I’m a nut…

So I’m kinda freaking out here that Christmas is in 26 days and I don’t have my tree up, no cookies made, no Christmas cards done,  this cool advent thing that I wanted to do with the kids not done (oops – that’s for tomorrow!!!!).  Christmas food for two Christmas parties not bought, cooked or baked.   Presents not bought, and the ones that are bought aren’t wrapped,  and yet today I fixed our old brown blanket/throw.   It’s not even picture worthy.  Now in my defense it was Jason’s grandpa’s, everyone loves it and I didn’t want it to get worse, but it’s been broken for ages… so I had to fix it today?  Really?   And then tomorrow my mom is coming to help me make curtains for my living room.    We have lived here for 7 years and I still don’t have proper curtains,  but tomorrow, December 1st?     And even though I am going to love having them done for Christmas… I think I officially need my head examined.

But I’m still hopeful, from this point on by God’s grace and some careful planing I still might be able to fudge it all and somehow be ready for a peaceful, joyful Christmas.   Hopefully all you readers are doing better than me!!!

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There is room for friends

I will be the first to admit I don’t have much talent in the home decorating arena.  I need help picking out paint colours – as in professional help – and with help from friends and family I can kinda limp along in the placing of furniture etc.  I actually think Jason has better taste than me.    But, I like to read the home-decorating blogs and I like to keep up on what the do-it-yourself people are up too, and slowly I’ve been getting some ideas of my own.   I never said they were good ideas, but they were ideas none the less.  Couple all this with the fact that I don’t like spending money on home furnishings unless I have too and well, the end result is that our home is comfortable and nice rather than elegant and refined, but I’m fine with that.

And then once in a while I look at some area of my house and know that something needs to be done.  Since I’m getting a little braver about tackling these projects I just dove (or is it dived?) right in to updating this shelf…

Look at it, oh so cluttered, oh so random and hadn’t been painted in years.   Then we  had these sliding glass doors that made it look like it belonged back in the 70’s.

So I primed it…

Painted the back a contrast colour just a bit darker than our walls and did the rest white…

Then I tried hard to put only things back that I liked….

And even though it’s just me trying to place things nicely on shelves, I believe it’s a huge improvement and it definitely doesn’t look as dated.

And best of all, it contains one of my prized possessions, which I grew up loving and my mom was so nice to give it to me a while back…

And in the end, that’s really why I want my house to look nice anyway –  for friends  – and that’s all I care!

Mike Teavee

So the other day we were at Jay’s parents and I grabbed some old children’s books for Erik one of the books was  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  This book was a favourite of mine as a kid so I’ve been reading it and tonight I found this poem… and loved it even though I don’t remember it at all.

And to think that Roald Dahl wrote this book in 1964.  And if it was true then, I hate to think what he would think of TV now.

Anyway, to get back to my point, this is the song that the Oompa-Loompa’s  sang to Mike Teavee after his passionate love of TV got him shrunk to the size of an inch in Willy Wonka’s factory… enjoy…

“The most important thing we’ve learned,

So far as children are concerned,

Is never, NEVER, NEVER let

Them near your television set –

Or better still, just don’t install

The idiotic thing at all,

In almost every house we’ve been,

We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.

They loll and slop and lounge about,

And stare until their eyes pop out.

(Last week in someone’s place we saw

A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)

They sit and stare and stare and sit

Until they’re hypnotised by it,

Until they’re absolutely drunk

With all that shocking ghastly junk.

Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,

They don’t climb out the window sill,

They never fight or kick or punch,

They leave you free to cook the lunch

And wash the dishes in the sink –

But did you ever stop to think,

To wonder just exactly what

This does to your beloved tot?

IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD!

IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!

IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!

IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND

HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND

A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!

HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!

HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!

HE CANNOT THINK – HE ONLY SEES!

‘Al right!” you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,

‘But if we take the set away,

What shall we do to entertain

Our darling children?  Please explain!’

