Faith · Faith Life

Broken Things.

By Vicki

Broken Things by Matthew West

This song has been playing on repeat in our house for the last couple of days weeks months. The first time I heard it the words resonated with me so much. I used to think that I was maybe the only one (or one of the few) who felt like they were legitimately broken. But lately I am learning and realizing and understanding that most people (all people?) have felt broken, feel broken or will feel broken in their lives. Its part of our human nature. We were made for perfection, but with the fall into sin, that perfection became unattainable. We know we want perfection, we know we can’t get it, and we feel broken because we know our desire and reality will never meet.

This song speaks to my heart. I know the heart wrenching ache of knowing that I do not deserve to approach Jesus or enter His Kingdom. The ache is real and the knowledge is true. I don’t deserve Jesus or his Salvation. But, just as true, is grace. Broken people are used for His kingdom. He paid our punishment and then welcomes us, the broken things, into his presence. Its definitely true and its exceptionally wonderful. That ache of being broken no longer paralyzes me or makes me terrified for my future. I know that Jesus uses Broken Things: the messy, the imperfect, and the inadequate. Not only does He use us, He welcomes us into His kingdom. He delights in us and prepares a place for us to party and celebrate with Him. He loves us. He has a plan, a purpose, and a place for us. What a King we have! I eagerly await entering the Kingdom through doors that are only open because of grace.

Take a listen to the song, read the lyrics below, and enjoy your Sunday basking in the grace that turns broken things into guests of the King.

“Broken Things”
If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I’ve made

Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use

It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside

(lyrics taken from https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/matthewwest/brokenthings.html) 

Advertisements
Faith · Faith Life

5:30 Thankfulness

by Kara

 

A while ago, my friend posted a couple vlogs titled “5:30 Thankfulness”. These vlogs were posted on days when her daughter woke her up at 5:30 in the morning, and they were little things to be thankful for, despite the lack of sleep.

I thought this was a great idea, and today was one of those days that Zoe woke up at 5:30 and did not want to go back to sleep. Its now 17 hours later, and I thought I would post some of the things that I’m thankful for today, even though I’m a tad tired. These things are direct results of the 5:30 wake up call!

  1. Since we were already awake, Zoe and I drove Tsjibbe to work, and we had the car for the day! We met a friend for lunch and did some Christmas shopping!
  2. When we got back from dropping Tsjibbe off (we always come back home before we go on our adventure), the fire was roaring and the house was warm. Tsjibbe had made sure to put some logs in the fire before we left, and it was so nice to come home to a warm house!
  3. We got to see my friend Sarah. We hardly ever see Sarah. So it was nice to catch up, enjoy lunch together, and discover my daughter’s fear of elevators together.
  4. We got to spend a lot of extra time with Tsjibbe! Not only did we get the extra hour of driving together, after Tsjibbe was done work, we got to run a few more errands together! Shopping is much easier with a man to carry around the [big] baby!
  5. We got to see both the sunrise and the sunset while driving. Two absolutely beautiful views. Its amazing to see the beauty God put into creation – for no other purpose than for His glory and our enjoyment.

Now that our day of fun is done, I’m ready to curl up in bed. Zoe, on the other hand, is happily crawling around and playing with the TV remote. Maybe she thinks that by not going to bed, she gets to spend a fun day out with mom.

 

Lifestyle

Why We Chose to Homeschool.

by Vicki

We have been homeschooling for two months now. We are all enjoying it…most days. Peyton has grown in leaps and bounds and is starting to read little books, make connections from our school work to our daily lives, and is learning so much about her God and Creator.

IMG_0956

A lot of people have asked us “why?” about our choice to homeschool.  Most of the time they are genuine ‘why?’s from people who are interested in our schooling choices. This is awesome and I love to share what we are learning and experiencing. But sometimes (like from a certain grocery store cashier) I get a “Why would you even do that? Do you really think that’s a good idea?”. Ummmmm, yes. Yes we do. That’s why we are doing it. Obviously.

So, to answer everyone’s spoken and unspoken questions of “why??”, here are some of the top reasons that Mark and I have decided to keep Peyton home for her kindergarten year.

