Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shutting the Door

I am shutting the door to this blog for the general public. If you'd like access please comment, including your email, these comments will not be published. Otherwise, you will find me over here from now on. Truthfully, I am not sure how often I will come to this space. I was thinking I'd reserve it for those more intimate ponderings. At this point I just want to start fresh. This space got me through some rather difficult stages over the past year or so and I am grateful for those who read, commented, mostly just for the means to let it out.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" ...

13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land." Isaiah 6

God's been putting some pieces together. I believe he's been 'evoking' in me a change of mind, a change of heart. It started with feelings of discontent and doubt. Then moved onto a 'knowing' that plans were in the works, big plans.

While I was visiting my church family in BC the service theme was the verse above. This verse means a lot to me. It's been present at pivotal points in my faith journey. It was present as a send off for our first mission trip, at our wedding, at both my coming and goings in my church work, and now... I anticipated the next move! Yes Lord, SEND ME! But where, with 2 kids!

This past Sunday at church this verse revisited me. Although my pastor spoke about being sent yes, but where, right here. This is when it dawned on me. I have the most important calling of my life right now. Two precious children, and the community in which I live. HERE I AM. I AM SENT. I AM HERE LORD, USE ME. And yes this is indeed an exciting place to be! Our church is starting a Bible school - called, Evoke. Pastor spoke about 'evoke' and how the word of God evokes us to live lives for God. I am excited about being part of a great change in the world scene too, I can do this right here, where I am. I don't need a 'job', or go back to school, I am doing important work right here, right now. I am raising two precious children, who will one day be confident, loving, kind, women, contributing to society, knowing love and sharing love in amazing ways.

I do know I'll need to be reminded of this calling. As a way to do that, I plan to start another blog journeying the simple, important life of a mom, who cooks, cleans, works on piles of laundry, who creates healthy meals, and a loving and stimulating environment for my girls. Also, I am a wife to an incredible man who daily contributes to society, saving lives, and homes, and he needs my tender support. Being kind to myself, and contributing to both my community and the world one moment at a time. I might still write my more deep thoughts here. Most likely I'll only allow access to those who wish to read my deeper heart. I'm hoping with 'Here I Am' I can connect with other like minded moms in the day to day calling. To encourage. To support. To share ideas. If you'd like to join me, I'd love to link you to my page. My email is tammy77@live.ca.

I feel like a stump. I pray the seed in me will grow, and grow, and be a place for others to gather and enjoy God's graces. May it be in me, also in my church community, and the global Church, as we become a place for all nations to see God's love. For we are all called, and sent!

These little faces are constant reminders of how precious our job as M-O-M is!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Culture of Greed

This idea has been ruminating in my mind for awhile. Today watching a television commercial with my 3 year old I am reminded to explore it some more.

The commercial featured a girl with beautiful long wavy hair. She was dreaming she was a rock star, dancing about on a stage, waving her long locks. Then the commercial promised rock star hair with this certain shampoo product in a purple bottle. Grace was a little mesmerized with the commercial and then demanded to be a rock star. She was even able to articulate that if she put the purple stuff in her hair she'd be a rock star. Wow! Advertising does work. She was a little upset when I told her we wouldn't be purchasing the 'purple stuff'.

Why do we 'lust' and crave so much stuff? We live in a culture of greed and want. Advertisements, the 'American dream', even our government encourage us to buy and spend and want and strive for a 'better' life being a consumer. I've been to cultures where this is not prominent. People aren't concerned about having the newest and the best. Are these people lacking? Actually, in my experience, they seem more content. In these places more 'real' concerns are to be worried about, housing, pay checks, food, a fallen government, violence, to name a few.

