Archive for September, 2011

Autumn Walks and Bearded Dragons

(Yes this is a picture from last fall… with no camera I have to try to enjoy my favourite season without picture taking and so I have been looking through last years collection.)

Baby Boy, Riddick and I walked the big kids to the bus. As the bus pulled up my littlest guy yelled ‘LOOK a clue!’… he had been watching “Blue’s Clues” just this morning so I suppose he was still hunting down clues. It was so lovely that we walked slowly home kicking at leaves and talking about the wind… Baby Boy doesn’t like the wind… “Iz nice out Mama. Iz windy dow.”

We had to kick around at home for a while before going for our walk. We had decided to go to ‘Tumble Weed’, a thrift store just down our street, but it wouldn’t be open till ten and we where home by 8:30. When we did head out Riddick had to stay home so we could shop. My boy lead the way and so we took it very very very slow. I was such a well behaved Mama today and even pointed out possible distractions for him. “Look honey a big bunch of leaves! Throw them at me!”
Some how we still arrived at Sherbrook half an hour before the store was going to open!

Thank goodness for Bonny and Clyde! They are the residents bearded dragons and are still little and very social. They where watching my little man just as much as he was watching them. The lady who takes care of them noticed how nice Baby Boy was being and so showed him how she gives them a bath. “It is more of a shower,” she explained as she sprayed them down with a little spritzer bottle. They obviously thought it was cold as she blinked at her and tried to get away from the spray. She then set out their morning salad and we enjoyed watching their sticky tongues pop out and snatch food. She then got them to jump for us, a cute trick of theirs and petted them and carried them cradled in her hand. You could tell they just loved her, for as soon as her hand was in the pen they ran and climbed up her, even rubbing at her wrist almost like a cat or dog would. One of the few lizards awake during the day and even friendly when wild I could see why they where a popular pet. We decided we will have to come visit them again.

We did a little shopping and my little man found a noisy 50 cent truck while I was tickled over the two pretty tea cups I got (only a buck each). As we left Baby Boy thanked the volunteer at the store and said good bye to everyone we passed. He is a very friendly guy to all the residents there and we will have to pop in more often.

Walking home was just as slow but also just as lovely. Crisp fall air, beautiful colors and me and my boy holding hands meant I was in no hurry to get home. By the way we where home before eleven and so still have so much more loveliness, in this day, yet to come.


Catch The Fish Before You Clean It

My Dad is a fisherman… a seriously devoted FISHERMAN! One of my favourite phrase of his was a fisherman’s word of wisdom, “Jesus catches his fish before he cleans them,”.

I always gleaned two main points out of this. First, Christians have no place in judging and demanding people change their ways when they aren’t Christ followers. If and when Christ calls us and blesses our heart with his presence he will do the changing. Even he didn’t come to judge but to heal.

Second, there is a very good reason why he doesn’t clean us before or right away after salvation is restored to us, and that is relationship. If we changed before, we would miss out on gaining understanding about who our saviour really is… AND what would we learn about ourselves, about our saviour, if we had perfection handed to us on a platter immediately after our conversion? We are healed and freed from our sins in a process of relationship with Christ. We struggle in this life, but NEVER alone and NEVER in our own strength. Christ does the catching and the cleaning; we just need to be in love with him and ready and obedient to the process he takes us on.

Watching Dad clean fish was a messy messy process… so too can life in Christ be. It isn’t suddenly more sleek then our walk before we met our Lord and we need to be honest about all this. The perception we put out there about needing to be perfect to be part of our club has always and will always be unhelpful to others and our selves; besides being an all out lie.

Like any metaphor used to help explain Christ and his way, this bit of fisherman’s wisdom is only a partial aid to a complicated and infinitely awesome God.

The first time I saw the picture, seen at the top of this post, my dad’s phrase flowed to my mind in a gush and I am thankful for his hearty and sound advice into my life over the years. My God fearing Dad was, and is, a huge blessing in my life!

P.s. May we all gain from this discussion another piece of understanding; that we are focusing too much on what we see when we judge others and try to force change on them before they meet Christ personally. May we remember that Jesus is concerned with OUR HEARTS!


The Children Topic (Marriage Monday)

I knew I wanted a baby. He knew he wanted a big family… and of course that starts with babies. We were both young. We didn’t live as a married couple for more then a year before we had our first child and so we grew up raising kids, in a way. I was ready…him… perhaps not so much.

The first think I noticed about children is they push you, to be more patient, to be more selfless, to sacrifice. They also push at moms and dads. It is easy to loose touch with your spouse once there is a new member of the family to get to know and to make welcome.

Marriages can be strained by the arrival of children but I think a sure fire way to avoid that is to be one anothers best friend. Garnet and I started out as friends and have remained best friends as well as lovers. Parenting made that more tricky and at first as he continued to do his young man thing we drifted apart as I did my young mom thing. The best thing we ever did for our marriage, during that time of life, was to start integrating him into every little thing in babies world.

By baby number three he got it, that there was plenty of things he could do with the baby too and the attachment becomes stronger faster for him the more he is involved. I also got it, to let him help and not be too controlling about how I wanted things done. He had to brave a world more familiar to moms perhaps and I had to share our babies.

