Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trip down memory lane...

Last week I had the wonderful privilege of spending an entire day out at my parents farm.
SOOOOo relaxing.
I just love driving down those country roads.
ESPECIALLY during harvest season.
Tractors out doin' their thing.
Gravel dust flying in the wind.
Total nostalgia trip.
Remembering Sweet 16, and totally glad I'm not there anymore :P.
Now that Little M has started preschool, she wanted to see pictures of her darling mama when SHE went to school. So, haul out the old photo albums.

Ooooh, baby. Eat your heart out :P!

Okay. So, I'm little, and the hair do ain't bad.
It gets better. Trust me.

I'm like, Grade 1 I think.
You gotta love those home grown perms.
I was teased for eons!!

Ahhhh. The mullet. Classy. With a perm.
Eeeeeven better.
Gotta love those fuscia earrings too!
Probably why I'm only starting to experiment with jewelry again
in my 30s.

THIIIIIIS is the reason I grew my hair long!!
Got tired of being called a boy :P.
Actually, it was quite traumatic.
But don't you love those faux suspenders!
Very trendy.

Yes. A trip down memory lane. What a trip it was. I laughed, I cried (from more laughter) and swapped stories with my mom and daughter.

It was a good childhood. Enough trauma to keep it interesting but all in all survivable.
But have I mentioned I'm glad I'm not a teen anymore :P?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gratitudes - Things that make me chuckle :)....

Today I was (am) grumpy!!
It was a wrong-side-of-the-bed day around here. 
Which, I am learning, is okay.
It really is.
Because they usually only last a day (unless I can listen to MY music at MY volumes, then it's even shorter :P).

SO, on days like today, I am thankful for ....


1. Story-swapping...
The old-fashioned, girl chatter where you laugh so hard you cry over stories of days gone by.

2. Embarrassing moments...
Like when you fall down the stairs at work while trying to look "professional".

Or walking into that same workplace humming a tune, having no idea WHERE it came from, only to realize much later that it was actually off a "Viagra" commercial!!

Getting stuck in a too-tight turtleneck sweater, in a change room, when you're all by your lonesome self, and your arms are waving wildly above your head, and when you finally pull a Houdini and get out of the aforementioned shirt, your hair is wild and your make-up is a serious clown situation!! And then realizing, that while you were in the change room all by yourself, you were TALKING to yourself, loud enough for other shoppers to HEAR you as they witnessed the failing hands (the ones attached to the arms stuck above your head) from over your change room door. AWkWard!

3. When Little M says the funniest things...
Asking me, while driving down the street on our bikes, if the small seat hurts my bum.

Asking me if God's special mission for David included finishing all of his supper.

"Mommy, K and I are having a conversation, and I’m telling her that God says we need to get along!"

4. Music...
Oooh. There are some tunes that bring back memories. Petra's "Love" reminds me of roller-skating in Gr. 8 (social event of the season), having my friends dedicate this song to me and some poor fellow from our group, us "couple skating" and me falling flat on my bum in front of every one!! It also reminds me of a time a friend asked me to sing at her wedding, and I (stupidly) agreed. It was tragic. Or some Brooks 'N Dunn - and me and my sisters video taping ourselves making music videos. (We were old enough to know better :P). And on...

5. My sports ... attempts....
As I've mentioned before, I am not athletic. I don't claim to be. But they do make me laugh!
Like getting stuck on the ski lift, only to have the whole production shut down, I get lifted off (pretty awkward with skis attached!) only to slide into a fence and my skis get all tangled and my friends (bless their loyal hearts) come and get me out!

I played basketball. Got a little confused. Got a break-away. Went for a lay-up. Missed. On my own basket. ooooooh. Double-whammy.

Tried volleyball too. Something about trying to get the ball over the net was a bit cumbersome for me.
And then, baseball. My "career" was cut short by a bee-incident. They sent me to outfield (where I could do the least damage) where somehow, by some twist of fate, a bee flew up into my one-piece shorts outfit (I was young, I wouldn't have pulled that off past gr. 3!!) and stung me three times. I looked like a maniac out there, dancing around with those failing arms again. No shame.

And soccer ... and badminton ... and tennis ... can't say I didn't try :)!

6. J & I
J & I have very different senses of humor. So when one of us finally cracks a funny, and the other finally gets it, and this happens relatively at the same time, the result is pretty hilarious!

