I am in Awe of how my Heavenly Father is continuously taking that which is unlovely, broken or discarded in and around me and creates something of great beauty and value. How He is able to take the difficulties and even the tragedies of life and use them to perfect and refine us into someone that brings Him Glory...to bring Beauty from the Ashes.
The day seemed to be like any other...there was a school outing to attend, a bit of last minute shopping...trying to finalize Christmas plans, running children to their outings....yet I felt "Off".
I noticed it when I didn't have the patience for the nattering and bickering that was taking place after school. Then when there was delayed obedience over requests to help set the table, I was harsh..fair, I think...just no extra grace, (some kiddies have been pushing the limits lately).
Even still, I could feel the frustration within.
Tonight, as I was winding down for the night, some other things from the day...and even recent weeks came back to my memory. A news report that disgusted me, yet hit close to the heart, a lonely family member...(who intentionally or not, left me feeling guilty), others who have chosen to remain separated....
Things that began to flood my memory bank with the "other" Christmas memories.
I am sure many of us have them, the ones we'd rather forget. Maybe a family blow up, maybe some great disappointment, maybe an absent family member....maybe worse, maybe one that was present, but abusive.
As I began to process my "off day", I began to understand some things.
First of all, why I felt the way I did today...not depressed or angry, just not really me either.
I also began to realize that although I make daily choices to focus on the good in my life presently and to choose consciously to remember all that was wonderful and amazing about Christmases past...I have been selective in my memories. It's not that the "others" don't come to mind, it's that I choose not to give place to the enemy, by allowing myself to spend any time on them.
I choose to be thankful for all of the good, I choose to make better memories for my own children.
I choose to cherish friends and family...and the good in each one.
I choose to learn from other' mistakes (and my own), not to repeat them.
Yet, somehow, in the midst of the cherishing of pleasant memories....there is an unwelcome intrusion...the "unselected" memories.
I know that there are many who find Christmas extremely difficult for the same reasons...the unwanted memories. Many who struggle, dislike, or even become depressed or suicidal for these very reasons.
Yet, even as I process my own feelings, and quite honestly, struggle to push aside the intruding memories...I make a choice, again, for this night and this Christmas, to set my eyes on HIM, and to line my focus up with the following scripture:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things"
So forgive me blogger friends, if I come across a little on the "Pollyanna" side of Christmas in most of my posts...that too is a reflection of my choices, my "selective memories".
My "whatsoever things are lovely memories".
However Christmas makes you feel this year, I pray a blessing of peace and true JOY on each one of you. May this truly be a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!
Jianna has been somewhat undecided about what she would really like for Christmas this year....she has come up with a few last minute requests that have sent me scurrying. At one point I had told her that we might not be able to find what she was requesting because it was popular and so last minute.
Friday eve. she came to me with yet another request... "Mom, I know something I would really like and I think you can find it still. A CD with 'Mary Did you know' on it".
I didn't even know she knew of that song, it turns out that a band had come to her PUBLIC school and performed it. Then she heard it on Daddy's computer, and informed me that "Mary Did You Know is my favorite Christmas song Mommy"....
I found this video for Jianna, and she now goes around the house singing her favorite Christmas Song....Once again, a child has caused me to refocus on the truth and the heart of Christmas.
One of my early Christmas memories, is from 30 or more years ago. We were living in Middle Sackville, (outside Halifax), I can't remember for sure if it was our church or the community center that organized this event; but we went and made all kinds of wonderful Christmas Ornaments. I remember making a number of these cute little angels, (center angel); they still hang on my tree at Christmas.
So, as I was browsing this Christmas, I found this kit that made 2 similar angels...
I thought it would be so much fun to make these with the girls...they were NOT fun. They were way harder to make, and the girls could do little more than cut pieces and hold glued parts together. I will say, after I went out and purchased a new glue gun, things were smoother. They are very pretty, but I will see if I can still find the materials that we used when I was a child. Otherwise, we have learned that some memories are not easily duplicated!
Now, for all you little dollar stretchers out there...
These very lovely, (I think), and very yummy treats were all made from 1 package of 3 frozen Cinnamon loaves. For you local girls, I picked them up last week for $2.99 at Taste of Country. Michael LOVES Cinnamon rolls, actually one of the few sweets he enjoys. I figured, for a quick treat on the weekend, I would thaw them out and cut them into cinnamon rolls.
Sat. morning, I took my thawed loaves out of the fridge; but instead of simple cinnamon rolls, I raided my pantry and used my imagination to come up with three wonderful treats. With a few leftover cherries and pecans from earlier baking, I made the Swedish Tea Ring. This is traditionally something my mom made (from scratch) for Christmas morning, it is frozen now for Christmas morning.
