Thursday, September 30, 2010


 the golden kernels spin
round and round
faster and faster
until finally they explode. 

first one, 
then a sea of white
floods up, out, and into my bowl.
some, overwhelmed by the sheer delight of flight,
leap out of the bowl 
and onto the floor. 

but what about the rest? 
why do some kernels pop and not others? 
are they too afraid of change? 
bound by fear to spin endlessly
getting hotter and hotter
'til one day
the chance of flight is gone? 

or are they just unable? 
did something happen long ago,
rendering them unable to metamorphosize?

i do not have answers
so instead i mourn for them
even as i empty them into the compost
and eat their transformed friends.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


 It's been a crazy crazy day.  But we have survived.  And my friend's daughter,  who was hit by a cyclist on the sidewalk, is home from the hospital and snug in her bed. I hope.

 Anyhoo, I was given a wonderful gift this morning.  If you count the super-amazing, unexpected good behaviour of my son, two gifts.  He was in a mood this morning, but surprisingly settled down and did not bite, hit, kick or yell at the other small child he was playing beside.  This was a huge blessing.  (yes, kian is violent.  We'll blame that on......Steve.  Yes, that's right because Kian's mother isn't violent at all *snort*).  The other gift I was given was understanding.

 This past year has been rough. Most people that are sympathetic and compassionate really don't understand.  For the most part I'm glad they don't understand because that means they haven't been through something like this.  But still, it's hard.  Today I had tea and fantastic banana bread with someone who did understand.  Her life blew apart just over two years ago.  Since then she's experienced some of the same things I have: being kicked out of leadership, being ostracized, possibly being maliciously gossiped about, losing friends and losing a sense of safety.  There are places that we both don't go to anymore just because it's not safe.  We've had to give things up, not because of what we've done wrong, but because of the choices of others.  It is a hard place to be.

 But in this place, God has done something amazing in our lives.  I've seen my friend grow deeply these past two years.  Her courage amazes me.  Her strength and faith are a testament to the Holy Spirit at work in her life.  I don't really see it, but my husband sees similar things in my life.  I just see where the sin has been exposed, where I've had to repent, confess and find new, healthier ways of living life.  I think my friend can say the same.

 To be honest, as brutal as this year has been, I'm so thankful that it happened.  I don't want to be who I was last year.  Granted, it's a lot better than who I was 9 years ago, but still...I'm a work-in-progress.  The last thing I want is to stagnate or worse yet, disintegrate.  It was such a blessing to sit with someone who understood.  Our situations are different, but we were able to relate on so many different levels.  I came away encouraged, strengthened and blessed.  Thank you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm grumpy

 Honestly, I'm in a really bad mood right now.  It isn't so much the events of the day itself, so much as it is big decisions and too much emotion.  BLAHHH!

 Today was challenging.  I freaked my mom out when she was over by almost collapsing on the floor.  Thankfully she had brought over a stockpile of prepared meals, so now I have something to cook when I really can't.  Most tasks, including walking up the stairs, are too much right now.  This is unfortunate because our only bathroom is at the top of a steep flight of stairs.  A trip to relieve myself, fetch clean diapers, or carry a stinky, squirming, screaming toddler up the stairs leaves me breathless, light-headed and unable to talk.  It's pretty sucky.

 But in this, God is good.  My mom has provided meals.  She's also prayed with me and for me.  My mother-in-love also prays and babysits often.  Steve has taken up more chores without complaining and comes home early when needed.  My dear neighbour has offered to walk my children to and from school.  Because I was so weak today, I caved in and drove to the school instead of walking.  This had the bonus effect of blessing my neighbour as I drove her too.  I'm praying a lot more and trying not to be hard on myself when I'm not getting things done.  And...I did get the laundry(well, the top basket) folded and put away.  I also emptied the dishwasher all by myself!  As you can tell, I'm trying to rejoice in the little I can accomplish. :)

 Now I'm starting to feel better.  The ache in my chest has passed and although I may cry a bit more, life feels slightly brighter.  Oops, I just remembered lunches aren't made. *sigh* I was going to tell you about my guitar practice session and how I found a song with chords that I know, but instead I must go make lunches.  Healthy, nutritious lunches will be the end of me yet!  See you tomorrow! :)

Shameless Plug

On Saturday, October 2nd, my two oldest monkeys will be participating in the Ride for Refuge formerly known as the Ride for Refugee. I believe this is the 7th ride and my family's fifth year participating. The money raised by my family will go to supporting a local refugee housing community and towards building a school in Sudan.

This is the second year that my children have ridden. Last year they chose to ride after becoming friends with a refugee family at their school. This family had fled persecution in Africa because of their faith. The mother had been jailed, and the father remains there in prison. His crime? Pastoring a church not approved by the government. They have four beautiful children ranging in age from 10 to 4 years old. The second youngest struggles with anxiety resulting from their struggles. We are so thankful that they made it safely here and have been granted refugee status.

