Small Bathroom Solution & Quick Gourmet Perogies

I hope you find these two ideas inspirational!


For The Home…

You probably have a zone in your house where you could use a little extra storage. While we love our house, the older style did not leave much closet space at all. Our linen closet doubles as our front closet, and we seem to have hooks hanging all over. Storage space for towels is always an issue. I have tried buying nice baskets to put things into for attractive space-saving, but in our bathroom there isn’t even a corner to nicely place a basket. So what do you do? I saw this idea here and we tried it out at our house!

If you looked at the original idea they used three baskets. I wasn’t able to find three that worked well so we opted for two instead. My husband screwed the baskets into the wall and used large washers to make sure they were extra strong. The problem with baskets is that have little holes in them from being weaved, so you definitely need reinforcement!

This is the finished product. We took out the large mirror in our bathroom and replaced it with a smaller mirror that my in-laws had left over from their bathroom renovation. The mirror has storage behind it, and that freed up some space on the wall for the baskets to be hung. Here is another shot of the baskets straight on. The lighting isn’t the best in the bathroom unfortunately.

Hopefully this picture can reveal how small our bathroom is. It’s totally workable, but you definitely have to be smart with the space you have.

In The Kitchen…

We love perogies. I have never made them homemade, but I would love to try sometime. Here is a quick way to liven up your same old perogies. We found a similar recipe for the barbeque here, and have been making it for a few years. Last night I adapted it a bit and baked them in the oven. They were delicious! A must try if you enjoy perogies.

For 12 perogies:

3 tbsp. butter or margarine

2 tbsp. finely chopped white onion

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine all of these ingredient together and place in a single layer baking sheet or pan.

They should look something like this. Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes, turning over half way through cooking. These perogies will be crispy and divine! Serve with sour cream.

Last night I made these with baked chicken breast cubes and steamed carrots. We’ve had them with farmer sausage, steak, chicken, and salmon. This is an extremely versatile side dish!

What are you going to try on this Tuesday? Have fun with whatever project you tackle!


Your Son’s Life Long Battle

*disclaimer* This post is not to be a one-sided take on the enemies attack on your son. It is merely my perspective now that I have a son. Perhaps when I have a daughter I’ll write about the other side.

While going through the check out at Wal-Mart the other day I heard my husband diverting Caleb’s attention to the pop and juice, pointing out each kind and the various prices. I looked over at them and saw Caleb trying to look the other way. Andrew put his hand in front of Caleb’s eyes. Caleb was naturally being drawn to the side of the check out full of brightly coloured magazines and large interesting symbols that just draw a baby to look.

Unfortunately there are other images on that side of the check stand too. Photos of half (or in some cases maybe a quarter or less) dressed women fill almost every cover. The ones that don’t contain inappropriate dress are littered with scandalous headlines, and offer information that even an adult doesn’t need to be aware of .

I honestly wonder how stores can get away with putting so much sexual content in a place where children of all ages will see it. But that is a whole other issue I may one day write about.

Standing in line I choked back tears thinking of the life long battle my son has in front of him. I wished so strongly that I could protect him from all these traps the enemy sets up for men. Every promiscuous billboard, television ad, or website. From every woman who didn’t truly treasure his heart.

My anger towards this is not new. The incident just showed me this issue in a whole new light. Before it angered me because of insecurities it brought up in myself, of fear that it put in me regarding my marriage and the temptation that is laying everywhere for guys. This time however, this brought up feelings of protection for my son. His innocent face is so sweet and so pure. His eyes seem so untainted by the evil in the world. Oh if it could only stay so.

Dad’s often will make over protective statements about their daughters because they “know how men think”, and view their daughters as their princesses. I think on the flip side moms can do the same thing with their sons, because we know how girls can be emotionally manipulating at times or use their bodies to their advantage.

The truth is, that neither gender is the cause of the issue. Men are attacked with lust, and girls are attacked through insecurity. It can be a vicious cycle. The man struggles with lust, the woman becomes insecure, and problems begin to spiral. Placing the blame squarely on who it belongs can help us take ownership of our own actions. When we recognize that Satan roams around like a roaring lion seeking who he desires, we know that it is our responsibility to set up safe guards for ourselves and actively resist his schemes.

I have observed that in some cases parents don’t want to acknowledge struggles that their child will face, because they don’t want  to believe that their child is a bad person. When we realize that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, we can see ourselves as a resource the Lord will use to hone character and integrity in our children.

