Celebrating Everyday Life – The first Quarter


In our house we try to make a big deal out of the little things, the moments that fill in the calendar, the things that make up a life together. I figured I could take quarterly snapshots to show you the “in between” times, since I usually document the standard holidays and seasons. Here’s my record of the first “Quarter” of 2015.

January – WINTER is in full swing. Yes, I put out the post Christmas “winter decor” to enjoy this month. The Hot Chocolate station is in full swing and the white stuff is enjoyed to the “Max”. 
max snow


Yes – this is INSIDE my kitchen.

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This was our first official SNOW DAY. Pancake breakfast, lot’s of playing outside and inside and movies…the best part NO SCHOOL, for the home school and our student boarders (From Korea – short term and China – long term)

Many people ask us what we do for “church” – that subject probably requires a series of posts, but I’ll address it briefly here. We enjoy services at a local congregation in Niagara – but consider “real” church or Ecclesia to be what happens from home to home in the community of faith we find ourselves in. This is both intentional and casual. So far it’s working for us… here’s a post of one of our intentional lunches which we host once a month (at least), and then visit other homes at other times.

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Happy Birthday Igabelle!


She requested breakfast for dinner.

We got to learn more about Korea when our students had a special cultural day and lunch for us. The food as always, was delish.

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February – WINTER is still in full swing, but we have many birthdays and many other reasons to celebrate! First, I change out some of the winter decor and add some red and pink for the month of LOVE. Yes we do celebrate Groundhog Day – it was fun explaining this to the students. Then the first birthday is my sisters, she had a huge and fun girls night in – our friend Julia did the food and I may or may not have eaten 5 mini creme brulees.


Then we celebrated Valentines Day with Chocolate Fondue for the Kids… we also had a special meal together by candlelight, shared Valentines – the kids participated in a homeschool Valentines Party, then mom and dad had date night.

It was also my birthday – a big one, but I have blog post coming up all about that in a few days. Here’s a sneak peak at the party my girlfriends threw for me. Our motto – any reason for a party is a good one!
40th Party

Then it was time to begin Lent – with Pancake Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. More on Lent later. Here’s part of what we’ve done this year for Lent.February and March 2015 182

This year, the Chinese New Year was the day after Ash Wednesday – whew. I got some help from Isabelle’s mom in Hong Kong and we celebrated with style this year thanks to our Asian friends living with us.


I found out that Red and Gold are the traditional colours to decorate with (more use for some Christmas/Valentines decor – yay!). Mondi & Frankie sent us some “Red Pockets” to share with the kids.


Some traditional and “new” aka – making due when we couldn’t find specific ingredients- foods were on the menu. Poon Choi (the big bowl) and dumplings, etc. I was quite proud of myself.


Some imported treats and some new fruits to try like Asian Pears, Dragon fruit and Star Fruit.


One of my favs, was this Coconut New Years ‘cake’ I found on Pinterest. Isabelle said it was her favourite too.

The next week we said farewell to our Korean boys, and then it was this boys birthday – here we are on a date. He chose to go for a special lunch with dad and then went to spend a long weekend with his grandparents where he was spoiled.


Yaya (my mom) treated the boys and I to dinner at Memphis for birthday celebrations – Yahummmm!

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This year the month ended for me with the big birthday party and a sleepover with the same two girl friends who slept over on my 20th birthday during our college years. Pretty cool…except that sleeping on the floor is much different now than it was back then!

March! The signs of Spring are everywhere. I gradually remove all signs of winter “inside” the house, and start adding in the “green”.

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I did up a new wreath to carry me over from February (a Valentine Door Wreath) to Easter (egg wreath) – I love this pussy willow wreath. I got the idea from this blog. So easy, so cute!

March for us as homeschoolers is a month of “Spring Breaks”.

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Dad and the younger two boys spent a weekend in South Carolina visiting some of our best friends, who are also homeschoolers.

While they were away, the rest of us celebrated my nephew’s birthday with the whole family bowling. It was Elaina and Isabelle’s first time – such fun!

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The next weekend the two younger sisters treated the February Bday Sisters to a Spa Day – so spoiled!

