Friday, July 29, 2011

Processing the sadness...

It's been a slow week for inspiration, my friends.  In my heart, there is a need to explain this post, but I don't know if I have the right words to make myself understood.

I was pregnant, and I had a miscarriage at four weeks and four days. 

So early.  This little life that didn't even get a chance to know life.

The doctor called it a "chemical pregnancy" and said to not even treat it as a miscarriage.  As if that can take away the fact that I had four positive pregnancy tests.  A line is a line is a line is a line.  His levity was meant to lessen my grief, and in hindsight, it's only added to the difficulty of processing my sadness.

I've never hidden that I've already lost one baby.  In fact, just a few weeks ago I remembered the child that would have been four years old this year.  So many years have passed since the sharpness of that loss and grief that I've almost forgotten what that experience was like.  But that time, we'd had time to share our excitement and thus were also forced to share our grief.

This time has not been quite the same, and words cannot quite express just how confusing and difficult the emotions have been for me.  Reuben and Kaylee keep my life so busy that I barely have time to spend alone with my thoughts, and those few moments when I am allowed to feel the depth of my hurt, the pain that wells up is so great that I find I need to distract myself so not to be swallowed up in it.

And God has been faithful to provide such comfort, but if I take my gaze off of Him for even a second, it is so easy to slide back down into that great valley of darkness.

In some twist of irony, when I had found out I was pregnant, my greatest concern was how tired I would be for the next nine months, and 2 Corinthians 9:12 became my mantra, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  It seems that I'm now looking at this verse in a completely different light and relying on His strength in a completely different way.

I continue to covet your prayers.  I don't know if this post has at all explained what I need it to.  In a small way, it has helped to write it. 

Peace to you...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Easy Tomato & Cucumber Salad

So I wanted something yummy with my garlic bread for lunch yesterday, and since I had the ingredients, I threw this salad together.  I think I first saw the recipe in a Kraft What's Cooking magazine, but I did it totally off the top of my head this time.  *grin*

red onion
feta cheese
feta & oregano salad dressing

Start by chopping up the cucumber and putting it into a bowl.  I used about 1/3 of a cucumber, and I ended up with enough for two servings.

Chop the tomato and put in the bowl with the cucumber.  I used about 2/3 of a medium-sized tomato.

Chop up some red onion and feta cheese and add to the tomato and cucumber.  In hindsight, I could have just sliced up the red onion, but I was using the end of an onion, so I don't know how well it would have worked.  And yes, when you buy real feta cheese that comes in a block, you chop it up to make it crumbly.

Add some salad dressing and toss to coat.  This recipe works best if you can let it sit for a few hours in the fridge so all the flavors have a chance to blend together.  It tasted okay when I ate it for lunch after a few minutes, but it tasted even better at supper when it had the chance to sit.  It would have tasted even better if I'd been able to let it sit overnight, but I wasn't about to eat it for breakfast.

And there you have it, easy summer salad.  I'm looking forward to trying it again when I have fresh tomatoes from the garden to use.  Mmmm...

And I just have to say this in response to the glorious thunderstorm and driving rain on my roof that woke me up last night at 2am:
"God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'" Job 37:5-6

"Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make music to our God on the harp.
He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills." Psalm 147:7-8

Saturday, July 23, 2011

That Moment

I love it when my kids blow me away.

Reuben likes playing games and watching kids' videos on the Internet.  I'll be the first to admit he probably spends too much time doing said activities, but that's an issue for another day.  This particular story happened one day as I was helping him to get started with one of his videos, and he asked me to sit with him and watch one for a little while.  So I shoved aside all thoughts of getting dishes done before the kids went to bed and sat with him.

My first impression of the video wasn't a great one, and even though it was supposed to be geared towards kids, the story line was about a ghost train, and it had some pretty spooky music.  So I told Reuben I didn't think he should be watching that video and that we should find a different one to watch because I thought it was too scary for him.

He proceeded to tell me the following:  "It's okay, Mommy.  I won't be scared.  I have God in my heart."

Yeah.  It was that moment.

And I have to admit, it was tinged with just a little bit of guilt that he hadn't heard of the idea of having God in his heart from me.  I haven't figured out yet how to teach my kids this concept.  So I had to ask him how he knew about having God in his heart, and eventually, through some strategic question asking, figured that he must have heard it at church.

Isn't God's grace amazing?

As much as I felt that twinge of guilt, I also felt so humbled and then so extremely thankful to know that God truly can work in my kids' lives, even as often as I screw up as a mother.  And I am also extremely thankful to have found a church that takes such an interest in kids, because although I know they need to hear about God from me, it helps to take the pressure off when I know they're also hearing it from other places.

"You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12

Friday, July 22, 2011

Open the fridge

I don't know if it's the ridiculous heat, or feeling extra tired, or maybe both, but I just have not felt this inspiration to post this week.  I've wanted to, but I just haven't had anything to say. 

Until last night.

Given the extreme heat over the last few days, we've had various family and friends come over to visit our air-conditioning, and my sister has actually been staying over in our spare bedroom so she can actually get some sleep as her apartment, alas, does not have A/C.  This, of course, has led to some great evenings of fun and conversations enjoyed over some cool drinks.

