Thursday, April 30, 2009

& no one was chasing me either...

i ran.

i didn't want to tell anyone 'cause it's embarrassing. i'm not very proud of my stick-to-it-iveness. i use to really, really like running in highschool. i'm always a little curious & intrigued when i find out people run long distances - & there's a part of me that has always wondered if i could ever do that too. But, then i say to myself, 'Self, there is no way that you will do that for more than a week... this is just a passing fancy, stick to what you're already doing poorly... no need to add to that pile...' (i know! Not very nice eh?)

But, i never seem to leave the house... & if i go for walks with the littles - there is so much dilly dallying - & on & off the bike, stroller - i hurt my foot, i'm cold, i wanna go home, i wanna play at the park... hold me.... that i never get a chance to get winded. So, in honour of my biggest 4 children training for their triathlon in August, i ran.

The first time, i got all dressed up with my runners on, my hair in a pony tail & went out to Neil's office where he was on the phone & jogged in place pantomiming my running prowess while he glared at me & motioned for me to go away. i waved smiling & went with the a couple of kids on bikes for a little loop. To my amazement - i could actually run... (ahem... jog) i got home & my cheeks were pink, & i ran out to Neil's office & did a little victory lap & annoyed the crap out of him. (Seriously, anyone wanna start bets on how long he can stand having his office in the garage?? - no, honestly, he loves it - he just has to keep up his gruff appearance...)

i discovered some new & interesting facts.

If i go for a run - i leave these walls that seem - with our delayed spring - to be tumbling in on me some days. Running is not a discriminating date. i don't have to have my hair done (but it helps if i'm gonna go show off for Neil first...) or have showered... i can even wear my pj pants if i feel like it. When i run, it has a beginning and an end. Tic. i can check that off. Completed, task accomplished, done. If i go for a run, i don't have to feel bad that i am avoiding the toilets and dusting...

Running won't have hurt feelings if this is just a fling - & neither should i.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Plate

i feel almost guilty sometimes.

i have friends who are busy -continually - with doctor's appointments, poor health, demanding jobs, sadness - (yes, you can be busy with sadness... ) With joy - sleepless baby nights, working on milk supply, constantly giving, going - with the tasks that are just a normal part of *life*.

i've found lately that my plate is getting lighter. My 'biggies' are starting to outnumber my 'littles'. It has been beautiful to me to see my guys becoming more self-sufficient - & sure helps me to drink in this (short) phase of Gagey's babyhood. (i know, if anyone is reading this, they're likely rolling eyes correcting me... fine -'toddlerhood' - but c'mon, give a girl a break here!)

So, some things on my plate have grown legs and walked away - some have been gently removed by others & i find myself saying, as i've heard my husband say on a good day, 'This game is easy.'

It's not easy - sometimes i wish if things were removed from my plate, it could be toilets and dusting... but we don't always get to choose what our jobs are & like it or not, i don't think toilets and dusting are going *anywhere*. (Right now, i'm scratching my head, trying to remember when the last time is that i did those 2 disliked chores & i'm thinkin' it's time i actually did them instead of whining about them! hehe)

So, i try to stave off the babyfever - & choose other healthy, good activities to round out my plate & keep me working hard. It's hard though - that desire & openness for life seems somehow to have been hardwired into me - & it's like a nervous energy that i'm trying to cap & i don't quite know what to do with it. Seems so unnatural to work against it.

& then, if you let it, your plate can just stack itself higher & higher with those toilets and dusters - & pretty soon that's all you would do - if you let it go that far.

So, i'm being choosy... i'm keeping my blog on my plate because it is like a nice piece of broccoli (let's be clear here - i love broccoli) a little outlet to hear my own heart... amidst the increasing volume in my home... i'm gonna set some nice short term physical goals for me & my guys as they train for their triathlons in August... i'm gonna ask God to help me say, "Yes, please" & "No, thank you" as the opportunities are passed. & i promise... i'll do the toilets and dusting at some point too.

& i'm gonna look upon what seems to me to be a nicely balanced plate - in this season of my life - with gratitude.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


