Tag Archives: Jesus

Be Learning from Animals and Children

One March day, I asked my boys to give me an animal. An animal I could draw!  I didn‚Äôt know what I was asking at the time but it ended up creating deep conversation and insight about animals between my boys and I.  

Here is how it unfolded in pictures drawn by moi in my day planner and the subsequent research that I did on the spiritual and biblical significance of each animal.  The most divine aha for me was that every animal the boys suggested on each day met me exactly where I was at on that day!  I wonder which animal will land on you today? May we all continue to be open to God around and within us. 









May these words and imagines encourage you to be open to the divinity of children, the soulfulness of drawing and the power of words that tumble in our heads and out of our mouths.  

Be free! 

Be enough. 

Show up as the animal you want to be today! 

ūüėė Joanna 

Be Having a Snowy Epiphany

More snow than in over seventy years.

First ‘snow’ day school closures in over forty years.

Days of snow falling.

Big thick snowy flakes pouring from the sky.

Great memories with friends and the three brothers playing together.

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Hours upon hours of creativity and outside snow time.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/491/14178302/files/2015/01/img_7953.jpgIt has been a monumental Epiphany.

Nope, no epiphany for me today.

Another kind of Epiphany.

We are celebrating the twelfth day after Christmas that symbolizes the three wise men arriving from the East to worship the newborn King, Jesus.

Here’s the boys Epiphany play:

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The wise men have spent the last weeks traveling from a faraway box land arriving in our bookshelf stable in Bethlehem.

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We created three ice candles and placed them in our front yard, which is coincidently (or not) to the East of our home. We didn’t realize this was the East until JC pointed it out.

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Sexy Neck read about the three Wise Men and we eventually talked about how we both came to know God personally in a private manner.

My beginnings with God began, coincidently, with a writing journal in my bedroom and for Sexy Neck, he came to know God through snow. Another coincidence? ¬†Hmmmm….

It was a privilege to celebrate Epiphany today and it is an even larger privilege to know a personal God where snow is the gift of “Epiphany”.

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Be a “Messy” Christian

Messy.

Yup, that describes me.

I ain’t no one hour sitcom that figures it all out.

I don’t live in a magazine showhome.

Nope, not me.

Today, I bawled my eyes out twice talking to my friend in Germany and my cousin in PG.

Yup, crocodile tears rolling down my face.

Yup, that’s me.

I am the kind of girl that sometimes doesn’t even comb her hair.

And sometimes I even wear the same clothes TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Had to admit it.

I don’t set aside specific “quiet” time to pray.

Not a lot of quiet time to be had.

This is what my morning quiet time looks like:

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(Insert three wee boys at the end of the table running around, yelling eating breakfast.)

I do talk with our God throughout my day.

Please Lord, help me keep these boys alive!

I don’t attend church every weekend.

But I do worship and show gratitude to our Lord every day.

No, I am definitely not a nice and tidy Christian attending church every weekend, tithing my ten percent with my perfect “everything is just fine and dandy” smile on my face.

I am one “messy” believer in the Maker of the Universe, glory that God came for the imperfect, the ones that don’t have it all together, messy people like me!

Beautiful to know that God came as a baby, Jesus, and that we get to celebrate his birth next week!

And he was born in a stable.

Now if that ain’t messy, I don’t know what is!

Glory for imperfection.

Tears.

Love.

Life.

Friendship.

Fellowship.

Togetherness.

Celebrating.

My messy life.

With a beautiful birth.

Jesus.

Be Running Two Programs

My computer has been getting awfully slow.

Painfully.

Mindnumbing.

Slow.

I sit and wait and then I realized that there was another program running behind the program that I was trying to use.

So very frustrating.

But I sit.

I slow down.

I ponder.

HEY!!!!! 

This is exactly how I feel right now.

I am running two programs.

The first program I will call, “Daily Life”.

Making lunches.

Taking the boys here and there.

Saying hello to people in the drop-off at school.

Attending Christmas concerts.

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Answering emails from friends.

Baking cookies.

Doing my work as a teacher.

Living “Daily Life”.

As Christmas approaches and the one year anniversary of the death of my beautiful Mama, I have a second program that is starting to take up more and more space in my body, soul and mind as I try to run the program “Daily Life”.

This program called “Grief” is similar to when mom first died.

It is painful.

Mindnumbing.

It is slowing me down.

I am remembering things from last year that I hadn’t before.

Conversations.

People visiting the hospital and hospice house.

I am feeling things deeply.

I am letting this “Grief” program do its thing.

As this background program runs it makes the “Daily Life” program slower, yet more meaningful.

I sit more.

I watch.

I ponder.

I have more patience.

I am kinder.

More loving.

I savour sunsets.

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I am in awe more and teary more often.

Everything tastes better.

I feel things in “Daily Life” more deeply.

My life is rich with these two programs running.

Yes, I am tired.

But, I am living deeply.

Leaning into my Lord.

My Dada God.

My Personal Saviour.

He is my rock.

The ultimate Programmer who will bring purpose to my pain.

Meaning to my mess.

Wholeness to my broken heart.

He will redeem this hole that was created when my Mama went to heaven.

I love her deeply.

I miss her dearly.

I am blessed.

I am whole with my hole and my two programs running.

Thank you “Daily Life” and “Grief”.

What programs are you running today?