I was so proud of my husband that day for desiring to pass on godly principles to Caleb. I pray that by Andrew (and myself) teaching him to avert his eyes, avoid every kind of evil, and to abstain from sexual immorality, Caleb will have a head start in life battling the tactics of the enemy.

As parents, we don’t want to be naive to the battle facing our kids. If we teach them that life with Jesus is simply Happy All The Time and miss the part that we need to resist the devil for him to flee, they will be overwhelmed with the temptation of the world. Because let’s be honest, if it wasn’t disguised as something good, it wouldn’t be so tempting.

We’re of course brand new parents, and are in no way experts on raising a boy. I am thankful, however, for God speaking to us about this so soon. As my husband told me, if Caleb always grows up being helped to discipline himself, his struggle will hopefully be a lot less.

As mothers, we can pray for our sons as well as pray for and encourage our husbands to be bold enough to share about these awkward topics. As we expose darkness to light, the power of the enemy is broken in our homes.

Along with prayer and being open, I believe that God will ask us to stand up against the norm. I was very encouraged to hear of one mom speaking to the manager of a store about the issue of having these nearly pornographic magazines at the front of stores. The manager finally (after her repeatedly talking to him), had the worst ones moved to a different section. At least it was a start. I am praying about the kind of action the Lord would have me take.

My husband and his family prayed daily for his future wife, and he always had in his heart the knowledge of me one day. I hope that as we raise Caleb, he will long for and desire to remain faithful to his wife long before he ever meets her. As the “future wife” who was being prayed for, that sure means a whole lot to me!

As you love your kids today, may this Motherhood Monday be filled with memories that you can treasure in your heart for many years to come!


High Five for Friday

Yay it’s Friday again! I know this post is a little late, but I had some wonderful first time moms over this morning so blogging was put on the back burner!

Here goes my top five! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk if you want to join in or check out other high fives!

1. My husband made my button for my website! He’s awesome, and I have appreciated his help immensely! If you have a blog, feel free to grab the code for my button off and put it on your site! Here’s the picture of it, but the code is on the side of the page.


2. I made cookie s’mores! Oh my goodness, they are delicious! Really sweet, so you probably want tea, coffee or milk with them, but so much fun! You can find the recipe here. I used Hershey’s Kisses cut in half since I didn’t have the chocolate squares.


3. My baby is really starting to feel his emotions and is coming to me if he’s sad or needs a hug or wants to give me a kiss. Honestly, it’s one of the most amazing feelings ever (if you’re a mom, you know)! His kisses are so wet and slobbery, but I just treasure every single one! Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of him kissing me, but in this one I had just kissed him with the giraffe so he was giving her a kiss back! Adorable!

4. I am really enjoying reading “The Mommy Manual” and hearing the heart of Barbara Curtis. She is mom to twelve kids, three with down syndrome (two of them adopted). If you’re a young mom you need to read this! I enjoy every little moment I snatch up with this book.

5. This past week we started taking the Married For Life course at our church. We’ll be doing it on each Sunday night for twelve weeks. I am so excited to be a part of it, and I’m extra excited because it was my husband that encouraged me that we should go. Why would that make me more excited? Because it affirms that he cares about our marriage and loves me. So that makes me feel great 🙂


And don’t forget if you want to be a part of the Hearts for the Hurting fundraiser email

If you still aren’t sure, check out the website for the organization I’m fundraising for
I know your heart will be touched!


Have a fabulous Friday and a very wonderful weekend!


Happy All The Time?

Today I wanted to write about something that has been on my heart lately. Random perhaps, but I’d love some feedback on my thoughts.

The last little while we’ve had the same children’s CD playing in our car, and when Caleb and I drive places I usually sing with it to him, and he starts talking or singing back. I love it. I love music and I love that he is planting words of life in his heart from such an early age.

There is however one song that drives me crazy on this CD! I do not mean any disrespect to the person who wrote it, but I feel like it is sending such a damaging message to kids as they grow up.

The main words of the song is “I’m happy all the time, with Jesus in my life, I’m happy all the time”. Cute song? Yes, it’s lovely to spread happiness and an upbeat message. But is it true?

Over and over again in the bible it talks about people’s hearts being broken. Jesus would see someone who was hurting and he’d weep with compassion. Jesus also experienced anger towards people who were not honouring his father, leading him to flip over tables and drive merchants out of the temple!

