When my nephew, Joshua, was around eight years old, my father enjoyed teasing him by asking him a bunch of “why?” questions—obviously trying to make a point about how often Joshua asked such questions.


As adults, we also ask a lot of “why?” questions. We never outgrow our natural curiosity; in fact, we probably become more cynical and skeptical, questioning the reasoning behind much of what happens in our lives.

The people in the Bible were no different…

When Rebekah felt her twins jostling around in her womb, she asked the Lord, “Why is this happening to me?” (Genesis 25:22)

The Israelites grumbled to Moses: “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (Exodus 17:3)

Moses in turn asked God, “Why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?” (Exodus 32:11)

Job, in his despair, asked, “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11) Actually, Job asked many “why?” questions, including one that many of us have probably asked: “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?” (Job 21:7)

David, too, often questioned why God allowed certain things to happen: “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” (Psalm 42:9)

Is it wrong to ask “why?” Not if we’re asking with a sincere desire to understand and a willingness to accept the answer. But if we simply ask “why?” and then storm off in anger, there’s a problem.

Also, if we want to ask God “why?” then we should be willing to answer some of His questions:

“Why do you worry about your clothes?” (Matthew 6:28)

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26)

“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4)

“Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3)

“Why are you thinking these things?” (Mark 2:8)

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

And I love this one: “Why have you been standing here all day doing nothing?” (Matthew 20:6)

Ouch, right?

The next time you want to ask God “why?”, take a moment to ask yourself why you’re asking. Let’s aim for more wise and less why’s.

Have a blessed day!



Favourite Things Party

In January 2012, when I still lived at my parents’ place, I had six of my “sisters” from church come over for a Favourite Things Party. It turned out to be a memorable evening so I thought I’d share about it here as a suggestion for a creative event you can plan with friends, particularly if there are people who are new to your community or group that would appreciate a chance to get to know others better.

fav 8The idea is that everyone brings multiples of one of their favourite things, one for each other person who will be at the event (so if there are six of you, each person brings five of one item). You can put a cap on how much is spent if that’s a concern (and keep the group a manageable size). I bought copies of The Velveteen Rabbit, since that is one of my favourite children’s books.

As hostess, I also provided my favourite candies and treats, put out snowman napkins (my favourite winter motif), and sent everyone home with a goody bag with other favourite items (such as craft tape, snack-size bags of goldfish crackers, mint tea, hot chocolate, a list of links, bookmarks I’d made with a favourite verse, and the recipes for two of the desserts I’d made that night).


We started by playing two favourites-related games that helped us get learn fun things about each other:

  1. fav 1I passed out cards that asked the girls to write down their favourite Bible verse, animal, book, dessert and movie. I don’t remember exactly, but I think I may have read these out and had them try to guess who wrote each set of answers.
  2. Everyone had to grab a handful of M&Ms and then I pulled out a colour code. For each M&M of a certain colour, they had to tell us their favourite…
    • restaurants (red)
    • hobbies (blue)
    • foods (green)
    • stores (brown)
    • actors (yellow)
    • colours (orange)


Then we took turns giving out the favourites we’d chosen for each other, explaining why it’s our favourite, where to get it (or how to make it), etc. We all ended up with a nice pile of new things, including a tin of organic hot chocolate, a sparkly scarf, homemade cookies, chocolate, and a couple of other items.

Okay, now I really want to organize one of these again, but in my new home. 😀 Hmm, something to add to my to-do list. Ha! Are you going to try this, too? Let me know!

Speaking of favourites, check out my Pinterest board of all the things that make my heart smile. What are your favourite things? Please comment below, and if you have a similar Pinterest board, I’d love to take a peek, so share the link. capture20180227230812014

Hope your Saturday is creative. See you again on Monday!



Great Beginnings

Recently, I decided to reread The Chronicles of Narnia, my favourite work of literature by far, even (or especially) as an adult. When I posted the opening line of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on Facebook yesterday morning, I was pleased that a few friends immediately recognized the reference. Then again, can you ever forget a sentence like this?

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Funny and intriguing at the same time. Oh, how I love C.S. Lewis!

