Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So THAT'S What Christmas Is About...

I just finished watching "The Nativity Story" and yes, I cried. I think it touched me more deeply than "The Passion of the Christ." It struck me how hard it must have been for Joseph and Mary... two ordinary people chosen by God for an extraordinary - perhaps the most extraordinary thing - to raise His Son, the Son who would grow up to be our Saviour. What a dangerous time it was, people just trying to survive... pay their taxes, feed their families, honour God in their everyday lives. How ostracized first Mary, then Joseph as well, must have felt for something that wasn't their choice, that was thrust upon them by God and misconstrued by people who didn't know or understand the truth. How afraid and overwhelmed they must have felt, how many tears they must have cried. How amazing it was that the angels appeared to lowly shepherds, nobodies, outcasts... that they were invited to celebrate this extraordinary event... the birth of the Messiah, promised for centuries. The horror and injustice of all those baby boys killed by Herod, the grief of their mothers, the sacrifice they made, so that Jesus could live and grow up and sacrifice Himself. The wonderment of Mary and Joseph as the three wise men, regal and wealthy and superior in social status, bowed down and worshiped their son, who was born in a stable surrounded by animals. Oh, the humility of our Almighty God... using the lowly things of this world to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong... oh, that we would learn from Him! It is all too amazing for words... I can't even begin to grasp it all with my mind or heart... oh God, all I can say is, Thank You. And please keep on opening my heart and mind to Your wonders and mysteries, that I may know You and Your ways more each day of my life.

Tis the Season

I'm sitting here at my brother's computer while he's working hard to bring home the bread and the bacon for my breakfast (haha!) and I finally have time all to myself, in complete peace and quiet, without anything I HAVE to do. Wow.

I suppose I should back up to my birthday, which was a wonderful day. Last year was my big 30, so I invited a bunch of friends from church to have breakfast at White Spot with me. It was so much fun and everyone told me I should do it again this year, so I did, and even more people showed up! I think there were 22 of us total. We were so rowdy, that a member of the SWAT team had to come over and threaten us for disturbing the peace - actually a few of my friends arranged that, so I got my picture taken with a cute cop on my birthday :) Thanks guys, for picking the cute one to come over, hee hee! Everyone spoiled me with cards and gifts, which was lots of fun (thanks everyone!), but more than that it was overwhelming to be surrounded by all these people that I love and that love me too. God has brought me so far and blessed me so much. Thank You, Jesus!

Afterwards, I went on a dollar store shopping extravaganza with two of my friends. Is it sad that it brought me so much joy? I had so much fun, picking up last minute Christmas things and some card-making supplies... and everything was only a dollar!

That night, we had our family birthday party. Jolie cooked up a delicious turkey dinner in our broken oven (God bless her!), we had ice cream cake and opened presents. I got a massaging shower head from Marty, a really cool new tote bag from Jolie, clothes from the kids, bath stuff from my brother, and 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls from my mom and dad. It's so nice to be spoiled sometimes!

The girls had their Christmas concert the day before my birthday. Lysa had been good all through rehearsals, but the day of the show, decided she'd rather sit with Mommy and enjoy just listening. (And thanks to Lysa, we had front row seats reserved for us... that kid comes in handy sometimes!) At first, Layni was very upset that she was picked to be the elf ("It's because I'm the smallest kid in my class! I hate being the smallest!"), but I stayed up until 2:00 AM sewing ribbons and bells on to make her costume, which was a hit. (And considering how much I HATE sewing, that makes me the best mom ever, haha!) All the kids did a great job, but as Jolie said, it's SO not the same as when we were kids. But perhaps I'll rant about that another time :)

I flew into Calgary Christmas Eve day and met my brother's girlfriend, who's a lovely person (what's she doing with my brother? haha!). We went out for lunch and saw "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" which was great fun to watch... I LOVE the sidekick... he's hilarious. That night I had a couple shots with Kev's friends and we went to see the Christmas lights at the Calgary zoo. The reason I don't usually drink is the same reason I don't eat vegetables... I don't like the taste and I don't have the desire to "acquire" it. It's probably a good thing in terms of alcohol though... I'm not very good at moderation with things I like :) When we got home, I was exposed to my yearly dose of wrestling, courtesy of my brother, and we watched The Trailer Park Boys Christmas special... classic :)

Christmas Day we slept in until 9:00, then opened presents. Once again, I was so spoiled with gift certificates, DVDs, cozy fleece pj's, candy, card-making supplies and the big one... a digital camera from my brothers. I've finally joined the 21st century! Kev took me to a beautiful place called Elbow Falls (which he told me he uses to impress all the ladies, haha!), then we went to our uncle's for a delicious Christmas dinner, then came home and watched my brother's new Family Guy DVD.

Today we went to the Strathmore Walmart (my brother lives about 45 minutes outside of Calgary) to spend our gift cards. We got to the till with all our stuff and were told they weren't accepting gift cards today. (The lady behind me who had stood in line for half an hour was NOT impressed... well, I don't think most people were!) Kev still got his year's supply of DVDs to watch, and I got a few things too.

Tomorrow, I'm going out with my aunt while my brother works, to a local used bookstore that always has a huge after-Christmas sale... does life get any better? It's been more of a short holiday with my brother than usual, as he has to work two of the four days I'm here (we only got one movie in this year... unheard of!), but it's still been great to hang out with him.

Now I have several hours to myself to read, watch movies or do whatever I like. Complete freedom, complete quiet... wow. It's so nice. Hope everyone was blessed with a Christmas as good as mine.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's almost midnight, my brain is fried due to not getting 8 hours sleep in I can't remember how long, but I had such a wonderful day thanks to friends and family. Thank you, everyone, for making me feel so special and loved. I will tell you about my birthday adventures tomorrow (including the cop who crashed my party!), but I just wanted to say thanks before I go get some MUCH needed sleep. I love you and thank God for all of you!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Specials

I love them! Layni watched "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and the cartoon "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" tonight, while I watched the Mr. Bean Christmas special (he cracks me up! I loved the presents for his lady friend!) and the Little Mosque on the Prairie Christmas special. I've never seen the show before, but I think they've got a new fan! I'm not a big fan of Canadian drama, but we do funny very, very well. Love Corner Gas too, Air Farce, Rick Mercer, This Hour Has 22 Minutes... yes, we Canadians are funny people!

Foiled Again!

I was so excited to see "It's a Wonderful Life" on the Granville Island stage last Tuesday (and find out the rest of the story!)... unfortunately, I discovered they were all sold out when I called to check (we were going to use a 2 for 1 coupon from the Entertainment book so we couldn't get tickets in advance). So disappointing. But we decided to go to Canada Place and see "The Polar Express" in 3D Imax... let me tell you, all movies should be in 3D Imax! It was like you were right there in the movie. We walked around Canada Place, admiring the theme trees and the Christmas displays from the old Woodwards store... it was a lovely, Christmasy evening... and we even got our picture taken with Santa Claus (though we refused to sit on his lap and elected for the arms of his chair instead). I told him I wanted lots of books and he gave me a candy cane and told me not to wait twenty-five years before talking to him again. It was fun to get downtown and do something - well, if not exactly grown-up, at least WITH another grown-up! As for "It's a Wonderful Life", I probably won't have time before Christmas, but after Christmas, I'm going to watch that movie and finally find out exactly what happens! That's my new year's resolution anyway :)

Innocence Lost

Yesterday, Layni and I went to see "Enchanted" with our friends Shelley and her daughter Lenore. I LOVED IT! It was so sweet and funny and I just had a big smile on my face the entire movie... delightful! There are very few movies anymore that capture that sense of innocence and wonder and remind us of how we used to be. Even though I've had a relatively sheltered life and haven't endured the hardships many other people have suffered (though I've had enough for my liking, thank you very much!), I realize how jaded and cynical I often am. Movies like "Elf" or "13 Going on 30" or "Big" remind us of what it's like to see the world through the eyes of a child. It makes me think of Jesus saying, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) How much we miss out on as we "grow up" - joy, trust, unconditional love, a sense of wonder and awe, exuberance, unself-consciousness... oh God, teach me to be like a little child again.

I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!!

I got five Christmas cards today with letters and pictures of family, as well as a funny birthday card and McDonalds gift card from my dad... and a magazine. You know how I love getting mail, so this is the BEST time of the year! YAY!!! Thank you everybody!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year... and the Busiest!

Okay, Krista, you've guilted me into posting! It's been super-busy around here. Last week Jolie went to Edmonton to set up some of her jewelry in her sister's store and today, she went downtown to set up her stuff in a shop called "Eklectica"... her pieces are beautiful (not that I'm biased!) and we're hoping she makes tons of money so she can quit the bar. You can check out her artistry at her sister's store on facebook - QTSI D Inc.

We set up our Christmas tree this weekend and it looks beautiful... I LOVE sitting at night by the lights of the tree... so peaceful and lovely. I tackled my room today, which was not only the repository of all MY junk, but all the Christmas presents, wrapping paper etc. It's far from perfect, but at least I can see major portions of my floor now :) I got a few Christmas cards done today... I really can't spend 45 minutes creating one-of-a-kind cards and expect to get them all sent out! (Krista, you should be honoured you're so special!) But it's so much fun creating with all the tools and embellishments.

Do any of you have a book or a movie that you've gotten part way through but were repeatedly thwarted in finishing? For the longest time, that movie was "Annie" - I'd get to the part on the railroad tracks, but time and again never get to see the ending. Another movie is "A Wonderful Life" - a Christmas classic, but I've only ever made it up to the part where he saves the day when the medicine gets mixed up... well, tomorrow night, I'll find out the ending of the story! My friend and I are going to see the play on the Granville Island Stage... last year we saw "A Christmas Story" and it was wonderful... funny and sweet and the set was AMAZING! And then maybe, sometime this Christmas season, I will watch the movie once and for all!

