My Favourite Blogs

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I’m an avid reader. I will rip through scores of books on various topics. There is nothing quite like the experience of reading a great book. For me it’s like going on a new adventure, literally like I’ve taken a trip and come back to share about the journey.

Though I love actual books, I love to read blogs too. I’ve included a list of blogs that I would categorize as reading on a regular basis. I hope you’ll check them out and that you find something interesting, inspiring or encouraging, as I have.

For Reflection

A Holy Experience – Ann VosKamp… what can I say? She’s Canadian, she’s authentic in her delivery.Her books are great.  I appreciate her lifestyle. She lives on a farm, loves her family, embraces the rustic, has a huge world view, she homeschools… though I don’t embrace all of her theology, her thoughts on grace and gratitude (Eucharistia) are hands down paradigm shifting. If she’s got a new post, I take the time and read it.

Beyond Evangelical – Frank Viola… his writings on the New Testament church and God’s Eternal Purpose rocked my world. Literally, I think I systematically read everything he wrote on that subject. (maybe 15 books? I don’t remember specifics, but now when I refer in mind to one thing, I can’t remember which book it came from, they are all like one giant book mushed up in my brain. Good thing I own most of them so I can go back for reference) – I must note at this point that I also read through almost everything Gene Edwards wrote on the same subject, though his were written in semi-fictitious form. Good for left-right brain development. Anyways, back to the blog, I love that he is not afraid to ask many questions, but unlike Rob Bell, he at least points you to where to find the answers, if not attempting to share his own thoughts first. He’s also not afraid to take heat and to be controversial. I read his blog because it makes me think.

Disrupting Culture – The husband and I have only discovered Jonathon Welton recently, but we’ve been gobbling up his stuff on the blog and youtube and his books. As students of the New Covenant it’s refreshing to find resources that embrace a) sound doctrine  b) the supernatural  c) the grace of God and walking in our identity in Christ d) putting the great commission in action. Often you can find some of these things, but less often do you find them all in one.

Life In Grace – I don’t remember how I got connected to Edie’s blog. But shortly after following this blog, she and her family lost everything in a house fire a couple days before Christmas. I was moved by the outpouring of support from the internet and ultimately the depth of her writing following such devastation…I’ve been hooked ever since. She’s got a great style, posts awesome recipes (many I’ve tried and added to my repertoire), she’s a Lutheran and classical reader, former homeschooler and has that southern charm that draws you back again and again.

Shauna Niequist – My sister turned me on to Shauna. Love her blog, though it’s sporadic, her books are awesome and after you’ve read one of her books, you feel like she’s a friend, so you read her blog because it’s like catching up with a friend.

Homefries – I must clarify that this is not a blog, though you can link to blogs from this site. I love this site because it features several podcasts on a variety of subjects from a variety of people. I particularly love the interviews with Tsh Oxenreider. Podcasts are great for listening to while working in the kitchen.

For Fun

Pioneer Woman – Started reading Ree Drummond’s posts years ago after a friend recommended her. I guess  a lot of people like her food posts (which I admit are pretty awesome) – I do own one of her cookbooks and love it, but I honestly love her Confessions blog. It just makes me laugh. She’s got some great stories about her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. She’s had so many embarassing things happen to her, it seems impossible…but oh it’s funny.

Home with Boys – Honestly I just started reading her blogs because she has 3 boys and started homeschooling around the same time as me. I’ve since come to find her simple approach to life refreshing.

Martha Stewart – I honestly just read Martha’s blog to see how “the other side lives” – you know, the fabulously rich… Plus I get great tips on gardening, etc from her posts.

For the Heart & Home

AKA Design – this husband and wife team are Canadian. They live not far away, so they have the same harsh Canadian winters, the same weird summers, celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time, etc. etc.  They do a lot of DIY projects that are totally do-able for people like me, she’s got great style and is super organized. Plus she homeschools… that’s inspiring to me. There’s also a personal connection as I’m very good friends with her sister, so even though I don’t think I’ve ever met them in person, I feel like I know them.

Nesting Place – I’d followed this blog for a few years. I loved her philosophy and style…but then sort of drifted off for a bit. Then about a year and a bit ago they bought this run down old house on a great property with an even more run down barn. They shared their vision for it all, and slowly have been making it happen and I’m hooked with renewed interest.

The Inspired Room – to be honest, I just started following her because she seemed to love fall as much as me, and then I got hooked. I love her style and decorating philsophy. She’s has tremendous success in the world of home decor, and though I don’t aspire to have her home, I do appreciate the love she has for her home, and would like to continue to grow in that same kind of appreciation for my own.

