Happy at Home

This past Sunday, which was Mother’s day, I was rushing through Walmart on my way to lunch at my sisters place. I bumped into one of my hubby’s cousins and she paid me a very high compliment, which I’ve thought about quite a bit since then. She said that she has been reading along via Facebook, etc on my life journey for awhile now, and that I really “seem to enjoy being a stay at home (and homeschooling mom). I told her I really do, and I’ve thought about it more since then. I really enjoy my life. I mean I’ve always made the most of whatever season I’ve been in. I loved so much of the experiences in my high school years. I loved the college years and I especially loved travelling and mentoring students in my twenties. I loved working in music and the creative arts, I have loved so many of the people who shared those years with me.

I can honestly say this though, I LOVE my life right now, probably the most. Oh yes, there are days that are the stuff of bad dreams, and there have been many frustrations and disappointments here and there, but really… I love being home with my boys and my baby girl. I love being the one to teach them, to share the moments that fill our days and to be the one my hubby comes home to. I have enjoyed learning about making our home a happy and peaceful one, a haven. A place where beauty is common and where our family is at rest and friends are always welcome. I would like to learn to infuse it with more joy, and to make it a place where wisdom flourishes. I am happiest when I hear laughter ringing in the halls and music in the rooms. Where the smells of good food lure people to a bright and vibrant kitchen and where people leave our home inspired and having encountered the Holy One in one way or another.

Homeschooling has given me the “excuse” to have books on display in every room. To have the tools and instruments for learning out in the open and put to good use. I love our relaxed daily schedule for housework, homework and soul work… and that I get to go outside with the kids everyday. To work in my garden, to have the baby nap in the cradle in the afternoon breeze (well not this week) but last week and in the months to come. I love that friends come and go, and we can go visiting without having to worry about the bus or school schedule and that if daddy takes a day off, so can we…

There was a day not so long ago, maybe a couple years ago, when I was not at peace like now. When I was harried and trying to “do it all” and struggling in it. I still have many moments when I feel like life is too good to be true, and that I’ll have to give it up soon and go back to the grind I lived before…only to realize that I don’t! Praise God~!

My heart is full of gratitude that the Lord has provided for us to live this way and that He continues to supply for our every need. I am so blessed with a supportive husband who loves us, loves to be with us and helps me make the most of our days together. I hope that I will someday fulfill the role outlined in Proverbs 31 for my family, I am trusting God to complete the work in me, but until then, I really am enjoying the journey and feel like the most blessed woman alive.

Elaina Grace

These posts are obviously “catch ups” and are posted months after the fact. It’s for my records and for posterity’s sake. The events of the past few months are too important to not have posts up for 🙂

Reflections for Elaina During My Pregnancy with Elaina…

-One last baby…around the New Year we thought maybe we were pregnant, but it was a false alarm. So we decided if we weren’t pregnant before the summer that we would be done that summer. The very next month mommy took a test and there were 2 lines… we were pregnant!
-Telling our friends and Family…We waited a bit to tell people because Auntie Stephy was pregnant with her first baby, your cousin Telis and we didn’t want to take away from her feeling special. She was one of the first we told, and Jodi. Then your brothers and our parents and your aunts and uncles. Everyone was happy, and hoping for a girl.           
-Crazy Symptoms…Mommy had the most morning sickness with you. I remember I was throwing up in the bathroom one morning and your brother Max was calling for me, he paused when he saw I was sick, and then asked “When’s lumch?”


-Ultrasound…the technician asked mommy and daddy if we wanted to know, she knew we had 3 boys at home, so she paused and said, well…“it’s a GIRL!”…I aksed her to check again and then mommy cried happy tears and daddy said “Good job honey!”. On the way home I called Auntie Jodi Taylor and told her the news, she was driving at the time and was so happy she had to pull over and cried happy tears too.
Mommy hosted a baby shower for Auntie Stephanie at her house outside. It was a lot of fun, and we started to get really excited about meeting our babies!
-Crazy Symptoms…throughout the pregnancy I had some weird symptoms…of course I swelled all over (I took off my wedding rings at 4 months along) then in the late summer I got Gestational Carpel Tunnel, my hands and arms would go numb, especially when I fell asleep. I had heart burn, and of course having to pee all the time.  


