Monday, December 14, 2009


My prayer is that my soul would find satisfaction in Christ—not pleasure, money, old cars, or even the joy of babies that sleep through the night. These things are a common grace and we ought to enjoy them; yet thirst for pleasure finds its ultimate quenching in Christ. May we not “settle” today, and in so doing, miss out on true wealth.

Amy's complete post

Thursday, December 10, 2009

public service announcement

As an early Christmas present from my husband, work has begun on a new site for my blog and I think you will like it. In the meantime, enjoy this latest picture of our daughter. She will be turning two next week!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Earlier this year during a conversation with my mom, she mentioned something to me that I promptly forgot until this past Thursday, American Thanksgiving. She wanted me to think about how I could do a better job of staying in contact with my brother and sister-in-law on my own without her. Meaning, having a relationship with them as well as my sister that could and would continue even after she was no longer here with us. At the time, it seemed like work and I wasn't interested in that kind of relationship-building work.
However this Thanksgiving, my parents were visiting my sister and her family out in the Mid-West, so I knew my brother and his family would not see my parents at all over the holiday weekend. It seemed important to me to make sure my brother and his family knew I was thinking of them even though I was not having the day of celebration with my family here in Ontario. I called and had to leave a message conveying my Thanksgiving wishes to them. The afternoon ended, my husband returned from work, we finished our dinner and were in the midst of our usual evening routine when my brother called back, this time leaving a message while my husband was on the phone. I was pleasantly surprised that he took the time to call and I immediately called him back. The conversation that followed between he and I for the next half hour or more was jam-packed as we moved from one topic to the next. It was wonderful to have so much to discuss and share. It wasn't work at all. In fact, if Baby L had not been in such loud distress we probably could have talked for much longer. I mused over the conversation for the rest of the evening and was still thinking about it the next day. I was so thankful that I had taken the time to call in the first place and realized that my mom was right: I need to keep in better contact with them and not just rely on my mom's updates to keep me in the loop. I am thankful for my family and they need to know I care.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

just asking

He's sitting on the couch drawing a picture. I ask him what he's drawing and he replies as he holds up the partly finished picture, "They're getting married." Unsure what "they" are supposed to be, I nod and smile. A slight pause and then I ask, "Do you think you'll get married someday?" He peeks up from his work with a small grin, "Yes", he quickly answers. Now it's his turn to wait and then ask, "Do you have get kissed?" Smiling, I respond carefully, "Well, most married people do." He makes a face, "That's a-scusting." More smiles from me. Then he says, "Well, I'd still do it." Brimming with laughter, I simply continue to smile. He then quickly adds, "I'll have to get my license first."
I love this kid.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ancient words ever true, changing me and changing you

Unhappy with my constant state of weariness, I grab my Bible and wait in the darkness of my bedroom. Waiting for a restless baby to find rest in the soft blanket and quiet dark. I grow weary of the waiting yet even more tired of the tiredness. I tell myself to turn on the booklight and read a little bit from the Word before I lay down. Emboldened by my growing dissatisfaction with the current schedule of life, I whisper to myself, "Yeah, like reading this book is going to change the situation at all." The next thought comes before I even have time to think it, "It's about changing you, not the situation. " And I know it's true. The growing stack of borrowed library books are about improving the situation, but there is only one read that can really change me. Smiling a bit now, I pick up my Bible. Thinking of the verse that has moved me over the years (long before I knew anything of interrupted nights and busy days at home) I decide I might as well read the whole chapter tonight.
"Comfort, comfort my people", says your God. Yes. Comfort. I've been longing for comfort. I read on. The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD. And so it with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.
How did I so easily cast aside the eternal Word of the Eternal God for words written by a withering and fading people?
He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. Words for me. A mother sheep with young. He's leading me. Gently.
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. Never. Ever. What must that be like? Here comes the anticipated promise.
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40) This is for me too.
The words of my son's catechism question ring in my ears.
Do I have a soul as well as a body?
Yes, I have a soul that can never die.
I have been given three everlasting souls to nurture and love. I don't want to grow weary of doing good.
So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4)
Forever. Comfort, comfort my people.

