Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Current Reads

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (recent yardsale find, never read it or saw the movie)
Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager
Redeeming Science by Vern Poythress (slowly working through it)
The book of James in the Bible (very practical help)

Friday, May 08, 2009


Andrea at The Flourishing Mother writes:
Every day I need to be dependent on Him.
Maybe that means I go up in my room, close the door, and tell my children that "mama need a few minutes." To pray, to read the Word, to connect with Him.
It means instead of worrying about my children, I pray to Him about them.
That I read Psalm 23 and imagine myself walking by still waters in peace, or in the deep valleys, as He holds my hand, of course.
And I take those images with me as I'm doing 80 things at once around dinner time.
Or when my children's needs overtake me and I feel overburdened.
I need to BE with Him to BE a mother.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sharing some inspiration

Dawn has such interesting ideas and activities for homeschooling her boys. This latest one is no exception.
Spring in the Orchard

I came across this post yesterday and I found myself being able to relate in a small way as my baby tummy is now very visible.
The Mommy Files

I found this blog quite a while ago and have been enjoying the pictures of her son and now new baby boy. We have quite a bit in common which is one reason I like to check in frequently.
Baby Makes

Some of the most lushest outdoor pictures I have ever seen. It looks soooo inviting.
Sunday Walk in Green

How ridiculously amazing is this? What an wonderful way to garden and create a home!
Wee Garden

A great reading list for kids(and grown-ups too!) compiled by Heidi.
The Reading Child

Thoughts on my husband: Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2

In all this learning and growing, there is one area that I have consciously been aware that Shane and I are still two different people with different approaches to problems and circumstances. That is our personalities. I am generally more outgoing than Shane which means I talk more in a group, I can commit to doing something on-the-spot and I usually think most everything sounds fun or interesting. Shane is more reserved in public outings and may contribute to a group discussion but will limit his personal remarks. He likes to be able to think about a suggested activity or event before having to commit and prefers to do things that are easier and less involved. (Note: Kids and babies make everything more involved.)
There are of course exceptions to both our personality descriptions but I generally know how he operates. So because of that, I have become increasingly conscious that I do not cause him to be embarrassed or uncomfortable due to my outgoingness. When I speak up in our small-group study, I try to remember to not say something that Shane would perhaps find awkward. Bottom line is, I care about what he thinks. I also don't want word getting back to him about the antics of his wife that he may find strange or humiliating. But since we are different, I sometimes feel anxious that perhaps that didn't go so well. And I wonder what Shane will think once I tell him. Like two weeks ago when I went to the wedding shower for a friend at church and during the marriage panel that I was part of, ended up tearfully explaining how Shane and I handled the night our daughter with Down Syndrome was born. Oh I dreaded having to tell him that I cried through the whole story as a weepy pregnant mama. But over dinner the next evening, when he asked for more specifics of the panel discussion and I owned up to what had happened with me, he surprised me by being completely understanding. Now I have just made him sound like an ogre, potentially being embarrassed over his wife's public tears, but since Shane is so reserved in public, my crying scene might have been more than he could handle.
So as I now see it, his reservedness helps me to restrain my outgoingness so I can act in a way that is both true to myself yet with control and a desire to please my husband. Of course, one can never tell exactly how being pregnant will factor into the story!
I feel like I have written pages and pages yet I have only scratched the surface of my thoughts concerning my husband and our marriage. For those of you reading who don't know my husband, the picture I have painted may be very incomplete. If you know my husband even a little, much of this will not surprise you. And if you happen to be his mother, then now you know what his wife thinks of him on her good days. :)

