Monday, April 16, 2007

The Beauty of Age

My dear grandmother is now with her Lord. Before she died, my family and I were blessed to share a special visit with her at the Senior's Lodge where she spent the final years of her life. Our youngest boy was only months old and had just learned to sit, so we were relishing in his latest "trick", and had given him a seat of particular honor - right on the middle of the patio table we were visiting around.

Ur-Oma (great-grandmother) was enjoying the little one and I was busy snapping photos. As motherly, protective hands subconsciously do, Oma cradled the back of my boy - to ensure he wouldn't suddenly fall backwards and be hurt.

The moments were special - particularly so, because they were the last moments we spent together.

Months later, I was scrapbooking these photos into a photo album, and in doing so, dramatically cut some of the photos up. I was trying a "new" technique - placing little squares around the circumferance of the page. I remember looking for "one last square" to complete the page - rifling through my photo scraps in search of a flower, leaf, or some other "less noticeable" feature in the remnants of my photographs. As a result, my eyes lighted upon a corner in my discard pile. On it, were my grandmother's hands. Instantly, I cut around those hands to shape a square and added it, like the crowning jewel to my scrapbook page.

To anyone else, the little square would probably be overlooked on the page - amidst the shining face of my 6 month old, and smiles of my, then 3 year old with Ur-Oma. But today I was reminded just how precious that little square of the photograph is, and why it stirred my heart while I was scrapbooking.

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary and host of the Albert Mohler show (and arguably, one of the smartest Christians speaking out in the world today:), did a show last week called The Nature of True Beauty. I highly recommend listening to the program - especially if you've ever lamented over a wrinkle or a blemish. As part of the show, Dr.Mohler addressed our cultural fixation with the beauty of youth and how this becomes extraplated into the superiority of youthfulness. He pointed to scripture's perspective on beauty, as penned by Solomon in Proverbs 31:30 0 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain (NIV "fleeting"), But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

My Oma was a woman who feared God. I remember her talking of God to strangers, to friends, and to her family. She was in the Word daily and sought to live according to it with all her strength. In hindsight, I regret that I did not respect and honor her more in these regards. She was a hard-working wife and mother. She worked long and hard at church - using her gift of encouragement to rally brothers & sisters in the faith until her final days. Her hands spoke of such efforts. Her hands displayed her beauty within. Such true beauty is what I would like to develop - for it is such beauty that is not simply a result of genetic distribution, but the result of an obedient and willing heart in the hands of the Almighty God. Such beauty is to be praised because it points to the creator and sustainer of true beauty and it exalts Him, who IS truly beautiful.

May our hands become more beautiful - as we serve our God by serving others. May each wrinkle that is earned prove itself beautiful in the refining fire of our Maker's cauldron. May the beauty that we seek, reflect that ultimate Beauty we are gazing upon in God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Coffee Cup Verse

Psalm 86:7
In the day of my trouble
I call upon you,
for you answer me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Good Cup of Coffee

Whilst sipping coffee out of my favorite pink mug, I "happened" upon an interesting blog, Everyday Mommy. A good read is the article, Sola Moms.

May we all contemplate the implications of such truths as sola christus. This is particularly significant with the erosion of the true gospel in the lives of many people who name Christ as their only Savior.

Let us examine ourselves in light of scripture and cling to Christ, His Word, etc. - as these foundations are the very truths which the Spirit used to bring us to God Himself.

Homeschooling Challenge

Here's an article for homeschooling moms. Beware: the following may result in reflection, conviction, and sorrow leading to repentance. Some things may be a little "heavy" to bear, but definitely some good thoughts to consider, as we seek to parent with "obedience to God", rather than personal goals as motivation.

In Preparation for Easter

I stumbled upon a video, with music by Fernando Ortega, that was a simple song of the regenerated soul's longing for Jesus.

You can watch it here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Baby Food Recipes - I

As I was looking through my recipe book last week, I came upon these baby food recipes. My boys had quite enjoyed them, and so I thought I'd share the recipes - they're from a book my sister had received as a shower gift.

Hope your babies enjoy!!


4 oz. sweet potatoes
1 rib celery
2 tbsp. red or green lentils
1 tbsp. ketchup
1-1/2 cups water

Bring to a boil. cook until soft. Blend. Freeze in ice cube trays.


6 oz. pork
3 oz. carrot
6 oz. potato
1/4 onion
1/4 red pepper
1 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
2/3 cup baked beans
2/3 cup water

Bring to a boil. Cook until soft. Blend. Freeze in ice cube trays.


