Wednesday, October 2, 2013


It feels like a lifetime since I have posted...and in some ways it feels as if I indeed lived another life in the time that has lapsed. This past year has been so full of change that I scarcely know where to start, what to write or if anyone indeed cares (about the blogging part that is). I do know however it is time to simply post something and start anew.

Last year I was worried about my upcoming 'empty nest' and the possibility of being bored, it seems that it was unnecessary worry since the opposite has taken place.

 In January Josh came home to heal, his journey has been long and although we are not there yet I see change...and I am grateful. His bed is still in our living room and the house is crowded but God has been gracious and walked us through this change.

 In May Tiffani and Austin moved into an apartment on the second floor of our building. I love having them close. Along with the extra hugs and cuddles also comes some help in the 'daycare' department...who knew I would once again be getting little feet ready for school or picking up a 'starving' child after a long day of learning. Although this has made my busy life a wee bit busier I relish this special time of bonding with my little man and being able to help his mommy during this time in her life.

Jordan has started his third year of college and continues to bless me with his generous heart and willingness to adapt to our ever changing dynamics. As he grows so do his relationships and we are now blessed to have a wonderful girl be part of our everyday life.

After much consideration I also decided it was time to change churches. I am grateful that God showed me a fantastic little church that celebrates cultural differences and I feel at home there.

Last month came the biggest change of all, after 12 years I decided to leave my job at House of James to take on a new challenge. An opportunity came up to manage the Ten Thousand Villages store in Langley and after much consideration I decided the move would be a good one. Working there is much different that what I am used to but having an opportunity to get behind fair trade and the amazing effect that it has on peoples lives was just to good to pass up!

Change is rarely easy, it often comes with discomfort...but it also is an opportunity to be better, to grow and to I choose to embrace all the changes.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Old Rugged Cross

As I sit here and contemplate Easter I can hear my grandfather's deep voice singing one of his favorite hymns...and it sums it up perfectly! Happy Easter, may the Glory of the sacrifice Jesus made wash over you and bring you peace.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

        So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
        Till my trophies at last I lay down;
        I will cling to the old rugged cross,
        And exchange it some day for a crown.
  Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
  Has a wondrous attraction for me;
  For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
  To bear it to dark Calvary.
 In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
 A wondrous beauty I see,
 For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
 To pardon and sanctify me.

 To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
 Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
 Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
 Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On my mind & heart...

I have been remiss....and I am sorry.

There are many random thoughts floating in my head on this rainy day and  I have decided to spend the morning at home...alone!! This my friends is a rare treat these days:) Sot the question for right now is what should I write about as I sit here with a great cup of coffee??
*should I do laundry
*Austin stories
*habit forming behaviors
*Biblical literacy
*spring flowers
*mental illness 
*child literacy
 *which neighbor is making chocolate cookies

These are just some of the thoughts in my head, and I wonder which one has a story worth sharing today....hmmmm......

I am taken by the whole idea of Biblical literacy these days, the statistics of time spent in God's Word are actually quite sad (in North America anyway) so I was thrilled when I found out that Dr George Guthrie was going to be in Richmond giving a seminar. I made arrangements to go, set the alarm for 5:30 on a Saturday morning and off I went. Now, if you know me you also know that I am a wee bit directionally challenged so when I arrived at my destination (an hour early) having made no wrong turns I knew the day was off to an incredible start!!

The day was spent learning about foundational issues, ancient and modern context, dynamic and formal equivalence and how it pertains to translation and more. I was introduced to Dr Guthrie and his wife Pat, whom I found to be engaging and encouraging.

I love learning and found I was thrilled with how much more I wanted to learn.  I came away with a desire to spend more time in God's Word and more time learning the full story of the Bible. According to studies less than 20 % of church going Christians read their Bible on a weekly basis...ouch! I came away with a renewed interest in studying the Bible chronologically so I could gain a greater understanding of the whole story.

He shared some of the reasons that Bible literacy is on the decline.
1) Reading in general is down, a study entitled 'Reading at Risk' showed that only 56.6 % of American adults had read a book that year (down 4% from the previous year).
2) Contributing to that is that technology may be hurting our ability to read. It is suggested that our 'click & skim' mentality makes for more shallow reading and erodes our ability to read more substantial materials
3) We are distracted and  overextended in our schedules.
4) We do not know the Bible's grand story or how many of the parts work

I know that #3 is the one that affects me more than any, my chant of  "I'm busy" tends to overshadow the time I spend reading. Often what I read is a new book that I need to know about for work which again takes time away from study...shame on me.

The parable of the seeds and the sower (Mark 4:3-20) is used to illustrate that that the 'seeds' that grew needed not only soil but space as to not to be crowded out by weeds. We need to create some space in order to sit, read & think about the Bible...we need space in our hearts to take in God's words and respond to them appropriately.

I cannot concisely share all I learned that day but I was shocked by the statistics and inspired by the promise of 'transformation', the kind that can only be found by spending time with God...and learning His story.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


The first week of February is already past...I am not sure how it happened! This week is half over and I have not managed to do much of anything. I feel a bit inadequate, I know in my heart it is a lie but my head is not so easily convinced.

I think most of it stems from the fact that I am tired...not so much physically, I actually feel pretty good for an old lady but emotionally is a much different story. February is always a bit hard for me, it is the month that my life took a forever of this month I have been looking after my family alone for 17 years...and when I look at that I admit there is a small part of me that simply deflates and feels like I have failed.