Be Decorating for Christmas

We started our Christmas decorating today. It was a team effort.
Sexy Neck had the idea of wrapping a picture. He helped me balance the lights in the mantle and tried to figure out a few Christmas carols on the piano by ear. (How does he do that?)
JC helped with the garland, bows and lights.
CC helped with the advent calendar.
OC picked out the Christmas books.

All the boys drew Christmas pictures and put the wise men downstairs to start their journey to our nativity scene in Bethlehem our kitchen. The shepherd is on the upper shelf because he was on the hills above Bethlehem when the angels visited him. (At least that’s what the boys told me.)

Welcome to our home:

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I love Christmas! It gets more and more interesting and exciting as our traditions evolve.

Our traditions:
We have our gingerbread dough in the fridge ready to make men. My mom started decorating gingerbread men when JC was wee!

We have an advent calendar that the boys get a small ornament and chocolate each of the twenty-four days before Christmas.

We have a nativity scene where baby Jesus arrives on Christmas Day and the three kings/wisemen arrive in January.

We decorate with lots of lights to take away the winter darkness.

We hang our stockings. This is the first year we have a fireplace mantle to hang them on. We actually have a two-sided fireplace so we had to have a discussion on where they should go. My mom made the stockings.

Do you have any traditions to share?

May you enjoy a restful, peaceful and beautiful advent/Christmas season.

Be Pruned (and Mom update!)

Last week, I was watching my boys play on their scooters and bikes when I saw this beautiful Daylily that had grown back beautiful, green leaves since I had pruned it in September. This will give you a hint of the abnormally warm weather we had in October.

On that day, this little plant taught me a very valuable lesson, something I have been pondering for over fifteen years.

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In the bible, the book of John tells us that Jesus says, God is the gardener, he is the vine and we are the branches. Jesus goes on further to say that he prunes us so that we will be even more fruitful.

I’ve never really understood this beautiful picture. I’ve always thought if God is God why does he need to prune us?

Back to my Daylilly in front of our house. As I walked up to it I started having a conversation in my head.

I’m sorry little Daylily. You are incredibly beautiful and wonderfully green, but I’m going to have to prune you. I know that the winter is coming soon and you are going to die unless I prune you. I need to cut back your leaves so that in the spring we can enjoy your beautiful flowers.

After these thoughts went through my head, I wanted to get down and lie on the sidewalk. I have been known to do that before with my prayer walking buddies.

I feel that I am in a season of pruning and sometimes it hurts. It is hard to see those beautiful green, lush plant leaves fall away. For me those green leaves would be: expectations, needing to ‘know’, some relationships, wanting to help. None of these things are bad, but I see that to move forward I need to let these things fall to the ground.

Now I sit, with my people, and I notice.

I try to be gentle with my newly pruned self.

My pruning is neither good nor bad.

It just is.

I allow those beautiful plants around me to give me encouragement.

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Those plants that are amazing at weathering the winter storms.

My counselor, my old Clark Crescent friends, my mommy friends, my prayer warriors, sexy neck and God.

In Him alone I put my trust.

I looked to His creation, His word and His ways to continue to teach me, and to allow me to weather this storm. How do you weather storms when they come?

Mom Update
Mom is one tough cookie! This process is not for wimps. Mom has had excruciating back pain all week due to her surgery two weeks ago. This morning we met with the oncologist to talk about her chemotherapy that she should start next week. This will be chemotherapy number four! Mom is very weak and still having difficulty eating. She also continues to lose weight. The doctor would like her to be stronger before she does her next chemotherapy. This should probably be the last week of November. Mom is greatly encouraged by her grandkids, a friend, Donna, who came for a visit this week as well as by my dad’s presence and my sister flying in tonight. God has us all in the palm of his hands. May you sleep well tonight mama. I love you so very much.

Be Living In Godly Isolation

I stand.

On my own.

I wait.

For someone to say something.

For someone to smile, to notice, to see this shattered human among them.

I stand.

In the unknown.

I wait.

For someone to tell me something.

For someone to tell me it will be okay, mom will be healed and I will have my best friend back.

I stand.

Not knowing.

I wait.

For someone to show me something.

For someone to show me why I am living here in isolation with my boys, away from my parents, from my support, from the place I am ‘known’.

I stand.

I understand.

I wait for no one.

No human can answer my questions.

No one can be enough, no one can help me comprehend or bring me moment-by-moment comfort.

I stand.

I am not alone.

I wait.

God is my strength.
My Someone.
My everlasting peace and joy.
My understanding.
My known.
He is more than enough in my isolation from family and friends.
Thank you Jesus.

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Be Wordy on the Weekend

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This quote reminded me of my dad’s comment this week about our family being in God’s hand. This is the billboard from the church down the street.

Mom met for the first time yesterday with her Gyno-oncologist from Vtown. We received both good and bad news and continue to live in shades of grey (in God’s hand of course).

Here’s the play-by-play recap of the appointment: (my friends always laugh at my sports lingo, so I had to throw some in here to lighten the moment.)

– Mom’s cancer is responding “excellently” to the chemo. (Excellent was what the CAT scan report said.)
– they still cannot give us a diagnosis til after the surgery.
– the goal of the chemo is to put the cancer into remission for as long as possible. (At least until baby OC gets married?)
– mom is moving forward with chemo on Tuesday
– mom will have surgery 500 kilometres away in Vtown. I am not sure how she is getting there – anyone want to loan us a motor home?
– I am sad and optimistic.

Life changes quickly.

Enjoy the one YOU have.

Consume less stuff.

Be with YOUR peeps and consume them.

What a gift my mom and dad are.