Saturday, January 08, 2011

For Consideration

In my last post I mentioned choosing 12 facets of domesticity to focus on this year. I've been stuck thinking about them all week. I plan to choose one each month to focus on, but I'm not sure I even know what to consider. This post is really a brain spew. Feel free to let me know what you think I should add/delete on the list. It's a work in progress.

1. Routines/Schedules
How routined do we need to be? How can we achieve balance? Some routines are good, some need tweaking, some need to be invented. We have a pretty solid weekly schedule, but what about those things that need to be done once a month, or every season?

Family Fun
When to splurge? Ideas for free family fun? Being fun when I don't feel like it? Individual fun/ extracurricular activities?

3. Family Fun
How to do more with less? Where are the coupons/deals? My least favourite job.

4. Chores
When to do what? Who does what? How to keep it up in extra busy times? Rewards for chores?

5. Gardening
I would like to attempt this. Flower, herbs, idiot proof veggies. I have a black thumb, is it even worth it?

6. Finances
Planning all year long for the money-suck months? Doing more with less? Allowances? Reducing debts? Saving for the future?

7. Education
How do I keep 'teaching' at home? Are they learning what they should? Am I involved in the kids' academic journeys? What about the adult's education?

8. Faith
Is our faith lived out at home? Are we purposeful in sharing what we believe with our kids? Do we capitalize on Easter and Christmas? Am I being sensitive to their questions?

9. Memory Keeping
This is important to me. How do I include the kids and Nick? Making time? Am I organized? Do I have systems to stay organized? How am I remembering what the pictures can't tell? How do I get all those pictures sorted, printed and stored?

10. Holidays
What do we celebrate? When? What are our traditions?

11. Busy times
My job takes over four months a year, how do we stay steady and consistent?

12. Healthy Lifestyle
Am I investing in all aspects of our health? Are we doomed to become a statistic? What do I even need to think about.

I like lists. Even when they're just lists of non-coherent though processes. Now where to go from here?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Welcome 2011

For the past 18 months or so I've been saying, mostly to myself, that 2011 is the year I become a Domestic Diva. As I was saying this to myself I pictured a spotless house, gourmet meals, "perfect" children, an always happy hubby and myself (only skinnier, prettier and well, better).

Now that 2011 has arrived it's time to take that abstract idea and turn it into a reality. While striving to be Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, June Cleaver and Brooke Burke is all well and good, I think I need to define my mission so I'm not striving to be any one other than myself....only better.

I turned to an online dictionary, because that's the best place to start defining something, right!?! The definitions for "domestic" and "diva" were rather disappointing in terms of what I needed:

Domestic: Devoted to home life or domestic affairs

Diva: One who behaves as a goddess

Goddess: A woman of extraordinary beauty; a greatly admired or adored woman

These definitions haven't helped me produce an outline for my 2011 mission, but they have made clear my challenge. Becoming devoted to laundry and toilet scrubbing is going to take effort. And furthermore devoted to "home life" is not my strength either. I don't suffer from the travel bug, but I'd much rather spend the majority of my time on the other side of my front door (which might have something to do with the pile of stuff on this side of it...). And a goddess I am not, and I have accepted that I never will be by human standards, perhaps a little work on my inner beauty isn't a bad thing, and being admired for my character is a worthy goal as long as my pride stays in check.

So, I'm going to pick 12 facets of domesticity, learn about them through the month and at the end of the month give myself a challenge to work on/grow in.

And this, my oh-so-neglected blog will be my head space for the journey. Where I can send questions to all my readers (if you're still there!) and share all my insights (please be gentle when you tell me that you can't believe I'm just 'getting that').

What areas of domesticity do you wish you were better equipped for? Or knew how to do better? Who is the Domestic Diva in your life?

Welcome to 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Annual Family Letter


Tonight I am considering two thoughts; Luke 2:19: "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." and the unfortunate event that my hard drive died and is holding hostage thousands of pictures I cannot share with you.

It causes me to pause when I consider that Mary knew Jesus was the Son of God and that he was quite literally on loan to her. It's a bit awe-inspiring to think of how his birth was announced to her and that she heard so many prophetic utterances about him before she even saw his face. It makes my heart sad that once Jesus started alluding to his death Mary knew her days to hug him and tell him she loved him were numbered.

I wonder if this knowledge made Mary wise enough in her young age to let the little things slide and spend as much time with Jesus as she could? I wonder if knowing her time to 'mother' would be cut short enabled her to enjoy all the little things? I wonder what it was like for her to see him creating worlds in the sand and then change the world on the cross?

Maybe you've wondered those things too, and now you're wondering what my hard drive has to do with Mary?

Just as the Bible shows us snippets of Mary and Jesus' life, there are parts of our lives that everyone gets to see; the kind of stuff that makes it into the family Christmas letter. We don't know much of anything about Mary, Joseph and Jesus' mundane everyday life. Yet we all know that the major milestones in life are really the culmination of a bunch of little moments. And I think that Mary knew that too. Even though the major events in Jesus life would be told over and over, she had a VIP pass to the behind-the-scenes moments that supported them.