So that got me thinking about books that have become favourites of mine over the last 40 years… How many of them might have grabbed me with their first sentences? I figured I would dig around and came up with these examples, some from classic literature, and some from lesser-known books:

  • “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
  • “Miss Polly Harrington entered her kitchen a little hurriedly this June morning. ” – Pollyanna (Eleanor H. Porter)
  • “The whole thing was really Mr. Onetree’s fault.” – Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library (Eth Clifford) – I LOVED this book when I was a kid
  • (Yes, this is ONE SENTENCE—haha!) “Mrs Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops, and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde’s Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs Rachel Lynde’s door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs Rachel was sitting at her door, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof.” – Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
  • “It was their first day at Rivercote Girls’ Private School, England, and the fourteen-year-old twins felt decidedly scared as they approached the headmistress’ study.” – The Mystifying Twins (Joan Price Reeve) – Another one of my favourites when I was younger. I read this book numerous times!
  • “Since dawn, three ropes had hung black against the rising sun.” – Wings of Dawn (Canadian author Sigmund Brouwer)
  • “The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette.” – The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
  • “‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.” – Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  • “Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares.” – A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
  • “‘You shouldn’t be here.'” – The Mark of the King (my friend Jocelyn Green, who won a Christy Award for this book… and is going to be staying with me this weekend. She arrives tomorrow. SQUEE!!!)
  • “I was six, he was eight.” – Confessions from a Farmer’s Wife (Caroline Way, also a friend of mine!)


This list would be sorely lacking if I didn’t include what is probably the most familiar first sentence of all, though I wonder how many people know that Snoopy didn’t pen it:

It was a dark and stormy night. 

Did you know this line is from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time?

Which of those beginnings make you want to know what the next sentence is? They all work for me! What are the opening lines of some of your favourite books? I’d love to hear them! Please comment below.

And now you have a suggested reading list for the next time you’re looking for a new book to bury your nose in. 🙂

Have a great Wednesday… and I hope you have a great beginning to March tomorrow.


A Girl Named Emmy

For today’s blog post, I’m simply going to point you to an article I recently had published by In Touch Ministries, because that’s far more interesting and inspiring than anything else I could possibly offer you today.

Not Just for ShowDSC00961 is a profile of Emmy Manukyan, a young woman we met during one of our mission trips to Armenia several years ago. I got to see her again during my third visit last summer and was deeply moved by her example of self-sacrifice and faithful service.

I won’t say any more because you really should read this. I can’t imagine anyone not being inspired by this story. This is the quote that sparked my idea to write about Emmy:

Emmy scoffs at the suggestion she may leave [Armenia] one day. “Even if everyone leaves and I am the last person here, I will stay. I will be the one to turn off all the lights.”

Please share the article if you feel like it would be an encouragement to others. Thanks!

Here’s that link again: Not Just for Show

See you again on Wednesday!


Permanent Marker “Paintings”

Since I moved into my new place in mid-September, I’ve had a huge blank space over my very white sofa in my mostly white living room, unable to decide what to hang on that wall. A week or so ago, I decided to take a gamble on creating my own artwork, but since I’m not too much of a risk-taker, I figured I’d experiment with inexpensive materials first.

BIC Marking Permanent Marker, Assorted, Fine Tip, 12-pack

About a month earlier, I had picked up a few four-dollar 16×20″ canvases (the biggest size I could find at Dollarama) so I pulled those out and stared at them for a while. I knew I wanted something floral and funky and bright, but I didn’t feel like spending hours painting something with a lot of detail. Flipping through some of my art books, I saw a print that gave me an idea. I create colouring books. Surely I could doodle a design and then colour it in!


I grabbed a set of Bic Marking Permanent Markers and used the brown, red, turquoise and two greens (the accent colours of my living room) to sketch out these huge roses and leaves. I think I should have stopped there and made three or four of these as I love the simple outlined shapes… but I had already drawn in the polka dots on one leaf segment, which I didn’t like, so I felt like I needed to colour the whole thing in. Then I added extra leaves and dots.

In the end, I was really happy with how it turned out, considering the cost and time involved, but this was just one small “painting” and I needed more. What to do next?

20180214_160237I pulled out a second canvas and tried adding the light blue after doodling similar but somewhat different roses and leaves. The overall effect didn’t please me as much as the first canvas (particularly because the blues are darker than the blues in my living room) but I still like it and think the two look good together. If you don’t look at them up close, you can’t even tell it’s just marker

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Now I’m stuck again. 🙂 I can’t decide whether I should make a third floral print that mixes the blues and red/brown to hang between these two, another red design and another blue design to alternate with these, one big quote with black lettering to hang in the middle or six more different designs to hang a grid of eight canvases. Ack! What do you think? I’d love some suggestions. 🙂

20180223_202946But that’s not the main reason I’m posting this. I wanted to give YOU the idea of taking an inexpensive canvas and using permanent marker to “paint” a fun picture. Just to offer another example, I took a smaller canvas and a different set of markers (alcohol-based brush ones that bleed too much through paper so they’ve been sitting in their box) and quickly whipped this up. (I probably wouldn’t hang it up anywhere as it’s just a practice picture, but didn’t even take half an hour, which means you could create something much nicer in an hour or two–perfect for when you need a last-minute gift or want a quick change-up to your decor.)

