“Answered Prayer” Frame Project

War Room

From War Room movie

Quite a while back (months… maybe even a year or two), I watched a movie on Netflix called War Room. It’s a Christian movie with a great message, but like so many others that have watched the movie, I was most taken by Miss Clara’s War Room and her Wall of Remembrance. In the movie, Miss Clara used an empty walk-in closet as her own sanctuary for praying, meditating and spending time with God. She called it her “War Room” because this was the place where she would battle through situations in her life through prayer and scripture. As I get older, I have found that daily devotions and meditation time are critical to my own state of well-being. It just helps to ground me and gives me better perspective to take on each day. Although I don’t have a “War Room”, I do have a special spot in our little library where I start each day. Because it is a shared space, it’s not equipped with all that I would have in my own war room, so I improvised and decided to create an inexpensive album that contains all of the quotes and verses that I use in my daily devotions. Last week, I somehow landed on Lexie Thiery’s DIY War Room video. If this is something that interests you, it is worth checking it out to see how Lexie made her wall. I basically did the same thing, but in a mini photo album style. I wanted mine a bit more organized and this worked perfect for the shared space as well. I picked up all of the items at the dollar store: one album, 2 mini pads of scrapbooking paper and a package of white lined recipe cards. All I did was trim down the pages to fit the 4″ X 6″ photo slots and then used a punch to fancy up the trimmed off scrap. I used this as a little border along the left hand side of each entry. So simple, but it is neat and organized. Works perfectly for me!

Wall of Remembrance:

Although this post really isn’t so much about the “War Room” as discussed above, it is a great segue to my project. During a scene in the movie, there is a shot of this amazing wall in Miss Clara’s home. Her “Wall of Remembrance” is like a collage of framed art and keepsakes that were true testaments to all the blessings in her life. Each item was very significant to her and her legacy. I guess a tribute and reminder to be thankful for all that God has done in your life. I LOVED this concept, but like so many other projects, never really got around to doing anything about it. Sometimes when you are trying to pull something together that just seems too big…the natural instinct is to procrastinate or worse yet, never do it. I learned a long time ago, that the best way to beat the fear and uncertainty of attacking a huge project is just to start. That is usually the hardest part. I decided that I could easily begin with an “Answered Prayer” plaque. A friend of mine had picked up an old picture frame for me on free day. She was thinking it might be great for a classroom project I was doing, but in the end it was a bit big so I brought it home. I decided to start by giving the old frame a bit of a face lift. I didn’t really have a plan for what I was actually going to do inside, but I knew I just had to start and I would figure it out.

  • The first thing I did was clean and spray paint the frame. The inner frame was actually covered in this red velvet. I decided to leave it on and tape it off. When the white spray paint was dry, I removed both the tape and velvet. This left me with the dark stained wood of the inner frame exposed. Although I loved the contrast of the white and dark wood, I felt it was a bit harsh and decided to soften the white spray paint with just a touch of dark brown and cream to antique it ever so slightly. I also thought that dry brushing just a touch of white onto the dark stain would help to make the look more cohesive. I loved the finished look….quite a dramatic change.
This shot was taken after spray painting. You can see the velvet is still one one of the edges. I haven’t yet antiqued this frame.

  • Once the frame was done, I searched for ideas on “Answered Prayer” framed art. I got an idea of what I liked and then began to play in a word document. I figured out the layout and font. I really loved the idea of having an almost translucent message in the background. I knew it wouldn’t be very visible once I began recording events, but I wanted it there all the same. Once I had the layout all figured out. I needed to decide on paper.
  • I actually went through my stash at home and came across this beautiful natural looking paper with bits of natural fibre and petals incorporated into the paper. It was perfect. Because the paper had a bit of a yellow tone to it, I decided to change my background “Just Believe” to yellow as well. I printed it out and then tackled the next obstacle. The frame opening was 11″ X 14″, so standard paper was not going to work. My printed page was on 8 1/2″ X 11″, so I would have to mount it onto some kind of background.
  • For the background, I found a perfect yellow polka dot paper with a vintage vibe in my scrapbooking supplies. I had to cut and patch the paper together to compensate for the 14″ width, but the polka dots made it super easy to line it up and the seam doesn’t stand out at all.
  • I then took some foam board and cut it to size to provide some support for the project.
  • I finished it off with a simple flower that I had on hand for embellishing gifts.

I love the way this project turned out! I have to say it took me over a week to commit to writing anything on it for fear of ruining it, but finally took the plunge. I really wanted it to be handwritten, even though it means there will be little slip ups and imperfections. Many years ago when I first started scrapbooking, I tried to type all of my little captions and journal entries that accompanied my layouts. I wanted everything to be just perfect and that of course meant that I would not be able to tolerate my less than perfect penmanship. Anyway, I can’t even remember exactly who told me this, but their words carried weight and have stayed with me ever since. She said that having my handwritten message with the layout would become part of the legacy of the album. That my script would actually be treasured as much as the photos themselves. This really struck a cord with me because I lost my mom when I was only 30 and I deeply cherish the handwritten notes and recipes of hers. So, although not perfect, the entries will be done by hand.

Of course, this is a far cry from a “Wall of Remembrance”, but I have the first step done. The “Answered Prayer” plaque will eventually be the focal point of the entire wall, so it made sense to do it first. Of course, this project will never end, but rather evolve. I can’t wait to find pieces that speak to me and become part of this wall of declaration. I’m not even sure where in my home this wall will be created. For now, I will hang the first piece and as it grows and evolves, I will figure out the perfect spot for it.

