Monday, October 10, 2011

A season of no coffee dates.

Sometimes you just have to work harder than you've ever worked and learn more than you thought you could possibly absorb. There is no margin. Sometimes.
Lately...we've been busier than we've ever allowed ourselves to be.  I really don't feel like I have time for anything other than the necessities... I don't have time for a cup of coffee with a friend it seems. I have, however, been drinking lots of coffee but it's by myself in the office while I'm working away.
The good news is this...we are building this business. The girls are thriving in school. We have an established routine. Our home is a peaceful place. We are blessed. It's for a season...and when this season is more smoothed out I know those friends will still be there to have coffee with because, as I mentioned, we are blessed. One of those blessings...good friends to have coffee with even if there are long gaps in-between coffee dates.
So for now, I am content to work hard with no coffee dates.
There will come a new season soon enough...a season which allows for those longed for coffee dates.  I look forward to them with great anticipation. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day of School Tomorrow

The girls begin their school adventures tomorrow...away from home.
We've been homeschooling for the past 2 years.  One is so excited she had a hard time sleeping (the little miss) and one had a hard time sleeping because she is anxious and scared and not wanting to go (the eldest miss). All was well until it was time to lay out their clothes for the morning.  She went to do it and came back in tears.  She just couldn't hold it together anymore.  It took me by surprise and completely upset me...although I hid it well...I hope.  I am already very nervous and anxious, myself, about this and have had many sleepless nights since we decided to do this last April.
Both girls will be in school all day. We've never had this experience before. Most parents get the gradual release (if mom doesn't work outside the home) of first preschool for a few hours a day and then kindergarten for a few more hours a day... This will be an all at once thing. I shall miss my girls.  See I'm getting all tear-eyed just thinking about it. I shall miss teaching them. I shall miss the giggles and moments that happen when you least expect it.  I know they'll be home in the evening...but I will miss them all day.  Never thought I'd say that! When they were babies these days seemed so very very far away.  Now they are upon me and I'm all choked up!
You may ask "whatever will you do with all your free time?" haha...very funny! I will be working in the office that would eat me alive if it could. So that is my answer..."What free time?"
 ~let the adventure begin and may God grant us the wisdom to traverse it with grace~

Thursday, September 1, 2011

busy Busy BUSY!!!!

Lately I've been...
-taking the girls to swimming lessons. They loved every second and how I loved watching them love every second.
-we haven't done taxes yet so I've been getting that together to hand off to the bookkeeper
-getting the girls ready to head off to school next Tuesday...and I've been surprised at the emotion it's bringing out in me...I already miss them and yet I'm super excited for them. I loved every second of my academic career and I am praying they are the same...that this time 'round they will have teachers that are perfect for them and that they will find a lovely friend(s) among their classmates. It's hard handing off our precious girls to a stranger for the school day. 
-catching up on office work from our lovely time away. Being on the steep learning curve that I am on this is not as simple as it sounds,but we are thankful for all of the work coming our way and that requires all that office work. 
-trying to fit as many "fun mom" things in with the girls as possible all the while doing the above, oh, and canning. 
-growing a garden
-having fires in the backyard and roasting s'mores.
-having family weekends with just the 4 of us...heavenly
-having a visit from my mom where we got to go out to lunch just the two of us...that was nice and a long time in coming. 
-buying 60lbs of peaches. Tomorrow, if they're ready, I intend to put them up for winter...picture it with me: peach cobbler, peach smoothies, peach pie, mmmmmm just peachy peachiness. 
-making strawberry jam (which turned out more like strawberry syrup...but it's still yummy) AND raspberry jam...which is perfect if I do say so myself. I've also been enjoying the irony of making the strawberry jam with pectin and the raspberry jam without pectin...and they turned out the exact opposite of what you would think they would given that. 
-trying to find the balance in life...if I wanted to I could be in the office 10 + hours a day. But I have children to cuddle, cook for, love, and take care, as well as a husband to...well...love...and a house to try and keep in some semblance of order...and then there are all the other things like well...God, my soul, family, friends, eating healthily so I don't just pack right back on the pounds that I worked so hard to get off, and exercise and on and on and those are not in any order of importance...I have no idea how to do all of those things and the "on and on" in any kind of balanced way.  I'm a focuser. I don't know if that is a word...but I focus on one thing very VERY intensely and get it done and then move on to the next thing and repeat. I can't do that with the above mentioned things. If doesn't work.
-looking forward to trip down to Palm Desert for my Grandpa's 81st birthday at the end of September.  Everything is booked as of today. Fantastic!
In all of this I am really savoring the moments and enjoying the lasts and the firsts.  I am spending a lot of time praying.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It Happened in Italy by Elizabeth Bettina

I saw this book when I was out with my friend. I was caught by the title and subtitle.  I love Italy...but then the subtitle read "the untold stories of how the people of Italy defied the horrors of the holocaust".  Now I've read a lot of stories about the holocaust. The last story I read was was called The Zookeeper's Wife. That's a great read! It's heart wrenching. The best and worst of what it means to be human shines through.  In the end I am so thankful I read it.  The last holocaust movie I saw was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Heart breaking!
This one was completely completely different from any other holocaust story I have ever read or heard about.  I didn't know this story and while it was not terribly well written the stories that came through were absolutely incredible! I am so thankful that my friend bought this for me.  Well well worth my time...and yours! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Portia...a dichotomy in human form.

