Friday, May 13, 2016


Lately I've been having trouble getting my daughter to listen to me. I say, "Hey Claire, can you please put your shoes on? It's time to go." And she says, "No." I say "Hey Claire, we are going to eat supper right away. Can you please wash your hands and come sit at the table?" And she says, "No." I say, "Hi sweet girl! Mommy would love some help with cleaning up. Could you please pick up the socks you just threw on the ground and put them in your room?" And she says, "No" and adds in an eye roll for good measure.

This past week in hopes that I could help her say yes more often I made a yes/no chart to illustrate for her how often she was being disobedient.

As we went through the day I would remind her as I asked her to do things that her answer would be recorded on the chart. I was amazed how quickly her behaviour changed. She really didn't want me to put any tally marks under the no side and would quickly say yes and obey so that she could see the tally marks building on the yes side. She would even ask me to ask her to do things so that she could get more yes tallies!

I was feeling pretty great about this parenting win until I met with my small group that evening and we ended the night talking about being obedient to God. As I thought about the day I had with my daughter I began to wonder what my yes/no chart would look like for my own obedience. I thought about all the times I've felt him nudging me to go do or say something and said no or, like my daughter often does, I just ignored that he was asking me to do something and made myself look really busy so that I could feel justified in ignoring what He was saying.

My daughter usually has a long list of reasons why she can't do what I'm asking her to do. She's often too busy doing something that she feels is very important or she is just happy doing what she's doing and is not sure if she'll be happy doing what I've asked her to do. I think my list of reasons for not obeying God is probably quite similar.  So often I tell God that I am too busy. I have errands to run and laundry to do and I've decided that those things are the most important, instead of asking Him to show me what my priority should be. Like Claire, sometimes I avoid what God is asking me to do because I fear that if I do it I may not be happy and may even end up feeling uncomfortable.  Just like my daughter, I like my life the way it is when I am in control of things and would rather not have God coming in and messing things up.

When I ask Claire to do things (or not do things in some cases) it is usually to protect her, help her or because I see the bigger picture of things and know what the next step should be. I don't ask her to do things to humiliate her, enforce my dominance or to ruin all her fun, even though this is what she seems to think I'm doing. I'm realizing that when I say no to God I'm thinking of Him much the same as my little girl thinks of me. I think he doesn't understand how embarrassing the thing he is asking me to do is. I assume that he gets some sort of kick out of bossing me around and I that he doesn't want me to live a happy life. I assume that he wants something terrible for me instead of remembering what it says in Romans 8:28:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." 

If I really believe what is written here I should get excited when I hear God calling my name because I know that he is working for my good. Instead of pretending I can't hear him I would be like my daughter with her yes/no chart, going to God and asking what I could do for Him next. I would see past the little disturbance and discomfort that obeying might cause me and instead be completely motivated by knowing that I'm working towards God's good purpose.

Just like my daughter, sometimes I need to bring my disobedience into the light in order to see what is really going on in my heart. It is so easy to say no and forget about it or just ignore God all together but doing that is not actually doing me any favours. Instead of hiding from God's plans for my life I need to remember that he wants good things for me and start embracing his good plan, instead of trying to make my own.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Mystery of it All

I am always in awe of the mysterious ways that God works. Things never go the way I think they should. I think being kind to someone who bugs me will only result in more annoyance but somehow God makes the opposite happen. When I give more, I end up having more. When I am generous with my energy I somehow end up feeling energized. When I help someone else I end up being more blessed than the person I am helping. What a mystery!  

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Do you ever feel weary of trying to figure out God's will for things in your life? Do you feel overwhelmed by decisions about where you should serve and when you should say no? When I find myself having thoughts like this I remember John 15. It is in the beginning of this chapter that Jesus gives us the picture of him being the vine and God being the gardener. In verse 4 and 5 he says this:

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

When I used to hear the word "abide" I would get a picture in my head of me trying to cling to this branch with all my might. It was something that took so much effort and something that I was doing by myself, in my own strength. Now my picture of abiding is much different. I am now reminded of how I would carry my kids when they were just newborns. I had this really expensive piece of cloth called a cuddle wrap and when my little one was unhappy and really needed to be put to sleep, I would put them in there. It is really quite a complicated contraption but I would somehow manage to get them in there and all they had to do was relax, knowing they were right with me and that I was taking care of them. 

