Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Blog Series With A Really Long Name :: Post 2

What I’ve learned since {this post} and what fully embracing the call to glorify God in this season of marriage and motherhood looks like for ME::

                            A Blog Series With A Really Long Name

        Post 2: Intentional Living: How God Has Wired You MATTERS

    Hello dear friends! Okay I’ve had this series of posts rattling around in my head for far longer than I’d like to admit. It’s embarrassing really. And since what I wanted to write was too much to fit into one post I decided to try my hand at a Blog Series. Ooooh... fancy ;) Just kidding of COURSE. I’m simply not adept enough to fit all of my thoughts cohesively into one post.

So: have you read part one ? No? Go read it! See I’m big on disclaimers because I’m big on the power of words. And I don’t want to confuse the thoughts and ideas of a rambling mid-twenties momma with the capital T Truth.

Alright. So now you’ve read it. Yes? Bottom line:

Life, and life abundant is found only
in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In submitting to His authority in your life and
falling under His grace and love.

All the rest of this? Everything I’m going to write about in this series of posts? This is simply response. An outpouring of what I’ve wrestled with in my heart for the past year (since this post), and where I have landed thus far in this journey to live with INTENTION and PURPOSE... and where I have come to find so much contentment and Joy.

Right. So, how God has wired you MATTERS.

My inspiration to finally sit down and write this particular post was the shortest series of text messages with an encouraging friend this evening. There is something about being understood, and being known. To have people, even just a person, who is wired like you. That you don’t have to explain yourself to or make apologies for yourself to. Its refreshing and encouraging and real.
Do you know what I mean? Let me back up a minute...

See it can be dangerous, this word of social media and cell phones. We can be “friends” with everyone! Be available to everyone, ALL THE TIME! Except... not really. Because when it comes down to it, we are not all wired the same. And where there is not grace, and depth, and history... and where we stretch ourselves too thin, where wiring mixes, and signals are misinterpreted, there’s fire. Neglect is prevalent, judgment inevitable, and people. get. burned. But for grace of God I’m quite sure I would have much bigger holes in my little circle of people. Because I’ve walked the tightrope. And I’ve hurt people, and its hard to look back and see that. And I have regrets, and I’ve asked forgiveness more than once. And the realization that I came too is that, despite culture telling me otherwise, I can’t have everything. I can’t be everything to everybody. I can’ t be available to everyone all the time. Am I called to love everyone and treat them with kindness and grace? Absolutely. But I can NOT be BFFs with everyone I encounter. It's not how I was wired.

Its going against the grain, trust me I know. I mean haven’t we been fed lines similar to this since we were wee little ones? You can do anything you put your mind to.  You can be anybody you want to be. You can have it all.

But you see I’ve realized that I can’t. Not because I’ m uninspired or backwards or crazy. But because I am so fully aware that I have been designed, and created, and thought out with a specific purpose. I have been WIRED!

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139:13-16

I was planned with intention, and intricacy. And where I continually strive to be somebody other than who I was created to be,  I will find nothing but friction. And exhaustion. Where I  try to be like HER or THEM, or even desire it in my heart, I am putting myself in a position of  being blinded to what it looks like to be like ME. And that is seriously risky business. Because we were MADE to be known, and we were made to know WHOSE we are. I love that David begins Psalm 139 with these words:

“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.”
Psalm 139:1-6

We are known! And where we come to an awareness that there is a plan and a purpose for our lives, we open ourselves up to being led. But in order to be led well, we MUST know our shepherd. And to know our shepherd, we must spend TIME with Him. And to have time with Him? To rest in Him? We need to know ourselves, to intentionally search ourselves and learn who we are! So that we can orient our  days to live the lives that He intends for us to live. That He laid down his LIFE for us to live. A life of joy and purpose. Not a life of timidity or uncertainty, but a life of eyes WIDE open, with no fear of the future or regret of the past. A life of being led by, and bringing glory TO the Giver of Life

So I'm going to get repetitive here: How God wired you MATTERS.. And knowing that you have BEEN wired? That matters for everything. Because if you can rest in that, you can be confident in who you are because of who HE is, and how HE sees you. And you can stop striving after whatever it is that makes you feel valued and important and worthy and accepted, and instead allow yourself to experience the freedom and grace of being led by the Maker of the Universe.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful way to live. It brings meaning to the mundane and purpose to the everyday. It reminds us that we are NOT lost in our own stories. Because we aren’t actually the ones writing our stories. {In fact... its really not even our story to begin with. But if we have been created and penned into this Greatest Love Story, then doesn’t it only make sense that we would find purpose in searching out the one who picked up the pen?}

 There is a plan and a purpose for your life.  For YOU.  For how God put you together. And He loves YOU.  And He was intentional in how He wired you. It MATTERS. And whether or not you believe that trickles down into every single area of our lives.

