Thursday, December 17, 2009 |


Kris and I got the chance last Friday night to have a date night up in the city. We got a hotel room, went for supper, watched cable all evening (what a treat! And, what a reminder how lame cable actually is!), and had a nice brunch in the morning. It was great fun.

It's funny how it seems like romance is always so perfect, at least in the movies. Our "romance" included driving down Jasper Avenue in the middle of rush hour on a Friday in December... in a car that had a gas leak... while I freaked out about the smell... on the way to a yarn shop on the OTHER end of Jasper that I had insisted was important to go to... snotty words were exchanged... and then dual apologies... and then a "nice" supper at Joey Tomato's... where Kris discovered halfway through his burger that it was almost completely raw inside... then skipping between "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Holmes on Homes"... getting to bed nice and early... waking up, well, nice and early too... having a nice brunch... stopping by IKEA (which was pleasantly quiet - strange!)... and then a drive home in the frigid cold.

But yet, it was still perfect. It was exactly what Kris and I are like. Romance doesn't have to involve us acting or being different. It's just about spending time together and having fun.

Which we did.
Monday, December 14, 2009 |

Homemade Christmas Gifts

I have been having a great time making gifts for people this year. I have been knitting. And making fun paper dolls for my nieces. And making bath paints and playdough. And soon I will get on to some sewing.

Phew! It's a ton of work, but I'm glad to know that I'M the one doing the work, and not someone who's basic human rights are being violated in order for me to give that product as a gift. It's a really freeing feeling.

I'll post some pictures of some of the fun creations I've come up with when some of them are done! (Which, incidentally, should be soon - Christmas is a mere ELEVEN days away. How did this happen?!)

So, hope you are all having as much fun as I am preparing for a meaningful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 |

Coffee Conspiracy

The Advent Conspiracy video was shown at my church in Sunday. I got all revved up, and felt like I could hardly contain myself. I felt like our church has really needed to hear this.

But then, nothing.

Nothing was said afterwards. No amazing stories were shared about how people changed the world instead of buying toys and ugly sweaters last year. There was no challenge to be different this year. And worst of all, I think, there was no plan shared on how we, as a church, can band together and do something about it as a family.

I felt so deflated.

Now, this is going to sound terribly judgemental, but this message is just as much for me. So hold on to your seats, and I hope you still like me after this.

It's just that I feel really disgruntled about these things. I get frustrated when I see SO many people walk into church clutching large Tim Hortons cups. We have a coffee break, with FREE coffee (and tea, and hot chocolate...) during the service. But yet we, as a church, are still buying into all of this (and I don't mean that I'm exempt from it either). The lady in front of us spent the entire service (I'm not kidding) beaking at her 2 young kids to "WATCH THE TEA!" - her precious Tim Hortons tea under her chair. Her kids were well behaved and playing and colouring nicely, but she would yell at them at any flick of a foot, or movement of a leg. Yikes. She scared me.

But it got me to wondering, how much money is spend JUST on Sunday mornings, by Christians on their way to church? For 1 person to get a large coffee every Sunday for a year is over $100! If even just a dozen people have this same habit, the church is spending over $1200 a year in coffee... even though it is already being provided during the service. I wonder how many water wells THAT money could buy?

Advent Conspiracy is an amazing initiative. But what if I were to make changes ALL throughout the year? What if I were more diligent about making my own coffee before heading out for a trip up to the city? What if I made my own chai lattes before going our for a walk on a cold day? I find this all really convicting. And challenging, because I certainly struggle with wanting to go out and buy coffee on a Saturday morning. Maybe every time I feel the urge to go out and buy a coffee, or similar drink, I put that money in a jar instead. And then do something really fun with it next Christmas. I definitely need to address the log in my own eye before I worry about the specks in others'.
Monday, December 7, 2009 |


I have such a hard time waiting for things sometimes. Mostly, it's really hard to wait for good things that I'm excited about.

I'm 16 weeks pregnant, and can hardly WAIT for this little one to come into the world. I remember with Sam, being SO excited, but at the same time, really needing that time to prepare (physically and emotionally) and adjust to the fact that I was going to be a mom. This time around, I'm finding that I'm not needing that time quite as much. Oh, there's still lots to do in the meantime - namely, spend the last 5-ish months with Sam, while it's just the two of us. And other kinds of preparation - organizing to fit 2 kids and all their stuff in one small bedroom, and eventually bringing out all the baby stuff again.

But I'm just so looking forward to the new adventure of life with 2 kids (which I'm sure will entail plenty of hairy moments, too!). To see Sam as an older brother. To have another little person around. To see what another little mixture of Kris and I is like. To have a baby again.

This pregnancy seems like it's already going by much faster, I think due to the fact that I'm busy with Sam all day and don't have as much time to sit and think about it. And I'm sure that another 24 (give or take!) weeks will fly by faster than I could have imagined. But either way, I sure am looking forward to meeting this little one.

Good things are just SO hard to wait for.
Thursday, December 3, 2009 |

Meals for the Rest of Us

I started a new blog. It's a place to share quick and simple meal ideas. I really struggle with meal planning, and just cooking in general, and the more women I've talked to, the more I find this to be common!