New House New Home – Another Canadian not far from here. I love her gardening posts especially, but she shares some really great home projects too.

Living Well Spending Less – As the title implies, it has a plethora of tips on saving money while living well. The organizational resources are pretty awesome too.

For Food – I primarily go to pinterest for food recipes, but once in awhile I’ll find a blogger who I love to read their thoughts on food…as well as the recipes.

 Six Sisters – I was drawn to the name. They have very frequent posts and are adaptable.

Simple Bites – Another Canadian. I love her lifestyle, her passion is evident. The recipes are delish but not so crazy that you don’t want to try them. She’s got a great philosophy for bringing kids into the kitchen and they totally embrace the urban homesteading concept. Love!

Homeschooling – I peruse many other blogs on homeschooling, but most of them are very sporadic and don’t necessarily apply to what we’re doing at home. There are many many sites that I use often, but these are the top 3 for now. I will probably do a post on these resources and more on the Heaslip Homestead Academy soon.

Half a Hundred Acre Wood – I love this blog. She’s a classical homeschooler, and though we aspire to incorporate classical elements, we are not. I still find it inspiring and love their philosophy. Her organization is pretty great too.

 The Canadian Homeschooler – lot’s of great resources for homeschoolers in Canada. Frequent posts and current content.

The Unlikely Homeschool – for those who don’t homeschool. It’s super easy and at the same time the most difficult thing I’ve ever tackled. So I will find as many support resources as I can. For me, this site is one of them.

Divine Kisses

When I want to show my affection to my children the most natural impulse is for me to kiss them. It is a simple gesture, yet it implies much more.

Lucas kissIt implies that they are beautiful to me, that they are accepted. It denotes that I would withhold nothing from them, and I wouldn’t. I am filled with joy when I see how one of my kisses immediately brings a smile to their faces, they walk more confidently and laugh more fully. One of my kisses would magically “heal” a boo boo. When they were little, they were requested more than food or entertainment of any kind. My response to this… more kisses. Doesn’t our heavenly Father demonstrate His love to us with no less passion?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Because we have been given everything we could ever need, because we have been given Christ himself and He is all in all. More so, He loves us. He demonstrates his affection for us, constantly. It’s like He is blowing us kisses from heaven, perpetually. As His grace is extended to us every moment, we become more aware of His favour on us. When we have those moments of “seeing” his hand at work, we are being kissed. In her book- The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst defines those who fear God (follow after, honour and worship, be in awe of) as those who “see the hand of God in everything”. I love that. Sometimes we have to choose to see it, but it is always there.

We are “highly favoured”, but in addition to that, we have been made the “children” of God. We have been born into His family so that we could have fellowship with Him, eternally. Now, His influence on our hearts enables us to walk in the awareness of His strength, His wisdom, His vitality, His peace and His provision, in every area.

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And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work: 2 Cor 9:8

I believe that the more we recognize these “kisses” from heaven, the more we will respond to His affection. We will radiate His love. We will smile and laugh in the abundance of joy that salvation brings.We will walk in the light, as He is in the light. In essence, our worship is really like blowing kisses back to Him. In turn, He continues to shower us with His love! Is this not one way His glory will cover the earth?

Mama T

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by, some things have changed, primarily my blog host. I had been running into some technical hitches that actually hindered me from blogging, so it was time to move. Since it’s a new year, I figured, it was as good a time as any.

I’ve moved all my posts from the Whisper of Grace page, but as you can see, I’ve changed the name. I have a couple other blogs linked with this one. Whisper of Grace will still have more reflective content. The Heaslip Homestead Academy, our homeschooling journey and Life with Mama T – everything else in my life. I’ve got another one related to this in the draft stages, I’ll let you in on it as soon as I can.

Anyways, why the name change? Well, I needed something to do with Life – since it’s all the life stuff – and this works. Also, I think I’m finally coming to terms with my “search for significance” and that’s what the rest of this post is about…

5f3ab3b212b26f487f54786efb2806f7When I think about it, I’ve always been a mom…

long before I gave birth.

The oldest of 5 girls in a Greek-Canadian home of mixed faith and culture,

I don’t remember life without being responsible for someone else…

“mothering” my younger sisters even when it perhaps wasn’t appreciated

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In my teens I “mothered” as a camp counsellor for several happy, glorious summers.

For most of my 20’s and some of my 30’s I worked in a ministry with many young adults who were away from home for the first time, often needing lot’s of  love and nurture.

This is when I earned the nickname “Mama T” ironically, while struggling with unexplained infertility.

