Two Years

Two years ago today this really cute guy asked me to be his girlfriend.

We looked at the clock, 12:02.

I guess that means the 31st is our anniversary, said the cute guy.

Smart man, knew the 31st didn't come around every month. And somehow I managed to be gone for almost all of our "big days." Three months, there was no thirty first. Six months, I was in Calgary. One year, I was in Africa. In fact, the only anniversary we have ever celebrated was four months.

Tomorrow we will have been married for six months exactly.

I bet he would make dinner, except I'm off gluten and dairy so I highly doubt he'll know what to make. I make it so hard on him.

Well here's to a great two years with that cute guy. And a great six months of marriage.

I'm so blessed daily by my husband and thank the Lord that he's allowed me to be married so such an awesome guy.


One Thousand Gifts

Friends, if you have not stumbled across the corner of the internet that goes by the name A Holy Experience please go. Read and be encouraged. There is something about how Ann writes that reads exactly like a poem. Her words are true and beautiful and challenge you to find God right where you are. Her blog is my favourite to read and I find such encouragement in her words.

I've just ordered her new book, "One Thousand Gifts." It is not only out of stock but there is a huge waiting list and Amazon gave me an ETA of March 27th. Well at least I got on the list, I'm kicking myself for not ordering it sooner. So in April when I finally get to enjoy this book I will tell you all about it.


When the fog lifts...

This morning I walked out my front door and was brought to tears. I'll admit that is not very hard these days but nonetheless it was a sight of beauty. Every single tree was layered in the thickest hoar frost I have ever seen.

hoar·frost: Frozen dew that forms a white coating on a surface, also called white frost.

All I had with me was my trusty iPod so I snapped the best pictures I could.

And as I drove to work the long way and reveled in the beauty of Gods creation, several thoughts entered my mind.

And who do you think is the father of rain and dew, the mother of ice and frost?
You don't for a minute imagine these marvels of weather just happen, do you? 
Job 38:29-30

The first was, if I lived in Africa I would never wake up to mornings where God chose to hand paint the trees white. Sometimes I struggle finding God in creation here. In Africa He seemed to be everywhere I looked. I saw Him when I looked at my babies, as I walked through the village, every morning at sunrise. But since I've been home I have struggled seeing Him in creation. I know He is there, and that He creates beauty even in the middle of winter, but at the same time it's rare for His creation to take my breath away.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:7-12

The second thought was how He transforms. This morning school was cancelled because the fog was so thick it was unsafe to drive.

1. Condensed water vapor in cloudlike masses lying close to the ground and limiting visibility.
2. a. An obscuring haze, as of atmospheric dust or smoke.
b. A mist or film clouding a surface, as of a window, lens, or mirror.
3. a. A state of mental vagueness or bewilderment.
b. Something that obscures or conceals; a haze: shrouded their actions in a fog of disinformation.

But when the fog lifted we were left with a breath taking view of His majesty.

It's like that in life sometimes. The fog is so dense we can see our feet or the path we are walking. Sometimes were surrounded by a fog of doubt or depression or loneliness. Sometimes our health seems crushed by a fog of sickness, like we can never be completely well. But when we choose to trust God through the fogs and the trials. When we call out to Him and ask Him to lead us through we can have faith that when the fog lifts....

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 2:22-23

Beauty will arise.

For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Psalm 108:4
 He promises if we walk with Him, He will guide our step.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5
Aren't his promises good?


Our new friend

We bought a cactus.

Any suggestions for a name?


My best friend is getting married

And I can't express to you how excited I am.

Kari is an amazing joy to everyone around her. She is one of the greatest encouragements in my life and I'm so grateful that God has blessed us with the amazing friendship we have. Kari has been there for me during some of my darkest times, she never left my side and was a shining light of Jesus' love into my life. I'm so proud to be standing next to her as she marries the man of her dreams, just as she did for me six months ago. I'm thrilled for us to continue our friendship into married life. I pray that our relationship will continue to grow, I hope that she continues to be the friend I run to when my job is driving me nuts, and one day when my kids are driving me crazy. I pray one day our children will be best of friends, that I will be able to babysit as she takes care of others in her nursing job. I pray that we will continue to challenge each other in our faith. That we will always have our deep conversations about orphans, poverty, the church... I'm so incredibly thankful for this beautiful woman.

