Sunday, October 31, 2010

Being Woken by Giggles

 My legs are giving out from all of the day's walking, but it's been a good day.  I didn't think it would be, but it was!  So here's a very quick highlight.  We had a great service at our new church.  Yes, we've finally settled at a church.  All of our kids have now visited and they've attended Sunday School.  Both Aris and Zane have approved it.  We still haven't heard the minister speak yet, but we have met him.  This church uses both hymns and modern songs which we quite enjoy.  We haven't met a lot of people yet, but I had a very nice conversation with an older couple today that seem to know my best friend well.  They were very welcoming and friendly.  Hopefully I'll feel less scared next week.

 After church we stopped at Steve's parents' house.  His brother is in town for the weekend and we wanted to see him.  We know that he typically sleeps in, so we thought it would be fun to wake him up.  Yes, we're those kind of people. :)  Originally, our kids were going to jump on him, but instead they just stood in the doorway and giggled at him.  He wasn't upset at all to be woken up, thankfully and we had  good visit with him.  Steve's parents were quite late getting home from church, so Steve prank-called his mom.  That was funny!  Then they fed us lunch.

 Because it is Hallowe'en, we had an early supper and then went out trick-or-treating with our friends.  It was nice to hang out with our friends.  The one mother looked very stressed as she is handing in her thesis tomorrow.  When I heard that, I was very glad that we pulled her away for a break.  She and I are planning on going out for Latin food sometime in the next month or so.  We mostly chatted about jobs, houses and dressing for winter, but she did ask some questions about my faith.  The other friend has been working full-time this year, so I've really missed connecting with her at school.  It was nice to spend some time with her as well.  Our kids behaved beautifully this year, although they tired out quicker than last year.

 It's been a very very good day.  At some point, I will post pics of my very cute kids, but I'm not there yet.  I'm much too tired!  Whatever you did tonight, I hope you all had a great day!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Working Together

 Yesterday we made cookies.  Normally, I prefer to bake by myself, or with only one child.  But I've been sick and weak, so yesterday I announced that we would be baking cookies as a family.  For the little people, it was an adventure!  For the big person(Steve), it was an exercise in patience(and frustration).  But the cookie making went quite quickly with me mixing up the very simple dough and the rest of them loading up the trays.  I ended up getting frustrated as certain of my baking sheets don't cook as well at lower temperatures( 325 F).  Thankfully most of the cookies turned out beautifully and my wonderful husband finished off baking the cookies so I could head out to Bag Ladies.

 It's the end of the week and the end of the month so our grocery list was getting longer.  Our fridge isn't empty, but was missing some very important items such as milk.  We do have non-dairy creamer, so running out of milk doesn't rule out drinking coffee, but I discovered that it is essential when eating the very hot leftover chicken wings.  Coffee does not work in any form or fashion to cool down the burning sensation in my mouth.  My mother's homemade soup did though...

 It's been a busy week and I haven't been well.  I wasn't able to go grocery shopping during the day today and the weekend is packed full of activities.  I also wanted to have a family date.  So we combined the two.  At my children's request we ate at the food court and then hit the attached grocery store.  The food court tends to be a win-win as my boys can eat hamburgers and I can eat both a cheesy gordita crunch and tabbouleh in the same meal.  ( My husband shudders that I would combine dubious fast food and amazing ethnic food in the same meal, but hey...diversity is beautiful!).

 After our meal, we headed to the grocery store.  We had to walk all the way through the grocery store to get our carts. There was a slight bit of drama here as one boy accidentally pinched the hand of the other boy while getting the carts, but finally we were ready.  I had divided the list into two parts, divided us into two teams each headed by an adult and the children picked which team they wanted.  Not surprisingly, it ended up being divided by gender.  After a brief discussion, we were off, the goal being to be the first team back at a designated area with all the items on our list.  Daddy's team won, but not by much.  Had I not gotten turned around and had to dodge several staff pushing loaded carts, my team might have won.  Unfortunately, by that point, I had started to get edgy and anxious, but we completed the grocery shopping much quicker than it would have taken me on my own and with a lot more fun.  I think we may to play the grocery store game again. :)

 Now to convince my children that cleaning is fun.  Or at least to get them to do it properly. :)

P.S I made two batches of pumpkin cloud cookies.  These are some seriously good cookies.  One batch was made with raisins and the other with chocolate chips.  They're both incredible!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turn to the West

 It's been several days of stormy weather here, both inside and out.  Soul gloom and outside rain do not a good combination make.  Driving home discouraged yesterday from an appointment that left my counsellor concerned, I looked to the west.

