As I am.
As I am.
The last year or so I’ve been reading a lot on the Liturgical or Sacred Church Year. I am by no means leaning into becoming Catholic or Orthodox, but I have found that incorporating some of the rich aspects of traditional worship into my own observances has been so so beneficial.
An Enriched Lent
We began Lent on Ash Wednesday when I began this study on the the Prodigal Son, with Edie Wadsworth, from lifeingraceblog.com. She’s a Lutheran, and I’ve loved so much of her writing which reflects her deep faith and the highlights the Lutheran leanings toward the need for grace in our daily lives.
I read somewhere about having 6 candles and lighting them all on Ash Wednesday, on each Sunday prior to Easter, eliminate one candle. Then on Good Friday extinguish them all. It’s like the reverse of Advent, to remind us of Christ conquering the darkness in the Resurrection. I don’t force anyone in the family to participate in this, I just take a moment to center my heart and mind on the season, and honestly, the entire process was just so powerful this year. By resurrection Sunday, I was full of this anticipation to celebrate!
A Beautiful Holy Week
Last year, we did a daily study of walking through the last days of Jesus’ life on earth leading up to the cross…and on Holy Saturday we made Resurrection Rolls.
This year we changed it up according to our schedule. Each night of Holy Week we had our Family Time either after dinner or during Homeschool…
We did our main readings from this book by Vic KParker…It was very thorough (good for younger and older kids) and divided the week up perfectly…love the illustrations too.
and added Easter Hymns to our binder we use for Morning Time/ Symposium most days…
On Monday we read about Jesus clearing the Temple, on Tuesday we read about the Last Supper and had a “footwashing” of our own (we washed each others hands) and had communion.
On Wednesday we read about Jesus’ praying in the the Garden and his betrayal. On Thursday we read about his false trials and the beatings he took for us. On Friday, the crucifixion. Saturday was a day of silent reflection.
And Sunday….we celebrated.
We joined with other saints at a service…which was beautiful. Full of dance, visual art, music, congregational singing and the gospel message…best of all, the expectation reflected on the faces of fellow believers.
The kids got their baskets AFTER church (there was no way they were eating candy before church!)
Then the extended family came over for dinner. We all love to see the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – but according to my dad…holidays were a must for the family to get together.
Dinner was complete with our singing, conversations, jokes and of course delicious food.
I try to make our celebrations a bit more meaningful by taking an hour to plan a little “outline” that includes poetry, or scripture reading, some songs/ hymns, games, etc. This is what this year’s looked like…we had a “progressive reading” of the Resurrection Story as napkin rings. I found them here.
I try to set the table the night before. This year I was on a tight budget, so created a centerpiece with silk flowers from storage, my sister ended up giving me some fresh flowers that day, So I incorporated them happily.The rest were decor I already had from years past. Loved stuffing old plastic eggs with the conversation starters, they were like Easter “fortune cookies”.
The kids table had an Easter I-SPY Game I found here…
After dinner we headed outdoors for the Egg Hunt…
And back indoors for dessert!
Happy Easter – Christos Annestis!!
PS – I was super happy with my easter decor this year. I spent a whopping $3!
Hi there! If you are joining us for the first time today, you may want to go back to the beginning of the story part one is here , part two is here , part three is here, part 4 is here. and part 5 is here. As promised …here is the conclusion…
This time, we didn’t wait to tell our friends and family. I figured, most of them have walked most of this journey with us, might as well have them pray and walk along this stage with us too. So my younger sisters helped me a prepare a dinner for some good friends and we surprised them with the news…it was so. much. fun.
I don’t remember when we settled on the name Lucas, but I do remember speaking to him long before I could feel him moving around…I had minimal morning sickness and because I was still on Sabbatical I wasn’t overly tired because I could sleep whenever I wanted. But soon my sabbatical would be over and I would be returning to ministry and the school in the midst of a lot of upheaval…but I knew it would be short term for me because of mat leave, so the stress of it didn’t really effect me thankfully. The summer weeks flew by.
We had been invited to the wedding of some former students and now very good friends and had made plans to travel to Florida at the end of the summer…it would be just past the 12 week mark.
I was at work the day I was supposed to begin packing and I noticed some spotting…there was a moment when I felt all the fear and torment from the past 5 years rush up and try to overwhelm me…I rushed home without telling Chris, and ran around the house tearing open drawers and cupboards.
I had to find it…please don’t laugh, or roll your eyes, or get overly analytical. I was looking for oil. It was this “anointing oil” a guest speaker had given out at a church meeting…I had scoffed at the time, thinking that if it’s in the bible, it doesn’t matter if you use olive oil, or coconut oil to pray with… I had not been convinced it was “special” , but “just in case I’m wrong” I hadn’t thrown it away…(BTW, I’m Still not sure it was special) but “just in case” I had dumped it all over myself and started thanking God that my joy would be full. FULL. FULL.
