Friday, November 21, 2008

What God Did

I just did something I never thought I’d get a chance to do. I just finished decorating a birthday cake for my daughter. At the beginning of this year, if you had told me that in November I’d be celebrating the first month of my baby’s life, I would have laughed in your face much like Sara did when the angel told Abraham she’s have a son. After 10 years of marriage, my husband and I had all but given up on the idea of having our own children. In fact, we were starting the adoption process when we found out we were pregnant. As we learned, God has a sense of humour (you can read more about this in my previous posts “The Unexpected Day” Part 1 and 2).

However that’s not all we’ve learned throughout the course of this year. As the reality of our pregnancy sunk in, a new reality began taking shape. At 35 years of age, with high blood pressure and a few other health concerns, we were facing a high risk pregnancy. My life changed overnight, and for the next nine months we prayed our way through regular blood pressure checks, glucose monitoring, countless ultrasounds, blood tests, non-stress tests and more. The risks were high, for me and the baby, and even on the day she was born we weren’t sure if either of us were going to make it. Our baby girl is a living, breathing miracle. A testimony of God’s faithfulness, and proof of the power of prayer.

From the moment we found out we were pregnant, we started to pray and had others join us in prayer. Right from the start the odds were stacked up against us. I was told to expect that I’d develop gestational diabetes. I was ordered to take it easy and put on medication to help with my blood pressure, all the while being told the scary truth of what high blood pressure could mean in pregnancy. My doctor even all but guaranteed that, if I made it through, the baby would be born by caesarean section. Being faced with such sobering news was overwhelming, and I remember going home after that first week of doctor’s visits in tears. Scared, completely overwhelmed and still in shock at what was happening, I had no other alternative than to turn to the Lord and trust that He knew what He was doing!

The journey for the next nine months was full of anxious doctor’s visits, and praise report after praise report as we sat back and watched God do what He does best. Prayers were said for us from every corn of the world, and as we journeyed through the pregnancy we saw evidence of the power of those prayers along the way. Not one of the doctor’s predictions came true, and in fact I ended the pregnancy healthier than when I started!

But the power of prayer was most evident to us at the end when our daughter was born. After waiting for two days to be induced into labour, I was finally admitted and induced on Monday, October 20th. We were ecstatic and expected that our baby would be born later that night or early the next morning. However, what started as excitement quickly turned to anxiety as the hours stretched on and on with little progress. By Tuesday night, when the second induction was forced on me (along with an epidural that I had hoped to avoid), I was exhausted and the doctor started to express concern. Threats of a c-section loomed before us once again, and we started to pray harder.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, after 38 hours of labour I was finally told I could start pushing. Not knowing where I’d find the energy, my husband started to pray (as did his mother, who was awakened around that time with an urge to pray for me). Two hours later, despite the doctor’s certainty that he’d have to intervene at some point, and a scary moment when the baby’s head got “stuck” and she started showing signs of being in distress, God saw fit to give me a sudden burst of energy and I pushed with strengthen no one thought I had to bring our daughter into the world. Every person in the room cheered as the baby made her entrance. “I didn’t think you would do it,” the doctor said to me. “God did” is all I could say.

Ten months later I sit here, in the comfort and warmth of our little townhouse, and listen to the stirring of my infant daughter. We named her Abigail, which means “the father’s joy,” and we have started a new prayer for her... that she would truly be a joy to HIM, as she grows and learns what He did for her. God is good.

(For a play by play of the delivery, visit our family blog at Laus R Us)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A new journey...

When I started this blog, I did so with the intent of sharing my life journey as a daughter, sister, wife (pastor's wife) and follower of Jesus. Never in a million years did I dream that I'd be adding to my list of life experiences the title "mother."

About nine months ago, my husband and I began a new journey... a very unexpected journey. (You can read more about it in my posts "The Unexpected Day" part one and two.) Now, as a I sit here listening to the fussy cry of my newborn daughter, I find myself on a new journey... a humbling, challenging, often frustrating but always rewarding journey... the journey of parenthood.

But before I begin sharing what God is teaching me on the parenting adventure, I must share the "rest of the story" in how He brought us through nine months of a high risk pregnancy, 40 hours of intense labour, and a scary moment of delivery in the birth of our daughter... Abigail Joy. Stay tuned as I relay what God did.

