Tuesday, January 31, 2012

morning devotions

Sloan, reading from Isaiah 2:23, "Stop trusting in man, who has but breath in his nostrils..."

She is interrupted by a shocked roar from my nine year old, "SERIOUSLY?  The bible said he had BUTT breath in his nostrils?"

Ya, we've got it all together over here...

Monday, January 30, 2012

good seeds

i'm all over that verse, John 12:24...
It's all deep and meaningful - and i always wanted to be the kind of person that bore good fruit for my Master.

24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

But it never occurred to me before how bad fruit is also full of seeds.  & the decaying poisonous fruit withers and falls to the ground, spilling seeds into willing soil.  All of a sudden i understood a little better how sometimes these generations long battles begin...

Those dang seeds. 

& in my minds eye, i see the vicious ugly seeds that fall, scatter and take root and start to grow.  i know what evil each tiny seed is capable of... & the thought of it is enough to fill me with despair...

i want to be done with it, Father!  Here, now... i want this finished!  Render each poison seed sterile... i know You're capable.  With dirt under my fingernails, i commit to digging out each one - and casting it aside for destruction.

Friday, January 27, 2012

7 quick takes vol. 6

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 162)

1.  So many guesses, but only one WHOOO HOOO to award... & knowing the lyrics doesn't matter because apparently we don't know them either :)  Here is Neil's email:
One more night!! Give me one more night, just one more night, cause I can't live without you!!!! 
Big WOO HOOOO going out to Melissa.  (He was coming home in one more night :)  hehe. 

2.  There are so many women whose husbands are gone as much or more than mine... i really want to be able to encourage them.  There are a lot of hard things about what we do - & sometimes we make an easy target for the enemy.  i've been wrestling with this one for a while now.  Maybe i'll try to get some of those thoughts into a few posts if i can get them down with any clarity.  Neil will only be home 10 days in January... & he grinned at me by the fire this morning, "& February's not lookin' good..."  So, it'll likely be on my mind a lot in the next while...

3.  Cai had a rough week - she had exams all week (that i'm sure she rocked out on) & she lost her purse that had $60 of hard earned babysitting money in it, plus her learners licence... and all manner of other important items... Now she can't find her guitar capo.  Sometimes don't you wish you could spare your kids even those little agonies?  Like the agony of a tough week?  She crossed her skinny arms and put on a fake pout when i got home yesterday and moaned, "i'm in a mood."  Cuteness. 

4.  i took Sloanie out for coffee the other day... She ordered a medium hot chocolate with white whip.  That's good to know. 

5.  It's almost time for the bonus boys' birthdays.  i have a couple of little things stashed away, and the in-laws are coming to celebrate with us.  Not one day goes by that i don't feel a rush of gratitude for these little ones.  Not one. 

6.  i think the root issue of pro-life is the belief that "human life has inherent value". The opposing side has the belief that "human life has value if..." This is so helpful to look at it in such simple terms. 

7.  i think God loves beauty - because He made us to respond to beauty. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You know it's been a long road trip when...

You know it has been a long road trip when he sends you a Phil Collins song...
Any guesses which one?  Winner gets a big WHOO HOOOO from me. 
It has been a long couple of weeks without Neil - & yet... & yet... i can never complain about stretching growth, can i? 
i went grocery shopping & hosted overnight company twice while he was gone.  i managed to conquer my fear & drive downtown & get lost, get found & find parking.  We kept our little home spinning - running Cai to exams, girls to fiddle, little ones to karate, snuggling babes to sleep.  That's one of the hardest parts of Neil being gone.  When he's home, he'll usually snuggle Gage before bed & i snuggle Ephraim.  When he's gone, they double team me & bedtimes turn into a much longer, drawn out affair. 
But, i feel my Father here - in this travellin' man stage of life. 
i have a few words i'm mulling over that people have said to me... one is momentum & the other is endurance. 
i know this is a scattered post, but i'd rather post a snippet of real life than some of the other stuff in my drafts box. 
So, Phil Collins... Any guesses? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

on having the baby...

After i posted this on facebook this past sunday:

Today is 'sanctity of life Sunday' - the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in the States... It's time for a new generation that knows better - to do better. (Anyone looked at 3D ultrasounds - or a furiously beating heart in a baby just weeks in the womb?) - All life is precious...

