Saturday, April 30, 2011
i remember being struck one time with how many times the Bible says, "God heard"...
& then not only does He hear... He sees.
& then not only does He see... He has compassion.
He is moved on behalf of His creation.
Sometimes i sit and feel Him far off... & by His silence, i begin to wonder if He walked away from me, and my whispered prayers are offered only to an empty room.
"You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness..."
Remind me again, Father...
My prayers? They don't fall on deaf ears...
They're caught up by the Father of Lights... & "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live." - ps. 63:3&4a
Friday, April 29, 2011
* My friend Jen is hosting her first giveaway in honour of Mother's Day & the prize is a copy of _40 Weeks_ - go check it out if you're interested!
* i'm speaking at a ladies' event (a chocolate buffet no less) at McKenzie Towne Church in SE Calgary on Friday, May 6th at 7pm. Come one, come all... but only if you're a girl.
*Maybe some of you noticed the button on the left hand corner of my blog... Circle of Moms is putting together a list of the top 25 homeschool blogs. As i scrolled through the list of many, many blogs, i found a few gems - such a fun little treasure hunt! If you wanna vote for me, but don't feel like scrolling all the way through to find me, here's a direct link!
(ps - you're allowed to vote once a day until it closes on May 11th!)
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Recently, someone he respected lent him a book to read. He plowed through it, using time on flights to get everything out of it that he could.
When he got home, i asked him how he liked it & he said, "Do you know why i hate books?" & i said, "no - why?"
"Because they say their point, then figure out a million ways of saying the SAME thing... i get the message already."
i don't think all books are like that - but i have noticed that on occasion... my Father uses the same technique with me.
He'll bring a thought to my head - then reinforce it by making it the focus of the next devotional i'm reading - it'll come up in my conversations, or will be the topic for the sermon at church.
Sometimes i wanna say, "ok, i get it... now let's move on..."
He has been doing that for a couple of years now...
Hey, paige... guess what? People.... people matter to God.
Your Father? He loves people.
Do you know how much He loves people? He loves you too...
And children... they're pretty special people. And God? He loves children too.
There are variations on the theme - different ways of learning the same lesson - as it gets plowed into my mind... and hopefully my heart again and again.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
This post is not for those people.
It's for the rest of us - those of us who hear of hurts, aching sorrows - and we lack the words to comfort. We know the needs - but are unable to fill it. We hold back - claiming to be afraid of barging in on someones private pain - but relieved that we have an excuse to say - and do - nothing.
My cheeks burn even writing that paragraph because i know... i know that people are important - and that God gives me opportunities to *enter in* - to His precious lambs' sorrows... and i have squandered them. i have been afraid to make eye contact - or to listen... *really listen*. i have been too engrossed in my own journey, too exhausted by my own needs - too busy, too tired, too happy...
i remember one time, being almost blown over with the enormity of a friend's loss. i told Neil that she couldn't possibly want to hear anything that i had to say... and that even if she did, i had no words for what she was going through.
Neil *so gently* scolded me.
"You gotta at least throw a lifeline, paige... She can take it, or leave it, but you gotta at least throw one, so she knows it's there..."
And so... tentatively, i went to my computer - and wrote a brief message.
Obedient to the soft chastisement of my husband, but more so to the whisper in the wind that prodded my soul.
Scared? Yes!! i was really terrified that my words could possibly cause even *more* pain... but i bathed that little email in tears, love and prayers - and then pressed 'send'.
This is a really, really hard thing for me. i don't know what to say - or how to say it. i'm not good with gifts, nor do i have the ability to physically *be there* - sharing in painful silences. i'm not overly social - and just getting out of my house takes me beyond my comfort zone. i know that i can't be all to all - and i need to be here for my little ones - despite the fact that there are angry waves of hurt and pain happening in the lives of people that i love...
i pray for softness, for courage when those opportunities arise - for willingness to sacrifice my own comfort, my own laughter (for a moment), my own satisfied soul - and enter in... gently - to the pain of another.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
With that, come decisions about, 'how are we gonna do this? What are we aiming for? Do we have a direction to prepare for?'
She wants to be a midwife when she grows up... & while i'm quite aware that 14 year olds are notorious for changing their minds & swinging wildly between fantastical 'i wanna be's'...
i have this niggling feeling - this wondering - if perhaps she might really -
wanna be a midwife -when the time comes.
i decided i need to start doing my homework.
i have, after all, an 'i wanna be a...' of my own.
