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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Storybook of Life





I love photography. To be able to capture a moment is priceless. Photography allows me to convey feelings and stories visually so I can share the celebration or emotion I desire to document. I aspire to capture the tale that tells of who we are and what our life stands for. Unfortunately I don't do it enough but when I do get behind the lens I see the world just a little differently. Things are clearer, the lighting is perfect and the vision I have is captured for a life time.

These are just a few of my shots. Enjoy the stories...LJ





Monday, May 24, 2010

Perceptions of Worth

I took a little stroll today; I had to pick up some things. While I was walking I was doing my usual people watching thing. I immediately noticed a man in front of one of our town's small shoppe's. He was on his cell phone, speaking very loudly. He was pacing back and forth, drawing attention to himself. He appeared nervous.

I went into the shoppe and picked up my items. Standing in line waiting to pay the woman in front of me continued to apologize for taking so long. It didn't bother me. I am an exact change user myself.

My turn.

As I proceeded to step toward the counter the man from out front of the store entered. Still talking very loudly he cut in front of me, made a grand statement and left again. All while he was on his cell phone.

I paid the nice lady behind the counter and was on my way. Back on the street I noticed a lady on the bench. She picked at her nails and tried to act as though she wanted to sit on the bench by herself but I knew by her lost stare that she was the furthest away from fine. I think she was praying for someone to sit down beside her.

To my right I noticed a group of girls. They consumed a summer treat while being groped by their latest boy craze. Groping is not my idea of the perfect summer activity but it seemed to be theirs. I believe if they were able to be honest with themselves all they wanted was their ice cream.

Escaping the sun and finding refuge in my store my mind swirled in the confines of my skull.

Why do people seek power, acceptance and recognition for anything more than who they are.

I thought about the man's phone conversation. He wasn't talking business. It sounded like he was talking to a friend and they were catching up. His display made me believe he wanted the world to know that he had friends.

The woman in the store felt she had to let me know that she isn't always slow. She used apology as a mask probably because she feels and has been told everything she does is wrong.

The woman on the bench wanted everyone to think she was secure with her loneliness and that any minute a friend would come along. Deep down she probably couldn't even think of one person to call a friend.

The girls carried on with their boy companions because they obviously felt that their value is measured by how little clothing they can wear or how much they allow boys to touch them.

Our world is hurting. The brokenness lines our sidewalks.

I wish I could walk up to the news stand and read "Average size actress is talented and a really nice person." To see headlines that don't make hard working husbands feel as though they aren't giving their families the best life. To have the media propagating studious kids and purity, teaching teens that the person they see in the mirror is valuable.

I wish I could change it all.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!


This is my birthday weekend.

Inside my heart is smiling. I am very happy.

I can't wait to see friends.

Celebrate with great food.

Have fun!

Dates and dinners.
Family and quality time with others.
Shows and surprises.
Parties and quiet times.

This is the first year in my entire life where the month of May hasn't been filled with activities in honour of me. I guess that is what happens when you are a wife, mother, business owner and on top of it all completely exhausted.

Happy Birthday to ME!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blossoms and Blooms

Gardening is not where I place my pride. My thumb is a pinkish tone and there is absolutely no green to be found near the end of that digit. I am clueless to what is a weed and what is a beautiful flower. I like to think that the beauty of the growth is in the eye of the beholder.

Weeds can be nice too.

We now live on a beautiful farm. It is the home where I grew up. After some spring cleanup it is starting to look a little more enchanting and inviting. We have much work to do yet but we will get it done. Thankfully my mother has an eye for colour and placement and knows her stuff when it comes to gardening. Her flowerbeds are amazing and now that we live there I can say my flowers are beautiful!

Here is a sampling of the beauty in my gardens:
















This Blog Post Inspired by David Crowder's Song Come & Listen

When was the last time you sat and just listened?

I know I get caught up in the chaos of life far too often.

Quieting myself is a chore.

My mind spins in all different directions and I never stop.

I never listen.