i noticed that some of my "pro-choice" friends had responded by posting harrowing articles about the rates of maternal deaths in the years before abortion was legalized in America.
Those articles didn't change my mind. 
& it's not because i closed my eyes and refused to read them, it's not 'cause the numbers have been found to be fudged on the other side of this debate, it's not even because the picture of a mother, lying dead in a pool of blood after an illegal abortion didn't break my heart, nor is it because i didn't feel for those girls who thought they had no other alternative than to visit a crack pot doctor for an illegal abortion when they had already been abused, sometimes raped - or found themselves in one of life's many 'corners'...
It's because in each and every case cited... there was another person involved.  That little person always lost it's life - in each and every story... the ones where the mother died, the babe died too - first torn limb from limb... the ones where there was a creepy doctor who performed what they paid him to do with horrible bedside manner - the babe died too.  The stories of young girls scraping together the money and convincing friends to help her out of her jam?  The baby was killed in those stories too...
i want to argue something in naivete, if you'll allow me today.  So often the things we want to say aren't culturally acceptable, are they?  You're not allowed to impose your beliefs on another.  If someone wants to dye their hair purple, they can, if someone wants to abort their child, who should tell them to carry it?  If someone wants to drive drunk... we should let them... right?  It's all about free choice, isn't it?  Um... maybe not... But today, i want to ignore that cultural acceptance & i want to naively offer up a suggestion that i think would make the world a better place. 
Pregnancy is 9 months... give or take.  Ladies, mamas, women... would it be so hard to give that?  Yes, there's nausea, exhaustion, hormones... there are vitamins to take, risks to be avoided and weight to be gained, but in all honesty, according to statistics, most women who have an abortion want to have a baby some day, so those things are obstacles they're willing to tackle at some date in the future... What if it was now?  Now i'll admit... i love being pregnant.  i love the feeling of life inside... i know my baby hears the sound of my voice, the beating of my heart... & responds.  i don't like being tired & homely & achey... but i sure do love the miracle unfolding on the inside...
Right now... those little ones growing inside... they have no human rights, they're unprotected, naked, vulnerable.  Those same creepy doctors who were performing illegal abortions before roe vs. wade, just continued doing them after... that horrible situation that you were in before your abortion?   You'll still be in it after, only you'll know... you'll know... that you didn't protect someone who was worthy of their mama's protection....
It's 9 months...
Give or take...
9 months till that little person can be independent, crying and naked and wet from the womb.... into the arms of someone who would weep with gratitude if you still thought you couldn't parent after all that... 9 months of growth, and development... 9 months till baby can live in this new environment... Only 9.
Sure, there would be childbirth, one of the most amazing things the human body can do... there would be the embarrassment of being pregnant when you didn't intend to be, there might be increased vulnerability because of your state...
But there's another life at stake...
You can be a hero... to that little person.  Give them a chance at a gasping breath & allow the life that has already begun - to continue...?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

7 quick takes vol. 5

1. Remember when the internet slang for your husband was DH?  & now it's, "the hubs"?  Neil fits neither handle.  But sometimes, we write each other notes (ok, mostly me) & we only address them, "husband" or "wife". 

2.  Was reminded again this week that you can't compare or measure griefs.  i was reading the comments on a blog written by a girl in her 20's whose parents divorced a couple months after she got married... Many of the comments consisted of, "get over yourself", or "move on"... i think i get why she couldn't just yet.  That's like my kids telling me when we get in the van to drive to BC to, "BEEEE at Gammy & Gampies!!"  Trust me, sometimes you'd like to magically get where you're going, but until we have Star Trek transporter beams, we're gonna be stuck going the slow route...

3.  Neil has only been home for 7 days in January (& those were not in a row) - & i'm not expecting him home for another week.  Actually he's only scheduled to be home for 10 days total this month. Technology is a pretty amazing thing... we're grateful for it. 

4.  Cai wants to read the Harry Potter books so that she's culturally literate :)  She says she misses jokes sometimes because kids her age all reference that series - so we're reading them at the same time.  i like my teens.  We were both a little surprised that we thought the books were a little lame tho (on book 3 now)... i was expecting more (better, more creative writing?) from such a controversial series :)   

5.  Cai came home from church on Sunday & said;
"Mom - heads up: If you hear anyone talking about a poll about teens and their parents, i want you to know how i voted.  They asked us 2 questions.  If we found ourselves needing advice 1. who would we go to first - friends, parents, teacher/coach or google... and 2.  whose advice would mean the most to us out of those same options...  i voted parents both times." 
Neil chimed in, "Don't you mean, 'mom' both times?" 
"Nope - i mean parents."

6.  We just finished watching my friend's daughter for 2 weeks.  She's 5, so fit nicely into her own little niche in our family.  i like her.  She's crazy funny & cute. 

7.  40 days for life starts in 1 month.  This brings up so many emotions in me... i pray for an end to abortion year round, not only during the 40 days - but during those 40 days, there is a concerted effort by prolifers around the world to unite in prayer for those little ones who are lost because their mother's find themselves in a crisis, and our culture has failed to teach better.  (Kill the crisis, not the child).  At the same time... & this sounds silly to me... but i feel attacked during the 40 days on a very personal spiritual level.  i feel vulnerable & weak right now & it has left me utterly dependent on my Good Father.  i know i'm safe when i'm where He wants me (& i know He wants me involved in 40 Days) - & so i'll intentionally leave the personal attacks in the hands of My Defender - & continue to pray for the little lives that are taken daily in our country and around the world.  i'll continue to bring this horrible injustice to my Father - who is perfectly just.   If you want to get involved, message me - or follow our blog here: http://www.calgary40dfl.blogspot.com/

ps - i realize it's saturday... i'm a little slow pokish these days.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's the point of prayer?

Now... i'm sure i've tackled this question on my blog before - because i think every believer has asked it in their lifetime.  i went & used the "search this blog" box that's in my sidebar & it came up with a bajillion posts where i used the word 'prayer' - so... not so helpful, search box.  i guess i talk about it a lot... It has been my "school" this year, my Teacher gently leading me through healing and tender comfort by drawing me in to pray. 

For some reason, i really feel the need to write a disclaimer on this post - i know i do that a lot, but i want anyone reading this to see who is writing this:  i'm an uneducated stay at home mom.  i have 2 years of college (music school) & i have never been to bible school.  i love Jesus - & i strive to learn, but suffice it to say - i make lots of mistakes.  It's not my intention to take on the role of teacher - i just want somewhere to write & think through these tough topics.  Question me, correct me, teach me, encourage me... this whole, "loving God" thing... i'm in. 

