Monday, 29 April 2013

Where There's A Will...

I have posted in my "blessings thursdays" that I am in awe of my uncle.  Here is why:

Heavenly Father, I am so amazingly blessed.  And I take for granted each and every day that I wake up that I can walk, see, hear, speak and read.  Please forgive me.  Help me to take joy out of these little things.  And help me to show your love even more to those who are in need.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Love Life

I am continuing my list of blessings today.  I think I could count them every thursday for the rest of my life and still not run out!  I guess that's another blessing! :)

As I have mentioned before, I have an amazing family.  My husband is one of the most amazing people I know.  He is one of those people who are willing to help pretty much anyone anytime.  This is one of the things I love most about him (and yes, that also makes it one of those things that drives me nuts sometimes!)  He is a shining example of service.  And he doesn't hold grudges.  I don't know how he does it.  I could probably teach a college course on grudge holding.  Our marriage is not perfect, but I have discovered that he is perfect for me.  I love him more than words can say and I can't imagine life without him.  I pray I don't have to any time soon.

My children are HUGE blessings in my life.  Every single day they make me laugh, and almost never fail to teach me something new.  And even on those days where I would do almost anything for just a moment of peace and quiet, I wouldn't change it for the world.  And as it was pointed out to me a couple sundays ago, the louder and messier they are, the more grateful I should be.  It means that they are healthy, happy kids.  And do you know how many people pray every day for their kids to have that?  We should never, ever, ever take that for granted.  So rejoice in those finger prints and cheerios everywhere.  Those cheerios also mean that I have food for my children.  How blessed am I that I was just given all of these things?  I am a lucky girl!

My parents are awesome.  They are always willing to help out, or even just lend a shoulder and an ear.  They grew up in a time where most years were a struggle.  Especially with the conditions they were handed at birth.  They are a testament to the fact that life is exactly what you make it.  I am so proud to have them as my parents, and they are a constant reminder that circumstances can be changed, as long as you have love, you can make it through anything.

I have a brother who loves me enough to be honest with me.  I don't always like him for that fact, but he is always just a phone call away, with a shoulder to cry on and knows me enough to give me the right advice.  Even if he knows I am going to hate him for it.  That is love. 

I have an aunt and uncle that are pretty much my second parents.  My aunt is one of my best friends, supporting me through everything I have ever gone through.  I love her to pieces.  And my uncle is a beacon of strength for me.  He was in a rodeo accident decades ago, and was left with a physical handicap.  On top of his learning disabilities, he could have easily given up, like most other people.  But you know what he did? He picked himself up by his bootstraps, worked as long as he could, and when they put him on disability, he went back to school to graduate and become a tutor to people like him.  It's pretty hard to feel defeated with an example like that! 

I am lucky enough to have had a Grandma who was pretty cool.  She loved to play canasta, watch hockey, go to bingo and eat candy.  I fed her "warheads" one day, and for those of you who don't know, warheads are a ridiculously sour candy.  After that, she would never take candy from me again!  She was another one of those ladies that when life kicked her, she kicked back, dusted herself off, and kept going. 

I have had so many awe-inspiring role models in my life, I don't know that I will ever be able to count them all.  I am lucky enough to have known them, learned from them (and am still learning), and loved each and every one of them. 

Heavenly Father, I thank you today for all of the people you place into our lives.  I pray that we take the time to learn what we can from them, and let them know we appreciate them.  I pray that we would be able to be that example to others one day.  Lord, please work in us to show Your love to others, and to depend on you in those times of need.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Little Things

I was reading a book by Debbie Macomber last year that challenged me to commit to doing one act of random kindness each day.  It is intended to accomplish two things: it is a great way to show love to someone just because, and if you are having a bad day, it is amazing how doing one simple thing for someone else can lift your spirits.  I started this just before Christmas, which is usually a hectic season for most people.  I thought that since I usually have my Christmas shopping done by September, it would be a fun way for me to get into that great Christmas spirit of giving.  The book says that is can be as small as opening a door for someone whose arms are full, buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you, or making conversation with that frazzled cashier. 

For some reason, I always notice when someone's insurance is expired, so most days, my act of random kindness included chasing someone down to let them know that they needed to renew their insurance.  Other days I was able to do something much more personal.  One day, I was shopping at our local mall when I noticed a lady about to buy some fabric drawers (to go into one of those cube organizers).  Since I know for most people money is very tight, especially around Christmas, I told her that the drawers from Dollarama fit just fine, and are only $2 (compared to $10 at that store).  I happily went about my day thinking that I had accomplished my task.  A few days later, she bumped into me, and thanked me for saving her that money.  She had since passed that tip onto other friends and family members.  She made my day just be thanking me for something that in all reality, was just a drop in the bucket of an average day.  It seems that this random act of kindness thing was working.

