Friday, August 27, 2010

Lunch with Hubby

Every couple from time to time deserve a break. Ours today was a quick lunch at a "family" restaurant without Malachi. A mid-day date. Rarity indeed. Neither of us could quite remember the last time we did it. It was quite reminicent of the "good" old days pre-Malachi.

Don't get me wrong. We both love Malachi unconditionally and without regret. He is the common centre of our universe. But it was fun to sit across at each other and hold hands like teenagers and not have to keep reminding someone to eat/sit down/don't bother other people. On most occassions, dining out with little Mister is a dream compared to how I've seen other people's kids behave in public. However, considering I only have an hour to drive, be seated, order, wait, eat, pay the bill and drive back to work...3 year olds don't quite understand just how short 60 minutes are.

So we sat, ordered, waited, ate and paid the bill and chatted like 2 adults should and the hour flew by. Since we can't remember when we were able to do it last, I thought I should commemorate it with a post so next time we'll remember.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My (almost 4-year-old) "BABY"

Last night while whispering in the dark with hubby, the reality of Malachi's growing up hit me.

And I cried.


It's more than just hormones. More than coming to grips with not having another child. More than a longing to hold onto his babyhood a little longer.

He knows his birthday is just around the proverbial corner, 3 months from tomorrow to be exact. One month from tomorrow he's going to go to the 4-year-old room at daycare to join his friends with birthdays earlier in the year who have gone on before him. They have different toys and only 2 teachers. Maybe he'll even start leaving Doggy home.

And a few days after that he'll be graduating highschool and moving out with his friends.

And the week after that he'll be dropping by after his honeymoon and telling us how he and his new bride are planning to start a family.

Then he'll discuss nursing home options for his father and me.

STOP!!! Stop the world I want to get off!!!

So the basis for my tears last night, I've concluded is that everyday Malachi needs me a little less than he did the day before.

Since he's completely spoiled and babied by me and my mother, he's only just recently taken an interest in dressing himself. Now he only wants to dress himself AND pick out his own clothes. He'll ask if he needs a sweater and have an opinion on which one to wear. He'll put on his own sneakers too...and usually on the right feet.

He's too busy to eat. There's too much to do! Go outside, play in his room, watch Treehouse or a movie. "Can we go to Brookie/Madison/Nathan's house?" is a common question. And he's growing like a weed. I can barely pick him up anymore.

He still sleeps with a nightlight but says he needs the humidifier too since Dr. Elli told him to use one. Well, since Dr. Elli told him it must be necessary!

Yes, he's quite the little man. And at this rate, in a few months he'll be looking at nursing home options for himself! *sniff*

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The business (busy-ness) of LIFE

I've often thought: "What if I could clone myself?" and make SEVERAL copies. Then at the end of the day meld all these copies together so that all the memories, experiences, knowledge and sentiments will be kept together in my mind only. And then the next day start all over again. I'm thinking that if I could do this, say once a month, I could keep on top of it all and, as a bonus, keep what little sanity I have left. But I digress...

We had a very busy June: vacation, my birthday, mom's birthday...her 60th! Father's day. Compounded by Bennett being out of work since before our vacation because he lost the transmission in his truck and me starting a new job (!). I can't believe it's the 29th when it seems like the month just started yesterday. Technically I guess we lost the first 9 days since I don't keep track of the date, time or even day of the week when I'm on vacation. It's a wonder we didn't miss our flight home. What a great vacation we had.

Saturday – Left home at 10, flight at noon, 3 hour layover in Toronto and arrived Vancouver 7pm, supper with Marcella, Scott and their 2 daughters at around 9…body still on NL time (1:30 am)

Sunday – woke super early b/c still on NL time, church in New Westminster (Emmanual) at 10. Brunch in Surrey. Shopping in Fort Langley. Back to New West for church at 6pm.

Monday – took ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, did the touristy thing there, drove to Victoria, found internet cafĂ©, booked cheap room then hopped on a bus and checked out the bunny rabbits at U of V (they really do multiply like rabbits!), got back to our car then hotel and then CRASHED.

Tuesday – up and at em by 10, brekkie at McDs, more touristy stuff (horse and carriage tour, wax museum, miniature world, shopping, under sea garden, Craigdarroch Castle), took ferry to Port Angeles, WA where we lucked into another cheap (but thankfully clean and included breakfast) hotel

Wednesday – up early again to get (free) breakfast and on the road to Seattle. Beautiful city. Walked waterfront, went through Pike Market (again, awesome!). went to mall to get Monorail to Space Needle. Did tour of that, Malachi played on rides outside. I shopped at gift store…really nice gift store. Back to mall. Spent oodles of money on kids at Children’s Place. Taxi back to waterfront and car. Three hour drive back to Surrey.

