Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All Jammied Up And Ready For Ice Cream

If it's true that ice cream goes straight to your hips, I should be having difficulty getting through the doorway this September. Being the final day in August, we packed up our "jammied" offspring and headed down to our favourite ice cream place. Does it look like a dive? It is. But we love it there. When we arrive at the window there is much humming and hawing over flavours but it usually ends up that everyone asks for the same ice cream every time.
Meghan is beginning to cost us some penny since she now wants a full scoop instead of a "kiddie cone", Molly remains the drippy-faced girl, Emily pats her lips with a napkin while she licks, and Oliver excitedly chats on about his while it melts away. He often passes it to me before it's half gone and declares, "I'm all done now, Mommy." Terry always enjoys his black cherry on a sugar cone and I gobble up chocolate peanut butter ice cream and even though I regret having something so filling after dinner, I can't help myself. Did I mention that I sometimes eat Oliver's leftovers?
Now, if I can write a whole post about ice cream, it must be because my friend and I officially began "eating clean" starting yesterday. Pray for me :)

Three Ironman Races And A Love For Haiti

We are so proud of a friend in our church, Mr. Gord Pauls, who is officially the first Canadian to complete three Ironman races in three days! The beautiful part is, he is in his 50's! (That makes me feel very out of shape.)
Gord is raising money to help Haitians open small businesses. With the astronomical rate of unemployment in the little country, this plan is so necessary. He and his wife, Esther, have loved and helped Haiti for many years and were flying there when the earthquake hit. Their plane had to turn around. To learn more about their project, visit their website at http://www.gordpauls.com/. What a great way to get involved if you're looking for a donation idea!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Love Is Not A Fight...

...but it's something worth fighting for.

If you haven't heard Warren Barfield's song from the movie, FIREPROOF, please listen now...
No matter what you're going through, your marriage is worth saving.

The List

My boy runs to the living room where my husband has gathered the family. We're making plans for our trip and there is talk of swimming and ice cream and golf and buffet breakfasts. Terry gets the children excited over walks and flowers and waking up. He lives to make life memorable and fun. We have a running list of things to do while we're away and my husband is thrilled that our son can't stop thinking about golf and Oliver's voice pipes up again and again, making sure we know his heart's desire. We talk of our "list" of togetherness and yes, golf is on it... at least for the boys.
And so, our list actually becomes the fun. It turns out that gearing up for excitement is often part of the journey to having fun. My husband has this down-pat, while I, prefer to "spring" things on the kids at the last minute (mostly so the opportunity remains open to change my mind).
We finally arrive at our resort and within a couple of days, check many things off of our agenda. With promises of a trip to the driving range... after the beach, Oliver willingly allows me to change him into his swim suit. My husband and I settle in on beach lounge chairs and the girls begin to bury each other, pretending to be mermaids. Oliver, heading for the water, trips and plunges head-long into the sand. He rises and brushes his little three year-old body off.
"THAT wasn't on the LIST!" he mumbles and we all double over laughing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just Around The Corner

Just around the corner there is a waterfall...

and children who were happy to be there.

A mother who loved her kidlets...

grew up at this place just around the corner.

She watched her children climb and remembered her barefoot days, with parents smiling and nodding for her to climb higher.

She closed her eyes and took in the pictures that flooded her mind.
She shed a tear for grandparents who walked into the memory picture.
She remembered wanting to be daring.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

So much peace was found here in God's place.

The new generation tiptoed from stone to stone, careful not to slip.

Holding up dresses, they ventured into the current of the creek.

Oldest daughter found herself slipping and getting drenched.

Then the gurgling rapids beckoned a deeper enjoyment.

Two sisters followed, just as the mother's two sisters did many years before.

Nothing was better than permission to throw caution to the wind.

It was a day spent just around the corner but it was like a visit in life's time machine.

They said goodbye to the falls, but the memory of it will live in the minds of the children, until they sit back and take in their own offspring laughing and splashing all the way down the creek... at the place around the corner.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What About Him? What About Her?

