Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas at Our House

I know we are less then ten days away from Christmas day but wanted to share some of our celebrations this year. We have done several things differently this year.

We have done Jesse Tree devotions over the last ten years. We read, the kids color or draw the symbol and attach it to the tree. Some years the tree has been cloth and others we have used a real branch from our back yard. We have enjoyed these times each year so very much.  I have found it hard at times to do a devotion faithfully every day till Christmas (just being honest).

This year I found a neat little book about the history of Christmas traditions called The ADVENTure of Christmas. I wasn't really looking for it but came across it on the clearance rack at a book shop. Each day we read through a different tradition and the legend and history behind it. It has been a nice change and very interesting. It also had a suggestion for making your own Advent calendar. It is SO simple but we had tons of fun making them and of course eating them. She suggests using Hershey kisses but I found it too pricey to do that with three kids. I bought one of those gummy candy packs with tons of candy for the same price as one Hershey kiss bag. Yes, I know.....tons of dye and high fructose corn syrup but once in awhile won't hurt us. You pull out enough plastic wrap to hold 25 of the candies. Lay out the candies with about an inch between and roll them up. You then tie a piece of ribbon in between each piece. Then you hang it. We hung two of them from wall mounted candle holders in our dining room and the other to a curtain rod in the dining room. Each day we read and then cut off a piece of candy.


 Those spicy red balls are YUMMO!






Did you know that candy canes were originally made as sugar pacifiers for babies while in church services? It was interesting to learn why the stripes were added and what they mean?

We are really having a low key holiday here. No traveling this year which I am so thankful for. Our family is coming to us in small groups over the week. We are having dinner with close friends Christmas Day and chilling. My husband has an entire week off which is never happened before. Much to be grateful for.

As extended family we agreed to make all the gifts this year.The adults don't do gifts but the kids pick names. I am excited to see what they have all come up with to make for each other. I would love to share what I made but will post after Christmas so I don't spoil the surprise :o) We have gotten into some fun creating this year. I have un-earthed old creative loves and found new ones. Journey has amazed me with some of her creations.


I decided to wrap the print over the mantel in Christmas paper for decoration. It took me a few days to get over the shock of how "loud" it felt in the room but it feels festive now. It was super easy. I just stapled the paper onto the back of the wood frame and then bought ribbon and made the bow. I think it cost me all of $2.49 to do. The cute toddler is showing off his dance moves to Harry Connick's Christmas Album.


Can't remember who's idea it was to use lettered building blocks for the mantel but we love it. We have several sets all over the house that say "Merry Christmas"....again a frugal but fun way to decorate and celebrate.

Have a Merry Christmas from our home to yours. See you next year! Or maybe before, if I get around to sharing our creations before then.



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whispers and Shouts

All mama's experience the homeschool haunt in their years of home learning. That voice that sneaks up over your shoulder and whispers "it's not enough". I have been particularly hunted down by this the last few days.
I think the struggle comes off and on for everyone. Personally, I find with my son who has more needs, this whisper grows into a shout if I am not careful.

I realize the best place for him is at home, hands down. The big yellow school bus is not on the horizon at my house. I do wonder though, if I am giving him what he needs from an educational standpoint. There are skills that are just SO hard for him. Would a professional know things I don't that would serve him in written and oral output? I am sure there is somewhere.

How important are these skills to being successful in adulthood? I'd say pretty important. Will he mature into them? Will he overcome those he doesn't or will they be defining factors we can't get past? I really don't know?

This is how the whisper sneaks into a scream that I can't hear over anything else. It is a form of war to come face to face with the future possibilities and not let them take you down. To not let autism run your life into a pit of sorrows and swallow you like a gnat.

There is a time to grieve but never a time to give up. I feel a little battle weary but that signals a time to retreat, rest, wait and get new battle plans. In the mean time we take a break from trying to write and get goofy. Tickling is a tremendous weapon against the brick walls in our house.


James 1:4-6



And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

I do feel a bit tossed by a wave right now but His word and truth bring comfort.

So in faith I ask for help, wisdom, the next step and He will give generously.

