Monday, May 30, 2011 thanks for the gifts of today... (1001 - 1026) endless list of gratitude continues...
1001.  soup served up
1002.  loss taken in stride
1003.  quiet bedtime
1004.  voluntary hugs
1005.  cooperation on the chore front
1006. obedience
1007.  contrition on delayed obedience
1008.  no throwing today
1009.  no bullying today
1010.  homework done without a fight
1011.  encouragement given without badgering
1012.  medication taken without reminders
1013.  project completion
1014.  an invitation to play
1015.  all the vegetables in their cozy dirt beds
1016.  most of the bedding plants into the planters
1017.  anticipation for a few days of dancing with fabric,
1018.  and learning something new and
1019.  coming home with beauty
1020.  and I won't be cooking
1021.  a small smile in the midst of exhaustion
1022.  the opportunity to sleep in peace
1023.  next to one I love
1024.  honeybees
1025.  apple blossoms
1026.  quiet

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Flowers and Gifts

Is it possible to simply break?
Once your heart has been shattered by a hundred tiny instances does one's body follow suit?
I sat and read about Eucharisteo today, grace in thanksgiving.  I finally bought Ann's book.  I have to admit I was scared to buy it...I'm tired of reading books that tell me I'm not doing things right.   I'm not much of a crowd-follower and the book is gaining quite a crowd.  But I feel like I've 'known' Ann for a long time, I've followed her blog, Holy Experience, for many years already.  I've watched her list of 1000 gifts grow, and I grew my own alongside hers.  Her book is the story of how she got there and the change it made in her.  I have to admit I was a little jealous.  She spins out words and they are poetry and go soul-deep...sitting in me.  Wrecking me.  Wishing, that my gift was a little more like hers. 
I, too, write words, not like hers.  They are my story.  My mess.  I wasn't sure I wanted to hear what she had to say.
She has a mess, too.  Like me;, farmer, Canadian, six kids, homeschool.  The same but different.  The struggles strain us, test us, push us.  The same but different.
Would her words help me in my mess or make the mess feel like so much more.
Today the mess took me by surprise.  I'm not sure why, it's been here for so long, but when there's been a little reprieve my flesh forgets the pain for awhile and when it comes back to hurl itself at me it hurts a little more than before.
I read to my little boys behind a locked door and we listen to the sound of missiles against the wall and pretend it isn't there.  The crashing of frustration and restlessness, trying to re-create the trauma that is more familiar to only him.  Our spirits don't know what to do with it because we don't understand it and can't.  The rest of us were loved and nurtured when it was most critical, we trust, we relate and he just isn't able and it wounds us to the very core.
Later we try to play a game together but he doesn't understand that there is winning and losing and you have to accept the losses with the gains and the frustration is back and we must stop.
So I sat in my mess and read Ann's words of learning to give thanks in the mess.  Reading the road to joy and peace begins with thanksgiving, like Jesus did on the night he was betrayed - he took the bread, the ordinary bread of everyday and gave thanks, Eucharisteo, and then he went and died for me.  There is healing in thanksgiving, I remember it from when 'fresh flowers' - the little pieces of heaven that came just for me - arrived on a regular basis...I looked for them but I haven't for a long time.  My eyes yearn to re-awaken to wonder but despair looms large and I'm not sure I have the will to push it away.  But I begin to feel the first sprouting of understanding.  Under the dirt the seeds I planted are beginning to unfurl, perhaps hope has a chance in me yet.  So I will begin again to count the gifts of grace in the mundane, everydayness of my life.  Bits and peaces of grace that when swept together will help me taste joy.  Perhaps if I look for flowers they will bloom again.
Last week Abby and I discovered a lovely store called The Paper Umbrella.  For one who loves writing and blank paper and beauty this store was a bit of soul-candy.  We lingered for a while, relishing the sights and smells of journals ready for thoughts, ideas and sketches.  I ran my fingers over lovely parchment and breathed in leather and sealing wax.  I limited myself to only a small notebook that spoke to me of an earlier, less complicated time.  It was somehow appropriate after just finishing Pride and Prejudice.  Perhaps I will begin a new list in it's pages, another 1000 gifts that Someone who loves will help me see

maybe I'll write flowers again...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Help, I'm a project Junkie!

Hello, my name is Lani and I'm a project junkie.  I'm beginning to think I need someone to save me from myself.  Seriously!  We are thrifty people, DIY-ers mostly because we've had to be.  We're pretty handy and mostly we've been able to accomplish our projects with satisfaction.  We've done renno's, upholstered, changed things, planned, dreamed and made it happen.  Unfortunately there's this little thing called life that keeps getting in the way of the fun projects that we want to do and makes us do boring projects that we HAVE to do, like bookkeeping and taxes.

