Monday, March 26, 2012

Things i would tell my 27 year old self...

I'm going to preface today's post with a general countdown of the past 10 years of my life... since many of you may not be aware, and I haven't posted about it like this before.

2002 In a really fruitful and happy season personally, professionally & spiritually.

In retrospect, I believe much of the ability to hang on (or be held onto by grace) through the next number of years was due to the immense amount of studying both Chris and I spent in scripture, finance and relationships. We had no idea how much our faith and our studies would be tested and proven and how much God loves us.

We came to terms with 2 previous miscarriages/ infertility, continuing to trust God.

Worked with a great team of people and spent much time pouring into students lives, travelling quite a bit and prospering financially in our investments.

2003 Went to visit my sister in France in the Spring.

Took a leave of absence from work.

Found out we were expecting our first born after returning home from Alberta.

Our Church/ Ministry/ Spiritual Community (aka my job) began to go through the first of several upheavals (was asked to return to work early to help with troubleshooting)

2004 Our son Lucas was born, began my maternity leave.

Sister got married in Tulsa.

2005 1st Nephew born.

Went back to work in a new position at the church which was still struggling.

One of my closest friends moved to California. Another, moved far away shortly thereafter.

Found out we were pregnant with our second son.

We moved to Niagara Falls.

Another sister got married.

Had our son Max just after Christmas. Began Maternity leave.

2006 Went back to work early. (should not have done this)

Another sister got married.

A good friend went through hell. It affected all of us.

First niece born.

2007 Found out we were pregnant with our 3rd son.

The last sister got married.

Two days before the wedding, my father in Law who lived with us, passed away suddenly in our home. I was the one to find him and call 911.

Months later my dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Our third son, Carter was born.

More upheavals at church/work.

2008 I returned to work part time at the church, which was in the process of a leadership change.

The end came suddenly and we buried my dad a year and a week to the day we buried my father in law.

A week later, another nephew was born. My sister had a health scare.

Chris left his job and joined me at the church.

Late in the year we decided to "diversify" and bought a business.

2009 Very soon we realized we had been lied to, and began losing serious money.

Serious stress on all fronts. We all deal differently.

Experienced some betrayals that almost crippled us.

2010 Some of our other investments began to falter.

Another nephew was born.

It got very dark.

Chris went back to his former job in a new position.

2011 Hallelujah! Just when it seemed the darkest... things began to turn around...

We were able to begin to rebuild

We sold the business. Another Nephew was born.

We made some serious decisions - leave job, leave church, invest in direct sales business, homeschool, etc.

2012 Today - I'm happily homeschooling, pregnant again, though things are far from perfect and still not where they were, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are growing and moving forward in Jesus.

Things i would tell my 27 year old self...

On the call of God/ my life's purpose/ etc.

Relax. No really….RELAX. I say this knowing you are a type A personality. Knowing you perpetually deal with feeling useless especially having so many things that I want to do each day, and maybe getting ONE thing done.

10 years ago, you were in a very fruitful season, you loved working with the students, serving in ministry, creating, doing things you thought had “eternal value” (and they did) – but those things had no more value than what you do now. The only difference is that those things had results that were quicker to spot and you had a lot of people encouraging me all the time. Now, it’s very “quiet” on the encouragement front (as in you have to encourage yourself most of the time - though God always brings ppl along to help with this). The results of you “work” are yet to be seen. When I say relax, I mean, you are walking with God right? He’s well aware of what you are up to and is well aware of what you are meant to accomplish by the time your life is over, and He knows how to see it through, what’s the rush? He’s not worried, why are you? The most important things in life are good - the people in it. Is that not more than enough? Matthew 6:19-20

On God's Provision

I caution you, don’t close out the provision of God by being small minded. When He provides, HE PROVIDES. More than enough… but you have to expand your mind/ life “tent” to be ready for it, otherwise you will not be able to contain it or hold onto it long enough to learn how to manage it. Isaiah 54:2-3

One of the voices you keep hearing is, “I should be helping my husband provide financially… he works so hard, I want to make his burden easier…” All I can say is that this is up to each couple and how they deal with it. Men are designed to carry this burden, we are not. Just like we are designed to carry the burden from the beginning of time for home and family. It’s just how we’re designed. Obviously we are able to bring in income too (Prov. 31) but I wonder sometimes if Godly women are buying into the worlds idea of family, roles at home, etc. more than we should. Chris has told you that he is happy and fulfilled knowing that you and the boys are being provided for…what's the problem? Also, are you being a good steward of the money that does come in? – ie. Budget for food, clothes, etc? There are many ways to be a financial asset in the home.

