the joy of reading

I am itching to get into a good book.
The kind that pulls me away from everything and anything,
just to find out how the story unfolds!
So I spent a bit of time yesterday perusing the book shelves at Indigo,
hoping to snatch up a good find (thanks to a generous Christmas gift-card).

This is what I decided to bring home (its tough to decide!!):

I know the cover looks weird and scary. But don't let the skeleton intimidate you. The author Alan Bradley, is an amazing writer (detailed,descriptive,humorous, Canadian), and I'm always up for a good mystery...especially those solved by an 11 year old British girl in the 195o's.
So you see its very tame.
Have you ever watched Murder she wrote?? Pretty much THAT speed...not anything Stephen King-ish. ick.
It's the kind of story I can get wrapped in right away.
No complicated plots.
Just murder.

Better move on to the next book.....

The first Kim Edward's book that I read, The memory Keepers daughter, was both disturbing and moving....disturbingly moving?? Basically at the end of the novel, I couldn't decide whether I enjoyed it or wanted to chuck it across the room.
Confused I was.
Needless to say, I was curious enough about her second book, to warrant it's purchase. Hopefully there won't be anything in the story-line about a misplaced twin.

These books also caught my attention:(maybe i'll reserve at the library...)

I hope you've found a good book to curl up with!


the gift of love

No matter what shape our hearts are in, whether they are down-cast, broken, troubled, or joyful, Jesus invites us to come to Him. To come before Him in worship and thanksgiving, offering up our lives. No life is too dark, too depressed, too desolate for his acceptance.
Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, left Heaven's paradise to become vulnerable and helpless like you and I.
He made himself humble, and entered the world in the simplest of ways, to show us that true love- God's love isn't about glamour or earthly power....its about sacrifice, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

I'll give Him my Heart

  by Carol Cymbala
 What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a Shepherd,
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I'd sure do my part.
So what can I give Him?
I'll give Him my heart.

What can I give Him
But all of my heart?

What can you give Him?

What can you bring?
What can you offer
That's fit for a King?
Bow before Jesus,
That's where you can start.
What can you give Him?
Just give Him your heart.

When I am overcome with fear, self-doubt, anxiety, depression, resentment or hurt; I know that I can still offer my life to him. I am not useless to Him, I am not ugly to Him, I am not pathetic to Him. When I approach Jesus through prayer, I am welcomed unconditionally. Without blame, without condemnation, without pity or disgust. My saviour wants nothing, not even mental illness to separate us from Him.
What can I give my Lord? 
Everything. I will give him everything. And He will think it is beautiful. 
 Here I am to Worship by Chris Tomlin
Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness.
Opened my eyes, let me see.
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me

King of all days
oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came
To the earth You created
All for Love's sake became poor

I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross


Its beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS

I enjoy a good countdown.
Its important to be aware of how much time one has to prepare.
Yes it is.
Except of course when you have an altered understanding of  how-much-time-one-has-to-prepare!!
For some reason, my mental calendar (whatever that means), is under the impression that we have one more additional week before Christmas.
I still have LOTS of time to wrap the gifts and prepare special treats and meals for the holidays.
right? This can't be the last week?!

I'm sitting here (with my lovely cup of coffee), absorbing the fact that between school ending for the holidays, 3 more evening shifts and a trip to winkler; this morning is really the only time I have to wrap gifts (undisturbed), and ensure that the fridge is fully stocked for Christmas dinner.
Somehow however, like my delusional perception that the Christmas shakedown is weeks from now;
I'm officially convincing myself that everything will get done, and everything will be fine.

So I have to buy some gift bags instead of wrapping each individual present? And so I have to buy gluten free cookies for the school party instead of baking them? And so I have to serve only one appetizer at Christmas dinner instead of my plan for 4.....??
It will be ok.
No one will care or notice. (well, except me, but i'll just  have to tuck away those unmet expectations).

And as I'm presently wasting time writing on my depressing blog that I almost deleted again yesterday morning (but instead added another depressing post....) I found a very neat website that provides many wonderful ways to busy ourselves during the school holidays!  I'm addicted to the "planning" aspect of Christmas and the "planning" aspect of the days when the kids will be bored and asking for things to do. I love to stock up on resources for when my children and I gather around the kitchen table with our glue guns and popsicle sticks...ready to CREATE! Even though it happens maybe once a year, a girl can still dream (and be ready) right?

