Saturday, December 06, 2008

A very, very close call ....

After "A Season of Joy" performance on Thursday night, Andrew and I headed out to eat with our friends, Todd & Reagan, from here in Red Deer. As we left the restaurant we noticed that it was frezzing rain and everything was glare ice. We headed out to the highway and merged into an ice rink that turned very dangerous. It is only about 9km to the exit for our motel but we did not make it. As we crested a hill, we could see into the valley and there was a huge surprise waiting for us. There were 100 - 150 vehicles, cars, trucks, SUV's and many transports all collected together at the bottom of the hill. Andrew applied the brakes (we were doing 30 kms hour) and could not stop. He pumped the brakes lightly while going down the hill and stopped about 4 car lengths from the transports and other cars. Then we slid, ever so gently, sideways off the road and into the ditch!
We got out of the van to assess the situation and chat with other motorists. Our van was sitting on a very sharp angle and we knew it could flip at any moment. At that moment a truck come sliding down the hill and smashed into the car in the ditch right behind our van. We knew getting back into the van was not an option and now standing on the side of the road was not an option either. So, we walked the 4km back to our hotel ... walking on ice, in dress shoes and high heel boots. It was 1am when we arrived at our hotel.
Tired and wet, Andrew called CAA to get a tow and they informed me the RCMP had shut down the highway! When Andrew met the tow truck driver back at the van the next morning, he realized just how much danger we had been in! The tow truck driver ran his hand back and forth under the front drivers tire and he said the back one was only touching the ground. He said if we had slid 2 inches farther we would have rolled the van.
Thank you, Lord, for your protection as we travel!
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Sunday, November 16, 2008


So, we've just spent the last few days at the N.A.M.E. Conference ... the National Association of Marriage Enrichment. What an incredible opportunity to be involved in such a great event! My husband was the guest soloist, but we were encouraged to participate in all the sessions and take advantage of the teaching as well. Now, I knew that I was going to the marriage conference, but I remembered that my husband might just be 'going to work'. (see previous post ... We went to a Wedding) It turns out that we both enjoyed some seminars, and meeting and getting to know some of the teachers and leaders. Some of the ones we thoroughly enjoyed were Dr. Tim Clinton, director of The American Association of Christian Counsellors (I ordered several of this books!), Pastors Rick and Judy Hilsden, former Ontario District Superintendent of the PAOC and now pastors of The Park Church in Sherwood Park, AB and Phil and Cindy Waugh, Executive Directors of Covenant Marriage Movement.

One particular moment that stood out in my mind was in a session about Effective and Ineffective Communication led by Phil and Cindy Waugh. They were the explaining the concept of "Messaging to be understood and Listening to Understand". Part of communicating this way with your spouse involves "mirroring". When not in agreement, the one spouse responds with, "what I hear you say is ....." and once the concept is completely understood, the other spouse says, "that makes me feel ....". I leaned over to my husband and asked him if he remembered when we had first heard that concept. He did.

We were singing at The Park Church in April 2008. During the Sunday morning service, Pastor Rick was speaking about marriage. I remember a lot of his message because he was very funny, but mostly because of this: you see, in August of 2007 Rick suffered a heart attack and then, a few days later, an acute stroke. He wasn't expected to live. It was soon realized that the part of his brain that had been affected by the stroke was his "communication department". As a pastor, this is his most precious gift! With the help of his wife, he has continued to pastor a growing, thriving, large church. To see Rick now, you wouldn't know that he had been ill, but once he begins to speak there is a hesitation and stumbling over words. During the morning in April when Rick was speaking about marriage, he began to explain the concept of "mirroring" ... "what I hear you say is ...." and "that makes me feel ...". He had barely begun to explain the concept when his words began to get very muddled. He tried a couple times to straighten them out and just couldn't get his thoughts out. Quietly, his wife Judy left her seat in the front row, walked up to the platform, took a mic and explained the concept beautifully while Rick stepped back and took a few deep breaths before he was ready to begin again. Then, Judy just stepped back down to her seat in the front row. The picture of that has been embedded in my mind. Two people working as one. Neither one looking for attention. Simply working together to accomplish a purpose. The concept has stayed with me and I've shared it with several friends, but even more poignant was the relationship between Rick and Judy. Truly they are an inspiration!!

So, not only have we been surrounded by great teaching, but we have been inspired by other marriages in action.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This week ...

This week we were blessed by friends who allowed us to use their time share in beautiful Canmore, AB ... right at the foothills of the Rockies. Our chalet had 2 stories, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 TVs, fireplace, full kitchen including dishwasher, washer, dryer, balcony off the master bedroom and we enjoyed some of the amenities at the Lodge ... pool, sauna, hot tub, games room and free movies. We enjoyed exploring the town, driving around looking at the exquisite homes, window shopping in the picturesque downtown, sipping coffee at a superb Italian cafe, and basically relaxing without schedules.

Our Chalet in Canmore, AB and the views from the master bedroom balcony

We did drive into Banff one of the days (about 15 minutes up the road) and enjoyed driving around looking at homes, visiting the Hot Springs for a warm dip on a cool afternoon, checking out the great shops and then eating at our favourite place ... The Keg (thanks to gift certificates from our friends at During the afternoon it began to snow, which for our family, made the day absolutely perfect!

My hubby and I downtown Banff, AB on a snowy evening. The end of a perfect day!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Our drive to Alberta ...