*note: I have found much clarity in the New Living Translation (NLT) from which these quotes were taken.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm in love


"I could have bought trays to line up everything neatly in rows, but I didn’t want to buy more stuff to hold my stuff. It’s just one drawer and it’s not out in the open."
That is exactly how I feel about keeping our home clean and organized. From Small Notebook for a Simple Home: The Lost Rule of Organizing
This reminded me of what Mary at Owlhaven wrote last week.
"In the middle of that movie, while watching a man offering gracious hospitality in the doorway of his 5 x 6 foot shack, my longing for new dishes and new floors in my comfortable home seemed as stupid and frivolous as socks on a turkey."
Use the link above to read the whole post.
photo: the living room of my childhood dollhouse

Monday, November 16, 2009

sad but true

I have accidently used my husband's toothbrush so often these past few months that he now stores his in the mirrored medicine cabinet so that mine is the only option unless you count our six-year old son's chewed up one. Yuck.

Friday, November 13, 2009

When I can

I am enjoying listening to Pastor John Piper's current sermon series from the book of John. Between missing some of our own pastor's sermons while tending to the girls during church and not having much of my own Bible reading time, I need to hear the Word while I work here at home. And who better than John Piper. Follow the link and just start wherever you want.
The Gospel of John Series

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

Douglas Wilson encouraging parents

A Deeper Level of Worship
Many of you are here as parents of little ones and, in some cases, many little ones. For you, the worship of the Lord is a far more arduous task that it is for the rest of us. All of us are engaged in the work of worshipping the Lord, but you are carrying young ones in your arms as you perform the same labor that we do.

The work includes great things, like keeping everyone in fellowship throughout the whole service, and trivial things, like finding your place in the psalter. The work is daunting, and it is sometimes easy to forget why you are doing it. There are three things for you to keep in mind as you continue

The first is that while you sometimes need to be reminded why you are doing this, God knows exactly why you are doing it. Do not grow weary in doing good. God sees, and your labor in the Lord will bear good fruit. Your labor is before the Lord—He sees, and He rejoices. When you need to be reminded, there is one who can always remind you. You are here with your little ones because God calls you to worship Him together with all the children He has given you.

This means, secondly, that God receives, as true worship, every distracted shush, every spilled cup of wine, every dropped hymnal, and every time you have to take your child out to have a little word with him. You are not taken away from true worship by these things, but farther into true worship than most of are privileged to go. If Christian discipleship consists of "my life for yours," what is worshiping with four to seven little ones?

Third, do not think of this time as the time of distraction, but rather as a time of fruitful planting, and trust God to be kind. He will bestow a time of fruitful harvest. The sun is hot and the soil is hard—but it will all come back to you, thirty, sixty and a hundred fold.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Brandishing plastic sword and dagger, he came running across the grassy courtyard to greet me as I returned home from the grocery store. "I thought you were a 'crimimmal'", he called out caught up in a world of play where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, knights, robots and Spiderman all happily play together. It's a wonderful time to be his mommy.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

for the love of pink and baby girls

pep talk to myself

Do you ever feel embarrassed to have seen yourself and your situation as so unbearable and unrelenting only to find someone who has been given a greater burden yet they carry it with much grace and perseverance?
That happened to me again today.
Feeling sorry for myself and my constant state of tiredness and lack of ability to do all "the other things" and then I find this. Moms who struggle with so much more than me and are still able to love and encourage each other with kind words and thoughts of intercessory prayer.
It's pathetic to see yourself wimping out on life's trials especially when they are NOTHING compared to what others are doing.
Stop whining, pray for strength and get ready to be strong. This trial may be just a warm-up for the real deal.

Monday, August 31, 2009


From Richele at Barefoot Voyage an inspiring list of goals for each subject.

Home School Goals By Subject

Of first importance

Andrea writes in her post Learning at Home about her older son's desire to learn reading and writing before she had even begun any type of formal homeschooling with him. However it was this paragraph that caught my attention and seemed to resonate with my thoughts and concerns for our son.
It's amazing to me because I decided long ago, when he was really little, that my goal with them wouldn't be to teach them how to read at a young age, but to focus on manners and attitudes. Because, I always thought, who cares when you begin reading as long as you get it some time. But manners are something that can easily be over looked in the frenzy of early childhood education.

As I have been diligently praying for our homeschool plans for the year ahead of us, I have been reading and re-reading the book of Colossians, specifically the third chapter. No matter what relational aspect of myself I'm considering(daughter, wife, mother, friend) the words starting in verse twelve sink deep into my heart.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (NLT)
Of more importance than any academic study is the teaching and training of our children's hearts. Jesus made it clear in His ministry that the heart determines what a person says and does.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (Luke 6:45 NLT)
I'm seeing that training my children in godly attitudes means continually going after their heart with the message of Christ. And there is no spreadsheet, workbook or lesson plan that will do the job adequately. That's why prayer is my best plan. Be devoted to prayer is what Paul writes later in the letter. Tall order, but anything else falls too short.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

holding it together

I wrote this more than two weeks ago but thought I'd go ahead and post it anyway. Baby L would have been less than two weeks old.

