Almost every summer that I can remember I spent at least one week at camp. I loved the feeling of acceptance at camp. My absolute favorite part of camp - either as a camper or a counsellor was bedtime. Not for the reason that you are probably thinking.
At the end of a busy day, as quiet comes over the campground and the lights are turned off for the night - that was when the most honest and real conversations would happen. As I camper I loved this sharing time, as a counsellor I looked forward for the opportunity to speak truth and encouragement into the girls lives. Those are the moments that I continue to cherish today.
It is those camp experiences that inspired the bedtime moments with our daughters. Every night I make time to spend time praying with and listening to our daughters. It has become a part of our daily routine, they give their Dad a hug goodnight and I get to spend time with them individually. As we sit on their bed it becomes our sacred time and place.
Some nights it's just prayer time and tuck in, some nights it's sharing a burden or situation. They know that this is their time with Mom and that it happens everyday. They don't have to make a special time to talk with me, that may be awkward or uncomfortable.
I am so thankful that even now that they are teenagers they look forward to this time, and they miss it when they are away at a sleepover or camp.
I wish I would have kept a journal of all the prayer requests through the years. We have had the privilege to pray for so many friends and family. So many moments that have encouraged and shaped us. Admittedly, some nights I use this time as an opportunity to talk to them about some choices that they have made that may have not been the best use of their gifts and talents. But mostly this is our time to pray and be thankful for our day.
My oldest went through a difficult time in school and many nights she would cry herself to sleep. This Mama's heart broke repeatedly and I felt so helpless. I read as many books and articles that I could to find a way to help her hurt. Somewhere along the way I read that in order to wake up and start your day with a positive attitude you need to fall asleep with a positive attitude. So each night I would ask her what her favorite part of the day was. She would usually start telling me about something negative that happened that day, but I would encourage her to find something good. After a few weeks it was easier to start finding the good in her day and it even got to the point where the list would get so long that we would be chatting a long time. Maybe it was a ploy to stay up later, but the changes I began to see in her was such an answer to prayer.
Bedtime is my sacred time and place with my daughters. Is this something that you can create with your daughter(s)? Your daughter(s) need this space and time with you.
I have been traveling around and teaching journaling workshops - some would describe it more as a party. However you look at it - it is fun!
It is an afternoon of learn new things about yourself, scripture, fellowship worship and food! The number 1 response I have received about the "My Journey" journal is that they wished they would have started it years ago.
No need to run away to a cafe in Paris (unless you really want to), the "My Journey" journal is a great place to start to get who you have been created to be and why you have been created for such a time as this.
I recently traveled to a community to lead a workshop and it was my favorite one so far! Why? Because it had teen girls up to Grandma's - to see the generations working together and getting to know each other was a beautiful sight!!!! Seriously my heart exploded seeing all the open Bibles, pens and pencil crayons creating beautiful and washi tape being unrolled by the yard. Some were creative, some were not :) but everyone was getting involved and having a wonderful time.
The group of attendees from the church already decided to meet once a month to continue on the practice of "My Journey" journal and Bible Journaling. My heart was so filled with joy and the smile on my face lasted the long drive home.
This event was also a great opportunity for a test drive with the teen journal, and the girls really liked it from what I heard from the girls that attended. Here is a little more information on the teen girl journal:
I now have the 2018 "My Journey" Journal available for pre-order!
This spiral bound 8.5 x 11 workbook gives you a place to find peace and gratitude as you spend time weekly writing your thoughts and heart messages.
I will have pre-orders open only until November 25th, then they will be available for shipping the first week of December. So get your Christmas orders in!
Special bonus! Join me on my Facebook page for a Facebook live on Friday, November 10th! Be sure to "like" my page so that you will be notified when I go live! It should be entertaining since I have never done one before! :)
For anyone that purchases a 2018 journal will have access to videos posted in the members only section on my website, so be sure to register for your free account!
There are so many exciting things going on, make sure to join me on Facebook and Instagram, and share the news with your friends. I have worked through this journal for almost a year and I can't believe how much I have changed. My thoughts are more positive, my attitude is more reflective than reactive now and my prayer life has flourished. I am so excited to finally share this with the world!!!!!
I tend to worry more than I should. It's not a good quality - as in I even lose sleep because I play the worst case scenario repeatedly in my mind. Control freak (maybe?) I worry about a variety of things in my life but mostly our daughters.