I remember the days of being engaged (I just said that like it was a long time ago but I've only been married 6 months) There is something so joyous about anticipating your big day. Not just the day but the happiness in discovering the person God has intended for you to spend the rest of your life with.

"for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." Ephesians 5:31

We live in a society that looks down upon young marriage. People scoff when they hear that I got married at 19. But I know a lot of godly women who have been married for longer than I have been alive and they got married at 19. People say I've thrown my life away because know I'm tied down and have to always think of someone else. When did it become a bad thing to think of others first? They say I won't get to experience life. When did it become a bad thing to experience things with someone else? They say I won't get to travel. I wonder how many of them have lived in Africa? They say I won't get an education. This one is true, but why is it shameful to want to be a mother. And in the meantime my husband is going to school in spite of the fact we are married. Somehow we make it work.

I wonder if these people really see how much they are missing. The joys of sharing your entire life with someone, someone who knows you better than anyone else, and who loves you no matter what happens. Don't get me wrong know marriage is perfect and I knew that long before I even met my husband. Being married requires work and sacrifice. From the moment you say 'I do' every decision you make has to be made with someone else in mind.

God has set the type of marriage everywhere throughout the creation. Every creature seeks its perfection in another. The very heaven and earth picture it to us -Martin Luther

There is nothing more beautiful to me than watching someone commit their life to someone else.

This weekend we threw a shower for the beautiful bride-to-be. We came together to celebrate this amazing fact. That my beautiful friend Kari has discovered the man that God created to be hers.

My prayer for Kari and Riley is echoed beautifully in this C.S. Lewis quote:

When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.

I pray that you will love each other and you will find joy in sacrificing. I pray for navigation around the change of living with someone else. I pray that your relationship will be blessed. BUT I also pray that God will force your to rely on Him completely. I pray that you will be filled with His never failing Spirit. I pray that you will recklessly abandon the american dream and instead passionately run towards His dream for your life. I pray that He will give you an amazing purpose for the kingdom. I pray that your life will be filled with heavenly blessing not earthly ones.

And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13



3 reasons to watch:

1. I now want to buy a minivan and make up a rap, no shame in lots of children!
2. I laughed out loud when they said mother father.
3. The dancing is sweet!


Are we His love?

When you fall asleep tonight
     In your warm and cozy room
                   Know that I'm awake
         And I've got no shelter and no food
     I am not alone
            My friends are broke and lost
           Looking for someone to lead them to my cross
                      I need your help, I need your help

Won't you be My voice calling   
                                 My hands healing
                   My feet walking into a broken world
                                       My chain-breaker
                             My peacemaker
                                  My hope and joy
                                               My Love

 The other side of the world
            She is just a few days old
       A helpless little girl
                  With no family of her own
    She is not to blame for the journey she is on
                            Her life is no mistake
                   Won't you lead her to My cross?

To those I call My own
             To those I've set aside
      As spotless without blame
                   The chosen ones My bride

We will be your voice calling   
                                 your hands healing
                   your feet walking into a broken world
                                       your chain-breaker
                             your peacemaker
                                  your hope and joy
                                               your Love

-"Won't you be my love?" by: Mercy Me


A Home For The Holidays with Michael Franti

3 reasons to watch:

1. Michael Franti is a sweet musician, seen him live and he throws a great party.
2. He was an African American adopted into a white family in the '60s. That wasn't the norm then and his parents were part of a group that paved the way for acceptance of mulitcultural families.
3. The kids in this video are adorable and it makes me want to bring them all home (which I guess was the point)


Meant to Be - Steven Curtis Chapman

3 reasons to watch:

1. I love Steven Curtis because he is a proud adoptive daddy!
2. He and his wife run an organization that provides amazing orphan care and adoption aid.
3. His songs have really powerful lyrics when you take a minute a listen.

So as I listened to this song I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I just kept thinking about how their were some beautiful Ethiopian babies out there "meant to be" in our family. I love the goodness of the Father, how He orchestrates everything in His infinite wisdom. And my mamas heart can hardly wait to be blessed with my beauties in a few years. I'm so grateful for this calling!

The Price of Christianity

Lately I've been thinking about comfortable living. Is comfortable living what God calls us to? So the question I always ask myself when I begin pondering these things is do I believe the Bible? So if you`re reading this ask yourself that question. If you do, read on.

The Bible says some crazy things, and not just the Bible but Jesus himself. God himself in human forms says some stuff that can mess up your life pretty bad. 

