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.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Enjoying Life

The past few days our household has been fighting a stomach virus. I really don't like being home for 4 days straight...but afterwards it really makes you apprecaite the ability to get out and enjoy life! However, on the flip side, it's been great spending time cuddling my girls.

I also have to give a shout out to my amazing husband who has been taking care of all of us. Life sure is sweeter when it's done in communtity. I hope you all have great people to lean on when you are down. I couldn't imagine parenting without support. This is one reason we moved back home to be near family, now that we have little ones. We wanted support around us. Now that we have that support near we see how beneficial it is to us and our little girls. Parenting is demanding, it's a 24/7 calling. It was also important to us to choose a church that would have support, for us, that means having people in the same life stage as us to grow with and lean on.

Since I had some time on my hands the past few days I got to play around on Picnik. Here's a collage I created. The pics are from our first snowshoe of the year, and in our very own yard! It was a great day. Enjoying eachother, enjoying the outdoors, life is good! It's the small things that give so much pleasure. Take notice of your present moment and embrace all that's good. I find when I do this I am most grateful. I call them little moments of sabbath. They have a way to rejeuvenate me! We all have great things happening in our lives, why is it always easier to point out the bad and worry about those things. In my point of view, they take up valuable time (and energy).

A little note about pleasure. A friend of mine was telling me she was thinking of her life, and couldn't help but think 'God is good'. Then she thought, 'no, God is good even if all this was taken from me, this is all pleasures of life'. I like the distiction she made. Too often we wonder where God is when 'unpleasurable' things happen and question his goodness. But God is good. Even if all around is is crumbling we are stil midst his love and goodness! So in those moments of sabbath throughout your day, if there is just no pleasure you can come up with, know that God's goodness is still there.