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 :)