Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Thankfulness List 2008

baby gates
instant coffee with cream and a little sugar (in my Starbucks travel mug)
my sisters
my fristers – friends who are like sisters
time to cook
the sunset over my balcony
field trips – seeing wonder in my children’s eyes
homemade soup with fresh bread
the fact that almost every memory I have of my dad is a great one
my giant soup pot from my father in law
great tips/advice from other women that always turn out just as they said…
all things Greek
a job well done
my mom
when I don’t have to wait at the border
tea – herbal or otherwise
living with the four seasons
nephews and nieces
Lucas’ school and especially his teacher
Saturday mornings at home
Deep turquoise, magenta, yellow, acid green, red, purple – yeah vibrant colours, love em
productive days, lazy days, sunny days and rainy days
My grandma’s pumpkin pie
Reggae Music
My Simple Abundance book
Long comfortable pauses
Working in my garden and canning my own foods
Perfectly timed Hugs and Kisses
Finally I’m so thankful that Jesus found me, that He’s taken up residence in me and is pouring out his favour and blessing on every area; my essence, my soul, my family, my home, my life…

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Too, too, too

When you've had alot happen and it's been awhile since you've last blogged, everything is "too". too much, too big, too emotional, too intense, too, too, too... obviously this is where I'm at right now...I try to focus on something small in the midst of it all, and yet, it's not enough.

The summer ended, projects were started, finished and more started. We made memories, enjoying the most of the sunny days - trips to the zoo, to parks, the beach, bbq's, bonfires and so much more. Giggles, and tears, crying and laughing, being silly, being calm and rested, just being together. and this is too much. How do you encapture "life" in words. It was just wonderful, it is wonderful.

So that brings me to now, to the busyness, to the self doubts about commitments and decisions. About who to let down, and who not to. It's too much now adays. There's too many options for women, work, don't work. Full time, part time, from home, out of the home and every combination. Volutneerism, and personal growth and expression, really zoning in on parenting, or taking a laid back approach, and all the reflections that accompany whichever route you take.

The nowincludes milestones. Lucas starting school, Carter crawling and pulling up on furniture, Max developing more personality everyday. It's too much to absorb.

For me personally, a lot of emotional things to work through too. Memories, and daily events that should have been shared by Chris' dad, by my dad, and they aren't. Time passes without pause, and it's too much...

Above all this, to try to take account of all the blessings that have been poured out on us, on me, oh, it's too much. That there is a hope, a great hope. That we have a peace, that sustains us and passes understanding, that we've been provided for, super-abundantly. That we have joy unspeakable and that our lives are full of glory, truly, full of glory... each aspect of our life is now illuminated by a great "light". By that awareness of that which is "great" in everything, and that we are daily growing in the knowledge of Christ. His great love, His hope of glory, His very life, his death, his victory, it's just too much... and more than enough.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The 6th and 7th Senses

I was reading last night and came across something quite interesting. The author - Sarah Ban Breathnach was talking about how women have 2 extra senses on top of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing - women can cultivate their sense of knowing and their sense of wonder. It was just something that struck me, in fully living the life that we've been given, when we use these additional senses - we truly do live more abundantly because we are more fully appreciating the sacred elements of our day. I used to always question what my intuition was, that special "knowing" that my mom used to say we would have when it came to falling in love, or understanding the pain of loss. She used to say "one day you'll just KNOW". In further reflection, I know that my dad had these extra senses too.

Not a day has gone by since May 16th, that I haven't thought about my dad. Little things trigger it all the time. Yesterday when watering and weeding the gardens in my backyard I thought about him. He was an avid gardener and was always in the backyard - picking up leaves from the grass, pruning the grapevines and tending his flower and vegetable gardens. Every year since we've been married, Chris and I have grown to love working in our gardens more. Especially when he started working for a wholesale nursery. Whenever we'd plant something new, I'd think of dad and wonder what he'd think of this or that, and often I would call him for tips on tending our beds. When he came to visit, even when he was sick, he would go out to our backyard and comment on our plans or efforts in the back. So last night, in the twilight when I was out back, I walked around the side yards and noticed that the raspberries were ripe on the vine, and that the quince and plum trees were starting to ripen - and I grabbed a basket to pick some fruit to make a yummy treat for my boys, imagining their delighted squeals when I took it inside. Instantly I was transported back to a golden summer with dad.

