Family

Monday Mania

There’s nothing like freezing rain and a good dumping of snow to add some chaos to the day.  Yesterday the world was brown and this morning we were greeted with drifts of snow and icy streets.  I decided not to drive to work and instead took the bus.  That didn’t go so well as my bus was late and I missed my transfer.  When I finally got on the transfer bus I wasn’t sure I would get to my destination intact.  The bus slid through my stop when picking me up and then fish-tailed turning the next corner.  A city bus…fish-tailing…that’s just a bit scary.  And the bus had to take the freeway to get to my destination.  The words “We’re all going to die” DID pass through my mind!  In the end, it took almost 1 1/2 hours to get to work.  I would have got there sooner if I had walked!  Coming home was somewhat better but as soon as I got home I had to rush to scrape the ICE off the car to get my daughter off to swimming lessons.  So here I am, at the pool, waiting for lessons to end so I can head out into the ice and snow again.  Welcome to Saskatchewan in November!
image


The tales we tell ourselves

I think a part of being human is that we tell stories.  We tell stories to others and we tell stories to ourselves.  The stories we tell are subjective; other people will have different perspectives and each will tell a different story of the same situation.  Our stories are influenced by what we have experienced in the world and how we have interpreted those experiences.

I was thinking about this after spending some time with my daughter this evening.  She is learning to read and had some homework, a story, to read to me.  At times she finds learning to read overwhelming and she tells herself tales, such as “I’ll never learn to read” and “I can’t do it”.  This evening was one of those times.  Now, none of these tales are true.  My daughter continues to improve in her reading and she has learned many new words over the past year.  And yet she tells herself these things, things which are not true.  I named it for her this evening.  I told her she has learned new words that I didn’t even know she knew.  So when she says, “I’ll never learn to read,” she is lying to herself.  When I put it this way, she laughed and thought it was funny.

And it got me thinking.  I know exactly how my daughter feels.  There have been times when I’ve told myself, “I’ll never be able to do it” and “I’m the worst failure ever” and so on and so on.  I tell myself tales, tales which are not true.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  I don’t really know the answer.  Is it an attempt to protect ourselves against the threat of rejection from others (if I condemn myself first, it won’t hurt so bad when someone else does it)? I don’t know.

I do know that I don’t lie to myself as often now as I used to.  I am more ‘comfortable’ with who I am (warts and all) and so am less likely to condemn myself and think the worst in a situation.  I know there is grace and I don’t have to be ‘perfect’.  I can ‘let myself off the hook’ when I make mistakes.  Maybe I’ve learned to tell myself different stories.  Stories that say, “So I made a mistake – it’s not the end of the world” and “This doesn’t change my acceptance of myself and the fact that I am loved”.

It’s hard to revise the tales we tell ourselves but it can be done.  Though it takes time, it is possible.  Not through fear and striving to change the tapes in our minds.  But through love and grace, through the acceptance of ourselves.


Brokenness

We are all broken people…in need of grace.

I was reminded of this a number of times this week.  Through a blog post here.  Through an article here.  When my son completely “lost it” on me and I “lost it” back.  When my husband shared his experience of this week.  When I was tired and in pain.

We harbour such weakness wrapped up in our facade of strength.  Though sometimes it is a facade, it is not always so.  We are strong…in many ways.  The human heart can be incredibly resilient.  But it is not invincible.  Each of us carries our own unique mixed bag of triggers which we have accumulated through our life experiences, genetics, and personalities.  Our weakness becomes apparent when these triggers are hit.

We are all broken people…in need of grace.

I find it comforting that we are all in this together.  I am not alone or unique in my weakness.  All humanity shares in this affliction.  It does not matter the nationality, race, or religion.  It makes no difference.  We are all broken.

And we are all forgiven.  We are all loved.  All humanity shares in this consolation.  Though we are broken, we have been given grace.

I do not have to make myself “perfect”.  It would be impossible anyways (though I tried to do this for many years).  It is better for me to accept who I am…all of who I am.  My weakness and my strength.  I’m finding as I do this (and it is a process) God’s grace is able to heal my brokenness (that’s a process too, a process I believe will continue until I die).  The more this happens, the more I experience the wonderful love of God…right in the midst of my brokenness.

I do not need to fear or disdain my brokenness for it is there that I see God.  And He is good and loving and full of grace.


Get some space

This post goes out in particular to my friends who are parents of children still at home.

Get some space.

What I mean is, take time (and space) where you can be by yourself without interruptions, without being ‘on call’. Take a break.

What does one do while ‘taking a break’?  The things you love to do, the things that relax you, the things that recharge you.  Sometimes I think it is a way of feeling ‘human’ again.

There is so much that grabs for our attention, our time, our energy.  I feel this most acutely as a mom.  Sometimes it feels all that I hear in a day is ‘Mom? Mom? Mom! Where’s mom?’  It can get wearing after a while.  Even when I’m trying to ‘hide’ for 5 minutes in the bathroom somehow they hunt me down: ‘Mom, are you in there?’

It has taken me a number of years to truly understand and appreciate the importance of this.  I used to think it was selfish of me to want time for myself, that somehow that would be unfair to my family.  In reality, it is unfair to my family NOT to take time out for myself.  When I don’t take a break I become increasingly more irritable and resentful and I have a lot less patience and energy.