That morning, bright and early, i got up and worked for over an hour on an idea for a blogpost that i had started the night before. Everyone was still asleep & in the quiet, i could just write whatever i felt like.
The ideas just flowed & took the exact shape that i wanted them to. When i proofread it, all i had to do was add an 's' or a comma. & then blogger froze... & after a few stupid errors on my part, i lost my post.
i felt *horrible*. It was a post where i felt like i finally got down in words something that i've always sort of felt & wondered. i went back & rewrote what i could remember, but the words were blocky & didn't flow. There were some ideas that went back to being 'thoughts without words' & i never did capture them again. & then the kids got up... my house got noisy. i feel like i could cry.
If it were a post about anything but Caleb & Hope - i don't think i would care. But, i feel like i lost a little tiny piece of something very precious that i very much wanted to have been able to put into words.
i reworked the post as well as i could & that is what i posted yesterday.
Still not the same - but... what can you do?
Blogging to me has become a bit of a release.
A place to bear my heart - to discover the things that are most important to me...
To possibly capture some fleeting moments, thoughts, images from these years...
To point to Jesus.
As you can see from my sidebar, i'm trying my best to try to start labeling my posts... 's not as much fun as you would think. It's gonna take me awhile, but hopefully in the end it will help my blog be more readable. And maybe when reading posts about Caleb and Hope, more people will meet The Comforter - My King - My Jesus.
i started this blog with the intent that my focus would be prolife.
i'm learning daily that being a momma *is* some of the most important prolife work happening out there. i hope that this little spot on the world wide web brings glory to God.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Story...

We each have one - don't we...
The story of our lives - the sweet intermingling of different people who touched us, moved us & made us who we are... The ones who have grown alongside us - winding the vines of their story through our own, till it's impossible to tell one from the other.
i was struck the other day with the idea that -
little Caleb has a story too.
Little son of my heart - whose brief life was lived in it's entirety in my womb. Whose mama only got to lay her eyes on him when he was already gone.
My memory holds you tenderly, with your precious face laying on your exquisite hand. Peaceful babe - not ready to be born.
Oh, son, your story is like a little vine - grafted into me.
i felt the cut when your story sliced into me - & i thought at the time- that maybe i was too damaged by that cut & that neither one of us would make it. Slowly, where you were grafted in, a little bud began to grow. Over time, the wound no longer hurt as badly as it once did... and i felt that the graft was complete... i could hardly tell where one began & the other ended. i looked different than i would have, had you not been grafted into me. i was like a maple tree that could grow lilies because of you, or sweetpeas because of Hope. i could never have done that before.
When Hope went home early too, i felt like an expert gardener. The wound was gaping, but i knew better now,the blessing that this little one was - and that Hope would always, always be a part of me. Not in a new age mystical way - but in the way that my Father had allowed me to be changed by a little baby that nobody else even got to meet.
Hope was grafted in, like Caleb before.

i am a monster tree.

My branches seeming to morph before your eyes. The tendrils of my children trailing around my roots.
There is sadness - but not despair. There is longing, but it's sustained by Hope. There is a future - and it's a heavenly one. These little ones cause me to keep my eyes firmly locked on my Father - who is faithful to provide what we need.
For now, i will encourage these little grafts, and every leaf and branch and fiber of my being, to point to Jesus - i will allow my sorrow, and it's beautiful fruit to be seen.
A mama will never forget that which has become a part of her.
Heaven means finally feeling complete.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Take 3... (i promise this will be the last one)

