Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thoughts without words

i phoned my sister jess.
"Do you have a minute?"
"um, yeah... Carrie, pass me that spoon, Robin, i need you to take this upstairs..."
"Cairo, can you go get the laundry folded?"
(ok, i'll type the rest of this without all the extras... but... hehe, you can imagine...)

"So, i'm having these 'thoughts without words'... & i feel like if i just knew the words, i could analyze them & decide if they're constructive, good thoughts, or if i'm just being silly..."
"Paige... Those are called feelings."
"Oh. Well, they're annoying."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

2008 was a *baby year* so, for me, all else was eclipsed by the arrival of Gage Serenus on February 6th 2008. We’ve all wondered at his sweet demeanor and easy going personality ~ such a joyful addition to our family.
Mollen made the transition beautifully from *youngest child* to *youngest girl*. She loves to tell people that she’s not 4 & she’s not 5, she’s 4 and a half. If her lisp is fading, I’m in denial, but even so I have really noticed her seeming like a ‘biggie’ this year.
Charter finished kindergarten at public school & is now home for grade 1. He’s fun to teach & is *loving* having a baby bro. HE STILL TALKS ALL IN CAPS.
Peyton is the mother hen for the younger set. She’s in grade 3 this year. Full of creativity & humour, constantly entertaining Mollen & Charter ~ I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Sloanie is *still* our little bookworm. Her & Cai are joined at the hip ~ as I write this, they’re at the church babysitting for the ladies bible study, like they do every Tuesday morning.
Cai’s big thing this year has been joining the Bow Valley Fiddlers. She’s had twice weekly practices (for violin and fiddle), sometimes 3 times a week & we’ve seen huge improvements in her playing. I was so grateful that the pieces all fell into place for her musically this year.
Neil just recently started working from home. It’s been so much fun to have him closer during the day. He still travels quite a bit (seems to come & go in spurts) ~ but so nice to be able to sneak out there with a cup of coffee in the morning when he is home.
& me?…. Hmmm… This year has been incredible. I’ve been enjoying schooling the littles, mothering a baby again, & keeping my home (& my blog heehee). In the past few months, I’ve also gotten more involved in the music at our church which has been a great outlet for me.
God has been so good. Through the tough years ~ or the ones that seem to just be full of good things, like this one, He is constant & true. We are grateful.
Hoping this letter finds you well & enjoying the last bits of 2008.
Merry Christmas,
The Beselts.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Sar Shalom

sar shalom
prince of peace.
That's what the pastor talked about in church.
Jesus. Prince of Peace.
You can hear the full sermon here, just click on resources and sermons... (i don't know when it will be available or for how long, but it's worth a listen...)
i know... maybe my blog posts have been a little cryptic... no, Neil didn't do anything :) except clean out & organize my pantry... (Isn't that what most husbands do when their wife is hurting & they can't make it better?? *smile*)~ There was a painful family situation, that over the past week became a crisis ~ & i found at the end of it, that there was nothing left to do, but to go to the Prince of Peace... and pray for a miracle.
He delivered one.
i was thinking last night, about how sometimes prayers get answered in the way we want them to ~ & other times, it just seems like He doesn't notice...
For some reason, this past month, God has allowed me to be witness to 2 miracles. i'm so grateful...
i don't think i'll make it back on here before Christmas, but if there's one thing i could leave on here 'till i come back to my real world after holidays, it's this...
My God is Mighty to Save. He is compassionate, gracious, and
He
Loves
Me
So...
But even when it seems like He is not acting on my behalf ~ i will wait & i will trust & i will continue to hope ~ There's a verse in Romans about the fact that Hope will NOT disappoint us... (Romans 5:1-5 ~ Thanks Bible Gateway... :)
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

and Romans 8:18-27

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

So... if you're like me... & you are carrying burdens, worries, hurt... The Prince of Peace wants to bring *peace* ~ and *hope* to your life this Christmas. There's a song, inspired from a Psalm that we sang in church on Sunday... & it's a good starting place for a conversation with God... i'd encourage you to start that conversation...

i cast all my cares upon you...
i lay all of my burdens down at your feet ~
and anytime, i don't know
what to do ~
i will cast all my cares upon you...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Last Date

