where i come from {save the scraps}

"i never tell the enemy, i've been on the cover of time magazine, i've gone around the world.  i don't use none of that stuff up there. i reach back into my history.  your power is not in where you are, your power is in where you've been.  for Jesus said, 'I am the same yesterday, today & forevermore.  and if I brought you through that, still I am.'" 
{t.d. jakes}

i come from a long, twisted heritage that reaches back into the darkest corners of the netherlands. i have heard of stories of where i come from & i cringe. that was the heritage i heard of.  the heritage i experienced was different.  my beginnings were wrapped in love & fresh air & everything beautiful.  the woods were where i remember chiseling out my first remembrances of home.  those deep woods full of long wonderings & wild imagination.  i lived in the trees, those whispering pines always singing their lullabies.  and in the springs, when the waters would flood & pool, there i found truest joy in my black rubber boots.  and my twirling fields, my grass covered mountaintops for seeing & thinking.  and that long, graveled road where i would collect my pebbles & dreams.  i came from there until the world began to impinge on my beautiful beginnings.  it crept in like a thief in the night.  it took my deep woods & my climbing trees, my innocent fields & lullabies and replaced them with fear & brokenness, rejection & confusion.  and that is where i was born.  that is when i began pushing & digging & fighting. from places of uncertainty, places of self-deprecation.  unwanted places, too soon places, not enough places. the woods got darker, the clouds temporarily covered my sun, the locusts ate my twirling fields & the trees towered in intimidation.  
"{and the Lord says} you know a whole lot about now, but you forgot about then.  there is no way you would have made it to this present danger if I hadn't done what I did yesterday.  you wouldn't be blessed to have the problems that you have right now."
{t.d. jakes}

but He took my not-enough places & He broke what was not enough & He multiplied them & healed my land.  He restored all that the locusts had eaten.  He filled those spring pools to overflowing and i sit here now, from that restored place.  from the place of plenty.  i have lived in the light for so long i had forgotten the dark in between.  victory had had an anesthetizing effect.  the flourishing, fulfillment place had forgotten the fight, the battle places.

He wastes nothing that good God of ours. nothing. not even the scraps. 

"until we can be thankful for what is not enough, what is not enough can't be multiplied into more than enough.  the blessing is in the breaking. that which refuses to be broken, refuses to be blessed. the breaking of life produces the blessing of life." 
{t.d. jakes}


esau moments & soul adrenaline

i have always been intrigued by pioneers. i fell in love with laura ingalls wilder when i was in grade four. those who forge their way into the unknown, the unconquered. with nothing but the faith that they can & will make a way for themselves & their family to live better.

i know i'm called to be a pioneer in many ways. blazing the way for kingdom come here on earth.  but the funny thing about pioneering is that you forget, that no matter how long you've pioneered for, you are never the first. there are those that have gone before me. ancestors. great clouds of ancestors.

"we have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless- the world didn't deserve them! - making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
none of these people, even though their lives were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.
do you see what this means - all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans, cheering us on? it means we'd better get on with it. strip down, start running - and never quit! no extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began & finished this race we're in. study how He did it. because He never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in & with God- He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. and now He's there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. when you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. that will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" {hebrews 11-12:1-3, the message} 

every so often i have an esau moment, where i try to trade God's lifelong gift, my calling, my birthright, to satisfy a short-term appetite. where in mid stride, i just decide it's too hard & i want to give-up for temporary relief.

pioneering ain't for the faint of heart. it can be just downright scary heading out into the great unknown. it takes a lot of brow sweat & a lot of faithful faith & trusty trust, if you know what i mean. but not everyone is called to pioneer. a great amount of people think the way steve & i have structured our lives is downright crazy & outlandish. and although we may find comfort & empathy in the stories & journeys of others like-minded, it's important to remember that only He will truly understand. and only He is the knower of the unknown.

it's like the good book says, look at Jesus, study Him, spend time with Him, look into His eyes..."that will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" {hebrews 12:3} not to mention, the privilege of joining & completing the heroic faith of the pioneers who have gone before like abraham or john the baptist {it's just so cool!}. 

we are in good company in this race. though it be hard. though it be ugly & impossible at times. and though we may feel like it at times, we are never alone. 

never lose sight. 

plough on pioneers, plough on!


