Wednesday, August 31, 2011

posture - part 1

This has to be in several parts - because i'm still in the process of sorting through... Y'know that awkward feeling of 'wrestling out your faith'?  Sometimes there are moments when you realize you believed wrong, and you need to change direction - and sometimes there are moments when you need to look a little deeper into whatever it is that's making you feel uncomfortable - because there is truth there - & you don't want to ignore it.  Well, i'm gonna share a bit of that wrestling process here - & see where it takes me. 
For today... a short introduction :) 
i think i mentioned before that we're reading in Exodus - well, one day we were reading, and we came to the place where the Israelites were told to offer a 'wave offering' to God. One of my littles stopped reading and asked what that was. i wasn't really sure - but i said i gathered that it was the offering being "waved" by the priests to God. They thought that was a funny thing to imagine - the priest waving an offering in the air... to bring glory to God. i told them it reminded me of growing up in church - and sometimes - in a moment... someone would say, "Let's give a clap offering to God!" and the room would ring with applause... My littles thought this was even more curious and asked if we could - right then - offer a clap offering to God. So we did. We clapped, and a tiny voice offered, "yay, God!" i couldn't help but laugh - it felt strange - and yet right - to follow their lead in a spontaneous moment of praise... in the middle of Old Testament reading.
It changed our posture.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

text me

i'm getting ready in my room - which is adjacent to Cai's room.  As i bustle about, i sneeze - & like any good sneeze, it's one of triplets. 
Suddenly my phone starts buzzing. 
i've got a text. 
i glance at it, "Someone has the sneezes."
It's from Cai.  She's no more than 20 paces from me... & i think if i listen hard enough, i can hear her laughing gently at me in the next room. 
i'll take it. 
i'll take Ephraim's baby gibberish when he grabs my face and whispers his baby secrets into my ears.  i'll take little hand scrawled notes, phone calls, emails, facebook messages, eye contact, hugs, and yes... even texts. 
i'm all ears, little ones - let's communicate.   

Monday, August 29, 2011


Part of the stage of life we're at right now is that we rarely take a holiday with just us...
The only night Neil & i have been on our own away from children in the past 15 years is the night i started to miscarry baby hope... i dyed my hair brown in a hotel bathroom and cried myself to sleep.  It's not really the romantic get away memory that one would want to carry... but it's mine. 
Our family holidays usually entail visiting family - which is great - but i find i come home for holidays hungrier for Neil than ever.  Often leisure time is split - men doing one thing - women & children another - so i find "holidays" often = single parenting...
On this set of days away, we got 1 day.  It's my favourite day.  It was *our* day. 
Neil had booked a room at this out of the way resort on the ocean - in Washington.  i had no idea where we were going - & we ended up driving down a thickly treed road for hours to get to our destination.  The little ones watched a movie in the back and i propped my feet up on the dash and kept Neil company as he drove. 
Suddenly - the trees finally parted - and my heart leaped to my throat.  i sat up straighter in my seat, scrambling to see a little clearer - drink a little deeper. 
There was a cry from the back seat as the little ones caught sight of the wonders outside - and the movie was immediately silenced. Voices soon broke into a spontaneous cheer for the beauty - and the daddy that brought them to it. 
"i'm gonna cry..." Mollen murmered from the backseat... and i thought i was too. 
You see, i have been struggling lately.  i don't love writing about struggling, but there it is.  i have been blue - confused - feeling a little crazy... teetering more than i'm comfortable with - & suddenly here i was... immersed in more beauty than i could take in at a glance. 
i felt like a starving man - who is so frail that it takes care and broth to revive him...
And how is it that i come to feel so starved? 
Me, whose life is abounding in beauty - loved, and giving love - embraced, a part, found?  Could it be that i had refused to partake? 
& so i sipped my broth - i let the tears come... i slumped against my door and drank in the richness of God's creation. 
We pulled up to our accomodations - and finding a kingdom in our ancient abode, we left our belongings and flew to the beach - drawn. 

