Life Without School


That awkward moment when an acquaintance asks your eleven-year-old what grade she’s in and she shrugs her shoulders.

And they both look at you.

And you don’t know either.


From the other room I heard one of the big boys spontaneously ask his older brother, “If you could use one word to describe Cotton, what would it be?”



“Yeah, me too.”


Poppy’s main phrase these days, that is absolutely warming this bibliophile’s heart is, “Mommy, read me a book!”


Today, I asked a certain five-year-old to bring me her hairbrush so that I could brush her hair (which hadn’t been brushed for a few days, I might add).

The agonized response?

“Why do you always treat me like a slave?”

[I won’t even bother to recount the rest of this conversation, as likely, every parent has the rebuttal to this kind of outburst forged tidily into their repertoire already.]

Words matter; they build the future, create narratives and beliefs, and impact our hearts on a fundamental level.

What if, as Christians, our words were always sweet like honey?


What if we jammed the lie that suggests that spreading our putrid thoughts does any good and instead we fought back every negative impulse with worship and love?

What if the words in our heads (our thoughts) and the words of our mouths (our conversations) were always full of grace, love, charity, kindness, generosity and courage?

I believe the world would change overnight.

Yes, we have that kind of power!

I believe we can change the world one word at a time, as the capacity for self-control is already in us.  So let’s loose the river of life within us and cultivate a new future without fear, without rage, or judgment, or worry, or contempt, or anger, or gossip.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Until we get this – really, really get this – we are missing out on the Kingdom in a massive way.

Let’s not let small things like words get in the way of our rightful inheritance!

Treasure Chest


I was driving with my crew the other day. Boy #1 was the DJ and we were listening to our current favourite Owl City Song. Everyone was buckled in, watching the view from the windows as we drove past horses and trees and gardens and cemeteries.

Everyone was at peace, enjoying the motion, the music, and the anticipation of the day ahead.

And like lightening, a thought struck me: I just love these kids.

{Radical, I know.}

Though it was so obvious, it was at the same time overwhelming. It hit me, plainly and forcefully that there was no other place I would rather be than with them.

I like being with them. I like knowing what they think and laughing at their jokes. I get a kick out of being their mom, the person they use as a sounding board for everything. (My head gets a little full from the noise sometimes, but I’m always glad I listened. I never looked back and wished I listened a little less.)

They are really the most fascinating people I know, and we’re just at the beginning of our journey together. I could write a book about each one of them; their uniqueness and beauty just doesn’t stop emerging, even on the tough days.

These gems (children) that are born of our hearts are the treasure we carry into eternity.

They are our reward in this life and the next.

When that little baby nudges her nose into your bosom looking for milk; or that three-year-old presents you with flowers from the garden eight times a day (he always holds them behind his back, then brings them forth while singing the same little tune that crescendos as he hands them to me); when that five-year-old bounces on your legs till they hurt and gives you no personal space; when that twelve-year-old tells you about his latest (long-winded) invention; remember: these moments are the gifts of a good and generous God.

All this wonder, all this beauty, possibility, and life is crammed into such small packages, and we get to ‘unwrap’ these gifts anew every single day, discovering what God has hidden for the world there within them!

Ideas, art, dreams, and abilities are planted deep inside of our children, and it is our glory to call these things out of them as they grow.  

As I train my eye towards the strengths, giftedness, and unique design of each child I am in awe that I get to be a steward of all this for a brief time.

I often think of the words of Tennyson:

“Life piled on life, Were all too little…”

I suspect that there can be nothing better and nothing more difficult than being a parent.  Oh, what an honour to guard and bless these treasures day after day, to be on the front lines of life, and never give up even when the journey feels long and the road gets steep.  This is treasure worth fighting for.

Carry on, brave friends.  You are doing mighty work!

The Goodness of Marriage

Even the angels don’t get this; this gift is for us.

Find a man and a woman, wrap them in a vow, tank them up with passion, and set them loose on the world.

Marriage, this sacrament of divine opportunity, this holy favour, is the artful design through which God propels forth life, abundance, creativity and blessing into a world hungry for a taste of real love.

