Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Ponderings

I've used the following tool for the past few years to help me reflect on the past year and look forwad to the new year. It was given to me by a spiritual counselor maybe you will find it useful.

1. For what am I most thankful for in the past year?
2. What was my smartest decision in the past year?
3. Is there any unfinished business?
4. What was my biggest lesson?
5. Describe my finances?
6. Describe my relationships?
7. Describe my health?
8. Who made an impact on me this past year?
9. What do I need to do/say to make this year complete?
10.What do I want to create for my life this year?
-Career?
-Personal?
-Financial?
-Spiritual?
-Health?
11.How will I make a difference in this world in the coming year?
12.What is my support system for the coming year?
13.What do I want to learn?
14.If I had all the supplies/resources what would I do for myself?
15.Write down 30 personal goals.
16.Write down 30 service goals.

I also found the following post, 10 Quetions on Parenting. I am going to go through these questions myself.

Happy New Year! At the moment it doesn't look like it'll be 'happy' celebrations around here. Yesterday we had to cancel our party since I am sick, today, extremely tired, but on the mend...we also have a very cranky 1 year old, due to teething. Alas, we'll make the most of it. Some reflection. Sleep, hopefully. Tasty foods.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009


Baby was the first to wake. Daddy didn't hesitate to get up with her. He put on the coffee, the anticipation was building. I dressed and met him and baby in the living room. She had found all the balloons which scattered the floor, ready to celebrate a birthday. The coffee smell filled the room. Egg nog lattes were made and savoured. Still we waited for Grace to awake. Her door was wide open, as we played with baby, and started to make the celebratory breakfast meal. Alas, we could hear the quick footsteps of our precious toddler down the hall. "Morning!" "Merry Christmas!" Her face lights up. She looks around and sees the table set for a party and a big feast, she spots all the balloons, and the stockings that are now filled. It was a nice morning. Opening our stockings, hearing our daughters giggle as they opened little toys and trinkets. Next, we lit the advent candles, including a Christ candle. We sat at the table to enjoy daddy's pancakes, whipped cream and berries. A place was set for Jesus, reminding us that we were celebrating him. Such a precious morning, preceded and followed with family dinners, and parties.

One of the most precious gifts this Christmas was a blanket of white snow which covered our surroundings. Our yard looked like a winter wonderland. We managed a snowshoe and some sliding time on Christmas day...and we've been enjoying more since. What a joy to be surrounded by such beauty. Celebrating Him who created all this. Enjoying the creation. Savouring each moment outside (when you live where we do, moments are short when you can truly enjoy winter weather without jack frost nipping at every part of your body!).

Those were the savoured moments. However, for us the Christmas season doesn't come without some 'birth pains'. Our little family is on a journey to change Christmas, which means some own inner battles are going on, as well as with family around us, trying to understand why we just don't do things the way 'everybody else does'. Anxiety over our more 'humble' gift offerings. Trying to put past innuendos and comments that don't make one feel like celebrating with loved ones, and rather, escaping to another place. Oh family, love em, love em, love em...but sometimes they do bring out the worst in us. In me anyways. I've seen some ugly colours rearing in me. Thank God for grace and forgiveness. Purify me, like the layers of beautiful snow, make me clean.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Creative Family

Ok, I am just loving this book. Such great ideas, that are simple to include in your everyday life. We are having so much fun as a family. Here are some of the things we have been more intentional about since reading this book, well most of it, still have a section to go and it is already well worth it.

-Games, simple games, my daughter likes a variation of Marco Polo, or hide an seek. We are going to incorporate game time as after dinner fun.

-Cross stitching, I got an 8" ring, and a blunt plastic needle, and some burlap and tread. It cost me about $15 for everything, and I got duplicates for my nephew and ample thread and burlap. My 3yr old loves it. It's a nice quiet activity. I'm excited to try it myself.

-Family Drawing time...ok we haven't started this yet, but I asked for a journal from santa :) and I hope to introduce this in the new year. But I have already been doing this with my daughter. She has her drawing journal. But I never thought to draw myself. This is probably one of the biggest things I have come away with, I can be creative too! It's good for my daughters to see me excited about creating. I've kinda put that part of myself aside as a grown up. But I am now exploring, even started some crocheting and borrowed my mom's sewing machine.

-Dress up. My daughter likes to dress up, but most of her dress up stuff is princess related. So we've been encouraging her to think of other things she could be. She has a scarf and it became a pirate hat, our ottomon quickly became a boat, and I was the princess she was saving. With a tutu on my head, I sailed away on the ottomon with my 'good' pirate. I plan to keep an eye out for more scarves, and different hats. We brought all the possible dress up clothes into one location for her to use. That was helpful.

I'm not big on schedules, mainly because they don't work for me, I always stray. But my 'plan' for the new year is to incorporate 3 elements into our day:

1. Reading time (besides bed time, we always read before bed), and any activities that come from the themes of these stories.
2. Family Drawing time - probably after lunch, or during baby's morning nap.
3. Active game time, or outdoor fun.
4. Creative time -either dress up, crafts, or baking.

*I find if I have some sort of plan for the day I feel I have accomplished something. Also, we don't get bored as often, wondering what to do next to amuse the kids. Lately I have been doing one 'project' per day. That's been good and it's pretty organic as to what we do. But I am going to take that project a step further and try and focus on the above 4 elements.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Homeschool Excitement!


Yesterday we went to pick up a long anticipated package, Grace's Preschool Program! Most of the books will be gifts from family over Christmas, but we had to give her one. We are very impressed with this first book. So much so that today all 12 stories were read, some of them twice, that's over 420 pages! Great start to our homeschooling endeavors.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advent Fun


It's cold outside, I am opting to stay home with the girls. We are having lots of fun baking, creating, and playing. I thought I'd put together some of our fave pics this month.

Our latest activity...a gingerbread house and some men. A little too much sugar was consumed. But we had fun, along with some frustrations, to make it just so. Hoping that making a gingerbread house will become a family tradition. Here's our first attempt.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

JOY

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Advent, JOY Sunday! Ironically I wasn't feeling much joy today. Ah, but joy is so much different from happiness. Now, after our family time I am refocused on what matters, real joy.

During our advent devotion time my sweet 3 year old told us about an angel that came to Mary and told her she was going to have a baby boy, named Jesus. Music to my soul.

We then read the story about the three wise men and their joy to see the baby Jesus, and about the gifts they gave. We shared about what gives us joy, pretty simple around here, each other, and Jesus. Then we talked about giving Jesus gifts. Grace (3) said her usual answer to my questions about Jesus and gifts, "Santa will give Jesus gifts."
"Yes dear, but what gifts can we bring to Jesus?"
"A Christmas Tree!" She exclaims.
"Well yes, the Christmas Tree is our gift to Jesus since it's an act of worship, all the things on it are reminders of what/who we are thankful for and the many things Jesus has done for us." After more explanation of 'gifts for Jesus' our 3 year old led us to her room to look for a book to give to a little girl or boy who didn't have many toys. She picked out a great book, brand new. Then she led us to the rec room to find a toy to go with it. She found a musical instrument. We were so proud of our little one to was joyfully giving her gifts to Jesus. Hopefully tomorrow she doesn't change her mind.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Christmas


Yesterday Grace and I did a really neat project that was cheap and easy, and is a great alternative to plastic Christmas tree decorations. I remember making these as a child. Ornament dough (recipe here) is simple! We made a few dozen stars. After they cooled I painted them a 'champagne' colour, which is a light gold. Then I gave my 3 year old a tube of gold sparkle glue, she'd squeeze some out on the star and spread it around with a paint brush. We are going to finish them off with some gold ribbon and after we add to our tree, we'll use the extras as gifts or as decorations on gift packages. I also made some trees and candy canes to paint another day. Grace made a snowman too, which we are going to dress.

It's fun being creative! I just received a copy of "Creative Family" and can't wait to expand the creativity in our home. I've only just cracked the book, but have already been motivated and encouraged. Today I did finger painting with my 1 year old. She LOVED it! (See my gratitude blog for a pic). Good thing it's non toxic. She made a beautiful rainbow. Through the creativity of this one year old God was able to speak to me. I had been asking for a rainbow for a few weeks. Waiting patiently. Not that now I know there's promise, I know there's promise, but it's nice to see a sign.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Such a Simple Idea - Christmas Change


The past week we have been doing Christmas orientated projects, like this Christmas tree I printed off the internet. She coloured, and I cut, and then with some glue we decorated a lovely tree. This is the third tree we have created this week. Projects are fun. Now I am inspired to take it to the next level...tomorrow we are going to swing by the great grandparent's place and deliver our creation. It's such a simple idea!!! But I know it's going to be such a treasure for great grandma and great grandpa. Now that the wheels are turning I am thinking of all sorts of 'projects' we could do that would bless others. What teachable moments for my 3 year old. What a way to prepare for the Lord, by blessing others, and thinking outside of ourselves.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Advent...