With, some orange flavored Craisins from my pantry and some cinnamon and sugar, I made the Cranberry cobble-stone loaf (sliced the loaf into rolls, and cut each into 4 pieces, tossed them in cinnamon and sugar, and piled them in my loaf pan...sprinkling craisins at the 1/2 way point). Also frozen...for a Christmas tea...yet to be announced.
The final loaf, I made into traditional sticky buns with maple glaze...they were devoured by three little people who came home to warm cinnamon smells after a cold morning of delivering papers.
So, at $1.00 a recipe...plus a few left over ingredients...and only about 15- 20 min of prep time, I'd say these were my bargain recipes for the season!
I should have taken them all out of the oven about 5 min. sooner...but I am still pretty impressed.
My Nativity...actually, ONE of my nativities. ( Mark has requested that I put the wise men in another room of the house, because TECHNICALLY they were still a long ways off when Jesus was in the manger...I have not yet appeased him).
I Love this particular one, it is quite large and I bought it a few years back with birthday money from my dad. There is a mom story here...(I know I tell a lot of Mom stories at Christmas, but she was Christmas in so many ways...everything to do with Christmas was big and bright and colorful and abundant at mom's house. I said, after mom died, if she wasn't SOOOO bright, SOOOO welcoming and didn't do everything to the greatest of her abilities....she wouldn't have left such a large hole ).
When we were kids, mom made 2 large nativities similar to this one...only there were more pieces. One was for her sister, and one for her home. Over the years, we kids would each stake a claim on mom's nativity when she passed
Anyway, when mom was sick that last Christmas, she told me she was giving me the Nativity; but she was already leaving me her huge winter town and many of the other meaningful Christmas decorations...(I think she knew that I loved it all the way she loved it).
My brother at the time was not serving God, but his daughter had always wanted a Nativity and I knew that it would mean a lot to him, so I told mom that I desperately wanted the Nativity, but that I thought she should give it to Scott...which she did.
So, a number of years later, I remember shopping at Cosco, with very limited resources, but I had Birthday money from my dad that I hadn't spent yet. I saw this nativity displayed from another aisle, and thought, "if I have enough for money for that Nativity, I am buying it"...
when I got to the display, it was exactly the amount my dad had given me....
you can't imagine my pure joy!
At my house, we have many representations of Christmas
and all of it's forms, but front and center always as the main focus is Jesus. My nativities take the prominent places in my home, so that they cannot be forgotten in the fun and hustle and bustle. I have started keeping one of my smaller ones on the shelf behind my kitchen sink, so it is my focus even in the kitchen when I am scurrying about.
A few years ago, my neighbor's little girl was visiting Jianna as we were decorating, and repeatedly afterwards. She asked me questions about the nativity and especially baby Jesus, which I was happy to answer. One day she said, "Jenny, we don't have a baby Jesus at our house, will you buy me a baby Jesus"...Ohhhhh my heart strings....
I told her absolutely, I would buy her a baby Jesus.
It took almost a year to find a suitable nativity that this little girl could handle and arrange to her heart's delight...(but did not look like a cartoon, or too solemn and serious).
Before she moved away, I found one and told her mom the story and was able to give the little girl her promised Jesus.
I pray for them often that through the years He will become more than a cute Christmas ornament.
I know that in both of these homes, the Nativity as a symbol of Jesus is also a seed to add to many others that are in their hearts. Seeds that have been planted by many over the years and to which more will be added...that the truth behind Christmas will one day become their reality as well.
Mark and I have always prayed the blessing and favor of God over our kids. We have seen the fruit of that in things like getting a teacher who is a perfect match for their personality making friends quickly in a new school etc.
Some times His favor is so immediate and so great that it still amazes me.
We had spoken to our eldest this week about getting another job. There are so many fun things to be involved in both in high school and youth group, not to mention just having fun with friends.
We don't begrudge any of it, and want to bless our kids...ABUNDANTLY, but there are 4 of them and sometimes it seems we are writing cheques constantly for one.
Anyway, we told Jonathan that he needed to contribute towards some of these extras.
He understood and was in agreement, so we decided that by the weekend we would help him get his resume out.
That night, Mark and I were on a coffee/tea date; while we were out, Jonathan got a call from a parent of 2 of the girls' friends. He works for Parks and Rec. for the city. Jon had never applied there, but at a BBQ in the Spring, Mark had told this gentleman to let us know if anything ever opened up.
Well, he was to be hiring the next day for the three arenas in town, was Jon interested?