This year, my children wanted to ride again. In April, they started telling us how much they want to ride. So, here they are, preparing for another ride day. Steve and I will be chasing them with Kian on somebody's back. :) If you would like to support them financially, click here to support Aris and here to support Zane. Please keep us in prayer on Saturday that we would participate well, being kind towards each other and not impatient even when exhaustion sets in. Click here to see this year's awesome ride video. It details the history and the importance of the ride. Together, we can change the world.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Police Checks and Amazing Pizza

 I'm writing this post for my mother.  When she called today, she asked why I hadn't written yesterday.  So rather than get called on the carpet two days in a row, I'm writing a quick little post.  I just finished a massive post for tomorrow's Radical Read-along with Marla which is why this one will be so little.

 I've had a very challenging day energy-wise, but I made bread, had tea with the wonderful J, and paired up one pair of socks.  Yes, the laundry did not get put away today.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.  Steve had to leave work early to pick up Zane. After school, he headed to get the police checks, but I needed mine as well, so he picked me up.  Unfortunately, we left them too late, but since we were in that area of town, we decided to take the boys on a date and went to an amazing pizza place.  It was so good I ate three slices.  Steve was slightly shocked.  Zane wimped out and only ate cheese pizza, but he ate most of it.  Kian tried our much more interesting selection, but I don't know how much of it he ate.  He was having a lot of fun though.  Between my visit uptown, and a stampin' up party this evening, I now have Christmas presents purchased for two family members.  It isn't even October.  Now to remember that I bought them...

 Mom, I hope you enjoyed this.  Good night, everyone! :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Grumpies and Being Thankful

 The grumpies came to our house today.  Life has been tough, and kids have been grumpy and Mommy just doesn't get breaks.  I was doing really well last night but somehow the switch got flipped while I was sleeping.  My nice peaceful shower time was invaded by little children who needed "shower baths."  While they are very cute, I missed the peace and emotional cleanliness that a shower taken alone can bring.  I ran errands to the chorus of screaming albeit with polite words, but still.  Clearly I am managing to instill some common courtesy in my children when they scream " May I get down now?!?"  There were bright spots, but really it was just putting one foot in front of the other.

 Now after an hour or so, laughing with my besties at Tim Horton's, I feel better.  My perspective has returned.  Zane helped make lasagna tonight, his favourite.  He declared it " the best I've ever eaten!" This is his current favourite phrase after listening to a friend's video at church.  Aris made tarts for dessert.  Originally she wanted to fill them with jam, but instead we mixed chopped apples, walnuts and honey.  They were delicious.  My in-laws were invited last minute to dinner and brought over three large basil plants they grew for us.  After dinner, we picked leaves off basil and peeled garlic.  Now four jars of pesto sit on my table.

 It has been a good day.  I'm thankful for a patient family who puts up with me when I'm grumpy.  I"m thankful for a God who redeems.  I'm thankful for creative children who like to cook what they eat.  I'm thankful for spontaneous family and friends.  I'm thankful for very good friends that I can share just about anything with.  Girls, I love you so much!  And I'm also thankful that there are more things to be thankful for than I have words and room to write.  It is good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crying in my Closet

After reading a series of posts on honesty, not whitewashing and the disease of perfectionism, I am writing this in the interest of being real. This is just in case you somehow thought I was perfect or had the perfect life. I'm not sure how that could come across in my writing, but just in case it did, here's this:

Late into the night, my body shook. There were no tears, just aching, wracking sobs. My body twitched with pent-up tension and my heart ached. It was hard last night. I don't know why exactly. Just one of those moments when the pain builds to a crescendo and has to be released, I guess. I hate those moments.

It's been a tough year following three years that left us tired and hurting. Sometimes I wonder when and if daylight will ever come. The stress and pain has taken its toll on all of us, especially Steve. He hates to see me hurt. Some days the pain is at a distance, while on others my heart threatens to break in two. Last night, I hurt until I went to sleep and woke up still raw and wounded. Stuffy nose, sore head, sore heart, empty coffee pot. Not a good start for a school day.

The screen called me to log on and read, to waste my time and soothe my heart. But my journal lay open on the table, reminding me of a God who cares. So I wrote. Poured out my pain. Read His Word and then prayed some more. Strangely I wrote words longing for reconciliation, restoration and repentance, not for my sake but for theirs. Words speaking of God's desire that all will come to repentance, of His slowness to wrath not because He doesn't care, but because He cares too much soothed a heart that chafed at how slow this process has been and will be. So I prayed and got up, still with a sore heart, but a calmer heart. Chores were done, soup was made, the day went on.