Psalms is filled with the heart cries of a man who goes through many victories, defeats, triumphs and struggles. He cries out to God desiring his help. There are times when David did not seem “happy”. Life gets very challenging.

Right now, my heart is heavy with some issues in the world. My heart is heavy for friends who are facing personal challenges, my heart is heavy for ministries that I long to see succeed, my heart is heavy with the burden of children being enslaved in our modern-day world.

So if we aren’t automatically happy all the times as Christians, then what is difference about us? Even in all of these trials we have something called hope. Let’s look at this incredibly moving passage of scripture.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5)

Choosing to rejoice when trials come our way is a much healthier message to teach our children (and new Christians) then telling them we will just be happy all the time because of Jesus. We can choose joy because we have a hope that will not disappoint us.

Even in my heaviness of heart at times, I do not have to live under sadness. Instead I know that I have hope, I can believe for people’s circumstances to be changed, I can pray for God’s provision, I can see miracles happen, and I can be obedient to walk in what he asks me to do in helping the people he has laid on my heart.

Throughout my few years of youth ministry, I have sat down with so many teens who are fighting against the demon of depression. They grew up in a Christian home and were taught these cliche Sunday School messages of constant happiness with Jesus. They then start to feel the pressures of life and they don’t know how to handle it. They turn towards things likes friends, drugs, sex, partying, cutting and alcohol because in their mind Jesus has failed to bring them “eternal happiness”.

I feel our Christian culture today has started to become very aware of needing to prepare couples for marriage and for the realities of marriage because of the divorce rate. We are becoming very good at equipping new couples with resources to fight the enemy who wants to destroy their relationship. We need to transfer this concept over to our kids. In general, I think we have done a disservice to young people when we don’t prepare them for reality and don’t give them tools to fight the enemy who is battling for their very soul.

Some tools that are powerful are found in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 – 22

  • Honour the leadership God has placed in your life
  • Strive to live peacefully
  • Be diligent
  • Encourage one another
  • Be patient
  • Don’t pay back evil for evil, but do good
  • Be joyful always
  • Pray without ceasing
  • Be thankful
  • Welcome the Holy Spirit to work in your life
  • Test prophecies, seek discernment
  • Avoid every kind of evil

These are practical things that we need to do in order to live victorious Christian lives. Each point on this list can show that life is not easy. It is not alway simple to live peacefully with one another. I am not always happy to be patient. But the Lord can give you strength to do these things.

When I have realistic expectations on what the life challenges are out there, I won’t be side swiped when I am not constantly feeling happiness.

I hope that as we better equip kids for the challenges life will bring, and help them build solid foundations, we will see fewer lives being lost to the power of deception and discouragement.

Every life matters to God!



Additional Comments:

If you didn’t read yesterday’s post I encourage you to do so. If you are then moved to be involved I invite you to check out my fundraising campaign Hearts for the Hurting and see how you can get involved in fighting for children who are caught in sex trafficking and modern-day slavery.


Thank you for all your love and support!


Make Way Partners – Working Against Child Slavery

This post might be disturbing to you depending on what you know about child slavery and sex trafficking already. I heard about this organization, Make Way Partners, on Focus on the Family, and I’m going to be honest I was so wrecked by the founder’s story, we are still processing what life looks like after hearing such information.

I ask you to please open your heart to what God might be saying about this. I’m going to keep this concise, there are lots of additional information out on the web about this topic to inform yourself. The question is, what do we do?

Kimberly Smith and her husband and kids followed the Lord’s call to work in Spain as missionaries. When they were over there they stumbled upon, not looking for anything like this, a brothel that was home to many children between the ages of 5 and 15. These children had been kidnapped from their homes and brought over to work as sex slaves. They had been terrible physically, sexually and emotionally abused.

It took the Smith’s two years to get this brothel closed down. The man running it went to jail for a short time and then was let out. The children were shipped back to the shanty towns they were kidnapped from, only to be filtered through the system again.

At this point in hearing Kimberley’s story my heart was absolutely shattered. How could you continue to hope when the children you just spent two years of your life tried to rescue seemed to just be cast away when they needed love, care and support.

The Smith’s didn’t give up and went to the Sudan to start working in the towns where a lot of the kidnapping was originating from. Sudan has suffered Christian persecution, modern-day slavery and genocide by an invading radical Islamic regime consistently for the last decades, since Britain withdrew in 1956. This has resulted in Sudan holding one of the highest per capita rates for human trafficking in the world and the Republic of Southern Sudan ranking as one of the poorest nations in the world. Women and children are the most vulnerable, with orphans being the primary target of slave raiders.

