Changing Direction

Three months ago I made a commitment to write consistently.

Then I learned to crochet.

It's a fantastic hobby, and I can argue that it's useful.  I can make things!  I can sell things!  I can be productive!

But then I remember that God doesn't ask for productivity.  He asks for obedience.

* * * 

In case you hadn't noticed, I haven't been blogging lately.

It's not because I haven't had things to write about, it's because I've been struggling with how to write about things.

It's my latest avoidance tactic, I suppose.

See, I've always been a bit of a perfectionist.  When I do something, I like to do it well - and naturally, that extends to blogging.  I haven't been working since last fall so I've had lots of time to read and research, trying to learn what makes a blog "successful".

There are lots of opinions out there, but most of what I've read points to four key ingredients:

  1. Find your voice.
  2. Find your niche.
  3. Write for your audience.
  4. Be consistent.

It seems simple enough.

But then I started to wonder how to measure "success".   Was I successful when I doubled my traffic?  Tripled it?  When my twitter or instagram followers reached a specific number?  When I started making money from my blog?

The more articles I read, the more overwhelmed I became.  There are so many rules!  It was enough to turn me off blogging for awhile.

Truth be told, it doesn't take much to turn me off writing for awhile ...

We're busy with renovating.

I'm working again.

I'm tired.

My brain is fried.

I'm out of ideas.

I don't know where to begin ...

* * * 

I've been reading the story of Moses in Exodus lately.

"Master, please, I don't talk well.  I've never been good with words, neither before nor after You spoke to me ..."

God's response?  "Who do you think made the human mouth?  And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind?  Isn't it I, God?  So get going.  I'll be right there with you - with your mouth!  I'll be right there to teach you what to say."  (Exodus 4:10-12, MSG).

Moses hesitated, begging God to send someone else.

He made excuses, just like I do.

I need to be brave.

* * * 

  1. I'm overwhelmed by the rules of "proper blogging" - so I'm just going to break them.  I've spent so much time reading other blogs, trying to uncover their secrets to success, that I lost my voice.  Hence the four month hiatus.  How can I find my voice when my head is full of everybody else's?
  2. I've never been able to pinpoint a real "niche" - and I think that's okay.  I don't need a "niche", I need direction - and I have that now.  Whether or not I have courage is a post for another day!
  3. I've never had a huge audience - and I'm okay with that.  Numbers don't matter.  Jesus only had twelve followers, after all!
  4. I struggle with consistency.  I'm not in a season of life where I can guarantee a new post at a certain time on a specific day of the week - but I'm going to try to drop into this space more regularly!  If I disappear again, feel free to e-mail me.  I need the accountability!

* * * 

As for where to begin -

"Wherever you are is a good and important place.  Start there."  (Gary Morland)

So I will.

Thanks for sticking with me while my blog changes direction!


Ever since I stopped working I've struggled with being enough.

I feel like such a hypocrite writing that, since it wasn't that long ago that I shared this post about my decision to be a stay at home mom - but I want to be honest in this space, so there it is.

I have spent weeks trying to figure out how to make more, do more, and be more.

I explored work at home opportunities.  I researched ways to monetize a blog (ugh!).  I even debated whether or not to become some sort of direct sales consultant (Jamberry, perhaps?)

Then I decided that maybe I would feel better if I did more, so I cleaned our entire house from top to bottom, purging and reorganizing, doing minor repairs, washing walls and windows.

That didn't help (well - maybe it did a little.  I do love a clean house!) so I volunteered to teach Topher's Sunday school class.  I'm still debating whether or not to coach his soccer team.

I've been writing (and writing and writing and writing!) - building my portfolio and enjoying every second of it -

But nothing I do feels like enough, and I have no idea why I constantly feel like I should be doing something more.

Sometimes I forget how valuable it is that I'm able to be at home for my family right now.

I forget how important it is that I'm available to drive Topher to school - a good school, in a different neighbourhood.  I'm free to volunteer in his class or on field trips if that's what I want to do.

I forget how important it is that I spend my mornings with Ellie.  Of course most of that time is spent driving her Paw Patrol pups from one room to another, or zipping them down the waterside into her Barbie pool - but we have lots of fun no matter what we're doing!

I forget how important it is that I'm able to cook for my family every single day - and that we're able to sit down at the table and eat as a family, without me skipping out early to start work in my corner-of-the-kitchen office.

I forget how important it is that I can coach Topher's soccer team, if I want to.  Last year I had to book those days off - and almost missed one game because it got switched to a different day.

And I forget how important it is that I read the kids their bedtime stories and tuck them in at the end of the day, after two years of relinquishing the task to my husband.

Why do I need to remind myself what a privilege this is?

This is exactly where I want to be ...

And being here is okay.