– summer life goes on…We had a busy summer while my tummy was growing bigger and bigger. We joined Geema at a cottage she rented at Braeside Camp, Camping at Bissells with the Crazy Moms Trip, Lot’s of Swimming, visits with Geepa Jim and Nana Jo, Trips to Safari Niagara and Marineland. Busy, Busy, Busy.


-your cousin Telis is born…On August 9th your cousin was born!

-The boys started school early because mommy knew we would take some time off when the baby arrived.

(I have pictures from the labour story… but they aren’t available yet. I’ll have to add them later).
so many ultrasounds…the midwives were worried about how big you were getting so they sent me for many ultrasounds. The doctor they referred me too said he would induce me at the end of September (your due date was Oct. 2nd)
-Waiting…it was getting hard to wait as I was so uncomfortable and was having contractions all the time.
-getting ready for baby… We had girls from Korea staying with us for 7 weeks in July-Sept and I was eager for them to go home so I could start getting your room ready. It was so fun decorating in pink – even on a budget! I was given lots of clothes from friends who had had girls Monica, Laila and others. We were set for you to be the best dressed until you were 2 years old! Mommy still had the crib and change table from your brothers, repurposed an old dresser (painted it black), hung some pretty curtains and frames, found pink lampshades and an antique chair. We left the queen size bed in the room so she could sleep in their if you had a fussy night.

September 29th
Your Delivery Story…we finally were told to come to the hospital to be induced on Saturday

morning. The doctor started me on the drip in the morning and we basically started walking through the contractions. Yaya and auntie Jodi arrived in the afternoon and we tried to visit until the contractions were too strong. Unfortunately, you were not moving down the birth canal very fast. Around dinner time the doctor decided to break my water and gave me morphine. That was not good because it made mommy sleepy and it was hard to concentrate on the contractions. My blood pressure was getting very high, so the doctors were getting worried. They tried to get me to start pushing around 8 pm because you still weren’t moving along. After pushing for 2 hours I was finally fully dilated and “ready to go” but you still weren’t co-operating, mommy blood pressure was even higher, plus, I was collapsing after each contraction (either from the drugs or exhaustion). We prayed again in the room for things to come together.
I could tell you weren’t co-operating (your brothers were the same way), I could tell everyone was worried about my blood pressure and then your heart rate started spiking, I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t have the strength to push through your delivery. I told the doctor I was ok if he thought I should have a c-section. That was 12:30 am on the 30th.
The doctor decided that that was best and then they tried for 45 mins to give me an epidural, I was still out if it from the drugs and in full labour so it was so hard to sit properly to have the needle in. Eventually I told them I was ok for them to give me gas and knock me out. They decided that was best too. It was almost 2 am by then. I wish I could have been awake to meet you right away, but I felt like the drugs would have effected me anyways… and knew your daddy would see you right away. The last thing I remember was the midwife’s eyes and then I woke up in recovery.
September 30th
-Happy Birthday Baby!…You were born at 2:30 am. Everything had gone well, Daddy had gotten to hold you for 20 mins after you got to the nursery.

First Photo

I was wheeled me out of recovery around 4 am when they stopped for me to meet you in the hallway by the nursery. Yaya and daddy and Jodi were waiting in the hospital room for me, and they brought you in shortly after that. I was still pretty groggy but I remember how perfect you were, and you had lot’s of hair. I thought you looked like Max and Carter, but mostly like you. Auntie Jodi held you for a bit and took some pictures. 

The nurse took you back to the nursery while I slept a bit. When they brought you back around 7 am I nursed you and we did fine. We had lots of visitors in the hospital. My recovery was actually easier than both Carter and Max’s, despite the fact that it was major surgery. Daddy brought your brothers and Geema to meet you that day. Carter and Max left with Geema for her house while I was in the hospital. Later on Geepa Jim and Nana Jo stopped in to meet you and then took Lucas back to Simcoe with them too.

We stayed in the hospital until the Tuesday morning- the staff and care at the hospital in Niagara Falls was amazing. They worked well with the midwives too.