Can you imagine, we live in a place where for the most part we are well dressed, well fed, sheltered, and relatively safe on a day to day basis with a functioning government. Yet, we are still unhappy people. Probably because we don't see what we do have because we're too busy looking at things we don't have. We don't appreciate our current wardrobe because the clothes in the store are so much more trendy and well, we all need to fit in with the style of the hour. What about our home? (I'm all for having a cozy, functioning, beautiful home.) How much stuff do we bring into it trying to make our days easier, more beautiful and cozier with those 'cheap fixes' and mass produced items. Six months later there's no emotional attachment or purpose, and well, really it sits there now ugly, taking up space and needs to be replaced. Ok, I'm being kinda extreme here, but only to make my point.

What if we lived in a culture of gratitude? What if there was no one telling us we were lacking in any way, no commercials promising rock star status or underarm deodorant promising true love? What if we were thankful for what we have and really considered every craving or desire and evaluated thoroughly why we want it or feel we need it.

Isn't the Christian culture supposed to be a place of gratitude? Does not Jesus remind us not to worry about what we'll wear? I'm pretty amazed at how this 'gratitude' theme is spreading throughout north American Christendom. I have a few friends now tell/write that they are being more thankful. Also, Ann at Holy Experience and her Gratitude Community. What will happen if gratitude flowed through us and we pointed to God for blessings in our lives? What if we stopped craving/lusting after silly things and focused our attentions on 'real' matters such as poverty, the countless children and women who are sold into sex slavery, or the boys who are forced to be warriors, or....well you get my point. Who is wanting to redirect our attention from God and His people, and the blessings and the potential blessing we can be in this world? Only the evil one, and those who stand to make a profit from our 'wanting'.

First step, be a person of gratitude. Instead of saying 'I want..." saying "I have...I am so thankful!" I'm sure I'll then have more time and energy and money to help those in real need.

Ah, but this is counter cultural, and it is going to be difficult. Spirit lead me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Remain In Me

Making my home in Jesus - I have been contemplating these two passages today. A topic that has been on my heart is 'living life to the fullest'. I believe this is the first step. Remaining in Jesus. Here's another connection to gratitude, because daily we need to focus on the gift of Jesus in our lives. Go to the 'table' eat the bread and drink the wine and remember and thank the one who saves us.

56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." John 6

7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. John 15

Being Kind to Myself - I've been on a refined sugar, and now dairy fast. It's amazing what this does to one's emotional state and thinking. But I am thankful, because now on day 6, my mind seems much clearer. My emotions are more intact. I feel much more balanced. Part of being kind to myself means being kind to my body. As much as sugar and treats seem like a good idea to love myself, that's the furtheset thing from the truth. To treat myself I bought some sugar and dairy free carob chocolate with almonds, can't wait to try it tonight with my real sweetie!

I am focused on being kind to my kids this week since they are both sick with coughs. Nurturing and loving them, I am so thankful to be a stay at home mom who can make their health a priority over the next week. Giving them some much needed 'mommy' time while they are ill. Grace keeps saying "mommy I want you close to me" so sweet. Eventhough, after a few days it's starting to drive me a little crazy. However I did manage to leave her be for a bit to blog today, those breaks are refreshing and bring me back ready to give more. More being kind to myself.

Monday, February 22, 2010


10 For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.

11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.

12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance
Psalm 66

Refining, is hard work. But in the end, there's a beautiful, and stronger person. I have experienced refining many times, each time I wonder if I am going 'insane'. Then piece by piece it falls into place, as a mosaic.

Today, I see some clarity.

Lately, I have been having faith, identity, and vocational questions. The past few weeks have not been fun. The wrestling has been stressful and tiring. However, it's all led me to a place where I know God is doing something in my life...some refining. On top of this all, I had a this strong sense of 'calling'. Anytime I have had this 'calling' as strong as it has been has resulted in big life changes such as physical moves, and my first child.

Where's God leading me?