"Mommmmeeee! I don't want to tidy up sooo much stuff! It's not fair that she doesn't have to do as much as me."
Training my children to be content with their position in the family, what is required of them, and not worrying about what is required of someone else is a difficult task. My own whining to the Lord was revealed to me this morning as I read about Peter. Jesus had just shared with this disciple that he would be martyred for his Master. I can't imagine what would have gone through his head at this revelation. The first thing Peter did was to inquire that if he were to die, then what would happen to John? A valid question, I thought.
But Jesus responded by saying, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." (John 21:22)
This triggered another incidence in my mind of the prodigal son's brother. Upon seeing a party in progress for his wayward sibling, he whined to his father that he had always worked diligently for him, without squandering his money, so why did this prodigal receive such a feast? (Luke 15:28-30) I was immediately convicted of the times I had cried out to God, "Take this cup from me!" and, "Why has so-and-so not received such overwhelming trials? *I* was your faithful servant!"
I was struck this morning; how unalike am I than my children who complain to me? Unless I learn to focus on my place in this world, my calling, what is required of me, that my walk is different than someone else's path, I cannot train them effectively. What a long, arduous path I can sometimes make it when God desires to lead me (and them) along the one that is beside still waters.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men..." (Colossians 3:23)
"...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11b)

holy experience

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

At The Top Of Our Lungs

It was an all-girl singing caravan and then Oliver came along. Now, the five of us sing at the top of our lungs as we drive. When Daddy is with us on Sundays, he beats all of us in shear decibels by far. We take turns playing the favourite CD of each of the family members and I have trained them to love Amy Grant, Sara Groves, Casting Crowns, Nicole C. Mullen, Nichole Nordeman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Starfield, Third Day, and some Classical. Of course, it's so I can have more turns but it also instills a love of worshiping through the music of some talented artists. VBS songs, PureNRG, Music Machine, a little Fred Penner, and Daddy's choir practice get mixed in there too.
My children love to dare me to roll down all the windows at a stoplight and blast the music while we sing. I think they believe it will really bless the community. I oblige, occasionally, since it's difficult to turn down a dare from your kids :) I'm grateful we're a music-lovin' family and that most of the time, we all agree that a twelfth repeat of the song, "Different Kinds Of Happy" is a very cool thing.

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." Psalm 100:1-3

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homemade Waterslide

They rigged it themselves and had quite a time testing various levels of water and distances of the pool from beneath the slide. They ducked in and out of the sprinkler and experimented with it's ability to make their slide so much more slippery. It must have been an hour or more before they tired of climbing and sliding and screaming at the bliss of it all.

"And Summer's lease hath all too short a date..." Shakespeare

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not MY Stuff!

He's the furthest thing from a pack-rat. He desires order, cleanliness, and minimal items beyond necessary furniture in our home. His office is impeccable and his very tidy desk is lined (very evenly, I might add) with perfectly printed sticky-note reminders. He washes his golf clubs after a round and polishes his Sunday shoes. If he didn't look like he might need counseling to the neighbours, he may just cut the grass with scissors.
Having said all that, he was a happy man when we decided to have a yard sale. The fact that it was for Haiti made it a very good cause and he was doubly grateful.
Terry often talks about backing up a truck to load up my abundance of books and things I've collected over the years and yes, God brought us together to sharpen each other. We're learning, and it's been a bumpy road of growth and appreciating our differences.
HOWEVER, the night before the yard sale, my husband ventured out to the garage to help me set up my tables. A curious man he was, that evening, as he peeked under boxes and into containers to discover that a few of his things were to be included in the sale.
His eyes fell upon his old hockey equipment and I gasped and scolded myself for not hiding it a little better. I knew he had no use for it as he had quit hockey many years ago and had put on a couple of pounds since then, but the nostalgia was thick that night. "Not my HOCKEY equipment!" came the cry.
Well, he just HAD to try it on to show me that he still "had it".

And yes, Babe, you've still got it :)

Next came the wooden shoes. Oh the memories of those ones! We took a little trip down memory lane and then he swiped them and put them back in the closet. My apologies to the Haitians who could have had another couple of dollars from someone willing to buy bright yellow, "comfy" footwear!

Would you believe that a broken back massager and an old robe that rarely graced his body were a bone of contention? A proud owner held them up for a photo but eventually relinquished them to my care. I was beginning to doubt his long-standing reputation of being non-sentimental with material possessions.

And, of course, he had to be a little silly...

Next, was his university jacket and we both agreed that no one else would want a coat that donned his year and program on the arm... unless they were trying to pull off that they were a graduate from McMaster. He had fantastic memories in that jacket, many of which included me, so who could blame him? :) And so, it returned to the closet as well.
Soon, my husband was feeling at ease with releasing some of his prized possessions... as well as... protecting some of them. He would sleep well and then visit us the next morning to see how our sale was going.

