Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Layni's Philosophy of God

Layni and I were walking home from the mall this afternoon after running an errand for Jolie (buying the new Madonna CD) and of course, Layni wants to play that game that all kids play... don't step on the cracks or those rocks, only on these lines, or whatever the rules happen to be...

Me: "What am I supposed to do, float over the rocky part?" (It would have been impossible to not step on some of the parts she said were out of bounds.)

Layni: "Don't be silly, people can't do that!"

Me: "Jesus can!"

Layni: "Jesus doesn't count, He can do anything!"

Me: "Like what?"

Layni: "Like make people blind."

Me: "Pardon me? Don't you mean make blind people see?"

Layni: "No, He can make people blind, like Paul in the Bible."

Me: "Oh yeah... I guess He can do anything. Can He even do bad things?" (What do you mean, do I like to bait the little children? Okay, yeah, I do.)

Layni: "Nooooooo..."

Me: (Still baiting) "But I thought He could do anything."

Layni: "He could do bad things, but He's good, so He wouldn't, so He can't."

Me: "You're smarter than most theologians."

Can't Sleep

It's 12:50 AM and my heart is grieving for a friend who has thrown away God's love, and the love of her husband and friends... I'm praying the prodigal will return home... I love her and miss her so much. It haunts me night and day. Oh God, bring her home to us, please.

There are so many heartaches, troubles, sorrows, trials in this world... people I love and care about... sometimes it's overwhelming. But I cling to my hope in God, for when everything else passes away, He remains.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tidbits on the Last Week

Vancouver Fashion Week went well for Jolie. There were "living models" who modeled her jewelery on Wednesday and Thursday, she had a vintage style exhibit that attracted a lot of attention, she made lots of contacts in the industry, did her first interview, learned tons, and felt good about the results. She has a meeting tomorrow in Yaletown with a store interested in selling her designs. Hopefully, it will all translate into sales, because she is so close to quitting the bar - they keep scheduling her for days they KNOW she can't work... it's so ridiculous and frustrating.

It was a quiet weekend with the girls gone to visit their dad's side of the family. It was nice to spend some one-on-one time with Mattias... he's such a good kid when Layni's not around! We watched Brother Bear and its sequel on Friday and Saturday night, went to our church's open house on Saturday, which featured... A BOUNCY CASTLE!!! I don't think Mattias will ever get over the excitement! He asked the poor face painters to make him a Spiderman mask to cover his face (quelle surprise!) but happily settled for a bicycle instead. He was quite thrilled when Layni got home early enough on Sunday for them to play together before he went back to his mom's (as was Layni) - such a love/fighting relationship with those two!

Mattias decided to stay home from church to be with his dad, as there was no Kids Church on Sunday morning. I felt kind of bereft without kids to chase after; luckily, my buddy Maegan came that Sunday and kept me company. We chatted and drew pictures and had a good time (while totally paying attention to the service of course, haha!). It reminded me of after ladies' Thursday morning Bible study when I first got to know her, and she would teach me dance moves or we would play hide 'n' seek. For someone who used to only half-jokingly say of kids, "I hate the little buggers!" I get quite attached to all my little buddies. Thanks, Maegan, for sitting with me and helping me not be lonely on Sunday morning! I love you!

EXCITING BREAKTHROUGH!!! Lysa listened to her earphones - ON her ears! - for 15 minutes two days in a row! This is so exciting because (like Warren in There's Something About Mary) she HATES having anything around or on her ears. My mom suggested that it's maybe because her hearing is her strongest sense and she might fear being cut off from the outside world, which makes sense. I am so proud of her!!!

