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Sunday, October 15, 2017

How I Met Sam...Journal Entry 10th December 1999

I'm going to write the boring day-t0-day events since that's what I feel like journalling right now. I 'taught' 3 hours today - it was little kids who are pretty much too young to learn how to read or write. One can barely hold a pencil. So I do the best I can. Immediately following that I went to KBC (the Church I grew up in and went to pre-school at) for GraceJoy's Christmas show, which turned out okay. I saw a kid start to cry when he was on stage and felt horrible for him. I noticed my eyes fill with tears...and then I caught myself. I though how difficult it must be for the parent to be there in the audience and see his/her child crying and not be able to reach out and comfort him. This kid really did inspire me though, because though he was crying and upset he still was singing and doing the motions in the song. I thought, 'Wow, if he were my kid I'd be SO proud - proud that my kid could stick through a tough situation and keep going - that he could still put himself into the production though he was distressed.' How proud our Heavenly Father must feel when He sees us, crying and hurt, and yet with our hand to the plough, working to perform the task at hand. I also thought how unskilled the singing was - any group of youngsters who can't carry a tune will sound like that! - and how that doesn't really matter, because they know and mean the words they're singing. Often our praise goes up to God and to His ears (which are perfect of course!) may just sound more than off-key. But just as everyone in the audience sat on the edge of their seats to hear and see the children sing, and especially the parents, so must our Father in heaven sit on the edge of His throne to see and hear us praise Him with our best gusto and effort! These children taught me a lot today - about worship, perseverance and God - and His delight in the praise of His children.

Isaac Watts penned the famous hymn, Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun. Here are a couple verses of it:

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.
People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.
Because of all that's happened in the previous weeks I've realized that our Christmas may be a little sparse this year. As I've been writing about contentedness I am understanding it more and more. I wish I had more money to give. I wish I could gather up all the fragments of resources and bless those who are hurting with it.

To continue with our budding romance, click Here (first dates - 4)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Invoice for Kids

I had a rough morning...Hannah's one and only school dress was no-where to be found.  I had stayed up late doing extra laundry in case it was in there, and couldn't find it.  I didn't want to dig around in the room where they were sleeping so it needed to wait until this morning (yes, you can point out I should have thought of this before they were in bed, but I was focussed on getting them to bed!  Of course you could point out that I could have thought of this before the bedtime routine!  But I was trying to get supper on!  And you could point out I could have thought of this before supper prep, but...okay, you win).

So this morning I look high and low.  I search everywhere.  I look under her bed three times!  I look under everything!  Couches, beds, hidden corners, dressers, cubbies, nooks - you name it, I looked.  I prayed - out loud, "Lord, please help us find Hannah's dress!"  I hear the thoughts in my head (could it be divine whispers?), "Pray and post a guard - keep looking."  "Okay, I get it," I reply to myself, or God, or whoever.  As I'm looking for the 3rd time I spot a tiny speck of uniform material, bunched up as a pillow for a dolly who is meticulously laid out under Hannah's bed, perfectly tucked in for the night, or eternity.  Aaargh.  The uniform dress had become a dolly pillow.  "Thank you, Lord!" I respond - "C'mon kids, we gotta go, we're already late!"

But then the Electric company had their truck near our driveway, and a man was knocking on Grandma's door.  Grandma, ever confused, comes out to respond - but thankfully I'm there at that moment to deal with the electric guy.  The wires are dangling too low on our property...blah blah, etc.  One more delay.  Not his fault.  Probably mine, 'cuz if we got out sooner we might have missed him, but then Grandma would have been so befuddled to try to figure out what he wanted.  So, maybe we were late for a good reason. 

On our way to school, a particular kid of mine asks me, "Did you bring my school bag?"  This, while holding the action figure in the air and making swooshing noises.  "Uh, no." I say.  "Do you know that going to school usually requires a back pack?  Is it my job to run around finding your things and kindly bringing them to the car for you?  No."  And the ensuing argument about where things are put - even though a particular cubby shelf/bench was built for this purpose (by an awesome, handy, skilled, helpful Daddy, I might add).  You get the picture.  It was that kind of morning.  Annoying thing is though, these seem to be very frequent mornings for me. 

Normally I'd be super stressed and let that fall out on the kids.  But I wasn't too much (or as much as usual).  I realized recently that enough is enough.  My stress level is not going to help anything.  If we're late, we're late.  We shouldn't be.  We should plan better, work towards change and all that.  But ultimately, in that moment of stressed-out-ness, frustration, anger, 'AAAAaaargh' and berating/shaming them is really not going to end well.  It will just mean more stress all 'round.  Somehow venting stress seems to multiply it.

Instead, the office listened to me rant (thank you, school office), chuckled at the drama of the day, and offered me coffee.

And I came home.  And I wondered what to do, other than locate a belt, backpack, and prepare 5 lunches (my lunch prep time was used up searching the house for a particular school dress).  And I had an aha moment.  We will wait to see how this plays out - and I invite your input if you think I'm being a mean mommy.

