Saturday, 29 June 2013

What Millie's Learned in June 2013

1. Vinegar works surprisingly well on bathroom fixtures.

2. We can glorify God in our failure and our repentance - perhaps glorify him the most when we are the weakest.

3. Just this: that God didn't save us to stand on our own two feet, and we can't earn anything, because we already have everything.

4. I don't even understand Taylor Swift music videos.

5. Taking six kids to the park is an exercise for one's head counting abilities!

6. That, at nineteen, I can already look back at a past with nostalgia and regret.

7. Keep an eye out for slippery bags of potatoes that just might fall off your shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot and have to be brought to your car by chivalrous, middle-aged men.

8. Eating snow crab is like life - it's a messy business and sometimes you get hurt, like crab shell in the thumb, but there's nothing better.

9. I'm a people pleaser. Yes, I am.

10. Don't let anything prevent you from wearing sun hats on the beach - even if you're bundled in sweaters and there's nothing but clouds for miles.

11. Five year olds think that even housework is fun when you're at your grandmother's house and two year olds think that vacuuming is a game. (*evil auntie laugh*)

12. Life is a constant measuring of grace I don't deserve.

- Millie

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

What I've learned in the month of June

I'm kicking off our new "series" called "What I've learned in the month of..." by sharing with you 15 (I've limited myself. You're welcome!) things I have learned in the month of June.  May they inspire you to reflect on the things that you have learned this past month.


1.  Babies come when babies decide they are going to come, even when no one is expecting them quite so quickly.

2. I need to remember to pack a little homebirth kit  in my doula bag when I go to births.

3. I can deliver a baby!

4. Cucumber beetles are depressing.

5. Dr. Bronner's soap and water doesn't do any favours to your zucchini plants and doesn't really kill cucumber beetles either.

6. Squishing cucumber beetles isn't as bad as it sounds and it definitely kills them.

7. Homemade flubber is AWESOME.

8.  My 2 year old loves homemade flubber.

9. Homemade flubber doesn't love my 2 year old.

10. My 2 year old hates haircuts that involve homemade flubber.

 11. My 2 year old is cute no matter what his hair 
       looks like.

12. Homemade sorbet is delicious and even more so when eaten out of teeny delicate cones on a hot, muggy, summer day.

13.  Ordinary meals taste better when they are served in a pretty dish.

 14. Bubbles are awesome. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Two Words

I went for a walk, last night, and I did what I had been promising myself I would do ever since spring arrived - I picked some of the daisies that were growing by the side of the road. They were buggy and imperfect - like life, and I thanked God for them.

I thought about the two tractors that had passed me earlier and the two men driving them. I wondered if they had noticed the flowers that line the ditches of this country road. With the daisies clutched in my sweaty fist (along with five sprigs of timothy and one lone indian paintbrush) I headed for home and it was just a chance moment that made me look up - into the setting sun ensconced in cloud - and it was sending beams of light down to earth. That glorious evening light was shining down on everyone. Maybe they didn't even know it.

And as I looked at it, two words danced in my head.

Common grace.

Just yesterday: A conversation about how some people don't believe that God shows mercy and grace to unbelievers and one man's bold declaration that, without God's restraining hand, Hitler could have been worse.

Just this morning: This quote written about Brother Lawrence (just a cook in a monastery many, many years ago) - "As for the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was so far from wondering at them, that, on the contrary, he was surprised that there were not more, considering the malice sinners were capable of; that for his part he prayed for them; but knowing that God could remedy the mischiefs they did when He pleased, he gave himself no farther trouble."
(quote from "The Practice of the Presence of God")

Sometimes His hand restrains. Sometimes it gives.

Sometimes we see it and thank Him. Sometimes we totally miss it.

Sometimes it is big like a miraculous salvation from physical death. Sometimes it is beautiful like a well-played symphony. Sometimes it is happy like finding a five dollar bill in the pocket of an old pair of jeans. And sometimes it's a little homely, like a cluster of buggy daisies beside a country road.

But, it is always lavish, and undeserved, and humbling.

So, I listened to David Myles singing about his love for his child, as I walked home. And I don't know whether he's a Christian or not.  At the moment, it wasn't my concern. I thanked God for a father's love, a pretty tune, and common grace.

- Millie

Photo Challenge Day 2- "What You Wore"

You know...even though it's not really what I had in my mind as my "dream dress" and I'm pretty sure if I was choosing today instead of 8 years ago, it would definitely look the's what I wore...and that's what makes it special.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Photo Challenge by Abigail-Day 1

  As photography is a creative outlet of mine, I really thought I should do a photo challenge at some point in my life. There is no better time like the present and as "self portrait" (as much as I really dislike doing them!) was challenge number one, without further I am.