Here is a great example of a Wall of Remembrance from Awe Filled Homemaker

Communication: The Key to Avoiding Disappointment

Happy Birthday to Me! Yummy Chocolate Mousse Cake

Today I wanted to share a recent discovery I made. It’s really so simple that it seems ridiculous, but since it took me 52 years to figure it out, I thought others might find it speaks to them as well. So let me preface this by saying that I am in no way bashing my husband and kids. I love and appreciate them very much! I know some are going to read this and judge me for posting this, as it may not reflect too well on me, but as I get older I realize there is great freedom in being honest and real. So like it or not…here goes.

Mother’s Day and my birthday both land in May. Over the past few years, I have found that I am often left feeling a bit disappointed on both occasions. I found myself really battling these feelings, believing it was super selfish. I would literally fight this “edge” in my mood all day on both occasions. I didn’t really know or understand why, but for some reason I always felt like my family didn’t really understand what was important to me. I never really stopped to ponder it much, but just knew neither were highlights for me. Anyway, this year a friend alluded to the fact that she too dreaded Mother’s Day and we discovered our experiences/feelings to be much the same. In our conversation, she shared that her new strategy for creating a better experience was to simply tell her family exactly what she wanted/needed to make her Mother’s Day great (or at least better). It seemed so simple and yet a bit radical at the same time. It really got me to thinking. Here are a few observations I made about my own feelings and situation:

  • My mom passed away before we had children, so my kids have never seen me honour my own Mom. We all know how powerful role modelling is and they have not seen that modelled in any way.
  • My husband worked nights and weekends for most of our marriage and thus was literally never around on Sundays. When I really stopped to consider this, I realized that my husband never had the opportunity to dedicate this day to me, just as I had never done for him. Now don’t get me wrong, we always acknowledged the day, but it was often with a card, perhaps a gift and a very quick dinner between him getting up at 5 and leaving for work at 6 pm.
  • When the kids were younger, I created my own Mother’s Day tradition which basically involved attending a beautiful Mother’s Day service at church. Tim would be sleeping all day in preparation for work, so it was just a given that I would have the kids and it would basically be a typical day in every way other than perhaps a “Happy Mother’s Day!”, exchange of cards and sometimes gifts. I was okay with this because that was just the life and schedule we had, but perhaps always felt a bit slighted.
  • Last year (2019) was probably the first Mother’s Day that Tim was off and it never really dawned on me that we had no Mother’s Day and Father’s Day traditions. We had never really established a pattern for celebrating and I think that I somehow expected more and was thus left disappointed.

My Revelation:

As a teacher, it is my job to teach the lesson, explain the assignment and set the criteria. As I got to thinking about my disappointment and bad attitude, I realized how impossible it would be for my family to meet my expectations and avoid disappointing me, if they really had no idea what I expected/wanted. So, with my friend’s strategy in mind, I decided that I was going to test this out two weeks later when my May 24th birthday arrived.

I know I have shared about The Five Love Languages before, but it really warrants mentioning again. I think what every person really wants/needs is to be and feel loved. The problem is that not everyone experiences/feels love in the same way. When we speak different love languages it can feel a bit like communicating in a foreign language….full of misunderstandings, confusion and hurt. One can feeling like they are pouring their heart into someone and it seem to always fall short….it is all too common we speak different languages of love. According Gary Chapman, there are 5 basic love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Quality Time
  4. Giving Gifts
  5. Physical Touch

Although we all have varying degrees of each of these, there are generally one or two languages that you primarily communicate with. So for example, Acts of Service is my number one love language. If I want to show someone I love/care for them, I am most likely going to step up and do something for them…..bake their favourite cookies, iron their shirt, help clean their room, etc. I show I love them by serving them in some way. Likewise, this is how I feel most loved. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love and appreciate a beautifully wrapped gift because I do, it just isn’t my primary love language. My family can best communicate their love by doing a job for me, spending quality time with me (doing something that I LOVE) or offering words of affirmation. For me, these three are stronger modes of communication. (To figure out someone’s love language, simply watch to see how they demonstrate love for others. This is always your best indicator.) So what was happening for me was that my family was giving me gifts and/or cards, but what I really needed was an act of service or a sign that they really understood me.

So, with all of this new understanding of why I was feeling disappointed, I made a declaration. A few days before my birthday, I told my husband and kids exactly what I wanted for my birthday. At first it felt a bit weird to be dictating exactly how I wanted my birthday to go down, so I kind of made a game out it. I also explained my discovery and how unfair it was for me to judge them if they had no idea what my expectations even were.

The Birthday Experiment

Of course, everyone’s version would be different, but I thought I’d like to give this concept of setting the criteria a whirl and see how it turned out. Below pretty much sums up exactly what I told them in the days leading up to my birthday experiment.

  1. I wanted everyone up and out of bed for online church without moans, groans or arguments. Why? Because it’s important to me and “It’s my birthday!”
  2. Think about something that I LOVE and invite me to participate. “I know you don’t love board games, but I DO and you love me, so just maybe you are going to ask me to play a board game with you! Why? Because IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!” How about a walk? A bike ride? It’s not about you and what you feel like doing… it’s all about me because “It’s my birthday!”
  3. What kind of job can you do for me without being asked? The best way you can show me how much you care is by doing something for me. Of course, I gave them some examples of this as well… make me a cup of tea/coffee, make a meal, unload the dish washer, literally any job that needed to get done….show me the love!
  4. Going out this year wasn’t a great option, so I told them what I wanted for dinner as well.
  5. Finally….I announced that I would be making my own cake. I think my husband was a bit caught off guard by this one, but here’s what I said. I don’t like or want store bought cake. I LOVE homemade cake, but I never, ever get a homemade cake on my birthday. It is always bought. I would much rather bake my own cake. I love dessert/birthday cake and if I’m going to consume those calories, it is my birthday and I want to choose how to spend them! And just like that….I got the exact cake I wanted.

