Farewell, Summer... I Loved Thee Well

>> Thursday, September 27, 2007




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To Blog or Not To Blog, That is the Question

>> Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This subject of censoring oneself on one's own blog seems to have come up a lot lately and I'm having trouble deciding how I feel about it. I get it -- sort of -- but at the same time, I don't.

My blog is where I write about things that have happened to me, thoughts I've had (that may or may not be worth sharing), proud moments I've had, not-so-proud moments, and just generally giving friends and relatives whom I don't see very often -- or not at all anymore -- a peek into my life. Sometimes I share a personal spiritual revelation, sometimes I bitch, sometimes I share things that caught my funny bone. If I don't feel free to do that here, there's no point in blogging as far as I'm concerned.

On two seperate recent occasions now, my Christian witness has been called into question as a result of blog entries I've made. I left the first post up, but the second one has now been deleted. My first thought, after I got the second comment, was to simply erase all indications of faith from my blog and my second was to defensively change my blog title to something like, "If you don't like it, quit reading" -- or something along those lines but with worse language. I guess this post is kind of my third reaction.

Christians are in such a delicate position. We're called to be perfect, the world knows it, and the instant we screw up, we're called hypocrites and bad examples. The last thing I want to be is what the Bible calls a stumbling block, but even though I'm a new creature in Him, in my human form I'm just that -- human. A sarcastic, intolerant, lazy, opinionated, skeptical, pessimistic, worrying human. With an occasionally off-colour sense of humour.

I'm tempted to say, "That's just who I am." But it doesn't end there. It's not my defence for my actions and behaviour. The above list of bad personality traits IS, indeed, who I am -- but that doesn't mean I'm necessarily content with who I am and not trying to change. I know I'm seriously flawed and I know I'm responsible for those flaws. They were not what God intended for me.

I purposely didn't give my blog a testimony-related title because this blog wasn't supposed to be about faith. Giving myself a name that would draw attention to my faith (or lack thereof), I felt, would force me to constantly write devotional quality posts and spiritual insights. I'm simply not capable of that. My mind just currently doesn't work that way. And it is simply not my purpose for keeping this blog. I wanted to paint as accurate a picture of myself and my life as I could in writing, personality flaws and all. I wanted to be ME, even though ME isn't always as blameless and fruit-of-the-Spirit-y as I should be.

It's easy enough to sit here at the computer and sound like I see God in every situation and praise Him for every trial that comes my way and to give you the impression that I use each and every opportunity that comes my way for the glory of God, but I just don't. That would be a blatant lie and anyone who knows me in real life and reads my blog could legitimately call me duplicitous. I constantly struggle with living a Christ-like life. I'm struggling with a lot of Christianity issues right now, truth be told.

I'm not trying to say that because my goal for blogging wasn't specifically to proselytize that I don't need to be an ambassador of Christ. Please don't think I'm trying to get myself off the hook by saying that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that my real life is unedited, whether I like it or not. And regrettably, whether it hurts my testimony or not as well. I know I can CHOOSE to edit my blog even if I can't edit my life, but if I write only the things that make me sound like a paragon of Christianity, am I not leading a double life? I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If I've offended anyone in the course of my blogging and/or turned them off Christianity, I'm sorry. I've failed you and I've failed in my commitment to Christ. I pray that God will send someone into your life/lives who will show you a better picture of Jesus Christ. You deserve better.

Until I reach that point in my life where my blog can consistently, accurately reflect a truly Godly woman, I may simply need to quit publishing my thoughts -- or at the very least, limit my blog entries to generic accounts of my everyday existence. But then what's the point?



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TFTS Week ONE

Okay, this week has not been great. I've yet to consciously set aside time for prayer and I think on only 2 of the last 7 days did I manage to get in my 5 servings of fruits and veggies. Portion control has been good and activity as well (Bushman was home in time for me to walk each of the last 5 days, plus there were several bike rides in there yet too), but I crashed yesterday. That dang gingerbread cake with the brown sugar frosting!! This is exactly why I generally don't have dessert in the house.

Interesting how that tends to happen the day before weigh-in, though. Anyone else have that problem? You're doing fine, impressed with your mid-week weigh-in and then boom! your mind sabotages your body the day before the official weigh-in and you pig out. It's very predictable around here. I didn't lose or gain anything from last week, but my intention is to make significant changes in the prayer and veggie area this coming week. And to put an end to Sabotage Tuesdays!


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"You don't know their truth."

>> Monday, September 24, 2007

I read a comment on someone else's blog a couple of days ago that bugs me. The original post had made mention of a teenager berating his mother in public and the feelings the author and her children had as they witnessed the scene. The one reader's comment stated, "You don't know their truth."

