God with Us: Part II


Last time, we looked at how God desires to be with us. He was Emmanuel, “God with us”, from the beginning of the world. He walked with Adam and Eve. He holds us with we need him. He is behind us and he is before us. Today, let’s look at how every aspect of God is with us. Father, Son, & Spirit. The Trinity.

How absolutely, ineffably incredible! God is so high and so powerful. Yet, his great desire is to be with us. And he made a way to do this. I think about the words from “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”:

How deep the Father’s love for us

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

God sent Jesus, his son, as a baby. When Jesus had to go back into heaven, he sent the Spirit to be with us. And we don’t really deserve that kind of love.

John 14:16-17


“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be with you.”

We see in the Old Testament that God is with us. We see in the Christmas story and in the Gospels that Jesus came, quite literally, to be with us. And we see in Jesus’ promise and in Acts and the letters to the apostles that the Spirit is with us. It “lives with us”.

We rarely think of the Trinity as Emmanuel. But I think the Bible is clear that every part of God is with us.

Spend some time today praising God for every part of himself. Thank God the Father that he is with you. Thank Jesus the Son that he came to be with you. And thank the Spirit for being your advocate and friend – with you.



Comfort  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-comfort/


…And Joy  http://alittlesanctuary.org/and-joy/


Summer Christmas  http://alittlesanctuary.org/summer-christmas/


God with us: Part I  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part/


God with us: Part II  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-ii/


God with us: Part III  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-iii/


Storying Christmas: Waiting  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-waiting/


Christmas Eve & The Miracle Fern http://alittlesanctuary.org/christmas-eve-miracle-fern/

Love, Sugar, & Lifestyle

loveIt has been a whole month since we have cut out sugar! I really appreciate you guys doing this with me – it helps so much when it’s more than just yourself!

Every time I have tried to get off sugar, I’m reminded of how much it is a part of our lifestyle. We make desserts to cheer people up. Sometimes, we feel like dinner is not complete without something sweet to really finish it off well.

It’s amazing how much we encourage each other to eat – to eat a LOT and also to eat a lot of sugar. I think it’s because we really care about one another and sometimes making food is a way of showing that love. Because people love sugar and we love people, we make them cakes, brownies, and cookies as a visual gift of that love.

I will never, ever say that making a pie to tell someone you love them is wrong. Never. Because I grew up in that love, and now I identify that when people feed me, they love me.  I identify being fed with being loved and I like that. And there is nothing like my Mimi’s giant cookies or my Grandma’s rice krispie treats. I still believe – will always believe – that they heal all wounds in a way that an apple just can’t.

So I can’t justify telling you to never eat sugar when it is given to you as a gift. I cannot hold myself to that, nor should I.

But, I do know that when I eat sugar, I go overboard. So I, personally, have to be careful. Too much love can be unhealthy, right? Well, you know what I mean. When I was little, there was a couple in our church that I loved dearly. They made these cookies that, again, I identified with love. So I’ve made them a couple of times here for people, but I made HUGE batches of them. And I ate sooooo many Thompson cookies that I got a little sick. One cookie may have been okay… maybe two or three. But I need to accept love/cookies in doses, in a healthy way. Balance.

And so I offer to you this proposition at the end of “No Sugar September”. Live a lifestyle where sugar does not consume you – where you do not binge on sugar. If someone gives you a huge batch of sweet treats, eat a piece and be grateful, then share with others. If you make a huge batch of sweet treats, eat a piece and enjoy it, then share it with others. Don’t be limited to giving sweet treats. Share fruit from your garden – love does not only come from sugar. Love is found in all sorts of places! This I also learned from my family.

do-not-live-a-life-where-sugar-reigns-food-is-not-to-be-our-focus-instead-live-a-lifestyleI’ve learned healthy love as I’ve grown up because I’ve been very, very lucky with the family I have – from grandparents to aunts and uncles to cousins to parents, and even great aunts and uncles and second/third cousins. Love means telling stories and praying for one another at least three times a day, whenever you sit down to eat. Love is often centered around the dining table. Love is being fed and feeding others. But love is also spending time with others. Love has nothing to do with sugar, really, and everything to do with people.

Do not live a life where sugar reigns. Food is not to be our focus. Instead, live a lifestyle of love, loving others – everyone – loving yourself, and being loved by others.

Caring for Me


Today, I want to write about something very important – an art that I have not mastered – a mountain that may take me the rest of my life to conquer. Everyone has their vice. Their kryptonite. The thorn in their side. The one ring. Mine happens to be taking care of myself. I’m not good at it. I try and try, sometimes succeeding, but failing as well.