He is Amazing...

(As posted on our family blog -

I need to brag a little... not about Abbie Joy (although I could do that for hours too), but about my amazing husband. Sherman and I have been married for 10 years, 11 months, and I can honestly say that never before have I been more proud, more grateful, more amazed by him than I am right now.

His help with Abbie has been invaluable to me, his encouragement for me (especially when I melt down) has been uplifting, and his overall calm and gentle approach to Abbie and her fussiness has melted my heart. From the beginning of this journey, through the traumatic 40 hours of labour and heart-pounding delivery, Sherman has amazed me. Through the birth he was my cheerleader, my prayer warrior, my reminder that "this too shall pass." When the doctor finally declared that we were both "alright", he was my teddy bear -- melting into tears and expressing over and over how proud he was of me and of Abbie. Through the sleepness nights in the hospital, battles over breastfeeding and the overload of information coming from the nurses, he was my warrior and protector. In the recovery at home and the adjustment in finding a routine for our new family, he's been my saviour, my confidant and my shoulder to cry on. And even now, as I look over and see my baby cuddled up in her daddy's arms, he is my rescuer after a long day with her! I can't say enough about the man I married... he's amazing...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Enough Already!

Well, it finally happened. For months the various women around me have mentioned that at some point in their pregnancies they said "enough already," but I have been having so much fun being pregnant I thought for sure that I'd never say that. In fact, up until Monday of this week, the thought of the pregnancy ending was enough to make me cry. I've loved being pregnant, loved feeling Abbie move, loved the special connection that only she and I have right now, and loved the attention from hubby and others. But... I've finally reached that crossing over point...

It happened Monday, when after a busy day of ultrasounds and shopping for the "hospital bags/baby kit", I slumped on the couch and said... "Enough!" I'm tired of being tired, tired of the swollen feet, aching back, and unexpected pains like the joys of carpal tunnel in my right hand/wrist this week. Tired of trying to find some change for the hospital parking lot now that I practically live there. Tired of the now weekly appointments with my OB, added to the now weekly visits to the hospital for "non stress tests" to assess the baby's condition. Tired of reading about labour and going over endless lists to ensure we have everything. Tired of the endless, "so how are you doing" questions from well-meaning people. And tired of waiting... waiting to meet this kid! :-)

Don't get me wrong. I love being pregnant, and will miss the high points about pregnancy when it's over. But enough is enough already. Bring on Abbie Joy and the NEW adventure of parenting!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Love List

Inspired by two of my frequently visted blogs (who ironically inspired each other: Sharon and Meghan), here is my Friday Love List:

Song you love: Such a hard question. At the moment it would probably be "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman. One, cause he's my hero; two, cause it's meaning has deepened since the tragic death of their 5 year old Maria; and three cause I love my daddy; and four cause we having a girl in the next month and it makes me cry! ;-)

Word you love: Special. I have several "special" people in my life... (Rachel knows what that means...)

Academic subject you love: I hated school. Really. Music/Choir would be on the top of my list as a result. And maybe English since I enjoy writing.

Hobby you love: Photography. A fairly new hobby for me thanks to my hubby gifting me with a Nikon D40. Love it.

Type of baked good you love: I shouldn't love any of them right now... but chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven are high on my list.

Type of sky you love: Deep blue right before the sunlight completely dies. The "not quite day" "not quite night" look...

Beverage you love: Coffee -- which again I am not having right now. Sniff Sniff.

Vacation you love: The Oregon Coast with my hubby; or visiting wherever my family is - Ontario or Texas.

Restaurant you love: Anything Mexican will do, but thanks to my Texan family I'm addicted to Chipotle when I'm in the US!

Way of getting around that you love: Driving. Love road trips, love sitting as a passenger watching the world go by; love driving myself and exploring new roads/towns.

Person you love: Torn between my 1st love - my hubby; and my new growing love - Abbie Joy who debuts in October.

Room in your home you love: a few months ago I would have said my bedroom. Love the blue that we used to decorate-- it relaxes me. But now I'd say the nursery. I love the fun, colourful, jungle theme we've got going for the baby on the way!

Movie you love: This truly is the hardest question to answer for both me and my hubby. We are truly movie geeks! ;-) To narrow it down to just one is impossible... truly. It would be easier to list the ones I hate.