 There, pink clouds floated against a storm blue sky.  Ahead was rain, clouds and more rain.  I kept glancing to my left, hoping to catch more of these unusual clouds, but they had disappeared.  My view was filled with only gloom, matching the despair inside.  I went the wrong way, going home instead of where my children were.  Frustration welled up inside, the storm clouds raining down reminders of mistakes upon failures. I salvaged my mistake, figuring out a shortcut that didn't require so much backtracking or going completely out of the way.  But my driving matched the darkness inside and out as I stopped caring, feeling overwhelmed by the rain and hopelessness.

 Then I turned to the west again. The pink fairy clouds were no where to be seen.  Instead, a brillant golden glow shone at the bottom of a mass of storm clouds.  It was just a wedge, a long triangle of brillance shining out against the darkness.  And deep inside the light started returning.

 I wish I could say that it all turned around then.  But I went down a hill and the glimpse of glory disappeared.  The rest of the day was mundane, the darkness still clinging to my soul even as the rain came down outside.  Then I woke today to a clear sky.  High winds scoured our area, shaking it up and driving away the gloom.  Clearly, the winds blew in my heart too for today I had hope.   Sharing tea, cookies, then a meal and coffee with a friend and my lovely mother-in-law later continued the work, this little visit striking a deep contrast against the dark clouds in my life.  I continue hopeful, waiting for this promise of glory to burst into beautiful fruition. Somehow, somewhere this storm will pass and the daylight will shine again.  So I'll keep looking to the west, waiting for those glimpses of glory until it comes in full.

I'm joining again with Emily today:

Monday, October 25, 2010

I think Somebody Loves Me?

 This afternoon was bad.  Very bad. Very very very bad.  In fact, it was among the lowest I've been in a long time.  I'd like to know when this is going to get better.  Until it does, I would like to either hibernate, join the circus or find a nice beach.  At this point, I'd settle for taking up residence at the closest bookstore.  But I just want this to stop.  It's too much!

 My daughter had dance at supper time, so we hurried off.  I was so upset that Steve made her a mustard and pickle sandwich.  She loved it.  Strange little girl. :)  I sat there in a grump, reading Chapter 6 of Radical for my post tomorrow.  If you were close enough, you might have heard my mutters of complaint and hopelessness.  After I finished reading, I had a nice visit with one of the other moms.  She was also having a bad day.  I think we cheered each other up a bit.  But I was still sad.

 I opened the door to my house to find someone standing there.  Someone informed my dad that I was having a bad day, so he came over with chicken wings, garlic bread and fries.  Not only does he know my comfort food, my dad also offered lots of good hugs and some entertainment.  He played my guitar and sang to me.  It helped.

 While we were eating, I discovered that my lovely husband had asked for prayer for me on facebook.  The mother of a good friend wrote me a brief encouraging note letting me know that she was praying for me.  It helped.  Then another friend brought over homemade sushi.  Shortly after that, another friend offered to come over with honey crullers.  I declined the donuts, but accepted the offer of hugs.

 So I have learned something today.  Two things actually.  The first is that people love me.  The second is that my love language appears to be food. :) Somehow people think I like food or get really excited about it....I don't know why....I'm off to bed, but feeling much much better than before.  I really hope this situation resolves soon.  A year is a very long time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kian Can Read

 After church, Zane wanted me to read him a story.  Later, I found Kian on the couch "reading" the same story.  He kept reading his book over and over.  It was so cute that I videoed him reading him.  This video is a bit long and slow in places, but Kian is sooo cute!  He's reading Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

 Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days.  There's been a lot to write about, but it's also been crazy busy around here.  Thursday evening, Steve and I went to visit his great uncle who is dying from cancer.  It is a solemn thing to sit with those who are dying.  He is much more lucid than the great aunt we visited with two months past while she was dying.  He knew who we were, was able to converse and even cracked jokes with us.  Still, it was obvious that death was near.  It was a privilege to tell this man how much we loved and appreciated him before he passed on.  We have been blessed to have that chance with both Steve's great aunt and uncle this year.  But there are so many that don't get that chance.  I'm challenged to tell people how much I love them all the time, not just save it for these last chance occasions. I also have been thinking about how important it is to express kindness to all we come in contact with.  I want my legacy to be one of kind words, encouragement and love, not one of impatience, anger, bitterness and gossip.  I've been challenged.

 There's a lot more spinning around in this head of mine.  But I am sick again, so I'm going to stop for the night.  I'll try to post tomorrow about more of this crazy busy full week.  Blessings.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Saturday Meanderings, camera in hand.