When I was sixteen and Jen was 13, dad took us to Greece for almost a month in the summer. It was magical, literally a golden summer that for me, for many reasons hailed the beginning of my passage from childhood to womanhood. I was taken to one of the many moments of pure bliss from that summer. Jen and I were sitting lazily in a hammock that he stringed up for us, the sunlight dancing through the leaves of the fig trees. The air smelled like a sweet mixture of the fruit from the orchards, the flowering oleanders and the salty sea air. I could hear my cousins laughing and see my papoo and yaya sitting in the shade of the porch. My aunt was cooking something delicious in the kitchen and my dad was walking around the fruit trees, picking juicy yellow plums. He eagerly brought some over for us to eat, and I remember the light in his eyes at being able to bring us a treat. He never lost that look, right up until the end...

I have a picture of him on the bookshelf in my living room. He is sitting on the beach with his knees up, just looking over the water. There is a distant look in his eyes, like he's thinking about something else. My dad didn't say much that other people would classify as "deep". But he really was. He knew the pain of leaving his homeland, of losing both parents, of not being able to share his day to day life (which really is your life) with them. More than that though, he lived with a sense of wonder over the small things. The seasons, nature, smiles, hugs and kisses, memories, family, the joy of making people laugh, of giving without expecting anything in return... I now know, I never had a problem understanding or recieving the love of God, because I knew the love of my natural father.

Dad was often "off" somewhere - sitting in his garden, when we were walking the walking path around the creek, at the kitchen table drinking one of his many coffees - and when you'd ask him what he was thinking about, he'd just heave a big sigh and say nothing... I'm in wonder now, of how much I'm becoming like him. The wonder that accomanies understanding a bit of the depth of losing a parent - the constant memories, the unexpressable sadness - as I just get very quiet and can't really talk about it. Releasing the regrets and holding onto the remembrances when they come, I find myself doing the same thing dad did - I go to a place in my heart and mind and then I come back and just heave a big sigh. It's part of the "wonder" of it all. Of life - of knowingthe beautiful, of knowing grace, goodness, love. Of knowing yourself, your creator and other. Of realizing that the abundant life increases when we've lived through loss and abide in the secret place in Christ, who has gone ahead of us and shows us the way.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Of Miracles and Mysteries

May 2007 to May 2008 was quite the year for us. We witnessed so many things that bring together the sum total of life – all at the same time and in the wake of it, my soul is weary, but my spirit is at rest. The unique thing is that each miracle was accompanied by a mystery within the same week.

Last spring, we witnessed with joy, the miracle of 2 becoming 1 flesh as my sister Andrea was married to Eric, but it was marred by the mystery of the unexpected passing of Chris’ dad – so many memories and so many questions. Without having much time to consider it, we were given the news that Andrea and her new husband were expecting, within days we got the news that my dad had cancer… Last fall, we welcomed the miracle of our third son, Carter – and everyday is another miracle as we watch him and his brothers grow before our eyes.

This spring, we sadly watched dad grow weaker and though we believed for a miracle, for him to recover – the mystery of death became the miracle that put an end to his suffering. A week later, Andrea’s & Eric’s son – my beautiful new nephew, Anthony, was born.

I felt my grief in losing a dear father-in-law everyday this year, for he kept me company everyday, and took such pleasure in our boys – that always wins over a mother’s heart, and he was so careful to keep the family in touch with each other, and mostly because it effected Chris so deeply. We found and will continue to find solace in the fact that our grief is always punctuated by life, by the very things that fill us with joy and hope. A life of good friends, good news, births, firsts, new experiences, gifts given and received, laughter and tears – coffee time, girls nights, birthdays, quiet nights alone at home, much prayer, many tears and quiet hugs.

