Friday, 30 May 2014

Five Minute Friday: Nothing (without God)

It's that time of week again ... that time when I join with other bloggers over at Lisa-Jo Baker's to write for 5 minutes straight - no editing, no worrying about if it's perfect or if it will impress, just writing our thoughts on a word she provides.

This wee the word is "nothing". Will you join us in this exercise?



I guess I think in music because often words make songs come to mind (and I’m often singing through the day about whatever is happening). When I saw this word the first thing that popped into my head was the song with the lyrics “Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing is too difficult for Thee.” It’s true! Nothing is too difficult for God and it’s good to think of “nothing” in that way.

But this word … sounds a bit negative doesn’t it?

Nothing, nada, zero, negative, absence of something, emptiness

I am nothing (without God in me).
I give nothing (without God in me) … selfishness is the most natural human character trait since the Fall into Sin.
The world is filled with negative (without God) – war, disease, famine, drought – negative things in a world that doesn’t want God … a world that chose (at the Fall into Sin with Adam and Eve) it’s own desires over honouring God.
I am empty (without God in me).

And then I think of that word – empty. Often in Christian conversation, people will say something like, “we need to empty ourselves of everything before God”. But we are empty without God! We have nothing to offer without God! If we empty ourselves before God, we empty ourselves of God and that is not a positive goal.

We are nothing without God. God makes us something because God makes us His! And that’s a pretty special something! And because of that:

nothing can bring happiness or joy
nothing can give us peace
nothing can save us
nothing can sustain us

but God.

And, because it's still in my head, here's a video of the song I quoted above:



P.S. For some reason I can't add the "Five Minute Friday Badge" from Lisa-Jo's site. Put it in the same way as I always do but it doesn't look like it's showing up in the post. However, if you click on her name way at the top of this post, it will take you to her site and this week's link-up. :)

Friday, 23 May 2014

Five Minute Friday: Close To You

It's that time again! The time when a bunch of bloggers come together every Friday to write on a word prompt for 5 minutes - no stopping (unless that toddler manages to pull your hands away from the keyboard), no editing. Last week a few of us came up with our own words as Lisa-Jo was taking a technology break (I need one of those again!). This week, she was back with a lovely prompt: Close


Why do birds suddenly appear, ev'ry time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be close to you.” ~The Carpenters

I see or hear the word “close” and that song comes to mind. I sing it to my daughters and they smile. It makes them happy that I want to be close to them. But, I must admit, sometimes I don’t want to be close to them. Sometimes I just want my space. As I’m trying to write this, my youngest is leaning against my legs calling me with a pleading, “Mommy!” (but more drawn out like “mmmmooommmmyyyy”) … she just wants to be close to me; I just want to write.  I remember when I was a little girl, wanting to be close to the ones I loved. And I remember some of those loved ones pushing me away, telling me to just. leave. them. alone! It still hurts to remember, you know? But, if I have that memory, and I know how much it hurts, why on earth do I do the same thing to my own daughters?! They just want to be close! Often competing for a piece of my lap, not realizing that my mommy lap is big enough for both of them (expansion after childbirth does that … I guess that growth did serve a purpose after all lol). I do love their hugs and snuggles but sometimes I just need a break! I just need to remember that I can’t push them away, that I’ll get that break when they’re in bed.

And it’s not just me (or Darran) who they want to be close to. They love to be close to each other. The youngest at 18 months is so super affectionate. She loves to go up to her sister and just hug her. She wants to be close! Most of the times it’s love that keeps her close. Sometime, though, it’s mischief that keeps her close. You know, those times when she knows her big sister just needs space so she purposefully sits right next to her, with not even a millimeter to spare? And when big sister moves to find some personal space, little sister is barely an inch behind? Yeah, mischief likes closeness too. :) But the big sister also likes to be close. She’ll hug her sister so tightly out of deep love … and sometimes that tight hug is a headlock. I don’t think she understands yet how that hurts.