I purposefully kept our six year old son with me today even though he had been invited to play with his usual playmates. I needed to see how the day would go with just the children and I alone together all day. My plan was to spend some learning time with my son in the morning while the babies slept. The summer has flown by and we have not sat down together to focus on his reading or writing at all. His reading is progressing great but his letter writing needs some extra practice. We spent some time working on a Bible notebooking page for the story of Joseph which we had completed reading before Baby L was born. We then reviewed the various Psalms that we have been memorizing. So far we have learned Psalm One Hundred, Eight, One and now we are in the middle of the Twenty-third Psalm. Moving onto our Phonics book we reviewed some of the lessons learned back in the spring. He is a bit rusty on some of the rules, like when to use the hard and soft sounds of "c" and "g". They are a bit tricky. The last bit of time was spent arranging some handwriting practice. His letters have gotten sloppy and he is using upper and lowercase letters randomly.
But he loves books and routinely hauls books around the house to read and look at. So despite our hit-and-miss schedule, he seems to have continued to be interested in reading. It was a good day despite the hectic moments. Thankfully Daddy can readily come home from work early on occasion to help.

Friday, August 21, 2009

thinking about

Prayer: why we struggle (and how not to)

Convicted. But am I willing to change?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

what is meant to be

I found this post from Apple Pie helpful as a young mom attempting to home school our first child. But really, her thoughts can apply to any one of us as Christians.
In becoming organized, the first thing I must do is the hardest. I must lay it all down. Every scrap of it. Every word on my planning pages. Every day of my year. Everything I want to accomplish, however noble and good. Is it mine, or is it His? If it's only mine, then changes must be made.

I must be still and quiet every morning. I must ask, Lord what would you like to accomplish today? This month? This year? Then I must be still. After a few minutes, ideas will come. Yes, they will. Not because I am a spiritual giant, but because my Heavenly Father loves me. I should write them down so I don't forget. On days when there are no impressions, I know to move forward with what seems best. But on most days, there are ideas that lead me to change course, set aside something I wanted to do, attend to something I hadn't thought of, or teach a subject in a different way.
I should offer myself to Him as His servant in this unique role of homeschooling mother. I am not my own. I need to remember it. He is a God of order, and the first part of order is to order my heart properly, to re-set it, like an inner clock. Every day. There is no substitute for this. I will not outgrow my need for it. Rather, as time passes, I understand more and more that to venture out on my own best guess -- without even stopping to ask the Lord about it -- is a slippery slope.

I was designed for fellowship with Him. Partnership, actually. I should be doing this with Him, rather than alone on my own with my own agenda and impulsive ideas. He is, after all, Emmanuel, God with us. That was his intent from the beginning.

But He will not do for me what only I can do. I must decide to stop and listen. If I do, He will meet me. I will know what I need to do, how I need to change, which adjustments I should make. He will make me sturdy, wise, and patient. He will help me craft, out of our days, a home that is all it was meant to be.

Read the whole post here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

life in the big city

A few weeks ago, I was running some errands which included buying groceries. Our son asked where we were headed next and I replied, "To the grocery store, Food Basics." After a moment, the question came. "Is that one where all the people with brown skin go?"
Laughing out loud, I knew exactly what he meant.

Sunday commentary

On Sunday evening we headed out to church for the first time since Baby L was born. From the back seat where he is flipping through the pages of his Bible, our son asked, "Why didn't Goliath duck when that stone hit him in the eye?"
Before I could think of a response, he continued, "That guy had no sense. I guess he wanted to get hit in the eye and die."
Commentary concluded, the conversation was over before I could figure out what to say.
I mean, really Goliath, you should have ducked. :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

baby doll

Laura Hope
July 31, 2009
6 lbs. 3 oz.
beautiful gift

Thursday, July 30, 2009

in the realness

The posting has certainly slipped around here but I find so many things competing for my attention these days. I am one week away from my due date and am in the middle of pre-term labor. It started Monday night and hasn't let up much. We're not headed to the hospital unless the contractions get between 4-5 minutes and so strong I cannot talk through them. When that will actually happen, who knows. In addition to the insistent contractions, I continue to struggle with a sore bottom due to varicose veins gone haywire. That problem started last Tuesday and has been treated but to no avail. I feel old and worn out. Yet I am excited about holding and nursing this new little baby. I worry about unknown issues like possible birthmarks, or problems like blindness or deafness, cleft palates and such. My concentration is starting to slip so reading and working on organizing our homeschool materials is starting to feel like a real effort.
I know this won't last forever but at this moment it feels so discouraging. I've gone back to reading Colossians, one of my favorite books. I'm continually amazed at what Paul prays for the believers.
We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. Col. 1:9, 10 (NLT)
Also finding both inspiration and conviction from Ann:
The Word that Woos
How to Read the Bible: Eat This Book
photo: My Mother's Day flowers from my husband