10 things every mom needs to know

this made me laugh cry. a very weird emotion where i both laugh & cry at the exact same time. usually when i'm tired & usually when i really need to. :)

just take 3 minutes to be reminded of how awesome you are. :)


sinking deep {a song diary}

it happens like this sometimes. so unexpected. moments so unworthy to hold the glimpse of eternity they reveal. but i think it happens like that a lot... at least for the mamas of the young. how He so graciously unwraps Himself in such insignificant places. amongst the crumbs & crumble of life.

and i just broke. right there amungst the dirty floors & sticky counters & the signs of life littered all over the windows & walls. the kitchen spinning around me into nothing. all the things that only moments ago tethered me so mercilessly to the earth, the concern & tangly weight of people & their messes. confronted with the ugly realities, the dirt of life hanging heavy & syphoning precious hard won life. and i was afraid. afraid to make all the wrong choices. afraid of how to wake up tomorrow & face the next brutal day. and then it all crumbled beneath me. and the earth just faded and all i could see was heaven, the glory of His face.
standing here in Your presence, in a grace so relentless
i am won by perfect love
wrapped within the arms of heaven, in a peace that last forever
sinking deep in mercy's sea
a love so deep that it didn't matter if things would be alright. i didn't need the answers. i only needed to see Him. touch Him. hold Him. and i sobbed there on the musty, dog dirtied floor, beholding His beauty, His splendour. i couldn't see anything else. so beautiful i couldn't open my eyes. His mercy swelling waves of all consuming love over my heavy shoulders.
i'm wide awake, drawing close
stirred by grace, all my heart is Yours
all fear removed, i breathe You in
i lean into Your love, Your love
and i never heard the phone ring with news of yet another sewage flood at the rental. i didn't notice the odour of urine imitating from the little boys bathroom or the mountain of pukey laundry collecting at the bottom of the stairs, didn't notice the needy e-mails collecting in my inbox. i didn't even notice we were out of advil. i just sat there a moment & basked.
when i'm lost You pursue me/ lift my head to see Your glory
Lord of all, so beautiful
here in You i find shelter, captivated by the splendour
of Your face, my secret place
and there in the ugly imperfect, i beheld the most perfect thing i've ever seen. 
my everything.
Your love so deep is washing over me,
Your face is all i seek, You are my everything
Jesus Christ You are my one desire,
Lord hear my only cry, to know You all my life.


a well loved canoe

maybe it was the alluring sense of adventure in the air, teasing & taunting me with curiousity. a break from the safe & everyday groves of life. maybe it was the hope of turning around someone elses rough day. maybe it was just plain old generic crazy in the air.  whatever possessed me to try & retreieve that old beat up canoe from the furry of a windy bog, maybe i'll never know.

it all started out with a hope. the hope of a quiet overnight respite at the cottage in the woods. with bags all packed & babes snapped into their seats tight, we headed on our way in the middle of a wind storm. 

we arrived with hands white knuckled & backs arched with tension after being blown about on a busy highway. but hope undeterred & excitement building, we marched our troops into cold but cozy beds for an afternoon nap. except for the oldest, too excited to sleep, two steps behind, asking a million questions. the dogs galloped back & forth with the whipping wind as we unpacked the van & settled inside infront of a warm fire. 

and then all went dead. all the noise that you never knew you were listening to, quieted. all the fans & furnace & hum of the refrigerator. dead.  except for the distinct sound of mice scouring through the walls. and the smallest babe began to cry, still tucked in her bed. all frightened by the silence. 

and our excitement began to dwindle just a little as we began to extrapolate our options of a cold dinner in the dark with no heat. no heat for hours & hours possibly. 

steve came in from outside to announce that the boat & canoe's ropes had snapped & both a begun to quickly drift. he had caught the boat & re-tethered it but the canoe had been blown all the way to the other end of the bay & was being smashed into some flooded trees.

"it's too far & to dangerous for me to get the canoe..." he said
"but that's tom fallaise's canoe?!" i exclaimed. 
"i know but what do you want me to do about it?"
the canoe had belonged to a dear friend of steve's who had passed away many years ago. he had often talked about the fond memories with tom & this was the only thing he had to remember him by. i knew how much that canoe had meant to steve & i knew that if we didn't retrieve it tonight it would likely face a variety of demises. this canoe had gotten me into trouble before but it's crazy the things we do to remember. 

anyways, i knew steve had had a tough day, with several frustrating phone calls on our way to the cottage & i thought to myself... i'm going to get that canoe... even if it kills me. 

steve chuckled & smiled facetiously at my fervour. 
"there is no way you can get around that bog. you can try but i think you should just leave it. it'll be too hard...for you." he said. 
but he knew what he was doing. he knows what those kind of statements incite in me. absolute dedicated "i'll show you!" kinda attitude. the "i can do anything you can do better" mantra took over & i marched outside to look for the hip-waders {which turned out to have a hole in them... stupid mice}.

i left steve to calm the littlest one & shop vac water out of the basement & to clean up the cluster of mouse corpses that had collected while we were gone on the counter. 