Sooooooo, here goes...

1. ) If God already made up His mind, why do we ask Him for things?

First of all, there are several instances in the bible where God heard an appeal & took action.  Off the top of my head, i'm thinking of:
*When Moses asked Him not to destroy all of Israel when God told Moses that that was His plan.
*When Hagar and her son Ishmael were dying in the desert, and God heard her & had compassion on her.
*When Hezekiah begged God to let him live longer and even though it might not have proved the best course of action, still God did it.
*When Aaron and Hur held up Moses' staff so that the Israelites would win in battle - they physically had to keep that staff in the air - or their enemies would begin to win...

There were also times when God said, "no":

*When David begged for his son's life.
*When Paul asked God to remove the "thorn from his flesh".
*& even when Jesus asked, 'if it's possible, let this cup pass from me - yet not my will, but thine...'

So, i don't think it's fair to imagine God a brick wall - where no comfort is found... The bible tells us In Philippians:
 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need,
and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

2.) Yes, but obviously He's ultimately going to do whatever He wants... again... why pray? 

Prayer is transformative.  We often think that prayer should be transformative in the sense that God bends to our will... when if we think about it... that would be a pretty horrible thing.  Prayer transforms our heart so that we can pray like Jesus, "Yet not my will - but thine..." & then our hearts beat in unison with God's & our will becomes His will - not the reverse. 
Also, 2 Corinthians talks about the weapons of our warfare not being of the flesh, but being divinely powerful.  i firmly believe that we're fighting a battle that isn't even in this realm - our prayers are having an impact.  This becomes more clear when we read about the armor of God in Ephesians:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

3.) But i was praying for something GOOD - i was praying for an end to abortion, the reconciliation of a relationship that was precious to me, for TRUTH to come out... Those are all things that i know God wants... why was the answer still NO?

Because GOD is GOD. 
Here, from Job... i actually can't read this chapter without hearing Him ROAR...

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?

My sister & i had a conversation once about God's timing.  We got talking about how sometimes we wait for something & we ache & we pray & we cry out for it... & finally when it is answered - we SEE - that God was doing something bigger than we could have imagined... He was weaving our ache, our request, our tearful plea - into a tapestry that required the most intricate timing.  God hasn't forgotten about you... (or me...)  He won't leave the thread of your agony dangling - but He sees another weak and wounded sinner - who has a part to play, He sees the day and the hour that would bring all to rights & ultimately, i trust Him with my life. 

Oh, Father GOD - my defender, & the "lifter of my head"... When i lack words, i'll pray the scriptures, when i lack the scriptures, i'll pray with groanings, when i lack groanings, i'll pray with face bowed in Your presence... You are worthy of all prayer & praise.  i love you. 

(from psalm 3)
1 O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God.
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill.
5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people!

Obviously this post is incomplete... i have more questions about prayer & i'm sure you do too... wanna explore them together? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

giving birth

"Ah!!  Oh MY!!! OOhhhh, OhHH DEARRRR!!"  i hear the loud falsetto voice as my seven year old climbs the stairs.  It increases in volume and intensity as she gets nearer to me and finally she bursts into the room where Gagey and i are snuggling and throws herself on my bed.  She has something under her shirt and her arm is flung across her forehead. 
"I'M GIVING BIRRRRRTH!!!" She trills, her voice rising to unearthly pitches. 
"Go give birth in your room." i say flatly. 
"Dad's not gonna be impressed." Cai adds. 
"OOHHHhhhhh!!!!  HERE comes my BABYYYYYY!!!" She sings, ignoring our discouraging comments, thoroughly engaged in her performance.  She pulls up her shirt and pops out a little plastic container with several toys inside. 
"Oh, thank goodness my baby was born in a bucket so there's no slobber all over it."  she chirps, jumping up & wandering off. 
Yes.  Thank goodness for that.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Awards, Tags & all that jazz

Am i allowed to combine these things all in one post? They all ask for the same thing (only that versatile blogger award asks you to nominate FIFTEEN other blogs!!??) 'Um... no can do, pupcake'... as mollen would say.

The Liebster Blog is an award for bloggers with under 200 followers.  Kinda fun :)  i was nominated by Minerva over at Finding the Right Words. 

& i was nominated by Stephanie at Homeschool Mom of Four for the Versatile Blogger award.

Rules of the awards are:
Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them.

Tell everyone seven things about yourself:

1. i can't do a cartwheel... i'm 35 & i'm worried that i'm running out of time to learn. 
2. i can out-eat neil. 
3. my love language is touch. 
4. i'm a people pleaser.
5. right now, God is teaching me some very specific lessons about love & prayer. 
6. i've always said i'm bad at friendships, but despite this... God has blessed me with some totally incredible ones in my life.  i'm so grateful. 
7. i am passionate about prolife issues - including abortion and euthanasia.

(8).  Cai told me the other day that her friends all say their highschools have drug problems.  Her response?  "The closest thing we've got to a drug problem is dad!"  i glance at her sideways... "Have you seen him pound the advil when he goes golfing?"  hehe. 
(9).  i wish i was different sometimes, 'cause i think life could be easier for Neil if i were a different girl. 
(10).  if i get to go out for supper, i will most likely choose earls.  i love Jeera chicken curry or the santa fe chicken salad. 
(11).  i wish i was good at presents & blessing people around me that way, but i'm not... i really, really stink at it. 

