Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Review: Jesus Pure & Simple

Do you ever feel like you're being pulled in a million directions? Like you' re overwhelmed with various programs and ministries, or with studying the steps to good parenting or the best ways to share Jesus with your neighbors? These are all good things, but even good things can sometimes take us away from our number one responsibility--knowing Jesus better.

Wayne Cordeiro shares how to focus on the One who matters most and take part in the joy and fulfillment that He brings. But he also teaches how this leads to selflessness, a true love for others, and effective ministry. It will, in fact, change how you see the world around you.

When you focus on Christ, everything else falls into place. Your relationships. Your job. Your church. Your mission. It's all placed in the hands of Jesus, pure and simple.

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I have always admired how some people can take an any day event and draw a parallel to something from the bible. Author Wayne Cordeiro does just this.

It took me a couple of chapters before I felt myself enjoying this book. It has some great teachings in the early chapters, but it just didn't really capture me until the fourth chapter when things started to flow more smoothly. At this point he encourages us to really think about Jesus and who He was. To think of Him at specific times of His life. I stopped to ponder those things and it made Him more real to me.

One of the things the author talks about that struck me was the difference between isolation and solitude. I always thought they were the same thing. They're not. Isolation being when we need to just be alone, away from everyone because we're so tapped out. But solitude is a time set aside to be alone with the Lord, to be open to hearing what He is saying to us.

So many simple truths to get back to plain and simple truth about our Lord. It isn't about what we can or try to do for Him. It's about just being with Him in His presence. Encountering Him.

My favourite part of the entire book is when he talks about the Bedouin sheepherders that will break the leg of a lamb who continually strays. He will bandage it, and nurture the lamb until his healing is complete. By this point the relationship has changed; the lamb is now closer to the shepherd than ever. This has been on my mind since I first read it - how in my own life, I feel as though my Shepherd has broken a part of me so I will not stray again, and He is holding me close while I heal. And when it is all over, there will be a new intimacy. It will all be worth it.

I enjoyed this book so much that I will likely seek out other books written by this author.

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Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

5QF ~ October 26

So much for blogging more this week.

I thought about it. I've been thinking a lot about this blog lately. I love it, and I love that it has documented so much of my life but I just don't have the time for it anymore.  Bless those of you that still check in regularly.

The course I'm taking through my church is called Freedom Session and it's turning me inside out. I'm pulling out all the painful things in my life that I've stuffed down over the years and it feels brutal. My emotions are so raw and I feel so out of control. The course runs from Sept - June with a graduation at the end. So far I've only committed to December but I want to see this through. There's so much in my life that I need to let go of so I can be free to be who God created me to be. I told Ian tonight that this is either going to end up being a huge, colossal disaster, or something absolutely incredible.

On the plus side, I love being a part of a small group again. It feels really good. I'm trying to get over my intense dislike and inability to do small talk but it's hard. I'm very shy and never know what to say. Tomorrow night I'm going to a Ladies Game Night at the church so I'll have to prepare a few topics for this small talk business so I don't look like a moron.

In other news, we finally got our family photos done last Sunday! Everyone was in great spirits and we headed off to the conservation area to hang out for a couple of hours and take some pictures. Tons of people had the same idea. Afterwards we went to Downey's Farm to buy our pumpkins and a couple of pies. It was an absolutely perfect day and I felt so happy and recharged heading into another busy week.

The children are crazy excited for Halloween next week. Sam is going to go out with his friends like he did last year. This is probably his last year of trick or treating. Julie wants to go out with her friends (and a parent). I will take Jordan out and Ian will stay at the house and give out candy. I might take Matthew to a few houses until he gets tired.

Speaking of Matthew, he does the cutest thing now. The last thing I do before leaving for work each morning is to kiss and hug each of the children before heading out the door. Matthew hurries over and lifts his face to get his kiss too. This morning his face was lifted, eyes were closed and he had this huge smile on his face. That image kept me going all day.

Ok, time for Mama M's Five Question Friday blog meme!

1. Who wakes up in the morning with the kids, you or hubby?

I'm up before everyone else during the week, then Ian gets up and starts waking the kids to get ready for school. Some days, if time allows, I help out with this. On the weekends it's usually Ian.

Bless him.

2. Do you watch the World Series even if your team isn't in it?

Is this hockey we're talking about?

Just kidding. I know it's baseball.

I have zero interest in baseball, so no.

3. Wh
at is the best compliment you have ever received?

The best ones were/are when someone tells me I'm a great mom, or I have a lovely family. That always makes me feel proud.