i commented in my last post about the fun(niness) of being out & about with my sisters.
We each arrived from our corner of the province - tired. i won't go into every intimate detail about why we were tired... let your imagination be your guide. (If right now you're picturing travelling with 6 children in a cramped Honda van... keep goin'. If you're picturing the baby screaming everytime he wants something & a fight breaking out in the backseat over a McDonalds toy... yeh, you're on the right track... Throw in some noisy conversation and shushing children while daddy has a business meeting on his blackberry - gettin' warmer... )
After checking into the hotel, we headed over to the Shaw conference center for our sound check. Stephanie brought her camera & we regret not taking pictures both with the security guards from the Shaw and also with Ed Stelmach's personal security - (he looked so tough & cool with the little curly ear piece!) (See above for evidence of us harrassing the RCMP with our photo requests... By the end of the breakfast, people who we *didn't* ask for a photo with them were probably wondering what was wrong with them... )
We were giddy.
i think that's when it started.
Being overtired & in the company of my sisters is a little like intoxication. Suddenly everything was funnier... we weren't nervous - we've sung together for decades - and these songs were completely familar to us. This was fun - we were out of our elegance element completely - and we were gonna milk it.
After the sound check, we headed back for the fancy dinner. i decided that Gagey's snot was not my preferred accessory, so i changed. Stephanie put on lipstick, Jess borrowed my make up. We kissed the babies goodbye & headed off.
They went around the table with each person having a chance to say a piece... When Jessica (who went first out of us girls) introduced herself as the mother of 6, the room errupted in applause. Then, it was my turn... our resumes are so similar, so i got a round of applause too... & they shouted at Stephanie... "C'mon!! You can make it 18!!" She slyly held up 7 fingers... That sealed the deal. We were our own little freak show.
Indeed. That is us... the mothers of 19.
i can't skip ahead to the next morning... i have to add a little bit about what happened all during the wee hours of the night...
First of all... a delicious supper that was not prepared by us - beef, potatoes, veggies, salad. Yummy punch... chocolate dipped strawberries... None of which Jessie got to eat. She was called away after having maybe 4 forkfulls. Little Wes is teething & needed his mama... badly. As a matter of fact, i think she might have some permanent hearing damage from when she answered the call from her husband - wailing Wess in the background... Pushing his request into the foreground... She left early - & i don't think there was even any leftover pizza from the boys' little pizza party with the kids for her to eat...
Stephanie & i asked them to leave her plate, hoping she could make it back... got them to leave her a desert too - which we ended up leaving when it was time to go & obvious that she wasn't coming back.
Then, we went to our rooms. We did a little switcharoo, as they had messed up our rooms, and given her the bigger room (she only brought 2 children) so she took 2 of mine & we headed off to bed.
That's when the fun began.
Poor sweet Gage... had *no* idea what was expected of him... To sleep in this foreign place? Not to butt his head all over his siblings? To quit talking and settle into dreamland? That couldn't possibly be what we wanted... This confusion, fueled by a healthy dose of hyper kept me shushing, nursing, backrubbing, snuggling 'till the wee hours... When, at 3am, i knew i would have to move my arm to get it into a comfortable position... i knew i was taking a risk that it would disturb my *finally* sleeping baby... but i did it anyway. When i glanced at him again, he was standing, holding onto the backboard jumping.
hehe - funny guy...
i guess Jessie & Stephanie's nights were pretty similar to mine. Our final soundcheck the next morning was "between 6:30 & 7"... so at the bum crack of dawn, i roused my weary self from the bed... leaving a snoozing prince snuggled in daddy's arms... and had a long, hot shower.
Let me tell you what having about 3 hours of sleep does to a 32 year old mama of 6. It makes even the mundane, daily things... really, really, really funny. The snow that started when we were walking to the Shaw, Jessie's husband whistling and cat calling as we crossed the street in our slippery heels... even the tiny ketchups on the table that Jess kept threatening to steal. When i almost fell through my chair (they were wobbly!!)... How about when someone asked me for our contact info & i had to rummage past the cloth diapers and sleeper in my purse to find a pen? Or when, sitting at the table of musicians and security, Stephanie suggested we should have been seated, "mistrel, knight, minstrel, knight" & i *howled* & smacked the table & the whole thing shook... i think i even made the security jump. (i KNOW, that's only funny to a 13 year old boy with pocket protectors and a nasal voice...).
The preface reads: 3 sister mamas escape for breakfast on the town... hilarity ensues.

The End.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Premiers Breakfast Take 2

Ok, so maybe i don't have anymore thoughts to add after my original piece yesterday. i have some small thoughts rattling around in my mind... like could something called a Prayer Breakfast possibly be more about rubbing elbows than about Jesus? Maybe i could post about watching both of my sisters so eloquently speak *truth* about a loving relationship with Jesus at the dinner the night before... Or the hilarity of 3 housebound mamas on the loose at a fancy schmancy event... (ok, i just may blog about that sometime in the future... i'm still not positive that Jess didn't steal some of those tiny ketchups... Stay tuned for Take 3) & then i have my wiggling thoughts about Father Lucien Larre - one of the people who, because of conscience returned his Order of Canada when Henry Morgentaler was given the same award. He was the guest speaker at the breakfast. i was disappointed that they left out the return of his "prestigious" award in his introduction, but it is heartening to have that bit of information about him. What an example to us all.
But, honestly...
Yesterday's post sums it up for me. i had fun. i love my sisters. i love God.
i hope we point continually to Him.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Premiers Prayer Breakfast - take 1

My carriage is a pumpkin & my lipstick is all wiped off. My heels are still in my suitcase & my feet are bare... i have a teeny blister on one toe from running around in heels so much the last 2 days.
i'm home.
So, you didn't know i was gone? i know - i'm a genius - i pre-posted my last entries 'cause i knew i would be away. By some pleasant circumstances, my sisters & i got asked to sing at the Premiers Prayer Breakfast in Edmonton. There was a fancy dinner the night before, and then a beautiful breakfast for 1200. We hardly get to sing together anymore, so it was so much fun for us to get the opportunity to be a part of such a cool event.
So, now i'm home... i didn't sleep last night... Gage had no idea how to sleep in a hotel & i spent the night using all my magic momma tricks to get him to sleep (read: nursing him non-stop). i'm not sure that i know how to put together my thoughts on our little experience quite yet, so for now, i will share with you the part that stands out to me the most.
For this, i am so grateful to my sister Stephanie.
From the moment that we got asked to sing, i hoped for the opportunity to talk to Mr. Stelmach about de-insuring abortion in our province. It hurts that our tax dollars are going to fund something that we are so morally opposed to. i brought it up in jest with my sisters... still hoping...
Fast forward to the end of the breakfast - we had met the Premier already and there was now a big line up of people waiting to shake his hand & greet him that morning. Jess had already had to leave because of her hungry little nursling & Stephanie & i were about to try to get out of there too. She looked at me & said, "Should we go talk to him about de-listing abortion?"
i really wanted to.
We waited in the line up - and Stephanie spoke first. i hopped in right beside her and said my piece. Something to the effect of, 'i know that this morning is supposed to be fun and non-confrontational - but i may never get the chance to meet the Premier again & i do feel like i want to ask you to please consider de-insuring abortion as it is morally unjust.' (Only, i didn't say it even that smoothly - & my words didn't come together like that... & i felt uncomfortable... ) We talked briefly - i felt like he *heard* us.
i had done what i knew my heart needed me to do.
i know i wasn't eloquent - or necessarily convincing. i know that our small plea might not have an effect on the unjust laws that make abortion all too easy.
But, in that moment, i felt...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Him again...