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My youngest sister is a RMT – massage therapist and she has magic hands… (notice the baby snoozing on the bed in the back ground? He was so good, so his mama got nice and relaxed)

Then it was the school Spring Break, so we took advantage of some fun activities – Tag Day Camp for the elder boy and VBS for the younger two. The girls and I enjoyed coffee dates and shopping most mornings. St. Patricks Day was at the beginning of Spring Break, so we celebrated with style, complete with Irish Toasting with Green Ginger “Beer”, Irish Reels and of course, cuisine – Corned Beef and Cabbage, rye toast and Shamrock Shakes.

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At the end of Spring Break, the boys were in the performances of the drama school they joined this year. It was such a good show and the teachers and kids worked so hard to make it a success.

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We finished up the month with getting ready for Holy Week, which for us begins tomorrow with Palm Sunday. I’ll close this post with a peak – but since I consider Easter to be a major Holiday – it will get it’s own post shortly. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how we celebrate life – it’s been a great year so far!

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Harvest Round Up

Always a lover of Autumn, we celebrated the season in very natural stages, and we are well into our holiday preparations, so I thought I’d include this post on a tiny bit of our Harvest Home Decor, and finish up with our Thanksgiving Table for the sake of the record. I’m in an inward thinking season right now, so blogging hasn’t been high on my radar as I know I’m needing to work through my thoughts and life, eventually they’ll make it onto print somewhere, somehow…
In September, after the summer clean up and getting our home school and student rooms ready, then getting the schedule happening, and finally the baby girls party finished (with post), in Canada, we were READY to embrace all things fall. I’ve been embracing my functional country chalet home, and letting the decor and seasonal decor reflect that, it’s working for me.

 This was my portable table centerpiece. Very eclectic but festive and cheap as I used all things I already had.

Again, re-locating older items, I created this “mantel” with items from around the house.

 putting out “harvesty” plates and bowls on the open shelves made for some “functional decor”.

 A thrift store basket filled with canning rings.

The vignette at the top of the stairs to the family room…

A cosy space to enjoy the final weeks of warmth and sunshine outdoors.

 Front entrance…

Formal Livingroom. There were other touches of fall throughout the house, these were my favs this year.
Thanksgiving 2014
In honour of the American Thanksgiving yesterday, here are the pics from our Canadian thanksgiving almost 6 weeks ago – lol!

 Table set for 12.

 Centerpiece from my flowerbeds this year.

Each place setting had a reading to share at the dinner.

Thrifty Turkey always finds a place on the table 🙂

 Conversation Starters from pinterest worked really well.

 When you’re feeding 20, there is no shame in plastics – loved my place cards though.

 I love guests who bring good wine 🙂

 The kids table…

My kinda sad attempt at a garland.

 Goodie Bags.

 Bountiful Dinner…

 My attempt at decorating the hideous light fixture.


 Setting up the tripod for the group pic.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

My "Summer Kitchen"

We’ve been having a lot of fun around here, living over blogging. Though I love the writing, and I often think, oh, I’d like to blog about this or that topic that crosses my mind…but then we get on with living. I plan hope to write more this summer. The word wall above kind of says it all, some of them we’ve checked off the list, some we’ll do again and again, and some we’ve yet to do! 
Anyways, a fun-though sometimes hectic spring passed us by, and the HOT summer days are upon us and summer around here, is all about FUN. I have my summer reading list, my summer to do list, my summer playlist, summer movie list and now, a Summer Kitchen. What is that you may ask?  
The BackStory
We are very fortunate to have a house with 2 kitchens. Sometimes the basement is rented out to boarder so we haven’t really made use of the basement kitchen until now. I guess I need to explain, my house is unique in that our regular kitchen/family/school/etc rooms are on the second floor (and the bedrooms are on the ground floor with a sitting room) of our Chalet style house. I love, love, LOVE my unique house, but the drawback is that the summers are very HOT upstairs, even when it’s not hot outside – great for our COLD winters, not so much in summer. We have ceiling fans, but the vaulted ceilings just seem to hold the heat IN. 
So this year, my hubby convinced me to move our kitchen/living space to the basement. Since we’re all basically in one big room down here, it feels like we’re at a cottage. I’m actually loving it, because even though we’re not going away (except to visit my grandma for a few days up north) – it’s like we are away from home.
I call it my summer kitchen after a friend reminded me that in the old days (as in a couple generations ago) it was very common to have a second kitchen… I looked it up…

Cooking in an open fireplace in summer can cause the kitchen to become extremely hot, so in Early America it was common for people to build a separate building called a “Summer Kitchen” where much of the food would be prepared during the summer months. The summer kitchen would contain a large fireplace with an oven, and usually a large table which was used as a work surface.