Book you love: The "This Present Darkness" series by Frank Peretti has been an all time fav since I read it in highschool; the Bible of course is number one though; followed by the "Left Behind" series.

City you love: Quito, Ecuador. Will always be the city of my heart. City I'd love to visit someday however, would be Venice, Italy!

Future plan you love: Mommy to Abbie Joy come this October. And full time stay at home mom/pastor's wife (at least for my year's maternity leave).

Form of communication you love: Written. I think so much better on paper/screen.

Junk food you love: Again, a much loved "food group" I have to avoid at the moment. But... when this baby pops out my first indulgence will be cheesies, following closely thereafter by oreos! ;-)

What do you LOVE?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Tastes of Summer

A blog I frequent (He Said, She Said) posted a fun list of all time favorite summer foods. It got my mouth watering (which isn't hard to do to a 7 month pregnant woman), and got me thinking about my own list of favs during the heat of summer. Here are some of my top picks... in no particular order.

Ice cream - what's a summer with out it? My current craving/must have... Dairy Queens "Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard."

Hot Dogs - grilled to perfection by my sweetie, on a toasted bun with either JUST mustard (boring but traditional), or spiced up with the Leaver "salsa" of tomatoes and onions.

Pasta Salad - I have two great recipes I make all through the summer. The combine my love of pasta, with the coolness you crave when the heat makes you crazy.

Corn Dogs - again with the summer fav... the weiner. Corn dogs are a summer must have at the PNE or any summer carnival!

Smoothies - blend up some yogurt, bananas, fresh or frozen summer fruit, etc. and you have a tasty, filling and delightfully COOL summer treat.

Iced Tea - while technically not a food but rather a beverage, no summer is complete without it! My fav, which I don't get often or make often... sun tea. Yum.

Corn on the Cob - boiled or grilled to perfection and lathered with butter, salt and pepper, it's the perfect sweet sticky mess!

Mini Donuts - a PNE must have if you live in British Columbia, these mini donuts at the summer "fair" are a must have. Freshly cooked, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, these are truly to die for.

What are your favs?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Me: From A to Z

Sharon tagged me in this, most likely knowing that I too am a "sucker" for these things. I don't know, I just find them interesting! :-)

Attached or single? attached... very attached. ;-) Been married to my hero for 10 1/2 years and getting ready to bring our 1st child into the world.

B. Best friend? that's a hard question for me, as it has gradually changed over the years as I get older, move into new life stages, etc. At the core I'd still say my best bud from high-school, Marti, who lives too far away and whom I haven't physically seen since my wedding. Distance sucks. But despite the distance we connect through email, etc.

C. Cake or pie? Cake. Definitely. Hate pie.

D. Day of choice? At the moment, Mondays. Monday is my hubby's day off, and thus our day off together.

E. Essential item? my pjs. I love my pajamas.

F. Favourite colour? no one particular colour, but an array of earth tones (sky blue, sage, beiges and chocolate browns)

G. Gummy bears or worms? while i'm not a huge candy eater, if I had to choose between the two, i'd go with worms. just more fun to eat.

H. Hometown? that's a hard question to ask a missionary kid! I consider "home" wherever my parents are, so Cambridge, ON would be the answer I guess. However, as we grow older and establish our own family home, Langley, BC would be my second reply.

I. Favourite Indulgence? Just one?!?!?!?! I'd have to say mac n' cheese would be at the top of my list.

J. January or July? January. I hate the heat.

K. Kids? One on the way. Abbie Joy (Abigail Joy) will arrive in October.

L. Life isn’t complete without? My family -- immediate & extended.

M. Marriage date? December 27, 1997.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? Two bros whom I adore. Drew is an amazing pastor/preacher in Dallas, Texas and father of the cutest kid in Texas; Colin a rockin' daddy to four amazing boys and newly appointed Exec Director for Youth for Christ in Ontario. I love to brag... they are awesome.