Earlier this year, there was a challenge on Facebook that a friend of mine was doing.  She posted that if you were one of the first five people to sign up, she would send you a random gift sometime during the year.  The trick was that if you signed up, you also had to send out five random gifts throughout the year.  As I was already on my one a day challenge, I didn't sign up.  But you know what was really sad?  Only three of her friends signed up.  I was reading today on Facebook today that our local SPCA had received a mysterious gift.

Pretty cool.  And to such a deserving group of people.  I can't walk into a pet shelter without wanting to cry and take each and every pet home to love on them.  I could never volunteer there.  It takes a much stronger person than me to do that each and every day.

So today, to whoever reads this, I challenge you.  It makes no difference if you want to commit to a random act of kindness each day (to the best of your ability), or five in one year.  Even if you can only do one a year, you never know what that little act will accomplish in your life, or in the life of that lucky person.  It's worth a try!

Heavenly Father, help us to open our hearts to those around us.  Not just those who are already a big part of our lives, but everyone.  Help us to recognize when we can do that little extra for any person who is a part of our day.  Help us to be a blessing to more people.  And never let us take for granted those people in our lives who we don't always thank when we should.  In Jesus's name.  Amen.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

You Reap What You Sow

I totally stole that title!!!  There is a story on Facebook going on about a lady that stops to help a homeless man.  She and a police officer take him into a diner to get him a meal.  Even as the man refused, not wanting to be kicked out of the restaurant, and the owner of the restaurant says to her that having "people like that" in there is bad for business, she doesn't become discouraged.  You see, this homeless man that so many people walk by each and every day had once done something amazing for her.  When she was homeless, cold and hungry, he bought her a meal.  The story ends with, "God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favour.  Give him all the glory and pay it forward (and sometimes backwards!)"

I reposted this on Facebook, and many of my friends and family did the same.  You see, this means a lot to me because my family is not Christian.  My parents and my brother all struggle with the concepts and "restrictions" of the Bible.  And maybe I'm being naive.  But maybe, just maybe, reading stories like these will one day lead them to Jesus.  And even more, I know that my actions are going to be the very best example of what a Christian should be.  I'm not saying I'm perfect, please don't misunderstand me.  When I told my brother I was going to church again, his response was that he would still talk to me as long as I didn't preach to him all that church b.s.  So rather than preach, I talk about the good our church does, and other Christian organizations I am involved with.  I do other volunteer work to show love to others just because I can.  And I live (to the best of my ability), the life that I want them to see in Christ, so that they too would want it.  And I pray for them to see that the "restrictions" they are so scared of are born of religion, not God.   I have heard many times that the biggest stigmatism to Christianity is Christians themselves.  I was hesitant to go to Church because of the examples I had seen in my own life of people who thought that as long as they went to church, they were automatically above everyone else.  Those aren't the people Jesus came for.  He came for the lepers, the lame, the tax collectors, the prostitutes.  And not only did he come for them, he used them to do great things in his name.  Sounds like someone I want to live up to.

I started a pay it forward project just after Christmas this year.  So far, I have sent out gifts of recognition to over 100 people, hoping to reach 100 more.  And a good friend of mine was inspired to start her own project.  I'm not writing this hoping for recognition, but to relay to you that before I allowed Jesus into my heart, reaching out in love to 100 people would NOT have been something I would have even thought of.  And I have heard feedback that those little gifts were the answers to some of those people's prayers. 

Heavenly Father, tonight I pray that all of those who want to know you better will simply reach out to you, and read your word for themselves.  Help them to open their hearts to you, and close their ears to all of those saying that they don't deserve you, or that they aren't good enough, or whatever lies they are being told.  Help them to feel your grace and unconditional love.  Let them know that you alone are perfect, and that they don't have to be perfect.  They just have to ask for you.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Monday, 22 April 2013

How Great is Our God?

I am sitting here, wondering what to write to you today, listening to "How Great is Our God" by Chris Tomlin, and I am thinking about our worship at church this weekend.  My husband plays on one of the worship teams, and they were leading this Sunday morning.  They were leading for Dwight Forseth, a pastor who travels to different churches to help coach the worship teams.  He also lead the service on Sunday and he sang this one song that I can't stop thinking about.

