Monday, January 31, 2011


 Today was my first day of being back to normal.  I finally have complete use of my arm back.  Yay!  However, I'm finding being back to normal fairly tiring.  My oldest is quite sensitive to how tired I get and she became very concerned this evening.  Unfortunately, Steve had a meeting to attend, so I was on my own for bedtime.

 Aris decided to help put her brothers to bed.  While I cuddled with Kian, she read the bedtime devotional, collected and assigned prayer requests, led her brothers in prayer and then sang to them.  It was very sweet.  The boys were very calm and obeyed her quite well, which is unusual for them. I really appreciated Aris' help and enjoyed watching her take care of them.  Although Aris has her difficult moments, she is such a thoughtful, sweet child.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Baby Steps

 Sometimes when life doesn't go as planned, it is hard to know why.  During the past year, my life went in directions that I still don't entirely understand.  It's hard when things out of my control happen for no discernable reason.  I wonder why a lot.

 Yesterday I was at a birth.  The mama did amazingly well.  She was a super-star, naturally finding a rhythm and ritual for each contraction.  She had a great support team composed of a midwife, a doula(me), her best friend and her husband.  But labor didn't progress normally.  She laboured without drugs or augmentation for a very long.  We switched positions, kept her rested and hydrated, but still labour stalled out.  Even after augmentation, that baby wasn't coming down.  Finally, the OB made the call for a c-section.

 We cried, the best friend, husband and I.  Tears rolled down our faces as we tried to support this dear woman through her last couple of contractions.  It was such a huge disappointment for us all.  During those moments of grief, it was easy to start the blame game.  If we would have stayed at home, this wouldn't have happened.  She was labouring fine there.  This is the midwife's fault for making her stay on the monitor so much.  If we could have walked the halls, she would have been fine.  I'm sure we could have come up with many more blame statements if we tried. But to be honest, even in those intense moments of grief and disappointment, we knew they weren't true.  So we kept our mouths shut,  wiped away our tears and then came back in to meet this precious new little one.

 He was gorgeous!  All little, wrinkly and blue with an extremely conical head, we couldn't stop exclaiming over him.  His father was so proud of this little miracle, so crazily in love with him.  It was beautiful. In between oooing and awwwing over the baby, we asked the father if they knew why the labour hadn't been progressing.  He did.  The cord had been wrapped around the baby numerous times, not just around his neck, but also around his torso. There was absolutely no way he could have been born vaginally.

 With that news, our disappointment and grief disappeared.  What appeared as a failure wasn't.  Instead it was now a miracle.  Although it will take some processing, we all feel much more positive about the c-section.  The midwives, nurses, anesthesiologist, and obstetricians were amazing in their gentle support and helpful decision making.  As I talked to the mother today, she expressed her pleasure with all those involved and her joy in her newborn son.

 Now as I ponder over the events of yesterday, I wonder how many of the changes I have experienced were necessary.  Like the c-section, they have rendered me disappointed and grieving.  But perhaps, just maybe, without those interventions, I might have ended up in a much worse place.  Unfortunately, it will take much longer than half an hour for the why to be revealed.  For now I will have to wait and trust, as hard as that is for me.  But maybe I'm starting to learn, one baby step at a time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Maybe Baby?

 It's almost my bedtime, but instead of putting on my jammies and snuggling into bed, I'm bundling up against the deep cold and heading out into a snowy evening.  I stop at Timmy's because I'll need the coffee,  load Great Big Sea into my playlist, set my GPS and head out into the snowy evening.  I've travelled these roads recently, so they don't scare me as much, but the snow shimmering down slows my pace.  I pray for wisdom and strength, safe driving and alertness.  An hour after setting out, I arrive.

 Maybe a baby will come tonight, maybe not.  The contractions don't seem hard enough or long enough, so we head out for a walk.  The mama is bouncing, so excited to meet her little one.  She's been doing well and I wonder just how far along in the birthing process her body is.  I'm concerned that she might be a very rare one that doesn't feel labour.  I ask questions and pray lots because I don't want to deliver a baby.  I'm not qualified, not yet anyway.  Hopefully someday.

 The snow has stopped falling, and it is cold enough that the snow shimmers like it has been sprinkled with glitter.  The air is crisp, but not crazy cold like it had been earlier.  All is calm and bright, most folks gone to sleep in this small town.  We wander through the streets, climbing the hill and looking in the windows.  I learn more about this couple, my friends and now clients.  We reach the business area of town, where snowbanks line parking lots.  I suggest the climbing of one and off they scramble, like children.  He climbs first, finding footholds for her, and then up she goes, giggling in delight.  It's fun and beautiful, this playful walk under bright stars.  Their love shines too, his protection, care and sacrifice for her as he left his boots at home.  She trusts him, that he will make good paths and won't let her fall.  He doesn't.

