Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

How to pick a career: by a 4 year old

"Mommy, you want to know the ONLY reason I wouldn't want to be a fireman?"

"Sure honey. What is the one reason why you don't want to be a fireman?"

"I don't want to slide down that pole."

"Oh, I see. Well, maybe you could just use the stairs. Then would you want to be a fireman? You like everything else?"

"Well, and I don't want to get too close to the fire. That would be dangerous."

"Right, I could see that. So you want to put the fire out from farther away."

"Yah. Like sometimes they put the fire out from ladders."

"Right, that would be great son! Would you like to go up those ladders?"

"Well, the ladders are pretty tall. I don't think I want to go up the ladders either. That might be dangerous because you could fall off into the fire."

"Good point, honey. So you don't want to slide down the pole, and you don't want to be close to the fire, and you don't want to climb the ladder. So why DO you want to be a fireman?"

"I like the uniform and I want to drive the truck."

"Well that is a good basis for a career choice. Well done." (mental note: just be glad he didn't say he wanted to be a fireman because it is a good way to pick up babes...)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mental note to self

When your 2 year old daughter says she is all done her noodles and peas at supper, believe her and do not continue feeding her more bites. Why? She will begin throwing them up around 9 p.m. and keep at it until 1 a.m.

Unless of course you *enjoy* NOT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT AGAIN...

I'm okay. It's all good. Take a deep breath.....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Today's selection is for my kindred heart, Jessica. I know that she will likely get teary-eyed along with me as I watch this for the millionth time since finding it on youtube. Talk about talent, and beauty, and emotion, and WOW-fulness...

But beyond the mere brilliance of a scene from Les Mis, this chokes me up because of what it reminds me of and what time of life it draws to memory. Let me say it this way:

There once was a playwright named Mike
Who wrote several musicals I like.
When I acted those scenes,
I felt just like Fantine.
My wish? an end to his writer's strike.

There once was a stage at West London
Where a certain young Barbara was undone
by the chance to forget
Who she wasn't quite yet
and the hope that her "new me" would soon come.

It was as close as I ever came to this: (get the tissues ready)

Monday, September 22, 2008

hand me downs

I love words. Good words. Highly percussive words. Rhyming words. Sensical and non-sensical words. Written words. Spoken words. Well-chosen, timely words.

Which is to say, I really do not like it when words are wasted, twisted, and re-interpreted and stolen, forcibly being made to mean things they never were intended to (and yes, I realize my own choice of words is sadly lacking, and I too am guilty of verbicide much too often.)

Which is to say, I am very aware of the phrases that are on the clothes my girls wear and how these words, under different circumstances, would be lovely. But on a t-shirt? They can leave much to be desired. Let me back up a bit:

We have a neighbour girl who likes to give my girls all her hand me downs. This is great because they are hardly worn at all, they are typically very cool which dispells the "homeschool aura" which might otherwise possibly surround my daughters' wardrobe. And apparently it somehow becomes good blog fodder.

I read once on Stuff Christians Like, which is a site that I really can't fully endorse but will admit to reading fairly obsessively, that girls today, who wish to remain pure and modest, need to learn this important truth: Your Butt is not a Billboard. He was speaking in reference to the highly ironic line of sweat pants that had the phrase "True Love Waits" written in bold across the seat of said pants. Talk about conflicting messages!

So back to the post at hand. I, with eagle eyes, peruse the clothing in these hand me down bags for any tacky phrase or highly immodest cut. I thought I would enlighten you to some of these phrases and you tell me if you would let your 9 year old daughter wear them. So without further ado,...

Barbara's Top 10 List of "My Baby Is Not Wearing a Shirt that says THAT" phrases

10. Soccer Girls Kick Butt!

9. Girl Power!!

8. Yes, I do know I'm cute.

7. A Hell's Angels logo rip off

6. I'm a Princess--and princesses are always right!

5. Phat! (especially once I looked up what that actually means!)

4. B.U.M. Equipment (my 8 year old decided that made her feel silly)

3. Girls rule, boys drool

2. A Skater boy broke my heart (on the front) So I broke his board (on the back)

1. Juicy!

So call me old fashioned but I think "juicy" should refer to peaches, girls are supposed to learn to let the boys (meaning their husbands eventually) lead, Hell's Angels are not to be imitated or emulated, and that heart breaking really shouldn't even be a consideration for a girl who is too young to babysit or stay home by herself. yikes. Don't get me wrong: I have not searched the internet to learn how to crochet my own lace collars for my girls' new denim jumpers, but I do think there could be a happy little spot in the middle where my kids are dressed like they live in 2008 but are not advertising their bodies or their snotty attitudes on their clothing.

