Category Archives: Abundant Life

Abundant Life: Scripture Writing

Years ago I really started to enjoy getting into God’s word through the method of scripture writing. It’s simple, it’s effective, doable on a busy schedule, and essentially you don’t need much to do a study–a Bible, notebook and pen is really all you need. However, over the years I always wished that I would have a beautiful journal that guided me through a particular topic or book of the Bible. Recently I realized that maybe I should just go ahead and start publishing the studies I had already created. So here it is: the first one on the topic of living a life of abundance.

The journal includes:

  • An introduction to the scripture writing process
  • A list of 31 days of scriptures to study
  • An introduction of the topic of study: Abundant Life
  • 2 pages per day with the scripture of the day listed, space to write out the scripture and space to journal your thoughts, personal application or prayer for the day.

Here is a sneak peek inside three of the pages found inside the book:

If you are interested in purchasing a journal, here some links for my friends in Canada, USA and Germany. It is also available in most other marketplaces.

Hands & Feet

My heart has been heavy. I find it difficult to breath when I open up social media. My heart palpitations are back. Tears are on the verge constantly. Sleep is lacking. On the other side of things, I also feel content. I love the sunshine we’ve been having. I love the little seedlings I am coaxing to grow and bring us bits of joy with their flowers this summer. I love the growing hope I have for some areas of our lives. It’s okay to feel joy and sorrow at the same time.

I just opened up an email from our pastor and was brought to tears. This is such a difficult time for so many and in the email he encourages us to be the church. He doesn’t have answers to all that is happening, and how could he? But I love that we can go to the Word and be encouraged. I love that no matter what is going on around us, we can spread hope, encourage, BE the church. It’s not a building…it’s the people that normally go to that building, being the hands and feet of Jesus. But it takes intentionality.

Yes, so much of what is going on, just plain sucks. There is lack of trust. There is division among family and friends–such deep hurt. There are people dying a physical death from a pandemic. There are even more people slowly dying inside mentally and spiritually due to a pandemic. There are financial battles going on. There are unseen battles going on that are more devastating than we will probably ever know. Yes, I feel discouraged and I feel helpless, but I am also brought to tears knowing that God has asked us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. What an honour.

What does that look like to you? Tonight that looks like making 5 dozen cookies because we have an 8 year old who is devastated that she will spend another birthday away from her friends. She asked if she could bring individually packaged cookies to school to share with her friends to have a tiny bit of a celebration before learning goes online. Tonight the hands and feet of Jesus look like cookies.

What does it look like to you? How can you be intentional about it?

It Could Make All the Difference Part II

Recently I was thinking about why we live where we do. We live in an older neighbourhood that is closer to the downtown of our city, than the suburbs. We love the older houses, the nearby trails, the close proximity to everything, and we love our home. But with our location comes more noise than the suburbs, more theft, and all the things that come with being closer to downtown. I have no desire to move, but don’t like the uneasy feeling I sometimes have, living where we do. I also know that God has always placed us in certain neighbourhoods for certain reasons and I don’t think it is any different this time. Yet, sometimes I still ask ‘why’? And sometimes God answers our questions in a unique way:

On Easter Sunday we had our Easter dinner in front of the T.V. watching The Chosen–a good weekend to binge watch season one before season two started. Following dinner, I suggested we walk the block to the convenient store for our first icecream of the year. Everyone was ‘in’, and off we went.

As we approached the convenient store, a young man came running towards us and abruptly stopped when he saw us and jumped to the side–surprised to see us. I noticed that he had his belongings in the low lying shrubbery beside the sidewalk. I didn’t think much of it. Olivia and I stayed outside of the store while Jason went in to get our icecream. Another young man–this time on a bicycle–approached the first young man and they had a conversation but I didn’t pay attention–they weren’t near us. Then a father and son approached the convenient store and asked us if we were okay. I was a little surprised and responded, saying that my husband was inside and we were just waiting for him. He inconspicuously motioned over to the two young men who were still having an exchange. I had suspected from the start, that there was something questionable going on, but I couldn’t really tell. We ignored them and chatted as we waited. The young man on the bike must have driven off, when suddenly he came from the opposite direction into the parking lot and from a distance said, I’m so sorry ma’am, I didn’t know there were kids around. I really didn’t. I was utterly confused, but smiled and said, ‘It’s okay. You hang in there, okay? He smiled, said he was sorry and we wished each other a good day.

Now, what confuses me is, why would someone who is in the middle of what I can only guess is an illegal exchange of some sort, come back to apologize to a mom in her 40s for his behaviour–none of which our 8 year old took any notice of. He was the kindest young man and my heart just broke for him. For him to acknowledge that his brokenness is not appropriate for an 8 year old to see, shows me that he is stuck in such a sad, sad cycle. Sure, he may have thought that if he was nice to me I wouldn’t report whatever they were doing, but even that doesn’t make sense. And then it hit me. God places us in the neighbourhoods we are in for a reason. Perhaps this little exchange between us was part of that. Perhaps that young man just needed to hear the words You hang in there. Maybe those words and our 30 second exchange were more than just a few words.

