“Choices” — Lent, Day 13


We are the sum of our choices.  Some are consciously made and some are made for us, but the majority of our daily decisions come and go with unconscious effort.  The proverbial forks in the road are not entirely noticed as we are swept into routines, habits and the auto piloting we all sometimes slip into.

As it goes the choices we deliberately make always seem to hold the most weight.  Most of the time we look back on the negative ones, analyzing their outcomes and ruminating on possible alternatives.  The what ifs.  Hopefully in doing this one can be objective, forgoing a sense of regret or feelings of bitterness.  The futility of changing the past aside, looking back and looking in can be a necessary step or steps needed to move forward, to learn and assist in future situations we find ourselves in.  Hindsight is foresight after all.  Ultimately, our schemes fall into the greater One, but to trust in this can be tricky when caught in a whirlwind of struggle.

It is easy to dwell on the bad choices made, but it’s important that we can reflect on the good ones too.  Perhaps there one may find a map or a set of directions.  The map of things done right.  May we allow ourselves to be steered by God toward deeper feelings of joy, accomplishment and success.  May we all choose wisely, or at least choose to choose wisely the next time.  The path with heart is there and always has been

DAILY PRAYER:  Lord, grant me wisdom as I face difficult (and easy) decisions in my life.  Steer me towards the path you have laid out for me.  I trust your plan for my life. Help me to learn from my mistakes so I can break free from unhealthy patterns and habits that may control me. AMEN.

-Matthew Duke






“FRIENDSHIP” — Lent, Day 11&12


Life is a series of unending lessons. One of the greater (and more painful) ones to learn is: surround yourself with people who will lift you up.

Friendships can be difficult. It’s simple enough to become friends with someone in a light-hearted and “easy” way. However, when you go through difficulties in life, when you make a mistake, the strength of your friendship will be put to a test and then the true worth it will come to light.

Will your friends remain after you hurt their feelings? Will they forgive you and choose to love you despite your failings? Or will they move on because the friendship doesn’t matter enough to them?

Do your friends encourage you to be a better person? Do they call you out on your mistakes with love?

Alternatively, are you there for your friends when they need you? Do you ask for forgiveness when you’ve made a mistake or hurt them?

Even though marriage is a sacred relationship with vows made before God, the Bible has surprisingly some very strong descriptions of what comprises a friendship.

In Proverbs, we find honest truths about the characters we surround ourselves with:

Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers. (18:24)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (13:20)

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. (22:24-25)

The apostle John goes even further to define true love (and friendship!) as this:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (15:13)
The fact is, we are deeply influenced by those around us. Who we spend time with affects us. We mimic the ones who have a profound influence on us and we ourselves must be aware that we may sway our friends as well.

So we know how important friendships are–what now?
Is it time for you evaluate the friends around you?
Is the loss of a friendship, though painful at first, perhaps a gift?

If that dear friend of yours hurts you–remember that none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. We have a chance to edify and to lift each other us up instead of engaging in gossip or negativity. (Believe me, this was a painful lesson for me to learn!)

Believe the best about people. Pray for their short comings. You are not the standard. We all need grace.

DAILY PRAYER: LORD, teach me how to be a friend who can be relied upon and trusted. If I am lonely, bring me to the friendship where both of us can challenged and encouraged. Remind me that we all need grace. Amen.

“REST” — Lent, Day 10



Life is busy.

If you’re not running around at work, trying to focus and do your job efficiently, odds are you’re run off your feet at home surrounded by needy children and a messy house.

Things can very quickly spiral out of control;  those errands that keep being put off start become very overwhelming.  The grocery run can be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Some nights feel as exhausting as the days.  We may lay down with our bodies tired, but our minds are awake and worrying, thinking with anxiety of all that must be done and all the needs that must be fulfilled.

So not only do we need physical rest, we also need mental and emotional rest.  When Jesus walked on earth, we know the conundrum that he was fully man, yet fully god.  Even though we cannot wrap our finite minds around this concept completely, we do know that Jesus (despite being fully god) needed times of rest and restoration as well!

