Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Beatitudes

BLESSED are they who find Christmas in the age-old story of a baby born in
Bethlehem.To them a little child will always mean hope and promise to a
troubled world.

BLESSED are they who find Christmas in the Christmas star. Their lives may
ever reflect its beauty and light.

BLESSED are they who find Christmas in the joy of gifts sent lovingly to
others. They shall share the gladness and joy of the shepherds and wise men
of old.

BLESSED are they who find Christmas in the fragrant greens, the cheerful
holly and soft flicker of candles. To them shall come bright memories of
love and happiness.

BLESSED are they who find Christmas in the happy music of Christmas time.
They shall have a song of joy ever singing in their hearts.

BLESSED are they who find Christmas in the message of the Prince of Peace,
They will ever strive to help Him bring peace on earth, goodwill to all.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Do Not Be Afraid

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Luke 2: 9-12 NIV

"Do not be afraid." This is said a lot in the bible. Almost like He knew we needed to hear it over and over.

"Do not be afraid." It really happened. We don't have to wonder or hope. He came. He came for us. Do you believe that? Believe it, it's true.

From my little corner of the world. From my teeny, tiny blog in the great blogosphere I have discovered this all of you and your families. To all the women and their husbands and children and cats and dogs and people that make up your amazing, busy, hilarious, God-filled lives. To all the people who have shared recipes, household tips, words or encouragement, a sympathetic ear and a praying heart..."God Bless Us, Everyone!"

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good-night.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

BooMama's Bloggy Christmas Tour

Welcome to our home. We are almost ready for Christmas. Our tree is not very big but we really like it. This year it is decorated with all the ornaments we have, except all of my beautiful Christmas balls. We used the balls last year and it was lovely but my daughter missed all the ornaments that had all the stories behind them. Can't blame her. To the right are our stockings that my Mom needle-pointed for us - my sister's family have matching ones. My mom is very organized and plans ahead!
This ceramic Christmas tree belonged to my Grandmother. She used it when she was done "with the hassle of a real tree". Somehow, I was lucky enough to inherit it. My sister made these carolers for me a couple of years ago. She made the mom and little girl when it was just M. and me and when I re-married, she made the father. They always sing around Grannie's tree (it lights up, you just can't tell :)
This is my stained-glass Nativity scene that my best-friend gave me over the course of many years. It is truly beautiful and I love it so much. I always pretend that I am the Little Drummer Boy that is in the front. I know he wasn't really there that amazing night but I can identify in so many ways with him..."what can I give him? I can give him my heart".
This is just a collection of decorations I have amassed over the years. I had quite the snowman collection going for a long time. This is one of my best ones. He sits on the wall and watches everyone who comes into the house. I purchased him and the wooden Santa at the same Christmas craft fair. I couldn't decide between them and stared at them for the longest time, trying to rationalize having both. The owner of the booth asked me if I was OK since I was taking so long to decide. As you can see I bought both and could barely fit Santa in the back seat. The little village is actually a 3-D puzzle set that M. puts together every year. I got it at Wal-Mart one year after Christmas for $5.oo - score for the Boxing Day sales!

I don't really like to decorate. All the boxes and lugging and taking down and putting up. But I do love to live in a house that is Christmassy - especially things that light up. Every night I turn out the lights and just sit in the glow of the tree and my little snowman that lights up and the glowing caroler tree. Last night I even found battery-operated tee-lights so I don't have to think of/remembering the lit candles. That's technology!!! But the memories that come to life during the unpacking of the decorations are one of the best parts of Christmas. Memories of people, places and things of Christmasses past - it helps me stay connected to what and who are really important.

Thanks for stopping by - I love company.

Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyful New Year!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Kids are Remarkable

Yesterday was my daughter's Christmas piano recital. Her teacher has 38 students from primary-aged children all the way up to high school. We had the recital in a lovely piano studio with great acoustics and balcony seating, so it was quite the event.

This year, the teacher, with the spirit of Christmas giving in mind, decided to make the recital a fund-raiser for a local animal shelter.

All fall the students were hard at work composing music and lyrics for their own songs, inspired by their favorite animals, so the fund-raiser for the shelter was a perfect fit. All songs were illustrated by each student as well. The teacher compiled a book to take home so all the kids could learn each others songs if they wished.

So this year, the Christmas recital had no Christmas songs. Instead, we were part of a world premier of local talent.

It was remarkable!

These kids, some tiny, some only as old as high school. Composing their own pieces. Performing in front of 50-60 people. The confidence they possessed. And the guts when they didn't!

I try so hard not to under-estimate children. I try not to impose my limitations on their abilities. I try so hard not to ask for the details and just let it happen and see where it goes. Most times I need to try harder.

I always say that "kids are just short human beings". They have all the emotions and talents that we have, they just haven't had the opportunities to experience or develop them yet.

The piano teacher gets it. She knows what these kids can do, encourages it and expects it. Expectations can be very good things. I am learning that.

Yesterday, I was so impressed. With my own child and with every other child there.

It's amazing what people can do when they are given a chance and some support - even when they are short.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Our New Nativity Scene

This year we have a new Nativity Scene! Normally we have two other ones. A beautiful stained-glass scene that my best friend gave me, piece by piece, over many years. It's truly lovely. And we have a painted wooden one for "kids" to play with and re-enact the big night. But this year, as my daughter was going through the Christmas boxes, she found this Christmas craft I had bought a few years ago. You know, for a time to do a leisurely Christmas activity - like that would ever happen - obviously not, since it was still in the book. A Nativity Scene for her to punch out and put together like paper dolls. She did such a nice job that I thought we should use this one this year.

So I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lights on trees: coloured or white. The question has been going around on holiday memes. Actually I find it quite fascinating, which string people choose. I have always thought that the choice in Christmas lights is sort of a reflection of oneself- you know, like how your house is decorated, how you dress, etc.

For example I am a very casual person - casual in house decor, casual in dressing, casual in attitude (casual in that I am very accepting of and very interested in other people's ideas and points of view, even though I generally have definite ideas and personal opinions about most things). Going to the grocery store in sweats doesn't bother me. People seeing me in my pjs doesn't bother me (I have nice pjs). Going to the grocery store in my pjs doesn't bother me :) I love colour. Colour in life, nature, people, everything. Although I am an adult I would never call myself a grown-up. I don't look my age (and have been known not to act it on occasion :) I have coloured lights on my tree and outdoors. Now, I grew up with that, but it definitely suits me. I am not a white-light only person.

I love the white-light people that I know. But generally speaking they are much more particular about what they wear and generally appear to be more mature than I. Maybe all white lights scare me. Like white walls and white furniture. I could never live in a white house since I could never be myself in it - I'd be too nervous. But I would admire it and those able to be comfortable in it. I would wish I could do it, but know that I couldn't. When I see all white, I am waiting, like it isn't finished, like it's only beginning.

I love this question and I love to look at people's Christmas trees and homes and see how they are extensions of those who live with them and the stage of life they are in.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My First Meme

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Hmmm...I'm not sure, but I might even agree with this. Especially the second half.

Kinda cool.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christmas Cards

Look what I can do! I had the best day yesterday! My friend Kim and I made home-ade Christmas cards. I made eighteen. We had so much fun.

I bought a pad of pre-scored coloured Christmas card paper and several packs of stickers. We also bought beautiful paper and different embellishments and "copied" ideas from a card magazine. Kim is very motivated and organized and her enthusiasm is contagious. HO HO HO.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lest We Forget

November 11th in Canada is Remembrance Day. A statutory holiday set aside to remember those who have served in World Wars I & II, the Korean War, The Gulf War and those currently in active duty in Afghanistan. A day to be thankful, grateful and remember those who choose to defend me and my fellow Canadians. Our Canadian military.

We are fortunate enough to live in an area where my daughter's school takes Remembrance Day very seriously. They had an hour-long service with the two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 am, video presentations, poems that the students had written, laying of wreathes from each homeroom in the school, Taps and, of course, the recitation of "In Flanders Fields". As always, I sat in the back and sniffled, in awe of those who would choose to serve to protect someone like me, someone they don't even know.

This year is even harder for Canadians since it the first year in a long-time that our military is serving in active, war duty and not peace-keeping duty.

