Monday, March 10, 2014

come to Jesus



it always amazes me how God works, through prayer. It shouldn't; because this is the Maker of the universe, in whom I place my total faith -  it shouldn't surprise me that He is able to fulfill His promises to me...and yet, here we are.

last night, after a busy couple of days, I just sat down to read God's word & pray. the breath I took when I sat down there was a heavy, tired one; I knew before doing anything else, even before reading the Word, I needed to pray. After spending time sat down with the Lord just, conversing, sharing & laying out my heart; my burdens and weariness were lifted from me. It sounds so typical of a Christian to word it that way, but I truly felt lighter as I left all of those things at God's feet.

That's what He is here for, to make our burden easier.

Matthew 11:28 - "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden & I will give you rest."

&

John 10:10 - "...I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full".

Those are words that Jesus actually said, and, if you believe in Him, those sentences above are ones I suggest you rest in & take to heart.

Come to Jesus, rest in Him & allow Him to take your burden (your stress, worries, tiredness...) away. He didn't die on the cross so that we could have many verses to quote, or so that we would spend our days tired & stressed out.... He came, He lived, He died... so that we could live life to the fullest! Leave your burdens, leave your weariness in His worthy hands and see what He will do with them... He will remove them from you, He will (He DID) take them upon Himself and allow you to be free...

I'm so very thankful for my time in prayer last night, as it reminded me of how very strong & capable my Lord is. I'm so thankful for a time of rest with the King of the universe...

I wake up today feeling refreshed and ready for the week. Ready to be sensitive to God's calling me & to go where He wants me to go. Ready to live life to the full, with all last week's stresses in the rear view mirror, rather than piling up on my dashboard.

Chris Rice wrote:
"Weak & wounded sinner, lost and left to die; oh raise your head for Love is passing by.
Come to Jesus, come to Jesus & live...
now your burden's lifted and carried far away, His precious blood has washed away the stain...
so sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus & live."

It goes on to say that in every situation, come to Jesus... & I agree. Today, just come to Jesus for everything you need, rest, encouragement, love, forgiveness...come to Jesus!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

rushing wind


I grew up listening to Keith Green's music. Songs like "You are the One" & "He'll Take Care of the Rest" filled my heart; and the sound of me singing them out, loud & strong, filled our home. I had almost all of his lyrics memorized and sang a good handful of them at church when the time came around to prepare a solo. His music was (& is) a big part of my life.

Right near the end of one of his CD's, there sits a song called "Rushing Wind". The lyrics go like this:

Rushing wind blow through this temple
Blowing out the dust within
Come and breath Your breath upon me
I've been born again

Holy Spirit, I surrender
Take me where You want to go
Plant me by Your living waters
Plant me deep so I can grow

Jesus, You're the One who set my spirit free
Use me, Lord, glorify Your holy name through me

It goes like that & then there is this beautiful, stirring, piano solo the plays afterwards, taking us back to more beautiful lyrics.

Such a beautiful song...and yet it was one I ignored. I almost always skipped it when it came on and I never paid it any attention.

But now...
It's so close to my heart.

Tonight, I went to the front door, to see if the snow was sticking outside; and as I watched & listened to the midnight winter air, I heard this wind gently, but audibly blowing the snow all over the road. That, alone, was a beautiful thing; but what was also beautiful, was that the sound & sight brought me right to Keith Green's song, Rushing Wind.

Rushing wind, blow through this temple, blowing out the dust within. 

And suddenly it made sense to me. (The song, that is...) The whole thing came alive. Those lyrics are so my prayer, especially in this busy season of my life...  (raising a 4-year-old, working on my music as my career, spending time on youth and other church work, keeping a home & marriage, etc.) . Rushing wind. - Jesus, blow through my heart & clear away the dust. Renew & refresh my passions and come alive again to me.
"Jesus, You're the One who set my spirit free...Use me, Lord, glorify Your holy name through me".

The whole thing is just such a beautiful prayer.

I love finding something new & fresh in something that I have already known for twenty years.
That is just like our life with God. He is always revealing new things to us and is able to be absolutely everything we need.

If you get the chance to listen to this song, do. I hope it will refresh your soul, like it has mine.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

oh deer...


A little deer wandered onto our lawn on Sunday and...much to the chagrin of local folk, we fed her an apple because she was oh so small (maybe....30lbs?) and oh so young (she looked quite newborn, actually). The rest of that day she came by about 4 more times, just to watch us and see if there were anymore apples for her...

We often have deer on our lawn, and we know that feeding them attracts other unwanted furry-friends like bear, and more recently to our area, cougar... but this little one has been parent-less for a few days now and we couldn't resist.

My son named her Sarah and has been talking about her ever since.