I am disgusted -- and saddened -- by this comment. (but mostly disgusted) What we don't know is the cause of the exchange or the atmosphere of the home, but the TRUTH is, the teenager showed disrespect and that is bad behaviour. Plain and simple. There is no excuse for a child to 'berate' a parent. It's one thing to disagree and argue, but to demean and publicly disrespect them is absolutely revolting. It really doesn't matter what the cause was, whether the mother had made a bad judgement call or not -- the kid was out of line.

I find it interesting how often the word 'truth' gets bandied about these days and what it's come to represent. No longer do we have opinions and views, circumstances and contributing factors; we have our own 'personal truth.' What a farce. What a politically correct, socially embraced FARCE.

This is a disturbing trend in North America, even among evangelical Christians. The problem is people are beginning to trust their own experiences more than anything else. This reliance on subjective experiences rather than on the absolute and unchanging Scriptural truths is what leads Christians today to become highly credulous (the tendency to believe too easily; to be easily convinced with little evidence) and syncretistic (accepting of a combination or reconciliation of varying, often mutually opposed beliefs, principles, and practices).

Too often, people are making their decisions based on how it makes them FEEL rather than on God's word. It's the perfect belief system for a society that places self at the centre of the universe. Individuals become the ultimate judge not only of what's "true" for themselves, but also, therefore, what's right and wrong. Right and wrong then also become about how we feel, rather than what God teaches us in the Scriptures. It's a slippery downhill slope.

As Christians, followers of Christ, we need to guard ourselves against these tendencies to excuse bad behaviour and selfish decisions. Christianity is MORE than feelings or experiences. Believing means not only saying yes to what the Scriptures say is true, but also saying no to whatever contradicts those teachings.

TRUTH is absolute. Determined by God. Regardless of what our interpretations of it may be and whether or not we choose to believe it.



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You Might be a Redneck if...

>> Saturday, September 22, 2007

After hearing weird noises in the washing machine, you unload it and discover THESE rattling around in the bottom:



And it doesn't surprise you. It isn't the first time.

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Miscellaneous Disconnected Thoughts and Ramblings

>> Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's raining today. Again. It's been raining a lot lately. In the city, everyone just complained during a rainy spell; out here, especially this time of year, people's livelihoods are actually at stake. Our short growing season gives harvest only a very narrow window of opportunity. Weeks of rain every other, or even every third day, is just not what you want up here this time of year. You know, this is the one time of year when I'm very thankful that Bushman's a trucker -- even though he's not home a lot -- and not a grain farmer. I don't think I could handle the stress!

I woke up to smoke yesterday morning. Lots of smoke. In fact, the smell was so strong, that's what actually woke me. At SIX O'CLOCK. Ugh. At first I panicked a little, but after looking out every single window and not seeing any tell-tale red glow (other than on the eastern horizon), I realized it was just distant stubble-burning fires smoke. Almost every day now, you can see smoke rising from several different spots across the valley. (If it's not raining!)

It's funny; when we lived in the city, you should have heard the complaints about smoke from surrounding farmers' fields in fall. The farmers were blamed for all sorts of respiratory aggravations and illnesses and I believe burning stubble within a certain distance of city limits is now actually illegal. It's funny how few people out here seem to complain of respiratory issues. Out here, where on any given morning during the harvest or forest fire seasons, the entire valley will be engulfed in a thick layer of smoke. Ah, the sweet pungent odours of country life...

Though I hate the fact that winter is just around the corner and that frost is already a frequent occurrence overnight, I love fall. I love the colours and the crispness of the air. I love seeing my warm coffee breath while I breathe in the damp smokiness of the cold morning air. I love seeing my footprints in the frosty grass. I love how the cold, damp, cloudy mornings can still turn into gloriously sunny, warm afternoons. I love all the little finches that are flitting around the yard, passing through on their way to warmer climates. Take me with you!!

Yesterday, I had a virtually computer-free day as has become my attempted habit lately. I need a day (probably more!) every week where I don't allow myself to check emails and blog comments more than once or twice during the course of the day. It's also a TV-free day for me as well. So when I participate in Wordless Wednesdays on Tuesday afternoon, you know why. I still go through all my emails and favourite blogs in the morning, but for the most part, the computer is untouched on Wednesdays.

I got a lot accomplished yesterday, but not as much as I could have. Peanut, now that she's figured out how to ride a two-wheeler, just can't get enough bike riding in and so I'd promised that when Punkin woke up from her nap, that we'd go for a bike ride. It's become our daily ritual, weather permitting.

Anyway, I'd planned to finish folding my laundry and putting it away and doing a THIRD dish rack-full of dishes (yes, I'm admitting that it had been a few days since the last time I did them!), but it was such an incredibly beautiful afternoon, that I opted to stay outside, biking, petting kitties, finding cool-shaped leaves, watching my uncle till up my cousin's field out back, find 'homes' for all the fuzzy caterpillars, and listen to the migrating geese.

