Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Love My High beams

You may remember my harrowing late night drive home I blogged about before. Well, that same route, in very different weather, shed some new light, pun intended, on my spiritual health (or maybe lack thereof).

This time the drive home was equally late, equally dark, and yet dry and clear (praise the Lord). I knew the hour drive ahead of me promised to be relaxing, peaceful, and uneventful. And so it was (praise the Lord again: I do still have 6 wee ones and a husband who need me...for something or other).

However, here is what I learned: even in excellent visibility I like my high beams. I like to see not only what is at the end of my hood, but also several car lengths ahead, not to mention wanting my periphery 'enlightened' as well. I'm not just meaning the lane to my left and the ditch to my right. I mean I want to see Bessie in the field having a late night grass snack. I want to see what man and his sons names are on the barn I'm passing. I want to see if that old farm house has a wreath on their front door (and if so what colour). I want to see lights on in living rooms and over kitchen sinks glowing to my left and right. I don't want to miss a thing. It helps me to feel "connected", or rooted. To see how my car in this exact square of real estate relates to all those other squares really helps me feel safe and in control (didn't I mention I have a problem with this in another post?).

Yes, I like the big picture. I suppose that is the problem with those snowy rides home when the flakes come down thick and heavy in that hypnotising, dizzying way. All you can see is from the windshield to that first flake...not far enough.

And then the Word comes to me. Sing along with me, if you know the tune: "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." This does not conjure up flood lights and high beams. This is not even one of those cool million candle strength flashlights Canadian Tire sells. This is a lantern, a beam, that highlights one step, then the next, then the next.

This is what the Lord calls us to, and this is what I kick against. Walking one step by faith, and then the next, not always knowing what is happening to the left and right of me. Not always seeing how what is happening to you affects me and vice versa. How does my kingdom purpose fit into the puzzle with yours? Don't I want to be all-knowing sometimes? Don't I want high beams from the Lord to show me the entire landscape of my walk with Him at once?

Oh Lord, give me the faith to walk one step at a time. To trust you to hold me safe even when I don't see how I'm connected to You and Your Body. To believe that exactly where I am right now is in Your will and that the next step You lead me to will be clear enough when I get there.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Heard at my house

Mommy: (cracking eggs into the muffin batter)

Daughter #4: We only eat those kinds of eggs.

Mommy: What kind of eggs are those?

Daughter #4: The kind with no baby chicks in them. (deep intellectual pause)

Because the other kind would be wrong.

(could this be why daughter #1 is a self-proclaimed vegetarian?)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why do I read things?

Sometimes I like to think that I can figure out the right thing to do with just my own 'smarts'. More often then not I'm wrong, so I ask my husband, because his smarts are based on the Bible, where mine are based on self-preservation and the desire to avoid conflict. So why today did I decide to read chapter 7 in a book I love called "Everybody's Normal Till You Get To Know Them" by John Ortberg. Sorry, onfire we might have to talk about this over tea before Friday...maybe you can help straighten me out. Do you have our brain this week?

Anyhow, here is a quote:

But Jesus is [scandalized by lack of love]. Love was His supreme value. His summation of the total teaching of divine revelation is captured in that single word: Love for God, and love for people. Therefore the greatest crimes against the Kingdom of God are crimes against love. To slander another human being, to carry a grudge against someone who I think has hurt me, to gossip about someone I have not even confronted-- these are direct violations of Jesus' fundamental command. Yet these behaviours go on all the time--even in churches. We are not shocked by them. We would be shocked if they suddenly ceased.

I am thinking about my homeschool group and my dissatisfaction with it. And my desire to run away and hide so I can just stay hunkered down with my little family. I am thinking about my issues with the group and the 'reasons and rationales' I have for wanting to quit, except I see now instead a whole lot of my bad attitude where I used to see justification for quitting. You see, any other day I would have read that aforementioned quote and said "yup. They are all like that. I'm outta there." But today I see myself in those lines too. Am I part of the problem? Of course I am. Am I obligated to stay and fix it or should I leave and be one less problem? I have no idea.