Here's some pics of the drive to Alberta .... notice the goose from Wawa, ON, pics of beautiful Lake Superior, the Terry Fox Monument in Thunder Bay, ON, the largest teepee in Medicine Hat, AB, the moose warning sign and then the mountains in the distance.

We are indeed surrounded by incredible beauty!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Week One ...

We hit the road last Friday morning and one week later ... about 176 hours later ... we had traveled over 3,800 km, been in 4 provinces and 3 time zones.

My hubby had sung in 2 full concerts, 1 special Sunday morning appearance, 1 World Vision Artist Associate luncheon, 1 GMA Showcase and spent a day in a studio doing TV tapings.

We had stopped and visited with friends we've only met through e-mail in North Bay, my Aunt and Uncle in Winnipeg, our friends, The Wilson Family, in rural Saskatchewan and lots of artists at different venues.

We ate at Wendy's, McDonald's (x3), A+W, Mary Browns, Subway (x2), Swiss Chalet, The Olive Garden, Drifters, The Keg, Caseys, KFC, Red Lobster, Montanas, a catered luncheon, Tim Hortons (x2) and Starbucks (x??)

We stayed at Travelodge, Voyageur Inn, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Howard Johnston (x2), and Days Inn.

Yesterday my hubby had a meeting with the musical director for the musical he will be involved in beginning at the end of next month. 7,000 tickets sold out in 5 days! He's not only going to be the guest soloist, but he is also doing some arrangements and vocal choreography for the choir. He meets with the choir for the first time tomorrow.

I've managed to keep the kids on track with schoolwork, keep laundry clean and read a few books. I've also realized that 1 laptop with 4 people is not enough!

Sounds crazy, huh? Welcome to my life!

So, for those who want to know how it's going ... great!

Monday, October 13, 2008

We went to a Wedding ...

Early in the summer I received a beautiful invitation in the mail. Two young friends of ours were about to commit their lives to each other in a wedding ceremony. More than just being invited to the wedding, my husband was also asked to sing at the ceremony and the band he plays with, Scandalous Grace, was asked to play for the dance.

I looked forward the date all summer long. I had a dress picked out (although I switched outfits at the last moment because of the heat!), I had my hair done and paid extra special attention to getting ready. I was looking forward to spending the day with my husband, reminiscing about the day when it was us confessing our love to each other in front of our family and friends.

Us ... just before the wedding started ...

We arrived early to set up sound. My husband sat in the front row ready to sing during the ceremony and I sat in tiny, hot sound booth at the back. I watched other couples cuddle close together watching the bride and groom while my hubby motioned to me to turn down channel one and turn up channel two.

As people exited the church, my hubby and I quickly packed the sound gear and headed to where the reception and dance would be. We set up there and I began to relax while he discussed the evening with the band. We enjoyed an incredible meal and while speeches were being made the band was getting ready. I spent the next few hours watching Scandalous Grace sing and play with all their might. They were incredible!! An absolutely stellar performance which delighted the crowd completely. I watched husbands and wives embracing on the dance floor, fire in their eyes. I watched as the music sung brought back heart-warming memories for them. I was sitting by the sound booth wondering why there was so much fun around me and yet I wasn't enjoying any of it.

Then it hit me ... Silly me. I thought I was going on a date with my husband; he was simply going to work! Silly, silly me.

Being married to a singer means that my life is a lot different than many others, but this was one aspect I hadn't considered before. To be fair, my hubby took me out on a date the next week and this time it wasn't about work!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Birthday Present ...

My birthday isn't until next week, but my mom contacted me in August and told me what my birthday present would be. She wanted her two girls and her three granddaughters to spend some time together. So, she bought plane tickets for my girls and I to fly to my sisters to spend a few days with her family. We had a wonderful time together and then spent 3 days with my mom and dad before flying home. My sister described the visit beautifully ... check it out ...

Thanks, Mom!!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Homeschooling Goals

Our school year got off to a great start this week. It's hard to believe we've been formally homeschooling for 11 years! What a journey!

While going through an old box of homeschooling things this summer, I came across a list I made several years ago when our homeschooling journey began. I'm pleased that our goals have not altered at all! I wrote them when our kids were merely elementary students and now, with one doing Grade 10 work and one doing a mix of Grade 8 and Grade 9 work, the goals seem just as poignant.

Written around 1999:

Our Destination Goal for Homeschooling

1. That our children would love to learn.
2. That our children would have a marketable set of skills ... research, communication and technical.
3. That our children would understand Christianity and enjoy a vital relationship with the Lord.
4. That our children would discover their talents and gifts and be able to develop them and use them.
5. That our children would develop integrity of character that would be noticeable not only to us, but our family, friends and church.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Few days away ...

The cottage has been owned by my hubby's grandparents for decades. This sign at the end of the driveway has always signified to me ...
"The stress of life ends here ... prepare to relax!"

Beautiful setting. Sisters relaxing by the lake!

Just the 4 of us
3 days
8 movies
lots of board games
no schedule at all
long walks ... in the rain AND the heat
simple meals
fishing off the dock
ice cream from the corner store
reading great books for however long we wanted
water lapping at the dock
woodstove crackling in the morning
breeze blowing in all the open windows

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

American Idol Update

So, a month after we went to the American Idols Live concert I am finally blogging about it! The day was fantastic from start to finish. We left early and headed to Toronto for an early supper at my hubby's favourite restaurant, Ivory Thailand. MacKenzie had been there before with her dad, but for Savannah and I it was our first experience. The food was even better than I could have imagined! Who knew we'd all be lovers of Thai food??