Other visitors included Yaya, Laura Tolhoek, Uncle Dale, Phil & Lisa VanTol and Monica Edwards. Daddy picked us up and brought us home. We had Wednesday to ourselves as he left to pick up the boys in Simcoe. They went to the Norfolk County Fair that day. Then we were all together on the Thursday for a few days before daddy went back to work. My recovery was so good, I actually joined to Home School moms for a short walk at Dufferin Islands on the Friday. 

They were so happy to meet you.

Random thoughts…
I am excited to have a daughter to share all the girly experiences with. To teach you about being a woman, a wife, a sister and friend. To share going shopping and tea parties, princess parties and dolls and dance classes among all the things we will be doing with your brothers.

I’m looking forward to teaching you how to take care of a family and how to cook and other home crafts as well as anything else that interests you. In sharing about the things of God and showing you the wonderful world he created for us. I’m looking forward to you going to your first dance, your graduation and your first date. To watching you fall in love and your wedding day. Life is especially beautiful when you are a girl and I’m excited to be sharing it with you. 

Elaina Grace
Isaiah 54:13
And all your children shall be taught of the LORD;
and great shall be the peace of your children.
Greek – “Shining Light”
…after your mom “Helaina Tammara” and her
Grandmother “Yaya” on her father’s side.
Latin – ‘Favour, Blessing’
…because you are highly favored and because you will need God’s grace,
not only for all of life, but to thrive in a family with 3 big brothers.
Irish – ‘dweller in the hazel valley’
Your name is fitting because our desire for you is to grow in the knowledge of the Light of the World – Jesus. As you do, you will continue to be a shining ‘light” wherever you go. We are so happy to have a little girl in the family and to see the changes it brings to our lives. You are lovely in every way and already have brought a new “light” to our days.

What we’ve been up to…

For the past few weeks I’ve been avoiding the real topic I wanted to write about, that would be about the major changes in our lives here at the Heaslip Homestead.

Back in March I resigned from full time ministry…it had been a 17 year journey since my first forray into “ministry” and most of it was great. So why leave you may ask? It was a few things, it was a lot of things…
Mostly, it was my kids, my family, my lifestyle. The busy, busy, busy was just too, too much. We had in “faith” become overstretched in our time, our finances, our attention… everything really. Over the years there was this whisper in my heart to make changes… I first remember hearing it just after I became pregnant with Lucas (who just turned 7 in February). The last couple years that whisper had turned into a blaring siren inside of me that couldn’t be ignored. There were other whispered questions too, but that’s for another blog entry.
So anyways, we made the leap.
That led to many changes for now, and in the future.
Change 1
We had planned for me to continue working until the summer, but our plans were changed and i was done in March. I became a full time “home engineer”. I LOVE IT. Golly gee, I was ready. The sense of peace that I have in my heart and in my home is just so…awesome. Yes, I’ve attacked my home with a fervour – cleaning, reorganizing, cooking, gardening… yep, loving it still.
Change 2
Christian School. For the time being we live each day trusting God for our boys to be able to finish out the year at their Christian School and help us figure out a way to finish paying for it.
Change 3
After that we’ll be a homeschooling family. I had visited my dear dear friend Lauren (a new blogger woohoo!) in the sunny south. She is a homeschooler (to boys) and I wanted to get a closeup look at how she does it…and after just four days I was basically sold. (I also did a truckload of research on my own, joined a couple support groups, met up with some fellow newbies, went to a conference…) The fact that Chris was supportive of the notion before I even was, helped a lot too.
Change 4
I have spent the past 3 months or so RECONNECTING. In working and being full time mommy and wife (plus having investments and a business to run – we sold it the same month) i always tried to stay connected, but we all have a limit, and I was pushing mine. I’ve enjoyed more time with my husband and boys, and I enjoyed celebrating one of the best Easters ever, and Mother’s Day and a few birthdays etc, with my extended family – being able to worship where they chose to and not having to rush in or out was sooo nice! I’ve also been proactively trying to connect with people who we’ve lost touch with over the years, mostly because of those invisible lines created when people choose to go to another “church”. I also joined a Mom’s group at another local church where I knew a few of the ladies and it’s been a real blessing to me.
Change 5
With my work with “ministry” being done and my newfound sense of freedom, I began reading voraciously (I’m talking a good 15 to 20 non-fiction books in a 2 month period (I did read a couple fiction too – just to give my brain a break). Some of the books were clearly controversial, some were challenging and others were just so amazing. It was really in response to those “other whispers” i was talking about. So, this led to our season of “de-churching” – we still fellowship regularly with other believers, but it is not in a traditional sense, and it’s included our church (which we still consider ourselves a part of) but also other churches, and other gatherings as well…as the Spirit leads. I have not felt so alive as a believer since i first heard the message of God’s grace…and probably more so now.
I guess that’s the main summary of what we’ve been up to. I know there are a few more little changes on the horizon, but the most amazing part is that we are not alone, and that we can’t get lost when the Saviour is leading us by the hand 🙂
What about you? Any changes going on in your world you want to share?

