Do you know what you’re doing?

“But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. (James 1:5)  I have proved this verse true (CEB used here), so many times! Do you ever come across times when you just don’t know WHAT to do? Some examples of my times like that, have been in figuring out my son’s stomach issues. When I’m totally lost about what to do next, and I pray about it, the answer usually comes very quickly. And that’s worked for a host of different things, in various areas of life.

God is SO willing to give wisdom! Once you realize that, you can pray with true faith that you’ll get your answer: But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,” (James 1:6). Believe that God is guiding your thoughts. Don’t you think he can?

So this is a way to kind of “trick me into faith”. If there’s something I’m desperately praying about, and I’m lacking the faith to believe that God will answer that request, all I need to to do is turn my prayer into a request for wisdom! At least for me, that is such a proven thing–I can call to mind the many times that wisdom was so readily granted me.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. (James 1:5-6, MSG)

 

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more about beauty

After yesterday’s post, I began to think about other kinds of beauty. Yes, nature is quite incredible, and don’t forget that nature includes things like newborn babies. We’ve had some of that beauty recently in our family.

In fact, it’s time to get back to work on the huge pile of beautiful photos I’ve been collecting lately–of babies, and of three weddings! Now there, is some man-made beauty: all those lovely dresses and suits, the beauty of the wedding ceremony…. You can still call it God-made though: what amazing creativity he has inspired in people!

I think of the photographer, arranging the Lords and Ladies along the rocky shore, or in an old barn, or the contrast of the wedding couple on the porch of an old pealing-paint farmhouse. Or the Brides’ choices and matching of colours; for example, one long line of bridesmaids all in pinks and mauves–never mind making each one the same colour as the next! Or the creative minds that took unofficial photos of the groomsmen all wearing dark glasses and holding pistols, just for fun. Or this new thing lately, called a “sand ceremony”, which was especially meaningful for the older couple who were just married, who had each of their children (she had three and he had two) add a different colour of sand into the photo frame of themselves.

God loves “man-made” beauty as well, we can guess that from the elaborate instructions for Moses’ tabernacle. And don’t forget musical beauty, that was also included in worship from earliest times. He has made man like himself after all, our Creator God. And these talents that he gives each one, are gifts that he enjoys seeing us use! (Don’t you enjoy seeing people take delight in the gifts you give them?)

Oh, and one more beauty, God-made but man-kept/enhanced: those gorgeous guys and gals! As well as: the love that inspired the weddings in the first place, the joy of the whole family, their joy in each other… can you think of more?

 

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God is crazy about me

Once, I said that if the only thing in the world was lilacs, I could easily believe in God. Well, I could say the same for “a few” other things (in fact, my new lilac didn’t bloom this year–maybe next year).

August for example, is the Month of the Goldenrod. When we go on our walks around the trails here, I get to see masses of them in the fields. “There’s gold in them thar fields!” Sometimes they’re sprinkled with the whimsical Queen Ann’s Lace. Oh my! That’s another thing that grows profusely along the trails.

I could snap photo after photo: the Lace sprinkled with Blue Chicory, or with some pink Cone Flower that has escaped from somewhere and is growing wild, or with tall yellow daisies, or… Both Goldenrod and Queen Ann’s Lace are quite nondescript if you look at one single stalk, but growing in masses like they do, it takes your breath away!

Oh, and one spot along the trails has a little canyon that is chalk-full of Joe Pye Weed, who’s dusty pink, cloud-like flower is not especially beautiful, but they have a lovely fragrance.

Speaking of fragrance, July could be called, for me, the Month of the Stargazer Lily. I have three stalks in my garden, and they each get picked and put in vases on my mantel. The huge pink blooms have a spectacular type of beauty, but that is not the best thing about these:

  • The smell! Ahhhhhh!!! You don’t have to go near them at all to delight the ol’ factory, but I do anyway–and my arms just float up as if I’m about to fly away!
  • You can pick them before all the blooms have opened, and the buds will keep opening.
  • They have tons of blooms!
  • They last for weeks and weeks, even after picking. Although many petals have dropped, I still have one going!

