Thursday, March 29, 2012

"i had an abortion"

We've stood on that street corner dozens of times together.  We met on that street corner, visited, made friends, and kept each other warm.  She's a do-er... a woman of action, finding needs to be met, and meeting them.  i think she must vigil every day, because every time i come - she's already there... pacing that sidewalk faithfully - praying for the families that come looking for solutions in that clinic across the street. 
i arrive and am frustrated with myself for not dressing warmer.  You'd think i'd have learned my lesson by now, but no... constantly i'm arriving and thinking to myself... 'man, it's colder than i thought...'  But an hour's not too long to stand in the cold, so i make do.  i'm still gathering my scattered thoughts - and she's talking to me... she's telling me how someone yelled at her, "Go find something useful to do!"
i laugh - knowing there aren't a lot of 73 year old women who do as much as this one does - bringing meals to those who need them, vigilling in the cold hour after hour, translating encouraging books and messages into her first language for those back home who have never learned english...
"Yes," i say, "There are a lot of people who don't see the value in standing here and praying for those tiny lives aren't there?"
"i had an abortion."
i hear the words, but i'm sure i must not have heard correctly. i wasn't looking at her... but i am now... and her brown eyes are searching my face, watching my reaction... seeing the surprise that's registering there.  i feel my face crumble as it mirrors hers, and i grab her and wrap my arms around her. 
She's talking quickly now... and tears flow down her still-beautiful face - wetting the front of her warm jacket.  She was only twenty.  She had to pay for it herself out of her meagre paycheque.  She describes feeling robbed, lost, without hope or options. 
i'm crying with her - as we stand a stone's throw from the abortion clinic where our tax dollars pay for the same heartache thousands of times over every year. 
"If i would have seen people praying... outside that hospital, i would have run.  i never could have done it.  If i could only go in there, i know what's happening in there... i know how that life gets taken... i could tell them... " She breaks off sobbing. 
She tells me how she ran from her shame - threw herself away from family and immersed herself in labour... working constantly to dull the pain. 
Her voice rises and breaks into a cry, "i was dead inside.  i hate myself i HATE myself."
& in that moment, i hate abortion.  i do.  i hate the agony that it brings, i hate that it brought death to a child who should now be a 53 year old grandmother, i hate the pain that i see on my friend's face as she relives her agony.  i hate that this "solution" leaves ugly gaping wounds - and steals, kills and destroys. 
"God now... He's healing me."
& i see that He is - Redeemer, Healer, Father. 
i want to croon, to hold her like a mama holds her baby... i ask her if i can pray for her... because this sadness is too overwhelming.  It's too consuming.  It's too big - this ancient grief over a half a century borne on her shoulders. 
i pray... stumbling, quaking words - trusting that my Father in Heaven will one day make it all right... i pray that she will have faith that one day, she will meet this tiny one who didn't get the chance to live. 
Her shout interrupts my prayer and she adds, "Yes!  I believe it, i believe that!"
& i believe it too... i believe that there is healing for every broken hearted mama in Calgary who needs forgiveness and tastes the bitter regret of an abortion.  i believe that the God of the universe will do right - & there will be no more tears when we live with Him. 
My friend has to leave - i thank her for sharing her story with me.  i ask her if i can share it with all of you - & she says, "Yes, yes!!  If i can help even one woman..."
She's gone, and my eyes are closed in prayer...
i look up, and i see a man escorting a woman from that clinic to a waiting car. 
She's in her pyjamas... and she's shaky on her feet. 
The horror of the reality of abortion and the picture of the sorrow that could be this woman's future is too fresh in my mind - i'm undone. 
i hold my sign a little higher as their car pulls out of the parking lot. 
i see her face white in the window of the car.  She's looking right at me. 
"You are loved..." my sign proclaims.
i'm crying that horrible ugly cry... and i know i look like a lunatic - so overcome in that moment by what i know has happened... just like it happened 53 years ago.  i grieve for that little life... and the little life lost all those decades ago. 
"Oh, Father," i pray, "show her that truth."
The light changes, and the car pulls out of the parking lot - and becomes lost in the flow of traffic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the gentle rebuke