Our marriages are not just cardboard opportunities to get two-for-one rent, have a reliable movie buddy on Friday nights, or rally a convenient person to help with the dishes, though those are some perks that come with the territory.  One of the reasons marriage exists is to magnify the Kingdom of God on this earth.  And the Kingdom of God sparks with healing life, infinite creative potential and an ever-gushing, never-quitting, generous, every-moment kind-of love.  The beauty, wholeness, sweetness and goodness of God’s Kingdom cannot be overstated; it absolutely bursts with passion, promise and favour.

Yet, if we allow marriage to fall into the doldrums of uninspired routine, superficial pleasure seeking, or convenience-oriented life together, we run the risk of missing the vast potential of this magnificent union.

Marriage is a gift from God.

Kindling two hearts together over years and decades is a great mystery of deep and committed grace.

It’s relatively easy to live annoyed, frustrated, merely-tolerant and selfish.  Alternatively, it is holy work to live expansively towards another person; to surrender, sacrifice, uplift and encourage, even in the face of everyday human-ness, dirty socks, and bed-heads.

Marriage is a spark that has the potential to set the world on fire. Two knit hearts, committed to blessing the world from a posture of partnership and grace, create ripple effects that are boundless.

Your lover is God’s perfect gift to you.

Within your marriage God has hidden treasures for you to mine for the rest of your life together. He has planted seeds of possibility, and drawn the etchings of dreams into the fabric of your shared life.  Yet, these gifts will only be realized as you step out into the greater life God has for you, as you love each other on the journey and move beyond the petty resistance of physical distractions into the realms of faith and hope.

You get to call out the beauty, the uniqueness, the treasure in one whole other person in this life. Don’t let the opportunity slip through your fingers!  Watching movies about actors’ fake romantic flings has got nothing on the ecstasy of calling out the magnificence of your soul mate.

Flat, uninspired, drained marriage relationships are not God’s plan for any of us.  Marital love is not the shallow stuff of fairy tales and sappy movie endings, it is the raw reality of soul-mesh and heart-impact, realized in the grit of moment-by-moment life together. God designed marriage to set us free, to overload us with love, opportunity, and excitement with another one of His precious children.

And, as if it could get better(!)… God literally knits the seeds of us together and makes little ones out of our love. This, alone, is a miracle worthy of our reverence and awe; the fact that in the secret place – where vulnerability and passion meet – eternal souls can be established, is no small thing.

This is not tame stuff, this is radical!

Marital passion, the tender embrace of a ravishing intimacy only known with one other, is a secret gift in this life, one to be stewarded and guarded, embraced and celebrated.  Yet, we are not yet perfect in the rolling out of this plan and so where we stumble, He will restore, and where we lack, He will forgive.

The enemy will keep trying to rob us of this sacred gift, but we will not be wooed by his empty, plastic promises.  All that glitter reeks of a lie.  Real love-romance-passion dwells at home, in a house where Legos litter the floor and dishes fill the sink.  Married love sinks into the bed at night together, after a day of faithful investment, and tucks in between arms and legs, and warm, familiar skin and knows this gentle bliss is a gift from God.

Treasure your love life, it is the fertile soil of your dreams.  

15 years into this gig, Ben and I have a little phrase that we whisper to each other regularly, often in the throes of little-kid chaos and epic-destructo-house messes,

“It just keeps getting better and better.”

And it does.

My friends, it’s time for our marriages to fly; let’s see what a world full of lovers really looks like!



There is power in growing comfortable with risk, pushing through the resistance to where abundant life is.

In choosing the less travelled road, in launching into a new dream, in taking a radical step of faith, there is a different kind of freedom that becomes available to you.

It’s a freedom that the world and it’s stale promises of security know nothing of.

Security in this life is an illusion. If we put our trust in things, or jobs, or finances, or homes, or schools to be our safety nets, we will miss out on the absolutely wonderful passion-work and freedom-life we were made for.

When we abide in God and He in us, we find there the perfect peace that produces faith to move mountains.

Faith isn’t about taking random risks; it’s about believing what is true about God and life and reality, and living in that place alone. So, you may end up looking like you’re taking risks in a worldly sense, but really, you’re simply living in the complete (real and eternal) safety and provision of your Heavenly Father.