Thursday, December 11, 2008


How did I not post for all of October and November?

Was I too busy setting the table?

Or laundering pink clothes?

Or snuggling up some cuteness?

More than likely I was just a bit taken up with the needs of these:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sticker Shock and Other Things

Renovating. I've mentioned our basement renovation which is actually going quite well. All walls are in place and we're making our way towards soon pouring self-leveling concrete to even out the floor. My designer backed out but I think I have a replacement that will likely work out better in the long run. I'm excited about that.

I've spent the last week or so getting estimates on some major outside work: siding, windows, eaves, redesign. This is where the sticker shock comes in. The construction market here is hot and you really have to book well in advance of when you want the work done. I'm looking at scheduling this for the spring and need to make a decision in the next few days, if not today. I'm waiting for a contractor who is 25 minutes late for our appointment. Not a good sign. My first choice at this point is pricey but highly recommended. Seems like such a grown up thing to do.

Football season has come to an end for this household. I think this photo will give you an indication of just how well things went:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'd post but...

I'm too busy with our new little dude, Caspian Beary.

This little cockapoo comes from the home of some dear friends. Their daughter is the same age as my daughter and they are tight. Like, one Sunday morning they were explaining to me that they are twins. I digress. Little Miss G was pretty sad for her friend, knowing that our puppy was leaving a bit of a hole in her friend's heart. She cried off and on for a couple of hours after they left.

She managed to hold it together well enough to snuggle up with her happy siblings for this shot:

We're using our timer to make sure everyone gets a proper turn to cuddle:

This girl rarely smiles. She must be very happy indeed!

He is so cute he almost doesn't look real. But he smells like a dog. Good thing he has this face to see him through:

I'll return once a bit more of the novelty wears off. Or he sleeps through the night. Whichever comes first.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Confessions of an Un-Morning Person

I'm going to come clean. I like my bed. A lot. We have a good mattress, a wonderful down duvet, and a peaceful bedroom. We frequently have a late-night visitor climbing in between us in our warm cozy bed, but it's a pretty nice place to be. Another confession. I tend to stay up way too late. I used to think I didn't require a lot of sleep but I'm rethinking that one. The post-bedtime hours in our home are quiet and enticing. I seem to start projects late in the evening and get caught up in creating or laundering or reading or anything else that is more enjoyable in quiet or that I've put off doing in the day. Years of getting up in the night with a baby or two and grabbing every bit of sleep until the first child awoke in the morning conditioned me to get up only when I absolutely had to. I used to think I was rather enterprising, still finding time for hobbies even with little ones around. Now my littles are, well, not-so-little and sleep is a bit more predictable around here. Now it's simply a matter of personal discipline.

It's no secret here that I love the Word of God. Day after day and year after year I grow only by exposing myself to God's Truth and my relationship continues to grow. I've made time for this at different times of the day, out of necessity, and that quiet time has come in the late morning, afternoon, or late at night. I've been convicted lately of my need to seek God in the morning before my day starts.

You see the challenge. If I'm not up before my children, I'm not going to have time for reading and prayer in a quiet room. After eleven years of motherhood I sleep through the alarm clock without hearing it. How am I going to consistently find that morning time if something doesn't change?

After six weeks, I can tell you that I have consistently had a good half-hour in the mornings to spend with the Lord. No, I'm not waking up to an alarm. No, my husband isn't waking me up. No, I don't make my children sit quietly in their rooms until it's time for the noise of the day to begin. It's been a very simple solution, quite honestly.

I started praying six weeks ago that God would wake me in the morning so that I could have that time with Him before the children get up. And you know what? He's been totally faithful to do so. It hasn't been the exact same time every morning but within a twenty minute window. I wake up and anticipate that time. Heading for the sofa in our south-east facing living room, I grab a warm throw and settle in with my Bible and journal. I shouldn't be surprised that God would wake me consistently but it is just so obviously not something I am doing on my own that it excites me. These times are fulfilling and quenching and intimate as I seek Him.