Jonathan was taken a little by surprise, but the end result is that he has his first 2-8 hr shifts this weekend...AND...he is making $2.40/hr OVER minimum wage!!!
It has really shown all of us yet again, how God cares for his kids and that he really loves to bless them/us "exceedingly abundantly above all that they would ask or think"!!!
Just like us as earthly parents...He just has way more to work with!
Today I had an unexpected yet very poignant lesson in the true meaning of Christmas. Actually, there were many lessons for me in this situation. The first being to listen to that still small voice speaking to my spirit in the midst of everyday life.
I was at the school today helping with the literacy program, as I was leaving, I checked my phone to see if hubby had called to have me pick up lunch...he usually does on Tuesdays. He hadn't and I was about to call him...then decided to just go right home.
As I waited at the stop sign, I had a choice to go left or right in order to go home...at the last minute, I decided to go right. As I drove down Cascade, I was almost at my road, when I watched an elderly lady slip and fall in her drive way. I slowed and watched as I passed and she looked like she was getting up. There was a young man watching from across the street, and I thought he might go to her. I stopped as I realized she was very slow to get up, and the young man was not moving. I eventually got turned around and stopped to offer my assistance. This sweet 78 year old darling was wearing only a sweater as her outer layer, and rubber sandals on her socked feet. She was not dressed for the weather at all!.
Thankfully, she was not physically injured and had landed on her knees not her back, hip etc.
As I helped her to the door of the home we were at, I got three stories as to who's home this was. We knocked and rang and could not rouse anyone at either door. I was at a loss as to where I could take this woman, she obviously could not be out walking in the clothes and shoes she was wearing...I was also beginning to realize that this dear lady was at the very least confused.
I helped her to my warm van while I tried to figure out where she lived. where she was headed and where she had come from. I knew I needed to get her help, but didn't even know from whom.
I called 911, they must have wondered if I needed the ambulance since I couldn't even give them my cell phone #!!! It is very new...a month...or so; ) and I am HORRIBLE with phone numbers.
As 'Ruth' and I waited for the ambulance, she was rather panicked about needing help, figuring out where everyone was at, and that her mother and child were waiting at the mall for her....(we found out later, as I'd suspected, her mother is deceased). She was SOOOO worried about keeping me from something even after repeated assurances that I had nothing pressing.
I showed her pictures of Jianna that I had just picked up at the school, trying to get her to relax...I was sure she would jump from the van at any moment. I laughed with her about my own forgetfulness at times, and tried to help her to put aside her worries about the ambulance...it made her feel silly that she might need that kind of help...I assured her she deserved help as much as anyone.
It turns out Ruth had Alzheimer's, and was at her own home, but her sweet husband must have been asleep, because he didn't realize that she'd left the house until the ambulance arrived.
I drove away, after reassuring her that the attendants just wanted to warm her up and make sure she was OK. My emotions took over then... How terrified her husband seemed to see all that had transpired without his knowledge. How confused this dear lady was trying to remember even the time of year that it was...I thought of a dear couple from our church who have been living this nightmare....my heart cracked.
As I prayed for all of them, I wondered how this sweet lady could think anything was more important than stopping and making sure she was safe...and my heart broke.
This Christmas...and every day, I want to leave time in my daily hustle and bustle to hear the promptings of my teacher Holy Spirit, and to be available to those in need.
I was truly honored to have the privilege of maybe bringing a bit of comfort to Ruth in this trying time.
Loving because He first loved me...isn't that what Christmas is all about?
I have to share this beautiful new Christmas treasure with you.
I am forever ordering new books through the scholastic book orders. There are a few reasons that I like to find books this way. I am always trying to encourage a love for literacy in my children, so I am always looking for new books to spark or fuel their
interest. I also like to support the teachers' being able to fill their class rooms with great books.
The difficulty comes in that our home library is already overflowing with wonderful books stemming all the way back to my own childhood.
Christmas book orders are always a treasure hunt for me as they tend to carry a selection of lovely books that uphold the true meaning of Christ in Christmas. In perusing this year's selection, I was disappointed to find that the books being offered that fed my desire to keep Jesus the central theme of Christmas, were already lining our shelves.
I was struck by one book though. It promised to be filled with new traditions and some of the other parts of Christmas that I love. It was a little pricey I thought, at $19.99.
I have to say, I was not at all disappointed. This book is GORGEOUS!!! It's like truly walking through a real gingerbread land. The photos themselves are beautiful, but there are little booklets enclosed at the corners of most pages. These booklets contain traditional recipes, explanations of the meaning behind some traditions and even crafts.
The cover of this book is almost like a real gingerbread cookie, complete with 3 dimensional glass "candies" and raised "icing".