So check it out, pass the word around, and send me some recipes! Thanks!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 |

Kris and Computers

Our computer has been doing some funny things lately. Which is odd, because we have a Mac, and Macs are perfect. (Haha... but seriously, we've had virtually NO problems in 2.5 years.)

So finally it comes out the other day:

Kris: "Well, I DID download some new program."
Sarah: "What new program?"
Kris: "It's called 'SilverLight'."
Sarah: "Well, why'd you download that for?"

(here's the best part...)

Kris: "Because CTV told me to."


I laughed and laughed and laughed. Kris had said it perfectly straight-faced, but soon realized how ridiculous it was and started laughing, too.

It's interesting to me how ludicrous it sounded once we both thought about it. But the funny thing is, is how often we do things because we're told to - through social and cultural pressures, advertising, etc. But it sounds so much dumber when you actually verbalize that someone told you to.

Thanks, honey, for the funny things you say, and for your raw honesty. :) And for reminding us both how silly it is to do something just because someone/something told us to...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 |


Parenting is tough work.

That seems like such an obvious statement. But let me elaborate. I am really finding it tricky sometimes to parent in a gentle way.

Sometimes I get it - and I like how that makes me, and consequently my son, feel. I love those moments when he is frustrated or upset, and I can just get down on his level, and with gentleness, work on why he is feeling that way. I like when I can curb my anger and treat him with dignity and love, even when he disobeys.

But often I don't get it - and I see something in his eyes that registers that I am angry with him. That Mommy is mad at him. I hate those times. Like today, when in a moment of total frustration, I purposely used a loud voice to scare him ("Sam! NO!") as he was about to get into something in the kitchen. He jumped, and then bawled. And the funny this is, he still ran to ME. I was mean to him, and he still came to me. (I realize that THAT won't happen for too much longer...) It took milliseconds for the reality of what I did to sink in... I got down and held him as he cried. I cried to know that I had caused this. To know that I could have simply asked him not to get into the drawer. I didn't have to act that way. I said to him, "I'm so sorry Sammy, Mommy didn't mean to scare you". Then I corrected, "Actually, Mommy DID mean to scare you, and for that, I am so sorry. That was wrong of me." I told him I loved him. And I pray that the feelings of that situation stay with me the next time my temper reaches boiling point.

My good friend Claire wrote a great post about this recently, which just hit the nail on the head for me. And there's another great blog I read about parenting a while back, which also really resonated with me. I'm thankful for others around me that encourage me in my parenting goals.

Some good friends of the Chetneys got Kris and I a book when we had Sam - it's called "Espresso for you Spirit: Hope and Humor for Pooped Out Parents". It's a book of little stories and fun quips about child-rearing, written by a long-time parenting counsellor. I kind of thought it was cheesy, so I just stuck it in the bathroom and kind of forgot about it. Then yesterday, I picked it up for the first time, and read something that really got me:

Oh, how much I want to be more like Him as I parent my children - to sense what is going on inside their hearts and be a hugger rather than a hammer.
To offer a smile rather than a scowl.
To say, "I believe in you" when they find it hard to believe in themselves.
To see the pain driving the profanity.
To listen rather than lecture.
To model rather than mandate.
To bring peace rather than pressure.

I think I might write this out and stick it on my fridge to remind me of my goals. To parent the way that my Father parents. To parent with peace and gentleness and grace - instead of anger and control and frustration.

I am so thankful that there is grace in this journey.

Monday, November 16, 2009 |


I crave community.

I have lots of friends. And I am blessed to have some really great close friends, with whom I can pray, and talk about my vulnerabilities, and be really real with. I've realized that I definitely don't lack friendship and companionship. In fact, I'm blessed beyond what I could have imagined in that area.

But I really crave community. A communal way of living. I just really don't believe that single-family homes, with high fences that keep our neighbours out, was the way we were meant to live. I think we're missing something so much more beautiful. So much more meaningful.

I'd love to bake bread with other women. Do chores with other women. Slow my life down, and enjoy those things that I simply view as "work" right now, just another thing on my list of "to-dos". (And oh, that list can look soooo long...!) Turn those things from work into pleasure. It almost feels totally impossible in this day and age. But I think it's possible. It would have it's share of challenges, I am sure. But so many blessings, too.

Maybe one day...
Friday, November 6, 2009 |


Yesterday I took Sam to get his H1N1 vaccination. I sometimes find vaccinating Sam a hard thing to do, and with this one, I really did a lot of research to help Kris and I make our choice.

The more I hear and look into these things, though, the more I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for modern medicine. I often think about mothers in developing countries who don't even have the option to protect their children in these ways... and how they would do absolutely anything to have that option. To not worry if their child was going to make it through the night.

The nurse said something really interesting to me. She said that pneumonia, and some of the other illnesses we vaccinate against nowadays, were the cancers that were taking peoples' children 50 years ago. She talked about how many parents buried their children because of those diseases that we now can be protected against. Then she made the comment, "as a parent, if you could give your kid a vaccine against cancer or leukemia, even if there was the smallest possible risk to it, wouldn't you give it?" That really made me think. And made me thankful that with all the unpreventable illnesses out there, that a lot of them are preventable, and treatable. I guess it hits me particularly hard because Sam had pneumonia when he was 2 months old. How many ever years ago, he wouldn't have survived.

