Friday, December 26, 2014

Our Tree Of Hope

Remember this post? Well any how, if you don't feel like re-reading it; it was all about the depression of the empty after math that Christmas leaves us with. All that glitters isn't gold for us deep feelers and thinkers and Christ Followers. So I did in fact vow last year that things would be different this year, that this year I would be the change I wish to see in the world. So many times I have declared so many things and so many times I fail, but not this year; this year I really meant it! I've truly had enough of the false empty hopes of Christmas. Watching so many gather together in warmth and love and gifts and glitter, while so many go without. It's just WRONG. Remember the story of how our King of Kings was born?; He was born in a lowly manger, in a stable filled with animal manure! Even I can say that I was born in a better state than He was! So in a crazy way God spoke to me and said; "Tanya: What are you going to do for my lost sheep? They have strayed so far from me. I love you all exactly the same, just as you love your children. Is Christmas for you? Or is Christmas for ALL?" You see, I find that God really only ever asks me questions and then it's really up to me to answer these SUPER HARD questions! So in my humblest and smallest attempt; along with my family, we tried to RIGHT THIS WRONG. This year we welcomed our TREE OF HOPE. This magnificent tree bared not a single gift for us; but for the hope of humanity. We rallied together as a family, we hit the pavement and we asked our friends, families & neighbors to help us make up these gift bags for our homeless and displaced neighbors. We rallied together for JUSTICE and PEACE and HOPE and LOVE and all of the goodness that comes along with the birth of CHRIST. Christ gave us holy hope and our joy as believers; is to pass along this holy hope to the suffering. My God; my heart has only ever sunk during the Christmas season and now I know why; serving the flesh with empty gifts are hopeless, serving other's with gifts of God's holy hope are filled with the promise of His unending love and grace. I get that now. I get it. It's not complicated or hard, it's holy hope; to the hopeless. My job is to EXTEND His holy hope into the darkness. We are to spread His joy and peace out into the atmosphere, not just at Christmas; but EVERY darn day of our lives! God bless us ALL, Everyone of us!!! Merry Christmas! 

Thank-you Lord; The lessons that you are teaching this little caterpillar of yours, are shaping me into the butterfly that you intended for me to be! I have to admit that it's a VERY SLOW AND PAINFUL PROCESS for me but I can say, that it's filled to the brim with your HOLY HOPE!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Christmas Wish For Janie

Dearest Janie,

Perhaps I have no place in saying so, I certainly don't want to cause any more grief or pain in your heart, but I have a Christmas wish for you;

I don't know what you're going through, or how heavy the weight may be; but I'm holding a space in my heart for you, in hopes that it helps you breath. This must be a hard time of year for you, or so I would think it would be; to remember her face all a glow on many a Christmas Eve. Please know that I sit in silence with you, as tears stream down my face; for I am a mama too and I can't imagine your pain. I am holding a space for you; it's right in the nook of my heart, it will stay here on earth with me, while you are both apart. My Christmas prayer for you; is to exhale the heavy weight in your chest, give it to God Janie & let Him give you some rest. You can pick it up again and you can hold on to it tight; but every now and then my love, lay it down with Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 

Always & forever remembering you in my prayers!

Tanya xo

Monday, December 1, 2014


Today marks the first day of Advent!

What is your family doing to prepare His way? 

I've seen so many amazing advent calendars, but they have all been a tad too complicated or time consuming for me to pull off.

I went on Pinterest and had to combine a few ideas to simplify what would suit my family. I came up with this Popsicle stick advent calendar. It's not fancy but we're not fancy either, so it suits us well. I put 24 coloured, Popsicle sticks into a jar and tied a ribbon around it (DOABLE!) On each stick there is an activity for us to do & a bible scripture marked on the back, for us to look up about the birth of our King! The activities can be ANYTHING that you already enjoy doing together as a family, during the Christmas season. 

This advent was simple and fun to make. My kids all woke up this morning and ACTUALLY REMEMBERED ADVENT! We read and prayed over our scripture this morning and we'll be doing our activity together when they get home from school. Activities will be prepped in advance so that when the kids get home from school we'll be ready to go!

Have fun with Advent, the possibilities are endless. Everyday will be marked as one day closer to His glorious birth. 

