Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a post of truth

* i lost my breath i was working so hard today.
* what i swept up off the floor could have filled 4 of Neil's shoes... & he has big feet. i didn't try it - but i should sometime...
* i hated my computer.
* i loved my computer.
* i have no idea what i ate.
* i baked samosas. When i ran out of samosa filling, i switched to spanikopita, when i ran out of spanikopita filling, i switched to apples & cinnamon... it lasted till the pastry was gone... if it wouldn't have, i would have thrown away the last of the pastry.
* i made a horribly overcooked supper in the slowcooker.
* i didn't eat it.
* my kids didn't complain - i don't know if that makes me feel good ('cause they're so sweet & easy going) or bad (they're used to it...)
* me & sloanie made lasagne for tomorrow.
* Gagey made a work of art that he thought we would be proud of.
* my favourite chair has pen all over it.
* today was only too full because of the orientation for the online science that Peyton & Cairo are taking. Funny how adding one little thing to the mix can change everything...
* i miss neil.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Children,

i finished _Say You're One Of Them_ by Uwem Akpan today.
Maybe i should have saved it for when daddy wouldn't be gone for the week...
'cause i sure miss him now - his comforting wide back lying beside me in bed as he slumbers - his measured breaths making it rise & fall in a slow rhythmical state. His peaceful presence always reminds me of what is right with the world.
It's late - past our usual early bedtime when he's home... but my muscles are tense, my mind is full & my heart is sorrowful.

This book made me sad.

& it turned my thoughts to each of you. Safe. Protected. Loved.
Little ones, may it always be so.... slavery, murder, hatred & betrayal - things that you never get to experience...
but if not... if this world brings to our country... to our city... to our home - disasters that would change our way of life & rob us of the freedoms we enjoy...
cling to your Father - & remember what you know to be true.
Be rooted in your faith & in the knowledge of His love & goodness to you.
He is all that is Good.
love, mama

Sunday, August 29, 2010

i heard your voice today...

& it said something goofy & sarcastic that i've heard you say a hundred times before... but... probably isn't suitable blog material.
i had been missing you - & i'm tired & achy for whatever reason...
& all of a sudden - there you were - with that smirk in your tone, muttering one of your familiar catch phrases.
it made me laugh - to think - that after all these years - even the thought of you is enough to keep me company.
i love your irreverent, honest humour.
& the wry smile that accompanies it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

a plan

i have a new tiny niece.
She has the sweetest little nose that just matches her older sisters...
She's 2 days old...
a ravenously hungry newborn...
& i wanna meet her so. so. bad.
Neil left today for a work trip & my plan was to head out on Sunday after church & make the 4 hour trip to my sisters farm house to smell that sweet little newborn & to laugh & cry with my sister in joy & relief over her little ones arrival...
When i peeked into Cai's room this morning, her red rimmed eyes greeted me & my heart sank a little...
"mom, i feel wretched..."
"Are you SURE?? Maybe you're not sure... maybe you just need a few minutes to wake up..."
"No, mom i'm so sick... i can't breathe & my throat is aching...."
"Really? Let's just wait a bit. i bet you just need breakfast..."
Finally, in defeat, i realized that we're not going anywhere just yet.
So, tiny niece - we won't come & bring our germs to your happy, boisterous house. We'll wait it out for the week our daddy is gone...
But then, we're gonna come & invade like a band of wanderers. We'll bring food & little presents - warm snuggles & laughter & even tears... we'll bring your welcome when we come...
next week.
Welcome to the world, baby eva - the 18th of our nieces & nephews...
a much anticipated addition to our beautiful family tree.

Friday, August 27, 2010

halfsies













Earlier this month i took these pics of my two little 'half' boys - E being a half a year old & Gagey reaching the 2 & a half mark. i'm so excited to watch them grow together & celebrate many birthdays & halfsies with their best friend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

i wolf whistled at Neil...

i was tucking Gagey into bed with our usual rituals one night when mollen came running into the room like a flash of greased lightning....
"Mommy!!! Daddy's outside & he doesn't have a shirt on!!!"
In moments the room was flooded with hooting little people as Neil obliviously snuck out to the van to get something. i have no idea why it was so funny to them, but suddenly it struck me funny too - so i jumped out of the bed & shoved them all aside, flinging wide the second story window just as he turned to come back into the house & wolf whistled.
The children looked at me in stunned silence & Cai whispered, "ohhhh, mom, you are in the biggest trouble ever..."
(i can whistle... loudly... & i received the stoniest glare as he walked swiftly to the house... Apparently there were several people out walking that were just out of my eyesight.)
Only Mollen giggled - & when i realized that only that little whirling dervish of devilish delight was in my corner - i had to agree that i probably was in the biggest trouble ever.
& then i had to laugh too.
i didn't care.
Sometimes it's worth it.
& i like that man without his shirt on.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To the great, great grandchildren...