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not a typical Monday

This happened last month and was posted on my Facebook account but I never got around to posting it here.

It all started out as a quick outing before lunch on Monday to our local fruit and vegetable farm to pick some strawberries with the kids and my mom who was visiting. It quickly turned into a three-ring circus after punching three numbers into our cell phone.

We had no sooner arrived at the strawberry fields armed each with a white picking basket and Baby K settled into her stroller when I realized that she had twisted herself around in her stroller and was half hanging out. I immediately straightened her up and told her to "Sit". However, looking her over, I realized her movements weren't normal. I unharnessed her from the stroller and took her to a shady spot under a tree and sat down with her on the grass. She then proceeded for the next few minutes as we sat there to involuntarily jerk her head and chin over her right shoulder and arch and turn her whole back around to the right. Then she would relax for about 15-20 seconds, take a quick breath and repeat the same movements. Her eyes remained normal and she didn't appear to be in much discomfort even though her body was contorting. My mom and son had headed to the end of the rows which were out by a treeline and were beyond calling distance.

I grabbed my mother's car keys from the stroller and Baby K and I headed to the car which was in view to call Shane at work on the cell phone. As I carried her, she continued to thrash around in my arms, but not crying. I described to Shane what she was doing and we discussed the one other time on a Sunday morning at church that she did this for a few minutes but then proceeded to be fine downing her bottle with no difficulty.
We agreed that I should take her to the ER at the children's hospital here in Ontario and get her checked out. I hung up and placed her in the rear-facing infant seat only to have her completely twist and turn so that she was basically face down in the seat. I readjusted her and she kept twisting and flipping. I realized then that I was not going to be able to restrain her and drive the 40+ minute trip to the ER.

I took her out of the seat and called Shane back. We agreed that I should call 9-1-1 and have her go in by ambulance. I hung up again with Shane and dialed 9-1-1 this time, looking at the phone go into "Emergency Mode". Just as the dispatcher answered and asked, "Fire, Police or Ambulance?", Baby K began to cry in my arms still turning and twisting still uncontrollably. Then came the moment that I had forgotten to think about: giving our location. I gave the dispatcher the name of the farm and then floundered while I tried to remember the main crossroads. This is the beginning of rural Ontario and the roads are numbered by "Line" or "Concession" and make it difficult to remember. Then it hit me, I have their card in my wallet, so I dug quickly, managing to dump part of my wallet in the grass next to the open passenger door. I read off the address to her and waited on the line until she confirmed assistance was on the way. Baby K was still crying off and on and still squirming as I held her sideways trying to put my wallet back together, and redial Shane at work. After telling him that help was on the way and explaining that my mom was still at the far end of the strawberry field completely unaware of what was going on, he and I hung up with the knowledge that he would be at the farm in about 15 minutes, whether or not Baby K and I would still be there was uncertain.

I decided I better walk up to the barn where the farm store was and explain to the owner that I had called 9-1-1 for my daughter and that I just wanted them to know to expect an ambulance showing up shortly. After speaking to one of the ladies, she followed me back to where my mom's car was parked while I sat back down on the grass with Baby K to see how she was faring. The lady asked if there was anything she could do and after hesitating for a moment to think, I said, "Yes, my mom and my son are still picking in the field. I can see them from here but haven't notified them yet. Would you mind flagging them down? My stroller is parked at the end of the row right there as well."
She nodded her head and then said something that was quite laughable later. "What do they look like?". I quickly described my mom as a woman in her sixties with a six-year old boy. I think there may have been one other person in the field at the time, but possibly they might have been the only ones as well. So as mom and I talked about it later, we laughed over the lady's inquiry as the place was very quiet and empty at that time.

