31 days of the Word

A little while ago when I was cleaning up some books in my room, I came across a Bible-reading guide bookmark from Pray Magazine that I'd forgotten I had. Written by Bryce Bouchard, it was originally intended as a list of things to pray for your wife as you "wash her with water through the word" as is the command for husbands in Ephesians. When I found it now though, I thought...if it's good enough for someone to pray for me...it's probably good enough for me to pray for myself too...so I've been converting the list into things I can pray for myself - to get myself into the Word and really see it for what it is.

Here's the original if you want to order it: A month of prayers for your wife.
and here's my version of it:

A month of praying the word from Psalm 119:

PRAY that:

1. I will learn from the Word (119: 7)
2. I will hide the Word in my heart and not sin against God (119: 11)
3. I will declare the Word before others (119: 13)
4. I will meditate on the Word and learn the ways of God (119: 15)
5. I will delight in the Word and not neglect it (119: 16)
6. My eyes will be opened to see wonderful things in the Word (119: 18)
7. My soul will be consumed with a longing for the Word at all times (119: 20)
8. The Word will be my counsel in all things (119: 24)
9. When I am discouraged, the Word will be my life and strength and delight (119: 25, 28, 143)
10. The Lord will give me understanding and discernment of the Word (119: 27)
11. God will be gracious to me and keep me from deceitful ways through the Word (119: 29)
12. My heart will be turned to the Word and away from selfish gain and worthless things (119: 36, 37)
13. As I grasp the goodness of the Word, God will take away any dread or fear that may have a hold on me (119: 39)
14. I will trust in the Word, and use it to answer the enemy who taunts me (119: 42)
15. The Word of truth will not be snatched from my mouth (119: 43)
16. i will seek out the word and find in it freedom for daily living (119: 45)
17. I will have the opportunity to speak the Word to people of influence and that I will do so boldly and without shame (119: 46)
18. My love and longing for the Word will grow and that it will be sweeter and more valuable to me with each passing day (119: 47, 72, 103, 131)
19. The Word will come to me during times of trial and bring me comfort (119: 52, 61, 83)
20. I will be grieved when the Word is forsaken (119: 53, 136)
21. The Word will be my song regardless of my outward surroundings (119: 54)
22. I will have friends who follow the Word. (119: 63)
23. The Lord will do great things to me according to his Word (119: 65)
24. I will learn knowledge and good judgment through the Word (119: 66)
25. I will meditate long and often on the Word, gleaning much insight from it (119: 97, 99)
26. I will stay far from evil paths so I can obey the Word (119: 101)
27. The word will be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, bringing me delight (119: 105)
28. I will stand in awe of the Word (119: 120)
29. The meaning of the Word will unfold to me and that it will give me light and understanding (119: 130)
30. I will be convinced that the Word is righteous and fully trustworthy (119: 138)
31. When I stray, I will seek the Word and that it will woo and shepherd me back to God (119: 176)

There you go.
I only found this bookmark a little more than a week ago so I've started in the middle but it's been an amazing week or so of meditating on Psalm 119 and I've read it through once already and intend to read it through again as I finish this list.

I wish I could tell you that it's completely natural for me to get up before the kids are up and do devotions but honestly, that's always been a struggle for me and so the other thing that's been amazing about this past month is that God & I have this deal about morning devotions. The deal is: I set my alarm for 7am. That's like the latest I can sleep in and still spend a little bit of time with him before the kids are up and need my attention getting ready for school. Almost every single morning...I wake up at 6 or earlier. No alarm, no struggle, just awake. Sun in my window sometimes, the cat's whiskers on my face sometimes, but always fully awake - ready for coffee and a time alone with God....how fun!

Sorry I missed my Monday thankful list - I'll double up next week.

Multitude Monday - Sept. 20

If ever there was a week that I thought I wasn't going to make it - it was this past one. I have a cold, which makes a few things a little more difficult...you know, sleeping, breathing - the little things that make life good. And something planned for almost every single day/night which makes me crazy. I'm a home-body and especially now, I love my down-time and I'm noticing a huge difference in the kids when they get it and when they don't get enough down-time. Crazy schedules make me crazy. BUT, peeking out now on the other side of this past weekend, I feel great. A bunch of "have-to's" have been taken care of and a bunch of "would love to's" are looming - that makes me happy.

So, what am I thankful for on this great, beautiful Multitude Monday?

#121. That my cold is better and I can breathe! The cough is still there but this one seems to have gone as fast as it came, thank goodness!