A sometimes smartass young guitar player from Prince Edward Island, saw the “mother” in me, long before I did.

You see, he gave me the nickname, not realizing, that my husband and I had been trying for years to get pregnant, and then, had a couple miscarriages… Mama T?!

Would I ever be a mama? Really?

But the nickname stuck…

For awhile, it silently hurt me to hear it…

But over time it built faith.

And then JOY!

Finally, after years of waiting and disappointments,

Our children began arriving in quick order…

3 boys in 4 years!

Then I became a children’s pastor for a bit.

Mama T, Mama T! It was such a sweet wonderful season…

We were done, or we thought so anyways.

Life outside our family had gotten HARD.

Compounded losses…and the ensuing chaos,

Almost tore us apart.

Then the storms ended, and the waters receded,

Unlikely direction came that turned our hearts home…

And while our lives were being rebuilt…

Our lovely baby girl came in, as if on angels wings…

A breath of grace from heaven…

And still, there were more “kids” who needed “mothering”…

We began hosting international students for various lengths of time

Chinese, Korean, Colombian, Danish…

My heart, and home

Are open and willing to pour out love…

I guess, I’ve just realized my “calling”, if I ever needed to have a name for it…

xoxo – Tammara

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I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and I look forward to any comments or questions and will see you here again very soon….T

Oh, ya! please follow me here, I couldn’t switch some PTP, function-blah blah blah – so if you want emails, etc… I think you need to follow me on this site now, since I’ll no longer be posting on Blogger. Have a great night!

To All Little Sisters…

Little Sister

I know life seems dark and overwhelming right now. It seems lonely and like you’re trying so hard with so little results. It’s not fun, I get it. Hang in there.
 
You are in a season. Seasons last only so long and before you know it, the next one is upon you.
 
It’s ok. Take a deep breath.
 
When we fight against the seasons, we will never find a true rhythm and rest in life. That joy and peace that is present in the wrinkles of the wise who have lived through many seasons and embrace them in their fullness.
 
Seasons are not just in the passing of months and days on the calendar. They are in seasons of life. You will have seasons in relationships, in spiritual growth, in your career, in a greater calling, in parenting and in personal growth and maturity. Sometimes, when you are in one season in one part of life, you are also in a different season in another area, sometimes they converge… the point is to embrace them. To  live through each taking the good and the uncomfortable of each, knowing they produce one thing. A Life. YOUR LIFE.
 
So, look around you. What season are you in? Is it dry, is it barren and maybe even cold? Does everything and everyone seem to be buried? Out of reach?
 
 
Welcome to WINTER.
 
What a beautiful season!
 
It’s a much needed one. It is a season of rest, of SLOW, of quiet and separation and preparation. It is a season of peace and calm.
 
Winter is the season for reflection and introspection. It is one where on the outside, not much growth is visible, but underneath the surface, the roots are going deeper and getting stronger.
 
In winter, you can hear better. There is not as much fighting for your attention.
 
In winter, the skies are clearer and the air crisper. Unless there is a storm. There will be storms.
 
The snows and winds, the winter storms come to cover the earth. To blanket her, and provide a means for cleansing in the spring thaw. In winter, the fat is burned. The excess gets used up, or frozen and discarded. This is good. In winter, things die off. These things need to die, to make room for the new growth to come.
 
There is such beauty in the winter season of life. Sometimes it seems like relationships are hard, maybe it’s time to back off and rest for a bit. Everything is harder to do in winter. That’s why animals hibernate or migrate. We could learn from them if we watch them. Sometimes we hit those dry patches, we feel like we’re not learning anything, nothing seems to “catch us”…that’s ok. The ground is hard, impenetrable. The creator is at work in the ground of our hearts. In winter, we reflect back on what we’ve learned in the past “year”, and we plan…knowing the energy and excitement of a new season will come, it always comes. The warmth of the sun will touch our skin again. But then winter will be over.
 
Or perhaps you are in a SPRING.
 
Spring usually comes slowly. If we have truly embraced winter, and loved it. We will see the signs of spring and not grow impatient. They will encourage us. In spring, the thaw comes as slowly the position of the sun changes and the warmth and light extend into longer and longer stretches. The ground opens up. The waters wash away the debris. There is work to be done. Time for reflection and planning has passed. Hopefully, you used your winter well. It’s time to plant, to raise up seedlings, to turn the soil, to open the windows and sweep away the dust.
 