On Saturday, November 11th, we went to our neighbouring university for the official Remembrance Day ceremony. The service is getting longer and longer as there are more and more wreathes laid for those "in memory of" and the parade of veterans is getting shorter and shorter as more veterans pass on each year. What will Remembrance Day be like when all the veterans are gone or will there always be veterans since there will always be war somewhere in the world? That is the question.

Our newishly-elected federal government has a different foreign policy than the governments before it and I don't think it is truly reflective of what Canadians want. However, our troops are in active duty and we must support and pray for them and the people they are trying to help. And all those men and women, some of them barely into adulthood, who had such a spirit of honor and adventure that they would risk their lives for the good. Talk about "shock and in awe!"

"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row..."


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Holiday Traditions

We have loads of holiday traditions so I thought I'd just mention a few, especially the things we did when we were kids, or now when we are bigger kids, since those are the ones that seem to make the most impression.

As I said in my previous post, my family is very big into Advent. So we are excited for weeks.

But Christmas Eve is always very special.

For years and years, my family celebrated Christmas with the family that lived directly across the street. My Mom and their Mom are still best friends and the two families grew up together, especially the Moms if you know what I mean. They would come for supper or dessert, which ever worked out.

About 10 minutes before their expected arrival, my sister and I would take up our post at the front door to watch for them. As soon as they left...I'm laughing to myself remembering this...our whole family would run out to our front veranda and now they were in the middle of the street, and all of us would start SCREAMING. I mean really screaming with excitement, jumping up and down, laughing, everything. Our other neighbors used to go to their front doors to "see what on earth was happening" but over the years they got used to it and didn't bother looking, they knew that it was just our Christmas Eve beginning. As I write this, I am still stunned that we did and still do this - only now it's even more fun with our kids - they don't know what's going on but what kid doesn't like screaming in the street?

So they would come over and we would eat, lots of chocolate of course, and then we would put on a concert. Both families are very musical and creative and spent years in community theatre so our concert was a combination of Christmas Carols, original pieces and Broadway showtunes. It was awesome.

Then came the gifts. Over the years, the presenting of the presents has taken many forms, but in the last few years we have settled on "The Yankee Swap". It has other names and I hope I can explain it properly.

Basically, everyone brings a gift representing their own age and gender. For example: there are three people in my adult woman, an adult man and a child. So we would bring three gifts: one suitable for a man, one for a woman and one for a child. We are heavily into joke gifts and candy/chocolate, but you could have a theme (ie: tree ornaments) or regular gifts. My sister has four in her family: a woman, a man and two kids so they bring four gifts: two kid gifts and one for a man and one for a woman. So in the end you have as many gifts as you do people and the right amount of adult and child gifts. They all go in a box, we use a laundry hamper, whatever. Everyone now takes turns. First person picks out whatever gift they want (using label adult/child). Unwrap it...awwwwww, isn't it sweet, yummy, whatever. Next person goes, picks and unwraps. Here is the clincher...the second person can keep that gift they picked out from the pile or trade it with the other already opened gift. Now this goes on and on with each person. The person can keep the gift they picked from the pile or can trade with anyone who has already opened their gift and they have to trade. It's hilarious. Alliances form. You never know who is going to have what gift. And at the end, when everyone has a gift, the person who went first has a chance to trade if they want since there wasn't anyone to trade with when they opened the first gift. It is so much fun.

My next favorite tradition is the next morning opening stockings. Santa would leave my sister's and my stockings outside our bedroom door. We would get up and open them together - ooohing and awwwing over everything. We always got the same things (Santa was very equal-opportunity) . And then we would go into our parent's room, onto their bed and show them what we got from Santa. It was literally years before we realized that they may have already known what was in those stockings. We had such fun.

Every year, not always on "Christmas Day", we would have Christmas dinner with my family and my Mom's two sisters and their families. Eventually it turned into potluck. Family is the best and it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you can do it together.

After I was divorced, I had to face part of Christmas without my little girl. I was really upset about that. I am very fortunate that her Dad and all of his family live very close by so there isn't a lot of driving and everyone in both families still share a Christmas visit, but the thought of leaving her there was killing me. Christmas Day night without my girl. So I decided that I needed to go to the movies, and it would be a sad movie so I could cry and everyone would think I was crying at the movie. I remember the first year, the movie was "Step-Mom" with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Good crying movie. So now every Christmas Day night my husband and I go to the movies and if my parents are visiting, they come too. And it has turned into a fun tradition and we see happy movies now. It turned out to be a good idea. Sometimes you need a new tradition so far from anything you've ever done. I thought the movie theatre would be empty, but it's packed. I find that kind of sad in itself, but then I'm thankful for the movie theatre because obviously there are a lot of people who need it open Christmas Day night.

I wish everyone the merriest of holidays and I realize that a lot of the US bloggers will start soon with their Thanksgiving (Canada celebrates in October). Don't eat too much! Have fun! Kiss everyone and tell those you love, how special they are!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE Advent.

I grew up in a very small town and attended the "Neighbourhood" church. It was a United Baptist Church. It is very well grounded in scripture and celebrated all aspects of the Liturgical Year. I just assumed all churches were like that, whether they were Baptist, Catholic, United, whatever. About five years ago I became a Catholic and have learned that the church that I grew up in is not the typical United Baptist church. People kept asking me about why I knew so much about Lent, Holy Week, Advent and all things "very Catholic" and maybe not so much protestant. I even attended a different United Baptist church that had a vote during it's Sunday service to see whether or not they would have a Good Friday service - I promptly left that church after I had calmed myself down.

So like any good daughter, I went to my Mom for the scoop. She explained that the church that I grew up in is very special. It is a United Baptist church but is also very much a community church and that people of all denominations came there to worship, so the families could worship together as the body of Christ. It was full of Anglicans, Uniteds, Baptists (no Catholics :), and loads of people who brought all of their traditions and the church incorporated them into the church year and thusly I am very well informed without even knowing it. A very special place indeed, very family-oriented, embracing and inclusive. It is also a highly active church for all members of its congregation: Sunday school for all ages, women's' groups, men's groups, youth groups, seminars and of course community outreach programs. It sets a very high standard and it was years as an adult before I could find another like it.

My very favourite Advent memory is a tradition my church as a whole did for years. Advent is huge in that church, as it should be, but as a child it was almost magical in it's anticipation of Christmas Day (which of course was celebrated with a Birthday party for Jesus, with a huge cake and candles and the singing of "Happy Birthday").

When I was a child, the following is my favourite part of the Advent Celebration.

Of course, there was the lighting of the Advent Candles. Each week, a different family went up to the front and all the family members took turns reading: the scripture, the explanation, the lighting of the candle and the prayer. Of course we were all doing the same thing at home because everyone had their own Advent wreath on their table complete with all Advent devotions provided by the church so Advent was in the home as well as in the sanctuary. They continue this tradition to this day and my Mom still sends me (and extra for my friends) the Advent Season devotional booklet they are using that year.

Then after church and Sunday school, the whole church stayed and we all made homeade Advent wreaths to take home. Some Advent angels organized all the tree bows, wreath frames, candles, wreath decorations, etc. and we all went around like in an assembly line and assembled our wreaths.

The second Advent Sunday afterwards we all stayed and made Christmas cookies, Christmas decorations, and decorated a carrying bag. These were set up like centres/or little assembly lines. After everything was made, it was all put in the bag and left at the church.

Remember: all members of the church families are involved: moms, dads, kids, etc.

On the third Sunday, after church, every family was assigned a "shut-in" or someone who could not make it to church or needed a visit and we would go and take our decorations and cookies and bring Advent to them for the afternoon.

On the forth Sunday, you are pretty much out of your skin with excitement since the "day" is only a week away and it is a day for Christmas concerts or pageants or maybe even Santa comes (after church of course and in the hall not the sanctuary :)

These four weeks had such purpose and impressed upon me the "Season of Advent" and that we really were waiting and longing for Christmas to come.