Make Your Home in Me.
I really thought I had things mostly figured out when it came to God and faith. How silly is that? Really can we experience such progress on this earth? God is much bigger than I could ever imagine. But my 'figuring it out' was resorted down to, God is mysterious, we can't figure it out, so why try! But that's not the point is it? I am glad God knocked me down a few pegs. Have you read the story 'Petunia'? It's about a silly goose who finds a book, and knows that wisdom comes from books. She then becomes proud, and more proud and makes a mess of the farm yard because of her 'wisdom'. Then the book drops open, and there are words on the page. The morale of the story: books have great potential for wisdom, but we must open them. Really, one might think they have all the wisdom there is about God, but the truth is, the Bible is the living word. In it is relationship with God. How He continues to speak love and life into us. I've been rather preoccupied with how my physical house looks. What my physical house is about. Rather than focusing on making my home in Jesus.

Be Kind.
I am strongly committed to remaining gentle and kind toward my children. However, I have not been incredibly kind to myself. For me this means making time for myself, and finally working towards some health goals that I have desired for sometime. Making better choices about loving my body. Forgiving myself. Resting in God's graces and strength rather than my own, which are quite insufficient for the life I want to lead. Also, being kinder to my husband and those around me.

I've always been a fairly passionate person. I've always had a strong sense of vocation. Parenting my kids, schooling them, providing a healthy lifestyle, in the knowledge of God's love is quite the vocation at hand. However, I know I want to contribute to the wider picture. There are many out there hurting, and I want to use my gifts and energy to love them. Today, I feel one step closer to what this might be. But I won't share just yet.

I've been running and spinning thinking of new ways to 'fulfill' my life. As filling as it was. Now I know God was using all that confusion to direct me to what really matters. Where does this come from? The lust to want more? To be unsatisfied with what we have? To not be grateful? That's another post sometime. That's really where this all started, cravings, which take me away from 'resting in God' and being full of 'gratitude'.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Choosing Joy

“Gratitude is truly my life preserver. Even in the most turbulent waters, choosing gratitude rescues me from myself and my runaway emotions. It buoys me on the grace of God and keeps me from drowning in what otherwise would be my natural bent toward doubt, negativity, discouragement, and anxiety. Over time, choosing gratitude means choosing joy…” – Nancy Leigh Demoss...thanks for posting this Claire, I needed it close by so I had to share it here too!

This quote rings true. Runaway emotions, yes this is me. Gratitude, gets me back on track. I am less focused on the difficulties of life, which only drain me. Instead, I am free to focus on the good, the hopeful, the joyful, the grace of God. I am refocused, because life is good. Why? Because God meets us here. His love encompasses us in the small and seemingly insignificant and in the large obvious ways. In obstacles, he is there. Mostly gratitude gives me perspective on life. Takes me out of my lust, self focus, and pity parties and brings me to a place of, well, JOY. The word is so fitting.

And so I am yet reminded by my little one's who teach me daily about God's grace and joy in my life. Because it is in the grace of God we cling and in such find much joy. I love you girls.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How To...

My husband and I had a lovely converstation today when we went for a winter walk. It was picture perfect. Nice and warm. The girls were simply enjoying the scenery.

I have more of this to digest. But we were pondering our attitudes of late. Mostly they've been 'how to' attitudes. How to deal with tough relationships (bound to happen when you live close to family I suppose). How to parent effectively. How do love others. How to renovate your home. How to be more frugal. How to live more green. How to be a good wife, or husband. How to be a person of faith. How to, how to, how to...and not enough real living! The 'how to' is important, but it's not the true thing that matters. When you live your life in constant analyzing there's little room for romance, and really living and loving.

