Saturday, August 28, 2010

Relationship Revelation

For the past who knows how long I've been really struggling with myself and in the area of relationships with friends and with my husband. It may have been a milder form of depression, I'm not really sure. But whatever it was came to a head the other day, I had been dropping hints for a long time that something was wrong but every time my husband and I tried to figure it out we'd end up dealing with some of the surface issues and I'd feel a bit better but something still wasn't right.

That night I was a pouty, sobby mess and I just didn't know how to express what I was feeling. Finally my husband suggested I just say whatever I was thinking even if I thought it might not be right or might hurt him. So I did, and a rush of bottled up emotions and frustrations spilled out. I had no idea that I had been stuffing so much! The problem was that I was getting more and more stirred up and although I was able to voice my thoughts I was definitely not getting my peace back.

Finally after I had given up trying to figure it out and was about ready to roll over and go to sleep he asked me if I was afraid of making mistakes and saying or doing the wrong thing. This isn't the first time he's asked me that but this time it really hit home, hard! It really made me tweak out because I really had no idea how to function without holding myself back and analyzing every word or move I made whether it was right or not. I was actually scared to death of being genuine and of even trusting my husband enough that he could let me just be me and be honest about where I was at.

Well the past few days have certainly been an interesting walkout. I've realized in practicing to voice what I'm thinking instead of bottling it up when something happens that angers me or frustrates me that the issues don't get a chance to build up anymore and become such a big deal. So instead of trying to figure out one large mass of jumbled emotions we get to figure out each one individually as it comes up. It's been really freeing for me and I've been a lot more emotionally sound lately. And believe it or not trust in my husband has grown substantially also, it's actually really helped our relationship.

Please don't get me wrong, I don't believe in defiling someone in a fit of anger because that's what I'm feeling at that moment. What I am talking about is telling him when he does something or something happens that frustrates me instead of holding onto it and letting bitterness fester and bubble over.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tamahra Faith Mast

Our precious baby girl, Tamahra Faith Mast, was born July 2, 2010 at 11:04 am. She was very diplomatic in the time she chose to arrive in that she came a day after Canada day and two days before Independence Day. Amazingly she arrived exactly on her due date which is apparently a rather rare occurrence.

The whole experience was very blessed, God brought together a amazing crew to encourage me and support me through the whole birthing process. Our team included my mom who flew down from Canada, Adrienne Shales who acted as doula and, of course, my amazing husband, John. There were also some amazing nurses and doctors who helped me so much.

I went into labor at 1:30 that morning and we got to the hospital by 4:00 am. John stood by my side the entire time, breathing with me, spoon feeding me crushed ice, massaging my back and applying counter pressure to my back. Adrienne, was a constant source of peace and reassurance as well as wisdom when it was necessary. Mom took on a mom's role and was constantly doing whatever she could to keep me comfortable. One nurse in particular, Lou, was so helpful, when I really needed it she gave me the pep talk of my life which gave me the drive to press through to the end. It was so worth every minute of it. And what a joy and relief it was to finally get to hold our baby girl.

I had all these ideas of how everything would be from the labor experience to what it would be like to be a mommy. Once again those got thrown out the window. It was way different than I imagined but honestly way better too. I've come to a realization of a common misconception which I had embraced and feared for so long. When talking about pregnancy, birthing and parenthood, people would tell me how hard or painful it could be. I therefore always feared these things. What I've come to realize, as with all new responsibilities, harder or painful is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact these experiences have brought some of the biggest opportunities for me to grow emotionally and spiritually and some of the biggest blessings I've ever encountered. It's amazing how the enemy, through fear, tried to rob me of these things. I am so glad God gave me the courage and the strength to press through, it is the best decision I have ever made.

This new chapter in our lives as parents has obviously just begun and another huge part of my walkout is to not get ahead of myself. Often times I'll catch myself worrying about what's going to happen next, the next stage in baby's growth or even my marriage. What I've come to conclude is that every day or even every moment is like a contraction; you take each one as it comes and deal with them one at a time. As soon as you start thinking about the next ones to come and how hard they may be you get overwhelmed and forward progress is hindered for that time. So I guess I'm saying I'm learning to take life one bite at a time. Matthew 6:34 says:
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Tamahra Shakes Herself Loose

Tamahra's First Happy Birthday

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Lesson from Job

Today I randomly decided to read some things I highlighted in the book of Job. I found myself reading from chapter 32 all the way to the end of the book! Things really started making sense to me like they hadn't before. It really fit in with some of the things I've been learning lately about trusting God and His Holiness.

