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Fri Sept 6

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– baby and superman snuggled in my bed- poke!
– a nap snuggling with 2 of my littles!

– egg bread baskets, and one w a perfect sphere
– an army of dinosaurs all in a line on my deck

– baby stomping around the kitchen in his brother’s church shoes
– superman laying on the kitchen floor singing a little song and playing w my purse strap, instead of saying his prayers… ( he didn’t know I was watching him)
– a WAU reflection that was just perfect for my evening, and my life most days
– a wealth of awesome ideas for managing laundry

Sat Sept 7

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– walking to the field, a feather caught in the netting overhead
– a beautiful fall day

-everyone in bright orange
– boys in the dugout
– my oldest tugging a bag strap, sailing
– my big kid, at the tool of the fence looking out w the adults

– baby climbing the fence too
– baby kicking baseballs
– boys w ‘tubes’
– Daddy w his sunglasses

– baby sitting in Daddy’s lap, orange and deep green, fall photo perfection 🙂
-mmm pizza!
– 3 boys w pizza 🙂
– a bare scrawny tree against blue sky
– all the kids running on the dusty field
– superman chasing the other boys w the water gun
– baby’s floaty banana

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– a trip to the cemetery during the hour of mercy
– fall flowers reflected in the stone
– surprise: ‘Happy Birthday’ – a Tassimo
– standing up on my hill, praise music resounding over the world

– traveling musicians walking through the sobeys parking lot, strumming guitars
– a wedding party outside while I was driving; an opening to bring down God’s grace and love

Sun Sept 8, Happy Bday to me!

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– bday breakfast, and the perfect end to my time of fasting
– a little something just for me from DMIL
– my birthday best- a new pink and orange outfit 🙂

– superman, bringing me 2 leaves intertwined in grandma’s living room
– b-day brunch at mom’s -bruschetta, garlic potatoes, roast chicken, salad w pears and homemade chocolate cake 😀
-being treated as the guest of honor
– grandma the miracle worker: “I LOVE beans, yum yum!)

– baby up in the infant seat, up upon the couch
– baby in a cup!
– 9 candles on my cake
– a bright fascinating book on theology

– whiteboard reading lines to help my oldest remember how to treat others
– D looking at a book w baby
– DH’s buddy come upstairs to celebrate and enjoy a piece of cake with us 🙂
– 3 boys hiding in the corner w books
Instead of going to bed
– superman ‘hiding’ under the baby gate
– coffee maker all lit up on my counter

Mon Sept 9

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– Jammie pants to keep my arms warm
– God thought I should have a coffee maker this year!
– the verdict, it’s good, it’s a much stronger cup than the singles would make 🙂
– superman waving hi from our chalkboard

– my new coffee maker, it makes GOOD coffee!
– I’m thankful that mummy gave me my ironman shirt and clean underpants in my drawer! (T)
– I’m thankful that I got acrobatter a long time ago (j)

– lessons about respect when others are talking and raising our hands
-freedom to dismiss younger children for not listening so we can make sure my oldest gets through his work
– kids running free in the back yard- morning recess= exercise!
– turtle cloud
– the perfect Canadian fall book, M is for Maple

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– a mini lesson on fractions in baking
– eggs from DH’s friend downstairs, he saved our muffins!
– pumpkin batter ready to become baked goods
– pumpkin deliciousness!
– Greek salad w canned tomatoes lol
– all the boys in their truck driving to Texas
– burger steak time!

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– Dino dollhouse
– meaning in my toddler’s crankiness- he was too upset to even see me or take my hand, don’t we sometimes get like that, w God?
– guys wolfing down pumpkin muffins – ‘mmm they goophh’ 🙂

Tues Sept 10

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– glorious pink seeping across the blue
– the most magical orange puff clouds
– baby’s circle face

– that I get to wear the SAME outfit I weared yesterday (t)
– I am thankful I’m dressed for fall!
-free drawing time; superman car and gastly
– Superman’s rocket ship

– mummy likes recess! We all need the break 🙂
– walking them through the kids missal to help bring the mass to life
– yellow chalk windows!
– lunch almost ready, and it’s just after 12:30!

– a perfect solution to kids interrupting their parents when they’re talking to adults: thanks Lynn! “http://mismatchedandthriving.com/uncategorized/teaching-our-kids-respect-in-a-social-environment/”
– middle son counting the slots to put the silverware in their showers
– superman w his Crucifix and Jesus card, focusing for afternoon prayer

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– kids on the couch, just close by and funny
– grace wall- love for me on the wall

– 3 of us taking chalk to the buildings
– watching Superman’s long sweeping strokes, he’s quite the little Picasso 🙂
– playroom chalked!
– Superman at the easel, creating his own little masterpiece

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– a heavenly crown across the sky
– LOVE in the clouds
-Walking w my Lord: ‘the man of sorrows and His long troubled road’
I was struck by how rough it was where He was walking: His way was soo broken, and mine so smooth! And this was the way He chose for it to be! Such amazing Grace!
-encounter; -spirit given interactions w people will NEVER cease to blow me away!

