September 2011



It is the tiny things, often, that make the difference. The please, the smile, the catching of an eye in a busy room. It takes little for me to reach out and place a hand on a shoulder, to look into the eyes of the child speaking, to whisper an I love you. The difference a small kindness makes, though … I think I can feel it. The air changes, lightens. The atmosphere changes, lifts.

A kindness, caught and observed, is beautiful. To watch a kindness in action, love acted out in a small way, is like watching Jesus. The photographs of such Jesus moments are preserved in my heart’s album. Precious.

It is the tiny things, often, that make the difference. The harsh word, the forgotten promise, the brushing away. I am sorry, I want to say to the world. To my family. I am sorry for the mountain of tiny unkindnesses that are piled around my feet. For the selfishness, the insecurity, the thoughtlessness.

Our Year of Kindness, today, will be about the tiny things. The small acts, the words, the touches. Being polite, being considerate. Thinking of the other before the self. The little bits of love that are passed on in only seconds. The small connections forged by the simplest bond. The bond of kindness.

My heart will be taking pictures.

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The draw for the book Stained Glass Hearts by Patsy Clairmont went to Karisa. Karisa wrote, I’m always ready to read a new book, and this one sounds like a contemplative selection for those quiet winter evenings. I don’t know if I can pinpoint one favorite for myself…I have too many to pare it down! One book I just finished and would recommend is a fiction book called Composing Amelia by Alison Strobel. It deals with mental health issues, and how do we know if we are following God’s “Plan” for our lives. Sounds like a great book, Karisa.

Thanks to all who participated, and for your comments. Giving stuff away is fun! I’ll do it again soon.

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Stained Glass Hearts by Patsy Clairmont

While her familiar, folksy style is evident in this little book, Clairmont acknowledges that in this offering she is “revealing the solemn side of a heart etched in by loss”. Using a stained glass perspective, Clairmont acknowledges that all people have glass hearts, easily shattered, but with the potential to be restored to beauty through Jesus’ love and grace.

Especially lovely is The Art Gallery section at the end of each chapter. Here, Clairmont suggests poetry, music, or artwork that might inspire the reader to further explore the chapter topic. For example, in the chapter titled Reflections on Our Heart Condition, she suggests the reader Google the Norman Rockwell painting, Girl at Mirror, or possibly read the book Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire. I came away from Stained Glass Hearts with a long list of things to explore.

Stained Glass Hearts is a sweet book. It gently probes the hurts and heartaches that can cause a heart to shatter and, like a friend giving a hug, offers warm comfort. I recommend this book to anyone who is longing for restorative beauty in her life.

*** I was provided this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion through the BookSneeze  blogger review program.

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A Gift for You

I am thankful for all of the wonderful people who read my blog and would love to gift one of you with this book. Simply leave a comment on this post, perhaps sharing the name of one of your favourite books. (Go ahead, even if you have never commented before!) I’ll draw for a winner on Sunday, September 18th.

We spent some time in Saskatoon recently, visiting friends and having adventures. While we were there, we did a couple of geocaches. Very fun.

Our friend Dave is the guy to geocache with. He’s got the stuff, he’s spent time on the website, and he’s done enough of them to know what it’s all about. Which is a good thing because I don’t think I could find my way across the street with a GPS. Or out of a wet paper bag. Or my head, if I’d lost it. Or …

The first geocache we tried was a night site. The boys loved it. Using the coordinates provided by the website, you get yourself to a certain spot. In our case it was in a park. From that spot, you shine a flashlight around the area until you catch a reflector (maybe in a tree or on a fence post) and then you move to that location. Continue shining and moving until you find the last reflector, which is likely a different colour. Then, using a clue given on the website, you find the cache. Inside will be a log book where you record your name and when you found it. Then tuck it back into it’s hiding place for the next geocachers to find.

We found another cache the next day while we were exploring the Crooked Bush. Check it out here!

I don’t think we’ll become serious geocachers, but it was a lot of fun to do it with friends. A game of hide and seek that the whole family can enjoy!

The story of one day in the life of my kitchen table, as told in photographs.

