Wednesday, 28 March 2018

"How Extra Are You as a Mom?"

Often, I tend to see similar photos circulate the web throughout a short span of time. 
One that I have seen shared by quite a few people I know is a meme with cute, dainty snacks (think perfectly cut sandwiches shaped like dinosaurs and various fruits and vegetables shaped like critters) and the sentence "How extra are you going to be as a Mom?".  Have you seen the one I am talking about?

I tend to let out a silent groan every time I see this.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to be that mom that is on top of her game 24/7.  But I am not.  I am that mom that is scrambling to throw together a lunch 5 minutes before getting kids into the car.  I am that mom that has a messy house and has to play catch-up clean night every Friday night once the kids are in bed.  I am that mom that will often just grab two socks... if they match it's just a bonus.  If you catch me on a good day, you may see the floor of the back seat of my car.  
I enjoy putting together neat crafts, but quite honestly I feel that my time is spread thin as it is, and I would rather play with my kids than spend my nights placing raisins in a specific spot for a special snack for each child in my daughter's class.  I know God hasn't made a requirement for moms to be perfectly crafty, have a clean house at any point in the day, have children that are perfect angels all the time and get to the gym for 2 hours a day.  But still.... at times I feel guilty that I am not reaching the world's standard of an "extra good mom".  

I think the problem can be though... we can often get so trapped in the idea that we need to live up to these unattainable standards, that we forget to teach our children what is of utmost importance.  That is, to teach our children to love God and through that love, to love others.  As a mother to two daughters, I strive to teach my girls that they are beautiful and they are loved, and they are designed by the ultimate Creator with a purpose.  I want them to have a personal relationship with God, and due to this relationship to have a beauty that just radiates from within them.  
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 
– Proverbs 31:30

I guess, my point of all this is... from the standard of the world, I am not very "extra mom-ish".  But I am enough.   God has placed two wonderful children in the care of both Wes and I.  And although we mess up, by the grace of God (only by the grace of God) I can move forward and help my children learn from my mistakes.  When my girls are old enough to move out on their own, they may not have memories of living in a home straight out of a magazine, and they may not have a childhood that is filled with homemade meals each day and hand stitched clothes.  But they will have the power of praying parents behind them and the knowledge that the God of the universe loves them.  And that is enough extra to last a lifetime.    

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Praying for Your Family

Prayer has always been something that comes naturally to me.  I will easily let others know that I will keep them in my prayers, and in most cases I was true to my word.  But for some reason, praying for those closest to me seemed... tough.

Of course, Wes and I pray with the girls, but it has become almost habitual.  Our prayers are often the same Yub-a-dub-dub thanks for the grub type prayers.  If I am completely honest, it has been a while since I have fallen to my knees in complete awe of the wonder of God and who he is. 

These past few weeks, I have never been so convicted of the same thing over and over.  I have felt God teaching me the same lesson, with slight variations, just in case I didn't get it the first time (which to be honest is usually the case).  And each lesson, building one after another.

    1. I have just finished a series about discerning the voice of God, and the thing that hit me hard was the fact that as Christians who fall under the New Covenant, we have complete access to the Holy Spirit.  We no longer have to go through a middle man to speak to God.  God indwells in us.  Of course, for those who grew up in the church this is something we have been taught from a young age.  But think about it deeply...God indwells in us. We are so utterly and completely lucky to be able to have this type of one-on-one communication with God.  Those under the Old Covenant would kill for this opportunity.  
    2. God wants to hear from us.  He wants us to bring him our deepest concerns, but we need to be aware that God has plans that are much bigger than our own.  This is where I started to see how often I treat prayer as a quick get it over with type ordeal.  I need to be in constant communication with God so I can catch glimpses of what it is that He has for me and my family       
      1 John 5:14         This is the confidence we have approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.   
    3.  I need to pray for my family.  It's no lie that marriage is hard.  These last few years, Wes and I have learned that more than any other time.  As a wife and mother, I need to be covering my house in prayer.  Satan wants nothing else than to cause strive in the household.  But the amazing thing is, this is not God's will for us.  If I am honest with myself, I have not been praying the way I should for my family.  I need to pray for my marriage, that God will use it to bring glory to only Him.  I need to pray that I can love my husband and children in the way God has loved me.  I need to pray that I am being an example of grace and mercy.  
    4. I need to pray with my husband.  This is where I was convicted the most.  Wes and I have prayed together, but we have not made it a daily habit.  And quite honestly, it's awkward at first.  Funny how you can pray with others, but when praying with your husband... it can feel awkward.  Why is that? I honestly don't believe Satan wants couples praying together.  For good reason.  When couples pray together, families are changed, children notice, and families carve out space to allow God to move.  
I am learning, just how special prayer is.  As a wife and mother, I need to be supporting my household and uplifting each of my family members in prayer.  Please keep our family in prayer as we try to be intentional with our prayer.  

Wednesday, 3 January 2018


New Year Resolutions... it's something that you hear a lot about this time of year.  I'm not naive in making a resolution- I realize more likely than not, I will not meet my resolutions.  However, I do want to show a resiliency.  If I don't make my goals, I want to try again and again and again until I reach that goal.

For this year, I would like to develop good habits. Last year, God showed me a lot about the downfall of being busy, and although this is always something I will struggle with- I do believe I have made some serious steps into decluttering my life and taking the moment in for what it truly is.

