Friday, July 30, 2004

This is one of my favourite love songs to God:)

There You Are
written by Carolyn Arends

I was hoping you would write to me a message in the stars
As if the stars themselves were not enough
And I awaited your arrival here from some place very far
As if I couldn't feel your constant touch
Why did I think that you'd send thunder
To wake me from my slumber
When anytime I open up my eyes

There you are - loving me like crazy
There you are - though I am unaware
There you are - when my heart is doubting
Even there you are

I was waiting for a miracle and hoping for a sign
As if each breath I take is not a gift
And I was acting just as if the way you gave your life for mine
Didn't have my foolish heart convinced
What did I think could cause this hunger
Did I ever stop to wonder
Why every time I open my eyes

Repeat chorus

I was hoping you would write to me a message in the stars
As if the stars themselves were not enough

Thursday, July 29, 2004

A Tea-Party Week

This seems to be the week for tea-parties.  I hosted a tea party lunch for Amanda and her friend, Brianna, earlier this week, complete with sandwiches without the crusts (cucumber and tomato and dainties for dessert).  The girlies really seemed to enjoy themselves.  They had played so good that morning that I had time to unpack the teacups and luncheon plates my mom brought over to me.  She has a small collection of Amercian Beauty (by Royal Albert) that she doesn't ever use, and I was touched that she chose to pass it on to me since I love everything about tea, so I couldn't resist serving the girlies with Nana's collection. 
My own collection of formal tea-ware is really a collection of mixed cups and saucers from dear friends and relatives over the years.  I also have a precious old silver teapot that belonged to my friend Marsha's grandmother.  That teapot is full of wonderful memories of tea and small group meetings at Marsha's place before she moved away.
I've also been working on my brewing of tea this week...well iced-tea.  I think I've just about got the recipe  down to the way my handsome hubby enjoys it best.
Tomorrow will be another tea-party, and Amanda is quite excited.  You see, we're doing "Mom and Me, Having Tea".  It's a time for just us two.  I've been baking today for it.  I made teapot shaped cookies, with tea in them (wildberry tea that is), ginger snaps and blueberry scones.  It will be high tea, late in the afternoon, and we will do a devotion together.   Afterall, I think God enjoys a good tea-party too!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Falling Short
I have been grappling with something that I did which is wrong.  I have confessed and prayed and am trying to make things right.  I know that God has forgiven me, His word tells me so, but I am having such a time letting it go.  And what is more, I find it hard to pray for Him to help me as I step through this because I feel that I don't deserve it because I was wrong.  My dear friend Alana, redressed me about that saying, "so you can only ask for God's help if you're perfect?!'  Her words, of course, made me see how ridiculous my feelings were, but they are nevertheless my feelings.  She and my husband have been so supportive and encouraging through this, and I have a hard time receiving that because I know I was wrong.  I could go into more details here about what I did, but I won't because I don't want to get into justifying it.  Instead, I want to share about what I am learning from this all (all-be-it slowly).
The last few nights I've felt pulled to pick up a Brennan Manning book that I read a couple of months ago.  This is what has struck me:
"The sorrow of God lies in our fear of Him, our fear of life, and our fear of ourselves...God's sorrow lies in our refusal to approach Him when we have sinned and failed...
It is one thing to feel loved by God when our life is together and all our support systems are in place.  Then self acceptance is relatively easy.  We may even claim that we are coming to like ourselves...But what happens when life falls through the cracks?  What happens when we sin and fail...What happens when we come face-to-face with the human condition?...Do (we) have a strong sense of self worth? Do (we) still feel like the beloved child?  Or does God love (us) only in (our) "goodness" and not in (our) proverty and brokenness as well?  Nicholas Harnan wrote,

'This (brokenness) is what needs to be accepted.  Unfortunately, this is what we tend to reject.  Here the seeds of corrosive self-hatred take root.  This painful vulnerability is the characteristic feature of our humanity that most needs to be embraced in order to restore our human condition to the healed state.'

The fourteenth century mystic Julian of Norwich said, "Our courteous Lord does not want his servants to despair because they fall often and grievously; for our falling does not hinder him in loving us."  Our skepticism and timidity keep us from belief and acceptance, however, we don't hate God, but we hate ourselves.  Yet the spirtual life begins with the acceptance of our wounded self....
God calls us to stop hiding and come openly to Him.  God is the father who ran to His prodigal son when he came limping home.  God weeps over us when shame and self-hatred immobilize us.  Yet as soon as we lose our nerve about ourselves, we take cover...But God loves who we really are -- whether we like it or not.  God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding.  No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable to Him...
"Come to me now," Jesus says.  "Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you:  a Savior of boundless compassion, infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness, and love that keeps no score of wrongs.  Quit projecting onto Me your own feelings about yourself.  At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it, a smoldering wick and I will not quench it.  You are in a safe place."
These words are still sinking in for me.  This morning, God's word to me was from Isaiah 43:
"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior, I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.  Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you."
I'm trying to stay in the present right now and not keep replaying the past nor projecting the future.  God's grace is truly amazing.  He has answered so many prayers for me today, and I just praise Him and give Him glory.

