Sunday 27 June 2010

That which I do not want to do

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

Romans 7:14-25

Why do I do that which I do not want to do?

I tell myself I will never...and then I do.

I will never freeze out my husband instead of calmly discussing the issue at hand...and then I do.

I will never lash out verbally at my child, cutting him down in anger...and then I do.

I will never get upset over unimportant things, like unmatched clothes or bathwater on the floor...and then I do.

What a wretched woman I am!

I begin to understand what it means for the "sins of the fathers" to be visited on the children through the generations. For how could it be any different? How can we pass on that which we do not know? It takes so much work, overcoming those responses that have become so ingrained over the years, those automatic first responses, so much a part of us that to change them requires that we change our very core. And I try - oh, I try - but then out of my mouth, echoes from the past, full of hurt and anger and how could I say such a thing?

The baby cries. I open the door to go to him and he reaches for me with everything, every part of his body straining, as only a baby can, to the source of his comfort and nourishment. I lay beside and he rolls into me, snuggles against me, rooting for food and reassurance. As I nurse and cuddle him peacefully back to sleep, I wonder, when did I last reach with such full-bodied purpose to the one true source of comfort and sustanance? Yearning, straining, reaching, as an infant for its mother, wanting nothing more and nothing less than the safety and provision of the Father? Provider, Sustainer, Giver of Life!

I think back, and I remember. Those darkest years that I rarely think of and speak of even less. That lowest moment, preparing to take away the precious life that I had been granted, longing to find blissful relief in death. In desperation, straining towards Him with everything, and then feeling more clearly than ever before or ever since His arms, His presence, His love. I sob in relief. He is there, He loves me, I am safe.

But now, with the road relatively smooth, I start to forget. I begin to believe, instead, that I can provide. That I can sustain. That I can do it on my own.

Such foolishness.

I need Him every bit as much now as I did on that dark night. Only with Him can I finally do away with all the parts of me that I am so ashamed of. Only with Him can I replace them with a new legacy, one of peace and love and encouragement. Only with Him can I truly die to self, not taking my life but freely giving it to Him, the One Who can remake me in the image of the Son. I praise Him daily that He who has begun a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. One day, it will be completed, I will be complete...but until then, I must every day, this day, put aside my sinful nature and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Deliberate. Intentional. Responsive, not reactive. This must be the daily rhythm of my life, always filtered through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

And that same Spirit will bring forth fruit in my life.










A legacy worth passing on. Fruit to bring about more fruit, its seeds being passed down through the years. No more I will never...but instead, I will. I will, because it is what I know. I will, because it is good and right. I will, because it is what I lived.

Tuesday 22 June 2010


It just occurred to me that I never did post pictures, like I promised, of all the sewing I've been up to! Shame on me.

First up, a dish mat to sit beside my sink. Dirt cheap, this dish mat was made from a thrifted pillowcase and towel.

Next, a set of textured beanbags for the boys. All of these were made from scraps in my MIL's fabric stash, each a different texture, and all were filled with green split peas.

Next up, Easter gifts. For the baby, a pair of cloth shoes (pattern here) made from a dragon fabric I accidently fell in love with on an unrelated trip to the fabric store.

For the boy, a crayon roll (pattern here) made from the same fabric, perfect for taking to church or the restaurant.

Finally, a quilt and matching stuffed birds (pattern here) for my new little niece. The quilt consisted of basic squares with a border. Props to my wonderful husband for helping me when, after hours of playing around with various fabric arrangements, I cried out, "I know you don't care about this sort of silly stuff, but please, please, help me decide which arrangement is best!" Dramatic much? I know. Anyway, he helped me, and all was right with the world. The back is a soft fleece in a coordinating colour. Because the fabric was quite busy on its own, I did a basic "stitch in the ditch" method of quilting. The quilt was finished using the "birthing" method rather than a binding. I was very happy with how it turned out.

I don't seem to have a good picture of the dinosaur pajamas I made for the boy, unfortunately. I plan to make a second pair out of the beloved dragon fabric. Plan - hah. I plan to make a whole host of things! Fabric balls and cubes, a summer top from a thrifted vintage pillowcase, more burp pads and blankets, fabric coasters, a fabric basket - so many options. I have to admit, as much as I love knitting, I love the instant gratification of a sewing project. Things come together so much more quickly when you only have to cut and sew the fabric, rather than create the fabric as you go along.

Anyway, I suppose I should get to it instead of just writing about it!

Monday 21 June 2010

Living with intention

Last night we put our computers away and snuggled on the couch, engrossed in our respective books, his a Michael Crichton, mine a Jodi Picoult. Everything felt perfect - the warm fireplace, the soft blanket, the freshly baked banana bread, the cold water, the stolen kisses.

With our computers set aside, my mind's usual frenetic pace calmed. There was such peace in being fully there in the moment.

I need more moments like that.

Moments like yesterday afternoon, where we took our boys (and our books) to the park. The boy found a friend to run around with and some water to splash in. The baby laid on the grass, sampling the local vegetation. We read our books and watched our boys. I chuckled when the boy's new found friend pulled off his wet pants and underwear in the middle of the playground - much to his own mother's consternation and embarrassment. We stayed until the boy came to tell us he was ready to go home, rather than rushing him along like so many other visits to the park.

