Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

November 30, 2010

TIME

Time is a really interesting thing, you are never either in the past or the future and yet it's always just a moment away. Right this second I am looking at my children, Kaleb playing with blocks, Josh lying on the couch and I am realizing all too quickly how this minute is already over. I Blog and my children pass through their childhood... dismal outlook today I realize. The rain isn't helping. It reminds me of the days when G&R were huge and I would listen to songs like November Rain and love it. :) Now, well now it just depresses me.

Back to Time... the good thing about Time is that when you stop to look at it, and realize that you can't, when you finally stop and see that it's really slipping away then you can stop and begin to see things differently. You look at your husband and you see a man who loves you and would do everything and anything to make you happy, you forget that he didn't empty the diaper bin today, you see your child's tears and you smile because all it takes right now is a little snuggle to make it better, you know that soon you won't be able to comfort the tears away so simply, you see the mess in the kitchen and you realize it's there because you were well enough, and blessed enough to have food to eat this morning, and that it's a quick clean up when you are finished playing with the kids. You stop being frustrated by your inability to keep up with emails, because it dawns on you that they are from people who love you, who care about you, and instead you Thank God that you can't keep up. The endless appointments fade out because it means that there are people there who know how to help, people who can fix things that I know nothing about.

When  you stop and really look at time it gives you a fresh perspective, one that we all need to have sometimes. The only moment you can control is this one, everything else is either past or future and there is nothing you can do about it.

November 28, 2010

Eating Alone...

We had dinner out tonight, got the boys all bundled up against the biting wind and buckled into the car and drove the 10 minutes to the local Swiss Chalet. I spent the day having 'Me' time, went to visit an old friend, got my hair done... we decided dinner out would mean that we wouldn't need to make dinner and worse, clean up after it. So, to Swissers we went.

We ate our meal, the boys took turns playing and throwing theirs, we talked politics and war, the boys chatted about God knows what. It was a nice evening. As we were finishing up our drinks and waiting for the bill I watched an older man get seated not too far from us.

He had a slight hunch, his clothes were nice, but on the scruffier side, like they had been well worn but of high quality. He took off his coat, laid it down on the chair beside him and sat heavily on the seat beside him. He glanced at me, his old eyes quickly glancing away when they met my look. The wrinkles on his face were weathered and he looked tired, and sad. He unrolled his napkin, placed it on his lap and then slowly methodically laid out his silverware. I couldn't take my eyes off him.

Who was he? How did he come to be alone this Sunday evening? Does he have family? Where are they? All these questions plague me as I continue to watch. He pulls glasses out of his pocket and places them carefully on his face, they quickly slip to his nose and he adjusts his glance accordingly. He folds his hands on the table in front of him and he sighs, staring at his crossed fingers. I will for him to look at me again, I want to smile to this man, to let him into our circle even if only for a moment. He won't look up. The waitress brings him a chocolate milk and I have to smile. He and Joshua have the same favorites.
I don't know who this man was, I don't know what brought him to the restaurant tonight, why he braved the cold alone, I don't know if he is a kind old gentleman or someone who has a history of abusive behaviour, I only know, that tonight, in this moment I am sad for him. I have a feeling there is a story there, a sad story, and it makes me sorry that I didn't have a chance to smile, a chance to say hello.

I do realize of course that this man could have been quite happy to be eating out alone tonight, maybe he and his wife don't agree on his choice of restaurant, maybe he decided that he wanted a Festive Special while watching the Grey Cup, maybe he isn't married at all but quite happily single, maybe he is starting up a new relationship and is in the exciting throws of new love, maybe he just came from visiting a new Grandchild, or from taking an older Grandchild out for the day... maybe.

Either way, he made me realize the wonders of family, even when it gets hard there is something about a family that sticks and that is comforting on the best of days let alone when times get tough as they inevitably do.

November 27, 2010

New Look

So, unless you are blind you can see that I have made several changes to the look of the Blog. I would like your opinion. Does it work or should I go back to the pink? Let me know your thoughts.

All out of words...

I have been getting a lot of emails lately, from literally all over the world from people who are hurting, people who are in a dark place, people in a season of pain. I read the emails and I hurt for them, I want to say the exact right thing to help make things bearable. The problem is what on earth can words do to make that kind of pain hurt less? Who am I to to have the right things to say?

Then, the pain came closer to home. In grade 5 I met M. She was my best friend for more years that I can count, we were tight, sisters of the heart. We shared everything with each other, laughed, cried, hurt, enjoyed our first crushes together, talked all night long, got into trouble together and talked our way out of trouble together. We vowed nothing could tear us apart, we swore that we would be forever friends, but as things happen I moved and the distance soon took it's tole on our friendship. We saw each other less often, called infrequently and we each moved a few times. Eventually we lost phone numbers and were so embroiled in our lives that we didn't have time to look back.

