Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas day gifts

We had a lovely Christmas Day enjoying each others company, playing games, eating, watching movies, building forts, playing in the snow, chasing deer, taking pictures and such things. It was really a nice day even though we weren't in our own home or with other family, which felt a little strange really. We were getting ready to open gifts and I was feeling a little sad that my lovely tree was back at home when I realized the fake tree in the corner had a little green cord coming out the bottom...lights, I plugged it in and we had a makeshift Christmas tree. I had sewed the kids little doves for their Christmas ornamnet this year and so we hung them on the three...ta da!! decorations. it was a nice little gift!

Another gift was that our 10 year old with learning difficulties who hates to read out loud volunteered to read the scripture that Kelly had picked out for the morning, that was sweet. And yet another gift, everyone actually was happy with their gifts, no complaints. We had almost zero fighting that day which was a gift as well.

Noemi gave us Settlers of Catan for Christmas so we played that and loved it. She and Josiah played three games in a row by themselves. Now it's off to bed. Tomorrow we start out early to head to Focus on the Family for Sasha's birthday party, I can hardly wait to see his face. yes, I will lie to him and tell him we'll have his party when we get back just so I can see how excited he is when he finds out we're having his party there. He's one of those kids that reacts so wonderfully well to things, I can hardly wait!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Colorado adventures

So here I am in Colorado on Christmas Eve watching Santa Claus 2 with my stinky boys. Seriously, my boys are blowing off the most disgusting gas ever. If we don't make it back home it will be because we died of nasty gas inhalation...

So the trip down wasn't too bad, the kids didn't kill each other. We didn't fall asleep, so that was good. We actually managed to fit everything, including ourselves, into the van. We made it through the border without incident. We drove through Montana and Wyoming without hardly meeting another vehicle. Then we hit Colorado! The scenery here is definately NOT like home. The mountains are red, which is different. The cities are huge, we drove through Denver and it took over half an hour on an Interstate driving at 75 MPH. I'm not sure I've ever seen a city that big. Then we got through Colorado Springs and up into the mountains to try and find our little cabin in the woods. Then we encountered a little problem.

Steep mountain road + ice + heavy vehicle that is NOT a 4WD. Can't get up to our little cabin, we try gravelling the road by hand, it didn't work. My normally very gentle husband was not a happy man, he even got upset with Elizabeth. Finally, we asked a neighbour and found out their was another road. My what a blessing that was. So we finally got here!!

Yesterday we went to Compassion International Headquarters for a kids tour. It was so amazing to go through their facilities and see what they do. To top it off they were so generous wih our kids, giving them little tiny alpacas, T'shirts that they could color, a CD and a little verse pack. It was so amazing, we were there for 2 hours. Then we headed over to the U.S. Air Force Academy Visitor's Center and the Cadet Chapel. It wasn't quite as exciting there.

Here's a cool thing, Kelly really wanted to go to a Christmas Eve service and he wanted to visit New Life Church. Unfortunately, he wasn't sure if that was the name of the church or where it was or anything. On our way to Compassion, we drove right by the church, saw the name of it AND it had a huge banner on the side that said when the Christmas Eve service was. So thank you, Jesus, for that little gift for my honey. So today we went to their service, oh my goodness, when we walked in Chris' comment was, it looks like a mall, and he was right, it is sooooooooooo big. There were about 3000 people there. Crazy. It was a lovely service complete with fake snow, dry ice and a lot of fancy lights. The music was fabulous and the message was excellent. We even got to light little candles, it was very pretty. E wasn't too impressed with the music, too loud for her little ears. So that's our adventure so far, tune in for further updates!!

Merry Christmas one and all. Don't miss the best gift on this gift list of mine. Jesus, the lover of my soul, whom we celebrate this season!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas gifts (355)

So, the preparations for leaving on our big trip continue in a flurry of activities, company, a little stress and lots of fun. My to do list is getting a little shorter and I have much to be thankful for...

343. It is a gift to see my children growing up and being able to laugh and joke and talk with them at more of a peer level than ever before.

344. I am thankful that I can see myself growing up as I learn to hold my tongue in situations where I would love to jump in and take over the reins of a project (I never used to be able to do that). It's difficult at times to see someone else struggle at something that you know you're good at and could do a better job, however, it is a much better thing to see someone struggle and then come out with something better than what they could imagine they could do.

345. It is a gift to see projects completed!!

346. I have so enjoyed my children pouring out love on their grandparents at our Christmas gatherings that we have had this week.

347. It is a gift to find activities that our family can participate in together that are FREE!!

348. It was fun to discover that Compassion International is close to Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs and we can visit both places on our holiday! Compassion has a children's tour where they talk to the children about poverty and how children live in other parts of the world, we are so looking forward to all of that. We have been talking a lot this month about poverty and our abundance. We decided as a family to fast from several things in order to identify with less fortunate families. As well, we made World Vision a part of our gift giving this year. The Compassion tour will be a great addition to our learning.

349. It was a gift to discover how much fun it is to give World Vision gifts rather than 'stuff'.

350. It was also a gift to discover how much fun it is to receive a World Vision gift - a family was given 4 hens and 2 roosters in our name this year!! How sweet is that!??

351. Focus on the Family is a gift, we are going to have an amazing birthday party for Sasha there and do all kinds of super fun activities like a huge three story slide, Odyssey recordings, lunch at Wit's End and all we pay for is what we eat!!!!!!

OKay, I really could go on and on today but I really need to get dressed and do a few more sewing projects up. I love Christmas and I am thrilled to death that we can celebrate this season with Jesus at the center. Over and over again the Lord has been reminding me that I don't need to stress, I just need to keep him at the center of my vision while I'm making preparations. That has indeed made a huge difference in all the rushing here and there this season. It is a joy (and a gift) to have the resources and the strength to be able to participate in these activities and bring baking and whatever else is needed. (352)

353. I can't fail to mention that it is a gift to have friends to spend time with (thanks VAn Loons for making the effort to come out and spend the weekend with us, what a great time we had!!). We had 12 kids here all weekend, it was noisy but so much fun!

354. Our parents are such a gift, rearranging schedules and making enormous efforts to spend time with us before we depart on our adventure. They are such a gift....

Oh, oh, oh, if I don't get back here before we leave...

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

10 day challenge and more (342)

So....apparently there is more than one person who reads this....there are 2, hee hee. The question was asked, "How did the 10 day challenge go?" I think I can continue on with my gift list and answer that question at the same time (does that count as a gift? why not? #333)

#334. At first I was a little discouraged because I only lost 3 pounds and a total of about 1.5 inches. Then, I was in the doctor's office waiting for a prescription to be filled and was reading an article in Prevention magazine regarding the Flat Belly diet and exercise plan. The plan from www.walkathome.com is pretty close to the Flat Belly plan and they gave an indication of what you could expect after following their plan for a month - 3 lbs and 1 inch. So...3lbs and 1.5 inches in 10 days is pretty good I think, plus I walked 40 miles...yes that's miles...not kilometers in that period of time. So considering all the information, I think it went pretty well. It was an eating plan that was actually doable, not weird food, even included McDonald's in it. You can sign up and take the 10 day challenge for free on the website (download the eating plan).

#335. I am thankful for the grace of God, it is truly a gift. There are times that I would just like to throw in the towel. I get very frustrated as a mom on occassion. Yesterday I stopped and pondered how the world would handle the frustration that I was experiencing and I realized that without the grace of God, leaning into His strength, I probably would just give up. Life just gets too hard some days, being responsible for only me would be so much easier and far too many people do just that. The grace and strength of my Saviour remind me that I am not doing this by myself nor am I expected, too. He has equipped me for the journey that I am on and will provide all I need to accomplish the tasks He sets before me. What a glorious gift my Saviour is!

#336. Because of the enlightening thoughts above and several reminders that came from various places, today was very peaceful in my little corner of the world, none of the problems that arose today shook me - that is a gift.

#337. I am one gift closer to being finished my Christmas projects.

#338. My husband took me on a date on Saturday. We went out for supper and then to a Christmas choir concert that was lovely. His mom and dad were singing in it and it was a joy to be able to bless them in something that they were participating in.

#339. Yesterday afternoon everyone was out sledding except for my youngest and oldest. The three of us curled up on the couch together and watched a movie. It isn't so often that my man-child curls up with me anymore, I eagerly accepted his gift to me yesterday.

#340. The snow, glorious white snow!!! I LOVE IT!!

#341. That hill right out our front door is a gift (especially when it is covered with snow!)

#342. Tacos for supper. A simple, healthy, quickly made meal that everyone loves. A meal with no complaining is a tremendous gift in this house.

