Monday, December 28, 2015

Love is...

Being the youngest of five, I grew up sharing a room with all my sisters at some point. But I remember sharing a room with my oldest sister the most. I think because when I was 8 she was 20 and she had a phone, tv, record player, 2 goldfish and makeup!  She liked me when I kept out of her things. Not much space was designated for an 8 year old's treasures except for under the bed.  I remember competing for door space to put puffy stickers and a Beverly name plate with my sister's  Love Is ... Comic strip taped all over 'our' door. These were big in the 70's. Love is ... what gives you a smile from ear to ear. Love is .... Being able to say you are sorry. You get the picture. I was reminded of these comic strips that covered our bedroom door while reflecting on Christmas and a new year approaching. I came across the book, Crazy Love, By Francis Chan in my ibooks on my phone and started re-reading it.  A line struck me today;

“Nothing compares to being truly, exuberantly wanted by your children.”

My primary love language is gifts. This means I feel loved the most when you buy me something. How shallow right? It's really not. I didn't hear the words I love you as much as 'let's go to McDonalds and get a small fry' or 'I'm going to take you to Niagara Falls and of course buy you a giant souvenir pencil'. Yep, I was definitely loved. I do the same for my kids.  Even though not all three have the gifts love language I'm good at showing my affection this way. Love. How will I be challenged to be more loving in 2016? It's an emotion I struggle with if I don't feel like it. But that line above from the Crazy Love book really makes me think about how much God wants me to love Him. Am I living a life that shows God, my Heavenly Father, that He is wanted? 

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
—Matthew 7:11”

See, I think the gifts love language is legit. I don't need a hug, I don't always need the affirmative words and you don't have to serve me. Just buy me jewelry and we can be friends. Just kidding. I want to reflect on all the good gifts my Lord has given me this year.  No! I NEED to reflect on all the love God has bestowed upon me!  Be more appreciative of His good gifts.  

I’m entering a year jammed packed with change. In fact, if I’m honest, it terrifies me.  I’m coming up on new territory with Jacob, my oldest, getting married this summer. I'm cherishing the last lunches I'm making for Blaire as she enters the home stretch to graduate highschool. I'm entering a stage of new status as mother- in- law and want to do it all well. Showers, grad parties, celebrations, decisions, planning, money…!  I want Love is statements to flow from my mouth and my heart in 2016.

I love new beginnings and fresh starts!  What's your Love is statement today or better yet what will your focus be for 2016!  Happy New Year!  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

mosquitos think I'm chocolate

I think the mosquitos think I'm chocolate. 
Just one of the funny things Zoe said yesterday. That girl makes me laugh daily. And others too. She says the simplest of things and yet so profound. My 6 year old doesn't complain much. This was actually her way of telling us she was being bugged by the little flies in her face but stated something possibly really true. Mosquitos crave your blood like I crave chocolate so I get it girl. It's also a fun way Zoe stays real about who she is and what she looks like. She knows she's brown like chocolate. We have gone in stages with how Zoe realizes she's different. On a daily basis kids in preschool used to comment on her hair. One boy told her mom he liked the way her skin looked. I don't know anyone in her class that stays away from Zoe because her skin is brown. She has an infectious smile and laugh and gets invited to every party going. She is loved. 

We were on a tour in the Blue Mountains of Australia yesterday. The tour guide might have had some reservation having a six year old on his private tour starting at 7 am. But she was quiet, polite and inquisitive. A perfect companion on a tour. After viewing God's amazing nature we stopped at a quaint town with boutique shops. We were left to find some lunch and browse the shops for an hour. When we returned to our van the tour guide presented Zoe with a gift. A Santa cookie jar. So sweet and unexpected and so not necessary. On our next stop at the wildlife center Zoe runs out of the van and hugs our tour guide. That's Zoe. She is lovable and loves hard. Being a father of three he hugged her back. We talked later about my adoption. A Jewish man from Israel who has traveled the world and has visited my hometownToronto.  He was surprised to find out my husband and son have also been to his. A family man trying to make a living who was friendly and polite. I'm not saying all people are friendly and polite but the more I travel the more I realize how important it is to accept people everywhere i go. I chatted with a lady from Japan in the park three days ago. She was curious about our Christmas traditions and I asked about hers. You know I had someone tell me I shouldn't adopt Zoe because she is from a muslim country. A sad statement stemmed from ignorant thinking. With all that is going on in the world I'm not sure what is the correct way to help Syrians or other refugees from crises but I do know we need to love. I know they have children who need medical attention that can be given in America. I know they have children who need an education to one day have the chance to be a doctor. Right or wrong I know I'm called to love. After vacation I will be thrown back into Christmas chaos mode. I'm a little behind on my Christmas to do list however I vow to take some time every day to pray for our country and its leaders, reach out to someone in need and be thankful for all God has given me. My ugly 'entitled' gene must diminish if God is going to use me to spread His kingdom. Whether you celebrate Christ's birth or not I wish you a very Merry Christmas.  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Green Shoelaces and Life Lessons

