a lesson at school today

Today is the last day of school...
And this morning in chapel I cried.
Not because my children will be with me 24/7 for the next few months...
(that will hit me tomorrow morning)
But because I was reminded of how EVERYONE is accepted in God's kingdom.

I watched a sweet gr. 6 girl, with down syndrome sign and sing during worship.
And then I watched my son (hair sticking straight up, shorts pulled up too high) rocking back and forth to the beat of the music, singing at the top of his lungs.
My heart SANG with JOY, and I struggled to hold back a pouring of tears.

Because at that moment it just hit me....like a powerful jolt to my heart...
The reminder that in God's kingdom there are no limitations, no dress codes, no skill tests, no required IQ.
We are not required to follow a complicated regime of disciplines in order to gain access to HIM.
We do not have to face a certain direction to pray, or achieve levels of nirvana in meditation to be rewarded with eternal life. There are no external, physical requirements to loving, and worshiping God.

Whether we have brain damage, a learning disability, a neurological delay, a mental illness, a degenerative illness, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, down syndrome, YOU NAME IT....our spirit can remain accessible, and expressive. 

Anyone can bring Glory and Honor to Him.
We give what we can...
we offer ourselves, our battered bruised, imperfect selves.
And we are guaranteed acceptance and love...
because HE loved us first.


clean freak

Our house was put on the market last week, and sold yesterday.
What a process!!
 (word to the wise, don't attempt to sell your home unless you are REALLY serious. really).

Problem is, now that we are finished the "showings" and have moved back in, my tolerance for any extra clutter is very low. Against the backdrop of the steam cleaned carpet, empty bookshelves and bare counters, every piece of paper...every tupperware cup...every kids toy... every pile of books, screams, "out of order! out of order! out of order!".  Its incredible how our glistening, perfectly clean home took less than 24 hours to be trashed. sigh.

Why do people need to use the bathroom or sleep under their blankets anyway? It just creates work and disorder!! Wouldn't life be easier if we had an outhouse and just ate out all the time?

I know there is no use in trying to keep this place looking fabulous. I know there is no way I will be able to limit the use of the bathroom (so sad). I know I can't maintain the beautifully symmetrical displayed dishes in my cupboard by serving dinner on paper plates, and I know that I can't force the children to do "hospital corners" when making their beds (been there, done that-not pretty). A girl can dream though, right?

We wouldn't be "living", if I tried to win that losing battle, and strive to keep the house "show-home" perfect. I'd turn into an evil drill sergeant, demanding the impossible!! I'm closer on the scale to "serious/mean mom" than "fun/crazy mom" as is...so I don't think I'd be doing myself any favours by clinging onto that dream.
Good thing we took pictures. 


Prayer Journal

Writing down my fears, pain and ultimately PRAYERS in a journal, can most reliably (for me), serve as a bridge towards peace and comfort.
Carving out the words on paper, truly helps me cope. 
I pray out to God in dark times, oh yes. Yet in the midst of the intensity,  I also need to DO something with myself. I don't want to emotionally eat, I don't want to grab a bottle of wine, I don't want to pack up my bags and leave (although all are tempting at times...). Rather, after a tidal wave of anger or bitterness, when everything feels "toxic",  I instead run to the respite of a quiet place of solace, armed with a pen and paper. Mostly just to get everything OUT.
I find that I actually crave an outlet for the confusion, the fear and the despair. That's where my prayer journal comes in beautifully.

My journal entries aren't perpetual. I write very sporadically and emotionally with expressive capital letters, underlines, smudges, and exclamation marks!! (somehow thinking that will get the point across..).

