Thursday, January 30, 2014


Two year olds are awesome. They’re funny, authentic, and not yet mature enough to have developed a self-awareness that keeps them from saying what’s on their mind. In the Galotti home, we’ve got a two year old who keeps the whole family laughing pretty regularly. Sometimes Ella makes us laugh intentionally, and there’s a very discernable twinkle in her eye as she speaks; other times, she’s completely unaware.

(This morning was an example of a moment when she was entirely unaware—the kids had all finished breakfast and were in the process of making their way downstairs to get into snow pants and coats. Josh, Ella’s big brother by a couple of years, had called to me that he was thirsty and needed a drink. Ella’s response, clear as day, “There isn’t time, Josh. You can’t have a drink.” Josh was incensed at this reply from his itty bitty little sister, and said grumpily to her, “You don’t make the decisions around here, Ella.” Ella looked at him intently for a moment and then, leaning toward him and furrowing an earnest brow under her delicate blonde curls, said, “I do, Josh. I DO make the decisions around here.”)

I’ve always, from time to time, called all three of the children “Sweetheart” or “Pumpkin” or “Lovebug”. With the boys, it’s never been an issue. In fact, I’ve never really thought about it and I don’t think they have either. Ella, ever the literalist, responds to any name other than her name by insisting that I call her by her proper name, Ella Grace. The first few times this happened, I was amused and Ella quickly learned that this response was an easy way to get a laugh. She now responds this way every time Justin or I call her anything other than Ella.

The interaction goes something like this.

Justin: Come here, sweetie.
Ella, with a twinkle in her eye and a grin on her face: “I’m not sweetie! I’m Ella Grace!


Elisha: Did you want some milk, lovebug?
Ella, palms upturned in mock uncertainty, with a glint in her eye: “I’m not lovebug. Don’t say that, Mommy. I’m Ella Grace!

Funny, too, that this seems to be the only time she refers to herself with both her first and middle name. What we also find amusing about this is that, every single time she gets to the part where she says, “I’m Ella Grace,” she puts her chubby wee hand firmly over her chest, just in case there’s any lingering confusion about who she’s talking about when she says the words Ella Grace.

These little stages of childhood pass so quickly. I don’t want this one to end… but I know it will. So now at least it's written here, to read and remember for years to come.

“I’m not a pumpkin! I’m Ella Grace!”

Friday, January 17, 2014


A joy filled-heart makes a joy-filled home, because joy flows from the inside out, not the outside in. Joy is a choice, and it is such an easy thing to choose. Why, then, is it also such a hard thing to choose?

There have been so many days when, as twilight fades into the darkness of night and I go about the evening routine, I reflect upon the day gone by and taste the sorrow of wasted time. Joyless days are wasted days. What grace, that God can redeem even what we have chosen to waste.  

This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Joy and gladness is a choice. But a joyful home is not made in one decision at the dawn of a new day; a joyful home is when decisions are made, moment by moment, to choose joy instead of something else.

When a mother’s heart beats a joyful rhythm, it changes how her eyes see and how her ears hear. Dirty fingerprints on a newly-cleaned mirror become life’s artwork and the noisy din of little voices becomes life’s music.   

Every mother desires a joyful home. So we look and listen and ask the question: what makes a joyful home? Each morning we awake and we know that this is the day that the Lord has made. What does it look like to rejoice and be glad in it? It’s a question every mother asks. It’s a question with many answers, with different answers, and with layers and complexities because people are unique.

What I share here are ten simple reflections from my own days in motherhood, from days of both acute failure and days of abundant grace. Our home knows joy-filled days and joy-less ones alike, and these reflections flow out of both.   

1. Fill the home with laughter. Be as consistent with joy as with discipline. Believe that laughter is as important for our children as proper nutrition. Though joy certainly doesn’t require laughter, there is something truly life-giving about choosing to laugh, and laughing often.

2. Realize a mother’s power in her home. In so many of the ordinary, everyday moments of life, a mother has the power to change the tone and, in but a moment, create a new, joyful atmosphere. Sometimes in times of tension, anger, fighting, and sin, a mother is given that powerful moment of grace where she chooses joy and is, in an instant, able to re-set the entire home. Teeth brushing, bedtime, mealtime, leaving for school, family worship--moments in everyday life that can all too easily evolve into something other than joyful. A mother has the power, in every one of those moments, to re-set the family, to change the tone, to choose joy.

3. Remember that work is a good gift. It’s easy to look around the home at the piles of laundry, the sink of dirty dishes, and the unending domestic chores and forget that working hard is a gift. Before anything in this world broke, before there was sin, there was work. And it was good. Sometimes a simple shift in perspective is powerful. Joy in our labor comes when we remember that the ‘To Do’ list in front of us is not a drudgery, but a good gift.

4. Read God’s word as a family every day. Make family worship as much a part of the daily routine as eating and sleeping. This isn’t magical but it is powerful. Reading God’s word and praying together as a family brings grace and joy, and it cultivates hearts that want to choose joy. When there have been days or seasons of failure in family worship, seek grace and start again.

5. Show affection continually. Hug little ones. Cradle chubby cheeks. Gaze into small faces and sparkling eyes. Kiss tiny noses. Hold hands. Do all of these things as often as possible. Joy is so much easier to choose when we’re hugging and holding the little people that we love.