Tuesday was Earth Day, and Layni read her poem and performed a song with her class at the school assembly. At a couple points, we could totally hear her little voice belting it out over everyone else. Lysa too performed with her class, ringing her bells as they sang a song. I am one of those "parents" that doesn't pay attention to anyone else's kids, because I'm so focused on my little cuties. They do have their adorable moments! After the assembly, the school went on a nature walk through the woods. Jolie and I went with Lysa and her special needs buddies, Leanne and Ella and their SEAs, on quite challenging terrain. I'd forgotten what a good workout those trails are... my heart was really pumping! At a few places, Jolie and I had to "portage" - lift up the stroller and carry it over big rocks - which Lysa finds hilarious, the pampered little princess! We used to do a lot of strenuous hiking like that, but the last couple years have gotten so busy - we really miss it. The gym does not compare at all to that real-life cardiac workout - and yet, you enjoy the beauty of God's creation so much, it's worth it.

Layni and her friend have started a club - that's her new thing, starting clubs at school - first it was the skipping club and now it's the picking up litter club. I love her passion for helping the environment.

We are three weeks into Beth Moore's "Breaking Free" Bible study on Wednesday nights (which I'm also doing with a couple friends on Friday mornings, so I should really know my stuff by the end of the study!) and we had a great discussion tonight about the benefits of our relationship with God...

1. Knowing God and believing Him
2. Glorifying God
3. Finding satisfaction in God
4. Experiencing the peace of God
5. Enjoying God's presence

See, I am learning something! There's so much to think about - it's really challenging me, "Do I really believe what I say I believe, and if I really do, how is that going to affect my life? Because if I really believe, these are life-changing truths!"

And when I got home, Marty had a delicious steak waiting for me... yummy! Yes, he has his good points ;)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oh God...

I cry out to You, Lord. I just got the email that Sandra is home with You. Oh Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief. I know she is in perfect peace and health, no more pain or suffering, that her faith has become sight, that she is rejoicing in Your arms right now, and I am so happy for her, Lord. But so, so sad for us. Oh God, I thought she would pull through this time like so many others... I guess no matter what I knew in my head might or probably would happen, my heart couldn't conceive that she would actually leave us. Oh Jesus, help her husband and her sons... give them a hope and a future, which I'm sure they cannot fathom without her in their lives. The world just seems emptier now. Oh God, help them to keep breathing, to survive this loss, this pain... I can't even imagine. Oh Lord, hold them in Your arms... they need you so much, we all do. I don't have any words, Jesus, I don't know what to say, except help us all survive this, help us carry on in a way that honours who Sandra is, which hasn't changed at all even though she doesn't walk this earth anymore. Help us remember our dear beautiful friend as we worship and praise You as she did through the good, the bad and the ugly. Help us to love and to give and to embrace life completely like her. Help us to be just a little bit like this amazing wonderful lady, and the world, though emptier, will be a better place. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for blessing my life with her presence... for her love, encouragement, faith; she taught me so much, just by being herself. Oh God, thank You that we have hope in You - and help us to hold onto our faith until one day, our faith too, becomes sight, when we stand in Your glorious presence and all our hurts are healed and we become fully ourselves, everything You created us to be. Oh Jesus, my tears cry out to You for all of us who loved Sandra... they say what words never could. To You, Jesus, be all honour, glory and praise, for You alone are worthy. Give Sandra a hug from me, Jesus. In Your precious name I pray, amen.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Will-Powered Faith

This post was written by Beth Moore's son-in-law, Curtis Jones. If I was a little computer savvier, I would just post the link, but I'm not, so I copied and pasted instead :) It really spoke to me of how trying to do things without the power of the Holy Spirit is going to end in disaster, one way or the other.

"I’m the king of commitments. My specialty is spiritual commitments. I’m going to read through the Bible in one year. I’m going to share my faith every day. I’m going pray with my wife every night. You name the commitment and I guarantee I have made it. And broken it. Each time I come with good intentions, a pure heart, and an intense desire to do what is right, but rarely does it work.

Will-powered faith is the worst kind of faith. A relationship with God that is rooted in our ability or strength is doomed to fail for two reasons. First, a will-powered faith will result in self-loathing. We make commitments, try our hardest, give it our all, and fail. So we try again…and fail. And the only person we have to blame is ourselves. Some of us suffer from a spiritual depression because we have lived in a cycle between trying and failing for so long. Second, if our will-powered faith doesn’t end in self-loathing it is because it ended in self-righteousness. We make commitments, try our hardest, and we succeed. We congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Then we look around and notice that other people are not experiencing the same success we are. Why don’t they try as hard as me? Maybe they are just not as godly. Self-loathing or self-righteousness—God hates both.