I’m not sure how long I will feel the grief over losing my dad, maybe for the rest of my life, and that’s ok, it hasn’t overwhelmed or consumed me, but loss is loss – and this is one that can’t be replaced. I don’t know if this is true for all women, but for me – I distinctly feel like when daddy died, I wasn’t a little girl anymore. We are always our mother’s daughter’s, but we are daddy’s little girls. Even though I’m grown with children of my own – there have been so many moments over the years that I felt very small in the universe – small and vulnerable, but as long as my daddy was around, I was safe. Now I still feel small and vulnerable, but he’s gone, and I don’t feel that same safety. My husband yes, protects me, but he has only known the woman I am, my daddy held me the day I was born, and that little girl that was still there just a few weeks ago, I don’t know where she’s gone, but it’s like, she left, when daddy died. This is something in my soul that I can’t explain. There’s something unique about a father and his daughter, and once it’s gone, it’s gone – you can only hold onto the beauty of the memory, and hopefully, it is a beautiful one. Sadly for some, it’s not. For me, there are many, but some of the most precious were the quiet afternoons when I came home from school and we hung out in the back yard, either on the hammock, in the pool or just sitting around the patio before he went to work. I also loved the Tuesday nights when I’d bake all night and he’d come home from work to taste and critique my work. These were alone moments – which were important to me in having to share him with a big family, I remember him holding my hand when we left Greece and we said goodbye to my Yaya, knowing it would be the last time we saw her alive…and I treasure the memory of dancing with him at my wedding, when he just sighed over and over in my ear, and I knew in my heart he was wondering where the time had gone. I had the honour of putting his first grandson in his arms. Through all these memories, I was still his little girl, and during one of the alone moments I had with him in his final days, he woke from his sleep, grabbed my hand and whispered – “Mimi (his pet name for me), my baby girl”...

And so, the grieving continues, and it is still punctuated by life. When people ask me how I’m doing, I really don’t know. Mostly I’m ok. I’m still at rest in Jesus, I’m still at peace, I know that He Is. But I’m grieving, and there’s no rhyme or reason to it, it just is. There is a hurt that is healing, more everyday, and I know this. The love of God, the company of family and friends and the peace of salvation – His grace truly is sufficient.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why I love being a mom

Most days I feel that I'm living my best days yet. That everything I've done in my short life before this - was not quite as good as this. This includes all the travelling, the mentoring, teaching, running retreats, volunteering, singing, performing...all of it.

Everyday, I wake up and I am a hero. I am a hero in just making toast with peanut butter. I am a hero in that I can figure out how to find and work the tv remote on demand. I am a hero because I can create FUN out of nothing. The rewards are endless - I get multitudes of kisses all day long, and better still, my kisses have become magical, they now have healing powers over a variety of ailments and emotional hurts. I get to take naps and I get to play in snow banks. I love to cook and I get to do it all day - even though I usually only have one customer who'll eat my meals (Chris) -it's still fun practising for the day that my home is filled with giant teenage boys who are never full (this I'm told from my mentors - mothers with grown sons).

I get to show my boys the world - and they are excited over "big hills", train tracks and the lake. We take frequent trips with our imaginations too. Yesterday, at bedtime, I was Queen of a faraway kingdom with my two handsome prinnces (no mommy, I'm the brave knight - corrected Lucas), and Chris was the big King. I've never had a more captive audience to all my random comments, and they usually come back to me - "oh gosh", "crap!", and "give me a break"...umhmmm

To be sure, I'm faced with daily challenges, but these challenges are not just external, they are 100% internal too - my heart is examined and exposed all the time. My spiritual and psychological research is immediately implemented and therefore my growth is exponentially guaranteed - and there is no hiding - I cannot blame my children for my failures, rather I accept them and lean on the Lord to strengthen me, to bring me to peace again, to be my joy in the midst of adversity and HE IS. I don't know what I did before this that I thought was so important, having kids has brought me right into the middle of LIFE - the simplist things are the most enjoyable things.

Hugs, blankets, baths, coffee, a cookie (or 10), a casual phone call, a walk, singing a song, playing in dirt, a picture book, a flower, love letters, sitting in a sunbeam, a purring cat, babies, smiles, sleeping children, candlelight, "I love you's", and enjoying the four seasons up close and personal. I hope I never grow upand lose sight of how grand my life is.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Business Trips

Otherwise known as strength training and conditioning. Chris' job takes hime away about a week or more a month on business trips across Canada and the Northeast USA, and during these trips I am left to care for the children on my own. Sometimes the task seems a bit daunting and usually by the end of such trips I'm pretty wiped out, especially if it's a long one. Lately though, I'm getting pretty good at keeping the boys on a schedule, so even though I miss my hubby a whole whole lot, it's not because I feel overwhelmed physically, but because he's my best friend and I miss his company at the end of the day. He's truly my best friend and though sometimes he drives me crazy with his messy ways (which he has passed down to Max :o); I can truly relax and laugh with Chris like no one else, and he's inspiring, he believes in me, he encourages me (esp. in my latest endeavour to get in shape) - when he doesn't come home at the end of the day, everything is just not right.

