Saturday, December 11, 2010

God's Little Rainbows

At 2:00pm today myself, along with other close friends and family will witness the union of two people madly in love with each other. Supporting them in their commitment to one another.

Beautiful.

I love weddings. I'm one of those freaks who watches wedding shows incessantly. Continually planning my wedding even though I am already married. I always say that I am planning for my vow renewal but who am I kidding I will get a second marriage before I get a vow renewal.

To me there is something magical about a wedding. That is my opinion now. When I was younger and very single I found weddings depressing and somber. I used to wear black, tolerate the hum-drum of the lovey dovey ceremony and pig out on food at the reception then leave before it became obvious I was dateless.

I guess now that I have been shown the magic of love is true and real and it can and did happen to me I have embraced the celebration of love.

The wedding.

Since I got married I feel like every wedding I attend I am stepping back in time to the day I wore my beautiful gown (which now sometimes doubles as a throw blanket) and started the adventure I am on. It makes me think about the first moment I saw him as I peaked the hill on my horse drawn wagon, holding his hand, the first kiss as husband and wife. All of that floods back.

The moment the officiant said "I now prounouce you" it was real. The freedom of capturing our happy moments in photos and knowing that it was only for an instant but our life was forever. Our first dance, looking into his eyes knowing this man was going to cherish me and not harm me. Waking up for the first time as a "Mrs." not as a "Miss".

I think it would be a lot truer and purer of a thought if I was to admit that maybe the dress and the flowers have nothing to do with my love for weddings. The truth lies in the fact that I am comforted by the knowledge that love is still real. That a mostly fairy tale concept in this world is still in existence and as we witness two people making commitments to each other for a life time something sacred happens. We get to see a glimpse of God in one of his finest moments.

To me there is something magical about a nervous face stained with tears bride and a gittery groom, coming before each other in love and total vulnerability to
each other opening themselves up to happiness but also opening up to pain, change and growth. Knowing that a love burns deep within that in the moments of frustration and anger their desire to be together will prevail. Sacrificing themselves as an independent person and dedicating themselves to the team.

Witnessing vows is full of hope. Its believing that when all the glamour and glitz is gone and all doors are shut and eyes turned away the look of longing that was
displayed before friends and family can still be found in each others eyes. Knowing that someone is there to give you strength and couage when you can not muster your own. Belieiving in and being believed in when there is no one else to do it. Having faith that this person will grow into a better person because of your love and the same for you personally. The faith and vulnerable hope that this commitment can never be broken and that you wont ever let that happen.

The knowledge that God made that love possible.

I love scouting out dress styles, invitations, flowers and centerpieces but in the end
it's more than that to me. Weddings are like God's little rainbows to me.

L

Sleep Deprivation

It 4:44am and instead of being wrapped in the arms of Jesus (the term of endearment I have given the most fabulous, plush, soft and warm green blanket) with my eyes tightly shut dreaming about my bikini body or weird unexplainable dreams that make me lay paralyzed praying to God that no part of them come true, I am wide awake.

I've had it explained as a cycle of life, the dreaded lack of sleep we tend to experience as parents. Someone told me it is probably because of the electronic current flowing through our bedroom from the tv, the new energy efficient light bulbs, our electronically programmable heater, cell phones and whatever other gizmos we have that make life more accessible, easier, organized and better allowing us to be the best individual we can be. Or is it God trying to speak to me? I believe that God can and will wake us to speak to us or get our attention. That concept
is real to me. But I must say either God is trying
to show me something through my suffering (a mild case of the Job syndrome)
or he has the tendencies of a teenage couple, waking me just to tell me he loves me. I imagine by now most have curled their noses or felt slight offence cause I just equated God and his love to a teenage romance which might be slightly pretentious or maybe its the sleep in my eyes talking.

Whatever the cause of my mild mannered insomnia I am not a fan. I wish I could figure out the cause so I could find the solution. As beautiful as 4 & 5 are I believe deeply that I would love to experience the thrill of waking up to sunlight.

Please pray I get more sleep.

L

Friday, November 26, 2010

Please Comment

Hello Readers,
Wow! My greeting just gave me the willies. The thought that people are reading the words and thoughts that fall out of my head is rather odd. I write not for recognition but because it brings me joy and allows me a way to express my feelings and hash out some lingering thoughts that swirl in this head of mine.
I hear from people all the time that they are reading my blog and loving it. I took a slightly long break from blogging but I am back and I promise I will blog 2-8 times a week, always having something fresh and new for you to read. I was scolded by many and I have learned my lesson. I am sorry and thanks for the kick in the butt.
I would love to hear from you. I am open to discussion, thoughts and comments. Please disagree if you wish. I do not claim to be an expert, just an individual trying to make her way through life with God.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Leah

Gentleness

Before I had Ti I never realized how important the role of gentleness is in the grand scheme of life. It was always, I thought a natural reaction therefore I didn't see it's profound significance. Now in the process of raising a child my daily task is to help him embrace this concept. Basically if I can't help my son understand how to be gentle he will be a menace to society and mommy will be a walking bruise. Some days I am so proud because it is clear to me he understands how to be gentle when he rubs my husbands head and in a whisper says "me dad". But then we have moments when my wake up call is a cymbal clapping giraffe to the face and then I realize we still have work to do.

Children live in the moment. Their innocence takes away all sense of fear and insecurity. They flow with their surroundings and have absolutely no boundaries. That's why children have parents. We get to be the buzz kill that establishes "no" and "stop" in their life.

At 20 months I am starting to see the fruit of my labour when interacting with Ti. He stops mid play to give me nice hugs, the biting has become minimal and he loves to give sweet boogie kisses right on the lips. He is now responding to the idea that hugging mommy makes her smile, punching her in the head makes her cry.

Somewhere in my life I stopped being educated on how to be gentle and gentleness became a part of my nature. I learned the limitations that I can exist in without causing physical, emotional or mental harm to myself or another individual.

In scripture we read that as Christians we are given the Holy Spirit to live within us giving us guidance. A sign of living with the Spirit, according to God is the fruit we bear. Christian's who live daily in the Spirit don't have apples and oranges growing from their limbs but should exhibit the characteristics of God or the fruit of

"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. "

I think as Christians we focus a lot on loving our neighbour, being filled with the joy of the Lord, being patient and having kind hearts. We try to do good and live our life with faith in God. But where we lack is being gentle and having self control. We fight, we put down, we push our way through knocking whomever out of our way. We think of ourselves and not of others. We open our mouths and spout nonsense without realizing how that affects someone else. We impress our ideas on others and reject their thoughts. We bully, we tear apart, we push away.

In raising my child I am in the first stage of gentleness training. I have to teach him how to conduct himself in a kind, gentle, compassionate way. Once he learns more words I will have to help him learn how to control those words and use them for love and productivity instead of harm and destruction. Then my next challenge will be guarding him from the lethal combination of hand & mouth. This task I fear and I will pray myself through.

As we go through our life do we focus on the trendy, appealing fruits that living a life for God produce, or do we mind that a healthy balance of all fruits be tended and cared for and present in our lives?