– a surprise gift from Alberta, I have an awesome SIL
– DH and his friend, taking the boys for a bike ride
– opportunity to just keep sharing and loving a fellow SUMite, whether or not I get anything out of the exchange…
-Superman in feety pyjamas, snuggled up w Smudge saying his prayers

Wed Sept 11

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– pikachu perched on Superman’s knees
– the boys in their pew, snuggling heather and following w the Mass book, they both got so much more out of it and were astronomically more well behaved.
– 2 littles kneeling before Jesus in the monstrance
– baby, now shirtless walking around the chapel ( I was half way through my decade and he wasn’t being overly disruptive w it, so I let it go

– dinosaur sponge capsules
– little boys watching their glasses, patiently waiting for their Dinos to hatch
– Superman and baby, stirring the Dino capsule together
– a little red Dino, peeking out of the top of the glass
– First initial garlic toast w chicken
-buttery graham crumbs and melted chocolate
– having pulled out the exact number of graham cracker halves to fit around the pan

– Baby stalking past us saying afternoon prayer, growling like a funny bird or baby dinosaur!

– strawberries that need to be eaten up and a bowl of leftover melted chocolate 🙂
– Superman w his fossil he found under the deck

– my big kid flying over the couch
– baby couch potato
– pasta shells in the bottom of the pot like fossils
– kids cleaning- yelling praise lyrics at the top of their lungs
– a Word Among Us reflection w the boys; as part of our bedtime routine just before going to sleep the boys remembering all the good things God has done, thinking on all the ways they’ve felt His love 🙂

Thurs Sept 12

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– two earlybirds snuggled on the couch
– the freshness from the rain through the open window
– birthday love, and words of truth: you only live once but if you do it right once is enough 🙂
– surprise oatmeal
– 3 eggs in an oatmeal nest
– teeny tiny sugar dinosaurs
– hatchlings still w bits of shell
– Dinosaurs in our oatmeal

– rain from heaven, pouring heavier and heavier as I said my prayers
– baby’s little hand on his head for O Canada

-I’m thankful for the dinosaur oatmeal, and that u don’t have to go outside in the rain (t)
– I’m thankful for the dinosaur sponges today (j)

– Dino school wall
– a simple list of school rules
– dinosaurs around the globe, a geography lesson
– and introducing compass directions too!
– boy’s stirring dinosaurs again
– ice dinosaurs! – walking w dinosaurs, spirit of the ice forest

– “not THIS time you baby brother!” – T

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– my oldest reading out the creed while he waits for his brother to come back for prayer
-Boys snuggling w books
-my oldest on his biking, wearing daddy’s shirt
– tricycle boots going whee over the leaves, feet up

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– Indian food for dinner, even though it was almost half an hour after they closed, God, made it happen!!
– moose gifts :
– the black silhouette of the photographer against the bright lights, crouching for the perfect shot
– season home opening ceremonies, ( w a bang) ??
– returning veterans and banners
– baby watching it all so intently
– Ladies and gentlemen, the 2nd intermission zamboni driver: the memorial cup!
– the best typo, ‘god for you’ Lord, you’re so funny sometimes 🙂
– baby crawling under the seats to sneak popcorn

– rainbow cushions 🙂
– baby walking grandma to the car

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I thought I’d do something a little different this week. It’s a combination of having a cold, not having a lot of different things to write about, having posted hardly any gifts since December and not having a lot of mental energy to produce a neat finished post (when there are still 3 or 4 weekly posts in the works). So, I have decided to post a selection of this week’s gifts, (which do help encapsualte some of what we’ve been up to anyway.)

1. Friday

PICTURE
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The little one, stretching and squealing with delight while banging on the door.
Confidently teaching my kids about the trinity and the Holy Spirit – and them actually learning something!
Fallen leaves caught by the railing.
Baby perched in daddy’s lap, being entertained with a monkey.

2. Saturday
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Feeling the sun come out as I lifted praise to the Lord.
The backseat loaded with 2 babies.
The blessing of sharing a deep wound in my heart, my best friend’s validation and understanding, and her words of wisdom.
My best friend and I sitting in my car together, nursing our babies

Morning glory burst open – splendor on a wall.
Fluffy feather tufts dancing in the wind.
A garden porch in autumn.
The childlike wonder at discovering ever more unseen paths.
My little one exploring the garden for himself.

Spending the afternoon with my best friend and her baby.
The gift of TIME with her.
HS, to guide our conversation and Grace to let go of control and accept the many situations that came.
Sharing our dreams and our lives all the way home.

3. Sunday
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Personal conviction. My friend’s words still echoed next morning, ‘You have to understand you are going to lose friends over your faith. So, you have to decide for yourself, that what you have is worth that.’ This is the path I’ve chosen, I choose. (faith, Jesus, obedience, lay down my life, God’s heart ) It’s time for me to take it more seriously, to grab it by the horns so to speak – It’s time for me to OWN this decision! (thank you hon!)