Our anticipation grew as we headed over to the Air Canada Centre. While waiting in line, we were asked if we wanted to have our pic taken to be used on the big screen. We said sure! Here's the pic ....

In our opinion, almost all the idols have made huge strides as far as stage presence is concerned. Kristy Lee Cook and Syesha Mercado win the awards for 'Most Improved'. David Aruchuleta wins 'Crowd Favourite'. Michael Johns wins 'Was Voted Off Waaayyy Too Early'. In our eyes David Cook and Carly Smithson were definitly rock stars in every sense of the word. My favourite, Jason Castro, did a beautiful rendition of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' that almost made me cry!

All in all, we had a fun family day full of great memories!

PS. Check out MacKenzie and Savannah's Facebook pages for pics of the concert.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

American Idols Live Tour 2008

One thing that our family enjoys doing together is watching American Idol. This year we actually watched every single episode! During the Finale on TV, my husband casually mentioned to our girls that the live tour was coming to Toronto in July. They looked at him with raised eyebrows, "Really?"
"Yes, and we've got tickets to go see it!!"
This resulted in lots of screaming!!

I asked MacKenzie this morning who her favourite was. Right away she answered, "David Cooke. .... and Carly Smithson. .... oh, and Jason Castro." This year the talent was exceptional ... so many different styles and I especially loved seeing the contestants get better and better every week. My favourite was Jason Castro. I loved his performances of "Hallelujah" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Just for the record though, in my opinion he was not ready to be the winner. David Cooke was the right one as far as I'm concerned!

Today is the day! We've packed snacks for the ride, got the tickets and binoculars ready to go and we are pumped!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

School's Out!

I know for almost everyone else in Canada, school's been out for several weeks. When you are homeschooling, you can educate on your own schedule. In the past, this has always worked to our advantage and we've usually finished school in May. This year was different. With my husband's schedule being so heavy last fall, we got way behind in our schoolwork and just couldn't seem to get caught up. Now, we're finally done! I've even completed report cards.

Now the kids and I are officially on 'summer holidays'. I've got a few plans, but nothing extravagant. I plan to spend some time at the library and then enjoy reading the books and watching the DVDs I borrow, painting a few more things around my home, starting a Facebook page, trying a few new recipes, blogging about some things that have been on my mind and then getting ready for the next school year. We are also planning on attending a couple concerts ... my hubby and the band he plays with, Scandalous Grace, are doing a fundraising concert tomorrow (Friday) at DSCF, our friend Kevin Pauls is in concert in Whitby next week, and then next Saturday we have tickets to see American Idols Live at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto!

Here's hoping for a few lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Questions ...

A couple questions have been going through my mind lately. Maybe you can help!

1. Where have all the red-skinned potatoes gone to?

2. I know that eating fruits and veggies in season gives you the most punch of vitamins etc., but does anyone have an easy way to remember what is in season and when in Ontario?

Just wondering ....

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Weekend Projects ...

Television programming has been bombarded with decorating shows and when I have the flicker in my hand, that's usually what we watch. However, actually doing something to my own home is much more challenging!

Our family room furniture has been deteriorating rapidly over the last several years. We own two beautiful, long-haired, cuddly cats with nails who have torn the front panels of our furniture to shreds. The actual structure of the furniture is fine, but the upholstery needed help.

I've been wanting to highlight the black in our family room for quite some time ... our wood stove is black, our lamps are black, a few candle holders are black. So, I found an old pair of black pants and a can of black paint. Andrew tackled the front panels of the furniture, removing the green and adding the black, while I painted all the green legs of our end tables a nice, shiny black. The projects took a few hours, but were completely FREE! We were amazed at the results. Thought you'd like to see ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mike and Maty's Chicken

Anyone remember 'The Mike and Maty Show'? The show aired in about 1994 and wasn't on for very long. My sister-in-law was a big fan and taped the show while she was at work to watch in the evenings. She was still living at home with her parents, so if my hubby and I were visiting his parents on a week night, inevitably we ended up watching 'Mike and Maty'.

I was recently having one of those "what in the world are we going to have for dinner" nights, when I remembered that a long, long time ago I had written down a recipe from an episode of 'Mike and Maty'. I had made the recipe once or twice over the years, but not for a long time. This prompted me to get out my favourite cookbook and begin going through all the recipes I have shoved in the front over the years. The recipes I've shoved in the front may actually exceed the actual numnber of recipes in the book! I was looking for that light pink piece of paper that had been torn in half. Isn't it funny how we can remember the silliest details, but can't remember where we left our cell phone? I found the paper and to my delight, I had all the ingredients for the recipe. Since I have been helping my oldest get her Grade 9 credit for Home Economics, I decided to have her make the majority of the recipe. (When you homeschool it's amazing what you can classify as "school"!) MacKenzie did a great job and the recipe turned out even better than I remembered. No one else in my family remembered ever having eaten it before!

So, if you are wondering what to have for dinner and want something easy and tasty, why not try "Mike and Maty's Chicken".

3 or 4 boneless breasts of chicken cut in bite sized pieces
Shake in 1/2 cup of flour and a bit of salt
Brown in 1 tbsp of butter

All in one bowl, add ...
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of red pepper
1/2 cup green pepper'
1/2 cup onion'
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp pepper
1 cup ketchup (She used 1/2 cup ketchup and 1/2 cup chili sauce)
1 cup water

Mix it up, add to the browned chicken, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

We served it with basmati rice (my personal favourite!) and canned peas.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Father's Day was this past weekend. I am blessed to have my dad (and mom) here for a visit from Iowa and so we spent the day together. I am blessed to have a father that was always pro-active about providing for his family and teaching us right from wrong. My dad appears to be very staunch and business-like, but I know what a tender heart he has. He is man enough to let the tears roll without being ashamed. For the first 9 years of my life, my dad was a banker, but since then he has pastored.

