This Road

This past week has been all a-bustle with preparations for the opening of the Atrium at my parish next weekend. In truth, the bustling isn’t finished yet. There’s a lot more bustle waiting for me this week.

It’s a tough road when you’re running a program based on where the Spirit is leading…I definitely feel the paradox of trusting that God has this and yet doubting whether it will happen. It’s a stressful mystery because on one side, certain things need to happen (like police checks, enough volunteers, materials actually being ready to use) and there’s a hectic panic about these items when something doesn’t fall into place when it seems like it should. On the other hand, if God isn’t leading this program then what on earth am I doing here anyway? Haha, literally and symbolically, it would seem. I crack myself up sometimes. Anyway. This program wouldn’t be happening had it not been for some divine interventions, so clearly God has a desire to see this happen.

I’m feeling time is unsatisfactorily being stretched between trying to get this Atrium off the ground and making sure we also are doing our homeschool. They both seem like impossible goals right now. Add in the few writing gigs I’m doing and the thrill of playing StarCraft on the occasional evening with Andy & Fr. Darryl and it all adds up to … well … I’m not exactly sure what it adds up to. I’m sure it adds up to a lot. It does feels like it, at any rate. I mean, I’m tired all day, right?

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This road. It’s tiring. I’m so thankful for the Eucharist. And in my mind, I see that sentence and laugh, cause it in truth says, ‘I’m so thankful for the thanksgiving.’ Am I just that tired? It’s probable. But I am thankful. When I’m shouting at my kids for spending 15 minutes playing around in their room instead of getting changed for bed, the thankfulness feels much much less, though I ought to be remembering it more. When the repetitive babble babble babble babble of the 2 year old just won’t stop I ought to be remembering this thanksgiving more. Here’s the thing: I often don’t.

This thankfulness is a really hard thing to do in everyday life. I’m not thankful that my son just slapped me with his shirt in anger. I’m not thankful that the youngest thinks pulling out her sister’s hair from her head in handfuls is the bees knees. I am very thankful for these children, but definitely not all their choices.

So it’s tiring. There is joy in this journey (much, in fact), but it’s always amidst this ongoing tiredness. Tired of the fighting, tired of fighting, tired of hearing ‘But I don’t wanna…’ and tired of the whining. All. Day. Long.

I expect it to remain this way, perhaps in a different form, all through their youth. It’s not that I’m expecting anything out of the ordinary. I’m more just commenting on discovering how it just goes on and on, and how deep this tiredness can sometimes become. I’ve found a similarity between this tiredness in parenting and how my faith life seems to go. There is joy in it (much, in fact), but it’s not always roses and lilies. A lot of it is trudging on, much like we trudge on in parenting. Christ in the Eucharist gives me hope beyond my experiences, and I’m thankful I’ve expanded my time at Eucharist this year as I’ve been taking Spencer once a week (in addition to Sunday!) as a part of his preparation for Confirmation and First Eucharist (properly in that order!).

I really enjoy having just one child with me for Mass, it makes such a difference! I’d love to take each child by themselves on a different day, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I find it a treat to be able to listen to the readings (and even the homily), and I enjoy spending that time with Spencer. Eucharist brings me joy and hope, that’s much to be thankful for. Christ truly does give us all that he is, everything, present for us in the form of humble bread and wine. 2016-09-15-16-50-01-edit

This road. It’s a tiring one, but I’m thankful Christ is with me giving reason to hope. These little ones are causes for joy and sorrow; navigating through that path takes a lot of prayer and reliance on God. As a favourite saint used to say, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

So here’s to praying and hoping that I don’t worry!

The New Do

2016-04-21 12.10.53 - edit smallerI took Felicity to my hairdresser (New Creations Hair Salon – Tracey does fantastic work!) to fix up what Spencer had done. I appreciate all the lovely comments about how cute it was, but really, it was super uneven and choppy, so I brought her to someone who could blend it together better and at least make her look nice. And so, it’s official, she has short hair now. I’m still sad. But I’ll get over it eventually.

And in other news, it became apparent that Felicity wasn’t the only one with a new look…Spencer had apparently also taken to Cassia and gave her bangs….thankfully they weren’t too short (grace in this mess, I suppose?) and I was able to save them and make it look (relatively) even. And it turns out, Cassia looks super cute with bangs.

2016-04-22 10.25.35 - edit smallerSo they might stay more permanently. We will see. It all depends on my laziness.