Branches bare, stretched to the heavens.
That moment when I ‘couldn’t help but open my hands to the heavens’.

My children literally running circles around me before communion.
A perfect fall brunch: fish cakes with quince and ginger chutney.
Grace to establish, bit by bit, life-giving habits.
Fall decor – our lent crosses against a background of vibrant leaves.
My kids going to work on a Sunday.
Rest, family and Extreme Mountain Biking; Hanging out with DH on the couch to watch the Red Bull Rampage.

4. Monday
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A sunny perfect thanksgiving with fall colors all around.
Daddy and his boys watching 4 yr old shredder – a video of a little boy and his dad downhill riding.
Holy gratitude in the hearts of my friends.

5. Tuesday
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This cold, You birthing grace, grace that is very much needed for this journey, graces won and stored up for my loved ones.
My oldest looking very holy in a blankie head scarf.
Worship in the midst of the family living room.

6. Wednesday
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Grace in a morsel of bread; the Lord’s gift of Himself right when I need it (my help comes from the Lord).
Clicking rosary beads in the adoration chapel.
Waves of Your presence washing over me, here before the blessed sacrament.

7. Thursday
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Bare branches against pale grey blue winter sky.
Waking to the glory above me; watching God paint clouds and color across the sky.
The light of God spreading to the whole sky.
Falling often committing little sins; I’m too busy fighting them to get caught up in the big ones.
Gaps in the clouds, windows into the heavens: The clouds seek to obscure your glory, but its still there.

Morning rosary cuddles.
A clean house, and the help to make time and have the motivation to do it.
Leading discovery and all the people that came out for the first night.
Witnessing people begin to discover how much God loves them.
Marveling at how God is using me! As an Aaron to a Moses! Me, who could never speak to groups or crowds, until CC and the Holy Spirit stepped in.
A surprising name-dropping of the Almighty in conversation by DH.

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Mar 24

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I’ve maintained for a while that my favourite season is autumn; as soon as I see the first sign of changing leaves I happily go into fall mode: I pull out fuzzy sweaters and long pants, orange, brown, and deep purples, blues and greens. I think about the whole back to school aspect and starting something new. I eat lots of apples and sweet potato and cinnamon. I look forward to the changing leaves and the pumpkins and halloween.

However, this year I found myself equally excited for the first snow. I loved winter and everything that came with it. I loved putting on fuzzy mittens and hats, playing and walking in the snow, cozying up with warm drinks, and looking forward to all things CHRISTMAS!!! I was just WAITING for that first snow so I could start decorating!

I remember now how I always feel that excitement for the first snow as well, and I realized that what I really love is the changing of the seasons. They are neatly spaced out throughout the year here; 4 distinct seasons, roughly 3 months for each. And each one has it’s own weather, food and activities. And outfits! It keeps things fresh and new. Just when I start to get tired of the current season, God steps in and changes it up. And with each new season I come alive!

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Summer

Summer is sandals and dresses and bright colors. It’s bare feet and soft grass and warm sand and sunscreen. It’s days spent at the beach or the cottage and long summer nights talking with friends or family. It’s days that go on forever, stretching late into the evening and lazy mornings-or early mornings and yard sales. It’s doing nothing or going on a new adventure. It’s cold fruity drinks, juicy fruits and fresh crisp salads. It’s french fries and popsicles and ice cream. It’s burgers and chicken and anything done on a barbecue. It’s the sheer joy and wonder of a perfect day. It’s when I feel most alive, surrounded by nature it is easiest to live in the moment and to be my true self. Burdens are that little bit lighter, life is that little bit sweeter. There is something magic about summer.
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Fall

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Winter

Winter is more quiet. The air has a certain stillness, even when it’s full of spiraling snowflakes. It’s like the world is asleep, covered in a pristine blanket of ice and snow. Our cheeks are rosy, our hands snug in fluffy mittens, as we bundle up against the cold. We shiver when we go out, and savor the breath of warmth when we come in from the wind. We cozy up indoors with warm drinks while storms blow outside and we light candles when the power goes out. We see the world through frosted windows. We stroll through fluffy snowflakes. We go skiing and sledding and make imperfect snowmen. We pick out the perfect tree, and fill our homes with all sorts of delicious smells. We fold and tape colored paper around boxes, and breathe with new hope as a baby is born in a stable. We savor the stillness of a winter night. We snuggle up with a warm cup of cocoa. We indulge in comfort food; meat and potatoes, hearty soups, pasta and cheese. And bread pudding! And it’s Hockey Season, so we get to cheer on our favorite team!
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Spring

And then there is spring. Almost overnight the snow seems to disappear for good and suddenly everything springs to life. The days are not quite as cold so out come the skirts and cute shoes, which I always end up wearing before it’s quite warm enough. Then follows what seems to be a month of rainy days spent inside while looking longingly out the window, or outside with boots and umbrellas, splashing in puddles until eventually the flowers bloom. There’s also the sweet simple joy of Easter and of pastel colored chocolate eggs. And every drop of sunshine is full of the promise of summer to come.
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For me, the weather determines the current season, not the calendar, so I happily profess to be in the next season, long before the calendar, or my husband will agree! However, this year mother nature got it just a bit mixed up! I did NOT profess to be in Summer from March 22rd on, but I do feel that it is summer mow, even though today is rainy and a bit cooler.