What I do have an idea about is my lack of love, and my need to reverse that. Lord, I do not have it in me, as is obvious by what overflows from my heart and out of my nasty mouth. So please come by Your Holy Spirit and make me a loving person. I want to see others the way You do, so I can love like You do. Somehow You love me, let me have that same grace for others, because right now, I clearly don't have much to pass around.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Heard at My House

Today, I've been inspired by others who have done this (see this dad and these two moms) so here is what I heard at my house today.

10 month old Baby Girl, after nursing, with a smile on her face: "Yum"

My oldest daughter was here to witness it. She is so smart speaking so young...she is homeschooled you know!

Now scroll down and read my other post for today. It was really good too!

Want to know a Secret?

Be prepared to amaze your friends and shame your enemies. Be prepared to thrill your taste buds and satisfy your dietician. Be prepared to silence your sweet tooth and still maintain your New Year's Resolution to cut out the junk. Here is my (soon to be) world famous recipe for:

Shockingly Yummy, Yet Brilliantly Healthy

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!

(really wish I knew how to add a sound clip of wild applause here)

3 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups chocolate chips (okay so that isn't healthy, but everything else will justify it)

6 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt (or less)

2 cups unsweetened apple juice

2 eggs (okay, so slightly un healthy)

3 large bananas, mushed (I like to leave mine a little chunky)

(notice there is no added sugar or oil in this mix! You'll notice it on paper but not in flavour!)

Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add remaining 3 ingredients to the well and beat them together slightly before stirring the whole thing together. Now spoon this into your greased muffin pans (or sprayed with Pam etc.). Bake at 375F for 17 minutes. Voila! Delectable, easy, wonderful yumminess. Makes 24 (which for the 5 of my kids who eat solids are all gone in one breakfast....I'm not kidding)

This morning I made them "surprise" muffins by making one dozen as above, and for the other dozen I filled the muffin tins half full, then added a dollop of raspberry jam (or pie filling etc) and then finished filling them with the muffin batter. When they were baked you couldn't tell one from the other and the kids were delighted to find the surprises in some of them.

So there you are. I love this breakfast. I have the recipe memorized now and can have the batter ready before the oven has heated up, so it feels like a real quick and easy thing to do in the morning. Please let me know if you try them how you like them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How I Learned of God's Omnipresence

This week's Carnival of Beauty is on the Beauty of Sunshine. I had no trouble thinking of something to share this week. It is one of my favourite memories and a real "aha" moment. So, I want you to use your imagination as you read and really try to put yourself in my barefeet so you too can feel the same way that I did that September day almost 7 years ago.

I was away at my favourite bed and breakfast that my dear husband usually sends me to once a year for a solitude weekend. I had spent the weekend resting, reading, praying and enjoying the company of my 6 month old daughter who had accompanied me. Truth be told, I was also watching quite a bit of the Summer Olympics from Australia, as I do really enjoy watching these beautifully dedicated men and women pushing themselves to their physical limits and beyond. All in all it was a simply perfect weekend.

It was our last evening there and I really felt compelled to go and watch the sunset over the lake with my wee daughter. I wrapped her up in blankets and tiptoed across the quiet, grassy hills to the perfect vantage point and waited. It was so remarkably beautiful, and I felt praise for the Lord welling up in my heart. I wanted to sing to Him and worship Him there on that hillside, but as I tried to open my mouth, nothing came out. Just tears flowing down my cheeks as I realized that, as John Piper says, often the first and most appropriate response in worship is silence. So as I sat basking in the beauty and power of this sunset, I waited quietly as nature worshipped the Lord in ways with which I could never compete.

Knowing the walk home was a little tricky underfoot, especially with a baby in tow, I left my lakeside altar before the sun had completed its descent. I returned to my bed and breakfast with the glowing sun behind me, just in time to see a Canadian winning the triathalon...in Australia...live...in broad daylight.

And then it struck me. I know my geography just well enough to know that Australia is really really far away from my little place in Canada. I also know that the sun is really really big. However, I don't think I realized until that moment that I could be seeing the sun go from low in my sky to horizon while the rest of the world was seeing it too. Somehow I was astonished at the size of the sun and its 'presence' over all the earth. But how much moreso then, the size of my Lord, the presence of my Lord throughout the whole earth...all the time...in every place and circumstance...omnipresent.