With each stage of life there are new experiences, trials and changes. Ah change!!!!! Change and I are not good friends, we do not get along. Give me my structure, schedule and lists and it's all good.
Our family loves after church visiting. Generally we are one of the last families to leave. It was like that when my husband was the Youth Pastor and now that he plays on the majority of the music teams we can generally be found at the front of the church cleaning up music equipment and visiting.
One particular Sunday I was visiting with someone and I was sharing about our oldest daughter going to work at camp this summer and that she would be gone for four weeks! I don't know how I am going to handle it!!!!! She goes away to a youth retreat weekend, or a sleepover and I miss her terribly and have trouble sleeping. You know what my friend said to me:
"Do you think you can take better care of her than God can?"
Sometimes you need a friend to give you a kick in the butt. At first I was like, "Wow, harsh!" Then I slowly began to realize how true her words are.
Two weeks later I had an opportunity to exercise this new found wisdom. Our daughter left for a youth retreat at a Christian College that is a couple of hours away from our home. I dropped her off at the meeting spot - went back to my vehicle, paused for a moment and prayed for her weekend.
As she came to mind that weekend and worry began to settle in - I would stop and pray.
And you know what happened? I found peace and I felt freedom. It was AWESOME!!!
Whenever I would quiet my heart to pray for her, I would listen to what my heart was telling me to pray for. So instead of worrying I began praying that she would meet a mentor - someone that would be a positive influence in her life, that would be a good listener for when she needed someone other than her Mom and someone that she could connect with occasionally.
On Sunday I was excited to pick her up to hear about the weekend. I got to the church early and wrote in my journal while I was waiting anxiously for her return. Eventually my very sleep deprived daughter arrived and had enough energy left to share about the weekend. She had an amazing time - lots of fun activities, found a new love of lattes and she met an amazing girl that is a student at the college and just happens to be dating a guy from our church.
I could feel the smile in my heart, as I was so very thankful for a Father who listens, and cares and protects what we hold so very dear. This girl, this answer to prayer has attended our church a few times with her boyfriend's family and she always makes time for our daughter and the other teens she connected with that weekend.
There is freedom in giving our cares & worries to the One that holds us in His hand - that knows the number of hairs on our heads.
The next time worry sets in and steals peace and freedom from you, quiet your heart and place your worries at the foot of the cross. He's got this.
Respecting Sabbath is an important part of our faith journey. I started on this journey not long ago. You can read my first blog post about Protecting Sabbath. I am still learning and as a family we are working to figure it out - what we are discovering is that it is a necessity.
In Exodus we see the first example of Sabbath rest - this is not a new idea. Sabbath is a lesson that was taught through Moses, we can read this in Exodus 31:12-14:
And the Lord said to Moses, "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it is holy for you.
The first example we see in Exodus is the gathering of manna, They were to gather twice as much on the 6th day so that the 7th day would be respected as holy Sabbath. This began the pattern of work, rest and trust.
6 days of work, a day of rest and trusting that the Lord will provide what we need. Our bodies are designed to work hard, to take time to rest and to trust in the truth of His word.
This is something that we are working to achieve as a family and as it says in Exodus "throughout your generations" which means that we must model this for our children.
After church one Sunday we all came home to change into our comfy clothes and settle in for the day - but my husband asks us to get in the vehicle because we are going for a drive. Even though I had a lot on my "to do" list and was ready with about 20 excuses of why I couldn't possibly take the time to go for a drive - I knew I just had to choose to be excited about his idea and get in the vehicle. Our teen daughters were not so sure but jumped in the back seat and with my camera in hand we started out.
We live in a beautiful Province, Saskatchewan just takes your breath away. The Prince Albert National Park is only an hour's drive from our home. I will never forget as we rounded the corner into the main town site - we looked out the window to see a bald eagle flying over the lake right beside us - it was like we were flying with it. We pulled over and stepped out to look over the cliff to the lake below - the wind whistling through the trees, the waves lapping the shore and the quiet peace brought tears to my eyes. The "to do" list will always be there, the laundry continues to pile up, there are always meals to prepare, groceries to buy and put away but our daughters are now teenagers. We only have a few years of this family unit as we know it left to enjoy.
We need to model Sabbath rest to our daughters and our souls desperately need it.
This elk that we found at Prince Albert National Park has Sabbath rest figured out. Sit back and enjoy the sunset - life passes by too quickly.
How will your family choose Sabbath rest?