I can't believe how December is zipping along... two weeks from now, I will be at my brother's place in Calgary, and Christmas will be almost over! But I've got a few things to do first... shopping, wrapping presents, sending Christmas cards (better late than never, right?!), my scrapbooking class, my birthday... yay! I love this wonderful time of the year!

Monday, December 03, 2007

FRUSTRATION!!!

You have to understand... I love my teeth. I am so grateful for my teeth. My parents shelled out a lot of money to take care of my teeth, including years of braces and retainers. I have nightmares about losing my teeth... literally, nightmares about them falling out. Psychologically, that's supposed to mean a fear of change, but I'm pretty sure I am actually just really, really scared of losing my teeth. I don't have health insurance, so I pay at least a couple hundred a year to keep them clean, cavity-free and healthy. I love my smile; I love my teeth. So a couple years ago, when the dentist told me I was grinding them away in my sleep and I saw the evidence of them chipping off, I paid the almost $400 on my limited budget to get the mouth guard to protect them. My teeth are worth the investment... have I mentioned that I value, treasure, and cherish my teeth? Of course, I thought problem solved. I never thought to ask if there was some sort of warranty on mouth guards, how long they might last etc. There is no warranty. They usually last five years and then you have to shell out another $400... evidently, I am a really stressed out person because mine lasted just over a year... how ironic - I'm probably grinding my teeth because I'm worried about losing my teeth and how much I have to pay to keep my teeth. So evidently I'm now going to have shell out another $500 (I also need a cleaning and check-up) to ensure the health and well-being of my teeth. And I'd better get it done ASAP because if I'm this frustrated and upset when I'm completely awake, I'm sure my teeth will be ground down to nothing in just a few nights. GRRRRRR!!!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Random Thoughts

I don't know how this happened, but one Sunday night a few weeks ago, Jolie and I landed on Wisteria Lane and now, I look forward to Desperate Housewives... so much drama... I resisted for three seasons... what happened?

The Children's Choir concert at church today was delightful (except for trying to keep "my" kids quiet!) and lunch afterwards with friends was fun too (except for, again, trying to keep "my" kids in line... boy, was I glad to get home and give them back to their parents!)

I LOVE this snow... except for trying to get around in it... getting soaking wet or worrying about a car accident... but curling up inside and watching the snow fall down in huge flakes and listening to Christmas carols... so peaceful and lovely. I just need a barley toy to suck on while I read a book (my East Coast suppliers are having some difficulty tracking the product down this year).

Jolie's birthday was fun. Layni, Mattias and I took Jolie to see A Bee Movie (we were going to see Enchanted, but it was sold out), which she loved (for the second time!) Okay, seriously, what is wrong with me that I can't say no to that greasy movie popcorn? I'm fine not buying it, but if it's THERE, I can't stop eating it... my stomach regretted it later that night. Maybe coupled with the chocolate birthday cake, it was too much! We played Dora Headbandz, which us girls really sucked at, but Mattias seemed to have ESP... "Am I alive? No. Am I something you eat? No. Am I a car? Yes, you freak, how did you guess that?!" So much for drinking and wild parties... hello, thirty! Not that she's ever really been a drinking/wild parties kind of girl ;) And she got her birthday wish... SNOW... she was thrilled.

Mel B (Scary Spice) was totally cheated out of the Dancing with the Stars disco ball trophy... what is with Helio and that creepy grin? Sure, Julianne's a great dancer, but HE's not that great. Yes, I'm bitter. But thank God, Marie didn't win! Okay, I will let go of the Dancing with the Stars obsession... until it comes back in March. Hee hee.

I finished "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" last night. I feel bereft without a 900 page book to lug around. I do have three Lord John Grey novels to read now, but it's not the same. I'll miss Jamie, Claire, Roger, Brianna, Ian and everybody else until the next book is published (probably two years away at least, boo hoo!)

I can't believe December is here... I've got to clean my room... it's even more of a disaster than usual... wrap presents, write Christmas cards... watch Christmas shows... Shrek the Halls and the Corner Gas Christmas special are on tomorrow night... yay! I love Christmas time! The girls and I are reading a really cool book called "The Christmas Mystery"... set in Norway, a little boy finds a magic Advent calendar and behind each door is not only a picture, but part of a story, which we hear as we read along each day with him, until the mystery is revealed on Christmas Eve.

I've got to go slather my cracked, dry hands with lotion. It's so peaceful here. The kids are sleeping, Marty's at work, Jolie's working on her jewelery, we're listening to Christmas music. A beautiful night.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

2:08 AM

I'm just heading to bed now... it looks like a streamer and balloon factory exploded inside our house, the gifts are wrapped, the cake is decorated and the house is (mostly) clean... Happy 30th, Jolie! Hope you have a fantastic day!

Monday, November 26, 2007

SERIOUSLY...

What was up with the Dancing with the Stars finale tonight? Everyone was sadly lacking and Marie was AWFUL!!! Seriously disturbing... who is voting for her? And what were the professional dancers THINKING with their terrible choreography tonight? Okay, I get way too emotionally involved in unimportant reality TV shows... but SERIOUSLY!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

P.S.

Went to Costco last week and discovered they have Cavendish Flavour Fries... I thought they were strictly East Coast... they are SO delicious... the sad part is we just have our little freezer on top of our fridge which is currently filled with meat that was on sale... no room for french fries. Tragic, or perhaps really good for my popcorn-filled arteries... guess this means I'll have to eat a bunch of meat to make room!

And I can't wait for a shipment of Christmas barley toys from the East Coast... pure sugar, but a traditional treat to suck on while reading a book curled up by the fire on a cold winter day...

Okay, I'm missing New Brunswick a bit now...

Lazy, lazy....

Yes, I've been a lazy blogger lately, so I'm just going to throw stuff out there...

- went to Disney on Ice presents Princess Wishes on Thursday night with Jolie, Layni, and Layni's friend, who was celebrating her 7th birthday. I've never seen anything but hockey on ice, so I was captivated... there was fire and bubbles and smoke and fireworks and awesome skating... it was fantastic! Okay, now I want to see Nemo on Ice because I LOVE Nemo! And Jolie bought me a HUGE bag of popcorn, and although I could feel my arteries clogging up, I just couldn't stop myself... I can't say no to that terrible, wonderful salty, buttery deliciousness... I mostly finished it before the show started or I wouldn't have been able to focus otherwise, haha!

- Layni is participating in a Tae Kwon Do exhibition tomorrow and will be getting promoted to green belt (or is it green stripe?) - she's a third of the way through... only eight more belts to go. Kind of scary, but at least I'll have a bodyguard, haha!

- Had my third scrapbooking class Sunday night... I really need to finish my pages from the last two months... I'm such a procrastinator.

- Rearranged my room, so at least it's vacuumed and dusted though still not organized !

- So immersed in Diana Gabaldon's "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" - I'm 2/3 of the way through... I suppose it will be good when I'm done, so I won't have my head completely in the 18th century, but it will be such a loss when it's over... might have to reread the series again... hee hee. I love them like family, is that terrible? Must remind myself, they are not real people, Janis!

- Only a few weeks of Bible study left. We've gone through prayers of the Old and New Testaments and the Ancient Church... it's amazing to learn from the faith of those who have gone before us, and to think one day, we'll meet in heaven and be praising God together. Wow. In the new year, we'll be doing a Beth Moore study, which I'm sure will be awesome... the last one was.

- The kids have built a "clubhouse" in the top of the bunkbed downstairs... Layni and Mattias are currently sleeping there, which I wouldn't think would be that comfortable as there's no mattress, but they've padded it with pillows and blankets and seem happy enough.

- Lysa is doing SO great holding her head up while on her tummy, and looking all around. And she finally got her new hand splint after months of waiting.

- Christmas is coming!

And so is 1:00 AM, so I should be getting to bed... by the way, thanks everyone, for the beautiful comments on my last post... I love you all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Have a Friend...

I have a friend who inspires me daily...

through a freak accident, followed by negligence in her treatment after the accident by the doctors, she cannot walk, talk, feed herself, go to the bathroom by herself... do hundreds of things I take for granted every day. She will never get married, have children, or a fulfilling occupation...

I can't imagine her frustration in not being able to communicate clearly when she wants something or is feeling pain...

it breaks my heart to think of all that could have been, that should have been, and I wonder why?

I'll never get that answer down here on earth...

but she doesn't spend her days feeling sorry for herself. She spends her days enjoying life, enjoying all the things she CAN do...

She LOVES music, she loves to kick - and don't underestimate the strength she has! I tried to kick like she does, and couldn't even make it through a whole song! And she does it for hours every day! She loves to laugh... she finds joy in the smallest things - the sound of the blender, Marty whistling, the clashing sound of us putting the dishes away... and she makes us laugh too - laugh until we cry, which makes her laugh harder and the wonderful cycle goes round and round with her contagious laughter egging us on. She loves to go for walks... the bumpier the better! She is such a little daredevil - if she could, she'd be bungee jumping and riding roller coasters... she's so pleased with herself when she actually gets the cracker she's holding into her mouth... she loves her food too! And splashing in the water... she enjoys all the simple, beautiful things in life that we never slow down and pay attention to, until she makes us. She's usually very patient too, putting up with the noise and frantic activity of our household... she loves it when we cuddle in bed together and read stories... and she LOVES it when we sing to her; she doesn't care if we can carry a tune or not...

I love my little buddy, Deedee, who will be seven in December. Sometimes I wonder what she would have been like if she hadn't stopped breathing when she was ten weeks old (and if the doctors had been quicker to treat her after), compared to her twin sister, Elayna. But life is what it is, and Deedee is a delightful blessing the way she is. Sometimes I wonder if her sacrifice in this lifetime is being the way she is, so we can learn from her... I don't know. We always say Deedee knows everything, she's just not telling... she probably has all the wisdom in the world locked up inside her, and laughs at us in all our foolishness... I love her for who she is, but I look forward to knowing her in all her fullness and wholeness in heaven, when she'll finally be able to tell us all the things inside her. I don't know what the future here on earth holds for her, but I'm trusting that God will hold her through it all, and one day in heaven, she'll be running and speaking for herself...

sometimes that seems really far away though.

