Monday, 31 December 2012

"If I want fish..."

"If I want fish, I can get fish."

For the past couple of months, I've been mulling over this great idea from Jeffrey R. Holland.  He spoke about the time after Jesus had died.  He imagined the apostles all looking at each other feeling slightly lost.  The man who had led them, walked with them, taught them, been the very purpose of their daily lives for the past three years, was suddenly gone.  The 10 remaining men stood around, probably slightly bewildered, and asked "what now?"  Peter, always the impetuous, always the passionate, must have felt this low as hard as he felt the highs of the previous years.  He may have shrugged his shoulders and said something to the effect of:

“Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. None of us could have imagined such a few short months ago the miracles we have seen and the divinity we have enjoyed. We have talked with, prayed with, and labored with the very Son of God Himself. We have walked with Him and wept with Him, and on the night of that horrible ending, no one wept more bitterly than I. But that is over. He has finished His work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out His salvation and ours. So you ask, ‘What do we do now?’ I don’t know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to ‘go a fishing.’” 

Three years after being asked to leave their fishing boats, Peter and six others returned to their former life.  After a night of catching nothing, the early morning hours bringing only empty nets and a feeling of failure, a voice called out to lower their nets on the other side of the boat.  The result was, in a manner similar to three years earlier, a catch too great for their nets to hold.  Immediately Peter recognized his Saviour, Jesus, standing on the shore, and once again Peter tossed himself overboard into the salty sea waves, too excited to wait for the boat to return.

Jesus, perhaps with a kind smile for his impetuous student and friend, probably helped Peter from the water, brushed sand from his sopping clothing, and led him to the fire to warm his soaking body.  He looked at Peter and inquired three times if Peter loved him, loved the message he had brought, loved the ministry more than fishing and boats and the sea.  At Peter's insistence that he did, Jesus might have said something like:

“Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

How many times in my life do I feel this gentle rebuke coming in answer to my prayers?  How many times have I had the glow of testimony lit inside, only to let it flicker down to a lonely little flame, or maybe even just a dying ember?  How many times has my path been revealed to me by an omniscient God in heaven, only for me to stray into pointless selfish pursuits?  How many times have I followed my own inspiration instead of divine guidance?  Even at times when I have good intentions, when my plans are ones that seem to point down Godly paths, when I think I'm "fishing for fish that God wants," I seem to forget that "if God wants fish, he can get fish."  What he needs is me, my soul, my heart, my head, my passion.  What he needs is my will aligned with His will.  What he needs is for me to humbly inquire what it is He needs me to do here and now, and then do that.  Even if it isn't where I think my strength is.

My strength is working with teens.  But right now I've been asked to serve in Primary, which the children 18 months to 12 years.  It was a hard calling to accept, but I am loving it, and learning so much.  I have realized that there are many people who could be asked to do what I am doing.  Many people who could bring a love to these children, and teach them the gospel.  They can be affected and changed by many different people.  I am not serving here to change them; I am serving here to change me.  I am coming to know that because God is omnipotent, he doesn't need me to do anything.  Anything I am asked to do is for my own growth.  If God wants fish, he can get fish.  What he needs is a disciple in me, and He needs me forever.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

New Year

New year, new ideas.  Here are a couple of things I want to work on throughout the year:

1.  Cleaning schedule.  I have yet to figure this out with four kids.  I found an interesting schedule online that just might work and make sure I know the last time the kitchen floor was scrubbed or the bathroom tiles washed down.  Why I think this actually might work?  I find that during the day I'm doing all that "morning" and "night" stuff, and never get to the chores listed under the weekly column.  Specifically, The idea of taking out the trash at night, because that is something that never gets done until the garbage bag is breaking and the recycling is overflowing under the sink.

2.  "Great to be Eight."  At the end of this year, Colin will be getting baptized (something generally done at the age of 8 in our church.)  But we want it to be a meaningful commitment, not just a rite of passage.  So once a month for this year we are going to devote a Family Home Evening lesson to the meaning of baptism and the development of gospel understanding and testimony.

