O Canada, My Canada!

>> Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This is a re-post from a prior year, but in thinking about what to write for today, I just couldn't think of anything better!  It's got its limitations, its pros and cons, but it's my country and I'm grateful I live here.

I'm thankful for wide open spaces. For endless prairie skies. For the wind in the waves of ripened grain and tall grass. For "character-building" winters. I'm thankful for hardiness and endurance! I'm thankful we're known the world over as friendly people. (most of us, anyway!)

I'm thankful for freedom, even though some insist on exercising it in unattractive ways. I'm thankful for choices in education, occupation, and relationships. I'm thankful it's still possible to worship without fear, to not have to meet with other believers in hiding.

I'm thankful for all the choices that don't get made FOR me ~ how to dress, how to act, how to live, how to believe. I'm thankful failure to abide by the rules isn't automatically punishable by death. I'm thankful for opportunities to learn from my mistakes.

I'm thankful for all the luxuries I have the luxury of whining and complaining about.  I'm thankful for unexpected treats and delights from family, friends.... and God.  I'm thankful for the national anthem, though I wish we would sing it through more often. Especially the last verse:

Ruler Supreme,
Who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our dominion in Thy loving care.
Help us to find
O God, in Thee, a lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the better day,
We ever stand on guard.

God keep our land
Glorious and free!
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

I'm so thankful for my country, though not as much or as regularly as I should be. I find myself often looking at other nations with "greener grass goggles," but really,

I have it so good.


Summer starts.............. NOW!

>> Monday, June 29, 2015

Well, technically it started Friday afternoon at 4, but today is the first real day of holidays.  Ahhh, let the sleeping in begin!

I can't believe that I actually used to have to "train" the girls to do that each summer!!  Mack, our 13-yr old, easily sleeps till 9:30-ish on Saturdays, though AJ, our just-turned-11-yr old, is still almost always up between 8-8:30.  This year, I am actually going to insist they keep using the alarm all summer. (oh relax, it'll likely be set for 9:00!)  With the man having to get up each morning at 5:45 and therefore needing to go to bed much earlier than ANY of us are used to, it just won't do to have them still going full speed late at night.

Plus, I get annoyed when our day really only gets started after noon.  It sucks to fritter away all the cooler morning hours in front of the TV or computer and then never feel like there's time later to go somewhere, have someone over, or just enjoy a good book and my own backyard.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been looking over all my old "summer goals" posts and I'm trying to figure out how to do them differently.
 I always have such great intentions, but unless I'm sticking to a strict checklist, I feel like I'm failing.  So few of those summers worked out the way I dreamed they would.

So this year, I want to try something a little different.  I'm still making a list, but instead of a "to do" list, I've decided I'm just making a wish list ~ things I'd like to see happen, but nothing I want to force into being.  Maybe this will be the approach I've been needing all this time.  I'd like to:
  • get into the habit of getting the daily to-do list over with in the morning, including whatever chores the girls need to do, so that our afternoons and evenings are genuinely FREE.
  • encourage the girls to have their friends over more often and be willing to drive them hither and yon to stay connected. (within reason, of course!)
  • paint the front porch. (it'll only be two years behind schedule!)
  • decorate my walls (that'll only be a little behind schedule, too ~ the painting in the dining room and hallway was done two years ago and I did the living room last summer, but my walls are all still bare!)  I think I've finally figured out how I want to arrange my living room, so I want to carry that out.
  • do a push-up challenge with Mack, who takes after me in the amazing-lack-of-upper-arm-strength department.
  • make sure I always have picnic food on hand, whether it gets eaten at the lake, in our backyard, or around the dining room table on a rainy day.
  • say yes to my girls more and do more stuff WITH them instead of just sending them off. (my hip/back
    will dictate what I can and can't participate in, but I'd still like to put in a bit more effort in this area)
  • work with AJ on her times tables ~ she struggles with them still and I'd like to get them really solidified in her mind before the next school year begins.
  • create more.
  • purge, organize the girls' bedroom...
  • and maybe even separate it ~ they share the loft that runs the length of our upper half-storey and have been asking for their own rooms for the last couple of years. As long as we're in this house, that probably won't happen, but The Man and I have been tossing around ideas to (relatively simply!) divide the room that will make it feel a little more like they do.
  • have people over more without caring about how my house looks or how fancy the food is; to rest in the knowledge that just a glass of iced tea or coffee with a good friend is worth something, too.
  • spend fewer evenings in front of the TV, especially the ones The Man is home and doesn't have to go to bed quite so early!
There are probably a few other things I've thought of over the last weeks that I'm not remembering right now, but whatever the case, if I looked at this as a to-do list, I'd be instantly discouraged and likely not even start trying.  But if I just look at it as a wish list, knowing I have the power to make most of these things happen but am not under any obligation to achieve perfection with any of them, then suddenly it doesn't feel so daunting.

Hopefully, my attitude about it will stay this way and we'll all be able to have a fun, productive, rewarding summer!  Do you make summer plans?  What do they look like?



Practicing Gratitude [06.25]

>> Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wow, today is the girls' second-last day of school ~ woo-hoo!  Summer vacation is so close, I can almost taste it!!  I'm thankful they've had such a good year in their new schools.  The adjustment was virtually seamless and they've both thrived.

I'm grateful for The Man's new job.  It's not glamorous work and his clothes come home sweat-soaked and dusty, but he gets to work with OTHER PEOPLE!  The isolation is one of the biggest reasons he hated trucking (the other major one, of course, was being away from home so much!) and now he not only gets to have lunch and coffee breaks with people, but even the work is almost always together with a few others.  He's only been there a month, but the girls and I always enjoy the stories he comes home with!

I'm thankful for sunshine.  This year, we had a beautiful, warm spring and so far, summer is shaping up to follow suit.  We actually need rain pretty badly already, but I sure do love the consistently sunny days.

I'm so grateful our ability to put food on the table doesn't depend on my garden!  I am a poor gardener under the best of circumstances, but this year without rain, our garden is just pathetic.  I don't have a hose long enough to reach from the house to the garden and besides that, our well is a shallow one, so what doesn't get watered by God just doesn't get watered!  Except the tomatoes and jalapenos.  Those get a drink every evening if it hasn't drizzled at all during the day.  I'm hoping those two crops will do well, but I have little hope for the rest.  So much seed never even germinated, so you better believe I'm thankful we weren't depending on being able to sustain ourselves through till next summer on canned and frozen produce!!

Mostly, I'm just thankful for this time of year.  I love how the summer stretches out invitingly before us, begging us to soak in the sun, dig our toes into the grass, splash in the cool of a nearby river or lake, and fill our days with friends and family.

I'm thankful for summer.

Beach blanket


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