You'd think sticking to "the schedule" wouldn't be that difficult.
I mean, look at it ~ there's almost NOTHING on it!
I seem to need a constant reminder that my day isn't supposed to be about ME.
It's supposed to be about my little people. Serving them, training them, and discipling them all at the same time. Creating memories and developing life-skills while enjoying life!
It's supposed to be about my husband, and making our house a haven for him ~ a place he actually WANTS to return to at the end of the day. A place where he feels respected, honoured, and in charge after a day or week of uncontrollable business-related chaos.
It's supposed to be about family and friends; about purposefully being a blessing to THEM. Investing time and energy to cement friendships so they will be life-giving and life-lasting. Being the kind of friend I'd like to have.
Yes, it's great when my day goes my way ~ the way I planned for it to go. Thank you for those days.
Oh God, please help me to be gracious on those OTHER days! Help me to see the opportunities you place in my path ~ those things that so often look like obstacles along the way to my own personal comfort and satisfaction ~ and help me recognize them as gifts from you and be grateful for them. Help me address them and handle them in a way that honours you and displays your glory for others to see.
Help me love and desire YOUR schedule for my day, precious Jesus.
Monday, May 31, 2010
You'd think sticking to "the schedule" wouldn't be that difficult.
Labels: Happy HomeKeeper
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Her original diagnosis was an aggressive uterine cancer, but after the surgery, the surgeon and specialist changed their minds and had her biopsies re-tested just to be sure.
Praise God, her cancer was NOT aggressive, was only in the VERY early stages when it was detected, and was completely contained in the removed organs!!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It's claiming (or reclaiming) a domain almost lost in our society. This domain--home, we call it--has been surrendered piece by piece to fast food joints, social clubs, satellite TV, internet, smart phones, and a million little devices and appliances that claim to to make our lives easier. And yet the hub of all life--the home, has been whittled away. It's scarce these days for families to sit around a table eating a home cooked meal, having engaging conversation, and priceless bonding. Table linens and the good china are brought out only on special occassions and sometimes not even then. Where are the cosy little nooks where mother and child snuggle together with a good book? Where are the lazy afternoons laying on the lawn together, looking at the clouds? Where do the young people go when they need a good cry? Do they bury their faces in Mama's apron and know somehow that everything will be OK?
I wear my apron with pride. It's my way of saying it's OK--in fact, it's more than OK, it's great!--to be "just a housewife." I get to wipe the tears and bind up broken hearts. I get to make messes in the kitchen and clean them up. I get to wipe up spills and sweep crumb-covered floors. I get to clean up after some fantastic little people who are worthy of all my hard work. They are princes and priests and I am sowing seeds into the harvest of their greatness. I am blessed to be able to have a place that is mine--to express myself in all the details, all the nooks and crannies. A vase of flowers here. A piece of homemade art there.
This apron is my uniform. It says that I am on duty.
What other profession in the world allows one the freedom of full expression? What other profession lets you change directions in the middle of a project? Let's put away the math books and bake some cookies. What other profession pays you in the early morning warmth of a cuddly child who smells so sweet? Can anything be compared to a child reaching into your apron pocket looking for a toy, a piece of gum, or a sticker and then looking up to you with eyes that say, "Thanks Mom" even if his lips don't?
I am a woman.
I am a housewife.
I am a cultural revolutionary.
I am ready and on duty.
When I put on my apron I feel empowered.
Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear aprons.
Reprinted with permission.
Labels: Happy HomeKeeper
Monday, May 24, 2010
...thy name is Fidget.
My Li'l Fidget has a listening problem. Not a hearing problem ~ her ears work JUST FINE! It's the listening that she seems to have trouble with. And it's not even that she's willfully disobedient; she's just self-absorbed. ALL. THE. TIME.
She is literally consumed by her own thoughts almost all the time, to the complete exclusion of virtually everything and everyone around her. She never thinks about anything but herself RIGHT. NOW. It's highly aggravating and annoying sometimes. I hate it that nothing is important until someone's threatening punishment or raising their voice in frustration.
