Saturday, November 19, 2016

Moments of Silence

What did your moment of silence say to you this year?

My workplace is a bustling charismatic place filled with communication and activity. I get there early in the morning, mostly before anyone, and it’s a little more peaceful. As people roll in, it starts to get going and then it doesn’t stop all day long. But this past week we had silence. Right in the middle of the busiest hours, the announcement went out to honour our fallen heroes with a moment of silence.

I can’t help think that silence is a special and valuable thing to many of us. To others, it’s the nightmare of reflection that demands a constantly denied response. Many of us spend our day running from the truth of the silence. Stopping to think, reflect, and be observant demands gratefulness and the honouring of those who provided the good things the silences remind us of.

Thank you to those who fought and those who lost so that I can enjoy the freedoms of our country.

Last Sunday our four oldest and some of their friends from our Bobcaygeon church travelled up the road to play for the service in Fenelon. I was the chauffer. So, we arrived about a half hour before the service and the kids practiced through their music and did a sound check. There were a good number of elderly folk in the sanctuary enjoying the practice. A lot of them stopped by to ask me who I was, and my systematic response was “I’m the girls’ dad.”
“Ohhhh, you’re the one..”
Hmmm.. Yup. I’m the one. Haha.
 After a few folks passed by me, and we neared the completion of the practice, one of the older men in front of me turned and just started talking to me. “You know… seeing those kids up there, having worked so hard to be involved like this.. well… You know we always say this and that about the young people today. But these kids give me some hope. There are some good kids around after all.”

What ever happened to respectfulness and gratefulness? Shouldn’t these folks who lost loved ones, and lived an honest life, and paid their taxes, and voted to keep us free, and helped provide us our lifestyle, meet with more honour than we in our generation greet them? Should it be so hard for them to find hope for when they’ve passed on?

Last Sunday our next-door neighbours were completing their move. The boys had helped them all week. Bob, our kind old man next door, (only to be replaced with another kind old man named Bob by the way.. lol) has taken to adopting our kids as his “grandkid neighbours”. Sunday when we got home from church we were a little surprised to see Jeddy doing math… voluntarily… in the afternoon… when it’s do-whatever-you-want time. Come to find out, the kid is getting his math done so he can help Bob finish moving during school time on Monday morning and see him off. I cried. I wish I had been that type of kid. A kid who honours the elderly, and shows love by his works. Before Bob left he told the new Bob, “You’re going to love these kids. They’re like my adopted grandkids. They’re the best-behaved kids I’ve ever seen…”
When I hear comments like that I can’t help but think how glad I am these kids turned out like me and not like their mother. I kid.. I kid..

We’ve been so blessed with great bonfire weather this year. We’ve been pretty much bug free for a couple months now, and yet the nice nights keep coming. It’s nice now because the sunset is early enough that we can have an after-dinner bonfire instead of staying up so late for it. A couple weeks back, I scheduled a bonfire on a Thursday night. I told everyone and they all thought I was joking. I was not. I love our fireside music practice and cuddle time by the fire. As I sit comfy in my cedar Muskoka chair on the porch in mid-November with my laptop and cup of tea, writing this, I am thinking tonight might be a good night for one too! Even though I love a good bonfire, the kids, having been busy all day and just finished their work for the day, have better things to do. Initially when I told everyone that Thursday on my way home that I was skipping dinner and heading straight to the fire pit, no one was really interested. I figured I would just enjoy the perfect evening and stars all by myself. I started up what was, in my opinion, the best built fire of the year, and nestled into my chair, feet up on the edge of the pit, looking up into the sky as the constellations slowly began to reveal themselves one star at a time… It was dark quickly, and though I could see the house I couldn’t see anything between me and the house. I heard the door, and someone heading down. It was my Hunny.J She was carrying a cup of coffee for me, and coming to join me. Then I heard the door again, and again, and slowly everyone came down the hill carrying their chair and some instruments too. I knew none of them wanted to be out there. But they did it for me. They were unselfish with their time for me.