7. My pooch.
Right now he's sportin' a big orange spot on his leg. A first we thought it was blood. No. Sauce from the dinner table? Nope again. He found some dry orange craft paint, laid down, and somehow it transferred to his fur. He looks pretty funny.

8. Sometimes, when I'm all by myself, I laugh hysterically.
I think the people in the other cars at the stop lights probably think I'm odd.
They're right :P!

9. I still laugh out loud at movies and cartoons. Animaniacs will always be one of my favs :).

10. Life in general. There are so many things in life that you just gotta shake your head, and choose, will I laugh or cry.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gratitudes - Practicality

Okay. So I'm a bit tardy at this "Gratitude Friday" thing. It's so ironic - I used to collect clocks (still have most of them, batteries up 'n running, and at one time had almost 30 in one room alone!! I find it soothing - each one has a special tick. Others find it -- annoying :P). But I'm almost always late. It's a curse. I'll probably end up showing up late to my own funeral!!

However, my gratitudes are still very sincere. And I need to note them. Get them outside my head, onto something tangible, so I can appreciate them all over again.

When Little M was born, I had one very consistent thought. I thought it almost every day for a very long time. I have NO CLUE where this came from (or eventually where it went, although I still agree with it whole-heartedly...) but it was definitely there.

I am very glad I was not a pioneer.

I admit. It's a rather ... unusual ... obsessive thought to have. Probably unique to my own weirdness. However, it truly was pervasive! I think MAY have had something to do with the fact that I felt utterly overwhelmed with all the changes I was facing, and I couldn't IMAGINE doing this without modern conveniences.

So, this week's Gratitudes (which is really last weeks!!) is about ...
Giving THANKS for the PRACTICAL CONVENIENCES  of life that make my SAHM job so much easier (and even more fun -- sometimes :P).

1. Dishwasher.
I don't enjoy grubby dishwasher.
I don't dream of spending hours in the kitchen.
My dishwasher is my friend.
(Even when it rebels and doesn't quite get all the crusties off :P).

2. My laundry machines.
Our first summer with Little M, our dryer went on the blink.
Argh. I use cloth diapers, and somehow, with no sleep and a restless baby,
hauling out the clothes horse to dry all the laundry lost it's appeal. We went without it for an entire summer. Which isn't a bad thing. Now I might even line-dry for fun :P.
However, the result - we invested in front load machines that gobble up a delightful amount of laundry in one load. I am very grateful.

3. My van.
This afternoon, it was errand day around here. We left early came home well into the afternoon.
I am pooped :).
The thought of a restaurant feeding frenzy with the girls and myself was not ... appealing ... so I packed a picnic. True to MB style, it rained. NO PROBLEMO! I had already folded the seats away, spread out a picnic blanket and we had a tailgate party, mamma style, in the back of the van. The girls had a BLAST, so did I, it felt like such an adventure AND there were no bugs.

4. Screens on the windows.
No bugs. Or very few :P. In the house.
In this mosquito-infested fall, need I say more :P?

5. My deep bath tub.
It's not a place I get to visit often, but when I do, it's home-grown luxury at it's finest.

6. Running water.
Can you imagine carrying, boiling, storing, heating, rationing  -- water?
It's a gift.
And I take it for granted every day.
I am thankful for our clean, safe water.

7. My radio.
Whether it's a hip dance tune, a blast from the past, or a worship song that stops me in my tracks in praise, I love music. The girls love music. Even our pooch gets involved! We dance, we sing, we clap.
And every so often I listen to the news and weather too :P!

8. My computer.
One window into the outside world.

9. Controlled temperatures.
Whether it's enjoying my morning cup of coffee, before the sun is up and the family is stirring, with my feet nestled cozily over the furnace duct, or a refreshing chill after mowing the lawn in July, my home is comfortable. And I appreciate it.

10. Lights.
Whether it's ambient lighting (which we actually have very little of around here - any quick, easy, CHEAP suggestions :P), christmas lights, the quiet night light,
I am thankful for the ability to see when it gets dark.
Less stubbed toes.
(Well, except those frequent mid-night visits to K's crib when she's cranky - too groggy to open my eyes :P.)

I am thankful I wasn't a pioneer.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Culinary Challenged :P

The other day, I resorted to trying to convince Little M that burnt toast actually had more vitamins than regular toast. She didn't buy it, not for one second :).

So often, my default kitchen rule is - if it ain't burnt, it ain't done :)!!!

One of my goals this year (for real, I wrote them out!) was to expand my culinary horizons just a wee bit. This fall I have decided to narrow that down a bit, because it was a tad overwhelming :).

