Category Archives: God

Be Talking About Money $$ (and Food)

September should be the new year.

New activities.

New routines.

An almost new school year.

New lessons while cooking dinner.

And talk about money!

Sexy Neck and I have embarked on an intensive look at our budget.



Bank statements.

Daily conversations.

We have lived in our home for over a year.  Our boys are in the activities they would like to be in.  We have found our places to grocery shop and realized how our spending has changed. We miss our backyard rental suite that we had in our old home, but we have ideas.  STAY TUNED!

I have been working on our budgeting spreadsheet as well as listening to Youtube videos about budgeting.  I have come across a very interesting man, who was once bankrupt, who believes in God and now teaches others about finance.  His name is Dave Ramsey.  Youtube him and you will find out some interesting things.  I listened last night to a short eight minute video and here are some of the highlights:

  • God owns money, stuff, time and talents.
  • We are the managers.
  • These things (money, stuff, time and talents) are not ours, stop worrying about them.
  • God made us to be givers.

He also spoke about giving money to others or tithing.  He basically said that to tithe means one tenth.  We could give away one tenth of our income right at the beginning of the month.

Today, I was cooking dinner and thought about this concept of giving away one tenth of our income right away.



When I was cooking dinner, I was stretching our leftovers from last night to feed us all dinner as well as make sure that I had leftovers for Sexy Neck’s lunch for tomorrow.   I decided to first put the food in Sexy Neck’s lunch and then serve the rest of us dinner.

Guess what?  When I served the lunch first there was enough for dinner, but I know if I served dinner first there wouldn’t have been any leftovers.

I wonder if we gave away ten percent of our income right at the beginning of the month… I bet there would be enough for everything else too!



Be Midnight Me

Last night I wrote the poem below at midnight, not because I wanted to but I am realizing that this is a good time for me to write.



Completely present.


My mind zips along on its hamster wheel of thought.

Writing helps me grab words, themes, feeling and alas the wheel stops.

One year after my mom’s second session of crazy poison chemotherapy, my grief is deep. The benefit of living a year past this moment is that I know the waves won’t consume me, the grief won’t paralyze me and my sleepless nights will end.

Here are my midnight musings:

Midnight Me

I am a northern girl.

A redneck to some.

I am six feet tall.

A woman.

Imperfectly perfect in His image.

Overflowing with God’s grace.

(Cause He knows I need it!)

I am a Jock.

And an artist.

A mover and shaker.

A beautiful outlaw.

A writer of words.

A bearer of my soul.

A sole bearer.

My heart hurts.

As I ponder.

Watching my best friend.

My mama.


She has gone ahead of me.

Leading the way to heaven.

My mom’s life and death has re-ignited the gift Jesus gave me at 19.

A reminder.

Freedom to the captives.




The rope is frayed.



Nothing holds me back.



To do lists.

I am free!

Glory to God alone who brings freedom to the captives and weaves EVERYTHING together for his goodness.

Be Holding Tightly to Little Things

I sense a loosening of many expectations I used to have, a fraying rope.

My grip is also loosening on so many of the things in my own home as I watch my dad go ‘through’ mom’s things.

I am blessed as many of the fantastic clothes mom had fit me. A few of her shoes do too!

I must admit though, that I am holding very tightly to a few little ‘things’: 20140904-225644-82604106.jpgThis is the birthday announcement we put in the newspaper for mom’s 70th birthday on March 30th, 2013.

20140904-225743-82663234.jpgA grocery list from last November.

The Christmas present tag my mom wrote for me last Christmas. She was very ill before Christmas but she always had her shopping done early!

As I look at the three little pieces of paper I wonder why they are important. I realized it is because they represent the little things.

My mom was excellent because EVERY DAY she did the little things well. She remembered my boys favourite foods and books. She celebrated every little thing – birthdays, first day of school, thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, plays, practices…. EVERYTHING! My mom always thought of us, how she could help or what she could pick up or when we could get together. Our lives were interwoven. She thought about holidays and how to include everyone. She planned and organized all the details. Mom would often surprise us with beautiful handmade placemats or table runners that she had been working on for months before they were meant to be used.

She was very present for all the little moments. Sometimes, I would walk in my laundry room and find our clean clothes folded. Often she would clean out our hand vac. She always took the dogs for a stroll, just because she liked to think of the little things.

Right now there are a lot of ‘big things’ going on around me that affect our family profoundly (teacher’s strike, mainly).

I am taking a page from my mom’s book of excellence and I am focusing on the little things.

Be Hearing Night Night from Nana

I looked out the car window and saw the sun setting through the cloud. I exclaimed, “A slice of heaven!”

Almost three year old OC said, “Nana in heaven!”

Then we had a family discussion on what being dead means.

OC piped up, “Nana talk to me.”

Our seven year old added, “She talks to me too!”

