Did I say that out loud?

Thoughts and musings of a mom

As you step off the bus at school this week…

Changes Taking Place

My child,

May you seek guidance from those with true wisdom.

May you laugh where there is humour, not harm.

May you listen when someone needs your shoulder.

May you be a light to those who struggle.

May you find a peace within that radiates through you.

May you remember the difference between right and wrong.

May you fight temptations and win each battle.

May you be a blessing to those who surround you.

May you be a friend to the friendless.

May you be quiet when silence is required, but a voice when you need to be heard.

May you respond with love and a gentle strength.

May you learn of all of the beautiful things this wonderful life has to offer, but keep a childlike innocence within your heart.

May you be open to correction.

May you treasure true friendships.

May you realize that though you have the world to explore, it does not revolve around you.

May you be thankful and respectful.

May you enjoy simple moments.

May you continue to seek God.

May you know that we are always here for you as you journey through this life.

This is my prayer for you throughout the coming days. Be blessed and be a blessing. I love you.

Now rest, for tomorrow you will do great things.

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Location, location, location

I have this incredibly annoying habit of allowing others to rent out too much space in my head. It’s not like they care to be there, and in fact, they probably don’t even realize that they have such a fabulous rental property. Folks, it really is all about location.

There have been several renters in my head throughout the years. Some have made the news lines on CNN, while others try to live more quietly in more spacious surroundings out of the spotlight. But somehow, each one of these renters have quietly snuck into my head, and occupied it for far too long, wearing out their welcome.

Each situation is different. But every time, I do the exact same thing. I allow their perceived trash to pile up inside my head until I make it my own. I mull over it, picking up each piece and seek to find the mistakes. Many imaginary conversations take place in my rental property, and in them, I am the winner, the righter of the wrongs, the giver of “necessary” advice, the judge.

Eventually, I open my mouth and I begin to complain about my occupants. Maybe not outright at first, but a knowing look, a rolling of the eyes, a snide comment, a tinge of sarcasm. Sometimes a brazenness follows and the words spill out, the words themselves not necessarily nasty or hurtful, but the tone, the casualness, and the implications are all there. Laying there, pained and prideful.

But eviction notices must be served. I need to take each unwanted occupant, throw them out of my head. Yet, not out onto the streets. No, I need to send them to my heart, where I know, with prayer and patience, because it really is me who has the obstacles, they will change ME for the better.

And then, when I’m ready, I will move on.

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My train of thought….

The following is the internal dialogue that took place in my head while taking my shower this morning. This is how my brain works. Welcome to my world. Enjoy. I’m sorry if you thought I was solving all of the world’s problems every morning while shampooing these lovely locks of mine.
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I just got two page likes on my FB blog page this week. That’s really cool, I should try to get some more likes on my FB page, and increase my readership. How do people do that? I should have a contest. But what in the name of time, would I give away? I don’t make anything, so I can’t give some cute little Pinterest craft away. I haven’t written a book, so an autographed book of mine won’t do the trick.

Thank goodness, I remembered to buy more shampoo yesterday. It came with those facial wipes, which are a little too much like diaper wipes, as far as I am concerned.

When my kids ask what they are going to “get” from me for doing something, I tell them that they get to live in our house rent-free. That won’t work, I can’t allow someone to come live with us if they win a contest on my FB page.

Of course, if someone did come and live with us, they could clean up the house for me and help me de-clutter it. Because right now, the best option I have is to light a match and walk away. I shouldn’t say that. Those things happen to people.

Having someone to come live with me might not be a bad idea. A lot more legal, I suppose. And they could cook too. Now that Scott is working day shifts, this whole cooking supper for everyone is going to get old really fast. I need a housekeeper.

This shower would be a heck of a lot cleaner if I had a housekeeper.

I don’t have the room to have another person live with us. But then, of course, I could make the girls sleep in the same room and they could get the bunk beds that the youngest one has always wanted.

Maybe people would just share my blog out of the goodness of their hearts, and they wouldn’t really need to win a contest and share my blog page all over the place. That could work. I could try that.

It’s Sunday morning. I should shave my legs. I need to replace this razor before I need a tetanus shot.

