October 2008

Sacrifice. Hmmm. Not something I hear a lot of these days. With elections just past (Canada) and future (USA) making the news, most of what I hear is about how politicians plan to improve lives: less taxes, more benefits, yada yada yada. And in the churches? I hear talk of service, but framed in the “finding your passion” or “realizing your spiritual gifts” kind of language that makes it sound… fun. Sacrifice, real sacrifice, is not something I hear talked about much in church, unless we are remembering, you know, HIM. The one who sacrificed it all… for me. It’s something I have been thinking about lately.

Does God still call us to live sacrificial lives? And if He does, what does that look like? I’m curious, although I almost want to keep my fingers crossed behind my back as I bring it up because, you know, if I start opening myself up to the possibility that He wants me to live a life of sacrifice then what will He ask of me? Or, what might He take away? Or what might I have to give up or lose? Is sacrifice something I should practice in my Faith? Not in an Opus Dei kind of way, but the way I practice, say, fellowship or prayer.

I have been mulling over this idea of sacrificial living for a while. Curiously, I heard an economist discuss this very thing on the radio yesterday. He has written a book. (I really should remember people’s names if I am going to reference them.) I don’t remember who this guy is, but he was addressing a crowd in Saskatoon recently. One of his comments made me sit up. He was referring to the Recent Economic Crisis, and he said that the problem is that we (western society) do not understand the concept of sacrifice. Could we be… spoiled? Are we being taught a lesson? Will we learn anything?

We are not usually an overly busy family. Life typically putts along, work and play, and more work and play. Lately, though, other stuff has crowded in and we have had a taste of the Busy Life. An interesting combination of events, responsibilities, and challenges has resulted in… The Perfect Storm. Yes, I feel a little like I am drowning.


We are finishing the training required for becoming Foster Parents this week. A session tonight in Assiniboia, a session Thursday night in Assiniboia, and an all-day session here in Gravelbourg on Saturday. Then, a couple of interviews, a report, and we should be ready to accept kids by the time we get home from Mexico in January. I have been so busy with the doing of it, that I haven’t really processed how I feel about it yet. I feel generally positive, but haven’t internalized much of the training.

Contrary to previous posting, there is no large water tank residing in my basement as of yet. The company would not sell said tank to my father-in-law, so he is trying to find another company that will deal with him. So far, the weather has been cooperating quite nicely. It is supposed to be a lovely week, perfect for hauling water.

This past weekend was jam packed. There was a parenting workshop at the church. I attended the sessions while Lyndon, well, parented. He and the boys scouted around for whitetail. He’s on the lookout for that trophy. The parenting workshop had lots of good information. I enjoyed the opportunity to refocus and rethink my parenting.

Saturday night we all zoomed down to Glentworth for the Glentworth Idol fundraiser. This event was organized as a fundraiser for the Mexico trip. We raised around a thousand dollars which will go toward food and blankets for the community of Manaedero. It was so much fun. All of the contestants were great, from the little guys to the twenty-somethings. A lot of talent down there. And then, an awesome performance by the local band High Voltage. The kids had a blast bopping around the dance floor. Even we oldies enjoyed shaking a leg or two. So fun.

Tyson and Carter are enjoying being in Karate. Tyson is surprised at how quickly it is all coming back to him. Carter has a bit more of a learning curve, but he is enjoying being with the other kids.

Yesterday, the boys and I ran to Assiniboia for dentist appointments. Did a little shopping at the Thrift Store, and had lunch at the Chat ‘n Chew, our favourite restaurant.

And on we go. Today, we will do school and play outside. The boys are planning Hallowe’en costumes and making plans for meeting up with friends on Friday night. Colton and Carter won something from the Summer Reading Program at the library, so we need to stop there for a picture at 3:30. I have my training session in Assiniboia tonight, so a friend is going to come and hang out with the boys. (Its not called babysitting when you have a thirteen-year-old.) I don’t mind leaving Tyson in charge some of the time, but I’ll be gone until around 11:00 tonight, and I’ll be out of town, so… I’ll feel better knowing someone is here.

Oh yeah, I heard there is a global financial crisis in the making as well. Should be an interesting year!

This week is Library Week. Our library had an open house yesterday to try to promote the library and the services offered there. As part of the open house, we offered a Story Time for preschool children. No one came. I am so disappointed and frustrated. Is this an indication of the state of literacy in 2008? Or, is this indicative of the poor job the library is doing in terms of it’s relationship with the community? Maybe it is a little of both.

I am on the library board. We have struggled with staffing the library during the past couple of years. The main focus of the board since I have been a member is simply… stability. Trying to hire competent staff, establishing proper work processes, reorganizing the library to make it a more welcome place for patrons. But where do we go from here?