Maybe I'm becoming a morning person after all.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Night Musings

Returned home a short while ago from our annual church picnic (rescheduled to today after the initial June date was rained out). Neat to catch up with a few people and enjoy a wonderful afternoon/early evening outside. Fall is settling in, with a crispness in the air and the changing palette of the leaves. I love this time of year but am often disappointed by how short this season is here. I wonder if there are "season chasers" similar to "storm chasers"? If there are, I would love to spend a year chasing autumn around the globe, crunching in leaves for days on end, and enjoying the mastery of God's paintbrush dotting the trees with the wonderful colours of fall. Perhaps I wasn't made for the Canadian prairies after all?

Last week was tough. After months of a more leisurely schedule, returning to a full week of activities, lessons, teaching seemed a bit of a blow. I am struggling with impatience within and am repentant for the ways this has spilled over in my dealings with my family. I have the same 24 hours to do my work as everybody else and I find that I get overwhelmed, let it pile up, and feel sorry for myself. Not a good cycle, huh?

Still plodding through my valley, working through some old hurts, and trying to get real life done well on a day-to-day basis. As you can tell from the previous paragraph, I'm failing sometimes. Miserably. And yet I know the One who is faithful to heal and restore and bless and I continue to chase after him.

Forget chasing seasons. I'm chasing after eternity.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Special Meeting

We had a real thrill Friday afternoon traveling out to my friend's country home to meet the new puppies. Now, a bit of sadness has fallen over this sweet tale as the puppies' mama died when these little ones were just 1.5 weeks old. I have to say that this sweet family is loving all over these little pups and just taking tremendous care of them. Enough chat, you have to see:

We've named him Caspian and are looking forward to integrating him into our home in just a week and a half.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It's a new month and that means a new Scraptivity! kit. Here is one of the layouts I submitted for the Design Team reveal:

Journaling reads:
Homemaker - Homebody - Homeschooler - Stay-at-HOME mom. Not exactly the life I imagined. I thought I'd be a lawyer, marry late, and have 1 or 2 children. Make a real difference, you know? And now I'm pouring my life into what goes on between these 4 walls. Wife - Mother - Homemaker...making a real DIFFERENCE.

Isn't it amazing how you think you've got it all planned out? I've always admired women who are so settled in their path. I thought I was one. I'm really thankful that God planned differently for me.

Carrying on with Week 2 of our homeschooling year. I received two huge boxes of a curriculum order I placed last week. So many great titles to grace our bookshelves. Even my son's interest was piqued by a couple of the new books we unpacked. Reading Marguerite Henry's Justin Morgan Had a Horse
to my oldest two and we're all enjoying a good read. My 7-year-old is quite pleased with herself as she works through her Phonics book, thrilled with words like "skunk" and "plum". My youngest shows diligence and enthusiasm, for which I am thankful.

My eldest daughter is struggling right now with an infection on her leg as a result of a wipeout on her bike, an ingrown toenail, and a possible throat infection (we're awaiting the lab results). She's this stoic child who rarely reacts strongly to anything and is obviously dealing with a fair bit of discomfort and sadness as all parts of her body seem sore. I'm not always the best mom in these situations as I struggle not knowing what to do, how to fix things, and how much coddling/rebuke they need. I am hopeful that she feels at least a bit better in the morning.

There you have some randomness from me. It's just that kind of day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Funny little quiz


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Longer post later. This was a fun little quiz.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Digital Layout

I didn't think I'd ever try digital scrapbooking. I bought Photoshop Elements 6 in May. I had to have it. Then I didn't have a clue what to do with it. Small problem, right? After asking around a bit, I decided to take a scrapbook-focused Photoshop class at I have finished the Week One lesson and have my little layout for you to take a look at. What do you think? Surprisingly fun and I've learned how to do a lot in Photoshop (which maybe isn't saying much since I knew nothing, nada, zilch prior to starting the class). What do you think?

Thank you for all the kind thoughts and concerns regarding my last post. I can say that this is a necessary valley for me to walk through in order to move forward in my marriage, my walk with God, my ability to be an effective mentor, and just to live life abundantly. It's a dark valley, to be sure, but I came across this verse in my reading this morning and I think it describes what I'm clinging to right now:

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy
Though I fall I will rise;
Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me. (Micah 7:8, NASB)

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Look?

