Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Week I'm Gonna...

Don't read this. It's super boring, and I'm mostly just writing it down to sort it all out in my own head, and because lists motivate me. And really, don't you hate reading about the stuff that other people need to get done? Like, "Oooo! I'm so impressed that you have stuff to get done. Join the club hoser." Or maybe that's just me, lol. I am a cranky hag sometimes. The rest of you are probably a lot nicer than I am.

Monday:
Laundry. I'm about.... Five loads behind. I don't know how that happened since it feels like I've been doing laundry every day. That's not counting the two loads sitting in baskets that need to be folded and put away. So that's during the day. It should be interesting because Hannah LOVES messing up piles of nicely folded laundry. In the evening I'll be at soccer with the boys. Also, MY KINDLE IS SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TOMORROW!

Tuesday: Demo day. I'm gonna get all the tile off walls in the kitchen. And take Sam to preschool. That's it. Should be an easy day. I'm sure taking tile off of walls can't be that hard.

Wednesday: Subbing in Ben's class during the day and TOOPY AND BINOO in the evening!

Thursday: Clean the house after the disaster that Wednesday's business is sure to leave behind. And in the evening HARV AND SHIRLEY GET HERE!!!

Friday: Finish priming (with oil) the kitchen cupboards. I know I told Shirley I had nothing to do that day and I would just be available for whatever she wants to do, but the weather forecast says it's supposed to be nice out and I need to do the oil painting on days I can open the windows. It won't take long. An hour tops.

So that's my week. Seems much more do-able separated into days like that. When I was thinking about it all in one group it seemed a little cuckoo. The only thing that could mess it all up is if I get Sam's stomach flu. I'm really hoping the reason my stomach is upset right now is the chili I ate for supper. So no flu. For any of us. Obviously. That applies busy week, or not. NO flu.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Don't Have It So Bad

In my lowest times, I try to remind myself that I don't have it so bad. For one thing, I had a great dad, one who made everything better, someone who always made even the happiest of times seem more full of joy and meaning. I think of my baptism and my wedding and how having him there made a wonderful perfect day somehow more wonderful. He did that all the time. He was that kind of dad. I was blessed to have him for as long as I did. Losing him doesn't, can't, change that.

And I have a beautiful family. I have a sister who makes me laugh, who I can cry with, who could not possibly be more dear to me. I have two wonderful brothers who somehow make me feel both protective and protected, and they have brought two fantastic girls into my life who I love more every day I know them, and who fit in so well with our family. I have a super adorable niece and two fab nephews who light up my life, and who are so cute I can barely stand it. I have a mom who is my best friend. She knows everything about me, and loves me anyways, and she is the person who I want to call first whenever anything, big or small, happens to me. And I have three amazing children who are healthy and happy and who fill my days with joyful chaos. And I have Glen here to help manage that chaos. (Usually. Sometimes he's part of the chaos.)

And don't even get me started on the many friends and huge extended family who I love and who love me. I am blessed beyond the words to explain it. (Quite something for someone like me.)

And I have pain in my life, but I wouldn't trade all of that joy to be pain free. Obviously.

There are people who have never had a dad like mine, they may not have to experience the pain of losing him too soon, but they never experienced the joy of loving and being loved by their dads like I was. One of the things that I know will come with time is that I will be able to feel the blessing more than the pain when I think of him. I try, but I struggle with that one. I have to keep reminding myself: I don't have it so bad.

I was reminded of that by someone other than me today. On occasion, since the earthquake in Haiti, I read the blog of a missionary family there. I haven't been to their site for awhile, but today a friend on facebook posted a link to their blog...

And I was reminded...


To remember my blessings before my pain, to hold onto hope even in the most hopeless looking situations, to love those who are close to me with all of my strength, and to embrace each day with all of my many blessings and treasure what I have been given.

I remember those last nights in the hospital with dad, and how it felt knowing that my friends and family were holding us up in prayer in the face of our great loss, one friend stayed up all night "with us" from many miles away. And those prayers were such a comfort to us. So please, let's all pray for Cody and Maria Whittaker and their daughters, Isabela and Susana. What a painful road they have ahead of them, but I'm sure they wouldn't trade a minute of the pain of loss if it meant being without all the joy of having.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Babies Crying in Snow: A Retrospective

Remember this?
And this?
Here's the pink version:
(Oh come on. You know you want to laugh.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Belief

So those are the two things I'm struggling with. I suppose I've always struggled with those things, but when Dad was diagnosed... No. Before then even. The day he was first admitted to the hospital, before the official diagnosis, I remember sitting on my bed after I'd hung up the phone and first moaning, and then screaming. No. Just NO. Because I couldn't face this. Because this was going to change my whole world. Because I knew my faith was not strong enough to make it through unscathed.