All my sweaty sledding kids are in for supper so I'll have to quit for now. My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness today. Blessings to all who read this, may the peace of Christ rule in your heart today.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

1000 gifts continued (332)

So....my friend and fellow-blogger kicked my butt and figured I should actually write something. I think maybe she might be the only one reading this presently because everyone else probably got bored and went on to more exciting blogs...



So I think I'm going to continue on with my 1000 gifts list...but I have to remember what number I'm on, one moment please!! So I'm on #324....

324. It is a gift to live in this community. We live in little fear of break-in, vandalism or any other violent crime...it's rather nice
325. Our church family is a gift, they are a generous and encouraging group of individuals, and generally speaking, fun to be around.
326. Shopping on the internet is a gift, I have done the vast majority of our Christmas shopping on-line, how sweet to just go pick it up at the post office, no lines, no cranky kids!
327. Friends who care about me are a gift, sometimes I forget.

328. Deuteronomy 33:12
"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields
him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."
What a gift it is to think of the Lord cradling me in his arms, holding me close and loving me...resting secure.
329. Psalm 90:14,
"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."
330. The word of God is truly a gift, a comfort, a wise counsellor, such an amazing gift to us.
331. Beth Moore is an amazing gift to this world, an excellent teacher of Biblical truth and profound insight, I love her Bible studies.
332. Noemi, our new German import, she is becoming more of a gift every day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

update

So, I have about a million reasons why I haven't updated this in forever. Mostly because I can hardly ever get near a computer in this house! And when I do it's either late at night and my husband is turning the lights off, like right now...or the internet isn't working or I'm working on something that needs to be done.

So here's our little update on life:

Me:
- still working on losing weight, started a 10 day challenge of walking 4 fast miles every day and greatly reducing my calories, I am on day 7 (which is taking two days because I refuse to walk on Sunday)
- just read a great book called "Anathema"
- am ready to put together the main section of the quilt for my bed
- am stressed about Christmas and really don't want to be

Husband:
- is finally no working farm hours
- is now working pastor hours (almost the same, but not quite)
- is pretty much an all around wonderful guy

Family:
- the four boys had good report cards and good interviews, all are progressing pretty well
- home schooling is still good and the girlie is progressing well - we've been loving studying India, what a fascinating country
- smallest fry in our basket is getting close to really being potty trained once she figured out that momma REALLY was sick of cleaning up her messes that didn't need to happen, she's actually up to 28 lbs now, a little difficult to buy pants for her shape - stringbean, long and lean
- our German import is working out well and we have fun sewing up a storm

The rest of our life:
- we're heading to Colorado for Christmas!
- our house is currently a disaster cause I wasn't home most of yesterday and refused to clean anything beyond starting the dishwasher today
- am going to a friend's house for tea tomorrow cause she found this incredible bargain on great clothes and thought I might like them so she bought them for me - how lovely is that...you should always be friends with a good shopper if you personally hate the job

that's all, I'll continue on my thankful list at the next possible moment - which might end up being next month! Oh, and I''ll let you know if the super challenge actually worked and any weight really came off...stay tuned, I know you're excited....waiting with baited breath for the results.....................HA!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WARNING: I have no idea what I am about to write. If this makes no sense to anyone but me, I'm good with that.



For the last 12 years I have struggled with my body image. Having babies has a way of changing one's shape. Three years after I had my first baby I joined Weigh Down and lost 20 lbs or so. I was thrilled. The body I had been used to was a lean, muscled machine. I was quite active, a lifeguard and never ate excessively, in fact, I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted and never gained anything. In Bible College I had less than 14% body fat. Before I got pregnant for the first time we moved closer to where I worked and my long daily walks went out the window. I started putting on a few pounds (I had a desk job). So after weigh down I was back at a healthy weight and I was a happy camper, after baby #2, I was back at pre-pregnancy 6 weeks later, I figured I had this thing nailed. Then baby #3 came along with all his health issues and I was a wreck. Baby #4 came only 17 months later, I hadn't taken off a lot in between the two and battled with some post-partum depression. Then a miscarriage and baby #6 arrived two years later. I am not horribly overweight, about 20 lbs or so. In all my pregnancies I never got over 200 lbs (that was my goal and I managed to keep things there) I am 5'8" tall. Some kind souls have told me that I'll never get rid of this extra weight so I might as well get used to it. Perhaps I should name this extra roll and we can talk late at night. Now that I'm 40 I realize that weight loss is going to be more difficult, but that isn't what has me on a rant today. My wonderful husband told me to go write something caustic...why...because he thought it might help me work through how I'm feeling right now and somewhere in the middle of it God just might give me a flower. So now that the backdrop has been painted I'll tell you why I'm a little peeved this morning. Let it be known to one and all that.........

I HATE SCALES

oh sure they have their place, like as a paperweight or perhaps a particularly pretty one could be used as a decoration, but for the most part I think they should be banned from every woman's bathroom and bedroom because they make us feel like scum, even when we're doing something good.

In May, I started a walking program. Since then I have walked two or three times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less but I've done it. There were two weeks I was sick and the week of recovery that I didn't walk at all, but other than that, I've been pretty good at getting my walks in. These aren't regular walks, they are aerobic walks, working every muscle of my body and making me sweat. I'm drinking water and all that. I don't overeat very often due to years of weigh down training. It does happen, I'd be lying if I said I didn't but overall, I'm not an overeater. So why am I upset today. I decided to step on that stupid scale and guess what????

I am still the same weight that I was in May (20 lbs overweight). I am not asking for miracles here, I just want the scale number to move for goodness sake. Oh sure it did a little slidy dance down a couple notches, up a couple notches, up, down, up, down, never more than that little 6 pound spread that could happen in the week of your period. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do my clothes fit differently? NO

Do I feel extremely more fit? NO

Do I sleep better at night? NO



SO WHY AM I BOTHERING TO DO THIS???????????

And here's the best part of all...........this morning...........I am going to convince a bunch of other ladies that this is a great thing to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HA, I'll say it again, HA! They aren't going to see any results on this frame. Perhaps I have leaner muscle somewhere under there, perhaps there are subtle changes occuring that I just can't see, perhaps I am healthier and my risk of heart disease is actually less. Unfortunately I can't measure that. For all intents and purposes the 100 miles I've walked hasn't done any visible good that I can see except maybe that I can say I did it.



Is that worth something. At least I'm trying? At least I'm sticking with something? At least I can? I really do like it. I really enjoy the workouts, I'm not sick of doing them even after all these months. Is that worth something? I know that I am doing something good for my body even though I'm not getting the results that I want. Perhaps it's God's grace that I haven't dropped the 20 lbs, I'd have to buy new clothes and I can't afford that. On the other hand my weight has been pretty stable for the last number of years. This is the same weight that my body has gone to for the last 6 years or so. However, I know it likes the 20 lbs less weight quite well, too.



So how do I change my focus in all this? What I want is to lose the 20 lbs. Honestly I don't care much about lessening my risks of anything, I know I should, but I don't. I'd even by happy with 15 lbs, I'd be fine with that. 10 would be okay, not great, but okay. I know that would be better for my knees. That's one thing I am concerned about, both my parents have bad knees, I have inherited their knees and I know that every pound that comes off will help them last longer. One of the reasons I am trying to lose weight is for my knees.

The biggest reason is my vanity. I hate this extra roll. I'm going to give it a name, not a people name because somebody might get the impression that I don't like them, I'll call it XR5. XR5 needs to go. I know it might never go because apparently I have a muscle separation down the length of the roll right where XR5 lives. I don't know what that means except maybe that having had 6 pregnancies might have given it the message that there is no hope of ever coming back together.

Okay I need to get ready to leave and I'm not done ranting yet. maybe I'll just save this draft and see what God does in my heart today. Perhaps this story isn't over just yet.

The walking thing was good. I didn't have to convince anyone and no one asked me how many pounds I've lost doing it. XR5 and I did fine and I realized somewhere during this day that no one but me cares what the number on the scale is - except for the possibility of my knees, they care.

So why do I care so much? Could it be the Barbies I played with as a child have caused permanent damage? I doubt it. However, all the media stuff, diets galore, health consciousness and all that certainly does play a role in how we feel about ourselves. I don't know why I can't just get comfortable with the skin I'm in. Maybe someday I will. Maybe someday I'll quit being jealous of women with flat stomachs who don't have any overhang. Maybe I'll just buy baggy shirts for the rest of my days and throw away every single item of clothing that clings to me. You never know someone might nominate me for one of those make=over shows and I'll get a free tummy tuck!!

