Wednesday, December 31, 2008

nappy new year?

this new year's eve, we canceled all our plans, rsvp'd "no" to several things, and are staying in. we have no plans to watch the ball drop, no plans to overindulge in the champagne, and no shame in saying so! new years eve is the most overrated "holiday' - mark said "it stops being fun when you're 23". i've had a few fun nye's over the years, for sure, but sometimes i'm just barely holding on til midnight. not this year. this year, my night is my own. maybe we'll watch a dvd, maybe we'll crack open the wine i've been aging this past year. maybe we won't.

one way or another, i hope you have a happy new year's eve - and much more importantly, i hope the upcoming year holds gifts for you that you wouldn't hope to imagine.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

i may be premature...

... but if you don't start thinking about these things early enough, they pass you by!

february 25th is the first day of lent this year. "lent!?" says you? "lent." says i. the traditional christian practice of giving up something in an effort to prepare yourself for the celebration of easter... and to reorder your life a bit more thoughtfully toward God. i always encourage my friends to practice lent with me - tho most don't. (no guilt intended!) :) i am undaunted, though! i will particiapte in lent again this year - i always find it so fruitful, and so healing for my heart. so maybe this will be the year you do it, too? if you feel the need to make space in your life for Jesus, lent is the way to go, i'm telling you. and it's always surprising to me how God shows up when i take the time to show up, you know?

here are a couple of things i'm thinking about for lent 2009....
  • giving up, or wildly restricting, the internet. i did this last year, and loved it, but my laptop has spent the last year sucking me back in!
  • fiction - like the internet, i lose a lot of time here!
  • tv - this one may be too hard, but i'm considering it! ('house', i love you!)
think about it... maybe lent this year?

Monday, December 29, 2008

my life back.... and vincent....and weather

my parents left this morning in a flurry of bags & bickering... (smile)... and much to my great delight, they spent a good while yesterday while i was out cleaning with The Girls, so i don't have to 'un-company' the house! how glorious! instead, i will have to try to get my life back - by which i primarily mean get to the gym and find a way to unspoil The Girls, who have spent the last week learning (from mimi & papa) that the world revolves around them! could be a long road...

one of the highlites of my past week was my brother, vincent. you all know how much i love him. we shouted, played, danced, went to a hockey game, stayed up too late (for me... barely evening for him!), watched 'flight of the conchords' and just hung out. he makes my heart happy.

lastly, for my canadian friends & readers, yesterday i went to bed with flip flops at my front door, and all the windows open. you can't beat that... really.

Friday, December 26, 2008

the calm after the storm

happy christmas!

we had a great christmas day! presents! joy! family! everyone too tired! too much food! friends! loud, raucous games! wine! fancy beer! did i mention TOO MUCH FOOD!??!

but i discovered this year the single hour of christmas i hate. they say everyone hates something about christmas, and here is my 'thing'. the hour after everything is opened and there is mad chaos. every kid asking to "open this!" "how does that work?" "where is my..." and my favorite..."MOOOOM!!!". add to this the mess (mess is not my friend) and the hurry to start the stuffing/turkey/quiche/pancakes/whatever, and it is chaos overload for me. i totally cratored yesterday in the madness! yikes!

but today is the calm after the storm. ahhhh. everything is figured out, everyone is happy in their pj's, food is 'help yourself to the myriad of leftovers at any time' and life is slooooowwww. some would say that the day after christmas is a letdown, but i think it's just about right.

as long as your not trying to get to the mall...

Monday, December 22, 2008


i wish i had something profound to say about christmas - something that would stir the embers of your heart, something that would help make an old story new again. the truth is, though, that all i have are half finished sentences and unformed ideas... so i offer you the best thing i've read in a long time. cynthia's post on mary...worth the minute to read it.

".... Breath of Heaven, hold me together..."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

footies for grown-ups!

every time a grown-up sees my girls in their footies they say, "i wish i had footies!" and so here is my festive public service for you all!

footies for grown ups!

merry christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

merry christmas!


i hope you have a wonder-filled, peace-filled, joy-filled christmas.

love love love

Friday, December 19, 2008

a perfect morning... almost

eating breakfast with meg this morning, we saw 2 deer stroll through the woods behind our house... beautiful. add to that, it's the last day of school this year, it's friday, it's going to be a balmy 65 F and it only SIX sleeps til christmas, and you've pretty much got yourself a perfect day!

if only i didn't have to go to the gym.... :)

merry christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

josh makes a good point...

i, too, have been unusually excited about christmas this year! for some reason, tho i'm not as externally festive as i've been in the past - fewer decorations, less holiday paraphernalia - i am feeling more anticipation than usual. maybe it's because i missed out on a lot of "christmas" last year while i was in portland, but this christmas feels new to me. certainly, a big factor is that this will be the first christmas eve that curtis will be home when the girls are getting ready for bed and opening their teaser christmas eve gift. i have always done this myself, and then usually sat alone for an hour or more waiting for him to be done work, just shrugging it off as "the way it is". but knowing that he will be here, and we will all be together, increases my joy exponentially. i am feeling warm and fuzzy, just sitting here thinking about it. a pastor's family shouldn't have to miss out on the best moments for christmas - it just makes you hate christmas a little bit. and year by year it becomes less special and less wondrous... but not this year. this year christmas eve has been transformed from a work night into a real night of peace on earth and joy to my world.

