Thursday, May 27, 2010

Life Song

The Prologue...
We are at 38+ weeks and countin' the days! In just a few short days/weeks/hours??? :), this little one will begin to walk out their life story. We'll turn the page and begin Chapter One. What kind of adventures will he/she have? What kinds of choices will he/she make? Falls and failures, victories and conquests? Love? Heartaches? Joy? Abundant  Life?

What kind of life song will he/she create?

It is unbelievably thrilling and terrifying at the same time!!!

As I worked toward my undergrad degree, a wise professor always encouraged us students to read the prologue and forward of the books we were studying. It is there that we get a glimpse of the passion of the author, an introduction of what to look forward to, what to prepare our learning eyes and ears for. Wise advice. I've picked up this habit and have been remarkably surprised at the information one can glean from the prologue.

This season of expectation has written that prologue. As we have waited and wondered, wrestled and worshipped, the experiences have not only continued to shape my view of life and parenthood, but also given me a glimpse of the Eternal Author.

And it is a good time to stop and remember. One stress-filled day, when life was rapidly falling apart and I held a tiny, sweet K in my arms, I vividly recall panicking about her life story. What challenges and difficulties would she experience? It all felt so uncertain.
In the midst of the fog and fear, I felt the reassurance of One who walks with us in all these things.

You cannot create her story for her. To do so would deprive her of the dignity that I have given, rob her of the chance to live and love. It is an honor and privilege to be so intimately involved in someone's life story, but it is not yours to write.
As parents, we are called to train, influence, teach, nurture, mold, protect these little people for the time that we are given. An ultimate act (and test!!!) of responsibility!! Yet we are not to control, dominate, or direct their life story.

As the prologue here blends into Chapter One (and I wonder what THAT title will be!!! The Arrival.... might be a good place to start ;)...) it is with healthy anticipation and some reasonable fear and trembling that we turn this page!!

...the Epilogue...
This spring, death visited our family. Some individuals had lived out many many days and were ready to go Home. For others, it seemed life was over before it had even begun. As I witnessed the emotions and reactions to these events, one thing I began to reflect on was the power of Legacy. What kind of life story am I leaving behind?

You do not have to live a long, full life in order to impact the lives of those you love (and who love you). Ask any woman who has miscarried, and she will tell you the date, time, location, of when she had to say goodbye before she was ready; how her life was forever imprinted by someone she never had the honor of meeting.

The way we touch the hearts of those around us is what gives meaning to life, purpose in pain, strength and joy for the journey.

It was around this time that I had an interesting challenge through my bible study one morning. The invitation was to reflect on the previous week and start making notes on the ways I perceived the ways in which I have influenced others. Oi. Veh. Well, these days, thinking back over a week is a bit of a stretch :) so I limited myself to the past few days. I made a list of all the interactions I'd had. I noted themes of the conversations, and the ways in which each of us seemed to influence each other. Whoa!! What an eye-opener!! It was overwhelming in some ways ---

It reminded me of Proverbs 25:11...
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

What kind of influence am I passing on? What kind of legacy will I create?

I think these are tough, but essential, questions to ponder as I interact with my sweet family, my loved ones, my friends and my neighbors.

... and all the days in between!!
These past weeks have been good. Well, they've had their share of hiccups :) --- I seem to be battling through another season of "confused parenting" :), intense fatigue as one week I averaged 3-4 hours of sleep per night (and not in a row either --- which is NOT ENOUGH when I'm not pregnant, and CERTAINLY not enough when I am 8 months along!!!), and I'm having to face some issues I have with, ahem, control :) and so on --- but I've started out my days with a new plea, a new prayer...
"LORD please provide the integrity today for me to live well, to love well."

Integrity - the quality of character you possess when no one is looking.

It's in the little things that matter.... and the big things that don't.
It's in the battles you choose to fight... and the ones you choose to set aside for better timing.
It's in the acceptance, the gratitude, in taking the time to laugh.
It's not stressing about what gets done or not, but tackling things one thing at a time and keeping it in perspective.
It's gardening without gloves in spite of the presence of worms (eeeeewww!)...
It's setting aside time to listen ... and participating in that that vulnerability by sharing secrets of your own.
It's in gathering the flowers to enjoy inside every day, planting a garden just to watch it grow.
About reasonable expectations --- and anticipating good things --- and letting go.
It's admitting when I've failed. (Unfortunately, I have a lot of opportunity to practice that one ;P...)

This simple prayer has profoundly impacted my perspective. I am grateful. For I have much to learn.

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You
~ Casting Crowns ~

Thursday, May 20, 2010

32 trips around the sun.....

I better stop and check the math on that!
2010 - 1978 ======= yup. 32 years.
The older I get, the more often I have to pause and recount the years!!!
For a while I thought I was still 25. I was actually 29. Oops!!!

Birthdays are exciting events around here.

