The Bumbo

The bumbo, the seat that every parent are told that they “need”. Well in our house, it is most definitely needed. It is the site where discipline takes place – it’s the only place that Callum gets upset about being put in. Unfortunately, the bumbo is starting to be used more and more in our house.

Don’t get me wrong, I (well Mark and I) don’t enjoy disciplining our child but I know that it’s necessary and God-commanded. We want to obey God to the best of our abilities and that does mean that we need to teach Callum what is right and wrong.  Whatever discipline is used in our home, the backbone of discipline is love and obedience as parents. We are not perfect at disciplining but we strive to what God calls us to do.

The post isn’t going to be so much about discipline as you may think it will be but about God’s grace.

One day a friend of ours was talking about a situation that had occurred in his house. To make a long story short, one of their children had locked themselves into the laundry room (which was a no-no) and they were told they must come out. As the struggle between the mom and son continued, the son became more and more distraught knowing that once he came out of laundry room he most definitely would be getting disciplined. The mom’s following action’s shocked me as I know they are family that believes in disciplining their children. She showed him grace. Not only did she show her son grace in explaining that she was not going to discipline him once he came out but used it as an opportunity to explain God’s grace.

Wow, what an opportunity. What a perfect way to show a child an example of how God’s grace can work. I will say that the child was older and knew for a fact this was not the normal response to such behaviour. I have read books and spoken to other mom’s on how they approach discipline but I love this example. It was a reminder how we can use all situations to teach our children about the qualities of God, not only that he is a God that calls for obedience but He is a God of grace.

I want Callum to learn that not only does mom and dad love him regardless of his actions but that there can also be grace when he does things that he shouldn’t. I want him to be able to translate our actions as tangible examples of God’s grace. God’s grace being that we don’t always get what we deserve.

So, as I continue to teach Callum right and wrong, what’s safe and not safe, I hope that I will be able to teach him not only that God calls for obedience, but that God is a God of grace.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:16

 

All because of a caribou

It’s kinda funny how things can trigger different emotions, sometimes predictable and others not so much.  I was quite confused when we received a box in the mail with the letters WWF printed on the outside of the box. Mark and I hadn’t ordered anything from the World Wildlife Fund and I couldn’t think as to why we would receive a parcel from them.

img_2957-1

Callum checking out Carl the caribou.

When I opened the box, I was pleasantly shocked by what was inside. Some may think that the contents wouldn’t be considered “anything overly special” but when I saw it I burst into tears. Inside was a stuffed caribou and a paper stating a donation was made in our honour of my family to protect the caribou.

For those who don’t know me very well, may think that I am a bit crazy for getting emotional over such a gift. Well prior to becoming a momma, I worked in the federal government and one of my files over the years was working with the species at risk act-some of which time I spent specifically on the woodland caribou.

Since becoming a momma, I have sometimes struggled with what I am actually doing with my time and the impact of it. Unlike work, there is no recognition, no pay and no awards. There are tantrums, sleepless nights and food thrown on the floor during almost every meal. I will reiterate, I do have an amazing son and have little to really complain about but there are some days that are hard. 

I read the blogs that tell me what I am doing does matter and I know they are true but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I remember a momma of two young children saying to me “sometimes there are very few rewards in parenting”. Maybe she is right especially during this phase of baby and toddler-hood. Then I think, what happens if your children decide to not be a follower of Christ and do what they would like with their lives. What if they fall into the grasp of drugs and alcohol (this is where my paranoid mind goes)? Does that negate all that I’ve done as a mother?

So now what, is all that I am working for potentially worth nothing? Like some of my projects at work, will I labour in vain and have nothing come from my blood, sweat and tears?

No.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I have been blessed to be called a momma. I know that although the daily battles are real, I know that God will work it all for His good and His glory. It may mean I may not see the outcomes of my struggles in my lifetime and I must be okay with that. It’s all about God’s plans and HIS glory.

For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

 Romans 11:36

So mommas, don’t lose heart. Regardless of where you worked prior to being a momma, you must remember you were doing all things for Christ. This has not changed; the location, the management and goals/purposes may have have but the ultimate purpose of working for the glory of God has not. This is something that I have to remind myself everyday.

