hobbits and holy ground...

You know that scene in The Hobbit movie where the dwarves, and Bilbo, are wandering through the darkened Mirkwood forest?  As they all start to get more lost - from the path - and from their own senses, Bilbo climbs the tree to get his bearings.  It's a glorious scene as he lifts his head above the tree tops... sees the butterflies soaring, the sun shining... and clears his perspective with the fresh air.
I often feel the same way when I read the Bible.
It's like coming up for air.
It clears my senses.

It's like I've been drowning in a distracted fog beforehand.
Wandering off the path.
Confused by all the voices.

The Bible wakes me up.
The Bible shakes me up.
It's a defibrillator for my heart.

Reading Psalm 119.
"Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law".
The Psalmist was besotted with God's Word.

When the world seems upside down.
God's Word provides the bearings.
He is the Anchor.

Daily I need to lift my head above the enchanted forest.
The Bible is the filter through which I see.
I see the Son shining in all His glory.


the tragic, and the triumphant song.

My heart is a jukebox of sin.
Most days I stay busy enough, distracted enough, to not hear the music playing.
But, when I slow down… I find the volume goes up.
You know when – and where – I hear it the loudest?
As I’m standing at the sink full of dirty dishes.
But this is not a dance floor I find myself on, it’s a battleground.

Now, maybe for you it’s during the long commute home, or while you  stand in the shower, or when you can’t drift off to sleep.  But for me, when I am stuck at that sink, washing dish after dish… the music begins.
Now, I suffer from two tracts, set to repeat.

The first is prides’ song.  Cue: “You’re simply the best.. dun, dun, dun.. better than allll the rest”.  This is where my mind wanders to all the wonderful things I have said or done for others that day.  Really, I’d pat myself on the back if it wasn’t so sudsy from the dishes.  It’s here that I also start to envision myself as a really mama ‘martyr’ for how selflessly I give.give.give all the day long.  And as I lift another dish from the tepid waters, and feel the weariness of my limbs... I start to drone: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”
Suddenly this  jukebox heart shifts.  I skip a beat.  Just enough of an interruption to gain clarity and perspective on how inward and prideful my thoughts are vortexing.

Cue the second main tract:  Shut up, just shut up, shut up.  Shut up, just shut up, shut up”!
(No, really.  If you were standing in the kitchen you can hear me say it out loud even).

Because so often lately, and more quickly, lately… I am so over hearing about ME.  So done, with stroking this viper of pride in my heart and thinking it’s a pet.  Be killing sin, or it will be killing you’ it’s said.  So I get out a mallet, and smash the jukebox with an angry “Awwww shaddup!”.
Go figure, it doesn’t help for long.
Turns out that just trying to will myself to not think about something doesn’t work.
I can’t just not think about something I’m  trying to not think about… because it leaves a vacuum.
I need a new song.
What is otherwise called – the ‘expulsive power of a new affection’.
For me, this is the moment I start to sing hymns.  Songs of praise and worship to the One who saved me from myself, from my sins.  The more I love Jesus, the better this jukebox plays a song worth singing.
Some days (some moments) the old tunes  still taunt.
But, as Odysseus tied himself to the mast, to avoid turning his ship to the enticing destruction of the siren’s songs…  I tie myself to the cross.  I cling to the cross of Christ.  Despite the siren song of pride in my own chest, that would rather exult myself than another, I cling to the cross… and sing:

"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above"
-Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing-
Mel ;o)


an open letter to weary parents:

weary parents,

there are times when you feel done from the start.

while the world slept, you held a screaming terror against your chest.

the morning greeted you with a sneer, and a child peeing across the floor.
exhaustion pulls at your tired body, while exasperation strains your mind.
all you see are needy hands clawing away at your emptiness.
and you find yourself pointing a shot gun of anger at anyone within range.

look down.

who are you so furious with?
what has stretched your thin skin of patience over a ballooning frustration?

was it those tiny fingers that pushed all your buttons,
or yourself for having those buttons within their reach?

look down.

it feels like all you bring to the table is a cold bowl of contempt.
hardly enough to nourish those young hearts, and you're already gagging on it.
what can you stir into this pot to feed your family with?

vile ingredients of despair, guilt and gloom choke out the very taste of hope.

dear soul,

look up.

there is ONE who drank the bitter cup,
ONE who swallowed the sin from our deepest reserves,
In the place of our poison, He offers living waters.

sparkling with hope, faith and love.

look up.

Jesus declares: 'COME!  All you who are thirsty, come and drink!  I AM the living water.
though your heart feels dark as a tomb, I will give you new life.
though you soul feels parched, My grace is a tidal wave crashing on your shore.
when you feel you don't have enough to give, see I AM abundantly MORE than you can hope or imagine'.

then... look down.

with eyes and heart brimming over with this living water.

soak your family with the lavish joy and affection from above,
you are created to be a channel, not a dam.
get out of the way... and let that river flow.

