Summer breeze, makes me feel fine...

>> Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Woo-hoo, summer holidays officially kick off today! Fidget's last day of kindergarten was Friday and Peanut's Grade 2 career ended yesterday.

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YES, let the sleeping in begin! (well, it'll take a while for them to get the hang of it, but give me a few weeks and they'll be sleeping until at least 8:00 every morning! I hope.)

We don't have much lined up for the summer ~ the girls were in "early bird" swimming lessons this year, so they actually finished those on Friday, too. Our calendar is literally WIDE OPEN for the next 10 weeks!! We're HOPING The Bushman will be busy working all summer, which won't allow for any travelling, but the girls and I are definitely planning to head to The Big City in the next few weeks for a change of pace. You know, once we get bored of all the sleeping in and playing all day. ;)

Peanut, Fidget and I sat down to supper at the beginning of the month and decided to set some goals for ourselves this summer. Goals for fun stuff, for educating ourselves, and for learning responsibilities. I thought I'd list them here to hopefully keep them in mind a little better!
  • Get to the local library once a week


  • Bike to the school playground once a week ~ it's only a little over a mile away, so it'll be great exercise, but nothing we can't handle. (It SHOULD be easy enough to combine these first two goals ~ the library is just a few streets over from the school.)


  • Spend 20 minutes a day in the garden ~ this one is more for me than anyone else, but it was actually Peanut's idea. I think she might be developing her dad's green thumb. I'll have to force myself, but if he's always gone, it's up to me to help her cultivate that a little more. (haha, no pun intended!) Who knows, maybe even I'll develop an interest!!


  • Teach the girls how to do some simple chores ~ like the laundry (maybe even the folding!) and to swish 'n' shine the bathroom daily. Also to make their beds every morning and keep their room a little tidier. I think we'll implement a few FlyLady tactics, like setting the timer for just 15 minutes each day and doing a "27-fling boogie."


  • Get them to take turns setting and clearing the table for supper, as well as helping me with meal prep and dishes once a week each. This will be a really tough routine for me to get into because I'll actually have to think about what all needs to get done so I can delegate and supervise properly without losing my patience!


  • Weekly piano lessons for Peanut. We started in January when I started teaching my other three students, but because we had no set day and time for lessons and because I always found convenient excuses, we never got beyond the first few lessons.


  • One craft, special activity, or playdate each week ~ and planning/prepwork for a few others to use on rainy days. (which means I may be seriously stocking up on craft supplies at the rate we're going!!)


  • Try to head to the lake or pool one afternoon a week. I'd like to buy a few new beach toys, put them in a new Rubbermaid tote, and have them stashed in the van, where they will stay. This will HOPEFULLY prevent all the "last-minute" running around that ends up taking at least half an hour!! As soon as the swimsuits are dry after each time, I want to get into the habit of immediately putting them back into the backpacks with clean towels so all we need to do the next time we want to go, is pack a snack, grab our bags, and head out! (sounds good in theory ~ we'll see how well we put this into practice!!)


  • MORE PICNICS! (With the mosquito infestation we have now as a result of all the standing water, I'm not sure how this one will go!)
Whew, it looks like a lot of goals, doesn't it?! I hope I don't get overwhelmed and discouraged! I think a little planning will go a long way ~ and it will also serve my purpose to become a more deliberate parent. I really want to try and wrap my head around the fact that I'm raising future adults. While I want them to enjoy childhood as long as possible, I also would like them to learn that responsibilities are just part of life.

And we could ALL stand to learn that if we'd just do everything right away instead of letting the job pile up, it doesn't actually take that long to do it!! I'm really bad for expecting THEM to do it that way, but have a lot of trouble practicing it myself.

Do you have any particular plans or goals this summer? (or what's left of it, for those of you who've been summer holiday-ing for a few weeks already!)

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Swimmin' with the fishies

>> Monday, June 28, 2010

Friday was a big day around here. Not only was it Fidget's Kindergarten graduation and sprinkler party, but it was also the girls' last day of swimming lessons.