We’ll answer this by asking you,

‘What used the darling ones to do?

Before this monster was invented?

Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?

We’ll say it very loud and slow:

THEY… USED…TO…READ!  They’d READ and

READ,

AND READ and READ, and then proceed

To READ some more.  Great Scott!  Gadzooks!

One half their lives was reading books!

The nursery shelves held books galore!

Books cluttered up the nursery floor!

And in the bedroom, by the bed,

More books were waiting to be read!

Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales

Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales

And treasure isles, and distant shores

Where smugglers rowed witih muffled oars,

And pirates wearing purple pants,

And sailing ships and elephants,

And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,

Stirring away at something hot.

(It smells so good, what can it be?

Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)

The younger ones had Beatrix Potter

With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,

And squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,

And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and –

Just How the Camel Got His Hump,

And How The Monkey Lost His Rump,

And Mr. Toad and bless my soul,

There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole –

Oh, books, what books they used to know,

Theose children living long ago!

So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,

Go throw your TV set away,

And in it’s place you can install

A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

Then fill the shelves with lots of books,

Ignoring all the dirty looks,

The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,

And children hitting you with sticks –

Fear not, because we promise you

That, in about a week or two

Of having nothing else to do,

They’ll now begin to feel the need

Of having something good to read.

And once they start – oh boy, oh boy!

You watch the slowly growing joy

That fills their hearts.  They’ll grow so keen

They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen

In that ridiculous machine,

That nauseating, foul, unclean,

Repulsive television screen!

And later, each and every kid

Will love you more for what you did.

P.S. Regarding Mike Teavee,

We very much regret that we

Shall simply have to wait and see

If we can get him back his height.

But if we can’t – it serves him right.

A fabulous poem Mr. Dahl!

So sorry my darlings, there are just too many reasons here for keeping the TV off!

My Portrait

Well a budding young artist at the age of 4 has drawn my portrait and I feel I would be remiss if I did not share it with you….  just scroll down….

What can I say, other than a I feel I look strangely like a jungle queen.    The inscription says  “My Mommy” so it’s sweet that Sarah had me in mind when she painted this – even though I think she may have used some artistic license  – perhaps quite a bit of artistic license.  Or maybe this is how I appear to her through her four year old eyes.  Whatever the case, this is definitely a picture to be treasured!

November beach walk…

Well it’s November and in my mind the only good thing about November is that it’s 4 weeks you can use to get ready for Christmas.   Not too much happens in November, the weather isn’t typically all that nice and we have never gone anywhere in November (that I can remember).   But this year is different.  This year we have enjoyed lots of sun and higher temps and because of that we decided to head for the cottage for just one night last weekend.    I wasn’t sure this was such a good idea, but what helped convince me in the end was that we could travel so light.  Since the kids are older and Sophia is potty trained, there isn’t much we need to take (gone are the days of lugging diaper-bags and play-pens) and  so I just threw a change of clothes for everyone in a laundry basket, some pj’s and sleeping bags and off we went.    And it was surprisingly nice up there!  It felt very similar to how it did when we were there in April, and we were able to enjoy some time on the beach which seems so odd to me… November almost never conjours up visions of beaches in my head. The kids got out their shovels…

And we went for a nice long walk.   Sophia had her walking stick because at the age of two one is apt to get tired.

And Jason and Sarah and Erik went looking for some of our stone statues that we’ve made on the beach… it looks like they found one!