Today, there is a dearth of honour and respect. There is a plague of laziness and selfishness. I say today, but really, it’s nothing new. It’s a symptom of ease. It’s a diseased fruit of our natural course. The culture today is one towards self-respect, and self-honouring, rather than honour and respect for the honourable.

Years ago, when I was working on the nightshift, I would often enjoy my lunch break outside watching the sunset while I read my Bible and had some time to reflect. One gentleman I worked with would often join me. We didn’t agree a lot of the time, but we enjoyed many gentle conversations about everything from Creation, to child-rearing, to the end of the world. He had a religious mind set, and really, we had the ideal respectful discussions, though we almost always disagreed. There was a mutual respect and honouring of each other that allowed us to be kind, and present our thoughts, and then gently disagree.

I started chatting with a man from another part of the world in an online game I used to play. We had a lot in common personally, including our conservative lifestyle at home, our homeschooling, and our large families. However, he is a knowledgeable and faithful Muslim and I am a Biblical Christian. In that very understanding, as we began to discuss our differing and agreeing opinions on matters of our faiths, we decided to be respectful and honour each other’s opinions. We spent many hours discussing important and valuable details with respect. He is more than a victorious argument to me. I respect him. I care for him. I pray for him. I wonder if we who claim to be people of faith were so kind in our discussion of all things, say, politics for instance, if we wouldn’t find a more peaceful forum for convincing others of our opinions. Maybe we would understand each other more if we were less about winning and more about love for our neighbours.

What did you think about in your moment of silence? What was it you were honouring? Who were you giving respect to? Or was that just an annoying archaic practice that wasted a minute of your year?

Take a few moments of silence today, to stop and think, to reflect, and to honour those who hope for the future in you.

“The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” – Proverbs 15:33

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Kiss Her Today Like It's Your Last Kiss

Some time ago, when I moved from the night shift to a normal office hour schedule, my wife and I started something that I hope never ends. Each morning as I leave, no matter how late I may be, she's getting a big wet kiss on the cheek. 

I hope she gets to wake up to that in the morning. She should wake up to my love. Sure sometime she wakes up to "I can't find my wallet" etc etc, or me dropping half our stuff in the bathroom fumbling around half dead at 5:30am. But I always hope she stays asleep just long enough so when I go to leave she wakes up to my kiss goodbye and me telling her I love her.

Last year, in the dead of winter, it was a risky driving morning. Thankfully I can usually get out on to the road and get going without a problem. But this was a glistening icy-coated morning. I went to rush out the door and get moving so I could get to work as less-late as possible. As I got about halfway down the stairs I remembered that I hadn't kissed her goodbye. And it occurred to me, what if my drive didn't go well and I were to have an accident? What if I never got the chance to kiss her goodbye again? I slowly walked up the stairs and leaned across the bed to give her a long sweet kiss. She smiled and I went on with the day.

"Tomorrow" is something we take so for granted. For those of us that believe in eternal life in Christ and expect to live forever with God, I think we even more so may be taking tomorrow for granted, since it is - granted. But tomorrow here on earth is something hoped for but not guaranteed.

"Next time" is something we often expect will happen. We are such frail and temporary creatures, and yet we live like we control destiny, chance, and circumstances. We don't. We have today. 

When the triplets were born they were so small. They were just in and around four pounds each. Thankfully, they were very above average in health, really problem-free. Thank God for answering ours and many other folks' prayers during the circumstances of life we experienced in those days. 

One thing the triplets did need was drops of vitamins every day - I think it was twice a day. If I remember correctly it was something to do with strengthening their lungs - which let me say - that stuff really worked. Especially for Eve. Wow. Definitely no long term problem for these girls with lung strength! 

Just a couple days after they were home we gave Prayer her vitamins from the little tiny eye-dropper thingy, and they went down the "wrong tube". She choked them up and coughed and coughed and gagged. I thought we had just drowned the kid. Then she just didn't breathe. Not freaking out or choking anymore, just seemed like she was sleeping and very lazy breathing. Very similar to how they were after they were born and the nurses would rub them to make them cry and breathe to dry out their lungs. Every once in a while she would take a gasp as she lay on her belly and slept. Then a few seconds. Then another breath. Scary for me. So scary, I couldn't sleep. That whole night I lay awake and I was Prayer's bed, as she slept, breathing awkwardly on my chest with her little fuzzy head just under my chin. I kissed her head and thought, "What if this is the last night I hold this baby?" 