I wouldn’t have learned this valuable lesson without my husband. My husband had been a bachelor for a few years before we got married.  And when he married me he got two young boys as part of the package.  He was used to having time to himself so he would head out of the house a couple of times a month. And he would retreat to the cabin for a weekend once or twice a year. I was never resentful of this because it was good for him. After a number of months I started thinking that maybe it would be good for me too. When I mentioned this to my husband he was enthusiastic in his support: ‘Of course! I get time to myself; it’s only fair that you do too.’

And it was wonderful! I read, I journalled, I blogged, I went for walks, I sat in coffee shops, I soaked in the tub. And when I would take this time I would feel better and more able (and willing) to give everyone my time and energy.

There were still moments when I would feel a twinge of guilt for ‘running away’ but I recognized that this was a good thing…for me and everyone else. It became a ‘normal’ part of my life. I took time for myself a couple of times a month. I even once stayed in a hotel by myself for a weekend, which was awesome!

Then I had a wake-up call a few years ago when chatting with some friends (all moms). They had never been away from their children for even one night. And it’s not like they were opposed to the idea. They had just never done it. So I organized a women’s retreat – we rented a huge beautiful cabin at a lake and stayed there for a weekend, with not really any agenda but to relax and recharge. This year a friend and I took off on the May long weekend to get away from our families and recharge. She said it was the most rejuvenating weekend she had ever had.

Over and over I see this idea that it’s important to take time for ourselves being reinforced. The benefits are well worth the time taken.

I recognize that we’re all in different circumstances and at different seasons in our lives. Taking time for oneself will be easier for some than for others. But I believe it CAN be done. Be intentional about it. I know often I have to schedule things in or they will never happen. Be creative. Tap into whatever resources you can. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a large chunk of time – maybe an hour or two once or twice a month is all you can do right now. Or maybe it’s 20 minutes a day. Just because it may not be as much time as you would like does not mean you should wait and put it off for later. And be sure not to fill up your time with activities that don’t relax or recharge you (I’ve gotten caught in this trap). This is YOUR time, not anyone else’s. Enjoy it!

I cannot stress enough how important this is. And it’s not just important for the introverts (like me). Extroverts need this time too (my husband is an extrovert). Yet it seems in my experience too few of us do this with any regularity. And we feel worn out, weary, overwhelmed… I don’t think getting some space is the cure but I sure do believe it helps.


Random thoughts on Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.  This season of Lent is almost over and I realize my ‘project’ didn’t get very far.  But that’s ok, I’ll give myself some grace.  I’ve been doing lots of thinking over this season but not a lot of writing.  Here are some of my random thoughts:

I’ve been thinking about the life Jesus lived through the lens of compassion.  He reached out to the marginalized, those rejected by society.  In turn, they felt ‘safe’ to come to Him.  Just look at all the beggars and lepers and cripples who called out to Him…and He heard their cries.  I really like that about Jesus.  It gives me hope.  There is no one whose life is so broken that Jesus will not enter in and bring love and grace.  I want to be like that.  I want to love and accept people as they are, no matter how broken.  I admit there’s still a lot of work to be done in this area – I still feel uncomfortable passing the panhandlers whenever I walk downtown.  Sometimes I can look them in the eye but other times I pretend I don’t see them.  They must feel like they aren’t even people sometimes and I feel sad about that.  They need love and compassion, too. And I wonder, “What am I afraid of, that I cannot even look them in the eye and acknowledge their presence, their humanity?”

I’ve been thinking about the Truth.  Jesus said, “I am the Truth…”  I’m realizing there are times when doing the right thing is the hard thing.  It’s not easy, handling the truth.  Sometimes it would be much easier to ignore the issue, pretend it isn’t there, continue on with the status quo.  But that would be denying the Truth.  I think of a particular situation in the past year where I chose to speak the truth knowing that I would be rejected and considered the “bad guy” but knowing it was the right thing to do nonetheless.  This didn’t make the situation any easier but I have a peace and resolve knowing I walked in Truth.

A couple of people have asked me over the last week what our family’s traditions are for Easter.  I sheepishly admit that we don’t have any traditions.  In the past I’ve hardly recognized Good Friday and Easter at all.  When I was working at the hotel Good Friday meant a three day relief from the stresses of my job.  I mostly wanted to rest and do as little as possible.  Another house church group in our network had a tradition of celebrating Easter morning at a big rock overlooking the South Saskatchewan River and we would join them for that.  But that’s really the extent of it.  As I’ve been comparing myself to others I’ve wondered if I’m “less of a Christian” because I don’t practice any traditions.  Why do we have traditions anyways?