Make Way Partners also works in Romania.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain former Eastern bloc countries, like Romania, have become major source countries for trafficking of women and children. Estimates as high as two-thirds of women trafficked for prostitution worldwide annually come from Eastern Europe. Today Romania ranks as one of the worst countries in the European Union for human trafficking.

Romanian’s are considered among the world’s most trafficked people. After Romania’s inclusion into the European Union (or EU in 2007), it was noted that EU membership did not solve the root causes of human trafficking and in some ways may have made them worse because of the new freedom of travelling from Romania across international borders were the demand for prostitution and slavery is high. Today Romania ranks as one of the worst countries in the European Union for human trafficking. The EU membership has also increased Romania’s position as a transit country for its non-EU neighbors (example, Moldova) where trafficking is also a devastating problem.

One of the things Kimberly challenged listeners to do when I heard her interview was “to let our hearts break for these children as though they were our very own kids being trafficked”.

I’m going to be honest, I haven’t allowed that to happen yet as emotional protection. I have cried about this everyday since hearing about their ministry. I feel like I am starting to allow God to break my heart, however I’m still sorting through what my response would be. There is no point in me simply weeping over them, since there is nothing that comes from that, but I must force my tears to action.

Whether it is strong prayer support, finances, spreading the word and personally going over to help their work, there are a lot of opportunities to help.

I have been so challenged to the core of who I am – what am I sacrificing for someone else? What am I refusing myself so that I can bring Christ’s love to someone else?

Here is a statement from their website regarding what they are doing in these countries:

In Romania our indigenous leadership cares for 12-20 girls at any one time who were trafficked into prostitution between the ages of 10 and 30. Each girl or young woman has been rescued from the brutality of forced prostitution, rapes and beatings.

Through House of Treasure, we offer a holistic healing approach that includes discipleship, counseling, medical care, job training, money management, and parenting skills for the young women who have borne children through their trafficking. We help them to rediscover who it is God dreamed of when He first formed them and give them the life skills to re-enter the world as the bright light that God intended them to be.

 In Sudan Make Way Partners primary mission is to protect the orphans through Christ-centered orphanages, schools and other necessary infrastructures.  Through partnerships we participate in the building of long-term indigenous discipleship and relief ministries which provide opportunities for hope and healing. 

I really encourage you to listen to her broadcast on Focus on the Family. I will be sharing the broadcast on my Facebook Page.

Many of us are involved in helping with many different ministries and give our time, love and money to things that God has put on our hearts. Not everyone is called to go overseas to help with something like this. I guess what my challenge would be, only because this is where I am at, and I’m sure someone else has to be in the same place: Allow God to break your heart for them. Don’t put up walls just because you can’t handle knowing that this goes on.

If your child was captured and used as a sex slave, I know you would go to the ends of the earth to find, rescue and love them. If it was my child, I would be daily begging every person to get involved and come help me.

These might not be your children, but they are someones child. These are God’s kids. Maybe he’s asking you to join the search party?

Thankfully there is hope for these children thanks to amazing people giving up their lives to help and serve others.

No matter what your calling in life is, or what group of people you have a heart to minister to, I pray that we would not become so consumed in our own lives that we do not sacrifice to see someone else rescued from darkness.




Finger Painting!

Last week Caleb and I did a fun little project together that I would love to share with you all! I was on Pinterest and saw this recipe for Edible Finger Paint. The original recipe is here and the blog I saw it on is here.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had with this! I think Caleb enjoyed it, but not anywhere near as much as me. Seeing him explore something new and then having something cute to show for it afterwards is absolutely priceless. We are wanting to do this activity with daddy this weekend.

So here’s what you need:

2 cups white flour
2 cups cold water
food coloring

I made half of this recipe and still had way more than enough for a little guy of Caleb’s size. If you had toddlers or multiple children I’m sure you would use the full recipe.

Put the water in the bowl first and then slowly add the flour. I then took three little containers and put some of the flour/water in each then did three different colours for him.

I put some clothes on him that I didn’t care if he got dirty in, placed him in his high chair and let him go to town exploring! He didn’t totally get the hang of it at first, but I plopped some plaint on the paper and spread it around with his little finger. That excited him and he went full force painting after that!