because the things that make it holy are not just the babe in the straw, a star and shepherds, but the present and real Jesus, weaving in a dance amid my daughters laughter and curtis' and my love for each other, and God's joy witnessing all of it. the baby doesn't make a difference if he didn't grow to be a man, and the man changes nothing if he didn't sacrifice his life for us, and his sacrifice is meaningless unless he really was resurrected - only the present and real, resurrected Jesus gives the baby of the manger the power to change everything.

oh, holy night....


that is all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

tuesday morning adventures! OR "why curtis is a better human being than me"

the necessary preface to this little story is two-fold. a) i am not a morning person - understatement of the year! and b) i got 4 non-consecutive hours of sleep last night.

curtis left to take kyra to school around 7:15. at 7:17 my phone rings and he has a flat. luckily he's still in the neighborhood, so will i come get kyra so he can put on his spare? my head pounding, i throw on a hat and some jeans, and race to the truck with meg... and while pulling out of the garage hit the bushes and scrape the entire side of the truck. clearly i should not drive whilst still asleep. i find kyra, race her to school (jury's out on whether she made it to class before the tardy bell, but there was hope!), and get another call from curtis saying that his tire iron broke, and i need to pick him up and bring him home to get his tools. so meg and i go get him, he gets his tools (including a hammer?!) and take him back to his car, where we wait to make sure nothing else goes awry. all is well, and meg and i return home to finish getting her ready for school.

why is it that, at the end of all this, i am left feeling like mine was the lousy morning? i wasn't the one who got up early - curtis was, and does everyday with kyra! i wasn't the one whose car got a flat. so i had to get up 10 min before my alarm went off - big deal! curtis, when i picked him up to get his tools, still had a smile on his face! i was faced this morning with how selfish i am - like screwtape's letter to wormwood, i think i "own" my time, am entitled to it, when i neither create it, nor can i add to it! (c.s. lewis - 'the screwtape letters')

so a shout out to curtis! a great husband & father, and a man who didn't lose his victory on a crazy morning! you go, big boy! i love you... and even tho you are lucky to have me, i am lucky to have you, too! ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

monday updates....

more gratitude!

my class was canceled and i went to coffee with a friend instead! hooray!

then i saw a yellow bellied sap sucker on my bird feeder! they are rare around here, so hooray!

thanks, God!

attitude of gratitude

monday morning - the last week of school. *ahhhhhh*

i wouldn't tell my kids, but i don't like school either! i don't like the tired rush of the morning, the endless lunches, the mountainous middle school homework.... i can't wait for christmas break!

here's what makes this monday morning a 'good' morning. let's start with the most important thing. coffee. God bless, retroactively, the aztecs or myans or whomever it was that saw this green bean and though, "hmmm. lets put it in the fire, grind it up and soak it in water. i bet it's miraculous!" also, it's already 56 F outside, headed to 68 F! woot! in our former hometown, the temp this morning is -18 F, but with the windchill it feels like -34 F! (and people wonder why i don't long to move back home!?!?) also, i am going to the gym and have a fun class this morning with some great women who make me happy - it makes the gym managable on a monday morning. i was given flowers last week by a family friend, and they are still blooming and beautiful. and my husband told me yesterday that he loves my cat because he loves me. awww!

really, i have a lot to be thankful for. and it's a good way to start the week, remembering.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


well, we are only 12 days from christmas. my girls started opening their 12 days of christmas gifts my mom helped them choose out for each other, and in the midst of the whooping, curtis rolled over in bed and looked at me with one eye open and said, "the christmas delight is here." i had to laugh!

the next 12 days are the best days of the year... the anticipation, the pie, the little gifts and christmas tree lights... i love them. there is nothing more exciting than what could be.

i hope i have time to enjoy the anticipation for the next week and a half... i hope you do! i hope for us all a few quiet nights with people we love, lit by tea lights and christmas trees. i hope for us all festive drinks in "high-heeled" glasses, cosy fireplaces, and the anticipation not only of the gifts that are wrapped and taped under the tree, but the anticipation of Who will be...

Friday, December 12, 2008

13 sleeps

only 13 sleeps til christmas!

my very favorite part of christmas is christmas eve, after The Girls go to bed, and i load up the tree and fill the stockings. it's the coolest thing about being The Mom. i sit on the floor, infront of the tree, and can't keep from grinning. though the trinkets and baubles underneath it are rarely expensive or spectacular, they are always opened with insane joy and wonder. but for me, christmas eve, late late, my joy is in the anticipation... it's in being the giver of that joy. i love it. i love to sit in the dim quiet and play in my minds eye the giddiness of the morning. it's hard to go to bed - the excitement of christmas morning is almost more than i can bear.