Thursday – day trip back to states for more shopping (me shopping, can you believe it?) with Marcella and pastor’s wife from Grand Prairie (she came for the ladies’ retreat) then to Hope for the retreat. Ten of us stayed in a huge old house decorated with old furniture and appliances but with modern stuff too (coffee maker, thank God!) and the beds weren’t archaic either which was good. Sister Donna Linville was the speaker. She is awesome! Really really funny. She kind of reminded me of Sis Stone (she’s a large jolly type of lady) but her stories are genuinely funny (as in not just to her, haha). Night service only on Thursday and we all stayed up late in the big living room of our house chatting in our jammies! We were the only ones in the house and the people who run it don’t even stay in it; their house is next door and they just bring in breakfast and leave it in the kitchen.

Friday – Service at 10:30. Drove into Hope for lunch at a really quaint little coffee shop called The Blue Moose; coffee sizes are Small, Tall and Moose. Too cute. Yummy sandwiches and desserts. We had the afternoon to ourselves. Turkey supper and then night service.

Saturday – morning service then we were given a bag lunch to hit the road with. I drove back as far as Chilliwack with Marcella where Bennett and Malachi met us (they had a ball while I was gone and barely missed me at all!) and we went to the zoo then drove to White Rock beach (BEAUTIFUL!) and dipped my feet in the Pacific ocean!

Sunday – church in the am then lunch at Jamie’s house, back to Marcella’s for a nap and church again then back to Jamie's house for a bit and a SURPRISE little impromptu birthday party for moi! I thought that was really sweet.

Monday – we planned to drive up to Whistler but we were so tired from doing so much going we slept really late and just hung out at a mall in Surrey for the afternoon and then took a ride on the sky train and went to North Vancouver and had supper at the little market right where you get off the seabus and walked around the shops there. We took the ride back and spent half the night packing and the other half chatting.

Tuesday – we got up at 3:30 am to leave for the airport at 4 for our flight at 6 to come home. We had a 3 hour layover in Toronto again and got home at 9 – totally exhausted!

And that's just a brief description of everything we did. To do it right we needed a month to do justice to all the places we saw and things we did. I would have loved to have a day or two to explore each of Nanaimo, Victoria, Seattle and Vancouver. The most I saw of the actual city of Vancouver was from the skytrain and driving from and to the airport. We got to know the city of Surrey pretty well as well as New Westminster. I could totally see myself living there. The mountains are absolutely spactacular. Gros Morne pales in comparison.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Journey of Childlessness

April 24–May 1 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please pray for our sisters who so desperately desire children, but are unable to conceive. Pray that their hearts will be filled with God's grace, goodness, and compassion. And pray that our actions and words will bring healing and not guilt or more pain and sadness.

The pain of multiple miscarriages changed my perspective about God and faith.
Jean E. Jones