What do I mean?

``Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.`` Luke 14:25-27

That`s the message translation, it is a bit nicer than the NIV.
``If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.``

Now I don`t know about you but when I read that this little voice rises up in my spirit. The one that says, now Jesus didn`t actually call us to hate our father and mother, He called us to love and to honour our parents.

So how do we as Bible believing Christians navigate our way through scriptures like this.

Well most churches just skip right over them, when is the last time you heard a sermon preached on this passage. It`s too `hard` for most Christian to hear and attendance would go down. And church is really about numbers right not Biblical truths.

Well I sure hope not. I greatly admire pastors who don`t skip (proud to be in a church that just preached from and through the Word, no skipping to the parts we like.)

Well I imagine if we actually applied this scripture to our lives most of us would be forced to change our lives a lot.

God calls us to `hate` our family, which means He must be our highest priority, He must take value over every single thing including those who we love most. And it also means our love for Him should be so great, that how we feel towards our parents and our husbands should look like hate in comparison. God commands us to have such an overwhelming deep love for him, that how we feel towards those closest to us seems like hate.

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,` Matthew 10:37

Wow. Let that settle.

Does your love for God make your love for your husband look like hate?

Secondly he calls us to carry our cross and follow him.
We are to walk the path marked for a convicted sinner, carrying a cross twice our size, being mocked and ridiculed the whole way. We are to follow behind our Saviour in every moment, even if it means that shameful walk to our death. And the biggest part of it all, is that we will gladly pick up our cross because our love for Him is so huge, so gigantic that we are willing to walk to our death if that is where He calls us.

`Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.` Matthew 10:38

Here`s the thing. Jesus didn`t carry that cross for His sins. He did it because there is not a chance in this world we ever could live a perfect life. He did it because He was blameless. He did it because His love for us ran so deep that He longed for us to know Him in an intimate way. He did it because He didn`t want the divide in the temple, He wanted us to be made blameless so He could dwell in us.

`I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.` Galatians 2:20

`Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.` Matthew 10:29

But here`s the thing. We should follow Him out of sheer love and gratitude for all He has done for us, but His love is so huge He adds even more. He invites us into eternity with Him. He promises us that if we live our life completely for Him, our reward will be great. That we will find our life, that we will have more than we could have imagined in eternity, and isn`t eternity what really matters. 

I truly think that the devil loves nothing more than for us to have comfortable lives. He likes that we go to church every Sunday and then go on like nothing is changed. He likes that our prayer life consists of a prayer before meals and possibly a quick one before bed. He doesn`t disturb the Christian when they have a comfortable house and a well paying job. Sometimes I even think God is the one that throws the curve balls at us (He did this with the Israelites in the desert to shape them into the people of God he had called us to be) He takes away so that we will be reminded where it all came from. He brings on periods of grief so that He can teach us to fully rely on His spirit. I don`t think satan really likes to bother `comfortable` Christians because frankly they aren`t bothering him.

You know what scares the hell out of satan (if that were to be possible), the Christian who radically gives. They spend all their moments serving and loving others, they radically give their finances to fund Kingdom building. They radically pray, and I mean pray. Like from the moment they wake until when they fall to sleep, their mind is on the Spirit and they constantly pray. They speak radically, they don`t care what people think so they speak the Word of the Lord as loudly as possibly, through their words and their life. The Christian who scares satan is the one who has truly given up every part of me and taken on every part of HIM, the Christian who is living for eternity and wants to bring as many people with Him as possible. These are the Christians who impact the Kingdom, and also the ones who make satan tremble.

...I want to be a Christian like that.

`Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.` Hebrews 11:16 


Not called did you say?

"Not called!' did you say?
      'Not heard the call,' I think you should say.
    Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin.
        Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help.
  Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there.
     And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world."
                                                                                                  ~ William Booth 


He`s in the Small Things

Sometimes I wonder how much we miss when we aren`t looking for Him.

I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too

Oh he is there, He doesn`t hide from us, but sometimes we forget to look.

Your reassuring presence, coming and going. 

 Today I`ve had the worst attitude about the weather, it is cold and windy, being outside just makes you feel like crap. As I drove home from running errands I looked down the streets and saw the extreme beauty of winter. I took a moment and marveled at His creation even at -30. I saw beautiful snow frosted trees, reminded myself the magnificence of individually made snowflakes, none the same as before, just like us. He is so good.

