High Five For Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out all the links to other High Five For Friday posts!

1. I got some delicious Chai Tea for Christmas from my mom. I’ve made it a couple of times this week. If you’ve never tried stove top Chai, you are missing out! Each time I have some it’s a little time out from whatever is going on!

2. Caleb has been standing on his knees all week! Everywhere I look he’s getting up on something else. It’s been lots of fun, but a little scary since he’s had a number of tumbles and few goose eggs!

3. I am really enjoying this cookbook! The recipes in here are perfect for Caleb to eat, and for us to have too! If you have a little one transitioning to solids, it’s a great book to check out! I made him some sugar-less carrot muffins this week that he enjoyed, and I felt great about giving him something I made! 

4. My husband and I are attending this conference at our church this weekend. I am excited about it, but the other part I’m excited for is that my darling boy is going to be spending the night at his grandparents so we can go to it. I am looking forward to a full nights sleep (and I’m hoping he doesn’t keep Grandma and Grandpa up too much)!

5. I bought these cute little shoes from Sears Outlet for $9.00, regularly $50.00! They are honestly the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn in a long time. They have a cushy lining that is awesome. Errands was a blast this week cruising the cement floors in these!

Have a fabulous Friday and wonderful weekend!

Honeymoon

After we got married we went on a ten-day honeymoon out to Vancouver Island and Vancouver. It was the best trip of my life. So relaxing, and wonderful. Since my husband and I didn’t live together before we were married, this was also the first trip we had ever taken together. It was the greatest way to end a season of waiting and wedding planning and celebrate the beginning of a new chapter, or really new book in our lives!

On days when I’m really tired or restless, for some reason I find myself dreaming of being on our honeymoon, just walking the pier, looking at the ships and stopping in at little coffee shops or ice cream stores along the way. No agenda, no time restraints, no responsibilities.

Actually a lot of our honeymoon became a hunt for better ice cream! Mmm…so good.

We did go into the big city of Vancouver, but we so regretted leaving the island. It was so peaceful and wonderful there. I think it would have been more fun if we had gone to Vancouver first, but we had already settled into the pace of island, the city was almost culture shock.

I don’t know if you can see in the picture, but we left our shoes and waded across the river at Cathedral Grove outside Nanaimo, BC. The current was way stronger than we thought it was going to be. It was actually kind of freaky, but totally a fun experience. Once we got to the other side ok, we laughed so hard, imaging the challenge it would be to get back over!

We spent a long time being captivated with the immensely tall trees. Andrew was especially taken with them since he had lived in Saskatchewan his whole life. It was a really neat experience because I grew up coming to a lot of these place in Nanaimo and Vancouver because I lived there until I was thirteen. It was fun to share some of these sentimental places with my new husband.

This was the peace and calm that we got used to. The beauty was so hard to leave.

I remember on our way home we talked about how we were about to really start life together. The honeymoon was fun, but it wasn’t forever. We were both going back to work, we’d learn how to live together, pay bills, and run our house.

Life changes very quickly I’ve found. I love the verse in Ecclesiastes 7:10 that says;

Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.

These times that we had at first were exhilarating and new, and nothing could have prepared us for how quickly our world would turn from ourselves to another little person and to increasing responsibility.

I love reminiscing about times we’ve had, I love creating new memories now, and I dreaming of the exciting things we will do in the future.

My expectations have lowered a lot. When we first got married I imagined that we’d go on many trips for weeks at a times, and I hope one day we will, but now I’m thrilled to go away for a few days!

When I catch myself trying to live in the past or longing for “the good old days”, I am trying to thank God for every special time I’ve had, then ask for hope and vision for the future. Perhaps your example could be as simple as mine, just longing for rest and adventure. In these moments I have been asking God for creative ways to do these things where we are now. Each time I end up admitting I wouldn’t trade any piece of my current life for a million honeymoons all over the world!

A Miraculous Provision

You have dreams in your life and there are factors that you believe that will help or hinder your ability to walk these dreams out. The number one fear that I see holding people back from waking out the things that God has placed on their heart is finances. I want to share with you one little testimony that I have (out of many) for where God provided for me. May it be an encouragement to your heart.

I was leading worship out at a bible camp the summer I graduated. The services where incredibly powerful, and the speaker specifically anointed. I had big plans to a attend a bible school that all my friends were going to, and I was really excited to further my education in an area that I was passionate about – serving the Lord.

Although I was wanting to do a good thing, I hadn’t prayed about going to this school, and through that week of leading worship God spoke insanely clear to me that I was to change my plans and go to this discipleship school that the speaker ran at what is now my home church.