My gynecologist's certainty gave me confidence: In a booming voice, incongruously deep for his small stature, he assured me that my baby was well, and I needn't be worried over an earlier miscarriage. So my husband, Clay, and I joyfully celebrated the three-month milestone marking the pregnancy as safe.
It seemed life was unfolding just as we'd hoped: We'd married, Clay had completed seminary, and soon after his graduation, he was offered an associate pastorate. With a baby on the way, we once again had reason to celebrate.
A week after that prenatal visit, we headed to a beach-front hotel for a church staff conference. After a laughter-filled dinner full of excited chatter and congratulations over expecting our first child, I excused myself and sleepily returned to the hotel room. There, sitting in a stark white bathroom, I stared in shock at a bright red streak.
No, no—this couldn't be happening.
The unfamiliar room, with its too perfectly arranged furniture and jarringly cheerful seascapes, amplified my disbelief. Mechanically, I crawled into the strange bed. I tugged at the cold sheet and foreign blanket, desperate for any bit of comfort, then pulled my Bible near.
"God, you know I've begged you to protect this baby," I prayed. "God, please! I can't cope with another miscarriage. Please heal my body and stop the bleeding. Please, don't let me lose my baby."
A couple hours later, Clay came in. He saw the anxiety in my expression and wrapped me in warm arms.
In the morning, we quietly drove home. By evening, labor began and I fought with everything in me to stop it. But by daylight, the battle was lost.
Difficult years followed, as my dream of motherhood shifted from joyous hope, to desperate pleading, to the grief of impossibility—and finally, to settled acceptance that it wasn't to be. Looking back, I can see that contentment with childlessness was a journey with four major milestones. It began with changing what I mistakenly believed was a faith-filled response to difficulties.
Milestone 1: Developing an "open-eyed" faith Like many Christians, I'd memorized verses such as "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28) and "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When bad things happened, I'd quote these verses, express my gratitude that God would eventually make everything right, and push away my questions. Trying to trust God, I did something akin to closing my eyes, putting my hands over my ears, and saying, "Lalalala—just have faith—lalalala."
Giving thanks through the first miscarriage wasn't as difficult because the pregnancy was unplanned. Clay was still in school, and I had a new job; I concluded it wasn't the time for us to have children. The second miscarriage was different: We were ready to start a family, and I couldn't identify any "good" that might result from our loss. Nonetheless, I quoted verses, thanked God, and made every effort to stay positive. "It must be God's will, so it's fine with me," I told my friends.
I thought I was doing well spiritually. At least, I didn't feel angry with God. Actually, I didn't feel anything toward God. That vaguely concerned me, but I wrote it off as emotional exhaustion.
Then one afternoon, I discovered that a houseguest had stacked my get-well cards out of sight. Furious, I wanted to scream, "How dare you move my things without asking me?" I grabbed the cards, slapped them on the coffee table, and sank into the sofa.
What's wrong with me? I wondered. Slowly I realized I might be angry. And worse, I might be angry with God. Is that even safe?
I picked up my Bible and scanned the concordance for "anger." Passages described God as slow to anger and full of understanding and compassion. Perhaps it's okay to tell God what I'm feeling.
I went for a walk to be alone with God and came upon an empty schoolyard.
"God, I think I might be angry," I prayed, stuffing my hands into my jeans pockets. "It's possible that I might even be mad at you."
A dried-out patch of dirt caught my eye. Its barrenness irked me: There should have been grass in that spot, not scraggly weeds. I kicked at a rock that was partly buried in the dirt.
"God, I am angry. How could you allow another miscarriage when I repeatedly told you that I couldn't handle it?"
Emotion-charged words began to flow freely. I pressed God with every question: "I'm your child—why did you let this happen to me?" I exposed every fear: "I won't be able to enjoy a future pregnancy! And how can I face those church members who think my miscarriage was due to a lack of faith?" I expressed every hurt, particularly that I felt inadequate as a woman. And I listed every reason why I thought God should have intervened.
"Everyone else can have children—why can't I?"
As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I knew I'd misspoken. Many women cannot have children; some also have no husband. Then it hit me: I'd felt entitled to motherhood. This was the root of my anger. I felt God had denied me a "right."
I stepped into the street to avoid a row of oleanders, glancing at the glossy evergreens full with clusters of red, pink, and white flowers. They bloomed almost year-round despite scorching temperatures, drought, and poor soil—the same soil that only a few steps back barely supported a scattering of weeds. Is this what you want from me, God: to grow and blossom despite tough circumstances?
Hesitantly, I began to thank God for his love and faithfulness—only a truly loving Father would allow his child to come beat on his chest. It was difficult at first, but I recognized that in his infinite wisdom, God had allowed a circumstance that would cause me to grow. While I still couldn't identify any specific good that would result from my loss, now I could acknowledge, by faith, that God would indeed work it out.
This change in me was subtle, but significant. In the past, whenever trials occurred, I closed my eyes to the problem, thinking it was good to shut out anything that might challenge my faith. But while closed eyes can't see problems, they also can't see God.
When I "opened my eyes"—presenting my problems and questions to God rather than hiding from them—I began to find answers and understand God better. As a result, my faith in God's goodness grew.
Milestone 2: Choosing God's will After the second miscarriage, my doctor boomed assurances that there was still nothing to worry about. I asked if there was a point at which having a child became less likely. He answered with too much finality, "After five sequential miscarriages, it's impossible."
A third loss soon followed. Avoiding my eyes, he ordered numerous tests. Weeks later, I sat eagerly at his desk, awaiting answers that would fix everything. Still evading eye contact, he said nothing had been found except a low hormone that couldn't be replaced without causing birth defects. I'm not sure how I managed to reach the car before bursting into tears.
Reluctantly, I began to face that we might not have children. I felt I'd always meant it when I told God, "Thy will be done." And while I wanted to submit fully to God's will, I couldn't quite let go of my desire to be a mom.
One day, while asking God to help me surrender my will, I remembered another prayer from years before. As a young Christian, on realizing the totality of God's forgiveness, I'd prayed with immense gratitude, "God, if you never answer another prayer for me, that's fine. Salvation is enough."
Now I felt God whispering, "Did you mean it?"
Instantly, I was ready to answer. The miscarriages—even childlessness—were miniscule compared to the enormous and costly gift of salvation. Resolutely, I told God, "Yes, I meant it. Salvation is enough." When I chose God's will over my own, I took a big step toward contentment.
Milestone 3: Seeking an eternal perspective Clay and I discussed adoption, but the cost was out of reach on a pastor's budget. Besides, what if God had a special ministry in mind for us? We ruled adoption out.
I wondered if my life could be fulfilling without children. As I searched the Bible and prayed, I realized that having children was not eternally valuable in itself, while having one's faith refined is of great value to all believers (1 Peter 1:6-8). God so valued my faith that he used the losses to expose and remove impurities, such as false beliefs and fear-based responses. Plus, by faithfully enduring hardships, I'd gain something forever valuable: an eternal glory that would far outweigh earthly losses (2 Corinthians 4:17). The more I grasped this eternal perspective, the more content I became.
Milestone 4: Offering sacrificial praise At the fifth miscarriage, I mourned not just the loss of the baby, but the loss of ever bearing children. The lessons I'd learned were helping me to cope, but one question still stymied me. So I prayed: "God, Psalms 37:4 says if I delight myself in you, you'll give me the desires of my heart. I am delighting myself in you. I don't understand. Why aren't you giving me the desire of my heart?" Once again I sensed a question to me: "What is the greatest desire of your heart?" My answer came with ease: "Following you, God."
At that moment, I realized all of life involves choosing between conflicting desires. Our choices reveal what we value most. I suddenly understood sacrificial praise (Hebrews 13:15) in a new way: choosing to praise and glorify God by relinquishing something costly. I wanted to offer sacrificial praise, but finding the words was hard, so I pictured my prayer.
I imagined placing my desire for children and the question, "Why?" in a box. I wrapped the box with pale green paper and tied it with gold ribbon, then placed it at the foot of Jesus' cross, shining softly through a dark night at the bottom of a hill.
I praye, "This is my gift to you. On Resurrection Day, if you want to open this gift and show me "Why?"—that's fine. And if you don't, that's fine too—I think answers won't be a priority when I'm overjoyed by being with you."
As the days went on, every time I hurt, every time I yearned, I brought this picture to mind and prayed, "This is my gift to you."
I expected not to see many reasons during my life for why God chose this path for me. With "Why?" in the box, I no longer looked for answers. But the years have shown it to be a path of character growth, a better understanding of God, and special ministries, including caring for abused children that couldn't be placed in families with children. Surprisingly, I can honestly say the blessings have already been more than worth the hardships.
Copyright © 2010 by the author or Christianity Today International/