I’m not a lily person (always letting my Mom and sister grow them for my enjoyment), but these were here when we moved in. My preference is for the tiny flowers, especially ones that are easy to grow. But this Stargazer Lily makes me feel like God has presented me with… well… The Crown Jewels! :)

After all, God is crazy about me–he sends me flowers all the time, gorgeous sunsets, beautiful sunny days… even rainy ones to water things!

facebk my lilies

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the Way to Live Forever

This just doesn’t feel right anymore, posting for two days in a row! But I have to make some notes from this morning.

In three or four different places, I read about being baptized. “Believe and be baptized”, and you’re good to go (to heaven). Even Jesus tells us to preach the Gospel and baptize people, in his last words before ascending. Earlier he’d said that all you need to do if you want to live forever, is to believe: just believe in Jesus. That’s all!

The thing about baptism, is that it proves you’re serious about believing. Baptism means “obedience”. In fact, the song that was playing as I went forward to be baptized (when I was 11/12 years old), was “Trust and Obey”.

That’s why our church places such high importance on it. It also strengthens your commitment in your own heart. And there’s a lot more meaning to it as well–the symbolism of “going under” with Jesus and dying to self, and coming up or being “resurrected” to a new life, etc..

I forget now exactly how this segued in my mind this morning, but I also thought of my Word for this year, “service”. Compassion was talking about how they serve the child, and another devotional was asking me what I’m “called to do”. Our church has a theme to focus on each month, and this month it’s Abounding in the work of the Lord. What a wonderful thing to know that (according to the Bible itself!) God has actually prepared things for us to do!

The thing is, your service needs to start with obedience. Yes, you do what’s in front of you to do, but at the same time, be listening for that still, small voice, telling you that this time you need to take a break; or maybe that something else would be a better thing, as much as that one was a good thing. Maybe that one is meant for someone else, or for another time.

I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to my One Word this year, but I think it’s still a good thing to do. I’m already looking forward to seeing what next year’s Word is going to be!

 

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updates from The Trailer

The Good News is that we no longer have to use the Doodie bags on the Potty pail (we rigged up our trailer toilet to the mobile black water tank, since the broken tank seems impossible to replace). If you think that’s a terrible thing for a first sentence, just wait til you hear the Bad News: a MOUSE ran by TWICE, on.the.counter, while I was working there!!!

My screaming was probably the worst part, for the guys, but it’s not that I’m “afraid” of mice. I just don’t like them. Especially on the counter. Especially while I’m fixing meals. Oh, and in between the two mouse-skittlings, there was a tiny, quivery, hairless, tail-less, eye-less thing there, right by the sink, that I had to pick up with a paper towell and take out to the woods.

What upsets me, is that I can’t figure out where they were coming from, and where they were disappearing to! A search of the cupboards turned up barely a scrap of mouse dirt, and no other evidence at all. We did have a bad infestation of them in the Spring, so we’re thinking maybe it was just some left-over from that. Hopefully. One turned up outside the trailer by Rej’s feet (thankfully he lifted the wrong foot to squish it–eewwww!), so hopefully they’re all gone the way of that one–off into the woods.

The other news is both good and bad: the engineer from Hydro Quebec is doing what he can to get going on the job of getting us power (so that our business can get up and running), but it could take a couple of weeks to get the required paper work done first. At least we caught the city council right before their once-a-month meeting! And once the guy gets going on the work, it’s supposed to go pretty quickly. Also, thankfully, all the paperwork can be done by email.

Meanwhile back in Ottawa… Hey, I’m finally getting to know people, who aren’t family! I walked into the Wool-Tyme shop yesterday, to the sound of someone greeting me by name: our pastor’s wife works there!