There. I got it all out. Time to step off my soapbox and go hug my little ones while they are still young enough and innocent enough to think hugging mom is a good way to spend the day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


First off, let me say that as a general rule, I do not like being woken up at 3:30am and then having to stay up from 4:30am on with a baby. However, there are times when these rare and annoying occurances give a little something that makes me go "maybe *this* is why I was supposed to wake up this morning".

So wee baby boy decided to wake up this morning and not settle back down. As I stand in the kitchen holding him, noticing how lovely he looks at this time of day, feeling the cool of his cheeks and his chewed-on-damp fingers holding my neck, wishing I had remembered to buy milk for the cup of tea that would taste really good right about then, I notice how brightly lit my house is for 4:30am in the beginning of fall. I make the assumption that the back yard is light enough that I could read a book at the patio table (if I wasn't afraid of dewy spider webs and earwigs).

So I try to look at the moon thinking I would like to see a nice bright full moon. But I can't find it out the window. It must be directly over my house, or perhaps off to one side where I have no line of vision. And I marvel to myself just how brightly the moon is shining to light everything up like that.

Then I remember: the moon doesn't shine; it reflects the Sun. The lyrics of a Sara Groves song come to mind and I turn my admiration away from the moon and onto the Lord who is all brilliant and glorious.

You are the Sun shining down on everyone.
Light of the World giving light to everything I see.
Beauty so brilliant I can hardly take it in.
And everywhere you are is warmth and light.

I am the moon with no light of my own
Still you have made me to shine
And as I glow in this cold dark night
You know I can't be a light unless I turn my face to You.

Fuel for Thought

A few weeks ago my pastor spoke on Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. He made a comment that was excellently profound to me. He said "The devil always promises things he cannot make good on. He cannot fulfill his promises." In context he was talking about Satan offering Jesus the world if only He would worship him. The point was that Satan will tempt us with good things he is actually unable to give us. Those good things are not his to give. Very helpful to remember.

However, what really struck me was that same truth on the flip side of the coin: The horrible things that Satan promises to do to us he cannot do either. He cannot make good on his promise to shame, kill, destroy, defame, devalue, or snatch away from the Lord. Those wounds which he promises to inflict are only his to do as the Lord sees fit. It is not in his power to do anything to me that my loving, heavenly, sovereign Father has not willed.

Thank you for that Lord. Keeping that in mind gives me the confidence to resist Satan and to flee from him. No matter what he threatens me with, You are still in control and nothing that is not for my good can befall me.

Listen to the sermon here. Or, if I'm technologically hindered here and that link didn't work try going here and scroll down to the August 31st sermon. And then, because my readers are so keen, I know you will want to go back and listen to the first two sermons in that trilogy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays


Quite some time ago my dear friend Paula won my contest of "Who knows what is an Oxford Comma" and I promised to give a prize. Just now am I realizing I failed to fulfill said promise. SCANDALOUS!!! I suppose it just goes to prove that you can't believe everything you read online. Bwah hahaha.

Still, the lovely Paula directed me to this next Wow-ful selection. I had not previously heard of this group but now am glad to have become acquainted with them.

So today I have decided to post this video of Celtic Woman, which is a bit of a misnomer as they are actully "women" not "one woman" as well as there are often men in the back ground vocals as well... confusing, no?

However, this selection reminds me of two of my great desires in my quest to be a Wow-ful Woman vocalist: 1) to be able to sing such brilliant harmonies, especially when acapella and 2) to have this most brilliant of a wardrobe and the opportunity to wear it (it is a bit much for a Sunday morning)!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Results are In

Despite the incredible amount of rain, the parade went on as planned at the Fall Fair and the folks lined the streets to watch it. Our children had a blast picking up soggy candy off the street and then begging me to eat all of it. (not before they share the sour candies with me though. We'll call it a service tax.)