Yet each time I write (regularly and not-so-regularly), I also take time to read my previous entries....to see the prayers that have been written, and to acknowledge the ones that have been answered!  What a blessing to be reminded that God HAS been present, even when I felt abandoned and completely isolated.  NO place is too dark, for Him.


survivial of the camp-out

The fresh evening air wafting through the screened flap of the tent, and the sound of cars slowing driving past the house, pleasantly lulled the kids and I into slumber. This impromptu sleep-over in my parents tent (in their back-yard!), was one of those "lets make a memory" endeavors that I did FAR more for the kids, than for myself . To be honest the thought of sleeping between 2 cranky children who had spent the entire day bickering and complaining, didn't exactly appeal to me...in fact it made me quite nauseous. I could envision the whole scenario playing out in my head, the kids and I in an enclosed tent the size of a closet (every possible exposed space covered with toys), requests for late-night snacks, complaints and whining of strange smells, hard surfaces and...loud breathing.... What am I a super-parent?? I need to see my contract, ask for a raise before committing to something this crazy!

But at 10:30 p.m (which felt more like 4 am), after the babes were asleep and my own eyes started drooping; all the fighting, melt-downs, and public humiliation of the day, seemed light -years away. Even the little knee carved into my back didn't (quite) seem as bothersome. What was it about the great out-doors that stirred and softened my heart? What was it about the sound of my children's slumber that made me so easily forgive, and overlook the blatant fits of disobedience from the day past?

As a parent, I WANT to forgive, and give that second chance. I want to move past the "teachable moments" and just have "moments" together! Plus having inhaled half the bottle of "off" mosquito repellent-(THANKS to someone deciding they were old enough to spray themselves, and half the town of winkler), I was just ready to move past the ugliness and get some sleep!

Thankfully, the peace and quiet that follows a troublesome, stressful day feels much sweeter, and far richer, than a dozen uneventful, quiet, obedient days (no i am not deluded....anymore). Stillness proceeding turbulence is powerful and so very enriching.

please note: I wouldn't ASK (or recommend) for every long day to end in a camp-out, just for the sake of experiencing the "sweetness"....but its certainly a wonderful gift when you need it most.


free refills

Hi, my name is Christine, and I'm addicted to validation.

(whoa. that's pretty heavy....but actually truer than I'd like to admit!)
Now, I can't trace the origin of this dependency, or the precise time this need became evident. All I know is that my perceived need for it is alive and well, and without considerable discipline (at which i am failing) my self-worth completely plummets.

So I wonder....how much does this need for validation have to do with my insecurities?
Or is it more of a problem with my pride, masked as a more acceptable struggle called "low self esteem"?
Its as if I daily shove an empty cup of my longings in front of my husband, my parents, my close friends, (even facebook friends)...hoping for it to be filled, and hoping to feel satisfied (with myself). But when people push me aside, don't say anything, or respond by producing their own cup of longings ....I get desperate! I think...I can't come up empty!  I can't!  Don't I matter to people? Don't i deserve some attention and admiration?

Lately I've been staring down into an empty cup feeling sorry for  myself....knowing full well, there is a source that I'm not tapping into.
Someone who promises to satisfy.
Someone who actually died in order to give me a life-time supply of validation, in the form of eternity with God in heaven!

When Jesus spent his time on earth he loved everyone who was socially rejected. He upheld the outcast, women and children, the sick, the weird, the ugly. He preached about loving others as, or MORE than ourselves (see Matthew 22:36-40), and as walking humbly with mercy see (micah 6:8). He emphasized the importance of giving to those who cannot repay, who cannot respond in gratitude, who cannot validate (see Luke 6:31-36).

So why do I wait for the world to validate me, when I know the Jesus does already? Why do I become so desperate for that "ok" from my peers,  long so deeply for my husband to come through with my every need, and feel so empty when I fail...
...when no one, or nothing truly fills my every need?
...when, as a follower of Jesus,  I am not supposed to EXPECT validation? 

Why do I so often miss the boat, and blame others for not coming through for me.....depend on another human to make me completely happy?
It's really too bad.

Its like I'm blindly holding a cup up to the sky, expecting something to fill it.... when all the while, right beside me, is a powerful, beautiful waterfall thundering down with fresh water.


a new day

I love mornings.
LOVE them.
Well, not enough to get up early JUST to enjoy them....
but I do delight in the promise each new morning brings.