 " Well I met an old man walkin' down the street
His clothes were torn and tattered
With sandals on his feet
And I stopped to help him, and lend him a hand
He said, "I love you so much"
But you must understand

Silver and gold, might buy you a home
But things of this world
They won't last you long
And time has a way of turning us old
And time can't be bought back, with silver and gold

And he said to me, "Let's rest for a while
'Cause I have some good news to share with you, child"
He said, "You can't change this old world"
The people need to know
That a dear Savior died here A long, long time ago

And silver and gold, might buy you a home
But things of this world
They won't last you long
And time has a way of turning us old
And time can't be bought back, with silver and gold

His eyes shone like diamonds
And his smile was Heaven sent
His hair was long and flowing
And his back was slightly bent
And I knew, he knew it
'Cause that day I changed
And as I watched him walk on, I forgot to get his name

He said, "Silver and gold, can't buy you a home"
When this life has ended, and your time is gone
But you can live in a world where
You'll never grow old
And things can't be bought there, with silver and gold
And time can't be bought back, with silver and gold."

Now, I can't find any other version than the Dolly Parton one, and I know some of you may not like it based purely on that, but the lyrics stand for themselves.  They are a great reminder to me that no matter how much we stockpile here, it's whats on the other side that matters.  We can't take it with us, so why do we continually put so much time into collecting stuff, and value it so much more than it's worth?

Heavenly Father, I pray today that we learn the true value of all you have done for us.  I pray that we learn to set our eyes on you, and the fact the You alone are what we should be focusing on.  I thank you for all the blessings we have received, and the many more to come.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.


Friday, 19 April 2013

Intentional Living

I am lucky enough to be a part of a Mom's small group at my church.  Some weeks we just talk about what is going on in our lives, what we are struggling with, etc., some weeks we do a short study, but my favourite weeks are the ones where other ladies from our church come to share with us.  I am rather shy, and so I don't generally reach out to, well, anyone new really.  But these ladies are brave enough not only to speak to us about their journey's so far, but to reach out to each of us.  We have had a few ladies speak, and they have been totally open and honest about the struggles they have each faced, but also the blessings they have been given.  The bible says that we are to learn from the women older than us, that they are to teach us. 

The first lady who spoke to us is just such an amazing example of God's love and generousity.  She is such a warm, open, loving woman.  She made me feel like a friend the very first day I talked to her.  I was helping with the Grade 3/4 children's church, and even though all of the kids there were more familiar with the bible than me (I am new to all of this!), she didn't make me feel judged at all.  She even recommended other stories in the bible to read of strong women in the bible, since we were studying the story of Esther at the time.  And she even asked me the next week if I had done my homework.  She genuinely cares for each person in her life, and is always willing to welcome others.  That to me is such an amazing quality, and one I hope to develop.

The second lady who came was a mom who adopted her children.  I have never really thought about the costs associated with adoption, much less the heartache both before and after the adoption.  She wanted nothing more than to be a mom, but could not have children herself.  She and her husband chose to adopt Canadian children.  I found out there is a reason so many people choose to adopt from abroad - our social services system is so confusing.  They finally, after many years, have two boys of their own.  And though it is a daily struggle for them to parent these children who have travelled through the system, they wouldn't change a single day of it.  What a testament to parenting and everlasting love!

The lady that came today is very active in our church, so I certainly knew of her, but after today, I realized I knew nothing of her life.  She became a Mom in her teens (3 times over!), married as a teen, and at 20 was a divorced single mother of 3, but she told us that with God's strength, she perservered and met a man who adopted all three of her children.  An amazing man who loves those children as his own, and they also had another child together.  When she was talking, you just got this feeling of strength and determination.  She is someone I would want in my corner for sure! 

She spoke to us today not just about her path, but the most important lesson she has learned which is living intentionally.  That we shouldn't compare our children, they will get enough of that from the world.  We should be their biggest cheerleader through life, and they should never have to feel that they are not measuring up to so-and-so.

We should make sure that our husband is the king of his house.  He should be welcomed every single day.  He goes out to job he may not love, works at least 5 days a week, just to provide for you.  He should feel valued for all he does, and who he is, because if you don't make him feel that way, it is far too easy for someone else to.  No matter what kind of day you've had, always remember that.

We should also put on the armour of God each and every morning.  This seems to be common sense, but I know I don't do it every day.  And who of us wakes up every morning wanting to take on everything just because we don't pause and put on that armour so that we only face the battles we need to?  Not me.

