's just like our loving Heavenly Father to send a reminder of His presence when I'm not even looking for it.

An unexpected blessing.

I remembered how many times I've received an unexpected blessing-from a friend, from a stranger.  I wondered how many times I've overlooked something that the Lord intended to bless me.

I must remember to keep my eyes open, I thought to myself.

And then another thought:

How 'bout delivering that unexpected blessing?

An email, a note delivered by snail-mail, a phone call, a kind word, a small gift, a hand on a shoulder.... what about keeping my eyes open for the ways I can give -be- an unexpected blessing to someone else -a friend or a stranger.

I must remember to keep my open, I thought again to myself.

10 Unfailing love and truth have met together. 
      Righteousness and peace have kissed!  
11 Truth springs up from the earth,       
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.  
12 Yes, the LORD pours down his blessings. 

I WILL remember to keep my eyes open. 


bread goodness

who doesn't love a church cookbook?

I have two from my own church, and this recipe is from my girlfriend's church in another town.  I chose to try it for one reason - it's name!  Something about the name "herbed peasant bread" sounds so beautifully rustic and downhome.  It also appealed to me because I always have every single one of these ingredients on hand, which means I can whip it up an ol' time (as long as I'm home for the afternoon!).

Yeast breads are time consuming only because of the waiting, but this one is worth the wait!  So without further ado, I introduce to you the accompaniment, nay, the star of yesterday's dinner....

submitted by Lydia Krahn (who I don't know)

1/2 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
melted butter

In a skillet on low heat, saute butter and onion until tender, about 8 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes

Place in a mixing bowl.
Add milk, sugar, salt, herbs, yeast and 3 cups of flour;
beat until smooth (I used a wooden spoon).

Add enough flour to form a soft dough.
(keep it tacky for the softest bread)
Turn onto a floured board;
knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl (I use a tiny bit of olive oil),
turning once to grease top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Punch down, shaped into a ball (I like an oval shape)
and place on a greased baking sheet.
(I used stoneware, so it wasn't greased.)

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes.
Remove to wire rack (oops, I didn't do that);
brush with butter.

Cool. Yields 1 loaf

Perfect with anything and everything, as well as on it's own, if you ask me!
Here it is on the side of yesterday's crockpot wonder:

an extra hint:
If you don't always spill flour on yourself like I do,
might I recommend that you purposely sprinkle some somewhere on your person
to prove your bread is homemade! :)

also - see John 6:35

go forth, and bake!


comfort food

today's post shall begin with a short rant.

you wanna know what drives me crazy??  at the beginning of each new year when i'm all introspective and whatnot, and i try to have a heart-to-heart with my darling husband about how i want to do better and be more this-or-that, and doesn't he feel the same, and doesn't he have things he would like to improve upon or change, and can we just get to the heart of this (and have some tea while we talk about it)...

his response - every year - is this:

"yes, i have some ideas of things i'd like to change, but i'd rather not say what they are."



let's talk about it, let's plan our transformations together (maybe transformation overstates it just a little...), but tell me, tell me!

however, this year i understand it a little.

i mentioned before that i hadn't spent too much time thinking about "new year's resolutions" (yes, i know it's almost february), but since then, i have spent some time.  the Lord has spoken to my heart about one thing in particular that He wants me to do differently - an area in which i have to grow.

and i'm not going to talk about it. (although i did tell my husband - accountability is good for me.)

what i WILL tell you is something a little more general - maybe you've made the same resolution, i know Becky @ farmgirl paints has.  it's all about feeding my family.

i generally dislike making dinner.  not because i don't like to cook, mostly because it's very hard for a person like myself when not everyone in the family is head-over-heels about what i've prepared!  i've repeatedly told my children that my least favourite question of the day is "what's for supper?"  many times (at 4pm) i've had to respond - "i have no idea."  i've also been known to say, "you'll find out," to avoid the groan or silent stare/turn-and-walk-away responses.  mostly i dislike coming up with ideas.  i got into the trap of thinking we have about 3 go-to meals that feel like they rotate around and around.  boring.

BUT, new year, new attitude!

Meg has been posting a weekly menu for quite a while, and has continued even though she has a new (adorable!) baby!

i started last week and it went pretty well - really well, actually.  so sunday afternoon, g & i made a plan for the week and he did all the shopping on monday (oh yeah, i also loathe grocery shopping...).