of Ephraim Magnus.
Maybe a hundred years from now - one of you will stumble upon this - & in your memory the name Ephraim Magnus will conjure up the image of an old man... i imagine his name will make you smile & tell the stories of how he loved his wife, bounced babes on his knee - & talked well of his mama... *smile*. Am i right?
But right now... that old man is my son... & i am his mama... & i delight in the rolls on his baby thighs & his baby crows & coos as his eyes flutter & fall & he drifts off into sleep.
i want to tell you something that may not have occurred to you.
But it occurs to me as i muse on the significance of my little one - & the possibilities for his life... his family, his lineage, his influence...

You were a long shot.

Descendants of my wee babe, he was a ninth pregnancy, a seventh child - a third son - for my husband and i...
Our little Ephraim was a surprise -
a tiny blessing in baby flesh - given to us by the grace of God - who sees the impact of this gift... not just in our lives - in this generation - in this noisy household - to this grateful mama...
But our Loving Father sees the impact that this generational line will have a decade from now - a century from now - a millennium from now - as the 7 shoots that God blessed us with grow and flourish...
and wither and die -
& their offspring in their season & time come to blossom and bloom too...
i guess in short...
i believe that God had *you* in mind when he blessed me with my little son.
o, i have no doubt that He has a work in mind for you all to accomplish with what strength & talents he bestowed upon you...

Oh, Father - it's as though for a moment - i can see much farther than my dim earth bound eyes should... light years ahead - through generations that will worship You & serve You.
Take these little ones, Father - & bless the tiny buds that might never have been - that will be fruitful followers of the One i love.

i can't wait to learn of the impact of our little surprise - our much loved babe...
your great, great grandfather,
Ephraim Magnus.

Monday, August 23, 2010

found part 5 - last one :)

CAIRO GRADE 3 - SLOANIE GRADE 1 *written july 20/o4
2004-2005
Goals
cai - memorize mult. tables - be quicker with telling time & addition & subtraction facts. Enjoy reading even more & learn to work independently. Learn how to write creatively with better spelling and punctuation.


sloan - continue progress with reading - finish basic sonlight 1 readers & progress at least 1/2 way through the advanced readers. Get her addition & subtraction facts firmly established & introduce the other math concepts (shapes, time, measurements, clocks etc...) Get some "need to know" spelling words memorized.


WHY I WANT TO HOMESCHOOL CAI AND SLOAN
-i believe that i can cover all that they need to learn to achieve a high level of success for their grade levels (1&3).
- i believe THIS home is a loving environment that can & will nurture their character growth over the next school year - better than it would in the system.
- i desire my children to learn that family is forever. That your sisters & brother are the best friends you'll ever have. Be kind. Be inclusive. Be compassionate & tender.
- i desire for my children: a relationship with God & a knowledge of Him. I believe that this relationship is better nurtured in the home & that before academic success & family ties - my children's relationship with their Creator is my #1 priority.
- i believe that homeschooling my children produces the type of fruit i desire to see in them.
- i believe God is using homeschooling to "grow" me too.


MY VISION FOR SLOAN
Sloanie is a softie. She can be so tender & loving - & also seems to have the ability to *be* soothing balm to hurting people. Sloan is fun to be with & easily makes friends & is LOYAL to her friends (especially Cairo). An area i've seen some growth - but would love to see more is in Sloanie's attitude towards Peyton. Peyton idolizes Sloanie & i'd like to help nurture a healthy, kind friendship between these 2 - (more like Cai & Sloanie's). Sloanie seems to want to learn. In the future, i can see Sloanie digging in to her faith and studying independently. My prayer for Sloanie is that God would reveal Himself to Sloanie & make Himself REAL in her life.


MY VISION FOR CAI
Cairo is still so fragile & shy. Cairo has such a strong desire to make people happy. She also has a strong desire to make God happy. This makes her the ideal student. i'd love to see Cairo continue to excel in leadership in the home... maybe one day she'll use some of her gifting and skill outside our safe environment. (*i laughed when i read this - totally prophetic :) Cairo is a great leader & all of the other kids look up to her & follow her example. i'd love to see Cairo improve her work ethic & start & finish projects on her own.
My prayer for Cairo is that she would see herself as God's child & that the enemy would have no foothold in her sensitivity & shyness.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST YEAR
- sloanie learned how to read
- swimming - Cai passed level 6 & Sloanie level 3.
- Cai memorized tons of geography - it turned out to be her favourite subject.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

found part 4 - are you sick of these yet?