Thank you, humble kitchen table, for your service to my family.

A year, in my opinion, is divided into two seasons. Barefoot  season and sock season. This morning I put on my socks. Rather, I rooted around in my forgotten sock drawer until I found two socks that somewhat matched and then reluctantly pulled them onto feet that haven’t been in sock prison for months. Because this week, fall arrived here in southern Saskatchewan. Brrr.

Goodbye sandals. Goodbye toe freedom. Goodbye kicking off shoes to feel the grass or sand or whatever under my feet.

Winter is coming. Wearing socks is just the beginning. Soon it will be parkas and mittens and toques and snow and ice …

Oh my.

Winter is coming.

I am thankful, in my life’s winter challenges, to have a belief in a faithful God who is able to take what is hard and out of it offer blessings. Cups overflowing, even. Rich, glorious, bountiful blessings of relationship and learning and quiet times and, even, hardship and struggles. Because there are blessings even in the challenges. Just ask Esther or David or Mary or Paul. Not perfect people. But faithful people. Blessed people. Used by Him people.

So I reach down past my desire to grumble and complain and anticipate with dread the coming winter. I push that away and I put in its place anticipation of … hot chocolate and muffins baking and cozy blankets and books and study and snowshoes and soft flannel sheets on my bed and thanksgiving and christmas and family and friends. And I anticipate that there will be times when it will be tough, but I know that all of it, sweet and not so sweet, will be bathed in grace. He promises me that.

Faithful during the sock seasons of my life. Ah, this is my prayer on this chilly, fall morning.

September. A new school year. I think that for as long as I live I will associate this time of the year with beginning school. There is something about the leaves changing colour and falling, the crispness in the air … It’s like that new car smell. It just feels … new. It feels like we should be starting something. Making plans for something epic, adventurous, challenging. Other than just the math and such.

Thus, this year we decided to have a theme. Well, I decided we should have a theme. And so, this year is going to be The Year of Kindness. I have a few ideas. Things like: sharing kind words, doing kind things, stealthy kindness. (If you have any ideas, please share!) I’ll let you know how it goes.

Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if we could all just be nicer.

The Year of Kindness. I’m loving it already, and I haven’t even been kind to anyone yet.

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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32

Love is patient, love is kind.

1 Corinthians 13:4

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, , but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

1 Thessalonians 5:15

I am one of those rare people who likes Mondays. I like the new start, the fresh beginning, the notion of a week ahead and the potential it holds. The possibilities.

I am also a homeschooling mom. I have three boys who, sad to say, do not really love Mondays. At least not like I love them. So, one of my goals for the upcoming school year is to bring joy to Monday. To make the transition from the weekend to the week a little easier on everyone. I’m starting with a clean kitchen.

I have a friend who insists that she loves to clean. Now, I’m not going to say she’s lying, but … really? You LOVE to clean? I enjoy her philosophy. It’s simple, she says. The tasks are basic and the payoff is wonderful. There’s no life or death or drama involved in cleaning. (I know she means what she says, and I’ve been blessed by her clean home many times!)

I do like this approach. I’ve tried to adopt this. But, I still haven’t developed a passion for cleaning. I am, however, a big fan of clean. As in, uncluttered, useable, inspirational, hygienic space. It’s a challenge, I’ll admit. My kids are home all day, every day. And, if you know me at all you know that organization is not one of my natural strengths. But God promises to use me in my weakness. So I’m working on it. And one of the ways I’m doing that is with my clean kitchen strategy.

My goal is simple. To start Monday mornings with a clean, ready-to-go kitchen. Throw in a good breakfast, a little prayer, and a happy mom, and I think we will be off to a good start.

Blessings on your Monday. Blessings on your week.

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Sharing blessings today with this community:

69. Monday morning, full of promise

70. crisp, fall-feeling breeze

71. smell of pancakes cooking

72. morning hugs

73. a new book, waiting for me

74. a brand new, sharp pencil

75. a clean kitchen

76. kittens calling for breakfast from the deck

77. sleepy, morning-fresh boys

78. thank you’s voiced after breakfast

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