We surrounded him…

3 years ago I witnessed a life pass from time into eternity.

The memory of it has been burned into my soul, my heart, my mind.
Death would soon usher my dad into another state of being.

Having said our goodbyes, we could not leave him alone.
My sisters and I, our husbands and my mom
Surrounded his hospital bed.
His breathing was ragged.
He was still fighting to live more days on the earth.
Helpless, the time had come.
We did what we knew, we surrounded him.
We surrounded him with love.
We surrounded him with our voices, singing.
Songs of praise, of worship, of faith, hope and love.
We were timid at first, emotions overwhelming.
But as we sang, we could not help but turn our eyes
to the One who conquered death.
The noises outside the room faded away…
Our voices grew stronger…
Eventually we knew that we ourselves were “in between”,
neither here nor there.
His breathing became easier now, softer.
Perhaps his breathing matched the phrasing of the hymns we sang…
Perhaps his breath was being “caught away”
as his body became unnecessary for truly living…
Perhaps he could not tell the difference between our voices
and the voices of angels who had come to carry him over…
And then… the moment had come and gone…
and still…
We could not help but turn our eyes
to the One who conquered death.
There was no sting, and the victory was not held by death,
but by the author of Life.
Dad passed over into eternity surrounded by love,
Surrounded by the songs of heaven.
I cannot speak for the others…
But I caught a glimpse of something…
something, maybe someOne that took my breath away…
I’ve never been the same…

In remembrance – May 16th, 2008.
Aristotelis Bolovinos
We love and miss you daddy Y

“If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If i make my bed in hell, behold You are there,
If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me…
…Lead me in the way everlasting.”
Ps 139:8-10; 24b

Two Faces

Most people know that January was named after the Roman god “Janus”. It was a head with 2 faces – one looking ahead and one looking back. Appropriate for the season…

Looking Back

After creating memory albums for all our parents as well as our annual newsletter and Christmas Card, I feel like I’ve sufficiently “reviewed” 2007 in my mind. It was a year of definate extremes. Big losses, big gains. Exremely happy moments and extremely sad ones. It’s also been a year of work, of plans and dreams.

Despite all this, it’s been a “quiet year”. I year of little moments, day after day of taking life in, absorbing it, loving it. Being grateful for all things. Enjoying the simple things. Appreciating order, walking in harmony and beauty. Finally, joy. It’s been a joyful year. Truly full of joy. Abundant joy.

Looking ahead

And so it’s a new year. How exciting…

What’s gonna happen? Who am I going to meet? What new thing will I experience? What challenge will I take? In what areas will I grow? I’m believing that it will be another “quiet year”, mostly because we are at peace. Our hearts and minds are at peace and it’s in our home. The biggest thing is not feeling anxious anymore, about anything. Sure, we’ve got days that just aren’t fun, but overall, Jesus has truly been our Peace. He’s been our Peace in the Midst of the Storm and our fullness the rest of the time.

So trusting that the major things we lived through this year (deaths, family weddings, births, floods, renovations, financial setbacks) will happen to other people rather than us directly, I know our lives will still be superabundantly blessed because of Jesus and no matter what happens, we’ll be at rest through it all. Cheers!