My Dad and I ... Father's Day 2008

In honour of Father's Day I'll share a story that happened recently to my hubby. He was standing talking to his friend Jeff about very important "musician things". Jeff was holding his 2 year old beautiful daughter, Celeste. The two men were deeply engaged in discussing the benefits of the latest model of ear monitors, prices, upgrades etc. etc. As they talked, Celeste kept trying to interrupt. "Daddy, daddy ... I want to tell you something."

And then again ... "I need to tell you something, Daddy".

Jeff gently kept reminding her, "Just a minute, Celeste." The two men continued talking.

Finally, Celeste couldn't wait any longer. She put one of her tiny hands on each of Jeff's cheeks, turned his face towards her and said, "Daddy, I just need to tell you that I LOVE YOU!" Both men completely melted in tears.

I'm thankful for a heavenly Father who is my provider, my peace giver and my protector. Abba ... Daddy ... I just need to tell you that I LOVE YOU!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Thoughts ...

Over the last few weeks the Lord has been highlighting some things to me over and over again. There haven't been flashing neon lights, but the same things keep jumping out when someone is speaking or when I'm reading something. Thought I'd share.
  • TRUTH (see this previous post) My mom always ends up with a "word for the year" ... Truth is my word for 2008.
  • Use wisdom
  • Get the facts before you jump to conclusions
  • My children will inherit one of two things: my fears or God's promises (Lisa Bevere)
  • When God asks me to do something, I MUST obey immediately ... no matter how much people won't understand
  • How can anyone have a proper relationship with God when their earthly relationships are so messed up ... and yet, we can't fix those earthly relationships on our own, we need God to help us
  • I can't do anything on my own, but I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!
  • There is a school bus company from our town that uses the logo "On the Journey of Learning" ... I feel like that wraps up my life in a nutshell

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Life Lessons ...

Some thoughts to ponder!

1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have,or sleep all you want.
4. When you say, 'I love you', mean it.
5. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling..
11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze
16. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
17. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
18. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
19. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
21. Spend some time alone.

(sent to my husband from a friend by e-mail)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Turkey Dinner

My husband and I have been blessed in many ways over the years with people giving to us. God always knows exactly the time and He has directed folks to meet our needs in all kinds of ways. Well, about a month ago, a distant relative of my husbands showed up on my doorstep and told me she was grocery shopping and she felt led to buy us a turkey. I thanked her and thought to myself, "I don't know how to cook a turkey!" I put that thing in the freezer and left it there. The only freezer we have is the fridge top one and the turkey was taking up about 1/6 of the room in it! I'd see stuff on sale at the grocery store and want to stock up, but I didn't have room in my freezer! So, this week I thawed that thing, called my mom and found out how to cook it. I had opted to not make dressing, but my husband said he had watched his gramma lots of times, so he tried his hand at making it. By suppertime we had a nice, juicy turkey, delicious dressing, sweet potatoes, veggies, yummy gravy and even cranberries! My husband and I 'high fived' each other and commented that you COULD teach old dogs new tricks!

BUT ... now I know why turkeys are cooked for family get togethers! There was certainly enough turkey for an army!! Now, gotta figure out what to do with all the leftovers!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Before He Speaks ...

To all my friends who are pastor's wives, worship leader's wives, evangelist's wives ... anyone who has been used as "the illustration"! These ladies have hit the nail on the head!

ps. After seeing the acting abilities of Shari and Tammy on Sunday, I think they could do a great job acting this out!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

DEPARTURES has arrived!

Here's a sample from my hubby's brand new album, DEPARTURES. This album is the result of something God put on my husband's heart about three years ago. The journey to get to the final product has been bumpy, but the end result is more incredible than we even imagined! What a joy to work with such gifted musicians and artists and watch as God created this beautiful tapestry.

To launch this new album, we also created a new website. Stop by for a visit at: Listen to clips from the rest of the album by clicking on "In-flight Entertainment". It will be available to order from our online store or from iTunes by the end of the month.

Last September God placed the desire in Andrew's heart to write a song about reaching out to those around us. Andrew worked on that song for two days straight and couldn't come up with something. The kids were busy with fashion shows all weekend and had no idea he was trying to write a song. Early Monday morning when I woke up, MacKenzie (then 13) was already awake. When I asked her why she simply answered, "God woke me up with a song, so I got up and wrote it down." She had written two verses, a chorus and even a bridge. The lyrics were exactly what Andrew had been trying to create all weekend!! Here's a sample of the final cut ...

The journey has been long, like we've been in a holding pattern. DEPARTURES is such a fitting name because it does feel like we're about to take off!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This morning ...

This morning I had to sew a button on my winter coat. I wish it was because I was so organized that I was fixing stuff as I was putting it away for the summer. But, nope ... it's because I am leaving this summer weather behind and heading to Edmonton where they had nearly 3 feet of snowfall last weekend! uugghh. At least it's only for a few days!
Somehow this is all wrong ... aren't you supposed to leave COLD weather and go somewhere HOT for a few days?
Oh well, hopefully the good concerts and spending time with friends will warm our hearts!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Child of God Gives Back"

I have spent two evenings this week with my family watching American Idol's "Idol Gives Back". We are all big fans of the show and were thrilled to watch the many entertainers, singers, celebrities, athletes and politicians join together with one voice and compel the public to donate to the needy, hungry and sick both in Africa and the United States. In total over 60 million dollars has been raised and they are still taking donations! What an incredible amount of people will be able to be helped.