We're having fun with advent now that our oldest can participate in the conversation. This week we talked about love. We asked her what she loved. With confidence she replied "I love mommy." Oh what joy it is to be her mommy. To hear those sweet words, knowing your love is returned.

Jesus we love you. You loved us first. You showed us the way.

I have to add this verse...next week is JOY, I am going to meditate on this verse as a I prepare for next Sunday.

From Matthew 2

“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” vs 10,11

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anticipation

This Advent I am meditating on the first few chapters of Luke each day. I tried this a few years ago, but it didn't work out. This year I am hoping for a better outcome. A priest I knew had directed me then, he said that Christmas would have new meaning if you dwelt on the miraculous birth story for 4 weeks. From time to time I'll share my thoughts.

Today the word 'anticipation' stands out. I've been pregnant now twice, and understand the 9 month waiting game. There is much anticipation once you realize you are pregnant, and for some, the anticipation of becoming pregant (including me). You wonder how the delivery will go? What sex the baby will be? Who will the baby look like? How will the baby act? Will he or she be healthy? What will this baby become in this world? Much to anticipate. Much excitement aswell as concern.

Imagine Mary, anticipating giving birth to the Saviour! Wondering what would become of her son. How will people receive him? How will he act? How am I to raise such a child?

I think we spend our lives in anticipation most of the time. For me, at this time, it's an outcome, how will it unravel? What will be the end result? It's exciting at times, and stressful at other times. At times, I want it taken away. I don't want the unknown, will it be good? Bad? Sigh. Today I am humbled. I am reminded that there is always anticipation. Whether for big things or insignificant things. Each step we are to know and remember that Jesus goes with us. May Jesus go with me as I anticipate the celebrations of His birth. As I journey advent and know that God is doing a good thing in me. And know that in all things He journeys with us. What comfort. What joy. What a blessing. Emmanuel - God with us.

Some anticipations this advent: going out to get our tree, decorating, Sunday advent times with family, family time together, Christmas crafts and baking with the girls, the Christmas eve cemetary service (it's a scandinavian tradition), seeing the girls excitment over gifts and fun, fun with friends, snow (hopefully), growing in my understanding of the birth story.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Consuming Kids

Last Night I attended this documentary. WOW! I had no idea the consumerism aimed at our kids was so deliberate. At one point the documentary accused them of being like a pedofile.I can definitely see the comparrision

In the documentary the children media experts state that the parents are the ones who dictate what influences their children. In many ways I agree with this. Although, what makes me mad is that marketing to kids is so manipulative. It's one thing to manipulate adults, even teens, who are able to process, and filter these messages, but children, particularly babies, don't have these skills. The parents who allow such abuse (yes strong word, but I believe the advertisers are doing this) to occur aren't the ones openly discussing these messages with their children. So who speaks on their behalf if the government doesn't regulate these messages. One could make a good case against a parent who makes their daughter believe she's not worthy or beautiful or the son who is taught to be agressive and controlling. We wouldn't look kindly on it happening between parent and child, but when it's masked behind hunour, animation, toys, and creations that are scientifically pleasing to the sight of a child one (particularly parents and the government, because surely these advertisers know what they are doing) no one realizes. Gee, they have even blinded adults in believing this is all 'appropriate' for the general good of our children, our future.

I've been really interested in attachement in babies/children since having my own kids. It's amazing that these advertising researchers actaually get this! They create these attachements between child and 'image'. They know kids will be loyal to these 'loved ones'. This makes me sick. Our children are watching these characters, building relationships with them, obviously one sided, and not nurturing or real so that when I take my kid to the store they will see such 'loved one' on a box, or toy, and want to buy it, being loyal to their friend.

Anyhow, my kids are into the TV, best they build actual relationships rather than one sided, false, ones with the characters on tv who were created by toy makers to sell products.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beautiful People

'The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.' ~ Elizabeth Kubler Ross (from an Unraveller)

This is a quote taken from Ink On My Fingers. I am contemplating taking her Unravelling class. We'll see!

I think of many people I have known, know, who are beautiful people, many of them have faced difficult trials. I think of my family member mentioned in my last post, and how the trials she has faced have made her beautiful, and anticipate this next leg of the journey will form her even more. Me too. What's that called? Refiner's Fire.

Here's a picture of a beautiful woman in my life. She left to be with Jesus this past year. She was kind, gentle, loving, always accepting, spunky, loved life and the people in it. Baba, we miss you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stuck


For days her favourite game was climbing on the doll high chair, up on the play table. She'd get on the table and take the leap onto the cough with great joy, with laughter, always looking back to check that we were watching her. She did this over and over. She never tired of it, however, we did.

Today she went back to the doll high chair once again to partake in this great adventure, in this pleasure. Things were different this time, she could not get her knee up on the seat. It had to be the jeans she was wearing that inhibited her. She was ignorant of that and tried over and over to get her knee up to no avail. I wanted to go and hoist her up, cause even though I was not a fan of this game, it was hard for me to watch her distress. I wanted to go and solve her problem. To assist her in the journey she had come to love. But I didn't. Instead I remained silent, still, as I realized a parallel in my own life.

A dear family member of mine has been 'stuck' so to speak. I really want to help her. I give her advice, and resources, pep talks, offer help. I think I can 'save' her. I cannot. This is her journey to live. It's her life. She has the right to make the choices she desires. Who am I to rob her of realizing her own path. So I am silenced, still, in agony as I watch her try and try again to no avail. I so want to go and give her a little push. But when she'd try again on her own she won't know how to do it herself. She won't realize that it's her 'jeans' that are getting in the way. She'd be dependant on others, and not able to journey free and with power.

I am grieving. What? I am not so sure. I guess I grieve the fact that I can't save her. I am powerless. I am afraid that she might not get through this. I want her in my life. I want her to have a joyful life, a healthy life. But it is her life. I have my own to work through.

Jesus, into your hands I commit myself. My fears. My longings. My love. My loved one. The journey of life is full of bumps and obstacles. I have lived long enough that if it is not one thing, there's another that can leave you stressed, and afraid. It's finding joy midst those times. Midst the chaos that is life. To find beauty that comes through ashes. To find God, and a meaning far greater than my meager existence.

I am not sure that this all makes sense. I am trying to process these feelings myself. Hopefully through writing down my thoughts I will see more clearly. Right now things are a haze. I so badly want to curl up in Jesus' lap.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas Change

Have you been over to Christmas Change yet? Inspiring ideas! Good to have some encouragement to change Christmas, a longing I have had on my heart for a few years now. It's hard when you have grown up remembering Christmas as Santa and GIFTS. We'd actually use Christmas as a time to get all the stuff we wanted through out the year. Our family didn't have much money, but at Christmas time, that was THE time to get stuff, the only time mom or dad would get us the things we wanted (other than birthdays). Oh the joys, the dissappointments, the greed, the lust, the lack of tradition, purpose, meaning. Oh, it wasn't all bad. I have some fond memories outside of 'gift getting' but they are few. I don't want that for my kids. I want them to celebrate Jesus, their saviour. I want it to be a time for them to grow closer to God who humbled himself, and became flesh. I want them to 'give' of the love Jesus generously gives them each day.