I got them in the "early bird" session this year so they've been going right after school for the last two weeks. I like this better because it doesn't break up my day as much as bringing them in for an hour at 11 in the morning feels like it does. (Although if I do it this way again next year, I will need to get my act together and spend a bit more time planning suppers!! Two weeks of unbalanced, not-terribly-nutritious convenience meals gets a bit tiresome. But I'm going to blame that all on the pneumonia.)

Friday's lesson wasn't really a lesson; more of a "graduation" celebration as well. All the testing and grading had been done the day before. Both girls passed their levels ~ woo-hoo!!

After the pool party, Peanut was immediately whisked off to another pool party for a classmate's birthday party at the only INDOOR pool in town (in a local hotel) and The Bushman joined Fidget and I for a celebratory grad dinner at our favourite Chinese food restaurant.

I stayed in town to run a few little errands and wait for the birthday party to end while The Bushman took Fidget out for a celebratory slushie and then took her home. I picked up a slushie for Peanut as well before heading home ~ I'd promised them one after their last swimming lesson, but the last-minute birthday party kinda threw a wrench into that plan!

It was a long, fun-filled, high-energy day and the girls fell asleep much sooner than normal ~ which was good, because a fairly lengthy thunderstorm moved in shortly after that!

Hey, can I just draw your attention for a second to Peanut's muscular shoulders?!

M'girl's RIPPED!!!

Anyhoo... so that's pretty much it for another school year ~ Peanut's last day is today, but it's mostly just classroom clean-up and fun and games in the morning. She brought all her things home on Friday already. We'll join her for the school's farewell hotdog lunch and then attend the awards ceremony before bringing her home.

Man, where DOES the time go?!

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The Graduate.

>> Friday, June 25, 2010

My li'l Fidget and all nine of her classmates graduated from Kindergarten this afternoon.

Look ma, I have the diploma to prove it!!

She even got a graduation gift from her schoolbus driver! This woman truly goes above and beyond JUST driving the bus. ♥

After a picnic lunch with the graduates and their families, it was grad party time ~ kindergarten style!!

I got to thinking it's sad that as Grade 12 students, my classmates and I would have disdained this sort of a party and yet now, I can't help but thinking it would have been a lot more fun than a three-hour ceremony and a dinner and dance with a date I just didn't have the heart to turn down!!

Con-GRAD-ulations, Fidget!!

We're so proud of you! Teddy Grad '09


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Practicing Gratitude

>> Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thankful Thursday ~ hosted in June by Iris @ Grace AloneI'm thankful it hasn't rained much in the last week.

I'm EXTREMELY thankful for Deep Woods OFF!! I'm equally thankful for AfterBite, Calamine lotion, and Benadryl.

I'm thankful for air conditioning.

I'm thankful for a diagnosis and drugs that are supposed to make me feel like myself again soon. Three weeks is just too long to be sick. Unfortunately, this has meant cancelling plans to go camping with good friends this weekend, but I've just been too sick to do much more than the very barest of essentials around here lately. Hopefully, we'll be able to do it some other time this summer, but it's amazing how quickly the weekends fill up!

I'm thankful that my girls have enjoyed and done well with swimming lessons again this year. I'm also thankful that driving to town every single day ~ sometimes twice ~ will end tomorrow afternoon!

I'm thankful school is basically over. Fidget's kindergarten grad and class party are tomorrow and Peanut's clean-up day and awards ceremony is Monday.

I'm looking forward to a HEALTHY, slow, lazy relaxed summer.

* Click the button at the top of the post to visit our host and check out other thankful people.

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I am Property.*

>> Monday, June 21, 2010

Just lettin' ya know up front, this might sting a little. I saw it the other day over at Generation Cedar and wanted to share it here. She says it so well:

That’s right. I am a slave. I was purchased and now I no longer belong to myself, but to the One whose blood bought me.

