Monday, August 30, 2010

::Made Willing::

Would you all think to pray for me in the next few weeks? The year has tugged and pulled and stretched me in ways I never could have predicted. I find myself moving and thinking in ways that were nowhere on my horizon. I am changed.

One of the ways my life has been altered is with regards to my children's schooling. This Fall, Caelah will be home with me. This is an age-old discussion I would rather not wade deeply into here and now. Ask me when you see me, perhaps. I can look you in the eye and try and explain. But just know that my unwilling heart was made willing by ways and means I can not retrace, and I find myself eager to have my daughter home with me for the school year. I am very exciting to teach and learn by her side. But I am also unsettled. All the feelings of inadequacy this Mother tends to have are now channeled on the opening of the school year. How can I possibly balance all of this and do it well?

Please pray that I hit my stride quickly, and find great blessing in this new life of ours.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

::In the Sun::

been so frustrated with our camera lately because it has been producing grainy photos in the half-light. Or is that me? I have a lot to learn about photography. But then my faith in the machine returns when I see beautiful sun-shots, like Miss Annorah's lovely face:

Friday, August 20, 2010


rim! Well, one window anyways. To most of you this is a non-event. Trim? Oh, but you take it for granted! Living without is for three years has given me a true appreciation for the details that go into building a home. And I would have been denied the pleasure of trim for months, maybe years longer had my brother in-law not taken matters into his own hands. While Aidan and I were off to a wedding, Dave boxed and trimmed our biggest and most-visible window. I am so pleased!

In celebration of the completed window, I bought some Pier 1 curtains I had been eying. Yeah!

Friday, August 13, 2010

::Fire Darts::

"id you see that one!?" Out of the corner of my eye I saw something bright streak across the sky. "Missed it!" But there were more. Flashes of light darting across the sky. Chunks of space rock aflame in the darkness.

My little brother and I were very determined to catch sight of these furtive beauties. Him, because this city-bound boy had never seen one. Me, because I yearned to fill that small empty spot within him. This kid never asks for anything. Unlike so many boys his age, he never expresses a sense of entitlement. And because of that I think we, his grown siblings, feel compelled to delight him.

And so we trekked through the muck of the field next door to no avail. The single street light parked just in front of our lot was ruining out night vision. Into the van and down the road. We pulled over in the darkness. Looked up. Waited. Hoody pulled over his shock of orange hair. Leaning back against the coolness of the van. Hands deep in pockets. He watched the sky. And I watched him. My heart hurting with love for him and his raw wonderment. And the sky offered up it's fiery darts to a sister and brother awash with calm expectations.

Monday, August 09, 2010

::Lantern Party 2010::

antern Party time again! Man, I love this tradition. This year I brought it all inside. Until our porch is more tightly screened-in I no longer want to contend with bugs. Thankfully, our eating nook is the perfect second option. Very cozy. . .

The kids thought so too. . .

I decided on these recipes this year:

::Gruyere Thumbprints::
I made these, courtesy of Martha Stewart. They just looked pretty. I loved them! They reminded me of Yorkshire puddings stuffed with cheese. How could that be bad, right? However, as has proven the difficulty with an appetizer party, they were at their best when first baked...

::Chilled Grape Cups with Lemon Cream::
I mashed together a few recipes to come up with these. Martha Stewart described how to make ::Grape Cups:: And showed me how to make the ::Lemon Cream:: Together they are a delicious, chilly treat! {Too bad the girls missed out on these, as they were forgotten in the freezer!}

::Homemade Hot Chocolate::
This was something I knew would be appreciated by my sister in particular.

The girls trickled in around 7:30-- one sister after another, some carrying very precious cargo:

This year we filled up a bag with notes of love and encouragement to one another. At the end of the evening, when all the girls had gone home, I sat among my lanterns and quietly read them one by one. Beautiful, beautiful words. Tears of gratitude for the ties that bind women in Christ. I am so deeply blessed.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

::Annorah & I::

y baby girl and I paired up for our birthday celebration this year. Why not? We are two weeks apart, so one party made more sense. This year, Annorah turned 1 and I am about to turn 29. The weather could not have been more beautiful, and it has been a low-bug season. So we all spent most of the time scattered about the lawn and porch.

We asked anyone who wanted to come early to bring baguettes or buns stuffed with their favourite sandwich toppings so we could grill them for dinner. We ladies tried to tackle the grill, as the men suddenly went AWOL. This resulted in a few deeply charred "carbon sandwiches." But mostly they were amazing, especially Karin and Josh's smoked cheese, prosciutto & avocado sandwiches. Recipe, please?

