Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tylenol is my friend

I want to apologize for the lack of super awesome posts this week.  After coming home from convention, my immune system finally caved in to the virus that had been attempting to infect me with the vicious cold that my children introduced to me already before I left. 

I think being exhausted from convention hasn't helped because it is a monster of a cold involving knives stabbing into my throat when I swallow and much coughing that keeps me awake half the night.  Halls cough drops are only so helpful.

I went to the naturopath on Wednesday, so I've got two pages worth of things to do and take for myself and the kids.  I will honestly say, as much as I hate being sick, I can't even remember to do half of it because there's just so much on the list.  And it's one thing to remember to do a list of things for yourself; it's another thing entirely to have to remember two additional lists for the small ones.

That being said, my sore throat is finally feeling significantly better today, and my lungs don't feel quite as congested, although the pounding head leaves something to be desired...something like Tylenol, and lots of it.  I think we just might attempt to get to church this morning as the kids seem to be doing significantly better than I am, and I would love to have a little bit of a break, even if it means sitting on an unpadded pew for a little while. 

So Happy Sunday, people.  And hopefully I'll be a little better at posting something interesting this week...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Princess



Two years ago, this precious little angel joined our lives.  She is an absolute gift, and her smiles never fail to cause my heart to melt with love. 

Happy Birthday, Kaylee!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'd Forgotten

I'd forgotten just how completely physically exhausting the AOYC actually is, especially for the tech crew who spends a lot of time running around lifting and pushing heavy things. 

I'd forgotten how sore you get from using muscles you should probably be using all the time, but don't.

I'd forgotten how dirty your hands get from wrapping so many cables, how good that sandwich tastes for lunch because you're working so hard you almost forget to eat, and how incredibly painful it is to be on your feet all day for four days straight.

I'd forgotten the high that comes after a show well-done, knowing you've put your heart and soul into doing the work the best you can.

And I'd forgotten just how absolutely amazing it is to hear the voices of over 800 young people singing about amazing grace and a God that is might to save, how these youth can bring you to tears with their raised hands and their commitments to serve, and how with a few prayers, they can bring such unbelievable encouragement to their leaders.

"Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done..." Psalm 105:4-5A

Sunday, May 22, 2011

On see-through bacon...

Quote of the day: "I can see you through my bacon!" - Jon

Let's just say university cafeteria food leaves much to be desired, at least when it comes to breakfast.  The unfortunate thing is that word on the street has it we won't be eating a whole lot in the way of lunch today either. It's a bit hush hush, but you know there's something going on when they only have half an hour scheduled to feed 900 plus people.  I'll probably have more on how that goes tomorrow...

The weekend is going well.  The kids seem to be really enjoying themselves, and we are having a great time working together as a crew.  As always, each show gets better and better as we get all the kinks worked out and find our groove.  We have a busy day ahead of us today with several Reach-In rooms to set up and both a morning and evening worship session.  Sunday night is typically the climax session of the weekend, so it will be interesting to see how God is at work today.

Please continue to pray that I and the others keep in good health.  We're all a little sore from lifting heavy equipment and generally using muscles we're not used to using.  The exhaustion is setting in, and although we had an easy enough day yesterday, today does look to be a little more challenging.  Please pray that we will keep up our strength and continue to keep our focus on the One who is faithful to keep us strong until the end.

Peace, my friends.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blogging from All Ontario

The sun glares into our eyes as we stumble from the cafeteria to the gym where the morning's worship session will be held.  Getting coffee is the only thing on our minds now that we've eaten breakfast.  Someone has brought a Keurig from home, and that man deserves a medal.  (University coffee is apparently quite bad.)

But we're thankful the sun is shining.  Because it means we don't have to walk around from breakout room to breakout room dragging equipment through the rain.  Because it means we get to wear shorts when it gets hot later.  Because it means the youth will have a great time playing sports outside during leisure time.

Because there is something about walking with the sunshine on your face that makes it okay to be completely exhausted.  Especially when there's good coffee waiting for you at the end of your walk...

Last night's session was a good rehearsal for the rest of the weekend.  There were a few minor glitches with the production side of things that should be ironed out by today, if not this morning, then by tonight.  It didn't rain, so the outdoor stage was able to be outside as planned, and it was well received...(except for a noise violation...*cough*)  We finally made it back to our rooms around 12:30, which isn't too bad for us actually.

I'm hoping to do a couple posts over the course of the weekend.  We do have some Internet access, albeit a slow connection, and there's enough laptops kicking around that I should be able to put up the occasional update.

