Friday, April 6, 2012

Reasons to Be Thankful

Her little eyes closed peacefully and she settled in for her nights sleep.

I held her tight and soaked her in.

My baby girl is beautiful.

She is perfect.

I am so in love.

I looked at her little face, with those kissable, chubby cheeks and the feeling of thankfulness overwhelmed me.

Today my husband shared with me a blog about a family and the birth of their baby. Their new daughter has a heart condition and is waiting for surgery in the next couple of days.

My heart breaks for this family.

I pray have been praying for them.

With all the heart stuff Jim has gone through lately this story was raw for me.

Our situation isn't the same. My babies were born healthy.

I thank God for healthy babies and safe deliveries.

But the possibility was there.

We recently went through screening for both our kids for the heart condition Jim has.

Their tests came back clear for the condition. I am thankful.

As I sat there in my very silent family room, snuggling my baby girl, the realization of having so much to be thankful for became evident.

Health
Beauty
Peace
Serenity
Calm

Sweet baby Kora.

My son is amazing too.

Our story could be different.

I am thankful it's not.

I am thankful I can sit here, gazing at my sleeping baby feeling pure joy. No heart ache, no fear. I have the peace of knowing my children are healthy.

For that I'm thankful.

I'm thankful.

LJ

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kid's Get It, I Wish I Would Relax

I had my little guy out in the yard the other day.

While he played with the dog I raked our yard. The more I watched him play the more stressed I felt.

I have a faith. I have a home. I have a job. I have two kids. A marriage. A husband. Personal needs. Friends and other relationships. Hobbies. Things that bring me joy. Demands on my time. Responsibilities. Priorities. Stress.

That's how my mind works.

When we went outside it was to play. I immediately grabbed a rake and began working while expecting my child to play. He wanted to play. I saw a job that had to be done.

I was torn.

I want to be with my kids. I want a picture perfect home. I want to sing and play my piano, write stuff. Paint. Bake. Spend time with my husband. Date. I want to hang out with friends. Spend time with my family. I want to be successful at my job. I want to grow closer to God. I want to serve his people. I want to care for my kids. I want to create memories. I want them to be smart and healthy. I want them to learn at every possible opportunity. I want a foot rub. I want to watch tv. I want to read that book I got for Christmas. I want to make cookies and take them to people. I want to have the best meals for my family every night.

Demands on my time. Responsibilities. Priorities.

I raked that yard. I was working it like Jillian Michaels was standing there yelling at me. My son played. I got mad. I wanted so desperately to play with him but I felt so obligated to clean that yard.

"What would the neighbours think if it was left?"

Then I had to stop myself. Who cares what the neighbours think. If they don't like my yard then they can come and help me clean it. The conviction hit me when I thought, "What memories will James have of me?"

More stress.

I don't know how to be a mom. I don't know how to be a wife. I don't know how to fill a bunch of roles and be good at them.

Maybe I am too honest. Reality is I suck at living my life. I want things to look so fantastic and to actually be fantastic that I put the pressure on myself and I can't rise to the challenge.

I want Home and Garden magazine doing a photo shoot of my home, while I'm selling paintings and writing number one hits. I want my children to be super intelligent while being physical specimens. I want Sport's Illustrated calling because they want me in a photo spread. I want my husband to rave about how awesome I am. I want my parent's to come over every Friday night for turkey dinner. I want Martha Stewart calling me for crafty ideas. I want my friends to be around me all the time because I am so much fun. I want Beth Moore to call and ask me to start touring with her.

I want...

But I can't do it all.

It's funny. Most people probably rake the lawn and think about raking the lawn. I rake the lawn and try to plan my entire life. I try to solve my problems. I try to plan out my weeks. I try to think of creative ways to parent. I pray. I try to come up with party ideas and new things to cook for dinner. I try to budget. I dream.

In all my trying all I do is stress myself.