Will you pray for wisdom as I search some things out and make some changes around here....again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall


Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love pulling out my warm socks, hoodies and sweaters. Curling up under blankets drinking good hot coffee is one of my most relaxing past times. This maple mixed with an evergreen is my morning view each day. I have watched it slowly turn vibrant red as the season has progressed.


The big oak drops it's summers work all over our deck. A constant pile of fun for the kids (when it's not raining). A chore in the crisp air when it's finished shedding. We always have fun cleaning up the fall.


Being an American living in Canada I feel I have a double blessing. Thanksgiving here is at the beginning of October. My heart and mind is called a whole month earlier to remember to be thankful. Though we are called  daily to be thankful we make a creative effort during October and November to speak it, and create with it. This year we decided to make our own Thanksgiving tree. We drew it, colored it and put it on the wall. Each circle time we make a leaf or bird and write our thanks and add it to the tree. We are now talking about how to use this tree to also walk through advent.


We love our family tradition of craving pumpkins and roasting seeds. Determined and focused little guys aren't they? I love that little tongue sticking out in concentration. My mom says I did the same thing as a child.


All the bright colors of fall just before the long dark sleeping months are so beautiful to me. So much color to be stored away and remembered during the hibernation. And then, the color greets us again in Spring.


The final result.

Sadly, someone took Isaac's pumpkin on the left and smashed it all over the road in front of our house. He was not a happy camper. He asked me why someone would destroy someone else's cool looking pumpkin. I figured talking about the depravity of man was a bit over his head but in simple terms we talked about the nature of man apart from God.

Happy Thanksgiving this month and all year long.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

One More

Well, it is kind of chaos around here. I have battled a nasty viral thing for over a week now. The lay down and can't get off the couch kinda virus. But I had to get off the couch...so I did with drugs. The natural stuff didn't even touch it.

Our new help causing such "ease" is moving on in December. Yet He is providing in ways I wouldn't expect.

My little man is not sleeping naps nor sleeping in AT ALL. This was long before the time change....which only compounded things.  Have no clue how to get him to sleep.

So many obstacles in learning right now.....YET

In the madness there is rest. Been pretty desperate in the last several weeks. A good place to be.

When I don't know what to do I have decided to just wait. Just bow my head and ask for grace and wisdom. And in waiting and asking HE shows me,

And often it hasn't been some big fix just

.....one more hug
.....one more meal
.....one more prayer
.....one more smile
.....one more story
.....one more laugh
.....one more tear
.....one more apology

Simply the next thing He has placed in front of me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Everything to Someone

Came across this quote here. Was encouraged hope you are too.

How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about [arithmetic], and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.


G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Mess Maker

I used to think messy outside was a reflection of a messy inside. Maybe in some cases it is. For me, I scramble to keep the outside orderly in order to calm the mess inside. Clean house clean heart mentality. I don't like clutter or mess.

God in his kindness has been working on my mess making skills.


Yesterday was day two with very little sleep. My kids still had the same needs no matter my sleep quota. By days end, looking at the outside it appeared life was a wreck. Papers all over the table and floor. Dishes stacked, books laying on most flat surfaces, toys strewn...complete disarray.



Yet, my kids were content. We had learned, played and really laughed (I'll tell you of the zurbert antics another time) till we cried. I even snorted! We lived today in spite of no sleep, messiness and clutter. It was far more important that my heart wasn't a mess with impatience, harsh words and irritation. The huge stack of dirty laundry AND clean unfolded laundry does not reflect the state of my heart. The sticky floors don't mean I'm lazy and unorganized. There is nothing wrong with being organized and on top of the laundry pile. In fact, it happens occasionally. The real problem is when I sacrifice inner peace, grace and resting in Him to keep the outside mess under control. When I am willing to sin against my relationships, my family, my calling as mom then the external mess fixing becomes an idol.


We cleaned up the outside mess eventually...together....willingly (for some in my family that is really hard)....because we spent the morning not letting the inside get messy with trying to control the outside mess.