Portia has been driving me absolutely mental lately. It's like everything that is annoying...she does!!! Over and over and over and over and over again.   She's really cute and very charming but when I'm tired. Oye! And I've been tired a lot lately because she has been  coughing at night and I've been up 3 or 4 or 5 or 7 times a night.
 The banging on everything that she can because "I'm making a drum mama and I need the different sounds".  The screaming at the top of her lungs in the truck "because it's fun mama". Pulling down my wedding dress and ripping the bag because she just needed to see my dress and play with my vale.  Taking stuff out of the office over and over and over again and making her own office. Taking all the cutlery and plates outside to play with because she is "making a stew and I need something to serve it on". The other day she was trying to smell my armpits because "I needed to know what they smelled like mama!" of course you did Portia!
You have to give it to her. She is absolutely creative.  She is always creating new things to do and I love that.  It's just really really noisy and I can never find anything or when I do find it it's all used up or broken, or ripped. Like the brand new bottle of shampoo that I had bought the day before...she took a bath and used the entire bottle. I usually have another bottle on hand but because we have had one vehicle and Shaun had been working from sunrise to sunset getting to the store has not happened...so we were out!!! *sigh* good thing she's cute. I think she's been quite exhausted and I've been working A LOT! So that combo adding in me being tired makes for just a lot of ....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
She was up on stage this last weekend at church during the service and in the front row there was a rather heavy lady and Portia leaned over to her friend and pointed straight at the lady and whispered "look at the fat lady"...not once but 4 times.  I about DIED! Who taught her that? On another note she was wearing a shirt that was too big and she said, "I think I am losing weight mom...my shirt's too big." Shaun and I (in the midst of this diet) must be talking about that sort of stuff WAY TOO MUCH! We have stopped! NOW! I sat both the girls down and told them they have nothing to worry about, Daddy and I were just working on that for us and no kids need to worry about it.
Lying: dealt with that this week as well with little Miss P. I asked her a point blank question and she point blank lied 3 times.  Then she told the truth...after standing in the corner for 30 minutes we talked and she said very sweetly "But I've gotten away with lying before mom."  ACK! I was a bit speechless. And then I talked to Shaun and I then went back to her and said, "I will not always know when you are lying. God will know but I may not always.  But if you lie it will always be in the back of my brain and I won't be able to trust you. Do you understand what that means? Life will not be as fun because I won't be able to trust you."  "Ok Mama."
Today she took all her toys out and laid them on a blanket and priced them for a garage sale.  She then came and asked if she could go door to door in our cul-de-sac and invite people to her garage sale.  I love that! It's all kids toys so I let her knock on the neighbor's door who actually has kids.
She finds creative ways to get what she thinks up done...no matter how unhelpful us adults are.  And she has a VERY particular way in mind of doing whatever it is at the moment she has thought up.  There is not an easy way of swaying her from it...although Mercedes seems to have developed a knack for bringing her around to her way of thinking...and she is reasonable as long as she can see the reason.
She is a strong, independent, feisty, and smart little girl.  I admire all of those qualities.  I never want her to lose one of those.  I would, however, like to steer them in the correct direction. Needing wisdom. Pray for us if you think of it.
In the midst of all of that she is a very caring, loving, creative, leader, compassionate, laughter-filled little joy bundle. She is ever exploring EVERYTHING in her world and how it works.   I pretty much enjoy every second...even in the "driving me mental" moments.  I am pretty much always amazed by her.  She's quite tiny and kids often treat her as much younger than she is...but she quickly makes them realize who she is and what she stands for...someone to be reckoned with. She can definitely stand on her own two feet.  And then on the other-hand she has a fragile sensitive side.  She's a dichotomy..and I have to say I totally get it...she's a little spitting image of me on the inside...except I think she may just be quite a bit smarter.   

Excited! Update on the business.

This week darling husband and I have been organizing all the jobs that are on the dockets. It's exciting! There are enough jobs to keep up quite entertained in the organizational field.  We are excited! It is very fun!  It looks like we have hired 2 great guys and that is what we've been needing...one a Carpenter and one a carpenter's helper.  Wow, after so many months (and years) it's finally starting to come together.
We don't mind this type of work....the type where things are actually progressing...it's hard hard work still. I won't lie.  But it energized both of us because we enjoy it and it's actually going somewhere.  We're not working excessively hard only to go in circles. Now we get to go more in-depth in the management part of things and hone our skills there.
Owning your own business is like nothing else. They can't prepare you for it in school. The learning is done in the trenches.  It's long hours and non-stop for quite a long while.  But there are perks too.  You're time is more your own even though it is more taken up...if that makes sense.  While you work looooong hours, you choose when you work those hours.  We like it.  We would rather be building our own business than someone else's any day.  So we keep going. And for the first time we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
We're a bit giddy about that. And thankful. So. Very. Thankful...to Him who is able to do more than we can think or ask.  To Him be the glory, honour, and praise.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goings Ons

  • My Dad and Rosie came to visit us for 5 days. We had a great time! It was so lovely to see them! So happy they were able to come. 
  • I bought our eldest her first training bra. She's 8! Now let me explain. She likely doesn't need one quite yet....getting there though. However, what propelled me into buying some is this...she has grown into a size that is not in the little girl's section anymore and that seems to mean that the material is more see- through. It REALLY irks me. My darling 8 year old being sexualized (see this blog for more thoughts on that)  Come on PEOPLE! So for modesty sake etc. we have training bras at 8 or tank tops underneath shirts. It was a bit traumatic for me, super exciting for her, jealousy inducing for her sister, and terrifying for her dad. Between that and not being sure if the shoes I am looking at at the front door are hers or mine...she's growing up waaaaaaay too fast...but she's so much fun. 
  • The girls went to Vacation Bible School this last week. They loved! it. Loved it!  We left the house each morning at around 6:30 am took Shaun to work (as we have the one vehicle right now) and then we didn't get home until about 10 pm on most of the nights. It was an absolute blast of a week.  I got coffee dates with so many of my girls. My soul was completely filled with my friends' love and care.  We're tired this week but it was so worth it...and we have the luxury of time to recover.  
  • The girls and I LOVED LOVED LOVED getting to see Shaun for many more hours a day last week.  We probably got up to 3 hours more a day with him than normal and it was when he wasn't unspeakably exhausted. It made us realize anew how much of a grind life has been lately and the little gifts, like that time,...make such a difference.
  • Don't judge me: Portia is finally out of pull-ups!  Yes! I do know she is 6! I could give you may excuses but it comes down too Shaun and I were just too lazy to get her out of them. M got herself out of them...Portia not so much.  Anyway, it really wasn't much work once we did it.  It was the year of convincing that was hard. :D. She's really quite proud of herself though. 
  • At VBS this last week Portia accepted Jesus as her forever friend, her leader, and her forgiver...she did it before. But this was meaningful to her so we marked it.  And mentally, I think this time she marked it.  I can't tell you what that means to me. I look forward to spending eternity with our daughters.  May she walk as a mighty warrior princess to the King of Kings always. 
  • The business is hopping. Very thankful for that.  We are still playing catch-up but slowly we are getting there. It is encouraging!
Now if only I could find the cord I need to download pictures off of my camera so I could show you what I mean!  
We are blessed beyond measure.  I wake up every morning and pinch myself and thank God for all that He has given us...even the not so fun stuff.  In the end He sees the big picture while I see only a pixel at a time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Friend in Your Time of Need