I guess you know she turned out okay, other than the suspected brain damage thing. 

(Please excuse the nudity but this is a picture of that next morning)

Probably I was overreacting a little. I do that once in a while when it comes to potential dangers, germs, boys looking at my daughters, my daughters looking at boys, multiple instruments and conversations happening in the same room at high volume at the same time, slow drivers, and, of course, insects in my face. For more information on these and other of my flaws, please feel free to ask my teenage daughters. Expect eyes to roll before each corresponding response to the above list. 

I was at work a few weeks ago and one of my favourite workmates reminded me that he and his partner were expecting their first child in less than a month. I may be completely useless at most things, but when it comes to preparing to have babies, I've got a few pointers to pass along. Later that day, I heard him speaking about this conference, and that meeting, and a really busy work schedule for the coming month. I took him aside and I was very direct with him just one-on-one as I said, "Let me clock out for a minute and speak to you as a friend. I am very blessed to have had 9 children, and I hope you are blessed to have as many as you may decide. However, if circumstances dictate that this is your only child you ever have and you miss the first few weeks of your child's life for the slight difference it may mean at a company, you will hate yourself. That would be a tough decision when you realize how unimaginably fast each of those first and most delicate stages pass. If I were you, and when I was, I did put family ahead of work. There is always more work." 

We look at life as though all that we planned and prepared to do will happen, and nothing we expect to avoid would ever happen. But the truth of life is that you have absolutely no idea what may happen, so be who you should be, with who you should be, today. 

Tonight, my wife and I will slip out before our church event and we will go alone for dinner and have some time to chat and focus on each other. We've always done that, at least once a month; a lot- a lot of dates, making memories together, in case they are someday soon only memories. 

You don't know if you'll have tomorrow. So kiss her today like it's your last kiss. And kiss her like that for the rest of your life.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Love is Not Romance

Love is the action of fulfilling a commitment to benefit someone else unselfishly because of the commitment. 

Love is not a feeling. 

Love causes feelings. Love leads to feelings. But love is the expression of a commitment. 

As I write this, I have been married to the love of my life for almost 17 years. I love her. I am attracted to her. I am addicted to her. I am magnetized to her. She is who I want to spend my time with. Jaclyn is my favourite person on earth. I would like to think we are a little romantic too. I am so glad I chose to commit to loving Jaclyn for life.

When we were young... younger... and our relationship was an exciting friendship, I was so secretly (or not-so-secretly) entranced by her. I couldn't spend enough time with her. I just loved to look at my picture of her. I thought about her all the time! Everything I planned was a plan to be fulfilled with Jaclyn. It was so exciting. I was (still am btw) crazy about her. 

Our relationship grew into that type of cute movie-like romantic relationship that makes young girls say "awwwww" and watch for a Prince Charming to have the same. I wouldn't change or rewrite anything. I eventually married my high school sweetheart. 

Somebody (an idiot) told me when I got married - "well, it only gets worse from here." I can't actually express with "G" rated family blog tone and vocabulary how incredibly infuriated that comment made me. 

Realistically, most people probably think that or something like that comparing their current relationship to the excited romance that led to their marriage. A lot of people don't want to get married, thinking that the commitment will remove the excitement of the romance. 

Some fools seek the romance outside of their commitment, risking all to have with someone else what they could have already if they returned to an understanding of true love.

Love is not a feeling. If you think you feel love, you're wrong. And if you think you "just don't feel like you love" anymore you are wrong. You probably never committed your love. Or if you did, you didn't understand the commitment. In fact, if you have stopped to think that you're not "happy" with how you're relationship has gone and you're not feeling loved, you're completely in love with yourself, and what you want, and not giving your love unselfishly. You can fix the lack of feeling by giving love unselfishly like you used to, and you'll find the relationship revival you're looking for. :) 

You choose to love, and your giving brings the fulfilling joy of a loving relationship.