My Mother was so instrumental in my love of Christmas. We would come home one day and the entire house was transformed to a Christmas wonderland, even the dishes and bathroom. We had tiny trees in our bedrooms and she made us a homeade tree ornament every Sunday in Advent so that when we had our own tree as an adult, we would have enough ornaments and the tree was loaded down with memories. She organized Christmas decoration/ornament making parties with her friends for all the kids. She made our Nativity Scene and Advent Calendar herself. She is practically as good as Santa himself!!

Advent is a wonderful time and I'm thankful that it is four weeks long so, although it goes way too fast, you can really soak up it's glory.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Hallowe'en

This is the pumpkin that my hubby carved. Didn't he do a good job? The face is "Marshie" from the Homestarrunner cartoon. He's very proud of it and feels it is the bestest carved pumpkin ever!
This is my "Hippie-chick". I figured I better get on the ball and remember to take pictures this year since she is 12 and I don't know how many more trick or treating years are left - maybe none.
She had an awesome time. She did our street with my hubby and then went over to her aunt's and made the rounds with her Dad. A success as always and she's dividing up the loot as I type: the good , the ok and the give-aways. The grown-ups get the give-aways so who's complaining!
This is M's pumpkin "Stumpy" and my tiny toll-painted one stuck in our front flower deck. I'm not such a Hallowe'enie person, Christmas is more my thing, but it was a great night. Perfect weather and the little kids are sooooo cute. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The People in my neighbourhood

I am from " typical small-town USA" - which is funny since I live in Canada. But that's what my friends called it.

My life was text-book: Dad, Mom (at-home), sister, me, dog. Very Small town. Great church, great school, went to church and school with the same people. Piano lessons, swimming lessons, skating lessons, loads of community theatre. Great marks, go on to university. Etc, etc.

Isn't it funny the people who have been in your neighborhood. I used to say that my mom belonged to the mothers' spy club- you couldn't really do anything bad because all the moms were looking out for all the kids and eventually it would get back to your own mom. I hated it!! And now I pray there's a mothers' spy club in my town. But there's not - not every mom is at home and not everyone wants to get "involved".

Then there's the neighbourhood of your friends and how that has changed from childhood to teenage-hood to university and then to "grown-up". Sometimes I'm so surprised at who I'm still friends with and those that I'm not. And the friends you find after you've started your family and you have really different priorities than when you were single or newly married.

And then people in your neighbourhood who were there during the really tough, hard, hateful times. The people that wouldn't let you pull away no matter how hard you tried. The people who loved you more than usual to make up for the loss of someone else's love.

My best example of that is when I was first divorced and I was doing a great job at being "fine". My best friend kept saying "tell me if you need me, I'll be there..." "I'm fine, I'm fine", I would always say. Then one afternoon I was trying to weed my garden. I had some prairie grass that I was trying to remove as it was going up the dryer vent. I pulled and pulled and dug and everything but it would not budge. The more it was stuck, the more it became IMPERATIVE that this thing get out. As I collapsed in a complete puddle, I called my friend, "...the's stuck...won't come out...won't come out." I can see myself sprawled on the stairs, talking into the phone a crying mess and my 21/2 year old daughter patting my back trying to comfort me. My friend said "I'll be right there". She left her job in the middle of the day, grabbed her husband from his job, said "we gotta go" and came right over. I told the husband about the plant and how it would not move and that I didn't know what we were going to do to get it out. He leaned over, pulled it right out and said "this one?" I just stared and stared at him. It had just popped out. I was stunned. My friend and I knew it wasn't about the plant. We knew it was about me needing her and me needing a "legitimate"excuse to ask for help since "I really was fine afterall".

And now the people in my bloggy neighbourhood. These people, mostly women, mostly moms, who are so different, live all over and yet are part of my neighbourhood and they don't even know it. They are so funny, have such great stories. Yet they are some of the most "real" people that I have (never) met. Maybe that's what anonymity does - makes us real. Maybe for some but I think these people are really that "real". And I think God is really happy and proud of the people in my neighbourhood.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Faith Builders - finding purpose in everyday life

In the past few years I have had to reduce my life to almost nothing because of my health. Well...almost nothing may be a little strong but my life is nothing compared to what it once was. I have had to leave committees, cancel almost all evening activities, I can't get any part-time work; this isn't hard for me since I love being an at-home mom but I think it's hard for my husband, I had to drop out of our church choir which I loved and generally watch what I do. I have severe IBS and any stress sets it off, even stress I'm not aware of.

So my day to day life is pretty quiet. I have one 12 year old daughter, grade 7, who is awesome and words can't describe her awesomeness...but she is in junior high. I have a quiet, semi-workaholic husband who doesn't really need me (but who loves me, etc. you get what I mean). We live in a small house, in a quiet town. Sometimes I go crazy with my lack of life.

How can I have a purpose in my life when I seem to have no life.

NB: being forced to keep quiet is great for reading books but my addictive personality can make this a problem. I read the DaVinci Code in one day. I just sat down and read it, to the exclusion of the rest of the responsibilities.

I am a terrible housekeeper by nature. I like laundry and keeping the kitchen clean and tidy but I really don't like anything else. I was one of those kids who never made their bed because I was just going to get in it and mess it up later.

I love being a Mom. I find my child fascinating. To watch someone grow-up from birth and have an influence on that life is exciting and horrifying all at the same time. I am already lamenting the time when she leaves home...yet I want her to leave home - to be well-educated, have a plan and go off and live her life (hopefully with me still in it), to be a good and kind adult. I look forward to sending her care-packages to university , helping her shop for her first apartment, crying at her wedding - am I getting carried away?! But she's 12 now and is starting to need me less and I need to let her need me less and I need to do it encouragingly and joyfully - are you with me?

Her needing me less is giving me more time - more time for the purpose I am trying to find.

So I have decided to try and live my everyday life... everyday. I used to have a laundry day and save it up for one day and have a break from it the rest of the week. I now do a load every morning. Everyday I thank God for my washing machine and dryer, the selection of clothes at a selection of stores, the good job my husband has to pay for them, the invention of soap and a machine so I'm not at some stream banging on them with rocks, my child and husband and me who wear them, my dryer so I don't have to use the clothes line (I don't like bugs), etc, etc.

I don't like cooking so much. I'm not very inspired. So I thank God for the bloggy people who like to cook and share and have re-introduced me to my slow cooker. I thank Him for the grocery stores and farms and try to make good meals for the temples of God my family inhabits.

I try to relate all my daily activities to God and to see them from His perspective. I am trying to read His word more regularly and to put more effort into my bible-study homework. I am trying to be more accepting of the "quirks" of my husband. In fact, last week I finally realized that my husband is the man I need and not the man I want. I never knew that before but obviously God did. He brought us together but it is only now, several years later, that I get it. I am trying to be more encouraging and less hovering to my pre-teen.

I thank God for every poop I have, every time!!!! That may sound gross but believe you me, you would be astounded at the things we take for granted.

A couple of Faithlifts posts ago, I read that the purpose of life was to "abide in God" and he would take care of the rest. That struck me so profoundly. I think about it all the time. It has made me think about the books I read, the TV I watch (I love TV), the words I say, the things I do, everything! I admit, I'm not changing much yet but I'm thinking about it a lot more and hopefully that's a start.

I think that's how we find purpose in everyday life - regardless of how busy, how slow, how productive, how "whatever" our lives are. If I live my life with God right beside me, in constant communion with him, whatever I do will have a purpose because I will be doing it with Him.

Welcome to Sunday Shopping

Not so much has been happening around here. I have tried to come up with something clever or inspiring, but really, it's been pretty quiet.

