Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's That Time Again

The sun begins to sink below the tallest of trees surrounding the field and I sigh a satisfied sigh. It's week two and my three girls are smiling as they charge the ball. That's a good sign. Soccer, in this league, is genius because all of my daughters practice and play on the same night on adjoining fields. I meander from team to team, cheering loudly and sometimes obnoxiously because it may be the last time for that particular child--until I make my rounds again. I take a few photographs, make sure each girl catches my wave, and all is well with our family.

After all the lugging balls, lawn chair, Oliver's sand toys and sweaty, thrown-off cleats back to the van, we "tailgate" it at Dairy Queen. It's so good that it's that time again.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Two Compassionate Hearts

I'm hanging wet clothes over the rail of the deck when I spot the neighbour's cat in pursuit of something. I peer over the edge waiting for him to emerge from the bushes he's scampered under. Suddenly, the black and gray striped tabby proudly prances across my lawn with a chipmunk wriggling in his mouth. I close my eyes for a moment and announce to anyone listening through the open screen door, "Oh dear, Tiger's got himself a chipmunk."
Four curious children come running, slamming the patio door behind them and their eyes search wildly around the yard for Tiger. I can't look but I point in the direction I saw him heading. My children gasp as they catch the head-held-high, slowly marching feline before he slips through the hedge and disappears toward his own home. Before I can say another word, the two youngest have sped through the house to the back door and out into the yard. I call after them but they're gone. I'm still reeling from the sick feeling I get whenever I see animal carnage and I stand at my kitchen sink and swallow hard. Ick.

Just then, Oliver shows up behind me, excitedly declaring that he's saved the "chick-munk"! I whip around to find my boy actually holding that poor animal up to me! I scream and shoo him out as quickly as I can, my hand on his back, pushing him toward the back door. He's bewildered and just keeps saying, "Why, Mommy?" I'm ordering him to take that thing outside right now and don't touch dead animals! and Meghan and Molly are backing up, wide-eyed at the whole thing. I return to the kitchen and lean over the counter, catching my breath, wondering if this is par for the course for mothers of boys.

Somehow I am missing where Emily might be in all of the commotion, and as it turns out, she's not privy to the information I have just given her brother. No sooner am I catching my breath when my six year-old daughter enters the scene offering up the same small sacrifice! I'm now shrieking for it to be put outside, once and for all. But Emily turns and cries that it's not dead yet! She's explaining that his little legs are moving and that he keeps falling over. What? Had she been setting him down, trying to make him walk? I shudder and spin her around and out the door. We take the poor creature, lying on his back, four legs in the air, eyes bulging, to a hidden spot we know other chipmunks dash into when startled. I shudder again and usher my two children in to the house to wash up.
Their two big sisters have witnessed the whole thing and are now laughing like crazy as I instruct the animal rescue team to scrub their hands hard with soap and when they're done, to do it again. Emily is whimpering something about it being her job to save God's creatures. I'm still not cool with them picking up the teeth-torn bodies of small animals but when I look into their desperate little faces, I'm beginning to understand their passion. My mind files back to my own animal rescue days as a child. To where did my fearless abandon disappear?

I saddle back to the kitchen and chalk this one up for our family memories and hope I can demonstrate a more compassionate reaction next time (praying there are not too many more "next times" :)
813. the innocence of small people
814. completing a few loads of laundry
815. the release of a stronghold, PTL!
816. creepy little silkworms we've been studying--amazing
817. for voting friends who are taking it more seriously than me, LOL! (love you)
818. a neighbour who is just as spontaneous as I am :)
819. that the only show he watches is 19 Kids And Counting (unbelievable change!)
820. Pillsbury cookie dough
821. peanut butter chocolate ice cream
822. York peppermint patties
823. arrowroot baby cookies
824. bedtime and treat time for Mommy :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alpaca Crazy

My mom met Sharon through a knitting machine class and was immediately taken with her lovely demeanor and her stories of her alpacas. She requested a homeschool field trip to her farm and Sharon agreed. This week, eight of our children were introduced to these friendly, but shy animals, and learned a little more of God's great creativity in the design of His creatures.
All it took was a visit to Peru and Sharon and her husband knew they wanted to raise alpacas. These sweet-natured, gentle beasts won their hearts and when they returned home to Canada, they began to fill their farm with their new "babies". Both being artists, they quickly discovered a passion that would include their animals--shearing, spinning and knitting with the alpacas' soft, comforting fibres. They purchased all the equipment they needed to run a mill and soon a business and a quaint little store were born.
As an experimentalist, Sharon spins the fibres with all sorts of interesting options: corn, bananas, hemp, and whatever will spin beautiful yarn. Her state-of-the-art equipment was fascinating!