Maybe YOU could pick up a few tips from the blog and whip up something like those book-page-flower-creations with your 3 yr. old.! Yay! That's a recipe for intense pain....warm fuzzies if I ever saw one. But really, there are some neat ideas...
Here's to another month til' Christmas!!!!


I don't think its a good sign when I find my own blog depressing.
when i read it and think to myself..."Lady, brighten and lighten up!!
How annoying you must sound to anyone reading this stuff."

cry me a river, and get your act together!
write about something else!
they must be saying.

or maybe its just me.
maybe I'm the only one disgusted with myself.
the only one who sees all the unmet expectations and disappointments.
maybe I'm the only one who thinks our family is a joke.
YOU are a youth pastors wife?? HA!
Shouldn't you be doing MORE? 
volunteering MORE?
Shouldn't you be MORE of an example?
Somebody ELSE should take on the Youth Program, with a more
supportive and active wife!!!

self deprecation is my specialty,
living with shame for not meeting expectations.
I clothe myself in embarrassment and apologies
especially on Sunday's.
Some mornings I can't make it to church because the disappointment
in myself is too great.
Its too hard to face people knowing that I'm not doing enough.
I'm covered with blankets of guilt and depression so
that the only comfort I find is in the safety of my home.

Yet, we desperately need female youth workers.
It would be perfect if I could swoop down, roll up my sleeves
and jump into that wonderful world of teenage ministry!
I love it....LOVE it. I love the girls, so very much.
but loving from afar doesn't do a whole heck of a lot.
Its all about relationships, youth ministry is...
which means I'm completely useless.

Its been about a year since my health took a dramatic turn downward.
And because I'm in a place of heightened self deprivation...
I've returned to some of my writing from that time.
Maybe reminding myself of where I've been will help me today.
Help me with this burdensome weight of disgust.

I know that Church work and depression is not uncommon;
Its just not always talked about.
this was interesting to find-
and watch.


errand run

I'm struggling this season with..... ERRANDS.
I have never been a fan of errand running.
The act of cruising around town to various places, searching for items to stroke off a list-
(that is, if I remember to bring my list...so many written, so many left on the door step).
But these days, I'm not only peeved by the actual shopping, dropping, picking,
and returning of people, places or things;
I am fearful of the whole event. From start to finish.

Like right now. This minute. I am savoring the quiet house and my leisure day.
But I cannot fully enjoy the luxury of this freedom.
I HAVE to buy a pink pig costume (i.e.pink clothing from top to bottom)
for tonight's school Christmas concert.
And, I am literally experiencing dread, silly nervous butterflies.
(truth be told for both the shopping AND the concert).

I can't keep asking my husband to run the errands,
even though he already (willingly) does most of the shopping.
How very sad and pathetic this all makes me feel.
Old Navy prides themselves in making your shopping experience
easy, positive, not to mention...loud inspiring!
Its not THAT hard.

I just wish I could tackle the "easy" stuff with more courage....
And not feel this pending doom.



I am overwhelmed with gratitude on a night like tonight.
A night when the evening was long and the children were tired,
when the homework was stressful and defiance was rampant.
On a night when my patience was absent, and my anxiety was high-
I give thanks.

I am filled with thanksgiving, for the promise of a new day;
for the innocence and beauty of sleeping children.
for little hearts brimming and ready with forgiveness,
for unconditional affection and overwhelming love-
I give thanks.

I am overcome with praise for a Heavenly Father,
who gave me this unpredictable life;
with its failures and struggles, and abundance of beauty.
I give thanks on this night for the realization that in spite of my shortcomings;
I am surrounded by His love and the love of a family.
And so, for that and so much more-
I give thanks.


cool blog

i really enjoy reading this blog.
Small Notebook
Warning! You'll need time to read through all of her interesting tid-bits of knowledge!
She covers everything from renos, family life, and organizing, to celebrating holidays and simplifying. (i must add that I liked seeing gluten free mixes and products on her shelves, when she showed pictures from a recent kitchen project. immediate connection!)

