Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy 17th Jonathan..."Chippy"!!!

WOW!!! When they tell you time flies and to cherish your babies, did you ever really think it would all be in the blink of an eye? 
Really! I am sure it was just yesterday...(well maybe last year) that I was dancing around my living room with my first little baby, singing and listening to his little baby sounds.

Tonight I am listening to the deep bass voices (filled with testosterone), of Jon and his friends as they laugh and sing and shout in my family room. Teenage boys are an absolute "Hoot"!
They are also VERY LOUD!!!
Jonathan has wonderful friends and everyone of them is a joy to be around...such awesome young men....though hearing them brag about who won what video game...does make you wonder about maturity levels. My girls were in stitches listening to the "whale of a tales" these boys would come up with.

As I held that 9lb 1oz "little" baby 17 years ago, I so desperately wanted to protect him in a bubble and never let him out of my sight.
Now he is driving, working, out of the house more than he is here and we are trying to hold on to every last second as we anticipate Jonathan leaving home for university this time next year...
I guess he and I have both really grown up. I don't want my baby to leave the nest just yet...but I also never wanted him to go to kindergarten, or drive either...
I have learned to trust the Lord to protect him and to fill all of the gaps left by my imperfect parenting...I have seen the faithfulness of my God in raising my first born to become a young man I am very proud of and who I know will be ready for life and will thrive as he makes his way in this world.

Jonathan eased us into parenthood so gently every step of the way...he makes parenting a teen easy and joyful and lots of fun. I guess that's what made the decision to to go on to have three more children simple.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Labor of Love

I have to say, I am so pleased with how this cake turned out. I have made many cakes over the years, usually for family birthdays, but have never tried my hand at roses. They just seemed so intimidating. While on a kitchen tour on our cruise last fall, a pastry chef demonstrated making roses from gum paste. He made it look so easy and I really wanted to give it a try. 
My opportunity came when I was given the privilege of making a 50th wedding anniversary cake for a very special couple.
I did some research, bought my supplies and began my first roses on Monday. It was a three day process as each petal of each rose is formed by hand and then the rose is "built" petal by petal. They are actually fun to make as long as you are not pressed for time. I love how realistic the flowers look with the gum paste and am planning to experiment with other types of flowers etc. I dusted the roses with an edible gold dust which sparkles in the light.
The bottom layer is chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream filling, the other 2 are golden cake with a hint of butterscotch and a mixed berry filling.

I now understand why bakeries charge so much for wedding is a lot of work!

The couple I made this cake for are worth every hour.
Marjorie and Barry are my "other parents", and we will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with them tomorrow.
I could write a book and not scratch the surface of the impact this couple has had in my life over the years. Twenty six years ago, they were the directors of Circle Square Ranch in Sussex, NB. I came to be a counselor for the summer and had no idea how life changing this couple would be for me.

Although I choose to honor my parents and love them for all the good that they have been, I grew up in a far from ideal home. Experiencing and witnessing abuses of every kind had left me with a death wish and no hope for a positive future.
I was wise beyond my years and had read statistics about abused becoming abusers. At 13 & 14, I prayed that if I was doomed to repeat history, I did not want to have children....
But God had other plans.

Marjorie and Barry saw with the eyes of Jesus...they saw who He had created me to be and they began to love me and speak words of life into me. Every day they told me I was perfect and that they loved me. I knew they knew I wasn't, (especially after having lived with me for 2 years), but they chose to speak positively and love unconditionally. Little by little, their words and love penetrated my spirit and I began to see myself and my future differently. 
God used them to show me another way, another kind of family.

Before I moved in with them, I thought they were perfect and had the perfect family...but the gift they gave me was so much more valuable than perfection. Perfection is unattainable and would have left me in my place of hopelessness.
They showed me they were real and that it was OK to have a disagreement or even a fight as long as it was fair. They taught me to never say anything I might regret, even in the heat of the moment. They taught me to pick my battles and to let some stuff go, to love unconditionally, to forgive quickly and always kiss and make up.
Marge and Barry taught me to make Jesus the center of my life and my marriage and that with that foundation I could over come any thing.

They even set Mark and I up over a lunch one Sunday after church. Though they saw him as a great suitor for me, I had other ideas at the time and it took a few years for me to see the light.
They have literally changed future history by pouring Jesus into me through their lives.
My descendants for generations to come will be affected by a couple who allowed Jesus to use them to minister love and life to a young girl with a whole lot of baggage.

I am so very thankful for them and the example of their marriage to so many.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Have Another Teenager!!!!!!

13 years ago today, my world changed forever...and it truly became a much brighter place.
Right from the start, Michael was unique and very much desired, anticipated and loved. He came after, many disappointing negative pregnancy tests, a LOT of prayers, (including from his big brother Jon who just could not wait to be a big brother) and some visits to the fertility Dr.