Not so much because of the fuss and fanfare (though I thoroughly love getting cards, well wishes, going out for lunch with my mom, hearing "Happy Birthday" from my little family members, having Jon treat me to dinner --- lately we've been ordering in our our birthdays, finding time for a date night sometime in the birthday vicinity! --- and usually a glass (or two, maybe even three if I'm feeling particularly sassy!!!) of homemade wine (this year reserved for AFTER baby's arrival!). I also love getting ready for the girls birthday parties, especially the "delightful" habit of creating a cake, which usually happens at untimely hours of the night! All in a days work, right :)?

However, birthdays are special for another reason too.
As I take time to pause and reflect on God's faithfulness throughout another year, I am completely blown away by His generosity, gentleness and grace.

Life is not always easy. 
Sometimes it's the little things that add up. Just this week, as I dealt with a series of tantrums, terrible nights, development issues, and a host of other things, I had to send Little M to her room (which was quite the fanfare of kicking and screaming!) and I stood in the kitchen and sobbed. Fatigued and frustrated, I fought the urge to run and hide away myself.

Other times it is the big deals in life. There are situations and circumstances that I would change if I could. Things I would never have let happened if possible. Though I can pray for the strength and integrity to influence things in a positive way, there simply are things that are beyond my control. Yet, in spite of these things, even BECAUSE of these things, God continues to meet with me in a powerful way and redemption unfolds before my eyes.

2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
       apart from you I have no good thing."

  5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; 
       you have made my lot secure.
 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
       surely I have a delightful inheritance.

 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
       even at night my heart instructs me.

 8 I have set the LORD always before me.
       Because he is at my right hand,
       I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16

Lately, as I have witnessed hardships unfold also in the lives of those I love dearly, a line from the David Crowder Band song How He Loves has been a constant refrain (and if you wanna see a dude with some pretty funky hair, click here to see the video!!!)...

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, 
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy. 
When all of a sudden, 
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, 
And I realize just how beautiful You are, 
And how great Your affections are for me. 

So, for me, birthdays are a day to step out of routine a bit, get together with loved ones, laugh and reminisce and all around have a good great time!

They are also a day for me to stop and declare....
Thank you LORD for your faithfulness.
Thank you for the joy and satisfaction of the good work you've called me to at this time.
Thank you for peace that passes understanding and joy that is beyond circumstances.
Thank you for the good things you give as gifts.
Thank you for the hard things you also turn into gifts.
Thank you for everything.
I am grateful.

Today should be a very fun day. I am anticipating a lunch out - chinese food maybe :)!? I will putter in the gardens and take out the kids sprinkler. We will enjoy supper THAT. I. HAVE. NOT. HAD. TO. PREPARE!!! I may or may not tackle a few pre-baby-arrival projects, we'll see how much energy is left at the end of the day. I have lingered over a cup of coffee, donned a pretty shirt (one of the few left in the closet that actually FITS anymore!!!) and appreciated many notes of encouragement that have already come my way.

Yes, I have a feelin' that today's gonna be a good day, that today's gonna be a GOOD DAY, that today's gonna be a GOOD GOOD DAY!!!

Happy birthday!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May Days

From the gray rainy days to the glorious sunshiney skies, our May days have been full! Seems like there is always one more thing to do before Baby comes!

May Days are for.....

gathering flowers ~ playing in the sunshine ~ weeding ~ enjoying the smell of freshly mowed lawns ~ watching our cherry tree come into blossom ~ visiting the park ~ impromptu play dates with fun neighbors ~ getting the gardens ready for veggies and flowers ~ meeting and greeting new people

catching up with grandparents ~ family affairs ~ birthday celebrations ~ visits ~ trips to the farm ~ watching birds together with great grandpa ~ listening to stories ~ outings with friends ~ times out for myself

daily nap times ~ R&R ~ learning to take a break, especially as the final stretch of pregnancy really kicks in!! ~ craft projects ~ crocheting ~ reading ~ surviving rocky nights ~ recovering from the flu bug that finally visited our home ~ enjoying a slower pace ~ less rushing, less anxiety

~ and there's always time in the day to tease the family pooch!! ~

watching hero dad get the lawn mower ready for another season of fresh cut grass ~ yard work ~ more weeding ;) ~ tending ~ nurturing ~ dreaming & scheming ~ watching with eager anticipation to see what survived the long cold spell ~ flowers in bloom ~ seeds to plant ~ little helpers ~ play times in the sandbox

MAY DAYS are for
shopping ~ nesting ~ washing ~ folding ~ sorting ~ packing bags ~ planning
final appointments ~ waiting ~ watching ~ wondering
picking names ~ organizing ~ giggling
movements ~ increased practice contractions
slowing ~ anticipating
loving ~ living

are full of 

Monday, May 10, 2010


Every so often I get a baaaaad case of the giggles.
Sometimes the timing is ... appropriate.
Other times, not so much ;). AwkWARD!

Last night was one of those times.
All of us were tucked under the covers.
The house was quiet.
The babes were sleeping soundly (PTL!!!).
Jon was almost asleep himself.
And I started to snicker. And chuckle. I tried stuffing it, I really did, but that wasn't working so well. And finally I burst out laughing right out loud :)!!!

