I Threw Away “The List”

I don’t write much about marriage. It’s not because I don’t have things to say, it’s because I feel like I haven’t been married long enough to really know what I’m talking about, you know what I mean?

This year we celebrate 9 years of marriage. I love my man with all my heart! But we’re still babies at this whole thing.

When I was single, I had The List. It was loaded with things that a guy had to be or have in order to qualify for a second look. It was ridiculously specific, and frankly, unrealistic. Every guy I met was measured against The List. And it brought alot of heartache.

One day, it dawned on me. I wasn’t really being very fair, was I? I had always prayed for the person I would hopefully marry one day, that God would put us in each other’s lives, and that He would give me someone who loved Jesus and was willing to follow Him no matter the cost. But I wasn’t willing to trust God with the details on this one.

So I threw The List away. Instead, I wrote down my non-negotiable qualities on one side of a piece of scrap paper, and my negotiable qualities on the other side.

Then, I just lived the life that was in front of me.

In God’s timing and by His grace, we found each other. Ten years ago this month, a girl from a tiny land-locked farming town on the Canadian prairies met a boy who grew up near the beach in sunny California, and the rest is history! Hearts, hearts, hearts!

I stumbled upon that new list the other day was I was looking for something else. As I read through the qualities on each side, I was amazed at God’s faithfulness and love for me in providing me with this man who sat beside me as we drove.

If you have ever doubted God’s faithfulness, know that He hears every prayer you pray, and sees every tear you cry. He is real, He is present, and He is working in ways you cannot imagine.

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)


Young love

The Sweetest Hour

I wrote this a few years ago when my second daughter was not quite two and I was expecting our third child. Tired did not begin to describe where I was at! But I treasure these sweet memories.


My head hit the pillow last night at about 10:30, and my aching body gave way to glorious sleep.  I don’t remember a thing.

Until about 3am.

A tiny little voice was just enough to jolt me awake.


Little one. Awake.  Again.  Thanks to some new teeth breaking through and a penchant for middle-of-the-night chatter, she stood at my door in her little striped purple footie jammies.

“Mama?  Cuddles?  Couch?”

I scooped her up in her white crocheted blanket, gave her Snoopy and Raffi (her stuffed giraffe), and held her on my lap.  She talked about the stars that were projected onto the ceiling from one of those ladybug lights.

I closed my eyes, and felt a little hand on my face.

“No, Mama.  No close eyes.  Open eyes.  Count the STARS!”

Oh my goodness, I thought she would wake her snoring big sister for sure.  (They’ve been sharing a room for a month and  a half.  We’re still working out the kinks.)

Nope.  The oldest sawed logs while the younger one chatted about how the pink stars are up there, and could she touch them or taste them, but no they’re not food.

“Stars not food Mama!”  she laughed.

“No, stars are not food.  Shh… go to sleep…” I tried.

Her blanket was freshly washed and dried with vanilla scented dryer sheet.

She smelled like a warm vanilla cookie.  What a delicious moment.

3am gave way to 4am, and I decided it was time to put her back in her bed.  I only had to bring her back about three or four times before she stayed until nearly 7am (what a miracle!).

Her big sister was up just before 6am, looking for a Berenstain Bears book to read.

The day officially began.  Even though it kind of already began at 3am, with an inquisitive “Mama, w’ar you?”

Although sleep-deprived today, I really wouldn’t have missed that hour for the world.


Tiny toes

Dear 18-Year-Old Me

18 year old me1

Dear 18 year old Me,

Can I just tell you something?

Everything is going to be okay.

No really, it is.

I know right now you’re consumed with the future – how it’s all going to play out, what you should do next, and how you can achieve your dreams and goals.

You want to run headfirst into all the things, find someone to share it with, and live your happily ever after.

There will be amazing things to celebrate, but there will also be some things that bring you pain. In both circumstances, you have a choice – you can either run away by distracting yourself with the temporary pleasures all around, or you can dig deep, hold fast, and find true rest in the arms of the One who gave His life for you and trust Him to bring healing and growth in your life.

