Saturday, March 31, 2007


Do you remember on the show Seinfeld how Jerry's dad used to always shout out, "serenity NOW," when he was having an argument with his wife? I have lots of moments like that, not arguing with my husband, but when there is a lot of noise and activity around, when I just want a little serenity! Well, I'm enjoying my peaceful weekend and time to clear my head of all those serenity-robbing voices. It's not so much the noise of having a houseful of children that gets to me. It's all the other voices, the niggling ones, that induce guilt and tell you you're not doing what you should be doing, that there are better ways to spend a day, that busyness equals happiness. Those are the voices that steal my joy, that prevent me from being the woman I am created to be.

A dear friend of mine (Hi Margaret) has made this one of my favourite verses of scripture:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

So powerful, isn't it? It seems so simple, all black and white like that. There are so many things that seem to try and crowd me off the path of walking with my God. Do more, get more, BE more...that's what I seem to hear in the voices that call out from the culture around me. I want what is good though, so I'll keep trudging along the path of justice, mercy, and humility.

Okay, enough about the voices in my head. You're all shaking your heads at this crazy woman's blog now! I've spent the day leisurely, enjoying some time to create. This layout of my son uses two pictures from his year of preschool. He was a BUSY kid in those days and I remember seeing these photos for the first time. They took my breath away! I loved that haircut, those soft rosy cheeks, and that cute baby face. He's nearly ten now and somewhere in between that little boy and the man he'll grow to be. Life just zooms sometimes, doesn't it? I'm so thankful for him!

More later, gotta get back to, well, just being quiet for a while.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Once in a while...

Once in a while it's good to have a clear countertop for more than 15 minutes.
Once in a while it's nice to have a shower with no one coming in to use the bathroom or ask for something.
Once in a while it's good to have complete control of the remote.
Once in a while it's cool to just eat when I'm hungry and whatever I want, instead of being controlled by the clock and juggling the preferences of six different people.
Once in a while it's fun to be able to have some crafting supplies out without worrying who will get into what.
Once in a while it's nice to know that the laundry won't be reproducing at light speed, for a few days anyway.
Once in a while it's refreshing to pray without worrying if someone will wake up, fight, or otherwise interrupt.
Once in a while it's good to have time to complete those projects that niggle at your conscience.
Once in a while it's important to have some space to recognize the privilege of my every day role as a wife and mom.
Once in a while it's wonderful to look forward to not waking up in the night to a little someone or two climbing over my body to get "in the middle."
Once in a while it's good to breathe deeply and enjoy the quiet.

My once in a while is here. Gary and the children have given me a weekend home retreat. I'm not in crisis or difficult to be around, just taking the opportunity to enjoy my favourite place by myself. My favourite people will return on Sunday night and I look forward to having a rejuvenated me to give to them.

Once in a while we all could use a little space, don't you think?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

This just in....

a little potty conversation...

My youngest and I were just in the bathroom getting her ready for bed. She said to me, "I don't like that girl from the Bible, the one who ate the fruit when God wanted her to obey. She does have nice hair though..."


X-rays and Finding the Balance

That's right. Poor Olivia had her first meeting with an x-ray machine. I am happy to report, however, that no bones are broken. A legitimate soccer injury, she was kicked during Game 3 of her tournament yesterday. I chronically under-react to situations like this. I knew she was hurt because she cried. She doesn't cry very often about physical stuff, she's a pretty tough nut. After a bit of consoling, I sent her back to the bench and encouraged her to play a bit longer. I know, I know, not the winning mommy moment of the weekend. She did go out and play, like a trooper, but was unable to bear much weight on her ankle and wasn't out for very long at a time, coming off the court when the child who kicked her (okay, I know it was an accident but I feel a bit of hostility) was on the floor. It was, after all, the last game of the season. By the time we got her home, that ankle was a bit puffy. We iced it last night and she seemed to have a decent sleep. The swelling had gone down by this morning and we proceeded to church as usual. After the service and Sunday School, I solicited a friend of mine in the medical field to check her out. She didn't look at that ankle for very long before encouraging me to take her in today to have an x-ray. After lunch with friends, we headed over to the closest minor emergency clinic for a long wait, a quick consult with a very kind doctor, a short wait for the x-ray, and a diagnosis of a bad sprain. A few days staying off that foot as much as possible, icing it, a tensor, and a bit of ibuprofen should get this girl back into tip-top shape.

Other than our little medical drama, this was a very busy weekend. I won't bore you with all the details but a couple of meetings, some errand running, three soccer games, a bowling birthday party, church, lunch, friends, and a bit of enjoying the wonderful weather. So much of what we did was enjoyable but our balance of leisure is out of whack. With Gary traveling so much as of late, we all would benefit from some quiet home time. I'm not sure when this will happen. What is the balance like at your house? Do you fight against this culture of busyness or submit to it? I feel that I am constantly fighting for a balance that we never reach and I KNOW that our home is not as busy or scheduled as some. We have pretty decent capacity for activity and people and our children genuinely enjoy social activity. Where is that line of cultivating a healthy home life and letting too much outside stuff in? If you find it, let me know, would you?

