ode to the laundry

O laundry you pile up before my eyes.
i blink and your baskets overflow.
i put you away clean and folded and you reappear
crumpled and worn.

O laundry you call my name.
you use the voices of others:
"i have no socks"
"where are my pants?"
"are you done the washing yet?"

O laundry you mark the time.
once you were tiny sleepers and onesies,
now you are are hoodies and t-shirts
and skinny jeans.

O laundry you are my weekly reminder
that times does indeed fly...
(oh, there it goes just now!)
and that we have much to be thankful for...
(another pair of his favourite jeans)
and that it's efficient machines i use
not rocks and a river.

O laundry.
How could I call you a blessing?
But you are.
Laundry, you are.


bright spot

it has been very cold up here in our little part of the world.


like -45˚C (-49˚F) with the windchill kind of cold.

like the kind of weather many americans think we have all the time and that we're used to because we live in igloos, but that we're NOT used to, and we really dislike, no matter how tough we try to act about it!

car parts fall off.  yes, that happened to us this week.

house pipes freeze.  yes, that happened to friends this week.

exposed skin freezes in seconds so children stay indoors for days at a time. (and have a LOT of pent up energy.)

it's rough.

but there's one marvel that only happens in weather like this.


here's the wiki definition of a sundog, if you don't know (or if your kids have been asking and you just now remembered to look it up):

Sundogs are made commonly of plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, by ice crystals called diamond dust drifting in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen — a halo. But often, as the crystals sink through the air they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally — in this case, sundogs are seen.

sundogs are a beautiful phenomenon and always a delight to spot.  this morning i pulled back the curtains and saw the sundogs rising with the sun... there's something i've never in my 37 years seen before!
one of the sundogs

i couldn't get a good picture of the sun and it's two "dogs" because it was too close and too low and i certainly was NOT going outside to take a picture!

but here's a picture my friend took driving home from the northern US through the flat plains of north dakota:

it can be hard to find good in these cold days that can be such a bother, but this morning those sundogs were a gift.  a reminder that God is in the freezing cold, and creating beauty within.  after being "laid up" for 2 days with my silly back, it was just the reminder that i needed.  sometimes i need to be slowed down, stopped even, to see the greatness of my God.  sometimes it takes the struggle for us to start earnestly seeking the face of the Lord and finding true delight when we catch that little glimpse.

yes, there is a bright spot today, two in fact! one on either side of the sun.

a gift.

Psalm 136:1-8

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever. 
who made the great lights
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day, 
His love endures forever.

Can you find a bright spot to this day? 


hope in the mail

A great surprise
(though I did order it...)
on a cold winter afternoon
of catching up on rest and household duties.

 Sevenly.org is the maker of this cozy sweatshirt, and
money from its purchase goes to 
to help provide clean drinking water to places that need it
and share the Good News of Christ-
the true Living Water.

(apparently sweatshirts are my new thing!) 

The warmth of this garment reminds me of the warm love
of my Saviour, and the words written across it
~hope runs deep~
remind me to never give up.

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him."
Psalm 62:5


week's end

this week has been so long.  and full.  and tiring.  and long.

and most of this weekend is busy.  and busy.  and busy.

but tonight was a gift!

couch-snuggles with 2/3 of my kiddos was exactly what i needed.
(all 3 would have even been better!)  

i feel refreshed and renewed.

times of refreshing do indeed come from the Lord!

thank You Lord for rest and warmth and love.


music therapy

if you ask me, music can make everything in life better.... even cooking supper!

as i've said before, when i clean the house, my playlist includes a lot of this guy:

his energetic songs get my hands and feet going while my heart engages in powerful lyrics of Truth.  soon the house is clean and i didn't even notice myself doing it!

when i cook, i like to listen to these two:

their music is folk-sy and "chill." they remind me, somehow, of a simpler time, of fields of wheat blowing, and sun shining through windows.  as i slice and dice, cook and boil, the moderate pace of the music transports me and i find myself delighting in the process, enjoying the feel of my bamboo spoon,  deeply inhaling spices combined into family favourites.