I love seeing that affection in my family … even if it’s motivated by mischief, because even that is an expression of love.

So here’s the conundrum, we all want to be close to each other, but we all also want our own space. How do we find the balance without hurting each other? Deep breath, remembering that we won’t always have this closeness, kids with grow and move away, parents die … embrace the closeness while we have it? Embrace it with patience!

This is a regular occurrence in our house. Also a regular occurrence is what happened literally seconds later - older sister pushing younger away saying, "no more hugs!" :)


  Five Minute Friday

Friday, 16 May 2014

Five Minute Friday: Light

Today the Five Minute Friday post and link-up was missing from Lisa-Jo's blog. It left a few of us feeling a bit lost, like something about our day was missing. I mentioned it to my husband and he, knowing how important this part of my day is, gave me a word. I mentioned that on Lisa-Jo's Facebook page and another blogger decided to get her husband to give her a word. So, a few of us are doing our Five Minute Friday, even though it's unprompted from Lisa-Jo, simply because we need it. Of course, this week that means everyone is writing about a different word.

The word my husband gave me today is "Light" ... and this was a week where the words poured out, a mixture of prose and poetry - the words I needed to say...



“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” John 1:5

Light. When my heart feels so dark, when my heart is breaking, the light shines. It shines in my husband’s hugs and kisses and words, it shines in my daughter’s faces and “good mornings”.

On Monday, I felt light. It was joy. :) It was beautiful. But now that light is being hidden by a fog. It tries to peak through. I have hope that it will still shine. But the darkness is threatening to take over.  … It takes over and my heart breaks.

But we have a promise in John. That the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can’t overcome it. That light is Jesus! No matter what sort of darkness comes our way, trying to steal our joy, we can look to Jesus and His light shines! He will guide us home. He will provide comfort. He will provide strength.

I know this and still my heart feels like it might be breaking. God please let this little light keep shining!!

And I sing to the one lost:
            “Loving Shepherd of Thy sheep,
            all Thy lambs in safety keep;
            nothing can Thy power withstand,
            none can pluck them from Thy hand.

            Where Thou leadest may they go,
            walking in Thy steps below;
            then, before Thy Father’s throne,
            Saviour, claim them for Thine own.” (from Hymn 56 – Book of Praise)


Light, hope, peace
shines bright
laughter, joy
opposes darkness

Darkness, fear, confusion
black, dull,
tears, despair
can’t overcome


Five Minute Friday

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

New instalment of Five-Minute Friday - a day late again but yesterday was very busy! :) Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and other bloggers to write for five minutes. This week the word in "grateful".


A few years ago, Ann Voskamp wrote a fabulous book called One Thousand Gifts. It illustrated her journey to a grateful, joyful life (at least that’s part of what I got out of it). It was inspirational and convicting. It changed my life. While I was reading it, and after, I thought about how much I have to be thankful for … and how I often forget to give God thanks for even the little things (and there are a lot of little things).

So last January (2013) when everyone was making New Year’s resolutions, I decided to make one of my own so to speak. But instead of a resolution, it was going to be one word that would impact my life for that whole year. The word was contentment. Because, really, the twin sister of thankfulness is contentment. If you’re thankful in all thins, you’re content with your life, with what you have. I printed a few copies of the word in fancy text and posted it around my house – in places that I often go, where I would see it and be reminded. Every day I was reminded about being content.

And I read through Ann’s book again and used the One Thousand Gifts devotional as well. I intentionally sat down throughout the day to write down things I was thankful for.  And I was reminded of all the blessings I have in my life. And I learned to be grateful for them. I have two beautiful daughters – one with an overabundance of energy, one who is so super relaxed she’s often referred to by others as my “zen baby”. They bring such blessings to my life! The oldest reminds me to embrace the simple joys of life, the youngest reminds me it’s ok to have my quiet times that I so desperately need every day! I have a husband who loves me so deeply. Sometimes I think the signals I send make him feel like he doesn’t quite know how to show his love. :) But he perseveres and I feel greatly loved! He is a passionate man about so many things and inspires me to better myself. These are big blessings! But the little things I’m grateful for? The cozy bed, the coffee in the morning, clothes I’m comfortable in, yummy food, did I mention the coffee? … these are just a few of the many blessings I get to experience every day.