And by someone, of course, I don't mean me.
But every now and again she'll surprise me. Like last Thursday while I was mowing lawn. Her older sister was at school, and it was a beautiful, summer-like day. Fidget didn't want to be in the house by herself, even though I was just chasing the roaring push-mower around the yard.
For two hours.
In the hot sun.
I saw her grab an old lawnchair that's been rotting out in the garden for who-knows-how-long and set it up on the front lawn, very close to where I was huffing and puffing. By this time, I'd been mowing for over an hour and the mower's gas tank was getting parched.
I turned off the mower and rolled it over to the garage to fill the tank. Fidget emerged from the house with a small cup of water.
As I wiped the sweat from my eyes and enjoyed the feeling of it trickling down my back and my front and making my clothing stick, I shook my head as I assumed she was pulling up a front-row seat to enjoy the show: mom labouring behind the lawnmower, swiping at mosquitoes and loose hair getting plastered to her face with sweat....
I pushed the mower back to where I'd left off, walking right past her and her ratty old chair in the meantime.
She held out the cup.
"I got this for you, mama. Do you want to sit down in the shade and enjoy it?"
I really wanted to get the job done as soon as possible. I generally break up my mowing job into two days to make it a bit more manageable, but we were going away for the long weekend and it really needed to get done before we left. It's relatively early in the lawnmowing season around here in my neck of the woods ~ I think this is only the third time the entire lawn has been mowed ~ and so to suddenly have to push-mow for 2 straight hours after 7 months of no mowing at all.... well, it's hard on a body!
I just wanted to get the job over with. I didn't really want to take a break. Because I knew how hard it would be to get up again if I sat down!
But I couldn't turn her down. My little angel of mercy on that hot summer afternoon with a drink of water that she'd poured all by herself from the jug in the fridge. Just for me.
I gingerly lowered myself into the torn chair in the shade, afraid it might not hold me, and have never enjoyed half a cup of water as much as I did that one. When I was finished, she took the cup from me, skipped up the walk and took it back into the house. I waited for a few moments and then concluded she'd decided to stay inside.
I marvelled at the cute little mystery that is my Fidget. So completely random and surprising sometimes. I smiled to myself and got up to finish the mowing.
And getting up out of the chair was no problem after all.
Labels: The Small Fries
Friday, May 21, 2010
I decided I wasn't quite finished talking about chapter 7: Living to Prove He is More Precious Than Life after all. (surprise, surprise)
I shared the main points of conviction (for myself) in my post on Monday, but author John Piper brings up a really interesting theme that carries through the whole chapter and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.
The idea is that Christians live with either a wartime or a peacetime mind-set regarding faith. Piper says:
Sometimes I use the phrase "wartime lifestyle" or "wartime mind-set..." It tells me that there is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief. It tells me that there are weapons to be funded and used, but that these weapons are not swords or guns or bombs but the Gospel and prayer and self-sacrificing love (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And it tells me that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite: heaven or hell, eternal joy or eternal torment (Matthew 25:46).Piper goes on to give a few examples of life during various wars in which America participated, citing how cutting back and pitching in to support the war effort was generally universally accepted. Making sacrifices to this end was considered an honour ~ people were happy to help in any way they could. In addition, the folks back home regularly tuned in to the news ~ if they had a radio or television (depending on which war we're talking about!) ~ or picked up newspapers, thirsty for word from the front lines.