O. Oranges or apples? Apples.

P. Phobias? Falling... I have dreams about falling and falling but never hitting the ground.

Q. Quotes? Hmmm... "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

R. Reasons to smile? Pics of my nephews; flutters and kicks from Abbie Joy; my husband's laugh

S. Season of choice? Anything but summer...

T. Tag someone. Sharon would be who I would have tagged, so let's see... how about Meghan?

U. Unknown fact about me? Hard one. I guess... I enjoy public speaking.

V. Vegetable? Most all of them...

W. Worst habit? ha ha... too embarrassing to say.

X. X-ray or ultrasound? odd question; i'd have to say ultrasound, especially lately given that i've had so many with this pregnancy.

Y. Your favourite food? anything mexican

Z. Zodiac sign? oh please. i know it, but who cares!?!?!? ;-)

Friday, July 11, 2008


I was listening to the Focus on the Family broadcast today, "Treasuring Relationships," and was struck by a poem that was read about tomorrow. It brought to mind one of a favourite quotes and silly little song.

So here is my musings for today: an interesting contrast in view points - Shakespeare (MacBeth) vs. that little orphan named Annie:

Shakespeare (From Macbeth): "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace form day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Annie: "The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun. Just thinkin' about tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'till there's none! When I'm stuck with the day that's gray and lonely, I just stick out my chin and grin and say, ohh... the sun will come out tomorrow, so you gotta hang on 'til tomorrow come what may! Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, your only a day away."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

By the way...

By the way, while I fully intend on keeping up this blog as part of my "journey of faith," not to mention my own exercise in writing, my time is more and more being taken up by a new blog my hubby and I have started in order to keep our family and friends up to date on a new journey we are on... the beginning of our little family and the soon-to-be adventures in parenting!

Check out our family blog, Laus R Us.


I haven't blogged in a while, mostly cause I haven't felt particularly inspired by anything of late. Then I saw this on Meghan's blog and thought I'd do my own list...

What was I doing ten years ago?

1. Working at Focus on the Family Canada... my 2nd year in the new Correspondence Department.
2. Struggling as a newlywed. Our first year of marriage was HARD... and I do believe our apartment building had a fire around this time 10 years ago. Fun times.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
1. Do a "white load" of laundry.
2. Iron some work clothes I washed last night.
3. Make a pot of Jambalaya for my very tired and worn out hubby
4. Open up my new sewing machine and read the instructions!
5. Begin working on my grocery list and menu for the next two weeks.

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Roasted almonds
2. Nacho chips and salsa
3. M&Ms
4. An apple w/ honey
5. a bowl of cereral

5 Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Donate - to church, my fav charities, my parent's and brother's missionary support.
2. Take my whole family (extended family) on a Disney World vacation for a week.
3. Begin the adoption process on two or three international adoptions.
4. Sell our townhouse and buy a big house in the country for the growing family!
5. Set aside money in a trust or fund somewhere for all my nephews and my own children for their continuing education.

Places I've lived:
1. Belleville, Ontario
2. Cambridge, Ontario
3. Burlington, Ontario
4. San Antonio, Texas
5. Quito, Ecuador
6. Langley, BC
7. Richmond, BC

Jobs I’ve had:
1. Music Library renovator
2. Greeting Card company factory worker (good times!)
3. Reader (mail processing basically)
4. Correspondence Assistant
5. Manager of Correspondence

What about you?

Monday, June 02, 2008

With Hope

I can't imagine going through this life, and facing tragedy in loss, without the HOPE found in my Lord and Saviour. That thought has been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks. From the illness and death of a church member, to the tragic loss of life the Steven Curtis Chapman family endured, to the very sudden loss close friends have recently faced, I've sat and watched (or read of) how each family is coping. There is grief, but there is HOPE. How can you do it without HOPE?

Ironically, a song penned by Steven Curtis Chapman 10 years ago, is now one that is bringing him and his own family comfort. It's a song that has been running through my mind today as I absorbed the news of this most recent, sudden, so very unexpected loss, in the lives of some friends. May the words below encourage you in the trial you may be facing... or prompt you to ask how you too can have that HOPE:

"With Hope"

This is not at all how we thought it was supposed to be. We had so many plans for you, we had so many dreams. And now you've gone away and left us with the memories of your smile. And nothing we can say and nothing we can do, can take away the pain. The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope. We can say goodbye with hope. 'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no. And we can grieve with hope. 'Cause we believe with hope. (There's a place by God's grace) there's a place where we'll see your face again. We'll see your face again.

