Monday, April 28, 2008

She's Already 5!

Wasn't it just a month ago that I felt her moving, for the first time, in my tummy? That was the moment that she walked into my heart. I couldn't wait to meet her.

And then there she was, my wee beauty!
Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago that I was looking at a brand new baby in my arms with awe and wonder that she was ours?

Wasn't it just a week ago that her personality started to blossum and she made her Daddy and I laugh with such deep joy?

Wasn't it just her first Christmas?

Didn't she just take her first steps...

and have her first birthday?

Wasn't it just a few days ago that she had her second birthday...

and that she became a big sister?

Wasn't it just a few hours ago that she turned 3?

Wasn't it just a few minutes ago that she turned 4?

Didn't I just blink and she turned 5!

...these years are so precious and so swift. They are ours but for a breathe. I am blessed to be her mother.

My beautiful sweet Mercedes,
Happy Birthday my precious sweet angel. I have so loved every minute of the last 5 years. You are such a sweet joy to me. You are my delight. I cherish you my daughter. I thank God every day that He gave me you as my daughter. I am astonished at what an amazing girl you are. I pray that you will know God and seek His face passionately every day of your life. There is no greater joy than that and no greater wisdom. I speak God's most bountiful blessings on you all the days of your life. I am so privileged to know you. You have enriched my life every second that you have been in it.
I will love you for eternity.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's a no's all about margins

Margins...this is a word that I have come to think about a lot lately. What are my must haves in life? What are my margins?

I must have, as far as it depends on me, a happy stable family. There is NOTHING that is worth losing that.

Shaun and I had the great opportunity to rethink our decision to move and change our whole world this past weekend. And you know what? We also were given the freedom to back out of the contract we had signed. And guess what? We did! We are not, after all that, moving! YEAH! There is a great sense of relief and joy for both of us.

As you know, we were on track to move away from this area. to change our whole way of life. What was the clincher for us? Margins. One word with so much meaning. If we had done that move we would have had no give in our schedules, our family life, no room for error, no margins. Yes we could have sacrificed. Yes we could have pushed very hard and pushed through...but for what? At what cost? A roof over our head at that price is not worth the cost of having stress come into our home. We have, in general, a very happy and relaxed family. We intend to keep it that way.

Shaun and I have come to realize that we are people who excel in life with those margins. They are very necessary to our world. That's just us. So it's around that that we make our decisions. This past month and a bit has been a great exercise in learning. We learned a lot. It was fun. And it propelled us forward. Life IS indeed change...but not always how I think it will be. Life is full of surprises...and that's just why I love it!

And so we stay! And we couldn't be more thrilled.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Deluge of Change

Well so we have some news! My preface is...No! I'm not pregnant!
We are moving. This will be move #14 in a little less than 10 years of marriage. And we're excited! We are not moving far...just over the bridge. But it's a whole nother world over there. We got married on that side of the bridge. We're moving to Fort Langley. What bought this about you may ask?
Well we had been tossing it back and forth for about 4 years now...Shaun's parents live there. Well they came to us about 3 or 4 weeks ago and made us an offer we couldn't refuse. We are going to rent to own their house. And if you know anything about this market...for us being self-emplyed...owning a house is a minor miracle. So we are pretty excited about that.
This decision changes several things:
1) I will not be homeschooling the girls as we had thought. They will be going to a phenominal Christian school. We had out interview last week. They wear uniforms and everything! M starts kindergarten in the Fall. I simply cannot fathom that at this point.
2) I am starting a music studio teaching newborn to 7 year olds the introductory parts of music through play. So I will be going back to work. I am actually quite excited about this. I already have my degree in music and I will be starting a 3 month course here at the end of April to get certified in this particular program.
3) We are starting a Boxer kennel and should have our first litter of puppies come fall. This was not something new it's just that it's all happening at the same time. Our girl has to go through a battery of tests to make sure she is breedable. She starts those tomorrow.
4) Shaun has to move his renovation business over to that side.
5) we will be renting out 2 bedrooms to Trinity students. We are looking forward to this experience. It should be fun but it will change how life as our family knows it happens.
6) we will be leaving our fabulous church. Which is the saddest part of this whole thing. We have bee going there for nearly 3 years and we really love our church and are quite involved with and attached to the wonderful family that we have come to know there. We will be going to 2 year old church near our new home.
So as you know there is what seems like a billion details in that list of 6 things that have to get accomplished in the next few months. They are all major things. Starting 2 businesses at the same time and maintaining another one is in itself quite challenging. But we believe that this is where we are to be.
Life IS change. We are people who, for the most part really enjoy change. So we are excited!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A topic I despise talking about...