*i* wanna be a momma that facilitates the dream makings of her children. i wanna whisper she can... when others might say she can't. i wanna help her with money, with coaching, with the footwork... i wanna be the kind of momma who trusts our Father - and works behind the scenes, "makin' it happen"...
Her meandering dreams take us to a midwifery program in the Philippines... to thoughts about getting her certfication in Rwanda...
& i wonder...
if it's safe...
For my sweet baby girl over across the ocean - so far from her daddy and me.
But if God wants her there - He'll lead... & if He wants her there - i don't want her here... After all - the very safest place for her to be - is in the center of His will. & no - i'm not talking physical safety here.
So - this is on my mind. i have been hesitant to post it here 'cause i don't want her to feel like she is pigeon holed by her present dreamings, but then i thought, why not record some of the stomach churning questions that have come about in these years with all my little ones still tucked securely in our nest?
& so there it is.
Right now - around the dinner table we hear, i wanna be:
the owner of the Mac's store,
a police officer,
a karate master,
a ballet dancer...
& me? i have dreams too... & part of my dreams are to revel in watching my children fulfil theirs.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
This is the weekend that i find i love being a part of a body of believers... 'cause most of the year - we're all so different - so unique. Our walks are all individual: what we know... what we're learning... Sometimes common ground is such a rarity.
But on Good Friday - together we remember His Great Sacrifice... and on Resurrection Day - we rejoice in His Great Victory.
He's My King.
Oh, Father -
you - see - me.
i am loved, heard...
precious even -
to the Creator of all things.
The Alpha and the Omega -
saw fit to ransom me.
"Love so amazing - so divine,
Demands my soul, my life,
i'm your girl.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Your biggest burn is to say furiously, "You're NOT awesome!!" closely followed by the old standby insult, "You're a toilet!"
Your best weapon during a wrestling match is to giggle, "i fart."
You only allow those you love the very best to wipe your bum, "NOOOOOO!!! i want SLOANIE do it!!!" It is an honour to be chosen.
If you find something tedious, you yawn, "This makes me boring."
When mama whispers, "i sure love my baby boy..." you feel the need to remind her, "i not your baby. i Gagey. Ephyum your baby."
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Then - i kissed my sweet five year old goodbye -
this time... my six year old - her teeth more grown in than the year before, her hair pulled back into a tidy little pony tail of her own fashioning.
Why i wound myself with this tradition of goodbyes, i may never understand - but she wouldn't let me forget and climbed into my side of the bed for a goodbye snuggle and a prayer of blessing.
My youngest daughter is seven.
She - so much a part of the older crew - and yet nostalgic about being the baby.
Today my shirt was riding up as we sat on the couch - she's still tiny enough to fit in my arms. She ran her little finger over a silvery stretch mark on the side of my tummy and wondered what it was...
i told her that sometimes when momma's are growing babies, their bellies grow so big - so quickly - that they get little stretch marks on them.
She looked at me quickly - in hopeful anticipation, "There's a baby growing in there right now, isn't there? i know there is! It's a girl! Let's name her Emily!"
No, sweet one, there's no baby growing in there now -
But how tender - to think of sharing your nesting place - on the anniversary of your birth.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Traditional homeschooling and Blended homeschooling?
i am going to try to make this post brief - mostly 'cause i hate confrontation & this is such a touchy subject in some homeschool circles. There are a variety of opinions & i'm just gonna share mine - since i foolishly brought it up on my last post & that invited questions. i'm not gonna dwell too long here 'cause i've got a lot of things i'm interested in & passionate about - & while homeschooling is one of them - the politics surrounding homeschool right now - especially among homeschoolers - isn't one of them.
In Alberta there are many, many choices for schooling your children. Some of these include public, catholic, private, christian, charter, homeschool, online etc....
You'd think with all these options, that homeschoolers would be a pretty unified little group - choosing to do something that i find to be extremely faith building and a lot of hard work... but no...
In Alberta, the government regulations have divided homeschoolers into 2 (or more) camps. The 2 main lables are Traditional homeschoolers - and Blended homeschoolers. The main difference between these two is that Blended homeschoolers receive more funding because they agree to align their program of studies to the learning outcomes of Alberta Ed. (i'm aligned in math and LA - because the learning outcomes are a part of my educational plan anyway). Some of the Traditional homeschoolers (and their boards, and AHEA) feel that the Blended homeschoolers (and their boards) are being unethical in their interpretation of the homeschool regulations. (They say that if you are blended, you have to have those subjects taught by a teacher using teacher led curriculum somewhere other than at home... this has not been my experience with blended).