  One beautiful fall Saturday, we went for a drive.  My mom, my dad and my little girl, leaving the boys behind.
  The clouds were big and puffy, hovering over tan fields of corn.
  Stark trees stood out against fields shorn of their covering, but not yet plowed under.  The colours made my heart sing, all blue and shades of brown.
  Buildings dotted the farmscape, some sleek and modern, all white and steel, contrasting to the earth tones surrounding them.
  The far-off swathes of forest, all clothed in fall beauty, caught my eye.  I loved the brightness of the colour, the reds, oranges, yellows and greens against a backdrop of tan, brown and beige.  What colours are these fields in autumn anyhow?  My colour vocabulary seems too small for these riches of autumn.
  How I love the autumn sky!  Such a spectacular shade, so bright and deep.  Perhaps it isn't the sky that has changed, just my eyes.
  And this, the bright face of my travelling companion, all grown-up at 7.  She with her raincoat pockets filled with snacks, a Get Fuzzy comic book and her camera.  She relished having an outing without the boys, just her, Mama, Grammy and Poppa.  She stayed quiet, bright eyes alert, singing along with the cd.
  Words begin to fail me.  I am no artist.  I cannot properly name or describe colours.  But this scene...all the scenes of this day, brought me great joy.  I kept snapping pictures as we sped down the highway, something I never ever do.  And to my great surprise they turned out beautifully!
  Great old greying(rusting) barns hold a special place in my heart.  Perhaps it's the memories of the old barn from the family farm and my treasured memories of playing there.  Ramshackled barns are beautiful but sad, this one looks usable, just aging.
  Little pieces of inbetween land, different fields, separated by brush.  These spaces prick my imagination.  Is this where the fairies play?
 And then this, our final destination.  The weeping willows look almost like palm trees, making it seem slightly more exotic.  But this, the brillant light, windswept clouds against a perfect sky were perfect for me.  The boulders, the gently crashing waves soothed this soul that had been dry for much too long.

 Can you guess where I am? I'm linking with Emily today and the rest of the Imperfect Prose Community.  Emily, this last shot is just for you.  :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ups and Downs

 It's been an up and down kinda day.   This roller coaster ride started this morning when I woke up feeling horrible.  But then I didn't have to get out of bed because it was Tuesday. I like Tuesdays. :)  Once a week, Steve and Aris volunteer together at breakfast club.  It's nice to have a day where I don't have to leap out of bed.  Mornings are not my friend.

 I made some lovely stock/soup today, but started feeling crappy so I didn't get the laundry completely put away.  However, I have not had much luck making soup from scratch but today's batch turned out beautifully.  Of course,  Zane gave it a solid thumbs down before he had even taken a bite!  *sigh* Aris loved it.  Making a good soup completely from scratch was such a victory that it negates all other bad things today, including the migraine.

 Today was my third migraine day in a week.  The count might be higher, some days I lose track.  Tuesdays are my yoga evening and I was feeling so miserable that I just wanted to go to bed.  But I had promised I would drive a friend, drop off something and pick up an order from my friend.  If I cancelled, I would be letting down at least three people, four if you count the teacher.  So I popped more pain pills, took a hot shower with peppermint shower gel, raided the peppermint candy corn(yes, they do make peppermint candy corn, it's delicious and helps with migraines) and prayed really hard that I could drive.  It was a good decision.  I left yoga feeling much much better than when I came. And since I now look like I'm pregnant again, I need all the exercise that I can get.

 On the list of today's positives, I ended up looking at a bunch of food blogs.  Oh, that made me happy!  At least two friends have pointed out recently that I get positively rapturous when I talk about food.  You might think I really enjoy cooking and eating.  Just maybe.  So looking at some amazing food blogs really excited me.  I'm debating joining the Daring Kitchen where each month there is a baking and cooking challenge.  After talking it over with Steve we're going to hold off on officially joining, but I'm going to try some of the previous challenges.  Just looking at the different recipes and beautiful food photos made me happy. :)

 Oh, if you pray, please pray for a little girl named Elsa.  She's in the middle of a bone marrow transplant and needs to have emergency surgery.  Her liver enzymes are also very high.  Please pray against infection and that her liver function would stabilize.  Thank you!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Squash Turkey Stew

 There were/are leftovers in my fridge in need of using.  I won't tell you how long they've been in my fridge, but there was no mold or interesting smells.  Leftovers tend to keep very well in my fridge.  As I had leftover turkey, I had wanted to do a white chili.  I've never attempted such a thing so I logged onto my favourite recipe sites(Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Allrecipes).  After some looking, I found an idea that I liked so started modifying it.  Several hours later, I decided to completely change the recipe and came up with this.  I'm not sure if it's a stew or a chili, so call it what you will.  My squash-hating husband liked this, although he only had one bowl.  My kids complained, but since that was before they even had a bite, I'm not counting their ratings.  Without any further ado, here is my recipe.