3.  Playdates.  I've been out of the loop socially for over a year now.  Before my last pregnancy, we used to have playdates at least once a week, if not more often.  Now that Benjamin isn't napping, we aren't even restricted to just mornings.  While I get together often with one friend at a time, I liked the small gatherings of three or four.  Plus, I find the kids do better when there are at least four children instead of just two.

4.  Garage organization.  Ugh.  This is a big project I tackle once every year or two.  But in the past it's generally just been a shifting around of what is there and one good van load of things to take to the dump.  What I really want is a bunch of uniformed storage bins, all neatly labelled and easy to access.  Plus somewhere to hang the bikes and my kayak.  We have a nice long garage that we can't really get cars into (due to the workbench built before we bought the house) so there is no reason we couldn't have things tidy and organized in there.

5.  Life Skills and chores.  I talk about this one all the time, and yet we have yet to properly institute anything.  But with Colin staring down at age eight, we really need to get on this wagon.  I want James and I to take Colin to dinner, just the three of us, and talk about the goals we are setting for him, and some he wants to set for himself.  I'm hoping that if Colin is in on the process of choosing what he wants to learn and thinking of someone who can teach it to him, then he'll be excited to start.  I'm thinking I might make a little booklet sort of like Boy Scouts or Girl Guides so he can track his progress.

6.  Writing.  I'm not sure yet what.  I have a couple of book ideas that I've started, and an idea for some musical composition also.  Also in this area would be improvement on the flute and learning the violin. A focus on the arts and personal projects.

Saturday, 29 December 2012


Benjamin climbed up on the piano bench.  I was already sitting on the floor in the piano's shadow.

"What would you like me to play?" he asked.  "A girl song, or a pee-pee song?"

I chuckled inside.  How true it is, I've noticed lately, that boys are preoccupied with bodily functions.  Benjamin is in the stage right now where saying "pee pee" or "poopy" is side-splittingly hilarious.  Yes, the world does seem divided into world of girls and the world of pee pee (boys.)

"A girl song," I answered.  He turned in all seriousness to the piano and began to sing as he played, mimicking how my own fingers brush the keys when I sit to play.  His clear three year old voice rang out above the notes.

"This is a girl song....this is a girl song.  This is a girl song, a girl song, a girl song."

He paused.

"That was beautiful," I encouraged.

"That's only half the song," he countered, then continued.  "This is a girl song, this is a girl song..."

A waited until the end and applauded.  I quelled the desire to ask next for a pee pee song, firstly because I didn't want to chase the lovely moment of music away, and secondly because, frankly, I was afraid of what a "pee pee" song might sound entail.

Les Miserables

Well, since it's the movie event of the year, I took myself out to see the screen adaptation of the musical.  (Yes, I went by myself.  I was channelling my film student days.  All film students are used to seeing movies on their own.  It's not just a social event, it's an experience of art.  For all the chatters that were at tonight's screening, I was really wishing for a small section for those of us who came alone and just wanted to experience the movie.)

But this is not meant to be a review of the film.  What I was contemplating throughout the movie was the journey of the protagonist, Jean Valjean.  I think, of all the adaptations I've seen, this film was most successful at presenting the journey of a soul, from lost to grace.  Victor Hugo is a masterful author, and I might even say that this film presents this specific idea in a much clearer way.  (The book is a large tome of commentary on the social, political, and cultural setting of the day.  While the ideas are interesting, I think the theme of one man's spiritual journey is much more relative to us today.)

What my mind wandered to in watching this film, was thinking about a time and place when belief in God was such the norm that one's spiritual journey was much less about determining the existence of God as it was about trying to live the Christian life.  I'm curious to know if, assuming the existence of God, a follower would be more committed if they had never questioned that God might not exist and spent their life trying to follow Him, or if a follower is better off to spend years (many years, for some) battling within to determine if they believe in God at all, and then come out stronger on the other end for having to fight such a fight within oneself.

