Friday, December 31, 2010

The Eve of Resolution...

i haven't dedicated the time in these past weeks to come to any firm decisions about my resolutions this year...
But, i'm happy to share what bit of direction i have so far.
The only resolution that i have any clarity about shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who knows me:
i wanna get my edits done on my book & *do* something with it.
i'll probably end up self publishing - & i can't wait to get a hard copy in my hot little hands. if i want to get my 'free' one - from Create Space - my coupon code expires in June. i feel certain i'll be done by then - as a matter of fact, i kinda thought i was done already - but after some more thought, i decided i wanted to polish it just a little bit more so that it represents my best effort... y'know?
People ask me if i'll write another book & i feel certain that i will - but probably not in 2011... i'll need a bit more time to finish this one & start planning the next. i've got a couple of ideas that i'd like to try for the next one... more on that another time.
The rest of my resolutions are a little more fuzzy - so for today, i'll leave it at that.
On another note...
i'm sad to leave 2010 behind - it was such a good year.
The years jus tseem to come & go so quickly now... it is a blessing to soak in every bit of joy from them.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

tell it like it is...

One of the things i have grown to appreciate most about my husband is his honesty.
He'll tell me if something i've done is *horrible* - if my pants are too tight, if my cooking stinks - if he likes what i've created - or not...
i like it tho....
'cause then i believe him when he tells me i did something
Give me honesty over flattery -
every. single. day. of. the. week.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

hidin' it...

Memorization has been a part of our homeschool over the years. Sometimes poetry - & most times bible. Some years we have done better than others - and this is a better year. We have done a few 'group' sections - which i love 'cause then we get a nice huge chunk.
For Christmas, i decided to get them to memorize the famous Christmas story in Luke. We have done this other years, but only the first 20 ish verses. This year, we went for the first 40ish. Maybe one year we'll do the whole chapter...
Can i just say...
* i love that they wanted to include Gagey - so they've got him saying, "Luke twoooo" before they start...
* Sloanie gives me goosebumps when she speaks the part about Simeon.
* i love how Molls says the word, "Nazareth".
* It's stinking cute how she has no idea where to insert the word, "and" into her section - so she just inserts it randomly... "When the angels had left them gone and into heaven..."
There's something about reading the Christmas story - again and again - memorizing every word and detail... listening to your littles work through it till they know every little bit by heart... that moves me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

makin' memories...

One Christmas when i was little, we weren't feeling great & hadn't made any huge plans - so my parents went out & rented a VCR (yep... i'm 34...) & all the Star Trek movies - plus as an added bonus, the Planet of the Apes movie too. We had our own strange sci fi family movie marathon.
The funniest part?
i totally love that memory.
Sometimes it doesn't have to be 'traditional' to be fun.
i struggle sometimes with the lack of "Christmas cheer" in our house.
i know it'a just a part of who i am - & i've come to realize that i gotta have the freedom to be me...
but i do find the outside pressure sometimes overwhelms me... & i feel guilty for my inability to create the "Christmas" that you just *feel* when you walk in some houses...
& so - in honour of the unorthodox Star Trek Christmas of my childhood, i will tell you about our family's tiny holiday tradition.
A few years ago - i bemoaned the fact that we always travel for Christmas. My littles don't remember a Christmas where we didn't travel. i felt a desire to create something - just for us - a little celebration that didn't include packing up the Silver Fox - and becoming guests.
i think the idea for our party originated in Superstore - of all places. Neil & i were shopping & teasing each other about name brand versus no name... We decided to buy one of each and have a taste test to decide which item was better... Then we decided - better yet - to have a taste test party. We'd buy several items in both name brand - and non - and *that* would be our party theme.
We bought a movie - and had intermissions where Neil & i would come in with trays of appies - & each time we'd take a vote, which one was better.
Our no name "apple beverage" versus Sun Rype real fruit juice - served in tiny communion cups from the dollar store. Oreos versus "chocolate sandwich cookies", Old Dutch potato chips against President's choice... a tiny binge of junk - that didn't involve any prep...
but created a memory.
& ya - it's not this gorgeous flaming memory that will stand as an example for every generation that follows...
But one day - when my littles have littles of their own & they're baking homemade gingersnaps while the tea kettle sings on the stove - maybe they'll tell their little ones about their ridiculous Christmas party - where none of it was home made - but they'll say,
"The funniest part?
i totally love that memory..."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

half way to nowhere...

