Showing posts from February, 2012


If you don't have peace with God, this is a good website to check out.

I don't do much linking, because I hadn't figured out how to get the logo thing up here. Yes, I am that technically deficient.
But here (below) is a good website I browse - I went to college with Courtney and I know you will find good marriage, parenting, cooking ideas here!

Here are all the other blogs I'm linked at/to:

A Critical Eye

Last night Caleb was whining about Timo not pulling his window shade down. Nothing unusual - the normal sorts of bickering, arguing and annoyances of sharing a room with your little brother. He was rather pouty and I told him to point his finger at Timo and tell me the thing he did wrong. He did - pointed his finger and said he didn't listen and do what Caleb had asked. I said, 'Okay, now tell me how many fingers are pointing at you.' He said, 'None.' I said, 'No, look carefully.' He looked. 'None,' he said.
So I pointed to the three fingers curled up underneath the one he was pointing at Timo. I then said, 'Please tell me three things you are doing wrong.' I showed him how the three fingers were pointing back at himself. And that whenever you are about to criticize and find fault with others, just be sure to name at least three of your own for every one you spot in someone else. "Be completely humble and gentle." I sai…

Your God is near

I follow on this journey
The love that drew me in
To churn my life
By mills of pain
That faith might grow,
flourish and sink
Deeper roots into riches of grace -
Whose supply is greater
than the senses can bear.
Be hushed my soul,
Your God is near!
Hear Him now, His love pursues
It wins and fills the empty place
And compasses me 'round with grace.

Let sorrow fill His bitter cup
Let mercy flow to bind me up
Let peace be mine where questions lie
Let me not His joy deny.

In our work and in our play

A children's hymn for you today:
In our work and in our play, Jesus, ever with us stay; May we always strive to be true and faithful unto Thee. Then we truthfully can sing, we are children of the King.
My we in Thy strength subdue evil tempers, words untrue, Thoughts impure, and deeds unkind, all things hateful to Thy mind. Then we truthfully can sing, we are children of the King.
Children of the King are we! May we loyal to Him be; Try to please Him every day, in our work and in our play. Then we truthfully can sing, we are children of the King.
by Whitfield, G. Wills 1841-1891
Now, a disclaimer. I do love hymns and I do love theology. I understand the words of this may muddy the waters of theology - because even if we fail to strive or fail to try to please our King, we are still His children. But the concepts are good - that we carry His presence with us in all we do throughout the day, and this reality should certainly affect the things we do, the thoughts we think and the way we go…

Hospitality Tips

I got asked this question recently on Facebook so I'm posting it here with my answer:

Hi Sarah! I'm helping with a ladies' event at church about simple, heartfelt hospitality. We're trying to put together a list of ideas to get people thinking. So do you have any ideas that have worked well for you--could be anything from meal ideas to activities you have for the kids or whatever. I'm sure you have people in often so thought I'd ask you.
Yes, I do - biggest tip is DO NOT STRESS! Stress makes disasters of our best efforts. Focus on people, not the stuff you serve them. Focussing on the food, temp of the tea, amount of sugar/milk in the tea makes guests wonder what all the fuss is about. You're there to open your heart to people - more than serving them. Talk talk talk, until they follow you into your messy kitchen. If you're at ease, they might be too.
I remember someone hosting us on short notice for lunch. She threw together a salad and a pasta with no t…

How I Met Sam - Our first 'dates' 10

I went to bed and couldn't wrap my mind around what was happening. I had broken all of my own little 'rules' - like no dating, no physical contact with the male species... oh my, I was in over my head as far as rule-breaking goes.
I had a day or two off from school and Sam had invited me to come to visit anytime, so I took the opportunity the following Tuesday to go and scope out the land where he was working in China. I was a bit unprepared for the opulent luxury he lived in.
I was met at the train station on the China side by Sam's personal driver. I got in the van and we drove for an hour, finally arriving outside the big city of Shen Zhen in a smaller town where the factory was. Sam was working for Graco as a liason with their manufacturer in China - mostly strollers and playyards and such.
We entered the compound which had beautiful grounds - like entering a golf-course. For you in the west this is hard to imagine - but just picture riding in a Mercedes Van - so…

How I Met Sam - Our first 'dates' 9

That evening we decided to really be disciplined and not stay up late talking. Sam didn't want to be tired going to Church the next day. Fair enough. If I had been paying attention I would have learned a lot about Sam from this - that he is intentional and thoughtful about all of life and prioritizes the things that matter to him. I suppose we all prioritize, just I do it very sloppily - unthinkingly and unaware. God knew I needed someone like Sam in my life!
So far, we were hand-holding friends who really liked each other. Nothing more was clarified. I thought I was in a dream. I figured it was pretty significant for Sam to say something about marriage (like that he would have to be willing to ask me to marry him if he tells me he loves me...). But it was all so new - could he really be thinking this?! Of course I, being the romantic, far-fetched idealist that I was, could only think of marriage from the beginning - because half-hearted romantic involvements were definit…

