Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 31 . . . what really matters.

May 31st is no ordinary day for me. Of course, for most, the last day of May is just that...the day before glorious June - the Summer approaches! But for me, it is always a poignant memory-filled day, because my Dad was born on May 31, 1929.

Dad died in 1998, so you'd think I would be used to not hearing his voice on the telephone by now. For the most part, I am. But every so often, the strings of my heart are tugged, and I miss my dear old dad. (He never seemed old to me, though. He was always a busy, vibrant man, with people to see and places to go and things to accomplish. He died before he hit 70, so I suppose he never was old. Not really.)

Today I was helping a friend organize stuff for a massive garage sale. This friend used to own a restaurant, and she has a gift for decorating and making every special day or activity an EVENT. Over the years she amassed stuff to do just that: candles, clocks, antiques, baskets, knick-knacks, memorabilia, stoneware, pottery, gardening things, and so on. She has enough stuff to fill a 7,500 square foot space!

As we were going through each box, sorting the contents into categories, I could see that this friend has many memories of good times with loved ones. Most objects she looked at brought back a memory of an incident long ago, with her husband (now deceased) or her dad, or a close friend. Sometimes she hesitated as she thought about whether or not she wanted to keep something, but common sense prevailed. She is moving to a much smaller place, and she cannot keep everything.

I think about the memories I have of my dad, my mom, my grandparents, all gone... and I realize that I cannot keep everything. Memories fade. Objects get old and dusty, or rusty, or (worse!) musty, smelling of mold or mouse droppings. Even though some objects are special, they are all temporary, and really amount to nothing when you really think about it.

When I leave this life, I, too, will be going on to a very different place. Not smaller, but bigger than I can even imagine. Yet I won't need a thing. Not one item I own now, or may own in the future, will mean anything to me when I pass "beyond the veil". The only thing that will matter is Jesus.

Nothing else matters.

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Psalms 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I was featured on the Carnival!

I don't know why the button in the sidebar didn't work, but go here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Funny Story from April, 2005

Adeena sent me this anecdote about a shopping trip a few years ago:

We had two carts, one completely full and the other more than 3/4 full of groceries. Matt and I went off to look at the meat section, leaving Tiana (8 years old) guarding both of the carts. She was bored, she tells me, so she was letting her imagination run a bit. She piped up, in her clear little voice, and asked plaintively, "HOW am I going to pay for all this FOOD?"

She told me that all the adults in the area whipped their heads around and *stared* at her. She realized what they might be thinking, then said, quietly, "Oh, well, my mom can pay for it." LOL!!

She only told me that this morning. I wish I had seen the looks on all those adult faces!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Progress in Planting

The above pictures were taken at Creekside; however, I couldn't resist sharing the beauty.

Today we (the girls, Critter and I) went out and planted more of the garden. We planted zucchini squash, grape tomatoes, marigolds, beets, heirloom great white tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and two varieties of peppers. Whew! It's windy and warm...perfect for a thunderstorm. I think we'll need to cover the tomatoes tonight.

Before I came in, I sat on the stoop and prayed, asking God to bless our efforts. I am well aware that gardening is a lesson in the age-old question regarding Man's Responsibility and God's Sovereignty. God is in control of the seed, the soil, the temperature, the precipitation, and even the pests that can seek to destroy the crop. Man is in control (to a limited degree) of the tilling, the hoeing, the planting, the weeding, the watering, and the watching for pests. He must also be aware of the signs and the seasons, especially in Canada; for planting in January would be foolish!

Proverbs 24:27 Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.

Christians know and acknowledge that the Lord is Sovereign over all (and that makes us humble and thankful that He blesses us so abundantly) but we are also even more aware of our responsibility before God to work diligently, to persevere in hardship, to shun laziness and embrace productivity.

Proverbs 18:9 He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.
Exodus 34:21 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

I am thankful that we have this beautiful area in which to plant a garden. I am grateful to my boys and my husband for tilling and putting up the fence to keep the pesky critters (not my son, Critter!) out of the garden. I rejoice in the help I had today, because many hands make light work.

Psalms 77:12 I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.

Most of all, I praise my God, in Whom I will trust, because I know that in my labour, He is glorified, for I am doing what He created me to do.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

When doing anything according to His design, we are reflecting what God did, when He created the heavens and all their starry host, the world, and all that is on it, and the seas and all that is in them. That's why we take such pleasure in our creations, whether it's a drawing made by a four year old, or a garden coaxed out of a pile of dirt by a 50-something year old!

Hebrews 1:10 And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

Lord, may I continue to reflect just a little bit of Your glory. May this property be a little piece of heaven. And may You be pleased to bless our efforts, so we can bless others. In Christ, I pray. Amen.