In Mark 6, Jesus and disciples spend time ministering to crowds of people:

30 The apostles returned and met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught. 31 There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat. So he said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest a while.” 32 So they started out in a boat by themselves to a lonely place.

Jesus recognized that he and his disciples needed time to rest and recharge in order to continue with their ministry.

In the same way, we need time to ourselves, to commune with God and to restore our own strength.  Not only should we do this physically, Jesus also assures us that he is there to provide for us, to take our worries and fears and to carry them for us.

28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 30 For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.” (Matt.11)

For myself, I have struggled in the past few months to balance my work life and my role as a parent and as a wife.  My husband and I have also been facing possible changes in our life which has been tiring as well.  As I have been spending the time daily to write for Lent, I find myself refreshed and ministered to by sitting by myself, playing worship music, reading the Bible and meditating.

We cannot minister to those around us and be servants if we are tired and worn down.  Many people believe that attending to one’s personal needs is selfish, but if we burn our candle at both ends, there will be nothing left of us to give.

Take the time you need to relax, to pray, to meditate and to be quiet.  Take the time to prepare yourself for another day, another week.

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, when I am tired and weary, teach me to stop, to slow down and to rest in YOU.  Thank you for carrying my burdens for me.  Teach me to leave my worries in your hands.  Amen.

“ANOTHER DAY” – Lent, Day 9



It is the peaceful time of day.
The busy toddler is sleeping.
Our activities during the day have ended.
The home is quiet and relaxed.
This is the time to sit and think,
to meditate on the day that has been–
and tomorrow, the day that will be.

In our life it becomes easy to live from day to day,
exhausted, worn down, wishing for the sleep at night.
Children change everything,
bringing happiness and tiredness.
Blessings, exhausting blessing.
Quickly we can forget to thank God for the day,
for all the precious moments that have passed by.

Work, children, school, careers, relationships…
we can be eclipsed and overwhelmed by all these.
Taking this quiet time to listen and rest and remember
is truly living life, is enjoying the day.
Let us sit in the peace, let us talk and laugh,
let us cry and hope for a better day,
let us celebrate the good days.

Let us live our lives to the fullest we can.

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, thank you for the good days and the bad days.  Help me to remember and be grateful for each day that passes.  Help me to live in the moment, yet slow me down to meditate and consider my blessings. AMEN.

“MY HUSBAND” — Lent, Day 8



I have much to be grateful for, but when I consider my life and all that I have, the one thing that stands out so clearly to me is the better part of me—my husband.

Through all our ups and downs, six years of them, he has shown his love to me in a very tangible and real way.  His gentleness, kindness and compassion draw people to him and truly are the traits that have kept us bonded together.

Marriage is often used as a comparison tool to the relationship between Christ and the church/community.  It’s not hard to see why:  the same principles apply in both situations.  Our marriages grows stronger as we trust and respect each other, as we worship and pray together.

As I look at my husband and thoughtfully consider his character and our relationship, I am struck by how my husband is such an example for me in his giving and servant attitude.  I am convicted to be more giving, to be more willing to help in various ways as we walk through life together.

At home we see the best and the worst of each other.  When we continue to walk together even through experiencing the worst of each other, we fulfill the commitment we have made to each other in marriage.  Our love has grown stronger and more powerful in ways I would never have imagined.

In this marital love there is such comfort, there is easy intimacy.  We don’t second guess each other or our relationship–we can simply love and exist in the knowledge that even though times are hard, we will be there for each other no matter what.

What a blessing it is to be married to my first (and last) boyfriend!  I am thankful that we were brought together to love each other, to learn from each other and to face life’s challenges on the same team.

May I continue to grow to be a woman who supports and loves her husband as we journey through life.


“Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.”
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, thank you for the blessing of my spouse/partner and my marriage/relationship.  May I grow in my love and respect for them as we journey through life together.  Teach me how to love them as you have loved us.  Amen.

