Courage from a feather.

I posted a photo on Instagram this morning wearing my courage key and sharing three things that I needed courage for today.

While there were more than three things today that needed courage, Caleb’s immunizations were at the top of my list.

You see, a couple of years ago Caleb had to have blood taken. And it did not go well.

It took Andrew and two nurses to hold him down, and another nurse to take his blood.

He was so traumatized from that experience that he would panic in doctor appointments or any kind of medical situation.

So four-year old needles were something I was dreading. To the point of near avoidance. When I got the call this week that they could fit him in, I knew I had to take the plunge and be brave.

I had many little conversations with Caleb throughout the day about what was going to happen, and since as a family we are committed to trying things that scare us and being brave, he felt confident that this was a chance to be courageous.

As I was packing up Eli, who also had immunizations today, I heard Caleb excitedly yelling “mom, a feather, a feather just flew into my hand.”

There in his hand was the most delicate, beautiful little white feather I had ever seen.

I’m not into good luck charms, or believing items hold power, but I do like it when we can use something as a reminder.

I, and anyone involved in the Brave Collective, knows that the feather is a symbol of courage. 

A feather enables flight. A baby bird risks heights and all other fears, to bravely jump from the nest.

I reminded Caleb of the meaning of the feather, and said to him that I thought God gave him that feather to remind him that He would help Caleb be brave.

This was just the boost that he needed, and with great anticipation of his opportunity for bravery, we headed on our way.

And he was amazing. Like, blew his mama totally away, incredible.

At the end he received a certificate, and it happened to say the word brave on it. Was he ever proud.11304295_10155560877770431_2058500153_n

All the pieces are falling into place for me tonight as I remember a passage I read and prayed over my family this morning from Psalm 91.

This I declare about the LordHe alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 91:2-4

The feather was in Caleb’s hand for a moment, then it disappeared and we couldn’t find it.

I thank God tonight for literally covering my son in His feathers and sheltering Caleb with His wings, even from what may seem an insignificant childhood fear.

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The Truth About Our Family Photos

One of my little dreams was fulfilled this past week. We had a photo shoot with our beautifully completed family. We decided to commemorate a pretty big season for us: our fifth anniversary right around the corner, the birth of Eli (yes, he’s already seven months!) and the other kids birthdays.

Our photographer was fantastic, a sweet woman who genuinely enjoyed capturing our family, which was a gift.

The morning of photos was pretty hairy. I felt so overwhelmed.

In my attempt to be brave and savour this sweet season with our kids, I was doing it before I had lost the amount of weight I wanted to, and the reality of this suddenly hit me as I was trying to figure out what to wear.

A few outfits later, I settled on one I would later regret, and we, with a few raised voices and angry looks, got in the van and on the road.

While the kids did pretty good, there were definitely some moments of me angrily telling them to smile and then faking a happy family moment.

I had to laugh at some of the photos when we got them back. Our photographer was so skilled, I almost forgot some of the memories that went with them.

Like this one where Amayah sassily (is that a word?) said to Eli “MY BALL!” and ran away with it.

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Or this one, where Caleb decided he wasn’t going to cooperate.IMG_8150

And one of my favourites, Amayah starting to cry because she wanted to go see the “bath” (the lake).IMG_8155

Or trying to get a nice anniversary picture, looking at each other, paranoid that the kids were running toward the giant “bath”.
IMG_8199And even though Eli started to get grumpy here because he was hungry, that kiss still holds every bit of my love.IMG_8448

How we wish we were with three kids…IMG_8397

How we really are with three kids…

IMG_8318I hope you enjoyed this funnier side to our little photo shoot.

Even if it took a little work to get there, a bit of outfit regret, and a few extra pounds I would have liked to go without, I am so thankful to have captured these memories of my family, because they really are growing up extremely fast. 

A big thank you Sarahlynn Photography for all her hard work making our chaos look beautiful!

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
    are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
    with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
    you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

Psalm 127:3-5 MSG

Let’s go for a quiet walk.

6:00 a.m. came too quickly after a rough night with the younger two kids. Like clockwork my firstborn entered our bedroom.

“Mommy, it’s morning time. The sun is up.”

As much as I was expecting his arrival into the room, I grieved for a couple seconds the loss of sleeping in on days off, as I’ve done many times the last four years.