You may not walk your way through life pushing everyone to the ground, but do you slash their souls and wound their hearts with your tongue?

My son didn't know and sometimes still doesn't understand that hitting another person is not acceptable. But as I raise him and teach him he is learning that handing me a toy is much more productive than throwing it at me and hurting me. As we walk our journey may we look to God for correction. May we never believe the lie that we have arrived. May we allow Him to show us our flaws and may we try to change them.

Gentleness.
LJ

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Will Follow You


My little guy.

I love the kid, he's a part of me but it is taking day upon day for me to understand who this little person is. I always assumed because he held a part of my DNA I would “get” him. Furthest from the truth. Every day we spend together is a new look at who he is as a person and a real examination into who I am.


Ti is heavily immersed in the art of imitation. He shocks us all the time with his new sayings or actions that he has picked up somewhere along his travels. Usually they are easily identifiable. He resembles someone we know.


I see a lot of me.


When he runs to the piano to “play” a song, or sits and draws a picture. When he unloads the cupboards and pretends to create some kind of eatable masterpiece it's like looking in the mirror. He drops words that I never thought those little ears would hear all the way from the kitchen and mimics the way I present myself or perform a task.


He always has to double check the dryer...


This morning after I put Ti down for his nap I went to one of my safe places. I sat in front of my piano and talked to God and played. I was singing a Tim Hughes song that I love and one of the lines popped out and became so real as the words passed my lips.


“Lord will you be my vision, will you be my guide, be my hope and light, be the way.”


As I belted those lyrics out the reflection of the sun on the roof came through the window so brightly that I couldn't see the keys in front of me. I pushed through and continued to sing,


“I will follow, I will follow you”


I stopped my song and got up from the piano. I walked to my computer and now I sit here hashing through what this means.



We are the light in our world. We are how many will see the face of God. But when they see His face will they recognize it? Will they see love, peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, patience, goodness? Or do they see inadequacy, hatred, malice, bitterness, hypocrisy, rudeness, self absorption and judgment?


When I sit back and watch my little guy and see the positive qualities I possess surface in his personality it makes me happy. I feel like I have done my job as his parent to prepare him for the world. But when I hear him utter the word “stupid” I suddenly see the imprint my human nature is making on his little life. He watches me, he drinks my every word and absorbs my every action. He reacts as I do, he focuses on me as I do or do not on him. My son looks to me in the way I should look to God.


Sometimes believing we are children of God gives us silent permission to ignore Him. I know sometimes God becomes my default and I use Him as my “get out of (fill in blank)” card. But looking at my earthly mother-son interaction I see the picture of what my relationship with God should be. We are told that we are made in His image but like with my son the example is learned based on the amount of time and moments engaged together. Just because I am made in His image doesn't mean I “get” Him. Many children exist in our world who hold DNA of a parent that will never be made known to them, they possess qualities of their biological donor but without the nurture sometimes those qualities dissolve and they never really understand who they are.


I need to focus on God and spend daily encounters understanding who He is. Peeling away the layers of religion and assumption and begin believing in the heart of God, taking my daily glimpse of who he is and examining who I really am.


My time with my son is precious. Each stage, each tantrum, all with perspective is good. Through these daily exchanges I am developing a life long bond that is held with unconditional love and grace. As I move forward in life I pray I am as attentive to God, allowing Him to be my hope, my light and my way, as I am to the person my son is becoming. If I live a life that is holy and pleasing, putting God first and being the light in this world that I need to be then when I look at my son and who He has become I will no longer see myself but I will see the face of God.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Beauty in the Chase


Monday morning, the sun slowly rises above the hills, glistening on the frost across the fields. Everything is silent but the energy is all a buzz. People spread themselves across expanses of properties all dressed in orange apparel, guns in hand, pockets full of candy, waiting patiently. Big burly men assume childlike glee and all are beyond ecstatic for the adventure that is about to ensue.

It is the deer hunt.

I have been hunting since I was a small girl. I remember bundling up in my snow suit and waiting for my dad to come pick me up. We would go sit in the bush and eat candy while enjoying each others company. This year having my son on the watch with me I assume my dad didn't enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed being with him.

When I got older and got my license I would miss days of school to go hunting with the gang. Every year I longed for the first week in November. Some of my longing was derived from my passion for the sport, some my adolescent need for a break from all the hormones and homework that go along with the high school experie
nce.

Now that I am older and do not have the excuse of missing school the hunting experience is different for me. I still love the sport and the anticipation of Monday morning but the reasons I love it are much greater.

(Pause because of shooting... I am writing this on my watch.)

Of course hunting is a bonding experience for me. I connected with my father as a child, my brother as we became adults and many friends because of the sport, but the ultimate connection is with God.


Sitting out in nature, looking at the sculptures created by the hands of God is a fabulous place to meet Him. For me when the chase is a lull and I am cold and bored I take that time to talk to Him. I think, I ask, we chat. When you have a few hours to sit in a wide open field over looking rolling hills that carry on forever, the amazing unknown of God hits home. Even when we don't see Him, He is just over that next hill, behind the tree or coming up out of the pond. He is always there.

His creation of the forest is so revealing. Squirrels sound like buffalo's, chipmunks crash like moose, birds sound like dogs, trees crack and sway. When you find yourself in complete solitude and at one with nature it is fascinating to see how the birds live. To watch the chipmunks prepare for winter. To see the deer use their instinct, the rabbit
s to scurry and hop, the partridge come from no where because they are so amazingly designed to hide in their surroundings.


Lately life has been tough. Challenges keep coming and sometimes the way out isn't obvious. Yet something I rediscovered this passed two weeks is that faith in our creator is the only way. Watching those animals carry on in their lives is so symbolic of what we should be as followers of Christ. The scripture is true, the birds never have to worry. God cares for them, he meets their needs. The chipmunks don't go hungry even though they may have to work harder to find the food to store. In some strange way the forest works together. The animals live out their purpose and even though that means some are natural predators they live as God designed.

Deer hunting for me isn't just a "hick" sport. In actuality hunting requires a lot of skill, knowledge and preparation. It is a sport of precision and awareness. It is a sport I love. Hunting isn't just shooting animals (so that we have food for the winter) but the sport brings with it community, new and exciting friendships, good stories and amazing fabulous food. It also allows me to stop and take that time with God that sometimes my busyness doesn't allow. I learn to appreciate God more. I see a little bit more of the mystery reveal itself when I sit and watch and wait. For me I feel like I am sitting in God's backyard, enjoying his handiwork, freely being who He created me to be and listening to what He wants to say.



"I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined and heard my cry." Psalm 40:1

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Good Old Markham Fair

Before I met my husband I had never heard of the Markham Fair. Little did I know my mother had told me about it a number of times but I must have chosen not to listen.

This year as the leaves began to turn and the air cooled my husband and I got starry eyed for the fair. I was only a 2 time attendee of the fair but my heart raced at the thought of fair food, rides and lots of cute animals.

