Thursday, January 29, 2015

Things I love .... everyday

Sometimes on a dreary, fogged in winter day, it's harder to enjoy the moments, so a list of things that I love and make me happy always helps:

I love my husband. I love my children. I love waking up to a sunshiny morning and am missing some of those these days. I love the feel of dirt in my hands. I love gardening without gloves and barefoot. I love the color of the sky after it rains. I love hearing the sounds of ocean waves lapping against the shore. I love anything in bloom. I love the first peeking out plants in the springtime. I love to know that someone cares enough to remember my birthday. I love hugs, especially from little arms that can barely reach all the way around. I love hot chocolate after a walk in the snow. I love feeling the wind on my face and in my hair. I love standing on top of something big and seeing a view, especially mountains. I love a long afternoon coffee date with a friend and no place to be after.  I love laughing out loud with old friends that know you deep.  I love feeling that still small voice whisper something to me when I need it.  I love green, especially when it belongs to something growing. I love paint color chips. I love cello. I love gable windows on big old farmhouses. I love dark wood and smooth surfaces. I like textures and feeling the edge of things. I love Jesus. I love peace and quiet. I love a walk along a wooded path. I love to know that I am loved. I love a project: starting a new project and finishing one. I love the steady sound of a well oiled sewing machine. I love navy blue. I love strawberries, and sometimes dipped in chocolate. I love bright blue eyes. I love planning things. I love thinking of all the things I want to do and places I want to visit even if I never get there. I love the mystery of an inquisitive look. I love crunchy fall leaves. I love sweet peas. I love being free, being with people, and being alone. I love the accomplishment of hard work finished. I love people's hands, young chubby ones, and old ones with a life of memories to tell. I love chocolate.  I love summer BBQs with lots of interesting salads that I didn't make. I love photographs. I love rows of tulips. I love laying in a hammock looking up at a thousand stars in the dark night sky. I love staying up late knowing I can sleep in the next day. I love cute little bare bums. I love looking after people. I love hearing people's stories.  I love a new day with nothing written on it yet.

What about you?  Where is your love found today?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Christmas Schenanigans

It always seems to take some time before I sit down and look at photos that I took and sit on the camera for awhile.  We had some good fun over the Christmas break:
These 2 decided to do some baking together :)

Jacob attempting to dress himself for the Christmas formal

Warren preaching it for the care group boys, the only 10 minutes they all sat in one place all night!

Skating with Gramma

Cam and Tracy lovin' fondue!

I don't know how this happened, but they all wanted to cuddle Ditto??

Erin knit Cam a winter beard

New headboard I made for Erin's bed

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I don't know about you, but some of the stuff going in the world is downright scary and also absolutely heartbreaking.  The latest being another attack in Nigeria by the Boko Haram.  They just seem to be evil to the core, no regard for human life, power hungry men doing everything out of selfish ambition and under the guise of religion.

It breaks my heart to think about the daughters who were taken, and who knows what done to.  I can't imagine that being my own girl!  The families and mothers... utterly helpless. And the boys who are turned into hatred and gunfire, with only fear and power to drive them the deeper they get and the longer they are forced to stay.

I read the most interesting book  by  Dr. Nabeel Qureshi over Christmas, and it really opened my mind to the upbringing and mindset of the average Muslim. I been circling around listening to some youTube video lectures he's given and gotten a little caught up in it. He talks in depth about being raised in Islam, the difference between being Western born compared to Eastern born (as his parents were), and the clash of culture that creates.  The guy is super brilliant, has a BsC, an MD and a few other Masters degrees in apolgetics and religion.  Towards the end of the book when he was really investigating why he was an Ahmadi Muslim, a peace keeping and seeking one, and what the religion really was about, since he says most Muslims don't really read and study on their own, because of the high respect and trust in their leaders (imaam) to do that for them, he starting finding so many references to the forced violence and call for Muslims to jihad.  He says the majority of Muslims are peaceful, do not think their religion condones this and do not seek to kill those who don't follow Allah.  But once he started really studying the life of Muhammed and the Quran, he began seeing how that wasn't true and in the end decides that he couldn't continue to follow this path or faith, giving up his family in the process.  The historical evidence for the accuracy of their Scriptures just didn't exist either.

Anyways... this is starting to sound like a book report, but I was so fascinated by the history within the context of recent world events. Being on this continent, we are pretty removed from that, but it is starting to infiltrate the West, especially Europe and there are increasing conversations about sharia law which could be a disaster to our political system, let alone the status and treatment of women!

