Monday, 23 April 2018

Little boys

I am a mom of little boys.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I was convinced they were a boy and a girl.  We didn't find out ahead of time what their gender was.  From what we could tell from the outside, they seemed so different - heart rates, movements, size and shape.  We even tried the old wives' tales, which was tricky with twins, but I swear with the ring test, one side of my belly responded differently than the other side!  So we just planned for one of each.  Turns out, we were wrong.  And now I am a mom of two boys.

I have to say that I am thrilled to have boys.  For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED little boys.  From the time I was little, my first neighbourhood friends were little boys and I remember collecting ants and playing in the dirt with them.  When I was in youth group and helped with the little kids groups, I always had a soft spot in my heart for little boys. There is just this wild, sweet, rough exploring side of boys that I have always loved.

Now I get to live with boyhood all around me.  It's not exactly what I expected.  It's not just muddy and aggressive and all about cars (though it was when they were little).  It's fast moving, and messy,  and competitive, and full of sound effects, and many sweet moments of snuggles and kisses.

Take the other day for example: We had a no agenda, no plans day at home.  By 7:30am they were convinced we HAD to make rockets.  We gathered supplies, built cardboard rockets and they were painting them.  While they dried I went out to work in the garden and they collected bugs and jumped on the trampoline.  We stopped for a snack/coffee break and watched the Snowbirds fly overhead.  They wouldn't sit to color but we spent a few minutes (max) using chalkboard paint outside.  Lunch, quiet time (which also only lasted a short time) and then it was time to head to the park.  They rode their bikes there, threw frisbees, played ball, rode bikes home, and stopped to climb on rocks.  At home I tried to get them to stay still for a few moments and lie in bed for a cuddle, and they crawled all over and made funny noises. I made dinner while they ran around with cars and blasted me with shooters from their airplanes.  They ate quickly, wiggling around the whole time, splashed in the bathtub making a mess all over, squealed and run around in their PJs, and finally tucked into bed for snuggles and lullabies.

No wonder when the day is done, I am wiped.  Emotionally, physically, mentally drained!  But when those little voices at the end of the day, whisper sweet nothings like, "I'll meet you in my dreams" and "When I grow up mom, can I marry you?  I love you so much" my heart melts and I am filled anew to take it all on for another day.  They are busy. They are loud.  They are messy.  They are sweet.  They are caring.  They are funny.  They are full of life.  Little boys.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Saturday musings

Today my thoughts are whimsically floating this way and that, and I can't figure out what to sit down and write about.

It is the end of the day.  I am sitting with a glass of wine, a sweet potato Paleo brownie, and a pile of folded laundry surrounding me.  Today was a "deal-with-it" day.  The house needed to be cleaned, the laundry needed to be washed, the fridge needed to be stocked, and the day was mostly rain-free, which meant we had to take the opportunity to work in the yard before it rains again.  It was a FULL day.  I am wiped.  I am content.

Right now the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and CF-18 are doing Spring training here in Comox.  Twice a day we get to watch our own air show as they fly overhead and practice formations.  The CF-18 is loud!  When it passes right over us, our house shakes and is filled with the noise.  I remember when the kids were babies we had to adjust their naptime since the fly-bys would wake them up.  Now it is such a treat for the boys to see!  Last night I dreamt all night about the CF-18.  You know you are a mom of boys when...  lol.

In the next few months we will be saying goodbye to a close friend of ours who has been staying with us for the past little while.  He's moving on to bigger and better things.  It has had me thinking, though, of all the people who have passed through the humble doors of our abode.  When we bought our home, Comox was in a housing boom.  The market was flooded!  We came one weekend and looked at 20 houses at least, all in our price range in this area.  There was just 2 of us and a dog back then, so we hadn't planned to buy such a large house, but with the prices, we couldn't resist.  We ended up with a good ol' BC box (as they say) with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  The layout was just right that we have all we need upstairs and the downstairs could be separated out for room and board.