And last, it is important to be vocal about thanking God and including him in our day.  Even if we are just thanking him for getting that parking spot so you wouldn't be late for an appointment.  We are on the front lines, teaching our children how to fight.  We need to make God a visible part of our lives, and we need to be an example to our children to include him in everything so turning to Him will be natural for them.

I know that today I have written alot, and still haven't touched on all that I have learned.  My point is more to live life including God, your husband, and your children, in that order. 

Heavenly Father, help us to be open about our relationship with you.  I thank you for having the opportunity to have heard from so many amazing women, and look forward to hearing more.  I pray that those who don't have these mentors will find a way to reach out to others.  And God, thank you again for all those blessings you have already bestowed on us.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Last week in my blessings count, I counted family on that list.  And today I was again blown away, not that I forget people necessarily, but that with all they do, they are not first in my mind.  I have married into a wonderful, varied family of individuals who have all accepted me. 

My father in law (Doug), whom I have mentioned before, is nothing less than my guardian angel.  He has prayed for me many times, never afraid to show me just how much he loves me. 

My mother in law (my husbands stepmom, Sandra), is an angel in waiting.  She rarely has anything bad to say about anyone.  In a day and age where everything is a complaint and loyalty a rarity, she certainly broke the mold.

Her mom (Alice), whom I feel very blessed to have gotten to call Grandma was one of the most amazing people I have ever met.  She grew up in a time when nothing was easy.  And she never let it stop her.  I wish she were still alive today so she could tell me more hair raising adventures she took on in her life.  She was definitely an example that the only thing limiting your accomplishments is you.

Alice's husband Bill, is a testimony to undying love.  Alice passed away of cancer 3 years ago, and he still tells me that he misses her every single day.  They were married for almost 70 years, and they say they never fought.  They disagreed I'm sure, but they assure everyone that you can laugh at any situation, and as long as you truly love someone, you can make it work.  Bill is GGpa to my kids.  He didn't have to take on more family, and at 94, he sure doesn't have to make the effort.  But he loves my family as his own.  We go to visit him each week, and I love that we can still put a smile on his face.  He takes my son on rides on his electric wheelchair, and its hard to tell whose smile is wider!

Their other son, Jim, and his wife Betty, are another testament to love without judgement.  They willingly accept anyone into their home and make them feel wanted, not just welcome.  It was funny last Thanksgiving, we heard that Betty had made homemade pumpkin pie, and lemon meringue pie, so we asked that some be sent home for us.  When she heard, she promptly phoned us and told us to come for dinner and get our own pie.  So we did!  And I am glad we did.  They made room for our little family of four, and we had a great time.  And another memory to look back on for those days when nothing seems to be going right.

I know that this has been a hard week of tragedy, and all of those affected are in my prayers.  But I also think that in times like these, we should include all of those we love in those prayers too.  I never want to take those that love and support me for granted.

Heavenly Father, I pray for all of those affected by this weeks tragedies.  Please help them to feel your strength in the upcoming hours, days and months as they all find their way through this.  Please help us to support them in any way that we are able to.  And God, I also pray for all of the loved ones still with us, that we never take them for granted, and that we be a loving example to those that need it.  Amen.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Yesterday was a scary day for many people.  The bombings at the Boston Marathon remind us that there is evil everywhere.  But I think it also proved that there are heroes everywhere too.  There were many people who did not know each other yesterday reaching out to help and comfort complete strangers. 

I was looking on Facebook this afternoon, and a friend of mine had a picture up that said, "When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me "Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping." - Fred Rogers.  I think that we can concentrate on the evil of this catastrophe, or we can celebrate the survivors, the helpers, and that no matter how much evil is in this world, we are strong and carry on.  I think focusing on the perpetrators give them far more glory than they deserve.  I in no way condone their actions, and I know that God will hold them accountable, so I choose to concentrate on the people affected by this instead.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. -
                                                                                                                       Romans 8:26-28

You have heard the law that says, "Love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I say, love your enemies.  Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your father in heaven.  For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and unjust alike.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind to only your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. -
                                                                                                                       Matthew 4:43-48

Heavenly Father, I lift up all of those affected by the senseless violence of yesterday.  Let them feel your love, and strength.  Give them the gift of your peace.  And let us rally around them in support of the long journey they have ahead of them in healing.  God, you ask us to pray for the people who do terrible things, and I know that it hurts you that they turn away from you, so I also pray for the people who did this.  Let them realize the damage they have done, and help them to repent to you.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, 15 April 2013


Growth sure can be painful sometimes.  When God uses other people to shape our lives, it is almost always a blessing.  We usually don't realize it at the time, but these situations are tools to strengthen us and prepare us for His plans for us.  But man, do I ever wish there were an easier way.  This last year, God has been growing me in so many ways, sometimes I feel like I am still spinning.  When I spoke to my pastor earlier this year, at my wits end, with no more strength left, he was ecstatic.  I was confused.  Then he explained to me that when we feel this way, we finally really let God in.  We have no choice but to let him be our strength. 

