Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'M GOING TO SEE MADONNA!!!

You know, I wasn't the biggest Madonna fan in junior high or high school; I enjoyed some of her songs, but not enough to buy an album. And her in-your-face-look-at-me-I'm-so-sexually-rebellious persona never appealed to me. It was after I saw Evita in college (she truly did an a amazing job in that role!) and she embraced motherhood and started to tone down her obsession with sex that the tide started to turn for me. When I started working for Jolie seven years ago, I listened to the Music album a lot, as that was what the girls listened to in utero and would calm them down when they were infants. Since Jolie is such a huge fan, I've gotten to listen to her albums and I've grown to love a lot of her music... it's fun! And all the songs on the Immaculate Collection bring back all those memories of the growing-up years... it's funny how hearing an old song will bring a memory back. So for my seven year anniversary with the family (today!), Jolie bought tickets to the Madonna concert in the fall. My last concert was ten years ago... dc talk, before they broke up... remember, Alisha? Generally, I'm not a concert person... too loud (I'm so old!)... I'd rather just watch the concert DVD in the comfort of my living room - plus, it's a lot cheaper! But I think this concert will be a once-in-a-lifetime event... THANKS, JOLIE!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oh God...

Jesus, this is another time that we think, "WHY?!" How could You let this happen? How can anything good come out of this? Oh Lord, I lift this family up to You and beg You to help them get through the days and months and years ahead. Only with You, could someone survive such tragedy. Oh Jesus, I know this beautiful little girl is safe and sound and eternally happy in Your arms at this very moment, but her parents and siblings, especially her brother, must feel so utterly heartbroken and maybe they feel abandoned by You. Oh Jesus, I pray especially for her brother... a horrible accident that will haunt him the rest of his life. Oh Jesus, don't let him be destroyed by guilt and self-hatred... give him a hope and a future in You. Somehow use this horrible thing for Your glory... to draw each member of this family closer to You and to each other. Comfort them, Jesus, give them the strength to keep on breathing and to hang on tight to each other. Oh Lord, there are no words, but my heart cries out to You on their behalf... pour out Your mercy and grace on them. Help them, Jesus, as only You can. Help us all, Jesus, to see You in the midst of the darkness of this world, in the midst of hopelessness and despair, help us to hang onto You for dear life. Oh Jesus, thank You for being our hope, thank You that You are bigger than all of this, and someday, we will all be Home with You and it will finally all be okay.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Innocence Lost... Again

"To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure."

Titus 1:15

Tonight, I was feeding Lysa supper while Marty did the dishes (God bless him!) and he was goofing around, spraying Lysa with the hose from the sink, which made her giggle insanely (and got the floor all wet, but once again, making Lysa laugh trumps all common sense!). I laughed and called him and Lysa a couple of goofs, to which Marty and Jolie promptly informed me that the word is now a very derogatory term that would get me beat up if I used it in public. Seriously? Goof is now worse than a swear word? I feel like that day in college, when walking with my best friend, she informed me that fairy no longer refers to the woodland sprites of our childhood imaginings, but is now a homosexual term. Why? Why do people take my precious language from me and pollute it to mean terrible things it was never intended to mean? And I, in my innocence, am completely ignorant until some wiser soul educates me in the hope that I won't inadvertently get pummelled someday.

It's a good thing my citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), because sometimes I just can't handle this world anymore!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Best Kind of Friend...

The best kind of friend is someone who even when one or both of you feel like complete crap, you can still just be together and enjoy each other's company. My best friend is like that... no matter how much life sucks, it's still fun just to be together... and we've been through it all together!

Today, I had lots of stuff I should be doing... preparing for Bible study tomorrow and finishing the thank you notes for our Ladies' Spring Tea being at the top of the list... but last night, I was talking to a friend whose family is going through all kinds of stuff and she just doesn't feel like getting out of bed in the morning - I well know that feeling! I suggested we get together to watch an Audrey Hepburn movie. We ended up watching two Jimmy Stewart movies on the Turner Classic Movie channel... The Glen Miller Story and Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. She was in her pj's, and me in my comfy blue fleece sweatshirt and jeans, and we just snacked and watched and occasionally giggled and marvelled about how great old movies are. Sometimes there's nothing you can do to make a situation better, but you can always just be there... and often, that's enough. I know from experience. I'm honoured to have that kind of friend, and to be that kind of friend... the very best kind.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Loving the Sunshine!