And we had a tiny bit of excitement later in the afternoon when we were cuddled up in the cottage warming up after being outside (the pics might make it look nice and warm, but the wind was a little chilly) and the kids had been playing games and Jay and I were reading.   Sophia came over to me and complained about her nose.  I just figured her nose was stuffed up because of the cold she was getting, but she was quite upset and persistent and I did take notice when she asked for a knife so she could cut it off.    As in, cut your nose off Sophy?  Not a typical two-year old request.  And just was I was beginning to wonder I caught a glimpse up her nose and yes,  there was something up her nose –  a white battleship peg to be exact.  Oh dear.  So I panicked, but thankfully I was able to find Jason some tweezers through my panic.  And he calmly and deftly removed the peg and all was well again.    However,  when I was related this story to my friend Christa, she told me that a better way to remove foreign objects from children’s noses (and this method is  endorsed by the medical community)  is  to put your mouth over your child’s mouth, plug the nostril that isn’t plugged by the object and blow for all you are worth.   That should cause the bean, peg, pea, or whatever else your child has seen fit to shove up their nose, to come flying right out!  At least I think that is how she said to do it.   You might want to google that before you try it.

So that was our little trip away in November.    It was nice to spend time with Jay and the kids and just get away for a night.  We are pretty blessed to have a place to go to when we feel the need to get away.

And talking about getting away, we have a team from our church right now in Nepal!  They are visiting our sister Harvest church there and blogging about their trip.  It is FAR more exciting than my blog, so if you are craving some adventure, check it out!

Stuff…

After a day of buying stuff, sorting, organizing and purging stuff – then cleaning stuff, putting stuff away, getting more stuff out, picking the kid’s stuff off the floor, rearranging stuff and thinking of stuff that I still would like to buy –  I read this blog post…

Kelly’s Korner – Ecuador Trip

It’s such a wake-up call to see how a huge percent of the world lives… without stuff.  Without even the basic stuff that they actually NEED, they somehow manage to do without.   Their lives aren’t consumed by their stuff like our lives our,  they are too worried about their daily survival.    Like the family shown in the blog, they are living in abject poverty and for a moment, I’m strangely envious.   Not of their life of poverty and lack of choice, but the freedom of not being fettered down and tied to all the stuff that we hold so dear.   They really truly need God in their lives as they have real needs that they get to see God fill.    We on the other hand don’t think we need God because we can try to fill the God-sized void in our lives with all our stuff.  And stuff can be mind-numbingly distracting.    And the crazy thing is, I can honestly say (because I’ve been there) that for the most part we aren’t any happier than those people in Ecuador.   Isn’t it crazy that our stuff doesn’t make us happy?    But there is joy when God meets our needs.

So if you want a practical way to help  – check out Compassion‘s website and you can sponsor a child in Ecuador or another country where there are children in need – and start sharing some of your stuff today!

P.S. You can trust Compassion  – I worked there for 10 years and we sponsor a boy in Ethiopia. 🙂

Most People…

Most people enjoy their good health.  Most people would prefer to stay healthy and NOT get sick.  Most people would prefer to stay healthy and not get sick so they can go about their normal routine.  Most people just empathize with other’s who are sick and do not try to have them make you sick as well.  Most people do not take their temperature every 5 minutes just hoping that it will confirm what they already believed to be true – that they really are sick.    And most people when the thermometer FINALLY agrees with them and shows that their temperature may be rising even ever so slightly do not leap around and jump for joy and plan how great their day will be NOT at school, but rather spent lying reading on the couch.

Well that was Erik this morning, but we all know he’s not like most people.   William truly has been sick since the start of the week with a fever and headache that has morphed into a bad cough, and he legitimately got to miss school because of it  – and that was just killing Erik.  It’s funny because William loves school and would rather go, and Erik would do anything to stay at home and here they both were on the wrong sides of the fence.    Since Monday when it was clear William was staying home, Erik has been  trying to convince me that he was sick as well  – except he’s been showing no symptoms whatsoever.  But he got his wish this morning when just before we walked out the door  for the bus it really looked like it was happening as his temperature did rise according to the thermometer and his forehead did seem a bit warm and I hate sending kids to school with fevers.   But by noon I was very skeptical and took his temp again and he was perfectly normal.   I’m wondering if I need to replace my thermometer.   But I was a nice mom,  I called it a mental health day for him and let him stay home for the afternoon as well.