Days like yesterday are why I love living out here in the middle of nowhere. Even with the ever-present rumble of the tractors, combines, and grain trucks, the peace is incredible. I love days like this. Days where I get a few things done and manage to spend quality time with my girls. After days like that, I wonder why the heck it's so hard to make doing stuff with them a priority. I can come up with so many excuses as to why I can't join them in the sandbox or take them for a walk and yet when I get past myself and just simply do what they want to do, I realize what a wonderful job being a stay-at-home mom is.

THIS is my job. To wash dishes, to sweep, to fold laundry, to vacuum, to cook. And then to play outside in the leaves, to explain why dishes need to be in the dishrack upside-down, to point out the pretty colours in the sky at sunset and explain if there was no dust in the air the colours wouldn't exist, to pull the girls in the wagon up the little septic tank hill behind the house and push them down just to see how far they roll, to go for bike rides, to pet caterpillars and make them 'homes' out of empty pop cans and grass, to get the girls out of trees they know how to climb but not how to get down from, to teach them how to fold laundry... to enjoy time with my girls, indoors or out. To revel in the change of seasons and the luxury of being able to stay indoors (and in my pajamas) all day long if I want to. Like today. Ahhhhh, it's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it!




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Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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A New Challenge, A Fresh Start, and a Harsh Look at Weight-Loss Excuses

>> Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Well, despite ending the last challenge with a gain of two pounds, for once, I'm not discouraged. It's not that I can blame it on 'that time of the month' or anything like that, but my attitude about this whole thing has completely changed.

It's less about how I look to myself, but how the way I treat my body will affect those around me.

Oh My Stinkin' Heck said in a post last week,

"If you, like me, have managed to find an amazing man to love, marry and bear children with, you are being selfish by being obese. If you, like me, have children who love and depend on you, you are being selfish by being obese. If you, like me, have immediate and extended family that loves you, you are selfish for being obese.

It is selfish. It is choosing sugar in my coffee over the possibility of seeing my grandchildren. It is choosing “just one more bite” over being able to have monkey sex with my husband (you can’t erotically swing from chandeliers if you are obese). It is choosing ROUTE 44 SONIC CHERRY COKES over being able to participate in your child’s Fun Run, Jump Rope for Heart, Turkey Trot, Track ‘n Field.

IT IS CHOOSING YOURSELF OVER EVERYTHING ELSE.

But? This will not beat me.
IT WILL NOT BEAT ME.

Because if it beats me? It beats my husband, my kids, my parents, my extended family, my friends…
Winner takes all."

We cannot let our selfishness be the winner. The stakes are simply too high. But how do we take back control?

Jules, from "Bringing Healthy Back" said this in her post last week:
"Most people think this is the secret to weight loss:

Less food + more exercise = weight loss

Sounds pretty rational, doesn’t it? And, for the most part, I agree that this will get you that weight loss you’ve been desiring.

But, after nearly three decades of “dieting,” I think I’ve discovered that the secret to permanent weight loss is really this:

More self-discipline + less excuses = weight loss

Self-discipline. Willpower. Self-control. Overweight people love to say they “don’t have any of this” and that is why they consistently fail - and they are probably right. If you look back at the formula I put at the beginning of this post, you’ll see that I think self-discipline is a big key to losing the weight and NOT putting it back on again.

So…if we don’t have any, the question then becomes: How do we get it?
And the answer is:
We grow it.

Set one goal per day and follow through on it.
It doesn’t even have to be weight -loss related. Decide you’re going to sweep the kitchen floor or take down the Christmas lights (don’t get me started!) or fold the clothes in the laundry basket. Something. Pick something each day and commit to doing it for the entire week. It could be one thing you do every day or it could be a different goal you set each day but make it and follow through with it."

