“ANOTHER DAY” – Lent, Day 9

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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

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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.

short-sweet-marriage-quotes

“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.

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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).

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“THE FAMILY” — Lent, Day 6

community

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

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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.
Col.3:23

 

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

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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

“PATIENCE” — Lent, Day 2

patience

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

 

As I drove down a highway today with a screaming child in the backseat, the thought reverberating through my head was: “WHY ME?”  I threw items toward the backseat into his lap in a panic.  My phone.  My iPod.  Blocks.  A book.  A purse.  Cheerios.  A bottle of water.  Nothing could stop the screaming.

Finally I gave in and pulled over onto the shoulder. Trudging around the car to the frantic toddler,  I felt flashed of rage and frustration overwhelming me.  Adjust the seat belt.  Tuck the blanket back in.  Find the missing soother.

Everyone says it and it’s true:  as a parent you are stretched and stretched, sometimes beyond what you believe you can bear.  In becoming a parent myself, I have faced moments of extreme “stretching”, where I wonder how much more I can take.  In these times, we are faced with one of the most difficult virtues:

PATIENCE.

Each of us have our versions of sayings that relate exactly to this.  Perhaps the most popular I have heard is “good things come to those who wait”.  We can all agree that patience is not easy to master, especially more difficult for some than others.

With that in mind, I want to urge myself and you to take a moment and reflect on an area of your life where you need to be more patient.  Perhaps you have a hope or a dream that you are waiting impatiently for; perhaps you have a need that you desperately are anticipating an answer to.

We all are.  We all have reached that point where we simply do not know how much longer we can wait.  We have all been tested and tried.

This Lenten season, let us consider how we treat others and how we could demonstrate more patience and kindness towards them. I am learning with you. I am learning to be slower to speak, more patient even as my instinct is to roar with frustration and anger.

The answer you are waiting for is coming.
Be still and wait.
Be patient.

 

“Quite honestly, most people are quick to “write someone off.” But our God is a God of the second chance. Learn from One who is patient with you, and you’ll learn to be patient with others.”
Woodrow Kroll

 

DAILY PRAYER:  Lord, grant me patience to wait for answers, patience to respond with love and kindness, patience to give time and love to those in my life who need it.  Thank you for all the patience you have shown me.  Amen.

“Courage” — Lent, day 1

As March begins and the first day of LENT is upon us, I would like to spend this season not only as a time of fasting, but as a time of reflection.

When I consider the 40 days leading up the death of Jesus, one of the first thoughts I have is:  how could Jesus, knowing what was in store for him, continue walking down the path that led him to his eventual death?

This is why my first reflection on LENT is COURAGE.

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C.S. Lewis put it most succinctly with these words:

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

Or as a pastor once said memorably in a sermon, “Where courage is not, no other virtue can occur except by accident”.

As I was contemplating the immense courage and bravery it must have taken Jesus to walk down that road, I also thought of all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others.   Those who have suffered through conflicts and have even offered up their lives for the greater good… How did they do it?  How did they make the choice to put the needs of others ahead of their own?

For some of us, every day requires a bit of courage;  sometimes we even struggle to get out of bed.  I want you to know that you are not alone.  We are all fighting the same battle and we all need courage to face some days.  When you think of your future and when you feel afraid, remind yourself that others have been right where you are.   Remember that God does not forsake us and he will supply us with our needs, with the strength and courage we may need to face our circumstances.

I leave you with this verse:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your GOD. I will strengthen you and help you.
-Isaiah 41:10A

DAILY PRAYER:  Lord, give us courage when we cannot find our way.  Help us to face our fears and worries with courage, trusting that YOU have the perfect plan for us.  Amen.

 

Inside the O’Briens ~ Lisa Genova

Inside the O'BriensInside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lisa Genova is a masterful story-teller. What makes her work so interesting is her education is neuroscience which manifests itself in her books as each work delves into a different diseases/syndromes. Still Alice was early onset Alzheimers, Left Neglected was left neglect syndrome, Love Anthony was autism.

Unfortunately, I have found her writing to be less interesting as her newer works are published. I did not enjoy Love Anthony very much and felt the same way about Inside The O’Briens.

Joe O’Brien is a Boston police officer who finds himself facing the devastating diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease (HD). As he comes to grips with the reality of the disease, the effect it had on his mother and it effect it slowly has on him, we learn much about the disease and how it is characterized in people.

Unfortunately, I found the novel was quite disjointed. I wanted to remain in Joe’s narrative (as he IS the protagonist who is suffering), but for some reason Genova chose to delve into the mind of certain other characters with no true explanation on WHY she chose them specifically.

We certainly understand that she is attempting to show the effect that HD has on families — as it is genetic and children of those diagnosed with HD have a 50% chance of inheriting the positive gene and thus the disease itself.

However, I felt that the novel skipped around far too much and didn’t delve enough into the individual characters. There was too much going on; Still Alice felt much simpler and easier to follow, creating more of an impact on the reader.

While I sympathized for the family as I read the book, I didn’t find myself able to truly *FEEL* their anguish as they all suffered from the disease in a myriad of ways.

I so wish that Genova had focused the novel a bit more, as it could have been much more emotional and moving than it ended up being. Perhaps the most important goal of the novel is achieved anyway though: educating us on the truth of Huntington’s Disease and hopefully helping spur on more research into it’s eventual cure.

2/5 for what I had hoped would be better.

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