Recently my manager told me I was among the best she's ever worked with.

4. Do/did you dress up to take your kids trick or treating?

I usually do. I have this inflated pumpkin costume I wear every year, but this year I might skip it. The fan that keeps it inflated blows cold air up my neck and gives me a chill the entire time I'm outside and I usually get sniffly for a few days afterwards.

Not to mention I look like a total ass walking around.

Ian always dresses up. Sam and Julie used to tell me I wasn't allowed to go out trick or treating with them unless I dressed up too.

5. Do you have a favourite Bible verse? What is it and why?

I have a few. They're the ones that have carried me over the last year, and continue to carry me as I work through Freedom Session.

I lift my eyes up to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
~ Psalm 121:1-2

The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
~ Exodus 14:14

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall.
~ Psalm 55:22

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
~ Jeremiah 29:11-13

Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
~ Isaiah 43:5

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned.

~ Isaiah 43:1-2

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Have a wonderful weekend!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: Nowhere But Up

"When you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up."

In Nowhere but Up, Pattie Mallette shares for the first time in detail about the pain and abandonment she experienced as a child, the sexual abuse she suffered for years, the severe depression she wrestled with as a teen, the deep struggles she faced as a single mom, and the faith she's learned to cling to through dark times.

With raw honesty, she spills the truth about a lifetime of moments that were punctuated by pain yet permeated with grace--and the journey that's brought her to where she is today.

*** It's not just teen moms who struggle or need to find hope. Whether you're a single mom, an addict, or a victim of abuse . . . whether you're on the verge of bankruptcy or the brink of divorce . . . whether you're in a dysfunctional family or the product of a broken home . . . whether you battle depression or struggle with anxiety . . . whether you live in fear or hide in shame . . . whether you've been abandoned, rejected, or ignored--there is hope. It doesn't matter where you find yourself today--broken, hurting, wounded, or shamed. If God can help me find my way up, I promise, He can do the same for you.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to review this book or not. I am not in any way a Justin Bieber fan, however I am a fan of stories of God's healing and redemption in the lives of His children. So, I decided to go for it.

I'll start by saying that I can certainly appreciate the difficulty she experienced as a young, single mother, and my heart sincerely hurt for her that she had experienced so much sexual abuse as a child. She didn't give up on herself, or her child, and she did whatever she had to do to ensure she could provide for him. For that, she gets my respect.

The book is basically two parts: the young Patti Mallette - struggling with the pain of sexual abuse, drug addiction and promiscuity, and then as teenage mother. Then it becomes her life as Justin Bieber's mother, and his rise to fame and less about her.

I don't know what I was expecting with this book, but I will say that I was disappointed by it. I kept waiting for "that moment" when she would talk about how God rescued her, or changed her life. I felt at times as though it was building to this big revelation, but it didn't happen. She spoke of it at times, but it was really watered down or glossed over. I didn't feel inspired or encouraged by her story. I felt sad for her for what she endured as a child, but I didn't feel sadness for her choice to do drugs or be promiscuous, thus resulting in a pregnancy.

I found this book to be an extremely quick read, and at times rather slow. Compared to other biographies I have read, this one had very simplistic writing and I felt it lacked something. Emotion, perhaps. It was a basic re-telling of her childhood and teen years, but it lacked sincere emotion.

I think her story could have been told better and come across as more inspirational if there was a stronger co-author behind it. Someone who could have told her story in a more inspiring way, to draw the reader in and truly feel for what she had experienced. Unfortunately it reads like a story about Justin Bieber's mom and how he got famous, when instead it could have been more about overcoming adversity and experiencing life-changing redemption. As a reader, I want to hear the voice of the "character" I'm reading. I didn't hear Pattie's voice in this book.

I won't be recommending this book to anyone, and I likely won't keep my copy. The truth is, Pattie's story is the same story as thousands of people - only she got a book deal out of it because of her son. Had she left out the majority of Justin's rise to fame and kept the book more about her it would have been a better read.

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"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group


Monday, October 15, 2012


Oh my word. It's getting chilly 'round these parts.

This morning I actually had to put the heat on in the car on my way to work.

I had to wear a sweater.

But I drew the line at socks.

Which I regretted about two blocks from the house.

Still no Fall family photos yet.

Hoping there's a trip to the pumpkin patch in our near future. Always a fun time. Each of the children pick their own pumpkin. Ian carves Sam and Julie's and Jordan draws on hers and Mattie's. I don't like the smell of pumpkins so I just watch.