The boys notice it too, though they don't say much other than "I miss daddy" - by the end of a trip they are usually pretty "off"; thankfully, it is made better the moment daddy walks through the door. The whole house sighs in relief. So to all the women who have husbands who travel alot, God bless you today! Heaven knows we need it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Today if I had to describe how I'm feeling, I'd have to say "content". Generally, things are good. Could they be better? Definately. Could they be worse? They sure could. But overall, I'm at peace in my heart and mind. I'm enjoying be at home and putting things order, I'm enjoying all the time with my kids and hubby. I'm liking the "quietness" here, being able to read, scrapbook and putter - and mostly just to think. I love this. I love the snow outside, and that I could fill every day with errands and outings, but I'm not overly committed to anything, so on days like today, I can just stay home and "be".

So here I am, just "being" at home. I've dressed & fed the boys (including nursing the baby) both breakfast and lunch, I've put dinner in the crock, done a load of laundry, cleaned up the playroom, tidied the bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms. Done the dishes, put things in order in the cupboards, checked my email and put aside some things for storage, I've put up a shelf in the kitchen and updated my daytimer. I've quietly enjoyed every moment of it, and it's only 12:30. Max will go down for a nap, Lucas will get his quiet time, I'll feed the baby again, and decide what quiet activity I'll do this afternoon - read? scrapbook? prepare my lesson for Thursday? call a friend? catch Oprah? hmmm - the options are glorious. Overall, the best part of it is that I'm inwardly happy. I've adjusted to the fact that everyday I will think of something else that could make life easier, something else to buy/do for the house - but overall, If I just keep living in the quiet moments of the present, I'll be able to enjoy the here and now so much more, rather than in the ever evasive moments of tomorrow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Good Book

I love books. It's almost problematic, my husband thinks we have too many, and he's right. But part of me thinks we don't have enough. (Even though all the bookshelves are full and overflowing and I've got boxes of them still to find a bookshelf). But I really do read them, and many of them I've read more than once. A good book can make me feel like a better, stronger person. Finding the right book in the right season of life is like finding the perfect pair of mittens the day before a snowstorm.

I love getting lost in a good fiction novel, historical or mystery. It's a surefire way that I'll relax, and I never feel guilty spending hours in a book the way I would watching tv. Plus I read fast, so I can read alot. I think the ability started when I was about 11 - I could read a whole Nancy Drew book in a day and by the end of highschool it was Mary Higgins Clarke books. So the challenge continues to this day, finding a book that requires something of me in reading it. I've found I love going back to some of the classics - Charles Dickens, Thoreau, L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austin, C.S. Lewis... over and over, but then some of the contemporary ones are just as worth it - Cormac McCarthy, Ken Follet...

Of course, this is not discounting subjects that matter to me like family (Dobson, Eldredge); Business (Kyosaki, Hansen, Allen, Covey); Leadership (Maxwell). And then there are the biographies (we'll leave that to a later time)

Anyways, books are my friends - they've been faithful throughout the years and the seasons. They are low maintenance and I know that no matter how long we've been apart, when we meet again, we always just pick up right where we left off!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Afternoons

I love quiet Sunday afternoons. Always have.

When I was a kid, we never planned much for Sundays - we went to church and usually had a big family dinner that evening, so the stretch of afternoon in between was always quiet, watching a movie, or reading or doing something restful. I do remember there were many times I was bored, and wanted to go out and "do" anything. But my mom insisted it was a day for quietness, and family. I'm glad she forced the issue.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm even more glad and I love them even more. I love having Chris and the boys nearby, when we're all at home, especially in the winter months, there's just something about snuggling down in a fuzzy blanket with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I love when it stretches into the evening and the time just passes slowly with our just being together. My soul looks forward to the rest and now, I know that I need it more than ever, as the days pass faster and faster and the boys grow up in no time flat. Sunday afternoons are the chance I have to consistently enjoy these precious days that I know I'll never get back.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

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!

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