On feeling like you aren't able to express yourself fully

You have a voice, and the only one who is limiting you from using it is YOU. Maybe you have not locked onto the message you want to say, and that’s why you are frustrated, or if you have found it, you are not ready to give it voice, even if you feel like you should be. No one else has the power to stop you, except you. You have a tremendous ability to effect people. To soften hearts, to encourage, to build up, to extend the love of God to the world around you and that in the end, that is of the greatest value.

On not using your gifts right now

Yes, you are an extremely creative and artistic person, so this will inevitably lead you through seasons of melancholy. To be able to capture beauty the way you do, to understand light and darkness and contrast the way you do, unfortunately means that you live it in a way that many others don’t. It’s just who you are. As much as you know yourself, you need to trust yourself more too. As dark as feel, you also get to experience the highs and the “light” in a more intense way than others do. Count the cost. Remember Kind David? He was all over the place too, yet he was a “man after God’s own heart” and one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. Ps. 139 Bloom where you are planted right now. The time to sing, teach, create is now, inside your home. Someday it will grow beyond that. Relax.


Know the Season you are in. Perhaps you feel limited because of the demands of your time and energy (kids, etc), and all I can say is Yep, you are in that season. You are a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend, a woman. You know what though? It’s not really going to change. You will always be these things, there will come a time when you have more time for yourself, but it's not now. However, you can change how you embrace your now, how you see the moments that are making up this season of your life right now. This season will soon be gone, and you will look back with longing. Enjoy it. In the next 10 years, you will lose 2 parents and some great people (friends and family) to illness and circumstance. You will wish you had enjoyed more time with them. You won't miss doing your more of own thing, or ministry, or business or making money or other things that seem “worthy”. In light of eternity, they don’t matter as much. I know it’s a bit of a dichotomy – life is too short, aren’t we running out of time? No, I believe it’s too short to get it wrong. Life is too short to focus on the things that AREN'T happening, when I believe that He wants us to fully embrace the things that ARE happening. I also believe that we get so caught up planning and living for the complicated things when we are designed to find extreme pleasure and benefit in the most simple things. Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 esp. verses 11&12

PS - Hang on for the ride of your life!

Lots of Love 20 something Tammara - I love you, He loves you more and the best is yet to come!

What I read in March...

Crazy Love...Francis Chan

Although I've heard great things about this, and have loved listening to FC teaching online, I had a hard time finishing this book. I don't know if it's because I read so many books last spring along similar topics or what, I just found it to be OK rather than the "amazing" I had expected.

The Ministry of Motherhood...Sally Clarkson

For me this book was very timely, and I wish I had read it 8 or 9 years ago when I was just starting out as a mom. Of course maybe I wouldn't have been ready for it then, and it would have not found a willing heart to receive its message. For me, this one was almost a necessary read for this time of my life, and I will be reading it again and again.

Come Spring... Tim LaHaye

I enjoyed this short piece of fiction, although it is part of a series which i don't have access to so I was disappointed that the story in this book didn't come to a nice conclusion. I suspect that really it should have all been one book (due to it's shortness and the simplicity of the read).

Days from the Heart of the Home... Susan Branch

I love Susan Branch and I have loved her books for years. They have been instrumental in inspiring me to embrace the seasons of the year and to express love for living within my home and family. I love that this one covers all four seasons.

Flash and Bones...Kathy Reichs

Great ficitional read, as always. I love that I couldn't guess the killer until the end and always enjoy an afternoon of fiction in one of Kathy's books.

The Strong Willed Child... James Dobson

Again, I wish I had read this when Lucas was a baby, it would have saved me so much grief. He is my strong willed child, at least now I have some tools to help me raise him more effectively and help him become the man he will be.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Signs of Spring

This unseasonably beautiful weather we've been enjoying in Niagara is bringing spring on with force. The sunshine and warm temperatures are driving people outdoors and the flowers up out of the ground. I've been wearing sandals for three days and tank tops, we've cranked open the BBQ.

I did do a bit of spring cleaning indoors, and did up a spring mantle, but I haven't let myself get too carried away with cleaning up all the mess of winter, because, well, it is Niagara, and we could still get one of the crazy winter-spring, for now, just minor tidying and planning, planning, planning.

Here are our Signs of Spring:

My spring mantle (kitchen).

The three bowls are from Great Aunt Fern, they are the only thing I pulled out of the boxes of her things so far. I plan on sorting through those boxes in the weeks to come. I feel a big garage sale coming on in May. I just happened to have matching butterflies in purple, green and blue in my Spring-Easter decor bin as well as the eggs. The moss bunny was in the bin too, originally from Winners.

I found the bunny/flowered pitcher as well as
the glass pedestals at goodwill for a couple bucks.

My "Spring Vignette" in the entryway.
The egg wreath was clearance last year, loved the pale neutral tones.
I used an old cream coloured blanket,

Then I gathered a few items like the nest and bird cage
from the Spring-Easter bin.