I guess I'll start in order that the verses come to keep me from confusing myself. Job 33:23 is a scripture that my grandma pointed out to me a while back, I understood it back then but it sure was refreshing to be reminded again. Of course it is very important to read this whole scripture in context, it's talking about a person who is afflicted and ill like Job. I'm just pointing out key verses to highlight.

23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his (God's) uprightness: 24 Then he (God) is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. 25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the day of his youth: 26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he (God) shall see his (the man's) face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. 27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; 28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

This scripture has two main points that really stood out to me. The first is the importance of the messenger or the interpreter. The person who is in relationship with God and is able to represent God and His heart to the afflicted. I really believe that is what we are learning to do and have been called to do as believers and followers who truly seek relationship with God. That is essentially what we are learning to do at Pleasant Valley Church and Be in Health.

The second point shows, once again, the freedom man can get in humility when they are finally able to give up certain ways of thinking that are in opposition to God. It shows the joy God has towards these precious people and the love and compassion he shows towards them. It really is a sweet example of His nature. I also believe, in accordance with this scripture and others that the only way people can come to this place of humility and true repentance is if the true love of God is represented to them and if the Holy Spirit is working in agreement with the minister on their heart. So that that place of repentance is a safe and loving place, not one of condemnation or fear. I sincerely believe bringing a person to repentance out of fear is one of the saddest misrepresentations of God and His heart towards them. The "fear" the Bible speaks about towards the Lord is one of respect and trust, not terror or fright.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 says this: 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out the the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

This next scripture in Job, to me, is such a reassurance of God's faithful judgment and inability to do wrong.

Job 34:10-12 says: Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. 11 For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. 12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

This is special to me because it's a promise that I can always trust Him and have confidence in Him that He will do what is right and always be trustworthy. This is something I want to be written on my heart so that there will be no opportunity for the enemy to accuse God to me. It also shows that if something is not going right in my life, I need to search my own heart, not blame God. It's interesting how so often it is just so much easier to try to blame Him or someone else for our problems, this scripture kind of puts the responsibility back on us for our own wellbeing. This reminds me of something Pastor Henry said once or twice, it was something to the extent of: "Another person may do something to hurt you or defile you but it is up to you to decide how you're going to handle it. Are you going to harbor it up inside and allow bitterness to fester inside of you or are you going to choose to separate them from their sin, knowing that it's the enemy who is working inside of them and choose to forgive them and move on." Another thing Pastor Henry says is, "You can't get very far forward if you are only looking in your rear view mirror."

Just last night I had an experience where the enemy was tormenting me about some things I had done the day before. In my frustration and distress, I cried out to God, begging Him to get that tormenter away from me but it wouldn't leave. Today when I was praying about that situation, I came to the realization that I had never come out of agreement with the things the enemy was accusing me of neither had I repented for entertaining him. I recognized that I was trying to bypass any responsibility and blame God for not taking away the torment. Needless to say, because of what I'm learning in these scriptures, I was able to repent for my participation with the enemy in that particular area of my life. Within a few hours God helped me work out the lies that I had come in agreement with and I was free once again! He sure is faithful!

Job 36:8-10 says: And if they (the righteous) be bound in fetters, and be holden in cord of affliction; 9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. 10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.

This reminds me of something that was said in one of our recent church services about the real definition of Grace as found in 2 Peter 1:2-10. I'm just going to quote verse two but I highly recommend reading the rest because it truly is powerful.

2 Peter 1:2 says: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Grace: # G5485 in the Strong's Concordance
-the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in life; (including gratitude)...

Wow, I love this blog thing! It's like a journal to get all of my thoughts together and as it's all formulating I'm getting more and more excited! If this isn't for anyone else, it sure is for me.

Anyways, moving on, I'm coming to my final points which beautifully sum up this revelation. I'm skipping over to Job 40:11, this part is extra powerful because it is God's challenge to Job and at the same time to all of us who read it.