Another sheet of loose leaf -
CAIRO - GRADE 2

i promised myself i'd do this every year - to keep me going when i've got nothing left. It's July 22nd 2003. Cairo's going into grade 2 - i've got one delicious year of homeschooling under by belt. (*a promise i haven't kept, obviously - since i had completely forgotten i had done these!)

HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST YEAR
- oral presentations (egypt, bugs, leather etc...)
- memorization (psalm 1, psalm 150, Little Boy Blue etc...)
- READING!! FREEDOM!!
- Read alouds! (sonlight, such fun snuggle time!)

WHY I STILL WANT TO HOMESCHOOL
Last year opened my eyes to so many positive effects of homeschooling. The one on one is amazing. The sibling relationships is something i'm trying to continue to cultivate - & closeness to mom & dad - & most importantly to keep God in the forefront of her learning. i've seen her weaknesses (& been watching Sloanie, Peyton & Charter too for what might & might not work) & i'm doing my best to strengthen her as well as letting her SOAR with her strengths. Neil & i have some bright, amazing children.

I BELIEVE / MY VISION FOR CAI
- Cairo is not ready for the public school system - she is still a gentle bud & i want her to grow.
- Cairo is a gift to this family in leading by example - work ethic, obedience, honesty & kindness to the other children - & she can best be this example IN the home.
- opportunities for teaching our Christian worldview will occur even more often this year & i want to be there & ready.
- as we continue to read good books & learn interesting things - Cairo will begin to hunger for knowledge.
- The routine of chores, school, good use of free time & service to others. (i don't feel i finished this from last year & with Sloanie starting kindergarten, i feel it's even more important).

GOALS
- develop her reading skills - keep her drive & enjoyment.
- rediscover the love of writing (give me wisdom, God...) & develop her love of language & poetry.
- math drills - SPEED (even if we don't move ahead as fast).
- memorize scripture (1vs/week minimum)
- swimming level 5 (Sloanie maybe to 3?)
- singing & piano.
- gymnastics (at least 1 cycle)
ALSO:
- supplement History with TEAMS (our homeschool support group at the time) (1900's -1950's)
- daily devotional & prayer time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

found part 3

On a loose leaf sheet of paper - scrawled & crossed out in ink...
CAIRO - GRADE 1

WHY I WANT TO HOMESCHOOL

- Focus on relationships: God, mom & dad, siblings.
- Work on character - work ethic, consistency, perseverance.
- Work on learning - knowing what she knows (& doesn't) so i can help.

I BELIEVE
-it's my responsibility to teach Cai these things & i believe homeschooling will force me to deal with these things that would be easy to ignore were she in PS.
- i have the ability to teach Cai all she needs to know academically for grade 1.
- This home... is a safe, nurturing, God centered place that will encourage Cai's emotional, physical, spiritual & mental growth.


MY VISION FOR CAI
- first and foremost - to teach her to cling to her Heavenly Father & develop her relationship with Him.
- a LEADER for my other children, encouraging KINDNESS to each other & OBEDIENCE to authority.
- i want her to learn what her mom & dad believe & our perspective on the world first hand - not the world's perspective & *then* ours defending our position - a firm grounding in scripture & Christian worldview.
- obedience, respect, kindness - Christlike actions (acts of kindness).
- inner beauty - outer ladylike.
- i want to teach Cai to hunger for knowledge & to learn how to find answers. Hunger for *good* books & have fun learning.
- the routine of chores, school, good use of free time & service to others.


GOALS
- learn to read short books independently & write complete sentences.
- Basic math - count by 2 to 100, count by 5 to 100. Add & subtract to 100. Learn 1/2, 1/4, 1/3. Learn to tell time to 5 minutes.
- Memorize 1 verse/week.
- Learn to swim.
- Learn the C scale, I, IV & V chords; play & sing 3 songs by June.
ALSO:
- i want to read together books beyond her reading ability.
- do science experiments & learn the "whys" together.
- learn history together & how it relates to today & what we believe.
- daily prayer & devotional time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

found part 2

Another piece of paper that i have *zero* recollection of... contained 8 questions. i'd probably answer differently now for some of them... but these are the answers i found - likely from 8 or so years ago...
What would your answers be? (My today answers are in italics)

1. What accomplishments must, in your opinion, occur during your lifetime so that you will consider your life to have been satisfying and well lived - a life of few or no regrets?
My response: i'm not sure such a list exists.
(i still think this...)