I love watching his sweet desire to care for her, and I love that that sense is in him at age four. This season we all seem to be more and more open to taking people into our hearts & homes. Like my 4-year-old caring for this sweet deer, we bring hampers of food to people in need, donate toys to children less-fortunate than ours & share portions of our paycheques with charities of all kinds. We want to do good...but why just in this last month of the year?

My challenge for myself (and join me if you feel this way, too!) is to extend that loving hand each month.

I'm no good at New Year's Resolutions...which is why my bank account doesn't have the savings I aspire to, I haven't cooked one new meal each week from Julia Child's cook book & my dress size has stayed pretty much the same since last December!  So...instead of writing resolutions on how I can better my life or change things in my home...I'm going to write a list of 12 doable & attainable acts of love, kindness or charity that I can do throughout the year; one for each month...and really try to keep the heart of my very favourite season - a season where 4-year-olds take in baby deers as their pets & adults show love in a more real way - beating all year 'round.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

favourite things


my friends & I have come into a great tradition of throwing a twice-yearly favourite things party
these parties are fun to throw, exciting to go to & such a sweet concept.

if you know me well, you know I love to throw a good party; i love to decorate, make treats, set things up all pretty, host my friends...i just love to be festive, for any reason! and you would also know that I love girl-time! so this party suits me just fine! it's a party that you can literally throw at any time of the year with any assortment of friends!  i have a few friends who also bring some of their friends who i often don't know, and it is such a comfortable "ice-break-y" type of get together that you can really get to know people without any awkward-ness or typical small talk that may occur during a regular party.

so... i'm sure there are a few people out there who have never heard of a favourite things party! so this is how it works: (best described as I read it on this blog)

Each person brings their favorite thing (anything you like.. your favorite lip gloss, favorite kitchen tool, favorite gift wrapping supply, a gift card for your favorite local cafe, etc.). It can't cost more than $6, and each person brings five of the same thing. When you arrive at the party, you write your name on five slips of paper and throw them in a big bowl. The bowl is passed around, and each person takes five names (making sure you don't pick your own.. or two of the same name).
One at a time each person introduces their favorite thing and then reads the five names they picked from the bowl, passing out their gift to those five guests. After everyone at the party has presented their favorite thing, each person should end up with five gifts to take home. It's always interesting to see what people choose, and some guests have started to bring a notepad and pen to jot down what people love.

The first party we had I shared the EOS circly lip balms, all in the "Sweet Mint" flavour. Mmm they are SO good and as soon as I knew I was hosting this party, I knew I wanted to share this. I can't for the life of me remember what I shared at the next (and most recent) party we had... but some of the things the other ladies shared were:
- OPI hand lotions
- handmade jam in sweet little jars
- a lovely recipe for homemade brownies
- favourite scarves
- a double-egg frying device

there have been so many nice little gifts exchanged @ these parties and so many lovely memories made & laughs shared that I know I will be hosting this party for many more years to come.

we are about to have another favourite things party this coming month and I've already got my items chosen (so exciting!), and I've shared above in the picture some other ideas I've had for giving...so now I'm curious! What would you give if you were going to a favourite things party?!

Friday, August 23, 2013

fall!


Maybe it's because I'm an October baby, or maybe because there's just something in the air during these last few weeks of August; but I am, (as is the case every year around this time) SO excited for Fall. I'm already dreaming of the cool breezes & crunching leaves. What a beautiful time. 

I truly love every season; Winter is a magical time when everyone is bundled up & joy spreads just a little farther than usual. Spring brings that feeling of change and new beginnings. Summer, a time to relax and gear down...and then there's FALL. God so knew we needed constant change & refreshing. Fall is just that: fresh, cool, brings change and new-starts.


This is what I love about Fall...

the crispness in the air
a p p l e  p i c k i n g
m  o  v  i  e    n  i  g  h  t  s
cozy sweaters
a p p l e   c i d e r
pumpkin carving parties
warming up by the fireplace
h   a  y  r  i  d  e  s
f a l l i n g    l e a v e s
starbucks pumpkin spice!
t h a n k s g i v i n g
d a y s   s p e n t   b a k i n g   i n   t h e   k i t c h e n
a l l   t h e   c o l o u r s
family pumpkin patch days
boots, hats & scarves


.......and it doesn't hurt that Fall means we are one step closer to Christmas time, because...who doesn't love a little Christmas?

What is your favourite season? 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

my cup of tea


everyone is always saying how much they love tea. 
"ohhh tea!" "mmm, tea." "TEEEA!" as if every stress of the day can be solved by a single sip. 

for the longest time, I didn't get it! this crazy hot drink that didn't taste all that special? 
i don't like hot tubs or hot chocolate for the very reason their names contain... they are too hot! 
and the few times i would get past the first sip I was never able to find a taste that made it seem worth burning my tongue over.

my mum always said that I would learn to enjoy tea when I was older, but I didn't think so.

turns out (as always!) my mama was right!!

now, I am no tea aficionado like a few ladies I know, but I definitely appreciate it now. 
these are the teas I like the best:








I also love a few teas that are only tea by name, I'm sure: bubble tea, iced tea & sweet tea but now I can say that I do enjoy an old-fashioned cup of tea, just like my mum & grandma. 