Today I got a call from one of my dearest friends.  I had put a call into her and not 5 minutes later she called me back! It was like a refreshing rain (if you live in the desert) or (if you live where I live and it rains all the time) a blue-sky sunshiny day after many many days of grey and rain.
We chatted and chatted and shared experiences that we have had in common recently. We listened to each other's stories...and you know what?  She doesn't live next door to me.  In fact, she lives on the other side of Canada...we are on opposite coasts.  I wish she lived next door.  But perhaps in heaven we can dash over to each other's houses and have a coffee or tea, laugh and cry, and give each other a hug but for now that phone call was a life-line for me.
For those of you who have moved a lot - moving provides the opportunity to meeting new people. It also has many days of loneliness.  Being alone of not great when you're going through a hard time...the times that ultimately refine you. Us girls need our girlfriends.  I am thankful for the phone and social networks especially in these times.
I have many wonderful friends who are a massive gift to me, but this one, she is one of the extra sparkly jewels. We were roommates in college, we dated our future husbands at the same time, we did music together, we got married around the same time, I was in her wedding and she in mine, we had our first 2 kids together...we've moved waaaay to much. We are knitted together through our love for God and doing life together to begin with and now keeping in touch. She is one of those friends who I may not talk to for 6 months or a year but when we talk it's as if no time has elapsed.
Today God used her to bolster my faith, and also to just strengthen me to face the day.  I am thankful for my friend. I am thankful for her call today.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Debt Free

Last summer we were in a massive amount of debt...something like $70,000. And we could not see a way out of it and it was crushing us.  We weren't making enough money to pay it off over time.  We were drowning. It was overwhelming, embarrassing, and extremely stressful.  
We began to pray. We began to plead with God to help us find a way out.  My mom had given us Dave Ramsey's course and we bought his book "The Total Money Make-Over" to start to educate ourselves about this stuff.  We really knew nothing about money nor how to manage it.  We did our best but obviously that wasn't good enough.  We started to look around and see that our monthly living expenses where way too high.  Our lives looked REALLY good. We lived in a really nice house. We drove a pretty much new nice car.  We looked really good. Beyond the facade was a completely different picture.  And admittedly I did not want to take a step back and deal with it because I liked how our life looked...even if it wasn't real.  My husband patiently waited for me to come around. He didn't bug me. He didn't say a word. He simply prayed. And after a year of that God changed my heart...that was around last summer. 
Then we started implementing what we were learning. We did tons of little stuff...but we did massive stuff as well. We sold stuff, got rid of my pretty car...so now I was car-less( not fun for a girl who loves her freedom that a car provides), and we moved from the lovely little safe town and pretty house.  We moved to a more blue collar neighborhood. It's not as cool to say our address now. People's eyebrows don't go up approvingly when I mention our new address as they did when I mentioned our old one.   I will not lie and say "Wow that was fun!" but I will say "Wow! It's worth it!" 
BUT...even all of that wasn't enough.  We still weren't making it, believe it or not.  More circumstances came up beyond our control that completely snowed us in yet again.  We kept praying, and stressing, and praying.  But mostly we were stressing. My mom was right there with us praying and stressing and helping us by taking care of the girls...getting them out of the stress as often as she could. 
In the midst of all of this I received a phone call from my side of the family saying that they were going to send us money to help tide us over and get us through. That completely COMPLETELY floored us.  I don't think I have the words to describe what a gift that was to us...not just financially but mentally.  Someone believed in us enough to help see us through! I sobbed...I rarely cry.  I sobbed. We talked it through and decided the best thing would be to put that money towards debt.  So we did. With that we had one debt remaining and it was a personal debt to another family member.  Being released from most of our debt was a major load off of our backs...but the personal debt weighed VERY heavily on us.  
On this past Monday we received a card and were told not to open it until we were together.  OK.  So that evening we opened the card together and we were completely blown away again...our personal debt to that family member was completely forgiven.  WOW!  Another massive gift.  A boost in moral in the midst of the storm.  
AND with that...we are completely debt free! 
Most of it was not by any of our strength.  We made some tough un-fun decisions for sure.  But God heard our cries. He moved on the hearts of people. Those people responded and blessed us.  And here we stand the beneficiaries...debt free!!!!!!!!!! I am in awe. I am still taking it all in and have to pinch myself often.  Debt free!  Not many are given that gift they work years and years to be able to say that.  Wise stewardship is in order and required. Nothing less will do. 

Keep Going...but only with His help.

You know those times in life when every step you take you have give yourself a pep talk that "really! Keep GOING!" It takes tenacity and intestinal fortitude. It takes reaching waaaaaaaay down deep.  The past nearly 10 months (as you well know if you follow this blog) have been beyond that.  That wasn't even enough.  In the midst of all the chaos and struggle and just trying to keep going I forgot one little thing...but one thing that makes the utmost difference...prayer.  I mean I prayed.  But I didn't work at it. I didn't spend time on my knees really really praying specifically...not for us and not for anyone else.  All the noise of life simply took over and drowned out the very thought never mind the action.
I've always been someone who prays pretty much all day. God and I, we have a non-stop conversation...as that is basically what prayer is. I talk to Him and He talks to me. I ask for wisdom and He gives it to me. I thank Him for His mercy towards me...I thank Him for a never ending list of things. I pray for my husband and children and extended family and our friends...and my enemies.  I don't pray or believe in God as a safeguard or as an insurance. I pray because God tells us to pray to Him and over time I have obeyed and I have found the joy in it and the blessing regardless of the outcome or circumstances. There is a peace that defies all understanding in it.
When I don't pray my attitude is not pretty. I have no patience.  I feel far from people and relationships ans I really don't care.  When I don't pray life seems beyond overwhelming. When I don't pray I feel very lost.  When I don't pray I get depressed and can't see light from dark.  It's like, in a way, I'm blind and fumbling around. I often feel out of control emotionally...a deep seated rage.
In contrast, when I do pray, no matter what life brings God undergirds me with the strength to see it through. He gives me peace that I cannot explain in the midst of it all other than to say "It's God!". He gives me joy even when it does not make sense.  I do not have the same mental frailness that would be mine but for Him.
And here is a funny thing I have noticed...that even when I don't pray God still blesses me.  He still loves me. He still disciplines me.  He still walks beside me.  He does not leave.  He is a father who loves no matter what.
This past weekend I was reminded of the need for prayer. I am so very thankful for that reminder.  It was a massive gift to me. So I'm back at praying.  Circumstances have not altered but I have...thanks to Him and His gentle reminders.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Your Very Essence

