Tuesday, April 28, 2015


At the start of this year, our pastor talked about looking back and considering our priorities, and about pressing on with confidence (Philippians 3:1-16). As I thought back over the past year, I realized I had learned some things about my priorities. My dad always told me to make sure I had my priorities right: Keep God at the top, and everything else will fall in place. His priorities were very clear, and he stuck to them.

For myself, one thing I have stopped doing recently is using the word “busy”. It dawned on me one day that somehow I manage to find time to check text messages, to go on Facebook and Pinterest, and to watch my favourite television show. I told myself that if I can find the time to do those things in my “busy” days, then I can make a priority of finding the time to pray and to read God’s word. In doing so, I have experienced God’s presence in new and amazing ways in all areas of my life. I have experienced a contentment, a sense that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, even during the craziest moments and the most exhausting days.

As for pressing on with confidence, my goals are as follows: Pray more. Help more. Love more. Encourage more. Be more and do more, not in the sense of making my calendar super-full, but in the sense that I want to do the things that God wants me to do, and live the life that he wants me to live wherever I am and whatever I am doing: at church, at work, at home, at the community centre, at Tim Horton’s, at LCS, at the daycare, and the list could go on.

Christian education continues to be a strong priority. I see how being educated in Christian Schools has formed my own faith. I see the importance of having our children learn in a Christ-centred environment. I love hearing and seeing our children’s faith and learning grow and blossom through stories, songs and lessons they have learned at school. These moments are good reminders of why this is a priority for our family.

The above was written for a newsletter. What follows are a few other thoughts:

Another theme that has popped up in different areas of life is balance. Everyday there seems to be some extreme argument for what we should or should not do in parenting, in medicine, in education, in church, in business, in our personal devotions, in farming, in politics, and the list could go on. However, so much of life comes down to balance. When the pendulum swings too far to one side, something has to give. 

When there is a balance, I feel healthier because I am eating and exercising properly, students learn well because they are receiving a balanced education, churches grow because people are working together, and children feel safe because they are being loved. The utmost important balance, is the balance I experience as a Christian. I know that God is the ultimate balance. He has everything in his control, and for me, that gives everything balance. When my prayer life is strong, all areas of my daily life feel stronger.

At this point in my life, I am not pretending to have it all figured out. In fact, I feel like the more I know, the less I know, or maybe the less I want to know. If I went back to my 20 year old self, and told her that this is what I would be doing and where I would be, she probably would believe some of it, and she would probably not want to believe some of it.

Nevertheless, I have so much to be thankful. I have an excellent church, wonderful colleagues and friends and family, and an awesome God. I have a full life, and I am truly blessed.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


This morning in church, our pastor talked about looking back and considering our priorities, and about pressing on with confidence.**

With it being the end of one year, and the beginning of another, I have been reflecting on the past year, and looking ahead to 2015.

As I think about last year, here are some of my thoughts:

* In February, I lost my dad. Someone so full of faith and love and life. He was not a perfect man, but he was an amazing man. I miss him so much, and have heard the sound of his voice on my birthday, through all the Christmas carols he used to sing, his jokes and silly comments, and in so many other ways. What I wouldn't give to have coffee with him again! I have great memories, and my kids still talk about him often. I struggle with seeing other people with their dads, and grandkids with their grandpas, wishing my dad was still a part of our lives: watching games, coming to concerts, and just being silly while visiting. I know that I will always miss him, but do imagine him watching those special moments from heaven. I also realize that I have been blessed to have my dad as such a strong and wonderful role model for 35 years of my life.

* I have read some great books in the past year that have had an impact on my life:
   - Francis Chan's "Crazy Love" which challenged me in my faith.
   - Bob Goff's "Love Does" which reminded me so much of my dad, and challenged me in my faith.
   - Alvin VanderGriend's "Love to Pray" - which pushed me in my prayer life.
   - "Wonder" by R. J. Palacio - which is a great read about a pre-teen's struggle.
   - "A Single Shard" by Linda Sue Park - which had me in tears at the end.
   - "10 Mindful Minutes" by Goldie Hawn - which focused on the importance of quiet reflection.
   - "Seeking God's Face" by Philip F. Reinders - which I will read again this year.