Keep Me Small


Every January I try to come up with one little word - a theme, if you will - to represent the upcoming year.

And every February it completely slips my mind.

By the time December rolls around, when I'm flipping through the pages of my journal and scrolling through blog posts, reviewing the year, I feel like a failure.

So this year I'm trying something different.

My one little word is actually the theme of the last few months of 2015:  SMALL.

"These days I'm careful not to colour the world "small" in negative shades, as if it were something to run from or escape.  I want to start small because I'm human and dependent, not in hopes that my small will grow into something bigger.  Jesus will give me the grace to stay there even when it hurts and even when it's hard.  I want to stay small in his presence, not because I'm scared, but because I'm his.  I want this to be a relief rather than a frustration.  Small things don't always turn into big things.  But all big things begin small, especially in the Kingdom of God."  (Simply Tuesday, Emily P. Freeman).

Joy in the Ordinary

Today I'm over at A Little Light - an online network for Canadian Christian women - sharing my story about how I find joy in the ordinary.


Last night I was cleaning up the kitchen while my children played at the table.  I had brought the Christmas boxes in from the storage room and the first thing I unpacked was our nativity scene.  They immediately got to work setting it up, lining up the fences, arranging the animals just so, and moving Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus inside the stable to keep warm.  My two-year-old daughter placed the angel in its spot on the roof of the stable, pressing the button so the sound of joyful music filled the room. 

These are the moments I miss when I am busy.  

And Christmas is a very, very, VERY busy time for my little family .... 

Continue reading here.

Just a Mom


It started with the naughty chair.

I don’t remember what crime she committed – hitting her brother, maybe, or throwing a toy at the dog’s head. She sat there, staring at the wall, kicking her legs back and forth, back and forth. She didn’t say a word until I knelt down in front of her, ready to release her from captivity. Then she glared up at me, a 22 lb bundle of rage. “I no like you, Mommy,” she said.

I got up and walked away.


I remember a similar conversation with my own mother, more than fifteen years ago. We were sitting at the kitchen table, having a heated discussion about where I was going to apply for university. I wanted to go to either Kemptville or Olds – the only two schools in the country that offered certification in Equine Science. My parents wanted me to pursue a “more reasonable” degree – science, preferably, or engineering.  “You have the grades to do whatever you want to do, to go anywhere,” my mother said. “I know!” was my teenage response. “I have the grades. I got here myselfI should be the one to choose where I go to school – you did nothing.”

My mother got up and walked away.


I grew up in a one-paperboy town. Granted, that paperboy did on occasion complete his route on his riding lawnmower - but you get the idea.  It was a small town!  My father grew up in that same small town and my mother moved there from a similar, even smaller town when she got married. My father dropped out of university to help run the family business, my mother finished her education degree and taught for a few years at the college level before deciding to stay at home with her children.

I’m not sure if my parents were unhappy with their lives or if they just wanted more for the three of us, but from a young age I felt pushed to do better. I was under constant pressure to do well in school, to study hard, and to get good grades. Scholarships were my ticket out of that small town and out of that life.

I remember wanting more. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, but I knew that I didn’t want that life for myself; I wanted more.

At first I gave in to my parents’ wishes and studied economics. I worked hard and I got good grades - but those were empty accomplishments. I wanted to do something big. I wanted to change the world!

So I immersed myself in ministry, combining my love for horses and my passion for youth in a position on a ranch for inner-city kids. It was the hardest job I have ever had - but also the most rewarding.

Two years later I was working my way through a youth ministry degree and interning at a local church, where I met Nathan.

And real life set in. Marriage meant a break from Bible college, a mortgage meant I needed a real job, with consistent pay - and kids meant youth ministry – though still a passion – got put on hold.


I never wanted to be a stay at home mom until the moment I held Topher in my arms.


I’ve done it all over the past five years: I’ve worked part-time. I’ve worked full-time. I’ve been on maternity leave, not working at all. I started my own business and worked from home.

I burned out, and I crashed.


Last month I ended my steady contract job and became just a mom.

It was a relief – but it was also a lot harder than I expected. I had no idea so much of my identity was wrapped up in being more! I’ve spent hours researching new business opportunities and potential clients, clinging to that version of myself.

Why? I had no passion for my job and no real desire to continue. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted, but without it I had no idea who I was.

I still want to do something big, I still want to change the world – but I don’t want more.

I just want to be a mom.

Like my mom was.

Because I know now that she was more than just a mom: She was a teacher, an encourager, a writer, an entrepreneur, a chauffeur, a referee, a chef, a confidante, and a friend. She pushed me to do better – but I’m not sure it’s possible to do better than she did. After all, she raised three daughters – all of whom went on to pursue higher education, and all of whom ultimately decided there is more to life than the world’s idea of success.