But the pain is with me always, just under the surface. The kids were grumpy and Daddy went out with a friend. Whiny, bickering, disobedient children that complained about everything and would not stop crept under my skin and up my spine like nails on a chalkboard. Up the stairs I went, into my closet. It houses too many boxes and suitcases for me to fully fit in, but I scrunched in with my knees poking out. My phone still sits on the closet floor where I left it after calling my parents to pray. Then I sat and cried until calmness came and I could go be a good mommy again.

 Back down the stairs I went, this time to be met with apologies.  My toddler leaned over to his brother speaking in a gravelly voice " I am the bad guy machine!"  We laughed at this silly boy with his silly voices.  I made up poetry in my head while watching the popcorn pop.  My parents came by with hugs, wings, ribs and fries.  They wanted to make sure they brought all my favourites.  Eventually, peace came again both to my heart and my home.  Now my wee ones are in bed, hopefully all sleeping.  For them at least, today is done. And for me, well...God was here today.  Hopefully tomorrow won't hurt as much, won't be as hard, but if it is, God will still be here.  I'll make it through, even if I have to cry in my closet again.  And one day, it will all be okay.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Being Canadian.

This morning and afternoon I baked, first tarts then a pie because the bought crust wasn't halal. I applied make-up, put on jewelry and put on dressier clothes than my normal jeans and superhero t-shirt. Putting my baby on my back, we walked to the school. As we walked, we spotted another family headed the same way, dressed in their culture's best all shimmery, shiny. Suddenly my dress didn't seem so pretty.

The school gym was covered with the student's artwork celebrating different cultures. Flags of many nations hung from the ceiling, each flag representing the birth places of the students there. Families of all ages and sizes came dressed in their cultural clothing. A girl walked by clad in bright orange and green accented with gold jewelry. When she walked or danced, she jingled. Zane's teacher, from the Hmong people group, wore a long beaded tunic with coins that jingled as she walked. A girl brushed by, wearing a stiff red and white robe/kimono/outfit. She carried a poster board about life in Korea. There were clusters of turbaned men, speaking Punjabi. Some nodded and smiled, some greeted us in accented English, others in perfect English. Scottish dancers took to the stage, while some staff mingled wearing the tartan. My friends greeted me and then turned back to their conversation in Mandarin, while the mother from Laos smiled distractedly as she tried to keep her children in view. My little one ran wild, perfectly at home in a gym full of people.

The food line stretched out the door. Tables were spread with curry, springrolls, perogies, enchiladas, rice dishes, noodle dishes and of course pizza. There were Indian sweets, rice pudding and a variety of Canadian desserts. We sampled and savoured, discussing what we liked and what we didn't try. I went back for dessert, but ended up getting more of the savouries. My friend talked me into trying the mushrooms. They were surprisingly good!

The tables were full, so I stood with my friend. Me in a long jean skirt and a brown blouse, she in a flowing sequinned, beaded peach blouse(the long Indian type that I can't remember the name of) overtop of loose grey trousers with a beaded grey scarf draped around her neck. Her oldest wore a similar outfit in black and silver and her youngest wore one in red and gold with beautifully beaded and embroidered sandals. They were beautiful! I felt plain. I wondered if I didn't have a culture. Too many of my forefathers buried their culture because of persecution, so I am left being "just" Canadian(and American).

But then this is my culture. My ancestors were hardworking plain people. They came and worked and survived and thrived. We have stories and legacies and just being here, being Canadian. I wish I had fancy outfits to pull out of the closet, or exotically spiced dishes to eat or even a skin colour other than plain white. Instead I have something different. I have a legacy of peace, of food on the table, warm clothes in winter, a country where I can shop, sleep and worship in peace. I live largely without fear, without justified fear anyways. I may long for something other than this amalgamated identity, but in the end, I am better because they left, they came, they sacrificed. For me, I will wear this dream of peace, of a better future, of freedom and pass it on to those who come and join with me in being Canadian.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wishing For My Camera

As I drove across the city today, I couldn't help but see the sky. It was overcast, but the sun had started to shine through. At first, the sun illuminated the edges of the clouds, causing them to look dipped in gold. But later, the sun flittered through the clouds to form visible rays of light. I have no idea of why that happens, but I love it. Whenever I see those rays, I feel like the gates of heaven have opened and that God's glory is streaming down from the clouds. Oh, and I think of angels, because somehow rays of light and angels are linked in my head. It was a glorious sight! Zane and I enjoyed it until we arrived at our play date and the moment had passed. How I wished for my camera this morning!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peaches and Pears, Wings and My Guitar

It's Sunday night and I"m reflecting on the weekend past. It was a good weekend. Surprisingly, Steve and I were allowed to sleep in on Saturday. Our boys decided to watch tv, so Steve crawled back into bed for another hour and a half of sleep. It was lovely! We awakened when my friend called to push back our arranged meeting time. That worked perfectly for me. After a slow waking, I headed out.