                                                              Squash Turkey Stew
1. Soak 1 cup dried chickpeas. I did this using the quick soak method(bring chickpeas to a boil, turn off burner,  cover pot and let sit for about an hour). 
2.  Add 2 T oil to a good size pot.  When oil is warm, add 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Saute.
3.  When onions and garlic are soft, add in the drained chickpeas.  Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
4.  Add in 2 cups broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn way down and let simmer with the lid on for a couple of hours.  Stir occasionally. 
5.  Add in as much shredded turkey as you would like and about two cups of pureed squash. Stir in 2 bayleaves, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp chili powder,  1 T honey,  and some salt and pepper. 
6. Bring to a bubble.  Turn down the heat and let simmer until ready to serve.  I topped this with cranberry sauce and cilantro.  

 Here's a picture of Zane with his bowl of stew.  He looks 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grumpy Mommy

 It's hard not to wake up grumpy when your day begins with a little boy yelling for his father impatiently.  We are trying to teach our five year old how to call for his parents using a nice voice.  We are not having much success.  Today was a particularly trying day for us as our much beloved former pastor was in town and we weren't able to see him.  He and his family were at a special farewell celebration at our church.  However, we are temporarily not attending our church.  We allowed our older children to attend with their grandparents because they have really missed their friends.  But it was hard to send them off and then drive to a different church.  I miss walking to church.

 Sundays tend to be bad for me.  This past year attending church was painful and stressful.  Typically a Sunday afternoon involved me crying while spending a lot of time disengaged.  Now Sundays are painful because we're not at our church.  But while in my funk today, I decided to catch up on my 100+ blog posts waiting for me in google reader.  Near the bottom were my Stuff Christians Like posts.  The twelfth post down was on leaving the church.  It's an extremely satirical take on what not to do, but what we might feel like doing while leaving the church.  It hit close to home. Not that I've done any of the behaviours listed, just that I've thought about it.  Seriously, facebook offers up a lot of temptation to be mean!   Then I read the comments.  Let's just say I no longer feel quite so alone.  Although it was sad to find so many others deeply wounded by the church, it was helpful to know I'm not the only one feeling this way. By the way, check out SCL.  Jon Acuff is hysterical!

 There were lots of good things today.  Although we ran into difficulty at one point, we had a good evening with our children.  When I lost my temper with Aris, she forgave me.  My mother-in-love held me for a very long time this afternoon.  My mother called to say that she loves me and is praying for me. I read some funny blogs, some thoughtful blogs and some beautiful blogs.  I was able to give Veronica a hug and pray for her before she leaves tomorrow.  Unfortunately I won't be going with her as no one has left a large sum of money in my mailbox.  She actually called to ask me that this morning. :) It's been a tough day, but one with definite glimmers of hope and joy.  Suddenly this mommy isn't quite so grumpy anymore. :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekend Adventures

 Yesterday, while on the phone with my mother, she mentioned that my parents were going to Stratford, a nearby tourist town.  I really enjoy Stratford, so I asked if Aris and I could come along.  She told me to ask my dad.  Later when Dad came over for supper, I asked him if we could come along.  He agreed but said that he might just keep driving to Goderich, a town on the shores of Lake Huron.  That sounded great.

 Mid-morning today Aris and I set off with my parents.  We stopped twice along the way for coffee, once for each leg of the journey.  Certain people needed coffee this morning.  I wasn't complaining. Although at one point, I somehow managed to spill coffee all over my shirt, jeans, hair and the car window.  I'm not quite sure how that happened, I'm just fortunate that I wasn't seriously burnt as my coffee was still quite warm.

 Stratford is home to many delightful shops, good restaurants and the Stratford Festival which showcases Shakespear plays each year.  Okay, I really hope this makes sense, because I'm too tired to type.  Eight or nine years ago, my best friend and I stayed overnight in Stratford.  We had a delightful time exploring.  My visit there today brought back memories of our time there.  I remember feeling so grown up then.

 As both my mother and I tire easily, we didn't do too much walking around.  But we went to a tea store, a store selling artwork from Asia, a toy store, a very fun clothing and other store(the Green Room), a book store and a store that is home to three beautiful cats.  Aris particularly enjoyed hunting for all three kitties.  Can you find the kitty below?

This kitty appeared to be sound asleep but welcomed the many touches he/she attracted.  

All three cats were extremely calm and good tempered.  We had great fun searching for them and then petting some of them.  My parents commented on how much better natured these cats are than their cat, Allegra.

 We had a great time.  I took well over 300 pictures, but I'm too tired and it's getting late.  Hopefully I'll post more later this week.  Happy Weekend. :)

Beautiful Moments

 It's been a better couple of days around here.  The darkness hasn't fell so heavily.  This week I have really appreciated the Imperfect Prose community this week.  The prayers and words of encouragement touched me deeply, as did the acceptance, honesty and vulnerability we are creating here.  Thank you dear Em for creating this place.

