Friday, 29 August 2014

A tale of two chairs

     Those of you who know me well may have heard me joke/complain/laugh about my furniture.   We have had the same furniture for almost 18 years and they are showing their wear and tear.  Unfortunately the blue leather sofa and loveseat are holding up fairly well....yes they're blue.  Gord bought them to match the blue blinds in his first home...true story.  Anyway, I liked them 14 years ago, but not so much anymore.  But the one that's really an eyesore is Gord's recliner.  It's one of those big, bulky chairs that does the job, and that's it.   To it's credit it's handled all the unpleasant vomiting and diaper explosions of 4 babies.  One point for leather, you can sanitize.  There are rips all over the arms, and the finish has worn off so that just the raw leather is showing in places.  Duct tape is not too far away.  I have long been threatening to get rid of it, and the time has come!

Here it is in all it's glory

    I have known for a long time what I would like to replace this chair with, and have looked in stores whenever I get the chance.  The problem is that the price seems to be 3x what I want to pay.  When Gord turned 40 this year my plan was to buy a chair and I told him that's what his gift was.  Well, I just couldn't find what I was looking for despite all the chairs out there.  If I did find one it was too expensive or discontinued.  Last night, just for kicks, I went online and found the perfect one!  Costco now carries the chair I've been dreaming about.  I admit, I was a little giddy to discover it, and after showing Gord I went ahead and ordered it.  It's still a 'Man's Chair', but it's also beautiful.  I have visions of it in the new house, close to the fire, cup of coffee...really, it's Gord's, except he doesn't drink coffee ;)

Taglio – Belfort Top Grain Leather Recliner

Taglio – Belfort Top Grain Leather Recliner


*photo courtesy of Costco

   I hope he enjoys sitting in it as much as I will love looking at it.  If he does, then it's a fair trade.

Monday, 25 August 2014

My lesson of the week

     Last week was incredibly busy with VBS, house stuff, and people.  It was good, really good.  I was really excited about VBS and how well it was going.  Two girls came with two days left and we were able to give them both a Bible since they were showing interest in the Gospel.  What a wonderful thing :) And those two rascals, well they continued to come each day.  Every day had it's battles, but they were coming and by the end of it they were standing with the rest of us and singing!  Not loud, but those lips were moving and that alone was a highlight of the week.  I learned that those boys came of their own accord although they said otherwise.  We pray a seed has been planted and will grow in those boys and girls.

    Sometime during the craziness of last week Gord told me that I was going to get sick, because that's what happens when I am stressed and busy.  I knew I would probably crash yet, but I didn't think it would have been quite so bad.  I came home Friday and was tired but went on a short errand and when I came home I crawled in my bed....and stayed there.  The next morning I went to the doctor and it turns out I had full blown strep.  How on earth did I miss that???  I was very thankful I made it through Friday, but I was determined to also make it to church on Sunday because our VBS was to perform their songs for the church.  It really was a selfish plan.  My line of thinking was that I didn't want to change everyone's plans so if I could just get on some good painkillers and make myself stand there for awhile, then no one would need to know.  Trust me, if I could have found a replacement to take over I would have.

    All day Saturday I battled on whether or not I could make it.  I finally called my mom and she told me that I simply could not go.  Not even for my health, but the health of everyone else there.  She said it so clearly that I saw just how selfish I had been in my desire to not disappoint people.  I thought that as long as I could make it, things would be alright.  But in a moment I clearly saw what I had been avoiding all day.  Immediately I called those concerned and everything was cancelled and postponed until this coming Sunday.  Everyone was so gracious when I asked their forgiveness in not calling earlier, before the bulletins were made and the food was prepared. (we were to have a potluck after the program)

     I have always struggled with approval.  In our home it was hard to come by and maybe my natural tendency is one that already seeks the approval of others.   Either way, it's been a struggle.  It seems the more I want to grow as a Christian, the more discerning I have to be in my own life.   My desire to serve people and bless them is from God, but the enemy is so quick to want to twist it into something selfish.   I didn't want to disappoint people, that was the bottom line.   God knew my desire and I would have had peace with Him even if I felt the whole church's disappointment (they are far too wonderful to be like that)  As a Christian I will continue to disappoint people.  Not out of spite, but sometimes out of necessity.  It's unavoidable.  I do know that I have grown in this area.  But this time I wavered.  I really didn't want to change everyone's plans just because I couldn't be there.    However, in this case I should just have accepted that I couldn't go.  A few people would have been disappointed but it would have been the right decision anyway.  Now I had to cancel after all preparation had been made.  People were still disappointed, and I still made the right decision, but it came with sincere apologies.   I am thankful this isn't a major life moment here, but often God is kind enough to reveal my weaknesses in these smaller moments.   Lesson learned.