One of my personal goals in doing this blog is to help people learn to take care of themselves. In so doing, I hope to take better care of myself. And I hope to find answers along the way.

Why is this important? Why do we have to love ourselves and do ourselves no harm?

www-alittlesanctuary-orgI don’t know. But, I’m on a quest to find out. I’m trying to find the balance between Jesus’ command to “deny yourself daily” and believing that my body is “a temple”. I believe both to be true. They cannot be separate. Still, no “aha!” moment has come.

Yeah, I have some ideas that I’m working out. But, there’s something inside me that can’t quite get to the root of it. I will search until I figure it out, and then I think I will have discovered something extraordinary.

In the Harry Potter series, Harry is almost always questioning Dumbledore’s way of teaching him how to defeat evil. This relationship reminds me of how we come to God – questioning him as to why he doesn’t just give us the answer. If we knew how to do life and how to succeed, it would all just be better. Instead of merely telling Harry the steps he needs to take, Dumbledore gives him a path. He gives him clues. He lets Harry see parts of the plan, but he never shows him the whole picture. Harry is a better person for this because he experiences, learns, and grows along the way – in his own time. I see God working in something of the same way. He leads us along the path, shows us pieces, makes sure we have help when we need it, and is always available when we need him the most.

I struggle along this path, but I have peace in the struggle. I will continue to make progress along the path – progress by learning to care for myself – by choosing to believe what the Bible says about people. That we are God’s creation. That we are God’s children, “holy and dearly loved”. And so I do what I can in the meantime. And I practice. Here are some steps I have taken, some I’m wanting to take, and some other steps that I’m trying to take.


1)      Eat. Three meals a day. Protein, fruits, vegetables, and favourite foods.

2)      Drink. Enough Water. Relaxing hot tea.

3)      Sleep. When I need to, whether someone else needs me or not.

4)      Relax. Take a hot bath. Read a book. Colour a picture.

5)      Enjoy. Enjoy life, nature, & love.

6)      Poison-Free. Cut out refined sugar. Consume good things, not bad.

7)      Commune. Be with people. Have friendships, groups, & family.

8)      Love. Allow myself to be loved, and continue loving others – but not at my own expense.

9)      Truth. Refuse Lies. Believe the truth.

What is your journey right now? On what path are you being led? Find peace along the way and trust that you will find what you need to know in the end.

Wife Life Wednesday: 21 Ways My Husband Loves Me


21 waysI really, really enjoy writing “Wife Life Wednesdays”! It’s like my own special way of appreciating my spouse. This week, I finally got nominated for that “Love Your Spouse Challenge” that’s been going around Facebook… so I’ve spent a lot of time looking through photos and thinking extra hard about my husband and how lucky I am to be his wife.

I am sick quite often – Which, in our first year of marriage, hasn’t made things too easy. Mark works hard and also has to take care of me. This invisible illness thing sucks, and I know it must be hard for him as well because he has to do more than he should have to do. But, he never complains.

Thus, today, I thought it would be a good idea to write down a very few of the many, many ways that my husband shows me that he loves me. In effect, the reasons that he is wonderful.

If you’re married, I invite you to make your own list! It’s a way to appreciate your husband whether you feel like he’s doing anything nice for you or not. In most cases, I’d say there’s always something to be thankful for!

21 Ways My Husband Loves Me


1)      He makes me coffee.

2)      When I’m sick, he orders me Pad Thai. And then goes to get it for me.

3)      He shoves medicine down my throat.

4)      He tells me I don’t have to work.

5)      When I’m stressed, he helps me calm down.

6)      When I’m cold, he either builds a fire or turns the heater on.

7)      He makes sure I eat. And he reminds me not to eat sugar.

8)      He works hard – studying to be a nurse, finding odd jobs to pay bills, and dealing with finances.

9)      When I cry, he wants to know what’s wrong. And then he listens.

10)   He tells me that I’m creative.

11)   In the middle of the night, he makes sure I’m tucked in and warm (even if he’s half asleep).

12)   He understands that I need to go out with friends.

13)   My husband teases me… in a good way.

14)   He catches hedgehogs in the garden so I can hold them.

15)   He picks up the slack when I’m not well.

16)   When I’m sick he takes me to the doctor. He even calls to make the appointments.

17)   He does things like the laundry, the cleaning, and the cooking!

18)   He is the rock of our family. He is my rock.

19)   He is patient and kind with me.

20)   He prays with me almost every day.

21)   He reminds me that he needs me.

Your turn! Write your own list and share it with your husband. Better yet, find a way to tell him “thank you” twenty-one days in a row for all the things on your list. He’ll love it, and you’ll love the little smile he gets on his face when you appreciate him. 😉