You know, when we start our day giving thanks to God, and when we take time to offer thanks throughout the day (especially when our attitude is going south), it changes things! It makes us more positive because we are more content and we see the wonders God has done! Such a little exercise that is so incredibly life changing! So, I’m grateful for this change in me, and I thank God for it daily. And I also encourage anyone who reads this to take the time to offer up thanks daily (and throughout the day) … even if it’s for the sun glistening off the mop water in the kitchen! LOL

My precious girls in their Easter outfits! :)

My wonderful family - they were playing "chase" through the living room, dinning room and kitchen. So very grateful for these three people!

Five Minute Friday

Monday, 5 May 2014

Morning Musings: Find Us Faithful

Yesterday evening in church we sang this song Find us Faithful. The chorus goes like this:

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

And when we sing this song I often wonder… what is the focus of our thoughts and prayers here while we sing? Is it ‘find us faithful”/help us be faithful? Or is it us thinking “oh, yes, please let our children believe and obey”. I'm not saying it's wrong to pray that our children believe. We all know the urgency for our children to believe. And too often we think we’re the ones who can make them believe. And it’s good to want them to believe. But do we forget about the rest of this chorus? Do we forget about the great responsibility we have that it mentioned? If we want them to believe, to obey, they must find us faithful! And in order for them to find us faithful, we need to be faithful!  We can't just pray for their salvation and then live as though God is not central to our lives!

How can we be faithful? Is attending church every Sunday, volunteering for various activities/committees in church and reading the Bible and praying before and after meals enough? Unfortunately, it’s not! Really, unless our faith permeates every aspect of our lives, the rest of that is just appearance of faithfulness and often meaningless as it doesn't reflect our hearts.

How can they find us faithful? Well, God works in wonderful ways. :) I was pondering this question through the evening yesterday and through the night and into this morning as I awoke. And this morning the first thing I did was put music on the stereo (Apple TV) and I put Rich Mullins on because I haven’t listened to him for quite some time. The first song that came on was Step By Step. Some of the lyrics of that song are

I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step, You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days”

“I will seek You in the morning”! Well, that’s the beginning of our answer to how our children and the generations to follow will find us faithful. That’s the start to making our faith permeate every aspect of our lives – start our day with HIM! Start our day in prayer and in the word. And yes, sometimes this means getting up well before the children get up so that we can do this undistracted. But if that doesn’t work? Get the kids children’s Bible books and let them have their own Bible time when you have yours! That way you are also teaching them to start their day with God! And by learning to start their day with God, they will develop faith. Which is exactly your goal with them – that they believe! :) Do I do this perfectly? Far from it!! But it certainly is my goal, my desire!

And when we "seek [Him] in the morning" and "learn to walk in [His] ways" then He will lead us "step by step" on the path of righteousness, the path of faith. And we "will follow [Him] all of [our] days" and our children, and our children's children, etc will "find us faithful".

I’ve been reading a devotional and another book recently and the funny thing is, they both recommend having a family and/or personal mission statement or purpose statement. It needs to be specific enough to be able to follow and general enough to encompass all aspects of your life. The thing about creating something like this is, it becomes what determines all the decisions you make in the day, in your life.

Say your mission statement is something like
“To pursue Jesus with my whole heart, to glorify Him in all aspects of my life
            To be a loving wife and show my husband how I admire and respect him
            To engage with my children and help them grow up to be children of God
            To show Christ to all around me through the things I say and do”

Then this will influence your actions throughout the day. You will start your day with Christ. Maybe your kids will wake up fighting. Will you yell and scream at them? Well, that’s not really engaging them and helping them grow to be children of God. Nor is it showing Christ to them through the things you say. So you’re going to stop and take a breath and respond in a Christ-like manner instead of react in anger. And this will continue throughout the day, into the next, into the weeks and months and years ahead. And your faith will permeate your life and when you die your children will say, “She/He was faithful! Thank God for the legacy of faith my Mom/Dad left for us!”