Prayer on the Subject of the Scriptures

Inspired by the Valley of Vision, this is my prayer:

O God of love, I can only come before You because of your overwhelming good character. My sinful nature is a barrier that leaves You in unapproachable light, and leaves me wallowing in the dark of my depravity. Yet You have condescended to know me, and to allow me to know YOU. I don't know all about you…because You are perfect, and so high and so holy that you are unfathomable. Yet, I know You are good, full of mercy, ready to forgive - and that, only because of Jesus.

Your creation displays Your wisdom, power and goodness, and Your word reveals Your will. The Scriptures have been preserved through the centuries, translated into many different languages, published world-wide, and spread throughout the world, even on the internet, so that men may own copies of the Bible, and find You in them.

I see, in the Holy Scriptures, Your greatness and Your grace, Your pity for us miserable creatures, and Your rectitude - Your moral uprightness and perfect judgment of all your creatures. I see Your mercy and Your truth. I see the great contrast between Your Being and the hearts of men. Through Your word You have magnified Your name, and have blessed us with the good news of the gospel.

Have mercy on me, for I have not been grateful for the benefit of Your Holy Word, and although I have had the privilege of owning a Bible for most of my life, I have not studied it as I should. I have not memorized it, meditated on it, saturated my soul with it, as You have required. Have mercy on me, O Father. I have made light of spiritual things, disregarded Your commandments, and have fought against the good examples I see in the pages of Scripture.

I have ignored the rebukes of my conscience, the admonition of friends, and even the leadings of Providence, and I do deserve that Your kingdom be taken away from me. Lord, I confess my sin with feeling, with sorrow, with a broken heart and contrite spirit. I abhor my laziness, and condemn my apathy, and despair that I am so quick to stumble. Give me relief by Jesus, my only hope, because He is my All-Sufficient Saviour. Give me forgiveness through Jesus' blood and strength through His presence. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can be holy, for You are holy.

And let me love You with all my heart.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Creekside Camping

We just got back this evening from camping at my daughter's place up near Lake Huron. We had a great time! The weather was perfect, even though it was a bit cold last night.

We huddled by the fire. Here is a picture of Michael, who informed me that he is nearly four:

The kids had fun playing in the creek, but the greatest excitement was when Christopher came screaming across the lawn with all of the other kids chasing after him. He had not one, but TWO LEECHES. Salt was applied, and Jared pulled the leeches off. Whew!

Adeena and Jeff are blessed with a 112 acre farm. In the back of the farm is a ravine, and past that there's a beautiful creek bed. We went there and explored for a bit. We heard a crashing through the bush, and looked up to see a doe running along the top of the ravine on the other side of the creek. I was in awe at the beauty of this deer, so close...and forgot to snap a picture.

But here are some pics of the area:

Jared looking down at the ravine:

Patrick standing by the creek in the flat area below.

Adeena, Jeff, Jared and Daniel discussing the beauty of the area; dreaming big!

Daniel holding Ava...but she really wanted to go back to Mommy!

Family time is always special. We'll be heading back to Creekside in June.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


This is from the new Webster's dictionary online. Read the second definition of marriage.

Main Entry:mar·riage

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
Date: 14th century


a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law

(2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage marriage>

b: the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock

c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage

2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities

3: an intimate or close union marriage of painting and poetry — J. T. Shawcross>

Compare that to the 1828 definition of marriage:

MAR'RIAGE, n. [L.mas, maris.] The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity,and for securing the maintenance and education of children.

Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Heb.13.

1. A feast made on the occasion of a marriage.

The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage for his son. Matt.22.

2. In a scriptural sense, the union between Christ and his church by the covenant of grace. Rev.19.

Since time began and since God created male and female, the definition of marriage has been the same: the union of one man and one woman, until death should part them.

It grieves me to think that our culture has accepted another definition, because it is one that defies God and His design for the humans He created.

Be not deceived, folks; God is not mocked. One day, He will hold us accountable for the things we do and the things we say. Before redefining an institution such as marriage, it behooves us to take a good look at the consequences. Look back at history; look forward to the ramifications of this change.

Many have written on this subject far more eloquently than I, so that's all I have to say about this subject. I am thankful that I have been married to one man since 1973. I am also thankful that in my definition of marriage, there is no room for anything apart from that which God designed. My sons will marry women; my daughters will marry men. They will bear children and raise them to think the same way they do. And God will be glorified!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Stacy MacDonald put this video onto her blog, and I had to embed it on mine, too. It is truly amazing to see what one family has done on 1/5th of an acre in California.

The website is here: The Path to Freedom

We have nearly three acres, and this year we will be raising 130 meat chickens. We have 6 baby ducklings that just hatched. We have been planting our garden, and so far, we have onions and garlic coming, plus romaine lettuce. Tomorrow I plan to plant our tomatoes and peppers, and a zucchini plant.

We also want to put corn and potatoes into the field.

I have been praying that God will bless our efforts to become more and more self-sufficient. The food we raise ourselves is not only more nutritious, because it doesn't have to travel 100's of miles in a truck, but it is more satisfying, because we've put the "sweat of our brows" into it!