That’s why he sent us a Helper. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17, ESV). Jesus said it was to our advantage that He went away so He could send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7) to rescue us from the inevitable cycle of human strength-centered living. He will give us the help that we cannot give ourselves. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21, ESV). The Holy Spirit’s power at work within you, the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11), is able to do for you supernaturally what you could not do naturally: live for Jesus and resist fast food."

Kid Stories

Since Layni has gone with me to church for several years, she incorporated prayer time after our story into the bedtime routine a couple years ago. Well, I guess Mattias has heard us pray and wants to get in on the action now too. I've never asked him if he wanted to pray, because Marty is very non-religious, and I think his mom is too, and I'm not about to start anything that would offend either of them. But the last few weeks he has asked me if we can pray as I'm tucking him in after story time and I can't say no. My prayer usually goes something like, "Thank You, God, for today and (whatever fun things we did) and help us all get a good night's sleep." (Simple, honest, and non-offensive, I think.) Then Mattias prays and it's always something like, "Thank You, God, for everything. I wish I could play Spiderman but I can't because it's bedtime. (Big sigh) Amen." That kid cracks me up all the time!

The power of peer influence... for her birthday, Layni got a Geronimo Stilton book from one of her school friends, and has been obsessed ever since... which is fine with me, as I quite enjoy them too! She also got a Hannah Montana board game from one of her friends. I'd never heard of Hannah Montana before and neither had Layni, but she's since discovered the show on TV and is similarly infatuated. Tonight, she and Mattias were playing with their imaginary friends, Spidey and Miley. I guess there are worse things she could be interested in - and she's quite impressed because one of her school friends told her that the real Miley is a Christian... wow, she sings, dances and loves Jesus - Layni's new superhero! I think Mattias is going to stick with Spiderman though, even though Layni's trying to convert him!

Lysa has been healthy and happy all week, super excited to be back at school with all her friends. Layni and I discovered today that she likes to be "Dust-busted" - Layni was cleaning up a mess on the living room floor and pretended to vacuum Lysa up too. Instead of freaking out like I expected, she burst into uncontrollable giggles. Crazy kid! Her laughter is such a blessing to us all.

The girls are going to visit their grandparents this weekend, so Mattias and I will find some adventures, I'm sure. We might go to the Open House at our church on Saturday afternoon... I hear there's a bouncy castle, and really, what more could a kid ask for? Janis, on the other hand, could definitely ask for cake... always obsessed, haha!

Monday, April 14, 2008

She's Back!

Our hilarious, delightful DeeDee is back, and it's so good to have her around again! Jolie and I were "bad" and let her sleep a full nine hours, since it's the first time she's slept through the night in a few days. She woke up playful, giggling, ready to chow down, kick around and have a great day.

We headed downtown early so Jolie could pick up her copies of Bridge magazine (www.bridgemag.com), in which there's a full page ad for Jolie Mack Designs - how exciting! We killed time by walking around Granville Island, eating cookies, feeding the pigeons, and marvelling at the atmosphere... Granville Island is one of my favourite places.

This was my first EEG experience with Lysa - during her previous ones, I had stayed home looking after Layni. I was impressed with how well she did. She didn't enjoy them colouring all over her head with a red marker, but once we flipped her over on her tummy, she found the tedious process of attaching electrodes all over her head quite amusing. She's been loving her tummy time lately, which is great exercise for her and encourages her to use her impulse to throw her head back in a positive way, to lift her head up and look around. Then after getting her happy and interested, we had to get her to sleep. The nurse (EEG-ologist?) dimmed the lights, turned on a CD of lullabies, we cuddled her in a soft blanket with her favourite stuffed monkey, and she actually fell asleep relatively quickly. Let me tell you, in that soothing atmosphere, I was more than ready to lay down and have a nap myself! Poor kid, though, was probably just getting into a really good dream when we had to wake her up again so they could flash blinding lights into her eyes. I must say she put up with all the craziness very well! It's so great to have our easy-going, happy kid back - and no more whining! Thank You Jesus!!!