My mom and son showed up in a few minutes as the rumble of a fire truck entered the farm's circular driveway. I saw a man waving the truck towards our direction and I also waved one arm from where I was sitting in the grass next to the car. Two firefighters immediately ran to where were and pulled out a little oxygen mask and other medical things. Baby K was now sitting up in the grass looking around very unsure but not crying or turning as much. Her shoulders and head would still turn to the right but she appeared more calm and controlled. A blue blanket was produced for her to sit on and the process of removing her little shorts and oneies shirt while still taking her vitals began. I think by now, the first ambulance had arrived and had produced more paramedics who needed to be caught up on the facts. I answered more questions and so did the initial firefighter paramedics who were now joking about baby clothes and who had kids and who was used to handling snaps and buttons. I stayed right down on the blanket with Baby K, talking to her and rubbing her back and reassuring her that I was right there and everything was okay. For the most part, she handled all the strangers in her face very well and only cried briefly once or twice.

The next thing I remember there was a quick discussion about the helicopter and then I heard the sound of the blades approaching. As I turned, I realized that Shane had arrived and was crouched behind me looking at our daughter. It's blur, but I remember someone saying, "There's going to be a lot of stuff blowing around when the chopper sets down." Someone tried to cover us as pine needles, leaves and dust showered and swirled around us on the grass next to the driver's side of the car. At some point a second ambulance had arrived as well and a police car that I never noticed.

A female paramedic from the helicopter was now kneeling next to me and they were asking us who was going to ride with Baby K to the hospital. Shane and I looked at each other and we both knew that it would have to be me as I would be able to answer the questions and explain the symptoms at the ER. But then I remembered I'm pregnant. So I asked if it was okay for me to fly as I only have six weeks to go. The female paramedic and the others assured me it was fine and that she herself was pregnant. I was helped up off the grass and the paramedic said she would carry our daughter to the chopper. I was handed a large set of military green earphones with a dangling mouthpiece to put on. As I slipped the set on and adjusted them, Shane and I briefly shouted back and forth what the rest of them would do and what to bring for Baby K to the hospital.
I hugged our son goodbye and told him I loved him and that Baby K was going to be okay. He was standing next to the driver's side leaning on the hood area and he seemed fine, just overwhelmed by all the action. I then was taken by the arm by the other helicopter paramedic and told to duck my head down as we ran towards the open helicopter. I was helped in and found a seat and given instructions on how to fit the seat belt harness. Baby K was laying on a stretcher next to my seat and after I was secured I could still reach forward and touch her.

Then the safety instructions began: Your seat belt releases with a right turn of the dial. Here's how this emergency handle works, just turn it like a van door and then slide this. The other door opens like a car door. If necessary, pull this lever and the window comes out. There's also the two doors up by the pilot's seats. By this point, I was now praying with every breath, "Please Lord, don't let the helicopter go down." I also was starting to rethink this whole chopper ride and wonder if I was placing Baby K and I(and the baby) in unnecessary danger all in the name of shaving minutes off the trip. Too late, we were lifting off and I was waving to my mom and son who were now sitting inside the passenger side of mom's car and Shane who was standing outside the driver's side taking a video with the camera. I didn't know if they could see me through the window as it appeared to be tinted. And then we were off.

It took me a couple of minutes to remember to look out the window as I had been focused on Baby K and how she was doing. The paramedics continued to check her and take her blood pressure and she seemed relatively comfortable. So I divided my ride time between leaning forward to comfort her, answer the paramedics' questions, ask a few of my own and sneak some peaks out the windows. It seemed like we were traveling slow and as the vibration of the chopper continued the female paramedic explained that most kids drift off to sleep due to the rhythmic motions. And sure enough, Baby K's eyes began to flutter and close. But only for the last two minutes of the trip as we began our descent and the noise of the engine changed. Very quickly we landed on the helipad which is just outside the main entrance to the ER. I was helped out, Baby K was placed in my arms and I walked across the concrete landing zone and outside the fenced-in area and up to the automatic doors of the ER. We were here and she seemed fine.

Inside, still in just her diaper, her temperature was taken, she was weighed and her blood pressure taken again. And then we told to have a seat in the empty waiting room. Kind of anti-climatic after all that had just transpired. I checked the cell phone that we had decided should come with me. Wrong decision. I had no service in the hospital and my mom's cell phone is long distance for the free parent's phone inside the hospital. So as I sat there wondering how to get a hold of Shane to remind him to get Baby K's car seat from my mom's car, shebegan to nod off in my lap. She stirred every time the PA system made a sound and we sat there for about 10-15 minutes before we were given a small room.
Inside the room, I placed her on the bed, pulled the safety gate up and decided to just crawl up and lay down next to her. A support staff woman came by within a minute and asked if there was anything she could get for me or Baby K.
I said not really, but could she stay with her while I used the bathroom right across the hallway?