In the silence is when God speaks.

When I see Him.

It is when we can focus on his love.

What he has done for us.

I am so busy running around, trying to make life happen that I forget to sit and bask in the amazement of my Father.

I forget to fade into his glory and soak up his power.

I simply forget to say thank you.

I need to search my heart and be silent.
(Psalm 4:4b TNIV)


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Most Beautiful Moment of Motherhood

To date motherhood has been no less than an adventure. I have fallen in love with this little being. I have been at my wits end ready to move to another country so I didn't have to see him ever again and I have been in my glory as I have listened to his babble. None of those experiences have been as momentous as the moment of all moments that happened the other night.

Singing is a passion for me. I might not be the best but I don't care. I take joy in my gift and use it more personally than I do in any public forum. One thing that excited me about being a mother was that I would get to sing to my little ones. I remember my mom singing to me. Even though the music was not that pleasant the heart behind her song was beautiful.

I can picture myself lying in bed at night when I was pregnant, reading books and showing the pictures to my belly. I would sing little songs to calm the babe down as he rolled and kicked from the depths of my womb. My songs worked. After a few bars the boy in my belly would stop everything.

When Ti-James was first born I remember being alone with just him in the hospital room. I held my little alien lump and joy overflowed my heart. I remember looking at him and saying "Hi Ti-James. I'm your mommy." Then the words and melodies flowed from my mouth.

When we brought him home I spent hours in the rocking chair singing songs over and over and over again. After a few hours you run out of fresh material. The one song that calmed him instantly was Todd Agnew's "Grace Like Rain". I started singing it in hopes that God would grant me the grace to be able to handle this new and really trying responsibility, but in the end God handed his grace to Ti-James and then extended to me.

The other night Ti-James was not a happy soul. I felt like I had tried everything to make him be pleasant. I knew my boy was sleepy but I wouldn't allow him to go to sleep at 5pm for good. I played with him, I fed him, I put his movie on. Nothing worked. Finally I got the brain wave to put him in the tub. Ti-James loves the tub. Instantly he was happy. He played and laughed. It was the best. As we had our bath I thought it would be the perfect time to cut those little daggers that nobody warns you about before you have kids. Those things can remove flesh in one slick motion. Of course as I started trimming his nails I just undid all the happiness I had worked so hard to achieve.

Not backing down I finished up the job. He wasn't happy but I really didn't care. My little boy then proceeded to make me feel like the best mother in the world. He climbed up on my chest and cuddled in. He's not normally a cuddly kid. He snuggled in and still crying quite emphatically just nestled into me. I immediately broke into song.

"Hallelujah
Grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah
All my sins are washed away
Hallelujah
Grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah
All my sins are washed away
They're washed away"

My angry, tense, over-tired little guy peered up at me with his big blue eyes. He looked so innocent. If I close my eyes I can still see him peeking. As I continued to sing the song those big eyes began to close. I rocked and sang until those eyes locked shut.

I felt like the best mom in the world. I had made things OK. My son came to me and I was able to fix it. That is a feeling that I long for, to be needed. The other night my son didn't really know what he needed but he knew that it involved me.

Long after he was asleep I wrapped him in a towel and just kept singing. I wasn't going to let the beauty of the moment pass me by before it was over.

I love you Ti!

Momma

Monday, May 17, 2010

Growing Up Quickly






Ti-J turned 14 months this week. So hard to believe.

He is such an expressive kid. Has been since birth. It's not hard to tell what he thinks of a situation or something you have asked him to do or not to do. He screws up his face, he huffs and puffs and lately has pulled out his funny little pointer finger to get the point across.

I went to pick him up from his Nan & Papa's house. As I was walking up the stairs he came running out to wave "hi" to me. I opened the gate and walked through. He came running straight at me. My heart melted. What a sweet moment. My little boy so excited to see his mother. I reached out to pick him up and zoom right passed me, arms stretched out for his Papa.