So many times we overlook reading the Bible for answers.  Often times it's viewed as old fashioned and irrelevant.  I've read it many times over the course of my life and I'm constantly surprised at how God uses His word to encourage and speak to me and answer questions.
I'm in a summer long challenge to read the Bible guided by a book put together for our Hope Water running group.  It came with green laces to boot so if you are bold enough to wear the florescent green laces you are saying 'I'm in this reading challenge for 20 weeks.'  Now, I have to admit I'm not up-to-date with it.  I'm a few days behind,generally, but I want to take it all in without rushing. Today, I was reading a passage that I was familiar with.  Sad to say, but sometimes I approach these ones with less excitement and attentiveness that leaves me void of any new insight.  This morning it's quiet and it's just me and God.  I opened my Bible and read Luke 1.
The birth of Jesus is foretold and we read about the birth of John the Baptist.  Zechariah (his dad) blew it by expressing his doubt in God. Been there, done that.  God made him mute for the duration of his wife's pregnancy.  But it was ok.  God spoke to both John's parents and how cool that they got to see their son was set out for a great purpose.  They stepped back and watched God move.  Then I got the hand to forehead 'V8' moment.  This little workbook I'm using to guide my reading asks three questions every day.  1. What does the passage say? 2. What does it mean? 3. How can I apply this insight to my life today?
As parents, everyday we watch our kids grow and I keep hearing the phrase over and over 'where does the time go?'  I constantly have to keep my hands open when it comes to my kids.  Their schooling, friends, choices.  We must guide and step back.  I don't want my kids to get to the age of 18 and not be ready for real life.  Luke 1:80 says,'and the child grew and became strong in spirit'.  I have two now at this stage in life where I have to watch and let go.
So today Luke 1 means to me that as a mother I'm to give my kids to God.  He has a perfect plan. Step away and be in awe of how God is guiding them without me!  Whew! With all the chaos and worry in the world this really is a peaceful place to be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sibling admiration

 It hit me when Zoe started off her day following her big sis around on the morning of Blaire's 17th birthday. She said, 'Blaire, when I'm 6 I'm going to do the same things you do; sleep in and do my homework'.  Zoe's presence has radically changed both Jacob and Blaire.  When adoption first hit our radar I wanted my kids on board.  I was afraid they would reject the change and chaos it would create in our family.  It had been the four of us for a long time and Jacob and Blaire were very close.  I didn't  know what a new addition would do to all of us.  I have to say that Zoe is very privleged to have a wonderful sister who loves her so much.  From day one in Ethiopia, Blaire was so excited to meet her and to have a younger sister.  She never gets upset with her and gives her so much attention.  Blaire has many friends and when they come over they too are playful and attentive and love Zoe like their own sister.  Jacob didn't get a chance to go to Ethiopia with us but the second we were greeted at the airport by the family I put Zoe in his arms and she has felt so comfortable in his embrace ever since.  They were just two kids who grew up with following us in a few big moves and this was no less a crazy idea when we first began to talk about it out loud.  I couldn't be happier to see Zoe learn and grow in character with two wonderful examples living with her daily.  It fills my heart to see her love them and talk about them to her friends and the age difference doesn't matter.  Jacob has come home more often to be with Zoe through college and they both babysit a lot.

 An awesome family moment Scott and I enjoyed recently was when all the kids were around the breakfast table on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning and they brought up the idea of getting a dog.  It was something we talked about but wasn't prepared for.  We gave in to the emotion and within 30 minutes we had chosen an adorable goldendoodle.  This dog was going to be bigger than we have ever experienced but why not, the kids were happy.  Yeah, that lasted all of 24 hours for Scott and I.  Even though the kids begged and swore they would take care of it, I was left with waking up early and training it all day long.  I began to regret the idea but kept seeing the joy it brought the kids.  Until, Zoe would complain it was biting her ankles and when Scott saw his temper flare and his attention switched from Zoe to tending to a dog.  The kids still had commitments and weren't home as much as we would have liked.  This was not working out.  Since it was only 2 1/2 weeks Scott and I had to make a bold move.  We figured our kids would come together and understand the decision soon enough.  We broke it to them one evening and they could not argue with our reasoning.  Scott and I stayed strong and by the next morning we had a new home to bring it to.  Not my finest parenting moment and the kid's consolation prize was that I experienced so much sadness all day long.  This wasn't our plan to take the dog away but after one month now, everyone is fine and we are happier without a dog.  Zoe doesn't miss it and the way the kids reacted toward us was so great for Zoe to witness.