I was convinced he was settled with our decisions, until the day of the sale when I strolled up the driveway after helping someone load their trunk, and came upon this scene...

Thankfully, our brother-in-law purchased the equipment and my husband will be able to visit it occasionally at his home.
This blog post is a tribute to the fact that my man can indeed, be a pack-rat of sorts. Gotcha Babe!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Surprised By Hunger

I thought I'd try a little reading aloud one evening while we were camping. Prayer always continues no matter where we are and so does singing--lots of singing. But read-alouds, well, we had taken quite a break from them.
The children were riding bikes with their new friends, up and down the lane way that stretched between campsites. I strolled to the edge of the road and called out to them and held up Wisdom With The Millers. Now, sometimes swimming, watermelon, or campfire (all much loved) cannot tear those kids away from their bikes. Emily, on her just-had-the-training-wheels-off-two-wheeler, Meghan, racing with the boy from three sites down, Molly, meandering here and there with her new friend, and Oliver, often found on a neighbour's John Deere tricycle, spent most waking hours immersed in this activity. But somehow, the sight of that little, yellow book caused feet to pedal faster than ever and wheels soared all the way back to our trailer.
I had already set up chairs for each of us, not realizing, our little neighbour had followed the girls to see what made them drop their bikes at the road and come running. We created a little spot for him too and he plopped himself down like one of the family. Oliver sat for awhile but as it often goes, he headed out to do his own thing after a few paragraphs. Our four year-old guest, who was obviously not used to read-alouds, frequently interrupted and the girls hushed him over and over. Two chapters later they begged for more and I stopped so that we could start campfire. We prayed and each of us glanced at the little boy who had been eager to join us. He seemed oblivious to what was happening. The children set off on their bikes once again to enjoy the last of the daylight. I made a mental note to keep this sweet camper on our prayer list.
I rose and collected chairs, amazed that this simple set of stories of a conservative family intrigue my children so much. The life lessons learned and the connections they make with their own lives are priceless. This is a holy practice we maintain. We read God's Word, we read stories of applying the wisdom in His Word, and we pray for guidance to live out that wisdom. When I doubted their desire for it, they surprised me and demonstrated that there is a hunger beyond what physical activities and fun can offer. Why would this cause me such wonder? We were created with a God-size hole in our hearts! As parents, we simply guide them to the One who can fill it.
I am grateful for the hunger.

holy experience

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We found her this way, at bedtime prayers, all tucked up in her window sill. She was poring over her Answers magazine, taking in more and more evidence for Creation. She has a strong will, this one; they say that quality develops a leader. We're witnessing it already and though it's been a struggle to figure out how to parent this beauty, we are overwhelmed with thankfulness for how she is maturing. That desire for control and demand for reasons for our decisions, have caused her to search things out for herself. Her conclusion? ...that an all-powerful God has created her and designed this world and that she has a very profound purpose in her life.

May you always keep seeking, Meghan, because it will lead you closer to your Maker and clarify the path you are to walk.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Slow Down--A Camper's Motto

We do this every year. It's the best vacation, we all think. We go South in the winter, we take a couple of days here and there to experience exciting places, but nothing beats our camping days. Rest happens here, bonding happens here, growth happens here, and drawing close to God happens here. Gratitude #412-444

a beautiful view
girls in abundance

Papa watching the sunset

swimming any time of day

searching for treasures

family visits

the shirt says it all, doesn't it?

last year for the baby seat :(

little ones loving "wash-mellows"!

sisters and friends

perfect roasting!

not so perfect roasting

quiet moments around the campfire
the place we love to be
gaining new skills
meeting new friends, whose families have also found the peace of this place
playing washers... built for us by a friend
beating my husband!

plenty of the juicy stuff
snail friends
collecting them everyday (gifts for Emily from her new little friend)
happiness is camping with my family
reading the Word in "relaxed mode"
telling stories
staying up late enough to see the stars

evenings at the lake
skipping rocks
big girl strolling with her journal
middle one finding more treasures
deep in thought
documenting events and feelings
learning to ride a two-wheeler! (they all learned while camping, so far)
Daddy hands to help
big sister patience

dipping toes and loving Creation
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24