On Daily Devotions

I met God in the afternoon when the day was at its best for me -For the kids were all now settled and I had some time for tea.
My Bible opened, Hannah kicking nearby - I trusted this quiet to last with no cries! For the morning is busy and giving up sleep to nurture my soul still leaves me weak - Fatigue makes the challenge for the Spirit's control Greater and trying, and I certainly know That Jesus walks with me through each of my hours When kids are contented, or I'm covered with flour!
When chaos ensues and my attitude fails Or when it's smooth sailing - the absence of wails! By formally meeting with Him or not, I know He is with me and I am not fraught With worry or fear for I'm not alone, I talk to Him often - His peace I own.
For you and the season of life you now walk - Morn, noon or sunset - any time on the clock - It may be the best to meet God other times, But remember He's with you - seek and you'll find.
Meet Him because your soul hungers and thirsts - Not out of gui…

Meet Priscilla

Priscilla likes to write, so I am introducing her to what a blog is. Here is my interview with her:
M (for Mommy): Tell me something about yourself Priscilla.
P: I'm eight years, I mean, nine years old. I like to hula-hoop and I like my teacher.
M: What are some of your hobbies, other than hula-hoop?
P: Playing with paper dolls, gymnastics, reading, running, crochet and knitting, and pretending to be Mommy (when I'm not supposed to).
M: What do you think about home-schooling next year?
P: I think it will be fun to learn to cook, and doing crafts together.
M: You know, we will be doing things like reading, writing and math and science too, right?
P: MM..hmmm. Right. I might miss school a little bit.
M: Why are you always happy and cheerful?
P: 'Cuz God makes me happy and fills me with His love.
M: I like to hear you say that Priscilla. What makes you sad?
P: When Timothy hurts me.
M: What's your favourite day of the week?
P: Umm. Friday - 'cuz we h…

Giving and Financial Planning

We were discussing the book 'The Treasure Principle' at Church the other night (by Randy Alcorn). I had banned Sam from ever reading it since I felt he needed no encouragement in that department (encouraging generosity), but since it had been recommended by our pastor, well, I had to concede and let him read it. Thankfully we haven't sold everything and become homeless just yet.
During the discussion the matter of financial planning came up.
I was going to save this part 'til I got to the end of telling the story of how I met and eventually married Sam, because early in our marriage these things did come up (as they are bound to eventually). I entered marriage with a Larry Burkett manual in one hand and a few dollars in the other. And Sam, well, he entered marriage with a heart full of generosity and an outlook on financial matters that blew my mind. He even questioned whether we should have health insurance, but decided that it might be a good idea.
I have often…

Who Says Happiness Can't Be Bought? Part 2

A month ago I wrote a blog about generosity. I still have more to say on that.
Would you say you want more joy in your life? That you want to be refreshed? That you want something bubbling over within your soul? I say YES to all these!
In our family we have noticed frequently a lack of joy. There are whiners, complainers, contenders, nit-pickers, name a few, and they are not always the little ones. Adults pitch fits too. Like the other day when I dumped a jug of milk into my soon-to-become mashed potatoes. Only someone had filled the sugar-water-syrup jug with milk, not noticing the clear, sticky liquid inside. And when I dumped that into the mashed potatoes, a woeful, anguished regret swept over me and the frustration boiled over. If I were Timo I would have thrown myself on the floor screaming 'Nooooooooooooo!' Instead, I said, 'Nooooooooooooo! No, no, no, no!' with Priscilla watching from the side of the kitchen wondering what was wrong…

Too important to ignore.

Education Dilemmas

I try to keep my blog from anything too controversial - but I feel the need to vent on this here goes.
I have decided, for various reasons to homeschool Priscilla (9) next year. Last year we decided to send Caleb (10) to a Christian Classical School (Clapham School). Up until that time they had always been in the public school which offered a Dual Language program, enabling them to become mostly fluent in Spanish.
I realize that doing school differently year by year strikes some as odd and a bit non-committal. For us, we figure we will evaluate the needs of each child and the benefits offered by each method and the pros and cons and adjust accordingly. It doesn't seem to me to be such a bad idea. Kids change, character issues arise and certain educational choices may not fit as they once had.
I guess sometimes I sense (for probably no apparent reason) that people look on me as an oddity - choosing different methods for my kids - now even venturing into homeschoolin…

Hannah Smiling!