M found me on facebook roughly 4 years ago. We have been in touch but still with both of us fairly newly married with young kids it's hard to find time for ourselves, let alone trying to find time to rebuild old friendships. That changed though in the last few weeks. I don't know how or why but we both just seem to be in a place where we need contact with an old and very dear friend.

The pain I referred to earlier is hers, she is in a time of darkness herself and I find myself unable to find words that will help her. I hurt for her, I long to make things better for her, I pray for her, but still find myself feeling like I am letting her down somehow. I want to give her answers, I want to help her understand but I can't.

So I sit here, with a full inbox and all I can do is say... 'I don't know why', I am all out of words for these people, I am all out of words for my sister of the heart.

I have discovered though, only recently that words don't always matter, silence is sometimes more than enough. Sitting together, in silence and allowing the other person just to be in the presence of your love and know that they can just be. Emails make that harder, silence can easily be misconstrued as dismissive, but sometimes, it's okay to say you don't have anything to say. Sometimes, hearing 'I don't know' is enough to make you feel like you have been understood, that it's not only you who is sitting there blind, wondering why... sometimes, if you reach out in the darkness you find that there is someone sitting right beside you who wants to hold your hand.

My hope, my prayer for M and those others of you who I know are in a dark place of your own, is that you find that person in the dark beside you, and that you cling to the hand they offer you.

November 25, 2010

Be Still

I caved to self pity the other day, I allowed it to eat me up until I was a mess of tears, frustration and discouragement and in the end I went to bed feeling hopeless, tired and angry. We have had the last two weeks off for holidays and instead of resting up for the next few insane weeks, we got the flu, then a cold and then renovated our basement, we had one fun night in the midst of illness after illness. Every plan we made for any kind of outing was spoiled by flu, my days have been filled with changing gross diapers filled with runny yellow fluid, or cleaning up vomit, changing sheets, changing clothes, holding hands, wiping tears and noses, all of this of course while dealing with a sick husband, and being sick myself. So, you see, I finally gave in and allowed the pity party to start, it wasn't a fun party, there was no wine, no streamers, no cake...although I did go and buy myself a little Austrian chocolate. No, it wasn't a party I would want to invite anyone too. I am even slightly embarrassed throwing it really.

Not to explain or even excuse my badly planned party but I do have reasons why I felt the need to have it, and in the end of this post you will know why I needed to give reasons. You see, in just over a week I will go to the hospital with Josh and I will stay there until he comes home with me. He will need my twenty four hour care, during the night hours while he sleeps (hopefully) nurses will still come into the room, waking me thought they try not too. Tests and Rounds and Visits will cut out hopes for a nap, so any kind of rest will be out of the picture. I will come home, to begin the Christmas season, with a house to decorate and two kids to look after, one of which will still need a lot of extra care. Church life begins to get insane around this time of year so again, life will be hectic, we will be exhausted I had hoped that this holiday would see me go into this next chapter rested, ready, instead I found myself more wrung out than normal. I don't say this to instill sympathy, I don't really need it or want it. I simply tell you this so that I can tell you what I learned this week about rest.

The night I threw my pity party I received an email from my Dad, he had heard the discouragement in my voice and wanted to write to encourage me. He said a lot of things but what I took away was this.

'Be still and know that I am God'. So simple isn't it? Be still. In this insanity I have somehow forgotten to just be still. I am moving, turning, spiralling, trying to find answers, trying to understand, trying to make things as simple as I can for Josh, I am moving and running and even in sleep I am fighting for answers, cures, whispers of hope. Obviously it hasn't helped, or I wouldn't have had that little party the other night. At no point have I stopped and just been still. Not once have I just rested in the sovereignty of God, putting at the cross all of my fears, all of my hurts, discouragement, frustrations. Instead I have been fighting to control it all. I have been buying things for Josh that might comfort him, new pj's, books, videos, puzzles, anything that will help this go smoother for him. (not that it's wrong to do those things, I don't believe it is). I think, I know, it's because I want to control something in this chaos. I have forgotten that God is in control and God is not chaos. He has the beginning and the end all worked out and he knows Joshua, he knows his doctors, he knows me and he knows what we all need and will see to it. My job, as Joshua's Mum is to love Josh the best that I know how. The rest,the stuff I can't control? That's for God to worry about.

So, here is to new beginnings. I am going to do my best to use these last few precious days of holidays to 'Be still' and know that He is God. I will give it to him and rest in the knowledge that he is in control and he loves us. That has to be enough for now.