  • Peyton’s Age: Peyton is young! She is 5 now, but would have only been 4 when she started full time Kindergarten. Mark and I both feel that 4 (and early 5s) is just too small to be gone from the house for 7+ hours each day. I dreaded the rushed grumpy mornings and the exhausted irritable evenings. Peyton still enjoys sleeping in in the mornings, having an hour (or more) of quiet time (nap?) in the afternoons, and is typically enjoyable during the evenings. In a year she will be that much more ready and mature to handle longer school hours, more structured routine, and her big emotions; making ‘regular’ school a better possibility for her.  IMG_0982
  • Family Time: Family time is very important to our family (as it is to most families, I’d imagine!). Since I am currently on Maternity Leave I felt strongly about Peyton having this time with me at home. She has spent time in daycares off and on since she was one, so I wanted to give her a year at home to relax and enjoy our family. I also thought it would be good to take this time to pour attention, love, and confidence into our little girl before she starts ‘regular’ school. As well, Mark gets home a little later in the day and, if Peyton was in school, she would have to go to bed pretty soon after he walked in the door (or sometimes even before!). With Peyton being homeschooled we are able to enjoy relaxed evenings with our family. Later bedtimes typically mean later mornings for Peyton, which is okay because we can start school on our own time.
  • Family Values: We believe in a Christian worldview. This worldview affects everything that we do, especially how we learn and process the world around us. Mark and I feel convicted that we want to start Peyton’s school career off in a place that encourages a focus on Christ and an awe of how our Creator has woven this world together. And, although we toured two wonderful Christian private schools, we like having another year to pour into our little lady. We, as parents, try to model Christ-like behaviour, love and values so that our children can know who and whose they are. With one more year at home, God willing Peyton will be that much more secure in her faith and identity so she can stand firm.IMG_0958
  • Flexibility: We are able to teach Peyton what and when we want (even when following a curriculum and ensuring she is staying on par with the Kindergarten standards). We are also able to take a day (or week) off if we need to rejuvenate, if we go visit family in Kingston or Ottawa, if we’re having a bad day, or if we’d rather sit in our pajamas reading books and drinking tea all day.
  • Understanding our Little Girl: Teaching Peyton one-on-one allows me to ensure she is learning in a way that helps her. I can manipulate the curriculum to ensure she is learning to her strengths. If she isn’t getting something I can spend more time on it to ensure it is firmly understood. Or, if she catches on to something very quickly (numbers seem to make a lot of sense to her!), we can spend less time on it. I can also choose subjects and activities that interest Peyton. She is so much easier to teach and so much more interested in learning if its incorporated into something she already has an interest in. When Peyton goes to regular school next year I will have a good understanding of Peyton’s abilities (her strengths and weaknesses), her interests and disinterests, and how she learns best. I will be able to help her navigate the different learning environment and can be an advocate for her during her schooling career. IMG_0948
  • No regrets: Both Mark and myself were homeschooled at some point in our lives. Mark was for the majority of his schooling and I was for a couple of years in elementary. It is something that we talked (in passing) about maybe doing for our kids one day. When the opportunity to do so became an actual possibility one thought kept coming to me: We will never regret trying, but we may regret not trying. Its easier to do it and realize that it doesn’t work for us than to always wonder what could have been.

There are so many more reasons that we have chosen to keep Peyton home, but these are the main ones. We have many friends that have chosen to send their children to private or public schools and we love that. We do not think that homeschooling is the only or even the best way to teach your children. We do believe that you need to know your children and make choices that are right for them and for your family. For us, that means keeping Peyton home (at least for this year) and reevaluating her schooling situation next year.IMG_0952We just finished our first two months of school. And it is hard. But we are enjoying it. Peyton is excited about school each day and finds the weekends kind of long. We have been able to go on a couple of field trips already and have done some cool projects. Peyton and I are both learning a lot about each other. I am so thankful that this is the route we have chosen to take. I am even more thankful for this “extra” time that I get with my ‘peanut’.  I will do more homeschooling posts about some of our day-to-day life in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions about homeschooling or are wondering if this is a choice for your family I am more than happy to share (the little of) what I know. I am by no means an expert but I am happy to help you with this journey!

IMG_0963

 

Lifestyle

Winter Ready (or Not)

by Kara

November 10, 2017: A bright, sunny morning, -5°C. Outside looks cool and crisp, but inside we’re snug and warm.