Job 40:11 says: 11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold anyone that is proud, and abase him. 12 Look on every one that is proud and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. 13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. 14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

Way to get to the point, God! He proceeds after this with a description of two great creatures, first Behemoth whom He says is "chief of the ways of God" and then Leviathan of whom He says in Job 41:10-15 and 33-34:

10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? 11 Who hath prevented me that I should repay him? Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. 12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. 13 Who can discover the face of his garment? Or who can come to him with his double bridle? 14 Who can open the doors of his face? His teeth are terrible round about. 15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
33 Upon the earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. 34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

I have a Dake's study bible with extensive notes in reference to these scriptures. Dake speculates that Leviathan, in particular, is actually a reference to Satan himself. I found this interesting because when I went back to God's challenge in Job 40:11-14 I finally realized what God was saying to Job, or at least a part of it. He was essentially telling Job that of his own power there was no way for him to be able to overcome the things he was dealing with. In verse 14 he says that if Job can overcome these prideful and intellectual beings or iniquities then he can say that he can save himself.

This also shows a powerful warning about our pride and our thinking we can overcome the enemy of our own power. The scripture even says in the book of Jude that the archangel, Michael, did not even have the authority to rebuke the Devil.

Jude 1:9 says: Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst (dared) not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee.

I am so glad that the Lord is on our side and that He has promised to show himself faithful on the behalf of those who love and serve Him. I am humbled to realize how weak we truly are as human beings but at the same time relieved that He has said over and over again that this battle is not ours. In reality, if we ever want to be overcomers or if we ever want His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, we have no other option but to trust Him in every aspect of our lives. Because He is the only one who can see the snares of the enemy and who is powerful enough to overcome him. We must choose to believe that what God says is true. And we must choose to rest in the promises of His Word.

James 1:17 says: Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

My other Bible is a Scofield study edition of the King James Version. I don't always agree with his notes but the closing notes on the book of Job really jumped out at me and will sum this entry up perfectly.

"The central problem of the book of Job, i.e. the sufferings of the LORD's people, is explained at least in part by the divinely beneficent purposes which are served. (1) Job's experiences opened his eyes more fully to the ineffable holiness of God (42:5), leading him thereby to self-knowledge and self-judgment (40:4, 42:6). (2) The sufferings of Job are shown to be corrective rather than penal, being used of God to test and refine his character (23:10). (3) The outcome demonstrates that by God's grace His people trust and serve Him because of what He is, not as a mere return for temporal benefits (13:15). And (4) Such experiences, as interpreted here by divine inspiration, reveal the ultimate triumph of a wise and loving God in His unseen contest with Satan over the souls of men. (chapters 1-2).
Finally, when all has been said that can be said in relief of the intellectual problem involved, it must be confessed that beyond the revealed purposes of God there still remains much of mystery. And for this there is no answer except the attitude of worship in which we humbly acknowledge that a sovereign God cannot be required by men to give all the reasons for what He chooses to do (42:1-6; 3:1-3; Romans 11:33-36)."

Romans 11:33-36 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? 36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Pregnancy So Far

These past eight months have certainly been an amazing journey. I've learned and grown in areas I'd never even noticed before. I have been and still am walking out of some interesting generational issues. God sure has been faithful this whole way as I know he will always be.

You can ask questions and read books or listen to teachings all you want about pregnancy and how it's going to be, but I have realized that you can never fully comprehend the entirety of it until you are in it yourself.

I started out following only what I had heard other people say about their experiences and, not surprisingly, started experiencing all of the symptoms they had warned me about. The first few months especially were the hardest for me. I encountered nausea and an intense repulsion to foods that I normally liked. I took on self pity big time thinking that the whole nine months was going to be that way. I couldn't imagine why anyone would ever want to get pregnant for a second time.

Then almost exactly at the three month mark, Pastor Henry did a teaching on Self Pity. I suddenly realized how much of that I had been participating with and I immediately repented to God for my participation with that way of thinking and came out of agreement with it. It was like someone took a switch from misery to freedom. All of the worst symptoms I had been enduring were gone overnight especially the cloud of oppression that had me tied down. There were still a few of the minor symptoms but those I could definitely handle.

I was finally able to get my joy and my peace back and be excited about the new life that was forming within me. Since then, any time I catch that stinking mindset trying to come back on me I remind myself that God intended this to be a blessing, not a curse. What's happening inside of me is such a miracle. I am not saying that all of the symptoms have gone away, a few are to be expected with our constantly changing bodies physically and chemically as the baby is developing. The enemy really has been trying to rob me of the incredible joy that this time truly is supposed to be.

Another one of these battles was with sleep. I had been told and had read that often times in the last few months of your pregnancy it becomes difficult to sleep because of discomfort of the growing baby among other things. At first I actually took this on without even having a reason to. I would actually lay in bed awake, afraid that if I went to sleep I'd encounter all these discomforts that I had heard about. So for about a week, I barely slept at all! Finally I recognized how fear was robbing me of my sleep and was able to overcome that with God's help and lately I have been sleeping super soundly with hardly and interruption except for potty visits. Praise the Lord.