Oh, maybe I should just give Twitter a better go of it. But Twitter is like watching the popular kids out on the playground and hoping, just hoping that if you tell them you like their nice, new jacket, that they will become your friend. If I just hit that star button, they will want to see who I am and check me out and see my blog. And know that I am the next best thing since sliced bread. Unless of course, you’re going gluten free.

You know if Kristen Howerton (blogger extraordinaire) liked my blog, I might be popular. Maybe if I just tag her in a post, she will see it and that will work. Or maybe, Jen Hatmaker or Lisa-Jo Baker (writers and bloggers). You probably can’t do that. They probably have people Iike me blocked from doing that sort of thing.

I need one of those voice recorders for the showers. I would be more organized and could actually get things done with one of those things. I don’t think they have such a thing for the shower. Someone should invent one of those things.

I need a secretary. Someone told me the other day I need one. My memory is getting worse. I think I have early onset Alzheimer’s. It was that book that made me think that. What was the name of that book again? I can’t remember. Oh yeah, Still Alice. I wonder how many people self-diagnosed themselves after reading that book.

Oh, this is nice, hot water. We need to get this shower head replaced soon. I think I’ll stay here a little while longer because it’s so nice and quiet in here. No one will ever notice I’m gone.

I need one of those voice recorders. I really need one for school. But Apple would be the one who would most likely make it, and we don’t use Apple products too much at school. Maybe my iPad can do that already. I need to figure that one out.

I wonder if anyone else replied to my Facebook status about cooking a turkey. I need to clean the rest of the house before our company comes over.

Yah me! I might actually get on four articles of clothing before someone bursts through the door, yelling for Sunday morning fashion advice. Wait…are two socks considered two articles of clothing or only one? Make that five articles (or four). I need my housecoat on. Don’t need the neighbours talking.

Wow! It’s steamy in here. That was a long shower…
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This blog post has been brought to you by my sponsors today, Sunday morning Netflix and whole wheat toast with real butter. Praise The Lord, the kids can watch tv again, after the oldest one lost all electronics but a light switch last weekend.

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Somewhere down the road

This weekend my husband and I went to a beautiful outdoor wedding. The weather was perfect for the end of September, with just the right amount of warmth from the sun and light breeze for the occasion. The festivities were set right on the water, with the guests sitting on wooden benches nestled amongst the trees beside the winding path down to wedding altar.

The gorgeous bride was in the youth group my husband and I ran many moons ago, as were her sisters and friend who were three of the five bridesmaids. The minister was my husband’s best man in our own wedding 18 years ago, and his wife was my first roommate in university. This all made for a delightful afternoon of reminiscing and celebrating the future.

If I were to segment my life into different periods, I think I would do so based on the places I have lived throughout my time on this earth. The period lines would be somewhat blurred as well, as at times, I have travelled only a few miles up the road to live in a different dwelling. We have lived in our current home, having moved 30 minutes into town, for just 6 short years. As newly weds, we had lived double that amount of time in the small community in the area where we attended the wedding.

On the way back home from the festivities, we took a little detour, looping around where we used to live. The big, old red house had changed. It was not the same as when we lived there. Landscaping was being completed and renovations were changing the blueprint of the house we used to call our home, our first home, the home where we brought both of our daughters after they were born.

We also drove by our former neighbour’s house. It was empty now as she had recently passed away, and her husband 6 years prior. They were dear friends to my husband and I as we were just starting out on our new adventure of home ownership and parenthood. Many an evening we walked down to their house, made ourselves at home at their kitchen table, delighting in her cooking and his stories. And oh, the stories that were told. The true gift of hospitality.

We also stopped by two other neighbours’ houses to discuss the nearly completed moose season and the upcoming deer season. Both homes of the parents of former youth group members. More memories of Friday evenings spent in the gymnasium in the local elementary school. Youth, freshness, laughter, love, and a longing to draw each of them closer to God.

Changing gears in our conversation, on our way home, I chatted with my husband of a funeral we had attended a couple years ago. The man had been a mentor and confidante to my husband in those years. He knew what life was like for us when we were first married and for my husband previous to our marriage, as we tried to forge ahead through years of youth ministry. As I sat in the church that afternoon, I was overcome with emotion as people walked in for the funeral service.