The heart of the matter is that the regulations are read & understood in two different ways by these two camps. When i approached my board about these accusations, i was informed that they are audited every couple of years and that the Ministry was completely satisfied every time that things were as they should be. And yet - despite the fact that the people who created the regulations are satisfied that they are being followed... the rift remains.
What i'd love? To see homeschoolers supporting each other.
It's hard enough, this job we're doing - without the fragmentation that causes tension - and maligns the character of those who have chosen differently.
i don't know who reads my blog - traditional homeschoolers, blended homeschoolers... whatever. i hope that there isn't a big clarification & war of words in my comments section - but this is just a tiny piece of the struggle that exists here.
Monday, April 18, 2011
* The best part of the convention is seeing my sisters - hands down.
* i met a blog reader who encouraged me in a huge way.
* i got rid of 4 copies of my book.
* i only bought from 2 booths. i bought: a second hand I Spy book & some colouring books & a pencil sharpener - i know... 'hey, big spender...'
* e was kinda high strung. i thought he'd be so mellow 'cause he'd have me all to himself, but it didn't work out that way. He slept well though, so i'll take that!
* My sisters both brought their oldest child... made me miss Cai & wish i had brought her along.
* i love seeing women in their 40's who are expecting babies... i don't see that very often in real life... but at the alternate universe of homeschool convention, it's pretty common - as are daddies wearing Ergos & gangly teens looking after their teeny baby sisters.
* i met a homeschool mama whose daughter chose the same school that Cai would like to attend for her post secondary education - her daughter's success in the career of her choice encouraged me.
* Mama being away for a night makes for a more *energized* (to put it kindly) monday morning - so i'll have to end this now before my house falls apart.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
"Who is here because they *know* their child has a learning disability?"
Hands are raised all across the room...
"Who is here because you *suspect* that there's something different with your child?"
More hands are raised - and i recognise the feeling of relief in the eyes of those other mommas and daddies as they get to say out loud, "i'm lookin' for answers..."
Homeschool mamas - it's ok to have littles that struggle.
The woman teaching the seminar gently poked at my protective heart; "God has a plan for *your child*".... Those learning quirks aren't going to disappoint the Father who *created* that wee one.
More on the convention tomorrow...
Thursday, April 14, 2011
i'm not a super confident, know what i wanna say & i say it clearly & concisely type girl... i find that my mind often goes blank when i try to speak during the music time at church when i'm leading. Even my prayers become two word pleas, "Oh God..." The thought of speaking to a bunch of women (even though they're an encouraging, loving bunch) terrifies me. i homeschool, but teaching has never been my gifting.
But - i *do* wanna say 'yes'... if my Father has something He'd like me to say.
Some of you have known me forever... or at least for a long time.
If you were going to hear me share something - from my life, story, or passions...
What would you like it to be?
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The big girls were at violin - the two middlies were outside, and the two littlest boys were playing at my feet.
But my ten and a half year old was being ten and a half.
Ten and a half is this achingly beautiful age where in a certain light, she almost looks like a teenager... but she still might need to be reminded to brush her hair.
My shoes are still a teeny bit big on her - but she wants to borrow them anyway.
She crafts with paper and markers and scissors, sleeps with her stuffies and checks her email.
She grabbed the moment with no big sisters watching - and with her wide mouth full of perfectly spaced teeth smiling at me asked, "Mama - what do you like about me, and what don't you like about me?"
*instant painful bursting overflowing love*
The good rushes to mind - this is my most compassionate child - full of sympathy, bridge building and crooning mothering attention. This child rocks the baby to sleep, sooths angry, screaming six year olds and begs me not to discipline her siblings.
Images of my boisterous girl leaping into my arms are called to memory too. My girl having no concept at all for personal space, kissing me on the lips or touching noses. She's all about big movements, big noise, close contact... but suddenly - looking at her now... those things don't seem quite as annoying as they usually do.
Her eyes are this colour that i'm sure exists nowhere else on the planet - green growth mixed with earthy browns and sky blues... They're sparkling, luminous orbs that only the least attentive could overlook. Her arms are long and thin - even her hands and feet are tapered - right down to her fingers and toes. Her right thumb is ever so slightly misshapen from the habit that has been *so hard to kick*. Her thick brown lashes and her year round bronzed skin are reminiscent of her daddy's.