Anyways, I know a lot of people who also choose, and have chosen with H1N1, not to vaccinate. I know everyone has their reasons, and I don't mean for this to be an offense to those people in any way. I'm just feeling really good about our choice, and am so thankful that we have that option.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 |


Kris and I went to the U2 concert in Vancouver last week. It was the tour's last show, and it was freakin' amazing.

It was kind of a miracle we even got there, I feel. We were all sick, Kris and I with colds, Sam with vomiting and diarrhea, and we felt awful. Tuesday, I still felt terrible, and starting feeling really worried about being able to make it all night at a concert. I just prayed. And prayed more. I felt much better on Wednesday, and had a little nap in the afternoon before we left. And thanks to my wonderful Father, we were able to go!

U2 is different than other bands. And Bono is different than other rockstars. It was amazing to go to a concert like that, and it really ended up feeling like more of a worship experience than anything. It is so clear that Bono really loves his Lord. At one point, he was down on his knees with his hands raised towards the ceiling. He talks about meaningful things, like AIDS medicine getting to Africa, immunizations for developing countries*, and the prime minister of Burma who has been under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years for being a non-violent revolutionary and speaking out.

I had this one moment when I was completely in awe. Not of the band, or Bono, or the stage, or the 60,000+ that were there - but in awe of who my God is. In awe of the fact that He can even capture the heart of one of the world's biggest rock stars. That someone as rich and famous as Bono is my brother in Christ. That we love the same Jesus. God is just that big. And that is totally awe-inspiring for me.

It was really amazing, and worth every penny. Kris and I decided to get tickets to his Edmonton show in June next year, because now we just can't get enough! We can't wait!

* Did you know that Bill Gates pays for 85% of the immunizations that go to developing countries? It's all because Bono got up in his face - "You're rich, what are you going to do about this?!" Now they're good friends, and Bill and his wife were at the concert. We all sang Happy Birthday to him.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 |


Sam is becoming such a little boy. And getting more and more of a personality. These are some of my favourite things about him:

  • We've taught him about kissing his owies better. Now, whenever he hurts himself, he'll instantly come over and bring the hurt body part to our lips. And then he's fine. Done. Yesterday he hurt his finger on something, and was crying so hard he was hardly breathing. I picked him up to soothe him, and right away he shoved his little hand to my mouth. I kissed his hand, and then he wanted "doowwwwn", and promptly left to play.
  • We do the "clean up" song. Sam's version sounds more like "pin tah, pin tah". Cute.
  • Bread, and all types of bread products are "bundy".
  • He loves playing on Kris and my "bet" (bed). He used to call it "bep". He constantly asks to go up there. When he was a baby, we'd always hang out on our bed, the three of us, playing and visiting before he went to bed. I wonder if that's why he likes being up there so much, because he knows it's special times.
  • He really watches what I do. One day, I found him offering my plant some of his water from his sippy cup. And he was making little smacking sounds, like I do when he offers it to me and I pretend to drink out of it.
  • Sometimes I catch him quietly looking at his books. Now he has started talking while he does it, as if he is reading.
  • He loves to count, "one, two". He'll often say it before he jumps or throws something.
  • Sam really loves when Kris and I are both home. He'll often say "mommy, daddy" quickly, over and over again, and it's like he's just reveling in having both of us at his disposal. I'm glad he likes us.
  • Sam will now say "I love you" back. It comes out like "I luh", and it's one of the most precious things my ears have heard.
This stage is a busy one. And it's a fun one. It is so fun watching Sam discover things, and learn how to communicate, and just be a little boy. There is just so much joy in him. I love that he is just a child and doesn't have any other worry. It amazes me how much trust he has. And it amazes me that at the end of a busy day, he just takes a deep breath, rubs his eyes, and drifts off to sleep. All things in Sam's world are right, and he feels safe, secure, and looked after. And that's all that matters to him.

Oh, to become a little child again! :)
Monday, October 5, 2009 |

I'm confused

I had a discussion with someone recently about some heavy, confusing stuff. Here's the background:

I believe that my God is a good, gracious, and loving God. He loves us and wants us just the way we are. I often think that when we enter heaven, that there will be a moment where we will be held accountable for our lives on earth and what we chose to do with them. Not that we do those things to earn our salvation, or do it for the motive of working for God's love, but that we should be thinking of how we are to answer to God when we meet him. Does that make sense?

The person I spoke with was very adamant about how we don't live under the law anymore, and that while we should be feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. (Matthew 25), we won't ever be judged or held accountable for whether or not we do those things.

As a side note, I'm really starting to realize how often believers pass off the "Old Testament" as just that - outdated, irrelevant. I know we do not LIVE under the law anymore, but there are some really beautiful guidelines and promises that I think would be GREAT if we lived out today. I love how Shane Claiborne (or was it Rob Bell? That is the problem with reading 2 books at once... but I think they both talk about this anyways...) refers to the OT as the "Hebrew Scriptures" instead.