Friday, July 23, 2004

I'm having tea...

I should be working out, and I will get to that in a bit, but I'm enjoying the sunshine and my tea this morning. It seems like forever since I had the house to myself for a morning. Don't get me wrong, I love having my husband and daughter around, but it is nice to have a few moments to myself this morning. I just finished having breakfast...toast and peanut butter with jam...a guilty pleasure, I must say. It, too, is a treat, you see, a long time ago Les issued an edict that there shall be no peanut butter and jam in the house at the same time ('the kiss of death,' he says!) So we have just stocked peanut butter as Amanda loves it, but last week in a romantic gesture, Les insisted that I pick up some triple fruit strawberry jam because he knew I was craving it. (Thank you, honey:)

In other case you were wondering about my teapot...well, I didn't get that one afterall...the supplier didn't receive her shipment when she thought, but in developing news...

...this one (the 'oh so breit' tea blossoms teapot by Mary Engelbreit) should be en-route to me! Happy belated birthday to me...thanks to my in-laws!  (I won the auction for it at an amazing price...birthday money well spent, I think:)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

One of my dear-dear-dearest friends (one of my heart's sisters) is going through a time of uncertainty and I wish it weren't so...she's faced this twice before and is one of the bravest and most caring people I know.  I pray she doesn't have to face it again.  I pray that it is a false alarm.  I pray that God will fill her doubts with His peace.  I pray that should she ever find her faith shaken that I can have faith for her, that I may hold up her arms.  I pray God's Spirit over her and in her and that nothing can touch her.  Please pray with Jesus name, Amen.
Father, Thy Will Be Done  
by Carolyn Arends

When I cannot ask for more - Father, thy will be done
When I rail at heaven's door - Father, thy will be done
When my faith in you is strong - Father, thy will be done
When my strength is almost gone - Father, thy will be done

Father, thy will be done
Father, thy will be done
I want to see your kingdom come
Thy will be done

When I cry to you in prayer - Father, thy will be done
When I don't believe you're there - Father, thy will be done
When I feel your gentle hand - Father, thy will be done
When I just don't understand - Father, thy will be done

Repeat chorus

When I'm walking in the light - Father, thy will be done
When my heart is black as night - Father, thy will be done
When you give what I desire - Father, thy will be done
When you take me through the fire - Father, thy will be done

Repeat chorus
(C) 1997 Sunday Shoes Music (ASCAP)

Monday, July 19, 2004

She's a Gramma!

Sweet news today!...Brooke and Kelly Graham have become parents to a precious little girl...Molly Elizabeth Graham has arrived!!  I am just tickled for them, and tickled for the new Gramma! :)
I guess I'm not "sparkling" today?!
...that's what one of my staff said this morning...he said, "you're not your sparkling self today..."  I don't mean not to be...and I certainly didn't think that anyone else could tell how I was feeling...  I've been going through some parenting 'challenges' that I don't think are best to share here.  But despite my efforts, I'm feeling discouraged.  Maybe it's just me and those big feelings...maybe if I was more of a 'thinker' all would be well...afterall, from a logical point of view it is, but that doesn't make my heart 'feel' any differently.
Oh well, I'm reminded of the words of Mark Lowry.  He says that his favourite Bible verse comes from the New Testament where Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem for the census.  The verse begins, "It came to pass..."  It didn't come to stay, "it came to pass."

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Today's verse

Much too much going on today. I just took a quick break for lunch. Work is very busy today, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. But as I paused, today's VBS verse came to mind:

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
Heb 10:24

(I'm not really sure how to accomplish that at work today...but I am looking forward to being at home tonight:)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Lake Girl!

Here's a picture of our living-dolly at "the lake" on the weekend (after she washed the dishes even!)

Les & I were talking last night about what a great place Saskatoon is to live. You read so many things these days about how much more there is to do in larger centres, but we really feel blessed to call Saskatoon our home...and really, if you are creative, there is no shortage of things to do here.

Certainly, for Amanda, living in Saskatoon means there are more things she CAN do. If Les & I had chosen to make our home in Vancouver, there are many opportunities that Amanda would not have. We live in a nice house in a good neighbourhood that is B.C. the words affordable and housing do not go together. And by virtue of where we live, Amanda is in walking distance of a good school where she's made wonderful friends that she can play with outside of school. She can also play down the block, go out and ride her bike around our crescent, and the little girl down the street (Miss Britney) is always knocking on the door to see if Amanda can come out and play. This is quite a contrast to Vancouver where you can't let you child walk to school and the teacher releases the children each day directly to their parents only. In grade one in Surrey, Amanda was in a class where she was the only caucasian girl, and the other parents wouldn't let their children play with her outside of school because of that. In Vancouver, there is no chance that you can let your 9 year old out to ride a bike around the crescent or to walk three doors down the block to play on a neighbour's front lawn.