For many people throughout the ages, God simply was.  Spirituality was simpler.  But is simpler better?  (Better being defined by the final outcome, being dedicated to a faith in God.)  Is it necessary to wrestle  with the idea of God's existence?  Does the plethora of information available at the click of a mouse or touch of a keypad actually improve us, or confuse us?  I imagine one could spend one's entire life reading and learning about all the different faiths, beliefs, and religions out there.  Is it a good idea to stop at one when you haven't explored them all, given that it is impossible to explore them all in the short lifespan we have been given?  It might be said that the time before the "enlightenment" were times of darkness, times of blind obedience, times when they just didn't know any better.  Finding myself concrete in my own faith, I yearn for a parallel existence where I didn't waste 32 years wrestling, rebelling, sinking in a mire of conflicting information.  There is something pleasing about the idea of being raised in a time and place where all those around me take the existence of God as fact.

I know this idea will rustle the feathers of modern thought.  I know it sounds naive, that I've drunk of the "opium of the masses," that I sound uneducated to wish away the infinite access to knowledge.  I'm not pinning myself into one corner of thought here.  I simply put the idea forward for consideration, to spur thought, to record the ramblings in my mind.  Of course there is no parallel existence, and I cannot change the fact that we live in a time when everyone is shouting their own beliefs from the rooftops and all can hear much, much more than they were raised on.  I'm not saying that this is a bad thing.  But thoughts can change habits, which lead to behaviours, which develop character.  And even such a "useless" thought as this is settling into a corner in my mind, creaking back and forth on an old rocking chair, and becoming part of the furniture of who I am.  And while I may identify myself by a certain faith, religion, or set of beliefs, I don't think anyone can truly find themselves defined exactly and solely by a large group, for we are our own person and bring our own set of experiences to the table.  My wrestle with God, or rather my growth toward God, is completely different and unique to the next persons.  While we all are marching onward, upward, toward the same destination, there are an infinite number of paths circling around that central point, but all leading up to the same apex of the same mountain.

Friday, 28 December 2012

2013 - More

A new year is right around the corner, and this year I'm taking a page out of a blog I read to help focus my "resolutions" for the year.  Shawni Poithier likes to choose a word for the year, something that represents the direction she wants her life to take personally, and a way she'd like to improve herself.  Last year she chose "simplicity," which is a really good one, and one I considered for myself this year.  But while listening to our Christmas service at church, one speaker said something in his talk and immediately this word, and an accompanying scripture and song popped into my head.


In Charles Dickens' story A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge shifts from a self-centered character to a more selfless one.  His eyes are opened to life around him, he sees more opportunities to bless and help others, he gives more of himself.

These words to Kenneth Cope's song "More" sum up beautifully what I have in mind:

More steady, more sure,
More trusted, more pure
More trained, and more aware
More aim to get me there

I climb this far
You raise the bar
You want my heart

More fierce desire to stand agains the wind
More blazing fire when dark is closing in
more love inspired change within
So there's more and more of me to give

More words to learn and know
More etched upon my soul
More tried, more true,
Less me and much more You

I stretch this tall
You sound the call
You want my all

More strength in shoulders to face the war with sin
More wise and bolder to save the souls of men
A more faithful soldier to the end
You want more and more of me to give

Embedded within these lyrics are the scripture that will be my motto for the year:

"He must increase, but I must decrease."
- John 3:30

This idea of more I hope will permeate as I try to step up, raise the bar, stand a little higher.  I've been mulling over the idea lately of self-improvement, or trying to purposefully move myself toward something instead of just floating along in the status quo.  There is a prevalent idea in the world that the world owes us happiness.  In this me-centered universe, anything and anyone around me should make me happy; if it doesn't, I should cut it out.  Instead, I want to take responsibility for my life, increase my understanding of how I can improve the lives of others and improve my own life.  I want to become less of a consumer and more of a producer.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Family, friends and food

These seem to be the themes of Christmas this year.  (And also Lego.)