Last year in the span of eight short months, I almost lost my marriage, then by a series of complete misunderstandings, world war three was started in my family.  Growing pains by the bucket please.  I won't go into great detail, especially for the privacy of those involved, but I will say that as a result of my marriage troubles, my marriage is more secure now than ever before.  We have faced the end and fought our way back every inch to the marriage we have today.  And as for the family relationships, I think I am still in the growing process of that one.  But I have learned that regardless of these challenges, God is there for me.  It can hurt, be confusing, depressing and draining, but these lessons bring us out better on the other side.  And if I rely on him, trusting that he has a plan, focusing on him alone, rather than the challenge in front of me, it isn't as scary as it may seem. 

I know my regular posts are uplifting, and I really do try to concentrate on that.  But today I really wanted to reach out to those who may be hurting, feeling like they are alone.  I want you to know that you are not alone, you have the best soldier by your side.  And you have more people around you that love you than you will ever realize.

Heavenly Father, tonight I pray for all of those who are feeling lost and confused.  Let them feel your loving arms surround them, let them take refuge in the fortress of your strength.  Let them reach out for help to those that they can trust here on earth.  And never let them feel alone.  Amen.

If any of you have a prayer request or would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment, I would love to be one of God's soldiers for you!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Even More Than I Realize

My last post was about actively seeking your blessings and how it puts you into a different frame of mind, and your life into perspective.  I counted my husband, children, family, friends and church as my blessings.  I found out later that night that I had left some important ones out.

As I said before, my husband had arranged for us to have this amazing night out.  We went to dinner at a cute little pasta shoppe in town, where they serve Italian soda.  I have to say, I like the restaurant just for having this option!  Anyways, we had a fabulous dinner, then made our way to the local theatre for the jazz music.  My husband, who seems to know everyone, of course knew the parents of the musician we were going to see, so we stopped to talk to them.  I know them through my boss at work.  They are awesome people.  She just exudes happiness and energy.  I know that she is somewhat close to retirement age, although I have no idea just how close, but just watching her sometimes makes me tired.  And I spend my days chasing around 2 kids!  Then Ryan Oliver, the tenor sax player we were going to see came out to say hi.  Now, my husband is 6'6", so I am quite used to see him looking down during a conversation because no one is his height, but Ryan was.  It must be nice for them to have a conversation that is level-headed in a different way once in a while.

When we made our way inside, we sat in the front so that my husband could stretch out his legs.  The crowd was mostly older people, but we still knew quite a few people.  I don't know if it's because I was already looking for the blessings in my life that day or not, but the lady who sat next to us used to teach the CDC swimming that I volunteered with in high school.  A blessing I had forgotten about.  I was lucky enough to be paired with a somewhat physically challenged, shy boy and was tasked with helping him to enjoy the water.  I was not expected to teach him to swim, just help him have fun and develop in him the confidence to start trying.  That little boy is now studying to become an engineer.  How lucky am I that I got to be a part of his life, even if just for that short period of time?

The music was incredible.  Then it was time for intermission.  An old neighbour of mine happened to be there for the concert as well.  She is a very special woman.  Looking back at knowing her, she never once seemed to be out of sorts.  She always had an answer for everything, and if she didn't, she was sure she would find one.  She stood there and talked to my husband and I, then she waited for him to get in line for autographs.  She looked me right in the eye and asked "So, are you happy?"  Now, this was not just making friendly conversation.  This was a person whom I had not had a conversation with in over a decade who REALLY, honestly cared about my happiness.  How on earth could I have overlooked her in my list of blessings?  I had listed a generic thank you for the friends I have in my life, and I certainly meant it, but this was a person who had known me my entire life.  30 years. 

