Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Last night was our Parish's annual Confirmation Mass. 29 young men and women (around age 16) were confirmed.

Yesterday was nasty - winter nasty. It snowed all day. Just didn't stop. Not a hard snow, just enough to make you think you didn't have to shovel and then when you needed to go out, you realize you should have. You have to brush your car off everytime. And because we're on the coast, there's always some form of rain involved- freezing or regular, it doesn't seem to matter. And lots of winds. Just the type of day you'd rather stay home, not really a storm, just stormy.

However, I pick up Marly from school at 2:00, head over the bridge to her 3:00 physio appt, the physiotherapist is overbooked and running late so we don't get home to nearly to 5:00 pm. On the way home, the radio people are announcing the evening activities that are cancelled. Please cancel confirmation - Marly is an altar server and has to be there for 6:30 pm and supper will now be late. And she can't be late, the Bishop will be there and on and on I ramble in my head.

When I get home, I call my friend Janet who is in the choir. No, it's not canceled. They can't really cancel it because it would be hard to reschedule the Bishop with Lent practically upon us.

So we charge through supper which everyone liked (what's up with that?) and we had a nice family visit because, of course, the Lord is watching over us - Sandy when will you get that?!

We go to confirmation. It is freezing and snowy and I have to wear my nice boots but they are making my sore foot and ankle hurt, Marly is cranky because she was invited at the last minute to go outdoor skating in the neighbourhood but can't because "she has to go to church!".

Not a good start.

I walk in. Everyone is dressed in their very best. Extended families have gathered for this important occasion. The church looks wonderful. The Bishop is chatting about - he's a great chatter. The confirmation candidates are in their robes, ready. The choir is huge (our two choirs combined) and a full complement of altar servers. I'm glad I wore my nice boots :)

A peace comes over me. The Holy Spirit is there already. It's not waiting for the Bishop to invoke it upon the candidates, it is there in our community. I always envision the Holy Spirit like a wave flowing in and round the people, touching us all, making us one and making us better.

The service was lovely. The choir was fabulous. I always sit close because I used to sing with them, so I sing along and pretend I'm sitting with them. The candidates are ready.

I look at those boys and girls HARD. When you are 16, do you know what you are doing? Can you make these decisions about your life? Do they know what they are saying? Do they believe it? Will they live it? Time will tell. They have their lifetime to live their faith, to make their own journey.

I made the decision to be baptized when I was in grade 8, younger than them. (Yes, I am a Catholic covert from a whole life of being Baptist.) I was ready, I knew I was. But did the community of adults wonder the same thing for me? I'm sure they did.

This year, after the service, the Bishop had invited one of the young people in our parish who was confirmed a couple of years ago to speak to his peers about what it has been like for him since his confirmation. I thought it was a great idea. Kids are more likely to listen to kids.

When all was said and done and I watched the 29 have their pictures taken with the Bishop, our Priest, Sister and Deacon and the leaders of the Confirmation Classes, my heart warmed my toes and soothed my ankle, and I thought about the confirmation in my daughter's future. I prayed that she would know what she was doing, or at least be open to learn and experience all that God has to offer her.

Happy Shrove Tuesday - gotta love them pancakes!!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day.

I was watching a christian TV show the other day and the lady said..."Love One Another is a command you know, not just friendly advice on how to live".

That really struck me.

You know, I've read scripture over and over, trying to read it in the correct contexts: political, cultural, geographical, understanding language usage, etc. But I never thought about grammar and how it affects what is being said. Sometimes, when verses are so familiar they lose their meaning. They are comfortable and worn, and come from a loving, merciful God. Sometimes I miss what He is saying...

Love one another.

Peace be with you.

Whatever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto me.

You see what I'm trying to say.

He is like the Nike slogan..."JUST DO IT".