I wasn't really that hurt. I had just never experienced him wanting someone else besides me before. He was so fascinated by his Papa that day. He followed him around, took him his toys and wanted him to read his books. What a weird dynamic.

My little goof ball. He is growing and his interests are changing.

I never knew 1+ year olds were so funny. While star struck by his Papa he took him his favourite book to be read. My dad graciously started to read unknowingly missing a very important part of the story. Ti-J completely disgusted by this oversight grabbed the book, screwed up his face, huffed a few times and took the book to Nan to have it read properly.

I think I have my hands full. I may need to borrow my mother's copy of The Strong Willed Child. I am sure I could follow along and learn much from her highlighting and notes marked in the margins.

As time goes on and he grows, he is changing. His personality is beginning to reveal itself. The next few years will be telling. Learning who my son is has turned out to be an adventure.

I never really thought about this process of growing up when I was pregnant. I was having a baby. I never really thought about having a one year old, two year old, some day a teenager. I was short sighted. It never really dawned on me that as much as his DNA was a combination of mine and my husbands, he would be his own person.

As I type this I am realizing how naive the thought is but it really never occurred to me before. I had an idea of what he may look like, I understood what his body type might be like. Those things were a surprise as well but his appearance was either going to be A, B or AB. His personality is someone I have never met before. I am making a new friend, developing this new relationship.

I can't wait until my son and I can communicate in sentences. I long to hear his ideas and his perception of life. I am interested in knowing what his passions are and where he finds value. Ultimately I can't wait to see the world through his eyes.

What an exciting life we have to live together.

LJ

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Am a Mother - Just for Fun


I am a mother.
The black circles under my eyes
are a part of my make-up routine.

The spit up on my collar
in other countries is called a broach.

Wearing high end perfume means
eau de diaper.

The way my hair is thrown up
is a style.

I carry a handbag
it's not
a diaper bag.

Somewhere else the children's song I'm humming
is all the rage.

The extra layer of baby fat I adorn
is my built in padding.

Soccer mom image
- latest fashion craze.

I chose to drive a mini van.

The toys scattered throughout my home
are an essential part of the decor.

Spilt milk
is the new potpourri.

I like eating food
that has was touched by grubby hands.


The maid
shares my name.


I am an artist of French cuisine
if you read
the other side of the box.

I would rather watch Barney
than any other show.

While driving, I enjoy
listening to a screaming child.

Time alone with my husband
- overrated.

Being able to use the bathroom alone,
for wimps.

Conversations with other adults
are meant to be interrupted.

Desiring to see my child grow up and forge their own life
so that
I can have some "me" time,

- acceptable.


I am a mother.
















Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Find Comfort in the World Wide Web

We are so connected in this day and age. One click of the mouse and we can immediately access information. Social networking sites connect us to anyone and everyone. We can send instant messages anywhere in the world and receive a response right away. Twitter allows us to post our thoughts and have people re-tweet and reply to us.

People all over care what little old me sitting behind a computer in rural Ontario has to say.

I started reading a book the other night. So far I have been in tears, shouted out in agreement and left in deep thought. I am only two chapters in. I was able to contact the author via Twitter and thank them for writing these words that are impacting me in this very desert like spot my life is in right now. This perfect stranger responded to my message and now they will be lifting me up in prayer.

What an odd feeling.

Walking down the sidewalk in our town I feel so alone. Driving down the back roads I seem so insignificant and yet in two different countries I have people praying specifically for my life.
(See yesterday's post - The Love of God Wrapped Up in Canvas)

Technology is amazing. It allows our world to go from such a vast expanse turning it into relationships and connections. The amazing part is that technology isn't really what causes these ties to one another. It truly is God, technology is just the enabler.

If only we were as connected to our communities and neighbours as we are to our social networks via the internet. It's amazing how far we have come but it's hard not to let Twitter become most important and over look the people who walk the same streets as we do. It's easy to let Facebook be a forum we hide behind so we don't have to talk directly to that person who attends the same functions as we do. E-mail is an easy form of communication that helps us create distance in relationships instead of meeting someone for coffee or dinner.

