Thursday, January 31, 2008

Being Sick Sucks!

Poor Lysa woke up with a fever again (thankfully, she was cool enough to sleep through the night) and is not feeling well at all. You can feel the heat through your clothes and hers when you hold her. Doesn't want to eat... thank God for the feeding tube to keep her hydrated and give her medicine and nutrients with her Pediasure at times like this. Wasn't even tempted by chocolate pudding this morning! She's watching a Karen Henley DVD right now (she loves her singing) and we'll cuddle and read some Dr. Seuss. I hope our poor bunny is feeling better soon!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You know you're getting old when...

I remember when I was younger, staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to finish a good book. This is so pathetic... last night, I had ONE page left in my Natalie Wood biography... ONE PAGE!!! And I couldn't stay awake to finish it after repeated attempts... that is just so wrong. I'm only 31... what am I going to be like in 5, 10, 20 years?!

On a happier note, I love our backyard. This house is falling apart (the screen door literally fell off one day when we opened it... not off the hinges; the HINGES fell off!) but we have a BEAUTIFUL backyard filled with trees. I love trees... they remind me of the forests in NB. It's so great to fly home and see all the green when you're looking out the plane window, with the occasional small patches of "civilization." The only time I don't enjoy it, is when we had those terrible wind storms, and you hear the trees creaking... made me a little nervous... but spiced up my prayer life, haha! I love watching the squirrels and birds in our backyard playing in the snow. We have black and grey squirrels... Jolie was ecstatic when Safeway blew out the nuts after Christmas, only 99 cents a bag! We can't feed the birds, sadly, as it was attracting rats, but we can still feed our squirrels... Screeny, Steve and Tufty, among others. By the way, the book "Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend" (and the original "Scaredy Squirrel") by Melanie Watts, is a classic. Okay, must go try to get some food into Lysa, who's home from school with a fever, poor girl.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It was so hard to get up this morning... Jolie, Marty and I had watched "3:10 to Yuma" last night, which was an excellent movie starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, who is an incredible actor... and I've loved Christian Bale since he starred in the Disney musical "Newsies" MANY years ago. But as it turned out, I got to go back to bed for an hour as school was cancelled - yay!

I trudged through the snow to my friend's house, where we enjoyed a great time of Bible study, prayer and chatting. She is an amazing woman who has survived so much... we both love card-making, old movies, and of course, Jesus, and share many of the same struggles as well. I am so blessed that God brought her into my life at just the right time.

Layni was very upset about missing her skating lesson this afternoon, so we trekked over to the library to return some books and look for more Geronimo Stilton... alas, the library closed early due to the weather. But she had a great time anyway, throwing snowballs at me, climbing snow drifts, and generally being silly. We came home and played in the backyard until it got dark, and after lying in the snow and staring at the stars, Jolie called us in for supper and bath time.

I need to learn to upload? download? whatever you do with the pictures on your digital camera, so that you can all see how absolutely beautiful it is here - the bonus being it's not ridiculously cold like in NB or Alberta! It was nice today as we didn't have to go anywhere, but I hope tomorrow the roads are clear, as Jolie has to go to Children's Hospital downtown to pick up Lysa's prescription.

Well, I think I'll go have a barley toy and finish Natalie Wood's biography...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Snow Much Fun!

Walking to church with Layni this morning was like walking in a snow globe. Walking back home after church was like walking in a snowglobe that someone is madly shaking! I was soaking wet by the time I got home, but it was a beautiful walk.

After lunch, Jolie and I took Lysa to Colony Farm for a walk in the snow. (Layni's at her friend's birthday party this afternoon, so no, we didn't leave her out!) By the time we got there, the sun was out full force and even the flurries had stopped. We loaded Lysa onto the little red sled. We've had to be creative in ways to keep her warm as she doesn't move around like us. We've finally discovered that putting a pair of fuzzy socks on her hands under her mittens keeps them toasty warm, and today, we put a pair of my mittens over her shoes (over two pairs of socks) and that actually worked to keep her feet warm... Jolie and I were laughing our heads off at Lysa, with socks on her hands and mittens on her feet! She loved being pulled over the snow - the more bumps, the better, and was laughing most of the way. I love that kid and her laughter... it's the most wonderful sound in the world!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

WHY?!!!