My focus has been on living out God’s love and grace.  As much as I can, I try to communicate to everyone (my children in particular) that they are loved and accepted, that there is grace for mistakes, that they don’t have to live in shame, that they can learn to accept themselves.  I know for my own life that coming to understand these things unleashes freedom from shame and fear.  I have much more peace and I feel more fulfilled and satisfied.  And I know I couldn’t come to understand these things without experiencing them.  So I aim to live these out so others can experience them and come to greater freedom and healing in their own lives.  Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life,  and may have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Which leads me to something that’s been bothering me and I’m not exactly sure why. I hesitate to write about it because I know people who are following this – I don’t want to come across as judging them and if I do, I apologize.   Over at holleygerth.com they’re talking a lot about “God-sized dreams”.  She even wrote a book about it: You’re Made for a God-sized Dream – Opening the Door to all God has for You.  Why does this idea of a “God-sized dream” rub me the wrong way?  I don’t have anything against people dreaming and living out their dreams.  I’ve done that.  I acted in a Gateway play a couple of years back, I went up in a hot air balloon last Fall, I started my own event planning business and have more flexibility in my life.  I think it’s great.

Perhaps I get the impression that people are declaring what they want God to do for them and demanding in faith that He does it.  Why are they so determined to have their dreams fulfilled?  And maybe that’s where I trip up.  Because dreams aren’t always fulfilled.  Sometimes life doesn’t happen how you want it to.  Maybe I’m jaded and cynical when I hear talk of “naming and claiming”.  Because my husband died when I was 29 and my oldest son has a mixed bag of mental health diagnoses.  I’m not a stay-at-home mom and life has not happened how I had “dreamed” it would.  And yet God is no less loving and full of grace.

Maybe that’s it.  There was a time when I had dreams and my perception of God was based on those dreams being fulfilled.  And when they weren’t it messed up my faith.  I didn’t know who God was because I thought my dreams were His dreams so why would He take those away?  There’s a line from a song, “There is freedom in surrender…” (Singing Over Me, by Kari Jobe).  I know this to be true.  When my husband died, I surrendered my life to God.  I said, “You are God and I place everything in Your hands.”  I let go of all my dreams and trusted God to get me through the shattering of them.  And I believe God has done (and is doing) wonderful, amazing things in response.

The life I now have is much more awesome than I could have ever dreamed up on my own.  Being married the second time around has been better than I imagined marriage could be.  My children are healthy and happy for the most part.  We live in a great old house that’s walking distance to downtown.  Now that I have my own business I am able to spend more time investing in other people, encouraging them, sharing life with them (one of the main reasons I quit my job).  My perspectives have changed on many things and I have a greater understanding of God’s love and grace and the Good News.  I have more peace and less fear and shame.  I couldn’t have dreamed this stuff up!

And maybe that’s my point.  I don’t know all the awesome and wonderful things God desires for me.  And who am I to tell God what they are?  And as if He doesn’t know what they are!?  So I don’t need to strive for and “claim” my God-sized dream.  God is already taking care of that.  I just need to be faithful with what He’s placed in front of me at this time.  The more I grow the more simple it seems to me.  Jesus really was right when He said that loving God and loving your neighbor summed up everything you need to know to live this life.

“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

“Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).


Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make someone’s day

My daughter had a fantastic kindergarden teacher last year. This teacher is teaching out of town for this year but my daughter and I were able to track down her work email address. So my daughter wrote her an email saying that she missed her and that she was the best teacher she ever had (my daughter dictated, I typed). Well my daughter’s teacher wrote back today – she was excited to hear from her former student and said the note made her day.

I got to thinking about that. It doesn’t necessarily take that much to make someone’s day – paying for a friend’s meal, freely giving a compliment or encouraging word, being a listening ear.

It means looking beyond ourselves and our own problems and busy lives, which is sometimes hard to do. But I find when I do, when I stop and “see” the people around me and take the time to focus on them, not only do I “make someone’s day” but I experience joy knowing I made a person’s day just a little bit brighter.


#33: Dancing with my daughter (40 days of fun)

I love to dance. I never had the opportunity to take dance lessons as a child but if it had been possible I certainly would have done it. My daughter loves to dance. She was dancing before she could walk. I’m serious. She would stand and sway her hips and wave her arms in time to the music (without ever taking a step). She’s been taking dance lessons for a couple of years and every once in a while she wants to dance with her mom.

This morning was one of those times. First, she wanted to be the dance teacher so she was giving me instructions about what moves I was supposed to do and how I was to copy her. Then we just randomly danced to the music.

It was so much fun! I love my daughter. I love to see the joy and life radiating out from her. It helps me experience more joy and wonder. It is a beautiful thing.


#34: A Day of Fun (40 days of fun)

I had all sorts of fun today.  I stayed in bed under the warm and cozy covers, read another chapter of my book, and watched the newest episodes of Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.

I had a great visit with someone I haven’t connected with in several years.  It was so good to ‘catch up’ on each others’ lives and I look forward to hanging out with her more.  I was really encouraged by her journey in the area of the arts and music.  I’m feeling a little nudge to pursue this more in my own life.  What it will look like, I have no idea, but I think there’s something there for me and possibly to share with other people.

This evening my children and I put up our Christmas tree and decorations.  And to top it all off, we had ‘family games night’.  I hope we can do ‘games night’ on a more regular basis in the future; it’s not very often that we’ve done it in the past.  It’s been challenging because the games everyone wants to play (like Settlers of Catan) are too old for our youngest to play.  So this evening we played Sorry and everyone had a great time.

What an awesome day!


Reflections on “no responsibilities”

Last week was the week of no responsibilities for me.  Meaning there were no children around. They spent the week at Grandma’s in another province.