I think if I ever had to move away, the biggest thing I would miss would be the rhythm of the changing seasons.

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1h and 20 min till the list closes. I’m am GOING to make it!

I will still have to add in the photos and some more content, but with the one liner quick takes to be expanded later, I can make the deadline! I think I’ll try to employ this in the future, to write 1 proper sentence for each so I cna get them up quickly.

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1. Ugh, I’m not sure what happened, but the bulk of my routine is really not happening lately. I still have my short morning prayer time, whether the kids are asleep or not, but there have been days when it seemed I couldn’t get to it until well into the day. The same has been happening with making food, planning has dropped off and I’m left wondering what on earth to have for supper again. Part of it is that the kids have been sick. Part of it is that I have been sick. I think the biggest problem is that I stopped getting up early (it’s on my Lenten resolutions agh!) It’s so easy to lose 30 min to an hour of a day that is already too short, by failing to successfully drag myself out of bed at the appointed time ( roughly when I hear dh leave).

I read this about weekly planning in last week’s CD Quick Takes post:

“One thing that has been a huge help in this department is doing a big weekly planning session on the weekends. No matter how crazy our weekend is, I do not let the week begin until I’ve planned our dinners, made a grocery store list, written up my calendar for the week, and made my to-do list. When I do that, I can usually stay ahead of the curve.”

Maybe planning each morning just doesn’t work for me, and this might be a better approach, than a plan as you go. Weekends are busy though, so it might be too big an undertaking… Something to think aobut.

2. This week I read a long document concerning the Holy Souls in purgatory. Before reading this I had only encountered the idea of praying for them from the one day they are assigned in the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
I found this basic explanation of the Holy Souls very informative: ‘The Holy Souls in Purgatory are not able to pray for themselves or do anything at all to relieve their suffering: They rely on our prayers and efforts to help them. It is permissible to believe that they can pray for their benefactors.’ So it makes sense to pray for them and ask for their prayers in return, one person explained how they entrust their worries and petitions to the holy souls before they go to sleep, then the Holy Souls will pray for them, while they sleep.

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It also then makes sense to me, to pray to them for the little intentions I come across as I’m reading pro-life articles etc. By simply praying a Hail Mary for the intention I am hopefully helping the cause and people in the article, but by praying for the Holy Souls instead and asking them to pray for the intention, I’m not only helping them out, but it may also mean the actual cause gets more prayers in the long run and thus helps even more.

This line has really stuck with me, ‘To the Holy Souls in Purgatory, the people still living on this earth are like millionaires.’ The people on earth have access to God’s grace and spiritual treasures and the merits of the Lord’s passion to ask for mercy etc, things the Holy Souls are deprived of. It really drove home the plight of those in purgatory, and ever since I’ve been trying to pray the St Gertrude prayer for them several times a day. At first it felt almost occult getting into this stuff and a bit morbid to pray for them – but then I remembered, these souls are HOLY! They are on their way to being saints in heaven, and the stigma has gradually melted away.

In my research I also came across St Therese’s doctrine on purgatory, which states that we shouldn’t have to go there. This is completely contrary to what I was taught, but she IS considered one of the doctors of the church and as I read more about the trials of purgatory, I want very much to believe she is right.

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She explains that people wind up there because they think they will, when it should really only be a safety net for those who have wasted their time on earth and would have gone to Hell.

“An infinite number of souls who suffer in Purgatory and for whom the Church prays daily after consecration did not need to go there. If we think in human terms,God does not wish for us to need Purgatory. God does not put us here on earth, where we are tested and are suffering after the fall, only to let us suffer again–andmuch worse–in Purgatory. Everyone receives enough graces in order to go straight to God after passing the trials on earth. However, Purgatory is an emergency entry to Heaven for those who have wasted their time. However, what God considered theexception became the rule, and the rule–to go straight to heaven–became the exception.”

“Since God does not really want Purgatory, He does not want it for me either! But then I also have to not want it! Nobody would expose themselves to the danger of Purgatory by living a mediocre and–as is the case so often today–a sinful life. If they only thought of the intense sufferings in Purgatory. In this regard, the mystics unanimously say that the least suffering in Purgatory is much greater than the greatest suffering here on earth! The reason for this is that once in Purgatory, one does not go through the time of God’s Mercy but of God’s Justice. Here, the Lord’s word applies: “1 tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last copper’ (Lk 12:59). The many who carelessly say, “I will probably spend some time there,” are gravely wrong. Nobody just spends some time there, one has to suffer there like one has never suffered nor could have suffered while on earth. One often even suffers a long time there also. If the Poor Souls in Purgatory had known on earth what to expect in eternity, Purgatory would have remained empty.”