Monday, May 04, 2009

My friend Euri

I can still hear her cheery voice right now, as she answers the corded phone in her living room, Heyther B------! Her thick Spanish accent pronouncing my first and last name as if it were one. We do that with certain people we know really well as if you can't stop yourself at just their first name. Euri's loud proclamation of my name always made me feel like I had just been announced at the royal court. And the warmth of her friendship made me feel like a close family member. But that's the way Euri made everyone feel.
She and her husband, Heriberto, left their Venezuelan homeland over four years ago to settle permanently in Canada after they were increasingly concerned due to the policies and practices of the government which were going to be interfering with their desires for the raising of their two children. Ontario became the place to start over.
And starting over it was. They left behind a large roomy house in a warm climate where homeschooling their children in a sunny part of the home was a joy for Euri. She often admired the view throughout the day especially the large yagrumo tree outside the schoolroom window. Her fledgling blog started in August 2007 was named for this very view. But by mid-November of that year God was calling her to a yet a different path. She suffered her first seizure which led to the discovery of a large brain tumor. Surgery was scheduled and completed in early December followed by intense rounds of chemo and radiation through the Spring of 2008. As the seizures persisted and the tumor showed little signs of being eradicated, it became more evident that the Lord was not going to heal her in the way we were praying.
Her children, a son and a daughter, were enrolled in the local Christian school for the 2008-2009 school year, but Euri continued to monitor their schoolwork, even from her bed. Visiting Euri was such an encouragement as she smiled and made little jokes even as her body grew weak. In mid-January of this year, Euri was moved from her hospital bed at home to a hospice room in the city. It was so hard to see her lying frail in the bed unable to even change position. I have already written about our last visit with Euri but it is the memories of our time together before that I smile and fondly remember.
Euri trying to convince me to get more nutrition in my diet by eating canned sardines. I kept the can she gave me for two weeks before I threw out, confessing to her that I just couldn't bring myself to eat even one.
Euri serving tea with dried herbs floating in the top to my husband Shane upon hearing of his cold. I knew there was no way he would be drinking that after the first few polite sips.
Euri baking me fresh bread and bringing it to church wrapped in a clean white linen cloth.
Walking along the river beach together with our kids and my mother, spreading a picnic lunch out and enjoying the days of sunshine, health and friendship.
Picking apples together and getting lost in the corn maze while we meandered from path to path not too concerned about finding the shortest route.
Euri baking our son's fourth birthday cake complete with Lightning McQueen in colorful homemade fondant. (She had baked and decorated wedding cakes when they still lived in Venezuela and I had seen the photos of her work.) Convincing her to take my money for all her work and ingredients was difficult but I prevailed upon her servant heart by warning her I would not ask her again if she refused my grateful payment. Reluctantly she agreed.
Euri telling us wild tales of various adventures in Venezuela from being approached by potential muggers looking to trick her into giving them large sums of money to scary taxi drivers running up the fares. Euri was not the type of person to be messed around with. She was strong, brave and outspoken if she thought that someone was posing a danger to her or her family.
Her stories were told with much animation and always with an eye for God's protection and providence in their life. We marveled and laughed at her perspective on life. Much hand motions and actions always helped Euri convey the most vital parts of the story. I could sit and let her talk for hours.
When she returned in early 2007 from a six-week trip to visit her mother and father in Venezuela, we were treated to a slideshow detailing her parent's home and gardens. Her mother had designed and created the most amazing landscape and play structures for her grandchildren that I have ever seen on someone's personal property. The lush vegetation and summery climate made me wonder how they could have left this all behind for Canada. Yet at the same time I was thrilled to be part of this amazing woman's life.The friendship that I shared with Euri and our mutual friend Norma was so sweet and unique. I felt like I was the younger sister to these two Latin mamas. Never a harsh or ungracious word about each other's parenting techniques or approaches. Just love for like-minded companions who had been brought together for a limited time and place. I am so thankful for my time with Euri and although at times I have felt sorry for myself for having lost such a valued friend, I am confident that she is thrilling the Lord with her presence in heaven. We love you Euri and we will continue to love your family.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Thoughts on my husband: Part 2

For Part 1, please go here.
Before I continue, let me make a few clarifying remarks.
Lest you think that my husband had hoodwinked me into marrying him by not disclosing his theological beliefs, please know that he tried at least once before we were married to explain the differences between himself and at the time, my mother. I however, did not see any significance to him carefully explaining that he did not view free will in the same way that our church upbringing taught. My response to his revelation was probably like, "Oh, really, huh. Tell me again how long your mother has been doing home daycare?" Talk about not having a clue and that was me.