Playing around with settings and such. Anyone know how I can stretch the template to make it take up more of the screen?

Started school this morning with some hostility from the masses. They'll get over it, I'm sure. I try to ease into our schedule, gradually adding materials and subjects as we move towards our full load. I'm desperately trying to stick to a wake-up time and basic morning plan for myself so that I can spend some time with God, make some coffee, have a shower, make the bed, that sort of thing. Years of getting up in the night developed a habit of getting up when the first child arose but I really need that time in the morning before they need me. Hoping to see a little more fruitfulness from the work of the day.

Personally working through some tough issues that have come to the surface this summer. Be encouraged to seek godly counsel (notice I did not say "counsellor" in the societal, pay-for-it, letters after the name kind of counsel) and work through anything that is hindering your walk with the Lord. I am in a valley right now but leaning on the promises of the Faithful One.

I completely enjoy this blogging thing. Thanks for taking the time to read this, dear one.

I leave you with a layout I recently completed:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fleeting Days of Summer...

I wasn't much of a summer kid. Plagued by seasonal allergies, I passed the summer in strange ways. Practiced penmanship by copying out the descriptions in the Sears catalog. Cross-stitched in the cool basement. Read countless books. Babysat. Longed for a tree to sit under (we lived in a relatively new subdivision with no trees to speak of). Daydreamed. Watched "The Price is Right" faithfully. Took swimming lessons. Fought with my sister.

The outdoors has grown on me over the years and there is nothing I enjoy more than providing opportunities for my children to be out in the sunshine. Maybe my perspective has changed over the years to an understanding of just how very long our winters are here. Maybe the years of having to get four children ready to go out the door for various things helped me appreciate sandal season (as opposed to snowsuit, boots, mittens, scarf, and hat season). Maybe our camping trips have taught me to appreciate nature. Maybe the break from homeschooling and teaching music lessons is truly needed.

Nah. I think it's the fact that my blond-haired blue-eyed blessings look so darn cute with those bathing suit lines separating their golden tanned skin from their lily-white bottoms.

Job 12:7-10

7 "But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.

9 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the LORD has done this?

10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A New Arrival

Nope, that's not our puppy that my youngest is holding in this photo from the church picnic over a year ago. That's Princess Fluffy and, last night, she gave birth! We are so excited that in eight weeks a cute little cockapoo will be joining our family. Not sure if I've lost my mind in its entirety but we did agree that this would be the kind of dog that would work out for a city family lifestyle. Our children, especially the one pictured, are over the moon with excitement and in a fair bit of disbelief that we would say yes. I called my husband at work this morning to give him the news and he said, "That's great. I think." Fun times ahead as we learn about caring for a real pet and sharing in a bit of responsibility.

Isn't she just the cutest thing? And her husband (yes, we attended the dog wedding earlier this year) is just as cute and ever-so-friendly!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Saying Goodbye

I've been remarkably blessed as far as friendships are concerned. For as long as I can remember, I've had a close friend. Of course those close friendships have changed over time. Some have developed into lasting friendships that defy geographical and life situation challenges. Some have ended, just kind of faded as time progressed. Others have ended less gracefully; fortunately very few fit into this category, but still taught me something about having and being a friend. Hardest of all are those friendships that have been as close as a sister until God's calling leads to a physical separation. See, I've had extraordinary friendships but I've had to say goodbye more times than I'd like.

This weekend was no exception. We were thrilled to host a dear family in our home for just two short nights. The last time we spent time together was in 2003, shortly before they left to go overseas as career missionaries. In a country with limited access. Building a ministry from the ground up. Intense stuff. They do well to communicate as frequently as they can which isn't all that often. I know how busy life is for me on the Canadian Prairies where I have nearly every amenity you could hope for and I speak the language. They've spent the last four years learning two different languages, building relationships with their ministry team, and preparing for a more remote destination, all the while adjusting to daily life in a different culture and raising three boys, and raising them well. My heart swells with joy when I think of the choices they've made. Big-time difficult to let them go.

