November 23, 2020

Timothy J Haughton

Today is a special day, today I get the honour of celebrating my best friends birthday. Every year I feel the same unmistakable honour and love and thankfulness that he was born but this year it's so much bigger. I have seen Tim step up for me when I needed him or when the kids needed him and I have seen him put his needs aside for all three of us through the years but this year I have seen him at his finest yet. 

Just one year and a few months ago Tim was in a serious accident that could have been life threatening, thankfully he 'only' suffered a major concussion and yet just days following the accident he was back in the office serving the community that he loves so much. He would come home after church on Sunday's and could barely function, yet no one really knew because that's how Tim is. He is this strong, stoic soul who fights hard through his own stuff for the sake of others. He was finally starting to feel human again when we learned that Toronto was going on lockdown in March, with two days notice he worked through and got a live stream up for the very first Sunday so that no one would miss church, so that we could all feel that normalcy we needed so badly in such unsettling times. I have seen him work 60 - 80+ hours a week since then trying to make it all go smoothly, trying to hold together this beautiful church we call home, not the building but the actual body of Christ. He has stepped up, given his best, and I am so in awe of the man I married, so proud of the leader that he has become. His choices are always prayed through, always thoughtfully made and always with the church's best interest at the heart of it. It is how he leads our family, how he loves us, how he loves generally and it's inspiring. 

This isn't a normal year, no year will ever be quite like 2020 (one hopes) but what I will walk away remembering from this year is how this man I call husband stood in the face of Covid-19 and didn't flinch, he just kept doing what he was called to do and he did it with grace and love and endurance. He did it with the church and he's done it with us as a family. I still wonder every day how on earth I deserve a man like this, but I am so glad that he chose to love me, that he chooses to love me and our church. 

I often take him for granted, as most of us do with our spouses but today, this day when I get to celebrate his entry into the world I am reminded how truly blessed I really am. 

Tim, I have had a million reasons to be proud of you throughout our years together but this year you have amazed me with your resilience and faithfulness to our family and to our community. I typically just post something on my facebook wall for your birthday but there's just too much to say in the midst of this year. Thank you. Thank you for your hard work here at home and at the church. Thank you for the ways in which you use your gifts to speak into my life, to listen to my wingeing, to love me like I have never been loved before. Your strength has kept us afloat, your love has kept us going, both at home and at church and you need to hear that. I see you. Thank you.

Happy birthday love. It's always been you, will always be you. I love you.

L

November 18, 2020

It's a boat


Imagine if you will that dating is sitting or standing on a dock with someone that you are wanting to get to know. You talk for a bit but you realize that this person is actually not really someone you want to spend any long amount of time with so you kindly (KINDLY) say thank you for the talk and you leave the dock, or they thank you and they leave the dock. Then you come back to the dock with someone else, you spend more time on the dock this time, you see something in them that you really like, they see something in you that they really like, and one day while you are sitting on the dock the person you are sitting with asks you if you would like to go for a trip on their boat. You agree, and you both excitedly start planning for an amazing trip together. You spend hours planning what to pack, who to invite to your 'bon voyage' party, you talk with the person from the dock that you are going on the trip with about all the things you will see along the way and you are happy, really happy. 

On the day of your departure for the trip you get all dressed up and ready for the bon voyage, your family and friends meet you at the dock there's champagne and cake and then the person you have chosen to go on this journey with is standing with one foot on the boat and one on the dock and he is reaching out his hand to you to help you up. You take his hand and as you step onto the boat you turn to wave at the friends and family who are waving goodbye. You set the course of the boat and off into the sunset you go, smiling, excited, happy, really happy.

The first few days are beautiful weather, the sun is shining, the breeze is cooling, the air smells like the salty sea and the sound of the gulls lulls you. You have plenty of food, plenty of water, you are with the person you enjoy most in the world so you are having so much fun and still planning for the first destination. You are happy, really happy.