Friday, April 23, 2010

40 Ways to Go Greener at Home (Besides Just Recycling)

I didn't realize just how "green" I am until I read this list posted on

40 Easy Ways to Go Greener at Home – Besides Recycling
1. Plant an herb garden. It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates.
I have two totally black thumbs so I can't imagine my family eating something I grew myself. Great idea in theory though. I can imagine how much money it saves though.

2. Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).
Haven't done this yet. I think they spoil the look of a nice light fixture.

3. Create a homemade compost bin for $15.
Ewww! Stinky, spider infested garbage! And, refering to my answer to #1 what would I do with it?

4. Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).
Done! Washer, dryer and stove (I think) are Energy Star.

5. Stop using disposable bags – order some reusable bags, or make your own. My favorites are Envirosax and Flip & Tumble.
This I have cut down considerably. Bonus points at the grocery store for using reusable bags. I do use disposable for meats however.

6. Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles. Then watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena.
When I do have bottled water, I will reuse it a dozen times before recycling. I have a couple different reusable bottles but they all have a plasticky taste.

7. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
Been doing this for years.

8. Turn off lights when you leave the room.
Again, this fits in the most/some times catagory.

9. Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can — open your curtains and enjoy natural light.
Try to do this. Hubby, however, would have flourescents everywhere if I'd let him.

10. Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
Also, try to do this.

11. Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.

12. Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.
As much as possible, better yet get veggies from father-in-law's garden. Yummy!

13. Turn off your computer completely at night.
I admit I do not do this as often as I should. I have been more conscious of doing this since reading this list.

14. Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.
Not an option.

15. Pay as many bills as possible online.
Is there any other way? I also get my bills emailed to me.

16. Put a stop to unsolicited mail — sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.
I tried doing the first part but apparently it's only available in the US. I do subscribe to the "do not call" list. Love it!

17. Reuse scrap paper. Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
Another thing I do all the time. I hate wasting paper.

18. Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
Did this a few years ago and have made quite a few adjustments like replacing insulation in the attic and putting "baby-proof" plugs in outlets not in use (note: they may be baby-proof, however, they are NOT 3 year old proof!) and filters under the faceplates.