I'm trying to simplify our Christmas so that we're truly celebrating Jesus, the reason for the season!

Here are a few activities to get you started;

Make an ornament to place on the tree

Make homemade hot chocolate

Go look at Christmas lights

Sing carols by the tree

Bake for your neighbours

Make your Teacher a present

Eat a party platter for dinner

Go visit Santa

Act out the Nativity

Hide baby Jesus & pretend to be the wise men who have to find Him. 

Decorate a gingerbread house

Bring gifts to a shelter

The possibilities are endless. Be creative and have fun! 

Also; please share with me your family advent activities & traditions, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saluting The Fallen

Honouring Nathan Cirillo today. With a heavy heart Canada is mourning the loss of our young soldier Nathan Cirillo. He was gunned down yesterday, in cold blood during a National war memorial tribute in Ottawa. Nathan represents all of our Canadian soldiers who love and protect our native land. Nathan will always be remembered and will always wear a badge of honour within our hearts. In true Canadian fashion we will unite in solidarity by wearing red tomorrow (Friday) to pay our deepest condolences and respects to the Cirillo family, as well as to every fallen soldier and to every Canadian soldier who is currently continuing to fight for our freedom. We will love, honour and commemorate your lives, not just tomorrow or on Rememberance Day, but every single day that we walk out of our homes with peace in our hearts. 

Now is the time more than ever before, that we need to proudly and firmly stand together in the name of LOVE. For every action there is a reaction, let us pay acts of wickedness with acts of love and kindness! Let us show the lost souls of our world that LOVE ALWAYS WINS!!! 

Praise God and His word. Wrap yourself tightly in the comfort of His word. Let it be your beacon of light, let it uphold and sustain you. His word is good and provides refuge for those who believe;

  1. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
  2. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 NIV
  3. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7 NIV
  4. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matt 10:31 NIV

Keep shining your beautiful lights, wave them like a brightly shining Canadian flag my friends & be the change you wish to see in our world!

Rest peacefully in the hands of God, Nathan. You will never be forgotten. Canada loves you. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I've got to let you go

What do you see when you look at me? Who am I to you? I guess I'll never truly know. I guess you'll never really know who I am. I'm hurt because, you never took the time to get to know me. You always told me right from wrong, but never followed your own rules. We were a burden, we were too heavy of a load for you to carry, you always made that clear. We bled you dry. Your best was never enough and it still isn't. Your intentions as "good" as they were, always fell short. It's too bad that it just didn't work out. 
I've gotta learn to let "things"/"it"/"you"/"them" go. I have to. It's breaking me down, consuming me and wearing me out. I'm tired now and I need a rest. I'll give it to Him, He can carry the load, He said so and He always speaks the truth. His burden is light and His yoke is easy. I'll pray for you until the day I die, it pains me deeply to say that. 
I have to re-learn life/love/happiness and what it means to live fully. He'll teach me, His ways aren't my ways. His ways are higher than my ways. I'm learning to listen to His voice but far better, I'm learning to obey His commands. And so although you will never truly know me or even care to know me, I'm learning to forgive you and I'm learning how to truly love you in spite of everything. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Let The Games Begin!

Our 1970's summer is about to begin!
Wishing you all a safe & happy summer!

Love & peace,
The Brown Bunch! ❤️

Monday, June 23, 2014

A 1970's Summer

We've (I've) opted to have and enjoy "a 70's summer." I'm sure you've read the post floating around on FB about it. I discussed this with my kids and we've all agreed to put our PS3's & Wii's & MP3's & DVD's and...even my sacred iPhone down for an entire summer! No texting. No video games. No Facebook. Not even Instagram for an entire summer! I have to be honest, I think I'm sweating about this a little more than the kids are;) So this will be my last week on FB until September, when I return I'll have 1000 + 1 pics of our summer to share with you! I'll miss you all very much. I'll soak up every last minute I can this last week! But this little Brown Bunch has vowed to have ourselves a good old fashioned summer. We're taking back the carefree days of the 70's & making them our very own memories. I think it will be fun? I think?! Wish us luck!
(Just to make our "1970's summer" official, Will took a drink from the garden hose just to prove how hardcore serious we are about this!;)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dear Jason,

When a gentle warm summer breeze blows, it wraps around me like a soft warm hug and I think of you. When I walk in the woods and I listen to the beautiful busy sounds of nature, my heart is still and I feel your presence. 