And that changes everything.

Yelling in our ears–and from our own hearts, even, is the message “It’s about you! What feels right? What sounds right?”

Which is to be expected outside of Christ. But if you claim to be a Christian?

It is nothing about you at all. Or your feelings, or what you think life should look like.

Absolute surrender to the One who owns me is to be my sole concern.

Or He doesn’t own me.

The funny thing is, we don’t even realize we’re clasping the “me message” so tightly, but we know how we want to feel and what we want to do and if those needs aren’t being met by what we’ve learned about God…

we change Him.

But never ourselves.

He will not be changed.

Paul and the disciples of Christ understood one thing: they were not their own and whatever that meant for their lives–comfort or dejection, gain or loss, fame or persecution–it was of no matter to them. They didn’t try to fit their perception of who God is into a box that would make life “work” for them, or fulfill their emotional needs.

If Paul could hear the sniveling of our current Christianity:

“But if I believe that about God it makes me feel bad and I can’t serve a God like that.”

Most of us wouldn’t stand two minutes in the shoes of those Christians who were cast out, hated, tortured and martyred for their faith.

There needs to be a name for this “new Christianity” which is not Christianity at all.

"Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’"
As purchased property, all that I am and all that I do and all that I believe is no longer my own. Any agenda outside of serving the One who paid for me is the wrong agenda. Self-fulfillment must die.

Hard to hear? Oh my, yes.

And our Lord knew that. And that’s why “many heard and walked away”. And that’s why, “Many will say in that day, ‘Lord, Lord’…and I will say to them, ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’.“ And that’s why “narrow is the way and few there be that find it”. And that’s why, “the world will hate you, but remember, it hated Me first”.

The only true fulfillment now is that which is found in losing my life.

To a true follower of Christ, this realization is the sweetest thought that ever entered the mind–a free-fall back into the arms of grace, completely trusting my life into His hands, the One who formed me and knows what is best for me.

To the impostor, it is repulsive.

And the greatest of ironies comes rushing in:

“If the Son has set you free (i.e. you have become My bond-servant), you are FREE indeed!”

* Reprinted here with express permission from Kelly, the Word Warrior @ Generation Cedar

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A Prayer for Fathers

>> Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lord, please bless our fathers, these men who mean so much to us, who are greatly responsible for who we are and who we are becoming.

Bless them for having the courage to do what’s necessary to keep us out of trouble, for making us do the right thing, for helping us build our character, even when it makes us angry; and bless them for pushing us to do our best, even when they just want to love us.

Bless our fathers for being our protectors, for leading us through stormy times to safety, for making us believe that everything will be all right and for making it so.

Bless our fathers for quietly making a living to provide for those they love most, for giving us food, clothing, shelter and the other material things that really matter, for unselfishly investing time and money in us that they could have spent on themselves.

Bless our fathers, Lord, for saving some energy for fun, for leading us on adventures to explore the outer reaches of ourselves, for making us laugh, for being our playmates and our friends.

Bless them for being our secure foundation, our rock, for holding on tight to us...until it’s time to let us go Lord, bless these men we look up to, our role models, our heroes, our fathers.

In Jesus’ name we pray,
Amen.


~ Joanna Fuchs


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Trying to be grateful!

>> Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thankful Thursday ~ hosted in June by Iris @ Grace AloneUgh. The rain is back. We SO don't need it! But here I am anyway, trying desperately to think of all the things I'm thankful for DESPITE all the standing water...

(thankfully, none of which is in my basement)

((YET!!))

So I forgot to post last week. And when I finally thought of it on Thursday, I'll admit, I didn't really feel very thankful.

I was sick.

And I'd already BEEN sick for a few days.

In fact, I'd thought I was on the mend, when suddenly my head cold became a chest cold. I spent three days doing just the barest of essentials around the house. And blowing my nose.