I had two parallel feelings. One was pure excitement of the adventure God was taking me on through changing my plans and aligning them with his. The other was speaking a little louder at that time. Fear.

I had been relying on Student Loans to get me through school, minus some money I had saved through working in high school (which wasn’t much as a oldest child of a single mom, things had always been tight). I didn’t see how this would be possible. The discipleship school was not registered to receive student loans and I had no credit of my own to get a loan.

Thankfully there was still part of me that was willing to go on this adventure with the Lord. I went and met with the director of the program and he told me a story that has stuck with me forever, and became my foundation for believing God for huge things.

Jesus was teaching a large crowd for a long period of time, and they began to get very hungry. When Jesus suggested to the disciples that they feed the crowd, the disciples were overwhelmed, as there were 5,000 men in attendance. 
“We would spend more than a years wages feeding such a crowed!”
Jesus asked them to see what food there already was in the crowd. They came back and reported that there was a young boy with five loaves of bread and two fish. The disciples did not have the ability to see what the Lord was planning. Jesus asked the little boy to bring the food to him. He blessed it. They passed out the food, and an incredible miracle happened! The food just kept going and going! Everyone ate and ate until they were full, and they even had leftovers! By the time they were done picking up all the leftover food there were twelve baskets of food left over. (You can read the full story in John 6:1-13)

The pastor looked at me and said
“Monica, the Lord is asking you, what’s in your hand? If you stretch out all you have to him, he will bless it and there will be more than enough to go around.”

I left that meeting full of faith and ready to enroll. On my way back from that meeting however I got in a really terrible car accident. The emergency vehicles that arrive on the scene told me that I should not be alive, and certainly should not be walking away from the accident without a scratch! The Lord had different plans for my life.

My vehicle was now totalled, another financial burden. The Lord was setting the stage for a great act of provision. After the accident, I knew the Lord has spared my life for a purpose. I told him that I would not waste this opportunity to love him and minister to others. I’d follow him wherever he took me, even if it meant believing him for my finances.

The miracles that happened for me were endless at that point. A week into my year  of school beginning, an anonymous person called the church and donated $4000.00 to towards my tuition. I only had $800 left to pay, and that was for a missions trip and could be fundraised.

WIth my tuition almost fully paid, I still had the concern of transportation, living arrangements, and food. The Lord spoke to three wonderful couples over the course of two and a half years who took me into their homes for a time while I went to school. One of the couples lent me a vehicle to use for the small fee of babysitting, and I just put gas in it.

One day I was literally completely out of money, and I drove from the place I was staying to the church with my fuel light on. I prayed on my way, telling the Lord that if he didn’t come through, I’d be sleeping at the church that night. I said it with confidence, but in my heart I was so scared. I didn’t want to ask someone for gas money, but I knew my car wouldn’t make it home.

That night I came out of the church and started my vehicle in faith. My gas tank was full! I can’t even express to you my shock and amazement when that happened! I ran back in to the church yelling to my class mates, God supernaturally filled my car! He filled my car up with gas, I can get home tonight!

Years later I found out that the Lord told a lady at a program we were running to go into my purse, take my keys, and go fill my car up with gas and bring it back. The miracle was no less to me when I found that out. The Lord had supernaturally spoke to someone, and provided for me when no one else in the world knew my need at that time.

Once I was talking with a friend and they asked me how things were going financially, since they were aware of the step of faith I had to make in coming to live here.
“Things are going great,” I replied, “I mean I don’t just have money to hang out with everyone at Starbucks, but I have everything I need.”

That week I had three different envelopes given to me on three different occasions. One had a Starbucks card, one had a Tim Horton’s card, and one had a local coffee shop gift card! The Lord didn’t think I NEEDED coffee, but I felt like the Lord was showing me the “you will have lots left over” as the story of the loaves and fishes stated.

Another time I will share with you other pieces from that amazing phase of my life, but today I just wanted to touch on God’s provision. Here are three things to consider:

1. Are you believing God for something that you know He has called you to?

2. Are you will to give him EVERYTHING, not hold anything back and allow him to bless and multiply what you give him?

3. When he blesses you, are you willing to bless others?

One thing I believe and hold to strongly, is that we are to give back to the Lord. I wholeheartedly believe in tithing, and our family has now seen many blessings come to us from our decision to stick with it through scarcity and plenty. I also believe, with excitement, that now that I am in a position where I am not specifically believing God everyday in the same way that I was then, that I need to open my heart to allow the Lord to speak to me to be that blessing to others that so many were to me!