 The weather has been beautiful.  Over the last several years, I have fallen in love with fall.  On my patio table sits a giant crimson mum.  Its colourful blossoms beautifully accent the carpet of copper gold leaves that have covered the passing walkway.  I tried to capture the beauty outside of my door, but I don't think I succeeded.
On my table sits a bouquet of pale pink roses.  While visiting a dear friend, I noticed that her rose bushes were in full bloom.  She handed me scissors and told me to have fun.  I did.  Mysteriously, one of the roses appeared to have been taken apart this afternoon.  I suspect a certain two year old.  But the petals looked pretty on my table and candle.  As these are tea roses, they are beautifully fragrant.  I have been enjoying them while I drink my tea and write in my prayer journal.

 This evening I went out with two very dear friends.  Even though we had horrible service and I had a mild trauma reaction, we had a great time.  These girls know me so deeply and love me anyways.  Since last year I no longer feel safe going out in public especially when Steve isn't by my side.  Even going to the mall is hard.  Tonight was special in that I walked into a scary situation but felt so safe with my companions that we were able to have a great evening.  T and Veronica, you are such a blessing to me!

 There were many other great moments today.  My dad came for visit this evening and I'm planning on spending the day with my parents and Aris tomorrow.  Kian was super grumpy and super cute today.  At one point he just needed a cup of coffee.  My little man cracks me up sometimes!

 Oops, I just looked at the time.  I need to go to bed! I hope you all have a blessed weekend. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


  Each night I curl up with the man who is my home.  Head on his shoulder, hair splayed over pillows, away from limbs that might pull it accidentally.  Sadness is our covering, a deep heaviness that weighs us down, as if to smother.  Sleep comes hard as inner darkness does not lend itself easily to restful surrender.  Rarely do tears wet the pillows under our cheeks.  More often dry heaving sobs wrack my body while he holds me tight, desperately wanting to take the pain away.  A torrent of angry, hurt, pain filled words spills out leaving us gasping for breath.  When will this go away?

 Every night as I curl up with the man who is my home, he offers up prayers to our Great God.  He prays for this little family, broken and worn down by the cares of this world.  He thanks God for whatever he can think of to be thankful for.  He begs God for healing.  Sometimes short, sometimes desperate, sometimes long and passionate, there is always prayer.  This deep darkness is not my friend.  Though it has been a constant companion for over a year, it is still unwelcome.  But this uninvited guest has blessed us through the deepening of our marriage.  We are learning to fight together, to pull for the same side, to wrestle hard for hope, for healing, not for our individual ideas.  We are seeing how valuable prayer is and learning how to pray for each other.  Darkness, you are not my friend.  But I am thankful for what I have learned during your sojourn here.

 I'm joining with Emily once again.

I Forgot

 Today I forgot.  I forgot about my current limitations.  I forgot that I'm not healthy and strong, able to do whatever I want.  So I tried.  I pulled out all the storage boxes and started digging through clothing, looking for what I needed.  I think a box or so disappeared because I'm missing one of my favourite boy sweaters.  I also decided to use up the leftover pumpkin puree and make muffins.  The ingredients were all out and ready when I ran out of energy.  So I sucked it up, asked Steve to pray, whined a bit, and went to work. Unfortunately Miss Aris was at school, so I didn't have my baking partner.  Kian tried, but he just isn't a good substitute.  He's cute though.  But the muffins did get made, and I have found my bed again.  It was covered in boxes and piles. Now for another day.  Who knows what I'll accomplish tomorrow.  :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sharing Thanksgiving

 Sometimes I think my family is a little bit strange.  See in the family I grew up in, we have a very loose definition of family. Yeah, there's the people we share the same DNA with, but then there's our other family.  I've mentioned before that I have two sisters.  Well, I now have three. With only one of those do I share a set of genetics .  The other two are people that have become family, that we share a common faith and a deep love.   My mom just keeps adopting people.

My parents have an open heart and an open home.  They are more than willing to take in and feed people.  So far we've only had two people stay with us, but many more have been welcomed in for meals, especially for special holiday dinners.  It used to be that we did the proper extended family gatherings, now we just invite those in our lives who don't have family around.  This year we shared Thanksgiving dinner with two Russian families(Russian/Israeli and Russian/Bahamian to be precise).  The meal was excellent as was the company.

 Apparently, welcoming others into what is traditionally family time is contagious.  For Thanksgiving dinner with Steve's parents, they invited not just us but several Asian students they are connecting with.  How they all met and became connection is a crazy beautiful story.  Someone brought someone else to a gathering and they invited them to something else and it just kept going.  One of the students sharing dinner with us met my in-laws(and us) for the first time that day.  There were various levels of proficiency with the English language and varying lengths of time in Canada.  I'm not sure what the longest duration was, but one lady has only been here for a month.  Her husband had only been here for a week when we met him.  Although I was still trying to get acquainted with everyone,  that dinner was also a great time of building friendships and filling my stomach.

