Tuesday, May 29, 2012

{Pushing On Towards What Is Ahead}

I slept in this morning.
I was supposed to be saving gas and was supposed to bike Denay to school in the bike trailer.
I had a super over-emotional week last week and I having trouble getting myself back on the rails.
About halfway home from school, this song came on the radio.
{New Day - Ben Cantelon}
Trevor grew up with Ben and his parents go to the church that Ben's dad pastors.
His music is so God-inspiried and Spirit-drenched.

The message is so true.
I think it might become my new morning theme song.

Phillipians 3:12-14
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Today, every day, is a NEW day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

:: Team Daddy ::

These don't need a whole lot of explaination.
She is her daddy's BIGGEST fan.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Free. At. Last.

Today, is a good, good day.
Last night's post was all about getting real and that theme is going to carry into today's.
We have not had a very financially sound marriage.  We combined our money right off the bat but never sat down together, made a budget or a plan for the future.  We spent fairly impulsively.  We have paid off and spent our credit card back up more than once.
We lived for about two years, almost maxing out our overdraft every, single paycheck.
Looking back now, it's amazing how we didn't default on mortgage payments or get our phone turned off.  But then again, it's not amazing, it's God.
Back in the fall, things were getting worse, fast.  I had a sit down with some wonderful friends and combed over every aspect of our situation and put it into a spreadsheet.  I was shocked.  I was embarassed.  They were such a blessing and the catalyst for what has been the nine months that followed.
We carried on, made some small changes but were still consistantly living past what we were making.  I went to work for my MIL and made a very good amount of money.  We got comfortable again because of all the money in our account and proceeded to do some more projects around the house.
Then February rolled around, and a phone call with my MIL and the painful decision to sell our trailer sent me into a tailspin.  We hadn't changed our habits and our hearts toward money was not different and we were quickly back on the path to ruin.
My MIL offered to help.
She is an amazing woman, whom I trust but that was a hard "yes".  It's never nice barely all your money "uglies" (as I called it) to anyone.  But she was patient and loving.
We made some serious changes, cut our spending, switched banks and opened about 100 bank accounts.
We started a system where we paid half of each bill amount from each paycheque so that the leftover from every paycheque is the same.
I was resistant and stubborn and oh, so overwhelmed and once again, embarassed.
My MIL was very gracious and oh, so very right.
We have been steadily, relentlessly and diligently dealing with each paycheque as it comes and working hard at our smallest debt.
In November our credit card statement said this.......

BARF - almost $9300.00
This morning I checked my online card statement and this was the balance......
Then I did this.......
And now I look like this (crazy unbrushed hair, smeared make up, jammies and all)!!  I actually took three other photos of myself that were less ridiculous looking but settled on my initial reaction. 
To be honest, I have no idea how we paid off that much debt in seven months.
What it is, is a true and indesputable testament to my Father's faithfulness.
A few months ago we thought the only way we could get ourselves on a better footing was to sell the trailer.  Lots of ya'll might not get it, but I love that trailer.  Not because it's a toy, but because it's a part of who I am, how I was raised and how I want to raise my kids.
Mr. and I stood unified on the choice even though we were both heartbroken (me more than him).  We wanted to make the right decision and be an example for our kids.
We had hardly a bite and have since decided to stop trying to sell it.
That might change but we finally feel like we have learned our lesson and begun walking the path of stewardship and submission to God's will for our money.  We feel like maybe, He will bless us with being able to keep it. 
We have become so content.
I can't tell you how happy I am with what I have and how my once uncontrollable addiction to spending money has been replaced by a deep-rooted gratitude and a passion for responsibility and to be free of debt so that we can give more to the kingdom work.
I feel so free, knowing that I will never (God willing) carry a credit card balance again.
I feel so in control.
Before I was undoubtedly a slave to money.  It controlled me.
Now, things couldn't be more opposite.  I look foward to every paycheque and my chance to make the income we have been blessed with stretch and go far and work for us on our path to freedom.
We still have a significant amount of consumer debt and with much work and discipline I plan to be free of that for my 30th birthday in about two and a half years. 
I can't think of a better way to celebrate such a milestone birthday!
These bits and pieces from Psalm 18 brought me to tears.  They are so fitting to how I feel.

"To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless.
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.  You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.  I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.  You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.  You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!  He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me.  Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.  He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

{Getting Real}

It's a brute.
We often give ourselves the license to issue judgements and make assumptions based on what we see.

No one is immune to it and our minds are programmed for it.  Sometimes it happens out of the need to feel better about ourselves and sometimes it occurs almost reflexively without us thinking about it.