* I was involved with some neat things this past year:
   - OMLTA Conferences, love going every year, connecting with colleagues, and learning more
   - Joining a new church, love the MRCC
   - Running the Read4Success program at my school, I loved learning with the families that attended
   - Going to Jamaica with friends, good to get away and relax
   - UGDSB Learning Fair, loved hearing Pinball Clemons speak
   - Having a "While You Were Out" experience planned by my husband and mom
   - Wingham Homecoming, love being a part of a small town
   - My sister-in-law's wedding, such a beautiful day for a beautiful couple
   - And lots of great times with my kids, family and friends (going through my Facebook feed from the last year, it was great to relive those memories!)

I truly believe in life-long learning, and I learned a lot this year. I learned a lot about prayer and how important it is. I learned a lot about myself and what is truly important to me. I learned a lot about being a teacher. Most of all, I learned about the importance of faith and family and friends and community.

As I look ahead to 2015, I have some goals:
- Be more organized, which should be more specific...
- Spend less, which has changed to: use money wisely.
- Eat less, which has changed to: eat better.
- Exercise more.
- Pray more.
- Help more.
- Love more.
- Encourage more.
- Be more and do more. But not in the sense of making my calendar super-full, in the sense that I want to do the things that God wants me to do, and live the life that he wants me to live wherever I am and whatever I am doing.

Here's to another year, full of new experiences. I feel a bit jaded after last year. My usual excitement for a new year is lessened as I lost my dad last year. However, I see grief in a whole different way now, and I hope that I can be a better support to others as they grieve. I also know that my life is rich in so many ways. My dad always used to say, "We may not be rich in money, but we are rich in love." I have used that quote with my own kids now too. My life is full of people who love me and care about me, and I them, and that has made my life so rich and full. I realize that there are people out there who do not have that kind of support, I want to become more aware of those situations, and I want to help or do something. I am not sure what that will look like, but I am open to new possibilities.

Blessings to you and yours in 2015!

**Philippians 3:1-16 - The Message: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+3%3A1-16&version=MSG

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Day & French Onion Tang

It's a new year, and with a new year comes new thoughts and wishes and hopes and dreams.

One year ago today, I spent the day with my mom while my dad, my husband, my brother and his father-in-law went to the Winter Classic in Detroit. The Leafs versus the Red Wings. The game of the century, and an experience never to forget. Little did we know that just 2 months later, my dad would have a stroke, and would end his journey here on earth. That day is now a beautiful memory for my brother as he was like a kid in a candy store, and he got to be there with our dad. I was at home with my mom, where we were nice and warm, eating yummy Dutch treats, and watching the game on television.

A year later, I again spent the day with my mom, this time at her house, this time with my sister and brother and their families, and with my uncle and aunt. It was great to start the year together. A new year with new hopes and dreams and ideas and prayers. We enjoyed time to chat, time to listen to babies babble, time to watch the kids play, time to watch the wind blow and the snow fall, time to reminisce, time to laugh, and time to eat. Of course, we ate, and we ate a lot: chocolate and pie, pancakes and popsicles, and croquettes and oliebollen (Dutch treats too oily and greasy to be anything but bad for you but they taste amazing).

My mom is amazing, and crazy, but good crazy. She really should write a book, but today I had to chronicle a little thing that is just typical of her, and we love her for it. She is a great grandma, and loves to let her grandkids do things that their parents may consider unthinkable - for example, eating freezies one after the other all day, eating chocolate for breakfast, cutting the grass at a very young age, you get the idea. Today, though, it was a simple matter of having my eldest son "help" her. After breaking an egg on the floor, and quickly wiping it up, she had him stirring the batter, and the pancakes would be cooking shortly for lunch.

Next, it was on to making some Tang. If you have made Tang, you know how simple it is: just throw the crystals in, mix in some water, and bang, you have Tang. Sweet, sweet, yummy, delicious Tang. However, in my mom's kitchen things sometimes get a little mixed up. So my son dumped the second bag of crystals in, and started to mix up the drink, but something didn't look quite right. My mom took a look at it, and let out a, "Whoops! Oh dear!" Sure enough, that second package was not the regular Tang crystals, it was a pouch of French Onion Soup Mix that had gotten put in with the Tang pouches. Needless to say, that French Onion Tang headed down the drain! My mom, being the quick-on-her-feet grandma that she is, had the next batch of Tang ready to go in no time, and the grandkids' thirst was quenched with some sweet, sweet, yummy, delicious Tang!

Thanks for a great day of great memories, Mom! I love you! Here's to 2015 and all that God has in store for us.