I need to hear this message again and again, because I drift into a peacetime mind-set as certainly as rain falls down and flames go up. I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home." Before you know it, I am calling luxuries "needs" and using my money just the way unblievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached peoples drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink in to a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set. (p 111-112)
Obviously, people have questioned Piper's use of this analogy and wondered why he wouldn't just say a simple lifestyle instead of a wartime lifestyle. (You know, so it would sound more appealing!) He responds, stating "Simplicity may have a romantic ring to it and a certain aesthetic appeal that is foreign to the dirty business of mercy in the dangerous places of the world... Simplicity may be inwardly directed and may benefit no one else. A wartime lifestyle implies that there is a great and worthy cause for which to spend and be spent (2 Corinthians 12:15)." (p 113-114; emphasis mine)
After discussing a few other topics, he ends the chapter with several inspiring examples of courage, desire, and determination certain young men demonstrated during the US' participation in the Second World War. The valour these particular individuals displayed is undeniable. Their sense of honour and duty is incredible. Their willingness to sacrifice their lives in order to save others, both on the field and back home, is humbling and absolutely awe-inspiring.
In closing the chapter, Piper raises this cry: "Oh, that young and old would... dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand times more important than American democracy!" (p 128-129; emphasis mine)
And it got me thinking... Is God more important to me than my rights, my citizenship, my freedom? Is He more important than my friends, my reputation, and my leisure time? How vulnerable is my heart to the seduction of the peacetime mind-set, which is pushed into my mind every day by the media and entertainment? Do I crave news from those actively spreading Gospel at home and abroad? Do I celebrate with them over their victories and pray for them in their struggles? Does my lifestyle here at home assist their efforts or make a mockery of their message?
Just how important to me is it to be able to make sacrifices in support of the "war effort?" Do I have a deliberate, focused, wartime mind-set, or am I drifting aimlessly, seduced by a carefree peacetime mind-set?
Which one does my lifestyle indicate I have?
Labels: On the Soapbox
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I am so thankful for the AMAZING weather we've had again over the last week! It was between 25-30C (77-86F) pretty much the whole time.
We put in our garden on Saturday and with perfect timing, we had a short, mild thundershower in the evening. Just enough rain ~ and just the right kind of rain ~ to gently soak our freshly planted seeds and leave us with crisp, rain-scented air for the evening. Sunday was about the same. I just love how everything smells after a rain! And thunder is just exciting. (although when I heard its steady rumble as the storm clouds approached on my Sunday afternoon walk, I decided I definitely prefer hearing it from INDOORS!!)
Our windbreak is leaved-out enough that we can't see traffic on the road anymore, which means the girls actually have to wait outside at the end of the driveway for the bus each morning. They can't just wait to leave the house until I yell from the bedroom that it's coming down the road. Of course, since it isn't -40, they don't much care!!
And the bees, wasps and other winged creatures are LOVING our plum tree blossoms.
At the bird feeder in front of the dining room window, we've delighted to see chipping sparrows, harris sparrows, white-throated sparrows, rose-breasted grosbeaks and goldfinches in addition to the chickadees that feed there year-round. Their songs are such a wonderful chorus each morning and evening! (now if only we could get the magpies to sing in beautiful harmony instead of such raucous cacophony!!) The hummingbirds should arrive within a week or so.
I LOVE summer!!! And I'm so thankful we've been able to experience it so early this year!
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Courtesy of Mr. John Piper, once again.
I finished reading Don't Waste Your Life last night and for me, chapter 7: Living to Prove He is More Precious Than Life, was undoubtedly the most highly uncomfortable chapter. He begins to flesh out a lifestyle that no longer finds security where most do. (I posted on chapter 5 and "Exploding the Myth of Safety" here) He encourages his readers to really examine their own lives to see if they are devoted to getting and maintaining things ~ making Christ look like nothing more than a religious side-interest useful for escaping hell ~ or if they are making much of God, displaying Him as an all-satisfying treasure.
It's a long chapter and though they all flow together, he seems to cover a wide range of subjects. I'm not going to attempt to summarize or give any more by way of a review than I already have. I'm just going to share with you the sections I found particularly convicting.
When was the last time someone asked you about "the reason for the hope that is in you?" That's what Peter said we should always be ready to give an answer for: 'Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you' (I Peter 3:15).