Some things take a little longer to get there but that can make it even sweeter. :)



Friday, January 25, 2013

the story of Anxious Heart


One of the songs from my album is called "Anxious Heart". If you know me, you've probably heard the story of how this song came into my life, but I'll tell it here again, with a little more clarity.

I went through a really hard time of fear in my life. My son was about 6 months old and, like any new mom, I already had the intense feeling of needing to protect him - and then things started happening around the world that shook me to my core. I spent what felt like a lifetime, but was really about a year, maybe a little longer, in crippling fear. There was a point where every time I would go out of the house I would get dizzy and my vision would become blurry. That time in my life was both the worst and very best experiences I've ever had. 

I talked with so many people about my fear and, what I realized later was incredible anxiousness. My mom, my family, my pastors, friends, my husband.... nothing quelled my anxiousness. 
Anxiousness; I didn't even really know what the actual definition was. I knew it meant to feel uncomfortable & worried but......well, let's look it up: 


So, to feel uneasy & apprehensive about an uncertain event or matter. That described me to a tee. I was so uneasy all of the time that it started to feel like I was just afraid of anything that would make me afraid. Fear of fear.... now that is a black hole that is NOT easy to climb out of. 

But, because of the One Who is my ever present help in times of need, I learned that I did not have to fear no matter what was happening around me. 

I started reading my Bible, (on a regular basis not just "Oh I need you God, please let this random verse that I flip to be the one I need....") and I started taking notes. I started in Genesis and would jot down what I was reading (or else I wouldn't comprehend) and then, at the end of each part I read, I would draw a star & write "what I learned". That was essential to me, to gather a point at the end of each reading - to really stick it in my mind. And you know what I learned? When I look back at my journal from that time, when I read over the, often tear-stained pages of that fear-ridden time of my life, I see the star I had drawn on my page and, below the words: "what did I learn?" I read: "God was faithful to His people".

That was it. Close the book. I might as well stop writing now. That was the point. God was (and is, and always will be) faithful to His people. Through all the stories, through the journeys, the losses, the hardships AND the joys....God. was. faithful.

Amen!! .....But that's not where my story ends... No, it is drenched with more of God's love and never-ending faithfulness.

The phrase you see written on that picture above is a lyric from a song on my recently released album. "Oh anxious heart...wait on the Lord". 
That lyric has so many meanings to so many different people, and to hear the stories of how that song has touched people's lives makes my day every time I hear one.

That song changed things for me, one day, too.

In the midst of my learning to lean on God and let HIM lead... I came in contact with my, now dear friend, Gordon Mote. You all know the story so I won't bore you with the details but, he ended up producing my first CD. I know God led me to Gordon, to Nashville and to this CD project so that I could share stories like this of His love, His faithfulness.... so that I could let others see that though sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the morning!

While Gordon & I were choosing songs, the only criteria I gave him was that I wanted to really connect with the songs we chose. I wanted, that if they didn't come from my pen & hand - that I would have wished they did. 
One afternoon I had said to my mom (who is basically my confidante in life...love her to the moon) that I wished there were a song for those who were like me. People who needed comfort from the feeling of anxiousness & fear. Not just "don't be afraid" but...something more. Something that would sink in a little deeper and stay a little longer in their soul. Some comforting, true words that people who are scared could find hope in.

Fast forward to the next afternoon when I get an email from Gordon titled "another song" with text saying "Good morning! I came across another tune that I think you will really like. Check it out" and below, I saw a song file titled "Anxious Heart". 

For the first time in a long time, my heart felt happy, fluttery anxiousness! I clicked on it & waited for it to load..... and then.... well...and then I was reminded of my Lord's faithfulness. I just couldn't believe I was listening to a song that felt like it had been written for me in my very time of need.

I heard the lyrics of the demo track:

"O anxious heart, wait on the Lord
Be still and know that He is God, 
O anxious heart. 
When the wind & waves come against your faith,
don't be afraid,
for even the mighty tempest, when He speaks, must obey
O anxious heart".

There wasn't anything I could do but replay the song over and over as I emailed Gordon a mile-long thank you for finding this song.

So......moral of this (very long, apologies for that) story?

God is faithful.
God will be faithful.
Even if you don't see it now....trust that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

God will be faithful to you. All you have to do is keep trusting that one fact. Trust that He will see you through. There may be a time where it doesn't seem possible - and I can say so because I've been there. But it is possible, everything...anything is possible with God. So, trust Him. He's got you in His hands, and that's the safest place you could ever want to be.