The card above is one I made for the birthday party we went to yesterday for our neighbour and good friend. It was fun to get some time to create on Friday evening after a meeting. All stamps, inks, and papers are by Stampin' Up!

I pray you'll start the week with a healthy balance. More later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blogger Challenged

Am I the only one who has trouble with Blogger? I have been having issues all week getting into my account! Finally seem to have managed to get here and I have to run out to pick up my children.

I'll leave you with a photo of a card I made this week. The papers, inks, and stamp set are all Stampin' Up. This set is called Heartfelt Thanks and it is one that I just fell in love with when SU first released it, but I've had trouble using it. Now that I have this nifty tool called a Stampamajig, my troubles are so far away! Expect to see more of this set from me. The brads are by American Crafts and I used a touch of Diamond Stickles in the centre of the flower. I like the contrast of the colours!

Wish me luck on being able to login again here soon...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Starbucks Redemption

Sounds like a great title for a movie, doesn't it? What you see in this photo is my (current) favourite Starbucks drink, a Java Chip Frappuccino. Here is the description provided on the Starbucks website: Coffee, chocolate and chocolate chips blended with ice, topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. It's my spring treat and I had a free beverage card because they forgot my order on one of my recent trips.

I planned to go to Starbucks yesterday with the children on our way home from the airport. I'm not sure what happened but bickering broke out in the back two seats of the van. What started as an attempt to begin our time without Daddy on a fun note quickly turned ugly. I gotta tell you, I wanted coffee. Badly. I gave a few soft warnings but didn't make the final decision until I had pulled into the Starbucks parking lot. I bypassed the empty parking spaces and headed for the exit, turned on the signal light, and voiced my decision that we were heading home sans treat. There were tears and a few, "No Mommy! We'll be good"s from the backseat, but I stood my ground. I know that I'm sometimes not very good on the follow-through. I want them to know that I'm serious when I talk of consequences for behaviour. But, ahem, I wanted a coffee! I think in this case it truly hurt me more than it hurt them.

We arrived home and I directed everyone to find something quiet to do until I called that we would begin school. I found something quiet to do as well. This instruction was followed surprisingly well, as was my call to begin schoolwork a short while later. Sometimes we all just need an opportunity to get back on track. I don't like being the disciplinarian and I know that I am softer with them than I thought I'd be. The results were worth it, we had a great day after our bad start.

And now, today. Schoolwork and music practice were completed in the morning with diligence and just a few complaints (hey, we're not perfect!). At lunch I suggested that we head to the library this afternoon and stop by Starbucks on the way home. This outing was completely different as I was accompanied by four well-behaved and respectful children. We had fun and brought joy to each other. The treat was truly appreciated and not an expectation. What a huge lesson we all learned!

Oh, and a definite bonus! I paid for a DVD we'd borrowed from the library before Christmas and thought we'd lost. I found it and was refunded $25.08. Sweet!

While I was typing this, I finished my Frappuccino....sluuuuurrrrppppp!

More later.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Role Reversal

Just amuse me for a minute as I pout. Gary has a business trip later this week and is going to spend a few days at a wonderful resort in the Rocky Mountains. I am not begrudging the fact that I will be home as a single parent for three days, the kids and I actually do fairly well while he is away. Here's the thing: Gary is not wild about traveling, staying in hotels, or eating out. Oh my stars! That is my idea of heaven on earth. Did I forget to mention that this place has a spa? I did investigate the possibility of traveling with him but it just did not work out this time.

This serves as a great reminder to me that we all have aspects of our jobs that we don't particularly enjoy, even though those might be the very things that others think would be "job perks." It's that "grass is greener" thing creeping in again. I have a brother-in-law who works as a pilot for a major airline. He flies to exotic locations and has the opportunity to stay in hotels and eat out regularly, see different countries, escape the cold climate (okay, arguably this CANNOT be counted as a negative, no matter how you look at it!). After talking to him about the reality of his job, which he really enjoys, it's a whole lot less glamorous than I initially thought it would be. I really need to remember this:

...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV).

Good old Paul! His circumstances sure changed over time and yet he seemed to be able to shake it down to the truly important stuff. I wish you much contentment in your role today, whatever that may be!

More later.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Acknowledging Leadership

The Grade 4/5 Sunday School class students bring home a new assignment sheet every six weeks. They can earn points for attendance, bringing their Bibles, completing reading assignments, service projects, and Scripture memory. Once the student earns 50 points, he/she receives a prize of a movie gift certificate and a token for a free DQ sundae. Noah has been motivated by these assignments and I challenged him to complete all the assignments this time to achieve a "blackout" which entitles him to a double prize. He's taken me up on it and we have all learned as a result.

