Tuesday, November 29, 2011

MM 166-206

 It's never good being woken up at 5am by a sick child.

 It's even worse on the dawning of a weekend away.

 After comforting and tucking my child back into bed, I climbed back into my warm nest and cried.  This trip had been anticipated for months, dreamed of for years.  But now, on the eve of dream's realization, I was going to be denied.  And what can you do, when kids get sick?

 I prayed, asking God to heal my child.  Two hours later, at official morning time in our house, she was up and sick again.  This time she seemed feverish.  Again I prayed and began to resign myself to a weekend at home.

 But my husband didn't agree. Knowing how much I wanted to go, he volunteered to stay home. Surprisingly our daughter was okay with this.  But her two younger brothers were not.  They weren't going to easily give up their Daddy time.  We talked and prayed some more.  Then my husband came to a startling decision: We were all going to go.  The sickie would be drugged on the way down and then stay in the hotel room with the adults taking turns staying with her.  Quickly I scrambled to get ready, gathering up extra reading materials for the time spent in the hotel room.

 My sickie drifted in and out of consciousness on the drive down.  But she scrambled out of the car completely alert and healthy.  We watched her carefully, but she was fine.  Other than a brief bit of feeling off at dinner, she was completely back to normal.  As for me, I rejoiced in God's healing and in my husband's faith and wisdom.  We had an amazing time with our friends and our little family.

Continuing to count along with Ann:
166. Biking on a major street for the very first time.
167. Safety while biking.
168. Increased confidence.
169. A good date with my sister.
170. Hearing her university stories for the very first time.
171. Finding wings to match my fairy costume.
172. Batman half-face masks.
173. My sister coming over for dinner before she headed home.
174. Gluten-free leftovers with which to feed her.
175. Working with the Sr. Youth for the very first time.
176. Mean mommy skills coming in handy.
177. A patient youth pastor.
178. The sillies fading away, revealing listening hearts and a thirst for God.
179. Beautiful November sky.
180. A new system for storing winter hats, scarves and mittens that greatly decreased my stress in getting out winter stuff.
181. Gel pens.
182. Listening to my children recite Scripture.
183. Memorizing alongside them.
184. Kian knowing the books of the New Testament from Matthew to Corinthians just from listening to his siblings.
185. The beaming look of accomplishment my children get after memorizing a particularly challenging passage.
186. Family night at church.
187. Rebuilding and continuing the friendship we have with a family from our former church.
188. The lessening of pain attached to leaving our former church.
189. A fabulous weekend of prayer training.
190. Working(praying) my way free of the lies that have entangled me for so long.
191. Resting in the sweet healing presence of God.
192. Attending said prayer conference with my husband.
193. Delighting that we are on the same page in so many areas of our life.
194. A wise minister who is so very gentle.
195. Learning to walk free.
196. Really good food at the conference. My sandwich had prosciutto, roasted red peppers and brie. And then I had coconut macaroons for dessert. *happy sigh*
197. A good weekend away.
198. Aris being healed!
199. A wise husband.
200. Friends to travel with.
201. The wisdom and understanding of my children God is giving me.
202. Happy, contented children.
203. Putting the boys to bed an hour before their bedtime without them noticing.
204. A couch date with my husband: Good conversation, Vietnamese food, and then the Big Bang Theory.
205. The beautiful young lady Aris is becoming.
206. Footed pajamas.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

On Fridays, we write for five minutes. No editing, no re-writing, just five minutes of pouring out our hearts. Today's topic: Grateful


 The pain comes in waves, washing over me and I cry out thanks.  I'm grateful for a pain-free yesterday, for all the moments lived free from the shadow of pain.  My stomach churns and heaves, nudged into nausea by the ache of my head.  And I praise God then too.  I'm grateful for my bucket, for the last eight years in which the nausea and my headaches stopped dating, and for the hot sweet tea that will soothe my tummy and my heart in a moment.

 It's new, this practice of praise in moments of pain.  Instead of bemoaning my fate, questioning God or just whining, I offer up instead an offering.  There is always much to be thankful for, even in moments of weakness, fear or misery.  And as I praise, the pain in my head doesn't lessen, but the ache in my heart does.   And when I have a week free of pain, oh the rejoicing that goes on!  When the next week brings two bad days, well...I remember last week's blessing, and the good days in between and praise God for those.  It isn't much, just whispered words in dark moments.  I still want to curse, to whine, to enjoy being miserable.  But little by little, uncontrollable joy is creeping into my heart, splashing out at random moments.  So I give thanks, grateful for all that is in my life.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dressing Creatively

 He wanted to wear his shorts.  The weather app on my phone said 0C with a windchill of -4C and this beautiful spirited child of mine wanted to wear his shorts.