I love you, my dear little buddy... thank you for blessing me every day... and thank You, God, for her, just as she is.

Laughing Until I Cry...

Okay, maybe this makes me a total geek (among many other things...) but I love to read the recaps of my favourite TV shows (Dancing With the Stars, The Office) on www.ew.com... and I just busted a gut laughing at the recap for yesterday's episode of The Amazing Race. If you're interested go to www.ew.com and click on TV Watch at the top of the page... I find it funny when other people verbalize the things I think or notice things I missed at the time...

Okay, SERIOUSLY, I'm going to bed now!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wondering...

I never wanted to have kids, because I thought I would be a horrible parent. How ironic that I'm now a nanny to three children... the only thing more ironic would be if I married a hairy man and had half a dozen kids of my own... and please Lord, that's not a challenge!

This weekend, I've felt like a horrible "parent." So impatient and frustrated with the kids... why can't I be more calm, more loving, more understanding, more wise? Am I screwing them up irreparably? I'd like to think not, but this weekend, I'm feeling like I really suck at it. Does the fact that I love them and I'm trying my best (but failing too often - at least it feels like) make up for it? Okay, so I'm probably not the worst "parent" in the world, but I feel like so far from the best, and they deserve the best, especially since none of these kids has had the blessing of a mom and a dad raising them together.

Jesus, I believe You've brought this crazy family together for a reason... they bless me - as much as they sometimes frustrate me too! - and I want to bless them and show them Your love. Forgive me for my failings, my weaknesses... Jesus, may Your love shine through me. Help me to respond with wisdom and love, patience and kindness, even when I'm tired or frustrated. Thank You for Your grace which redeems us all, and for being the Perfect Parent to all of us. May these kids and their parents know Your love and the hope that is in You, and may I be an example of it. Thank You Jesus for this family and letting me be part of it... I love them, and I love You too!

The Prayer I Would Have Prayed...

I was asked earlier this week to participate in my church's Remembrance Day service by praying for "Peace and Reconciliation in our City, Community, and Church." Alas, Jolie was going to drop me and the kids off on her way to work, so we wouldn't have to walk in the rain, but we ended up being late and I missed the opportunity. I was so frustrated and angry this morning (ironic, considering what I was supposed to pray for)... well, it's been all weekend really... with myself, Marty, Jolie, the kids... maybe it's for the best I didn't pray, haha. Anyway, this is the prayer I would have prayed...

"Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace. It's easy to pray for peace and reconciliation, hoping You'll throw a covering of peace down upon us all and make everything all better, but alas, You've given us all free will, and the much harder task of seeking peace and pursuing it ourselves. I can't ask for peace and reconciliation and unity, unless I personally am willing to work for it. The best things may be simple, but they're never easy. It requires hard work, sacrifice, time, and energy. Lord, I pray for every single person here, but mostly I pray for myself, for it begins with me... let ME seek peace and pursue it... first with You, for it all begins with You. I have no capability of my own to find peace or make peace apart from You. Jesus, let me every day find my personal peace in You, not in the security of money or a job or my friends or family or home... any of which could be taken away at any moment, but in You, who can never be taken away, in Your love and grace and forgiveness... and may I then practice that peace in my actions with the people I love, strangers I meet, all those You bring into my life. May I be an example of seeking peace and pursuing it, of finding it and sharing it freely. Lord, help us all to "one another" - love one another, honour one another above ourselves, forgive one another, look out for one another's interests, bear one another's burdens. Every day, every moment, we have an opportunity, help us to take it and make the most of it... to bless and not to curse, to love and not to hate, to forgive and not to hold onto anger and resentment (oh Lord, you know I need help with that one!), to sacrifice and not just to look out for ourselves... You set the example, Jesus - help us to follow it. Lord, I want peace and reconciliation in our city, in our community and in our church. Help me to want it enough to change my heart and my actions to pursue it, that I might start a change reaction within our church, our community and our city. Lord, I pray this for each one of us, but mostly for myself, because it has to start with me... I can't make anyone else do it, I can only do it myself. Jesus, Prince of Peace, reign in each of our hearts, and to You be all the honour and all the glory and all the praise, and most of all, all our love. In Your beautiful, all-powerful name I pray, amen."

... or something like that :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quickly... Before the Internet Goes Down Again!

Seriously, Marty... give it up, and call in the professionals already! I'm tired of having no phone and no internet... no way to keep in touch with people!

Last night Layni prayed, "Thank you God for all the dead people." I had a hard time waiting until the end of her prayer to ask about that one... turns out she was thinking of Remembrance Day and all the people who died in war... now THAT makes more sense.

I've been still struggling with the blahs... but really enjoyed finally getting a little sunshine. Thank You, God! Finally!

It's been a relatively quiet week... meaning relatively, when there's three kids around... no major bloodshed, haha!

God, help me have a more joyful and grateful attitude this next week... help me to keep laughing, and may Your joy be my strength, even in the midst of the blahs.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

OW!

I woke up this morning and felt like someone had kicked me in the back... not a nice feeling! Popped some pills and made it through church and lunch. Had a nap this afternoon... was so tired... have popped some more pills and am heading to bed.

Evan Almighty

Funny that Krista recommended it, as we were planning to get it for tonight... it was a cute movie. I preferred Bruce Almighty, but this one was definitely more kid-friendly. If it's got animals, it's good in their books :) And of course, I love Steve Carell - and Lauren Graham. RIP Gilmore Girls... you will be forever missed.

Didn't get much done today... felt so tired... did get to the gym though. I'm hoping I feel more energetic tomorrow. If not, I have my nap time after church to look forward to!

Friday, November 02, 2007

21

I am 21 years old today... and you all thought I turned the big 30 last year. Well, I did. But 21 years ago today, on a Sunday afternoon in my bedroom after Sunday School, I made the commitment to ask Jesus to come into my life. My parents aren't religious people, but they sent us to Sunday School as kids, and that is where I heard about God sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross to pay the price for my sins so I could live with Him in heaven forever. My understanding at that time was: I accept Jesus' forgiveness, I pray and read my Bible every day and when I die, I get to go to heaven. But that's a pretty big commitment for a little kid, and I didn't want to do it unless I meant it, and I figured "I'm just a little kid, I've got plenty of time to do that."

Earlier that year, at the beginning of the summer, I had gone on a fishing expedition with my dad and older brother. Unfortunately, my dad made a bad cast, and the fishhook (a Red Devil, by the way!) landed in my right eye. Thankfully, although my vision is severely impaired, I did not lose my eye.

So that Sunday afternoon, I thought to myself, "Why would God have allowed this horrible thing to happen to me?" And my nine-year-old logic came to the conclusion that He was perhaps trying to get my attention, and it followed that if I didn't pay attention now, He might do something more drastic... I might lose an arm or a leg, or He might just kill me. A little "fear of the Lord"... but it made sense to me at the time. And I remember thinking, "Do I REALLY believe all this, or is just because some really nice ladies at church told me so?" As I looked out my window at the trees and sky and grass, I decided that there must be a Creator God who made all that beauty, and I decided that yes, I really did believe in Jesus and His death and resurrection for myself. And so I asked Him into my life.

That was the beginning of my faith journey. The next day at school, the Gideon's folks passed out little red New Testaments... a confirmation for me of my decision. (That certainly wouldn't happen now!) That decision in my childhood is the basis of who I am and who I am becoming, and I believe saved my life through the dark times to come.

About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and chronic dysthymic disorder... when I wasn't suicidally depressed or manically high, I suffered from daily depression. I've suffered since I was a little kid, about the time I became a Christian, and for many years, just thought I was a horrible, evil person - and of course, a terrible Christian. I really believe that if it wasn't for God's grace (and the sense of humour He gave me), I would have ended up in a psychiatric ward or possibly, dead. For years and years, thoughts of killing myself plagued me every moment of the day, to the point of ridiculousness... "I could jump out the window, I could stab myself with this pencil, I could slit my wrists..." At one point, I was afraid I might be demon-possessed, because these terrible thoughts in my head were not of God or of me, I knew. Thankfully, at that point I was taking Abnormal Psychology at a Christian college, and the professor lectured on how Christians have the spirit of God in them, so while they can be oppressed, they cannot be demon-possessed. I can see from an outsider's point of view, how ridiculous that would sound, but it was a very real fear for me at that point.

I have been on medication for the past seven years, which has eliminated the suicidal thoughts, though not the chronic low-level depression. My depression can assert itself due to the weather, hormones, stress, or for no apparent reason at all. I have accepted that I will be living with it for the rest of my life, and at this point, I can even be grateful for it. It has strengthened my relationship with God - because He's ultimately the only one I can lean on, and because I understand a bit of the suffering Jesus endured; it has developed compassion and empathy for others struggling with difficult things, be it depression or whatever their own "demons" may be. It reminds me that this earth is ultimately not my home - as the Bible says, my citizenship is in heaven, and only there will I be completely whole and well.

I have been so blessed through the years with the love of my family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ... people I've met working at Circle Square Ranch and Union Gospel Mission, at Houghton College, at various churches through the years. I can't even begin to thank God for all the blessings in my life, or to tell all the stories of His provision and goodness and faithfulness and love in my life. We'll only have time for that in eternity, and wow, will that be amazing!

God continues to teach me new things every day... about His lavish love... He gives nothing but the best and He pours out His love generously, even if He's not thanked - or even if it's rejected. He's teaching me about forgiveness, and sacrifice, and faithfulness... and let me tell you, I am a slow learner! But He lovingly and faithfully and patiently continues to work on and in and I hope, through, me.

I just watched "Bruce Almighty" tonight - I love that movie - Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman are wonderful in it. Bruce says to God, "How do you make someone love you without affecting free will?" and God answers, "Welcome to my world, son." I feel like I've only scratched the surface, and my prayer for the next twenty years of my faith journey is that I will learn to love God as He deserves to be loved, and to love the people around me with His love.