I was thinking of us, as Children of God. What if we all set our own mandate to be part of "Child of God Gives Back". There wouldn't be any famous names begging people to make large donations or even donations of pocket change. No, this would be that "still, small voice" prodding us to engage in random acts of kindness -being Jesus to everyone we encounter. In "Child of God Gives Back" each one would show the same amount of mercy to others as God has shown to them. In "Child of God Gives Back" each would love their neighbour as themselves. In "Child of God Gives Back" each would treat others as they'd like to be treated. In "Child of God Gives Back" each would share what they have (hint ... it really isn't ours anyway. It actually all belongs to God.) In "Child of God Gives Back" hate e-mails disguised as prayer requests would be obsolete. In "Child of God Gives Back" each would offer and receive forgiveness. In "Child of God Gives Back" each would display the fruits of the spirit in every situation. In "Child of God Gives Back" they would know us by our love for one another.

Even in the words of some of those who were guests on American Idol, we can be encouraged be part of "Child of God Gives Back" See how fitting these words are ....???

"Help people out. It'll feel good." Adam Sandler
"Keep giving. Keep caring." Gloria Estevan
"Sometimes to help someone, we have to travel outside our comfort zones." Brad Pitt
"Get involved." Dr. Phil
"We can't just leave this up to our parents. We've got to get involved too!" Miley Cyrus
"It would mean so much to so many." Reese Witherspoon
"Give whatever you can." Tyra Banks
"Let's do it together." Forest Whitaker

What a mandate! I am so thankful for second chances! Lord, help us to slow down, hear your still, small voice and begin affecting the world around us.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Truth ...

After reading part of Roxanne's blog last week and also being inspired by Rhonda's posting of simple, yet powerful, scripture, I have been thinking a lot about TRUTH.

From the time we are toddlers we are scolded, "Tell the truth". Yet, there are times when we know that if we tell the truth we will be punished and will have to face the consequences, so we don't. It is easier to deny the truth and escape the consequences.

As adults, we do the same thing, except it isn't about stealing a cookie or taking a toy from a sibling. Usually it has to do with relationships. If we simply deny the truth, we escape the consequences. But, this will only go on for so long before we lose the relationship or we face the truth and make things right. This applies to marriages, friendships, work relationships and even to ourselves.

We immobilize situations by refusing to face the truth. We deny that there are problems that are unsolved. We deny that there are feelings we haven't dealt with. We deny that we have made bad decisions. We deny that we have addictions. We deny that there are relationships that are not whole. We deny that marriage isn't everything we thought it was going to be. We deny the financial crisis we are in. While we live in denial, situations go from bad to worse.

I think of people sitting in counselling sessions time after time after time while the counsellor simply waits for the truth to be told or revealed. Until there is truth, even a professional counsellor's hands are tied.

I like to think of John 8:32 as "... you will know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free ..." (a bit out of context, I know). I really believe that knowing the One who IS Truth is imperative for facing truth in every other situation. I like to think though, that when we come to Jesus (Truth), spend time with Him and get to know Him, then we would see ...

"... that I'm precious, and I would know that I'm prized
I'd know Your love never changes
If I could look through your eyes.
If I saw my value to you
I'd see your love for me remains
Despite the foolish things I do
And I'd see your love for what it is
Unshakable and TRUE
If I saw my value to you." (written by Dan Cutrona, sung by my hubby yesterday morning at DSCF and recorded on his new album "Departures")

Oh, the incredible things that happen to us when we know the one who IS Truth ... we become FREE! Yes, Mona, we can trust Him because He cannot tell anything, but the Truth!

When we know the One who Is Truth, He can speak the truth to us. I remember one very confusing morning a few years ago when God revealed some truth to my husband and I. A ton of feeling came with the revelation and we really didn't even know what to do with it all. We went to our friends, Todd and Tammy who listened and then reminded us that, "The Lord reveals to heal". He speaks the truth to us to heal us!! I can't tell you how many times I have quoted that phrase to other people since that time.

When we know the One who IS Truth, we can begin to speak the truth about everything else in our lives. We are able to speak the truth about hurt and mistreatment and then forgive! We can speak the truth about unhappiness and dissatisfaction and then work towards a solution! We can speak truth about our financial situation, rework our budget and make better financial decisions. We can speak the truth about disappointments and failures and then trust God to help us become better people! It all begins, though, with telling the truth. Yes, there may be consequences ... we may have to admit that we aren't perfect (gasp!). We may have to struggle through some ugly feelings. We may have to step out of our comfort zones. We may even have to work very, very hard. The results, though, are so worth it ... we can be ... FREE!!


Disclaimer: I am only speaking from my own experiences and want to encourage others towards freedom. In no way have I meant to shame anyone. If this post seems harsh, it wasn't meant to be.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Welcome My Sister, Charlene

My sister has joined the world of blogging! She is ...

  • a wonderful mom to Alandria (almost 4)
  • a supportive wife
  • a pastor's wife in a tiny town in Iowa
  • very intelligent (Double Honours in English and Philosophy from McMaster University)
  • my little sister (even though she's just a hair shorter than 6 feet tall)
  • known for being sarcastic ... just a wee bit!!
  • a gifted artist ... painting, drawing and even decorating
  • one of the most frugal people I know! She knows how to get a deal on almost everything!