A missionary friend of ours from Brazil was at our place last weekend and he's lost a considerable amount of weight. We asked what his secret was and he said he'd decided that he was tired of ignoring the physical part of his relationship with God. Yes, our relationship with God is mostly spiritual, but did He not create each and every one of us by hand?
In his presentation at our church that Sunday, our friend said the mission of the camp his team has started down in Brazil is to address the WHOLE person, not just the spiritual part, which is what most North American churches and camps tend to focus on. You know, if we're spiritually on track, it doesn't matter if how we look. But really it does. Not only are we treating our bodies -- hand-crafted by God -- like crap, but we're not physically good witnesses for Him then, either. Until now, I've never really thought about that before, but to hear it from two completely unrelated sources really drove the point home. (the other source being the "Living Well" article I've been mentioning the last couple of weeks.)
I need to change my eating habits, not only for my own personal health, but for how well people can see Christ in me. Plain and simple. If people can clearly see I'm having self-discipline issues -- in any area, be it my eating habits or how much time I spend on the computer -- that doesn't speak well of God's power in my life, now does it?
I STRONGLY URGE you to read the Living Well article from CWO that I mentioned (click the button on the sidebar), as well as the posts from Oh My Stinkin' Heck and Bringing Healthy Back in their entirety.
If you're struggling with finding the inspiration to lose weight, if you've been struggling with it forever, THESE THREE POSTS ARE FOR YOU! Yeah, it'll take a while to read them through, but I guarantee you that it won't be a waist of your time. (Haha, get it? Ahhh, I'm so witty first thing in the morning!) And then start with baby steps, just one small goal at a time, like Jules suggests.
I want to start with 3 small goals:
  1. Thirty minutes of exercise every day. If that means going to bed earlier so that I can wake up earlier on school mornings, so be it. I need the exercise, first thing in the morning is the only time I'm interested in doing it, and it helps me to be more awake for goal #2.
  2. KNEEL in prayer after morning devotions. I have a bad habit of rushing through my Bible reading and devotional book to get to bloggityville, and that needs to stop. I need to conscientiously spend time praying.
  3. Eat one piece of fruit before eating breakfast and lunch.

What are your small goals?How are you planning to GROW your self-discipline? Join me and many others at Tales from the Scales and make a retroactive New Year's resolution tolook great BEFORE 2008!




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Planning for the Dark Days of Winter Ahead

>> Monday, September 17, 2007

So my friend and sister-in-law Andrea has come up with the brilliant idea of actually PLANNING A MENU of activities to help pass the time during the upcoming long, dark, Canadian prairie winter. We don't have 6 months of sunless-ness, but for those who work full-time, it sometimes feels like it. Our shortest day of the year up here has a mere 7-1/2 hours of daylight!!! Isn't that gross?!

Anyway, she's had this great idea of how to combat the 'winter-time blues' and she's inviting everyone to join in a carnival of ideas on October 15. Go ahead, click the button here, and check it out.

Just like a food menu, this menu is flexible, but it provides a list of ideas for breaking up the dreariness of winter. In her words, it's a way to "shut out the cold and darkness and invite light and warmth through family bonding times and special times with friends."

The Bushman is leaning more and more towards going up north this winter again to do some more ice road trucking so that means I'll be a single mom for February and March again. Even though February's days are much longer already than December and January's, for some reason February often seems to be the coldest, darkest month we have. (Probably because by then I'm so incredibly sick and tired of winter!!)

So I've decided I'm going to participate in this challenge/carnival -- even if Bushman happens to stay home this winter -- and invite everyone else who happens to read this to check it out.

And on a completely unrelated subject...

Susanne over at Truly Captivating has chosen to publicly declare I MAKE HER SMILE!

"I have decided to pass this award on to Tammi. Both visiting, and being visited by her lifts my spirits, and I am just amazed at the awesome work God is doing in her life. Y'all be sure to stop on by and pay her a visit! She is just PRECIOUS!!!"

Thank you so much, Susanne! You make me smile, too!! Susanne has been a great inspiration to me as well. Her bubbliness and enthusiasm for praising God are encouraging -- and catchy! She's a vibrant Christian woman and does an awesome job of promoting her church and the body of believers in general. You should definitely check her out.


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NE'ER Do the Hair-Do Zoo!

>> Thursday, September 13, 2007

While we were in The Big City a while back, I decided I'd had enough of the whining, screaming, crying, and other histrionics that invariably occurred every time we brushed Peanut's beautiful, long brunette hair. She'd said for weeks already that she wanted short hair like mine. (because I made the mistake of telling her I didn't really have to brush mine at all -- I do, of course, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't end up looking like a rat moved in and made a nest, amazingly enough. And it never hurts.)

She and I have the same hair -- very fine, but quite thick. Which equals tangles like you would not believe. Especially on the under-side. I've had long hair several times in my adult life and literally gave up on brushing it. I'd condition and infuse and put every de-tangling product in my hair that I could get my hands on after washing it, and then grit my teeth and pull a comb through it. Until the next time I washed it -- which is generally every other day (sorry, hope I haven't grossed anyone out!) -- it just didn't get brushed. I COULDN'T brush it. Not without ripping out huge chunks of hair and ending up with a throbbing headache. I was just not worth the pain and agony.


Peanut's hair, unfortunately, is exactly the same way. So finally I gave in, much to The Bushman's chagrin, and decided to have her hair cut. Since we were in The City when I made this decision, I thought what the heck, let's see what Hair-Do Zoo charges.