We talked. And laughed. And hugged. And cried. Knowing that this time would be short, there was no patience for surface chit-chat. The stuff of life, the stuff that changes us and how we view God and the world and our family and our roles. I waved goodbye to them knowing that we had used our time well.

And so we pray. For their safety. For their ministry. For their family. And for them to know just how very dearly we love them.

I am changed by God gracing my life with a handful of sweet dear "heart" friends. And for this I thank my heavenly Father with a heart of gratitude and joy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This son of mine

Eleven years (and some change) ago this child entered my life and set me spinning. What was I, the oldest of two girls, happily feminine, highly emotional, going to do with a...BOY? What began that moment is one of the sweetest turns my life could take. Imagine it: me, a boy's mom. And what a boy he is. Rough and tumble. Loud. Mischievous. Brave. Smelly. Challenging. But also thoughtful. Sensitive. Funny. Creative. And so very very original. Can't imagine life without this guy, who is so like his father in many ways and so very different in others. The man I married is an academic. Plays tennis. Sings Tenor. Reads. Strong. Thoughtful. On the quiet side.

When a boy like this is enthusiastic about something, he goes at it full tilt. My son loves football. He loves watching it, talking about it, and playing the game. He enjoys it so much that the grueling practice schedule doesn't phase him. He talks of living in rural Illinois and playing for either the Chicago Bears or the Green Bay Packers when he grows up. He's seldom seen without his Chicago Bears hat. He'll even forgo a second helping of one of his favourite foods to ensure that he doesn't go over the weight limit for his league. Season is in full swing now and he is going at it with gusto!

When a boy like this had an opportunity to meet a professional football player at a recent football camp, the gesture really encapsulates this moment. Here is our son with #96 of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Defensive Lineman, Scott Schultz:

Today is game day and my son and I will be at the field, on the 45-yard line, cheering for the whole team. But maybe just a little bit stronger for #96.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Discovery of Podcasts

We're not really known around here for having the latest and greatest gadgets. I suspect we might have been the kind of people in the 1950s who were waiting "for this Television thing to just blow over." It's not that we're skeptical of technology, just not overly quick to open our wallets and jump onto a bandwagon of any sort. We've got plenty of other things to open our wallets for. (Like pants. Pants are good. And somewhat necessary for things like church and shopping for other pants). That's why my own technological revelations have been a year or two (or more) behind the mainstream.

All of this to let you all know that I have discovered the wonderful world of podcasts! A girlfriend of mine recommended Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Bible Church in Seattle to me and I decided to check him out. After reading a few things online I decided to do the unthinkable and download a podcast. It was easy! John Piper over at Desiring God has a weekly podcast as well. And there are more. Just the tip of the proverbial iceberg!

What's so great about podcasts? It makes certain things in life a bit more bearable. Like yardwork. And walking for exercise. And accessing good solid preaching. We are under incredible teaching and leadership at our local church and I would in no way use an impersonal podcaster to replace that. Of all the things that technology can lend, however, I am downright enthusiastic about this new way to access good information. I'm not likely to listen for hours at a time (around here you don't do anything for hours at a time) and I can get some of my other work done while listening to something uplifting and challenging.

Okay, are you willing to share any of your podcast preferences with me? I'd love to know what is out there that you think is worth a listen.

Lately I don't feel like a blog post is complete without a photo, so I leave you with this photo I took at a recent wedding. I've been playing with some of the manual settings on my camera and am quite pleased with how this turned out:

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not Exactly Stellar

That's probably how I would describe my day today. My sweeties and I arrived home early last night after spending a few days at my parents' place. I was thrilled to be coming home, we've been away enough. We left Gary behind this time as he's trying to hold onto a few holiday days and also wanted to work on some renovations we have underway. This man still makes my stomach flip and I was so ready to see his face. What I didn't expect was a fried modem, chasing after my firstborn's football coach trying to get equipment, and other such inconveniences. After spending time waiting on the phone with the modem stuff and finally getting the footballer outfitted, I was ready for an easy day today.