Thank You, Jesus, for saving me from myself, for loving me faithfully, even when I've been completely faithless. Oh for grace to love You more!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

What Is WRONG With People?!

Yay! Internet's back up - I can check my friend's blogs, email my mom, and all that fun stuff. As I told Jolie Tuesday night after watching Dancing with the Stars, "I can't believe Sabrina got kicked off! It's so WRONG! And I can't even blog about it!" She laughed at me. Seriously though, WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! Sabrina should have been in the finals... no justice in this world at all. Okay, I get way too emotionally involved in inane TV shows... speaking of which, Amazing Race starts Sunday night! I really don't watch that much TV, but when I do, it's one of the few times for the adults in our house to bond. Yes, even Marty. He says he watches Monday Night football, but he's totally in love with Edyta, a sexy Polish ballroom dancer on Dancing with the Stars... oops, I've outed him! Don't tell his friends, haha! Oh, and we sometimes play Scrabble. But Marty cheats. And he's loud. Okay, so maybe it's pick on Marty week. He does have some good points, really. He can cook. He can fix computer related problems. And he buys me Coke.

Jolie and I went to see the costume parade and help the kids carve pumpkins in Layni and Lysa's classes. I got to meet their teachers and some of their new classmates. Layni got a Scarlett O'Hara dress from Value Village and Lysa was a cute little devil. Lysa and I stayed home to pass out candy (only had 7 or 8 kids) and make chocolate cupcakes while Jolie, Marty and Layni went trick-or-treating... they had to share the loot though :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shut Up!

Okay, downstairs used to be my quiet domain. When Jolie's down here, creating her beautiful jewelery, it still is. When Marty and Jolie are "discussing" things, like right now, I'm about to go mad. Are all Polish people so loud? Is it possible for Marty to talk at a normal decibel level? Would he even be able to whisper if he tried? These are the questions that plague me at times like this. For God's sake, and my sake, SHUT UP!!!

I got an envelope in the mail today that says, "With 57 cents a day YOU can feed an elderly Jew." Is it just me or does this strike you as sort of a demeaning way of putting it? It's from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of Canada, asking for money to feed poor, elderly, Russian Jews. A worthy cause, I'm sure - just an odd way of putting it - to me, at least.

Layni's school had a fundraiser called "Horror on the Hill" - a haunted house set up in their multi-purpose room. Layni was quite taken with the whole thing... was it only last year that skeletons and creepy crawlies freaked her out? So I come home from church Sunday night, and she's set up a haunted house in her room, with dim lighting, spiders, and "Be sure to look in the closet, Janis!" - her dolls laid out like corpses. Not sure whether to be amused or disturbed...

Had coffee with a bunch of friends this morning. As I was walking over, God reminded me once again of how far He's brought me. I remember having panic attacks in public places like a coffee shop; I tended to avoid social interaction altogether. I used to think I was doomed to live the rest of my life in fear; I believed all things were possible for God, but I thought very few things were possible for me. My life is proof of miracles and the seemingly impossible becoming possible by the grace of God. Thank You, Jesus - keep working in and on and through me!

I've been going through stuff today... managed to get rid of a whole box of books! I have a lot of stuff... I'm so sentimental, especially when it comes to cards, letters, pictures kids have made me... baby steps, right?

Okay, Marty has lowered his voice, so I'll actually be able to get to sleep now, haha! Off to bed I go...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Restful Sunday... despite the rain!

Mattias woke me up at 7:30 AM crying. Half-asleep, I asked him, "Did you have a bad dream? Did you hurt yourself?" "No, I'm not going to church," he cried. Last night, he told me he didn't want to go to church with me, and I had told him, Okay, that's your choice, I'm not going to make you go if you don't want to. I guess he thought I would hold him to it - silly boy! So we went to church and to McDonalds for lunch with friends from church, and when we got home, I read for a little bit and then had a lovely long nap... it's become my Sunday afternoon tradition. Well, it is the day of rest, right?! Tonight, I went to the "Young Adults" Bible study at church - I'm the oldest one by far, but they didn't kick me out so I guess it's okay :) We had a good discussion about a passage in the book of Mark... shows you how far I've come, that I'm throwing my viewpoints out there... I was probably the most talkative one there. I laughed when Melanie said I seemed so knowledgeable... I just have a good study Bible with lots of notes :) It was nice to get to know some different people in the church and share different perspectives... always interesting. Well, the girls are in bed and I think I'm heading there soon too... after a little reading, of course.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I Thought It Would Be Easier... Silly Me!

I assumed since I had only one kid this weekend, it would be an easy, quiet weekend. Well, it was quieter, except for the constant, "Janis, Janis, do you want to play with me? Do you want to play a game? Do you want to colour? Do you want to watch a show together? Do you want to play in my room? Do you want to play with my toys?" I forgot that while Mattias wouldn't have anyone to fight with, he also wouldn't have anyone to play with... I guess Daddy and Jo just won't suffice... why do I have to be so awesome?! So we watched Larry-Boy and we played trains and cars and coloured and played Webkinz and Petz and Pixelchix and Chuzzles (I know - too many computer games... but I get addicted! Oh, and I do let him actually play... a little. Haha!) and read books and practiced the alphabet and played with our Sesame Street toys... I just wish I had his stamina. It's sad I can't keep up. I did manage to make a few Christmas cards for our church's fundraising and went to Chapters (and the library and Blessings... I am such a book addict!) while he went shopping with Daddy and Jo for Daddy's Halloween costume (for work at the bar tonight). I was so bad... I bought three books today. It's my greatest weakness. I can say no to a lot of things, but books and presents are my two downfalls. And Christmas is coming... uh-oh! Well, I've got to get a good night's sleep so I'll be awake for church and lunch at McDonalds tomorrow... but it WILL be easier with only one kid to get ready. That's the hardest part of Sunday mornings. Getting up and getting myself and the kids ready to go... and when we have to walk in the rain. Hopefully, it will not be raining tomorrow, as I don't have the stroller with the rain cover. Anyway, I'm really going now... and I will try to not stay up all night reading a book... have I mentioned how much I love books?!

Friday, October 26, 2007

So Tired!

Wow, I am tired tonight... it's 9:30 and I'm ready for bed (though I probably won't get there too soon... always the lure of a good book sidetracks me!) The house is so quiet - Marty and Jolie are at work, the girls went to their grandparents for a weekend visit and Mattias is asleep upstairs. Ah, blessed silence! Went to the gym today, played with Mattias, talked to my best friend in NB tonight... why am I so tired? And if only I could have the kids' energy... I think that almost everyday. It just doesn't seem fair. Anyway, not much to say... good night!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good Day

Today was a good day. More sunshine - oh, I love it! I've been taking advantage of the opportunity to get out walking more. At Bible study this morning, we ended up going to Tim Horton's and chatting. And right after, I went out to lunch with another friend. I love being in the presence of these friends, with such different life experiences and outlooks, but we're one in the love of Christ, and each one blesses me in a different way. Had some very good conversation and yummy food. Went to Value Village to pick up some books to donate to Layni's home reading program at school, then hung out with Lysa while Jolie and Layni went through the "haunted house" at their school. Enjoyed my Thursday night TV (CSI, The Office and Scrubs... really the only shows I watch other than Dancing with the Stars... and Lost, once it returns!). The kids are in bed, Jolie and Marty went to a movie, and I'm ready to curl up in bed with a good book. Yeah, it's been a good day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Testing the Limits of my Love

I swear, if I did not love our cat so much, I would kill Jake. After giving the kids baths, feeding them supper, doing homework with them, I came downstairs for a moment to get something from my room. And what did I find? Jake had puked not only all over my bed (penetrating not only the comforter, but both sheets... talk about a power puke!) but on my notebook filled with my Bible study notes, which I had been working on earlier in the afternoon. I had to rip out all the pages, wipe them off, and will have to recopy them, either on the computer or by hand (which I prefer), and had to throw the notebook into the recycling bin. I was not feeling very loving towards the kitty tonight. But THANK GOD, he didn't puke on my Bible, because God knows what I would have done then! Seriously, that cat tests the limits of my love... why always me? This never happens to Jolie or Marty or the girls... Marty thinks maybe he was possessed by Satan to put a damper on my Jesus study... Jolie thinks it's just because he feels so comfortable and at home in my room... neither are comforting theories. Anyway, I'm sure I will forgive and mostly forget... in a few days...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Seriously!

Layni brought home some math quizzes today and as I looked at them, all the questions either had a check mark or a happy face beside them. Now, if I was a kid, or heck, even as an adult, I would look at a happy face and think, Wow! I must have done really well! But no, the happy faces were beside all the answers she got WRONG! Are we so desperate to protect our kids' self-esteem that we can't even put an X beside a wrong answer anymore? SERIOUSLY!!!

On the bright side of life, IT WAS SUNNY TODAY!!! HALLELUJAH!!! It was so good to see LIGHT again. Jolie and I went to Fort Langley and went treasure-hunting at our two favourite antique shops. Those places make me so lustful... I love all that old-fashioned furniture and knick-knacks... LOVE IT! We found some great pieces for her to use to display her jewelery, which will, Godwilling, be showing at a market in Yaletown the 1st and 2nd of December. She is an amazing artist and I so want her to be able to make a living with her jewelery so she doesn't have to work in a stinky, stressful bar anymore, and can be at home with the kids. Don't worry, I won't be out of a job though... there's always more than enough work to go around here!

After school, Layni got on her bike and we went to the park. She is a total monkey on those monkey bars - I certainly am not strong enough to do that! I enjoy the swings... a perpetual favourite since childhood.

And finally, THANK GOD!, Mark Cuban got kicked off Dancing With the Stars... I don't know who should be next to go... I'm kind of attached to them all now. Layni has switched her allegiance from Jennie Garth to Sabrina Bryan. I like Jane Seymour... she's so lovely and elegant and shows that even at 56, you can still bust a move!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Never Too Early For Christmas...