I have a tilted pelvis. I've known that for twelve years (it happened after I gave birth). But apparently this is a bad thing - I now understand the addiction to pain meds - and I have seen a chiropractor who is amazed I have been walking like this for 12 years but assures me I can be "re-aligned" and all will be well. My mom and two aunts (her sisters) also see him and he says I should ask for compensation for these bad back genes :)

Our provincial government finally caved in and OKed Sunday Shopping. Yep, up until two weeks ago only corner shops, veg markets and some drug stores were open on Sundays. I know, I know - amazing wasn't it. We even had regular votes on it and the "nos" always won. They say the "yes" side was so sure they would win that they didn't bother to vote - never underestimate the power of voting. However, a new minority government and a legal loophole finally "brought us into the future" and the malls and grocery stores and whatever were open and people were there with bells on! Kinda sad I thought. I know hospital employees, essential services and some people have to work on Sundays but I always liked the quiet of most things being closed. My sister lives in Quebec where they always have Sunday shopping and that Sunday is just like every other day - you can't even tell what day is it by looking in the parking lot. I realize that most/all of you have Sunday shopping and that it is quite normal and you probably think we were in the stone-age, but most of us (as indicated by the votes) liked it - and used the "family day/Lord's Day" as our reasoning. I mean really - all the stores were open 6 days a week, usually 8-9 am to 6-10 pm and some were 24 hours. What more do we really need? Anyway, it's a new development for us - obviously people are supporting it and most importantly it's still all about choice - I choose not to go and try to build it into my week that I don't have to. I'm not stupid, I'm sure I'll end up there one day - but I hope I can put it off as long as possible.

One thing did happen recently that was exciting: my back pillow, pain meds and I attended a weekend church conference "The Annual Atlantic Liturgical Congress". There are four Atlantic Canadian provinces, so it is only here once every four years. I have never been to anything like it before. All the Bishops were here, the Archbishop of Quebec (the keynote speaker), and people from all four provinces and even farther away. We had masses, worship services, morning and evening prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, a special dramatic, musical presentation, 2 workshops and 3 general plenary sessions (talks for everyone with one continuing theme). There were fourteen workshops to pick from and I attended "Nourishment from the Word" and "Liturgy Basics/Liturgy Documents" Liturgy is a non-Christian term that has been "Christianized" to mean "the work of the people/the public works of the people". I joined our Liturgy committee this year and although I have some new ideas, I figured I better understand the basics before I charge in :) There were also some bookstores, etc. to visit during the lunch breaks, etc. Our church was selling the CD our choirs made last year.

It was fantastic. My parish has a small congregation and I envy (yes I do) when the bloggy people talk about their bigger churches and all they have to offer, both new and old ideas. It was so great to be with loads and loads of people who wanted to be there and listen and absorb and soak up God and everything about Him. It will be hard to go back to normal next week where the passion isn't as on fire. The youth, the music, the mix of people, the thoughts and the glory was inspiring. Especially since one of the main themes was "keeping Sunday Holy/special/the Lord's Day and why" and we have this new "shopping climate" . I so enjoyed myself and kept praying constantly the God would keep my back in check until I could leave, I didn't want to miss any of the speakers and workshops and, of course, He did! Thanks be to God.

Now I just have to remember that feeling and passion and work it into my daily/family life.


Monday, October 09, 2006

One of those weekends

Ever have one of those weekends that everything went really well?

This past weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. We had amazing weather - warm and sunny. M spent the holiday weekend with her father so it was just the two of us.

There was a lot of stuff I wanted to do..."to put the yard to bed"... and I really wanted to get it all done. I don't like doing yard stuff in the cold. I don't like doing yard stuff much at all...but somehow I was highly motivated. So this time, I made a list a few days ago and stuck it on the kitchen cupboard for "all" to see so when it was time, it wasn't a surprise. It worked.

We got so much done!! Pruned and composted the birch tree. Dug up, cleaned up and composted my hateful hostis plants - they have minds of their own and are indestructible. Mowed the front and back yard and got it ready for mulching as the leave fall...and fall they will! Moved and re-stacked all the wood. Cleaned out the shed and put the deck furniture away. Changed lightbulbs, fixed the bathroom fan and organized all the "grade 6" pictures to be (finally) scrapbooked.

My husband was a machine. And, we also helped to "close-up" my Mom's cottage with my parents - so we even did a good deed.

My hubby and I aren't very good "house and/or yard" people. We don't like to garden, landscape or anything like that. There are loads of things we'd both rather do. My daughter asked if this year our lawn could be like everyone else' So we got the front yard "green" and put in some low maintenance shrubs and next year we'll make the back more "green and less weedy". It's not any great shakes but it's neat and tidy and cared for.

The best part is when we do something like that, it is really nice to be outdoors and caring for our family home together. It always make me feel like we are a team. I really like being on a team.

And the best part - it's all done!!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

TV for good?

There has been a lot of talk lately about Grey's Anatomy. I admit I like the show and try to see it each week. It's on after my girl goes to bed, so I don't have to worry about her seeing it. However, she does see the commercials, as well as all the other commercials for TV shows she (and maybe I) shouldn't be watching. All the talk certainly made me (re)consider my viewing habits...but I'll never leave House and no one can make me :)

So, I started to know, most of the "angst" and "drama" on TV comes when people sleep with people other than their married spouse, or they sleep with someone, anyone, and they are not married at all. Once I started looking for it, it was everywhere. I mean I'm not stupid, but it seems SO blatant. Even "tame" TV, PG, low-key television falls victim. Are we only interested in sex, is that it?

What a perfect lesson. So last week, whenever this came up...on Oprah, Dr. Phil as well as drama TV, the news, wherever, I said "what's causing all of the problems?"

"I know, I know Mom. People are having sex with people they are not married to." Or "They're not married at all and are having sex anyway."

What a great lesson. In addition to our regular conversations, I have "real-life" examples of what can happen if we don't treasure sex and have it only with the person we are married to. Unfortunately, there are usually some examples in one's community and kids talk, especially in junior high, so it's an opportunity for another, much more delicate, conversation. I'm all for opportunities.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not kidding myself. When push comes to shove and my girl is 18 (or whenever) and faced with her first love, who knows what will happen. We'll find out then I guess. But it's nice to know all the "free love" on TV can be used for good as well as evil :)


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lancaster County, PA

I just finished watching the news about the gunman who held hostage and killed several young Amish students (girls) in their own school.

Such unbelievable tragedy!

I can't even wrap my head around it.

A tight, caring community, living God's word and trying their best to stay away from the distractions of our modern society - this evil creeps into their world and changes it forever.

Yet all the news reports talk about their love for each other, how they will get through this, forgiveness and God's greater good and purpose.

We don't have any Amish communities in my province although we do have similar cultures.
This will affect all of them I'm sure.

We need to pray for the souls of the lost girls, the families and community left behind...and for the gunman's soul and his left-behind family - I'm sure they are struggling too.

We need to pray for each other.


Monday, September 25, 2006

The Most Beautiful Day

Today was the most beautiful day. Warm and sunny. The last hopes of summer leaving me as fall kicks in full time. The leaves are turning all colours at once and the sky was so blue.

I finished my book, made supper in advance so we wouldn't be rushed. Did laundry.

Had tea with my friend Carm. We do most Monday mornings during the school year. She has three young boys and a very chaotic household. Very different from my home. She has the most beautiful voice. She played the piano and sang for me. We went in search of a bank machine and then stopped at the local Christian bookstore. I could spend all day in there. Thankfully, I did not have my purse. My only beef is that I think the store is way overpriced and I don't like that. The fiction costs too much as does the resource material. Not very encouraging if you're on the fence about the subject material. We had a great time.

M's band practice was cancelled so she had an early afternoon. She's learning to "msn" and is loving talking to many people at once. I would have loved that when I was a teenager!

Had a small "disagreement" over homework after dinner but worked it out. And I'll be in bed by 10:00 pm.

A perfectly non-eventful, boring, nothing-happened-at-all day.

Gotta love it!


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Can't be a hermit anymore.

The older I get, I realize that I have real "hermit" tendencies :) You know, I just want to stay in my house, not talk on the phone , watch TV and read. It's not that I don't like people and busyness, but in the last few years I have had to really cut back on my life to reduce stress (for health reasons) and now I can hide away with the best of them.

But now I have a blog. It's the coolest thing. I have "met" people from all over - OK, so it's mostly the US. They have influenced my life and made different impacts and I can still feel connected while hiding in my house.

This past week has been great. I tried a recipe from Sandra and it was great. Now I'm going to try one from Barb and I'm really looking forward to it. I also picked up a book recommendation from Barb that I'm really enjoying. Bev included my Dad in her prayers and that was really needed and was so sweet. And I've laughed at Boomama's posts and comments about the songs from the 80s. It's amazing this bloggosphere. I can connect with people I will never meet. I know some people do meet and talk on the phone. The global world seems smaller to me now, usually I'm stuck in my part of it and that's all that affects me.

