How To Crawl Out from Under A Rock

I’ve been living under a rock. Feeling the weight of the whole world and feeling tired and misshapen. I’ve been feeling my sins heavy, my flesh weak, my body hunched with the weight of my own failures. I’ve not been feeling like myself.

Or more precisely, I’ve been feeling too much like myself.

BUT. When that stone rolls? It rolls off of us too and we stand straighter. We are children of the resurrection. I grab His hand, jab my finger in the scar, wanting to be sure. I have a tendency to crawl back under the rock, to turn from the mirror and forget what triumph looks like. To fall back into old habits…they die ugly death too.  To hunch to the weight of sin, is to not believe his scars. I want a back-bone straitened by the power of One. I’ve seen him do it. He can.

This story isn’t quite over I know. Sometimes this old world will chase you back under that stone. Sometimes you (or others) will try to chain you back down. The trumpets are blaring victory, but the enemy has not quite waved a flag.

But. Days ago we were sharing in the death, broken with the weight of the world. Today we share in His rising. Today, when voices whisper failure, or sinner, we choose to hear a louder voice that says “Crawl out from under that rock child, you don’t live there anymore. I don’t live there anymore. Follow me. WE are heading in the opposite direction from that dark place and heading into the clear light of day. Leaving that shroud of death in the dust. I will just keep asking you over and over, DO YOU LOVE ME? ”

We people of the resurrection? We keep shouting YES. And the rocks crumble in our path.

Standing in the power of resurrection and giving thanks for:

692) Overhearing my incredible niece explaining the role that the asthenosphere plays in earthquakes. So thankful for the community around my kids. THANK YOU CASE-OF….I mean KAY-ZA BEAR!

693) For a wedding that reminds me of Ecc 9:7-…a biblical mandate I find easy to live.

694) The adorable voices waking in a hotel room and whispering…”There is a chocolate on my bed! He found us here!’

695) Road trips.

696) Coming home early.

697) Puzzle day

698) Snow almost melted

699) Seeing ALL of my nieces and nephews the last five days!

When Motherhood Leaves You Breathless

The two of you plant yourselves firmly on the mid-point of my chest. You sit there, each of you a mere forty odd pounds but sometimes I feel the weight of the whole world pressing on me, pushing the air from my lungs, the blood from my heart. Sometimes you feel so dreadfully heavy.

That night recently when you growled at dinner, pushed down babies,  took a swing at your Sunday School teacher, threatened to kick that man in the shins?

I have visions of you and who you could be and it scares the breath and blood right out of me.

When you punch your sister in the Costco shopping cart? When you roar vicious? When I am certain I have failed you at every turn?

These are the reasons it took me so long to chase after having children. Married a solid six before we even discussed it. These are the easy things to articulate about the motherhood journey. These are the things my mamma friends found descriptions for easily.

But. Then.

I also had no idea what it might feel like when you whisper together, laugh out loud, act with compelling compassion. I couldn’t explain to you what happens to my heart when I overhear conversations when you make up nicknames for each other and Mr. Pickles tells Beakie that he loves her more than the moon and that his life would be like a ‘chicken’ without her. I didn’t know that everything about me would change slightly the first time you spoke the word ‘mommy’. All of who I once was, pressed by the weight, refined, emerging as something new entirely. Something better, truer, more honest, less driven by image; MUCH more humble.

It is the things impossible to say that make it worth everything. I’m left breathless for a different reason entirely.

We’ve moved into a lovely phase with the kids…so enjoying them right now. I know better than to take these sweet days for granted.

Thankful for:

677) Last sledding excursion of the year (hopefully)

678) New toys that make the afternoon of daddy’s ninth day away much more bearable

679) Sweet conversations overheard

680) Help from friends with childcare…Thank you Lisa & Karl, Rochelle, Sister Shells and Zoe!

681) Pappa Don coming to help too! Gummy sharing her man! Thanks again for everything!!!

682) Blue sky’s and bright sunshine. Sparkle.

683) Thaw? Oh please, oh please, oh please.

684) Little Chefs. Assessment from the boy child? “This pizza is exquisite”. Be still my heart.

685) That we didn’t get snowed in while J was away. Yay Moose!

686) Quiet moments of play in perfect streams of sunshine.

687) More gentleness, less tempers flaring

688) A gorgeous walk by the water in the sun this afternoon

689) Great lunch dates

690) I think I heard it? The first songbird back.