The purpose of summer kitchens were to keep the main house cooler in the summer by putting the cooking and cleaning duties in a separate building.

It has been fun, we’ve basically “closed” the upper floor of the house (meaning we can turn the AC down or even OFF-yay! I have direct access to the backyard (aka my garden) from here, and canning down here is WAY better. Love to be able to use my home to it’s fullest potential.

Here we are, all cozy in our “cool” summer kitchen. Hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are!



My Garden in August 2013

 Reflections on the Garden…
This is a super long post (mostly pics again). I could have broken it up into several smaller posts, but honestly then it wouldn’t get done at all. I’m more likely to be out in the garden than at my computer, and with the kids and summer in full swing, I’m fortunate to actually be posting at all 🙂 
I have LOVED working in my garden this year. It’s been a great growing year, and I’ve loved watching the plants thrive throughout our property. Last week we spent about 4 solid days outside ripping out dying trees, transplanting, planting new ones, weeding, trimming, etc. We’re quite happy with our work and hope that all the new trees “take” in their new home. Thankfully, we can get replacements at very low cost quite easily.
Here’s the garden back in June/July…
Front Beds…
 The Yarrow needs a friend… any suggestions? 
I’ve wondered about Russian Sage, or another perennial?
The Knock Out Rose is delish – we decided to plant a Yellow Knock Out in the back this summer.


 Water Feature in Sunroom…all the hydrangeas are thriving. 
Endless Summers (Blue and Pink), Limelghts (giant teardrop Green-Whites) and Annabelles.
The Rose in here may need to find a new home. 
We’ve not done much in here as we have long term plans 
to re-do this whole room as part of a deck project.
Here’s an example of the Endless Summer’s before they all were picked for centerpieces…

Rose Garden…

The giant pinks roses are Memorial Days, the Fuscia Standard are knock Outs and the one in the yellow pot is our Yellow Knock Out to be planted. The Perennials are Heucheria, Poppies, Daisies and some ground covers I forget the name of. The front standard is a flowering crabapple.

Perennial Bed

Love the yellows – daylilies, primrose, and I forget the others right now. 
Yet to bloom are Purple Phlox and Daisies. 
They always look nice nestled in amongst the 
Japanese Maple/ Blue Spruce and Lavender Twist.

Lovers Garden (see the anniversary bench)

Next Spring a bunch of these perennials will need to be divided.

 Veggie Garden…
               (Look at the size of that burn pile in the back!)

I’m excited to be growing potatoes for the first time this year!

 Herb Garden

I have enough mint to last til Kingdom Come! 
Peppermint, 2 kinds of oregano, sage, 2 kinds of thyme, lavender, chives, 
rosemary, lemon balm & sorrel

A couple of surprises…

I thought we lost this rosebush last year.
When we trimmed the lilac earlier this summer, it gave these guys room to grow.

And now in August…
Front Porch…

I must remember what these yellow plants are in the boxes, I love them. 
I also LOVE my geraniums. The potato plants did well as expected. 

Front Bed

I had been given Cana Lilies and put them in behind the yarrow for now. 
They’ll find a new home next year where I can really highlight them. 

Upstairs Balcony Boxes

Had to show these because they are doing so well!

Looking down on Rose Garden and Perennial Beds

Post edging, multching, trimming, etc. This was in between the Memorial Days blooms. 
All our roses give consecutive blooms straight through til early November.

 Looking Down on Veggie and Herb Gardens

The big plum tree by the sandbox is now gone. We’ll be planting 2 apple trees on that side of the yard. Look at that crazy herb garden!

Up close…

 the mint is going CRAZY and the lemon balm… ugh.

 The Creeping Jenny is doing nicely

 Beans – Bush and Pole

 Zucchinim – we’ve already harvested 3 good sized ones.

Potatoes – love! I will be doing these again. 
We’ve already harvested 2 basket fulls and there’s lot’s more.

