The Summer of Rest

Every May I seem to find myself on the fritz of burning out. The realization of how close summer is, combined with the fast pace of life, always leaves me exhausted.

Even though I know that summer can be slower, there is so much opportunity for adventure, and I often pack my summers a little too full.

I was inspired by someone who said that they ask God for a word for their summer.

When I told Andrew that, the first word he felt was simplify.

Which was perfect because I heard rest and peace.

We have had an amazing year. Actually, amazing doesn’t even cut it. We have moved to a place where we are doing everything we dreamed of, had another baby, made some dear new friends, took part in some awesome events, and the list goes on.

But there have been challenges too, and being completely honest, it’s been a learning curve pastoring a church together.

We feel tired. God knows that. So our words for Summer 2015 are simplify, rest and peace.

There are many things that are rejuvenating for me beyond sleep (which might still be a little hard to come by with the baby stage).

Sipping my morning coffee outside, reading books on blankets in the yard with the kids, evening walks, ice cream cones, summer dates, bonfires and barbeques are a few that come to mind. 11304450_10155579878910431_1769978623_n

Sitting in the Lord’s presence, listening to worship music, singing to Jesus and slowing reading through the Word all restore my soul.

I hope that one day some of our words might be adventure, risk or maybe even mountains, but for now rest and peace sounds like what we need.

Depending on what you do, summer may not be a time where things slow down for you, but I encourage you, in each season we transition to, take a moment to see where you are, and ask God what word he has for you.

Six and a half years ago, before we were dating, Andrew wrote this verse in a card to me that was from all my bible school classmates.

Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

He has always remained a voice of reason in my life, encouraging me to take time to relax and allow the Lord to give me new strength.

May your summer hold unexpected beauty, more rest that you had planned, and more joy than you can contain.11292834_10155579879520431_1207155673_n

From insecure to inspired.

I’ve always had friends in my life that I love immensely, but I leave being with them feeling a little insecure.

Comparison always creeps in and I wish my hair was more workable, my clothes more put together and my heart a little more loving.

Recently I realized that I wanted to move from being insecure around those friends to being inspired by them.

The difference in insecurity is that we lose confidence in who we are, or we start going down a path of self-hatred.

I did a little reading on the definitions of inspire and insecure.

inspire: fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

insecure: (of a person) not confident or assured; uncertain and anxious.
(of a thing) not firm or set; unsafe.

Being insecure around someone cripples our chance to grow from that relationship.

Opening our hearts to become inspired by that same person is a much more beautiful, beneficial process.

When we are insecure, we end up acting out to prove our worth, or withdrawing to become invisible.

Sometimes I have been on the other side of the insecurity trap. My life, choices or stance has made others feel inadequate.

I know I have pulled back from sharing who I am with certain people because I know it can set them against me or against themselves.

I pray that my life fills others with the urge or ability to do something they didn’t think they could. That through being myself, they are released to be all that God has created them to be.

God is teaching me a lot about balance in all areas of my life, and specifically keeps speaking the phrase “beautiful balance.” 

In this balance, I am learning that I can be who I am and free others to live inspired lives as I walk in the combination of truth and unfailing love.

Believe it or not we can speak truth while operating in love.

As a black and white person, I struggle with the love side when speaking truth. But Psalm 89:13-14 pulls out this concept beautifully.

Powerful is your arm! Strong is your hand! Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.

Imagine unfailing love and truth walking before us, paving the way for who we are and the message that we carry.

May your life set people free. May you inspire greatness in those around you, and never cause them to feel unsure or afraid. May your courage be the catalyst for someone else’s dream becoming a reality.

May you be, confidently, who you were created to be.


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.


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

Tight Spaces

As an ex-gymnast, I remember what it was like to be extremely flexible. I can still feel what it was like to do “over splits”.

There weren’t many ways that my physical body could be maneuvered that would really hurt.

Except for in seated pike. (Or known as “seated forward fold.”)

Because of my childhood scoliosis I had almost no ability to sit with my legs straight out in front of me and touch my toes. The pain that would shoot into my neck was almost unbearable.

Many years have passed since I stretched in such intense ways and I have regretted letting my flexibility get away.

About five months ago I tried my first Holy Yoga session (Jesus-centered yoga). I was completely blown away.

51bbe2abc4dea6fdadf51c25651657b2I had never imagined that I could be drawn into such intimacy with the Holy Spirit through this kind of movement.

One of my first online practices with HYTV, I remember the instructor challenging us to breathe into the tight spaces in our body, because as we rest there, we are growing from them.

She went on to say that as we breathe in the presence of God into these tight places in our bodies and in our lives, we release him to work, and us to just be.

This was also new to me. In the past when I wanted to achieve greater flexibility, I pushed my body to the limit, straining my muscles to cave to force.