I'm really tired and tomorrow I'm heading off with a bunch of wonderful women to put my pictures into albums. Scrapbooking they call it - those are not scraps as far as I'm concerned. My poor, neglected 4 year old will finally have some pictures in his photo album beyond him coming home from the hospital! How pathetic is that I ask you. REally, my kids LOVE looking through their albums, they love pictures of themselves and all the little things I stick in there. They're called memories and they tell a story of their life. That's why I do this thing, even though it might just kill me in the end. But I'm looking forward to a weekend of no demands and no dishes or cooking. TA TA

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Harvest gifts - 323

Cats. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I hate that they make myself and my son sick, I hate the smell and hair they leave behind. But they are so pretty and graceful. I love to watch them play in the yard. I love to look at them sitting so perfectly with their tails curled around their feet. This morning they were a gift (315) as I watchen them playing and romping with a bit of plastic, running for cover as the truck pulled up, cuddling up to one another on a cool, dreary morning waiting for someone to feed them. They really are a gift, all 15 of them, even if they never come in my house.

My husband took the two younger boys to an auction sale today, (316) after a very stressful morning this is truly a gift, means that there are less relationships to referee, a little more quiet.

Noemi cleaned the computer station yesterday which means that my keyboard is looking very lovely today (317) not the disgusting mess it was yesterday, the screen is clear and there's no dust to be seen, at least not for a day or two.

I am thankful for the new kids coming to youth group (318), some that I thought would never give me the time of day, and here they are, hanging out with us, thank you Jesus.

Harvest is over, the crops are all in the bin (319) the vegetables are in the cold room. I am so delighted that this season is over for another year (320). It is a glorious thing to see all those fields of grain, ripening produce and all of that. It is even more glorious to see it off!!!

2 friends and I made salsa last Saturday (321). 80 lbs of tomatoes, a case of green peppers, 2 jugs of vinegar and a lot of work translated into 111 pints of the wonderful stuff. Friends makes the work so much more fun to do.

That's all for now, gotta go bake some bread and brownies to get ready for the potluck tomorrow. (Another gift, don't have to cook tomorrow - 322).

One more gift of cooler weather - the flies are considerably less - 323.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hero or Idiot?? You decide

Okay, so on Monday I start feeling not so good but decided to pretend like I was fine all week. Did all my regular weekly things like:
-cleaning
-laundry-
-washing and vaccuming floors
-baking bread
-making brownies
- attending son's very first volleyball tourney
-attending 2 birthday parties (one was for me, grin)
- making meals for work crews
- home schooling
-running forgotten lunches in to school
-working my shift at the rodeo
-getting groceries

all this while getting progressively sicker. my body was trying to get me to stop and I didn't listen at all. So by Saturday afternoon, my body is refusing to move one more inch. My kids think I'm the wicked witch of the west and I'm finally calling in to bow out of my Sunday committments. This morning I let the family go to church without me while I stayed home and got some sleep. I didn't wake up until 12:15. I ate lunch, played a game with my son, cause I could do it sitting and then went back to bed, ate supper, then went back to bed to sit her with the laptop cause anything else takes up too much energy. I am completely drained, no energy at all. So, I'm thinking I'm probably jsut an idiot for not listening to my body a whole lot sooner, maybe I wouldn't be so sick now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

pics

these are my pictures, that I took so please don't anybody steal them, okay....thanks.

Some excellent pictures I took with my excellent camera!!

If this video ever finishes uploading it is the one of Libby and her baby. Obviously she's an observant child and has paid attention during all the times I've had to diaper her little hind end.


technology gifts (314)

I am not always thankful for technology, but today I am thankful for many little technological blessings.

303. Skype - Did you know you can call on Skype for free!! Because of this technological marvel we can call Germany and talk to Kathrin at no charge, how good is that!!!
304. Webcams - With this advancement, we can not only talk to her but SEE her and she can see us at the same time!! Almost like visiting.
305. MP3 players - so my husband can take his German lesson CDs with him wherever he goes and maybe he'll actually learn some German
306. Digital cameras - allow me to take great pictures event though I am not a great photographer
307. Digital video that allows me to capture great moments in my kids' lives like Libby 'diapering' her little baby doll, how fun is that!!
308. My cell phone that lets me stay connected when I'm on the road somewhere, that is truly a gift, particularly after having had breakdowns on the side of the road with a van-load of kids.
309 - 311. My dishwasher, washing machine and dryer - my live-in maids, what would I do without those girls.

and
312 - 314. Bruchetta crackers with cream cheese and red-pepper jelly. No this is not technology but man does it taste good!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My "Candle" Party Surprise




Sooooooooooooo, my sweet friend is really good at lying apparently. Last week she invited me to a candle party at her house that was scheduled for this morning. I caught a cold yesterday and almost didn't go because I was feeling pretty lousy this morning. Yesterday she was here sewing with me and my mom all day. Poor girl, I pestered her about the 'candle' party all day. See, she was lying to me the whole time, there was no candle party. When I got there, she was dressed up in this wild old lady costume. I thought to myself, "My normally stylish friend is looking a little odd this morning, maybe she forgot to tell me that we were doing a theme for the candle party." When another of my friends came up behind her in equally strange garb I said, "Did I miss something, was I supposed to dress up?" THEN, a whole herd of delightful "old" ladies came around the corner and shouted, "SURPRISE!!!" It was a birthday party for me, I didn't suspect a thing and we had a lot of fun. Those little old ladies know how to have a good laugh. My only regret is that I wasn't feeling a whole lot better! Thanks girls, you are truly a gift to me (302)


Saturday, September 20, 2008

(301)

276. peace
277. play dough - Elizabeth will play for hours with it, so much nicer than TV
278. understanding after misunderstanding
279. reconciliation after meltdowns
280. big brothers shepherding little brothers with care and compassion
281. hard work being done without complaining
282. heaters on a day with a bit of winter's chill around it's edges
283. lovely music coming through my computer's speakers
284. dauntings tasks that are looking almost finished
285. harvesting again after waiting
286. watching a late night movie with a room full of youth, eager to just be together and with you
287. loving husband's gentle words to refocus my goals in the face of my frustration
288. letting them run off to play, tasks are finished
289. boy apologizing for running off rather than doing his job
290. sanctuary in the midst of chaos
291. wise words from godly men enclosed in books that find their way into my hands at appropriate times
292. ideas to care for the ladies in my sunday school class
293. anticipation of worship tomorrow with the body
294. humbling privelege of participation in the leadership of worshiping together
295. homely smells of comforting food simmering on the stove
296. flannel pajama pants that I never bothered to take off this morning, so comfortable
297. phone call from my mom, they're coming to visit tomorrow
298. anticipation of a sewing day with family and friends
299. the voice of dear friends on the other end of the phone
300. my oldest son seeking me out even when he doesn't need anything from me
301. my oldest niece is getting married to a wonderful young man, that is truly a gift, she is a gift...I love that girl so much and am so happy for her

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

1000 gifts continued (275)





For those of you who may be new here (like there are any new readers to this blog - ha ha!! just you faithful lurkers who never comment!), I am participating in a wonderfully uplifting effort called a 1000 gifts list (that's what all those numbered lists are in case you haven't figured it out yet). I got this idea from Ann over at Holy Experience, a profound and uplifting and humbling blog that I love to read and hate to read cause it makes me realize that there's so much more that I could be doing to bring my home into a God-centered place.


Anyway I have a few more gifts to write down today some huge, some small, but I love them all. ((oohh that rhymed, perhaps I should write some poetry, too).


262. fresh peach jam


263. the wonderfuly aroma of spaghetti sauce simmering on the back of the stove


264. plans for a surprise for a lady who more than deserves it

265. comments from friends in Germany

266. completing a task I really don't like

267. good conversation with good food and great friends

268. Sasha's new glasses, "I can see so far, Mom!!", he is a very conscientious cleaner

269. spending time with friends over a cup of tea and getting to know them a little better

270. a massage to help alleviate a week long nasty headache

271. peppermint migraine stick that smells wonderful and works so well

272. seeing the top of my desk for the first time in months, all the paper is cleared off, sorted, recycled and ready to be filed!

273. collaboration on meals during this busy harvest season

274. sewing projects, how I love new projects, new fabrics and all of that. I'll have to post a picture of my lastest projects, new pjs for everyone with fun flannels for fall

275. the first day of Kindergarten for Sasha, how he loves to go to school, the house is so quiet on those days

My lunch is ready so I must go. Blessings to you today

Friday, September 12, 2008

a little glimpse into an insane moment in my life

So sometimes people say that my life must be really busy with six kids and a pastor/farmer husband and sometimes people say that I'm crazy to have so many kids (okay, maybe not in so many words but that's what they mean) and the other night I had to agree. This really happened...all at the same time...

The thread on the serger came out out so I was re-threading it for Noemi while...

Abby was working on a sewing project and needed some instruction while...

Chris wanted help with the project he was working on while.....

Josiah was discussing his homework problem with me and I was helping him while.......