We packed the car and off we went. Fairgrounds on the mind. We dropped our child off at his grandparents and we sped away free from our parenting responsibilities, anticipating the fun we would have.

Entering the gates we could feel the rush of excitement and all things fair. The scent of farm animals and the old time-y farm machinery killing the ozone layer one "shift of the gears" at a time. The food vendors lined the walk ways with smells of delicious pulled pork and well cooked cheeseburgers. Cotton candy spun, caramel apples marinated in sugar, fresh baked cookies, popcorn, candy, chocolate, fudge. No diets allowed at this grand event.

We made our way through the buildings of animals. Nothing too new to this farm girl. My upbringing allowed me to turn snotty and act too good for the on lookers of cows and horses.

I have seen my share.

Although farming is in my blood I did experience a new event at the fair. We found ourselves in the grand stands taking in the excitement and beauty of the horse and cart competitions. I will admit I had no idea what they were doing exactly, driving their carts back and forth and then in the opposite direction, but the horses were dressed in a magnificent fashion and their drivers looked just as dapper. This event really struck my interest when they announced the unicorn division. Finally my chance to see a real live unicorn.

After the excitement of the unicorns, we scouted out the crafts and vendors finding ourselves in a room surrounded by baked goods. I remembered the previous year taking my dad to this very room. As we circled the displays like vultures ready to attack our prey, my dad in a loud shriek of excitement exclaimed "Myrna Burkholder." This year as we stood amazed in the presence of pies I stood tall and proud and in honour of my dad exclaimed, "Myrna Burkholder." I then developed this rather unhealthy competition in my head between Myrna and a nice lady named Joyce. These rivals fought it out over the coconut cream pies, the cherry pies, strawberry, blueberry, pumpkin. I cheered for Myrna. I knew she would come out on top and as I believed in Myrna she didn't let me down. Congratulations Myrna you are my queen of the Markham fair.

After all this excitement we decided it was time to head home. With a lot of stalling and reluctance we found our way to the car and said "goodbye" to the good old Markham Fair. As we drove away I looked over my shoulder and waved. I said, "See you next year old friend...." and the fair said the same.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

God Bless the Little Old Church Lady

Everyone knows them.

Tight curls, usually a blueish hue to their perm. Some of them sit in the back row of the sanctuary while others march to the front row every Sunday.

They never miss a meeting.

When you hear the phrase "pot-blessing" from the platform you immediately think of them and pray like you never have before that they will attend. You truly enjoy their company but you have taken a shining to their usual date to such functions, Mr. Apple Pie.

During prayer time their eyes are usually shut the longest.

During the worship portion of the service they stand like troopers mouthing something reminiscent to the latest worship songs with the hymnal spread open wide.

If you get a look at their bible it puts you to shame and makes you chuckle because it looks like they are carrying a dog's chew toy.

While the minister reads the prayer list from the pulpit they scribble like mad in their little journals the names and circumstances so that it is certain that these requests get prayed for.

God Bless the Little Old Church Lady.

In our store we sell religious greeting cards. My days are not complete unless I have had my regulars come through my door and make a direct march toward the card section. Most of these people are little, white topped, curly mopped, widowed women who are looking for the perfect sentiment written in between the cover of a card. Most of the time I have to get off my chair to see them because the counter is a little bit too high. They peruse the card racks, reading many, choosing only the special one that will brighten someones day. We chat a little about the weather, they tell me about the next church function and what they will be contributing. They purchase their card and usually head off with a "God Bless".

Too cute.

This morning my door swung open. I heard the steps of someone. From behind the bookshelves popped a white top. She greeted me with a big smile and "Hello Dear". As she made her way around the counter she told me she was not here to purchase anything today but to talk. She grabbed me with those tiny little arms and gave me a mighty squeeze. With tears in her eyes she said with the utmost sincerity, "I have been praying for you".

Her words did not shock me. She is the Little Old Church Lady, of course she has been praying for me, that's what she does. I sometimes think that they get a commission from God that comes from our tithes because of their faithfulness in prayer.

We continued to chat and she told me how she loved me and my husband and has been praying for us and will continue to pray as long as we need it. She held my hand and squeezed it every few minutes as she spoke with love. She shared with me her own personal victories and told me how God was watching over us in love. She quoted scripture and smiled with assurance in the words that she spoke. Her certainty twanged at my heart and I knew in that moment that God was watching over me.

As she was walking toward the door to leave, we continued to talk. She repeated that she would be praying. She told me that our names were written in the sacred prayer journal that she keeps on her night table and it was #1 on the list. How I attained the #1 spot is unknown to me but I wont bock at it. As she was about to depart, she looked me deep in the eyes and said, "Leah I love you, and if nothing I said today meant anything I hope that my dropping by was an encouragement and that you would know that I am 1 of many who are thinking of you and praying. God has a plan and he knew you before you were born. Just trust."

With that she opened the door and she was gone.

My heart smiled today.

The faithfulness of this woman is astounding. She did not have to listen to that little voice inside that told her that I was her mission for today. Yet she did. I didn't get the chance to tell her that not only was everything that she had done and said an encouragement but that it was also a sign from God. This was His way of telling me that when I lie there in the early mornings crying out to Him he hears me. He hears me and the little old church lady.

All I could say to her was "thank you" and "you made my heart smile today".

God Bless the Little Old Church Lady.

LJ


Where Do I Drop Off My Resume?

Last night crawling into bed I wrapped my weary body in my luxurious buttery textured blanket, breathing deeply, taking in the scents of the recently cleansed fabric and I thought to myself,

"Where do I hand in my resume to get this job?"

The thinking to myself was actually me verbalizing this to my husband and what I meant was someone has to smell fabrics, and curl up in them to determine softness & comfort. Someone has to smell detergents to know whether the scent is pleasing to the senses. How do they name scents like ocean mist and spring rain? Someone has to come up with this stuff. I can come up with creative alluring names like sea-side breeze or fresh cut grass.

So why not me?

In my head I imagine that someone out there, somewhere as a job gets to curl up in a king sized beds smelling blankets and feeling their textures and plushness to know whether the consumer would fall in love with the product and it would quickly become their "must have" or whether it would end up on the clearance rack in a specialty 3rd's store.

So why not me?

I wouldn't know where to even begin looking for this job. If I had of known that this was a career option in high school I would have spent more time in bed and less time racking my brains trying to solve difficult algebraic equations such as 5/(y-3) = 1 + (y+7)/(2y-6) (side note, there is no solution). My guidance counselor never opened my eyes to this type of career path. I wish she had of, cause at this point I could have used the education in scent identification and could have done my research on what feels good and what people are looking for in their bedding & blankets. Too late I suppose.

At this stage of life, I am job hunting. We are closing our retail location in our small town and even though I will continue running our book business through a local camp Joy Bible Camp (plug), book tables & special ordering from our home I will probably have to find something else to supplement.

If you know where I can apply for the position of "Official Scent Namer" or "Comfort & Relaxation Determiner" for fabrics, bedding, furniture or other such lounge/recreation positions put in a good word for me.

