Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eight Days

The past eight days held much pondering in my heart and nervousness presenting through my pores as I spoke to three different groups of people: a group of teenage girls from church, our women's Bible study, and a group of teenage girls from my sister's church. I have fallen to my knees in humble head-shaking at the honour of serving in this manner--as much as it made me want to throw up having to public speak :) In hindsight, I can't fathom how these engagements came about or how I found myself in these three places but the Holy Spirit took control and I believe God touched me as much as He touched the listeners. How the Lord used this homeschool momma causes me to recognize that He has a purpose for each person, no matter where along the path they are in their journey. How He loves to utilize His flawed messengers!
But, I returned to my world of books and pencils and folding laundry, and I smiled today as I looked long into the faces of my babes. What an honour to live these minutes out with them, to be a facilitator of their journeys. I took joy in getting back to the "mundane", which is often, to me, an unrecognized gift. Not until one is too busy to live out the seeming drudgery of routine and habits, does one long for the simple again. Not that there was anything too complex in my eight day sabbatical, but time slipped away as I pored over books and the Word and how it was all going to play out. Right about now, I'm grateful to embrace my children and just be a mother.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Perfect Amount of Silliness

There was much silliness in my house today.
Yesterday afternoon we decided to have Meghan's birthday party today. All six of the girls she invited could make it, even with such late notice, and she was elated. We had very little time to prepare so we thought it might be a great idea to have the girls bake their own cupcakes and decorate them as part of the festivities. What a load off of me and what fun for them! They had a grand time and for a couple of them it was their first time baking. Really? Are there people out there who can live a few days in a row without eating baked goods? (I'm raising my kids to bake, simply so they can serve me my tea and some goodies in my old age :) We even kept it easy for them by using cake mix from a box.

I love these girls. Two of them are Meg's real cousins and two just call me "Auntie Heather" because I've been in their lives since before they were born :) The other two are special friends of Meg's from dance, which means she has seen them a couple times a week... for years. Can you imagine the amount of giggling and noisy silliness that was going on at my house? Just the perfect amount.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Who Cares?

Seriously? The Creator of the universe cares that a little bird falls from its nest? (Matthew 10:29) How much more does He care for us, His people? Soak that up today. Know that He loves you more deeply than you can even fathom at this moment. Thank Him for that realization.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winter Returns

We had just a tiny peek into Spring before Winter blasted us (hopefully) one last time.

The Clean Up Crew...
All my husband had to do was laugh and mention, "You won't be going anywhere with all that snow piled in front of the garage!" That was just about enough motivation for me to roll up my sleeves :)
Think that was his intention?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Using Her Talents

This is what happens when my Molly Magoo plays with my phone while I'm shopping (she's sitting beneath a rack of clothing). I found this a few days later.
I must say, I'm quite proud of her talents.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Does this look like Spring?

We set off to the park because it looked like spring.

Even our robin friend returned...

and the daffodils are right on time.

But, Baby, it's still so cold outside.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thaw... Ahhh

It's trickling out there, that melting snow, and it draws us outdoors to frolic in creation. Our favourite trail beckons us and we say, "yes", slam van doors and sprint to the mulchy path.
Meghan twirls and jumps and freedom brushes wild through her hair. Molly, armed with her collection bag, anticipates nature's goodness. Emily and Oliver race from spindly tree to swampy mud to thick, bullrushy boardwalk, competing in a treasure hunt.

They come alive here and when math is bogging us down or we can't dissect one more paragraph or there's way too many arguments about who gets the green pencil, we enter the most beautiful part of His footstool and activate some Spring-searching. Suddenly, the latent joy is evident again.

(yes, they pose themselves :)
I feel it too, and my mind and heart awaken to the fresh potential of good mommyhood. All is forgiven and here, I am all that I'm meant to be to them. I breathe deeply the crisp air of hope and all is not lost. His mercies are new every morning for this flawed momma who raised her voice for the fifth time and revealed her frustration when the times tables were wrong again. But out here, I receive a fresh dollop of grace before day's end, a renewing that thaws this heart hardened icy with impatience.
"He has put a new song in my mouth... "
Psalm 40:3

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Don't Deserve This!

We were beginning to feel the effects of the broken furnace and so we triple covered our slumbering children in their beds. It was eleven p.m. and I was shivering. My husband stoked the fire and all I wanted to do was sleep but my clattering bones were drawn to the only soothing place in the house.
Once I had nearly burned my back right through my jammies, I felt I was ready to make the run to the bedroom and fly under the crisp covers. There, I huddled underneath, socked feet flattened between my husband's calves. My head, completely covered, was nestled into his... armpit, I think. It was dark and I didn't care... as long as I was warm. When I lost the ability to breathe, I came up for air.
The sun didn't shine the next morning... it rained... which made it even colder. One by one, my children rose from their beds, wrapped in blankets or dressed in layers of shirts and sweaters. They were good sports about it, especially because it seemed that schoolwork would have to be done around the fireplace that day. Oliver even decided that the fire might be a good way to toast his English muffin for breakfast :) Daddy did his stoking one more time before heading off to work.
But all of it got me thinking. As the goosebumps rose on my arms, I pulled the flannel blanket tighter around me, but thoughts of the homeless, wrapped only in hopelessness, invaded my mind.
What is our inconvenience is their reality!
I shuddered again, not because of my cold body but because of my frigid heart.
Our situation wasn't so bad that I asked, "Why me, Lord?" but I wondered, why don't I ever cry out to God, "I don't deserve this!" when things are going well? When Japan is facing an unfathomable crisis, why do we get to cuddle up together, each one of us accounted for?
Again, gratitude flooded this comfortable, sinful soul and I praised Him for every precious moment, every perfect gift and... every small hazard that compels me to discern how much I don't deserve the good stuff.

(Joining my two moms (one, in-law) and my aunt and their immeasurable hearts for the poor... Mom V. crochets sleeping mats for the Haitian children, my Mom knits blankets for babies left in the fields in Africa while their mothers go to work in the sex-slave-trade, and my Aunt Kathy gives to every single needy person in her life and solicits others to join her--in the gift of giving.

We, as a family, help to provide the materials for these projects but can do a little more. Is there anything you can do in your area with your kids? I want to teach my children to praise God for every blessing, not to feel entitled to the goodness they experience, and to give out of over-flowing hearts... perhaps then, I'll "get it" one day too.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Big Surprise

It's a family affair, this trailer hauling. We each share this "hotel on wheels" all summer long and haul it to wherever we desire. This winter, Mom and Dad trailed that beast all the way to our sun-shiny destination and we each stayed a week or so until real life called us home. Since we had the privilege of being the last family before my husband's parents arrived again, we decided to put some elbow grease into the tiny property and surprise them.

Before: (palm trees, I miss you!)

clean up

everyone helped (Meghan also took a lot of photos)

green thumbed girl... I mean, red thumbed :)


we chose red mulch because it matched the neighbours on either side and, it's Florida-ish :)

we added just a few flowers because the soil wasn't the best

Surprise, Mom and Dad! We love you! Enjoy your month.