i always feel like Christmas break is halfway to the end of our year - even though it's not.
Right now, i find myself trying to sprint to some imagined halfway mark.
& i know in my heart - that even if we meet these goals, and tic each item accomplished off our list... and tell ourselves that we're half way - we're not halfway to anywhere worth getting.
i need to remind myself that learning isn't measured in pages filled out.
The winding road we're travelling on isn't marked with road signs reading, "half way to intelligent" - or "quarter of the way to average grade five scores..."
We're engaged in a marathon - not a sprint - and it's nowhere near over yet.
The winding road we've started on is the same one we'll be travelling decades from now... the road that will feed our curiosity, ignite the fires of our passions and become the vehicle that takes us where we need to go...
And so i'll take solace in the fact that it's not time to gauge successes or failures - it's time to persevere, take courage in our Christmas intermission - and invite the second half of the year to bring more knowledge than the first...

Monday, December 20, 2010

a weaning...

The best kind of weanings - you can't really remember how or when exactly they happened. You just know that over the course of several weeks, or months - your little one asked less - & you neglected to offer... until one day you realize that it has been several days since your little one nursed.
You start trying to remember when the last time you nursed them was - and the memory of it escapes you.
You look at your little one - playing contentedly - or eating their oatmeal with a spoon at the table - and it hits you that it could be over.
Out of the blue - days later - they ask to be nursed. You laugh to yourself, "Ha - i knew it wasn't over just yet..."
But seconds after latching on, they gaze up at you with eyes bluer than the ocean and say, "i better."
"You don't want to nurse?"
"No. Ephyum can have it all."
And it's good. And a little sad. And there's just the tiniest bit of relief...
And so maybe our weaning isn't complete - or maybe it is...
but i feel sure that we are in the final days...
& that's ok.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas 2010

It was the kinda year that makes you grow and weep and laugh - all at the same time.
2010 started out with promise, and our lives changed forever for the good when Ephraim was born late at night in the middle of February.
The change from six to seven little ones seemed easy - after the initial changing of the vehicle to fit us all - and our sweet new son lent a whole 'nother scope of colours to our family hue with his arrival. Five weeks after he was born, i broke my knee - and it has been one of the most frustrating seasons of my life - to feel sidelined, unable and sore. i try not to complain about it too much, but i miss kneeling down without a thought to fold laundry or wipe the floors. i moan to Neil that i would love one day where i don't think about it - or compensate for it's weakness.
It was the first of *three* broken bones for our family as both Sloanie and Peyton broke wrists this year too. They both amazed me with their resilience and good attitudes, as i know it couldn't have been easy.
Neil has continued to thrive and love his job - despite the discouraging economy. i'm so grateful for that. He travels about half time, & we have grown used to having him away, but we love it best when he's home, and we can sneak out to his office in the garage to peek at him if the desire arises.
i have fed my interests this year by continuing to play music, to blog (still at ) - and by stealing the time this year to write my first novel.
Cairo is in grade 9. She is taking her first online course in preparation for highschool next year when she'll likely be taking a lot more courses online if we decide to pursue a traditional highschool diploma - which it looks like we'll be doing. She is also enjoying playing in the Performance group of the Bow Valley Fiddlers. She's hoping that in the next couple of years she'll be playing at a level to be able to audition for the Calgary fiddlers. i think she's getting close! She has also started playing the guitar - and opportunities for music seem to keep cropping up for her.
Sloanie started attending youth group this year with Cairo - and is playing violin in the youth band at church. She's toying with the idea of auditioning for the Bow Valley Fiddlers next year, and i'm hoping she does. She's still my bookworm - and was the first person to encouragingly read through each page of my novel as i pecked it out.
Peyton is in grade 5 and is also playing violin. She decided to take an online course this year too, and chose science. It has been a neat experience for me to see my littles taught by someone else, but she says she's not eager to take another online course next year... i guess we know who's an easier teacher. *smile*. Peyton has made some really close girl friends and we miss her when she lives half time at her buddy's house, but it's fun seeing her enjoy her friendships so much.
Charter and Peyton have both been taking Karate, and they got their yellow belts this year. Charter also got to join a Basketball team - and it has been a highlight for me whenever i get to watch him play. His 2 little buddies from church are on the same team as him, and he loves the chance to be out with the boys running hard till his cheeks are like little tomatoes and his surfer hair flops over his forehead.
Molls is in grade 1 - and has been the easiest addition to our homeschool. She continues to love awana that she attends weekly with Charter & Peyton, and is a huge help to me with the little boys.
Gagey is creeping up on 3. He's a big strong boy - and he loves his baby brother. He is still the darling of the older ones despite Neil's prediction that he would be 'kicked to the curb' when the new baby arrived.
And sweet baby Ephraim. Soon he'll be one - he has been another happy, easy little baby - softening the rest of us, and reminding us what's important.
So there's your update on each member of our crew.
May God continue to be the center - and to keep us close to Him.
neil, paige
cai, sloan, peyton, charter, mollen, gage & ephraim