 Cucumbers (almost lost them, but they came back) and broccoli

Kale, romaine, Chard, Beets, Cabbage – we lost our spinach 😦

Another view…


Sunflowers and Corn for Decor.
And happiness – PUMPKINS!



We planted an English Oak tree back here at the corner of the garden.

 We added gravel to the walkways

Lover’s Garden

The clematis flowered this year. I put up the trellis late, so hopefully next year it’ll grow taller. 
Love my phlox and daisies! The cold snap made the tips of our burning bush turn red.

 Back of House Before the trimming…

 and after…

Rose of Sharon
I have a love-hate relationship with these beauties. They are gorgeous and bloom when so little else does, they thrive pretty much anywhere, but they also reseed – EVERYWHERE. So I’ve become selective where they can be planted.

 Side of House

The Iris did nicely this year, In fact, I was quite happy with this little hidden gem of a garden.

 New Planting in front in shared dividing bed with neighbour – Cedars and Hydrangea Standard.

Now for mulch or some kind of ground cover to keep the weeds under control.
That’s all for now. You may or may not hear about the garden again this year 🙂

My "New Kitchen"

I love it when you can totally change up the look of a room with very little cost because of the goodness of God and the kindness of friends 🙂

Going into our 3rd year of homeschooling and having another body (and highchair) at the table, I knew our kitchen needed re-working. I had admired my friend Moni’s chalkboard wall in her old house – but I didn’t know how to make it work in our house. She’s so stylish with a quiet European flare and her home reflects her and her family so nicely, but I knew we are nothing like that. We are a tad messy (though I didn’t want to feel like I was in a constant mess because I LOVE organization), we are constantly curious and getting into new things, leaving other things unfinished but wanting to get back to them too. Plus I love my shelf that I can change out seasonally and we are surrounded by books too. I searched around on pinterest and found some inspiration in these pics…


I came up with this…

 The table we had inherited from Chris’ Aunt had taken a beating and was not only getting too small for us, but was also pretty wobbly. It is now in the basement in our common room which will be used for a homeschool co-op. 

When we agreed to take in 3 Korean adults acting as chaperones for the the program we usually host children from, we knew it was time for a new table. But the $ for it was not present…

Enter my BFF Jodi. She decided to upgrade and offered to bless us with hers (which had been a blessing to her from another friend) It seats 8 comfortably – YAY!

At the same time, we did the chalkboard wall, it was surprisingly easy actually…

 We cleared the space, painted it on and then after 3 days we cured it – the boys loved helping cover it with chalk.

 After wiping it off, it was ready to go, I added the decor (which will obviously be tweaked often).

I repurposed an old beat up hutch that had been in the sunroom collecting dust, and scaled back on the china, etc that was inside the old hutch – which found a new home at another friends house. I’m still considering painting it some fun colours (like burnt orange and tealy blue) with distressing… Suggestions anyone?

I still needed my Mom Central station (desk, calendar, bulletin board, etc) to be in the kitchen so I can monitor computer usage) We switched it to the side so we have more room to write on.

So there you have it. A new kitchen that only cost us $50 – for the chalkboard paint 🙂 
What do you think? What changes have you made to your house this summer?

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.

Catching Up on 2012 since we’re well into 2013

Catching Up Part One

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… 

Soccer Champs

I pretty much closed out the gardens in September… 

A small sampling of our harvest.

and started decorating inside the house…. 

2. The Baby 

I will be posting a very big post soon on the baby, her delivery and then her shower. I promise. Just waiting for a set of pics to finish it off. Until then, I’ll move on to finishing out the fall…
3. Our Fall
How we celebrated the fall…as early as the week Elaina arrived, we were out “hiking” with our homeschool group.  

We had our annual visit to the Pumpkin Patch.
I participated in a preserve exchange. So awesome.
Major events of the fall
Since the baby was born so close to Thanksgiving…we had a quiet celebration at home with some of the family. The Monday hubby and I took the boys to Safari Niagara one final time for the season, they FINALLY got to do the long awaited ropes course… and it was worth the wait, despite the rain 🙂
The boys went out with their dad for Halloween around our street. It was also low key and enjoyable. 
And Carter’s 5th Birthday

Stay tuned for the Christmas post…I know it’s sooo late, but maybe I can use it next year. teehee!
Phase one done!


