Westminster Turns 7!

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 January 11, 2005 God answered a long time prayer.  Wesley Kenneth was born!  This answer to prayer was several years in the making.  Not just myself and Ry, but also dear friends at church and close family.  Our little family now was given the responsibility to raise a child.  Little did I know then that I would be learning more than I would be teaching!  Over these last seven years you have taught me so much.  I never realized how much clearer my sin could become until you showed me.  Oh, how I thank God for you! 

I can’t really tell you just how much I love you.  Watching you grow up has been delightful.  You have become such an amazing little man.  I can remember from a very early age you have always wanted to be just like Daddy.  At the ripe old age of one you figured out how to call from Daddy’s cell phone to his boss.  I’m not sure if it is genetic or not, but your fascination with all things techy has been most amusing to watch.  Your first “no touches” were the television and remote, the phone and the computer.   Eventually we discovered that the only way to make you crawl was to have you chase a computer (Uncle Julian’s laptop in particular).   I love that you love the Toronto Maples Leafs, just like Daddy.  I love that you love baseball just like Daddy.

God has made you an amazing older brother.  I watch you encourage, protect, love and delight in your sister.  I also watched as you learned that God really does answer prayer, when Toby arrived.  I just love watching you plan out new things to teach Toby.

Watching you this last year or so has been really neat.  You became really aware of the world around you.  You began to realize that not everyone loves Christ.  I think that shocked you, but it didn’t leave you hopeless.  Your response was one of “well we need to pray that everyone would know Jesus”.  Not long after this you started praying for those in our family who are not saved.  Many times you reminded me to be praying, so thank you!  Last year in particular you learned how to read and now your favourite book to read is your Bible.    Several times I have asked you to go and sit in your room and think about your behaviour, only to come in and find you copying out sections from Proverbs.  It has been amazing to watch the Lord softening your heart to the truth. 

May this next year be one that brings you closer to Christ, for the glory of God.

Answer to Prayer

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A few years ago now we thought we were going to be adding one more child to our family.  God saw fit to call that child home, before we even got the opportunity to meet.  Shortly after that sweet Jae started praying that God would be so gracious as to bring another baby into our family.  In my heart I thought that was sweet of her, but wasn't really expecting God to answer..I should have known better!  After several months, God revealed his answer to us.  Baby 3.0 was on its way!  

The Lord answered Jae Jae's prayer. What an awesome God!

After we saw that little heart beating in the first ultrasound, we couldn't contain our joy.  We came home, sat Wes and Jae on the sofa and told them how God, through his steadfast love for us, chose to answer Jae's prayer with a baby.  Jae was happy, yet confused.  You see she couldn't see the baby, so she had to learn to trust that God would answer.  As my belly got bigger she could see that prayer coming to life.  Wesley's response was one that we've told many times.  He sat quietly for a moment and then looked at Ry and said "Dad, is ok if I pray for a boy?".  We laughed out loud!  Wes has been surrounded by girls and he thought if God gave him a brother then he could have some help protecting all the grils in his life.

Several months later God answered Wesley's prayer.  Tobias Julian was born January 6, 2011 at 4:55pm.  

Today as we celebrate the first year of Toby's life we look at ways he has been a delight to us.

We love that you're always wearing that precious smile (dimples included).  We love that you were born with the same hair cut as Daddy.  We love that you share a birthday with Pops.  We love the special way you tell us stories.  We love that you always find a way to be with your brother and sister.  We love the way you join our family wrestling matches.  We love to listen to you laugh.   We love watching that twinkle of mischief in your eye, when you are doing things you know you shouldn't (just like Uncle Julian!).  We love all the nicknames that you have been given in such a short time (Toblerone, Vitamin T, Toba Toes, TJ...etc.).  We love that you have learned to say "Amen" when someone is done praying.  We love watching you get so excited for morning devotions.  [Daddy edit: I love how the worst troubles in the world can be instantly solved with a cuddle on Daddy's shoulder!]

It is our prayer that, by God's grace, you will grow in knowledge of Him who created you.  And one day, Lord willing soon, you will call on Him as Saviour.

Thanks be to God for the gift of Tobias.