    It was still a great week.  The kids weren't the only ones who learned something either!  I know when I go to church on Sunday I will be welcomed warmly and no one will be angry.  What a safe place to fail.  And right now?  Well, I really would like my mom to come over and feed my children.  One can only live with store baked bread for so long, and I pride myself on baking all my own.  Oh, what's that?  Another pride issue??  Well, obviously I have a few kinks to work out yet ;)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Time flies

    A few weeks ago Gord found the perfect quad for Taylor.  It's old, but in great condition.  It's also the identical year, make, and model of the quad that Gord grew up with.  I believe those memories helped in the decision to buy the quad.  Taylor has been saving his money for quite a while now but we did say we would help pay for it.  Still he paid for more than half and is proud as punch to claim it.


     Last weekend we packed a lunch and headed out quadding as a family.  Times have sure changed for us!  Gord and I met 15 years ago on a quadding/mudding trip and that got the whole ball of change rolling.  We used to go out with other couples; no kids for any of us back then.  I always loved going out with Gord and we kept it up the first 5 years we were married.    But the move to GP and two more kids made going out a little harder.  Plus, quads aren't really baby friendly so gradually all thoughts of trips left our minds.  However, every fall Gord gets the urge to head into the hills where there is mud and rotting leaves :)

     The times are changing once again.  No diapers, nap times or bottles anymore!  We are at the perfect stage to start our little trips with our kids now.  We are one quad short, but finding one to borrow isn't too hard.  Even better the trails are about two minutes from our house.  They aren't ready for all day trips yet, but I might not be either!  Taylor and I were both complaining about our sore thumbs :)

 The boys

The girls

 The bridge

The crew

    I LOVE the last picture but they look so big!   How is it possible that we are at this stage in life?  There are no more sleepless nights with babies or worries about messed up schedules.  They no longer need help burping (3 boys remember) or eating.  All those things that took up so much time are gone.  Now they are replaced with real meals (bottles were easier), kids that want to stay in bed, and a level of independence that I am not ready for.  I went quadding with my 12 year old son, and he did just fine through all the uneven ruts, fallen trees, and even a little bit of mud.  I am slowly getting used to this, and then today I realized that in 2 years he can drive a car!!??!!


Monday, 18 August 2014

Popping the safety bubble

   This week is VBS week at our Church.  Our kids are thrilled to be involved and I am excited as well.  It's a 40 minute drive to our Church, so we spend a lot of time driving, but it's always so worth it in the end.  It's Wyatt's first year attending and it was sweet to see him in a new environment; he was quiet and unsure of everything.   I'm guessing that will change by the end of the week.   It's also Taylor's last year going as a participant.  The talk around breakfast this morning was all about filling Wyatt in on the little details of the schedule and what is to be expected.  I was thankful to see my older ones fill him with anticipation.  It's the first and only year they will all go together.  Sigh, another first and last.

   God has brought two young boys, 8-9, into our VBS this year.  I have never seen them before but I was given a bit of history about them and my heart broke.  These boys are as lost as I have ever seen. Although they are young they know far more about the world than they should.  This morning alone saw the two of them provoke fights, lie, use defamatory words, talk about devils,  and I was flipped the bird.  For most kids this behaviour would be common to see, but my kids were rather shocked and didn't know what to do or say.

   So I will say the words that some people have probably wanted to tell me for a long time.  MY CHILDREN LIVE IN A BUBBLE!!  Yes they do, and I am so very glad.  Those precious boys have long been out of a bubble and nothing can undo what they have been exposed to.  Through no choice of their own, doors have been opened to them that never should have been.  They have had no say in who raises them or what is allowed or appropriate.  And the product of such an upbringing is usually devastating.