 We keep walking, back down the hill past their place and then over the river, up an even longer hill to a historical building on the other side.  They've seen it while driving past, but didn't know what it was.  We find the plaque up against the old stone wall.  Behind us a large stone building looms, an old school built in 1850 by an English Quaker.  It dates back to before Confederation, to Upper and Lower Canada, when there was a Prime Minister of Ontario.  We know this because the fourth Prime Minister of Ontario graduated from this school.  We take turns reading the sign and then discuss how Canada has changed.  On this cold bright night, the old buildings seem almost magical.   We turn to go back.

 The baby doesn't come.  We waited for awhile and then slept, but still no baby.  I could feel frustrated over a wasted evening, but instead I'm remembering those magical moments.  I'm learning more, mostly to trust what I know.  Second guessing myself comes too easy, but doesn't help when making judgement calls.  But I learnt more that night about my friends and my community.  I had fun walking and laughing beneath the stars.  The baby will come in his/her own time.  I will wait and be patient while treasuring the memories of our midnight adventures.

 Linking with Emily and the rest

Monday, January 24, 2011

Enforced Rest

 It has been just over three weeks since I broke my arm.  Technically, it's probably closer to three and a half, but then who's counting? :) Thankfully my arm is healing well and I'm getting more strength back every day. On Saturday, I made up for three weeks of not driving by traipsing around the countryside.   I still haven't started cooking again though.

 Not cooking(or baking) has probably been the hardest part of this whole ordeal.  Although having an extended and forced break (no pun intended) wasn't a bad thing, what I make is how I measure my success.  I've struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome for almost a year now, and fought with depression for even longer.  When either of these conditions flare up, I stop.  CFS saps my energy, leaving me unable to do most things.  Depression attacks my ability to concentrate and be motivated.  As a result, I measure both my emotional health and my daily victories by what I do, especially cooking and baking.

 I really love food.  Several of my friends have commented how much they enjoy listening to me talk about food.  Apparently my eyes light up and my face goes soft and dreamy when I begin talking about food.  I enjoy cooking, especially soups, but baking is my happy place. Probably because I also really enjoy eating and sharing my baked goods with friends, family, neighbours.  But for the past three weeks, I haven't been able to cook.  It has been a very hard and frustrating place to be, especially as I have a jar of mincemeat on my counter that I was going to make into squares.

 It has been very easy to feel like a burden, especially to my wonderful husband.  I've struggled with not being able to be productive.  Steve and I have had many conversations about where my value comes from over this time of rest.  I like to think that I'm slowly shedding the detrimental beliefs on where my worth comes from.  But I'm really glad that my time of rest is almost over and that I can start being deliciously productive again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five Minute Friday-People Watching

 I'm trying something new and joining Five Minute Fridays.  Today we are supposed to write about someone that we noticed while out and about, but since I'm still staying mostly put, I decided to write about someone that I see fairly regularly.  So here goes:


 I know her by her child and she knows me by mine.  But for at least a year, we didn't speak.  We smiled and nodded as we passed on the street, met in the library or waited at the schoolyard for our children to emerge.  I didn't know her name either, just that she was Fu Young's mama.  But oh did I notice her.

 She is gorgeous and exotic, with long black hair that has a bit of a curl, golden skin and slanted Asian eyes.  She always wears high heels, even when the snow is piled high on the ground.  I can't help noticing her and comparing her glam golden coat to my practical brown one. She walks to school in skinny jeans or a beautiful dress while I wear my plain-old jeans and a superhero tee.  Her smile is the best part of it all, lighting up her face with genuine warmth.

 And then one day, she showed up at my church.  We finally had a conversation.  I learned her name and now I know that she is just as beautiful inside as she is out.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Second Chances

 The kernels swirled round and round until finally pouring out white into waiting bowl.  But midst the white fluffy tasty morsels poured out hard golden kernels.  And I wondered as I've wondered before why these kernels just don't pop.

 Perhaps they just need a second chance.

 Scoffing at myself, I grabbed a spoon and searched the bottom of the bowl.  Slowly, slowly I filled the holder on top and then dumped the hard kernels back in.  It took awhile, because the kernels hid, hiding their shame under their brothers and sisters that did it right the first time.  Perhaps they cowered, rolling away from my spoon, fearing a lecture on their defiance or stubbornness or brokenness.  Perhaps they feared going back into the heat and turbulence, but I shut my ears to their imagined screams and heartlessly dumped them back in.

 And then it happened.  They popped.  Slowly at first, but then the rattling stopped, the popping began and a steady stream of white poured out of the spout again.  Perhaps all they needed was a second chance.

