Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Off the grid

"I'm going off the grid," were the words of Chris as he told the cell phone company why we were closing out a phone account. It had been a long complicated process, whereby we wished to retain one phone with the company and close out another. In order to ease the task, which had already been difficult, he chose a white lie. He didn't want to be pressed to keep an account we didn't need. He was technically going off their company's grid.

***

A friend of mine made a gift for our colleague who was leaving our school. It was a frame with a comma pictured inside. He was the Grammar King. After hearing of the gift, I often thought I would like a picture of a comma hung somewhere to remind me to pause.

***

This was my recent reply to a mother who, I assume, was feeling mom guilt for missing notice about a toiletry collection for the local food bank from our children's class. She had posted an inquiry about where the information was on a local Facebook group.

"[The notice] was on the [online] calendar. I missed this one too. I log in maybe once or twice a month. I did log in and look at the beginning of February and still missed it. No one can do it all. As a teacher myself, wife of a pastor, two [in school] and one at home; I find it all a little overwhelming at times. Too much. I try not to sweat the stuff I miss...I hope as a community, others catch the balls I miss."

Except like my husband, it was a white lie. I struggle when I drop a ball.

***

Whether it is the agenda of a cell phone company, a workplace, or my children, I am bombarded with agendas. These agendas become part of my own and can overwhelm my day. My own agendas have been guilty of pushing me and others around!

While driving to work today, I was reminded to take time for God's agenda in my day. If I don't take time to listen for His agenda, the world will take over. If not the world, definitely my children will! Today, I felt like God was asking me to write His agenda here.

To fall off the grid for 30 minutes. To pause. To drop all the balls I am trying to keep in the air for a moment in time.

I know I need to do this more often. People sought out Jesus in the crowds. So too, must I, or I may miss something important. A conversation. A milestone. Peace. Forgiveness. Compassion. Unity...

Today I am reminded to "...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and [that] all these things shall be added to [me]." Matthew 6:33

What is Your agenda, God?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ready or Not

"Marshmallow" the Beanie Boo found
pondering The Christmas Story
It has been a trying week. Nothing tragic, but many little things. I had thought to list them all so that you could sense my weight, but it is not a competition.

My principal has a quote read over the announcements every day. This week's quote was "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." Those words respected and acknowledged my own battle. They also gave perspective to life around me.

To those people who have paused in their own battle to help us with ours, thank you. To those who have listened to our struggle, fed us or allowed us to not know "whether we are coming or going." To those who have covered church responsibilities and events.

A family member shared the sentiments of feeling unorganized as Christmas approached via Messenger last night. She also wrote, "Jesus being born in a manger was neither organized or traditional." Rylyn was born December 23rd, two weeks early. I was reminded of Mary. Addisyn was born at home because there was no space at the hospital. I was reminded of Mary. Birth is not organized or pretty either.

Mary was visited by the shepherds after giving birth to Jesus. The shepherds shared with her and Joseph what the angels had proclaimed to them concerning Jesus, the Saviour. Luke 2:19 then says that, "...Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." I am in need of some heart pondering this season.

Despite the Grinchly reminder each year that Christmas comes without "packages, boxes or bags," we bring Christmas on with decorating, donating, buying and wrapping. The traditions aren't negative, but reasons we stretch ourselves to see them accomplished need examining.

Our family was put in a position where simplifying our holiday schedule this weekend became a need. While car trouble and serial illnesses are the inconveniences causing my Christmas scrooge, I am thankful for the push to pause and ponder. I am giving myself permission to abandon some things on "the to do list" and calendar; my heart feels more peaceful.

Christmas will come, ready or not. Jesus did. This year I know it is my heart that needs the most preparation.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Surviving...

“How do other people do this?” My words are returned with a blank stare from my husband. I seriously want to know. How do others simply, live life. “I want to animorph into a fly on the wall on our friends’ homes and learn some new strategies.”

***

Treading water. Suriviving. I felt the need to blog today. I am an organized person living in chaos. For the first time in a while, Chris and I are both working, raising our family and managing the day-to-day. Sometimes before I can deal with the external chaos...the laundry bins exploding, the empty fridge, dinner plans (and that’s the easy stuff)...I need to deal with the chaos inside.

I quiet myself and pray, “Lord, what do you want me to blog about?” Discerning the voice of God is the topic of our ladies’ Bible study at church. The blog is an outlet I often find I hear His voice. Somewhere between taking iPhone snapshots for blog post inspiration and music lulling my mind in the background, I find an answer welling up inside me. God wants me to do more than survive, He wants me to thrive. I want to thrive.

And, when I stop asking how is everyone else is managing life, and I start declaring how am I living life, I move from a position of defeat to victory. I am no longer surviving. I am conquering through Christ. His victory is also mine.

Romans 8:6 and 37
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Things My Kids Say

This is technically the fourth instalment of "Out of the mouths of babes..." However, only one of my kiddos is a babe now. Time for a rebrand?

To be upfront, these posts are for me. So I can look back, laugh and remember. Today, I start this post, and like many things I set to do in life, I will chip away until it is ready.

***

"Donald the Duck rhymes with McDonald's. I think he cooks there."
-Rylyn, Age 5, April 2016

***

Addisyn eating a green sucker at the mall that I allowed her to take from a kind stranger (and senior citizen). I was curious to see what flavour she thought the green was...her response:

"Pickle."

translation - it's sour, mom.
Age 4, May 2016

***

To say Rylyn and Addisyn love unicorns is an understatement. It is an obsession.