In fact she is so bold as to say that believing we have to go to purgatory is actually an affront God’s mercy:
“You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory.

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The question of whether Heaven will follow right after death is a question of trust. God does not need our merits in order to take us straight to Him but He needs all of our trust. Or the other way around–it is not -our sins that can prevent God from giving us this grace but rather our lack of trust. Therefore, we must draw the conclusion that everything depends solely on trust. There is no trust without perfect love. And vice versa, there is no love without trust.

-Last week Focus on the family had a program ‘for the men of God and the women who love them.’ Since my husband is basically an atheist, I didn’t think I’d get much out of it, but because I’m trying to tune in to EVERY focus on the family broadcast, I made sure to listen to it (even though I had missed it live). Boy am I glad I did.

They were talking to Tony Evans, author of the book, Kingdom Man.

He was bang on when it comes to engaging the culture:

“What you have to understand, is that’s part of the price of a commitment to Christ. Those who live Godly in Christ Jeusus are going to suffer. So you have to understand that you don’t go into a football game saying ‘well, I don’t think I want to play becuase I’m going to get hit’- that’s the nature of the game, you gonna get hit– so let’s accept that. But you can know you’re gonna get hit and still plan to win.

One of the reasons that the culture has declined is not because of the unrighteous people, it’s that the righteous people are nowhere to be found, except in church, where the world is not. Until we’re willing to go public, until we’re willing to be salt and light.. Did you know God was going to save Sodom and Ghomorra from the destruction if Abbraham could have found 10 men? It was because Abraham couldn’t find 10, that Sodom and Ghomorra was destroyed. Our culture is falling apart because God’s people are playing hide and seek, and are not overtly Christian like the other groups are overt. Everybody else is coming out of the closet, we might as well come out too! I mean it’s time to go public and not have this private Christianity that allows the enemy to control the discussion. Of course, the spirit in which you do it, has to be compassion and love, but it ought to be clear and not ambivalent.”

I have some more of Tony Evans’ powerful message in a post here.

This guy is a motivator, talk about empowerment! I want to be a Kingdom Woman!

3. Now HERE’S some Kingdom women!

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A lot of my time has bent trying to follow and catch up on the Back to Life Walk. This is a movement near and dear to my heart. 39 women, one for each year of legal abortion, are walking from the Nation’s largest abortion clinic in Houston to the courthouse in Dallas where Roe V Wade was born.

They’re doing like 5 – 6 hours of straight walking each day. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I once walked home from school when I forgot my bus pass and it took me 2.5 hours and by the end I was exhausted, so I can only imagine what it’s taking out of these women.

This is what I call girl power!
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And each of them has a story to tell. This was one of the first testimonies and she is just so real and honest, it was almost as if she was standing in front of me in person sharing her story. Well worth a watch:

They broadcast 3 live streams each day about where they are and why they chose to walk and what God is doing. The wisdom and personal testimony is excellent.

Some wise words from the video streams:

-The same God who ended slavery is the same God we have today! We believe we will see the end of abortion!

-These babies are dreams in God’s heart!

-Abortion is like the fig leaf to cover the sin in the church

-We need to awaken church of America to God’s truth on issue of abortion. That’s just a social issue. That’s just a political issue. Many believers even in the church believe that it’s a political issue. It is not a political issue! It is a spiritual issue, that is breaking the heart of God, that is fueling the demonization of an entire nation.

-Abortion, IS a spiritual issue! It’s not just a social fix for a simple problem. It’s an attack from Satan the enemy of our soul because every human being, every precious baby is created in the very image of God and the enemy hates the image of God and he hates life.

-We’ve all messed up, we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God, so we thank the Lord for Jesus , who washes us as we repent and receive his forgiveness, and then the cool thing is He doesn’t just leave us there, if we allow him to, He will redeem what the enemy thought that he stole from you and from me!

-That when a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, the church would be there with open arms saying, ‘come on, there’s healing, there’s redemption!’

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They have all the previous feeds archived on the website as well, so everyone can catch up, and they post each day’s main prayer focus so that others can pray along with them. I only had the chance to pray with them once so far, but it was a beautiful journey through scripture and it gave me some new ideas and angles from which to pray for Life:

-We repent on behalf of our nation for allowing murder of millions of babies each year rather than giving up our sexual sins.

– Praying with Scripture
Praise the Lord Who makes us slaves to righteousness, leading to holiness; making us instruments for noble purposes.
Romans 6:16: Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Repent for allowing millions of murders of babies each year, rather than give up our sexual sins.
Romans 1:22-25: Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
Romans 1:28-29: And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips,

A former Ms Oklahoma reflecting on the sexual immorality in our culture:

4.
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Last week at the local university there was an event called The Porn Effect, a talk by former porn producer Donny Pauling on why he left the industry and the harm it causes. So, on friday night I went to his talk WITH my husband.
I was so surprised when I asked him and after learning that it was free he agreed to go. I didn’t even do anything to convince him!