 It's hard to put words to what is in my heart.  There has been too much, both good and bad this weekend.  My sister came home to surprise my parents and we had a good visit with her.  The Oktoberfest parade was the best I've ever attended.  I can't decide whether I liked the fire juggler, the whip dancers, or the African band best.  We've had a surfeit of delicious food and some great weather this weekend.  But I've also battled some significant darkness this weekend. I don't know why but I'm wrestling with some deep questions right now.  *sigh*  What I do know is that these shared meals made me happy.   Building new relationships especially across a language barrier are hard.  Welcoming newcomers and sharing meals with those whose family is far away is more than worth it.

 However you celebrated, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving.  Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010


 I'm not sure why, but this week has been very hard emotionally.  Even though today hasn't been a bad, I just don't want to write tonight.  I'm too overwhelmed, feeling much too hopeless.

 But there are glimmers of hope.  A visit with a sister who lives far away, good conversation over wings and nachos, a beautiful fall bouquet tucked inside a small orange pumpkin, and a little boy buying chocolate (good chocolate) for his mama to make up for a week of whining, disobedience and willfulness.  His thoughtfulness and self-sacrifice touched his mama's heart.  He spent all of his money on me, kept nothing back for himself.  It was a gift that cost him.  My hard heart melted(it's been a looong week) causing me to fish through my change.  His face lit up with joy when I handed him the twoonie and sent him off to buy a chocolate bar to share with his brother.  Such a sweet little boy when he wants to be.  He has promised to be better this week after a long talk with his father.  Hopefully he won't forget.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pie Making

 My mentor came over today.  She's a lovely lady in her mid-sixties, married for over 40 years, grandmother to children older than mine.  She's quiet and wise, not at all impetuous like me.  I'm hoping that some of her calmness will rub off on me.  Today she came to help make pies.  I really wanted to bake pies for Thanksgiving, but with my lack of energy knew that help was needed.

 I asked and she agreed, so we met together today to bake over cups of coffee and hot apple cider.  I made crust while she peeled apples.  Then as I mixed the filling together, she rolled out dough with Kian.  Rachel was so patient with him, teaching him how to fold the crust over and place it in the dish.  I learned a lot too, just by watching.  These pies aren't just yummy, they're beautiful too, decorated with pricks shaped like flowers, letters, and birds.  Oh these pies were works of art!  Having had a slice for dessert, I can also attest to the deliciousness too.  Don't you wish you were coming to my house for Thanksgiving dinner? :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Storm Furies

 She breaks my heart.

 This little golden girl of mine, all sun-streaked hair and the faded glow of sun-kissed skin, now descends into torment.  Wails split the air, fists fly, limbs fail in all directions as she wrestles with her own personal demons.  Why does one so small have to struggle with something so big?

 I feel so powerless standing there.  How do I help this little one?  I try to speak truth, try to pray, try to hold, to love in the face of this storm.  But it rages on, undaunted by my efforts.  She screams that she is the worst person ever, that she hates herself.  My heart splinters, shreds, disintegrates.

 For this is a storm I know all too well.  I wrestled with these demons for far too long and am only now finding healing and victory.  This isn't what I want for her.  This isn't my dream for freedom and hope.  Understanding helps, it mutes my frustration only to funnel it back at myself.  I hurt for her hurt, for my hurt, for this broken world that writes pain in our DNA.  I didn't ask to be broken.  Neither did she.  Nor did so many others left broken, bruised, wounded, rejected by events that happened even before their births.  It's not right. It's not fair.

 The storm ends.  She comes, with tear-stained face, asking why can't she be good?  Wondering why this obedience is so hard, imagining that this experience is unique to her.  Another man, almost two thousand years ago, said the same thing wrestling with his brokenness and the grace of Christ.  So I told the story of a man named Saul, of his journey from darkness to light and the grace in between.  Words about how it's our faith that brings rightness with God, not our works, how desperately we need grace.  Stories about how once I wrestled with sin, how I still wrestle with sin and how God makes it right.  She asked how long? How long does this take?  It's been so long(a year) and still she struggles.  She didn't like my answer, that we have to wait until glory, but the storm was done.  Peace had come, finally, for now.

 I weep for my girl and for myself. I weep for all who suffer from the torments of sin, striving to be better, but caught.  And I am so thankful for that man who was redeemed, caught in a blinding light, then  released again to see.  He wrote letters of truth, so that we who have come since can find hope and healing in the news of God's great grace rather than getting stuck in the sinking sand of legalism and works.

 May all of our brokenness be redeemed and may we walk in freedom.