 Why does that sound so familiar?

Linking my whimsy for somewhere it is Thursday,

Saturday, January 15, 2011


It's been two weeks and two days since I fell and broke my arm.   Although there has definitely been a lot of good come out of this, it has also been a very challenging time.  I'm not the world's most independent person, but I don't exactly like asking for help.  Nor do I like being dependent on other people.  So for the last two weeks, most of my needs have been met by other people.  I did enjoy the break from cooking, but I didn't enjoy not being able to cook or bake when I wanted to.  I especially did not enjoy not being able to dress or bathe myself or do anything with my hair.  Thankfully, i was able to dress myself(albeit carefully) within a few days.  Over the last two weeks, I've been slowly gaining back movement and mobility.  Today I was able to wash my hair ALL BY MINESELF!!!! (said as Kian would).  I was extremely excited.  I now need to build up muscle tone in my arm again.  Although I could wash my hair, I wasn't able to brush or braid it.  Thankfully, the amazing Veronica did that for me.  Although I'm not fully healed, I'm rejoicing in being able to do more each day.  Progress makes me happy! :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


 When I was little, I remember playing with a kaleidoscope.  It was someone's special treasure, perhaps my mother's, hidden away most of the time in that most precious of places, her big white jewelry box.  I remember my joy at being allowed to explore the treasures hidden there on those very rare occasions she opened it.  I cannot be sure but I think among the enamelled pins, jewelled butterflies and necklaces made of precious stones was a kaleidoscope.  My memory may be fooling me, but I seem to remember it lying there among her treasures.  This simple tube wasn't overshadowed by the many pretty items tucked away, for although it appeared plain, inside it was filled with imagination and beauty.  Each twist or shake of the kaleidoscope created beautiful new patterns of the shiny colourful beads hidden within.

 I loved the kaleidoscope.  Although my playtime with it was always limited, I could have spent hours admiring the patterns and creating new ones.  The design that caught my attention would be soon replaced with one that appeared even more beautiful than the previous.  I don't remember ever wishing for the previous display after its fragile beauty had been irrevocably altered.  Each pattern was precious, beautiful, eye-catching.

 Like those beads in the kaleidoscope, last year the relationships in my life were irreparably altered.  I mourned the losses, and tried without success to reshape those patterns. I wanted life to be like it always had been.  But there was no going back.  Different emotions came: anger, sadness, despair, peace, hope and acceptance.  There was no pattern to be seen, just an overwhelming sense of loss, filtered by whatever emotion was dominant at the time.  And then, out of the pain, a design began to emerge.  It was different, with fewer overall friendships, but two deeper, more honest relationships, ones that pointed me to God and loved me just as I am, beginning to stand out boldly within the design.  And then the many smaller relationships, the casual friendships of church community and mom's group replaced by a different, more sprawling link of the online community.  Although I tremble some days wondering when the kaleidoscope will shake again, I can finally see the beauty in this new design.  And even though it hurt to be caught in the change, I have to say that this design is much more beautiful and life-giving than the last.  I will not look wistfully at the old patterns any longer, wishing for what is no longer  and ignoring the beauty in front of me.  Perhaps the grief over broken relationships will still come, but now I can finally see the beauty of here and now.  For that and for this new beauty, I am thankful.

 Joining(again!) with Em for Imperfect Prose:

Breaking the Darkness

  The darkness came with waking yesterday.  I went to sleep filled with joy and determination but then as I roused from slumber, darkness slipped in.  Normally the opposite occurs, dark thoughts at evening and happiness rising with the sunshine.  But not yesterday.  I sunk deeper, refusing to eat, and then deeper still. I flung myself on the bed, covered my face with my pillow and refused to communicate.  Even after he snatched the pillow away, still I lay there staring at the ceiling.  No words, no eye contact, just me lying there silent.  He prayed. I wanted to pray, but the words were stuck.  The darkness locked me inside, stole me away.

 The phone rang and I began to speak a little, but only angry, hostile words.  Not the ones that rang inside my head.  Inside, my voice pleaded "Pray for me, love! I think I'm under spiritual attack."  But all that came out was "It doesn't matter.  I don't matter."  He couldn't hear the voice inside, but he knew.  Somehow he knew to pray and so he did.  I got out of bed, still being hostile, angry, defiant, hurting.  We were headed towards a big fight.  Then the doorbell rang.

