Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Cascading Grace ~ a Poem for a New Year

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Snow is glistening ~ a beautiful sight,
It sparkles like diamonds in the light.
My children delight in winter’s magic,
No flakes on their pink tongues would be tragic.

Memories of kids unwrapping gifts, before
Red stockings and toys are strewn on the floor.
Turkey bones now boiling, bread dough's rising,
My kitchen’s in need of some revising.

But, I steal moments to think back in time,
Reminiscing of this past year, sublime.
On this eve of another year so new,
Look back, see our blessings are far from few.

The memories aren’t all good, don’t be na├»ve,
We’ll savour them all, on this New Year’s eve.
We have much to give thanks for, don’t you see?
Grace upon grace has been poured out for me!

In my journal, I survey things I wrote,
Many wee blessings were worthy to note.
Over 1000 gifts in twenty twelve,
Thanks to the Giver, in this I did delve.

Why, you may ask do I look back to see
This part of the journey laid out for me?
I recall the past events of this year;
They remind me how my God is so near.

This! This! It is the snowflake that glistens
On her lash, and their laughter. I listen.
It is the daily bread on which we feed,
The Bread of Heaven who knows all my need.

Skating on ice, walks on the lake, the heat
Of the wood stove, snow quincy, coffee sweet.
The warmth of my boy snuggled up to read,
Love notes, a meal for a sister in need.

Love of a lifetime, and chai tea with spice,
Notes from my son, my daughter’s help, so nice.
A bright day to celebrate, rings in ears,
Learning to surrender all of my fears.

His hands, His feet, the sun every morning,
New life, peace that passes understanding.
Making love a verb, the goodness of God,
Fingers dancing on the piano, awed.

Routines, relationships, redemption, rest,
Sharing my testimony of hope, blessed
With active children, beautiful sunsets,
Morning walks, whipped cream on berries, rosettes.

Serving together and a week at camp
Elders who care, tanned children, hair damp.
Beauty of songbirds, sand between my toes,
Precious time in the early, dark shadows.

Freedom in Christ, read alouds, quiet time,
The hammock, swings, fresh sheets off the clothes line,
Peas in the garden, little golden locks,
Crystal Lake, stars at midnight on the dock,

Potty training, picnics, a new baby,
Watching the moon rise, medical hist’ry
All those years ago when I was just three.
By His amazing grace, I’ve been set free.

Little ones counting, playing hide and seek,
Monday mornings, a start to a new week.
Strength from the Lord, hope in difficulty,
Messiness of life made into beauty.

Steadfast love, mercies every morning new.
Daughter 11, my little one 2.
My son, seven this year, on Halloween.
He likes his pumpkin pie with out whipped cream.

Watching caterpillars transform into
Beautiful butterflies, away they flew.
Phone calls from doctors, trips to the city,
Medical tests, and no heart surgery.

Sharing my story ~ the work He’s begun,
All the help I’ve received, I am undone.
I have been blessed in extravagant ways,
It speaks of His love. I give Him my praise.

Walking through autumn leaves, tea with a friend,
13 years together ~ honoured to spend
life this way, being held by my husband.
My weakness, His strength; in wonder I stand.

And now this year is drawing to a close,
We look to the cradle, the cross, He rose.
He who gave His own Son that we might live,
Will He not also all things graciously give.

I don’t know what twenty thirteen will bring,
To His cascading grace surely I cling.
With thanks I look past as trust it will build,
To live by faith in His promise fulfilled.


*************

Happy New Year from our family to Yours!


{linked with}



Monday, December 24, 2012

A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord

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But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.


Waiting,

Preparing . . . Telling . . . Praising.

Treasuring,

Pondering,

Adoring,

Christ.

The Incarnate,

Word became Flesh,

Immanuel, God with us,

Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord.


Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!











Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peace Came into the Darkness

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I’ve sat down a number of times to tap out a few words. In this day when it seems everyone has something to say and post and tweet, I came up with nothing. My fragile heart was broken over the loss of the innocent children in Newton, Connecticut.

I realized I was stuck. Stuck in a grief that goes way back to my own suffering as a child. I recognize the pain and grief in my siblings who have had to say good-bye to their babies. I share in the grief of losing a family member to a mental illness.