Mostly, I just appreciate this writers attainable, realistic suggestions; and her "no-fuss" attitude about living the good life. 

Happy Saturday!!


pinterest finds

more of "the best" from one of my favourite websites.
(click on image for source information.)
best simple idea:
Using old glue lid to write with acrylic paint.

best recipe:
Copy cat Olive Garden Italian salad dressing.

best printable:
 downloadable Polaroid frames. fun!

best happy looking i-want-to-move-in-immediately...... kitchen:
check out the baseboards and the cheery tea towel!

best fashion find:

Man, these would look good with jeans. I'd wear them everyday.


recipe recommendation

This cookbook is awesome. 
really awesome.
i don't have the capacity to write a lengthy description tonight,
but trust me,
its a good one to have in your collection.
(whether you are a Mennonite or not).

100% of profits this year are being donated to children living in the Ukraine.
Back to where it all began....
"Prussia", where many Mennonite families originated. 
So you are helping others, while you help yourself.

The books are sold at Hulls here in Winnipeg, but also at Hallmark stores.
We (Hallmark) received a box of hard cover, signed copies this week,
for $28.95.

However staff have 40% off this weekend.
And if you contact me soon enough (i.e. by Saturday early evening),
 i MAY be able to pick one up for you at the discounted price.
(i.e. i go to store buy a book for 40% off, then you pay me back)
they might be sold out.
things were crazy in there today.

but whatever price you end up paying, I think you'll enjoy the book.


days at home

Have you ever purposefully left something out (exactly where it was left) to see how long it will stay there until noticed and/or moved??
I actually do that randomly for my own personal amusement. It makes me giggle.
Not to make a mockery of anyone who resides in this house, but it never ceases to amaze me how some of my loved ones, are not bothered by random objects in the wrong location....right smack dab in their way. I actually both admire and cringe at the reality that they seriously don't notice, and just step over (or on) it.

And that's ok.
Really, it is.
Because, there are other times that I place something out (mostly again for my own enjoyment) NOT expecting anyone to notice or comment....AND THEY DO! Hooray!
The surprise factor actually (>almost<) makes up for the times laundry, books, toys or other misplaced items are completely ignored.
Low expectations.
Works every time.


going back to work

I am the newest employee at one of the local Hallmark stores....and...I like it!
Yes, i am glad to report, that the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers,
money exchanging, gingerbread men singing, and parcel wrapping...has been a welcome transition and positive experience for me.

I just wish that I had naturally pretty nails and hands....

weird and random statement, i know.
But people watch my hands at the till. oh yes. How I hold and turn over the purchase, remove a price tag, punch numbers into the debit machine, give them a pen to sign their name, pop it into a bag. My hands get a lot of attention these days. And so its unfortunate that my neglected cuticles and chewed-up nail tips (that actually sounds gross), are not as becoming as a well manicured, gelled/ acrylic set of nails could be! but every time I go to the phone to make an appointment, I change my mind....because really, deep down...I don't care! And I don't want to spend the money.

I think that it would be NICE to have pretty nails, but now that I'm approaching this kind of job at a later time in my life, I really....truly....couldn't be bothered.

Actually, and here's the thing -the reason behind this post (not so much the condition of my nails).
I've realized that as a "thirty something" woman, I don't care about a lot of things I used to. Well, at least some of the shallow, insignificant things I did as a "twenty something", woman. It's so refreshing! Being surrounded by male and female staff (mostly) under the age of 23, has certainly reiterated this fact in my brain...and made me mindful of how aging can be a blessing MORE than a curse.

4 WAYS I AM EMBRACING RETAIL WORK AS A 30-SOMETHING OR OTHER- WOMAN (as compared to the way I embraced retail work as a 20-something or other-woman)

1. I do not care if my shoes "go" with my outfit, and I look old fashioned. Comfort REALLY appeals to me far more than looking "stylish", especially when on my feet for several hours. Plus, this is not BUCKLE...its HALLMARK.
2. I do not mentally beat myself up (too much), when I make mistakes. I have a full, rewarding life outside of my job, so I try not to worry about the candle order I misplaced, or the box of fragile ornaments I stepped on.....
3. I do not nervously anticipate working with the "cute guys" like I used to. INDEED... I am no longer teasing and checking my bangs during break. I can chatter away confidently (but innocently!) with male coworkers...because I am no longer looking for my future husband! how lovely.
4. Obnoxious, and angry customers do not scare me. I realize (in my "maturity"), that most cranky shoppers are stressed, don't necessarily hate ME, and most likely have problems running deeper than the inability to return a Tinkerbell Christmas ornament without their receipt.