I couldn't help but envision the lunch time scenario around here. It's not .... uncommon, but certainly not an every day occurrence either :).
We were home late from church. I was in a hurry to put lunch together. I had cranked the element all the way to toast those hash browns as fast as possible, baby!!!
They were toasty and crispy, but not burnt --- though, as I pulled them off the element, I noticed a certain ... haze in the house. No sooner had I thought it and ..... BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. The fire alarm goes off. [Again.]

The funny part was Jon's reaction. He emerged from the washroom, towel in hand, waved away the wafting smoke, looked at me, and disappeared again.

I recall, with great fondness, my dad's speech at our wedding...
"Jon," he says, "you strike me as the kind of guy who likes to have all his papers in nice neat stacks, all organized, just so."
Tis true.
Everyone laughed.
He continued. "Well, every so often something comes along and messes up those piles a bit.... and I have a feeling you just married her!!"

Oh yes, yes he did :).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My cup overflows....

How did you celebrate the mother(s) in your life today :)?

Today was a huge gift, all the way around....
 - I got to start my day all to myself, with 90 minutes of solid solitude time...
 - ... after which, Little M came and snuggled with me in my chair, cozy under afgans, patiently watching me journal and learn at the feet of Jesus...
 - We enjoyed a leisurely morning. No Sunday school for us, so we lingered and laughed as we prepared to meet with other worshippers this morning.
 - Little M had made me a Mothers Day picture at preschool. I had specific instructions NOT to look at it all week, and she took great care and precaution in hiding it in her closet until "the big day." This morning, after tickling her daddy's feet to wake him up for the day (a weekend ritual around here :P), with much fanfare, I finally got to see this beautiful picture. It is now on "the wall." :)
 - I got a card that made me laugh and laugh. It is a talking card, and it starts off with "YOU are the QUEEN!" It is soooo cute and we listened to it several times in a row!
 - I got coated in kisses and hugs, hand-printed with sticky oatmeal fingers, felt a baby move within, felt loved, enjoyed and appreciated.
 - I got to share church with fellow believers, with a husband and kids who believe the same as I do...
 - I got to laugh with family members, slip in a quick nap, make a perfectly delicious salad only to forget the delicious salad at home ;P instead of bringing it to a gathering, and play with nephews.
 - I got to enjoy the sunshine, wear flip-flops, and admire the pedicure I got yesterday :).
 - I got to talk with people I hadn't really spoken with before. We might even get together for coffee. How neat is that!
 - I only had to get up twice last night, rather than every 45-60 minutes, which has been the pattern this week. The fatigue is really getting to me, but by God's grace, it is manageable!!!

Today was Mothers Day. Filled to the brim with gratitudes and grace.
And tomorrow is Monday ;). Full of opportunities to practice gratitude and grace :).

Friday, May 7, 2010


I've been looking forward to yesterday for quite a while :).
Back in March, I was listening to the radio (a rare occasion, considering there is plenty of activity around here without it on!!) and I heard an announcement for an upcoming concert in Winnipeg.
I knew I wanted to go.
Very uncharacteristic of me, I emailed Jon to let him know that I would like tickets for my birthday.

I had to chuckle. Although I do enjoy Christian music, I do not consider myself a huge Michael W. Smith fan. Somehow, I can't get past the 80s feeling :). I much prefer his new worship-style music. But he was coming to Winnipeg, along with Down Here, and I knew that I really wanted to go.

So we went last night, and I'm so glad we did :).

I would not say "concert stage performer" is Smith's exactly forte, but he is very, very gifted at leading worship. I loved it when he simply stood with his guitar or keyboard and sang!! I marveled as an auditorium full of people gathered to sing and praise; each with their own experience of God and encounters with His marvelous grace. My soul was fed.

He, unfortunately did not sing my favorite of his songs... A New Hallelujah. So, I'll be playing it a lot today ;).

I also very much enjoyed the band that was touring with Smith, Down Here. Many years ago, lyrics from two of their songs spoke very deeply to me, totally impacted my heart and I went out and bought one of their albums. Back when I was dealing with an abundance of panic attacks, the song, Calmer of the Storm was very powerful. As well, when I was working through some intensely painful situations that made no sense at the time, the praise song, Great Are You, drew me near to the heart of God.

Unfortunately, they did not song those particular songs, but I discovered some new favorites :).
How Many Kings?
My Last Amen

It was a great evening!

 - I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in years, and gave her two hugs in a row just because I could!!

 - On our way to the concert, Jon asked if I wanted to stop for coffee at Tim Hortens!!!!! (He's not a coffee drinker AT ALL, it's a relational cross we bear and I love him anyways :P!!!!!!!!, but apparently he was desperate for caffeine!).

Plus, I just had to laugh. Every time I go to a concert I run into the same realization... small confession - I've always wanted to become a bass guitar player :)!! They always have their own funky groove AND they always wear the coolest sneakers EVER!!!


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