snow day!

i used to be so concerned about my kids lack of commitment to the great white outdoors.  the bundling everyone up in impossible snowsuits for 10 minutes of mild amusement before everyone has a simultaneously meltdown, was short lived. but this year is different. this year they can't wait to go outside. well, actually the boys LOVE going outside. eva & livi will tolerate it for a short period of time. but i found something that keeps both the boys & the girls interested for a long period of time.
we were cleaning a bunch of clutter out of the cottage this past weekend and upon purging six ladles, seven spatulas, four whisks, a broken toaster oven & a truck load of tarnished pots & other such muddle, i got an idea. instead of donating all our junk, i decided to throw it out into the snow for the kids to play with. they've played with plastic buckets & such before but real pots & pans have a special kind of appeal.  the kids played for 45 minutes without needing any re-directing. and the snow was the perfect packing kinda snow... muffins, pancakes, cookies, mashed bananas & chicken nuggets were just some of the delicacies on the menu. it was magical. here are some pics.
cooking & baking
mashed bananas & meatballs are on the menu
-salad tongs make the best 'balls' :)

a whisk-cicle


tasting one of eva's pancakes

making soup

a snow 'dinosaur' angel

waiting for the cookies to "bing"


for when you forget what Grace feels like

at the beginning of this year i declared it as a year of Grace which is must admit was quite an ambitious declaration when i don't really know what grace is. it's not that i haven't experienced it from time to time. i think i just have lived in the law for so long that i sometimes find it hard to recognize, receive or practice grace from time to time.

this song touches my heart every time i hear it. it's the heartbeat of the Father. it is Grace himself. i listen to it whenever i forget what Grace feels like. it reminds me of the story of hosea & gomer in the bible. the relentless pursuer & the reluctant pursued. a gripping love story mirroring the Groom's pursuit of His wayward bride. His pursuit of me. the story so gripped me that i changed my camp name to gomer {or at least until my camp director suggested that naming myself after a prostitute might not be so appropriate which is how i got my name ozynol which is another story for another time}.

anyways, this is for any other prisoners of law that needed to hear the voice of Grace calling for you.

i knew what i was getting into {misty edwards}


the miracle of the twelve tortillas

it happened when i was in the most un-miraculous mood, at dinnertime, the most unholy hour of the day. i was counting my days miseries most unforgivingly. grumbling about how there is never any help. how the kitchen is always dirty & the dishes never done. ignoring the blessings. ignoring God's goodness.  

i was making dinner for the 346 time this year & i was sighing. hungry toddlers had congregated at my feet with a unified chorus of 'i'm hungry mummy... i'm so hungry'. the baby sits in a slush of applesauce at the counter crying to be let down from her highchair. and i am not thankful for the food i am preparing. not thankful one bit that i am doing this all alone. i fumble through the cupboard, shifting toddlers from one side of the kitchen to the other as i ransack drawers & upend empty containers. i forgot. again. to get my act together & finally get a grocery list & meal plan going. i find some leftover chicken from the night before & an unopened bag of tortillas. i count out how many tummies i am filling tonight. rats. not enough tortillas. i need 12 & the package is clearly labeled 10. i don't care, i tell myself. i have too many other problems consuming me at the moment. maybe if i ignore it, it will magically work out. i smack the sour cream, salsa, chicken mix into the mismatched tortillas... except their not mismatched. which is impossible. i count them again. i have six tortilla tops & six tortilla bottoms. but how can that be? i ask another adult in the kitchen to count them again for me because it doesn't make sense. she concurs that i indeed have 12 tortillas in total & the package says 10. i carefully inspect each tortilla to make sure i didn't just split them accidentally in my huff. nope. they are perfectly thick. 
my puzzler is still puzzed. i have spent my life reading about how to set the atmosphere for the miraculous. how to sow faith & reap in multiplication. none of it matched the miracle in my tiny kitchen that day. because it had absolutely nothing to do with me. it happened in spite of me. and yet it happened for me. i instantly knew the Lord loved me. and He even loved me in my ungratefulness. in my tired, faithless, frustrated grumbles. He moved anyways. that is my miracle. that He loves me anyways. that He provided not because He had too or because i begged or because i was on my best behaviour. no. it was just because He loves me.  
"this is always the thing: God is always good & we are always loved." 
{ann voskamp}
one passage that i have studied for sometime, preparing myself for a miracle someday, was mark 8. it's after the feeding of the four thousand & Jesus & the disciples had set out in a boat across some body of water & those 12 disciples too had forgotten their shopping list & they had no bread. and Jesus turned to them & said...
 "“watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”and they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. and Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? do you not yet perceive or understand? are your hearts hardened? having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? and do you not remember? when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” they said to him, “twelve.”  “and the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” and they said to him, “seven.” and he said to them, “do you not yet understand?” 
{mark 8:15-21, esv}
i wholeheartedly admit that i do not understand yet. but what i do understand of this passage is that the disciples reasoning started with what they lacked, seemingly ignorant of heaven's resources despite the miracles they had just witnessed. as Jesus points out, they had just fed more people with less bread & came up with leftovers. "why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread?"He asks. i have read this passage so many times & His question still stings 'why is it that you are thinking about what you don't have?' after He's done all to display to me that there is limitless resources in His kingdom. 
"thought patterns & processes that start with our lack can only end up with human resource for human need. kingdom thinking is different. it lives in an awareness that anything can happen at any time." 
{bill johnson}
and so i find myself humbled & all to familiar with the leven of the Pharisees {thinking religiously, all bound in tradition} & the leven of Herod {practical atheism, there is no God to meet my needs}. that i too reasoned that i had no bread & turned to human resource to meet human need. that i practiced my religious tradition of dinner hour without any thought that the King might be watching. i too forgot that God was in the boat with me & that He takes my leftovers & multiplies them. 


