Saturday, December 31, 2011

Intentional living

The clock is inching ever closer to New Years.
The one night of the year when I might be tucked in bed, sleeping peacefully, by 11 ;).
It's not that I'm a party-pooper, per se.
It's just that, between Christmas festivities, and an almost-maniacal attempt to organize the house (I get a little buzzy about things like that after a busy time!), I am all partied out for a little while.
Say, till the next birthday.
Or the next snow day.
Or the next thank-you-Jesus-for-this-great-day Day. And those happen from time to time, and bursts of it throughout my days. God is good :).

I'm all about intentional living. I review things periodically, tweak here and there (in some cases, nothing short of a personal overhaul is in order!!) and truly desire to live life with a God-focus.

But, as new years creeps closer, along with the resolution list, I find myself chuckling....

Here are the Top Ten things I could never resolve to do, because simply.... I just couldn't.....

10. Get my heiny in bed before 10pm every night for a week. Friends, I can't even do this one night! It would be good great spectacular splendiforous wise for me to create that habit, but alas, I am a night-owl and a morning person rolled into one and I treasure my afternoon naps like gold (so does my family ;P).

9. Give up coffee. Probably not ever. I twitch just thinking about :). Come mighty close when I'm pregnant, but I'm not and so it's almost .... unthinkable!!

8. Checking the calendar on a daily basis. I like to think of it more as a ..... frequent consultation rather than a daily obligation. Consequently, Jon has occasionally reminded me.... not to forget .... appointments .... and I've had therapy people show up here .... with me totally and completely unprepared!! And first I scold Diggy for going off like a third-degree alarm bell, until I realize..... riiiiggghhht. Company.  At least I could serve them coffee, right :P?

7. Completely kick the comparison habit thing. I've tried, I tell ya, I've tried. And honestly, I think I'm getting better at giving it the 'ole heave-ho when I see it lingering. But sometimes, it's sneaky. And I'll find myself comparing and comin' up awful short and feeling kinda crummy (sometimes awfully crummy) .... until I realize... girl, this is bad form ;). Sometimes this is easy. Sometimes.... not.

6. Give up snow. I just can't. I love it. Not for 10 months out of a 12-month calendar, mind you, but I'm ready for a doozy of a snow storm. Especially since I got two cozy pairs of slippers for christmas, and several pounds of coffee from Ten Thousand Villages. I'm alllll set to go :).

5. Say no to the thrill of an adventure. Whether it's an outing with the girls (and I can honestly say, some of those are quite .... interesting....) or a family excursion.... there's something to be said for packing everyone up and trying something new. Of course, before we had kids and could actually sleep at night ;) I had a bit more energy in the reserve for things like this. And often I do tend to put the brakes on before getting caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment. But hey, the more the merrier, and what I lack in zest I get oodles of in memories!

4. Give up words. I use 'em all the time. Ya know those meals at camp where you weren't supposed to say a THING --- like a monk meal --- those were h.a.r.d. for me ;). But it's more than speaking. I love journaling and discovering story through song and learning how to listen. Sometimes silence is divine, and the older I get the more I drive in the vehicle with the radio OFF. But, especially in silence, there is much to be heard.

3. Quit running on my own clock. I've said it before. And I'm working on it and have seen some vast improvements over the years. But I will probably never be the early bird ;). Not often, anyways!!

2. Forgo my tendency to collect little treasures from MCC. Our MCC is the best ever. Not too crowded, really quite tidy. And there is almost always a little gem to take home. Most of my purchases are totally reasonable (not like I'm high on the thrill of something new and take it home only to wonder what on earth was I really thinking ????) and the money is going for something GOOD. But since we've discovered the gold at MCC, we visit frequently :).

1. It's late, and I'm not sure what else I could not give up. Probably silly things like vacuuming the carpets in straight lines, having tidy piles (they may be piles, but at least they're lined up!), my compulsion to have everything in the fridge in its right "spot" (and yes, I will shuffle it around if things are askew!), my tendency to think out loud (this can be a bit of a problem-causer though, and perhaps worthy of further review!), or my slippers in just the right spot at the side of my bed (hey, I'm up often at night, I need to know where they are ;P).