I say all this because I am one of those people who hides behind my blog and social networks. I love feeling connected to everyone but it's easier for me to be vulnerable and open when my fingers do the talking and the send button is the window to my soul.

If you know me, help me come out from behind my keyboard. If you don't know me... well send me a message and encourage me to stop hiding behind sentences and punctuation and help me to shine. Technology is freeing, but I want to feel comfort in my own skin without any involvement from a computer screen or an Internet forum. Help!

LJ

The Love of God Wrapped Up In Canvas


Do you ever wonder what is happening somewhere you aren't?

I do.

It's a little game I play.

This game really has no boundaries. Sometimes I try to envision people in other countries living their daily routines. Political gatherings, natural disasters, global happenings all have played their part. I am probably pretty far off base as to what happens but I guess it makes me feel like I am connected to people on a global scale.

A few years back my husband and I travelled to Haiti. It was on that trip that we met our dear friend Madame Luc. She graciously hosted us in her small, dark and very bare home one afternoon, treating us as though we were royalty. My husband spotted a painting on her wall. He was intrigued by this bizarre picture. While the group was talking and praying he was photographing this image. Madame Luc noticed what he was doing and asked her daughter to remove the picture from the wall. We had no idea what was happening because of the language barrier but we knew all the activity was centred around this picture. In the end my husband and I received this odd and yet beautiful picture as a gift.

Thinking about this experience makes me kind of just shake my head. We were honoured with the gift of this picture by an extremely poor woman in a 4th world country and in exchange she wanted no money but asked to be able to pray for us daily. To remember my family on her knees lifting us up to God.

What an odd exchange.

It's hard to wrap my head around. We were given what was probably one of her most valuable possession for something in our culture that really has no inherent value. This picture would have cost her quite a bit of money and yet she was willing to give it to us and then sacrifice her time to remember us to God.

Being North American that concept is so foreign. We live in a land of plenty. We do see and experience poverty but our country isn't majority impoverished. We have done a good job at sweeping those situations under the rug so we don't have to look at them. The haven't become our tag line.

That day my husband and I found ourselves in this home where there was joy and hope even though what surrounded it was destitute and broken. Looking out you could see miles and miles of hopelessness. This home was where we found someone who fell in love with us for no reason really. She showed us favour and gave us one of her most valuable possessions. She had no replacement.

Madame Luc's act towards us was such a reflection of God. God gave up his most valuable treasure for us just so that we could be lifted up to him.

Every time I see the canvas hanging on our wall I think of Madame Luc. What an amazing feeling to know someone somewhere else in the world spends time before God just for my family.

I am remembered.

What an amazing feeling to know that before I was even earthly considered I was heavenly known. That God put his son in my place so that I could have a relationship with him.

Who am I?

All I know is that because of God's grace I am now free to live in relationship with him and because of that I met a woman from another country who now spends her time praying for a "wealthy" North American when she could be focusing her prayers on herself and her country.

Sometimes I find myself starring at that picture. It's kind of a symbol of true Godly love. When I look at it I fade away for a few moments and wonder what Madame Luc is doing.

Is she praying?

Who is she helping?

Is she still smiling? (She has a wicked smile)

Is she still selfless?

How many more children has she welcomed into her home?

How can I be more like her?

How can I be more like God?

LJ


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

PDA Issues


PDA aka Public Display of Affection.

I am not a fan.

Really my issue isn't the fact that a person would want to show someone else love and affection. I think it is more a matter of the amount of affection I am comfortable with being exposed to. Personally I don't mind holding hands in public or a little kiss. Where my issue lies is that people think we as the public desire to watch them act upon their sexual desires. If I am allowed to speak for the public, I say "we don't want to see it."

I have no problem with a husband showing his wife adoration. I have no problem witnessing lovebirds share a special moment. I do have a problem with being bombarded with love starved people all over each other when I walk down the street, drive past a school, sit in a movie theatre, go to buy my groceries.