Prayers are always requested, especially because I am now concerned I might be finally getting that cold my kids have had for a week or so now.  The last thing I want right now is to be sick, so please pray that I (and the others) remain healthy.  Please also pray that we will be able to keep our focus on working for the glory of God, and also for the youth, that their lives will be touched by all they see and hear this weekend.

Peace, my friends.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mostly just an update

The sun is finally shining again after what has been a full week of rainy days.  Reuben actually slept in this morning, small miracle, but I'm late getting my morning coffee, and for some reason, extra sleep seems to have the effect of slowing my brain down.  I'd love to have something more inspiring to say, but you'll have to make do with a more update-ish post today.

Prayers are needed.  Reuben has had a cold for about a week, and I had to take him in yesterday to find out that he now also has an ear infection.  He's on antibiotics, but the poor kid really needs God's healing hand on him right now.  He cried for nearly two hours straight the other night because he was in so much pain.  Well, in pain and overtired, which is never a good combination.

I leave for convention tonight, and I'll admit, it's now with some misgivings with Reuben feeling so crummy.  I know he's in good hands with my parents, but I'm also not sure I want to subject them to a sick kid.

That being said, I am still planning to go, and prayers for myself and the rest of the crew would be much appreciated.  All Ontario has a way of being both incredibly uplifting and incredibly exhausting.   Please pray for safety, and strength, and that God's glory will be shown in the work that we are doing.

My coffee is kicking in, and my brain is starting to function again, but I'm going to leave it there. 

"Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised." Psalm 113:2-3

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's that time of year again...

It's the weekend of the All Ontario Youth Convention!  This is an event that Tim has been involved in for over 10 years helping out with the sound & lighting aspect of things.  Before the kids were born, I went along to help.  It is always an incredible weekend, both in the fun we have as a tech crew and also in watching as the lives of these youth are changed by God's grace.  It's been challenging the last three years to send him off for it while I had to stay home with babies.

This year, thanks to my parents graciously being able to take care of my kids for me, I get to go again!  I don't think I can possibly express just how excited I am.  The reasons are many: a weekend away without the kids, getting to work with my husband again (I admit; he's turned me into a bit of a techy........okay, so I just wrap lots of cables...), working with the crew (we have the same people year after year volunteering with us), listening to some really awesome worship sessions, hearing some really cool speakers, being part of something bigger than myself...yeesh, I'm getting more excited just thinking about it.

For the youth, the weekend doesn't start until Friday evening, but in this house, planning for it started almost as soon as last year's convention ended.  Tim has spent that past number of months plotting diagrams and putting together equipment lists.  The frenzy to finish organizing everything has stepped up over the last few weeks, and today he is heading off to pack the gear at the company we rent everything from.  I get to spend my day baking, doing laundry, and packing suitcases.  Tomorrow, we load in at the university.

Let the fun begin!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My mornings

I have a morning routine.

One of the kids, (usually Reuben, but sometimes Kaylee joins too), wakes me up early.  By early, I mean before 6am.  The rule, however, is that we do not go downstairs until at least 6:00, so I keep him quiet-ish in my room before we sneak down the stairs, trying not to wake Kaylee up if she is still asleep.  I put on my pot of coffee, and I get Reuben a snack of cheerios or crackers and a cup of juice.

And then I do the blog thing. 

I'm not like other moms that get up at 5am to have quiet devotional time and workout.  I tried that.  It didn't work for me.  I am all for starting my day by focusing on God and bringing Him into the journey with me, but my kids are just too distracting in the mornings for me to get that quality one-on-one time with Him, and I just do not sleep well enough at night to try to get up before they do.

So I read blogs of other women who do get that quality quiet time, and I am inspired, and I think of Him and pray as I write blog posts while looking up scripture passages on

And sometimes.....who am I kidding.....CONSTANTLY, I am interrupted by curly-blond-haired beauties clad in footie pajamas covered in robots.  More juice.  More goldfish.  The show is over; can we pick another one?  Sometimes, against my better judgment, I give into my sinful urges to grumble. 

But other times, I reach out my arms to draw that precious little soul in for a hug, and I watch her tiny feet stretch onto their toes as she reaches up to put her arms around my neck.  How can my heart do anything but melt?

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul." Psalm 143:8

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Things

Thing One: I absolutely love the sound of rain on the roof while I'm in bed at night.  It is such an incredibly soothing sound.  Last night, it poured, and I reminisced about childhood days camping with my family when it would rain while we were all in the tent together.