How I Met Sam - Our first 'dates' 8

Sam had not yet had dinner. I can't remember how we remedied that, but I think we were both being fed on adrenaline. Someone mentioned how well I remember these things. Keep in mind that adrenaline imprints the brain to make memories stick. I had an adrenaline high coming off of the burglary - it took weeks to dissipate. Then the emotional roller-coaster of this new relationship, and my memories seem crystal clear!
We spent that evening talking into the wee hours. Still no 'relationship defining talk' yet. He didn't even fill me in on the talk with Mom and Dad. That's okay, though I was dying to hear about it...I just held my peace. I knew this was delicate territory and to tread lightly.
The next day we just hung out doing whatever - I remember we went somewhere on a double-decker bus. I'm not sure if it was an errand we were asked to run or if I was just taking him somewhere to show him the sights. We sat on the top deck, first row to get a good view…

How I Met Sam - Our first 'dates' 7

That weekend when Sam came I had a feeling things would be different.
He arrived, and asked if he could spend some time with my parents - ALONE.
Now, let me tell you what my plan all along had been regarding finding a life mate.
I did not have the best relationship with my parents. I don't need to go into it all here (out of honour to them and to me!) But suffice it to say, I wanted to keep my personal life entirely private from them. (I know this hurt their feelings, but that's just the way it was). My plan had been to be single forever. But IF Mr. Right were to come along, I had it all worked out. I would develop this friendship entirely apart from their input. I would secretly become engaged and then 'go in the back door' so to speak and get their approval after it was all said and done. Nice, tidy, no involvement on their part and entirely in MY control. Well, as you can see, none of this story was in my control - a lesson I guess we all need to learn at som…

How I Met Sam - Our first 'dates' 6

The long 24-hour email fast was over! I probably should have held back a bit more, but I had exercised such great patience and now the floodgates were opened. We continued our email dialogues and that evening he even called me. At $1-2 a minute, this is no small endeavour! We had about a 5-8 minute, very awkward conversation. It seemed we were better in person or in writing.
But there was no more relational talk. Just talking about our lives, who we were, our thoughts, ideas, opinions (in no short supply on my end!) and our aspirations for the future. We both had a desire to live in non-Western cultures and mostly desired to give our lives fully to whatever God had in store for us. At the time I think we assumed this would be for us to be missionaries. I think God smiled at that, whether it was His plan or not. And God was in this, from the very beginning. We prayed fervently for each other. I think my prayers were a bit more honest than Sam's - more like, 'Let him …

How I Met Sam - Our first 'dates' 5

He picked up on the lack of my enthusiasm in communicating. And I think my 'absence' (albeit for such a brief period), awoke in him a sense of the truth of the feelings of his own heart. At the same time we were still only 2 weeks into really getting to know each other.
I remember being at the British Council where I was taking classes towards certification in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). I decided to check my email during a break and the most beautiful words danced across the scene at me. I wanted to jump up and scream - but composed myself. Instead I just smiled and smiled and could not hold back the tears.
I know it sounds terribly unromantic for a dashingly handsome young man to declare his love for you via email. In fact, I don't think he even did such a thing - but that is what my heart read into it, and for a brief moment I indulged the impulse. Looking back I realize that it was his uncouth, direct confession of affection towards me and no…

Thy Way is Perfect

Here is one of my favourite poems by Amy Carmichael:

Long is the way, and very steep the slope - Strengthen me once again, O God of hope.
Far, very far, the summit doth appear - But Thou art near my God, but Thou art near.
And Thou wilt give me, with my daily food Pow'rs of endurance - courage, fortitude.
Thy way is perfect, only let that way Be clear before my feet from day to day.
Thou art my portion, saith my soul to Thee - Oh, what a portion, is my God to me!

How I Met Sam - Our first 'dates' 4

Sorry to have left the story for so long. It being Valentines day, I think I'll get a move on since I am still only 2 weeks or so into the story. Maybe I can aim to get two more weeks done by the time the year is over...

So there we were on our walk home with Sam telling me his life story. I was going to digress and tell his life story here, but I'll leave that for now and maybe revisit it some time. A few highlights were: him growing up in Zambia, heading off to boarding school at age 5 - away from home for 3 months at a time! But he had 3 older sisters who doted on him so it sounds like he did okay. (Side note: when considering marrying someone, do observe if it is a younger brother with 3 older sisters - the kind a fellow this turns out to be can be very interesting, having had the love heaped on him since infancy! :) ) He spent time in the U.S. throughout his childhood/growing up years. His Dad had his first brain tumour when Sam was only 10 or so. Throughout the n…

A Child's Poem

I don't know when this was written - but I found it tucked in my 'archives' (actual paper you can touch and feel). Transferring it here to my blog for my kids someday.
I am a Christian, though I'm small; Jesus does not care at all If I'm three years old, or four; Or if I am fifty more!
If I come to Him and say, "Will you wash my sins away?" And His Word I then believe, Sarah, He gladly will receive.


I wrote this poem when I was in high school. (That's 20 years ago :) )
Friendship is a common bond Shared by two Who are bound by a single Spirit.
Friendship is a state of mind Between two hearts who Share an art Of care.
True friends find A selfless love which Binds Two hearts, Two souls, Into One.