If some thought is put to it, it's pretty ridiculous the things we base our assumptions on.  How someone is dressed (or not dressed), their hair (style, length and color), their apparent happiness (or lack thereof), what they drive and how clean it is, how their children are behaving, how not clean (or clean) not styled (or styled) their home is.  If we really think about it, the reality of how trivial, insignificant and fleeting these things are is absolutely mind blowing.  How little of us.  How silly and petty.

So, for the sake of truth and reality, allow me to be really authentic with you.......

I cannot function in chaos, no matter what the form.
I am addicted to home-making.
I have days where 4:00pm rolls around and I am still undressed with yesterday's makeup on my face and unbrushed teeth.
I am frequently and easily frustrated by my children.  God is teaching me (the hard way) that children are children and that they will subsequently act and and reason as such.
I like watching The Bachelorette.
I very much dislike cooking and not being able to meal plan (as we are still trying to keep our grocery bill as low as possible) has meant very little real, live, home made dinners being eaten in this house.  This is a constant source of guilt in my heart.
My mood and patience level is directly connected to how much sleep I got the night before and what time of the month it is.  This is a constant source of inconsistency in my life and I very much dislike the literal mood roller coaster that my life seems to be.  Part of the reason for my unflappable need for order in my home comes from the continual lack of order and levelness of my emotions.  This also causes immense frustration when I cannot seem to get ahead of my pattern and fail every time I set off in a better direction.
I spent too much time on media and much less time on Jesus than I would like.
I am a electricity saving fanatic but sleep with a fan on every night and don't necessarily make an effort to have quick, cool showers.
I. love. my. friends.  I never have socks on because they bless me so much.
I talk to myself......a lot.  I even talk to myself about how I talk to myself sometimes.
90% of the time I am happy (and most comfortable) in yoga pants and a tank top.  But that all depends on what part of my roller coaster I am on.
I love to craft and don't do it as much as I would like.
I am very results driven.  This often causes me to start a project hastily because I am so excited to get to the end product.  Also see my first fact.  The chaos sometimes involved in this makes me crazy.
I love photographs.  It's one of the only reasons I would like a slightly bigger house.....more wall space to fill!
You will very rarely catch me without a water bottle somewhere nearby.
I LOVE sleeping.  I am neither I night owl or a morning person.  The earlier I get to bed the better and I do not enjoy waking up to an alarm.
The temptation to overeat to deal with boredom, anger, depression and loneliness is still a part of my life.  Almost every week I recommit myself to good eating so I can fit into my summer shorts....that lasts until around Tuesday afternoon.
Sometimes I miss being a teenager and wish I lived on a farm.
I pick lint and dirt off of my carpet. 
I want two more kids.  But the thought of having four secretly terrifies me.
I tend to go through phases of eating the same things everyday.
Sometimes nap time is my favourite time of day.
I can be very restless but can also be a little lazy.
I hate confrontation and have a tendency to let things slide to avoid it having to talk about it.  I am working on this.

I could go on.
Maybe I said too much.
Maybe I offended you.
Maybe I surprised you.
Maybe you like me more or less.

Every word is true.
The good wrapped up with the I'd-like-to-change.
The beautiful thing is that deep down in my core, I accept myself. 
I hold my head up high
I will not allow my faults to keep me from striving to look more like Jesus.
I will not allow my strengths to make me complacent and stagnant.
I am who I am.
A beautiful mess.
A work in progress.
Let's use our strengths, work on our weaknesses and allow each other to be who we are to fullest, without fencing one another in with our assumptions and perceptions.
Just a little Tuesday evening light reading......

Friday, May 18, 2012

:: Mother's Day ::

That's probably the best word to describe my Mother's Day this year.
My body couldn't manage to let me sleep past 7:30 and after a quick snuggle in bed (and many reminders from Miss D that she was very hungry) it was a yummy, fluffy pancake breakfast made by the Mr.
Off to church......my friend and photog Loni an emailed me and asked if I'd be interested a teeny weeny photoshoot trade after church. 
I got these two awesome images.  Sorry it's not a great view of my $5 jean dress but I know it's going to get worn a lot more this summer.......
After lunch, the kids went to bed and I proceeded to sit in the sun, on my deck for about two hours enjoying being warm.
Then we packed up Mr.'s homemade potato salad and met my parents and a bunch of friends at the beach for more sun and LOTS of rock throwing into the ocean.
We got home late and sunburnt and it couldn't have been a more perfect day!
Good, bad and crazy, I love my little family.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


 God is SO good.