The promise of another chance...
to fix things, to affirm people, to say I'm sorry, to say "I love you", to be honest, to learn something new,
to try all over again.

Every single morning that we experience, promises to be
Brand spanking new.

I love that.
A hymn that I loved singing in church waaaaaaaay back, when I was young (and still needing supervision during the service) was called "Day by Day". Now that song seriously made me want to cry every- single- time. Yes, I was an emotional kid, AND i was also very sensitive (NO REALLY). So hearing the haunting, sad tune (usually played by organ), mixed in with the tender, loving lyrics...often left me pathetically (asking for kleenex) and blowing my nose along with the frail, old ladies in the back row.

For nostalgic reasons here is one of the verses to the hymn:
Day by Day and With each Passing Moment ( 2nd verse):
2. Every day, the Lord himself is near me,
with a special mercy for each hour;
all my cares he wants to bear, to cheer me,
he whose name is Counselor and Power.
The protection of his child and treasure
is a charge that on himself he laid:
"As your day, your strength shall be in measures,"
this the pledge to me had made.
~ Carolina Sandell berg (1865)

*I pray that today you will sense the renewed beginning of the morning, the chance  to "start again", and the promise of God's guidance in all you do.

For God has said, 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.' Hebrews 13:5


the open road

I love driving down a long stretch of highway, with an endless, limitless horizon laid out before me.
I marvel at how tiny the earth seems below the open sky.
I am reminded of how small I am, and how little I know.... compared to God.
These are the same skies that were created by God..."In the Beginning" (Gen. 1:1). They are his handiwork, His creation.

I love how I encounter God's greatness, His power and His majesty....
when I just look up and take it all in.



My earliest encounter with shame, stems back to when I was a chubby 11 year old, being meaured for a dress. My family lived in a village in Alberta that had limited access to nice girls clothing, especially anything that was appropriate for my growing, 120 lb. body. So when the unfortunate time came that I needed a new sunday dress (and a full slip to cover my new bra....yuck), my mom decided to take me to a seamstress instead of SEARS. 

enter mortification.....

In my memory, i'm standing in a room by a window, looking out over some trees, wearing only my underwear. I'm painstakingly trying to focus on what I see outside as opposed to the tape measure being wrapped around my bulging stomach. In agony I pray for the cold hands to stop touching me...and for the chance to grab my shirt and cover up my exposed skin. I hate that I'm being looked at so intensely, and that my chubbiness is on display. I hate that my MOM is smaller than I am, and that my chest is seems gigantic compared to hers. I am ashamed of myself. I hate myself.

The self hatred never left. It took up residence in my heart. Through the years the compounding shame of my body morphed into a destructive eating disorder. Into my adulthood I felt the need to silence the desperation and voices of distain by punishing myself...forcing myself to follow an impossible regime. I felt that I had no other choice. I was in over my head and didn't know how to stop. Being thin had become more important to me than life itself.

Now, what seems like a lifetime later, I'm still not completely comfortable in my own skin. I still struggle with a deep desire to have a slimmer body. I still feel a little cheated that I didn't inherit my mothers slim figure. I still cringe when my body measurements are taken (but really, WHO enjoys that?).

Yet with all of the lingering insecurity...I'm not that 11 year old girl anymore.... and I'm no longer living with an eating disorder. Over time (through prayer, therapy and supportive parents), I relinquished control to the One who had it all along. I've stopped trying to win a hopeless battle. "Perfection has a price, and I cannot afford to live that life." (jj heller).

Where did it leave me?

Shame would want me to tuck that part my life away in the farthest recesses of my mind.  Closed and sealed for all eternity...pretend it never happened. Truth be told, it's not an easy or exciting subject to brooch, for its drenched in pain and regret. BUT I am NOT ashamed of that struggle, and things cannot be left unsaid. I'd rather like to think I'm kicking shame in the pants by examining it for all its deception, in the light, safety, and hope of day.  

cutting....bullemia....anorexia.....self loathing

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:2

Thank you Jesus.