Many in this world today have no grasp of love because we are so trained to live for ourselves. 

A lot of people think the closeness of a romantic encounter is love. It's not. That person who shares a time of closeness with you doesn't love you. Love isn't temporary - it's permanent. 

Some think that love is when you get that desirous feeling, a yearning, deep in your stomach when you think about someone. You just "feel like you're in love". But that's not love, it's a desirous yearning. 

Finding something "lovely" to look at isn't love. Though my wife is incredibly attractive, and I am so attracted to her, that doesn't mean I love her. That means I'm attracted to her. 

Love goes beyond attraction, desire, and closeness. Love is unselfish action by giving of yourself forever to another no matter the response from them.

Love is expressed through giving and enjoyed by the enjoyment of the other experiencing the goodness given by your love. Love given selfishly isn't love, it's manipulation. 

When you trust and enjoy being with a person, and you decide to commit to give your love to that person it's not something accidental, or temporary. 

So many relationships are struggling today because of this misunderstanding of what love is.

What if my love for Jaclyn was based on desire? It would fade. It would come and go.

What if my love for Jaclyn was based on closeness? Would I never be close to another? Would we always be close? And would that mean we don't love when we are not close? 

What if she were to become ill or hurt and she was in a coma or lost her beauty physically, or her stability of mind? Shouldn't love overcome the removal of a relationship or its benefits? 

I desire the one I love. I am close to her. I am attracted to the one I love. But I love her if not. Love is not based on what I get from the relationship. Love is a commitment, a choice, and that choice lasts as long as the person it's given to.

Be careful who you love, or don't. But understand that when you put yourself on that sacrificial altar to give yourself away for them, that is a commitment meant for forever. 

Decide to love, give to feel it, and forgive to keep it.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Doe a Deer...

Well, now that I'm done my hot dog, and I've scrubbed my face till it's as clean as soap, and as smooth as coconut oil can make it... I'm ready to blog.

Today was great! I slept in!!! We had ZERO plans, on account of plans being cancelled... So I thought I'd be painting the room we are renovating in the basement today. Turned out Eve was going to do that while I did something 10x better...

Earlier this week Mom said that she wanted to do some "deer" makeup on one of us kids. Of course I volunteered! I hadn't seen the tutorial she was following until this morning, so I had no idea how good it really looked! I mean, when someone says they made themselves look like a deer, what does it make you think? So until I had seen the tutorial I was still kinda "mmf" about it. And then I saw the real thing...The tutorial was so mind-changing!! It was GORGEOUS!! And might I say, Mom did a great imitation! So, I came into the living-room at around 2:00, and Mom had started Lily's face already. Lily's shirt was in the dryer, and I was all excited for our pictures together! (Turns out we only took like, ten of both of us together, because Lily was too cold to keep her mouth closed)

(This was one of the best ones) 😂

So, anyway! When I entered the living room Lily was whimpering and Mom was almost done her masterpiece. Lily was not happy with all the sitting still for so long, but it was totally worth it! Then, when Mom was done, she sent Lily off and warned her not to mess up her face. Please! Then it was my turn. My turn was honestly faster. Way faster. It was because Mom had done all of it already so she totally knew what she was doing. When I was done Mom did Lily's hair, and then mine. We got dressed, and Mom touched up our makeup. And off we went into the nice warm car to get to the gorgeous road Mom and Dad drove on this week! 
And then it was picture time...

After I saw this one, I said I looked like some evil queen...

Mom told me that I stuck my head out of the twigs just like a deer, all curious and cautious at the same time. Yes! I think it might've helped that I was imagining I was a deer. 

Most of these were in different locations all on the same road, so the couple of seconds in between driving was all the warmth I got. And let me tell you IT WAS COLD!!!! But the sour keys were worth it...😜 
I hope you all enjoy reading about our little adventure! I'm going looking on Pinterest for another one soon! 

This was super fun, and I can't wait to do it again! 
Mom asked me if I could "smize", and so when I tried, I smiled a little... So I guess I can't "smize"...