I see how Amanda is flourishing here, and I feel very blessed indeed. She came here as a very shy girl to the outside world, and I have seen her open up so much. I see her get to try new things and imagine and play to her heart's content. When she grows up she wants to be a teacher, and I really think that growing up in Saskatchewan will be a great advantage for her in that because of all the carefree experiences she will have. She's not as shy as she used to be, and I just think that growing up in this environment will provide her with even more in terms of experiences that will mean alot for her as a teacher (perhaps even more than a university education can provide).

Growing up here, I had those experiences. I never knew anything different, so I guess I took them for granted.

This week Amanda is off at Vacation Bible School (VBS) in the mornings (Son Games)...together with her bossom-buddy from school, Brianna, and they are loving it! God sure knows what He's doing! Right from the moment Amanda moved here, He has placed such wonderful girls around her to be her friends. I couldn't ask for better friends for her! Brianna is actually older than Amanda, but they connected because Amanda ended up in a gr.3/4 split this year. VBS is at Brianna's church, and Brianna's mom is helping me out this week by having Amanda over to their house after VBS each morning. She's a wonderful woman who is always so encouraging to me...which is yet another way that God is blessing us these days!

"Know that the Lord is GOD. It is He who made us, and we are His. We are His people."
Ps 100:3 (Today's VBS memory verse:)

Monday, July 12, 2004

"The Lake"

We went to "the lake" yesterday. Amanda had gone out the day before with Arilee & Aurora, and so we headed out yesterday to enjoy the day and pick her up. It was a good day, although it would have been nice to spread the day out a bit (driving two hours each way makes for a full day!) The Herman's have a marvelous campsite, and we were spoiled to get to be with such wonderful friends for the day!

It's interesting the different things that being at "the lake" brings out in different people. For instance, at home, Amanda generally tries to avoid chores (like all normal 9 year olds), but at "the lake" she has no problem helping to get water or even doing the dishes! At home, Amanda is quite squirmish about things like bugs, but at "the lake" she went fishing for perch with Auntie using minows for bait...she was even quite proud to bring the fish back to her water bucket in her own net! It was quite something to see!

On the drive back home, Les and I talked about our views of "the lake." I don't think either of us are big campers, and while it would be nice to get away to "the lake" once in a while, our schedules just never seem to work such that we both have 2-3 days off in a row.

As we drove, we talked about our views on tents, campers, motor-homes and cabins. I'm afraid we leaned to the more expensive choices, and when you divide that over how infrequently we would use it, well, that pretty much makes it non-viable from a financial perspective. (Too bad we don't have friends with a cabin or motor home that we could rent once a year!:) ...we had to scratch camper from the list because we don't have a vehicle that could pull it.)

Before Les & I got married, I used to go to Family Camp each summer at Arlington Beach (this year's camp is happening right now). That was "the lake" to me. I went for about five years in a row, camping a different way each year. The first year I stayed in the lodge with a friend (shared bathrooms and showers on the floors; cafeteria type food). The next year, some friends and I rented a cabin together (no shower, but running water). The next year I stayed at the lodge alone, but ate and hung out with friends in the campground. The next year, I tented. And the last year, I rented a cabin that is lived-in year round (hence it had a shower etc.) I'd have to say that this last experience was the best to me. It was a beautiful location (lakefront), and I could watch the sunset over the water each night!

Every so often I get teased by die-hard campers that 'that is not camping at all'! I know they are teasing, but they seem to imply that if I would prefer to be able to blow-dry my hair in the morning when I'm camping rather than just putting on a ball-cap that there is some kind of moral problem with me. Maybe there is? I like to feel fresh in the morning and have a shower. I enjoy fussing a bit. I often dress casually, but I still like things to match and be free of holes. I like to make things nice. Even the year that I tented, I had a welcome matt for my borrowed tent and a flower pot just outside of the door. I guess this is part of how I relax. I'm just a girly-girl.

As we continued driving home last night, God painted the most amazing sunset for us, and Les and I both agreed how much we like home, and how we'd just like to find a way to be able to press pause more often and have some of those 'lake'-type moments at home.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Maybe I will still get it after all!