He did of course try to eat it (he’s eight months old, what doesn’t go in his mouth)! That’s the nice thing about this activity though, it’s edible! I obviously didn’t let him consume a lot of it, but if it touched his lips or tongue, I chose not to freak out and just enjoyed watching him discover. I’m so glad I did, because it was a fun, relaxed and a memorable time with my babe!

Here is the final product (sorry for the picture quality). I am going to frame these really soon, and hopefully one day have all of my kids first paintings framed and hanging on our “wall of fame”!

I was thinking about the personal lesson that this time with Caleb gave me, and it all came down to anxiety and worry. As a mom, I struggle with over protecting my boy sometimes since he still seems so little to me. I was at a mom’s group a few months ago and they were talking about if you were a “yes” mom or a “no” mom. At the time I didn’t think it applied to me, and I thought it would be a long time before I had to figure out if I was going to be an adventurous mom that would let her kids try new things, or if I was going to pass on my desire for clean over fun, or of being over-cautious instead of daring. God showed me that if I wanted to be a mom that empowered her kids to go out and pursue their dreams and their destiny in the Lord, I needed to start with the little things: encouraging them to explore and discover and try not to hold them back unless there was a really good reason to say no.

Jesus might call Caleb to do something daring and potentially risky for him. I want him to be equipped with tools of courage, perseverance and trust by the time he leaves our home.

Proverbs 12:25 says “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”

I don’t want to be weighed down with worry. I am overwhelmed at how fast my own childhood went, and I hope to not waste a day of my children’s, being held down by the enemy. Being prone to worry, I have to ask my husband to hold me accountable, specifically with Caleb. He has become my encourager, and brings some perspective and balance to my own self.

I hope you enjoyed seeing our little activity. Do you have any suggestions for an activity I could do with Caleb? This was so much fun, but it’s hard to find ideas for babies under one. Send me your thoughts and I might do a “Try It Out Tuesday” based on your idea (and I’ll mention you of course)!

Have an incredibly blessed day and enjoy the opportunity you have to love and lift up those around you!


Baby Blues

These are strictly the opinions of a mom who has battled the baby blues herself, and not the opinion of a mental health professional or a medical doctor. If you suspect you are suffering from post partum depression, I strongly encourage you to seek extra support. 

This is a post I have been waiting to write for a while, but haven’t felt that it was time, until this past week. I wanted to share my story with you in order that hopefully my transparency with you will lead to peace and freedom in your own heart. There is a major difference between dealing with an extended bout of “the baby blues” and having post partum depression. I do not want to confuse the two things, since post partum depression can be very serious, needing extra care and attention. This post is simply to bring encouragement to those who are feeling as though their new little person has shaken up their worlds, and share how I made the transition from discouragement to joy.

I will be trying to share as honestly as possible, so if childbirth, emotions and other post baby discussion make you uncomfortable, this post is probably not for you!

During my pregnancy I had a rough time battling sickness and pain. It was a challenging time, but I knew at the end of it all I would meet my little guy and it would all be worth it. Many friends and family members confirmed this too, thinking I was probably depressed and losing sight of the end product. I felt very confident that I knew it would all be worth it and it helped me push forward day after day.

After giving birth to my sweet little man I went into a little bit of shock. I had no idea my body would feel so terrible after delivering. Lying on the bed after Caleb was born I didn’t realize just how out of sorts my body was. Then I stood up. I felt blood rush out of my body, and I could hardly stand. I thought I was dying of a post baby hemorrhage. I called my nurse over and ask her, bewildered, if this was normal. She assured me it was and that it might be like this for days to weeks depending on my body. I remember thinking, “wow that is really intense, I thought this was all over now.”

The first two nights with Caleb were awful. He screamed the entire night. And there was this beeping. It went on and on for hours and hours. We heard the nurses running around trying to figure out what the problem was, but it just got louder and louder. As it got louder all the babies in the ward started to scream louder. I looked at Andrew and said through a boatload of tears “what have we done to ourselves?”

You see there was a terrible battle going on inside me. I was so completely overwhelmed by his screaming, the blood rushing out of my body, my exhaustion, my aching, that beeping and everything else, I couldn’t even think straight. I suddenly was flooded with thoughts that I wasn’t equipped for motherhood, that I was somehow taking on way more than I could handle and that my poor son would have a terrible life.