I'll blog again soon, guys!!! 🤗
Until next time,

Sunday, August 21, 2016


The cool humid breeze flows through the room as I sip my steaming coffee. Mmmm - Starbucks was on sale this week. I get the good stuff for a while. :) 

To my right, peaking through each of the two windows are a whining cat and a big black dog, begging without begging to come out and pace around the sunroom. Ain't happening. Especially when I woke up a short while ago to barking and meows. I'm still bitter. I'll just look to my left and take another sip of coffee. Mmmm.

It's still quite early. It's still quite quiet. I hear the breeze. I hear the coffee pot through the wall, finishing it's brew. I hear a hummingbird (or "hunny-birdie" as Addy calls them). In the distance I hear no traffic. A few crickets and crows do their morning chatter. Mmmm another sip, and, another breeze. 

There is always a lot to be thankful for. Probably dozens of things every minute if we let ourselves take the credit from ourselves and give it to the One who gave the blessings. 

As I hear the patter of some random rain bounce off the roof and porch, I also hear some water running in the house. I am not alone. Slowly the noise intensifies until I'm sure of it, and a little toddler face is now peaking out through the window smiling at me. One more breeze passes as though it's rushing to rush through before the peace and quiet becomes the morning busy noise. It's ok. It's time. Quickly chug down that coffee and unrecline the chair to prepare for morning cuddles. 

"Look Addy, a hummingbird." 

"A hunny-birdie?!?! Where is it? Oh there it is! Oh! It plied way." 

(I didn't say it but - really - of course it flew away when you come out and thump through the room after slamming the door closed. :)

"Don't worry. He'll be back soon." 

Lily soon follows and rubbing her eyes comes stumbling out. All of the sudden she looks up and says to me, "cuddles?!" 

Um YES! "Of course!" I squish to the side to make room, and the walking hair with feet climbs in and snuggles up to my left side, peaking out the window while she leans in. If it's not the best five minutes of my dad day it's definitely one of the best five minutes. She knows how to cuddle. Jac looks up at me with a fulfilled thankful half smile watching us snuggle. 

Addy on the other hand knows how clip clothes pins on to people while they cuddle. 

"Can I hab Apple juuuuice?" Addy asks. 

Realizing she's hasn't had her morning juicy fix yet, and that we only have second to spare before she has a morning juice curable meltdown, I swing into action mode. 

"Lily, run upstairs and wake up your sisters. I need one." 

By action I mean making other people do action. It's the perfect calling for an over-rested lazy bones snoring at this late hour of the morning. 

Prayer comes down a few minutes later, rubbing her eye, hair still stuck to her face from sleeping. She'll do. 

"Prayer can you get Addy some juice please?" (While I sit here and watch since you don't pay rent yet)  

"But can I just..?" 

"Nope. Get her some juice first." 

"But the dog..."

"Nope. Get her some juice first." I say. 

"But I didn't eat any..." 

"Nope. Get her some juice first." 

Apparently Prayer doesn't realize the gravity of the situation. The child has been awake 20 minutes and hasn't had juice yet. We only have seconds to spare. People's peace and quiet are in jeopardy here. 

A stern look, and a parental silence, and she gets it. On she goes to prepare the miraculous cure for toddler grumping. 

Addy follows Prayer. Lily follows Addy. Mom goes back in in search of her morning tea. 

I just sit here and watch it all happen. All these little lives loving and living for and with each other. And I am so blessed to be in the middle of it all as it happens.

Do you ever stop and think?

I know for a long time I didn't. I used to. And I do now, well, usually.

But in times of my own self-imposed hardness, I stopped paying attention to what was happening around me. I stopped feeling life. I went through the motions. I laughed at funny things, said kind words sometimes, did nice things for people, loved those I'm supposed to love, and enjoyed what good times happened to me. Yet I never really let myself fully feel life, because I was discouraged.

Things happen. Tough things happen. Stupid people happen. People break trust. People take advantage. People lie and sometimes just accidentally don't care and show it. People leave sometimes. People suck sometimes. It's true. But people being people is no excuse for me, or for you, to stop enjoying the joy life pours out all around us each moment of each day.

