A Blue Day

Foggy winter day

This picture was taken last year, but this morning the view out my window is similar. I need to leave for work in 30 minutes and have many things I could be doing right now, but God has impressed on my heart that I need to write this post. Maybe it’s for you.

As a general rule, I try to keep my posts positive and uplifting. I acknowledge my feelings, but I don’t let them rule me. Today’s post will be a bit different.

Not only is the weather outside dull and (in my mind) depressing, but in my heart and soul I identify with the blue day today:

  • One of my acquaintances phoned me the other day and let me know that a very close friend was killed in a vehicle accident. She’s grieving, but I’m not sure how to help her. She doesn’t share my belief system. I carefully picked a sympathy card and wrote that I am thinking of her and praying for her. I hope she’s not offended, but takes comfort in my thoughts and prayers.
  • Two of my friends are working through some differences. I love both of them dearly and understand both of their perspectives. I pray that they will both allow God to work through their differences to make the body of Christ stronger. I pray that they will not see each other as enemies, but will band together to do battle with the true enemy of our souls – Satan.
  • The stack of papers on my desk is growing, not shrinking. I wanted to have the stack sorted by now. I hope I’m not missing something important.
  • I think we have some kind of invisible shoe monster living in our house. I put my son’s running shoes in his backpack after breakfast. It took him 10 minutes to get socks on his feet. Then he dawdled making his lunch. While he was getting his jacket on, I checked his backpack to make sure everything was there. No shoes. I looked in his bed room. I searched the shoe rack. I made sure there were no shoes lurking in our coat closet. No shoes. Poof, they’re gone! I put another pair of shoes in his backpack and put it on his back. Just when I think everything is good, his boots are missing. Sometimes they fall down the stairs, so I run down to check. No boots. I search the boot rack upstairs. I peek under his bed. No boots. I tell you, that shoe monster has been busy this morning! Thankfully his older sister is willing to let him wear a pair of boots she rarely wears.
  • Getting my kids ready for school is often a challenge. This morning I barely had time to say goodbye after we walked down the driveway before the bus came to take them away to school. Two of my children have coughs and sniffles. They probably would be happy to spend the day at home, but I’m not going to be home. I send them off, reminding them that this is the last day of school for this week and they will be able to rest and relax this weekend.
  • My sister’s update from Facebook this morning: Our pregnant cat just came in (after only an hour or so outside) with a severely broken leg (bone protruding at the shoulder). No vet here…. Sigh. And then an additional comment: The vet in Kumba (nearest large town) doesn’t deal with this type of thing, so the next closest might be at least a 3 hr. drive. The cat has cleaned herself up well, there is no ongoing bleeding, and she is hiding herself. BUT… the man who helps us in our house (cooking/cleaning) just said he knows about a man (who knows what training, but still knowledgeable) who has come to the village to help people with their dogs (including stitching wounds), so that is probably the best way to go right now – even just to get his opinion. Oh, and did I mention we’re in the middle of a busy translation week (with 8 men working in our house)?!! BTW, the cat damage might have been done by a machete – sigh…
  • Lately my schedule has been very full. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. I long to be still for half an hour with no expectations. No schedule to keep. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.

I don’t know what you’re going through today, but God knows. The God who created us and knows us intimately. The God who sees everything. The God who knows when you lose even one hair off your head. The God who created the universe.

Yes, I feel “blue” today, but I enter my day confidently because God goes before me. He’s the one who arranges and rearranges my schedule. I fall back on a verse that has been special to me since the early 1970’s:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

 

 


Psalm 32:8

Watching for guidance and direction

Psalm 32:8

As some of you know, my parents were missionaries during my early years. This meant that we often spent time in other people’s homes with different rules and expectations. My siblings and I knew we were expected to be on our best behaviour at all times. We learned to keep our focus on our Dad. When we were asked a question, or wanted to do something, we would check his eyes. My Dad had an uncanny ability to communicate clearly without saying a word.

I think of those experiences when I read Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

I’m now much older and away from the direct guidance of my earthly father. Instead, I look to my Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. I have to spend time with Him and pay attention to what He’s showing me to do.

In my work with InScribe, I often feel unqualified to lead. God continues to remind me that He has called me and He will equip me and guide me. This is His organization. He is the one who works in and through the executive and members to proclaim His Word. As we continue to keep our eyes on Him He will continue to counsel us with His loving eyes.

NOTE: I shared this devotional at the beginning of the recent InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Annual General Meeting.