Was the symphony their last date?
An impulsive night out ~ dressed up for the first time in ages... heading out early enough to pick up the tickets and get a fancy Japanese dinner out?
As the music soared ~ was there hope?
& then... driving home in the dark... and the sigh of contentment...
Only an ice cream from dairy queen could top off *this* evening...
Request Granted.
and home.
If that was their last date...
(Please, let this not be their last date...)
Did they know it then, in the dark, as the music soaked their souls ~ & saturated what had become the distance between them.
Did he hold her hand so she wouldn't slip in her heels?
Did they for one moment... even just for an instant...
remember what it meant to fall in love?
Was there a chip in the hard exterior that revealed a softness... that had not yet been overgrown with weeds of neglect, discontent, apathy & indifference?
Did they remember that they are parents ~ & though their children are grown ~ their lifelong commitment to each other as evidenced by the existence of offspring required heroic measures to weed, tend, water...
To Save This Marriage.
The night ended.
No heroic plans were made.
No olive branch, no white flag, no tender words.
Father, may the choices we make ~ as we tend this fertile garden that is our marriage ~ bring us closer together.
Help us to never lose sight of the intimate picture our union is to be for those around us.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Whispers in the Night

"Neil..."
"yeh?"
"i'm sad."
"i know. That's why we're snuggling."
It's dark, but even his heartbeat feels familiar to me...
The scar on his finger, the tiny mole on his perfect bellybutton, the scratchy hair at the nape of his neck....
i know that if i tickle his back, even if he's asleep, he'll moan...
& that his feet twitch just as he's falling asleep.
We roll over in unison ~ where he was in my arms, now i lie in his...
Comfort.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Broken Promises

After my post on Promises...
There's the inevitable turn of thought to Broken Promises.
Why inevitable?
Because we're human... because we're broken... because we try & we fail...
Because even more so with marriage, when there are *two* human, broken, failing people involved ~ promises get broken.
Broken promises suck.
Broken promises ripple out in circles of pain & affect many.
& yet, i've seen promises get broken, forgiveness saught, reconciliation achieved...
Seems at this moment there is a little battle going on in my mind...
God is big...
We're hard-hearted...
God can fix things...
We won't humble ourselves to allow Him to...
It's at times like this, that i want God to use the sledgehammer...
He's done that for me before ~ broken my useless, hard heart... snapped my stiff neck...
Father, mold me,
change me....
Fill me....
But, He will do what He will do in others ~ no matter what i *wish* would happen... no matter what i *hope* changes... No matter how much i wish i could see reconciliation and love win the day.
Promises get broken...
Except promises made by God.
So, when we're hurt, broken, bleeding.... suffering from confusion, doubt and the seeming betrayal of a promise broken ~ we can still rest in the knowledge that:
God is Good.
God loves us.

& He will never change His mind.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Do i quit counting now?



If he takes 66 steps in a row... does that mean my tiny, newborn baby is officially a walker? i can imagine myself 4 years from now, still counting...

He took his first steps over a month ago, so it's been slow, steady progress since then... but i might have to resign myself very soon to the fact that walking is nearly mastered...

*sigh*




p.s. lookit his sweet crooked foot!

p.p.s. Jen... i dreamt of Kellan last night. i am so happy, grateful & excited about this little boy! Congrats & can't wait to see pics... (& i hope i spelled his name right!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Promises

As i was getting dressed this morning, a little white booklet up in the bookshelf in my closet caught my eye. i had no idea what it was, & reached up to check it out... Mixed in with a dental receipt, the directions for our thermometer & selections from books that i had photocopied because i love them, was "Our Marriage Book".
Our pastor gave it to us ~ a keepsake from our wedding day. In it, is the sermon he shared, the music, scribbled notes to remember ~ .
i wonder if i knew then what i know now, if i'd be a little freaked out by all the promises that were made that day?
Our friends and relatives promised to bless & support us with love, prayers & godly friendship in the years ahead. Our parents promised to pray for us & to accept each of us as their very own son & daughter.
Neil & i promised the most intimate, important things to each other.
We promised to Love.
To comfort.
Honour.
Keep with... in sickness and health...
Forsaking all others...
Keeping only to each other...
To "live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony".

i'm still good with the promises i made that day. *grin*

Over the years, we've watched marriages around us crumble, thrive, struggle, survive, grow, begin and end... & even in our own little paradise, there were days that ended up being... h a r d w o r k.