691) The man…almost home…with extraordinary tales to tell.

New Eyes

Its been nearly two weeks since our feet set back onto Canadian soil; Africa seems a bit like a jet lag induced dream sequence.

People keep asking me if the experience in Kenya was ‘life changing’. In all honesty I can answer no it wasn’t.

No. Life is the same. The dishes pile up. The children didn’t even last a week back to school before they were infected with the 7000th virus since September. There are bills to pay. The water pipes freeze. I’m dreadfully behind at work. The parking police finally caught up with me (I like to live on the edge).

Life is still life, replete with the daily grind and mediocrity that tends to overpower if we are not careful. If we allow our thinking to be ruled by only the immediacy of what is before us. If gratitude becomes less than our driving force when we are face down in front of gift giver. When worship becomes a Sunday activity as opposed to a way of life.

Despite all that, my eyes have changed. When my pipes freeze? I remember the 364 days of the year when the water is pumped from my very own well, into my hot water tank, and into my sink to run over my dirty dishes from making my kids too much food.

I am thankful not for the material though, more than ever I am convinced that it is often the material that blocks our God communion, our joy. Our experience with the extraordinary people we met through our trip with World Vision reminded us how little our bliss has to do with what is before us and how much it has to do with what is within us, what is beyond us. How setting my heart right, on the things unseen helps to make my eyes see clearer, truer. Makes Joy shine in the darkest of days, makes Hope rise in the most unexpected of places.

Thankful today for:

663) Treehouse picnics.

664) A story about Mangoes and Coconuts fighting aliens, falling in love, living on an island and having baby mango-nuts. By Owen and Emily Feddersen. The memories I hope to rock my chair to when I am old…

665) A beautiful read.

666) New journal day…delayed but always my delight.

667) “Big family snuggles”

668) A lovely ski yesterday. Thanks Suzy!

669) Lots of extra love from little people.

670) Girls night out

671) Too much work…but work that I love.

672) Beautiful, snowy days.

673) A long hot bath on a Sunday afternoon.

674) This man of mine…having spent our first month EVER completely together…How much I just plain LIKE him.

675) A first successful board game with both the kids

676) A slower week ahead…

When Even Fear Bows in Worship

When the moon is full to almost overflowing, the sky so clear the whole of it bruised deep purple. When the snow in reflecting all that splendor, turns blue in reverence creating the illusion of evening. In this moment, even Fear drops onto her knees to worship the One who made it and suddenly Overwhelmed finds a new home, far from my heart.

This heart? Can be home to only one primary emotion and so filling it with gratitude, with praise, chases out so many of the others.

“Thankfulness is the death of self and the arousal of hope. Thankfulness turns our eyes away from fear, our ears away from evil report, our hands away from clutching. Thankfulness is the birth place of restoration with a Creator and a sold out, never turning back kind of commitment to a Saviour.Thankfulness generates kindness, kindness generates love and love generates revolution!” #bethechange

Thankful this week for:

651) Wildlife lessons on the morning commute

652) Artistry

653) The occasional pose…

654) Girls night out with some of my favorite ladies and their precious daughters…

655) The expression on Emily’s face during the Sugar Plum Fairies, how she sat still the entire time.

656) Lazy Saturdays, winter walks

657) Spying through his classroom door, watching him engage and work hard. Better still watching him march boldly onto stage for the Christmas concert. Life and this boy both full of surprises…

658) And as he comes off stage, his little sister shouts “We are so proud of you Owan”

659) And overhearing him say to her, “Oh Emily, you are prettier than pretty”

660) Fog rolling, sun streaming…

661) Ice sparkling in headlights.

662) A post of mine from last week being featured at Imperfect Prose on Monday. Mine being added makes the title so much more appropriate…Ms. Emily Wierenga can hardly be called imperfect with her brilliant writing style.

Thankful. Here. Now.

It is the kind of day where you walk into the bathroom and think “Oh no…what happened here?!” only to realize that you are smelling bleach. The problem?  That chlorine smell and the smell of bodily fluids are all mixed up in your head. We are ten days into smelling those smells at the same time…they are becoming one.

I’m realizing how sleep deprivation can be a form of torture.

And still, One Thousand things to be thankful for.