Getting older provides wonderful perspective, a special kind of wisdom only obtained once you've "been there, done that"....or are too old to care. Which ever comes first.

image source


memory and music

Ahhhhh music.
classical music.
a balm that soothes the soul,
an arrow that penetrates the deepest crevasse of your heart.

yes, country singers can belt out the perfect lyrics to a love song, and alternative music has a mellow groove that I love!
Yet only classical music (especially arias), I believe, truly captures ones passion..in both extremes...from intense grief to jubilant bliss. Bach, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert (and more) translated their interpretation of emotional strengthen onto pages and pages of musical brilliance.


I would suggest that classical music, is similar in preference to spicy food and Volkswagen's.
You either LOVE it/them...or you don't. Not a whole lot of "undecided" out there.
Pretty much black and white.

Thus, I understand that my appreciation for compilations that usually involve an orchestra and a foreign language, might make me seem a bit "odd". It may mean that I will be forever forced to listen to Gilbert and Sullivan in cramped quarters like the laundry room, or Kathleen Battle in small, spontaneous batches when everyone else has vacated the premises. My children did not inherit an "appreciation" for the Opera from their mother, they call it "the screaming music". And alas, Kent can only tolerate "the first minute".
I'm ok with that.

Some of the classical works are more meaningful to me than others. Believe me, I can't listen to everything out there! For example, the song/interlude, Ave Maria, by Mascagni, reminds me of a time when I was a very broken hearted 21 yr. old (see version on Youtube, but please excuse Celine's annoying distracting introduction to Andrea Bocelli).

On a quiet afternoon at home, after moving back from college (sooner than planned)..... my mother offered to play this song for me. knowing I was grieving a lost love. She told me it was originally written for a funeral. How very appropriate.

So, whenever i hear this melody, I can still see myself lying on my parents couch in our old house, the stereo volume cranked to its highest decibels, and tears streaming down my cheeks. I remember how the music took a lot out of me (i.e. passion), but it also brought me a sense of peace and helped me rest. I remember marveling at its effect on my aching heart.
 Some of the lyrics translated from the Italian:
Hail Mary, holy Mother,
Guide the feet of the wretched one who implores thee
Along the path of bitter grief
And fill the hearts with faith and hope.

O merciful Mother, thou who suffered so greatly,
See, ah! See my anguish.
Ah! Do not abandon me
In the cruel torment of endless weeping.

Hail Mary! Oppressed by grief,
Do not leave me, O Mother, have mercy!
O Mother, have mercy! Oppressed by grief,
Do not leave me.

BUT....i think you'll enjoy hearing his last (long held) note.
so beautiful


completly irrelevant and random

i'm not usually terribly interested in photography blogs. Most likely because i'm not a photographer and have no incentive to "pick up tips." However, as I was perusing the web (started here), i found myself on the blue lily photography blog.
Again, I have no deep desire to look at other people's wedding photos, well, of course unless i know them...
but the photo of the red canoe with the bride and groom floating on a lake....THAT caught my eye.
And i was struck with the completely impossible, irrelevant, weird thought...of  THAT's exactly what I would have loved for OUR wedding photos (way back in the 90's). Don't they look lovely?!

oh well.
too late.
like i said.
maybe for our 50th wedding anniversary....
or something.


pinterest finds

i love pininterest. whoops correction...PINTEREST. no i can't spell.
i literally do nothing with it of course, but i love it anyway.
For example, i find myself "pinning" a lot of tutorial lessons for mason jars...decor, storage, display...however never actually dusting off my jars to try the suggestions.

yet i keep pinning (not pining) away, because a) i like to waste time, b) i enjoy organizing images that catch my eye into themed categories and, c) its fun to pretend that SOMEDAY i will learn to sew, or make, or buy all the beautiful things i admire....d) stop panicking, this is not a multiple choice test.