Hair-Do Zoo is a kids only salon. The rates are decent and kids sit on animals' backs rather than chairs to have their hair done. They watch movies while their siblings (and waiting parents) can watch as well, and play with toys. Sounds awesome, right? I thought so too. Thought being the operative word. I don't anymore. We will NEVER be going back there again. Why?

They don't seem to employ ACTUAL hairdressers, that's why. I think the certificates on the wall came out of a cereal box. My Peanut's 'stylist' sure didn't know what the heck she was doing. I'm kicking myself for not thinking a little faster on my feet because the first thing that came out of her mouth should have had us bolting for the door.

We walked in and this frumpy woman called Peanut's name, invited her to sit on a horse, and asked me what we wanted. "We'd like one of those angled bobs," I said. "You know, where it's quite short at the back and angles down towards the jawline?"

"Oh, I'm not very good at those, but I can do a straight one." What?! Seriously, that's what she said. And what I SHOULD have promptly done was whip the cape off my daughter, lift her off the horse, and say, "Well, then there's no point in us being here, is there?" and walk out. But I didn't. I managed to stutter, "Um. Okay. I guess. Whatever." (that's me, quick-thinkin' negotiator extraordinaire!)

I could tell as I watched her cut that she wasn't giving Peanut a bob, but rather a page-boy cut, which looked pretty much like she just hacked it straight across the bottom. But I'm too non-confrontational to do anything in situations like that -- especially if I haven't had time to think about how I'm going to address the situation (like whether I'm going to flip out and start yelling or just sit there and cry quietly to myself) and what I want to say. We paid and left and headed over to my in-laws, because we were already running late.

Once there, I had a close look at my first-born and notice her bangs were very noticeably crooked. And due to sun bleaching, you could see exactly how her bangs had been cut and all the various lengths. There were two long pieces in the back the hairdresser had missed completely. My mother-in-law, bless her heart, tried desperately to get a hold of all her hairdressing friends, but no one was home. My sister-in-law strongly advised me to go back and get them to fix it.

All night long I stewed and stewed, getting more and more indignant. Finally, I decided to be incredibly brave, to try to be decently well-mannered, but go back and demand that it get fixed. So the next afternoon, we went back.

I was really hoping that particular hairdresser would have the day off, but no such luck. And of course, she happened to be free when we walked in. Dang.

"Um. You cut my daughter's hair yesterday and I'm just not impressed. It needs to be fixed." (I didn't quite have the nerve to say I wanted someone else, someone more qualified, to do the fixing.) She readily agreed -- something tells me she was accustomed to this -- and perched Peanut atop the horse once more. I watched like a hawk as she snipped away, still just cutting straight across the bottom.

"Okay, this is not a bob," I said. "A bob is supposed to taper in towards the neck, this is just cut straight across the bottom. This much I can do myself at home." (Yes, I ACTUALLY said that out loud!!)

"Oh, I have no doubt," the hairdresser said. WELL THEN DO SOMETHING BETTER! I wanted to scream, but of course, I didn't. I certainly thought it quite viciously in my head.

I painfully watched her cut some more and then broke in again, "Okay, you're still just doing the same thing. Don't you need to layer it or something?"

"Yeah, let me just check with one of the other girls." She seriously needed a consult!!! She went to the back room and moments later, a young, trendy, confident woman came out with her and proceeded to show her what to do with my daughter's hair. We'd been there now for at least a half-hour, but at least now, I hoped, she knew what she was doing. Wrong again.

Another 20 minutes later, she finally finished up the sides and back of Peanut's hair and stated she was going to address the bangs now. Perfect. Peanut had started to complain already that her little butt was getting sore and I was so sick and tired of policing the massacre. After a couple of snips, the hairdresser invited me to come take a look and I informed her that the bangs were still quite crooked. And you know what she did? SHE PROCEEDED TO CUT THE SHORT SIDE SOME MORE!!!!!!!! I'm DEAD serious.

"NO, NO, NO-O-O," I yelped. "You have to cut the OTHER side!!!!"

The hairdresser actually chuckled and said, "Oh yeah, I guess that makes more sense." WHAT??????!!!!!!

By now, Peanut was whimpering because she'd been sitting on that stupid horse for almost an hour already while the butcher weed-whacked her hair. It did look better than it had the day before, but it was still not really a bob -- and I sure as heck didn't want it to get any shorter.

"That's fine," I said through gritted teeth, as we walked to the door. "I think that's as good as it's going to get." (And yes, I said that one out loud, too.)

"Would you like your money back?" she asked. Huh? My teeth unclenched. I was not prepared for this question. I'd assumed once they 'fixed' it, that would be the end of it and I'd decided that was okay with me.