November 24, 2010

Invisible

At the end of the game the other night the crowds were crazy, we made our way through a sea of people to get on the subway or GO train. Since everyone around me was so tall I found myself looking down at shoes to keep track of my steps, that's when I see him. A lone man, crouched down and sitting at the entrance of the Air Canada Centre. He's got a scruffy beard, dirty clothes, and has made himself a seat on an old piece of cardboard. His eyes are down cast and his shoulders hunched. I am being swept up in the crowd so I can't stop to observe him, or offer the change from my pocket. I can't even get close enough to acknowledge him as a person. I look up and see the eyes of the mass of people around me, this man is invisible. No one sees him, no one recognizes his need, he is not there. I move with the wave and soon we come to another door and there in the same spot but different door is yet another nameless, faceless soul. Invisible. I find myself hurting for them, hurting for the young men they are, for the boys they were. Where did they come from? Where are they going? Who loves them? Who searches for them in a vain attempt to call them home? Again the throng around me is too deep and too fast moving to stop and offer words of hope or peace or even just give them the two bucks for a coffee to warm themselves. I wonder where they will sleep tonight? where will they eat? Do they have friends? Who is their mother? Does she know where they ended up? Does she care? My mind tells me that they have places to turn, they have a city that cares for them, a shelter to go to for rest and warm food. My heart can't hide from the simple realization that they are invisible in this city. People walk by, eyes looking anywhere but down to where they sit, asking for change, asking for help. I think of the nameless few that I myself have walked past, eyes looking anywhere but where they are and I find myself shamed, shamed that I too am guilty of allowing these people, these lost souls of our city to stay invisible.

November 23, 2010

Toronto Tradition

For as far back as I can remember the Toronto Maple Leafs were my team, I inherited them from my Father and I will pass the genes along to my own sons, going to a game is a right of passage for any true Toronto Fan (or it was until they made seats impossible to get for regular fans). I would go so far as to say that most people who grew up in the Toronto area can look back at a time in their lives when they sat in the seats of the Gardens with their Dads and cheered on the Leafs.

My own first game was the Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets, and at the time I was so young that I didn't really understand the idea of cheering for one team, so every time someone got a goal I was thrilled. (To the horror of my Father I am sure :)

Last night, for the first time in MANY (that will go unnumbered) years I was able to attend a Leafs game thanks to the generosity of a good friend. Tim and I were able to escape life for the night and go down to the Air Canada Centre for a night of blissful hockey watching. The stands filled up quickly and the air was charged with an excitement that can only come from being at a game where the fans really love their hockey. There were the very typical business men, joining in a round of 'let's play business but really watch hockey and drink beer' and of course you had the Fathers who had brought their kids looking all cute with their little micro-jersey's on. Their were young girls, cheering loudly hoping to be spotted by equally young men in a primal dance of testosterone and estrogen. Then of course there were people who were there simply for the love of the game, with someone they love, sharing passion for a sport even when the team is one that is quite commonly known to suck.
Before the game got underway, before the anthems were sung and the flags were hung they had a time of remembrance for both Gaye Stewart and Pat Burns, what a moment it was too! The crowd stood while they showed tribute to these two hockey greats. As the music on the tribute faded the roar of the crowd became deafening and a resounding cheer went up, people cheered in a standing ovation for roughly 5 minutes. It was enough to get even the grumpiest of grumpy's all choked up.

The anthems played, red white and blue and then good old red and white, true north strong and free! Then it began, the players took position over the centre line and the puck dropped. The action didn't stop, there were fights, penalties and power plays but more importantly there were GOALS! Four of them for the Leafs... it was fun, and exciting and such a great way to escape from life for a while.

November 22, 2010

Let's talk UGLY

Let's talk ugly!

For those of you that have been reading for a while you know that Tim and I recently moved to our new home in July. It's our first experience as home owners and we are thrilled with our house and our neighbourhood. We are so centrally located that I can get anywhere in the city quickly and easily, and we are in a neighbourhood that is so much like Europe that I am less homesick for Austria and the life I lived there. If I can't live in Europe then this is where I would choose to live. I am lucky in that way, many people aren't as happy with where they live as I am.

However, the house we chose to live was UGLY when we bought it that we almost couldn't see it's potential. It has dust you had to wade through, enough dog hair to make a coat, enough cat hair to make an Elephant look like a Lion, and the smells of Cigarettes, Cat and Dog Urine and general dirtiness could ward off even rodents, let alone bugs and other creatures of the dark and slimy variety.  It was disgusting! If dirtiness was it's only issue then we would have simply hired a cleaning lady (for A LOT of cash) and been done with it.

I will start in the living room, with sea foam green walls and old Buick blue trim the room was in obvious need of pain, but add to those mismatched colours the nicotine yellow and you had a colour that even Crayola can't describe! The floors were a weird marble looking vinyl floor that covered the entire lower level, not too bad really if it were the height of the 1970's and vinyl was your thing. The kitchen, new as of a year ago was pretty good, the only issue was a huge cabinet jutting out of the wall that didn't match the rest of the kitchen or house really. (immediate tear down required). The basement... well that's a whole other story better saved for the end. Let's move upstairs shall we?