I'm no longer a happy home maker. I'm a happy mess maker...so I can really LIVE in my home and not just manage it. Won't you join the club?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Eli!


October 7th we celebrated 3 years with this little man.



We were told we'd probably never have any more children ......yet there he is in all his cuteness.



He is funny, loves people and is full of life. His laugh is contagious and his dance moves put others to shame.
He has the cutest puckered lips when unhappy and gives the snuggliest hugs ever.  

We are so grateful you have blessed our lives little man.
 We are so thankful that God in His goodness gave us YOU.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Puzzle Boy

This is what my little 2 (almost 3) year old does during learning time at the table.


He is SO into puzzles. Two 49 piece dinosaur puzzles in one sitting. His patience exceeds my own.


We all cheer around the table when he finishes one. He is so proud of himself and I am right there with him, so proud.

Thanks for the puzzle memories little man. I'll keep them with me forever. Looking forward to nights of hot cocoa and great conversations over a one thousand piece....it won't be long at this rate.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our New Learning Year

Wow, has it really been 24 days since my last post!

We are starting week four of our new learning year. It has flown by so fast. We have a new team working with Isaac, a good fit this time. So grateful for this season of ease in that area.

Ease is a blessing, my friends....one I am learning not to overlook or expect but be thankful for and appreciate. What a gift when something is EASY.

I am still not totally settled with our routine and learning times but getting closer. This year I am using my version of Workboxes. (if you google it you will get more info then you care for :) They have proven to be very helpful for my middle guy and an accountability for my big girl. I have adapted the idea to better fit our needs and space. I use a Work-file-box with twelve file folders. Each folder has a velcro number on it that moves to the front outside of the box when completed. How ever many blanks are on the front of the box indicate the number of tasks that day. I break Isaac's down into very small junks and am finding that very helpful for us both. He knows up front how much he has to do and where to go next if I am with Eli or Journey. It is building a level of independence that is very good for him.

Eli's workbox using big truck numbers and the numbers written on the outside of the box so he can match them up.


This is my box with all the the things I need with me for each child. Sorry it's sideways no matter what I did  it was uploaded this way. I love the top portion that holds different supplies that I and each child needs. No more "Where's my pencil?" or "I need glue!". They each have scissors, glue, color pencils etc in their bin. It really has produced more peaceful  learning.

Less sharing during school in my house equals less chaos. Though I want my children to learn to share, in this setting it simply works better to keep our focus on one skill at a time. I love that these boxes are mobile. We don't always do our work at the table. We are sometimes on the floor with our lap boards. Sometimes we are on a bed, downstairs, reviewing concepts while bouncing on an exercise ball....even been known to crash into the couch head first as we discuss something. We move when we learn, we eat crunchy food when we learn, we have even been known to toss 5 pound workout balls back and forth for skip counting. All in a days learning at our house. These boxes go where ever we do so we don't need to stop in order to find the things we need.

This is Journey's workbox. She is into blue right now. Made me so happy to put this together for her.

I reload these the night before or in the morning. It only takes a few minutes because I keep the next page in folders at the back of the workbox.

I am still up in arms about Mystery of History I. I bought it but am wondering if Ambleside Online might be a better fit for history. Believe it or not as long as I am reading a story aloud to Isaac he will sit so still. He is fascinated by stories. Over the past few years we have gotten away from narration and more simple natural learning due to the obstacles we faced in daily life. Workbooks became such a blessing during that time. Anyway, all just musings and thoughts for another post.

Links to where I printed my workbox grid and numbers. Enjoy!
Blue Numbers
Construction Numbers and Blank Grid (her site has other creative numbers as well)
Confessions of a Homeschooler is where I found other workbox material and some fun stuff for Eli to enjoy this learning year.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

8 Years Old

Isaac turned 8 years old on August 13th.

We went to the Island to celebrate with family at his request.



He loves ice cream, his cousins and hunting for bugs.


Auntie Patty scored by getting him a safari vest complete with binoculars, compass, lantern and Morse code flashlight. He would have slept in it if I let him.


Handsome happy boy.

