February 2013


Last week I spent a lot of time sitting in my big chair listening to one and two-syllable words: sweep, harder, go, go, hurry, hurry hard, clean it, just for line.

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In between enhancing my vocabulary, watching high fives, low fives and very animated facial expressions, I managed to watch a granddaughter swim for her university team a couple of times, a grandson play volleyball for his university team, and my favourite basketball and hockey teams lose and win.

In my spare time I also managed to read a couple of books on my kindle.

I did get to participate in some meaningful conversation though, as my best friend and I debated the merits of a particular shot, whether they should have guarded or drawn into the house and was the young Ontario team that won starting a new curling dynasty.

I think I might have been a bit lethargic, perhaps a bit over zealous on the sports side of life and maybe even procrastinated a bit on other things. Oh well, I get to take a week off before I listen to the same conversation from the men as they participate in the brier.

I was also happy to look out the window this morning and see the drive way covered with snow as I got to participate in some meaningful exercise.

*** FYI, for the readers who are not Canadian, Dad’s talking about the game of curling in his post today!

I walk into the living room and it’s not even that bad. A few books scattered and some sheets of music on the floor and a drinking glass left on the shelf, and some of the clutter, honestly, is mine. But I walk in and see them sitting and relaxing and it boils up in me and the words rush out at them. Immediately I’m sorry. I’m wrong and I know it, and I try to make it right but the words are already out there, lives of their own in sarcastic syllables.

I know I’m tired and it’s been a long couple of weeks and I can give all the reasons why, but it doesn’t matter. They’re tired too, and they’ve been working hard and pitching in and I had no right.

I apologize and we try to find our footing again. It’s the middle boy, all sixteen-year-old wisdom, who says the words.

I think you’re just too busy, Mom.

They cut me, these words, but I know the truth of them. He’s right. I’ve let it happen. All these good things, crowding out these good children.

I stop right there and I put them first. I write a new list and I put their names at the top and I tell them so.

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To be honest, it helps. When the list is ordered right, when the most important are made the most important, the rest falls into place.

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I’m blogging today at How to Homeschool High School. (We’re thinking of changing the name to something a little less stuffy, by the way, so if you have any suggestions we’d love to hear them.)

Anyway, I’m blogging about Finding Joy, and while I do spend a little time whining about winter and blizzards and the flu, I find myself in a better frame of mind by the end of the post.

You can read it all here.

And have a great weekend!

Sometimes I have a hard time making decisions. There are too many options or there is too much information, and I can drive myself crazy trying to figure out the best thing.

I put too much importance on these things. As if what I choose is going to make or break it, whatever it is. As if the future success of everything rests on me and the choices I make.

Who am I kidding?

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I like Carter’s solution.

When you can’t decide what hat to wear, wear them all.

I need to lighten up, already.

I had breakfast today with one of my favourite people. My middle son and I shared toast and tea and it was nice to visit with him, just him, for a few minutes before he went out to do chores.

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Colton is the last man standing.

Our home has been hit with a nasty bug, and so far he and I are the only ones who haven’t fallen victim. We were talking about it. About trying to avoid what will probably be inevitable. About how it’s almost worse, the anticipation of something nasty than the nasty itself. About how, if it’s going to happen, we’d have rather had it first and gotten it over with.

It feels like years since we’ve done math or read a book.

Sometimes, just trying to stay ahead of the nasty is about all there is energy for.

He sleeps. Finally. The house stills and we tiptoe around, closing doors softly and whispering our words to each other. I watch the clock, wondering if his body will wake him again, wretched, teary, to reach for the ice cream pail sitting on the floor beside the couch where he rests.

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Its illness upon illness this winter, days piling up like the heavy snow drifts outside my door.

Through the window I see the snow blowing white across my yard, another storm. I cough and cough, and I take a vitamin c tablet but I have to admit the cold I’m fighting has taken me over. I cough into my sleeve and not into my hand, the way we are told to do it now. Quietly as I can though, so as not to wake him.

A tall boy wanders in and out of the room, restless. I’ll go out and check on that last pregnant goat, he says. Needing something to do, and I understand the itch he is feeling.

Dad naps, and the other boy retreats to the basement, hiding from the germs.