So I'm raking. My kids running around, playing with the dog, eating "dirt". I'm feeling guilt while "feeling the burn". I'm planning, I'm really stressing myself and this thought wave comes over me.

I have a faith. I have a belief in God. That's an extra pressure as a parent. Not only on top of my own needs/wants/desires, my husbands needs/wants/desires, I as a mother have to think of my kids. So on top of keeping my children alive, healthy, teaching them, encouraging them to grow up and contribute to society, I have extra stress. I now, because of my own faith have to impliment that in their lives.

More stress.

My faith suddenly became a burden.

Now, out in my yard, raking dead grass, it felt like a demand. I have to pass this on to my kid.

As this thought process is jumbling my brain and causing me more anxiety than I live with normally, my 3 year old decides he has had enough with the dog. Outside stinks and it's time to go in and eat.

To make a really long story a shorter one, I took my kid in and got him lunch. At this point I'm stressed about life in general. I'm stressing about every area of my life and even stressing things that aren't my reality right now, like my daughters prom dress or something stupid like that.

Now it's time to feed my picky little eater lunch. YAY!

I get it ready. I set in front of him and the battle begins. I just want the kid to eat a vegetable. That's all I want right now. In my battle to get my son to take one bite of a freaking carrot something is revealed to me.

It goes like this...

"James, will you please take one bite of your carrot. That's all I ask. One bite."

James, about 45 minutes into the battle and 7 hilarious remarks later, closes his eyes and says this.

"Dear God, What am I going to do? I need help. Tell me what to do. Amen"

At this point I'm hysterically laughing on the inside and being very stern on the outside.

He slowly opens his eyes and looks at me, and says this.

"God says James mommy is mean."

Two things came out of this. One my kid is 3 and doesn't understand health. He doesn't get the concept of eating healthy, being healthy. That's not his reality. He thinks I am asking him to try this new and "yucky" food because I am trying to be mean. Whatever we will get over that.

The thing that stood out to me was this. He gets it. James gets it. He sees me living out my faith and he's picking it up. He knows to turn to God. Even over something like eating a carrot.

Exampling my faith to my kids doesn't have to involve bible stories and scripture memorization. Me exampling my faith to my kids is making God real and accessible to them. Showing them love and reaching out to care for others. It's teaching them compassion and grace. It's helping them understand forgiveness.

I guess Im doing that.

So one worry off my list.

I have been a mom for 3 years now. I still don't know how to balance life. I'm not one of those super moms who knows everything and has never made a mistake with their babies. I mess up daily.

My 3 year old showed me something pretty amazing. I'm doing a good job as a mom. I don't have to be perfect. He actually doesn't want me to be perfect. He wants me to be his mom.

So what will James memories of me be?

I hope they will be memories of a mom who loved, who had fun and who always had time for her kids.

This is my new challenge.

L

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March Evening on the Farm - Photography

We explored the farm.

Enjoyed the warm March air.

We jumped in puddles.

Swatted Mosquitos.

We laughed.

Muddy faces.

Rubber boots.

We sang songs.

Sunsets.

Mighty machines.

Spring time on the farm.

L

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Book Breathes

I have had more than one person say to me, "you should write a book".

Truthfully, I have enough stories. I could fill pages with tiny text. Enough words to fill cover to cover.

But now is not my time.

Right now my book breathes.

My book walks.

It sleeps. It eats.

My book lives.

I am my 500 pages of laughter, tears, disbelief and lessons learned.

As I live my life, I am writing the script.

Collecting dialogue.

Building climax.

Discovering the plot with each breath.

Someday I would love to be an author, with a best seller. Right now I am living the story. Later down the road I may capture it in ink.

Possibly.

For now my book is flesh covered.

It has locks of curls. It speaks, it moves.

For now my book is me. It learns, it loves, it lives.

My book breathes.

L


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finding God on Gerrard St

Sickness and uncertainty has reigned in the Forde home the last few months.