Jesus is a Living God

I had an interesting experience yesterday. I have new perspective of my discontentment. I sat around the room with some trusted fellow Christian ladies and we shared stories. Perhaps I should say, they shared stories. The passion for Jesus was evident. Their faith was refreshing. Could it be that in my struggles over the past few months that I have become jaded? Thinking that God was not active and moving? He provided sure, for that I am grateful...but could it be that this was all part of His plan. That God will do good through it? That this is not merely a burden that was saved from catastrophe, but will eventually be a blessing and a beautiful plan unfolded? I think I lost sight of this possibility. I think I might have just believed that God loved and cared, but He wasn't moving. This perspective saddens me. For I know of the intimacy with Jesus. I have felt His presence and love. I have witnessed the miracles and beauty of His tender workings in my life and plenty of others. So today, I thank my Wednesday night lady friends, for sharing your stories, your passion, which has reminded me that my faith is about much more than 'knowing' there is a God and I am saved, but has reminded me to 'live in the spirit'. Reminding me that Jesus is a living God, and is among us.

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature." Galatians 5:16

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Lenten Journey

It's a discipline I have tried to keep with.
It's a discipline that gives me joy and peace and perspective.
However, it always becomes last priority.
For Lent I will focus on being thankful. First and foremost for Jesus and all he's done for me.

I've been reading "Sex God" by Rob Bell and chapter 4 has been instrumental in why I know I need to focus more on gratitude. The chapter is about Lust. He looks at lust in a broad sense not just sexual. He talks in more of wants and desires, and cravings. It comes from not being content with our present situation, for me, that's mainly because of the 'if' factor. "The if means we have become attached to the idea that we are missing something" page73. Really, I love my life, and any lust is really lieing to me, that life could be better. "Until we can centre ourselves on what we do have, on what God has given us, on the life we get to live, we'll constantly be looking for another life." (74). He goes onto say that that's why God commands us to remember who we are in Christ. "If we stop remembering, we might forget." Too often in my day I forget who I am. Then as Paul, I do what I do not want to do, and I feel dissatisfied.

Bell quotes 1 Co 6:12 "I have the right to do anything - but I will not be mastered by anything."

"If I want something to the point that I can't conceive of being content without it, then it owns me....Freedom is going without whatever we crave and being fine with it" (75). This is my journey, to discover what has a hold of me. To experience freedom from these lies.

I am replacing any 'cravings' or 'wantings' with gratitude. Also to think on good desires, such as the fruits of the spirit.

"Be at rest one more, O my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:7

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some Frugal Inspiration

Some of the resources giving us some insight into our frugal journey so far:

Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach. I wasn't seeking this book out, it found me at the library the other day. The 'green' suggestions aren't anything new. But what I haven't put together is how going green can actually mean saving dollars. This is something exciting for me.

David Ramsey. Some women were talking about him at GCM. So I had to check it out. I really like his Gazelle Lite Calculator. Makes it really easy to see what percentage of your budget you are using for each budget category. I also really likes his "Free Cars" clip. I have totally changed my ideals about car buying.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Finally, a moment of peace. Daddy is putting the girls to bed. A ritual he quite enjoys. I have to say, I am glad he does, it's not my favourite time of day to be patient. I get pretty tired by day's close. Anyhow, finally a moment to ponder the happenings of the past few months. Life for us was pretty stressful. The details are not necessary. But the time, and energy were overwhelming and taxed our family life and my personal life quite a bit. The past few days I have even thought to myself, what now? What do I do with my time, my energy? Time to reset and refocus on my actual 'life's work'. My life as a present and intentional parent. It means back to some normalcy when it comes to routines with the girls. It means, back to play dates, fun outings, and our fun home school program. It means family time. Today, we did just that. It was great. So much fun.

My parenting and spiritual pondering have been the focus of this blog. I am happy to continue with this. However, for 2010 my husband and I are on another interesting adventure. We are seeking to be frugal! We want to spend less, buy less, and live on less dollars. Why? Mainly because we've gotten ourselves into some debt with a cross country move and a job career for both of us. My wonderful work now brings in a whole $500/month compliments of the government. My husband's pay has been drastically reduced due to a career change. But we are happy with our choices. We just weren't anticipating how hard it would be to adjust to our lack of cash flow. Those who know us are probably thinking, you've been living this way for 1.5 years now. True. It's taken that long to realize we need to make some changes. A lot of things were also going on for us financially in that time, selling a house, buying a house, renovations, investments. Now that has all settled and we can see the dust settling.

