Wednesday, January 30, 2013

more than that...

i was laying in bed, snuggling ephraim, when suddenly the little one inside gave a firm 'thump'.
It's weird how his little movements just stretch my heart and soul to welcome him in - deeper and deeper every day it seems. And then i realized that i'm almost 22 weeks into this pregnancy and i want to write about it. i want to write about being big enough for maternity, but small enough that i can still squeeze into some half normal stuff too.
me at 20 weeks
i want to write about feeling so amazingly done with nausea - but so tired i could fall asleep on my feet... i want to write about loving being pregnant - feeling content in this mid-pregnancy stage - knowing it will get harder, and appreciating the way that motherhood grows on our very person in the most exquisite state of expectation.

More than that...

i want to write about agonizing about his name... waking up in the middle of the night - reading and re-reading meanings, possible nicknames, and different individuals reactions to having owned the name i'm contemplating for my tiny son. (i remember reading an article while pregnant with Ephraim called, "What the eph?!" - Apparently he wasn't a fan of the name his mama chose for him...) And while i struggle with the possibility that this little one will one day look at me with exasperation and ask, 'What were you thinking when you named me, mama?' - i guess in the end, we'll give him a name that resonates with us - and hope that he will end up living up to it - and that he will end up loving it because we gave it to him... and if i have to explain myself... i guess i will.

More than that....

i want to write about feeling grateful - the words taste like a werthers candy in my mouth every time i say, "Can you go put that in the baby's room?" 
The baby's room...

i wonder what i'll need - since it has been three years since we had a tiny baby - and with our fourth son, i know that some of the ratty things will have to go and i'll want to buy some fresh treasures for my fresh newborn... But at this stage - this 'in between stage' where there are still months to go - even though there are months already gone - i know it's still too soon, so i bide my time - feeling him thump and kick and grow stronger and bigger inside. i name and rename him, feeling like he's still half a stranger - but knowing that i would die for the tiny stranger making his home in my body. i think, i contemplate, i treasure these moments in my heart - knowing how fleeting these 18 weeks are between now and my due date. 

And i guess there's nothing more to say... than that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Neil travels.
What? i've mentioned that before?
Well, it's on my mind today. After a nice little break in and around Christmas time, the bulk of January has been spent on the road. And it's funny, but i was noticing the other day that wow - is there ever a HUGE variance in how i react to his absences.
Sometimes, it's great - i plug in, i get lots done, i'm absorbed in my work and the joy of this sweet little life we've carved out - and the week flies by... But other times... like this week - his leaving hits like a sucker punch and i spend the whole week winded on the floor...
Maybe it had something to do with him leaving before the birds had awakened on a Saturday morning... i hate when he's gone all weekend... i miss our coffee on the couch waiting for his parent's predictable Saturday morning phone call... i miss being with him when it seems like every other family is together - the comfort of his shoulder beside mine in church, his teasing nature with our little boys who need their daddy...
Or maybe it was just time for a sucker punch...
Regardless, i want to tell you something really neat.
We don't all have husbands that travel... But all of us who are married? We're involved in some really sanctifying work... Whether i'm plugged in, chugging along, booking his dentist appointment for the 12 hour slot that he'll be home or whether i'm reeling from his absence catching sobs in my throat as i check my email for the 40th time in the past 12 hours - hoping for an update - i'm in this beautiful thing that has the capacity to purify me if i let it.

i replay in my mind again and again those five kisses he sprinkled on me as i rubbed the sleep from my eyes and whispered, 'goodbye'... i pray for him... every morning with all those little blond heads bowed all around me - that God would grant him favour with his bosses and customers, that he would be protected in all he does, and that his heart - wherever it is - would be turned to ours as ours are turned also to his...
i had a dream last night - that i was having a conversation with Jesus... but that throughout the conversation i kept on turning away, looking towards the door, waiting for Neil to arrive...
Finally, i realized that this nail biting anxiety was doing nothing but distracting me from the beauty of my present company...
And it was just one flash of a night of bizarre dreams that wouldn't leave me alone until my eyes opened groggily to face another day... but the thought sticks with me even now...
Yeh... i love him... and maybe i even i miss him more than i should...
But maybe too, i needed the reminder to fix my eyes on my present company - and enjoy the sweetness of these moments with the ones i love - even though i'd sure give a lot to be able to be with their daddy.
Marriage is sometimes watered by faithfulness, by loving in absence, by trusting in silence, by *being* without acknowledgement. Marriage isn't always about protection (though - beautifully, it has been that too...) but it's sometimes about sharpening, preparing, making ready and growth.
And i'm grateful that all this can happen... even when he's gone.