There ya have it.
Happy New Years.
Happy January 1.
Greetings 2012.

There are many things that I will embrace for this year. But likely, these are not them ;).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And here I sit, sipping tea :)

In a season overflowing with the abundance of good things, today is a lovely quiet day in the midst of the swirl.
A day of not rushing,
of sneaked-in snuggles,
of exploring a few of the new things we've been given, of watching Wee One toss her blankie on Diggy's head and squeal with delight (it's like unwrapping a gift over and over and over --- Diggy is a saint already, if dogs are given such status, for all he's lovingly endured over the years!!),
of lingering at the computer with a cup of tea. In the morning! Imagine!!

Every year there is a tension between all the things I'd love to do and all the time and energy with which to do them :) (oh and this is not just a christmas time phenomenon --- there is always a TON of projects I'd like to try, and only a select few ever get attempted :P.... even fewer are ... ahem ... successful!). There are a few handmade lovelies awaiting their finishing touches. Precious time spent with precious neighbors, family and friends. Gift-hunting expeditions (some easier than others!) that are also about making memories as we hunt and seek :). Christmas plays, Boney M christmas carols played over and over and over and over (I've added others to the playlist to help round it out a bit, but these are the ones Little M frequently chooses!!) .... and the occasional christmas baking too.

Yesterday was a sweet milestone. Celebrating Little M's 6th birthday. Tuesday night, at midnight, as has become a yearly tradition, I am cleaning home and decorating cake. Wondering.... is this reasonable? Is it worth it :)? Is sleep not more important :)? But, as Wednesday dawned, excitement set in and we enjoyed having commotion in our home :).

The wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3 speaks to me -- and reminds me that there is a time for everything.
There is a time for hustle and bustle.
There is a time for quiet and rest.
Both are good, and necessary, in balance ;).

My cup of tea is gone. Actually, the whole pot is finished! Yikes, I suspect the caffeine will hit me anytime now.

May you find time to linger today.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A favorite.
Just wanted to share.

"10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)"

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
I'll worship Your holy name

Friday, December 2, 2011

Spec-tacular review!!

A while ago already I began wanting new glasses. At several hundred dollars a pop though, I wasn't about to rush out and buy myself some "just because." During the kid-wrestling matches we have here during the evenings (our kids get increasingly wound up between dinner and bed-time --- are we the only ones ;P???), I hoped that someone would sit and my head and break my glasses (it's happened before!!) ---- but it didn't work out that way this time.

It was time to take measures into my own hands.
And no, I did not "accidentally" sit on my own glasses!

I really wanted to try ordering glasses online through Zenni Optical --- and this was a project I began back in ...oh, say MAY.
First I needed to get my eyes checked (a story in and of itself.... some back windowless room at the local walmart.... they only accepted cash.... the "eye checker" machine was really a brief case full of these little spectacle lenses.... and apparently my eyes have "improved" since having babies........). CHECK.
Then I start sorting through the various options. Because it takes me forever to finish anything, this was a very long process. Narrowed it down, delete delete delete, more selections, more deleting.... finally CHECK.
Then I needed to have my pupil distance, which you can do yourself, but knowing my success with the details of life, decided to wait until I could get it from the Pearle Vision office where I've bought my glasses over the past 10 years. They give it to me for free. CHECK CHECK (most places charge you +$20!).

Then I procrastinated ordering them because I was afraid it would just all fail miserably and I'd have blown $45. CDN. For two pairs of glasses (includes anti-glare AND shipping!).

Finally I just did it already.

I've never really liked my previous pair of glasses. I bought them because I wanted to try something other than the wire rims I've known since ....oh, grade FIVE. I'd never get them again. They were heavy, impossible to adjust, a bit too much for my face, and very very shief to start off with (that's pronounced "shife" and it's "low german" for just a little bit off.)  It required several trips to the shop for adjustments, which was really annoying.

I settled on a pair of semi-rim glasses and full-rim glasses. I like the look of the semi-rims, but Jon isn't a huge fan, so since I was getting two ;) ... thought I'd get the full rims as well. They are also a bit sturdier (as far as glasses go!!) and better for around the house.