Long ago, when I heard that "love is a decision, not just an emotion". That struck me too. And it explained about when love is not enough. That sometimes, there has to be more...trust, honesty, perseverance, tolerance. Love can be the underlying bond to hold people together, but sometimes there must be more. "Love" as a verb is a lot more powerful than "love" as a feeling.

Karla Holmoka, hideous murderess here in Canada, has just had a baby. I long to hate her. What she did infuriates me. And now she has a baby!!! That can't be right. But I am called to love her (thank goodness not to like her). I wise friend told me to pray for her. That I won't be able to pray for her and hate her at the same time. It may make it a bit easier to follow that command.

God is telling me things - not offering words of wisdom, not advising, not pondering or musing. Lately I feel that I need to look at the bible as more of an instruction manual - maybe I have dwelt on the histories and stories and wonder of it all too much.

Love One Another as I have loved (LOVE) you.

Happy Valentine's Day bloggysphere.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

When She Fell Off The Pedestal I Put Her On

Jer 17:5-8

5 This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

This was the first reading in tonight's mass. When I was thinking about today's post I was thinking along these lines and hearing the reading just encouraged me.

I have attended bible studies my whole life. I love them. I love the reading, the learning, the socializing, everything.

About eight years ago, when I finally became a stay-at-home Mom, my daughter went of to primary and I could finally attend a bible study in the daytime. I started looking and found a morning group who were up for new "attendees".

Great. I was so happy. The study was awesome. It was a video and scripture study that went through all the countries in the bible and followed Jesus' path. Another great feature was that all the women were from different denominations, so there was lively and truly interesting and inspiring discussions.

I loved the leader. She was so earnest in her love for the Lord. She was an at-home Mom of three children, a dedicated Christian woman in a Christian family, happily married and really focussed on her life and where she was going. She was (and probably still is) a wonderful prayer. So genuine, she could bring herself and us to tears. I loved to listen to her pray. She knew the scriptures. A woman who was a great teacher and a great person.

A real role model. Someone to look up to and emulate. (SCREECH - that was what I should have done).

One day after our time together, we were getting ready to leave and were talking about kids - of course. Our local elementary school was getting ready to change their policies and become a peanut-free/peanut-smart school since it would soon have students that were deathly allergic to peanuts.

My role model thought this was crazy. She couldn't believe it - all these changes for a few students. Nevermind the fact that in Canada all children are legally entitled to a SAFE learning environment, etc, etc. What were her kids going to eat, couldn't the "at-risk" students eat by themselves somewhere else, can't they be responsible for themselves, etc.

I couldn't believe it. As a person with food intolerances, I knew what could happen when you ate the wrong thing. And we were talking about 5 years olds - they need help with their allergies and the other 5 year olds need help being educated. It's an elementary school after all. Of course kids can be more responsible when THEY CAN READ THE LABELS THEMSELVES.

And she fell off the pedestal. Actually, I pushed her off. The pedestal that I had built mind you. She didn't ask to be put up there.

That's when I realized that God is my role model. If anyone is on a pedestal in my life, it had better be Him. I know He has put great people in my life, people who can set a good example, encourage, inspire and teach. But if I am going to emulate or imitate anyone, it needs to be Him.

Many times, it seems easier, more reasonable and likely more chance of success if we follow a person. We have to keep our eyes up and looking to Heaven.

It wasn't my friend's fault. She didn't to anything but be human and in her humanity I recognized the greatness of God.


Friday, February 09, 2007

You Have Got to Read This Post

Now I know, that besides myself, hardly anyone reads this blog. It's OK. I'm not much of a "put it out there kind of girl". It's really OK. And the couple of sweethearts who do read will agree with me about the following - I just know they will :)

You have got to read this post. Or maybe "I got to read this post" and I did and it was so great, I'm letting you know about it.

I am currently reading Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, generously recommended and given to me by Bev. It is a great book about men and women & love and respect and all the "how tos", "the whys", the "how comes" and, mostly importantly, "because it says so in the Bible". This is a Christian point of view and approach to marriage that I had not heard of before that is really gelling with me as I try to incorporate it into my own life and marriage.