So I encourage you to pick up your daily cross and be prayer warriors for you and your family. We don’t know what God has in store for us and our families but if we are faithful, He too will be faithful.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Let them think

It has been quite awhile since I last wrote! The fall has been quite the whirlwind, all positive but very busy. This post has been on my heart and mind for sometime.  It steams from two different situations…

First Situation – A daughter of a close friends of ours gave her life to Jesus at a young age. Although they were happy about her decision they were also worried. They were worried that she had made the decision too early and had hoped she would have waited until she was a bit older.

Second Situation – A friend on Facebook liked a picture that read (or something to this effect as I can no longer find it)  ” Religious indoctrination of children should cease as of today. Allow their minds to be free to learn without bias.”

These situations came to shock me in some way;  how could a parent not be overjoyed with their children choosing to give their life to Jesus, and how someone thinks Christians indoctrinate their children to the point that they don’t have any opinions/thoughts for themselves.

I take my responsibility as a parent very seriously and these situations made me think more into how I would like to raise Callum. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the first time I’ve thought of this but these situations made me stop and think a bit.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I think these verses clearly state what God would like us to do with our children. He wants us to teach them about loving Him with every part of our being, in everything we do. I think the key word being diligent; it is something that every day as a parent I must work on. It must be shown to them in everything I do. That is an overwhelming task but at the same time, I know that Christ will help me do it. It is through simple things; reading to Callum from his children Bible, praying before meals, having Christian music playing throughout the day or during car rides, and the way I interact with him and others on a daily basis (to name a few simple examples). Our friends with the young daughter do this in their home and this is most likely why she has come to faith at such an early age. They taught her about God in a diligent matter and I know they will continue to do so in hopes that she continues to grow in her relationship with Christ. So even though there is some concern about the age in which she became a Christian I know she is in a great family that will feed her faith.

It can be so challenging to know how to speak into children’s live, or at least I have that problem. How do you develope age appropriate, teaching but engaging activities? Mark and I have been watching a series “It start at home” by Matt Chandler that give simple fun family activities to teach children about Christ. I would encourage you to look at some of these activities if you don’t know where to start.

That’s all fine and dandy until my second situation came up. I was really angered by the picture on Facebook but after some time cooling off I came to understand where they might be coming from. To be completely honest, that is one thing I am truly afraid of. I don’t want to “make” Callum a Christian.  I want it to be something HE decides for himself. A decision that HE makes, without any pressure from his family, friends and any other influences in his life. I will gladly teach him why I am a Christian, why I value my relationship with Christ, teach him about Christ and why I would be overjoyed if he made the decision to be a Christ follower like his parents. I have seen children and peers who have been pressured or “pointed” into becoming “Christians” and later on in life denounce the faith. That is the last thing I want for my son.

I want my house to be safe, where discussions are held, where different opinions are respected, and where discovery is allowed. I want Callum to ask hard questions, and to wrestle with the things in Christianity that do not make sense. I pray that he will be able to make that decision to be a Christ follower but then stand firm in that decision until the end. Some may feel this is indoctrination but I would like to politely disagree. My son will be allowed to think differently than myself (regardless if it breaks my heart).

So as I continue on this journey of parenthood, I pray that God will continue to guide Mark and I into raising a Godly son. I pray that we have the courage to raise him in this manner no matter what the world tells us.

Jude 1: 20-21

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

A Year of Grace

Friends, Family, Food and Faith. These four words sum up how I was able to “survive” my first year as a mother. This year has been a rollercoaster, it’s been full of very high highs, and very low lows, and of course the in-betweens. There are so many things that I am thankful for as God has been so gracious to me and my family. Throughout the year we have seen His grace and kindness through the simple words and acts of the many who are in our lives.

Friends. I have been blessed with a group of woman that I am honoured to call my sisters. These ladies have walked alongside me during this first year of motherhood and I couldn’t have been more blessed. Although most of them were hours, if not provinces away they were only a phone call or text away regardless the hour. They have listened when I needed an ear, they have spoken when I needed to be convicted and they have shown me compassion when I needed it the most. Although there were so many unknown during this first year as a mother, I knew without a doubt these ladies were cheering me on. Ladies, you know who you are and what you mean to me but I wanted to publicly thank you for coming alongside me when I needed you the most. I am so grateful God has placed each and every one of you in my life.

