Saturday, 26 April 2014

Five-Minute Friday: Friend

This week's Five-Minute Friday is a day late because we were travelling all day yesterday. I'll be honest. I looked at my email before we left our hotel and saw that the word was "friend" (side-note: that's how I do my five-minute Friday every week. I just look at the word and start writing. I don't read Lisa-Jo's post until I'm done because I don't want anything else to influence what I write. :)). Anyway, as I was saying, I saw the word was friend and I had my notebook in my purse so I thought I'd be able to write on the drive but I just kept drawing a blank. Literally. All that would go through my mind was the word "friend" repeated over and over again, sometimes with different tones (sounding pleasant, sounding sarcastic, etc). I guess that would be a post on its own - illustrating that types of friends (or so-called friends) we have in our life-times. But how do you write a post with only one word repeated the entire post and how do you show the different tones you hear when you think that word?! I will have to experiment and find a way. :) So, since Lisa-Jo graciously keeps the link up open for 6 days, I felt it would be alright to do mine on Saturday instead this time. :)



“... but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~Proverbs 18:24b

In my life of 34 years, I have had 3 people who I could count as true friends. One was an elderly lady who I counted as a friend when I was a little girl. Her name was Margaret Riediger and I would say she was one of the wisest and godliest women I have known! I liked to go visit her on my bike in her quaint little white cottage, having tea in her old fashioned kitchen (that she loved to keep that way) with a non-electrical stove. I think it might have still been wood burning? But that could just be me little girl imagination getting away from me. J She told me many stories about the old country – she had immigrated from Russia, and a lot of stories about how hard it was there, also for Christians. And now I’m positive she said Russia but Riediger doesn’t sound like a Russian name. She was a beautiful friend and I found out (a year after it happened) that she passed away the day before my first child was born. I miss her!

Another dear friend was a roommate I had in college (NABC) my second year there. Andrea Crump (now Anderst) was the best kind of friend! She’s bubbly, which is a great contrast to my quiet. She’s a godly woman as well. She accepts people for who they are but also holds them accountable to the higher standard we all follow (being Christians we must live to God’s standard, not our own). She had such a good, gentle way of setting me straight if I was way off in some thoughts or actions. She was a dear friend and I regret loosing as much contact with her as I have. I definitely need to reconnect!

And now, in my life with a family, I have one more similar friend. Crystal Page (formerly Neufeld) started out as a colleague, being our TA at Faith Academy. She quickly became a friend. She holds much of the same wisdom and kindness that Andrea has. She is a gentle friend and is also great at holding me accountable. Now that we are both wives and moms, we can get to know each other on a different level and learn and grow from each other. I love that when we get together we can talk about EVERYTHING: weather, kids, culture, theology and we never run out of things to talk about. I love that our kids can also build a wonderful friendship. I pray this friendship continues to grow and grows stronger through the months and years.

These are the types of friends I believe the Proverb above refers to. And I thank God for them daily. He placed the perfect people in my life when I need them!


Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Joy in Grief ... Hope

This post was written on Monday, April 21, 2014 but I haven't been able to put it in here until now (as I wrote it in my journal while we were driving to Minneapolis).

Yesterday (Sunday, April 20, 2014) was Easter Sunday - the day we celebrate Christ's resurrection. Church was wonderful! Again our pastor lived up to his promise to preach the gospel. We heard about the hope we have because of Christ's death and resurrection. After the sermon, the pastor had us sing In Christ Alone - a hymn which also speaks of that gospel, that hope.  Darran says this hymn has sort of become our family anthem. And he's right! We sang it at our wedding ceremony and again at the baptisms of each of our girls. Since Emilie's baptism (well, a few weeks after), this song really gets to me, affects me in a way it hadn't before. And yesterday was no different. Singing it I seriously got choked up - sorrowful, but also filled with joy! The whole song does this - because of that amazing, hope-filled, gospel message. But those words "from life's first cry to final breath". Those powerful, meaningful words. They make me cry and smile. You see, on October 24, 2012, our second daughter was born. we named her Emilie Arentina, after my mom - Arentina Jacoba Hoogerdijk. A month and a half after she was born, my mom passed away. Finished her earthly sojourn to be with her Lord. And there were have it: "life's first cry" shortly followed by "final breath". And God is faithful through it all! And we have hope through it all! My mom passed away, yes. It was sad, but it is also incredibly wonderful! She is currently living that which we confidently hope for! Oh, that glorious hope! And do you know what? Because of this hope, we don't need to fear death! Death is the gateway to eternal life! This is why we can feel sorrow because we miss someone we love and at the same time we can feel joy because they have eternal life with God! And it reminds us of that glorious hope we have.