So, in a very fun loving, yet direct way, I told my family exactly what my expectations were for my birthday and guess what…..BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!! Everyone got up for online church without complaint…yay!! I got some hugs and happy birthdays as well as a few cards with wonderful sentiments written inside. Tim prepared a wonderful breakfast of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, toast and coffee without even asking me what I wanted…he just went for it. After a lovely breakfast, my dad and I played a few games. Later, Tim asked me to go for a walk. (More quality time!) Just before dinner, Shay came and asked me if I wanted to play a game or two…YES!! Tim picked up a few groceries, did some needed yard work and together we prepped dinner. (More acts of service.) I didn’t mind helping one little bit because my love tank was full! After dinner, my dad and I played a few more games while we waited for Eden to get home from work. She arrived home and we had the homemade cake I made with no Happy Birthday song…also my request. We ended the evening with a family game of Rummoli! I went to bed feeling like I had hit the jackpot. You may be thinking that didn’t sound so amazing….that’s because our needs are all unique, but my point is that I truly discovered that the key to avoiding disappointment is simple…..clearly communicate what your wants and needs are. (You may or may not have noticed I didn’t actually receive any gifts which was totally fine because it is not my primary love language. However, both my husband and kids did in fact give me gifts that arrived after the date…and both were super thoughtful….a book from one of my favourite authors (that I didn’t ask for) and a special hand painted coffee mug with my dog Hershey on it!)

As a mom, I feel like I always try to practise this for everyone else’s birthdays already…by asking questions…What do you want for dinner? What gifts would you like? What kind of cake shall I make? and so on, but after having such an amazing day, I also told my kids and husband to think about what would really make them feel special on their birthdays and to communicate it. Maybe I too was missing the mark. Why do we often make things so complicated? I can’t believe it took me 52 years to figure this out, but it did. I think we just want the people we love to figure the answers out, but why risk hurt feelings and disappointment. It just seems so much easier to set the stage in a loving and respectful way.

I want my kids to know how to honour others. Someday they will be married and they need to know how to show that love, honour and respect to their spouses. If it hasn’t been modelled and/or taught, how is a person supposed to know what to do. So to all you moms out there who go out of your way to make everyone else feel special…how about letting your loved ones know what they can do to make your birthday and/or Mother’s Day even better. Good luck!

I would love to hear from you. Maybe I’m one of few that feel this way about Mother’s Day and birthdays or just maybe this post speaks to you. For me, it was so freeing to finally stop pretending and truly enjoy my day – selfish or not! Tell me your story!

Creative Ways to Embed Movement Breaks into Your Work From Home Schedule

Before reading on, I want to make it clear that I am very thankful for all of the essential workers who are risking their lives on the front lines, working crazy hours and graciously sacrificing precious time with their loved ones to keep the rest of us safe. I sincerely feel blessed to be able to work safely from my home.

We are now several weeks into school closures and our new system of working from home. As a kindergarten teacher, you can well imagine that I’m always on the move. There’s never a dull moment…just ask anyone who has ever visited a Kindergarten classroom! It seems that on a “slow” day at work, I have no trouble hitting 7500 steps on my Fitbit. 10,000 steps is quite attainable, if I happen to stop at the store, go for a walk at lunch or get a workout in before work….really anything extra outside my regular day generally gets me there. I am shocked at how my Fitbit steps have seemingly fallen right off the map! So, aside from working within the confines of my little home office, let’s not forget that even shopping steps are at a bare minimum with limited trips to the stores these days.

I’m not going to lie…I have been know to say how much I despise working out. Although I’ve done my fair share of programs in the past…P90X, Jillian Michaels, etc., all have been done begrudgingly. I’m just not that person. I love sports and have always tried to get my exercise playing games and doing the things I love. Isn’t that how it is supposed to be. No one ever went to the gym in the olden days!! You just worked, played and stayed active.

However, in this day and age, work for me right now looks a lot like sitting in front of a computer screen for 6 to 10 (sometimes 12) hours a day. There was a steep learning curve…so much to learn, do and juggle. Even as a seasoned teacher with years of experience, I still didn’t feel prepared for this new way of teaching. Despite all of the hard work and long hours, I am finally finding my groove and learning to embrace it.

So, with time to finally take a breath and reflect on this new way of doing life….I’ve made some observations. When I finally crawl in to bed at night after working hard all day, my Fitbit has the audacity to log a whopping 2000-3000 steps! How frustrating! So with my head finally above the surface, I needed a plan. How might I survive this pandemic without breaking the scales and losing every speck of muscle tone I’ve ever had?