 Many years ago, at the beginning of my parenting journey, we would have fought.  I would have insisted that no, he couldn't wear shorts on such a cold day.  There would have been much screaming on both our parts and eventually we would have emerged exhausted, overwhelmed, me looking desperately for chocolate, but with him dressed properly.   But that was then.

 Now when Kian hands me his favourite bright orange bermuda shorts with a loud "I wear dis, Mommy!", I smile, digging through his jammy drawer.  We head happily into the day, him wearing brown jammy bottoms underneath his shorts, a brown jammy top underneath a blue and orange dinosaur t-shirt.  He is warm and happy and I'm amused by my little boy's clothing choices.

 I can be right and miserable.  Or I can think outside the box and we can both have fun.

Linking with the lovely Em today;

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sometimes it's the little things..

 So cliche really and yet so very true as I was reminded again this evening.  While Steve and I attended a conference this weekend, his lovely parents watched two of our children.  As our former lifegroup was packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child this evening, they invited us to come for dinner while reclaiming our children.  After a full day of learning, we arrived earlier than expected at our friend's farm. Walking in, I discovered that a friend of mine from the school had also been invited.(I should add that I did know she was coming, I just forgot.)

 I met Moira last fall, shortly after she arrived in Canada.  After many years spent in a refugee camp, she had finally been resettled.  I've been getting better at guessing ethnicities, so struck up a conversation with her to see if I guessed correctly.  I had.  She's a beautiful woman, about my age and as I learned more of her story from others at the school, my heart broke.  I'm not sure when the resettlement process for her family started, but by the time it was processed, she had given birth to another child.  Because of the inane bureaucracy, Moira had to leave her baby behind until the proper papers could be obtained.  Thankfully, her lovely little girl has been reunited with her family now.

 During Moira's first months in Canada, I made an effort to befriend her.  At dismissal time, I would chat briefly with her.  One very cold day, I taught her to pull her fingers into a fist to keep them warmer.  We bonded over our misery in the cold, blustery weather.  Then I fell, breaking my arm, and became housebound for several weeks.  By the time I was able to pick my children up from school, my new friend had disappeared.  Life became too busy, and we lost track of each other.  I felt baldly, but just never managed to connect with her.  It seemed as if I had failed her as a friend.

 But as I walked into the room tonight, Moira lit up.  Both then and throughout the evening, she kept pointing at me and exclaiming " I know her! I know her! She's my friend!" (I'm tearing up a wee bit as I write).  It seems that my simple acts of friendship, even with my disappearance, meant a lot.  Tonight we sat together on the couch, exchanging recipes and stories.  She introduced me to her baby and in turn I pushed her to try hot apple cider (which she loved).  As we reconnected, I was reminded that a kind face can mean the world to someone feeling lost and displaced.

 Building friendships across cultural and linguistic barriers is hard. It is easier to ignore the new faces around me and stay safe in my familiar relationships.  But I'm drawn to those on the outside. It can be hard and frustrating going, but the impact of my simple overtures of friendship may be much bigger than I ever could have imagined.   I have to say, I'm glad I chased Moira down to ask her where she was from. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Minute Friday-Grow

It's been awhile since I've joined up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays, mostly because I was so far behind on my blog-reading.  But I'm caught up for the moment and eager to write so here goes...If you're new to the FMF, the plan is to write for five minutes without editing.  Today's topic: Grow.

 After the lights go out, we lay together, my head on his shoulder, just talking.  Our conversation dips and wanders and I marvel at our growth.  We talk of parallel universes and the possibilites that might have been. I laugh, enjoying being a geek with him.  And I look back at when we married, at all the change that has come since then.  How we hid our geekiness, or let it out in socially acceptable little bites, careful to cloak it with a brief mocking.  And now, we live as geeks, openly gloriously because this is who we have become as our lives have intertwined. Our love for each other has created an environment where we are able to be fully who we were created to be.  It isn't always easy or pretty, and we're definitely not cool.  But the freedom to be fully me is delicious. My husband's unconditional love and support has allowed me to flourish in so many ways.