TODAY it's 10:47am and our dinner is already in the crock pot!  VICTORY!
beef stew

and after i get my housework done, i'm going to bake the most wonderful (feel like a 50's housewife) bread.  our family loves it! (maybe i'll add a photo later)

truth telling time - do you love making dinner for your family? (or could we start some sort of support group over here?)

i will say this:  i'm not in favour of using food for comfort. i don't mean that to sound judgey-pants or anything, it's just part of where the Lord has taken me on our journey.  that being said, there is definitely a comfort in knowing i'm being intentional about feeding my family and caring for their daily needs in this practical way.  that's what i mean by "comfort food."



we snuggled into story time together,
cass & i,
and i thought we would simply have some quality cuddling while accomplishing her daily reading goal.

the Lord had another idea.

as we turned the page to this picture:

my sweet child said, 'oh mommy, that looks like you!  she has her coffee, she's reading her bible in the morning... just like you!'

my heart skipped a little beat of praise and thanksgiving 
for this child has started more days of her six and a half years NOT seeing her mom
with her coffee...
reading her bible...
and yet, she still identified the picture with me.

talk about a kick-in-the-pants!

i never, NEVER want that image to change.
as she grows, the more she sees me like this,
the more she'll assume it is
to be that kind of woman.

what a lovely way to be reminded!

Deuteronomy 6:5-7

New Living Translation (NLT)
5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.



I never cease to be amazed at how the Lord works.

I started a new Bible Study with the women from my church this morning.  It's been over a year since I've been in group Bible study, and I'm already glad that I was lead to this one.  It's a study on James by Beth Moore and even though we've only just watched the intro dvd, I know God has things to teach me. 

(Likely, by the time I finish the study, you may feel like you've also done it - I can't help but talk about the things I'm learning...)

Today, I'm marvelling how the Lord has worked together the final point Beth made on the video today with the main point Louie Giglio made in his openning talk at Passion 2012. (I wonder if Beth noticed it, since she was there too?)

Louie made reference to Ephesians 5:14, where it says:

"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead 
and Christ will shine on you."

Beth didn't mention this verse but the last point of the listening guide was this:

"The power of the resurrection means that nothing 
but the tomb is meant to be empty."

Let that sink in for a moment.  

Nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.

 A friend at the study reflected on this by saying that it's the things we hate about ourselves that make the empty place, that make room for us to be filled with God's grace.  If we were full on our own, we wouldn't need Jesus.

Immediately, Matt Maher's song "Christ is Risen" came to mind, which led me to think of the verse in Ephesians.  

Wake up, Becky!  
Let Christ fill the empty places in your heart!
He has risen and by His power, I can be resurrected with Him.
Come awake!

And I am left to ponder the words of Philippians again:

"I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection"


Jan 16

Do you KNOW that it's the middle of January already?  Where has the time gone?

I haven't written here for 3 weeks, and yet it feels like I just posted.  I've barely even read any of the blogs I follow because many have been about new year's resolutions and goals and fresh starts and I just keep thinking "i'm not ready!"

2012 started very early in the morning for me - 5:30am, to be precise!  A quick shower and packing the last-minute items, a short drive to meet 10 other sleepy friends. A long drive, a shorter flight, shuttles and trains and buses.  Four days in Atlanta where the weather felt like home.  Trains, and shuttles, a short flight, a very long drive.  Saying farewell to 10 sleepy friends.  A short drive home, a kiss for my children, a warm bed - the suitcases can wait - good night. 4am.
That was our trip to Passion 2012 with a group of young adults from our church.  The part I haven't yet mentioned was the worship - led by Chris Tomlin, Christy Knockles, Matt Redman and others.  Not just singing the songs they've written, as we do every Sunday, being led by them and singing in a football stadium full of people.  I still need to tell you about Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Beth Moore and others, teaching and encouraging - not via skype or video - LIVE.  That's a pretty big deal to me! There was much to see and more to do, but not so much time for thinking and processing, I feel like I'm still trying to do that.

And since then, I've been trying to catch up on my sleep, catch up on my housework and home-work (that's how I like to refer to my frequent purge-and-organizing fits).  I've been trying to get the kids back into routine and trying to find a good rhythm for our home.  I've been getting back to work in my ministry and I spoke at a Ladies event last week.

But I still feel like I'm not quite there - not quite together in myself.  I still feel a little flounder-y.  All that I've been doing, trying to get everyone and everything organized, I've left myself until the middle of January.  I haven't really spent too much time thinking about goals, or resolutions or a vision for the new year.  I don't have a verse for the year yet, or and idea of what the Lord has for me....

Today I woke up feeling good.  As I got ready and headed into the church office, my mind felt clear and ready for action.  I think it's literally the first time in 2012! :)  So hopefully, as I 'get my act together' we can continue to journey together, friends and strangers, and watch for what the Lord has in store!

It's January 16th, are you ready for action already this new year?
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