and dav didn't miss a beat asking a million questions about where i was heading off to in my pink rubber boots & why i was going & how i was going to do it.
"i don't know dav. i'm just going to try" i said as i stuffed my pocket with a long dog leash, the only rope-ish kind of thing i could find. mcgyver would be proud.
 dav & scout followed until we got to the edge of the foreboding bog. the wind was whipping all kinds of debri through the woods & so i sent dav back to the cottage. but scout, my trusty adventure dog, stayed close by my side. it was comforting to know that at least someone was going to witness my awesomeness as a conquered this feat swiss family robinson style. 
i jumped across a few plots of raised reeds dispersed in a lumpy lake of water. until there was a bigger gap where i knew i was going to have to jump wide & hard to make it to the next plot. 
and so i jumped hard & wide & missed. big time.
my pink rubber boots split right up the side as they sunk up to past my knee....just then a roaring wind whipped through the old dead but crowded bog and limbs of every shape & size came crashing about. one large limb missed us by only a few feet...
"STTTTEEEEVVVVEE! I need HEEELLLPPP!" my voice evaporated into the wicked wind. 
 scout, my once trusty adventure dog, panicked & hightailed it outta there... to get help pressumably. hopefully. maybe?
i'm going to get knocked unconscious & then drown, i thought. but then steve's little smirk came back to my memory & i thought, you got this.
i prayed a little prayer and then managed to dislodge my freezing cold boot of bog water with a little grunting & grumbling & pulled myself up a little doon of mud. and there i was in a wild raging wind storm lost in an abis of bog pulling myself along by making little make shift bridges & tethering myself to trees & pulling myself along the bendy branches of saplings. 
i finally made it to the canoe trashing on the disappearing shoreline. half sunk with three paddles & a baby life jacket. 
through a makeshift lever system, i cranked the canoe over, briefly contemplated getting into it & tying the baby life jacket around my waist but i thought the water too violent & then tied everything safely but temporarily to a tree. i climbed on top of the canoe & straddled it between my legs. and there. on that well loved canoe. i cried a little.
i bellowed into the wind a few more times hoping to attract anyones attention.
after thinking a little, i realized that steve couldn't come & save me. he would need to stay with the four kids & there was no way for him not to jeopardize his own safety at the same time. i was on my own.
jax occassionally bounded past the end of the canoe & crashed through the bog like a panicked deer on steroids & then disappeared again before i could allure him to my side so i could ride him out of this mess. 
scenes from 'swiss family robinson' came to my remembrance {i knew watching it so many times with the boys would come in handy at some point}. i could picture the robinsons wading through the river & their different tricks they had. only they were in a tropical climate & i was clearly not.
and then i thought once again, i got this. 
i broke off a strong stick to help balance me along this time. still favouring a previous "jack-o-latern carving" wound, i pulled my way across saplings & tree trunks. half way on my way back steve & scout showed up across the way.
"STEVE! i'm really stuck!" i shouted against the wind.
"that must be really hard for you!" he shouted back sarcastically {referring to a video i had made him watch... about men needing to listen & not just fix things... cheaky boy}
i shouted a few choice words back not realizing dav was hiding behind a tree next to him.
they watched me balance & slosh the rest of the way to dry land. i climbed the hill where they were standing & dav said...
"mummy, we never say shut up. you should ask for daddy's forgiveness."
i bit my lip so hard & then i said, pretty convincingly i think, "i'm sorry daddy" & then trudged off to the dry, warm-ish cottage. 

the point is i saved that well loved canoe & i lived to tell the story. and it was horrendously fun & terrifying at the same time.
and i was proud of myself. proud that i could still adventure even with four kids. even in my life stage of needing to be practical & save & plan. even with two useless dogs. and even with a busy life.

may adventure find you where ever you are.


when He walks into the room

LOVING this album. my new favourite.

this is exactly what happens when He walks into the room. :)


the law of 'losing it'

this year has been rough year, for many reasons. some that were totally foreseeable & others, a complete surprise. i'm not sure which i prefer. some things are better when you just don't see them coming.

one of the more predictable challenges this year has presented us with, has been the everyday challenge that 4 little-lings all at bustling stages. our life at the moment is bursting at the seams with potential. the potential for joy & fulfilment as well as the potential for distress & complete chaos.

with such demand for discipline & direction, i must say with the other added obstacles this year has provided, i have not always responded as the most consistent or patient disciplinarian at times. it often happens with the "bulk effect". it's what rachel jankovic calls the combined crazy that only a room full of children together could achieve. like when the twins or little livi where added to the fam, it
wasn't 1+2 or 3+1, the effect was exponential, like 1 to the power of 2 because of all the added dynamics.  like child one can't sit next to child two becasue child one will cause a ruckus. and don't put socks on child three because they'll flush them down the toilet but must leave the bathroom door open with light on or child one will be too scared go on the potty & wet their pants. those kinda dynamics. complicated. i know. and it used to paralyze me until i met rachel jankovic. wise woman she is.