 

 

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Pop-Tart Maddness

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Confession time... I have been watching Pop-Tarts going on sale at the grocery store on a more frequent basis recently... and I have to admit to wanting to buy them.  I know... they're just for kids... right?  They are not a healthy breakfast... I know.  My parents would never buy them for my sister and I when were kids... my husband introduced them to me, and I liked them.  I really liked the Smore’s ones... yum!

This week a secret prayer was answered ;)  I opened my Google reader the other day and what did I find... a recipe for homemade pop tarts!!!  I was ridiculously excited.  Tracy at Sugar Crafter made these look so easy and so good... there was only one thing to do...

This morning... as a family we set out on a pop tart making adventure!  The pastry was incredibly easy and the filling possibilities are endless! 

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Strawberry Jam

Raspberry Jam

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Apples and Cinnamon Sugar

Nutella and Peanut butter

Nutella and White Chocolate Chip

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Smore's (with peanut butter! - thank you Robinson family to adding it our smores!)

I strongly suggest you try these out on your family... after all Saturday’s are meant for a fun breakfast!  You can get the recipe here at the Sugar Crafter blog.  I also recommend the Cabury Egg Easter cookies... yum!

 

Why do it when you know it will hurt?

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So after talking with a few friends about wanting to be in better shape... I made a choice... a somewhat painful one at that.  I don't like the thought of excersing let alone actually doing it!

Saturday night Ryan and I decided to start working out together.  Nothing fancy... no gym membership fees, no personal trainer just my honey and I working out in our basement.  Last night was our first session.  After I got the giggles out of my system, we got started.

I seemed to have forgotten that Ry has actually had a personal trainer.  Last night was my reminder!  I thought we were going to start off slow.  I'm pretty sure we did start off slow... if in fact I had of been in better shape to start off.  I used to be "in-shape"... but thinking back that was probably when I was in middle school!!  My loving honey has now introduced me to his loathing of the "run-punch" (an favourite time filler from his trainer Martin). 

So after only 45 minutes... I am now living in some minor discomfort.  I knew I was going to be sore the next day, but it needs to be done. 

Pray for endurance won't you?

Mommy moments

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Well, when you stop writing for four or five months it is hard to figure out where to start again.  So I thought I would start with a few moments that have made me smile.

Jae (after learning about shapes in school in time) when asked what shape was on her pjs informed that they were circles “...but mommy it is not school time, it is bed time.”  

Again Jae while in the midst of a girly tickle fight announced “can we pause for a minute?”

Wes while I was doing some serious cleaning asked:  “Mommy, are you bored?  Want me to tell you a story?”  Of course I said yes and was then told the most amazing “Wes the pirate chaser and Princess Jae Jae” story.  Seriously... never heard one of these stories... just ask them!  

More to come later I am sure.  They pretty much make me laugh everyday at least once!

 

Resolved: Mother's Day

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  I had a wonderful day with my family.  Wes made a lovely little note... “I love you sooooooo much mommy”.  Jae was ready with many hugs and smooches.  Ryan was jumping at any little request I had.  It truly was a day of pampering... and yet I wonder...

Why should I be expecting or experiencing such treatment?  It could only be because part of Mother’s Day for me is a pride issue... pamper me, spoil me, pay attention to me, love me and serve me.   How twisted is that?    As I look back on my mother’s day events, they make me smile, but I can’t help but think that since last mother’s day improvements have been made there is so much more to do.
Between my quiet times yesterday and today I have been thinking through areas to improve as a mother.  Let me tell you... the list is way longer than I would like.  I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood lately.  The recent miscarriage has had me rethinking my ability to adequately raise the children God has given me.  As a sinner, saved by Grace, I alone will never be adequate, but with God all things are possible.  

Mothers are called to be loving, kind, patient, compassionate, slow to anger, gentle and teaching in truth.  There are many days, I must confess, where none of these could describe me.  In complete truth you could probably find the exact opposites for each and that might begin to describe me some (or most??)  days.  It is possible that this is an exaggeration, but it is pretty close to how it feels some days.    

So what does all of this mean?  Well I guess it means that I am a mother who still sins, but Lord willing next Mother’s Day I will see a great work done by my God.  