That's what 2010 was for us. We had two major milestones; Brooklyn started school and we moved to a new house. But if that's all I shared this would be a very short letter. Our mundane everyday doesn't seem noteworthy, so I probably would have filled this page with pictures and an accompanying story or two, but I can't go about writing this letter that way as my hard drive hasn’t made his demands know.

After I lamented that fact I began to embrace my 2010 as I think Mary may have embraced being Jesus' mother, treasuring all the things she would experience and not be able to adequately share. Like the way your child's laughter makes gloomy days brighter; the way answering a million questions gives you a new perspective. How love becomes simple in the mind of a child and adventure never ends in their imagination.

Having a year lacking in major milestones and being without the pictures I wanted to share has reminded me to cherish the little moments and be grateful I experienced them. The truth of the matter is that every moment means as much as every milestone because each day is to be cherished.

Now, I'm not going to stop taking pictures and I hope that next year I'll share many of them in our letter, but the process will be new for me as I'll see each moment captured in picture as a fragment of the mural of our life.

We hope that this Christmas season finds you surrounded by family and friends you love; enjoying and treasuring as many moments as you possibly can, the big ones and little ones alike.

Merry Christmas,

Nick, Amanda, Isabella, Brooklyn, Kathryn & Nolan

Monday, December 13, 2010


I was majorly bummed when I received a letter home from school letting me know that the kindergartens would not be participating in this year's Christmas Concert. Last year they did and Isabella was the cutest nose picker there ever was. Luckily our church did a Kid's Christmas Musicalish performance and so the girls got to get dressed up and sing a little. The performance consisted of singing, with the bigger kids talking in between songs. Then there was a cute little slide show.
Brooklyn was having a blast. I think she sucked in enough air to sing an opera every time she needed to breath. She twirled her skirt back and forth. She was adorable. Then she came home and caught her sister's stomach bug, poor girl! She had a great time. And in the slide show I learned that their favourite parts of Christmas are decorating with mom and dad. Isn't that sweet? Isabella also did great and I am so happy she wasn't the nose picker! She did get bored after the first song, but that's my girl.
Merry Christmas Everyone!! I hope you got to enjoy some little people singing in the season.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Magic on Main

We live in a great little town that celebrates itself often. We have "Buy Local" campaigns and really try to put on good events throughout the year. I have so much to learn of what our town has to offer, and I'm glad this year's Christmas event caught my eye in the paper. It was called Magic on Main and there were various retailers open late where you could get good deals, some of them had craft stations for the kids and there was some free food and horse drawn wagon rides around the 'downtown' core. I had never been and wasn't sure what we were in store for but it was a blast. We spent most of the evening having fun with the kids so the pics are few, but this is my favourite store window display. There is something about white lit Christmas trees that gets me.
This guy walked up and down the main strip talking to people, pointing out attractions and just making the evening merry. The girls were absolutely astounded by his height and he offered to pose for a picture with us. He also let all the girls jump up to give him high fives and started calling Nick; 'my brother from another mother', due to Nick's height. It was fun to hear him talking to all the other families on the street and pointing everyone to the highlights, which seemed to be the hot dogs on a stick.
There was a really cool balloon castle made by our friend Blake who is AWESOME and had THE BEST FLOAT in the town's Santa Claus Parade, I'll post the pic soon. The kids could stand in line and meet Santa. A fun treat.
Inside one of the shops we made some tree ornaments and the girls discovered this piano. It was so nice to spend an evening with 3/4 of our kids able to participate in the events and see them enjoy what was going on. We're still learning to let them do their own thing, but that's a process I'm sure and we'll get better at it each time we go to something like this.

Magic on Main was a great start to our Christmas celebrations!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend Update

One week ago I was returning from our annual ladies retreat. What a week.

I was having a conversation with some friends and it was of a spiritual nature. In it I got hit with the 1-2 punch in regards to gray areas and how we justify our way out of them. I was also still processing the retreat sessions and what it would mean for me to 'grow in Gethsemane'.

Then the high of a weekend away faded. I was sick. Two out of 4 kids got strep throat, the whiny and clingy two no less. We had called to inform our landlord of our intention to move at the end of the month and all we had heard back was silence. Took the van for an oil change to learn the fuel lines have rotted through and our van needs to be replaced asap. Sickness brought our schedules out of whack, chaos took my focus away and oh so easily time with God was put on the back burner.

But I kept praying and putting one foot in front of the other. Thursday brought good news from our landlord, and my faith increased, God goes before us. Isabella pulled another disappearing act getting off the school bus at a different stop on purpose and we didn't know it until she came running up to us before her school bus arrived at her stop. And my faith grew some more, God takes care of us even when we don't know we need to be taken care of. Friday we were denied a car loan. And my faith grew even more. God has a better plan than debt for us. We just need to wait in hope and faith.

