Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer time....

Well it's been a fun and busy last little bit. I became a Canadian citizen on July 20, 2007! I swore allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and all her heirs...etc. It was a really nice ceremony. There were something like 70 people there and there were 22 countries represented. I quite enjoyed it. It was really meaningful to me and I was surprised by that. There are so many things that I do in life that don't hit me emotionally that I often think should...so I wondered if this would...it did! I even got a little misty eyed. So now I am a duel citizen. Shaun is VERY happy about this. I feel a little more settled...in the back of my mind I think I may have worried about the political climate more that I realized...you know things like...what if the US and Canada decided to go to war against each other (I mean stranger things have happened). I would have likely been sent to the States while my husband and children would have had to stay here. You know simple things like that. Now they can't kick me out...Canada you're stuck with me :). After the ceremony my mom drove the girls back home to Coquitlam and Shaun and I hoofed it around downtown Vancouver. It was quite fun. We hadn't played tourist at home before. I think it was the first time in four years that we didn't have to be home at any time for one or both of the girls. We went to the Vancouver Art Gallery where they have Monet to Dali (post-impressionism late 1800's to early 1900's). That type of art, we discovered, is not our cup of tea. But it's fun to say "Oh yes, I've seen an original Manet, Monet, Cézanne, van Gogh, Rodin, Picasso, Dalí and other renowned artists". It sounds so cultured don't ya think? HAAAA. When we were in Vienna we went to the Kunsthistorisches Museum where they have amazing collections of art from the 15th -17th Centuries...NOW THAT fascinated us! They were beautiful pieces of art and HUGE! We saw several original Rembrandt etc. But this was just...boring in comparison to us...but then we aren't really that educated in these things. We're the ones who go to operas only to walk out. We also saw Emily Carr paintings and the Group of 7...and some others that both horrified and intrigued us by turn. Then we took the Sky Train and then a bus home. I have only ever taken a bus in Europe. So I had several new experiences that day. It was just a brilliant day!

Then the other major event thus far this summer is that my dad, grandpa (dad's dad) and new grandma Louise (my Grandma Shirley-Anne passed away right before Miss Portia was born). Came for a visit. Now that probably doesn't sound like that big of deal but the last time I saw my dad was in 2000 for my Grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary...and then before that not since I was, I think, a little under 2 years old. So...now you see...it was major. We spent the week they were here just visiting and talking. It was...I would say it was a healing time for me. When you are not sure about how your dad really feels about you from his own mouth and why he was never there...that can leave a big gap...and make room for other things that aren't conducive to a healthy soul. I would say for me it was like a huge weight lifted off of me. There again, I was never sure where I fit. Now I have more of a sense of belonging in this instance as well. And there again I was not sure how I would respond. I think I went through the whole week taking everything in and now I am processing. I like it! Also I have a half brother who is 21 and a half sister who is 15 1/2. I have ached to get to know them and love them. Now it seems that may be more possible. While my mom was up here for my citizenship ceremony she planned a trip for us to go to Reno for American Thanksgiving. I am QUITE excited about this as well. I will get to see my mom's family for the first time since I was 16 (and before that since I was 6ish). I have 6 cousins who I was quite close to as a small child who I will get to see most of I think. I will get to see my grandparents, Aunties, my Uncle Jim (everyone needs an Uncle Jim...Shaun has one and the girls have one :)). I have missed them. Shaun has also not met them and neither have the girls. I have been so surrounded by his family since we met. And I really love them. They are family to me now...but you always long for your family...well at least I have. Somehow all of this is coming together. I feel blessed and ready. I love knowing the people from whom I come. It really is a gift. I will also get to see my dad and I think my brother and sister. I will also get to see my mom's best friend who has so encouraged me and loved me my whole life. I really admire and respect her. As you can tell I am excited.

Our little family will be heading to a family reunion in Kelowna for the Huth side. We are excited about this. We have worked hard on the family tree. It should be interesting as there will be people there from Europe that are related in all different ways. Will tell more about that later.

As soon as we get back we are going to a Leadership Summit. That should be excellent. Then in November we are going to a Christian Musicians Summit in Washington. Shaun and I are REALLY looking forward to that one. I have been songwriting again and Shaun has really be focusing on the electric guitar (the guy is talented let me tell you!) and that should offer some help in those areas. For both summits my mom has generously agreed to watch the girls. So they should have a lot of fun with Grandma. My mom is so generous and wonderful to us. We love having her live closer to us.