You might think this post would be about God with a title like that right?  No...not this time...it's about my husband.  My mom, Shaun and I were talking and we were discussing how, when you really love someone, you love who they are...their essence...the very core of them. As the movie Avatar said "I see you".  You see them.  Really and truly see them.  It doesn't matter what wrappings they come in..We all know our physical appearance changes over the years no matter what we do.  We all know when we look into a marriage and that part is missing.  It's blatantly obvious, especially to those who have experienced being seen by the one they love. When a couple can't or doesn't see each other it's heartbreaking for them and the ones who love them.
My husband and I have have the gift of that kind of relationship. We see each other.  We know each other. We love the very essence of each other.  It doesn't matter that over the years both of us got thicker and now we're thinner.  It really doesn't.  It doesn't matter what we look like externally EVER (...although I have to say he is a hotty!  I mean look at that face!)  It doesn't matter that life gets so stressful at times and it gets much harder to "see" each other.  We still do.  It doesn't matter that there are bad days or months. It doesn't matter when others try to get in the middle...they can't!  It simply doesn't matter.
Shaun I love you. I love exactly who you are today. I loved exactly who you were in your yesterdays and I will love exactly who you will become in your tomorrows.  I love you. I see you.  I am thankful.  I am blessed.  You rock my world...still.
Happy 35th Birthday, my love.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

6! My Portia is 6!

Happy Birthday my wee little beauty.  The formative years are done for both of our girls with this milestone!  The first 5 years...gone!  I stand in the middle looking back and remembering with fondness those early years. I am also looking forward with great anticipation.  I love each new year, the wonders they bring. But my Portia...she is indeed a wonder child.
There is that sparkle in her eye that NEVER dims.  It's full of mischief and fun and wonder.  No matter what is going on she can find something to find joy in. She has that 'happy gene". She got it from her Daddy and her Grammie...they are unceasingly happy people.
She loves glam and glitz.  You take her to a store and she wants one of everything...it's all just so wonderful to her. But the thing is most of the time she is thinking of something for everyone...so when she sees something she usually wants it to so she can give it to someone.  She is always making cards and wrapping presents for people.
Her birthday was "the best day EVER!" and then her birthday party day came and that was "the best day EVER!"
She already knows how to use her voice (all cajoling and sweet) and her big blue eyes to melt your heart no matter what she's done.
She dances more than she walks.
She loves music and, even if she doesn't realize it, whenever there is music within her hearing her body is moving to the beat.
She cannot sit still.  It's just not possible.  She cannot be still. She does not even sleep with any level of stillness.
She is night owl. She wanders around the house when she is supposed to be asleep...she has startled me more than once.  "But I just can't sleep Mama".  I understand baby girl neither can I...there is just too much to see and you might miss something. I completely get it!
She loves to paint and draw and colour. Anything art and she's ALL over it.  She loves to learn the mechanics of art.
She's a FAST little runner and she wants to be measured every day "just in case I grew".
She has an astounding vocabulary and she uses it! She is always asking me "what does that word you just said mean Mama?" if it's new to her and then she'll go around using it (correctly) in sentences for the rest of the day. She's a word girl.
She has already learned about boys.  At 4 she declared, in the car on the way to church, "I get to see my boyfriend in Sunday School!" at which point her dad nearly drove off the road.  And then when asked what games she wanted to play for her birthday party she promptly said, "Spin the bottle" to which I promptly said, "um NO! You can't go around kissing people!" "Yeah but Mom...we could hug them!" and of course that sparkle was there in her eye.
 Her shoes, socks, and clothes must feel "just right" or she can't be bothered to wear them. Her hair must be "pretty" and that means her definition of pretty or she can't go out.  Yes she is indeed particular. She has a great sense of style. It's just natural to her.
 She is learning to read words. I am so thankful that I got to be her teacher during this grade of school because I got the privilege of seeing the light go on.  It enthralls her. She loves learning! Loves it! That brings me a tremendous amount of joy.
Awwww my Portia you are still my little joy bubble.  You are such a petite little bundle...still. My teeny tiny girl who is growing up quickly.  I love you my baby girl...with each passing year I love you even more.  I am so thankful that God saw fit to give us you.  You and your sister are our treasures...our jewels.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Some Soul Restoring

Today we did not make it to church...as I mentioned. It was Mother's Day.  By the time we sorted ourselves out it just didn't happen. In the end, I think it was what was needed.  You see we have been going like nobody's business for what seems like too long with no breaks, nothing that refreshed our souls.  Shaun and I are ones that need to be able to just stop and get off the carousel sometimes. We have to or life is not sustainable.
Today was lovely...I don't mean weather-wise because while it didn't rain it looked like it would any second...GREY it was grey. No I mean it was lovely for our souls.  First off we got Shaun's  undivided attention for the whole day!  I can't even remember the last time that happened. He has been working so hard and such long days. Shaun and the girls made a lovely breakfast and we sat down as a family and ate it. Mmmmm it was good.  Then the girls cleaned up the entire kitchen while my love and I sat and chatted! I've been missing him terribly. He leaves before any of us get up and gets home so exhausted as the girls are going to bed.
 After a bit we decided to wander down to a massive park (like 1,400 acres massive) that we hadn't been too yet and walk some of the trails.  DD#2 even walked the whole way and enjoyed it! A first!  We laughed and relished exploring nature. It is beautiful. God is so creative.  If I could get my garden looking half as pretty I'd be quite pleased. Just meandering our way along the trails for 3 hours was so much fun.  It refreshed all of our souls...even the dog's! We inspected an old homestead, said "happy mother's day" to passing mothers, collected rocks, watched horses, walked by a little stream in the midst of a rain forest, had a chinwag with a passing stranger, laughed and chatted with each other. Beautiful.
We came home. Shaun and I listened to a sermon by Mark Driscoll and grandly enough one of my high school friend's wee daughter was the highlight of the sermon. Then I had a lovely soak while Shaun and the girls prepared a yummy supper. We, again, sat down as a family and ate and chatted.  The girls went to bed and my love and I hung out and chatted some more and laughed. We watched a a few "Man vs. Wild" episodes on Netflix.
It was a simple day. It was exactly the perfect day to restore my soul...a soul in desperate need of restoring.
I am blessed and I am thankful.