OH, and she was talking about getting me working with 2-year-olds in September, at the Wednesday morning kids. Yes, they actually have curriculum for 2-year-olds! As I was thinking about it afterwards though, can you believe that in all the years I’ve worked with kids, I’ve never actually “taught” 2-year-olds!?

facebk my lilies

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Don’t sweat the small stuff

Do Christians strain out gnats and swallow camels? So asks this article that I read this morning. As Jesus lambastes the Pharisees, “…you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters…”

Of course, the answer is yes and no, both today and in history. My immediate thought is more to the “yes”, because of recent things I’ve heard–how a friend had to block the Christian guy on the dating site she was trying, and go out with the non-Christian; how my son has been so often “attacked” by Christians on the internet… But the author reminds us of some of the good things Christians have done, like playing a role “in every area of human flourishing: the creation of universities, hospitals and orphanages; the development of modern science and medicine; prison reform and the abolition of slavery; legal rights and protection of women, children and the disenfranchised.”

And “as Glenn Stanton observes”:

Look at the inner city in any decent size town. Find the soup kitchens, the hospitals, the substance recovery efforts, housing the homeless and so forth in any city. More than 90 per cent of the time, you will find these being founded and run by some arm of the Christian Church. . . . If the Church stopped doing all it does for the “least of these” tomorrow morning, the remarkable substance of that work would become tragically obvious within 24 hours and the State would crumble under the weight of needing to fill the void.

As much as we try to be gracious in our answer to the culture, people will be upset no matter what. “But failure to warn them of their dire spiritual condition is not love. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.”

As Jesus says in the very same reference used above (Matthew 23:23-24), “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

 

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weeding, dusting, and church planting

It was such a short moment–flutter in, flutter out–that I almost forgot about it. Seeing my facebook post this morning reminded me to put on my shopping list: buy hummingbird feeder! Those tiny birds provide very short moments of delight, that’s just how they are. This one actually flew into the hot tub where we were, then out to a tree right beside the deck, as if to say: “Where’s my food?”

The last time I bought a hummingbird feeder was kind of embarrassing–why did I think such a thing would work in our back yard in Toronto!? But in Ottawa we DO have them in our back yard!

Something else that’s so neat about Ottawa, is the church we go to. I’m now into reading over the Perspective notes I made two years ago, and in this long post to start it off (some great stuff there), I’ve figured out a major reason why The Met is so successful: they do church planting. To quote directly from the study material, “Nothing else–not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, mega-churches, consulting, nor church renewal processes–will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting.” Right now for example, we’re planting a church in Westboro, a suburb of Ottawa.

I participate in all these exciting things through prayer. Otherwise, my “important” jobs can be boiled down to two main things: if it’s nice outside, WEEDING, if not, DUSTING! The main floor has now all been dusted and I’m working my way upstairs; outside, I started weeding at the front, then did the back yard, then the sides, then the very back of the back yard, under the trees. After a few weeks of all this, it’ll soon be FINISHED!! HA!! :D

Never mind, the weeds don’t grow back as much as you’d think. The dust though, sometimes appears the next day where I just dusted. But what I’m really doing there, is going over every inch of my still-new home, spending time enjoying and being thankful for it, and everything in it!

*no-thumbnail-since-they-show-up-so-BIG lately, on facebook*

 

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The New Macho

Actually, it’s been quite awhile now, that we’ve been allowing our men to be “Mr. Mom”:

  • my Dad knit baby sweaters for all us kids;
  • my brothers always had to have their turn to wash dishes;
  • my son had his Dad in the delivery room (like most dads these days); who also rocked  him to sleep several times;
  • I can recall countless photos of my sister’s husband feeding and burping their babies;
  • several dads these days, leave it to their wives to “bring home the bacon”, and stay home to cook meals and look after the household (though not always by choice);
  • my niece’s husband, even though their newest child is number 6, wanted to take the baby out shopping–all by himself;
  • the oldest boy of that new-baby family, is just glowing with pride in all the photos of him holding her. Just look!

roselea and siblingsDylan was hoping for a boy, after all these girls, but he’s definitely not TOO disappointed about his FIVE sisters!! And you can see by this photo how much they love him! (It’s the twins who are hanging on him this time.)

All of the men I’ve just talked about consider themselves quite “macho” (some more than others, haha). And here’s the really neat thing, that just shows you how far we’ve come.