preparing the most standard dinner fare feels somehow ...better.  i can go to a place where little piles of neatly chopped peppers are beautiful.

scripture says "whatever is lovely...think about such things," and this is part of the way i do it.  i intentionally look for ways to make the daily mundane tasks more enjoyable for myself.  (it's the same reason why i like pretty tea towels and store pantry staples in glass jars.)

music helps with that.  

filling my mind with Truth helps with that.  
looking for good - naming the blessings - helps with that.

funny thing, as i happily stirred pasta into sauce, my eldest daughter came up from cleaning her bathroom and declared "gangum style" to be the best song on her cleaning playlist.

...and there goes another unusual trait passed down from mother to daughter!

how are you looking for the lovely today?


boot straps

it looks like these have bootstraps-
they're faux! ;)
None of my boots actually have straps, but I come from a long line of women who are skilled at pulling themselves up by them, figuratively speaking.

I relied heavily on that fact this morning when I flopped in front of the computer this morning, waiting for my coffee to brew having sent the kids off to school.  I surfed facebook and my google reader list as I often do in that time slot.  This morning I was a little extra tired after a very long (but great) day of ministry. (man, I love my job!)  As I read blogs and status updates that I usually enjoy and find encouraging and inspiring, some unwelcome feelings began to rise up in my spirit -  discouragement. disappointment. dissatisfaction.

Hovering over another blog title, spirit sagging, I heard the Still Small Voice: "turn it off."

I hovered a moment longer.  Why should I shut it off, it won't change anything...

turn. it. off.

I mustered up my resolve to live by the Spirit, yanked up those figurative bootstraps and obeyed.  I stumbled off up the stairs, poured my coffee and praised God for giving me the capacity to do the hard thing when I could have (and have in the past) easily given in to feeling sorry for myself, and looking at my life through the lens of how other people live.

Have you noticed the new verse I've chosen as a subtitle to the new look of the blog?  This is my prayer for the new year, a verse of the year(ish) that the Lord showed me in Decemeber.

"As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, 
we become more and more like him 
and reflect his glory even more." 
2 Corinthians 3:18 nlt

Hearing the Voice, saying YES and moving forward - to reflect His glory. 

Do you have a verse for this year?



Confession, they say, is good for the soul.

It's also been said that confession is a lost practice of the contemporary evangelical church.

Accountability is a very good thing, most necessary for life and growth, but openly confessing your sin to a trusted friend is tricky. What will they think? Will they look at me differently from now on? Will they tell someone (of course as a "prayer request")? Will they reciprocate?

And potentially the worst outcome (in my opinion) of confessing to a friend: they excuse your behaviour for you, they say you're still ok, you're still good, and you walk away feeling much better, never confessing to the only One you should.

David prayed, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." (ps 51:4)

I want to be the kind of Christ-follower that keeps short accounts. Jesus waits for us to admit our wrong not because He doesn't know how, where, when and why we fall short. When David prayed for God to "search him" it was to show him, David, the areas in heart that required forgiveness.

Confession is for our sake.
Confession is a vital part of our everyday worship.
It puts us in our rightful place, sinners saved by grace alone. It reminds us Who is in control and of our need to submit to Him. Imagine being like the Israelites who spent a quarter of the day reading the Word and a quarter of the day in confession and worship! (Nehemiah 9:3)
If you had the time, could you do that?

That kind of time could be considered a luxury in our day, but what about a few moments? In Nehemiah 9, they recited back to the Lord their own story - one of God's goodness and faithfulness and their own wickedness and betrayal.  It doesn't take a great imagination for me to be able tell the Lord my story, though I know He remembers many more details than I ever could!

As I recall His faithfulness and my heart prone to wander, I confess, and I feel my heart line up with His will.  I ready myself for what He has for me this day.