I stuttered once again and managed to say, "Um. Uh. It's okay. It's fixed now." And we walked out. Seriously! What a dolt!! Did I mention I wished I was better at thinking on my feet? If I'm that lame dealing with a bad haircut, you may want to bring someone else in on the next hostage crisis.

But whatever you do, NEVER bring your children to the Hair-Do Zoo.



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Wordless Wednesday for Duck Hunters...

>> Wednesday, September 12, 2007


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MDWLC -- Out With a Bang

>> Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A GAIN of 2 pounds!!!! That's right, after all these weeks of 'maintaining,' I'm actually UP TWO POUNDS. AAAAAAaaaaa!! Needless to say, I'm unimpressed with myself. You can see why I wasn't eager to post first thing this morning! (Oh, and Peanut had an early eye appt and then there were errands to run, yadda yadda yadda.)

However, I feel my mindset has changed in the last week and my determination seems to be growing. I look forward to the new challenge starting next week and to LIVING WELL.

I plan to think long and hard about what my personal goals are in the next week before the challenge officially starts. I love what Penguins and Ladybugs has done to establish her Living Well goals and I intend to follow her lead. Until next week... happy eating!!!!

(Haha, RESPONSIBLE and HEALTHY eating in small portions, that is!)


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Eleven years ago today...

>> Monday, September 10, 2007

The water was calm as The Bushman (eleven years ago, I guess he was still just "The City Boy!") eased the ski boat away from the dock and out of the tiny, sheltered bay. Perfect for skiing. There would be no skiing tonight, however. Something far more important was on his mind and I wasn't comfortable driving the boat anyway. A motorboat isn't really my style at all. I'd have preferred a quiet canoe ride, but Bushman-To-Be had insisted on taking me out in the boat.

It was a beautiful evening and a tour of the rocky shores surrounding this lake in North-Western Ontario was a perfect way to end a great day. We toured around for a while, the talk of our future punctuated here and there with comments on the scenery and wildlife. I, ever the shutterbug, never had the camera far from my eye and as the sun dipped closer and closer to the horizon, B-T-B stopped the boat so we could just quietly drift and drink in the sunset.

After taking several shots, I realized he was just looking at me. Looking like something was on his mind. I turned to him and asked, "What're you thinking?"

We'd been dating for 5 months and had talked about getting married for almost as long, but my heart still popped up into my throat when, wordlessly, he reached into his back pocket. And pulled out a small, grey velvet box. He took my hand, and there, in the cramped quarters of his ski boat, dropped to one knee and asked if I'd spend the rest of my life with him. As the last pinky-orange sliver of sun disappeared behind the rocky Ontario coastline, I said yes.

Isn't that romantic and dreamy??!! Haha, the funny thing is, that's not how the proposal happened at all. That's how Bushman PLANNED it, but I totally wrecked it. (Which is why, he claims to this day, that he hasn't bothered trying to be romeo-mantic ever again!!)

His master plan -- the ONE romantic plan he's had in all his life -- was to propose to me at our church's annual Family Camp on the Labour Day long weekend. He really bugged me about going, but I was not a fan of camping or large groups and since I'd already been camping with him and his group of friends twice that summer, I figured I'd put in enough wilderness time that year. I refused to go to church camp. I couldn't really understand why he was pestering me so much and definitely got annoyed with him for actually seeming upset when I continually refused, so we were actually both a little pouty on the weekend. Me at home in the comfort of my parents' house, and he out at the lake with half the church family.

A couple of days after he returned and we were both in better moods, we went out to see a movie together. On the way home, he suddenly turned down a street a few streets before mine. I wondered what was going on, but didn't say anything until he pulled onto a strip-mall parking lot behind a huge dumpster.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Well," he said, turning the car off, "you know that money you lent me a while back?" I didn't really, but I said yes anyway. (Hey, I'm not going to turn down money!!) He reached into the glove compartment and pulled out the little grey, velvet box and tossed it casually into my lap. "Do you think this will cover it?!"

I stared at him idiotically, not really comprehending what had just happened, so he took the box and opened it, showing me the ring inside. Even though I'd been expecting this moment, I was actually speechless. So long, in fact, that he asked, "So, you gonna put it on or what?"

And the rest, as they say, is history. I put the ring on, I cried, we laughed, and got married 5 months later. In the years since, we've joked about the 'dumpster proposal' and Bushman is kicking himself that he didn't get out and start rummaging around in it and then suddenly hold up the box and shout, "Hey, look what I found!!"

Ahhhh, the best laid plans....




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Peanut Gallery Meets Punkin Patch

>> Friday, September 7, 2007

Punkin (singing during lunch): Da food goes down ow bodies...an' turns into POOP.

Peanut: Sister! We don't talk about that at the table.

Punkin: But it DOES turn to POOP.

Peanut (getting annoyed): Sister! You're not supposed to talk about that at the table!!!! That's a bad word!