Canadian Thanksgiving 2014: The blessings of family and Nature

One choice I’ve been consciously making this past year is to find things to thank God for. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, not because of the food, but because it gives me an opportunity to really focus on the many blessings in my life.

This past weekend my husband and I decided to take our children to Three Hills to spend time with my parents and two of my nieces. The week before Thanksgiving was hectic for both of us. In fact, we planned to leave at 1 p.m. and finally made it out of our yard at 4 p.m. However, making the trip was well worth it. Here are some of the blessings enjoyed this weekend.

Rainbow
A rainbow – the first of many wonderful surprises I encountered over the weekend.
Cockatoo
A cockatoo at the Three Hills Guzoo delighted us with its clever sayings
Dandelion gone to seed
Another unexpected delight
Skunk
Holding a skunk? Don’t worry, this one was de-scented 🙂
Sunrise
This beautiful sunrise greeted me when I stepped out of our camper on Sunday morning.
Fall scenery
My dad and I enjoyed the fall scenery by taking a walk
Ruth's parents
We enjoyed conversations, food, singing, and laughter with my parents
Ruth's nieces
Although my sister is in Africa, her two oldest daughters are in Canada. It was good to spend time with them this weekend. We especially enjoyed singing together.
camp fire
What’s camping without a campfire. Yet another delight we were able to enjoy on Thanksgiving weekend.

Finding the part God designed for me

A Best Yes

A few weeks ago we brought home a puppy – Husky and Malamut cross. Olaf has brought joy and laughter to our family. He greets us at the door each morning with boundless enthusiasm and will chase sticks until we’re tired of throwing. He also likes to chase his tail. He spins round and round, but his tail always stays just out of his reach. Then he’ll flop down and relax. Here he is during one of his calmer times 🙂

Our dog, Olaf

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning round and round, chasing something that is just out of your reach? I do. People often comment about how busy I am. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be busy, but if it’s busyness without focus it gets frustrating after a while.

In the next few months I’m participating in two things to help hone my focus.

1. An online Bible Study using Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes

2. An online course called Audience Business Masterclass from Firepole Marketing

As I make my way through, I’ll share updates about what I’m learning.

What have you been learning lately? I’d love to hear from you.


Uplifting Devotionals – One of my current projects

Charles Reade quote

One of my current projects is collaborating with some other Canadian authors to produce a devotional book. The Uplifting Devotional series is being published by Helping Hands Press. Each month a new devotional is being released. My part in the project is to submit 10 devotionals, each 500 words in length. I’ve decided my theme for these devotionals will be what God has and is teaching me through parenting. Here’s the “seed” thought for one of the devotionals I’m planning to submit:

Just Like Mom

Our eighteen-month-old daughter has a new habit. She plants her chubby little feet, gazes directly at her object of wrath, and wags her finger up and down as she stridently scolds, “No, no, no, no, no!” Hmmm . . . I wonder where she learned that from? As parents we need to be very careful what we model for our children. They are watching and learning, whether we realize it or not.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NIV

If I want to lead my daughter in the right way, I need to follow in Jesus’ steps. Then I will be able to rejoice when my child does something, just like Mom.

What about you? Are your children following in your footsteps? Do you have any stories to share? I’d love to hear from you.


If God is your partner, make your plans BIG - D.L. Moody

How Big is Your God?

D L Moody Quote

There is a lot to be discouraged about in this world. We don’t have to listen to the news long to hear about wars, violence, destruction, and every sort of evil. Instead of focusing on the negative, today I’m choosing to focus on God. I hope you’re encouraged as you join me in celebrating our God.

Stuart Hamblin captures it well in his song, How Big is God?

Though men may strive to go beyond the reach of space
To crawl beyond the distant shining stars,
This world’s a room so small within my Master’s house
The open sky’s but a portion of his yard.

How big is God, how big and wide is His vast domain
To try to tell these lips can only start,
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart.

As winter chill may cause the tiny seed to fall
To lie asleep till waked by summer’s rain;
The heart grown cold will warm and trod with life anew
The Master’s touch will bring the glow again.

How big is God, how big and wide is His vast domain
To try to tell these lips can only start,
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart.