There is a dear older lady who attends my church. She's the only one who still lives on the farm, I think the only one who grew up Mennonite. By that I mean not quite old order, but close. She lives in the farmhouse where her husband was born and now her grandchildren come to play. It's a beautiful stone house, perched overlooking fields of soybeans and a small pond. I love their farm! Rachel(not her real name) invited me out to can peaches. She's been canning since before she can remember, while I'm stumbling over learning to preserve. Rachel is patient with me. I like learning from her. So together we peeled our peaches, stuffed the jars and then processed them. We had more jars than fruit, so we drove down to a little country market for some pears. It was a companionable time of working, talking and drinking tea. Rachel's house was so quiet and peaceful, it was a haven for me. I came away tired, but inwardly refreshed. Being productive feels good!

Today was harder. Right now, Sundays tend to be. My wonderful husband is finding them hard too. The strain is wearing on us both. He's gone the next couple of days on a retreat, so at the last minute, I called my parents to babysit. They agreed and we went out for wings.

Wings are among my favourite food. There is just something about a nice wing with just the right amount of sauce and bite. My favourite is medium and I'd be happy just eating that. But variety is the spice of life and we did go to a place with 101 different flavours. I can't make decisions right now, so Steve chose. He chose "Jamaican Me Crazy", a combination of jamaican jerk and pineapple curry. It was...interesting. Don't get me wrong, they were tasty, just not my favourite. But still it was good. We ate, talked and rested. We came back feeling a lot less stressed.

Dad babysat for me and whenever he babysits, he pulls out my guitar. Dad plays beautifully, but he doesn't play often anymore. However, he likes my guitar. Since I haven't played it since my last bout of depression, I'm glad that he gives it some love and attention. He was still playing when I got home. I've been wanting to start playing again, so the sight of my guitar actually out was good motivation. After he left, I got my guitar back out and played a bit. I was pleasantly surprised that I could actually remember the chords. I played much better than I expected. It was very exciting. Granted, I couldn't play for long because I don't have callouses any more, but still! I can play! I"m not horrible after almost two years away!

Monday and Tuesday are looking rather crazy at this point. I'm not sure what's going to happen. But I'm thankful for the good things of this weekend. Now to sleep well and awake refreshed so I will have lots of grace, gentleness and patience with my munchkins tomorrow. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In Which I Bring Great Joy to the School Secretary

Days don't start off well when they begin to the sound of a fight between parent and child. Words were spoken, misunderstandings happen, and Friday began with the sound of a yelling child, a slamming door, and stomping feet. I don't wake well at the best of times. My head hurts, my mind moves slowly and I rarely have a smile on my face. The screaming of others doesn't aid the morning grumpies. But I've been praying for a gentle spirit recently. (Ha! Be careful what you ask for...)

I didn't yell. I didn't scream or add any more slamming doors or stomping feet. Instead, from somewhere else, I had a quiet voice and a clear understanding of the situation. I spoke quiet, gentle but firm words to the involved parties, gave lots of hugs, kisses and understanding, while offering up both silent and spoken prayers. Somehow peace came again to my little home. Breakfast was eaten, children were clothed. Two healthy lunches were packed for school. But it was 8:35am and I was still in my jammies.

Amazingly we got to school on time. I kissed my kids and sent them in, walking back home cheerfully with my friends. It was good. I had survived the storm, with flying colours too. Or so I thought....

Around 10am, the phone rang. It was the school secretary. I thought she was calling because Aris was sick, but no, she said she had a favour to ask. Steve is the school council treasurer so that wasn't unreasonable. She asked me to look at the school calendar. Again, slightly strange, but hey...maybe she needed to double-check something. Then it became clear! "Did I send Zane to school on the wrong day?" I asked in a slightly panicked voice. Mrs w. burst out laughing! "YES!!!" She said it wasn't a big deal and that the teacher would keep him. But I was going to be walking that way anyways, so I said I'd pick him up. I felt like an idiot! After getting off the phone, I started crying. I moped for a bit. But then the humour hit.

Somehow I completely failed to notice that there was only one line of children instead of two. I didn't clue in that I didn't recognize any of the other children or their parents. Funnier still, Zane's teacher didn't clue in that it wasn't his day until she did the attendance. Neither did Zane. The other children started talking to him like he belonged there. *I'm laughing hard while I type this* Thankfully Zane wasn't upset, but instead took advantage of this opportunity to make new friends. Since this is Zane's favourite activity, I'm glad he got a chance to exercise this skill.