Today was pretty much me preparing for our church's second annual Christmas card night, which was lots of fun. I am always amazed at the variety of creativity... it's fantastic. I led a table; my card looked like a wrapped-up present, and had a Bible verse inside. I got to do the thank you cards for the ladies leading the tables and the door prizes, which was so much fun. I love dollar store shopping and gift-giving! It was a great night, but now I have to clean up my room and card-making area, which look like a tornado whirled through. But I'll leave that for tomorrow; I'm going to sleep well tonight!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Whining Helps...

You know, I think just expressing how you're feeling helps, get it out there, good or bad, and then you can let it go. I need to do that, instead of just letting stuff simmer inside me. So I'm going to try to do that on a regular basis now, even if it's just writing a few sentences about my day before bed.

Why am I up at 12:00 AM? Enjoying the peace and quiet... Marty's at work, the kids are in bed, Jolie and I are hanging out in the basement, which is our cozy little retreat now. She's set up her jewelery-making space, I have a card-making space, and our computers. The squeak of the furnace, which hasn't given out yet; otherwise, silence. Blissful! I need quiet time. After I take the kids to church and lunch, I come home and have a nap. In some ways, it feels like a waste of time, but on the other hand, I obviously need it... I guess it's my time to catch up on sleep that I've missed during the crazy week.

I'm reading "The Fiery Cross", book five in Diana Gabaldon's AWESOME Outlander series. If you love historical fiction/romance, you will love these books. But they're LONG... I've been reading this one for months now and am only 2/3 of the way through! They take place primarily in Scotland, then the American colonies, in the second part of the 18th century. It makes me think a lot about what it would be like to live back then, and how much our world has changed... but I'll have to save those musings for another post.

Went to the second night of Faith Legacy Scrapbooking tonight... I love our instructor, Mona, who goes to my church. She is such a patient teacher and gentle, kind spirit... a blessing to everyone around her. The course is one night a month for ten months and chronicles our faith journey. I was looking for pictures of my baptism for tonight's page, and finally found them mixed in with my college graduation pictures... not really sure why... but looking through all those old pictures on my search - of high school, college, working at Circle Square Ranch, my early years when I first moved to Vancouver... made me miss those places and people and times in my life, but so grateful for all those experiences and loved ones.

Well, I should get to bed... morning always comes early, and I have some preparing to do for our card-making night at church tomorrow. Can't believe it's here already!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

God is Bigger than the Bogeyman...and my Crazy Mind

It's 10:43 PM and I'm crying. Why? I don't know. I have to get to bed, so I can get myself and the kids up in the morning, ready, and walk to church in the rain... yay. As Layni would say, you're being sarcastic, Janis! I worked on preparing for the card night Monday; need to buy some more ribbon. I can't find my baptism pictures for the scrapbooking class tomorrow night... I've been through boxes of pictures today, but can't find them. Serves me right for being so organized. It's a lonely night where everyone seems to have a life and a purpose but me. I hate having this crazy, discouraging mind... forgive me, Jesus, and help me to have Your mind inside controlling my thoughts and guiding my outlook on life. I am weak, but You are strong - stronger than my weakness. Oh Lord, don't let me drown in my imperfections, but let me rejoice in Your perfectness.

Blah

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted. It's that joyous time of year... the rains and darkness and dreariness have come. I've just felt BLAH for the past month or so. Unmotivated, tired, weepy... not the blackness of deep depression, just the eternal grey of the blahs. It's hard some days to get out of bed or take a shower or do the things I have to do. It's hard sometimes to want to eat or do anything, let alone anything fun or constructive. It's hard to care about life. And I feel so guilty, because it isn't a horrible suicidal depression, just that every day melancholy dysthymia. If I just focused on God, prayed more, had a better attitude, sucked it up, etc. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I'm plugging along. My Thursday morning Bible study is a highlight of the week, and I'm taking a scrapbooking class once a month, and we're doing a Christmas-card-making night at my church on Monday. So it's not like I'm completely isolated or not doing anything good. I'm just mostly blah. Well, I will try to be more faithful in posting, and keeping myself accountable for how I'm feeling. I'm glad I have good friends and a good God... I know I am so blessed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Note to Self

Janis, if you actually want to get any work done... don't go to the library! You KNOW how distracted you get by all the books and magazines and DVDs... you don't actually get around to doing any work for at least an hour, and then it's time to go home. It might be a place where other people can concentrate, but know your weakness, Janis, and avoid it!

Apocalypse Now, Part Two

Tuesday morning, I did something I never would have dreamed I would ever in my lifetime do... I went to a Power Step class with Jolie at the gym. You work out for an hour doing weights, squats, lunges, sit-ups, stretches etc. to music. Okay, have you ever seen the Steve Martin movie "The Jerk"? I highly recommend it, by the way. I AM STEVE MARTIN! No, I think I'm WORSE than Steve Martin... I have no rhythm AT ALL. I can't even clap in time to the music at church. It's embarassing really, but it certainly keeps me humble. The funniest thing was when the instructor actually mentioned that movie... probably because of me, haha! Jolie was telling me how it's really cool when everyone is in sync, and it feels like a Britney Spears video (because of the coordinated movements, not the provocative clothes!) and how she curses the person who screws up and ruins the mood. I'm like, HELLO! THAT'S ME! WHY are you bringing me along? Well, I survived, though I think I looked like a fish out of water, desperately flapping around on the shore, trying to keep up and not die. I thought I was going to die during the lunges... they're brutal! It was quite the workout, and I conquered yet another fear, thanks to Jolie's encouragement. I don't think I'll ever get in sync though! Jolie's like, well, religion comes easily to you, physical stuff comes easily to other people. So I guess I'm good at something... just not anything that involves physical coordination! And she wants me to learn to ride a bike... HA! Maybe she has a secret death wish for me... and after all I do for her...

Just For Fun

Sunday night, Jolie asked me if I wanted to join her and Marty in going up to Harrison Hot Springs on Monday. "What for?" I asked her, thinking it would be an excursion related to her fledgling jewelery-making business, or to look at a property they were interested in. "I thought we could go up and enjoy the public pool, where the hot springs are pumped in, just for fun," she replied. I was flabbergasted... Just for fun? It's been forever since we grown-ups have done something together without the kids "just for fun." I kind of thought she was kidding at first. But she wasn't! So after dropping the kids off at school, we drove there and enjoyed the hot spring-fed public pool. But let me say, you really can't take Marty out in public. I didn't know whether to be embarassed and annoyed or amused by his antics, so I ended up being both. Here we are, probably the youngest people there by thirty years at least, all these lovely older people enjoying a nice relaxing soak in the pool, and Marty's is showing off his solo synchronized swimming moves and creating minor tidal waves... I imagine they were all cursing the "youngins" for their tomfoolery... but I swear, it was only Marty. Jolie and I both behaved very respectably (with the exception of bringing Marty along). Anyway, it was amazing to get away and do something "just for fun"!

I Know I'm Getting Old When...

Like my mom, I snuggle in bed to read a good book, and end up falling asleep.

Apocalypse Now

It started out like any other Sunday morning... me yelling at the kids to hurry up so we wouldn't be later than usual to church... Layni finding leaves and rocks and other treasures to share with Mattias on the walk there... enjoying Sunday morning fellowship... going to McDonalds for lunch. It was there, sitting in the french fries-shaped chair, that it happened. I had only eaten three chicken nuggets and not even finished my fries when I thought, "I don't really want to finish this. I'm kind of sick of this food. I really wouldn't mind if we didn't come here for awhile." I cannot believe after thirty years, it's finally happened... I'm somewhat sick of McDonalds! It might not be my favourite restaurant in the world anymore! Maybe I have a brain tumour. Okay, that's not funny... but it would explain the radical shift in my perspective. I think the end is near...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Life

Once again, I've not been faithfully keeping up my blog... oops. I really have no excuses. The girls are back to school and find out on Monday who their teacher(s) will be. We're not sure yet, but they may be in separate classes this year, which might actually be a more difficult transition for Layni than Lysa. It's wonderful to see the close relationship they have, and that Layni still enjoys being with her sister, but it might also be good for her to get out on her own and not feel so responsible for her. Lysa's SEA said if they are in different classes, they will do some transition visits to make it easier for everyone. We're very happy that Lysa has her SEA, Cherry, back this year. We love her and are glad to have someone who loves and knows Lysa so well.

I finished reading "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" yesterday. I basically stayed home and read all day Thursday, but couldn't quite finish it before falling asleep that night (you know you're getting older when...) It was a great read, and yes, I'm a big nerd and proud of it! Jolie asked me if I was weeping, which I wasn't, but I did have tears in my eyes at a couple points. It's kind of sad that it's all over, but satisfying too... I hope J.K. Rowling doesn't sell out and write another one. So many people have ruined a good thing by not leaving it alone... like the abysmal remake of my childhood classic "The Dukes of Hazzard" - shame on you, Willie Nelson, for what you did to Uncle Jessie! And a sequel to "Gone With the Wind" or the proposed prequel to "Anne of Green Gables" - SO WRONG!!!

Tuesday night, we're starting a ten month scrapbooking journey called "A Legacy of Faith" at my church. One Tuesday a month, we'll do a page pertaining to our faith journey, like the Biblical meaning of your name, your spiritual mentor, favourite Bible verse or hymn etc. I've never scrapbooked before (though I do make cards), so this will be a fun way to get introduced to it.

Thursday morning, my Bible study starts. We're doing a book called "Pray" by Tony Jones - you'll never guess what it's about, haha! It examines prayers through the Bible and early church in order to impact your own prayer life. I'm hoping it will be a great time of fellowship, learning and heartfelt prayer that will be a blessing to us all.

Some people I love are going through very hard times right now, and sometimes it's hard not to get discouraged. Sometimes it's hard to pray - what do I say? Will it make any difference? But I've found when all else fails, I can sing... an old hymn of faith to cry out to my God and remind me of who He is. My favourites are "Be Thou My Vision," "Standing on the Promises," and "There's Power in the Blood."