Dear Jason,
When the hot summer sun shines and warms the side of my face I'm reminded of your beautiful smile and it warms my heart and lifts my spirit. 

Dear Jason,
This time and space thing never really will heal my broken heart, but my heart does get softer every year that goes by. It's shaping into something that can hold all of the memories and the time and the space and the agonizing, beautiful silence until we meet again...

Until then Dear Jason,
I'll treasure everyday and live boldly and love deeply and forgive often, because I got to know and love you for a short time. 

Dear Jackie,

When I think of the hurt that your heart has endured, I remember to love my children more fiercely. 

Dear Jackie,
The grace in which you've dealt with a loss too terrible for most to imagine, is helping to shape me into the kind of mother I'd like to be. 

Dear Jackie,
You are a Warrior Mama in every sense of the word. The strength in which you raised your son with, empowers & strengthens me to warrior on and keep going even when I feel like I'm in over my head and I want to give up. 

Dear Jackie,
The love that you have for your beautiful son, your family and the world around you, has filled all of our hearts to the brim and we are all better people for knowing you. 

Dear Jackie,
I am proud to call you Auntie. I remember clomping around in your shoes as a youngster, thinking of how amazing it would be to grow up and be just like you. 

June 21st is an amazing day filled with beautiful memories and my heart is so full and so very thankful today. 

June 21st isn't just the first day of summer, it's Woody's day and always will be :) ❤️❤️❤️

Friday, June 13, 2014

Okay So I'm A Certifiable Lying Nutcase!

Remember how I declared that I would snap a picture & write a few words everyday about what I am most thankful for? For 365 whole entire days? Seriously, what's the matter with me?! Remember when I was juicing & vowed to eat 90% macrobiotic???!!! Okay so clearly I am a certifiable lying nutcase! I can't manage to consistently do anything for 365 days straight. I will say this though, no matter what crazy declarations that I make & ultimately fail at one thing that hasn't changed & will always remain is my deep love for The Lord! I can & will vow that I love Jesus more than anything in this world. I am thankful that His constant love & comfort have & will continue to follow me in what ever direction life takes me. I am so very thankful for my growing relationship with Christ, it's the one constant in my life that I can say with certainty will never change.

You wanna know something else?...
He forgives me for being a certifiable lying nutcase! ;)

Do you know Him?  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thank God for God!

God is in the business of healing & restoration. It is our job to be honest & trusting of god and allow him to fix all the broken pieces of our hearts. This is like fixing a plate that has been smashed into many small pieces. Allowing god into the broken areas of our hearts with his "crazy love glue" fixes all those broken bits over time. It is a great labour of love. Your job is to trust him. He totally thinks you're worth all the hard work! In the end what we wind up with is far more beautiful than what we started with :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Meet Frank!

Yowzas! There was no time to adjust to the pain. NO TIME. You came at the speed of light! Thank you God, he's amazingly beautiful!

We are so pleased to announce the birth of Frank Moses Brown. 
He was born on ~April 3rd 2014~ 
at 10:13pm 
weighing 7lbs 1oz. 

God your perfect grace knows no bounds! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Birthday Bee :)

Today this guy turns seven!

You are intensely loyal, loving & kind! You are extremely fiery & anyone who knows better stays in your good books:) 
You are adventurous & fun loving, you have a wicked sense of humour and you can carry a tune! We love who you are and who you'll become. 

Whimsical & sweet
Intense & loyal
Loving & kind
Likeable & funny
Intelligent & thoughtful
Attentive & considerate
My dear sweet boy:)

Our wish for you: To be completely filled with the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. May you walk in a knowing, deep relationship with Him for all of the days of your life. May you love all of God's children fully & completely. May you love fully & deeply. We pray that you will grasp the truth of your moments here on earth and that you come to understand why you are here... To love and to be loved. That's all there is and may it fill you to the brim until overflowing, for it is truly enough to sustain you for etenerity!

Happy 7th Birthday Bee!

