If Only . . .

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Consequences. There are two problems with consequences: you can’t always foresee them, even if you try, and sometimes you don’t even consider them.

Sure, when we were younger we knew (if our parents were consistent in their discipline) that the consequence of hitting a sibling was to sit alone in the corner for a while. Or if we ignored a curfew we would be grounded. But as we get older things aren’t always so straightforward.

In The Sex Lives of Teenagers, an experienced adolescent psychiatrist tells of her conversation with 15-year-old Miriam, who just the evening before had had sex with her boyfriend for the first time. Miriam says, “What I don’t understand is this whole virginity thing. It’s like you’re supposed to lose something. I feel like I’ve gained a lot. Crazy, huh?”

In Innocence Lost, Hope Regained: Teenagers Talk Openly About Premarital Sex, by Richie Lambeth, eight teens and young adults tell about their experiences.

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Eric was committed to not having premarital sex. He was an MVP baseball player in high school with an offer from the Dodgers, very excited about his future prospects. Invited to an unsupervised party by Heather, “the most beautiful girl in the school”, he ended up having sex with her. “I was mortified, and guilt began to sweep over me in waves. I had betrayed my parents, Heather, myself, and my future wife.” Guilt. Regret.

Joni and Tony had sex at Tony’s house while his parents were away. “After that almost every time we were together we had sex. We didn’t seem to have as much fun as we used to either. Now our whole relationship seemed to revolve around sex. I began to feel like sex mattered more to him than I did.” A damaged relationship.

Rachel and Tod were “amazed at how fast the passion started rising in us. Touching felt so good that we both turned down the volume control of our consciences. Of course, we knew we would have to talk about it. If we let it go, it would make it easier to compromise next time and get deeper into a physical relationship.” They saved sex for their wedding night and, in Rachel’s words, “There was no shame or guilt. It was so beautiful. So right.” Joy.

For Miriam, there seemed to be no negative consequences to having sex and, not being a Christian, she felt no guilt. But I’ve always wondered what happened to her further down the road.

Eric, Joni, Rachel, and Tod were all Christians. They all wanted, and intended, to save sex for marriage. Eric and Joni wished they could turn back the clock to avoid the consequences they experienced. Rachel and Tod considered the consequences, and avoided them. What made the difference?

 

 

 

    

We remember – They will never forget

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

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We are the Dead.  Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

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Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch, be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

Ye shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

-Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

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Grampie Canfield

 

In memory of some

In honour of all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Freedom that lasts!

 

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I’ve been grappling with two questions since May,

What breaks your heart?

What has God put in your heart to do?             

 

 

 

In her study, “Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break”, Kelly Minter challenged me with the above questions. As the weeks and months roll by I have purposefully opened up my mind and heart to hear God’s voice. I know this cannot be taken lightly.

My heart breaks

when I hear people say they don’t find the Bible is relatable.

My heart breaks

when I see people struggling under the weight of guilt and unforgiveness.

My heart longs

to see people released from whatever is holding them in bondage.

 My heart burns

with a desire to help people to be “Free At Last!”

I am a woman God has set free to be who God designed her to be! It’s still a struggle, sometimes daily, but I’m constantly learning the joy and thrill that results from knowing who I am in Christ, what He has called me to do, and how He leads me to find fulfillment.

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And so, God has put a desire in my heart to explore what Paul’s letter to the Galatians has to say about our freedom in Christ. During the process of writing this study, I’m looking forward to coming away with a deeper appreciation for the freedom Christ has secured for me!

Also, I desire to share the life-giving truths found in this very personal message from Paul’s heart that ultimately comes from the heart of God. In the New Year, I will be sharing this timely study with some women in my church. We will be discovering answers to questions such as,

 

What freedoms do I enjoy as a follower of Christ?

Do I need to sacrifice something to be truly free?

Is the Old Testament Law still the standard by which I am held accountable to God?

Will I ever need to give up my freedoms for the sake of another?

Do I long to be free from the fear of not measuring up to the standards of others?

Am I confused by the differing opinions of Christians about what we should or should not do as believers?

While we journey along, I plan to share highlights of what we are learning together. I invite you to join in and share your insights with us!

For now, the following piece was co-written by my daughter-in-law and me and presented last Wednesday in a promotional video produced by her and my son.

Freedom:

The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint

The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved

These are just two definitions of many 

As Canadians, as human beings on this earth, freedom is highly valued

We go to war for it

We write books on it

We have governments to govern it

We have based our country on it

We pride ourselves in it

And yet, the moment our freedom is threatened our world is full of questions

Where is our freedom truly?

Will it last?

Are security and freedom able to coexist?

Where are the foundations of our freedom?

 But what does God say about Freedom?