I asked them what does she say.

OC said, “Night night. From her house in heaven.”

Enough said.

Night night everyone. 20140725-212805-77285465.jpg

Be Painting the Door Blue

Last week, I had white paint on my arm and a family friend that I don’t see very often asked, “Are you still painting?” Yes, last week it was a white shelf for our basement. This week it was our front door.

I paint when the boys nap or in the evening when they are asleep. I find these ‘down times’ are the hardest times to negotiate without my mom’s presence. The memories and sense of loss come often and quickly these last weeks.

I am still in the boat on the ocean of grief. The waves have been still and the sun on my face, but on the horizon I sense a storm brewing. One year ago was when I first started noticing mom wasn’t well. Last June, we were living with mom and dad as we renovated our house. They went to VCity to help my sister. They had a night away at The Hill spa, but all was not well with mom. She thought she had a bladder infection, but how could we know the path that we were heading down…

So I paint.

I ponder.

I remember.

I keep moving.


Trying to make sense of a senseless time.

Holding tight to my faith.

My brush.

My day.

One step at a time.

When we lived in Vtown, we had a great intentional friend and neighbour who was very present in our daily lives. Here she is:

Lizzie in her backyard with the boys.

She has the most beautiful blue door. It is stunning with a handmade stained glass window:


I decided our front door needed a pick me up colour. Blue it is!

Before I painted the door I drew hearts for our family and every visitor that comes through the ‘threshold’ wishing us all the fruit of God’s spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.









I pray that all these qualities roll over and through each of us this day no matter the colour of our door.


Be Painting with Small Brushes

The walls and kitchen cupboards (photos to come!) of our home are painted.

The outside will have to wait til warmer, more consistent weather.

Time to pick up the small brushes and paints Sexy Neck and the boys bought me for my birthday.

I was out for a sunset walk

20140516-224253.jpgand was inspired by these three trees:

They reminded me of my three handsome boys.

I got home, picked up my brushes, started playing with paint colour and off I went.

I thought about my wonderful boys.

I poured out love and joy through the paint.

I felt peace and happiness flowing through me.

I created this with my heart and soul.

Small triumphs.

Being creative.

Soul care.

Letting go.

Laughing that this Type A jock is painting… and loving it.


To be.


Be Pizza-ing, Moving Playgrounds & Puttering in the Yard

I am happy to admit that I asked for help. Yup, this do-it-yourselfer and type Aer is official reformed. Our socks have been blessed off this weekend. My heart is full.

We ask a few of Sexy Neck’s friends/work colleagues as well as a friend of mine/neighbour to come over and help move our huge play structure across the yard.



We had a dump truck load of top soil arriving shortly after so we asked if the three families wanted to stay for pizza. They did and it turned into an awesome night. I wish I had gotten a picture of the ten kids around our kitchen table as well as the parent standing around them.

20140427-134306.jpgThe help we got was awesome. The people amazing.



Life giving.

Community building.

The gift of time and self.

Full of gratitude.

The next day we asked our friends from Vtown, Princess P and Papa B if they would share their landscaping and gardening gifts with us and help us with a few projects. They stayed the whole day helping us AND allowing our boys to help them. They were the most caring teachers showing ALL OF US how to do things. These two have the joy of angels and patience of Saints. We got to play with all of Papa B’s landscape tools. It was a beautiful day! Once the turf is in you are going to have to checkout our yard.





20140427-134715.jpgWe shared dinner together. PB and PP brought gelato and talked about their upcoming trip to Italy.

A day outside.

With friends.

Dirty hands.



Full hearts.

Big smiles.

Roots being drawn deeper.

Watered with friends love.

In this place God had brought us to.

Sun on our face.




Grateful for help.

Be Reflective About the Last Year

Last Saturday as I was folding laundry, yet again, I cried out in anguish as the waves continued to pound me down. I cried out to Jesus, “I need a friend and I need someone now! Please Jesus save me!”

As I finished my last sentence, a car pulled up in front of my house. It was a very good friend from my first days in Vtown and paddling. She was driving past and had to stop in. She threw me a life preserver as I grabbed her and bawled my eyes out. She saved me from drowning. Her small action helped me tremendously. It brought me back to my life and got me thinking about the last year.

Last night, I went for a hike around my favourite mountain with an old volleyball friend and now new neighbour. We got a good sweat on and my mind worked a few things out. Throughout my life, I have found moving my body quite often moves my mind into new thoughts and patterns. I have the tendency to get on ‘the hamster wheel’ in my mind when I am worried about a relationship and situation. Exercise helps me to spin those thoughts right out of my hamster wheel.