Today? Just taking a stroll around the house, and giving thanks for the

641) Listening to this…Thanks again Ferogie for the chance to see live Friday night…

642) Washing Machines…that it works and that I can see it (which means nothing has got puked on for at least an hour)

643) Sun streaming in windows

644) Finally rest…

645) Quiet play

646) Slipping outside for a moment to hang sheets…seeing this…

647) And actually…a day sunny enough, breezy enough to speed the washing process!

648) My front porch is looking awfully adorable this fall day.

649) Popsicle sticks on the coffee table (signs of fluids in)

650) And just one more cup of coffee…

There is beauty in the most ordinary of days…What have you found so far today???

How to Keep Going the Same Direction

I’ve been wondering: How do you ensure you keep going the same direction when you feel like two ships passing in the night?

I’m back at work a little and the man and I? Well, we are playing a bit of tag team. So when we brush lips at the door (resist the urge to high five, tag each other into the parenting ring), how do we ensure that our courses don’t drift us miles a part?

We’ve found we need to remind each other where we are headed. Even if our ships tend to sail out in different waters: my boat leaving harbour only for calm waters, his heading out for the craziest, waviest seas. Knowing now what we didn’t twelve years ago, that our family, our ministry, could not function any other way.

OUR family.

OUR ministry.

We are two parts of one whole. Sometimes opposites, needing different paces to thrive, but always, ALWAYS, ONE.

So we toss our selves into Living Water, knowing that the undercurrents and tides will keep us together even when we sail at different times. Making efforts even at the end of long days at sea to lift each other up, to be the quiet whisper of encouragement, trusting one another with a future full of uncertainty and risk. Even more we trust Light of only truest beacon, to keep the hull from rocky bluffs. We remember to choose gratitude for the life you are building together, for the extraordinary we see in each other. We remember things that drew  one to the other, we make space for adventure together, for fun. We fumble over the mythology whispered in tired ears, of greener grass. We hold fast to Thankful, and we remind ourselves to trust that He that bound us into ONE has a plan.

634) Driving home, sky all purple, moon all full, road all drenched. Beauty.

635) Sharing it with the man, while the littles crack all kinds of hilarity in the back seat.

635) Fog. Lights. Beauty.

636) His love.

637) Relaxing with dear ones….so…so dear.

638) New music.

639) Ms. Hass

640) Vacation time. Reflecting on this thing we are building. This man. Most thankful for this Thanksgiving…


And I’m like a river rock being rubbed smooth with sand.

And I’m like a pocket knife being kept sharp with steel.

And I’m like a piece of wood being ground down with sandpaper.

Life is just like that as we get older.

And sometimes it feels like the blade is dangerous. That one, that separates marrow from bone and leaves behind only what is finest.

And sometimes we feel rubbed so smooth as mothers, that the ridges that made us different have vanished right off of us.

And so we choose as life wares us down, to let God keep us sharp. Even if it stings a little.

Getting older doesn’t mean you let yourself be depleted. It doesn’t mean you get jaded and bitter. It means you stay soft to the things of God, to the heartbreak of man. You let the parts that need to be smoothed by life get easier to touch. It means that you let God trim the parts of you that are more you than Him.
It isn’t all fun and games. But it isn’t all bad either. He is pretty good at what he does.

Thanking Him today for the graces in the smooth days, for the mercy of His blade.

674) Time for little projects. It is too glossy. Or it needs glass. It was super annoying to get done the right size but if you want a copy it is yours! Click here.

675) Finally giving our bedroom a little face lift. Hydrangeas in lanterns…should dry nicely in there yes?

676) That two snot nosed kids went sweetly to sleep after a day of being not. so. sweet.

677) Saying YES to Africa...

678) The littles watching a show. Boy says “Mommy. Something is weird on this show! They went to sleep without a story!?”. Shock. Awe. Little girl says “No BOOKIES?!” Disgust. Appalled. Love my little nerds.

679) A job I am LOVING. Learning that it is ok to LOVE work as much as I LOVE home. And that this current balance of the two? Perfect for me.

680) Fall…cleaning, baking, decorating, the kids (and I by default) in the house a little more frequently…

681) For Jill…who passed this week. For the softness of her spirit, the power of her voice, the gentleness of her mothering skills (and those of us who found ourselves wrapped for brief moments in this gentleness). Praying for you Jenn, Julie, Heather, Phil. So sorry to have missed Friday.

682) Bubbling pots, rising dough…the scent of fall

683) Switchback Ranch.