And Faithlifts, isn't that wonderful. People have so much experience and insight. I sit and nod at my computer like it is really talking to me...doesn't yours talk to you :)

I guess this is a "non-post", no theme or direct thought. I'll try for one tomorrow. I just wanted people to know that they are affecting me, in a good way of course, and I think that's really cool.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thirteen Excuses For Not Keeping Up With Your Blog

I've never done a Thursday Thirteen before, but I thought I'd give it a shot...

1. My Dad's in the hospital. He went in last Saturday. It's a very long story but although "he's a tough, old bird", quote from the doctor, he has major heart problems and all of his medications seemed to have caused some internal bleeding. He might be home today.

2. I've been going back and forth to the hospital.

3. I've been calling my sister who lives halfway across the country.

4. I've been talking to my Aunts (Mom's sisters)

5. I'm worried about my Mom. Both my parents have been so healthy for so long, that this is a major change in both their lifestyles. There are so many emotions: anger, resentment, fear, astonishment. My Dad did everything right and the entire town was shocked when he had his heart attack last year. You can't fight your genes.

6. I can't focus. I can't pray.

7. My sister can't focus and I feel bad for her being so far away.

8. My daughter's getting over a cold. But she didn't miss any school and aced her first two tests in French Immersion this week and I'm so proud of her!

9. Tonight is curriculum Night at school.

10. Did I mention I can't focus?

11. I made Chicken Tetrazzini yesterday, recipe from Diary of a Stay-at-Home Mom, and it was delicious! I don't like cooking so it was a big deal for me.

12. My Dad might be coming home today from the hospital. I hope so. He was supposed to come home yesterday and was SO disappointed he had to stay another night. There is nothing worse to hear your Dad be sad.

13. The Rolling Stones are playing here Saturday night. I know it might rain. But they've never been here before and I've never seen them and it's the Rolling Stones, but I'm a "grown-up", but it's the Rolling Stones and I'll never really see them, only on the screens, but it's Mick and Keith but my Dad's hopefully getting out of the hospital - can you tell I can't focus?

My Dad should be fine. He's receiving good care. I was watching 100 Huntley Street the other day and someone said, "if you're still breathing, God still has plans for you." Maybe God isn't quite ready for my Dad yet, maybe he has more plans for him here with us.

This 13 thing is great - helps me to (re) prioritize and get stuff off my chest. Thanks.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not Even Bloggityville is Safe

I was reading the FaithLifts entry today. It was by Lauren. I really like the way she writes. I can always understand her thought-process and usually I can relate her ideas to my life and make me think, and I like that too. So I hopped on over to her blog, Created For His Glory, to check out her latest posts and she obviously had an unpleasant experience and was hurt and unsure of what to do next. If ever there was a capable-sounding woman, it's her - however we are all human and words do hurt (despite what sticks and stones think). I'm sure she'll be fine and she has a strong circle of people who care. But it makes ya think...

I often get overwhelmed by mine and everyone's human-ness. Especially Christian human-nesses. I often feel that God is up there shaking His head wondering WHAT is WRONG with us, WHEN are we going to GET IT, HOW many chances do we need, are we THAT THICK?

Then I get quite afraid that He is going to give up on us (and that means He's going to give up on me) and take his ball and go home.

I KNOW intellectually that isn't going to happen. That I do not know His ways, or time or plan. That these struggles can bring us closer to Him.

I firmly believe that struggling strips us of our created distractions and shows us our weaknesses and strengths so clearly and in fact we have a clearer view of the "me" He created in the beginning, before I cluttered it up with my way of thinking... my "me-ness".

Why do we hurt each other? Why, when we try so hard, does it still get messed up? Not trying is one thing, but when you try to make the effort and still screw up, it's hard to try again. Why do people say mean things? What good can possibly come from making another feel bad? Sometimes I feel Satan is doing his major Happy Dance since things are going terribly wrong - even in bloggityville.

But then, you read the posts of those who truly do care, those who are still trying and trying and trying. That restores my faith.

Not giving up is a sign of faith to me.

I guess I'm rambling. I'm having a major problem with "prayer-block" (like writer's block I guess). I can't get focused. I can't find the point.

I will keep trying. I can do that.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How I met My Husband

I was just over at Barb's and thought this was a great idea, since I actually have a neat story. So although I just did my post for the day, I'm going to do another.

I was just finishing up the paperwork on my divorce, the marriage had been over for years. My daughter was 2 and a half, and I was not looking for love. What I was looking for was a full-time job since I had turned into the sole bread winner. I was the Co-ordinator for the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry for the Canadian Red Cross Society, but that was only full-time on a contract basis.

When you need a bone marrow transplant, you have a 25% chance of having a match with a sibling. If there isn't a match, you have to turn to the unrelated registry and your chances are about one in a million, something like that. A real lottery. All the registries in the world are linked up so match could be from somewhere on the globe.


There I was doing my job, when a tentative match of one of our local blood donors came up. How exciting. So he was called in to do more testing. More matching. More testing. A perfect match! UNREAL! He was the fifth person in our province in the ten year history of the program to be a perfect match. Talk about excitement.

Then, the pressure. The person who needed the match moved into urgent status and the transplant needed to take place as soon as possible. It was my job to be the donor's new best friend. I went with him to all his doctor appointments, meeting with the medical directors, the transplant unit, etc. I was told to keep him "wrapped in cotton" since we didn't want anything to happen to him. The patient would be undergoing chemo to kill ALL bone marrow cells to be ready for the new bone marrow. Once that procedure started, there was no going back so our donor had to be ready and sure he wanted to do this. We were very focused needless to say.

My donor - well he was so casual. Like he did this everyday. No, he didn't need his parking re-imbursed. Yes, he could get the time of work. No problem. He was a single, computer software designer who didn't seem to mind me hovering over him and calling him everyday. Oh yeah, and he was cute - those puppy-doggish brown eyes, brown hair and fun personality. My job wasn't so hard either!

The day of the donation I went with him to the hospital. He would have about a 800 mls of his bone marrow extracted by a needle (4 holes) in his lower back. Took about an hour. Day surgery (remember, he's doing this out of the goodness of his heart - that tells you something right there doesn't it). So I went in the morning, was very surprised there wasn't a girl-friend or someone with him, and checked back in when he was done. He did really well. I stayed with him until he friends came to pick him up. He wasn't allowed to be alone for 24 hours while the meds wore off. He was fine, kind of groggy and sore, but fine.

Then I had to keep in touch with him for the following two weeks to see how he was feeling, what he thought of the whole experience, etc. He even attended information session with me when I put them on so he could speak from the donor's point of view and answer questions only a donor could.

But, it was just professional, and although he was cute and all, my self-esteem was in the toilet so I never thought anything of it when all was said and done.

But one Monday, he was there at my office before I got in. That was a bit strange, all of us in the office thought. But he said he was just checking in so OK. Then he called a few days later and we had lunch down on our waterfront. People had lunch all the time right? It felt so strange. He called after lunch and said we should do it again.

I said if we were going to do this, he needed to come to my house that evening at 6:30 pm. He came. And saw M. She was up for an hour before she went to bed, and did what toddlers do. After she went to bed. I went back down, and said that he needed to see her, she's not just a picture on my desk. She was my first priority. Then I explained briefly about her Dad. Then I said, he could go now if he wanted, that I would understand. He thought and decided that he would like to stay. And all that summer we rented movies and stayed home and he dealt all the inconsistent curves I threw at him since I was a mother and things always changed as my daughter grew. He was very flexible and understanding and two years later we got married. My daughter has known him all her life that she can remember and he really is the Dad, even though she calls my husband by his first name and her natural father "Dad". My husband was great when I told him, if we got married, by the nature of the divorce, he was indeed marrying my ex and all of his family since they are all involved in my daughter's life. Consequently my girl has an entourage of people at piano recital's, etc.

2 notes: since I worked at the Red Cross I had access to results of "tests" that the general public does not have and I did not have to take a single man's "word for it" when we had those know...sexual history, etc...I know that sounds brutal and suspicious but as a single mom, I wasn't taking any chances. And I did take those results into account when I decided whether or not we would date, and filed them away for when/if I would need them.