Well this is embarrassing...I don't like talking about this...I don't want to but I also want to keep track of the journey that I am walking on this particular topic...the topic is me being overweight. There I said it. I have been on quite a journey already on this topic since 2000.
I was never an over weight child or teen. I learned how to eat mom is a health nut. I was always in sports and very active and really enjoyed it. I didn't have a health issue that prevented me from being fit. No one else on either side of my family is overweight. They all, in fact, are more in the category of work-out fiends. None of Shaun's family is overweight either. I am not a lazy undisciplined person. The thing that I do best is sing...being on a stage it's not really acceptable to be overweight. That thought alone should have kept me trim. Never mind all the health reasons. So what is it? I have gone beyond "fluffy" to the category of "fat".
It will be awhile longer to be done with this and have learned what I need to learn. There are things I won't mention because it's not one besides God and Shaun will know the whole story. But there are many things that I will talk about that I have learned so far. That's my disclaimer :).
So here is what I have figured out so far (leaving a few details out :):
1) I am a descent enough looking person...I found guys would want to "get to know me" because of my looks more than the inner me...I know this may sound lame but it's true...and I really hated it and I also found it rather boring. On the flip side girls were more intimidated by me initially. Some never got over that barrier. Being overweight I have found that people are much friendlier from the get go. And some people think themselves vastly superior to you because they are thin. It's very interesting to watch human dynamics. It really is culturally unacceptable to be overweight but yet people like you better because they feel better about themselves.
2) Subconsciously I tested Shaun with it...are you still gonna love me? Are you still gonna love me even if I am fat? And the answer is "YES"...this has never been an issue for Shaun. He is you know another way that he is amazing. He never has pressured me or made me feel less loved because of it.
3) It was a subconscious test for my mom as well. Are you still gonna love me even if I'm fat? The answer is yes she does still love me.
4) I didn't ever do anything really bad. Both of my parents were pretty amazing rebels in their younger years. I seem to have swung the other way because I saw the price they had to pay for it and in some instances the price I had to pay b/c of their rebellion. But for me I think this has been my version of rebellion. It was the attitude "I'm gonna do whatever I dam well want to with my body so screw off!" Attractive isn't it! NOT! And who does it hurt? Oh...ME!
5) One day I was standing in front of the fridge with the door open just peering into it and I realized that I run to food for comfort. I had honestly thought, up to that point, that I didn't do that.
6) Shaun and I haven't had much money in our marriage for various reasons (we are just coming out of that "phase" only took 10 YEARS!) so the treats for us weren't trips or shopping but little food items. It was the cheapest thing.
7) I've been hiding...this is the most recent discovery. I've been hiding! I'm still shocked by that. It seems to be how I coped with the hard things that life threw at me. Moving to a new country. Not being "anyone"...not coming from anywhere in this country...a stranger in a strange land (yes Canada IS a strange land if you're not from here even if you're from the next country over)...I totally get what that means now. Not knowing a soul when I came...marrying into a family that really didn't seem to want me (by the by, for the most part, that is not the case anymore...after years of hard work on all sides, there is a deep love there and a real sense of "family-ness"...I sure am using a lot of parenthesis HA!), moving so often (we've moved 16 times thus far), my mom and step-dad's divorce, 2 miscarriages, family issues, a sickness that took every ounce of energy out of me in addition to being pregnant, nursing, and running after 2 little kids...some real issues...but on the other hand nothing that is not overcome able and nothing that is bigger than anyone else faces in life. That's JUST LIFE...issues. I chose (subconsciously) to deal with all of it by hiding behind all this weight. I realize that I am not to clear on this one point but I am still mulling it through.
8) Fear of failing. This will sound crazy...I do realize that! I determined between my pregnancies NOT to lose weight. This was a conscience thought out thought...I didn't say it was logical. :). I have also NOT talked about my weight ever. I wouldn't tell people if I was planning on working on it. I didn't want to face them if I didn't do it...which it ended up I didn't...self-fulfilling prophecy?
9) OK here is the silliest one...the fear of what I would look like if I lost weight...under the clothes...have had 2 kids and nursed...well you get the need to expound on that one...we've all seen Oprah!
10) I didn't want to talk about it in front of my children because I didn't even want them being aware of these things at such a young age...especially being girls.

So...about 3 or 4 weeks ago Shaun and I decided to start Weight Watchers. Shaun has added a few pounds in the last 10 years as well :) (...which went a long way in comforting me in my over-weightness). So Shaun has lost 13 lbs. and I have lost 3! *sigh* that's all I have to say *sigh*. We've done the same exact thing and he has lost 13 POUNDS!
We keep a journal of the food we eat and WW is done by counting points. So every food has a point value. You get a certain amount of points per day. So we have been keeping track of points. :). This is where I have found myself REALLY funny. I have also been really surprised by myself. These last 2 weeks I have done TERRIBLY! I mean TERRIBLY TERRIBLY! It all started with my birthday and never ended. And this is what I found funny...when I thought I had gone over my points I wouldn't write in my journal. I wouldn't write down my points. Like by doing that it would go away. I would avoid it. Never thought I was an avoider...I've come to find that is not the case.
So this is where I am at now. I have no idea how to keep going and how to succeed at it. But I will do it. Really up to this point it's been a lot of excuses. This is something I need to do. Being overweight has cost me. I'm tired of paying the price health-wise and embarrassment wise. There is a huge embarrassment factor for me. It's not who I am and it vastly misrepresents me. So when I see people I haven't seen for a coons age or meet someone new I just want to shout "this isn't me...this is someone I've been hiding behind".
Anyway, I always see people put stuff up when they have conquered this but not much up when they're in the thick of it. So this is the particular dragon I am trying to slay at this moment. And this is what it's like for me :).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A gentle correction...