Joshua's room, the largest bedroom because eventually he will share with his little brother was a tan colour that bordered on mustard, the door was black on one side and not painted at all on the other side. The hall was the same sea foam green as the living room with the same Buick Blue trim. Kaleb's room, does the name PEPTO bring a colour to mind? Heinous! The bathroom was the only room in the house that was move in able so to describe it wouldn't be fun at all. Just imagine a fairly normal bathroom and move on. Now, our bedroom, picture it, black door, black trim, black ceiling, the trim on the windows and doors was a high gloss olive green with sparkly's, and the walls? Ah those walls... putrid yellow with lots of purple paint splotches. Need I say more?

Now we move to the basement, the reason for this post, the wonder of all rooms and the last remnant of the uglies that once lived here. The main room that, advertised as finished, was actually just an old basement that the previous owner threw a carpet on and slapped up some paint. By slapped on, I truly mean slapped on. This room is by far a work of art, by FAR! The walls were a wide variety of colours, powder blue mustard tan, red, green, navy blue and Buick Blue and one rather large garish creature made from some black paint. The ceiling was more of the same. The laundry room had wall paper of one wall and the rest was a surprisingly pleasing mix of dark red and deep grey, if only the wall paper wasn't blue with strange flowers?. The bathroom, my new spa, was a tropical disaster! Bright lime green covered every surface, everything else was brass, even the bidet, yes I did just say bidet!! (How we could keep something that we could imagine the previous owner using?? - it's just wrong!) Do I need to say anymore to make you envision the ugliness that was our house?

There were gems though, little things that struck my imagination and allowed me to see beyond the mess and find the beauty of the home we now have. The fireplace, though in need of reworking had loads of potential, and there were three beautiful stained glass windows that had so much charm that I could see past everything I have just described and imagine us living here. It was these little gems that I fell in love with.

We are now making the basement into our guest/playroom and as we say goodbye to the crazy black monster and the off beat wall colours there is a small part of me that is sad to see it all go, mostly because it's the last remaining visual reminder of the ugliness I fell in love with. Not to say of course that I am very excited to have the room finished, to have the toys once and for all removed my under my feet, and to have a nice spot to offer guests when they come. It will be a wonderful change around here, and a much needed update.

I guess, if looking you could find a life lesson here. No matter how messy, dirty and ugly the package is there is always a gem that someone will fall in love with and the potential that is unleashed when loved is unimaginable!

November 21, 2010

The blessings in my life go un numbered...

I do a lot of talking about my eldest son Joshua on this blog, I rarely talk about my sweet and sensitive little one. Kaleb is in dire need of some attention here, you need to know him the way I know him. You need the full scope of my family. Not just the sick, dire times that I have been sharing lately but also the times that are so full of laughter, joy and growing and learning. It is a precious time in the lives of the Haughton family, and nothing, not even impending heart surgery will put a damper on it.

Josh loves trains, so his Grandad set up a train set for him. Kaleb sat on my lap while we watched Josh and Grandad play with the trains, telling them to stop & go. Kaleb, wanting to join in the fun started yelling 'GO' and pointing his little 13 month old finger at Thomas. His talking is such an exciting thing for me since his brother is still not talking at three. I have never experienced this stage before, the part of life that lets you explore sounds and words to the joy and excitement of those around you. His first word was a few months ago when he said 'Ma Ma', he says Dog (dug), and attempts to say Josh but it never quite works. He's been doing those things for a while now, so this new stage of a new attempt at a word a day is so exciting. Yesterday he tried 'hello' when I gave him the cell phone, he said 'no' when I said no (although it didn't stop him from doing it, it just made him giggle). He is a light, a little gift that God knew we would need right now and he allows us to forget for a time that Josh is sick. I think he even allows Josh to forget sometimes. They play together and are getting much better at not beating each other up (let me rephrase - Josh is getting better at not beating up his little brother). I can see slowly how the bonds of friendship that will last their lifetimes are being built.

Kaleb will put his head on my shoulder, sucking his thumb and I can feel his little heart beat, feel his breath on my neck and nothing else matters. He is my sweet and sensitive one. If I fall, Josh laughs (which has a charm of it's own) but Kaleb, he cries and will put his head in my lap. If we say 'no' Josh goes ahead with it anyway and will put up with the consequences (almost as if he has pre-weighed the decision before attempting the actions), Kaleb gets a 'No' and he crumples and cries hard, even if that 'No' was meant for the dog or his brother. If something scares him he wants me, to hold him and ease the fear away, if he's sick he wants me to hold him until he feels better, if he hurts himself he needs kisses to make it better.

The differences between these two boys are polar and yet both are so wonderful. I have known joy, love and discovery in my life but nothing like I have known since meeting, and marrying Tim and ultimately having these two children. How blessed I am, how lucky I feel to have these three wonderful men brought into my life. (Not to mention of course my Father, who is and always will be my 'Daddy', the man I can run to for safety and comfort and unending love' )

Truly this woman is blessed! Even in the midst of my darkest night I cannot forget the men who have made my life so joyful and brilliant.