The bone marrow patient. The transplant was an initial success but he died four months later. It was tragic but we knew he was newly married and I always hoped those extra months helped the couple cope and prepare for their inevitable future. It was hard for my husband. I think in some way he thought he may have failed the patient but time, any amount of time, is important.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I have some health problems and when I'm really sick my husband will tell me the story of when we met and it always make me feel better...altogether now..."aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh isn't that sweet!"


You Said He Was Possessed By The Devil

We go to mass on Saturday night. My daughter (M) is an Alter Server and I used to sing in the choir but had to stop so now I just sit and watch her with my heart filled with pride.

My husband does not go to mass. He is a Catholic, I always say he has the paperwork, but he is not a "practicing catholic" and rarely goes to mass. Christmas, Easter, special occasions and M's special services, but generally he doesn't go. This bothers me and M a lot but I always say to say a special prayer and maybe one day he will come with us.

So last Saturday we were out all afternoon and evening so in the end he did come to mass, mostly out of convenience I'm sure, but whatever it takes right?

Last night M was saying how nice it was that we were all in church together and I was agreeing. Then she said, "especially since you said he was possessed by the devil!"


After a few minutes, I figured it out.

"No, no, I didn't say he was possessed by the devil. I said Satan is working really hard to keep him away from church and we have to pray extra hard that he will turn his back on Satan and come to church with us."

"Oh, I took that to mean that he was possessed by the devil."

"Have you said this to anyone?" I asked in a panic. "That I said he was possessed."


Sweet relief!

Lesson: just because they're 12 doesn't mean they will always "get" what you are saying and I still need to watch myself!!!!


Monday, September 11, 2006

That Time of Year...

Yes, it's that of year - committee time. The time of year when desire and guilt are in competition for what little spare time you have.

There are the committees that you join out of guilt because no one else has stepped forward and the need is there (so far two at church) and then the committees you join because you want to but really shouldn't because you're already out x number of times for the aforementioned committees (so far one at church). Then there are the groups you join because it keeps your life balanced (my Wednesday morning bible group) and the community service you want to do to contribute to the community life in general (reading programs at the local elementary school).

Since I am at home full-time and my husband is at work full-time, I feel that is my responsibility to manage the "contributions to society" aspect in our division of labour. Truth be told, I always feel I have the better side of things and he seems happy since he's not that keen on socializing outside of work, so it seems to work. Also, I feel as a parent, it is my responsibility to model social responsibility, aka volunteering, to my child, so she will grow up and know the importance and value of it and hopefully do the same.

I did have the inner-strength (because I felt sooooo bad) to opt out of one commitment for the coming year. It's called Rainbows, a program that promotes peer support for children who are dealing with loss, primarily due to divorce or death. I did it for two years and although I think the program is invaluable and I loved the kids, it was very hard for me personally since I am divorced and remarried, and I have very strong feelings about the children of divorce and the life they deserve, regardless of decisions made by their grown-ups. But, you can't do it all, right?

So, I came right home after Parish Council, dug out two old binders and I promise I am going to take a pen and paper to every meeting, Brownie's honour! Donna got pretty peeved that I kept using her pen...


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back to the Grind

Well, school started yesterday. The very first day of Junior High, grade 7. Where oh where has my baby gone? Aren't I going to be the class mom because I am going to volunteer everyday because she needs me because she is so little...?

No class mom for me. Not anymore. I'll be lucky if there's a field trip they need drivers/chaperones for. Although last year I did crash the grade 6 Hallowe'en Party because I couldn't stand not being there...somebody has to pour the juice:)

So yesterday she wore all green - because that's the "first day of school colour" I guess, this year anyway. Green t-shirt, shorts, crocs, jacket, green knapsack and lunchbag. Today was blue. Apparently we are dressing in colour-themes this year as she now has friends wondering what the next day will bring.

It was also the start of French Immersion. I'll let you know how that goes once I can figure it out.

Unfortunately the teacher is new to the school. Gave out four lunchtime detentions on the first day. Crazy, but not surprising which kids got it. She'll figure them out pretty fast. The kids were trying to "help" her by telling her the school routines. Didn't go over very well. I said, "why don't you cut her some slack, afterall it is the first day of school and her first day at our school". Oh, OK. She guessed she could do that.

One more day of getting up at 6:30 am after two long days of the school year and then it's the weekend. FINALLY, a sleep in (this is both her and me talking, especially since I'm up at 6:00 am).

But it's so great to see her bouncing down the hill to the bus stop. The boy next door moved to her school this year so she has a friend for the bus. Little things make all the difference - thanks Jesus.

I'm hoping for/looking forward to a great year. No reason not to be...did I mention the first dance is next week...grade 7-9...maybe they're looking for chaperones :)!!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I think modesty is an important subject to band together for. As a mother of a very modest 12 year old girl, who, as of yet, has no interest in boys, clothes, etc., we find it very hard to dress her like a kid. Maybe a challenge is a better word. All she wants is regular jeans, shorts and t-shirts. Because she's not a bean pole, it can be even harder. Can you imagine your 12 year old daughter crying in despair in the changing room because she can't fit into skinny jeans? Her mortification at having to try on size 14 and 16 to get a proper waist size, forget about the 12 inches of pantleg I will have to cut off because the pants are "supposed" to be worn with platform shoes? I have cried with her with frustration and anger at the old man in a tower far, far away who is designing these clothes because no one in their right mind, who saw an average child, would size them this way. And "plus" or "husky" labeling for a tween - glad for the option but talk about slamming a ten-year old's self-esteem!

I have resorted to shopping on-line almost exclusively at LL Bean (sale and regular catalogue), which can be tricky sometimes because of the dollar exchange and not being able to try on stuff on first. But their selection is the best. And Gap's jeans are good too, can be more pricey but a good sale will help.

So far, the least little bit of interest in fashion (and I want her to care) has been devastated in the change room, and we have developed (how pathetic are we) a bit of a victory dance when preference and size jive...

oh...and buy in bulk.


Monday, September 04, 2006

You Think You Know Someone...

I have known my best friend for over 25 years. We met in the 10th grade. We went to university together, even shared an apartment for a couple of years as "young adults", were a part of each others weddings, baby births, etc, etc. You get the point. And even though I know we're not exactly the same, we are so similar that when there is a difference in thought or attitude, it shakes me up quite a bit.

Unfortunately, for the last few years, her marriage has been hard and she is going through quite a bit. As someone who was divorced and then remarried, I can totally relate to marriage woes. Lately she has been thinking about leaving the marriage. Just thinking mind you. But we were talking about it this weekend, our families spent the long weekend together at my mother's cottage. She has one child so naturally we were wondering about him and the effects.

Then she said that if she left the marriage she wouldn't take her son with her. He's eight.

My heart dropped.

I can't wrap my head around that. I REALLY tried, I am still trying.

She said that since her husband was such a good father they would probably have joint custody. I completely concur. Children need both of their parents. They would probably have a "half the week with mom and half the week with dad" arrangement. Although I don't personally agree with that set-up, I know it works for many families and it is not up to me anyway. But I said, "wouldn't you want to have him with you, you know "based" out of your house (the "primary residence" is the term I'm familiar with).

She said "no". "It would be too hard".

I don't get that. Who doesn't want their child? Who could leave their child? Who said parenting was going to be easy/not hard?

Who doesn't want their child?

I feel that this is a fundamental difference now, underlying the make-up of who we are. I almost felt that she was like a stranger to me. It's all I can think about. I know that will fade, I'm sort of in shock. I know it doesn't change our history but now when I look at her it's all I see. She is a mom who could leave her child. You couldn't pry mine out of my cold dead hands.

So...Quandary...How can I let this revelation not ruin our friendship? How can I not obsess about this? How can I see her and love her as I have always done and not let this affect how I see her?

I know that this is not an immediate situation. But I know she was being honest and telling the truth - even though telling the truth makes her sound like less than the truly loving mother she is.

But your close friends are people you usually share the fundamental concepts - morals and values, faith, general attitudes - things you have in common.

