Thursday, December 31, 2015
There have been and are times I struggle with dented and scraped walls, coloured-on walls by a two year artist, wood with chunks carved out, carpets soaked with mud, couches with stuffing oozing out and sharpie marker strategically placed on the couches so everyone can see it. There are times when I am cleaning and get frustrated and lament our distressed look. Other times I feel relaxed about the worn look of our home. It always helps when you know other families are relaxed in your home because it is kid-friendly. One of my friends told me she feels no stress visiting in our distressed home!
This book was a good book to read. The author realistically writes about living in homes with a family and not just pinterest worthy homes, the meaning of our homes and hospitality, being comfortable in your own style; and the author gives tips on decorating, organizing, and cleaning.
"When we clean and tidy our homes we swing back and forth between two perspectives:
We live here- therefore our house is a mess.
We live here- therefore we don't want it to be a mess."
"The trick is to find simple ways to reduce the mess so our homes can be pleasant places to live."
This book can be helpful in finding the right balance for your home.
Monday, December 28, 2015
"Frances Whitehead was working for the BBC when Stott asked her to become his secretary. For 55 years she was his right hand: gatekeeper, administrator, typist, encourager and enabler. In his Will, Stott named her as his "friend and Executor."
Frances devoted her life to John Stott, world renowned preacher and author. With Frances' efficiency, energy and enthusiasm, Stott was able to accomplish an extraordinary amount of work. Both devoted their lives to a life singleness ready to work hard for God's Kingdom.
This book not only gives glimpses into Stott's life, but it shows God's care in providing a helper for Stott. This story also shows God at work in all of the littlest details such as Frances' upbringing that would play a factor in her work relationships. I was inspired by their productivity and diligent use of time. Stott was legendary with his discipline of time and this book gave examples of Frances' role in this. I recommend this book and am always on the look out for more books like this - untold stories of historical figures.
*Tim Challies writes a review on this book.
Friday, December 25, 2015
Every day for the past 3 years I have written in this "One Line A Day" memory book.
Each page has five slots for five different years so that you can compare what you did the years before. Most of the time my sentences are boring, like "stayed home and cleaned" but other times there were unusual entries: "We were able to go out tonight without getting a babysitter. Hooray! A new stage has arrived and we have some freedom!"
I ordered this book from amazon and am really glad to own it. I love dates, traditions, memories, and this book helps me keep track.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
The book "Side By Side: Walking With others in Wisdom and Love" should be in the hands of every believer. Author Ed Welch clearly writes of what a Christian community should look like. In part one of the book he writes of our neediness. Life is too hard to manage single-handedly. There are hard circumstances in life and our sin weighs a lot on our hearts. We need to learn to say help to the Lord and to other people. In part 2 of the book Ed Welch expounds on the idea we are needed. He shows this through his chapters of moving toward and greeting one another, having thoughtful conversations, seeing the good and enjoying one another, showing compassion during trouble, talking about Satan, sin, and helping fellow sinners. Through out the chapters the Gospel is kept central. This book is helpful, practical, not hard to read. I recommend it whole heartily.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
My goal for this Christmas break was to blog about one book a day. I'm already a day behind....caused by a trip to the ER. Again. The youngest two boys were slithering like snakes under a thick blanket on the kitchen floor and somehow the youngest smacked his forehead on the corner of the kitchen island. This new scar will be a few centimeters over from the old scar also caused by crashing into the island.
The dr. gave me instructions which I could recite by memory...assess for concussions, wake child up in middle of night, no more than one episode of vomiting, do not get stitch area wet, keep band- aid on for 48 hrs, and the hardest one of all; make sure the child is inactive for the next two days to let the cut heal. wowzers.
Back to books. I finished "The Friendships of Women" yesterday and have pondered the book ever since. How do I treasure my friendships? What makes a good friend? Am I a good friend?
Author Dee Brestin, a pastor's wife, never felt settled in a new church until she had a friend. In this book she elaborates on three friendships told to us in God's word. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Elizabeth and Mary. The book is thick, full of friendship advice. We read about speaking the truth in love to our friends, relational idolatry, the women's biological need for friends, how to help your friend when she is hurting, and asking your friend for help when you are hurting. All in all I thought this was a fantastic book, complete with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I appreciated how it made me evaluate my own friendships. I realized my deepest friendships are because of godly woman coming along side of me when our unborn son died. They followed God's leading and He used them as His instruments. I was comforted by them and challenged by their Godly example and I held on to them. Years later they are my "perennial friends" loving one another well year after year. The author also encouraged friendships with all ages learning from one another.