Friday, January 25, 2013

to the teens in my life...

What a strange world we've given you to grow up in.
i remember once as a young girl, hearing a song of teen angst sung on the radio by a teen wonder.  i was transfixed - hearing the whole quivering mess of childhood pain sung by a girl who was close to my age. But i remember my mom, who was with me at the time murmuring, "That's totally unfair to put her on the air in all her vulnerability like that..."
And while i think that art and poetry and music created and performed by young people can be heart breakingly beautiful - and necessary -  (i really, really love Cai's blog...) - as a mama of teens myself now, i understand my mom's protective intuition for the girl whose pain was broadcast for our entertainment.
Now - you're facing a world that is almost unrecognizable from the one i grew up in 20 years ago. i've seen you post status updates on facebook that are full of profanity, sexual innuendo or depression. i've seen pictures on instagram from little girls who have the bodies of women... pictures of them weeping, half clothed, half broken, half searching... "See, world? This is how i feel..."
And my heart breaks for you...
Cai told me that a lot of teens weed out any adults that might be following their feeds on social media because they're looking for an audience of contemporaries that won't question them about their online jokes about homosexuality or pedophilia - new edgy words to them, not carrying the gravity that they should... and they will... when they're ancient like me.
Sloanie and i were talking the other day and she laughingly told me that when she was little, she was scared of Aladdin - but she was too shy to tell me. She glanced at me with a gleam in her eye and a wry smile on her face, "Is it fun learning everything about me that i was too quiet to tell you then?" (She was a very quiet little girl - with serious big blue eyes - just taking in the world...)
And i have to admit that it is. It's so fun being a mama to teens and hearing them begin slowly... to voice their opinions, to voice their experiences as they begin to process their childhoods in the safety of a conversation with their mama. i told Sloan that i seriously think we process our childhoods for the rest of our lives. i'm sure still processing mine... This is normal, natural - and probably a little embarrassing at times as we work out our faith, find our maturity and hopefully grow to become better people...
So, teens, i know - we've made you a little vulnerable with all these available opportunities to exploit your own selves on the internet... i'm sorry for that... But it's also given you a unique opportunity to be a beacon of hope to the other teens around you. Have the courage to abstain from jokes about things that aren't funny. People will notice - even if you think they don't. i remember Cai being shocked after working at Dairy Queen for several months, when someone pointed out that she was the only person at work that they had never heard swear... They noticed she was consistenly different. Be different. You're not being a stick in the mud - you're being a life preserver in a culture that's drowning...
Need some hints?
Premarital sex isn't funny. Drunken vomiting messes? They aren't funny either. Predators - pedophiles, stalkers, rapists and profanity... nope. Leaving a footprint on the internet that leaves you feeling shame - or hurts others who you may or may not know today who will enter your lives in the following years and will see the weedy seeds you're sowing now? That's not cool. You'll regret it.
Step back, don't press "enter", ignore, delete offensive comments from others on your wall, send private messages to your Christian friends - edifying them and encouraging them... persevering and leading the way. 'Friend' your parents, your aunties and uncles, the adults in your life who are most likely to keep you accountable and who will watch your feed because they love you. Imagine your sweet little brother, your precious niece, your cousins, your grandmother - reading your feed... be humble and respectful. You can do it.  i've seen teens doing it... defying the trend to descend to the lowest common denominator and instead choosing better, leading by example and gently, consistently  expressing what bits of truth they're learning...
You're a teen - not a little child... you're close enough to adulthood to be able act like one... even when you feel like you're swimming upstream and you'd give anything to be able to just fit in and go with the flow... trust me - even now i know what that feels like.
And i know - each of you teens that i know could point to a half dozen adults who blatantly ignore the advice i've doled out above. These 'adults' are posting half naked pictures and bashing their spouse online, they're swearing and bragging about their daily alcohol intake in an attempt to appear relevant... and you're watching and wondering if that's just how it is...
It doesn't have to be.
Choose better.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"Forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

It was as i was looking forward to Christmas that i realized that my heart felt lighter. It felt like i was finally released from the sickness of grief and sorrow. i felt happy and hopeful. Despite horrendous morning sickness, i was excited to go spend Christmas with my in-laws. New Years came - and the lightness didn't go away - or rather... my sorrow didn't return - and i felt like i had finally - after a year - gained enough distance to appreciate a little bit of perspective.

