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 grass...it'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's...you know...green. 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 think...you 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.