Saturday we were all healthy again. Had a fabulous family day at the pumpkin patch. All the stress and struggle of the week loosened up a little bit. But still I had not taken time to be quiet with God.

Then at church Sunday morning, great sermon. And my take away was the third point: Target Practice. My whole week had been floating from one thing to the next and I had no eternal underlying focus. I went home wanting to go deeper for real. That everything I do I would do for Christ.

But then I walked into the mess and chaotic scattered world that this past week had left in its wake. I could already feel myself sliding into contentedness to flit about life catching glimpses of God. I didn't want to settle. But how could I stop and refocus with the demands and constant needs of 4 little people all around my ankles.

I put on music. I told them to go find an activity. I sat down to read. Not my Bible, but a Christian book, (I like to dip my toe and wade in, not so much a dock jumper). As I read "Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman God started to speak to me so clearly.

As Mary Beth got to the part in her story where she talks about losing Maria (her 5 year old adopted daughter) in a car accident in which Will (her 17 year old biological son) hit her with the car God revealed to me why I put up walls and stay a safe distance from Him. The reason He so easily gets pushed to the back burner in my life.

I am afraid.

What if the story line God has me as the main character in (aka- my life) includes losing a child or a different pain that is that deep?

God promises that he will not call us to do anything he wont equip us for. So logically if I'm not getting equipped, I'm safe. Job wasn't a Sunday Christian, he was a devout follower and look what he went through!

As I reflect a little deeper I recall the times I've been closest to God and all of them have either come right before or during my greatest tribulations. A 'not fit for ministry' tag on Nick's resume, moving where I did not want to go, a surprise pregnancy and subsequently babes 14 months apart. Abandonment by friends and intense loneliness. Months without a vehicle. Months without an income and being literally two weeks away from homelessnes. Removing the tag on Nick's resume only to be passed up by church after church. A couple more months without a vehicle. Being asked to consider that maybe volunteer ministry is the only ministry position for us. And our newest test of faith: a daughter who wanders away and we don't even know she was lost until she is found.

Haven't I been through enough? Isn't this testimony enough fodder to bring glory to God? Can't I just skip through some tulips and catch those glimpses of God that grow my faith?

I am afraid to press deeper because the deeper I go with God the more I'll be given. And the more I'm given the more that will be expected of me.

I don't want to bury a child. I don't want to lose everything I have. I don't want unspeakable tragedy or unfathomable pain.

And yet I crave after God. I am not content to sit still in the little I know and have experienced of Him. I want more. I need more.

Tonight the kid's 'Adventures in Odyssey' segment is on repeat in my head- "perfect love casts out fear".

My walls are built of bricks of fear. My sledgehammer is solidly fashioned in His perfect love. It's about time I pick up that hammer and start breaking things. It will take hope, faith and trust that God is in control. He knows what's best for me. And He is always with me in perfect love. Come what may.

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:12-13

What a week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Call of the Wild

I recently read a really great book called A Different Kind of Wild by Debbie Alsdorf. It was a really good read for me and has challenged me quite a bit. Often I read books like this that inspire my heart and then they get put on the shelf as I pick up the next one. I forget to look back and reflect. I choose not to do the 'work' that would take me from where I was before I read the book to where I want to be after I read it.

I don't want this book to be one of those. I really want to live wildly. So I'm going to interact with this book on my blog for the next bit as I process. Lucky you, you get to hear me think out loud! I am a verbal processor, and there's no better way to be verbal than to have a conversation, so what better place to process a book than on a blog!

I've already wrote a post about this book on the Book Club page for the women at my church. I'm going to borrow just a section of it to start of this verbal processing here. (If you'd like to read the whole thing the link is

"That’s probably because of the way this book has led me to define a different kind of wild. To me the author was saying that living a wild life is being completely sold out to the process and totally leaving perfection on the back burner. To be content to be caught with my hair in curlers and my make up not on. To be comfortable saying; “I know the Bible says this somewhere I just can’t remember the address right now.”. To be propelled by the next step in the journey not the destination. To be motivated by doing exactly what I did yesterday just slightly more excellently.

Living a wild life calls me to live by a different kind of normal. A normal characterized by devotion to God, surrender to His plan, serving beyond what I feel I can give and daily re-creating the New Testament experience.

We must learn the importance of informing our thinking with the Word of God. We must learn to take the Word in, dwell on the truth of God’s Word and ponder its meaning and implications. Then we need to explore its implication to our very own everyday life. In other words we must make it a goal to put God’s Word in our brains to think about, then put it into practice. This is how we focus our mind on God and his ways. We must become convinced that the way to real life is through faith and that faith comes from hearing God’s Word.”

In the past I may have said a wild person was like Tarzan or Mowgli but now I see a purely wild example in Noah or Esther. To know from my mind to my core what God has said. Then to take that knowledge and boldly let it inform my life. That is the way I desire to live."