Crossroad...a quandry

  Today was Mother's Day. It's Sunday, of course. We usually go to church every Sunday. We trek a hour each way for an hour long service...today...we didn't make it.  We are in a quandary about church. When we lived in our last home it was still feasible to continue going to the church that we have gone to for almost 6 years.  We LOVE our church. We LOVE the community we have developed. We LOVE that we get to be apart of the music ministry.
We tried with all of our ability to move nearer to our church...for whatever reason it didn't happen. We could NOT find a place to live that worked. Now by Sunday we are both SO tired and worn out from life at the moment that a day being gone all day just overwhelms us.
We are at a crossroads...
-if we are going to stay in this area (as we have for the past 3 years) we need to develop community here.  But, for us, that comes at a high price.If the girls will be going to school here we need to be involved in a church here.
-when youth group time comes we can't drive and hour each way (never mind traffic).
-We need to be involved in the community we live in. If we want to invite someone to church going to church that far away doesn't work.
I've been really really REALLY REALLY struggling and wrestling and praying about this the last week. Honestly, I don't want to live over here. Honestly, I don't want to leave our church. Apparently there is more at  play here though than what I want.
Here are my fears:
1)We won't find an amazing group of friends like we have...we waited a looooooooong time for these friends. They are special. I cherish them.
Conclusions on that fear so far:  Are we going to lose our friends? I certainly hope not...It will change the relationship somewhat.  I guess if we do then we really weren't that great of friends to begin with.
2) Are we really supposed to be here anyway?
Conclusion on that fear: well apparently we are not supposed to be anywhere else...
3) Will God leave be standing alone with no support or community if He has placed us here?
Conclusion on that fear: ummm NO! I look back over my life...God and I we have a looooooooooooooooong track record.  He has NEVER left me alone or forsaken....even when it's hard and it hurts...in the midst of it all...He is there. And in the end His plan is always perfect...mine...not so much.
4) I don't feel like either Shaun or I have the energy or the where with all, right now, to form a new community and get to know new people. The very thought...well it just is overwhelming and I could just sit here and cry. Especially since we have a VERY nice one just over the bridge.
Conclusion on that fear: Suck it up sunshine.  God will not give me more that I can handle. He promises and either I believe Him or I don't. Which is it gunna be?!
I imagine this will take some time. We will still trek, at least for awhile. And I think we will keep trekking to our home group every other Sunday evening. A transition. Oh how I'm coming to hate that word.
Facing reality is not fun sometimes...lately, for us, it's really sucked on so many levels. But we believe it's what we need to do so that in the end it doesn't suck. So that we can do what we are to do: be good stewards of what God has entrusted us with. Money. Parenting. Marriage. Friendships. and so much more. Each is a precious trust.
And we trust that this will all be worth it...it's just in the middle. Well. You've been there...it. is. really. not. fun. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Transitions

My last post was called "Relentless". This one should be "Relentless Transitions" but I didn't want to be redundant.
Transition: No car for me
Transition: Moving from an area we loved and a house we loved living in
Transition: The girls and schooling
Transition: Physical
Transition: Eating habits
Transition: Cut in pay so the company can thrive
Transition: Business Partner leaving
Transition: How we do $ on a personal level
Transition: Church
Transition: Accountant for business and all the systems we've been working on for the last 8 months have to be changed completely and redone.
See why I wanted to add "relentless"?
There is more but I don't want to bore you.

Relentless

Lately, I have been thinking about this last year.  That is the word that came to mind and perfectly described it. I said it to Shaun and he nodded his head slowly thinking it over and then said, "Yep!" We got some more "relentless" news 2 weeks ago. We are, yet again, in transition. It feels relentless.
We are tired, discouraged, weary, and feel like that light at the end of the tunnel is somewhat of a joke.
And yet...in the the midst of all of the "relentlessness" there have been some amazing things that have happened.  We are blessed.  We have been given so much.  Our children have been gifts through it all...so patient with their harassed parents. My family has stepped in time and time again and been a massive gift.  Our friends...couldn't make it without them.
 It's people that make life what it is either (no matter the circumstances) a breeze or relentless. I have learned that in spades this year.  But even more than people...I have gotten to see that it is indeed true that God is true to His word...He never gives us more than we can bear.  He always gives us a way of escape.  There is a reason to be in community...for times like these...so you make it. I can give Him all my anxieties and burdens because He loves me...it's just will I remember to do that or will I try and carry them on my own?! This year I've remembered that perhaps half of the time.
I will have to remember that "people" definitely make a difference in life when it's my turn to be that "people" and either be a blessing or a burden to a friend who is struggling. I hope that I choose to be a  blessing and not add to their "relentlessness".

Friday, April 29, 2011

She's 8!

Our eldest is 8! She is having a friend sleep over tonight and then a birthday party.  She asked for a scavenger hunt, pin the tail on the donkey, an obstacle course, and a piƱata...and Tinkerbell.  Should be a fun party.
Today I watched the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. I couldn't help but think that this daughter of mine will all too soon be marrying her prince. She is as tall as my shoulders!
She is so sweet. She is ever thoughtful. The other day she woke up, I was sick, and she proceeded to clean up the whole kitchen. She like order and tidiness. She is very good at organizing people.  Her favorite colour is still green. She is so much fun. Her favourite place is still outdoors.  In fact she asked for a bike for her birthday.  She just loves being on a walk or riding her bike. It's where she is happiest. Kids love her because she is so caring and fun.  It's been a bit of a rough year for our family and through it all she has remained sweet and gentle and caring. A gift to our family.
She is a sweet sweet girl and I love her so. I am so thankful that God chose to give her to us as our daughter.  He knew we needed her.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Little Girl or little sex pot

I ran across an article that a friend posted on Facebook that sums up perfectly something Shaun and I have been observing and watching over the last several years.  It has to do with little girls and clothing.  
Here is the link to that article from CNN of all places http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/04/19/granderson.children.dress/index.html
Here is a link from the American Psychological Association on a study regarding the sexualization of girls: http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx
If I could agree 5 billion to infinity percent I would. It's now difficult to find "little girl clothes" you know the innocent sweetness, past size 6. I find it ridiculous. Our daughters DO NOT need to look like tramps to be beautiful little girls. Somewhere along the way we lost sweet and innocent in our vocabulary for our wee daughters and it's showing up in clothing. And along with that point we as mothers don't need to look like tramps to be sexy and attractive either. Just sayin'.
I hope that my daughters, when they are grown, will choose to dress with modesty.  I hope that Shaun and I will have taught them the reason for modesty...that we will have imparted it well enough that they will carry it on in their adult life and pass it on to their children.  
You will never see them looking like tramps while they live under our roof...you will see them looking adorable and in style (as long as it's modest) but NOT tramps. There is a difference. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Of Yearbooks and Facebook