Healing can come so slow sometimes.

i was talking to a friend one day who drew the comparison of Lot's wife - who became a pillar of salt when she couldn't stop looking back at the complete destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. She said, she thought maybe we can be a little bit like that when we allow our eyes to become transfixed by the devastation in our past - sometimes we need to look ahead a little bit and press on, putting one foot in front of the other until we're out of the thick of it lest we become completely immobilized by the chaos we're leaving behind.

Maybe i've been a little salty this year...

So i was thinking about blogging forward.
And i realized that one of the things that i lost this past year was a tiny bit of my willingness to make myself vulnerable. What if someone uses my vulnerability against me? What if my weakness are wielded like a weapon? What if my struggles are lauded as failures and my intentions questioned and ridiculed. What if everyone around me changes - and i find myself alone and unloved?
Yeah? What then?
The reality is: i will fail. i'm human and vulnerable but if i ever want to be used - i'm going to have to be authentic... and that will always leave room for the scorn of others.
But the reality is also this: this blog has never - ever - been about the infallibility of Paige. It has always and only been about the Goodness of God.
And that?
That won't change.
And so i'll blog - if He asks me to... and i'll blog oftener - if i ever get my computer fixed.
And maybe i'll learn one day to understand the destruction in my past without letting it immobilize me - or define me - or limit what i can or cannot do.
Because, "our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like [His]."

And do i ever want to be like Him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

fourth son

Hi dolly.
i keep thinking about you.
It's actually fairly constant.
At nearly 20 weeks, you're big enough to make yourself known in my shape, in my agility, in my night wakings with your gentle nudges and rollings...
You're my son.
My fourth son.... my eighth child...
And it struck me tonight as i was driving down the road, turning a corner that will lead me straight to our house - your house too -  that sits on a bustling street in our little neighborhood... That you're my first.
You're my first you.
Nobody will stretch me as a mother like you will.
Nobody will bring home the friends that you will.
Nobody will smell just exactly the way that you smell - or impact our family the way that you already have.
It looked like, in the ultrasound, you had a profile somewhat like Gage's... It seemed to me, that your little feet were turned quite a bit - just like all your brothers feet have been. You, like your siblings before you, are a combination of genes from your tall impatient daddy and your short irritating mama...
But you're the only you.
Nobody elses genes will make quite the combination that yours will - to create just the person that God destined you to be...
Our fourth son.
And i find that i can't wait to lay my eyes on you.
i wonder at a loving Father who chose to send you... to us... right now...
He saw fit to send you to a loud house. One with lots of bodies, one with a daddy who travels and a mama who just came through a hard year. He decided to send you to me now - when i'm ripe with age and experience. Daddy has way more grey in his hair... i have way more creases around my eyes. He blessed this mama with you when your sister talks about her grade 12 year coming up, graduation, moving out, college and life and everything that comes after...

And i wonder sometimes, little son of my heart... if you'll know... if you'll understand... your uniqueness. There is a purpose and a plan for your life - you are the workmanship of a creative Father. You were created to do good things - which have already been planned in advance for you to do.
And as you grow - i grow - both physically and spiritually... to accommodate you in my body, in my life, in our home, in this family... You and i are probably the most aware of this growth - my body holding yours as it develops within.
And so i suppose it's no wonder that you're so constantly on my mind.
There is so much that i wonder about you...

And yet enough that i know:

Your life was breathed by God. You were created in His image. You were not brought to life by my will or your daddy's - but by the will of God.
This. This is enough.
i trust God - who sent you - who gives good gifts - and who gave us to each other.
And baby, i hope you will too.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Tie-Maker...

Well i gotta say... it's kind of a big deal around here. :) Nearing the halfway mark with this little one and going crazy trying to think up the perfect name.
We thought he looked a little bit like Gage when we watched him on the ultrasound.
What a miracle...