It's not fair that other people still have their dad's and it's not fair that my kids don't have a grampa. And they had the best one too. It's not fair that my mom is going on vacation alone, and it's not fair that Mike can't introduce his new girl to dad so he could tease her and make her laugh, and it's not fair that Jonathan doesn't have any pictures of Dad with Nathaniel, and it's not fair that my sister thinks about who she would ask to walk her down the aisle if she gets married. It's not fair that he was taken away from us. By cancer. Stupid effing cancer.

Not by God.

But even still, I am mad at Him. I'm like a little child screaming and raging against what I don't, and maybe can't, understand. And maybe my Father is trying to reach out to me. He's trying to explain it to me, or maybe just to say, "I know. I know it hurts. But I can't fix it the way you want me to," the way I do when Ben or Sam or Hannah want things they can't or shouldn't have. And just like them I DON'T CARE. It's not fair and I want what I can't have. And maybe there's a reason and maybe there's not, but I DON'T CARE. I want my Dad back. I want stupid cancer to have never happened. I want God to fix this, and the longer I have to wait for what I want the more I blame Him.


Even though I know, the world's not fair. Jesus knew that. He lived and died it. It's not a fair place and if it was we would have lost my dad forever instead of for now.

Even though I know, God didn't take my dad away. He didn't save him, not the way I wanted Him to, but He didn't take him away. Maybe there was a reason, a meaningful reason, but maybe the reason was just that there's this thing called stupid cancer, and some people survive it and some people don't. This world is full of pain, and mine isn't remarkable, and I don't have to explain every bad thing to believe in the good things. I do believe.

But oh, it hurts. Every day it still hurts.

I think back to that afternoon sitting on my bed crying and feeling sick and scared and trying to tell myself that all my worst fears couldn't possibly come true, that there had to be some hope. And there wasn't. That hurts. Not as much as it hurts to know that this part of my life is the part with no Dad, but it's there underneath... And I still can't seem to find a way to dig it out so I can start to... I don't know. Something.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Everything Happens For A Reason

I believe that. It's basic cause and effect. If you don't believe everything happens for a reason you're dumb, because it does.

A ball goes through a window. There's a reason. Someone hit it, or dropped it, or threw it. Or maybe it fell from space after Wile E. Coyote hit it up there with a rocket powered Acme baseball bat. And whoever put the ball into motion probably had a reason for doing one of those things.

HOWEVER
, it does not follow that everything happens for a good reason, or even an intelligent one.


Here's an example. On January 8th a little girl was killed in Arizona. There was a reason, actually there were lots of them, but some people thought it was a good reason. Some people thought it was God's reason, that He sent the shooter. They are the kinds of people who believe that everything happens for a reason in the way that I don't believe it. Because I don't believe that God orders every aspect of our lives. I don't believe that God is happy when little girls die or when tsunami's devastate countries or when all kinds of bad things happen all over the world every day. I don't believe that.

So what do I believe? How do I look out at a world filled with horrors happening every day and still believe that God is both all powerful and loving at the same time?

It's not easy sometimes. It's almost completely impossible at other times. I remember crying for days over a news story about a baby beaten and molested and then left in her exersaucer to die, and I have never doubted God's love more. Because if He loved that baby... Why? How? HOW? How could a loving God see that horror and not strike those evil men down? How could he not stop things like that from happening?

And how could God watch us fast and pray, and beg, and worry, and struggle, and then finally watch our hearts completely break when my dad took his last few breaths. And why? Because I know that if He had healed my dad that week it would have been a good thing. And it would have spoken of God's power and goodness and faithfulness to so many people who need to see God's love in action, who need to believe He's there and He cares about them. So why?

I don't know, but I do know that everything does not always happen for a good reason.

(That's my second point. I'll tie this all together tomorrow.)

Fair Isn't Always Equal

That's one of my core teaching philosophies. (I bet you are all super stoked about this post right now, hey? What an exciting title and introduction!)

As a little girl, of course, I thought much differently. And sometimes in regular life I forget that that's what I believe. Like when I think I should get exactly what everyone else around me gets, and I should only have to work as hard as everyone around me is working, and... You get the picture.