Feel life. Don't just pass through it. Don't just breath the air, but also enjoy the breeze. Don't just weed the garden, enjoy it. Look at the beauty of the blessing you DO have, not what you did or don't. Feel life where and when you are. 

A wise man once said to me, "Feel life. Pay attention to what's happening around you." 

Personally, when I was bitter and hurt, I didn't want to feel. Feeling the breeze meant facing my pain within. I would rather just ignore the pain caused by the idiots around me. Feeling what was happening around me meant feeling how people meant to hurt me. 

But if I don't face that part of life I don't enjoy, I cannot enjoy the rest in the rest. 

As the cool humid breeze flows through the now once again quiet room, I can't help but be thankful for the noise and the cuddles and even the very very good coffee. 

I think I'll go sing some thankful praises to the Lord for them. It is Sunday morning after all. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

There's Always Something to Be Thankful For (On Monday... or Tuesday...)

(I started this blog post on Monday night but am finishing it while I cook dinner on Tuesday)

Laying here in my bed on Monday night and I honestly don't even know where to begin. I'm also texting with my sister at the same time, so I guess I'll start there...

I am so thankful that I have a sister. Someone who remembers my memories better than I do. The first person I call (after Scott of course!) with news. Maybe before Scott depending on what the news is... And one of the handful of people who has always been there for me and I know I can always depend on. Love her to death.
(an oldie but a goodie!)

I'm thankful that Lily has been such an easy student to teach kindergarten to. Three hours ago I told the kids that I was done parenting, "Play quietly or go to bed." My brain hurt. Keona was at work and I had to do all of the Algebra lessons and corrections with the grade 9's. Not my forte... but we survived and solved all of the equations after several hours. Then onto the final summary before a biology exam. It was a long school day. But Lily has been a breeze. This has been one of the busiest years of homeschooling, which is why I was nervous about starting kindergarten with a 4 year old... She has been practicing reading her words with blends (last, next, etc.) for a few weeks now and just started spelling them by herself this week. I gave her a quick test where I would call out words for her to spell and she would try to spell them by herself before I would show her any corrections. I figured she might have a hard time with the newer words- nope! She finished and proclaimed, "This was an easy paper! Those were easy words!" To which I am incredibly thankful because kindergarten has been my least favourite to teach in the past- but she is making it almost enjoyable.
She's all business when it comes to her timed reading drills. The first kid I've had ask to try again when she doesn't think she did it fast enough!

I'm thankful for this guy...

And I'm thankful for surprise gifts that he brings me home. 
(He saw these frames and thought of me)

A long time ago, I told him not to buy me flowers anymore. I figure they're a waste of money because they just die. So he started buying me plants. Unfortunately, I kill those too. So it's been a while since he bought me anything that I have to keep alive. Well a few weeks ago he brought me home a mini rose bush. Two days later it was already wilting and all of the blooms had died, (As suspected!) I was determined to keep it alive so I transplanted it to a bigger pot, put it in full sun, and have remembered to water it consistently (so far), and I have new blooms! Hooray! I'm just trying to keep it alive long enough to get it in to the garden. They always seem to do well there.

On our 16th anniversary this month, I stopped at the grocery store with the 5 youngest and bought his favourite snacks for out at-home anniversary date. Little did I know that he was going to stop at the store on his way home from work and buy all of my favourite snacks. Neither of us knew what the other had done until that evening.

You know what they say, "Great minds think alike!"
Or like my grandpa would say when my grandma quoted that...
"Yeah, and two fools never differ!"

We're trying our hand at gardening this year. So far we've got 100+ baby plants. The cauliflower didn't make it...

I'm also thankful for MY slippers. They have kept MY feet warm all winter. I have worn them everyday and just recently retired them to my closet because the weather has warmed up a bit. Well last night Keona came waltzing downstairs in MY slippers. I asked what she was doing wearing them and she had the nerve to proclaim that they were given to her as a gift last Christmas. She claims that I stole them and she was just taking back what was rightfully hers. I told her to take them off. She once again argued that they were hers because her aunt bought them for her. I told her to take them off and informed her that there is an unwritten rule that if something is borrowed and then used by said person for months at a time, without being asked for it to be returned, it becomes theirs by default. "Just ask Aunty Sarah... " I said. She huffed and took them off. 
I win! :) 
So yes- I'm thankful for MY slippers. 