Baby K seemed to be just fine with me gone and the staff woman left and brought back some bubbles and a small hand toy. So for the next little while, we sat on the bed and played with the bubbles. Fast forward to a resident doctor showing up at least an hour later to ask questions and discuss the details. Fast forward again to Shane, our son and my mom showing up with a bag of stuff for Baby K. Within minutes of their arrival, a senior staff doctor and the resident doctor came to discuss what potentially had just happened to Baby K. We agreed that it did not fit any of the types of seizures and so an acid reflux syndrome called Sandifer's Syndromewas mentioned as mostly likely what was happening to our daughter. This was briefly discussed about a year ago with her Down Syndrome doctor but just in passing. We are now scheduled for a Monday morning EEG and an appointment with a neurologist immediately following. (which turned out to be normal)Her DS doctor's office has already received the ER report and I briefly discussed the situation with one of the nurses over the phone on Tuesday. We are quite sure that it will not be considered a seizure and instead will probably be looking at an antacid to prevent any future acid attacks.
All in all, Baby K is doing fine, like it never happened. (She takes a small dose of antacid everyday before her last bottle of milk and so far so good.) We are so thankful, especially about the helicopter not crashing part. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Baby K at Eighteen Months

He just looks cute!

Popping around the corner and poking his head into Baby K's room as I change her diaper, he asks with exuberance, "Do you want to play a game of Sorry?" I respond, "Sure!". He disappears around the corner and then pops back in an instant, "Can I have a piece of gum?" I recklessly respond, "Sure!" I'm not looking at him but I know he's smiling. Gum makes him happy. So happy, he marvels out loud with some disbelief creeping into his voice, "You're actually a nice person!".
Thank you, son. I'm sure you meant well.

photo: turning six back in June(our third celebration of his birthday with one more to come hence the two small cupcakes)

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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baby K


I spend my days with two small, but growing children. One who can talk(and talk and talk some more) and one who babbles and giggles in her own secret language. And growing in secret darkness and warmth, another little one who can by now hear our voices and wonder where we are, the family she hasn't met yet.
To our son, the talker, everything needs an explanation and discussion. Sometimes the why question is a genuine inquiry, a sincere need to know and understand. Other times, the question is asked as a stalling technique, often after a polite, but direct command or order is given. Those are the times that he is reminded to not question but please obey. Say, "Yes, Mommy".
Sighing, he parrots the words back, with slight irritation creeping into his voice.
Then off he goes to complete the task.
With the increase in vocabulary and language skills, I have noticed comes the ability to complain with greater ease and occasion. Complaints about rainy days, complaints about cold days, complaints about bored days, complaints about eating fruits and vegetables, complaints about gum chewing(not enough), complaints about schoolwork, housework, and yardwork. They all find their way into our conversations each day and I find myself complaining about all the complaining. It doesn't surprise me. We are an ungrateful people who have to remind ourselves to be thankful. Strange, since there are many things that require no such reminders, they come so naturally. Complaining being one of them.
It also doesn't surprise me because we are saturated with a worldview that features complaining at every turn and Christians are not immune. The local radio show hosts(Christians included) complain about how long the workday is, the commute, the traffic, the weather conditions for going to work and the worst of all, the weather conditions for the weekend. It's hard not want to complain since apparently there is so much lamenting to be done.
As our son grows and realizes the list of complaints multiply everyday, my job is to reverse those trends. Difficult? Yes, especially without complaining about it.
We start with complaints about the weather.
God sends the rain to make things grow.
What would we eat if God stopped sending the rain?
He answers: Eggs
Chickens need food to lay eggs.
Him: Oh.
And so we thank God for sending the rain despite the fact it pours when he'd rather be outside riding his bike or digging in the dirt with his trucks.
Somehow we must overcome this sinful desire to complain. ("It's not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit" comes to mind, Zech. 4:6)
Here also are some wise words from wise mamas working on similar goals.
Mary from Owlhaven expounds on the same frustration of wanting to see immediate change in her children. She finds her answer in the Bible, where else?
And as Ann so amazingly articulates, even the dirt that we walk on, sweep up and wash away is a gift from God given to us as an inheritance to sustain us until we return to it. Her words as always, are rich and full of meaning. What a gift.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Covenant Children