Today I'm joining with Emily as we celebrate God's grace.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


 For some reason, my darling angels have minds of their own.  Aris and Kian have both had very strong personalities since in utero.  Zane was mostly placid his first year of life, but has since demonstrated a very strong and vocal will.  Parenting such strong-willed, spirited and intelligent children sometimes feels like a losing battle.  Unfortunately, I can't even say that I try my best.  There are days when I do a great job of mothering, but there are other days when I'm tired, sick, frustrated, depressed or otherwise at the end of my rope.  On those days I either give up or get upset.  Neither of those option influence my children well.

 About a month ago, we attended our new LifeGroup for the first time.  Afterwards, one of the women commented on how well behaved my children were.  I was slightly shocked, because all though they were on mostly good behaviour, they weren't perfect.  But for four weeks running, they've done very very well.  Last week the same lady complimented me on my parenting.  I'm not sure what I'm managing to do right, but it's encouraging!

 Kian seems to be even more spirited than his sister, which is saying something.  Thankfully he's my third and I have a lot more confidence and knowledge as well as practice in child-rearing.  I stress a lot less over him than I did the others.  For months we worked with him in an attempt to get him to use his nice asking words and to follow commands, especially while walking.  Recently, he's been walking more and today he walked to and from the school both trips.  I was so proud of him!  But while we were walking, I noticed how well he stops at his boundaries, holds my hand while crossing the street, and didn't jump in the puddles with his shoes on.  It was so encouraging!  What was even more encouraging was that he kept asking me if he could do things with his polite words!  It was such a joy to here " May I  yook at puddle?  May I wok over here?"  Finally our hard work is paying off!   He's also learning empathy.  This comes in handy when we're trying to get him to apologize for being mean to someone.  This happens often.  But Kian is learning to apologize even when it's scary or his feelings were hurt too.  I am so thankful for the personal growth we've seen in him and in the rest of our children.  It's encouraging!  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Curried Indian Dal Soup

 Well, I cooked today.  I also had a child home from school again and then a plethora of people arrived all at once.  That was fun.  I took advantage of the chaos to slip upstairs and change out of my jammies.  I think they appreciated that!  I certainly appreciated them.  From my mom bringing over a casserole after picking up Steve's birthday present for me, to the coffee and honey cruller that T brought over, to my mother-in-love's wise counsel, to Veronica's great hugs, they all enriched my day.  I am very blessed to have such a wonderful community of women to do life with.

 But the best part was that I cooked!  By cooked, I mean made a good, labour intensive meal.  It started with a soup.  We're trying to eat meatless a couple days a week.  This works better some weeks than others, but it's a start.  I've been wanting to make a "Curried Indian Dal Soup" from 300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds.  Last week I managed to toast and grind the spices, but hadn't gotten around to making the soup.  I was feeling much better today so I made soup.  It turned out very well.  Unfortunately, the soup doesn't look appetizing, but it tasted delicious.  However, cinnamon and cardamon are not spices we're used to in soups, so the wee people weren't as thrilled.  Steve and I both enjoyed it though.

 For some reason I felt especially ambitious, so decided to add a side dish.  In keeping with the Indian theme, I made "Vegetable Bhajis" from Jamie's Food Revolution.  This is one of my favourite cookbooks. Jamie wrote this one for those who are scared of cooking.  Thus the recipes are explained in great detail with very helpful photographs.  There's just something about Jamie Oliver that makes me want to try everything he suggests.  Normally, I would pass up making the bhajis(fritters? Aris calls them latkes) as they looked too complicated but after making them the first time I realized how amazingly easy and delicious they are.  Having a food processor helps too.  Surprisingly my children loved these.  They also enjoyed the Indian sweets Steve picked up at the local Indian grocery on his way home from work.

 Steve was feeling miserable, so I sent him to bed.  Unfortunately, I crashed hardcore about half an hour later.  This sucked because I really wanted to go to yoga.  *sigh*   But I am thankful for my delightful cookbooks, for having the energy to cook and that my darlings ate something!  Oh, they all devoured my homemade whole-wheat bread.  At least they're eating something.  *shakes head*

 p.s. if anyone wants the recipes, please let me know. i can either email you, or post it on the blog.  if you live close by and want to either borrow my cookbooks, have a cooking lesson or have me cook for you, do you have chocolate? if so, we'll talk. :)  if you live far away and i'm coming to visit you, i can pack my cookbooks for your reading pleasure.  after all, i read yours when i visit. :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Steve's birthday

 I don't want to write today.   In fact, I'm really really grumpy and angry right now.  What I want to do is eat salty junk food until I feel gross.  But then I remembered what today is.  Today is my wonderful husband's birthday. So rather than be grumpy, I'm going to write about him.