Then off to the exhibitors hall:

28 items entered. 5 children entering their wares.

23 ribbons received.

First place red ribbons: 4

Second place blue ribbons: 4

Third place white ribbons: 6

Thanks for coming out burgandy ribbons: 9

Apparently the other 5 items didn't even need to bother showing up as they ended up ribbonless...

The kids had a hoot, and I am proud of them. Next year I may even try and enter some muffins...that's about all I got!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heard At My House

Actually....heard at my church:

Scenario: Standing in the nursery with my pudgyily gorgeous 7 month old son.

Lady: (grabbing the baby's cheeks) Wow, Look at your fat little cheeks! You look just like your momma!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Fair Time

Today is the day when all the wannabe agrarians come to the town's fairgrounds and drop off all there 4-H-ish best.

While I love seeing my little ones be creative, this day is a nightmare to me.

Oh I know. I can hear you "Barbara. Don't be a stick in the mud. Let your children blossom and create and be rewarded for their hardwork."

I know. That's why I not only feel exhausted from filling out entry forms for an hour with 7 children standing patiently by me in a teeny little hot room but I also feel guilt.

See, my life, so far, is summed up as a struggle with laziness and procrastination. It has also been one of the counting the cost and determining that most things aren't worth the effort.


Because I do not want my children to grow up dealing with those sins (I figure they can be creative and come up with their own), I figure I will encourage them to do things like this which are messy, time consuming, and have very little reward at the end other than the joy of a job well done (which, I know, should really be enough).

Yesterday we skipped school to finish our projects: Lots of crayon, marker, and pencil crayon drawings, glitter glue, homemade cookies, quilting, knitting, Mr.Potato Heads (made with organic potatoes thank you very much...), decorated eggshells, handmade bracelets, macaroni picture frames, and a gift basket for a shut in.

Fantastic. It all looked great, the kids had a blast, and it kept everyone occupied for hours yesterday.

Of course today we had to get up early to drive my husband to work so we could have the car, then come home and eat breakfast and give the baby a nap and do final touches on macaroni picture frames and have a bath and feed the baby and then get everyone in the car to go to the store to buy paper plates for the cookies and then cram into the room to fill out a gagillion tags.

Problem 1. the 6 year old trips entering said room and hurts her toe and break 2 hand painted egg shells.

Problem 2. I wore a sweater because I forgot how stinkin' hot it was last year in that little room.

Problem 3. This is a small town and I know every other person who enters the room who all want to look at the baby and tell me how cute he is and how big and can you believe he's only 7 months! and how long has your two year old had glasses....nice to catch up, but I'M WORKIN' HERE!!! (Note to self: must pray for the spirit of 'social graces').

Problem 4. My kids are brilliantly fantastically patient. E (6 yo) is occupying the 2year old, M (9 yo) is making sure I fill out the forms right, J (8 yo) is reading to the other two (7 yo A and 4 yo C) and baby Z is just as content and peaceable as ever. Wait, you say, how is this a problem? Read on for the application and life lesson of my day:

Life lesson: I have nothing to complain about. And yet here I am complaining. I have industrious, loving, helpful children who want to use the creativity the Lord has given them. And all I want to do is gripe and complain about how this is taking too long and I want a cup of tea. Praise the Lord that He shut my mouth and kept me smiling outwardly. I managed to not show the kids the internal grump I had going on.

What was that I said the other day about looking to the interests of others? Yup. I tanked today...inwardly anyway. And since the Lord does not look at the outward appearance but rather at my heart, I'm guessing I won't be getting a red ribbon for my performance today.

Lord please let me learn from my children to be diligent and peaceable in all things. Help me to be willing to put out my best effort even when it is clear that others have done and will do better than me. Help me to want to work hard joyfully instead of doing it with this stinkin' self-centered, appetite driven grump in which I am currently wallowing.

How much of life am I missing out on enjoying because I am constantly weighing out if the effort is worth the enjoyment?

But as a Tommy Walker song says: There's still hope for me today, because the God of Heaven loves me. And that is worth everything.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fuel For Thought

As I'm thinking about what we do on Sunday mornings:

"Really, there is no beautiful style, no beautiful design, and no beautiful color: there is just one beauty, that of the truth that is revealed."

