Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Ugly Dust

     God often uses the simplest things to reveal my ugliness to me.  I may as well call it ugly, because that's what it is.  Sin is always ugly when you get to the root of it.  As for the use of simple things?  He knows my head doesn't do well with the complicated.

     One month ago we were getting ready to do the move.  I had been dreading it.  I know it sounds ridiculous, (we were moving 50 feet away) but this move wore me out.  Usually I am organized and every single box is labelled on two sides.  This time there was no packing involved.  We simply used 6 empty containers, loaded them up, carried them across the muddy (ick ick ick) yard, and put everything away in the house.  It made it simpler in the long run....it was just A LOT of work.  Thankfully Gord rigged up a sidewalk of sorts because both of our moving days included rain.

     Almost everything that we moved needed to be wiped down.  I knew the dust was bad...but I was still horrified at the layers of it everywhere.   I finally realized that I needed some help, and yet my stubborn, mennonite mentality kicked in.  I have a hard time asking for help...and an even harder time admitting that I need it.  But I didn't have much choice.  Family was coming from out of town to help us move and, ready or not (dust and all) they were going to move things that were disgustingly dirty.  Oh my pride.  Some people could care less, but I care...very much.

     Two ladies kindly took rags and water, and proceeded to wipe down every single jar full of food...and I can a lot.  They wiped the filthy shelves, and my inner self was filled with shame that they would see my lack of cleanliness.  I cringed when I gave them a new chore to tackle, knowing very well what they would find when they started cleaning.  I tried so very hard not to apologize for the state of the shop...and failed.  I really did these woman a dis-service.  My actions said that they judge the value of our friendship, based on  how well I manage my home.   Yet, I know these ladies love me for who I am....not for what I can do.  I was, and always have been, far too concerned as to how people perceive me.  I do not like to fail, and I was taught not to.  I always had the impression as a child, that appearances DO matter.  Unfortunately I have carried that viewpoint with me into adulthood.

     This isn't the first time I've been aware of this.  I'm starting to think I should be given a sign to wear with a capital 'L', like they do in BC for the student drivers.  Contrary to what my friends and I said, the 'L' stands for 'Learner'......not 'Loser.'   Although those days when I'm in a battle, I usually feel like a loser.   And so comes the vital part.  Separating truth from fiction.  I AM learning and I will not lose a battle that God has already won for me.  I've come along way from where I used to be...a 'people pleaser' by nature.  But every now and then God continues to refine that area, and every time I cringe at the intrusion.  The sad truth is that if I crave the approval of man more than the approval of God, then I have  a serious problem with Idolatry.   And since Misery loves company, I am greatly relieved that I am not alone in this camp.

     It is easy to place my identity in everything, EXCEPT Christ.  And yet, that is the only thing that should truly define me as a being.   I am a Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, and a Friend, BUT one day I will stand before Christ.  It will not matter if I was not a sister on earth, or if I wasn't a mother.  What WILL matter is whether or not I am HIS Child.

     The titles I hold now are a blessing.  God requires that I be a good steward of them.  They help me grow in my relationship to God, but they should not define me.  Think about it.  In Heaven I will not be a mother...not even a wife.  My earthly flesh struggles with this concept, but (and I am paraphrasing  Kara Tippets) all the relationships here on earth (especially marriage) are a crumb compared to what we will have when we reach Eternity.

     When I truly look at who I am in Christ, everything else should fall away.  "In Christ Alone" should be my daily prayer.  Thank God that He uses simple ways to bring me back.  He used dust this time, it could be envy or fear next time.  Regardless of His methods, He will always reach me in a way I can understand....and He's pretty creative :)

Monday, 27 April 2015

House update

     My family has transitioned so well into the new house.  I have always found that it takes awhile after a move for everyone to settle in.  Not in this case!  The youngest have taken to their new room in the basement and erased all the doubts that I had.  I had been envisioning a month or two of them being unsure about it.  We have had none of that.  In fact everyone is sleeping better :)

      I, on the hand, have really been struggling with all the added space, the large kitchen, the closets, not to mention the spacious, finished basement.  I hardly know what to do with myself with the lack of dust or the view out of all the windows.   (long awkward silent pause)  I hope you are all awake enough to sense the scarcasm?  Sunday mornings are no longer rushed and harried as everyone is getting ready.  I am able to finish a hot beverage for once, and enjoy it!  What a luxury to sit in my kitchen and look out to see the birds, not just hear them.

The face of a content woman with a hot cup of tea at her side

     Some people have asked me if I miss the shop.  Nope.  Not at all.  I am very thankful for the home it was and it was a good experience for everyone.  But Gord and I are beyond thankful that our 7 year project is at an end.  Well, mine is.  I have a list about a mile long for him to finish yet.  I am very ready to move into a new rhythm and routine, especially with school.  It feels surreal that we are at the end, although I am fairly certain that feeling will wear off when we sign papers at the bank....