Anyways, so then I brought up the sheep and goats idea, also from Matthew 25. She and another lady sitting there were both very firm about the fact that that doesn't apply to Christians at all. I said, "of course it does!" They informed me that the context of it implies that it is talking about the world, not believers. However, upon looking when I got home, it simply says "the nations", and nowhere does Jesus talk about "believing in him" as one of the requirements for not being a goat. I really believe it is US believers who are going to be separated. Why would the world be worried about feeding/clothing/helping Jesus? (Although truth be told, they often do a better job of it.) It is US who are supposed to be doing those things. And to be really blunt, I believe it is folly to think that just being a believer automatically makes you a sheep.

Then we got into the whole "true faith produces works" side of it. She believes that a genuine faith would, by nature, produce the works in Matthew 25. I said that I know tons of Christians, who I don't doubt love and believe in Jesus, who aren't producing that fruit (including myself, at more times than I'd like to admit). It's totally possible. It's an issue of listening to the Holy Spirit and letting it change you. It's about maturity. And those are the things that make sheep or goats.

So maybe I'm totally off here. I've been wrong before, so it's possible to be wrong again! I'm pretty sure that I'm on the right track, but I'd love your opinion. Is it believers who will be subject to the sheep/goat judgement, or are we exempt based purely on our beliefs? I have a hard time buying that, but I'd like to know if that's the case. I'd love to hear some thoughts.
Monday, September 28, 2009 |

Letters from Grandma

Yesterday I went through a box of old cards and photos. I found a stack of letters that my Grandma had written me during Bible school and the few years after. I set them aside to read later.

I opened one up before I went to bed and read the sweet words she had written me so many years ago already, in her cute, wobbly little letters that had once been perfect script. I read about life in her nursing home, her joys, and her sorrows. Dropping her remote and breaking it, waiting for a visitor, the rainy weather. And at the end, how much she loved me and Kris. She always made sure to include Kris.

It's been almost 3 years since she passed away. It's funny how time can pass, and yet I still miss her so much. The littlest thing can bring her back - the smell of Avon lotion, an old hymn, a letter. And sometimes I just wish her back, so I could ask her more about her life and her faith, about life with my Grandpa, to have her meet my son.

But yet, I know she is exactly where she wants to be, and had wanted to be a while before she even got to go there.

Grandma had the most amazing faith of anyone I know. She used to use the church directory as a prayer guide - she just prayed for everyone! I strongly believe that a lot of the reason I'm where I'm at right now is because of her fervent prayers. She really prayed.

Now she gets to be with the Man who answered all those prayers. And although I miss her dearly, she has left a strong heritage of faith with me. And a model to look up to and strive towards. Things that I hope to pass on to my kids and grandkids.

And in the meantime, I'll laugh and cry as I read through more letters, and be thankful for finding an unexpected blessing in an old box of cards.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 |

Spotting Daddy

My son is obsessed with his father.

(He likes me a lot too, so it's all good. :) )

He cries for his Dad when he leaves for work. He'll randomly ask for him throughout the day. He looks for Kris wherever we go. He cries when he wants him and he's not there.

A few times recently, Kris had to leave for work before Sam got up. One of the days, Sam looked on his side of the bed, and searched the house high and low, calling "Daddy". When he realized Kris wasn't here (and I had to explain that Daddy went to work), he was really upset. Mommy had to step in and give cuddles. (Alright by me!)

Today, we were at the Bible school for a meeting, and Sam thought Kris was there (he had done a bunch of renovations and we went and visited him a few times). It's funny how he just knew that that was place that his Dad has been, and that maybe he was there this time too.

Even as I went to write this blog, Sam could see a thumbnail of my profile picture of the three of us, and could even spot Daddy there. No matter how small, Sam can spot his dad. He really, really loves him.

I really need to be better at spotting my Dad. (You know, the creator-of-the-universe, Alpha-Omega one.) I need to be more obsessed with my Heavenly Father. Seeking him out anywhere he might be. Looking for Him in the smallest places. Crying out when I feel separation from him. I need to put my Jehovah radar on. Just like Sam has his Daddy radar on all the time. I need to be excited to look for him, excited to find him, excited when I know he might be somewhere.

And the best thing about my Father, is that He is ALWAYS where I look for him. All I have to do is look. And He'll be there.

Why aren't I looking more often?

I need more of a heart like Sam has. Seeking, wanting, watching, waiting...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 |

T-Shirt Undies

While digging around for patterns to make homemade underwear (which is weird, I know - so go here to read my post on why I want to do this), I came across this page. How wonderful and crazy! Who ever would have thought?! I really wanted to post one of the photos off of the page, but for fear someone would think it was actually a photo of ME in my t-shirt skivvies, I thought better of it. So you'll have to check it out on the site.

It seems fairly simple. And what a great way (and a great place!) to be able to wear those old t-shirts with fun logos. I think I should find an old Gap t-shirt with that classic Gap logo, just so I can put it on my posterior. As a bit of an affront to a company who uses sweat shops. Think of the possibilities!

There's another site that tells you how to make them, too. And my favourite thing about that one is the first comment at the very bottom. Just read it. I won't tell you. And let me know if you also think that's weird. I did. And I still do. Even after the shock has worn off. (Now, maybe I have talked it up too much...)

Oh, and here: I found a picture that DOESN'T involve people getting the wrong idea.

Aren't they just glorious?

Everything looks better hanging on a clothesline.