My oldest daughter is now 3. The past few years we've never over did gifts or emphasized it, or asked her 'what do you want for Christmas?' But this year it just happened. We were in the toy department at Winners (I can probably count on my fingers the number of times she has been to a toy department, it's just not something we do) and she spotted it, a BIG, plastic, princess Dora, beautiful, chemical laden, wrapped in a big box, with her made in China side kick, an irresistible to any 3 year old girl, horse! If I was a mom who bought stuff like that, I would have been sneaking it to the till under my coat. Grace's eyes lit up, it was the perfect gift. And then she asked "Can I have that?" "Sorry sweetie, remember what we came to get?" I tried to refocus her on the task at hand, a gift for my nephew. "Maybe I'll get it for Christmas." She adds. WHAT?! How did she know you can ASK for things at Christmas? She's already associating Christmas with getting. Needless to say, we've had the Christmas story books out already! We've gotta get this kid back on track!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All Is Well

She's there again. It's a great feeling holding her. She's close. Nursing. Now that she's a one year old the times where she wants to be so close are becoming less and less. Yes, certainly, we still have many hours close together. I am glad that we co-sleep because at least if all day she is busy going, I still have that, for now. I am thankful that God has given us the beauty of nursing. To share these times. To hold our loved one close. To be still in the moment. It's nourishing her body, but it is also nourishing her soul. She is learning to be intimate. To be held. To give all trust to one who loves her. I desire to be intimate with God, but sometimes it's scarey, sometimes it's not priority, sometimes I wonder if it's worth making the time. My little ones have given me new perspective and hope. I want to know that unconditional love. I desire intimacy, and unwavering trust. I want to run into the arms of Jesus and know that all is well with my soul, just as I know from the peaceful look on my babies faces when they are nursing, that all is well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Year Ago

Last year at this time I was in my cozy bed cuddling my newborn baby. My toddler and daddy beside us, or playing in the other room, I can't remember exactly, but they were near. What a special day to remember, to celebrate, Joy's first birthday. We love you Joy who brings such delight to this family. This past year we have shared every night's sleep, many hours nursing, watching you take first steps, say first words, taste food for the first time, first smiles, first laughs, many many firsts. What an amazing year, we look forward to many more. But this present moment, is what really matters. Sitting around our family room, fire is burning, girls are all cleaned up and enjoying some playtime before bed. Daddy playing along side. This is life. This is good! God is good. I am full.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We're Back

So I have not been very faithful in updating this blog :) I've got reno pictures to download and vacation details to share! In time. Right now I am taking in the moment.

Since we've been back all I have wanted to do is stay home. My nice cozy warm home. We have the new fireplace installed, it heats the whole house. It's nice to be home, to be resting, cooking, playing, cleaning, and right now watching the snow fall.

Both girls are really into playing these days. It's nice to see them doing their own thing. Joy absolutely loves flipping through books on her own. Grace is very much into her doll house (she is going to love the new wooden one we hope to get her for Christmas).

We plan to enjoy our home a lot this winter. I'm sure that's what I'll be blogging on. Things we are doing. Ways we are nuturing our family, our health, our soul. Winter is a great time to slow down. Rest. I welcome you!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vacation!

So we leave on vacation tomorrow. Hope I pack everything I need. Don't you hate that part of getting ready for holidays! So excited to see friends...oh and ending of the vacation with a U2 concert! More to come!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Renovations

The renovations are well on their way. I thought I'd share some of the journey.

Beginning to take it apart...quick a before pic!


Helping daddy.


Demolition!


Playing in the new cabinets.


For some reason this cabinet is loads of fun!

The floor is done now, more pics to come! Excited to have some more space back, right now we are cramped in the livingroom.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Keeping Up With Appearances

Today, again, I needed a break. So, the girls and I jumped in the car for some random adventures. First order of business, some sleepy time in the car, and mommy gets a coffee. Delightful!

Once the girls are on the verge of waking we stop at this store to pick something up. After the pick up we decided to walk about a block down the street to rent a movie. Grace was happy holding my hand. She was wearing her sister's 12mo pants and 12mo fleece jacket, if you can picture it, they are obviously very small for this (almost) 3 year old long lean body, covering her only to her elbows and knees. But she had insisted, and since I pick my battles carefully these days, she left the house this way.

In the movie rental store my beloved Grace told me she had to 'pee'. I felt a little helpless not knowing if or where the bathroom might be. We started toward the til to ask when it happened. She peed herself right there in the 'kids' section. Her pants were wet, her shoes were filling with urine and yes it made a puddle that quickly absorbed into the carpet. I wonder how many other 'accidents' have happened in that isle. The lady at the til was quite amused to know this. I don't think she knew what to do, other than ignore the problem and leave it for the cleaners to one day address.

As we leave I notice a second hand store right next door. Perfect, we'll go pick up some dry pants (note to self, always, ALWAYS, have a change of clothes on hand, because it's happened every time, when I don't, I NEED them!). Well we didn't find any pants. But Grace had a blast wearing a cowboy hat and a playing a guitar she found. It was priceless! So we purchased our findings and began the walk back to the car. Grace, in her short, wet, pants, short jacket, cowboy hat, and guitar, skipping along the sidewalk. I wish I had my camera on me! I laughed all the way home. One tries hard to 'appear' put together. But this little girl of mine, she doesn't care about appearances, she does as she feels. Sometimes it really annoys me. Today I understand. She is having fun. Being a kid. Loving life. I can really learn from her.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health

Ok, I'll have to update this later but I had to share how excited I am after visiting with a Homeopathic Doctor today. We have a great plan to keep our immune systems strong and supported for the upcoming flu season. Do you use homeopathy? Do tell your experience.

UPDATE:
Homeopathy stresses 4 areas to address to encourage heath.
1. Drink Water! My Dr said that as soon as you feel sick, drink a big glass of water, this will help your body fight.
2. Eat well. Keep protein, veggies, then fruits, and lastly carbs in your diet. Sugar decreases the functioning of your immune system.
3. Sleep. Ahhh I wish this one were that easy! But best to be as rested as possible.
4. Exercise. Great way to let out all the stress.

Some supplementation:
My husband and I are not big in supplements, we believe you should eat your vitamins in good quality food. Here are some ideas from the homeopath dr.
1. Cod liver oil - great sorce of Omega 3 and Vit D
2. Tissue Salts #12 - these are micro minerals that feel your body at the cellular level.
Now for the immune builders when you feel sick:
3. Ferr Phos #4 - another mineral
4. She made us an immune boost remedy to take one drop when we feel suseptible. She also gave us a flu vaccine (interesting stuff, I'll have to find a link and post it). We're not 100% sure about this. But at least there are no chemicals, only a dead flu virus.
5. D Drips again when we feel run down.

We also plan to buy a homeopathy kit that has anywhere from 12-50 remedies in it and has no expiry. When you have a problem, such as a runny nose, you just find the remedy that is to help, take some pellets until the ailement goes away. The great think about homeopathy is that you don't need 'lots' of the effective ingredient, there's a small amount in each dose. So if you gave the wrong remedy it would do nothing. That's another good thing about the flu remedy there's a very small amount of the flu itself.

I know there's more, I'll have more to say later :) Kids are waiting!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Moment Of Peace

A friend once told me not to disregard a gentle whisper in a moment of peace. Today I had such moment.

Lately I have been overwhelmed by the choices 'out there'. Shall I continue with school? Get a job? Pursue this or that... sign up for this... focus on that... In the busy-ness I can get wrapped up in grandiose ideas. Plans!

Yesterday I bumped into grace. A friend of mine happened to be at a local bookstore I frequent with my girls when we have nothing else to do. We got to talking and then moved from there onto lunch with our children. It was nice to chat with a MOM. Someone who gets my desire to focus on my children. Who sees their roll as MOM as a calling from God. I realized how I had gotten wrapped up in being busy, in doing, in wanting, in ambitions which don't necessarily coincide with my first calling as MOM.

Today I was sitting in the grass with my girls. We were laughing together. We were enjoying simply being together. As my girls smiled happily at me I felt peace. I felt grounded. I knew that I was to be in no other place in the world than right there in that moment. That's when the whisper came 'love them'. Gently I played with them, kissed them, enjoyed them. I did not want to leave that moment. Not for greater ambitions, busy plans, selfish desires. Somehow in that moment my desires melted, no plans lay before me, no anxiety deep down, no lists, no regrets, only love. The desire to love and care for my girls overshadowed all.

The simplicity! What Grace! What Joy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Home Is Where I Shall Start...

Ok, if you have been on the Study in Brown, or Claire's site, this might make more sense to you. If not, bare with me. Recently I finished reading "Jesus For President" such a great book. But at the end I really felt paralized, how can I be living more inline with Jesus' plan for us Christians? I think this is a great question to ask oneself from time to time to keep perspective. So I prayed "where to start". Yesterday I cracked open a book that had a short but consise biography on Mother Teresa (I'll have to share some of her quotes, very insightful!). She chose to stay single and therefore use her life to love the unloved. I have kids, my first calling is to love themv (they are perfectly healthy and for the most part happy individuals). Somedays this is not an easy task! I also have extended family and elderly people in my midst who need some love. So HOME is where I shall start. In that I'm sure there will be opportunities to love other peoples! And I welcome that opportunity, I can definitely prioritize my spending, and choices about purchases to be made out of LOVE. I also really want to be GENEROUS with those around me, with my time, talents, and love. So here's where I can start...with eyes open to who God might also lay on my heart or in my path to extend His extravagant love!!!