I know we don't live in California, and we have a much shorter growing season, but I am hoping to grow plenty of our own food this year.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Held Together by His Power

Colossians 1:9 ¶ For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
12 ¶ giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

The ESV and NIV put it this way:

He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

I am always astounded to see how things seem to come together. For instance, I have been teaching the children about American slaves and how they suffered before Abolition. We studied George Washington Carver and marveled at how this gentle man set his heart on learning, and did what he had to do to get a good education.

The other day, we just happened to rent a movie (The Great Debaters) that portrayed some of the indignities suffered by blacks less than a hundred years ago. Then today, Christopher's curriculum just happened to mention Harriet Tubman, the feisty ex-slave who led many to safety on the Underground Railroad. I have a book called "Stories of Real Adventurers" which featured Harriet Tubman. We looked her up in our old World Book encyclopedia, then on the internet, beginning with Wikipedia. Tomorrow, the children will be writing a report on Harriet.

I don't question that God orders our steps, even down to the details of our little homeschool. It is a joy to praise Him for daily provision even in this small thing.

We don't question that God has a plan for us in regard to every aspect of our lives. He is in control of the minutest detail, and because we trust in Him, we take comfort in this fact.

So, we observe that the Lord allowed our truck to break down in February, putting us further in debt. We had no choice but to replace the engine on the truck, so we could keep on servicing our customers.

We notice that the Lord ordained that now is the time that our neighbour decided to buy the farm from his dad, requiring us to have a new well dug on our own property.

This morning, we were reading the Bible together in our family devotions, and what jumped out at me was this:

Romans 15:
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
5 ¶ Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 ¶ Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,
9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name."
10 And again he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!"
11 And again: "Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!"
12 And again, Isaiah says: "There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope."
13 ¶ Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Although we read three chapters together, this was the portion of Scripture that jumped out at me. I kept on reflecting on this passage throughout the day. It is in Christ I hope. It is in Him I rejoice. I only have hope because of His finished work on the cross, which has reconciled me to the Father, and it only by the power of the Holy Spirit that I can see this blessed hope. Without Him, I would be blind, lost, without hope and without Christ in this world.

It is no coincidence that today my husband was told that our financial situation and employment might be completely devastating by the end of next month. God knew that I needed to read and meditate on this passage that reminds me that in HIM I have hope.

So, I love it when a plan comes together. I love to see God's plan unfolding before my very eyes. I have no idea what is in store or what trials we may have to face. But I do know that my God shall supply all of our needs according to His riches in grace, by Christ Jesus. I know that He will never, ever leave me, nor will He forsake me. I know that He knows the plans He has for me, and that they are plans to prosper me, and not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future.

My God is better than the A-Team. He is in perfect control. Of everything. He is in control of the smallest details of an obscure homeschool in rural Ontario; He is in control of the decisions made in boardrooms of corporations in the urban metropolis. He has a plan, and it will all come together, according to His will.

Ah, I love it when HIS plan comes together!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Clutter Cure

In my ongoing quest to be organized, I checked a book, The Clutter Cure by Judi Culbertson, out of the local library. It promised to teach me "Three Steps to Letting Go of Stuff, Organizing Your Space & Creating the Home of Your Dreams".

Judi is good at making the reader ask important questions of herself to determine why she keeps so much stuff. There is a lot of emotional baggage attached to our things. Sometimes they remind us of someone we love, or even more poignant, loved and lost. Sometimes they produce guilt if we contemplate getting rid of the things. We keep them because we just know that Great Aunt Nelly loved them - and it doesn't matter that we don't particularly like those things much, ourselves.

I am taking a good look around my house to see what I hold onto that is weighing me down. There are many things that just take up space and don't really give me pleasure anymore. They just end up being one more thing that needs to be dusted or cleaned.

Today I went through my closet, again, and rid myself of two green garbage bags full of clothing that was either outdated, or didn't fit properly, or was stained or damaged in some way. I have to coerce my husband into sorting his own things, with my help, but I know that won't happen any time soon. I'll have to set a and promise him great rewards!

In The Clutter Cure, Step One, Judi has added some worksheets - "Stuff Lists" - that force the reader to evaluate what items she is holding onto because they are perfectly good (but does she really need them?) or because they were free, or a 'good deal' (but would she replace the items if they were lost in a fire?) or because they are 'evidence' (part of her personal history that she might need some day, or want to remember - but can a picture be taken of the evidence and displayed in an album or on a wall?). Judi has a whole worksheet on paper items - bills, magazines, newspapers, books, flyers, etc. , and another one on sentimental items. She gives plenty of samples of "self-talk" you can use to remind yourself why you simply don't want to hang onto the items, but leaves the final statement up to you. For example, "When you are struggling to let go of items like these in the future, you can tell yourself: _____________________. She leaves plenty of fill-in-the-blank spaces for your own ideas, thus personalizing the method to the reader.