At times I found the author on the intense side but probably because of where she lives. In the states, moving around is more common than where I live. Friendships become long distance, and new friends are sought out. The author is passionate about friendships and this draws her intensity out. The book is still worth reading.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
***Before and Afters***
We have lived in our home for ten whole years now; making it the only home our five boys remember.
This home has seen much rejoicing and excitement. I think of the times when we brought our sweet newborns home from the hospital for the first time; slowly we walked up the back steps carefully carrying our little treasures. When Tyler came home for the first time there was relief and much joy. He had been in the NICU for a week and it was a scary time for us. It was precious bringing home our little miracle.
There have been celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries, fun spontaneous get- togethers, ringing in of the New Year, hymn sings, family picnics and themed dinners
There have been times of deep sadness. We grieved for our unborn son, Matthew (2006). We mourned the loss of great-grandparents; Nana (2010) and Great-grandpa (2015). We have felt the sadness of loved ones’ grief because of death or broken relationships. We have felt the heaviness of our own sin but also the mercy and grace of God’s forgiveness.
Besides our family, we have had many friends come over, and besides our friends we have had many people we didn’t know that well come over, and we have gotten to know and care for them.
The back door has been an “open door” having on average 3 people stop by per day. Seeing faces and conversing with people has made it easy living out in the country, and the feeling of being home-bound during the winter with little ones doesn’t quickly happen with the “open door.”
We have loved living besides grandpa and grandma. They have rushed over in times of emergencies (which this home has seen a lot of). The quick chats we have in passing and the hand waves as we drive by, have all been foundational in our boys growing up years. We have also appreciated their pool! It has also been great that mom stocks her cupboards well and usually has something that I have forgotten to the buy at the store. We have only had one kuffle and that is when mom cut one of our boy’s hair, and I was trying to grow it a little longer. Besides that, the relationships have been great.
Our home has seen the coming and goings of many animals. To date we have had 2 dogs, 3 cats, many laying hens, pigs, cows, outside show birds, a goat, 2 kid goats, a canary, a budgie, and an elusive rodent currently living under the chicken coop eating the bird feed.
The pond has been a source of much fun with swimming and skating, making the seasons enjoyable. It also has caused Adam headaches with the leakage problem (which is now officially fixed). It has also given me nightmares. I have had horrible dreams because of the pond and am thankful each time a boy masters swimming.
This home has seen much wildness, chaos, disasters, whooping, yelling, blood, daring stunts, wars, frustrations, AND, laughing, pranks on innocent family members, giggling, and happy, content smiles.
This past summer we memorized Psalm 103 and saw how God provides, loves, forgives, heals, and nourishes. God has kept us under His Care. We are grateful.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
November marked the ten year anniversary of living in our home so we decided to make a time capsule to commemorate this special occasion.
We filled the box up with pictures, our favourite magazine (WORLD), a newspaper from that day, our school update, coins from 2015, and coins from the different years we were born. We included a speech I had written about living beside my parents, a story of our attempt at growing grapes, and we recorded our heights and the prices of groceries and gas.
I wrote a short paragraph of each of our boys and included a sheet where all of our extended family members live.
I spent some time writing a speech to include in the time capsule and had a great picture in my head of me reading the speech to attentive boys and then Adam closing in prayer. In my mind, this was going to be a real "treasure of a memory" for these kids in their formative years; something they would look back on and tell their kids about.
And then reality. As I was reading the speech, I could sense movement and anything but focused attention.
When I looked at the pictures, my thoughts were confirmed...
After my speech, which really wasn't long, Adam double bagged the box and we "buried" it under our front porch.
We were thankful our brother and sister-in-law Bret and Alicia were over -they managed to capture this memory on camera.
It is hard to imagine what it will be like opening this time capsule in 20 years from now. We will have kids in their thirties...possibly grandchildren...its just crazy....I love the age the kids are now and would gladly freeze this stage; but the years keep on marching on and for now we will just keep on making memories!