Thursday, all day.


Its hard walking by faith, that daily struggle polarized by seeing with physical eyes and knowing there is more than meets the eye.

I want to see the path clearly laid out in front of me, the obstacles coming up, the views all around, how everything works together.  That’s what I’m used to and that’s what I’d prefer. I want to control “see” the end result.

I once prayed for God to ‘show me’ what he wanted me to do, specifically.  I wanted the answer and then I promised that would obediently act upon it.  I thought my heart was in the right place, that I was being Godly and good   and all that.  But, in this case and most other times, God did not show me the detailed picture, and that could be a purposeful thing.  Rather than looking for the one right answer (if there is indeed only one) I believe God would rather have me pay close attention to the particularities of my life, and then respond by making the best choice in a particular situation at a particular time.

My husband suggested to me that one needs to make decisions fully prepared to bear the outcome of those decisions… both good and bad. That is so hard to do.  Making a good and Godly decision can bring difficult things to me… offended feelings, no affirmation, silence from friends where words would have been better.  Being a people pleaser (wanting people to like me has always been an issue for me) in decisions, draws me to sometimes choose directions that will bring the most confirmation from the most people… which is really a lack of personal resolve.  It keeps me from choosing anything or choosing too many things at once.

I remember one difficult decisions I had to make alone.  We were looking for a new dog. After praying and searching I found a potential dog at the local SPCA.  I did my due diligence, brought him to the vet, brought him home to meet the family, had him for a sleep over, and now faced with… would he stay or would he go? I asked my husband for his input and he said this, “This decision is for you to make.  I’m ambivalent.” Man, that bugged me.  I wasn’t 100% sure.  I was nervous and wavering.  But I made the decision based on all the information I had at the time.  Yes, I kept the dog. You probably remember Buddy… I’ve written about him before.

My daily life with God is a lot like that.  I don’t know 100% what God wants me to do.  I don’t hear the audible voice of God very often, and I struggle with the many voices of influence in my life.  But, I recognize that God is providing me with all the information I need to make good decisions.  Some of it is very obvious stuff related to my age and stage of life and the priorities attached to that.  Some is based upon an understanding of how he has made me, gifted me, and empowered me to live. And some is based upon my limited knowledge of God himself, his character, his purposes for me and for this world I live in.

At times my indecision is because I’m preoccupied with internal conversations of should I do this… what if I did that… or what about this… Like the conversation between the author and God in ‘Conversion Diary‘, a blog I follow, all the ‘dithering’ drags me down, tires me out, and takes the passion right out of me. I get caught up in the whirlpool in my mind, complicating things, rationalizing, arguing, rather than keeping my eyes on God and what he’s already up to all around me.

God will place opportunities in front of me every day, if only I would see them. He’s busy everywhere… it’s not that difficult. And what he wants me to do isnt’ that difficult either. God isn’t causing the confusion, I am.  God isn’t causing the procrastination, the double-guessing, the inaction, I am.

Yet, I don’t believe God wants to fix me. I do believe he wants me to keep looking to him for all I need, rather than inside myself where I get lost and messed up. This person who he created me to be is complex, raw, and a slow learner.  I will probably continue to have times of confusion and lack of focus in my life, because that’s who I am.  But baggage and all, He simply wants me to show up every day ready for action.

The Bible says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”  1 Corinthians 13:11-13

That partially obscured glimmer of God, is enough to give me forward momentum most days. It keeps me curiously expectant of what is coming next, keeps me waiting wide-eyed, for the unique God planned opportunities to present themselves.

And I pray that they will.

Lesley-Anne,

Sol Deo Gloria

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Mid-week Random Ramble012


1. This AMAZING photo was taken by my brother Joel Clements. Super talented and highly acclaimed Graphic Designer by day, Joel still finds time to experiment with his camera along the way, inspiring my son Malcolm with his new camera too! His photos are available on istockphoto and privately. BTW, if you have any need for his professional services, or inquiries about his photography, contact him through his company Brainstorm Studio. He won’t disappoint.

2. Tuesday is Abortion Clinic day at the Kelowna General Hospital. How do I know this? Well, it’s hard to miss all the picketers that haunt the sidewalks every Tuesday, carrying signs that say things like, “Adoption, the only moral choice.”

Just so we’re clear, you should know that I fall fully on the side of Pro-Life, but I don’t believe that picketing is the best way to build relationships or effect change.