Then of course came dessert. My specialty...

::Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Truffle Tart::

This is not a dessert for the milk chocolate fans out there. It's hardcore-- dark and bitter. Ideal with coffee and whipped cream.

I also made a cheesecake that had a fresh, bright citrus flavour:
::Key Lime Cheesecake::
Note: Anytime the recipe says to use a "light" ingredient, I completely ignored it. Full cream. Full fat. Full flavour. And Miss Tara made her beautiful carrot cake that looked like it came out of a food magazine. Yum!

It was so good to have the house packed again. We have been having our parties in town lately to save people the drive, but Aidan and I love having people in our home. Sadly, the photos just didn't turn out for this gig. Evening lighting defeats me every time. And I just can't bring myself to use the flash. So, here are a few of the blurry, goofy-faced photos that I am not ashamed to share for posterity's sake:

{So, this was the best photo taken of me all night. . . Seriously.}

{Blurry Oma being gazed at adoringly by HipHop Norah.}

{Two little monkeys smearing little fingers into Tara's pretty cake.}

{Tightly wrapped burrito-babies}

{Aunty Kate's gift included an adorable pink cap. I had to put it on her right away.}

{Leah loves babies. Obviously, Julia could tell...}

{Menfolk on the lawn.}

{More blurry photos of the birthday girls}

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

::A Reflection on Time::

have heard, on more than one occasion, this week that "people are busy. . . there's only so much time to pursue other people." I am concerned that this very popular belief is mostly founded, and perpetuated by, an insidious untruth. Let me explain.

Some say that we are busier now, in this high-speed techno-age, than our forefathers ever were. Really? I am sitting here typing with the whirrr of my bread maker in the background. My great-great grandmother had to pound her dough out and scrub her laundry and darn her children's clothing with thread and needle. No, we aren't busier, we just have new choices to make.

Some say that one should not place ministry before spouse and family. I would ask what ministry looks like to you? To me it looks like a family affair. When I am bringing people into my home and sharing food and fellowship with them, this is done with my family by my side. They are an organic part of it. They are an extension of me. They offer a true reflection of who Aidan and I are, what we value and how we truly live. And as we open ourselves up to others, is there not time to glance sideways and rejoice in one another? To watch one another? To see deeply into the little hearts of our children as they share? And sift through the meaning and beauty of the words of a husband as he speaks?

Some say that time is far more scarce for one person than another. Yes, circumstances greatly affect our availability to give yet more: the child with special needs, the job that burdens with arduous hours, the illness that immobilized. Yes. And to that I say, it is the responsibility of those of us with excess time flowing through our fingers to gift it to such as these-- Lavishing our surplus upon the ones in deficit. And with some thoughtfulness and creativity it is easily done. Food, flowers, music, encouraging words, a readiness to ease the burden. We can tailor our giving to the one receiving, and fit it into our frenzied schedules like the missing piece that makes the puzzle whole.

I think we have confused "time" with time alone. We have come to exalt solitude, privacy and isolation. I think of Jesus climbing the hill of Gethsemane to pray alone, and then I think how he climbed back down again to carry on with his endless ministry to the broken. We have our own "hills of Gethsemane"-- Those still, dark hours in bed, before sleep comes. Likewise, the pale-lighted mornings. What's more, everyday yields up windows of time to commune with God, sometimes where we least expect. In the words of Brother Lawrence;
People seek methods of learning to know God. Is it not much shorter and more direct to simply do everything for the love of Him? There is no finesse about it. One only has to do it generously and simply. . . In continuing the practice of conversing with God throughout each day, and quickly seeking His forgiveness when I fell or strayed, His presence has become as easy and natural to me now as it once was difficult to attain.

And the sweet intimacies of family are often found with regularity in these same moments at the beginning and end of each day. Night: time alone with my husband. All the thoughts of the day are simmering on the surface of my consciousness ready to be presented to him for insight. A beautiful window of time that is available to us every single night. Morning: freshly awakened children all tussle-haired and hungry. Piling into our bed with chatter and sharp elbows. We are their captive audience. Every single day.

Evening. Morning. Alone. Can we not afford to give of ourselves during the hours that stretch between?

I think so.

I think it is healthy to empty yourself for others. Healthy to teach our children to do the same. Healthy to show that time is not our own, but God's and he will ask us to account for how we spent it. Spend it well.