It seems this type of tragedy causes many people to turn introspective.

How many people hugged their children tighter on Friday night and enjoyed their childish antics more just because we could. We still had our child(ren) at home, safe in our arms. But, to me, it didn’t seem right to boast about this privilege when so many parents felt the excruciating pain of their loss.

The suffering and death of children doesn’t seem right. No one can make sense of it.

When I was diagnosed as a two year old with cancer my parents were not given a lot of hope. Pediatric cancers are rare and make up only about 1 percent of cancer cases. The odds of getting the type of cancer I was diagnosed with, undifferentiated sarcoma, was less than six in a million. They say that one out of three people, including children, diagnosed with sarcoma will not survive the cancer.

My parents wrestled with the whys? My mother questioned why her daughter was one of the ones to suffer from this wretched disease? {I now wonder why I was one that was able to survive it.}

The doctors would give her pep talks on the value of life and the importance of carrying on with the treatment in order to survive. It is not that she did not value the life of her child, but she was looking to a hope that was greater than the doctors could give.

Are there any words really that can be given in this time of grief?

Many are looking for peace, but it seems elusive in this dark world.

From the heart of man comes evil. From the evil comes decay.

Peace came into the darkness than we might have hope.


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It is only the second year we, as a family, have lit the advent wreath. We do not come from a liturgical church background and we recognize that we do not need customs to live a life of faith by grace alone. But, as we intentionally set disciplines in place in our family, we celebrate the coming of the Messiah. We remind ourselves that Christmas is more that bright lights and tasty treats and wrapping and unwrapping presents.

We light three candles and say together before our meal:

“And may the Lord’s peace be with us all.”

“Our hope is in the coming of the Lord.”

The only One who can help the human heart is the Prince of Peace. The Word who became flesh. At the right time he came and dwelt among us.


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God with us. Emmanuel. That he might suffer

That He might offer up a peace offering. Himself. On a tree made into a cross.

That we might have hope.

The are really no words that will take away the pain and suffering and fill us real peace and hope.

Only the Word. Jesus the Messiah, the One who ‘will save his people from their sins."


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A Holy Experience




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Take Delight Tuesdays ~ Sick Days

Just a moment some time in my week that I have captured. That I have carefully pondered the goodness of the Lord and delighted in it.

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Waking up on a Monday morning with that feeling of knives cutting into my throat
and head all congested.
Husband getting up with the children and getting their breakfast
and then bringing me a coffee in bed.
Kids finding out that it is an ‘ice day’ and that the buses have been cancelled
and even though we educate at home they can participate in the neighbourhood road hockey game,
go for a walk with the neighbours, and play at the park for a while
and then come in and do their math and reading and piano and handwriting.
It is a slow, quiet day.
A perfect day for a sick day ~ on an ‘ice day’.


Take delight in the great works that the Lord has done! All the works of the Lord are great ~ even the little things that He has done are great. Ponder the moments that speak of our Creator, Saviour, Redeemer, and Gracious Lord. It is these works that cause us to turn our delight to the Lord and to give thanks to the Lord with our whole hearts.

On Tuesdays, I will just unwrap a moment that I have taken delight in. A moment that has turned my heart to my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

Will you join me?

Come, take delight in the gracious works of the Lord?

Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and
praise the Lord and give thanks.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Standing Still while Still Standing


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“Don’t just do something, stand there.”

It’s a quote from Madeleine L’Engle’s book, ‘Two-Part Invention: The Story of Marriage’. She shares her joys and difficulties of her married life. She wrote the book during the time of her husband’s illness with cancer.

It’s funny that when health is not what it should be we feel that we should be able to ‘do something’.

A doctor told me just that very thing last week. She told me that she and her team want to be able to do something for me, but they can’t. My problems with my heart and lungs are mechanical and there is nothing that can be done to fix them at this point.

There are a few things I can do that can make life a bit easier, but they can’t do anything for me right now.

They tell me, once again that I am a special case, that I am unique, that I don’t fit into the normal in the medical world.

It’s a lonely place.

I want to be able to do something to make it all go away, but I just need to stand here in this place.

It’s knowing that God is Sovereign.

It’s simply amazing the peace we have that even though they can’t do anything its ok. Not that it is easy to hear that or even easy to life within the limitations.