" the 'bulk effect' is what happens when there are a lot of children, and it will happen from time to time. individually, there is nothing to worry about. as a group it feels as though we are careening toward destruction. if you have a bunch of little kids (or even a few), you will need to not only be aware of this fact of life but build up your immunity to it. you will need to see it happening & get the grace for it in advance. you will need to develop some skills for coping with it that do not involve blaming your children." {rachel jankovic, the little years}

anyways, the bulk effect isn't what i had set out to talk about in this post. but i have long used the "bulk effect" without realizing, as my excuse to blow up, boil over... explode! afterall, just how much crying & diapers & spilt milk can one individual handle in any given moment?! it's only fair to allow myself to let some steam off, right? after all i am only human. wrong. i am a mother. which i am learning is one high calling. don't get me wrong. i think we've all been there, done that as far as exploding under the immense pressure of mothering. but when i start feeling entitled to those moments, i'm starting down a slippery slope.

 "the [bulk effect] is not a sin. it is merely the combined effect of a lot of people. and just becasue you can pin down one sin in the batch does not mean that child is responsible for the situation. your children are not a situation. they are individuals. disciplining an individual for a collective situation is a great way to alienate your children...." {rachel jankovic, the little years}

the thing is, once you've allowed yourself to explode at a situation that might merit a reaction of a 10 then you begin to allow or justify the same response at situations that might only merit an 8 or 6 until before you know it, you're reacting at a 10 for a situation that may only really justify a 2 or 3. it's a slippery slope & before you know it you lose it. you lose control of you.

and with multi-fauceted, multi-dimensional clashes of character & drama swirling around one tired mummy, you can bet it's a recipe for disaster. you can get lost in all the conflict & clashing & begin to believe there's no hope. you'll never be the calm, cool, collected mom you've always aspired to be.  it's cyclical. the kids swirling, the anger boiling, & then the inevitable blow up leading to mountains of shame, leaving you feeling powerless to change your hollering ways, leading to blaming the kids which leads to ... you get the picture.
the problem isn't just the sound of my screaming for all to hear but the feeling it creates inside. absolute helplessness. loss of control. anger & contempt... for myself.

"you take that shred of guilt and then harness onto it the stress of the whole situation. you make your child into a scapegoat. a way for you to release all of your tension and stress onto someone who you feel deserved it. he did, after all, disobey. your massive over reaction was just, because disobeying is wrong. so this neat little trick is happening in your head - the consequences for his sin go way up, and the consequences for yours go way down. it simply a classic shifting of the blame. the situation is crazy but you are the person responsible to get the grace to deal with it... [it's like saying] i will vent on you instead of dealing with myself." {rachel jankovic, the little years}

this year has been a challenge. a challenge to own my own stuff. my own emotions & reactions. my own atmosphere. because when it comes right down to it, i'm in charge of me not the rest of the universe. and for me, it is often just an issue of self-control & pushing myself to find the grace to deal with whatever i am facing. it's not that the kids are menacing or i'm a terrible monster. it's just exercising that self-control muscle a little more often than i'm used to.

the bible says "a soft answer turns away wrath". i used to think that meant responding to someone who is angry softly would soften them, which may be true but i think it also means by having the self control to answer softly while angry, diminishes your own wrath.

and so, i am constantly reminding myself to take courage, take heart & take control of me. 


be aggressive.

it was steve's birthday recently and as such we celebrated by going to see one of his favourite artists/friends, craig cardiff at the legendary black sheep inn.

we love the black sheep with lucy the miserable pug meandering in & around people's feet at her own whimsy (i think i may one day write a children's book about her called 'poo-tail the pug who no one would hug' but that's a story for another time).

and we love craig. and not just because he snuck us last-minute-folk into the sold out show. i love his writing candour & his witty sense of humour. his unique take on life & often moving perspectives all wrap up in melody & beat.

one of the trademarks of his shows is that he likes to get the audience's participation. he gives us our part of the chorus to sing along with him & cues us in at the right time. he usually gives us a few parts in a few songs along the way but the first song is usually lacking in audience enthusiasm, marked by the self-conscious whisperings of the small crowd following along. but craig is a seasoned artist who knows well how to ride a crowd out. and at this particular point on saturday, he stopped mid-chorus & said..."do you think we could be a little more aggressive with that... like i mean, long line to the bathroom aggressive... like hey, i-was-here-first-it's-my-turn kind of aggressive?" and the audience giggled & then belted out all choruses from that point on with a new charged kind of enthusiasm.