My son. That was the flip side. He was the most beautiful little baby I had ever laid eyes on. He had the most perfect little nose, and when I did see his eyes flutter open they were so dark and lovely. I had never felt such love swarm through my body. He was my baby. I would lay down my life to take care of him.

With these contrasting feelings violently at war within me, it’s an understatement to say I was an emotional mess. We left the hospital with fear, trepidation and excitement. We were starting out as a family of three. There was no string to pull in the middle of the night to call for help. We would have to figure this out.

Coming home was a wonderful thing. With the silence of our house and the peace of his bedroom he slept a miraculous amount his first night at home. It was an answer to prayer.

I had a week when my husband was at home and it was really wonderful. I felt almost high with joy, besides the pain of learning how to breastfeed and recovering from birth.

Then the first Monday came. I was home alone. We had a really good day, things went pretty well, I slept when Caleb slept and we made it through. But somewhere around week three I started to realize I didn’t know who I was anymore. Coming from a leadership school where I had been trained up with many tools for leading ministries, sensing the call of God on my life combined with my individual dreams and visions, I felt like everything I was called to do was falling to the ground. I watched as my dreams shattered like glass all around me. Everything I thought of or imagined doing one day suddenly did not fit into the new title of “mom”. My whole life was suddenly called into question. Why was I on earth? Was my whole purpose simply to feed, change and calm a baby?

I went on like this for a couple of weeks until I finally broke down weeping one night. I told God I couldn’t go on like this. I needed to know my life still had value. I needed to know that he still wanted to use me; he wasn’t finished with me because I was a mom now.

God in his goodness and grace knows exactly what we need. That night he met me in one of the most special ways. He didn’t reveal to me what my future was going to hold, nor did he show me all these things I would do separate from my family. Instead he revealed to me the most incredible picture of how he wanted to use me as a mom.

“Monica, I want to you to keep your eyes open during the day. I am going to show you things about myself that you would never have known if I hadn’t given you Caleb.”

He told me that each day he was going to give me new strength, mercy and joy to face the challenges. He told me he was going to give me a heart for babies, children, moms, marriages and all of these trials were going to strengthen me.

But best of all, he gave me hope that I would make it through this challenging time. He gave me practical tools that night of how I would feel like I was still giving back to the world. That was the same night he told me to start a blog where I could share with other people the things he was revealing to me and offer them encouragement.

He spoke verses over me like Lamentations 3:22-24. He came to me and rescued me from my pit of despair.

After that night I was able to starting enjoying my days and was free to fall head over heels in love with Caleb. Soon after that Caleb hit two months and started smiling. Life started to get exciting.

As the months have gone on I have moved from that place of discouragement to a place of joy and excitement every single day when I walk into that little guy’s room. New adventure seem to await Caleb and I at every turn and he surprises me daily with the new things he is learning. I cannot imagine my life without him. I cannot fathom my heart lacking in the love and joy that he brings to my life.

I have talked with many moms over the last eight months and I have found out I was not alone in battling the baby blues in the first few weeks of mommyhood. In fact, it is extremely common. But here is the problem: when we don’t talk about it, the enemy lies to us and make us think that we are the only one struggling. That is when we believe all sorts of secondary lies about who we are as a person, a wife, a mom and a child of God. When we expose our darkness to light, hope can flood our heart again.

If you live in the Regina area and are a new mom with a baby under one year of age, I invite you to contact me about attending my First Year Mom small group. If you do not live in this area but want some help getting connected with a support system where you live, send me an email and I would love to help you get plugged in to a loving church close to you.


I pray that you would take the time to ask God to reveal to you his purpose for your life. Ask him what kind of mom he wants you to be, and then ask for his heart. Ask him what kind of wife he wants you to be, and then ask for his strength. Ask him what kind of lover of Jesus he wants you to be, and then ask for anointing. Don’t be discouraged with being discouraged. Having a baby is a huge life change. Even if you can handle the work of it, everything you do in a day is suddenly different. Just don’t stay in that place. As was said in our marriage course last night: life is too short to just get by.

Let’s go from surviving to thriving as Jesus takes control and his joy becomes our strength!


A Little Update

Hey everyone, it’s great to be back blogging! Last Sunday in church God asked me to lay down my blog for the week so I could hear him more clearly. It’s always tough giving up something you enjoy, or helps to clear your mind, but it was totally worth it. God spoke some exciting stuff to me about our family, my personal life and even my blog!