“SPRING” — Lent, Day 7

There is something so moving and beautiful about the four season weather.  Today, after an admittedly short and warmer winter, the weather felt like spring.  It was grey outside, but warm and birds could be heard chirping and singing to each other.  There was an almost imperceptible change in the air, as if the earth is turning over in its sleep, tossing as spring approaches and it must wake up.

In many ways we view spring as a time of new beginnings.  We enter into a different solstice, days grows longer, Easter is a celebration of resurrection and life… There are myriads of reasons why spring is a time of refreshment and excitement.  After a grey and dismal February, we look forward with anticipation to the warm spring and summer months.

Without the grey and cold of the winter, would spring feel the same? Would we welcome it with such open and eager arms?

In the same way, Christ is our spring.  Often we emerge from spiritual darkness or even a depression in need of refreshing.  We may be returning to the fold after a long trip away or we may just need a restoration of our heart and mind.  Without the struggle and the difficulties, we may not find ourselves wanting or needing change or renewal.

Are you approaching a spring time in your life?  Do you find yourself in need of a revival in your spirit?  The great news is that Easter and Lent is a beautiful time to reach out, to celebrate new life, to find community and to be renewed.

For behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
-Song of Sol.2:11-12

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, thank you for the nature you have made, for the seasons that celebrate your glory.  Bring renewal and refreshing into my life as Easter approaches and we celebrate your resurrection.  Amen.

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d — Alan Bradley

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce, #8)Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The most recent installment of the Flavia de Luce series by the inspiring Alan Bradley is a big step for Flavia and the series.

After her stay at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy cum boarding school in Toronto, Canada, Flavia returns triumphantly to her homeland: England and her beloved estate Buckshaw.

Alas alack, Buckshaw has changed and so has our heroine. Father has taken ill and is hospitalized, Buckshaw feels uninhabited, and Flavia has her freedom to visit dear friends and strangers–who of course, end up murdered.

TTBCHM is a bit predictable: prior to the “big reveal”, I guessed quite easily who had perpetrated the crime. That being said, the novel was still entirely engrossing. There is a bigger focus (again, as with the previous novel) of Flavia growing into herself, while still remaining the precocious girl that she is.

My chief complaint about this novel was the very apparent lack of chemistry used in a practical way. Throughout the series we have been treated to Flavia’s intellect and her practical use of chemistry in her sleuthing and every day activity. However, chemistry does take a backseat in this chapter of the series, which was a little saddening.

Of course, there is no de Luce novel without a touch of mourning and sadness…and I will end off there before spoiling any potential reader.

4/5 for another great Flavia novel. I eagerly anticipate the next one and the arrival of Flavia on television (eventually).

View all my reviews

“THE FAMILY” — Lent, Day 6


On sojourns around YouTube, I’ve become a fan of listening to Christian music while surfing Facebook or writing blogs.   One of my particular favourites  is “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” by Hillsong Worship.  (You can watch it here.)

One of the most fascinating things about watching Christian music videos on YouTube is this…

YouTube comments are infamously known as one of the places that is basically a Wild West online.  A good comparison are the boards on 4 Chan.  People hide behind usernames and fake profiles.  They have free rein to post the most disturbing and damaging comments online with very little, if any, moderating happening.

But yet–despite all of this, I began perusing the comments left on the these videos and I found myself uplifted by the emotions and thoughts people all over the world were leaving.