Maybe we are placed exactly where we are, not for some amazing newsworthy reason. Maybe God has us living where we are for these chance encounters that last but a few minutes, because sometimes those few seconds or minutes may make all the difference.

The Hope of Spring

Where we live Spring doesn’t truly arrive until April and May. I find the month of March the most challenging. It’s nice enough to be outside and go for walks, but the snow, ice and water make this more difficult. In the past we often went on a warm holiday in March to help fend off the winter blues. This year that is not possible.

What IS possible is that we can create little pockets of joy in our home to remind us that the hope of spring is just around the corner. We aren’t in a season of life where I can just go out and buy new spring decor, but what we can do is go shopping in our own home. Dig through your storage boxes, repurpose something you find in the shed or garage. Move decor you already have out, around to a different spot in the house. Change up the throw blankets in the living room. There are so many ‘free’ options out there to help us find little pockets of joy in our homes.

I like to decorate the top of our piano and we still had a string of beads for Christmas cards, and a garland of valentines hearts hanging above the piano. Time for those to be put away. I found an old white frame in the garage, to lean up against the wall. I then hung a canvas photo in the framed area, got $4 tulips at the grocery store and placed each one in a milk glass bud vase (all thrift store finds). The clock stays because we need it there, and the basket of books just had a plant put on top of it. Simple. Cheery. Inexpensive.

Another thing I find difficult in the month of March is meal planning. I don’t want to cook, shop or bake, so to not have to think about ‘what’s for supper?’ is so wonderful and helps to have the joy of being in the kitchen return. I took my Mom’s idea of making a 6 week menu to loosely follow and I think I am going to love it:

What do you do to help cheer the heart while you are waiting for spring? I’d love to know.

Connecting During a Pandemic

It’s getting old, isn’t it? This having to physically distance ourselves from others. It’s been almost a year of it and we are all weary of it. Pandemic fatigue they call it: Feeling restless, irritable, changes in eating and sleeping habits, lacking motivation and sometimes even withdrawing from socializing with others. I know I have felt each of these symptoms at different times. One thing I really noticed is that withdrawing from socializing has a very negative long term effect on our mental and spiritual state. Yes, we are asked to physically distance, but this does not mean we have to socially distance. We just need to change how we do things and that takes some creativity. Our pastor said it well this past Sunday:

“[We are living] in a season that requires a different approach.” ~Pastor Travis Hansen

Yes, this is getting old, but we can do it…our approach just needs to change.

What are some ways we can connect with each other during a pandemic?

  1. Call Someone Pick up the phone and actually dial someone’s number and call them. This is not my favourite. I’ve never been one to love making or taking phone calls, but I’m learning the value of this type of daily interaction.
  2. Use Technology. Facebook–FaceTime–Skype–WhatsApp–Google Hangouts–Zoom, texting. There are so many options for us to connect.
  3. Join or start a virtual book club where you meet online once a week or twice a month to discuss a book you are reading together. We really enjoyed a marriage book study this past year and looked forward to our weekly Tuesday night time together with others.
  4. Go for a walk. Enjoy the trails or the park.
  5. Check on your neighbours. Knock on their door and see how they are doing.
  6. Attend a virtual class. This is something I just recently started attending and it was so enjoyable to learn something new in an area of interest.
  7. Go into your front yard, if you live in town. It’s amazing how the neighbours more often than not come outside as well because we are all hungry for social contact with other humans.
  8. Re-connect with your own family. Teach your kids to cook, play games, do a puzzle, learn a skill together, shovel snow.
  9. Write letters. The old fashion, buy an overpriced stamp and pop a card in the mail for someone. It will make their day. Nothing like getting a letter in the mail that isn’t a bill.
  10. Drive bys. Drive by a friend’s house and have a socially distanced visit from your vehicle and maybe drop off a container of cookies or a loaf of bread.

Now, what about kids? The above ways to connect with their friends works as well, but sometimes they need something specific to focus on:

  1. Have a Zoom dance party.
  2. Write to a pen pal.
  3. Go on a neighbourhood scavenger hunt.
  4. Go for a walk with friends.
  5. Play games online.
  6. Complete a drawing tutorial together on Zoom.
  7. Go tobogganing, hiking or snowshoeing.
  8. Drop a craft off at a friend’s house and arrange a time to get on Zoom or Facetime together to complete the craft.

What are some ways you are choosing to connect with others during the pandemic. I’d love to hear them in the comments.