Tuesday, June 26, 2012

summer feet

i have decided that after a long day in flip flops, there are few sweeter things than washing my dirty, dusty feet.

i took sam for a walk yesterday, and gave my feet a quick swipe with a cloth when we came in.  but just before sinking into bed, i really scrubbed and cleaned my filthy, tired feet with care.  and it felt like a full-body massage.  blissful. 

i sank into bed almost purring.

no wonder Jesus showed love to his disciples by washing their feet, and told them to do the same to each other. 

i know people like to see it as a metaphor for encouragement, but i think i might just take the literal meaning over the figurative here.

is there something invasive - almost too personal - in that?  in greeting your friend with a basin of water, removing the shoes, washing the day-long dirt away?  but what better way to bring rest, refreshment, comfort? 

there's something in me that cringes at the thought of being the one washed - of having someone else know the callouses, the creases of dust ground in by sandal straps, the water muddying all-too-quickly.

but there's something in that that binds us closer together, isn't there, in being known?  the freedom of it, and then the grace - the sweet grace! - of being washed and clean and refreshed.

i love that Jesus washed their feet.   those hairy, smelly, dirty man-feet. 

he is just right.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

and my heart cried

today was our annual sunday school picnic.  i'm sitting here with still-unwashed feet, and they testify to the great time we had.  i have a flip-flop tan, and grass and sand ground fiercely into the bottoms.  it was tons of fun - lots of games, picnic food, and sunshine.

there were a bunch of kids there who have just recently started coming to sunday school - cuties, with all the shyness of preteens in a big crowd of people who obviously know each other well.

i was sitting on the bleachers, opening packs of bubble gum for the bubble-blowing contest.  they weren't playing the game that was occupying all the other kids, so they slid over to see what i was doing.  we started chatting, and they asked if i had kids.  i pointed out my little guy, sitting on his papa's shoulders, watching the game.

'sam?' they asked, eyes smiling, 'he's so cute!  how old is he?'

i told them, and then i told them he was going to be a big brother in a few months.

'you're pregnant?' the oldest girl asked.  (God bless her for not noticing, these days i feel like my belly comes into a room 5 minutes before i do!)

'i am,' i smiled.

'do you know what it's going to be?' she asked.  i told her i'd be finding out soon, and she wanted to know if i would tell her when i knew.  i told her i certainly would, and that i was so excited about it i could barely think about anything else.  she was entranced, and shyly asked if she could feel the baby kick.

patrick walked by and waved, still carrying sam on his shoulders, heading toward the playground to keep him busy.

the girl put her hand on my shoulder, and a worried look came across her face.

'is your husband upset that you're having another baby?' she asked, concerned.

i paused, taking her whole question in, realizing a little bit what must have been behind it. 

'he's so excited,' i squeezed her hand, 'he loves kids, and he wants us to have tons.'

she chewed on the ends of her hair for a second, then smiled at me.

and my heart cried.


Monday, June 18, 2012

july

this summer, i'm being given one of the biggest gifts anyone can give.

my sister is sending me her heart's treasures in july.

how grateful am i?  let me count the ways.  for twenty-one breakfasts with three of God's funnest girls - so grateful.  for sixty-three hugs goodnight - so grateful.  for three blonde heads bowed around our table, grinning at sam while we pray - so grateful.  for six bare feet next to ours on the sun-hot deck - so grateful.  for heaps of marshmallows, toasty and brown, stuck to sweet chins - so grateful.  for countless laughs - at sam, at each other, especially at me - so grateful.  for three generous helpers folding any laundry but patrick's - so grateful.

for my sister's lonely heart, counting the days til her gems come back - so, so grateful.

oh jo, i love your beautiful daughters like my own.  my heart sings every day because they are coming to us.  thank you so much for your willing gift of love.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father

i'm not feeling writey, but i am feeling bloggy, so this will be listy.

things my dad and husband have taught me about my Father God.

1. he always has time to talk with his kids.  no matter how much dad or patrick have going on, when their kids want to join in, they're joyfully welcomed.

2. he loves to be generous to his children.  the happiest i've ever seen either of them is when they can give to their kids. 

3. it makes his heart glad to hear they love him.  (hey dad? i love you!)

4. he will drive across the country (or universe) to help his children.  in a heartbeat.  this summer, dad is driving up to help us insulate the house.  thank you, dad.

5. he would rather pierce his own heart than have them suffer.  dad gave up hunting when he came home to 2 sobbing little girls who couldn't bear to see a dead bambi in the truck.  thanks dad.

6. he loves us just as we are.  patrick wouldn't change a thing about sam.  he loves his persistence and spunkiness and quirky fears.  dad loves me too, temper and all ;).
 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

deliciousness

i have so much to do today.
so why am i sitting here, curled up with cold blueberry oatmeal, writing a post?

because it's worth it.
and i can't be THAT selfish.
i must share this delectable recipe.

last night i made pad thai for the first time, following this scrumptious recipe.  (go on, open it up and prowl through.  it seems like a lot of steps but it's not - it just has really clear directions.)

i didn't have all the ingredients, though, and in spite of that, it actually tasted spectacular.

here's what i changed:

i used coconut oil with about a teaspoon of peanut butter, since i didn't have peanut oil.  the subtle taste of coconut - yum!

i stir-fried the egg in sesame oil (the thought of coconut with egg just seemed wrong).

i had 1 leftover chicken breast, so i used that instead of tofu.

i didn't have real garlic, so just used garlic powder.

i used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth.

i was out of lime juice, so i used lemon.

i didn't have peanuts, but i had pecans, so i popped them in the blender and used those.

i didn't have bean sprouts, so i left them out.

i topped the whole thing with a generous amount of chopped fresh cilantro, and added a bit more soy sauce at the end.

and ooh yes, my soy sauce has calamansi in it (it was the only kind i could find without wheat - and i LOVE it!  so much better than straight soy).

the flavour was spectacular, and unlike some pad thai i've had before, this was not dry at all - it was succulent and juicy.  i realize it's probably the pregnancy hormones' fault, but i could have cried from happiness when i ate this.  yum!