Pass this award on to *some* (obviously not 15 - wink) newly discovered blogs and let them know that they’ve received an award!

And then there was a little blog tagging thing going on over at Beauty in Weakness - & even though Fawne didn't say my name... she meant to.

1. You must post these rules.

2. Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog. (ahem, i just did 7... i think i stink at rule following... i'll add more...)

3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post, and cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.

4. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post. (sorry pupcake...)

5. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.

The new questions:

1. What was one of the best moments of your life? 
Falling in love with Neil... i remember the feeling of just falling deeply, dangerously, completely in love... it has been magical. 

2. What is your favorite meal to make and why? 
i don't know if i have a favourite, but i love making a roast beef dinner because it reminds me of growing up... my mom would often make them on Sunday after church.  i love yorkshire pudding, carrots, gravy, mashed potatoes & biscuits or buns. 

3. If you could spend one hour with any person who has already passed away....who would it be and why? 
i have always thought i'd love to spend time with John the Baptist or Paul... Sounds pretentious to choose 2 bible characters, but i'm going to stay with my first instinct.  There is so much about the bible that i don't understand, i'd love to talk to someone who lived closer to The Event & gain some understanding. 

4. What is one thing you're afraid of? 
i'm afraid of being rejected... but on a less serious note (i think...) i'm really, irrationally afraid of mice.  So is Neil... so that's kind of funny.  Remind me to tell you the mouse story sometime. 

5. What is one skill that you wish you'd learned? 
i can't sew or do cartwheels or knit. 

6. Who is one person that has made a difference in your life?
 Neil has had a huge influence on me.  He's generous, calm, confident, honest... He's also stubborn, lacking in compassion and cynical.  He has driven me into the arms of Jesus more than any other human on the planet. 

7. What is your least favorite chore? 
Cleaning bathrooms. 

8. If you could change one thing in the world what would it be? 
i have started typing an answer about 4 times for this question and every time i have to change it 'cause i keep disagreeing with myself.  Check out Jen's response at Girl on the Prairies HERE, hers is pretty good.  & since she covered the basics, i'll tell you my recent pet peeve.  My littles are snuggly.  i love that.  But, recently - several of them have taken up the horrible habit of snuggling up in my arms & then letting loose the foulest stenches that exist on this planet.  It's horrible, eye watering stuff & it's got to stop.  Gage promised me with huge blue eyes that even though he likes dat smell, he won't do it while we're snuggling anymore.  He better not be messing with me. 

9. In your opinion are mornings or evenings best? 
i like mornings now... i don't like getting out of bed, but i like being up. 

10. What is one thing that really bothers you? 
Hm, should have saved #8's answer for this one.  i don't love irreconcilable differences.  They really bother me.  It's part of being a human that you will encounter them sometimes, & ya, i love diversity - but sometimes i wish it were easier to get people on the same page. 

11. If you had to go to Disneyland with someone who would you go with and why? 
My little ones.  They claim they don't want to go, but i think that's just 'cause they're smart & know that we can't afford a huge trip like that.  Disneyland wouldn't ever be top on our priority list because it seems so commercialized... but if we got to go for free, we'd rock that place out.

k, now for my 11 questions... if you choose to answer them, leave a comment so i can come see! 

1.  Why do you read blogs? 
2.  What physical characteristic do you find the most annoying on yourself? 
3.  What smells remind you most of "home". 
4.   Love birthdays or hate them?  Or kinda ambivalent?  Why? 
5.   Favourite song?
6.  What's your comfort food?
7.  Do you think birth order affects personality?   
8.  If you get to go out for a meal, what restaurant would you choose?
9.  What would you order there?
10.  Excessive noise or excessive mess?  What would make you crazy first?
11.  If you could magically do one perfect sweet thing for one person, who would you choose & why?

The only person i'm tagging is Cairo because she's awesome & actually wants to do this.  (& fyi, Cai - i'm nominating you also for both the awards i received.  You are cool.) 
Again, if you answer these questions on your blog, leave me a comment in the comments section so i can check them out ;) 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tim Tebow

Awhile ago, our pastor did a sermon series on 'suburban myths about God' (sorry, Brad, i don't remember the exact clever title you used :) ... & i don't remember all of them, but i'm fairly certain that one of them was, "if i'm a Christian i'm never supposed to experience any pain..."  (or something along those lines..)
Honestly?  i don't even watch football... is that the game THIS GUY plays? 
i just find it funny that people think that if Tim Tebow's team loses, that proves God doesn't exist...  that God wasn't "rooting for him" - that God blinked, got distracted, missed the ball...  Do they think that Tim Tebow sits there, astounded, that the God of the universe didn't let him make his play?  i don't...
& i know... they're only joking.  Poking fun like the media likes to do with Christians these days... but i wonder - how many of us think the very same silly things about our circumstances? 
i've been reading a lot of stories of suffering lately - & not the, "i lost a football game" kind of suffering either - the kind of suffering that involves death or betrayal, heartbreak and loss of freedom.... & it's funny - 'cause you'd think that their suffering would be something filthy to them, something to be covered, buried, done away with, ignored... but it's not.  i've found that many, if not most people look at their suffering as riches, treasures, jewels that couldn't be acquired at any other price. 
THIS scripture (one of my favourites... i wonder how many times i've linked to it on bible gateway?) talks about how suffering ultimately leads to hope...
& i've sure found that to be true. 
So next time i'm floundering in the muck, i'll press in a little deeper, love a little harder, and persevere...
'cause... He sees me. 
& His hope does not disappoint.