November 18, 2010

Free to be me

For a moment I thought to myself 'wouldn't it be nice' to be someone else? To have that item? To be skinnier? To...

If I was someone else I wouldn't love and be loved by the many special people in my life, if I had that item I would want a different one and if I was skinnier it would do nothing for my identity...

So, I am left with one question. How do I become Laurie, to my fullest extent? How do I become completely content with the person I am. This doesn't mean that I won't still see room for improvement of course, but it would mean that my whole identity wouldn't be wrapped up in the outer package but rather the inner me, the real woman inside. Does it mean I don't need to lose weight? No, I could stand to shed the baby fat but it would mean that if I didn't lose the weight, or if I did and then gained a few pounds then an amazing thing would happen... I would still be Laurie. My whole world wouldn't be rocked by a few pounds.

Living life, enjoying life, is a precious thing that happens when you put your full identity in God, when I see him as he sees me, not as others see me. When I can look deep inside and know I am the woman he intended me to be then it doesn't matter if I am overweight, if I have bad hair, if I have a zit today. All that matters is that he created me and I am living into that reality.

How freeing is that? It allows me to just live, to strive only for one thing, a fuller more abundant relationship with him.

November 17, 2010

Life lessons from Queen Latifa

I watched the Last Holiday for the first time last night with my Mom while I edited her photos. It's a movie starring Queen Latifa, her character is given 3 weeks to live so after feeling sorry for herself for a short time she decides that she is going to enjoy the time she has left. She cashes in her savings and gets gets herself on a plane to Prague to make her dream of staying in a particular hotel where her favorite famous chef works.

The movie takes her on a ride of enjoying life, living the dream and then realizing that it's worth nothing if the people you love aren't there with you to enjoy the ride. She goes from a woman who goes about life, not enjoying life, never stepping up and saying what she needs or thinks, who never eats what she cooks because it's got fat in it, to being a woman who learns what it means to enjoy the life we are given. To love the people in our lives, to enjoy the bounty and in the end being Thankful for it all.

I could learn a lesson here if I chose to, I could watch the movie, laughing hysterically and never see the bigger picture or I could watch, laugh and enjoy it but also see how this is only funny because it's so reminiscent of my own life.

I have been caught in the dull drums of life, living in the future, worrying the future and not looking at right now, not enjoying today. Today, I have a wonderful husband who supports me and cares for me, who helps me to attain my goals and makes my dreams more reachable. I have two beautiful sons who are funny, cute, sweet, full of life and joy and laughter. I have parents who would do anything for me, sacrifice themselves if it meant it would make my life easier, or the life of my kids easier. I have in-laws who give so generously in both time, love, help of any kind. I am so blessed, and to live in fear of tomorrow is in a sense throwing my hands up and giving up. It's like saying 'thanks anyway' to the people who do their utmost to be there for me, to help me.

My hope needs to be in God alone, to allow myself to live with the worry of what may or may not happen to my kids in the future is like telling God I don't trust him and since I want to grow beyond my doubts, fears and worry. I want to rest in the knowledge that God is sovereign and have that be enough.

November 16, 2010

Holidays...

I downloaded the new version of Picasa yesterday for my laptop. I then began to play with all the little tabs and buttons that make photo editing an art form. I was having tons of fun because the new picasa links itself to picnic(a very fun editing website). I started to create a picture for Josh out of a picture I took of Thomas,
Thomas before
and started to search around for something fun to do. I went to the seasonal section and saw all the holidays listed there... Mothers Day, New Years Eve, Fathers Day, St. Patricks Day, Soccer Fever, July 4th, Easter, Valentines Day, Football, Remembrance Day. I looked again, surly Christmas was an important holiday and would make a list of holidays?? Where was it? I looked again and again... and then finally the fog cleared or maybe the dust settled, either way I saw it. Buried at the bottom of the page under the title 'Holidays'... Hmmm I thought, weren't these all holidays? Apparently not, apparently they are just 'seasonal' and the holidays is the new 'Christmas'.
My question is when did this happen? When did Christmas get replaced by Holidays, and explain to me how holidays got replaced by seasonal? I could be wrong here, in fact I could just be totally stupid, but I was under the assumption that The 1st or 4th of July were holidays, that Valentines Day was a holiday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Groundhog Day... you get the idea, they are all holidays! Seasons, when I was growing up meant four things... Spring, Summer,Winter and Fall. Back in the days of my youth you wished everyone a Merry Christmas, there were Christmas movies, Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, Christmas cookies and Christmas cheer for all (yes, even the politically correct were entitled to a dose of Christmas cheer). We used to make fun of the Grinch or Scrooge, they were men in need of change, they were men that needed Christmas to save them from themselves.