In school, when you're the gal in charge of a group of kids, it becomes clear very quickly that you can't treat all the children in your class equally. It wouldn't be fair. Because the fact is kids aren't the same. Oh, we like to tell them they are. We like to say things like "You can be whatever you want," and "We're all the same inside," but we're can't, and we're not.

It's a sad but true fact of life that some kids are smarter. Some are more talented, charming, popular, and hard working. Some are just more suited to the traditional classroom that most of us grew up in. Some have better attention spans. Some have no disabilities to slow them down. Some don't seem to have to even try to succeed, they just do somehow. And some have better home lives. (That's a big one.)

So some kids need more time. They need more attention. Sometimes they need a teacher to be creative and teach them and evaluate them in entirely different ways. Sometimes they need their teacher to be more strict, and sometimes they need a teacher to just cut them some slack.

It's the only way to be fair.

Which sounds good. Doesn't it? That we can give all children a fair chance by treating them not equally, but fairly? Yes, that's what I believe. Most of the time. Most of the time I really believe that the right teacher really can make a difference one child at at time.

My very first time out student teaching I discovered the one thing that can screw up my nicely worked out teaching philosophy. Here's what happened... (Story time! Everyone find a seat, criss cross apple sauce, and hands in your bucket.)

I was working three afternoons a week at one of the inner city schools in Saskatoon, and for some reason I needed to speak with the principal. When I went to his office I found him working behind his desk, and off to the side, tucked under a blanket on a couch was a little grade three student. Sleeping. We stepped outside to talk about whatever I needed to talk to him about, and he explained why she was napping in his office.

Apparently, whenever she was having a rough day at school, that's where she would be found. And she had a lot of rough days. Which made sense when he explained that her parents often didn't bother sending her to bed till well after midnight. And when she got to bed she was sleeping in a room with a broken out window. In a basement suite apartment. In inner-city Saskatoon. In the winter. In January. In Saskatchewan. They had put plastic or cardboard over the window, but she often came to school exhausted after spending the night freezing cold and fully dressed, shivering in her bed, and scared that someone would come in the window.


And that's when it hit me. The one thing that could mess up my nicely worked out philosophy: Life isn't fair. Sometimes it's just not. In fact, more often than not... It's not. Because no matter what the school did, that little girl was not going to get an equal or fair shot at an education. They were doing the best they could, they'd called in the social workers, they were trying to work with the family, and I'm sure that the window situation would have been remedied by someone ASAP... But even then... She was on a hard road, much harder than a lot of her classmates, and it likely wasn't leading anyplace good.

And there are lots of stories like hers, and worse.
Some of them much worse.

I was very blessed to grow up thinking differently, but the older I get the more I see that this world is not always a happy place. It's not even a fair place. No matter how badly we'd like to see everyone get an equal chance, or at least fair treatment, sometimes all we can do is damage control. Sometimes life sucks, and it's not fair, and no one can fix it, and no matter what we do or say we can't make it right, or even just fair and equal.

(That's my first point. I'll get to the second one tomorrow. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Rules

Well, it's been a while.

I think I need to make up some kind of rule for myself or it'll be months before I post again. And I do like posting here. I do.

Maybe my rule should be once a week. I could do that I think. I like typing. It makes me feel very professional. I like the clickity click of the keyboard. I like watching the words form up on the screen. That's good stuff.

Part of the problem is that I still often feel like what I really want to say, and what is really important to me, is not what other people want to hear. And that feeling is just getting stronger as time goes on and the world moves on without us.

I think I need to make it so my blog posts don't show up on facebook. Because when my posts go to facebook I know there are people who are reading who really don't care. Or who really don't know me. And that part doesn't bother me that much really, but even if the people who come here don't care and don't know me, it's their problem. They came here. If it goes to facebook then it's kind of being shoved in people's faces. It feels a little narcissistic to me. "Read me! Read me! Comment! Comment! Like me! Like me!"

Which is also fine for most posts. For ordinary ones it's fine. I have no problem asking for attention and approval... Most of the time.

Anyways, all that just to say I'm gonna try this for a while with some new rules:

  1. Post once a week.
  2. No more blog posts on facebook. This is a hard one for me because I like having the posts backed up on facebook, and I like that it's easy for people to see when I've posted because my posts automatically go there when I post here. But, in the end, I think I'll post more if I keep the blog and facebook separate, and I'll be happy to have all the comments for each post in one place and know that the people reading and commenting care enough to come here to see if I've posted.
So that's what I'm going to do. Starting... Now.