My Mother’s Day Resolutions:
1)    Seek God Daily (really... every moment of every day... without Him, I have no hope)
2)    Pray for my children and the generations to come.
3)    Love my children above the clean house, manicured lawn (a bit freaky I know!) and my beloved plans (and To-Do List).
4)    Spend time delighting in these precious gifts God has given to me.
5)    Speak in love with truth to their hearts. This will be a big one... pray for me won’t you?

Well it is not an exhaustive list, but my hope is that by starting here my family will be better able to bring glory to God.  So if you’re a mother.... how’s your mothering going?

 

What's in your hot chocolate?

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So we had just finished shoveling the snow.  It was clearly snack time... enter a great Canadian tradition... Hot Chocolate!

Once it was made the kids and I sat down for our snacks... many a giggle was to be had :)

Wes: "Mommy, what's this in my chocolate?"

Mommy: "Those are marshmallows."

Jae: "May I see your cup?"

Wes: "Sure"

Jae: "Oh!  You have crumbs in your cup!!!"

Wes: "No, not crumbs... just mushrooms."

 

Heart of Humility for a Proud Woman

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How does one go about writing a post on humility without sounding proud? Answer: I have no idea! As a follow-up entry for the “personal retreat series” I wanted to include how I answered the question: “what is one area where I believe God is calling me to grow?”. I suppose the problem comes in when I try to put my thoughts down and no matter what they come across as... full of pride. So why this post then? Well I think it is important for me to make a somewhat public statement about the condition of my heart. Maybe part of me is hoping that someone else out there is just as proud as me... secretly I don't like to be alone in my sin... another part of me just wants to have those close to me praying for humility to enfold my heart. That being said if anything comes off as pride here, please know from the beginning that is not my intent.

So I answered the question this way: God is calling me to grow in godliness by putting to death the sins of pride and selfishness. Yes that's right I'm not just the worst sinner I know... I am also exceptionaly proud of my true state. Oh how abusrd is that!! I can manage to be proud of the most ridiculous things: all that I accomplish in a day, how well I can grow my gardens, my abilities in the kitchen, the way I raise my children, how I serve others... are you noticing the pattern? That's right it's all about me! What do I have that God hasn't given to me? I have nothing. My pride shows up in areas I wasn't expecting it too. You see I actually thought that I like serving. Which I guess a part of me does, but sin has destorted it so much that when the true test comes, when I am treated as a serant, I go into what I now call pride-plosion. Yup, it turns into a rant about me, and how can anyone not see how poorly I'm being treated right now. I know... seriously ugly stuff here. What gives me the right to think that I some how deserve better than Christ! I don't. If I were ever to be treated as poorly as my Lord it would still be better than an eternity away from Him.

All that to say... yes I'm proud and selfish and God has been gracious to point that out and in His strength I hope to continue to battle against it. Since opening my eyes to the severity of this particular sin God has also pointed in the direction of some great instruction. A couple of years ago at our church's 6th anniversary my hubby and I were given a copy of Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney (there is also a sermon on Humility)... yes I know that I probably should have finished reading it way back then!! This has been a good place for me to remember that I'm not alone in this sin, but more importantly it takes me back to the best example... Jesus Christ. I have also some soul benefical advise from a blog post written by John Piper on 6 Aspects of Humility and a sermon he did on being humble enough to be care-free. Our pastor Paul came back from his sabbatical and the first message I heard from him was Humility.

I thank God that he is unwilling to leave me in my prideful state. He is always bringing things my heart needs just when it needs them.

Growing in godliness and my devotions?

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A little after 7am I was heading out on my retreat... might I add a little nervous. After all I was embarking on what could have been a rather stressful time. I was trying to evaluate my current heart condition and plan the next year for my family. With all that in my mind I was reminded by a friend to not stress out if I couldn't squeeze it all in. As she said... God plans things far better than we ever could, so go with his plan. What an awesome tidbit of truth I needed to remember. I can do all the planning I want, but it is God's will that will be accomplished. So upon my arrival I met with my Lord and asked that He would govern my day. As I sat there one single thought kept coming to my mind: Oh Lord how thankful I am that you chose to save this sinner and how much more thankful that each day is filled with new mercies and grace abounding!