but it spoke to me. about worship. about praise. and my own dwindled enthusiasm at times. we've all heard of prayer warriors before but what about praise warriors? those who take ground in worship? what of those like david, in the bible, who ran to the battle line even in his own private worship with the Lord? who aggressively poured himself out before the Almighty King. i know i can make all kinds of excuses in my public worship to explain away my reserved-ness. but even if those excuses were acceptable for my lack of "i-was-here-first-its-my-turn" in public, there is not much of an excuse for it privately. i know there are times for quiet, somber worship. but for me, the aggressive kind of worship is something i've not really experienced. i know it's not for the faint of heart. or the self-conscious. only the crazy in love. the truly free. the consumed ones.

king solomon, david's son, had it right i think. he once gathered 20,000 bulls as his sacrifice on the alter. it's a sacrifice that is so embarrassing, it makes you kinda blush. and the Lord consumed them all, all 20,000. kinda leaves me breathless. imagine, watching those 20,000 bulls, fields & fields of livestock, being completely consumed by hot, raging, favoured fire from heaven, an expression of the intensity of His love towards us. king solomon's sacrifice was prepared externally, consumed externally. Jesus changed all that & made it internal. and then i imagine what would happen if i offered me like that? wholly, completely, aggressively to Him & what would that internal experience be like? to be consumed? to stare straight into the eyes that burn with such intense love for me & walk out with skin radiating presence. breathless.

over, the mountains, over the sea...
here you come running... my lover to me.
song of solomon


sewing savvy

these were great until liv figured out how fun
they were to flip in the car
we went for a little road trip for the last two weeks of summer this year to visit some very good friends of ours in both Grand Rapids & Geneva (Chicago). they had to have been very good friends, or we would have never even entertained the crazy idea. but all things said & done, it went very well. pinterest-ed an idea i had originally intended for dav's first year of kindergarten, a little napping bed for nap time but expanded it for the others to enjoy on our trip as well. however, there was one big obstacle to this project & that was my sewing savvy. my sewing projects usually end up as disasters. like when i made pj pants with one leg a full foot shorter than the other. or the dress that fell apart while i was wearing it. any sewing success i've  had is totally & completely attributed to my mother who swoops in at the last second to save the day. and she was not available for this project. i let the kids each picked out their own fabric (kai: rock&roll, eva: pink butterflies, livi: peachy owls & dav: superman) & then there was no backing out.
much better than expected. and other than the driving part, so much fun! it was a 46 hour round car trip {with only one of our kids conked out for a 10 minute nap of that entire 46 hours}. i knew i was going to have to be super-de-duper organized if there was any chance of not losing our sanity & i pinterest-ed tons of car trip ideas like road bingo, fishing box snacks, activity bins & lots of new viewing material. i had also
steve had recently taught himself to gut fish using just a youtube video (something he's always wanted to learn) & i thought, if he can do it so can i! and better yet, no innocent fish were hurt in the process. so i sewed my little heart out & voila! we roll them out now for movie nights, saturday mornings, extra beds for the kids when the fam visits, etc. and they roll up into a nice little roll with a handle too. each for transporting & storing. i got the pattern from this lovely link here.

hiding from gma & gpa

perfect for movie nights

they shared until all the nap mats were finished

thank you pinterest!
cheers to learning new things!


puppy love

and sadly, after finding out that steve is massively allergic to the hypo-allergic ferrets, we flipped them on kijiji & got a puppy!

i know. what were we thinking. and believe me, i have had my moments. like the one earlier when someone had emptied their poopy pull-up in the bathroom sink, the other pooped their pants & the puppy pooped & peed on the rug all nicely synchronized at the same time for my cleaning convenience.  that's not to mention the crate training (not so different from sleep training for babies so you'd think i'd be used to it). oh, how this pup cries. i think we could even classify it as a puppy scream. the breeder tried to warn us but those sweet puppy eyes got the best of us. he's just so flippin' cute! i guess that's where the phrase puppy love comes from.

meet scout (*or jettson or huckleberry finn... still deciding on a name, feel free to weigh in).
he's a border-jack (a border collie-parson jack russell terrier... you can see his cool parents at www.border-jack.com). he's three months but will likely stay pretty small, jack russell style. at least compared to jax. scout* & jax are besties, and that's not to mention the small pack of children that follow the poor gaffer around all day. needless to say he is well loved... even with the puppy screams & that insanely small bladder of his. :)

call us crazy, but we like the full life.