Portia has started to potty train herself and pedal on her tricycle in the last week or so. Miss Mercedes is now riding a bicycle with training wheels. They both just took up those things on their own. We tried encouraging them on those things but they would have none of it. So we left it and now they are doing it on their own. It's so amazing to watch them live and learn. They are brilliant girls. I mean they have so much life, love, and joy. We do little lessons every once in awhile...like the other day we learned about colours. The order of a rainbow, the Bible story of the first rainbow, how to mix this and this colour to get that colour, painting a rainbow...it is all very fascinating...and that was only one lesson.

Shaun is working hard doing renovations. We are catching up and it is nice. Life is never boring and we are blessed beyond measure.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Teenage affluenza is spreading fast.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My sweet Miss M

I have been sick the last couple of days...but this morning I was feeling especially terrible so I was in bed. I was dozing in and out and I heard Mercedes say to Shaun "I brought mommy a flower". I looked over at my side table and sure enough there was a beautiful bright yellow dandelion. I just love those moments of being a mother.

On a funny note...the other night we were eating supper. Mercedes looked down at her plate and said, "Mom, why are there leaves on my plate?" I just cracked up laughing because the "leaves" were salad. Every time I think of it I giggle. I love seeing glimpses of life through the eyes of my sweet 4 year old.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What they say...

As I was reading that book "Terrify No More" the second to last chapter is called something like "Where is God?" Something that really caught my attention was the author said in all the times IJM has rescued someone from any type of slavery no one has ever asked him "where was God?" They believed there was a God and that He was there with them. That was never a question. They have all asked, "Where were YOU?"

Monday, July 9, 2007

did you know...?