Isn't it interesting how we're drawn to beauty?  What did He put in us that draws us like a magnet to aching melodies - to richly coloured sunsets - to scents that feed us? 
Amidst this - Cai and i wondered - would you become a better writer?  A better artist?  A better human being?  How could you not?
And my children scattered on that unpopulated beach - with the wind ripping our hair - and the roar of the surf dulling their cries of delight. 

& seeing my baby son throw up his arms - and dance - i couldn't help but do the same. 
Too tired and full of sadness to care if i looked foolish. 
Is this how you want me, Father?  Laid bare?  Dependent?  Broken? 
& my arms reached to Him - the salty air filling my lungs.

20 hours later - we reluctantly gathered our things into the silver fox, and followed that heavily wooded road away....
But that....
was our holyday. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

travelling with young sons

"Mom.  Ephyum falled asleep."
"Oh, thanks, Gagey."
"Moooom, LOOK, Ephyum falled asleep.  He sleeping now."
"Mhmmm.  i see that Gagey.  Ephraim is asleep."
Me, whispering frantically, "shhh Gagey!  i know that - i'm just trying to talk quietly so we don't wake him."
"Mom.  Ephyum wake now."
"Oh, thanks, Gagey."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


i'm at the beach with my cousin.  She's actually my cousin's wife - but we get mistaken for sisters as frequently as we're together.  She's a kindred spirit when we connect every year or so - with her blonde brood of seven similar aged children - homeschooling in the peripheral, seeking God in the fore-front - type girl...
"i was saying to someone the other day..." i start... but then remember and correct myself... "No, actually, i was just saying to my own self in my own small mind the other day..."
& we laughed over my realization. 
But it's an often lonely trail - this journey through life. 
i'm flocked by my little ones - and a husband i adore - & yet i enter His presence... alone.
The still small Voice meets me in the loneliest corners of my mind - where all the rough edges are naked and exposed. 
& when i speak out loud into the vast silence that exists in that small mind of mine - He hears.

Father - meet with me - converse with me - bring out my frailty, and delight in any beauty you bestow.  Be the company - when i think my conversations. 

i have been a little more absent lately... i have pages of notes for *tough* blogposts... i just have to decide if i'm tough enough to actually write them.  i feel perched on the edge of transitions - & it makes me realize what a funny little bird i am - with my constant fluffing of feathers and exasperated readjusting over the disturbances of life.  Growth - like any good thing - is so very costly. 
But - the end of August is coming... Fall is coming - & i'm getting ready to grow. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

look at everything you're missing...

i like our holidays in the Silver Fox.  Everyone is strapped safely into their seat - i am settled comfortably into my co-pilot chair and we drive for hours - enjoying a break from the every day...
i'm not one of those people who can't "just sit there"... i could "just sit there" for hours and hours - letting my mind wander happily - mulling ideas, plans and memories...
Neil is always behind wheel, and i - owing the world nothing - am free to do whatever i please. 
On this trip, i was finishing off the final chapters of Dickens' _David Copperfield_ (hilarious).  Every once in awhile, i'd laugh and Neil would question, "What's so funny?" & i'd try to read it aloud, but the humour would be lost on him - having been built into the character chapters before.  Finally, i'd sigh, "Nevermind"... and keep reading. 
Neil - bored - turns up the music... taps the wheel... sings along.  He asks me questions, but receiving no more than the required grunt of an answer, he exclaims in frustration... "Babe - here we are, driving across the beautiful countryside, and you're missing everything!!!  You've just got your nose in a book and i don't have anyone to enjoy this amazing scenery with!"
Chastened, i put my book away and look out my window. 
We are surrounded by huge mounds of dirt - and road construction crews. 
"Lookit all this!"  He exclaims, "Can you believe all the work they're getting done?  It's amazing to watch what these machines can do... and you'd just miss it all with your stupid book!"
He crows his enjoyment over the "scenery" - and i try to decide if he's teasing me... or if i'll ever see the wonder in the mighty machines pushing dirt around. 
He grins at me, and resumes his silence. 
i look at him blankly...
And get back to Mr. Micawber. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the dock