Let me know if you give them a try. I think I will. I'm kind of excited! And I just pray my mother-in-law doesn't see one of the shirts she has given me sticking out the back of my jeans one day...
Saturday, September 12, 2009 |

Second-hand and Local

This morning, I bought green beans, potatoes, and Canadian-made yarn at the Camrose farmers' market. And then went to the ReStore (Habitat for Humanity second hand store) and found a PERFECT old dresser-type thing to use as a change table in the bathroom. It fits like it was made to go there, AND the colour is just right. (We've used a few different pieces of furniture as a change table - because an actual change table will be of no use to us in a few years or so - and then moved it recently into Sam's room. I decided, after much prompting from Kris too, that I like it far better in the bathroom. It's handier for us there. It fits in there. And also, I can use washcloths instead of wipes, because the sink is right there. And toilet paper for messy clean-ups, because the toilet is right there! In your face, landfill!)

It feels really good to put old things to a new use, to support local farmers, to buy items that NO ONE suffered to make for me to consume, and to shop within my community.

It's sort of like exercising. You don't really want to do it at the beginning because it's difficult, but once you do, it feels amazing.

Which reminds me - I need to start exercising regularly again...

Isn't this FAR more appealing than the produce aisles at Superstore?!
Thursday, September 10, 2009 |

What comes out of my mouth

Some sentences I've said since being a parent:
  1. "That is not appropriate!" (As if a 1 year old cares.)
  2. "Don't put your toothbrush on your penis." (While getting his diaper changed.)
  3. "Don't put Barkers on your penis." (Barkers is his stuffed puppy.)
  4. "You don't need chocolate chips at 8:30 in the morning."
  5. "Sure! You can have chocolate chips at 8:30 in the morning."
  6. "When you're a daddy, you will understand." (Along the same lines as #1.)
  7. "Please don't make a mess!" (Huh?! He's 1...)
  8. "Mommy would be a bad mommy if she let you do that."
The moral of the story is threefold:
  1. Parenting makes you say sentences you never thought possible.
  2. 1 year olds are oblivious to the expectations adults put on them. For the most part, this is probably a good thing. A lot of my first expectations are re-thought out after remember that my son is 1. Still a baby.
  3. Don't let a boy hold things while you're changing his diaper.

And here's a picture of me and my precious, precious boy (one of them):

And please excuse my look of "more-than-appropriate-for-the-situation" excitement. Sam looks worried. And so he should. His mother is weird.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009 |

A commitment

While reading Isaiah 58 everyday, one of the verses that has struck me is this one:

6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people. (NLT)

While praying through these things, and thinking and reflecting, I've realized that while I don't run or own a sweat shop, I keep them in business. Kids who are the same age as my precious nieces and nephews, and Sam in not that many years, are making the clothes that I am putting on myself and my family. I am not proud of that. Those are the people who are "wrongly imprisoned" - what I am doing to lighten their burden? Am I letting them go? Am I removing their chains? No. Rather, I am keeping those chains on them because I bought a Gap sweater on sale.

The solution? Maybe committing to only wearing things that are made in Canada, found in a second hand store, or EVEN made by myself. Is that something I can do? With a little help.

I'll keep praying about that one. Maybe you even want to join me in that commitment.

Monday, September 7, 2009 |


Warning: I'm about to be pretty vulnerable here.

I have realized over the past year and a half that no role in life has the possibility of causing more guilt and worry than motherhood. If you let it. And sometimes, I do.

I have been sick the past few days. Some really crappy head and chest cold. Today, Kris went to the city for the day to go mountain biking with friends. I am glad he could go. And because my husband is very sweet, he arranged to have his mom look after Sam for a bit today, so I could have a break and get some rest. But I feel guilty about it. She even offered to have him the whole day if I needed it. To not worry and just rest. Which I would like to do. But I feel kind of guilty for wanting that.

I have known some mothers who all they seem to want is to get away from their kids. Who complain about their roles as mothers, who seem like it's something they need to escape from. Who can only feel filled up when they've been away from their everyday life. I have (and do) judge those women.

And I realize, a lot of my guilt is just a by-product of my judgement. Because I judge, I fear I will be judged. Because I see in them something I don't like, I try so hard to do the opposite. For fear of being like them.

Isn't it funny how often WE'RE the ones who suffer from what we put on other people?

If I didn't judge, didn't worry about what other people are doing, didn't measure others by MY ruler of what I think is right, I don't think I would feel such bondage to guilt. If I didn't have such high expectations for others, I wouldn't assume others have them for me. I would probably feel more freedom. I would take a day off when I feel crappy as a huge blessing, and not have to justify it. And just let it be what it is. And not worry so much about NOT being like so-and-so who does something I disagree with. To just do what I think is best for my family and I.


I think I need to pray for spiritual blinders. Like those ones that horses wear. So that I can focus on me, and my own family, and what is directly ahead of us. And not on what everyone and their dog (sometimes literally) is doing. And the less I worry about others, I think the less guilt and bondage I will feel in some of these areas. The less I will assume that others are judging and critiquing me.

You know, the whole "speck in another's eye" and the "log in my own eye" thing.

And as much as I hate having to stare my own flaws in the face, I am glad that I am being refined. Because what is on the other end should be beautiful. And freeing.

Friday, September 4, 2009 |

Peace and Unrest

I am more at peace than I've been in a while.