Sometimes my migraines wait until 5 o`clock to hit full force. I get annoyed because I`m heading home from work and now suddenly I`m in so much pain I have to lie down and can`t do anything. Today I realized what a blessing it is that He allows me to get through my workday with as much joy and as little pain as possibly. He carries me through until I get home and I`m able to rest. Sometimes I get them at work and He teaches me through that too, but from now on I want to thank him when they only hit at 5 and I can go home and lie in bed.

Sometimes my job exhausts me. Physically and emotionally. Sometimes I get a really bad attitude about it in spite of the fact that God wants me there, so I`m supposed to work as if I was working for Him. But then I come home exhausted with groceries in hand and my husband makes supper. What a blessing. I got to lie down on the couch and recharge after my hard day at work.

Yesterday my cell phone broke, we tried everything, new battery, new charger. I was planning on going in tomorrow and buying out my contract (no other option) which would set me back about $400 that I don`t have to spend right now. I was thinking about what to cut back to make that $400 work. I figured He would provide. Last resort my dad suggested a full system restart. Figured I had nothing to lose. It worked, who would have ever guessed, have no phone numbers now but who cares. What a blessing that He saved us $400. Thank you Father.

He`s there
In the smallest moments.

He promises not to leave us or forsake us, but even bigger than that He orchastrates the moments of our life. He knows I need my husband to cook supper tonight to bless me, and He knows that I can`t handle a migraine at work today.  He knows I need an encouraging text from my best friend or my mom. He knows I needed to read that verse today, the one that I carried with me all day.

He knows.

This is too much, too wonderful— I can't take it all in! 

I`m so amazed by His majesty and His promises.

Look for Him this week. Look for Him and I guarentee He is there.

Psalm 139:1-16
God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can't take it all in!

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you're there! If I go underground, you're there! If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon, You'd find me in a minute— you're already there waiting! Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I'm immersed in the light!" It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. 


Dancing in the Minefields - Andrew Peterson

Okay I'll admit it. I'm the hugest sap for old people in love. So yes, at the end when they all dance, I cried.


...and we continue eating our dinners.

Paul Rusesabagina: I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.

Jack: Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

Paul Rusesabagina: How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

Jack: I think if people see this footage they'll say, "oh my God that's horrible," and then go on eating their dinners.

-Quote from Hotel Rwanda

Truth resounds in this quote. The horrible, heart wrenching truth that we ignore atrocities everyday and continue eating our dinners.

Over one million people were killed in the genocide of Rwanda.

...and we continue eating our dinners.

It is estimated 300,000 people died in the genocide of Sudan.

...and we continue eating our dinners.

30,000 children die every die of starvation and preventable disease.

...and we continue eating our dinners.

We watch the children on World Vision commercials, with flies on their faces and only a ripped tshirt to wear. Children with no parents to fight for them, left to suffer and die. Orphans now numbering 150 million.

...and we continue eating our dinners.

Why are we better than these people?

What did we do to deserve the ability to flip the channel and ignore their lives?

We have declared a truth in society. Your worth is dependent on which continent you are born on. There are those that matter, and those we ignore.

If you are born on the right continent you will have food, most likely a home, and education. If you die before your due time, by some accident or act of violence you will make it on the news.

If you are born on the wrong continent your life will have little value. You will likely be hungry on many occasion, you will struggle to find shelter, very few get education. And when you die young of a horrible disease or act of violence, you will be buried in a pile of other young people just like you. Beyond your family no one will weep, no one will be aware of this tragedy, because you were born on the wrong continent.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if the poorest of Africa saw the Churches and homes of North Americans. Would they rejoice, thinking to themselves, 'God has sent what we prayed for. These brothers and sisters of Christ will help us, clothe us and give us food and shelter.' They will rejoice with joy knowing that their suffering was over. But then the harsh reality would set in. That we actually don't care. That we aren't the answer to their prayers and that we would rather continue eating our dinners.

"This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear." 1 John 3:16-17


His Holy, Perfect, Sacred &Trustworthy Word

Lately I've been in awe of how the Father spoke the Word into being.