2. If there were a secret passion in your life, what would it be?
(i left this one blank & i still have a hard time answering. "Secret passion?" i dunno - i love finding outlets for creativity. i love my littles & my job. i adore my husband & am passionate about family & marriage. i love Jesus most of all... None of that's a secret :))

3. What do you consider your role to be in your home? In your church? In your community? In the world?
My response: In my home - i provide comfort & i take care of "my people". In my church, i think i'm supposed to help people really worship - in my community & the world, i want to be a light.
(i guess my response to this question would be longer now - taking into consideration the bible's guidelines for wives, mothers, daughters, older women... i see more value in my contribution to the world through my role in my home & i would expand on all that role requires of me).

4. If you could devote your life to serving others - and still have the money and lifestyle you need - would you do it? How would it look?
My response: i would love to do that *with neil* - going where the harvest was ripe & be an overseas missionary.
(Right now - i feel like i am devoting my life to serving others. We do have enough money that i can be at home. Yes... YES i would do it!! - & this is exactly how it would look...)

5. If you trusted someone enough to tell him or her how to manage you most effectively, what tips would you give?
My response: kindness.
(Some things don't change...)

6. If you had a five-year goal & you had the continuing support of those who could make it happen, what would that goal be?
My response - (& maybe i was really tired that day... who knows...): survival.
(i have grander plans now... i want to become more like Jesus - i want my instincts to be His... Wherever He leads me in the next 5 years - that's where i wanna be - & i wanna be doing what i'm doing for Him.)

7. What's missing in YOUR life? What would make your life more fulfilling?
My response: outlet for songs i write. & i miss my family.
(This answer makes me pause... because i wonder... - what if God is doing that - keeping those things from me - for His purposes in my life? Then, i want Him to keep them from me... so - i guess i'll be scarily honest here & tell you that for this question i would answer a little differently now.
You know what else i would love? Unity with Neil on the whole 'baby' issue. That would be amazing... But, Father? If you would rather keep that from me too - that's ok.)

8. Describe the most useful & empowering aspects of your relationship with God.
My response: that there's so much to learn - & He's gracious enough to teach me. That God is in control & that's peace to know. i do the best i can, but He's in the drivers seat.
(i think my answer has simplified a little... i can sum it up like this... My Father loves me. Amazing.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

found - pt 1

i found a bunch of interesting papers etc... while i was cleaning today.
i thought maybe i would post some of what they contained here in my cyber memory box - just for fun.
Today's item:
a photocopied paper i don't ever remember writing on. At the top is an asterisk & in my handwriting it says:
*i didn't "ponder" this - just wrote as i thought - altho - reading it over - i'm not sure i missed anything.
& then underneath is a typed question:

Imagine...
If you could zip forward in time and meet yourself 20 years from now, what would you be like?

& here is what i had written - scrawled in pencil - so obviously off the cuff & yet still so close to the mark for me:

i'll be 46 years old...
i'd like to have used those 20 years fully. i want to be wise & close to my family. i'll still be 'laid back' - but i hope quieter - more secure. i hope i'm crazy in love & i'd love to be a gramma. I hope i'm active & adventurous & in good enough shape to be those things. i want to be organized & resourceful, but not cocky or arrogant. i'm almost scared to admit i'd like to have done *something* that feels fulfilling musically. i feel so content with my life other than that... i think if i could change a few things they'd be:
- the ability to make crazy decisions (like become a missionary in Africa)
- OR live closer to family.
- leave my family size in God's hands.
- have the courage to pursue a dream - i'll never start 'cause i don't know how...


**********************************

It was kind of neat to find that & read it - i only have 12 years left...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

tears

When i got pregnant with Cairo, i couldn't go to church without sobbing through the entire service.
It was embarrassing & humbling.
i wondered if the condition was permanent & i decided that if in a broken state of love was where my Father wanted me, then that's where i would be - & i started to remember to bring kleenex.
After she was a couple of months old, we moved, attended a different church & maybe it was the distraction of my little one & the change in scenery, but i managed to keep composed for the services - for a season.
Until a different season hit - one of grief - & i found that every time i met with my Father - i cried. It wasn't necessarily in church - but mostly at my piano bench. Neil bought me a big old upright piano the summer we got married. i reupholstered the bench with (did you guess?) butterfly fabric - & though the timbre of the music i played was musty & rumbly - like from an ancient church instrument - i loved my piano & played constantly.
Sometimes i didn't want to cry. So i avoided meeting with my Father. His Word, my worship, Communion with the One who loves me most - made me weep. & sometimes - it exhausted me.
i didn't use to be one who cried. Passionate, yes. Crying, no... but i was changing.
& so it has gone over the past decade and more - seasons of joy, sorrow, confusion, love, gratitude, worship... that brought the tears.
i guess it eventually broke me, 'cause they come so freely and easily now. i've become used to weeping when i sing of God's Goodness. In my 30's i know that my tears are an offering of Praise to the One who 'delivers me from death & my feet from stumbling'. They're no longer an embarrassment - they're an outward sign of my devotion to my King...
& i'm ok with that.