LJ










Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sunny Wednesday Evening

Last night my family spent some quality time together.

It was wonderful.

A beautiful lakeside picnic and then fun in the water. My husband and I floated in our inflatable chairs and the Ti-man splashed around in his bug floaty.

Our friends came too. We splashed, we played, we laughed.

It was the story book ending to a hot and sunny day.

Enjoying relationships and making each other smile.

I loved my Wednesday evening.

LJ


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Emotional Eater's Recipe Share Time - Potato Smashers


For me food is comfort. I usually drift to sweets, mostly chocolate in a time of crisis but sometimes I just can't resist the fantasticness of the creamy potato, wrapped with love in sour cream, cheese, onions & bacon.

Growing up we used to have this dish as a treat but as I have grown I have re-vamped the smasher to beat Montana's restaurants version.

The recipe....

Potatoes
Sour Cream
Cheese
Onion
Bacon
Butter

Boil the potatoes until the are cooked. The same as you would to mash. While they are cooking, fry or bake your bacon. Do not cook it too crispy because it has too cook in the potato mixture. If the bacon is overcooked you will have crunchy, burnt pieces in your potatoes instead of the amazing melting sensation of perfectly cooked bacon. When your potatoes are cooked and mashed add a dollop of butter, one tub of sour cream and a chopped onion to the mix. Stir it up really good!!! Grate enough cheese to ensure constipation for at least one full day. Add 3/4 of the cheese to the mix, and stir. Sprinkle the top of your mixture with your bacon, cut it up first... much better. Then top with the rest of your cheese. Stick it in the oven until the cheese melts on top. Take it out and consume.

This celebration of the potato makes a lovely meal with meatballs, grilled chicken, fish or all by itself.

Not only is it a quick fix for the blues but it is also a great dish to make family meals just a little different.

Enjoy!

LJ

Butter Tart Season - CLOSED


On my life journey I have discovered a power I hold. I know others who have held this sacred power before but I have never heard of the impact such as mine.

My power - baking Butter Tarts.

I have officially become the Tart Officer for my social group. I have people who want to poach tarts when they are not in season. That's just not cool with me.

I could hand out fines, or slap hands but I think I will let it go. I enjoy this power I have. I like watching men turn into children unable to control their desire for the tasty, runny, perfect consistency of the pastry that I have found the secret to creating.

I do not make these delectable treats on demand. I make them when the feeling hits. When the air has the right smell, when I feel the perfect balance of happy and crazy, when my taste buds scream indulgence and my brain steps up and says "too many calories".

One time when my husband asked me to bake my perfectly runny, but slightly jelled tart filling with the perfectly thick flaky pastry, I declined.

My response, "Butter Tart Season is Closed".

I'll give you the inside scoop. There is no season. The season is not a specific time of year, for a certain period of time. You can't buy tags, there is no draw you enter. It's when the feeling hits me.

So be patient. You never know when the season will open up again. It may be for a day, it may be for weeks on end. You will just have to wait for that feeling.

LJ

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

16 Months Reflection


Yesterday Ti-James turned 16 months old. I have never really understood the month by month counting of age but hey, I'm in 'cause I love birthdays!

We don't celebrate these milestones but I usually take some time to reflect on the growth and the change of my sweet little Ti-man.

16 months in and I don't know where it has gone. No matter where we have used up that time I am thankful that we have made it this far. I honestly never believed I would be able to care for a child and keep them alive this long. I am so under educated when it comes to parenting, children, babies, diapers, breast feeding, everything motherly.

I remember the moment they laid my new baby on my chest. I waited for tears to flow and that motherly instinct to come. I think I am still waiting. In that moment nothing happened. I actually remember looking at this gooey alien type baby thing that some Dr. I met literally 30 seconds before pulled out of my under business and I just wanted to scream "take it off of me" but I knew better.

Over a year has passed and I still have moments of detached feelings. I still fall into that thinking "who's child is this" but for the most part it has sunk in that he is mine. And honestly I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now he is fun. He can do stuff. He doesn't just puck on himself, drool and sit like a boneless blob. He walks, he runs, he talks, he sings, he enjoys music, he has favourite things. He knows when things smell bad, he knows when he has done something wrong, he feels emotion, he knows how to comfort and express his thoughts and feelings. He is finally human.

I suppose before he was 16 months he would have been categorized as human but now finally, he appears to me as one of us.

Some days I miss the tiny baby who curled up on my chest and slept. I miss the warmth of his tiny baby body on my skin. I miss the small puppy like chirps and squeaks. I miss setting him down in one spot and coming back to find him still there. Although part of me misses those moments that create sweet memories, I don't desire to go back there.

I love my rough, tough, rambunctious boy.

I love watching him run from one end of the house to the other.

I love hearing him singing to himself in the morning. Knowing that he is playing with his toys and entertaining himself.

I love watching his imagination work. I can't wait to hear of the adventures he goes on.

I like my toddler. As much as I miss that snuggly little babe, nothing can replace hearing "love you Momma".

Happy 16th month & 1 day Ti-James.

Love
Momma

Ti-James Living the Dream

Ti-James.

One cool dude. A hipster.

Rocking out to hip-hop, reggae, pop, heavy metal & country music.

Dancing is something he can get down with. He usually rocks out his bob and weave with occasional butt drop.

Veggie tales are a must, when he doesn't have a book to read.

Football, hockey are his games.

Most of all he loves to rock a head band in the back seat. Sparkle-y white, with complimentary red sun glasses. All of course to accentuate his Bieber hair style.

Life's not too hard at 16 months. He is just rocking what he likes, living the dream.

Life is Like a Bunch of Paint in the Face

Stuff Happens for a Reason

This is such a common phrase. Not really one I want to hear but one that has become the chant of my life.

My vuvuzela.

I don't know why "stuff" has to happen but it does. Life. It is made up of the happenings of everyday, every week, month, year, all captured in one life to create a story to be passed on for generations.

Stories are a lot more fun to read than to create. Maybe that is a false statement but in the grand scheme of life as a story, I would say being the protagonist is fun maybe 42% of the time.

It seems like everyday there is a new challenge, new information, new battles. Sometimes we have breaks and live lush lives and others we fight our way to the next sun rise.

Right now I feel like I am being pelted with stuff. It's like paint balling. I find myself on this course. There are some clear cut paths ahead, some shelters, some places of safety but mostly what is in front of me is unknown. It's dark, it's uneven ground. I can feel eyes starring holes in my head, penetrating my brain. My problem is I can't place those eyes. I don't know where they are. As I walk through the brush and the trees, being extra cautious I wait in anticipation for something. What I don't know, but something. Then out of no where I am ambushed. Stuff appears from everywhere. Colourful balls of paint fly, making contact with my body, my face, splattering my mask so I can't see. I throw my arms up in surrender yelling at the top of my lungs "HIT! HIT!" My cries for mercy do me no good. The paint continues to fly. When all the ammo is gone and the enemy lets me get up off the ground I am resemblant of Joseph's Technicolor coat. Splats of green & pink, yellow & blue. An art piece.