I've shared a little on here about our recent commitment to get ourselves on track financially and things have been going well.
We've had ups and downs and been gas-less with and empty fridge and cupboards but we have never been in want.
We have also seen God bless our SOCKS off and I wanted to share a few testimonies of how we have seen Him as our faithful Jehovah Jireh.

PhotobucketLast Saturday, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a church fundraiser.  Clothes are donated, and from that clothing, a "Nearly New" fashion show is created.  Women pay to see the show, and afterwards there is a HUGE sale of all the donated clothes and nothing costs more than $5.  I signed up to be a model this year and had an absolutely fantastic time (just ask my husband how happy I was when I got home).
Right after the show, I quickly changed and joined the masses shopping and made a beeline for the dress rack.  I have a wedding this weekend and said quick prayer for cute $5 dress.  I found nothing up my alley.  I contiuned to look for 15 minutes or so and did end up with a few other great tops.  After trying them on, putting some back and making three or fours trips back to the racks and finally deciding on what I wanted (cause I only had $30 to spend) some 45 minutes later, I decided to take one final look.  On my way to the dress rack, I came upon an adorable Old Navy demin dress that had been re-hung in the wrong spot, right in my path.  I snagged it (and am wearing in my Mother's Day photo that I will share later).  I wandered back into the hall where the dress rack was (and keep in mind that this was fourth or fifth time and nearing an hour after the shopping had started),  and there it was.  Just my size, cute and perfect.  I took it back and tried it on.....perfect fit, perfect length.  FIVE DOLLARS.  I made a little money doing some childcare and got a super cute (cheap and on-sale) pair of black sandals to go with!

Then a few weeks ago (these stories are not in chronological order) Trev had been asking around to his friends and coworkers, looking for a used bike with training wheels for Denay.  We were hoping for a well-loved free one and were willing to spend very little if we couldn't find a free one.  One Friday evening around 9:30pm, we get a phone call from someone we knew asking if we were going to be around for the next little bit.  We had no idea what he was needing and when the knock came, both of us were so confused and overwhelmed we were almost speechless.  There was this person and wife with a brand new bike, in the box in hand.
They had gone out and BOUGHT us one.
Again, speechless.
Denay's face the next morning was priceless to say the least.

Trev and I were talking about it a few days later and he had an insight that went something like this:
"You know what I think God is trying to show us?  That he just wants us to keep going, keep working, keep trying.  Don't get discouraged because it seems like people around us have it easier or when we see other people come into money that we feel we could use more.  We just need to push on little bit by little bit.  And he's reminding us that he cares about the little things like bikes and dresses for weddings and that He's going to take good care of us and give us good gifts.  He's showing us that He sees and knows and that He is blessing us for trying our best to be better stewards of what He's given us".

We were just talking the other day about summer footwear and how the girls both needed some.....or so we thought.  A trip to my parents house (where all of our baby stuff is stored) to grab ONE pair of sandals that I hoped would fit Paisley resulted us finding six pairs of sandals and summer shoes that completely covers everything we THOUGHT we needed to buy.

"The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
Psalms 23

Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Cancerous Is YOUR Love?


It's an ugly disease.
It took my grandmother very painfully many years ago.
Most recently, it took the life of a woman only in her early sixties.
She was the mom and mother-in-law of two good friends of ours.

It started me thinking about it.
How rampant it is.
How ugly and devastating it is.
How consuming and seemingly unstoppable it is.
How the lives it takes has a trickle-down effect and touches not only those close to the one lost, but all those who love them.
How it doesn't discriminate.  It takes men and women; gay and straight; white and black; old and young; rich and poor; red heads, blonds and brunettes; mortgaged or homeless; Baptists, Pentecostals and Anglicans.
How it doesn't hold grudges.  It just takes and moves on.
How we can research and study and donate for those causes, but can't seem to slow it down or eliminate it.
How it doesn't hold back or give more based on how much it likes, or doesn't like; how it does or doesn't get along with it's host.
It' doesn't judge and it doesn't care about ones past.

What if, friends......what if we loved like that?

What if my love was rampant?
What if my love devastated loneliness?
What if my love consumed hate and was unstoppable against anger?
What if my love brought life and that life trickled down to all those around ourselves and those we give our love to?
What if my love was for all?  Given freely to those I disagree with, who live differently than I do.  Not based on race or lifestyle or social statue or religion or age.
What if my love was free stipulations and expectations?
What if my love couldn't be stopped, hampered or dissected?  If it was so true, it didn't make sense?
What if my love didn't hold back?  Not based on or a slave to fickle and sinful human emotions.
What if my love didn't play judge and jury?