Well, I need to go get the kids ready for bed so we can all get up in time for church... it always seems no matter how early I try to get up, we're always running late. Oh well, at least we get there!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Update

I bought Marty a new kettle today. He was very grateful. I won't be making pancakes again any time soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why Janis Doesn't Cook

Yesterday, I was making buckwheat pancakes for supper and arguing with Jolie about how good they are. I say, "Other pancakes taste bland in comparison." She says, "You know how you don't eat green food? Well, I don't eat grey food!" She was getting ready for work and I was thinking about how much I hate cooking, even something as simple as pancakes, when I noticed some smoke coming from the top of the stove. I thought maybe it was something that had fallen down into the burner and looked closer to find that I had turned the wrong burner on and had just cooked our kettle. Crap! And that, folks, is why I stick to microwave popcorn or cheese bread and french fries in the toaster oven.

I'm Back!

I got back to Port Coquitlam at 2:30 AM on Monday after a sixteen hour layover in Toronto on Sunday. Fortunately, my dear friend Yuriko, from college days, was able to meet me at the airport. We went to church, out for lunch and then to her apartment to look at her wedding pictures and for me, to take a much-needed nap. I was especially glad to see her, as she will soon be moving back to Japan with her new husband. She is such a wonderful person and I'm so grateful for her friendship.

The next couple days, I thought Layni might never stop attacking me with hugs, kisses and outbursts of "I missed you SO much!" Yes, I missed you too - now get off me! Jolie's mom and step-dad stayed until Friday, so I enjoyed visiting with them as well as catching up with everyone.

I took Layni and Lysa to the pool on Tuesday, where we ended up staying 3 1/2 hours, much to my shock... I still can't believe we were there that long... those girls love the water! I've been getting back to the gym - which I really needed! - and going for walks with Lysa, picking blackberries, and enjoying the last couple weeks before school starts. Layni got her yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do on Saturday... way to go, kid! Should I be scared of you yet? Haha! She can be my personal bodyguard.

Thursday night, Jolie and I got a shock as we left for the gym about 8:30 PM - a couple of bear cubs climbing the tree in our front yard right by the driveway, soon followed by their mama. Actually, it turned out there were three, Jolie's mom told us when we came home. My mom said she's never coming to visit me... it's too dangerous!

It's good to be back, though I miss my family in New Brunswick. I wish, once again, that the two coasts weren't so far apart (or I had more time and money to travel!) but I am so grateful to have had a whole month to relax and just be with the people I love there. It was wonderful.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Highlights from the Last Couple Weeks in NB

- Going to Campobello Island with my parents - I'd never been before and enjoyed visiting President Franklin Roosevelt's summer "cottage" - with 18 bedrooms and most of the original furnishings, it was a fascinating look into history. The thing that amused me most were signs warning of intoxicated bees... evidently they get drunk on nectar and fall out of the trees onto people... fortunately, we missed out on that novelty! While there, I finished a baby blanket that I began for my best friend's daughter shortly after her birth almost three years ago. I think I'll stick to dishcloths from now on... that's more in line with my attention span and level of discipline, haha! While there, I met several relatives - my maternal grandfather's nieces... six of the seven live on the island and the other one happened to be visiting from the U.S.

- We took the ferry to Deer Island; I hadn't been there since my Grade 4 and 5 field trips! My parents patiently waited while I explored a very cool antique store with shelves filled with old books, where I could have happily spent all day, and ended up buying a couple things for Jolie that I hope she thinks are as awesome as I do!

- I spent a couple days with my Aunt Kathy in St. Andrews. She's the coolest... loves books and movies as much as, if not more than, me. We watched "Water", an amazing movie set in India at the time of Gandhi, about an eight year old widow forced to live out her life in a home for widows. It was beautiful and tragic and very moving. I need to see "Earth" and "Fire" now, by the same director. We also watched The Vicar of Dibley, a delightful British comedy, went for walks, ate good food, and looked at her photos... she's an amazing artist, especially in black and white. I'm a little biased, of course, but it's true!

- Our mutual friends, Jason and Amanda, who I haven't seen in years, came to visit us at Alisha and Derek's house. We had a wonderful weekend together, BBQing, playing with Ella, and visiting. The girls went to a baby shower for a friend in Fredericton Junction (where I went to Sunday School and church with Alisha during my high school years) while the boys stayed home to watch movies. It was great to visit with some old (and newer) friends there.

- That Sunday, Derek asked me to do the Scripture reading at his church and he preached on the "lukewarm" letter in Revelation... he's a great pastor and a great friend. I really enjoyed being part of their church that morning. That night, I went to my brother's house for yet another barbecue, to celebrate our mom's birthday, since she had to work the next night. The steak was delicious. I've gained between five and ten pounds since I've been home, which doesn't bother me, but I've got to get back to the gym and stop eating so much "good" stuff, so I can start feeling healthy again!

- Got my mom an infamous "Superstore" cake for her birthday - on the East Coast, it's the "Real Atlantic Superstore" as opposed to the "Real Canadian Superstore." They have the best store-bought cakes... but really it was for my MOM, haha!

- Saw the movie "Stardust" with Alisha, a lovely fairy tale of a movie.

- Went berry picking with my mom again and got her to activate her library card. I've also set her up to check her bank accounts, hotmail, facebook etc. online... now we'll see if she actually uses any of these things when I leave!

- Went mini-golfing with my dad - our summer tradition. He beat me, of course, being the golfer he is, but I vastly improved my game from 75 to 62 on my second round, and I was the only one to get a hole-in-one... I felt victorious about that!

- My aunt Iris and her daughter, my cousin Shelly, came down to shop and have lunch. We hit the dollar store, Bargain Shop and Giant Tiger (have I mentioned how much I love East Coast shopping?). They've been going through a lot with their family, so it was so good to see them and be able to laugh and lighten the load for awhile. And they brought another Superstore cake! (My mom's birthday is the 13th and Aunt Iris's is the 17th.)

- Had ANOTHER barbecue at our house with Dan and Melissa. You might laugh at me, but barbecue toast is SO good... that smoky flavour... the chicken was okay too! Dan and I went to see Rush Hour 3 - mostly because nothing else was playing that we hadn't already seen, but I quite enjoyed it. Jackie Chan is such a cutie... how can you not love him?

- Today, Alisha, Derek and Ella came to visit and say our final farewells, as they are leaving for the Atlantic Baptist Convention tomorrow. Ella is so funny and imaginative. She has a pet dog who is blue, but not Blue from Blue's Clues, a purple kitty and an orange rabbit - all her imaginary friends. She also has an alter-ego named Francesca, who is a rather whiny and slightly dense turtle. We had fun running around outside and trying to coax the chipmunk out of his hole, which Ella kindly filled with rocks, leaves and flowers for his lunch. I love her and can't imagine how grown up she'll be next summer when I visit.

Two more days here, a day of travel and I'll arrive back in BC VERY EARLY Monday morning. (Stupid 16 hour layover in Toronto... though I do get to visit my friend, Yuriko.) I'm feeling how I usually feel at the end of my vacation... eager to see everyone and catch up on Vancouver life, but sad that I'm leaving and feeling like I'll be missing out on NB life. I'm grateful, though, to be blessed with so much love in my life, even if it's often separated by distance. To my NB friends, thank you for everything, and to my BC friends, I'll see you soon, and to all my friends in between, I love you and you're always close in my heart!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Quick Update

Saturday was my brother and sister-in-law's reception/barbecue for extended family and friends at Oakland Lodge in Fredericton, a beautiful property, and yet more good food. I got to visit with some more of my aunts and uncles, which was great.

Sunday went to Lincoln Baptist Church again and loved the singing and sermon of that small in number, but big in spirit, church. Sunday night, Alisha and Derek came over for a late supper (she's always late; it's a perpetual joke now) and we watched the movie "Serenity" which is a sequel to the "Firefly" TV series that they got me addicted to. Alisha and I then played Uno and laughed our heads off while Derek kept score, doodled on the notepad and lamented how late it was getting and how he would really love to go to bed at a reasonable hour once in awhile. Sorry, Derek, not while I'm visiting, haha!

Today, Mom and I slept in while Dad got up ridiculously early to go golfing. Then we went for a drive in search of half-and-half soft ice cream (which we finally found at the local Dairy Delite), followed by a walk on the "old highway" - a beautiful trail by the river. Tonight, I got together with Tammy, for supper and catching up and lots of laughing, followed by "The Bourne Ultimatum." Matt Damon is hot in those movies, I have to say. And it's one of very few movie franchises that has managed to be enjoyable every time - I say go ahead, and make another awesome sequel... I'm ready for it!

I'm leaving tomorrow for a week on the road. Going to Campobello and Deer Island with my parents for two days, visiting my aunt in St.Andrews for a couple days, then going to Alisha's house to visit with old friends who are coming for the weekend from Petitcodiac, and returning for my Mom's birthday on Monday. Then one more week and I'll be back in BC! It's been great, but it's amazing how fast the time goes. I'm sure I'll have mixed feelings going back, eager to see everyone again in BC, but missing everyone here in NB. Anyway, must go, it's 12:30 AM and I need to pack and get some sleep!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another Week in New Brunswick...

Last Saturday night, we had a barbecue to celebrate my brother Dan's birthday and as Kev's last meal in New Brunswick, as he flew out EARLY the next morning. Dan's in-laws also came, and we feasted (again - it's becoming a habit now!) on steak, followed by a delicious cake that Melissa made.

The next morning after seeing Kevin off, I enjoyed the service at Lincoln Baptist Church, where I was sent to Sunday School as a kid and was first introduced to Jesus by some wonderful, caring teachers. Their guest speaker was a missionary from Africa, whose wife had just given birth to a baby girl a few weeks ago. His words touched me deeply, as he challenged us that any earthly thing that we mourn the loss of inordinately, is something we've made an idol of... it can even be the good things in our life, like our children, but if we put them before God, we're breaking the first commandment.