We spent the day at the beach and park. Hanging, eating, flying kites and checking out the sand sculpture contest. He had a blast.

Being a goof with his cousins. Love all these little people.

Isaac has grown SO much in the last year.

 He is the bravest boy I know. I couldn't be more proud of him.
He is a treasure and a true blessing to our family.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Peek In My Window 8-24-11

Taking a peek in our window is as good an entry back into blog land as any other. So much preparing, relaxing and decluttering going on right now. And YES, you can declutter and relax at the same time. I find the former very relaxing and stress releasing. I do find little time for it most of the year so I tackle it over the summer. Can't wait to go into our new learning season with a spacious house and mind.


What's Happening Today?

Spending part of my day preparing for a friend to come visit tomorrow. I haven't seen her in almost 10 years. She was one of my dearest friends when I lived on Mercy Ships many moons ago. She hasn't meet my two youngest children. It will be short but I am sure a sweet visit.

The boys spent much of their morning hunting down flies, wasps, leather jackets and various other flying things to put in their bug collection. It is the most adorable thing to watch Eli follow his big brother around the yard with his dinosaur gumboots on the wrong feet saying "Go Ikey". We did have a sting this morning. Before you think me a bad mother....there is no stopping my 8 year old when he gets bug hunting in his head. He did return to his hunt after some ice and TLC but he IS demonstrating more caution. What is it with boys and the need to hunt?

The girly spent almost of an hour creating her animal magazine. Can't get this one out of a book or away from a pencil or keyboard. Something I said SO many times today. Please put the book down and go do_____.

Isaac turned 8 this summer.

Another biggie.....I have lost 20lbs since mid March this year. WOOT!




On My Mind

Mostly our new learning year. Getting things together. In the past that mostly meant the routine, the books and lists. Those have been prepared and thought through but most of my time is being poured into intentional living and learning. I am wanting to live well whatever comes more then rely on "The Plan" to get me through. I have been reading about building habits the Charlotte Mason way and have particularly enjoyed this downloadable e-book. It is short but full of good stuff. It compelled me to order the book Laying Down Rails. This little e-books explanation of why nagging doesn't work was an real eye opener for me. It would be well worth your read if you haven't already.

"What we must guard against in the training of children is the danger of their getting into the habit of being prodded to every duty and every effort" (Vol. 3, pg 39) Charlotte Mason


I'm Reading

~ Lots of Charlotte Mason. Including Vol 1. Home Education of Children Under 9

~ Give Them Grace Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus ~ Elyse Fitzpatrick

~ Learning In Spite of Labels Practical Teaching Tips and A Christian Perspective of Education ~ Joyce Herzog

~ Into the Wilderness ~ Sara Donati (I have already read this series of books while pregnant with Eli. There are 5 or 6 in the series. I want to read them again. I fell in love with this family and all they lived through in the late 1700's. It is on many levels a love story but one with backbone based around real history. I think there is another book out in the series that I haven't read yet.) Just an added note: Now that I am 300 pages into this series again, be warned there are some parts that are way more love story then I remember. I love the character development and the time period but didn't remember the other.


~ Enjoying hanging out in Timothy and Titus right now.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our savior appeared he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness but according to his own mercy.....Titus 3:4-5

So glad it's ALL about His mercy and not my works!


I'm Creating

~ A prayer journal

~ Yummy healthy food. This is a big priority around here.

~ Tons of pre-school activities for Eli  (I am a closet hand laminator. I love it)

~ Workboxes for our upcoming learning year.

~ Routine for the fall....little by little each day.


I'm Listening to

~ Nothing but the birds and the wind in the trees (so happy right now)


I'm Grateful for

~ The new therapy person starting next week. God worked the details our so well and it was pretty effortless. Hard to express just how grateful I am. Last time it was a nightmare.

~ Isaac has come ALONG way in the last several months. So thankful for progress forward however slow at times.

~ Eli is a chatter box now. Can you believe it! I can't get him to STOP talking. He still needs speech therapy but his words sound like words and not grunts, so we are moving up in the speech world. He says the cutest things now.