Why don't people ask us about our hope? The answer is probably that we look as if we hope in the same things they do. (108-109)
People who are content with the avoidance ethic generally ask the wrong questions about behavior. They ask, What's wrong with it? What's wrong with this movie? Or this music? Or this game? Or these companions? Or this way of relaxing? Or this investment? Or this restaurant? Or shopping at this store? What's wrong with going to the cabin every weekend? Or having a cabin? This kind of question will rarely yield a lifestyle that commends Christ as all-satisfying and makes people glad in God. It simply results in a list of don'ts. It feeds the avoidance ethic.
The better questions to ask about possible behaviors is: How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will it help me show that I do treasure Christ? How will it help me know Christ or display Christ? The Bible says, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). So the question is mainly positive, not negative. How can I portray God as glorious in this action? How can I enjoy making much of him in this behavior?
Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud ~ just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend ~ woven around church (mostly). This is life for millions of people. Wasted life. We were created for more, far more. (118-119)
TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you're watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels. (120)
It is one of the defining marks of Our Time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that he is ethereal but rather that he has become unimportant. He rests upon the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable. He has lost his saliency for human life. Those who assure the pollsters of their belief in God's existence may nonetheless consider him less interesting than television, his commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, his judgment no more awe-inspiring than the evening news, and his truth less compelling than the advertisers' sweet fog of flattery and lies. That is weightlessness. It is a condition we have assigned him after having nudged him out to the periphery of our secularized life... Weightlessness tells us nothing about God but everything about ourselves, about our condition, about our psychological disposition to exclude God from our reality. (121, quoting David Wells)
I think not ONE of my poor toes has been left un-stepped upon! How are yours doing?
Labels: On the Soapbox
Friday, May 14, 2010
Do you remember the December '08 post about our dog dancing with the neighbour's dog? Go ahead and refresh your memory... I'll wait.
Well, it's been a long time coming, but I think Bear may no longer be the alpha male.
On Wednesday, The Bushman and Fidget were "relocating" some small evergreens from the ditch near our house to various points in our windbreak and apparently, Shadow found a hole that needed biggering.
So he began to dig with a passion. The Bushman said the dirt was just flyin.'
Which piqued Bear's interest.
Now, usually when Bear's interest is piqued by something Shadow is doing, he charges over, teeth bared and snarling, and Shadow almost immediately backs off and rolls over. It's truly infuriating because Shadow's bigger, faster, and stronger! Whatever.
But this time, Shadow took exception and the two dogs had a short but somewhat vicious "sorting-out." And Shadow returned to the hole he'd been digging.
While Bear went home with a torn ear, his white coat thoroughly discoloured with his own blood.
Later in the evening, I went for a walk and both dogs came with me, like usual. Bear, all rust-coloured and a little stiff-looking; Shadow, his clueless, happy-go-lucky self.
For the most part, they acted like they always do, but there were two notable exceptions: there was no tussling, which usually happens numerous times along the walk.
And whenever Shadow got to sniff something first, Bear waited his turn.
I do believe we have us a new pack leader.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I am so thankful the sun and warm temperatures are back!! Seemed like it had been so long again!
Before we left for Vegas, part of my lawn was beginning to look like it would need its first mowing soon. We had two relatively nice days after we got back ~ which were filled with unpacking and reorganizing and trying to get back into a normal routine! ~ and then a week of rain.
The rain let up for this past weekend, just enough time that when my sister-in-law/cousin and her family came up for the weekend, we could send our kids outside to play. (And our husbands!) And then the rain returned for Monday and Tuesday.
Today it was FINALLY sunny and warm again!
And now the grass is seriously out of hand!! Earlier in the week, The Bushman got my push-mower ready, so I think tomorrow will be the day. Tomorrow NEEDS to be the day! He does the bulk of our 4-acre yard with the tractor and 6-ft mower, but right around the house, the play structure, garden shed, under the plum trees, etc., is my job with the push-mower.