Visit Charlene at

Alpha Marriage Course
Desert Stream Christian Fellowship
March 30 - May 11, 2008

Your Chef ... Ted Shepherd
Your Sous-Chef ... Andrew Martin
Your Assistants ... Sharon Shepherd and Vicki Martin

Ted and Sharon are our wonderful friends and it is a joy to help them maintain the standard of excellence they have established cooking for this course. Last night was the first of eight nights. Don't let the spiffy outfits fool you ... we were having a blast!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Found this today and it made me giggle ... thought you might enjoy it too!

The Bra (Cowboy Poetry)
By Bill Hirschi

You know, I've never been much for shopping,In fact I try to stay away from town -
Except when shipping time comes, I ain't easily found.

But the day came when I had to go, And I left the kids with Ma.
But before I left, she asked me,"Would you pick me up a bra?"

Without thinkin' I said "sure,", How tough could that job be?
I bent down and kissed her and said, "I'll be back by three."

Well, when I done the things I needed I started to regret
Ever offering to buy that thing, I was working up a sweat.

I crossed the street to the ladies shop, With my hat pulled over my eyes,
I wasn't takin' any chances, On bein' recognized.

I walked right up to the sales clerk, I didn't hem or haw.
I told the lady right straight out, "Ma'am, I'm here to buy a bra."

From behind I heard some snickers, So I turned around to see
At least fifteen women in the store, And they's all gawkin' at me!

"What kind would you be looking for?", "Well," I just scratched my head.
I'd only seen one kind before, "Thought bras was bras," I said.

She gives me a disgusted look, "Well sir, that's where you're wrong.
Come with me," I heard her say, And like a dog, I tagged along.

She took me down this alley, Where bras was on display.
Well I thought my jaw'd hit the floor, When I seen that lingerie.

They had all these different styles, That I'd not seen before -
I thought that I'd go crazy, 'fore I left that women's store.

They had bras you wear for eighteen hours, And bras that cross your heart.
There was bras that lift and separate, And that was just the start.

They had bras that made you feel, Like you weren't wearing one at all.
And bras that you can train in, When you start off when you're small.

Well, I finally made my mind up, Picked a black and lacy one.
I told the lady, "Bag it up," And figured I was done.

But then she asked me for the size. I didn't hesitate.
I knew them measurements by heart, "Six and seven eighths."

"Six and seven eighths, well sir, That really isn't right."
"Oh yes ma'am, I'm positive, I just measured them last night."

I thought that she'd go into shock, Musta took her by surprise.
When I told her that my wife's bust Was the same as my hat size.

"That's what I use to measure with, I figured it was fair;
But If I'm wrong I'm sorry ma'am." This drew another stare.

By now a crowd had gathered, And they's all crackin' up.
When the lady asked to see my hat, To measure for the cup.

When she finally had it figured I gave the gal her pay
I turned to leave the store, Tipped my hat and said, "Good day."

My wife heard the whole story, 'fore I ever made it home.
She'd talked to fifteen women, Who'd called her on the phone.

She was still a-laughin', But by then I didn't care.
Now she don't ask and I don't shop, For no more women's underwear.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008


In the spirit of Spring Cleaning my husband (International Award Winning Artist, Andrew Martin) is giving away a few CDs!! We have found a box with some some of Andrew's Award Winning CDs in it that have not been in circulation for over 3 years and decided to offer them to you!

The rules are simple:

~Visit Andrew's blog ANDREW'S RAMBLINGS

~Have a look around and then leave a comment on the post called CD Giveaway

~Your name will be entered into a hat

~If you advertise the CD Giveaway on your blog or website, simply say so in your comment and get your name in the hat twice!

~Let your family and friends know so they have a chance to win as well

~The draw will be held on Sunday, March 30, 2008

I can't wait to see who wins!!

Here's hoping that Spring really IS on it's way!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It Started with a Phone Call .... or .... Giving and Receiving

Wednesday morning I got a phone call from my friend, Brandy. She was crying. She was sooo sick, her hubby had worked nights and was sound asleep, her baby, Abby, needed a diaper change and Brandy couldn't even lift her and she needed gingerale. I got to her place as soon as I could delivering gingerale, getting Abby cleaned up and fed and ready for an afternoon nap and waited until Jason had showered and was ready for the "afternoon shift". When Jason went back to work that evening I went and spent several hours with Brandy looking after Abby, tidying up, emptying the dishwasher and loading it, fluffing Brandy's pillows and tidying her bed, feeding supper to Abby, bathing her and getting her ready for bed. I left after Abby was tucked into bed and Brandy was ready for bed. I was glad to help ...

Over two years ago now, I spent 7 weeks in bed and I had friends who came and helped the entire time. Friends from church and my homeschooling group delivered meals for my family, offered to taxi my kids back and forth to events, and even brought one daughter a new swimsuit when they noticed hers was getting thin at swimming lessons. One friend from church delivered a whole box of movies for me to watch while I was laying in bed! Many friends came by or e-mailed that they were praying for me. So many researched and offered solutions to my health problems and many of them worked. One friend connected me to an Osteopath who was vital in my recovery.

So, when I had the opportunity to give back to a friend in need, I was glad to do it. What I didn't plan on was that the flu is the gift that KEEPS giving!! (Just for the record, this isn't the first time I've helped a friend in over 2 years, but it's current so I decided to blog about it!)