Punkin (now a little unsure of herself): It doesn't turn to poop?

Peanut: YES! BUT WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT AT THE TABLE!!!!!

Me (stepping in): You're right Punkin, our bodies use all the good stuff from the food and whatever it doesn't use, turns into poop. But Peanut's right, too, we shouldn't talk about it at the table. It's bad manners.

Punkin: Oh. Sowwy, mommy. I won't say dat anymoah.

(pause.......)

Punkin: Mommy?

Me: Yes, sweetie?

Punkin:
I haffa go poop.



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The Nest Half-Empty (*updated*)

>> Thursday, September 6, 2007

My Peanut, my Li'l Big Mac started kindergarten today. Sigh. I'm surprised by how I feel about this and how I've felt for the last week or so already. I'm not at all a sentimental person and for the last 5-1/2 years I've been looking forward to this day, and yet, now that it's here... it's just too soon. I just can't believe how the last 5-1/2 years have flown by.

Those of you who know me really well will laugh, but I've halfways been considering HOMESCHOOLING lately!! I think the only reason is because all of a sudden, I realized I'd have to let go. The big school bus would collect her at 8:15 in the morning and for the next 8 hours, she wouldn't need me.

Peanut very quickly squashed those ideas though with a stomp of her foot and a look of disgust on her face. "I want to go to REAL school!" she pouted. Truthfully, I was almost a little hurt, but at the same time extremely relieved. This conversation only took place a week ago, and it's not like I was actually prepared in the event that she'd opt for that. And let's be honest here: I'm hardly organized enough to complete my own courses on time, let alone being responsible for her education yet, too!

I thought I might actually cry this morning, but we were just too excited and there were too many things to remember. (all stuff I should probably have done last night already!) And it all just happened so abruptly. We meandered out to the end of the driveway at 8:15, waited about 5 minutes -- enough for both girls to start complaining about how cold they were (it was 7C/46F this morning, so just standing around in a spring/fall jacket was kinda cool) -- and then the bus arrived. The door opened and Peanut was instantly intimidated. Her bus driver this year is a friend of mine who owns the cattle a mile south of us and often stops to talk to us if we're on 'his' road when he's going to check them, but for some reason, I think Peanut was expecting a female driver.
So I held her hand and went onto the bus with her. Punkin followed, carrying her favourite cat and I think Whiskie was about to climb aboard as well, but the driver closed the doors before she could. We found a little friend of Peanut's from church way in the back, so all the way down the aisle we went, right to the very last seat. I kissed her, wished her a great first day at school, and then Punkin and I got off the bus. We stood there waving as the bus left and a few kids waved back, but Peanut was already too busy chatting with her friend to notice.

And that was it. Punkin cried a little, but that didn't last long. It will certainly feel weird today though, just the two of us in the half-empty nest. Or half-full. I'm looking forward to finally being able to spend some one-on-one time with my youngest.



***UPDATE: Well, we survived it... and so did my Peanut! I didn't manage to get a picture of her getting ON the bus this morning because I actually had to bring her on, but I was ready when she got off this afternoon.

She's SO totally in love with school.

(For now, anyway!!)

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Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, September 5, 2007

You are SO not going to believe this!!!!

(make sure you can hear it)


video


Okay, okay, so it wasn't exactly wordless. Check out more WW participants at Wordless Wednesday HQ.

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Simply Living Well

>> Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sigh. Weigh-in day again. And guess what?!

No change. AGAIN.

Since joining this 'challenge' on July 18, I've literally been EXACTLY the same weight the whole, stinkin' time. Now, if I was only, say, 11 pounds from my goal weight and had been losing steadily before the middle of July, it might be forgivable, but 'losing steadily' simply hasn't happened since April 2003, when I was in Weight Watchers. I've had some steady weight GAINS since then as well as periods where I've lost a few pounds here and there, but nothing very impressive either way.

Today that changes. Today I'm choosing to Live Well. I intend to choose that EVERY DAY from now on. I encourage you all to read the CWO article and I also recommend following the link to the initial article in the series, "The Tri-Unity of a Woman: Spirit, Body, and Soul."

Here's a brief look:

We all sin. Some people kill, some lie, others are drunkards...and some are gluttons. (And that's the cold, ugly truth of it. Whether we're conscious of it or not -- whether we feel we can justify it or whether we're accustomed to merely laughing it off -- over-eating is SIN.)

"Live Well" inspires women to make healthier choices that result in losing weight, maintaining a healthy body, and getting our lives on track with God.

"Live Well" reveals to women how the spirit influences our soul, and how our souls greatly influence the choices we make for our bodies and lifestyle. By feeding and nurturing our spirit and soul, we free our bodies from the captivity of sin, bringing glory to God and peace to our lives.