Dylan is a typical 11-year old, who loves mechanics, driving the 3-wheeler, etc. Not only does he comment that he’s missed having a baby in the house (after taking her from his mom when she was fussing, and successfully calming her down), he’s also expressed a willingness to change dirty diapers, AND–the other day he brought over a couple of his friends… He asked them if they wanted to hold his new little sister. They seemed quite at home about it, one of them commenting that she still has that “new-baby” smell.

Eleven-year old boys, calmly talking about new babies! :)

 

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To repeat: don’t repeat… :P

Since the beginning of time, it seems, people have been spreading stories. Stories that may have begun with some truth to them, or some that were completely the figment of someone’s imagination. People so often assume something to be true, even if no one has actually said it.

Today those stories spread at the speed of lightning. A friend of mine found an article about it, and it bears repeating: don’t repeat (a.k.a. “the Share button”) something before you check out whether or not it’s really true. One common sense thing to check: is this supposed amazing news being reported in other newsrooms.

The author of the above article is lambasting Christians for being naive (apparently he’s “told” them before), but the same hints/guidelines could go for anyone, sharing anything. (Well, almost anything.)

Some of the scams we’re getting to know. Like a couple of days ago, when I received a friend request from someone purporting to be my cousin. I don’t think many people were fooled. You feel like excusing people sometimes though; for example (from the article), something can seem to be from NBC, but if the url is nbc.com.co, you should know it’s not! (At least, now you’ll know.) Also, websites can be set up to look like the real thing, but if you click on some of the links, you discover that it’s just garbledy-gook.

That’s just a couple of the things I remember from the article, which would be a good one to read! And if you don’t have time to read it, just remember: don’t believe things you see on the internet, so quickly. And don’t hit the Share button unless you DO have time to check out what you’re sharing.

I’ve learned from past experience, to not even click Like unless I’ve taken the time to actually read what I’m Liking!

summer prof 2014

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A Year Like No Other Year

So, it’s all over now. Our first full year of living in our new home ended on July 3rd. It was a year so full of excitement and happiness, anticipation and feelings that only come once in a lifetime! Facebook reminds me of everything in its Memories thing, but I’ll NEVER forget them!!

  • Waking up the first morning here, to find that the rising sun comes in our bedroom window. <3
  • Discovering lots of “new” old things as we unpacked, that we hadn’t seen in weeks.
  • Being able to go over every piece of house decoration I owned, and enjoy finding a special spot for each (or, most of them).
  • Getting into the hot tub for the first time, after being on my feet all day!
  • A year ago this very day, I finally “found” My Spot: this very spot where I’m sitting now, in my Lazyboy, where I can either look outside at the beautiful trees in our back yard, or enjoy the summer sun flooding the kitchen!
  • Being able to have my parents drop in for tea! Or meet just for supper!
  • Soooo many firsts throughout the year of course; discovering the names of my trees and plants, exploring the amazing nature trails all around the whole residential area, and the Fall Colours (and all that raking), decorating for Christmas, cross-country skiing for the first time in years, etc. etc.

I could put exclamation marks after every single phrase above, haha. It’s kind of sad to think those feelings will never be again. Rej says we could always move again, HA!

Before it all started, there certainly was some nervousness about whether or not we were doing the right thing–uprooting ourselves after 33 years in one home, especially for Sam, who had never known anything different. I remember hoping and praying for some kind of “sign”, something kind of miraculous that would confirm that we had indeed, made the right decision. It never really came, but perhaps instead of a “miracle”, there are all these “normal-type” things.

One year ago today we also attended The Met for the first time. This was something else that felt “iffy”, only because it is such a huge church, with 10+ pastors, and at least as many more people on staff. We all had positive vibes after that first service, but it has been hard enough getting to know people, in spite of how they work at urging you to get connected in smaller groups. We’re getting there.

Last week I found myself wishing that they could have the children more involved in the service. This is something we’d learned at our former church: that kids have a lot to contribute; and First Alliance, the new church we’d started attending in Toronto, was also very good at it. So I was very happy yesterday when the music team sang a couple of songs especially for the kids, after making them stand up (being the first Sunday that there was no Sunday School, since the teachers take a break for the summer).

Lots of little things add up to Big, I think!

summer prof 2014

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