Go anywhere.

The issue isn't the fact that people want to show their love in public. It's that we have a planet full of hurting people just wanting to be noticed. Girls who will do anything for attention. Guys who are OK with girls doing anything because they think it is normal and healthy.

We have lost our grasp on self control. We have been numbed by media, images and unhealthy relationships to the point where we don't understand what respecting ourselves or others means. We have removed God from our standards and lessened our value as humans.

I remember in high school dreading the walk down the hallway. There were certain sections of the school that would be lined with love hungry adolescents swapping gum and retainers between classes. I always thought there were deeper reasons for this behaviour not just the need for a different flavoured Trident.

No matter how awkward I felt witnessing these acts I always felt there was something wrong with me. No boy ever asked me to make out in front of the cafeteria.

I was affected by these actions. It appeared to be the norm. What was right and acceptable.

My point...

I respect people who desire their mate. I understand what it is like to desperately want to kiss my spouse. I get that teens and adolescents are being controlled by hormones and stormed by societal views. I also know that I have been tasked with self control, honouring God and respecting others. As much as I desire to lock lips with my honey I don't necessarily know that lady in the blue car shares my passion and wants to witness it. Or that guy buying bananas wants to see me get a little carried away behind the orange cart.

It all comes down to my actions affecting others.

The kids in school that are making out in between classes have been affected by someone. They have been exampled to, validated and shown it's what makes them valuable.

That's a lie.

PDA. I don't like it. I don't want to see it. I don't want to be responsible for making someone think that it is acceptance.

That's my PDA issue.
LJ

A Lasting Impression

I have been cursed with poor sight. I used to wear contacts but lately I have transitioned back to a daily glasses wearer. I don't enjoy glasses. I am actually really quite insecure about my appearance in them but I have taken myself to the place where sight is more important than my perceived appearance.

The problem with glasses when you are the parent of a small child is that they become a projectile. A fun game for my son used to be snatch the glasses and see how far they could go. It was probably funny for him to watch mommy try to find them again. I had to pick the trendy frame-less style, but in my defence I picked them before I became a mother.

Now my son enjoys touching the lenses. I think he is trying to figure out what is on mommy's face. Nevertheless it drives me crazy.

As I was driving to work I spotted a little finger print right in the middle of my lens. Everything I looked at had this smudge in front of it. It got me thinking.

My son isn't allowed to play with my glasses. They aren't something he holds in hands but he is around them. He touches them accidentally when we are interacting whether it is out of disobedience or not. He leaves me with his fingerprint. Even when he isn't around I have his impression on my lens.

When we interact with others what impression do we leave?

We may not be someone's best friend or even spend a lot of time around them but what does our fingerprint on their life look like.

Did we show them love?

Did we extend grace?

Did we leave a negative or positive smudge that they have to look through?

What was our lasting impression on that person in the grocery store?

We are to live like Christ and example him to the world. When I leave a smudge on someones life do they see Christ or do they see my dirty fingerprints?

LJ

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day


If you know me well then you know I have been given the unique ability to stretch any occasion into a week or month long spectacular.

It's a gift.

When I was younger my birthday would consist of a 100 day countdown, and on May 1st we would kick off a month long celebration of me. I would have multiple parties and see how long I could milk it. I must say I have always been quite successful.

I love celebrations. Not just my own, but I love to honour and recognize amazing people. I think everyone should have a party that is all about them.

Growing up it wasn't just my birthday that surfaced this crazed obsession. I was always ecstatic about any occasion that allowed me to make a party out of it.

Mother's Day was always an occasion that ranked number 2 or 3 on my list of festivities. I guess probably because I aspired to be a mother at some point in life so I knew I could cash in on this holiday. I don't really know though. Maybe it was just because I had an awesome mom and I loved to celebrate her.

I remember being little and getting up early on Mother's Day. My preparation for this day was always a little more detailed than my brother's but we managed to work together. I would spend the weeks before planning cards, writing letters, preparing some kind of gift (and if I was lucky I would score something free) to show my mother how special she was. I would get everything organized, check it over a few times until I was confident that I was prepared for this day.