 *sigh* Just as I typed that last sentence, he plugged in his iPhone which meant that another screen superimposed itself over my blogger screen. *sigh*

 So, back to the super-awesomeness....No, Steve is amazing.  I am blessed beyond words to be married to such a faithful guy.  He truly is faithful.  Steve doesn't give up.  He keeps going even when he's tired, sick, grouchy or burnt-out.  If he is supposed to be somewhere, he'll be there.  He's reliable.  He's steadfast.  During this difficult year, Steve's faith hasn't wavered.  While I'm all over the map emotionally speaking, he keeps pointing me back to God. Steve continually reminds me of God's character, provision and goodness even in the midst of trying circumstances. Steve never gives up.

 Steve is also a great dad.  Our routine has changed now that he busses to work, but for years, he fed the children breakfast every morning.  He's also very involved with the bedtime routine, and has gotten up with the children during the night.  Not once, but almost always.  For this alone, he deserves some kind of medal.

 Steve loves his children.  He enjoys spending time with them, so much so that his saturdays are almost exclusively spent with his boys as Aris is often gone then.  He takes Aris out on dates.  They have an explosive relationship, but he hasn't given up.

 Steve is also doctor-daddy around here.  He fixes all wounds, bandages all cuts, and is the dispenser of medicine.  Certain of our children are convinced that only Daddy could possibly know how to clean a scrape and put on a bandaid.

 I could write a lot more about how wonderful my husband is.  He is generous, loves children, has a great sense of humour, and is a very creative cook.  Plus, he typically makes the coffee.  But I'll spare you the novel and instead just end by wishing him a happy birthday.  I love you, Steve! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A 10k Surprise

Yes, I walked 10 kilometres today.  For any Americans reading this, that's just over 5 miles.  I think.  I wasn't planning on walking that far today.  When I got out of bed, I thought that the most I'd walk would be five km.  I knew today was Ride day and I knew that I'd be walking with Aris while she rode her bike.  What I didn't anticipate was how far she'd go.

 Aris doesn't ride her bike that much.  In fact, she has her training wheels on.  She hasn't been taking them off, and her bike is more for pleasure than for actual speed.  Littler kids were whizzing past her up hills as she patiently meandered up them.  If you know my daughter, you can imagine how she'd do this, singing to herself as she peddled.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of her, but she was very cute in her colourful gerber daisy raincoat, pink my little pony bike and matching helmet.  She even has a pink basket on her bike.  This was used to hold her chips later after we stopped at the rest stop.  She couldn't feed herself while biking, so for awhile I'd deposit chips in her mouth at intervals.  She reminded me of a baby bird or the giant dragon from  "How to Train Your Dragon".  Except of course, she was cuter. :)

 Because Aris is not a cyclist, I wasn't expecting much.  Last year the kids just rode their bikes around the very large driveway.  I thought maybe we'd do the same or go on the road a bit.  This morning, Aris asked to bike the course so I agreed.  Why not?  She struggles with fear issues and if she was brave enough to attempt it, I was not going to stop her.  So off we went.  She went down hills, and up hills, by herself and surrounded by masses of other cyclists, all going faster than she was.  Most of them encouraged her as they passed her.   Since a cyclist had almost taken her out at the starting line, I was nervous when they passed her, but she did fine.  At one point, she got off her bike and started dancing while waiting for her Zaida(paternal grandfather) and I to catch up.

 It was around the 5 k mark that I started to get worried.  It was obvious that we were in for the long haul now.  Even if we turned around, we'd still be doing 10k.  I'm not sure what I've shared this week, but I have chronic fatigue and have had a very bad week health-wise.  As in, I could barely climb the stairs this week.  As I hit Westmount and Northfield, I called my parents and asked them to pray.  They prayed for supernatural strength, for energy and for protection.  Well, God answered their prayers! I walked the full 10k, got Aris food afterwards and could still speak.  I wasn't dizzy or lightheaded or unable to put a sentence together!  I couldn't say apple cider properly, but that wasn't a big deal.  :) I still managed to drink about 3 glasses of it.  Being able to walk that distance was nothing short of a miracle.  I'm still amazed.  I came home and slept for several hours afterwards, but it was good.

 I'm thankful for an amazing day.  I'm also thankful to all of the volunteers who did such a great job cheering, making food, serving food, setting up the course, sweep riding, encouraging, taking pictures, taking down the course and everything else.   It was a lot of fun to walk with Aris and her grandfather.  He shared stories of when he raced in double marathons(or more) in South Africa.  I learned more about his family as well as his wife's family.  It was a blessings to learn these stories, so I will be able to share them with Aris.  The only downside was that I walked 10k and didn't raise any money. *sigh*  The coolest thing I saw today was the riders who participated on horseback!  They had even painted the Ride logos on their horses.  It was an awesome day for a great cause.  Thank you very much to everyone who supported us.  Aris raised $165, my family raised over $400 and our team raised $620!  So far the Canadian Ride raised $503, 404!  This money will go towards helping the vulnerable, the exploited and the displaced.