The verdict??? Although I like them both, and I'll definitely wear them, I wasn't sold on them at first. The quality is definitely reflected in the prices. I think they felt really flimsy because I was used to the previous solid chunkers. Now that my eyes have adjusted (and I don't walk around feeling like I've binged on too much holiday "egg nog,") I'm really starting to get used to them. The semi-rims fit much better than the full-rims, which required 2 pliers and 45 uninterrupted minutes to sit straight(er).  I will still have them professionally adjusted next time I go to Winnipeg!!!

My previous "experiment"....

And a few "blasts from the past"!!!! I am not "posing" so much as trying to show off the duct tape embellishment added to these (favorite, but alas non-functional) navy wire-rims. Sweet K sat on my head and they snapped like a twig!! (You can see why I was hoping that would happen again!!)

We had a blast with these specs!!! MY SECOND PAIR OF FRAMES (And I am not even kidding --- though I really wish I was ;) --- I keep almost everything from anytime in life, for some odd reason.) I finally graduated these specs when I was in COLLEGE. HOW TERRIBLE IS THAT!????! Are they not glamorous!!?

Special kudos to my little photographer. Who took many random shots in between the "photo shoot."

AND, I am thrilled to announce, I Picassa has FINALLY put out a program for Mac users.
It is a bit too much fun. I fear I may spend more time tinkering with pictures again!!!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2011

Little Passionista!

Soon, my little passionista will be a year and a half old. The time of transition and learning and loving has flown right by. Already she walks and runs and climbs (everything!). She talks and kisses and comforts me with her "pat pat". She says "luv woo" and can go from tears to laughter in less than a blink. 

She's passionate. 
She's vibrant. 
Her name means "Defender of mankind". 
We are smitten, to say the least ;).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Words To Live By: Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

Came across this truth nugget in my readings today.
Wrote it down to stick on the fridge.
Thought I'd share it here too....

God can do anything, you know—
far more than you could ever 
     or guess 
          or request 
in your wildest dreams! 

He does it 
not by pushing us around 
by working within us, 
his Spirit deeply 
and gently 
within us.

~ Ephesians 3:20


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bumper sticker moments

It's the oddest things, sometimes, that will have me burst out laughing.
Out loud.
By myself :).

Like the other day, when I was scurrying around our living area, trying to balance supper prep, the last round of diaper changes until bedtime, tidying a few toys up so that there was space to walk, letting the dog out, and then back in, and then possibly out and back in again ;). Little M was likely asking me to look at something, quite possibly a dance routine because we're really sorta into that thing around here these days. Sweet K was likely chasing Wee One around and around and Wee One was likely lookin' for the next climbing adventure. Because that's what she likes to do. A lot. Nothing is off limits.

Anyway. I probably also had the radio going, because I am a sucker for lots of noise, and hoping for some heartfelt inspiration to get through until the end of the day. Jon was going to walk in the door any minute.

It was life in its chaotic loveliness and I just couldn't help but LAUGH as I thought of a bumper sticker my mom said her college friend used to have on the back of her little car....

Or, in that year after Sweet K was born, and there were so many doctor appointments. Packing up two small kids, heading down town, on winter roads, was a bit of a challenge, particularly when all I wanted was to be at home, where things felt safe and secure. There were a lot of tears and much anxiety.

I was off to one of those appointments. Hadn't given myself time to spare (of course!) and then ---- serious traffic issues. Like C'MON people! Don't ya'll have JOBS during this time of the morning!? We can't ALL be rushing off to the same hospital at the same time!!

Anxiety, by this point, was ringing some serious alarm bells.
Breathing was an issue (do not hyperventilate do not hyperventilate do not....) and I began talking to myself.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see this bumper sticker....

In spite of myself, I burst out laughing.
Sort of. In a tense sorta kinda way.
"AHHHH. Jesus wouldn't have left 10 minutes late!!!" I said out loud :).

May you find much laughter today, smack in the midst of life, with all its mayhem and surprise!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stay ... stay ... stay... stay.... stayin' alive!!

