That is all.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Here is the YouTube version. Tell me which way seems better to you. I haven't decided if I like the new blogger video feed or the YouTube one better yet.
The other one is in the post right down below this one.
UPDATE: Well, the consensus seems to be that the blogger version is better. Since this seems better to me anyways, because it keeps my videos more private, I am prepared to fall in with your wishes. Just this once though. Don't get too used to me being democratic. If you remember, I have dictatorial tendencies that put things like voting and egalitarianism way down on my list of ways to do things.
So I've taken down the YouTube version and left you with the blogger version in the original post. If you are disappointed you should have made your voice heard by voting. Now... Sadly, it's too late.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
When people ask me if I've had a good summer vacation sometimes it takes me a while to think of an honest answer that doesn't take half an hour to explain. The past few months have been hard... But beautiful. Grampa passed away, which was hard, but so beautiful. Standing by his bedside singing with my family, smiling through our tears. Holding Gramma's hand by his grave while dragonflies floated above the soft green grass, listening to the sound of the hymns Grampa loved while the men of our family laid Grampa to rest in his last earthly resting place... So hard, and so beautiful.
And then there's Dad. Things haven't been the same this summer. Dad can't do a lot of the things he used to do, at least not easily. We didn't get to go camping like we usually do. There were no hikes around the lake, or rides in the boat. Still, we had time to be together, to laugh and to play. But even those times felt bitter-sweet with the worries about Dad's health always on the edge of our minds.
There is something about being together, though, that somehow makes things still okay. Somehow just being in the presence of people you love can be a healing balm for raw emotions... Knowing we are there for each other for better or for worse, makes the worse seem so much better.
Last night Ben woke up from a nightmare. It took a while before I heard him crying and by the time I got to him he was wide awake and hysterical, but I picked him up and I held him in my arms. I wiped his tears, and I whispered my love in his ear. In minutes he was back to sleep with a soft smile of contentment on his face. It's amazing how a parent's mere presence can calm a child's worst hurts and fears.
After Ben was asleep I thought of my fears and how they can sometimes seem so overwhelming. I want God to just take them all away... To make the world a place where I can't be hurt, where I don't experience pain, but maybe that isn't a parent's job. Maybe instead of begging God to take away all of my pain, I should instead find a place where I can be in His presence and let his closeness calm me.
Because just knowing someone who loves you is nearby... Is enough...
Friday, August 24, 2007
Okay. It's not quite ready, but Mom's written a post, so feel free to head on over to Dad's new blog. I've put a link in my sidebar, or you could click here. (For all you sidebar-challenged people.) We will be giving that blog address to Dad's church and friends, but it will have no links back to our regular family sites. We are hoping to keep those as normal as possible. Although I will probably still mention things on here if I have something I need to work through, I won't be posting general updates here anymore. Just on Dad's site.
I'm hoping that allowing actual people onto Dad's new blog will shame me into finishing everything up... We'll see though. I just got the Big Brother live feed free trial. I have to keep my priorities in order.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
... And it's spelled C-O-L-D.
My dad is going to the hospital. He has a cold. (So does Sam, but of course Sam has a healthy immune system to fight off a virus.) I guess they are planning on admitting him.
All I keep thinking is that I didn't get to hug him goodbye when we left Saskatoon. Neither did my boys.
UPDATE: So, since Dad was due to be admitted to start his chemo treatments anyways, he will be in the hospital at least a month. We were all hoping that the medicine he has been taking would do a good enough job on his cancer that they could harvest his stem cells without having chemo first, but I guess that didn't happen. I'm not sure if the chemo will start right away or if they will get his cold taken care of first. Tomorrow I will work on getting Dad's new blog up and running with updates and a guest book for you to send messages to him. Till then you can send well wishes to him by clicking here.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Sometimes I struggle with doubt. Sometimes parts of the Christian faith seem so bizarre to me. Unbelievable even. I struggle to hold on to my faith in the face of contradictions that can seem overwhelming.
There was a time when I had decided to let go. When I told God I didn't want any part of Him anymore. That I couldn't do it. I couldn't believe. I couldn't trust. I felt like I had given everything I could and that, in return, God had turned His back on me, left me in the cold and dark to plod on without any help. I felt that He didn't love me. That He couldn't. I felt that I had failed. I felt that I didn't have what it took to follow Him.
But. I didn't have the courage to tell anyone around me. I kept doing what I was doing. I kept going to church. I kept teaching Sunday School. I kept leading worship. But inside... Inside my heart was breaking. Inside I was swirling through despair because I felt that God had deserted me.