For a long time, I've known the Bible was there to teach us, I understood that it was Gods Word into our lives. But I think for a long time I read the Bible almost as story. It was a beautiful novel that I read on a daily basis. The odd time I would feel as though this Word spoke to me, and I would apply those words to my life and continue living. But here's the thing

The Bible is Holy.
Webster's Dictionary defines holy as: 
     exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness 

The Bible is Sacred.
Webster's Dictionary defines sacred as:
     entitled to reverence and respect

The Bible is Perfect.
Webster's Dictionary defines perfect as:
     being entirely without fault or defect

The Bible is Trustworthy.
Webster's Dictionary defines trustworthy as:
     worthy of confidence 

This book is worthy of our confidence in that it is entirely without fault, it is entitled to reverence and respect and worthy of our complete devotion.

Lately Ive been realizing what that truly means. This Word I read is not the stories of people in past times and how they served Jesus. It is my perfect instructions on how to become more like Jesus. It is full of everything I need in my life.

As this has become more and more real in my life, the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to the relevance of Scripture.  

Father forgive me for not sooner discovering this truth.  

As I read these holy words I am brought to tears, they cause my heart to break. I toss and turn through the night with Scriptures rattling in my brain. My heart is shattering because if we actually believe this `storybook` and instead of seeing it as a `storybook` choose instead to view it in its holiness and perfection it will transform our lives. 

God has specifically been bringing me to scripture about the Church. I used to read these words and ask myself why these Churches were so foolish to turn away from the Lord. Now instead I see how perfectly they describe the struggle of the Church today. Thousands of years later these words still perfectly describe the sins of Gods people. 

Isaiah 29:13-14
    ``These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren't in it. Because they act like they're worshiping me but don't mean it, I'm going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing.``

Unfortunately that sounds a lot like me sometimes. It also sounds a lot like the Church.

Revelation 3:16-17
    ``I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You're not cold; you're not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You're stale. You're stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, 'I'm rich, I've got it made, I need nothing from anyone,' oblivious that in fact you're a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless``

Now is when the tears start to fall, I make the Father want to vomit in my apathy. He finds little to His liking in the Church, His precious bride whom He wants to turn away from due to our sin.

I`m so thankful that my eyes have been opened to the power of The Word. My deepest desire is that I will approach it with as much reverence and awe possibly. That I may truly grasp the power of His Holy, Perfect, Sacred & Trustworthy words.

The warnings against ignoring scripture are all over His Holy Word. They are not there by mistake because the Bible is perfect. They are there because He knew, in His greatness and wisdom, that we would choose to turn away. He warned us over and over to listen to every word, because He intended every single word that was written.

James warns: Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!

Paul warns: Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother's milk! There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

David warns: There's more: God's Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure. Otherwise how will we find our way? 

Please if you are not feeding on His Word daily I urge you to dust off that Bible and read these awe-inspiring words. But know that if you read them and believe they are true, you are held accountable as to whether you obeyed or not. Store His Word in your heart and meditate on it throughout the day. He promises to show us the way to joy, to point out the right road and to pull our lives together. And He does not break His promises.

The revelation of God is whole
      and pulls our lives together.
   The signposts of God are clear
      and point out the right road.
   The life-maps of God are right,
      showing the way to joy.
   The directions of God are plain
      and easy on the eyes.
   God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
      with a lifetime guarantee.
   The decisions of God are accurate
      down to the nth degree. 
God's Word is better than a diamond,
      better than a diamond set between emeralds.
   You'll like it better than strawberries in spring,
      better than red, ripe strawberries. 
Psalm 19:7-10


Isaiah 1:10-17

Listen to my message,
You Sodom-schooled leaders.
Receive God's revelation,
You Gomorrah-schooled peopled.
"Why this frenzy of sacrifices?"
God's asking.
"Don't you think I've had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don't you think I've had my fill
of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before me,
whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
running here and there, doing this and that-
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?

Quit your worship charades.
I can't stand your trivial religious games;
monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings-
meetings, meetings, meetings-I can't stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You've worn me out!
I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I'll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud you pray,
I'll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you've been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don't have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down and out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.


Top 10 for 2011

I'm going to keep the goals pretty simple this year. A lot of this is a continuation of the last three months since I have started the radical experiment, some of it is simply goals for this year. Part of my goals are saving and giving, use less money on certain things so I can give me, also so that Shaun and I can save more because buying a house brings us one step closer to adoption.