I need to start widening my thoughts.  I don't want to take for granted all the people in my life now, but I intend to start searching out those people who helped shape my life, and who have infinitely more wisdom than I do, and thank them.  I have been fortunate enough to have so many people in my life who care about me that I can't put them into a list in one day.    Can you?  I know not everyone has a plethora of caring influence in their life, but I bet you still have a special circle of people who would love to hear from you. 

Heavenly Father, I know that I thank you every day for the blessings in my life, without even truly knowing all that I am thanking you for.  I pray that you open my mind and my heart to actively seek out people who have helped me along the way and tell them that they have made a difference.  And please let me be a positive, loving influence in other peoples lives in the same way.  Amen.

Friday, 12 April 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

I have decided today to actively look for my blessings.  I have heard over and over the belief of many that what you look for is the only thing you will see.  For example, if you are certain the world is out to get you, you can easily fill your days seeing nothing but that.  So, it follows that if you spend your day looking for the good things, you will see nothing but that.  It's certainly worth a try.  What's the worst that can happen?  You have too many blessings to count so the floors won't be swept.  I'm up for that!

 I am so very blessed to have a great support system.  I have mentioned many times my amazing husband.  After our spur of the moment trip out of town last weekend he has gotten a babysitter for tonight so that we can go for dinner, and then see a friend of his perform in a jazz band.  Pretty awesome. 

Then I have two adorable kids, who although every moment isn't grand, have taught me things about myself and this world, and especially about love, that I would never have learned without them.  I would give my life for them undoubtedly. 

I have amazing parents, and am pretty lucky to have great in laws who are around to help out whenever we need them.  I have quite a few friends who either do not have family nearby, or the family they do have is not interested, so they feel a bit lost without that help.

Our extended family is amazing.  We are lucky to have siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins that we know are there for us no matter what.  Even for random phone calls for advice.  They drop whatever they are doing just to listen.  We should never take that for granted.

We have an amazing church family, and through our church family we have several families that we have connected with in ways that will affect our relationships forever.  I am lucky enough to be part of a Mom's group at our church full of ladies who are willing to open their lives and share their experiences with us.  We have also brought in speakers who have been able to give us perspective on enjoying this stage in life, because although some days seem to last forever, this is a precious time with our children, and we need to take every chance we can to enjoy these moments.

I was sitting here before this thinking not so uplifting thoughts about how being self-employed is so full of hoops to jump through, and feeling a little bit sorry for myself.  Looking back at this list proving how my perspective is often the only thing wrong with my life, it's pretty easy to see my life is such a testament to God and his love, and how he provides for us.  I have done nothing to deserve all of these amazing things, and yet he has placed all of these people in my life, just for me. 

Heavenly Father, please help my focus to shift to all of the blessings you have given to me, often without me seeing it that way.  Please help me to be a blessing to all of these people, and extend your love to the people you have yet to bring in to my life.  Amen.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A New Day

Last night was the second night of my OBS.  We had to read Chapter 1 of Stressed Less Living by Tracie Miles.  Her words speak a lot of truth to me right now.  If you have been following me for the last week or so, you already know that it included a few really challenging days.  They challenged me last night to ask God for peace.  And then believe he will give it to you.  He did last night.  I had a relaxing night cuddling on the couch with my hubby, catching up on shows we had PVR'd. 

I so love being held in my husband's arms.  I don't know about you, but there are few places on earth that I feel as safe and loved as laying in his arms.  I think that if I could do nothing but that all day every day, I would be the happiest woman on earth.  At least for the first couple of days...then I would probably go stir crazy.  My hubby wouldn't even last that long.  Neither one of us is very good at sitting still for very long. 

Then this morning started.  I have come to the conclusion (many, many times) that my children have been placed in my loving arms because at one time I asked God for patience.  And I have got to be the slowest learner EVER!!!  This morning was no different.  My 16 month old is not at all conducive to doing housework.  And as I discovered, also knows how to get outside.  I found this out this morning after I took the garbage and recycling to the curb, turned around, and saw him standing in the middle of the driveway, soaked feet, soaked pants, and terrified that his little adventure wasn't quite what he thought it was.  Mommy was not easy to find.  So, after I swallowed my heart, we came inside, he had a time out, and I tried my best to calm down.  Again, if you have been following me for the last week, it has been a week of harrowing adventures.  Or something like that.  But, again, I can look at it as a lesson to me to be more aware of his building capabilities, and that I have to watch even more closely that I have been.  And he is safe.  So, another lesson learned for today.  Let's get back to praying for that peace...  ;)

