Friday, October 26, 2012


Today was full of colour.

If you live in Toronto and so far this fall haven't had the time to visit Riverdale Farm, carve out some time.

It's worth it.


Thursday, October 25, 2012


 For many Christians in the younger generation, we seldom struggle to self-identify as sinners. We see the brokenness of the world around us, and there often seems to be the inclination towards transparency when we talk with our friends about the ugliness that we glimpse in our own hearts.

It’s an accepted reality: life is broken, we regularly sin and fall short of the mark, and our friends do too. In conversation, it’s often intuitive for us to find ways to relate, to identify, to share our own version of the same shortcoming. In many ways, this is an incredibly good and helpful thing.

The world may be broken, but we’re not alone in it. We all sin. We all fall short. We all do stupid stuff. There is genuine encouragement and hope that can emerge from transparently talking about the less-than-pretty moments of our lives:
"Oh, you’ve also had the experience where your children have climbed atop the kitchen counter and have been flooding the kitchen sink and playing with moderately sharp kitchen utensils while you’ve been in the adjoining room reading blog posts about being a good mother? Wow. I honestly feel so much better knowing you’ve had that experience too.
"Oh, really? You’ve also had nights where you’ve stayed up until 4:30am watching back-to-back Downton Abbey episodes and have subsequently woken up the next morning completely sleep-deprived and unable to parent your children properly because of your lack of self-control? Ah, it’s a relief to know I’m not the only one who’s done this."

These examples, lighthearted and overstated as they may be, are indicative.

On the one hand, it actually IS comforting and encouraging to know that other parents – and ones who truly love their children and are seeking to grow in grace - can fall into the same stupidity or sinfulness that I can. I can rightly find encouragement in being reminded of the common struggle, in remembering that in my failings I'm not alone.

But though I may find community in these similarities, am I challenged or inspired to actually live differently? When I intuitively relate and identify, sharing my own ‘less-than’ moments, or my own sin, am I encouraging my friends to do better, to pursue Christ harder, to put sin to death and to seek godliness? 

Is our transparency unbalanced? Are we too willing to share the ways we mess up, and somehow hesitant to share the ways that we have known incredible victory and grace? If there was a tendency for some in previous generations to share only that which was polished and respectable, perhaps we in the younger generations have swung to the other extreme.

Do we talk too much about the parts of us that are yet ugly, while not nearly enough about the ways that Christ has already made us beautiful? There are breathtaking ways that we are being transformed into the likeness of God’s Son. Do we have the humility to talk, in specifics, about how His grace has changed us, about the lovely things He is doing through us? 

As an example, when I wrongly close my heart towards people who have hurt me and allow seeds of bitterness to take root, it’s natural to talk about this struggle with people in my life, even though it’s not pretty, and even though I know it’s not what I’m called to as a Christian. But when I see God grow me and change me so that my heart is staying soft, open to those people who have caused hurt, I sense a timidity in talking about the good work He has done in me. Why? There is such profound hope in talking about these things, in sharing the specific good works that God is doing in us.

In Christ, the ugliness that remains in our hearts is day by day being chipped away and we are being made new. In Christ, and even when the process of sanctification is painstakingly slow, there is still much in our lives that is incredibly grace-filled and hope-giving. 

It’s an awesome mark of the younger generations, of my generation, that we readily self-identify as sinners. But when we’re in conversation, is it possible that the ‘not-yet’ part of our identity has too much sway?  Does a transparency of all that is broken need to be better balanced with a transparency of all that is grace? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Josh began his actual birthday morning with blueberry pancakes and gifts from his family.

A couple weeks before his birthday, so that Josh's Grandma Morey could be with us, we had a little birthday party for Josh where about fifteen kids from church and our neighbourhood came to play some games, have pizza and cake.

The birthday prince.

In anticipation of cake...

Opening some gifts...

With his best buddy, Jack.

A source of sadness, at every kid's birthday, is that most of our family live far away and aren't able to share these days in person. I'm thankful that despite the distance, the kids often open gifts from their grandparents via Skype; Josh opened a new blue scooter Grandpa Galotti and Gigi and was able to demonstrate for them, via the computer screen, just how fast this scooter allowed him to zip around.