Not to be. One piece of football equipment didn't make it into the pile. I found an equipment store that carries the item we needed, tucked the fried modem under my arm, and piled the five of us into the van to get things done. Arrived home in time to get lunch on the table, dropped our athlete off at the university for camp, and headed off to the museum for cheap movie and popcorn afternoon. So far so good even in the 31-degree Celsius heat. Arrived on time to catch the last bit of practice with my three wilting girls in tow, picked up a sweaty son, piled into the van and....SMACK! Backed into another vehicle backing out at the same time in a crowded lot of impatient parents. Urgh! Minimal damage to her vehicle (a bit of paint scraping but no dent) and a slightly crumpled back bumper on mine. Exchanged information, drove home, uploaded some scrapping design team stuff that was due last night, and praised my sweetheart for preparing dinner before feeding the hungry and sending our son back off to camp.

I enjoyed a quiet couple of hours while my husband took the girls on a bike ride and decided to go to the field a bit early to watch the last bit of practice. Great idea but I couldn't find my keys! The two little girls had used them earlier to get something out of the van and hadn't put them back. Looked everywhere, phoned over to where the bikers were trampolining, and enquired after the keys. No luck. "Mommy, they're either on the counter or in the van somewhere." Gary quickly borrowed our friend's vehicle and started to drive home with his keys. I, of course, found the keys as soon as I got off the phone, scribbled off a quick note, and headed for the field.

Not exactly stellar. I told you. However, at the end of the day, we are all here: safe, weary, giggling, and still an intact family. I am thankful for God's hand on our family today and for inconveniences that are pretty small in light of the world around me. None of us were hurt as a result of my little collision, our footballer returned to us injury-free, we parented together and saw glimpses of His love for us. Not perfect, I know. But not that far off of a really good day.

I leave you with one of my latest scrapbooking layouts, revealed today as part of the Design Team release over at

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Above and Beyond

I'm not much of a pie maker. Oh, I like pie. My mother-in-law makes the absolute best pie. Herein lies the problem. Her pie is amazing and she can whip up a couple (or twelve) in no time and not even look at a recipe book. Ever. Her pie is flaky, sweet, often features fruits from her garden or the specialty produce store, and disappears fast. She's famous for her pie.

Last week we did a fair bit of entertaining and I wanted to make some pleasing desserts. I had some fresh peaches in the refrigerator and decided I wanted peach pie. I didn't really want to make it myself but no one else around here really stepped up to the plate. I have a well-equipped kitchen and a good collection of cookbooks. Betty Crocker is my go-to for basics like pastry and I thought I'd give it a shot. I snapped some pics to demonstrate my kitchen prowess.

It starts with the pastry, the rolling made easier with some of my nifty gadgets, especially that silicone mat:

The next step was blanching and peeling the peaches:

Mixing the filling:

At this point I'm getting a bit drooly, can't wait for that first piece:

I impress me:

The end result:

It was scrumptious. Really. I was quite surprised with myself and gained a lot confidence with the experience. Two days later we had more guests for coffee and dessert. I made a chocolate-laced pecan pie. Gary doesn't know who this woman is baking pies in his kitchen. He said to me, "This goes above and beyond. Really." With feedback like that, I'm thinking there will be more pie making in this kitchen in the not-so-distant future.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Strange situation

Okay now, before you start telling me all the steps I should take, rest assured that we are in process with our phone company to put an end to all this. Now I'll fill you in on what can only qualify as bizarre. My attempts at humor are a bit tongue-in-cheek as this whole deal has me a combination of frightened and spittin' angry.