Step Two is Assessment. What would your dream bedroom look like? Your bathroom? Your kitchen? Judi encourages her readers to assess and evaluate, so they can de-clutter and plan the home they really want to live in.

Step Three is A Call to Action. Once the reader has filled out the stuff lists and decided what items she wants to dispose of, all that remains is to DO it. Judi includes suggestions of where to donate specific items, and gives clear instructions about selling things through Ebay, for instance.

I followed the links she gave to a couple of websites. If you want to be horrified, go to
Squalor Survivors and explore. I followed a couple of links and watched videos of people who simply can't throw things away. One of the sites was called Children of Hoarders, and it was horrifying to see how some people have let this compulsion to keep things ruin their lives.

Luke 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 "And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 "So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 ‘And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."‘

20 "But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

22 ¶ Then He said to His disciples, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.
23 "Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 "And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 "If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?

27 "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 "If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 "And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 "For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

A lot of people hoard because they fear the future: "I might need this some day. What if there is a downturn in the economy?" Yet God is in control of the future.

People hoard because they need evidence that they are special, that they are important. Yet God is the One who knows us through and through, and loves us enough that He sent His Son to die in our place.

People hoard because they want lots of stuff - it makes them feel powerful. Yet in the end, we take nothing with us. Better that we should live in a peaceful, calm, organized environment that frees us to serve the Lord in various ways, than to be occupied with building storehouses for our many possessions.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Great Debaters

I'm not one to do movie reviews much, but we sat and watched this movie today, and it bears mentioning. You can see videos here: The Great Debaters

I checked Wikipedia, and learned that it is loosely based on a true story. Although the real debaters never actually debated Harvard, they did win a victory against another established school.

The film is a good one to watch to raise awareness in your teens of the racism that was rampant in the South in the beginning of the last century. The bus scene near the beginning of the film pans down the bus, clearly showing the whites in the front of the bus and the blacks in the back.

Another lesson is that being well-read is important. In order to be articulate in speech and writing, you must read a wide variety of literature, including poetry, plays, the classics, and of course the Bible. Commit great quotes to memory. They will come to mind when you need them.
"As Charles Spurgeon once said,
"The man who never reads will never be read;
he who never quotes will never be quoted.
He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains,
proves that he has no brains of his own."
There is a clear depiction of the bullying that was experienced by Negroes at the hands of the poor white sharecroppers, when a Preacher was forced to pay an exorbitant amount to a farmer for a pig killed on the road accidentally. The preacher, played by Forrest Whittaker, was willing to be cheated and humiliated rather than to let his family be harmed. There was courage in the acceptance of the humiliation, in some ways, even though his son didn't see it.

After witnessing a lynching, the debate team suffered a great deal, emotionally. One of the men reacted by drinking and partying (caveat: there are a couple of scenes with women that should be avoided by using the fast-forward). However, in the end, they rallied and worked tirelessly to win the debate.

I haven't lived with racism as people in the South have experienced it. I do remember being in the minority, growing up in a small Quebec town where there were only 6 English-speaking families. I remember some strife and misunderstanding, especially around the time of the FLQ crisis. However, the prejudice I experienced was minimal. I spoke fluent French and often fooled my peers. I could hide my identity - whereas blacks cannot hide their skin colour.

The Bible predicts the enmity of the last days:

Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

We fear what we do not know, and we don't like things that are different. We are most comfortable with people like ourselves. Yet God says in His word, He will redeem people from every nation.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

There is no room for prejudice in God's economy. We are all from Adam, so we are all brothers and sisters. The genome project made that clear, too.

It's good to understand how racism flourished in the past, so we can avoid it in the future. And this movie, The Great Debaters, helped us understand it better.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The stuff of life.

We were supposed to be camping this weekend, but the weather forecast called for cold AND rain. I can handle cold. I can handle rain. But I can't cope with both in a camping situation, especially not when I don't really have to.

Last year, when we were at Camp de la Joie in Quebec City, it poured buckets one night. The children that were sleeping in the tent found themselves in the middle of a lake by the next morning. I have pictures of the makeshift clothesline we fashioned by stringing a rope between Adeena's van and my van!

Anyway, that was a necessity, because we were a day's travel from home. However, the camping we were planning to do was to be within a half hour of my nice, warm, cozy bed. The warm bed won over the adventure of camping. We'll do that later.

So, today turned into a cleaning day. My oven needed attention, so I sprayed it and began to scrub. I was able to do the door without much problem, but found that I could not scrub the sides or the top or the back of the oven without a great deal of pain. This neck problem that began with a car accident on February 8 last year has not resolved itself, even after more than a year has gone by. Patrick came to my rescue and finished the oven.

