Monday, November 28, 2011

Messy Monday - Waiting....

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

This week is the first week of Advent.  A time of preparation for the celebration of Jesus coming to us.  Today I was reminded that it is also a time of waiting.  We are waiting for Jesus' return.   We cry out " O Come, O Come Emmanuel"  come save us.  Come deliver us from our sufferings and our trials.  We cry out just as they have been crying out for the Saviour since the fall. 

O Come O Come Emmanuel is my favourite Christmas song.  It speaks to my yearning for Christ to come.  It speaks to not only my joy, but also my anguish and pain.  I yearn for His return and lament impatiently.

Today I am sharing Selah's version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  

Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Thy people with Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'ver the grave

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!
Thursday, November 24, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - The Ghost of Anniversary Past


 As I am writing this it is Thanksgiving Day for many of my American friends.  It is also almost the start of Advent.  My husband and daughter are watching "Scrooge" with Alistair Sims (only the best version of it).  Tomorrow is my husband's and my 11th Anniversary.  This past week we have been remembering past anniversaries.  There has been much laughing, as well as much grumbling.  You see, our anniversaries are cursed.  We have never really had any anniversary plan come to complete fruition.  In honour of our anniversary and in honour of the start of Advent I will do my version of the 12 Days of Christmas in the "11 Anniversaries." 

On our 1st Anniversary my true love and I drove home from his nephews wedding through a snow storm with his parents, got lost in Montana and stayed at some cheap scary hotel with pink bathroom fixtures.

On our 2nd Anniversary my true love was sick.

On our 3rd Anniversary my true love and I got stuck in a snow storm with our little girl on our way to Jasper and stayed at a hotel in Nordegg.

On our 7th Anniversary my true love and I decided to forgo any celebrations as we were just about to travel to Disneyland with the kids.

On our 10th Anniversary my true love and I had planned to go away for the week, unfortunately we could find no one to watch our children so we ended up going out for dinner.  He, however, arranged for a driver to drive us so it was redeemed.

On our 11th Anniversary my true love and I plan to go to dinner at one of our favourite restaurant that we haven't been to in 5 years.  I am very excited.  Our Sister in Law has volunteered to babysit.  On Monday, we also plan to go to see Gordon Lightfoot in concert (Yes, Virginia he is still alive.)  Praying that we are able to make it.
Ok, so I missed some of the years, but those were probably something happened and we decided just to let our anniversary pass by silently.  Our anniversaries have been a roller coaster.  Some fun, some interesting and some just plain depressing.  It's like life.  But the joy and blessing is that we are together on this ride; that we are committed to our relationship and our family.  Happy Anniversary Honey!

 Now some bloggy business.  Next week I will be starting up the Caffeinated Christmas.  Every week I will have a theme and if you would like you are invited to join in.  I had fun doing this last year and hope you will enjoy it.  The themes this year will be. 
December 2 - All I want for Christmas is...
December 9 - Seasons Greetings (Christmas Cards)
December 16 -Visions of Sugar Plums and other Christmas Baking
December 23 - The Night Before Christmas and other stories
I hope you will join in with the Caffeinated Christmas.  However, please feel free to post whatever Christmas Randomness you want to share next week.  

Come link up and join in the random fun.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Messy Monday - Blessing

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

Webster's defines blessing as:
  1. (a) The act or words of one that blesses (b) approval, encouragement
  2. A thing conducive to happiness or welfare
  3. Grace said at a meal

The blessing I'm talking about today is not the third one.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that my children take great pleasure racing through their blessing to see who can say it the quickest.  I should video it and share it with you....but I digress.

We live in a world of gratification and happiness.  We want to be happy and filled with joy.  We look at other people and long for what they have as it appears they've been blessed.  A woman struggling with infertility questions why she can't have children when a 15 year old has an unplanned pregnancy.  "Why not me?" she cries.  A faithful person who tithes and volunteers regularly and always gives over and above when asked, cries "Why me?" when he suddenly finds himself plunged into financial crisis when he loses his job because of the economy. 

I have these same feelings.  What have I done to deserve this?  I struggle with the Why me?  Why us?  Why can't we have 3 "normal" children?  Why do our boys have autism?  Why can't my boys be like other children?  Why is my norm now spent filling out forms, getting funding and attending numerous appointments.  Why?