We have always said that Lysa is the "Zen" in the family and I have realized just how true that is the past few days. With Lysa miserable, we were ALL miserable! But when Lysa's her usual peaceful, joyful self, she centres us all. You can't be stressed out or sad when you hear her contagious laugh. She brings the whole family together doing crazy things to make her giggle. When you're cuddling or laughing and playing with her, all is well with the world. Some people might look at her life as a tragedy, but these past few days emphasized to me how incredibly blessed we are to have her, just as she is, in our lives. We need her and her simple outlook on life to ground us all and keep us sane. I am so thankful for my wonderful little buddy - she gives me far more than I could ever give her!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Looking Forward to a Good Night's Sleep!

That pretty much sums it up, haha! I got four hours last night, and the night before, and I am someone who needs at least eight hours a night... sleep deprivation does not become me. I become easily irritated, more impatient, prone to headaches and the worst... the twitchy eye! Don't mess with me when I'm so tired that the eye is twitching!

The kids were relatively good this weekend... well, Layni and Mattias... Lysa's still killing us with the whining. It makes me realize how much we take for granted what a good, patient, loving, funny, fun kid she is 97% of the time. (But please God, bring that kid back soon!) It's a good thing Layni and Mattias were relatively good or I would have lost it this weekend, I'm pretty sure :)

Today at church, Mattias heaves a big sigh and says, "I can't wait another three weeks." I'm going through my head thinking, "What's happening in three weeks? No birthdays, no holidays..." When I asked, he replied, "In three weeks, I turn into Spiderman." Can you tell who his favourite superhero is? "And I just can't wait!" I'm sure it was hard for Peter Parker too, buddy.

Well, with a nap this afternoon and the prospect of a good seven hours sleep tonight, I'm feeling more sane, calm and ready to face the week. Thanks for the prayers and good wishes that are going to get us all through... and pray that the EEG goes well tomorrow. Good night!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Losing My Mind

It's Saturday night, I have a headache and I am losing my marbles between Lysa's INCESSANT whining and the freaking phones not working... I hate Marty's stupid internet phones! Okay, they may be cheaper, but I'd like to know if something happened, I would be able to call 911... not with these stupid, unreliable things that are constantly giving out as soon as I start a conversation! And Lysa... I get that you're sick, you're not feeling well, but you're killing me with the whining! I could handle screams and tears, but not this constant, grating whining for HOURS on end! She's had everything - medicine, different kinds of food, different kinds of music, cuddles, singing, DVDs, a long walk, drinks, books, exercise... and yet the sound continues. I had to shut her up in her room with a CD tonight for an hour while I gave the other two a bath; I could not handle it anymore... four extra-strength tylenol later, and I'm still going crazy. She whined for 3 hours NON-STOP last night from 11:30 PM - 2:30 AM... I AM SO TIRED AND FRUSTRATED!!! And Layni and Mattias, when together, even if they are being good, which doesn't often seem to be the case, are so freaking LOUD!!! This may sound terrible, but it will be such a relief this week when Mattias goes home tomorrow night... I just can't take all three kids like this at once. Jolie is losing her mind trying to get ready for Vancouver Fashion Week this week... making jewelery to sell, as well as for the models to wear, getting outfits ready for herself to wear Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, getting all the gajillion details taken care of, and trying to prepare herself emotionally to gear up for all the socializing and networking she's going to have to do, which she's not comfortable with at all. I will be busy taking care of the kids this week as well as the house and helping her out with cleaning jewelery or whatever she needs. I'm hoping Layni and Lysa's grandparents will take them next weekend; that would help out so much. The thought of facing this week is so overwhelming, and I want to help Jolie out as much as I can because I know she's freaking out too. And the cherry on top is Elysa has an EEG on Monday so we have to keep her up until midnight tomorrow, wake her up at 5:00AM and keep her awake until her EEG at 1:00 PM, so I will have to sit in the back of the car on the drive to Children's Hospital to keep her awake while Jolie drives, and then try to settle her down because she's supposed to go to sleep for the EEG. Yeah, right. That's going to be awesome. Oh God, please let Lysa get completely well, and HELP HER TO STOP WHINING! Give Jolie and me strength and energy and a positive attitude this week, help the kids to be good, and by some miracle, let Marty be helpful, considerate, and supportive. Oh Lord, help us all, and grant Jolie success this week, please!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