After a few weeks at sea you begin to notice that the person you are with snores every night, you are more tired than before, they eat loudly, you find yourself annoyed, they say this annoying thing that used to be cute but now it just gets under your skin, but they are still your favourite person and for the most part you still have so much fun together. You are happy, still happy.

Then one night a storm blows up, the waves are huge and the vessel you are on it pitching in the waves. You are scared and you can see that your person is scared too but they are trying to calm you, trying to tell you that everything is okay. You feel safe and you realize that what you felt before was a deep like for that person but now, now you feel a deep love that that seems to ground you. You are scared, but still happy.

As you navigate the storm, both busy on keeping the boat upright you argue, you fight, your fears speak with hurtful words, you think you could do things better, they think they can manage without input. You fight, you feel alone. In your lonliness you are not feeling happy, not at all happy.

As the storm breaks you find yourselves completey off course, lost at sea, much less water and food for survival, further apart from your favorite person than you were when you met. The words spoken in anger linger between you, trust has been broken, loneliness has come between you. You stare out at sea and there is nothing but sky and water. You are stuck, with your person. You are not happy, not happy at all.

As the silence streches out between you, with breaks for a bitter argument you sit on the edge of the boat, wishing you had never started this trip with this person. Surely there was someone else would have been more fun, more in keeping with who you would want to take a trip with. You stare at the water and you know that you are on this boat together, for better or worse, you can't jump or you will drown. Instead you turn, and when you turn you see the face of your person. You remember all those mean words, the hurtful things they have done, you remember the pain of the words as they sliced you, you remember the snoring, the annoying way they do things and then you look deeper into your persons face and you see them, the real them, the one from the storm that had been so scared but trying to keep calm for you, the person who could make you laugh and love, the person you chose to step onto this boat with. They are the same people. You feel something, not happy but a sort of crumbling.

You realize that you are annoying, you do and say things that cut deeply too, you can lash a tongue better than most and if you look closely at your person you can see the scars and this hurts you, because you love them. You move closer, you touch their arm,  trace your fingers over the scars and you ask for forgiveness and you offer forgiveness and you move to an embrace that makes the loneliness leave,  you are safe, you are happy.

It goes this way, the ebbs and flows, just as the waves move your boat ever closer to the other side your relationship also moves and sways with dips and highs that only ever get deeper, more and more full of a love you hadn't thought you would even be capable of. This person you set out on this journey with is your family now, the love has grown not through the easy times but in the darkest of storms, the worst of the waves, it moved through all of those things for two reasons, forgiveness and you didn't decide to jump off the boat. You stay, because jumping off the boat isn't an option. You stay because when you turn and really honestly look at your person you see the scars that you have left too, it's not just what has happened to you, it's what you have done to them. This person has seen you at your worst, and they have loved you, and they have forgiven you, and you have seen them at their worst and found a way to forgive them and one day you look at your scars and you don't remember the pain, the words that cut you, your remember the forgiving embrace that came after. 

Marriage is the boat obviously. Somehow we have stopped viewing it that way, we think we and our person are on the dock still, that when things get hard we can just walk away but we are in the boat. We all want to blame the other person for the hurts or the wrongs or the problems but sometimes what is really required is a good look at ourselves, a humbleness that is hard but can lead to a wonderful place of love and healing that blends you together more than any happy moment ever could. 

Covid has been a storm, no doubt that it has brought so many people to a place where they are sitting on the edge of the boat thinking about jumping into the water and giving a good swim a try, I have seen those who have actually jumped in, and it breaks my heart to know that they aren't on the dock, they are in dangerous water, drowning isn't out of the realm of possibility and the person they swam from is just as scarred and hurt as they are and if only, if only there could be forgiveness, humbled self evaluation they could still be on the boat together, fighting the storms together, moving closer and closer towards their end goal. 

Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that when we marry someone, choose to say yes, (or ask) we take their hand and step out onto the boat and become ONE. No one (other than Disney and Hallmark) every said that that was the end of the story, that's the start! That is where life gets fun, navigating this crazy ocean with your person, making other little people, becoming a family, learning to be more and more humble, not harder and harder from scar tissue. My kids hate the song 'Let it go" (as do I if I am honest) but in this case I think sometimes you have to just 'let it go' be the first to step our and touch the scars on the heart of your person, scars that your words, your doubts, your insecurities , your fears have left behind, step our first and kiss the scars with an ask of forgiveness and wait for the healing to begin, it might take time but it can happen.


L

for the many people in my life who are struggling right now to stay in the boat





November 14, 2020

Gift of Good Words

Follow the Gifts of Good Words Blog Hop taking place from November 4-18, 2020, and Find quality Canadian Christian books for those on your Christmas list! Then on November 18th, join the Good Words Virtual Book Fair on Facebook:
FIND IT HERE

This is going to be fun! I have never done a blog hop before but here you go, there's a first for everything! We are doing this blog hop to get everyone ready for the first of it's kind (I think?) virtual GOOD WORDS book fair on November 18th between 7-9 PM. 


Through the Lens of Motherhood 
 By Laurie Haughton

The other day I heard from someone who had read my book, he had a lot of wonderfully high praise and some deep meaningful words from his own heart about how the story encouraged him and I was left in tears and deep humbled thought. I had never any intention of publishing this book, it was written for my guys, but also for me as a way to process my thoughts and feelings through out the journey we were on and when God asked me to publish (that was a long drawn out battle between us that went on for a full year - or more if I am really honest with myself) I said I would do it, but a deep part of me wanted to somehow redeem our story, to have someone out there who had read the book find some hope, some encouragement or understanding in the midst of something horrible they were going through. I hoped that one person would find themselves on a road to healing because of our story, I wanted it to be 'worth it";  As I write this I see how self centred that is, how counter productive to what God is doing in our lives. I still have to sit, after reading emails like the one I had last week, and say 'Laurie, it's not all about you'. God has a plan so much bigger than we hope for or can imagine, why limit him? 

Our story sounds so sad to some, we get a lot of tears when people hear about what we went through with Joshua but the truth is actually that our story is so full of the awesome power of God and his joy, his boundless love, his hope; it's not about us at all and it's not up to me to redeem that story because God already has and this book is and only can be, my way of sharing what an awesome God he is, how incredibly forgiving, how infinitely loving, and compassionate... It's a form of worship I suppose, to tell you our story, not to redeem it but to show you what amazing things he did in my life, my relationship with him because of his deep love for me, the same love that he has for you and the same love that he has for Joshua and Kaleb. We are here for a short time, living in this broken place called earth and things will go wrong, there will be suffering and pain but, and it's a big but... God is right here with us, living in the brokenness, holding us in the pain. I don't want you to read this story because it's sad or because it's a journey through out personal hell but because it's a story of redemption and because it can help not just a mother, not just a parent, but anyone - truly, anyone who is going through any kind of suffering, the endless season of pain that we will all inevitably be a part of in our lives. That is who this book is for, you and anyone else living in this broken place between Genesis and Revelation. 

Please, check out books by my fellow Christian authors!

DON'T FORGET TO SAVE THE DATE! November 18th 7-9 PM



November 10, 2020

red and yellow, black and white

Last week I had an interaction via email that shook me up, I was writing to someone about a video shown to one of the kids that I felt was too violent for them to watch. As it turns out that person completely misunderstood me and responded with a really angry email that implied that I had a problem with social justice and race issues. I was shocked, as this is counter to who I am as a person and not at all what I am trying to teach my guys. I was hurt and I felt misunderstood. I still feel that way in many ways BUT... and this is a really big BUT; As I was moaning to my mom about it on the phone and telling her the unfairness of it I had a smack in the head, it felt like an actual smack too, I had to sit down. All these feelings of being misunderstood because of the colour of my skin was a moment(s) in time, but for a man/woman of colour this is actually a living reality of their entire life. I was just peaking into a window of what it must feel like to live in a different skin and let me tell you, it's uncomfortable, even for a moment. My stomach was churning, my feelings were hurt, I was angry, I was feeling a need to justify, to explain... if that was just a moment, just a thread of emails in a long history of email writing then what would it be like to live with these misunderstandings on a daily basis. Every day, for a lifetime? It was humbling and it was eye opening for me. 