He was worth every bit of the wait. 
He was a happy and sensitive baby and toddler who loved everything boyish.
The only sibling rivalry I saw with any of my kids when a new little one came along was with Michael. There was only one thing he was not willing to hand over or share with his baby sister....his first wheels. He would not have anything to do with this new baby having his stroller. The Line in the sand had been drawn.
From strollers to trucks to bikes and now Rip sticks...Michael has always enjoyed his wheels.

Michael always came across quiet and shy to an outsider...even extended family, but he was a little rocker and comedian at home.
He's a super smart kid in more ways than one. His quiet, unassuming ways, (what we now refer to as "stealth mode"), has everyone fooled and Michael has used it to his advantage on more than one occasion.
It took Michael some time to figure out, but God knew just what he needed....a mother who had also learned to "fly under the radar"!
I have told Mark repeatedly since Mike was little, "keep your eye on the quiet ones".

If there is a prank to be pulled, and invention to be made, a stunt to be tried or an adventure to be sought....Michael will be leading the pack.
Thankfully, his sensitivity does kick in and everything is always done in good fun...and very few bruises.

Michael, although you have been cause for much shaking of the head, some worrying  and lots of prayer, you have also been a ray of sunshine in our home and the cause for much laughter. 
 I am so very proud of the young man you are becoming.

You are so very talented and gifted and I love watching you grow, try new things and excel at life in general.
Your friends genuinely love you and love being with you and you are becoming a leader among your peers and within your school. You respect authority without taking life too seriously...a lesson many of us could have used at such a young age.
Keep being who you are and having fun while you pursue your passions....but always remember:
"Mom is going to find out"!!!

I Love you so much Big Guy and am so very proud of you.
Have an awesome 13th Birthday!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Leave it to Michael

Thursday night, Michael went with Mark to purchase the long awaited "good grades reward".
(Yes we are more than willing to bribe our kids to get/maintain good grades...and Michael REALLY cashed in this term!)

His friend Joe bought his RipStick the same eve. and the boys have been tearing up the streets ever since.
This eve. they wanted to go to the Skate Park and since 2 older boys were joining them ,we let them go with strict orders to wear their helmets and be back by 8:30..."No Excuses".

Mark and I left shortly afterwards and caught the boys as they scrambled to get their helmets back on. We warned them that Michael would lose the wheels for a week and we would report Joe to his parents if we caught them again.

As it turns out, the boys were 15 minutes late coming back....but had an "Only Michael Excuse".
They had been on their way home and were pulled over by the police ....TWICE!

I hear this much and have visions of the boys riding in the middle of the streets or causing some other disturbance...and am thinking "it took me 40 years to get pulled over and Mike manages it twice before he turns 13!"

As it turns out, the boys were on the right side of the law. The first time, an officer handed both boys coupons for free Blizzards at DQ for wearing their helmets.
Later, another officer stopped to ask them about the boards and and to tell them he was jealous that they were able to ride them.

As Michael rides off to learn more tricks on his new toy...Mark and I are left chuckling and shaking our heads...that's Michael for you.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Holly's Having A Birthday!

You are one of those rare and special people who is always thinking of others, 
always believing for and praying for the best for your friends.
You are sensitive to other's needs and often put yourself and your own desires aside for another.
You delight in the everyday and you teach the rest of us to pause and take notice and even to see the beauty in the everyday as well.

Your ability to create and capture beauty in a garden, a photo, on canvas, with fabric....the whole world is you medium and your creativity is limitless.
You have taught me to strive less for perfection and more for beauty...even if it is in it's simplest form.

Your love and devotion for your family and your passion toward God and righteousness is a lesson to us all.
You recently commented to me that it was nice to be able to celebrate  each other's differences and you really do. 
You don't require me to be like you or to enjoy all that you enjoy...though knowing you has broadened my vision is so many ways.
We meet on our common ground....and it is safe, rich and rewarding to be in a friendship with you.

Thank you for your friendship, for being exactly who God created you to be and for the blessing you are to those who have the privilege of knowing you.

Love and Abundant Blessings to You on Your Special Day My Friend!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day Creations

We had a lovely Canada Day Pool Party Celebration with friends, (after having prayed diligently for the weather forecasters and naysayers to be wrong...which they were).

It was a terrific day, filled with fun, some old friends and some I met for the first time. 
The food was terrific and my baby girl swam unassisted by floaties for the first time...even in the deep end!!! This may not seem like a big deal, but TRUST ME! We bribed her and everyone around her with money last year to try and get her swimming...I was pretty sure she could do it, but she did not have the confidence to go without the flotation devices.
I am so proud of her, she just decided to give it a try...but isn't quite sure why she can only swim with her face in the water, and sinks when she tries to keep her face out. Swimming lessons will be so much fun now!

I found these little critters on Canadian Living's web site, and just HAD to make them for our celebration. They were labor intensive, but so cute and well worth the effort. 
I also made Butterscotch fudge with maple leaf confetti...not as creamy as the last time I made it, I think I cooked it a bit too long, (I was worried about it holding up in the heat).

Our eve. ended with Fire works, of which Holly has some terrific pictures displayed that she took.
I do love celebrating our nation.
Happy Canada Day All!