19. Subscribe to good eco-friendly blogs. My favorites are The Daily Green, TreeHugger, and Keeper of the Home. Of course, you gotta subscribe to Simple Organic.
I haven't done this because I really thought I wasn't that "granola", although I still think I'm more cheap than granola.

20. Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle.
We do do this and list unwanted things as well.

21. Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.
We don't eat out often enough I think to really make a difference here. Something to consider though.

22. Fix leaky faucets.
Done. I just hate the sound of dripping water.

23. Make your own household cleaners. I’ve got quite a few recipes in my e-book.
In process of converting.

24. Line dry your laundry.
Much to lazy for this, plus the fact that our weather is so crappy and when it's nice out it's also too windy for laundry. I have better things to do with my one day off in the week.

25. Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.
Note to self: do this!

26. Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.
And this.

28. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.

29. Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
If our chargers aren't plugged in, who knows where they will be when needed. I can't say I have any appliances that aren't used at least on a daily basis. Coffee maker maybe and it's usually unplugged. If it's not used often, it's in the cupboard.

30. Repurpose something – turn one of your well-worn t-shirts into basic play pants for your baby. Or save egg cartons for paint wells, seed starters, treasure boxes, or a myriad of other crafts.
If only there were an extra day every week to devote to such things...

31. Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.
Again refer to #1. There are no houseplants or garden.

32. Switch to cloth diapers – or at least do a combination with disposables.
Thinking of doing this when/if #2 happens.

33. Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label.
Another thing that for the amount we consume would make very little difference to our daily lives.

34. Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles.
I did some research on this and I haven't yet quite gotten over the "eew" factor.

35. Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Be frugal, and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.
Another thing I do just because I'm more cheap than green.

36. Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.
On my shopping list.

37. Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and open your eyes to the way conventional food is processed. Watch Food, Inc. while you’re at it.
On my to do list.

38. Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage, especially in the kitchen.
Done this for years!

39. Five-minute showers – make it a goal for yourself.
My mother shocked me when she timed my shower - 18 minutes! I've been trying to cut back ever since. I think I have it down to 10 now.

40. Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores such as Goodwill. You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.
We have several charitable organizations who call on a regular basis and will pick up most household items from clothes to knick-knacks. And we shop there.

SimpleMom asked: Which of these do you already do? Which ones are you going to focus on this next year? And what can you add to the list?
I actually surprised myself when I started crossing off the ones I do already all/most/some of the time. Since I started this post (about 3 weeks ago) I've consciously made an effort to do the "some of the time" things more often and try new ones.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah's Ark

One: Don't miss the boat.
Two : Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three : Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
Four : Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
Five : Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Six : Build your future on high ground.
Seven : For safety sake, travel in pairs.
Eight : Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine : When you're stressed, float a while.
Ten : Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mommy Guilt

I read this post a couple of days ago and it really struck home with me. My comments are in italics.

Calling All Mommies - Serving more than our kids by Bonnie McMaken

Every Easter my in-laws make the trip from Michigan to Chicago to spend Holy Week with us. They enjoy spending time with us and our church as we journey from the palms to the cross to the empty tomb. And they especially revel in the chance to snuggle our little toddler for a whole weekend while my husband and I serve. Their sacrifice means I am free to give my worship leading gifts to the church. I think we all need time that we spend not worrying about our kids and knowing they're in good hands.

When I had my daughter last winter, I briefly considered taking a “Holy Week break.” I didn’t think this was necessary—for me or for her. She would be with her grandparents for a few hours each day. Not the worst thing for a kid. Or the grandparents.

I think my compulsion to step back was primarily guilt-driven: I saw a lot of moms giving up most of their own needs and gifts for the sake of their kids. A noble calling. But what if God didn’t wire me that way? Oh, but He did! He created us in His image and He is our Great Provider. It just so happens that many of us aren't sensitive to this calling.

Parenthood requires deep sacrifices—some of which our children will never even realize. Those sacrifices are still fresh for me as a new mom. I make them in small ways every day: not getting that nap I so desperately want because she won’t sleep, forsaking that second glass of wine while I’m breastfeeding, declining a party invitation because we can’t find a babysitter. I can deal with these. And so we all should. Just look at the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made for us! He gave His very life for us! I'm willing to bet that the majority of parents would say "yes" if asked, "would you give your life to save that of your child?" I know I would. Yet, the simple everyday sacrifices, we make into huge deals and ourselves into martyrs. I'm guilty of this.