And as crazy as it might sound, I'm thankful mowing season is upon us!! I love mowing lawn! I love the way it smells. I love the way I can get some serious exercise without having the leave the yard ~ perfect for when The Bushman is away driving semi and I can't go for my customary 2-mile walk/jog. I love that the entire job takes me about an hour and a half and that it has to be done twice a week because that means, for at least the first half of the summer, I can easily get a good 45-minute workout four days a week!
I'm so thankful the days are getting so nice and long. I'm so much more energetic when the sun is up!!
I'm thankful The Bushman has been home the last two weeks (even though it means little to no paycheque) because he's been able to do a bunch of things around the house and yard to get it ready for summer while still being able to pay all sorts of attention to the girls. He's even repairing the rust spot on my van!!
I'm thankful for GREEN! After all this rain, the warmth and sunlight is producing an abundance of it! YAY!!
I'm thankful I serve a God who is in control of the seasons, even if they don't necessarily always display the conditions I'd like!
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Monday, May 10, 2010
Wow, it's been forever since I won a blogging award or someone
tagged hi-fived me for a meme hoopla. Most of you probably don't even know that my cousin Andrea renamed these things wa-a-ay back in December '07 because several of us really hated that word ~ that's about how long it's been!!
And now here I've been awarded/tagged with a 2-in-1 dealy by my friend Jennifer, who happens to be a fellow Manitoban AND actually grew up in The Valley!!
So now I'm supposed to answer a bunch of random questions she dreamed up. Here goes:
If you could go anywhere for a vacation, money no object, where would you go and why? Who would you take with you? Oh my goodness, I don't even know where to start! I think, if money was no object, we'd buy a truck and a 5th wheel camper, pull the girls out of school for a year, and homeschool them while we toured North America.
What has been your biggest challenge as an adult? MOTHERHOOD!
What are you currently reading? What led you to that book? I'm reading Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy John Piper (I may have mentioned him before!), but quite honestly, I'm not sure what prompted me to buy this book. I think the title caught my eye. Since my goal is to be a more visible Christian with a more meaningful life, I guess I kinda thought he might be on to something. I've been reading a few other things in the meantime, so it's taking me a little longer than usual to finish it, even though it's quite easy reading. Despite being incredibly well-educated and cerebral, Piper writes very plainly.
I just finished reading Visibility by Boris Starling last night. It's a spy novel, which is my favourite genre of fiction, and the hardcover copy cost me $0.99 at a second-hand store, so even though it turned out to be only a mediocre story, the bargain alone makes it appealing!! (though the author's note at the end of the book throws a whole new light on the story, so I might have to read it again!)
What is one thing you will never ever ever eat? Why? STEAK TARTARE!! Because no matter how fancy you make it look, it's still raw meat and eggs!!! All health risks aside (of which, supposedly, there are none IF this meal is made correctly), I'm just completely turned off at the thought of eating raw meat and having that raw egg slither down my throat!! BLECGH!
It is Sunday morning, 10:00 AM. What are you doing? I'm in church, waiting for the service to begin, possibly at the piano, just finishing off the last pre-service hymn.
Which is more important to you? A tidy home or a clean home? Is there a difference to you? I'm good with tidy and clean-to-the-naked-eye. I love the saying, "My home is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be called 'home.'" I like being able to see the floor instead of laundry and the kitchen counter instead of dirty dishes, but my floors could stand to be cleaner, the dust bunnies are never completely erradicated, and I can't remember the last time I washed the windows.
If you were given a full-ride scholarship to the post-secondary institution of your choice, where would you go? What courses would you take? I can't imagine going back to school. I STILL haven't figured out what I'd really like to be when I grow up! I have too many interests, I guess. I'm content with stay-at-home mom-ing it. Although a course in vegetable- and flower-gardening might serve me well!
Would you rather go to an action movie or a girly movie? Action.