"Mom, when did we get a unicorn stone for our garden!?!?! I love it!!!"

-Addisyn, Age 4, May 2016

***

More on pickles...

"I like pickles because they have two bums. Imagine having two bums! One on your head, one on your foot!" -Rylyn, Age 5, June 2016

***

Checking in on a shrill cry from Rylyn in the playroom...

"Rylyn punched me first, so I punched her back. I think that's fair."
 -Addisyn, Age 4, July 2016


Rylyn on the "roller coaster" swing

Addisyn braves the water dump

Josette does pony tricks

Decorating daddy at the beach with cousins


Friday, August 5, 2016

A few more wedding shots

Thanks to our like-family friend, Cesare Berti (Marg Pleavin), for sharing some more photos while Laura honeymoons and her photographer edits! Enjoy the pre-show.






Jamie helping during the father-daughter dance with a misbehaving train
One of me!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Josie's First Year

Well, that went fast. I'll be white knuckling her second year if you need me for anything... Happy first birthday Josette! July 28, 2016.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

To my sis on her wedding day

Daddy's little girl
Laura and Jamie at the altar
Laura makes a promise to her stepdaughter Zoë. Laura told Zoë that Zoë made her a mother, and while
she is not replacing anyone in Zoë's life, Laura loves her. Though Laura wasn't there for some of Zoë's
firsts as a baby, she promises not to miss any other firsts.
Laura and Jamie give Zoë a family necklace with three hearts
July 23, 2016
Photo credit: Cesare Berti
__________________________________________________

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a silver sixpence  for her shoe,” is an old English rhyme giving tradition to weddings. Today, it provides a framework for my speech.

“Something old” symbolizes continuity. Laura is carrying a handkerchief that was gifted by one of our aunts on the Christmas of her birth year. It was gifted a baby bonnet and with one snip became a handkerchief for her wedding day. As it is difficult to fit 30 years of sisterhood into a few minutes, “something old” bears the most weight of my time with you.

If we went back in time 25 years ago today, our family might be seen waiting in line at Christie’s Dairy for ice cream. I remember on one occasion Laura changing her order to match mine. I had wanted Tiger Stripe and so did Laura. I changed my order to Bubble Gum to be different. So did Laura. The game continued until it became bickering. I am sure my annoyance and her tactic to be like her big sister (or annoy her big sister) almost ruined the outing. I don’t even remember the flavour we each landed in the end.

My mother told us that day it was okay to make similar choices. Laura and I have chosen many similar flavours in life. This is because we are sisters and share a continuity, a heritage. We both worked for the Town of Grimsby as teenagers, myself as a lifeguard and Laura as a camp counsellor. We shared in a undergraduate education in science at Brock University and a career of teaching. We even shared in pinning the same eye make-up image on Pinterest in preparation for the wedding.

While we have similarities, if you know both of us, you also know how different we are. Laura has the voice of the angel and spent many Sundays serenading the congregation of Fifty United Church in her youth. Her former vocal teachers have seen her love for singing pursued in many fashions, including a Glee club where she teaches.

Laura was nicknamed, “Scooter” by my father, because she was always quick. This made her a natural soccer player and runner. Her art of being quick made her the queen of multi-tasking. I still can’t count the number of jobs she held while attending university full-time, but if you came to Canadian Tire Customer Service with a return she would send you out the door a happy customer before you finished your complaint. Her enthusiasm and motivation for life opens doors for new adventures, like the one she is starting today.

“Something new” represents optimism for the future. Laura is wearing a new pearl necklace. She purchased a pearl necklace because her grandmother, Gloria, had a pearl necklace she loved. The new person in her life is Jamie. The first time I met Jamie had nothing to do with Laura. Our family of 4, at the time, shared swimming lessons with him and his daughter, Zoë. She was wearing a Little Mermaid swimsuit. I don’t remember any other parents or children from the session, the pair had stood out to me. God prepared my heart to love my new family members before I even knew them. A natural pearl can take up to 20 years to form inside an oyster. Laura, you waited to find love. You found Jamie.

“Something borrowed” symbolizes support for the new life ahead. Laura has borrowed diamond earrings from another aunt. Laura and Jamie, your family and friends are here for you in times of celebration and need. My only advice is allow yourself to be vulnerable with those you trust. Receiving their help when it is needed, will make your life richer and take pressure off of your marriage. Diamonds withstand the tests of heat and pressure. While I wish only celebration, no hardship, may your marriage be withstanding no matter what comes your way.

“Something blue” represents love and fidelity. Laura is wearing my mother’s blue garter from her wedding day. The early life of a teacher usually involves changing schools each year. Before Laura and Jamie became a couple, the two of them followed one another from school to school, until finally finding love at Gatestone. As you grow in your marriage may you continue to pursue one another to keep your love fresh.

Finally, “A silver sixpence for her shoe” is a blessing of prosperity. I end with a blessing and a toast to my new brother, Jamie. May you grow old with Laura and your love remain new; may it be as precious as pearls, as strong as diamonds and your lives filled with laughter and prosperity.

Symbolism from rhyme cited from:
https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-traditions-the-meaning-of-something-old

http://www.littlethingsfavors.com/something-old-new-borrowed-blue.html#.V4-R8BSCklI