6. Celebrate the ordinary days. Every day should be joy-filled, not just special days. Light candles for dinner. Play music. Set the table to look pretty even when dinner is only grilled cheese and sliced vegetables. Celebrate not only special occasions, but all of life.

7. Play. A while back I listened to a sermon about parenting, and one of the preacher’s points was simply this: make your home a fun place where your kids want to be. It was a striking point because, in the midst of all our right focus on teaching, disciplining, correcting, and nurturing (all essential!), are we cultivating an atmosphere where there is light-hearted, playful joy?

8. Remember that joy is a moment by moment choice. Each day is a new beginning and each moment is a new opportunity to change direction. Joy is a choice in the moment, and a whole day is not ruined because it’s been an ugly, sinful morning. Repentance, grace, and new beginnings can happen at any moment. Throughout each day, we are presented with a choice: joy or something else.

9. Love one another. When we reflect upon what makes a joyful home, one thing is quickly apparent: joy is not disconnected from the other fruit of the Spirit. Where there is joy, there is usually kindness, gentleness, patience, and love. Show love. Speak words of love often. Love one another, and joy will often follow close behind.

10. Pursue the One who gives joy. God gives abundantly to those who ask. In all the moments of choice, when it’s easier or more natural to choose something else, we ought to ask for help. “Father, you say that in your glorious presence there is fullness of joy. Would you supply where I lack? Would you give grace to choose what is right? In this moment, would you help me choose joy?”

A joy-filled home is a life-giving home. Tomorrow a new day begins, a day that the Lord has made. In the moments of choice, will we choose joy? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014


“Look, Mom! Do you like it?” The four year old, Josh, is holding up his page of writing. Other than his name which is spelled correctly albeit with a backwards S, the page is filled with random letters that don’t spell a thing. But I’m his Mama. I love it, and tell him so.

I turn back to the stack of dishes I’m washing but know it won’t be long before another voice calls for my attention. Two-year-old Ella is next, eager for affirmation as she holds up a piece of paper covered in scribbles. I love her scribbling, and tell her so.

Within moments, Jake, the oldest, holds up a page of snowflakes he’s drawn and asks me what I think. I love them too, and tell him so.

There’s something within us that craves the affirmation of those we adore. We want to know that what we’ve done is good enough. Deeper still, we long to believe that who we are is good enough.  

I’m pleased with you.
I love you.

I’m among the blessed who heard those words from my parents continually.

But we crave something deeper, because who we are goes deeper than our earthly identity. We are creatures, formed out of nothing by the Creator. Deep within pulses this longing for the One who made us to love us, to find us good enough. But sin ruined what could have been.

We listen as the Father speaks to His Son. Perfect words spoken to the Perfect One; eternal words spoken to the Eternal Word.

“You are my Son whom I love; 
with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)

Before the wilderness, before being tempted for forty days, the Father speaks words of love.   

“You are my Son whom I love; 
with you I am well pleased.”

A glimpse of eternal love and an eternal relationship compressed into spoken words, measured days, and God in flesh. Forty days of temptation. The Word made flesh clinging to the word of God.

Eternity. Thirty three years of humanity. Death. Then eternal life.

We stand as creatures before our Creator and there is nothing good in us. We’ve got nothing to offer. We hold up but a page of scribbling. But grace… 

Grace always amazes most when we see how empty we come.

Words of love that could never have been spoken if not for the Word made flesh. 

Flesh pierced. Buried. Raised again. 

Yes, grace always amazes most when we see our empty hands, when we bring nothing of ourselves, and when we simply see Jesus.

Sin ruined what could have been. But Jesus restored all that was ruined. In Christ, adopted, our Father speaks to us and we hear those words of love that every child longs to hear.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Thursday, January 2, 2014


So thankful to Pop and Mom for a magical couple of days on the Farm. Though we all missed those loved ones who couldn't be with us (and were happy to spend much time on Facetime with them!) it was truly a grace-filled, beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Thanks, Nana and Grandpa Ganz!
We love you!


Nana and Grandpa Ganz with three of their grandchildren. 
Another Christmas, come and gone.

Happy New Year, friends!


To call this post a 'hodge-podge' is quite precise. But... it's a hodge-podge of wonderful little festive moments with people we love.

Every year before Christmas, we hop on the subway with the kids and take them downtown to see the Christmas displays in the Bay St. windows. Part of this tradition involves meeting up with their beloved Aunt Caiah. This year it was fun to have David join us too!


Jake had a Christmas guitar recital. He was lovely. And, though he played so quietly that we could barely hear him, Good King Wenceslas has never sounded more beautiful. :)

One of the highlights of the holidays is brunch at the Massons. There's nothing like a crackling fire, good food, and dear friends that you've known since you were five years old. Though we were sad to miss some of the crew this year, it was still a wonderful time.

To finish off this little holiday hodge-podge, some pictures with some dear friends and... one crazy little one of Ella.
This picture above is Ella, on the night that we went with our church to a Seniors Residence to sing Christmas carols to them. Ella pulled out her pigtails, and, with truly wild hair, danced and sang her way through the evening. She made many people smile that night. Including me.