Unfortunately in life that art piece is a representation of pain and suffering. The colours are betrayal, rejection, sadness, disappointment, uncertainty, insecurity and failure.

Why this happens. I guess it makes us stronger. It's just so hard sometimes. I am having one of those times right now. I feel like I am lying on the ground yelling "HIT!" and stuff keeps hitting me. I'm a rainbow of pain but it just doesn't stop.

That's life right now.

LJ

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Emotional Eater's Recipe Share Time -Yummy Nachos


Life has been hectic lately. People I don't even know have told me how busy my life has been the last few months. How they know I am not too sure, probably nursing home gossip groups. I blame them for all the dirt, my Grandma always knows the biz.

Anyhoo... When things get tough I eat. It's totally my vice. I love food, it loves me so we spend time together.

Last night after a very hot, very crazy busy day we saddled up to the table to partake in some tasty nachos. They were delicious.

Here's how some lonely chips, tasty veggies, beef and spices became my dinner.

Brown 1lb of lean ground beef (or if it's a bad day medium ground beef, more grease)
with
1 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic, pressed
salt & pepper to your liking

While that browns and sizzles, fill a cookie tray with your favourite tortilla chips. On a good day I would use whole wheat, 50% less salted chips but last night we used Good Ol' Fashioned Restaurant style tortilla chips. So salty.

When the beef mixtures is brown spread it on top of the chips. Then chop tomatoes and green peppers to your likeness. No measurements. Whatever looks good. Sprinkle these ingredients on top.

Add green olives, black would be good as well.

Top with as much cheese as you would like. Experiment. Mix cheeses.

Throw it all in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and then it's time to feel happy!

Consume this tasty dish with sour cream and the salsa of your choice. I like mild just because I don't enjoy heat.

And that's it. That is the tale of my dinner. It made me feel better. It was lovely and it inspired some family time. Bon appetit!

LJ

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ti The Boat Man & The Family Fun Day


This has been a big week for the wee man. His first boating experience ever and then his first day out on the water with his family. That's a pretty big deal for a little man.

We were thrilled to find out this week that Ti loves boating. I think his favourite part was the driving but he did enjoy the ride as well.

Last week a good friend of ours took my husband and the Ti-man out on his boat. I wasn't there of course, I had to work. (I'm smiling inside.) Word on the street says that Ti-James had a wonderful boating experience and wanted to be in motion at all times. This news in not breaking nor shocking.

Yesterday we had a family fun-in-the-sun day. We spent our afternoon on the water with friends and family. This was the first time that my husband, myself and Ti had a whole afternoon of family time together, no work involved, both parents present. It was amazing!

My parents recently and by recently I mean, yesterday got a pontoon boat. The Ol' Party Barge. We climbed aboard and we cruised the wee lake, circling our own wake and enjoying the company of good people.

Ti-James climbed aboard sporting his over-sized life jacket, ready for the second voyage of his life. While standing the life jacket fit like a glove, but when Ti-James sat down he became Chubby Cheeks. Poor little guy, but he looked so cute. Using the ill fitting life jacket to his advantage, he was able to hit on pretty girls (married ones at that) and even managed to hold the hand of the lovely Irish gal on board.

Our ride came to an end and into the water we went. Ti-James in his floating ladybug and his daddy floated up to the aqua bar. It was a good day.

Later on in our day my parents boarded the boat for another lap of the lake. Ti-James saw his Nan and Papa cruise by and started yelling, "Papa, Papa". After that he was determined he was going to get out of the fairly cold water and spend the rest of his day on the boat. We passed him up to his Nan and off they went.

Mommy and Daddy had some time to relax.

Nan and Papa picked up Great Grandma & Grandpa and they all got to see a small circle of the lake because they let Ti drive.

Our fun-in-the-sun day came to an end at the lake. We all packed up and went to my parents for a generational BBQ. Great Grandma & Grandpa, Nan & Papa, Uncle B-Rad, my husband, myself and Ti had a traditional Fraser family BBQ, cold beans and all.

What a good day! Now I can't wait for the weekends.

LJ

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thank You Tourists

(This happened on Saturday.)

I am having one of those days. You know the type of day I mean, right. One of those days, when someone asks the question, "how are you" and you respond with "oh, I am having one of those days." The universal statement for
"not so great" without having to admit our perceived failure because we are tired, grumpy or completely disinterested in life at that moment.

So I am having one of those days.

I wonder why I am having one of those days and then I am rudely reminded by my aching thigh muscles and sore ankles from my ridiculously long walk my mouth inspired yesterday. Two women who love to talk shouldn't walk together. Enough said.

After sitting here in my retail location for far too long, experiencing early onset rigor mortis, I had to take a break. I had to get out. Everyone was telling me about this beautiful day we are having in Bancroft. Being an extremely selfish person, I didn't want to live this day through others, I wanted to experience it myself.

I went for a walk down the busy street.
OH THE BEAUTY. Having to weave in and out of people. Hearing a buzz of voices and car noises. Seeing people crossing the street. The ding of shoppe bells opening and closing as I walked by.

The air felt light and free. The town was humming with life. Summer had officially arrived.

I say all of this with excitement and I know some think differently. Maybe it is because my lively-hood depends on the "out of towners" or tourists. My business comes from these people who do not set up residence in our little town but visit in the warm, cottage-y season.

Even though they don't live here, they help me live here.

I love the summers in our town. Granted the driving situation is a little hairy at times. Things get backed up pretty easily in these dainty streets. Lines grow longer, waiting tests our patiences. It's the time of year when knowing back and side streets is like having super human powers. It stretches us.
It's nice to be stretched.

Walking down the street I chuckled to myself. The irony of the summer situation. The city comes to us and we want it to go away but when Bancroft becomes sleepy the rest of the year we want to hit the city. Something in that concept made me shake my head, and I believe I physically shook my head while walking down the street.

All I have to say as a retail owner, and someone who has worked in the customer service industry, please appreciate the tourists. Let's welcome them. That doesn't mean we have to deal with the rudeness and the inflated sense of entitlement that drives in on a Friday afternoon.
With the good there is always the bad.

Let's embrace the busy months of summer. If they drive you that crazy find a lake front or a beach and park yourself there. Enjoy the beauty of your area and hide from the busy streets. Just remember, the business that pulls in Friday and leaves Sunday helps this town immensely.


LJ

Not sure what happened to the font but I can't change the size. Size of font has nothing to do with tone or expression, just my inability to use blogger.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blog Apology

Blogging has taken the back seat lately. It's unfortunate for it because the back seat usually makes me car sick. I guess in a way my blog has expressed nausea. We have pulled the car over and it is sick.

Life is really busy! Sadly too busy that I can't even sit and jot down a few thoughts. We are closing our store which is a tonne of work. It's summer and I am trying to enjoy the sunshine and happiness that comes with it. We are opening our satellite store at a local camp the end of this week. Somewhere I have a child that is probably sporting some kind of jingly, dangle necklace and a head band to accent his diaper. My husband had a heart attack and I need to take care of him to ensure that I am doing all I can to give him a happy, stress free life. That takes a lot out of a person. Not the husband thing, just the busy-ness of life in general.