This is a bit long winded but bear with me...
Many times in my life God corrects me by downloading a series of thoughts into my mind. He allows me the time to process them. It's as if He's gently leading my thoughts and guiding them to the conclusion that they need to come too in order to change my ways. That may sound bizarre. But hey! There are many bizarre things in our world that we take for normal and don't even bat an eye at. For me, this is a normal occurrence. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Tonight we had home group. And it came up, in what we were studying, that God delights in us if we are His child. He may correct us but He never takes His delight from us even in the midst of that time of correction. This set me to thinking. Growing up I received correction (or discipline) from my parents. My dad would take his "delight" from me when he would discipline me. It seemed to be a very conditional love. It seemed, to me, more of a "you be perfect and I'll be happy with mess up and I won't even talk to you or look at you I'm so disgusted with you" kind of love. As if by adding his disgust I would really get the point much better The way my dad handled it is not the point, by the way. The point is the fact that God delights in ME NO MATTER WHAT I DO...because I am His daughter. I'm just starting to grasp this concept...that it's even possible.
I am His daughter because I accepted the gift of salvation that He held out to me. In accepting I chose to accept the great exchange. A life for a life. I was bought for a price. Jesus gave His life for mine. My life is no longer mine but His. I do not live for my own interests or desires but His. This is a choice I make every second of every day. And in that acceptance of His gift I became His daughter and He delights in me. I thought I had better explain how I became His daughter in case it was foggy :). If it's still foggy ask me about it :). I would be happy to talk about it with you.
OK back to being delighted in...the next thought that crossed my mind was as question. How do I discipline or correct my children? Is it so that they still know I delight in them or is it a conditional discipline? You know those moments within the quiet of your heart when you know the honest answer the instant you ask the question? It was one of those moments. To my great shame, more times than naught, I must say it would be the latter.
This brought me to the next thought. I needed to repent of this way of being. This was not in line with my life not being my own. This way of being was very much for MY interests and desires...not His. By being this way I am misrepresenting my Daddy...shaming the family. Webster's dictionary defines the word repent like this: "to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life". To turn from and go the other way. My whole life part of my ritual for repentance (b/c I have repented for countless things in my lifetime thus far)...was something like this...pray and ask God to forgive me...then I choose to wallow in shame, guilt, and condemnation for a few days. Then I would allow myself to go on and go about turning from my ways. This, by the way, is a stupid ritual that has nothing to do with God or what He says He does once we repent.
As I was sitting there in home group tonight God reminded me of a story about Joshua. Joshua was a general of the Israelite army. He was not only the general he was the leader of a nation of about 3 million people. Anyway, in the book of Joshua there is a story of Joshua completely messing up. I mean he messed up BADLY. (if you want the complete story make special note of vs. 14 and then keep reading until the end of's interesting). BUT Joshua repented and and he came boldly before God. And you know what? God turned his and Israel's sin into a greater thing than if they hadn't sinned at all b/c they truly repented. God fought for and gave 5 kings and kingdoms into Joshua's hands (think Afghanistan, mountains, caves, gorilla warfare...without all the modern day technology). It was the day that he asked God to have the sun and moon stand still (Joshua 10:12-14). There is a deception that says "Since I've done wrong I'm not longer permitted to be bold in the presence of God." Well this story should obliterate that lie from our enemy.
Having been reminded on that story I did something I have never done before, especially when it comes to messing up with my children...these most precious treasures that God has entrusted to Shaun and I. I looked into God my Father's face and repented (that's not the unusual part). I believed Him when He said, "And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him (Psalms 103:11-13)". That's the unusual part...usually I would wallow in the condemnation for awhile before I allowed myself to be forgiven. I turned from my wrong way. With His strength I will walk in the way that He has said is best...and you can see that delighting in your children, no matter what, is the best way...
I think about the times that I find great delight in my children...have you ever looked at a picture of a mom or dad just looking at their child with's a true thing of beauty. I just scanned through the pictures I have on my computer and found quite a few of a lot of our friends and family delighting in their kids. If we fall able humans can take great delight in our children how much more can God delight in us!
Here's some verses from the Bible...
Psalms 103: 6-18
God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we're made of mud.
Men and women don't live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here.
God's love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever he said."

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17