Perhaps I am feeling a little nostalgic today.  I heard, via Facebook, today that a man who I greatly respected passed from this earth today. I was amazed at how that news hit me. After all I hadn't laid eyes on him since high school.  He was the director of the camp I worked at every summer.  A great man.
Perhaps I am nostalgic because I picked up a few yearbooks today. I scanned through the pages and was amazed at how many people's lives I know about because of Facebook. It was fun.  Those faces I knew and loved well.  I have had the privilege of knowing so many people. I can't think of one of them whom I regret knowing.  As I looked at each face and then thought about what I know of them now I wished I could drop in and have a cozy tea with each of them.  Catch up.  Tell them the impact they had on my life and to give them each a hug.  I saw faces that are no longer with us. I saw faces whom I laughed and laughed and experienced life with every day. I saw faces who I didn't know very well but now I know better thanks to Facebook. I know a friend who I went to elementary and junior high school with in San Diego who married a friend I went to high school with in Oregon. It really is a small world.
One picture really truck me from my junior year of high school.It was a picture of my advanced placement field trip for that year.  All of us APers sitting on a beach. I now take my children to that beach every summer. I pass the hostel that we stayed in every summer and I tell Shaun every summer about that trip. :)  The high schooler who was having a grand time on a school trip had no idea that her adult life would be lived in that city.
On Facebook I have a few friends whom I have known since Third Grade.  Third Grade! That's insane. I'm one of those people who often wonder about people I knew...what happened to them? What did their lives turn out like. Are they loved well?  Are they happy?
It was a fun trip down memory lane.  And I'm so happy that I "know" so many of you still through Facebook. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

34 really?

Last week I turned 34. It was a weird birthday.  It was so weird I don't even have a picture.
It was weird because Shaun and I are on this diet. It's going really well but I couldn't eat anything that one would normally eat for a birthday.  And that was weird!  It was a really tough mental game.  We are also in the middle of packing and getting ready to move.  Not really a time to have a party to celebrate.  No time to go away.  So honestly I was kind of just wanting to ignore the whole thing until such a time as we could celebrate properly...
But in the end it was a wonderful day. Our dear friends the Neyedlis came down from Peachland.   Vangie make me a diet approved cupcake...and boy did that take some massive creativity...she wasn't a professional cake maker for nothing I tell you.
In the end, although it was very very different from normal, it was a wonderful day. I felt loved :).  Thanks friends. You are wonderful.
And now I'm 34!  No sage advice to offer. But a few things I know: I am blessed. I am loved. My best days are yet to come. I have hope. I cannot wait to see what this year holds. I have the most wonderful husband a girl could dream up...he makes me want to wake up in the morning just so I can see him. He brings a smile to my face whenever I think about him...his laughter rings wherever he is.  My children bring me the gift of their love, laughter, and joy every day. My family pour their love into me. My friends are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet...and all these good and perfect gifts have been given to me by my Heavenly Father who created all there is and he chose to love me...and you. I still get shivers each time I ponder that one.
I'd say my birthday gifts surround me every day all day and all night long.  So perhaps, though the day felt weird because of my food options, in truth it was a gift!
And next year, at 35, my food choices will be back to normal...but my waist size will be much smaller. :).
So my gift to myself for this year was to choose to work on a gift of health for the rest of my life. My husband's gift was to choose to do the same.  My family and friend's gift was to support me in that.
See I surrounded by love and gifts.
I repeat again...I. AM. ONE. BLESSED. WOMAN. 

Gail Van-Oxlade


I read through this book a week or so ago.  We had done the Dave Ramsey course on getting out of debt in the summer. We have been working very hard to become financially fit ever since.  We are taking it very seriously.
 I wanted to see what other money people said on the topic.  She was nice to read...a lighter touch than Ramsey but she said the exact same things.  Another thing I liked about her is that she is Canadian so she has all the pertinent information...which can be hard to find.  Most of the financial gurus are American.  And while it is helpful having someone specifically Canadian was very nice. 
She is easy to read, very clear, humorous,  and understandable. She is a true teacher...she puts everything in layman's terms...so we can all understand. 

The Twelfth Imam

I just finished reading this book. It's good. It's a novel.
There are points where I could let myself be very fearful about the things that are happening in our world. However, it's also exciting.  It's an interesting time to be alive...that is for sure!  Never a dull moment.
I enjoyed his book The Copper Scroll more as far as novels go.  Not because it was better written but because this one was so very real.  A lot of it he simply put into story form, from Inside the Revolution, real life scenarios.
Very interesting. Makes one think.  And pray. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Downsizing


The blog front has been somewhat quiet lately.  We've been busy! 
 We are moving a week from tomorrow into a little house that will be perfect for us...once we get rid of a TON of stuff.  But who needs stuff? I was just looking at my favorite blog today The Big Picture and the article was about the displaced peoples of Africa due to all the unrest and civil wars.  And I'm complaining about downsizing? I don't think so. So I happily downsize and am thankful.  
Shaun and I have also been busy losing weight.  It was time. I started another blog just for that.  It's called Change is the Name of the Game. I have a few entries on there but haven't had time for more.  So we've been downsizing on that front as well. 
There are a few other fronts we are downsizing on but that will have to wait.  
I said to Shaun the other day that it feels like we are being true to what we believe and how we desire to live life...finally. It's a very nice feeling.  It's energizing to us...which is good because we have a lot of energy that needs to be put out.  
We are looking forward to being moved and settled. It's been since last July as we are ready.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So many things

Lately, we've been busy trying to figure out our lives.  We don't know where we will live as of next month.  We have to be out of this house by April 1. It's upsetting. It's frustrating. And the bottom line is I don't want to move BUT move we must...so oh well.
We have been blessed on so many levels since we found out we have to move. Family has been amazingly supportive as have our friends.  There are days when the stress just weighs us both down.  It's exhausting and very wearing.  Some days we don't feel we can take any more pain, struggle, or stress...and then we keep going. God always seems to gives us hope even in the most trying of times.  I am not going to say the specifics of the amazing things He has done in our lives lately at this time...but suffice it to say we are blessed even in the midst of it all.
The girls are doing very well. They bring us so much joy...what gifts they are to us. Homeschooling is going very well. I am so thankful that we decided to undertake this particular adventure. I find it a massive gift.  There is so much I want to say...and in time I will. But for now...here we are just like this humbled, amazed, and stressed.  :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ah my Portia



The other day Portia looked at Shaun and I and said, "My heart is always happy even when I am sad." That made me smile inside. It was one of those precious moments as a parent. It's those moments that it's all about.
I remember that feeling, as a kids. No matter what occurred, on the inside I was happy. There was a deep down joy that was unloseable. I remember being amazed by that as a child. I really noticed it. I completely understood what Portia was saying.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Surrogacy Part 2 (a note from my sister-in-law after having the twins)

This is a note I received today from my sister-in-law after having the twins...thought you might like to hear directly from her (this is posted with her permission...and everyone's names were removed by me for their protection). Also as a side note...my sister-in-law lost a lot of blood and her body went into shock twice after the c-section. She came close to dying. She is presently working hard at getting her hemoglobin's back up so that she does not have to have a blood transfusion.