After my hike up Knox last night, I spent time hanging out in my holy laundry room folding laundry. I love this disorganized, warm place where I can let my thoughts ‘hangout’. Since the day I laid on my laundry room floor this space has become a safe place for me. I find that as I grieve there is nothing I can ‘do’ to help this process along. Each day, I go through my day and I never know when the next wave of grief will hit. This last week has been pure torture for me. It started off seeing my son’s birthday card with only ‘Papa’ signed at the bottom. The first card without Nana’s name on it. This started the pounding waves of grief as things kept coming up day after day. I couldn’t catch a breathe. The waves in this storm kept pounding away.

I couldn’t get over how things have changed since April 2013.

One year ago:
🔹living in Vtown, not KCity
🔹seeing my mom every day.
🔹mom was getting ready to go on her cycling trip to Spain
🔹my dad was still working and living in PG part time.
🔹 our close friends had just moved to the Island
🔹 our dear family friend O’Wen was just talking about moving back to PG but still living in Vtown and a huge part of our life.
🔹Our family had an incredible group of people that we would eat with, play with… PP, PB, DD, our church family…
🔹our neighbour, Lizzie, was just across the street encouraging via window phone calls and ‘street talk’.

20140422-205119.jpgIntroducing Liz, who came to hike up Knox with me a few weeks ago before the latest wave.
🔹every day we would have one or two people drop by our house as they walked by or dropped something off.
🔹Sexy Neck was in the first year of his new job.
🔹I was going to the gym with my mom
🔹my mom and I took turns volunteering at CC’s preschool and JC’s kindergarten class.
🔹 I was involved with an incredible group of women who met in a book club once a month.
🔹A neighbourhood friend and I would prayerwalk together once a week.
🔹I attended an awesome Tuesday night bible study.
🔹I could walk downtown and ‘know’ at least three or four people.
🔹I loved visiting my ‘school’ friends at work.
🔹My mom would often pop into our backyard on her bike as she rode around town.
🔹We ate at least one meal per week with mom, and dad, if he was in town.

Now, I sit.


A lot.

We have infrequent visitors.

A new city, school, house, neighbours, community.

Creating friendships.

Finding where to buy bread.

Yearning a life past.

Trying to find a future.




Growing roots.

One day at a time.

The waves will come.

But I have learned that God will throw me a life preserver.

Through new and old friends.

Through sweat.

Through nature.

Through His Holy Spirit all around me.


Be Living Quotes

I have always been drawn to quotes.

In high school, I started a black journal where I wrote down every interesting quote I read in a book or heard. This was the days before the Internet so finding quotes was not as easy as a click of a mouse.

This love of quotes has continued but often now these quotes come in the form of silly things my boys or I say or the inspiring quotes my friends put on Facebook.

These are a few quotes that I have saved on my phone in the last few days.

In my daily life, I don’t want to just read quotes. I want to live them. Breathe them. Soak them in and then pour them out.

A new physical and spiritual season is beginning for me with its new growth, beautiful flowers and grass beginning to grow. Rain showers will come, I know, but I will continue to read my quotes, take them in and pour them out.

Words without action are meaningless.
Words are cruel like a sword.
Words can soothe a baby’s cries. Words are power.
Words can create change.
Dishonest and action-less words are a mere cloud floating by on this beautiful spring day.
Do what you say. Say what you do!

Yup, keep the faith.

In God.

In the goodness of people.

In myself.

In words.

In being.

Be Going to a Retreat by a Lake

Today, I left my brood of boys after our life shifting trip to Hawaii and spent eight hours at a healing prayer retreat for women.

Each woman had a beautiful opportunity to enjoy time with God while taking care of their soul through painting, massage, prayer or counselling.

I chose prayer counselling and watercolour painting as my soul care times as well I enjoyed time on my own walking and writing in my journal.

As I walk through my life, I continue to be amazed that when I stop or pause to notice God, He is ever-present in my life. I don’t think I shall ever cease to be amazed at the wondrous coincidences of God!

This morning, I started off with a cup of tea in this mug from Hawaii:

20140328-232422.jpg (That’s my new journal in the background from Sexy Neck, isn’t it cute?)

Next, a woman lead us in song with a UKELELE! How often do you see that here? But in Hawaii, I saw them in every store and heard one being played almost every day.

Lastly, during my watercolour painting soul care session, I learned how to paint for the first time. I was playing with paint and created this:

Which reminded me of my very favourite bridge in Haliewa on the North Shore. I paddle boarded under this bridge, saw turtles here, ate shaved iced beside it, walked over it multiple times and just stared at it. Is it possible to have a crush on a bridge?

Here is my lovely bridge:

Which brings me to my first watercolour painting that I am not even afraid to share publicly.

20140328-233136.jpgOver my bridge towers a strong banyan tree representing Sexy Neck and on the sides you will see three growing palm trees for my boys.

Thankful for my painting teacher.

Thankful for God that I had this opportunity to try new things.

Every day is new.

His mercy and grace is real.

He weaves everything together for His good!







(Inspiration for my next painting.)