Today was a great day. I slept in for the first time in a long time and enjoyed the rest too much to wallow in guilt about wasting half of such a beautiful day. After a late breakfast, Layni and I cleaned out and filled our little wading pool in the backyard. She, DeeDee and I all squished in for some splashing, kicking fun in the hot sun. While Lysa was napping later, Layni and I laid out on a blanket, doing puzzle books together, then played badminton and tag until supper time. Us girls are heading to Merritt tomorrow for an overnight visit to Jolie's mom and stepdad's, while Marty stays home and enjoys some peace and quiet. I wonder if it will make him miss us? Or just wish we were all gone more often? Haha!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Why Do I Blog?

I was introduced to blogging about two years ago by my friend Krista. You have to know I am the MOST computer illiterate person on the planet... I'm able to check my email and google things and that's about it! The first year or so, I ended up posting about once a month, an update on the month's activities. Then about a year ago, I started a new blog in a fit of desperation and depression late one night and titled it "What's Wrong With Me?"

Why do I blog? For one thing, it's a practical way to keep in touch with long-distance friends and family who want to know what I'm up to... they can click onto my blog and get an idea of what's happening in my life.

But I think, for me, the most important thing it does, ironically - because I know this is not true of all blogs - is keep me accountable. I'm the kind of person who it's not easy for me to say things out loud, especially if it's anything personal or painful. Writing has always been my strongest form of communication. When I'm not doing well with my depression, that's when I'm most unable to reach out to other people and yet, when I most need it.

The past couple weeks have been hard... a dear friend died, which just gets your mind going in all sorts of directions, good and bad, aside from the grief and loss; and something else happened that broke my heart. It's been hard to get out of bed in the morning, to summon the willpower to do the things that need doing, to reach out and say hey, I just need someone to hang out with. Because when you're depressed, the self-destructive behavioural defenses kick in... I'm not going to let anyone see me weak, I'm not going to ask for help, I deserve all the pain I feel, etc. I tend to take anything negative in my life - circumstances, feelings, conflicts - and turn it inward against myself as a weapon.

Thankfully, I have a solid foundation of hope and faith in Jesus. I have resources in Him. Granted, I don't always use them, but I am getting better. I don't wallow in the pit of self-hatred and self-destruction that I used to... now I only stick my toe in sometimes ;)

So, I want to get back to using this blog to keep myself accountable in my struggles... to say when I'm having a hard time... because when you bring things out of the darkness and into the light, they're never as bad as you think they are, and only then can you work on healing. So, I want to take even five minutes at the end of each day, maybe just to say, today was hard, or today was good, or this is what I want to work on, or this is what I hope is better tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

The kids are in bed, Marty is at work and Jolie and I are hanging out downstairs, listening to records; she's working while I check my email. I just got up to flip over the record and tripped over the laundry basket and flew halfway across the room. No, I'm not hurt, thank you for asking. Jolie asked about ten minutes after the incident, when she had stopped laughing long enough to form words. It reminds me of the time we all dressed up as ghosts for Halloween because we thought it would be such an easy costume. Layni tripped on her bedsheet and fell down. I tried to comfort the crying, hysterical child while Jolie rolled around on the sidewalk, hysterical herself, with laughter. She says people falling down is just funny. So note to all of you, if you fall down and seriously hurt yourself, you better pray there's someone other than Jolie around to help you!

Layni woke me up at 1:30 this morning with some crazy story about Lysa... finally I said, "Is Lysa awake? Is she whining?" After staring at me for a few moments, Layni replied, "Yes." I think she was half-asleep and dreaming. When I went upstairs, I found Lysa screaming and crying. Funny how they can be fine one day, and wake up sick the next. I think she has a bit of a cold, so I gave her a syringe of Pediasure, some water and cold medicine and brought her into my bed to snuggle. We ended up listening to a CD of silly songs all night (thank God for the "Repeat All" button on CD players!) and sleeping in this morning. I was just telling a friend yesterday that my hours are unpredictable!

Marty and Jolie took Layni and Mattias out to Langley to have dinner with Marty's mom and brother. Lysa and I stayed home and went out for a long walk, enjoyed the fresh air and got some CDs from the library. Tonight, after tucking the kids into bed, Jolie and I sat down to Desperate Housewives, our recent Sunday night tradition.

I called my mom to wish her a happy Mother's day, of course. I love my mom... she is so much fun, funny, generous, kind, honest, loving... the absolute best. I am SO grateful to have her in my life, and can't wait to see her in the fall!

Well, I'm going to get off the computer and get to bed at a reasonable hour, hopefully. I've been re-reading Anne of Green Gables... my mother's copy from when she was a girl... and I'm almost done. Such a classic!