Saturday, December 18, 2010

i had a dream...

The other day, Radar posted her recent dream on her blog.
It reminded me that i had wanted to post my dream too.
Usually my dreams are thick, deep and meaningful - there is wrestling, and angst and a "working out of things"...
This dream wasn't like that.
In this dream, i 'showed up' at dream land. As i walked in, prepared for a night fraught with anguish, instead i was welcomed with a handshake to what would become my dream. i remember being confused at this turn of events.
i was escorted to an enormous animal - which i soon found out was a unicorn.
A unicorn.
i climbed aboard, and the unicorn flew me around Calgary's night sky.
That was my dream.
i don't care what it means.
i got to fly on a unicorn.
For real.
in my dream.

Friday, December 17, 2010

i wanna remember...

the way sunshine boy calls his baby brother, 'efyum'.
all my littles being littler than me.
taking bubble baths with my tiny sick boy.
nursing a baby while visiting with a 14 year old.
the clothing that comes out of the dryer - in every imaginable size.
i wanna remember
missing supper because he needed me - feeding someone rather than always being fed.
sunshine boy snuggling me in his spiderman undies till he murmurs, "Let's kiss."
Never getting everything done.
Always doing something.
i wanna remember the
bone weariness -
the whispered games of Simon Says because my lisping girl - who no longer lisps - told me, "i rock at this."
"Simon says point at your best friend."
Two year old points at six year old who points at two year old.
i wanna remember charter not wanting to be a belt ahead of peyton in karate...
i wanna remember their sweet loyalty and mutual trust.
Sloanie and i were washing dishes and she said to me, "So, didja have a good day, mama?"
& i said i guessed i did.
"i don't think i'll ever remember this day for the rest of my life though," she smiled, "even though it was a good one..."
but i want to.
Like a greedy miser hoarding their gold, i want to remember every single one of these good days that make up these good years...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the heart of the matter...

After our Fun Fabulous Friday at Cai's Fiddle Fantasia,
Ephraim woke up the next day with a teeny fever...
i held my softy boy & nursed him - rocking him and soothing his sadness...
i hoped that his sickies would be short lived since he had just gotten over a cold -
but Sunday, Monday & Tuesday went by with my teeny noodle boy getting no better.
Finally on Wednesday he refused to swallow any solids, and would only take breast milk. He seemed so wee and vulnerable in my arms and i decided i needed to brave the doctor's office to see what was up in that throat of his that seemed to be causing him so much pain.
i took Sloanie with me and we sat - and sat & sat & sat... waiting to be seen.
All over the tiny office were posters advertising immunizations & i prayed that we wouldn't be met with any unkindnesses because of our choice not to vaccinate.
Sloanie and i talked about that possibility, and i told her, "There are so many, many choices to make when you're a mama Sloanie - & you might choose differently than me when you become a mama & that's ok. There's only one thing out of everything i have taught you that i want you to cling to - the rest of your decisions will come more naturally if you just hold onto that one thing..."
"Is it immunizations, mom?"
"Nope - it's not immunizations."
"What is it?"
"Cling to Jesus, Sloanie. All the rest? It's details. Your Father is in the details - & He cares deeply what choices you make, but if you're clinging to Him, they're not as intimidating and confusing..."

