Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

June 29, 2011

split second decision

If you live anywhere near Toronto, or in Canada for that matter you would have heard the tragedy of Garrett Styles, the York region Constable who died in the line of duty early Tuesday morning. In a routine traffic stop he was leaning in to remove the keys and turn off the ignition of the van when the teen behind the wheel made a split second decision that has left many lives destroyed. He accelerated, dragging officer Styles and ultimately pinning him when the van flipped. He radioed for help and his thoughts and concern were not for himself but for the kids in the van. Help arrived but it was too late, he died not long after the accident in the hospital, leaving a wife and two very young children without a husband and father. The teen that was driving, an unlicensed fifteen year old has been left with neck and spine injuries that could land him in a wheel chair for the rest of his life is now facing murder charges. One spit second, that was all it took for this horrendous tragedy to happen. My heart breaks for the family, I think of my own children and husband and I ache for Mellisa (Constable Styles wife) and I will be praying for her and her young children.

There is a lot of rage as well at the young man who was driving that morning, and in my heart I can't seem to summon the anger. He is fifteen, young and dumb and about to face the consequences for that decision, consequences that will last him the rest of his life. Should there be consequences, yes, without hesitation but my heart still aches for him as well. This is a tragedy on all fronts, his life will never be the same, his parents lives will never be the same, and the lives of everyone who knew Garrett Styles will NEVER be the same.

If only's are just that... if only's, his choice, his split second decision changed lives in the worst possible way and he will never be able to undo it. The big question, the question that plagues me, is what will be do with the lesson that this young man learned? Will be make smarter decisions, will we teach our children to make wiser choices? Will Garrett Styles' death and his families suffering be in vain or will this lesson be one that stays with us and reminds us that vehicles are deadly weapons that have the power to destroy lives in a split second...

My heart and prayers go out to the Styles family and to the family of the young man who now must face the music of his tragic choice.

July 8th!

I just received word that on July 8th people are gathering together in all parts of the world for a day dedicated to prayer and fasting for Joshua. There will even be a small prayer group gathering at St. Paul's at 6PM in the chapel dedicated to praying for Joshua. How is it that we have been so blessed by so many wonderful friends who would make time in their schedules and a place in their hearts for our son, for us? My heart is so full of thanks and love. I don't have full details yet, but on July 8th people will put time aside to lift Joshua before God and pray for his heart. When the email goes out there will be a link to this Blog and I wanted to give some details so that people will know what they are praying for.

Joshua has an enlarged right side of his heart, his pulmonary valve is working well since the replacement but his tricuspid valve is very leaky and they are not sure of the next step in regards to replacement. Replacing a Tricuspid valve in one so young is dangerous due to it's location within the heart but also because of size. Josh is a small little guy and the Tricuspid is very close to the chest wall. Also, because of the previous two surgeries the risks have gone up, every time you open the chest wall you have scar tissue and it becomes harder and harder to tolerate, during his second surgery he sustained injury and bleeding due to this scar tissue. As you can imagine this is not what the doctors want to do, and if you follow this Blog you will see that God has already been at work to prevent this type of surgery for the time being. Our prayer now is that on August 24th (the day of our next ECHO) the doctors will see no need to proceed on the surgery any time soon. Our hope and our prayer is that God preforms a miracle of Biblical proportions and that the leak has somehow lessened, that his right side of the heart has become smaller. (Go big or go home right?!)

Josh also deals with delays from his stroke (at 3 months of age), as well as weakness. His talking is very limited, his right side visibly weak. He has come a long way, his vocabulary is growing but it's still way below what his normal for his age.  Our prayer in this regard is for healing, for a new strength, better balance and a loosening of his tongue so that we can communicate with our son and he can build long and meaningful friendships with those who love him so much. So that one day in the very near future he can say thank you to each one of you for fighting on his behalf.

Josh is tired easily, his circulation is poor and he gets cold easily. Our prayer is that he finds energy, strength and warmth.