I really enjoy these times.  I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it, without feeling obligated to anyone – not even my husband.  I think everyone should experience this at least once a year, even if it is only for a few days.

This time is precious to me, but in the past I have actually stressed about using the time ‘wisely’.  What if I don’t accomplish what needs to be accomplished (for my emotional, mental, and spiritual health) in the time given to me?  What if I squander it?  What if it was a waste?  These are thoughts that would go through my mind.  It was particularly bad if I only had a day or two without the kids.  As if it was demanded that I achieve some new level of spiritual growth, and if I didn’t I would have squandered that precious gift of time, never to get it back.

This time around I didn’t experience that kind of stress, although I felt a little anxious the last day before picking up the kids.  I think it helped that I had an entire week (7 full days) with no kids.  It also helped that I’ve started to let go of more of the expectations I put on myself and am learning to accept myself more…as I am.

I come away from this week feeling relaxed and refreshed.  I went for walks, took naps, slept in, read a book cover to cover in three days, wrote in my journal, and listened to a few books of the Bible.  My husband would ask me, “Have any plans for the day?”  And I’d answer, “No, I’ll just do whatever I feel like doing.”  No plans, no obligations, full freedom to ‘go with the flow’.  It was wonderful!

I think that it’s healthy and good – for one’s personal well being – to have a space where the cares and worries of our day-to-day lives are put on the shelf for a time and we are free to experience ourselves as simply ‘being’.  Our identity not defined by our accomplishments or usefulness.  I find myself, particularly as a mother and career woman, basing my sense of worth on my ability to contribute – in my home and work environments especially.  I recognize this isn’t a healthy place to be, and am thankful for the opportunity to experience and accept myself for who I AM, not so much on the purpose I serve.  It’s a long way to go for me in this area, but these times help the process, despite the fact that I was not planning on ‘accomplishing’ anything during my week of ‘no responsibilities’ (or perhaps…because of that fact).


Moments of gratitude

It’s been a stressful, emotionally draining week – too many difficult situations in rapid succession was wearing away at my emotional fortitude. I hope I can find some refreshing this weekend. I was pretty fried by the time I hit Friday.

In spite of the difficult things I’ve had to deal with this week I have much to enjoy, appreciate, be thankful for. I have a couple of blogging friends who have (and still are) creating a list of all the things they are thankful for. Considering my week it would be a good exercise to focus on the “awesome” things in my life.

So here goes…

– my daughter and the ‘life’ she brings to our home. We picked up a bike for her yesterday – she was vibrating, she was so excited. She loves to learn new things and is so excited when she accomplishes what she set out to do.

– Saskatchewan sunsets. Growing up on a farm on the prairies meant I got to see lots of beautiful, breathtaking sunsets. It seemed that God was painting and the open expanse of sky was His canvas. Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of a beautiful sunset (even though I’m living in a city now) and I never tire of seeing them. Yesterday was one of those days.

– my super supportive husband. He listens so patiently when I need to ‘unload’ about my day. He encourages me and believes in me. He is my partner. Very rarely do I experience any kind of stress in our relationship. I know not everyone has a husband like him and my life would be much much more stressful and difficult if I hadn’t married him or if I had married someone else. I am so thankful for him.

– abundance. In terms of resources we have an abundance right now. This definitely helps to minimize stress. My husband is doing well in His career choice and I believe God has had a hand in influencing where I am in terms of a career. I’m doing well considering I don’t have a university degree.

There are many more things I am thankful for (but my daughter’s ballet class is almost over and I need to sign off).


Remembering Mike 10 Years Later

Michael Richard Fisher (September 16, 1972 - February 26, 2002)

10 years ago today my husband passed away. 10 years ago today my world shattered.

A wave of sadness washes over me as I recognize this day. I am forced to look it in the face. I don’t want to re-enact the past. I don’t want to remember the suffocating sorrow. I don’t want to feel the fear, the panic. I don’t want to think back on how reality became surreal as my mind could not process what had happened. It was so terrible.

I pause…and breathe. Emotions flood my soul and I acknowledge them one by one.

The world has forgotten that day…so long ago. Life moves on. I accept that. Actually I bury myself in that. I don’t want to remember…for sadness is its comrade. And there is already enough sadness in this world.

The memories are there. It is not necessarily difficult to remember. I just tend to ignore the memories and carry on with “life”. There’s less sadness that way. I want a new perspective. I want to be able to remember without the blanket of sadness that accompanies it. After all, I know with absolute certainty that Mike is in heaven with God. I know there is great joy and peace there. I know I will see him one day.

But I miss him here on earth. I miss his laugh and his hugs. I miss his sense of humour. I miss the fact that David and Matthew, our sons, can’t know him. But it is such a huge blessing that Leighton, their stepfather, can tell them stories of their father. I’m sad that Lynae couldn’t know him (although if he was still here, Lynae wouldn’t even exist). I think Lynae would really like Mike and he would really like her – they both have a mischievous side to them. I miss the dreams we were never able to fulfill together, like owning our own home and travelling – we loved to travel together.

