Friday, April 1, 2011

It's not a Joke. I Repeat, NOT a Joke. I Blogged

1. My dad reminded me that my blog has not been updated in three weeks. To which I replied that no, I have not written much but since March 3rd I have vacuumed my house at least 12 times, cleaned the bathrooms every second day and basically followed behind my kids with a broom and scrub bottle.

2. No, the house has not yet sold. Why do you ask?

3. Spring finally got the memo and showed up in these parts. Yesterday we got up to 7C in the sun. Which means that pretty much everyone is in shorts and the hoochie momma tops are out in full force. After 20 minutes in Walmart I wanted to go and scrub out my eyes with bleach. Parkas can be a blessing in disguise sometimes.

4.  I have discovered a new recipe site. Soooooo good.  Healthy food that actually tastes good. Way Cooler  has only grimaced and blanched at one of the recipes that I have foisted at him. Which for Way Cooler is a bit of a record.

5. I just finished reading "Invisible Chains" by Benjamin Perrin.  I totally recommend it.  It is a concise look at human trafficking and what ordinary people can do about it.  While it was written from a Canadian perspective there is still lots of good information in it no matter what country you live in. Read it. Read it. Read it. I may be silent again a bit on the old blog as I find myself with a lot of letters to write now.

6. WARNING: SHAMELESS NAME DROPPING AHEAD: I used to babysit the author.  He was a bit of a brat back in the day.  Has totally redeemed himself now by becoming so invested in stopping this shameful, shameful industry.

7. We started Spring break this week with the world's shortest bout of the stomach flu* (NOT COMPLAINING) and based on the coughing last night appear to be ending it with croup. Spud may never want a school holiday again.

*They were each sick for three hours and then ALL WAS WELL.  It was utterly bizarre. NOT COMPLAINING.

For more quick takes from bloggers who you know, actually blog visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hey Dad, Look: a New Post

We had a family dinner the other night to celebrate my dad's birthday.  He is now officially a senior citizen!   As evidenced by the fact that he now attends hymn sings on a regular basis.  I think this is a requirement of all Christian seniors.  They must believe that the music is JUST TOO LOUD at their regular service and go to hymn sings to get away from that ratty-tat music.

ANYWAY, both he and my sister-in-law were complaining about my lack of posting. And since they are two of my biggest fans I do not wish to disappoint. My dad foolishly suggested that I just use him as blog fodder.  Which to a blogger means he just painted a target on his back and declared open season.

Warning: if there is a blogger in your family do NOT tell them they can write whatever they want.  Because we will. With reckless abandon.

So, dear family members and 2 random strangers this is what I have been up to:

The house is on the market.  This basically means that I morph into this fanatic wide-eyed vortex of cleaning.  I was getting after my 4 year old for touching the walls the other day when I realized I may need professional help.  Either that or we should NEVER MOVE AGAIN.

The house sale stuff is basically my kryptonite.  I have to be all OCD which does not come naturally for me and makes me rather up-tight, plus the whole house selling thing?  I can't control it.  I do DO NOT like things I cannot control.  Which means the teen years should be just a PICNIC.

We have not had very many showings which is causing me all kinds of worry as evidenced by the fact that I have been up since three in the morning.  Because you know, my lack of sleeping will be just the thing my poor children need right about now.  A crazy AND overtired mother. At least they will have lots to tell their therapist.

In brighter news, the new house is going to be ready ahead of schedule.  For those of you unfamiliar with the whole home-building thing, this is a VERY weird thing.  They are NEVER on time. It is written in some home building manual somewhere.

So, come May we will be in the new house.  Which means that Spud will finish Grade one in a new location. He is VERY excited about that. We are not exactly sure why but we are thankful that the move is not causing him much anxiety as this has not always been the case.

So to sum up:
The house will be ready early
I am a cleaning machine
Also a little crazy
But you knew that already.

The end.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Big Families And Being Scared

Elizabeth Esther (whom I adore by the way) wrote a post this morning about large families and Christians. And it stuck in my craw a little bit.  So rather than hi-jack her comments I thought I'd share right here on my own blog.