8You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
psalm 56:8

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

one of those days...

i knew it at 4am when i woke up grumpy.
i layed there for an hour trying to think happy thoughts & get back to sleep. Eventually i succeeded in falling back asleep- but i awoke in the morning feeling kind of foul.
Everything kind of threw me - but the nice thing about being over 30 (for me) is that i'm finally mature enough to realize when i'm being irrational (a small portion of the time... hehe)- & i can make choices that will hopefully stall the spread of my little black cloud.
Several times i tried to reclaim my day.
When i burned the last of the bread, i took a long, hot shower.
When i felt myself boiling over, i nursed Ephraim.
After an hour long stint trying to get my washing machine to go - i spent an hour praising God with my littles. They giggled when i played the intro to "Trading my Sorrows" & i shouted out, "MY WASHING MACHINE WON'T WORK - BUT I'M GONNA PRAISE GOD!!"
Sloanie followed with, "i'm a horrible speller, but i'm still gonna praise Him!!"
Charter, "i''m always hungry, but i'm gonna praise God!"
& so on down the line.
When we ended with "Donna Nobis Pacem" - Charter asked, "What do those words mean again, mom?"
& i made everyone sing the whole song again in english, "Give. Us. Peace."

Today wasn't perfect. It's not one i would want to replay. It involves doing a load of laundry in my bathtub, using my feet as an agitator... There's a possibility i took off my pants to do that... & also there's a possibility that Neil came in at that moment & took my picture with his phone...
i hope he enjoys that.
Today wasn't perfect. It took so much effort to keep my temper in check... but even though i had to cancel out on a playdate, i still managed to check several things off my 'to-do' list...
Sloanie re-did her spelling test, we made it to the library, i vacuumed, Cairo made an awesome supper of chicken, mashed potatoes, corn & salad.
So, i have a sore spot in the middle of my back that i'm sure is from the frustrations of a less than perfect day...
But, tomorrow's all fresh and clean and neat. Tomorrow's beggin' me to rest up & be ready to enjoy. Tomorrow, i'm gonna be a little better girl 'cause i struggled so hard today.
& i can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, August 16, 2010

mine

Gagey - you're two... and a half.
Two makes me laugh... it's so smart, so goofy, so child, so baby, so giggly, so bursting into tears...
so intensely selfish...
Two.
Oh, little son - your range of emotions exhausts & exhilarates me. Your fleshy little heart wants control over the whole world - & yet you lack control over your very own emotions.
Today, at the fountain, you warily guarded each toy that we had brought with us. We had three ride on toys that you didn't want any other child to touch. It was a full time job for you to be in control - running out, grabbing the toys & walking back carrying them sobbing great heaving sobs as you glared viciously at every other innocent child there. You didn't even get the chance to enjoy riding them yourself because you were so busy making sure nobody else could either.
i wanted to laugh and cry as i watched you - it was so familiar to me.
i know it's because you were overtired - 'cause you've never done something so silly before -
but i have...
Oh, Father - do you love me too in my selfishness? Do you gently remind me that i lack nothing as i refuse to listen in between my howling sobs? Do you want to scoop me up in Your arms like i scooped up my little one - and whisper sweet comfort & croon words of love?
What a funny lesson you gave me today in the form of my darling sunshine boy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

tired...

i woke up this morning with Gagey using my face as his pillow. In the night if i moved, he would clutch my cheeks & say sleepily, "i neeeeeed you, momma, i neeeeed you..." & i would lay there with my face pinned under his sweet little face - sighing over the lunacy & the irrational baby who figures he needs his mama more than mama needs sleep. As the morning sun crept through our blinds, i glanced over at the man i love... & i had to chuckle...
i get his chicklet teeth - & morning breath in my face....
But it could be worse...

i'm thinking bare minimum, we gotta end that 'momma is a pillow & daddy is my footstool' before he grows too much taller.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

in your face, daddy...