It's funny this last trimester of the pregnancy was the one I dreaded most and actually it has been the best part so far. I just love laying on my bed and watching my belly squirm around. At one point I was in my glider chair watching TV with my cockatiel, Jazzy, sitting on my belly. She was peacefully preening herself when all of a sudden she started freaking out. I couldn't figure out what on earth was her problem until I realized that she was glaring intently at my belly. Tamahra had been kicking her from the inside. Finally the bird had enough she squealed and poked my belly with her beak then jumped off onto my pant leg. Ever since she has been a little wary of my belly. I'm going to have to teach those two how to get along once Tamahra's out.

I suppose that my whole point in this post is to encourage you that we are all on our own journey and there is no point in taking on other people experiences. I've learned that as I rested in the Lord and trusted Him in this particular area that He met me and gave me peace and joy beyond my expectations. It really is amazing to me how unique every person's pregnancy is, it's like each one of us has our own special time just between us, our baby our God and, of course, our husbands. What a gift!

PS. The "Self Pity" Teaching and another teaching that has been super helpful to me called "God's Plan for Childbearing" are available in the bookstore section of

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rollkuchen and Watermelon

Today I had a craving for a fried mennonite fritter that my friend's mom used to make and serve with watermelon. It's an easy and delicious combination of a salty fritter and the cool, sweet watermelon. The perfect warm, summer day snack!


  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk

  • Add to
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

    1. Beat eggs well
    2. Put into a 1 cup measuring cup and fill with milk. (This may end up being more or less than the 3/4 cup listed in the ingredients.) add to remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
    3. Roll out the dough to be fairly thin, about 1/8 inch, and cut into strips 2-3 inches by 4-5 inches.
    4. Cut a slit longways down the center of each strip 1.5-2 inches long. Pull one end through the slit to make a knot.
    5. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet (or use a deep-fat fryer) over medium-high heat, 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
    6. Cook dough in small batches (about six at a time) in preheated oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh, chilled watermelon.

  • Note: In order to figure out if oil is hot enough run fingers under the tap and shake off excess water. Flick a few small drips into pan, if they sizzle and pop, it's ready. Be careful, if it's too hot it will start smelling smoky.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby's Name!

John and I are expecting our first baby who is due July 2nd 2010. I found out that I was pregnant two months after we got married and just two weeks after my 21st birthday. Talk about the best birthday gift ever! We actually picked out baby names while we were still engaged. We were bored one day and I pulled out my journal which had a list of baby names I've been saving for years.

For a girl, which is what we are having, we came up with Tamahra Faith. The hardest part about the name was actually trying to decide how to spell it. We wanted it to be pronounced Tam-air-ah in contrast to the classic pronunciations, Tam-ar-ah or Tam-er-ah. The spelling we came up with was actually suggested by a friend of ours from the ministry we work for. It's actually the Australian version of the name.

The root of the name is actually the Hebrew name, Tamar meaning "palm tree." It may seem strange that we are naming our daughter after a palm tree but upon further investigation, we discovered that some of the crowning qualities of this particular plant are its beauty, height and durability. Some types are even created to be able to withstand hurricane force storms. So our conclusion to the meaning and relevance of her name is that, in conjunction with her middle name, Faith, it portrays a beautiful woman who is strong and sincere in her faith and walk with God.

I know a name by no means defines who she will become but it's a starting block. If anything it portrays how John and I are growing and will need to grow through the course of this pregnancy and parenthood. This sure is going to be and incredible journey!


The name I chose for this blog would generally be equated with abundance and possibly excess. This association is partially justified as I do intend on sharing a bounty of insight, inspiration and ideas (among other things).

The true reason for me picking this title, however, is somewhat random. It's inspired by a particular brand of paper towel. Recently, out of our excessively large collection of paper towel (thanks to the awesomeness of Costco bulk), I came across a roll decorated with butterflies and a phrase that read as follows, "Learn from yesterday, Live for today and Hope for tomorrow." This simple phrase challenged and inspired me and has thus become the inspiration for my blog.

Though humbly conveyed on a roll of Bounty paper towel, this principle is very scripturally sound:

Hebrews 12:11 says, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Philippians 3:13-14 says, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

And Matthew 6:31-34 says, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

I hope you are now as inspired as I, and I know these principles among others are foundational in a satisfied and productive yet none driven lifestyle.