Moments like our recent outings to the farm and to the aquarium, hurried only by the voice over the loudspeaker announcing 15 minutes until closing. Looking at what we wished, no agenda, no timetable, no preset plans.

Moments like last weekend, a neighbourhood block party several blocks long. The boy clutching my hand on one side and a balloon in the other. The baby nestled in our mei tai, still on my front despite his height, hair-puller that he is - but all the better, I decide, as I inhale his sweet baby smell and kiss his soft baby cheek. We stand in line so the boy can have his turn jumping in the bouncy castle. The line is long, the day hot, but his delight was oh so worth it.

I want to fill our summer - and then fall, winter, spring, on and on through the years - with moments like these. Unhurried moments filled with peace. Fully present. Intentional. Deliberate. Life lived.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day

To my Dad, the first in my life to model grace in the most difficult circumstances...Happy Father's Day.

To my husband, who gave me our two beautiful boys and endless moments of joy as I watch you interact with them...Happy Father's Day.

To all those fathers out there, who raise their children with a deep and abiding love...Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Book Review - The Weight of Shadows

Title: The Weight of Shadows
Author: Alison Strobel
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: May 7, 2010
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN: 978-0310289456

From the Back Cover

After a difficult childhood, Kim has built a successful life for herself. She'd leave it all, though, if she could be rid of her guilt over a tragic mistake she made years ago. When she meets Rick, she finds everything she needs, even a way for her to pay for her sins.

Kim and Rick's new neighbor, Joshua, knows more than Kim realizes about Rick, but Joshua has battles of his own to fight. Having already lost his wife and his job, he risks giving his in-laws the ammunition they need to gain custody of his daughter if he gets involved.

Debbie, who has saved countless women through the shelter she runs, has the power to help, but she might be as desperate for love as the women she serves. Ultimately, Kim must decide if her penance is more important than protecting an innocent life - and if she should dare leave Rick when he has the power to bring her hidden crime to light.

A gripping novel, The Weight of Shadows explores how the choices we make - and the courage we find to forgive - can touch the lives of others forever.

My Review

Okay, first? That new book smell? Oh so heavenly. I inhaled deeply, and repeatedly.

*ahem* Now that that's out of the way...

I do believe this was the first book I've ever read by someone I knew. As I started to read, I kept picturing Alison writing this book, holed up somewhere typing away, putting her thoughts to paper, giving life to her characters. It was very...odd.

But wow. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. Wholly absorbed. The Weight of Shadows is one of those wonderfully engaging books that draws you into the characters' world and lives. The characters had depth and were relatable in their thoughts, actions and weaknesses. When I had to put the book down to resume my motherly duties, I found myself counting down the hours until my sweet little cherubs' bedtime when I could get back to it - and then stayed up far too late to finish it.

I must admit, I'm not often a fan of Christian fiction books. I find too many of them to be fluffy in their subject matter and over-simplified in their conclusions. This, however, was definitely not "fluff". Alison isn't afraid to tackle the harder issues that others shy away from. It was a difficult read in some ways, as I related to some of the struggles and was faced with the harsh realities of others. The Weight of Shadows deals with issues of shame, grief, guilt, domestic abuse, family struggles, faith and more.

The domestic abuse storyline, though difficult to read through, granted me a better understanding of what keeps a woman in an abusive relationship. I confess that I struggle with understanding that, as hard as I try to. Having never been in an abusive relationship before, however, I know that so much is at play that I simply cannot understand. I appreciated gaining more insight into both the circumstances in which a women finds herself in an abusive relationship, and the reasons she stays in one.

I also appreciated the unique perspective Alison brought to her book as a Christian mother. It is rare to read a book that includes a parent who disciplines their child with grace and gentleness and who stands strong in the face of criticism from others in regards to certain parenting choices. As a mother who practices attachment parenting and gentle discipline, I could relate in many ways.

This book is a beautiful testament to grace, hope, healing, and the strength we find in ourselves and gain from others as we walk through life's trials.

And More!

You can follow the rest of the Book Tour on Alison's blog here. On July 18th, one week after the close of the tour, Alison will be choosing one commentor from a randomly selected blog to receive either autographed copies of her first three books or a gift card to their favorite bookstore.

I'll be doing a giveaway here at The Hippie Housewife as well! One lucky commenter will receive a free copy of The Weight of Shadows. I will draw for the book on July 11, the close of the tour - and my birthday! (Feel free to send me lots of birthday love!)

As an added bonus, the ebook version of The Weight of Shadows is being offered for free for Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and Apple iPad until June 19th. You can find out more about that here. The Weight of Shadows can be purchased at,, or

Contest closed! The winner is entry number six:
Adrian said...
Some how I missed this review. Sounds like a really great book. I'll have to add it to my list. :)

Congratulations, Adrian!

(This is an unpaid review. I received a complementary copy of the author's book in order to provide my honest review of it. I receive no compensation for any downloads or sales made as a result of this review.)