Needless to say, when I picked Zane up from school, the school secretary, another mom helping and the kindergarten teacher were howling with laughter. I was informed that the secretary was having a very tough day and that she really needed a laugh. She laughed the rest of the day and that evening about my mistake. They had great fun ribbing me at the school movie night that evening. *sigh* But I"m very glad that my mistakes bring great amusement to the staff at the school. And this has to be better than the day I didn't send Aris right? *sigh*

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Dancing Boy

My oldest son likes to dance. Ever since his sister started dancing, he wanted to dance too. Two years later, when he was old enough, we signed him up. He danced for a year. Sometimes he loved it, sometimes he didn't, but he danced. Then he danced this summer for a week with his best friend. Today he started classes again.

Zane was shy at first, hesitant, the only boy in a roomful of girls. His bright red tranformers t-shirt and brown khaki shorts stood out among a room of pale blue leotards and even paler pink tights. He hesitated, needed extra hugs, before settling in among a roomful of strangers. He participated, almost skeptically. Leaning back, watching the room around him, deciding if that particular exercise was for him or not. The moms outside exchanged names and laughed at this boy, so little and yet so decided in his personality. Then he settled, engaged and the sun came out.

My son has a grin that can light a room. They all do, but his shines with all of his mischief and a laugh that can go on forever. The dancers shook their limbs out and I saw Zane shake his sillies in. From outside I could see that giggle start to form as his head wobbled from side to side. The sillies stayed inside, but he danced full-bodied.

The little boy dancer isn't a common sight in the hallowed studios of dance. At least not this one. There are other male dancers there, just not many. Zane didn't dance quietly like one being forced. He put all of his energy and zest for life into his movement. I don't know how long he'll dance, if the pressures of peers will disuade him eventually. But for today, he danced and it was oh so sweet!

Peace in the Rapids

 The rapids above are at the foot of the Bridal Falls in New York State.
 Both the shot above and below are of the Canadian Rapids, that is the river that empties into the Horseshoe Falls in Ontario.  If I'm correct, both these and the American Rapids are rated a 6 on a scale of 1-5 because of their unpredictability, speed and power.
 These rapids are beautiful, the water seeming to dance in anticipation of the giant leap ahead.  They seem refreshing and almost beckon one to step in, to dance with them too.  But to accept their invitation is to accept death as well, our human bodies being too frail, too prone to injury.  I feel as if I am caught in those rapids.  Currents swirl around me, stronger than I can handle, my life spins out of control.
But then, in the midst of exuberant, dangerous waters is this.  A calm peaceful stream suitable for wading and refreshing.  Its waters came from the Canadian Rapids and will exit back into them, but here in this moment there is peace.  Here, in my life filled with unrest, I look for that place of peace before flowing back out into the current.

Photos taken by my wonderfully talented husband on our brief vacation.
Joining with Emily today at Imperfect Prose:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Office Party

 It's been a very full couple of days.  I have lots to write about, but unfortunately gave myself a paper cut under my thumbnail so typing is painful.  :(  Yesterday was the start of the Radical Read-along.  You can read my contribution here.   I wasn't expecting what I wrote.  Sometimes my writing surprises even myself as I process while I type and talk.   Yesterday's soul-searching was part of a day filled with emotion.  Today was all over the map too.  But in a good way, I think.  We'll see.

 Yesterday evening was a gathering at my husband's office.  Steve works for an absolutely amazing organization.  We are passionate about the work that they do, but more than that, we love their hearts for God.  I'm constantly blown away and challenged by the people that I meet there.  It's a group of amazing, big-hearted, sold-out believers.  They're a diverse group and we love them to bits.  One of the coolest things about this group is how much they love us and pray for us.  These aren't people that we're BFFs with.  But we know that they love and care for us.  It's hard to explain, but I am so blessed to be a part even if it does feel awkward being the only member of a missions organization who hasn't been off of this continent.  *sigh*

 Last night we gathered to say goodbye to a couple who had served with IT for 19 years.  The past five years they served in a restricted country.  Consequently, I don't know them well, but I have been praying for them.  Several other couples that I don't know also showed up for the dinner.  It was neat to put faces to names and say "I prayed for you about this. How are you?"  The missionary we were saying goodbye to was flabbergasted when I said that.  It was fun to bless her like that.

 The downside of having random people praying for you, is that you don't know who knows you.  This results in being addressed by your first name by complete strangers.  I am now very very careful about how I behave, especially when I'm tempted to give a rude stranger the finger.  I never know when that rude person is actually a supporter, prayer supporter or elder/pastor at one of our supporting churches.  Yes, I do speak from personal experience, except that I didn't give the rude stranger a piece of my mind.  I was very good. Really.  As she is a dear friend now, I'm very grateful for that self-restraint.

 I loved last night.  I loved hearing the stories, chatting about books with fellow bookworms, eating excellent food, and being able to pray together.   I am so blessed by this wonderful family we call co-workers.  They are a blessing and an inspiration.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy...