i always wanted to be proposed to at the dock...
The gleaming lights on the other side, reflecting on the surface of lake okanagan... my lake. 
The inky black sky with the sparse stars strewn across it's surface, giving just enough light to accompany the gentle lapping of waves on shore. 
It ended up being a foggy February night when he asked - and i - in my discomfort over our circumstances - rushed the boy who slipped that ring on my finger as he murmured the words i'll always remember that night by.
"& it's not because of the baby..." was his proposal.
And my gentle husband staked our claim on life, promised me the world - and saw the happiness in store. 
& it's not February... it's not our May anniversary either... it's not a special unique day. 
It's just today. 
15 years, 3 months and 13 days in. 
i still say yes. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

mid-august to a homeschool mom

Mid-August brings to a homeschool mama - the shadows of a new school year approaching. 
i begin to contemplate those plans in broad strokes set out in spring - and gather the tools i'll need to get our one room school house rockin' again. 
For me... this year... Mid-August brings just a touch of anxiety... for the struggling one, for the books that are not yet arrived, for the highschooler who is taking a new approach to her education this year and is registered 'online'. 
And yet... for some reason... the Still Small Voice has not let me forget, in this mid-August season what i have done right.  The small bit of 'right' keeps coming back to me - in various shapes and forms - (which is often how He speaks to me)...
i have failed - often - as a homeschool mom.  i have over simplified, and then lacked the follow through to even do justice to our simplified plans.  i have overlooked shortcomings, and lacked the energy to really teach - in some teachable moments.  i have chosen badly for certain subjects, for certain children - and failed to notice lagging struggles.  This paragraph could go on... and on... and on... as my failings often seem so daunting and insurmountable in this incredible homeschooling journey - but instead, i'll tell you what i hear in the "whisper in the wind"...
The other morning, we were sitting at the couch - and as each tousled head made it's way from sleep to wake - it joined us in the living room...
Tiny Ephraim - only 18 months old, seeing we were all gathered, went to the shelf where our bibles are kept, and one by one, he brought them to us. 
Our morning routine - familiar even to my tiniest child. 
This matters...
We were reading in Exodus the other day, and after hearing again, and again in reference to the character of our God, the word, "compassionate" - we stopped mid-verse and looked it up in the dictionary. 
Mollen spoke with shining eyes from the corner, "Well, that just makes me want to love Him more..."
This matters...
We've used books and plans - devotionals and curriculum's - for our bible time over the years; finally simplifying to just plain reading the Word of God  - and most recently to each person having their own bible to follow along as we plod through - sometimes with a 7 or a 9 year old stumbling over difficult words and phrases.  It hasn't been an organized, perfect study - but it has been a consistent part of our lives.
This matters...
& it's small... my offering of consistency and truth - in bringing my children to find the daily bread...
But when i measure it against my failings... my failings seem diminished somehow, in comparison. 
& so in my mid-August musings - i feel that old struggle between anxiety and peace - between fear and courage - between lies and truth... But i know one thing that this school year will hold - and that one piece over the years has become my favourite part of the puzzle -
The thing that simply because it is done, is done 'right'...
This matters. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

tonight's the night

"Maybe tonight's the night..." i said as we turned off the lights & climbed under our comforter. 
"The night we get to sleep?" he clarified.
"Yeh, maybe we'll finally get some sleep tonight..."
famous. last. words. 
In other news... if you like, Mamalode published another one of my stories.  i had forgotten when i read it this morning... what a raw little moment it contained... and i cried. 
You can read it here - & feel free to share it - however you share things these days...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