Elizabeth was trying to climb up on my lap when she was supposed to be in bed while..........

Sam and Sasha got out of bed and came into our tiny utility room/sewing room/family looking for mom room to announce that they were scared and could I please come sing to them because there might be a storm. Mom tries to give spiritual peace of mind by reminding them that God is bigger than the boogie man, she is interrupted by a question..is he real anyway? the boogie man....of course he's not (says mom)....oh yeah, he is I saw him just the other day (says big brother starting to snicker).......I'm going to smack you (hisses mom)...........what did he say? you saw him?.........Jesus IS bigger than the boogie man..........but I thought you said he wasn't real, can't you come sing us some songs...........

smack the big kid who is laughing himself sick...............
give the instructions,
thread the serger
help with the project
usher three kids back to bed
hand over comforting two small scared boys over to Noemi who patiently sits and sings, "Fear Not" to them
give a huge sigh and thank God that I'd didn't actually freak out on anyone's head and actually stepped outside myself for just a moment to realize that I COULD have freaked out and probably would have not so long ago but DIDN'T, praise the Lord, dance a happy dance

Yes that really happened, that is my life so please don't complain to me about how your two children are getting on your nerves, at least you have some (nerves that is) I think mine might be under someone's bed, or the boogie man got them!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of Car washes, marriage and other things. (261)

I'm not sure I have enough brain cells at present to write anything right now, but since I had some thoughts earlier today, I'll see if I can fish them out of the soup in my head.

Question: How can it be that I've been walking (aerobic walking) since May at least 2, usually 4 times a week and haven't lost an ounce? How come? I want to know. I know I'm healthier and my bones like it and all that, I'm just a little frustrated that I am not seeing the results that I want to see.

REALLY GOOD THING
We're finally harvesting our winter wheat (244). It has been so cool and wet that we haven't gotten anything off the field yet, until today!!! So yippee, finally something going in the bin. We are very happy.

SMALL TOWN CAR WASH NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
I found out today that I'm not very good at the small town car wash. There's a foamy brush thingy that spews out suds long after I want it to. There's a 'high pressure' wand that isn't really high pressure that has a hard time getting to the other side of the van. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to wield both these thingys at the same time, it won't go well.
Some more tips for small town car washer wanna bes.
1. close the door so that your smart aleck uncle doesn't come by and see what you're doing....badly.
2. go late at night so that no one sees what a bad job you did of washing your vehicle.
3. don't drive on gravel roads right after you've washed your vehicle because there are no huge blow driers in small town car washes so, yeah, your vehicle stays wet for awhile and the dust that you kick up on the gravel road sticks to all the streaks that you didn't get off cause you ran out of money and it looks really bad
4. take alot of money with you
5. better yet, pay your 10 year old a few bucks to do it at home and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble, especially after he comments on what a bad job you did and what a better job he could do...he's right

So besides all that fun, I'm super duper over the top thankful for our new German import, Noemi (pronounce No Amy). 245. She is super sweet and super helpful and way more nice than me. I think maybe God is going to let me learn a little gentleness from her because she is just naturally gentle....I am not. So yes, I think I'm going to learn something (246).

Other random thankful thoughts:
247. corn on the cob, dripping with butter and some salt
248. just out of the garden cucumbers...also with salt and a little dill
249. ripe red tomatoes
250. freshly dug potatoes
251. home made farmer sausage
252. fresh cinnamon buns still warm from the oven
253. the smell of fresh baked bread
254. the warm strength of my husband as he crawls into bed after a long day's work
255. the delight in my child's eyes as they try on their new jammy's that I made that are 'perfect' and 'so snuggy I don't need a blanket'
256. the look of satisfaction on my daughter's face as she tries on her jammy shorts that she made all by herself
257. 10-year toes wrapped in 'moccasins' he designed and crafted himself, a project begun and completed in two days
258. the words, "I don't have any homework today!"
259. the words, "I love this Science book, I think I'll work ahead."
260. "Yes Mom, I'd be glad, too."

And one last not so random thought. #261 gift that I am so thankful for today. God has blessed me with an amazing husband whom I too often take for granted and too often don't treat the way he deserves. As my dear friend goes through a distressful time in her marriage let anyone who reads this stop and take stock of their own marriage, do what you must to make it strong, take nothing for granted and be thankful for what you have right at this moment. Pray for your spouse, pray for your marriage, be the kind of spouse you want to have and never, never give up. My dear sweet friend, I weep with you and will stick with you to the other side. Even though I can't physically be near, my spirit is right there. I love you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I thought I should maybe write something, but I'm really tired, so I think it'll have to wait for another day....sorry...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gentleness

Gentleness.

What does it look like really, from the inside out. I don't consider myself a gentle person, I don't have a soft voice, I'm not small and roundish. I'm not soft-spoken. I'm none of the things that I picture to be gentle, and yet I long to be that. I am harsh and hard for more often than I like. Gentle has strong, soft edges, mine are rough and sometimes fragile. I long for a gentleness in my spirit that responds softly to the rebelliousness and stubborness of my children and the harsh edges of this world.

It seems that this theme keeps popping up in my face lately. I see it being written about and talked about. I long to be a gentle - woman. Just maybe, if I learn to be gentle my children might learn it, too.

I pray this might be so.

September 1 (243)

It is September 1. I love September, I think it's my favorite month of the year. It marks the beginning for me like no other month does. I've always loved the start of school, new books and pencils, the leaves starting to turn, bringing out the sweaters and cuddling up under a blanket with a good book. It's also the return of more predictable days and routines. It's an extremely busy time of year but it's a good kind of busy - harvesting the fruits of our labours, getting ministry activities off the ground, starting new tasks for the coming year.

Today our new family member arrived, Noemi. She is from Germany and will be living with us for six months, within an hour she has gained the love of our children and the peace of knowing that everything will work out well has rained down into my heart. All will be well.

225. I am so thankful that Noemi arrived safely.
226. I am thankful that the rain held off until Saturday night so that the men could combine until then.
227. I am thankful that the rain kept Kelly home today so that he could be here when Noemi arrived.
228. I'm also thankful that Kelly being home means the carpet job on the steps is finally getting finished (it's only been a year and a half).
229. I am thankful that I am married to my very best friend.
230. Last night we took some time for the two of us and watched the movie, "The Ultimate Gift". What an amazing movie, I highly recommend it for all audiences, what an incredible message this movie gives to each one of us, the gifts that we take for granted. Excellent, excellent movie.
231. I am thankful for the church family that I am part of out here in the sticks. A few of us got together at the church last night to eat and play games, it was supposed to be a beach party but the weather didn't cooperate.
232. I am thrilled that Kelly had the privelege of baptizing two of our youth yesterday morning.
233. Tears that wash our souls clean.
234. The sweet movements that my little girls starts into as soon as the music reaches her soul.
235. Relationship with my oldest son, I am glad he still includes me in his life and dreams.
236. Excellent music that lifts my soul to heaven and allows it to take wing.
237. A new homeschooling year, new books, new ideas, new thoughts.
238. To be a witness to the joy of learning taking hold and carrying a child to new places is a privelege.
239. The school bus arriving to transport my boys to a world of learning that they love to participate in.
240. Joy on my son's face as he reports that he is not in need of an educational assistant this year, his teacher feels he is able to be with his class all the time, while I know this won't be easy for him, he doesn't feel so different from everyone else.
241. True repentance is a gift.
242. Quiet rest that restores my soul...
243. Before the throne of God above I have a strong and perfect plea,
a high priest who pleads and intercedes for me, my name is graven on his hand.........

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The List of 40 Blessings for 40 years of grace so far

S0 today I am 40!! My husband blessed me this morning. Not only did he get my three beautiful gold chains fixed he bought me a very lovely ring for my birthday. Perhaps I'll post a picture later. Unfortuately my son was very grumpy this morning so it wasn't exactly a harmonious and joyful morning. My 4 year old son was distraught that he had no gift for me so I let him go shopping...for me...out of my basket of little gifts that I keep on hand for last-minute gift giving. He was happy, his heart is a good one. So, I must begin my list of 40 things for today...

(I will label these 1-40 but they're part of my 1000 gifts list)

1. I am thankful for life today. God didn't have to let me live, but he did.
2. He knit me together in my mother's womb, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
3. This morning, my devotions were based on Psalm 139 - how cool is that.
4. He loves me.
5. He gave me parents who trusted him with my life and were willing to take the risk and let me live. (The doctors told them to abort.)
6. It is a gift that he allowed me to be normal, well, relatively normal. :)
7. He blessed me with many skills and abilities for which I am deeply thankful.
8. I can write songs.
9. I can write poems and stories.
10. He gave me an incredible visual imagination.
11. I can sew and do all manner of crafty things.
12. I can sing and play the piano.
13. I can organize events.
14. There's a lot more that I can do but I'm not going to give any more numbers to those things.
15. So besides my incredible parents I have an amazing sister, who has a wonderful family.
16. I have two great brothers, also with amazing families, unfortunately one of those dear brothers has already departed this good earth in favor of hanging out with Jesus, I look forward to seeing him again.
17. My amazing husband, Kelly. I am so thankful that God allowed me to marry my best friend.

