Friday, November 2, 2012


Sometimes I need to take a few moments and regain perspective. 
It is easy to get caught up in the craziness of the moment and forget what I am really doing. 

To forget that... 

When we are washing dishes, my little men and I, with water all over the counter top, dishes getting washed multiple times, dry dishes being 'rinsed', and the job taking twice as long, that I am not just cleaning my kitchen. 

I am building relationships with my sons. I am letting them know by my actions that I want them with me, that I value their help, and I love their presence. 
I am raising boys. Boys who will someday do the dishes while I am then able to teach and fulfill the other responsibilities that come with having older children. 
I am raising men. Men who will know how to help in the kitchen, and men to whom chores and responsibility will be a normal part of life.

When I am up for the umpteenth time with a little boy who is screaming and isn't even awake, but is crying out in terror, that I am not just losing sleep. 

I am comforting my son. Teaching him how to love and comfort others by my example. 
I am building trust, making it easier for him to someday trust and know God as his Comforter, because he has had a visible demonstration of that in me. 

When I get angry with my firstborn, say things I shouldn't, and have to go back and tell him I was wrong, ask for forgiveness, that I am not simply messing up again. 

I am teaching my sons about life. That sin is a part of all of our lives, and that there is forgiveness. That Mommy sins too, and has to ask forgiveness. That by ourselves, none of us can do right. That there is help in Christ, that He only can change us. 
To ask forgiveness when he does wrong. 

When there are a million calls to "look at this, Mommy!", that I am not wasting time to look at something I've seen a dozen times. 

I am building a healthy sense of community and family in my sons. I am giving them a sense that what they do matters to someone, and giving them a desire to keep creating, to keep dreaming. That I am interested in what they do and who they are. I am laying the foundation for their teen and adult years, a foundation of sympathy and interest with their interests and desires. I am building a foundation for late night conversations, for a desire for my opinion and perspective in the years when I can no longer give it unasked.

When there are dirty dishes, laundry, and phones calls to make, but books have been read, real life lessons taught, creations admired, and babies snuggled, that I haven't wasted my day. 

I have been a mother. I have completed my highest priorities for my day. There will be other days when the boys are playing happily and I get my kitchen clean. When my sister comes over and the boys play while we work on laundry, chat, and pray. When the house is still, and I can complete what needs to be done for the business. But for today, I have done what I should. 

When there are six business calls by 9am, multiple voice messages to return, bookkeeping to be done, urgent phone calls for numbers and information at inopportune times, and my husband is working late, and I just want to throw it all away and go do something grand, that I am not just helping run a stupid business. 

We are in the foundational stages of a dream. A dream that changes in detail, but gives purpose to the busyness of today. 
We are fulfilling a need in this town, in our society, for good plumbers. For plumbers who are honest and respectful, who do good work and are willing to take the little jobs most people don't consider 'worth it', because they need to be done.
By running this business, we are not only able to prepare financially for the direction God is leading us, but also to contribute to the dreams of others. It has been said it takes 60 'lay people' to support 1 missionary. Sometimes being one of those 60 isn't very exciting. But it is important. 

Sometimes, I need to take a few moments and remember that I will never again be (almost) 30, with a 4yr old, a 2yr old, a 7mon old, a 28yr old husband, and our own business.

What can I do with today, that I will not be able to do tomorrow? 

What can I do today, to prepare for tomorrow? 

Cherish each moment!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A peek into the cauldron Pt 2

I am slowly becoming rather passionate about the Charlotte Mason approach to schooling, and am quite amazed by how the reading/learning I've been doing in this area has coincided so neatly with the learning mentioned in Pt 1 of this post. 
Being the type of person who can't fully enjoy something unless others are enjoying it too, I just HAVE to share some of my discoveries with whoever is brave enough and faithful enough to read this blog. :-D

There are a number of foundational things I love about Charlotte Mason's approach to children and schooling. Her way of viewing a child is one of the most balanced and (IMHO) Scriptural I've read. 

That is, a child is a person, with a sin nature, but made in the image of God.

"A child is a person" - Finally someone who concisely defines what is different in the way my parents approach their children from babyhood on! I am so very grateful for the example that makes it second nature for me to treat my children from day one as a person, an individual deserving of respect, rather than an object for my enjoyment and imprinting. 

"With a sin nature" - needing salvation, needing Christ, with a propensity to do wrong. 


"Made in the image of Christ!" - with the potential and ability to do great and beautiful things. 
Personally, I believe most people err to one side or the other of this balance. Either we don't believe or acknowledge the sin nature of the child, or we don't recognize the image of Christ in said child. 

As part of that image of Christ, children have an insatiable desire to learn and know. Our job as educators and parents is to put children in contact with truth, with beauty, with great ideas, and allow them to learn directly from great books, experiences, people who are passionate about what they know...

Education moreover is the science of relations - which sounds very scientificky, but is actually very simple: 
The relationship of the child to God
The relationship of the child to others
The relationship of the child to the universe

I love how simple and yet broad this makes education, and how it places each aspect of education into a bigger picture. 