I think this is the first place Tim and I have lived where you can actually clearly hear the sound of those many drops hitting the top of our house.  Home 1 was a high-rise apartment, and we weren't on the top floor.  Home 2 was a main-floor apartment in a house with two floors above us.  Home 3 was a townhouse with an attic.  Here, there is no attic, so I get the full effect of every downpour, to the point of being able to hear the water trickle its way through the shingles to the eavestroughs. 

Thing Two: The view outside my kitchen is becoming more and more beautiful every day.  And by view, I mean the birch tree.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, spring is my favorite time of year.  I am loving that I get to watch this tree wake up from the dead of winter.  The leaves on it get bigger every day, and slowly I see more and more green dressing those lovely white branches.

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!
Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds!'" Psalm 66:1-3a

Friday, May 13, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

You know how you can get those compilation recipe books that schools and Coffee Break programs put out as fundraisers?  I have one, and it is probably the best recipe book ever.  All the recipes are so practical and stuff that normal people eat when they don't have hours to spend preparing gourmet meals.

One of the favourites in our house is a recipe someone called "Best Ever Banana Muffins".  We tend to agree, but I usually just call them "Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins".  You should try them; they are excellent.

"Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins"

3 large bananas
3/4 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. melted butter/margarine
chocolate chips

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar and the egg.  Add the melted butter.  Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the banana mixture.  Add about a handful of chocolate chips.  Spoon into muffin cups.  Bake at 375F for 20 minutes.

Best eaten warm when the chocolate chips are still melted.  ;)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Worn Out, but not Broken

Great title, right?  As I read those words, I realize there can be so much meaning found in them beyond what I am actually using them to describe.

The transmission in our van is worn out, not broken.  This means the warranty that we paid for when we bought the van last August won't cover the necessary repairs.  I'm sure most of you are well aware, fixing your transmission is probably one of the most expensive repairs possible on a vehicle, and one of the things you can't really fix yourself either.  It figures.

But I can still praise Him in the storm. 

We were pretty excited this year for our tax refund.  We've got a long list of things we had planned to do with the money, many of them things around the house, and I was looking forward to getting some much needed new clothes and a new bed frame to get our mattress off the floor.  It looks like we'll be putting those plans on hold.

But the tax refund means we can actually afford to get the van fixed.  Praise the Lord for His provision!

I'm not going to lie to you.  It still totally sucks, and I definitely started crying on the phone with the warranty guy when he told me the news.  (I hope that makes you feel good and crummy, you cursed warranty company man!  I'm sorry....that wasn't nice.....)  But the only way to get through this without sinking into the pit of despair is to look on the bright side.

So the title of this post also pretty adequately describes the state of my spirit right now, "worn out, but not broken".  It's like the passage in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."  It helps to focus on knowing that God has provided, and we are able to have it fixed without going into further debt.

It also helps to have an overgrown garden that I could hack away at yesterday and vent off some of my frustration...  :)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Losing a Church: Moving Forward

This will be my last post in my "Losing a Church" series.  I have loved sharing this journey with you all, but now it's time for me to put this series to rest.

Are there some lingering personal issues around our church closing that I may need to deal with yet?  Probably.  But I think the hard work has been finished, and the time for publicly blogging about it is done.  The slow work to come to complete healing and forgiveness will continue, but by God's grace, I am truly in a place of acceptance over the situation, and I am ready to look forward to the next steps.

The next steps.  Finding a new church.  (Do I sense another series?)

Ugh.  The initial excitement over finding a new church has waned, and I am left with a sinking feeling of dread over having to be the new face in the crowd again.  I have never been good at getting close to people, and it took three years to form the tentative relationships I have/had with people at our previous church.  (It is so weird to call it our "previous church".)

And I hate small talk.  I am so not good at it.  I'm not even good at it with people I've known for years.

This does not bode well for how easy it will be to fit in with a new community of believers.  And so, first order of business in my journey to find a new church, crash course in small talk.  Google, here we come.  Or maybe there's a "Small Talk for Dummies" book I can find...

Sunday, May 08, 2011

For My Mum

I had in mind to post something completely unrelated to Mother's Day today; I didn't want to be cliche.  But I've changed my mind.  Mother's are worth being cliche over.

I don't think I ever really truly appreciated my own mother until I became a mother.  Sure, I loved her, and I said the appropriate "thank-you for everything's" on days such as today.  But that deep-down, heartfelt appreciation for all the little things she did and sacrificed for us that I never even know about, that has not come until more recently.