Attributed to Auguste Rodin (1840 - 1917)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Now this week it will seem like I've broken my own rules about Wow-ful Women by posting a video of a mixed-gender trio. However, this is just to prove that I'm not bound by the law. :-)

So this is The Martins, a brother and sisters group who I adore. I've seen them in concert and have some of their CD's (except for their Acappella hymns Cd...my birthday is in November. Just sayin'.)

If you don't know anything about them, let me give you the highlights: they learned harmony by singing hymns with their mom, so really their mom fits the Wow-ful Women part of this too. At the concert I attended the sister wearing a red dress in this video (that's Judy) spoke of a battle with depression she once had which of course endears her to me. She is an entirely gifted Wow-ful Woman in her own right, although this video doesn't highlight that. I actually would love to exude the peacefulness and gentleness and lady-likeness that she does. Her voice and harmonies are exceedingly beilliant to me.

Anyhow, this video highlights Joyce, the older sister. And while I am seriously not as Wow-ful as she is in most ways, there is one area that will become instantly, visually obvious to those of you who know me in which I am just that Wow-ful. Perhaps even more so....leave a comment (even snarkily if you like!) if you see what I mean. Enjoy!

And since there are three people to listen to, I figure I should post at least 2 videos! This kind of singin' is what really gets me fired up. I.want.to.do.this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Think I Need To Fast

And although my weight would benefit from a food fast that is not actually what I'm speaking of. I think I need a talking fast.

Psalm 39 this morning made a lot of sense to me.

"I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence."

Yes. That is exactly what I need. A Talking Fast so I do not sin with my tongue.

Years ago I read a book (Personality Plus for those of you dying to know my sources) that suggested the sanguine types among us would do well to talk a whole lot less. It even gave a suggestion of how to do that. I practiced this method for quite some time. Ready for my secret weapon against sinning with my tongue?

Only say every third thought that comes into my mind.

I'm not even kidding. I totally counted it out.

So you are sharing something with me. It reminds me of a story I could share. But I don't. You share something else. I could share too. But I don't. You share a third thing: ah yes, here is my chance to speak...Unless of course I have now slowed down enough to censor my thoughts and realize that this will be a hurtful, prideful, tearing down, gossiping kind of sharing in which case I buy stocks in Duct Tape because really, that might just work better.

I'm not even really all that sanguine, but I don't know when to just let silence be okay. I'm working on that.

So next time you see me if I am doing a whole lot of smiling and nodding and not a whole lot of chatting, look at my fingers to see if I'm counting to three.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shockingly, It's not all about me

In a world like we have today where we are constantly being bombarded with disgusting lies that it is okay to be self-absorbed, and being brainwashed by propaganda that we have to "look out for number one" it is easy to fall prey to this mindset that so long as I am happy (read: getting what I want) I will be more fit to make you happy.

That, my friends, is a load of bunk.

See, I really like this lie. If you don't take care of yourself you won't have the energy to take care of others. And to a point that is absolutely true. If I don't eat well and sleep well I will be a sick and useless woman unfit to care for my family. However, that does not give me the freedom to eat whatever, whenever, and sleep in to 8:30am under the guise that "I need my sleep". Yeah? Really? then go to bed at 8:00pm and get the extra hours earlier as opposed to later. (thank goodness for babies who wake up at 7:00 to be fed. A built in alarm clock! and for a husband who consistently rise early and motivate me to do the same.)

It feels good to have "experts" giving me fuel for my lazy gluttonness. "No, no honey. Mommy can't get play with you right now. I'm just taking care of myself so I have the energy to take care of you later,....which apparently does not include putting down my book to actually play with you. Sorry. You can wait".

Let me back up a bit: yesterday in church while we were leading worship, Tim says "Pray and ask the Lord to show you what it is that is blocking your view of Him. What is He asking you to do or to lay down so that you can see Him and serve Him better" (okay maybe that was a paraphrase not a direct quote: point is the same.)

So what do I hear? As (nearly) always "Barbara, you need to die to self. You need to get out of the way. You need to DO SOMETHING. Forget about Walk Across the Room. How about Get Off the Computer. Your kids, your husband, your friends, need you to look out for them and their needs. Your needs can wait."