Another small silver lining, at least for the kids, is that they often receive birthday cards from their relatives with money inside. Getting mail is always fun, and they have no trouble understanding that money will get them things. In fact, at this most recent birthday, Josh opened a couple cards from people and, upon seeing nothing but a written birthday greeting, shook his head in disappointment: "There's no money." We've tried to explain how it's a treat when there is money, and it's equally as kind and loving when there isn't!

The boys took their birthday money to the toy store and picked out some new toys. 

Showing off their new loot...

Later in October, we celebrated Ella's 1st birthday.
Aunt Caiah came by to spend some time with the birthday girl.

Later that evening, we had a small party for our big girl, just the five of us. 

Ella enjoyed opening her gifts with her big brothers. Her big brothers enjoyed the fact that Ella was open to much paper-tearing help.

Below, she is playing with a new doll from Aunt Nat.

Looking at new books from Nana and Grandpa Ganz.

Time for cake.
We're so thankful for these two October babies of ours.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


 I’m walking outside with my kids on a blustery, October day. The wind swirls; the vibrant yellow and red of fall is back dropped by a gray, brooding sky. Autumn days like these are my favorite kinds of days and normally, on a day like this, outside and walking with my little ones, my heart would be alive, joyful, thankful. Normally, I’d be vaguely hearing the chatter of tiny voices while listening to the rustling of the wind, enjoying the beauty before me.

But not today.

Discontent has made it’s way into my heart; it presses heavy, muting the sounds of life, blinding my sight. Discontent came fast and hit hard; my heart has been infected. As I walk, I’m brooding, worrying about things I’m powerless to change, wishing for things He hasn’t given. 

I’m annoyed that my sin, this persistent discontentment, is ruining my morning. But instead of repentance, I attempt to encourage myself:

“Look at all you’ve been given.”

“See the beauty of this day; your eyes need not wander far to find it.”

“Consider your life and count the good. Your life is full. You would not change one things about this picture.”

I hear the words of my heart. They fall flat because they’re not the words I need to hear. A restless discontent continues to beckon, and though I don’t entirely give in, I also don’t flee.

Later, and unrelated, I call Justin and as our conversation draws to a close, he asks how my morning has been. I answer honestly and tell him that it’s been a morning of struggle. I describe to him how my heart has been pining for God to hurry up and change certain things in my life, rather than a quiet rest in His timing and His plan. “But,” I tell him, propping myself up a little bit, “I’m not giving in. I’ve kept wanting to embrace self-pity and discontent, but His grace has kept me in a place where I’m battling.”

Justin’s words to me were gentle, hopeful:

“Think about Paul, Elisha. He was a guy who was content when he had everything and content when he had nothing.  A radical contentment, completely disconnected to what was going on in his life at the moment. It was a contentment that had everything to do with who he was in Christ.”

Radical contentment because of who I am in Christ. 

Radical contentment because of my identity as a daughter of the living God: purchased, redeemed, forgiven through the blood of Jesus. I’m a Christian, so of course this is no new thought, but I needed to be reminded of it anew on this day. The path out of discontentment is not through beholding all that may be good or beautiful in my situation. The path to contentment, after repentance, is remembering who I am in Christ. 

Really, it’s never about those outer things, even those profoundly good outer things; contentment doesn’t come through a sentimental inventory of the blessings in this life. The abundant good I’ve known has never (yet) been stripped away leaving me with no visible reason for joy. And still, discontentment has the power to grab hold and infect, dragging me to a place of joylessness and sin, taking what is lovely and making it seem worthless.

There is no doubt that the blessings in this life, whether it be natural beauty, loving relationships or cozy homes, should produce hearts and words of joyful thanks to the Giver. But if I, like the apostle Paul, can be radically content if it all is stripped away, then awareness of these blessings was never meant to prod me towards contentment.

The good in this world, as beautiful and lovely as it sometimes can be, was never meant to sustain a heart of true contentment. Only Christ Himself can do that.


Has it really been a year since we met her?

A daughter... A sister...

A cousin... A niece...

A granddaughter... A great granddaughter

Ella Bella, you are so fiercely loved by so many.

Third child of
two older brothers.

Beloved baby.

Adored beyond description.

Our sweet baby girl.

The song that you've heard every day of your life...
Ella Grace, Ella Grace
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, Clean and bright
You look happy to see me
Bundle of joy may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Ella Grace, Ella Grace
God bless my Ella forever.

Sunday, October 14, 2012