Friday, January 13, 2012

7 quick takes - vol. 4

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 160)

1. Charter wants to buy a mixer for his wife on their first anniversary.  He's 9.  Is he the only 9 year old boy in the world who was thinking about his future wife today?  He asked me to remind him in 10 years... This blog post will have to do.  To Charter's future wife:  i love you already for picking & being picked by my sweet son... he thinks of you often & so do i. 

2. i want to ask more questions about the controversy in prolife circles around gestational law in Canada - but people feel so passionately for or against that it's hard to ask questions without stirring up bad feelings.  There are a lot of issues like this in life (where people can't/won't discuss them) & that's just too bad. 

3. i realized that i'm not a real 'theology' girl... i'm sorry if it makes it seem like i'm dropping the ball on that one.  i love & admire & i'm grateful to people who dig for truth in theological arguments & the roots of words & the intended & perceived meanings behind them... but it's not usually the first thing on my radar. 

4.  Neil will probably spend more nights away than home in January.  Ephraim doesn't love how much room we have in our big king sized bed without him, so he sleeps on my head.  It works for him, but me, not so much. 

5. My sister Jess asked me the other day how i feel about that first line in the song Hear Our Praises... it's "may our homes be filled with dancing"... i told her that i love that line... i love it and it makes me weep and jump and give thanks... i think it's a part of my new desire to intentionally change my posture in times of prayer... Speaking of which... it's Friday again.    Meet me, Father...

6.  Uh oh... i know i'm slow getting to the game, but (shame faced) i think i'm starting to like twitter.  i KNOW i'm supposed to like pinterest, but i like to wait till things are nerdy, so i'll see you there in a few years... if any of you are nerdy like me, and are still on twitter, my handle is @neillvspaige.

7.  Can i share a blog with you?  This is someone i don't know personally, but his blog has been a blessing to me since i discovered it... Homosexuality is a huge issue in this day & age & Steve Gershom has chosen to so hilariously, bluntly, honestly - & sometimes with aching beauty - share his journey as a catholic man who struggles with same sex attraction.  His blog inspires this straight, protestant stay at home mom... The Body amazes me.  (For those of you who would be put off by the title, 'catholic, gay and feeling fine' - i'd just want to clarify that his approach to his SSA is biblical & God honouring.... not typical...)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

um, you *are* the church

For some reason, after over a thousand blog posts, people keep asking me for copies of THIS one.  i'm feeling it more today. 
So often we hear people say, "If only the CHURCH would do such and such, it would be better!" or, "i'd be a part of the church if it wasn't so..."
Gently, i'd just remind you (& myself)... that if you are a Christ follower... you are the church.  BE the church... go to Him hungry, and thirsty, tired and broken.  Let Him croon tenderly to you words of love and healing.  You are the church & He loves His bride.

Here's a repost:

this is the church i go to...

Hey, let me introduce us...

We're the broken - the sick - the lost - the dying...

We've struggled with death and disease, some of us have come here looking for answers, not knowing if we believe in heaven at all... some have become hard and calloused and don't even know why we're here Sunday after Sunday. Still others of us come because we need fellowship with other people who love Jesus...

Some of us are struggling with infertility, some of us have been cheated on, disrespected, abandoned by spouses who should have known better. Some of us have been happily married for decades. Some of us are lonely, guilty, shy, boisterous, bitter or happy. Some of us are reeling from circumstances that have spiraled far beyond our control.

This is the church that i go to...

Some of us mouth the words of the songs because our hearts would break if we *really* sang those words. Some of us are unemployed, former addicts, present day mess-ups, control-freaks or successful businessmen. Some of us are grieving our babies lost to miscarriage - others grieving our children lost to abortion - & still others are gratefully anticipating new life with swelling bellies and tearful gratitude.

This is the church i go to...

Our childhoods are as varied as the rest of our lives... Some were happy.... Some of us were neglected, abused, ignored, abandoned. Some of us were motherless, others fatherless - some of us got good grades & some of us are drop outs. Some of us still feel stuck in those years - the hurts won't heal & we come here looking for answers... looking for Jesus... so we can quit wasting away and start living.

This is the church i go to.

Some of us come straight from work, others from hellish, unimaginable situations, & some straight from a good night's rest... Some of us go home to empty houses, or warm lunches, or out to work again...

But on Sunday morning, we gather as a congregation...

We, who are daily becoming aware of our need...


He is the cup - and we are thirsty - parched, crawling and almost delirious with our need.


He is the bread - our frail bodies are wracked with hunger.


We're clinging to the cross...

This is the church i go to.

12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." matthew 9:12&13

36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. matthew 9:36

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Need some new music?