In spring, everyone seems to begin to tentatively venture outdoors again. They open up their lives and hearts again. Spring is dirty. It is wet. Sometimes it is uncertain. We aren’t sure if we need a jacket or a tshirt. So we wear both. We hear lovely birdsongs again. We see green sprouting and flowers bursting through the dirt and patches of snow. Spring is full of new life, rebirth. Ideas abound, hope is high. Love is easy, new life is celebrated and welcomed with great joy. Summer is on its way.
 
SUMMER
 
Oh the days of summer. Summer arrives in glory! The joy of days of fullness. Some harvesting, some playing, long days. Fruitful days. Food is abundant. Summer is noisy, full of song, laughter, shouting and greetings. Getting together with others is easy. Connecting with ideas and being productive is second nature. Celebration is common. Even work is fun.
 
As summer passes, the calendar fills up. The days become so full, they pass quickly, and thus summer seems to be short. It’s no shorter, just busier. Not as busy as fall mind you, but a different kind of busy. Everything is growing, until it isn’t. Then it gets hot. And DRY. Uncomfortably so. Enough to make us look forward to the cool winds of autumn. But not yet. Despite the heat and dryness, there is much work to be done, and the last of the summer fun to be had.
 
AUTUMN
In the midst of the busyness (and often the longing for more summer) people don’t even notice the early changeover of fall. Often, because of regrets in not living well in the preceding seasons…
 
But autumn is MAGNIFICENT! Many times, people lose the full benefits of the fall. It becomes rushed and harried…they lose their joy.  But regardless, it comes and speeds by with the harvesting and the people, everywhere people. Too many to be able to really take care of, but many hands make light work.
 
Thanksgiving. The reasons for a heart full of gratitude and praise are everywhere. There is beauty and abundance everywhere. While harvesting, the preserving and the setting aside the seed for the next spring. 
 
The cleanup, so much clean up. There is anticipation of a joyous celebration at the end of the autumn in the holidays. 
 
The autumn has shorter days though, and the weather and circumstances are always uncertain. It is windy, and the beauty can be blown away quickly. The Harvest rains come, to prepare the earth for the rest of Winter…but by then we are usually already inside, preparing for the celebrations that ease us from one season into another and mark the passing of the circle of time bound in a growing year.
 
Little sister… look up. Behold the season. Behold the passing of time. The ONE who has quietly observed the passing of the times and seasons through the ages, HE is with you. HE holds your days. Your moments in the sun and moments covered in the snow. Your moments caught in the storms. He is HERE. HE is HERE. In your heartbeat, In the breath of heaven that created us, that we use to walk on the earth.  In the still small voice. In the rising and setting of the sun. Calm your heart, still your mind. REST.

 

 
He is HERE. HE IS HERE.
 
 

Yes

2014 is barely begun. Outside my window a winter freeze is blustering with a fury, and I am hunkered down with a tea and a lit candle gently glowing. One boys is playing in the snow, 2 boys are are reading hoping to have some time on the xbox later… and the baby is napping- for a brief moment it is quiet here. My heart is not completely quiet though.

Christmas is packed up and put away, the house is back in order, laundry and “home love” is under control…in the quiet, I start to think…maybe this year…
Maybe this year, I’ll finally lose the weight that has haunted me since 1999.
Maybe this year, I’ll get the chaos of pictures under control in the office.
Maybe this year, I’ll memorize something grand like the book of Romans, or a passage from the Odyssey or from Othello.
Maybe this year, I’ll write that book, or do something…anything significant…
The expectation is overwhelming…
This I know, I cannot fulfill this list on my own. Impossible.
But this I know more, GRACE. 
The sufficiency of that five letter word, is so simple, it overtakes everything you put in it’s path. 
I have decided to pick a word for this year, to sum up what lies ahead…the great unknown. Perhaps some faith is required. 
The word makes my heart start to race…
So I can only get to it, by going through GRACE first. 
The word is YES.

adverb \ˈyes\

I am so used to having to say no… no to my kids, no to myself, no, no, no.
This is the year of YES. It all started a month or so ago when I watched this…
…and I felt something shift inside me… the road less traveled was whispering my name.
The one who said YES to the cross in my place, is whispering my name at every corner. 
Of course ever since then, I seem to encounter it everywhere…in conversations, on the radio, things I read, blogs, Television… Yes universe, I am listening…
and by grace…my answer is YES.

The Palm Tree and Me

The Palm Tree and Me
I remember clearly the preacher describing how a Palm tree grows and it’s characteristics and purpose. I still get shivers when I think about it…

My thoughts in summary as it was about 22 years ago when I first heard it are written first. I’ve followed up with notes I’ve collected through the years on The Palm Tree (mostly from other preachers – I can’t site any by name as their are many and they all overlap. After 20 plus years of trying to find that specific sermon I heard on TV, I’ve never been successful in locating it. But it really did happen, and it changed my life. 