Twice in the past 8 months, i've experienced a gentle rebuke. 
The first was so tender - & so unexpected - that i immediately burst into tears of sorrow and repentance at the nudge that made a radical change in my understanding... i went from believing one thing, to another in a single moment - the rebuke was personal and specific, and i immediately felt gratitude. 
The second happened on Sunday morning. 
We were sitting in church & suddenly i felt that gentle, prodding voice...
"Why didn't you set your timer for my 15 minutes of prayer for family on Friday?"
"What?  Father... i prayed all day on Friday!!  You know that i fasted and i spent more time than any other Friday on my knees..."
Friday had brought heartbreak for a family we know.  i had prayed with my children, and with a friend who came to my house and sat on a bed with me as we clutched hands and brought this family to our Father God - who loves each individual in this painful, hurting situation... i had asked my little ones to pray with me as i ached throughout the day - and it felt funny now... to feel a rebuke for not having set my timer to pray for family...
But, as with the other rebuke - that had come like a breeze into a room with no window - i knew in that moment... that i was wrong. 
This 15 on Friday is something different.  It's something that He's asking me to do - diligently, obediently, consistently...  It's different than skipping a meal.  It's different than our prayer time in the morning... It's different than the other times that i pray during the day.  It's personal, specific... and it's for *me* to do.  & it's something that i didn't make the time for on Friday. 
And i didn't feel a crushing condemnation... i felt a gentle rebuke, like, "Hey - little daughter... this year is hard, it's full of darkness and tearing and breaking up.  i've provided the opportunity for you, in this time i'm asking you to set aside, to bring it all to me.  This is for your protection.  Come."
Literally... in church... i did that, 'palm to the face...'
"ohhhhh...." i groaned.... understanding flooding red into my cheeks. 
Is this why i can hear Him differently... more clearly... than i have before?  Is it because of the time set aside - that has challenged me to introduce an ounce of discipline to a spiritual relationship that has often depended on a whim? 
i don't know...
But i know that i'm grateful to hear His voice...
&Holy Father?... i'll obey. 

Have you ever heard that gentle reproach that changed your thinking in an instant? 

Monday, March 26, 2012


He's a morning person. 
i wake to the gentle, 'slap, slap' - of his baby palm against my cheek, and i turn my head away from him.  i hear him grunt and i feel his weight as he climbs mercilessly over my head to find my face again, tugging my hair and kneeing my cheekbone. He pokes his sharp little fingers at my eyes whispering, "boo?"
i snuggle him under the blankets & slowly the sleep fades. Eyes finally cracking open, i glance down at his - they're a startling blue, gazing hopeful at mama.  As our eyes meet, his crinkle into a smile, as if to say, 'hi mama!  Awake at last?'
"Hey, baby..." i whisper - and he immediately unlatches and corrects me.  
"No.  i not baby."
"Please?" i softly pretend to beg... or maybe i really do beg - maybe there's no pretending as i'm holding his tender little body against mine as the morning creeps steadier on...
"No." he states.  Firm.
"ok." i sigh, resigned... but then he cocks his head - and seems to soften to his crooning mama. 
"i be yo' baby." he croaks, "mama - waaa, waaaa..." His careful taunting mockery of a baby's cry to his mama makes me laugh, and he laughs with me.  He's such a smart baby boy. 
i hate that lump in my throat.  i hate that the sweetness of this moment makes my throat ache and my eyes sting in some sort of piercing nostalgia for a time that's not yet passed. 
His white hair is a wild cloud around his face, i smooth it, and kiss the fluff that refuses to lay flat.  The seconds tick, my boy grows restless, hungry, ready, awake...
And so we rise to face this new day.