Sloanie opens with, "Hey, dad, i beat your high score in wakeboarding on the wii."
Disgusted grunt, "Whaaaaa? That's impossible, but i guess if you cheat..."
Tossed over her shoulder as she trips downstairs, "Don't hate the playah, hate the game."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Half

Has half a year really flown by in such a quick speck of time?
i scrolled through some pictures from your birth, baby Ephraim... & Mollen, sitting beside me remarked when we came upon a picture of Gagey holding you, "Oh, lookit how cute Gagey was way back then!"
Way back then...
& now you sit, you grin, you laugh, you bite with your two sweet bottom teeth & your swollen upper gums. You hum & grunt & drool, following jealously with your eyes every morsel that goes in our mouths... You throw yourself onto your tummy from a sitting position & make every effort to get moving, to grab what's just out of your reach.
Your half birthday shows me just how much changes in only 6 short months.
Your newborn skin seemed to peel off, you were so over ripe...& now, that fragile newborn skin has been replaced with buttery fleshy skin that covers your generous rolls...
& when i look around the table... i can't help but notice each one of your siblings has grown & changed & learned too - in that brief 6 months since you came...

oh, Time.

Time is so mercilessly driven, isn't she?
& i just love you so, ephraim...
so much so, i feel a queer ache when i kiss that tiny birthmark on the top of your head. Like i could just stay in that moment forever...
But like a breath - or a heartbeat, it moves on - as incapable of being captured as i am incapable of capturing it. & really, who would want to anyway? Its beauty is in its fleeting nature - in the gratitude for the preciousness that comes from it's uniqueness - & the knowledge that we only do get *one chance*.
i keep catching Gagey putting your fingers, or your ears in his mouth. A couple of times he has left the tiny imprints of his teeth before i catch him, or you cry out in surprise & pain... Gagey has my sympathy though - you are just so darling, it's tempting to nibble your perfect little fingers & your delicious little ears.
i love watching you little boys together. Gagey is impossibly rough with you - & the vast majority of the time, his roughness does nothing more than prompt fits of giggles from you that the rest of us seem unable to evoke quite as easily. There is something precious between the two of you, i'm sure of that.
My sweet little boy - with your dreamy eyes, your perfect nose, your contented nature...
You remind me of my husband's love...
& the lavish grace of my Father.
May you continue to grow in love - & be ever ready to receive God's grace.
happy half...
love, mama

Thursday, August 12, 2010

fun, fabulous, finish it, fit... friday.

i know, i know - it's Thursday.
But i have Fridays on my mind.
i think i'm gonna finally make the leap to a 4 day schooling week.
Maybe that sounds crazy when i already described our work load, but after sifting & measuring my options - i'm thinking this sounds like the right option for us.
In the past - (& in looking at my schedule for this year) - i have always felt like a playdate, trip to the library, dentist appointment, sick day - *whatever* - would completely throw us off course.
This year, i'm adding in a 'catch up' day to the mix.
When i asked Neil about it, he said, "there's not even anything to think about - you've gotta do it".
Fridays will still hold some school, some catch up, some field trips, some cleaning, some organizing, some read-alouds, some playdates, some baking, some art, some extra music, some picture taking, some snuggling babies, some exercise...
but they won't hold to the same type of routine that the rest of the week will hopefully have.
i'm excited to add this to our school week - i think it's going to benefit us all.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remember when

i remember when Molls was born. Cai was only 7 & it felt like i had 5 very small children.
It felt like a very demanding little season in my life. Physically, emotionally, spiritually - i needed to be on my game constantly - keeping all the plates spinning, all the little ones cared for, all my duties accomplished.
In a way...
i feel like i'm re-entering that season.
Not in the same bleary eyed, "everyone in this house is a little person" way... but in a different sort of "spinning plates" way.
This year, Miss Mollen enters grade 1, so i'll have those same 5 children - all in school. Some of them are older & less dependent than others - but still - i feel like i have 5 school aged children who still need a lot of mama's input. (grades 9, 7, 5, 3 & 1).
Add to that, 2 adorable boys who need some of mama too...
& i realize why i have put off the nitty gritty planning of the year until now. Yes, i had my year planned out in broad strokes a couple months ago - but this week, i put pen to paper & figured out a little road map how i'm hoping to get there...
i made up some goals to be met by the end of September (haven't done that *for real* in awhile). i'm looking forward to seeing how close we can get - if i can continue at that pace, we'll put in an excellent year this year - & if not, i'll modify for October :)
i feel like i'm at the top of a crazy fast water slide - & i'm scootching my bum forward, waiting for the current to catch me & hurl me down, spiraling out of control, splashing water over the edges till i drop in the water at the end - breathless - but blissful.
But right now i'm still at the top.
Scootching.
i decided that i had no idea if what i wrote down was a pipe dream - or if it was something i'd be able to pull off on a daily basis - or at least on an average day, so i organized what Neil called my "dry run".
i told everyone that we were gonna try school in the morning - & everyone needed to be at the table at 8am. Now, obviously there are some things that will be different when we're schooling "for real" - every day - every week... (for example the 2 online courses that will be taken this year that don't begin until September) but i wanted to see if this little routine i mapped out was "do-able".
Turns out it was.
We had a great "trial" day of homeschooling. We usually have little smatterings of starting before we start in earnest: - someone wants to get ahead in their math - books arrive that are too interesting not to crack open - we have cloudy, rainy days & the littles come lookin' for learning... but i feel like i'm ready to pinpoint that day where i say, "we've begun"! & push myself over the edge...
i guess - i'm ready to get wet.