Most of the metaphors are pretty obvious. I’ve noted the ones that have hit me hardest through the years. That day, the preacher showed a video clip of this palm tree that had been leveled by a tropical storm. The video then showed how it was preserved through God’s design. When a palm tree grows, the roots go deep through the earth until it finds the bedrock and attaches itself to it. (the metaphors here and pretty awesome – Jesus the Rock) Because of this, it’s foundation is so secure, it is almost impossible to destroy a palm tree.

Also, it grows incredibly tall, reaching up to the heavens, deriving much strength from the sun.  (Jesus – the SON) Most palm trees are found in areas that are exposed to fierce storms, a lot of fierce storms.  Sometimes after a storm, the palm trees look like they are dead. They are horizontal and roots are exposed.
But they are not dead. Somehow, the light of the sun and their strong root system cause them to rise up and stand tall once again – sometimes even within a day.

I am definitely like a palm tree. Absolutely. 

The great news is though – we are all like palm trees, by the Grace of God.
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The Bible says, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree…” (Ps. 92:12) 
Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. 4The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.…(Ps 1:1-3)

In fact Palm trees are mentioned more than 30 times in the Bible. The first mention of the palm tree occurs in Exodus 15:27, where, upon departing from Egyptian bondage, the Israelites “came to Elim, where there were 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees.” I’ve always thought that it was interesting that God’s people were brought first to a place with many palm trees, when they were brought out of captivity.

Palm Trees Grow Upright
A palm tree grows straight up. It has no branches, only fronds (leaves – which it will shed during a storm, to preserve life) Always looking up towards heaven the palm tree grows to great height, sometimes even hundred feet. A believer is always looking up towards heaven, trying to know and follow the Will of God. Rooted in a land whether fertile or not, it grows up sucking the moisture from the earth. Palm trees invoke a sense of paradise and peace. No matter which way they are planted, palm trees always grow towards the sun, even if it means that they must twist and contort themselves. A Christian centers his life on Christ, striving always to grow closer to God. We bend and twist ourselves as necessary both to avoid sin and resist temptation, while at the same time we reach for God.

Palm trees are lean and slender, shedding excess branches as they grow. The wind still blows on them, but there is less for the wind to grab ahold of. As we grow stronger in our faith, deepening our relationship with God, we shed our desire for worldly things. We become less vulnerable to temptation and center our lives on Christ. That way when the difficult times come we don’t worry about material loss, but rather we maintain our hope inwhat matters most, our salvation.

It Grows Tall
Palm trees are unique and have a distinct appearancein their height. They grow much taller than other trees. Even trees that are much older don’t compare to the height of the palms. As Christians we stand out in a crowd—or at least we should—since we are called to be the “light of the world.” It’s not to say that we are better than others, but the way we carry ourselves—our speech, our demeanor, our disposition—should be dramatically different than our non-believing counterparts. There is something special about us. People can see that you have something that they don’t have, and they want it. What we have is God’s grace. That is what makes us special. Palm trees are easily spotted and identified.  Palm trees are difficult to hide. They don’t blend in with their environment.
It Cannot be Grafted
Horticulturists say that to graft a palm tree is to kill it. 
1. The palm tree is distinctive and unusual. 
2. This is why grafting kills it. 
To graft a Christian into the world is to kill his testimony and influence. 
1. The Christian is to be distinctive, easily distinguished from the world. 
2. Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore brethren….” 

Palm Trees Are Durable.
They are deep rooted. They will bend under extreme conditions but they rarely break or become uprooted. They are designed to weather storms. Although palm trees may look weak and scrawny, appearances can be deceiving. They sway to and fro in the wind, but they never break as opposed to the dense, bulky trees whose branches snap under pressure. Just like the palm trees, we have the special ability to weather the storm. That special ability is none other than the hand of God working in our lives. Christians don’t have fewer problems, but we do have an all-powerful God to help us get through them. We embrace our struggles, our difficulties, our crosses. We still feel the pain, but we don’t allow our pain to overcome us and we never lose hope. We bend and sway, but we never break!

The palm tree is noted for its hidden life. The life of most of the other trees is near the surface, just under the bark. All that is needed to kill them is to girdle the tree — just cut down to the wood, and the sap quits flowing, and the tree dies. There is a class of professed Christians who live near the surface. Their feelings are easily hurt, and a little persecution discourages them. They cannot stand a long siege of opposition. You may hack, peel, and girdle the palm tree, and it continues to live. This is true of a palm tree saint. You can peel, slander, and cut their reputations to pieces with cruel tongues, and still they have unbroken fellowship with God. 