P.S.

Thank God for disposable diapers and washing machines!!!

Reader Discretion Advised!

If you get grossed out about bodily functions, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER!!!

One of the "side-effects" if you will, of Lysa's condition, is chronic constipation. We've battled it by loading her up with Wheetabix, keeping her well-hydrated through her G-tube, and by giving her the occasional suppository (hey, I warned you!), but nothing has been consistently effective. Last Monday, her pediatrician prescribed a medication to help combat the problem. Thank God for the G-tube, because this stuff smells like glue - I can't imagine anybody actually being able to drink it. Monday dose - nothing. Tuesday dose - nothing. Wednesday dose - nothing. Thursday dose - finally did the deed (after almost two weeks) but it was hard. Friday - gave her the dose and then checked her pants - okay, it's definitely working now - I think we can cut back on the dosage! Saturday - no dose needed as things are still moving along.

Saturday afternoon - just about to head out the door to see Layni break the board and get her green belt in Tae Kwon Do when...

POOP EXPLOSION!!!
The entire lower half of her was covered, from waist to feet... half a box of wipes and an emergency bath later, I think to myself,
"I missed Layni's promotion ceremony and a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese for this?
I am the best freaking nanny EVER!"
I hope everyone else had a cleaner, more fun afternoon than me... excuse me, I have to go disinfect myself again.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How Long...

Jolie and I often wonder if, allowed to sleep for as long as we wanted, without any responsibilities or to-do lists or children hanging over our heads, how long would we actually sleep? She estimates five days, I estimate 14 hours, a few days in a row... there's just never enough time to do everything we have to do, the things we want to do, or to just catch up on sleep, sweet sleep. I'm sure many people feel that way! We came home this afternoon, and all four of us girls crashed for three hours. (It was supposed to be just an hour nap, but that didn't happen!)

I got up at 6:00 AM to get myself and everyone else ready to go downtown to Elysa's audiology appointment this morning. Traffic was horrible... I hate traffic! That's one of the best things about visiting New Brunswick... there, traffic is six cars lined up behind a tractor. Layni and I visited the gift shop, thrift store, Starbucks, and library while waiting for Jolie and Lysa. I got some "new" (old) Sesame Street books, my favourite being The Adventures of Super Grover. The truth is I'm the one who is the biggest kid of them all!

After Lysa was finished being tortured - she hates having anything touching her ears (just like Warren in There's Something About Mary) so when her screams penetrated through several closed doors to the waiting room, Layni jumped up, "That's my sister!" The other parents in the waiting room looked a little frightened... but I digress... After the torture was over, we headed to Stanley Park for a walk by the beach. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but that wind sure was cold - I was glad to have my mittens, but wished I'd brought a hat or earmuffs too. We loved watching the crows, ducks, swans, geese, and cranes, as well as the infamous Stanley Park squirrels, who were very frisky today... we watched three in particular chasing each other up and down a row of trees. It was a fun outing. Oh, there were tons of things we all could have and perhaps should have been doing, but sometimes you just have to seize the moment and enjoy it, or you'll always be doing the things you should be doing, and never enjoying life itself. It seems the older the kids get, the more appointments and activities and responsibilities there are, and not as much room for the impromptu adventures we used to have, so we have to take them when we can get them!

Of course, as I said before, we all came home and crashed, but I guess we all need to do that sometimes too. Okay, I need to get to bed - back on track tomorrow!