Creative Strategies to Get Up, Get Moving & Burn Some Calories

  1. WORKOUT: The first thing I had to do was change my attitude about working out. (This will be a process, but I am working on it. ~ It is my body and I should honour and respect it by taking good care of it.) My negative attitude basically has me fighting against myself. So, that means I had to make some decisions: I will eat well and take action to get mobile. On a good day, I do a 30 minute Jillian Michaels workout (3/2/1) which I must admit I hate and takes every bit of will power I have to complete. I hate cardio…it leaves me winded and sprawled on the mat in desperate need of a nap. (I think that means I need more cardio…ugh.). If I plan to do this workout, I aim for first thing in the morning, because I am incredibly skilled at talking myself out of it. I basically can’t leave any time to think about it or I will opt out. I only manage to do this a few times a week ( I aim for 3 and celebrate if I make it). I know all of you workout junkies are rolling your eyes at my incompetence, but hey…just keepin’ it real!
  2. On the days when I don’t do Jillian, I have committed to doing 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. I do enjoy doing yoga with Adriene (especially the short classes). So basically, I am doing either Jillian or Adriene everyday. I think I might have had two rockstar days in which I was unstoppable and did both (but if memory serves me correct….I was in bed super early both nights!)
  3. Even with one of the above workouts, I was barely hitting 3000 steps. I found that walking my dog, Hershey, really helped to bump them up. Although, we generally take turns walking Hershey, it makes sense for me to take on this responsibility and kill two birds with one stone. I’ve found a route that is about 3 km long, as well as a few shorter routes that I can do just to stretch my legs and take a little break. Even if I don’t have time to do the longer walk, it’s easy to fit in one of the shorter walks to help increase my steps.
  4. Last week, I had to pop into the school, so I asked if I could borrow a skipping rope and a hula hoop. I tried the hula hoop (in the privacy of my own home, of course) and that was a bit of a disaster. The only workout I was really getting was bending over to pick up the hoop that kept falling! Not. A. Pretty. Sight. I am determined to make a least 5 twirls without it falling, before this work from home thing is over. In the mean time, it is great for practising squats.
  5. Jump Rope ~ Unlike the hoop, I was able to pick-up the skipping pretty quickly (despite being many years since I’ve done it). My jump rope plan was simple…..every single time that Hershey (my dog) wants to go outside during the day….I do 100 jumps with the rope. (Okay…mostly 50, pause, 50, but I am getting better!) I have done 100 a few times, but usually by the time I get 75 I can barely clear the rope and it gets caught on my feet. Either way, without or without mistakes/breaks, I do 100 jumps every time. This doesn’t give me much more than a few hundred steps, but the panting and sweat tell me it is still good for me, so I’ll keep at it. I leave the rope on the back door handle, as a vivid reminder of my promise to get active.
  6. Stop Yelling (it’s not very polite anyway). Our teenagers sleep on the second story of our home and I’m notorious for yelling at them from the bottom of the stairs…whether it be to wake them up, come down or call them for dinner. I decided to try my very best to stop doing that and make the climb each and every time I need them for something. This actually makes quite a difference. Stairs really do help and I find that with our main floor laundry, I sure don’t get the same steps I used to.
  7. We have an elliptical in the basement that I use periodically (that means not so much). One of my strategies is to do “one song” on my playlist a few times a day. It gets me down to the basement (that’s stairs!) and the movement break helps to energize me for another couple of hours. I’m finding that the little short spurts of exercise are quite enjoyable and fun! (Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but they are certainly more tolerable for a person who’s still learning to embrace workouts with a positive attitude.)
  8. Just Dance: Some times I stand at my computer screen…blast some music and bust a move. I usually only last one song because it is not the easiest way to get work done, but it is fun and gives my family yet another reason to laugh at me (or roll their eyes, depending).
  9. House Cleaning: Again, ask me to paint, do a DYI project, refinish a piece of furniture…I’m in. House cleaning I do because it has got to get done. Whenever possible I try to make it a family affair to spread the “joy of cleaning”. However, in these crazy times, I have found a certain amount of peace and thankfulness in the mundane activities that help to keep a house in order. I will often put on my headphone or blast the music and find that it feeds my spirit as I go about the business of caring for our home. The bonus that I never really took the time to notice before is that it’s a great way to stay active. Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, mopping and even cleaning out a cupboard can slowly but steadily add to your daily step count.

I can’t say that I am reaching the steps I used to when I was in the classroom, but I am definitely more aware of how much I am sitting and the need to consciously incorporate movement breaks into my day. I hope that you might be inspired to think outside of the box and find your own creative ways to stay healthy and active.

I’d love to hear your ideas on how you are keeping mobile during this time when so many are bound to home. Leave your comments below!

Modern Day Miracles: My Testimony

Some Back Story:

Although I grew up in a Christian home and always believed in God, it wasn’t until the last few years that my spiritual journey really began. I remember Oprah saying that turning 50 was a real game changer in her life. I think you reach a stage when you don’t have the energy or interest in doing things just to keep up appearances…you just become more authentic, accept who you are ….the good, the bad and the ugly. You simply become more unapologetically yourself. I have always been a super reflective person and spend most of my time inside my own head. However, for me this spiritual awakening was not so much about my age as my circumstances.

My Belief:

First and foremost, my underlying belief is this: God is a GOOD God all the time. He does not bring sickness, misfortune, bad luck or death. We live in a world in which bad things happen as a result of Adam & Eve’s decision in the garden. What I do believe is that when bad things happen and we are forced to walk through the storms in life, God can and will use these situations to draw us closer to him. He never brings on misfortune, but he is faithful to bring beauty from the pile of ashes we find ourselves in.

A Place of FEAR:

Our daughter went through a very tough time in grade 7 and 8. Without going into much detail, the circumstances got pretty bad and she was eventually diagnosed with severe depression and an anxiety disorder. She went from Principal’s Honor Roll for over 90% averages to scraping by with 51% in math and science courses. I share this only because when you see your child spiral, distance herself from you and the world in general, you begin to parent from a totally different place ~ FEAR! Fear of losing her, fear of failure, fear of doing/saying the wrong thing, fear of doing too much, fear of not doing enough, fear of being a bad parent, fear of the future, fear that she’ll never get better, fear of bad friend choices, fear of bad life choices, literally fear of everything. This is where I found myself.

I can’t actually explain the strain this put on me and my family. I read books on mental health and parenting. I listened to pod casts and took courses. I spent endless hours and dollars trying to figure it all out. As a mom, that’s what we do. We fix things. I was on a mission and when I’m on a mission, I really lock on. Some how in my mind, I was her only chance. I had to fight for her because she didn’t have the will or energy to fight for herself. It is the most horrible place to be as a parent.

What could possibly be worse than this? Doing anything and everything you can and literally getting no where. The harder I tried, the worse the situation got. She hated life and me even more. Everything I was doing was out of my deep unwavering love for her, but there came a point when my efforts seemed futile, our relationship was a disaster and the tension in our home was almost unbearable. In all honesty, there were times I felt like I didn’t have an ounce of stamina left, I had given everything I had to help this child I loved so much and my payoff was being hated and resented. I just wanted out. Walk. Away. I was completely at the end of myself.