In short, this book is a new Piers Christmas treasure that I expect will be enjoyed for many years to come.
If any of you still have access to Christmas book orders and have access to this book, it is a truly amazing value, and would make a lovely gift or addition to your own Christmas traditions.
God started really speaking to me a few weeks ago about the desires of my heart in reference to His desire and destiny for me.
Sometimes we spend so much time looking for and questioning our destiny ...God's will for our lives.
As I was once again asking God about some big (to me) things, He responded with, "what is your heart's desire concerning this?".
He reminded me that I have repeatedly and continuously given my heart and all that is in it back to Him...to change and to do with as He pleases. Knowing that, why wouldn't I understand that the the things that have remained or grown there and that I am passionate about are there because they are His will and destiny for me?
He has truly given me the desires of my heart because He intends to full fill the desires of my heart.
Isn't that so much simpler than pursuing some great and elusive mystery that God seemingly keeps us from understanding?
Why do we think He would hide His will from us anyway...Does He not want us to achieve all that He has called us to? So why would He have us waste massive amounts of time playing hide and seek?
Is it possible that He once again hides the mystery in plain site so that He can use the simple to confound the wise?
Think about Mat. 6:21 in this light...
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"
Are there desires that God puts in our hearts because our 'treasure', (His desire for us, and all of the blessings of being in His will), is in that place? He wants us to find the treasure, so He puts a desire for where and what it is in our hearts...
Learning to give our hearts to Him daily and then trust what He puts in them is maybe the true challenge.
Just had to share these photos. Princess #2 causes us to shake our heads and smile often. She is very much her own person...even the boys have asked us "who does she get that from?"
I think she is the unreserved part of each of us that simply sees the world as black and white and is going to choose the white almost every time....but have loads of fun on that path.
Now, this particular outfit...put together by none other than the little miss herself...is inspired by another. Jianna is passionately mad about Miss Brittany...Rhonda's youngest. She thinks about her and refers to her OFTEN. Jianna had the thrill of running into Miss Britt at the mall recently...wearing a similar hat in white. When she saw this one the next day, she simply had to have it. Since Brittany is such a sweety, (and I must say, EXTREMELY Patient with Jianna's obsession), I figure there are far worse roll models for my five year old 'fashionista".
November 20'th 1998...my very first princess was born.
Oh how I had dreamed of a little girl to dress up all in pink, to share my love of all things girly with. To be my dolly and later to play dollies with.
Before Maria was born, three people in two different countries prophesied of her being joy to all who were around her....she has very much been my joy.
Her laughter is so contagious, so unique, you just can't help but giggle.
Maria is truly my "Mini Me" in so many ways.
She can hardly contain herself around babies, she would love to hold them all forever...we settle for knowing glances between ourselves as we pass them while shopping or out for a walk.
Twins get a special smile and girl twins...well, we have to try very hard to control ourselves!
She shares my passion for Little House on the Prairie as well.
Of course there is shopping...that one is a given.
Our taste in clothes is often different, but I have resigned myself that I have had my years of dressing her up with hats and frills and bloomers....now it is her turn to express herself in her own wardrobe....though I have a feeling her little girls will be dressed all in pink and frills as well.
Maria...named for my mother, (Donna-Marie), derived from Mary...(blessed among women).
also from Myrrh...used for anointing and for healing.
Many Birthday Blessings to my "Dream Come True"...my beauty queen, Maria.
I have been really enjoying my Christmas preparations this year. I began my baking and shopping very early this year....I just felt like it, so I did. I actually had the kids' teachers gifts bought before school started...seemed crazy, but saw something I loved and knew I wouldn't find it later.
Since then, I have finished about 1/2 of my shopping, I have baked up a storm...now I am very happy to have started early!
We HADthree kinds of cookies baked...unfortunately there was a delay in getting the Shortbread fluffs to the freezer, and they are now all but gone! I will have to make that one again....when no one, (especially hubby) is home!
I have baked and frozen a beautiful white chocolate, cranberry and Macadamia nut coffee cake...(a recipe I developed new for this year).
I have pumpkin/cream cheese mini loaves and banana mini loaves frozen, and....My mother's tradition....mountains of fruitcake.
I know most people don't like this delicacy, but this recipe is SOOOO yummy. Full of cherries, pecans, almonds, raisins, brandy and orange liquor. Mom would begin the Holiday preparations by baking her fruitcake usually in Oct, but no later than early Nov. (Mind you we were not allowed to enjoy it until the tree trimming party much later in Dec.).
Mom included fruitcake in many of her Christmas parcels shipped out to family throughout the Maritimes and Ontario.