First let me say, we have two kids.  Whom we adore. And when asked if I am done (which is a VERY rude question by the way) I smile sweetly and say "oh yes."  However, I am not at all opposed to large families.  In fact half of the blogs I read are of larger families.  I LOVE their families.  I love those moms.  I totally support them in their decision to be counter cultural with their large brood. Janet, Dianna, Char, Lady Why, you all rock the party.

However, it doesn't make them better than me.

It doesn't make them holier, more full of faith, more sanctified or more blessed.  In some of their cases it makes them obedient as they truly believe that this was what God called them to.

But he did not call me.  Trust me.  I asked.  Many times.

And apart from a few verses in the Psalms that are sometimes taken out of context God is rather silent on family size.

I am not afraid.  I am simply living the life I believe God called me to.

You see, we Christians are REALLY good at finding something that works for us and extrapolating it to include all Christians. I've seen it argued that God has called us to be more organized, more crafty, cleaner, adopt babies, sell everything, get everything, sing more hymns, sing more worship songs, follow very traditional gender roles, smash traditional gender roles and so on.

It's enough to send those that are not Christians screaming into the night.

Ands I've seen scriptural support for ALL these things.  Sometimes taken wildly out of context but still.

And amidst all of this we tend to miss the point.  It's not about what we do.

We are saved by grace.

What we do should flow out of the relationship we have with our Saviour and Creator.  And we serve an infinitely complex God so his people are going to look so very different.

Even when they are obedient.

This doesn't make them stupid or scared or sissies.

It makes them a reflection of the God who created them.  The church was not called to be uniform, it was called to be obedient.

So if God is calling you to have 14 children please go do so.  And let me know so I can send you a gift.  Cause if there is one thing I do know about lots of kids, your'e probably gonna want some pants for this baby without holes in the knees.

We just all need to do that which we are convicted by the Holy Spirit to do.

By grace.

Monday, January 31, 2011

How To Make Salad Dressing, Geek Style

The following is a lesson in Geek cooking.  Read carefully and learn from me, oh grasshopper.

1.  Have husband make subtle hint about homemade dressing, "I bet you could make Catalina dressing. I don't think it would be hard."*

2.  Decide to whip up some salad dressing while making dinner.

3. Find reasonable looking recipe online.

4.  Try to figure out how the heck one grates an onion.

5.  Quickly discover that using a box grater will turn the onion slimy, but not at all grated.

6.  Try using your immersion blender.  It works.  With the added bonus of being tear free.  Your eyes will burn as if they are actually on fire and one or both eyelids will twitch convulsively, but hey, you will not cry.

7.  Add paprika.  Discover that what you thought was paprika from your spice rack was actually cinnamon sugar.

8.  Blame the twitching eyelid.

9.  practice self-control.

10 rinse out blasted cinnamon/ onion mixture and start again.

11. Follow the recipe correctly this time.

12.  Take dressing to husband for taste-test.  First words out of husband's mouth will be "this looks weird doesn't it?"

13.  Decide that all you need is ONE woman on the jury and you would NEVER be convicted.

14.  Practice self-control.

15.  Have husband pronounce it good.  Nothing like Catalina dressing, but he would still eat it.

16 Go finally start supper.

*The House of Geek has a very traditional division of labour.  It works for us.  Usually.   

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DO NOT Read this if You Are in Your First Trimester. You Have Been Warned

I posted a while ago that I was going to make a chai tea concentrate.  I have been working on finding the spices which is harder than I thought it would be in this very multi-cultural city.  For example, Wal-Mart has cloves and cinnamon sticks.  That's it.

So, I had to go to Superstore.  Like most Western Canadians I have a love/hate relationship with that place.  Most are on the dirty side, they are often out of what you need and customer service is about as plentiful as flip flops in January.  However, the prices are low.  Real low. And they sell decadent chocolate chip cookies.  Plus most have a HUGE aisle dedicated to ethnic food.

And that is where I found myself on Saturday night desperately seeking star anise along with many families stocking up for Chinese New Year.

Now you have to understand something.  I have a touchy stomach.  It is my children' fault.   Before pregnancy I rarely threw up.  I could handle almost anything.  Very little made me queasy.  Enter hormones and pregnancies where even reading the Bible could make me sick and even now six years later it is AMAZING the stuff that can make me gag. So I found myself amongst the crunchy fried shrimp chips, the seaweed and other delicacies and I realized I was in trouble.