Now, being a person of strong faith, I did my fair share of praying and begging during this time, but it really wasn’t until I was in a place of utter hopelessness that I truly surrendered the situation to God. I was desperate to find answers. I was just so weary and it was in this place of vulnerability that I was finally ready to hand it over to God. Our pastors had been teaching on what a true spiritual fast was all about. The ins and outs, the hows and whys…I knew in my spirit that I needed to fast for Eden and do nothing else but seek God through my fast and that is exactly what I did. I did a 3 day food fast, but more importantly than giving up the food, I committed my fasting time to seeking God. This was really something quite foreign to me and I honestly didn’t really know what I was doing so I surrendered that to him as well.

My Experience with a Spiritual Fast:

Friday, I went to work as usual. Listen to a teaching (past sermon) from my church’s app (The Source Church). On the way home, I listened to another message and watched the Jets game with my husband. My search was set to begin on the Saturday. That morning I got up and said a short prayer asking God to show me how to help Eden, to open my eyes of understanding and guide me into truth. I then proceeded to read from my little devotional book that I used every day. However, what made this day different was that as I read my 5 minute devotional something in the words jumped out at me like never before. I really felt that the Holy Spirit was leading me. I decided to look up the scripture the devotion was referencing and what followed was the most amazing treasure hunt I’d ever been on. Through the words in the bible, God spoke to my spirit leading me from one place to another. Reminding me of things I’d previously read or watched and as I followed, I began to find answers and revelation. This process lasted throughout the weekend and well into the following week when I was finished my fast and back to work. I would turn on the radio (Sirius XM: The Message) or my Spotify playlist and the words in the song would confirm the overwhelming message that he had given me throughout the process, but each new “clue” strengthened the message and my understanding of what he was trying to tell me.

Let me tell you…I was in for a rude awakening! The message was so loud and clear. One of the first places he took me was to the love chapter 1 Corinthians 13. I knew this chapter well, but when I read it on this day I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Here is how it translated for me in that moment:

Without LOVE you are nothing. All your striving and good intentions are driving your daughter away. What YOU perceive as help, she receives as not measuring up. GOD’S MESSAGE WAS CLEAR. Her status and accomplishments do not and will never impact my love for her. Just like God loves us unconditionally, I knew I would LOVE her no matter what… if she passed or failed, became a doctor or worked at Walmart. It simply didn’t matter. All that mattered was that SHE KNEW she was LOVED and VALUED just as she was.

I had perceived all of my efforts to be acts of love and support, but they were really giving her the message that nothing she did was ever good enough. I didn’t trust her. Every time I “checked-in” or offered suggestions, it cut away at her spirit. OUCH! Needless to say I was brought to my knees, literally crippled by my new revelation and understanding. Everything I did, I did out of love and with the best intentions, but the way it was being received was giving the opposite message to my daughter. I don’t think I have ever wept as much as I did that week. I repented to God, my daughter, my family…I was just so off base. It sickened me to the core just knowing how deceived I’d been. My best intentions totally backfiring. How could I have missed the mark so badly? I remember one of the final messages I received from God during that week came through a random song I was listening to on the way to work. This is what God said to me:

I do not mess up. EVER. I have created her in my likeness and image. Who do you even think you are to try to fix MY MASTERPIECE?

I apologized to my daughter and asked for her forgiveness. Then I LOVED on her like never before. Right where she was at. The answer I so desperately sought through books, courses, videos, etc. was that simple: JUST LOVE HER. For the first time in over 3 years, I finally got it….She does not need to be fixed, she’s already perfect. NOT. BROKEN.

I was so convicted in my spirit. Talk about knocking me down a few pegs. It still brings tears to my eyes even though it was a year ago (last January) when we were still in the midst of this fiery battle with depression and anxiety. Let me tell you it almost tore our house down, but God’s grace is always enough. He was there the whole time, he just needed me to seek Him, His answers and His way. When I totally surrendered the situation to him and sought Him first….it was like the mountain moved. I could sense something change instantly in my daughter that day when I sobbed uncontrollably and apologized for all my mistakes in dealing with the situation.

We began to see positive changes almost instantly and by May she declared that she no longer had depression. By September she was off her medication and today is completely happy and fully healed. The healing and freedom was there the whole time. I truly believe that I was in the way. There was a time not much more than a year ago, that I really couldn’t see through the mess. I wanted to believe she would be well, but everything was hard. I share this today because GOD is in the business of making miracles happen. The trouble is that it is often based on our capacity to believe. We limit him with our own unbelief.

A Time to Give Thanks and Celebrate!

Yesterday, we celebrated Eden’s 18th birthday! She is a beautiful young woman both inside and out. She is compassionate, kind, generous and is going to accomplish great things in life. She was robbed of her adolescence and her life was sidetracked for almost 4 years, but we believe God has brought complete restoration for her. She has an awesome group of friends and is in a great school. She is engaged in all life has to offer and together we rejoice in this miracle. His promises are always Yes and Amen!

Seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be added unto you. My mantra….Trust the signature! For what he says is true.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

Modern Day Miracles

I’m not sure how many of my followers consider themselves Christians and truly believe in God’s power to heal, but I have seen and heard way too many testimonies throughout my life to doubt his ability. People will often explain away situations as good luck or a coincidence, but I know first hand that God has had a hand in completely transforming situations in my life.