My body is craving sleep. Usually I am a 9pm to bed, 6:30am to rise type girl. I take pride in that. It's the farm girl in me. Trust me that is as far as the farm runs in me. Ask the hungry chickens, they will tell you. Now I am scrubbing drool off the couch because I nap during the day (this is new for me) and I am in bed whenever and up whenever. I need routine when it comes to my sleep.

Secretly, this post is an apology. That sounds proud, but I am apologizing to myself, as well as the neglected blog. Sorry I didn't give you Gravol. I need to take time for me and you. That is a huge confession. Even though I am built like an ox, it doesn't mean I have the stamina. I need to take a break. I need to de-stress and indulge in the things I enjoy. For me writing is a huge release for my mind and my soul.

Dear Blog,
I am sorry I abandoned you in a time when I should have embraced you. In the moments when I really needed you I turned my back. I caused you pain, I made you appear weak and you are only a reflection of who I am. It's not your fault. Get out of the back seat, put the baggie down and lets cruise together, front seat style. I hope I don't break your heart or my promise again.

LJ

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Son The Parakeet

Lately my son has been changing. He has turned the corner of infant street and is now barrelling down toddler lane. He is fun, he is happy, he is running, chatting and loving life. He is showing us more and more of who he is each day.

One very early morning my son woke up. Of course he woke everyone in the house up with his screams and noises. To make a really long, painful experience short, I ended up taking my son down to the play room to run off some of the energy he had stored up and felt the need to burn off around 2:30am. Being totally exhausted and half hearted about my parenting I came to a point where I didn't care if my son slept, ran outside with the wolves or was in a different country. I just wanted to go back to sleep. Not knowing what to do I grabbed a blanket off the couch and threw it over his head. A desperate move but a brilliant one. As soon as the soft butter like blanket made contact with my sons head he stopped. Frozen. He sat there on the couch completely still, making no noise. I of course was unsure of what was happening. My son had just been climbing, running, crazy all over the place screaming and now he just sat there. Of course I milked the moment as long as possible and then slowly pulled the blanket off his head. Sitting there completely motionless was Ti-J. He had a huge smile on his face and was starring at the ground. Still not moving. I proclaimed the magic word of BOO and he swung his head up and began to laugh. That sweet from the gut laugh.

After that moment he snuggled in and was off to sleep. I don't want to brag but I think I have discovered a new form of parenting. My book will be released this fall entitled "How to Stop the Screaming, Throw Something On It, 10 Steps to Calming and Quieting Your Child Using Household Decor". I think I'm on to something.

The next morning as Ti was playing I made a horrifying discovery. Earlier that day in my attempt to attain peace and quiet I had created a new game. A loved game. Running frantically around the room screaming at the top of his lungs, my son ran to the couch and grabbed the blanket. He put it on his head and went silent.

OH NO!


Not only did I discover this new, really annoying game, but I discovered my son's animal characteristic, he is a parakeet. The lights go out and he goes silent. So now instead of enjoying snuggly time in my blanket I spend hours a day throwing it over my son's head and pulling it off with a "BOO!" It could be worse I guess, and if he is really annoying me I just leave the blanket on his head a little longer than normal. I only have a little longer before he figures out mommy's little trick!

LJ

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Horrible Things Are Happening...

I am trying to spice up my blog. Give it a face lift if you will. Unfortunately in my attempt to make this page look hip and relevant, maybe even have a slight post modern, emerging feel I have made it look like a bad couch pattern or the photos on a camera after the cat had it.

Bare with me. Good things are to come, it's just not in my timing.

LJ

Friday, June 18, 2010

Life lately...

It's been a while since I have written. I assume the chaos that I call my daily life has acted as a barrier not allowing me to take those few minutes for me. So now seems like the perfect time.

I am in a state of peace right now. God given of course. It's the wee hours of the morning, I'm in a strange city, my child is miles and miles away. My husband and i don't even attempt to share a bed in this hotel room. Thank you Jesus for seperate beds.

Across the room he sleeps. Across the room from him I update my blog via the all glorious iPhone.

I don't really know where to begin. It seems like I have been caught up in a whirlwind of fear, anxiety, desperation, existing, sleeplessness and exhaustion. All nicely garnished with sprinkles of joy, laughter, love, glimmers of hope and an abundance of prayer.

If I can update you on my life and only have one statement to do so I say this. Prayer works. And ps, I have learned in times of trial and uncertainty people of all mind sets and faiths feel an inate nudge to lift you up to a higher being. I just take that in and process it as God. I justify that by saying God is all knowing and a prayer can be a thought, so whether that someone knows it or not God has heard my cry.

Things are complicated and I feel as though my heap of mess keeps growing. Very similarily to the laundry pile although this heap is not managable by me. I can't throw everything in a machine, flick some dials and have the pain and tears come out in the wash.

Never did I imagine that at age 24 would I be sitting at my husband's bedside hearing the news I did this week. Becoming that woman who
sits in waiting rooms, waiting to hear from doctors, searching nurses faces for hope and trusting tests for answers.

Today was a good day. We found out positive results about Jim. Nothing etched answers in stone but our minds have been relieved slightly.
A rude awakening is what I will call this. Reality check.

Life has been in shambles and I feel as though I stumble around gathering pieces trying to fix it...
Always trying to fix it.
I don't know why I do that because as this week showed I don't need to worry about those pieces. If they are necessary they will be put back in place.

So much is still uncertain. Many burdens I still bare. I lay here enjoying not sleeping because time seems to move a lit slower when concious. When everything is said and done here tomorrow I will pack up and head home and all those problems will meet me at the door. I dread it but it's part of life.

Some things seem insignificant now. All that matters is I have my husband and my child has his father. Others are still mountains but thankfully I have Jim to walk through those with me.

We will figure this out. One step at a time. One faithful step at a time.

God,
None of this truly makes sense. Not much in life does. The victories get lost and despair takes center stage and nothing could be more depressing. I know that if I search I will find you in everything. There is always a glimmer. Somewhere I will always see your face. It is having the patience and fight to look. When it feels like all I do is exist that makes it even harder but I have seen this week sometimes the fight needs to be spurred on by love, family, and friends. After finding out good news it's easy to say thank you but I think even if it had been negative I would still say thanks. I've been thinking about that. I've seen your face more the last couple of days than i have in a while.
That's break through for some of the other stuff we have been facing. Life doesn't seem at a stand still as much. So thanks. Thanks for bringing Jim through and let's get him healthy again. Me too. My little guy needs his parents. Thanks for friends who have showed us they
care, people who have reached out in compassion, family who have rearranged life to help, the blessing of finance and all those little things that maybe I have missed but have happened souly because of you. Thanks

LJ

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Switch Yard BBQ


On Friday of this week a large group of people will meet on the boundary of the snowmobile tracks and the yard of the youth drop in center in Bancroft.