It started some time ago but I'll be going back in time to tell this one correctly. Monday night: while we enjoyed supper with Gary's brother's family our phone rang. Olivia checked the call display, it was a long distance number, so I told her to leave it ring and I would check the messages. Phone rings again almost immediately, I answer. This woman asks me why my number keeps showing up on her husband's phone bill and that I'd better tell her what's going on. I have spoken to her before, tell her I don't know her husband, she should take it up with him or her phone company, ask her not to call again, hang up. Phone rings again and my husband answers. Tells her that she's been asked not to call here and repeats what I said about neither of us knowing her husband, etc. I had a similar call right before we left on vacation and perhaps two other calls in the last few months of the same nature. Prior to that I've had calls asking why my number showed up on the caller's call display and indicated that it must be some mistake as I don't know anyone at that number or in the town the caller claims to be calling from. It's a cell phone. Called the phone company on Tuesday morning to find out what the procedure should be from this point. Last night, 10:15, phone rings again. I'm sure it's my mother-in-law as she likes to phone either before 8 AM or after 10 PM. Don't know why, she just does. I usually guess it's her and I'm usually correct. Last night, however, it was our mysterious caller. This time she calls my husband by his name. He gets off the phone after a similar exchange except this time he warns her that, if she keeps calling, he'll have to involve the police. Assures her that I am most definitely not involved with her husband.

Which brings me to think that I must be something pretty special. Apparently she has records going back five years. Whaaaaaat??

Last night, as my beloved drifted into a less-than-elegant state of rest (poor man has a horrendous sore throat), I start to realize that this might have some connection to the dozens of hang-up calls we've had over the last several years. Is this guy the culprit? My voice ranges from sultry to shrill, I'm thinking in the past few years it's been more on the shrill side as I've tried to keep up with my four little going concerns. What's the deal? I know that a lot of hang-ups are just telemarketers with automatic dialing. Am I leaping here?

Rest assured, I don't feel that this is, at this point, any real threat. If you're so inclined, would you pray for this woman? She sounds intoxicated when she phones. It saddens me, quite frankly, that there would be this much distrust in a relationship that she does not feel the liberty to approach her husband regarding this. Seriously, ask the guy why my number shows up on his phone. I have a hard time not laughing at the idea of something illicit going on. Come on, I barely have time to mop the floor around here...

I'm off to check out a woodpecker in the tree out front. So thankful for moments of tranquility.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

On the road again...

Can you believe that it is 4:30 AM and I am still up? It's very true and a bit disturbing. We leave in a few hours for our two-week stint away from home and I'm working hard to make sure everything is taken care of. We've offered our house to some friends for the time we're away as their daughter is getting married and their home is overflowing. I'm packing, working on some scrapbooking projects that I need to meet a deadline for, and tidying up the joint for our guests. This is a true glimpse into my tendency to procrastinate. Not so flattering, is it? However, it's pretty novel to see the sunrise...

Back soon! Happy Canada Day, 4th of July, etc. Oh, I am so glad I just wrote that! I need to pack Olivia's birthday gift...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Leaving home again for another two-week stretch and, this time, I have very mixed feelings about being away so long. Somehow this next bit away really crept up on me and I'm feeling that there is so much to do here. My garden plots are filling out beautifully, the lilies are all opening up, work on our basement is chugging along, and my creative work is calling (or shouting) out to me. While our trip in May was a lot about rest and vacation and the six of us, this next stretch is pretty people-focused. We have wonderful friends and family that we'll be spending time with and I know it will be fabulous to reconnect with so many. I'm an introvert and really need that quiet and alone time to recharge and the reality of the next couple of weeks is that I won't get much of that. I tend to get a bit panicky and overwhelmed if I don't withdraw from time to time. I'm going to need to be cautious and realistic and I'm also going to have to remember that it's not all about me.

Why do I like being home so much? My beloved is a perfect match for me in that he is the only one that I feel I can really be quiet with. He totally gets that sometimes I need to just be still. I like my own imperfect space where there are chores to do and meals to cook and things to tidy and projects to work on. I feel like I get behind if I'm not at home most of the time. Get behind what? That's what I have to keep remembering. The work will be here when I get back. The projects will wait. Time with people is time well spent.

I am so thankful for the opportunities we have to travel and reunite with friends and family. We're off to our second year of family camp about 6.5 hours north of here. We'll spend a few days with Gary's sister and her family. We enjoy them very much and their home feels like the Hilton after camp with its warm showers and comfy beds. From there we will head to my parents' home where we'll spend a couple of days before Gary and I take off for a wedding on the west coast. Our children will enjoy an extended time at Grandma and Grandpa's, enjoying their company and playing with their wonderful neighbours next door. Good times are ahead.