the mystery pets

rudyard kipling? "kip" for short?
or hemingway? or farley?
after much debate over what species our new little friends exactly are... they are not in fact pygmy albino rhinos, bears, ewoks or milking goats... but two little ferrets. :)

scarlett & hemingway/rudyard kipling/farley mowat (still can't decide one the boy's name...vote for your fav in the comments & we'll go with which ever gets the most!) have hopefully found a forever home in the wilkins' household.

we opted to take our chances on kijiji to save cost as we weren't positive if they'd fit in with our crazy kookie lifestyle. and take our chances we did... if it wasn't for contessa, i may not have come back alive from this kijiji buy. contessa kindly agreed to come along with me & we trucked along 45 minutes into the backwoods of quebec late at night to meet a very scary pair of handlers at one very scary backwoods trailer/garbage dump. the only thought running through my head as we got out of the car was 'we are going to die here'. thank goodness courageous contessa confidently asked all the questions & politely smiled as i was too distracted by the interesting man's rotted teeth. they really were such kind folk & offered us two free hamster for our trouble. i told him steve was allergic. :) we hightailed it out of sketch-city & booted it home as fast as our wheels could take us.

and as for the ferrets, after scouring them & their cage from top to bottom, they are exactly what we had expected. they are like adding two more toddlers to our family but the thinking is that the two furry toddlers keep the other four toddlers completely entertained all day long with their whimsical antics & slapstick silliness, which has gotten a slight chuckle from even steve, the "-0%-excited-about-these-furry-things"guy.  even if the kids still seem to be quite confused as to what they are, (davith thinks they're hamsters or big "mices", kai things they're puppies, evie thinks they're kittens, liv thinks they're babies & jax thinks they're dinner), they have been well loved already. they have been dressed up & dragged by leashes, pushed in doll strollers, bathed & babied ALL day long. poor things are exhausted.
i think they've found a good home here. :)

he's so silly!
(scarlett is the white one... whom despite what i thought were pretty strange looking pink eyes, has made eva's best friend & the rascally looking bandit one is the boy who we can't seem to settle on a name... he's so silly!)

scarlett is, literally, eva's baby...
& she loves it!

scarlett has a slight soother addiction...
so she fits right in!


the good book

we have been traveling in the states for the past week & a half visiting good friends who have been so missed. it does the heart good. totally worth the 16+ hour drive with four toddlers. ;)
anyways, in one of the hotels on the way down steve was flipping through a gideon bible that had been left on the night stand & he found this written in the front...

"this book reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way to salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.

its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. it contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

it is the traveller's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, & the Christian's charter. here to, heaven is opened & the gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is it's grand subject, our good its design, & the glory of God its end.

it should fill the memory, rule the heart & guide the feet. read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. it is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure.

it is given you in life, will be opened at judgement, & be remembered forever. it involved highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, & condemn all who trifle with it's sacred contents.

owned, it is riches; studied it is wisdom; trusted, it is salvation; loved, it is character; and obeyed, it is power."

wow. perspective. that'll transform any old ritual reading of the Word. 


worshipers & fulfillment & lifestyles

i been feeling a strong call to worship as of late. it could be the places i have had the privilege to have been fellowshiping lately {with two very passionate worshipers, angela & fi} but really it started some time ago & just been re-ignited. i have always felt the call to worship but even more so now in a different sort of way. after everything we've gone through this year, i want to worship as the woman that i am now after deep valleys & sharp inclines. to worship in Spirit & truth. to worship as a warrior. as a son & as a worshiper. to worship to see & to be & to hold & to touch. to worship from the loud places & quiet places & long forgotten places.

"it's the story of the journey, the valleys & the mountains. you can't put it on a chart and sing it; you have to live it to sing it out like this. you can't declare what you haven't embraced & have it ring true. and that's what i love about the worship of God... it expresses the inexpressible. in the middle of this ocean, it's quite beautiful, if you have eyes to see." 
{darlene zchech}

i have been soaking in a few great places, bob sorge's exploring worship is one of them {on loan from fi... but will definitely been needing to get my own copy}. 