Just read this from Holy Experience So beautiful and insightful. What a tangled web we live in. Sitting here on all this wealth while the rest of the world goes hungry. Yes I hear the call to give, because I NEED to give. But all around me people are wealthy in material possessions and poor in spirit. Running this rat race. Crying for a saviour. Sad. Depressed. Broken. Oh how we all need a little Africa. A little perspective. Freedom. Jesus.

Update: God gave me a great opportunity to love my family this week. It was hard. It hurt. But I am happy to respond with love (well mostly, I have some work to do foresure).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crazy??

I am finally into the fourth section of 'Jesus For President' and I have such mixed feelings. I have been anticipating the application part of the book since the beginning. I loved sections 1 to 3...and was guessing some of the places he'd go in section 4, but not his far. Not this freeing! I didn't even know I was so 'in bondage' to the 'american way'. When you peel off the layers to that way of life, it's freeing not to live under those social expectations, or norms. But it's also freightening because some if it I still want. Is it ok to have part of it? Is there a balance? Lord show me what steps you want me to take.

I just stumbled upon this post at Study in Brown. WOW. My feelings exactly! How can I even dream to live as 'section 4' proposes without a community with similar ways. I know I couldn't do it alone. My Christian community, are they not the ones who are to walk this path with me? Would they think I was 'crazy'?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You Are a Good Mommy!

She was playing tenderly with her baby doll. Grace has been quite interested in playing 'mommy'. Whenever I have my baby girl, Joy, on my side, Grace will gather her dolly to her side. It's so sweet. The other day I said she was a "good mommy", she questioned "I a good mommy like you a good mommy?" "Yes" I responded. "You a good mommy, mommy!" she declared. What refreshing words. Especially when there are times you don't feel all that proficient at your 'job', a little affirmation is wonderful.

The other day Grace wanted some chocolate chips (quite the treat around here). I told her she could have some after finising up her supper she had refused to eat only an hour earlier. She agreed that she'd eat dinner. After a few bites she asked again for the chocolate chips. Yet again I asked her to eat more dinner and she agreed to a few more bites. Finally, I said yes to the chocolate chips, I asked her how many? She replied, "five please!" I agreed to the five if she would share one with her daddy which she happily did. Then she approached me with her four treats in hand and wanted to know if I'd like one. WOW! Oh how my heart rejoiced! For her to share such a treasure in her eyes was beyond expectation. It's an amazing feeling when your kids show their love. Hmmm I wonder if this is anything how God feels when we act in love. Believe me, it's the most flattering form of 'worship' and 'thanksgiving' for a parent to experience. How will I 'worship' and 'thank' my dear Jesus today?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spirit Garden

My mind was spinning. I needed grounding. Then i stumbled upon a therapuetic practise. Something that people have done since the beginning of time. I started to work the land. I had not planned to stop and get down on my knees in the dirt. On my little stroll to 'calm down' the garden beckoned me. As i pulled the weeds I thought of how quick and easy it was for them to grow and spread and try to inhibit my whole garden. I wonder what weeds are quickly growing in my life which need eradication. Anger. Impatience. Fear. Untrust. Busy-ness.

Since i had not planned to stop here, I wasn't prepared, my gloves were still hung in the garage...now my hands were covered in dirt, not to mention my toes and sandals which I had worn to town this morning. It felt nice to work the land. To help save my garden. To make room for the fruitful plants to flourish so that one day we might enjoy it's nouishment. What fruits am I growing in my life? Rather what fruits are the spirit tending to in my spirit garden? 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5

Or here's The Message translation, one of my favourites: 22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Family Pictures


I absolutely love our family photos. Check the rest of them out here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Journaling

Just visited Holy Experience. She has a lovely post on Journaling. I've never been faithful in my journals until I became a mom. I am awakened to the possibilities I've yet to explore. It's something that I want to teach my girls. I want them to have a place to capture all live's moments. A sacred space for them to commune with God.

Since I had my first daughter capturing each moment has been a yearning in my heart. I started journaling to my daughters during my pregnancy. I hope one day these journals will be treasures for them to behold. I hope they will be wonderful companions for them as they become mothers. For me, I am content knowing that the feelings I had can be revisited as I go back and read.

Here's a lovely quote from Ann's post:

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking world into my arms.

When its over, I don’t want to wonder
If I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
Or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
By Mary Oliver

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Growing



He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." Matthew 13:31-32 NIV

The Israelites were often referred to as a mighty tree. Oh how God used a small seed, Abraham, to grow into a large nation. What a beautiful image. And how wonderful God's plan for other nations to come and find rest, shelter and shade in it's beauty.

Today at church our pastor spoke about how just as the mustard seed is small, it will eventually grow into a tree and this is how it is with The Kingdom. Sometimes it feels as if the Kingdom will never come. Will we ever see restoration of all peoples? Will this world ever be made new from the toxic dump we have created? But we need to be patient. God is causing it to grow just as he planned. In his perfect timing.

I think this also relates to individual life. Lately I just want to be so many things. A parent who is nurturing, slow to anger, abounding in love. A wife who is gentle, giving and generous. A house that is creative, inviting, beautiful, and clean. A garden that is flourishing. Friendships that are dynamic. A life that thinks of my global community before my own desires. Being financially savvy and prepared. I want my closets clean and sorted, both figuratively and literally. I want every moment to count. I want to capture every feeling and memory with my girls. Basically I want it all! Because this is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to my dreams, desires for life.

My husband said to me the other day that I was a perfectionist. I laughed at him. I have been running from 'perfectionist' labeling my whole life. Which is just what a perfectionist would do right? Feeling they couldn't live up to that label. I admit it, I am a perfectionist.

Sigh.

So now, to just wait, for God to cultivate the seeds in my life. One day I'll be that mature tree. For now, I am growing.

My friend had this quote as her FB status, something to ponder: "Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person." ~~ David M. Burns

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Love Wins



It's a big world, we are hoping
For a big change, we are broken
In the fading light of a dying sun
We cry for redemption

There is hope, there is hope, there is hope
But everyone who's lost will be coming home
And everything that hurts will be whole again
And love will be the last thing standing

Bridge:
Can't stop, you can't stop the seasons
Don't stop, don't stop believing



Chorus:
Keep on dreaming of the day when it all will change
Believe in the end, love wins
If you're waiting for the time when your sun will shine
Oh, look above cause love wins

Verse 2:
If it hurts you, just breathe in
When it pains you, just believe in
The radiant light of the morning sun
We can find our redemption

Love is strong, love is strong, love is strong
It's been there holding you all along
Everything thrown away will be new again
And love will be the last thing standing



I have been really loving this song lately, it really resonates with my heart at the moment. I added the pics of Grace's little struggle with our deck. She managed to put her head between the boards, but then couldn't get out. Her facial expressions are so vivid. The fear was so real for her. Often I too feel like my head is stuck, it's a good reminder that in the end...love wins. God is present and will release me. Restore me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Grace is Sufficient For You

So if you've been following my little banter back and forth I'd like to direct you to this blog. The words that got to me: 'my grace is sufficient for you'.

Do I believe we should LOVE our neighbour and this world we live, YES!

Who's the one who taught me that, urged me in that direction? The Spirit.

Who's the one who'll give me strength and direction to continue in that path?

The Spirit.

When I feel hopeless, overwhelmed, or stuck these words speak to me: 'my grace is sufficient for you'. It'll be those same words that say 'rest' that will fill me with love to 'do' the work the spirit has directed me.

It all starts with LOVE and REST and GRACE....Jesus!

So now, to go and 'do' as the spirit leads, filled with grace, filled with love and compassion for my family, my community, this planet, and most of all Jesus. With the spirit we can move mountains. It'll take time and patience and lots of LOVE but God will weave it altogether in a beautiful life giving way.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Holy Experience

I'm not sure if anyone reading here has checked out the blog Holy Experience. WOW, it always speaks to my heart. Not in ways of 'doing' it's 'all grace' as Ann (the author) would say.

I particularly like the last few posts on thanklessness and on life being art and then on joy in all circumstances!