Why is it that when you're desperately searching for something, you can never find it? It never fails! It happens when you go shopping for something specific, when you're wrapping presents and the tape or scissors constantly disappear, and tonight, when I need my transparent sheets of paper, I cannot find them anywhere! I JUST organized all my card-making stuff; where did it go? I've looked everywhere! GRRRR!!! I guess I'll be stopping in at Michaels tomorrow for a couple sheets... it's just so frustrating, because I KNOW it's here SOMEWHERE!!!

I Have a Problem...

It's this strange, horrible thing I encounter every night, if I do not brush my teeth for the last time before 8:00 PM. I put it off and off... and now it's 2:14 AM and I need to brush my teeth and floss before bed, but it just seems like such a daunting task, so I've been cruising the web, watching Gwen Stefani videos, checking everyone's blogs AGAIN, anything to avoid brushing my teeth... why is it so hard to do late at night? Why does it seem overwhelming? I really need to get to bed... okay, I'm turning the computer off and I'm going to brush my teeth so I can finally go to bed. I am SO wierd. Maybe I should switch my title back to "What's Wrong With Me?!"

It's 12:56 AM...

Why am I not in bed yet? After a friend's comment, I decided to rename my blog... "What's Wrong With Me?" is not my predominant question in life anymore. (I'm feeling much better, haha.) For some reason, a poem by Emily Dickinson came to mind:

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Sunny Day

Since the girls had the day off from school, we had to get out in the sunshine, so we went for a wonderful walk on the Pitt River dykes. We were all bundled up against the crisp weather; unfortunately, I forgot my sunglasses, as I'm not used to needing them, so I squinted a lot :) We saw two bald eagles sitting regally in the top of a dead tree silhouetted against the blue sky... gorgeous! And of course, saw a few cranes and lots of our duck friends. Layni brought her little digital camera she got for Christmas and was enthusiastically snapping away at the wildlife, mountains, trees and frost-covered grass. She is very much her mother's daughter! So her new thing she wants to be when she grows up is a photographer, "And I'll be the best, because I'm starting so young!" Sometimes I could squeeze her to death, she's just so cute.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Christmas is over for another year...

I FINALLY took down the Christmas tree this morning and packed away all the Christmas decorations. Our house seems so big and barren without it. So BLAH. Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter etc. just don't brighten up the whole house the way Christmas time does... of course, the bills go up too, with all the lights on all the time... at least Marty will be happy!

Lysa stayed home from school today so they could organize some new things for her. Her SEAs and Jolie attended an amazing workshop last week by a woman who teaches ways for kids with severe handicaps to better communicate their needs and wants, so we have lots of new ideas and things to try out... it's very exciting. Lysa has always been happy and enjoyed her music, cuddling, kicking, walks, social times etc., but now she will be able to be a more active participant in her life and deciding what she wants to do... yay!

This afternoon, Lysa and I went for a walk while Jolie took Layni to Tae Kwon Do (and Marty went skiing and messed up his knee yet again!). When Lysa goes for a walk, she wants to walk, not stop and look at things or play like Layni and Mattias. So we enjoyed the trails in the woods around our house. I was deep in thought, thinking and praying (and worrying!) about various things, when all of a sudden Lysa bursts out laughing. The trail was a little bumpy so the stroller was vibrating and when she vocalized, her voice vibrated too, which she found hilarious. She has acute hearing, her strongest sense, and gains so much joy from funny sounds... like farts, burps, things being dropped... tonight, Layni had put some bath fizzies in a cup of water and then put the cup by Lysa's ear so she could hear the fizzing sound... she cracked up. And Lysa's laughter is absolutely contagious... you cannot hear it and NOT laugh along with her. I am so thankful for her, that she makes me stop and notice the little things and laugh in the midst of whatever's going on. There is a Bible verse that says "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Lysa reminds me of that all the time.

On a somewhat sad note, I accidentally put her fart-making toy in the wash today with her winter jacket... oops! I'll have to get her a new one at the dollar store - hopefully they still have them, or I may never be forgiven, haha!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Geronimo Stilton Rocks!

I admit, I was pretty devastated after we finished all the available Junie B. Jones books. They are FUNNY! I did get Layni the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary for Christmas... they were a favourite of mine when I was a kid. But one of her friends got her a Geronimo Stilton book for her birthday and we all love it! A friend of mine had written on her blog months ago that her daughter had discovered this series, and while I made a mental note to check them out, it got misfiled :) They are short, action-packed chapters with pictures and cool fonts and maps... so much fun to look at, as well as read... and there's 32 of them so far, so we'll have something to read for a few weeks anyway! I LOVE books, and I'm so glad Layni's learning to love them too.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Random Thought on the Way Home From the Gym...