We have a team of really amazing doctors, people who have walked with us and Joshua through the last 3 and half years, keeping him alive and relatively healthy. They have been a source of real peace for us and we believe they have been placed in our lives and Joshua's life by God himself. Our Cardiologist is one of the best, she is warm, kind, strong, wise and accessible to us whenever we have any questions. Simply put, we trust her and have faith in her abilities. Our prayer for her would be for wisdom and that she may see the glory of the God we serve through us and through Joshua's heart. 

I cannot say how grateful I am to each of you who is taking part in this day of prayer for Joshua. My heart is warmed and strength renewed by your love and support. Knowing how many people are going to be praying that day for Josh fills me with so much hope and joy and a number of goose bumps too! Where one or two are gathered... and here we sit with hundreds! I am awed and amazed and so filled with love and thanks.

 *Don't be shy, forward this if you know a good prayer warrior! 

June 28, 2011

lessons in teaching

The other day I was at a birthday party for a sweet little two year old boy, it was a BBQ and there were a lot of kids running around ranging from 20 months to four years old. As the food was being put out the mothers all gathered around the table to get food for the little ones and we got to talking. The conversation quickly became about the whiny stage that our kids seem to be in at the moment. It started with myself and another Mom talking about Joshua's recent moodiness, as we talked other mothers quickly added that their kids were also whiny. I had thought I was alone, I had thought I was doing something wrong, or that I for some reason Josh was just one of those kids. As I listened I learned that I am not alone, that it would seem all kids go through this stage, and worse, that it comes back again at different ages. Not a great discovery I have to say, but it left me relieved as well because it meant I wasn't doing anything wrong per say, although I can probably learn to handle it better than I have been. It certainly helps to know it's not just my kid.

Yesterday we had our air conditioner fixed, and an amazing thing happened. Josh didn't whine all afternoon, when bedtime came he went down without issue, and he slept until eight AM. This morning, no whining. I am left to wonder how much of his whining stemmed from heat and lack of sleep. I have also discovered that I feel less grumpy, another discovery that has left me wondering why I thought Josh shouldn't be grumpy from the heat when I myself feel the heat and find myself with less patience and a less than stellar attitude. Why should my child be better behaved than his own mother? Am I not the one who teaches him how to behave?

Then this morning I read an article about yelling at our kids, about the right or wrong of it and I was convicted. I lose patience and I yell, and what does that say to them? How do I stop and still get the point across that what they are doing is dangerous? How do I get them to listen? The reality is that the yelling, if done when they need it (they are running towards the road etc.) can be necessary, but if I am just impatient and grumpy? How is that teaching them anything? Everyday I sit here and realize that I have so much to learn to be a good Mom, today it hits particularly close to home. How can I expect better of my kids if I don't teach them the proper way to behave? If I yell to get what I want, how can I expect them not to?

I am sometimes in awe and fear of the responsibility of raising these little men into larger men who can function well in society. I can't expect perfection, but I do expect to learn from my mistakes and get better every day. So today, the lessons I have learned from...

I am not alone, kids have stages.
I need to teach them through actions how to behave
I need to get a grip on my own patience and grumpiness.

*insert big sigh here* I also need to apologize to my kids, and teach them that sometimes Mummy is wrong but she always loves them and will try every day to be better than the day before...

June 23, 2011

My best friend

When I met Tim, almost 5 years ago I felt that my whole world shifted on it's axis, life as I knew it would never be the same. At our wedding my sister gave a speech and one of the things she said was that she wished for us that we never love each other as little as we did that day... her wish came true. Every day I look at the man I married and find that my heart has grown to a new capacity of love for this kind, generous, sweet, strong man who is my best friend. His wisdom, his strength of leadership, his heart are an amazing thing to see. Watching him, when he doesn't know I am doing it is a joy, hearing him play with the boys, seeing him work so hard to make our home more and more beautiful, more and more safe and secure and comfortable... well, it's a blessing that I sometimes find myself not deserving of. He is an incredible man, one that I have written of before and one that I will write of again. He is a man that I am so proud of in so many ways. His devotion to our family, his spirit and gifts, his service to me and my my kids are gifts and blessings that I often take for granted. He is compassionate, loving and so incredibly amazing and easy to love. His way of loving me is never ending, his heart so full of love and grace that often I find myself surprised by it. He is a man who knows what he wants and goes out and gets it. He is someone who wants to learn something and he reads up on it and masters it. He can do anything he sets his heart to, and he does it well. I just can't get over that he chose to set his heart on me...