November 10. We’ve heard rumors of snow. The forecast threatens snow in the areas around us, but our town seems to be in its own odd little climate.. Every year we get snow a little later than other places. But no matter what the forecast says, in Canada, November 10 means winter is well on its way.

The threat of winter arrives around the same time as November. November snuck up on me, but once I realized it was November 4 or 5, I decided I should spend a day getting ready for winter. This is a big chore, and is usually a fun day, as I pull out all our winter clothes and pack away all our summer clothes. So, I headed up stairs to get all our big totes of winter clothes, scarves, hats, mitts, boots, etc. I cleared off the stairs, so I wouldn’t trip while carrying these big, full boxes down. I cleared off the kitchen table to make space for all the sorting I would have to do.

This is what I came down stairs with:

mde

 

Where are all my winter clothes? Where are the big totes that I imagined I had stored up there, filled to the brim with sweaters and pants and blankets and hats and mitts? And more importantly, does the fact that I can find nothing else mean that I get to go shopping?

I did at one point have a tote filled with winter clothes, and I’m sure we had a bucket full of scarves and mitts. But last winter, I was pregnant and wearing maternity clothes. And part of my ‘nesting’ was cleaning out upstairs (an area that we use exclusively for storage), and it is more than possible that cleaning that out meant donating most of my winter clothes. The remainder of my sweaters and jeans spent the summer in my closet and dresser. As for the box of hats and mitts? I must have done the same thing – donated whatever wasn’t being used at the time. Which is fine, since the little bucket I have is exactly what we need for winter.

It was a very anticlimactic day. I did a quick load of laundry so that the hats and scarves hat we did have would be fresh and clean, I found a blanket to put in the car for emergencies, and I packed away my three pairs of shorts. Zoe tried on some winter hats, but since all her clothes are already very warm and wintery, there was nothing else to do for her either.

So, on this cold November morning, I feel totally unprepared. Although I know I do have warm clothes, the fact that it took me less than a single morning to ‘winterize’ makes me think that I must have missed something. But, I suppose, like in any job: it’s the quality of the work, not the quantity. I guess we’ll find out when that snow does finally hit.

Lifestyle

THM October Recap.

by Vicki

First of all, I am sorry it took so long to get this month-end recap. Its been a crazy two weeks here for us. We just returned home after being gone for approximately 2 weeks (first visiting Katie and her family in Kingston and then house sitting for my in-laws). It was a nice two weeks, but it is SOOOOO good to be home. I am definitely a home body. And a bit of an introvert – and I introvert best at home.

Anyways, to my October THM recap:

The month of October went by very quickly. I was worried it would drag on because I was trying something new and difficult, so that was a happy surprise. I was also surprised to find that I actually enjoyed the healthier lifestyle. I felt so good the entire month. I had energy (even though I am sleep deprived), I was in a better mood, and I didn’t struggle with feeling bloated or crampy.

I would say I had approximately 3 cheat days in total all month…which I am counting a win! It was hard to stay on plan away from home. In Katie’s house she follows the THM lifesytle so that wasn’t a big challenge, but at my in-laws I found I felt out of place without my different ingredients. I could have packed them but that also felt kind of overwhelming. I decided to give myself grace and just eat what everyone else was eating (and don’t get me wrong – my mother-in-law’s kitchen was filled with delicious foods, so it wasn’t hard to convince me to go off plan).

What I wasn’t expecting was how truly horrible I felt when I went off plan. My body felt like it was rebelling against my food choices. That surprised me, but it also made me wonder: is that how I always felt and I had just become used to it? Yuck! If nothing else that realization has given me a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to THM. Even if I don’t see a change in my body…I feel one. That’s a good enough reason for me to continue.

So in November I am continuing my THM journey…just delaying my start date to tomorrow (my first full day back home). I am very much looking forward to being on plan again and having my body re-detox (is that a word?) so that I can start to feel healthy again. I am going to continue trying for no cheats – people say that it takes a good 6 months of no cheats to really detox and feel 100% (so that’s my BIG goal). I also want to incorporate some exercise into my weekly routine – a couple of times a week. I am still not sure what that is going to look like. If you have any ideas for some exercises that can be done at home (with a husband that is gone early morning and comes home around supper/bed time I have a hard time getting out of the house to ‘work out’…I mean I could go in the evening…but I would rather spend time with my hubby). Anyways, pass along any of your exercise ideas! This momma wants to get healthy – AND I would love to be able to play soccer again next Summer. Dreaming big here;).