But the big ones hurt, if I’m being honest. Waiting on grad school. Watching someone else fulfill something I’ve always longed to do. Even “selfish” ones like watching my body expand and shrink—but not as much as I’d hoped. Again, would you give your life...? Also, unless totally surprised by becoming a parent, you can decide where your priorities are. If you decide starting a family is more important than grad school (or a promotion or achieving your ideal weight) then don't resent your child or your role as a parent when someone else gets what you want. School will always be there, jobs will always be there...struggle with weight? For most of us, that will always be there as well. (Gosh, we like to bellyache don't we?) And as a commenter below put it: we only get one chance to raise our children.

Are these hits worth it for this beautiful little life full of possibility? I’m eternally convinced. Absolutely And does it ache to let dreams go, even if for a season? Usually. "Ache" wouldn't be the word I'd use, besides you don't have to let dreams go, just put them on hold. But what about those gifts that are so integral to our sense of self? Is not becoming a parent even more integral? Do we strip ourselves of these in exchange for the new garments of motherhood? What if we feel naked without them? No, we add to our repertoire of talents, not exchange an old one for our new motherhood role!

Author of Gifted to Lead, Nancy Beach says “God didn’t make a mistake” when he designed women—when he designed you—with unique gifts to give to the church and the world. And those don’t just disappear when we become mothers. I’m still trying to figure out what the balance looks like, but I’ve watched gifted women interweave these two callings into a beautiful offering to the Lord. God never makes a mistake. Ever. Each and every child, planned or unplanned (by us) is part of God's eternal plan. Scripture says that even before we were even conceived in the womb, God had a plan for us. The anatomy of a woman's body is so uniquely designed to grow and nurture a baby from conception to birth and beyond. How breast milk is tailored to our child's specific need...full of nutrients and antibodies for the first few days of life, then sweet to help a baby latch and finally creamy to fill their little bellies. A mom of a preemie will even have richer breast milk to give their littlest one every advantage they can. But I digress, balance is near impossible to achieve, even for non-parents. We always strive for more than we can achieve. When our "to-do" list is all crossed off at the end of the day, we often feel like under-achievers rather than complete. Boasting that "I achieved everything I set out to do today" is anti-climatic.

What about you other moms out there, new and seasoned? Is it a struggle for you too? How do you balance your “mommy gifts” with your ministry gifts? Which gifts have you had to let go? Which ones are vital to your personhood and ministry? I am a song leader and I have a 3 year old son. When we started going to our current church he was just a year old, shy and weary of people he doesn't know well. My husband is out of town quite a bit so when he wasn't at church with us I would sit with the congregation to keep my son happy. It was more important to instill in him that church is safe and to not make it a scary place for him to be left alone on the pew or with someone he's not comfortable with. I believe what matters is that I would still worship God and give Him praise, whether from the pew or the platform. After a few months I tried letting him sit on the first row, as close to me as possible without being on the platform with me, and it worked well and still does. Now he'll either do that or play with a friend. I haven't had to let go but I do step aside from time to time. When/if God blesses me with another child, I will step down from my "church" position as required to fulfill the most Godly position of motherhood.

I have a health professional degree that took 8 years of college to attain. I worked for a few years, then married, and ended up having 3 children. My middle daughter was very difficult; she was very colicky and didn't even smile during her first year. I gave up my career to raise my children, and it's something that I never ever regret. My middle daughter was difficult, but has turned into the most wonderful, beautiful, devoted to God young woman that you could ever imagine. Believe me, she was rough at times, my family and friends never saw a baby as rough as she was (well, it lasted until she was about 5 lol). But even if they are not as "tough" to raise, I can't tell you how important I think our role is to raise our children to love God and put Him first, and to become good, Christian human beings, now pursuing their own goals. That has been a far more difficult, but loving "job" than the career I was prepared for after college. You only get one chance to raise your children, and believe me, the time just flies. It seems they go from being like 6 months, then soon they are entering kindergarten, and before you know it, they are applying to colleges. You don't want to ever regret putting your children after your career. Raising children right is usually a full-time job that will, believe me, use a lot of the knowledge you gained in college. You don't want to regret how your children turn out in this very difficult, world. That daughter that now seems so tough, will fill your heart with so much love, that you never imagined you could love someone as much. In today's world, with it's temptations, it requires your full-time attention to raise a child of God. I understand that a lot of people have to work while raising their children, but I honestly think it's better, if possible, to stay home with them. It's just something you don't want to regret. You're talking about your child, and that will far outweigh your career when you look back in time.

Posted by Leslie

I have to say I agree with Leslie. Due to the nature of my husband's work, it's not feasible for me to stay at home. But oh how I wish I could. I enjoy my work outside the home (most days), but rarely does a day pass that I don't feel a pang of guilt about not spending these precious days with my son. He will only be this age once in his life. And he's so much fun to be with! We recently had a 3 day weekend for which my husband was away the whole time. Three whole "Mommy & Malachi" days! What fun we had! We didn't do anything exciting or grand but we thoroughly enjoyed our days together.