The sun was indeed up, and it was gorgeous. I bravely seized an opportunity for connection with my son and invited him on a morning walk with just me.

He was really excited. We headed off with him on his bike, going beside me and sometimes speeding ahead as I walked.

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“So how are you really doing mom?” He asked me.

The reality of his sweetness was almost too much for my heart to bare.

“I’m doing really well Caleb, just happy to get some time to be on a walk with you!”

Later that day I heard him whisper to Andrew “remember that time mom and I went on a quiet walk?”.

It was a quiet walk. It had been so peaceful, just that kid and I, with him telling me many different stories, wading through ditches and searching for tracks from dinosaurs who live so so so so so so so so long ago, as he put it.

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Because he creates a huge majority of the noise in my house, I forget that sometimes he might just need a little space from his brother and sister too, and some one on one time with me.

I’m really looking forward to having regular “quiet walks” with my early riser who is already wanting to be a good husband, father, pastor, leader and difference maker one day.

Just like one on one time with the Lord fills me up and reminds me of why I am so thankful for His presence in my life, one on one time with my son made me fall in love with him all over again.

May you know the sweet blessing of deep connection that comes with bravely pursuing quality time with someone close to you.

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What the Lord told me to tell all his daughters on Mother’s Day.

It seems like every woman finds mother’s day hard. Either we grieve loss or lack, or we question our worth and abilities.

Since I am no exception to this, I knew that in preparation for my Mother’s Day sermon I needed to hear straight from the heart of God on what he wanted to say to his beloved ladies.

I can’t get it off my heart that you, dear reader, may need to hear this too.

The Lord said, tell my daughters this verse.

Open up before God, keep nothing back;
    he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
    and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Psalm 37:5-6

I was really rocked. Once again God proved that he knows and understand every single one of our struggles as women.

He sees our hearts and he tells us not to be afraid of spilling our guts to him. We can’t shock him. Really, we can’t keep anything back from him since he sees the depths of our hearts – and still loves us.

He promises that if we let go of our need for control, he will do what needs to be done. It might not look like what we think should happen, but it will be what’s best.

And in that sweet, beautiful moment of surrender, he says that he will demonstate our great worth and place his stamp of approval on us, just because of his great love for us.

I definitely needed this as a woman who longs to be valued, and as a mom who fights for control.Psalm 37-5-6

May you find peace today in that beautiful spot of grace.

Bring out the barbeque!

Ah, spring is here. The sun in shining, the air is warm, new possibilities seem to be waiting around every corner. Another thing that excites me about this warm weather is barbequing! Ok, well my husband barbequing. I’ve never done it before. I think it’s on purpose (honey, don’t read this), so that I don’t have to cook the food, I just prepare it! I can have everything ready and he seems to enjoy some alone time at the barbeque when he comes home. It’s a win-win. I think.

Anyway, here is my favourite homemade hamburger recipe. You can find the recipe that I adapted this from here.

My husband goes crazy over these burgers. I love it. When something so simple as these burgers can get you so much praise and admiration from your spouse, you can’t go wrong! Now combine this with the homemade barbecue perogies recipe I shared before, a caesar salad, my husband’s favourite drink; root beer, and I have a sure to impress summer fun supper. A nice summer dessert with this would be the S’mores Cookies I posted a while ago.

I hope these work as well on your husband as they do on mine 🙂

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef

10 whole wheat crackers crushed, or 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs or 3/4 cup oatmeal (depending what you have on hand)

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided

3 tbsp. chopped cilantro, divided

1 egg

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. barbeque sauce

1 tomato, diced

Directions:

Combine the ground beef, crackers, 1/4 cup of the cheese, 2 tbsp. cilantro, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder together. Shape in to patties. Brush with barbeque sauce. Top with remaining cheese while your husband is cooking them.

Combine the diced tomato and remaining cilantro and top the burgers with it. We love ours with lots of mayonnaise, mustard and relish. Eating these on toasted buns make it even more delicious!

Variations: For spicy burgers replace half the cilantro with 2 tbsp. of salsa. If you don’t like the flavour of cilantro, green onions can be used instead.

Next time we make these I’ll get a picture to add to this post!