Seriously... you can't tell him i blogged about him 2 days in a row...

Neil: (making retching & gagging sounds) EWWWWWWWW.... He smells like you took chili, tomatoes and avocados & mixed them all together...
me: He smells good? (Taking baby... who does *not* smell good...)
*diaper change, fresh bum... even new outfit & shiny scrubbed face little boy reaches up to daddy again*
Neil: Paige... seriously... i think that smell soaked into his skin... He still stinks! How could it absorb right into his skin?! (Shoving Gage away from him with his foot while Gage holds his chubby little arms up to him...)
Me: He pooped again.
Neil: Oh. Can you change him? He's a negative air freshener...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

i have the best husband in the world...

but, i'm not supposed to blog about him - so this is just between you & me...
He always picks up a broom, or a tea towel to dry dishes after supper. He will put away laundry & doesn't mind vacuuming on occasion. He keeps the van clutter-free & the outside is usually pretty clean too...
He can be a little ocd sometimes...
So, the other day... as i'm trying to get supper on the table, & our kitchen is a flurry of activity, he decided to tackle my pantry. He pulls out a basket & says, "There are like 4 things in this basket & it's taking up so much space."
"Yes - can we do that later? It's supper time & there are only 4 children & so i'm pretty sure there are 2 more out there somewhere..."
"i'm taking this out of here..."
"Ok... "
"There! Doesn't that look better?!"
There is an open space where the basket once was... The basket is now on my kitchen counter... i'm a little confused, but i smile & say, "Thank you, honey!"
We have supper.
After supper i'm cleaning up - washing the dishes... & he arrives like a superhero with his teatowel in hand, ready to rescue me.
"Where does this go?" he asks pleasantly...
"um... in.. the... basket... "
He grunts & rummages around to find a spot for my bundt pan.
This morning - i found my basket... up in the top of my pantry. It's chalk full. i can't reach it - but my pantry looks much, much tidier. ;)

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Dedication Song

*i wish there was a way that i could put the real song on here... sometimes the words by themselves make me feel goofy :) BUT, i was singing this song - & it got written so quick... It is so much my desire to dedicate my life & all that i am to My King.

A dedication song,
You alone know just where i belong -
& so to You i bring,
My King...
A dedication song.

These hands, these feet -
My pennies for your coffer.
My offering's not much,
But my King will multiply - yeah -

Do you know Him? Do you love Him?
Do you know Him? Do you love Him?
Do you know Him? Do you love Him?
Do you know Him? Let's give it all -

Sunday, April 19, 2009

5 years ago...

i delivered my 5th baby,
my 4th daughter,
in around 3 hours,
My second biggest baby -
My first Mollen.

5 years ago,
4 children fought over holding their new baby sister,
3 girls wanted to nurse her
2 parents hardly slept -
1 God was thanked for new life...

1 child's birthday brings
2 feelings to me... pride and nostalgia...
3 big sisters already passed this milestone...
4 big siblings spoil her rotten...
5 siblings love her to pieces.

Happy birthday to the spice of the beselts...

Friday, April 17, 2009


Ah, the personality that oozes from those joyous eyes.
This little man of few words - is himself impossible to describe with words.
TouCH. TouCH. TouCH.
The latest addition to his tiny vocabulary.
He pads into the room on his fatty little feet with one of his starfish fingers pointing out, exploring his environment.
He touches a button on a blouse. My painted toenails. A little one's nose.
TouCH. He touches the very deepest parts of my heart capable of mother's love.
TouCH. He gently shifts my focus to what is most important - & i am grateful.
TouCH. One word. One stage of growth. One moment captured - that continues to capture me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