Lastly, I'm thankful for spring. Even if we did just have an ice storm and I did just spend 30 minutes scraping off my van a few days ago. I love the promise of spring. The kids went out to play after school today and came back in to tell me that we have a "pond" in the backyard. I was thinking they found a muddy puddle to jump in...

Nope... we've got a mini pond. You can't tell in this picture but it's 20x20 and up to their knees in some spots. 

And nature... Jeddy is like me. He can't just "look" he has to touch everything! 

He found a way to trap birds (without hurting them!) and pet them before setting them free.

Now that student convention is over, March break is done, a wedding that I was photographing and Scott was a best man in is passed... I have no more excuses for not blogging. Hope everyone's having a great week.
Just cause she's cute...

Find something to be thankful for!

Monday, February 29, 2016

There's Always Something to Be Thankful For (On Monday)

I have that phrase framed in our homeschool room. "There's always something to be thankful for." 

It's a good reminder for the kids. When they're grumpy and don't want to do school or practice music... It's a good reminder for me when I don't feel like sitting there and marking work any more. It's a good place for that quote. But seriously... Even on my worst days- I've always had something (usually lots of somethings) to be thankful for. So I decided to start posting a few things that I'm thankful for every week. And I decided to do it on Monday since Mondya is my least favourite day of the week and usually when I need the reminder most. :)

So this Monday I'm thankful for helping hands. Because seriously, what did I do when I got sick with 5 toddlers at home? Besides call my sister... 😂 I love everything about having the girls help me in the kitchen. We have so many fun memories. Everything from turning muffins into a substance that resembled coal, to making up songs and ridiculous dances while baking late into the night.... They're the best.

Also, I'm thankful for home. We started out as a family in a little, dark, dingy basement apartment. But it was our first home and we loved it. 

When we had the triplets we lived in a two bedroom apartment with a huge 9th story balcony. While we didn't appreciate the broken elevators or the walk up nine flights of stairs with three car seats and a toddler.... We loved that balcony. That apartment felt like home and it was a bright and fabulous upgrade from a basement. 

When the triplets were a few months old, we had the opportunity to buy our first house. It was a small town home with turquoise and orange carpets, and three layers of wallpaper on some walls... But it was ours! We could choose flooring and paint colours. We could walk out the front door to play on a lawn with the kids and we were so thankful! We lived in that house for another 9 years and four kids. Even when 1,100 sq. ft. became really tight for our growing family- it was home. Then we were blessed to move into our last home.  We had four large bedrooms, three bathrooms (not one!), a garage, a fenced in yard! It was amazing. We felt so overwhelmingly grateful. 

And now, four years later, we are in another home. One that I can see us having our grandkids come stay at. One that will be perfect for family gatherings when our kids all have vehicles and kids of their own. God has always provided. We have never had any reason to complain. And so today, I'm remembering to be thankful for "home". Mostly the people who make it a home... But the actual house too. 

And just because it gave me a good laugh... I was reading with Lily in school the other day and she looked up at me and asked, 
"Who taught you school, Mom? Was dad your teacher?" 
That girl is funny one. 

Happy Monday! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wise Words From an Old Farmer

Some days I have a hard time focusing on school. This is the view out the window right beside my chair. 

I've been thinking a lot about the homeschooling post. I realized that we've been homeschooling for 11 years... Eleven. Next year, my daughter will graduate from high school. What?!

Anyhow, I definitely don't feel like a pro at the whole homeschooling thing. I look back every year and wonder what in the world I was thinking the year before. But I do know where I stand with my view points on it now. I do know what I believe about it and how to best serve my children with it. So I want to do the post justice. I want it to be able to encourage moms starting out, strengthen moms going through it, and maybe just shine a little light on what it is that we actually do everyday. I am working on it. I've started the first post and I honestly think it will be several more before I'm done. 
Taking pictures of the birds...