Despite these things I am incredibly happy now. And maybe that’s where there’s a disconnect. How can I feel sadness for missing Mike when I feel happy and satisfied with my life now…without him? I don’t feel guilt. But it doesn’t process very well in my mind. Perhaps that’s why I ignore the memories and focus on the present.

I believe Mike is very happy for me and the boys. He was always proud of my successes. He would be glad that we have a loving home. He would be happy that Leighton is my husband and David and Matthew’s stepfather (after all he was Mike’s best friend in high school).

And where have I come in the last ten years? I am a different person from what I was back then. Older, wiser, more “grounded”. It is our circumstances, the people in our lives, and the choices we make that shape us.

I have known the peace of God that transcends understanding in the midst of intense trauma.

I have come to understand the grace of God and with that comes an incredible confidence. If God’s grace is ever present and undiminished in the face of my sin then fear has no hold on me. What do I have to be afraid of if grace is always there?

I have less fear when relating to my children and more freedom to love them…as..they..are.

I know that clinging to God is the only way to keep your sanity as your world falls apart. I may not understand the “why” of my circumstances but I know God’s love will never fail me.

One other thing I know: if surrendered to God, He will always bring “life” out of death. I have so much 10 years later – in all facets of my life (physical, emotional, spiritual). God has greatly blessed me. I don’t know why Mike died but I know that God didn’t intend for that moment to end in despair. There is hope and I look forward to seeing Mike and swapping stories with him in eternity.


Thankful notes…

I missed blogging last weekend – too busy and worn out.  I’m thankful for a number of things today.

  • My husband – he is awesome! And caring! And self-sacrificing!  At work last week we were 2 bodies down and it was really really busy. I had to go into work early and stay late for a couple of days and my husband took care of everything at home.  I really appreciate him and couldn’t do this without him
  • My ‘new’ body – since October, I’ve embarked on working out consistently and watching (and limiting) what I eat.  As a result (over the 6 months) I have lost 30 pounds and as of this week, I can fit into all my old clothes (clothes I could wear before getting married and having my daughter).  It feels SO good to fit into ‘slim’ clothes again.  And I feel like I’ve never been in this good of shape before.  I’m very thankful that I had the discipline to stick to the plan.  The end results were definitely worth it!
  • Spring – I know there isn’t any evidence that it’s here yet, but it’s coming.  And in spring you can hear the birds singing, the air is fresh and warm.  The remnants of winter (and all the dirt and grime) disappear, the grass begins to grow, and leaves erupt from trees.  I love it! (especially the smell of wet earth after the first spring rain)
  • the love and life of my daughter – I was with my daughter in the mall yesterday.  We were in a shoe store and while I was trying on different kinds of shoes, she found 2 other children in the store.  She sat down beside them and started talking to them.  When the children were leaving with their parents, Lynae ran out of the store to follow them.  I chased after her to stop her, not knowing what she was trying to do.  When I stopped her, she was sad because she wanted to give them a hug goodbye.  Lynae loves people and she loves them freely and generously.  It is such a beautiful quality.  She brings smiles to people’s faces wherever she goes.

Information Technology, what a wonderful thing!

“Information Technology: the technology involving the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data”

We tend to be a tech-savvy family. My husband’s line of work is I.T.. He’s always researching the latest and greatest in information technologies and gadgets. Because of this, I have been exposed to things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I love (and am very thankful for) a number of these. Here’s a bit of a list:

  • Netflix: provides on-demand video streaming over the internet. We have a computer hooked up to our TV and we can watch movies and TV shows for a small monthly fee (we’re watching “Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie” as I type). The selection isn’t huge, but it’s enough to keep us entertained. We’ve cancelled any cable or satellite TV services and just use the internet to watch video (beside Netflix, we use iTunes and YouTube)
  • Controlling our TV/computer from my laptop: here I am sitting on the couch, watching a movie, and I have the technology to control the computer hooked up to the TV remotely through my laptop (the software is called TightVNC); I can surf the net, download & watch movies, etc. As an added bonus, I can control our Blu-Ray player from my iPod (cool, eh?)
  • iPod Touch: my husband used to ask me if I wanted a pocket PC or iPod Touch. He thought I would enjoy them as they are good organizational tools and I love to be organized. I balked at this and didn’t think I ‘needed’ anything like that. I had got along without them up until now so why would I need them. But a little over a year ago my husband bought me an iPod Touch and I was instantly hooked! This gadget is awesome! Not only does it make me even more organized (calendar, grocery list, contact list), but it keeps all my social media information in one spot (RSS reader to follow blogs, email, facebook), news (Globe & Mail, CBC News, Discovery News, TED, StarPhoenix), information tools (Yellow Pages, IMDB, Flixster to know what movies are playing, Dictionary, Conversion tool), etc. I even have a couple of apps where I can search recipes (that has come in very handy at times). I have games to keep me and my daughter entertained; I can listen to music; watch Netflix and YouTube; I can surf the internet; I can read books (I have an app where I can download over 23,000 classic literature). I always carry my iPod with me wherever I go and if I forget to bring it along I feel ‘naked’. It is absolutely awesome having all this information at my fingertips.
  • the internet: never in the history of mankind has information been so easily accessible. Need to know operating hours of your favorite mall – look it up; need to do some shopping – shop online (the options are endless); want to know the actor in the last movie you watched; get information on the earthquake in Japan; look up the life of King George the 6th. On top of all that with social networking (Twitter, Facebook) the course of history is changing (a great example is the 2011 protests in Egypt)

The list could go on, but needless to say my life would be very different without information technologies. And I am very thankful for them.