Perhaps some of you have heard of “the bible that flows with oil”. I don’t want to misquote or misinform anyone, but it’s pretty radical! Check out this video to learn the story behind this modern day miracle:

It’s quite fascinating! Although many will be skeptical and criticize, what I can tell you is that many people are receiving miracles when blessed by the oil produced from this bible. Perhaps the power is in the fact that it is a tangible illustration that God is still in the miracle business. The bible says in Hebrews 11:1

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 King James Version (KJV)

We live in a world where “seeing is believing”, so to believe something when there is no evidence can often seem irrational. As a believer in the Word of God, your faith is anchored in God’s promises. Even though you may not see any evidence of the promise in your life, you have to “trust the signature”. This has become my mantra in 2020…trust the signature. His promises have absolutely nothing to do with me or my ability to perform well enough….good thing because I would always fall short. I just stand firm and “trust the signature” of the one who made the promise.

Recently the owners of the bible visited our church campus in Florida and everyone was blown away by the miracles and healing that took place. Here is an example of a testimony I found on line, not from our church but involving the oil…gives me goosebumps! Although the bible will not be at our Winnipeg campus, we are super excited because our Pastor Ralph Hoehne is bringing 250 vials of the oil produced by the bible to our Winnipeg campus on Sunday, February 2nd. It’s very exciting! If you or someone you know is interested in attending our 9 am service, please see the video below.

So my point is, in a world where it is so difficult to have faith when their is no evidence, we must grow our faith through our experiences and the testimonies of others. This miraculous bible can be that anchor….you can see it, feel it and even smell the evidence of this miracle. So powerful!

What are you believing for???

Reflect and Re-Set for 2020

In all honesty, by the time Christmas arrived this year, I’d hit a wall. These past few months have been super busy as I pushed through my first Christmas season with my new youtube channel and did all the normal preparations for Christmas. My house was a disaster and I wasn’t as ready for our big Ukrainian Christmas Eve meal, as I usually am. In fact, Tim and I were still pinching perogies on Christmas Eve! When the dust settled, I knew that what I really needed during this holiday season was some time to relax, reflect and recuperate from the crazy hours I’d been pulling since mid November. When I finally slowed down and began to take stock of 2019, I was blown away by all the blessings!

When life is busy, it is so easy to lose sight of all that we have to be thankful for. It seems that the obstacles in life are what garner the most attention. When we zoom in on the challenges and storms we are going through, there is no room in the lens for all of the blessings.

I’m all for New Year’s Resolutions and goal setting, but I encourage you to stop and reflect on 2019 before forging ahead into 2020. Like me, you might be surprised at all the great things that happened in 2019.

So Thankful!

I know for sure that there are so many more blessings, but here is the list I came up with this morning! You’ll notice that some are big and some are little or at least seemingly less significant things, but I can assure you together they make me feel super thankful!

  • December 2019/January 2020 ~ We renovated our upstairs landing so the kids would have a place to hang out with their friends. Our prayers were answered and our house became the place to be! On any given night we might have up to 10 teenagers over. Love having them here! So blessed that the kids have such awesome friends and that they choose to be here. So nice to know they’re safe!
  • January 2019 ~ I had a huge personal/spiritual revelation that I believe eventually led to my daughter’s healing
  • Shelmerdine’s Shopping Spree ~ First time clothes shopping there. Went with $50 gift card and spent $52 of my own ~ walked away with over $500 in clothes! I love great deals.
  • March 2019 ~ Discovered Pastor Gary Keesee and his Faith Life Church app which has totally transformed the way I think.
  • April 2019 ~ trip to Mexico with free upgrade to massive 2 bedroom suite with a panoramic balcony with a private jacuzzi (rents for $750/night) Wowza! It was incredible!
  • May 2019 ~ After approximately 30 years on night shift, Tim got a permanent day position. He now works three 12 hours shifts per week and no lost time for sleep recovery! It’s awesome!
  • May 2019 ~ Eden proclaimed that she was depression free for the first time in 3 1/2 years
  • June 2019 ~ Got last minute Carrie Underwood tickets – 2 tickets for under $100 – 6th row centre stage ~ Amazing show!
  • Summer 2019 ~ 3 girlfriends and I decided to set-up a weekly pickleball game throughout the summer. We have been friends for many years, but would often only see each other once or twice a year. Our games are full of flubs and lots of laughter. I’m so thankful for my pickleball gals and all the fun!
  • Home Outfitters ~ dropped in to see if there were any great deals on housewares as they were going out of business. Shocked to find clothes and shoes as well. Got over $700 of shoes, boots and clothes for $87….score!
  • September 2019 ~ Having an amazing year at school. One of the nicest groups of students and parents in my career and an incredible student teacher as well!
  • September 2019 ~ Eden is medication free and completely symptom free! Yay!!
  • Eden changed schools for grade 12. Scary decision, but for the first time since grade 6….she loves school and has made so many great friends there!
  • My dad is over 80 and has hardly been sick a day in his life. In December he became quite ill with a UTI. It was so hard to see him sick. I am so thankful that his spark is back and he feeling so much better.
  • December 2020 ~ Shay and I upgraded our phones and were forced to give up our total internet plan ~ to our amazement….we are going to save over $50/month! There was a pretty incredible deal if I were to change #’s. I wasn’t keen, but it was about $500 worth of savings so I went for it. I had asked for a number that would have the same last 4 digits as my current #, but it wasn’t available. I was disappointed and picked another. Got home and was having issues with the new number. Evidently it was some how still in circulation (a problem the phone company could not even explain). They said they’d have to give me another number. This wasn’t a big deal because I had only given it to one friend and my immediate family. The one and only number they offered….had the last four digits that I originally requested but was denied. Yay! May seem insignificant but not to me!!
  • Feeling so blessed with awesome kids, a great husband and incredible friends old and new.
  • The Source Church Ministry, Pastors and of course our church family.

You may be asking how I remember all this stuff. Well, I must confess, I literally count my blessings! I keep track because when times are tough and I’m up against something difficult, I can always reflect on all that God has done for me and know that he is and always will be there. Some may call it coincidence and that’s fine, but I know he’s behind the scenes working on my behalf. You can’t make this stuff up!