Mel :)


... a rambly note:

(Credit: our talented pal Chance Faulkner Photography)
I guess now is as good a time as any to dust off the cobwebs in this corner of the inter-webs.
You may have guessed that I had lost my will to write as of late... but in reality I have had many blogs fluttering around the caverns of my brain.  I just have spent my time on other passions than putting these to paper screen (?).

To be honest, I'm still struggling with keeping this blog even a thing.  I love to use it as a space to inspire or encourage... but it also runs the trap of being a vanity parade for myself.
Like, 'woo, looook at me' and 'hear my thoughts' and 'aren't I profound'.... kind of weirdness.
I like to run as far from that kind of stuff as I can (although getting away from my own head is a real trick).  So there it is, to blog or not to blog...

I also don't feel like the same person that started this space.
Or, the passions that filled this place have become more 'secondary' feeling than all consuming, you could say.  So, if you are here, you are getting my heart.
A heart that desires more of Christ, and less of me.

Maybe I could tell you more about that next time?
Secret confessions of a re-converted convert.. or, something like that.

Alright, the chili is steaming up the house.  The monitor tells me that baby #3 is having her afternoon nap.  The boy just spilled beads and rice all over the floor.  We need to pack up and get big sister off the school bus soon....  here we go!

Thanks for popping in, and patiently waiting me out,
Mel ;o)  


give a girl a paintbrush...

Yet another moment in parenting where I am learning to 'let it go' and foster our kid's creative expression.  Because yes, yes our five year old did just paint her wall.
Mama drew the outlines... and then she slap-happily brushed the paint on (while I 'touched up' the final bits... because I just can't fully 'let it go').

This project was the result of her declaring that her side of the room should be her favourite colours - pink/purple.  Her brother could keep all this delightful 'boyish' green on his side.
Sensing and impasse I used the age-old trick of distraction, and offered her the option of just painting some flowers, or swirls... or birds.

Birds, of course!
Our house is filled with them, and trees (and bunting) all throughout our nest.

It's funny, this was another moment when I looked back with gratitude for how my folks raised me.  Some parents would have likely balked at letting their kids assert their creative fingerprint on their home decor.. my parents embraced it.  I think that was very empowering for my individual expression and confidence as I grew up.  They didn't bat an eyelash (at least outwardly) when I wanted to do all sorts of craziness to my room.  Or, when I wanted to shave half my head.  Or, when I wanted to wear a tux to my grade 8 grad... etc.

As I grow in this parenting thing, I'm learning (even from my own parents) to not sweat the small things - and to recognize what the small things are! 

It's a beautiful thing to see their creativity take flight.

Mel ;o)


creARTures great and small:

 There is something so wonderful about a shared delight.
I love painting.
The kids love painting.
We all feast together in this creative communion.

Maybe this is how the techy parent feels when they see their kids hack a computer.  Maybe this is why the sporty parent delights to see their child thrive at the game.  Maybe we all just love to see our kids embracing something of our own heart.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm forcing them to like what I enjoy... or trying to live vicariously through them. It just brings such a deep joy that's hard to really describe, when I see those small hands pick up a paintbrush and so confidently swirl and splatter out their unique souls on to the canvas.

Then, I stop and wonder.. maybe this is just a hint of what God must feel about his kids.
When we have that shared delight.
The Creator and his created who love to create.
I feel his pleasure when I paint.

Just saw this quote today.. and it's fitting:
“All my life nature and art have been reminding me of something I’ve never seen.” (C.S. Lewis)

creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


she's the ONE:

Be still my heart.
Our little lamb, Talia, is officially a YEAR old today... where did that come from so suddenly?!

She's still the sweetest apple of her whole family's eye, I can never quite tell which one of us is most smitten with her. Our oldest, Azriel (5) still acts like every.day.is.Christmas to see her baby sister who is just "SOOOOO CUTE!!" she can't even handle it.

I still maintain that having a third child is a wonderful gift of 'perspective'.  Since the first two have grown in much the same blur of diapers and delight... I feel like this time I at least knew enough to stop and savour this child through each stage.
Despite sleepless nights and all the rest she may have syphoned from me.
I've counted (almost) all of them as extra moments to snuggle her.

This little bundle of blue eyes and two teeth loves her family.
She delights in peek-a-boo.
She squeals from tickles.
She eats ALL the food put before her!
She's a crawling machine.
She stills sits up at night and doesn't know how to lie down again...

And, she's our gift from God.

Happy Birthday little lamb.