From the closing paragraphs of When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul Jr.. I'm posting it here to remind me what is at stake in the teaching and training of our children.
Now to our final objection that comes from within the Christian church. Here the concern isn't that if we homeschool our children, they won't be hip enough to win the lost, but that if we homeschool, they won't ever run into the lost. That is, when we homeschool we fail to send our children out into the dying world as salt and light. After all, isn't the purpose of education that our children might have an opportunity to serve as missionaries? Of all the objections we've considered, this one at least has the virtue of not being motivated by the same greedy pursuit of personal peace and affluence that drives the world. I don't doubt that there are parents who sincerely believe it their duty to send their children into a hostile environment for the sake of lost. Their sincerity however, doesn't make it right.
There are two things, on the other hand, that cause me to question that sincerity. First, there is always a line drawn. I've never met a parent who determined to send their teenage child off to a brothel or a crack house for the sake of the lost. The people there are as a lost as the people at the state school. The only difference is, in the brothel or the crack house, the bad guys don't have the authority to make our children sit and listen to their worldview being taught for seven hours a day. But there's another cause for my doubts. I have yet to hear of a parent who is so concerned for the lost that they actually pay to send their children to attend a Muslim school, or a Roman Catholic school. Isn't it at least suspicious that all those who are motivated to send their children out as missionaries send them where it is "free" to attend?
Do I care about the lost? Of course I do. Do my children care about the lost? Enough that they can pray for them at school, out loud, every day. I am homeschooling precisely so my children will be able to know, recognize, and love the enemy, while not becoming the enemy. And just as their ability to love the enemy into the kingdom isn't contingent on their being trained by the enemy, in like manner their ability to love the enemy into the kingdom isn't contingent on their being in the enemy's schools. The greatest thing our children can do for the lost is to so let their light shine before men that they glorify their Father in heaven. My children do, by the grace of God, show forth the glory of the gospel. They humble their father by constantly eliciting the praise of men for their good behavior. I don't want their bushels buried. But neither do I want their flames extinguished. Never will I put my children under the authority of those who are enemies of the gospel, who despise the lordship of Christ such that his name cannot be mentioned. That we must never negotiate.
And therein is the end of the matter. I have tried to make the case in this book, under the authority of Christ, that parents are commanded to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But let me concede this. While biblical education is done by parents' teaching the Three Gs* to their children when they rise up and whey they lie down, the most grievous error we can make is to send them off to schools where Jesus is not plainly, fully, and publicly honored. In that great name may we hasten the day when no parent at the same time claims to serve the King, and yet allows his child to be trained by those who will not name that King. May it never be said again of any of those who name the name of Christ that they rendered unto Caesar the things that are God's--his covenant children.

*His Three Gs are:
Who is God?
What has God done?
What does God require?

Recently Read

My reading pace has slowed somewhat for various reasons. I'm not able to stay awake very long after the kids are in bed to read like I'm used to. I also have been scouring homeschooling catalogs and websites for a math program for our son. In addition, I have been working at keeping the house tidy so the workload does not get out of control. Mountains of laundry and disorganized shelves and closets really drag me down. Maintaining order means constant vigilance on my part.

But here are the few titles I have managed to work my way through in recent weeks.

I think the The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards was on the bestseller list around the time our daughter with Down Syndrome was born. One of the hospital pediatricians recommended the book to me when she came to my room discuss the nature of Down Syndrome children. That was 16 months ago. I found the book second-hand somewhere months ago and let it sit on my shelf. I wasn't exactly afraid to read it but I was concerned that the Down Syndrome girl may be abused in the book and I didn't think I could really handle that.(My sensitivities to child abuse, abortion stories, etc have become very heightened since becoming a mother almost six years ago.)
But thankfully the story includes none of this and I could read it quite easily. I enjoyed the book in the sense that I was intrigued by the progress of the story and curious to see how it would end. However, I have to admit that I found it a bit depressing in the end. Not due to anything that happens to the girl, just the relationship wreckage that follows poor choices and sinful acts.