Our plan for 2010 excites us, and scares me. But I think it will be a challenge that will really help us in the long run. So here's to a year of living frugally. It'll be challenging. It will have sacrifice. Here's hoping we have some new discoveries and insight along the way leading us to a healthier perspective on finances and money and set us up for a future where we can focus on other better things in life.

From the Mouths of Babes

Here's our dear 15 month old saying grace! At first you'll hear her saying 'cheese', a natural response to the camera appearing. We're not sure what she was saying, but I'm sure it's music to God's ears. The whole story: We asked Grace to say 'grace' at dinner time tonight and her response 'Joy will say grace'. Ok, we thought, and asked Joy to say grace. To our amazement she scrunched up her eyes really tight and began uttering sounds in her baby language, I'm sure God understood. Sooo cute!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

God Makes Me Happy

Like most mornings she wakes and crawls into bed with me. I try to stay in bed until the last possible moment. Snuggles and talking distract her from wanting to leave the warmth of the bed and go to the cold kitchen to eat or play.

She points at the light.
"What is it dear, is that the light?"
She points again, and grunts.
"Do you like the lights?"
"It makes me happy."
"The lights make you happy?" I inquire.
"God makes me happy." Such sweet words for any mom who longs for their child to be connected to the creator to hear.
"Why does God make you happy?" There must be more going on in her little brain.
"God told me that I would have a best friend, someone who will share with me, and play with me all the time." She excitedly proclaims.
"He did, you're right, Joy (her baby sister) is your best friend."
"No. Joy is a little baby, my best friend is a little girl like me."

Interesting. I wonder if her heart's longing was for a playmate, and God reassured her that she indeed would have a best friend. Grace talks about best friends all the time. She makes art projects for them, and asks to play with friends daily. How awesome that God would give her the joy of knowing she'd have a best friend.

Today our compassion package came in the mail. I showed the picture of our sponsored child. Grace was quite excited and proclaimed, "My best friend, just what I was talking about! I will share with her and play with her." Heart breaking, knowing she might never meet this precious little girl but overjoyed that her desire is to be her best friend and share with her...hopefully in their own way they will 'play' together long distance. She does understand she's far away, she states that. She's smarter than I give her credit for.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Contributing to the Family

I saw this before and thought about using it...lately we've needed some incentive for our 3 year old. Here's the link to a handy printable you can customize, simply type in the allocated boxes and voila! We put in things like: I pick up my toys, I put my laundry away, I share with my sister. I think even just acknowleging that we honour those particular 'contributions' will be reward enough :), I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Plan!

It's the Monday after the new year. Our tree has been undecorated and removed, all the decorations have returned to their boxes, and it's time for some normalcy. No more hot chocolate for our 3 year old with breakfast! The treats are mostly gone. Today we 'officially' start our homeschooling adventures. I actually have a hard time calling it 'school', especailly for a 3 year old. I want to try and escape that categorization because I don't want learning to be compartamentalized. I want learning to be fluid, being intentional about our wording will hopefully remind us of this value we want to uphold. But for simplicity sake, when I refer to 'homeschooling' it's refers to the learning intentions of the day, or as we are going to call it at home 'The Plan'. The nice thing with plans is that they give some direction, but are also adaptable, especially if they are not working with your day, our plans anyhow.

Each day we are going to create a page such as this:

The Plan - Monday January 4th, 2010.

1. Book work - listing a story from our Sonlight Homeschooling Program that we have yet to read. There are also ideas for activities for each story. Again, doing what works for our child. Today my husband did this portion and he said the activity lasted 10 minutes (whihch I thought was actually good). She also wanted a few more stories read to her, which was awesome! This girl loves being read to. Actaully the other day she told me that she wants to read but she can't because she's not a big girl.

2.Active Play - this will be outside fun, active game, dress up.