I was sitting on the floor in the room with the crib, covered in oil, when Chris got home later that evening. BUT the spotting had stopped. (I’ll leave it up to you what to believe, I’m just relaying my desperation in that moment to try anything…and I do give God credit for his grace throughout the journey, and for my children, and do believe I was healed that day, or earlier).
We called off the trip just to be safe…but after that day, there were no other problems in the pregnancy. The fall and winter came and went, I got bigger and bigger and happier and happier.
I started Mat leave about a month before my due date, and the next day my friends threw us a gigantic shower. Everything we needed and more was provided…we put everything away that night and I packed my hospital bag – well most of it…and the next day…He, the baby that is, decided to arrive early. Lucas would be our only baby to arrive 3 weeks early, the only one to be early period. I can’t begin to convey the joy in the hospital room…in fact the waiting room was full of people who had to be there when he arrived. Thankfully, it was in the afternoon. It was like a party hit the hospital. (Remember the friend who had called me while I was driving in Alberta? Her baby had been born the day before, in the same hospital, she was surprised to see us, because we were so early, but she just joined in the party) It was so much fun – after the grueling work of delivery that is!
An interesting little note… in 2014 we were blessed to have Isabelle join our family. She is from China and she is staying with us for all of high school. We love her parents like family, and she is definitely family, she fits right in, you’d never know she was an only child. She was born the year we lost Maggie. Isabelle makes every day more joyful for me, and our family. I had always said that I hoped to adopt a little girl from Asia someday, and maybe we will still…but maybe not. But I do know, that Isabelle was destined to be a part of our family from that day, and our hearts were being prepared to share life with her today, way back then. I thank God for her (and her family) everyday. Truly, our joy is full.
Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. Someone had asked me why I decided to share now, and honestly, because I was finally ready. I want to keep writing, and I know writing through the hard stuff is part of the process. I hope you’ll come back, I hope you’ll share some of your stories with me. I love hearing from you and thank you for your friendship and love,
We got married in the late nineties, newly graduated from bible school and ready to change the world with big dreams and what we thought, was unshakable faith. As one who was recruited to remain on staff of aforementioned bible school, we were in a unique social circle. Most of our close friends and fellow graduates had either moved on to further studies in other cities or they had taken posts in missions around the world. We were suddenly bereft of a social circle of friends who were like us, married, no kids. We were surrounded mostly by high school graduates starting out in Bible School or couples who’d been married several years ahead of us and were now moving on into the next phase of typical family life, having children.
Not having kids yet probably wouldn’t have been a big deal in a different place and time. But at that point, we felt a bit like we couldn’t relate to anyone. After a few months of marriage, the negative side effects of taking birth control caused us to decide that if we got pregnant that year, it was ok because we had both wanted a big family. A year passed and we enjoyed our couple-hood. He was busy travelling in his new job and I was working in full time ministry – I was happy to go to work every day and be with my students and co-workers. I was working in a Creative Arts in Ministry school, leading worship every morning, and also working in the music ministry of a vibrant church.
After that first year, we put a little more thought into family planning. We wanted kids, and my mom had never had any trouble getting pregnant (I have four younger sisters), so I figured it would be a piece of cake. I was almost 25 now. Time to make it happen if I wanted to be done by 30. Silly me, I thought it was up to me, this having babies thing. When another year passed, the niggling doubts started to creep in. Maybe something was wrong with one or both of us. So we went and got things checked out. The doctor said everything was in working order. Stop worrying about it, it would happen, eventually.
But, there was stress. The stress of things not being in my control. Of course this stress would mess with my biology. A vicious 28 day cycle of anxiety, hope and crushing disappointment became my new normal. For another year, I would slap on a happy face each day, because I was in ministry, and these were the days of faith without visible struggle. When doubts and fears and negativity in general were not acceptable. I didn’t want to be that woman, obsessed with her infertility. I had a friend, she cried with me every month, she already had 2 kids, and I’d even been in the room when the second was born. She mourned with me well. But the happy face was driving a wedge between God and I, because not being real on the outside, was causing me to not be real on the inside.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen,
And then, one day… the light shone in. The cycle was interrupted. Hope was not followed by crushing disappointment. The darkness of the previous years was lost in the light of this little seed of hope. My heart came alive, my dreams took flight. I saw this baby in my heart. I prayed like never before, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of protection and love. I had one of those books that had pictures of how she was developing each week – and each day I would offer up thanksgiving for the heart, the limbs, the feet, the spine…my joy was full. We heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks. I had been keeping a pregnancy journal and it was filled with hopes, dreams and plans.
My expectation and my joy grew daily. We had decided to share our good news with friends and family on my husband’s birthday. We’d be just past the first trimester by then, so planned the party and waited eagerly for that November to arrive.