It’s His amazing grace and the gifts that He gives.

It’s resting it that grace and giving thanks even though I don’t understand.

~ meals that have been lovingly made for us
~ Mom coming to watch the children while at appointments
~ an amazing day together with the man of my dreams
~ advanced medical care
~ wise doctors
~ calls from family to check in on how the appointments went
~ loving friends
~ children who miss me when I am not with them
~ clear roads for the two and half hour trip to the hospitals
~ homemade Chicken soup after a long day
~ that He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why We Can Laugh in the Waiting

I was brushing her little white baby teeth. She was sitting on top of the counter and I was telling her to ‘open up’ and ‘spit it out’, when I looked up.

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I looked up a saw my own reflection in the mirror.

I did not like what I saw. I looked closer and realized that the lines I was examining now were etched in frown lines. I smiled and the lines disappeared. I frowned and there they were. I thought to myself that I really need to smile more. I realized that for the frown lines to be etched in I must be frowning a whole lot more than smiling.

I know I take myself too seriously too much of the time.

I let the mundaneness and the stresses of life dictate.

I have told the kids a thousand times to pick up their things or finish their work or come set the table and I huff and puff and mumble how nobody listens to me. The milk spills and the bills flow in wave upon wave and the washing machine breaks and my immediate thought is how inconvenient life can be. How it interferes with my plans.

I feel the weight of raising these children up right and fear that most of the time I am failing. I think that I need to be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, Christian. I think of the missing family member, and the marriage imploding, and the doctors telling me this week they can’t do anything with me and I just have to wait until I get really bad and start to faint and then they will see if they can fix my heart. And I say it, the tears welling up, that life's not fair, even though I know that it has nothing to do with fair.

With all this, how am I supposed to take myself lightly? When do I have time to smile, to laugh?

Oh, I really do love to laugh. It is just that the seriousness of life often takes over.

But, what about Abraham and Sarah. The writer of this post over at The Rabbit Room caught my attention with:
‘ . . . the joyful laughter of a couple who understand how outlandishly they have been blessed . . . They laughed sardonically when they heard the prediction. They laughed for joy when the prediction came true. So they named their boy “Laughter.”
I read this post just days after seeing my reflection in the bathroom mirror. And I recognized the truth that, yes, I take myself far too seriously.

The writer quotes G.K. Chesterton:
It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one’s self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do. . . . For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.
That’s me! It is easy to be heavy. It just comes naturally ~ the frown lines etched in skin reveal all.
How often I fail to see the hilarity of the Gospel in my life.
There’s a deep pleasure in the gospel that nobody talks about very much, and it is the pleasure of saying, “Oh, What a fool I have been! I was so sure I knew how this thing was going to turn out. I shaped my life around a foolish assumption that the world was telling me the truth about itself and my place in it. I was so wrong! Halleluiah! I lived in fear of things that had no power to harm me! I thought I had to exert my will and get my way! But now I don’t have to anymore. Halleluiah!”
I was/am nothing and yet, God by His unbelievable amazing grace has saved me. He called me ‘out of darkness into his marvelous light.’

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It is the season of waiting. We have so much to rejoice over. To laugh at the impossible because of a babe lying in a manger. God in a manger. God with us.
‘[T]he Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Oh, to laugh. To laugh like the 90 year old mother of nations. The mother who laughed at the prediction. And laughed again when the promise came true.

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I have more reason to laugh than to just change my frown lines into laugh lines.

God has done the impossible. The shoot has come from the stump of Jesse. The root out of dry ground. He knew mundane and He knew brokenness and pain. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

He has welcomed me into His kingdom.

He has told me to count it all joy . . .  when you meet trials of various kinds’ that the testing will develop perseverance to bring me to maturity.

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And so we wait.

Wait for the Greatest Advent ~ His coming again!

And in the waiting I will laugh!



joining up here today

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Take Delight Tuesdays ~ With Anticipation

Just a moment some time in my week that I have captured. That I have carefully pondered the goodness of the Lord and delighted in it.

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Here, this moment:
The beginnings of our Jesse Tree Journey.
Our fifth year of 
preparing our hearts for the coming.