chrysalis academy

i was thinking today about how my hopeful, shiny dreams about homeschooling aren't so shiny anymore.
i wasn't completely deluded when i started... i wondered if i'd have the 'stick-to-it-iveness' to even make it through that first year. i told myself that even if she learned nothing in grade 1, at least i could put her in for grade 2 & she'd likely catch up.
But - i have to admit, in the back of my mind - i wanted all those articles i'd read to be true. Articles that told me that my homeschooled kids would be brilliantly smart, independent thinkers... motivated learners just basking in the freedom of the learning environment that i had created. i wanted the academic success - even though i admitted to myself that my main goals were to foster a loving relationship between siblings in our family - & most importantly - to give myself the huge amount of time daily that i believed i needed to keep Jesus in the forefront of their upbringing.
Now? Seven years in - nope - my dreams aren't so shiny. But not much else has changed. My secret, lofty dreams of having a housefull of Einsteins hasn't happened... Yes, i've got some really smart ones... & i've got ones who will always struggle with schooly stuff... i've got some kids in some areas where they're really, really weak... (maybe even as a result of my poor teaching ability...) i've got others who have these areas of enormous strength. Basically what i've got is a whole homeschool fulla 'normal'. And normal, as it turns out, works out just fine with what my original goals were.
My first goals that i set out for myself in my homeschooling journey were the very ones that are still the most important to me. Yeh, i wanted that shiny apple of academics... but what i *really* wanted & what i still so desperately want now - was the homeschool lifestyle that facilitated my true goals of a tightknit family that loved Jesus.
These are the goals that are just now starting to blossom and bear fruit. It will be years and years before we get to harvest it - but we only get one chance and i want to 'give it all' to the task that God set before me when He gave me my little ones.
So, God - give me what i need to point them toward you.
Give me wisdom as i help them prepare for life outside these walls.
Give me a vision for their future - and the ways that You would choose to use them.
Give me patience as we learn, relearn, absorb and use the lessons before us.
Let our little homeschool, Chrysalis Academy, bring You glory.

Chrysalis - 1 a: a pupa of a butterfly ; broadly : an insect pupa b: the enclosing case or covering of a pupa2: a protecting covering : a sheltered state or stage of being or growth

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

and then she said...

Over the bubbling conversation (centered around Molls' upcoming birthday) Peyton broke in with a devilish grin, "Anyone wanna see my "birthday clothes"?"

When the littles were performing at a seniors residence, the doors opened & the audience began to enter & mollen jumped up & down squealing, "The OLD FOLKS are coming, the OLD FOLKS are coming!!"

(to the tune of Give Me Oil In My Lamp - new words by mollen...)
keep me oil in my hat, keep me bleeding
keep me oil in my hat, i pray
keep me oil in my hat, keep me bleeding
keep me bleeding till the end of May.

Neil: you know what i want to do? i want to get a pen & write all over the kids.
me: (looks questioningly at him)
Neil: 'cause that's what they do to all our walls and furniture...

Mollen - "They call me stinky, they call me winky, that's not mah name, that's not mah name!" - (Anyone heard that song? She LOVES it... hehe)

Me: bleary eyed, looking for my morning cup of coffee & grunting in reply at each interval...
Mollen: Momma, do you know who i love the best that does not live in this house? i love God and Jesus. And i know that they're everywhere because that is what omnipresent means. Do you know who my best friend is? Not Gage. Tricked you! It's Gammy & Gampy! You know what i love for breakfast? i like toast with whipping cream on top. That's yum. Did you put toast in for me? i can talk lots. Don't i say lots of words? i just don't stop talking.....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


There is something to be said for suffering.
We live in an age where we are so blessed that we can medicate when we need to.
Headaches, childbirth, dentistry, fevers, surgeries...
But as a result, we've grown to expect less suffering in life - and in death.
We even attempt to medicate heartbreak.
We want to dull the pain - to mask the symptoms...
Don't get me wrong - i've downed more than my fair share of advil - & dealt with the annoyance and frustration of suffering with migraines that hurt more than natural childbirth. i've given tylenol or motrin, cough candies... & while i understand that pain is not fun - & yes, i do try to avoid it - or seeing my children in it -.

- Some days - i wonder if we're trading off something precious when we make it our goal to avoid suffering completely.