 Somedays I don't know what to write.  My brain is numb, potentially because I had too much sugar and not enough proper food.  This is what happens when I run a child out to dance class, and then am offered both pie and fudge on the return as I run out to a client meeting.

 Oh, that takes me off on a tangent.  I had a first visit tonight!  Although I'm no longer as certain that I'll make all the births I'm supposed to, starting to prepare for another birth has me super excited.  Although this family currently lives in my town, they'll be moving about an hour away soon.  We'll be meeting in a city in between the two for the birth.  I'm a wee bit nervous especially as the baby is due the end of January.  The other birth I'm scheduled for is in March/April and will also be out of town, this time more in the snowbelt.  This will definitely be a learning curve.  But I'm excited to be present to welcome two more babies into this world.  Birth makes me very happy!

  Food makes me happy.  Food that I didn't cook and that signifies more than just yumminess makes me extra happy.  In my little community handbook, food is a key component.  If I ever write a book on how to form community, there will be a recipe section.   Today at school when I spoke with a B'hai from Afghanistan and a Muslim from Syria, we spoke about food.  When I was flagged down by my neighbours, it was to share food.   Over the summer, our neighbourhood has started to turn into a community as we've come together and shared meals.  It's been pretty cool.  For the menfolk, beer has also been a significant part of that.  Steve gathers with some of our neighbours to drink beer and talk.  They don't talk sports, rather they're discussing history, politics, computer and God.  They also talk about beer and have started experimenting with different brews.  It's pretty cool.

 This year holds great potential.  There's a lot of big fat scary change coming up, but there is also some amazing opportunity.  I'm looking forward to cooking more, talking more and as always sharing lots of wonderful food with the amazing people in my community.  I am so blessed to be here!

As an afterthought, check out a song I've listened to at least a dozen times today.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Return of the 'Rents

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to write tonight, but my mom pointedly asked if I was going to blog tonight. So here I am, blogging.  It was a good day, but a quiet day.  I wasn't feeling well, so didn't go to church.  This isn't that big of a deal since our church is now a network church which means that I was able to watch the same sermon as the rest of my congregation.  There's even a worship time which was nice as well.  Kian enjoyed part of the worship and then went back to watching Dora.  He's enjoying being able to choose his own shows instead of having to negotiate with his siblings.

 My parents are back from canoe camping in Algonquin, so they came over for dinner.  It was nice to hear about their adventures.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't the greatest,  but they had a lot of fun regardless. At one point, Mom didn't have any dry socks so she bought some.  She chose a striped, bright-blue knee high pair of socks.  As this is more in my taste then hers, I am now the proud owner of said pair of socks.  They are warm and cozy and match quite well with my knee-length skater shorts.  Oh, am I ever setting a fashion statement today!

 Anyhoo, I'm happy and tired, but not bad tired.  Off to bed I go.  Tomorrow is a big day with school for both of my munchkins, dance for Aris and a first client visit for me tonight.   Wow! That will be busy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Then Grace Walked In....

 Sometimes grace arrives all calm and smooth, peace flooding over us almost physically.  Sometimes grace comes in other ways.

 Today was not exactly a good day.  I was tired, grumpy and battling the beginnings of a migraine.  Kian was grumpy too.  He's been really tired this week and now he was lonely too.  Zane started back at school today so for the first time in two months, Kian was without his best friend.  Our morning started out okay, other than the screaming for scrambled eggs for breakfast.  But he got progressively crankier and demanding as my patience steadily declined.  The breaking point came as I carried him kicking and screaming up the stairs to change his diaper.  My temper boiled, angry words just about to spill over when...grace walked in.

 As he kicked and flailed, his sock fell off.  Somehow that simple act flicked a switch and instead of anger, silliness bubbled out.  For those of you who don't know me personally,  I'm not exactly serious.  I have a ready giggle, an infectious smile and a slightly strange sense of humour.  Some people describe me as mischievous.  My kids just call me silly.  Either works really.  When Kian's sock came out, my anger fled to be replace by a serious case of the sillies.  I jumped up and shrieked, pretending to be scandalized by that naked foot! I covered my eyes and shuddered to my son's obvious delight.  Then I tried to put his sock back on all the wrong body parts.  We both giggled.  Soon we were having a such a great time that even Kian's new bad habit of spitting was dealt with in a very calm manner.

 We emerged from my bedroom giggling, not near tears like we had been mere moments previous.  And I realized that sometimes grace comes in ways we don't expect, don't look for.  But oh, it's so sweet, just like little Kian's giggles.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


 When pain haunts movement and mindless fatigue swirls around, threatening to drown me in its current, each act becomes one of worship.  Even as I type, the waves wash up and my eyelids start to close.  The screen goes to black, my eyes flicker open and I type a bit more until another wave hits.  But in this I rejoice.  For I accomplished so much today.  A trip to the market reaping oodles of fresh, local produce for good prices, time in the kitchen produced a beautiful stew that fed my family and another, sitting at my kitchen table slicing peppers for the winter while building into a woman every one else has abandoned, clean boys sleeping in beds after having to remake them after extra energetic play.  My eyelids flicker again and I smile.  I'm rejoicing in those activities and more being done.  Even this heavy fatigue fills me with joy because it's proof that I didn't do it on my own.