I am blessed and I know it.

June 22, 2011


On occasion I have used this Blog as a place to rant... today is one of those days. Did you know there is a website (for dating) that is for 'beautiful people' and if you can't cut it by votes from the 'beautiful people' on the website then you are rejected.

I can't count the amount of 'beautiful' people I have met in this life who are the ugliest, most self centered people. Not that I don't understand the concept of attraction leading to dating and marriage etc. However, should that be all that is considered? I have met so many men who at first glance were less than 'beautiful' in the eyes of society, but when I got to know them they became more and more attractive to  me and remain some of the most attractive men I have met and alternatively I have met some very attractive men who have no common sense, who are arrogant and dim witted and prideful, in other words, ugly.

Character, that is beauty, compassion, that is beauty, honour, that is beauty, strength and determination, self awareness and humour, these are beauty! Skin, hair, size, they are the outer package and mean NOTHING. Do these few people expect to escape age? Do they plan on avoiding the beautiful lines that tell the story of the life they have lived? The grey in their hair that says they have the wisdom of years behind them, the worries of the people they love? They are something a teenager cares about, a teenager girl who cares what clothes she wears, if her hair is the right style or if she has zits, that's normal but past 25 it becomes a tad ridiculous and narcissistic if you ask me. Grow up! A guy who has a little less hair than he did when he was younger? Who cares, if he is a strong man who understands responsibility and compassion and has the wisdom to lead his family well?

I am so sick of people talking about what 'beauty' is, and then living into a false reality based on that assumption. I am tired of young women starving themselves to be 'beautiful' (as an aside do they not know that they no longer look like women when they are too thin? Or risk more wrinkles in the long run)? People killing themselves in tanning beds to have the right skin tone? Spending themselves into debt because they don't want to be seen without the right clothes or find it absolutely necessary to have their nails, hair or skin 'perfect'? I am so totally fed up with people telling us that we are not enough!

We are made in the image of our maker, and if we just learned to give up the obsessive need to be 'beautiful' we may look in the mirror and see that we already ARE!

Beautiful people... ?

Total meltdowns and hugs...

Yesterday was not a shining moment for me in the realm of motherhood. The kids were tired and cranky, they wanted my total attention and I was so busy that they didn't have it, which led to them fighting, throwing things and generally trying (and succeeding) in driving me crazy for most of the day. I also spent the day waiting for our new couch to arrive, and when it did I found that it was so much bigger than we are used to. The guys were unhelpful, they took off the doors, and the legs of the couch (which at first they swore they couldn't do) and then they dumped the couch in the middle of the floor (it's a sectional) without putting it together or even upright, and without removing the plastic. I was totally overwhelmed and had people coming for a BBQ last night. I honestly wanted to cry (in fact I did a couple of times for a few minutes). So, the point...

Just when I really considered throwing the new couch out the window and canceling the BBQ, tossing the kids in the back yard and throwing a huge pity party for myself... Kaleb stood up on the couch, looked up at me and opened his arms for a hug, which I obliged, and he hugged tight, then I got a kiss. Worked better than any drug I can think of! We then sat on the new couch for a little while just me and my two great sons, snuggling and enjoying it, regardless of size. It's just got more room for snuggling, and in my world there is nothing better than snuggles from the three men in this house!