In my last post, I talked about the 'teapot that got away'. Well, in developing news... I emailed the seller after the auction ended to ask whether she had another one of these teapots. I explained how I narrowly missed the end of the auction and offerred her $2 more than the ending price on that auction should she have another 'Oh-so-Breit' teapot. I received a reply yesterday. She is expecting to receive a new shipment on Friday which will include another one of these teapots AND she indicated that she would sell it to me for the price I offered! I know it is only a teapot, but I'm tickled:)

Monday, July 05, 2004

I was sooo close to having my very own Mary Engelbreit teapot...the 'Oh-So-Breit' teapot! I had been tracking it on ebay, and it was going for well below its retail value (Mary prices it at $45US, and on ebay it was below $20US). So, I discussed the teapot with my delightful husband who encouraged me to get it. I had received some money from my inlaws and my parents for my birthday that I still haven't spent. So I was all excited to actually get something that I've wanted for so long (and never really thought I would get). The auction was to expire last night. When I left to take my daughter's friend home, my bid was winning, but then when I dropped Brianna off, I got chatting with her folks and didn't want to be rude and rush out of there (especially for something that isn't nearly as important as another person). Anyway, we got home at 9:13. The Auction ended at 9:11. And, yes, someone swooped in and stole my bid:( I know it is only a teapot, but I have to admit to being disappointed. There is another one up for bid, but with a starting price of $29.99US...I'm not interested in that because I almost had this one for much less. (sigh) I hope the high bidder enjoys my teapot. I hope they have friends over for tea and, in turn, bless them....

"...I will bless you; ...and you will be a blessing."
Gen 12:2

I enjoy Margaret Wente's columns in the Globe. I don't always agree with her, but I find she has good insight, and I enjoy the way she writes. Here's a link to Saturday's column. Last Thursday she also had an interesting one on Iraq.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Oh the theology of a song!! It is truly amazing how God can touch me with a lyric and how I can find myself right there in someone else's words. I've met Carolyn Arends, and she truly is a kindred spirit:)

Dance Like No One's Watching
Carolyn Arends

I want to sing just like the sparrow 'cause the sparrow knows
That your eye will be upon her everywhere that she goes
I want to shout out like the mountains 'cause they say those rocks
Love to lift up their praises and they never stop
I want to chase you like King David till it's all that I can do
To sing and shout and laugh about the way you made me new

I want to dance like no one's watching
Dance like no one's watching
Dance like no one's watching
Nobody but you

I want to grow just like the lilies dressed up in your best
'Cause they stretch toward the sun and trust in you for the rest
I want to climb up like a daughter on her daddy's knee
Who is laughing 'cause she knows that she is loved abundantly
You said that I should come to you just like a little kid
And maybe even kick my heels the way that David did

I'm gonna dance like no one's watching
Dance like no one's watching
Dance like no one's watching
Nobody but you

Well heaven knows I worry and those worries tend to keep me
Bottled up so tightly in my soul
So spill me like the perfume that was poured upon your feet
And then fill me till at last I overflow

That's when I'll dance like no one's watching
Dance like no one's watching
Dance like no one's watching
Nobody but you

I want to chase you like King David till at last you capture me
And then I’ll sing and shout and laugh about the way you set me free

I want to dance like no one’s watching
Dance like no one’s watching
Dance like no one’s watching
Nobody but you

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Happy Belated Canada Day!

Looks like I've been remiss in my postings! It's not as if I've been too busy really. I guess I just haven't felt inspired to write anything the last few days. It's been a quiet long weekend at the Brophy house. Les is working evenings all weekend. Amanda and I have gone on a few outings. Last night we rented Little Women and watched it of my favourites! Tonight she is playing outside with a friend.

I had my appointment with the Specialist for my ear on Friday. It went very well...even Les commented this morning that my ear mustn't be as plugged as he heard me singing and singing...all sorts of songs! To sing again...that is good:) What struck me most about Dr. Stafford's office was that there was no waiting area and no wait. I've become very accustomed to waiting at the Doctor's office, so this was a pleasant surprise!

It seems like everyone is about to head off on some exciting holiday within the next little while. I have friends who are already on their way, and some who will leave very soon (I miss them already!) We have no plans to get away this summer as Les has to work...and that's ok with me. I don't always long to go somewhere...I love home, but I do long for special things to look forward to while I'm here. It always helps me to know when my next date will be our when our family can have a day to go to the lake or something.

Amanda will have many adventures this summer. Next week, she's going to visit with Grandma & Grandpa for a few days, and they are taking a trip to Regina where she'll meet a Great Aunt & Uncle and a cousin (who is around her age) that she's never met before. Then the following week, she has Son Games (Vacation Bible School). She's really excited about going to that with her great friend, Brianna! Oh to be a child again...schools days were great, especially those summers off!

I have to admit that I'm pining a bit for that. It's hard for me to have to work when Amanda is off, and often Les' days off are during the week when I'm at the office. It's hard to not always do what your heart wants...but nevertheless I know that God is good and has blessed us in so many ways.