Not only did this increase the quality of his relationship with our kids, girls and boys alike, but it brought back that best friend relationship between he and I. I wasn’t doing it all and he wasn’t feeling put on the shelf. We were working together, trouble shooting as a team. Conversation between us and time together was far more frequent as he became more a part of my busy baby filled world.

The marriage relationship should never be put on the back burner, even for the kids, because it will hurt them long term too if mom and dads relationship suffer. We found it can be tricky to find time and energy for one another OFTEN ENOUGH if you divide the mom and dad work strictly and traditionally. New mom and dads need to find their parent groove together. Don’t be too worried about how you always thought it should be and instead worry about being in one anothers day to day world. You are going to need one another!

First Monday of every month at Chrysalis


Honest Family Meetings

Honestly just be honest:)

(The family meeting assembly, even the dog is welcome to attend.)

We started having family meetings a few years back. It was instated as family habit when we realised the kids where old enough to get it, and we where all needing to talk about more as our needs became different and more complicated. Often they are called when we feel like the kids aren’t getting enough time to share with us… more often they are called when communication and cooperation have broken down between us and the kids and so we need to remind everyone of the rules and lay down some punishments when needed.

The meetings are always based around one statement that has been essential to running this crew and that is ‘we are a big family and MUST work together and help out so that everything runs smoothly and for the betterment of all.’ At the meetings everyone gets time to share concerns and just stuff… even our two year old… who usually just talks about Lightning McQueen or the adventures of some other favourite character. Everyone is allowed to say exactly what they feel before things are resolved and dealt with. We all practice sharing and also listening in this way.

Last meeting I shared that I don’t like birthday parties. To my surprise all the kids replied was ‘we knew that already mom’. I explained how I just wish we could come up with something that still makes them feel special but doesn’t involve so much expense, stress and creativity… I am not a creative birthday party mommy. The idea of a sleep over with one friend after a day of playing and a cake and present time came up and all the kids loved it.

Well that was easier then I thought it would be…

In a matter of minutes something I had been wrestling with for some time had been resolved. The kids then wanted to direct the meeting toward school stories they had to share. That was it! The conflict I had felt, the stress, the worry about letting my kids down was all washed away and I realised they where fine with the truth and so should I. Don’t have to be like all the party planning mama’s out there, who are gifted in that area. I am different; my kids know it and like that about me.

Why am I feeling like writing this today? Well I just survived my last planned and themed birthday bash, relying heavily on my husband to help me through it, and I am super happy it is the last. Keeping it simple from here on in:)

Feeling thankful for our family meetings, for open communication with my kids and for being different and having kids who don’t mind that at all.



Hours… I have been rocking for hours. The night is old, the house is still, with the exception of my whole body moving the rocker back and forth back and forth. All would be silent if I was not still humming a lullaby softly, almost mechanically, to my baby girl.

She is my first baby… I am a first time mommy… but the transition from woman to mother was instantaneous. The learning curve steep, the hours long… the stress unlike anything else I have faced… I am bone tired, my brain is on autopilot most of the time and I am often weepy BUT I am a fighter. I am devoted. I am with out a choice and yet I still choose to be her long suffering mommy.

There is a fire in my chest that was lit the moment we began our relationship and each subsequent sibling would add to that fire. It is a unquenchable passion for my children that is beyond the physical. It doesn’t require me to be loud and proud or to express enthusiasm physically… it is deep and constant and certain.

For the first time ever I listened to a message on passion in the Lord that didn’t involve PROVE IT techniques . It wasn’t driving us to be loud personalities or vibrant movers and shakers. The speaker compared passion in the Lord to that calm solid passion I just spoke of… a mother for her new baby… I was completely able to identify and it made me think long, feel deep down, about what kind of bonfire is in my heart for my Lord… how unquenchable and consistent, even more then that, constant is it…

Some of the most passionate Christian brothers and sisters that I have know in my life weren’t necessarily loud and proud, but they had a solid heart ablaze and that warmth flowed from them as they moved full of peace, grace and dedicated devotion to love… to love their Lord, love their brothers and sisters and even love their enemies. They have spoken much into my life with their passion for Jesus.

I am thankful for encouragement to fan the flame of passion in my life… to dig deep and find it still there, burning in my heart for Jesus.


Menu Trends

I am back at it, the menu planning that is. With the end of summer I am no longer slacking off so much. Time to roll up my sleeves and make the supper hour go smoother with pre-planning. It is just so nuts around here once the kids are home from school!

Week One MENU Draft One
Walleye Chowder
Cheeseburger Stew
Black Bean Salsa Stew
Creamy Broccoli Soup
Carrot and Zucchini Soup
African Sweet Potato Peanut Stew
Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

(Oops, hmmmm sensing a pattern here!)

While I was working on my first two weeks of meals I had to make a conscious effort to not fill it right up with soups, stew, chowders or chilies; all of which we hadn’t had much of all summer. It made me realize my food preferences and favorites really do change with the seasons.

Summer was full of salads, or meals of sandwiches and raw veggies and fruit!