We have had a very full week and one of the days I surprised myself by getting a ton done. Including making bread and several appointments that had been put off for months. All while Andy was completely preoccupied with Confirmations, which took place this week.

So, life has been full with a number of recent adventures, and we’re looking forward to this weekend which we’ve planned as our “Family Fun Weekend.” Andy and I have planned the weekend full of activities we love to do as a family. It might mostly include parks (as long as the weather cooperates), but we’re definitely looking forward to this family retreat, and the kids are going to love it too :).

Happy weekending!

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Small Success Thursday: Gushing Gratitude

Small-Success-dark-blue-outline-800x8001-400x400I might not be known for being overly public with gratitude. I blame my English heritage, which is known for being reserved, critical, having dry humour, and drinking tea. All things considered, I can always use a push to do better than what I’ve been doing. When I saw Sherry Antonetti’s post about gratitude on Catholic Mom’s ‘Small Success Thursday’ I felt the call and am responding: 3 things I’m grateful for and 1 act of kindness in the past 24 hours.

  1. Homeschooling. We’ve just started Kindergarten with my oldest chil2015.09.02 IMG_4072d and at this point, it’s going swimmingly. I don’t expect it to always go so well, but I’m super grateful for this positive start to this journey. He and I are working well together so far, which I was unsure about to start with, and still to some degree am wary will take a nosedive. But I’m grateful that we’ve been enjoying each other’s company and creating some great memories as we journey.
  2. Dishwasher. We installed our new dishwasher two days before the kids and I left for B.C. for the month of August. We had been without one for over a year, when the stand-alone broke beyond repair. Ever since that time, life felt like it was in shambles. Our counters were always full and brimming with dishes. There was never a place to do food prep, so healthy eating slowly gave way to easier convenience foods that didn’t require counter-space to put food on the table. And then, even as this was happening life just started to feel overwhelming. I remember getting to a point where I found I actually could meal plan! But those plans just stayed as ink on a sheet and never found reality because I couldn’t handle the kitchen. I missed eating well. I missed making things from scratch. I missed experimenting with Pinterest finds and other recipes. This dishwasher has completely changed everything. While the counters aren’t completely clear, I always have enough room to do food prep. And I’m loving finding new recipes that our family loves! I am so ever grateful that we have this dishwasher, cause it’s helped me find a groove again.
  3. My husband. I really did find a good guy, and I’m so thankful that he agreed 2015.08.31 14.59.47(after a time) that he liked me too. He pulls me out of my workaholic attitude and makes me do things I wouldn’t normally consider doing on my own. Like playing StarCraft (often with our friend Fr. Darryl). And he’s gotten into making wines again and doing beer from scratch, thanks to a book Fr. Darryl brought back from the Catholic New Media Conference where he was visiting with it’s author, Sarah Vabulas, the resident Catholic Drinkie. I wouldn’t normally do cool things like this, and I’m super grateful for these opportunities to join him and learn and have fun.

And the act of kindness that I’ve done in the last 24 hours? I chose to take Spencer to Andy’s evening meeting so that he could have an evening with his Daddy rather than upset him and keep him home because I’m too lazy to drive him across town. It turned out nice as I managed to throw all our leftovers in a bag and we shared supper together at his work first. I know Spencer appreciates that time (and also because he then gets to watch shows), so it really would have been more self-serving to have kept him home.

There. And it didn’t even feel too hard! I should keep practicing this public gratitude thing. Maybe my perspective will be transformed 🙂 What are you grateful for today?

The Sky is Falling

There are some crazy forest fires north of us currently. Overnight, the sky went from this:

2015-06-28 18.44.06 1.2Natural cloud – a storm to the north passing by, blue sky and sun on the left.

To this by 11am the next morning:

2015-06-29 11.27.02All smoke. Thick, palpable smoke. You can see it hazing well down the street on the left.

This smoke is apparently heavy all the way into the US as well. We are meant to go up to Prince Albert for a friend’s ordination this evening and I’m hoping that the roads stay safe to drive (1.5 hours north). I’ve heard it’s raining ash in Prince Albert.

Today is also the feast of Saints Peter & Paul – two very big saints in our faith who have crazy stories about their lives and about their evangelization. Both are a huge inspiration to me in my faith. They weathered some heavy storms themselves, always conveying joy in their encounters.

It was a beautiful day yesterday with a cooling-off storm in the evening. We woke up and everything had changed. The circumstances we are in have changed so drastically here (and in other places) that it’s not being recommended for the elderly and those with lung problems to go outside due to health concerns. This is not the same place I woke up in yesterday! I’ve had to alter my schedule and approach – no playing outside, being cooped up and watching a few shows, potentially not engaging in an activity that would be life-giving and celebratory this evening. The kids are not happy about it. I’m not terribly happy about it. We are, it would seem, more grumpy today due to the changed circumstances.