Some of what he’s been speaking tome you’ll hear this week through various posts. One thing I do want to update you on is my tag line or slogan for “my red & purple life” blog. You may have noticed the phrase “divinely joined, uniquely called, eternally inspired.” This has become our family purpose statement in a nutshell. There is more to it than just that, but that is the brief statement we’ve come up with. Basically it means that our family, starting with Andrew and I were divinely joined together by the Lord, and he is adding members to our family as he sees fit. Because of this we are committed to loving and serving each other and remaining faithful to one another first as a couple and then as a family. Our prayer is that our children will also recognize their divine place in our family and embrace their call to love and serve their family.

The second part is that we are uniquely called to relationship with Christ. We recognize that each of us will have different giftings and perhaps will be asked to do different things, while still functioning in the same family. Our personal relationships with Jesus must remain the priority. We desire to see each member of our family thriving in their unique relationship with Christ and walking our their unique call.

The final part is that we are eternally inspired. Since Jesus Christ lives in us, we are compelled by the Great Commission to tell others about his saving grace. Our mandate from the Lord is to share his love with others and rescue as many people as possible from the kingdom of darkness and bring them into the Kingdom of Light.

One other update I want to give you was that in case you didn’t hear, we aren’t selling our house. I still am talking to a lot of people to have not read that we aren’t selling our house anymore, and I just wanted to clarify that. I had blogged a while ago about how God has asked us to move, and in the end we really felt that it had been a test to see if we would be obedient. Sorry to have prolonged that if you were still praying for us that our house would sell.

I look forward to sharing many different things with you this week!


Taking A Week Off

To my subscribers and faithful readers that I truly treasure,

I will be taking a week off from blogging to focus on seeking the Lord in a few areas that need some extra time. I look forward to returning to blogging with new joy and exuberance next week.

If you think of us, you can pray for my husband, son and I as we ask the Lord “to give us complete knowledge of his will and to give us spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Colossians 1:9b).

May this week be filled with answers to this prayer in your own life as well.




Failure to Drive

Failure to DriveIn high school your driver’s licence is one of the most sought after things. The first day of driving training class buzzes with excitement, we are actually getting close to freedom! It seems exciting, until everyone realizes it is still a class. Oh well, it’s worth staying after school, because at the end of it all…we’re going to drive.

I was extremely impatient for my ticket to freedom. My ability to run quickly wherever I wanted or escape my small town and head to the city was intensely desired. I had waited fifteen long, agonizing years, and I was now so close.

I passed all my written driving tests with flying colours. My driver instructor encouraged me that I was doing well. I practiced with any family and friends that would let me. Finally, I turned sixteen.

I can’t remember the exact date of my first road test, but I know it was in January after my birthday.  The day came, and I was extremely confident. I told my sisters that after school we’d go for a drive – all by ourselves. I could taste the freedom. My stomach was nearly exploding from butterflies.

Everyone at school knew that I was going for my road test. The guy who did the tests only came to town once a week, and since I had just turned sixteen, it was pretty obvious, and hard to conceal. Everyone wished me luck as I left school at lunch and my mom drove with me down to SGI. My mom was excited too, looking forward to the prospect of having someone to help her out with the shuffling of kids back and forth to various activities.

I don’t exactly remember what happened that day driving. I know I felt like I was so sick with nerves suddenly that I could hardly see straight. I made a couple little errors, but hoped I was still ok.

Then came parallel parking. I had been extremely confident in my parallel parking, but this time as we pulled outside of the local hotel and restaurant, I could feel everyone watching me.

I parked, and the guy got out and looked. I was about four feet from the curb!

I knew by now that there was probably no rescuing this test. My eyes started to cloud up with tears. He told me to try again, and I did, executing it more crooked and even further away from the curb than before.

I managed to drive back to SGI and park. I was so embarrassed. I had failed. I knew I had failed. Everyone would know that Monica Levey failed her driver’s test.

Everyone at school would laugh at me, my mom would be disappointed, my sisters would be heartbroken and…I had failed a test for the very first time.

I still had to come in and sit in the office and receive the evaluation and find out, yes I indeed did fail. I walked out of the room and saw my mom standing there holding some flowers. It felt like knives went through my heart.

She could tell instantly from the look in my eyes that it didn’t go well and she handed me the flowers and said “these we just to say I’m proud of you no matter what the outcome.” I nodded, swallowed and went and sat in the passenger seat of the van. I couldn’t drive now. I didn’t deserve it.