And though I still can't breathe properly through my nose and my head still feels like it's 5 lbs heavier than normal, I'm thankful that at least my cough is gone and things are getting done around here again!! And I'm so thankful that it isn't anything worse than just a nagging head cold. If that's the worst of my health issues, I can't really complain.

I'm thankful we got a break from the rain, even though it wasn't nearly long enough for anyone's liking!! But hey, at least we got FIVE STRAIGHT DAYS without rain before it started again last night! We really don't need more rain (the understatement of the year!), but they're predicting heavy storms and another 2-3 inches in the next 36 hours ~ we're even under a flood-watch. I'm fervently praying it won't amount to nearly that much because we still had standing water all over the place from the last rains. The farmers are losing hope for a good harvest.

My youngest daughter's 6th birthday was on Tuesday and I was reminded again of how thankful I am for my girls. Oh sure, they drive me nuts some days, but I've been blessed with two very special young ladies. They play endlessly together, virtually quarrel-free, and they never need entertaining when they're together. I'm so proud of how polite they are around grown-ups and I'm especially delighted that they're willing to eat almost anything! That seems to be something of an oddity, but it suits my penchant for kitchen experimentation perfectly!! I'm looking forward to bringing them in on the planning and cooking aspects of our meals this summer.

And, with Fathers Day coming up, I'm reminded of how thankful I am for my husband, too. I love how hard he's willing to work to make sure I can stay home with the girls, even though he often ends up feeling like a delinquent dad because he's gone so much. He's sacrificed countless evenings and nights at home (and many weekends, too), but when he IS home, the girls pretty much have his undivided attention during their waking hours. The weeks (and months!) when there's no work for him are HEAVEN for them!!

He spends so much time with them ~ playing with them, working in the yard with them, taking them with him to work on the semi-trucks if he knows it isn't going to take too long, getting them to help him with little projects around the house, making breakfasts together.... He's so much more patient with them than I am!!

I know the girls would love him to be around every evening and for every school event, and are terribly disappointed when he isn't, but I can't imagine there's any question in their minds about whether or not he cares about them. He's VERY interested in their lives, and makes very sure his limited time at home is high quality time.

I'm so thankful for my family!!


* Click the button at the top of the post to visit our host and check out other thankful people.

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My "baby" is SIX!

>> Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I can't believe I have a 6-yr old. I mean, a SECOND 6-yr old! Peanut's 6th birthday came and went a while ago already, but today, my li'l Fidget has her 6th birthday. I can hardly believe it.

What floors me even more is knowing that in just 12 short weeks, she will start school full-time, and my house will be empty and quiet all day, EVERY day. I used to look forward to that, but now....

Now I can't help but dreading it a little.

Though it drives me a little nuts many times, I've gotten used to the CONSTANT sound of her voice.

I love her cuddliness despite the craziness.

I love her creativity despite her microscopic attention span.

I love her enthusiasm despite her lack of volume control.

I love her ever-ready smile despite her stubbornness.

I LOVE the way she and her sister play together for hours and how Fidget depends on her sister's presence in the room for a good night's sleep.

I love her bright, shining, break-through moments of sensitivity and gentle thoughtfulness despite the cloud of self-absorption that enshrouds her.

I love her strong desire to help despite her disinterest in following instructions!

I just love her.

And though some days I can't hardly imagine missing her boistrous little busy-body, her careless, carefree, distracted approach to life, and her high-decibel voice....

I know there will be many days when the house is just TOO quiet.

I love you, Miss Fidget. You're my favourite little little girl. Who's-not-going-to-be-little-for-very-much-longer-and-then-I-will-have-to-think-up-a-new-way-to-distinguish-one-favourite-daughter-from-the-other...

Happy Birthday!


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I've had almost enough...

>> Friday, June 11, 2010

After almost 3 weeks straight of rainy weather, I find myself asking,

Seriously.


(But I'll admit it, maintaining a positive attitude is getting more and more difficult with each passing rainy day!!)

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Thoughts on thunderheads.

>> Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I went for a quick walk Sunday afternoon, hoping to beat the rain. Which I did, but just barely! The clouds were advancing quickly, but for most of my walk, the sun was still shining.

It always sort of interests me how dark and scary the distant clouds look when the sun is still shining.

And yet, as soon as the sun goes behind a cloud, suddenly the thunderheads closing in don't look nearly as menacing.

I got to thinking how that is exactly the way it is with Christians and sin. When we're walking in the Sonlight, using Him and His Word as our filter, sin seems really bad. Even the "smaller" sins. But when we step into the shade, the badness fades a little because the stark contrast between light and darkness is lost.

I wonder how many "grey areas" are actually grey, or just appear that way because we're viewing them from a spot in the shade rather than in full Sonlight?

Oh, that we would remember where we're standing makes a difference in what we're viewing!

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Have I Really Been Transformed?

>> Monday, June 7, 2010

Monarch Life Cycle poster @ MilkweedCafe.comThere were hints of it months ago already, but it's become very obvious lately.

I mean, certain pride issues I've been aware of for quite some time ~ some most of my life ~ but this one wasn't even a potential problem until about a year ago.

You see, about a year ago I started praying that God would give me an unquenchable thirst for Him. An unsatiable hunger for His Word. And He's really answered ~ almost instantly, and in a much bigger way than I expected.

Almost overnight, I quit watching daytime TV (which, by the way, I've never regretted or struggled with for even a moment since), started journalling through my Bible reading, and started DESIRING to read my Bible every day. I developed a keen interest in books designed to help my spiritual growth.

But there's been a trade-off. As a result of all this reading and interest in knowledge, there has been far more conviction and conscience-pricking about stuff I've never thought about before as even requiring deeper thought and examination. There have been numerous discussions and arguments with The Bushman, who doesn't always feel convicted in the same areas I do, or to the same extent, which sometimes translates to a bit of additional stress in the home. I suspect there are people who probably think I've gone off the deep end.

And maybe I have. But I tell ya, I think this past year is the first time in my life that I've really taken my faith seriously and tried to really understand how it's supposed to make my life look. It is, after all, supposed to be a TRANSFORMING faith.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

With the home and church background I grew up in, I don't know that my life would have looked much different even if I hadn't become a Christian. It's tough to speculate, but I can't really imagine being terribly different from the way I've always been even if I'd never made the choice to give my life to God. Yet now I suddenly need there to be hard evidence that I have indeed been transformed.

I realize there hasn't been much of that in my life.

Yes, I have a saving faith. But beyond that, I have very little. My relationship with Him has never grown much past my initial confession of faith. Which most of the people currently in my life weren't around to witness and which means very little without further evidence anyway.

So this past year has been very exciting in that respect.

But if we read one verse further in Romans 12 we see this: "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

And now I'm faced with a new challenge: how to avoid feeling a bit smug and superior with my newfound knowledge and discernment, as limited as it still is. (Funny how the more you know, the more you realize you really DON'T.) ~ and being critical of other believers who aren't as intense about spiritual growth as I happen to be right now. How to entice and inspire others to want to thirst more rather than just showing off my thirst.

I don't WANT to be off-putting. I don't WANT to look and sound like a know-it-all, like I have heard from the Almighty on whatever subject we're discussing and am therefore the authority on it. I don't WANT anyone to feel like I'm looking down on them because they don't seem to have done the studying I have or have the same new perspective and insight I now have. (if I indeed have those...)

But I suspect they do sometimes.

And I need to repent of my pride.

Because what I DO want is to develop a manner that makes people want to dig deeper. I DO want people to get excited about learning by observing my desire to learn. I DO want people to see the benefits of spiritual growth. I want to inspire others to "thirst for more thirst."

And above all, I want people to have to ask for my opinion instead of being subjected to it regardless of whether they're interested in it or not. I want to learn to listen more and speak less.

::sigh::

I guess the "dignity" part of my Proverbs 31:25 goal still needs a bit of work as well.