If you were to ask me how teaching-at-home is going, I'd give you rave reviews!!
I think we're into a rhythm that is working well for us.
Ohhhh, we have our moments, but all in all I think it's going well.
What a gift to embark on such an adventure at this time.

Yes. There is a BUT.
Balancing schooling.... homework.... housework.... an occasional visit.... and personal refreshment is a challenge!
Until just recently, I felt myself simply shutting out many things that I've found enjoyable over the years.
Reading. Too much thinking at the end of a long day.
Writing. Mind is too mushy at the end of a day.
Crocheting. Focus is required and that is lacking at the end of a day ;)
Scrapbooking. That would mean that I would have to clear off the desk in the "Black Room" (a post for another day) and that is too much work at the end of a day
Blogging. Hmmm. That too requires thinking. And reading. And possibly writing. Issues all around at the end of a day!!!

I'd add exercise to the list, but **sigh** can't say I've added that to the "list of enjoyable activities" for quite some time ;). Maybe some day :)???

Admittedly, it has taken  me a while to find that transitional footing once again.
Creating room for things that bring a creative zest to life.
And I'm finding that some of what was once energizing has now changed.
An intriguing journey.
Finding balance at any stage of life is a challenge to be sure.
Yet it is coming and I find hope in the learning and letting go.
And in the mean time, finding ways to Stay Alive!!

If you need a chuckle, check out these fellows from the '70s. YIKES!!

Friday, October 7, 2011


The Ride. Saturday, October 2.
It was a gorgeous, sunny morning.
The wind, a fierce competitor :).

However, our motley group assembled at the designated meeting space at a crisp 8am; personally I did have a cup of coffee in hand :).
We were excited and ready to get going!

In total, our team raised $5,205.00, 60% of which will go directly to CPC for doppler equipment and ultrasounds through Baby Moon. $3,123 can go a long long way (and save a lot of lives, too!).

The Winnipeg Ride itself brought in over $62,000!! 

While I pedaled my humble little bicycle, borrowed helmet and all, I thought about a few things...
1. How goodgoodgoodgood it felt to be out first thing in the morning (yes, brisk wind and all!), with the sun shining and the blood pumping. When working at camp one summer, I discovered the beauty of the early morning. I've been hooked ever since! I was thankful to be able to enjoy it outside :). I drove through as many crunchy leaf piles as I could. Sheer delight!! Once a kid, always a kid!!

2. Lately, Jon & I have been hedging around the topic of finding a different home --- not a different community, but a different home. Not any time soon, though before our Wee One needs a bedroom (right now she camps out in the living room in her play pen!!!). I'm thinking --- nope --- love it right where I am. I'm sure there are accommodations we could make. But such talk has gotten me thinking about how dreadful, how utterly awful, it would be to be displaced. Wandering. Invaded. Exiled. Shunned. Some of the money raised in this ride will go to help people who live and breathe that reality.

3. As much as I love my little family (and I thoroughly adore each and every one of them), I thought about how good it felt to have a wee break. And then I thought of the moms, particularly the single moms, who do not have that luxury. Who slug through the ups and downs of parenting, day in, day out. Alone. A lot of money we raised will go to help support moms who desperately need a kind word, a shoulder to lean on, a place to have their voice heard. 
A place to tell their story. 
A place to begin a new one.

On the iPod that morning....
Let God Arise, Chris Tomlin
Here Is Our King, David Crowder Band
Everlasting God, Chris Tomlin
O Praise Him, David Crowder Band
Bubbly, Colbie Caillat
Smile, Uncle Kracker

Our Team Troopers!! 6-year-olds with a heart to make a difference!!

The end of the ride came way to soon, a mere 35 minutes later. 
Next year, I'd love to try the 25km. 
Just to see what happens :).

However, the ending was really only the beginning. 
Awareness is one thing; what you do with it altogether another.

** Special thanks to my sweet friend Ruth and her husband Brian for the pics :). They are both fabulous shutterbugs!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the iPod: Let God Arise, Chris Tomlin

I bought this song off of iTunes the other day.
I cannot listen to it and NOT do something!
The other day, no kidding, I went for a walk and ended up RUNNING from our home to the other end of town!!
And I am in. no. way. a runner.
Never have been.
Never will be.
But, somehow, this song just calls for a response!!