(now tuck your toes in)...there are 27 million...yeah read that number again...27 MILLION slaves in our world today?...not metaphorical slaves...actual slaves! That is more than the amount of people stolen from their homes and lives from Africa during 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. Many of them are in Southeast Asia...BUT there some HERE in North America. Likely right in your neighborhood...yeah Canada and America. Vancouver is a gateway for sex slavery (you know "rape for profit").
Sometimes when I read history I often wondered what I would have done had I been alive in Nazi Europe or in the South during the time of the great plantations and slavery. would I have been part of the Underground Railroad?...you know...LONG AGO in a land far far away...? Would I have helped to save people or would I have let all those people pass me by and die...kept my eyes closed to all the horror because of fear for my own life and that of my family...self preservation? What would I have done?
What would I have done in 1993 in Rwanda? When the Tutsis where massacring their neighboring Hutus?...Where approximately 800,000 people where murdered in just 8 weeks.
I just read a book about a man who worked for the Department of Justice (U.S.A.) and was loaned to the United Nations to direct the genocide investigation team in Rwanda. do you know what he found in all his tromping through mass graves and massacre sites? Here's what he says,
"Massive man-made disasters of epic proportions...are not of a distant era;
they are the tragedies of history taking place on our watch. Among
the most common disasters are global sex trafficking (the massive business
of rape for profit), slavery, illegal detention, and sexual violence...In the
face of such massive suffering, one has to ask: 'Why does such great evil
triumph in the world?'...I believe one of the greatest insights was articulated
by Edmond Burke about 200 years ago "All that is necessary for the triumph
of evil is that good men do nothing"...This was certainly true for the Rwandan
genocide. The history now written makes on thing clear. It could have been
stopped. And we missed it"
What would I have done for Darfur...450,000 dead 2.5 million displaced...oh wait that's not history that's happening right now! Isn't it nice to read those numbers from the safety of my house and say..."Oh brutal...that sucks...wonder what's on T.V."
Psalm 10:18 says, "defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." (NIV translation) I just read a book that got it's title from the very last 3 words...TERRIFY NO MORE.
Psalm 10 says it well...the cry of a man over 4,000 years ago..His son was the wisest man who ever lived and he said "there is nothing new under the sun"... I would say that is absolutely true... Psalm 10 (The Message translation)
"God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you? Full of hot air, the wicked are hot on the trail of the poor. Trip them up, tangle them up in their fine-tuned plots. The wicked are windbags, the swindlers have foul breath. The wicked snub God, their noses stuck high in the air. Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls: "Catch us if you can!" "God is dead." They care nothing for what you think; if you get in their way, they blow you off. They live (they think) a charmed life: "We can't go wrong. This is our lucky year!" They carry a mouthful of hexes, their tongues spit venom like adders. They hide behind ordinary people, then pounce on their victims. They mark the luckless, then wait like a hunter in a blind; When the poor wretch wanders too close, they stab him in the back. The hapless fool is kicked to the ground, the unlucky victim is brutally axed. He thinks God has dumped him, he's sure that God is indifferent to his plight. Time to get up, God—get moving. The luckless think they're Godforsaken. They wonder why the wicked scorn God and get away with it, Why the wicked are so cocksure they'll never come up for audit. But you know all about it—the contempt, the abuse. I dare to believe that the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won't let them down: orphans won't be orphans forever. Break the wicked right arms, break all the evil left arms. Search and destroy every sign of crime. God's grace and order wins; godlessness loses. The victim's faint pulse picks up; the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood as you put your ear to their lips. Orphans get parents, the homeless get homes. The reign of terror is over, the rule of the gang lords is ended."
I need to learn to pray like that...Over and over and over again the Bible makes it VERY clear why God gives some power and wealth...something we have in the West in abundance. IT has NOTHING to do with them...It is only to help others. That's a very strange thing to say in the North American culture. Isaiah 1:17 says, "Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless." There are SO many passages like that.
The man who was the director for all those investigations in Rwanda went on to start an organization call International Justice Mission. (http://www.ijm.org/). Their mission statement is this "to help people suffering injustice and oppression who cannot rely on local authorities for relief." They document and monitor conditions of abuse and oppression, educate people about these abuses, and mobilize intervention on behalf of the victims. AMAZING STUFF! They are all highly trained professionals in their fields of human rights work.
That all sounds neat and tidy doesn't it...us north americans don't like to go down the road, in our mind's eye, of what that actually means do we? It would be too graphic and disturbing. And we all know we don't like to be disturbed from our nice life. It might get ugly and we might have to DO something about it. No better go to the mall and buy one more thing or watch another movie and be entertained, or drink more alcohol to live in an alternate reality for a few minutes...I mean who wants to think? And then if we ever venture into the area of ,having thought, wanting to do something about it? It might just change our world and rock the boat...never mind...except I can no longer do that...you see the only thing is I have 2 beautiful innocent daughters who are 2 and 4. There are (well the youngest documented) 3 year olds that are forced into rape for profit. Wee beautiful little girls that are robbed of all innocence, brutalized, dehumanized, tortured, beaten if they don't smile and enjoy it, before they even get a chance to be a child. So the next time you see a 3-5 year old and she happens to be a daughter, a sister, a niece...imagine that life for her. What is a life worth to you (besides your own)? Are you going to turn a blind eye and not say a word? Am I?
Shaun and I are currently looking into an organization right here in Vancouver who helps people right here in Vancouver...who are brought in for slavery...we are going to see what we can do...we are tired of feeling the rage and helplessness. We WILL do something. It's not a world away...it's right here.
ok you can untuck your toes...as the saying goes.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Old friends...

Well I went down memory lane last night and today for WAY too long. I ran into many loved and familiar faces that I hadn't seen in 10 years (including my own). It's fun to do. There are so many memories attached to a face. I got to feeling rather nostalgic. Shaun and I have known each other for 11 years now. In September we'll have been married for 9 of those. There are so many people that have walked down our road with us. Some for the whole time, others have been in and out, and yet others have added new dimensions to our lives for only a season. But as I looked at each face there was a precious jewel that was given to us by each person. I think that I underestimate the value of a person way to often...in hindsight I can see more clearly exactly what they gifted me with...the impact they had on my life. One person made me laugh over and over, another taught me patience, another offered a sweet smile, another taught me how to be quieter, another person I didn't really notice until the second time of them coming back into my life and I saw that we have many of the same interests, another was a heart friend, another just loved me as I was. We each have something to offer to another person. I wonder what impact I had or have on their lives? Was my life a gift to them or a lesson?