 

So, I began at the beginning. In Shopping for Time, they list a set of priorities, from scripture, that they use to evaluate their own lives. Since I wasn't sure how to start, I found myself using their list:

 

  1. Growing in godliness

  2. Love my family

  3. Serve in the church

  4. Fellowship with Christians

  5. Evangelize non-Christians

  6. Attend my work

  7. Care for my physical health

 

So I began my day evaluating my ability to growing in godliness. I quickly realized God was going be working on my heart in great and convicting ways. You see I came to see the true sin that comes from not being in the word as I ought to be. I need to know the word in order that I might preach it to my own heart. I also need to know the word in order to know my God. Not reading as I ought has become a sin pattern in my life. I've been told that if you do something for a few weeks it becomes like a habbit. Not so with my daily devotionals... well maybe it would if I could actually do a few weeks without my sin getting in the way. So I had to make the decision that early mornings we no longer optional. No more excuses of my kids are still young, I need the sleep... I'm not really a morning person. No, I need to rise early to meet with my Lord. It is little wonder why I seemed to have become stagnet in my spiritual life. I mean really... if I'm not sitting at Jesus feet every morning and not meditating on his good word how can I ever effectively live a life for Him and to His glory? I resolved to rise early and prepare my heart for the day, each and every day. I found a Bible plan that I thought would work for me. I also decided to make a few notes to try and help me remember what I learned about my God that morning. One of the biggest things God was showing me was that far too often when I read early is to read the Bible as a story. With taking notes I am trying to focus on what God is revealing about himself and then looking to see how I need to be responding in accordance to the revealed truth (all of this is in Shopping for Time... have I mentioned you should read it?). So with my coffee in hand I plan on beginning my mornings at the best place I know... Jesus feet.

 

It is now more than a week after my retreat... oh can I count the ways I have failed already!!! I have stayed up late, slept in and put my reading off until I have forgotten about it all together. No excuse... sin plain and simple. Strange that after spending so much time in the word and loving it... how quick I am to revert back to my old ways. It is true I am the worst sinner I know! I have a great deal of catching up to do, but have resolved myself to the fact that I just need to continue. Funny... one of the last notes I jotted down while away was... “Don't give up!”. Maybe I do know a little something of my heart afterall?

 

More to come on the other newly adopted priorities.

 

 

Shopping for a Retreat

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Alright so it's been far too long since I posted last. At least I know that's what my SEO hubby would say. I have been pondering what I could possibly have to write about. There are so many possible topics to choose from. I could write pages of things I had learned through our rather convicting sermon series through the book of James. Or I could write post after post on the wonderful reminders of the Gospel of Christ as seen through Paul's letter to the Galatians. Please don't misunderstand me, both topics would be of great benefit, but I am feeling drawn to write a little more personally. You see in our evening sermon series Gleanings from Galatians, my dear brother reminded us time and time again to preach to our own hearts. So after a little encouragement from a faithful friend who sharpens, I was encouraged to do something I am not typically accustomed to doing... I took a personal retreat.

 

Now to some this might seem a little odd or even selfish. I assure you that was not the motive... well at least I don't think it was. The more I thought about preaching to myself the more I relized I don't know my own heart very well. Cue... the personal retreat. Before I could go on the retreat I needed to prepare. What was I going to do? Where is a good place to start when it comes to examing one's own heart? I was feeling overwhelmed. Cue... my new favourite book.

 

 

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Before I reveal the true darkness of my own heart, my I reccommend a book to you? The title alone may grab your attention... that is if you're anything like me! It's call Shopping for Time: How to do it all and not be overwhelmed. Sounds like a great concept doesn't it? I thought so. It was written by the wonderful ladies at the girltalk blog: Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw.

 

In this book we are reminded that our money is not the only thing we need to spend wisely. After all we really don't know how much time we have, so we should be going for the best deals for the days God has granted to us. After reading this book a few times through (that's right... it is not overly long!) I knew my friend was right, it was time for some alone time. So I was off to take on Shopping Tip number three: Sit and Plan.

 

Stay tuned to what  happened next :)

 

Verse of the day

"who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,"

  Psalm 103.3 (ESV)

 

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