what's your favorite?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

reflection on pop culture

last night i watched 'secret millionaire' - a show that takes millionaires and sets them down in the midst of urban poverty to meet the people and see what life is like without the cushion of their money, and ends with the millionaire giving away "at least $100 000 of their own money". it was actually quite beautiful. the couple last night was sent to watts - one of the scariest neighborhoods in la. but the perspective shown of the community the rich couple moved into was not "woe is them" but rather one of a community that has pockets of folks that really look out for one another, because they have to. people who know each others names and stories. at the end the man gave $50 000 to 3 community run projects - one for at risk youth, one for women who lost family members to violence and one for women who are returning to life after prison. no doubt those gifts will go a long way to extend the reach and the ability of the organizations to help their community. and watching the emotion of both the giver and the recipient was moving. but in the end, the rich couple returns to their mansion, and the poor families are left in watts. and i was left wondering what the impact of this will be 3 months or 5 years from now. i wonder if the man in the mansion will slowly forget, sleeing with his guilt assauged - or was he truly transformed, and will be living with an eye toward how he can use his money to help?

i was left wishing i had the money to do something grand like that... but then i was reminded that writing a check is the easiest part. what would really be something would be if that rich couple went back every week to volunteer for one of those groups, or just to have dinner with friends they made there. and that's where we - the nonmillionairres of the world - have so much to give. our time, our attention, our listening, our labour, our love... if you've got money to spare, giving it is the easy part. giving yourself, on the other hand, that's a whole new ball game.

and the longer i thought about it, i had to admit that i exempt myself from various opportunities to "help" because i can't write the check. but i could offer something more valuable than money. myself.

i recommend 'secret millionaire' actually. i liked it. but don't get hung up on the money. at the risk of sounding cliche, "what the world needs now... is love... sweet love..."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


i am being gassed to death by my cat. she looks so innocent, but she is foul. i will miss you all... *gasp*

Monday, December 08, 2008

an ode to my daughters

Slender and agile
The long fingers (with chipped purple polish only on the thumbs)
Carefully lay the blade alongside my own thumb (free of polish of any kind).

She pushes my hands together
With instructions to blow hard into the small crevasse.

Imagine my shock when, after being defeated by grass my whole life,
The jarring scream of an eagle
(Or blasting honk of a crow?)
Pierces our front porch!

Again and again
I blow hard into the small crevasse
While my daughter dances with bright eyes around my chair exclaiming
“‘I told you, you could do it!”

Three brown eyed girls
Hooting and chirping merrily in the sunshine
Luring neighborhood birds into response
Smiling at each other widely
From beneath our thumbs

Which look like they are up our noses.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

the man i love

so last night we were at a district christmas banquet. there's so much i could tell you, but i will keep it to one story. :)

there is a part of the evening where introductions are made and thanks is given, and after each name there is applause. about 15 - 20 applauses. and right before they started, my husband turns to me and says, "i'm going to be the last clapper". he grinned. he is a loud clapper. so i leaned over and told jarred & crystal (friends at our table) the news...

sure enough, at the end of the first couple of claps, curtis is the last, loud, lone clapper. and crystal, jarred and i are in tears, we are laughing so hard. because we are in a room whose constituents are largely older & conservative. curtis has the most benign look on his face - mild mannered & gently smiling. but at the end of each round of applause, his giant hands ring out their last claps. soon, the table next to us, which must have had a few rablerousers at it, noticed what was going on, and extended their clapping quite significantly, causing curtis to have clap later and later, all the way into the next introduction once or twice! by now, crystal and i are cramping up from laughing so hard, and curtis just keeps clapping... oh my gosh. i nearly died!

and that is just one more reason i love my husband. :) well done, my dear.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

i remember now

in all the "ho ho ho" and "35% off" and "what on earth will i get my sister's husband?" it's easy to forget.

God came down. who was Big became small. who was Strong became weak. who was Everything became nothing.

"... the greatest love that anyone could ever know..."

"... my soul felt it's worth..."

"... silent night... holy night..."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

a first time for everything

merry christmas! :) only 22 sleeps - are you ready?? i am not! we do not even have our trees up! *gasp*! this is the longest we've ever waited to put them up, tho it's more about not having time to think about it more than anything else! sheesh. maybe i should get on the ball and do it today... ungh... am i a grinch? oh no!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the bird debacle, part III

oh. my. gosh.

we got home from thanksgiving, and inigo's feathers were back, so i put them back in the same cage. i should have known. after a bit of getting reacquainted, fezzik went off on him!! he chased him from top to bottom, side to side, knocking inigo off perches, off the walls of the cage, biting him in mid-air, and the coup de grace ... grabbing him by his head feathers, knocking him off the perch, and hanging him over the edge like bruce willis would hang a bad guy off a building!! STUPID BIRDS! needless to say, i separated them - again - and now am negotiating a bird trade with my mother (she of the 7 birds). have i mentioned before that these birds are more trouble than they're worth??

on a lighter note, we're home. suitcases are unpacked, groceries are got, laundry is done, the sun is shining and my house is quiet this afternoon (now that the birds are separated). the drive home was long, and at one point we were driving through bona fide snow - the kind you would see in a christmas movie - but there was no traffic and we were grateful for that! makes me glad we took the girls out of school for a travel day!

i hope you all had a very thankful thanksgiving! now... only 23 sleeps til christmas!