I wonder what would happen if those well intentioned pro-lifers were to come alongside the women who are facing these life-altering decisions, perhaps volunteering their time at the pregnancy care centre or offering up financial support for young mothers. Rather than parading up and down the sidewalk hurling written insults week after week after week… just saying… I get this sick feeling each Tuesday when I drive by.

My simple take is that the Tuesday behaviour is not loving, and I’m absolutely certain that Jesus wants us to be that way… loving. And yes, he wants us stand for things too, absolutely, in a loving way, somehow making our voices heard without hurting those who we are called to help.

3. Why is it that you can never find the receipts for the items you need to return? I am drowning in receipts and maybe that’s the problem. Maybe if I had an organized way of keeping them, perhaps in alphabetical order by name of store, or even sub-categorized by way of family member most directly involved, then maybe I’d have a chance of finding those receipts for the things that I thought I needed, but didn’t. Thought they’d like it, but they didn’t, thought was the right colour, but wasn’t, or bought on a whim and got buyers remorse sometime later.

4.  Decision making is never, for me anyway, done with 100% knowledge that I’ve chosen rightly. But, it is done with the willingness to bear the consequences of that decision 100%. Like writing about #2… I feel a little jittery there, but it’s how I feel and I’m willing to say it.

5.  We interrupt this ramble for a stocking footed run through the neighbourhood and orchard to find the brown bullet that exploded from our front door when it was left open just a few seconds too long!  With flashlights waving and voices quavering we call for Emmy over and over again. Slight panic in my heart as I imagine Coyote’s circling our suburb (really, they do!), when suddenly, out of the darkness, two glowing orbs coming closer and closer with a jingle jangle of dog tags and… she’s back! And she’s got something fowl in her mouth that smells like death and looks something like… a goose wing! I try not to gag and take her home, bag the bird (wing) and resolve not to share any mouth kisses with Emmy tonight!!!

6. Only 66 shopping days until Christmas. Hoping I can dig into my reserves of energy and find a balanced and healthy outlook for Christmas this year.

This year, I’m certain it will be fun, and not all about buying gifts. This year, I’m certain that it will be about spending time with those I love, making memories around activities like playing board games and romping in the snow. I’m fairly certain it’s not going to be about making a huge dinner and eating too much, or staying up really late on Christmas Eve to wrap the gifts that I didn’t get around to yet, or forgot about entirely. I’m certain nobody else cares about the silly things that seem to weigh on me, like the decor, or the dirty carpets, or the baking, or the Christmas cards ( yes, I still feel guilty about not sending those)

Ah yes, Christmas. Maybe this year I can sing in the choir, have a cookie baking party for my daughter and her friends, handcraft gift tags and… there goes the perspective and balance right out the window with the need to make a lovely wreath of fresh boughs for the front door.

7. Driving in the car several weeks ago, this piece of music took my breath away… the voice, the haunting feeling, the sadness. Altogether lovely…

Until next time, peace and love,

Lesley-Anne

I might just be falling in like…


Emmy is getting to me. It’s not just her nose kisses, or the way she follows me around like I’m the most important person in the her world, more the way she’s filling in the vacancy in my heart left by my Buddy. Completely different to him, not trying to walk in his footsteps (muddy pawprints, I mean) she’s just Emmy. Bob and I sit on the porch in the evening and marvel at her energy, where just a few days ago we cringed. We have taken to inviting her up on the couch in the evening and onto our bed partway through the night. Emmy is learning a lot of new things, and being the incredibly intelligent breed that she is, it seems too easy sometimes.

Call me crazy, but I’ve been praying about Emmy and us. I believe God cares about all the details of my life… even the dog. So, I asked him to help me, to let me see some improvement (or not) in Emmy that would help my decision making process and get me off the fence of indecision. God works in mysterious ways, as they say, and I’ve found that listening to various experts and applying knowledge and paying attention and seeing success is God’s way of saying, “This is going to be OK. Really!”

For example, after watching ‘The Dog Whisperer’ the other night, I decided to use Cesar’s techniques to teach Emmy some boundaries and respect at our front door. I took command of the space in front of the closed door first, then standing up straight with my chest puffed out, head upright, and a serious ‘Cesar-esque’ look on my face, I opened the door and Emmy… didn’t bolt!!! So, I promptly exited said door and stood on the front landing, and Emmy… didn’t bolt! She laid down and looked at me. Then I called her to me and told her to sit, and she did and Emmy… didn’t bolt! This is the same dog that we’ve been holding back from the front door since day one, the same dog that has bolted on several occasions across the road into our senior neighbour’s yard. Too good to be true, I’m thinking. But I continued to do this same routine with Emmy several more times yesterday and again today and Emmy… stayed put!!!