We sometimes say that adoption is such a huge blessing for the one adopted ( and of course it is ) but I look at how the other two have grown in ways I couldn't have dreamed of.  They have seen God move and change them in the last two years.  They have seen answered prayers and continue to marvel at what He is doing through our obedience.  Through family group texts we share the wit this girl comes out with daily and I can't imagine life without her.  Here's a few I've written down lately.   Enjoy.

When Mike Carl walked into her room Zoe said,' This is my room and don't even think about touching my Elsa hat'
Zoe told Scott, 'if you have grey hair, I don't care.'
I asked Zoe to help me carry some bags from the car and she responded, 'I would be honored to.'
Last week after breakfast Zoe hands Scott her bowl of cereal and says ' Here Daddy, if I drink too much milk I will get diabetes.' (she meant diarrhea)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Good Life

I'm not sure where to start with this one. I just woke up and thought 'it's really a good life'. Waking up at 3:30 a.m isn't my ideal, however, it's for good reason. Today I'm off on my second trip in three years that I get to travel with my oldest daughter, Blaire. Just me and her. Three years ago we took a winter break trip to San Francisco. She took lots of pictures, we saw the sights and drove up and down the coast. Life has gotten crazy since then. Zoe came on the scene and Blaire, well, got older. She loves her friends and has countless sleepovers and mom gets pushed to the side. Ugh. Teens! I don't think anyone could have warned me for the feelings I encounter on a daily basis living with a teenage girl. I used to love roller coasters. Now, not so much.  But today is a good day. I'm headed to San Antonio, Texas to show Blaire where I attended Capernwray Bible School way back when I first got out of high school. With graduation in one year, Blaire is also looking to attend the same school ( or maybe another location). Either way I'm happy to get up early and take her around a wonderful city and who's kidding who we both want to feel the heat. I'm coming out of a little winter hibernation period. I have been experiencing knee pain so my exercise gene has been non existent. I've been binge watching stupid shows and eating lots of chocolate ( why can't Valentine's Day and Easter fall on our warmer months). But a lack of discipline is just one thing that has gotten me down this winter. When the flu hit our family I felt visiting anyone was not a good idea. We didn't entertain and I didn't drive home to visit family. I just consoled myself with some truffles and traded in my real life for one that involved living in crisis and high energy relationships because I was a doctor working in life or death situations in Seattle. ( yeah, you know what I'm talking about). So after the constant knocking on my bedroom door and demands of making dinner I woke up and quit the binge watching cold turkey. I started to cook for friends and entertained Zoe's class for Easter and began to run outside again. This trip today has me getting back to reality. I checked out but meanwhile my girls were growing up in front of me and needed me to be engaged. I'm more involved with people who are in my every day life. Easter was instrumental in opening my eyes to God's fresh start He has for me. (And just when you thought I was diverting from where I started this mornings thought ... Wait for it..) I'm overwhelmed by how God works in our lives. Taking this trip with Blaire is somewhat of a new start. She has her whole life ahead of her and my prayer is she allows God to guide her. It certainly is a good life. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What's Valentines Day Should Be Like

February 14 conjures up so much emotion.  If you've been hurt or not on the receiving end of getting a Valentine this day you might pretend it doesn't exist. You might be someone who tends to hold the bar unrealistically high and get disappointed when you don't get jewelry every year or your favorite chocolates and flowers. In high school we used to sell Hershey kisses or carnations for student council and I didn't hold my breath to see if I would get one. Got to say, that growing up my dad wasn't the most romantic guy. He would forget to call when he would be home late and forget birthdays and the words 'I love you' were far from his lips but never far from his heart. But he fell for the cheesy, giant, long winded Valentine cards with red velvet and mushy sayings for my mother every year. He would buy the box of chocolates that are conveniently displayed by the door of Shoppers Drug Mart (the Canadian version of Walgreens and CVS, but way better); the stores that gives no guy any excuse for forgetting this day. I remember the couple of times my dad went all out and brought home Valentines for all his girls too (heck the poor guy had four daughters to contend with) However, my point is, he always acknowledged Valentine's Day. 
I'm sad that married couples and dating couples downplay this opportunity to display a special token of love. February 14 comes at the perfect time of year in my opinion. We just made it through the January Blues (especially in snowy winter states) There's not much coming up until the warmer weather peaks in about April - if we're lucky - and Groundhog Day usually disappoints. So we need a special day in February. Maybe you write a poem, or make a homemade breakfast or go out for a special dinner using a Christmas gift card. No money for a card? Go to the card section at any store with your Valentine and pick out the perfect sentiment, give it to them to read in the aisle and laugh or cry and put it back. Scott and I used to do that for years. It's not necessarily about money or affection but effort. I've made the heart shape cut out toast with eggs for breakfast in bed and planned the surprise date where Scott just has to show up. We've gone to a rodeo, had heart shaped pizza and the stay at home movie night. Just trying to be creative for 25 years. 
Yesterday we celebrated Valentine's Day. Got a babysitter and went to our favorite restaurant and chose a movie we thought we would both like. We arrived home at 10 pm to find a flood in the basement. Switch gears. Lovely night out with my husband but now saving some boxes that were piled up around the furnace and are getting soaked. My precious books got wet and I'm freaking out to save them.  Scott grabs his tools and shuts the water off and pulls apart the broken pipe. We move boxes, mop up the floor and we both count our blessings that it wasn't flooding long enough to creep into our newly finished, carpeted basement. We laugh at how Valentine's Day just became a regular day of hanging out, exchanging loveable words and lustful looks ( at each other of course) and go to bed quite happy with another Valentine's Day surrounded by loved ones. Showing love to friends and neighbors and my kids was all apart of the Valentine spirit. I got up early this morning to make my kids their favorite muffins and present them with cheesy Valentine trinkets (sister love plastic cups and heart rubber duckies). They know this mom shows love by giving gifts. 
I love the example we have of how Gods love endures forever. He's a loving God that proves his love in big and small ways. Sometimes He gives us what we ask for but I like it when He surprises me with more than what I could have thought to ask for. I hope you get a new love for this day we call Valentine's Day. Make it special for others. You are loved and appreciated more than you know. Happy Valentine's Day! 