Here are some samples:

“13,493,763 people have clicked and listened to this song, that means over 13 million people are either praising the lord or for the first time experiencing God….i believe that is something to celebrate more often then people realize.”  –DragoonZell

“Hi Guys, I just want to share that whoever is reading this, that these last few years have been tough…rejected time and time again, struggling to get employed, overcoming bad vices. I felt like a total wreck but Christ suffering has taught me to stay true to my faith and I can truly say something mysterious has been guiding me to the right path recently and I’m very thankful for that. Stay strong my fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering out there in one way or another. Just remember, Christ will answer your prayers if you sincerely and intently pray according to His will and not for your own selfish desires. God Bless.”  –nvnjo

I will never, ever forget having a particularly rough night while I was on vacation in Florida, and I walked out to the deck, the moon was shining brightly over the ocean and the waves were crashing on the shore. It was the middle of the night, it was quiet, as if I was the only one awake. As I started singing, tears streamed down my face, slowly but steadily. And through a shaky voice, I kept singing. It was then God spoke ever so clearly and said “This is what it feels like to worship Me through feeling broken.” I will never forget that. That as I lifted my hands and with a shaky voice, sang these words. And ever so clearly hearing God tell me that I could be broken and worship. ” -IKECH545

It’s absolutely amazing how many people are posting their experiences, their life stories.  Even more amazing is reading posts where people are asking for prayer and hundreds of posters will type out a quick (or lengthy) reply, a prayer of support reaching through the wires of technology to someone possibly thousands of miles away.

Through the gift of technology, we have become an international family, celebrating together our faith, our beliefs.  Whether you grow up attending a small or large church, you can quickly become very set in your view of the Christianity and the Christian community.  But as we reach out to each other, to those in need around us, our eyes WILL be opened to the world around us, to the millions of other believers who are celebrating life with us.


Oh I can see it now
Oh I can see the love in your eyes
Laying yourself down
Raising up the broken to life
-Hillsong Worship


DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, thank you for the gift of technology, for being able to reach out quickly to those internationally who may need a word of encouragement or prayer.  Help my eyes to be opened to the community in need around, specifically to my brothers and sisters.  Amen.

“WORK PLACES” — Lent, Day 4&5


Our workplace can be formidable and provide difficult trials for us at times.
Most of us probably have jobs to make a living in the world.  Our jobs are all different and challenging in their own unique ways.

For myself, working in healthcare, perhaps one of the greatest difficulties is learning to how to communicate with co-workers but not become caught up in the gossip and judgement.

In a work place that is dominated with females, it is extremely easy to fall into the habit of disseminating each other in brutal detail, when we should be seeking to encourage and lift each other up.  But working day in and day out at the same job can be hard on our spirits and as such–our behaviour.

Being on maternity leave from 2015-2016 opened my eyes up to the reality of how I treated others that I worked with and how I needed to change to reflect my beliefs.

This is the reality that we are all faced with:  work can be exhausting and can wear down our spirits and our hearts.  Perhaps it is a sign to consider moving into another job or career.  Perhaps it is a check point, a warning flag that we need to re-evaluate how we behave.

As I consider my future and whatever may lay ahead, I want to know that I was a positive influence on those I worked with, that I did my job to the best of my capabilities.


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the LORD and not for people.


Whatever your life’s work is, do it well.
Martin Luther King, JR

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, give me strength to be a rock when work may seem like a storm about me.  Help me shine as a light through each long day; give me patience even when I feel worn thin and unappreciated.  Amen.

“BE STILL” — Lent, day 3



We cannot know what lies ahead,
the day we are in may seem fearsome and long;
we cannot think of what is behind,
the night unending, an open song.

In moments where all is taken away,
when we struggle to find an answer so small;
there’s a reason, there’s a reason, we know–
but our hearts yearn to be master of all.

The time will come when we must believe
that he is covering us with his love.
The greatest gifts we will ever receive,
come from him, the Father above.

Do not be disheartened;  simply be–
take a moment to be angry, take a moment to breathe.
You are not alone, we have been there before.
There’s an open window next to the closed door.

Be still and and be patient–you are almost there.
The waiting may be heavy and difficult to bear;
but in the stillness and quiet you will hear him say,
“I have loved you, I still love you, I will show you the way.”



The Lord will fight for you while you keep still
-Exodus 14:14


Be still and know that he is God
Be still and know that he is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that he will never change
Be still
-S.C. Chapman


The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
-Ram Dass