"prayer is to the believer as communication is to a marriage - absolutely vital. He defines prayer as communication with God & suggests that the prayerless saint will never be a worshipper...
it is easy to confuse worshipping with being a worshiper. just because someone worships, it does not necessarily follow that he or she is a worshiper. virtually anyone can worship as an occasion might demand, but relatively few seem to manifest the lifestyle of a worshiper. 
when God ask us to be worshipers every day, He is not asking us to do nothing but sung songs all week. He knows we must do other things besides vocalize our worship...[but] we will begin to realize that everything we do truly constitutes an act of worship unto the Lord, for our daily activities are but an expression of our dedication to God"
{bob sorge, exploring worship}

"we have a responsibility to be self-motivated in our praise & worship. Ben Patterson has said that God is, at the very least, unimpressed with merely spontaneous worshipers. how true! 'spontaneous worshippers' are folks who know how to praise & worship when they feel like it, when the goosebumps begin to trickle up & down their spines, or when a worship leader really hits their 'worship button'. how we all love those times of spontaneous worship when it is so easy to lift our hearts unto the Lord! but if we operate at that level only, we have not learned the discipline of being a worshiper...a worshiper worships at every given opportunity & does not demand some horizontal stimulus from the pastor or worship leader before entering into praise."
{bob sorge, exploring worship}

"when that cloud filled the temple, the people & priests could not see anyone or anything around them, because all that was visible to them was the presence of the Lord. and for us today, the goal of our worship should be that we come to the point where we do not see anyone or anything around us, but we become totally taken up with God. that is the supreme goal of worship; to see only the Lord. there is no higher fulfillment for us, nor will there ever be." 
{bob sorge, exploring worship}


mining miracles

the ultrasound pic of the pocket of fluid on
her spine
 i don't think i'll ever get tired of talking about it even if people get tired of hearing it... God is so good.
always has been, always is, & always will be. good in a way we don't quite have the capacity to break it down in our own framework. good in it's purest sense.

i found a notebook yesterday buried in the bottom of an old handbag. only one page written on, front & back in black pen. an address & directions to the genetic counselling department at CHEO. questions for the genetics councillor. questions we didn't have the answers to at the time.

... should we terminate the pregnancy? what does it mean to terminate a pregnancy? will we get to see our baby or hold it after birth, even if it's passed? did we do this? are we at fault for the baby being sick? what caused this?

a torrent of soul contracting torment written out on a page, written out in black trembling ink. i can remember not wanting anyone to see that page. awful, horrible questions written in it, that i thought.

i remember our genetics councilor. she was so kind. so calm. claire goldsmith was her name. and that is what she was, a goldsmith. someone who took meaningless, scary rubble & gave it value & meaning. she took the rugged, sharp truth & made it livable. but i also remember leaving that appointment & still not having the answer to the one question that we needed. we still didn't know what to do. and i remember crying out to God & saying please don't make me choose.

the day we got the good news, i ripped
the other test results in front of the body &
handed them out to people who needed healing
but i did find a sort of answer afterall. i found it by praising Him from the broken place, from the exhausted place, from the terrified & scared place. some answers we can only find worshipping from uncomfortable places. i have never felt such tourment suddenly stilled by such Peace before. and that is where i learned that the key to peace being spending time Peace himself.

i want to completely embrace what it means to live in the reality of a miracle. never taken for granted. to truly treasure it & mine it of all it's delicious wealth.not even with this babe's strong-willed temperament. i can remember thinking to myself that i will never complain again about those late night feedings & poopy diapers because i would do just about anything to get to hold her. that she would live & i would get to watch her sleep. and this is the privilege that i have, to watch her sleep each night all peaceful & perfect in her bed. this is God's kindness that i get to revel in.

to this day every time i see a downs syndrome child in the grocery store or out and about, my eyes well up with tears. for both happy & sad & complicated reasons. but mostly thankful reasons. inexpressible thanks that i get to mine this miracle for the rest of my life.


living Shugyo

someone once gave me a word that the physical bootcamp i was attending in the natural would mirror the spiritual bootcamp going on on the inside. that word is more true today than it ever has been. :) this quote was a great reminder of that 'training' lifestyle.

"most people just live their lives without thinking about it: just eating, working, sleeping. we're different because we train. we live our lives as Shugyo. that means every situation becomes training to us, an opportunity to forge ourselves. we take the attitude that anything which makes us uncomfortable isn't because of the  environment, or because someone made us a victim. we understand that no matter how bad things are, we can still choose how we take it."
{toyoda fomio}

learning to embrace the Shugyo life. feeling this on all sides of life. the training. the choosing. the forging. 


producing patience

 "my brethren, count in all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. but let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect & complete, lacking nothing."
 {james 1:2-4, nkjv}

i don't really like the word patience. i can't really say it's an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit that i have really sought to be discipled in. it kinda always seemed to be a wimpy word. patience, as in, quietly enduring something until it passes. like being really good at holding your breath or biting your tongue. something passive & meek & long suffering. filled with the not so heroic notions of forbearance & tolerance & restraint. not very run-to-the-battle-lines. wimpy.

i've kinda been doing a little word audit of my own definitions of words verses the biblical understanding & use of words. sometimes words don't just get translated into a language but into a culture & sometimes the potency of those words gets affected in the process. patience is one of those words. kinda like hope or waiting {post to come}.