Heavenly Father, I ask that you grant us your amazing gift of deep down, totally surrendered to you peace.  Let us know that you only wish us to rely on you, to feel you love and to always accept your grace.  Amen.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Amazing Husband

So after my week of learning lessons, my husband arranged for a friend of ours to watch the kids on Saturday so that we could go on an out of town shopping trip.  I love my husband.  He may not have understood it, but shopping to almost any woman (and especially this one) is the best way to relax.  I spent less money on my craft supplies than we spent driving to get there, but that wasn't the point.  Now, my husband also had some things that he really wanted to buy, so it benefit him to go too!  And he is far more excited about his shiny new toys than I am about mine.  I am excited that I have a husband who sees an opportunity to do something simple but amazing for me, and jumps on it.  Some days (and weeks), I find it far too easy to focus on the little things that don't go my way (like last week), rather than focus on the good.  I am making it a personal mission to actively change my thought patterns, while allowing myself grace for those days that I slip up, so that I become a happier person and look for the good.  My husband told me when we first got together that if he says or does something that can be taken two ways, he meant it the good way, and I should assume that.  I challenge you to put that to practice in your life (and allow yourself grace too!).

This week I am starting a new Bible study on, called Stressed Less Living.  You are welcome to join too.  This amazing group of ladies runs Proverbs 31 Ministries, and they offer these studies for free to anyone with an internet connection, a bible, and who buys the book they are studying.  They will even send you a bible if you cannot afford one of your own!  I urge you to take a look at their Facebook page, or google them for their website.  These women open up their lives to help other women know God better.  What an amazing calling!  So as I get ready this week to dive into my bible, and learn to better trust God and his plans for me, I invite you to join me and the thousand of others who have signed up, and stress less.  That sounds amazing.

I leave you today with prayers of thanksgiving.  I pray that God opens our eyes to all the blessings he has heaped upon us.  And I also pray that he opens our hearts and minds to the opportunities each and every day to be a blessing to others.  Hold that door open, smile at that sullen passerby, call a friend just to tell them you love them.  I pray that this week we all try to be a shinging example of God's love.  Blessings!

Friday, 5 April 2013

One of Those Days...

So I woke up early again this morning, eager to start crossing things off of my to-do list.  I got on to the computer, did the bookkeeping that was needed, printed out a few things, then got to the breakfast making.  Milk, cereal, smoothie, tea...check, check, check, check. 

Went downstairs to get the kids, left my daughter picking out her clothes for the day, then opened my son's door...YAY!!! No poopie mess today.  Today is going to be so much better... 

I go downtown, get the few things I need in record time... Today is awesome.  Get to the church early to set up for the Mom's Group.  Today rocks.  Get out of the truck with bags in hand...then I hear this little beep as the door shuts.  Somehow, I have just locked all of the doors to my truck.  With my kids and the keys on the inside.  Nuts.  I check all the doors to no avail.  So then I phone my father-in-law (an angel in disguise), and ask him to pretty please get the spare key from our house, and come rescue us.  The ladies start showing up for the group as I stand outside in the freezing rain and try to entertain my kids so that they don't realize Mommy is not such a great Mommy today.  My son thought it was awesome that I was standing outside his door making faces at him.  My daughter, well not so much.  After about 15 minutes, my father-in-law (FIL) phones to ask if we have a spare key outside somewhere because (today of all days) he doesn't have his key with him.  Now I am ready to burst in to tears.  There are few things on this earth I think to make you feel as helpless as not being able to get to your children.  God was teaching me something here.  I think it was that as in control as I think I am sometimes (this morning I was sure feeling it), I still have to rely on him.  And boy was I talking to him this morning. I tell my father in law that no, we don't keep a key outside, but there may be one in the shop.  As I hang up the phone, a police car drives up.  All I can think is that I'm really not THAT bad of a Mom, honest.  It turns out he was there for our pastor.  He did show amazing empathy for my situation, and even offered to help, so thank you kind stranger!  I called my FIL back, and he was on his way with the keys.  Then I phone my husband to tell him that today was not looking to be any better than yesterday. 

But now, a couple hours later, as I sit here telling my story, I can choose to look at it two ways - I can wallow in another day gone sour, or, I hope, I can think about all the amazing people I have in my life to turn to when things go awry.  I have a sympathetic husband, who, since he is self employed, can almost always come to my rescue.  I have an amazing FIL, who has been my guardian angel on more than one occassion.  And there were so many other people this morning - the church secretary, the police officer and other Mom's from the the group who were so understanding of my mistake and showed me grace rather than judgement.  So maybe there were so many lessons in this morning's antics that I can't actually realize them all right now.  All I know is that I am blessed in more ways that I can even think of. 