My mom had a difficult life of much pain and suffering but that is taken away. She is made new and she's living in a glorious body with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And her legacy of faith lives on in her children and grandchildren. We also embrace that same hope and faith that she had in her life. And we know that she is now part of that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Five-Minute Friday: Glue

Another week gone, another day to write for 5 minutes - no editing - with fellow bloggers over at Lisa-Jo Baker's place. This week our word is "glue". This one I wrote in my notebook in our church.

Sitting in church, waiting for the Good Friday service to start this morning, I think about what holds us (this congregation) together. What is our "glue"? On the surface it could be a number of things.

Culture - most of us are Dutch or of Dutch descent. This is a glue but not a very strong glue - more of a mode lodge type - strong but it won't be strong enough to hold us together forever.

Family - many of us have young children and common goals for them. Also glue but pretty weak - this is more a craft/school glue that really could come apart at any time.

Then there's faith in Christ. This glue is super glue. If this is the "glue" we cling to, this one will never fail. If this is the on commonality we all share, it will keep us strong and really make us grow. We remember today that Christ died to save us from our sins. We must remember this. We must hold strong to this. Then nothing can tear us apart. This can be the only glue that holds us together.


Thought I'd include a beautiful song about Christ's saving work for us. :)

  Five Minute Friday

Thursday, 17 April 2014

DIY Maxi Skirts for the Whole Family!

So, I've been wanting to make maxi skirts for myself and my girls but needed to stick with a budget. And let me tell you, fabric is expensive! Jersey knit is a preferred fabric for maxi skirts. Well, there's this lovely thing for bedrooms called sheets ... made from jersey knit fabric! That's right! I bought a set of jersey knit sheets from Target in a pattern I liked and got to work! I used the pillow cases to make skirts for the girls and the flat sheet to make my own! :) Well, actually, at the time of writing this, I still have to make one for Emilie. But it will be made from the other pillow case. :) For a good tutorial go here. You will have to adapt it for the kids sizes (and I adapted a little for mine as well) but it is easy to follow and easy to adapt. So here's the photos (some progress photos but mostly not because I keep forgetting to take those :)).

A pillow case, not yet straightened out ... because this is the one that I hadn't cut up yet and I thought I should take a quick photo of how the skirt started out. lol

This is the waist band of the skirt.

The body of the skirt. :)

Annalise modelling the skirt as Emilie was napping. This was supposed to be Emilie's skirt but it fits Annalise better. She's not actually scared here - just acting silly. :)

A closer-up of the skirt.

Finally a picture of her just looking happy and like herself. :)

Emilie modelled it as well. :) The nice thing about this skit is it makes it very difficult for Emilie to climb the coffee table ... this is a good thing. :)

And I finished mine today! (Annalise's was completed yesterday.) So here we are in our matching skirts! :)

Friday, 11 April 2014

Five-Minute Friday: Paint

Once again I have joined Lisa-Jo Baker (and other ladies) for Five-Minute Friday. Today the word was "Paint". It prompted poetry for me. :) And also now makes me want to sit down and paint something. :) So, as happens every week, Lisa-Jo gives us a word to write about. We write for 5 minutes straight with no editing! :) It is often a challenge but always rewarding. Hop on over to Lisa-Jo's site, read some of the writing and maybe even join in yourself some week! :)

To explain the end of my poem: As I was getting to the end of the 5 minutes (and the end of my poem), and thinking about how I feel when I do creative things, whether painting or writing or whatever, a quote from Eric Liddell popped in my head. If you don't know who he is, watch Chariots of Fire. :) Anyways, at one point he said, "God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." So, I adapted that quote to end my poem (just seconds before the timer rang). :)


“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” ~Ephesians 2:10a

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” ~Psalm 139: 13-14a


Pigments squirt into a palette,
            colours of the world.
A brush sweeps and swirls across the canvas,
            apparent chaos but, in time, a masterpiece emerges.
            Beauty in the majestic, the simple, the pretty
            BUT beauty also in the old, the rotten, the desolation
Beauty in the broken.