love me anyway

my blues tend to manifest themselves in an unrealistic need for my boy. 
if i'm sad, he can expect to hear from me multiple times in a day... he can find me following him if he's home, like a small shadow, and if he sits on the couch, soon i will find him and slink into his lap.  Our king sized bed is unnecessary when i'm blue - because i sleep best when i'm curled the closest - breathing when he breathes, turning when he turns. 
i text him, "ephraim is my angel..."
He texts me back, "you're mine."
i text him, "do you love me?"
He texts me back, "YES."
i text him, "are you sure?"
He texts me back, "i can live without you."
i melt into a puddle of sorrow - 'till he walks through the door and takes me in his arms... "What's wrong?  Didn't i say i can't live without you?"
i told him he neglected the apostrophe and the t that would have made that idea clear to me. 
He laughed. 
Everything i'm not. 
He checks his blackberry - and sure enough, the apostrophe and the t are missing. 
He makes it his mantra for the rest of the evening.... teasing, poking, prodding... gently cajoling me - to release my tiny prized sorrows - and to see the sweetness in the jester. 
"i can live without you, babe..." His eyes twinkle and he shovels more blueberry pancakes into his mouth. 
& even if you can...
Love me anyway. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Part two... the most excellent way

My littles have been bickering and fighting a lot lately.
Finally, i told them "no outside friends today". 
We sat down to read the bible in the morning - and as they groggily turned to Exodus, where we have been reading, i told them to turn instead to 1 Corinthians chapter 13. 
i read it slowly - accentuating each phrase.  i made eye contact with them as i read it through, to see that the words were making their way from ears - to minds and hearts. 
After i finished, i asked Mollen to read the same chapter again.  Then Charter, then Peyton, Sloan and Cai. 
Six times, we read that chapter.  It's that good. Six voices... six souls discerning the voice of the Father. 
i think sometimes i need to remember to focus on not letting them... or myself... get away with little cutting remarks, or easily taking offence.  It's easy to let that stuff slide, but i think it builds up resentment... and i want them to learn to be kind people.  i want them to treat each other lovingly... & this chapter - serves as a roadmap.   
After we finished and put our bibles away, Charter turned to me and said, "Mom, did you do that because we've been fighting too much lately?"
"No, babe... it's not just for you.  i needed it too."
& i did... & i do. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Most Excellent Way

Voraciously so...
& He brought me to that familiar passage in 1 Corinthians. 
i have used parts of it for song lyrics in days gone by, i memorized it in highschool - and heard it at about a dozen weddings. 
The Love Chapter. 
i can almost skim it now when i read it in my bible because the words are so familiar to me... but that day, they caught my eyes like barbs, and i couldn't pass them easily. 
It started with the last verse of Chapter 12...
& now? "i will show you the most excellent way..."
How's that for an introduction to a chapter about how we should live?? 
The Most Excellent Way. 
i want that... & love?  What a beautiful place to start. 
i know that this chapter isn't talking about the love between a man & a wife... but for me... on this day... that's where it met me. 
When you first fall in love... it's like going for a swim. 
(i know... i compare everything to water...)
You begin to wade in.  The summer sun is melting a hole in the top of your head and the water is deliciously warm.  It's a relief to submerge your body and to begin to swim... You plunge under, feeling the deep silence of being underwater and then coming to the surface, you begin the marathon of strokes that will take you out... deeper. 
Being in love?  It's like going for a swim... & the longer you're in love, the deeper you get.  One day, you look down & you can't see the bottom.  You take a deep breath, and swim down as far as you can go... & the bottom has disappeared.  There is no shore - there is no bottom - there are great depths beneath you -so deep has your love become... and the beauty of this monster-love is both breath taking and horrifying. 

What if i drown? 

That's when i read the love chapter. 
& it was like i was reading it for the first time. 
i understood it to say, "Paige... you could be the best, smartest, most amazing Christian that ever lived... but if you don't have love, it's all for nothing..."
i could be generous, full of knowledge, gifted and self-sacrificing...
but even those good things will pass away. 
Love is the trump card. 
& no.  i'm not a bible scholar. Maybe i'll get comments on my blog that expand, clarify and correct what i've written here...
But no matter. 
i'm in the deep waters of love... and this passage gives me courage... courage to love deeper, throw away the fear that would limit my love in a self-preserving way - and learn how to really... *really* Love.   
Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Love never fails. 
i remember one day feeling so utterly incapable of being neil's wife... always a crease in the shirt, the crumbs on the floor, the empty roll of toilet paper... and yet feeling a smug confidence that no girl on earth could possibly love the man more, so at least in that... at least in *that*... i had something worth giving.
& i doggy paddle farther into the unfathomable depths of love...
i find the courage to love the lovelies... and the unlovable - my husband... and the world around me are both easier to love in the framework of His instruction. 
Seeking to live...
in the most excellent way. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

put a few more miles on 'er...