I will keep you posted on my progress with my living room art. I hope to have the project completed by spring, at least! If you try this idea, I hope you’ll share photos with me. 🙂

Have a lovely, creative Saturday, and see you back here on Monday!


Delightful Diversions

Facebook sometimes gets on my nerves, especially when the gremlins working behind the scenes decide to change things for no apparent reason. However, one feature I really like is the option to “save” posts. Whenever I come across a link to an article I want to read (or share) later, a funny story, a great quote, interesting research, etc., I add it to my Saved tab for future reference.

Curated Wednesdays on my blog seems like the perfect opportunity to dig into that collection and share some gems with you, such as these, presented in no particular order:


I just read this on a stranger’s blog: “Today, whilst I was driving, a speed camera flashed me. I was not over the speed limit, so I turned around and went past it again even slower, again it flashed me. Confused I did again, it flashed. Finding this funny, I drove past again at snail’s pace. Only later receiving four fines for no seatbelt.”

Writing Advice

Whether you’re an aspiring writer or a seasoned one, you’ll appreciate this: 
I Talked to 150 Writers and Here’s the Best Advice They Had
by Joe Fassler.


Internet lies

I nabbed this from the Mikey’s Funnies Facebook page. If you like good, clean humour, follow this page or sign up for daily emails here.

A World of Languages


I have a thing for infographics, especially when they are beautifully designed. This one is simple but the information is truly fascinating. A couple of years ago, the South China Morning Post published this “map” of every language in the world and their respective number of native speakers by country.

Did you know there are more than seven thousand languages spoken around the world? C’est incroyable! (French is one of the four languages in my repertoire, by the way.)


El Arroyo

A Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin, Texas, has the funniest wayside signs! I am not sure why they chose the name El Arroyo (which means The Ditch), but they definitely know how to get attention. (I haven’t checked every single sign in the Facebook album, so if you come across anything inappropriate, I apologize.) A few of my favourites:

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Seriously Awesome!

Here’s another infographic, one that takes me back many, many, many years to the brief period in my life when I was studying Chemical Technology in college. (Yes, I was a science nerd! Surprised?)

A brilliant guy named Keith Enevoldsen designed a handy periodic table that explains, in simple terms and with colourful visuals, what each element is and what can be made  from it (or what contains it). For example, zinc is used in brass instruments (I didn’t know that!), iridium is used in spark plugs and pen tips, and titanium is found in blue sapphires. Click on the graphic below to go to the main page, where you can either interact with the period table or download PDF versions (either with images or words).


Good and Faithful Servant

Right after this post went live, I heard about Billy Graham’s death. I’m popping back in to add a link to this interesting look back at his ministry. And here’s a lovely tribute to him by Thom S. Rainer.

Whew! All of that should keep you busy for a while. 🙂 Please let me know what your favourite item was in today’s post, and feel free to point me to more cool stuff!

Have a lovely Wednesday,



Praying with Friends

When we pray with other Christians, we get closer to them and to God.

praying togetherSeveral years ago, when my friend Jill still lived in Montreal (she’s a teacher up in Fort Good Hope now—you should Google that to see how crazy far it is!), she invited me to join her when she went to visit her family back in her hometown of Kingston, Ontario, for a few days.

One afternoon, Jill and I were sitting with her mom, Mary, in the living room and the three of us decided to use our free time to pray. We each mentioned things we wanted to pray about and then we prayed together for about twenty minutes. It was a great way to make our visit more meaningful and we really felt blessed.

That evening, Jill mentioned again how happy she was that we’d prayed together. She felt it had brought the three of us closer to each other. Then Mary said something I’ll never forget: “It brought us closer without making us pile on top of each other.” I understood what she meant: We hadn’t revealed too many personal things that made us feel awkward later. I don’t know about men, but sometimes we girls tell each other everything we’re thinking or feeling—and that’s not always the wisest impulse.

Praying together with Christian friends can encourage us and help us get stronger in our faith. But we have to make sure we’re doing it to pray to God and not just to spill out everything in our hearts.

If you’re not already regularly praying with others, whether at church or privately, I would encourage you to (prayerfully) seek out at least one prayer partner that you can meet with (or pray over the phone with, as I also do) as often as works for both of you. Agree to keep the focus on bringing your requests to God, and to avoid:

  • telling God what to do, and
  • sharing details that are unnecessary or verging on gossip.

I’d love to hear about your own experiences with collective prayer. How have you been encouraged? What works (or doesn’t work)?

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Have a blessed day, and I hope to see you back here on Wednesday. 🙂


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