All I have to do is breathe, right?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Greetings from the infrequent and inconsistent blogger! I am well on track to getting one post per month which, actually, would be an improvement over last year. Those of you whom I've met IRL know that I'm never short on words. What is it that keeps me from writing here? I suppose it's the fact that this has not become habit. I'm hoping to change that as I so enjoy getting words to screen/paper and the exercise it affords my brain.

Habits. I'm realizing that the lack of overall routine in my life has prevented me from developing good habits in some areas and encouraged the growth of some less favourable ones. I love structure and routine but this year has derailed me and I'm feeling the weight of the absence of good habits. I recently completed our homeschooling annual reports and submitted them to the school board. While we definitely made progress over the academic year, there were definitely some circumstances and events that affected me/us profoundly. Broken bones, sugery, illnesses. Difficult family relationships, stresses of ministry, struggling with forgiveness, severed relationships. Depression, renovations and good ol' fashioned lack of gumption. None of these things could have been avoided but the overall affect on the tone of our home could have been minimized by clinging to routine and falling back on good habits.

So, what am I going to do about it? A good and honest confession to my Father is the first step. One habit that hasn't fallen by the wayside is being in Scripture and clinging to the promises of the Word of God. I feel a tremendous need for cleansing. Commitment to pray for God to order my days is in order. Second, I need to get rid of some of the physical clutter that contributes to that overall feeling of life being too full. Third, a season of rest and rejuvenation, which is possible during the summer months, will benefit all of us. For this to work we need to deliberately choose to say yes to those things which will promote healing and no to the things that pull us away from priority. Fourth, I truly need to extend grace to those around me and receive grace from my Father. Some good habits to work on, no?

I thoroughly enjoyed being away on vacation with my family. I treasure my husband and our four children and the time we spent together exploring Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. Our time in Chicago was exactly what we had hoped for. The five days we spent with my grandparents in small-town Illinois truly blessed us and, I trust, them as well. I don't have any scientific documentation to back this up, but my family truly rocks! I'll leave you with a pic from downtown Chicago, we felt like we lived there!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Library due dates are harsh and other organizational issues

Sometimes I lose track of all the things I'm supposed to keep track of. I was most recently reminded of this yesterday when I owned up to some library fines for overdue books. I thought I could take care of this and keep it a matter of conscience, lesson learned. Unfortunately, while I certainly wasn't trying to be secretive, I neglected to let my husband in on the little charge that showed up on our online banking info. He is now referring to me as a philanthropist and sent me this message via email this morning:

I noticed that you made a donation to the public library (I looked at our account). You are a generous person.

Busted?? Or maybe this is what it means to be accountable.

Most of the time I really thrive under pressure. As a university student I would often have several research papers going at once and then, days before (or maybe just the day before), I would pull them altogether into something worth handing in. All that time letting things whirl around my brain seemed an almost necessary part of the process. I realize that in many ways I am better at short-term commitments (not relationships, just tasks). Tell me you need a specific goal met for a certain project with a definite deadline and I am your girl.

Sadly, this doesn't always translate well into everyday life as a wife, mother, homemaker, and teacher. Housework is definitely not something that I should leave "'til the last minute." Child-rearing seems to take some ongoing commitment. You cannot leave all meals until the end of the day and then cram breakfast, lunch, and dinner into one meal and get away with serving "brunchner." Just doesn't work. I'm continually looking for better ways to "keep at it." One of my favourite Christian writers, Elisabeth Elliot, inspires me with her "do the next thing" philosophy. Elliot was inspired by this poem, author unknown, as am I:

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

I so need to remember this when I'm trying to get all the things in my head sorted out so that I'm not always working under pressure. Enjoy God's grace today as you "do the next thing."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New look, same great flavour...

