Showing posts from January, 2011

Birthday Giveaway

Today is my birthday and the end of my 34th year. Some of you will remember that for birthdays our family takes turns mentioning something they are thankful for about the birthday person and giving them some sort of blessing for the new year. A few years back, I remember my father in law blessing me to have a greater capacity for thankfulness. It wasn't until he said it that that I was able to understand that I was missing gratitude in my life. It's sort of silly to think back on it, but it had never occurred to me to be intentional about gratitude. A week later I ran into Ann Voskamp's post about her gratitude list . I don't think it was a coincidence. And so I started to make a list of my own . It's true you know, practicing gratitude changes you, and the change is good. I have the past two or three years as proof. Today on my birthday I am giving thanks for: sun glistening on rain wet grass and patio tiles Aaron's gourmet omelets Jellybean's sl

Making a marriage last

I'm always amused by the people who say that in order to have a good marriage you need to have regular date nights, or get away together a few times a year, or sit down and have talks that analyze your relationship. It amuses me because we've never gotten away with each other since we had kids, we go on a date perhaps once a year, and the talks I tried to have were ultimately frustrating and created more problems than they solved. It's not that these things aren't good and all. They're often pleasant, except when you are unhappy with each other, because then you are just stuck alone with nothing to distract you from the fact that you are unhappy with each other. But they are not the secret to a successful lasting marriage. What is it that gets one couple through where 9 others go their separate ways? Why does one marriage survive the rough patches that we all hit, and another doesn't? You want to know what it takes to make a marriage last? Sheer bloody

Adventures in the Cold

Christmas day was a balmy -3C in Alberta. My aunts and uncles kept commenting on the gorgeous weather. We didn't really notice the balminess, there was snow on the ground after all. The next few days we were laid up thanks to whatever virus they picked up on the plane trip so by the time we were ready to give playing outside a try the temperature was plummeting and it was snowing again. nothing funner to do on vacation than lay around with a fever But we wanted to go skating. I promised to take them skating on the pond I skated on as a kid. So we bundled up and started out on a walk to the pond. Jellybean was layered in 2 snow suits Right after I took this photo a lady pulled up close in her van and asked if we wanted a ride somewhere instead of walking in the cold. "Wow, I"m really in Canada," I thought, "this wouldn't happen in San Diego." "We're doing this for FUN!" I yelled back to her, "But thank-you." We did

I live in the HOOD, yo

Let me just start by saying again how much I love this house. The layout, the space, the fenced yards with room to play, the wood floors, the details, even the paint color. The neighbors are all big Mexican families with lots of cousins and never ending music blasting from loud speakers. The nearby shops are all labeled in Spanish and there is an amazing taco stand just a block away from our house. It's like being in Mexico, only more expensive. But... We started to notice pretty soon after we moved in that this may not be the most ideal neighborhood. Maybe it was the way the local sheriff's department seemed to be permanently camped out on the corner nearest us. Or it could have been the night someone ran through our yard evading capture by the authorities, or the drive by sheriff's vehicle with that big spotlight that they shine in yards when looking for someone that I noticed on several occasions while tucking my children in for the night. The sound of police hel

When Dads Decorate

I remember my first Christmas in this house. I was back from University, heart still raw from the finalization of my parents divorce where a judge decided, in my absence, that neither parent was legally responsible for 17 year old me, because I was finished high school and at U of L. I felt as though I had no home and felt even more so when my dad kept shooing all my stuff up and out of site. "The first level has to look professional, my gallery is here." Ornaments he made from last year's Christmas cards. I cried and yelled something incoherent about it not even feeling like Christmas here because it wasn't comfortable and wasn't home. (Go teenage hormones. I was good at drama.) I like them. I don't remember clearly, but my dad's response involved getting me to decorate with him for Christmas. I think he may have even put me in charge, much to my little brother's chagrin. The tree gets bigger every year I think. I made this l

Christmas with Grandpa Shane

my dad and his front door Trying out the cold weather gear on dad's porch. Our first stop in Canada was my dad's house, which is over 100 years old, doubles as his art studio and gallery, located in the heart of the town I grew up in... Oh, and home to 5 boarders (my dad tends to rent rooms for cheap to people regular landlords wouldn't touch, like just out of prison, or broke) with one bathroom and no laundry facilities. We all did Christmas morning together And yes, he did buy them all Christmas gifts and roast them a turkey. This creates a bit of a challenge when traveling with 4 little laundry generators in tow. Also, imagine the state of the bathroom used by 6 guys with no women around. My dad said he ran out of time to clean it before we got there. He did have time to put up Christmas lights in his room which the kids and I shared though. Priorities people, the grandchildren must first be awed. I did scrub that tub within an inch of it's life b


We are home again, and back into work and school. There are still suitcases out waiting for me to finish unpacking them, the kids have yet another cough that they picked up somewhere. Hazards of traveling I suppose. I had some stomach trouble, probably related to a day of travel with no sleep the day we got home but that has passed as well. My husband is wonderful, my home is lovely and comfortable, the weather is amazing, my van is so much fun to drive by comparison to the winter driving in Canada. It was a really great trip. I am so glad for the time I had to visit, however brief. It's better to be back and my heart has been cured of its wistful wishing for things that won't be. I am content with the life we have, and that is good. The visit with my nephew and his family was really good. ( Regrets and Questions ) He and the Boy hit it off right away over a mutual love of Star Wars. He is so big and absolutely beautiful. It was good to see him play, interact with his sis

Regrets and Questions

She was 19 when she drank a little too much and ended up going home with a guy she would never see again, having sex for the first time and getting pregnant. It was a week before my wedding when she finally realized what was causing her to throw up all the time and instead of planning my bachelorette I found her hugging a teddy bear in the basement fighting back tears. She was going to keep him. In her heart she wanted him. In her heart she loved him. But she had no idea what she was doing. We promised to be there for her when he was born. We moved countries for the third time that year in order to be with her. But it was as though she was gone. She was not ready for this, emotionally, or in any other way. She was blanking out and going through the motions but her heart was absent. We knew that she needed help. She needed to decide what she was going to do rather than let life happen to her. She needed to act in a way consistent with her heart or it didn't matter what her heart

Snowed In

I told a shocked listener yesterday that I was hoping for snow this visit to Canada. You know, so my kids could experience it. I got what I wanted. I forgot to specify that I would like it to not dump more than 28 cm in a single night on a weekend I intended to travel by car. I would still be in Edmonton if it weren't for my dad catching a ride with a cousin who drove out a day early in order to catch a flight and then driving us back through absolutely horrible road conditions. They closed the highway just after we got through. We passed more than 55 cars in the ditch in 141km. Slick roads, white out conditions. But I was going to go to Calgary today. Today it's Calgary that has the weather warnings. Of course. We are caught in between. Perhaps I should have stayed in Edmonton longer to visit. Except, the whole city was under snow so not that many people were going anywhere anyway. So we wait for the snow to clear a little, and the wind to die down. And I remember how


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