Through this Holy Yoga journey, I am learning that it is in breathing through those tight spaces that I see growth. Not in fighting the pain, trying to escape it or rush it.

In a beautiful way I enjoy holding a pose that is tight and challenging while purposefully breathing through it.

And in the same way when I’m in a tight and challenging place in life I am now breathing through it, accepting the opportunity to grow in the grace and love of Christ.

To take it a step further, when I wake up I am often out of alignment and in pain. But when I sit in the tight spaces, and breathe through them, my body comes back into line, and I experience freedom of movement in my physical body.

 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

May you be at peace, resting in the tight spaces and breathing through the trials, knowing that our hope in Christ will not disappoint and that he who has started a work in you will see you all the way to the finish line!778fc4621224e56ab4fb551eff8e38cc

Long Neck Perspective

I have never been much of an animal person. This past October I came face to face with many animals when my family visited the San Francisco Zoo.

Giraffes are one of the most majestic creatures I have ever encountered. While we were driving from our conference in Redding, CA to our next stop, we came to a fun pit stop for families. We saw a statue of a giraffe that would be a teaser for the real thing.



Giraffes have an ability to see above everyone else. Their long necks and great eyesight allow them to be spread out, yet still protect one another because they can see for miles!

Their perspective is from the sky. They do not look at life from same level as a majority of the world.

Giraffes give us a beautiful picture of seeing things from God’s perspective. From the height at which they see the world, problems seem small.

A friend pointed out the verse to me in Ephesians 2:6 in relation to the giraffe:

For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 

This is what it looks like for us to have long neck perspective. We don’t have to look at our problems head on, we can look at them from a place of royalty, seated with Jesus. IMG_4012

Giraffes have extremely elastic blood vessels in their neck to help them lean their heads down to drink. It’s a good thing they do or they would lose consciousness each time they tried to get water from a stream. {}

Sometimes when we do have to come back to earth, so to speak, from being in deep communion with God, we can become discouraged with the world around us.

Giraffes can absorb extra blood in their neck so they don’t because light headed on the way down.

We need to have a reserve with the Lord. We aren’t just spending time with him and then going back to our lives alone, we can carry his presence with us all day, everyday. 

If something seemingly random comes into your life and captivates your heart, like what happened with me and giraffes, God might be trying to show you something.

He delights in showing us pieces of his heart through imagery. All through the bible he relates who he is and principles of himself through pictures like fig trees, mustard seeds, loaves and fishes, and other comparisons.

For me, I sure love giraffes now as they are my visual reminder to see things with a perspective from above.

Here’s one last giraffe fact:

Like human fingerprints, each giraffe’s coat is unique.

I love that, because I really love being unique.


Preparing for Thanksgiving

All right everyone, it is just about Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada! I am concerned about getting caught up in all the details of cooking for, and entertaining family and friends. I want to go into this weekend with my heart open to truly thanking the Lord for all of His goodness. This has been a phenomenal year.

I remember dreading the moment every Thanksgiving where we would have to go around the table and say one thing we were thankful for. For some reason it just felt so empty. I’d mumble out something about being thankful for family, and we’d move on.

As time has gone on my heart seems to overflow with the mercies God gives us – when I take the time to remember them!

So that is was this post is about. Here are ten things, I am extremely thankful for. Feel free to then share yours in the blog comment post below, on Facebook, on Twitter or in an email message. Let’s give God some glory for the awesome things in our life.

10 things I am incredibly, indescribably thankful for…

1. A husband who serves the Lord wholeheartedly, and loves us (his family) and takes care of us.

2. A healthy little boy who is full of fun, energy and endless excitement.

3. The ability to carry a second baby and have the Lord knit them together within me.

4. Being blessed with a second vehicle just when things were starting to get complicated.

5. An abundance of food. I never have to worry about my family going hungry.

6. A warm house.

7. Limitless resources for being a good mom, wife and lover of Jesus. Between the bible and the awesome books people are writing, we are richly blessed when it comes to being equipped for life!

8. Supportive and empowering church leadership. I have always felt free to be who God has called me to be in the various churches I have found myself in.

9. The gift of music. Whether it is silly songs with my son in the car, or moments of intimate worship at home, music is a wonderful gift.

10. A heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally. I may let him down, but he will always love me. My recent experiences have made me more thankful for this than ever before.

11. (yep, I’m adding one more on) An avenue of getting some creative energy out: I’m thankful for blogging and for people who take the time to read what I write!


Wow, I feel like I’m just getting started. I may have to share some more before Thanksgiving hits!

What are you thankful for?

Twitter @myredpurplelife


or comment below, or on my Facebook page!