Last night, my husband was getting up to grab himself and his friend another drink, and he asked me if I wanted anything.  I couldn't decide what, if anything, I wanted, so I said not to get me anything.  A few minutes later, I got up, went to the fridge, and picked out a drink.

Naturally, conversation ensued around why I couldn't just have told him what I wanted, and he could have gotten it for me, thus sparing me the trip to the refrigerator.  I pointed out that I didn't know what I wanted, so I had to go and see for myself.  He then noted that I knew what the choices were, so why didn't I just decide without looking?

We determined that sometimes, you just need to open the fridge.

And for about 30 seconds, we all felt deep and philosophical about how life is like that when it comes to choices.  Sometimes, you just need to open the fridge and check out your options.  Even though you know what your choices are, there's something about seeing them laid out in front of you that makes it easier to know which one you want.

And either way, when you're trying to beat the heat, sometimes it's just nice to stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open and enjoy the cool air.

(Not to mention, isn't it great how the most random things can lead to a blog post?)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why I Write

It's morning again.  I sit with my coffee, reading my morning blogs and listening to quiet music and trying to figure out what I can say that sounds half as inspiring as the things they say.

And then I remind myself that I don't have to say what they say or sound like they sound.

Because I'm not them.

This is my blog, my writing, my place to remember the feelings, my place to bring Him glory.

It's still sometimes hard not to envy the following these wonderful blogging women have, seeing the many comments they receive and the many subscribers they have waiting on their every word.  But I remind myself: it's not about glory for me.  Why do I want those things?  I don't need to have many people reading what I say.  What matters is the One.  What matters is that He sees and that He is glorified.

I could write as beautifully as the wind and have thousands upon thousands of readers with hundreds of comments daily, but if my heart isn't focused on the real reason for why I write, it is all for nothing.

I write to use up words.  :)  I write because I spend a lot of time alone or with just my kids, and if I don't write, I will explode.  I write because if I don't, I am not being true to me, and if I am not true to me, I am not true to the One who made me.

And so I will continue to write, and I will remember Who I am writing for, and one day, I hope I can look into His face and hear Him say, "Well done."

Friday, July 15, 2011

His compassions never fail

And God is faithful to provide bright spots of joy to move me through the days, and I can count myself blessed...

seeing the beautiful face of this blue-eyed girl, laughing as she clings to my hands as I tip her down to the ground, ever trusting that I won't let her fall, and then asking for "More, more!" that the game might never end...

for good old-fashioned retail therapy, and actually having some significant success, too...

for long hugs from the man I love...

this monkey boy who loves to dangle from my neck and gets so excited when I ask him to help me take out the recycling...

beautiful summer days with the windows wide open and feeling the breeze ruffle my hair...

and looking forward to loved ones returning home...

an encouraging voice mail message from a friend...

long, hot showers...

for finally returning  to an old friend, who's been sitting in my garage since we moved in last October and sat unused in my living room for months before that, to dust off the keys and pull up a chair and find that some things you never forget, even if you get a bit rusty...

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And I cling to His love...

My dear readers, I'm sorry for such lack of posting lately.  I'm finding it hard to put into words a description of this newest storm of life -- I've lost track of how many times I've started a post only to delete it because nothing is coming out right.  Even this is a pathetic attempt at giving you something -- anything -- at the very least, a request for prayer, because I so need His strength and comfort right now.

To praise Him in the storm, to bless His name while feeling the searing pain of loss.  It is bittersweet to experience the joy of knowing a loving Father while my heart bleeds with sorrow.  Such an odd thing to go from singing His praises in one breath to overflowing with tears the next.  How can I feel so empty and mere seconds later feel so full of His grace?

I don't bother with all the "why" questions.  Why me?  Why now?  Why again?  It's simple: we live in a world full of sin and evil, and we are still waiting for Christ's return to make all things new.

I cling to the hope of the joy we will feel on that day -- such joy -- to see the loved ones waiting for us on the other side.

And to see the face of our Lord, the great Comforter, who daily grants me the grace to look to Him for strength, who daily binds the wounds on my heart -- not just daily, but hourly -- this one whose love for me goes deeper than anything I could imagine.

How to praise Him in the storm?  The answer to this is also simple: He loves me.  No matter what life throws my way, this will always be true.  I will always have the love of my heavenly Father, and so I praise Him.  I can find rest and comfort in knowing that I am surrounded by His powerful arms of love, now and always.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21 (NKJV)

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" 2 Cor 12:9a

Monday, July 11, 2011


To somehow say what my heart feels, but words cannot seem to express...

"Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief." Psalm 31:9

"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?" Psalm 13:2

"My heart and my flesh may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

"For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, 'Do not fear;
I will help you.'" Isaiah 41:13

"It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect." Psalm 18:32

And I pray that I maybe be able to say with full confidence:
"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21 (NKJV)

May the light of His love shine on you all today.

Friday, July 08, 2011

How to Get Deodorant off the Wall

Yes, you read that right.  During naptime earlier this week, while the rest of the house was sleeping, my precious son decided to take my stick of deodorant from my bedroom and smear it in several different places in his bedroom.  In his words, they were drawings of "dinosaurs".  Some were just practice ones because they didn't turn out, and then one or two were "good ones".