At prayer meeting, as a five-year old girl prayed, she spoke of courage.

That exact word.

She prayed it for an elderly woman from our church that broke both her arms this winter. She spent several months in the hospital, had to give up her apartment and is now living in a care home. She used to go for a walk every day. She used to be able to come to church twice on Sunday. She used to cook her own meals and buy her own groceries.

And now, as she faces new places and adjustments, courage seems the perfect thing to pray for.

Courage not just to survive, to grit our teeth and get on with it. But courage to rise with flags flying.

The Bible calls it being more than conquerors in Christ. Courage, because Christ is with us –in us – through us.

It will never look the way we think. Courage is sometimes only found in the quiet places of our hearts. But that is where it begins and does its best work.

Courage to rest. Courage to adjust. Courage to make a home where you didn’t even expect to go.

That’s what the sweet voice prayed for Madam Ida.

And there isn’t a person I know that the prayer for courage couldn’t touch.

Courage for the mom on Monday morning.

Courage for the dad on a long Saturday.

Courage for the single who’s best friend gets married.

Courage for the widow with mice in her house.

Courage for the elders who search for a pastor.

Courage for the too many good byes.

Courage for the pre-operation appointments.

Courage to smile at that one person.

Because with Christ in us, this life and these circumstances are not too great for us to overcome. Really.

And not only to overcome, but in holy, well placed, Christ grounded courage, we find the gift. We find joy.



Thursday, 20 June 2013

Because, as much as you may or may not want to admit know...there is a ballerina inside all of us. ;)

-Abigail xx

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Photo Challenge Week 24: Fathers

But I couldn't just choose one this week...

Monday, 10 June 2013

Allow me to say...

First, just a few things I want to mention.

I do want to apologize for the lack of blogging on my part. "Writer's block" has hit me like a ton of bricks, in the past several weeks and I've been feeling particularly uninspired.

Also, I recently peeked into the spam comment file on our blogger dashboard, and saw several non-spam comments that had found their way in there. So, if you're wondering why your comment never showed up, that's why. Sorry about that! From now on, I'll try to remember to check that file, periodically, and release the comments that aren't spam.

And, third and finally, I've wiffle-waffled a great deal over the blog post below, and finally decided to publish it here even though what I've written hasn't really fully captured what's in my mind and heart. I know the readers that we have are gracious and will take what I have to say with a grain of salt. If there's anything helpful there, I'm glad. If not, feel free to lambast me as much as you want. But, your comment might end up in the spam file! Just kidding.

- Millie

"Speak the truth in love."

It’s a handy phrase – not too explicit but with a certain punch. And, "truth" and "love" are too very good things, right? Of course, right. So, we type the phrase glibly at the end of blog posts, and internet arguments, and that clinches everything.

"I’m sorry that you disagree with me, but I’m kind of glad, too, because I love a good argument, I mean, debate. And, I love you, but you’re wrong and I’m right. But just mostly, I’m right."

There’s a lot of defenders of the faith, these days, battling the sins of the world from their computer desks and shooting out pithy blog posts with their extremely "right" fingertips. They’re no doubt godly people – men and women who know their doctrine and are fighting back against the ludicrousness and sin of this world with all they’ve got. But, mostly, they just want to be right. We all want that. I know I do. I want people to know what I think, because I think what I have to say is pretty doggone important and everyone better listen up and if someone tries to argue well, so much the better. My mouth starts to water and I am aching while still halfway through their (no doubt badly spelled) comment to start refuting their argument point for point. I will parry with a few Bible verses, perhaps throw a few punches with quotes from famous theologians, and finish with a prayer that they would see the light. But, inwardly, I’m praying that they would be ENTIRELY OBLITERATED - that, figuratively, I could plant myself on their expiring bodies, waving my sword in the air and be glorified.

Ooops, I mean that God would be glorified, of course.

I wince at this description, because I know that my heart isn’t calling out for God to be glorified or for his truth to go forward or that people might truly have their hearts softened. I’m really more interested in being right. And, I’m not just talking about the Internet. It happens all the time in "real" relationships, too.

Because sometimes we get so caught up in the Biblical answer that we forget about the Biblical response.

It’s handy to remember that Paul called some people "dogs." But, we like to forget that he also was "all things to all people" and even had those "mutilators of the flesh" have at Timothy so that his uncircumcision wouldn’t be a problem to the Jews he was trying to reach.

We like to recall the thrilling event in which Jesus cleared the temple with a whip, but conveniently forget that he said not a word to prevent his being beaten and slain.