As we visit, she keeps disappearing - trying to find just the right shirt to wear with her new pass-me-down pants from Sloanie's latest growth spurt.
Does she know?
Can she feel this love - protective and fierce - that i have for her?
Our hour slips by... the other children are coming home soon...
Does she feel me watching her as she peels the potatoes with her brown hair slipping out from behind her ear, the chipped nail polish calling attention to those little fingers working diligently until each naked potato is ready to be boiled.
o little ones...
This is the part that is so hard to capture in blogging...
This is the part where you'll never know the painful depths of your daddy's and my love.
This is the part... where i need you to look deeper - beyond these meagre words... to the meat of who i am...
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The friend that i went with has been pursuing adoption over these last long months (years?) and her conversation was confirmation in my heart that my Father wants me to ache for the fatherless, the orphaned and abandoned.
Adoption is prolife too...
abortion: edmonton, calgary
Monday, April 11, 2011
& yet -
i feel like i'm learning it for the very first time.
Last week - in one incredible, overpowering moment, i felt like my heart would break - over something that there was no *physical* way that i could do anything about it.
My littles were out of the house, so they didn't hear me cry aloud to the One who hears all, sees all, is always present, "God... Don't do that. Please don't give me a heart for *that*... "
& it washed over me - that it wasn't about what i could or couldn't do... it was about my heart. i don't think i ever really wanted my heart to break for the things that break my Father's heart...
But i do now...
So, Father - show me the ways i can act - don't let me become complacent in the areas that you have called me to *do something*...
But even when my hands are tied...
Break my heart... Make me long for *good things* - even when it would only be through a miracle that i would see those *good things* come to pass.
Bring me to a place of brokeness - so that even in my sorrowing, i can become more like you.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
The sun was shining - & the sky was deceivingly blue, considering the chill in the late morning air.
& i brought a sign.
An incident the other day convinced me i needed a mode of communication.
A woman exited the clinic and walked to the bus stop. A patient? An employee? i don't know... As she wandered back and forth along the sidewalk across the street from us, she couldn't tear her eyes from us - & i wished desperately in that moment to be understood...
i stopped at the dollar store on the way home and bought a single sheet of poster board and 2 black felt tip markers.
But then my perfectionism reared it's ugly head and i couldn't figure out just the right words to put on that paper to convey my heart... so the poster board sat - behind the sofa until just before my friend came to pick me up today.
& i thought for a moment - "Ah, who needs a sign anyway - it just makes people mad..."
But then i thought of the woman - looking at me across the street curiously - and i slammed the paper on the table & wrote carefully in block letters;
"You are loved"
Maybe the love of a stranger from across the street is meaningless - but could i trust my Father to let them know the unceasing well of HIS love is big enough to conquer any current crisis?
Running out of time, i flipped the paper - crumbs flying off the table as i wrote, "Life is a gift".
i brought my sign again the next time i went to the clinic.
It turned out to be a day of conversations.
Sweet Vera who needed someone to listen. She showed us her antique rosary - and cried as she told us her children had said they would never make her a grandmother.
And then there was Kayla - who first yelled at us from her car, and then pulled over to have a more peaceful conversation.
As we drove home, the words that i had spoken had already dimmed in my memory, though my friend told me i said good things... But what had stayed with me were Kayla's words. She told us that her friends who had gone through abortions felt bad enough. She said they were filled with guilt and would carry that sorrow for the rest of their lives. She felt that our silence - our closing our eyes to their anguish - would be more compassionate.
"But... that's the reason we're there... isn't it? To even then, give them a chance to avoid that future - and in case that fails, to tell them they are loved?" My friend suggested.
And my heart can't help but agree.
abortion: edmonton, calgary
Friday, April 8, 2011
i was expecting my shipment of books to arrive on the 13th.
It came early.
i'm not even gonna tell you how many i ordered because i'm already half dead from embarrassment & if i can hear you laughing from your computers, i don't know what i'll do...
Anyway - the doorbell rang & Cai squealed, "MOM!! It's your books!! He said there are TWO HUGE boxes!!"
& there were...
"Did you order this many?" He asked, grunting and straining - as though he guessed that this many books. must. be. too many.
"Um," i choked, "i think so..."
Neil's out of town, so Cai helped me hide one of the boxes in a dark corner of her closet. The other one is shoved into our front coat closet.
i have already day dreamed of burning them to hide the evidence.