Come take delight in the great works that the Lord has done! All the works of the Lord are great ~ even the little things that He has done are great. Ponder the moments that speak of our Creator, Saviour, Redeemer, and Gracious Lord. It is these works that cause us to turn our delight to the Lord and to give thanks to the Lord with our whole hearts.

On Tuesdays, I will just unwrap a moment that I have taken delight in. A moment that has turned my heart to my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

Come, will you join me?


Come take delight in the gracious works of the Lord?
Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and
praise the Lord and give thanks.



Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and praise the Lord.
A Soft Gentle Voice



Come back and link here with others. Join in the company of the upright and express His praise to others.



Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday: The Wonder of His Love {and Ladies and Chocolate}


It’s Friday. I now look forward to this Five Minute Friday challenge with Lisa-Jo to write five minutes on a topic with many others around the globe. I stole five minutes this morning after my shower while my hair was still wet and wrapped in a towel and scribbled down this post, but had to come back later to throw in some pictures and links.
Five Minute Friday

The prompt for this week is: Wonder


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‘The wonder of His love.’

I sang these words just last night.

I went home. Back home to the Church I grew up in; to the people. I went back for a ‘Ladies Night Out’.

After a dinner of tacos and reading our first ‘Jesse Tree Journey’ devotional for this season, I took my daughter and we drove almost an hour for this Christmas Ladies Night Out that involved chocolate, in fact, we made truffles. Oooh, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. It was goooooooood!

I facebooked an old friend late last night after she had posted a picture and made the comment on her photo: ’It was a wonderful night!’

Not just the chocolate. The people ~ women who held me as a babe, prayed for my wee body to be rid of cancer, friends I ran around the subway with 22 years ago on a youth group adventure, friends I have swelled with promise and grown babies with, women I have broken bread with, my own Mom, and my daughter.

The wonder of it all.

The message we were left to ponder. Oh, the slack-jaw wonder of this season that love has come down that we might have joy.

In His presence there is fullness of joy. And in this season of ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ that we might stop and take in the wonder of it all; that' ‘Joy to the world the Lord has come’.

That we might seek Him and find Him and love Him.

Oh, the wonder of His love!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Perfected Praise

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Her blond waves bounce as she whirls and swirls and sways

and her feet glide softly along the floor.

Her eyes reflect the joy that spills from deep within.

Her button lips murmur praise to the One who has created her in His own image.

Her little body moves rhythmically back and forth, in time with the music.

For over two years as we sing she has been in my arms,

close to my heart and we make graceful movements together.

As she stands on her own she lifts

her hand

her voice

her song

her praise

her worship

just as she was created to do.

And she teaches her Mama to abandon all that inhibits.


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‘. . . and said to Him, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?"’
Matthew 21:16




joining up here today

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Take Delight Tuesdays ~ With Laughs and Love

Just a moment some time in my week that I have captured. That I have carefully pondered the goodness of the Lord and delighted in it.

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Here, this moment.
A quiet restful Sunday afternoon together as a family,
sipping hot apple cider, preparing for the Christmas season.
And a boy who picks up the camera to shoot his Daddy lovin’ his Mama.



Come take delight in the great works that the Lord has done! All the works of the Lord are great ~ even the little things that He has done are great. Ponder the moments that speak of our Creator, Saviour, Redeemer, and Gracious Lord. It is these works that cause us to turn our delight to the Lord and to give thanks to the Lord with our whole hearts.


On Tuesdays, I will just unwrap a moment that I have taken delight in. A moment that has turned my heart to my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

Come, will you join me?

Come take delight in the gracious works of the Lord?

Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and
praise the Lord and give thanks.


A Soft Gentle Voice






Come back and link here with others. Join in the company of the upright and express His praise to others.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Thank You

Five Minute Friday


A Five Minute Friday Post. And the prompt is: 

Thank you

For life
For love

For salvation
For security

For faith
For future

For grace
For growth

For husband
For hearts

For cuddles
For children

For dreams
For daughters

For son
For Son

For family
For friends

For purpose
For peace

For truth
For time

For joy
For job

For words
For wonder

For notes
For news

For babies
For books

For kisses
For keeps

For Church
For community

For prayer
For power

For homes
For hope

For ALL things

I give You Thanks.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
( 1 Thessalonians 5:18)



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Take Delight Tuesdays ~ With Hobbit Holes

Just a moment some time in my week that I have captured. That I have carefully pondered the goodness of the Lord and delighted in it.