I had a feeling in my heart it was a girl. I liked the name Marion – the name was in both our families. We told my parents, and my father in law – with a balloon that said “Grandpa” – he was overjoyed. (He’d been asking for grandbabies since the wedding). He loved the name…”can I call her Maggie?” and I’d hear him whistle the Foster and Allen song – Maggie to himself, over and over. We also told that friend, the one who cried with me, and we laughed like school girls. That fall, everyday felt like I awoke to a world of sunshine and butterflies…
Until the night before the party…when the dark clouds began to gather…
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.
Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year…2nd only to Autumn. This past Christmas was special because we were celebrating Elaina’s first Christmas. It was a lovely holiday celebrating the birth of our Saviour.
How we Decorated
|I did up the urns, door wreathes and greenery on the antique sleigh
with cuttings from evergreens around our property.
|In the foyer I did up this display with crystal covered trees, white lights and miscellaneous brown pieces.
It was so pretty to see this first thing every time we entered the house.
|The formal living room had the white feather trimming with red, brown and gold accents. I borrowed the mirror from another room to hang behind the tree and it conveniently had hooks for the stockings.
I think next year I’ll do a different window treatment…
|All I did was string these giant snowflakes together to hang on the hall mirror.
The snow theme definitely worked down here.
|At the top of the stairs I did up our Nativity. I liked it here, it’s always fun finding the best place to display this wonderful reminder of what the season is all about.|
|Our family room was definitely festive in red and gold. I loved the lights in front of the TV and our advent tree was a hit again. I actually used the “need” for space for the tree as the perfect excuse to get rid of the
bulky furniture that just was past it’s usefulness.
|This countertop tree was one of Aunt Fern’s I loved having the reminder of her in my kitchen.|
|I went for rustic Christmas in the kitchen.|
|My counter centerpiece – hurricane candle in the center of a rustic advent wreath.|
|Her first Christmas dress for the beginning of the season.|
|Christmas Eve Outfit.|
Large Homeschool Network Christmas Party – a great time for singing Christmas carols, sharing treats and doing games and crafts.
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 🙂
|prettiest pink decor and food – in the back ground Stephy is setting up…her home is so picture perfect and pretty.|
|details like the No. 4 are Jodi’s specialties|
|My sister Andrea did up the favours.|
|The cupcakes were from my dear friend Vanessa of Vanessa’s Cupcakery and Confections.|
|My mom and grandma holding Baby Telis – Stephy’s babe and Elaina’s first cousin.|
|My Jodi – party planner extraordinaire!|
These next posts are the “catching up” that I mentioned over 2 months ago when I was on here last. Truth be told, I finally have a working computer, so blogging will be easier and faster and hopefully I will get caught up quickly because it feels like I’ve missed so much time. I’m doing these catch ups primarily for myself because I use this blog as a memory journal for myself and our family. If it happens to inspire/ bless others it is a wonderful bonus.
1. Our Summer Wrap Up
I realized I pretty much covered our summer in the August 30th Post. Summer finished out in a whirl and the Koreans finally returned home 🙂 it was a challenge to have them, but looking back I probably still would have done it.
|Emma and Kate’s final Presentation host families.|
We ended out the season with the annual Marconi Labour Day soiree and lots of visiting with friends, return trips to Zooz and Marineland and enjoying the outdoors as the heat and humidity gave way.
2. Our Fall
We started the fall hesitantly as we were never sure when the baby would arrive. School and soccer continued until after she was born…
I pretty much closed out the gardens in September…
|A small sampling of our harvest.|
and started decorating inside the house….
2. The Baby
There’s a few reasons why you haven’t heard from me in quite awhile.
Numero 1. We had a baby. It’s our fourth. It’s been 5 years. I’m nursing…you understand. I know this and appreciate it.
2. My computer has been dumb, dumb, dumb. The fact that this blog post is getting written is almost miraculous.
That’s the gist of it.
That being said, I have SO MUCH to catch you up on, and so much I really really want to blog about…
So here’s how I will approach the enormity of the task, I will make a list of the topics I need to blog about, and then one by one, attack the list.
Here’s my list (and if you have anything you’d like to add to it, feel free to leave your requests/suggestions in the comments section).
1. Our Summer Wrap Up
2. The Baby (with the following sub posts)
Her Delivery (I even have pics…well I’m waiting on those, but will have some)
How I feel about having a GIRL after my 3 boys, and all that jazz.
A perfect baby shower (with pics)
3. Our Fall
How we celebrated the fall
Major events of the fall
4. Our Christmas Decorating
5. What I’ve been reading – the last 6 months
…and for the Homeschooling Blog
1. Our Summer Wrap Up
2. Curriculum Choices for 2012-13
3. Our Little Homeschool Group
4. Field Trips and the Like From Sept. Oct and Nov.
That should keep me pretty busy, as well as keeping up with the present, but I’m looking forward to it 🙂
Anyways, baby’s crying… I’ll be back!
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Finding Significance in the Ordinary
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