Then there was the US elections, we sat (the boys and I as Tim was away) watching and waiting for a result just like the rest of the world and. on Saturday, right before I took Kaleb to soccer they finally announced the winner as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and as I took a deep breath I realized that my relief, my joy, couldn't be anything close to what many people of colour must be feeling. I won't lie to you, I cried when Van Jones cried, I cried when it finally hit me that a woman, a woman of colour was going to be the VP of the US. It was a beautiful day, a moving day, a day in which the entire world seemed to let the steam out of the pressure cooker that we have all been living in for the last four years. No, I am not living in the US, but their President, their race issues, their hate talk of the last four years has been fueling anger and dissent across the globe with attacks on allies and terrifs for no seeming reason. They had become a bully on the playground where they once had been the kid who stood up to bullies. I was born in the US and though I have tried to down play that the last number of years there was once a time in my life when that made me proud. On Saturday, I felt a small amount of that pride again when I saw Kamala Harris standing on the stage delivering her speech. I cried again and I was very aware that my two sons, white males, were also watching this historic moment and were just as happy as I was. 

Yesterday I watched the concession speech that John McCain gave when he lost the race to Obama and it sprang up a new hope in me that we can once again look at the race issue without hate, that we can open our hearts, eyes and ears to really hear the other side because the other side is not our enemy. This person I was emailing isn't my enemy, they are a hurting person of colour and while I took the brunt of the hurt this week I think it's okay, I think I can suck it up and take it because when it boils down I think I can sit and listen (when that time comes) to hear from them and come to a greater understanding, a more helpful way forward. When I was a child we used to sing a song called 'all the children in the world' - red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus/God loves ALL the little children of the world and to HIM adults are his little children as well, there is no magical number that changes a black child into an adult that is not loved by God. He/She will always be his child, just as my guys will always be my child regardless of how fast they overtake me in height. His greatest command to us was to love our neighbours as we love ourselves and if the world started to do that a little more then maybe, maybe the world would look a little less broken, the people of colour in this world would feel more welcome, more understood. If white people could for a moment try to put themselves in the shoes of the 'minority' maybe we would start to have a deeper compassion, a deeper understanding, a more committed way of listening and maybe then change would finally be within our grasp.

The week to me was one filled with both anxst about the emails and also the election in which so much has changed, I feel a small (really small) understanding of what it's like to judged by skin colour, but it's been an incredible learning tool, and a humbling experience and I won't soon forget it, I pray I can use that new understanding to extend grace, compassion and love regardless of how I am interpreted. I challenge us all to do the same. No matter what your political leanings, no matter what religion, or race or gender I ask you to open your eyes and see the person beside you as a beautiful member of the HUMAN race, not the black race, the Indian race, the White race, the Latino, Asian, (name the race) race but the HUMAN race. I ask you to put down your defences, listen to the other side and learn from them. You don't have to always agree but when you stop listening and only assign motivations based on colour or political stripes you are part of the problem, not the solution. 


Laurie 

October 29, 2020

Black & White

 "Mama, you know how God says that he will come back again?" 

"yes" 

"When will that be exactly?" 

"Oh babe, I have no idea, no one knows. God told us to be ready at any hour of any day so it could happen tonight or in a thousand years, we just don't know but we know we need to ready"

"Today would be a good day I think. I wish he would come today and make everything better"