Food. I know, you probably laughed at this one but hear me out. Natural breastfeeding was not an option for me but miraculously I  was able to pump for a full year. Although I was an exclusive pumper, I was not able to supply all of Callum’s feeding demands. It may have been possible to met his demands if I kept up a pumping schedule that required me to pump every 2 to 3 hours but  I choose not to (my sanity and time with him trumped this schedule). I am grateful and proud that I was able to pump for Callum and provide him with the nutrients that breastmilk offers. As I had chosen not to pump around the clock, I can’t not emphasis my thankfulness for formula. Without it Callum wouldn’t be thriving and I wouldn’t be as sane as I am😉. I know formula has a bad reputation but it was created for instances when it is needed and I am a better mom because of it.

Family. I honestly don’t know how mother’s without family (whether biological or not) make it through motherhood. I can’t imagine being on this journey without the support of our families. Our families have joined us in the trenches and we are overwhelmingly indebted to them (not that we weren’t before but now more so then ever).  They have come alongside us in so many different ways, and they have have provided us with some many different things. This post would be pages long in order to list all those things they have done for us, so I’ll keep it at this length. I am thankful that God has allowed us to be raised in Godly families who are walking alongside as we strive to raise Callum in the same manner.

There is one family member that I want to give a special thanks to, my husband. They say that becoming a mother is one of the hardest thing but I also think that being a husband to a woman becoming a mother is up there. If we were to be completely honest, I think this year has been the most challenging in our marriage. We managed to have all of life’s biggest changes occurring in a couple months of each other; a new job, a move and a baby. Although it has been a hard year, he has been beside me every step of the way. I really couldn’t begin to thank him enough, he has reminded me of hope when I was at my lowest, he has overwhelmed with his patience and loved me when I didn’t deserve it. He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me. I’m so thankful that Callum’s middle name is his daddy’s and I pray that he will turn out the same, if not better than him.

Faith. This year has taught me so much. I think the greatest thing it has taught me more about God’s grace and blessings. Believe me, it took quite a few months and a lot of mistakes but I think I’m finally getting it. I will admit, those first few months after Callum arrived, I had forgotten and almost didn’t want to see God’s grace and blessings. I had allowed my vision to be clouded by the sleeplessness, recovery and overwhelming feeling of becoming a mother that I wasn’t able to see Him. It wasn’t until I picked up One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp did that clouded vision become clear again. This book reminded me that God’s grace and blessings don’t have to be seen in grand gestures but in the small gifts that he gives us. Whether it be the sound of the wind through the leaves, the dance of shadows across the floor or the toothy grin from my Mr. C.  It is through those small gifts that you are reminded that regardless the situation that you are engulfed in God’s loving embrace. If there’s one verse that would summarize my first year as a mother it is John 1:16.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:16

God has blessed my family more than I will ever comprehend or appreciate. Although it has been a hard year, it has been one filled with countless blessings. I pray for new mothers that they would look to find the small gestures that God has gifted us, and that we are given grace upon grace, hour upon hour, minute upon minute,  whether we deserve it or not. As I have one year down, I know that God will be with me for the many years to come.

Introducing Callumazoo Creations!

Logo

I am proud (and slightly nervous) to introduce you to Callumazoo Creations for which I am the owner and designer! Since becoming a momma, I wanted to have a project that I could do for myself while having some fun. I got the idea as Callum is quite the chewer and I was tired of him chewing on my things or things he shouldn’t. Callumazoo comes from a nickname I have for him and I thought it would be a cute name for a store.

Necklace designs are unique and/or inspired ranging from $18-25 in price. Beads are 100% toxic free, 100% food grade silicone, non-stick, odourless, and eco-friendly. Free from BPA, lead, PVC, mercury, phthalates and cadmium chewlery. The necklaces are made with a breakaway clasp. They are super easy to clean- simply wash with mild soap and water.