* 4 oz. carrots
* 2 oz. brussel sprouts
* 1 oz. green beans
* 2 tbsp. corn
* 2 oz. dried pasta
* 1-1/2 cups milk
2 oz. mild cheddar

Bring * items to a boil. Cook until soft. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Blend. Freeze in ice cube trays.

Coffee Cup Verse

I'm attempting to learn 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 from memory, and so I'll start by making this my coffee cup verse for this week. You can join me in this endeavor, if you'd like. I've set a 'hoky' melody to the words to help, which I'll share, if you think you can endure the tune to get the words deep into your heart :)

1 Chronicles 16:8
O give thanks to the Lord
call upon His name
tell His deed among the peoples.

O sing out to Him
sing psalms to Him
talk of all His wonderful works.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Apple Crisp

A friend recently asked about my apple crisp recipe, so I thought I'd post it... in case you're searching for a "healthier" dessert option to top of tonight's dinner.

Apple Crisp

Fill pie plate with apples (or any other fruit) as high as you want.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (or brown sugar with fruits other than apples).

Crumbs mixture:
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. oats
enough butter to make it moist and crumbly (approx. 1/3 c. butter)
Add milk (dash) if not moist enough or to reduce the amount of butter.

Mix crumb mixture together with hands. Crumble topping over fruit.

Bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown (approx.30 minutes) or in microwave for 10 minutes.

Enjoy topped with ice cream, as desired

Coffee Cup Verse

Proverbs 19:20-21
Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. Many are the plans in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD, it will stand.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Interesting Find On Love

Just for your interest... not sure of the application of this "research" yet.

I did a search into "love" and the gospel/evangelism a few weeks ago, as part of my bible study.

Taking a look at the gospels and Acts, I found it interesting that the only time Jesus mentions God's love for people, or of His own love for people is John 3:16, when He is talking to Nicodemus and with His closest disciples (once Judas Iscariot leaves) just before His crucifixion in John 13,14,15 .

None of the sermons recorded in Acts begin with a discourse on God's love.

In the epistles, there are several discussions of God's love. But similar to the pattern of John's record, the mention of God's love is in letters written to the 'elect', the church, the believers, the remnant.

This has left me somewhat baffled at evangelism methods that suggest we should point to God's love first.

Guess I'll have to pray more and read God's Word more to learn why Jesus didn't come to earth and proclaim God's love. Clearly, He demonstrated the Father's love and, as John points out, He loved "to the end" with His actions. But my question (and I'm inviting feedback :) is: why didn't Jesus or Peter or Paul stand up and extol God's love in light of the cross? Why didn't they explain His love in this way to the unbelieving? Why is there silence about God's love outside the circle of those that are saved, or like Nicodemus (seeking Jesus so desperately that they are risking their necks and seeking Him out in the middle of the night... so hungry for the truth)?

What say you?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Okay, it must be my turn to learn about friendship.

In my bible study, we've been studying John 15 and the words of Jesus resound... "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you."

Thanks be to God for the friends He has granted me. They are of the category described above, 'one another'. I know we are 'friends', and thereby 'one anothers' to one another, because they and I have the above mentioned "linking factor" - Jesus Christ. By observing their lives and hearing their words, I see that they desire to do what Jesus commands: loving God and loving others. (Matt.22:37-39)

It is remarkable what friends will give of themselves and it is a testimony of the believer's love to give of themselves... completely. This includes telling the truth despite the fact that it is painful, as well as hugging while it is painful.

Such was my blessed opportunity at study last night, and I thank my friends for their love for God - shown to me.

Let me encourage you... if you do not have friends that will spur, encourage, bear, weep, and pray for you - find some believers with whom you can engage in such a relationship. Plead with God to lead you to such people. Seek them out. Be such an one. Such closeness will generally preclude the opposite sex, but from personal testimony, it is indeed the way God designed Christian fellowship to function.

When it presses too closely or too painfully on our soul, our tendency is to push others farther away, and yet it is precisely at those times that we ought NOT to "forsake the assembling of the saints, as some are in the habit of doing."(Heb.10:25)

We live in a very rich country, with a plethora of choices. Many of our choices dictate the use of our time - a commodity that we often spend foolishly. Please carefully consider becoming a part of a study of pure scripture with people that will truthfully love you... to the point of pain, because "the Lord disciplines those He loves." And what great joy can be found there... what great news it is to be counted among the disciplined ones... what great love that truly is!!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Birthday Guests

Yesterday was my son's 4th birthday (p.s. Is it normal to have palpitations when your "baby" is 4?) As part of the festivities of a "train party", the children received a parcel from Sir Topham Hatt, captain of Thomas the Tank Engine. Inside the package was a story book, as well as costumes for the fathers to don - all part of an impromptu storybook theatre presentation.