'Today would be a good day I think', where did that come from right? He is barely eleven years old and he has learned that the world is broken and needs to be redeemed today. When I was eleven I was starting to think about boys, clothes, being a famous movie star, collecting tiger beat magazines with my allowance and River Phoenix.  Times have changed so much with the age of the internet. The topic on his mind last night was Philledelphia and yet another black life snuffed out, another death where proper training for mental health could have been avoided, another demonstration of power gone wrong or given to the wrong people. We talked about his friends who are all 'minority groups' though to be honest he is one of a dozen white kids in his school. How is it that his friends can grow up and be afraid of the police, he doesn't understand and sadly neither do I. I don't hate cops, I have had some really good interactions with the cops in our neighbourhood, I have seen them working up in Regent Park, playing basketball with the kids or soccer or just standing around talking with them and getting to know them. I don't think all cops are bad, but cops are human and humans can do horrible things to each other. Christians did/do horrible things to people, white people do horrible things to people, muslims, gangs (of any race), husbands, wives, children, we all have the capacity to do and be wrong, to be mean, cruel, abusive. Words and fists, guns and knives it doesn't matter what weapon you wield you have the power to to hurt and abuse. Privilege then, is knowing you have that power and choosing to use your weapons to protect, to defend and to stand beside the people who need defending, the people who need protection, the people who need to finally feel safe. Privilege is a line of white Moms who stand arm in arm in between the the protestors and the police because they are Moms and any Mom who heard George Floyd call out for his Mom that day in late May immediately wanted to to go to his side, to fight for him, to save him. He was everyone's son when he called for his Mom. Privilege is stepping in because you know that you are safer than the person you are stepping in for. Privilege is coming to understand that you will never know what it is like to be in the another persons shoes, coming to fully understand that I will never have to 'have the talk with my boys' about how to avoid confrontations with the police, how to remain calm, how to do as I am told to avoid trouble, it's knowing that I will never have my 12 year old ask me "will I be next?". 

I have no idea what it is like to be anything other than what I am, a white woman, a Christian, from a nuclear, middle class family, straight, English speaking and able bodied. I can never say I understand and I hate that I can't, but I am thankful as well. I want to learn, I want to understand so that I can know how to take action in a helpful & positive way, I don't want to be afraid that I will say the wrong thing, I want to be the woman standing between the black and blue lines, I want to use what I have through no amount of effort on my part but rather through birth and circumstances, to protect, to defend and to be a compassionate ear and more importantly I want to know how to teach my kids, my two white christian middle class males how to use their privilege for good.  

It is just not good enough anymore to say we care, to send our 'thoughts and prayers' to the victims families, to say we are not racist or to speak into a moment but when the moment passes we move on. There has been hundreds of years of racism and this insanity needs to stop. Our fellow brothers and sisters, these HUMAN beings that we share the planet with need to finally be set free, they need walk down the street and feel safe, they need to be able to BREATHE and they need white people, yeah, us, to start the conversations, to start the change, it's on us, not them to make the difference. If a husband is abusing his wife and she tells him to stop will he? No, he needs to see it in himself and then make a change from within. It starts with me, my kids, it starts with white people making the choice to see, act and think differently. Our black brothers and sisters have been begging us to stop, when will we finally listen, finally act? How many more lives need to be lost before we accept that this is just no okay any more. Why are our children more willing to see the wrong than we are?

I've moved into a rant and that is not what I had intended. I don't know the answers, I too am afraid to ask the questions because I don't want to be misunderstood. This is an open discussion that needs to be had and if our kids are having it then so should we. 


Helpful Information 
 

October 28, 2020

Mark you Calendars!!

Good Words Virtual Book fair

November 18, 2020


With Covid 19 hitting artists, musicians, small businesss and authors particularly hard this year I challenge you to do your Christmas shopping locally or ... HERE AT THIS AWSOME BOOK FAIR!!

Lots of Authors - Lots of books - and you are invited! You will hear from the authors and hear about the books! This is an event for all ages and all categories of books so you don't want to miss out on it! More details to follow but for now, just sign in and make sure you keep NOVEMBER 18th open on your calendar so you don't miss this fantastic way to celebrate the love of reading and to buy those much needed Christmas gifts directly from the people who are behind the magic.