Start your day with Christ. Seek Him in the morning! Let Him and His word permeate your life! And in the end, your children will find you faithful!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Poetry with Memories

Last week the Five-Minute Friday word was "friend". After I had written that post I managed to find my old poetry notebook and was typing out my poetry onto the computer. There were a couple of poems totally relevant to that Five-Minute Friday and I was tempted to post them on the blog at the same time but life got away from me and it didn't happen. :) So, today I will post them! lol

My … Friend?
(Written in February 1998)

Who are you?
I know your name
but …
who are you?
I know what type of student you are
but …
who are you?
You call yourself a Christian
but …
who are you?
We hang around together
but …
who are you?
Just a person?
Someone I talk with more than others?
I need to know.

Who are you?

This one was written about someone who was supposed to be a good friend but she was starting to be rather offensive and almost cruel. It was like I didn't even know who she was anymore and it hurt. I guess it also showed a realization that not everyone you spend time with is a friend - they could simply be an acquaintance. Most of the time people define acquaintance as a person you don't spend a lot of time with and, thus, can't build a relationship. But I believe that an acquaintance can also be someone you do spend a lot of time with if that person doesn't allow the relationship to deepen beyond a surface relationship.

This next poem is special to my heart as it was written for a sister of mine. And it came to mind again this past week (even before I found it back) as this sister is going to be celebrating her 40th birthday in a couple of weeks! This one's still for you Al - even though it isn't as accurate anymore since we no longer live miles (provinces) away. But you are still a very special sister to me!

My Sister and My Friend
(written in May 1998 for my sister Alison … for her birthday)

The bond we have as sisters,
a bond that will never end,
has grown and made us friends.

Though life may keep us far apart
there’ll always be a place in my heart
inhabited by you.

In you I always can confide
(when fears are constantly at my side)
unhindered by the miles.

You are the person everyone wants,
one who listens, one who sees,
and understands their needs.

To you who lives so far away
consider my attempt to say
my love for you will never sway
for you are
my sister and my friend.

Not a bad couple of poems written by a then 18 year old if I do say so myself! :)

Friday, 2 May 2014

Five-Minute Friday: Mess

Once again I'm joining with other bloggers over at Lisa-Jo Baker's to write on a writing prompt she has given us.  This week the word is "mess". I don't know, maybe this time I've written more about love than mess ... or maybe love and mess are the same thing... :)


Mess is all around me. Kids toys everywhere, laundry not put away, things everywhere because I just don’t seem to have a place for them … yet (due largely to the fact that I’m currently without a finished basement but that’s a story for a whole other post). Mess. Chaos. Stress. And in the midst of that, our family gets hit with a nasty stomach virus. Wow! That was a mess all of it’s own! I thought I was going to be safe from this one but last night it hit me and I was up most of the night dealing with that. Today was a day of healing, and stressing about a mess I couldn’t clean up because of how horrid I felt. And my kids making the mess greater. And today I didn’t care. I didn’t care about the mess because my kids were having fun. But more importantly I didn’t care because my wonderful little girls tried so hard to make me well. They brought me blankets on the couch and tucked me in. The oldest brought me her favourite stuffies to cuddle “because they will help you feel better Mommy”. And more wonderful than all of that, they came and cuddled me … repeatedly … just because they were sad to see me sick. So today, the mess can grow. I’m just going to sit in the mess and enjoy the love of my girls. The mess can be conquered another day but this love? This unconditional, freely given love? Ah, that’s something I just can’t give up! The mess can wait – there will be plenty more where it came from – but loving on my girls should never be put to the side.


Five Minute Friday