I also have and continue to struggle with these questions. I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old and couldn't be more thankful for these little blessings. My oldest has been difficult from day 1, strong willed, yet very attached and will not stay with people she does not know well (like nursery workers!). It has been a long time since my husband and I have been able to attend service together (easily at least) unless we don't bring her to church and have her stay with an extended family member. Fortunately, we are making improvement in this area. Like you, Laurie, I too have an undergraduate and graduate degree for ministry. My husband and I always planned to have me focus on raising our children until they were of school aged before returning to a formal ministry position like I had. (I was able to work part time in the ministry until my first child was 2 since I was able to work from home and was at a child friendly church that allowed me to bring her to work with me. I had to stop when it became too much for me and I felt both jobs were suffering.) That said, that doesn't mean that there are not days I miss being more active in ministry since I am sure of my calling and gifting to do so. I continually bring this to the Lord, as well as my mentors (also women in ministry who have raised children) for support and encouragement. For me, this is an important season in my children's lives, where I (my husband as well of course) am attempting to lay a strong foundation and I want to give it my all. In my case that means not pursuing my dream ministry position. However, the Lord continues to provide me with ministry opportunities that are more manageable in this season of life that energize me and allow me to use my gifts. I don't have it all figured out, but I trust the Lord will honor my obedience to what I feel he is calling me to at this time (focus on mothering) and grant me the desires of my heart (desires he has placed) in the right season. May the Lord give us all the grace we need to be the wives and mothers he desires us to be and servants he has gifted us to be in his timing!

Posted by Alison

I can identify with Alison as well. I think we think as women that we CAN do it ALL...everything and anything. Serve as usher before service? Sure. Lead songs? Why not? Do home Bible study with so-and-so? Yeppers! Attend our new mid-week ladies service? Yes! Oh and can you bring some muffins or a fruit tray too? Oh yes, every week if you like!

And then I'll just work 40 hours a week, take care of my spouse, children, house and garden, visit family, in-laws, out-laws, friends, all of the above church activities and you know if I get bored I can always take up a hobby or three...scrapbook all my children's precious photos and keepsakes, knit socks for my working-man husband AND take a weekend course in photography so I'll have nice pictures for said scrapbooks. We're short on money these days so maybe I need a part-time job as well.

Why can't we say "NO!!!" to anything? We're afraid to, that's why! All we see is that (on the surface anyway) every other woman has it together. A perfect marriage, perfect kids, perfect job, perfect bank account, perfect home. Maybe so-and-so's husband does the gardening and takes out the garbage (without being reminded!) and makes pancakes for breakfast and takes the kids to piano, soccer and ballet but maybe, just maybe, he leaves his socks lying around, a pile of dishes in the sink or constantly forgets to put gas in the car. Stuff that looking from the outside in, you may not see.

Learn to say “no”. such a small, but powerful, word.

I’ve gone on quite the rant and this post has actually taken me a few days to put together. Bonnie’s original post I’m sure wasn’t meant to get my ire up in the way that it has, but it pains me to no end that so many women, educated and professional women, still think they have to give up so much for their family. Really, if it hurts so much, don’t have children. If you’re going to resent them, don’t have them. If you don’t have time, don’t have them. Our guilt should not be that we're missing out on extracurricular activities but that because of our activities we're missing out on our kids! Once our kids reach a certain age they won't need, or especially want, their moms' constant attention. Then is the time to do all the stuff we think we're missing out on now. God has called us to be mothers. That was the job He gave Eve - to be a help meet for Adam and a mother to his children.

Perhaps I feel so strongly about this because of my guilt for being a working mom and that I want another child so badly that the thought of people having children they don’t want or resent boils me so. But that’s a topic for another post.

Bonnie's original post can be found here:

Friday, April 16, 2010


I love Fridays! Almost as much as sleep-in Saturdays. No matter how late I stay up on Thursday (since I'm a night-owl and can always convince myself I "won't" be tired in the morning...which I always am) I can get up on Friday morning without (much of) a problem. This morning I was up early enough I even had a few minutes to work my "farm" and, my favourite early morning thing, snuggle with my boy. This early morning ritual is usually rushed or skipped due to the time (my boy isn't much of a morning person either) so the rare chance is precious indeed.