Craving peach pie.

Scored some Essie nail polish for half price yesterday. Guess I was in the right place at the right time.

The kids are so excited for Halloween. Sam is going as a steam punk guy, Julie is going to be a nerd and Jordan is going as Tinkerbell.  We're trying to find a hulk costume for Matthew. I saw one I liked but I can't remember where. We still have time.

Sam introduced me to Dubstep tonight. I liked it.

So tired tonight. Everything feels like an effort.

Time to do my course homework and get some sleep.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

5QF ~Oct 13

Hello poor, neglected, little blog.

Hello sweet readers who keep coming back even though there's nothing new to read.

I've got a bit of the blues these days. Feeling super stressed at work, even though I only had to work two days this week. Lots of pressure to make up for the time I've been off. I don't know how much longer I can handle this pressure, but I'll keep going as long as I have to. God gives me what I need for each day and I am thankful for that.

The course I'm taking at the church is challenging me, and it hurts. I'm taking a good, hard look at myself and I really don't like what I see. The course also requires me to revisit old wounds and that really, really, sucks. I'm feeling a little exposed emotionally and I don't like it. Not one bit. I'm taking it one step at a time and trusting in the process. Hopefully I'll be a better me when it's over.

Today we're hoping to get our Fall family photos done. I'm not one of those moms that make the family go dressed all matchy-matchy. Everyone chooses what they want to wear - it's a representation of their own personal style at the time. Somehow it always comes together and we have a photo we really love.

Matthew has finally realized that he can get places faster by walking, so that's all he wants to do now. It's been so much fun watching him become more comfortable with his legs. He used to have to crawl over to something to pull himself up after falling but now he can do it from anywhere. This morning I watched him squat down to pick something up and then stand up again. Brilliant.

Once again I'm late for Mama M's Five Question Friday blog hop.

1. Did you have any homecoming traditions?

I had no idea what this was and have always wondered. So, yesterday I took to The Twitter and asked. Turns out this is an American thing, something about going back to your highschool and wearing ribbons and cow bells or something. My lack of desire to return to highschool is matched only by my lack of desire to wear cow bells.

I don't get it.

2. Do you ask your spouse before spending money?

Always. It's a matter of respect. I don't care if it's a book I'm buying or an iPad, I always check first.

3. If you could be famous for something what would it be?
I think this was my question that I submitted to Mama M for this week. Oddly enough, I don't want to be famous. But, being famous almost always comes with financial security and that's something that's important to me.

If I was going to be famous for something then I'd like it to be related to my faith.

Either writing a book or speaking with Women of Faith. Something like that.

4. Have you ever seriously thought you were going crazy?


5. How do you eat your steak? Burger? (as in, well done, medium, still moo-ing...)

I like my steak rare, but not bleeding, and I like my burgers medium-well. Often when they're bbq'd well it's done too much for my liking.

Ok there you have it.

I'm off to finally get dressed and to enjoy the afternoon with my family.

Happy Saturday!


Monday, October 08, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

I'm loving this Thanksgiving weekend. It's a lot colder than I was expecting, so we haven't been able to do our Fall family photos yet. I'm hoping tomorrow is the day.

Yesterday Ian and I went to see Looper at the movie theatre. I really liked it even though I was confused half the time. While I enjoy time travel type movies, I'm easily lost.

Ian has had an awful earache for the last few days. He tried blowing warm air into his ear, mineral oil and hot compresses but it kept getting worse. He has an exceptionally high pain tolerance, so for him to admit he was in pain really worried me. It got so bad overnight that he ended up in the ER this morning at about 5:30 am. The doctor said his ear was severely infected and prescribed drops, antibiotics and painkillers. He said if it wasn't better by tomorrow that he'd have to go back for an IV.  I'm praying hard that he feels better in the morning.

This morning I stood staring at my defrosted turkey, trying to remember the cooking instructions my mother gave me. I cut off the packaging and reached in to pull out the bag that's supposed to hold all the turkey guts but it wasn't there. But its neck was and I had to pull it out. Revolting. The missing bag was up its hiney which was revolting times two. My mom had told me to make sure I rinsed it out well but what does that mean really? Five minutes? Ten minutes? I didn't know but I ended up giving that bird a bath. I washed it all over and rubbed its gross body until I was sure there weren't any germs left.