Sometimes in life even the idea of abiding with God, which really just means spending time with Him and getting on the same page about things, seems like too much work. We are tired and often confused. It is then that we need to remember that we don't need to figure everything out. Just as my newborns did not have to figure out how to get themselves into the cuddle wrap. We need to know that God has the complexities of life figured out for us and as we abide in Him he also abides in us. We do not have to do all the work. We, like a newborn baby, just have to cry out to Him and realize our need for him to take care of us. Then we can rest in His very capable arms knowing that He will do the work in our hearts that needs to be done. We can rely on Him for the energy, the passion, the direction and everything else we need. And unlike me and my newborns, we don't have to worry that when we get really comfy and cozy he will try to put us down in our cribs without us noticing so he can get some much needed housework done! Jesus isn't like that. He wants us to continue to rely on him for all we need and never try to self soothe or do anything on our own. What a wonderful saviour we have! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Completely Irrational Art of Throwing a Tantrum

My oldest is the sweetest little girl you'll ever meet.


 She is adorable and kind and gentle and helpful and so many other wonderful things but if she is in a less than desirable mood and something does not go her way, she bears a striking resemblance to the hulk. As I've been trying to deal as constructively and positively as possible with the crazy emotions of my 4 year old, I've learned a lot. I've become a student, taking notes about each stage and truly learning the completely irrational art of throwing a tantrum. I thought I'd share my findings with you.

Stage 1: The child realizes that something is not going their way. Their face starts to scrunch up and the bottom lip begins to protrude more than anyone thought humanly possible and the screaming starts. It's not so high pitched at first but as it escalates it reaches a decibel that only dogs can hear and apparently my cat because she runs as far from the action as possible with her ears turned back and pained expression on her face.
Thoughts of the child at Stage 1: "I'm upset! I will be as noisy as possible to show that I am upset!"
Thoughts of the parent at Stage 1: "Oh no."

This is a picture of my son whose tantrums are still very underdeveloped compared to my daughter but you get the picture.

Stage 2: The tears begin to flow (as well as the snot) and the child sees that their parent has, in fact, noticed that they are upset. They continue to scream and cry and start to throw themselves around with no consideration for their own personal safety or the well being of those around them. They will often get hurt during this stage of the tantrum (a rogue hand hits a wall, their head collides with something hard as they throw themselves blindly on the floor, that sort of thing...) this only escalates the tantrum and they look at you like you were the one who hurt them when really they did it completely on their own.
Thoughts of the child at stage 2: "What did I do to deserve this!"
Thoughts of the parent at stage 2: "What did I do to deserve this?"

Stage 3: By stage 3 you as the parent have probably started to take some sort of action. If you are a very skilled manipulator and the tantrum was only a 1 or 2 on the richter scale you may have managed to quiet the child and are now trying to reason with them. Good for you! This never happens to me. At this point I am trying to convince my child that having a time out will help her calm down. I somehow manage to get her into her room and often have to hold the handle to keep out of harms way. She continues to scream and cry and is trying her best to pound down the door. 
Thoughts of the child at stage 3: "If I can just keep this up for a little longer I will surely get what I want!"
Thoughts of the parent at stage 3: "Maybe I should just give in. Then this child will stop screaming."

Stage 4: It didn't seem possible but the child has now reached a new level of upset. They are completely soaked with snot and tears and can hardly catch their breath between sobs and screams. They sound like they are dying. You try whatever you can to calm them down. My list goes something like this: 
1) Ask the child in calm and soothing voice to stop crying.
2) Ask the child if what they really need is a hug.
3) Assure the child that it does not matter how long or loud they scream that the answer is still no.
4) Give the child a few helpful ideas to aid in the calming down process (count to 10, stomp foot 3 times, hug a stuffy, take 3 deep breaths)
5) Tell the child if they do not calm down that a prized possession will be taken away. 
6) Speak a little more sternly, you may have to raise your voice  a little to be heard over all the screaming.
7) Even though they answered, "No" to #2 you courageously go in for the hug anyway despite the flaying limbs and snot soaked shirt and hair. 
8) You begin to google parenting tips on your iPhone and hope you'll find something you have not already tried.
Stage 4 seems to last an eternity.
Thoughts of the child at stage 4: "I'm so upset but I can't remember why!"
Thoughts of the parents at stage 4: "What started this again?"

Stage 5: At some point the child will calm down. You will talk to them about their behaviour and they will apologize regretfully or unwillingly but at this stage you don't really care. No one feels good about how things went down. There is no winner and everyone is a loser. You plan for better behaviour in the future and if you are having an especially good parenting day you will make some sort of chart or reward system to help see the plan through. 
Thoughts of the child at stage 5: "What should I play with next?"
Thoughts of the parent at stage 5: "Thank goodness that is over!"