I had all of the children scrubbing baseboards - another job I found impossible to do. Then, later in the morning, I had Daniel and Linda clean the ceiling fan in the kitchen. I cannot look up long enough to do that job. They were great, though, and they had it done in less time than I would have taken.

After our deep cleaning of the kitchen, the kids headed to the pool for public swim. They met Heather and the entire gang, who were there to celebrate Quinlan's 8th birthday.

Linda and I stayed home, relishing the peace and quiet. We did a little bit of net-surfing, but the rest of the time was spent in doing other jobs around the house. After the kids got back from swimming, we all went outside to do yard work. I emptied the pond, which needs a good cleaning. Elena discovered that we have 7 baby ducklings! Elena and Tiana closed the ducks and geese into a pen to keep them from my pond. Linda installed a brick walkway circling the far side of the pond. Daniel mowed. Patrick helped me with odd jobs.

As the day drew closer to evening time, Tiana and Elena went inside to make supper while the rest of us finished our projects. Rick and Jared got home just when supper was ready!

When I think back on this day, I realize that it's the little things that matter. We accomplished so much more than a clean oven, a clean kitchen, clean baseboards and a clean fan. We worked together all day. We built relationships. We had fun together, both at the swimming pool and at home or on the truck.

This is the stuff of life. And it's all good.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Adeena finally did it! She entered the world of blogs. It's about time. She is the mother of four of the most beautiful children on the face of the earth. Also, she is a multi-talented person. She cooks. She organizes. She plans. She is a typical first born. And to top it all off, she's MY firstborn, which makes it all the more special.

So, I am a happy camper this evening.

I was actually supposed to be camping at Jeff and Adeena's Creekside Camping this holiday weekend, but the Lord saw fit to send rain and cold and misery our way. So, no camping yet. But it won't be long until we haul our little trailer up to Creekside and join in the fun.

Check it out here: Creekside Camping

By the way, I have a secret surprise for you, Adeena. Ask me about it on Sunday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

When is a Joke Not a Joke?

The following anecdote made me ponder that question:

At a homeschool moms' fellowship last night a friend shared
what happened to her at church on Mother's Day. The pastor
said they had an award for the mother with the most children.
My friend has the most children in her congregation - five.
They called her to the front of the church and told her that
her award was a "Kentucky Birth-Control Kit," and then they
gave her a baseball bat. She was so humiliated.
I am sure that the pastor meant that little display to be humorous. However, it is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, the mom was humiliated, on the very day of the year that is supposed to be a mom's special day. Secondly, it was done publicly, adding to the shame of the moment. The third, and worst thing about this little "joke", in my opinion, was that it failed to view children as the treasures they truly are - gifts from the Hand of God.

Our family likes to joke. We tease each other. We share stories about family foibles. We crack jokes about "half-wits" or Newfies or blondes (and I fit into two of those categories; some days my hubby would claim I fit all three!). We have no problem with self-deprecation.

However, there is a huge difference between cracking a joke or teasing someone and the kind of public humiliation this poor woman had to endure in front of her entire church.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Cost of Motherhood

Being a mother is my greatest personal blessing, or as Charlotte the Spider from Charlotte's web said, "it's my magnum opus - my great work". Most of the time, it's a joy to be a mom. I love to see the happy smiles of my children, from the younger ones to the married ones. I miss them when I am away from them, or when they are away from me. They are always on my mind. I desire that they would grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord, and I pray that God will use them for His glory.

There are times when motherhood is discouraging, though. When I have to tell my kids for the thousandth time to make their beds or put that load of laundry away, I wonder if they'll ever get it. When I have to listen to both sides of an argument, and both kids are upset and are certain that they are right and their sibling is wrong, and unfair, and unkind, it takes great patience and much wisdom. I feel my own weakness in times like that.

And that's when I cry out to God. I cast my cares on Him. I repent for the wrong attitudes I still hang on to, and for the lack of patience with which I treat my children. He is ever faithful.

Doug Phillips wrote the following:

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Motherhood: The Cost

Once a lady went to visit her friend. During the visit the children of the friend entered the room and began to play with each other. As the lady and her friend visited, the lady turned to her friend and said eagerly and yet with evidently no thought of the meaning of her words: “Oh, I’d give my life to have such children.” The mother replied with a subdued earnestness whose quiet told of the depth of experience out of which her words came: “That’s exactly what it costs.

There is a cost of motherhood. And the price is no small sum. And if you are not willing to pay this price, no amount of encouragement about the joys of motherhood will satisfy.

But the price of motherhood is not fundamentally different from the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christian mothers see their duty as mothers flowing from their calling to Jesus Christ. And what is this cost?

Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others. It means standing beside your husband, following him, and investing in the lives of children whom you hope will both survive you and surpass you. It means forgoing present satisfaction for eternal rewards. It means investing in the lives of others who may never fully appreciate your sacrifice or comprehend the depth of your love. And it means doing all these things, not because you will receive the praise of man — for you will not — but because God made you to be a woman and a mother, and there is great contentment in that biblical calling.