Ode to a garden

10 simple reasons to take up gardening

1. There is no need to coax and threaten flowers to grow and do their job.
2. There are no strategic disciplinary actions needed to get rid of weeds. 
You see them, you pull them out....
(they don't beg for another chance) 
3. People (esp. mothers), can talk to pretty little petunia blossoms in any tone of voice, 
and the pretty little blossoms 
will not cry, whine, or complain.
4. Garden's tend to be quiet and peaceful.  i.e. Vegetable plants do not fight with one another. 
5. A garden cannot be offended, hurt or traumatized. They have no memory.
6. Garden's are forgiving.  They grow and survive even when you forget to feed them.
7. Garden's smell pretty. Their idea of a bath is getting drenched with a hose.
8. Garden's reap and provide positive feed-back, in a short amount of time.
9. Garden's do not move unless you make them move.
10. Watering a garden after a l...o...n...g day, can calm 
 impatient and overwhelmed mothers.


dry bones in need of life

You can take my dry bones
Breathe life into this skin
You called me by name
Raised me to life again
You can calm the oceans
Speak peace into my soul
Take me as I am
Awaken my heart to beat again

Oh Jesus
Oh Jesus
Oh Jesus
Alive in me!

You move in the unseen
You set the captives free
As I stand and sing
You're breaking the chains off me


Breathe in me Your life
I can feel You are close now
I can never hide
You are here and You know me
All I need is You
And I love You
I love You
I love You
I love You
Breathe in me Your life
'Til Your love overtakes me
Open up my eyes
Let me see You more clearly
Falling on my knees
'Til I love like You love
Like You love me
I love You



  • Joel Timothy Houston; Jill Mc Cloghry
  • Aftermath Album, Hillsong United



Take a look at your hands. At all your fingers.
Do they look well polished and pretty?
What about your nails...are they neat or are they neglected?
Perhaps one is black and swollen, from a hammer blow,
or they're all grubby from the garden?
Do you wear a lot of jewelry? 

Besides assisting us with many of the tasks we accomplish in a day (think about it!), our 10 digit wonders also provide a bit of insight into our personalities and life story. They have the potential to give signs into a persons line of work, hobbies, age range, health, and even their income.

My hands don't say TOO much about me (yet)... 
They look like hands that belong to a 20-40 year old. Currently, they are relatively clean, but can be typically seen with traces of paint, and dirt.  My fingers are short, as are my nails. However the cuticles cropping up in-between are overgrown and neglected. 

One could surmise the following:
a) I bite my nails -so therefore I must have a tendency to get nervous.
b) Getting manicures or fake nails are not high on my priority list-so therefore I am either low maintenance, or find extra trips to the spa a luxury (i.e. too expensive!).
c) My fingers aren't long and thin, and my nails aren't maintained- so therefore I am NOT a hand model, or a receptionist...in other words, my day job doesn't require pretty hands.
d) My wedding ring is lovely, but not flashy or expensive looking-so therefore my husband and I live a fairly modest life.
e) They are typically rough-so therefore, I probably don't bother with gloves when I wash dishes or work outside.
What do these hands say to you?

Elderly hands have incredible stories to tell. At a glance they look weathered and beaten. 
But over the years they became worn and frail for a reason. 

When I see hands like in the picture, I could surmise that they:
-held many babies 
-buried many babies
-cooked many meals
-baked many loaves of bread
-soothed many foreheads
-knit many sweaters, socks, mittens, hats, blankets
-washed and swept many floors
-spanked many behinds (?)
-caught many chickens
-set many tables
-changed many diapers
-washed many clothes
-gave many hugs
-combed many heads of hair
-milked many cows
-buttoned many buttons
-planted many gardens
-pulled many weeds
-pulled many chicken feathers
-nursed many sick children
-made many beds
-hauled many pails of water
-washed many dishes
-ironed many shirts
-canned many preserves
-hung many lines of laundry
-wiped away many tears

From running a busy household (or business), to giving and showing affection; those rough, aging hands have no doubt, worked hard. Perhaps they provided shelter for an outcast, or maybe they were constantly wrung from anxiety and uncertainty. But for me, whatever the story may be (full of joy or of sorrow), a pair of elderly hands are beautiful.
They have lasted and endeared, and must be admired.



