Saturday, August 8, 2020

Birdfeeder Battles

(I just found this unpublished note from September 2016.  I'm hitting "Publish" now...)

I recently acquired some bird feeders. Before investing too much I waited to see if the birds would come. They did.

So I bought a more durable feeder and some more expensive seed that would attract colourful birds and songbirds.

Enter The Squirrel.

I spent a good portion of yesterday morning warring with The Squirrel.

He hung down from the branch and are my sunflower seeds.
I went out and yelled at him.
He left.
I went inside.

The Squirrel hung down from the same branch eating seeds from the same feeder.
I went out and yelled at him.
He left.
I went inside.

The next time I looked out the window, the feeder had its top removed and The Squirrel was shamelessly eating seeds directly out of the now-wide opening.
I went out, took the feeder down, and brought it inside. I would win this battle.

A few minutes later? The Squirrel was hanging on the other feeder (which was also now topless), shamelessly eating sunflower seeds.
More yelling.
I took that feeder down as well.

I had to figure something out.

After a trip to Home Depot, I had some 'S' hooks. I attempted to rig my feeders so that they were hanging from the tree branches, with enough lead that The Squirrel could not reach it.
I was too short.
One ladder later, I was still too short.

I needed reinforcements.

Moments later I had my youngest up in the tree, much higher than I'd want him to go any other day. He put the pieces of twine over the branches for me. I suspended two feeders with 'S' hooks and went back inside to watch.

The Squirrel attempted re-entry with no success.

I decided to count that as a win for me.


Later that morning I went to the backyard to check on my garden. I stopped short when I saw my second Dollar Store feeder on THE GROUND, The Squirrel flaunting his mid-morning snack in my face. I chased him away and surveyed the damage. One crack, but the feeder was salvageable. The seeds, on the other hand, were not. Many of the sunflower seeds were split open already. My bird friends would not appreciate those being scooped back into the feeder.

I fixed the feeder with some twine, hung it from another 'S'-hooked rope and retreated to a rear-facing window to stealthily watch.

The Squirrel scampered around to no avail. He could not reach it.


A day later, The Squirrel is still munching on his felled loot, but has not reached the feeders again.

BONUS: This morning I saw a bright goldfinch feeding in the front. We have a cardinal couple that is enjoying our seeds as well. Now that The Squirrel has been bested (at least for now) we're finally able to sit back and enjoy our bird-friends!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Vanilla Bean Scones

Vanilla Bean Scones

Because it's fun to bake with friends even from far away...
Open up your favourite video conferencing tool and make a date to hang out and bake with your favourite people!

Materials needed:
3 baking sheets (at least 1 with sides)
at least 1 cooling rack
parchment paper or silicone baking mats
pastry blender
rolling pin
various measuring cups
large flat knife
large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl


2 vanilla beans (or 2 tsp vanilla)
3/4 cup heavy cream

3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups granulated sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1 egg

1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla)
1/2 cup whole milk
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1) Split 2 vanilla beans down the middle lengthwise. Scrape out all the caviar inside and stir caviar into cream along with the pods; set aside for 15 minutes. (If no vanilla beans, simply add vanilla to cream and set aside.)

2) Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into large mixing bowl. Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Remove pods from the cream (if you were using them) and mix cream mixture with the egg, then add it to the flour mixture; stir gently with a fork just until it just comes together. The mixture should resemble biscuit dough.

3) Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and press it together, forming a rough rectangle. (Mixture will still be slightly crumbly.) Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the rectangle into 12 squares. Then slice each square in half diagonally, to form two triangles.

4) Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner and bake until cooked through, but not yet golden, about 15-18 minutes. Edges/corners should just be starting to show colour. Cool for 15 minutes.

5) Mix glaze ingredients together with a whisk in medium mixing bowl. Dip cooled scones into glaze to coat them entirely, then transfer to a cooling rack to dry and harden.  (I usually put a cookie sheet underneath to catch the drips.)

They are best once totally hardened, which takes at least 30 minutes. Good luck getting your family to wait that long.

Makes 24 large scones.  Scones can also be cut in half, before going on baking sheet, to make mini scones. Reduce cooking time if you do that.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Sunday Morning in Isolation - Do Not Fear

(I'm publishing this ahead of time for those who want to print it and use it for their Sunday morning Family Worship.)

It has been said that there are 365 verses in the Bible that say “Do not fear”. My research indicates that’s not entirely true, but the idea is certainly pervasive throughout Scripture.

Take a few moments to dig through your Bible to find verses where God is telling people not to fear. (If you are having a hard time, I’ve listed a few below.)

As you read through these verses, consider the following:

What was the person afraid of in each of the scriptures that you come across?

What was God’s response/promise to that fear?

1 Samuel 12:20 
2 Kings 6:15-17 
Daniel 10:12, 19 
Deuteronomy 20:8 
Matthew 10:26, 28 
Matthew 10:31 
Luke 5:8-10

Are you worried or anxious or nervous or fearful about anything right now? 