Great contentment, and great joy.

Proverbs 23: 24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bill C-51 -- Big Brother knows best, apparently.

OH, how the mighty have fallen! In the good old days, doctors were regarded with the utmost respect, and if the doc ordered it, you can be sure the patients would do it. There was no questioning of a doc's opinion. I remember the attitude of my parents' generation very well.

Mine is different, I have to say. I am a bit suspicious of the medical community. I know that many, many ( probably most) doctors and nurses are dedicated, passionate people. They care for their patients and desire to see the best for them. However, they don't necessarily know it all.

My doc is a bit leery of chiropractors, for instance. He'd far rather have sent me to physiotherapy after my accident. I chose to go to a chiropractor who really helped me, not only physically, but emotionally. She was there for me when I was discouraged about my slow progress. She cheered me on when I was taking two steps forward and one step back. She encouraged me to keep on moving, to keep on trying, and to see the progress I was making, however limited.

My doc doesn't understand homeopathy at all. Yet when he couldn't give me any good advice regarding the pain in my breast from the seatbelt injury, it was a homeopathic remedy that sped up the healing and took away the sharp, stabbing pain.

So, even though I appreciate my doctor's advice, I tend to look to other, alternative sources of information. Darn lucky (providential!) I did, because it was in so doing that I discovered, with help from my sister and my daughters, that I have celiac disease. Through reading and researching, I have found out what foods harm me and cause those many and varied symptoms I suffered from for many years.

I resent that the medical community never helped my mom, even though she attended her doctor's office regularly. They didn't ever put two and two together. They treated her symptoms, but never got the whole picture. So, instead of realizing that her gas, her bloating, her anemia, her seizures, her joint pain, her fatigue, her dark circles and her skin problems were a result of celiac disease, which could have been treated by a change of diet, they treated each of the symptoms separately. She died of cancer at only 65; so did my grandmother.

So, I am a fan of Natural Health Products. I like my naturopath. I appreciate the common sense of my chiropractor. I own the "Bible" of health nuts: Prescription for Nutritional Healing...and the advice therein has benefitted my family.

Which brings me to my point: I believe that Bill C-51 would be a detriment to Canadians. It would severely limit our options to seek alternative health care. It would deny me access to those supplements and remedies that have made a radical difference in my life.

I phoned the Prime Minister's office today. I phoned the Minister of Health and talked to his assistant. I phoned my own MP, Paul Steckle. And this is why:

In Canada Natural Health Products (NHPs) are endangered!

Under Bill C-51, Natural Health Products are subject to strict licensing requirements.
60% of these license applications have failed, and at least 75% are expected to fail. This means that 75% of the NHPs many Canadians rely upon could become illegal.

Bill C-51 will:

Outlaw nearly all NHPs
Criminalize the use of herbs
Favour drug/medical treatments
Ignore your constitutional rights
Impose U.S. laws on Canadians


Bill C-51 was introduced into the House of Commons on April 8, 2008.
The Bill is not law yet, but will become law unless Canadians act
quickly. It's essential to let key Members of Parliament know that:

  • you are opposed to the police state powers in Bill C-51
  • you want them to vote against Bill C-51
  • you want access to natural health products protected

Send a hand written letter to:

Your local member of parliament
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Tony Clement, the Minister of Health

You can send letters without postage to:

Name of person ie. Stephen Harper
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Stephen Harper's ph# (613) 992-4211 and (403) 253-7990
Tony Clement's ph# (613) 944-7740 and (705) 746-9053


For more info:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,
which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the
which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for
meat - Genesis 1:29.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sewing with the girls!

I have two sewing machines. One is my original, purchased 33 years ago. It's an Omega, with a zig-zag, straight stitch, button-hole, and a few "fancy" stitches. The other sewing machine is a
White, which is at least as old as my Omega. It was purchased at a garage sale for $35, and that included a solid cabinet.

I have been wanting to teach the girls to sew for quite some time. Today, I sat them down and had Linda read the manual for the White, pointing out all of the parts to the girls. Then, Linda hemmed a pair of shorts for Patrick, and I helped Tiana make a little bag out of the cut-offs.

Meanwhile, I was sewing a bag out of a couple of pairs of jeans. I had fun deciding how I was going to do it. It turned out fine, with pockets inside and out, because I added the backside of a second pair of jeans to the original shorts I was working with. I lined part of the inside of the bag with soft red satin. Tomorrow Daniel is going to cut a piece of plastic siding to fit into the bottom of the bag, so it has a more solid bottom. I'll cover the plastic with denim, too.

This is what it looks like (sorry they're sideways) :

The first one is the back of the bag:And this one is the front of the bag:

Monday, May 05, 2008

Becky Rides her Bike!