Now in all fairness there is much good that has happened over those years, I do not regret the decision to raise my children alone...they are better for it but I am tired. I am tired working full time, I am tired of finances that never quite cover all the bills, I am tired of making decisions, I am tired of laundry (aren't we all) and I think that for the first time ever I am truly  tired of doing it alone.

So in the interest of getting out of my pathetic moment (and the fact that I do not have the energy to rewrite something more upbeat) I will say this: I am fortunate to have a job, I am amazed that God has stretched what little I had to cover what I need, I am surprised I have not made more poor decisions (the potential was certainly there)....the laundry still makes me tired....and I know that I am not alone.

Yes, today I am tired but I am also grateful that God's promises are real and not I fully understand the meaning of Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Monday, January 28, 2013

One Word

What exactly is in a word?

word :[wurd]noun
1.a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning

There is power in the spoken word....they can be good or bad, positive or negative, helpful or hurtful...what we say and how we say it is as important as the interpretation of what we say. There is power in the written word. They can tell a story, convince us to take a stand, or provide us with's post is about a word, just one word.

I have found myself feeling somewhat scattered the past seems that my lists are simply too long..

I should do this...
It would great if I could....
____just needs to get finished...
If only....

I think you understand what I mean...I have so much that should or could get done, so many deadlines and wish lists that I felt nothing was actually getting accomplished. As I started the new year I wondered what it would bring, what did God want from me, how could I help my kids, what needed to happen at work or in my volunteer life....what about my friends and relationships?

The more thought I gave it, the more overwhelmed I became.

I decided that praying about how to continue would be a good idea and the word 'nothing' kept coming to mind. I never make resolutions but pick one 'word' each year in hopes of clarifying what I want to accomplish. Maybe that should be my word for the year? Nothing, hmm nothing....even though I understood what it might meant to me, it did not seem like a positive word to spend a full year focusing on...and it hit me...focus...FOCUS...I need to spend this year focusing on God or I will not accomplish any of the rather large challenges I have this year. I can do nothing without He who strengthens me....therefore I need to spend more time focusing on Him.

So my friends, that is my word, focus, it has already been helpful...I seem to remember the task at hand, I am getting more little projects done and out of my way, I have been able to carve out valuable time for my kids.  I have spent time with God while driving, walking & doing dishes. I feel as though I am accomplishing so much more than I was at the end of last year...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Salad in a Jar

Well since a few of you have asked, I will post about my newest obsession...salad in a jar!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love when I saw this I cool idea I thought it may be fun to try it. As I looked closer, I found it was not only made in a jar but vacuum sealed to provide extra freshness...interesting...and that was when the obsession started.

How many could I make at once? How could I seal them without spending the money for a sealer that would take up most of my counter? What kind of salads could I make? Would fruit work too? How much time would it take? How would this turn out?

So I started to surf the net and found a few websites that gave some instruction and tips. I began looking for a small vacuum and after a couple weeks finally found a hand held vacuum at Bed Bath & Beyond for $20, although I was not sure it would work the sales clerk assured me it could be returned if it did not do what I wanted it to so I made my purchase and headed to MCC for some 'new' jars. A quick trip to the store for new seals, a roll of electrical tape, the fixings for salad and I was ready to try this at home!!

I have to tell you that this worked better than I thought....brilliant actually. I spend a short amount of time chopping my veggies and lettuce (using a salad spinner to ensure the lettuce was dry) and started to fill my jars.

1) I started by putting the salad dressing on the bottom, and then began layering --starting with the heartier veggies or fruit--working my way up to the lettuce on top. I did a couple with dill dressing, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, leftover salmon and lettuce.....I did a couple with blackberry dressing, pears, grapes, walnuts, goat cheese and then lettuce...I did some with yogurt, salsa, beans, peppers, cheese and lettuce...I also did a few jars of lettuce only as they will last longer. I did however have fun adding different ingredients to each jar as I prepared my lunches. When they were full I cleaned up the counter and started the next step in the process.

2) I put the lids on each jar, took a clean push pin and carefully poked a hole in the center of each one...yes, I put a hole in here was the part that I was not sure about but it worked!!

Cover the hole lightly with a small piece of electrical tape--if you put it on tightly, the process won't work--and place vacuum over it until sealed. (As the air is sucked our, it sucks down the tape creating a seal).

3) After about 1/2 hour, fill your fridge with numerous jars of wonderful fresh salad. Easy to store, easy to grab, cheaper than going out, better than Wendy's....I may skip putting the dressing in next time as it is just as easy to use it directly from the fridge but it is still super healthy and contains all the the stuff I like!

So there you have it, my new obsession that saves time and money.

Here are few tips from the sites I visited:
  • tomatoes do not last well so if you want to use them cherry or grape tomatoes are recommended
  • cucumber does not keep well and is best added to salad the day of
  • mushrooms last well for a couple of days while the lettuce will keep for up to 10 days depending on freshness when packaged (you can do a few of straight lettuce for use later in the week)
  • broccoli is wonderful but should be blanched in order to keep the smell factor down, there is a technical reason for this but you will have to find that yourself
If the jar does not seal:
  • Try a smaller piece of electrical tape.
  • Tape may be too tightly adhered to the lid before you start to pump. Remove and replace with a light touch.
  • The lid may not be sealing the jar completely. Twist-on lids are the most frequent offenders.