And never have I known anything so hard to understand. And never have I questioned more the wisdom of God's plan. But through the cloud of tears I see the Father's smile and say well done. And I imagine you where you wanted most to be. Seeing all your dreams come true 'cause now you're home, and now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor 'cause we believe that everything. God promised us is true, so ...

So we can cry with hope. And say goodbye with hope. We wait with hope. And we ache with hope. We hold on with hope. We let go with hope.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I have been a HUGE fan of contemporary Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, for years, and have been enormously blessed by his music. Today, I join the Chapman family, and millions of other all over the world, in grieving the tragic death of the Chapman's youngest child, Maria. A young life cut short by an accident, and a moment when God doesn't make sense. We simply rest in the hope that He knows what He's doing.

The following song was written by Steven about the relationship between a father and daughter. A reminder of how important it is it savour each moment... because before you know it the moment is gone:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just "Love Them Like Jesus"

I've been thinking a lot about this song, "Love Them Like Jesus," by Casting Crowns lately. Mostly because my husband, a fairly new pastor, is in the midst of his first experience in walking someone through the impending death of a loved one.

He asked me the other day, "what do I say to her?" "Nothing," I replied. "Just love her through it."

There are times, as Dr. James Dobson puts it so well, when God just doesn't make sense. But that doesn't mean He doesn't care. Nor does it mean that we, in our human finiteness, need to feel obligated to have all the answers. In my husband's role as pastor in this instance, but applicable to all of us with friends or family going through a time of trial, his only job is to love them, to carry them through it, and to remind them that God is there.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Things I Love List

I'm stealing this idea from a friend, who faithfully writes a "Friday Love List" of things that make her smile. (Thanks Sharon!) It's a great way to lift your spirits, remember all the good things in your life and count your blessings. It's also a great way to start a weekend.... So, I love...

1. Sunny days
2. Cozy evenings with my hubby
3. New episodes of my favorite shows (Battlestar Galactica, CSI (Vegas), Criminal Minds, etc.)
4. Mexican food -- bring on the corn tortillas!
5. Hits from the 80s to keep me humming while I work...
6. Shopping
7. redecorating my house
8. Coffee -- sniff sniff... with the baby on the way I just can't indulge like I used to! :-)
9. pics of my nephews and notes from home
10. surprise love notes/emails from my hubby
11. the smell and feel of clean sheets as you cozy in to bed...
12. the relaxed sign you let out as you crawl into bed after a busy day
13. Funky candles
14. tulips
15. playing with my Nikon
16. daydreaming ;-)
17. Sunday mornings on the way to church -- a great time to prepare, calm ourselves and munch on some McD's egg mcmuffins with my hubby before the chaos of SUndays
18. leading worship at church
19. dreaming and planning for this baby on the way...
20. watching my husband's joy in spending a few hours playing with his Nintendo Wii!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Unexpected Day - Part Two

God has a sense of humour. This I know to be true.

As I indicated in my last post, February 18th started out as any other day off with my hubby. The plan: to have a day of frivolous fun in the beautiful sunshine. God, however, had other plans.

In the quiet majesty of the Westminster Abbey chapel, we felt God’s presence. Both of us were carrying burdens and concerns from life, and when confronted with the stillness of the chapel it became apparent to us that God had drawn us to this place for a reason. Our desire had been to put those burdens out of our minds that day, but the Lord had other plans.

For me, the past few months had been a roller coast of emotions and decisions to make about life, God’s will for me, and our plans to pursue adoption. I was overwhelmed with the pros and cons list I had formed in my mind for the decisions before me. The peaceful atmosphere of the abbey’s chapel forced me to slow down, and compelled me to sit and be still before the Lord. As I prayed, I unloaded the things that had been on my heart and quietly asked God for wisdom. Then I waited, and in stillness I heard Him speak. His word to me? “Let it go.”

“Let it go?” I asked Him. “Yes, let it go. Let me worry about what lies ahead. Let it go and let Me be God.”

As I accepted this and allowed myself to truly let go of all I’d been hanging on to, the peace that was so present in that chapel seemed to fill my soul. I looked around me at the beautiful stained glass, stone carved saints, and simple altar and felt a calmness that cannot be described in words. I left that chapel that afternoon with a new spring in my step. No, I didn’t have any answers to any of the questions and decisions I was wrestling with. But, I left that day knowing that God, in His perfect time, would reveal His plan. All I had to do, was let it go.