so here are a few "best of's..." from today's pinning session.  
hopefully by clicking on the image you will be linked to its original source.

best  DIY projects 
best recipes that i might actually try
best "dream" kitchen (aka: best "i'll always just be dreaming this..." kitchen)

best images that made me smile
no source for this adorable "motherly instincts" picture


the push

lately i've been pushed out of my comfort zone a bit.
i've had to adjust and be flexible for someone else.
there has been a lot more people around here,
a lot more socializing going on...
it's not been easy.

in my attempt to "protect myself" from the outside world, ie. stress, facing people, "dealing"...
i've lost valuable opportunities to experience fellowship, and be stretched.
i'm aware of that.
but my comfort zone is a place of isolation.
christmas is coming...parties are coming....
expectations are coming...
and deep down that scares me.

so i like to hide.

every single morning that dawn's a new day,
i fight to get out of bed. i do it, but its a struggle.
i sigh. i gear myself up.
i feel a deep longing to stay at home.
i ache to be in the easiness of my own space,
the safety of my family.

while those feelings cover me with blankets of peace,
i am acutely aware of the ugly fears that follow, berate and taunt:
will I become house-bound someday? become an agoraphobic?
will I get worse instead of better?
it is not impossible...

agoraphobics don't get up one day and decide to live in confinement,
their life of restriction starts with social anxiety...and snow balls into something much more limiting and serious.
will become like that?

but back to being stretched, back to the realization of improvement,
these occasions in my life...
to do things that "don't come naturally",
its difficult...but admittedly rewarding.
i may be out of my comfort zone, but in surviving the experience,
i gain self confidence and give myself a chance to thrive.

with a healthy balance.
not an expectation put out by anyone, but myself.
for i know my limitations better than anyone.
and cannot be pushed
too much.

"Fear destroys peoples dreams, it destroys our minds and bodies, it stops us in our tracks like a huge lion in your pathway. Fear stops us from taking the action we need to take in order to be all that we can be. Our potential is so much more than we sometimes perceive." ~ Greg De Tisi. 



getting settled

 after you've successfully moved (all those crazy boxes) into your new 
when does it start to feel like home to you?

 after the beds are set up, and nobody is sleeping on scattered mattress's?
  when the stereo/ipod/radio is hooked up and begins to
 fill the new rooms with familiar music?
when you see your art or framed pictures up on the walls?
or is it simply when your coffee pot is plugged in, and churning out a good cup of joe?

we've been in our new place for over a month now,
and honestly it doesn't really feel like home yet.
i'm not unhappy here, but at the same time i don't feel like this space is "mine"...you know?

i'm wondering if its because we plan to stay here only temporarily...
and i've intentionally left boxes unpacked.
maybe i just need to give it more time (and a few more pots of coffee).
 it really hasn't been that long.

what helps you feel at home in a new house?


books that help

My mom told me about this book, after hearing the author interviewed on CBC radio.
Its about a goose...."Gus", who is "direction impaired", and can't do (fly in the right direction) what come's easy to other geese. Comparable, as intended by the author, to a learning disability of a child. What seems straight forward to one child (reading, spelling), might be a great source of anxiety to another.

My son wants so much to be "the same" as his classmates. And in many ways he is. However, I sense there is a small flicker of shame growing inside his little soul each time he's pulled out of the classroom for speech therapy or spelling, or when his anxieties overcome his perception of a problem. Liam may excel when it comes to math or historical facts, yet in other areas of the gr. 4 curriculum, he faces a great deal of difficulty.

Part of this struggle stems from the fact that his speech-delay messages certain words back to his brain incorrectly. Which then makes spelling out those words (especially those with silent letters), almost impossible for him to figure out. Thankfully, there hasn't been any serious bullying or teasing from his classmates, but his own frustrations and anxieties produce negative thoughts and self-talk. L often tells me during homework, that he feels stupid and dumb.