Many different walks of life will be represented. The church crowd will be out in full force, the community crowd will be well represented too.

The BBQ's will be hot, the burgers will be flying. Conversation will erupt from the crowd and the people will genuinely enjoy themselves.

All involved will be run off their feet making sure food supply is topped up, things run smoothly, nothing is forgotten.

The silent auction will pit one person against another, the live auction will get heated and in the end the Switch Yard will benefit from these battles.

If you don't know what the Switch Yard is, I will explain it like this. The Switch Yard is a group of people who are friends. They reach out in love to meet relational, social and spiritual needs. .

Come out on Friday evening @ 5:30pm and support the Switch Yard. If you can't make it feel free to send a donation, and pass the word on to someone you know.

Hope to see you there!

LJ

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

God Never Made the Cover of US Weekly

This world is all about fast paced, high profile, scandalous relationships. Everyone takes a second glance in the grocery store line at the titles and late breaking stories about whoever is lucky enough to grace the covers today. Entertainment news is more intently viewed than the happenings of our world. (Not a statistic, just my opinion.)

As a woman, speaking purely for myself this way of life is fascinating. I didn't date much, and by much I mean at all. My husband was my first boyfriend.

Lame.

For me I get caught up in the romantic, fairy tale side of this persona.

It all seems so glamorous.

She's dating him and he's dating her and they were spotted together here.

The rush that comes from this whirlwind fantasy is far more than I can ever imagine. It's like watching romances play out on the big screen. My heart skips a beat watching boy and girl fall in love, and seeing how passionate they are for one another. How they can't even breathe with out each other.

Big sigh...

Usually once all the hype is gone I am left in tears, believing that this is real. Maybe for some it is. In my life experience I have never seen this. My romance unfolded much differently. It sprouted from innocent conversation, grew threw jealous hatred, church politics and sparked in a great friendship. Not usually how Hollywood portrays it. We are unique.

As I grow up and mature I see the layers begin to peel away. They reveal the destitution of the Hollywood lifestyle. How crushing it is when the butterflies fly away and leave the heart longing for more.

We see this everyday. This devastation lives in the eyes of the divorced, the betrayed and the abandoned.

A few weeks ago I was listening to the song "How He Loves" sung by The David Crowder Band. I felt so connected to everything loving as I listened. It took me on a journey of thought. I imagined God as that really nice guy in your life. The one who is always there, never pushy, always inspiring and helpful. You call him friend and would never think of being anything more because he is such a nice guy. Then one day you see him and something inside switches. He is a little more handsome, goosebumps appear and you get that sick, on a boat feeling in your gut. Never before have you felt it but now you do.

This is more like my story.


This probably sounds weird but bare with me. He is always there, he is always faithful. Looking out for what is best for you not because it makes him the hero but because he truly cares for you. He seems to always know what to do. He never tries to push you into things you don't want to do but in the end his way is best.

As I pictured God as this boy I started to put the pieces together. God's desired romance with us will never make the cover of US or OK!. He is too genuine. Yet his relationship with us will be more scandalous, more exciting and something the world should want to be a part of. It should be on every gossip chain.

That's God. He has allowed us free will. We have the ability to chose what we want. The world is our oyster. Even though we have this freedom our decisions are not always the best for us.

He calls us his love and we should call him our first love and we don't. (When I say we, I mean me but I just don't want to feel the guilt).

He is always there, always faithful, his way is the best not because he is the hero but because he truly loves you. Me. He never pushes his love on but in that moment when you recognize him, as God, almighty and he gives you those goosebumps life will change. He is there willing to reciprocate.

That sounds really flowery. Flowers are beautiful and misunderstood. So I guess God can easily be compared.

Now to finish the love story and to get to the "happily ever after."

The boy, the friend, the love story that has been created. All is nice and fine but trouble brews. Temptation comes, conflict happens, goosebumps leave, butterflies end up in car grills. Running seems like the option but it isn't. Running away isn't anyways, running to for me seems like the best option. Coming together, working through these times and becoming strong together.

God wants that too. Our person to person relationships are reflections of what we are to have with God. God just seems more daunting. He's all knowing, he's everywhere, he controls lightening. Maybe running is the best option. Even though we think this way God is longing for us to turn and run into his arms. He wants us to curl up on his lap and he will sing us to sleep.

How he loves... Oh how he loves.

LJ







The Huffy Face


I think I am in trouble.

This morning my son, who was out right disobeying and knowing that he was, while standing in the bath tub after me repeatedly sitting him down, looked me straight in the eye and started to make his "huffy" face. For you who have never experienced the "huffy" face let me explain.

Ti-James, when trying to express himself makes a face, where he scrunches up his nose and breathes in and out very heavily. He sounds as though he can not breathe and continues to do this while shrugging his shoulders up and down to emphasize his point.

So my moment of discipline was reciprocated with the "huffy" face. While making this gesture my son discovered that he can not only express to me his disgust with my request through his facial expression but can also blow snot out of his nose at the same time.

At this moment a piece of me died. I am not a fan of boogers. They make me feel nauseous and they activate my gag reflex. While I was trying to make my son sit down in the bath tub so he didn't fall and crack his head open he was retaliating and using my weakness against me.

I don't think we give kids enough credit. Even though Ti-James spends some time sitting in his own feces, eats mostly pureed food and can't string words together to form a sentence his intelligence is not unworthy of praise.

My son is shifty. He is appropriately referred to as the trickster. I am in for it.

A simple morning bath, that usually happens without any fight, left me a crumpled mess on the floor, shouting for my husband, "Jim come quickly the wee one knows my weakness."

Oh the life of a parent.

LJ

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This Blog Post Is About Surrender

What should be isn't always. That's a tough pill to swallow.

I remember many times thinking about my future and what it would be. I placed all my hope in it. Dreaming of things that would manifest over time and how it all would come to be. Now that I sit here however many years later I have learned a lesson from dreaming. The future is hopeless. There is no guarantee that what I think the future should be, will be.

The other day I was snooping through some pictures on Facebook. A woman's profile, I remember her from high school but since have lost touch with her life. I see she had a child not long after she graduated. I remember her and her boyfriend. They were the picture perfection of adolescent romance. There was so much hope for them. I imagine they dreamed of forever. Marriage, children, growing old. Now from what I could tell it's just her and her child. Probably not the vision she had cast for her life.

I think we have been disillusioned to believe that we have the power to create our life journey. And to some extent we do. We can create dreams, forge paths but in the end we don't always arrive in the destination of our choosing. Sometimes our destinations are what we desired and those desires are honored and other times we are on the opposite end of spectrum scratching our heads wondering how we ever even started down this path.

I can't imagine that people aspire to be poor. I may be mistaken but I don't think people wish loneliness on themselves. No one dreams of rape. Teen pregnancy and abandonment is not an attractive option. Yet people end up on these paths daily.

I have the power to dream. I have the ability to desire and paint mental images of what my life will be. I can't control the influences that are cast upon it by others. I have no way of changing circumstances that don't involve me but impact my life.