We arrived home late that afternoon more rested than ever before, and settled down for a quiet evening to absorb all that had happened. As my hubby threw some burgers on the BBQ, I ran upstairs to change. Stopping in the bathroom to relieve my bladder for what seemed like the 100th time that day, I noticed in the cupboard a pregnancy test we’d bought months ago on a whim. Without even thinking I grabbed it… and then spend the next 20 minutes staring at it in disbelief.

The words “let it go” ran through my mind as I finally composed myself enough to run downstairs. After 10 years of marriage, and 100% conviction that adoption was our only option, I had to laugh at God’s sense of humour. How silly my worrying and sleepless nights must have seemed to Him in light of what He had planned. Suddenly all the decisions that had loomed before me, were meaningless. The Lord had a new adventure for me all along… all I had to do was “let go” and let Him be God.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Unexpected Day

I haven't blogged in a month... So much for my pledge to be more disciplined in putting my thoughts down and sharing my journey! But to be fair, the last month has been quite a ride. And while I'm not ready yet to share the complete story of all that's transpired over the last month, I can say that this journey is teaching me two things: 1) God has a sense of humor; 2) God's timing, while hard to understand from a human perspective, is always perfect.

February 18th started out like any day off with my hubby. We covet our Monday's together, protect them at all costs and make every attempt to make our day together special. But we had no way of knowing just how special this Monday would be. It was a gorgeous day, and I was anxious to get out in it with my camera. So we decided to drive east to Abbotsford for brunch, a little shopping at the House of James, and a drive in the country to capture some photos of Mount Baker and the glorious sun shine. The perfect day... or so we thought.

It is there that our story of February 18th took several unexpected turns... It all began as we drove along a busy country road, and noticed a homeless man. As we passed him, I commented to my husband about the cute little dog perched on top of the man's shopping cart. No sooner had I said the words, however, than were we horrified to see the cart -- dog included -- tumble down the embankment into the deep ditch below.

Without thinking twice we immediately pulled over and my husband got out to help the man. I stayed with the car watching for minute, noticing that there were several onlookers from a neighboring business, and was disgusted to see that not one of them seemed interested in helping. Not sure how much help I could be, but determined not to be yet another onlooker, I joined my hubby and perched myself at the top of the ditch so I could grab onto the things they handed up to me.

It took us several minutes, and several set backs when the cart fell not once but twice back into the ditch, to retrieve all this man's belongings, but I'll never forget his gratitude. With tears in his old man's eyes he thanked me. His humility was a sharp contrast the the cars that slowed down to take a look. As we watched this man and his dog walk away, suddenly our determination to spend our day "frolicking" in the sunshine and having some fun seemed frivolous, even meaningless.

As we got back on the road with a deeper sense of gratitude for all we had, we both felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to spend the rest of the afternoon at the Westminster Abbey. It was a perfect day for it, and we both felt that some time of reflection and solitude at the Abbey seemed fitting after such a "Samaritan" experience. The Abbey's simplistic beauty, coupled with a very real feeling of standing in the presence of the Lord was made even more poignant by the "what would Jesus do" moment we'd had with the homeless man. The quiet majesty of the Abbey's chapel took my breath away and yet filled me emotions I've never experienced before. It was the perfect place for my camera as the sun streamed in the stained glass windows, but better yet it was the perfect place to sit in solitude and unload the stress and burdens of life. Both of us had hoped to "escape life" on that Monday, but instead life hit us between the eyes and the Lord met us both in individual ways that afternoon.

There is more to this story, and to what happened to cap off what turned out to be a profound and life-changing day, but I'll save that for another post. For now... I'll leave you with some photos of the Abbey. May they inspire you to visit it some time, and spend your own afternoon in God's presence.

Go here to read part two.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ode to the one I love...

While my hubby and I don't really celebrate Valentine's day (mostly cuz my b-day falls two weeks later, but generally because we should be saying "I love you" every day), I was inspired by a blog I frequent to think of the things I love about my hubby on this "day of love."

I love the way you laugh out loud,
I love the way you make me proud.
I love the way you love to learn,
and that for the heart of God you yearn.