It's funny, but the older I get, I seem to be becoming more materialistic in a way. When I was younger, I wouldn't be caught dead carrying a purse and I didn't care about what I wore, but now I enjoy getting (new-to-me anyway!) things like that. I like fun things (like DVDs and books) and pretty things (like clothes and purses) and I often struggle with the balance between enjoying beautiful things (which I do think reflects God's personality - look at the beautiful world He has made!) but not letting that enjoyment or desire for things get out of hand.

It was a thought-provoking sermon for me, and I so enjoyed the music and the spirit in the church. Although churches on the East Coast are significantly smaller than the one I attend in Coquitlam, they are so loving and joyful and down-to-earth - you feel at home, even if it's your first time there. And after talking to my best friend's mother, I discovered that that missionary wife was my best friend's brother's wife's best friend! (Did you get that?!) I love the Maritimes, where everyone is connected!

Sunday night, my best friend, Alisha, picked me up and we went to her parents' house for a birthday barbecue for her father (whose birthday was actually the day before, same as my brother's, but they kindly postponed the festivities so I could be there and have ANOTHER steak... I will definitely be getting back to the gym when I return to Coquitlam, I swear!). We had a great time visiting.

The next day, we drove to Alisha's house in St.John, and had Christmas Eve in July. We decorated a little Christmas tree, listened to Christmas carols and watched "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" and "The Holiday" - a delightful film starring Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law.

The next morning, we exchanged presents (our Christmas in July). Ella loved her "Big Bird in China" DVD and dress-up clothes; Sharon, Alisha and Derek all loved their books (imagine, me, giving someone a book... unbelievable, I know); and I loved my new Big Bird mug, happy face Bible cover and groundhog puppet, Phil. Then we went to the beach and I was quickly reminded how FREAKING COLD the Atlantic Ocean is. The good thing is, after awhile, your body goes numb and you don't notice the cold as much anymore... or is that a good thing? Haha! Had a wonderful time with Ella, who is 2 1/2 years old, and loved throwing rocks in the water to see them splash and playing in the sand.

I feel so blessed that even though I live so far away and she only sees me once a year, Ella loves her "Auntie Janis". She loves Big Bird and happy faces, just like me, and is so much fun to be around. I love it when she tells her little stories and then laughs at her own funny jokes... that laugh is priceless! And I love how concentrated she is on "Monster" (a talking index finger) or Phil, the groundhog puppet; she just focuses right on them and chats away... she has an amazing imagination and is a delightful kid.

Wednesday morning, Alisha's mom looked after Ella while Derek worked at the church (he's a pastor) and Alisha and I attended their church's prayer meeting. There was six of us there and it was a wonderful time of praise, singing, prayers and tears. Even though I had never met these women before, I felt instantly comfortable with them as my sisters in Christ. It was an amazing time.

Sharon (Alisha's mom) drove me home Wednesday afternoon, and Mom and I went into Oromocto and I went on a shopping spree for the kids. I am such a sucker... I know they don't really need anything, but I love to give them gifts. It reminds me of that verse, Matthew 7:11, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!"

Thursday morning, Mom and I braved the heat to go berry picking. We got six boxes of blueberries and two of raspberries, before it got too hot. But let me tell you, East Coast mosquitoes are nastier than the West Coast variety! Usually they never bug me, but they did that morning. We treated ourselves to ice cream afterwards. Oh, this vacation living is TOUGH, haha!

This morning, Mom and I went to downtown Fredericton. She had to go to the bank and I went to the Owl's Nest used bookstore... it is HUGE and I didn't even get to look at a fraction of the books there, which is probably just as well for my wallet! I love the historical architecture that has been preserved in Fredericton - it is beautiful - and so clean! I'm always lamenting the litter in Vancouver, but I haven't noticed any yet here in NB. One thing both my brother from Calgary and I DID notice is the abundance of roadkill here. My theory is that since we haven't yet pushed all the animals out of the wild with rampant development, they don't have to scavenge the roadways for food.

Tomorrow is yet another barbecue... Dan and Melissa's reception for extended family. Two more weeks and I'm back to BC. I'm sure you're tired of reading this post already so I'll shut up... love you all!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hot and Humid

It's hot and humid here in NB - my father finally got the 20 year old air conditioner installed in his office, so I'm nice and cool as I type on the computer, but trying to sleep might not be so comfortable... unless I sleep on the floor in here! Actually, I can't do that, because the 20 year old air conditioner can't run all night, for fear of breaking or burning down the house or something fun like that.

It's been a nice, lazy week. Wednesday night, Kevin and I went to Sussex to visit our old haunting grounds at Circle Square Ranch, where we worked years ago. My fifth and final summer there was in 1998, just before I moved to British Columbia. It brought back a lot of memories and nostalgia for a very happy and fulfilling time in my life. Sometimes I'm afraid I've lost myself in the midst of the busyness and demands of everyday life. I look back then and I seemed to be more joyful, more hopeful and optimistic, more energetic, more loving, more focused and disciplined, more faithful, more inspired. I don't know, maybe I'm just looking back with rose-coloured glasses, but I would like to bring more of that back into my life....

I've done a little shopping with my mom this week... why is spending money so much fun? Not really spending it, but the stuff you can get with it... am I getting more materialistic in my old age? I hope not, but dollar stores, they call to me. Hee hee.

Last night, I had a sleepover at my brother's house with my best friend. We were taking care of Dan and Melissa's two dogs - Sadie and Lily, and two cats - Alex and Molly. Seriously, I think it was more nerve-wracking than taking care of kids! Sadie has back problems, arthritis, and is going blind, but this little dog has the guts of a German shepherd in its prime. She managed to run up and down the stairs a few times (which she's not supposed to do), and somehow jumped up on the ledge in the laundry room and ate the cat food. That was after Alex threw up all over the kitchen floor. Maybe one or two I could handle at once, but managing four pets was a bit taxing! However, they all survived and so did I.

Alisha and I pigged out on Coke, popcorn and cake, played rummy, and had "girlish chatter." She also introduced me to the joys of "Firefly" - a TV series on DVD. Oh, I was skeptical... I'm generally not into the sci-fi, spaceship stuff (like Star Trek etc.) but this show defies easy categorization. It's sort of a sci-fi western with a comic twist. I am absolutely in love with all the characters, even Jayne, who's generally a jackass. That's okay, I guess, as long as you're a hilarious jackass! I've already watched eight episodes in the last 24 hours and will probably finish the rest over the next couple days. It was great fun being together again. We met in Grade 7, actually became friends in Grade 9, went to college and moved out west together. She's like a sister to me, and we have been through it all together! I'm going to her parents' house on Sunday (they're like a second family to me) to celebrate her dad's birthday. Tomorrow, we're having a happy birthday Dan and Kev/Kevin's going away party. Melissa's parents and my aunt and uncle (who hosted a barbeque at their house Thursday night - yum!) are coming as well.

My mom and I talked, snacked and watched "The Queen" tonight. Helen Mirren was amazing. I have a lot of respect for the Queen, who has always put duty before self. Hers is a life I would never want to lead.

Well, that updates you on the happenings on the East Coast. Must get to bed - love to all the faithful fans who read my blog, haha!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chuck and Larry

Kevin and I went to see the movie "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" Sunday night. It's an Adam Sandler comedy about two New York City firefighters who pretend to be gay partners so they can get benefits and pension for the one who is widowed with two children. It had its funny moments, though I thought there was a lot of gay stereotypes, and I thought it had a lot of heart. The thing that saddened me was the minister and other Christians in the movie who were portrayed as hateful bigots who called gays "faggots". What saddened me most was this is probably an all-too-true portrayal of many Christians. I was convicted that it is our calling to love everyone like Jesus, and leave the convicting of sin to the Holy Spirit. The other thing that spoke to me is how we judge people based on one aspect of their character... Adam Sandler's character was a womanizing jackass, but he loved his best friend so much, he was willing to fake a homosexual marriage to help him out. That spoke more strongly of love than the well-meaning Christians in the movie (not that I'm advising such actions!) It's funny how even Hollywood fluff can make you think. As we were told at my brother's wedding... "the greatest of these is love."

Wedding Weekend

Saturday was looking if-y first thing in the morning, but thank God, the sun came out in time for the ceremony at 1:30 in the afternoon. It took place in Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews, a beautiful coastal town in New Brunswick. It was small - only seventeen people in attendance, including the bride, groom and justice of the peace. Dan and Melissa wrote their own vows, which were beautiful and touching, and the justice of the peace read 1 Corinthians 13. At fifteen minutes, it was short and sweet! Everyone looked great, even though it was a very humid day, so the guys especially were suffering in their dark suits. After some pictures, everyone changed into more comfortable clothes for lunch at the Kingsbrae Garden Cafe, which was followed by a delicious chocolate cheesecake.

We then went to the wharf to board The Jolly Breeze for a whale-watching tour. It was great fun... they had dress-up clothes and colouring for the kids on board, beverages and snacks, and a fun and informative crew. I got to touch whale baleen, which is what corsets used to be made of... thank God we don't do THAT anymore! We saw seals, porpoises and whales on our four hour cruise. Finback whales (the kind we saw) are usually about 75 feet long (while the boat we were on was 72 feet) and eat 2000 pounds of krill a day. The wonders of God's creation! The only downside was that it was foggy, windy and COLD for most of the ride. Thank God they supplied blankets or we all would have froze!

We then returned to the cabins where we were staying (the newlyweds, Melissa's family and ours), which were as Dad put it, "nicer than our house!" Hardwood floors, satellite TV, a full kitchen, right by the seashore... wow. We had a barbeque that night at Dan and Melissa's cabin, freshly cooked lobsters and mussels, and steak for those of us who don't like seafood. We sat around on the deck in the moonlight, eating, drinking, laughing and telling stories and jokes - a great end to a great day.