We are a small, rural community. Our library should be one of the institutions at the heart of that communtiy. It should be a welcoming place, where parents bring children, where connections are made, where books and computers are utilized. Literacy, especially for our kids, is such an important thing. How, as a local library, do we go about fostering the love of reading in our community?

I have been suffering from a case of the Blog Blahh’s lately. It has been over a week since I last posted. Thanks to everyone who keeps checking in. It’s not like there hasn’t been lots going on in our lives lately. Actually, it’s the opposite. There’s so much going on that I have been feeling a little overwhelmed, and that makes me tired, and that makes me lazy, and that makes me Blog Shy. This morning, I am letting the boys sleep in a bit, mainly to enjoy some quiet alone time… and here I am, sitting at the computer.

The Rosses have been busy. Lyndon had last week off, which meant he spent a lot of time hunting. His friends Al and John J came for parts of last week, driving here in the terrible weather I described in my last post. Thank goodness for four wheel drive. The guys had a great time, mainly hunting birds, although Al shot a Whitetail that he was very happy with. Good points, or something like that.

We had Thanksgiving dinner on Monday. Lyndon’s mom and dad didn’t attempt the drive, so it was the men and me (sounds familiar). Tom and Marilyn did come over on Wednesday, though, which was very nice. I cooked a ham that day, and Tom helped Lyndon get the water issue sorted out. We are going to put a large tank in the basement, which should hold enough water to get us through from Monday to Friday. This would be wonderful. I do NOT want to be hauling water on my own this winter if at all possible.

Tyson and Carter started Karate classes last week. Tyson had done karate before, then quit for a couple of years. Now he is ready to tackle it again. Carter is a beginner, so he is a Little Cobra. Those little guys are pretty cute.

Also last week, Lyndon and I started the training sessions for Foster Parenting. There is a break this week, and then we finish the classes the following week. A social worker came by yesterday to do a Home Safety Check. She needs to meet with Lyndon, then the boys and I, and then write up a report about us. Then, we should be good to go. Probably should be ready to accept children by the time we get back from Mexico in January. It has been an interesting process. It has been a long time since I have been so closely involved with a government organization. I had forgotten how bureaucratic the whole process is. The social worker has been great though, and I feel positive about the experience so far.

This afternoon I am presenting a Story Time at our Public Library. Should be fun. This is Library Week, in case you hadn’t heard! I am using some books about winter, and then Robert Munsch’s book, Smelly Socks. He is so funny. We have a cd of him reading some of his stories. My kids love it.

Saturday, our church has organized a Parenting Workshop. Kevin Vance is coming from Regina to present. Then, Saturday evening is our Mexico fundraiser… The Glentworth Idol. I am responsible for the kitchen. We are selling cake and ice cream, juice, coffee, and pop. The talent part of the evening is first, followed by a family dance. Sounds like there have been several people who have registered as contestants. Oh yeah, I have to make ten cakes to take that evening. Yoikes!

Oh… and that water thing I was talking about earlier… I think that is all happening this weekend as well. I heard a rumour that it involved cutting a big hole in my kitchen wall. Yeah.

A sense of humour is a very good thing!

They are predicting 10 to 15 inches of the white stuff to fall by tomorrow morning. We drove home from Regina this afternoon, and the closer we got to Gravelbourg, the worse the weather got. We slipping and sliding all over the place the last few kilometres. It’s good to be tucked into our warm house for the night. The boys are playing downstairs for a bit before bed. Lyndon is working on a plumbing problem. The tub has not been draining for a few days. Stinky!

We had a great weekend in Regina. The Lectureship was awesome, although it is always a little frustrating. It is such a busy time and hard to get in the quality conversations that I would like to have. The lectures I attended were thought provoking. I am now in the “mulling it all over” stage. I will have a lot to think about this week. The lectures were based on Proverbs, and had the theme of Wisdom.

Carter had a good time. The first night he found several “friends”, a bunch of little girls that he ran around with. I found him in the cafeteria one time, eating pie with about four young ladies. “Look at all the friends I made,” he said to me. When it was time to leave, my mom saw him blowing kisses as he called good-bye to his little harem.

As we were driving back to the hotel, he announced, “When I get to heaven, the first thing I am going to do is ask God to turn my eyes around backwards so that I can see the inside of my body.” Cool!

Tomorrow I am cooking a turkey and having a few people in for Thanksgiving dinner. A couple of Lyndon’s hunting buddies will be here, and Lyndon’s mom and dad will drive over if the weather is okay. Should be fun. Happy Thanksgiving!