   The truth is, I AM GLAD they have come.  I pray they come everyday!  My hope is that seeds are planted regardless of how hard their little hearts are.  Will my own children be at risk to exposure?  Yes they will, but could there be a better place for it to happen?  These boys need to know the love of God and others.  I have no doubt that they were fully aware of some of their actions and maybe it will be all one big joke to them.  But God has place two boys in our midst and we must love and pray for them.  I acknowledge that my kids are sheltered, but my duty as a parent is to protect them until they are able to face the world.  Exposure to sin is unavoidable.  First, it's in our home everyday so right there we have problems.  Second, one day they will be out from our safety net and I pray that we have prepared them for what they might encounter.  Situations like today will happen again and again but I am thankful that today was a safe place for it to occur.  The teachers we have are dedicated to teaching God's Word and it became clear very quickly that these boys are the mission field!  I would rather they hear bad language or see inappropriate behaviour when we are around to correct and diffuse it.

   The 40 minute drive home proved to be a great time to discuss the behaviour of the boys and what our response should be as Christians.  I also had to explain why it is not appropriate to salute people with your middle finger.  That was difficult because, to my knowledge,  my kids still don't know what the 'f bomb' is and I didn't feel a pressing need to tell them either.  So my response was " God created all your fingers and there is nothing wrong with any of them.  Man however has decided that putting up your middle finger is a good way to swear at people so that's why we don't."  I hope that's enough for now.

   I am also grateful that God seems to hide children's hearts from the gravity of the sin around them, to a point.  Often they know something is wrong, but they don't see just how serious it is and THAT is God's protection.  I remember as a young child, maybe 7, seeing two grown men holding hands.  I thought, "That's a little weird, but I hold hands with my friends too."  The fact that I have remembered that from my childhood tells you that it DID affect me, but it wasn't until I was in my early teens that I realized what I had seen.  Even then, I knew it was wrong, but I didn't feel the whole weight of it.  That changed when I married Gord because I became acutely aware of the physical beauty of being Husband and Wife.  My mind went back to those men and I realized how that sin must grieve The Lord.  It's not what He planned,  just like a myriad of other sins.  The point is that God showed me little by little because I could never have carried the whole weight of it as a child.    Today my children were exposed, but I am also trusting that God will only allow them to  understand what they are ready for.  I also have to be aware and pray for them and be wise in answering their questions.

   One final thought,  your boundaries will look different from mine but your children are not like mine either.  I may have to have a tighter hold in a certain area with one child because I am the one who knows what they are vulnerable to.  So though our boundaries may look rigid to some or too relaxed to others,  if I keep my eyes on Christ, He will make straight my path.



Saturday, 16 August 2014


   A few weeks ago we headed out to BC for a quick family get together.  We chose to stay in a cabin instead of hauling our trailer down.  I would have preferred my trailer over the cabin.  I'm a little squeamish about staying in strange beds.  Not when we go to a friends house or to visit family, but even hotel beds make me a little paranoid.   The bed in our cabin was "one of a kind" to say the least.  Gord and I were sleeping at different altitudes which made sleep a little odd.  On a positive note, I was rather thankful that I wasn't 9 months pregnant or I would not have been able to make the squeeze between the shower and sink to get to the toilet.  We all had a good laugh over the strange cabin setups and then proceeded to have a great time.  My sisters were all able to make it down and my parents were there as well.  We don't get together too often since some of us live 12 hours apart.  Not ideal, but we would all rather love each other and live far apart instead of being neighbours with a terrible friendship.   In total we had 10 adults and 13 kids.  Out of the 13 kids only 2 are girls.  There tends to be a lot of testosterone running around when we get together,  so seeing two very girly girls is a treat.

    We didn't plan anything big even though we were celebrating my dad's 60th birthday and my parent's 40th anniversary.  My parents didn't mind though.  I think the best gift we could have given them was coming to see them.  After all, what do you buy parents that can afford everything you can't :)   40 years is a big deal, but they don't seem old enough to be married that long.  They did start young though.  However if Chloe ever gets the idea to get married at 15 we'll lock......never mind.  It's an odd thing to remember my mom turning 25 and  30.   Those milestones have long been passed in my life.

    I haven't lived by my parents for 15 years, but time and space has been good for us all.  I was always homesick as a child and didn't like being away from home, or my mom.  So for me to up and move to Alberta to be close to a man I had seen only a handful of times was a big deal for me.  I think everyone was wondering what I was doing, but after they met Gord they understood and were kind enough to tell me so.  Gord and I have gone through most of our marriage living away from both sets of parents and it's been good.  Although I sometimes wished for the "Dinner after Church" experience, we wouldn't change how or where we've chosen to live.  God has been gracious to us and though our relationships with our parents are not always ideal or easy, I am very grateful for the relationship that I can have.