Going home, I went into my room and cried my eyes out. This failure dove so deep into the core of who I was. I didn’t know how I was going to face my friends and family, especially my friends who never failed. They wouldn’t understand, and I would seem stupid.

I went back to school that afternoon, got through the questions and eventually, within a couple of days got over the whole thing. I had a deeper resolve to work harder. I had failed once, but I wasn’t going to fail again. Or if I did fail, it certainly was not going to be for a lack of working on handling my nerves and mastering my parallel park.

When I graduated and came to take the Master’s Commission Program I learned about a concept called “failing forward”. John Maxwell has this amazing quote from his book called “Failing Forward – Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones For Success”. I hope it opens your eyes, as much as it opens mine.

“…[people] allow failure to get the better of them emotionally, and it stops them from achieving their dreams. Failure can be very painful–sometimes physically and more often emotionally.  Seeing part of your vision fall flat really hurts. And if people heap ridicule on top of your hurt feelings, you feel even worse.  The first important step in weathering failure is learning not to personalize it — making sure you know that your failure does not make you a failure. For many people the pain of failure leads to fear of failure. That’s when many people get stuck in the fear cycle.  And if fear overcomes you, it’s almost impossible to fail forward.”  

This story of me failing my driver’s licence test has become one of the most wonderful lessons for me to look back on. I would not change failing for the world! My determination to not let failure overtake me again, motivated me to work harder, and overcome my fear.

I knew when I was taking the test for the first time that I had allowed a fear of failure to hit me in the vehicle. This situation reflected more upon who I believed I was, and where my worth was found, than it reflected my driving.

Eventually I did get my licence. The next time I was booked to take it there was blizzard so it got cancelled. Finally on March eighth I took to the streets of my hometown again and owned my drivers test.

Oh the sweet taste of victory.

How do you cope with failure in your life? Thanks to this huge life lesson, and the phrase “fail forward” I feel like I’m on a journey of learning from my mistakes.

With the Lord at our side we can overcome all mountains. I leave you with this verse.

 For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. 

Proverbs 24:16


Plugged In Entertainment Reviews

What’s That Wednesday | Plugged In Entertainment Reviews from Focus on the Family

Our world is full of different media influences. From movies to music to video games. How do you navigate through it all? First of all, I want to say that I firmly believe each person needs to ask God what his standard for media in their home. I think before we enter into the minefield of entertainment that can be so corruptive, we need to know what are limit is, what we will set before our eyes, what we will allow into our ears and what messages we will permit to be swirling around in our minds. If you doubt the power of media upon your person, think again. There are many scriptures that prove the Lord does not desire us to be naive in what we partake in.

Psalm 101:3

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Philippians 4:8

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

A great resource that we have found for aiding our media choices is Focus on the Family’s Plugged In Entertainment Reviews! They have all kinds of movie, tv show, music and game reviews on their website. They also have an app for your Iphone or Android.

One thing that I love about their movie reviews is that they break it down into the following categories:

  • Positive Elements
  • Spiritual Element
  • Violence
  • Sexual Content
  • Crude or Profane Language
  • Drug and Alcohol Content
  • Other Negative Content
  • Conclusion
Quite often we’ll skip over all the positive points, and the conclusion to ensure the storyline isn’t given away, but we review all of the other areas to make sure the movie fits within the boundaries that we have set for media consumption in our home.
Another fun feature on their website is “Movie Nights“. They pick their best options for families (they have two sections, one for kids and one for teens) and then provide discussion questions to help your family get the most out of viewing the movie. We’ve looked at the sheets, and it doesn’t make the movie watching time into another class at school, they keep everything fun! Parents can just have the ideas in their mind for after the movie, instead of just reading off a sheet!
Recently we were trying to choose a movie and we watched a trailer for a certain film online. It looked funny, light-hearted and perfect for our at home date night. We turned it on and instantly were overwhelmed with overtly sexual conversation and an unexpected bedroom scene. That movie didn’t stay on longer than about six minutes! Being a little bit shocked at how we had stumbled onto that, we decided to reference Plugged In Reviews to see if they warned about this, since the trailer made it look like a family film! Of course the review would have protected us from that if we had check it out first. That was the last time we would view an unknown movie without checking Plugged In first!
All of these reviews are from a Christian standpoint, and their heart is to protect families and strengthen them. I appreciate the work that Focus on the Family does to “help families thrive”, as their motto is. I look forward to featuring their various ministries more in the future.
Enjoy your next family movie night!