Less than a week left in our spring vigil.  Thank you to all who have been following along and sharing... You can check out our recent posts HERE. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

attention, Ken Hamilton

You don't know me... but i hear your name at least once a day.  You see, someone thinks that our number is the number that should be used to reach you... and they refuse to be thwarted by the fact that the wrong pesky people keep picking up.  Conversations go something like this;
ring ring...
"Hello, Ken."
"Um, this isn't Ken," (says my 15 year old daughter), "i think you have the wrong number."
"Are you sure this isn't Ken?  Ken... Hamilton?"
"Pretty sure."
"Oh.  Alright then..."
(next day)
ring ring...
"Hello, is this Ken?  Ken... Hamilton?"
"No.  Sorry.  i think you have the wrong number."
"Oh, i will call back later then."
"Um, but it's the wrong number..."
(next day)
ring ring...
"Hello.  Looking for Ken?"
"Why yes.  Is he available?"
"This isn't Ken's house.  He'll never be available here because he doesn't live here.  Phoning back to the same wrong number and expecting a different outcome is the very definition of insanity."
"I'll call back later then.  Thank you."

Ok... so i made that last one up... but seriously - it has been months of Ken Hamilton's bff trying to get ahold of him here.  Ken, if you're reading - give your buddy a call. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


So... i'm sure there are a lot of other Albertans out there who are concerned about our government's attempt to marry the Alberta Human Rights Act to our Education Act (to better understand this click HERE).  So, Neil & i were discussing our options for the election that is going to get called any day now...
i told him that in researching my options, i had read an article that outlined voting for, 'none of the above'.  Apparently in Alberta, Ontario & Manitoba - dissatisfied voters have the option of, 'declining to vote'.  This made Neil curious, so he asked how you do that... i told him you go through the whole rigamarole of getting your ballot & then you tell them that you would like to officially decline your ballot.
He said, "Um... how do you do that... Loudly?"
& we burst out laughing imagining standing in our little public square of a polling station loudly declining our ballots.  (He was probably just picturing me doing that all by myself... i more generously pictured us doing it together.)
Anyway - later that night, we were watching tv & there was an ad for The Office - & just the tiniest clip of Michael Scott standing in the middle of the room where he states loudly, "I delcare BANKRUPTSYYYYYYY!!!"
Well, we looked at each other & absolutely lost it.  We couldn't breathe we were laughing so hard. 
"That's you... that's YOOOOOOOUUUUU...!!"
So, in all honestly... i don't know what to do about voting.  It's hard.  But i'm going to study, learn and weigh my options.  i'm going to listen to my conscience that tells me that it's time to be a one issue voter, (i vote prolife). 
But for now... i declare nothing...

Monday, March 19, 2012


Neil & i were walking downtown, killing time till Sloanie was done her violin gig.  A fluttering sign in the wind caught my attention & i said to Neil, "Hey, Fred Penner is coming to Calgary.  Seriously - i think that guy came to my elementary school when i was in grade 1 or 2..."
i'm not actually sure that it was Fred Penner, but my brain seems to think it was so, i nod grinning.
"Ya.  Haven't i ever told you about my Fred Penner incident?"
"Um, no.  You have a Fred Penner incident?"
"Yes.  He came to our school & he co-wrote a school anthem with the students... something about 'Queen Street School where the kids are cool, it's fun #1 it's Queen Street School'....  Then he gave a concert.  One of the songs was Funkydiscombooblegum & it was all about the amazing properties of this gum... i don't remember how it went.  Anyway, he said if anyone could stand up & say "funkydiscombooblegum" backwards, they could have a piece.  Well, i thought i was so freaking clever, my hand flew into the air & he called on me.  i stood up in front of the whole school.... turned around *backwards* and said (with a cocky little grin), 'funkydiscombooblegum'." 
"Did he get it?"
"No.  And i didn't get any funkydiscombooblegum.  It was a little embarrassing, he said, 'um, no - you have to say it backwards...' & i was all, 'um, i'm *standing backwards* - get it?  Saying it *backwards*??' but he had already started doing something else, so i sat down.  When i told my mom she said he probably did get it, but didn't have any gum to give me so pretended he didn't."
"Mollen would totally do that."
"Yeah... i think she would.  We're smart."
We might need to book some tickets to his concert...