What I know is this, the bible says to “Seek first the kingdom of God and all good things will be added unto you”. (Matthew 6:33) .  

Sometimes life throws you curve balls. It’s what you do in those situations that makes the difference. Over the past 3 1/2 years, we have seen our share of difficult times, especially as we navigated the stress of Eden’s depression. However, it was during this battle that I finally came to the end of myself, my abilities and my endless striving to figure it all out. It is in this place of desperation that I sought help. When I looked for help beyond myself, I not only found answers, but peace and great favour. I’m truly a work in progress and constantly have to realign and re-set, as it is so easy to fall back into my old habits, but when I truly seek first to know God, his kingdom, his heart and how he operates….life is better! So. Much. Better.

Re-Set for 2020!

Keep it Simple: Daily Routines are Key

As we head into 2020, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. I believe that 2020 is going to be the best year yet. As I set my own goals for the coming year, I can’t help but think about how so much in life is about the little things. It is the little daily habits that make all the difference. Some days I don’t have more than 5 or 10 minutes for devotions/meditation, but that simple daily habit has the potential to totally change my focus, expectations, motivation and energy for the day. On the days when I’m not as pressed for time, I can sometimes spend the first few hours just re-charging my spirit. There is no better way to start your day. I’m not always faithful, but daily Yoga is another game changer for me. Even if I can only squeeze in 15 minutes…I feel so much better. If I have to make dinner, I can choose to make salad or pasta. It really comes down to a simple choice. I still have to put in the effort either way. I have so many different salad recipes, I can honestly say that nothing beats a great salad in my books. Remember, it’s the little decisions we make and our ability to discipline ourselves to stick to our daily routines. Just take one day at a time.


Lofty goals can be overwhelming and end in aborted missions. Your goals have to stretch you, but make them achievable too. When I started my Youtube channel BOWhemian WRAPsody, it was super overwhelming. I absolutely hate having my picture taken, let alone be on video. In fact, this is so far out of my comfort zone, I truly believe it was a God inspired idea. Not only was it a stretch for me to be on video, but also difficult because I had absolutely no idea how to tape, edit, publish or market my channel. I knew my fear could stop me in my tracks, so I had to set very specific, measurable goals that were achievable. Starting something new is often the hardest part. Everyone has good ideas and concepts, it’s the follow through that is hard. My initial goal was to publish 60 videos in my first year. I figured that was a little more than one per week. It was still a scary commitment, but I knew it was achievable too. I launched my first video in June and published 55 before the end of 2019, obviously far exceeding my initial goal. The key is to not give up before you truly get started. Don’t make your goals too hard to achieve.


For me, multi-tasking is key. I have a 35+ minute drive to work. Instead of listening to the radio, I capitalize on the time by listening to apps and podcasts that feed my spirit and attitude. Look at your list of goals and aspirations and try to figure out how to get the best results for your efforts! In 2020, I’m determined to end my struggle with digestive issues and sleepless nights. In addition, I would like to drop a few pounds. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that daily exercise would have a positive impact on all three. If I listen to something uplifting while exercising, I would actually be working on 4 goals at once! Here is the key….I don’t make the goal so crazy that I give up before I ever start. Make it achievable. I know I can 100% totally commit to 15 minutes per day. On days I have the time and energy, I will obviously do more, but I function better on a successful track record. If I were to say I’ll do 45 minutes/day and miss a day or 2, I’ll feel defeated and am apt to throw in the towel. I look at it this way. 15 minutes is nothing really. In fact, probably not enough to make much difference, but if I am not doing anything right now that is 15 times as much as my current activity level…that seems pretty fantastic! Don’t compare yourself to others. 15 minutes might seem comical to someone who sets working out as a priority and dedicates significant time to their exercise program. That is not me. I hate working out. Period. I’m not going to lie. I love activity ~ volleyball, pickleball, tennis, bike riding, etc. but I do not like exercising for the sake of exercising. Yoga might be the exception. I really do enjoy Yoga.


Your goals are your goals. No one else’s. If you want to succeed, make goals that stretch you, but don’t break your spirit when you fail to live up to standards that are beyond your capacity. Make them achievable. Invest time in devising a daily routine that you can stick to. It is the simple daily habits that make all the difference when it comes to making lasting changes. Figure out ways to multi-task to capitalize on your time, energy and efforts. Many of the little things we do, can serve more than one goal.

Positive results aren’t about luck. It’s about forward thinking, planning and of course, execution. You’ve got this! Make the right choice right now, in this moment. Keep it simple and go for it! Happy 2020!

Change that Inner Voice: “I’m Enough!”

Like most women, I often look in the mirror and am immediately drawn in by the flaws I see. You know the bags under my eyes, my aging skin, the blemishes, the extra 5 pounds, etc. So often, as women, we seem to have blinders on when it comes to our own self-concept. We have difficulty recognizing, let alone celebrating our own attributes. We are so much more than these “body suits” we wear ~ we have an inner strength and beauty that makes us shine from the inside out. How do you feel when you look in the mirror? I love the message of this empowering video….”I’m Enough!

1st Mission: Accomplished!

CelebrateScreen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.13.08 PMHey all! It has been one year since I officially launched my blog. I met my first goal of sticking with it for one full year without missing a day….that’s 365 posts in a row!  This summer, my blog is taking a bit of a detour as I attempt to explore our beautiful province ~ Manitoba! Of course, I still hope to have time to do some DIY projects, try some new recipes and get my house organized, but there will definitely be some “Manitoba” content this summer. It will give me a bit of a chance to unwind and enjoy my holiday and yet not totally lose touch with my followers. If you would like to help me celebrate my 1st Anniversary, just share my link with your friends and family and sign-up as a subscriber, if you have not already done so! My goal is to dramatically increase both my subscribers and my daily views this summer and I need your help. You may even want to copy and paste the URL from the address bar at the top of the page of your favourite post.