It’s been awhile…

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!

Why I haven’t Posted much in June…

I know this.

Several times this past month, I would sit down to write a post, and nothing, absolutely nothing would come to mind.

Now here we are at the end of this month, and I uploaded the June pics from my camera. I figured out why nothing came to mind….

I was pooped.  Just plain pooped!

There were 250 pics of things we did, from just the month of June. Whew!

Here’s the gist of it…

We finished our first year of home schooling! Yay!
To see more details on what that included, check out my blog at the Heaslip Homestead.

Here’s a pic of the flowers in one of the boxes on my balcony. 
I will post more about our gardens soon.
On Father’s Day, daddy took Lucas to his first MLB game. The Toronto Blue Jays. He was especially excited since they took the go train to get to Toronto. The younger two boys cannot wait until they turn 8 to go to their first game!

While they were there, the younger two boys and I celebrated Father’s Day with their grandpa Jim by going to Safari Niagara and getting ice cream at the Dairy Bar. 


They were pretty pumped about trying out the bungee-trampoline ride.
We were all excited to spend a whole weekend with grandpa to ourselves.

Then  we had a bunch of random outings…

 Here’s a pic of Carter and his best bud at Port Dalhousie.

 We went to a couple BBQ’s at my sisters – where of course we had water balloon fights.

We hosted a bonfire for a bunch of friends.

mmm, smores!

Christy, our student from China had her prom. Jodi took the pics, and then her family stayed for a yummy Paella Dinner and we laughed well into the night!

We went to the Drive In with friends to see Madagascar 3 and Snow White and the Huntsman.

I hosted a giant baby shower with my other sisters for my sister Stephanie. A post all about that will be coming soon too.

 I took the boys to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where they enjoyed the giant fountain.

We watched Nick Wallenda’s historic walk over the falls on TV, it was way too crowded to brave going the 15 minutes up the road. But my BFF Jodi however had a press pass and got these amazing shots!

Then, Christy had her graduation from highschool. We are trying to work up our courage to say goodbye to her after having her live with us for 10 months. Our gift to her was a memory album of our year. She cried. I cried. That was 2 days ago. She leaves tomorrow… I feel waterworks a coming.


Add to that:
+ a bunch of swims and visits with friends 
+ a funeral
+ birthday, poker and summer parties
+ a charity event called Raid my Closet
+ Midwives appointments 
+ veterinarian appointments
+ pickups at the Organic Farm
+ fruit picking 
+ home renos
+ hosting a dinner for Christy’s parents visiting from Macau
+ maintaining the homestead

=  ONE TIRED MAMA!!! (no wonder my feet are swollen)

If you don’t see another post for awhile…. now you know why 

Lot’s of love,


A New Normal…

We’ve had a great couple of weeks. In our home, in our home school and just all around…

It’s been a whole lot of nothing extraordinary. Just ordinary, home days. Full of vision, full of learning, full of living….
Of course, we did have a nasty freeze on Monday which caused a pipe to burst and subsequently had/have to deal with plumbers and work crews…and of course our van died at the same time so I was stuck at home, and we just had stuff to deal with… the old me would have still been stressed out about this.

In fact… about 4 years ago we had a series of similar experiences in our house, and back then, my heart and head were a mess and I was a stressed out grouch-bag. I was working part time, home with two boys under 4, and pregnant with a third. Our We were barely holding things together, still reeling emotionally from sudden tragedy and dear hubby was in his old position at work which required frequent travelling, so he was away… a lot.
Our oldest son caused a flood in the house that caused upwards of $16,000 in damages (that’s right). Chaos.

Back then, I felt very alone. Though God provided amazing people to help me get through it. One of those people came by almost everyday, or at least called – because, I as found out much later…she was worried I was going to have a nervous breakdown…and I probably would have if not for her and the prayers of many… (things were going to get much worse before they got better).
Anyways, I felt alone.
I was stressed and depressed.
I was angry and tired.
I felt like I had to be strong (or at least pretend I was), regardless of the fact that I was overwhelmed.
I pressed on like that for a long time, still things got worse, and worse…
Until I was broken.
Until I was forced to surrender.
Until I was forced to take up peace and keep what grace gives.