Giving thanks with other daily grace seekers here:

My favorite things…

You know those things that I complain about? Those things that make you dreadfully hard to parent? Those are also my favorite things about you. I loved the way you jumped headlong into that creek this afternoon, shouting ‘cannon ball’. I love the fact that your dress was drenched, your feet mud caked, your face streaked with dust because God forbid you let that brother of yours get even one step ahead of you. I love the fact that you vacillate between trying to save that caterpillar and trying to see what will happen if you squish it flat. Love that you chased your brother through that culvert tunnel to find daddy at the other side. And…I actually love that you test me at every turn. Love that I can’t help but smile when you wield independence like a big heavy sword, trying to figure out which way to cut. You my dear will not be a door mat. You will be strong and, if my hearts greatest wish is granted,  FEARLESS. And I will be envious…

665) Fearless

666) Frogs in hand, creek beds to explore

667) Golf cart safaris. We are becoming legends in the golf cart…the four of us cuddled in the front seat.

668) That owl call. You should have heard them after they spotted a pair of Great Gray Owls on the wire. These kids of mine perfecting their call in conversation as those gorgeous beasts bob and nod and screech. AWESOME.

669) Cousins…Good golly what lovin’

670) My work…and that even though September will be (and always has been..) too much…it will be ok. Great even…In October.

671) Those soft curls.

672) Gentle…and STRONG.

673) Brave and timid.

Loving these days full of contrast Emily…You are FUN.



On Green Grass

“Everyone is getting married or having babies”.

Yes sometimes it feels like that.

At other points in your life it feels like everyone is getting divorced.

Sometimes you wish you could work more or less,

You wish your kids were older so that you could do more with them or wish they were younger so they were still under your roof.

You wish your home was bigger or smaller.

You wish…and wishing strips today bare.

No season of life is all butterflies and valentines, but each carries within it the opportunity for beauty if only we don’t wish it away.If you squint your eyes, even when you are at your most restless and discontent, you might notice extraordinary graces in the HERE. NOW. Adventures you can experience now that you wouldn’t at any other point in your life. I know sometimes the next thing seems like the best thing. It isn’t. Today is.

Thankful for TODAY:

653) patio dinner with friends

654) a family weekend barely leaving the house

655) a much anticipated project completed

656) Great summer reading this year. One winner after the next.

657) How soft her skin is, how sweet her voice…when she keeps me up all night long.

658) The way the boy put his hand on the middle of the girls back and walked her to me.

659) Little statements that seem far beyond little brains

660) Decisions…important ones.

661) Ukulele songs…only Eddie could make a ukulele sound so good.

662) A great summer at camp (and here too!)

663) He. Is. Home!

664) How I can’t help but praise…most days. 


What are you thankful today…in the HERE, NOW?


Linking today with Ann and other blessing counters

August Blessings

This is the way it has been every summer for twelve years. Every year we get manna-just-enough. I remember those first summers, how us two full-time students somehow, almost magically, had money enough in our bank account to buy the groceries for camp. How the boat didn’t sink despite our newness with it all. How we were protected so intensely and supernaturally that people who didn’t believe in such things wondered about it. How we somehow survived those first few summers…me throwing myself between boats and rumbling waves, he cutting himself wide open on various motors. Somehow though…we have always had just enough. The economy of God is something not everyone experiences. How time expands when you give it to Him completely. How money covers expenses when you spend it only for Him. How love and grace surrounds and abounds in each other when you are chasing the same vision even if you aren’t always chasing each other.

We’ve founds these things to be true. Over and over. But we have never learned it in excess.

It has always been…JUST. ENOUGH.

Just enough energy.

Just enough grace.

Just enough mental fortitude.

This August is again proving these things true. We are in the season of JUST ENOUGH.

I can’t thank Him enough for that…

636) People loving my kids, helping me out!

637) Bubbling pots

638) Surprise harvests

639) Smooth bedtime

640) Two great dates with the man

641) Just 3 more nights.

642) Vacations past…vacations planned

643) That sunset. Oy vei.

644) Picnics.

645) A fun project…wherever it goes.

646) Fun parties…even though we said goodbye.

647) Friends who are in a place that they can do some REAL GOOD for the famine…for the drought. Think about sponsoring them this next year? Help them create sustainable change!

648) River floats

649) Family time…even if it was for sad reasons…was it ever great to see so much of our families these past few weeks.

650) Beautiful summer days

651) Cool summer nights

652) Did I mention he is almost home? I can’t wait.