#122. My parents. We may not have the most Cleaver-relationship in the world but I think it's pretty clear that they love me and I love them. We had a good visit with them this past weekend and my brother was out too to watch the boys play football and visit with us. It was nice to have a chance to catch up.

#123. My bald Dad. My Dad shaves his head. Not sure when that started. His big joke when he was still driving school bus was that he wanted to shave "sit down and shut up" into the back of his head so he could just take his hat off when the bus was getting a little rowdy. They boys thought that he should shave it into a Mohawk and so he said to them..."go ahead." They were completely caught off guard that he was serious but knowing that he was going to be shaving his head Saturday night before their trip to BC anyway...he let the boys have at it with his razor. Egan was so funny - it took actually using the razor on our hands to convince him that he couldn't actually cut (and hurt) Grandpa. Then things got silly:

#124. Funnier still....I'm thankful for my brother who makes the boys feel like a million bucks. Or at least $10 LOL. After cutting Grandpa's hair, Uncle Al told them that in a salon, when you cut someone's hair, you get paid....so he gave them each $5 for their hard work on Grandpa's head. I know it's a little sum of $$ for Al, and it's enough to buy a nice toy or something for the boys...but the joke of "what can we get paid for around here" lasted all weekend and will probably be what's remembered most about this weekend! Thanks Al!

#125. Bikes. What boy is complete without a bike? Not mine, that's for sure. We took our bikes to the Kleefeld Skate Park this past week and then again to the Morden Skate Park this weekend. The boys are getting braver and braver and having so much fun....Cale must have asked me a hundred times to go back to Kleefleld's this evening. I'd say, "whew, saved by the rain" but I really would have loved to take him again - I love the pure JOY on his face as he's coming down a ramp or jumping off a ledge! I could snap pictures all day long!

Oh, and of course, since the skate park wasn't busy, they had to try a few of the harder jumps and grinds on foot - just to see what it would be like.

#126. Hugs. A co-worker of mine told me that when her marriage was in crisis, one of her co-workers gave her a hug every single day and she really appreciated it. Now she's tracking me down to make sure I get one good adult hug every day :) At first I though, "oh, how sweet" but I am starting to see how that could really be a gap for me....I love a good hug!

#127. Peach Jam. Enough said. Thanks Mom S.

#128. A teaching opportunity in Thompson. YAY! Never been there before - only know one person there, that I know of...but it's going to be so much fun.

#129. Subbing shifts. I can't physically work full time right now and still be the mom I need to be....so I'm praying that my co-workers will get sick. No, seriously, I'm praying for sub-shifts at work in the afternoons....not that they'll get sick, but maybe that they'll have afternoon appointments or something so that I'll have to cover for them. I worked today in Kindergarten (what a treat!) and tomorrow I sub again. See...God is good, all the time!

#130. Love. I feel loved. I love feeling loved!

Just hanging out

I sat down to do a little work at my desk tonight and Wasabi decided to come join me....he hopped up onto the hutch on my desk and into this black box. It was empty, just waiting for me to finish my clean-up and find something that needed a home right next to where I sit at my computer. I guess, it's found it's use. He played in here for 5 minutes, chasing his tail, rolling around....and just hanging out.

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Back in the saddle

This past week I got to sit down with my best friend and make cards again. I cannot tell you what a blessing that was...it's been months since we've had a day like this and it was LONG overdue. I finally feel like I might be re-discovering the creative side of me!

Just a quick peek for you of what can easily be accomplished in a day thanks to SRM Press' Sticker Sentiments and some leftover Cosmo Cricket and SEI...LOVE both of these companies to death!

Also...if you're up for some Clear Scraps acrylic inspiration - we have a Guest Designer showcased on the blog today - Bree Tetz, from Alberta, Canada. Check out her blog post and leave her some love, would ya?


Multitude Monday - Sept. 13

I'm thankful this week for:

#111: Containment. The majority of Cale's job on his football team is containment. His position, cornerback, is there to keep the other team inside where they can be tackled and stopped. I think sometimes my job is containment....keeping it all together. Contained. Not so that I look like I have it altogether. But so that I bring it all to the one who can take care of it.

#112: First day of school. I love, love, love the routine of school. I love knowing where my kids are all day long. I love knowing that they're learning and loving where they are. I love knowing that they're safe and protected. And I love not having to plan every minute of the day (I tip my hat to the teachers that plan my kids' days for them!). These pictures are actually 2nd day of school pictures. D'oh. And once again, I made them look straight into the sun.