 When He falls he turns to me and says "Me kay mom, me kay". That's his way of letting me know he is okay. He says "hebby" for heavy. He counts everything by saying 1,2,3, 8,9,10. Can't tell ya how good it is to hear this kid talking. He brought me a toy with a word on it and said "wha say mama?". He already gets that words have meaning and they are related to talking. We are out of the woods people!


I'm in Faith for

~ A new therapy year. This last one was not stellar to say the least. It is a long story that honestly I don't care to share. The learning curve as a parent  to find help and care for your child on the spectrum is a three ring circus and that's an understatement. It is overwhelming. I think we are on a good track with the right people now. Pray for and with us as we walk this year out?

~ A new learning year. I am the one who has received the education over the last year or so as I have tried to help my son learn.  Hopefully in other posts I will flesh this out more as time allows. But I do know we are coming at learning from a different angle with a new and better idea of where we are headed and how to get there.

~ Being mom to a pre-teen girl, a young man with Asperger's and a high energy fun loving determined toddler


The Gospel  In Today

I am basking in grace folks. It's where I find my peace. my rest, my sanity. As the scripture above in Titus says...it is all MERCY and not works. Meditating on this one piece of scripture informs my every move. I don't have to be perfect yet I need to work hard. I don't need to get it right but I need to serve others. I can give and give because he gave and gave and is still giving to me. I don't have to earn anything and I love that freedom as I lay my head on my pillow at night.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Yum!


I have wholewheat, applesauce, dark chocolate chip, oatmeal banana bread cooking in my oven right now.....on this very crisp cool AUGUST morning. What is up with that! The last thing I would crave on an August morning but the smell of ripe bananas, the cool air and the lazy read aloud day we are having just called for some baking.

Can't wait to eat it!

Tonight we are going to the local berry farm to get our stash of blueberries to eat now and freeze for the rest of the year. What a great food day :o)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer or Fall?

Okay, well......summer isn't going as blissfully as I had hoped.

You know.....sipping iced tea on the deck while the kids glide down the slip and slide all afternoon while I occasionally look up from my book. The many park days and dirty boys at the end of the day. The tons of books I planned to read and new summer recipes I'd hoped to try. The almost 3 year old that would be potty trained by now.

It has rained more since summer started then it did in spring or at least it feels that way. I am not complaining, it is far better then 112 degress on the East coast right now. Me no-do-good with hot!

What the weather has meant is more time inside then anticipated.

In my world there has to be structure or action due to one very handsome fellow in my house. So, with very little action we are returning to more structure in the form of STATIONS. I am hoping this will help calm everyone to have a plan and a place each day we are home.

So hear it is in my own chicken scratch:


(If you click on the picture it will enlarge)


I gleaned the idea here and modified it to fit my fam jam and our particular needs. I have a feeling that once this becomes a routine, which may take a week or so in itself, there will be more peace around here. I can also see this as an easy slide into a fall schedule if we keep calling them stations. There will simply be more learning stations.

I am doing much thinking and processing about our upcoming learning year. Honestly, I have moments of panic about it. Our therapy team is once again changing which means we are on the hunt for the right person. And I am working on making some big changes in how I teach my middle guy. He is SO resistant to learning and we are both tired of feeling like war breaks out over words and numbers. I am seeking, asking and researching how to turn him on to loving learning. He may lag behind in some scope and sequence but if he hates to learn we have lost across the board.

A post to come on this soon if time allows.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grace

"As our hearts are strengthened by grace, we’ll throw more gospel parties and less pity parties. We won’t think less of ourselves, we’ll just think about ourselves less of the time. We’ll keep shorter records of the ways others fail and longer records of your faithfulness to us. We’ll make a bigger deal about the things that really matter, and a lesser deal about the things which simply go with life in a broken world filled with broken people. We’ll live more generously and less miserly; more doxologically and less fearfully; more missionally and less obsessively… Jesus, it’s not just good, it’s essential for our hearts to be strengthened by your grace. So very Amen we pray, in your kind and loving name."      by Scotty Smith



Read the entire prayer here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good Reads

I have followed Kristen and her family since her trip with Compassion well over a year ago. This post shows clearly the difference Compassion does make, in OUR lives as well as of those sponsored. This had me in tears. We are looking for ways to do more as a family.