Hear the holy roar of God resound
Watch the waters part before us now
Come and see what He has done for us
Tell the world of His great love
His enemies will run for sure
The church will stand, she will endure
He holds the keys of life, our Lord
Death has no sting, no final word

Let God ARISE!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hello friends!

Only FIFTEEN more sleeps until I get the privilege of participating in the Ride for Refuge :).

In case you're wondering.... 

1. 40% of the funds raised will go towards Ride for Refuge.

What does that mean?
It means the money will from this portion will go to fund projects that deal specifically with:

Relief & Aid: Direct aid for catastrophe, war and oppression

Development & Reconstruction: Direct or third-party NGO support for development and reconstruction initiatives including microfinance and sustainable funding

Food & Water: Programs supporting nutrition, food banks, missions and accessible water

Shelter & Housing: Any shelter whether temporary, permanent, or expansion

Medial & Dental: Treatment, follow-up care including HIV, pediatrics, pain management and all necessary supplies

Education & Tuition: Job skills, trades, ESL, career, tuition support and Biblical curriculum and training

Settlement & Acclimation: New arrival support, training and financial aid

Counsel & Legal: Spiritual counseling, development, discipleship, care for post-traumatic stress syndrome, and immigration and refugee claim legal counsel

for the specifics on how the money is distributed, please check out the website at:

2. 60% of the funds raised will go towards the Winnipeg Crisis Pregnancy Centre.
Juergen Severloh, the executive director at WCPC, has (with hearty hope and enthusiasm!!) indicated that any money we raise from this cyclothon will go to purchasing doplar machine (or two or three!!).

What does a doplar do? 
Think first stages of pregnancy.
Listening for that first magical heartbeat.
For some, this is the first real connection that they have with understanding that their baby is a real live being.
It may be the only bond they create with their unborn child.
It may save the life of a newborn baby.
It may also save the life of a mother who will not have to live with the life-long ramifications of abortion.

Any extra money not used to purchase doplar equipment will go to funding ultrasounds through Baby Moon.

In order to split the raised money between RFR and CPC, we need a minimum of $2000 for our team.
Check out  my team page for more details, to see where we're at, or to donate a little to a GREAT cause!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A story to tell...

Once upon a time there were three little girls....

Who LOVED to play dress up!!
For the past several weeks, Sweet K has been walking around declaring I DA KING!! 
She often has a blanket tied around her little shoulders :).

The oldest gal was looking forward to taking dancing lessons with her pretty new dancing dress.
The middle gal wanted one too .... only it took her mama a long long while to find out what her precious little heart desired.

Many different articles of clothing were offered, but none of them were perfect --- what she wanted in her heart of hearts was a dancing dress of her very OWN.

The first day of ballet class arrived. The oldest gal got all dolled up.
Finally FINALLY it dawned on mama to pull out a smaller costume, smaller slippers --- and there was instant bliss.
And suddenly, TWO ballerinas!!

Now, only the oldest daughter is ready for formal lessons, but the middle daughter watches in awe --- yes, still wearing her adorable costume, SHOES AND ALL --- (running back to mama every so often for hugs and gentle reassurances) and maybe some day will be ready for her own turn.

Until then, we'll all work on those lady-like skills ;).

Oh yes. This story had THREE girls.
Here is the third sweetness herself.
Never to be outdone.
She could run circles around us all!!!

PS - we got quite a few smiles as I took my ballerinas to Bigway to buy milk after dance class!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Deal With The Wheels...

Ahem. I have a small confession to make.
Actually, I probably have several I could scrounge up, but we'll leave it at this for now....
I never EVER wear a bike helmet.
We're all about safety first over here, and kids wear helmets and all that, but in this one teeny tiny area, I've not been one to set the example.
I don't like helmets.
I personally don't OWN a helmet.
But now I have to find one!


This year I get to PARTICIPATE in the Ride for Refuge.
Ever heard of it?
Well, I hadn't either, until last year.
Until my sweet neighbor invited me to bike along, but just having had a baby and focusing very hard to trying to maintain my sensibilities, I cheered her on from the sidelines instead ;).
Here's their 2010 promo video....