My brother on the other hand usually woke up the morning of and scrambled to find a piece of paper, pen or marker and would disappear for about 5 minutes to go and create a masterpiece fit for mom. When he would surface again we would get started on the BIG surprise.

Back then we thought we were stealthy. We would sneak down the stairs and begin to prepare our mother a breakfast fit for a queen. Little did we know mom was lying in bed listening to us completely captured by fear of what she was about to consume and the well being of her dishes. My brother and I would pour her juice, make her black swill we called coffee and whip up eggs and toast or prepare a fancy bowl of cereal.

When it was all together we would sneak back up the stairs ready to surprise our "unexpected" mother. Oh what children do to their parents. We always would spill milk on the carpeted stairs, break something, end up fighting and in the end cause our mother more work than if we had of just stayed in bed.

This year it was my turn to be surprised. Of course at this stage mother's day surprises land on the shoulders of my husband. I must say he did an amazing job. I got to sleep in, I awoke to my husband delivering a cup of delicious coffee and then my little guy jumping into bed with me. I was showered with lovely gifts that I can enjoy with my family and then we spent the remainder of our day together.

It was lovely.

Being a mom makes mother's day so much more special. I still love finding the perfect card and gift for my mom but I understand the day so much more now. It's the small things that your children do for you that leave a lasting impression on the heart. It doesn't matter what they buy, it's the handmade cards that are treasured possessions. I imagine when my mom closes her eyes she can still hear my brother and I discussing breakfast plans and carefully and quietly sneaking up to surprise her. What we served is the furthest from her mind but those whispers she keeps with her.

My gifts were lovely but I can't imagine I will ever forget the look on my sons face as he ran into our bedroom on our first celebrated mother's day. He was so happy and I think he knew he was a part of something really special that day. It meant so much to spend time with my boys.

At the end of the day I received the best gift of all. Ti-J fell asleep in the car on our way home. It was well past his bed time and I knew he was out for the night. My husband gathered up his diaper bag and took it into the house. The moon was high and bright and the stars were peaking through the darkness. It was quiet and peaceful. In that moment it was just Ti-J and I. He was sound asleep. I pulled him out of his car seat and his little hands reached around my neck and his head found itself buried in my shoulder. He snuggled in and he never moved from that spot until I laid him in his bed.

In the years to come I will probably forget what I got for my first mother's day but I am sure I will always remember my boy so happy, running in to greet me in the morning. And I am sure the picture of him snuggled into my neck underneath the moon will always be there.

Standing outside with my little guy made me realize I am the best mommy ever. I felt like no one else in the world mattered at that moment. I hope that feeling will never leave me.

Thanks for the best Mother's Day yet. I love you both...
LJ

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rainy Rainy Days




Rainy days...

We bock at them and wish for them to go away and come back another day.

We miss all the value the rain brings.

The other morning I was awaken early from a completely dead sleep. The rain was pounding on the roof. I was pretty sure this was the moment my life was over and I was about to meet my maker.

Where I live army planes fly quite close to the house, passing through the open expanses that surround us. It's usually a really neat thing to see these huge planes passing so closely but on this morning I was pretty sure the radar had failed and that they were taking down the top level of my home.

Of course I was wrong, it was just mother nature having a fit. God stubbed his toe on a bucket of stardust and as it passed through the atmosphere it turned into hard chunks of ice leaving dents in the roof, on our cars and waking me from a great movie my imagination was showing.

It seems everyone cries when it rains. Complainers surface and we all desperately wish for the sunshine.

I love the sunshine.

Rain is a mysterious natural occurrence. It makes us feel yucky, cold, depressed and yet it does so much for us. It helps our gardens grow. Allergies to go. It washes away the dead and makes way for new life. It makes us appreciate the sunny days and what they offer.