Whether you find a passage in Scripture that speaks to your specific situation or not, rest assured that God has not forgotten or abandoned you.  In John 14:27 Jesus tells his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Watch this video, which so beautifully puts into perspective God’s character, and his loving promises (found in Psalm 23) to be with us through everything, in the midst of our uncertainty.

Take some time to pray, confessing your fears to God and then letting go of them into His very capable hands. Pray for those who do not yet know Jesus as their Saviour, that they may be introduced to the Prince of Peace and find rest from their worries. Ask God to help you be an effective witness of what it looks like to trust God with everything.

Finally, worship with us as we sing these two songs!

Whom Shall I Fear

You Never Let Go

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Sunday Morning in Quarantine

As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on our world right now, Christians are sitting at home, trying to commune with other Christians as they worship and learn together virtually. Our church is "meeting" to pray together at 10:00 am, our usual meeting time on Sunday mornings.

I wanted to give my kids a more directed and meaningful way to pray and meditate on God's word, so I wrote up the following direction for them to walk through.  Please feel free to join us as we do this on Sunday morning from our own homes.

Sunday Morning Prayer and Personal Reflection


For this world – That this world may see the Truth of who God is and be obedient to His call on their lives; that everyone may experience healing – not just in body, but in spirit.

For our country – That our government officials would turn their hearts to God and make decisions for our nation that will both protect us and help us follow God more closely; that the Christian citizens of this country and the rest of the world would stand for God’s Truth.

For our region – That the citizens of this region would experience a revival; that they would hunger for God and His Word; that as our witness directs more hearts to God, it would make a difference in the lives of all, whether rich, employed, stay-at-home, unemployed, sober, addicted, homeless, Christian, atheist, sick, or well.

For our church – That we would seek God with all our hearts, setting aside our personal goals and desires that do not align with His good and perfect will; that we would feel a connection to each other while we are physically apart; that we would be able to spur one another on towards good deeds, encouraging each other.

For ourselves – That we would draw closer to God individually, both today and each day this week; that we would spend time seeking for His will in our lives rather than pursuing our own desires; that our hearts and its desires would be transformed as we renew our minds by spending time praying, reading His word, and worshiping Him, both in song and in deed.

Personal Reflection

Jesus told the Pharisees, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

How do you struggle with either of these commandments? (Look at how you tend to sin; it may indicate which is more of a struggle for you.)

When you look at lists of sins throughout the Bible, are there any that you see yourself struggling with more lately? (Feel free to spend some time looking through the various places in the Bible that God talks about specific sins.)

How does God tell you, through his word, that you can overcome that sin struggle? (Spend time looking for God’s encouraging words in the Bible.)

What steps will you take this week to love God and others more dearly?

Finish your personal reflection with a song of love to our Great God.  Choose your own, or sing this one with us.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Grade 8 is making my head spin and it's only Day Two

In case I ever forget... I love homeschooling!

Today we started reading our Science book, dealing with the history of scientific discovery. My youngest asked if we could make water for ourselves from hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms. As I flipped 300 pages into the book to the page about the Krebs Cycle, he went on to explain about wanting to build cities on places like the moon and Mars because of "overpopulation". We ended up talking about whether the world is really overpopulated or if we just don't handle our resources well, which led to a discussion on why people live where they live, which led to a discussion on the history of human population growth, geologic features, climate in different regions, and human nature.

He couldn't stop asking questions, though. Eventually he started theorizing about creating a black hole so he could create artificial gravity which led to a discussion about what is known and what is unknown and how much of what we can really know about what we don't know... And then suddenly we were looking at dark matter and dark energy and where these concepts came from and whether it's ever been observed before...

At this point he smirked at me and remembered that in the science class at camp this year, he asked a lot of questions. "I think my favourite time was when I put my hand up to ask another question - I had to go to the bathroom. Greg seemed disappointed."

Oh this kid! There's so much to talk about!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Living in Light of Eternity

Written to share with a group of Forever-minded homeschooling parents.  Shared with all.



I used to be scared of the idea of eternity. I would think about it and imagine “when we've been there ten thousand years” that we would have “no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun” and it SCARED me! As a little girl sitting in church, singing hymns that were far-too-slow for my tastes, I didn't really like the idea of FOREVER. I pictured myself Singing “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” and casting my crown at Jesus's feet... Then picking it up so I could do it all over again? It just didn't make sense to me. I knew “Forever” was going to happen and I knew it was supposed to be this great thing; I just didn't really understand what it meant.


Did you hear about the man who arrives at the pearly gates? The gate-keeper asks, "What's your Denomination?"
The man says, "Methodist."
The gate-keeper looks down his list and says, "Go to Room 24, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8."
Another man arrives at the pearly gates. "Denomination?"
"Go to Room 18, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8."
A third man arrives at the gates. "Denomination?"
"Go to Room 11, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8."
The man says, "I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass Room 8?"
The gate-keeper tells him, "Well, the Baptists are in Room 8, and they think they're the only ones here."