The next morning, we went back to Kingsbrae Gardens to enjoy more of the 27 acres, as we didn't have much time to look around the day before. My favourite was this tree that looked like a giant piece of driftwood standing up, covered with cowbells. Unfortunately, the zoom wasn't good enough on anyone's camera to get a picture to really capture it. They also had an Acadian old growth forest; therapy gardens with wide paths for wheelchairs, raised flowerbeds so they can be touched, and special flowers and plants chosen for their scents and textures for the visually impaired - beautiful and well thought out; a Wollemi Pine, the only one in Canada, whose ancestors date back millions of years; a lane of silly, impressive, and strange scarecrows donated by different groups in a contest to help fight hunger; peacocks; Daisy, Dusty and Dolly, the three billygoats not-so-gruff; as well as countless beautiful flowers and plants.

That afternoon before heading home, we stopped in to visit Aunt Joyce, and Dad, Kevin and I walked the overgrown path that leads to the foundation of the house where my mom and her family lived when she was a kid. Words or even photos can't capture the beauty of this place... all the different shades of green in the trees, bushes, ferns and grass, the wildflowers, the old knobby trees, the birches, the birdsong... and the memories of where we used to pick berries when my grandmother was still alive, Dad pointing out where he used to go hunting with my uncle, the two big oak trees towering over the remains of my mom's childhood home. It all reminded me of a Lucy Maud Montgomery novel... she was so good at capturing the beauty of nature in words.

On the way home, we stopped at Comeau's for a late lunch... this is one of the best places to eat in the Maritimes! It is affordable and delicious with huge helpings. When you only eat one thing, you get to know which places do chicken fingers and fries the best... and this is one of them. The rest of the family enjoyed their meals too... if you like seafood, you really have to come to the Maritimes!

It was a wonderful weekend filled with memories for all of us.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Eve of the Big Day!

Yes, tomorrow, Saturday, July 21st, is the day... the last Harry Potter book comes out!!! Oh, I mean it's my brother's wedding day... that's more important. Yeah. It's a good thing I'm too cheap to pay $30 or $40 for it, or you know I'd be reading it at the reception, hee hee. At least Krista understands my obsession :) Well, I've painted my toenails and shaved my legs... my brother and his soon-to-be-wife should be honoured... I'm even putting on some make-up and heels for the occasion... granted, they're not very high heels, as I'm a ridiculously clumsy person, but I'm doing my best!

My younger brother, Kevin, arrived tonight and made us all laugh with his funny stories of his trauma trying to get through security, among other things... Kev is a big guy, kind of scruffy-looking, and they made him take off his belt and shoes to examine them, turned out his pockets, patted him down and asked him if he'd been drinking (he hadn't been, by the way!) He is quite the entertaining fellow.

I visited with my best friend, Alisha, her mom, Sharon, and daughter, Ella, today. We went out for lunch at Jungle Jim's and talked and laughed... it was great. Ella, who is 2 1/2, is quite the talker and entertainer... a delightful kid who is more grown up every time I see her!

Well, we are heading down to St. Andrews (a beautiful little seaside town) tomorrow morning - the wedding is early afternoon, followed by lunch, a boat cruise and a barbeque. My big brother is all grown up and getting married, woo hoo!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Here in New Brunswick

I can't believe I'm actually here... it has felt like life is going too fast and I'm missing it... I've got to stop and enjoy the moments. I can't believe my brother's getting married in less than two days! It has been crazy this past week - getting ready to fly here, getting the house ready for Jolie's mom and step-dad, volunteering at Daily Vacation Bible School, on top of life in general. But now (okay, probably after the wedding!) I get to stop, and breathe and just take a moment. That sounds good! I had a good flight - got through security though they were patting everyone down, checking belts, etc., slight delay in Toronto, but otherwise uneventful. I finished "Coral Moon" by Brandilyn Collins, a Christian suspense writer, and almost finished another book "Why I Jumped" by Tina Zahn, a true story of a woman who was miraculously saved after jumping off a bridge due to severe postpartum depression exacerbated by childhood abuse. Have I mentioned lately that I love books? I look forward to (guilt-free!) reading on my vacation. My best friend, Alisha, and her mom and daughter are picking me up for lunch tomorrow, my younger brother arrives from Calgary tomorrow night, and Saturday afternoon is the wedding! I hope to get some sleep to combat the worst of the jet lag so I can enjoy the big day. It's strange being on the other side of the four hour time difference... it's almost 11:00 here but only 7:00 in Vancouver. I'm going to miss all my friends in Vancouver - from that perspective, a month seems like a long time! - but thinking of a month here in New Brunswick just to relax and visit family and friends, not in the usual crazy rush, sounds wonderful... a little surreal! Well, I really don't have much to report... except that Cavendish Flavour Fries are DELICIOUS!!! and I'll probably go unpack while waiting for my mom to get home from work so we can have our "girlish chatter" - haha!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Blech

That's how I feel tonight. Tired, stressed, PMSing... four more days until I fly home to New Brunswick. Thinking of all the things I have to do before then. A little bit ill at ease about flying - I don't mind it too much, but I find the 4 1/2 hour flight to Toronto long and I worry about getting to the airport on time, making my connection in Toronto. Excited to see everyone in NB, but still going to miss everyone here. Hoping the jet lag doesn't hit me as hard as last year so I can enjoy my brother's wedding a day and a half after I arrive home. Feeling weepy and tired and unfocused. Oh the joys of being a woman. At least I get to see Harry Potter tomorrow with my friend Krista, for her early birthday celebration. God help me to wake up smiling.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Swimming Fun with Lysa

I am so good at keeping this blog updated daily... Hahahahaha!!! Let me blame it on the heat - it makes me lazy. Yeah, that's my excuse! Seriously, enjoying the sunshine, but the heat is a whole other matter.

Lysa and I walked over to the Aquatic Centre and went swimming today. She went with her buddies at school on Tuesday afternoons and they said she enjoyed it, but I had no idea! As soon as we got into the toddler pool, she started laughing and kicking. She got quite the workout as we were there for at least an hour. I find people's reactions so interesting. A little boy, about three, was grinning at her while she laughed and kicked and then asked about her G-tube. I told him that it's cool because she has two "belly buttons" and this one is for her to drink and eat through sometimes. He thought that was great. His little sister, maybe a year old, just wanted to touch it. Another kid, maybe seven, came in and was pretending to bash his head into the wall and get brain damage... boys, they're wierd but sometimes amusing. He asked what her disability is, so I told him she stopped breathing when she was ten weeks old which resulted in brain damage. "Oh," he said, "well, she's still got lots of hair and it's really curly!"

After lunch, I passed out from the heat... I'm not sure if Lysa had a nap too, or if she just listened to her music and kicked, but I couldn't make myself care. Thank goodness she's so laid-back. I wish I could bottle the kids' energy and stamina and either sell it (I would be a multi-billionaire) or even just use it for myself to keep up with them!

I talked to my dad tonight, who just got back to NB from his trip out west (to Alberta, not BC... boo hoo. Next time, he says). He fit a lot into his week away... toured Calgary with my brother and uncle, visited Jasper, the West Edmonton Mall, several golf courses, the Calgary Stampede, and stopped into Toronto to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame on his way home. Just over a week, and I'll be back in NB to see his pictures!

I'm feeling lazy combined with too much stuff to do... keep Lysa entertained, keep the house clean, try to clean my room and pack for NB, finish a project that I started three years ago (discipline is not my strong point), find a wedding present for my brother and soon to be sister-in-law, and get ready for two mornings of story time with the kindergarteners at VBS next week. And I really don't want to do anything at all in this heat. Except maybe read a book or watch "The Office"... well, it's almost midnight, and I should be getting to bed. Love to all my faithful readers, haha!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese and Dry Bones

Happy 140th Birthday, Canada! Layni and I celebrated by going to Chuck E. Cheese with Krista, Hailee and Maegan after church today. The cheese pizza (without sauce, of course) was delicious, Chuck E. was friendly, and my favourite, Skee Ball, was fun. They even played Veggie Tales videos there - I love my lips! Usta!

At supper time, I was in the bathroom downstairs when I heard Jolie yelling. Well, I assumed she was just yelling at Marty as usual so I didn't hurry, but when I came out, Layni informed me that Marty and Jolie had jumped in the car to chase a man on bike who had stolen our bags of cans for recycling. They've been stolen before (we keep them at the side of the house, as we don't have room inside) but not in broad daylight when we're all home and making a racket (Jolie and Marty were playing video games very competitively). Layni was concerned and wanted to call the police, but I held her off. Jolie and Marty said the guy must have stashed the bags somewhere and taken off (he had a headstart, though they had the car). Jolie is pissed and wants to stalk the bottle depot to catch him. She says it's the principle of the thing. It just bugs me that someone would come into our yard in broad daylight... this is not always the nicest area. Jolie and Marty see drug deals going down when they come home from work, and I witnessed a beating while taking the kids blackberry picking. It scares me how much the world has changed since I was a kid... or is it just the West Coast? Haha! Oh well, God is in control, so I try to keep the worrying to a minimum.

While Jolie and Marty were getting ready for work, Layni and I had a turn at the racing video game they were playing. She's six and she can drive better than me. Seriously, anyone watching me play this video game, would never tell me I need to learn to drive again. They would realize it's a lost cause :)

Tonight, Layni wanted me to read her favourite Bible story from Ezekiel 37 - about Ezekiel prophesying to the valley of dry bones that then come to life. She is such a weird kid. It's a really freaky story. What struck me is when God says, "These bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.'...you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it." (v.11,13-14)

God's been reminding me a lot lately that our hope is in Him. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the pain and problems loved ones are suffering or the horrors in this world (I just saw on TV that a mother microwaved her three week old baby to death) and I start to despair... but God reminds me not to look around and give up, but to look up to Him and be lifted up out of all this crap. I also read Psalm 33 with Layni tonight, about rejoicing in God, the creator of all, and how He is in control, not men with all their schemes and armies. It ends, "We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in You." That's my prayer for my loved ones tonight, and for all the suffering souls out there.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Calvary Love... by Amy Carmichael

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I find myself taking lapses for granted, "Oh, that's what they always do," "Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, "Just what I expected" if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying "Peace, peace," where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant word "Let love be without dissimulation" and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.