The children seemed to enjoy themselves immensely, as their dads became Thomas, Gordon, Henry, Percy and James. Their grand stature and comical voices added to the hilarity of the moment.

A big 'thanks' to all the dads - for their willingness to be part of the afternoon. Yet even more, thank you dads for taking an interest in your children. There are many, many homes where children are growing up without their fathers, and it was SO encouraging to my soul to see men being REAL men by being a memorable part of their children's lives (even if it was in a masked way). THANK YOU!!

Best Friends

This photo was shot 2 weeks ago, when my eldest son had his friend over for the day. It was a week off school and so both of them were in the best of spirits and full of energy.

Being a gorgeous day outside, I thought I'd sit down for an afternoon cup of tea and let them play in the snow. As I watched them, I marvelled at their intense affections for one another.

They haven't been friends for very long. (My son reminded me yesterday, on the way to church, that his favorite day was Oct.31st - the day he met Isaac at Bible Discovery Night.)

Since then, they search each other out at church or Boys Brigade... and for my son, this is definitely his first "crush". Not like boy-girl crushes, but the kind of affections that we can lavish on another human being, whom we enjoy being with and whose heart is one that knits itself to ours. I'm reminded of David and Jonathan's friendship in 1 Samuel 18:1, "As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. "

Interestingly, I believe I was watching a similar knitting occuring on this snowy afternoon. Under the open blue of heaven, my son and his friend were digging for diamonds in their diamond mine, while they were sharing in something much deeper.

Of course, their friendship focuses predominantly on where the next battle will take place, and who will be the captain and who will be the first mate... or which one of them should wear the shield while the other gets the sword. But I find something so endearing in the picture of friendship. Our friendships here remind us that life is not all about us... and although many people "sabotage" their relationships by their selfishness, a true and genuine love for another is marked by selflessness and love that seeks the other's benefit over our own.

May I be marked by such love for my Savior - my best friend. And from that deep relationship, I pray for the template to respond to the human lives I am blessed to be a part of.

I thank God for granting me some especially dear friends (chief of whom is my dear hubby) and my prayer is that all of us will be able to share our days with fellow "diamond miners" amidst the open skies of heaven.

Coffee Cup Verse

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom

and understanding.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Kim at The Upward Call writes an interesting review on John & Staci Eldredge's book for women, titled Captivating. I highly recommend reading the blog post, as well as the linked articles. I'll leave it at that.

Coffee Cup Verse

Proverbs 30:5
Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Speaking of the Potato

Girltalk has had a good series on practical deeds we can do for others. One specifically dealt with Doing Good to Our Husbands. As I look over the list, there are several items that I can relate to quickly, and may have even done in the past month without a list to inspire the action. However, I had to stop when I encountered their suggestion: Encourage him for demonstrating a specific godly trait—in front of friends.

I hate to say, but I don't really feel comfortable praising my husband in front of other people. Without evaluating the idea more, I wonder if it's because I feel like it's related to boasting and pride - "here's my wonderful husband". Guess I'll have to search my heart more about this one.

Anyway, with Valentines having come and gone, I'm gonna use this forum to do as Girltalk has suggested. Since the Spud is undoubtedly and unabashedly my biggest fan (proof), I suspect he'll be the first to read this, as would be appropriate.

Spud, I am so encouraged and challenged by your dedication and commitment to get up early every morning to take your 2 mile walk and spend time with God. Your self-discipline (1 Cor.9:27), commitment to Christ (Matt.16:24) and denial of sleep (Mark 1:34) are traits that I admire and seek to develop. Keep abiding in these ways. Thank you for setting such an example for the boys and I.

Verna's Brocolli Salad

There are lots of different brocolli salad recipes, but I suggest you try this one and see if it's not the best one out there.

This recipe belonged to a lady in the church I went to while in university. She was one of those ladies that "guarded her recipes". You know the type. But I was grateful that, with a little encouragement (and possibly flattery, I hate to admit), she succumbed to my earnest pleas for her prized recipe. Thanks to her, we have enjoyed many a bowl of brocolli in our home, and generally my husband will prefer this salad to any dessert I may have made - which is the highest of praise considering the main ingredient is a green vegetable.