 The phone rang earlier today, my mom calling to say that they had packed up the tent, put out the fire, and paddled back out to civilization.  My heart rejoiced that they are safe after canoe camping in the cold, wet wilds.  Her voice crackled a bit as she said "I"m praying for you. I'm praying as often as I remember that God will give you the strength for each task.  I pray all day that God gives you strength to get the kids to school, to make lunch, dinner, to eat those meals.  I'm praying".  It all made sense then, how I've been able to get what I need done before collapsing.  This dreaded sickness hasn't gone away, but God is strengthening me.  He has not abandoned me!  My chin hits my chest and bounces back up again, but still I smile!

Today I'm sharing this with imperfect prose, although it's definitely imperfect.  :)  Jump over there to view some beautiful art and photography as well as read some poetry and prose.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


 I have no idea if I spelled that correctly, but my dear friends next door are celebrating the Jewish New Year.  As my eldest is Jewish, she asked if she could celebrate too, and of course they agreed.  I let her go alone, but wandered over later to pick her up.  Because it was fancy, I changed out of my jeans and Super-girl t-shirt(I have an assortment of superhero t-shirts), into something much more presentable.  I even put on make-up.  And high heels!  Once the grown-ups noticed that I was there(I played peek-a-boo with a 15 month old for about 5 minutes first), they pressed food and drink on me.  So of course I had to accept!  After all, it's very rude to turn down hospitality!  It was an interesting experience to be part of a celebration presented in a language I speak very little.  Russian is somewhat similar to other languages I speak, so there are some words I know or can at least figure out.  I also have picked up a couple of words, so that helped too.  But for the majority of the speeches, I just sat there and let the language flow over me.  It was a different feeling.  I didn't feel excluded, as those families are dear friends.  But it was an important moment of understanding how my friends with limited English feel.  I hope that as a family we convey a sense of friendship and inclusion across those language barriers.

 Eventually I retrieved my daughter and headed home.  After putting her to bed,  I began to chat with another friend who had arrived just as I went to get Aris.  She stayed for quite awhile, but it was a good visit.  We chatted about many things, some of them hard.  Her family is walking through a very hard time, so I listened, encouraged and inquired as to how best to serve them.  Before she left, Steve and I prayed for her.

 As I was writing this, the significance of the juxtaposition hit me.  I celebrated with one friend and then mourned with another.  Sometimes, we lose the balance of friendship.  It can be easier to only celebrate with a friend, or only want to hear the negative because of jealousy.  As a Christian, I'm exhorted to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice.  This year I want to walk alongside my friends whether they are mourning or rejoicing.  Just please don't invite me over if you're contagiously sick, because I really want to stay healthy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In Which Aris Begins Grade Two

I should point out that this title is inspired by the chapter titles of Winnie the Pooh or books like that.  I can almost here the audio book now...Please imagine a slight British accent.

 There was both sorrow and rejoicing today.  The wonderful Miss Aris started grade two today.  I cannot believe that she is in her second year of full-time school! *shakes head*  This summer went far to fast and I am loath to see my children off to school again.  This is a big improvement from last year where I squandered my time and was ecstatic to send my children, especially a certain little boy, off to school.  However, there was cause for rejoicing at the school yard.  My friends were there!

 I think we are definitely succeeding in our goal of building community when we not only miss the other parents during the summer, but we greet them with exuberant hugs and proclamations of how much we missed them and how good it is to see them!  I hugged quite a few other parents and some staff today at school.  There were more that I didn't hug just because I either didn't see them or they were otherwise occupied.  I think the tendency as adults is to hold ourselves aloof.  We don't make friends easily with people outside of our circle.  It can be very intimidating to befriend someone from a different culture, especially if they barely speak our language.   For these reasons, I rejoice in what's happening at our little school and what this is teaching our children.  I could be naive, but I believe this is just the beginning of something really cool.  I can't wait to deepen the friendships I have, make new friends and as always share some great food.

 I will miss my monkeys as they head back to school, but I'm excited for more playground conversations, sharing food at school events, and building relationships as we walk to and from the school.  :)

Monday, September 6, 2010


 I woke up today sad.  After my daughter decided to scream at everyone about everything, I felt even sadder.  A burden of heaviness settled on my shoulders.  I wandered around my house crying and constantly apologizing.  Steve felt both concerned and annoyed(Stop saying sorry!).  So we stopped, prayed lots, drank coffee and read our Bibles together.  Then we cooked.