And God, with His magnificent brush strokes,
            creates beauty in THIS Broken
This canvas of my life, but a small piece of the canvas of the universe,
            intertwined together
            seemingly chaotic until I look back
And I see beauty.
            Beauty in the joy, beauty in the hardships
                        dark, harsh colours where hurt made its mark
                        bright, joy-filled colours where peace and joy have touched.

My canvas,
my sweeps and swirls of the brush,
my mixing of pigments,
just a cheap imitation of what God has already done
Showing beauty in my life as best as I can.

And “when I [paint] I feel His pleasure”.


Beauty in the pretty - a dahlia from a local park

Beauty in desolation

Beauty in the broken - My Mother's Hands

Five Minute Friday

Sunday, 6 April 2014


I've posted some of my poetry in my "Confessions of a Pinterest Addict" blog but thought it appropriate to have them in this blog as well.

Most of these are pretty old, the last one is about a year old.


Driving down the dark avenue, I look in their windows...
I see them, gathered together ,
Families ...
Eating, playing games, talking, laughing
And I think, that is not my home.

Driving up to my house, I look in the window...
I see my husband, waiting for me,
My family,
Eating, playing games, talking, laughing
And yet I think, this is not my home.

One day, walking down the streets of gold, I will look into mansions,
I will see them, gathered together,
And Jesus, will turn to me and take me in his arms
And I will be home.

Here are 3 poems written a few years ago while teaching. It was silent reading time and this was the first time I'd been able to write any sort of poem for a number of years. These are very amateurish but that is fine. :) The third expresses my frustration in the long-lasting writer's block I'd been experiencing.

Poem #1


Poem # 2

Hearing pages turn
Hearing humming from a small child
Seeing joy in new discoveries
Seeing frustration in lack of understanding
Speaking words ... touching hearts
Desperately reaching out
Trying ... succeeding

Poem # 3

I hear the silence and I despair
Where are the words that once came so freely?
Where is the peace that poured out of desperation?
Is there no need? Have I found a new source?
Where is the relief? The tears? The laughter?
When will I speak again?

Hmmm, I should find my poetry journal and post some other oldies here. 

Hope for Tomorrow

Sorrow, pain
feels like

Cowering at bottom
try to reach up
break through dark
grasp at freedom

Know it's there
knowledge lacks hands to grasp
cowering at the bottom

Light breaks through
blinding light
beautiful light
hands reach, take hold
pull to freedom
Hope lives, rescue comes

I wait for that rescue.

And finally one I wrote in memory of my Mom. This one is quite new and was not posted in the other blog.

My Mother’s Hands

Fragile hands folded gently in prayer, firmly trusting.
Teaching that fold of trust to children at her knee,
singing “Now I lay me down to sleep…”
fragile hands,
Fingers gently turning thin Bible pages,
pausing here and there to read a verse;
Reading promises, hope.
A crooked finger admonishing;
a gentle touch of grace and love.
Hands in kitchen – cooking, guiding, teaching.
Teaching skills and teaching heart.
Teaching to embrace this role.

This is what her hands have done.

All poems in this post are written by me, Jennifer Renee McLarty, and are owned by me, Jennifer Renee McLarty. Do NOT copy these poems without my permission.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Five-Minute Friday: I Am A Writer

Once again I’m joining with other women on Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog for Five Minute Friday. In this activity we simply write for 5 minutes without editing about a word that Lisa-Jo has chosen for us. Then we link up to her blog and share our writing with everyone else. It is a great activity to practice writing (and I find it makes me better at organizing my thought process).  Some Fridays it’s more challenging than others but it is always rewarding … and cathartic! :) Today’s word is writer


I Am A Writer

There are days when I think to myself, “I love writing. How I wish I could become a writer!” It gets me down as I think how incapable I am to be a writer. But then I need to stop and think. I AM a writer! I write lists, I write poetry, I write letters and I journal. Honestly, with the things I journal about, if I just took the time to flesh it out a bit, I could probably write some books. Speaking of which, I HAVE written books – a couple children’s books. I need courage to send them off to see if I can get them published – show the world that I’m a writer too! :) Some weeks, the only time I get to write is this 5-minute Friday time. Some weeks I write everyday as I write in my journal. I also write out my prayers. This helps me communicate my thoughts, my praises, my sorrows, my desires in a way that makes sense to me (obviously I don’t need it to make sense to God as He knows our deepest thoughts and makes sense of it long before we do). 