1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup mayo
4 cups brocolli
1/2 cups golden raisins
6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 can mandarins
1/2 medium red onion
(can also use grapes, if you like... instead or with the mandarins)

1) In top of double-boiler, whisk together eggs, sugar, cornstarch and mustard.
2) Combine vinegar and water - slowly whisk into egg mixture.
3) Place over hot water and cook, stirring occassionally, until mixture thickens.
4) Remove from heat; stir in butter and may. Chill
5) Toss dressing with remaining ingredients in serving bowl. Serve.

What Do I Say?

Know you should talk about the gospel with your friends, but not really sure what to say?

Let me recommend The Way of the Master's 'Evangelism Course'. It's a book the size of a phone book, which could be the most intimidating part. But as I've been working my way through the 101 lessons, I have found it to be encouraging to my faith, strengthening to my prayer life, instructive in basic matters of theology, and very helpful in getting a comprehensive discussion of evangelism. They deal with how to share your testimony, how to talk to strangers, what Mormons, JWs, Buddists, Hindus, Muslims, etc. believe.

It's an easy read... although not always an easy application. Lately I've been realizing that I actually love the 'praise of men' far too often and that this has been a major factor in my failures in actually speaking the truth of God.

Like with all things, make sure you have your Bible at your side. It is always good to look up the scripture references mentioned.

This is not a book on evangelism like J.I.Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Challies review), but I have found it to be equally helpful in equipping me to actually "Go" into my world and share the gospel that has given me life.

Blessings fellow "fishers of men"!

Too Much Praise For Our Kids???

Albert Mohler had an interesting review of an article in the New York magazine concerning praising children too much. It's worth the read.

And if you have an ipod, you may want to start mopping the floor and take a listen to the discussion on his radio program podcast.

What are your thoughts??

The Eaglet

Just came across this wonderful story, written by Jim Eliff, of Christ Fellowship of Kansas. I'll be reading it to my 6 year-old... thought you might be enjoy it too.

Story: The Eaglet

A Late Valentines Date

Well, it's February 23rd and a great time to celebrate Valentine's Day. Tonight, Hubby and I went to a fine Calgary establishment, where we feasted on ribs and chicken souvlaki. Afterwards we went to Chapters for a Maple Macciato and some quality "Book Time". This was a favorite past-time, which we have given up since the boys came along.

Tonight I was especially struck by the worldliness of such a store. As I entered the literary marketplace, it is as though my mind was being accosted by the words screaming from the covers of books on everything from Feng Shui to Self-Esteem Building Child-Rearing to the latest gossip of People magazine. It made me think of Acts 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

I almost felt like standing up in the middle of the store and preaching a sermon something like this:

Men and women of Calgary,
I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I pass through your marketplace of ideas and observe the fascinations of your worship, I find books with various inscriptions.

You seem to be searching for something and yet you are denying the very One that will satisfy. Your volumes of self-help propaganda and life-enrichment strategies have turned into mountains because of the many gurus, self-proclaimed experts and story-telling celebrities. You put together all manner of ideas and words - vainly seeking to design a god that can stop your pain within. You pursue all manner of gods: with the latest being a 'secret' that helps you find the real You, so You can have what You want and ultimately become a god in Yourself.

What therefore you seek as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, is not an idea concocted by man, nor is He mystically connected to. He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him.

He is actually not far from each one of us. In fact, if you head to the back of the store, in the far hidden corner, there are 4 shelves that give us His Word. Yes, deep among the religious panderings of false prophets and antichrists, you can seek and find the truth that will indeed set you free.

You think You are wise and intelligent; enlightened and sophisticated, but the reality is that you are ignorant and foolish - exchanging the truth of God for a lie. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.

Yes, this is an alteration of Acts 17:22-31 - with no intention of being blasphemous. I'm simply illustrating how there is an incredible similarity between what the Athenians were pursuing and what people are buying today. Mankind has not changed. We are not more "advanced". In fact, the case can be made that we are just as sinful and deluded as ever - without the light of God in our hearts to help us.

This evening has definitely made me even more aware of the desperate need for truth to be spoken to the world today. May we all take seriously the task at hand - to share God's glorious truth with everyone we encounter. Our friends, acquaintances, brothers and sisters need the true God... and they need to hear His word spoken clearly in the marketplace of false gods being peddled through today's media.

Romans 10:14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?


This is a recipe I came upon many years ago for a special Young Adults "Italian Night". It proved to be a big hit, and a few weeks ago I stumbled across the recipe again. After eating it, I thought it might be a great recipe to share. It's fairly easy to make and is a "pretty" dessert -making it a good choice when company's coming.

