27.3.13

back in time

scents of cinnamon and spice waft through the kitchen.  the monkey bread smells almost done.
i fluff the pillows and straighten things up in the living room as we wait for our guests to arrive.
moving back to the kitchen, i pull out my bright green colander and some colourful fresh fruit for washing.

strawberries, raspberries and bright green grapes.

washing carefully, i methodically hull and quarter the strawberries.  i remove the stems of the grapes.  as i place them mixed in my favourite bowl, i add the raspberries.  but not before i pop one in my mouth.


in an instant, i am transported through time.

i am ten years old, in my granny's garden looking for the biggest, ripest raspberries, trying not to take them all from the same area.

i am running with my brother or a cousin past the property line marked by tall grasses and rocks.  i am hopeful that the old school house will be open for exploration like it was just that one time.  i am hopeful that i haven't collected too many wood ticks.

i am visiting the crates filled with bunnies.  i pause at the babies and stick my finger through the wire to feel soft white fur.

i am watching my grandpa chop wood and stack it carefully in the pile, row upon row for a winter's worth of warmth.

i am cleaning the playhouse.  organizing empty spice jars filled with twigs and rocks and opening the window for fresh air.

i am hearing my granny's voice, calling me in for lunch.  homemade soup, fresh warm bannock, raisin spice cookies, grandpa's favourite.

and then the doorbell rings, our guests are here.  i shake my head into today and smile.

and i have another raspberry.

20.3.13

modest

I like clothes.
And I like to look nice.
I'm pretty sure I've always been like that.

My grandma has a picture in her collection of me and my cousin standing together the year we coincidentally ended up with very similar swimsuits.  We were probably around 9 or 10, and while we were both very much "children" in our appearance, one of us was standing like a regular kid and the other was posing like (what she thought was) a super model.

I'll let you guess which was which...

I've always cared about my appearance and my clothes - sometimes too much.  In the last number of years, however, I've thought a lot more about modesty.  I certainly went through a phase where modesty was of no concern to me, but as I've gotten a little older and watched the styles and trends change; as have had two daughters of my own, modesty has been something I've spent more time considering.  Why is modesty important?  Who is modesty for?  What does modesty look like?

Last summer at teen camp, my husband asked me to speak to the girls about godly sexuality, and modesty again came to mind.  Today I was reminded of some of things the Lord taught me in preparing for that talk.  A facebook friend/relative of mine posted a link to an article written by Sharon Hodde Miller for Relavant magazine which also included another link to a separate article she had written for her-meneuntics (a division of Christianity Today).
[click the links to read both articles]

Let me just say, this lady and I are of one mind!

As I read (and "amen-ed") these two pieces, I thought of my seven year old daughter.  This girl cares about her personal style.  She likes colourful dresses and fun tshirts, and she loves to be complimented on her outfit!  As a toddler, she was the one who could be seen twirling her skirt for the attention it brought her.  More than once I wondered about the fashion choices she would want to make as a teen....

she's poser - just like her mom!
I'm not sure when I first introduced the idea of modesty to her.  I don't remember it being intentional.  But at some point the word came out and the concept must have been explained, because she knows what it means.  As we watched the red carpet for the Oscars together (doesn't everyone do that with their 7 yr old?), she had much to say about the dresses she admired!

What made my heart swell at the time was that she wasn't judgemental of the choices the actresses had made, she showed discernment.  "oh, her dress is such a pretty colour and I love the way it ruffles in the back," she would say, "but it probably is a little immodest at the front top part...."

It makes me think.  Here is a girl who doesn't yet understand the feeling of power a young woman can feel by dressing in a way that makes boys swoon (which is sweet way of saying something that likely isn't sweet).  She's learning to assess outfits and choices based on whether or not it's appropriate for her and honouring to God.  Maybe she doesn't think it exactly in those terms, but she is thinking.

I want modesty for my daughters, but I don't want it for them if it means they think their bodies are bad or dirty or irreverant just because they're female.  I want my girls to honour the bodies God has made for them by feeding them well, exercising them for health, and dressing them appropriately - so that they are fit (in all senses of the word) for the things God is calling them to do.

I want this for myself too, and for all women.  Let us offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is our spiritual act of worship. (Rom 12:1)  And may we be motivated by love for our loving Creator and a desire to serve and please Him.

18.3.13

faith in the faithful One

In case you need a reminder today, 
here's our precious first born at 2 years old singing 
"Faithful One."

video

Perfect truth from the mouth of a baby.