Here are some more encouraging quotes:

“Everyone who believes in God at all believes that he knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow.” C.S. Lewis

“THE STATE OF YOUR HEART DICTATES WHETHER YOU HARBOR A GRUDGE OR GIVE GRACE, SEEK SELF-PITY OR SEEK CHRIST, DRINK HUMAN MISERY OR TASTE GOD’S MERCY.” Max Lucado

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” Joseph Scriven

“ONLY GOD CAN FULLY SATISFY THE HUNGRY HEART OF MAN.” Hugh Black

“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Thomas Jefferson

“THE WORSHIP MOST ACCEPTABLE TO GOD COMES FROM A THANKFUL AND CHEERFUL HEART.” Plutarch c. A.D. 100

“There are three stages in the work of God: impossible, difficult, done.” J. Hudson Taylor

 

Beauty is God's Handwriting

 


It’s Here! The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series 2 Complete

Life Lessons Cover SFWP2

Life couldn’t be better. Heather dreamed of being a nurse for years, a goal that motivated her through years of study. Now she’s a dedicated obstetrics nurse, dating the most eligible bachelor at Northwest. Heather is enjoying making new friends, learning new skills, and building her career. She’s also enjoying spending time with Jonathan. Her relationship with her mother is better than it’s been for years, although Christmas is a bit awkward. Heather’s dream world suddenly turns into a nightmare when she’s instructed to do something that goes against everything she believes. Will she remain true to her morals? Or will she sacrifice everything she thinks she believes to keep her dreams intact?

The San Francisco Wedding Planner Complete Series II CoverThe author team of “The San Francisco Wedding Planner”, Jen Cudmore, Ruth L. Snyder, Patti J. Smith, Sheila Seiler Lagrand, and Mishael Austin Witty, thought it would be fun to highlight the main characters from the series and tell a little piece of their backstory.
Each story in Series II focuses on a different character: Bryan Tate, MD, Gloria, Indigo, Skye, and Heather.
The time frames of each story vary from the day, the week, the month before we meet the characters in “Volume 1- The Initial Consultation”.
Sit back, relax, have some fun, and get to know the cast and crew of “The San Francisco Wedding Planner” series a little bit better.
If you want to know more about the authors in the series please visit them at: bit.ly/1qt7aXz

Available from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com


Sharing stories with our children

Story quote 1

This week in our Proverbs 31 online Bible study, I especially appreciated Lysa Terkeurst’s questions and suggestions at the end of Chapter 24: Do They See Jesus in Me? Here’s a summary for your benefit:

  • Think back over your life and pinpoint some specific moments that made your heart leap for joy. Write them down, so that you can review them when you’re facing difficulties.
  • Share your happy memories with your children and husband
  • Review your childhood and write down at least one memory where God’s hand was evident
  • Write down a time Jesus was very real to you recently
  • Pray, thanking God for the special moments in your life
  • Write a prayer celebrating parenting and confessing your shortcomings to God. Ask Him for strength to make any changes you need to make.

I hope you’ll take time to do some of these exercises.

Moments that made my heart leap for joy:

  • Visiting my Grandparents in Three Hills (Grandma Beam’s desserts were legendary!)
  • Visiting my Grandparents in Gibbon (It took no time at all for 50 or more relatives to gather!)
  • Using wax paper to make the circular slide beside Grandpa & Grandma Beam’s more slippery
  • When my dad made a special trip to visit me on my birthday while I was attending Bible College
  • Surprising my parents when I was one of the speakers for my Bible College graduation
  • Finding a place to order an out of print book when I worked in customer service at Prairie Bookroom
  • Working at Whitney Lake Bible Camp
  • Getting rid of all the piles of files on the credenza after I started working as a legal secretary
  • My first date with Kendall
  • Our wedding day
  • The day we brought Grace, our oldest daughter, home
  • When we received an adoption order in the mail
  • When Kendall was able to compete in the Yamaha competition in Toronto
  • The day we met Luke and Levi
  • The day Jayson arrived home
  • When Luke and Levi said “Mom and Dad” after 4 years of signing
  • Winning the Northern Lights School Division school board bi-election
  • Bringing Dorothy home
  • Winning first place in the God Uses Ink contest
  • Taking a walk and capturing beauty with my camera

As I thought about these moments that made my heart leap for joy, I realized that every one has a story behind it. I also thought about how I should be more intentional about sharing these stories with my children. There are some things we have put into place to help share the memories:

  • I have made a wedding album as well as a photo album for each child. We often pull out these albums and talk about things that happened and how God has blessed us.
  • We have adoption parties for our children. On the anniversary of the date a child’s adoption order was signed, we have a party. The child gets to pick who comes to the party, his or her favourite food, and where the party takes place.

What about you? What makes your heart leap for joy? How do you share stories with your children?