I absolutely love a good project, give me a great topic to speak on and I will do hours of research to get it done.  Give me beautiful fabrics and I'll whip up something amazing and useful.  Give me a can of paint and I'll brighten up a room.  Yup, I love, love, love bringing out the beauty in things and putting it all around me, but right now I'm a little overwhelmed with all our dreams and plans.  They're good and we'll get there eventually, I'm just afraid I might be too tired or old to enjoy it!

Because of the lifestyle we want for ourselves and our kids (living off our land)we are preparing for livestock.  We were given an old chicken barn that we moved to our yard and are slowly but surely getting it ready to bring in our livestock - goats, cows, pigs and chickens.  This also involves fencing, trenching, rock-picking, etc.

Our house is in need of some tender loving care so I'm in the process of painting our basement and eventually the kitchen, hallways, doors and trim.  While doing the basement we decided it would be much less expensive to re-upholster the couches we have downstairs than to buy new ones (which we don't have the money for anyway).  I've got the fabric (at an excellent bargain I might add) and now it sits there staring at me, begging me to make my sad old couches look beautiful again (again - cause we've done this before).

Also on my sewing table is a quilt that was supposed to be done for my son's 12th birthday that still needs binding, he just asked me if it would ever get finished (his 13th birthday is in 3 months).  His little sister's quilt is still on the quilt rack waiting for me to finish tying and hand-quilting - it's been on there for almost a year, too!  I probably shouldn't mention that I have another 12th birthday quilt that needs to be done for next April that I haven't started yet.

Then I have this boy that's really hard to fit.  He needs PJ pants, so I picked up inexpensive fabric to make him some - way cheaper and better quality than store bought.  But I still have to actually do it.   Sitting next to that is a beautiful old doll that someone asked me to make clothes for, she still needs three more outfits.

MEANWHILE - the whole out of door business awaits - huge, gigantor gardens to be planted and tended, flower beds to fight with and we're not quite done seeding yet so my dear husband is mostly unavailable.

AND THEN - all the regular stuff has to keep happening.  You know, little things like laundry, cooking, baking, cleaning, ball practices and games, Sunday school, youth group and did I mention I have 6 kids?  We've got homeschool reports to finish up, piano recital and worship team practice to fit in.  Counselling trips to the city and helping out my parents as much as we can.

I absolutely will not mention that the kitchen, hallways, doors and trim on the main floor are quite in need of paint as is the bathroom - which I have the paint just needs to be done.  And I won't tell you that when I cleaned my sewing area the other day I put together 4 beautiful little piles of fabric that are just begging to be made into quilts, or my 'new-to-me' serger that isn't out of the box yet that needs to get used on a bunch of mending that's waiting right next to the ironing.

Too many projects and not enough of me.  All the projects I don't like (like gardening and pretty much most things outside) keep pressing in on me and I have to shove off the projects I would love to making all those quilts!

How to manage it all and not go crazy or just drop over from exhaustion, I haven't quite figured out...maybe someday, in the meantime  maybe I'll work on that book I started awhile ago...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Thankfulness in the Storm

I have to remind myself to post the good stuff, too.  If you go back through my archives you'll find my journey of 1000 gifts, little bits of grace given by the Father.  If you want to learn more about a life of thankfulness head over to Holy Experience and start your journey.  Today she has an amazing post on what it takes to be a mother, not perfection, just humility and the willingness to work at relationships.  How I needed to hear that today.

It's been a relatively calm week.  In fact with only one major blow up in the last 6 weeks or so, it's almost felt like hope can rise.  We're pretty sure some of our son's issues are seasonal but we don't have a firm diagnosis of that, we know winter is always bad.  The other behaviours continue but an explosion free zone has been nice.  I'm even painting the basement, filling in all the holes, covering the wreckage with the grace of paint and plaster.  Hoping, hoping that we won't have to fill in a hole for a very long time.  We used plywood to make the walls of the new bedroom in hopes that it will be harder to break.

Last week I took J and C to the city for an appointment.  It turned out to be an excellent day.  We managed to keep the jealousy monster in check, he managed to bend with changes of plans and expressed gratitude continually throughout the day.

Pieces of grace that are needed to continue to mend my fragile, broken heart...
- thankful that we were able to get where we needed to be at the right times despite all the driving around NOT finding where we wanted to go
- thankful for a son who wants to kill in an hour in the library instead of at an arcade
- thankful for my kids in general
- the gift of crocuses on the hillside, not just one or two, but hundreds!

- teaparties with big brothers and little sisters

- seeders in the field, sowing hope for abundance
-friends who come to visit
- hugs
- understanding
- godly young men
- my new kitchen table
- watching my daughter sew a quilt
- piles of fabric waiting to be sewn
- projects that work
- when a space becomes yours