Loved this quote from a post at Desiring God:

"When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”
Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work."

This article effected me deeply related to the small things I don't put under gospel grace. If time allows I plan to write more on that later. Read the entire article here: Motherhood is a Calling.

I also wanted to recommend a book -  The Praying Life by Paul Miller. It is a real, intimate relationship oriented book about prayer. No formulas, how to's (except a small chapter at the end with suggestions). I am reading and discussing this with a group of women. The first meeting was a rich time of honesty and biblical fellowship.

Would love to share more but my peeps need me.

Happy Weekend, friends

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (catch up)

I have still been recording my gratitude with pen and paper while I have slowed my writing online. I thought I would just catch myself up  in one blog post.

I have recently been going back and looking at old posts. There is so much of our life typed out on this blog. A whole five years worth! I want to back it up somewhere. Any ideas how you do this? Still can't believe I have been telling our story here for five years already.

Here goes....

282. Tonia and other online friends
283. Listening to Ann talk about "living where you are, fully living-giving thanks-looking for beauty"
284. encouragement to SEE Him in whatever means it comes
285. boy puckered lips
286. sleep-sweet sleep
287. Romans 8:34 - intervention
288. a child's obedient response
289. blessing of pouring out cares to Him
290. Isaac's spontaneous "I Love You" hug this morning
291. my new bike
292. sore bum and jelly legs
293. soaring down hills in rain
294. sa-boo (means slipper in baby boy words)
295. patiences even without sleep
296. our differences reflecting Him- all of us
297. fearless grace
298. remembering to learn with not just teach
299. a husband who grocery shops!
300. fresh clean sheets
301. three busy kiddos under foot
302. I don't have to get it right all the time
303. sun after rain
304. handwritten words in the mailbox
305. chocolate milk mustaches
306. clean counter tops
307. big girl chosen in writing contest
308. my girl being published at 11 years old
309. boy-mama love
310. boys making connections
311. bike riding as an entire family
312. Colossians
313. new fresh clean journal
314 new prayer journal
315. my girl who plays piano beautifully (great recital bug)
316.forgiveness for grumpiness
317. confidence in His grace
318. college level science labs to explore
319. only 4 math lessons left
320. God words on boy wall
321. sun over rain
322. Rosetta Stone French (no more excuses now)
323. The amazing help we receive in Canada for special need's...so grateful!
324. gospel grace
325. moments of clarity-seeing truth well
326. that "help" in my time of need
327. birds singing in early morning
328. the neighbors new baby
329. still using my duvet on June 1
330.friends in Philippines with Compassion
331. big girl smiles and giggles
332. Biology classes for 11 year olds at the local Christian University-so much fun
333. bike rides to the library
334. Refreshing Reeds book club
335. new trampoline
336. fresh sight to see the way to go
337. weeds that flower beautifully
338. boy helpers in the kitchen
339. books that stir my soul
340. His word that builds up and reminds me to build up with my words and actions
341. kind, gracious, restorative, refreshing sleep
342. gloves and trowel
343. rich, dark, life giving soil
344. quiet to dig weeds
345. 2 year old "mama dan" (mama dance with me)
346. a church who loves Jesus and really cares for people


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Home

The young mom Katy that I asked you to pray for....she went to be with the Lord early this morning.

Please continue to prayer for her three children (all 5 and under) and her husband Peter.



13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, [1] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.


I Thess. 4:13-18




Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Needed This Today

Re-post just because *I* needed to hear it myself.


Happy Tuesday friends!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Wild Beauty

We escaped to the mountians for a few days.
 One of my favorite places.

The Dogwood photos are Aaron's handywork.
 The first time away alone in over eight years.

Just so you know, I was in a car when I took this.
I am not that brave.




This is my kind of noise.



It was slow, quiet and peaceful.
Perfect Weekend

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Please Pray

Would you join me in praying for a family in my church?