So then I come across the above mentioned posts in the Rocks in My Dryer Works for Me Wednesday meme. And in the post are links to other posts and people who really get these ideas and know how to make them work.

OK, OK, obviously I'm a little slow on the uptake. But really I think I have been carrying around too much baggage from my first (and long ago) try at marriage. I knew things needed to be different but wasn't sure how to start and, at that point, was consumed by a child dealing with divorce, so things just got put on the back burner.

But they are on the front burner now and posts and people like these in our bloggy-world are great and helpful and enouraging and awesome and I love them and I'm sure you get the point so I will stop now :)

Have a great weekend. It is freezing here but I hear there is MAJOR snow around Lake Ontario and it's making me a little nervous so I've got to go and fill up the gas tank, find the shovels and get some grocery shopping done in case we get DUMPED ON!


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Six Pieces of White Bread

I have a very good friend who has been on a weight loss program for the last several months. It's a program that custom-designs a weekly meal plan based on the foods you like to eat. It also manages the carb, sugar, water intakes. She has weekly weigh-ins and emails me every Friday with her results.

She has done fabulously well. Lost 45 pounds with only 15 to go. It has been fun watching her shrink and her confidence and pride grow in knowing she finally saw the truth and is doing something about it.

This past Friday she emailed and wasn't as excited as she usually was. She had only lost .25 lb and only lost 1 lb in the last two weeks and was getting ready to re-focus and take charge once again.

I was a bit surprised as she claimed sugar was her downfall and it was the enemy. I emailed her back and said I thought you weren't eating any sugar, what did she mean.

She replied that in the last couple of weeks she had "fallen off the wagon a bit" and last Friday had eaten six Cadbury Thins chocolate bars and last Tuesday had eaten six pieces of white bread.

I thought it funny that eating the six chocolate bars didn't faze me ONE LITTLE BIT but I was shocked at eating six pieces of bread at once.

I guess it's all relative :)


Friday, February 02, 2007

The Motherhood Tattoo

Sarah wrote about how "motherhood is tattooed on her soul".

I think about motherhood a lot and how it has completely transformed me, and that the transformation was not a surprise. I had big dreams when I was a kid and teenager and in university. Big plan and lots of expectations. Being a wife and mother factored into those dreams, but the long-term planning stopped at the birth. It's like I knew it was going to change but since I didn't know exactly how, I couldn't plan for it. All I really knew was that if there was anyway possible, I wanted to be an at-home mom.

I remember being pregnant and having lunch with my girl-friends and debating being "at-home" (when you have that option). There was one friend with a super high-powered job with her child having three meals a day in childcare because she and her husband worked such long hours. Her argument was that she wanted to go back to work because she might miss out on a great professional opportunity. I said what job could be better than being there and raising your child until they are ready to leave on their own; why have kids if I only saw them nights and weekends; that I knew for myself, there would never be a professional opportunity more exciting, more satisfying, more amazing than being home with my child. She didn't say much after that.

When I was pregnant, my husband and I started to live on his salary and bank mine for a down-payment for a house. I knew we needed to "practice" living on one income. When we did start to look for a house we based the mortgage on one and a half incomes (I knew then I had to go back at least part-time), not two mortgages so we wouldn't get in over our heads. We bought the house we never thought we would, in an area we never thought about because it made sense and we could afford it, and of course, it turned out to be the right decisions.

Baby came. As soon as I recovered, literally and figuratively, I started thinking about childcare. Who could I trust? Was there anyone really on the planet capable of taking are of my child, outside of myself and Grammie and Grammie lived too far away. And where do I find this person?

So I went to my church. I did some investigating and found the super-childcare giver. Who, of course, had the maximum number of children she could care for in her home (I wanted a home environment). But, she recommended Susan, a woman she would have take care of her children if she needed a caregiver.