This is my new lock screen on my phone.
I need this reminder.
I spoke with a group of Mom's this past week. As I was preparing I had this special message drop on my heart. We as Mom's are going to fail. We are going to say and do things that we regret. Whether it is toward our husbands or our children - some days we are going to go to bed with a heavy heart after a long, hard day.
But as the sun sets and as the sun rises on a new day we are given this gift found in Lamentations.:
It's hard to believe that my new favorite verse, that gives me so much hope and strength comes from a book about lamenting. About the destruction of Jerusalem, about poor choices. Lamentations is a hymn of sorrow and regret. How many nights do I crawl into bed thinking those exact things about myself, my day, my choices.
But the book goes on to show us that God's faithfulness and mercy is the key to a restored relationship with Him.
I live in Saskatchewan and we are known as the Land of Living Skies, which comes in part from the dancing Northern Lights in our night skies, but we also have the most amazing sunsets and sunrises. I have sat on my porch swing many nights enjoying the view of the setting sun.
When I meditate on the words in Lamentations, it gives that sunset new meaning. As the sun closes on the day that is now behind me, I have made many choices that day. Some amazing and maybe some not so amazing. But as the sun will rise the next morning I have the opportunity to wake up and be amazing. Why?
Because my Heavenly Father's faithful, loyal, constant and trusted love, combined with His patient and compassionate mercy restores my soul every morning. How overwhelmingly beautiful is that! Oh my word! Do you understand the magnitude of that! Dear Mama's - every sunset and sunrise presents another opportunity for us to experience God's grace.
What hope that gives this Mama's heart, as I passionately desire to be a godly example to my family, as I pray for wisdom and discernment in the parenting of our daughters, as I faithfully come alongside and do life with my husband - May my attitude become one of "I get to" instead of "I have to".
As you journey through life today I want to leave you with this promise found in Romans 15:13 - have a beautiful day.
"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
** feel free to save the wallpaper to your phone and use it as your lock screen, it will change the way to you see today.
I am just overflowing with emotions. I don't know if it is the change of seasons, the state of the world or the mid-40's - but I overly affected and emotional about the events going on around me.
Mentoring has always been something that is so heavy on my heart that it pains me to see opportunities lost and the pain and silent suffering of those who needed that interaction in their life.
A young man that I knew committed suicide in our community. This is becoming too common and is not something that is talked about. And that just makes me mad! I am sorry for this family and their loss and that this is the choice that he made, as well as the other families in the community who have lost a loved on this way. But we need to get our heads out of the sand and see that this is becoming a problem and we need to help our youth. Why are they even considering this as an option?
As I look at this trend in my community I wonder who are the people that are involved in their lives, who comes across their path that could make a difference? When given that nudge in our spirit to say a word of encouragement do we choose to make the effort or do we continue on with our busy schedules?
As I am being consciously aware of my responsibility as outlined in Titus 2, I am noticing more opportunities crossing my path daily! It makes me wonder how many opportunities I may have missed. As I looked at the picture of this young boy the thought kept running through my head, "What are we as the “church” doing?” I do not mean that big building on the corner I mean those of us who are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ doing in our daily lives?
Scripture tells us to become more Christ-like. I heard an interesting description from Matt Chandler from The Village Church as I was listening to a podcast. He was talking about when Jesus was instructing his disciples to go and make disciples. The word “go” in the context is passive. It means as you go about your day-to-day make disciples.
I see it the same with mentoring, as you go about your day be an example of Jesus Christ. The church doesn’t need another program, we as followers of Jesus need to actively live our lives for the greater good.
I see so much hurt in the lives of teen girls today. I often ask myself what I am doing about it? Am I living up to what God has instructed me in Titus 2? Do the young women today aspire to be women of God? Why or Why not?
I am asking myself a lot of questions that are burning on my mind these days - What I have been finding in my own life is that I am too busy. That I busy myself doing things with my family, with friends, work, etc. But I leave little to no room for opportunities to be a positive example in the life of someone that God has placed before me.
In order to fulfill our calling in Titus we all need to “make” the time and be open to any opportunity that sets itself in front of us. The word mentoring doesn’t always mean taking someone out for coffee once a week. A new term that is being used is “lifestyle mentoring” which is more of what I am thinking about. That we be open to sharing our lives with those that enter our path as we go about our day to day.
Take a few minutes today to read through Titus 2 and may you start to become aware to whatever opportunity may cross your path.