i've heard people say, 'Why would she choose to suffer like that?' almost as if it's an annoyance - when women have chosen to give birth without pain medication.
More & more i'm hearing murmers that we shouldn't allow the sick, the struggling, the dying to suffer either. That euthanasia is a more merciful option than the sometimes long, drawn out, painful process of death...
i remember when i was having my first baby. They offered me 'something for the pain' & i remember thinking - 'If this hurts *me* this much, imagine how much it must hurt her little frame, being squished like that... ' i felt like we were a team & that if i could, i'd like to just keep that pain that was connecting us in this little triumph of childbirth.
i don't know if death is anything like childbirth - but in my naivete, i imagine that it is. The groaning expectancy - the emerging of a little being from the secret place where it was formed, into new territory where all of it's limbs, muscles, senses have new purposes.
i believe that the parenthesis around life on earth should be placed by the Creator. And that the suffering within those parentheses might just serve as the punctuation that makes that life readable. i wonder if suffering exercises spiritual muscles that we might not even know that we need, until we have finished our life here...
i know - i'm ignorant on the whole subject - & i know it sounds like i'm oblivious to the suffering and pain of others. i'm trying not to be. i do believe that we need to be compassionate and merciful to the sick and the dying, but i think that euthanasia is a dangerous option. Both for the one choosing to die & in that moment devaluing the life that they still have, and for the society that facilitates such thinking. i believe that euthanasia can become self perpetuating in that then when someone gets sick, they then feel like they are a burden & are expected to request death since others in their same position made that choice. Fearing that they would be deemed selfish if they choose *life*, feeling forced to choose the same 'selfless' act...
Rather than casting off the unwanted burden of suffering - and fighting for euthanasia to be on the forefront of treatments for the most vulnerable among us, what if we cared for and built up the suffering - thanking them for giving us the opportunity to serve. Encouraging them in that difficult, agonizing transition to 'finish well'... Medicating their suffering - without medicating to obliterate the suffering ones...

we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Take me Jesus -
my little pennies for your coffer -
my tiny faith - multiplied by
Your promises kept.
My Hope home.
My eyes ever on You.
Your fingers ever leading me.
To that place -
Where clouds are parted, shadows have passed, light prevails.

He is Risen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

o sacred head now wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! 'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for thee.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What i've learned from observing Lent

i learned that 40 days is a long time. hee hee.

Our little jar is almost empty - as we approach Good Friday and Easter Sunday - i do feel more *aware* & prepared for this season. My littles have been such faithful little participants. We had a few days where we missed - or forgot - but they were few & far between.

i'm reading Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) & there was a part that touched on 'religion'. The character, Levin, has to go to confession before he can get married. He hasn't been for 9 years or more & he's concerned because he doesn't have any 'strong religious feeling' -

"He could see at once that it was utterly impossible for him. He tried to look at it as a meaningless, empty custom, like the custom of paying visits; but he felt that he could not do that either. With regard to religion, Levin, like most of his contemporaries, was in a very uncertain position. He could not believe, yet at the same time he was not firmly convinced that it was all incorrect. And therefore, being unable either to believe in the meaningfulness of what he was doing or to look at it indifferently as at an empty formality, he experienced, all through this time of preparation, a feeling of awkwardness and shame at doing what he himself did not understand and therefore, as his inner voice kept telling him, something false and bad."

And later,

"A young deacon, the two halves of his long back sharply outlined under his thin cassock, met him and, going over to a little table, began at once to read the prayers. As the reading went on, and especially at the frequent and rapid repetition of the same words, 'Lord have mercy,' which sounded like 'Lordamerse, Lordamerse,'..."

This is where religion & the reality of a God who desires relationship get confused for so many.
"Oh, God let us be a generation that seeks Your face, oh, God of Jacob" - as Chris Tomlin's song sings...
You don't have to choose between rejecting God, or faking religion.
There's the third alternative.
What if God is real?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

remembering...a cartoon memory

i started a post about remembering...
& it got me remembering... hehe.
i have a bit of writers block & can't coherently express my thoughts - so i thought until i can - i'll save my post on remembering & i'd post a memory instead.
We have a bit of an age gap in our family. Between Mollen & Gage there are almost 4 years. In those years - i didn't foresee us ever having another baby. We were done - & for some reason, i just couldn't come to grips with that.
i wanted - if not a baby - the possibility of a baby. Does that make any sense?
It was our season of unrest in our marriage - love watered by long roots instead of from the warm rains above. Marriage carefully tended during the 'no middle ground' storm.
& then one day - i came into my kitchen to find this cartoon torn recklessly out of the newspaper & stuck to my fridge.
It was a husband & wife in bed (Daniel Shelton's comic "Ben"). The wife still sleeping & the husband leaning over her saying, 'Patty? i've been thinking... i think that maybe, perhaps... there's a slight chance we could start considering your suggestion to... possibly... try for another baby.'
Instantly awake - (i wish i could post the actual cartoon here - my description doesn't quite do it justice...) the wife jumps all over the startled husband & his momentary concession.
When i saw it... i thought - who put that scrap of newspaper on my fridge?
& then i read it...
& then i laughed...
& laughed...
i phoned Neil - who acted all, 'what?'
i left it on my fridge over the next months that led up to my pregnancy with baby Hope.
Every morning - it would give me a silly little pleasure - seeing the rough edges of the cartoon that was evidence of my husband's love for me.
When i found out i was pregnant, i had great plans of putting that cartoon into a baby book - with the story of daddy's playful surprise. The cartoon became even more precious to me.
The week we found out that there was no longer a heart beat - and that we were losing our little one, i came down to the kitchen to find my cartoon ripped into 7 pieces on the ground. Mollen had gotten ahold of it & being a 3 year old, had done what 3 year olds do so well.
i think i cried.
i tried to tape it back together...
but you couldn't even read the words.
In desperation, i emailed the cartoonist - who so kindly sent me a copy.
i still have it.
i really should frame it one of these days...
i want to have the memory of an elephant when it comes to Love.
And the memory of Dori from Finding Nemo when it comes to my grudges.
Love is an action word.
And memories of loving actions are like little bits of gold.
i'm sure learning to treasure them...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Confessions and Guilty Pleasures