Honestly, sometimes it doesn’t feel like what I’m doing is all that important.

Sometimes I fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day and yet I feel like I have accomplished nothing.  The sink is full of sippy cups, the couch is littered with puzzle pieces and cracker crumbs, and every surface is piled high with some form of children’s artwork.

It’s not at all how I pictured my life, fifteen years ago; it’s better.

I may be “just a mom”, but I am doing something big, and I am changing the world – one ordinary day at a time.



I nearly died at Walmart yesterday.

The "bad cold" I've been fighting for the past couple of weeks turned into a "bad cough" over the weekend, and since then it's been a struggle to get much of anything done without causing a coughing fit.

I was feeling better yesterday so I decided to attempt grocery shopping after dropping Topher off at school.

It started out fine - we were actually almost done, with three more rows to go, when the coughing started.

I couldn't catch my breath.

I was coughing and coughing and coughing, bent over the shopping cart, then kneeling on the ground, gasping for air.

And nobody seemed to notice.

My concerned two-year-old was patting my hand, saying "You okay, Mommy?  You okay? You need cough drop, Mommy?"

I could see people out of the corner of my eye, other shoppers, reaching around me for their Kraft Dinner and their stewed tomatoes - while I struggled to breathe.

It's not like it wasn't obvious, either.  I mean, coughing?  Doubled over on the ground?  Gasping for air?  I even gave up trying to be polite and coughing into my elbow in favour of clutching my throat so people would know I couldn't breathe.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (but was actually only a couple of minutes) one Walmart employee (out of three who were stocking in the row I was in) abandoned his post to see if I was okay.  He offered to get me some water, and while he was gone I was finally able to stop coughing long enough to get a couple of deep breaths of air into my lungs - and it was over.  I walked slowly, and sipped my water carefully, willing my lungs to behave at least until we got home.

I have no idea how many people heard me coughing and chose to walk by that row.  I don't know how many people pushed their carts past mine while I was struggling to breathe, looking away, reaching for pantry staples instead of reaching out to help.

And it's got me thinking:

How many times do we do that?

How many times do we walk past someone obviously in need - and look the other way?

And why?

Because we're too busy?

... Or because we're afraid?

And if we are afraid, what are we so afraid of?

Open my eyes, Lord.  Help me to see people in need.  Inconvenience me.  Interrupt me, if that's what it takes.  People are more important than anything else in this world - and I want to live like I believe it.

The First Day


I knew how it was going to go down.  I had prepared myself weeks in advance.

There would be tears and there would be tantrums, and if it was anything like last year his teacher would peel him from my legs and restrain my kicking and screaming son while I left.

I would walk down the hall to the sound of his cries, choking back tears of my own.

"He'll be fine," I would tell myself.

I knew he would be.

But that's not how it happened.

We walked him to his classroom and helped him hang up his backpack and find his cubby. Nathan (who I had begged to take the day off, "just in case"!)  held Topher's hand as he spun around us in circles.

Then it was time.

We each gave him a hug and a kiss, squished together for one last family hug -

And that was it.

Topher ran off to line up with his class.

With one final wave, he was gone.

Off to kindergarten.

No tears.

No tantrums.

Just a brave little boy, ready to face the adventure of growing up.

I was surprised - and a little bit saddened! - by his independence ...

But isn't that what we want for our kids?

When I strapped Ellie into her carseat I heard a little sniffle.  "Are you okay?" I asked, peering into her face.  Through the shadows I saw a single tear trickle down her cheek.  "I miss Topher," was her wobbly response.

Me too, babe.  Me too.

On Being Brave


The photo above popped up on a friend's Facebook feed earlier this week and the words have been stuck in my head ever since.

I haven't been writing much lately.  

I blame work.  I want to write - I love to write! - but it's so much easier to push the job I love (that earns me pennies) to the side to concentrate on the job that earns me a living.

I blame my to-do list.  I can't stand a messy house so instead of using Topher's hour of Quiet Time to write, I spend it cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing the floor, or purging the hall closet.

Sometimes I even blame the kids.  On the rare occasion that I actually have an evening off, I'm too tired.  Our days are full and my brain is completely fried by the time I've tucked them in for the sixteenth time.  I don't want to think about anything at that point so I crash on the couch in front of the TV.

I do have to work, I do have to keep my house somewhat tidy, and I love spending time with my kids -

So I can't blame those things.

The truth of the matter is that I am my own biggest obstacle.

I'm afraid to write.  

I'm afraid to be vulnerable.

I'm afraid to put myself out there.

I'm afraid of criticism and rejection.

I'm afraid of failure ...

And I'm afraid of change. 

I'm at the point where I need to get over myself and just jump in.

I need to be braver.



Make sure that the obstacle in your way isn't you.