With total love and admiration,

Mommy & Daddy xoxo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kid Ink :)

My six year old drew this picture of a dog:) 

"Oh & of course that's his puppy!"

Friday, January 31, 2014


A conversation with my ten year old;

Ty: Mom you look sore & tired, don't you want Frankie to come out now?

Me: Only God knows the day that Frankie will be born, so until then I'll be sore & tired. 

Ty: That's such a good attitude Mom, cause if it were me & I was you I'd be like "GET THIS THING OUT OF ME ALREADY!"

I can't stop laughing! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Controversial Christian View:)

Abortion. Yikes! 
This is a super hot topic amongst my fellow Christian Sisters & Brothers. It's a  sensitive topic for everyone regardless of one's faith or beliefs.
I'm going to be brave right now, because swimming against the current of your "fellow believers" is NEVER easy. I love my Christian Brothers & Sisters, just as I love all of humanity. But there is a common bond that we Christians share & that is our love for Jesus. 
In having said that; I love this saying by this guy, who I know to be a Christian but know nothing else about...

I thought YES when I saw this! That's it! I love my fellow Christian Brothers & Sisters but I don't have to agree with everything they believe or do. You're right Duck Dynasty Guy:) I don't have to compromise my convictions to be compassionate! So I'm going out on a limb because that's where we bear the best fruits.

Sometimes going out on that limb can look & feel like this, but that's where God is:) Out on my own, reading my bible & loving Jesus with all of my heart. 

As a follower of Christ I am aware of the ramifications of this post and the push back that I will most likely receive, from well intentioned Christians who "fear" for my salvation and that's okay. I'm ready to step out and speak up. I don't need any bible qoutes thrown at me as to why I may be misled or misleading others on this topic, we can find the "right" bible passage for any given hot topic & justify our beliefs with them. I will stand by my prayerful convictions & continue to love you all, whether we agree or disagree on this subject. 

So let me begin;
I was 17 years old, living a life hidden in shame & alcohol making one bad choice after another. I didn't know God's saving grace or his tender love & mercies at this time in my life, but I do know now that NO matter what you're going through or facing that God can use ALL of your shame and ALL of your "mistakes" for good. Not knowing this at that time, I became pregnant at seventeen. Scared and alone I made the very heavy decision to abort my pregnancy. The night before the procedure, I was in the bathtub crying & shaking. Crying out to God I said; "please forgive me". I have only felt the warm soft blanket of God wipe away my tears a handful of times in my life and it has always been in my darkest hour. I felt an unexplainable weight lifted, restored by a sense of peace that defies logic & the most soothing voice spoken from within that said; "you are forgiven".

I believe in freedom of choice. Not killing babies. But the right to choose. A woman faced with a mountain without a mustard seed cannot tell the mountain to move. During that time in my life I didn't have a mustard seed of faith, so how on earth could I possibly tell that mountain to move? If I didn't have the choice to abort my pregnancy then my alternative was killing myself, because that's how hopeless that I felt in my life at that time. If I did not go through that unbearable pain in my life, I know that I would not be where I am today. Jesus uses ALL of it for our good. 

Condemning woman who make the painful choice to abort their pregnancy and labelling them as "baby killers" is completely and utterly not loving. I don't think anybody has the right to choose what is best for another, to me that's truly not believing that all is resting in God's hands. Let people have their free will to choose, that's between all of us and God. Have a mustard seed of faith that even when that hard choice has been made to terminate the pregnancy God will work all things together for good. 

I now have four amazingly beautiful children & one due any day now! There is not a day that passes that I'm not filled to the brim with gratitude for HIS AMAZING GRACE!

Now that I have been saved & baptized, I know that things couldn't have worked out any other way in my life. I'm where I am now because of everything I have gone through. I thank God for my freedom of choice and I owe everything to my ever faithful, forgiving, all powerful, merciful Lord & Savior!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Right Now...