I'm a Christian. Some use this title lightly, some a little too seriously. I am in the middle. I am saved because the God of the universe decided that I have so much worth that the death of His only son is an equal trade for my eternal soul. I don't always get it but I am thankful.

In my life I have ups and downs. Things go great, then they turn for the worst. I guess you could say most days I live in the sunshine. It's warm, glorious rays kiss my cheeks and make everything feel right. The sunshine is a good place to be. It's comfortable and it feels amazing.

Then the storms come. The rain hurts and the hail scars. The wind blows away my favourite umbrella. Nothing seems to go quite right when the skies are grey and I have to hide, only able to look out and see the potential things I could be a part of.

It's depressing.

Yet for some reason in the midst of the rain I see beauty. Or at least I am hopeful I will spot a rainbow.

I have to loose that favourite umbrella or let my hair go frizzy sometimes. If I didn't I would never understand the power of this faith I have.

Dandelions and pansies are fabulous. Picnics and walks through long grass are enjoyable. Soaking in the warmth of life makes me want to get up the next morning. But if I didn't get caught out in a storm every so often it would all seem so easy. I wouldn't be able to enjoy the flowers or the yummy vegetables that grow and I certainly wouldn't really have a faith. I would have something that makes me comfortable and feel good. I don't even know what it would be defined as.

I think when my skin gets a little too red God sends his showers down on me as a reminder that I can't do this all on my own. That I do need him. I need to remember his promises but I also need to know that my life is not my own anymore.

Do I like the rain?

No.

Do I learn from the rain?

I try.

The rain brings us down but past the streaky windows and fast moving wipers we need to look for God. He is trying to show us something.

Maybe your rain isn't wet, maybe it's just painful or lonely, but whatever your rain looks like search for God in it. You might have to squint but I am sure when the rains pass and the sun begins to shine you will have seen the face of God a little clearer than you had before it began to fall.

The next time it starts to rain remember it is only for a season. When it is all over your garden will be stronger and healthier. I hope as you see the clouds roll in you will not become a complainer but you will cry out to God and ask him to hand you another umbrella.

LJ

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thoughts on Communion

This past Sunday at church we took communion. My husband introduced the sacrament and put a thought provoking twist on what the act of communion is.

In a nut shell, he explained that bread and wine (or Welch's) is nothing special. I actually think he described it as garbage. His words not mine. They are list of ingredients but the thought behind the act is the sacred part. The point is, that as we gather and communion together if we remember Christ we are celebrating "communion". We are partaking together in the remembrance of our Savior.

This can happen anywhere. Restaurants, at home, picnic's wherever.

Last night I attended a fund raiser for Kawartha Youth Unlimited. As we shared in the meal and took in the program I started to see how communion can be an everyday, common act with significance.

Explanation.

We gathered in a building in support of a ministry that is the hands and feet of Christ. As we learned and shared in the stories, Christ was reflected. His ministry is being done, he is being remembered. We consumed our beef dinner followed up by decadent cheesecake and were able to top up our caffeine fixes because of Christ. We gathered because of Him. We stopped to give him thanks and honour him before we ate our meal.

A group of people, diverse and on different journeys enjoyed a dinner that didn't include grape juice or wine, and Christ was the focus. It was because of him we all gathered in that place.

Side note: There was bread.

While I attended what outwardly appeared as another fund raiser, I took part in the act of communion. The purpose of our gathering was to earn money. The heart of why we attended was to hear of God's work. To remember him by showing people the love of God.

To me that was communion.

Maybe I'm living out in the middle of a pasture somewhere without a hope or a prayer of near by civilization, but I think as one of many people sitting around tables in a large room I experienced something that is normally defined by pews and the "In Remembrance of Me" table. Hmmmm......

LJ

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sick Kid, Gracious Soul

This week we came to find out that Ti-James has bronchitis. Hearing that little bit of news made me feel like the world's worst parent.


The last five or so days we have watched our little boy battle a "cold". We added up his rotten attitude and crappy feeling to a cold and four teeth fighting their way to the surface. Never did I imagine that it was anything more than that.