Somehow, somewhere, we ourselves have allowed the Grinches and Scrooges of Canada to govern how we celebrate, how we greet people and even how we decorate our how homes for the season. You can no longer buy a cute Santa for your yard greeting people who pass by with "Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas". Instead we have stunted poor Santa's jolly smile by forcing him to say "Happy Holidays or worse... Seasons greetings." I have to wonder what would happen if we bought a manger scene and put that on our front lawn. Would I be extracted from my politically correct country?

Thomas after being hit by Christmas cheer!
I am going to dare to be bold here and wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Why is it that my Jewish friends can buy signs wishing their friends 'Happy Hanukkah'? When will they be asked to change it to 'Happy Holidays' or 'Seasons greetings', rest assured it's coming!

My next and last question... When will we lose Easter?

November 13, 2010

Dreaming of Neverland...

When the lights go out at night, no matter how tired I am I end up lying there and my brain won't shut down. I envy those who can lie down, put their head on the pillow and simply sleep. If that is you, I want you to know how lucky you are, you probably take it for granted don't you? Not me, I lie there in the darkness and I think. It's probably got a lot do with the fact that I don't often have time in the day to think, and I am generally a night person who is forcing myself to go to sleep earlier, but it doesn't matter why I do it, what matters is that I do.

What do I think about you ask? Well, I think about the past, friends gone and laughter shared, or I dream of the future and all the things that life still has left to unfold for us as a family. Those are the nights that I lie awake for a time and then without realizing it I am asleep and dreaming. Those are the nights I enjoy.

There are times though, like the last few weeks when I dread bed time. I know that come ten or eleven I will put my head on the pillow and lie awake in the dark, dread and fear will be my companions. Those are the nights that even exhaustion won't allow me to sleep because I know that if I sleep I will dream scary dreams. Dreams that I just can't face. Like a monster in my closet they wait to prey on me in my slumber. The monster breathing down my neck is fear, I know that, I rationalize it before I sleep, but like a child afraid of what hides under her bed, I lie there listening to the deep breathing, I can see the red glowing eyes and my heart races because this time I can't tell myself the monster isn't real. This time, I can't call out for my parents to come and make the monsters go away.

So, I stay awake, my eyes so tired and sore that my head starts to hurt and not until I know that I will really sleep this time do I allow myself to go upstairs, to rest my head on the pillow in the dark room. It gets later every night, I fear it won't stop.

I try to make believe, I imagine a place like neverland where I can go and hide and play forever with Tim, Josh, Kaleb and the lost boys and never grow up. Never face the monsters hiding in the dark. In this way I think Josh is lucky to be so young, he is simply too young to understand the monster breathing down his neck, he simply crawls into bed with his numerous animals, kisses us good night, and closes his eyes for another day.

In the morning, things look different, I find hope and peace and a way to get through another day seeing all the little blessings and miracles that befall us. I watch Josh laugh and bug the dog and his brother and I can see the future as bright as ever. The light permeates my soul and I am able to enjoy knowing that I am held in safe arms, I am embraced and I have been heard by my maker. I see Kaleb picking on Josh in the way that only a younger sibling can, and I see Josh get frustrated with him in the way only an older sibling can and I know that the pages have been written. Josh is an older brother, Kaleb is youngest. That won't, can't change...

but then the night comes, the light disappears and the monster returns...

November 7, 2010

Remember

Today we celebrated Remembrance day at St. Paul's. The Queens own Rifles marched past in an impressive display of military pride, a marching band announced their arrival and then the sound of the trumpet reminded us why were there. Why we remember.

We all have stories of remembrance, we all know someone either past or present who either gave their lives or were willing to give their lives so that we might know freedom. My heart aches for the mothers of the men who were lost in the World Wars, and I shed tears for those who travel the highway of heroes in the more recent war on terror. Both of my Grandfathers fought in WWII and while I didn't know my paternal Grandfather I have heard many stories of his war hero days. My maternal Grandfather often shares stories of his time in the Navy, most of his stories are tales of the men and the brotherhood they found while fighting overseas but occasionally he shares something more, occasionally you see that there had been fear, terror and a deep regret and sadness at the lives that were lost.

Our Pastor talked about a man today that he knows, someone who survived against all odds and is left all these years later to ponder the question, why me? Why did I survive it? I am sure it is a question that lingers in the minds and hearts of all soldiers through out the world, why my friend, why my brother, my sister, why not me? Could I have done something different? Could I have put myself in the path of death instead, could I have done something to save them?

Through out time war has been a brutal reality, we have seen the images through out our lives, we have watched movies depicting the old wars, the loves that were lost, the tales of heroism and the shocking horrors of those evil ones who took advantage of the war to act out their cruelty. We have heard these stories, seen these movies, documentaries, read the books and listened to our loved ones tell the tales, but why?