SERIOUS trouble.

You know the phrase I just threw up in my mouth?

I actually did.

Right there in the ethnic aisle of super store.  And when they say super, they are referring to the store's size, not the fact that it is any kind of awesome.  They are MASSIVE.  And I had a mouth full of puke.  Fortunately usually I travel with children with bladders the size of an ant so I knew where the washrooms were, but it was a long sprint to get to them.

Made further complicated by the fact that most of the checkouts were closed with gates blocking your way to the blessed bathroom.

All the while I had a MOUTH FULL OF STUFF.

I passed the floral aisle and had an overwhelming urge to just spit it into one of the buckets and just calmly walk away.

You will be pleased to know I did not.  Although I am not sure any of you are still reading anymore. I really have no concept of how much is just TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

I made it, spit, rinsed my mouth out with water and vowed once again, to NEVER go back there again.

Or at least until I run out of flour.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Year of Grace

Back at the beginning of 2010, Anne Voskamp shared that her word for the year was going to be Yes.  It would be a year of  saying yes for her.  The whole idea greatly intrigued me so I too choose a word.  Mine was grace.  I did not feel as if I was good at it, giving or receiving so this would be the year that I choose grace.

I had no idea at the time how much this was going to resonate.

2010 was a year when I discovered just how weak I am.  For the past twelve years I have been running on adrenaline and caffeine.  For five years  I worked a job I did not like and quite honestly wasn't very good at.  So to make up for my lack of ability I just worked hard.  Very hard.

Then I had two very strong willed children.  Plus I moved six times.  I did not have time or energy to breath, let alone really stop and think.

This year was a tad bit different.  There's nothing like major surgery to force one to slow down and evaluate themselves.

Can't say I really like what I saw.

I got face to face with my sins.  Especially the persistent ones.

They are SO MANY.

Left to my own devices I do not choose good.

I choose the easy route.  I am self-centered.  I am quick to anger, prone to doubt and can carry a wicked grudge.

And yet, His grace really is enough.  ALL my sins are forgiven.  My Saviour covered it.

It truly is an indescribable gift.

Even more amazing are the times that I do say the right thing.  The times I forgive. The times I can let things go.  Because that is not me.  Not even a little bit.  That is grace working in me.

2010 was a year I realized just what grace is all about.  How it was and still is extended to me.

It was also a year I began to give grace to myself.

To allow myself to say no occasionally.  To potentially let people down.  To forgive myself as I have been forgiven.

2010 was not the year that I choose grace, it was the year I fully expereienced it.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Extrordinary Decision

The following was written in a coffee shop on a COLD afternoon in late December.  Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary does this, she just listens and writes.  I cannot listen, my ears have enough trouble with the sounds intended for me, so I watched and wrote and imagined their words.
Today marks a remarkable day for an extraordinary lady.  One year sober.  So as a tribute to her incredible courage I write in the style that she does so very well.  No editing, just what I see and feel in the moment.
The sun is streaming in and the dust motes dance.  The old man smiles at the lady, with whom he is close.  You can see someone cares for him, his hair is neatly cut, his jacket is new and warm, not a brand picked up in shops frequented by old men.  As they go to leave he takes the tray, a task his frame is not suited for anymore, she smiles and carries it for him.  Just as she smiled when he told her a story she had probably heard before. A gentle smile, just for him. 
She is jangling her keys, waiting, pacing, another stop in a busy day.  Her shadow is longer than her and quieter, less frenzied as the keys gently bob up and down in the sun.  I see me as she flips through the magazine, unable to keep from doing something, anything as the waiting passes.  There is just not enough time to just be.
The contrast is almost startling, a life almost done, not hurried, no more tasks that MUST BE DONE right now.  RIGHT NOW.  She flies on with her day, he meanders, she has many waiting on her and what she can do for them, he is now reliant on the ones he once served.
She stomps in, a grin lighting her face as she spies the one who waits.  They smile, jackets removed, coffees compared, all the while bathed in the late afternoon sun.
The dust motes dance.