The branches and birds were already there from the winter vignette,
I liked them enough to keep another season.

and I found the brown bunnies at Goodwill too.

This is hanging on our front festive.

and I'm still deciding on the best place to hang this one - indoors or out?

Everywhere I look in our garden I see signs of new life appearing. Buds on the lilac trees and of course...

My crocuses are out in full glory.

The tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are getting ready too.

This week we had spring break, no home schooling and we've enjoyed the sunshine an extra bit every day.

The boys and I made our annual trek to the Sugar Bush. Pancakes for lunch, yummy. Followed by a fun hayride and tour.

The boys spent a day making "mud pies", literally hours.

They also decided to anoint my van with spring "mud prints". sigh.

We also went for a family BBQ at my sisters place. The boys LOVED running around the farmhouse and barn with their cousins (and so did the dog).

Blowing bubbles with the cousins.

Unfortunately we were too hungry to take pics of the amazing summer salads and Stephy's incredible shishkebobs. There is something about eating outside in the sunshine.

Beautiful sunset...

Afterwards, we had our first bonfire and sat around eating brownies and coffee, singing campfire songs and telling run-on stories!

We then had a lazy weekend to follow the lazy week. Visits with good friends, church and washing the cars - family, friends, good food and relaxing fun....

The perfect way to welcome SPRING!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Surprise!

Remember the big announcement from a few weeks ago? In January...

Well, I thought that the dream growing within me was a special project that's been forming in my imagination for years, a book ( and while that's still something that's growing), I was way off base. Then around my birthday, we found out that God had a different adventure in mind for now...

It's official!
We're expecting baby #4 to arrive in the fall of this year. Just before Canadian Thanksgiving. We're pretty excited about it too :)

That explains my recent "hermit like behaviour" (I needed to be close to a bathroom) and the random naps in the middle of the day... while my kids are wreaking havoc on the house.

The boys faces all lit up when we told them (and they've determined it should be a girl). The parents were all shocked (teehee)...

I'm pretty pumped that my sister Stephy's little one due Aug. 2nd will have a cousin close in age too - who knows... maybe we'll both have the girls we want so much :)

Now, back to finding some plain crackers...

Disclaimer... to anyone who I love (and there are many of you) and who I've spent time with in the past few days/ weeks (also a good number of you) - I apologize that this post is how you found out, we had to tell the parents and the rest of the family first (which took a bit of time, and even then we missed a few), now it's fair game for the rest of the world to know and I honestly didn't know which friends should have been the first to know.

I can say that I'm surprised that no one guessed (perhaps they were afeared to ask, and I'm glad I didn't have to lie) and all have been surprised! teehee~!

Jodi came closest to the subject a few weeks back, but I successfully dodged it, and supposedly my sisters suspected (I quote... " you were getting chunky"~nice eh?)

Much love!!!

Chris and Tammara

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Where I'm from...

I was inspired by Ann Voscamp's version of this at Holy Experience and wrote my own today... (only to read at the end of her post that there's actually a template I could have followed - haha! Anyways, hope you enjoy my interpretation of it anyways, and the boys and I will be doing the template this week in school :)

I am from corn fields and a full house. Everyday was an adventure of imagination.

I am born of the love of a mixed marriage. Mixed faiths, mixed cultures.

East and West, became one.

A picture of how God crossed the breach for all who feel they are on the "outside".

I am from a place where Christ was honoured first.

Endless summers. Happy memories. The hard work of East and West.
The love of 4 sisters.
I am from a home with 3 bedrooms, one bathroom and 6 women and 1 man.
I am from people who made it work, and found joy in the "making" it work.

I am from a community of faith that was not based in one location, but many. I am from a people who were willing to mentor and live life together with me, showing me that way to go.

From finding the path and following the One who walks ahead of and beside me through the valleys and the mountain tops.

...One day I followed the corn fields to the highway and followed the highway around the big bend that ended at the rushing roar of Niagara.

Then I found my own forever love.

Another one who would walk along with me on this path. Together following the One who walks ahead of and beside us through the valleys and the mountain tops.

We are building another place where Jesus is honoured first.

I am from rushing waters, and peaceful paths, where the glare of commercialism exists side by side with nature, and yet doesn't win.

I am from hard work, finding my peace in the Prince of Peace, in the midst of early mornings, noisy days and quiet moments.

I am from a house of learning, learning to walk in wisdom and truth.

I am from a place where Life is treasured, because it has been taken too soon from us, in too many ways.

I am from a people who will not quit, who will persevere and overcome, no matter how many times failure shows up. I am from a people who share, who laugh, who sing, who dance, who cry, who pray, give and love.

I am from the One who tread these earthen paths in sandals, these earthen paths that led to the cross, where I was given Life.

I am one of those who cannot forget where I am from and where I am going.
I am merely a breath from Eternity, a whisper of grace.

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