If you’ve never watched Cesar Milan and witnessed his techniques of dog rehabilitation and obedience training, you should. He is a miracle worker in the dog world. He can fix any dog, any problem… and most problems (interestingly enough) are with the dog owners lack of being a strong pack leader! And after my success with being the boss at the front door, it appears that some of Cesar’s miracles can be recreated at home, despite the disclaimer on his show stating, “Do not attempt these techniques without a professional trainer.”

So, with some successful bike rides apres Emmy, some bonding times, crate training for ‘zooloo times’, stronger leadership, and some indication that she is beginning to fit into the rhythm of our lives, I find my heart softening and I might just be falling in like with her. And I’m OK with that.

Now I really should email all the wonderful local dog training people whose shoulders I’ve cried on, to explain where I’m at now with Emmy. Sounds like I’ve almost made up my mind… on the cutie who is asleep at my feet while I sit in my favourite writing chair and write. A perfect moment the fulfills my vision of my life with dog. Dog as companion, dog as added value to a balanced family life.

Perhaps not so ‘ruff’ after all. Thank you Cesar. Thank you God.

Lesley-Anne

Fence sitting…


It’s been 5 weeks of intermittent chaos in our home.

Emmy (our new adoptee 2-1/2 yr. old German Shorthaired Pointer) is making a huge impact on us, on our lawn, on our things, on our sleep, energy, patience. It’s stressful. It’s unclear what to do.

I bounce back and forth. I’ve met with dog trainers. I’ve tried many ways to make the transition more bearable. Talked about it from both sides. And I’m still wondering daily if this is the right dog for us? I’m wavering like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

A good friend, wise counsel for me in many areas of my life, suggested determining my motivation for keeping or not keeping the dog. She says it doesn’t matter the details of how we make it work, but the foundation of why we want the dog is all that matters. If the decision is built upon a good foundation, then the outcome will be good. Ok, I said, I’ll do that… I’ll look at my motivations. That’s easier said than done, I recognize as I begin to write things down. A pros and cons list is much easier because it’s about the dog, rather than about my inner workings and what drives me to do or not do certain things. So I’ll share the easy list with you now, and (maybe) my motivations at another time. When my head is less foggy and my resolve to be transparent is stronger. And maybe when I finally have the courage to decide instead of sitting on the fence where the view of both sides is equally difficult, or wonderful, depending upon the moment!

So, here’s MY LIST;

Pros of dog ownership~

Having a dog expands the concept of family to something ‘more’

Dogs share unconditional love, adoration, unmatched in any other relationship

Companionship – never alone (someone to talk to rather than talking to yourself which can be a problem to some people me)

Mental health benefits (see above)

Feeling of guardianship over the family – no need for an alarm system or a door bell

Teach all of us empathy, mercy, kindness

Children love petting dogs, cuddling dogs, sleeping with dogs, talking to dogs, the idea of having dogs

Husbands can also love dogs if the list of pros is longer than the list of cons

Training dogs is also a lesson in self-discipline

Cons of dog ownership~

Messes – Spotted lawns, dug up planting beds, dirty paw prints on carpets, pet hair on clothes (and Emmy doesn’t appear to know how to eat or drink without slopping both food and water quite a distance from her dishes)

Endless walking and biking when I don’t really feel like it

Strict training regime –  repeatedly saying, ‘No, ______, no, No, NO!!!

Mistakes – Chewed couches, pee stains on carpets, tent walls chewed through

Lack of freedom and being spontaneous

Cost of care

Cost of kenneling to allow for being spontaneous

Weight of responsibility

Yard cleanup never shared by other family members because at the end of the day the dog is always ‘my dog’

Anyhoo, that’s my list at the moment which appears to be pretty equally weighted on both sides. As I write Emmy is upstairs sleeping in Claire’s room, until I go get her and bring her to our room where she will hop up onto our bed and cuddle until morning, when she stretches, and yawns and kisses me, and then I’ll let her out and give her breakfast and we’ll start another day together again. For now, anyway! And by the looks of it, probably for a long long time.

Signing off for now,

Lesley-Anne