 Steve made my brocoli salad.  It turned out...exactly the way he wanted it to.  Right. it was edible. And surprisingly delicious.  I made toffee bars.   They were delicious.  We were making food for one of our famous community barbeques.  We've tried to have one every long weekend this summer and they've become a hit.  It's been great to build relationships within our community.  This was the smallest gathering yet as several families were out of town.  But it was great!  My friend Sebastien brought a potato salad and a cucumber/tomato/dill salad.  They were both delicious.  One of our families is Filipino and they always bring several delicious dishes.  Today they brought a pasta dish(how do they make it so delicious? i really want to know!), watermelon balls and a flan.  Apparently flan is a Filipino dessert.  I didn't know that until recently, but I'm not complaining.  Carole's flan is amazing!  And they left both the pasta and the flan here.  *BigSmile!*

 Today started out challenging, but I feel so much better now.  Being surrounded by some wonderful friends and eating great food was a blessing.  Now if only I knew that my East Coast friends had survived the hurricane....*hint hint*

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rainy Restful Saturday

  Last night I had plans for adventures.  But when today dawned rainy and my head didn't want to lift from my pillow, I decided to be practical.  Instead we stayed at home to rest and attack chores.  The stress of this week has caught up, leaving me exhausted, shaky and weak.  At one point, I was having trouble slicing butter. *sigh* But we had a lovely family breakfast that Steve made,  Aris and I baked together and Steve and I shared coffee and a devotional time.  It was a calm time of reflection, reading, confession, repentance and prayer. Nothing quite like a kick in the pants to get us praying together...

 The day wasn't perfect as both the kids and I had a meltdown.  But Aris made sugar cookies and iced them too.  Steve and the boys went grocery shopping.  We had some very fun moments as a family.  Kian let Steve take a sliver out of his foot and was very very brave too!  He actually asked us to deal with it and then let me bravely hold him.  When it started to hurt too much, he got scared and decided he needed to nurse, but still held very still.  This was amazing coming from our child who often won't even let us look at an owie, let alone put a bandaid on it.

 Today I am thankful for small things, and big things( like not setting the house on fire). I'm also excited about the promise of adventure tomorrow. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Love You Forever.

 I must start by apologizing for not writing more.  The weeks preceding my getaway were crazy, and the last couple of days have followed in the same pattern.  I had two ideas for imperfect prose postings yesterday, but couldn't find the energy to write either of them.  And I still need to do the photography for one idea.  I must say that I'm loving Emily's idea!  The challenge of writing an artistic post has begin to push me out of my mommy rut and linguistic complacency.  It's nice to use my creativity for more than just telling stories to my kids.

 That brings a story to my mind.  This morning we were running late.  Kian needed a nurse, the kids needed to eat, and I was slow moving because Steve and I had been up quite late talking.   Aris made breakfast(toast) and even set the table to help me out.  I was so proud of her!  But the boys were ungrateful and complained.  This caused Aris to cry as she has a cold and feels miserable in the morning.  It was so disheartening to serve sacrificially only to have her efforts criticized.  I tried to gently point out that this is how I feel many days.  I'm not sure she understood my point....

 But all this is background.  There were three crying children around my table, all needing to eat.  I was trying to decide if I needed to cancel our plans and just drug my children with tylenol and send them all back to bed.  It was that bad!  And then I had an idea.

 One of our favourite family stories is "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch.  We have the story memorized and often personalize it to fit our children's stories.  So this morning, I told each child a segment about them and ended it by singing the song to them.  I started with Kian.  As I told the story, he stopped crying.  He didn't smile, but he liked being sung to.  As I sang to the older children, they both ran over and sat on my lap so I could "rock them back and forth, back and forth and while she rocked them, she sang".  It was a precious moment, even punctuated by Kian's loud complaints that someone else was in my lap.  Apparently it belongs to him.  The other two don't agree.  That aside, it was a sweet moment of reminding my children that I love them, even in the crazy moments of parenting.  The cuddles were fun too!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And Then Their Van Pulled Up...

 Today was challenging.  There were some great times with friends and family, especially at the afternoon make-up party.  I have some pretty cool friends!  But I also had a challenging meeting with some church leadership at lunch.  I was left unsettled.  However, since the meeting was right before the party, I didn't have a chance to debrief with Steve.  Later, we were able to debrief on the way to another function.  I was really upset.  As we pulled up,  I was in tears.  Just as we went to get out of the van, our dear friends pulled up!  I exclaimed very loudly "Praise God they're here!"  I wanted to run out and hug them right away, but figured that might overwhelm certain small ones, so I waited.  Although I'm still feeling very shaky, it was such a blessing to spend some time with this sweet sister.  Oh, and to eat some fabulous food and enjoy some other great company!  That was pretty awesome too. :)