video

Monday, August 9, 2010

imagine...

being in a relationship where the other person was perfect...
We're in all these relationships - global - sharing a planet, air & water... fellow canadians or albertans - sharing our government, borders, rugged landscape & weather conditions...
We have relationships with people in our community, in our church, on our street, in our home... in our bed.
& none of them are perfect.
In every one of those relationships, one side makes a mistake & it costs everyone. From a country shunning human rights - to a wife becoming a dripping faucet. There are often glimpses of good - communities choosing to feed the hungry, countries voting for fair governments, fathers loving their children... but each one is tainted by the imperfection of the individuals involved in that relationship.
But there is one relationship that is different than all the rest...
& it's bigger than any global relationship -
more intimate than the relationship with the person who shares my bed...
& in that relationship - the perfection of one side covers the imperfections of the other.
Trust - is implicit.
Love - is agape.
Duration - is eternal.
Oh, Father - let my earthly relationships become a reflection of Your relationship with me. Despite my failings, let my relationships bear the markings of a heart that longs to please You.
Help me choose to act & react in a way that would bring You glory.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

bigger.

Sometimes -
when i'm feeling needy...
i remember -
how very big You are.
& that you love me...
so very much.
You told me -
i could cast all my cares on You...
& that You care for me.
& suddenly...
in my smallness -
i feel like i can curl up safe in Your -
bigness -
& then my neediness...
isn't so concerning.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

oh girlies...


There's something about your childhoods that's fading. Maybe it's the way your foreheads come to my chin when i wrap my arms around you. Maybe it's the way that you invade my closet & find that my shoes are starting to pinch your feet. Maybe it's your frustration with skin blemishes or pants that are suddenly too tight - but i feel an intense need to be aware in these years.
Tiny Ephraim - he needs to grow, to learn to crawl, climb and walk...
But you girls... you need to set your eyes firmly on your Father, choose to walk in righteousness and build your character.
i'm so proud that you clean your rooms, cook suppers, watch your younger siblings.... but when i think of what i want to teach you before you go - it goes so far beyond that...
i want your hearts. More than anything - i want your hearts to hunger and thirst for the only One who can satisfy. i want your hearts to be soft - yet decided. Broken, but not easily swayed. Wise, yet humble.
Grow little girlies - & if you can't stay mine forever...
Stay His.

Friday, August 6, 2010

straight off the rock

Living in Alberta, you run into a lot of Newfies.
Usually, you can identify them by their distinctive accents - but other times just by their exuberant friendliness.
The one i ran into in Costco was the latter. She didn't have a trace of an accent, but as she rang through my 2 big containers of blueberries, she gushed, "ohhhhh, i had newfie blueberry bread for breakfast this morning. It's the best. The BEST!!"
When Neil & i mentioned that we had never tried blueberry bread, she started calling her colleagues over, "Hey! i need someone to cover my till!!" & then to me, "Don't go anywhere! i've got the recipe in my locker!"
Neil & i smiled at each other as she jogged to her locker & came back with the recipe. Beaming, she told me how it had been passed down from her great grandmother & that she had made it that very morning for another Newfie who was "straight off the rock".
i made it this morning.
It was sweet - but not nearly as sweet as the Newfie who gave it to me.
************************************************************


Blueberry Nut Bread
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts (i skipped these)

Beat eggs well, gradually add sugar and mix thoroughly. Add milk & melted butter. Sift dry ingredients into the liquids; stir only until blended. Carefully fold in blueberries and nuts.
Pour into a large greased loaf pan (about 11x41/2") Bake at 350' for 50-60 minutes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

a call...

i got a call from the health unit. They were phoning to see if i would be willing to answer a 10 question multiple choice questionnaire about post partum depression.
"Sure." i mumbled - slinging my shirt over my damp hair running around getting ready for a playdate.
She said it's rated on a scale of like 1-40 or something like that & anything under 10 is considered normal - i ended up scoring a 1. She laughed & asked if i have been doing fairly well then.
& i guess i have been.
Ephraim has been a dream.
Most of my emotions - have been happy ones. Life has been full, busy & sleepless - but good.
"Aaaaaaand, next - i just wanted to check with you about Ephraim's immunizations..."
i *tried* to keep the conversation short seeing as i had babies to dress & friends to meet - but she didn't seem satisfied with my answer. She *did* understand that my concern was mostly with the ethical issues surrounding the use of aborted fetal tissue...
"But," she cut me off, "It's just such a very small amount..."
It caught me off guard.