I am beginning to think that all my little 'convictions' are imprisoning me. Yes that includes my experiment on consumerism and my latest dilema PLASTICS!!! I want to focus more on love, grace, joy, JESUS! Thanks Ann for always sharing grace in your blog posts.Thanks also to a new friend who always redirects me to grace.

Day 3

Yesterday was bad. I ate out for lunch. But there's a good reason and lesson learned. We ran out of food in the house! Lesson learned, planning is key. It's harder to not 'consume' when you can't do the prep at home.

Today will be better...because I don' intend to leave the house. I don't know does that count?! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 1

Right now I am reading "Jesus for President" I came across this quote (which thanks to Claire I had read before) it is true for me:

Plenty of wealthy Christians are suffocating from the weight of the American dream, heavily burdened by the lifeless toil and consumption we embrace.

Often I feel this suffocation. I feel anxiety about purchasing various items for my home or body or children. I wonder if there will be enough money in the future for my family and to have the life we want...or I think I want. Thankfully this worldview is being changed all the time for me.

Day 1 was good since I stayed at home due to sick kids. But that did mean watching a little more tv and more computer time as there's only so much stimulation I can provide for 2 sick kids and one tired mommy. I tried a life giving list today. I really liked it. Usually I make lists of things that need to be accomplished during the day (particularly the important stuff as my mind is not all that reliable these days). However, yesterday I thought about the stuff on my list. These things aren't really that important to me. Yah I get that the bills need to be paid etc. But more importantly I want to love my kids and spend time with them. Honour Jesus. Honour my husband. Honour myself. So I did just that!

Here's my list for yesterday:
make a congratulatory cake for my husband with Grace,
make a congrats banner,
take a relaxing sauna.

YAY I completed my list by 2pm!!!

Today on my list:
take a walk outside,
have a nap!,
play playdough or alternate messy activity of Grace's choosing...and maybe some more reading from Jesus for President.

What's on your 'to do' list today? Does it reflect what is truly important?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Consumption

Lately I've had a few purchases to make. It was a tough decision for me. So tough it took up considerable time locating, comparing prices and then in the end I made returns and other purchaes and more returns. Anyhow, the sega reminded me about my previous thoughts on consumerism and consumption.

Ok, at first I thought I would stop all consumption for 1 week, but I am going to have to work my way up to that. This week I am going to try the following:
-no purchasing goods
-limit email/tv/dvd ...all electronic entertainment
-no eating out/coffee purchases (except for Friday as I have plans already!)
-no browsing in stores or on websites

I hope this will be fun. My plan is to choose alternate activities that are more life giving. To experience life and the loves around me and not allow "things" to take up my time, energy, thoughts, or resources. Join me if you like!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

From the mouthes of babes...

Little Grace has really been into the prayers lately. She is such a cutie as she explores communication with God. It is such a privilege to be part of it.

At meal times we'll ask Grace to pray and give thanks. Sometimes she protests. Other times she utters a little 'thank you Jesus' along with us. We never push her, she is free to pray or not to pray. We had a visitor from out of town one night and we asked her to say grace. She didn't want to. So the grown ups bowed our heads and uttered a little prayer. Then Grace bowed her head and started to thank God for the food, mommy, daddy, sister, and so on... Melts me!

The other night we were in bed and I asked her who she wanted to pray for. She wanted to pray for 'the lady'. She was refering to the interior decorator who came to visit us that day. Then she prayed for a friend from out of town, and then the list began, mommy, daddy, various relatives, her polka dots, light, and other objects in her eye sight.

Yesterday I was out for the morning. She must have wondered what was taking me so long and concluded that I was lost. She told her daddy that 'mommy is lost we need to find her'. Daddy told her to pray to Jesus for me. So she did. Just as she did, I rolled into the driveway. When I was greeted at the door she said 'mommy you not lost, I found you!' Then she was saying how she 'saved me', daddy corrected her and said that Jesus saved me! So sweet. But I hope now she doesn't think that if she wants something all she has to do is pray and it will appear, as I did! I guess we'll have to teach her that sometimes prayers take time to be answered, or are not always answered in a way we thought best. I am thankful that God worked it out to answer her prayer immediately yesterday.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Ponderings

Today was an early morning at our house. Grace crawled into bed at 5am!!! So early. We managed to snuggle until 6:30. Although, baby was bright eyed and Grace really wanted some stories so it was about an hour of convincing them that it wasn't morning time before we actually got out of bed. Then finally at 6 or so, I said "ok I think it's morning now." Grace ran to the window and on her tippy toes reached up pulling the blinds away and explaimed (which I think are probably her 2 most favourtie words besides 'no way') "Morinng time!" "You wanna see mommy?"

Now the girls are busy playing, eating, and I can sit and enjoy some goodness....yummy coffee, and a scone bought at the farmer's market yesterday and cathcing up on some blog reading. It's a good morning! Here are some things I am excited about...

The book of Romans. Some very cool stuff in there. I have been reading the NRSV translation, and like it a lot.



Health! I just read a friend's blog at "Heart of Flesh". Claire and I have had some great discussions about health and our fave topic, vegetarianism! I think there is something to springtime that makes us crave green goodness. After months of digging through the wilted produce at the grocery store I was delighted to find fresh spinach, romaine, and lots of herbs at the farmer's market. Above is a picture of my blueberry eater! Every morning she has a few handfuls of frozen blueberries from last year's pick. I can't wait for some fresh ones. Below is our baren garden. Underneath the soil are seeds just waiting to emerge with a sprout. Everyday I go out and see if there's anything yet!



Today we've got church, then a ballgame with our church family, meeting up with an out of town friend, and then enjoying a Sunday night with my girls probably playing with our new puppy! It's a new day! I love spring. As I look out on my yard I notice that the leaves have opened up some...yay!!! Enjoy the day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"I Not a Princess"

Oh I have to share this story for all you moms out there. My 2 yr old has been really into wearing these high heeled shoes, sun glasses, and carrying around her baby doll. The other day out of no where she says "I not a princess mommy, I Grace, I a mommy!" To which I responded, "A mommy, well a mommy is much better than being a princess isn't it?" She said, "Yah!"

Speaking of princesses, I had a little fit yesterday. After a long day on my own with the kids my power turned off due to a wind storm. Since my phone bases are powered by electricity, I also had no phone, and yes, you guessed it the cell phone was dead! I could run through the wind storm to the garage and call from a really old rotary dial phone. I did this to try and locate my husband and then again to try and call the electrical company (that call lead nowhere!). They had to be quick because the kids were still in the house playing, I didn't want to bring them out in the storm.

I really did have a fit! This princess...was going to head to town to rent a hotel room for the night. After I calmed down, I took out the cards, and made some guacemole and chips and made the most of it. Then a short while later the power was restored. I could now make supper and resume my evening activities. Anyone else have trouble reacting when face to face with a tough situation? I had to laugh at myself afterwards because my first instinct was to comsume when my consumption was cut off!

By the way, for those who don't really understand what a power outage means, we live in a rural area, all our heating is electric (except the fire place which I have yet to start myself)...to top it off EVERYONE in my family was out of town for the long weekend. My husband was at a cabin only accessible by boat or a long hike! Besides I was already a little upset to be left alone with the kids so he could fish. I know he needs a break, but I'm a little jealous, since presently I could not do that without at least the baby latched on! Ahhh the joys of motherhood. Needless to say, as soon as daddy is home he is 'managing' the children, and maybe he should show me how to make a fire and possibly find a phone that doesn't rely on the power to be working.

Now that I think of it, the power may have been out for 2 hours. Maybe shorter...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Still Frames

Yesterday I finally uploaded the pictures on my husband's camera. He's got some great shots. They make me smile, I hope you enjoy them too!


Grace wearing her dad's work hat.


Joy's 6 month pic.


My girls!


Hanging out in the livingroom.


Me and Joy.

Don't you wish you could hold all life's sweetest moments in a still frame, including the image, emotion, smell, and touches? Today I had one such moment. They always happen when you are least expecting them. Grace and I were playing with her magnetic alphabet on the fridge, Joy was napping, and in my heart I had such a warm feeling. A knowing. What that exactly is I don't know...my calling, love, peace, joy, contentment... Sigh. I wish I could hold that perspective all the time. But I can recall them when things get tough, when I get derailed or side tracked into thinking something else is more important, more exciting. A friend told me never to disregard those moments of stillness. In those moments God is whispering. He's assuring me, this is what I made you for, this is where I want you to be, there is treasure in your midst, such precious treasure!