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It's been SO wet...

>> Friday, June 4, 2010

Rain CloudAnd in celebration of the 5 MORE days of rain that are predicted in the current forecast, here's a bit of highly appropriate humour. Well, appropriate for the situation, anyway. Some might find it inappropriate for this blog, but it made me laugh out loud anyway...

A curious fellow died one day and found himself waiting in the long line of judgment.

As he stood there he noticed that some souls were allowed to march right through the pearly gates into Heaven. Others though, were led over to Satan who threw them into the burning pit. But every so often, instead of hurling a poor soul into the fire, Satan would toss it off to one side onto a small pile.

After watching Satan do this several times, the fellow's curiosity got the best of him. He strolled over and asked Satan what he was doing.

"Excuse me, Prince of Darkness," he said. "I'm waiting in line for judgment, but I couldn't help wondering, why are you tossing those people aside instead of flinging them into the Fires of Hell with the others?"

"Oh those," Satan groaned. "They're all from Manitoba. It's only halfway through summer and they're still too cold and wet to burn."

Happy weekend, y'all! Hope you're stayin' high and dry!

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Practicing Gratitude

>> Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thankful Thursday ~ hosted in June by Iris @ Grace AloneI have an oven I don't like very much. (An odd sentence to kick off a Thankful Thursday post, I know, but hang in there!!)

My Facebook status on Tuesday afternoon read: Tammi is tired of needing to experiment with her oven's times and temps each time she bakes. (Not to mention all the burned goodies in the meantime!) Anyone want to buy me a new one for my birthday? You've still got 11 weeks to save up!

There were two commenters almost immediately, complaining of virtually the same thing.

At first, I was a little put out and extremely tempted to play the "but I've got it worse than you do, and I'll prove it to you" game.

But then I came to grips with myself and decided, hey, at least I don't have to gather sticks and start a fire to bake each day. The stovetop works just fine. The broil works just fine. Even the bake function works just fine ~ as long as you stick with casseroles and roasts! Even at 50 degrees cooler and 3/4 the recommended cooking time, smaller items like biscuits, cookies, muffins, and desserts often get a little too dark. Sometimes outright burnt!

It annoys me no end!!!! I HATE that!

But it really is a matter of perspective. Of having a heart-attitude of gratitude. I really could be a lot worse off.

I have an oven that works, for the most part. Most of the time, it cooks us wonderful food (if I do say so myself!). And if I would bake cookies, muffins, dainties, and biscuits a bit more often, I'd probably have all its little quirks down to a science by now!!

I'm so thankful that no matter how "poor" I sometimes think we are, I've always been able to buy groceries for the occasional batch of cookies. And let's face it, cookies ~ and desserts in general ~ are luxuries.

Another thing that doesn't always make me very happy is my lack of window coverings. Especially the south-facing window above my kitchen sink. That sun is BLINDING in there some days and I'd REALLY like a REAL blind or cute curtain.

But I'm thankful I have extra tea towels so that I can use one to block the sun while I'm washing dishes and still have plenty for drying the dishes.

I'm blessed to have walls around me that need windows to let in light and fresh air.

And speaking of washing dishes, I'm blessed to have so much food to dirty so many pots, pans, cups, plates, bowls, and cutlery!!

I'm blessed to have running water in my house and even though I have to wash every single pot, pan, cup, plate, bowl, and piece of cutlery by hand, I don't first have to walk 7 miles to a well and then 7 miles back again with a heavy pail of water before I can do it.

According to a study I read somewhere not long ago, that's the worldwide AVERAGE distance to the nearest water source.

I never have to walk more than a couple of paces to turn on the tap for hot OR cold water.

And it's even safe to drink.

I have so much to be thankful for ~ my window tea towel and my finicky stove and washing dishes by hand are only three little reminders of countless blessings!!

* Click the button at the top of the post to visit our host and check out other thankful people.

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WW: After the Rain...

>> Wednesday, June 2, 2010




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