It’s very easy to type up a vehemently worded, sound rebuke to all those who oppose you or the truth you speak. It’s another thing to shut up. Because, honestly, has there ever been an Internet argument that ended with your opponent saying, "Wow! I had never thought of it that way. Please forgive me for my rude and ignorant comments. Can I be your new best friend?"

If this has ever happened, please tell me. I would be interested to hear the story.

But, for the most part, I’d wager that more people are won for Christ not by your clever words but by some good old-fashioned listening and care. Actually, I’m willing to bet that 100% of conversions have nothing whatever to do with human effort and everything to do with God’s grace.

Perhaps it’s time to realize it’s not about me, my reputation, my idea of right, or my feelings being hurt, and everything to do with God’s grace. We’ve received it; maybe it’s time to dispense it.

Oh, and that Philippians 4:8 verse - the one that’s so good for denouncing your idea of immoral entertainment? It played with my mind when my Dad suggested that this verse had less to do with pointing fingers and more to do with unity in the church. In other words, if you can find anything true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise in the people around you, then focus on these things and ignore the aspects of them that annoy, anger, and hurt you.

"Let your reasonableness (or gentleness) be known to everyone." Darn it! Aren’t we supposed to be warriors for Christ? Where’s the battle in being gentle? Try it for a little while. Struggling to respond gently when people are being pains in the body part turns out to be quite a struggle, indeed.

And, here’s something that shook my world, when I learned it: "It’s not about me. At all. My feelings, my idea of right and wrong, my opinions, and even my good name do not matter." Are our arguments more about clarifying our points just one more time, or showing the gentle, long-term love that God shows us? Are we really defending God’s truth, or defending our own dignity? God’s truth really will abide and his honour will remain intact even without our valiant efforts in his defense.

Am I saying that we shouldn’t defend what the Bible says is true and good in a crooked and depraved generation? Of course not. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to disagree, or debate, or to leave long comments on Facebook statuses. I am saying that it’s okay, and maybe the right thing to backspace the angry retort you’ve started to type, to choke back the irritated remark and maybe it’s not okay for me to daydream about the day when I will dramatically renounce all my enemies for the worms that they are and they will fall at my feet in submission.

Oops, I mean at God’s feet. Because I’m really doing all this for him, right?

And, yes, I do get the irony of me writing a blog post about this. But, I promise if anyone argues with me in the comment section, I won’t argue back.

- Millie

Photo Challenge Week 22: Water

Monday, 3 June 2013

This Summer

This. This is going to be the summer.

Do you get like this in May? Vitamin D starts kicking in, and I feel like hitting the ground dancing. And I make lists in my mind – and resolutions deeper down.

Resolutions that are all about living and breathing and swinging my arms back and forth in the sun.

Because this is a summer I want to remember.

And so. I’m going to wear hats with my best friends on the beach.

I’m going to make ice-cream and put cucumber in my water and learn all about iced tea.

I’m going to wear dresses. I’m going to learn once and for all that over-dressing doesn’t kill you.

(Unless it's about playing volleyball in high heels.)

I’m going to wear cut offs and discover that what you’re wearing is the smallest part of you.

This is the summer I want to get my hands dirty and my feet wet. I want to volunteer more. I want to worry about myself less.

This is going to be the summer where I fall in  love with reading again. Heck, I’m going to fall in love with Mr. Knightly himself. I’ll make the journey to the Crack of Doom.

I’ll go on more walks, smile at more people, get down on my knees beside the little ones.

I’m going to make that quilt that reminds me of sailing on the river and be happy when the garden grows weeds.


I hope it’s going to be a wind flying, music playing, messy time. Not perfect – but good.

And at the end of these three short months, I’ll turn 22.

I don’t know – you guys who can get a grip are probably laughing at me right now – but it’s true and scary. I’m not where I thought I would be at 22. I’m not. And sometimes I’m not sure I really like where I am.

But it occurs to me from time to time, that those wants and wishes and demands we make on life, are not really what it's all about.

And if things aren’t the way I planned, then it simply means there is something better for me ahead. No - not even ahead. Maybe the better begins right now.

You know? Just because life’s not perfect and I don’t have what I wish I had, does not make every day less breathtakingly wondrous.

If the worth and joy of my life depended on getting what I want, then maybe I’d have a reason to turn my face away from the sun. But it - this good life -  actually doesn’t depend on that.

And every summer moment of laughter and flowers and frustration and growing can be more lovely then the last. Its OK to be content – more then content – let’s be overflowing.

This summer.

It’s a thing.