Andrew and I both invited folks to our house last night ... two different families who had never met each other. When I realized it and tried to get one to come a different night, it wasn't possible. So, they all arrived here for the afternoon and evening yesterday.

Problem was, I woke up in the morning knowing I was getting sick!! I wasn't sick enough to cancel ... until they were in the driveway and I was in the bathroom!! YIKES. Too late. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends who helped get supper ready and one husband even barbequed the burgers because by late afternoon, Andrew was also starting to feel sick.

By bedtime I was feeling a lot better, but my poor hubby was as sick as a dog. He was sick all night long and has been snoozing on the sofa all morning. He was supposed to sing at a funeral this morning, but had to cancel.

So, I've learned ... the flu is the gift that keeps on giving!!! My advice ... try not to get it!

PS. not for one minute do I regret helping a friend in need. It was a joy to do it and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Add a smile to your day: Stories about my nearly 4 year old niece, Alandria

Earlier this week Alandria had the hiccups and she kept saying, "Excuse me, I have the cupcakes!"

My sister sent this story this morning ....

When I was putting Alandria to bed I began praying with her about God getting all the 'yuckies' out of our heart. When I was talking about God taking the 'yuckies' out of our hearts she said "like that blue thing what you use to get the yuckies out of my nose? that hurts me when you do that!" Of course, I went on and on about God taking them out, and Mommy can't do that, etc, etc. She said, "God is in my heart? With Jesus?" So, I asked her God's name . . . and she said "Jesus." Then she proceeded to tell me that there wasn't room in her heart for God. "Mommy, I don't have any room in my heart for God. I don't have any room in there. Well, maybe at the bottom of my tummy. No, there isn't any room in there. " So, I started to attempt to explain that God is actually in our heart . . . but I hardly got started and she sat up (she had been lying on the floor while i rubbed her back) and, "Mommy! Mommy! I have a great idea! God can go in my ear . . . where you clean it? He can go in there. He can go in there and slide down into my tummy!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


In my daughter's grade 9 Literature course there was a statement that stuck out to me last week. In the study of Unity, the author was saying how it isn't hard to decide WHAT to write, but it is hard to decide what NOT to write. My thoughts exactly! I wonder if other people start a blog, save it and then decide to delete it as many times as I do?! Honesty lends itself to vulnerability, so I often decide not to publish some of my thoughts. I wonder if others will misunderstand what I'm saying. I wonder if some of the things God is teaching me are just for me and not for me to share. I wonder if I admit my weaknesses if others will remind me about them later. I wonder if maybe I should just stick to the facts rather than share feelings.

Maybe I'll just delete this instead of publishing it ... or maybe not!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Quick thought ...

" ... hear from Him, apply what you've heard, and watch what happens." (Steve Shultz - ElijahList)

Wow ... there is so much TRUTH in those few words. Lord, help me to hear You, help me to apply what You've said and I can't wait to see what will happen!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day of Blessings ...

I began the day waking early and spending time snuggling in my warm bed praying for several friends who are going through difficult times. The morning proceeded as normal with breakfast, lots of schoolwork, house tidying etc. and a quick trip to town to pick up a few groceries.

Near the end of schooltime this afternoon I got a rare call from an old friend who now lives in Saskatchewan. We spent about an hour and a half chatting about her pregnancy, her kids, my kids, and mostly about all the incredible things God has been teaching each of us. We cried together, challenged each other and comforted one another. While I chatted, my hubby made a great pot of coffee and brought me a cup of it in my favourite red Starbucks mug. He also made sure the fire was stoked up and the family room was nice and warm and then left me to chat. What an absolute blessing to have such incredible friends!

For supper I made a recipe I haven't made for about 4 years. I even remembered what page (224) the recipe was on in my Betty Crocker cookbook! The Beef Stroganoff turned out soooo good! One of the best things was that I got the steak for the recipe for a great deal at the grocery store this morning ... I love getting a good deal!

After supper we headed to Belleville to attend a Belleville Bulls hockey game. We ran into an old friend last week and he is working in the Bulls' office and offered us free tickets to tonight's game. We had great seats and I was so impressed with the level of skill, the speed and even just the excitement in the building. Best of all, the Bulls won 4 -1!

On the way home, we were able to enjoy a lunar eclipse as it was happening. We got home just in time for MacKenzie to run in and get her telescope and some binoculars to witness even more of the eclipse. She and her dad came inside to get hats and mitts and even wrapped up in blankets and headed back outside in -12 C weather to watch God showing off!

God is sooooo good to me!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Family Day

Today is officially a new holiday here in Ontario called Family Day. Because my hubby works from home and I homeschool both kids, pretty much every day is Family Day for us and I wouldn't change a thing! So, my girls chose to each invite a friend over after church yesterday until this afternoon. There is nothing quite like a housefull of giggling girls! (At least they all slept from about midnight until nearly 9am)!
I decided I felt like cooking and baking, so after we got home yesterday I put on a nice pot of homemade beef stew and made a loaf of homemade bread. By the time everything was ready the house smelled sooo yummy and the show we wanted to watch was just about to start! While we watched TV I decided to make peanut butter cookies. I must admit, they were the best cookies I've ever made! This morning when all the girls were ready for breakfast, I sliced up some fruit and we ate it with homemade banana muffins still warm from the oven! Yum ....