So, just a few weeks after we moved in, we started hosting International students.  Now the stories I have about that can go on and on... but suffice it to say, our house has been well lived in!  We have had around 20 students come and go through our doors, and have been able to host friends and family needing a place to stay for a while.  I do enjoy my privacy and space, so I have to admit this has been challenging at times, but it also has filled our lives with such richness.  We've learned about ourselves, and expanded our horizons through the lives of others.  The friends who have stayed with us really have become family.   It's been nearly 8 years in this house and I can say with certainty that it has been a HOME.  There is nothing sweeter than home.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Spring Break

Unlike the rest of Canada, we in BC have hit spring.  The daffodils have appeared, the magnolia tree has bloomed, cherry blossom scent fills the air, and the rain is falling, falling, falling.  As much as I am tired of the grey, I think that by April, I'm happier to have rain and green grass and flowers, than snow like rest of the country.  This has been a long winter for Canada.

We just had a wonderful, busy, full Easter and spring holiday.  Our Easter is always full of lots of church services and gathering with friends and family.  After we finished our last service on Sunday, we took off down island to visit with some extended family in Victoria.  It was lovely!  We ate lots of food, visited the famous petting zoo (which I still remember from my childhood),  saw a castle, and just sat around sharing family stories.  After that just our family took off to the west coast of Vancouver Island to tuck away at a little Air BnB for a couple of nights.  It was all quite rainy, but we ventured out to the beaches, watched movies, and cuddled up in bed with books (while the kids watched Disney channels we don't get at home).

What I hadn't counted on is what it would be like to be around my kids for 24/7 for two weeks straight!  I am used to the breaks of work, preschool, and having my parents around to offload them for a while.  That was all absent for the past two weeks and by the end of the two weeks, we were ALL ready for a break from one another lol.  Today I am extra savouring my precious time alone.

In other news, we finally, finally are almost ready to start planting things in our garden.  I found time to put up a fence so the dog (and neighbour's cat) stay out of the garden while the seeds are getting established. I need to plant grass in one corner, and I need to relay the bark chips around the garden.  Then we can plant!  I am so excited.  This year especially I am finding peace and solitude in working out in the yard.  It is my happy place. 

I also have an idea, which I can't believe I haven't thought of until now!  I am going to start to put together a travel journal, writing and sharing about all the places in the world I have visited.  I am not a huge world traveler, but when I sit down to think about it, I have actually made it to see a lot of interesting places.  I would love a chance to share and write about my experiences.  Anyone have any tips/ideas on a good format/way to start a travel journal??? 

So there's our "spring" break in a nutshell.  Now we're halfway into April... let's bring on the SUNSHINE please!!! 

Monday, 19 March 2018

Lent - Cheating

We are over a month into Lent... only 14 days to go... This is the point where I start to get really excited about Easter.  This year my birthday falls on the Easter weekend (Good Friday), which I really feel is an honour and a special time.  I became a Christian on Easter weekend when I was just a wee little person, so it kind of is like having a double birthday weekend.  I've always taken aside special time to celebrate and remember what God has done in my life through the Easter season.  This year feels full of anticipation.

I must say, Lent hasn't gone all smoothly.  I have "cheated" three times in what I gave up for Lent.  I really wrestled with it each time and could have said no, but didn't.  It really got me thinking about motivations and desires and how we rationalize things ALL the time.  Lent is more than an exercise in self-discipline (though that is a big part of growing in it for sure).  I always was pretty good at self-discipline.  This time, that is actually the part I have found hardest.  I am way more lenient to excuse myself and give myself a break in the name of "grace."  It has also been eye-opening to see the areas and the struggles that I have that I try to handle on my own.  Self-sacrifice is not natural.  It takes intention and effort and constant choosing.  I know grace does exist, but it has been quite a lesson of self-awareness to see my frailty and weak flesh.  Today my daily Bible reading was Romans 8.  This is, by far, my most favorite chapter in the Bible.  It is SO rich.