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 quick takes - volume 8

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 162)

1.  Woaaahhhhh - all this craziness with the education act in Alberta is a little overwhelming.  If you want a glimpse into the current leadership of our province, take a look at THIS article.  i have been tweeting with the minister of education - (who is so dismissive of the concerns that parents have regarding co-parenting with the government).  (You can follow me at @neillvspaige). We're running out of time.  If this concerns you (i don't care where you live) - there is a call to action HERE.  Honestly?  i haven't been all that interested in provincial politics since... ever... but when they start coming between a mama bear & her cubs, they're going to run into trouble. 

2.  My poor exhausted man.  i miss him.  That's all. 

3.  i'm playing for 2 of Cai's gigs this week.  Um... i didn't realize how *awesome* her group is.  Honestly - if you're organizing any kind of a function in the Calgary area, & need fabulous entertainment, you've got to contact the Bow Valley Fiddlers (or the Calgary fiddlers).  i did ok... barely keeping up - (they FLY through those tunes!) - but my girl?  MY girl?  She's got a grin on her face and a flush in her cheeks.  Kind of amazes me how good she's getting. 

4.  Did i just whine about politics in my #1 spot?  That's too bad, i'll make up for it by cheering for a political hero in my #4 spot.  Here in Canada, there is *no* legal protection for the unborn (until the baby has fully emerged alive from the mother).   Our Prime Minister has stated again and again that he's unwilling to re-open the abortion debate & doesn't want to change the status quo of abortion in Canada (currently  - no laws - no legal restrictions, tax payer funded and no parental notification in the case of minors).  Finally, a politician has stepped forward & said, "Hey, can we at least discuss what a 'fetus' is?  Is this a person?  Is there any new scientific information that we've gathered in the past 400 years since the definition we use was put into practice?"  His name is Stephen Woodworth & if you want to read about his motion, you can do so HERE. 

5.  i'm not posting here as much lately because i have a lot of funny things on my mind that i'm working through.  A teeny desert to pass through, so to speak.  But - if you miss me, i'm blogging like crazy over HERE. & it's totally a labour of love 'cause i'm running on empty these days.  Tomorrow, (Saturday) - i will post my favourite day from this spring's vigil... it happened this past Wednesday.  You should come back & check it out :) 

6.  There's a lady from my church who i asked to pray for me during the 40 Days... A few people had offered to pray for me & so i sent them my requests 'cause if people are gonna pray, *i accept*.  Anyway - this lady is someone who i approached & asked her if she would please pray for me.  She said yes.  Since the 40 Days began, she sends me texts every couple of days - with a scripture that she's picked out, a blessing for my children, an encouragement to press on in motherhood, a prayer of protection over my passion for the unborn, a prayer for me and my man - to grow in God so that we can grow also in our marriage.  i'm crying as i type this... Her prayers have been like warm rain.  i know that God has been hearing her prayers for me - & i feel His gentle protection & i can't explain how grateful i feel for her consistent obedience to Him. 

7.  i started this post thinking i didn't have very much to say... apparently i was wrong.  As i type this, my littlest boy is snuggled into the bed at my side.  Mollen just told me that she's only pages away from the end of her current chapter book and Gage has snuggled into her bed - rather than feeling lonely in his own tiny spot.  The big girls made me popcorn & it's sitting in the hallway since they didn't want to bring it to me when the boys were still awake.  Our day is winding to it's close.  i grabbed a few yawning sentences from my man on the phone from Toronto before he had to go finish up work for the night as he's got another early day tomorrow...
This life is so full.  It's so full of sweetness, sorrow - the give & take that comes with every breath of life.  i'm so grateful to be here... now...

Monday, March 12, 2012

He saddled up his horse

Just kidding.  He didn't saddle up his horse. 
But he did leave. 
& i kissed him goodbye with a radiant smile and waved till he was out of sight. 
Just kidding.  i sat on his lap and cried till we were both covered in mascara.   
(You can't win 'em all, can you?) 
After he left i pulled up my socks (except i wasn't wearing any)... and i cleaned my house.  i called all the little ones together and we took turns playing dj, sweeping, tidying, scrubbing and dancing with the baby. 
i had to take off my sweater i got so warm - and pretty soon, i didn't even miss him a bit. 
Except that i did. 
The End.

Friday, March 9, 2012

i'm singing

"I SET FIIIIIIIIRE to the RAIN!!!  Watched it POOOUUUUrrr!!"
"No.  No.  Stop this.  Stop this now.  This must end.  Off, turn it off..."
"But mom, i'm singing Adele..."
"No.  You're not."
The end.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Come visit... & my tiny friend

Still continuing to blog over HERE for the time being - would love it if you'd visit there & share what we've got going on. 

In other news, Ephraim has decided that he is a rock star potty trainer.  We started him last week and he's going on 5 days accident free (including all naps & the past two nights!).  He's kind of awesome.  We're pretty tight, my little man & me.  We snuggle a lot... he greets me at the door after every absence with tiny baby arms spread wide & enormous grin, "MOM!"  He is the most entertaining little buffoon, constantly performing for his appreciative audience.  He's wicked smart.  i think he's a keeper.

Monday, March 5, 2012

and then he comes home...

The days away fly by - & i still miss him like crazy, but i am the wife to the travelling man & i flex tiny muscles and try to be mama & papa both while he's gone. 
In a sudden burst of loneliness one morning as i climb out of the shower, i grab the bar of soap and write love messages all over the door of the shower.  Unsatisfied, as i'm brushing my teeth, i add some on the mirror with my thumb, and then thoughtfully turn to the medicine cabinet to decide what to inscribe on it's fading steam. 
He came home - just like i knew he would & expected him to.  He came home, just like was planned & without pomp & fanfare...
i woke up one morning & he had crept in to the bed beside me... i glanced over the white puff of Ephraim's hair that rises up between us & i see the broadness of his back & the gentle rhythm of his breathing & i sigh with enormous satisfaction. 
Later on, he comes out of the shower. 
"Babe, i cleaned that shower for you.  It was gross - there was soap everywhere."
i start laughing hysterically. 
"Didn't you read any of it?  It's my HEARTBEAT of LOVE for you!!"
"Um, no.  i didn't read it.  It was a mess and some of us like to shower in a clean bathroom.  i had to windex the mirror too."
"Thank you honey."  i laugh. 
"What's so funny?" he demands... and i think he is maybe dissatisfied with my level of gratitude for his sweet act of service.
"Nothing.  i just like us, that's all."
'Cause he's home.  i can whisper my messages into his ears at night.  i can watch for his truck to pull up in the evenings.  i can scrub the bathroom to show my affection... i'm not limited to a bar of soap and a steamy surface... no... my love's home. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

7 quick takes volume SEVEN

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 162)

1. When i spot grammatical errors on my blog after it has already been up for a long time, my cheeks burn & my heart beats really fast.  It's totally embarrassing & seems to be happening with increasing frequency these days.  Am i getting dumber?  Or am i not proof reading like i should?  Dunno - regardless, forgive me.  i hate reading stuff that's full of horrible spelling & grammar & i bet you do too.

2.  Y'know, i'm still doing 15 on Friday.  Sometimes i don't know why... but i don't feel completely 'released' from it yet.  The prayer part is... interesting.  i don't know if i'm learning or if i'm just banging my head on a brick wall.  Some days all i feel is exquisite rejection & i feel like i could just peel off my skin... in great slabs of ugly flesh... until i would become just bones, naked and so utterly unlovable... & yet, i can't stop proclaiming HIS GREAT LOVE... It's the great juxtaposition between how i feel & what i know to be true.  God help me. 

3.  Speaking of prayer... the other day in one of those moments that happens a million times, but this time it happened to catch like a little burr in my mind... we were praying during our morning school.  Mollen was grouchy for whatever reason & she kind of scowled as she sharply prayed, "Dear Heavenly Father..." thick resentment in her voice..." Give us a good day.  Amen." 
Then someone else prayed... & then someone else... & then suddenly i heard her little soprano, softened, beseeching the throne-room again, "God? Thank you for my family.  Could you help me to have a better attitude?" 
Oh, Holy Spirit... faithfully meet with us.  Challenge us when we allow bitterness to take root.  i'm so grateful for the opportunity to come before my Father with my little ones.  These are precious moments in these crazy fast years...

4.  Neil and the road are best friends.  Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, Winnipeg... oh, baby... come home to me.  After only being home for 10 days total in January... i hoarded every one of the 13 days he was home in February.  i'm glad that his trips usually aren't long - & that he usually finds his way home for the weekends... i might nail his shoes to the floor soon though...

5.  At the time of the writing of #5 on this volume of 7 quick takes, this post has taken me three weeks to write.  We'll see if i ever get all the way to seven.

6.  For number six of the seven quick takes, i offer you the text i sent to my sister the other day:  "Ephraim found a little piece of brownie in my bra when i nursed him.  There *are* some pleasant surprises in life after all."

7.  And, an email conversation copied verbatim from my most recent emails with my halftime husband: 

me: Do you think of me during the day when you're working, or are you just too busy?  i've thought of you a freaking ton today... Maybe i should be working harder...

neil: All the time.  It is crazy. 

me: For reals?  Or are you smirking?

neil: Yup.

me: your friend brad scared the crap out of me today when i was driving.  Bad.  i miss you.  Cai is making supper tonight.  Her own version of roast beef.  She's adorable.  i adore you. 
ps. Did you mean yes for reals, or yes smirking? 

neil: All of the above. 

The end.

(ps - leave me a comment. i'm lonely.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

the hand pincher

i recently read a blog post about the day a woman found out her husband had been having a devastating affair.  She said her brother's first instinct was to hop on the next plane, and to fly to her.  She said that they talked, but that often the conversation was drown out by the huge sobs... She described (much more eloquently than i'm describing here) how when that would happen, he would pinch her hand, almost to the point that it was painful... and she knew that he was refocusing her - taking her mind for just one throbbing moment away from the agony of betrayal.
Neil has often served as my hand pincher - pulling up my chin when life seemed unfair...   
& it stings to be betrayed.
& i know... we're supposed to cling to Jesus, right? 
But sometimes, He just doesn't pinch hard enough. 
Take it away, take it away, take it away... Send me a hand pincher, Jesus!!
& neil buys me a starbucks, slaps my bum and takes me to look at ridiculously expensive show homes... He pinches & i feel it take away some of the sting... or if not really taking it away, it at least allows me to focus on something else for a moment...
These past three weeks of constant travel have worn me down... i'm in need of a good distraction & i'm contemplating nailing his shoes to the floor, stealing his keys, shaving his eyebrows... something, anything - to keep him near. 
He promises this next week will bring more home and less away - and i'm banking on it.  Good snacks in the big bed... maybe a movie... lots of mindless drivel, sprinkled with a smackerel of those conversations where he surprises me - and reminds me for the billionth time why i married him.  Lots of hand pinching, thank you, Jesus
Have you got a hand pincher?

ps - yes.  i'm gonna plug THAT blog again.  This 40 days for life thing won't leave me alone.  Did you know that this week, a medical ethics journal published a paper in defense of "after birth abortions"?  They're already happening in the Netherlands... It makes me wonder how long it will be before the choice is taken away from parents - and their "less than perfect" children - deemed inconvenient or burdensome to society at large - will be euthanized... or "aborted after birth"... We can't afford to wait until after the fact.  The biggest impact that we can have is on our knees... now... Will you join me? 
Follow along HERE. 
(To read more about the ethics journal paper, click HERE.) 


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