Monday, April 27, 2009

Life's a Zoo!

I haven't been blogging much the last couple of weeks because life has been crazy! Not crazy busy, but definitely not routine. The girls all got sick and I did too which has thrown off our regular schedules and really taken us for a ride. The weather has also not helped, there have been a mixture of rainy days and really hot ones. I prefer the rainy days, but am loving that on the days the girls can play outside they absolutely cannot keep their eyes open past 7:30!
Katy and I have been hanging onto our symptoms the longest and so I've had a few days to hang out with her while the girls run around outside, (the wind is just a bit much when we were told to stay warm to get better). Unfortunately I'm not as fun as Katy's siblings and she really wanted to be where they are.

She's such a monkey trying to climb out the back door, or up onto every piece of furniture, or casually walking down the front hall and straight out the door. She's keeping me on my toes this one!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Of Pigtails and Psychosis.

Brooklyn has been dying to have hair long enough for pigtails for a very. long. time. Every day that I comb Isabella's hair and adorn it with some kind of elastic or barette she asks me to do the same to hers. Yesterday her hair held onto the elastics for the first time. She was ecstatic, walking around touching her pigtails, telling her dad over and over; 'these are my pigtails Poppa'. It's cute, she's cute.
Lately I have really been enjoying CranRaspberry juice and Sprite as my beverage of choice to get through the loooooong afternoons. Yesterday I didn't just want a glass, I needed a glass. And well, I couldn't get the lid off the bottle.

Yes, that's right I took some scissors to it, but only after stabbing it with a knife didn't work. I may or may not be losing my mind.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Clear Hindsightedness

This is my favourite family picture. I don't post it as much as some others, and I have yet to scrapbook it. The quality of the photo itself is total suckage, but the moments it captures for me are purely priceless.

This picture was taken at last year's Jr. Jays final saturday game. We go to two Blue Jays games each year for sure. One to sign the kids up to be Jr. Jays, (you get some cool loot when you sign up at the field and all Saturday games are mini carnivals), and one to end the season with the Jr. Jays. After the game the kids get to go down and run the bases, then we wait for the grounds crew to do a few things and we head back down to the field for bouncy castles, pizza, autograph/meet some Jays and you can play on the outfield.

Looking at this picture I remember the not so highlighted parts of the day, sort of. It was snapped by an impatient Rogers Center employee just before we were almost escorted off the premises for the third time; Katy is wearing the top to an outfit Brooklyn is wearing the bottom of meaning there were spills, or poo, or both; Isabella isn't touching anyone in our family which is reminiscent of a meltdown of some kind; and I'm wearing my weary smile, which although it happens to be nicer than my posed smile reminds me that the day was tiring. I know there were trials to the day because in all honesty you can't have a day with three toddlers and no trials, but I don't really remember what any of them were.

However, I clearly remember the highlights of this day: Nick playing catch in the outfield and claiming 'This is worth the price of admission.'; the lovely lady who let my kids go down the bouncy slide for a half hour solid even though she had to climb up it with Brooklyn sometimes; everytime Isabella gently touched where her face had been painted and told me she was beautiful; the laughter, the game itself was stellar, the company of my family.

This picture is my favourite although I'm sure when it was snapped I had no idea it would be.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Blurry Vision

You know that saying; 'can't see the forest for the trees'? Sometimes the circumstances of life consume us individually, and so completely, that we cannot see clearly. Different things cause different people to lose their clarity of sight but I do believe it is common to the human experience.

As a Christian I know that the Bible has something to say about every circumstance, trial, joy and blessing that I endure, but often I forget to look there for solutions or even coping strategies. The following thoughts are a reflection on Psalm 73 and a sermon I recently heard by Bob Gould.

Psalm 73 is written by Asaph, who is only mentioned in the Bible a few times and has no memorable story to attach to his name. For all intents and purposes he was a worship pastor and there are several Psalms attributed to him (50, 73-83). In Psalm 73 he speaks candidly about things you don't expect your pastor to verbalize. For a moment he lets us behind the mask of those "in ministry" and lets us see their human side, a side we can all relate to.

"Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped, I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

The Psalm begins with two very common thoughts, one: I know God is good, but I'm just about to give up, and two: Why do the rich have it so easy? Asaph was looking around at his trees and couldn't see the forest. Why does it seem that the wicked prosper and the godly suffer? In this Psalm Asaph equates the wicked with the rich, and although rationally we know that that is not the case, I'm sure it's a pattern of faulty thinking we fall into sometimes.