Thanks…today?

As promised I’ve been trying to write one post a week about something in which I am thankful.  Today is a tuffy.  Last night was particularly rough with my oldest son and it didn’t leave me feeling very good (or thankful).  Today was busy with various activities and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and think about thankfulness…until right now.

I could list a number of quick easy things that I am thankful for: heat, sight, colors, cameras, friends, a wonderful loving husband, etc.  But my goal was for a little more depth in my blog posts.

Yesterday was the 9 year anniversary of my first husband, Mike Fisher’s, death.  A lot has changed in 9 years.  I have changed a lot in 9 years; the kids have changed a lot in 9 years.  I miss Mike.  I’d like him to see what kind of person I’ve become.  I think he would have a lot of fun with Matthew (his youngest son) and I think Matthew would really like his dad.  I’m not sure how he would react to David (his oldest son).  He might be saddened by how difficult life has been for David.  But then again he might have some words of insight, acceptance, love (coming from the other side of the grave) to offer for David.  I’m sure he would tell him that he loves him very much.

The last 9 years have been an amazing journey and I am a better person for it.  I have a deeper faith in God.  I’ve learned so much more about grace and bit by bit I am giving myself permission to accept God’s grace (versus my own perfectionism).

So…yep… that’s what I’m thankful for today: the journey.  I used to squirm whenever I heard talk about the importance of “the journey” more than the destination.  I just wanted to get where I needed to get to…NOW!  I didn’t want to have to suffer through “the journey”.  The journey was not always pleasant and I wanted to skip past the unpleasantness and arrive.  But now I see that it is in “the journey” that growth, maturity, transformation happens.  It is by walking those valleys of unpleasantness that my relationship with God deepens.  My faith is strengthened and I am tossed less and less by the wind and the waves of my circumstances.

My journey has not been easy but the rewards have outweighed the adversity.  And so I am thankful.  Thankful that God saw fit to take me on this journey so I could experience His love and grace in amazing ways.


Simple “girl” times

This morning I spent time with my little girl.  We had a tea party and we sat at the table, coloring pictures together.  I am very thankful for these ‘simple’ times.  It has been a great blessing and instrument of healing for me to have a daughter.

My mother did not spend a lot of time ‘playing’ with me when I was a little girl.  I don’t hold this against her – she wasn’t in the most ideal environment to be able to be nurturing.  I was actually a lot closer to my grandmother who lived on the same farmstead.  We did a lot of ‘playing’ together.  I remember getting into my grandmother’s sewing kit and playing with all her buttons – there’s a picture somewhere of me sitting on the floor with all her sewing things on the floor around me.  I also remember helping my grandma make bread – she would make it by hand (without a mixer, until her arthritis got too bad).  And she’d let me punch down the dough as hard as my 4 year old arms could.  I am incredibly thankful for these moments with my grandmother.  I could be a ‘little girl’ around her.  She was more of a ‘mother’ to me than my own mother.

I lost the ability to simply be a ‘little girl’ as I was growing up.  I became hard and would not show emotions.  I tried to behave much older than I really was.  I became very ‘serious’, trying so hard to please my father and live up to unspoken expectations.  I was so ‘hard’ than when my grandmother passed away when I was 13 years old, I would not cry at her funeral.  I stuffed all the pain and grief inside.  It’s only been in the last few years that I have been able to honestly grieve my grandmother’s passing.  I miss her a lot.  I wish I could talk to her now, about everything that’s happened in my life.  I think she would have liked my daughter and had a lot of fun with her. (I’m tearing up as I think about the fact that my daughter won’t ever know my grandma – she was such a great woman)

That’s why I cherish these ‘simple’ moments with my girl.  It allows me to ‘go back’, as it were, and become a ‘little girl’ again myself.  And I hope that when my daughter grows up, she will look back on these moments with fondness.


Exciting news

Well, no, not really.  It’s just that my hubby said I should blog because I haven’t blogged in a while.  Sorry, no incredibly profound thoughts rattling around here.  Here’s a blip into my life:

  • tired, so very tired – work is taking a lot out of me, but after March it should slow down a bit
  • I’m taking holidays the first week of April so I’m looking forward to trying to rest – but maybe I’ll worry so much about making sure that I rest during those 10 days I’m off that I won’t actually rest and the closer I get to the end of my holidays and the lack of ‘resting’ happening, the more stressed I’ll get so by the time I get back to work I’ll be just as stressed (or maybe worse) than I am right now – that doesn’t sound very good at all; please pray for rest for me – I haven’t been doing a lot of it lately
  • I received an awesome expensive flat iron for Christmas and am loving it!  Doing my hair is so much easier with that thing
  • I love going on adventures with my little girl.  On Saturday we went to Pooh Corner at the Library and then we went through a touchless car wash (as a kid, it was rare that we went through a car wash and I always remember it being so fascinating for me), and we had lunch at Tim Horton’s.  It was a lot of fun.
  • Still learning lots about being a manager and leading people, learning about the unnecessary stresses I put upon myself – still needing work on becoming free of those ones
  • Reading through the Bible in one year.  I’ve got a one year Bible that puts the books of the Bible and Bible passages in chronological order, which I love as I like to relate the different prophetic books with what was happening in Israel’s history in particular
  • reading through Deuteronomy – I get the sense that Moses really knew the heart of God
  • just created a “Jar of Doom” for the boys – for any infractions (not following the rules or doing their chores, or not listening, etc.) they’ll have to draw a piece of paper from the “jar of doom” and do what it says – I’ll keep you posted as to how it’s been working after we used it for a while