The beautiful sunshine that day shrunk my world and expanded my view of my Father. I was so thankful for the insight He gave me that day. I am learning to trust in His constant 'everywhereness' everyday, so that no matter where I am, what I'm doing, I can know without a doubt that He is before me, beside me, behind me...hemming me in on all sides. And He is there with you wherever you are too. Too high for me to grasp. Too lofty for me to comprehend. But I'm trying.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hard lessons

My dear daughter is taking piano lessons as I have mentioned before, and is doing quite well. When she first started I never had to remind her to practice. Every time she walked by the piano she would play a song or two, run through her scales and then hop on to the next thing to occupy her time.

As time has worn on though, the days can tick by without a spontaneous note being struck. If I remind her, she willingly sits and plays for 20 minutes or so, but it needs to be mentioned to her. If I don't bring it up, she doesn't play....and so here we were today.

Realizing a lesson was coming up and no practicing had been happening for sometime, she sat and began to play. It didn't come as easily as it sometimes does, and so she was frustrated. I tried to help her along and remind her of what she knew how to do. I reminded her that as the novelty of taking lessons wore off the hard work of practicing would catch up with her. And with a sigh, and a tear on her cheek she said this deep insight:

I wish I could learn it without having to actually learn it.

Ah Lord, how many lessons do I wish you would teach me without me actually having to do the learning bit.

I want you to teach me patience, without making me wait; teach me humility, without making me look foolish; teach me contentment, without denying me the things I want; teach me sacrificial love, without actually costing me anything.

But you don't work that way. So let me be a willing student as you are the perfect, patient tutor.

Monday, May 7, 2007


I was lurking over at Amy's Blog which is a place I love to visit, but seldom comment (so rude I know...I'm sure no one would ever not comment on my blog...). In her side bar she had this link to an outrageous article. How about this little excerpt:

"Having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank."

I put it in green so you could see my environmental agreement to their arguement...not. Seriously. Out of all the reasons to put out there for the necessity and moral superiority of a small family this must be the lamest. Right up there with socialization as the reason not to homeschool.

However, for the record, now that we have 6 children and I can do nothing about shrinking my family size, I have at least told them to only breath every third time they have the urge.

Hope that helps.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Last summer my darling husband planted 3 fruit trees in our yard. 1 peach, 1 pear, 1 apple. Our apple tree, however, was the victim of a nasty neighbor who decided to jump/climb it (even though it is but a sapling). I shouldn't be so harsh. We didn't actually see anyone climbing the tree. We are just assuming. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was a strong wind that attacked my tree. There, that's nicer. Still, after this incident a large branch at the center of the tree was broken, nearly all the way through. It was just barely connected. Since it was nearing the end of the growing year, my husband decided that next spring we'd likely just need to dig it up and try again with a new one.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I walked around the yard looking at signs of spring and saw my lovely apple tree in blossom...even on the broken branch.

The beautiful flowers over this branch that we had assumed was dead was such a sign of hope for me. John 15:2 and 5 remind us that Jesus is our true vine and we are the branches. Every branch that abides in the vine will bear fruit. This passage always conjures up the picture of a solid connection, deeply rooted, firmly grafted. This is true enough. And quite often I find myself in such a solid place that this verse is a comfort.

Still other times though, I feel rather disconnected. I feel like I'm wandering away and that I've broken fellowship with the Lord. In these times, this passage is terrifying. How connected , or how unconnected, have I been over my life? How much fruit, or lack of it, is showing in my life? In those broken days, is there any of the Spirit still at work in me?

And then I see those beautiful flowers on my broken apple tree, and I feel hope. The Lord is strong enough to hold on to me tight, and His Spirit is living enough to fill me up, even when I am feeling disconnected. It is because of Him, not me, that I bear fruit. It is because of Him, not me, that I have life.

I know that this spring, as we tend to our broken branch and graft it a little tighter to the main trunk, that branch will grow healthier, stronger, and more likely to bear much fruit. As I bind myself more tightly to my Lord, and graft myself into His wounds, I know that I too will grow stronger and more fruitful.

But in the meantime, those wee blossoms remind me, that once I am in the palm of the Lord, no one can snatch me away and His life is still flowing in my veins. Thank You Lord.