And right here in the midst of my list he surprised me. We went for supper at his parents home and after we had our family celebration people started showing up and we had a little party in the back yard, how sweet, and surprising was that?

18. The people who raised my husband are very wonderful and a gift to me.
19. They also have two lovely daughters who I am priveleged to call my sisters-in-law,
20. Who are married to two wonderful men and they have some lovely children.
21. Then God blessed us with a wonderful spiritual family that just keeps growing and growing.
22. After a few years of wedded bliss we began to have some blessings of our own, starting with Josiah - a wonderful young man-to-be, what a great helper he is.
23. Christopher, our chosen blessing.
24. Abby, our sweet and compassionate daughter.
25. Samuel, a thoughtful son.
26. Sasah our sparkly little man who makes us laugh.
27. And Elizabeth our sweet little flower.
28. I have been blessed with a wonderful extended family of my own as well as my husband's.
29. I am blessed to live the life we're living right now, farming, pastoring, parenting...full, full life.
30. And of course we are blessed with many friends too numerous to mention all my name for the fear of missing someone out.
31. This may seem trivial but I'm extremely thankful for my new sewing machine that Kelly bought me several months ago, it is such a treat to sew with.
32. I am blessed to have daisies blooming in my garden.
33. I am blessed to have had a wonderful evening for this party, the weather was just perfect!
34. I am thankful that I will soon be heading for my bed...I'm tired.
35. I am blessed to have lived 37 years with the Lord already, that's a long time to have been walking this way, God is faithful.
36. I am blessed that He will continue to finish the work that he began in me, he dreamed me up and he has a plan that I can't possibly imagine and I get to watch.
37. He walks with me, and HE talks with me, and he tells me I am his own.
38. He says I'm beautiful and a princess!!
39. I am blessed to have had my son invite me to play a game with him (he never does that), so even though he soundly beat me...I am thankful for something that was truly a gift from him.
40. I am blessed by the people who stop by and read this, even though you don't all comment, I am thankful for you.

So that's it for today...it's been a good, good day. Tomorrow I'll probably herd the kids to the beach and hang out with some friends at their cabin since it's supposed to be scorching hot. I might get some pictures posted but I'm not making any promises. Blessings to one and all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The eve of turning 40.

Tomorrow I turn 40 years old. I will have officially completed four decades of living on this good earth. I am not ashamed of being 40, I think I've earned my years, some days I feel much, much older. Other days I feel like I can't possibly have lived so long already, I've only just gotten started.

However, tonite, on the eve of this momentous occassion I feel very blah. I'm tired after making the long drive home from my mom's. It was nice to visit, gather my little chickens around me once again and nice to head home. I'm tired, feel yucky after eating and drinking things I don't usually eat and drink in an effort to stay awake and should probably just go to bed.

Having your birthday at harvest time is a downer. Nobody is around because they're all busy in the field, there will not likely be a party except with the family at my in-laws house tomorrow evening. My husband is a wonderful man but planning events is not his forte - that's why he married me. Maybe I should have just planned a party for myself, however, that would have seemed a little vain don't you think? None of my kids got me anything or even made cards. I already know what my gift is from my husband, cause I told what he should do (I wanted all the beautiful gold chains that he's ever given me that my sweet babies have pulled off my neck repaired) and he did it.

I think perhaps I'm having a little pity party for one here, I'll behave myself in the morning and I will write my 40 thankful things, I promise. For now, my sweet husband is home from the field, it is 11:00 PM and I am going to go to bed so I'm not tired and cranky on my birthday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

week-ending blessings (164-174)

So much to be thankful for as we head into this weekend. Life is fragile and we must never take for granted the moments that we are allowed in this brief life.

164. My brother-in-law's life was preserved in what could have potentially been a very bad collision at an intersection, overturning his van and allowing him to slide with his face inches from the pavement with an open window. You can read more about that here.

165. My father-in-law hit a large buck and only sustained some minor damage to his truck.

166. We missed hitting a rather large moose as it bolted onto the highway as we drove home from my parents house.

167. I am thankful for the blessing of encouragement as I read other blogs and enjoy what the Lord deposits in other's lives. Holy Experience. God has gifted this woman with incredible insight and a gift for putting that into words. She is a gift to all of us . Two of her posts, one about feathring our nests as mothers and one about the gentle guidance of our children really spoke to me this week. Thank you Ann.

168. I am thankful for telephone lines that connect me to friends who call unexpectedly. Such a blessing to spend time comuning with a kindred spirit that I haven't spoken to in a long time...too long. Thanks Krista for taking the time to call.

169. I am thankful for dreams. My husband and I spent this cool dreary morning dreaming about an addition to our home, whether it happens or not is not the point, it is the ability to envision and dream that is a gift today, especially with one whom I love and share the vision.

170. I am thankful for my father-in-law's abilaity to take an idea and make it better. He has an uncanny ability to see the potential problems and come up with a solution in an instant. I love that about him.

171. I am thankful that in a few hours I will be reunited with the children who have been at Grandma's this week. I can't wait to hug them and see their beautiful faces.

172. I am thankful for the two that I had with me this week and the time I could spend with them.

173. I am thankful for the brain break it was to have only two kids this week. Two kids is so much easier than six.

174. And I am thankful for my parents who allowed me to leave four kids at their house this week.

In honor of my 40th birthday, which is coming up on Sunday, I am going to attempt a list of 40 for that day!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

thankfulness (163)

This morning I am thankful for the peace that is permeating my home (153). I only have my oldest and youngest sons home with me and the rest of the crew are at my parents home having what I am sure is a wonderful time (154). My brain has been able to have a rest from the constant demands of children (155) and I've been able to do some tasks that needed finishing that I just couldn't seem to get too (156).

Today we'll put Josiah's room back together it looks so lovely (157). I am glad for my son's artistic eye, especially when he lets it guide his choices in colors for his room (158). He took them out of the quilt I made him for his birthday so now he has a two tone room in 'goblin green' and 'burnt bark' - green and brown.

Last night my own creative juices woke up right after my bladder did at about 2 AM. I couldn't get back to sleep so I got up and started working on the things I had in my head - lovely cushions for my bed. I was thrilled to find fabric in my cupboard that was absolutely perfect for what I envisioned (159). I was a little nervous this morning that my middle of the night creative energies might have produced something I wouldn't like in the morning but that was not the case, I still like it this morning and will post some pics once they're all finished.

Yes I am thankful, thankful for cool evening breezes after a hot day (160).
Thankful that they could actually start combining last night (161). Not so thankful that it broke down already, something with the header.
Thankful for the sweet caress of satin on my shoulders - I pulled out my pretty bathrobe and decided to wear it this morning as I sipped hot chocolate and enjoyed breakfast with my 4 year old. (162)
Looking forward to a date with my boys this evening. (163) We're going to go to the drive-in to see Wall.E.
I so needed this respite from my regular world, thank you Lord and mom and dad for giving me this little break.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday!!



This young man is 10 today. That means he has been part of our family for 9.5 years. So much has changed, so much progress has been made. He was one happy clam this morning when he got his MP3 player. He was even happier when his non-techno-mommy managed to load it with songs and stories since his techno-geek brother wasn't home. I even got a, "You're the best mom in the world!" today. We're happy to have you in our home and in our hearts!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Psalm 103 - 148-152

148. Psalm 103. Right now this is the theme of my song. I am so thankful that he knows how weak I am.
149. He know that I am dust - just ordinary dust that turns to mud when it gets wet, that blows all over when winds come against it, dust that sticks to things and makes a fine mess of everything...that's me right now....dust.
150. He is not harsh with us as our sins deserve.
151. He is slow to anger, abounding in love.
152. He doesn't punish all our sins.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

137-147

137. I am so very thankful for the team that we work with in youth, they are an amazing group of individuals and I feel very priveleged to work with them.
138. This thing called the internet is a wonderful thing that allows me to "talk" to dear friends all over the world.
139. I am thankful for the relationships that we have built with the young people we work with over this last year, such a difference from the awkwardness of last year. I love those kids.
140. Summer camps.
141. Swimming lessons.
142. Chai tea.
143. A flock of seagulls rising as one off the surface of the lake, circling, swirling in a glorious dance that settles gently back on the water...such beauty.
144. My lovely mug from the Chinese garden in Montreal.
145. The chore chart that I developed for our kids that actually works.
146. Progress that is happening on our rotten deck to replace it in time for the new barbeque that should be here next week.
147. I am thankful that God helped us be patient and save a little at a time so that when the barbeque we wanted came on sale, we could purchase it with no regrets or qualms. Yeah!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

vbs is over

We had a great week with the huge crew. No major disasters, some fun at the lake, lots of fun at VBS. We were all a little tired at the end of the week and perhaps a little cranky, but no regrets and we'd definately do it again.

