Sunday, January 30, 2011

Playing House

It's what they do on a regular basis, pretending they're "big". I did it as well, when I was their age, and the beautiful thing is, I had two sisters too. There's nothing like this kind of play that can draw me back to my own childhood of dolls and teddies, tea parties and fort-building. I wonder why we wanted to grow up so much.

Watching this scene play out before me, the giggling, the somersaults and politeness at tea, plummets me into memories of innocent days gone by. Days laden with three sisters climbing willow tree branches and swinging from "Tarzan" ropes, of diving board contests and towel-wrap fashion shows, of bedroom garage sales and trading stickers, of friendship pins and sneaking into each other's beds in the wee hours. Days before the divorce and re-marriages, long distance moves, trauma and bone disease.
I whisper prayers for these little ones of mine, for their carefree hearts and their pure, sweet minds. Protect them!, I plead to the only One who can. The One who held me in the dark when I cried myself to sleep as a little girl. The One who redeemed my adult life so I would know joy in the midst of aging, no longer innocent and unfettered by the world. Protect them and make them wise without the pain, I pray on.
But, is it possible?
Can we grow, change, become wise without pain? I pray they do, without holding onto sin, that they always look to the One who sees them now, pretending to be "big".
My children playing house without knowing the hardships of what "real house" might look like... praise God for His overwhelming blessings.

604. the way they speak politely (sometimes with an English accent) when they sit down to "tea" with their dolls

605. how they suck on (dirty) icicles that hang from the deck

606. my husband's Sunday afternoon nap... finally getting to rest after 6 days of labour

607. how hope is real and good and so we wait for how God is going to move in our friend's life

608. for a shy but willing woman who shared her story yesterday with a large group of women... she asked in prayer first that God hide her behind the cross so that hearts could be changed by the way God redeemed her world... and they were

609. for an impromtu afternoon at the salon for haircuts for all my children and how it was so slow that day that my girls got pampered with their hair curled for free

610. how Oliver pushed the hairstylist in the chair and spun her round and round, her laughing and whooping it up

611. how God is taking care of the unsee
n for us... long-time prayers we cannot see the answers to but know He's working out His plan for our good

612. for a family with a vision for the arts...

613. for a preschooler and kindergartener who are always asking, "How do I spell...?"

614. for the ability to get back on the horse and begin another exercize program--so grateful for health

615. for how we can still smell "baby" in her eight year-old forehead when we kiss her... I'm convinced this is a little gift from God, reserved just for me :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pause Awhile

It's 200 pages of rainbowed potential but I'm thinking about how I might regret buying it. I'm imagining how I'll be picking up paper airplanes and sparkle-glued sculptures for weeks and how my husband and I will sigh and throw our hands up. But then she bends and thumbs through the pad of construction paper, fanning the colours from bottom to top. There's thoughtfulness in her face and I ask her if she is inventing in her mind and she flashes a smile that says thank you for knowing me, Mommy. And suddenly, I don't regret my purchase.

Later, I dash past the piano on my way with odds and ends in tow--a hair barrette, a towel--misplaced in the kitchen, a sock. I'm stopped in my tracks when that familiar thing he does catches my eye. He's lined the keys again with his vehicles. He calls it his parking lot and I can understand how the lines make for good placement, better than his bedroom car mat. I remember how I used to get frustrated by this and how I told him it would damage the keys but I can't remember anymore why it matters.
Their cousins come with snow gear and they all seem to think that a game of who-can-get-the-most-soaked will be fun... right down into their socks. They throw snow haphazardly, much of it landing inside boots and collars and when I almost scold, because I know too well the whining that will entail, I open the door and take photos instead. They throw snow back at me and it lands in my kitchen and I have to pause and grin and make memories with them because I'm a grumpy old mom otherwise. I really can be. So I pause awhile.

She's three weeks old and she's smiling at me and I'm melting and wishing...
Babies are my weakness and as I hold her tiny beauty, I'm taken in all the ways a Mommy can be taken and she's not even mine. Suddenly, the paper, the cars, the snow, they're all worth it and it goes so quickly and I can't stop the time racing. I cradle this one and whisper a promise to myself to never let my impatience over their childish ways make me forget they won't be children for long.

I sit tonight with fingers tapping keys and I can say, it's been a good few days... because I paused awhile.