I needed such a moment today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Consumption - It's Everywhere!

I've been thinking about my week of being a 'non consumer'. It's going to be tougher than I thought. At first I was thinking that I just wouldn't purchase 'stuff'. But being a consumer is much deeper than that. I am consuming everytime I turn on my computer, my tv, a light, a water tap or flush the toilet. Excluding this type of consumption in it's entirety is not going to happen with 2 babies at home. I may as well set up a tent in the middle of the bush! Oh and the biggest oversight...using my car! I live in a rural setting, so not comsuming gasoline means STAYING HOME for a whole week.

So here are my thoughts...

1. I could limit my consumption of electricity at home but choosing activities that don't need to be plugged in! Ie. limit/eliminate tv, limit internet/computer time.
2. As for gasoline consumption, I could limit my trips to town and plan them precicely as to use the minimal amount of gas.
3. As for groceries, I am fine with making my own bread, meals from scratch, but items like tofu, or soy milk will be a problem. I can live without soy milk for one week, but I'll need to make an exception for the milk since my toddler drinks it.

I am sure there will be more thoughts. At first I was pretty excited to do this, now I am thinking it's so much bigger. But I am up for a challenge, and a little experiment is all it is, so no need for guilt about the concessions I'll need to make. As a society we're pretty entrenched in this consumerism game, so there has got to be a balance somewhere.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Non Consumer

In church on Sunday the "Story of Stuff" was shown. I love this little clip. The Pastor challenged us to consider this video when we think about loving those around us but also those who are not visible but affected by the choices we make on a daily basis...namely our choices as consumers. I think I need to watch this video monthly to remind myself of the complexities involved when I go to purchase just a little something or other. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it.

I want to strive to be a non consumer for a week. I was going to do it this week but since we are in the midst of a reno I figured this wasn't realistically going to happen...and unfortunately I am not at the point where I would choose a used toilet. (Besides the older ones use more water right?! So I am justified in my new toilet expense....I have a long way to go in being a non consumer**) So I have decied to take note of my 'consumer habits' over the next few weeks. Then hopefully by the end of May go spending free for a week. With future ambitions to do this for a longer duration.

Some notes thus far:
-meeting people at coffee shops or restaurants needs to change, meeting in homes cuts back on expenses. Also need to bring snacks with me when I am out and about.
-need to make coffee/tea in a thermos on longer trips to town (I live 10 min outside of a small city) so that I am not tempted to stop of a quick cup at various coffee shops along the way.
-looking around the house and making do with items I already have!
-keeping only to the produce section of the grocery store for those whole foods and prepare meals from there. Good thing I am doing pretty good at making my own bread these days!

**Is being a non consumer even possible in todays day? Thoughts? Can I be a conscious consumer? What does that mean for my everyday purchases? Where's the balance?

If you have ideas please share!

Friday, April 24, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

God's been showing me some interesting perspectives lately. Mainly around this word 'respect'. How am I respecting my husband, and the harder question, how am I disrespecting my husband? Am I respecting my children? How do I do this better?

Lately I've been pretty stressed. The stresses over the past year are just coming to a head. I find this is when it is hardest to respect others. Mainly because my anger gets in the way. I also sometimes feel justified for being *itchy because of all the stress I have to endure...oh gee...pitty party. As I reflect now, clearer of mind, I realize how ridiculous I am at times. Get over yourself girl! Look at all the blessings...which are many!

Husband have mercy! Because it's all his fault, of course!

Love is...patient, kind, long suffering, 'love doesn't fly off the handle'.
It's great we have a compassionate forgiving God when we fall short. It's great that I have a husband who does the same. Love you babe!

Goal for this week, dispite any stresses, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good Soil

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown." Mark 4:20

My daughter planted a bean seed as a craft with her Mamma. When she brought it home I have to admit my first thought was "this will be in the trash in no time, great!"I know my daughter likes to play in the dirt as the last plant she brought home was destroyed before it got home!

I watered it and set it on the window sill, low enough for my daughter to observe (really I had no hope this plant would make it anyhow). However for a 2 year old, "look but don't touch" is not something comprehensible when their curiosity gets the better of them. Sure enough in no time she had her fingers in it. I tried explaining that she could talk to it, water it, but not touch it. We wanted it to grow big and tall, but it wouldn't do that if she kept playing in it.



Even though I felt this plant was never going to sprout, God had other plans! My daughter was pretty excited to see a little sprout...needless to say so was I. Now each day we observe how it's grown. Little Grace says "I grow that daddy!" and my heart is full of joy.

The lesson here! I think there are times I don't reach out because I believe it's not 'good soil'. Those words won't make a difference, it's like throwing them to a pile of rocks, nothing will come of it. Or why go out of my way for this or that, it's hopeless. I am not the judge of 'good soil'. I am thankful that this little bean sprouted. I hope I can be more hopeful and trust that God is the one who causes any good to come. I can just be faithful in following Him, loving Him, doing as he asks. Loving others.

This little bean plant continues to grow more and more each day! It's a little bent from the curious toddler, but it's still growing strong!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Ponderings

We attended Good Friday service yesterday since it worked best with our weekend plans and kids etc. You'll have to check out my posting on a blog I am co-sharing with 3 wonderful moms!

If I am able I'll elaborate more later.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lemonade


OK - if you haven't read yesterday's post do that first, here's the update.

First, thanks "annonymous" for your comment. For the most part that is exactly what I did, and after reading your comment took the 'walk' suggestion. It was great to be outside. A change of scenery...yay spring!!!

Who said? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Well that's what I did. I ended up cleaning the kitchen and managed to bake my very first loaf of bread and some scones. I had all the ingredients for the scones in the fridge since I was to make them for a ladies night last night, which I didn't attend because of my cold. My little princess (she had to wear a princess dress most the day) and I had a little tea party. It was so fun. The scones were so yummy. Now I will look back on the day as the day we had our very first Tea Party...and hopefully my very first loaf of many years of bread making.

I oughta see what other 'lemons' are lying around and make some more 'lemonade'.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

One of those days!

Maybe if I write this here I'll actually feel like I am being heard. Maybe if I write it down I'll gain some perspective?! Today is one of those days. One of those days you had hoped for so much more but is not shaping up to be anything you had thought and definitely not anything you desire. For starters, I had a bad night last night, a tiff with the hubby (probably because I am sick and grumpy and only wish for sometime alone in my bed), and then he was out for the evening. So I single handedly put the kids to bed and then my sick self. Yup, it's when you are SICK that those days are just not pleasant. This morning we woke with the phone ringing, overtime. Which is welcome only for it's monetary value, today anyhow. But this does mean my sickly self will be alone with the girls all day. Walking into the main part of the house there are still supper dishes to be washed and toys and an improve art project are cluttering up the coffee table and surrounding floor. Oh how I wish I had the energy last night to clean this up.

So today will be one of those days that I don't do too much, or have much expectation of myself. Although it might be a good day to attempt to make my first loaf of bread? We'll see. That will depend upon getting the kitchen cleaned. And my patience with Grace as now she is insistent on helping every time I enter the kitchen. Which always means the job will take twice as long and even longer to clean up. One day she'll be able to do all this herself and I'll enjoy a cuppa tea while she bakes for me. Ahhh the joys of motherhood.

Needless to say I need a little extra love today. I hope whoever is reading this is not having 'one if those days' and if you are well know you are not alone. Make the best of it. We're going to watch some movies and maybe mess up the kitchen a little more (actually that part is driving me crazy at first chance I am tackling that job, maybe that chance is now and yet I sit here blogging). Hmmm I do feel better sharing. Have a great day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

2 Year Old Tendancies

Lately life feels like a roller coater. I know I am stressed when life feels to be flying by. Today I realized, as I watched my 2 year old throw a huge temper tantrum that I was indeed doing the same thing. I'd go from moments of pure bliss, loving life, being very thankful, to moments of panic. Grace does that too, although her tantrums are much more noticable. She'll be happy as can be, playing, laughing, cooperating and then all of a sudden she's defensive, angry, and sometimes lets it all out with a tantrum crying, kicking and screaming. I guess this is humanity! Sunday's message at church really hit home for me in that respect. I always feel that there's something wrong with me, that I need fixing...reality...I do need fixing but not the type that I can do alone. I need Jesus' fixing and to accept that I am human and won't be perfect, I will make mistakes, I will throw those tantrums. By God's grace I'll make it through, and face the day. Maybe I'll even learn a little about myself. Those tantrum moments are not avoidable (certainly my response to these situations I do have some control over ;) sin in this world is everywhere.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Self Soother!