And I don't know. Maybe He did. Maybe a time of dryness really is a part of most Christian lives. Maybe He knew that my faith had become nothing more than dry religion and He needed to show me. To open my eyes to what I had become. I really don't know.
But at the moment when I told Him I couldn't do it anymore. At the moment when I said, "God. This is it. You have to do something or I'm done with you. You have to tell me you love me because I can't do this on my own anymore." At that moment I was sitting in a church service not a part of what was going on around me. A hypocrite. A dry shell with nothing alive inside of me. And a man at the front interrupted what he was saying and said, "Someone out there is questioning God's love. Someone needs to hear from Him right now. God wants to tell you, 'Child I am here, I hear you, and I love you.' "
And I know... Some of you will say it was a coincidence. You will say that what God said to me that day could have applied to anyone. But I know it wasn't, even though it could have been. At that moment my eternity hung in the balance. I know better than anyone how my soul was screaming and how badly I needed an answer. No one could hear me. No one but God. And He spoke those words about me, to me, for me.
I went to the front for prayer at the end of that service, with tears streaming down my face, and Jesus met me. I can't explain it to you. I know that it could be written off as a fantasy brought on by my own desperation. But it wasn't. I know it more than I know anything else. I met Jesus. I called out to Him and He answered.
So on the days when fear and doubt start to drag me down, when Christianity seems like a cold meaningless tradition, when what I believe and what I see seem like two different things, when dogma gets in the way of intimacy... On those days, I take myself back to that place where I called and God answered... And all of my doubts and questions fall into the background, still important, still worth asking, but not faith-shaking.
Because Jesus loves me. This I know.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I finally took an evening and uploaded the tribute and some of the slide show from Grampa's funeral. You can view the tribute here and the slide show here. Sorry it took so long for me to get to it. I blame Dad. He's always distracting me with football stories and promises of late night movie parties.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Ahhhh... You have to love the weird and wonderful world of coincidence. Today we headed off for a trip to a nearby lake for a day at the beach with my parents. And who did we meet? A family with two little boys named Ben and Sam.
And... A family that I've been wanting to meet for a long time. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to the park gates and I saw Marc paying for his park pass. I was so shocked, he was gone before I could say, "It's the pilcrow magnate!" But fate was kind and we had barely been at the beach long enough to unload the van before I saw the small familiar little face of their daughter on the playground with Ben, and following closely behind... The mother of all mothers. So I got to meet some blogging friends face to face for the first, and hopefully not last, time.
Of course, I was a little star struck. Smart people always make me nervous and I tend to talk too much when I'm nervous. Ben ran right up to their kids and asked if he could play with them. (And their cousins.) He even petted them for a while until I told him to stop. I know how he felt though. Dixie is lucky that I'm old enough that I've stopped petting people when I want them to like me. (Or unlucky? Would that have worked I wonder?)
Even without the happy coincidences, it was a beautiful day, and I was glad to get in probably one of our last beach days of the summer. I love the beach. But more about that later... For now a couple shots from the day... (I have some of the Vanderfamily, but since I don't have their permission to post them, I'll have to save them for now.)The vehicle we drove to the lake. Fairly comfortable. Good ventilation. I just wish it had a windshield. Dragonflies are hard.Sam... We put out some toys for him, he grabbed a pail and shovel... And headed for the water. "You people aren't moving fast enough. I'm out of here."
That black truck isn't ours. Ben stole it from one of the other Ben's on the beach. (There were three of them.)
Sammy crashed on Dad. Poor little guy. Lucky Dad. (Sam almost never has time for a cuddle, no matter how tired he is.)
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I got this quiz off of Becky's blog. Again. (I think I may be a Becky-Wanna-Be. Which is ironic. Since I am one.)
I'd like to write a big long post about the whole "E" part of that quiz, but I'm tired, and my mom keeps distracting me by saying things like "What are you doing?" and "That looks funny." (There's a reason I never do well with the whole posting thing when I'm here.) Anyways. Let me just say that a number of years ago when I first took this quiz the "E" would have been a lot closer to 90% or even 100% than 50%. It's amazing to me how much I have changed since I've had kids, and the decrease in my E-factor is particularly stunning. I think I've even written about it before, but I don't have the energy to look for the posts, so if you're that interested in the boring introspections of this particular Becky, you'll have to hunt up the posts for yourself. (If you find them, will you let me know so I can put up some nifty links?)
I'm going to bed now. Tomorrow is a big day. We're having a Cowboys and Indians themed birthday party for my Gramma (I promise pictures), and the visionary in me has some big plans, but the introverted extrovert in me is needing some sleep so I can be at my vibrant best.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Since I am feeling lazy today, but I still wanted to thoroughly break my no-post pattern, I stole this questionnaire from the Grrrl, who got it from here.