I love the way you care for others,
I love the way you love my brothers.
I love the way you play the drums,
and that with tools you're not all thumbs.

But most of all I love the way,
you make me feel special every day.
I love that you look like "Hiro,"
and that every day you are my hero.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Small Sacrifice

As indicated in my previous post, my husband and I have decided to participate in the practice of lent this year. Born out of our year-long desire to be more disciplined in various areas of our lives, the practice (not celebration) of lent seemed fitting.

Seeing as I've never practiced lent before, I find myself drawn to any discussion I hear or read online about lent. In so doing I stumbled upon a blog from The post spoke to me and where my heart is this year. "
Lent is not something I feel bound to observe, but it is something I want to do this year. Over and over and over again, the God of the Bible tells His people to remember. To write His words on our hearts, to celebrate feasts to commemorate what He has done. And as Easter approaches, fasting from something is a very small way to sacrifice, to remember whenever we have a craving, that Jesus sacrificed so much for us." (Read the whole blog here: "Forty Days of Lent."

As the forty days of lent continue, I must admit that I am enjoying my personal pledge to abstain from television. While, as one friend noted in her comments to me, the idea of getting enjoyment out of the sacrifice seems wrong, choosing to spend my time in other ways has produced results I never expected. My husband and I are talking more (not that we never talked before...), I'm reading more and getting more rest. And I'm flipping on our stereo more to fill the house with praise and other contemporary Christian music that is feeding my soul. I aware of the sacrifice I'm making when I am tempted to see if there's a movie on, or to check out the FoodNetwork, but when I feel that urge I stop and thank the Lord for the greater sacrifice He made for me. A sacrifice that I enjoy even more than the benefits I've found from not watching TV... a sacrifice that gives me hope, fills me with joy, and gives me a peace that passes all human understanding.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

40 Days and counting...

I've never practiced lent before, not for any particular reason aside from a lack of discipline, but this year my hubby and I thought lent would be a good way to practice DISCIPLINE (our theme for 2008). We debated on what to give up, finally settling on something that we both agreed would help us focus more on the spiritual disciplines (the purpose of lent), but also something that will help us in all the other areas of discipline we desire to work on this year.

We're giving up television.

I admit it, I enjoy watching TV. I love movies, all the CSIs, Criminal Minds, even Battlestar Gallactica (which fortunately returns to the air after lent ;-) ha ha). I don't even think there's anything wrong with watching TV (although it's getting harder and harder to find anything good to watch), it's just that TV can controls us if we let it. It's easy to lose all sense of time when I get engrossed in a movie. And television is a great way to procrastinate for me. Add to that the fact that TV isn't interactive or social, watching TV means we don't talk as much. It also means sitting on our butts more than we should! With all that in mind then, while in all honestly I was resistant to the idea of giving TV up at first, after compiling a list of all the things I could be doing in place of TV I got pretty excited!

So here's to 40 days (minus Sundays) of playing board games, reading books, going for walks, scrapbooking, journalling, connecting with friends, and being still. It's all part of the journey...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A life well lived is like the perfect risotto...

I'm a slow learner. I'm also impatient. Mix those two qualities together and it can get ugly. But lately God's been teaching me that sometimes the best things in life, the most valuable lessons learned, take patience. Faithfulness. A willingness to stick it out in order to see something simply divine.

Life's a lot like the perfect risotto actually. I'm a huge fan of this scrumptious Italian dish, and order it in every Italian restaurant I visit. But it has taken me a while to perfect it from scratch at home. Not because it's hard, but because it requires something I lack. Patience.

Risotto isn't something you throw together quickly, nor is it something you can guess at, fake or compromise with. The perfect risotto, takes precision, focus, strength, and patience. Just like life. We can't muddle our way through and expect great rewards in the end. We can't take huge chances, live spontaneously and give up when the going gets rough, and still find success and happiness. No, life is messy.

I'm grateful that the head chef of my life is the Author, Perfector, and Finisher of my faith. I'm thankful that the One writing my journey is patient, precise, and wise. Through Him I'm learning to patiently tend to the journey He's blessed me with. To rest in the stillness and rely on His strength to carry me through when I get tired. It's an uphill battle at times, but in the end what I hope others see is a full-bodied life that reflects the tender care of it's maker.