There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to soothing a baby...those parents who soothe their children and those who believe the child should learn to self soothe. We've been the parents to soothe our children, but are always happy when our child surprises us and learns on their own to self soothe (meaning without coersion). I haven't really thought about my own self soothing practises...but a book I am reading called "Bold Love" and also my 7 Days of Goodness has shown me that infact I self soothe...maybe a little too much! (Baby soothing is not the topic here, but I do find it an interesting subject in itself!)

The methods I use to self soothe aren't wrong in themselves, Dan Allender refers to them as "legitimate but ineffective". These (what have now become rituals for me, like coffee, phone calls, etc) actions are not wrong per say, but it's the reason I lean on them. I lean on these activities for comfort, for freedom from my reality when it is God who I should lean on and seek to fill me up. Because I don't want to "struggle with God". Dan Allender writes "...finding life through soothing the soul rather than from struggling with God."

What to do? When I feel those moments that I need...comfort, mercy, freedom, love, peace, joy, contentment, some sort of completion...I need to seek out God first. The coffee can come later as a pleasure rather than meeting a need that only God can meet. As I see it, if we fill our deepest longings with trivial, even immoral rituals we won't work through the problem of the situation. We'll just become 'addicts'. Now that I am aware I am going to experiment with this theory and seek and struggle with God first. Then enjoy my coffee, or chocolate, as pure goodness (gifts in themselves) and not a soul soother!

Another quote from Allender: "If God will not act on my (or others') behalf, then I will step in to make up for His lack." Whoa! That's me! I am a fixer. I really need to let God be God. This one I am going to have to think about a lot more. Your thoughts?

I really like this quote from Bold Love too...
"We are to live with the ongoing cycle of anticipation/sorrow. If we 'admit' our deep desire is not fully met, then we can embrace the reality of a sojourner who has not yet found rest and peace. It is not 'abnormal' to be empty, sad, and lonely at the deepest place in our souls that was fashioned for eternity - to be dissatisfied with the empty provisions of this world, sad over the destruction of beauty, lonely for the companionship of lost friendships. It is not only not abnormal, but wrong to be otherwise." pg 142.

Ah ha! I am normal. I think all too often we forget this reality in which we live and then seek to make all things 'right'. But reality is they will not all be right until our union with God. Sigh. This is such good news! Now I can 'live' with that feeling/longing inside me,this thorn in the flesh. I can hunger after God and seek him, but it won't be completely full until Heaven (thank goodness for glimpses to keep us hopeful!)

Allender quotes Fredrick Buechner from "The Magnificent Defeat": "The birth of righteousness and love in this stern world is always a virgin birth. It is never men nor the nations of men not all the power and wisdom of men that bring it forth but always God." Lord birth in me love and righteousness.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air

Last Friday I went skiing with some new friends. I wavered about going, mainly because I really don't like the cold. But I went, dressing as warmly as I could (minus the warm wool socks I packed but fell out of my bag). I was so glad that I went. Not only did I meet some great ladies and got to know others better, I wasn't really all that cold! The fresh air revived something inside of me. I felt alive! So Saturday again I ventured outside for a walk with the family and some friends. It's finally March and spring is in sight.

Grace has really been enjoying playing in the snow. Yesterday she discovered her shovel and pail and started constructing castles. Her construction process consisted of filling her pail, dumping it, and then refilling it, repeat many many times! Today she even took her shovel and pail to the farmer's market! This evening the 3 of us girls ventured outside. Joy loved laying in the snow. I think the fresh air was good for her. Grace continued making her castles. It was fun...until it was time to come indoors, Grace wasn't done playing yet. Eventually the tears stopped. Here are some pics of my happy little snow angels.




Thanks Claire for posting that inspiring video. It gave me a renewed desire to blog. I was thinking, 'why?', but it's the beauty of a story told between friends that is a pure gift. May my story be a gift to someone out there in some way or another!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

7 Days of Goodness...conclusion

So yesterday was day 7. But let's back up a bit. Day 5 I went to a birthday party and eventhough I refrained from the coffee, I accidently had a muffin. Accidently because I forgot I wasn't having white flour or sugar until it was half eaten. I had some other goodies there too. Day 6 was Sunday, the Sabbath...so I had some coffee in the morning with my husband which just led into more 'sabbath' day excuses. So day 7 I was back on the program...for the most part :) I had a few chocolates!

All in all it was good to see that it was really easy not to have white flour or sugar in my home, since we don't have much if it there...it's when I left the house that it's hard. Coffee, well I survived, it was when things were going rough that I really wanted one.

I did get more sleep and read before bed which was nice. And the exercise portion well didn't happen much. I can't wait for spring!!!

What I learned was that when I am feeling down for whatever reason I resort to bad habbits...tv, coffee, sugar, etc. I've been feeling pretty out of sorts lately. Life is busy and very challenging with 2 young girls right now. Leah, thanks for the encouragement that it does get better...just waiting for that 6 month mark! In the meantime I am going to try and fill my life with more goodness!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Simple Life

Life's been pretty hectic these days. Our basement is a mess due to a renovation that is taking longer than expected. Not to mention the backlash of mess streaming into the rest of the house, not being able to utilize the space downstairs. I am very anxious to start spring cleaning and rid our home of clutter and items we no longer use. My husband has also taken on some overtime shifts (this past week he did 6 nights in a row! needless to say I am exhausted from night parenting a newborn and a toddler who has taken a new interest to waking up several times in the night, by myself). We also are battling colds. Then I was given an opportunity to start a home business.

I must say I was intrigued. I studied the business, and spent time dreaming big and balancing that with reality. I guess at first I am always intrigued at the prospects of generating income. The offer really made me search and recommit how I want to live my life. I really do want a simple life. I want to spend most of my time with my family. I want to grow and cook healthy foods for them. I don't want to worry about investments and properties. I don't want to be thinking about work while I am playing with my girls. I want my home to be simple too. Not filled with clutter and stuff. I want to enjoy people and places rather than things. I want to love and be loved.

As much as I want a simple life, I also want financial freedom. But then I read a quote such as this: (thanks for adding this quote to your blog Claire - It really spoke to me).

“Jesus is ready to set us free from the heavy yoke of an oppressive way of life. Plenty of wealthy Christians are suffocating from the weight of the American dream, heavily burdened by the lifeless toil and consumption we embrace. This is the yoke from which we are being set free. And as we are liberated from the yoke of global capitalism…our sisters and brothers in Guatemala, Liberia, Iraq and Sri Lanka will also be liberated. Our family overseas, who are making our clothes, growing our food, pumping our oil, and assembling our electronics - they too need to be liberated from the empire’s yoke of slavery. Their liberation is tangled up with our own. The new yoke isn’t easy. (It’s a cross, for heaven’s sake.) But we carry it together, and it is good and leads us to rest, especially for the weariest traveler.” Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne

It really makes me consider the 'American Dream'. How it actually is a yoke of slavery. Slavery to fear the future, slavery to keep up with the Jones', slavery to purchase purchase purchase, slavery to perfection..of body, self, and surroundings! I want to be liberated! I want simplicity. I want to rest in Jesus. I want others to have freedom. My heart wants this. Longs for this. My 'other self' wants stuff! Wants financial freedom, an early retirement, nice clothes, and a hybrid SUV ;). This is my tension. This is my yoke. This is my struggle.

Perhaps the first place to start is to identify the life I want. Then filter decisions. What do I do with this tension? Will it ever subside?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

7 Days of Goodness...Day 3

Days 1 was great! Didn't even have a headache from lack of coffee. Also, got a great restorative yoga time in. Loving reading before my early bedtime! Husband doesn't let me read in bed, since he can't sleep with the light on.

Day 2 things started to fall apart. I had a rough night putting the girls to sleep, it took 2 hours! Grace kept waking up Joy and then Grace did everything in her power to keep herself awake. Afterwards I had a few chocolate chips, but you know what, they weren't satisfying. So I just went to bed. No exercise...a little reading.

Day 3 and today I found out why everyone in my family has been GRUMPY!!! The noses started to flow...and I have the starting of a sore throat. I am modifying the program...more sleep, no exercise. Hoping I stick with it despite feeling sick. I have a chiropractor appointment tomorrow hoping with some alignment I can fight this thing faster. Even had my husband make me a juice consisting of garlic, parsley, carrot and apple. I did it in shooters since I detest raw garlic! The parsley didn't do much to cut the flavour.