Grocery List Tip & White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

After a somewhat eventful night, Caleb and I slept in an hour later than usual. So at eight we got up and I still had hopes of getting myself ready, him fed and ready, my grocery list completed and us out the door to the story well before snack time. We didn’t even come close to that. I just decided to give up on my ambitious grocery run for this morning and try again this afternoon or tomorrow. It’s funny the stress we can sometimes put on ourselves, and our kids for no real reason. Caleb sensed the rush to get out the door, so he was being an extra little turkey, scooting to spots far away when I grabbed the car seat, and creating messes he’s never made before with his new found standing ability (nothing is safe in my house anymore)!
In the moment I felt like I just conceded defeat, but actually I was a flexible mom who put the needs of my son ahead of my plans.
I knew there must be something good coming from the last couple hours.
For today’s Try it Out Tuesday, I want to show you a great resource for grocery lists. It’s called
The original project came about because a man started to look at the various grocery lists he found in the store while he was shopping and began noticing many hilarious things. For example, how not many people can spell mayonaise mayonnaise, everyone has their own short hand, and the interesting notes that wives wrote for their husbands about actually completing the shopping list this time!
Out of the humour, came a book, and now beyond the book you can download a copy of “The Ultimate Grocery List”. This is a list that I go through every month, and I hardly have to think of anything, I just go through it and see what on that list we need. They think of basically everything!
The first time I looked at the list I laughed at the section called “carcinogens” (which literally means a substance capable of causing cancer) and saw cigarettes down there. The writers definitely have a sense of humor.
Thankfully this list can be edited and personalized once you download it, so you can remove anything from it that you want to.
Click HERE to go download your free copy of the Ultimate Grocery List!
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
After last week’s High Five For Friday, I promised my white chocolate cranberry cookies recipe (which really isn’t mine at all, but in my little circle of people I’m the only one who makes them).
You can visit the website called “Lovin’ From The Oven” that I took the recipe off of HERE, and check out more of her beautiful cookie photos (the one displayed here is hers as well).
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

These are truly delicious! Try them out, and explore that cute cooking blog that this recipe is from!


High Five For Friday

Another week has finished, so another High Five For Friday is upon us! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog.

1. It’s spring! It’s beautiful and warm. The sun is shining as little birdies are chirping. I love it. We went for a walk around the lake in our city and Caleb took his first ride in a swing. He laughed at it. It was so cute. I will post the video on My Red & Purple Life Facebook page. I am also looking for ways to make my house feel like it’s spring and truly welcome in the warmer days.  Send your suggestions my way! Here is the park day as told by my husband’s Instagram.

2. We took a drive down to Kipling and visited my mom for the day. She had homemade buns and cinnamon buns waiting for us. It was definitely worth the drive! 

3. I have been loving this FC5 Arbonne cooling foot cream. I received it as a gift at Caleb’s shower, and then didn’t think of it again. Then I was cleaning out some of our baskets full of products and make up and I found. Wow, it feels so good on your feet. My feet actually feel energized after using it!

4. We were sitting in the living room and I looked over at Caleb and he was standing up all by himself! It shocked me at first, but then I managed to grab the camera before he tumbled down. He’s quickly gone from standing for a few moments, to starting to walk along furniture. Life has changed, again, in a matter of 48 hours!

5. I made White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies this week. Normally I would consider this a winter cookie, but they seemed to work for spring too! Our student leadership group ate them up quickly! Stay tuned for a recipe on Tuesday!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

High Five For Friday

Good Morning to all my beloved readers! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out the rest of this week’s celebrations!

1. Yesterday I announced that My Red & Purple Life is hosting the Celebrating Family Photo Contest! I am so excited about this, and I really hope you take the time to join in and enter for a chance to have a feature done on your family. This is a great opportunity to encourage people about the importance of investing into others!

2. Monday my husband was home sick after battling a brutal bout of the stomach flu. We were up most of the night on Saturday while he threw up. So Monday was a much-needed rest day for us. We spent Caleb’s first nap back in bed sleeping, and the second watching a movie. It was so good to rest and relax!

3. I tried making this extremely delicious, visually impressive, but extremely simple supper: Braided Broccoli, Cheddar and Chicken. We really enjoyed it. You can find the recipe here.

4. We indulged in President’s Choice Brownie Ice Cream. Well, I did. I needed some motivation while my household was sick, so I went out and bought it. It’s unbelievably delicious. Just don’t eat it with really hot tea, my teeth ached from the extremes I was putting my mouth through!

5. Okay, I could have had three points about my son Caleb, but I’m combining them all into one so as to not bore you with too much information on him! This week he cut his first tooth (you can’t see much of it yet), ate Cheerios for the first time and went out for coffee with just me. It was adorable. He sat in the high chair at Tim Horton’s, ate his snack, and talked in his language about everything he saw. He’s so precious and has just been an even extra blessing this week to us!

Thankfulness is the key to contentment! Celebrate the simple things you experience in life. Find strength in joy.

Be bold and share with the world your top moments of the week!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

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!


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.