When we travel out to BC - we get McDonalds.
Neil drinks Red Bull.
i buy an entertainment magazine to look at all the pretty dresses.
We let the kids watch too many movies.
We listen to all Neil's favourites on xm radio.
i hope that Jim Rome won't come on...

"i love you."
"Yeah." (Trying to negotiate traffic) "i know."
"No, like, i love love you."
(Shoving a bunch of french fries in his mouth) "Like, adore?" (cheekily).

ok, so he gets it... i sit back, content... & check out, 'who wore it better.'

Saturday, April 4, 2009

butterfly piano...

i wasn't gonna blog today - but then Neil & i saw this:

i honestly wish i had never seen it...

i want it so bad!!! (Sounds nice & warm & yummy too - it's quite a bit bigger than mine... hehe... after all my moaning about not deserving my beautiful instrument - now i'm mooing about a nicer one... What a wacko.)

i'm so naughty - there's sweet little butterflies inside too...
So cool...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury...

Like a momma scorned...
The dollar store lady made me lose my cool.
My 4 bigs went to the $ store to buy some face paint for circus night at awana. While they were there, a friend of ours approached them & invited Charter to a birthday party later on in the day - just a casual thing - so Charter thought he'd like to buy a little bday gift there too. While they were looking for a gift, the lady from the store came up to them & said, "This isn't a babysitting service.. Either buy something or leave".. Cai was mortified & scooted the kids out of the store without buying anything... i was livid when she called me from the cell (it's only a couple of blocks away) & i phoned the store. The lady even admitted they were being good, "But," she said, "Lots of kids their age come in here to steal"... Talk about ageism & profiling!! Should i have had more grace??
i didn't...
Immediately after the phone call, i cried. i'm a girl - and conflict makes me uncomfortable. i second guessed my first *roaring* impulse of protective motherliness - & wondered if i should have just let it be. One of my favourite quotes after all, is from my mother who said, "It's not my job to go around correcting every ignorant person in the world. If it was, it'd be a full time job."
But then, i remembered that afternoon in grade 3. Our class had been to the swimming pool for lessons. i was a bit of a loner - & a tiny bit shy. When we got back to the school, our teacher was furious with us for taking so long in the changerooms after our lessons. She tore into us - (she tended to have a bit of a temper) & in front of the whole class, singled me out & LIED about me. i was an extremely modest kid - even for an 8 year old - & she said... "People like Paige - just standing in the middle of the room naked, talking instead of getting ready!!"
At the word 'naked'... my heart froze.
i could feel the shame creeping up my neck.
When i changed - there were no stalls, but i remember holding my towel around me to try to cover myself & changing quickly to get out of there.
i have no idea what else she said, but it was the end of the day & the bell rang. i grabbed my bag & held my breath, my ears ringing - till i saw my mom waiting in the car... then all the tears and embarrassment came out in the safety of my momma's arms.
My mom listened to me for about 4 seconds & then said, "Wait right here." & went into the school.
i don't know what she said - or how mean ol' Mme. Helene reacted - but i did know that my mom stood up for me that day.
As i remembered what it felt like to have an adult - my mom - on my team, i knew i had done the right thing.
It's not my job to correct every ignorant person in the world... but on Wednesday, it was -
So, i did.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We've Measured You On Our Rubric...