Thank You, Lord

12.3.13

love/hate

today i must speak of coffee.

oh, coffee, i love you...and sometimes hate you.

a little history:

i started drinking coffee when i was 16 and at summer camp for the entire season.  long days and short nights for weeks on end will make you do crazy things.  like drink coffee.  even when it's yucky.  i didn't continue throughout the school year, but back at camp for the following summers, it became my routine.

bible school would seem like a good time to start drinking coffee, but my land lady ruled the kitchen and made a very unpleasant combination of ground beans and water.  so with the exception of a couple of all-nighters i pretended to pull, i didn't drink it.

it wasn't until after i was married and began working at a new job that started at 6:30am that i really started drinking coffee.  this place had the most wonderful cafeteria with delicious, fresh coffee.  all i had to do was swipe my little card and the cost would be deducted from my paycheck.  yes, sometimes it seemed like my pay went directly back to the company.  will work for coffee....

by the time i got pregnant, i was "committed" enough to my habit that going without left me with piercing headaches.  (booo, coffee!)  i continued to drink a small cup of half-caf each morning and outside of the fact that someone once speculated that my daughter was "so crazy" because i drank coffee in my pregnancy, my doctor said it was fine.  oh, and actually, she was a toddler.  that's all.  not some crazed caffeine addict.  nevertheless....

strangely, the next 2 pregnancies, i couldn't touch the stuff.  in fact, i would make it every day and pour myself a cup, but every time i walked past it, i would shudder.  ugh, don't want that!  (took me a long time to stop making it every morning....let's call it pregnancy brain.)

the times when my kiddos where the youngest is the time i drank the most.  for the caffeine, sure, but also just to have that moment - just that quiet few seconds: sip, ahhhh.... ok where are they now??

love.

but last year when this strange new thing started to become a strange common thing - this heart racing, shallow breathing, panic feeling thing - i thought about my friend beverage, coffee.  i read online and i searched my heart.  i cut back, but felt like i needed to do more.

a friend (and mentor) suggested decaf.  fearful of headaches that leave me debilitated (i really try not to make drastic changes in my life/diet that will cause my family to pay the price), i started mixing my own beans.  i found the most delightful decaf that doesn't taste different at all (to me) and now mix 2 parts decaf with one part regular.

the best result for me is that because i did it gradually, i no longer wake up (most days) feeling like i need coffee.  it's a pleasant part of my morning routine, that is all.  i'm thankful because i no longer feel mastered by it.

oooh, and i also started making my own vanilla coffee syrup, which i like better than the expen$ive types i used to buy.  thankyouverymuch, paula deen via pinterest!

how 'bout you?  do you love or hate coffee?


5.3.13

more or less

everyone has their opinion about stuff.

some people are comforted by being surrounded by the things they love, and sparse decor makes them feel cold and uncomfortable.

others feel suffocated by too many things out and around, and clutter makes them anxious and on edge.

i definitely fall into the latter category.

i have always preferred a tidy space.  my friends in high school used to "mess" with me by moving things on my dresser and in my room a quarter inch when i left the room and would laugh hysterically as i not-so-subtly slid them back into their proper position.

order.
organization.
clutter-free.

without these i have a tendency to feel quickly overwhelmed and the anxiety levels rise.  (yes, pray for me!)

my little secret, though, is that sometimes the solution to my neatfreak tidy needs is a good closet or drawer.  sweep it all away and close that door!  instant relief.

until, that is, you need something from said closet.  oy.

this is the position in which i found myself after neglecting my annual post-Christmas purge.  the century home we live in has loads of great character and very little closet and storage space, so we have created a space in our laundry room fondly known as the "behind the curtain storage."  we cleverly came up with name to define an area of storage that we've hung a curtain in front of.  i know, genius.

after many, many months of no care, this area had gotten out of control!  and every time i needed something from it (which is often) or had an idea to do some kind of sewing project (this is where all my supplies are kept), i just couldn't "go there."

ok, do you want to see it?

this is where we keep G's suit jackets, all our games,
misc linens, all sewing supplies, random wires and manuals for things,
gift bags & tissue paper, some other toys not in use as well as
a couple of infrequently used kitchen pans.

now, i can admit that this doesn't actually look that bad.  the problem for me is that every basket and container that was meant to help with the organization had become a huge hodge-podge of random mess.  (including a fair bit of junk that apparently at some point i thought i needed to keep...)

but that's just the problem - it's the "what if i need this?" that can lead to a situation like this.  i know my space has limited storage (every space has it's limits), and so i know that right now i don't have the luxury of keeping things "just in case."  if i don't have space for it, it has to go.

and so i got down to it - peter walsh's show playing in the background.  i sorted every basket and box, i looked at every item and cleaned in, around and behind.  i grabbed some big bags and began to fill them with things that i may actually wish i had one day (and so what?).  as i released things from my life, i felt other burdens lift.  burdens of what if and if only.  where the empty spaces of the closet appeared, peace filled my soul.

and after the bags were out the back door ready for a trip to the goodwill store, i pulled back the curtain again to behold the fruit of my labor.


*happy sigh*

i feel better.

from there i moved to the kids closets and the front entrance.  it felt so good to be productive and have order in some hidden spaces - of my home and of my heart.

Do you have a (home or heart) closet that needs purging?
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