I want to end with two cautions:

    One, living this pre-approved life? It doesn’t guarantee roses and butterflies. In   fact we are   guaranteed that a life lived in faithfulness to Christ will see trouble, and struggles, and hardships. Living within the boundaries of who God has created you to be doesn’t mean not doing the hard thing. Sometimes you have to do the hard thing. And you’ll find that He’s doing something beautiful, even in the that hard place.

  And secondly, being who you were created to be and walking in the freedom of that does NOT mean accepting and continuing to walk in the areas of our lives that are in need of redemption. Coming under the authority and grace of God should lead us into situations that stretch us, and grow us, and shed light on the sins we are struggling with. And that is His Grace. And His promise:

“The Lord – who is the Spirit –
makes us more and more like him
as we are changed into his glorious image.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

Do you know who you are? More importantly do you know WHOSE you are? It matters friend. It matters for everything.

Grace to you from my house to yours, and all the love in my heart!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some of my favourite things.....

Happy Friday!! (Well almost... Thursday evening counts as Friday right??)I’m mixing things up over here tonight. Point in case... I SHOULD be using these...

... but my dear husband came home from picking up milk with a bag of these...

Mmmm. Breaking the rules  sure is yummy ;)

So I figured I’d put a pause on the Blog Series With The Really Long Name that’s barely got started, and branch out into the practical.

One of the little changes our family made in this dive into intentional living (more on that in the upcoming Blog Series With The Really Long Name) was finding practical ways to cut our budget that jived with my status as Full Time Stay at Home Momma. One of those budget cuts was to make the switch to cloth diapering, and almost a year in I can safely say that I would NEVER go back to disposables. Boy oh boy if the $$$ savings alone wasn't enticement enough, I love the fact that Little One’s tender tooshie isn’t being exposed to chemicals on a daily basis. And hey I’m home! So why not wash some poop while I’m here right? ;)

Okay: so first off - this is by no means a disposable diaper bashing post. I don't bash... and the cloth diaper route is not right for every lifestyle. BUT on the off chance that you’ve being contemplating making the switch I thought I’d offer up my meager findings. Here goes ;)

1. Find diapers, liners, and wipes that you love!! I haven’t tried a thousand different brands but of the ones that I have used these are my five star picks: 


Ok these diapers ROCK. Nicole has AMAZING taste in fabric, not to mention a super high quality product. I have had 6 of these diapers in rotation and they were worth every penny. I'll be ordering more soon as they are officially my go-to diaper.


I just got my second order of these in the mail TODAY. Their super soft, luxurious feel mayyyy be what inspired this very post. I'm just sayin.... 
But seriously. These liners are amazing. Again, they are SUPER soft. And a truly superior product. The more you wash them the more absorbent they become. I had six of these prior to today and they are the ONLY liners I have used. So they've seen their fair share of use and have held up beautifully.

Carolyn @ wooldins is also super sweet and I JUST noticed that she makes diapers and wipes too. I haven't tried them myself but I'm betting they are fabulous as well.

*Note: she is currently only accepting custom orders so to contact her check out her Etsy shop at the link above and send her a convo. You will be glad you did!

(On a side note: with all liners, if you have a heavy nighttime wetter I would recommend doubling up to prevent unfortunate mishaps concerning sheets and mattresses.)