i remember growing up - it seemed whatever i wanted to try my hand at, one of my big sisters had already climbed that mountain - & better & faster than i could too.
i've always felt a little pathetic with what i could possibly offer the world, my family, my God.
There's a song i'll never finish - i started to write it when we lived in Daysland. It's seriously the only song of mine that Neil could sing off the top of his head - because it's a standing joke between us. The chorus starts out, "nothing's ever good enough"... It seemed that in that whiny place that i was in when i started to write that song - that's how i felt - like i was never good enough. So, it's the punchline to any disappointment... i burn the lasagne - he sings, "nothing's ever good enough..." He takes a wrong turn on the way to our destination & i point it out, he sings, "nothing's ever good enough..."
He's silly...
But - it sure is an uncomfortable position to be in when you feel like you never quite measure up - kind of like...
"i love the painting you've made, but i'd never hang it in my house..."
"Your song is on the radio - but let's change the channel & see what else is on..."
"Your chili is good, but i'd love to get Edna's recipe..."
"You can totally keep doing what you're doing, but i wouldn't waste my time like that..."
i remember times in my life where i cried out to God for more opportunities for music. Where i felt that all i poured out to Him at my piano, in my home ~ was something that i ached to share... like *please, God, choose to use me*, but eventually, i came to a place where i told God that the music i write, the songs that i sing, the music that is in my life & my heart ~ it's all for Him. He can use it as He sees fit ~ to shape me as a momma ~ to lead a congregation ~ to teach me to worship... as *one* voice ~ in my house, for the Audience of One.
So, my music - be what it may be - lacking on the rubric, will resound in these walls... praising God - because what else is there to do, but to praise Him?
i remember when i was pregnant with Charter, & Neil bought me my beautiful baby grand piano (we had sold my old upright 'cause we couldn't get it into the house...) ~ Anyway, i got home one night & there it was.... & he said it was to remind me of all the things i'm good at besides being a momma. i was so embarrassed, i couldn't tell my friends that my husband had bought me this completely extravagant gift. i felt like i didn't deserve such a nice instrument... just for *me* to play on & sing with... i felt totally inadequate - & undeserving. Like i just wasn't good enough.
Have you ever been there?
So, the other night... i had a funny picture in my head.
Can you guess?
It was a rubric...
Despair -
My inadequacies - that i had been so careful to keep to myself had been marked in little boxes with numbers that added up to failure. For some reason - i had been graded on a test i didn't intend to take. Picked seemingly at random - & found wanting.
But suddenly - right before my eyes - my rubric was topped up...
God filled what i lacked - where i lacked more - there was suddenly more of Him.
Enough - complete - adequate.
i was suddenly like the poor widow at the temple - who, though she gave little, Jesus measured it as much, because it was all she had. (Mark 12:41)
So, that's my encouragement to you today - continue to give all you have... God will fill in where you lack - he'll multiply your loaves and fishes -
Take heart -
it will be good enough.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Offshoot - church

church with a lower case c...
That's what i'm talking about today.
It's another one of those difficult subjects that people tend to feel strongly about - & one that Neil & i have both wrestled with over the years. Reading my sister's post on the subject yesterday is what prompted me to think again on this subject. i'm posting my comment in response to her post here.
(you can read her blog here: )

Yes, these are all things that make 'church' hard - and yet... Lately - in the nursery - in conversation - in teeny bits of building relationships, i'm finding that there is a place for me and for our family at our church.
It's true what you said about there being hurting people at the church - but i don't like the idea of leaving them for the pastor alone to minister to. i've found that in order to get past the formal greeting stage of relationship, it becomes necessary to lay your soul bare - Yes... we're different than the cultural norm found in the church building - but if i serve as a finger, pointing to Jesus when so many hurting, lost people come looking for Him - then i am grateful. i think that the church needs people who love Jesus to fill it - because when we are a community - there are mature people, hurting people, thriving people, questioning people, angry people... and i find myself hoping that a lot of the people who sincerely love Jesus (and are counter-culture) don't leave our church because then we'll just continue to follow the cultural norms that have been making church so horribly uncomfortable in the last decade especially. Francis Schaeffer said 'tell me what the world is saying now and i'll tell you what the church will be saying 7 years from now" - my hope is that by standing firm against the current - we can change that. Yes, leaving is one way of saying that what's happening is unacceptable - but staying and choosing to speak out is an alternative. i think that 'talking back' to the tv, newspaper - and yes - even the status quo in the church - like mom & dad did - teaches *good* things to our children. i'm not saying leaving isn't an option - i just really believe that it's not the only acceptable choice for families who want to make an impact and keep Jesus as the first priority.
"Children's ministry" - is such a tough question for us too. Some of the parents in our church opt out & have their children sit with them. i highly doubt you'd be reprimanded if you did - & really - at this stage, almost *anything* is hard with a whole bunch of wiggly little ones. i don't feel confident either that my children are being taught good things. i don't doubt that they're told bible stories & good bible truths, but when all i hear about when we get home is how Charter got called a 'girl' the whole time - or how a girl in grade 5 kept pulling down her own pants - i wonder if the good is worth the price paid.
i believe too - that what we do in the house/family is so much more important - but right now - i still feel like our family is supposed to be in church.
This is one of those issues that i think we benefit from wrestling with - rather than just accepting 'this is what we've always done'. i know that for me - it's not a resolved issue - but something i will continue to work through in my own heart & mind.
Good post, Steevie.


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