If it is appropriate, I may buy the book and leave it out for Liam to read on his own. Books are such a wonderful tool for generating conversation, aren't they? and this is topic, of accepting ourselves, is one that I can't talk enough about.


where ya at?

i haven't written about depression in a very long time.
there is just so much to write and express.
there are so many things that have happened since this past December,
~when in a crumpled mess i desperately hailed the white "i surrender" flag.
~when i admitted it to myself, and those closest to me, that i just couldn't "do it" anymore.
~when i let go of caring too much, and slept for about a month.
There have been so many highs and lows since that time.... I've pretty much avoided the subject all together. 

In brief, what have the past 10 months looked like?
I've been without work,
I've talked to a few professionals,
I've said "no" to many commitments.
We've moved.
and I've taken a nap (if not 2), pretty much every single day.

In brief, what have I to show for it?
Am I better now?
{That is one of the frustrations around a disease like depression, it is invisible....a brain or mental disease. There are no large tumors to take away (for which I am grateful), no x-rays to refer to...no concrete tests to show that my body is better or that things are improving. Instead they look for signs in my: level of fatigue, appetite, weepiness, thought patterns, motivation, and the all encompassing ability to handle "stress" ..... large crowds/ fighting children/ grocery shopping/ getting out of bed/ getting dressed/ having a shower/ using the phone/ leaving the house/ church/ school functions/ hosting company/ cleaning/ driving the car/ making appointments/ advocating for my children.....}
Yes, stress in depression is mainly formed through the basic day-to-day stuff that just isn't easy anymore.
And yes, I can honestly say that I AM feeling better.

I see that demonstrated in my ability be involved in SOME activities again without feeling overwhelmed. I am not as tired all the time...and my appetite is back. Hooray! (I guess I was never meant to keep off those 10 lbs).Ha!
Interestingly enough, the greatest observation I have made within the realm of depression, is how I am not alone. Not alone in the experience. In the on-going battle. Other people are out there that can relate.

Until I began sharing on the blog, I wasn't aware of all the people around me, who have or are currently coping with, this disease. It has both surprised and saddened me. I welcome every single window or glimpse into someones soul, into another's vulnerability. I not only welcome, but I cherish and feel honoured. Talking about depression is incredibly difficult, especially to someone who "doesn't understand". So to commune with someone who has "been there" is like a balm to a very fragile, painful wound. It is a blessing from the Lord. He gives us people to feel safe with. He gives us comfort through people who understand.

I am so very thankful for all the comfort, compassion and love I have received in these last 10 months. I don't feel the same shame that I used to around this topic, and I don't feel alone anymore. (Thank you to those who have had courage to share your vulnerabilities, and your struggles with me...God bless you. I hope we can continue to find safety in each other.)

Two quotes I've found incredibly inspiring from Brene Brown's book "The gifts of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you're supposed to be, and embrace who you are."

"Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others." p. 16
"Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection." p. 53.


a journey

You pack your suitcase.
You are going on a trip.
Inside you've carefully folded your best dress, your prettiest shoes, and some good books to read.
Your train is scheduled to leave any minute,
and you sit on a bench at the station, waiting to hear the whistle.

When it arrives, you proudly hand your precious luggage to the conductor
and board the narrow waiting room on wheels.
You've been planning this vacation for such a long time,
and now that you are here, you can hardly believe it is happening.

As you sink back in your plush seat, and close your eyes,
the trains wheels slowly begin to turn.
You feel yourself moving forward, just as you had imagined it.
After awhile, when you finally open your eyes, you blink....
and blink again.
You gasp.

Pressing up against the smudged window you gaze upon an unfamiliar landscape.
You do not recognize the countryside that whips past.

The passengers around you do not look alarmed,
so you lean back and try to relax.
You close your eyes again,
hoping the view will change.

But rechecking only adds to your bewilderment.
Now you not only see an unfamiliar landscape, but an entirely different season.
The weather was hot and muggy in the train station, when you left home...
you are shocked to now see mounds of snow covering the world that flashes past.

Without further hesitation you turn to the nearest occupied seat.
You must make sense of this,
Excuse me? you sharply ask a fellow traveler across the aisle,
Why does it look like winter outside?
The young man with whom you speak, looks at you with a vague, annoyed expression.
And responds with words in an unfamiliar language.
You shake your head and turn away.