#113. September 11th. Am I thankful for the horrible events of 9 years ago? No way. Even now I can remember watching it on TV with a house full of pre-schoolers and trying to explain what they were seeing in their language. But...on a day that has the potential to be a BAD day forever....these 2 little blessings landed in Canada in the home of good friends of ours. Now THAT is how you make a day good again!

#114. Neighbours. I say it all the time but I have the best neighbours. The other night one of them called me at 4:30 am to see if I was OK....something was out of place at my house and they were concerned. Wow. I feel Very, Very blessed to live where I do.

#115. Neighbours with Bibles. The aforementioned neighbour, in a recent visit, showed me this scripture (the whole passage of Psalm 77 is amazing but this part especially when the author is remembering all God's amazing works and how he brought salvation and redemption).

Psalm 77:
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;

I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

13 O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

I love that bold part...a.) the path he's leading me on is through the waters (not around and avoiding them but straight through and b.) the path he's leading me to/on...is a path that no one even knew was there. He can do more than I can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20); do things in my day that I wouldn't believe even if he told me (Hab. 1:5). That's my God!

#116. Lawn Mowing. I know....there are 100 other things I'd rather do but I couldn't help notice that I got just as much a work out dragging my lawnmower through my jungle of a backyard as I do when I walk on the treadmill so tonight I've used it as a justification for skipping exercise :)

#117. Motion-sensor security lights. Without them, I wouldn't have gotten my lawn mowed this evening. Fortunately for me, the light that comes on when I step close to my house, lasts long enough for me to mow to the far end of the yard and back! I needed a miner's hat with a light tonight.

#118. Chiropractors. I love mine. Not love-love...but love as in, trust him with my kids-love. He's worked on professional athletes all over the world including Olympic teams and Blue Bombers. He knows sports injuries. He tells it like it is, goes the extra mile with my kids and makes sure they're healthy enough to go play football again after whiplash and possible concussion. I'm just saying....I love my chiropractor.

#119. I'm thankful that the place I have to go tomorrow has a Starbucks next door. I'm not sure if I'll need it beforehand to bolster my courage or after as a reward for making it through but either way - I think it might come in handy tomorrow :)

#120: My job. I'm back at school. I'm working with an amazing teacher, with a great bunch of kids, along with a very fun student teacher (gone temporarily but back later this fall), and I'm having So. Much. Fun. I love my job.

My hands

Anyone out there have gel nail stories to share?
I wanted something Nice for CHA this summer. I was thinking that since I'm doing Make & Takes and showing product for 3-4 days straight at a trade show, and people would be constantly looking at my hands, it'd be fun to have them done. 2 years ago I got a regular manicure for CHA and half-way through the show I was already touching it up with white Sharpie Paint Markers because it was so dinged up. This year I went with Gel nails.
They were amazing.

They were beautiful all week long, strong and long! Almost too long - by the end of a couple of weeks I couldn't type LOL. So, I had them re-done once later in summer, but really short so that I could keep them longer (so I thought). I neglected to take into consideration the fact that since my HAIR grows unbelievably fast, I should have known that my nails would also.

Thus...my gel nail dilemma.
Gel nails typically should last from 4-6 weeks before you go back to get them "filled" (ie: filed down, re-gelled, etc). 6 weeks was do-able, I thought, but take a look at this picture of the growth on my nails after only 2 weeks. You can see where the gel ends and my real nail is showing at the bottom.

The other trouble with that is that if they've grown that much down by the cuticle, they've also grown out that much further at the top and now I can barely type again. I love the look of long fingernails but I can't function like this. Today - my first day of work at school - one of my jobs was peeling mactac off of the backing to put nametag labels on locker doors for the kids in my class. Do you think I could do it? Well...I did manage to do a few but most of the time I made the kids feel like they were doing me a big favour to do their own :) These have got to come off. Oh well....it was fun while it lasted.

And, if you read my Multitude Monday blog from yesterday, you'll read that I had some photos taken by my friend who was attempting to capture "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled" into a photo. She gave me permission to share some of her work on here - so today....photos of my hands.
When I was posing for these pictures, I was basically doing exactly that - posing. Trying to sit still so her light would be right and trying to capture the stream of water being poured onto my hands.