Bronchitis isn't serious but it makes me sad that I missed the signs.


He's a tough boy though.


I'm not well acquainted with babies but from the little experience I do have I know that my little guy is pretty happy and contented. Even in the moments when he feels the worst, he is still able to smile and let you know you he loves you.


That's such a good feeling.


This last week I have had more cuddles from my son and the amount of snot smeared on my collar, more than normal. Each goober, totally worth it.


I hate to see my little man sick, but through these situations I love finding out what qualities he holds. Strength is definitely one of them. This little guy put up a fight from day one to make it into this world. We almost lost him a few times but God had a reason for him and he made it safely into our arms.


This parenting thing is confusing. I had hoped that after delivery I would be handed a manual and a detailed list of directions on how to raise this being, but it didn't happen. A few times I have heard my child screaming and while looking around for his parents, realized that I am the parent.


Regardless of how many times I mess up at this parenting thing he still comes back to me. No one else will do. When he is scared he wants to be held by his parents. When he is uncertain he just needs to make contact with our legs. When he is so full of love that he has to show it, he makes sure it is expressed to his mommy and daddy first.


That's such a good feeling!


My little Ti-J is a gracious soul. His innocence allows forgiveness for all the mistakes we make with him on a daily basis. He shows us mercy and never holds a grudge.


Not yet anyway...


That's a great feeling.


LJ









Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Daddy


This was the "Awesome Man Thursday" post for my husband's blog this week.
Check out his blog sometime...

My Dad. Every little girl's dream Daddy. That's who I grew up with. I never lacked in love, I never lacked in need and he always tried to fill my wants. He always had time for a hug, a snuggle and his smile always lit up when I would take time to give him a kiss.

His hands were used for discipline but never in a way that I feared them. Those big, weathered hands were loving. They still are. Most would be terrified but somewhere in the midst of life lines and embedded grease I find comfort.

Those big burly hands have given me many life lessons. I have learned that 17 pairs of underwear don't create enough padding to make spankings feel OK. I have learned how to give and do so generously. I have learned how to put others before myself and always be there for someone when they are in need. I have watched those hands pay for more people's needs than many even know. I have seen those hands reach out in willingness and be ready to respond at the drop of a hat. I have seen Jesus in those hands.

I remember when we were growing up that things weren't always easy. I watched my mom pray, cry and do all she could to make sure that we were taken care of. I look back and at those memories and I see my Dad's strength. I see his contentment, his determination and his ability to be the calmer of waters. If there is one quality I admire the most in my Dad it's his consistency. He rarely explodes, he does not disappoint, he is faithful, he is hard working and he has given my family the best life he possibly could.

I don't remember my Papa, (my Dad's father) but I have heard about him. I was only 2 when he passed away so I don't have the memories my brother does but I have been blessed to hear the stories. From what I have been told my Papa and my Dad are one in the same. I think it would be safe to say my Dad learned the lessons from his father that I did from him.

I have watched my dad knock on death's door. I have seen him work hours that not many men could. I have watched him limp his way out the door to make sure he was able to take care of everyone. I have seen him fall asleep at the table more than once, I have had conversations with him while he was sound asleep. I have been disciplined, set straight and counseled by his wisdom. I have experienced the way a gentleman treats his wife. I have been loved like a daughter should. In my moments of weakness, he has given me strength. He has always instilled confidence within me and never missed an important event in my life. He has embraced my strong will and allowed me to be who my heavenly father designed.

My dad is more than just the genetic donor to my DNA. He is a leader. A silent presence. He is gentle, loving and caring. He is likable and a friend. He is someone I confide in. He is hilarious but you have to listen for it. He loves God and is one of the few people I know that truly lives in the footsteps of Christ.

My Dad. To me, he is a super hero. In reality he is just a man who is doing his very best to live life the way he feels he should. There is no way to use words to conclude but if you could see my face you would know how great my dad is because when I think of him all I can do is smile.

That's my Dad.