I pray that you are very encouraged to believe that God will supply all your needs in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) and that you will not put the call of God on the back-burner out of fear. Walk victoriously into your God ordained destiny today!

Here are some pictures of some fun things I got to do during my time in the discipleship program. I am so thankful God called me there. Not only did I grow in him, but I met my husband there as well!

Me with a girl in Guatemala after getting to pray with her.

Experiencing a shoe shine in Guatemala, and laughing about something!

I got to lead worship in all sorts of different settings and places

Doing children’s ministry with my would-be husband. He had just joined the program in this photo, so we barely knew each other!

My then fiance and I at a wonderful conference in Redding, California with our Master’s Commission group


Behind the “Stay At Home Mom”

Daily I meet more and more “stay at home” moms. On the outside we each might look the same; exhausted, trying to stay caught up on housework, attempting to keeps meals on the table, find time for our marriages and stay creative with our mothering. On the inside however, each mom is a truly unique, wonderful, talented women with varying strengths and gifts.

I know moms who are doctors, lawyers, nurses, managers, business owners, administrators, interior decorators, bakers, chefs, real estate agents, psychologists, cleaners, physiotherapists, massage therapists, teachers and the list can go on and on.

Another thing that is similar between all us moms, regardless of age or stage: each has chosen to take a break from our own career to care for, invest and serve our family.

Although this is a wonderful time in life, there are days that are long. There are colds, flu, sleepless nights, screaming sessions,  diaper explosions, teething, endless laundry, endless dishes, endless vacuuming, and I’m only touching on the baby years! Sometimes I know from personal experience, and from talking with others, we can wonder if we are truly a productive and contributing member of society.

I saw my husband get up and go to work, and a small part of me was jealous that he was “moving up” in his world. He had something to work towards: promotions, raises, leadership, etc. I started to compare my talents and gifts and thought that I was just as “equal” with him in terms of being able to attain “success”.

I had a personal revelation a little while ago that silenced my swirling thoughts. There is nothing wrong with having an exciting career as a woman, but this discovery gave me tremendous peace for where I am at.

We look to Jesus as our example in everything. The bible states that in the Lord there is no man or woman, but that all are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). Jesus is the only man in the history of the world to be sinless and to have demonstrated flawless leadership. His potential was unlimited. He was equal with God, and he could have easily chosen to rise up on earth as king, overthrow government corruption at the time and lead a perfectly successful life here on earth. But he didn’t. Let’s look at Philippians 2:6-7;

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

Although he was equal with God, he didn’t cling to it. While the bible states that men and women are equal, I do not cling to it. My attitude should be that of Christ, who although he’s equal chose the position of a slave.

If Jesus can give up all to serve us and give us abundant life, I can give up my privileges for a little while and serve my family.

In my eyes now, it isn’t about proving anything about the kind of woman I am or am not. It isn’t about competing with my husband, or feeling insecure about another woman who is walking in some kind of exciting career or ministry.

This translates into many other areas of life as well. In my marriage, this sets me free from the lies that the enemy would try to whisper to me regarding submission. I know that I am equal with my husband, but my role as a child of God is to follow Christ’s example, which he demonstrated as a servant. When I stop striving, my husband is free to fulfill his role as a child of God, following Christ’s example as a godly leader.

This also gives me a new view of women around me. Instead of looking at the outside and seeing a tired “stay at home mom” I see an anointed, talented, gifted, special and uniquely created woman who has chosen to serve God and serve her family by following Jesus’ example, and laying down her desires in life for a time. These women are capable of BIG things! I now treasure each opportunity that I have to get to know a mom better.

This revelation frees me up from judging other moms who might be inclined to parent differently than I, because we are completely different people. My quality time needing, administrative, visionary, discerning and passionate personality is going to directly influence the kind of household I will run. Just like someone else’s gift giving, prophetic, compassionate, relational personality will influence the way they run their own household.

I love it. I love how God doesn’t just say “be a mom” or “be a dad” but he says “take the gifts, passions and uniqueness that I have given you and run with this exciting role you have”.

May you discover the freedom of operating as the kind of person God has created you to be.
May you find passion and purpose in the everyday as you determine in your heart to serve like Jesus.
May you one day be honoured as you choose to humble yourself now.
May you have the grace and strength to walk out your choices.

From one tired “stay at home mom” to another, have a very blessed day!

High Five For Friday!