A life well lived is like the perfect risotto: full of flavour from the journey, confident in it's completion, and comforting in it's simplicity.

(White Wine Risotto with Pan Seared Scallops a la Shari!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All You Need is Love?

Last year around Valentine's day I wrote a post called "All You Need is Love?". I've thought a lot about this since, and was reminded about it again today in something I was writing for work.

This Christmas, I was reminded of a simple but powerful truth through my three-year-old nephew. As my extended family gathered around the dinner table one night and prepared to say grace, my nephew confidently asked if he could be the one to pray. With a quick glance around the table at the amused smiles on the faces of the grandparents, uncles and aunties, my sister-in-law consented and then quickly added, "but don't forget to thank Jesus for the food OK?" He nodded his head in agreement, squeezed his eyes tightly shut, and lifted his little face toward heaven:

"Dear Jesus," he said passionately, "how I love you!"

While what followed next was completely unintelligible to most us around the table, it was the way he chose to open his prayer that intrigued me. It amazed me that in one small opening statement, my three year old nephew grasped the simple truth that so many adults fail to understand. The truth that all that matters in life is loving the One who created us.

Back in 1991, during a conversation with some friends, the question of knowing God’s will came up. In response, one of the guys in the group said that he believed the answer was summed up in the greatest commandment - "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul." (Matthew 22:37) Going on he explained that if you truly love God with all that you have, everything else would fall into place.

I have thought about that conversation a lot through the years, and was again reminded of it upon hearing my nephew’s heart-felt prayer. Loving God doesn't suddenly mean you’ll have all the answers to life. Nor does it mean that the journey will be easy. Instead, loving or delighting (Psalm 37:4) ourselves in the Lord means focusing so much on Him that we see nothing else. Loving the Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls means finding pure joy and peace in His presence. And as we do this our plans and desires for our life gradually align with His own. What He wants for us becomes what we want.

My three-year-old nephew may not yet fully understand what loving God with all his heart, mind and soul means, but his simple “how I love you” prayer is 100% on the mark. Loving God fully, completely, and passionately with eyes tightly shut as we hang on for the ride of our lives means that all our needs – including the food we so often forget to thank Him for – will be met. He alone should be our desire, our delight and our love. All we need is an all consuming love for Him, and everything else will fall into place.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:34-40)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

I came across a great article on Focus on the Family's website today, that made me think more critically about why I blog. I could certainly relate to many of the sentiments in the piece!

As I attempt to focus this year on being more disciplined in all areas of life, I never really thought of my "blogging life" until I read this article. Great food for thought as I move forward this year.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Couldn't Have Said it Better...

I've thought a lot about my role as a pastor's wife, but never really could put my thoughts into words. Fortunately, I came across a blog that said it for me! Check it out: The Role of the Pastor's Wife....

Friday, January 04, 2008

A great read...

I've recently become "addicted" to reading a blog written by a friend and her husband. At the suggestion of a friend of theirs, they started a "He Said/She Said" blog with daily posts on everything from 80's fashion, advent, microwaves and more. Each they both weigh in with their perspectives on the chosen topic, leaving the reader pondering their poignant thoughts or laughing hysterically at the "mars and venus" approaches to the most mundane of things.

Check out their blog entry for January 3rd on Cereal. It's well worth the read.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008: A Year of Discipline

My husband and I have a little tradition that started a few years ago. Being the reflective type, my husband usually spends the days leading up to a new year, thinking back on the year past, and deciding what goals and dreams he has for the new year. As I listened to him share his thoughts one year, it occurred to me that many of his goals had a theme. Thus birthed a different kind of "new years resolution" for us, to pick a word that best sums up what we want to acheive, practice, learn, etc. in the new year.

This year our theme is: Discipline. It is our desire to focus more on being more disciplined in all areas of life. To work harder on our spiritual disciplines (prayer, worship, study). To learn discipline in the areas of our physical lives (exercise, diet, stress, sleep). To practice emotional discipline - learning to better control our anger or impatience (for example). Even to focus on relational discipline (the practice of setting aside time to deepen friendships, build intimacy, etc.).

There can be joy in the journey of living a more disciplined life. Thus we/I commit 2008 to be a year of discipline as I hone my skills, deepen my faith, fall more in love with my husband, and improve myself in all areas. Let the discipline begin...