In all my research I have yet to come up with a sure fire solution to the problem of the tantrum. One thing I know for sure is that it's a good thing kids are so cute because tantrums are the worst. They are loud and annoying and bring out the worst in everyone involved. I'm told that there is hope for all of us who suffer from a tantrum throwing child because apparently they grow out of it and soon reach another stage called teenager, where they are completely rational and just complete angels!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thought #1

Image result for think before you speak

So everyone always says you should think before you speak and I would definitely agree that this is a good idea and know that I could vastly improve in this area. On the other hand it is important not to think too much before you speak or you may end up thinking that you did say what you were thinking about when you didn't really at all. This is a common source of frustration in my marriage. I bet you can hear the conversation already, "But I told you that I wanted to...," "No, you didn't." "Yes I did! I was thinking about it all day!" So in closing you should think before you speak, but not too much that you forget to say what you were thinking about.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Conflict is a part of life that none of us can escape. No matter how easy going we are (which I am not at all) or how much we try to avoid it (which I also do not do), it will always be there and it can be so difficult to deal with when our emotions get in the way of clear thinking and prevent us from being able to truly seek God's perspective. When I was younger I would have said that I was really quite good at dealing with conflict but as I have grown older and have more responsibilities, it has only become more complicated and I find it increasingly difficult to see things clearly in times of conflict and end up doing and saying things I later regret.

Last week at this time I was unpacking after a week long vacation to Mexico, just me and my husband. We shipped the kids off to their grandparents and had an amazing week of fun and sun to celebarte our ten year anniversary. 


It was the first time in four years (since my daughter was born) that I actually felt myself relax and remember who I was apart from being a mom. It was so refreshing to have time to read, think and ponder.


The book I read while we were there was Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst. On the cover of the book it says "Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" and the book centres around how we can deal with conflict in a more healthy and productive way instead of just coming "Unglued." As soon as I saw the title of this book on Amazon I knew that it would be a great book for me and when I saw the cover, the book had to be mine.

 I can't tell you how many times a day I feel like I am the woman in this picture. Sometimes it feels like my kids have been put here on earth just to make me completely insane! A week away from the madness was the perfect time for me to read this book because it gave me the space I needed to soak up the rich advice and helpful suggestions that it had to offer. My book is now full of underlines, circled paragraphs, and stars beside the stuff that I really want to remember.

After finishing the book there is one part that continues to ring in my mind on a daily basis and it is a verse that the author mentions found in Ephesians 6:12:

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.

I have heard this verse many times and actually have it posted up in my kitchen as a reminder of the perspective I need when dealing with conflict. Lysa Terkeurst explains in her book that this verse tells us that as much as we think that other person is the one who is against us, that really our only enemy is satan. It is only him on the other side and as we get mad at eachother and hurt one another, we are only doing satan's work for him. She says, "The secret to healthy conflict resolution isn't taking a you-against-me stance, but realizing it's all of us against Satan - he's the real enemy." She goes on to say that a "Jesus girl who rises up and unexpectedly gives grace when she surely could have done otherwise reveals the power and the mystery of Christ at work in her life and in the world." I believe that this is true. I think that every time we choose to do what goes against our human nature and speak kindly when someone deserves to be yelled at or be gracious even when the other person is being completely unfair or irrational, we magnify God's power at work within us and glorify him.

When I look at conflict through the lens of this verse it becomes a challenge and a fight of good against evil and my response becomes so clear. It is with this perspective that I can forget myself in those moments that I would normally be completely self-absorbed and see the bigger picture.

A few verses later in Ephesians 6:19 Paul writes:

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

So friends, let's pray for each other. When you see someone struggling to be patient with their toddler (this will most likely be me) or hear of conflict among friends or loved ones, pray for them. Dealing with conflict in a way that glorifies God is not easy. It goes against what we really want to do and we need to be prayer warriors for each other and unleash God's power into the situations of those who are also on our side.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sandi Patti

I was reintroduced to Sandi Patti yesterday after a 25 or so year hiatus and I have to say, that lady can sing! Does anyone else remember this artist? I listened to one of my favourite childhood albums entitled Morning Like This and was pleasantly surprised that it is still fantastic and that I had great taste in music when I was in 5! 

Image result for sandi patty it was a morning like this

This album has got everything! It starts with a beautiful choral arrangement entitled Let There Be Praise and believe me there was. By the end of the song my children were covering there ears and my daughter announced that my singing was too loud and was hurting her head. The album then goes on to such inspirational hits as Love in Any Language. This one will bring you to tears, or at least it did for me. Then the album really ramps up with King of Glory. This song is a huge highlight and I listened to it repeatedly until I could sing all the words by heart (there is nothing like fumbling over lyrics to really take away from the enjoyment of a song). I very much enjoyed the high notes in this one. Sandi, you hit those like a champ and I will continue to practice until I can do so too! The next song, Face to Faith, is a jazzy little number that proves that this lady can do it all! Those skatting solos were the bomb! Was It a Morning Like This? is another of my personal favourites which includes syncopation to boot. The album ends with two more amazing and equally powerful songs In the Name of the Lord and There is a Saviour. 