As the weather cools, and the furnace kicks in (well, it hasn't yet, but knowing MB, it will!), I look forward to experimenting a bit with soups! Doesn't that sound cozy :)!? I have a few stand-bys (like chicken noodle, or cabbage borscht), but I'd like to add a few more to the repertoire. So if you have some suggestions :)....

Last Saturday, I gave this a whirl from Kraft Canada (those who know me well appreciate that I enjoy Kraft's EASY and STRAIGHT-FORWARD recipes). It was so yummy, and actually a hit at our lunchtime table.

2 baking potatoes (1 lb./450 g)
1 can  (10 fl oz/284 mL) 25%-less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup skim milk
3 slices  fully cooked bacon, chopped, divided
3/4 cup KRAFT Double Cheddar Shredded Cheese, divided
1   green onions, sliced, divided
1/4 cup light sour cream

Because I am who I am, I simply can't follow a recipe word for word. It would be like denying my inner deviant or something! So I've always got to swap something or forget something or purposefully strike it off the list -- just -- because :).

This time I nixed the sour cream because I had none in the fridge and I used ham (already cooked and a lot less work) instead of bacon (waaaay too much work and mess!). It was still dee-lish.

I also recently purchased a Black & Decker food processor (not sure about the reviews - they were a bit iffy, but hope it'll be sufficient for my basic needs), so I'm looking for all sorts of things to chop, shred, mix and zip through the handy machine just because I can :). We'll see what comes out of the kitchen next week :).....

Oh yeah. Let me know when you can swing by for a bite of something warm (and hopefully tasty!!)... I'd love to have you over!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The next chapter...

I dropped Little M off at preschool today for the first time. The whole time commitment thing is not that huge - one morning a week - but the realization of this milestone is poignant all the same!

I literally changed her clothes three times before we were out the door.

Not that I'm mentally revisiting my childhood school days or anything like that :)!

I was more nervous than she was. She didn't skip a beat. No lengthy, teary good byes. Just a sticker with her name, a wave and a smile. Not really knowing any of the other kids, she grabbed a chair, and in her own quiet way, started to play.

I admire her courage. Just this Monday, I had a square peg-round hole kinda day. It started off with Little M yelling "GET OUT OF BEEEED." I groaned as I cracked my eyes open. (You'd think I'm never out of bed before the kids!!) It didn't take long before the flurry of insecurities and anxieties made their presence known. Groan. And it only got better from there :). After a meltdown in the local grocer parking lot, Little M yelled all the way home. Which would've been - "fine"- if we were in the van. But we weren't! Oh NOOOOO. Anyone standing outside their house that fine morning would've heard the shouted protests and arguments coming from the bike buggy. There was a little girl in there and she. was. MAD!! Smiling in spite of this, I actually did take the long road home. The sun felt glorious, it was breezy enough to keep the bugs at bay, and well, if they're gonna holler, lettem holler :P.

When I was younger, I couldn't wait to be older. I think, in most part, because I believed that when you got older, you outgrew your insecurities like you outgrew your school clothes :). Now that I'm "all grown up" :P, I realize that it's more like your insecurities become that comfy old sweater that you pull outta the closet every so often and just wear around for a while. :)

While these kinds of days are not as much fun, I'm realizing they are crucial in helping me grow into the person I hope to become, bringing with them the gifts of insight and challenge.

As I watch my little one embrace these milestones, I am inspired by her courage and her adaptability. She's a gem (hollering and all!!!).

Friday, September 11, 2009


1. Laughter. Gut-wrenching, side-aching, tear-streaking giggles :).
2. Long chats with old friends.
3. Little M's ever-amazing vocabulary...
"Look mommy, I'm flying like a condor."
Me (finding little cheeks irresistibly pinch-able!!) - "I like your bum." 
Little M. "Thanks, I got it at superstore."
"Mommy. I love living in this house."
4. Love.
In words, 
in hugs, 
in kisses (even ones covered in milk from lunch :P)
in actions.
These great pickles I just learned to make. Fridge pickles. They are shamefully easy.
And terribly addicting!!
4 c. sliced, peeled cucumbers. 1c. each chopped celery, onion, green pepper, red pepper.
Sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of pickling salt.
Let stand 30 min. and drain in colander.
Mix 1c. sugar and 1c. vinegar.
Dump into a refrigerater-able bowl and cover with sugar/vinegar mixture.
Store in fridge and will last months!
Well, not in my house they won't :).
6. New Shirt Day.
I don't think this has ever happened, but all us girlies got to wear a new "fall shirt" today. What FUN!
7. My pooch.
I'm not much of an animals person.
And Diggy is told this often...
"You are the only puppy I've ever loved."
Which is lucky for him, otherwise he'd have found himself
sitting at the edge of our driveway with a sign around his neck:
8. When J shares the details of his day with me. 
It's very interesting listening to the view of the world through
a man's eyes :).
9. When dinner arrives on the table late, but not burnt!!
10. Bedtime. Ahhhh!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Soarin' :)....