I couldn't remember what time I needed to put it in the oven and I couldn't reach my mother, so I decided to tweet for help. I said I had a 3.28 kg turkey and need to know how long to cook it if I wanted to eat at 6pm. There were a lot of smart Alec's on the twitter today making fun of my teeny tiny anorexic turkey. Turns out my turkey was $3.28/kg and actually weighed approximately 16 lbs. apparently I can't read.

Ian's best friend came for dinner and we had such a lovely time together. Afterwards we had a great talk about God's goodness and shared a lot of laughs. My cheeks are still aching. I cleaned up the kitchen and put the girls to bed and finally crashed in bed to watch Revenge.

I am blogging on my iPad tonight. I started out thinking this was the best thing ever but now my fingers hurt and there's a ton of spelling mistakes I'll need to fix so I'm not as impressed as I was at the beginning. Then Ian tells me I could have dictated this entire post to Siri and she would have typed it in for me. Next time, Siri...

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!


Saturday, October 06, 2012

5QF ~ Oct 5

I can hardly believe we are now into October. Unreal. Where has this year gone??

I love this time of year. I was in the littles' bedroom this morning when I was hit with a wave of sadness as I thought about our old house. My kitchen had these huge windows and I would watch the sun set over the ravine across the street as I washed the dinner dishes. I never grew tired of that gorgeous view. It was beautiful in the fall. I miss many things about our old home, but that view is at the top of my list.

I had just picked up Matthew when I looked up and saw the tree outside the window, its leaves a bright yellow. When I was pulling out of the driveway I looked up at the tree once more and only the leaves facing our house had turned colour. The rest were normal. I felt as though God gave me a new view to look at to take my sadness away. In fact, every tree I passed on my way to work today was a bit brighter than I noticed a couple of days before.

Julie's dance class went well this week. I brought Jordan and Matthew with me to give Ian a bit of quiet time at home. I discovered that if I took Jordan outside to play in the park I could spy on Julie's class. They did 30 minutes of warm-up and 15 minutes of actual dance instruction. I was a little annoyed.

Wednesday night was my course at the church. I grabbed a sandwich on my way home and ate it before heading off to the church. My stomach felt weird as I was leaving and I figured I ate too fast. I felt worse as the evening wore on, but I thought that was just because I was feeling emotional about the topic. By the time I got home I was a mess. I had chills and was shaking all over. Ian put about five blankets on me but I couldn't get warm. I ended up missing work on Thursday which I hated doing. I spent the entire day in bed, sleeping off whatever bug I had. I had to be in the office today because the manager was on a vacation day but I was longing for the end of the day and to be home. Normally I take the little ones out on Friday nights but tonight we just hung out at home. I love those Lifetime movies of the week. We don't get them here in Canada and we don't get Hallmark movies either. Bummer. But tonight I was so desperate to watch one that I watched it in increments on YouTube. What can I say.

Hopefully I'll feel back to my usual self this weekend.


It's Thanksgiving weekend!! I'm cooking a turkey on Sunday and it's going to be awesome. Ian bought the turkey last night and I've been teasing him by saying it's the size of a fat baby. He bought a nicer one than I was going to buy. I figured I'd get some no-name brand utility turkey.

Ian and I are going on a date tomorrow afternoon to see a movie. So excited. Monday I'm going to visit with my lovely Mama. I'm happy to spend the next few days with all the people I love.

Ok. Enough chit chat - I need to get to bed.

But first... it's Mama M's Five Question Friday blog hop time!

1. What album/cd/download are you embarrassed to admit you have?

Nothing. I have awesome taste in music no matter what Ian says.

2. What's the one thing your spouse does better than you?

Only one, huh? He's better at choosing to see the good in people than I am.

(And he's more patient and makes a better cup of tea than I ever will)

3. When do you start buying Halloween Candy?

The week before the 31st I guess. I try not to buy it too early because I don't need the temptation.

4. Family closets - yay or nay?

That's a big fat NAY.

First of all, who has a whole extra room they can dedicate to becoming a closet to hold the whole family's clothes? And even if you did...really? Is it that hard to deliver a basket of clothing to a person's room and then put it away? Rooms generally have closets in them, and if they don't - like my Sam - then you get an extra dresser or a hook for the door or something.

I'll admit it, I roll my eyes at the whole family closet concept. I think it's lazy and it's a waste of space.

5. Which home/cleaning chore do you hate the most? Why?

I hate sweeping and washing the floors. It's a chore that needs to be done everyday with kids and a dog and it's annoying. And then people wear their shoes in the house which is disrespectful on top of disrespectful.

Short answer: Floors

Ok that's it. I'm going to bed!