HOWEVER. This year I get to grab my wheels (and, sigh, a helmet :P) and join in the biking fun. We'll be cycling in Winnipeg on October 1.

WHY ?? You ask?

One. Awareness. It's soooo easy for me to forget. To go about my business. To not stop, to not care, to turn and walk away instead of stopping to look need in the eye. It's one teeny tiny way for me to get involved in something so much bigger, to contribute in some way, to remember.

Two. We're raising money. Most of the proceeds we raise will go to support the Winnipeg Crisis Pregnancy Centre. These fine folks are doing the best they can to love, support, nurture and care for other fine folks who find themselves in life's difficult circumstances. They all need our prayer. Our care. And a little bit of cash goes a long, long way too.

Three. We're raising money :). A portion of the proceeds will go into the Ride for Refuge fund ---

Uprooted by war and political conflict, marginalized by gender discrimination and racial prejudice, and abused by the powerful - those who are displaced, vulnerable, and exploited urgently need our protection, especially women and children.

The Ride for Refuge helps churches and charities fund and promote their work with people who are displaced, vulnerable, and exploited. These include:
Refugees and Internally Displaced Peoples (claimants and sponsored)
Migrant Families (economically displaced and migrant workers)
Indigenous and First Nations People
Widows (men & women)
Orphans (single-parent, abandoned and street kids)
Homeless (urban or rural poor)
Abused (elderly, spousal, kids)
Human Trafficking (child & adult)
Sex-trade (child & adult)
Labor (child, bonded, forced marriage, child soldiers)

Wanna join in the fun!?
You can grab a bike. You can raise $$.
You can contribute $$.
You can come and be a part of the adventure on October 1 (ride starts at 9).

Click HERE if you want to sign up and/or contribute $$!

I'll let you know how it goes.
The last time I participated in a bike-a-thon, I was going into grade eight, biked 148 kms, had a very sore behind, and great calf muscles for the next two years!!!
I'm a bit older now, starting off with the 10k bike (25k and 50k to come :P?), and suspect my calf muscles could use the work out!!

And now --- off to find a helmet!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Wrestle I Never Thought I'd Have...

It started the morning I dropped Little M off at Kindergarten for the first time.
By this time, next year, we'll be home-schooling.
Where on EARTH did that come from!?

Keeping in mind that I was sleep-deprived AND post-partum ;), I just assumed that the hormones were playing havoc with my mind (again!) and entertained these ideas as a way of coping with the whole transition. And so entertain them I did, for a while.

Then, while walking home from school one day, we chatted with a friend who was teaching their kids at home. They were all excited about a chrysalis that had been discovered in their backyard. They had brought it inside and were waiting for for the butterfly to make it's grand appearance.
Chrysalis? CHRYSALIS!?
Seriously, I don't even know what one looks like, let alone where to find one. Even if I DID manage to recognize one, I would never think to bring it into the house for observation. Then and there I mourned, immediately deciding that if my poor children were taught at home, they would be completely and utterly deprived of any sort of real education whatsoever.

I simply let the matter drop.

I love this quote from the movie Inception:
Cobb: What is the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intenstinal worm? An idea. Resilient, highly contajous. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to iradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood. That sticks, right in there somewhere. 
[he points to his head] 

This idea had lodged itself deeper than I had imagined. Later that fall, while shopping for christmas gifts, I ran into a friend who had been working on the same college degree as I was a few years ago. We'd clicked, and had both contemplated pursuing our masters degree in counseling. She excitedly told me about another route that she had taken in order to obtain her dream -- and strongly encouraged me to consider the same. I became excited -- very very excited. I shared the conversation with Jon, and he was able to locate the appropriate information for me (being a high school guidance counselor and all, this is very handy!). Maybe not for another year, or two, but definitely worth considering.

But even as my heart pondered this, I could feel it stirring. The idea.
What about teaching your children from home?

It became increasingly clear that this was something I needed to pray about further. And not just as a way of coping with the changes, but as a serious consideration. The more I prayed about it, the more the LORD began to reveal and refine - the more I wrestled with motivations, values, assumptions, fear. In this I began to long more and deeper for the LORD's best in our lives at this time.