    As I get older and my friend base gets broader, so too does the ability to see grief and pain in each family.  No one is immune to it and  all families will experience it somewhere in their lifetime.  Weather it's death, sickness, or even a hurt brought about through sin, we will at some point be wounded.  My family is no different.  There has been much sin repented of and exposed yet we are the better for it.  I have a love for my family that is not my doing, but it is the work of God.  He gives me the ability to love when the world says hate.  But I don't get off that easy either, I too have had much in my life that I have had to change.  I have made the humbling/weepy  calls to friends and family asking for their forgiveness for my careless words and actions.

   I had an epiphany the other day (must have been a relatively stress free day).  I thought how easy it is to see the faults of others.  I mean, let's face it, we all know people who really need to get it together!  But then the truth hit me, maybe God made THEIR sin easy to see for ME, so that I would then go and examine my OWN life.  I really am blind to my own faults but others can see it so clearly.  It's not a bad thing to be aware of sin in people's lives, but to what end?  So I can tell them all the things they need to change?  Yes, I believe that it is a duty of a believer that, if done with love and caution, is biblical.  BUT too often I  judge them for their sin and then congratulate myself that I haven't done THAT ONE.  No, if I am truly going to die to my sinful nature daily,  then I am to constantly examine my own life.  Guess what, sometimes I forget to.  Sometimes I don't want to, but it sure is easy to pick up on what so-and-so did.  So if I ever wonder why their seems to be so many annoying/irritating/rude people around, maybe God is giving me the opportunity to look a little closer at my own life.  I have to say, lately it seems like ALL my children are just cranky and whiney.  Then again, that could also be describing their mother.
    God really does work in mysterious ways.  The lady that was really insensitive and rude should cause me to say "Lord that's terrible.  Do I talk to my children the way she talked to me?"  There is always something to examine in my own life, but God is kind enough to open my eyes when He knows I am ready.  A few days ago I struggled with being extremely overwhelmed and stressed out to the max.  I knew that God had all things in His control.  I knew that being anxious would not help.  And yet I was a nervous wreck.  How fitting that my Bible reading should be in Mathew that morning.  How perfect that the scheduled reading started with "Do not be anxious..."  I prayed, I read...took care of the troublesome task, and then went home and called my mother.  I called her after I had already talked to God.  I heard a pastor once say that we should never bring a concern to others unless we have already brought it to the Lord.   In that moment I was again so thankful that God gave me a mother who will pray for me and hear my worries.  Not because He is not enough, but because my mom would help me bear my burden.   Nothing changed for me physically after we talked, but my heart was lighter, the mountain a little smaller.

   Families are a blessing, but like anything, we must hold them with an open hand.  Sometimes we can't have the relationship that we desire and we have to trust that God is working behind the scenes.  Or maybe we have an ideal that is unrealistic.  If God has opened doors to a relationship with your family, walk through it and trust HIM.  He can and does heal hurt and the rewards are great.  I have a God that loves me, I have parents that love me, and I have children that love me.  Only one of the three is perfect and that is what I will hold on to with BOTH hands!


Friday, 15 August 2014

Kitchen help please??

   I would gladly take any advice you people could give me on my kitchen.  I love a well-planned kitchen and seeing as how I spend 99.999% of my time there, I would really like to plan the new kitchen well.  I did order my cupboards already and that is a load off my back.  We are using Ikea again since it has worked well for us in the past.  They may not be spectacular, but I am hoping that when everything is put together it will work well.  I have ideas running through my head, but I can only talk about countertops and backsplash for so long until Gord tells me to just do what I want.  That should give me great excitement but it's done the opposite and made me nervous!  So I thought I would post my ideas here, and rely on you good people to give me solid advice.....unless you are into green shag and pink cupboards :)

    This is a door front for my cupboards.  Pretty basic, simple, and an off white colour.  I had these cupboards in the last house and they were wonderful to clean.  Plus, after two years of wear and tear they looked like new.
√ĄDEL Door - off-white, 12x24 " - IKEA

    Now what to put with it when it comes to countertops.  I have narrowed it down to two, grey or black.
freckles chick: October 2008

The Redheaded Stepchild: DIY: kitchen countertop installation ...
     I am also planning on two backsplash themes, wood and stainless steel tile.  Gord and I both like a 'modern-farmhouse' look but I am NOT a designer or decorator so we have been on a lot to pick up ideas.  I love the horizontal wood look but it's not practical behind a stove so we thought of putting stainless steel tile behind the stove.