They are a sweet family with three little people. The mother, Katy is battling cancer. She has reached the end of what can be done to help her medically. So they are living life, loving God so steadfastly and spending time with their kids.

Every time I have ever been with Katy I have laughed so hard, she has an amazing sense of humor and a love for life.

Thanks friends!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Mystery

There are some things in life that you never really understand. You become more accustom to them. Over time they find their place in the landscape of your life.

Some things are harder then others. Some things just never make sense.

Watching your boy claw, aggress and fight his way out of a foreign social situation the way a cat reacts when thrown into water.....is just a mystery to me. I watched it today in full force, in a way I haven't in a long time. It caught me off guard.

The autistic mind is such a mystery to me.....

What is it like to react to a new face in a familiar setting the same way others react to being chased by an attacker? Or how you or I would panic if we were standing on the edge of a cliff and suddenly our foot slipped?

To hold your little boy kicking, pushing, ramming you to get away.......all from having a new person in his normal routine.

What must that be like for him? Life must feel so unsafe around every corner.

 To feel panic, fear and such a flight response that your are willing to fight your own mother. I have no idea what it's like to not understand social settings and new people.

Like when the new girl in Sunday school sat in his seat 3 places from the left in the front row. Getting through that door to class was as if there were some awful, ugly, terrible monster waiting for him on the other side. The panic could be cut with a knife, it was so thick.

As a mother, seeing terror in this way does not shake off easily.

This truly is a mystery to me how his mind takes in and processes his world so different then mine does. How things I take for granted every single day are huge mountains for him to climb.

He is not a mean or bad kid but the outside world would argue that.

They judge the outside where God and a mother judge the heart.

He is my best snuggler, believe it or not :o)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Few Quiet Moments

I wanted to slip in and say hello.

I have a rare bit of time to myself. I am not feeling the best and my stellar man is doing dinner and hanging with the kids while I chill in my bed. He has had long hours and am so grateful (though I wish it wasn't due to feeling yucky) that he came home early today.

We are done with school officially, though we are doing a little over the summer to make next year lighter.
We are enjoying the lazy days and more time to do whatever strikes our fancy. Waiting for the sun to come and stay while.

I just recently finished a book called Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree. Such a great book for an ole' perfectionist tendency girl like me. I have come along way over the last few years but I tend to tow a line and then find myself frustrated when I or they don't reach it. More grace! This book is a help in speaking those words of grace.

"Affirmation is like an invigorating sudsy shower after a long day of manual labor. It's like a cool rain after a long, hot dry spell, It delivers a combination of relief, respite, hope, optimism, satisfaction, and energy. It's life giving. It blesses."

I want to do this for my husband
I want to do this for my kids.
I want to do this for my friends
I want to do this in my church.

Live giving words.

Speaking out loud the "God at work" I see in people. To actually say the things I SEE in others not because they are so fantastic (flattery) but because He is showing up in them, being made in His image. Not waiting for some finished product but offering daily, the hope of grace at work in each and everyone of us.

A group of ladies at my church read this and then discussed it. Such an encouraging and refreshing time. A book club has evolved from this called Refreshing Reeds. Our next book is A Praying Life by Paul Miller. So excited by what God is going to do in our times together.

More quotes to come:o)

Now off to watch a movie all by myself. Pearl Harbor or Seabiscuit? Can't decide.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A New Passion

You will never believe what we did recently. We biked English Bay and over the Burrard Street Bridge.
Me... biking over a bridge in the city.....go figure!

AND

I loved it.

My family did too.

This is our new thing.

When living in the city one must learn to love the city :o)
Though I look forward to trail biking too.



 A little loopy after much exercsie.

 Trust me, this little man is not light :o)

 The view from the Burrard Bridge

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

His Strength, Not Mine

This video at Wrestling With an Angel is so worth the five minutes it will take you to watch.

He explains God's goodness in the midst of disability and struggle so well.

God is at work doing similar things in my life.....bringing me to the end of my self confidence and strength.

It is a GOOD thing folks, the kindness of God but I am a slow learner.