After more of the philosophical ideas, I am quite tickled with the "how to's" of this approach. 
Narration is one of my favorites: starting at age 6 a child will "tell back" in their own words whatever has been read, or whatever they have just learned. This not only gives me a clear picture of what they've actually learned and an opportunity to correct misunderstandings, it also makes what has been read or learned their own as it has been put into their words, and will theoretically stick much longer. Narration can be oral or pictoral, and composition becomes a natural byproduct of narration once writing skills have been mastered, which also thoroughly tickles me. 

Children learn largely through the introduction of ideas through carefully chosen books - books written by people with great ideas, people passionate about their subject, rather than books listing facts on the subject. 

Learning is based around a foundation of history, making use of a timeline, and giving a sense of how the part fits into the whole. 

Drill and focused study is limited to a short period in the morning, supplemented by reading together, and followed by afternoons spent discovering creation and creating with their hands. 

And, I love the approach to studying art, music, languages... so much more I could rave on about, but I will stop before I bore my readers to tears. 

Suffice it to say, I am currently quite taken with a Charlotte Mason approach to education, and barring a change over the next few years, will be using it with the boys. :-D 

(how can you tell my husband is out late tonight? :-P)

A peek into the cauldron (Or: things that have been simmering inside for a while) Pt 1

Child rearing books have always held a special interest for me. And I mean, from pre-teen years to date(yeah, that's a pretty long time :-P), I've always had a particular fascination with reading books about child training (come to think of it, marriage books fall into the same category)
Not, as some may think, because I disagreed with the way my parents were raising me, actually quite the contrary. My fascination is largely a result of one of the hallmarks of who my parents are: a constant drive to be learning and growing.

Recently, though, all that information has become secondary as I was challenged by my most recent child training book Grace Based Parenting to stop looking for a parcel of methods, and look, really look, at Scripture and how God parents us as His children. This post is an attempt to begin processing all I've been learning by doing just that. 

Some day I will stand before God and answer to Him for how I have raised my children. On that day, He will not be asking me about the decisions they have made. 
He will ask me about MY choices: 
did I love His children with my words and actions? 
did I follow Him passionately? 
did I obey Him in all that He asked me to do? 
did I serve my family with joy? 
did I use the talents He gave to further His kingdom? 
did I point my children to Christ as the only atonement for sins, God as a loving and holy Father, and the Holy Spirit as the only way to truly change? 

What is important for me to remember as a mother becomes pretty simple. 

 I am commanded to love my children, and this is what that looks like: 

Love is the commitment of my will
to your needs and best interests
regardless of the cost. 

I cannot change my children. The only person I can change is myself. Therefore, I must do what is right despite what my children do, and leave the results to Christ.  

My children are sinners, so I shouldn't be surprised when they do sinful things. (This was a great aha moment for me - why in the world am I so shocked by some of the things they come up with when I know very well they are depraved, sinful human beings?)

On their own they can't do what's right, and they can't change their hearts - they need salvation, and they need the work of the Holy Spirit in them. 
Which makes it extremely dangerous to merely train them to do what I want to avoid punishment... resulting in either a selfish little prig who has no concept of their own sinfulness, a suicidally depressed navel gazer who realizes their own sinfulness and can't seem to do anything about it, or a devil-may-care, do-what-I-feel-liker, because they can't change anyway. 

I have a responsibility to teach the ways of God - constantly - to my children. These are not nebulous, man-made laws and rules though. These are the commandments of God, the ways of God, Who God Is, SCRIPTURE! So I bring every choice and decision back to Scripture, and teach my children to do the same.
Sola Scriptura has meant so much more to me than ever before. It has given me the freedom to make decisions on issues that are not noted in Scripture based on the principles of Scripture and the individuality of our family and each child. It has driven me to my knees as I realize my own inadequacy and how much I fall short of Christlikeness. 

Intertwined with this process, I am losing my fear that letting go of a lifestyle or choice that I can't defend from Scripture will ruin my children, or that my children need to "look/act" a certain way. Granted, I need to make sure we are seeking Christ's direction for our family, and living in a way that is edifying for us, and not a stumbling block for those we meet. But if that criteria is met, I can be at peace making decisions that are right for our family.

Ultimately, what it all comes down to is something not at all new: focus on my children's hearts and enjoy the freedom to give grace to their actions.

P.S. Part 2 to this focuses a bit more on a method of schooling, but has also impacted the way I view and relate to my children - another angle of all I've been processing recently.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

This is why I work out at Curves...

 So I can go places like this... 

and do hikes like this...

with guys like this...


stop and take pictures like this... 

(and still be able to catch up again)

listen to conversations like this... 
It's going to be hard... do you think you can do it?
result in moments like this... 
We can DO IT!

and conversations like this... 

It's REALLY steep... I don't want you to be afraid, but to respect the mountain
 run ahead of the rest and take pictures like these.. 

see critters like this one...

savour moments like this...

Watch my sons learn perseverance under their daddy's gentle encouragement

And keep doing that until we look back at this picture and laugh at how young we all looked!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Our first canoe trip!

Ever since our purchase of a canoe back in March, Peter has been excitedly anticipating our first venture out. Finally, after a few false hopes, the day was here!