I desperately wish I could say we have had the flu. Suffered from a head cold, some skin irritation or diarrhea (and i guess we have) but the sickness I'm talking about is much more than a common winter illness.

Our journey started just over two years ago. After a series of medical "events" my husband was diagnosed with a genetic heart condition called HCM.

This invited many medical professionals, trips to hospitals, nights of researching, genetic counseling and other new additions to our life.

It also brought it's challenges. The invitation was open to hurt, worry, fear, uncertainty.

Distance.

Fear.

Distance.

Intense fear.

In December of 2011, my husband's condition had escalated to the place where his heart needed some help. He had a pacemaker/defibrillator implantated.

The news, although unexpected, brought with it some peace.

The device was implanted and after this ordeal, our life was promised to return to normal. We now had the reassurance that he could never experience sudden death, again.

In February, I received a text from Jim saying his machine had fired and he was heading to emerg. I had decided I would never receive this message. Unfortunately I had. After a couple of days and a extremely fast trip, we were back in Toronto, Jim awaiting another surgery.

To make a long, boring story short, surgery day arrived. I got up, got myself ready and made my way to the hospital.

On a side note, I have a friend who lives approximately a 3 minute walk from her door step to the doors of the hospital. I was staying with her, and had stayed the time before and deep down I believe this in itself was Godly intervention.

The morning of Jim's surgery i felt sick to my stomach. I was riddled with nervous, for my self and Jim. I was panicked to get to Jim's side but part of me wanted to slip into the sea of people on the street and never stop walking.

I got myself pulled together. My feet hit the pavement, passed the heavenly greeting of SubWay (the restaurant) smells dancing in the morning air. My body craved coffee. My mind craved peace. The day had come.

As I walked down Gerrard street, past the Kabob restaurant and the sushi place I knew I had 3 minutes that were so insignificant that I could make very significant.

I prayed.

I asked God to show me that he was with me. That he knew my heart ache, that he could hear my cries. I sought out peace. Pleaded for healing. Cried for strength.

As the tears streamed down my face, landing on the cracked cement and stains of life, I saw him. In a little court yard, up in a tiny tree I saw him.

Sparrows.

My passing caused the small flock to take off and they made a grand spectacle out of themselves.

I knew that was my God.

A simple tiny sign, just for me. Others walking before and behind saw no significance in those birds, but I did. Others who stepped on my foot prints had no idea the value of seeing those birds, and never would unless they walked in my shoes.

Those sparrows were the answer to my prayer.

"Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds." Matthew 6:26 MSG

I glided through the doors of the hospital. I grabbed my Starbucks, rode the elevator up to 5 and descended on room 168 bed 1 with confidence.

That morning I sat with Jim unshaken by the knowledge of the days events. With my body caffeinated I was able to let my mind rest in His peace.

L

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Challenging Inspiration

The world is full of beautiful people. Thankfully I have some of these people in my life.

I was challenged this week by a beautiful woman I know. Her challenge was one of grace and gratitude.

It made me think.

Her passion and joy sparked something deep within me.

It was an inspiring kick in the butt.

I was challenged to look deep within and find the essence of myself and begin the process.

Healing.

Feeling.

To become present in my life again.

To stop abandoning my life.

I was dared to rip the security blanket out of my hands.

Her strength and desire to live her life to the fullest made me want to dive deeper into living.

Now it is time.

I will search for the gifts.

I will search for the treasures.

I will search for the purpose in my life.

I never back down from a challenge and I can not ignore inspiration.

There is a reason we have beautiful people brushing shoulders with us in life.

It pushes us to strive for more.

It ignites a yearning for success.

It helps us see the potential in ourselves.

There is hope exampled.

Thank you beautiful person.

L

Monday, January 9, 2012

Photography

Lately I have had some time to stop and take some shots of things I encounter in my daily life. Here are a few snaps (some with edits) I would like to share. Enjoy!