What is your favorite word? Chakins.
What is your least favorite word? Panties.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Music.
What turns you off? Stupidity.
What is your favorite curse word? Frick.
What sound or noise do you love? Rain.
What sound or noise do you hate? People eating.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Dolphin Trainer. (I'm so junior high.)
What profession would you not like to do? Pediatrist.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Welcome home.
Now you can do it and put it on your blog or in my comments section. I know! You're thrilled to the tips of your toes aren't you? That's me. A thrill with every post, and a post with every thrill... Or something...
Monday, August 06, 2007
- They stopped being nice to me when I wanted to return things, and started seeming to enjoy the thrill of the power trip more than the thrill of taking back the crap I bought and then changed my mind about.
- They were out of everything I wanted to buy for about six shopping trips in a row and when we asked them to set aside the items we wanted and call us when their stock came in they promptly wrote down our names and never called, which was quite irritating when we came into the store days later to discover the items we had reserved either sitting on the shelves or sold out again.
- The quality and selection of plus sized and little boys clothes started to really lick boot. Don't even get me started on what it's like to try to shop for clothes for myself or my boys. It is obvious that Walmart prefers to have thin women with daughters as their customers. I'm not bitter though. I'm just saying.
Which reminds me of a story...
In the wild and carefree days of my youth I had a friend... Let's call her Pleggy. On one balmy summer's day Pleggy and I persuaded my dear mother to take us with her to work. The plan was to escape the monotony and aggravation of lying around the house being irritated by my younger siblings, who, as many of you know, are all Grand Masters of Pestering and Provocation. So we went into the city with Mom. We were going to walk to Mayfair swimming pool which, my mom assured us, was in the neighborhood of City Hospital where she worked. If any of you live in Saskatoon you may be, at this point in my rambling narration, saying to yourself, "But... Mayfair swimming pool isn't anywhere near City Hospital." And you would be correct. However, at the tender age of 13ish, I had not yet come to realize, as I do now, that my dear mother has absolutely no sense of direction. But, I digress...
So we set out that morning from City Hospital in a northerly sort of direction with just enough money to get us into the swimming pool and buy some fries for our lunch. And, since the pool wasn't anywhere near us, we were doomed from the start. We wandered City Park with no hope of stumbling across Mayfair Pool. After a few hours, Pleggy and I decided to walk to the only place we knew for sure how to get to... Lawson Heights Mall. This took us quite a while as we got a little lost in the winding streets of City Park, and ended up backtracking almost all the way back to the hospital. Eventually, though, we made it. I can still remember the soothing touch of the cool air conditioned air on my face, the smell of mall chinese food wafting over me, the sounds of change being dropped into tills and receipts printing.** We were very relieved to be there and in our euphoria we quickly spent all of our money before it occurred to us that we could have gone to Lawson Civic Center and swam there.
So there we were. Penniless with a whole afternoon stretching in front of us, and bored.*** Somehow, in my stupor, I found myself in the make-up section of Zellers shoving make-up up my shirt sleeves only an hour or so after we'd arrived at the mall. Pleggy assured me that it was easy to shoplift while she slipped some mascara into her backpack, and since I never wore make-up and had no desire to do so, it seemed like a pretty good plan.
Notice, I say it seemed like a pretty good plan. It turned out to have a few fatal flaws. One flaw was that since we were teenagers wandering aimlessly through a cosmetics section we immediately, I assume, attracted the attention of store security. The other was that we were, even as teenagers go, stupid. I'm pretty sure it occurred to us to look around for police-type people, but it never entered our minds that a security guard would be dressed like a regular person. In fact, I distinctly remember being very confused when we were stopped by a fellow customer as we were leaving the store and asked to please follow him to his office.
Ahhhh... The memories. Do you remember that song, "I got it free! At Ze-eh-llers! Where the lowest price is the law?" I do. And it always makes me laugh. I met the law that day, but I never did get it free.
I was banned from the store for life actually.**** Good thing I always go in disguise now.
* Okay. So it really isn't. So you have to be very careful to compare the prices of things you can get in other places. The point is... When you can't get it anywhere else, or if you don't care how much you pay for things, Zellers rocks.
** Actually, I can't remember any of that. I just thought it would add to the story.
*** Teenagers have very short attention spans, and when they have no money they get even shorter. It's a simple fact of life.
**** That's what they told me just before I was taken away in the back of a police car hysterically sobbing beside my stoically calm friend Pleggy.