Thankfully, Sharon was gracious and patient while our younger children touched everything in sight!
Lovely alpaca yarns spun by Sharon.
Items for purchase in her store. Of the things she has created, there's a story behind each one and she often knows which of her pets the fibres came from.
After the spinning lesson, Sharon allowed us to get into the pen with the baby alpacas. We needed to get down down low to be less intimidating and to entice the animals to eat from our hands.
We scared them away at first.
The babies weren't too sure they wanted to approach again...
 but as soon as they figured out we had snacks for them, they ventured back.
 In a few minutes, they were feeling at ease and even making friends :)
I wanted to take one or two of them home with us.
"My big cousin will keep me safe."

Oliver became buddies with the herd dog.
One beautiful, fluffy, bath mat :)
Give us animal field trips and we're a happy bunch!

(Thanks Sharon from Alpacas at Eighth & Mud)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blessings Upon You

Much love and prayers to all the women who have joined "Circle Of Moms, Faith Blogs". As I scroll through them, I see such hunger for spiritual things. God's spirit can fill those empty places--the places without peace. May the Lord bless each and every one as you search this life as moms, for love, joy and peace that passes all understanding. Jesus will blanket you with His love if you simply ask.

"Father God, thank You for all the precious women You have created. I pray that you would touch the life of anyone who reads these words. Infiltrate her heart with Your love and draw her by Your Holy Spirit. Show her how You fill the void. You are always faithful and You alone hold all the answers to life's questions. Amen."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting, What Is It Good For?

To fast and pray regularly for a particular friend in my life was not a difficult decision. Watching her suffer through the consequences of a terrible choice was the difficult part. Often when there's nothing left for us tiny people on this earth to do, we surrender all to God. But, what if surrendering first and waiting on His rescue is what will reap sometimes quicker and always longer-lasting results? His results? I struggle to provide my own answers and solve my own problems and when I finally default to prayer, I've made a mess of things. Thankfully, in His mercy, God comes alongside me in my prayer and fasting journey, dusts me off and whispers that He'll take it from here.

That's why this time, I'm witnessing the great out-pouring, the turn-around, the change in this precious friend's life. And I'm excited--and astounded--and humbled.

The waiting isn't so bad when you know the Master of the universe has it under control and that your prayers are aiding in the turning of a lost soul back to Him. Waiting on the Lord is when we take our hands off the wheel and allow Him to do the work in our situation. We "graft ourselves into the Vine" and fast and pray for fallen branches. Sometimes, we're earnestly seeking to get back to that Vine ourselves. Other times, we're being pruned. But the waiting? It's so good in the end! God never disappoints!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Man's Trash

Doesn't the saying go, "One man's trash is another man's treasure"? Well, in this neck of the woods, when you own nurseries, dandelions are a nuisance and an ugly yellow misfortune in haphazard sprinkles on your lawn. However, for the Nursery Man's children, they're nothing short of wonderful, lovely, spectacular, golden treasures. And a whole entire field of them? Priceless.
(across the road from Auntie Julie's house)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mary Had A Little Goat

Or in this case, Brookie had a little goat :) Popping in at my sister's farm means we always drive away with a little piece of country life coursing through our veins and... a little bit of hay in our hair.
795. for Pudding , the goat
796. the way she treats her goat like a little dog, tricks and all
797. homemade farm equipment
798. small, prickly muzzles pushed through bars, searching for attention
799. how she warms the clutch
800. beautiful, smoothly shaped eggs--miracles!
801. learning where our breakfast comes from
802. examining--first science
803. wanting baby chicks instead of breakfast :) 804. kittens in abundance, always kittens
805. loving little balls of fluff we don't have to take home... but REALLY want to
806. picking a favourite
807. recess fun for girls
809. a niece who inspires my children to be brave and innovative

810. for gratitude that blankets me after a difficult week

811. the light of Jesus after the storm

812. for all of you who saw me through it