Whenever I make this, I think of my mom, and feel like I am honoring her memory by continuing a special tradition. this year, I made these beauties on Nov. 5'th...and as I mixed the fruit and nuts in my largest stock pot, I couldn't help but feel like this was a pot full of Christmas.....It was such a beautiful contrast of colors, I almost hated to mix it into the batter!
So, the end result was 5 large loaves, 4 not-so-mini loaves and a lovely 9"round.
I love my oven, these were all cooked together, plus I have another rack that I removed for easy access!
Can you tell I LOVE CHRISTMAS???
Another wonderful tradition passed down from my mom...she was truly Mrs. Christmas!
I am trying to decide if it is an age thing, or if there are some unmet baby urges lingering around my heart that have caused me to become one of those people. You know the kind, the "dog people". Not the "I have a dog and she is a great companion and friend" people. Oh No! I am talking about the kind who look at and buy the most ridiculous things to dress up their dog's with. I confess, I have lingered over puppy booties, I have called Mark about an amazingly human like PINK hooded winter vest...he said "no". I came across a bath robe that would be perfect for our newest little girl when she comes in on rainy days like today...OHHHH! There is a VERY cute raincoat I really should have bought...think of all the toweling off it would have saved!
For now I have resisted these urges, mostly because I laughed at my mother when she knit...yes, hand knit, slippers for Jake when she had him. Maybe this is an inherited gene...Hmmmmm....
Here is the little miss that is the focus of all of these spending and dressing up urges:
Kallie is a first generation Golden Doodle, which means her mom is pure bred Golden Retriever and her dad is a Standard Poodle. Kallie will be 85-100% non shedding and low to non allergenic.
She's a smart little thing and really loves people...thrives on attention and pleasing us , which is making the training go fairly smoothly. I am pretty tired...but she is SOOOO cute!
By the way, with 6 people to name a new pup, and the trouble we had with 5 opinions over Jianna's name...Mark and I named and had tags made for Kallie before the kids even knew she was here. Miss Jianna was very dissapointed that we had not chosen 'puddles' as her name, so I told her that she did not have a middle name yet, and she could have 'puddles' as her middle name. I am not prophesying messes in the house with this name though!! It was VERY rainy Friday when we brought Kallie home and coming from two water dog breeds, she loved laying in the puddles while I waited in the rain for her to do her business...so her middle name is very suitable!!!!
Because Mark gets such a kick out of teasing me about my Newfie heritage, I had to share this on my Blog. My dad, (the true blooded Newfie), sent it to me. I had to chuckle, maybe you will too. Enjoy.
A Newfie walked into a bank in Toronto and asked for the loans officer. He told the loans officer that he was going to Newfoundland on business for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 however he was not a depositor of the bank. The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so the Newfie handed over the keys to a new Ferrari. The car was parked on the street in front of the bank. The Newfie produced the title and everything checked out. The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest. Later, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the Newfie for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's underground garage and parked it. Two weeks later, the Newfie returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07. The loan officer said, 'Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?' The Newfie replied: 'Where else in Toronto can I park my car for two weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?' Ah, the Newfies..... See! Salt Beef and Black Horse is good for the brain. Have a great day and hug a newfie when you can................................................They are great for the heart!!!
I had felt since mid way through summer, that I needed to set some time aside this Autumn in order to pray, plan and have a personal retreat with my God. Mark agreed with my plans and enabled me to get away to this wonderful place in Leamington. It was a stretch for me to go away with only my CDs and my thoughts to keep me company, but it was wonderful...God is So very very good. Just wanted to share a special place that was such a gift to me. It is so easy to hear God in the beauty of such natural surroundings...
Pelee national Parkhas a bird sanctuary and a butterfly sanctuary...it is also the most southern point in Canada, therefore a few weeks behind us in the seasons...there were butterflies everywhere. As it was late in the season, it was not very populated, and it felt as though I had my own personal sanctuary....shared with some of these beauties. I spent my time on this beach laying in the sand, listening to the waves and talking with God...it was BEAUTIFUL! I loved that there was such variety in the landscape and nature in this park. Marsh, trails through the woods, and my personal favorite, the BEACH!!!!
The most southern point in Canada is this very stretch of sand reaching out into Lake Erie.
How real do I want to be? How brutally honest? Hmmmm...
There is a war raging inside of me. You see, I am a person who has always hated being defined by what is obvious. By the outward appearance, titles, positions, relations...by what I Do vs. who I am. I have been uncomfortable with people's perceptions of who I am when they have not taken the time to dig a little deeper and get to know me. Get to know what makes me tick, what makes me laugh, get angry, or cry...who I am on the inside. As time has passed, I have discovered who God says I am, and have embraced His Word about me and have learned to put less weight in who others think I am...whether or not they have invested in the digging. Truthfully, I KNOW who I am in Him, I really do. I fully embrace that picture, at least to the extent that my earthly knowledge understands and my Spirit has received.