Criticism is not a reflection of the person or thing being criticized; rather, it's a reflection of the critic. Is it gentle? Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it truthful? Is it constructive? Is it fair? Is it necessary? Is it harsh? Is it cruel? Is it disparaging? Is it destructive?

Why do I so often jump to negative, critical thoughts? Tonight I was thinking of the Britney Spears madness, and of someone I know who miscarried a few months ago and is pregnant again and smoking... and my initial reaction to both situations was, "What is wrong with her? How stupid can you be?"

But when I look at these thoughts in context of the above questions - is it kind, helpful, necessary? - I'm convicted that I need to be a more gracious person. Instead of criticizing, I need to pray. I don't know the secret struggles of these people... their actions may be questionable, but so is my attitude.

It makes me think of Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS." (The capitals are mine.)

When I looked this verse up, the verses preceding it convicted me once again of my bad attitudes towards other people, myself, and life in general. Philippians 4:4-7 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

As someone who struggles with depression, I am prone to always seeing the negative, and of becoming discouraged and downhearted, leading to depression and despair. These verses remind me that I need to have an attitude of gratitude - look at all I have to be thankful for in my life! That I need to take my worries to God and trust Him to take care of things that I cannot in my human limitedness... He is bigger than all of it, and He is in control and capable of handling it. I am weak, but He is strong. Instead of focusing on the darkness, I need to focus on the light.

I hope next time I'm being critical, I'll stop and reflect on what my thoughts or words are reflecting about me, and think before I unnecessarily or cruelly hurt someone... and hurt myself, by feeding the darkness inside me and in the world with my negative attitude.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cause for Celebration!

The Smurfs are turning 50 this year and Season 1 is coming out on DVD February 26th! Finally, I get to relive my childhood joy and share it with the kids... WOO HOO!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's Over!

The birthday madness is officially over for last year... yes, it carried on into the new year with the girls' skating party at 8 Rinks in Burnaby this afternoon. Jolie says this is the last big blow-out... next year they can have a friend over for a movie or something. Less stress, headache and far less money!

We all did have lots of fun (besides the stress and the headache, haha!). Fortunately, I got to push Lysa around the ice in her stroller, which meant I was able to stay on my feet - otherwise, my butt would have been on the ice 99% of the time, I'm sure! Several of her friends kept us company as we skated and enjoyed playing with her "fart-maker" - one of her favourite toys from Santa. (Thanks, Shawn, for the inspiration that day in Clipper Street... you and Lysa would get along famously!) Layni just started skating lessons and mostly stayed on her feet. Mattias didn't really start having a good time until his dad whipped him around the ice on a chair... probably not sanctioned by the management, but somehow Marty usually gets away with stuff like that.

After ice time, the kids coloured birthday Beanie bears (well, puppies, kittens and unicorns actually) while waiting for the pizza and cake, which was followed by the madness of gift opening. Imagine ten kids ripping up tissue paper, jumping up and down and screaming at the top of their lungs... good times.

I'm glad the girls got one all-out big birthday bash to remember, but I'm glad it's over too... and I hope for simpler celebrations in the future!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Timeless Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.


This prayer was written by St. Francis of Assisi in the early 13th century. I think it is one of the most beautiful and powerful prayers I've ever prayed; so simple, yet so profound. Oh God, may I be an instrument of Your peace, and may I seek to love and give, rather than always thinking of myself... that's easy to do in the midst of depression, but when I reach out to others, I find my own burdens easier to carry. Oh Lord, may I become a little bit more like You each day, to the benefit of myself and others. And thank You for loving me even when I'm my most selfish and hateful. You are so gracious; help me to be more gracious to myself and others. Thank You for Your faithfulness, even when I'm not. What would I do without You?

Monday, January 07, 2008

On the Bright Side...

I was just telling someone today how it seems like the people who are decent and hard-working never catch a break. Case in point: Jolie. She's been trying to get her jewelery-making business off the ground so she can quit the physically and emotionally draining bar scene. Her sister's store in Edmonton, where her jewelery was starting to sell over Christmas, has closed. And now, Eklectica, the downtown store that was showcasing her pieces, was broken into. Six to ten of her most expensive pieces were stolen.