Fantastic. *love* that.

I don't know about you, but this sounds like hard work. For me the actual work of it is not the hard part. The hard part is shutting up the voices in my head that are so choked up with the fear of man that serving man (rightly) becomes complicated. I've said before that I am the kind of perfectionist that gets paralyzed with the overwhelming impossibility of perfection so I don't even start. This is true with friendships, bible reading, mentoring my kids, ... I don't want it to go badly. I want to really excel. I see the necessity for excellence. But. but but but but but.

What if i disappoint you? What if you laugh at me? What if I fall hopelessly, obviously on my face? What if I paint a dreadful picture of the Love of Christ?

Maybe I'll just go back to bed. I'm a GREAT sleeper. That is something I can excel at.

But as I continue to mull this over and agree with the need to die to self all day, my husband calls me down to the computer last night and says "Hey, you should watch this with me".

Dear, sweet man.

He had no idea what I was working through. I had told him nothing of this reminder to get my head out of what is easy or comfortable and to actually DO SOMETHING for others instead of wishing I was that kind of a person.

We sat down together and watched this Piper sermon on Phil. 2:4 entitled "The Mind of Christ: Looking to the Interests of Others". Please watch it if you can find the time. It is brilliant.

My journal this morning is filled with these kinds of prayers:

Lord help me to serve my children with a joyful, willing spirit.

Lord let me NEVER make my children feel like they are an unpleasant duty I must "do".

Help them and me to see that while I do need to ensure that I am healthy and well enough to serve them (and they others) that that is not licence to be self-centered, appetite-driven, lazy people.

Help me to drop what I am doing (when it is inconsequential) joyfully to help them instead of eye-rolling, sighing, begrudgingly "well, Mommy is really busy right now, but I *guess* I can help you".


In our home we say that obedience is "All the way, right away, the first time, with a happy heart." Somehow I've stopped making that apply to myself.

I'll do it later. Just give me 10 (read 45) minutes. Do you really need that now? Can't you do it yourself? Ask your sister to read that to you. Can't you see I'm busy? Well, fine, yes I can play lego (insert "huff" and a book being dropped loudly on the table).

What is wrong with me?!

Oh yes, I remember. I'm a sinful, self-consumed, appetite-driven woman. Lazy. Wanting the benefits of excellence without the hard work of getting there.

Don't get me wrong: there are days that our home gets this beautifully. And OH HOW I LOVE IT!!! We all are so much happier, holier, nicer, more grateful, more useful, more spontaneously helpful.

Why can't I stay in that place?

Lord I pray for an increased desire to be the kind of person who sets aside my interests for the sake of others. Give me that heart that serves willingly, gratefully, above what was expected. Make me willing to die everyday for those in my care, and those you will bring through my doors and into my life. I hate that some of the godless people I know are more of a servant than I, who has the spirit of the Servant King within.

This is hard. I am scared to give up "my rights", "my entitlements". I don't want to feel deprived. Keep my focus on the end goal: to be like you and to show you to the world, and to enjoy the fruits of my labours in eternity. Give me the faith to say that I am willing to be poured out like a drink offering. I cannot do this. Only You can do this in and through me. Please let it be so.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Well, I thought I'd add a fun little feature to my blog. I figure on Wednesday I will post a video of a female singer that I wish I could be as cool as. I have said before, and am only slightly embarrased about it, that I always wanted to be a rock star. So here will be my living vicariously through some seriously talented women singers.

I was going to call this feature "Wicked Women" but thought it might come up on some inappropriate google searches. Or "Women who really Wail" but that sounds like my Postpartum posts....

So we'll stick with my new word "Wow-ful". These women make me say wow. There will be a whole range of talent and style here. Some you will not like. Today's pick I know Kate will like for sure. We've talked about country singers. However, I know Tim has an aversion to "reality singing shows". I've never had the guts to tell him that when we had an antenna, I was slightly addicted to them (especially Idol and Rockstar: INXS...true confession time).

Without further ado, my first installment: I do wish I was this cool.

EDIT: As further proof of my lack of coolness, I just realized I posted my new Wednesday thing on a Tuesday. HOOO-EEE. I'm so clever.