dieter f. uchtdorf uses this definition,
"patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. patience means active waiting & enduring. it means staying with something & doing all that we can: working, hoping, & exercising faith; bearing hardships, with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!" 

another definition noted patience as "staying power or resoluteness or determination". but my favourite definition of patience is from the expositional study of new testiment words: 

"the independent, unyielding, defiant perserverence in the face of aggressive misfortune & thus to a kind of courageousness"

who knew patience had such tenacity? i gotta get me some of that right there! not the quiet little meek word i thought it was.

and so when james says that "the testing of your faith produces patience" this is what he means. he means "the independent, unyielding, defiant perserverence in the face of aggressive misfortune & thus to a kind of courageousness". it's the kind of patience that can only be produced through the testing of your faith, the aggressive misfortune of life. it's an opportunity. a refiner's fire & james says to "count it all joy". how audacious of him.  but he's right. that's the way kingdom math works. count. add up all the negatives you want, the sum will always be a positive for those who love Him {romans 8:28}. watch Him fashion & forge misfortune into an invaluable gem. 

patience usually has some kind of time dimension to it. when our expectation of how or when something should be completed is compromised, patience is required. patience is required because attitudes expand & implode when things aren't done respective of my timeline. i can't say i've been the most patient in my waiting or even the most active in my waiting. but i want to be patient. hopefully patient for things i know God has promised me that i don't currently hold in my possession yet. i want that staying power that makes thirsty roots clench hard & bore deep into solid ground, un-uprootable.  that courageous, defiant perseverance against the aggressive misfortune that would seek to steal, kill & destroy. i want to endure well, stand my ground courageously with fortitude until it's my time to have & to hold my promise for health & wholeness in all it's fullness & glory. it's like that old proverb says "patience is bitter but it's fruit sweet". may the fruit of patience be evident in my life. 

and so it is as james says,"let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect & complete, lacking nothing." the journey is a patient journey. and i am hopefully expectant for patience's perfect work to have it's way in my life.

"there are no shortcuts to any place worth going" 


cape breton capers & cottage catch-up

hello friends!
we're back!
back from our fabulous cape breton capers.
back from our cottage cruisin'.
back to ordinary life. lovely, predictable, ordinary life. we LOVED our time away but there is nothing like sleeping in 5 different beds in 6 nights to convince you that ordinary life does have it's perks. our kids were thoroughly loved on by family & friends while we were away {although you would swear by their home-coming behaviour we had sold them to a travelling circus or released them into a savage jungle for the week... i'm sure this is just their unique way of saying we missed you mummy & daddy!} & we are so thankful for the small army it took to pull this trip off {with a special mention to our brannan HERO's who swooped in to save the day... we just love this family :) }

our trip out to the church in cape breton was phenomenial. surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of ingonish camping & the cabot trail, good eats & great fellowship were the highlights. and you know how i feel about these great folks. other than a brief trip to the strangest & yet most endearing emerg i have ever seen for a little something they like to call systemic poison ivy, it was a blast!

on our way back i snapped a few pics {as promised} of the infamous canoe rack & a few other projects going on around the cottage. i'm trying to get better about taking before pics & celebrating completed projects.  it's so nice, especially as a stay-at-home mom, to get to show off what you've spent your hard earned 'nap time' freedom on. to feel like i've progressed in some small way. i feel like 'nap time projects' deserve an extra mention only because when people ask me what i've done at the end of the day i usually only have a big pile of dirty diapers & laundry to show for it. but occasionally, when i accidentally stumble upon a reserve energy i didn't know i had, i have a chair or a shelf or a pillow to show for it. and on those rare occasions, i am extra grateful. :)

window seat with cushions & pot drawer
{this is mostly my mama's doing}

pretty happening model if i do say so myself ;)

curb side garbage turned into cottage love.

hope the stain lasts, i didn't prime them!
darn canoe rack
 and then there is the 'nap time' project to do list:
#1: railing are important, especially two stories up!

#2: after chipping the moss & lichen off, adding a little stain
& digging out the bottom, i'm sure this will be a fav spot

#3: this little number is planned to become a
princess turret/pirate ship... stay tuned! 

#4: removing those edging rocks & putting
up a cedar rail fence to stop cars from parking on lawn

#5: taking chairs, sanding & milk washing them all black

#6: building a long bookcase against that slanty wall to
support my longtime addiction to books

#7: add another railing & maybe enjoy a little nap of
my own in that nicely stained chair ;)
this growing list may well take 300 nap times to complete but what i most look forward to is the feeling of accomplishment, like i did something & it stayed did. :)