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*****

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Here, this moment.
A little boy who can’t get enough of the book his Daddy is reading to him.
So he makes himself a little hole and gathers his friends and treasures ~ including
his Bible and his own 25¢ copy of ‘The Hobbit’.


*****

Come, join me. Come take delight in the great works that the Lord has done. All the works of the Lord are great ~ even the little things that He has done are great. Ponder the moments that speak of our Creator, Saviour, Redeemer, and Gracious Lord. It is these works that cause us to turn our delight to the Lord and to give thanks to the Lord with our whole hearts.

On Tuesdays, I will just unwrap a moment that I have taken delight in. A moment that has turned my heart to my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

Will you join me? Come take delight in the gracious works of the Lord?
Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and praise the Lord.
A Soft Gentle Voice



Come back and link here with others. Join in the company of the upright and express His praise to others.




Monday, November 19, 2012

A Pilgrim of Eternity ~ A Prayer ~ Endless Thanks

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On a rainy day in November I scratch down #1000 for 2012.

I count these gifts; compose this gratitude list. I’ve done this on and off since 2008. At times, I jot the gifts down and remember. Other times, when panic pounces and anxiety ambushes I open my eyes wide and look for the endless gifts. Ann writes in her book, “The only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling…We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose–which emotion do we want to feel?” So I {try to} choose gratitude {most of the time}.

I turn the page and there in my journal I have pasted in these words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

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And I wonder how is it not good enough to just list the things I am thankful for. Don't I need to always give thanks to the Giver. Always remember that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." That the act of giving and the gift received is from the one who never changes ~ the eternal God.
"O Eternal God, though Thou art not such as I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands, yet grant me this day a clear conviction of Thy reality and power . . . give me grace to understand the world I cannot see or touch is the most real world of all . . .
For the power Thou hast given me to lay hold of things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
                                       I give Thee thanks, O God.
For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:
For the fullness of they glory outpoured in Jesus Christ:
                                       I give Thee thanks, O God.
I, a pilgrim of eternity, stand before Thee, O Eternal One. Let me not seek to deaden or destroy the desire for Thee that disturbs my heart. Let me rather yield myself to its constraint and go where it leads me. Make me wise to see all things to-day under the form of eternity, and make me brave to face all the changes in my life which such a vision may entail: through the grace of Christ my Saviour. Amen"
~ John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer

 
We boast, we glory in the one who is the Great I Am. 

I can boast because The Eternal One has made Himself known to me.

I can count His gifts, His grace because by His Spirit He has invaded my soul.

And for all the gifts that I see, oh, the marvellous wonder of all the gifts that by His power He has given to me of things unseen ~ the things eternal.

I search for things that are seen and unseen that I may give thanks to the One who practices steadfast love. And I keep practicing seeing and giving thanks for His steadfast love.


 




Friday, November 16, 2012

Sure to Stay

Writing with Five Minute Friday today. A community at Lisa-Jo’s, where people all over the world write for five minutes on one topic.

This week’s prompt is: Stay

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*****

The Pastor, on Sunday, he preached again from the Sermon on the Mount. This week it was the passage on divorce. He mentioned how even in the Church it has sadly become such a high statistic: that so many don’t ~ stay.

When it get’s tough they split. My heart aches for the ones that do.

This week my children popped in a 13 year old video and my eyes blurred as I stopped and watched for a few brief minutes. Watched as my beloved pledged his love, his faithfulness, his life to me.

We were talking, my beloved and I, as we were out at few weeks ago, our hands wrapped around warm mugs of hot chocolate, about how we have something rare. This love, this commitment we both have ~ secure to look deep in one another’s eyes and know.

Funny how the people laughed when the preacher said on Sunday that some are even wishing for death to escape their spouse. I want to grow old with mine.

It doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem fair somehow that I am the one told by a doctor in a paediatric cancer survivor clinic six months ago that my body is not going to age well. That I may not get to see a ripe old age.

And yet, maybe its not fair, but oh, I am filled with gratitude, that I am one that can look deep in my beloved’s eyes and be sure in his love, that he will stay ‘till death separates or Christ takes us home.


*****

Five Minute Friday
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