*instagram - solace2

Monday, January 7, 2013

the air i breathe

Last year was a good year. A hard year, yes - but hard is often good when there's growth to gain and i do feel like i've grown.
i took my parent's divorce really, really hard. i lost a precious relationship. i lost a tiny baby... And then a myriad of insignificant struggles that just added to the weariness of the continuation of the journey.
And a lot of the year i felt like i was in a sandstorm. Just little bits of things flying in my face, taking out pieces of exposed flesh and making me cover my eyes and face, trying to protect myself.
It made for less blogging - more clinging.
i was talking to my friend the other day - it seems to me, she has been in a bit of a sandstorm this year too - and i said, "Do you ever just want to say to God, 'Hey, i already learned this bit, remember? i've got that one covered - you didn't need to take again to show me, i didn't need this pain to teach me... i had it already - this sorrow is a bit of a pointless sorrow, isn't it, Father?'"
And my friend kind of sighed a bit in recognition of that questioning emotion, but then spoke a deeper, less arrogant truth...
"It reminds me how desperately i need Him. It reminds me how utterly broken, unable and prone to sin i am."
And i know it's so - but it took a few more days for it to really sink in for me.
We were in church - and the youth leading worship sang the song, This is the Air i Breathe...
And i couldn't get out the first word.
Oh, sustaining Air i breathe, Daily Bread, One who rescues me in desperation... Only a year like that; with a constant sandstorm - could so beautifully illustrate my minute by minute need for my Saviour.
i opened my mouth to sing the second verse, but no sound came out and i gave up, sank to my seat, and acknowledged that without Him... i'm bankrupt.
Almost feels like a corner turned with this Christmas season... A season of painful anniversaries was over - and i kept repeating to myself the truths that i had uncovered in the dark year - even when they didn't feel like the truth.
i welcomed the New Year with a sigh of relief and joy; with a deep, profound sweetness that comes from knowing i love - and i'm loved too.

And so i'll learn it again, if you choose to teach it again, Father. i'll be reminded over and over of my brokenness and how desperately i need you. And when you bring me into the sandstorm, i'll remember to go back again and again to my source - my sustenance...
the air i breathe.

Friday, January 4, 2013

you know what i love?

i was thinking today as i watched my little hatchling happily climb out of the car - what a beautiful balance there is in humanity between what we choose and what is chosen for us.
My big daughters seem to be changing every day - physically, spiritually, emotionally... growing in every imaginable way...
And there are parts of their personalities that were designed by a very creative God when He knit them together in the secret place. There might by a certain shyness, or bubbling creativity, propensity to anger or an overwhelming compassion. There might be knit right into the very fabric of their DNA - an illness that we know nothing about - or the right combination of genes for a long, healthy life. Their hair colour was chosen for them, as was their stature, the shade of their skin, the flecks of colour in their eyes... And all of these big and tiny things were not things they chose - but things that were bestowed upon them... welcome or not. Burden or gift. To bear or to enjoy.
And then, along side these parts hand picked by their Creator... i'm noticing more and more that with grace and age and maturity... there are parts of them that are emerging that were not given... they've been chosen.
These are the parts as a mama that capture my attention and make me furrow my brow in rapt interest.
These parts are really, really hard to put into words. i've sat here typing out the beginnings of thoughts several times and every one was a fail... Maybe partly because i don't want to expose my vulnerable littles at a time of exquisite growth... and partly too, because the choices i see them making can hardly be named - they're so minute (sometimes only a degree or two...) - and yet i know that these choices have the capacity in a journey of miles and miles... years and decades... to ultimately bring them to a vastly different countryside than they would have arrived at had they not *chosen* to make the 2 degree change in their compass now - at such a fragile stage of development.
i've seen pride deliberately deconstructed and set aside.
i've seen truth displayed that might easier have remained hidden.
i've seen internal battles - wars waged - epic roaring engagement with the enemy... when i - as a child - might have just chosen to play dead... or wish myself dead... or believe myself dead...
i've seen self-pitying martyrdom recognized and rejected in favour of work ethic.
i've seen softness chosen when hardness is felt.
i've seen gratitude become a lifestyle in a world of entitlement.
i've seen joy and confidence overcome fear and rejection.
And i'm realizing now as i type this that it might sound like i think my kids are perfect. They're not. They struggle and make poor choices too... they lose battles and get beat up and live defeated....
But not always...
And i'm finding that raising these little ones has caused me to reflect on the truth that i too, was born with certain qualities determined for me. My laugh is an enormous cackle, my feet are really tiny, i have a little birth defect in the middle of my spine...
But there are things that have been left up to me too... i can live free, i can see the good, i can choose love, i can cling less to what i'm owed and more to my Saviour... can't i?  i can smile more, i can pay better attention, i can let hope win over despair, i can choose to see the unlikely truth over the likely lie... won't i??  And the choices that i've recently seen my teens making inspire me as a mama - as a beloved child of God - to press on and daily allow those delectable choices to carry me to places i'll only get to see... because it's been up to me.


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