I wonder what else we don't have in common? Maybe our history is what we have in common? It's almost irrelevant since it may never happen, but that fact she could think it and mean it and voice it really unnerves me.

Maybe I hang on too tight.

Does anyone have any thoughts?


Monday, August 28, 2006

Why I Chose My Blog Name

A Chelsea Morning wants to know why our blogging names are our blogging names. Great question since I wonder that myself.

Last Christmas I went to a craft fair (one of many) and one of the booths featured sayings painted on pieces of wood. Such a basic idea that I couldn't believe I was going to spend money on it...but I loved "Because Nice Matters"...because it does, it really does. I just stood there and stared at it thinking how over-used the word "nice" is, but how it's still important, and sometimes it is the word you are looking for.

So, I bought the banner and hung it over my kitchen door where everyone who enters my house sees it (and comments on it) and we who live here see it many times a day...and it's my secret hope that it will (unconsciously) get permanently lodged in our brains.

That's all folks :)


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Learning the lessons...again.

Ever have one of those days you end up feeling like such a rotten human being that your arms and legs are scraped and sore from you trying to crawl under the nearest rock!

Today was one of those days. Learning lessons over again that obviously haven't stuck very well even though I think I'm such a smartie-pants because I'm all grown-up and all that!

Today I RE-learned that I'm never too old to be a spoiled, selfish brat and that my mother is a person as well as my mother, and that I need to still be respectful to her even though I'm such a big-shot at 40!

Over the summer, my sister was home for about 5 weeks (that never happens) and we had a wonderful time joining forces and backing each other up and generally having a great time enjoying our mutual adoration club status. It's nice to be friends with my sister. It wasn't like that for the first 26 years of "us" and sometimes I feel like we're making up for lost time.

In particular, we were very opinionated in how to raise children (they are our own afterall) and how to inter-relate with all the other members of our family and friends, what behavior is appropriate and generally know all the answers to all the questions, just ask us!

Now, even though that may be true :), it doesn't discount the knowledge and experience of the older members of our family...our mother... and that she may actually have a point or an opinion or just deserve the opportunity to voice another perspective.

And, even though we may not agree with that different voice, it is still worthy of respect. Sometimes it's all in the delivery you know? Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean you can be smarmy or snotty about it.

In the end, I found out today that some of our comments hurt our mother's feelings terribly and that she felt very gained up on. She even cried. Is there anything worse than hearing your mother cry because you were careless and didn't treat her and her point of view with love? Even if you don't agree, there must always be a way to treat others with love.

"Love one another as I have loved you."

Even though she is over it and forgave me, I think it will be awhile before I get over it - as it should be I suppose.

So, as I'm skulking around for the next few days, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible and trying to look before I leap...I mean speak, I can only hope that I'll be able to suffer through my hurt feelings from my own child (when that happens and I'm sure it will) as graciously as my Mom did.

Sometimes it boggles my mind how mean we can be to the people we love the most and who love us the most. Mind boggling!


NB...after this post I went to mass and guess what the second reading was about..."Love one another..." Kinda goose-bumpy!


So I haven't been doing too well on my blog. I have been reading others avidly and sometimes commenting, always wishing I was blogging too, but can't really find anything to say.

Then I read Lisa Whelchel's journal entry on blogging and how it can be a record for myself or my family. I don't imagine my family's too interested, but I think I am interested.

We have had an extremely busy summer and I have to go grocery shopping today and start the laundry catch-up, but I think tomorrow I will start again.

10 more days of summer vacation - the kids are getting sad :)


Monday, August 07, 2006

Because Nice Matters

I thought I should 'fess up to the name of my blog. So many people have commented on it, and although I'm glad people like the saying as much as I do, I actually found it at a craft sale. At Christmas time we have loads of craft sales and there was this one smaller stall that had plain boards with sayings painted on them. I felt foolish buying it since if I had half a brain I could have done it myself but I didn't want to blatantly copy it - not since I have it hanging over the entrance to my kitchen and I would see it a million times a day and be reminded of my forgery! So there it is. I really like it and I really do think it's important and true. And I'm glad you do too!

I continue to pray for baby Addison and her family and send prayers of thanksgiving for all you who are praying as well. It's amazing that we can all be so directed to the same prayer causes - God can't help but hear us :)!

Check out Boomama's site - she's asking some great questions and she'll have you thinking for a while. Make sure you check out all the comments, people are great at responding.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Celiac Disease

I have Celiac Disease - as do a lot of people. This is when a person has an intolerance to gluten - which is found in wheat flour, barley, malt, hydrolyzed plant and veg protein, etc. It attacks and inflames the villi in the small intestine, causing malabsorption of vitamins and minerals and has many yucky visible and invisible side effects. And it doesn't help my Irritable Bowel Syndrome much either :)

ANYWAY... in my experience (15 years) I have come across two types of Celiacs: people who are celiacs and people who happen to have celiac disease as part of their make-up in life.

The first group are bound to it and let it run their lives. The second group lives with it and tries not to let it run our lives (which is difficult once you think about the 4 main food groups we are supposed to eat - now are you getting my addiction to candy/chocolate - it has become a food group!).

I am part of the second group. It's annoying and a pain but so are a lot of other things. And a gluten-free diet for life isn't all that bad - it's actually pretty healthy - just very restrictive and boring and not conducive at all to pub food.

So I wanted to let this out about me in case there are others who want to talk or share or have questions or just want to vent. I know the dietary guidelines vary somewhat country to country, but the gist of it is the same.


Friday, August 04, 2006

For chocolate?!

Two days ago my sister and my niece and nephew finished their holiday with us and left to return to Montreal. We had a great visit - so great that she decided to stay two weeks longer than planned. So we had more time to play. What did we do you ask - we went to the local chocolate factory outlet store. No, I didn't say heaven on earth, but I understand the confusion :)

You seem, here in my end of Canada, we are home to the Pot of Gold chocolate factory (it's actually named Moirs, owned by Hersey, but Pot of Gold is the important point). And they have an outlet store!! I had never been there myself in person, althought I have an aunt who shops there regularly (yah!). I knew once I started going, I would never stop. However, going with my sister would be an adventure, so off we went.

It's not very big and pretty sparsley decorated, but who is looking at the walls. The cashier looked pretty happy (who wouldn't be working there) and I asked how it was she didn't weigh 500 pounds working there. She said she had just started working there and to check in with her in a month to test the scales :)

There were rows and rows of boxes of chocolates: 5 lbs, 10 lbs, nuts only, mint only, whatever you want. The best was the row on the side that had bags of each type of candy that was in the box of Pot of Gold, so you could buy bags of your favorite pieces and not have to eat (out of obligation of course) the less than stellar pieces. They had 10 marshmellow snowman (yes they're getting ready for Christmas) for $1.50! So we had a ball and came out with bags of treats that would last at least until the end of the summer!

When we got home, we put them in the vegetable crisper (it was conveniently empty) to keep them cool in the fridge. They have a 13 month shelf life but it was so hot, we didn't want bagged balls of chocolate goo. This is the important part - the veggie crisper.

A couple days later it was time for her to go. Since I was going to be leaving the house first to take M to her swimming lesson I put a post-it on my sister's purse to NOT forget the chocolate. I figured this was a good idea, because we wouldn't be thinking veggie crisper while we were having our teary good-byes. Off I go.

We get home from swimming and I head straight for the fridge for something to drink. I am drawn to the crisper and lo and behold, there is the chocolate bag!! I can't believe it. M can't believe it and neither can my Mom, who happens to be there as well. Head straight for the phone to call her. She has only been on the road an hour maybe two, if she turns back and we head out, we can meet half way and deliver the treasure. Cell phone dead - oh yeah, we forgot to charge it before she left. So, I said what any other perfectly sane choclaholic would have said...ROAD TRIP. It would take my sister two days to drive to Montreal and her overnight stop was only 6 hours from my house! We couldn't mail or ship the chocolate to her, it would melt...right!!! So, I called my Dad to tell him that my Mom was coming with me (she was to afraid to call)...he said "you're kidding right - for chocolate?!" I said of course for chocolate! When I called my husband, he didn't say anything except "for chocolate?" M said if it was a laptop he'd totally understand!!!