June 16, 2011

My apologies

Hockey, being our national sport is a game that holds meaning for every Canadian. I have heard from those who hate the sport due to 'violence' and those who love it because of the same 'violence'. Most Canadians can look back at a time in their childhood and remember a time in their lives when they came home from school, threw their book bags at the door, grabbed a drink and cookies and then their hockey sticks and then raced out onto the street with all the neighborhood kids ready to battle in the all important 'street hockey game'. It's a right of passage, it's Canadian. How many of us yelled 'CAR' every few minutes, grabbing ball, sticks and nets and moving to the side of the street while the car made it's slow progression threw the players. Then once the car had passed, net would be put back and the game would resume. All this to say that in most Canadian veins there runs 'hockey blood'.

Last night we watched the Stanley Cup head once again South of the border in a disappointing end to a series that we had high hopes for as Canadians. The series watched by not just Vancouver fans but by most Canadians was filled with it's embarrassments, last night reaching it's pinnacle.  Boston won that game with team work and determination, and though I would like to say that Vancouver fought hard for it I can't. They lost fair and square, and sadly they were defeated because of a lack of team awareness. Hats off to Boston.

What made my heart sick was hearing of the riots in the streets of Vancouver after the game, the violence and destruction and looting that took place because a bunch of drunk people didn't like the outcome of a game? How does it come to this? My national pride took a hit last night and I feel compelled to write and say sorry, though to whom I don't know. Vancouver is a beautiful city, one that I would happily move to if asked to do so. How is it, that a group of 'fans' who grew up watching hockey can't see that they lost fairly. I understand feeling disappointment in the team, I felt it and I am not even a Canucks fan, yet anger? Anger enough to tear a beautiful city's downtown apart? Cars and trucks that had nothing to do with the game flipped over and burned? People in the hospital? I just don't understand it.

It's a game, an amazing game, but a game. A game that should be our national pride turned into a national embarrassment last night. One that Lord Stanley would probably cringe over this morning.

My apologies to Boston for our poor sportsmanship!

June 15, 2011

The Bridge

As a mother I have a view of life that I have never had prior to having kids... I see things differently now and I can see so many relationships to how I see my kids and how God sees me, how he handles me or just guides me.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine and I took our kids to the Science Centre, we went to the rain-forest exhibit and took the kids across the bridge. From my perspective in the wings with my camera the bridge seemed harmless, beautiful even. There was a pretty little waterfall in the background and a pretty roped bridge crossing over a small pond. There were trees and plants surrounding the entire bridge and the kids looked angelic. The kids however were scared to cross the bridge, they looked at it from their angle and it seemed huge, unsteady, and the beauty of the waterfall was lost on the little eyes staring up at the loud and fast falling water. They gripped the roped and stepped cautiously out onto the rocking bridge, their faces showing fear and concern. My friend prodded them along and gradually they made it slowly across the bridge and to the safety on the other side. When the little ones came running off the bridge they had a look of relief mixed with accomplishment and joy. They had conquered that mighty chasm and made it safely to the steady ground on the other side. The little girl came running up to me and said 'that was the scariest bridge ever!' with a giant smile on her face.

I couldn't help but think about the 'giant bridges in my own life that I have been prodded across' and how I had stepped out onto that bridge, hanging on to the rope and my faith alone in the hand that was doing the prodding. How must my bridge look to God who is viewing it from a different perspective? If I were to stop on the bridge and look up would I see the pretty waterfall, spraying cool water on my cheeks, would I notice the quiet stream below my feet? Would I be able to look beyond my next step and see that the bridge wasn't really that big after all, and maybe not that scary in the end?

Is God as proud of me when I step out on the bridge as I was of those kids when they faced their fears? Is he as excited as I was when they came running to me once on safe ground with big smiles and looks of accomplishment? Will I be as hesitant at the next bridge, even if slightly bigger?