All that to say: If you're in Calgary, my books have arrived & you can buy one if you want. Preferably before Neil gets home and sees how much room that box has taken up in our closet... "What the....??!!"
ps - special love to lisa j for swinging by within an hour to buy the first copy. i'm sorry i cried & hugged you... (how humiliating).
Thursday, April 7, 2011
i could probably just end this post with that stand alone thought, but i want to tell you one more thing.
This morning as we prayed, Sloanie prayed for something i'm sure she's heard me pray for countless times: softness.
"Father, help me to be soft..."
The thought stayed with me as i carried on my day.
Early on this frigid afternoon as my friend and i prayed outside that clinic, another young mama stood on the sidewalk beside us. She had a tiny sign made out of construction paper - and on it was handwritten, "Babies are precious gifts".
She held her rosary while her little sign flapped in the breeze.
i noticed - that she cried when the door opened and closed. Silent and tearful - kept on the other side of the street, longing - she told us - to run across the street, and hold those people in her arms. She felt so deeply - so badly -
She laughed apologetically to us when we introduced ourselves, "i'm sorry, i didn't know i would be so deeply affected being here today. It's my first time coming here to pray..."
Oh God... There are so many hurting people in this world. Help me to be soft.
abortion: edmonton, calgary
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
There are no hard and fast rules - just ideas to help myself to stay soft, and follow through on my convictions. & as it turned out - this Monday - i found myself soft and aching already - ready to check the vigil schedule for an empty spot that i could fill.
My friend sent me a message that she could go today - & so she drove to my house, where it was almost like we picked up our littles in a shaker to decide who would come and who would stay.
With her van full of our mixed set - we left the rest at home to nap and play till we were done.
After ten minutes of driving, i realized that i hadn't inhaled yet. My friend's eyes were on the road & she was smiling and 'uh-hun'ing to me... but i had been talking non-stop since we pulled away from my house.
There's a freedom that comes from ceasing to sift words so carefully - knowing they will be sifted for you. What comfort when someone understands your deeper meaning. They don't stumble over badly chosen words or smallish ideas. Good friendships are like that - you learn to sift the wheat from the chaff, and you end up covering much ground as a companionable red van barrels down the deerfoot.
Like-mindedness is such a rarity that it's a delicious treat when it's discovered.
And so we prayed... we ached... we talked... we stood in silence.
For the first time, that parking lot wasn't full - and once again i felt that comforting confirmation that i'm to come... and keep coming - till He tells me to quit.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The book itself is gonna be $10.
Thanks for reading...
Monday, April 4, 2011
In frustration, i sighed (one of those big exasperated sighs that parents are so good at - that tells your little ones you're angry)...
"Are mornings hard for you mama?" Sweet one asks...
(Through gritted teeth), "Only on the days when you guys spend them crapping all over each other..."
Those are the less than appropriate words that passed my lips.
"Nice visual, mom..."
& it's not.
& i'm not proud of myself.
We read from Psalms.
"May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing in Your sight."
i fail, i fall, i repent, i'm forgiven...
Aching periods of *choosing* - in humility - to lay it all down...
Friday, April 1, 2011
it's ok - to run out of words.
it's ok - to feel just the littlest bit... empty.
As i pulled onto 5th Ave, i clipped the side mirror of the silver fox with a big red truck parked on the road.
No wonder i hate driving.
Muttering at my own stupidity under my breath, i did what i had to do - & then tried to get my heart to slow down to a mere gallop so that i could pray.
But God? He's not all about composure & perfection. i've known that for awhile now. He's teaching me new things every hour that i vigil outside this clinic and meet with Him so far outside of my comfort zone. My audible prayers must be a sweet sacrifice for Him as my timidity makes my eyes burn & tear.
My friend talks to me, then talks to God - then back to me - like He's standing on the street corner with us. Her act of faith comforts me.
A woman who has walked by me more than once on the days i have stood on the street corner asks me, "So what's the attraction to this spot?"
i explain our purpose, and as she smiles and walks away - i wonder at His purposes.
Today, i felt discouraged - i want someone who cares to listen to me. i didn't realize that my discouragement was just thinly veiled pride... i didn't want to be alone - and lonely. i wanted that sidewalk and park to be filled with believers - who were united in purpose.
i forget sometimes that it's not my job to make my faith palatable to anyone else... it's my job to obediently follow where He leads.
It's no wonder the Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12) 'cause there's an intimacy in that relationship that makes discouragement impossible.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. hebrews 12:1-3