So, in honour of Family Day I continued to do what I do best ... serve the ones I love ... my family!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

"For God so LoVed the world,
~~~~That He gAve~~~~~~~
~~~~~~His onLy ~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ThaT whosoever~~
~~~~Believeth In Him~~~~~~
~~~~~Should Not perish,~~~~
~~~~But have Everlasting life."

John 3:16

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Captivating ...

About a year and a half ago I felt the Lord drawing me to the word "captivating". I knew that there was a book by this title and I asked a few friends if they owned it because I wanted to borrow it. A couple friends had read the book, but no one owned it. I looked for the book at the library, but they only had the workbook. Since I was having a difficult time finding the book, I figured I must have been wrong about being drawn to it. Within a couple days, I opened a magazine about Homeschooling and there was an article entitled "Captivating" ... it was exactly what I needed at that time.

Still, I have kept looking for the book Captivating and even had it in my hand at a couple stores and then decided against buying it. About 3 weeks ago I renewed my membership at the Belleville Public Library and was enjoying filling my bookbag with lots of stuff to read. I headed upstairs to the Non-fiction section to see what I could find and right in front of me on the "New Additions" shelf was the book Captivating!! I snatched it up and was looking forward to reading it. About 2 days later I had an e-mail inviting me to the second MomTime Book Club with Lisa Welchel. The book to read, study and discuss is ... you guessed it ... CAPTIVATING! I tried to participate in her first book club, but had a tough time trying to get computer time. Tomorrow, the day the second MomTime Book Club starts, our new computer is being delivered to our home and the old laptop with officially be ALL MINE!!!

I just LOVE how God handles ALL the details! I've been reading ahead and I am looking forward to sharing thoughts with lots of others. Wanna join us?

Snow Days!

I captured a couple pics from my back deck of the weather this week. I am always intrigued by trees and often wish I had a camera with me. This week I remembered to take a few shots while at home.

Snow, snow and more snow! It was fun to be snowed in ... we rented movies and relaxed by the woodstove. No complaints from me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ravin' About One of My Faves!

Over the last few months I have been introduced to and enjoyed some excellent books and movies. It's my turn to recommend one of them to you!

I asked for the book Mosaic (by Amy Grant) for Christmas and was thrilled when my hubby bought it for me. I wouldn't say I've been a big fan of hers over the years, but I have enjoyed different aspects of her career. I thought the book was an autobiography and was looking forward to delving in. I was wrong. This book is several beautiful glimpses into the very public, as well as the very private, life of Amy Grant. It is neither chronological nor complete. Each "section" is a new thought, a story about part of her life, lyrics to songs, poems, truths shared from lessons learned, encouragement shared from personal growth and joy shared from friendships. Each page points to the Father's continual love and guidance. One of my favourite lines from the book was, "Nothing is wasted in life. Grief and pain enlarge our capacity for compassion and perseverance." Amy Grant

After my recommendation, two of my friends, Rhonda and Brandy, already have their own copies and the list of people wanting to borrow my copy of Mosaic is growing. Get ready to curl up and savour this book. You'll want to read it a bit at a time and then take time to reflect on your own life. Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Check it out!

My wonderful hubby joined the world of blogging a few months ago and I wanted to honour him by inviting you all to see what he's writing about. Anyone who really knows Andrew (see his post "December 20"), knows that he is a very deep thinker. Where most of us are afraid to think deeply and really analyze the deep parts of our hearts, Andrew accepts this as a challenge! Honestly, he never stops thinking! In every circumstance, everywhere we are, everyone we meet, he sees beyond the surface ... incredible insight ... and he is bold to share what he thinks and sees (and does his best to be gentle about it).

Stop by for a visit. Bookmark his blog and come back often ...

Get thinking ....


Saturday, January 19, 2008


My hubby has been in the studio in PEI since last week and we were expecting him home later this evening. He (and our friend, Mark) drove all night to get home yesterday for noon ... they arrived home a day and a half early!! Yippee!
Since my girls and I thought that we would be home alone last night we had a "Movie and Foot Spa" night planned. So, Andrew relaxed with the rest of us watching Bridge to Teribithia while getting our feet soaked, scrubbed and massaged. We let him skip the nail polish step!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kids say the Funniest things!

I have written about my niece, Alandria, in previous posts. This is a recent pic of her (3 1/2 years) with her dog, Pheobe.
Her mom, my sister reads to her each night as she is falling asleep. A couple months ago, after my sister had read to her The Ten Commandments, Alandria sat right up, looked at her mom and asked her, "Mommy, what is A DOLL TREE?"
This was the e-mail from my sister this morning ...
I was just putting Alandria to bed and we were reading the last 'Psalm' in her kids' Bible. I told her, "Alandria, this is the last poem we are going to read. Tomorrow night we will be reading stories again." She said, "The poem that Dabid wrote?" (I have been telling her that David wrote these poems we were reading every night). I told her yes. Then, realizing she probably hadn't made the connection, I said "Alandria, remember David that looks after the sheep? Remember 'Only a boy named David?' Remember David that killed the giant Goliath? Well, that is the same David that wrote these poems!" She looked at the book, then at me. She said "You mean the Dabid in my mobie? Dabid that is in my book? The Dabid that is in my mobie?! Maybe he wrote them when he was in the book. Maybe he pop out of the mobie and wrote them. Yep. He popped out of the mobie to write the poems. "
I hope that makes you smile! Maybe even laugh! A reliable source (Kyler, the son of our friends Mark and Patti) told me last night that laughing helps you lose weight!! Ha ha, ha ha, ha ha ....