People from those years sat down, sang, listened to the words of reflection, grieved and celebrated a man whose life was a testament to his dedication to his family and God. I had looked around and saw some of the same faces I thought would some day be at my own funeral, if I were so lucky. I grieved at the loss of this man, but also the timeframe in which these people were all encapsulated. I wanted to go back and relive the happy moments just for a little bit, and hold onto them tightly.

But I know time goes on. We grow older. And so does everyone around us. Circumstances change. We roll with it. Jobs change and babies are born. More tears. More laughter. There is death. There is life.

Sometimes I long for those days that seemed longer and less hurried. At times, I grieve for those days, those moments, those celebrations, even the routines.

There are moments I regret in my 40+ years on this earth, but not the houses and communities we made home. I have made mistakes. Each has been a lesson learned. And each new period brings me quietly to the next, watching our own children growing up now, watching their futures unfold.

Even as I stray, God has guided me on this road.

This road just 30 minutes into town.

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As I Saw It

I initially wrote the first part of this post one day on my way home from work. It had been a good old traditional winter here in these parts and everyone was ready for Spring to arrive. Unfortunately our Spring was heralded in by means of a massive flood (not Noah and the ark proportions, but definitely breaking 100 year records), where a lot of families took many weeks and months to recover. For some reason at the time, I put this post on hold. Today I am looking at it again after a post tropical storm tore through our province yesterday. Our community was spared, with the exception of some power outages and downed trees.
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The Lord filled me with a great sense of peace and fulfillment this afternoon as I drove to my dentist appointment. It had been a wee bit tiring day, as the children were filled to capacity with chocolate and not ready to depart from their overly long weekend. But the temperatures had been steadily rising, allowing us to believe that Spring was really here. Crocuses were beginning to emerge from the ground, flood waters were lowering, and people were walking down the street enjoying a leisurely stroll. All was well with the world, as I saw it.

As I saw it.

But yet…

Did I see the home owners throwing out their beloved, yet damaged, possessions, out onto the curb to be picked up by a stranger, thrown into the back of a truck, and later, sorted into the appropriate pile?
Did I see the strained look of the couple’s body language as they struggled to keep a facade together while out in public?
Did I see the anguish on a business person’s face who had just lost everything because insurance wouldn’t cover the latest disaster?
Did I see the power being cut off because a family couldn’t keep up with heating their home after an intensively cold winter?
Did I see a child wiping away the tears as they frantically searched for their lost dog throughout the neighbourhood?
Did I see a parent beyond frustration, silently pleading with their toddler to take a much needed nap?
Did I see the young woman peer out from behind the drawn curtains, hesitant of leaving her home for fear someone would notice her bruises?

No, I didn’t see. I didn’t look.

Perhaps I even turned my line of vision in a different direction.

But there are people who see, people who listen, people who feel others’ hurts, and stretch out a helping hand. People who go beyond.

I want to be one those people. I struggle to reach out beyond the comfort limits of opening my wallet in order to help.

God, as the song says, “Break my heart for what breaks yours.”

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The little string

I don’t know who put it there. Nor do I care. But it’s there. Resting on the line. The divide. A little white string strongly contrasted by the growing green grass of spring beneath it. Strung and pulled tightly by the two tiny sticks at each end of the string. The chasm between neighbours.

The line was no longer invisible. The proverbial line in the sand had been literally drawn. It sat day in, day out, waiting for someone to innocently trip over the small, obscure little strand of discord. Two sides split down the middle.

A partition of sorts. Not the kind sold by office supply companies and used to increase work productivity. A partition of differences, perhaps even bitterness and a longing to be right.

Not yet a fence. Not yet a wall. Those had been created long before the string came off the shelf. A fence built to keep others out.

Now I’m not suggesting that the two parties join hands, sing a round of Kumbaya, have tea parties and paint each other’s nails. Life is not all rainbows and unicorns. Unfortunately sometimes life doesn’t work that way. Problems are not always solved, like the ending of a book or show.