It is A Tree Not Affected by Drought
Whatever the weather, a palm tree is not affected in any way, not even surface injuries, until you cut it down. Likewise the Christian life is not overcome by any trial or tribulation in life. He is completely dependent on God and takes everything according to the will of God. He draws his strength of life through his trust in God and always rejoices. The palm tree not only survives but flourishes in the desert. 

It Will not Burn 
It is not used for firewood because it refuses to burn as ordinary wood. The child of God will never, not even for a moment, suffer the fires of hell. He will never burn; he is a palm tree. 

It is Coniferous
The palm tree is perennially green throughout all seasons. Life flows within its being continually and keeps it fresh. Rains may fail. Storms may shake and sway the tree with great force. But nothing happens to the palm tree. ‘Palm-tree Christians’ are unique because they never change. They are the same vibrant witnesses of God’s grace throughout the day because Jesus Christ Himself is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever.’

Palm Trees Are Fruitful.
They were a major food source for the Israelites. They bear their best fruit when they are old. In fact the older the palm tree the sweeter the fruit (Psalm 92:14).
With over 3,000 species: The date palm produces over 300 pounds of dates annually. The African oil palm, very widely cultivated in the tropics, gives a higher oil yield per hectare than any other oil plant. It produces two quite different types of oil, and that from palm kernels, used for making margarine and soap, and that from the fleshy part of the fruit, used more widely for industrial processes. This is one of the most rapidly expanding plantation crops today. 

Palm Trees are Useful
Each and Every Part of it is Useful. The Palm tree is known for its usefulness, from top to bottom each and every part of the tree is useful. Found in warm climates, it gives the cooling effect in effect by its shade as well as its fruit. It also has many medicinal purposes. Palm leaves are known for their cooling effect and thatched roofs were made from these for thousands of years. Even today they are used as beams in construction. Until modern printing was invented,,a form of palm leaves/ Cyprus grasses had been used for making papyrus – a form of early paper – even that which was used for writing the Bible. 

The Syrians had over 360 uses for the palm tree. In addition to fruit:
1. Its sap could be mixed with water to make wine.
2. The seed from its fruit was ground and fed to livestock.
3. Fibers from its leaves were used to make rope.
4. The leaves were used to make baskets and mats.
5. Wood from the trunk was excellent for building.
6. Every part of the palm tree was useful. It was held in such high regard for its beauty and practicality, that it was a common name given to women in the OT–“tamar”.


It is a Universal Emblem of Victory
Palm trees were sympbolic of victory in many cultures through history. In Mesopotamia, the palm had long been sacred as a symbol of triumph, eternal life and peace. In Inda, the palm leaves were sent to the neighboring kings carrying messages of war and peace. Many ancient cultures celebrated victories with the palm tree. In ancient Greece, a palm branch was presented to winning athletes. The palm tree itself was associated with victory in the belief system of ancient Rome. 

Because victory can also signify an end of conflict, some cultures, such as Islam, associate the palm with peace and paradise. In a1ncient Egypt, the palm represented eternal life; in Jewish tradition, the palm was connected to the festival of Sukkot. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the palm branches that the people were placing before him already had symbolic value. It is also mentioned in the book of Revelations as a token of victory.  

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, later Christian leaders took the palm as a symbol of the victory that martyrs won over their oppressors and of the victory of the spirit over the desires of the flesh. Both of these meanings earned the palm a place on several flags and seals representing countries in later history.


The Palm Tree Shows the Place of Water
Palm tree has a very acute sense of finding water. Its roots go deep to find out water even in dry places. Even in a desert filled with hot sand, the palm tree survives bearing the scorching heat of the sun. As believers we find our livelihood in Christ ‘the living water’. He is the living water that can quench any thirst. Jesus said, “Those who drink of the water that I shall give will never be thirsty” (John 4: 14). A Christian can show the way towards ‘the living water’.


A Group Of Palm Trees Forms An Oasis. 
One palm tree standing alone will not provide much shade from the burning sun. A group of palm trees forms an oasis. Stay together and stand as Christians. Get in and stay in the N.T. church. These are even described at “families” – the group of trees. The oasis provides shade for the weary traveler. Often in the desert, you will find orange and lemon trees growing beneath the shade of the palms grouped together. When we group ourselves together in the church, we provide shade for those weaker than ourselves. This is why Hebrews 10:25 is so important to us. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” 
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isa 61:3 *This verse was read at my wedding, one of the things that spoke so clearly to my heart that my husband was a match for me, was that I saw him as a tree that I was planted together with – and this verse was our mandate for our family, our group of trees. That He might be glorified.