I have three things to host: a dinner with friends (last night), Christmas Eve brunch and our own Christmas dinner.  Plus there was holiday baking with my sister, and our new tradition of Christmas on New Years with my sisters and their families.

Lots of new recipes this year, which makes me recall just how much I love to cook and bake.  A turkey dinner is almost boring now, which is what my uncle (a fabulous chef) used to always complain about. Every year we asked for turkey and roast potatoes/carrots, dinner rolls and gravy.  As someone who always wanted to open his own restaurant, my uncle couldn't believe no one would go for his offers of something more elegant.  We're creatures of habit, I suppose.

Christmas baking was a success.  Well, five out of six recipes.  Turns out "chill dough for 30 minutes" really does mean half an hour, not three.  So much fun to do with my sister instead of on my own.  Definitely a new Christmas tradition.

Last night we had friends over for homemade pizza, then the kids watched "The Polar Express" while the adults played games.  (Last night was Euchre - guys against gals - and of course the ladies one :)  It was so nice to have adult time without the kids interrupting every second thought!  With our family complete, we are moving into the next phase of life, and it's exciting to have time to connect with friends.

Tomorrow will be the first brunch I've hosted.  I've got two overnight casseroles (one sweet french toast, one savoury ham and cheese), plus fruit and maybe some apple chimichangas.  Brunch is open to both mine and James' family, so we'll see who makes it up.

This is a year of new ideas, new events, trying things out, seeing what might stick as yearly traditions.  I'm a low key holiday person.  I like small gatherings of friends or family, without much pressure, and lots of time for everyone to enjoy the food and the company.  Anything that causes undue stress gets stricken from the list.  I want to enjoy each event as much as everyone else, so I don't want to be rushing around behind the scenes preparing and micro-managing instead of sitting back with everyone.

Also on the list for this year: Christmas Eve at Kaycee Gardens, a local park that is lit up in beautiful lights and displays.  Christmas day at home, playing games, building lego, and watching movies.  My first real turkey dinner at this house (my old oven couldn't cook a turkey for some reason, but I'm hoping my new one will do it beautifully).  Christmas on New Years Day with my sisters and their families.  I'm hoping that in a couple of years this will turn into a three day affair, where we rent a cabin and retreat into the beautiful Ontario winter to celebrate Christmas and New Years, a time for the cousins to play together and the adults to laugh and lounge late into the night instead of rushing off for bedtimes.  We also have a mini vacation planned down to Rochester to the museum of play and staying in the Hilton (yes, James and I are becoming a little bit of hotel snobs!  But we really love the luxury of a nice hotel, so we save that little bit extra to stay in something really nice while we're away.)  Plus as the kids get older they will want to spend some time with their friends, so I'm going to try and fit in a couple of play dates for them as well.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Oh cleanser of the mess I've made
Upon the hill our places trade
Stretched on a cross Your body crushed
By human hands You formed from dust

Oh cleanser of the mess I've made
Your boundless love for me portrayed
With patience for my learning curve
By holding back what I deserve

Oh cleanser of the mess I've made
With everything at Your feet laid
I watch as all my cares erode
And from my soul these words explode

How wonderful Your mercy is
How awesome are Your ways
I come, I come
To worship You
For all You've done

The last few days I have read much about mess.  I've been listening to Mercy River's rendition of "For All You've Done" and the line "Oh cleanser of the mess I've made" has stuck to me night and day.  I've been reading a few blogs (ones I regularly visit and some I have just happened upon) that talk about the beauty of messy lives.

My life is messy.

That's not to say that my life is a mess.  That insinuates that I don't have some degree of direction, which is untrue.  I am (slowly, very slowly) moving forward, reaching new heights, achieving goals, evolving, changing, becoming.  But day to day life with three boys and a baby is messy.