So I interviewed Susan. Went to her home, checked out her family and home and asked my 30 or so questions. Checked out her references and decided I could try and trust her with my precious, precious six-month old baby.

I'll never forget my first day back at work. Went to work and was 40 minutes late getting to my desk. Everyone knew it was my first day back and assumed I was having a hard time leaving my baby. Oh, no, I said. I was here on time, I've just been in the parking lot, crying for the last 40 minutes but I'm OK now.

Marly stayed with Susan from the time she was six-months old until she was four and a half, when I finally had the chance to start being a stay-at-home mom. She was wonderful. She indulged my every new-mother whim/neurosis. Her own son and another little girl were the same age as Marly so she formed a tight group of little friends, that lasted for years. Susan was very close to her parents so they became Nanny and Grandad to my child as well. Susan was a gift given to me that I will be forever grateful to, as I remember her every Christmas and Mother's Day so she will know how important I think she is/was to the early development of my little girl.

Here comes the "motherhood's stamped on your soul" bit, that motherhood may cause you to change and do things that under any other circumstances you may have run to the hills. Motherhood has certainly done that to me.

One evening, when she was a toddler, I was changing her and noticed some bruising in her "private area". She was also toddler-babbling about her diaper and how one of the little boys wouldn't let her have diaper.


So, on the one hand, she's a toddler, she can't talk, she doesn't know what is going on, Susan and her family have been wonderful to me and my family. WHAT I AM THINKING IS CRAZY AND EVEN IF IT'S NOT, WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

(At this point, let me say I am a people-pleaser, NON CONFRONTATIONAL person by nature, although I am working on that, successfully I might add.)

On the other hand, she is a toddler, she doesn't know what is happening, who are these people anyway and IT IS UP TO ME TO PROTECT HER. Do I tell her when she's older, I was too embarrassed to bring up the subject of the suspicious bruising so I sacrificed your life so I wouldn't have to say anything uncomfortable?

My comfort zone is begging me to say nothing, "I'm sure it's nothing, you are over-reacting, leave it alone. If you talk to Susan, she will hate you and you will lose a good sitter".

But that "mother lion and cub" thing just took over and I knew I had to say something, even though I had no idea what would happen.

So I did. I talked to Susan about the bruising and the toddler comments about the diapers. Not accusing, but certainly inquiring about abuse, so really I was accusing her at some level. Susan was heartbroken, I was heartbroken, that we were having this conversation. But how could I not? We were so crushed. Later on after Susan thought about it, she noticed that their new coffee table/heavy wooden chest with pointy corners was just the right height and she had also seen Marly bang into it since it was a new piece of furniture and everyone was just getting used to it (Marly has never been known for her grace to this day). The diapers: her son had been "helping" Susan when she needed to change the kids and thought it was fun to play "keep-away" with the diapers. When I later talked to her and wondered if we would be able to maintain our relationship, she was gracious and said we could. She also said that she hoped that if there was ever a question about the care of her child, that she would have enough courage to do the same.

It was an amazing experience. Until that point I was brought up to "suck it up". There was questionable behaviour in my own family by a certain uncle and when the grandkids were born, my sister and I demanded that he was never to be alone with our kids as we had been. My mother was horrified about our demands and worried what her sister would say (the uncle's wife) but the other family members immediately agreed and it made me wonder what my mother would sacrifice for "peace" in the family.

When my own child's safety was in question, I was shocked at the powerfulness of my urge to protect her at all costs. And I knew I would take whatever measures I would need, without question or delay, to make sure that she was not harmed in any way. It's that POWER of emotions that amazes me. I didn't know it was there until I needed it. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE is a powerful thing. I feel I am a better person for experiencing it. The mother-child bond is so fierce I can't really explain it, just feel it.

Sarah's right, motherhood is tattooed on my soul. The only tattoo I will ever have and I'll be proud of it for the rest of my life.