We all have this idea of what eternity will be like... Some of of us embrace it; Some of us deny it; Some of us just don't really understand it.


My hubby and I just came back from Greece. Near Athens, we saw many temples to different gods who were presumed, by Ancient Greeks, to have different benefits and characteristics - Zeus, Athena, Nike, Poseidon, Hephaistos, Aphaia, Apollo. And there were many other temples that we didn't go to see. The Ancient Greeks understood that there was something more... They didn't really understand it, but they tried.
Mars Hill (left), The Acropolis with the Temples to various Greek Gods (right)

While I was standing on Mars Hill (also known as the Areopagus) staring up at the Acropolis (home to several of these pagan structures), I was reminded that we all have this innate desire to worship. We know that there is something greater than ourselves. Even the Ancient Greeks and Romans knew this. Paul says to the Romans about these pagans:

Romans 1:19-23 ...what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

In Greece, these temples were the only way the ancient people knew to express this innate desire to worship. They knew there was a God and were trying to understand what that looked like for them. Their hearts understood that there was something more, but they didn't quite get it. We read the words Paul spoke while at the Areopagus in Acts 17:22-29

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”

Again, in 2 Cor 6:16 he tells the Saved from among the group in Corinth that, WE are the temple of the living God.”

Once people understood who the One True God was, some of them became devout followers. But they still didn't fully understand what it meant. Some didn't believe in Forever – Resurrection, Life after death, Eternity.
Paul puts it to them this way in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19:
...if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

If all we're living for is success, comfort, and stature in this life, then our work is meaningless.
This present life is compared to a quick breath (Psalm 39:5), wispy smoke (Psalm 102:3), a vanishing mist (James 4:14), a blade of withering grass or a fading flower (1 Peter 1:24). It's over before we realize it. We were not simply created for this temporary life, but for Eternal life – For Forever!
So, while we can certainly find Joy in this life, we must choose to live in light of eternity. Our years and days and minutes and breaths need to be purposefully spent on preparing ourselves and those around us for eternity. We need to shine like stars in a depraved world (Philippians 2:15) and to be the aroma of Christ to both the saved and the perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15)

And this discontent that we feel when terrible things happen right now is simply a tug on our hearts for the eternal perfection that awaits us.

FOREVER is not my child-hood imaginings of an eternal life sentence to “Worship before the throne forever.”

FOREVER is a new Eden... It is Joy and Peace and Perfection and a Perfect relationship with God. It is each of us living as the people that God designed us to be. It is Beautiful and Good and Holy. It is imperishable and not subject to the current groanings and imperfections of this cursed world. And it it finally seeing God's face! (Rev 22:4)

And Forever is what we should be working towards and practicing right now.

Philippians 3:12-21 sums up living in light of FOREVER for me:

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Living a purposeful life, in light of forever, means being Paul to our younger disciples.

He says it in 1 Corinthians 11:1a as well: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

As a homeschooling parent, Deut 6:4-9 is often on my heart:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

If we're living in light of eternity, the choices we make for ourselves and our families will look very different than the world's.

Colossians 3:23 tells us “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters...

My children are not working at their school work so that they can please me or get accolades or a good job or whatever world standard for SUCCESS is set before them. They are working at it because they trust that I am leading them in honouring God with our choices and giving Him glory. As they become more advanced in their schooling, they now marvel at the stunning order that God built into His Creation. It is good and edifying for our children to be taught about God's design for us and this planet where we live.

And it is good for our children to grow up to be productive people who can support themselves... Proverbs 12:11 reminds us that “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

Teaching our children how to be effectively functioning members of society is an important part of being a light in this dark world.

But beyond the curriculum and tests and grades, we need to be eternity-minded. We need to teach our children that this work that we're putting our all into for a moment is not meant to give us success according to the world's definition, but to enable us to better serve God.

Every prayer that I pray with my children includes a request that God would be honoured in our choices. We make choices about so many things without always thinking about honouring God... Choices about nourishment, curriculum, the way we treat each other, the way we help strangers, where - how and when we choose to worship. My prayer continues to be that God be honoured in ALL that we do.

And may our strivings, as homeschooling parents, continually direct our children to their God-given purpose – to bring Him honour and glory, Forever. May they make choices in light of who they are as Citizens of Heaven rather than who they are as Citizens of this World

1 Peter 4:7-11 says:
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

As my children grow into living out this purposeful Christian walk, I'll know that they are living in light of Eternity.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kid laughs

I went through our week's schedule this morning with the kids. This included a brief description of the new wrestling class that the boys plan to take. My daughter did not want to do wrestling because she didn't want to kill people or have people kill her. I explained that wrestling is more about controlled movements where you move your opponent's body so that certain parts of them are on the mat, which will score you a point. She ended the conversation by announcing, "Well, I'm not good at wrestling; I'm just good at slapping people."


Another day, another laugh:

One Saturday morning, I was getting the kids moving, making sure they were ready for the day.  I told the youngest to get dressed.

"Why? Where are we going?"

We may indulge in this whole "homeschooling" thing a little much.  ;-)