0453fe27b4fd3d95bb8467f3c8f2f6bc

To see my products, feel free to check out Callumazoo Creations!

A special thanks to Dave Poore for designing my logo and Mark Hauch for photo credit.

A Prayer from a Rescued Momma

 

I got to meet Sheila when I was volunteering with the youth at the MET. The first thing I thought was wow this lady is crazy (or craaaazzzzy as Sheila would say). Crazy in a good way of course, but crazy. The amount of joy that resonates from her is indescribable. Her excitement  and compassion as she lives her life loving and worshipping our God is contagious.   God has given her the ability to be joyful when in my opinion she has so many reasons to be resentful and angry at Him. Now don’t get me wrong, she has her bad days but she chooses to be joyful regardless. She really has shown me that even when life may be very hard, God is good all the time!

I hope that Sheila’s prayer will encourage you as you face difficulties that God may allow in your life and hold fast to the incredible joy that God has waiting for you.

Thank you SHEEEEEIIIILLLLAAA for sharing your story!1528709_10152054065591582_6880011551670541959_n.jpg


I will bow down toward Your Holy Temple and will praise Your Name for Your unfailing love and Your faithfulness, for You have so exalted Your solemn decree that it surpasses Your fame.

Psalm 138:2

Wow does not David state it so well on how wonderful and how huge our God is!!  I have written and rewritten, over the thoughts of what to share about my journey, my life so far.

When I look over my fifty years of life I am so humbled, thankful and blown away with how God has more than sustained me and provided for me and loved me.  WOW and Praise His Holy Name.  Thank you Lord for Being You and for being our/my Everything, even when we do not know.

I hope you do not mind but I am going to try to tell my story via a prayer and also use Psalm 81 as an offshoot.

Here we go…….

Psalm 81

1. Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! 2. Begin the music, strike the timbre, play the melodious harp and lyre.

For me I love to  give my whole being to worship my Heavenly Father, My Provider, My Comforter, My Protector with all that I have to give especially in my singing (even if it’s off key) and my un-bashful dancing!!!!  He is a Good and Mighty God All of the Time through every single second He is I AM!!  YESSSSSS HE IS!

10a. I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.

God called me to Him when I was quite young, I praise Him for that. I still remember the man that took me and my sister to church after my dad died and the Sunday school bus after him.

God carried me throughout of an unloving, destructive, scary, hurtful childhood.

God rescued me from an abusive, degrading, controlling, unhealthy relationship with a man that thought it was ok to use me and have me sell myself on the streets so he could use that money for his own longings, for his drug fix and alcohol use.

10b. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

Yes Father I am opening my mouth and my whole being wide because I want You, Lord God to keep filling me up with all Your Love, Goodness, Favour and all You have to offer.

11.“But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.

Father please always help me to hear and listen to You, I want to submit to You and to You alone Lord. I want to always follow Your Ways, I know I have failed to do so many times but please continue to guide and direct me.

13.“If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways,

14.how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!

Father I seek Your quick hand now to deal with my enemies especially at my current workplace.  Lord, help them to know Your ways and Your Love and work in their hearts, minds and attitudes.  Thank you Lord Jesus.

16. But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Well Father I have so much to be thankful for and I am grateful I can say thank you.  First and foremost I have YOU in my life and I am Your Daughter.  Yesssssssssss  How wonderful is that. Second, You honored me by allowing me to raise Your son, my boy is not the son of the man that used me and treated me unlovingly.  Thank you for helping me provide financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually in raising a God-Fearing, Caring, Compassionate, Go-Getter, Strong, Independent, Loving, respectful, giving young married man. Father when I look back on my life and where I am now, I am awe-struck.

I came from a very destructive, unhealthy and abusive, never knowing if we had a place to live or food to eat life to providing a loving, caring, and supportive home for my son. You gave me the strength to obtain my high school education in my twentys and show our son that it is important to keep You close and to trust in You always for everything.