In Our Wedding Book, there's a paragraph that reads,
"For Christians, a wedding like this is worship. It's not entertainment, it's not a mere formality required by the law. It's a sacrament, in the sense that God himself comes on the scene to do what no human being or human law can do. In making two people one permanently. From our side, it's a participation in the loving plan of a heavenly Father for His children. It's the highest celebration in human love and commitment that we know. It's the expression of an aspiration for togetherness in achieving mutual dreams and goals. It's the pledging of deepest fidelity and devotion till death parts. Marriage is a sacred and permanent relationship, and must not be entered into casually or thoughtlessly, but deliberately, prayerfully, in the fear of God. Today Neil & Paige have come before God and family and friends to affirm the choice they have made, to declare their intention to establish a Christian home, and to make their vows of love to one another."

We need to keep our promises.

The Marriage Prayer:
O God, the Author and Giver of all good things, we bless you for the gifts of love and friendship, and for the joys which gladden our life. May your blessing rest upon and abide with these who have her plighted their mutual love. Crown this day with Your perpetual favour and lead them in the way of love and peace, even into eternal life, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Amen

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Luxury of Grandparents

So, we had a full house this weekend... Cai's big Bow Valley concert was on Saturday & Neil's mom & dad happened to be flying home from Palm Springs in time to make a stop over in Calgary & my parents came out too!
We *miss* being close to grandparents ~ someone else to love your kids, to encourage you, to cheer with you, or to be an example for your little ones. We lived close to Neil's mom & dad for about 1 month after Cai was born, & other than that, it's always been a big hike to make these visits possible.
We've lucked out in that our parents are all *incredible* grandparents ~ They all love Jesus & children :)
So, while Neil's mom & dad were here, they unloaded their camera onto our computer so they could show us all their pictures from Palm Springs. i was looking in my picture folder this morning to check out the pics from Cai's concert... & it was full of pics of Neil's brother's family at my inlaws house... Little ones snuggling grandparents, chocolate fondue on cute little faces, or pics Gampie had taken from soccer practice... All those little things you can do when you live minutes from each other...
& my heart gave a jealous little lurch.
Forgive me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Years Resolution ~ Beauty

On a homeschool support list i'm on, last year, they did a resolution in a word ~ (i didn't, but i'm a slacker...)
Some of the words were: organization, clarity, trust...
So i know, it's a little early for resolutions, but i found one when i was reading my bible yesterday.
Beauty.
"Beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
and...
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
1 Peter 3:4 & 15
i want to be an arrow, constantly pointing to my Father, (or my bff as juanita calls Him in her post that is so worth reading...) i want to keep working on my reflexes ~ & keep giving up my natural selfish tendencies ~ for the beauty of selflessness.
It'll be a challenging year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

He Loves Me

i knew it on my 19th birthday when he bought me 3 pairs of socks.
He also bought me the sweetest little dress...
But he bought me the socks 'cause my feet were always cold.
The other day, my sock drawer was suspiciously empty... The pro to having tiny feet is that you can wear the children's sizes in shoes... The con is, the children can steal all *your* shoes & socks...
So yesterday, Neil went to the store to pick up a few things & plopped these in front of me:

Cairo walked past & muttered, "keep your eyes on your sock drawer". Neil acted all nonchalant & walked away, but 's True Love... i know it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Assignment

When i was in highschool, i took a class called "musicianship" for a couple of years~ There were only about 5 of us in the class & we were in grades 10, 11 or 12 & it totally prepared me for my first year at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton where i went after i graduated & pursued music.
Anyway, the other day, a conversation brought to mind an assignment we once had in that class. Our teacher, Brian Todd, (an incredible musician) ~ gave us a chord progression.
Nothing else.
He wrote the series of chords up on the board & said, 'write me a song using these chords as your framework'.
That was it.
i wrote a ballad in 4/4 time. i remember that because it's pretty much what i still write... haha. But, other students took that *same* chord progression & put it in a different time signature... There were totally different styles, tempos and melody lines represented ~ that *all* worked in the framework of that chord progression.
i remember after we had finished our project, & each of us had performed it for the class on whatever instrument we wished, he told us it was a song he had written for a *trumpet*... (in my world, it was a piano song... who knew...) & he took out his trumpet & played the most amazing jazz tune... Totally unique & unlike anything anyone else in the class had played.
Anyway, the thought just struck me the other day ~ how *like* life this little assignment is. We're all working in the same chord progression (hey, we're all humans, aren't we?) & yet, the music we make is so completely unique.
May the music i make bring you Glory, Father.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Like Mother Like Daughter