But I am less at peace, too. Less of the comfortable/ignorance-is-bliss/forget-what-I-need-to-be-doing kind of peace. Which isn't peace at all. It's more like just standing in the street, watching a war going on, and shutting my eyes tightly like a child watching the scary part of a movie, pretending it isn't going on.

But in that peace, I also feel unrest. I have so many battles going on in my flesh. I want to love and serve people like Jesus did. But I also want to look and feel good for doing those things. It's not completely selfless. Yet. (I am praying that God makes me more selfless, that he breaks my pride. Not such a smart thing to pray for...) Sometimes I think I should take on something that I totally and fully do NOT want to do. Just so I KNOW that I'm doing it for God's glory and not for myself. But then that seems kind of silly.

And then there's the whole global vs. local issue. I would love to go overseas and get involved in some cool ministry there. But there's a lot of need right here, too. What to do? What to do? And while I'm all for just jumping in and starting something (I like to think I am... at least in my head), I also want some direction. Some sense that that is where God has put me. That it is of HIS doing, and not just on my own whims.

And then there is this whole issue. She puts it perfectly. I struggle with those exact same things.

I've committed to reading Isaiah 58 every for a month with a friend. A beautiful friend who gets all these things about me and is on a similar journey herself. I'm praying that God changes me through it. That He shows me the answers (for lack of a better word) to all my wonderings, my struggles, all this STUFF. And He'll probably ruin my life. But that's okay. Because I kind of want my life to be ruined right now. I want Jesus to mess up my life so that it's not possible for me to in my comfortable little bubble anymore. And to show me how I can be his hands.

Another step in the journey...
Monday, August 31, 2009 |

Joy on a Monday

Things I'm finding joy in today:

  • How Sam comes up to me and rubs his face on my legs
  • Watching little ones come and go to their first day of school
  • Beautiful last-day-of-August weather
  • Planning our flight to go see U2 in Vancouver on October 28th!
  • Solid bowel movements (Sam's, I mean)
  • That Sam's 2 week bout of getting up at 6am has officially ceased, and we are back to the regular 7/730 wake up
  • Yummy fair-trade Costa Rican coffee we bought from friends who were fundraising
  • Maybe getting a plan together to serve Jesus right now, where we're at, with what we have (more on that later...)
  • Having a husband and son who love me, and who I love
  • Being intentional about reminding myself that even "blah" Mondays have some good things about them, too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 |

Kickin' it Old School

I've been convicted lately of spending time on Facebook.

Sometimes, when I feel these feelings, my first thoughts are, "well, I'm not as bad as SOME people". True. But that doesn't matter. I'm worse than I want to be. Although it's a great "social networking" (I hate that term, by the way - there's nothing truly "social" about it) tool, for me, it encourages complacency. It takes away from my goal of being intentional with relationships. It's too easy. It's too passive. For me, anyways. So I've been thinking, and praying some, and feeling like even though I've taken a huge step back from it already, I still might just break off the affair completely. I feel like that would force me to be intentional again. To kick it old school. Haha.

I realize emails and blogs aren't really old school, but I feel I can connect better with people that way. It's more one-on-one, (well, the emails, not the blog) instead of these mass status updates, comments, etc. that everyone sees. If someone wants to let me know what they're up to, then it's directly to me, and vice versa. And if I feel like I REALLY want to take it back to the good ol' days, I may even pick up the phone. Yikes.

Am I ready for this? I think so.

But I also don't think so. I think there are a lot of people that I will undoubtably lose touch with. But I guess those are the ones that I lived without BEFORE Facebook.

So I'm thinking I might just blog more, to let people know what's happening with us. If they want to know. Email more. Phone more. Maybe even get some really pretty stationary and --- are you ready for it?! --- SEND A LETTER!

I really feel like now that I've said this, that it makes it final. But that's probably good. A challenge never hurt anyone. But I'm still going to let it sink it for a few days. Not too many days, however, or I'll lose my gusto.

So, if you read this, here's my email:

Send me a message so I have your email address, and other contact information. And we'll take our relationship back to the days of the horse and buggy. Or so it may feel.

And enter all the incredulous "you're not on Facebook?!" comments. I already get the "you don't have a cell phone?!" questions. But I'll be ready with a witty response. Maybe something along the lines of, "would Jesus be on Facebook?"... haha... just kidding. Kind of.
Monday, August 10, 2009 |

5 years of Kris and I

Kris and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary. I feel like this is a mini-milestone anniversary. And it feels weird to think that I have been a wife for 5 years. Weird, but good. And normal. The way life was just supposed to be.

It IS true that you love someone more as time goes on. Looking back to the day we got married, I almost feel like we hardly knew each other then. Of course we DID (or wouldn't THAT have been a gong show!), but in hindsight, we knew each other so much less than now.

I once heard someone say that it is a choice to be in love*. I find that to be so true. While I love Kris, and always will, it's not always going to be the same "cloud 9" feeling we had at the beginning. Because at the beginning, I didn't have to pick up his freakin' work socks off the carpet all the time (which, FYI, he has ceased doing). And you know, even Brad Pitt scratches himself, leaves his dishes out, and leaves clothes in the laundry hamper for 2 weeks without putting them away. (Okay, so Brad has a maid, but you know what I mean.) But what we had at the beginning was nowhere NEAR how good it is now. I think that's pretty cool. And it makes me so excited to think what it will be like in another 5 years. Or 50.