Lord, thank you for making away for us to obtain a bank loan and giving me several jobs to send our son to school in the States where You provided the ohhh so much needed support of Christian men in our son’s life.  Thank you for allowing me to follow Your’s and our son’s leading with the schools in the US, where we knew no one.  Thank you for giving our son the will, the guts, the strength and determination to carry out a dream You placed in his heart.  Oh but before that thank you that You gave him a desire to want to play football in the NFL which brought him to finish not only high school he now has his bachelors degree in accounting and his masters in education.  Whooohooooo Can I get an Amen, Alleluiaaaaaaa.   God You are so Good All the Time.

Our son went for his dream and did not let the naysayers stop him or tear him down.  He continued to follow the dream You placed in his heart and he continued to follow Your lead and look at him now Lord God.  He is where You want him to be teaching and helping other young fatherless men in high school to become men of God and to follow their own dreams.  WOW. Oh I must not forget how You, Lord God made it possible for me to stop living in tiny and loud places while our son was obtaining his higher education, You gave me a very spacious, comfortable , peaceful home of my own.

Hmmmmmmmmm  So wonderful Thank you Thank you. Father I am also so grateful that You have helped me know that I was trafficked and for guiding me and leading me to groups where I can be of service and to help others that are in or have been in a horrific life.  Thank you for allowing me to be a big sister to the ladies.  Thank you for helping me be a prayer warrior to help make others aware and to be a part of the solution to stop this injustice.    Thank you for Free-Them, Fight 4 Freedom, Joy Smith FoundationLet Freedom Ring, Justice Summit and other groups that are educating us all and helping change the mindset of people, police, government, courts and seeing the ladies that are caught in this life are worthy and valuable and have so much to offer.

Not One but Eight

As I sat in my car in the Conestoga mall parking lot, I told God that I had come to accept the fact that my baby fat wasn’t disappearing at the rate I wanted it to but that I needed to buy clothes that actually fit. I prayed for humility and that I would actual buy the size I should. I also prayed that my shopping trip would be as painless as possible. So with confidence I walked into a store and started shopping.  And that is when it happened. That is when I saw not one but eight female models walking around the store picking out clothes they were going to be wearing at the upcoming fashion show (and yes I know this for a fact as I asked!). Like I’ve always said, God really does have a sense of humour.

There are many blog posts out there that speak to post baby bodies; how we should accept them, embrace them and love them. There are many blog posts that speak to the different diets, plans, and workouts that can help us get to a point where we are proud of what we look like or how we feel about ourselves. I don’t think these things are wrong but this isn’t why I am writing. Although physical fitness and ensuring we are happy with how our bodies are post baby, I think our spiritual fitness post baby is even more important.

Oh yes, I know you, the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life.

Ann Voskamp

 Ouch. Yes I will pause and let you read that again. It was a slap in the face for me when I read it.  I will be first to admit that my spiritual fitness pre-Callum wasn’t as healthy as it should have been. There was always something. Something I could have been doing, whether it was more “important” or something that I would choose to do rather than spending time with God. My spiritual health has been on my heart and mind lately as I try to tackle my physical health.

I know we are busy, momma or not, we are all busy. I also know that I want to be the best momma I can be but that means I need to start may day hand in hand with my biggest supporter, God. It is during those quiet times I am reminded that although it may be just Callum and I at home, He is beside me. It is during those quiet times I am reminded that love and patience should be on my heart as I head into a day when I am sleep deprived and slightly on edge (as Mark would say). It is during those times a verse is brought to my attention that will carry me throughout the day and/or week.Quotation-Ann-Voskamp-god-time-Meetville-Quotes-66548

As I work on my spiritual fitness there are a few things that have been helpful. Like physical fitness, it is a daily commitment. Every morning regardless of the night before I encourage myself to spend some quiet time with God. Sometimes it’s harder than others, and sometimes I legitimately can’t so I make time during the afternoon. I get encouragement and sometimes a gentle reminder from my husband that I need to have my quiet time with God. There are days when I completely fail or my quiet time is lacking in substance but as with exercising I just need to keep practicing daily. As a physical reminder, I write verses on a chalkboard that have impacted my heart in the heart of our home, the kitchen. I’m not perfect at this and everyday is a new chance to spend time with my God.

So as you mommas are starting your day I encourage you to make time for the God who made time. The impact to you and your families is incomprehensible.

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

1 Chronicles 16:11