3. Creative Play - some sort of creative exploration fun.

4. Family Drawing Time - this won't be each day, I'm saving it for times we need a little quiet space.

So far today this has worked for us. We'll see how things shape up in a month or so!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Can She Be My Best Friend?

"We were thinking we might like to adopt child who doesn't have the things you have, such as food, clothing, and money for education or medicine." We tell our little Grace.
"Can she be my best friend?" The eager 3 year old asks.
"Sure she can be your friend, you can write to eachother?"
"But I want to see her, I want her to come and play with me!" She demands.
"She lives a little too far for that, but we can pray for her, and send her things, and mostly support her with some money."
"Okay." She settles.

Our gift to Jesus this Christmas was to sponsor a child! She is a 4 year old from Honduras and has been waiting for a sponsor for over 350 days. It's actually been something I have wanted to do for a few years now. We used to sponsor but for one reason or another stopped. It's been on my heart to ponsor again ever since we had our own children and see the need from a parent's perspective. I don't tell you this because I think I am great now that I sponsor, actually I am very embarrassed that I am only now sponsoring, and really this is such a small step, as I would love to be giving more. I tell you this because I hope that you too might be inspired to help someone out. The cost is $35/month, and of all times in my adult life, right now is the time we are most scrambling to pay our bills, however, I think it is fitting. This little girl goes without much of the necessities in life each day. I am sure we can sacrifice a little more to make sure that doesn't happen anymore.

Another reason I tell you about this is because I have really felt in my heart that I want to do more for Child Advocacy. There are some horrendous things happening to the children of this world, abroad but also here in Canada. This is a small step towards being a voice for the children.

I am so excited to see the relationship between our sponsored daughter and Grace play out. We really want her to have a wider world view than what she sees day to day, which only depicts how a small population of people live.

"Be the change you want to see." Who even said that? But this saying inspires me to act. Often I get overwhelmed by what's going on in this world, I think, what can I do, little me? One person! But if I want to see change, I must start with myself. I can change, I have the power to do that much. What will you use your powers for?

Friday, January 1, 2010


It's 2010! A new year. New hopes. New ambitions. New year resolutions. New lists. New expectations. I did some reflecting on 2009. What a hard year for us in many ways. My physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self are all over taxed. There has been very little 'filling up'. Mainly because I am not sure how to fill up. My husband gives me some time off, and I go grocery shopping, not knowing what else to do with my time. Sure a little reflection time writing, or reading is good. I have confided in my husband for not being a good wife, I know I haven't been the best mom, especially lately. Are there others who struggle too?

Here is my reality:
I am spent.
I am TIRED beyond anything I have ever experienced.
I need a break! A long break.
A nice long sleep, without interruption.
My Jesus he loves me. He is rest. He is peace. Please grant me some sanity and some much needed sabbath. I understand why sabbath was required, but as moms, well really it's tough to get that. Please Lord.

Ok, this might not ever get published. And then again it might, but it might not be here when you return someday. It's hard to be vulnerable. And yet I know we all face times of seeking, struggling, finding hope in one moment and grasping the next. For some, maybe all is well, or better than before ...I can't wait for that season to come, yet it might only be in another world.

My goals for 2010 are not long. Topping my list, is finding some ways to fill me up (funny since I was such an advocate of this a year ago). To be real. Life is not always roses, sometimes the thorn in our side is overwhelming. God's grace is sufficient for me.

Where ever you are at this new year, strong and ready to take on the world, or weak and needing some fuel, blessings! We all go through seasons. I think I better embrace this difficult season instead of wishing for a different one. I've learned that well living in Northern Ontario. If you just sit and sulk through the cold winter you don't experience any joy of the season, but if you dress warm, and embrace those cold days, you can experience wonderful winter adventures.

So here's to embracing the winter. Grabbing those skiings and flying down the mountain. Soaking up the warmth from the fireplace. Enjoying those quiet inside games and activities. Lord I need your help, your grace.