(Linking up with The Homeschool Village on what our week looked like. Check it out!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter 'Round These Here Parts

591. thankful for crisp, cold days (because I am blessed with indoor warmth)
592. for blankets, afghans, quilts, slippers, hot chocolate, and wood fireplaces
593. for the way they take joy in shoveling
594. for pony tails and hair bows
595. for the ambulance that zooms past my feet, attached to a little boy
596. for a rich-in-encouragement women's Bible study at church
597. for the way they cheered this morning when I mentioned getting down to schoolwork
598. for new friends and new endeavours
599. for the release of an innocent prisoner!
600. for my beautiful friend who continues to teach my children French
601. for Valentine's Day and an excuse to love in even greater ways because our calendar and culture makes it fun... a concept the Lord invented :)
602. for little fingers prancing on piano keys
603. for bigger fingers that make more recognizable ;) music, namely, "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy" (Nutcracker)

Have a wonderful week, friends!

"...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." (Philippians 4:11b)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Do I Know Of Holy?

Last year I discovered the music of Addison Road, the song below being the one that makes me melt into a puddle of love for the Lord. Turn it up, close your eyes and drink in His Holiness.

(Thanks, Traci, for the reminder.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

His Answer For My Struggle

Waves of helplessness wash over me when I think about creating and keeping habits--good ones. There are so many I do keep but those don't seem to hold any weight with me right now. The ones that stand out, the ones I desperately need to introduce myself to in order to make this life much smoother, their lack screams at me daily. The small, seemingly insignificant, regular habits I desire, evade me somehow. I talk about them, pray about them, list-write them, try them out from time to time but I can't capture them and cage them as my own.
I cried in the shower the other day because He spoke to me (I seem to do my best listening there.). The words were so clear, painful, and good:
"Obedience. Obedience is the only way to begin and maintain those beautiful habits."
Really, Lord? It's obedience I struggle with?
Not self-discipline, busyness, stress?
No other excuses?
Keep pressing on me, Lord; keep the sorrow over disobedience strong in me. Let it move me to obedience so that all You have for me is closer for the receiving. I know that lovely and satisfying gifts await me with the faithful practice of small, sometimes monotonous, but always important habits.

Grandma and Grandpa's Hill

The only hill you can drag your sled to on a Sunday afternoon and the cousins start showing up.

Oh yeah, AND it's the only hill you can slide right out onto a pond at the bottom and after you've trudged back up one hundred times, Grandma makes you hot chocolate in her cozy kitchen.

Love these winter days.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sisters (Kind Of)

She lives in New York and that's much too far away. We've been friends since we were thirteen and have considered ourselves "sisters" all this time. Although Tara is only a quick email away, there are days when I'd like to sit on her couch, cup of tea in hand, and pour out my heart to her. Since this isn't possible right now, I'll try to be satisfied with gleaning from her godly wisdom over a phone call.
Love you, dear friend. Until our next ever-too-short visit...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baby Girl Turns Six

She was a gracious hostess, hair all curly and a smile the size of a big slice of birthday cake. She lovingly opened each gift, paused, looked at the giver and smiled her appreciation. Emily was genuinely thankful for and simply thrilled by this particular birthday... in comparison to all her other birthdays :)

We were amazed at the maturity with which she handled the gift-opening and how she stated to her guests that "It's not all about the presents." We laughed and told her it's okay to be excited about the gifts while she's opening them.

She and her sisters, sweet cousin Eden and special friend, Maysie decorated her cake and what a perfect, kid-designed cake it was!
That baby girl of ours is growing up.

God bless you, Emily as you grow in Him. We're so blessed to be your parents!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grace For Habit Building

I have a habit. I love to write lists. I make them one after another and rarely see them all to completion. Oh, the marvelous intentions! I'm the best beginner of all fantastic plans. I have fabulous ideas and would love to share them with you, but sadly, I'm not a finisher of them. In a perfect world, my children would have two teachers, one to commence wonderful projects and one to help them carry them through. But it's not a perfect world and I must be the one who encounters the living God daily and humbly asks for His grace. I must relent all my lofty ideas and submit to the routine and schedule He's calling me to align with. And so I have begun Ann's 100 Day Habit Calendar. So far, I've made a great start :)

Photo is a reminder of an item crossed off my list in honour of a birthday wish of one of my children (yay!).