This album was released a couple years ago, in 1986, and has made it back into my rotation. I remember dancing and singing to it as a child in preparation for my own solo career (still to come to fruition) and even though some may say that it is a little dated, I would say that good music is good music and Sandi Patti knows how to sing. She didn't need auto-tune to make herself sound good because she had raw talent and a gift for inviting us all into this worshipful experience!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Learning to Let Go Explained

Many of you read the title "Learning to Let Go" and immediately get a certain song from a very popular children's movie in your head (and if you hadn't already you probably have it in there by now). I want to clarify that my blog is in no way affiliated with the classic film "Frozen," although I have watched it a number of times and have to listen to the soundtrack almost every time I'm in the car with me kids. 

I chose this title because I have spent many of my adult years trying to be in control of everything. I used to hang on so tightly to things in hopes that if everything was just right I could avoid feeling the anxiety that plagued me everyday. I did not realize at the time that in trying to control things, that I really had no control over, I was actually creating more anxiety and living a life that was no fun at all. Anxiety has been a big part of my life and not even realizing it, I had created a vicious circle that only God could put a stop to. 

Over the last 4 years God has been doing a work in me. He has been teaching me to let go and trust Him. This has not been an easy process and I have in no way mastered the art of letting go, but I'm learning and life is becoming so much more fun and filled with the freedom that only God can give. 

There are so many things in my life that I needed to let go of and I hope to write more about each of them as time goes on. I'm working on letting go of people pleasing and instead hanging on to God's opinion of me. I'm learning to let go of pursuing perfection and instead pursuing God's best for me. I'm hoping I can let go of my expectations and dreams and learn to give them to God and trust what he is doing. I'm learning to let go of my kids and put them back in his capable hands each day. I'm learning to let go of productivity and judging how successful my day was by how many things I was able to accomplish and instead put more hope in the things that have eternal significance. This list could really go on forever because there are so many things that I had no idea I was holding on to and so many things that I need to be set free from. 

How about you? Can anyone relate to this struggle? Are there things in your life that put you in this vicious circle of anxiety? Are there things that need to be let go of? Join me on my journey of learning to let go and experiencing the joy of living in God's freedom!  

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Does the World Really Need Another Blog?

Probably not. Especially not another mom blog. There are so many out there and the authors are probably much more knowledgable and more accomplished writers than me. Thinking these exact thoughts has stopped me from pursuing this for a long time. 
So why would I start another blog? Here are a few reasons for you:

1) I am a stay at home mom. 

For those of you who need more of an explanation than that, here goes. In my capacity as a stay at home mom I spend many hours at home. Most of these are spent trying to keep up with the never ending needs of my children, but there is an hour here or there when my kids are sleeping or (by some miracle) playing nicely by themselves. 

It is in these times that I usually finish the dishes and do a much needed clean of the floors beneath the kitchen table.

But when I finish that I often think to myself, "Self, I wish there was something I could do that would be both fun and hopefully a means of encouragement to world around me." Although I love making a difference in the lives of my kids, I sometimes long to make a difference in the lives of people that I'm not changing diapers for or giving time outs to. This seems to me like a refreshing change. So I thought I'd start a blog.

2) I really like writing. I have a BA in English and used the skills I learned often when I taught grade 3 and 5 in the years before my children were born. Now these writing skills  mostly lay by the wayside waiting for another chance to shine. I let my love of writing out a couple times a year to edit papers for students I tutor but this never really quenches the desire for the creative side of writing that I so enjoy. So I thought I'd start a blog.

3) I think typing is pretty fun. So I thought I'd start a blog.

4) Maybe, just maybe, I have a new or needed perspective on things. Even though there are billions of people in the world, the crazy thing is that we are all different. Maybe my unique personality will have something to say to someone that will make even a small difference in their life. I think that would be so neat! So I thought I'd start a blog!

5) God has put a passion in my heart to be genuine and not to cover up what real life is like. The truth is that we all struggle and, as hard as it is to believe, none of us have it all together. I just read a really great book called For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. One of my favourite quotes from the book is based on James 5:13-16 and goes like this: "Confession saves the truth-teller and the truth-receiver, because God is liberated to move." This rings so incredibly true for me. In my life, I struggle with anxiety and depression (amongst many other things) and this struggle has brought me to the realization that being honest with others about what is really going on in my life is the first step towards healing and being whole. I've also been privileged enough to witness that being open with these struggles can have a freeing effect on those listening. It is so true that through being genuine "God is liberated to move." So I thought I'd start a blog.

I'm still not completely convinced that the world really needs another blog but I think I'm going to do it anyway and just hope that God will make something beautiful of it.