Gratitude Day 9:)

I have been feeling very heavy hearted this week:( but I am truly thankful for my roots of faith:)

If you too are feeling that the scales have tipped and life is overwhelming you in all the wrong ways, bring yourself back to what reminds you of peace & happiness. Perhaps it's reading a good book, or relaxing with a nice cup of tea? Perhaps taking a walk in nature, or just snuggling up on the couch with a warm blanket & your favourite tv show? For me the peace & comfort of God's love is what carries me through my troubled times. Always remember friends that no matter what you are facing in your life there is always a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. Bring yourself back into the light when you've made some time for yourself to sit quietly in the dark:)

Blessings & love!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In The Light

In the light she's found your grace. 
In the light she sees your face. 
We know she's safe & in your hands. 
Please help our hearts to understand.  
Our hearts are heavy to bare this loss,
May we turn for comfort at the cross. 
The price was paid and you are free,
Now for peace we turn to thee.
In the light she has been made new. 
In the light she is with you. 
Restore the ones who are left to weep,
Dry our tears when we can't sleep. 
Give her boys the strength to soar,
Give her husband so much more. 
Tell her mama & her sister too,
That she's in the light and she has you. 

Blessings & love:)

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Petition To God

I thought about our conversation on the phone; how sometimes it just doesn't seem fair that bad things, well awful things have to happen to good people. I prayed about this because of what Irene is going through & what my cousin is going through right now; My cousin is 35 years old & has 2 young boys ages 6 & 8 and she is in a hospice literally dying of brain cancer. I asked God to help me understand why these awful things are taking place to two beautiful good women? I asked why are helpless babies starving? Why are children being shot in schools? If you love us like you say you love us then how on earth can you allow these cruel things to happen to good people?! Well after I wiped away my tears of anguish, God filled me with a peace that really does transcend logic & spoke this into my heart; I am love. Love does not pick favourites. Love does not choose sides. You are all my children. I love you all the same. Would you willingly serve a God who is filled with judgment & favour? You will all come to the one who has made you when your time has come. You will all come home to love. I am love. I had to share this with you:) I've had such a heavy heart the past few months and I have felt that sometimes this life can just be painfully cruel and unfair! I truly felt like a heavy cloud had been lifted off of my aching heart & I will be praying that God will do the same for all of you!

Prayers & Love:)

Gratitude Day 8:)

Today I'm feeling completely overwhelmed & thankful for the miracle that is taking place within me!

Watch this amazing video clip of God's perfect creation:)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gratitude Day 7:)

I'm feeling grateful today that my Auntie sent us a sweet package of love & kindness in the mail:) It made our day shiny & bright!

We love you Aunt Leeann!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

365 Days Of Gratitude #6

Day 6:)

Feeling thankful for this moment right here! I'm gonna eat while it's still warm:) 

It's the little things in life isn't it?!

What are you feeling thankful for today?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

365 Days Of Gratitude #5

Day 5:)

Today I am feeling thankful to have a little girl in my life who brings out the little girl within me! Last night while tucking this precious gem into bed she said to me; "I will always love you forever mommy"

(Insert tears here!)

What are you feeling thankful for today?

Monday, January 6, 2014

365 Days Of Gratitude #4

Day 4!

Today I am feeling grateful that I have a good man who reads to his children:)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

365 Days Of Gratitude #3

Day 3!

I'm Grateful For My Hubby Nate:)

You wouldn't know it but just in the past two days he's worked 32 hours! He's still smiling & cooking his family pancakes:) I'm grateful that we are spending our day together as a family! These days are far & few between for us, so I will relish in our time spent together today!

What are you Thankful for today?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

365 Days Of Gratitude #2

Here's #2

I'm not putting my gratitude into any particular order, only as the feelings come to me...

It's 5:00am Saturday morning, it's minus ridiculous outside & I work in 1 hour. I need to find my gratitude in small little baby steps! I am grateful for this warm cup of quiet coffee, before I head out into the oblivion of my day:)

Friday, January 3, 2014

365 Days Of Gratitude #1

January 3rd:

I've decided to post 365 things I am grateful for this new year. 

Here's #1

This old lady right here! (Our Ruby)
She's been with Nate & I since the very beginning. She's been a loyal & dear friend to us through all of our ups & downs. She has kept our family young at heart & we will never forget just how important she is to us. A stand out Ruby memory for me is the day Nate & I took her to the beach and threw stones into the water, Ruby would crazily leap into the water, dive down & retrieve the very rock we had thrown in:) Love this girl! She's growing older day by day & her bones & muscles are showing her age. I am so grateful to have known & loved her for all of these years!