But in the meanwhile, I’m going to examine my own little strings of discontent. Take stock of any feelings that I have been harbouring and harvesting. Starve the seeds of resentment quietly growing in myself. Quiet that voice that’s far too eager to destroy, not build.

And maybe, just maybe someday that string will become a bridge.

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Five Minute Friday: Grateful

I am grateful.

I really am.

I try to be.

A beautiful family,

A warm home,

A good job,

Close friends,

The list could go on for miles.

And yet, there I am in a season of restlessness, tiredness, waiting,

And a longing to be refreshed, ready, at peace,

Always Grateful.

I am joining Lisa-Jo Baker for another Five Minute Friday, where the topic today is Grateful.

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He is not here

You’ve gone looking for someone. You expected to find him or her in one location, but are disappointed to discover that they are no longer there. A moment of panic grips you as you realize that your day is not going according to plan. Fear sets in. Where are they?

He is not here.

Could there be four more fearful words ever written (Matthew 28:6)? Even though the angels had tried to taper that statement with comforting words of telling the women to fear not in the previous verse, imagine the initial nauseating realization that Jesus was gone. Not where you thought He should be at that very moment.

Oh yes, I forgot. He told me he was going to meet me down the street today, at the next store, in front of the museum. Your body and mind begin to relax with the renewed knowledge that your lost one will most certainly be found as soon as you reach the agreed upon location.

He has risen from the dead.

He told them that He was going to do that. They would see Him.

You realize that you are the lost one, in need of following the directions given to you by your friend. You find them, and greet them with joy and relief. They were not lost. In that moment, you were the lost one, the one who needed direction.

Fear begins to transform into joy, unspeakable joy. The women obeyed the angel, and went to tell the good news. And in their obedience, they met Jesus.

We are the lost ones in search of Jesus. But He is no longer in the tomb. Don’t look there. He was not defeated. Turn around. There He is, ready to meet you.

He is right here.

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Five Minute Friday: Glue

Tonight after supper, I walked behind my daughter and her friend as they biked down the street, keeping a watchful eye on them. In an effort to stay out and enjoy the day as much as they possibly could, they busied themselves trying to gather as many other friends on their little journey around the block. I soaked in the last rays of the sun’s warmth and rejoiced in their blessing of friendship.

Throughout our lives we make many different kinds of friends, perhaps somewhat dependent on life’s situations at the time. Friends that stick like glue through thick and thin and others that are only for a season. It’s not so much that some friendships are poorly designed necessarily or that we “un-friend” someone, but there’s a natural ebb and flow within friendships, just as there is with many things in life. Circumstances change, people move, jobs finish, and life gets in the way.

For the last several weeks, this topic has rented a fair amount of space in my head. I want to develop those friendships I have with my friends more deeply. I don’t want to be the glue stick friend who just has an attractive cover, may change colours when applied, and often times, can’t really cut the tough job of being a friend at all times. I want to be the crazy glue kind of friend who sticks around, may go unnoticed at times by others because there is no glitz and glam, but is there and dependable, ready with that listening ear and a cup of tea.

Today I join with Lisa-Jo Baker for another Five Minute Friday. Our topic today is Glue.

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Five Minute Friday: Writer

She rented a small, crude and somewhat rustic, cottage on the side of the quiet lake for a week one summer. It was her getaway from the busyness of everyday life, the phone calls, the doctor appointments, the noise, the traffic. It was one week to go to a place where there would be peace, near the stillness of the water.

She knew that the disease that was coursing through her body may some day overtake her, but for that one week, she walked in the water, sat near it, listened to it. And reflected. And wrote.

She wrote a book for my daughters, her granddaughters that she would never get to see grow up. The girls that would carry on her name, her charm, her beauty, her talent, her joy of life, her compassion.

She did not want her stories to be lost, so she wrote and wrote and wrote. At the end of the week, she took her hand-scribbled notes to a neighbour, who typed them for her. Technical details were dealt with later and it was sent away to be completed by a photo-book company.

My mother-in-law was an amazing person, and a blessing to everyone. One day, as my girls grow older, they will be incredibly thankful that their grandmother was a writer that week.

Today I linked up with Lisa-Jo Baker for her Five Minute Friday. Feel free to check her blog out and link in with some amazing writers.

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