Gage's trike is red and yellow plastic.  It's one of those ones that is supposed to have a pole sticking out the back so a parent can give a shove if needed without constantly bending over, but the pole is missing. 
He has had it for over a year now... & the sound of those wheels burnin' 'round is as familiar to me as his voice these days.  We bring it with us every time we go to the fountain and he turns that concrete circle into his own personal Talladega.  If another child approaches his ride, there is a furious weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  i have given up getting him to share his prized possession... i figure he shares the world with 6 siblings - is it so bad that he wants one trike to be his alone? 
The thing is...
That trike was salvaged from a dumpster.  My friend, having overheard my son crying for a bike last year, providentially noticed one tossed out, and promptly rescued it - bringing it over to our house one blessed day last year. 
What was deemed garbage... was given a new lease on life. 
& i?  i feel at times like i too could be deemed garbage.
"The world grows weary of me," i think to myself in a moment of weakness, "i should be replaced... i have nothing left of any value to contribute..."
But i do.
And He sees it - with his All Seeing Eyes...
And He plucks me from the heap.
He gives me to these seven children - to paw and love and wear... and i glory in performing the job He saw me suited for...  
So place me where You need me, Father.  Pick me from the rubbish and use me. 
Not replaced; restored. 
Not trashed; treasured. 
Not overlooked; discovered.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Answers, Debt Crisis and a Duel

Mollen wanted to make a fancy little lunch for her daddy.  She made french toast with syrup and... (you guessed it, Jen)... a teeny heart shaped dish of icing sugar. 
Yum found Neil's discarded remains before i cleaned them up.  i think that's french toast in the cup too.  Gross. 
His shirt says 'genius' - i'm not gonna disagree...
i'm finding that a 10 minute phone conversation at 7pm just isn't enough. 
Communication with a husband on the road is hard for us 'opposites attract' couples. 
i hate talking on the phone. 
He hates reading and writing.
Add to that the fact that he packs his 'away' days so full that i doubt he has time to pee...
& you've got what we've got. 
Some trips are harder than others.  Sometimes you start on a deficit... & you wonder if you'll go bankrupt before he walks through that door. 
Last night, i gave Ephraim a bath.  It had been too long, and his hair thanked me by springing white and fluffy from his sweet brown face. 
i decided for lack of Neil's company, to clean.  As i cleaned the kitchen, ephraim emptied his tiny toy box.  i loaded dishes into the dishwasher and he worked furiously pulling out sticky knives and forks. i swept the floor and he pulled all the crayons out of the craft cupboard.  i opened the back door to wipe down it's window and he escaped to the backyard.  i went to clean the bathroom and he pulled out the plunger and put Gagey's shoes in it's garbage can.
Every tiny chore he undid made me work faster, and as i flew around the house, he caught my energy and picked up his pace too, till we were both working feverishly.  i emptied the garbage cans, he hid them in the front entrance.  i wiped down the couch, he opened all the bottom cupboard doors.  i wiped down the floors, he pulled all the shoes out of the closet.  Sometimes our eyes would meet across the room, and i'd say in a low voice, "noooo, ephraim.  Don't do that, mommy's tidying..."  And he would reply with a suck, suck on his soother - wide blue eyes only resting on me for a moment before finding more havoc in need of a wreak. 
Finally - my sheer size must have tipped the balance, and as i closed one final closet door, i decided to call it a night.  Neil won't be home for another couple of days - and who am i kidding?  The 15 minutes it stays tidy weren't worth another moment of my evening.  i snuck upstairs and checked my email... i thought ephraim was right behind me...
About one minute later, he swung into my room like a cowboy through the swinging doors of a saloon.  He had *that* much swagger!  His face was green.  And he had an open marker in his hand.  It was his coup de grâce. 
Touché, my tiny one. 
Mama knows when to admit defeat. 
The end. 
(ps - full disclosure: this picture was taken the *last time* he coloured his face with the green marker.  This time, he did a much more thorough job... Why green?  Well, i think it's the only stinking marker in the whole house.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Anyone wanna guess what i caught Yum getting into? 
Little stinker. 
He giggles everytime i show him this picture...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