Laura Story went through these same questions.  Just as her career was on the rise, her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  She wrote a beautiful song about what a blessing could look like, not just what we think they look like.

It's too easy to ignore the true blessings around us.  I live in a country where I have the right to worship God.  I live in a nice house.  I have good medical.  I have access to services I didn't have earlier this year.  As of today I choose to look at my struggles and trials as blessings.  They are forcing me to look at, surrender to; and trust God.  We all long for the big things.  Sometimes we just need to look at the small things and know how blessed we are.
Friday, November 18, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Coffee Treats


About 18 years ago, I started working for lawyers.  It was also at that time that Starbucks starting opening stores in Victoria, BC where I lived.  In fact, there was a Starbucks just a few blocks from the office.  I was not a coffee drinker so I rarely went there, but everyday I saw the line ups.  The Christmas after I started, my bosses' wife brought in some Christmas Blend coffee as a treat for all of us.  I tried some and it was love at first sip (even with the 1/2 cup of cream and sugar).  I loved the flavour.  I cried when we couldn't get anymore because it was only out for Christmas.  Every Christmas since then I have to go out at get a bag or two.  If I'm lucky I sometimes also get a few bags more for Christmas.  It's not Christmas anymore without it (like Elvis's Christmas record).  

This week I got an e-mail from Starbucks letting me know that not only are their Christmas flavours (Gingerbread, Egg Nogg, Creme Brulee and Peppermint Mocha) available, but also that Christmas Blend was in.  What a coincidence since I ran out of coffee today.  Tonight I drove to Starbucks and bought a pound of it.  I can't wait to get up tomorrow morning and drink my first cup of the season.  But I can't just stop there....

Tonight I also got to try the new Skinny Peppermint Mocha Latte.  I couldn't believe it.  It's like having my cake and getting to eat it too.  It's like eating a dark chocolate mint with a little extra kick, but a quarter of the calories so that I don't feel guilty.  I don't even miss the whip on top.  It is very smooth and creamy.  Just what I needed on a cold winter night, since it was snowing heavily on my way to Starbucks.   Now if you want to try this yummy flavour or any of the other holiday flavours, right now Starbucks has an offer for 2 for 1 between the hours of 2 pm and 5 pm until November 20 in Canada and the US (In no way have I been paid for this endorsement, but I thought I would pass this information on).  If you have a friend, go and enjoy a treat together.  Or if you want to try the flavours but don't want to pay for as many, go and treat yourself to 2. 

Come link up with some your favourite hot wintery treat (hopefully with some caffeine) and join in the random fun.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Remembrance Day


Today is Remembrance Day.  It is a day to remember those who gave so much for so little.  As a child I was taught to respect this day.  I spent many Remembrance Days in the cold in my girl guide uniform standing at attention in honour of those men and women who served in the Great War, World War II and the Korean War.  As an adult I may not go to the Cenotaph, but I still honour our service men and woman by purchasing a poppy.  I teach my children to respect the sacrifices that others made on their behalf.  I also talk about the war in terms they can understand.  

In all this though, I watch the world and see the disrespect of those that serve in our military.  The condemnation of the men and women who are willing to give themselves for something that many question.  It sickens me that those who like their nice cushy lives disrespect the ones who enable them to have them.  I see this day that should be so solemn become a day of commercialization through sales.   The running to grab the best deal on that new couch makes their sacrifice seem so cheap.   Is this what our veterans fought for? 

A few years ago a Canadian songwriter Terry Kelly faced this dilemma and wrote a song about it. 

You Tube description of the video is:
On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven o'clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terrys anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.
I hope you enjoy the song and remember what so many are willing to forget.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Strength and Unfathomable Love

Two Sundays ago my pastor was doing a sermon on speaking truth in love based on Ephesians 4:15.  I was enjoying the sermon, but then I noticed a little highlighted study area in my Bible regardign burnout based on Epheians 3:14-21.  I read over this text and sat in amazement for about 1 minute.  I quickly book marked it and went back to listening to the sermon.  Here is that prayer:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV84)

Paul wrote to the Ephesians so that they could understand God at a deeper, more personal level.  Paul shares 1st that he humbly knelled before God for them.  He then asks for strength for the believers.  Secondly, he asks that believers would know God's love which surpasses all understanding.