Be encouraged no matter what circumstances you may be facing, my friends.

He is pursuing you and drawing you.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Fog Has Lifted

The other day I was walking up my street meeting a friend for a walk. We hadn't seen each other in several weeks and were looking forward to catching up. The sun was shining for the first time in a long time. Almost every house had someone in the front yard, like the older gentlemen on the bend of the road, gruffing along unwilling to say hello. The group of men laughing around a wheel barrow trying to solve some dirt and building problem. A little girl with such long dark hair skipping across her yard with a flower in hand, assumed for her mother. The two women chatting it up over the fence as they queried about what the neighbour across the way was doing. Everything was so alive....the trees, flowers, birds and people too. It felt like some kind of awakening! Bare in mind that I live where it rains or is gray from about November till April and this year it is STILL gray in May. So you can see why on a sunny day everyone crawls their way outside no matter what type of animal. :o)

As I walked up my street greeting neighbours it hit me so clearly that I myself was coming out of an awakening of my own. The sun was shining again in my soul and heart. It has been so very quiet around this place lately. Life just had me buried somewhere under all it's many fast moving bends, turns and spills. I have no desire to re-hash all that has gone on in the last several months, it is part and parcel for the path he has chosen for me. Some days are very hard and others easier. I am learning how to find the joy, rest and peace that comes from being closer to Him and not a change in my circumstances.

I have come to so appreciate a very simple, taken for granted, every day life thing......SLEEP. I stopped sleeping well after Eli was born ( 2.5 years ago). When he started sleeping I didn't. I tried some natural things that seemed to help. I struggled with insomnia off and on. It slowly got worse and it crept up on me till I found the end of myself, not able to function well, think straight and clearly (to close friends but not myself) depressed. At the point where I was only getting 2-3 hours a night for several weeks I realized I had to do something. I tried all the natural stuff and it only got worse. I saw my doctor and after some time we figured out what I needed. Anyway, now that I am sleeping soundly every night I see the world so differently.

There are pieces of myself I have had to get reacquainted with because I had lived in a fog so long that I didn't recognize myself. Walking up that hill I felt so awake, refreshed and most of all thought-filled. I hadn't thought and processed clearly in a long time and wasn't even aware of it. I enjoy having my mind back. I missed it :o) In my case my depressed mood was extreme sleep deprivation coupled with some real life challenges.

Not sure where I will go from here. I am finding it hard to get back into writing. It is not for lack of ideas but more from a lack of time. Life takes much time to be lived well. That is my desire...to care for and serve my family for His glory. When I have extra time I plan to write here.

(If anyone is interested in how I dealt with my insomnia I am happy to share. Just drop me an email)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Year


April 19th marks nine years since we met and said goodbye (for now) to our second child Jonah Ethan.

Every year the day approaches and it "feels" easier to face, yet every year without fail I am caught off guard by the emotion. It isn't a why or where that catches me, it's the not knowing.

Not knowing what life would be like with a nine year old boy stomping through the house.
Not knowing if his hair is red (like his siblings) or dark like it was at birth.
Not knowing if he would be the family clown or the serious one.
Not knowing what his laugh sounds like,
Not knowing his smile or tears.

There is a space left in our lives.

I often think of all the "one mores". There would be one more bike in the garage, one more plate at the table, one more towel in the bathroom, one more jacket to hang, one more pair of shoes to buy, one more person to laugh with and one more to walk life with.

I miss his little body that I said goodbye to but mostly I miss knowing what made him who he is....something I have to wait to find out.


As tradition, we as a family toss stones from Jonah's funeral into the ocean each year. A reminder that he lives on even though we can't see him nor know him. It is also a physical reminder that he was born and had a name and a family. No matter where those stones end up they will stand for Jonah's life. I love knowing they are out there.



                                                                                                            

I have been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's newest CD Beauty Will Rise. It has ministered to my soul so much this week. To have someone sing your own feelings and heart in so many ways is a blessing. This particular song encouraged my heart this week.


It was a beautiful day to remember and hope.




1 Thessalonians 4:13-18


13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, [1] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words