My friend was asked that today by a camera man who was covering the story for Global News, 'why should we remember? Why is it important? I have been thinking about it, wondering for myself why. Why should I continue the tradition of memory in my own children? I am left with one answer, one thing above all else. These men and woman have put my life, my freedom, my family ahead of their own. They have stepped up, taken arms, to fight injustice, to fight terror, to fight against the hopeless to offer hope to those who cannot fight for themselves. By remembering them we have said 'Thank you', we have said, 'we recognize the suffering you have undergone, the time you have spent in the mud and dirt, the time you could have been at home, in the comfort of your loving family' and we are saying to them that we honour them, we honour their sacrifices, their physical pain, their emotional pain that in some, like my Grandfather, has never ended, and we honour their willingness to do all of this for someone they don't know.

On the field that day
crouched a man holding a friend,
his arms wrapped tightly
around this brother in arms,
tears mingle with blood
his heart spills the ache
that this friendship is over,
this life is gone.
He kneels in the dirt,
his uniform stained red
the mud pooled at his feet
a vile mix of dirt, tears and blood.
He holds tight,
clinging, not wanting to let go,
not wanting to say goodbye,
not wanting to forget.
Laurie Haughton

Please, make sure you take time this week to remember the people long past, the people who we have lost so recently and the men and women who will stand for us in the future and fight to maintain our freedom.

November 6, 2010

Unaware

I was listening to more of Mercy Me last night on the way to and from the gym, the CD (undone) is by far one of the most cathartic CDs I have listened to. It makes sense to me, I feel his pain, I understand his grief and I find relief in knowing that someone gets me. There is one song called Unaware that brings me to my knees...

Forgive me if I stare

But I am taken back
That You would let me here
Regardless of my past


Oh my hands are shaking now
But I catch my breathe somehow
Oh, I am free at last

Unaware of my fears
Unaware of my shame
Nothing else matters here
But glorifying Your name


Unaware of everything
Knowing You're aware of me


Tell me how I got here
I couldn't make it on my own
Just tell me I can stay
Cause it feels so much like home


And I lose all track of time
When I look into Your eyes
Your love is all I know


Unaware of my fears
Unaware of my shame
Nothing else matters here
But glorifying Your name
Unaware of everything
Knowing You're aware of me


I'm aware I'm in a place I couldn't be
If You weren't there to call my name and rescue me

Unaware of my fears
Unaware of my shame
Nothing else matters here
But glorifying Your name


I'm unaware of all my fears
And I'm unaware of all my shame
Nothing else matters here
But glorifying Your name


I'm unaware that I still breathe
Unaware of everything
Knowing You're aware of me

How many times have I felt like this... like I don't deserve to be there, to be called by name and acknowledged by our Creator, and yet he is so aware of me, tiny little me. It reminds me too that he is aware of Joshua, he knows that heart better than any doctor can, he made it. Interesting isn't it?

What saddens me, what breaks my heart in so many ways, is that I need to be brought to my knees in surrender before I come back to a place of real love and worship. How many times does he need to get my attention using foul circumstances like this?! Why can't I just long to be in his presence always, 'when the sun is shining down on me' and when 'Im lost in that desert place'.

So I am on my knees in awe that the maker of the Universe, is aware of me.

It has dawned on me that while I am using this Blog to work out my feeling surrounding Joshua's heart matters and upcoming surgery I am running the risk of alienating the few who read this, or boring you silly at least. So, I will do my utmost to get back to the regular flow of the Blog that I had started... :)

November 5, 2010

Keep Singing



I went to yoga again last night, not the yoga freedom but the power yoga... a REALLY good workout and stretch... my muscles burned and I took in the pain and allowed myself to feel it, to revel in it. It felt fabulous. I chose to pray through out the class, to devote that time to getting in touch wtih God, to tell him how I feel, silently, inwardly... I didn't get mad, I just asked him why.

When we read Job in the Bible we see the conversation between Satan and God, we know the test, we know the trust that God has in Job... we have a birds eye view for that particular story in history, a look from God's perspective. Job, he didn't get that did he... he just had to live, endure and somehow find a way to praise God in the end. In a sense he had to 'Keep singing' when all he wanted to do was run out of this place. To leave it all behind and hide.

So, I have a choice, I can cave, not knowing the whole story, not seeing the birds eye view, God's view of Joshua's life, our lives, played out before us. Or, I could simply live and endure and trust and some how, some way find it within me to praise him and thank him.

Since it galls me to cave, I guess I am left with little choice but to continue to sing... continue to hope and pray and worship...

November 4, 2010

screaming with no voice...

I wake up in a cold sweat, the room is dark and the deep breaths of Tim are playing in my ear close beside me. I lie there for a minute, trying to catch my breath, trying to get my bearings. The nightmare still plays in my mind and I am tempted to get up and check the door, just to see if that man is still trying to get into the house, if he is still hiding in the peep hole. My heart flutters, and I go back to that place.