No one wakes up anticipating their loved one to be killed. No one is excited to hear that their friend has a deadly disease. We don't wish bad things on ourselves. We dream of the good. The exciting. The fantastical. We don't think about miscarriages, car wrecks, disease, betrayal and other things that are labelled as bad.

I was out with my husband the other night. Across the room I spotted a woman that I would say I am acquainted with. This woman has betrayal in her past. I doubt that when she was young and dreaming of her wedding she dreamed that she would have two. I doubt if she was told at 17 that she would be caught in a betrayal she would believe it. Not her desire, not the path she pictured for her life. Yet it still happened.

From this perspective the future appears skeletal. All hope is gone. All I see is people wishing on lottery tickets, pursuing popularity and dreaming the impossible dream. It's a sad realization. A revealing one but still morbid.

All that said and probably you are wondering what inspired this. Life is odd. When we are young we believe anything is possible. We live, we dream, we are and nothing is able to change what we want. Somewhere things do change. Life dictates. God enters the picture, and we don't end up in the place we thought best for us. Where we thought we should be, in hindsight isn't where we necessarily want to be.

I used to say I had a 5 year plan. That was a pretty common statement out of my mouth. I have never ever seen year 5. Sometimes I didn't even see year 1. All this to say
I've given up.

Before you read into this, that's not bad.

I have given up control of my life and I am trying to move forward and live what is handed to me. If that mirrors what my vision was/is then how great is that for me? If it doesn't, I stand a little taller, I hold my head up high and I march forward.

Life isn't about the destination. That is just where circumstance, situation and relationships take us. It is what we do with the people, situations, and heartaches that we face along the way. If every broken heart caused us to hide eventually we would die inside and be empty corpses. It's OK to admit that life sucks sometimes. That is an accurate statement. We are presented with circumstances that are painful and hard. How we recover from those and apply them in our life determines the quality of our life.

As I move forward and deal with past hurts and presents hurts and prepare to be side-swiped by some random circumstance I have to trust. There is a season, a reason and a time for everything. That doesn't mean murder is right. That doesn't give the green light for adultery and betrayal. No one can ever say that loosing a loved one is a good feeling or that loosing everything will be alright. It means that in those seasons of life we have to experience complete surrender to a perfect God. God's heart breaks when ours does. He sheds tears for us, he holds our hand when we can't find our balance. He is there. Does he want to see us go through these trails I don't think so. But we have to. That is the course of this world.

The only hope we have in life is in God. Our future can not be built on wishes and dreams that are our own. In those times when we hit road bumps and experience brokenness we have to be able to reach out for God. Alone we will not make it. Our spirits will simply decay.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Be encouraged that this road is one we do not walk alone. In our uncertainty and confusion God is present. We may not see him, his touch may not be known but it can be guaranteed that he is not far. There is a time for everything. Is this the time for you to find surrender?

LJ





Friday, May 28, 2010

Jeremy Camp - I Still Believe (Live Video)

Lately I have days where I don't fully understand life and the direction it is taking me in but I constantly have to remind myself that God is faithful and that there is purpose. This song says it all.

I Said Yes to a Dress

I love TLC's show "Say Yes to the Dress."

I am addicted.

One of the best things about having a husband who works a lot means that I have full control of the TV. Every night I tune in while I eat my dinner. My poor son has been tainted by TLC, girlie shows like America's Next Top Model and old 70's sitcoms. But I'm sure he will turn out OK.

I watched the new episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" the other night. I love to watch to see the different styles of dresses and the elaborate designs. I educate myself in figure flattering styles and find out what the trends are in bridal. I am not really too sure why I care. Maybe, just in case I need another bridal gown I will be prepared. Maybe when I marry my rich senior citizen or possibly for a vow renewal.

This show is full of drama. Mother vs. daughter, maid of honour vs. no official role friend. The intensity of it all. I really don't care about that part but watching this episode made me think about my dress shopping experience.

I don't remember having the drama. I don't remember fighting with my mother regarding price. I remember it being fun and relaxing. Every visit to the dress shoppe was fun and exciting. I tried on gowns and after only a few I found IT.

Here are a few shots of some real duds.


































And the piece de la resistance
The dress that made me say YES!



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Super Woman's Kryptonite


Guilt.

As I was backing out my driveway this morning I suddenly became racked with it.

I looked at my yard and thought of all the things I could do to make my house magazine worthy. The hours I could spend creating beautiful gardens, trimming the grass to the perfect length, building gazebos and decks, painting. All the fixing. Creating a masterpiece of flowers and rock. Molding the earth into my art piece. The hours of work that I could be doing and instead I was driving away from it all.

As my house faded away in the rear view mirror I had visions of laundry and dishes dancing through my mind. Vacuuming and dusting seemed urgent. I pictured the state of my bedroom. Dreamed of what the house would look like painted, fixed up, manicured to my specifications. New tile, new draperies, new counters.

Of course as I drove the lists of things to do turned into never ending scrolls. I felt so guilty that I was driving away from all that responsibility.

We live in a world of guilt where we are not allowed to be content with mess or clutter. Perfection must be achieved. As women I think we are haunted by guilt. We want to appear as the best mom, wife, house keeper, career woman, gardener, baker, cook, seamstress, perfect package of a woman.

It's the super woman syndrome.

Personally I own a cape that is how bad I have it.

I want all my ducks to sit in a nice neat row and quack in unison. I don't know why. No one taught me that I think it's inherent. Maybe menstruation and pain during child birth isn't the curse of the woman. It's a curse but not the haunting figure that we battle with each day. I think that's guilt.

Sometimes I find myself lying in bed in the wee hours of the morning feeling guilty that I am resting and listing the responsibilities I should be fulfilling in my mind. Trying to be the behind the scenes person so that my life can run like clock work. No room for glitches.

I tell myself I want to be the best I can be. The problem is I don't strive for my best I strive to be the best. As I recognize that I am trying to change. I have challenged myself to deal with less than perfect. I am trying to be more at ease with life and if you come to my house and dishes aren't done, too bad. If I don't get my grass cut I don't care. I can verbalize it but deep down, even as I type I feel physical pain.

Life would be much more enjoyable if I could be at ease. If women could be at ease. Things would be different if we didn't walk in those steps of constant guilt and could just enjoy the moment. There is a standard that in reality is so unattainable and yet we feel we have to meet it.

Who set the standard anyway?

Life will never be perfect and by the way what is perfection?

Maybe that is the problem. We have this idea of what perfect is and yet it doesn't exist. I have to examine my life and answer the following questions:

Am I happy?

Am I healthy?

Am I loved?

Am I taken care of?

If those questions are answered with yes than I have perfection. I need to be able to forget about the extra 10lbs, the $ amount buffer in my bank account, the pile of laundry in the middle of the floor and focus on what is important.

If I spend all my time feeling guilty about the little things that in the end don't matter I am going to miss out on a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment with the ones who do.

It will be a journey, lifelong I am sure but everyday I strive to be the best I can be and live guilt free.

LJ