And here's the view out of one of the other home school room windows...

We had quite the snow/rain/sleet/ice storm last night. This morning everything is encased in ice. It's beautiful. Our power went out for several hours last night and we sat around colouring, playing instruments, eating cereal for dinner, and just enjoying eachother's company without any electronics. It was really nice. Scott suggested that we do it once a week. I'm all for it.

That's also why I failed at my Wordless Wednesday yesterday. I had a photo all planned out, but then I had no light and no power, and no internet on my laptop... So instead of the breathtaking shot I had planned... here's what you get.

We have way too much fun with the snapchat filters around here!

So I finished "Girl on the Train". I was disappointed. I didn't figure it out before the end and I can't really pinpoint why other than the fact that the book felt like it had no hope. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may read it- but I like a clear cut good guy/bad guy story. I like for there to be a defined line. This book definitely didn't have that. I don't think there was any "good" at all. Just my opinion... but I wouldn't be recommending it. 

I'm on to the book that Keona is recommending for me by one of her favourite authors- James Dashner. I'm not big on sci-fi but I figure I can probably get through one book. Even if I don't read the two sequels.

I've exercised three times this week so far and I'm feeling great. I always feel like I have more energy when I force myself to get up and moving. I added weights to my routine and I'm definitely feeling the change in a bad good way. I have never been a dieter. I don't think I've ever gone on a diet in my life. I tried a fruit/veggie cleanse once and didn't even make it a full day! 
This girly likes to workout with me and then show off her muscles. ;)

I'm not exercising to lose weight per se... Actually, I don't even weigh myself. However, I do have an outfit or two that are still a little bit snug and I'd like to fit into all of my clothing. :) I could get discouraged about that but then I think about all that my body has been through- and I can't complain! 

It has served me well through 9 pregnancies, 7 c-sections, a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy. It has nursed babies for over 100 months and counting. It's pretty amazing. I saw a quote the other day that went something like, "For every woman complaining about her stretch marks, there is another woman who would give anything to have them." That goes for an extra inch or pound too. 

Though I'd still like to be able to wear all of my clothes! 

Cause she's not a baby anymore. She's a walking & talking toddler. And I was looking through old photos...

Though I did have this lightbulb moment...  I sat in bed this morning and Scott handed me a muffin before he left for work. Two minutes later Lily came running in and hopped up in bed beside me. She looked at me and smiled. I broke my muffin in half and handed her a piece. Then I realized, that's probably the answer! Just say, "Yes" every time a kid asks me for some of my food! They ask without fail, anytime I'm eating anything. 
I would instantly cut my calories in half. 
I may just go with that. 
Or I'll just continue to keep the good stuff in my purse and eat it when I'm driving somewhere without them. 
One or the other. 
Also the result of looking through old photos... Courtesy of Eve. 

The other day Lily leaned into the homeschool room while I was checking work and said, 
"Can I have some of this yogurt with lunch?"

I said, "Um.. no. That's mine for the week."

She says, "Ok! I'm still thankful I have food! Bye!" As she ran back into the kitchen.

She may have gotten a few thankful lectures recently. 

Lastly, I ran out the other day when our driveway was a skating rink to grab some salt. I picked up the bag and went into the store to pay. There was a very old man in line in front of me. He turned around to look at me and insisted that I go ahead of him. I thanked him and set my bag down on the counter. After I paid he offered to carry it out to my car for me. He was incredibly sweet but I'm pretty sure he would have fallen over if he tried to pick up the bag. I told him I'd be ok and then he told me I had to let him get the door. So I waited as he (slowly) walked ahead of me and opened the first door... and then the second one. 

I thanked him and then he said, 

"My grandpa always said there's no such thing as bad weather - just improperly dressed people! And if the only thing you have to complain about is the weather- you should thank the good Lord!"
I smiled and agreed. 

Thanking the Lord for the beautiful weather we have up here today, dressing properly for the newspaper route today, and leaving you with that bit of advice from an old farmer in Home Hardware. 


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