On the weekend we drove everyone home, the girls went to camp, J flew to Winnipeg to hang out with his aunt, uncle and cousins (hopefully he'll be helpful, too). It was a little bit hard for this mamma to watch her little boy (okay I know he isn't very little anymore) head off on a big plane all by himself. When I talked to him this morning I asked him if he was scared at all and he said, "Not even close!" Sigh, he's growing up.

Monday, July 28, 2008

mega family VBS

It is VBS week in our neck of the world and some of our best friends are here to spend it with us. My friend and her 6 kids are here for the week bringing our household total to 12 kids and 3 adults, 2 dogs and 10 cats (okay the dogs and cats don't live in the house). They arrived last night and here's our tally of happenings in the first 24 hours.

8 litres of milk (it's being rationed or it would have been waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more)
3 loaves of bread
1 box of spaghetti
3 lbs of hamburger
16 corn dogs eaten
2 bags of chips
a lot of cold cuts
a lot of cereal

5 skinned knees
2 skinned elbows
3 skinned palms
6 missing children
6 baths
2 loads of laundry
1 monster thunder storm

I'd say we're doing pretty well!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Some Montreal Pics






These are a few pictures of our trip to Montreal. I loved the architechture there. Alot of the city, particularly the old part is built of brick and stone - built to last, to withstand fire and all that. It's beautiful and feels so solid. Glass and steel seem so out of place there.

We took in MANY museums and such things. YOu can see the top of the Biodome, taken from the top of the Montreal Tour which rises over Olympic Stadium. We took the funicular up to the top of the tower, it's a beautiful view but not really worth the exhorbitant amount they charge you for the privelege. We had great Thai food at a little restaurant called Just Noodles, probably my favorite meal the whole time we were there. Abby and I put on a tremendous amount of miles walking to various spots. We were a little tired by the time we hit the Botanical Gardens, Abby decided to take a little break in the Chinese Garden. We learned a great deal about the history of Montreal and about quite a few other things, I'll save that for another post since I'm supposed to go practice the song we're singing tomorrow right now.

Friday, July 25, 2008

gifts (136)

126. fresh cherries - sweet red juice dripping, so good you just can't stop eating them
127. Linda at the Co-op for letting me get my apricots early
128. 38 jars of preserved fruit sitting on my counter
129. huge, yellow, sweet apricots, not those bland things that you eat and feel like it wasn't worth the effort, tast, sweet, yummy apricots, some for jam and some for canning!
130. The room air conditioner that Kelly purchased on the 23rd. Oh how lovely that was today with all my steamy cooking!
131. Decorations saved from another party so I could quickly make the family party look like a festive event.
132. The clean kitchen after the first wave of canning is finished.
133. The 8 and 9 year olds who volunteered to wash and stem the cherries and then pack them into jars, it was a joy to work alongside them.
134. My four year olds overflowing gratitude for doing the simple task of mending a pair of his pajama pants - that kind of gratitude makes you want to hit the mending pile so maybe you can get another round of that!
135. My new CD that came in the mail today, it has the most wonderful song on it called "The Gift" that totally speaks to my spirit - I love the song, so I purchased the CD - the rest of the CD is good, too. Artist - David Nevue, CD - Sweet Dreams and Starlight - solo piano
136. After a week of 'counting my steps' I realized that I average about 10000 steps every day, I thought that goal would be difficult to reach but I guess it might not be so hard after all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The gift of my son (125)

Today was my third son's birthday. My little Samuel turned 6 and was very happy about it...he told everyone he saw today that it was his birthday. The mean mommy had the nerve to schedule dentist appointments for him and his brother on his birthday, how nasty is that? On the upside, my kids love going to the dentist and, because we were in the city, his birthday party got to be at the Fun Factory. The kids had a blast. One of the benefits of having a large family is that you are a party when everyone is together!! So today my gift list is going to be focused on this wonderful boy I get to call my son!

115. I am grateful that I get to be his mom.
116. His adorable little smirk is always a treat to see.
117. I love it that his personality is so incredibly different than his siblings.
118. He is a fiercely loyal young man.
119. His heart is healed! Thank you Jesus. His physical heart and his spiritual heart were dealt with all on the same weekend, what a blessing to be there when your child gives their heart to their Creator.
120. I continue to be amazed at the change wrought in his health since his heart surgery, you would never know now that he was born with a defective heart.
121. I love his zeal for learning, over the winter he decided to learn to read...so he did. And this summer he decided he wanted to learn French so he started on the same program that his older sister is taking.
122. He is so darn cute!!
123. He loves condiments (especially ketchup) - I don't know if that's really a gift or not but I'm putting it in.
124. He likes cherry tomatoes - no one else in my family does except me, so it's nice to have someone to share them with.
125. He is a gift, simply because he is..........I love that boy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

good night

This evening I have enjoyed a little tour through the blog world. I haven't done that in oh-so-long. It was lovely to go and 'visit' places I haven't been to in a long while. Realized some of my links aren't good anymore and I really need to change them. Bought some delicious fabric from freshsqueezedfabrics (Randi's Etsy shop on I have to say - that link is good still). Laughed a little at Fish in My Hair (that link isn't good anymore). Anyway, I think I should probably go to bed now, I'm rather tired and don't have anything eloquent to say...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Progress not Perfection (114)

Progress not Perfection
a fresh flowers original
copyright 2008, lani wiens

This morning as I sit at my computer and listen to the birds sing and my little girl babbling at my side my heart is peaceful and full. The Lord has been showing me a few things lately and for a change my heart has been able to take it in and His words are speaking to my heart and bringing about a gradual change.

I've been really ready for a change. There are times when the Spirit lets us gets good and discontent with the way things are so that when we're finally fed up with the way things are we're willing to go through the necessary adjustments. I think God smiles at that, "Finally," he says, "I was wondering how long you'd put up with that."

I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist. I would love it if my home was clean and decorated like a magazine photo shoot. I would be thrilled if my children didn't have to be told to do their chores, were always kind to one another and spoke with respect and reverance for their God. You know those kids, the ones who do their devotions on their own from the time they're two, were potty-trained perfectly at 8 months and spoke in complete sentences from the womb. That's what I'm talking about. I'd like some of those. And me. In my perfect world I'd wake up with my make-up done, my hair would always look like someone is gently blowing a fan on me and I would NOT have this extra bubble in the middle that refuses to go away. My words would be gentle and sweet, I would never yell at anyone and my teeth would be a glistening white. Did I mention that my garden would never have a single weed...they wouldn't dare.

So, that's my dream state. My reality, of course, is far from that. With all the kids home for the summer the snowstorm in which I shovel is a strong nor'easter with no signs of letting up!! I've been walking consistently for over 2 months and that bubble just won't budge. I get a little upset with my less than perfect children now and then and they don't have devotions every day unless it's with the rest of the family at the breakfast table. All of this imperfection can get a person feeling a little down, why bother with this anyway if I'm never going to achieve my lofty goals?

Between my husband, the Spirit of the Lord and a few weeds my heart started getting a new picture as I cried out in my desperation for something to change. The questions started coming..."Who do I clean for and why do I do it?", "Why do I want my children to behave and obey?", "For whom am I weeding these gardens?" Those questions set me back on my heels. I realized that much of what I was doing wasn't in obedience to the Lord it was to impress whoever happened to be nearest. I didn't want anyone thinking that perhaps I was less than perfect or ...gasp...that my dear children were not angels. My husband and my Lord told me very clearly to change my goal.

If I keep perfection as my target I will constantly be frustrated and angry that my goals are blocked and not being reached by my imperfect self and all the imperfect people who share my home. My goal needs to be progress. My new question needs to be, "Are we heading in that general direction?", "Are the things I'm working on moving toward completion?", is it better than yesterday?

Unfortunately the weeds are going to keep coming. My little boy is going to keep using bathroom talk in his everyday speech until he figures out that it isn't popular or funny. The snowstorm is going to keep blowing and I need to lower my standards of what clean looks like in my house. At the same time I will continue to encourage myself and my children toward the goal of greater cleanliness, deeper devotion, a more weed-free existence.