lesson in the losses: unholy moments & imperfect progress

lesson #9: "redemption is better than perfection" {kristene mueller}

hello there. i'm still here. attempting to get my writing groove back on after my little holiday sabbatical. although, it wasn't really the holiday's fault. maybe my own pride. i hate writing from unholy moments. and as of late, i seem to have been swallowed up by a whole tidal wave of unholy. you know, the moments where you fall between the cracks, out from underneath grace & find yourself picking up the pieces of your raw emotions. i've tried to avoid writing when these moods brood because, well, i don't really want to remember them. it's like evidence. a documenting of my falling shortness. nothing perfect. nothing pressed. it's too real. it's too rumpled. but a fellow friend has inspired me by her courageous journey to write her own story of struggle redeemed & i have decided to lay down perfection & pick up redemption too. it's called the beautiful process of "imperfect progress". i've always held back if i know that i can't do it perfectly & that change doesn't always happen instantly. but where's the opportunity for change then? change damages pride. it's a risk to admit that you got it wrong. that you don't have it all together & attempt to be different. but embracing imperfect change has been a radical experience for this recovering perfectionist.

"imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace... imperfect progress. progress. just make progress. it's ok to have setbacks & the need for do-overs. it's  ok to draw the line in the sand & start over again - and again. just make sure your moving the line forward. move forward..." 
{lysa terkeurst, unglued}

"of course, this side of heaven we will not do perfectly. harsh words will be spoken, patience will wear thin. frazzled mothers will act frazzled. and when this happens, our own sinfulness does not detract from the power of the gospel, it illustrates why we need it. do not use your own mistakes as an excuse to wallow about what a bad mother you are. repent. seek forgiveness, get it right, and move on. believe. be forgiven. extend that forgiveness, that belief, that joy, to your children."
 {rachel jankovic, motherhood is application}

"the battles are raging & the casualties could be my children, my husband, or myself. this war isn't about me being mom enough. this war is about God being 'God enough'... 
and somehow, in God's mathematics of grace: mom {never enough} + God {infinitely enough} = mom enough. mom enough to believe and to be called chosen, daughter, righteous, honoured, heir, forgiven, redeemed. trusting in God, because of Christ, i will rise from the graveyard of mommy war victims, victorious & filled with resurrection power. loving & living in his perfect enough-ness, i will live to parent another day. never mom enough, but filled with the One who is always enough."
{rachel pieh jones, are you mom enough?}

these quotes have been life to me as i've been walking this process out. it's this imperfect progress that has pushed me from gospel presentation to gospel application.  i give up trying to be mom enough, perfect enough. i lay it down & surrender to this process of imperfect progress, of letting God be God enough for me, for my kids & my husband. 

cheers to this year all about surrendering to Grace. giving up & starting again in the strength of the One who perfects my imperfections. it's not all of Him & none of me but rather all of Him through all of me. and then i don't mind putting my unholy moments on display because they've become an invitation for Him to rewrite my struggle into strength. my lack into more than enough. He does that, that good God of mine. transforms all things. always singing that redemption song over me.