It's the heart of the matter.

May my decisions be measured against what You've taught me to be true, Father... Let the wisdom that i pass on to my children be my love of You.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Outside the Picture Frame

Neil bought me an awesome camera - it takes beautiful pictures.
i have even spent some time learning how to take better pictures & i hope that over these next years, i'll get better at it...
But there are so many, many images that happen outside the picture frame...
i didn't get any pictures at Fiddle Fantasia because i was back stage, carrying my sweet little lump of fudge & watching out for my girl.
and then...
i didn't get any at their violin recital either -
even though i brought my camera -
i had to accompany 2 girls, and during the third one, i was shushing an impatient 2 year old.
So many opportunities like this seem to fly by in these crazy days.
i wonder sometimes if all these beautiful memories we're making will disappear & they'll forget all the amazing things they accomplished because i didn't manage to snap a picture of it.
and so...
once again...
a verbal snapshot.
Sloanie - daddy said that you look just like me - & i have to admit that once i thought i was looking into the mirror when i glanced at you out of the corner of my eye & i thought to myself, "Man, i look good today..." *smile*
You're looking so grown up. Your personality is coming out in the way you dress and i love your style, girlie. You wore your dark coloured dress with your funky boots & your new sweater. Your up-do lasted all night & even though you were scared, i saw none of it in the poised young lady who took the stage & played so beautifully.
Peyton, i love that you wanted to wear my emerald green dress. It made your sparkly eyes dance. i was so proud when you added your vibrato and took your playing up to a new level despite the fact that your broken wrist really slowed you down this year.
Cai, i wish i had pictures of each of the 12 outfits you tried on. Seems you can wear almost anything. i loved how you started your piece at a tempo that was almost too fast, but you held on to those reigns and played for dear life. Life is full of ballads & slow sombre music... it was fun to see you play like you were chased and pull it off so masterfully.
& there's more...
a feverish yum laying his head on his daddy's shoulder while his daddy checked his blackberry for the hundredth time. Mollen dressed up like a wood faerie, but bored to tears after the first number. Charter who finally had a shower and shocked us with his handsomeness - after seeming weeks of stinky little boyness. Gagey who needed many trips to the water fountain, and even more trips to the snack table, whose single tear stayed on his cheek for what seemed like forever after his sobs had ceased when he fell on the hard floor of the college.
and mama - who is usually outside the picture frame anyway - trying to balance, juggle, accompany, watch - and who let out a sigh as we drove home in the dark.
Not a single picture...
But so much of life is lived outside the picture frame.
& so much of it is good, worthy of being recorded, full of beauty and effort and skill...
So little ones, know that i cherish you all - and i'm so proud of the hard work that you are pouring into these years. Keep living and learning - whether the camera clicks...
or not.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

do i trust him...?

i guess i'm taking a deep breath and plunging into some of the questions i have heard - or that have been impressed on me - in this travelling season of my husband's career.
There's a short answer - and i'm gonna expand just a little bit on it too.
Each of us have different circumstances - different husbands - different atmospheres on different types of business trips - different contacts, requirements, meeting places...
So, even among women whose husbands travel, this question won't always come up.
But when it does, my short answer is, "yes."
When i began to hear this question more frequently, i have to admit i second guessed my initial gut reaction of blind trust. i wondered if i was being naive to let my heart traipse around in Neil's pocket... But after some soul searching - and genuine reflection - i realized that i only really have 2 choices.
One option is to make my husband's job a nightmare. i could beg him to quit, offer ultimatums, phone and harass him on the road, and make unrealistic requirements about days home and away, numbers of emails, and minutes on the phone...
i can choose to enjoy my marriage, his hours at home - & the sweetness of each minute in these busy years.
My heart spoke quietly to me - so i had to listen very carefully... but i'm sure now, that my instinct to *trust* - without agonizing, isn't based on laziness towards my marriage - because my marriage is precious to me...
& so - on the home days as well as the away days, we pray for him. i pray specifically for Neil's heart to be turned to us - & for our hearts to be turned to his...
& i'm sure my Father understands that this means i want us each to stay tender, focused and attentive to the other. i pray for neil to be given favour at work - with his bosses, and customers - and that he will be a man of integrity.
i am intentional in my efforts to connect - to touch, to love - because the extra work that comes with having a husband who travels is secondary to the dangers of neglect...
So, while he's away - i'll faithfully water the tender shoots of our love - protecting them in the wild weather that is sure to come from time to time, and making sure there are times when they get to bask in the sunshine so they can continue to grow strong...