Remember when i wrote my book? 
In a moment of rare confidence, we made the order of books to distribute. 
& i felt my cheeks turn crimson & blinked back tears of shame, my confidence completely gone, as that box of books came through the door. i could hear the voice of the accuser in my ear saying, "Who's gonna want to read that anyway?  You're kind of dumb... "
& my children squealed and ran to get a knife to open that box & pull out all those glossy copies... & i groaned... sick to my stomach. 
& then my friend Lisa emailed me... "Can i come by & pick up a book?  Tonight?"
& she came... like a little bustling Hero up my steps & into my house.  She shoved ten bucks in my hand & grinned at me, "i can't wait to read it!  Seeya!"
& just like that... my first copy walked out the door. 
Over the next weeks, friends and family picked up copies & gradually, that big box emptied & finally i sold the last of them & had to order more...
Anyway, all this to say... that writing... (this blog & my little book)... takes every ounce of courage that i possess. 
i know...
i'm not very courageous. 
& i might have just crumbled if friends hadn't come along... & cheered for me... when i was too shy to put myself out there.  Bloggy friends reviewed my book & organized give aways.  Others surprised me by posting reviews on Amazon & still others wrote me heartfelt encouraging notes. 
Putting yourself out there is scary... Some people... (maybe most people?!)... won't like whatever it is you've created.
& it's so hard to lay your soul bare & hear, "meh..." in response.   Sometimes you don't even want to take the risk. 
This year, friends of mine - Dave & Janna McPhee put themselves out there & created something - music full of truth... & a good, heaping, (pressed down, shaken together and running over) measure of beauty too. 
i'm so glad they did.  It's so good, so honest, so encouraging & edifying. 
i wanna share it with you.   
You can check it out HERE. 
(or i bought my copy on itunes)... & can i say... that if you don't want to risk buying the whole album on my say so :)  that my favourite song lately has been How Beautiful.
(They have a facebook page too, if you 'like' that kind of thing ;)  HERE). 

Anyway... artists, musicians, writers... mamas who aren't paid, but blog anyway, people who try to create beauty (& the ones who succeed amazingly, like Dave & Janna)... this is me, tipping my hat to you.  i know how freaking hard it is.  Be faithful in sharing what He gives you to share.  Play for the audience of ONE when nobody listens, nobody reads, nobody sees, because this world can always use a little more truth and beauty.   
My mom always said there were 2 kinds of people; those who create & those who tear down.  i wanna be counted among those who build up & create... The company here is fabulous. 

ps - nobody asked me to review this album, i'm just sharing it 'cause it has been meeting a cry in my heart lately & i'm grateful for it. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

silent night

We're well into the New Year, but that Christmas carol won't leave me alone. 
We have an extra little person in our home, making a grande total of 8 children to cook lunch for.  i've got a steaming pot of potato soup on & Cai has a double batch of biscuits in the oven.  It's the "lunch rush". 

Mollen is seated at the piano playing and singing Silent Night.  It's nothing like any version of Silent Night you've ever heard.  If you're familiar with the musical term, "boom chucka," well, that's the genre she's playing in.  The tempo is allegro... or maybe more like 'break-neck', the volume FORTISSIMO, and have i mentioned that i birthed a soprano?  Yeah, that girl's got some range & she's throwing in the vibrato like it's going out of style.  Gagey has stolen a toy from Ephraim & Ephraim is squealing loudly for it to be given back.  Our extra girl is playing a nice little descant on the upper half of the piano while i'm firing commands to get the table set, the biscuits out of the oven, cups filled with water and toys picked up off the floor...

Suddenly Cai locks eyes with me and states, "There's never really a quiet moment around here, is there?" & then she bursts into song, playing the 'air' piano and mimicking her sister.

i stop what i'm doing... oven mitt on my hand, completely absorbed in *this moment*...
Cai's eyes are dancing - and i'm overcome. 

i burst out laughing and she does too... tears come to our eyes and we collapse on the floor- in the middle of the complete and utter mayhem that surrounds us.   

Oh, God.  Was this the kind of chaos that you were born into?  A stable full of noisy animals in a city that was so overcrowded that there was no room for your family in the inn?  Was there the drone of milling crowds, the shriek of children, the cacophony of music in the distance?  Could you hear the shouts of terrified shepherds as a sky full of angels sang lustily in the night air?  Was *this* the "silent night" that welcomed you? 

"Soup's on..." i call... over the din.  The piano mercifully stops, and little ones are plopped into seats as we gather 'round our crowded table.

Come, Lord Jesus... silent night or not, we want You.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Have you ever had to go up an escalator with your arms full of baby?  Or maybe wearing 6 inch heels?  Or maybe you've got a baby in one arm, a hot cup of coffee in the other, you're wearing 6 inch heels, and you're chasing after your husband who walks faster than some kind of a jungle cat... and you are about to step on to an escalator?

i guess what i'm trying to say is...

y'know that moment when you take your first step onto those magical stairs - you've committed with half your body weight and you're not sure if you're gonna topple or if you're gonna manage that step as seamlessly as everyone else seems to?

Or am i the only one with a thing about escalators?

i dunno...

Anyway... maybe i just don't like transitions.  That's where we're at this year.  Neil's transitioning his job, i'm transitioning into a girl with divorced parents & a broken family... & it's creating little ripples that are affecting my balance.

"Why do you send me 20 texts a day that say, 'i need you'?  What does that mean anyway?" He seems a little short tempered & i seem a little needy & whiny...

"It means i need you.  A lot."

He grimaces.  We just spent the last hour watching a movie with all the littles... i sent him that last text while we were watching, little bodies pressed up against ours, spending time together - & really... what more could i possibly want?