So, every so often, my mom sends cute/funny/interesting forwards to entertain the kiddies. She sent one this week that was video. The text said that it was a "fantastic music machine ~ made from farm equipment"... i watched the video & then went to snopes (as i usually do with forwards) & when i saw it was computer animation, i thought, it's still fun to show the littles, Molls could care less if it's *real* or not, it's just neat bouncy balls making music... so i just left it in my inbox, waiting for a minute to show the littles the fun little movie Granny sent.
Fast forward to about 15 minutes ago, Cairo finds me upstairs with this crushed look on her face...
"Mom!! Granny sent us the coolest video!!"
me, "um, yeah?"
"But, i checked it out on Snopes, & it's just computer animation!!! That's no fun!"
hahaaaa!
Authenticity in all things. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

& then it happened...



i remember the first time it happened.
We were at church in Daysland & the little ones had worked on memorizing Away In A Manger for Christmas. i was asked to play for them & i sat at that big ol' upright, ready to do my part. The little ones filed on the stage & among them was my little blondie ~ who generally was too shy to go to Sunday School, but somehow managed to get up with the throng onstage... (if i remember correctly, Sloanie wrangled her way out of Granny's arms & clung to her sister's side onstage too...) The lights were dim, & i started to play & the little voices started to sing....
& suddenly it happened.
Great heaving sobs rose in my chest... It's a good thing it's a simple melody & my hands didn't need my eyes made dim by tears. i was completely taken off guard by my loss of control & wrote it off as *one of those moments*...
But, over the years, it's happened again and again... It happened when my three big girls competed in a triathlon, or when they played their violins in church... It happens at those seemingly small moments & is so completely overwhelming i wondered why my heart can hardly stand the joy of seeing my littles *do*... something... Neil & i just howled when we watched the videos i took of the triathlon... i didn't realize i was so *loud*... cheering till i was almost hoarse... & yet there's that catch in my voice when Peyton comes out of the water.
So, on Saturday, Cai had her first Bow Valley gig. They played at a seniors residence in the north of the city. Neil took the other 4 swimming in Okotoks & i packed up my little book ends (oldest & youngest :) & dropped my little bundle of nerves at the door. Gage had fallen asleep & i had fallen behind in my bible reading, so i read Jeremiah while he snoozed & Cai went in with all the other little fiddlers in plaid. After over an hour had gone by, i'd had enough of Jeremiah... (so terribly horribly sad!) & sweet little boy was starting to stir, i picked him up & went in. We got in as the older group was finishing their set & then, thankfully, they called all the fiddlers up for one last song... i was holding Gage & his little body was swaying to the music & Cai caught my eye & gave me her huge grin... & they started playing...
& then it happened...
The big group of fiddlers became a blur. It was all i could do to hold myself back from sobbing to the nurse in front of me, "That one's mine!!" i pretended to be wrapped up in a conversation with Gage so no one would notice the tears in my eyes as they wrapped up their song.
i got home & wrote a laughing email to my mom & she wrote me back & said, "Great! What a wonderful show for those lucky old folks. I bet they LOVED it. I cried too....at Steph's first orchestra *practice*.....haha......"
i guess it runs in the family.
(*you can stop the music on my blog by scrolling to the bottom & pressing pause... and... you might want your speakers turned down... it was a very exciting moment for me... *blush*)


video

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Remember Manna

Remember Manna
Remember the great seas part
Remember Manna
He hears the cry of our hearts

From slavery led,
the hungry fed,
He's still the same-
He'll hear again-
Remember manna.

He is worthy, worthy, He is worthy, worthy
He hears our cries
He sees our pain
He has compassion - remember manna.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Gathering