God actually calls us to perfection. Jesus says in Matthew, "Be perfect, therefore as the Father is perfect." As Angela Thomas says, God isn't going to lower His standard for us so that we can feel better about ourselves. God keeps the standard high and lovingly directs us toward it. He is well aware of the fact that we aren't going to get there as long as we're wearing these fleshly coverings but he constantly urges us toward that goal and rejoices in the progress we make. And on the days we don't make progress he wraps us in his grace and mercy and says, "Let's try again tomorrow."

That's the kind of home I want my kids to grow up in. I have been legalistic, controlling, and critical towards their lack of perfection and I've had to repent and ask their forgiveness time and time again. God's grace and mercy cover over a multitude of things and when I choose to live there I can see the beauty happening around me. I can appreciate the wonder of small things going on all around me that show me that progress is really happening. Here are a few to get your heart started toward progress..........I'm going to count them as part of my 1000 gifts list, because that's what they are, little gifts in my imperfect world that the Lord gives me to remind me He loves me and loves the progress that I'm making. I can receive his gifts of mercy and extend them to others.

95. My son was finally allowed to run the lawnmower after a year of begging to be allowed to do so, the look of pure delight on his face as he worked was a gift, especially for this son who doesn't like to work much, and he did a great job, too.

96. Lightning flashing and thundering rumbling as the first drops of rain fall.

97. Eager faces pressed up against the window watching the 'light show', not complaining that our outdoor evening had to get taken inside (and not complaining about their tin-foil packet meals simply because they made them).

98. The sound of an army of 6 children fighting together an unseen foe.

99. The first pink lily turned its beautiful face to the sun (even with weeds surrounding it).

100. Standing with my children and enjoying the flowers...they didn't even notice the weeds, just the beauty that was there.

101. Sitting in the quonset with my oldest and youngest watching our pretty kitties come for their food. Jet black, gray and white, tabbies, so pretty, each unique.

102. Dewy sleep-warm cheeks pressed to mine early in the morning with soft kisses and lisping, "morning mommy..." coming from rose red lips.

103. The roots of weeds giving way before my fingers.

104. The first salad totally from my garden. Crisp lettuce, abundant dill, sharp green onions - a warm egg sliced on top with oil and vinegar dressing accompanied by homemade Italian cheese bread and butter, a little tomato soup made by my 8 year old on the side and a skor bit square for dessert. YUM!! No restaurant meal holds a candle to that.

105. The scent of fresh laundry coming off the line, drenched in sun.

106. The scent of pungent fresh dill........mmmmmmmmmmm love that smell.

107. Verbena and shea butter lotion, another heavenly scent.

108. Cooperation between two tiny people to perform the task of unloading the dishwasher, they entered the joy of working for the family wholeheartedly.

109. Jesus Loves Me sung at the top of 2 year old lungs.

110. Late evening walks hand in hand with the one I love.

111. Dogs protectively circling us as the coyotes howl.

112. A quiet house after a late evening walk.

113. Jasmine tea sipped out of beautiful cups purchased in Montreal.

114. Walking over 10000 steps in one day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

gifts (94)

78. A wonderful holiday to Montreal with my husband and big girl.

79. A very cozy bed while we were gone.

80. Happy accidents that put us in the right place for Abby and I get to be able to get around easily.

81. History - such a legacy our country has, truly a gift.

82. Wonderful folks who took care of our other children while we were away.

83. Summer camp!! Christopher had a great time.

84. Reunion - it is such a treat to see little legs churning as fast as they can to meet you with wild cries of, "Mommy!!" or "Daddy!!" on their lips.

85. Home - often I take HOME for granted, there are so many who do not know the concept of HOME, of safety and love and familiar walls that comfort you and cradle you. HOME is a gift.

86. Baking bread in my kitchen, the warm yeasty scent rising up to meet me.

87. The pungent scent of fresh herbs picked fresh off my counter to go into savoury bread.

88. Kelly was taking time to worship at the piano this morning, I woke to the sound of his beautiful voice rising in praise to the Lord, in the background I could hear the tiny warble of Elizabeth joining him in praise - a wonderful way to awaken.

89. For a delightful change all the children were delighted with the small gifts we brought back from our trip, no complaining, no comparing...just delight....a rare gift indeed.

90. The gift of many hands to share the labour, the house is quiet now as Kelly and five of the kids are out weeding in the gardens.

91. Rain in July, a rare commodity in our part of the world.

92. Vibrant green and yellow in the fields, healthy crops.

93. The view from my kitchen window, green healthy trees, contented dogs and children playing in the soft grass.

94. It truly is a gift to feast my eyes on the familiar things of my home, listen to the hum of the washing machine declaring that we are back, feeling the chair beneath me as I write, tasting the fruit of my labour in the kitchen - all these things are a gift to a travel weary soul.

Monday, July 07, 2008

picture gifts (77)

72. Elizabeth's first ponytails!
73. Pajama pants from mom/Grandma.
74. Got the quilt finished that I wanted to make for Kathrin to take home.
75. Canada Day! What an amazing country we live in! 76. Carebear and Firestarter who let us crash their party! What fun.
77. Family (I may have said it before but I'll say it again) - this is my husband's clan.

(71)

I am desperately tired at the moment. Why are holidays like that? We're in between events today. We got home from family camp last night - how good was that time? So much fun. Tomorrow we leave for our Montreal adventure. So exciting! HOwever, the washing, packing and unpacking have left me a little tired.

65. So thankful for my husband, who's birthday happens to be today. He never reads my blog but if he did, he'd see himself at the top of my list today. He is such an incredible gift to me. He could probably count for at least 100 of this 1000 gifts list easily.

66. The gift of family camp at Westbank Bible Camp. A wonderful holiday for our whole tribe.

67. Sisters - the biological ones, the in-law ones, the spiritual ones - who can live without a sister?

68. My son who turned 12 just the other day - a pleasure to call him my own.

69. The incredible gift of anticipation as each of our children gets ready for their adventures this week.

70. Grandma Camp - that's were my three little ones are headed, they can hardly wait...

71. Dear friends who are taking the other two boys.

Friday, June 27, 2008

last days

It's hard to be thankful today. It's Kathrin's last day with us. She has been such a gift to us I don't know what we will do without her around here. She has completely woven her way into our hearts, becoming one of our family. On the practical side, now that I've had the help I need around here I'm not sure how I'll stay a nice mommy and still keep up with all the demands of our house and yard. We'll keep praying that God will provide again, He certainly did a good job this time. Anyways it is time to start making her favorite supper, perogies and sausage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

1000 gifts (64)

55. Life giving gentle rain for our thirsty fields

56. life giving worship with fellow believers

57. ministry to my children that opens their hearts like flowers to the Son

58. angelic guardians watching over my hyper-active son to save him from death, literally

59. lovely red and white fabric that is becoming a beautiful Canadian quilt

60. quilting with my daughter as she painstakingly learns to whip-stitch her binding on

61. heart felt prayers from tender young lips

62. annointed dance that you know doesn't come from your flesh

63. coming home after being away

64. anticipation for adventures yet to come

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Josiah's Quilt




Here are some pictures of Josiah's finished quilt. He picked the border colors, the boy's got good taste! The blocks came from Periwinkle's Saturday Suprise Sampler for this year. I love these colors. My man child is planning on moving downstairs this summer to his own room and wants to use brown and green to decorate his room. The bottom picture is my favorite block.



more gifts (54)

43. my husband is a gracious and generous man who decided this week to encourage me in a very practical way in the gifts that God has given me, I don't deserve the gift and I don't deserve him, but I am thankful anyway.

44. Which only serves to remind me of the gracious gifts the Lord gives each and every day, like patience on the days when my 2 year old is whining constantly and getting into everything sticky and gooey

45. my mother and her quilting machine!!

46. My homeschooling year is done and we did it well! That is truly a gift from the Lord.

47. Next year's resources are ordered, yet another gift from the Lord, the ability to make decisions and carry them out.

48. I am so thankful for the increased resources the Lord has blessed us with this year, we could never have imagined it was even possible.

49. walkathome.com has been a gift to me on the road to feeling better and having more energy

50. What a gift a small, close community is, when you can call someone and ask them to pick things up for you, or when you can do it for someone else, I love that so much.

51. Friends who are excited to have my children at their home and thank me for bringing them...how wonderful is that!

52. Little girls who know how to make lunch for everybody. KD, tuna and salsa, a really good combination.

53. A familiar voice that you haven't heard in a long time and sweet communion, there's nothing quite like that.

54. The sound of the dryer buzzing on the last load of laundry for the day!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

28. I am so thankful for weekends away. A true gift for a busy mom. Yes I had all my children with me and not my husband, but I was at my moms......

29. Where I don't have to worry about asking to use shampoo or soap or even her moisturizer, I'm at home and I am free to do what I like.