Ist Birthday and Dedication

I love to throw a good party… you know, with a theme and lot’s of details. Beautiful decor and really really good food. For a long time I felt like I needed a reason to do this for others, for bridal or wedding showers, for work or church events. I felt like I needed to justify all the effort, not just for myself or my little family. However in the most recent years, not having a specific church or work family to party plan for and I also realized that if I can’t put that effort into celebrating my own little family, I really shouldn’t be doing it for others…
So we pulled out all the stops to celebrate our Baby Girl’s 1st Birthday and dedication ceremony.
Scrumptious dessert table…all sorts of decor was borrowed from bestie JT of course (keeps the costs down) and the heirloom quilt was dear hubby’s grandma’s – perfect for the pink baby girl party.
Mason Jar Ring Pumpkin
Pink Harvest Theme with Diamonds and Bird Houses
Perfect opportunity to display the baby books and a year of photos. 
Painted pink pumpkins and pearls…
The birthday girl checking out her balloons in her pj’s with Grandma before the party starts.

Menu: Harvest Soup, Split Pea Soup and Beef Stew
  
Pretty in her party dress.
With Grandpa and Nana
Dedication
Great grandma reading a scripture verse
Everyone shared a verse
Including big brother
And Geema
Mom and Dad read a letter written for your first birthday.
Surrounded in prayer
Great Grandma, Aunties and Mama in front of the Photo Wall
Cupcake!

Presents!

Baby Jar Jelly Bean Favours

Thank you to all the friends and family who were able to celebrate with us! A birthday on September 30th is the perfect way to kick off celebrating Fall each year, looking forward to it 🙂

Dear Elaina

Dear Elaina,

We don’t know if we’ll ever be able to convey how much we love you…but we will spend all of our remaining days doing our best to show and tell you just that.  You are a special jewel in the crown of our lives. Our family is better because you are in it. We are all smitten with you.

We wish that we could protect you from all the sorrows and hardships that life will bring you, but we can’t. If we did, you would miss out on all the beauty and joy that is born out of pain. We can promise you that we will be there for you, and when we am not, we trust that we have and will have always pointed you towards the ONE who will never leave you.  Your name can always be a reminder to you on what our intention was in raising you.

Elaina means “shining light” or “torch”. It represents Jesus” the light of the world” and His victory. It represents Truth, Divine Wisdom and Victory…as well as Life, Peace and leaving a Legacy. Please always remember, you can never fulfill this apart from the Grace of God in your life…        

This leads to your middle name…

Grace is God’s undeserved favour and blessing. We live a life that we don’t deserve because Jesus took our place. We hope and plan on raising you in Grace…because that is the only way we can.

            We are so excited to fill these next years with great memories together and to live life to the fullest together as a family. As we dedicate ourselves to raising you for the Lord, we also reaffirm that this is our intention for all of our children, for your brothers – Lucas, Max and Carter. They will be your greatest friends, and bring you much joy. They will also bring you grief. This is good.

It is our responsibility to help you find your way, to know who you are in Christ and to live up to your names, as well as to know what it means to be a Heaslip. The Lord will help us, and give us the wisdom, provision and spiritual gifts we need for this.  As for us, and our House… We will serve the Lord.

            Happy first birthday Elaina! It’s been an amazing year of firsts with our baby girl, and we’re anticipating another year full of God’s richest blessings for, not because we deserve it, but because of His great love for all of us.

With all our Love,

                            Mommy & Daddy

Ordinary

Ordinary…

I’ve had a fear of being “ordinary” for as long as I can remember. It’s driven me to try to accomplish something, to “be” someone, to leave a legacy that is…special.

I haven’t wanted to be “just like everyone else”… and lately, as in the last few years, I’ve had to examine this drive. This sense of inadequacy and where it comes from.

Most people do not live to see the significance their life has or hasn’t had on their world and it’s far reaching effects…and yet I’ve been constantly aware of it. I’ve lived with a shadow on my heart because I didn’t find ‘significant’ education, or ‘significant’ success in business or ministry…

I think I’ve even tried to find ‘significance’ in my relationships with underlying motives of becoming significantly “wise”… what’s wrong with that you ask. Pretty sure that pretty much everything is wrong with that. I am a person, and the people in my life are significant because we are HERE. We all matter to someone. We all matter to God.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve developed some kind of psychological imbalance or spiritual deficit because I haven’t. I think I’ve just come to a place where I’ve realized that it’s not necessary for me to stand out from the crowd to be significant. I am no more or less significant than any other person…I am ordinary. Ordinary is not insignificant.