I sink a little. Tired right out, you know. And yet, even weary weak I know he is there. I feel him, around me. I do. And I know I am not alone. I rest in that. I sink into that.

Sunday eases into evening, and for today church is this room and prayer.

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I’m blogging today at How to Homeschool High School… about moms and Valentine’s Day and meeting or not meeting those mom expectations we all have. Oh, and about goats. Take a peek, would you?

And happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is Wednesday. The day before Valentine’s Day. Two days before my second son’s sixteenth birthday.

Oh, and its the first day of Lent. Should I have remembered that before I saw all the Facebook posts and blog posts about it?

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The truth is, I didn’t grow up with Lent. Ash Wednesday? I hadn’t a clue. I’ve only recently even bothered to find out what it is all about. Easter, growing up, was about finding eggs and eating chocolate, and somewhere in there was a vague understanding that for some people it meant something about Jesus being crucified and raised up again.

But Lent? I had no idea, except from references in books to people giving things up for it.

I’m giving up chocolate for Lent. Or movies. Or cigarettes. Or men.

I never really got the religious significance of such gestures.

I understand it better now, since google made understanding these things so much easier. I’ve thought about it some. I’ve not embraced it, although I sense it’s become the thing to do. People are embracing it, I know, even if it wasn’t a faith tradition they grew up with.

I’m not giving anything up for Lent this year. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. I’m not denying myself a pleasure or abstaining from an indulgence. I’m not tuned in enough to the why of it to make it meaningful.

I guess I’ll just keeping doing it, living it, day after day for the next forty days. Thinking about things, praying, doing what I can. Ordinary stuff, ordinary days.

Keeping on instead of giving up.

What about you?

I read her Facebook post a couple of days ago. She said, “I am going to breakfast with my best friend, then to Calgary to visit my aunt who is in the hospital.”  My heart quickened a bit. She was talking about me.

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Over the years I have had many friends. But when I read, “My best friend,” I felt special, and my day was better somehow.

So I have been thinking about what makes a best friend and how one acts if they are one.

I know we have quarrelled about things. We don’t always see things the same way and we have even said things to each other that hurt. But we have always been there for each other.

Her elderly aunt is my elderly aunt. Her family is my family, and my family is her family. I even go shopping with her to “Cleos” and she knows what colours go best with my jeans. We have supported each other through surgeries and illnesses.

I sometimes cook and she sometimes cleans the garage. We enjoy movies, church, travelling and visiting with friends.  She is comfortable when I am reading and I am comfortable when she is visiting her Facebook friends.

Best friends support each other, give each other space, do things together, but also support each other’s interests.

I am grateful for my best friend.

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I sit down in front of the computer this morning, and I start to write a grumpy post.

I sit down, feeling blah, and I start to write blah words. I write this:

I wake up this morning, tired and a little grumpy, and it’s just a lot of going through the motions while I make the breakfast and pack the lunch and check the calendar. I see the things planned and I add the things that weren’t and it’s another long list and another long day and I just can’t muster an ounce of excitement about any of it.

“Boo hoo,” I think.

If I were a cartoon character, a dark cloud would be forming above my head.

I can hear the advice in my mind. Take vitamins, or eat more of this or less of that, or exercise, or pray… meditate, nap, go for a walk, read your bible, be grateful, smile, think of those less fortunate, do something for somebody else, do something for yourself, do more, do less, do something.

I look at the true words I’ve written, and I am stuck. I don’t know where to go from these words to the words I want to write. I don’t quite know what to do with these words. I’m not sure they serve me well, or you either, for that matter.

Here’s the thing. I know, way down deep, where the feelings are coming from. Those I’m not enough feelings. You’ve felt them too, I bet.

She’s doing it better, having it easier, experiencing more joy, having more fun, making more of a difference. She’s got more friends, better relationships, happier children, more to look forward to. On and on and on. And on.

And the deeper I go, the deeper I get.

The truth is, my life is my life.

Actually, the real truth is, my life is His life.

So I stop, in the middle of all the words and threatening tears. I just stop and I bow and I open my hand to Him. I open my heart, just a tiny little crack, and I whisper a tiny word.

“Please,” I whisper.

I know that He knows what I mean.

I know that He can do something today with an open hand and a tiny crack and one little word.

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