i love you, Father God...
i love that you're the kind of God who goes before your people in a pillar of cloud or fire - so that they can see your presence in the sky - night or day - and know that you're there. 
i love that you're the kind of God - who travels in front, but when enemies come at your people from behind, you go 'round and stand in between just like a fierce mama would do if a wild dog came after her darlings.
i love that even when your people forgot that they were the ones who cried out to You to be released from bondage - You remembered.
i love that you introduce yourself as "the Lord who heals you"...
And i don't even want to ask for anything today.
i'm tired.  i'm still. 
i just want to be. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

you led me to believe

i remember when i was a little girl, my big sister's friend introduced her to "Sweet Comfort Band" - & the song, "You Led Me to Believe"...
& i would steal her walkman & listen to that rock ballad in my messy room... & the song stirred in my childish heart - the aching loneliness of standing on your own, when the ones who have most deeply impacted your faith, turn from it. 
& i'm learning - that my faith isn't dependent on my company. 
It can't be.  
There are times in life - where you want to turn to those ones closest to you & know that you're in this together... and there are times when the realization that you're not... will be a dreadful blow. 
But truth?  It's not decided my a majority vote - as the saying goes... Truth can't be held at gunpoint, or changed by convenience.  Truth isn't swayed, bent or forced. 
But i've seen truth shunned, and scorned - ignored or rejected... and in humility - she stands unchanged and unrepentant... waiting for acknowledgement. 
That loneliness that comes from others rejecting your common faith - is such a tiny price to pay for holding the course.  There is a comfort that even when i feel insignificant, unable and unworthy... My Father all the while is holding me, and whispering my name - telling me *i'm known*.  He works still in my mentor's heart and life... in ways i feel sure i'll never get to see, but i'm His too - & He won't ever let me go. 
The things that my mentor taught me... those things were true then, and they remain true now...
Despite the aching loneliness that my mentor's absence brings. 

Monday, August 1, 2011


My son is entering those precarious pre-teen years. 
i say precarious, because it has seemed to me as a mama sometimes that my little ones have been balanced; perched on a tiny mountain peak with their adulthood on one side, and their childhoods on the other.  These years are spent swaying from one side to the other - in a precarious sort of way. 
My son is still so child... with his questioning innocence - and yet his shoulders broaden by the day, and he whispers his deeper thoughts in my ear and i'm left staring at his retreating form as i try to reconcile these man choices with my baby boy. 
The other day he came all storm clouds into my room.  Slamming open the door and flopping angrily onto my bed where i was nursing his baby brother. 
His face was awash in anger, but i saw just the slightest quake in his lip and the tears threatening to spill - and i recognized sadness too. 
i tried to ignore his black feet on my white comforter as he explained to me that he had been ditched. 
"And i'm mad at him..." His man-child mind had been made, and there was a hurt fury i have seldom seen in this boy. 
"Oh, buddy - you don't have to be mad.  You can choose to be the bigger man - to forgive and to believe the best of your friend..." i pause - watching him rub the summer sweat from his tomato red face. 
He is my child of conscience, my lover of justice - he listens to the Still Small Voice - and feels his conviction deep. 
"Maybe i misunderstood." His response is immediate, "Maybe he got called in to lunch and i missed it.  Maybe i should give him another chance..."
And i see in the softness around his brow - that it pains less deep to offer up his anger to the One who gives forgiveness free. 
And i see in my son's face - neither man nor child - but servant of the King.

Oh Father, do your work in my children - claim them as Yours.  
Negate all my insufficiency - and let them find sufficiency in Your gentle prompting.   


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