Have a healthy November!

 

Lifestyle

Confessions of a SAHM

by Kara

Hey, all!

Lately, my blog posts have been few and far between. So I thought I’d do a little bit of a ‘life update’.

I was originally introduced to you as a “Farmer’s Wife”. That is no longer the case. Although I still live in a big, beautiful, somewhat drafty farm house, my husband got a job in landscaping. This has been a big change for us. He is no longer home for coffee and lunch, but he is home on Saturdays. In addition to not having my husband home during the week, I also do not have a car available to me anymore.

I love being a stay at home mom. I have a hard time being a stuck at home mom.

I am taking a long journey to learn how to be productive when nothing I do seems to make a difference. I clean constantly, but at the end of the day, my house never seems clean. I can spend all day in the kitchen, but the dishes are never done and the meals are never cooked. I can have the laundry machine going from morning until night, but the laundry hampers are always full. Which begs the question – how did it seem easier to get stuff done around the house when I spent more time away from the house?

Its so easy to get bogged down by the repetitive nature of cleaning and cooking and laundry-doing. I have spent the better part of my time as a ‘stuck at home mom’ being discouraged, annoyed, and anxious to get out of the house. Zoe regularly crawls into her car seat. She has the same ‘get up and go’ gene that I have.

I love that ‘get up and go’ gene. It’s the gene that makes me want to be a stay at home mom, and eventually a homeschooling mom. It’s the gene that makes me want to take my kids and teach them how to handle different situations – visiting and grocery shopping and crowded sidewalks. Its tied to that ‘home-body’ gene. The gene that makes me love to spend most of my days cooking and cleaning and doing laundry. Most, but not all.

People ask me if I’m bored at home. I’m not bored. There is a never-ending train of household chores. If anything, I’m overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed by how fast the days go by. Night comes, and I suddenly realize I didn’t actually play with Zoe at all, or that I never sat down with a cup of tea and a good book, or that I forgot to write a blog post.

So here’s what I’m doing: I’m taking baby steps. I’m making a conscious effort to work out while Zoe naps. I’m focusing on drinking enough water in a day, maybe including a cup of tea. I’m trying to find a time when I can sit and do personal devotions. I’m currently looking for some kind of ‘day planner’ so that I can sort out all the jobs that need to get done around the house.

And I’m slowly learning that sometimes it’s okay to let the laundry stay in the hamper for an extra day.

Lifestyle

October Favourites!

By Katie


20171001_155401

 

I can’t believe its the end of October. Today, its windy and chilly and we have the fire place blazing.  I love this season!!

DSC_7611 edit

 

October has been a whirl wind.  Here are some of my highlights:

  1. Vicki – She is such a blessing from God.  I can’t thank God (or her) enough for the help and support she gives me. She came down for a few days to help me get ready for the inevitable arrival of the twins.  She cooked up meals, feeding us while she was here and stocking up my freezer for when the twins come.  She took me shopping (a task I hate and dread) to make sure the twins have something to wear when they come.  She talked me through my fears, and my excitements.  And, maybe best of all, we got pedicures.
  2. Bunk Beds – Atticus and Vivien are sharing a room now.  We got them a beautiful20171023_193714 wooden bunk bed that they both love.  Vivien’s favourite part was that she now has a pillow, which leads me to believe that we were a little late on getting her one…..
  3. The things my kids say – Atticus has been telling me that I’m “a great mom!  Thank you for being a great mom, mom!”  to which Vivien replies, “nope, you a bad mom.  Bad mom!”   So, I know who my favourite kid is right now….
  4. The weather – We have had an exceptionally warm and beautiful fall.  The kids (and I) have had so much fun outside!
20171022_164603
Here he is, expounding on my virtues as a mother 😀 
20171022_164630
My Cheeky Little Monkey

So that’s my quick fall recap.   I am not feeling especially wordy today.   Which is probably lucky for you.

20171012_143228

(I did post a recap of Mindset last week, but never linked to it – Check it out:  https://threeteasandacoffee.ca/2017/10/27/grow-your-mindset/)

DSC_7593