Wow, God.

Last year, I was a first-time VBS director at our church.  I've volunteered at VBS before;  I've been an attendee at VBS before; but I'd never been the one in charge.  It was beautiful, frightening, touching, exciting, wonderful, and overwhelming.   There's nothing like having a child who is not your own, nor obligated, to throw their sweaty little arms around you in appreciation with a toothless grin and say thank you then tell you all the favourite things they did during the week. Anytime we were reminded of the ways God works through the ordinary, learning to see Him in the special and in the every day, we were reminded to say "Wow, God!"

This year, I'm a second-time VBS director.  While no less overwhelming, some of the panic is missing this year (but that could just be denial that we are only 7 weeks away...)  However much I am looking forward to VBS (honestly, it's the highlight of my summer) amidst the chaos of the rest of my life (see previous…

Being Present...

If you know me, you know that I'm a wife and mother first and foremost.   Kevin & I will be celebrating 14 years of marriage in less than a month.   These days don't look a thing like our newlywed years and being present is a conscious decision I have to make.  It's easy to veg on the couch when the bustle of the day has finally died down and I get 5 minutes to myself, to tune out everyone and everything else and just be... but that often comes back to bite me in the bottom as I realise I've heard our conversations, but wasn't actually there for them.  The words entered my ear canal, and then dissipated into nothingness as I didn't actively listen and engage, only to have him say "Well, I told you...." while I look at him cluelessly not recalling a thing.  Hands up if you hear me!

I'm finding as the boys grow older and more independent, it's been easy to get so busy that I'm not "there" for them as much.  The younger one has m…

Rest In Peace

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at my parents' church in Vandorf (Whitchurch-Stouffville.)  A women's tea party had been organized and I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of what's been on my heart for the last few months (or years.)

As women, we are expected to juggle so many balls and judged harshly and unfairly if we can't do it all.  We're lauded when we're super women, but criticized when our homes aren't spotless, our children aren't charming, or we don't look our best.   What we need is to acknowledge that rest is necessary and important and that we don't, in fact, need to do it all... let alone in our own strength.

I was nervous yesterday, but overall after watching the video my mom took, it went better than I thought.  My thoughts were *fairly* cohesive, I didn't use too many fillers, and once I got through the first few minutes, the nerves all but disappeared.  Regardless of  how well I performed (or di…

Choosing to Be Humbly Grateful

I hate to admit this, but my gratitude attitude is hit and miss.  I'm basically happy for all the norm - roof over my head, food for our tummies, a bed to cuddle in... but it's not always a conscious thing.  Just is and while I appreciate things, it's easy to dismiss them when that roof has a leak, or my cupboard looks empty and I have to wait for payday, or that mattress is lumpy and someone keeps stealing the covers at night.  I feel a bit like Goldilocks - I could be satisfied, but sometimes it's easy to want everything "just right."

Life doesn't go that way though.  And as we approach Thanksgiving, I'm reminded that 1) I should be grateful all year round - counting my blessings on a daily basis... and 2) I need to step up this gratitude game and stop complaining so much.

So here is a list of some very specific things I'm grateful for in no order of importance:
- A child who treasures the importance of choosing friends wisely.  We spent a day …

Creamy Butternut & Tomato Soup - Thanks, Marg!

Hey...   Remember me?  I know you thought I disappeared into the nether (we have Minecraft geeks in our house!), but I promise, I just disappeared into real life.  I have reaffirmed two things about myself:  1) I have a very difficult saying no (or not feeling guilty when I do!) and, 2) I haven't improved my juggling skills.  I'm dropping balls left, right, and centre like it's the coolest thing to do.

Today was a day off and with the kids back to school, it means they're on the bus at the crack of way too early (7:30am but some of us appreciate an 8 a.m. wake up call - not because we were reading until the wee hours of the morning or anything.  Never that.)

Anyhow, once the boys were off, I tackled some Wisdom & Whimsy projects, tidied the kitchen, folded a bit of laundry, scrubbed the shower (oh how desparately that needed to be done!), washed off the paint & ModPodge, and hustled out the door by 9:30 a.m.  Woohoo, I'm a wonder!

Our church is hosting a b…

Cottage Cooking

We will be vacationing en masse as a family of 17 shortly.  My parents have splurged on three cottages at a lakeside resort in western Ontario and we (assorted family units spread across three generations) will be soaking up the sun, fishing off the dock, swimming in the lake, making s'mores by the campfire, and trying to give each other space when necessary.

I'm all about keeping things simple on vacation.  The cottages come with basic furnished kitchens (woohoo) but not with grills (sigh).   I'm a don't-turn-on-the-oven type of girl in the summer - unless the temperatures have dropped a bit.   We don't have air con in our home at the moment and these days that feel like 40C leave you sweltering.  *If* I even drum up the energy to cook (we eat a lot of fruit and veggies and salads and sandwiches in the summer) - if I cook, it's done over the BBQ or involves a quick pan-fry - no fuss, no muss.    It also involves a fully stocked kitchen... and it still requires…

Oh Ontario...

There are so many beautiful little hidden gems across the province.  We're truly in the perfect location for day tripping, staycations, or mini-getaways.  This summer we've had to cut-back on our little daytime adventures.  It's been hard balancing housework, exploration time, and a few part-time jobs.  I'm an expert juggler... well, a juggler at least.  I've been known to drop a ball or two before.

This summer, the kids have enjoyed time at Grandma & Grandpa's cottage on Sturgeon Lake.  They've gone camping with Oma at Ontario Park Awenda.  We went spelunking (and hiking and swimming) at the Warsaw Caves Conservation area.  We've spent countless hours on the shores of Lake Scugog and playing in Palmer Park.  We found a fantastic deal on Wonderland tickets and wore ourselves out with sun, rides, and junk food.  This week we headed west and explored the sights (and tastes) of the St. Jacob's Farmers Market, with a stop at the Elora Gorge on the w…