I have no idea how to respond, or even do anything in our own small lives and our own daily influences.  I feel like I can just weep with the mothers who have lost their children, the horror that those who have survived have seen and with continue to see in their mind's eye forever.  And I am so thankful for people who are brave and work in these places, who fight for truth and freedom.  And pray that Good will continue to battle Evil and know it will win in the end.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Had a Grandmother

I was reading some old posts and this is one of my favorites, from 2008:
"Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.
The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.
History merely repeats itself. It has been done before.
Nothing under the sun is truly new.
We don't remember what happened in the past, and in future generations,
no none will remember what we are doing now."
Ecclesiastes 1:4, 5, 9, 11
I had a Grandmother that I met once. She lived a far way off in another country and only came to see me once when I was just a wee girl. I remember she brought me a brown jewelry box with yellow flowers on it. When you opened the bottom drawer it would play a song, "Love Story". That became Oma's song because it's the only thing I remember about her, that and the grey dress and pink cardigan that she's wearing in a photo my family has of her tucked away in a ragged edged book somewhere. I can't remember if she gave me the little dolly that lay in the top drawer, or if I put it there sometime later. It was Raggedy Ann and you know how memories have a funny way of not always staying in the right places or certain details aren't always there, but some are there really strongly, like the lighting in the hospital room when my Dad died or the jump for joy feeling I had the morning I woke up and realized I was getting married, or the smell of my babies' head when they just had a bath.

I heard a speaker recently talk about memories and how when they are remembered, they are re-stored and sometimes the memory changes by the simple act of remembering it, thinking it over and re-storing it in some other part of your brain (also why reviewing while studying makes you remember it in different ways). I suppose this would mean that memories I haven't thought of in a long time are more intact and more perfect than ones that I mull over time and again. Maybe that's why old people have such vivid memories of older days, their minds become more lucid and they go back to days gone by that they haven't thought of in a really long time.

My Oma died when I was 3. My Dad was probably really sad, but I never asked him. I think she was a really good Mama to him, even though during WWII she had to split up her kids to live with some relatives so that they would have enough food to eat. I think my Dad got to stay with her because he was born in 1940 in Europe and was just a baby. I think it would be really hard as a Mama to have to send your children away to be cared for by someone else, but you'd tell yourself everyday that is was better that they were safe and fed. I wonder how she felt? Did she lie awake at night scared and worried for them, praying that God would look after them and bring them enough to eat for tomorrow? My freezer is really full and I don't have to worry about that. Or did she worry that the Germans wouldn't invade and she wouldn't see someone she loved again, how could she not? Did her heart ache at the thought of missing their bedtime cuddles and their daily thoughts? I'd like to ask her. I wonder if she thought about what color to paint the living room. It probably didn't matter, but I still think she loved pretty things- like flowers in her window boxes and that jewelry box. She must have known that her youngest granddaughter would like something like that and keep her earrings in it even when she 37.

Was she a hearty laughing type of Grandma that hugged everyone into her ample bosom? Or a quiet, gentle spirit that just filled a room with peace and homemade cookies, like Kevin's Grandma who I got to know better than my own. What did she dream of when she was a little girl? Did she want to be a Mama to 5 children? Did she fall madly in love with her man? I like to imagine she did because he was a wonderful man. Were her questions about God the same as mine? Is He proud of me? Am I doing everything He wants for me? How can He listen to everyone at the same time? How many recipes did she have in her cupboard? And what did she cook for a meal on a special day one she knew her husband loved? I think she probably could teach me a thing or 2, or 20 about knitting and embroidery. In my mind she even knew a lot about ships because she would sit and listen to her husband at night in front of the fire tell of all the pieces they put together on the latest ship at the docks.

But how can it be that I know so little about her when she is only one generation away? Will my granddaughter know so little about me? I don't even know if she had a middle name. This is a woman who shaped my life in more ways than I'll probably know, who read stories to my father on her lap at night, taught Him about God and how to be a good, strong and courageous man. Who fed his little belly and probably cried the day he left the country for a life of his own at the age of 16. That man who gave me life and showed me love, patience, character and courage in the face of adversity. She faced some adversities I'll never know about. She had love and disappointment, hope and friendships; she made plans and worked with her hands, planted gardens and loved her children, and yet the details of it I can't ever know. Maybe she wrote some things down in some sort of flowing handwriting that I'll never recognize on the outside of an envelope. The thoughts and dreams of women can't have changed that much over 2 generations: to be productive, creative, loving, full of family and friends and love, making a difference to someone's life, being capable and fulfilled, wanting to know what you were made for, giving your heart to others. One day we'll sit and have tea, I think maybe English Breakfast, or I'll introduce her to a lovely chai blend that she never knew existed. We'll sit in a garden with lots of vines that grow up over our heads beside a little cottage by the sea. I'll thank her for her legacy of faith and love, even though the activities of her every day will never be known to me.