Now your ears become acutely sensitive to the voices around the coach.
They are muffled but unmistakeably a language you do not recognize.
A staff person comes by with a tray of refreshments, and offers you a drink, but you
don't understand what she says to you.
But why? You are in Canada!

What is going on? Doesn't anyone speak english here?
Are you dreaming?
Your heart starts to race as you fear that you've somehow made a mistake,
and boarded the wrong train.
Finding your ticket you rise out of your seat and wave frantically at the conductor
to come to your aid.

When you ask him the question as to the trains destination,
the conductor forms a now familiar expression, one of hesitation and uncertainty.
He can't understand me, you realize.
And when he speaks, you are horrified to realize that you can't understand him either.

With one last ounce of determination, you again ask for help.
slower this time.
Pointing at the ticket stub and then towards the window,
Your fate seems to rest on the conductor understanding your predicament.
But his polite face becomes increasingly strained, and his answer is absolute gibberish to you.
His tone however, is unmistakably impatient and rude. That much is clear.

Pushing past the conductor, and weaving through the aisle you then
desperately try to find something (anything!) familiar about the train you boarded.
You notice that the passengers are wearing strange clothing.
You feel sick to your stomach, frightened, and very, very cold.
People look up at you with questioning stares.
Pulling themselves into their seats as if to avoid your touch.

Panic rises up in your throat. You can't breathe.
In a state of great agitation and anxiety you break down, and start to cry.
Your shoulders shake, and you are overcome
not caring if your distress is evident.

What is happening to me?
Where am I?
Why doesn't anyone understand me?
Why is everyone staring?
Am I going crazy?
You start to collapse and your knees give way.
You find yourself giving in to the loss of your strength,
and fall in the cramped aisle.

Someone moves toward you.
You recoil initially when a warm blanket is placed over your body.
But a comforting hand grasps your shaking hand.
Are they friend or foe?
The person brings comfort and looks kind.
Its her eyes. They seem safe.
You relax a bit.

It is then you notice something weighted hanging on your wrist, a bracelet.
It has an inscription, a word, but you can't read it.
You can figure out what it says.
Its a long word.
You wonder how the bracelet got there.
You don't like it, and try to take it off.
Unsuccessful, you sigh and surrender to your bodies fatigue.
More confusion. More frustration. Its all so tiring.

The blanket grounds you. It settles your anxiety a bit.
You don't want to move for fear of facing more of the unfamiliar.
The awful strangeness that has paralyzed you with fear.
As you feel yourself doze off, you remember your suitcase,
and promise yourself to ask for it,
when your strength has returned...
In the morning, or the evening,
or whenever you wake from this horrific, frightening nightmare.
This journey turned horribly different than you had imagined or planned.


a promise to you

our days are crowded
our minds are crowded
our hearts are crowded

 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13


School mornings at the Rygiel household, are generally busy, frantic....and loud. No matter how much I try to prepare ahead of time (make lunches, have clean clothes ready, lay out agendas and permission slips to be packed), there is usually a school bus-load of crying, impatience and scolding.
This morning was no exception.

Safe to say our hectic morning routine, wouldn't have inspired a Norman Rockwell painting. The familiar Saturday Evening post artist tended to gravitate to deeply serene, nostalgic images of family, or pleasant day to day interactions. Scenes that depict anger and frustration he left for ......Jackson Pollack?
We'd probably be better represented by the folks from Family circle or Dennis the Menace.
With pride of course.

Part of the frustration we experience each morning, is the tension between MY expectations (of what I think the children should be able to do without reminders), Kent's expectations (of how the children should be listening and responding), and the children's actual abilities at that hour of the day. It all turns into an imaginary cocktail called "butting heads" (please drink responsibly).

Parenting is an incredibly challenging, stressful, mind-altering, sleep-depriving experience (I'm sure you know that already). And I wouldn't give it up for the world!! However, I've heard that much of the stress in parenting isn't so much in relating to your children, but in relating to your spouse. It takes practice learning the intricate dance of  how to teach, mold and instruct your children, TOGETHER, without stepping on each others toes.