"If I had said, 'I will speak thus,' I would have betrayed your children."
Asaph feels that he cannot share his internal struggle with anyone because he is in a position of Christian leadership and if he confesses what he is thinking he will cause his flock to stumble, to sin. Therefore he keeps it all bottled up, festering away at him, clouding his judgement and his vision. Personally I'm not in a position of Church leadership, but there are many struggles I never voice out of fear of what it would do to the hearer. What if I confess that I just want to send my kids away for the day and the person listening is struggling with infertility? That would hurt them so much more than what I'm dealing with right? Those of us who are people pleasers can probably identify with this Psalm. Anything that could be construed as negative must be kept to oneself, you never know the damage it might do.

But aren't we also called in Scripture to take up one another's burdens? Aren't we called to share with other believers in joy and in struggles? Why is it that we don't do it? Why do we always answer 'fine' when someone asks us how we are doing? (On a sidenote, is it really possible that no one noticed Asaph's struggling spirit? What keeps us from asking people deeper questions when it's obvious they need to talk? Or just reaching out a hand and helping instead of waiting for our help to be invited?)

You can read through the Psalm and see how Asaph has a distorted view of the situation. For example he thinks being rich equals being wicked and that rich have no troubles. Luckily however the Psalm is not just one of lament, he casts a light into the shadows.

"'till I entered the Sanctuary of God."
Therein lies the glasses Asaph was in need of. When you spend time with God your vision becomes his vision and instead of being stuck staring at tree trunks you have a bird's eye view. The bigger picture becomes what you are gazing upon and your perspective changes. When we spend time in the sanctuary we begin to see that it's not about us and we experience the peace, grace, power, and wisdom of God. Then praise abounds for we can see what God is doing around us, through us, and for us. When our vision becomes that of eternity we can see with more clarity. We do not take the spiritual life seriously unless we spend time with God. If we do not know his thoughts, if we cannot catch his vision, our faith is not a lifestyle but lip service. And God is all we need for every circumstance, we can find whatever we are looking for in the sanctuary if we would just go there.

I can confess that life at our house is heavy right now. There are many obstacles and struggles that could consume us. But by remembering, and being disciplined, to spend time in the sanctuary I will not be consumed. I will be able to enjoy the forest even when I am surrounded by gnarly trunks. What an uplifting thought in times of heaviness.

As humans we tend to think we have all the answers. When we find ourselves in a tricky or undesirable situation we start looking around for what to do to fix it. I would challenge us instead to think of what we could be and to sit quietly with the Almighty until we have 20/20 vision for the problem we find ourselves in may not be the problem at all.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

4:00 AM This is your Wake Up Call....

Over the past few weeks my body has begun waking up between 4:00 and 5:00 AM on a regular basis. Usually the cluprit causing my waking is the full bladder upon which my son is sleeping and it's undeniable need to be emptied. Waking up to pee in the middle of the night is common third trimester activity, but in my previous experiences I merely stumbled to the bathroom, relieved myself and stumbled back into bed. This time around however, I wake up raring to go for the day.

This development has several cons, (hello, I'm up at 4:00AM), but it also has it fair share of pros. I've learned a lot about being the best version of myself lately and getting up early in the morning helps me be good at being me. I love the dark, one of the reasons I love winter and why gray rainy days are my favourite. Getting up in the dark starts my day off well because I begin with something I love. I can also accomplish things: really accomplish them. I can fold a load of laundry without someone unfolding it! I can empty the dishwasher without someone climbing into it or grabbing a knife! I can sweep the kitchen floor and no one is grinding Cheerios into the carpet! And I can accomplish all these things without having to ask a child to 'please wait a sec while mom just gets this one thing done.'. Ah bliss. I can also be selfish with this time; surfing the net, watching the prime time show I wont while the kids are awake, eating my breakfast without getting indigestion from meeting the meal time needs of three toddlers. The hours of 4-7am are actually kind of nice.

But, the cons enter a little later in the day. I'm physically in need of a nap by 11:00am, I'm running in short supply of patience right before the pre-afternoon nap meltdown session. Therefore we all nap in the afternoon, which makes bedtime a bit of a marathon, since my 4 year old doesn't really need to nap. And I wake from that nap a bit on the cranky side having slept just shy of 'enough'. Dinner hasn't been happening as well or regularly as it should, and I find myself going to my evening commitments a bit on the groggy side.

I mess up, I'm sure, out of tiredness, but I learned the value of forgiveness. So I dust myself off, put one foot in front of the other, live through the last few hours of the day one moment at a time. Then 4:00am rolls around and I can pick up yesterday's pieces and put them in place. It's really not that bad, 4:00am.

(Sidenote: Even though there are pros to this pattern, I am still looking forward to when it vacates the premises!)

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, I really enjoyed reading your responses!