Early fall was full of harvested veggies and then a quick protein.
As the chill of autumn really sets in I am, as before mentioned, all about warm bowls of soup (or something like that) to wrap my self around at supper time. Not only that but biscuits, cornmeal muffins, fresh bread and butter or bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with the meal are common place again.

Yeah I am glad about fall and the food that follows its return. Can’t think of what I get all obsessed with come spring though… will have to pay more attention next year.

Apple Sauce Every Where

I am SO done with apple sauce this year. I have made more then enough frozen bundles of the stuff for us to have a batch of it a week till June. Over 100 cups of boiled and sweetened apples. My hands are cramping and sore and my feet are killing me so I told my man not to bring another single apple off that tree into my kitchen.

I am really happy with all the work done though. We are really enjoying the treat already and will all winter with the amount I stored up. The apples where nice and big, reddish and juicy this year. I hardly had to add any water. Needed less sweetener this year and we went with coconut sugar so Garnet can enjoy the sweet treat too. I then added a generous amount of organic cinnamon to each batch. All mixed together to a smooth sauce this year. I have done chunky in the past but thought if I want to add the sauce to pie or squares I can just chop up some extra apples at the time. I like my apple sauce smooth.

Not sure how I missed out on rhubarb this year. The whole time I was working on the apples I was kicking myself that I forgot about making our winter store of rhubarb strew! Oh bother… we will have to do without this favorite this year.

Well after days of a kitchen filled with jars and freezer bags and wooden spoons, great big pots boiling away and apples in buckets, in the sink being washed, on the counter being chopped or in the pot being sauced, all of this STICKY, I am thrilled to clean it all up for another year. This mommy is putting it away knowing job well done.

P.s. Related POST HERE:)


Communication (Marriage Monday)

My husband can’t read my mind. My husband can’t read my complex or masking emotions. SPELL IT OUT FOR HIM and please stop assuming things about him… ask!

I used to hurt Garnet every time I was hurting. Why? Because I would burst asunder with many intertwined issues that I needed to communicate about after cramming for too long. I would try to be strong… I would thus come across as at first cold and then angry and how could he assume anything else but that he was being accused or blamed?

I had developed a habit of hiding my feelings, then when the cramming couldn’t be contained I would mask them with anger. My theory was anger hurt me less (I eventually learned this less pain for me was at the expense of my husbands feelings). I felt anger made me come across as strong, even when revealing hurts and worries (emotions I believed to be weak). I assumed men preferred this and saw tears and fears as manipulative… thus I told myself I was doing my man a favor.

Garnet is unique, as all men are, and yet has basic male tendencies, as all men do. Because he is unique I never should have assumed the assumptions I had about men lined up with him perfectly. Because he has basic male tendencies he wants to be my hero and find solutions right away. For him to feel like I was attacking him made him feel the failure and hopeless in the finding a solution part.

One day HE figured me out. In the midst of one of my moments he pointed out that everything came out anger and he was tired of trying to discern what was really behind that. ‘Trust me enough to be vulnerable and real,’ he asked and with that my anger wall crumbled.

To love him more I have learned to be honest with my emotions, clear with my issues, and not a crammer till the dam of emotions are so intertwined they burst forth like a flood.

If you really love your husband let him love you and be vulnerable with him, when your pain or worries make you feel that way.

First Monday of every month at Chrysalis

P.s. If you are like me and had trouble learning how to be open, even with your spouse, the most practical step you can take to get there is TALK LOTS about ANYTHING. We have done regular tea and talk times before bed (once the kids are asleep and can’t distract from the conversation) for many many years.


What I Am Listening to Right Now

Music can bring you back in time, to the point in your life that you first enjoyed specific songs or artists. And so I decided to try to record on here, more often, what I am listening to… obviously the stuff I am liking.

Fernando Ortega “Come Down Oh Love Divine”

-A beautiful spiritual piece of art, so soothing.

The Civil Wars “Barton Hollow”

-Delicate vocals with a oh so real roots-y sound.


My Bread

A sure sign that summer is on its way out is when I return to my weekly bread making day. With all the kids home, and the HEAT, I take summers off (in spite of the complaints from family, he he he)…but even I, by falls return, miss the home made loaves and even the process of making them. So I find the initial umph required to get back at it again. Today was a good day to begin again.
My kids often gather around to watch, the first few times I am back at it. I make them sit in the dining room and watch from there, as I don’t appreciate all the little kiddy fingers mucking with my dough. They ooh and ahhh and ask many many questions. It always brings me back to how I saw my mother when she was busy making bread. It was as if she reached a whole new level of mother hood, there was more prestige, when she started kneading the dough. I thought she was so strong as I watched her beat the dough. I thought she was so loving as I took note of the day long task.

I guess these memories helped me get into making bread… but to be honest it is the taste of the fresh bread that keeps me going! Garnet is often very very willing to help me get all the loaves in and out of the oven at the end of the day. We both wait eagerly for the first loaf to cool and both devour two big slices in no time… but we limit ourselves to just a taste… no one needs a fresh bread tummy ache before bed.