And oh yes, the best Mother's Day present of all... Jolie had her last shift at the Foggy Dew last night... she's FREE!!! She may fill in occasionally when needed, but now it's up to her, she can say no if she wants to... now the jewelery business just needs to take off and make a profit, and we'll be set!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Confession and Thanksgiving

I have a confession to make. Today, I stole a Reader's Digest from the dentist's office. I justified it to myself because it didn't have a sticker on it saying "Property of the Dentist's Office" - but that's no excuse. I confess to my criminal activity, and I'm sorry. But I'd probably do it again.

What caused this lapse of moral judgement? I was holding Dee Dee, who had passed her dental exam with flying colours (and none of her usual screaming or whining - way to go, kid!), when I glanced over to the table next to the couch we were sitting on. The cover said, "Guess Who's Most Polite: Reader's Digest Tests Canadians' Courtesy." Nothing that earth-shattering or exciting, but I was curious to see if the Maritimes would score higher than the West Coast. (Moncton was the city with the highest score - way to go NB! - with Calgary and Vancouver tied for second.) As I was looking at the table of contents to find the pertinent page, I saw an article titled "Finding Baby Jessica... Again." All I saw were the words Baby Jessica and I thought, "Oh, the baby that fell down the well in Texas... I wonder how she's doing!" But when I turned to page 64 after looking at the results of the courtesy survey, I found a very different story... one I'd never heard before.

It told the story of three teenage boys heading home after school one spring day in 1986 in a rural community outside Victoria. They heard a strange sound coming from the ditch across the road and when they went to investigate, they found a gym bag sitting in the stream of water. Inside they found a soaking wet newborn baby girl. In a time before cell phones or even 911 in rural areas, they flagged down a passing car who went for help. When rescue personnel showed up twenty minutes later, the boys were told the infant was 2 or 3 hours old and may have been in the ditch for an hour or more. If she had been found ten or twenty minutes later, she likely would have died of exposure or drowned. She was dubbed "Baby Jessica."

The boys grew up, married and had families of their own. But every April 14th, they would raise a beer in her memory and wonder how she was doing.

Twenty years later, they received a phone call and heard a voice saying, "Hello. I'm Baby Jessica. Thank you for saving me." A week later they and their families got to meet her in person. She had been adopted into a loving family with a brother and sister, loved horseback riding, gymnastics, basketball and snowboarding, and was now training to be a paramedic.

I couldn't believe this story... that someone would leave their child in a cold, wet stream to die... that the boys would be at the exact right place at the exact right time to save a little life...

To me, it shows how depraved human beings can be in our selfishness... no doubt, this was a very broken mother to have abandoned her child like that... what had happened to her to make her take such an action? It also shows me how good God is, that He would arrange for those boys to find that innocent little girl and save her life, and provide her a loving family to nurture her and provide what her birth parents could or would not.

And I want to shout to the world how good God is, tell everyone the good news...

because that beautiful girl is my cousin.

Bad Influence?

Jolie just said to me, "Elayna's going to be a performing nun! All she wants to do is perform in front of the school and listen to Christian music and pray! What have you done to my daughter?!"

I guess while I was at Bible study tonight, she told Jolie she wants to go to Catholic school. "What seven-year-old wants to go to Catholic school?" I blame that on Jolie, however, telling her how much she enjoyed being taught by the nuns. I really don't see Layni being a nun, but who knows?!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

My Best Friend's Husband...

... is an amazing man, and I am so grateful that God brought him into her life. He's not perfect, but he is perfect for her. And it is a great comfort to me to know that though I'm far away and unable to be Jesus' hands and feet in her life, he is there, doing his best, doing an extraordinary job... an everyday hero... thanks, Derek. I love you and admire you and respect you and appreciate you so much, though I don't say it often enough... thank you for taking care of my best friend. Thank you for being you, for being a reflection of Jesus' extraordinary love in our lives... you may not feel like it, but you truly are.

*Again, click on the title for the link.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Crazy...

I've been watching video and looking at pictures from the flooding in New Brunswick... places I know are underwater, businesses are flooded, schools are closed, some people's homes have literally floated away (though no one I know personally). So far all my family and friends are safe, though it's hard to get around as numerous roads are underwater, and my dad's automotive shop may be flooded. He went fishing this weekend nonetheless... after all, worrying about it is not going to help, so might as well fish! That's my dad's philosophy of life, God bless him. And it's true. My mom and I, on the other hand, are more the worrying type ;) My mom, who works at the airport, says people getting off flights remark on how bizarre it is to fly over, because everything is covered in water. So far, there have been no deaths reported, thank God, but I can't even imagine the cost of damage to homes and businesses, and New Brunswick is not the richest province to start off... well, not financially. In spirit and kindness, we are second to none!

*I'm still working on my skills, but if you click on the title, you can see pictures of the flooding.