Becky is very proud of herself today. Her biggest brother, Justin, learned to ride his bike when he was 7. The next biggest brother, Ethan, learned to ride his bike when he was 6. But our little granddaughter, Becky, is only 5. And very, very proud of herself!

I told her mom not to tell them that she was only four. Wouldn't want to burst the bubble...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Laundry Room Disaster

As many of you know, I was blessed this winter by the son of a friend of mine. Joel worked long and hard to redecorate my laundry room. He fixed drywall holes, put in insulation, mudded, painted, laid a floor... all to my joy! Since then, doing laundry has been a pleasure.

I have rules posted so that the laundry room stays clean. The children know that they are not to throw things willy-nilly into my laundry room. They each have a basket in their rooms, and when the basket is full they are expected to carry it to the laundry room, wash and dry the contents, and put it all away. If they were to follow the rules, I would have a continually clean laundry room.

My laundry room is upstairs; I live downstairs. I only go up there once in a while, but when I do, I expect to see everything as I left it. I need a huge reality check.

I live with a bunch of children who happen to be sinners. They know what is right and good to do, but they forget, or sometimes they can't be bothered, or they are just too busy doing other good and valuable things, like cleaning the yard, studying math or history, or working with their dad.

Because of the above, my laundry room does not stay in the shining, glistening state that I want to see when I make the trek up the stairs. And every time I go up there, and see things out of place, I fume and fuss. It makes me angry. (Imagine the little green alien on Bugs Bunny...)

Today was one of those days. My older children were all off, either working, helping a sick older sister, or having a fun work bee type of day at a friend's house. To my dismay when I entered the laundry room, I found every surface cluttered with laundry - some folded, some not. I found socks on the floor, laundry baskets strewn about, and dirty laundry overflowing the hampers. ARRRGGGHHHH!!

I can tell you that it didn't make me happy to see that. I had just read a bit of Jim Elliot's journal, and was inspired by his desire to serve the Lord no matter what. The state of my laundry room caused me to grumble: "why do I have to do this work, mutter, mutter; why are my kids so lazy...grumble, grumble; how is my life going to count... groan, groan..." I phoned my daughter and vented, telling her that the state of the laundry room was unacceptable, and that she should pass that message on to her brothers.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit whispered to me as I shed tears, standing there furiously folding clothes that should have been put away as soon as they were taken from the dryer (one of my rules!). He graciously reminded me that I had two sweet children home with me, watching me, learning from my example. I didn't want to spoil their day. It's not often I am alone with my two youngest.

So, I prayed. I repented. I reminded myself that I, too, break the rules. I am lazy. I don't do everything I ought to do. Yet God graciously forgives me. He overlooks my failings. He sees me as a precious, chosen child of HIS. And if I have been forgiven so much, surely I can forgive others. After all, the ones I was angry with were those I love dearest - my precious family.

This poem says it better than I can:

I like to see a lovely lawn
Bediamoned with dew at dawn,
But mine is often trampled bare,
Because the youngsters gather there.

I like a spotless house and clean
Where many a touch of grace is seen.
But mine is often tossed about
By youngsters racing in and out.

I like a quiet house at night
Where I may sit to read and write.
But my peace flies before the tones
Of three brass throated saxophones.

My books to tumult are resigned,
In vain my furniture is shined,
My lawn is bare, my flowers fall,
Youth rides triumphant over all.

I love the grass, I love the rose,
And every living thing that grows.
I love the books I ponder o’er,
But oh, I love the children more!

And so unto myself I say:
Be mine the house where youngsters play!
Oh, little girl, oh healthy boy,
Be mine the house which you enjoy!

by Edgar A. Guest

“Where no oxen are, the trough is clean. But much increase comes by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4

At the end of the day, I have to say, I love the children more. More than a clean laundry room, more than a washed floor, more than a spotless yard. And I am thankful to say that we'll start the next week with a clean laundry room. The little ones helped me do eight loads of laundry today! They cheered my heart with their willing work and happy smiles. I am truly blessed.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Water! A new Well!

Our farmer neighbour stopped by a week ago to tell us that he is buying the farm that surrounds our property from his dad. This farm used to be part of the property we now own, and when our little piece of land was severed off from the farm, the well ended up on their land. We paid for the use of the water for a few years after we moved in, then disaster struck! One day, when we arrived home from Rick's mom's funeral, we discovered we had no water. The farmer wasn't willing to do anything about it, so we made arrangements to get the water mainline dug up and replaced. That was a very expensive proposition at the time. We've used that water (from the neighbour's well) ever since.

So, Mr. Farmer (alias) dropped by last week to tell us that his lawyer informed him that the supplying of water to a neighbour was a litigation waiting to happen. The lawyer told him to cut us off.

We can't blame our neighbour. Ever since the Walkerton tragedy, where contaminated water caused death and hospitalization to a few people, Ontarians have been very cautious about their water supply. Wells have been decommissioned, and new wells dug. And farmers who supply their neighbours have simply stopped doing so, just in case something would go wrong.