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It was a very powerful talk, this guy has so many real stories to share. The best part for me was when he read a letter written by his ex-wife to another woman who’s husband engages in pornography. This side of the issue is so rarely addressed.

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I was so grateful to have my husband sitting next to me to hear it because I think he now has a better understanding of why I’m so against our boys being exposed to it.

5. On Friday we went to my son’s little buddy’s house for a Meetup St Patrick’s Day playdate.
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This is the same mom as had the valentine’s playdate and once again, she didn’t disappoint. The house was full of leprechauns and shamrocks and green, and she had a rainbow fruit tray complete with a pot of gold chocolate coins for a snack. There were lots of kids running around, almost all in green and it was a lot of fun-what I got to experience of it.

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Since having the baby I find that at these playdates there is so much going on and I am so busy tending to the needs of 3 little ones that I hardly have time to take pictures or to talk and get to know the other moms. Of course the other mom’s only have 1, maybe two kids. It’s frustrating that that time feels so chaotic but of course ‘this too shall pass’.

Here’s what I did capture:
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6. Nothing says summer like March in Nova Scotia! #sarcasm #insaneweather (I don’t do twitter, but I’ve seen enough tweets on fb that I am starting to think that way!) Thursday was a weird day. We’d been having some warmer spring-like weather and then all of a sudden on Thursday it felt like mid august! I had to dig out the sunscreen!

What. .. is …  going… on?!?

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7. This week I found out how to tweak the f number for the aperture on my camera! Actually, my DH is the one who first did it. He just got a new bike about a week ago and he’s very taken with it. He will actually admit that my camera does take much better pictures so whenever he has a new bike to show off, he asks to borrow it. I warned him he’d probably have a bit of trouble because it was in manual mode but he said he’s figure it out. Some of his photos are far too bright but most of them actually came out ok. When he came back in and I asked how the camera was working for him he showed me he put it in auto. Well – sort of. There was an ‘A’ right next to the manual ‘M’ so he turned it to that. I showed him that ‘auto’ was on the opposite side of the dial. Then I hit the info button, to find out what setting the camera was in: huzzah! Aperture priority. Aperture means f-number and that’s the next thing I wanted to start experimenting with, but I didn’t know where it was before, nor did I think I could easily lay my hands on the camera manual.
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I practiced while Daddy got the bikes out.
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This setting is GREAT! Since the main focus is tweaking the aperture, the shutter speed is set to auto – but unlike the basic camera auto the pictures come out much brighter and crisper. I do have to get used to focusing on the object with the light level that I want for the photo again, but it is letting me snap a decent photo in one go instead of having to tweak and tweak the shutter over and over or forgetting to check it and getting photos that are horribly over or under exposed. Also, I noticed that if I stand closer to my subject instead of zooming in it makes a much better photo. I realize that it is an auto setting, but it is so much more powerful that I really think it’s where I want to stick for a while. Besides, I still haven’t figured any other way to tweak the f-stop.

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Yesss! Better late than never! 4 min to spare.. 😮

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Summer in March!?

Nothing says summer like March in Nova Scotia! #sarcasm, #insaneweather (I don’t do twitter, but I’ve seen enough tweets on fb that I am starting to think that way!)

Thursday was a weird day. We’d been having some warmer spring-like weather and then all of a sudden on Thursday it felt like mid august!

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The ground was still full of water and mud from the melting frost etc and yet we were out in t-shirts and I felt like it was even too hot to be in the backyard! I had to hunt for the sunscreen because I was afraid the kids would get burnt under the hot sun.

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And yet, despite the insane heat, I still found a sizeable chunk of ice underneath our plastic sandbox. How that much ice could survive in those temperatures, I will never know.
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Counting Coins is thirsty work in this heat!
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That evening I had a friend over and we ate dinner out on the deck. Then we had some good old fashioned street party type fun with the neighbours down the street, and I finally gave them their Christmas card.
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Nothing says Nova Scotia like summer in March.

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Hmm, it’s been a rather busy week, I actually have less to write about than usual so I can finally include a couple links that I’ve been wanting to share 🙂

1 This week I finished up an old Focus on the Family broadcast and at the end they stressed the importance of hearing from their listeners about their struggles. So, I decided to write them a letter explaining my life and what I struggle with, namely an unbelieving spouse. I was touched to receive back a personal letter by email, which not only let me know I wasn’t alone, but also provided some actual resources including a section of their website with 4 or 5 articles. There’s also a book that looks really helpful, ‘When He Doesn’t Believe‘.
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Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage looks like it might have some good information too. And they’ve even done 2 radio broadcasts on the subject, which I would look towards getting a copy of.

Also, I realized I never wrote anything about the baby’s baptism, so I updated that weeks post.