After the flood of 2007, we had a few years of serious challenges.
Some which we are still dealing with.
Years of STORMS.
And then the rain stopped.
A year of CHANGE.
A new “school”, new church, new schedule, new focuses… after all that change, I feel like we’ve finally found our new normal. Happy Sigh!
Though I should mention, it’s not all sunshine. There’s still the odd rain, aftereffects and such. But the storms are passed. The white knuckles are gone. HOPE and PEACE reign.

Now I can say, I’m so grateful for those horrible seasons, because we GREW in them. We were forced to make choices and decisions that made us stronger, better and trust God most. We received favour. Purely unmerited. We grew in wisdom and knowledge (though we still have so much more to learn). We found about about little things like extra insurance and coverages (an extra $30/month saved us $100’s in plumbing bills), the difference of quality tradesmen ($10,000 quote vs $1000), price shopping, and keeping a home calendar (flip that switch every December). We learned big things like trusting the inner voice (should have checked that fusebox when I had the recurring inkling 3 weeks ago) and welcoming God into the mundane (sending baby boy to take out food waste and hearing a gush of water when we opened the door, right as it happened, not an hour later)… these big and small things all make a huge difference.
I know it, because the past two weeks have been awesome. The “incident” on Monday, barely registered a blip on my “drama meter”. I’ve had a great couple of weeks.
Needless to say, I am SO HAPPY that the person I was then and the person I am now are soooo different. I have not been stressed. I actually got to the end of today and said to myself “what a great couple of weeks we’ve had”. I had already forgotten about the “crises” (even though things are far from cleaned up).
Perhaps part of this “new normal” is also because with the home schooling we’ve “settled” into things… a routine of sorts. I’ve relaxed into a state of peaceful trust (in my heavenly Father and myself), so I’m not worrying about them learning what they need to learn. I’m told this is normal. (It helps that they’ve surpassed my expectations curriculum-wise). There are still interesting and frustrating moments, but overall it’s been fun and peaceful. Though I feel like we’re definitely NOT normal, part of the minority, swimming upstream so to speak…it’s better. Since the changes, we’re different, and we’re OK with it. We’ve enjoyed the “winter” we’ve had, one sunny and mild day hiking, then other days skating and today finally tobogganing! quiet visits, afternoons reading or watching movies, some days hardly leaving the house, others out and about, but not stressed.

Or…perhaps part of this new normal is acceptance. Things change, people change, I change. Changing churches was really hard on me. I find I still think about it, but not as much, and it doesn’t feel as bad. I miss the people I used to see all the time (but only at church). I find it’s forced me to be proactive in getting together with people purposefully. I find it’s deepened the relationships I do have (especially the ones under my own roof). I also find that I’m trusting God in these relationships more. Trusting that seasons come and go, and who knows what this one, or the one after that holds?
HE does, and He loves me. So it’s all good.
When I think back about the time we spent in our previous congregation (18 years), the seasons came and went, bringing people and activities and memories, which also came and went. But I STAYED there through those years and those seasons, while they came and went. Now I’m one of the people that came, and stayed and went…. a new season.
It’s been a season of reconnecting. People who were prominent in previous chapters, then moved on…are back again. It’s great! So I find it’s easier to trust God through this season that people I’ve loved, and still love, will probably show up in seasons down the road, it helps… alot.
It’s been a season of meeting new people, new positions, new groups. I love that I’ve made some new friends who don’t go to church. I suspect they don’t even know Jesus yet.
I love that I’ve gotten to read soooo much, and learn so much. I love that I’ve gotten to spend so much time with my family. I love that I’ve been able to pick up writing a bit more. I love that through all of this, I’ve never felt alone…even though I’ve definitely been alone a lot…I’ve never been ALONE, because He is always with me.
It reminds me of something from the messages I heard Sunday (yes I went to 2 church services at 2 different churches – and guess what, God does not change – I heard him say the same thing loud and clear) – the storms of life will hit both the godly and the ungodly… the difference is what foundation they build on. The principles of the world or of God? (Matthew 7:24-27) I’m so glad we built on the Rock.

Yes, I’ve had a great couple of weeks, and I think this is going to be one of the best years yet.
With love,