So, how is it, with this precious truth so deep within me, can I be questioning who I am? Not in a "mid-life crisis" sort of way....(though I hold dearly to the scripture that says my youth will be renewed like the Eagles!), but in the very way that I have detested being evaluated by others over the years.
When God asked me to lay down my "English Immersion Daycare", a year and a half ago. I never would have thought I would be facing this....certainly not STILL. I was never career driven. Though I was an 'A' student, I went into banking after highschool because it would not require the investment of a lot of schooling when I knew that my heart's desire was to get married and have kids. A career for me, was something that would pay the bills and keep me busy until I could stay home with my babies...period.
So, many years later, I am living out my dream.
Daycare originally started as a means to fullfill that dream....it developed into something very special and very close to my heart, when all my children began to come from Chinese homes. As I taught them English...and how to have fun without mommy or grandma in toe...I built relationship with some very special families. Yes it was difficult to lay that aside, but I would not for a moment have thought that I defined myself by what I was doing at that time.
I have come to the stark realization that I have indeed done just that. I missed the children and have taken care of various ones from time to time when a parent was in need. That has only served to prove to me that my time has indeed passed for that period in my life, the grace has lifted to do it on a daily basis. Yet, there is this internal struggle that surfaced last Sept. and again now. A struggle that goes against all that I know or would counsel another on....a struggle of not being able to define myself clearly....because my "job description" is no longer clear.
It makes no sense at all to me, yet here I am.
I am a wife, mother...(I have joked , that I am the full time chauffeur to my children), I am an elder's wife, I lead intercession, I am a school volunteer and now I am heading up a dream ministry and most recently, I am legally 50% owner of Piers Group Financial inc. According to the bank, I am a "Director" of that business. It all sounds so important on paper...but who am I kidding? Really they are all simply titles. (please know that if I died tomorrow, and it could be said that I was a good mother, wife and child of God...I would have no regrets. In the 'grand scheme' I am fine...it's the day to day that raises questions) Am I busy? Yes. Though these are all things I do, they somehow don't define who I am....I suppose that is good, still, there is this nagging question....who am I really? I know I have stepped far too close to the brink, when I repeatedly entertain the idea of getting a job...not because I need to help pay the bills, certainly not because my plate is not already overflowing. So why would I entertain that idea? Could the truth lie in having a concrete answer to the continuously asked question..."So, what do you do?"
At this point in my personal reality check, I realize that adding another job description to my name is not the answer...He is. So, I press in a little deeper, and put this struggle on paper so that I can face the reality of where I am at, and know that one day, He will have sorted this all out for me...or it simply won't matter anymore. Maybe a cup of tea will get me through until then!!!!
So, Being the natural optimist that I am prone to be, I have come up with some very positive things that are due to this football injury.
My Disclaimer is that I in no way would wish this on my child, but hey! There has to be a silver lining right!?!?!
OK, so the dust has settled I did manage about 5 1/2 hrs sleep last night and here is the verdict on Jonathan's social life.
Job.....basically over for the year.
Upside....the lap top he was saving for has recently been ordered and Jonathan's last paycheck will cover that!
School...he can't take notes right now, BUT the teachers will provide him with notes....AND that means they will be complete and far neater than if done by Jonathan's hand!
Music.....teacher figures he will be able to adjust...eventually.
Football.....the culprit of this injury....Go Figure! He made the first cuts in spite of his injury and his coach said that he will make the final cuts as well...I guess they are hoping for a speedy recovery and some help in the games a little later.
So, Jonathan is getting to know the whole school one enquiry at a time and I doubt he is minding any of it....especially any pity that might be earned from the female persuasion!
For me, the MAJOR UPSIDE to all of this is one bottom line......
My "running around schedule" for Jonathan has decreased SIGNIFICANTLY...
AND.......I now have a babysitter reinstated at my beck and call VS me being at HIS beck and call!!!!
See! God really does turn what the enemy intended for evil
We had an absolutely wonderful summer vacation....(I refuse to claim summer as over just yet...only the vacation).
We have shopped, prepared back packs, picked outfits and packed lunches all in anticipation of today...the First Day of School.
I had my apprehensions as this day approached and knew a few of my friends had their concerns as well. Then there were those who were oh so glad to see routines return and quiet return to the home....(My husband was one...having a home office in the summer has it's challenges!)