1. Shop only at thrift stores or non-profits. 

I already mostly do this but I’ll just make a declaration for all of 2011. Forcing yourself to search for something you need at a thrift store takes away the impulse buy that I’ve suffered from time and time again. It also makes me use what I have in the closet more often instead of buying a new outfit for every occasion. I have a really hard time finding t-shirts that fit at the thrift store so I will allow myself to buy shirts that support non-profits, my husband gets worried that every shirt I own will have an Africa on it, I assure him I will mix it up with shirts for AIDS awareness, suicide prevention and orphan care.

2. Spend no money on cosmetics.

This is also something I have done for the last 4 months. I don’t really need to wear make-up yet, I know there will come a day where it might be needed but until then I am going to enjoy my skin and be naturally beautiful. I also have stopped going to the hairdresser, and my hair still looks fine. The odd trim from my mom or in front of the mirror can easily get me through with this long hair and it is money that can be used elsewhere. (I buy shampoo and conditioner, though I’ve been looking up homemade recipes and am hoping to be brave enough to try them out sometime soon)

3. No more store-bought

I want to make more things at home. 2011 is starting off good already with homemade bread and a commitment not to buy anymore bread from the store but I want to make more than bread at home. Pasta? It’s possible, I want to try it. I just feel so much better about stuff when it’s made in my kitchen, it goes bad like normal food should and I know exactly what is in it.

4. Support local business

Less trips to the big city of Winnipeg, working harder to find what I need here.

5. Get more involved in Church

My husband and I already have different ways we serve our church but I’d love to get into a small group (step of faith needed) also love to find some women to connect into and build up. Altogether I'm just continuing to give God this year and allowing Him to use me in His plan.

6. Introduce more veggies into our diet.

Married five months now, honeymoon cooking period is over. Hubby is going to have to get used to healthier food. Veggies this year, fruit next year.

7. Find practical ways to serve in the community.

Reach out and find people in need or organizations that I can give my time too.

8. Read more.

I’ll admit I read a lot, but this year I want to focus a lot more of that reading into educating myself, also reading a lot more Christian living books that will challenge my faith. I'm still debating over the Bible in one year. Done it several times before, actually read it in two months in 2010 but It’s never planned so we will see if it happens or not. If I'm reading my Bible daily I will likely make it all the way through.

9. Buy a house

Like I said, buying a house brings us one step closer to being approved for adoption. Therefore it is a pretty good goal for 2011. Shaun will start working in September so sometime after that. Possible we may have to wait for 2012 but might as well through it in for 2011 as something to work towards.

10. Get fit and have fun

I had to throw it in there. 2010 gave me lots of motivation, I got married and clearly I had to look smoking hot for that. So after the wedding it got cold,  and I live in Manitoba and it is mighty hard to get your butt in gear when its -30 outside. Excuse number 2, my husband is home all the time and I'm not one for working out in front of people, I could ban him to the office but I just know he would sneak out and laugh at me. Excuse number 3, our apartment is stinking small, where would I work out the kitchen or the storage room, seem like great options to me. So anyways I'm going to try a bit harder. Once it warms up (this is a goal that only starts in June!) being outside a lot more, possibly breaking out the running shoes (no promises on that)

Overall I just hope that God will use me this year. I pray that He will work in our family and prepare us for whatever He has in store for us. I also pray that I will be a voice of encouragment to those I meet and those who come across my ramblings here.


The Courageous Heart - Irena Sendler Story

This week my mom and I watched a movie called 'A Courageous Heart.' It is a powerful true story of a lady who smuggled children out of the ghettos (where Jews were segregated) and hid them within Polish families until the war was over. This lady helped over 3500 children live through this war, she rescued them from being taken to the camps, and she saved their lives.

This movie touched me in a lot of ways. Irena believed that every single person deserved life. No one deserved less food or to be segregated. She also believed that when a person sees injustice it is their responsibility. There is a quote from the movie:

'if you see a man drowning you must try to save him even if you don't know how to swim.'

The worst part of the movie is when they start taking the Jews from the ghetto to the trains that take them to the camps they start by emptying the orphanages. I don't know if this is historically accurate but it is definatly believable. It is how our society runs. Orphans have no one to fight for them. They are unwanted and seen as a burden. Our society does not put value on these precious lives.

Watching the movie of the holocaust left a question echoing in my mind. The Germans are remembered for this awful act of cruelty but what will we be remembered for.

What legacy will our generation leave?

What will we be remembered for?