How many times have we struggled with trials and not gone humbly before God first?  Where do we go?  Usually for me its my friends.  When I don't think I can go to them, I turn to something else (food).  Yet, Paul shows us right here that we are to first come to God humbly on our knees.  We are to take all of our requests, our hurts, and our struggles to the one who truly understands.  Our friends will tell us what we want to hear.  God will tell us what we need to hear.

The only place we can receive the strength to get through what we face is through God.  He is the only one big enough to carry us.  He wants us to lean on him.  He is our saviour, our protector, and our deliverer.  When we are at our weakest is when we are at our strongest.  It is there that God is able to lift us and lead us.  It is there that we can begin to let go of our fears and anxiety and trust in God to lead us and shelter us.  A few weeks ago, I was literally held down by depression.  I was inconsolable.  I couldn't find the strength to get off the floor.  I somehow grabbed my Bible in my nightstand and started reading the Psalms .  Slowly through crying out "Why?" in my anguish as David did, did God give me strength to firstly get up and then to face my trial head on.  I can't say its easy, but I know who is my strength.

The part of the prayer that really blew me away was the love that surpassed understanding.  God's love is so unfathomable no one will fully comprehend it.  I think that is one of the stumbling blocks for unbelievers.  Why would someone die for my sins?  Why would someone love me no matter what, besides my parents (sometimes, even this isn't true)?  Our society is very much a me society.  Does it make me feel good?  What can you do for me?  When we see people struggling, too many times we turn a blind eye to them.  To many people around us are struggling with addictions, depression, trials, poverty, etc......  They are hurting.  God loves them.  Loves them where they are and calls us to love them as well.  We as believers are called to love each other and lay down our lives to each other (1John3:16).  We are called to love as Jesus did.  This at times is hard and not understandable, but it is how we are to be the reflection of God on earth.  

There are very few times where I have had others pray over me or heard them pray for me as John prayed for the Ephesians.  It is a simple act of love and compassion.  It's showing God's love and enabling Him to do His work in and through us.  I believe that we are called to pray like this for each other.  To lift each other in our struggles.  We are one body.  Some parts are weaker than others.  That's the time we need to help in the healing.  Do you know someone who has been dodging arrows?  Have you prayed for them?  Have you prayed over them?

I am linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Messy Mondays - Never Give Up

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

I have to admit that today when I planned to read my Bible, I put on the tv.   The Untouchables were on and could feel myself becoming entranced in it.  I made an executive decision to turn the channel.  The Hour of Power was on.  I can't say that I watch this weekly or that I watch it monthly, but every so often I do check it out.  I have heard the new worship leader sing before and I tuned in just as she was singing a song her husband wrote called "Trust in God".  I wish I could post a video, but I can't find one.  You'll just have to check out the site and listen it there.  It's a powerful song about trusting God no matter what you face.  

However, what really affected me was when the pastor, Jim Penner, asked? 

"Who doesn't have a storm?  Who felt an arrow this week?"  

This means alot to me, especially today.  Today, I lost it after church.  I was totally overwhelmed by the boys in trying to get them out of the church.  It took 5 minutes to get Tormentinator's jacket on and that was only after I caught him.  Middleman was running around and not cooperative in getting ready.  I just started crying.  Why me?  Why do I have to go through this?  Why does everyone else have "normal" kids?  Why? 

I don't have the answers.  Sometimes it seems like my life is so much worse than others.  But I don't know their stories.  I don't know what happens behind closed doors.  I only know what I see.  Just as they only see what I let them see about me. 

We all have storms.  We are all running from arrows on a daily basis.  Some hit and wound us.  Some we manage to dodge.  But we can never give up.  We are called to fight the good fight.  To stand on guard.  We are called to put all our trust in God alone.  To give Him our storms, our struggles and our wounds.  We are to let Him lead and follow.  It isn't always easy.  It may be hard.  But we are not to give up.
"Never give up.  Never give in.  Trust in God"  Scott v. Smith
Friday, November 4, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Award Time


This last month I have been previliged to receive two bloggy awards.  I am super excited and honoured.  If you follow often you know that it has been a rough time hear on the prairies and these are nice brighteners to my day.  