There are simply too many chores for all of them to ever be caught up at the same time.  Ditto for the laundry.  Until a few weeks ago, I only ever hand-scrubbed the kitchen floor twice a year.  Then, because I know James really appreciates it, I started doing it once a week.  Unfortunately, by the third day it looked as dirty and felt as sticky as when I'd been leaving it for months.  What's the point?

No organizing technique has managed to tame the piles of papers.  I'm pretty sure the toys multiply while I sleep.  Even the huge Lego table can't contain the wayward travelling pieces of plastic.

My blog is bare of photos.  So many blogs I read have wonderful photos accompanying the thoughts.  But three young boys never sit still long enough to create a lovely little shot, let alone me grabbing the camera and snapping something before someone is off again.

And yet there have been some beautiful moments.  And that, from what people have been writing about, is the beauty of the mess.  A Sunday afternoon when James was gone and the boys and I playing  board games.  Curling up together reading Robert Munsch.  Oh, and I can't forget tonight's Family Home Evening activity...papier machee craft to make an angel for our Christmas tree.  Oh yeah - there was flour and water everywhere.  And speaking of the tree, half the ornaments are on the floor and the other half are all crowded onto one section of the tree (cat and two year old.)  And the beads are either falling off or choking the tree.

My goal is still to be the eye of the storm - the calm in the middle of the mess.  I think I'm doing a lot better than before.  I seem to have an immeasurable amount of patience that is most definitely God-given.  It doesn't drive me crazy that I say something six times in a row before I'm heard; I like it much better than yelling and losing my temper.  And I think the boys are responding better to it.  I think they realize how ridiculous it sounds when I say the same thing over and over again (I do it like a skipping record.)

"Oh cleanser of the mess I've made." I am human, ergo I am messy.  And I'm okay with that.

Sunday, 16 December 2012


As a writer and musician, I often find myself speaking similes and metaphors.  It's not as common here in the western world, but in eastern writings and life it's much more prevalent.  At any rate, I think there is something beautiful about describing the world around us in more than strictly scientific facts.

About six months ago, however, I paused after a conversation with Benjamin to consider this practice.  I had been conversing with a two year old about sunrise and sunset, and I spoke about "the sun getting tired and going to bed" and "the moon coming out to play with the shadows."  Now, these two metaphors are not at all odd in our culture, widely understood and even widely used.  But I wondered for a moment if it might be confusing to a two year old, if he might be imagining in his mind how on earth the sun actually gets into a bed, and if the sun is indeed a big ball of burning gas, how the bedsheets don't catch fire?  I asked myself if I maybe shouldn't avoid speaking metaphors with one so young, so as not to confuse him about the physical workings of the world around him.

Alas, my musings led to no change in my speech, as I'm not sure I would even be able to catch myself for all the times I use metaphors in my descriptions.  Also, I decided that if my two year old had a little poetry in his life, well, there is more to this world than the cold, bare facts.  I'm a firm believer in teaching through example, and if I want my children to have a little lyrical lilt in their conversations, well then I must model it to them.

It seems that rather than confuse the young one, he has readily embraced the idea of metaphors.  (I liken it to having a second language as a child - experts say that instead of being confusing, it actually increases a child's understanding because they have twice as many words to draw from when expressing themselves.  Likewise, when trying to communicate an idea, if a child understands and can use metaphors then they are much more easily and accurately able to describe what they want to express.)

A couple weeks ago I fell victim to a nasty 12 hour flu.  My stomach was churning, which caused me to shuffle around the house semi-hunched over.  On seeing me clutch my stomach, Benjamin inquired, with much worry, what was wrong.  "I'm sick, sweetheart," I moaned.  "My stomach doesn't feel well at all."

Benjamin paused, then asked "Is there a fly, or a bee, or a spider inside?"  "What do you mean?"  "When I'm sick I feel like there's something in my tummy.  Do you have a fly, a bee or a spider?"  "A spider," I replied.  "It feels like a spider is crawling all over in there."