Confession, we know, is good for the soul. (1 John 1:9)
It enables us to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.

If you have a moment now, here's a song to lead you.
It's been leading me, and I praise God for this reminder!


love baked in a bundt

today was a day without a to-do list.
what a gift!

i popped into the lab nearby to get some (overdue) blood work done and it took no time at all, so i got groceries and headed for home.  after some coffee and relaxation, i figured it was the perfect day to do some baking for the kids' lunches.  i have no problem with sending the odd store bought baking, but i know they like some of the things i bake better, so i pulled out butter and flour, bananas and cocoa for their favourite bundt cake.

i gazed out the kitchen window as i creamed butter, sugar and eggs and watched a squirrel race along the trees as the snow drifted down. serene.

i thought of my kids and the reward of their delight when i offer this baked goodness as an after school snack.

i remembered last night at the dinner table when one of them shared a dream for their future that included a life of ministry.  oh Lord, thank you.  even if the dream is never realized, or if minds change, as they do - it was there.  for that moment ministry life wasn't something that was negative or unappealing.... it was there.

and so i prayed as i folded dry into wet and added chocolate chips for fun.

take them Lord.
call them and use them.
for Your glory....Your glory.

this is how i baked my love, prayer and even a few tears into a bundt cake on an average Tuesday afternoon.


want a easy recipe for the people in your life?  try this one!  it's pretty vague because i chicken-scratched on a scrap of paper from who-knows-where, but you can figure it out. (i believe in you!)

Banana-Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 c. butter (room temp)
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 bananas (i always add 4-5)
1 cup chocolate chips

~preheat oven to 350F
~spray bundt pan
~mix dry ingredients
~separate bowl: cream butter, add sugar & eggs, mix well; add bananas, mix briefly
~add dry to wet, don't overdo; fold in chocolate chips
~bake 50-60 minutes


ode to monday morning

back to school - you came too soon.
it is too dark.
it is too early.

back to school - you were unwelcomed by us all.
we were quiet, trying to wake up.
we were slow, unwilling to wake up.

back to school - you make me question everything.
why is my bed so cozy?
why do we not homeschool?

back to school - you remind me that it's over.
the family haven of the last 2 weeks.
the peaceful mornings that last all day.

back to school - you remind me what we had.
time spent together doing the things we like to do.
time spent focusing on rest and lots of good chats.

back to school - you're for the better.
routine is good, i've always said, and you help with that.
being "in the world" is also good, and you help with that.

back to school -
you make my coffee taste better, the day seem longer, and the anticipation of being together again at the end of the day more exciting.

back to school - you're not all bad, you had to come eventually.

coffee is starting to work, i'm starting to see the good.
back to school!


one word

have you heard of this?
are you part of it?

i've never done it before, but as i sit here on day 4 of the new year with little motivation 
to write lists, 
or purge and clean,
or do other productive-type things 
that i normally am glad to do at this time of year...

i'm thinking about one word.

could one word make a difference in my life this year?
(didn't you think we'd be driving spaceships by now?)

i had a word in mind
(& i still like that word),
but another word kept popping up in front of me.

like when i picked up the sign my folks gave me for Christmas to consider where i'd like to hang it...

and when i clicked on sevenly.org to see what charity they're supporting and what tshirt they've made...


and then i looked around my house and saw it again and again...

do you think the Lord is trying to lead me in a particular direction? ;)

— n
1.a feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfilment
2.a reasonable ground for this feeling
3.a person or thing that gives cause for hope
4.a thing, situation, or event that is desired

— vb  (often foll by for )
6.to desire (something) with some possibility of fulfilment
7.to have a wish (for a future event, situation, etc)
8.to trust, expect, or believe

my favourite definition is #8.
my desire for 2013 is to live out the hope that is within me
because of my relationship with Jesus.

(i need to spend some more time thinking about what that will look like.)

hope - a strong and trustworthy anchor

Have you chosen one word for 2013?

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