So along with Holly, I decided to throw a "Time to Weep, Time to Laugh Tea Party". While all of our off spring were settling into their new classrooms, we drank tea (coffee for those who just don't have my appreciation for tea) from china tea cups and saucers and ate goodies while we caught up and visited.
We had lots of fun, and those of us that needed to be distracted for a little while got that chance. I only started to lose my composure when one sweet yet weepy friend gave me a hug...
I had one daughter heading off to uncharted waters called French Immersion in a brand new school....Maria LOVES her teacher, her new school, riding the bus for the first time ever and has already made new friends....WHEW! That was biggy #1!
My next concern...(not necessarily in this order), was daughter number 2...my apprehensions here were surrounding throwing a child who biologically should be in Senior Kindergarten, into full time grade 1...was she emotionally ready for this jump? Was I?
Jianna had concerns about knowing what the new routines would be....I have discovered that this little girl really likes to know what is expected of her, and her struggles come in the unknown. She too, loves her teacher, got reacquainted with old friends, and loves her now known routines! WHEW Again!
Michael...Mr. I am not too concerned about anything...I will make my teacher laugh, and HEY! I have old friends coming to school with me for the first time....What could go wrong? Hard to get much info. from an 11 year old boy, but he is happy with everything, and taunts his sister that his school is better than her new school....we'll see how quickly this little competition escalates! Wasn't too worried here, but....all is great.
Jonathan...grade 10...couldn't wait for the first day of school...he was just glad to be with friends again...old and new. He'd already spent a week in football training and was excited about everything including a week of tryouts. As his locker had not yet been assigned, I took him his football gear after school. He'd had a great day...had "Pizza Gallery" for lunch ( huge on his list of what makes a first day of school great)...all was great!
I went home to prepare a celebratory dinner...tacos...I was just sighing my relief as I finished catching up on every one's first day...when Jonathan walked in the door. An hour or more early....something was not right here....
Then he showed me his wrist. Immovable and swollen....my heart sank. I know how much he enjoyed football last season, he seemed to be doing well in the practices last week...now an injury. Maybe it was just the emotion of the day, but I seem to be the only one really REALLY upset about this. I wanted to cry for him, not because he was in pain, (because as long as he didn't move it), he was doing pretty good...just for what this could mean for his season.
So, I sit here typing and praying for a miracle, while my eldest....the one I was least worried about for today...sits in emerge with his dad...I am not sure when I will know what is happening as it has not yet been 6 hrs of waiting, and this is Ontario Emergency we are talking about....(no complaints though...)
Please say a prayer for my "Not so little man", and those of you who are also ending your back-to-school day....I hope it was WONDERFUL....and UNEVENTFUL!!!!!
The Embassy in Oshawa puts this amazing carnival on for their community.
Imagine a local Fair, multiply the fun, add in hair cuts, blood pressure clinics, grocery give aways, clothes lining the corridors, toys...ALL FOR FREE!!!!
These guys are on to something, it is sooo amazing!
On top of everything, there will be tents set up for "Destiny Words", Prayer...and the one I am in charge of...Dream interpretations.
I am refusing to get overwhelmed with the task of not only interpreting the dreams ...but training my team in the process....AND my good buddy Scott, has Hockey Tournaments....so I am on my own, (in the physical sense...only!)
So, I am once again asking for prayer support from my blogging friends....I SO can not do this without God, BUT WITH HIM....Piece of Cake!!!!
I have to keep telling myself that!
"...I will choose to listen and believe, the voice of truth!!!!"
By the way, any of you local ON folks...(or any others that want to fly in for this event : ), are more than welcome to join me! I make an early start to arrive in Oshawa for prayer at 8:30...but I would love some company!!!!
Everyone else...I so covet your prayers. Divine appointments, wisdom and revelation are at the top of my request list.
Thank you all, and I will give incredible testimony when I get back...last year was amazing!!!
Just wanted to send out some "Cyber hugs" before I go to bed tonight.
I spent some time on a new blog, the blog of a grieving mom
who lost her little angel on July 19...she was 5 yrs. old.
At first I was overcome with grief for this hurting family, but as I read, I was amazed at the progress this family is making, and the faithfulness of my God in what we all feel would be the most heart shattering pain a parent could feel.
It's caused me to hug my own kids a little tighter, and to resolve to spend as much time as possible enjoying them and all of the simple things in life just a little bit more.
Tonight, I can't express how thankful I am for LIFE...all of the wonderful living people and things that God has created to make my life so enjoyable.
For the noise and mess and busyness that is life.
For the beauty and simplicity that is life.
I am thankful that my Jesus came that I might have life and have it to the full.