Yes, I played around with Blogger a bit today and managed to get that beautiful cup of coffee on there for everyone to see. Yes, that's a real photo and that's a very real mocha that I enjoyed at a tiny little coffee shop and roastery on a recent trip to Edmonton. I was also playing with photo settings during that trip and was surprised by a few gems when I uploaded my photos to the computer. Good times. Good coffee.

Busy day spent prepping our home to host care group tonight. Gary leads a weekly small group Bible study, has for several years, and we've been hosting for the last few months. I'm making it sound like work, and it is, but it's good work. These people are our FAMILY. We delight in knowing them and sharing part of our week with them. While it sometimes, like today, means an abbreviated seat-work day for homeschooling, we all work together to get the house ready. Olivia folded laundry, Noah vacuumed the carpeted areas, I dusted and baked a cake. If you haven't yet been introduced to the pioneer woman, you have to check this gal out! Tonight I served her chocolate sheet cake and it was scrumptious. A great way to spend the afternoon.

It's the eve of Sophie's birthday and I always feel a bit melancholy before one of my children's birthdays. I am hoping that we can make tomorrow a special day for her. Friday mornings are our mornings out for music lessons at the conservatory, errand running, lunch out (it will be Sophie's choice this week), library pit stop, and a couple of homeschooling co-op classes in the afternoon. We're having some of Sophie's "adult friends" over for dessert: her music teacher, a lovely lady from our care group, and a young woman who sometimes babysits for us. I hope they feel special to be singled out in this way, each has an important role in this little life.

Off to bed...before midnight! Hope your Friday is a great one!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

When Life Gets in the Way

I've found myself begrudging many of the tasks that have crowded my schedule, my desk, my mind over the last several months. True, it's been a season of increased activity for our home. You know what, though? Life has a way of, well, just getting in the way. I'm beginning to realize (yes, count me among the slow learner camp in this area) that no matter how refined my schedule, how organized my calendar, how "on top" of things I feel, I'm not the only factor in this equation. Years ago I shared part of my life story in a church service and started this way: "I would be the perfect wife and mother if it wasn't for my husband and children." Ain't that the truth?

There's more to it than that, though. In all of this falling short of my goals and ideals, and certainly falling short of the mark God has set for me, I'm learning some pretty valuable lessons. The biggest one, of course, is that God is using my insufficiencies to show He is beyond sufficient. I'm embracing the value of this calling called homemaking and chucking out some of the long-held but incorrect notions I have of what this all means. That motherhood, teaching, cooking, cleaning, and managing our home is one of the roles God values highly. That all these times of missing the mark can result in fertile teaching ground. And I do need to be taught. Desperately.

We started homeschooling our children 5 years ago. Starting out, I thought that we could really offer them a strong academic foundation in a time–efficient way. What I've grown to understand is that academics are such a small part of what we do in a day. All this character stuff is way more important. And I'm not talking about the children.

Since my recent track record on posting isn't exactly stellar and it's statistically improbable that I'll blog again before Friday, I'll leave you with a pic of my soon-to-be-7-year-old girl. I'd tell you how time flies and all that good stuff, but I suspect you're likely aware of that already.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I have the funniest kids!

Okay, so you may have funny kids too, but I have to tell you about this crack-up conversation I had with Olivia the other night.

She was in her room, all snuggled into her bed on the top bunk, reading while I got ready to read with her sisters on the lower bunk. "What's a cupid?" she asked. At least that's what I heard. I answered, "You know, those chubby little naked angel babies who shoot love arrows on Valentine cards." "Oh," she replied, puzzled. "So, if it says that something is 12 cubits high..." Then I realized that she was doing her Bible reading. She's currently in the book of Exodus, reading God's instructions to Moses about the specs on the tabernacle. "Oh," I said, "you mean a cubit! That's a measurement for length." She looked at me and started to laugh. Hard. She said, "I just had this picture of a stack of those little chubby angels used to measure stuff." We laughed and laughed over that one. Valentine's Day is going to have a different spin. I imagine reading the Old Testament will too.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oh, poor neglected blog...

I have not been a good friend to thee. No posts. No pictures. No energy.

Oh, poor neglected blog.