The summer sun has a way of stretching things, growing things, I think.
And not just grass and trees and vegetables.

Kids too! Somehow, chubby little legs get longer and leaner (well, mine don't but that's a rant for another day!!!!), pants don't see to fit the same come autumn, and the confidence they've picked up from mastering the monkey bars over the sunny months seems to carry them into fall.

At the beginning of the season, Little M would barely sit on a swing, let alone move much. She used to enjoy baby swings, but somehow, this spring, a little more aware of danger and her surroundings, she would wail in great protest if that little seat went too fast.

And now, as the green leaves find their new hue, she's begging me to swing WITH her. To my great delight she shrieks "Higher Mommy higher!" And so we soar as high as we can, defying gravity for a split second and floating weightless in the air.

I've always ALWAYS loved swings. As a kid, couldn't get enough. Even as an adult (even before kids) I'd go over to the playground every so often, just for the sheer fun of it!

And to hear her squeals of delight, mixed with my own - a little piece of heaven right here :P. It won't be long and she'll be flyin' on her own. Not entirely, not right away, but bit by bit she'll find her wings... which is good. Wouldn't want it any other way.

But for today, we giggle together.
It feels good to fly.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Days like today remind me that in spite of all the education and effort I've invested into working with anxiety rather than letting it direct all of life, I still have some work left to go. Sigh.

Anxiety is my Achilles' Heel, my way of coping. Sigh again.

It is discouraging when I realize that I've chosen (again)...
... fear over faith...
... worry over worship...
... and that I've worked myself into quite a snit before I 
     walk and pray.
          sit and pray.
               work and pray.
                    stop and pray.

And then I get up.
Try again.
Start again.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Little helpers!

We braved the b.u.g.s. today and headed out to the garden.

The glorious sunshine and nice breeze helped :)!!

Potato picking didn't take us very long today. Our 6 scraggly little plants did not produce an abundance of tasty tots, but what we did have we had lots of fun with!
I knew that I could dash outside, dig everything up, and have it in within 20 minutes or so. Little M (who was inside with Daddy) would never even know.
But that's the funny thing.
I would know.
I know how much she looks forward to helping in the garden.
I know that she diligently tucked each little gem into the garden back in spring.
I know that tasks with helpers usually end up taking more time, but they can sometimes be more fun too!

And yes, it was a bit more work, and some days I would've just done it myself.
But watching her expressions was so worth it!
You'd have thought that every potato was made of gold! She ooo-ed and ahhh-ed and exclaimed each and every one was big and beautiful!
And so we give thanks. Our little bucket was not overly full, but the harvesting MOMENT was abundant!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Grateful + Attitude = Gratitude

I've been looking forward to doing this post since the beginning of summer! But, with the hectic pace of painting and life, it has taken me this long to actually get down to it!
It was a lovely sunny day, and I was digging weeds under my Red Arthur Honeysuckle bush, with my two helpers climbing all over me. On the outside, all was idyllic (well, except M probably stuck a twig or  leaf or something scratchy into the back of my pants! That was itchy!!). On the inside, however, a storm was brewing - the storm of discontent. It's funny how those winds can pick up speed in an instant. Something small leads to something just as small, but suddenly I found myself grumbling and mumbling and praying the same things over and over and over.
Then, in the midst of it all came that small voice - Just give thanks. 

Immediately I knew that praying specifically about whatever it was that was irking me at the time (I have lonnnng since forgotten, which means it must have really been a small deal!) was not the solution my heart and soul needed. I needed to learn to give thanks. In all things. And here was an opportunity to practice before my heart felt like it.

And so I did. Appreciation poured forth - for so many things. Personal things (health, family, joy, peace, reconciliation, salvation, friendships, so many creature comforts, a God who cares) and created things (moon, stars, flowers, colors, warmth, seasons) and hard things (conflict that stretches me, painful growth that deepens me, trials that challenge me).