You see, I came to the kitchen to prepare lunches that I will shortly deliver (I have to pick up a kid anyway, so not an extra trip).  In the kitchen I found ONE prepared lunch bag/box.  ONE out of five.  Mind you, I wouldn't expect much from my 6 or even 8 year old in this regard - they're a bit newer to it.  I have made it known that by them a) not returning a lunch bag/box or b) not emptying it, c) not washing/drying the box, they create extra work for me and slow down the whole process.  Yes, I can do all that, but I am serving them anyways - and I ask for very little from them (we are not super good at requiring chores etc, but they are often very helpful in the moment).  So the one tiny little thing I have asked is that they made an empty, clean, ready-to-be-filled lunchbox appear on my counter the evening before, so that I can fill them. 

So, here is what 4 of my kids will discover in their lunchboxes today:  An invoice:

Dear Logan Child of Mine,

For the Service of:

o   Locating your item (lunchbox, belt, uniform item, backpack, or other thing)
o   Emptying your lunch bag
o   Washing your lunchbox
o   Drying your lunchbox
o   Delivering your item (forgotten necessary item: like a schoolbag, lunch or gym shoes)
o   Other: _______________________________________________

You owe me any of the following (one for each service rendered above):

o   $1 (an additional $1 for each service rendered)  Amount owed:$_____
o   Sweep the dining room
o   Mop the kitchen
o   Scrub the bathtub shiny clean
o   Tidy and clean our small bathroom counter/sink
o   Dust/spray/wipe baseboards of dining room, kitchen and bathroom
o   Memorize any of the following verses, to be verified by quoting them to me: Hebrews 12:1-2
o   Hebrews 12:14-15
o   1 Peter 1:3-4
o   1 Peter 2:9-10
o   1 Peter 2:21-23
o   2 Peter 1:3
o   John 15:9-11
o   John 15:16
o   Romans 2:1-2
o   Romans 2:3-4
o   Romans 6:1-2
o   Romans 6:3-4
o   Romans 8:9-10
(You may also opt to not memorize but to copy – handwritten - any of the above 3 times and hand it to me).

Consider this your invoice (a bill to be payed).  Upon completion I can issue you a receipt for your purchase. 

In other words, you have hired me to serve you in this way, so pay up.


Your loving Mother,

who so often mercifully overlooks your failings, and graciously lavishes you with undeserved goodness (and expects no less of you in how you treat me and each other).  Have a great day!

P.S.  Please take note: this is not a punishment!  You are being asked to contribute to managing your own needs.  If you require my services, please respectfully acknowledge this by fulfilling your obligation above.  I serve you in many ways for free: packing lunches, washing clothes, transporting you places.  You are being invited to do your part.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Building A Dam

I just want to put this out there:
Yesterday we (Sam, Caleb -16, Priscilla -14, Timo -10, Andrew -8, and Hannah -5) went to a creek and decided to build a small dam. Some carried big rocks, some small, some added handfuls of pebbles. One huge rock or a handful of small rocks did not build it or even hardly make a dent in it. But each tiny addition added to the success of building it. With many additions you could see small, incremental changes in the flow of water. For it to be really effective, we had to have a lot of tiny little stones, pebbles and sand. I reflected that this is a lot like life and progress. We could have left the stream alone and done nothing. But we decided to change it. We used muscle, effort, creativity and intelligence to bring about change - to create beauty, sound effects, and to marvel at our own power and work. Every small discovery, effort of big movement in a new direction can create a change in the course and flow of our lives. I was encouraged to see that the many small rocks were as necessary to progress as the big ones. I want to keep on working and discovering and finding power to change the course of the flow of life.

Of course I realize this is a work God does. At the same time, I recognized yesterday that God certainly can cause an earthquake, tornado or such - and tumble rocks into that stream that I could never muster the strength to budge. His power is of course far beyond anything I can fathom. Yet He gives me hands, a brain, abilities and creativity to involve myself in affecting change in my own life as much as a simple stream, and far more so, I daresay.

Be encouraged to know the tiny pebbles are as necessary to progress as the huge boulders. A boulder impeded the stream, but left gaps only small stones could fill. Each discovery is progress, and each exertion of effort isn't wasted. Even in failure we learn what doesn't work.

Sometimes engaging with nature opens our eyes to see what we've been missing all along...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Pharisee I Fail to See

The Pharisee I fail to see
Is one who has no need;
Who says, "I'll help - but I won't let
You sacrifice for me!"

The Pharisee I fail to see
Is one who ponders deep -
Who sees the world, its shame and woe
And says, "I'm glad I'm free."

The Pharisee I fail to see
Is unable to receive.
She cannot ask for simple prayer
Lest she admits her need.

There might be some of these -
In Church or home (or quilting bees) -
I wouldn't know...I fail to see
Because the Pharisee is me.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Is This My Invitation?