Just such a small amount.

& i guess that's exactly where the 2 worlds of thought struggle & one side can't fathom the reasoning of the other...
So small, still so dependent, in an environment so different from our own - whether a womb or a petri dish, still so undeveloped...
One side sees 'such a very small amount'...
The other side sees life.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

potato, potahto...

On our way home, we stopped just inside the Oregon border - in a tiny oceanfront town. Neil had made reservations there because it made sense geographically - and because he wanted an ocean view. There were simple rooms; old & run down - but with white bleached towels and clean vibrant blue carpets that matched the bright blue sailboats on the curtains. By the time we arrived, the sun had already set - so we missed what would have been the best view of all - but we layed our weary little ones down & waited to see what morning's light would bring to that dark glass window.

Morning didn't disappoint as we saw a rocky shore & water as far as our eyes could see... Long grass waving in the chilly wind and white capped waves that would rise and crash, pausing before jumping back to life again in a wild rhythmical dance: leaping, lunging, crashing, rising...

We had to stand to appreciate the view, as the ancient construction of the building did little to maximise the majestic view outside it's brown chipped window frames.

We didn't have very much time to stop & sip our coffee though, as the rest of the Oregon coast followed by most of the state of Washington lay waiting for us, so we quickly dressed & headed over to take advantage of their little continental breakfast.

& that's when i saw them.

There was a couple there... they were probably a good 10 years older than us. They didn't have any children in tow - & they were that kind of married couple where they've been married so long, they sort of look alike. They were dressed similarly in their long white shorts, equally long white socks and functional runners. Each placed 2 hard boiled eggs on their plate followed by 2 pieces of cantaloupe. She got his coffee for him as he got her cutlery & i almost stopped to stare at their synchrony.

It reminded me of a conversation Neil & i had as we pulled out of the scorching California desert to head back home...

"Oh, Neil - i'd never get tired of that heat. When i walk out of the air conditioning, it feels like the world is giving me a big warm hug all over..."

"Really? It feels like a big punch in the face to me."

& i knew as i watched that couple with the eggs & cantaloupe that Neil & i will never be that couple. i'm small & blonde - he's big & brown... but our differences go so far beyond the physical. Our temperature, taste in food, clothing, reading & sports have never been areas of common ground...

But it will never matter...

We compromise. i'll quit reading my book (he gets lonesome) if he'll turn off the country music. i'll watch golf with him - if he'll let me sit close. i'll wear warm clothes for travelling - & he'll give me the tomatoes & pickles out of his burger. Our differences make it a delightful work of modern art. Splashes & stripes of colour - in seeming random strokes on a canvas - creating a priceless piece of breathtaking beauty.

So keep your matching plates of canteloupe and eggs.

i'll take our mismatched jumble of preferences & passions - our compromising ensemble of varying tastes and textures that make our breakfasts...
& our marriage...

delicious.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

an hour & a half from home.

So - we're home.
A memory i want to keep:
An hour & a half from home - coming towards Calgary from the south - rolling green hills & an angry sky - we're struck by the beauty of our homeward landscape.
It was a long trek home. We took the scenic oregon coast - 3 days - 37 driving hours - & we're on the last leg. The van is a mess, the littles are ready to be done, i'm bemoaning every sign that says, "North". Suddenly out of the blue, i see a truck pulled over to the side of the road, & a man waving at us to stop right beside it.
"Noooooo...." i say in almost a panicked voice. It feels like we are balancing 9 peoples remaining ounces of patience so delicately - & i keenly feel the inconvenience of being a good samaritan.
"i gotta stop hon..." he remonstrates me gently.
As we pull to a stop, the man gratefully tells Neil he doesn't have the tools to change his tire that has blown out.
i imagine the back of our van - full of duffel bags, the cooler, small stroller, sweaters, all manner of travelling debris that has been gathering for 3 days as we travelled 3000kms.
Neil just smiles & says, "Lemme check what i've got..."
In moments he's got the tools he needs & his work gloves on & is happily changing the man's tire.
Oh, Father - i feel myself rebuked by my husband's servanthood. i'm ashamed that even after all these years of opportunities, my reflex is selfishness... Continue to shape me, teach me, mold me - fashion me to Your image by your mercy.

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