 If you are like me, you might remember these words,

 “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” 

 Jesus said this

The man who gave the ultimate freedom sacrifice

The One who says truth and freedom in the same sentence 

True freedom has been a concept grappled with throughout the ages…

Freedom isn’t just a topic for parliament

It’s a topic for everyone. [i] 

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Paul declares in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

And in Romans 6:22 he says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”

Now, this is freedom that lasts!

Until next time,

Kathy


[i] **Thank you Amy Grace and Jeremy Lai!!

 

 

    

True north strong and free

 

I love my country of Canada! I am patriotic though in a quiet reserved kind of way – so typically Canadian.

Patriotism means having a devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country.[i]

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In the words of these youngsters from Ontario,[ii]

“I’m proud to be a Canadian because we can do anything we try. I’m proud to be a Canadian because we’re allowed to believe in God.”

– Malcolm, 10

“I am proud to be Canadian because this country is strong, bold and beautiful. Canada is multicultural and accepts immigrants for who they are and accepts their country and colour, sharing its beauty with every country in the world. Canada has very generous people who are willing to give to other countries and Canada is peaceful.”

– Marika, 9

“I am proud to be Canadian because Canada is a free country. It’s one of the best countries in the world because I have one of the best families, friends and live in one of the best countries ever!”

– Peter, 9-1/2

“I’m proud to be Canadian because the soldiers stand on guard for thee!”

– Alex, 10

This last statement took on a deeper meaning for Canadians as we recently lost two brave soldiers killed during the line of duty. Both incidents were senseless unspeakable acts.

We were shocked…heartbroken…outraged…united in grief.

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From sea to shining sea we locked arms and hearts…Canadian flags popped up on Facebook profiles…we tweeted up-to-the-minute news.

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Annual poppy sales had not yet begun before appreciative Canadians dug out last year’s “oh so Canadian” Remembrance Day tradition. We wear them with pride, as sorrow is still fresh in our souls.

 

 

I noticed something as we drove home from church today…banners hung with pride, each bearing poppies and a single name of one fallen. Perhaps they’ve been there other years, but today they meant something more profound.

A single red maple leaf is our increasingly cherished national symbol. Our flag holds it high, though it was lowered just twelve days ago to honour the fallen. It is proudly displayed on locally produced bottles of maple syrup and its shape is molded into maple sugar candies, both exported worldwide. Many of us, in the days following the tragedies, wore a maple leaf or red as we are honored to identify with our land that promotes “freedom of opinion, thought, belief and expression, freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of association and peaceful assembly”.[iii]

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According to one survey, the maple leaf was the overwhelming choice for our national icon.[iv] When I return from travel outside our great country, the maple leaf is the first thing I look for. It reminds me I’m home.

“The Maple Leaf Forever”, a song written in 1867 by Alexander Muir upon Canada’s confederation, has been revised a few times. I like the chorus penned by Padre G.E. Benton,

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,

The Maple Leaf Forever!

Long may it wave and God defend,

The Maple Leaf Forever![v]

Lee Greenwood wrote “God Bless You Canada” in which he says,

“…the flag still stands for freedom,

and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be in Canada

where at least I know I’m free

And I won’t forget the men who died,

who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,

God bless you Canada.”[vi] 

And, of course, our beautiful national anthem summarizes our sentiments as Canadians,

“O Canada! Our home and native land!

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The True North strong and free!

From far and wide, O Canada,

We stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land, glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee;

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”[vii] 

We don’t often hear all four stanzas of our anthem as they sometimes are not favourably viewed in our present era of political correctness and tolerance. However, I believe they summarize my loyalty not only to my country but als0 to the One in whom I find everlasting freedom,

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,        

Hold our Dominion, in thy loving care.

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Help us to find, O God, in thee,

A lasting rich reward.

As waiting for the better day,

We ever stand on guard.

God keep our land, glorious and free.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Until next time,

Kathy

 

    

Stef’s Kitchen Creations ~ Lemon Cream Filled Cookies

 

These delightful cookies can be made as a plain drop cookie or you can go the extra mile (I highly recommend it) and create a really great cookie. No joke, my husband will not let me share these. They are not allowed to leave the house. He doesn’t even have much of a sweet tooth so that is a good indication a great recipe was found.

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INGREDIENTS:

2½ cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
½ tbsp. vanilla
Lemon cream frosting (optional, recipe below)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add egg, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix until combined.

5. Add flour mixture and mix slowly until completely combined.

6. Scoop out dough with a 1½ inch scoop and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes and let cool.

7. Optional:  Spread a layer of lemon cream frosting on one cookie and sandwich with another. Repeat for as many cookie sandwiches as desired.

Lemon Cream Frosting

½ cup butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, cream butter, then mix in sugar and lemon juice. Add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring if you want to hint at the flavor.