For me, it meant several really sticky, greasy messes to clean up.  His locations of choice included two places on the wall, the headboard of his bed, the side of his dresser, and the wicker ottoman that sits beside his bed.  Yes, wicker.  So of course, the deodorant was also embedded in the little cracks between the fibre weaves.

How I cleaned it up:

1. Having never had to clean deodorant off of anything before, my immediate reaction was to head to my trusty friend, Google.  Believe it or not, apparently this kind of thing hasn't happened before, or at least, it hasn't happened to anybody who's thought to write about it and share their wisdom with the rest of the world.  The best I could come up with was how to get deodorant stains out of clothing...not really all that helpful.

2. Since Google failed me (*sob* I can't believe it...), and I was left to my own devices, I decided to attempt to tackle the problem using the old tried and true method of vinegar and hot water.  I made sure the water was as hot as I could stand, and I added a significant splash of vinegar to the bucket to make the solution as effective as I possibly could.

3. Then I took a regular kitchen cloth, and Reuben and I went off to the bedroom to do some serious scrubbing.  (His punishment was that he had to stay inside and help me clean up while Daddy and Kaylee went out to play in the sprinkler.  One of these days, he's going to learn he's not allowed to take Mommy's things from Mommy's bedroom.)  So we set to scrubbing with less than stellar results.  Deodorant is extremely greasy, and it didn't take long before my cloth was coated in it.  It was very difficult to rinse off, so that by the time I got to the last and worst section of deodorant-covered wall, it took me quite some time to get it cleaned enough to call our job done.  In the end, it felt like all I was doing was smearing the deodorant around more, and you could still see the greasy outline of my son's "dinosaur" drawing.

4. Talking to my Mum later, she suggested dish soap as a way to cut the grease, so I went back for a second shot at the residue I just couldn't get off with the vinegar and water mixture.  The dish soap seemed to work well, although it took quite a lot of rinsing to get the soap off the wall.  Unfortunately, I think I waited too long to try it because after the wall dried, you can still see a grease stain on the wall, but I couldn't feel anymore residue on my fingers.  It really doesn't help that the paint someone used in that room is the non-glossy stuff, so everything just soaks right down into it right away.  Whoever THAT genius was clearly wasn't thinking when they painted a potential child's bedroom with that kind of paint...

In conclusion, I think dish soap is the answer for getting deodorant off the wall...or any other surface it might happen to have been rubbed on.  Heck, it may even be the solution for getting it out of clothes, although the Google searches generally conclude the vinegar and baking soda option works best. 

I think from now on I'm going to keep my deodorant under lock and key...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sensational Strawberry Dessert

Given that it's the season of fresh Ontario strawberries, I thought I'd give this recipe from Kraft
a try.  It was amazing.  Really, really amazing.


4 cups of strawberries
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 oreo cookies
2 1/4 cups Cool Whip

Shape a piece of tin foil using the outside of a loaf pan, and then put the piece of shaped foil inside the pan.

Start by mashing two cups of strawberries in a bowl.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and the lemon juice.

Stir in one cup of the Cool Whip.

Pour the mixture into the tin foil mold.

Chop the Oreo cookies into fine pieces.

Add one tablespoon of melted butter and stir.

Sprinkle the cookie crumbs onto the mixture in the loaf pan.

Fold over the extra flaps of tin foil and use it to press the cookie lightly into the bottom of the dessert.  Put into the freezer for at least six hours.  Remove from freezer and invert the dessert onto a serving dish.  Remove the tin foil and spread the rest of the Cool Whip onto it.  Slice the last 2 cups of strawberries and arrange them on the dessert.

Voila, strawberry yummy goodness.  If you don't eat it all in one shot, store the leftovers in the freezer.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Just life...

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a few days.  I had a few transcription files to work on over the weekend, so that's kept me busy, and we also made an impromptu visit to Chatham to see my parents after Tim got home on Saturday afternoon.  I don't think he's been back there since Christmas, so it was a good visit.  The kids always love going to see Grandpa and Grandma.  :)

Life continues on.  Kaylee speaks more and more every day and continues to come out with words we had no idea she knew.  Reuben is, as always, full of energy and seems to be constantly fighting a cough because he just doesn't slow down enough to ever get all the way better.  Tim's work as a driver is the same as always, and we're looking forward to having him around for a few days till he goes back out on the road again after his schedule being weird for the holiday weekend.  We celebrated our sixth anniversary this weekend by going out to dinner while the kids were with my parents, and it was a wonderful evening of looking back and seeing how far we've come.  As I said on Facebook, still young, still in love... (although with two kids, sometimes it's hard to feel so young...)

And I am doing all right, too.  I've had some good days lately with the kids, being able to enjoy them for who they are and taking pleasure in watching the great joy they get out of life.  And then these are usually followed by extremely challenging days where I spend the entire day praying for patience and struggling not to snap at them for every little thing.  It's the life of a mother I think, and I am ever thankful that I have the Lord to rely on for strength.  He never fails to get me through.

"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26