That’s all for now…


Headlines: “Woodpeckers Ravage Home!”

Guess what happened here…


September’s been busy

Oh wait… we’re in OCTOBER already. Well September’s been so busy it hasn’t really sunk in that we’re actually in October yet.

New employees at work, new people to train, busiest conference season of the year… it’s been intense.

Home renos.

Not a lot of breaks.

Daughter did a faceplant off a slide on Friday (her nose looks NASTY! – it’s now a disgusting shade of green, but she’s a trouper). Daughter got the stomach flu on Saturday.

Rest of family sick with stomach flu on Monday. Have been home sick for the past two days.

Seeing friends from afar this Saturday – really looking forward to it.

Going to try to take a break in the next couple of weeks.

Too much to do… too little time to do it.

Coming to accept that I just won’t get everything done… and that’s ok.

Need to learn how to delegate more.

Feeling “unspiritual”. Need to fit more “me” and “me and God time” into my life – it’s never a bad thing.

Need to go to bed. Work tomorrow.


Snippets of this and that

Life has been busy.  It feels like I haven’t stopped to rest in while (though I did a bit of that today).

  • We’re insulating our home to take advantage of rebates with the EnerGuide program – a few weeks ago we insulated our attic; this week Leighton insulated our main floor (using spray foam insulation injected into the wall cavities); we are still going to insulate the floor and attic of our veranda so we can use in during the winter
  • Home-schooling our oldest boy – choosing curriculum (I’m happy with what we chose); getting into a routine has taken a bit longer than I thought it would take, but David is enjoying it (and Leighton is a great teacher)
  • Work is crazy right now – it’s the uber-busy time of year and our admin assistant quit a couple of weeks ago, someone else gave their notice last Friday and another person gave their notice this past Friday.  Luckily we have someone to replace the one person and I’ll start training them on Monday.
  • I feel very tired and weary.
  • Loving our house church!  I love the social interaction, the richness of studying God’s word together and being able to share in people’s lives and to pray for them and encourage them.
  • I watched the last four episodes of Avatar, season 3 and LOVED IT!  We purchased the entire third season on ITunes and are going through it.
  • Heroes begins their 3rd season on Monday.  Stop Sylar!!!
  • Went shopping today for the fun of it – haven’t done that in a long long time

My computer is running out of juice.  Signing off…


Girl

I have a little girl. She will be 2 years old in November. When she was first born, there were many people who asked me, “What’s it like having a girl?” (as opposed to the two boys I had already given birth to). It seemed a pretty silly question at the time, because for the first year of life, a baby is basically a baby, whether male or female. They eat, sleep, cry, poop… and the cycle continues. They learn to roll over and sit up and maybe even walk (although Lynae decided to wait a lot longer than that – and we’re not complaining about that because they can get into a lot more things once they’re really mobile). But boys and girls are pretty much the same. They just have different parts.

Anyways, as my little girl is getting older I am now starting to see more and more ‘girl’ in her. I realize every child’s personality is different, but there are things about Lynae that seem more ‘girl’ than strictly personality. She’s more emotional. She’s more dramatic when she’s emotional. She will sprawl on the floor and cry if she’s not happy. She likes to wear pretty clothes (although I’m not sure if that’s because everyone makes a big fuss about her being a ‘pretty girl’ – she definitely likes the attention). She also likes it when I put her hair in a ponytail (although again I wonder if the reasons are the same as what I just mentioned).

I was talking to my husband this morning about the ‘girl’ features of Lynae. I was trying to put into words the differences I see in her versus my boys. Finally I said, “Girls…just…get upset.” My husband was killing himself laughing. He seemed to think that was a pretty good explanation. And he added that sometimes I…just…get upset. lol

(it must be a ‘girl’ thing then)


Flight of the Dragonfly

I just finished reading the book “Flight of the Dragonfly” by Melissa Hawach. It’s the true story/autobiography of a mother whose husband (they were seperated at the time) kidnapped their two daughters and ended up taking them to Lebanon during the summer war with Israel in the summer of 2006. It was 6 months before she was actually re-united with her girls and it was two months after that that she was able to get out and get herself and the children home.

Its an incredible story. The thing that made it even more interesting is that Melissa Hawach grew up throughout Saskatchewan, finally ending up living in Saskatoon for her primary and high school years. She listed off places like Yorkton, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, and she went to high school at Bishop Mahoney. This isn’t the true story of someone who lives in some big city in the U.S. or someone in a country overseas. This is someone who lived in my city. You just don’t think things like this happen to people who live here.