As I moved quickly through my reading material, I was eager to learn all I could about this new way of understanding the Bible. My husband patiently explained difficult passages and nuanced words while I came across verses I had never even read. It was an unbelievable time for learning for me. And now I was uniquely tied to my husband since my family and home church were not of the same theological persuasion. Within months of me coming to understand the Bible the way he and his family did, we both became dissatisfied with staying in the church denomination we were raised in. With our son still an infant, we left the Plymouth Brethern denomination and found a church plant that was Reformed Baptist in the city. We stayed there for half a year until the church was disbanded. We immediately found another Reformed Baptist church in the next town and fell in love with the church family. Today it is still the church we consider home, despite having moved away three years ago. Shane is held with high regard and appreciation there as he spent time teaching the adult Sunday School class and training as an elder. Our journey together as a married couple has been so closely intertwined with our changes in church life that I feel we have been married much longer than our actual date.
To say that my husband has taught me more in the last almost seven years of our marriage than my parents, church or Christian school is not an exaggeration. We have discussed every theological issue under the sun together and while we both still have a couple of areas we are not completely decided on, we share agreement with every topic. Yet somehow I have never felt the pressure to conform to his views just merely because he was my husband. I see now a definite gift of discernment in him that many other men lack and because of this I trust his opinion on these topics, which brings me to another realization I have made since marrying Shane.
I look to Shane for my sense of what is right and balanced in areas like politics and government, Christianity and science, secular worldviews, the media, etc. When I read or hear something, I have noticed in recent years an involuntary filter that asks, What would Shane think about this issue? I think the reason I have started to do this(and now it's more habit than anything) is because my ability to think logically, rationally and biblically was so stunted and immature that I needed to learn how to think. And when I look back over my growing up years, I see so many marks of immaturity and wrong-headedness that I am both shamed and thankful for being rescued from that state of mind. Not to say that I have arrived, but I can tell that I have learned how to evaluate the truthfulness of what I hear, read and see in the short time since we have been married.

To be continued...

Photo: Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia, newlyweds visiting Shane's grandparents

Friday, May 01, 2009

Thoughts on my husband: Part 1

Posts like these are often written in celebration of an anniversary as you pause to remind yourself of why you married your husband. This is post is like that but different. Different because although our anniversary is making its way here, May 10th to be exact, I have been pondering these things for the better part of a year and in a semi-recent phone conversation with my mom, mentioned these thoughts to her in passing. Since then I have returned to them more frequently in my mind enough so that I thought they should be written down and shared.
The other reason this post is different is because I did not realize many of these things about my husband when I married him therefore this was not a reason for me to marry him but an interesting benefit later to be recognized.
Let me get straight to the point. Marrying my husband, Shane was the best decision I have ever made. Before you gag on the sweetness, let me explain a little history.
I was twenty-five when I met my husband and we began dating. I later turned twenty-six exactly two months before we were married. Not that young, but a reasonable age to understand what is important to you in a husband and friend. He, by way of reference was twenty-one when we began dating and twenty-two when we married.
I had finished my teaching degree and had a couple of years of teaching experience while he was in the final years of finishing his engineering degree. I had multiple boyfriends and hook-ups throughout high school and college. He had one letter-writing girl interest. So I brought the proverbial baggage and he brought little female experience, with not even a sister to grow up with. So we marry and I move far away from family, friends and church to Canada to be with my new husband and his university commitments. One aspect we did have in common was our church denominational upbringing which strangely enough we never considered a denomination. We were both raised Plymouth Brethern, which means we were really like-minded in our approach to marriage and raising children amongst other things.
Less than two years later, we have a baby son and I had been reading theology books from my father-in-law's(and husband's growing)library. As I read these books, I discussed what I was learning with my husband. Unknownst to me, his family had embraced a theological position that was different than what was preached and taught in the Plymouth Brethern. Ignorant of many theological distinctions and viewpoints, I was now up to my eyeballs in new things to consider. I had married a Calvinist and was completely unaware how different this would make my life.

To be continued...

Photo: Longwood Gardens, married one week.