I matter to Him, but more than that, I’m not the only one that matters to Him. Yes I am beloved…highly favoured and blessed…but I don’t deserve it any more than the next person…none of us deserve His love, His forgiveness and grace…Yet He loves us anyways. We matter to him.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel that I have to matter to everyone else in order to matter to God. (And yes I know I am significant to my friends and family…my people – I am blessed among women). It’s just been a bit of a day of inward reckoning…

I’ve been very comfortable focusing on thinking about my place in the world, my place in history, the things I feel and think… without honestly giving a whole lot of thought to the fact that others maybe live like that too. I haven’t really thought about the role that others have might have NOTHING to do with ME. Thinking in that small minded way that everything happening around me, is about me. Crazy I know… I think I’ve been a slow learner at this… or maybe just an ordinary learner – lol.

This morning I read this post from a lovely soul (Thank you PW) who is an inspiration in her authenticity and transparency, it sums up how I’ve been feeling…

I sat in my usual spot.

I am a creature of habit.

I saw him coming down the bus aisle.

Pierced face.

Mohawk.

Pants hanging way past his waist.

“Please God don’t let him sit beside me”

I thought.

I put my purse down on the chair beside me.

Closed my eyes and leaned against the window.

Avoiding eye contact.

I felt his presence.

Standing beside me.

I opened my eyes.

He looked down at my purse and motioned me to move it.

“Fine” I thought to myself.

As I wondered why God had ignored my previous request.

He smelled like a mixture of drugs and alcohol.

I rolled up my sweatshirt and tried to ignore the smell.

I was feeling pretty sorry myself.

And wondering what I did to deserve this kick off to my Thanksgiving weekend.

I look over and noticed him texting someone.

“I want to die, everyone hates me”

The message said.

Whoosh…I could feel Jesus reminding me of where I use to be.

I started to take in this stranger beside me.

Starting at his feet.

His shoes were falling apart.

The back pack on his lap was held together with duct tape.

It was then that I noticed.

His arms.

There written with something sharp.

Were words like these:

Failure.

Worthless.

No value.

Garbage.

My eyes filled with tears.

I know what it feels.

To feel like that.

I started to pray.

For this man sharing.

My bus space.

“Are you ok” he asked.

“You aren’t worthless” I replied. “You have infinite value”

His eyes welled with tears.

“No one has ever said that to me before”

I gave him my cell number.

And said.

“Next time you feel like that, text me”

I got off at my stop.

Nodded my head goodbye.

And thanked Jesus for my new friend.

Be in prayer.

He has infinite value.

His creator said so.

Thankful that He who created me.

Sometimes says “No” to my selfish requests.

Blessed and Grateful.

For many things.

And that’s a great thought to kick off my Thanksgiving weekend.

It really is a great way to kick off the weekend!
Linking up here. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone (in Canada)!

She

On Fridays a bunch of brave writers gather here to all spend 5 collective minutes writing on a single prompt.
Here’s how it all got started, back story, details and all. The short version is:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (On your blog or in the comments).
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog footer}.
3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you.
It’s a great way to catch your breath at the end of a long week.
She

  She is turning one next week. 

My heart feels a little bruised, a little softer for wearing. Times flies…
All those moments that make up the first year, almost gone.
I’ve done my best to enjoy those moments, trying to savour them. 
The sweet smiles, the firsts, the chub, the giggles.
The brothers taking it all in with me.
My baby girl, is toddling into girlhood and I hope I’m ready.
I hope I’m soft enough for her.
To help her through this next chapter with grace.
I hope I continue to see what it’s like to be surrounded by boys,

that I never become blind to her heart.

I hope that I can get down on her level in these years, as much as I have this past year.
Bending over to see what she’s looking at, to show her something new, to keep her safe.
Bending down to pick her up, to play peak a boo, to help her take those first faltering steps.
I hope I remember to keep slowing down as I have this past year.
To feed her, to change her, to snuggle and comfort her.
To watch her sleep.
Lord, keep my heart soft and my eyes wide open.
So I won’t get caught up in the daily grind, as to miss the joy.
I hope that she continues to be the reminder to me to slow down, 
To enjoy every moment, 
to be softer, 
to smile more, 
to speak less and listen more.

Not just with her, but with the boys and my love and my friends too. 



She is my baby girl, and she is almost one.