I had been sound asleep, and there is a banging at the door. I try to make my way to the door but I am blind, I can hear the babies crying in the bed beside me and in my heart I know that I have to protect them, I get to the door and I look through the peep hole, a man hides there in the shadows and I know he is there to harm us but I have no voice to scream for help. I try to use my blackberry but I can’t open my eyes to see the screen, the babies are still crying and I am trying to yell, trying to get someones attention, someones help. No one comes, they don’t hear me. He tries the door again and I wake up…

His bunny holding the Oxygen during the ECHO yesterday
Yesterday the waiting ended, my concerns were bang on. His heart is failing and the only option left for us is another open heart surgery before Christmas. How we got here I don’t know, I still find myself thinking that no, this is the past, this isn't happening again. I kept hoping that it was a growth spurt that was making him tired, or that there was some other explanation for his lethargy, his red face etc.

From the moment he was born we have gotten the worst case scenario, the only thing he has beaten the odds at is that he is alive. I am grateful, don’t let this post fool you. I am so infinitely grateful to know Joshua(no matter what the outcome, no matter what the cost of knowing him and loving him), to love him and to be loved by him. He is a blessing I had no idea I wanted in life and yet I couldn’t live without. I just wish for his sake and yes, selfishly for ours, that this was over. That he was healthy, and would be healthy. It is finally dawning on me that he will never be healthy, he will always have a heart defect, his life will always be about ECHO’s and valve issues and blah blah blah…

I have no voice, I am blind, and the man is getting in the door…

November 2, 2010

Yoga Freedom

Yoga Freedom... what does it mean? I had been wondering that, I went to number of classes at the gym trying to figure it out, I even found that I enjoyed some of them...

Last night we went again to the Monday night Yoga Freedom class... it was odd. I got there before my friend (J for the sake of needing something to call her by). I sat on the mat listening to the others already there and waiting for class to begin. They all know each other, and spoke of all the different social things that they had been doing. I realized that I am not just attending a yoga class at the gym but I am actually joining into a secret little society of yoga  fanatics who attend everything yoga that the gym offers and even go to the other yoga classes in the neighbourhood. This is no workout, relax session this is a religion! I am a bystander, a newbie and by all accounts a lesser of yogites. They watch me walk in and they cringe because they know me as that new girl who can't even do the 'something or other' salutation. I walk in anyway and smirk to myself that they have no choice but to put up with me, I am the devil of their religion.

J arrives and we start to chat about our days, we just sit there, no stretching, no deep breathing, no 'ahhhhs' at the end of breaths... just chit chat about the kids and life and the plans we have for the week. This is after all a chance for us (two busy Moms) to have a break, to visit with each other and to work out... we got death glares from a few but for the most part we were ignored like the pesky brats they think we are.

The teacher arrives, silence, soft music...then the question... 'what do you want to work on tonight' and it dawns of me... this is Yoga FREEDOM, it means that people make request. So, instead of tuning into my radio and asking for the newest Bon Jovi song I go to Yoga Freedom and I can request things like 'the wheel' or the 'sky salutation'... I get it now. It took me a while but I get it now.

Let's just say that from that point on the night went down hill, if it had even gotten on an upward slope I am still not sure. We lay on the floor for a crazy amount of time, doing nothing but breathing of all things!!! I can do that in my own bed, and quite honestly I do it every night, I rather enjoy doing it in my bed, I can multi task that way and sleep AND practice breathing! Amazing concept really, I should start a class! I was bored, but I didn't know if J was bored and what do you do when you are with someone. You stick it out.

At some point, we got asked to move our leg! I was so excited, we were going to do something now... I moved my leg to position and waited... nothing.... I waited a little longer.... finally the teacher said... wiggle your toes! I wiggled my toes, half expecting some crazy thing to happen, but alas the only thing that happened were that my toes moved.The teacher started talking randomly at this point about the foot fetish she has and how much she loves her boyfriends feet. I dared to peak at J just as she was looking at me... she was bored too. What to do... it's like leaving church in the middle of very serious sermon, in a small congregation so you know that they will all look at you. We giggled a little bit at our predicament, the teacher looked at us and made her way to our side of the room where she stood at my feet. I suppose had I giggled again I would have been tossed from the class, or maybe they would have collectively thrown us out. I didn't want to chance such a scene so I tried again to get into the spirit of the class...

The problem is that we have so few hours in a day, so little chances to actually get to the gym to begin with that when I am there I actually want to work out. I don't want to lie on the floor wiggling my toes and breathing. We move, our knees this time.... mine crack very loudly and it takes everything I have in me not to laugh again, with the teacher standing over my I feel like I am re living high school again... she finally seemed satisfied that I wouldn't disrupt the class again and she moved back to the middle of the room. She began to talk again, telling us to listen to our bodies in case they have something to say to us, J turns to me and says ' I think your knees want to talk to you' and I nearly pee my pants. I have to leave the room I am laughing so hard. Poor J s left to grab our stuff... we both end up at the bottom of the stairs busting our guts...

Needless to say, we won't be going back to Yoga Freedom again any time soon, nor do I think we would be welcome...

We did however get to have a very productive work out after leaving class... what a night!