Hello all you Friday lovers…yes the weekend is just about here! When I was thinking about today’s post I almost decided not to do it because I didn’t think I had enough high points to this week. Wow, was I wrong! My husband and I brainstormed last night and I was blown away by how faithful God has been to me yet another week in just blessing us with good times and great things. If you feel like you’ve had a rough week, take a couple of minutes just to think about the positives and thank Jesus for taking care of you.

Enjoy my high five and visit From My Grey Desk Blog to read more fabulous high five for Friday posts!

 

1. This week we went to the library twice. The first time it was the three of us, and it was so much fun sitting in the tiny chairs for kids reading books, and showing him those cool learning games. He loved it. Then him and I went back and took out some books later. We took out a lot of Sandra Boynton! The Snuggle Puppy has been sung around our house all week!

2. Andrew made me an absolutely delicious sandwich on one particularly overwhelming day! This picture looks a lot like it, but it’s not the exact one. He made chicken caesar sandwiches with salami, tomato, lettuce and onions. It was so good! And it was on whole wheat french bread which is my favourite! 

3. I received a phone call completely out of the blue this week that encouraged me so much, and challenged me to be a voice out of the blue for others. You can read about it here.

4. I’ve started trying some fun up-dos! Caleb pulls my hair so much so I’m experimenting with cute and fun ones that aren’t time-consuming. I bought more bobby pins and replaced my mirror that I stepped on and broke. It was hard to see the back of  my hair with my blush mirror! Check out one up-do I did here. This is the double bun from the Small Things Blog.

5. God’s word reminding me of Jeremiah 32:17 that NOTHING is too difficult for the Lord.

 

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

 

A Few Of My Favourite Things: The Vancouver Canucks

I was overwhelmed yesterday by all the people who enjoyed my post on the Double Bun and the Small Things Blog! Each day I have the privilege of connecting with new people and sharing my stories and my heart. I am going to be doing a post called “A few of my favourite things” every now and then featuring something about me or that I love that if you knew me you would know! I hope it will be a chance for you each to not only hear my heart and see some of the projects I work on, but also to get to know me a little better!

Thanks for being a part of My Red & Purple Life Blog! If you are new to my blog, I hope you’ll check out Stay Connected and be in touch with me! I love getting to know new people.

Ok so here is my first post for A Few of My Favourite Things!

The Vancouver Canucks

When I started watching the Vancouver Canucks play in 1995 at the age of five and a half this was their logo and their goalie, my first favourite goalie, Kirk McLean.

I have so many memories of my early years of hockey watching. If you aren’t from Canada you won’t feel the emotion behind the phrase “Hockey Night in Canada”, nor will you automatically hear the tune of that great theme song run through your head. Saturday nights were tough for a little girl needing to go to bed early to be up for church the next morning. I remember lying in my bunk bed with my radio on listening to Jim Hughson call the second or third period (since I was at least able to watch the first on T.V) until 1998. My eyes would get so heavy, but I could not let myself fall asleep until I was assured of victory.

Canuck fever had swept British Columbia after their 1994 run to the cup, and I was by no means too young to be immune to it. Everything about the Canucks was intoxicating: their speed, passion, vigor, and talent.

At that time my family lived in British Columbia, first on Vancouver Island, and then in Vancouver until we left B.C in 2002. I carried my love for the Canucks across two provinces to reside in the heart of a Saskatchewanian.

In high school we had many rivalries in my youth group between the different teams. One specific rivalry seemed to prevail. The Toronto Maple Leafs vs. The Vancouver Canucks.

On the night of this picture, I remember my team lost and my youth group held me down and put a Toronto jersey on me! We laughed so hard, I remember my stomach just aching. The next morning in church some how the fact that Vancouver lost was mentioned from the pulpit. Only in a small town!

My husband and I cheer for different teams, but there has never been a question as to who our son would love after this great shirt I found while I was pregnant! Not to bring up too much tragedy for all you Canuck fans, but I’m about to say the inevitable. Last year, we made it to the finals again. I was so sure this was our year to win the cup. I had my brand new baby home from the hospital with me as we watched game seven again the Boston Bruins. I could hardly breathe during that game. We had already overcome a huge mental hurdle: The Chicago Blackhawks, after losing to them two years in a row. We had come so far. This had to be our time.

Sadly it wasn’t. I can still get emotional thinking of how close we were last year.


Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers,
intensifies, but never destroys it.
– Eliza Tabor

As of today we’re still first in the league! Will our disappointment be the fuel that takes us to the final? Or the focus of a brand new year with no regrets? I guess we’ll see!

Are you a Vancouver Canucks Fan? Share your story below!