My favourite thing about Kris and my marriage, is that we really LIKE each other. We're really good friends. We laugh at each other, and find the same things funny. We help each other be better people. We're on the same page. He gets me. I get him. And I thank God for what an amazing thing we have together. I think a lot of people search for a long time for this. And I'm blessed enough to have found it. And while all this is a bit sappy, it's true, and I don't think I say it enough. I figured our 5 year anniversary was a good time to reflect. Here's to another 5, 10, 15... years.

*Okay, don't judge me, but it was Dr. Phil. Before he became so Maury-esque. I still think it was wise, despite the source. And he must be good - Oprah endorsed him, didn't she?!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 |

We are the Body

We had a tragedy in Camrose this past Saturday. As I got ready for bed that night, talking with Kris about what had happened and feeling sad in my heart over it, I had a sudden conviction.

I had started thinking about going to church in the morning. I knew that we would talk about what had happened, and that maybe even someone in church might have been at Big Valley and would share about what it was like. And then we would pray. We would pray that God would be in this situation, and then we would pray that God would be with those people affected.

And here's what got me: we (the people of God, the hands and feet of Jesus) would sit in our church and pray that God would be with the people at BVJ. All while sitting in our warm, comfortable church. Safely removed from the situation. But asking that God be with them. I felt like it was as if someone was having a fatal allergic reaction, and the person with the Epipen (me!) was sitting a little ways off, thinking, "yikes! I really hope someone gets that guy an Epipen". I have the Epipen, and I didn't use it. Oh, I prayed, and I do believe God does something whether or not I act. But I imagined His disappointment, thinking, "but you are capable. It is YOU who I act through. When you ask me to be with someone, it is through YOU that I do that". It's sure a good thing he's so gracious and gives us lots of chances.

I don't like conviction. But what I don't like even more, is the feeling of being able, and not doing. I don't like that I had lots of ideas (going out to pray with people, handing out coffee, helping to clean up - something!), and didn't do any of it. So I will take conviction if it helps me to act next time.

I came across this poem, and pray that God burns it on my heart:

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Monday, July 20, 2009 |

My Baby Einstein conversion

Sam loves Baby Einstein. I always thought that REAL kids don't really like those videos, and they were just a bit of a marketing gimmick (is it obvious that I can be a real skeptic?!). Boy, was I wrong. Apparently puppets, cheesy videos of other toddlers, classical music, and footage of animals and the outdoors is VERY alluring to a one year old. What do you think?

This came in VERY handy when we had an 8 hour drive (which took 11 hours) to BC. Sam would cry, we'd fire up the Baby Einstein on the laptop. Problem solved.

I've also discovered BE's usefulness in these other areas:
  • Cutting Sam's fingernails
  • Trimming Sam's hair
  • Taking a shower without having a ticked-off Sam hanging out in the bathroom with me
  • That last 15 minutes before Kris comes home, when the kitchen is a disaster, supper is almost done, Sam is hungry and therefore a bit needy, and I am about to turn into a complete madwoman
I'm sure I will discover even more as time goes on.

Baby Einstein saves us all a big headache, and the aforementioned situations go from total gong shows to completely reasonable, even enjoyable experiences for all of us. So I'm just going to embrace it. And be thankful for it.

And not only that, I think Sam is actually learning a bit from it. Every time they talk about cows, he moos, which he knew how to do before, but only when prompted by, "Sam, what sound does a cow make?!" Now he makes the connection between the photo of a cow, and that a cow says "moo". And this morning, while trimming his hair, he cock-a-doodle-dooed for the first time. Thanks, Baby Einstein. Haha... And everything in moderation, right? As long as he is not watching it all day, and just a bit here and there, I think it's just fine. It's funny, because I automatically feel like this is a bit of a "bad mom" confession. And then I realized, that I think the only person who makes me feel that way is... well... myself. Baby Einstein teaches Sam to make animal sounds, and teaches ME to lower my expectations for myself.

So I'll be honest - I love these freakin' videos. I have officially been converted.

Monday, July 13, 2009 |

How camping screwed me up...

Okay, so not really screwed up per se, but really made me yearn. Yearn for big cedar trees you can barely see the tops of, clean lakes with rocky, weedless bottoms, hills and mountains that take your breath away, amazing fruit you can eat off the tree in your backyard, waterfalls, caverns, oceans, warmth that doesn't bring droughts and tornados...

Things like this:

And this:

With campsites that look like this:

And lakes that look like this:

(Note how you can SEE the bottom!)

I think the longer I live in Alberta, the more I miss BC, and the more I appreciate when I go back for a visit. Kris and I are usually really content people, but since we've been back, we've been feeling like coming home is a bit of a let-down. It's just not like BC here. And sometimes we wonder why we choose to live here, when there are beautiful, stunning places that could be right in our backyard.