I was reading a devotional this morning of a Mom who had handled a situation with her children in the way that seemed the best at the time, with (as far as I can see) no lasting damage done, and with lessons calmly learned.  She was trying to get the point across that sometimes we are all a little slow to listen to the lessons God is trying to teach us.  And while most ladies commented that they too have been a little slow to learn some days, and that we all can get too busy focusing on other things to listen to his voice, there were so many women who got lost in her story with her children that they completely missed the point of the devotional - not getting so distracted we can't hear what God is trying to say to us.  Today was an amazing demonstration of that.

Today I will leave you with a prayer for opening your eyes and your heart to God.  You can't know what he is doing in your life unless you stop and listen.  Thank you God for the grace that you have shown us.  Thank you that you choose to love us despite our sins, and our failures.  May you work through us to show that amazing gift to others'.  Is Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Not What I Imagined

I was having such a beautiful morning.  I woke up early enough to check my emails, get the kids their breakfast, and even make my smoothie this morning.  I had my baby monitor on, and went down to get the kids right after I finished the dishes.  I went into my daughter's room and told her to pick out her clothes (today is the day we go to the Senior's Village to visit GGPa, and the other residents), and then opened my son's door.  What I saw did not match up with my beautiful morning.  There stood my grinning 16 month old boy, naked, diaper contents strewn EVERYWHERE.  Now, having gone through this with my daughter already, I calmly shut the door, went upstairs, and grabbed my camera.  Now I have evidence for any future girlfriends.  Awesome!  (I have to find a silver lining somewhere.)  And so, instead of the nice, relaxing morning I had envisioned, I gave him a shower, stripped down his crib, washed it and the walls, and then jumped in the shower myself.  Such is life.  And it makes for an entertaining story.  Then there's the ability to totally one-up my husband on his crappy morning complaints (pun intended!).

Still no sales on my Etsy store, but that's ok.  I am still holding tight to the fact that God gave me this creativity for a reason, and that the sales will start rolling in according to His plan.

Today, I will leave with prayers of a peaceful night, and a wonderful Friday leading up to the weekend.  It is raining here, a great start to my garden, and making the dust settle for at least a little while.  Again, if there are any prayer requests, leave them and I will add you to my list!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Scared Spitless

Since opening my Etsy shop (RelaxingMoments) three weeks ago, I have been eagerly awaiting my first sale.  I hope and pray that will be  In the meantime, I have been creating new things, and just letting God take care of this.  If I am meant to have my own store, then I have to have faith that God knows his timeline. 

Amazing things have been happening lately.  My husband recently went on a missions trip with Casas Por Cristo for Juarez, Mexico.  He was lucky enough to go down with 15 other great guys who managed to get along great as a team and build 4 homes.  It was a life changing experience for those lucky enough to go (it was a men's trip).  My husband actually suggested that he would love for me to go down with our kids as soon as we can manage.  He has a passion for helping people, especially if it means he can build something, and I have a passion for kids and crafting.  I am hoping that either next year or the year after I can put together an Operation Christmas Box type program and take boxes down there.  There is a man down there, Pastor Jose, who every morning, travels a long distance to his church, and feeds 90 orphans breakfast.  It breaks my heart that these children, who although they get to experience the love of God each morning, often have to travel long distances themselves to get breakfast, but that may be the only meal they get that day.  I would love to be part of God's plan for these beautiful children.  If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment.  I would LOVE to hear them.  These children have done nothing to deserve the lives they have been dealt, but they smile every day nonetheless.  I should be so lucky as to learn from them!

I also received a surprising package in the mail last week.  There is a DARK Project going on, where you anonymously get a present in the mail, stating that you have made a difference in the life of someone you know, along with another gift for someone who has made a difference in your life.  What an amazing and unique idea.  And who wouldn't love a little pick-me-up after a long day?  I may have to make a few more gifts for all those special people in my life...:)

I will leave you with a request for prayers for all of those less fortunate than ourselves.  May we not forget how fortunate we truly are, and may we never forget to pass the along our fortunes whenever we can, be it an act of kindness, a cup of coffee, or just a smile to that person you pass by who looks like they need to see a friendly face, if only in passing.  If there is something you would like me to pray for in your life, leave your request in the comment section, and I will do my best.