 And those conversations where we throw out crazy concepts like multiple universe theory or discuss how old Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine really is? They're pretty awesome.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Impromptu Pie/Tart/Delicious Thing

 Yesterday I did not want to cook. I had the beginnings of a headache and just felt lazy.  Yesterday morning I had seriously contemplated staying in bed and taking the kids to school late.  Alas, I am a compulsive rule-follower(although not a recipe follower) and just couldn't do it.  Instead I dragged my sorry bottom out of my nice warm bed and hustled my little monkeys off to school.  Then I spent the rest of the day longing to go back to bed.  This did not make for good cooking inspiration.

 But we're trying to be extra-careful with our finances this month and it didn't seem right to make my poor hubby cook.  So instead I made him a great big mess to clean up.  I'm sweet like that.  A couple of days ago, I stumbled across this recipe for wiener rolls.  Zane really likes hot dogs wrapped in Pilsbury Dough so I decided to give this a try.  Since it was a recipe for Zane, I made him help. Of course, if one sibling is helping, the others have to be involved too.   Kian helped add ingredients to the food processor, including the flour I had set aside for flouring the table.  Aris helped roll out the dough. ( I am loving having children that are old enough to help and bake.  Aris can make cookies mostly by herself).  Zane proudly wrapped up the wiener pieces in dough as well as measuring out the flour and pushing buttons on the food processor.

 We had leftover dough that I was going to let Aris play with later.  She likes to make tarts with the dough scraps.  But then I remembered our drawer full of apples.  After asking permission to use her dough, I rerolled it out, sliced up some apples, shook out what turned out to be frozen sour cherries(I thought they were cranberries) and sprinkled with brown sugar and cardamom.   Although I would use different dough, I am definitely making this again. The flavours blended well, with little chunks of brown sugar on top since I was in too much pain to stir it.  Some of the apple juices cooked down into apple butter on the pan.  It was perfect!  So perfect in fact that Steve and I polished off most of the apple tart/open-faced pie all by ourselves. Our kids were engrossed in a computer game and didn't even notice that we had pie until this morning.   We were enjoying it so much that we didn't want to share.

 Sometimes it pays to make myself cook. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Caramelizing Onions

Onions are slowly caramelizing on my stovetop, simmering away in a mixture of bacon grease and olive oil.  We often eat meatless on Mondays, but bacon was the guest of honour on our table tonight.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Bacon is easy to cook and loved by everyone in our house. Well, everyone except maybe Steve. I think he likes the taste but laments the grease.  His share of the bacon disappeared quite quickly just the same.

 I had planned on making turkey soup(I know, not meatless) or something vegetarian but an emotionally tumultuous morning left me drained.  In a daze, I caught up on blog reading, finished the latest Stephanie Plum novel(a guilty pleasure) and played some video games with my son.  Not much was accomplished as my inner stability slowly reset.  By evening time I was calm, but supper was not made. Thankfully bacon lurked in my freezer.  I combined the bacon with brussel sprouts and some garlic for a yummy, if not exactly balanced meal.  My sweetlings ate their dinner with very little complaint.  Zane whined a wee bit, but cheered up when he was served three wee tiny sprouts, which disappeared very quickly. Me thinks he complains from force of habit some days.

 The upside of all that blog reading today was gaining inspiration to cook.  I stumbled across a caramelized onion dip recipe(as well as some interesting cookie recipes for the upcoming Christmas cookie exchange-can I make caramels? How about cardamon orange fig newtons? Or pine nut and rosemary brittle?) Feeling rather snacky I decided to invest the time in slowly cooking down the onions.  After trading some prize items from my Hallowe'en bag*, I now have potato chips to eat with said dip.  As I cook, happiness begins to seep back in.  Clearly I need to cook for fun more often. :)

*Several years ago, I purchased a handmade fairy dress on sale at a local costume shop.  To keep my children happy(and for my own pleasure), I dress up at Hallowe'en.  I would prefer to be a superhero, but haven't found a costume that is a)in my price range and b)not skanky.  Until I find such an item, I will be a green and lavender fairy with matching wings. Interestingly enough, while accompanying my daughter to the door, some people thought that I was also a child.  Given that I got candy, I wasn't complaining. :)