Husband is off for 4 days after tonight YAY!!! Looking forward to some relief putting the girls to sleep at night. It's just been VERY stressful.

PS. Claire - I think you are the only one reading this blog :) I'm a little shy to send it to people I know. It's nice we can keep in touch reading up on each other...but I'd love to chat in real person sometime!

Monday, February 16, 2009

7 Days of Goodness!

I've made up this little program for me to follow. I am calling it "7 Days of Goodness". What is it? Well for one week I am striving hard to fit the 'goodness' of life into my days. Which means sitting down and writing out the goodness that I want to focus on...mostly those things that are lacking at the moment...in return giving up some of the not so good things. Here's my list.

1. eat more raw veggies and fresh fruits (no sugar!)
2. exercise of some sort once a day
3. meditation of some sort or reading - which means less tv and internet
4. increase water intake
5. increased sleep (which means going be bed much earlier since I can't control when the little ones get up in the morning, and napping when/if they do)
6. drink green tea (yup again attempting to give up the coffee ritual, at least for this week)
7. no white flour (which means no treats - since the only thing i eat that has white flour is baking) I also want to eat less bread - I have toast every morning!! :)

Look at that - 7 items! I didn't even plan that!

You may have noticed there's nothing about my kids in this list. Well, actually the whole program is about them. I have been rather grumpy lately, and may patience is low. I know I have overcompensated with some bad habits (ie. sugary treats) and those 'feel good' things that aren't lasting, like sleep. At night I am so glad to have time to myself that I stay up way too late, doing much of nothing, when I could be sleeping or doing something that will really benefit me like exercise or reading something empowering.

OK so here it goes! I'll let you know how I do! Feel free to drop me a note and keep me accountable.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Prodigal Daughter

Today is Sunday! I love Sundays. I love going to church and then having a lazy afternoon...also today The Amazing Race started a new season. I was really looking forward to some time with my husband before he started his night shifts. (Especially since he took an overtime shift last night - V Day!)

Church was great. It's a new community for us so each time we go we are meeting new people and understanding the culture more and more. We really appreciate the pastor's teaching and our daughter Grace LOVES Sunday School.

Grace fell asleep just as we entered the church parking lot. Needless to say she was very cranky when we woke her only moments later. So daddy let her play in his pocket where she pulled out a loonie and put it in her pocket. She loves her coins. She likes to put them in wallets, place then inbetween the dvd player and satelite box (why? I don't know) and occasionally her piggy bank.

In Sunday school the teacher was telling the story of the Prodigal Son. She said "and the son took his daddy's money" hearing this resonated with my little girl. She stood up in the class and pulled out her loonie saying "I have my daddy's money". She is so sweet. I am glad she was listening to the story. Although she didn't return the money to her dad.

I think about how she truly is my prodigal daughter at times. After church today she'd run away from us, in search for the refreshment table, we could see her look to see if we were watching her and then when she felt comfortable she'd reach out and grab a cookie. We even lost her for a minute as she ran to another table across the room looking for more cookies.

Anyhow, here I sit by myself. My husband got yet another overtime shift. It's great for the bank account but we really missed him tonight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be Mine!

My husband was really in the Valentine's day mood this year. I think it was because he now had 3 loves in his life and he wanted to celebrate that. Just an aside, my husband daily shows his love to all of us, you can see that he is overflowing with love for his family, it's quite neat. Anyhow, he went out and got each of us a little something. He bought the baby a banzai tree (if you know my husband this makes perfect sense), a teddy bear balloon for the 2 year old, and for me... mmmm a great bottle of Merlot! You can sense he was excited to express his love.

Well our 2 yr old Grace had had a fun morning at the farmer's market with gramma and grampa. They said she managed to sweet talk her way into lots of treats! Mostly of the high sugar variety. Needless to say by the time I got her home she was CRANKY!! Thankfully she went for a nap rather easily. My husband went to go wake her up in time for an early dinner he had prepared for us. He was excited to show her the balloon. Well, she was still cranky when she woke up. She could care less about the balloon and did not want to have dinner opting to watch some TV. Since she was beyond reasoning with in such a cranky state we allowed for her to do just that while we enjoyed our meal. I could tell my husband was disappointed. But we enjoyed each other and the meal.

Eventually she did come out of her little state and is enjoying the balloon very much. She also devoured her dinner wanting more. (Too bad daddy is at work and is not witnessing it).

The event made me think about yesterday. I woke up CRANKY!!! A BIG BABY. I'm not sure what it was. Eventually I told myself the truth, that there really wasn't anything to be so CRANKY about I managed to get myself out of it. But I could definitely relate to my 2 year old. I wonder in what ways God was showing me love as I sat there unwilling to receive, just as Grace refused her daddy's affection today.

I'm a firm believer that God is showering us with blessing and love all the time. We just either refuse to see it sometimes and choose to focus on the troubles or we are ignorant that God is loving (usually because people have told us we are unloveable in one way or another). The truth - GOD IS LOVE! He loves each of us very much. Not for what we do but for who we are, His beloved creation, His dear children. I'm glad He still loves me when I am cranky, just as I continue to love my toddler.

I hope you know how much God loves YOU.

Here are the loves of my life...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In the moment...

Sigh. This is such a great moment. I love the silence and peace after my girls are in bed. Time to relax! Time to re-engergize myself. I know I have talked about this before, but I am finding it's very important as I give of myself to my little ones. This morning at yoga I really appreciated silencing myself and focusing on my body. When I returned to my children I had more energy and patience, which is essential being mommy to my 2 year old. Grace can pick up on my moodiness. When I am cranky, she's cranky. When I am happy, she's happy. Anyone else experience this?

Huge thanks for my husband who encourages and supports that I have time for myself.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Just Like Mom

They say that immitation is the greatest form of flattery! Well at least that's what my mom always said 'they said'. Lately I've noticed some new behaviours in my 2 year old Grace. Some of it very encouraging, some not so much. She has taken a liking to nursing her baby (it's super cute, she puts the babies mouth to her belly button). This warms my heart. She is so gentle and tender to her little baby. She also loves to caress her baby sister's face and say 'oh my Joy'. These things she's learned from me. I feel so warm and fuzzy!

Now for the not so nice stuff she's learned. Pointing the finger! Ouch! When she talks with a little 'tone' and points that finger I shrivel inside. Makes me wonder why I do that. It's not something I set out to do. I haven't read it in a parenting book and thought...yup that's how I want to parent my kids. Nope, instead it's a behaviour I picked up from...you guessed it, my dear mom, how do I know, because everytime I catch myself pointing that finger I am reminded of my mom's finger pointing directly at me.

I know there are other things I do that I've inherited (good things too, my mom is an awesome mom). Things I just wish didn't come naturally, but they do, and I am only human afterall. I am trying to tame that finger. I'd much rather see my daughter immitate the good traits of my parenting. But I must not be so hard on myself. As a friend reminded me yesterday we need to rest in God. Take a deep breath, rest knowing that God is sufficient, forgiving, loving, and ask the spirit to guide me next time. It is working, that finger comes out a lot less now that I am aware it likes to pop out in stressful times! I can even take the breath of rest when I feel the finger coming out and then it changes it's mind and more positive actions take it's place.

I have many ideals of how I want to parent. Some of them I have already canned because they just weren't working. Some are things I do but wish I didn't like allowing for move tv than I said I'd let my kids watch, or pointing the finger to name a few. Some things I wish I could do, like elimination communication. I tried this for a few days (I do think it takes longer to be successful). Never caught a single elimination. I made excuses, like, my 2 year old is too busy to allow me to concentrate that much on the elimination needs of my newborn, or I guess I am really not that intuitive to my child's cues, I'm a failure. Eventhough I'd love to follow ECing...I am giving myself some grace in this area. Instead I am using a lot less in terms of diaper wear so that I can detect right away a pee/poo and change my little one. This is the point which I can live with for now.

There are probably things in your parenting that you wish you could do better or do at all but aren't, can't, won't, for whatever reason. You don't have to make excuses. Be free. Maybe without the pressure to do everything right or the lies we tell ourself as to why we can't, won't, don't we can be honest and know we're not perfect...and right now I can go this far...and who knows what the future will hold.

With all the information available for a parent these days it can be overwhelming...especially when we have our kids best intentions in mind, we want the absolute best for them, we don't want to mess them up! We don't parent alone, may God's spirit show you grace in these situations.