 He ran downstairs and I heard him greet whomever it was cheerfully, "Hello Stranger!"  Who could it be, I wondered?  Certainly he wouldn't greet his mother that way and we weren't expecting anyone else. Sullenly I asked who it was.  He answered "T".  With his words, the dark spell broke.  I don't know how or why, but the chains fell away and I could be me again.  A great big smile took over my face as I welcomed her in and offered breakfast.  We laughed and joked, as peace and joy reigned again in my home. He made us breakfast(egg in a hole), overjoyed to cook for his wife who had been stubbornly determined not to eat.  When he finished cooking, we fellowshipped together over eggs, toast and coffee.
I was okay again.

 I can't say with certainty why the darkness came, or even why T's presence broke the spell or how she came to be at my door just then.  But I have my suspicions.  Once again, I am reminded of the power of prayer, the direction of the Holy Spirit and this crazy, overwhelming love of the Father.

 Joining with Em for Imperfect Prose today.  Oh the blessings of those husbands who pray for us and never ever give up.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


 My heart has become barricaded, not hard exactly, but guarded.  I no longer trust that I have inherent value, that I am loved or lovable.  Overtures of friendship are met with suspicion, this heart no longer trusting words of encouragement, praise or love.  I push myself harder and harder, even as my body fails, because only in action can I possibly achieve worth. At night I cry, mourning the pain I bring my husband, wishing I could be a better wife.  He cries too, wanting me to know the value I have in Christ, but I am blinded.

 And then, while skating one night, I fall.  It's a silly fall, one that shouldn't have happened.  I fell, gently, landing on my bum, ending sprawled full-out, smacking my arm as I fell.  It wasn't a hard fall, but I hurt.  The pain ebbs a bit, only to return, reaching full-strength after I have driven home.  The next day we learn that my arm is broken, in a place it should not have broken.  And in this inner healing begins.

 For now this driven girl has to rest.  I cannot care for myself, can't brush or wash my long hair, can't even pull it back.  After almost a week of healing, I can almost dress myself fully, but I probably shouldn't.  Driving is out of the question, as is cooking and carrying my toddler.  I'm mostly housebound and not supposed to do anything. (I shouldn't be typing but...)

 And in this place, my heart has started to soften.  Friends have come around me in prayer, love and tangible acts of love.  One of my dear friends comes over every single day to brush and braid my hair for me.  If it wasn't for her, I'd have to cut it off.  My husband is nothing short of amazing, especially in how he cares for me and has taken over most of my chores.  The church that we stopped attending is supplying meals for us, as is the church we're currently attending.  Friends are helping with laundry, childcare and diapers.  I am humbled...and softened.

 My heart is still bruised and often angry, but here healing is beginning.  I have hope, just slivers sometimes, but hope none the less that full healing will come to this broken girl.  Now to rest my body, arm and spirit and learn to trust this great big God.  If broken bones can be used for God's glory, perhaps He can do something special with this broken heart too.

 Joining again with dear Em and the rest at

Monday, January 3, 2011

An Exciting Ending to 2010

 On a beautiful wintry night, the second last of the year, I went skating with some dear friends.  This time I was smart and left my purse and electronics at home. I haven't fallen in quite awhile, but still...smashing my phone and iPod would not endear me to my husband.  We had a lot of fun skating, but my skate was loose and my muscles sore, so I decided to be wise and exit the rink.  As I prepared to step out, someone rounded the corner and almost crashed into me.  She didn't(I still don't know how she avoided me), but in the confusion I lost my balance.  Down I went, ending up sprawled full-length on the rink.  Quickly, I rolled off and got to my feet, cradling my arm.  It hurt!

 One of my friends saw me fall, so she came over to check on me.  I thought I was just being a baby as I stood there cursing quietly.  I'm typically careful with my language, so this should have clued me in to the amount of damage I had done to my arm. But I thought I was just being a wuss, so I shooed my friends back onto the ice, insisting that I would be fine.  Eventually I pulled off my skates(that hurt too!) and waited for my friends to be done.  When they were done, I drove us home.  After arriving home, the group of us hung out with another friend.  My arm began to get even more painful.  Kate insisted on walking me back to my door.  By the time I went to bed, I was shaking.  Steve wanted to go to emerg, but I didn't want to be there all night.  Besides, it couldn't possibly be didn't hurt enough.

 After a visit to the doctor and then the x-ray clinic on New Year's Eve, we found out that my arm is indeed broken. *sigh* I'm frustrated, because I'm not supposed to be doing much.  But God is good and my friends and family have been taking good care of me.  Veronica has been coming over to do my hair, since I can't brush it or pull it back.  Steve has been being amazing!  I can't(or shouldn't) get dressed on my own, or wash my hair or do a lot of things.  I shouldn't be typing but the words were building up inside.  So you may or may not here from me for the next bit.  It should be an interesting couple of weeks as I can't drive, type, write, cook or bake.  I hope 2010 ended with much less of a bang for everyone else.  Happy New Year! :)