I know you’re not into being told what to do, so I will just leave you with a little story from John 6.

Jesus had done the miracle of feeding the crowds with real food, but then begins to teach something that is very hard for the disciples to understand: He teaches that He is the food that feeds our souls and brings us eternal life. He mentions how their ancestors ate manna in the desert, but that He is the bread that will feed them forever. Some couldn’t get their heads around it and were so disturbed by the teaching that they walked away.

Watch what happens next:

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6:67-69 (NIV)

When you feel like throwing in the towel, let these words ring in your heart: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Cling to the only One who can truly sustain you.

I love you. Don’t give up! You’re doing great.

Hugs and kisses,

-your future self

When You Don’t Know What To Do Next

I’m sharing a quick thought on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 today. I’m always amazed at how when I don’t know what to do next, I can come to this passage and find some direction!


“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

We hear a lot about trying to figure out God’s will for our lives, but this is the perfect place to get started! We’re called to be doing these things all the time – rejoicing, praying and giving thanks – no matter what set of circumstances we find ourselves in. This is a great set of verses to memorize and tuck away in our hearts for the next time we’re wondering what God wants us to do next!


A sunrise one fall morning


A Simple Moment that Changed Our Day

“First she wrecked my toys, now she has my favourite cup!” my almost 5 year old shrieked. It had been a long morning already – and it had only just begun. Feeling forgotten and frustrated, she sat on the floor and wailed.

I turned from my important task, walked across the room, sat down on the floor beside her and pulled her onto my lap, arms around her tight.

“I love you. I see you,” I said quietly between her sobs. Her body relaxed and she poured out her heart. It was a moment we both would have missed if I hadn’t paid attention.

Truthfully, I don’t always catch on to their cries to be seen and held. Sometimes when they upset my apple cart of plans and goals for that very moment, I react instead of respond. But I am learning that when my kids are pushing away from me, that’s when I need to stop what I am doing, and draw near to them.

Anyone else find it easier to lecture than to love? Love requires more than my words. Lecturing postures me above them, wagging my finger and my tongue, hoping it will somehow change their behaviour; love puts me beside them, holding and comforting, offering security and safety. Lecturing can be done from across the room; love demands the nearness of my actual presence. Lecturing leaves lingering guilt; love brings restoration.

Jesus, silence my lecturing tongue and let your amazing love flow through me today to these precious ones in my care.

love kid art

a love note from my daughter

Can You Say This Too?

I’m sharing a short thought on Habakkuk 3:17-19 this morning that energizes me for this season of life!


Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV)

In times of need. When things are looking bleak. When resources are limited. When you’re wondering how it’s all going to work out. When the situation is desperate. Does your heart cry out this way? Can you say this too? This passage has been a strong reminder for me – that my strength doesn’t come from things working out, going my way or even sort of going well. The LORD is my strength. HE enables me.


Image: “Columbian Black-Tailed Deer”, Gary Leavens, Flickr

Hashtag Momlife

I can feel the frustration bubbling up inside.

My to-do list is as long as my arm, with a limited amount of time to accomplish it – and between the running around, the constant fighting of the kids, the sweet babe who isn’t following his usual pattern, a last-minute lunch plan, a huge cup of spilled milk and a new tummy ache, I can’t seem to manage to get even one thing accomplished.

Hashtag Momlife.

My older sister calls. “How’s your day?” she asks. And the inevitable unloading of my current state of affairs comes tumbling out of my mouth before I can stop it. “…so, yeah – not awesome.”

She’s been in my shoes before – her kids are teenagers now but I know she knows.

Her wise words then reach my weary heart and bring me hope.

She says, “My prayer for you today is that you would seek first His kingdom and all the rest will be added to you, and you’ll see God’s provision in amazing ways.”

It’s tempting to be skeptical or to brush it off, but I can’t. I am learning how much I need Jesus and the people He has put in my life.

To my great relief, her prayer for me is answered.  I am watching and waiting throughout the day, and I see His grace in a million little ways – and some big ones too.