It is a very good book. I would recommend it to anyone. It was heart-breaking, uplifting, and challenging. It amazes me everything this mother went through to get her children back. And it forced me to ask myself if I would have been that determined. Or would I have succumbed to defeat and given up? (not that I have any worries about dealing with a parental abduction of my kids, but there are other forms of child abduction not involving a parent). I hope I could say ‘yes’ to those questions, but I’ve come to realize that you don’t know how you will react until you’re faced with the crisis. And I also know that God prepares us for whatever comes across our path. And He knows what is coming so he is the best equipped to prepare us in advance (although we may not know we’re being prepared for whats’s to come).


Life with no kids

We were childless for five days (we shipped the kids off to various grandparents). It was wonderful. All families should do this. It’s good to remember what life was like with no kids. Although for us, the only other time we’ve had no kids (for more than a day) as a married couple was on our honeymoon (we were at the lake for a week). I think we should make this an annual thing. Here’s some of my thoughts:

  • It’s so quiet
  • Our house would be too big for us if there was just the two of us
  • The house stays a lot cleaner
  • Life is simpler
  • It’s so quiet
  • Life would be much more boring with no kids (although as my hubbie pointed out, we would just fill it with other things)
  • There is more time to play “Guitar Hero”
  • I can leave the house without having to make arrangements for childcare
  • Life is more relaxed
  • Planning for a night out is much less complicated… planning? No need to plan. We can just go!
  • Did I mention its really quiet?

I really love my kids and will be happy to have them back (the youngest one is back already), but its a really nice break to take once in a while.

I’m really thankful for my hubbie. He was a bachelor for many years which means he strongly values time just by himself to think, read, write, reflect. I think for those of us that have had kids for a long time we’ve forgotten what it was like to regularly take time just for ourselves. But it really is needed (for everyone’s sanity). So because of my hubbie I’m learning to take time for myself. I feel much better when I do.


Updates…

It feels like I shouldn’t even consider myself a ‘blogger’ since I’ve been posting so sporadically.  I really haven’t felt like posting anything lately.  But here’s an update:

  • our family road trip was not all I had expected it to be – more stress than fun (although there was some of that), plus our videocamera/camera was stolen.  Poopie!!!
  • I was watching our 20 month old daughter a few days ago – she was trying to do ‘rock-paper-scissors’ because as I’ve posted recently, this is our ultimate decision-making tool.  She was so excited to try to do it – her little hand was balled up into a fist and she was shaking it up and down.  She couldn’t figure out how to change it to scissors or paper, but she’d giggle each time we did it.  The thought came to me: “why can’t I be like her? – she takes delight in simply trying and doesn’t get upset if she doesn’t get it right the first time.”  I, on the other hand, expect to get everything right the first time and I get upset and think its the end of the world when I don’t.  Why am I like that?  I want to be like my daughter.
  • Recently I saw what decades of insecurity can do to a person.  I realized our insecurities are very damaging, not only to ourselves, but to others.  Our insecurities take the focus off of what it should be and onto our insecure selves.  Why?  Because our self-worth is at stake and we desperately try to maintain that level of self-worth.  In this state, we are unable to focus on others or show them care, concern, love.  I admitted to myself that although I can identify areas of insecurity within myself, I’ve largely come to accept them – not that I don’t want God to work on them, but I didn’t feel any sense of urgency to have them dealt with.  I didn’t think they were as big of deal as I’m coming to realize they are.  I don’t want to go through life hanging onto my insecurities.  I want my worth to be found in God and nothing else.
  • I’m putting together a Partylite order (cause I want free stuff) so if anyone wants some candles, let me know (plus reed diffusers are on for $25 for the month of July – that’s 1/2 off) – Ok, there’s my shameful sales pitch.  I’ll move on…
  • I’m reading “Flight of the Dragonfly” – its a true story of 2 girls that were kidnapped by their father and their mother’s journey to find them and bring them home – its really good so far

Tidbits…

  • I’ve decided I like my old blog design better
  • Life has been really hard lately, although this past week has been better
  • why does life always seem so busy?
  • I really really love my husband and am so glad I’m married to him and that we’re in this together
  • I love my kids – my heart breaks for them sometimes (I guess that’s what love is about)
  • My day job is hard but rewarding – its no fun being in an industry with major labour shortages
  • I still like my house and am looking forward to finishing my ‘prayer room’ – if only life wasn’t so busy, I’d be done this thing by now (maybe I’ll get closer to the end this weekend)
  • we planted a garden – I wasn’t too terribly excited although I wasn’t opposed to the idea; I have memories of weeding in our very very large farm garden – it was very big – there were a lot of weeds; our garden this year is tiny in comparison so I should survive; plus I can pass on the tradition of weed-pulling to my two sons (I’m sure my daughter will want to help too, although she won’t know the difference between weeds and and peas…)
  • we bought a Matrix and its fun to drive
  • I’m very thankful for our house church friends – I love hanging out with them (and they’ve been praying for our family which has meant a lot to us)
  • I’m thankful for my other friends, too (I get to visit one of them next Thursday – yay!)
  • I’m glad its the weekend (and its sunny and warm outside)