Off we went and drove 6 hours to Woodstock. They were astonished. I had called my brother-in-law (he keeps his cell phone charged) to tell him we were coming and he guessed it..."for chocolate?" Men!! M had a quick dip in the pool and we said our FINAL good-byes and off we went to our hotel. Unfortunately theirs was booked and we had to go elsewhere but that was OK. The next day M, Mom and I had a great day, in Fredericton, even did some Christmas shopping (the trip wasn't totally crazy) and enjoyed the ride home. It was so much fun.

M said " I can't believe we drove 6 hours for chocolate". I explained we didn't really do it for chocolate, we did it to eek out one last good-bye to family we may not see again for months and months.

Now we have a great memory and I have a great story to tell - I just have to be careful who I tell it to, otherwise, all I get is..."for chocolate?"


PS My nephew put my sister's purse in the truck and that's why she didn't see it :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Two BBQs

Yesterday I went to two BBQS. One was a going away party for a young guy heading off to university and one was a wedding reception for a newly married, young couple. The day was outstanding weather-wise: sunny, hot, beautiful sky, slight breeze and you just felt great to be outside with friends and family.

However, both of the BBQs highlighted a running theme in my life lately. The better you are at parenting, the sooner and more successfully your children leave you and start their life on their own. It's the only job where, if you do it well, your kids will go.

I imagine I think about this a lot because I only have one child. And I always did want a girl. And I like her. Of course I love her, but I really like the person she is and is becoming.

I know, I know. I want her to leave home after school. Marry a great guy, have a wonderful career, experience motherhood and be a productive and kind adult. And I know that I will be a factor in all that, but honestly, sometimes the success you are as an adult is in spite of your upbringing. You know what I mean? She could just as easily turn out awesome in spite of me, not because of me.

I really hope and pray that we will have a fulfilling relationship when she is an adult. I am her "Mom" and I want to stay the "Mom". I hope we will find a way to be in a compatible, adult-women relationship but I still get to be her Mom.

I have six years before university and I intend to make the very most of it. I love having her with me and that we are so important to each other. Sometimes I feel silly that I feel this way, but I already told the computer-wiz that I plan to follow her wherever she moves :) What's the point of staying here if she's over there :)


End of Tour

Ah - the basement. This is M's half. Stuff galore. And this is my half. Stuff galore. I am the catch-all. There is a table and chairs waiting to be given to a refugee family our church is sponsoring. Some giant box that is "too special" to tear up because she's still playing in it. That table in the back is supposed to be clear at all times so I can scrapbook at a moment's notice. Dream on!!! Thanks for coming for a visit. Virginia will walk you to your car. Drop by anytime :)

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Looking out the kitchen to the entry way. I hang M's artwork everywhere.

I wanted to show you the bathroom floor, pretty good for an amateur. I have lugged that shower curtain to every bathroom I have had. I love it. And you can paint the walls any colour and they will always match.

The spare room is pretty plain but the bed is awesome - a guaranteed good night sleep.

And M's room - typical I guess. Yes, that's a Hilary Duff poster on the bed - we just went to her concert with my sister and niece. A great experience - 10,000 screaming pre-teens with glo-sticks!

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House Tour cond't

The dining area - the best thing here is that my almost workaholic husband comes home every night for supper so we always have the evening meal together, even if he has to go back. Lots of good times and bad table manners - if only the table could talk.
Hang a right into the kitchen. The two highlights: a pull-out ironing board (that was in my other house so I stole the idea :) and my under-the counter, flip-out TV screen so I can watch Oprah and Dr. Phil while
I make supper (this past year's Mother's Day gift - I love it!)

The rest of the kitchen is standard. Pumkin Orange and off-white cupboards. Looks so tidy but I haven't been home to use it in two weeks and I think hubby ate out a lot.  Posted by Picasa

Our Home - a few posts, be patient :)

Welcome, Welcome...we are the most casual people so come right in and don't worry about your shoes. The house is the colour of the flesh-coloured crayon in your 64 pack crayon box. So I painted the front door gray to match the roof. Pretty difficult colour to do anything with. Things out front are a bit jazzier when there's a season to decorate - I'd like something fun to hang on the front door - I love my sparkly red Christmas wreath but my family won't let me keep it up all year - funny about that...
When you come up the stairs, you are right in the living room/dining room. We downsized from a large three-level home and this house is less that half the size. We are only three people after all. We sacrificed many bathrooms and closets for ease of cleaning which I love and a more safe and kid-oriented neighbourhood. When we first moved in, I would stand in the living room on one foot and be in the dining room in the other. It is great.
We all do all of our living here: tv, read, nap, eat, play, you can't see the piano, stare out the window. When we bought the house 4 years ago we reno'd the main floor and put hardwood floors everywhere except the kitchen and bathroom, which hubby tiled himself (the first and last time he informed me when finished). I still can't bear to cover them up with an area rug cause I still like to look at all that money well spent :)

As you can see, things flow easily into the dining area. Laptop on desk for easy access.
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Christmas in July

I feel like it's Christmas in July. In fact, it's 2:00 am and I can't sleep just like Christmas Eve. I have made contact - a connection with someone. Sarah made a comment on my posting and I'm so thrilled. When I did this earlier today I didn't realize how much I wanted to "hear" from someone. But I checked all day - how stupid is that because how can anyone know that I'm out there! But someone read my post and told me so. YAH!

I am going to try and join the Tour of Homes as soon as I can figure it out. I know I'm past the date but I hope that's OK.

Is there any rule of thumb re: posting pictures of family, kids, etc? I'm such a newbie but I want to be safe.

Now maybe I'll be able to sleep!

Sandy zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Summer Seven

Where to begin...

You don't know me. I had a minor meltdown when I realized that I didn't know how I was going to get everything on this blog before I exposed it to the world. Then I realized that it is a process and that over time you will get to know me and I you. So, I need not panic..I will just jump in and BLOG!

My sister and her kids are home for most of the summer. They live far away from us and we don't see them very often, only two or three times a year. So the summer is great since we always try to have extended visits - either them here or us there. Her entire family came for two weeks and then her husband had to return to work (poor thing) and she and my niece and nephew stayed on. We have been having wonderful times at the cottage, beach, hanging out at my parent's house, staying up late, chatting, venting, lamenting, eating, you know...the things that are hard to do long distance.

My nephew (T-11 yrs) is only 11 months younger than my daughter (M-12 yrs) and they are inseparable! Their giggling is heaven-sent and drives us buggy all at the same time. My niece (G-8 yrs) is four years younger than M so that makes it interesting and touchy. M is an only child and T and G are more like her siblings than cousins, which I am solidly grateful for, but it does make it hard for her, since T and G have all year to learn "how to live with a sibling" and M kind of gets thrown into it now and then. However, she and I have been using Ephesians 4:29 as our motto:

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

I even wrote it out in a couple of translations and put them on the fridge, so we could get the full picture. It seems to help. When I hear things heating up, I just yell out (from wherever I am) "4:29" and M gets the picture. You use what you've got, right?

Anyway, my sister and I now have the "Summer Seven"...the seven extra pounds we seem to put on every visit. My sister is a great cook and loves food and selection, especially when it comes to candy and chocolate. And I, her ever-willing accomplice, have been having a fabulous time with my partner in crime...much to our mother's chagrin. Hey, we are grown-ups, we accept the extra poundage - we just look at it as creating happy memories and something to do in the Fall when we are apart (taking off the poundage).

We are having a weekend break while M is spending the weekend with her Dad (I'm divorced and remarried) and my sister and her kids are having a final weekend with our parents. Then, they will come in and spend a few days with us before they head back home.

My sister and I are both so lucky that we are stay-at-home moms, thanks to our generous husbands, and that they have no problem with us visiting and talking and vacationing here and there while they go to the office (at least it is air-conditioned for them).

The kids are having an amazing time. That is so important to me since they can't see each other everyday and M misses all of them terribly when we are apart. My sister and I are having an amazing time as well, which always amazes me since we had a very difficult "siblinghood" and have worked very hard over the last 10 years to set things right.



PS I think I'm going to like this blogging. I'll try not to ramble on and sorry in advance for any spelling/grammar mistakes, etc. Hope to hear from you!