If/when you start to grow grey hair, will you wear it with pride or dye it into submission? Oh man, this ship has sailed SO-O-O many years ago!! I've had stray grey hairs since my mid-teens!! Have never dyed it and don't intend to start. I'm really lazy (and cheap) with my hair and I just can't stand the thought of constantly having to pay to maintain the look.
Dogs or cats? I'd definitely call myself a dog person, but right now, we've only got one dog. And four cats, one of which is pregnant!
Great questions, Jen!! This was fun!
And now, the rules of this award/hoopla state that I must tag others and make up questions for THEM to answer. But, I've decided I really like the questions Jen asked me, so I'm going to leave them the next bunch, who are:
Labels: It's All About Me
Friday, May 7, 2010
Our last day here. Interesting how in some ways, the holiday felt way too short and yet by this time, we kinda wondered what we should do with ourselves this day! A friend had recommended Red Rock Canyon, so that's what we decided to do. We returned to the cheapness of Fremont Street for a brunch buffet and then headed west:
Can I just say, from what we saw, residential Vegas is really scenic and very well kept. And the roads.... oh my goodness, Manitoba drivers only DREAM of roads like these!!
Here's our first glimpse of this unusual canyon. We're just inside the park area (admission is $5/vehicle), which is located on the outskirts of the city:
Isn't that incredible?! It's such a random piece of rocky weirdness!!
Look how it rises suddenly out of rolling hillside!
I wanted a picture of myself and The Bushman together here and while we were precariously jockeying for position, my friend snapped this picture:
Here's the PROPER one!
(I have to admit, the first one is far more characteristic!!)
After we'd looked around a bit at the main attraction, we continued up the winding road to get some different perspectives of the canyon.
The other side also seems to suddenly spring from rolling land, but the rocks look VERY different! The Red Rocks are just off the picture to the left.
Here's a view of the Red Rocks from further up the road.
Right about then, my cousin, who'd taken the driver's seat for the day, decided to see if our little buggy could be used for off-roading...
He managed to get the one back tire about 6" off the ground. I bet our reaction was the most fun those boys had all day!!
Here all four tires are back on the road and in motion, taking us to the opposite side of the canyon:
At the far end of the loop, we found two great little trees ~ this cute, visually captivating, one-sided specimen:
...and this beautiful, pink-blossom-covered one:
We finished the scenic drive and headed back to The Strip because I'd kind of wanted to see Caesar's Palace and The Forum Shops, although after we got home again, I realized we missed Bonnie Springs by only a couple of miles. I REALLY wish we'd gone there instead! (next time I win a trip to Vegas, I guess!)
While the boys did their thing in the casino, my friend and I took an hour to cruise the shopping complex. Here's the sculpture and fountain by the Trevi restaurant:
Man, that fountain was so thunderous, I don't think I'd have enjoyed a dining experience there very much!
This was just outside The Cheesecake Factory and Bath & Bodyworks:
Apparently there's a show here periodically throughout the day, but we didn't know about it and didn't have time to watch it anyway ~ we were due to meet our husbands in about half an hour, we were still only about halfway through that side of the Forum, and we wanted to walk back outside yet to look at the statues we'd seen from the road a little closer!
But first we went into a furniture and lighting store where we were completely awe-struck by 20,000-dollar chandeliers, and then we took a moment to look over the entrance to the Forum ~ we hadn't realized there was more than one level until we got here!!
After we collected our men, we wandered over to the open-air Hawaiian Marketplace and caught a bit of live entertainment. Man, you just have no idea how relieved I am they never selected me to join the traditional dancing demonstration!! Or THIS particular dance:
After browsing through the kiosks, we drove back to our hotel to park the buggy and wander one last time down "our end" of The Strip to pick up a few last souvenirs. And to get one last view of "The City of Entertainment":
The end. I hope you enjoyed the tour!
Leaving was kinda sad, but coming home was so good.