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Toboggan of Life

I'll ride the toboggan of life with you
Whether it be smooth or rough
We'll steer the course by the Master's voice
And that will be enough...
To make the ride worthwhile.
Heather Vanderkruk

(Now, let's get off the top of this hill! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Her Hope For 2011

She left a Happy New Year, fan-folded card for her Daddy and I with these words:

2011 is...


*uses all the fruits (of the Spirit)

*the year we sharpen our skills more

*"Getting closer to Jehovah" time

*Fantastic, Amazing, New (Hey, that's spells out F.A.N.! I didn't even know I did that!)

Meg: I believe this year indeed will be all those things with you drawing close to God and planning and setting goals. You go, Girl! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Adventure With A Boy

He holds up three fingers because that's what he's used to. He giggles and pops up his pinky to make four. Today it's his birthday and he tells us that he's four but then he'll be five. I don't like the sound of that. Wrapping my mind around the fact that my baby has been on this earth for four whole years makes it seem like life is flying by and I just want time to stand still for awhile. But, I'm proud and thrilled with his growth and his new skills and well, his many questions...
Oliver leans over the arm of the couch and thrusts his fist out and punches the air. "Mommy, are we allowed to hit bad people?" I finish typing an email and turn toward him. Somehow, I don't ever see these types of questions coming (perhaps because I've been a mommy of three daughters for so long?).
I take a deep breath. I know I'm "supposed to" allow him to exercise those masculine desires for heroism but how do I keep from stifling that while discouraging the violence? Hmmm. I slur out something about helping the bad people to learn how to be good and to love God in the end. It feels painfully inadequate.
He stares for a moment then slides down off the couch. He steps toward me and our eyes lock. Then my boy raises those eyebrows and says, "I wish there would be some left-over bad people so we can kill them with our swords!"
Really? I don't get it. Daddy needs to talk with this boy. Swords? We don't even have any... oh yeah, the foam one. Doesn't Dobson say something about this? Note to self: must read the book :) In any case, four is going to be an adventure I'm sure.

Oliver, I'm looking forward to the ride with you, Little Man. Happy Birthday :)
On that note, I'd like to continue my gratitude to the Lord for His bountiful goodness...
571. for a lovable, affectionate, hockey and Hot Wheels-loving four year-old boy
572. for three in the tub (not much longer, I'm sure)
573. for an early winter melting of snow and the toboggans that arrived the next day (now for the wait)
574. for early morning sister phone calls
575. for another sister who works on me hard to convince me to join a group (what are sisters for?)
576. for God's mercy during eight days of sickness this week
577. for the new beginning of January
578. for this new decade
579. for completed puzzles (oooh, I love the joy that comes with this)
580. for comments I've received from new blogger friends (I'm really not writing just for my mom? ha ha!)
581. for my husband's explosive laughter when his team (Toronto Maple Leafs) scores
582. for friends who will always be there no matter what changes in my life
584. for a fresh gift from heaven, Baby Katie (can't wait to meet you!)
585. for a newly painted laundry room
586. for the Christy movies
587. for a truck cake after many pink, Barbie or Polly Pocket cakes :)
588. for the freedom in confession
589. for the constant piano tinkering in our home
590. for fresh, clean sheets on every bed
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Evening Of Reflection

He gathered us in the family room where he stoked the last flames of 2010. We nestled into comfy spots around the room while my husband asked each child what important thing they remembered from the past year. What needed to be changed? We prayed, one at a time, and asked God to guide us in 2011.

I left that room knowing my short-comings are going to take a big God to work through and demolish one by one. Habits and thought patterns that I'd like to sweep up into the dustpan of last year, linger like dust-bunnies that skitter off with every attempt to capture them. I won't take them with me into 2012. I can't, for they weigh me down and stifle my purpose and my goals. Thankfully, He IS a big God. He can do it. He would have done it by now, had I stopped taking control back into my own hands. On this first day of the new year I give it all to Him freely. While I still feel in these first hours that I can give them to Him, I will. And each day from this point on, I will renew that commitment... for my own good.

My husband had his own things to say goodbye to and as we kissed the new year into our home, he declared adieu to a decade of what he wanted to let go and I gripped him with tears brimming.

Our God is involved in our lives to the extent that we allow Him to be. He is ready to provide a way for us to successfully live according to His plan... the only good plan. That, my friends, is hope. Hope for a new year.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord... (Psalm 37:23)

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 )