A friend gave me a journal (some people collect shoes. With these big flat feet I have, shoes aren't really so attractive! - journals are much more ... flattering!!!) and I put it to good use. A collection of thanksgivings. No dates. No specifics. No lengthy entries. Just bits and pieces of gratitudes that I collect along the way. Inspired by the blogs of Brene Brown and Ann Voskamp, I purposed to write down as many as I can. Some days it is easy. Other days, I'm too tired to care. But it is good and cleansing and helps me see things in a new perspective.

So here it is.... Things That Make My Heart Happy!

The goal.... 10 things every Friday (in no particular order!).

1. I am thankful that I live in an area where I can still see the stars twinkle at night. As a teen (sometimes returning to the home farm later than I should ;)...), I would always look at the sky as I walked from the shed to the house, finding grounding in the stars that covered the sky. They are brilliant in winter, during the cold cold cold nights! I still find them inspiring.

2. That my girlies enjoy dancing. Every so often, we crank the tunes, and letter go :). Even Sweet K is finding her groove, which is really really really funny!

3. For solitude. Over the course of a busy summer, I set aside those precious hours of prayer, journaling, reflection and quiet. I lost myself. Not good. I have reclaimed that time once again (most mornings ... it's tough when you've gotten carried away with a novel and stayed up too late!!! :P) and am slowly finding ground again.

4. I've been reflecting on James 1:19-20...
My dear brothers, take note of this: 
Everyone should be 
quick to listen, 
slow to speak and 
slow to become angry, 
for man's anger does not bring about 
the righteous life that God desires. 
I have a long long way to go, and I am grateful for a Savior that takes me as I am, but leads me on to something better.

5. Books - whether it's a well-written story or a provoking non-fiction piece, I enjoy reading. My only beef is that I can barely remember what I read these days!!

6. Friends. Good friends. Kindred friends. Silly friends. Serious friends. Family friends. Long-time friends. New friends. Rough-around-the-edges friends.
Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.

7. Popcorn. One of my most favorite-ist treats on earth!!

8. The hum of farm equipment in the fall. There's something about autumn that makes me utterly nostalgic!!

9. Compliments from my husband.

10. Music. Worship music. Country music. Songs that take me back a million memories to times that made me laugh (or cry!).

It's a sweet life and I am thankful!

 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:16-18

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Small Towns

I grew up in a small town, so I know that they have their perks AND drawbacks :).
And after a stint in the city, I knew that the urban life was not for me.
So, when J & I were lookin' to get married, it only seemed natural to remain in SmallTownVille, MB :).

One fun thing about small town life is that even a trek uptown can become the social excursion of the day! Yesterday we headed to the local boutique (MCC!) for our outing of the day. Well, that became of time of visiting with someone I hadn't seen since spring. THEN we bumped into someone else AND THEN we ended up stopping at the park. Someone offered us a bag of freshly picked apples. We stopped and chatted with our neighbor. And on and on. We dawdled here and there, soaking in the long-awaited sunshine, playing, laughing and (very unfortunately!) swatting bugs (it was this that finally drove us back inside our home!).

This is also one of the things I love about my role right now as a SAHM. Before, when I worked outside the community, I couldn't even tell  you who my neighbors were. Now, we have neighbors - plenty of them - and they live all over town. And it's fun to have the flexibility for these surprise visits before dashing home and quickly making another peanut butter sandwich for lunch :P.

Yes, there may not be much anonymity in a small town, but it's a great place to be!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A New Do...

Cutting my hair - like chopping it off in a drastic way!! - is something I've been wanting to do for a long, long time. But, somehow, the appointment time would come ... and go ... and I'd have lost the nerve. Maybe I just wasn't ready. Maybe I didn't want the hassle of learning how to do a different "do." Yeah, maybe.

The truth of the matter is, I didn't have the courage to do it. I was always secretly hoping someone would step in and convince me to do it - to be the courage for me!

However, over time, it has become increasingly clear that only - I - can have the courage for me. Other people can encourage me (and they do!!) and other people can plant ideas (and they do!!) but only I can truly step beyond the desire for approval, the habit of waiting for life to happen, and choose to live as fully as possible; anything less is a half-lived life.

So, it seemed fitting for me to tackle something courageous by celebrating something courageous. I decided to save my two ponies and donate them to an organization that creates wigs for those who find themselves fighting for life in chemotherapy. One small step of "bravery" on my part; seeking to honor those who walk in bravery every day.

And there you have it! My act of courage for the month :). We'll see what October brings!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails