Monday, May 28, 2012

what i'm learning from twitter...

1. There are quite a few unkind people in the world... & many of them are on twitter.  :)
2. Life is way too short to take offence at unkind people.  They're broken & hurting too.  Be gracious & gentle - even when others aren't.   (wwjd?)
3.  When people don't know how to respond to you - or they don't understand you - they'll often insult you.
4.  This doesn't mean you're wrong. 
5.  Be humble.  (it's true - i have only have 2 years of music school from a community college post secondary... it's not much.  & yes... i have in the past & will likely in the future, make mistakes that would allow me to earn the label, "ignorant fool"... i don't need to fight every insult.)
6.  But don't allow your *smallness* or lack of education keep you from speaking what truth you do know or have learned.  Our world desperately needs every who down in whoville... kwim? 
8.  Often those most guilty of elitism have the weakest arguments.  Worry only about truth - look for it, be shaped by it, share it... even if you're dismissed because you're nothing but a stay at home mama. 
9.  When you're too tender, take a step back - or choose not to step in.  We're only human... & twitter is the most optional thing in the universe.  :)
10.  You're not going to change everyone's mind (or anyone's?)  One piece of advice i was given about prolife discussions is that it's most often the people observing the conversation (or debate) that are changed by it rather than the people doing the talking... Truth sticks in our mind like little barbs... We need to keep putting pieces of truth out there - in our homes, in our congregations, with our friends & family; gently & with humility.  Daily speaking counter cultural truth will have a vast impact over the course of many years...  
11.  Finally... i'm learning that i still have so much to learn.  Tone and meaning are so often misunderstood when you're communicating with strangers in blips of 140 characters or less... i want to get better at it. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Choosing Joy

Sometimes i make little month long goals for myself. 
i find it helps me to make or break habits & i feel satisfied knowing i'm working on one little tic & hopefully after a month - i'll have changed some thought patterns, decreased the power of a bad habit or formed a slightly better one.
& a month is such a kind task master... i don't feel a crushing failure if i pick up my bad habit again, or fail to follow through on a goal for the rest of my life... but hopefully - in month long minuscule chunks, i'll make changes that will bring me closer to where i want to go. 
A couple of months ago - i made myself a goal like that.  i decided that for one month, i was going to lay down some really specific things that i was stewing about.  They were things that i could point to & name & say, "This.  This thing is causing me pain..."  They were things that i had already brought to my Father - & they were all things that were beyond my control.  Day after day - i had grown in the habit of picking up these things - and rolling them discontentedly around in my head & heart.  i'd sit in sadness & wish them different... i'd pray about them & surrender them to my Father again & again... i'd stew, talk to Neil, & really... honestly... obsess over them - feeling like unless they could be resolved, i could go no further. 
i called it my month of choosing joy.  i was going to stop the constant dwelling.  My prayers would all be, 'YOU know, Father...' & leaving it there.  i'd wear my smile - & i decided even if it was false... i'd try it for a month. For one month, i'd let joy win.  i had always been grateful - & there is so much love in this house & so i figured a little redirection - one month - couldn't hurt. 
i could never have anticipated what happened...
The next day was easy. 
i thought maybe it was just the distraction of a fun outing i'd had.  i laughed and i cried... i spent time praying - but not dwelling... & it was good. 
Day after day after day passed.  Thoughts came - but flitted out quickly.  i smiled to myself... As a woman - i know that a month is a very significant time frame - our calendars are wired right into our bodies & i figured, "Ah, it's gonna hit me - that shift - & i'm going to crash... there's no way that i can continue to sail through like this..."
But i did. 
The weeks flew - & at the end of it i smiled to my Father, "What's up with that?  Why no struggle?  Why was i released, the cloud lifted... right when i was prepared to take every thought captive, work hard, & choose joy - why does it feel like instead, joy was chosen for me?" 
& it wasn't perfect. 
A couple days after i was finished, i snapped at Neil & he turned to me with those bewildering, smirking hazel eyes & asked, "um... aren't you 'choosing joy' babe?"
& i laughed sarcastically, "That was for a month & i'm all done now!" 
& y'know... not one of those frustrating situations changed? 
But i'm praying...
that by God's grace...
that maybe i can.

Monday, May 21, 2012


i was feeling kind of empty. 
i'm not one of those strong, courageous women who hears God speak aloud & in grace & maturity obeys. 
i can get kind of sulky & selfish. 
i was pondering - (not really pondering... i was allowing my feet to be soaked & sucked into the muck and the mire as i sulked) - i was doing the math this way & that - how many days here so far this year versus how many days away.  How many day trips, how many hours in the office, how many conversations cut off by that phone... Making a nice little crease in my brow. 

But - then for just a moment, i closed my eyes & prayed for a friend. 

It was just a moment... but honestly when i opened that door a crack, my Father put His foot in it. 
"Hey, daughter... remember what Shirley said?"
Shirley told me that she had a goal for her life  Her goal was was that when others look at her, they won't even SEE Shirley.  The goal for her is that when they look at her... all they'll see is Jesus. 
i thought for a minute... 'but one little rant, Father.  Doesn't make me a bad person.'
& no.  It doesn't. 
But do i really need to indulge every little whim and emotion? 
Do i? 
i started to wrestle.  Just a little bit.  My feet were still wet in the mire, but i was trying to pull them out.  My attitude shifted... lifted...
Could i want something better than the acknowledgement of my own hardship?
Was there something better available? 
& then i opened up a message on facebook. 
It was from the wife of another travelling man
"thought i would share with you what i am being reminded of again."
& already i started to cry... 'cause don't we all long for someone to come along side? 
:"forming habits to express what God's grace has done in me"
...the one thing that keeps my conscience sensitive to Him is the continual habit of being open to God on the inside...regardless of my circumstance, difficulties or hardships...."be stamped with God's nature and His blessing will come through you all the time".....the habit of good conscience, the habit of enjoying the disagreeable, the habit of rising to the occasion.....paying attention to my Source, and out of my life will flow rivers of living water...currents with strength and power yet the still waters that bring rest and peace, gracefully touching the shorelines and unconsciously being effective....

The last line echoed and resounded in my mind. 
Maybe the image of the living water is what did it, but i found myself voluntarily pulling up my dripping wet shoes from that muck that i felt so entitled to standing in, and taking a step back. 

Oh Father!!  Strip away all that is paige - & fill me with you... so that the living water that flows from me will 'gracefully touch the shorelines and unconsciously be effective'.  Give me the reflexes to 'give it to Papa' - & the grace to form the habits that will bring You glory.

Friday, May 18, 2012

7 quick takes - mama i'm coming home edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 172)

seven ways it's better when he's here:

1. i'm a different girl.  i'm more confident & carefree when he's home.  Personal growth stinks sometimes... i'd sometimes choose not to grow, but to just have him close.  (i can grow when he's here too, can't i God?)  Ok, i'd probably always choose that... but that's why it's cool that i have no choice. (Working on a blogpost on that for next week...)

2. i go to bed at a reasonable time when he's here.  When he's gone, i stay up way too late *thinking*.  Wrong choice.  Sleep rules.  i need more of it. 

3. He brings the fun.  He initiates every trip we ever go on, he is the one who plays hardest in the swimming pool & he's the one who takes them skiing. 

4.  We're way less likely to get outta control when the noise police is in town.  He's also the tidy police & the "GET IN BED IT'S WAY PAST YOUR BEDTIME" police.  Sometimes it's nice to have the po-po in town - order in chaos?  Underrated. 

5.  He's warm.  i use him to regulate my temperature.  To be fair, i cool him off with my ice cube feet - so we're probably even on that score, right? 

6.  i shower way less frequently when he's out of town.  i'm cool with that, but the rest of my family might appreciate the personal hygiene that i choose to initiate when papa's around. 

7.  i like him.  He smells good.  He's nice to look at.

ps - looking for coming home theme songs... :)  Got any suggestions?  It's kind of fun to blast coming home songs at the end of the travelling week... (& i think i can do better than the Ozzy Osbourne song i referred to in the title... it's a little depressing :) even though i secretly love it because Neil will sometimes call & sing, "Cause mama, mama i'm comin' hoooommee..."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

teenage failure

Cai's 15...  
& i'm fully aware that she's probably gonna read this...
The thing is... She's not a freshly minted brand new teenager anymore.  She's really in the thick of it now.  She's planning out her last two years of highschool, she's looking at post secondary options, she's got a part time job - she volunteers, is taking drivers ed. and she's responsible.  She's pulling together the threads of childhood and looking all fresh-faced into the future during these busy, steep learning curve years...
& then there's me. 
i'm biting my nails, half laughing in hysteria, half sobbing with intense-chest-bursting pride... but mostly my prayers are something like this, "God - keep her better than me..."
i was a teenage mess up.  i didn't drink or do drugs.  i loved Jesus... but i was so painfully selfishly thoughtless.  (& maybe a lot of grown ups feel this way about their teenagerdom), but i regret mostly - not having the guts to be selfless.  It was actually one of my biggest fears about motherhood & marriage - and then it reared it's ugly head again when i first contemplated homeschooling.  i imagined myself getting bored, trailing off & raising ignorant, illiterate little ones who would grow to hate me for not caring enough to follow through. 
When i was a teenager, i thoughtlessly liked boys... (till i miraculously fell into the deep oceans of love for Neil)...
But before that, mostly i was desperate for love & attention. 
i didn't like my body - every oddity or curve became my central focus, and i spent way too much time in my teen years obsessing about the flesh that's gonna grow old and aged - & will eventually fade & wither away... it's all dust.  i see that now. 
Motherhood saved me. 
Suddenly the body that had never seemed quite good enough was a freaking miracle.  Suddenly my aching void to be loved was filled with a profound knowledge that *i could love*.  Suddenly... or maybe not so suddenly... my selfishness began to be rooted out, night by sleepless night...
i had to cling - & by God's grace - i chose to cling to Him. 
And eventually - over time in these 16 beautiful years of marriage & family - my wise Father used my husband & my little ones - in the hardest and best possible ways... to make me a better person. 
But you see, what i *don't* have... is all the answers.  i don't know how to navigate those teen years, other than the bumbling stumbling way that i did it (& unfortunately - Neil bumbled & stumbled just as badly as i did).  i don't know how to deal with boys, how to deal with friendships, how to be selfless, how to put others first - in those crazy, exciting, roller coaster years.  i did a lot of it wrong. 
Hence the hand wringing on the sidelines as i raise my daughters (& sons too in the next few years). 
It's like watching golf - knowing i can't play and i'd have no idea what club to use or how to stand and swing, but i'm in the crowd on the sidelines shouting, "Get in the hole!!"
There are recipes to these teenager years - wise advice on dating, academics, jobs.  There are brilliant mama's who have raised brilliant young women - who balanced wit and charm with cooking and calculus... They managed to navigate the teenager years holding onto their children's hearts & they know exactly how they did it.  i look at them & realize how bankrupt i am without Jesus. 
& i know that i got where i am by God's grace... & that even if He hadn't been so generous with me - i still wouldn't want to be anywhere else than with my heart in His hands... but as a mama, i find there's a lot of pleading going on. 
Let her be selfless, God... Draw her deep & close to You.  Don't let her make the mistakes i made... when the storms brew & the angry winds slash like i know they will - let Your Name be the words on her lips and the hope in her heart. 
That's what it looks like when someone who failed being a teenager begins to raise them.  That's what it looks like when you know the destination but had to be carried there... so you can't tell them what the road looked like.  That's what it looks like to surrender all... even your sweetheart teenagers...

Friday, May 11, 2012

status quo

 i saw a comment on an article about the abortion debate (i know, i know... i should never read the comments on the internet...) & it stated what i've seen *so* many comments state regarding the reopening of the abortion debate in Canada.  It suggested that most Canadians are moderates - and all those extremist, "anti-choicers" who would like to see abortion in Canada come to an end are never going to get what they want - so why bother debating it at all. 
Leave it as it is. 
The majority of Canadians are happy with the status quo. 
The thing that i don't think these commenters realize (& certainly not those who would label themselves, "moderates") - is that Canada's stance on abortion is anything but moderate.  We have the most extreme stance on abortion of any other developed country in the world - we're on par with North Korea and China in that we have *no abortion legislation*.  Canadians as a whole would like to see some legislation on abortion & i suspect that if more Canadians knew the truth about abortion in Canada the numbers would be even higher in favour of public debate and legislation.  (For more information, see We Need A Law HERE.)
Just because it has been the status quo since 1988 doesn't make it ok.  Just because the government refuses to debate it doesn't mean that a majority of Canadians are ok with it.  Just because a handful of extremists on the other side are happy with abortion being legal and tax funded at any stage of pregnancy for any reason... doesn't mean that the rest of Canada should be going along with them without resistance or debate. 
Sometimes i think we hate discomfort so much - that we'll do anything to continue with the status quo - even when our situation reeks of injustice.  i get that.  Change is uncomfortable.  We would be forced to reach in, to dig deep, to speak love into horrible, difficult situations. 
Oh, Jesus... do we have the courage to be Your hands and feet?
Certainly - to some it might seem preferable to turn our heads, avert our eyes and mutter, "Do whatever you want" - to the woman in crisis who is heading into the abortion clinic. 
But we can do better...
Can't we? 
Our children deserve a better Canada than this...
Don't they?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 22, 2012

k, guys... there's something really big in the works for prolife in Canada.  There's a teaser clip on YouTube that's going around.  It has been shared on LifeSite news, (see their post HERE) and it's gathering steam in prolife circles everywhere.  May 22nd is right around the corner - i'm curious to see what it is.  They say on the clip, "It once signalled the coming of a great injustice.  Now it will make the invisible victims visible."
i'm going to be watching closely on May 22nd - and cheer for this new project that promises to rock the abortion debate forever.  Join the movement and repost!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

adding colour

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: This is what the Lord Almighty said: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.  In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'
Zechariah 7:8-10
& yeh... seems simple doesn't it?  But it's not always... 
i said to a friend the other day that i used to see so much in black and white... but the older i get, i have begun to see the world more in shades of loving or unloving.  & it adds so much complexity to any situation.  Yeh, there's right & wrong - but i have to be intentional in choosing my response to both.

Friday, May 4, 2012

sweet 16

i want to write about Neil.
We're tip-toeing over the edge of our 16th wedding anniversary - & he's been on my mind a lot.  i tried to put it into words... into his ears the other morning... what his love - and our marriage have meant to me. 
But at this point - 16 years in - i still feel like a baby in this game - & my thoughts came out all jumbled & confused - & so he just held me, like he so often has to do these days when words come hard fought and the tenderness of touch makes communication so much easier...
i feel like my marriage to Neil has been a softness:
i love that man.  i love him with a complete and utter vulnerability.  It especially feels vulnerable when i watch marriages crumble around me, or hear vicious whispers from all sorts of dark corners that have become unsafe.  Our love has flashed colour and texture like an old quilt drying on the laundry line - caught in the breeze... Symbolic of warmth and comfort and home - but bringing a strange beauty to the outdoor elements as it billows and rolls in the wind.
i feel like my marriage to Neil has been a hardness:
i have learned to love that man from a distance - as his work has taken him away from me.  He's a travelling man - & that aching and yearning for him has become a familiar flavour in my mouth - rather than just fading away into ambivalence.  i learned to get stronger (often failing miserably many times before i get there), to drive the big beast of our van at night or in snowstorms.  i learned to run the house without him here - to laugh louder when i miss the timbre of his voice, and to brazenly spout honestly to my littles whenever i feel that i must, "i miss daddy."  (And in return, they've learned to roll their eyes and smile indulgently, "Really, mom?  You've never said so before...")
But mostly... i feel like my marriage to Neil has been a stretching:
i see a picture in my mind of a limber set of dancers dancing the most exquisite stretching steps - the give and the take, the wide swooping gestures, the dip - without dropping and the chase before the catch - the breathtaking arc flown - and the exhilaration that trumps exhaustion... & no... i'm not a dancer... but my heart soars when i see some dancers dance; so urgently, so passionately & so vulnerably. & that's how we dance, Neil & i... in these sweet, beautiful years we find ourselves in.  He calls me on things that i need to be called on.  & i do the same.  He doesn't shame me, but he makes me think of the areas of my life where i indulge myself with thoughtlessness.  God has seen fit to choose to use Neil - singly - to bring about the hardest changes in my character, and to allow me to see truth a little more readily, vividly and peacefully.  This beautiful stretching eclipses both the hardness & the softness - epitomizing the heart of what marriage means. 
So... here's the nerdy part.  i hate reading the endless posts from adoring wives in sappy anniversary prose, & i apologize to my future self reading this saying, "really, Paige?  You couldn't hold yourself back??"  but... it has never been more true than it is right now... & yes, self... i must.  So here it is. 
Bess... i love you more now than i did when we said our, 'i do's' with out backs up against the world & bitter fools speaking discouragement into our fresh new union.  i love you more now than when you fed me fried chicken and listened to Gwen Stefani when my grief was too much for either of us to bear.  i love you more now than i did when you cut that silly cartoon out of the newspaper that signaled that maybe one day, we'd have more than five children.  i love you more now than i did when you brokenly said you were sorry my parents were getting a divorce... & you knew that i was so very, very sorry too. 
i choose you - again & again & again.  i choose you with your work flying you away, with your grey creeping in & with nay-sayers who have nothing better to do than to imagine the strikes we have against us. 
i wasn't engineered to be the kind of girl who's able to hold anything back. 
So i won't. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

a little lovin'

i felt like writing, so i did. 
My fingers flew over the keyboard, unrestrained... a thing they haven't done as much this past year... & i will post it... a seemingly fluff post... a love note, a bellowing moment of adoration for marriage. 
But before i do... i'll post this, a gentle opener before the bullhorn:

Neil & i sneak into the seniors home to peek at our girl playing violin.  She stands taller than me in her flats & pleated tartan skirt.  She pulls her hair back and ties it with a ribbon and her sweet softy smile flashes from the stage as she finds me grinning back at her; her toe taps & her hips sway. 
Neil sinks into a plush arm chair out of her sight, & i let my gaze meander around the cheerful little room full of wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks and grey hair. 
One tiny woman catches my eye - and i watch her smiling at the children who are performing with verve and skill. 
Then she wrings her bent little hands. 
They're twisted with arthritis; massive swollen bones with hardly any flesh to pad them.  Her dainty blue veins colour them as she gently rubs one with the other, and then her fingers grope in familiarity the thin gold bands that adorn her left hand. 
As she does so, my fingers suddenly fly to find my golden bands; circling the same finger on my left hand. 
& i don't know her story.  i don't know where the man is who placed those rings there, or how many years ago the vows were spoken...
But i know that in 16 years, my rings have worn away the flesh around my ring finger - the symbol that i wear of the commitment i made has made a mark on my physical body.  My body has worn, and the stretch marks on my stomach bear witness to the family that we've grown...
Her gesture is hardly one to be noticed - but i do notice... the way her fingers linger on rings that are so worn, the gold has thinned to threadlike proportions in some places.  i watch as she tenderly twists the bands that i imagine have been there for decades - i doubt they could be removed now... even if she wanted to remove them over joints bent with arthritis and age...
And i glance at Neil - catching his dancing hazel eyes & he grins at me.  His smile still makes my stomach flip flop - & as i twist my ring, i can't help but hope that one day - when we're old... and our hands are creased and worn and tired - we'll still wear our gold bands - & in familiarity, we'll reach for, find and caress the aching hands of the one we love.


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