Very quickly I began to encounter obstacles.
My husband was totally not enthusiastic about this idea at all.
I really appreciate our local school, and wondered what it would be like to not be a part of it.
I thought that the only home-school group in town was full, and I knew I did not want to do this on my own.
I'd begin thinking, maybe, just maybe, and we'd have a horrible week and I wanted to wave the white flag of surrender and thought there is just no way.

But the prayer and research continued. The more I discovered, the more it was confirmed in my heart. A day away to contemplate and pray sealed the deal --- LORD, it would be an honor for me to teach my children at home, however You will need to work out the details. I will not manipulate. I will not demand. You, and only You can do the heart work necessary for this to work.

After a conversation with Jon, we began to explore. He was more open to this than I'd initially thought. (Which, honestly, perplexed me a little because now it meant I REALLY had to consider what felt like a BIG risk!) Over time we carefully sought information, I spoke to hardly no one at all about this since I wanted no one to influence what the LORD was doing in my heart. We outlined a few steps that we needed to take before closing the door (or walking through an open invitation!).

Purchased a used curriculum online to peruse - check
Received confirmation that the Co-op would welcome us - check
Had many many many (many many) conversations about what about this, what about that, and this, or that, and have you thought of this, did you seriously consider that - check check and check!!
I think the thoroughness that I had given this surprised Jon (pleasantly!) and I felt so free, knowing that I didn't have to convince him. I just needed to be honest about what I was feeling and discovering and the LORD would do the rest.

Until this very weekend, I honestly had no idea which way the pendulum would swing. I have wrestled through so many misgivings. I really really like the elementary school. Love the sense of camaraderie and community. Enjoy the variety and diversity. Recognize that not every lesson can be taught in the home. I have struggled with how this would impact Little M, and each of her sisters. Would I have the energy to do this to the best of my ability? Sweet K requires more attention than a typical 4-year-old ... could I do both well?

And on. And on.

We finally came to the conclusion that it is best for us to teach Little M from home this year, quite likely the next and possibly a third. We'll see. I say: for the next foreseeable season, she's at home. Sweet K will continue to go to preschool one afternoon a week so that we can continue to build her case for requiring one-on-one assistance when she enters school (we are planning to send her next year, for her educational needs outweigh what I can give her at this point). How this will all play out --- I'm not even worried about it. I don't have all the answers, and I'm okay with that. If we've come this far, those details will become clear as we need them. For now we can focus on what we know, what we feel, what we believe.

It is good.

At some point we do want her in public school, as we both feel she will likely learn lessons there that we simply cannot teach her here. I look forward to getting involved with volunteering at that time, leading a Discovery class, assisting where needed in a classroom, helping with activities. Building community connections. I will miss that now, but know that a season is coming again when that will be a possibility.

If the tide had turned, and I'd be shopping for school supplies (which, incidentally I have to do anyway!) and packing her back pack and making sure all things were ready to go --- the journey would still have been worth it. I cannot explain how much I've learned, how much I've wrestled, and even how Jon & I have learned to communicate. It has not at all been easy, and comparable to the wrestle we had when deciding whether or not to have a third baby. Tough stuff.

But seeking out God's best is ALWAYS worth it.
You just never know which adventure is awaiting on the horizon!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cuckoo Bananas...

Yup. I can feel it.
We're at that half-way summertime hump.
You know. That hump.
That --- "the hot humid days are really bad for hair," the control issues in me surface and I long for more a bit more routine, and my emotional ability to handle sandbox sand in the house grows increasingly slim --- hump.

It's actually an annual milestone for me, and I've come to expect it.
I am no longer surprised by my quick peek at the sweaters pile in the closet, my freakish tendencies to make lists about everything, or that hyperventilating feeling I get when trying to pack a somewhat creative (but usually pretty standard) picnic lunch.
I usually combat it by snuggling in for a nap.
Nothing like a little sleep to restore perspective :).

A quick snooze after a morning of all-out playing fun!!