     Gord has been finishing up odd and ends, like my island.  The end panels and toe kicks are on, and it's much nicer to look at instead of water lines and wiring.  I had a blonde moment though.  Gord had to remove the dishwasher to finish the job, and as he did I started wiping down the sides.  To my disgust it looked like the finish was starting to come off.  I wasn't too thrilled since we bought it only 2 years ago.  I looked a little closer, and then asked Gord "Um, is this a protective coating?"  To which Gord responded by pulling on the 'worn edge.'  For over 2 years I have left the film on.  I had noticed in the shop that it wasn't wiping down nicely, and I'm a little 'picky' about things like that.   So on the plus side, I have a 'brand new looking' dishwasher.  But the OCD in me is wondering what else has been covered in film for years ;)  Happy Monday


Friday, 24 April 2015

Good for a giggle

    Yesterday the kids and I went to town and somewhere along the way we got to chatting about Father's Day.  For as long as I can remember Gord has loved chimes...the big ones.  The loud ones.  I have wanted to buy him one for a long time, but have just not gotten around to it.  And maybe it's better that we didn't put one outside the shop, seeing as how sound always creeped through the walls and shop doors.  I heard everything.  Quads driving, kids yelling, cats fighting, and our dog dragging bones across the shop doors (that was particularly aggravating.)  I had forgotten how well insulated a house should be.  It's pretty awesome, except when you are trying to holler at your offspring.

     Well, seeing as how we live in a 'Big People' house now, I will be on the look-out for chimes.  They make amazing (and expensive) ones.  I saw one that only had the notes of Amazing Grace...and if I can track it down I would love it just as much as Gord.  The following conversation took place with my teen...my TEENAGER people.  First let me say that I am still processing where the last 13 went.  I may lose a lot of things, but this takes the cake.  And second...I'm still laughing over the fact that my teen made this hilarious comment.  It just proves that (a) he's a boy (b) he's a teen.

"Guys, what is something that dad has wanted for a long time?  It belongs outside and makes noise."

Taylor, shouting exuberantly "Firecrackers!!!!!"

     I wish I could have taken a picture of my reaction.  Firecrackers??  Really?  For a brief moment I thought maybe they actually had no idea.  Until my 8 year old piped up "Windchimes!"

     And the 8 year old wins.  Well done son.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Beautiful BC

     Oh BC, how I missed thee.  I miss my mountains and winding roads.  I miss the Cedar trees and luscious ferns.  I even miss the temperamental weather and how it can change from heavy snow to rain to a beautiful sunny day.  But mostly, I miss the people.

     Gord and I headed down to Smithers, BC, over Easter.  It was a quick, long week-end trip, but it was still worth the 9 hour drive.  Smithers is 2 hours shy of where I grew up, but it's getting close to home.  I have a good friend who lives there, and it was wonderful to drive the familiar road again.

     It amazes me that some friendships are never adversely affected by time or distance apart.  In fact, it has just made our visits more lovely and I always deal with a bizarre case of 'home sickness' when I go home.  It's a little strange considering we've never spent a great deal of time together.  We have always lived in different towns, but she is simply one of those people that feels like 'home.'  We have grown up and married far apart from each other.  We had our babies, started Home schooling and kept in touch with the occasional lengthy phone call.  I'm thankful for the simplicity of our friendship.  I am also thankful for a link to 'My' past.  She is one of the few people in my life who knew me before Gord.  Oddly enough, she and Gord are 2nd cousins who had never met until I introduced them....it really is a small world.

     It had been almost 2 years since our last trip down that way, but I believe her family has made an impression on mine.  Our kids have hit it off, especially Chloe (it's rare for her to be with 4 girls.)  Don't be fooled though.  These girls can hunt, trap, milk a cow, make cheese, bake, and cook.  Their momma has taught them well!  By the time we left Chloe was collecting tadpoles and sitting on cows.

       I love making memories like this.  Some of my best memories as a child are rooted in seeing distant cousins once a year.  Those cousins became some of my best friends as a child, and 25 years later I can still recall the good times and laughter we had.  From crabapple fights on a trampoline to raiding my aunts garden at night.  Cheap thrills....and great memories.

     One of my favourite moments over the week-end involved Wyatt and my sweet little Miss Amy.  I call her 'mine', but Gord was pretty taken with her too.  When Wyatt first met her, I started calling her 'Miss Amy.'  I don't know why, but it stuck.  Every time we talked about them at home, she was always referred to as 'Miss Amy.'  She's a tiny little spitfire who has almost 2 years on Wyatt, but if you were comparing by size then you could never tell.  The first morning we were there I was up with Wyatt, but not everyone was moving about yet.  He looked a little lost and I asked him if he wanted to see if Nathan was awake, but no, he was waiting for 'that girl'  and off he went.   Not to long after Miss Amy appeared and they took off downstairs where there was screaming and giggling.  Later her mom came to me and mentioned she had seen Wyatt loitering around her bedroom door (Amy was in her room)  And if you've ever seen Wyatt want something but be to shy to ask, then you know he just walks around looking sweetly pathetic.  (also, when he knows you REALLY well, he will ask for anything!)    She asked if he needed the bathroom but no.  His response?  "I'm just waiting for Miss Amy."  GOODNESS ME...sweetness overload!  They were a pair, and even if their memory of it fades, mine will not.

     Gord's memories may not be as sweet.  Chloe talked him into bringing a mason jar filled with tadpole eggs back home.  They are sitting in my beautiful kitchen, and oddly enough, they seem to be thriving.  And me?  I had a good 9 hours with Gord trapped in a vehicle to discuss the possibility/likelyhood of getting a milk cow.  He didn't say no.....so there might be a chance!  I'll keep you posted ;)