8.21.2015

small steps, big leaps.

Do you ever wonder if the next step towards change is going to transform you, or cause you to stumble?  It's hard to trust that the 'leap of faith' off the proverbial cliff is going to let you fly, instead of crashing into a mangled mess on the rocks below.

But currently, I feel the wind beneath these fragile trembling winds.. and I am excited to share with you friends the changes on our horizon!

After keeping our oldest daughter (Azriel,5yrs) home for junior kindergarten year, and then sending her off to try out a local Catholic school for her senior year... we've recently decided to homeschool her for (at least) this next school year.  Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but if I'm being honest there was lots of internal 'freaking out' and paper bags involved.  Because, I am not the type who embraced this idea right off the hop.
There were the silly reasons - like, "I'm just not creative enough to teach her".
The selfish reasons - "Will I ever get a moment to myself?!"
The socialisation reasons - "Will she be isolated from her peers?"
I was the champion of listing pros + cons for both sides of the debate... but after sitting on the fence for the last couple of years, it was starting to chafe.
So we are stepping out, and I am seeing the joy - instead of sheer panic - about this choice.

There's a lot more I could say, but for now just a few points:
We chose this path for our daughter (for now) because we believe it fosters her well-being. She has blossomed over the summer in ways we were delighted to witness, and have noted that it is in direct correlation to the quality time spent with her family/friends.
This does not mean we make homeschooling our 'gospel' and assume it's the best choice for everyone.  I respect the convictions and choices each family makes for what is best for their children.  Like many of the debates in our culture - this one seems rather polarising as well.  I'm not out to convert or convince you to homeschool (my many homeschooling friends will be the first to tell you that I often questioned their reasons, in fact!)  It is probably ironic to them that I am now on this side.
But maybe we don't need to make it about 'sides' with this issue.  Let's just hold to the conviction to be on the side of our children's growth and health... and encourage other parents to do the same.

For now, I'm just feeling so blessed to know that this sweet gal will be by our side a whole lot more this school year!

Mel ;o)

8.10.2015

there and back again...

Oh hi, ...anyone...?  Just blowing the dust off the blog here.
Let's pretend we were on summer vacation and far too busy with the three kiddos in our nest to scratch two words together.  Partially true, also... the laptop was out of commission for the past couple months.  So here we are, back for now.  Thanks for your patience friends.
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Let it be known, I was still writing (in my head often) and I also was published in the BARNABAS summer edition magazine recently.  For those who weren't able to get their hands on the article I've attached a version of it here:
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"We live in a busy age, don't we? We want our food fast, and our theology in a sound bite. How do we find perfect peace at this peace? How do we pursue the presence of Christ?
The Bible is my defibrillator.  When I feel the panic of 'do more, be more!' attacking my heart, I find the shock of Christ's words brings much clarity.  Take this passage for example: Jesus enters a village and is welcomed in to the home of Martha and her sister Mary.  Martha, understanding the importance of hospitality in that culture, was 'distracted with much serving'.  Mary simply sat at Jesus' feet and listened to his teaching.  I can imagine the vein bursting from Martha's forehead when she protests: "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help me" (!!).
We see Him respond with: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her".

Serving, or sitting.
I feel Martha's priorities hammering on my own heart.
I desire Mary's passion to consume it.

Because productivity is like a drug to me.
If I can keep just enough things clean.  If I can check off just enough tasks on the 'to do' list.  If I can visit with enough people.  If I can juggle all the important parts of the day without being swallowed in to chaos...
... I can find my value in that accomplishment.
Because the business of busyness defines us as important, doesn't it?
Which is not to say that being productive is wrong.  The problem is if our identity is found in what we are, instead of Who's we are.  The danger is if we find our value in what we do, instead of what we are (in Christ). What one thing defines you? Where we find our identity, is where we rest.
A heart that rests, is the Mary heart.
Found sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Holding to his teaching.
Leaning on his strength.
Trusting in his promises.

A heart that does not know it's 'one thing' is the Martha heart - "anxious and troubled about many things".  There is the restlessness.  The running from thing to thing to find comfort, peace, security.... identity. 

Practically how does that look for us in the harried days of daily life?
One way that I've been convicted lately is to make my 'quiet time'...my devotions of reading/study/prayer take place during the *sweet spot* of the day.
You know, that one precious hour when the house it quiet.
That delicious moment when you know you could be 20x more productive at cleaning the house, or catching up on e-mails, or fill-in-the-blanks...
I see this as the perfect moment to give a sucker punch to my productive heart.
To clearly show it that we are going to STOP. SIT. and be STILL at the Saviour's feet.
I'm not perfect at it.
I still have a throbbing vein in my forehead that wants to do instead of be.
But I see the sweet relief that comes from this rare rest.
I want more of it."
"Thou has made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until it finds its rest in Thee" - Augustine.

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Stay tuned,
Mel ;o)

5.27.2015

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.
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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.

5.19.2015

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-
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Mel ;o)

4.28.2015

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.

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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 :)

4.21.2015

... 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)  

3.19.2015

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.
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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)