https://fb.me/e/ec6lSOuLE




October 18, 2020

Part twelve: The end of the beginning

I pull off the road just a mile from the where the castle sits perched on the hill, it seems to glow in the late afternoon sun, the snow sparkles as the light moves over the ground and I can’t catch my breath it’s so beautiful. My hands are still on the wheel as I stare out the window at the view, taking it all in, then I close my eyes and rest my forehead on the wheel. “I don’t get it God, what were you saying to me all week? I didn’t die, I am alive and well and the castle sits before me waiting for me to get home.” I look back into the rearview mirror at the Pass behind me feeling like I had gone into the depths and come out whole but still confused by it all. I felt more alive than ever before, more full of life and joy and peace and now there was something new, a deep knowledge of life and forgiveness that was new to me. A car passed me and brought me from my thoughts, I turned my turning signal on and drove down the final hill towards the castle driveway and there I stopped again not ready to see anyone yet, still not understanding what was happening to me, what had happened. I thought back over the last week and tried to see if I had had any doubts in my mind that I hadn’t recognized but there was none. I thought of the letters on my bed, written with such assurance that I would never see these people again. I think of the feelings I’d had, of all the ways in which I felt God was telling me that today was the day and yet I am sitting here in the castle driveway alive, beautifully alive and unharmed. None of it made sense. Then I think back to his face when he told me that he loved me, the feeling of freedom, of breaking through something and I again think of that egg and chicken, and I understand. I finally understand and as the realization hits me I start laughing and crying and laughing some more. I had died, it had happened just the way that God had said it would. On December 8th I drove through the mountain Pass one person, at the airport I died and I was reborn and I drove home new, having been born again just like that chicken I had envisioned. I am still laughing when I once again start the car and maneuver it through the castle gates to the courtyard. I see my friend from the night before standing nearby and he smiles at me with a grin that says ‘ told  you so’ and I think of the parting line I had left on his letter and smile back at him. I turn the car off and get out, leaving the bag where the ex had left it and I move to him. He hugs me and says sarcastically that he’s glad I made it home and I laugh too. The truth is, I am glad too because I have so much to share, so much to say and it would have been wasted if I had been found at the bottom of a cliff in the snow. We move to the back of the car and I grab the bag while I tell him all about the trip, and how I was not the Laurie that left, but rather a new, reborn version of her. He looks down at me and smiles, seeing for the first time that I was actually having a very real spiritual experience, that I hadn’t been on drugs last night when I went to him and told him what I was thinking would happen today, his eyes believed me, I could see that and he smiled at me as he threw his arm around me and said ‘sorry I didn’t take you more seriously last night, that was a pretty big deal’ and then we laughed when I told him what I had added to his letter, he pretended to look wounded and I elbowed him in the gut and reiterated that he was an asshole but I loved him.

That night there was a concert at the castle, music filled the cold night air and again it began to snow, I sat listening to the music and I saw the girl I was dancing in the rain all those summers before but this time I didn’t miss her, she had become someone so much more real to me, and though I wasn’t as carefree as I had been back then I was more sure, more confident, more resilient, and while I had always been loved, now I know I am loved and that makes all the difference.

That night as I read the Bible before sleep I read Genesis 17:21 “But I will establish my covenant with Isaac whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year” I could almost hear God say this to me as well, I have promised you Isaac, and this time next year I will keep my promise. I went to bed that night, my first night as the new Laurie, the night of December 8th 2005.

One year later, on December 8th 2006 God, true to all his promises, kept his word and that night, after decorating a Christmas tree Tim proposed to me. We were not in the most romantic city, sitting on the Eiffel Tower, he wasn’t looking green and ill, I wasn’t feeling doubt or apathetic to the situation. We sat in his living room in Toronto, he sang me a song he had written and asked me to marry him and I didn’t hesitate with my answer,  I didn’t waver through out the engagement, there were no doubts as I dressed in my bridal gown and walked down that long isle towards my best friend. He was the chosen one that God had promised me, the Isaac, and on April 28th 2007 we joined our lives together and we made a home. The story continues, as life does of course, but to know more you have to read the book because this was just the beginning, the rest of the incredible story unfolds in the pages of Through the Lens of Motherhood (The Book).

 


 

  
Tim at the Oakville pier on our third date


April 28th, 2007