I decided to go the frugal route with my wipes and DIY a big batch of them. I ordered 2 yards of this terry cloth from in the states which yielded about 25 double layered 6"x6" cloth wipes. Again they are the only wipes I have used so they have seen a lot of wear and have held up awesome.
I found this recipe for diaper wipe solution online and for the life of me can't remember the original source. SO disclaimer: if this is your recipe feel free to take claim to it. It is AWESOME:

Diaper Wipe Solution
  • 2 cups distilled water (or just previously boiled and cooled water)
  • 2 TBSP grapeseed oil
  • 2 TBSP liquid castile soap
  • 4 drops chamomile (Roman) essential oil
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil (as a preservative)
    I placed all ingredients in a medium sized mason jar
    and gave them a good shake. Dip your cloth wipe in the 
    solution and wipe away!! 

    note: make sure to give your jar a good shake before each
    use as the oils will concentrate on top of the water.

2. Bidet it up!! No seriously. Best. Buy. Yet. I can't imagine cloth diapering without one. 

We bought this one on and it has been great.

We actually moved after we bought it and had to install it a second time and we still haven't had any trouble with leaks etc. Good product.

3. Use a wet bag. Or two.And keep a small one in your diaper bag. A wet bag is basically just a bag with a layer of polyurethane laminate on the inside. This makes the bag waterproof and durable. I went DIY with this as well; ordered my fabric from and whipped myself up a cute little bag to hold all those cute little diapers and luxurious liners that are now soaked with pee and covered in poop.(I would recommend having one for the diapers and one for the liners to extend the life of the diapers but it isn't an absolute necessity).

4. Treat your products with love.  

  • First off: cloth diapers, liners, wipes, and wet bags should be washed in phosphate free detergent and hung to dry in the sun as often as possible. Yes we live in Vancouver. This is only possible a few months out of the year. We do it when we can. 
  • Secondly: products containing zinc etc should also not be used with cloth diapers and liners so traditional diaper creams are out. Although Sudocrem has been my favourite diaper cream from day 1, I have recently found a new love. And once again I CAN'T FIND THE ORIGINAL SOURCE. My sincerest apologies to the creator of this diaper cream extraordinare:
Diaper Cream
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup shea butter
  • 3 drops tea tree oil
  • 5 drops lavender oil
    Whip the first two ingredients together. 
    Add the last two and whip again. Voila. Bum cream.

5. Feel the satisfaction. Yes its a little more work. Yes its an investment up front. But honestly? Its so worth it. Where we live we don't get garbage pick up so its been a money savings on that front as well. Disposables sure do fill up garbage cans (and landfills) fast. Oh, and diaper rash? Thing of the past. Truly great. 

6. Last but not least, do your research. And ASK questions! None of the products I have listed are paid endorsements. They are simply products I have used and loved. When I started on the path to cloth diapers and ordered my first batch (from Nicole @ breastfriends) I had what I felt were some pretty silly questions. Okay I had a LOT Of silly questions. And Nicole was friendly and super helpful. You'll find that people who have walked the road before you are only too happy to help.

My # 1 question? : Got the diapers. Now what????
Well that might not be exactly how I worded it but thats pretty much how I felt about cloth diapering. Clueless and overwhelmed by the wealth of information. So in case you're in that boat right now here's my super simple cloth diapering routine:

  • Put diaper on change table. 
  • Place liner on top of (or inside pocket of) diaper.
  • Lay baby on diaper and snap/velcro/button/ wrap that diaper up (use diaper cream somewhere during this stage ;) )
  • Change as necessary. 
  • If its poop, wipe tender tooshie clean and put on clean diaper.
  • Walk that diaper and all its goodness to the toilet and spray all that yummy stuff away. (apologies. It must be past my bedtime)
  • Put diaper and liner in appropriate wet bags. I store mine outside on the front porch so that everyone who visits gets a whiff of whatever lovely odours may be escaping from it. Not really. Well I do have them on the front porch but thats not why. Honestly. (Prior to us having a front porch I hung my bags from a towel hook in the bathroom and that worked as well)

And that is IT for tonight folks. Cloth diapering tips you'd like to share?? Chime in by commenting below!

I promise to be back to my usual writings next post. Here's hoping for Saturday morning but I shan't make any promises.

Love to you all!



Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Blog Series With A Really Long Name :: Post 1

What I’ve learned since {this post} and what fully embracing the call to glorify God in this season of marriage and motherhood looks like for ME :: 
A Blog Series With A Really Long Name

Post 1: Intro and Disclaimer

Words matter to me. If you come visit my house that will be fairly evident. I have quotes EVERYWHERE. To me they are art in and of themselves. They make sense of the chaos of thoughts swirling through my head, and anchor me to the truth. Therefore I naturally LOVE that God chose to relay His Gospel through written word! Hebrews 12 talks about the word of God as:

“living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword… discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Hebrews3:12 ESV

Oh how it is. I can tell you from experience that I know, simply by the thoughts that enter and take up residence in my noggin, if I have neglected this one, true, Living Word.

Living in the age of the internet has its benefits for the word enthusiast as well. I have found a number of Biblical resources that stir my heart and my affections for my Saviour and for His Truth. And I am SO thankful for these resources. Again; they help to anchor me in truth in a culture that strives to tell me that there is

All that to say, I write this series of posts with great caution; because words matter, and because there is only ONE truth. And that truth is that life, true life, is found in Christ alone. Therefore – I caution the reader with this word of warning: these are my stories. And they might not be your stories. But maybe in them you will find a grain of truth that encourages you in YOUR story, as I have been encouraged by others who have been brave enough to write THEIR stories. As C.S. Lewis said:

“We read to know we are not alone.”

Next up: {Post 2: How God has wired you MATTERS}

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creating for Compassion

 I know I know ... Amanda WHY are you blogging at 1:00 am?? The baby is sleeping... GO TO BED!
And I'm going, I promise, right. after. this...

Have you ever had God literally drop an answer to prayer at your front door? In your bank account?
On your kitchen table? ......

            This past January my beautiful mother in law bought me a sewing machine....
                                            So awesome! Love her!

Now to be clear .... I hadn't been praying for a sewing machine. More than anything I had been feeling restless. For the past few months I have really been fighting for contentment and feeling convicted that I could be better stewarding the hours in my day. For as long as I can remember I would say that exercise has been my hobby (hobby defined here as something one spends  6+ hours per week on) . And yes  I know there is nothing inherently wrong with exercise but when it comes down to it ... What I have been struggling with is that it terminates completely on me. And then I'm really really good at keeping a clean house, like 90% of the day if you were to walk into my house it would be clean. Oh and I can move an entire house's worth of furniture around to make my home more "efficient" before my hubby walks in the door from work. Yeah I'm crazy like that. And again... There is nothing inherently wrong with a super clean freakishly organized incredibly efficient house. This I know. But when it's all said and done its something that is really only a gift to me. 

So as I felt God stirring my heart for something more I began praying a lot for guidance and direction and wisdom. Vague, yes, but I wasn't sure how else to pray! I wasn't feeling guilty or neglectful, just a little.. Lost. And through those times of prayer I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me time and time again that He LOVES me. That he loves ME and that he created me with desires and giftings and personality and He sees it all as beautiful... And that he is "writing (my) story and never leaves me alone in my story"* ! 

And then my mother in law bought me a sewing machine. 

And it turns out that I have a knack for sewing... And for colours and patterns... (And guess what? Perfectionism is a GIFT when sewing. )

So one evening sitting at my desk I received the newest post from a blog that I subscribe to and read about how the author was thanking everyone who had bought her hugely popular best seller  for  being a "gift to those in need in Jesus' name" and I sat there just nodding my head. She gave it ALL. AWAY. Of course she did. And i had tears hot in my eyes and I opened my hands and and just prayed Father... Use Me

And of course, He is ever faithful. And able. So completely able. And sitting in front of me on that desk was my brand spanking new sewing machine.

And since that evening there have been some awesome moments.

                  My house has looked like this more often than it EVER has before ...

                ... And there has been a lot of this going on (smiling ... That is :) ) 

... So I just had to share because I'm excited! I KNOW that God is in this. And I feel His pleasure as I take steps to live out the things he has placed on my heart.

So. When you are done here scroll right back up to the top of my home page and click on "Etsy Shop: ephesians3eighteen. It's been a slow start and I imagine it will continue to be slow. I'm not expecting to change the world, I'm not looking for fame and world renown, I just want to help some Mommas and babies in need. 

The long and short of it is, I've been inspired. And I'm rejoicing. :) 

Love you all!

" Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. " - Ephesians 3:20-21

* Ann Voskamp