1 pkg. (6 serving) Vanilla Pudding & Pie Filling
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. coffee liqueur
1 Tbsp. Instant coffee
1/2 cup hot water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. lady finger cookies
1-1/2 containers of Cool Whip, thawed
4 squares chocolate

1) Prepare Pudding according to package directions.
2) Whisk cream cheese and liqueur into hot filling. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
3) Combine coffee, hot water and sugar. Brush over lady fingers.
4) Fold whipped topping into pudding mixture.
5) Line bottom of trifle bowl with lady fingers. Sprinkle with half pudding mixture and half the grated chocolate. Repeat layers.
6) Cover tightly. Chill 4 hours or overnight.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Coffee Cup Verse

Psalm 119:165 (NKJV)
Great peace have those who love Your law
and nothing causes them to stumble.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What Do You Believe?

Holy Experience has joined forces with a friend to blog at The Sacred Everyday. As part of their introduction to the blog, they have included a statement of beliefs. It's the kind of thing you may find on a church or seminary web-site, but written with a more poetic feel. It made me contemplate writing such a statement of my own. So what do I believe? And is there maybe a benefit to putting my own words to such beliefs, rather than assenting to those penned by another.

Here's a challenge for all of us: to come up with a written statement regarding our beliefs. And just to crank it up a notch, consider adding a few poetic images (hint, hint to all those that have already written ordination papers and the like - just to keep us "less scholarly ones" trackin' with ya!)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Clean-up Tips

Now that all the Christmas parties are done, we're faced with all the tidying up. Decorations, linens, lights - they all require our attention to re-claim "normal" in our homes. I've come upon a few helpful tips in these cleaning endeavours and will share them to your benefit, I hope.

1. To keep silverware tarnish-free, put a piece of blackboard chalk in the silverware box.

2. Those beautiful cut-glass vases, bowls, and glasses will sparkle if you wash them in soapsuds and one tablespoon of bluing (just be careful not to squirt bluing directly onto any clothes... it can leave permanent marks).

3. Use Windex spray to shine scuffed patent-leather shoes. Just take a clean cloth and wipe clean.

4. To polish copper, mix vinegar with salt and you will have beautiful, shining copper.

5. Water rings or hot-dish rings can be removed by making a thick paste of equal portions of salad oil and salt. Rub it on the spot with your fingers and let it absorb for a couple of hours. Then rub it of with a soft cloth.

6. Scorch that beautiful linen cloth? Simply rub the scorched area with a raw onion, soak in cold water for a couple of hours, then wash the linen as usual.

The above tips come from Emilie Barnes, Creative Home Organizer. This is a handy book with hundreds of tips like this - definitely a handy resource for all Home Makers.

Fight for Joy

If any of you have not yet encountered John Piper's When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy... hmmm... hmm....

It's not inspired writing, like the Bible, and therefore not life-giving... BUT may I suggest it is a way to magnify God in your life. John's perspective of our daily battle for the "joy of our salvation" is proving to be helpful to me.

My primary desire for the coming year is to grow in Joy... in God (as Piper continually reminds us). Joy in anything less is truly a placebo. Though my family is wonderful... nothing can grant true joy like God.

If you've been feeling a little ho-hum in your desire for God, may I first suggest a heavy dose of Him by diving into His Word and by spending time walking with Him. And if you've got time for a little extra reading, might I suggest Piper's story about His increasing desire for God and the Joy that comes from Him!!

Coffee Cup Verse

Psalm 62:8

I will trust in You at all times;

I pour out my heart before you.

You, God, are a refuge for me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Coffee Cup Verse

Psalm 32:7

You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You will surround me with songs of deliverance.

New Year's Thoughts

Happy New Year!! Praise God for the year past... another step closer to eternity!

To some that may be a morbid perspective, but for us that have eternal hope, it is like walking the aisle towards our bridegroom. What joy, what love, what hope, what longing fills our souls!!

As we are waiting and continuing our daily walk upon this earth, the turn of the year may be a good time to stop and contemplate the days remaining for this leg of our 'lives'.

Girltalk posted D.Whitney's 10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year at the end of 2005, and I found it to be really helpful in giving perspective to my goals, plans, and realities. I had shoved the paper into my desk and was encouraged/challenged several times during 2006 when I chanced upon the page. The ladies of Girltalk have linked to this article again, and I plan to, once again, fill in my answers to the questions listed.

I hope you find this helpful in your "self-examination" of 2006 and "goal-setting" for 2007.

Blessings, as you look forward to God's work in and through you for 2007!