Loving in a world full of pain, sin and hurt isn't easy, but it's what we are called to.
If you open your heart to the unfathomable and incomprehensible love of Jesus, His eyes will take over yours and you will be able to see how He sees and love what He loves.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I. Love. Music.
Anything Frank Sinatra.
Hip-Hop and Top 40.
But above all, I. Love. COUNTRY.
Like, REALLY, REALLY love it.
Here a little bit of what I'm loving right now......
Kip Moore - Somethin' Bout A Truck (my official song of summer 2012)
Thompson Square (LOVE) - Glass
David Nail - Let It Rain
Lady A - Dancing Away With My Heart
The Band Perry - Postcard From Paris
Eric Church - Springsteen
Happy Thursday!
I'm heading out to start prepping my girls' old-but-new-to-us bunkbeds for paint....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

:: DIY: Paint Chip Dry Erase Calender ::

I think I heard a sound like that of a rusted-over, never-used door on an abandoned house when I hit the "New Post" button.
And I'm sure it took the page an extra few seconds to load because it had to remember how to do it.
It's been almost a month and I can't even say that I've "got lots of catching up to do", so I'm just going to jump right back in.

I've hated my laminated, magnet-mounted fridge calender for a while.  It always felt cluttered and I was never able to put photos and other things anywhere because it took up the whole freezer door.
Enter: inspiration & pinterest.
I found a tutorial for a DIY paint chip dry erase board and fell in love with the idea.
I had a few empty, glassless frames sitting in my shed waiting for my church's next youth garage sale fundraiser, one of which was rescued to feed my crafting addiction.  This one is 16x20 inch frame and I think it's the absolute perfect size for this project.
I had a box in the carport that I cut to size for a back.  The cardboard ended up being too thick, so I had to separate the two sides: surprisinglytheraputic.
Cost so far: $0.00
Once the cardboard was stuffed in the back, I traced a line, from the front so I would know exactly how much space I would have.  Then came the trial and error, trying to get the squares as big as possible so I would have lots of writing space.
My squares ended up being 2 7/16 inches by 2 11/16 inches.
And yes, as you can see below, it took me four different cuts to get the exact, exact measurement so I had the small gaps inbetween.
And yes, in case you are wondering I do like things to be just. so.
I had my measurements, now I needed paint chips.  Blue and greens ones.....lots of them. I tried Rona, and couldn't find chips big enough. So I tried Canadian Tire and was in luck.  They had a new Benjamin Moore paint line they are selling and the chips were huge and perfect.  You'll need at least 35 but I would recommend getting 40 or more.  I found that some of the blues and greens I chose looked very yellow or very grey or very beige compared to the overall look so it's good to have more than you need so you can get a cohesive look.
Cost: a little bit of time picking paint chips
Then comes the chopping.  Be sure to cut off the edges with the writing on them before you start cutting them down to your measurements.  You will then end up with a huge pile of scraps.
This is where I am the worst tutorial writer EVER.  I get carried away because I'm just so darn excited to see my finished product, that I forget to take photos.  I went out and spent $1.84 on two large pieces of white bristol board from Walmart to use as a solid background.  I cut it down to size and put it inside the frame, on top of the cardboard so I could start sticking down my squares exactly where within the border of the frame.  Then.....stick away!  I made sure I had a good balance of light and dark all over the board.  Then for the day of the week, I cut out seven one inch by 2 7/16 inches and place them at the top of the columns as well as a piece (that you can make as long as you want) to write the month.
Then I used my left over bristol board and cut 3/4 inch by 3/4 inch squares and stuck them down in the upper right corners of each box for writing the days.
This project would have cost me less than a toonie if I had a frame with glass.  But that part needed purchasing, and a quick trip to a local downtown framing shop (that included my 18-month-old stopping in the middle of a crosswalk and yelling "WAIT" at the cars with her chubby little hands held out in front of her) solved that problem quickly and only cost $7.84.
The finished product:
This wall previously only consisted of the painting hanging horizontally by itself.  I had nowhere else to put it and nowhere else to hang my new calender, so it was a layout game trying to figure out how to make everything work together.  I made a quick pendant banner from scrapbooking paper and twine to add a funky detail and with a photo of my cute girlies and my vintage mail slot......wall complete!
And the finished calender up close.  I would have loved to stamp the days of the week, but don't own any alphabet stamps and ended up writing them in chubby lowercase letters.  I am THRILLED with how it turned out.
Total Cost: less than $10.00!
I would recommend hitting up thrift stores or free online ads to find a frame if you don't have one on hand.....