Jolie is looking on the bright side, however. The insurance company will reimburse her for the wholesale price of her pieces, she still has 15-20 that weren't taken, and her display cabinet wasn't damaged.

But it just makes me mad that her beautiful, some which were one-of-a-kind, jewelery was taken by stupid thieves! I get personally attached to the jewelery myself :)

God bless Jolie for her positive outlook on the situation... and hopefully, soon, she will get her big break... instead of a break-in!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Volfied

Tonight, I laughed so hard, it hurt. I was literally rolling around on the floor, to the point of tears. Jolie and Marty introduced me to a video game from 1989 called "Volfied." You have to understand, I generally don't play video games, and there's a good reason for that. I freak out. Actually, I freak out watching OTHER people play video games. I have to hold my hand over my mouth to smother my gasps of horror and cries of terror when danger threatens. Imagine how bad it is, when I'M actually playing... probably one of the most hilarious sights in the world. And Marty's comments about my abilities... even funnier. NOW, he understands WHY I don't drive! And he's very grateful I'm not on the roads, endangering innocent people. Most people think I'm joking when I say that, but I'm really not. It has been a long time, too long, since I've laughed that hard. It felt really good.

And now, I have a new addiction. I actually made it past level one a couple times... who knows, maybe sometime this year I'll crack level two. (I say that as a new year has just started, so there may be hope of it, haha!)

I am really grateful for the gift of laughter... it has been my salvation many times through the years. After all, it's hard to kill yourself if you're laughing! That may seem to be a macabre sentiment, but it's so true. I am so grateful for a God with a wicked sense of humour (if you'll pardon the expression) - and that He gave me that gift too!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Depression

It's like taking a walk in the woods, surrounded by the beauty of God's creation, enjoying the ancient trees and running water of the creek nearby, the mossy grass beneath your feet, the crisp, clear air... when suddenly, you're bitten by a poisonous snake. You find yourself gasping for air, feeling the toxic poison spreading throughout your body, unable to stop its progress, wondering if this time it will kill you, and will the pain ever go away? You feel so lonely lying there in the woods, surrounded by beauty that you can no longer grasp, wondering if the pain will ever stop, or if you'll die alone in the wilderness.

That's how I feel tonight.

Tomorrow morning, I will probably wake up after a good night's rest and the sun will be shining brightly again. (Metaphorically speaking... It's supposed to rain here for the next two weeks.) But tonight, it feels very lonely and dark.

Depression sucks...

But Jesus reigns. And thank God for that. That is my hope and my salvation.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

4 and 7

It's a new year, and the December Christmas and birthday madness is over. Our back deck is overflowing with recycled boxes from kids' toys and parcels and the kids' rooms are overflowing with all their new stuff... and yeah, so is mine! Mattias turned 4 and the girls turned 7. I can't believe I've been with them since they were five months old and now, they are seven! When did they grow up? Where have the last six and a half years gone? Wow. I never would have anticipated the joy of watching two (now three) beautiful kids grow up, learning new stuff and becoming more themselves every day. It's amazing and I feel so blessed to have them all in my life, and I am so grateful I don't have to work a nine-to-five job that would suck my soul out, instead of nourishing it. We had presents and cupcakes at home for their birthday; they will be having a skating party with their friends in a couple weeks. And of course, I had to decorate with streamers and balloons, because a birthday is not a birthday without those high-tech decorations, haha (the world according to Layni). I was home with the kids for New Year's Eve... Mattias fell asleep at 11:30 and Layni, Lysa and I were reading a bedtime story when we heard firecrackers going off (all the clocks in the house tell a different time, so we missed the exact "big moment"). New Year's Day, we all went for a big walk (and Layni took her bike out for the first time this year... couldn't do that in NB for sure!). It struck me once again that if Lysa was able to walk and talk, she would be a total menace to society... she has such a wicked sense of humour and loves to start trouble... just laughs her head off. For example, kicking her shoes off and watching them get run over by the stroller... that's one of her favourite games... or getting Layni or Mattias to do "bad" things and then laughing her head off when we yell at them... "But we were just making DeeDee laugh!" they protest. They are a hilarious bunch - as well as a pain in the ass, too often! Well, I should go check on the monsters and herd them into bed. Praying all the best for my loved ones in this new year... God bless you!