Monday, June 11, 2012

el bumpo

here's the bumperoo at week 22-ish. 

i think this blog is as close as i'll probably ever get to making a scrapbook. ;)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

suffering/endurance

romans 5:3-5 - we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

i must have prayed for endurance ;)

it's been a long week.  our hot water heater quit on monday night, and we still don't have any hot water.  it's been a busy week of doing the dishes by the kettle-full, freezing cold showers, and long waits on the telephone, waiting for appointments.

that's not the tough part, though - the hard part has been dealing with the less-than-honest service techs while trying not to lose my temper.

okay, let me be honest.
trying not to lose my temper is always the hardest part.

i had to laugh tonight, though, when i looked back at my verses for the week.  i think God might have been trying to prepare me:

monday: whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (eccl. 9:11)

tuesday: fret not yourself; it tends only to evil (psalm 37:8)

wednesday: trust in the Lord with all your heart (prov 3:5)

thursday (HA! i just might have picked this one out myself ;) ): vindicate me, o God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!

i wonder what lies in store for me tomorrow?  goodnight, clean and warm friends.  luxuriate in your shower and enjoy it for me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

a guest

adoring this thought tonight.

'i am a sojourner with You, a guest, like all my fathers.' psalm 39:12 (b)

i was struck a while ago with the realization that God wants to produce His character qualities in us.

and this verse reminded me that He is hospitable.

we love a hospitable God.  he welcomes us.  feeds us.  gives us rest.  talks with us.

and we get to be His guests.

mind blown.

Monday, June 4, 2012

mistakes

patrick and i recently watched Red Tails - an excellent movie, btw.

one line really stood out to me.  one man was feeling terrible because he made a bad call, and it ended up costing a soldier his life.  he wanted to step down from leadership, but his commanding officer told him to stay, saying:

'not every decision you make is going to be a good decision.'

i find that incredibly freeing.

i realized (to my chagrin) that i expect myself always to make the right decision.  the best decision.  at all times.  whether it's the best driving route (quickest way from a-b), the best deals at the store, who to marry (okay, i clearly got that one right!), etc.

but it's a lot of pressure to carry around that kind of expectation all the time.  i need to cut myself some slack and just be okay with the idea that i can try my best but it won't always be the best.

and the sad thing is, i expect the same - relentless perfection - from other people too.  especially from christians, because i know we're called to a higher standard.

i expect that christians should always make the right decision - be the most loving and considerate, the most righteous and humble, the most patient and quick to help ... honestly, what kind of people do i think we are?  perfect?  [well someday! but not yet :) ]


i need to remember that for myself, and for my christian family around me.  i've been holding us all to a hypocritical and unrealistic standard. 
the christians i know are the kindest, most generous, and loving people i've ever met.  wherever i go, i am always welcomed by my church family and feel safe and cared for and loved.

but sometimes we say mean things, act in a lazy or selfish way, lose our tempers ... whatever.  not because we're trying to hurt each other.  we just do.

i need to remember that not every decision we make is going to be the best one.  and that is very, very okay.
we're not perfect.
we just worship the One who is.

striving to do my best?  definitely.
being okay with the fact that i'm not perfect?  gonna work on that.  :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

home

something weird happened to me today.

after meeting up with some friends, i popped by john deere to take patrick the cold meds he'd forgotten in the car.  we had a few minutes to chat and hug in the sunshine, and it was really nice.  the rest of my day feels whirly and my mind races all the time - but when i'm with patrick, it's like we're in a circle of trees that blocks the wind and noise and everything is still and warm.  he's just like that.

anyway, on my way home, i was driving down walsh street and the trees were all green and lush, arching over the road.  it's a really wide street, but somehow they are tall enough and full enough to do that.  it's so beautiful.

and all unbidden came the thought 'oh, i'm so glad i live here!'

and, upon closer examination, i realize - i am.  i am glad i live here.

this afternoon i was at the doctor's office, and the waiting room was full of chatty people.  i ended up talking with some moms who could have stepped right out of rants-from-mommyland.  a friend of mine (who works there) popped out to give me a hug.  and when i went into the inside offices, three of the ladies who work there came to see sam and ask how my pregnancy is going.  it definitely felt more like a social call than a doctor's appointment.

the large loneliness that comes from being a stranger in a new city is rapidly shrinking.  there are few lovelier places from june through october than northern ontario (did i mention that the sun doesn't go down until 10?  and twilight lingers til 11?).  i miss halifax, i miss my ocean, my sisters, my parents.  but there are really good things, and really good people here too.

tonight, some friends are coming over for a costume party and a scavenger hunt.

thunder bay is (finally?) becoming home, and yes, i'm glad i live here.