This session focused on leadership and one part of the service project was to do something to honour a leader in your life. Noah chose his small group leader at the midweek kids' club our kids attend and decided to bake some cookies to give to him. We decided to expand this to include the two middle girls' leaders as well. We worked together as a team baking some yummy ginger molasses cookies and deciding what to say when presenting these to each leader. Noah gathered all the ingredients, the girls took turns dumping, and I operated the KitchenAid mixer (wonderful appliance, like having an extra pair of hands). I was impressed by how they stuck with the task until the cookies were in the oven, each taking a turn to roll a batch of cookies in white sugar. They turned out beautifully (see above) and we wrapped them up in red cellophane, tied them with a black gingham ribbon, and waited for the time to come to leave the house. It was decided collaboratively that each child would go up to their leader and say something to the effect of, "Thank you for being a great leader to me." Since it isn't a holiday or the end of the year, I hope these leaders felt singled out and really special for the gift they are giving to these children. As a family, we are tremendously thankful for individuals who are helping us in our job of training our children, especially in guiding them spiritually.

Before the cookies were made, earlier in the day, Noah knocked my socks off. I have to explain that he is not a child who likes to do household things. Okay, let's be honest: the kid has an almost allergic aversion to cleaning and work. He'd much rather play his Gameboy, play outside, watch a movie, eat a snack, write a story, or...well...anything. I caught him coming out of my room and his face lit up as he said, "Mommy! I made your bed and tidied in your room!" When I asked him why he had done that he said, "Well, partly for my class and partly because I wanted to." I was blessed big time by this act of kindness and definitely felt the honour of being a leader in this young life. So many days as a mom it can feel like there is no return for the investment of time, work, worry, and energy. We shouldn't concern ourselves with what we will "get out of" parenting. The rewards, however, are sweet and this was a moment for me to remember.

More later.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Growing pains are hard. We've had a couple of disappointments in our household the last several days. Some experiences are inevitable but I do try to protect my children from disappointment as much as possible. They still experience it, I just don't want them to be subjected to it unnecessarily. They are good kids and don't ask us for much. I don't exactly know where that comes from, maybe just an understanding that we will give them opportunities but not at the expense of our family. So, here's what happened.

Story #1: I broke my own rule. I excitedly registered Olivia for an art class that was to start in a couple of weeks. Registering online was easy and, against my usual policy, I couldn't wait to tell her about it before I got the confirmation email. She was thrilled, moreso when I told her that one of her little friends would be in the class with her. Fast forward to the next day when I received an email stating that both the class and the waiting list for said class is full. Ugh. Sinking pit-of-stomach feeling. Several emails and phone calls later, this class is just not going to happen. Break it to Olivia that I can still get her into a class but it will be in May, not March, and it is not the one her friend is registered in. Disappointment. I don't blame her, but it still hurt. I wanted to surprise her with something fun and interesting and I kind of blew it by telling her about it prematurely. She came around, is still excited about the class, and my friend is going to move her daughter to the later session. See, it all worked out, but there was still some pain in the process.

Story #2: Noah was invited by the neighbour boy to go with his family to play laser tag. We had already made some tentative outdoor plans for Gary and the kids to meet up with another dad and kids to skate. We told Noah to go and, if he was back in time, he could still go skating. Well, Gary left with the girls 5 minutes before Noah's return. Gary forgot the cell phone. The skating park they went to is too far of a walk. We have just one vehicle. A disappointed Noah was not appeased by me pointing out that he already had the opportunity to do something fun. He wanted to do both. His 9-year-old brain does not process logic the same way mine does. He was good about it, but disappointed and sad. He felt left out. He didn't let it ruin his day, but he didn't exactly brush it off either.

As you can see from the above pic, there is all kind of growth happening around here. Sometimes I have growing pains as I think of how quickly these short people are growing and changing. The journaling reads:
Could you just maybe slow it down a little? I'm not ready for what I see in this photo. See, it's you, look...well, a bit big to be my tiny little Sophie. You're still such a busy girl, always touching stuff, pretty noisy, you cry a fair bit. is this concentration, this girl with something to say. So, I'll listen but...could I catch my breath? Because you're growing a bit too fast.

You know what I like about journaling? I am aware that many find it to be the hardest part about putting a layout together. I like it because it doesn't have to be grammatically correct or a wonderfully structured paragraph. Just try to put down the thoughts in your head. Let them flow onto the page and then you have really captured the MOMENT.

Papers and Die Cuts by Daisy D (Modern Romance line), Stamps by gel-a-tins, stamping ink by Stampin' Up!

More later.