Monday, December 13, 2010

it's monday...

so, we're back at the daily grind...
My mind has been working overtime for a couple of weeks now - and even so - it seems unable to come to any palpable conclusions.
There are all these threads of thoughts - that i'm sure are all a part of the same piece of cloth - and yet they're all separated and tangled. i can't help but think that if i could get them all woven where they belong, there is so much more that i'd be able to understand.
i wish... that there wasn't such a shroud of silence around the things that Christians don't understand... i wish that we'd talk - really dig in - without fear of rejection, or worse, casual dismissal.
So, since i find myself unable... i will name some of the threads that have wound themselves around my thoughts... so you can see that i'm not trying to be secretive... i'm just *unable* - and it makes me feel lonely.

birth control
men... and women...

Father - meet with me.
Hold me in my loneliness - and love me in my unloveliness.
Untangle the threads - and weave the cloth...
Show me what you value - and teach me to be more like You...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

daughters and sons...

When my sister delivered her fifth daughter this summer... i officially lost my title...
i had been falling a little behind - and meanwhile, jess kept delivering daughter after daughter...
But for our first several years,
i was the mama of the most girls.
i remember when my sparkly eyed girl was born, i would hoard my 3 girls together and gaze at my riches like a greedy king.
We did the matching dresses, pony tails, pass-me downs and frilly bloomers.
When my first little macho man was born - all his little mothers clustered around this strange new creature. His cry was a hoarse, low sound - and the first toys he fell in love with were his hockey stick and ball.
The girls thought he was a lovely play thing - and doted on him constantly.
Then Mollen came - and we were back on familar ground. Another daughter - this is what we knew how to do around here...
But after a little break, when the babies came again - they were boys.
Two delicious little boys have begun to tip the scales for the testosterone team in our house - and Charter gleefully begs for another baby so we can at least have a tie...
The girls have outgrown most of their matching dresses, they do their own hair and would raise their eyebrows at me if i bought them frilly bloomers.
i like watching what my Father has made of our family as he has added each daughter - and each son...

Saturday, December 11, 2010


i volunteered (or better put, i was asked to volunteer) to be the parent rep for Cai's fiddle group. i did the job last year when i was a billion months pregnant with Ephraim - and ended up carrying around a grumpy Gagey while fulfilling my duties...
This year was slightly easier because Gagey was happy & sat with his daddy.
The performers lounge is 2 flights of stairs below the stage, and our seating area where we could watch a short snippet of other performers during the concert was 2 flights of stairs above stage.
i carried Ephraim from their 3:45 sound check until the concert ended at 9:20pm. Up and down and up and down, shuttling, chaperoning, shushing and organizing 16 kids - running up flights of stairs when they were on stage so i could catch glimpses of my girl - who rocked - and making sure that my group ended up where they needed to be when they needed to be there.
Ephraim was an angel (as usual) but a heavy twenty-something-pounds little angel who needed feeding and changing, and lovin'... all while being lugged around like a sac of flour, following around a tittering group of gangly junior highs who shocked me with their junior highness... As we stood backstage, waiting for their final two numbers, I shushed the tired baby and danced from side to side - and i could practically feel the temperature rising in the hallway crowded with teenagers...
"i'm hot." i murmured to no one in particular...
"Yeah, well at least you don't have long sleeves!" one of the teenagers countered.
Sho' nuff...