It's right around this time that I gaze nostalgically at ripening wheat, canola and flax fields. Growing up on a farm, we knew that the long summer days were running out and we'd be back in the classroom (and surrounded by friends!) shortly. I am still invigorated by the sight of farm equipment clearing a field as I recall the Harvest Buzz around our childhood home. Picnics on the field. Visits to Grandma's while my mom worked alongside my dad. 

It's right about now that I start to look at fall, how responsibilities will fit in and around family life, learning what to say "yes" to (and what to say "no" to).

And it's right about now that I embrace the sun-soaked mayhem a little longer, take a deep breath and enjoy that last stretch of summer.

And, just maybe, sneak a little snack. :)

Caught in the act of sneaking a sugar snap pea fresh from the garden

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Choses J'adore

Choses J'adore sounds so much more refined and learned than the English translation... things I adore. Not to be sneaky about it -- I used an online translation tool for this! I do NOT have a gift for learning additional languages. In fact, as a youngster, I even boycotted Sesame Street when it went bilingual!!! Since then, I have set my language-snobbery ways aside, and have (through sheer force of the public school system) studied German and also (totally voluntarily, which makes ALL the difference) dabbled in Greek.

However, this just sounds so lovely, I could almost consider studying french ;).

Anyway. Choses J'adore.

This summer is the first in many many that I've actually paid any attention whatsoever to my gardens. Well, that's not entirely true either. Every year I have planted flowers and veggies. Every year I have enjoyed, to some degree, the fruits of both. However, due to the delightful absence of post-partum blues, a remarkably enjoyable lack of anxiety resulting from child-related doctor appointments, and time around the home (when I worked full time away from home - because now I work more than full time AT home ;) - our holidays were always spent traveling. Three weeks. On the road. With only a tent and a sunfire-sized trunk full of supplies. Ohhhhh the stories we could tell!!!) I'd say this is the first year I've actually truly enjoyed the work of gardening.

1. The first step was to purge the gimpy soaker hoses that were not at all doing a good job. What was meant to save time and energy, as well as conserve water, ended up to be a colossal waste of money. WOULD have been a colossal waste of money, however my financially super-smart husband saved all receipts and we were able to return the gimpy, useless hoses for a full refund. (Note to self: go to Canadian Tire website and make sure you write appropriately negative reviews for faulty products. Of which we have tried several. All of which. Gimpy.) I whipped out a sprinkler, and really, aside from running out every 30 minutes (which, let's face it, is good exercise and gets you outdoors, right :P?) is no extra work.
Choses J'adore list - add plenty of SUNSHINE, nicely watered gardens. And yes, exercise. Because THAT has not been a regular priority since Wee One's arrival last summer!!

2. The next step was to evaluate the rock-hard-baked ground that our gardens had become. A quick email fired off to my garden-loving friends revealed to quick, easy, and CHEAP solutions.
 - Peat moss. A whole brick. Used in one flower garden. I will do it again next year because the lovely soil is soooo worth it!!
 - Sheep poop. We do not fertilize with chemicals, typically (though we do use weed killer). And I'm working on composting, but ahem, my dedication to that lately has been about as faithful as exercise!!! But SHEEP POOP is cheap cheap cheap, easy to spread and oh my goodness. Abundance of greenness. Weeds included.
Choses J'adore list - add quick and easy gardening solutions that yield such noticeable results AND cheap sheep poop.

3. A few fun things that I've added - a $30 bistro set, which some day I will sit at, enjoy a cup of tea, while watching the kids play (now I'm busy keeping little hands from pulling things out of the garden, teaching young ones to stay away from the road, keeping gravel out of little mouths and actually weeding and tending the flowers themselves ;P); a few pots (Jon says I have to keep these pots ALIVE for at least one season before I can even CONTEMPLATE buying new, prettier pots :)...) and a wind chime that I can hear almost every day.
Choses J'adore list - add little things that make life fun - a great deal on a table set, flowers that were purchased on a family outing trip to a local greenhouse, most selected by moi, but some specifically and lovingly chosen by both Jon AND the kids, and the sound of music, whether it is a breeze, a tinkling wind chime, the crickets or a song.

Choses J'adore list - in pictures....


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