2. I’ve spent the week agonizing over vaccine decisions. I had second thoughts both with the potential dangers, (there are awful horror stories) and even moreso with the issue of morality if the vaccines he would be getting were developed on aborted human fetal cells. So I did some research, and found out that they did. In case anyone is in doubt, go and see for yourself. This is the brochure public health sent me. The page discussion some of the contents of the vaccines are on page 10. The CDC Immunization Communication Guide. In the states they have more alternatives, and the mom’s don’t run into the problem of being forced to use a tainted vaccine or go without until about 15 months with the MMR. But here in Canada our only option is the combination shot pentacel, that contains the tainted polio.

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There are a number of reasons I have a problems with this. The CDC document states that there are no actual cells or tissues in the vaccine but it also states that there may still be trace amounts of protein from the fetal cells. This is enough to be of concern, even trace amounts of protein could pose serious problems. These vaccines put foreign human DNA into our bodies; that is in effect cannibalism. Cannibalism is medically extremely dangerous, not to mention abhorrent. Forget the whole moral aspect, I’m not really comfortable with the idea of injecting another baby’s DNA into my little boy. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, there could also be an added potential danger of carcinogens in the vaccines.

From a moral standpoint, Public Health was quick to point out that the Vatican’s official statement on the issue: “parents have a serious obligation to protect their children from disease whenever possible, and in doing so they are not signalling their approval for abortion.” While this is true, it leaves out the fact that as Catholics we have a moral duty to fight against it:

“Although parents and doctors may be morally justified in using such vaccines, when no alternative is available, the Vatican document says that they “have a duty to take recourse to alternatives, putting pressure on political authorities and health systems” to produce morally acceptable alternative treatments.”

And so, I’m not taking this lightly, and I will fight against this status quo. This is a very real issue for me.

I have been preparing a response to public health. I’m still hoping to get ahold of the ethical vaccine pediacel but if I’m not able to get it, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. If he doesn’t get the vaccines right away it’s not a huge concern for me. My kids aren’t in daycare so we spend most of our days in our little house, and only go out for the occasionally playdate. He’s also larlgey immune from breastfeeding so I’m really not too worried. But I doubt that Public Health will like it.

3. On Friday we had our playdate with the family from 40 Days For Life. I officially met them when they were my prayer partners for my Saturday morning shift but the mom said they’d seen me around plenty and were even at my middle son’s baptism at our old church. It was so nice to get to spend the day with them. Short playdates are fun but I think it’s much nicer to stay longer and just ‘live’ together. I find it so interesting to spend a day in someone else’s world, and for the 5 kids, it was a lot of fun. It’s also reminiscent of how I dream of a house full of kids and laughter someday (and not all of them have to be mine, I just love the idea of a house so full of life). Her house is lovely and old, out of the city and even on the water. It also has nice big windows for lots of natural light. AND it’s across from the Catholic Church, how convenient!

First the kids had a snack and got to know each other
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Big Noah meets baby Noah.
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Then they settled in
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Of course, I took lots of pictures.
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They had the wooden train from the Thomasaurus book!
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In between meeting the needs of the little ones we chatted and got to know each other. She was fascinated with my conversion story, I guess because it’s so different from the usual, I was raised Catholic but had to make it my own, story.

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After lunch they really got silly!
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At one point she had to go deal with her oldest so I was left with the other 4. My 3 year old said ‘no’ sharply to her baby when he took a toy he wanted, and the little guy started crying. My son started singing Jesus Loves Me to him. It was so cute. So we all started singing to him and he calmed down. As we were still singing she came back to find my 2 year old handing her little one a crucifix as we finished the song! Has ther ever been a more perfect moment outside of heaven?
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The day was perfectly imperfect.
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We both ended up having a bit of a rough day: both of our potty training kids had accidents, her hubby was working long hours and it was just a little stressful keeping up with all 5 kids while trying to carry on a conversation! Her younger son was also extremely clingy, she guessed because his whole world was turned upside-down from what he’s used to. Her husband didn’t come out for lunch as usual and then wasn’t finished work till over an hour after what is his usual quitting time, but finally we all got to sit down to supper together. At the end of the day she confessed to her husband that it was one of those more difficult days-but she got to face it with a friend! Aww 🙂
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It was the kind of day and company that just warms your heart 🙂
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4 This week we inadvertently discovered the baby sleeps through the night. I retpeat, Baby SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT. I am so grateful to have another angel sleeper, he’s not even 3 months! I asked DH to watch him, so he put him in the chair and he said he fussed a bit once and went back to sleep. Usually he’s next to me in the bed, and every time he starts fussing I think he’s hungry-or I just want to make him quiet again so I can go back to sleep-so I feed him. I end up getting up with him several times probably because he gets air bubbles from nursing when he didn’t need to and sometimes an over-full tummy too. So he’s probably been able to sleep through for a few weeks and I just never noticed. DH just didn’t get him because he didn’t actually cry. I tried to apply this to the next night but with him still in bed I still ended up feeding him a few times. With him in the swing though, I get a better sleep – I’m much less motivated to get him and it’s easier to ignore the fussing when I don’t feel the urge to fix him. The night goes from about 8:30 or 9 – 5 or 6. Thus, he gets up early, but if I’m sleeping through otherwise then I should be rested enough to get up – and being up so early will give me extra quiet time in the mornings! And when I’m getting a proper night’s sleep I’ll be less worn out and maybe have the energy or a few extra hours in the evening for reading and spending time with my husband!