I don't know what my life is all about -
So I get stuck in my head
Trying to figure the mysteries I live -
In wandering thoughts I lose sight of today:
I miss sunshine's warmth, the glistening dew,
Morning's fresh glow and 
The wonder of each moment.

Getting lost in my head I cannot hear
The chorus of nature - the whisper of peace.
Is this an invitation to lay to rest
Big, un-earthly questions?
To be still and sit before the busy bees, working ants
And bullfrog's rhythmic tempo?

Is this my invitation to gratitude,
To feel the Breath of life
Inspire, and respire
The sluggish spirit in me?
To receive this Breath - this intimate infusion,
This communing of my flesh-embodied spirit
With the Heavenly, Gracious,
Soul-stirring, Life-Breathing, Divine 

The wind blows and reminds me once again
That this power and force is only seen or known
In feeling, movement, 
Impact and effects.

I am moved, Breathed-upon,
Invited to feel and be known,
To receive and revive:
Enter the moment unhindered
And enter the peace
That comes from breath,
Wind, and communion with the Divine.

Big questions will sit - floating in my cluttered mind -
Remaining as brain-chatter
Like a tornado captured inside.
But the sun rises and sets,
The birds fly south and return;
The rhythm and choir of life
Sings its original song
Each new day.

And I hear a Greater Voice
Hints of a knowing and responding:
"I do not give answers,
Because I have given Myself."

And I AM in that moment
Is Enough.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Living in Shadows

Living in shadows becomes my habit
To shelter from life in murky grey
I feel the in-between -
Seeing visions of day I still prefer
The hidden space, a comfort from blinding light
Seeking to uncover, reveal, unravel
Inner workings that would widen my sight
Perhaps too far
Too broad
Beyond what I know.

Bravely I step away from hiding -
Boldly embrace the light of day -
Cast off fear and donning courage
Open my eyes and see there is more...
A work to undertake,
A journey to make -
The pathway is for the bold, daring, foolhardy.
All caution disdained I set my face like flint
Embark to see, to know, to discover
How light shall not frighten
How Truth is a person
How I can become free in the light
Known in love
Embraced in Truth.

Living in shadows has its time, its space
But its work is to shield what can't be seen
Until such time as vision grows, heals
And light invites the courageous to enter.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

What the Queen taught me of baptism

Three weeks ago, Caleb and Priscilla were baptized. I was privileged to share a few thoughts beforehand. Here is what I said:

Two words sum up what I am about to tell you: Legacy and Royalty.  Each of you getting baptized today has been handed a legacy of spiritual commitment. None of you were born with faith in Christ, but you were taught it: shaped by it.  This is your spiritual legacy.  But mere exposure does not make a Christian.

The Queen of England was eligible for her role because of her royal birth.  But sometimes one who might become King or Queen decides to go after something else – they choose to step away from the calling to the throne, and pursue their own desires.  It was over a year between the time the queen became officially queen and when she was publicly crowned in a coronation ceremony.  You have been a child of God since the day you put your trust in Jesus.  But today you are making it public – you are dedicating yourself to your calling as His child.

Much like a marriage, with lifelong vows, the queen commits herself to a life of selfless service and dedication to guarding the Christian faith, and devoting herself for the rest of her life to her country with special attention to fostering unity and stability.  One part of the coronation ceremony caught my attention:  She takes on a white robe, and then is anointed on her head, both hands and chest.

“But wait,” I hear you say. “I am not a queen. What does this have to do with me? I am not royalty!” 


Listen to these words from 1st Peter: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The queen received and embraced her anointing.  Today the water will go over your head, your hands, and your heart.  You are recognizing yourself as wholly, fully, completely belonging to God: that your thoughts, your actions and your desires – what you love – are set apart for Christ’s kingdom.  Today you embrace and solidify your commitment to walk asroyalty the rest of your lives. You enter these waters freely because you have been drawn into God’s kingdom – you have come to know Him as your Father.  And by doing so you proclaim publicly that you embrace this calling; that you welcome this process of being set-apart for whatever He has for you the rest of your lives.

I want you look on this day as a turning point in how you see yourself.  That you will move forward in your spiritual life with a different outlook, with the identity of ROYALTY. Today this ceremony – much like a coronation – or crowning, is where you publicly assume the identity you have already received.
Today you are marked with a new identity.  You areroyal children of the King.

Unlike marriage, where commitments can be broken by both parties, you have entered a secure relationship with God Who promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

It is a bold, daring and audacious thing to say, “I identify with Jesus Christ for the rest of my life.”  Yet you have every reason to do so – drawn by His amazing love, to fellowship with Him, to receive His ongoing grace, forgiveness, friendship and presence in your lives, you say, “Count me IN! Sign me up!”

 It is the most wise, obvious commitment to enter – because you are KEPT by Him, LOVED and WELCOMED as His precious child. He KEEPS you.


You have been given both.
Don’t forget who you are. 

You are His child, clothed in royal robes, a precious possession, so very loved.

Walk as His children. 

Walk as royalty.

  And know that you fully belong to Him.