When I looked at the pictures later though, partially because I'm a visual learner...it really hit me what it would be like to actually sit and wait for God, hands open, waiting to be filled, hungering and thirsting for more of Him. On a regular, daily basis. I want this. I sing like this sometimes, hands up. I pray like this alone in my room, hands open. But I guess I have never seen myself like this before. It might be my friend's Mad-Photography skills bringing it to life or it might be that I'm exactly at a place in my life right now where I have nothing to bring to God except these empty hands. And I have no expectations - only the expectancy that if I come, He will fill me with whatever He thinks is necessary for me right now.
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Multitude Monday - Sept. 6

Monday again.
It's the last week of summer holidays here so it's been a very busy week getting ready for school and trying to fit everything in that we've wanted to this summer. In the midst of all the busy-ness...I'm so extremely thankful for a whole bunch of things, including, but not exclusively these:

#101. Extended family-in-law. Is that a thing? This past weekend, Labour Day weekend is traditionally an annual family gathering on my husband's side. This year, with things the way they are, I wasn't sure how it was all going to work out. But, in the end...I went to a significant portion of the weekend and felt as much a part of the family as ever. I'm so thankful for their love and support and prayers!

#102. Sunshine! It's been the weirdest weather around here all summer and Labour Day Weekend is a crap-shoot anyway...but it turned out pretty good! Cool on Friday but sunshine for the rest of the weekend and perfect jeans & t-shirt weather (my favourite!).

#103. Routine. Yes, I'm going back to work tomorrow and I can't wait for the routine and the stability that brings around here. I've always loved this time of year - it's really "new years" for me in a lot of ways - new job, new students, new routines, new goals and plans. And I've always loved getting back into the routine of scheduled days.

#104. 13 feet of scrapbooking space :) What is that, you ask? Well....I've been without a place to scrapbook for awhile and without a table to scrap on but this past month I've got my maybe-temporary-maybe-not space set up and it includes 2 tables that I found - they look like they might have been at a school in a computer lab or something - brown tops, a metal kick-guard down the center of each one - 3' wide x 6 1/2' long. Easily room for all I'll need and a friend or two if you wanna come down :)

#105. Tomatoes and basil wraps. I failed miserably at gardening this year. It was too wet to get into when it needed weeding; I was away for a week of hot & dry; I was exhausted and overwhelmed for a lot of the summer; and my tomatoes got some kind of "thing" that made the plants die and wither into brown stringy plants but on these brown withered plants, hung big old tomatoes. And, since they were ripening on the vine even though the plant wasn't healthy anymore...I left most of them out there and have been eating them over the last few weeks in wraps with fresh basil, shredded cheese...and of course some Miracle Whip and salt & pepper. I think next year I'll put in a more serious effort because I could really get used to fresh garden food!

#106. A photo shoot. My friend Lynette is a photographer-extraordinaire. It's a fairly new hobby for her (past few years) but she's embraced it and it is obviously a gift for her (as opposed to me - still on auto-focus, after all these years). Today she was working on a photo she needed to take for a project her church is doing - and her part was to show someone "thirsting for righteousness" and/or "being filled" from the beatitudes. We spent quite a bit of time outside in the sun - me in black, on my knees, hands raised, with my daughter and her friend pouring water on me - first just my hands, and then in the final shots, all over me and even getting the garden hose involved. Needless to say the girls had a blast soaking me with the hose but the most striking moments for me were late tonight looking through the photos and seeing myself in some of those poses that I often take in my head but don't often echo in my body. That is something I intend to change. I'll share one with you - but not the best ones and not the cropped ones....I'll save those for when she's done her church project.

#107. The word NO. This week saw even more busy days than usual and once again I had to say NO to a few things that I would have loved to have done in order to make room for the down-time my kids and I needed. I wasn't always able to use that word. Even when I first learned to say NO, it was awkward and I felt a lot of guilt but over the past 8 years or so, I've gotten a lot better at it and I've experienced so much more JOY doing the things I'm supposed to and being free to say NO to the things that I'm not supposed to do, or I'm supposed to save for a different time.

#108. JJ Heller's song "Your Hands" If you haven't been reading my blog lately - go back to this post and hear her words and let the truth soak in.
Here are the lyrics:

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands

#109. My church. I know the pastors there have a thousand people to deal with but somehow, at least in the last year or so, almost every single sermon they've preached have been specifically tailored to what I'm needing to hear. Is that possible? I'm pretty sure it is....not because they're super-human or anything...but because God knows me, loves me, and softens my heart to hear His Words.

#110. New Jeans. I found new jeans this week in the city. I know for some of you that's no big deal but being 6' tall when "tall" jeans are built for people 5'7" is a little troublesome sometimes. I've given up stressing about it though. I figure, when I need new jeans, really need them - they'll be there...in my size, and on sale ;)

Have a great week!