Baby #1 was 4lbs 8oz, still in NICU on a round of antibiotics but doing great and breastfeeding well. Should be out in a couple of days.
Baby #2 was 6lbs 5oz, no worries with her.
Born at 37wks, 3 days by c-section. Baby #1 was a footling breech, Baby #2 was also breech and stuck up in my ribs ( it feels so nice to breathe again).

My sister in law blogged about this so I got inspired to write (thanks Tama). This really was an amazing experience and as much as it was very simple to give the babies back to their parents, I fell absolutely in love with them over the last few days. The last 8 mths too of course but seeing them and being able to even help do some nursing really shifted it for me (no, this didn't make me bond with the girls - just love them more). It's certainly more of a reality seeing their cute little faces. They are WAY too cute! Perfect really. My kids looked like little aliens who were squished the wrong way coming out - and then they wouldn't come out! There aren't very many babies born this cute to be honest. So... the whole family is doing great and will stay with my mum and step dad until they go back home. They are well loved and we are sure to be in their lives forever. Their mom gave me an engraved bracelet "Forever Grateful, Forever Friends". I cried.

Many people have asked: How was it giving the babies away? How are you doing? Would you do it again? Didn't you bond with them at all??? The easy answer is I gave the girls BACK to their parents. I started out knowing that I would do that and it was as simple as that in the end. I'm doing great and am happy to be able to pump for them and even was privileged to be able to nurse baby #1 in NICU and get some colostrum in her.Their mom got very sick with a fever and just needed help. I felt very honoured.
Would I do it again... probably not. Even though it was a 10 yr wait for them to adopt in the country that this family lives in, and the legalities of surrogacy there make it next to impossible, there were many things that I grapple with - especially international parents tapping into our medical system... Countries are closing their doors b/c we keep sending back kids that aren't perfect enough for us. They'd rather have them in orphanages than mess with the North Americans these days. My biggest dilemma is overpopulation of our planet. I'm contributing to it. Thankfully my husband doesn't want kids so between me having 2 with my ex and this surrogacy, we have just replaced ourselves on the planet. If I did it again, I'll be contributing to overpopulation. I don't think my body could handle this again anyway. 40 is getting OLD!!!
I loved being a surrogate. I would have to say I didn't have a heart if I didn't bond on some level. But these girls were as planned as any pregnancy could be. They will be loved beyond belief. I am sure of that. Are there people in the world that need to reconcile their inability to have kids and move on as a childless couple? For sure. Is this only for the rich or at least privileged? Yes. It costs more money than most people have in the bank. But does that mean it should be illegal? It won't stop people from doing it - they'll just go to India. Better to monitor than control I say.
So, yes, my husband was my rock through this all and I literally could not have done it without him. It would have bankrupt the parents that I was a surrogate for. Child care, respite, housekeeping - that would have cost more than topping up my wages onbedrest. So, yes, they took care of me as per our contract. But that's all that's allowed in my country. If you're doing it for the money, it's about 2.75 an hour that I made but it wasn't for the money. It was for the love of the people, for the experience. My mum asked me how I was ever going to top this. I said I didn't do it to top something - I did it for them. I would do it all again. I loved being pregnant. Twins? Not so much fun but boy are they CUTE!!! No, they don't look anything like each other.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Surrogacy

Surrogacy as defined by Wikipedia is an arrangement where a woman agrees to become pregnant and deliver a child for another couple or person. She may be the child's genetic mother (the more traditional form of surrogacy), or she may carry the pregnancy to delivery after having been implanted with an embryo with another female's genetics.
Today my sister-in-law is going to the hospital today to have a c-section...to give birth to twins...that she will give away to their parents. She is in no way related to them genetically. She was just the womb and housed them as they grew...or at least that is the prevailing thought.
I must say that when they came to us and told us what they were doing I really struggled with it. I mean I believe that life is a gift and that only God opens and closes the womb...right? Or do I really? Shaun reminded me that we had used birth control and he had a vasectomy...so really we were tampering just as much.
Anyway, we grappled...I grappled a lot. I mean she was doing it for the money right? Except that the amount she gets paid in really a pittance compared to the toll that it has taken on her physically. And then a c-section? Anyway the whole thing is looking more and more altruistic to me as I watch and learn.
I guess one has to go back to motive. I mean that's the real problem right. When we look at surrogacy we take it to the extreme...which is necessary in the world we live in. There are people who would use surrogacy to grow parts for people etc. That is our ultimate concern...the cheapening of human life. Or that as this article says “Surrogacy views women as disposable uteruses, merely containers or public utilities for someone else’s babies. This dismantling of motherhood says there is no essential bond between a woman and the baby she carries under her heart for nine months.” There are, as I said, many legitimate concerns. There are many more arguments against it...like adoption? Why not adopt. There are so many children who need a loving family. But some people simply cannot wrap their mind around that. They want their own flesh and blood. I can understand that.
But as I've watched my sister-in-law carry these two precious babies I have had to rethink many things...in the end I believe it comes down to motive. In this case the motive is to give a family the ultimate gift of a child (or in this case children). All of you mothers know what a gift and what a sacrifice this is. Those of you who want desperately to be mothers...well you know the crushing pain of not having that gift and what it would be to have the opportunity to have that.
I respect my sister-in-law for her choice. I see the value in it. I see the joy she is bringing to others. I asked her if she would do this again. She said she would...I asked her how she would be when she actually had to hand these 2 over to their parents and say goodbye? She said she figures she'll be fine as she set out to do that from the get-go.
It's definitely a new thought. One that takes some time to come to terms with, at least for me. It is because it's new and I take awhile to adjust? Or is it because of the can of worms that it has the potential to open? Maybe both. I have, however, enjoyed the process of watching this particular surrogacy develop from a thought to a reality. I have enjoyed watching my brother-in-law fill in the gaps my sister-in-law was not able to fill due to bed-rest. They have been a great team.
And now tomorrow I get to go meet those two girls. I have some more grappling to do...I am their surrogate auntie...but I will not know the joy of that position. But then again it was never about "my position" was it.