We have all heard those statements from a child...we have all probably cried out those statements as a child.
A little later in life, that same child cries out..."I can't do it, don't watch"...(I usually pretend that I am not looking, because inevitably, the child CAN do it, and I don't want to miss it).
In either case, the focus is ME. I have become that child tonight.
It is almost 2:00 AM!!
As I went to prayer tonight, in preparation for sleep....I took my worries and concerns with me.
No, not to leave at the feet of Jesus...that's what I SHOULD have done....maybe I'd be snoozing away peacefully by now!
No, I took my worries to Jesus in an effort to some how convince Him ....or at least try (once again), that He really needed to rethink His plan for me.
I asked him (for about the 50'th time), if He was sure there wasn't someone better suited to the task....
He reminded me of a dream He gave me (not long ago), in answer to that same question.
I reminded Him of my inadequacies, I reminded Him of those who were so much more experienced....more anointed...more respected...more known....MORE EVERYTHING!
Panic began to set in as I tried so hard to talk God out of this....panic because I was doing a poor job of convincing God, but a perfectly adequate job of convincing myself.
So, now I was really awake because I KNOW I haven't convinced Him of anything, and if that is true, He would still be asking me to walk the path, and He and I both know I will never say "NO" to Him....but now I am REALLY SURE I can't do it!
By this point, I can't even hear what He's trying to say....I was probably still doing all the talking.
He spoke to me of another dream I had a while back. One in which He'd said, "Go down to the prophet's house and the Lord will talk to you there".
So I went to the prophet's web site that was indicated in this dream....and the Lord began to speak....(or I began to hear). He spoke His word to me, "be strong and courageous....be strong and do not be afraid"
He spoke to me of appointed times, of His being glorified in the victories.
Then, as my spirit began to overcome my flesh/mind...He reminded me of another prophet's CD that had been lent to me and that I had never listened to. She began to speak of God using the "whosoever will", not necessarily the highly anointed, highly trained, etc. Simply the willing.
I had one last whimpering argument...."Lord, I really don't want to be responsible for messing people up if I get it wrong...."
As my vain argument trailed off, I heard Him say, " LOOK AT ME! Stop looking at the circumstance, stop looking at your inabilities and simply LOOK AT ME!"
He began to tell me that He has it all set up, that if I would simply look at him, as I walk my path; if I refuse to be distracted by the circumstances, if I would refuse to look at my abilities or lack there of....if I would simply walk obediently with my eyes fixed on Him, I will look back and realize that I /WE did do it!
Truthfully, I have already proven Him forever faithful.....deep down, I know he will come through....I just need to refocus...AGAIN!
Rhonda Posted a video link to our theme song from VBS last week, "the Voice of Truth" I had to fight tears almost every time we sang it....I am posting the lyrics, because I think I need the reminder....and may again...I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.
The Voice of Truth:
Oh, what I would do
To have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is, And he's holding out his hand
But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win, you'll never win."
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Oh, what I would do to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me time and time again
"Boy you'll never win, you'll never win."
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
but the stone was just the right size to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus singing over me
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says do not be afraid
And the voice of truth says this is for my glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
I will listen and believe I will listen and believe the voice of truth
I will listen and believe 'Causes Jesus you are the voice of truth
He had to work this morning, so dad took him for a birthday breakfast at 5:30, so Jonathan could get to work for 6:30....I slept! Don't worry Jon, I will make lots of food for you and your friends to party with tonight!
We are very proud of this "Gentle Giant". Jonathan was 9 lbs 1 oz at birth. By Christmas, (5 mo. old) we were buying 18 mo. size clothes....and he has kept up the pace ever since! Today, he stands 6' 5", and has never "spurted" like the other teenage boys....If he does decide to take a growth leap....this mom's shopping expeditions will become very challenging. I had the privilege of watching Jonathan in action this past week at VBS...we were both leading groups of kids, and 'Chippy' was quite a hit. So much so, that I think working at the golf course this weekend was a break for Jonathan. He did a great job, and kept a smile even when he'd had enough of the little folks.
Today, we celebrate all that God has created in Jonathan. His love for life, laughter and Jesus. His sense of humor, his maturity and respect for others. His leadership gifts, his ability to honor us as parents as well as the others that God has placed as leaders, bosses and teachers in his life. The example he is to his younger siblings and his peers. His confidence in who God has made him to be....not really sure where he gets all that confidence, I wish I'd had half of what he has at his age! Even his love for the 'Leafs', basketball, football, Mega Man, Indianna Jones and Transformers!
Thanks for being all that you are to Glorify God and bring honor to us as your parents. We love you LOADS!