Thank you Lord!


Kid art! Love it. My daughter drew this picture of me a few months ago.


Before We Even Knew

This morning I am sharing a quick thought on Romans 5:8 (with the surrounding verses included for context). I wrote these thoughts eight years ago, but they still ring true for me now.


You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Romans 5:6-11 (NIV)

It’s amazing to me that before we even really understood what was going on or knew what God was up to, He made a way for us to have peace with Him. Before we even knew we needed it – the Gift was given through Jesus Christ. We often think we have to do something to earn peace with God — have our lives in perfect condition, with no flaws, no problems, no blemishes. The beauty of God’s grace is that we don’t have to perform in order for God to love us. He just does. And He showed it when He sent His only Son to die for a world of people who didn’t measure up on their own, and He did this while we were still sinners. He didn’t wait for us to get it all together. Christ died for us while we were in that unreconciled state – and He knew all along that there would be people who would never accept what He’s done on their behalf.

Love in action, before we even knew it. Truly amazing.

July 7 2009 Extravaganza

Image: “July 7 2009 Extravaganza”, Pilottage, Flickr

Letting My Living Room Go

I walked in the house the other night and saw the remnants of the day scattered around the living and dining room. Books over here, toys over there, unfinished pictures and markers on the table. Random socks dotting the floor, along with crumbs and bits of paper, and little t-shirts and pants in piles where daytime clothes became pajamas.

And you know something? For the very first time, maybe the only time ever in my life, I didn’t freak out. I looked upon the glorious mess and my heart was actually lifted by the signs of life around me! It’s a common sight in our home – all the things lying around all the time. It’s truly the project that is never quite finished! Every day, we fill up and spill over this space. Yes, it is work to clean it up – and yes, since our kids are still pretty young, we’re heavily involved in the supervising and helping of said cleaning – but I had this realization in that moment that felt like I had sprouted wings and flew away from the stress of our mess.

It was simply this: we are a lively family of six people who all have our own plans and dreams and goals for this shared space we live in. And while those plans and dreams and goals don’t always align, one thing is for certain – we are living here together, and we are making a home with each other, enthusiastically pursuing our interests. But guess what? One day that will change. They’ll be enthusiastically pursuing their interests in their own homes, and this space will hold the memories of running and playing and laughing and creating and resting and recharging and building relationships with the ones they hold dear.

Can I just be honest? This is something I have to work with in my heart most days, because kid mess can really drain the life out of you if you let it. Thankfully the older kids are getting to be experts at cleaning up the thing they are playing with before pulling something else out, but we still have littles who are exploring the world around them with great curiosity! And instead of freaking out over the mess like I used to, I’m starting to adopt the famous Miss Frizzle quote from “The Magic Schoolbus”. Right before they go on their adventure, she always says, “Time to take chances, make mistakes and get messy!”

This year, I vow to keep the top of the piano cleared of clutter so I can have a nice vase of fresh flowers on it instead of junk. But other than that, it’s a free-for-all. We are going to learn to get messy and learn how to clean it up all together, even if it takes all day!

Here’s to letting MY living room go, and letting it become OUR living room!


Flowers on the piano

You Will Never Be Abandoned

I’m sharing a short thought on the first nine verses of Joshua this morning – always an awesome reminder of who God is! Joshua 1:9 was the world’s most bookmarked, searched, saved and shared verse of 2017, according to the YouVersion Bible download app. All over the world, even in countries where Christianity is restricted, people encouraged one another with it! Amazing!


“After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:1-9 (NIV)


This sheds some light on the kind of God we serve. He’s the kind of God that is present – he will does not forsake. He tells Joshua to be strong, courageous, even very courageous, three times in this passage. Then He says, don’t be terrified or discouraged. Why? Because He is present. He is not a God that abandons in the time of need. It’s not easy to trust Him to keep His promise because we’ve been let down by so many situations and people in our regular lives. But this is GOD we’re talking about here! He keeps His promises!



Image: “Star”, Tom Hall, Flickr