Being a writer is a gift. This does not need to be a gift to share with the world. Maybe it’s something I do for myself (for the catharsis … like the poetry I write) or something I do for my kids (like the Creation story book I wrote … something to teach them with).

I love to write. I love to see my thoughts be come words, sentences, paragraphs. I long for more time, more quiet that I can just sit and write. I have to sneak in those moments throughout my days. Some days, like today, my girls join me and that is a beautiful moment.


Argh! Why does the timer always beep mid-thought?! :)

Once again my 3.5 year old decided to join in Five-Minute Friday with me. When I told her the word was "Writer" she insisted on writing as well. And, oh my goodness, I'm floored by how well she sounded out the names of our family and wrote them. No, they are not perfectly spelled, but she seriously sounded them out and wrote them the best she could! And her spelling makes so much sense! :) Just look for yourselves! :) (I wrote in green the names she was spelling.)

Is it ok that I'm totally proud of her? :) Did you know 3.5 year olds can write and sound words out this well??

Of course, since it took less than 5 minutes to write those names, so she had to draw a picture of her and her sister (Emilie) playing with a couple of their cousins (Nadia and Rebecca). :)

Annalise has gotten so into this, she now insists on her own blog. Her first ever blog post can be found here: :)

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Love Idol - Author Interview and Book giveaway - linked up here

So a blog I'm subscribed to (Being Confident in This) is part of a group that is currently blogging/sharing life stories about breaking free from insecurity, comparison and shame - something I think pretty much all women struggle with. Her blog linked to an interview with Jennifer Lee who wrote a book called Love Idol. This book deals with how we so often seek the approval of others but we need to let that go and simply seek the approval of God. God already loves us! We just need to embrace that. His love is so much more important and valuable than any love we might receive from people (and His is never ended whereas love from people is often very fickle). So Leah, the person who interviewed Jennifer Lee has a book give away on her blog post - a chance for one person to win the book Love Idol! Head on over here ( to enter to win yourself a copy. If you don't win, order it from Amazon or Chapters! :) I know that's what I plan to do! :)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Good Friday and Worship

I was cleaning up some things around my piano and bookshelves and came across a piece of writing I did around Good Friday last year. I checked through my blog and noticed I haven't shared it here so I thought I'd do that now...

As I ponder the immensity of Good Friday, my heart is in turmoil. That God would send His Son, who is God made man, to die! To die a horrible, painful, barbaric death in order to pay for such immeasurable debt as the sin of His people, payment enough to cover the sins of the entire world population - past, present, future. And what do we do in response? Sing a pretty song that doesn't even capture how huge this is! Perhaps some try to act out the even (how can on presume to act out God's son dying, to play act God??). But our greatest attempts at worship are nothing! They don't even come close to the worship that would sufficiently respond to such an act. How can we be worthy? How can we even think we are worthy of this gift of a Son's death?! That He should die for ME! I am not worthy and yet, in my human nature, I try to become worthy, try to earn this gift. Nothing I do is good enough; nothing I do can earn His favour. I hate my ineptitude. My meagre acts seem like rotting trash instead of the jewels I wish them to be. I want to give praise to God in song, or in poem, or in art. But the words don't come (can't come?), the art is too ugly. Instead, my eyes fill with tears and I pray. I pray with wordless aching of my heart and He knows. I don't know how, but He knows and accepts. Grace. Such amazing grace. I want to sing a hymn to worship but the ones that come to mind (Amazing Grace, 10,000 Reasons, Endless Hallelujahs, etc.), they seem so small compared to the largeness that this worship should be. When in Glory, then I shall be able to worship as God is meant to be worshipped. That gives me a smile and makes my heart skip a beat with anticipation. Like a little girl peaking around the corner, waiting for a glimpse of her grandpa, longing to be in his arms, her grandpa that she hasn't seen for so long, I feel like I'm peaking around the corner for a glimpse of my Father, waiting for a chance to run into His arms. And what thanks can I give? Will He give me the words then?