We love because He first loved us  1 John 4:19. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Michael Bouchard's cold, oil issues and other wonderful things on FB that got me distracted today.

That title just got some first timers to check out my blog. Normally I write about my five year old or adoption or running. But creeping on Facebook sounds way more appealing today. Welcome! 
So you are well aware that if you are on Facebook you are available to the world. Sounds so creepy yet we all stay on this crazy ride. Not sure what I would have done growing up with this device. I know I wouldn't have had an iphone as a teen because I would have had to pay for it myself and since we never owned a VHS machine (or that other one no one had... What was it called again????? Oh ya, Beta) we probably wouldn't have had a computer either. But now as a 44 year old, stay at home mom, I get my kicks out of seeing who I can be connected with in an instant. Besides keeping up with my cousin's daily dog escapades in Scotland and finding out what family member just had surgery I get to find out what complete strangers are up to. It can't be creeping if you comment on a 'friends' page and it pops up in my FB feed for the day. Now, with all this time consuming FB, I have a rule that I have to read the Bible before I sit down and click on FB on my phone in the morning. It's a good rule, however, today something inside me said 'it will just take a second. Wish someone a happy birthday and get off'. Easy! Not this morning. Michael Bouchard's post popped up first. My usual rule to friend someone is that we have to actually meet face to face at some point in my life. Michael and I are tight. He's twenty something, single and we worked together at church a while back. See? Tight. Today Michael is sick. I said a prayer, and then kept reading about his plight over the ever popular hot topic of essential oils. Like Michael, I too am a skeptic. To be honest, I actually want it to be way easier like someone order stuff for me and I'll pay them but that's neither here nor there. When someone has 21 comments on a fun post I like to read up (research if you will) on what everyone has to say. You get your friends who like to joke and say funny embarrassing things about the topic. Then you get your 'I tried that and it worked' helpful posts. Then you get your two essential oil company rivals spout out 'the oils that are best and what they can cure' banter going on. This led me to remember the names of people I have to personally message about oils later and then, if you're lucky, you get that link to a funny blog. Here we go!  That moment I wish I read my Bible first.  The moment that makes me start my day late and then I neglect to read the Bible at all. The moment that makes my five year old exasperated because I'm on my phone when she wakes up.  Oops.  But I did come across a very funny blog.  That doesn't go over well with Zoe.  In this blog a lady is ranting about how germy Doctor's offices are and during cold season when you bring your sick child in for help they are usually back in the said Doctor's office in three days with another sickness they caught by being in there in the first place.  'Well played' she comments.  This made me crack up, sign up for her blogs and buy her book.  Too funny.  Facebook is fascinating.  It finds me creeping in every day to see what 'friends' are up to and find out what everyones weather is like and what our adorable kids are up to.  I dump photos of vacations and funny things Zoe says.  The year 2014 added a new dynamic and now my husband has joined the ranks of facebook.  So now at dinner when I say, 'did you see the video that was posted about.." and he replies yes!.  We have nothing to share.  Well, good thing I have that new book coming in the mail.  It will cheer me up and keep me off FB for a few days.  I hope no one has a baby or gets sick while I'm gone.  Before I forget here's the link to the better blog you should read today. You're welcome. 
Coffee+Crumbs: If Any of You Mention Oils, I Will Punch You i…