Frankly, I don't think it's ever possible to truly appreciate your mother until you are one.  You can try, but you probably will still never quite get it.

I now understand how often my mum probably had to do things she really didn't want to do, but did them anyways because she loved us.  I really wish I had appreciated her cooking more when I was a kid.  (There is nothing more frustrating than slaving over a meal, only to be told by two small children even before they sit down that it's "yucky".  Mum, I deeply apologize if I ever called any of your food "yucky".)

I now understand why the waterworks always seemed to flow so easily for my mum.  I've decided that once you give birth, your hormones are irrevocably changed, and you can now cry at the drop of a hat.  Really, if your kid drops his hat somewhere you don't want him to, like in a puddle, you just might cry.  I'm kidding about the hat.  :)  But not about the tears; I cry for everything now.  It's ridiculous.

I now understand just how much my mum must have sacrificed for us to give us the loving home that we grew up in.  I now understand just how often my mum's needs must have been pushed aside for the needs of us kids.  I now understand just how much she must love us.

So Mum, even though words could never say it well enough, thank you.  Really.  Truly.  Thank you.  I think I'm finally starting to appreciate all you've done for us over the years. 

I love you, Mum.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Oh cat...

This is my cat.  Generally, she is a good cat.  However, in more recent months, I have discovered that she has a major flaw.  She likes to eat things.  Rubber things.  Important rubber things.  Like my yellow rubber gloves (which I've gotten very good at hiding, so she actually hasn't eaten them lately) and also, like the rubber sleeves from the ends of my earphones.

"Why are these so important?" you may ask.  Well, let me tell you.

If you have been hereto uninformed, as well as being the part-time admin assistant for our church, I also work part-time from home as an independent contractor doing transcription work.  As such, it is extremely important that I have a good set of headphones so I can clearly hear the audio that I am working on.

Triple Flange Sleeves
I have a set of Shure earphones that has been lovingly provided to me by my dear husband.  These are the ends that I like to wear with them.  I have been rather unfortunately endowed with small ears, so the standard black, grey, or yellow ends just don't fit well into my ears, and I end up spending more time shoving them back in so I can hear than I do actually typing my file.

Well, last week, my cat decided she would eat the ends off my earphones.  It was probably my fault because I left them laying out on the desk.  But in all fairness, I've been doing this for two years now, and I've never had a problem with her eating them before.

*sigh* Just my luck.  So now I have to get new ones.  Which of course, costs lots of money in shipping.  Figures.

In other completely unrelated but even more frustrating news our van is having transmission troubles.  Some prayers that the warranty company comes through for us would be appreciated.

That's all for today...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bruschetta Chicken

This is what I made for supper last night.  It was delicious, and the best part is that I didn't even follow an exact recipe.  I know.  :)  Go me.

Here's the recipe, written by me:
red onion
feta cheese
salt & pepper
chicken breast

Chop up tomato, onion, and feta cheese.  Yes, chop the feta cheese.  Good quality feta cheese comes in blocks and must be chopped to get the crumbly texture.  Mix in a small bowl.  Add some salt & pepper and about a pinch of basil.  You might need more basil depending on how much tomato you've chopped.  I only used about a quarter of a really large one, so a pinch was perfect.  Fresh basil is always better than dried, and then you'd also need more than just a pinch.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, preferably one with a lid.  Add chicken to pan and and cook on medium heat, 3-5 minutes per side depending on how thick your chicken breasts are.  I only did 3 minutes, but it wasn't long enough.  After you've flipped to the second side, turn off the heat and pour the tomato mixture over the chicken.  Put the lid back on the pan and let it sit on the the stove for about two minutes.

At this point, my chicken wasn't quite done, so I tossed them into my toaster oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  They came out perfectly, and it was absolutely delicious.

(And yes, we had Sidekicks with it.  I needed to make something that the kids would eat.)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Losing a Church: The Goodbyes

There was coffee, and cake, and a table filled with yummy things made by loving hands.  There were songs, and a gift, and a slideshow presentation of memories.  There was eating, and talking, and running, and sitting, and standing, and listening.  There was hugging.  And there was praying and blessing.

There was laughter, and there was tears.

And so we said our goodbyes.  We made our promises to keep connected.  The end has finally come, and we are left standing at the precipice of the future, trusting that God knows the plans He has for us and is working all things for our good.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matt 28:19-20