Yep, crying the blues. Why, you ask? Well… I had a truckload of water sitting in the yard. When I went to dump it in the house this morning, I discovered the fittings were frozen. I checked the temperature and sure enough, minus five. I found an extension cord and got out the hair dryer and tried to thaw it. Finally, after no success, I called Lyndon to find out what I was doing wrong. He advised me to remove the hose and run the heat directly inside the fitting. Voila, success! Of course, I also got soaked as the lever finally gave way and water gushed out of the hole.

The boys and I are going to Regina for the weekend to meet Lyndon there and I am trying to get out the door. I’m looking forward to spending the weekend watersliding with the boys… and, umm, oh yeah… taking in the Lectureship at Western Christian College. Actually, I am really excited about attending the lectures. There are several great speakers to choose from, and lots of interesting classes to attend. My mom and dad will be there, so will get in a little visiting, too.

However, before I can get out the door there are several last minute things to do, such as wash the boys winter parkas (especially Carter’s, as he left his outside and the kittens pooed on it), finish packing, shower and do my hair, pack the car, get gas, drop off some things for a friend, pay the bills… Maybe we’ll get there by supper.

It has been a curious week. We took a day off to clean house and do some other things and it kind of threw us out of whack. The boys never really settled back down into a good work schedule. I felt like I was fighting with them all week, and they were fighting with each other. Here are a few of the week’s highlights:

We finished our study of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. So interesting. We dug out our Drive Through History dvds and visited the Mediterranean area again.

I saw my first rat. Colton brought in a dead rat that the kittens had been eating in the barn. Yuck! It was as big as one of the cats. I have never seen a rat here before.

I started reading The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White to the boys. This book would never get published today. No one would touch a book with anthropomorphized animals. And there are no wizards or magic spells or dragons. Nope, it’d never sell today. I have been reading some Young Adult literature lately, just to get a feel for the market. Of the last three books I’ve read, all of the main characters were dealing with an absent mother and working through their relationships with their fathers. Hmmmm.

I continued my campaign to reduce the stuff in my home. I feel like a snake must feel when it sheds its tight, old skin. Like there is room to wriggle around.

Speaking of snakes, Carter had a bad day yesterday. One example: he and Tyson were arguing about something and Carter grabbed a little dried up garter snake that was sitting on our window ledge (you’d be amazed at what I have on my window ledge) and threw it into Tyson’s bowl of noodles. So, I made Carter give his noodles to Tyson, which meant he didn’t have any lunch. He stomped upstairs and I sat at the table feeling like I often do as a parent… like, basically, I have no clue what I am doing!

Okay, off to finish the laundry and rally the troops. I am counting on some encouragement from the speakers at the Lectureship. One of those “that was meant just for me to hear” moments. Living with expectancy!

It got down below zero last night. When I looked out the window this morning there was frost on the windows of the vehicles. I am still fighting it, but winter is coming. I did turn the heat on in our “school room”. I need to go to town and I am afraid I am going to have to wear wear socks and shoes. The Birkenstocks will have to live in the closet for a few months.

Carter is like me. He still put shorts on this morning, over which he put on his winter parka when he went outside to play with the kittens. I have told him that if he wants to go to town with me this afternoon he will have to put on pants and socks and shoes. So today we are experiencing a small mourning of the season past. The boys are looking forward to snow, however. They are dreaming of toboggan hills and snow forts. I’m not quite there with them yet.

We had a successful trip to the city yesterday. Carter came with me to my eye appointment. Lyndon was working in Regina, so he stopped by and took the older boys for a while.

Deena, the technician I see at the hospital, is a gem. She let Carter look at and through her equipment. He was especially fascinated by the funny glasses that let him look at pictures in 3-D. I was embarrassed when I told him Deena’s name, however, and his response was, “Oh, is she a girl? I wasn’t sure if she was a girl or a boy.” I wasn’t sure how to recover from that fumble, but Deena just laughed. She has short hair and is not “fluffy” in any way, but she definitely doesn’t look like a man! Eventually, Carter discovered the paper clip dispenser and proceeded to make a six-foot-long paper clip chain. Deena let him take it with him when we left. Oh, my son.

We met up with Lyndon and the boys at the donut shop in the hospital. Then, the boys and I stopped at the Mall for a quick shopping trip. We were back home by supper time. We spent the evening watching the Terry Fox movie I had picked up in the city. I have such a strong memory of seeing Terry on TV, watching him run. I remember when he died. What an example of integrity and perseverance.

A final note. When I stepped off the treadmill this morning I almost landed on a furry little rodent that dashed across my bedroom floor. “Boys, why is there a gerbil loose in my room,” I yelled. They came on the run, and managed to capture the little guy and get him back in his cage. Apparently, Carter thought the gerbils needed a vacation, and had left them unattended in his bed. Captain escaped and had a little adventure.

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