"You talk about your pain too much... You need to be like me and push it all deep, deep down inside..." He smiles at me, "Seriously, babe, you need to analyze it less & move on more... 'cause I have no idea what you mean when you say, 'i need you' every 5 minutes..."

& how the heck am i supposed to know it what it means anyway? 'i need you'... it's kind of a cry in the dark i guess.  It's a little - 'i'm off balance & i'm afraid i'm gonna drop something... i can't keep up & my shoes are pinching my feet.  Can you slow down & see that this darn escalator might just make me lose my mind?

i find i'm ready for the Transition... because i see my transition as a healing.  i see where i'm wounded & i know now that The Physician is in the room... i'm committing with one foot on the escalator & i want it to feel better, but the journey to get there is gonna cost me a little taste of death...
What do you want from me, Father God?

Just wait. 

i can't possibly wait here.  i've got one foot on the escalator, my arms are full, my husband is racing ahead and i can't believe i wore these shoes out of the house...
i feel this crushing desire to make things right - to restore the broken - to reclaim what i thought i owned...

But i can't.  i'm supposed to wait. 

So i fling those heels off my feet... i chuck the coffee... & even gently, sadly... put down the darling baby.  i catch Neil's eye as he glances behind & sees me floundering & let him know that i'll catch up when i can & then i sit down in a broken heap on that escalator. 

o the transitions will come...

They'll come...

& that escalator will take me up, up, up...

& even if i arrive shoeless & hopeless... i'll arrive at the other end of this transition.
& maybe when i get there, Neil will be waiting with a wink and a smile, "What took ya so long?"

i dunno.  i don't know why everything takes me so much longer... Trust me, i have been asking God to let me pass through this one a little quicker.  Grief seems to last so long and have all these annoying phases & painful recurrences.  i'd rather just fast track this one... & come out the other side - accepting my individual parents & knowing that their marriage doesn't = our marriage... Confident that rejection doesn't mean i have to reject...

But no. 

So, i'll get there when i get there.  Hopefully stripped a little more of any residual arrogance & pride.  In humility i'll arrive without the things i thought i could bring & barefoot start my journey on the other side. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes 3rd edition

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1. i think i will keep on for 15 on Friday... for now... prayer seems to be a covering, and i need Him. 

2. i'm completely smitten with my littles lately... (Can i still call Sloanie a 'little one' even though she's a good 2 inches taller than her mama?)  Lately, my arms have ached to hold them more, to talk more in depth - to explain my heart & to mother.  These desires must be a gift from God... & i'm so grateful. 

3. We are stepping into the New Testament after a long sojourn in the Old.  i sure love that book... i love how it never changes, but i do - & so there's always something new for me.

4.  Every time i find "Fruit Loops" on my shopping list, it's spelled differently.  This week, it was "Furot Loups".  i wonder when they will take the hint & quit writing it on there? 

5.  We're starting the Narnia Chronicles... again... i'm excited. 

6.   i ordered a book on abe books. i figured if it's a complete waste of time, i only wasted $1... plus shipping.  It's called The Altruistic Personality.  Apparently it studies the familial background among those who became 'rescuers' during the Holocaust of WW2 - how did their parents raise them?  Why were they different from the passive majority?  (i'll take 7 of those kinda children, please...)

7.  i have been blogging an awful lot of drafts lately...  *sigh*...  

Thursday, January 5, 2012


We're sitting at the supper table & there's some simple flare up between cranky children.  Charter ends up stomping down to his little lair & a few minutes later, i follow. 

He has created a little fortress of blankets, books and toys up on his loft bed, and i have to push all aside so that i can climb up there beside him. He's all curled up in a ball with his head under the covers & he startles at my touch.

He thinks i will be comforting and soothing, but that's not why i came... & i see the surprise on his face as i ignore the injustices that he has been fuming over... and center in on his manly little heart.

i want to cuddle this man-child in my arms and let him cry angry tears into my shoulder while i croon mama love in his ears... but my boy - who is growing so quickly in stature needs also to grow in wisdom... and favor with God and man... & so my words come out with a gentle firmness.

As i turn the conversation away from his hiccuping accusations - and towards his own opportunity to respond, i glance around his little nest.  Lacking rooms, we have converted a corner of our rec room into a suitable bedroom for our 9 year old boy.  He is a lover of justice, this boy of mine, and has stated from the time he was 4 years old that one day he would become a cop.  He has dollar store police badges, pass me down police uniforms and decals, model police cars and toys... his hero is married to neil's cousin & is a member of the TAC team on Calgary's police force.

"What do you think joel would do in a situation like that?" i ask.

"Nobody would ever talk to joel like that..." he begins, fuming...

"Oh, you'd be surprised... people are rude to the police all the time.  But if joel was in our house... and at our dinner table... and he was treated how you were treated tonight, how do you think he would respond?"

"i guess... he'd probably laugh."

"Yeh... i bet he would..."

& it helps sometimes to have people in our lives... people who we admire & look up to... people who we can imagine into our frustrating little circumstances & we can wonder to ourselves, "How would they do this?  What would they say?  How would they fix this?"

& i know... i know the J is supposed to be for Jesus - in the wwjd...

But sometimes, i like to see Him with skin on - & the ones who are living it out are the ones i try to model my responses after.