Over the rest of the day, Benjamin continuously inquired whether or not that spider was still inside, or if it had disappeared yet.  I could have explained more scientifically what was happening inside, but there will be a day for that.  For now, in Benjamin's little world, the description of a spider was perfectly accurate.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


With two filmmakers for parents, I guess it is inevitable that our kids like movies.  But none of the boys gets into a film as much as Colin.  When act three begins in a movie and you can start to feel things coming to their conclusion, Colin slowly gets into a crouch on the sofa, trying hard not to break the rules and stand on the couch, but unable to contain his excitement.  As the excitement in the story builds, he starts to bounce, a huge grin breaks across his face, an uncontrollable giggle emits from deep inside.  When the hero finally triumphs, he can't help himself - he jumps up to a stand on the couch, pumps his fist in the air, and yells in excitement.  It's so fun to watch.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The heavy burden of your trial

Our trials are designed for us to grow and blossom into what our final product in this life is intended to look like.  I truly believe this, but I will admit that it is spiritual hope that allows me to.

I was reading a heart-wrenching and yet beautiful story in the newspaper over the last three days.  It was about a young two year old girl, a big bundle of energy and joy, who was diagnosed with a form of cancer that has a mortality rate of 100%, usually within 3-6 months of the very first, tiniest symptom (hers was a small tremor in her hand.)  As I read the courageous tale, really from her parents' point of view since she was too young to understand it all, I couldn't keep the feeling at bay that I could never, ever, handle such a trial.  I will admit I am paralyzed by the notion of losing my husband or one of my children.  I know in my mind that fear is the opposite of faith, but I am not at that point in my life journey to be there yet.

Perhaps that is not my trial to endure.  I was conversing with a friend on the topic, and she noted that she was so grateful she hadn't had a big trial to endure yet in her life.  I paused, and then countered her. Because our trials are tailor-made to us, somehow we come out on the other side, through the grace of God, stronger.  Somehow the trial, though perhaps of great magnitude to others looking in, isn't undefeatable mountain to us.  I mentioned about my own trial this past year - nine months of such illness that I could barely get out of bed, pain when I ate or moved or even breathed, nine months absent from raising my children, nine months of daily IV injections.  It was long and dark.  And yet somehow, now, it seems to very far away.  In fact, it doesn't feel like it was that hard after all.  At the time, of course, I felt like it would never end, never improve.  But even this short passage of time, six months, has erased most of the darkness and left only the joyful feeling of conquering.

Then I turned the conversation on to my friend; she lost her father in a tragic accident when she was 12.  That would be unimaginable for many people.  Lots of teens might spiral out of control after such an event.  But with God's love and grace she has grown into an amazing woman and married a good man who is a dedicated father to their children.  She paused for a moment and said she had never considered how big that trial might seem to others.

And so it seems evident from these thoughts that while the idea of some trials might seem impossible, we know that our own messy life will be not just manageable, but conquerable.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The influence of fathers

Listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast today got my mind stirring.  They noted that 40% of kids in America are born into homes without a father (a stunning 72% of African Americans.)  That just floored me.  Gratefully I was raised in a home with a wonderful father, and my children are being raised in a home with one also.  So while that statistic was alarming, it wasn't personally relevant.

What did hit closer to home was the statement that boys today are being raised by women.  They are in the home with their mothers for the most part, and Sunday school teachers and school teachers are generally women also.  And boys being raised by women will naturally be different than boys raised by men.

This got me thinking back to a favourite book "Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology."  It explored a Mennonite-like community.  In that community, just like it was for thousands of years up until the last century or so, boys spent the majority of their time with their fathers, grandfathers, or other male role models.  After just a few early years at their mothers' knees, they were transferred over to their father to help in the physical chores and family business.