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Phone Rings...

i'm vacuuming - and breathless - i hear the crackle of his cell phone on the other end of the line.
"Hey, did you call? i didn't have reception, i was going through the mountains. These roads are awful..."
"Yeh, that was me..." running upstairs to get to our room and shut the door...
"Hey neil? i wanted to tell you something really important..."
"Oh? What's up?"
"Thank you for not leaving me."
"What? i leave you every week - i'm constantly leaving, what do you mean, 'thanks for not leaving?'"
"You leave, but you still love me. You are away - but i know you're coming home. Some husbands go - and leave their wives and stop loving them. i'm glad you don't. Thank you for not leaving me, because i love you so much, and i like being your wife."
"Oh. Well then, thanks for not leaving me either."
"You're welcome."
"You're funny."
"See you in 2 hours. Drive safe."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Permission to Speak Freely

Molls was harassing Sloanie as we waited in the vehicle outside the college for Cai to finish the dress rehearsal for her upcoming concert.
love it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

i wanna be fearless...

i like fearless people - full of confidence - easy laughter and purposeful steps.
i like to imagine that i'm one of them - but i'm not.
i remember being in grade 4. Our teacher gave us a math assignment to do in groups, and i was put in a group with several other children. i looked at the first problem, and timidly gave my answer. The boy beside me started laughing and mocking me, and with my cheeks flaming, i tried to take my answer back... "Oh, of course i'm wrong!! Sorry - yes, i'm so stupid..."
But as it turned out, i wasn't wrong... i was right...
and it's funny - how quickly i wanted to take my right answer back - and exchange it for whatever he told me to write down...
i didn't want to be wrong all by myself.
& sometimes i find - i don't want to be right all by myself either...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

secrets from the heart of an introvert...

i think part of the reason that i'm an introvert is that i beat myself up over the things i did or did not say when i have been out and about...
Once in explaining to Neil some dumb thing i had said, i sighed and commented, "sometimes it's just easier to stay home than to go out and cause misunderstandings..."
& yet -
i feel that tug on my heart - that certainty - that people are important...
and that i need to keep trying - to work on my gracelessness, my awkwardness, my bumbling spoken words... because relationships are where it's at.
i struggle with knowing when to lay myself bare - & when to keep my mouth shut.
i struggle with wanting to be known - & the fear i have in the pit of my stomach that no one wants to know me...

i feel my Father cracking a smile at me - in my panicked fragility.

He created me to be so - he chose me to be His....
So, let my broken words be used by Him...
Let my embarrassing outbursts, or pained silences - bring Him glory...
Let my willingness to build relationships outweigh my inability to create them...
and let the tiny light shed by this introvert serve to bring others closer to Him...

Monday, December 6, 2010

French kiss! French kiss!

i'm not sure...
but i think possibly...
that we are the only family with a 6 year old who chants, 'French kiss! French kiss!' every time her parents wander into the same room.
i'm sure glad she picked up that expression from that television commercial (y'know the one that shows, 'toast, french toast, kiss, french kiss - it's so much better when it's french' - with a big romantic embrace at the end...)
So one day,that familiar black bag was packed by the door - and he was just finishing up a last few details in his office before he came bounding along the snowy path to the back door and into the house where i was teaching our small fry while poking toast into the baby's mouth - still in my pj's.
He burst in with a cloud of frosty air and started jumping and chanting, "French kiss! French kiss!"
Mollen was the first to leap into the air giggling and joining his cry.
& so i crept into his arms to mollen's squealing delight...
so maybe my clinging smooch wasn't as romantic as the flowing gowned embrace on tv...
but it's the kind that has years of familiarity behind it... it's the kind that shows our littles that we're still a team... it's the kind that you feel way down deep - in the pit of your stomach when you wanna know you're loved...
So, chant away molls -
remind us to hold each other -
to love each other -
to savour the goodbyes -
and to yearn for the hellos.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Sometimes we let loose a torrent of words in our prayers.
Asking, telling, thanking, praising...
Other times - every little word seems inadequate -
& we're left with prayers made up of sighs, groans, and wordless sounds.

Sometimes even the sounds are used up - & we're left sitting, in silence - in His presence.
& then there are the times...
where He gives us just that one word that so describes the heart of our prayer.
That happened to me the other day as i prayed with our little ones at the start of our school day.
Courage, Father.
Whisper to me words of courage - remind me that i'm yours so that i don't falter in my timidity.