"Live Well" offers freedom by empowering women with one easy solution: In order to successfully make change and to recapture that which God intended for us, we need to tune into a new channel—and to begin to channel His strength.

This was a kick in the pants. Especially being equated with liars and murderers. Us humans always classify sin, but God clearly states that SIN IS SIN. PERIOD. Ouch.

So here are the changes I'm making:

  • Instead of quickly reading my Bible and devo book while my computer is booting up, I will take my time reading and actually get on my knees to pray and spend quality time with God.
  • I will stop snacking in front of the TV. I've got hundreds of pictures that need to be put into photo albums and there's always a load or two of laundry that needs folding, so it's not like there's nothing else to keep my hands busy with.
  • I will increase my intake of fruits and vegetables. This one is always a struggle, although not quite as much right now, while garden harvest is on. I'm going to make myself a chart on the fridge and force myself check off ALL the boxes each day.
  • I will exercise each day. I've been using the fact that my husband leaves early and works late as an excuse for not exercising because I can't go for my walk by myself anymore. However, it's not like I can't take the girls along while I bike or walk because we've got a 2-seater bike trailer that converts to a stroller. We've also got an elliptical that I can use on rainy days. NO MORE EXCUSES. This will also be incorporated into the chart on the fridge.
  • Most importantly, I will pray. When I'm tempted to eat needlessly, I will pray.

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>> Sunday, September 2, 2007

announces THRILLANTHROPY:

What could be better than lunch with Guy Lafleur, a wild ride in a brand new car halfway across the world, or an exclusive sit-down with America's favourite animated family, The Simpsons? Your bids on these items go directly towards helping Canadians in need! At eBay, we call it thrillanthropy, the giddy excitement created by doing good.

Starting
September 2nd, our month-long thrillanthropy bonanza allows you to buy extraordinary auction items and once-in-a-lifetime experiences with all proceeds going to support 11 worthwhile Canadian charities.


Bid to help your favourite charity or to score yourself something that you can't get anywhere else! Either way, your act of charity is a win!

This bugs me. First of all, most of the so-called 'Canadian' organizations are, in fact, Toronto organizations -- which is a very small portion of this country. I also noticed that each cause seems to have been assigned a particular date, so my guess is, the proceeds from the auctions closing on that day will be donated to that cause, so you may have to pick and choose and not necessarily win the auction you really want, simply because you want your support dollars to go to a specific charity.

Secondly, I find it incredibly crass that they're making it sound like the joy of giving only becomes truly thrilling if you actually get something fabulous out of the deal as well. Obviously, eBay is only cashing in on society's trend towards extreme narcissism. People are increasingly less likely to give purely out of the goodness of their hearts, plain and simple. I guess I can't fault not-for-profit organizations for preying on that if they want to stay afloat.

However, I love the idea of THRILLanthropy. Giving should make us feel good. There should be a THRILL in seeing a need and meeting it -- but we should feel that way even WITHOUT being able to have lunch with The Simpsons as a pay-off.

I remember a Ziggy cartoon from way back (anyone out there remember Ziggy? Man, I'm seriously showing my age on this blog!!) where he's standing beside a collection kettle that bears the sign "Give till it hurts." But Ziggy's smiling and saying, "It never hurts, it always feels good." Not to take anything away from eBay, of course -- or any other organizations, for that matter, that now find their biggest fundraisers are lotteries -- but obviously even the down-trodden, perpetually hard-luck Ziggy had it figured out years ago without the chance of winning a yacht.

We all know the phrase "A good deed is its own reward," and most of us even believe it's true, so why do we require these incentives? Why aren't we willing to part with our money unless at least a portion of it is purchasing a fantastic prize (that we will most likely NOT win) in return for our 'generosity?' Evidently, we're more interested in gambling than we are in supporting charity. That just makes me sad.

I dare you to go out and do something nice for someone you know today -- just for the heck of it. Maybe even for a stranger. Or make a donation to a cause near and dear to your heart, simply because you have the resources, be it time or money. But do it because, as a Christian, it's part of service and ministry. Do it because you WANT to and because you feel good about doing it. Not because you'll get something in return.

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Peanut Gallery

>> Saturday, September 1, 2007

My cousin owns the field that virtually surrounds our yard and now for the few days it takes to harvest it, my Peanut has been riding with him in the combine or with his dad in the grain truck during Pumpkin's nap time.

What follows is a conversation Farmer reported having with my 5-1/2 year old the other day.

Peanut: So when do you think you will be done this field, Farmer?

Farmer: I'm not sure -- probably another day or two. It might rain again tonight. I don't really know.

Peanut (very matter-of-factly): Well. I think you will finish tomorrow. (Pause) Because I know everything.


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