'ooh, i love how that gentle mama did that... '
'Sweetness in the way she loves her man...'
'lovely, aching forgiveness the way he threw away his hurt and embraced her in her shame... '
'Her silence speaks louder than any words... '
'i couldn't have said what he had the courage to say, could i?' 

& i ask myself as i sojourn... "what would Jesus do?"
& i see the answers all around me -
& try to do likewise. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Can you see the future?

The year is 2012. 

This past week, i called Ephraim my, "Sugar baby, honey, honey..." and tickled and kissed him till he squealed.  He drooled all over me and waged war with his big brother to find a spot on my lap.  All seven of you kids crowded into my room and snuggled under blankets laughing and talking and making movie watching virtually impossible.  This is the scene in our home these days... a family, in varying degrees of maturity and growth.  We live in the prairie city of Calgary in the wide expanse of land that is the country of Canada. 

Abortion is legal and rampant here.  i understand there are 5000 little lives lost every year at the Kensington abortion clinic that isn't too far from our house.  There are no limits on abortion right now in this land... a baby can be aborted while it is half delivered from its mama's body... There is no protection for the unborn at any stage of pregnancy... Nor is there any protection for the mamas of these little ones (even minors, children themselves), who find themselves facing a crisis.  In a season of vulnerability - they are invited to make a choice that no mother has the right to make. 

Oh, little ones.  i sigh that this is my generation...


For the first time, i see a kind of a light...

i think things are changing....

i do. 

i used to say things like, "Future generations will be shocked at what was legal and government funded in our day..."  Thinking that the day that abortion was no longer acceptable to the general public was far, far in the future...

But i'm starting to change my mind.  i don't think that the change is as far off as i had imagined.  Could it be that my daughters will never take their little ones to pray for an end to abortion outside of the local clinic because abortion will have become something that our nation has rejected?  Could it be that the children born to my grandchildren will be safe from genetic or sexual discrimination - and that there will be an acceptance and a sheltering for all human life - no matter the size, level of dependence or development?  Could it be that classrooms of children will cringe as they look at photos of the killing that took place in the year 2012, and will ask the adult teaching them..."But why didn't anyone stop them.  Weren't people shocked at the injustice?  Wasn't it obvious that it was human life being taken?"  & i wonder what the teacher will answer as they look together at the evidence, the photographic proof that is before them, just like my socials class asked our teacher those same questions while we watched Schindler's List in highschool... We were blind then to the double standard that condemned Hitler's killing spree... and condoned abortion in our own cities. 

Your auntie posted a video to facebook a couple of months ago... a tiny second long movie of her ultrasound... a glimpse of her unborn child around 9 weeks into her pregnancy.  Even i was shocked - mama of 7 and staunch prolifer - at this tiny niece or nephew... waving arms and legs and heart beating wildly in that moment that was captured.  A tiny masterpiece; the workmanship of God Himself.

Seeing life like that... makes me believe that change is inevitable. 

Honestly, little ones, maybe none of us will remember the night i'm writing this. i'm tired, i'm kind of grumpy... i started 3 or 4 blogposts & decided i was such a hopelessly bad writer that i should just quit blogging altogether.  (Dramatic much?) Daddy travels a lot & i miss him & i feel sometimes that there are too many areas of my life where i'm banging my head against a wall... i'm frustrated, a little miserable and kinda defeated - and very much afraid...

But tonight... instead of this current painful place, i'm lifting my chin just a smidge.... i'm fixing my gaze just a tiny bit into the future...

Maybe we will manage to educate you all...

Maybe ephraim will someday sleep in his own bed... (little honey, honey sugar baby...)

Maybe i will learn to make myself understood...

Maybe there will be reconciliation and peace...

One day...

& maybe one day...

One day not too far away - the tide will turn on abortion too...

i hope i get to see it. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Baby

Ephraim is kind of incredible. 

Gagey is turning into this gentle giant - a sweet manly soul who is, at 3,  growing so quickly to be like his big brother.

Ephraim... is littler & feisty.  He's funny and he knows it - he likes to pick fights, raise one eyebrow when he's doing something silly, and loses the latch on his soother as he suck, sucks it with a goofy grin on his face.

This Saturday, it was just the three of us.  Neil took the other 5 skiing & i was at home with my bonus boys.  They played, hid, wrestled (ephraim won because gage is bigger & won't hurt the 'baby').  We snuck out & bought chicken pot pies for when the skiers would come home.  After unpacking our few groceries, i turned to unpack my tiny son.  Gage had already stripped off his sweater and his shoes and left them in a pile by the door - but mr. enormous blue eyes was still standing there waiting for me.

i pulled his tiny lace up shoes off his tiny baby feet... i picked them up with one hand, grabbing my own shoes with the other... realizing fully in that moment, that one day, his shoes will dwarf mine.  i slipped off his hoodie that matches his big brother's and hung them both in the closet... & then... i pulled that tiny boy into my arms.  i let his dandelion hair tickle my face as he nuzzled closer into my neck.  i carried him up the stairs and put him in my bed. 

Within minutes, he was asleep. 

Oh baby... what have you done to me, with your impish laugh and your brilliant, hopeful eyes?  How could it be that any would think the words, "too many, too much," when it comes to such an incredible prize? 

i would fight to the death for this little scrap of man... teeth bared with my final breath... i would sell all we own to keep this tiny prince... any cost is just a pittance when i compare it with the bountiful riches he brought with him when he was yet naked in the womb...


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