Set our minds on the Spirit...
The body is dead (and weak) but the Spirit is alive because of righteousness...
We are God's children...heirs of Christ
Creaton will be "liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God...
We hope for what we do not yet have...
The Spirit helps us in our weakness...
If God is for us, who can be against us...
Nothing... will be able to separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus!

Easter is coming.  We celebrate HIS victory.  We celebrate HIS love for us.  What a beautiful day!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Lent - Community

I'm writing this ironically on a day where I am staying home from church.  We've been fighting a bug all week and my body gave in today and just said, "I need a little break."  So it's a blessing that my mom can take the kids and I can go back to bed for a bit and listen to a sermon at home.  There is one thing I am finding to be more difficult this year with Lent, and that is finding community.

I do not believe that Lent is something to be experienced in isolation.  Yes, it is about your personal relationship with God and growing in discipline and self-denial. But I think this can only happen in the context of community.  We need people to encourage and exhort us when the "flesh is weak but the spirit is willing."  There is also a dependency that comes when we open up to one another in vulnerability and support each other in prayer.  For me personally, this is the crux of Lent.  Community is such a vital part of following Jesus.

In past seasons we have engaged in weekly prayer meetings, meals and Bible studies through the season of Lent.  The one year where we saw an incredible move of God during Lent (maybe I'll write on that another day), we ended the time with a huge Easter feast!  It was a party.  We ate, we drank, we sang Karaoke, we glorified God.  That is what I would love to see more of in our Christian life.  This year, we have none of that structured into our schedule.  I have made a point of remaining accountable to a few friends, and reaching out to others for support, but I definitely feel the lack of that community.  It is a time of life (with young kids at home) that this is a challenge in general, but I guess I feel it more amplified through these weeks of Lent.  I love my community.  Lent has again awakened my desire and longing to see our lives intertwined with others in community again.

There's my thought for today :)  What's been your experience with community?  Where do you find connection with other people?  How has community caused you to grow? 

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Lent - Finding Joy

Through this time of Lent, I am striving somewhat more than usual to be intentional with my day and my time.  This doesn't mean it is glamorous, but I am seeking the joy in the ups and downs.  I thought I'd share a common day with you.  Let me reiterate again, it does not always FEEL joyful, trust that these moments are meaningful and contributing to the Kingdom of God, despite how mundane they may feel.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Lent - Prayer

You know writer's block?  Well right now I have prayer's block.

I started Lent last week.  I love this season in anticipation of Easter.  It is not always glamorous, and more often that not I fail and don't keep up with my end of the bargain (I already had a cheat this week).  Yet it is a time to recognize our dependence on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and that is clearly displayed in my human frailty.  The thing is, this time I am having trouble "finding" Jesus. 

I have adopted some daily habits to turn my dependence to God, but the pressures of this life keep pushing me aside.  I read a daily devotion to the kids in the morning, but if they're not eating their breakfast or listening, or we are rushing out the door, the meaning is lost.  I try to read my own devotional after they're done, and some days am non-stop interrupted until my coffee is cold and I have tried to re-read the single page devotion 5 times.  I try to pray throughout the day, but between breaking up fights, and making snacks, and handling meltdowns, and cleaning the toilets, I sometimes forget.  So I rely on my evenings once the kids are in bed... but sometimes my brain is dead tired and keeping focus is hard.  Even at church, I rarely get to sit through a service, as I tend to my children, and fill in for Sunday School teachers who are away.  Those aren't excuses.  I am just saying that it is hard. 

I won't give up.  I have a longing to reignite that flame and passion for prayer.  I just realize that this season in life brings challenges.   I share to express that amid the beauty and fun and joy of life, there are hard part too (they don't get showcased as often).  I hope to share more of these times throughout this season. 

God, grant me grace as I seek you more.