The Next Steps:

Want to know how you can help? Here are a few things you can do to help me take my blog to the next level:

1. Share my link with friends and family via email or social media:  www.cindyroy.com

2. Think of your favourite post and type the key words in the search bar. Once there, copy and paste the URL and share it with friends.

3. Subscribe. Sign-up as a subscriber and my blog will show up in your email as soon as I post each day. Take a quick look and see if the content is of interest and then decide if you want to visit the site or not. To see all of the videos and pictures you will need to click through to the site by clicking on the post title.

4. Let me know what your favourite topics and posts are by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. I love to hear from my readers and want to take my blog in a direction that appeals to the largest number of people, so I need your feedback.

Thanks so much for your support through the last year! I know that my content is a bit of a “mish-mash” at times, but I need to keep my content quite wide open, so that I can continue to post while working (just shy of full-time) and managing my family life. I enjoy blogging, but in order to post regularly and keep my life in some sort of balance, I need to keep my options open. However, I know there will come a time when I need to have a more specific focus and I would love your thoughts regarding your favourite content. Thanks for your continued support!

Summer Screen Time

empowering parents

Click the image to find out how to tame technology and create balance in your home.

Of course, this type of post is not new for me. I am one of those parents who is very uptight when it comes to screen time. I hate what it is doing to our children and it has become a huge bone of contention in many families. I’m not even going to attempt to paraphrase this letter….you must read it in its entirety. Renee Robinson wrote this letter to her boys to explain to them why she restricts their screen time. I honestly have never read anything more in line with my beliefs about screen time. This letter is the perfect portrayal of what so many parents feel, but can’t seem to put into words. It’s easy to see why her post went viral.  Here is a short excerpt from her letter, but you really must read the whole thing.

Well, boys, it’s not you. It’s me. Me being selfish maybe. You see I can’t bear to miss a moment with you. Let me explain.

I want to talk to you when we are out to eat. I want to listen to your questions. I want to have training opportunities. I want to allow space for conversation that can take us deeper. And if you are always distracted with electronics, well… I might miss those moments.

I could give you all the statistics about how damaging it is to your development, your attention span, your ability to learn. While all of those are valid reasons to keep electronics away, that is not my primary reason why I say no to you so much. It’s more than that. Much more. I need you to understand this.

As we head into summer, please consider Renee’s letter and although it is much easier to give in, lets all make an effort to limit screen time, for all the right reasons!

Is Good Enough?

I serve at church in the Nursery 2 room and we always have a pre-service team meeting. The meetings start with a devotional and then one of the leaders does a very quick teaching prior to heading back to our classrooms. Yesterday, there was something said that really stuck with me. She is used the line “Good is the Enemy of Great!” and I thought it was brilliant. This morning I got up and googled it to see if this was something she may have come up with or if the origin could be found. My search led me to a site with a post from a man by the name of Tom Lemanski. I was so intrigued by what I saw because it is the essence of what I believe. In fact, the title of his post was “Working Smart”.

A few years ago, a colleague and I led a group at work called “Work Smarter, Not Harder”. The concept behind this was to pool our ideas through brainstorming sessions and learn how to streamline the things we do by working smarter and more efficiently. Our goal was to establish specific systems to follow that would essentially help us to share our workload in a more efficient manner and with better results. Basically, figure out what works and what doesn’t, learn from our mistakes and continually tweak what we do, so that the same mistakes aren’t repeated. We sought to increase our work potential, efficiency and the overall “product” by learning to do the same things in a simpler and more productive way.

Tom’s post was based on the first sentence from Jim Collins’s book called Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t. He basically goes on to talk about how in the business world, government, schools and life in general, it is so easy to settle for good. If you attain a level that you believe to be good, progress simply stops. In order to be great, you must seek to continually make things better. To look for ways to improve and enhance what you are already doing. In fact, to truly be great, you must look at it as a journey and not a destination. It is an end that will never be achieved because the premise is that you can always improve. You know the old saying: “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I think “GOOD” is much like that.

It is quite easy to be good at many things, but it takes so much more to be GREAT at even one. So, I too believe that good can in fact the enemy of great. Of course, this does not imply we can be great at everything, but more so that we need to really focus on one or two things that we can become really great at. Status quo is easy and it’s where most of us stay. I have learned that perseverance is truly one of the most difficult qualities to attain. We can all be great for a moment or a season in time, but to persevere is the true test. I can say that I did P90X and that I didn’t miss one workout in 90 days, but that was 4 years ago and now I can barely commit to 3 days of exercise per week. So, woopty-do! I was able to commit full heartedly for 3 months, but that has little impact on me today. I really don’t want to “hang my hat” on something I accomplished 3 years ago. Whether it be in our eating habits, exercise regime, business ventures, career or basic daily habits, it is the ability to persist even when faced with obstacles and challenges that really sets the standard for greatness. Greatness isn’t about being perfect, but more about striving for excellence.

Sometimes it can feel like there is a fine line between perfectionism and excellence, but there are some major differences. Perfectionism is a losing battle with oneself. It is a result that ultimately can never be achieved and the pursuit of it often leaves a wake of destruction in its path. The pursuit of excellence is more about doing the very best that you can and learning from your mistakes. As you pursue excellence you know and accept that there will be challenges along the way. I found this great article on perfectionism on a site called the University of Exeter. This table was taken from the article and shows an excellent comparison between perfectionists and healthy strivers. Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 9.30.38 AM Ultimately,  before you can be great at anything, you must first decide that good is not good enough. Decide what you want to be great at: gardening, parenting, marriage, your career, a business venture, whatever. Once you’ve prioritized and made some decisions, get started right away. Get a vision, read, study, practise, stumble, fall, get up, REPEAT. Remember, persistence is the key to be all that you can be!