Plans of actions, implementations of behavioural modifications, correcting mistakes, encouraging learned skills, and getting your kids motivated and out the door.... only works smoothly, when both parents are actively communicating the same thing and on the same page. Do I hear an amen?! (thank you Beth Moore). Kids tend to get confused with what they are to do when a parent interrupts, and corrects the other, in the middle of a request.
Spouse 1: "Johnny, please go get your shoes".
Johnny gets up and walks to closet.
Spouse 2: "Johnny doesn't need to get his shoes yet, he needs to brush his teeth first."
Spouse 1: "Johnny brushed his teeth already when you were in the shower, he needs to put on his shoes so we arn't late!!"
Spouse 2: "Why are you mad at me?"
Spouse 1: "What are you talking about? i'm not mad at you, I'm just stressed!"
Spouse 2: "You sound angry"
Spouse 1: "Good grief! I'M NOT ANGRY!!!!
Spouse 2:  "Hey, where did Johnny go? He's supposed to put on his shoes....?"
Spouse 1: "oh look, he's on the driveway. Barefoot, holding his toothbrush".

I am not writing that from personal experience, for I've never personally heard anything so outlandish and ridiculous. That poor couple. Pray for us them.

Since this mornings loud parade out the front door once again provided live entertainment for the entire neighborhood, I decided to take the matter into my own hands, and do what I should have done weeks ago! Boldly go and purchase something off the internet. Yes. SOME kind of tool to assist us in generating independence, cheerfulness and family unity, without having to break the bank, and or anyone's pride ("toes").

Ta DAH!!!!!! Meet the "Kids daily activity organizer", from Amazon.com.

Kent and I are very unified in the purchase of this handy dandy, color infused sensory overloaded, clothes divider creation. Our families survival is counting on the children's motivation to fill each little cubby with a daily outfit, so that they can (GaSp!) go on their own to their closets each morning, and get fully dressed without asking for help. No more,
son: "MOM have you seen my star wars t-shirt?" mother: "which one dear, you happen to own over 10". son: "the black one". mother: "they are all black". son: "the black one with darth vadar." mother: " there are 2 in the laundry and 3 more somewhere in your room." son: "but I promised my friend that I would wear "this" specific one. I'm too tired to go get it.....can you find it for me pleeeeease."

Here's to the multi-coloured clothes organizer. If this doesn't work, we may just start charging our neighbors  admission fees if and when they insist on watching our performances.


This intrigues me

cool blog

from We are THAT family.
I turn to this blog from time to time.
I love Kristen's servant-heart, resourcefulness, and her ability to be kind to herself when admitting failure/or disappointment.

I'm thinking Erma was pretty resourceful herself.
Should have thought of the playpen idea when I had the chance!


auf wiedersehen

Packing up
Moving out

This computer is ready for the open road (truck).
and since I don't have an iphone~
its goodbye email, facebook, blogger, civilization in general....
for a little while.

See you on the other side!!
(of Bishop Grandin)



For years, a friend of ours, who happens to be a counsellor, has been offering to meet with me to "talk".
There have been many occasions where we have prayed together and visited together...but just as friends.  We've never really taken on the roles of "therapist" and "client".  My insecurities limited my ability to see that she WANTED to give me guidance, and I let my fear of becoming a burden, overshadow her graciousness.  So in all the years I've known her, I've never taken her up on her warm invitation.
Until now.
I felt an unmistakable nudging to open my heart to her. To unpack the boxes of confusion, and resentment, that I'd been so awkwardly lugging around. Yesterday morning, I threw out any silly notion about being "needy", and went for that much needed session.
Her words of wisdom lifted layers of ignorance from my eyes and my heart. She showed me where I'd had inappropriate expectations, and been causing someone dear to me a great deal of pain.

My friend provided wisdom, clarity and truth.
She directed me to hope. Weightless, freeing, HOPE.

The loaded sense of selfishness, confusion, and resentment is gone.
Thank goodness..... one less thing to move into our new place.


time moves quickly

Fall 2006
(notice windows still covered with plastic. shutters and garage waiting to be painted)

When we moved into 66 Brabant Cove.
The kids, age 2 and 4.
Fall 2011
The kids, gr. 2 and 4!?

When people say things to you like;

"The days seem long, but the years are short,"
"Once your children start school, time just flies by,"
"Enjoy this time when your kids are small, they won't be small forever"....

...believe them!
Its so true.
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