5. We had our first taste of spring on Thursday. The weather was lovely and warm, and most of the snow was gone. I took ALL 3 KIDS out in the back yard for some fresh air. I haven’t gotten to play outside with the kids much this winter since I had to be near the baby so I’m very glad for the time and effort I made to go out with them and make a snowman back when I was still pregnant.

Look, no coats!
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Because it was so mild, I was able to take the baby out too. We kicked a couple balls around and the kids played with the little parachute men. Baby was happy to be out in a new environment, and even enjoyed kicking the ball that one of the kids put in his lap.
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Ahh, Spring!
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Just like with the first snow, when the snow melts and we have our first spring day, my mind and heart abandon winter and look forward to spring. I open the windows to let in the fresh cool air, we go outside, I look forward to wearing dresses, skirts, and cute shoes. I open up the shed and typically break-out the freezies. And I have the fierce desire to remove any lingering traces of winter (and Christmas) from my home. I packed away most of the Christmas decorations, already starting to bug me since Lent began, but I still have my nativity set out and the evergreen bough in the archway. I’m not finished photographing them yet, so for now, they sit and wait for me. But the archway will have to come down very soon… I’m NOT having it still up for Easter! Probably next weekend. The nativity looks very pretty and really, why shouldn’t it be able to stay up longer? It reminds me of the man on the cross’s humble beginnings.

With a now empty windowsill, I set out to make a new display over my sink. So, I climbed up on the chairs and tables and pulled down my decorations of choice: the backyard furniture and other items from my dollhouse stuff. I think I originally came up with the idea around Christmas time. It’s been rather disappointing to have to have my special dollhouse stuff all tucked away in boxes gathering dust till we get a big enough home to basically devote a room to it (away from little kids!). Then, when I opened up an ornate wooden bench miniature this past Christmas, I suddenly realized there was no reason I couldn’t set up small displays of my favourite miniatures on my kitchen windowsill. It’s my special space for religious statues and pretty decorative peices that the kids could easily break if they were on display anywhere else and certainly, my doll house furniture fits this description. I could easily set up a room or two up there, complete with all the little accessories.

So, for my spring display, I dug out the green felt grass I had in the back yard, and created a little scene of a backyard in the summer time.
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There’s a shed with bikes and garden tools, a patio set and a swing, some trees and a birdbath. There’s even a cute little old fashioned metal lawn mower.
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I was pleased with the set up when I finished, but I realized I hadn’t left much room for anything else! I typically keep my Catholic statues up there, so I gathered Mary and St Therese around the patio table, as if they were standing around talking, perhaps while one of them set the table for lunch.
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There is also just enough space for our giving jar, flanked by the antique lawn mower.
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I realize now that what I have is really more for summer than spring, but I’m not changing it now so the really spring stuff will have to wait for next year. However, it’s still very cute and definitely reminiscent of the warm days to come. (can you have something be reminiscent of a future time? If not, what’s the word I’m looking for?)
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I’m so glad to be able to bring out my favourite miniatures and have them on display again, even if it is only a little at a time. My windowsill, has become a second creative outlet, after my camera. I can envision doing a really neat underwater scene with all the pieces from my son’s pirate birthday party too, perhaps this summer.

6. This week we watched the 2 Babe movies. Movie night last week was deferred till Saturday because of the Lenten Mission. I made a country dinner, set the table with a checkered table cloth and set up a few farm animals, especially a pig pen. Dinner was bbq chicken, pigs in a blanket, cornbread and for a bowl of Campbells harvest minestrone soup.
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We also had strawberry milkshakes for dessert.
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The cornbread was disappointing last time, so I added more sugar, mixed it longer to make it lighter and less dense and of course, I used fresh baking powder, instead of powder that was probably a couple years old. I discovered in my search to better my recipe that baking powder older than 6 months doesn’t rise well. No wonder my muffins have always been so small too!

Then we ate up the leftovers another night before watching the sequel.
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7. Because I was so in love with Crave Photography’s cookie shoot, I explored the blog and photos further. I really love her work as well, it’s so crisp and vibrant and full of life. Which is funny, because she says lifestyle phtoography is the one thing she’s not very good at. But she definitely brings life to her portraits.

This forest shoot is something straight out of my imagination. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of authentic woodland fairies and maidens (not the fake princessy ones but the kind that might dwell in a shady glade and flit around in dresses made of flower petals. )
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And here’s the perfect place for those maidens to live! Check out this cool fairy house a man built for his family. Word is it was pretty inexpensive and also very eco-friendly.
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I told DH I wanted him to build one for me. I just love the look of all the natural wood. (He said no 😦 )

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