"For everything there is a season, a time for everything under heaven." 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Word of the Year

2015.  Here you are already!

You've probably heard of people picking a Word of the Year instead of New Year's resolutions that in my mind are just a big set up for failure.  I love the idea.  A way to just grasp what your overall dream for this year is.  Where you want to head.

So when thinking about choosing my word for the year, the ones that came to mind right away that are what my life is about were words like:

RESPONSIBILITY  ......  OBLIGATION (like cooking dinner every night)  .....  LOYAL  ......  PEACEFUL   .......
but those words felt like they were dragging me down ...

But you also want to have some cool word to anticipate what your year is going to be like such as:

FUN   ......   LAUGHTER  ......  FRIENDSHIP   ..... TRAVEL ......  STRENGTH

Or the ones I had thought about really taking on because we've been talking about some things we'd like to really do this year are:

ADVENTURE  .....  OUTDOORS    ........  AUDACIOUS   ..........

What do you think you want for 2015?  I am so content with so many things about where life is right now and want to stop, not change, not expect anything big and new to come on me, just rest in enjoying the moments I have, and the fleeting time with teenagers, enjoying a pretty new to me job still and doing it better.  Really walk along the paths in front of me right now, and be more faithful in the small things.

So have you thought of a word?  I'd love to hear it.

Doing some reading and contemplating, one word kept appearing in so many places for me, and when that happens you kind of pay attention, take notice and wonder what the tie in is. So I'm not all sure what this means and where it is all going, but there is some anticipation in it, like waking up on a new morning, getting the fog out of your eyes and not knowing what the day could hold. 


Monday, January 5, 2015

On Being Seen

After a very long hiatus from writing, feeling for some time like I don't have a lot to say and that there are so many words "out there" or just that we have become so saturated with words, many without action behind them.  Things and thoughts have been brewing around in my mind, bouncing around, not really sure how to get onto paper.

Someone I work with, recently asked me if I was still writing my blog, I had no idea she had read it.  This right around the same time I was thinking about writing again.  So maybe it was a prodding I needed.

Lately, I've been thinking about the idea of being seen and known to each other, letting others in to deeper parts of who we are.  Maybe magnified by having teenagers is the whole social media appearance of self, and the extensive infiltration of the internet to comment on everything and about everything and everybodyin the world and have an opinion or critique of all things.

Why is it everyone has to know everything about everyone? Post about all the details of life? Care about how many "likes" you get on a photo?  And who is really listening? Or are we just formulating our own opinions before stopping to listen, because that is what we are "supposed to do"?  And on the flip side, how do we show we actually do care?  Be different and not driven by the fast pace and the large, maybe not as deep social circles that permeate. How do we stay involved in each others' lives, really know one another and share.

I'm totally a details person. I do want to know details about people, but maybe not all of them about everyone.  Where do we find the balance in all this?

I hear the cry... to be seen... to be noticed... to be cared about.  And how much of oneself do you want to show, to the world, to watching eyes, without acknowledgement of the risk, the vulnerability?   It takes trust to go there.  It takes trust to show more than only an inch deep of who you are.  I want to wrap my arms around the girls who are posting for attention, and longing for a close friend to whisper secrets to in the quiet.

To really be seen.  To tell them to stay true to yourself, discover who you are, and the extreme value of sharing part of your soul with someone.

Someone sees you, in the depths of your heart and your soul. 

Living with 3 introverts has taught me so much!  When I do those personality tests, I come out confused and different every time, somewhere in the middle, but in this house, I am the extrovert!  They have taught me balance between refueling and socializing.  How they want to be seen, and be known, but  only by the people they choose to let in, a closer circle, and what a gift that is!!  That being said, a lot of attention is being paid to introverts since the Quiet book came out.  And E says today after reading something trite about making introverts feel loved, "they make it sound being an introvert is a mental illness."

So, writing a blog is also risking being seen.  Come on in, and let's have real good brew of loose leaf tea together! And if you like coffee, I'm getting better at brewing it...!!