Lunch all packed, we headed out (a little later than we had planned), driving the 45min to Burnstick Lake. 

Along the way we stopped to give directions to a poor, confused man from BC, and while Josh was helping him, I got some amazing pictures of this Great Gray Owl! 

 He was so big, it was an incredible experience to get up close and get these pics...

The lovely part of canoeing in May was that no-one else was on the lake. Josh unloaded our sleek addition, and the boys excitedly tumbled out of the van. 

 I just had to get a pic of Markus in his cute little overalls. I LOVE overalls on little boys - bought these for Timothy when he was 4mon old!!

 And, we're in!! Timothy was a little stiff in his movements, and had a hard time bending over with the life jacket - which involved some tipping, as you see here. :-D
 Both were quite tickled to be paddling. Timothy eventually lost his paddle, and Peter quickly felt adapt enough at paddling to begin instructing Timothy...
 Both boys had their dragons to fight in order to enjoy the trip. Peter's was fear and worry of tipping, and Timothy's was sitting still. They both did an excellent job of conquering said dragons, and it was a most enjoyable 2 1/2 hrs!!
Nesting Terns

I got some amazing loon pictures - it was so fun to be out on the water with them!

Love the way the two ducks on the outside have their wings down, and the middle duck is straight!

At one point I heard squeals from Peter, and turned to see that Timothy had unwittingly captured him with his paddle!

Mmmm, food! We enjoyed amazing Gouda cheese made fresh by my Mom from their Jersey!

"Ummm, what is THIS green stuff doing in my sandwich? Gross!"

 The trip was a blast, and afterward we did a bit of backroading with our trusty Toyota... Peter had a few moments of "Daddy, are we going to tip over?", while Timothy zonked out within 30 sec of leaving the lake.
And this, ladies and gents, is why I need a knife!! Pussywillows! :-D
It was a wonderful day, and we look forward to many more such memories!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

God spins with joy?!

Did you know that God actually does happy dances because of His love for us? 

If you're anything like me, that sounds almost sacrilegious. I've always seen God's love for me as a more serious thing, a love based on the will, not emotions. 

During a special time of focused prayer/Bible study, I did a bit of a study on joy. My first surprise was just how much we are commanded to be joyful. My second, was that joy is actually a part of God's nature - which is why we are told to imitate it. My final surprise though, reduced me to tears. 

I read a passage that is very familiar to me, and that I've always loved, but this time I went a step further and dug into the meaning of the words a bit more. 

Zephaniah 3:17 - "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty. He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy. He will rest in His love, He will joy over you with singing." 

The first 'rejoice' means "to be bright, cheerful, make mirth". Honestly, I've never associated brightness, cheerfulness, or mirth with God, and it was amazing to think that not only is this part of His nature, but it's how He feels about ME!

The next 'joy' means "blithesomeness or glee. Mirth, pleasure, rejoicing". Glee?!

The part that made me cry though was the meaning of the next 'joy'. It means to "spin around under the influence of any violent emotion". 

Now, those of you who know me well know that I can completely relate to a type of joy that involves spinning and violent emotion. However, I've always seen this as a more negative part of who I am, the part of me that makes other more "serious, and thus more Godly" people (my perception) see me as a bit on the less mature side. 

I can't begin to explain what it meant to me to discover that this part of who I am is actually a reflection of the character of God! 
And, this is how He feels about us! He actually spins around because of the violent emotion he feels over us and sings! 

Doesn't that make you feel special? And humbled?

This is just a piece of the journey God has been taking me on over the past few months to show me how much He truly LOVES me, and I hope it fills your heart with as much joy and awe as it does mine! :-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moments in our week...

This week has overall gone much better than I expected, as my first week on my own. I admit, today has been a 'low' day in a number of ways. However, I've been telling myself that after two great days (albeit, containing a number of crazy moments), a not-so-great day is to be expected, and this one contains a few external factors as well (like a body that is NOT functioning the way it should considering how much Markus is nursing... :-P).

Here are a few glimpses of our week!

 Both boys were much more captivated than I expected by the simple exercise of practicing pouring. Peter worked with rice, and Timothy with pasta - kept both boys busy for quite some time!!

We finally made our snowman - as the snow was finally sticking together!! I think we pretty much used up the rest of our snow - it was replaced this morning, but melted again by this afternoon - crazy weather! 

 This activity we did today, one I was REALLY excited about, and one that worked out great! Peter matched each number with the correct amount of beans. I started out getting him to put them into groups of two, then realized that was information overload for the poor guy, so had him just put them in piles, then we worked on sorting by twos later.
 I anticipated Timothy wanting to imitate, so made him a sheet as well, although it turned out he was much more interested in grabbing Peter's beans than playing with his own. :-P

 So, we put it away and pulled it out again at quiet time when Peter could work uninterrupted.
 This adorable little munchkin is becoming so alert and responsive! I knelt down beside him to talk tonight, and he just beamed a great big smile - so sweet. :-D
This is how I've gotten a great deal done this week, and I love having him close but my hands free - really love the Moby Wrap!! 
Having a hard time believing it's only Wednesday... :-P