So, we called the well guy, and he arrived today. The kids were fascinated with the huge equipment, and wanted to know how things worked. Did you know that the drilling process begins with water? They also use air under pressure! And here I thought the drill would be made of diamonds. Shows how little I know.

I'm not sure how deep he had to go, but he was out there for hours. Apparently we have good water, and lots of it. It is not yet connected to the house, because, in spite of much digging, the boys haven't found the main pipeline yet. I do hope they'll find it tomorrow. I can't wait to take a shower with a bit more water pressure than the slow trickle I am used to!

Of course, all of this thinking about the necessity of water has brought me to consider Christ, who is the Living Water:

Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Jesus gives of the fountain of the water of life freely! This One Who is the beginning and the end, who is Omnipotent God, died on the cross that I may live.

I love the story of the Samaritan woman who comes to the well during the dusty heat of the day. When Jesus asks her for a drink of water, she is incredulous. How can you, a Jew, speak to me, a Samaritan AND a woman?

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Matthew Henry comments,
"Jesus begins with a modest request for a draught of water: Give me to drink. He that for our sakes became poor here becomes a beggar, that those who are in want, and cannot dig, may not be ashamed to beg. Christ asked for it, not only because he needed it, and needed her help to come at it, but because he would draw on further discourse with her, and teach us to be willing to be beholden to the meanest when there is occasion. Christ is still begging in his poor members, and a cup of cold water, like this here, given to them in his name, shall not lose its reward."

Jesus needed the water because He, Who created the entire universe (including every drop of water) and sustained it moment by moment, was willing to subject Himself to dwelling in a body, experiencing fatigue and hunger and thirst. He did that for our sake. He asked the woman for a drink for her sake.

Matthew Henry continues:
He assures her what he would have done for her if she had applied to him:

“He would have given thee (and not have upbraided thee as thou doest me) living water.”

By this living water is meant the Spirit, who is not like the water in the bottom of the well, for some of which he asked, but like living or running water, which was much more valuable. Note:

(a.) The Spirit of grace is as living water; #Joh 7:38. Under this similitude the blessings of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament, #Isa 12:3; 35:7; 44:3; 55:1 Zec 14:8. The graces of the Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, that knows its own nature and necessity.

(b.) Jesus Christ can and will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him; for he received that he might give.

Secondly, That the living waters he would give should yield a lasting satisfaction and bliss, #Joh 4:14. Christ’s gifts appear most valuable when they come to be compared with the things of this world; for there will appear no comparison between them. Whoever partakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the everlasting gospel,

a. He shall never thirst, he shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul’s desires; they are longing, but not languishing. A desiring thirst he has, nothing more than God, still more and more of God; but not a despairing thirst.

b. Therefore he shall never thirst, because this water that Christ gives shall be in him a well of water. He can never be reduced to extremity that has in himself a fountain of supply and satisfaction. (a.) Ever ready, for it shall be in him. The principle of grace planted in him is the spring of his comfort; #Joh 7:38. A good man is satisfied from himself, for Christ dwells in his heart. The anointing abides in him; he needs not sneak to the world for comfort; the work and the witness of the Spirit in the heart furnish him with a firm foundation of hope and an overflowing fountain of joy. (b.) Never failing, for it shall be in him a well of water. He that has at hand only a bucket of water needs not thirst as long as this lasts, but it will soon be exhausted; but believers have in them a well of water, overflowing, ever flowing. The principles and affections which Christ’s holy religion forms in the souls of those that are brought under the power of it are this well of water.

[a.] It is springing up, ever in motion, which bespeaks the actings of grace strong and vigorous. If good truths stagnate in our souls, like standing water, they do not answer the end of our receiving them. If there be a good treasure in the heart, we must thence bring forth good things.

[b.] It is springing up unto everlasting life; which intimates,

First, The aims of gracious actings. A sanctified soul has its eye upon heaven, means this, designs this, does all for this, will take up with nothing short of this. Spiritual life springs up towards its own perfection in eternal life.

Secondly, The constancy of those actings; it will continue springing up till it come to perfection.

Thirdly, The crown of them, eternal life at last. The living water rises from heaven, and therefore rises towards heaven; #Ec 1:7. And now is not this water better than that of Jacob’s well?
I am thankful today that God has given me an opportunity to reflect on the glory of my Saviour. He is a gracious Saviour, who has given me eternal life; not only that, He has deposited a down payment in me: the Holy Spirit, Who lives within, sanctifying me and giving me joy in the midst of sorrow, and hope in the face of despair. Because of Jesus, I have my eye fixed on heaven. Because of the Holy Spirit, my life has changed, and I continually do those things that my Father has planned for me to do (for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them!). This living water will never end, and one day I will spend eternity with The Water of Life Himself. PTL!