Inside the Revolution by Joel Rosenberg


I just finished reading Joel Rosenberg's book Inside The Revolution. There are 3 sections to this book. The first section is just plain freaky. The things that are going on in our world...yep freaky. The middle section is explanatory and the third section is what captivated me the most. I highly recommend this book. Mr. Rosenberg is a very well informed man. He is not guessing at any of this. Go to his website to see about him. I read his book Epicenter and am now looking forward to reading his booklet Inside the Revival which goes more into detail about the 3rd section of Inside the Revolution.
Interestingly enough, he has written novels as well. I have not read any of his novels but after he released each of them the story lines happened in our world. The title of his novels are as follows: The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, Dead Heat, and his newest The Twelfth Imam. I plan on reading at least the last 3.

Goodbye 2010! Hello 2011!!!!!

It really has been quite a year hasn't it! I mostly updated you on our lives in the Oct. 2010 Update. In the family, travel, daily living aspect life was exhausting but good. In the business and work aspect it was a steep incline of learning.
Life is so unexpected at points. I got a note from a family member just on Monday that her sister had passed away in her sleep...a young woman, mother of 2, wife of one...completely unexpected and with a reason to still be found. Grief and shock hit me for a person I had met twice but who meant the world to her children, husband, and family. The same day that I received that profoundly sad note the little IGA in our village burned to the ground. That building was built in the 1920's. I loved walking on the old hardwood floors. It whispered of a time past and I found comfort in that. And now it is no more. A building that is no more versus a person who has gone on to eternity...an eternity with Him. That is something to find comfort in...true comfort. We will all see her again.
Tuesday my mom called me to tell me of her test results on bone density. She has been diagnosed with osteoporosis. She had this test because over Christmas she was skiing and went under a rope to get out of a line to the chair and fractured 3 ribs. She bent over and fractured 3 ribs? That's not right...so she had to leave our house earlier than she was supposed too to drive home for the test. The doctor told her no more skiing etc. It's an interesting thing in that my mom is probably the healthiest person I know in fitness and food choice...for her whole life...she has always been extremely active and high energy. I always have said that although she is 30 years older than me she has more energy than I do. The doctors are a bit baffled as well. My dad also called and told me that his heart valve has deteriorated more and so he will be going into surgery to have that replaced this month. That involves opening up his chest and going in. The laproscopic version is not reliable enough as of yet.
I got calls over Christmas from family with varying news of distress and sadness pretty much all around. So while we had an excellent Christmas my side of the family especially had a tough one. And that affects. It's interesting how one person's actions affect SO many people...even those they don't realize that it affects.
We also thought we were going to be moving as my in-laws sat us down and told us that they would need to sell the house. At first I was understanding and then I was just plain mad...not at them having to sell the house but at us having just lived through that renovation etc. that sucked any extra reserve we had right out. It was extremely taxing on us and the girls. It cost us our summer and we are still recovering in many ways. I do not say all that to point a finger at them...they were having to sell it not wanting too. There is a vast difference. They were not being mean or vindictive. In the end they have worked out a way to not sell the house and they have been very gracious to us. I have to say that I am very thankful not to be moving right now. It would be another massive cost on us financially, emotionally and physically...something I am not sure we are up for right at the moment.
We have the privilege of having Vern join us in our home. He is a thoughtful and ever cheerful man whom we are thankful to have.
Today my sister-in-law goes in for a c-section to give birth to twins...not hers. She is a surrogate for another family. Through this whole pregnancy I have really grappled with this whole new world of surrogacy. But I will leave that for another post. In the end I am excited for the family and amazed by my sister-in-law's willingness to do something like that. For although it is not completely altruistic...the amount she gets paid is a pittance to the toll. She has been on bed rest since sixteen weeks. You could not pay me enough to do it. And yet I see the joy given. It has been amazing watching my brother-in-law work very hard at taking up the slack that bed rest has caused. It has also been amazing watching them convey this to their two children and watching the kids take it and run with it and be captivated by it...by being apart of giving this gift.
On the business end of things we took on a new partner :). Shaun's brother came on board with us in the middle of October. He is excellent at business management and he seems to have a special gift to make businesses thrive. He has thrown himself in 100% and given so much already. Shaun and Jim have opposite complementing skills that has turned them into a well rounded whole for a business. We are very excited about what is already coming down the pipe as a result of this partnership.
Our friendships this year...wow. God has answered our years long prayers and we have been given the massive gift of amazing, laughter filled, refreshing, and reviving friendship. I am in awe of the people that He has placed in our lives...each one a jewel beyond price. In fact this New Year we laughed ourselves silly for 2 days straight with one of those couples. The children were telling us to be quieter...there's a switch.
Our darling daughters bring us so much joy throughout every day. We have come to an age where they are not little anymore...Portia has a bit more time in the "little" capacity but not much. They are both independent, fascinating, thoughtful, joyful, laughter-filled girls. They love each other so much and they are a joy to watch playing together. We are in our second year of homeschooling. It is going very well. We all like it immensely. It is so fun to teach one's own children. I fascinated by the process of explaining something to them and then watching the light go on and then watching them run with the idea. It's an addicting feeling.
My husband...the one who is my heart. We are knit together and there is not undoing it. I love watching his every single day bring shouts of laughter and giggles to our girls and to me. I don't know how he does it but it's a special gift he has. I love watching his depth of character and the grace with which he faces life and the love that he bestows generously on me.

What have I learned this year? I suppose many things. One of the things that I have recently concluded is that in the midst of a process I will no longer let my emotions rule the day. Emotions are good and all but they are not supposed to be the engine but the caboose. I cause myself much unneeded stress by diving deeply into the emotion of the moment instead of letting the situation sort itself out and then addressing emotions.

What am I most thankful for this year? This year I was given back the gift of my side of the family. I love each one. It is a rooting feeling to get to know more from were I come. It was something missing for me.

So as you can see 2010 was filled with precious gifts and opportunity for growth. And in the end I am again able to say with complete joy and confidence...I AM BLESSED.

I know that was long and rambling on many topics...but Happy New Year! And in this next span may you see God's hand upon your life as you navigate this journey.