And as it turns out he’s a pretty handy guy to have around, especially when you are sorting out junk drawers and finding all sorts of things.  Because you can show Erik any gadget, any wire, any piece of plastic and he knows exactly what it is or where it came from, and if he doesn’t know – then you can be fairly confident that it’s garbage.    So with his help I got a lot of stuff sorted out today.   And when I found all of our mini-video cassettes from our video camera  and wanted to know how to get the video off the camera and to the computer – he knew what a fire wire was and even found one for me (which I found surprising) and although we never got it working, he spent the rest of the afternoon on techie websites trying to trouble-shoot some problem we were having with the camera.  This kid puts me to shame… I used to do techie things, but at 8 he’s already left me in the shade.

So most people wouldn’t get their little brother to lick them to try to make them sick, just so they could stay home for day, but I’m here to say that I really am glad that Erik isn’t like most people. 🙂

Pink and Brown…

Pink and brown, pink and brown

Oh how I love you, pink and brown!

Last Sunday the girls wore pink and brown to church and I really do love the colour combination of pink and brown.  More than that though, I love the combination of these two little girls together.

We enjoyed another beautiful weather day today and we found ourselves at the end of our street – where it actually dead-ends at a creek – it’s so pretty there that sometimes you might think you were magically transported outside the city…

But no, those houses in the distance are actually on the other side of a major road, so it’s not really quiet or peaceful no matter how much I try to wish otherwise… but we have fun with the leaves there today…

We discovered the last remnants of the milk-weed and Soph loved it…

We loved them even more when Sarah took some home and unleashed them in the living room… here she is here with some crazy hair today courtesy of her bike helmet…

Oh, another great weekend has come to an end, but I’m NOT complaining!  I’m  just glad that we could enjoy every minute of it!

It’s great to stay up late

Last night as I was falling asleep I had the craziest thoughts – they were so random that I tried to remember what they were so I could blog about them, but no such luck.   They couldn’t have been that exciting so it’s probably just as well.     I had actually stayed up late reading a novel which I hardly ever do because I know that I’m grumpy as all get out when I don’t get enough sleep but I’m really glad I stayed awake reading last night because I read something that I liked – but first I’ll back-track.

When I came home last night from an unsuccessful shopping trip I found Jason at the kitchen table taking mud off his RC Car (he had put a plastic table-cloth down so I didn’t have to freak out) and I started helping him so we could chat.     And  I think that I was complaining to him.    At the time I thought I was just sort of airing my views on things, but he told me to stop complaining and of course then I got offended and told him that he should be supportive –  because that’s the thing we wives say to our husbands when they try to interject some common sense into our lives.   So then I thought well maybe I had a negative view but this is how I legitimately feel about things so isn’t that OK?     But I stopped airing my views and went to bed where I stayed awake reading a novel by one of my favourite authors,  Alexander McCall  Smith.  I like him so much because he gets people – he really understands what makes people tick and that’s how he can write from the perspective of a 40-year-old African lady detective in Botswana when he is a middle-aged professor of medical law at a Scottish university.   Amazing really   So toward’s the end of “The Double Comfort Safari Club” I read this…

“Do not complain about your life.  Do not blame others for the things that you have brought upon yourself.  Be content with who you are and where you are, and do whatever you can do bring to others such contentment, and joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself.”

I liked it – I felt like it was a little reminder from God that the opposite of complaining often tends to be contentment.   I do tend to complain –  and it’s usually about problems that I’ve brought upon myself to boot.    I do find myself extremely frustrating at times…   I like a clean kitchen but I can’t put away things after myself.   I like a good sleep but I can’t get to bed early –  the list could go on and on.  But I am as God made me and I have to stop beating myself up!    I was reading Psalm 139 to William the other morning and here’s a verse that I love … verse 14, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”  So even though life isn’t going to be perfect and I’m not perfect, God made me and His works are wonderful!  🙂   Now, if I just stop complaining, put in my little stake of contentment, and not focus on the negative – I can use that energy instead to glorify God and serve Him and serve others – and that is where my joy will come from.

See, it is great to stay up late!