I received the :

 from Juanita at Just Breathe, a lovely twitter, bloggy and new real life friend; and

I received the:

from Sherri at Love, Laughter, Friendship and Faith, a lovely blogger and reader of Caffeinated Randomness.

Of course with bloggy awards there are rules and luckily it's the same for both awards.

1. I must disclose seven things about myself.
2. I must pass this award on to 15 other bloggers.

I have decided to doubly award each of my 15 so they can have twice the fun and blessings as I did this last month.

But first, my seven things:

1.  I'm addicted to Dr. Diet Pepper.  I think it's even worse than my Diet Coke addiction during my twenties.  I can go through a case of Dr. Diet Pepper in three days.  I don't even realize how much I'm drinking until I go to reach in the box and realize I have no more.  It makes me sad.  I've even had friends comment on how much I drink.  I have finally had to limit myself with how much I drink and only treat myself occasionally.  Of course when it's on sale then that's a different matter.  

2.  I hate Christmas countdowns before Advent.  It stresses me out - even in March.  I don't care how many days there are.  I don't care when your shopping is done.  I just don't want to hear it.  I get overwhelmed and feel I haven't prepared enough.  I try to get all my decorations up within the first week of December or the first week of Advent.  Then the tree goes up at least one week, if not two, before Christmas.  Shopping is usually done by that day as well.  Why rush Christmas?  Don't you get bored of it before Christmas even shows up?

3.  The thing I love and hate the most about winter is snow.  I love the first few snowfalls.  It makes everything look so clean and peaceful.  It`s how I imagine heaven looks like, except much warmer.  However, when it turns brown and hangs out for 5 months, then it`s time for the snow to go and quickly.

4.  At 17 I was getting off BC Transit and got hit by a BC Tel van.  I don`t know if the BC Crown Corporations had it out for me that day or what.  (Disclaimer:  I did walk in front of the bus 10 ft from a cross walk).

5.  I only started drinking coffee when I worked for lawyers.  Mostly as an excuse to get away from my desk.  I would drink it with a lot of sugar and cream.  I didn`t really get into coffee until after Middleman was born.  I am now a 3 - 4 cup a day drinker and get crabby if I don`t get one first thing in the morning.  

6.  I really got tired of hearing everyone gushing about Relevant on Twitter, that I haven`t been on it for three weeks.  It felt like high school and only the cool girls were going.  It`s not jealousy either.  When all you hear about is one thing and what people will be wearing and who they`ll be rooming with and etc....., it gets tiring and I know I am not the only one who thinks this way.  I had several friends twitter about irrelevant.  I`m sad that I missed it. I hope I don`t offend those who did attend.  I know they had fun and enjoyed themselves, but it got to be like the Christmas countdown situation.  (I haven`t really missed Twitter too much either.)

7.  I like to think of myself as a crafty person.  I enjoy crafting and love the satisfaction of a job well done and finished.  Did you notice that last word  I have many crafts half finished and waiting to be done.  It could be why my craft area looks like it imploded on itself.  There`s no incentive to do my crafts until I get that area tidied up.  I wanted it done by the time that hockey started.  It`s begun and my area looks worse than it did when I first set it up.  Of course, I have had help by Tormentinator who keeps going there and pulling things out and dumping things all over the floor.

I hope you ladies learned a little more about me than you already did.  The ladies that I will be doubly blessing this award season are:

1.  Jedidja at Kostbaar! (trans: Precious)
2.  Katherine at ....Just a Thought
3.  Andi at Andi`s Ramblings
4.  Linda at Joy in the Journey
5.  Kim at Too Darn Happy
6.  Cary at Serenity Farms
7.  Shawntele at Rambling with Grace
8.  Bobbi at Blogging Along
9.  Kendal at a spacious place
10. Jen at Finding Heaven
11.  Brandy at Everlasting Joy
13.  Courtney at A Work in Progress

and because it`s my blog and my awards to give, I return them to :
14. Juanita at Just Breathe

Now these lovely ladies are asked to join in and (a) list 7 things about themselves and (b) share it with 15 other bloggers.

I hope you all have a blessed week. Join in the randomness by linking up with us.

My photo
Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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