"Does this look o.k.?",  is code in our marriage for, "I need you you compliment me...NOW". And, "I didn't have time to exercise today.." is actually code for, "I am feeling down about my body, so tell me it's o.k that I'm avoiding the treadmill."

Yesterday, on the way to a wedding, I asked Kent whether or not he liked my dress (that's not code for anything). Unfortunately it was the 3rd time in the span of an hour and a half!  I had received a, "You look great" compliment after each inquiry; he wasn't laughing, smirking, or making a pained facial expression when he said it, so why did I feel the need to pester and doubt his answer?
(hmmm.....how much TIME do we have??).
Without analyzing my NEED for reassurance, I will simply suggest that my neurotic badgering was code for, "even though I know you are SUPPOSED to say that I look nice, dear husband, do you really THINK that i look nice?"

Man, I hate it when i feel desperate like that!!
When I practically strangle a compliment out him.
What was I expecting in this case?
That Kent was going to surprise me with a completely different kind of answer the 5th time around??
"Darling, your dress is so magnificent I haven't been able to think of anything else since you first put it on. Even though I'm listening to the blaring CJOB Sports Report, your DRESS is all I care about... Lets focus our attention right now on how wonderful you look!"
blah, blah, blah, blah...

Kent would never say that (nor would i expect him too!).
Hey, I'm just really grateful that he doesn't get annoyed when I'm insecure (too bad i have no tolerance for when he asks me about his hair). And I'm happy to report that its not terribly common for me to do the whole sad, "tell me I'm beautiful" routine with him anymore. Just once in awhile.

I'm figuring out a way to provide my OWN validation, which in the long run is far more effective (and doesn't involve badgering, pestering or strangling). When I'm in public, I try to smile. I attempt a pleasant expression. Some days that takes work. Actually, lets be honest...most days it takes a conscientious effort...but it seems to pay off. Our faces look so much softer and appealing when we are happy! Right? In fact,  I'd say its code for: "I'm a warm and inviting person, Come talk to me! ....and p.s. could you tell me if my dress looks nice?".


aging attraction

(summer 2010, US/ Mexican border crossing. we were stressed-hoping the mexicans would let 2 van loads of young people in without suspicion or problem...which one of us looks a little tense??)

When you live with someone (i.e. your spouse), you can't help but notice how, and when, they start showing signs of aging. Looking up-close, I notice little brown sun-spots around Kent's eyes (probably from the 30 summers spent at camp...), wrinkles stretched out across his forehead, and white-hair cropping up in his sideburns (most likely from that mission trip....).

I love the fact that Kent is (almost) 38 39(Whoops had to edit), and looks.....older.
I love how he is more attractive to me now, then when we first met 15 years ago. Really!

That "appeal" of his goes beyond the tall, dark and handsome (celebrity double-Vince vaughn) good looks. Its the incredible bonds of familiarity and fondness formed in a marriage over time (and with hard work)....that makes him irresistible! *sorry if this lovey-dovey stuff is making you slightly sick.

AND I'm counting on the fact that my wrinkles, graying hair, sagging parts, and facial hairs... are just as endearing and attractive to him! Thank you very much.


old house

Driving along in the country, an abandoned house or old barn will always grab my attention.
They each seem to beckon, and magnetically draw my eyes to notice.

In those brief moments as my car flashes by.....
I'm struck by the stark contrast the ruins evoke, compared to the thriving nature beside.
I can't help but admire that while the buildings look neglected and broken,
they nevertheless remain resilient, calm, and grand.

I crave the chance to explore, and (pretend to) uncover treasure troves of stories, and silent memories preserved inside!



Help me God, 
To talk to you when I am angry and frustrated,
...instead of running to an unhealthy "quick fix".

Help me rely on You for everything.
I don't know the way.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...