This weekend we have NO PLANS! How awesome is that? Three whole days with no special event to rush to get ready for (church on Sunday but that's part of the norm). One of the perks of being a civil servant is extra random holidays throughout the year. Monday apparently is St. George's Day. I have no idea who St. George was but thanks Buddy for the day off! :)

No plans! That is, unless I've forgotten something (like Malachi's classmate's birthday party last weekend...oops! Good thing I forgot to RSVP as well). My sister and her family are out of town so I know I don't have plans with them. Our church plans for tonight are cancelled (again). Hubby is out of town until at least tomorrow. Supper with friends today and then it's Malachi & Mommy Time!

How sweet it is!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some of the other things I'm "Mad" about

My hubby! As a very good friend reminded me not too long ago after my confession of a less than perfect marriage *gasp* I do love the doofus...madly and completely. He completes me, as cliche as that sounds. I cannot imagine my life without him. Our life together has been hectic and crazy and we never know where his next dollar is going to come from but he has inspired me to become more ambitious and confident than I ever thought possible (and I still have a ways to go). He has a stick-to-it-iveness that is second to no one's.

Music! I used to listen to the Top 40 and write them down as they were played. Write them down! Not hard to tell this was years before the internet and knowledge of everything good and evil. Now I'm not so much of a Top 40 fan and my taste in music has changed quite a bit. I appreciate the theory of music so much more. I listen to more than the words of a song but their arrangements and choices of instruments, and criticize same. Yes, I am very much a music snob.

Right to opinion! And if my opinion is justly strong enough on a topic, I will share it with anyone who will listen. Thankfully with age my Editing skills are tuned more than when I was younger. Edit keeps me out of a lot of trouble. =)

Purses! My achilles heel. No matter how little money I have, I can always find an excuse to find the perfect purse to carry my few sheckles.

I love Lists! I am an official List junkie! So much so that I think List ought to start with a capital L. (I'm also a nerd.) To Do Lists, Shopping Lists, Top 10 Lists, and the "List" goes on and on (pun intended).

So back to the thing I'm not so Mad about: my current job. The news of the day is, however, that my old job is almost mine again! Yippee! I can barely wait for the official word before telling my manager that he's a rude snobbish pig of a man (yeah right, like I'll ever be that bold) and be free of my supervisor's dry loooooooooooooong stories about his house renos. Really? Do I look like I care? Anyway, I'll be so happy the day I get to say my official goodbye to this office.

As always, I'm totally Mad about my baby, I mean, BIG boy. In 10 days he will officially be 3 and a HALF!

46 sleeps until our Vancouver Vacation!

Now back to!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Everyday I'm more in love!

So many times in my life I've tried starting new habits, new methods of doing things, new ways to organize my life. I actually created my gmail account originally to use the calendar feature to keep track of my ever-increasingly busy life (on occasion) but it still hasn't become habit. (Fact is, just yesterday I considered calling my co-worker from home to check my desk calendar for the time of an appointment. In the end I convinced myself that it was at 4:00 and went with that. Thankfully I was right.)

In any case, back to the title of my blog. At first glance, anyone would think I'm refering to my wonderful hubby, although the same is true of him. However, today I'm reflecting on my relationship with my wonderful, challenging, beautiful child, Malachi. As my Blogger title suggests, I am Mad About Malachi! Just a couple of hours ago, I was walking about the massive building where I work and outside the window, like a little train of people, was his daycare class out for their morning walk to the mailroom. I saw the cluster of little people in their hats and coats (chilly wind today) and was immediately drawn to the tossled blue hat of his, glad his teachers overruled his plea to wear his new baseball hat (I'm sure he asked them, because I know how much he wanted to wear it today...and I let him) and his new-to-him "airplane" bomber jacket. I felt a little bit like I did in highschool, catching that unexpected glimpse of my crush and my heart did a flutter. How much do I love my child? Words cannot even begin to translate my affection. He turned around and seemingly looked straight at me, but I was behind tinted glass and the sun was in his eyes (where are his sunglasses?). I wanted to run out the door that was close by and scoop him up in my arms for a mid-morning snuggle and kiss, but part of being a good mommy, I've learned, is to respect my child's routine. As much as he would have loved to see me, it would have thrown off his day and he'd expect me to go with me since he never sees me until it's time to go home. There would be tears (mine and his) and whining (mostly his) or *gasp* he would just say "see you later mommy" and I would go about my day wondering if my 3 year old needs me anymore. Because another part of being a good mommy is expecting the unexpected. My child has taught me many many many life lessons - the majority of which aren't in any parenting books, website or magazines. Parenting is like an on the job placement that never ends: 1) you don't get paid 2) you get all the crappiest assignments 3) you really have no experience no matter how much you studied in "school" 4) you love each and every day because you're finally in your chosen field 5) your "boss" is the coolest person on the planet!

For my "boss" the coolest, funnest, bestest friend, I'm so unbelievably blessed God chose me to be your mommy!