If I had to choose one word for this year, it would be growth.  Growth in my relationships, my faith and basically every part of my life. To do this, I have set some goals for my year (and I would love to accountability of friends and family over the year!)
Some of my goals:

  • Read through the Bible from cover to cover 

Though I have read through majority of my Bible- there is still so much I am missing and so many promises I want to dig into deeper.  I have yet to read my Bible from cover to cover, and I would love to make the step to do that this year.  

Click here to join me!

  • Take more time for my health throughout the year 
Not going to lie, I have sadly let this part slip so much these last few years.  As a mom it can be so hard to make time for yourself between all your other commitments.  I have joined a gym and I am hoping my 'cheap' side to me will make it incentive to use the membership I am paying for (and to be quite honest I have loved all the classes I have tried out thus far). 

  • Set a good example for my girls and family in all that I do
I was listening to a podcast recently and though I cannot remember the actual quote but it talked about how often we can let ourselves just 'get past this moment' and once we do that we can slow down.  I live by this so often. Days, weeks and years go by where I say once I get to the next point, I can finally slow down.  I need to stop this and truly live for the moment rather than pushing towards the next moment.

So yes, I do have goals about my life, my health, my faith and my debt... but perhaps instead of calling them New Year Resolutions, I can call them goals.  I know I will most likely fail, but I hope to continue to push towards reaching them no matter how long it may take.  

What goals do you have for the year? 
If you learned one thing in 2017 what would you say it was?  

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Letter 2017

If there was one word to sum up our year, it would be trust.  For our little family, this year brought forth new beginnings in so many ways.  With these beginnings, we have had to learn to trust God and allow his plan to prevail (and in many cases, be ready to change what we thought our plan was). Though this has been difficult in some ways, it has also been so neat to see where God has taken us.

As Ashlynn grows bigger each day, we are seeing more and more of her own unique personality shine through.  She has quite the funny laugh, and her love of animals continues to shine through. Currently, Ashlynn spends her days at Nana's house while Wes and I are at work. She loves playing and reading books.  She is talking so much, and though sometimes the 'sisterly love' doesn't look present, she adores Peyton and will often talk about and copy her big sister.

Peyton had a very big year for many reasons.  In the spring, Peyton accepted Christ into her life! She also started Junior Kindergarten this year at Central Baptist Academy. She is loving learning new things each day, and it has been amazing to see her grow in her faith. She loves reading and writing. At the beginning of the year, Peyton took ukulele and is hoping to return to it in the New Year. Both Peyton and myself went up to Joy Bible camp over the summer for a week to volunteer at Senior Youth, and it was so neat to see her back at the place that has made such a difference in the lives of both Wes and I.  She has truly grown so much over the year, and sometimes I have to remind myself that she is only four as she is wise beyond her years.

This year has also brought changes for both Wes and I.  We started off 2017 by spending a weekend at JBC kid-free, which was such a great refresher (and yes, Wes even got me to move from my traditional skis to actually getting up on a snowboard). Wes continues to work as a masonry for my Dad, but as he continues to work with this crew he is learning more each day. I took on a Grade 7 position at Central Baptist Academy, and will move over to teach French to the school in January. I have learned so much even in my few months working at CBA, and hope to continue to do so in the New Year. Sadly, I have had to step away from my position at The Art of Music Academy, and although saying goodbye to my students was tough- I know God has big things in store for us, but often busyness can overtake so many other important things in our life.

We are so grateful for each and every person who has supported us over this year. We have come to know so many new friends over the year both through the school and church. I cannot wait to see how God will move in our lives in 2018, and use people as messed up and sinful as we are to further His kingdom.  I hope each one of you has a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Marshalls
The girls at Senior Youth

Marriage Retreat at Joy Bible Camp

Walking down the beach

Peyton played on the Central Baptist Soccer league for the first time this year

So neat to see these two playing together

My silly little girl

Peyton and I shared our "first day of school" together

First Day of JK!

Loves school and soaks up everything like a sponge

Ashlynn often will tell jokes now and laugh hysterically

Friday, 26 May 2017

A Letter to My Daughters- Love Each Other

To My Two Beautiful Girls.

I want you to know that your Mommy and Daddy will always love you.  No matter what choices you make, what paths you decide to follow, we will be there rooting you on.  Life can be tough and unfair, but know that we always have your back no matter what happens.  

I pray that you two will also always be there for each other.  Right now, you tell me how you are each other's best friend.  How much you love each other.  Don't let that change.  Confide in each other and grow in your relationship as sisters.  I love seeing how even with the differences in personalities between you two, you guys still make each other laugh.  Don't lose that.  Peyton, you have such a caring attitude for your sister and always try to make sure she is okay and if she isn't you are the first to give her a big bear hug.  Be there for Ashlynn on those days when life just gets tough and she just needs a big bear hug to get her through.  Ashlynn, you daily remind Peyton that you love her (or "I OF YOU").  Don't let others get in the way of reminding her that on the days she needs that reminder.  
I'm sure there will be days when you want to scream at the other person, and sibling battles will become a real thing.  Please let that only be temporary.  You guys have to have each other's back in the real world.  

We love you both and continually pray for you, 
Mommy and Daddy