It makes me wonder – how many times did this happen to Saints Peter & Paul? Many times they were in more drastic circumstances than we find ourselves in, where their very lives were at stake. However, they didn’t shut up the doors and windows and become hermits. They found ways to adapt and continue sharing the message of Christ, despite the dire circumstances they faced and (sometimes) willingly walked into.

Their witness is a call to me as well. Shake off the dire circumstances I feel faced with and adapt – find a new way to proclaim Christ’s message of love and salvation. I don’t know what that might mean for us today. Perhaps take up the invitation to go to a gym with friends. Perhaps focus on cleaning those never-ending dishes. There might be other opportunities that come tomorrow (as it’s the same forecast of smoke) that bring forth sharing, community, and love that I wouldn’t have engaged in otherwise.

While it’s likely mostly coincidence that these events have occurred at the same moment, it’s a great chance for me to reflect on my attitude towards change and my ability to adapt. And not just to adapt, but to choose joy, not grumpiness and disgruntledness. To choose joy.

Inevitably we can choose joy because our source of joy is not from the weather patterns. It’s not based off of circumstantial changes in our personal lives or the way in which our countries are run. It’s not based off of the negative way my parish treats me or the snarky comments left for me in any particular website or forum. And our joy is not based off of whether we are being persecuted and crucified for faith or able to live out our faith freely. Our joy is from Christ, no matter the circumstances we are in. I definitely need a good reminder of that fact, especially since my children are wonderfully independent thinkers, with whom I have a tendency to disagree. Especially when we are cooped up on a day like today.

So come rain or shine, smoke or clear, blue skies, I will choose joy today. I might be starting this at 3pm in the afternoon, but I’m going to make the most of it today and make the same attempt tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be surprised at how easy it is. More likely I’ll be humbled as I realise again how much I need my God to help get me through each day.

2015-06-29 14.51.31This is what I get for trying to take a picture while they watch a show.

The Sweetest Things…

…come from the most innocent of us all: children. I mean…look at them.

IMG_3425He’s so serious about being a Jedi.
IMG_3433Most of the night she preferred to hold the gun towards herself…
2014-10-30 15.37.33Luke Skywalker, alias Spencer.
2014-10-30 15.09.58Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope.
2014-10-30 15.42.40Rebellion for the win!
2014-10-26 15.48.22Corn mazing
IMG_3423So this happened.
2014-10-24 16.50.52And this, within a month of each other. For the record, our children are not usually the type who fall asleep in any place at any time.

The sweetest things.

We have been living life fully since my last post, which feels like eons ago. Felicity was diagnosed with tongue-tie and has had it clipped. So she now takes a bottle and we have finished (forever) syringe-feeding her milk. She is still having some issues gaining weight, but she is being followed by the hospital pediatrician now, whom we’re waiting to hear back from on our next move currently. Felicity has definitely proven how much we can still learn as parents, even by the third child.

The other two are doing great. Spencer has been listening non-stop to Cat.Chat, which has influenced his prayer life significantly. Just tonight Andy was saying that after regular prayer time, he wanted to say his own little prayer. It went like this,

“God, I ask you (blah blah blah) Syria (blah blah blah)…and I ask the Virgin Mary to go and stop the fighting [in Syria]”

Crazy, eh? This boy just inspires me (when I take the time to reflect).

Cassia is in her independent ‘I DO IT’ streak, which is cute. She ends up with a lot of shirts half-on and socks thrown away randomly in frustration. Such is life, eh?

Andy and I are managing this household…I can’t say we keep it clean (and quite far away from immaculate), but everyone is fed, clothed, and loved. Cassia discovered in late September that she can climb out of her crib, and since then, we haven’t had much sleep at night anymore (she used to go to sleep like an angel). Since then, we have been more sleep deprived than normal, but we are enjoying this life and everything in it.

I’m looking forward to a couple things coming up: I’m going to re-start some homeschool stuff with Spencer come Advent. I think we just didn’t have a way of scheduling things that worked well, so I’m reworking it to see if something else might work. And also, in January, we are going to attempt to potty train Cassia. I found a mom’s method for doing it in 3 days. Here’s hoping it works for us. If not, it’ll be another couple months before trying again.

And I’m looking forward to updating a little more frequently too!