Friday, December 3, 2010

living in the land of plenty...

i know...
i'm supposed to be out Christmas shopping somewhere or something.
But instead today i found myself purging a really big garbage bag full of excess from our home.

We're in a constant state of re-organization here. With 7 littles - there are always sneaky ways to make it seem like there's more room, to try something new, to rearrange, remove or redo.
Today, i decided to give our 14 year old a shot at having her own room, something that hasn't happened in 12 years.
We moved Mollen downstairs to a little mattress under Charter's loft bed. i'm not sure if it's permanent yet, but the shift caused some cleaning, organizing and purging, and it really struck me; because our family doesn't have a lot of 'stuff' by North American standards, and here i was with another big load to get rid of.
It's another one of the blessings to having a large family. We simply don't have the space to store excess - it *has* to go. Sometimes it's crap & it goes in the garbage (most often), sometimes it's decent and it gets handed down to friends or cousins...
& what goes around comes around...
we love a good bag of pass me downs around here...
Having my little crew has taught me to cling a little less tightly to things -
and a little more tightly to the One who gently shepherds us all...
i hope that He'll continue to strip away at my selfishness and pride...
making room in my heart for His fruit to grow...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

on having a husband who travels...

i have some friends whose husbands have to work long hours, or have jobs where they are emotionally spent. Some husbands own their own businesses - or become ghosts at harvest time.
Some husbands have to take extra classes to keep up - or to become competitive... and some husbands are out of work... or gone missing... absent because of divorce - or death...

But this post -

this post is for the girls like me - the women who hold down the fort at least half time while their husbands travel.
i know that what i do isn't out of the ordinary - as a matter of fact, i know lot of women who see their husbands a lot less than i see mine.
And, just as our husbands spend 50% of their days living out of suitcases...
we spend 50% of our lives creating a new normal for the little ones in our care.
We shovel when it snows - our scrawny arms are suddenly the biggest muscles available- & though we're short, we're the tallest ones around. We're the only one with a drivers licence during those long days and nights when daddy's away.
We try not to phone during business hours, or during late supper meetings, even if we could find a quiet moment or location in our bustling homes.
We scour the garage looking for his tools to fix projects that have fallen into our laps, in the absence of more capable hands.
We repeatedly answer each little ones query about the day and time of daddy's hopeful return.
We become - for those days -
both momma - and daddy -
in the dizzying feat of plates spinning that arises when-

We have a husband who travels.

We're frustrated that the waitresses at all the business restaurants wear such skimpy clothing. We wonder if our meager spaghetti and meatballs will be good enough after the steak and lobster he bought for his customers. We wish he could see that we got dressed - and put on make up... tried a new up-do and have matching socks. We watch our words carefully so that the predominant theme is gratitude - not complaint when he's home - *and* when he's away too - because we know... we *know* - we have so much to be grateful for, and we want our little ones to see that. We know our husbands love us - and are travelling and working - on our behalf. Their travel is an inescapable part of a job they love - or that they tolerate... so that they can provide for us.
We trust those men - who take our hearts around the country, but who carefully bring them back home again as soon as they're able.

Hey, little mamas - i know there must be some of you reading my blog - & if you are -
i'm doin' it too.

and i'm cheering for all the other little mamas -
whose arms aren't strong enough -
whose legs aren't long enough -
whose patience isn't thick enough -
whose lap isn't big enough -
but who continually give all -
and trust that the Father - who never leaves on business trips - will make up for all she lacks, and will give exceedingly and abundantly more on those days-

when her husband travels.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

and then she said...

To my very pregnant friend:
"When you have your new baby, don't bring it here."

We all look at Mollen questioningly.
"If you do, Gagey will injure it."

*sigh* the sad hard truth.

But if she's brave enough to bring the tiny fresh whisp of life to my house, i will wrangle my boys and ward off my girlies....
and i will sigh with wonder over the tiny grasping fingers, and the perfect o shaped mouth.
i will make sure that there isn't quite so much naughtiness -
so there is no fear of injury.


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