But then I look at some of these gorgeous places - cabins right on the shore of Shuswap Lake, yardsights that look like campgrounds, homes that make it available for families to walk a mere 3 minutes to spend an afternoon at the beach - and I think, I might get pretty lonely. Surrounded by the splendor of nature, but lonely. I guess part of what makes little ol' Camrose, AB so great, are the relationships we have made here. I may not have a lakefront property, but I have family close by. I may not have mountains and streams and waterfalls, but I have some really great friends. I guess we would eventually make relationships if we were to ever move somewhere else, but it sure is nice to have people around. To have strong relationships that have moved past the small talk, get-to-know-you phase. And that's really valuable. Probably more-so than a view.

So for now, here we are. And we'll be content here. Still dreaming a bit of a day when we can sea-doo up into our front yard, or have peaches growing in our back yard. Maybe that will happen, and maybe it won't. But my yearning has also made me appreciate what I DO have that other places might not. I like it here, mountains or not.

But it still makes me think... :)
Monday, June 29, 2009 |

I'm not a SuperMom. And that's okay.

I'm not one of those women whose lives are all consumed by her children. I'm just not. And I've realized, I'm okay with that. And for me, that works.

There. I said it.

And I'm going to expand on it. It's going to be blunt. Beware.

I love Sam. When we have other children, I will love them too. Very much. I love being a mother, and think it's one of the most important roles in my life.

However, I have other things to talk about than diaper rash, teething, the consistency of my child's BMs, breastfeeding, labour... oh, the list goes on. I do talk about those things. Probably more than I realize. But those aren't the only things I know stuff about.

I guess I'm just realizing over time, that once you become a mother, sometimes people assume that's ALL you are. I don't like that box. Some people are okay with that box. It suits some women perfectly to have an entire vocabulary consisting of words and phrases having to do with child rearing. And I'm glad that those women exist, because we're all different, and I appreciate that. But I'm realizing that is SO not me.

I've sometimes felt guilty about this. I shy away from moms' groups. You couldn't pay me ENOUGH to ever run a dayhome. I'd rather go to work. There. I said that too. (Yikes.) I've felt like I'm a bad mother if I don't want to do those things. But I've come to be okay with it. To embrace it. And just relax about it. And realize that it's just who I am.

I'm also realizing how blessed I am to be surrounded by friends who make me feel good about who I am. Yes, we talk about let-down, and child birth, and bum creams, and it's good to have a place to discuss and talk about those things too. But it's so much more. And I'm really blessed by that. And I feel accepted for not being a SuperMom.

So, thanks.

And I hope I did not offend anyone. None of that was meant as an attack on anyone, or women who may be more like that than me. All the power to those ladies! It's just not me. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 |

Border Mishaps

This past weekend I went on a road trip to Vancouver with my sister Kerry.  It was a ton of fun. It went really fast, though.  We left on Thursday afternoon, and didn't roll into my parents' until 3:30 in the morning!  We did sightseeing all day Friday and Saturday.  We went to Science World, the beach, over to the market on the waterfront of North Van... and lots more.  We came home on Sunday.

Perhaps my favourite part (or at least the funniest), was when we accidentally ended up on the US side of the border, without having even entered the States.  Let me explain:  my parents live on 4th Avenue.  The US/Canada border is 0 Avenue.  So they live close, and it's really close to the Peace Arch border crossing.  I wanted to take 0 Avenue home one day, to show Kerry how neat it is to drive on 0 Avenue, because just across the ditch is the States. So we headed down to the border crossing, because when I used to live down there, I remembered being able to just take a little detour down there, cross the traffic coming up from the US, and get onto 0 Avenue.  I had no idea that all this had changed.  

We kept getting closer and closer to the actual border crossing, and I kept thinking that the little road had to be there somewhere.  All of a sudden, I realized there was no road (they've done a bunch of remodeling), and we were headed into the States, with no way to get out. Well, there WAS one way - there was a one-way lane coming from the road coming up from the US.  So I figured that was my only way out, and took the one-way road the wrong way.  I thought we were in the clear. However, once I got into the traffic heading away from the States, I looked up and realized that we were on the WRONG side of the border crossing heading into Canada.  The two border stations aren't side by side - the one entering Canada is up a bit, so we ended up in the area between the two.  I started panicking, trying to think of how we would explain that we HADN'T been in the US, but took a little road the wrong way.  How stupid to think that we were entering Canada from the States, but had never actually been there... oh my.  And neither of us had passports, which, as of June 1, is a requirement for travel into and out of the US.  I took a deep breath, and as we drove up, tried to explain what had happened.  The man was stern.  And just kind of mean.  And he encountered this: "Uh, I'm so sorry sir, but we took a wrong turn and ended up here.  Uh... we didn't even go to the States... uh... I'm so sorry... I didn't mean to."  I explained about the little road I remembered from before but how it had changed.  He stared at me.  I was sure we were going to be searched and have rectal exams at any moment.  He asked for ID. We showed him our AB drivers' licenses.  I'm sure he thought, "figures".  He asked about drugs, alcohol, and firearms - none of which was in the vehicle (phew! - It's not totally out there to think that Kris may have left a rifle in our car).  He gave back our IDs and explained the correct way to get where we were going.  We were so thankful.  And then we laughed. And laughed some more.  Who knew we could go through a border crossing coming up from the States without even having been there?!  And who knew someone would actually BELIEVE us?!  I sweated a lot in those 10 minutes.  

But it was a great trip.  Lots of good memories.