30. I am thankful for my mom's long-arm quilting machine with which I quilted my 12 year old man-child's coming of age queen size quilt in about 3 and a half hours!!! (not years, hours). what a blessing

31. I am blessed to have a wonderful niece (actually I have quite a few nieces that are wonderful) who I had the opportunity to worship with during the offeratory at her church on Sunday morning, God's annointing was present and it was so much fun to sing with her.

32. Scripture that is speaking right into the heart of where you are walking is a gift, particularly when it comes from a place you didn't expect it.

33. A sermon on greed and where our true love really is...

34. Sunshine, warm on your face and a cool breeze, wide open grassy lawns where children are running and playing with carefree abandon.....so sweet

35. My dad and his enormous garden and generous heart.

36. Being reunited with my husband after not seeing him for 4 days! So sweet to walk through our fields, hold hands, come back and sip tea and talk about everything and nothing.

37. The school bus is a gift some days.

38. A knee that can now bend at a 45 degree angle and is getting stronger everyday.

39. Accidents that are far less than what they might have been

40. A little book by Robin McGRaw on life lessons that was inspiring

41. Excellent devotionals that get to the heart of the matter.

42. my youngest in the throes of potty training...12 years of diaper changing might possibly be coming to an end

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Exercise and eating

I have been complaining about my weight for quite some time now, as well as the fact that I am terribly unfit. On May 1 I quit whining and finally started doing something. I got an in-home walking video from Leslie Sansone's www.walkathome.com program. I really like it. Where we live the weather is extremely unpredictable and walking outside is not possible most days, this last month the wind would have levelled you!

My wonderful husband found an eating plan for me and ordered it. I find it difficult to fit into someone else's idea of what I should eat when but I've been trying to work with it. Why is it that following an eating plan is so much more expensive than eating the way I normally do? I really don't understand that. I was whining about the plan and he said you're either going to have to decide that you're doing it or not, it's up to you. Hmmmm so whining doesn't help eh? OK. The truth is, I feel better when I eat that way, my body likes it alot. My IBS likes it alot. On the days "off" I return to what I normally eat and I bloat and feel nastier. It's less work but maybe not so good for me.

The overall result for the month is that I've lost about 4-5 pounds. Not huge, mind-boggling results, but a start at least. I'm only trying to get rid of about 20-25 and get toned up, so maybe it's worth doing. I really do like my exercising part, it's great.
22. I am thankful that not ALL my flowers froze the other night, just a few of the several hundred that I planted.

23. Our apple trees are clothed in beautiful white dresses, they are so lovely.

24. It is truly a gift to be able to go visit my mom, dad, sister (and family) tomorrow.

25. Josiah's quilt top is finished and it is beautiful, I'm so pleased with it and he may even get it on his birthday as he steps into manhood!

26. My prayer chair, it isn't new or beautiful, a cast off from former days of glory. Every day it beckons me to come a sit awhile, let the words of God wash over my spirit and let my body catch up to my soul.

27. There is hope and I am so very thankful for that!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

11. Brother and sister playing happily together rather than fighting.
12. "Open the eyes of my heart Lord" sung in warbling 4 year old as this active little boy snuggles into his blankets.
13. The power company DID make a mistake!
14. Teaching a 2 year old to pray.
15. Morning snuggles and gentle kisses and smiles from tiny bodies who crawled in after daddy went to work
16. The seeding is finally finished.
17. The wind has settled down so spraying can happen.
18. An unexpected call from my sweet sister-in-law.
19. Kathrin
20. Dancing again with a group of wonderful young ladies, exploring this art form for the very first time.
21. "Everlasting" sung by Brenton Brown

Sunday, May 25, 2008

1000 gifts



I have to admit my frustration levels have been a little over the top lately. My cup has not been full and I have not been a good example of a godly woman lately. I've been bursting at the seams with problems and issues that need resolution and no idea how to resolve them. The trying and striving have been uppermost. And in the midst of this I've been teaching a women's Sunday School class and this morning I felt like the Lord wanted me to teach about grace. Grace to be Mary and Martha, grace to fail, grace to be weak and grace to not be perfect. I was convicted that my motivation in cleaning my house and correcting my children wasn't necessarily for their benefit but my own desire to look good. So I repent. In an effort to refocus my heart I want to count my blessings. Reminders of the gifts of grace that God gives me each and every day. To read more about 1000 gifts you can go to Holy Experience (link in the sidebar) who has encouraged many in this effort of gratitude.

So it begins:

1. I am thankful for my husband who has great taste in shoes! (I realized that the best pairs of shoes I've purchased in the last year are the ones he picked out for me)

2. Grace that goes where I cannot.

3. The precious knowledge that God is taking care of business and there are things that are simply not my responsibility.

4. Sam is getting his cast off tomorrow. Praise the Lord!

5. Rain in our dry and windy land.

6. The beauty of creation.

7. The opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with God in making the world a prettier place to be.

8. cheese and bacon bagels

9. a really good cup of tea

10. Sunday afternoons

Have you started your own list yet?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The last 10 days...

So...my life is crazy ... as usual.

Sunday am - teach Sunday School, Soar Heartland report
Sunday pm - 20th birthday party for Kathrin, here
Monday am - ship some kids off in order to prepare for birthday party
Monday pm - birthday party for Abby with her friends
Tuesday am - Sasha at preschool, clean up party mess
Wednesday am - madly going through stuff to take to the rummage sale, get a call from the school, there's been an accident on the playground, Sam wants me, get all the rummage packed up and head to town, pick up Sam from school and head over to the clinic to see if he's okay
Wednesday pm - Sam is not okay, his leg is broken just above the knee, need to take him to Saskatoon to get casted, don't get home until midnight
Thursday - supposed to go to Bible study, I skip it 'cause I'm brain dead - need to take care of my son
Thursday evening - son #2 has a major blowout - I go for a walk in the cold in my slippers cause Im so stressed
Friday noon - niece, boyfriend and nephew arrive to spend the weekend.
Friday evening - all other adults leave the building for the youth group progressive supper, I stay home and referee fights end up playing computer games and watching a movie with niece and nephew late into the night
Saturday - try to do some laundry, get ready for baby shower in the evening, hang out with my niece and make cards
Saturday evening - host baby shower here
Sunday morning - passover with sunday school, Mexico mission trip report, potluck lunch at church
Sunday evening - host family birthday supper for Abby and Kathrin at our house
Monday - Kelly takes kids to dentist appointments in the city - I start working on the farm books - dad comes over to help, we realize there is a problem
Tuesday - continue to work on books with dad, there is still a problem
Tuesday evening - volunteer interview at church, quit doing farm books and play Ticket to Ride (much more enjoyable)
Wednesday - Kelly takes Sam to the city for follow up appointments, I will try to sort out the problem in the farm books
Thursday - I will go to school with sam so he can participate in the Kids Convention
Friday - I LEAVE FOR REDBERRY FOR AN ALL WEEKEND CRAFT RETREAT WITH MY FRIENDS AND NO KIDS, NO FARM BOOKS AND NO HOUSE TO TAKE CARE OF AND NO MINISTRY EXPECTATIONS (I'm a little excited about that and it's almost here)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Painting of the House


The painting is finished and here are all the pics. We all love the change and finally feel like this house is really ours. Above is the computer station. All those shelves have finally organized an extremely 'hot' spot in our house, we're really enjoying this space. The counter top was a little God thing. I had 5 minutes to find that counter top at the ReStore, pay for it and get it loaded into my van - and we did it!


The Kitchen




Picture 1
At first I was a little concerned our kitchen would look like McDonalds but obviously it doesn't. It looks great! This is what you see when you walk in our front door. We were considering painting the cupboards since they were so dark but after the yellow was on it really drew out the golden tones in the cupboards, so they'll stay the way they are!

Picture 2
We painted and recovered our ugly chairs and they look soooooooooooo fabulous, this pic doesn't do them justice. We also recovered the benches in the breakfast nook. I used over 1000 staples doing those chairs and benches - it was so worth it. The fabric was a God-thing. I walked into Fabricland, saw one of my friends who works there, stopped to talk to her and told her why I was there, we looked down, saw this roll of fabric and I knew it was the one. It was also 70% off! I was in and out in about 15 minutes - probably my quickest fabric shop trip ever!!

Picture 3
You probably can't see the details on this wall because it's pretty subtle, but the word 'life' is painted on in 10 different languages. The cart was another gift from God. We wanted to take out one cupboard that blocked the kitchen and took up too much counter space so we needed to get something to hold those dishes. We decided on a cart but figured we were going to have to fork out quite a chunk of change for it but God showed me this one in Wal-Mart for only $150. That was a nice gift.

Picture 4
(It was baking day when I took these pics - hence all the baking stuff on the counters.)