June 13, 2011

the boy with who calls me Mummy

Once again our little man has baffled the doctors at Sick Kids who cannot figure out why his heart is the way it is... those were our cardiologist's words. However, they do not feel that his heart is in immediate danger  and would like to wait and see how he does over the summer. We will have another ECHO in August and see how he is doing clinically as well. This is a HUGE answer to prayer! Doctors 5 weeks ago looked at the images of his heart and said his heart was getting BIGGER, 2 weeks ago after re-looking at the same images they said 'it's about the same size' and today when the images were again looked at they now say 'it's actually a little smaller'... this is a miracle, a true answer to prayer, a direct response to the voices you have raised on Joshua's behalf. I don't know what our tomorrows hold for us as a family but I am again astounded by the love, prayers and support of everyone all over the world.

I am again inspired by the power of prayers, the wonders and mystery of miracles and the strength and courage of a little boy who calls me Mummy and has the biggest smile in the world. I am mobilized to pray, in a way that I haven't prayed in years because maybe just maybe this time the miracle will be something bigger than the doctors will be able to explain!

Walk for Miracles

June 11, 2011


Last day to donate!! The walk is tomorrow (don't worry I will photo document the whole thing and update later!) Thank you so much for everyone who sponsored us, for those who will join me in walking the 5 k and for those of you who are being a quiet support through prayer for good weather! You are all needed to make tomorrow a success!

June 10, 2011

The shower turns tragic for local 3.5 year old...

A bath in our house is called 'bubbles' by both boys. All we need to do is whisper the words and they go charging down to the basement in excitement of the bubbly bath to come. They play, splash, wash each others hair and wreak havoc on my floors with the amounts of water that never seem to remain in the tub. On occasion though the tub is not an option as far as our time limits. I might be just needing to quickly hose them off after playing in the mud all morning before we sit down to eat lunch, it is in these moments that they learned the words 'shower' and the mad rush is to the stairs leading up rather than down. They clamour for the shower stall with diapers and all and then pretend it's raining when the water splashes down on them.

Last night, with guests arriving within half an hour the word shower rather than bubbles was issued and up the stairs they went happy and giggling. Josh got the first wash down since he enjoys playing in the shower longer I always do him first, it allows me to give him the extra time he likes while I wash Kaleb. I got the shampoo and was scrubbing Kaleb when Josh (who was turned away from me at the time) started choking and crying. I turned and to my horror he had my shampoo  bottle open, had put some water in it and was now trying to drink it. He looked at me, tears in his eyes, pale skin and bubbles popping out of his little mouth. Then the choking began to turn to vomit, his tears began to come faster and harder, Kaleb who was by now upset himself over both the idea that his brother was upset and probably that he himself was now standing in vomit, began to scream and try to wedge himself out the door with suds still in his hair. I had to ignore Josh for a moment to wash Kaleb down while I screamed down the stairs for Tim to come help me.

With Kaleb now safely out of the vomit filled shower stall and in his Daddy's capable hands I could now focus entirely on Josh who was still vomiting and crying hysterically, from what I imagine was a mix of fear and disgust of what was happening to him. I rinsed him off and got him out of the shower, holding him over the toilet for a moment in case he had more to come up. He shook and cried but seemed content to sit in my arms so I took him to his room where I intended to put him back in his clothes and get him a drink to help with his poor little taste buds that had been so ravaged by the shampoo. I put him on the bed, and not a minute later he again started to vomit all over the new sheets, blankets and pillows (fresh from the wash just that morning). The tears which had subsided were now back full force and he tried in vain to wipe the offending 'mess' from his little legs. We headed back to the shower while Daddy changed sheets and Kaleb played with cars on the rug seemingly unconcerned about the events taking place in his brothers life, although admittedly he could have just been so happy that Josh was too distracted and not caring that Kaleb was playing with McQueen and Mack,  he could care less that Josh seemed to be upset and in pain.  The shower caused more tears, his eyes stared up at me with pleas for help in them and he tried to crawl into my lap to avoid the spray of the water. When he was clean I again wrapped him in a towel and together we sat on the bathroom floor for a little while. His tears subsided once again and colour returned to his cheeks. I took him down stairs to the couch, plopped him on his Daddy's knee for a snuggle and got him some water... thus ending another adventure in the life of the Haughton House for another day.