I hope you enjoy these. Who knows, these burgers may just make you feel like you’re eating outdoors in a place this this!

But I’m not making any promises…

Covered in Cream

No I didn’t have an accident with my beloved container of 18% cream and lose its precious content to my floor, or my body. Thankfully. Nor is this about my favourite face care or body products that are always cream based for me.

There is something so comforting about cream. When you think of cream in your coffee it just adds richness and delight. Whipped cream on top of dessert or waffles conjures up all kinds of pleasant memories or cozy evenings or happy family breakfasts.

Cream in the decorating sense is something I am completely in to right now. The only problem with cream: it doesn’t hide dirt. That automatically is a no-no for me as we’re in the baby stage. But I can dream right?

Here is my “cream dream” blog post. I would never do all of these things in the same house, because it would just be over load!

In reality…

This is a project that we actually are working on, because we actually could have cream in this sense. We are doing a little transformation with our kitchen. We’re going to be painting our cupboards cream and our trims a latte colour, our doors espresso and our walls are already light chocolate (I kind of want to drink up our colours)!

Here is some of the inspiration we’ve been looking at with our kitchen project.

Read about this kitchen here.

Read about this kitchen here.

So by realistic I basically mean we’d have cream cupboards! These kitchens are a lot nicer and bigger than ours, and our walls will still be dark.

Semi realistic…

Cream clothes! These are just a couple little things, that probably would get wrecked, but they’d be nice to keep around for date nights, outings, etc.

Not realistic…

A cream living room! This has disaster written all over it, but it’s oh so calm and refreshing.

You can read about this living room here.

You can read about this living room here.

I absolutely love the flowers on the coffee table in the last living room. So beautiful.

I guess the most realistic cream thing for me to having in my home are flowers, which I have a picture of some gorgeous cream roses. You can see the photographer’s site here.

This is my little cream obsession. By the time I can actually have a lot of cream in my home, I’ll probably be over it!

What is one colour or shade scheme that you could crazy over?

The Small Things

Hairstyles can trigger a lot of anxiety in women. Personally, I can nearly have a panic attack before going to get my hair cut because of too many bad previous experiences. I get to the hair stylist, sit down with plans to be adventurous, and then end up reverting to “just trim it up and style my bangs!”

Kate from the Small Things Blog has become quite the success story. Her hair tutorials went viral on Pinterest and You Tube and she has attracted a lot of people to her blog, me being one of them!

One thing I want to say about Kate is that she seems to be an extremely humble and wonderful woman. On her blog under “about me” she says very straight forward that she is a Christian and finds her worth in Jesus, even though she loves to talk about things like hair (she’s a professional stylist), make up, style and decorating, she serves Christ first.

Because her blog took off so quickly she suddenly started making money off of advertising and other avenues. She posted a while back about how she chose to sponsor a child through Compassion International with some of the funds she received.

I have personally benefited from her hair tutorials so much! They are quick, concise and offer great advice for spicing up your every day hair with tricks and tips for using your straightener, curling iron or other tools.

As a stay at home mom, I can feel down if I don’t take time to get ready during the day, even if we aren’t planning on leaving the house! Of course there are those days where nothing seems to go right and I barely have time to drink my coffee, let alone style my hair! But most days I try to get ready when Caleb is napping or occupied. He usually gets a lot of entertainment out of watching me do my hair and make up!

Ok I’m being brave: here is a picture of my hair just blow dried with NO style yet. It’s scary. You will understand why I need to straighten it, curl it or put it up!

I decided to try out Kate’s latest tutorial on the double bun. You can watch it right here.

So I got three-quarters of the way through and then you can see that Caleb stopped being entertained and got very unimpressed with me wasting time on this!

So I sat him down with a snack and tried to quickly finish this off. Of course I’d never tried this one before so it took me a tiny bit longer then it usually would (or when I re did it later in the day). Here is my final picture. I hope to get a better finished product today when I try it again since I won’t wash my hair again today, so if I do I’ll post another picture! I ran out of bobby pins and that one longer curly piece wouldn’t stay back!

 You can check out her flat-iron tutorial here, and her curling iron tutorial here. These are my two other favourites as they livened up my hair a little more!

You can check out all of Kate’s hair tutorials and other fun blog posts by visiting The Small Things Blog.

Enjoy!