Yesterday was a big day.
Woke at 6, travelled for three and a half hours to arrive at my sister's house to meet my new nephew for the first time. i felt so guilty crashing in at her place with my 6 littles creating chaos, & yet... not guilty enough to stay home.
Neil had work to do in the city, so we were there for the day & then he came & picked us up & we left around 8pm, arriving home close to midnight. In the midst of the tangle of our 12 children, my oldest sister couldn't miss out on the fun & packed up her little brood & drove the 3 hours from Hinton to make it a *full house*. Between the 3 of us, there are 19 children... 3 in diapers, 2 barely out of them, 1 who turned 13 in November & then a whole bunch in between.
Sometimes i wonder what it would be like to live closer... where we could all just go out in an evening, just us 3 girls ~ & carry on a conversation ~ "passing the ball" back & forth without it being hijacked by hurt fingers, or feelings, or markers on window sills, or poopy bums, hungry tummies & eavesdropping pre-teens. ~
But maybe sentences, thoughts, & conversations are supposed to be captured in tiny colourful pieces right now. i don't remember *what* we were talking about when that little husky, curly haired boy cried because he lost his 'bouncy ball'... but i remember how sweet he looked with his lips turned down, till little elfin princess found it for him & restored his *joy*. i remember that Robin, 7, is an artist... & Ellie, 5, can spell & read better than any other 5 year old i know. i remember that Wyatt, 13, is addicted to his baby sister, Mielle, 8mo, & i wished i could put superglue on his shoulders so i wouldn't be afraid of her falling off that high perch (when did his shoulders get so high & broad??) i remember Sadie's grin when i got to rescue her from her too short nap. i remember arms intertwined, cousins pairing off, wrestling matches, cheering for baby's wobbly steps to show off for proud aunties... & most sweetly, inhaling that new little boy who changes our mix yet again with his perfect nose & downy soft hair, nestling closer to escape the noise that he'll add to soon enough.
Welcome to our world, baby Wesley.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Good & The Bad

Have you ever read this story?
This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, "What makes you think it is so terrible?"
A month later, the horse came home--this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer's good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, "What makes you think this is good fortune?"
The farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, "What makes you think it is bad?"
A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. "What makes you think this is good?" said the farmer.

i know... 's not a bible story :) but it makes me think of how i am with God sometimes. It's like an artist painting a picture with a 4 year old peeking over their shoulder asking, "What's that? Why did you do that? Is that a mistake? Are ya gonna fix that blob of paint? You should add a SUNSHINE... or a FROG!!" ~ Surely we can help God create His masterpiece.
Surrender.
We get so tired... trying to orchestrate... trying to analyze, trying to comprehend, explain, find meaning to the mundane, the painful, the miraculous... but through it all....
God just *is*.
Weaving, creating, remaining constant, compassionate and faithful.
Surrender.
My prayers have become surrender.
Ah, God, i hurt.
i know.
God, i don't see how this will work out.
i'm still in control, Paige.
i trust you, Father.

& i do.
i trust Him now, when life has been so full of blessing, i'm afraid to exhale & disrupt a single thing. i trusted Him then... when i didn't want to wake up in the morning. i'll trust Him come what may ~ when i see His hand, or when i long to see Him take action. When he shows me a miracle, or when i have to choose to believe without seeing. When i think a situation brings only bad, & He turns it for His Glory... or when a situation that i think is good, seems to turn bad.

So, take me, Father. Shape me... Do it Your way. Help me see past the blobs of paint or the seeming tangle of threads to Your masterpiece. Give me wisdom and patience to grow 'till my desires mirror Yours.
amen

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More Moments

In our Honda van that is packed to the gills this summer, all of a sudden a shrill voice (molls) pipes up from the back seat: PEOPLE!!!!! i'm not COMFORTABLE back here!!!
(um, really? 'cause i thought cramming 8 people like sardines into a smallish van for 11 hours sounds exceedingly comfortable...)
And, apparently, they're making cartoons cuter than they did when i was a kid, 'cause this shout was heard from the basement one day: Peyton: CAI, SLOAN!!! You gotta come see this!! Diego's in a BATHING SUIT!!!
And, here's one that isn't even from my kids. Sloan & Cai were babysitting at the church today & Cai asked a little girl, 'does your daddy play the guitar?' & she softly replied, 'yes. And my mommy does the dishes' :) Awwwwww...

Monday, December 1, 2008

An Announcement

While eating lunch on Saturday, i was startled to look up & see my eldest standing on her chair clearing her throat....
Cairo: (ahem) I have an announcement to make.
(all forks stop moving & all eyes turn to her)
Cairo: First of all, i would like to thank Mollen and Charter for being more diligent with brushing their teeth. This is making the world a better place. Now, if you would quit dripping toothpaste all over my bathroom, your efforts would be much appreciated.
Thank you.
(Cairo sits down... forks resume movement... another moment captured from the loony bin).

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