Nowadays, boys are home with their mothers for most of the first four or five years.  Then they spend 5 days a week with by and large female teachers.  As they grow older, they spend spare time with peers, and even though those friends are often male, they certainly wouldn't be role models with life experience to inspire and shape others.

Culture today has created a world where half the families don't have fathers living with the children, and the other half are required to work long hours, often more than 5 days a week. The short time our fathers can scrape out to spend with children is often dominated by passive media or manufactured bursts of play.

These thoughts have made me vow to try and find ways my boys can spend time with their Dad when he can teach them, lead them, and model what it is to be a man these days.  I don't want society stepping in to shape my boys, as the pervasive media is trying to do to so many.  We have the great benefit of owning our own company, which means that down the road the boys will have the blessing of being offered work.  You will find no wistful coddling from this mother; moving furniture is hard labour, and working with seniors requires compassion.  I hope all three of my boys will be able to learn a strong work ethic and a sense of service from this "fall-in-you-lap job opportunity.  But more than that, I hope they can work along-side their father and see these qualities in him (they are two of the top reasons I love this man.)

While quantity time might not be possible right now, we can make sure that time is quality.  That will include some play time, but it must include leading time.  The guest on the radio program insisted that one hour at the kitchen table around dinner time is immensely profitable.  It can include eating, homework, and instruction.  It should be an hour that the father uses right down to the very last minute, exerting his righteous influence over his family, children, and most especially his sons.  He can lead them with definite purpose, with a plan in mind and very specific and thought-out road to walk.

It is so easy to fall into parenting just to get through the days; it is infinitely important to parent with purpose.  We must make sure our boys have time to spend with their dads so that our fathers are the primary (and proper) role model for their sons.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

To write

So many days seem to go by now between opportunities to catch up on the blog.  Lots happens at home, and lots happens in my mind.  I now have at least four or five places (blogs, friends, etc) where I get my mind stirring.  To each of them I could write an essay in response to each post, and yet I feel like I couldn't accurately express how I feel on each subject.  The other day I penned a submission for the website I occasionally write for; I felt I had a really important piece to say, but had to settle for a mind purge onto paper and to click "submit" without any revisions or second draft (luckily they have a team of editors who will catch any basic errors.)  I love to write, and it's often how I process things, but lately things have just been so busy...

I finally found an online site where I can compile all my blog posts and print them in a book, for a reasonable price.  Perhaps if I don't have the umph to write right now, at least I can gather things into one place for posterity.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The 1st of December

Every day I walk in the unchartered territory of raising boys.  I struggle between memories of my own childhood, which was only girls, and the reality of boys.  I have all these ideas of traditions I want to do with my own family, but so often they are rooted in the world of girls and just never seem to work for us now.

I bought a beautiful hand crafted advent garland:

My idea was to fill it with a little treat, and a message or story or scripture for every day to open.  I had these wonderful ideas of intimate family moments remembering the real reason we like to celebrate this season - the birth of Jesus.  But my family of boys (and men!) much prefer their Star Wars Lego advent calendar.  And all of a sudden it's December 2nd and I still haven't had a chance to fill up the pockets, my ideal having been deflated by those around me.

Then I read about the December advent traditions of another family in town - a song and scripture and story and craft each day, and a service opportunity as well.  As I read, I felt a twinge in my heart knowing that that is exactly what I had in mind.  But then I had to remind myself - she has a family of 5 daughters.  Girls.  And as much as we try in today's society to claim that there are no differences between girls and boys, it simply isn't true.  (At least in my experience.)

And so I suppose I must adapt my ideas.  My boys don't love crafts, and they don't have stars in their eyes when I try and gather them to sit still for a spiritual thought.  But that doesn't mean I have to throw this teaching moment out the window.  I just have to change it a little.  Make it more energetic, more hands on, more get-in-the-mud-and-get-dirty.  I see shovelling snow instead of baking cookies, and carolling instead of letter writing.

As a mother of boys I am being stretched every day.  But I've always been up for a challenge!