Will they remember the great things we did for the impoverished? Will we make an impact so that 30000 children won't die everyday due to lack of food and preventable diseases? Will they remember that we took these kids into our families so that they could go back as grown adult to give to their home countries?

Or will we be remembered for our wealth and our greed? Will they remember that we ignored dying people all over the world? Will they remember that we lived happily in our gigantic homes with cars lining the drive way?

What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

What do you want to be remembered for?
'Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know. For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.'
Proverbs 24:11-12



Today I spent an hour deleting music.

My itunes went from 3146 songs down to 1976.

About five months ago I cut non-Christian music out of my life. I'll admit there was a day in the teenage years where I listened to a lot of hateful music, from rap to rock and everything in between. I claimed that it was the music I loved not the morals and that I knew my values enough to not let it change me.

But here's the thing. I do love music; I always have a song in my head. Whatever tune I have heard last circulates in my head until another tune replaces it. Instead of focusing on positive things all day, I had bad music and language circulating in my head all day.

I used to struggle with sleeping a lot. To the point where I was medicated for a year so that I could shut my mind off. One worship night at church God brought me to the story of Samuel. God awoke him three times while he was sleeping.

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
  Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 

God's voice simply asked 'what if I intend to wake you because I have something to tell you and those drugs keep you from hearing my voice?'

When I went off my sleeping pills, after the withdrawal I found the only way I could sleep was to listen to praise & worship before bed. As I cut out non-Christian music, I noticed that the days I listened to non-Christian music were the nights I couldn't sleep. Guaranteed, if I willingly turned on some bad music, I wouldn't sleep that night.

I used to say that I didn't really like praise & worship music, that it all sounded the same. But God opened my heart as I focused on the words I truly began to enjoy praise & worship music more and more. God slowly wrote the soundtrack to my life. He started to speak to me through the songs I listened to. He strengthens me through the truths in these songs. Now when I go to work every day I have a worship song in the back of my head. I crave my time in the car alone where I belt out praises to my Savior and lift my hands not caring who sees me. I'm so thankful for my workplace where we listen to Christian music the majority of the time.

I don't know why I kept all that non-Christian music for so long. Maybe I thought someday I would listen to it again? Maybe the good Mennonite wife in me couldn't stand to delete so much money's worth of music. It did sadden me quite a bit that I invested so much money in something that brought no glory to my Savior. What a waste. As I deleted I found myself embarrassed by some of the titles, had I really filled my mind with this filth. I'll also admit I had a hard time letting go of some of it.

Father forgive me.

See here's the thing. Not all this music was bad. Though I admit some of it was pretty bad. Some of it was just fun pop songs about being happy and living a positive life. Some of it could even be viewed as uplifiting by the worlds' standards.

See here's the thing, the Bible says this:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

and this:

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

and this:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  1 Corinthians 6:19

and this:

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

and this:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
 So I guess I could convince myself that the music I was listening to was "OK" but now I see that if it doesn't exalt the King of Kings then what is the point. I believe that everything we do, we can do purposely for the kingdom. From the music we listen too, movies we watch, how we speak, where we spend our time, which friendships we choose. It can all be for HIS glory. So why wouldn't I want to make this small sacrifice of music, when HE gave himself for me. HE died that I might have life. It's embarrassing to think that I wasn't willing to give up some music. And again I find myself saying

Father forgive me.

Being a Christian means daily trying to be more like Christ. It doesn't mean I don't mess up, because I do every day. But it means that every day I rely on Him and do my best to live as He did. To speak as He did, to listen to what He would have listened to, to watch what He would watch, to spend my time as He did. And I'm so thankful that He has promised me if I live my life for Him I will have a life filled with His peace, with great joy and full of His overflowing love. I'll make the sacrifice for that.


Picture Story of 2010

Started it off here at Amani Baby Cottage in Jinja, Uganda.

Woke up to views like this living right on Lake Victoria.
Had my heart stolen daily by these beautiful faces

Scored this ring
And this handsome guy

All of a sudden here we are

Promising each other forever
Promising to laugh and cry together

Promising to support each other through everything

Whatever path God takes us down

Now 2011, oh I have goals and dreams for 2011. Right now they are staying in my head and in secret words spoken with my husband. We are open to the leading of the Lord and listening as to what our next step is. First Shaun needs to finish school and then we will see what doors our Precious Father opens. I prayerfully wait to see what He calls us to do next.

Now to you my friends this is my prayer:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.