This weekend I read R.C. Sproul Jr.'s When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling. In it he advocates that the clear teaching of Deuteronomy 6:1-9 is that parents are the ones that God has given the responsibility to teach and train their children and this can only be accomplished through being at home with them, aka homeschooling. Placing your children under the authority of public school teachers and administrators is directly opposed to the Word of God. And he sees Christian schools as simply attempting to reform public school failings but not going far enough. He answers objections that people offer to him and others as to why they do not homeschool or why they did but stopped. He also deals with answering Christians who want their children in public schools to share the gospel with teachers and classmates. (I posted a lengthy quote here.)
The book is fairly short at just under 150 pages but he seems to cover quite a bit in a short amount of space. We made the decision to homeschool almost two years ago and have not had any reason to change our plans. Even after reading this book, I'm not sure how I feel about Christian schools even though I am a product of one(attending K-12). Through my interaction with the other kids away from the supervision of my parents, I learned a lot of things that were not beneficial to my spiritual growth. So with those experiences in my mind, I am more likely to desire our children home with us as they learn and grow.

Another topic I've reading up on is vegetable gardening. I have been reading Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte as well as her other book, Astrological Gardening: The Ancient Wisdom of Successful Planting & Harvesting by the Stars. I found a wealth of information in both books and will refer to them as I begin to purchase plants and plant our garden. The second book, Astrological Gardening may sound a little dubious to some but the science behind the effect of the moon and the zodiac signs on the ground and earth is amazing to consider. Most of us upon hearing the term "zodiac signs" instantly think of horoscopes and fortune-telling. The fact that this information has been used in this unbiblical manner does not negate the benefits of using the moon's calendar to garden or farm successfully. I have to get a 2009 lunar calendar but would like to try my own experimentation in our garden and see for ourselves what the science shows.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our friend Julie running to greet her husband, Nic who returned home from Afghanistan earlier this week. I just love this photo, don't you?
For the news article, click here

Monday, April 13, 2009


Some Sunday school lessons do stick apparently.
Two weeks ago after discussing the story of Mary and Martha having Jesus come to their home, I was scurrying around my son to complete a task and was scolded by him with the following statement: "You're rushing around like Martha!"
My husband and I both burst out laughing. Of course, I was proud that he remembered the lesson since I had been the one teaching that week. :)

Sunday School update

In September, I mentioned that I was going be teaching Sunday School at our church. I was assigned five students with two of them coming every other week. The plan was to have a large group time with all the students and then break up into our smaller classes for the last 10-15 minutes for more individualized instruction. Well, it is now April and I am the only teacher left!
Three weeks into the school year, the superintendent and her family left the church unexpectedly and permanently. So the other teacher and I cobbled together a plan each week and covered for each other's absences. Between us and another girl who helped with the singing time, we have managed to continue nicely through the year.
March brought an engagement and May wedding plans to the other remaining teacher who will be joining her new husband at his church and ministry. In order to prepare for this transition, she is attending church with him now and has finished her Sunday School duties. I am very happy for her and do not mind her absence one bit.
I am now the only teacher for a widely varying number of children who range in ages from 2.5 to 10 years old. I still have help with the singing time and helping keeping the children attentive as we have a few on and off visitors who are becoming acclimated to the whole concept of Sunday School. We usually start off with a quick snack, followed by some singing time, share the Bible lesson and end with a activity or quick craft. The order changes from week to week with the exception of the snack time. That always comes first! Because we transitioned through the school year, my original students have a small notebook that we have been using to write in after the lesson. With the change in class size and arrangements, I have given my students their books and instructions for them while helping the younger kids do another writing or coloring craft or paper. A few weeks have been very busy as the kids were all at the same table but working on different projects. One particular solo Sunday in March, brought three little ones who could only scribble with crayons, three kindergardeners who could write their names and cut and paste with scissors and glue and my three students who had their notebooks to work in. It was a challenge to keep everyone busy and on-task, but everyone helped each other and shared the various supplies quite easily. But I'm glad that doesn't happen every week.
I enjoy the time with the kids and I think that a few of them are actually remembering the lessons and enjoying the time together. There are a few others who would rather be outside playing or running around the building with playmates. They are the hardest to keep interested and on-task. However, I'm not above speaking to them about their uhhh, distracting behavior and requesting that it be stopped and desisted from in the future.
But surprisingly my low-tech Betty Luken flannel graph(inherited from my grandfather and mother)is always a big hit.
They sit mesmerized by the figures and scenery. And having them participate by answering questions about who the people are or what will happen next on the board helps keep the lesson flowing. If we haven't used the flannel graph in a few weeks one of the kids usually asks why I don't have the story board. Who knew colored scraps of fabric could be so entertaining to kids in the high-tech era? :)
All in all, I have had a great year working with the kids and it makes me glad that I signed up to help even if I have ended up teaching all the kids now. My elementary education background certainly has helped in countless ways which hopefully has made my student loans seem worthwhile. :)