Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

November 23, 2011

Love story

I think I should have saved yesterdays' post for today... my amazing husband whom you have heard so much about turns 35 today!

I remember when I met Tim, it was not your ordinary meeting, or at least it wasn't how I had imagined meeting my husband when I was a young girl dreaming of those things. These days I suppose it's more common than I realize. All that said, it's a great story and in celebration of his birthday I will take you back 5 years and share with you the wonderful story of us.

I was living in Austria, I was in a state of flux having only months before ended an engagement and changed the direction of my life entirely. No longer planning on moving to the UK I felt God call my home to Canada (not where I wanted to be). I reluctantly followed the call, being in a place spiritually that was so incredibly real and beautiful that it was the first time I had really understood that joy goes beyond circumstance, and that it's possible to really love God. (Getting off track... sorry). So, I didn't want to move back to my old city, I wanted a fresh start and I didn't want to move to the small town where my parents lived but I didn't want to be far either since I would be working for my Dad. It was my Mom who lovingly went out and found me an apartment, then filled it with my things, decorating it the way that I would love, so that on the day I came home it was exactly that... coming home.

The problem of course was that I had chosen a city where I knew no one really. I had grown up in the neighboring city so I was close to my old church and went there and because of that I did know a couple of people. Sadly none were my age and the next 6 months were both some of the loneliest and most meaningful in learning how to be content.

One day, in May of that year, I was driving over the Burlington skyway I felt clearly that God was telling me that he had a Pastor in mind for me, that I would be a Pastor's wife. I can't say how I knew this, it was not a voice, but a knowledge. I also remember cringing... I would not make a good pastor's wife, and even if I could do it, what Pastor out there was single and yet someone I could be attracted too? I decided that it would take a miracle and so I stopped dating and told God he would have to figure it out.

In late July I got three free days given to me from a Christian dating site, and a friend of mine and I were online to check out a guy she was going to go on a date with. As we perused the profiles in what I called the catalog of men, I came across a smile that I was so intrigued by that I gave up my 'not dating or trying' thing and wrote a quick hi. Since I had only three days before my membership was revoked for not paying I figured I wouldn't hear from him. However, that night he was online and he wrote back right away.

We didn't stop talking all week, there was so much to talk about, it wasn't until the third day of talking all day that I discovered he was a Pastor... you can imagine my horror... :)

We met 5 days after meeting online, and I won't lie to you it was pretty much love at first site for both of us. 10 days into the relationship we knew that we were meant for each other and it has been confirmed every day since then. He was the miracle that God called me home for. He was the wonder and magic that love defines. He is the one who holds my heart and will do so for as long we both shall live. I am so glad he was born.

Happy Birthday Tim!

November 22, 2011

Ode to Pottery Road



Ode to Pottery Road

Oh how I miss thee
my sweet Pottery Road
all your sleek curves;
& short trip to ease my nerves.
Oh what bliss
to travel your tar
to drive five minutes
and get fairly far.
Oh how I miss thee
my fair Pottery Road
come back to me soon
lighten my load...

L

whispers

Sometimes all it takes is a whisper to see what you have been taking for granted for too long. Last night Tim and I actually had an entire evening with no work to do and no kids to clean up after (they were in bed but had been so good all evening that we had the house in perfect shape before bed). So we had some time together. We got out some wine and we sat together just talking, about life, faith, prayer and our questions. It was nothing to do with us, nothing to do with the kids, but exactly the way we talked when we met, were dating and discovering this love we found. I saw him again through the eyes of the woman I was when I said 'I do' for the first time in too long. We have been parents, partners, friends and lovers, my love for him has grown immensely over the past 4.5 years but it was so beautiful to go back to the beginning and be reminded of the man I fell in love with.

When we went to bed, long after he was sleeping I was able to whisper to God my thank you for giving me this man, for loving me enough to guide me the my husband, and I had no choice but to thank him for helping me wait for him. When I was finished whispering to God I turned to Tim and whispered 'Thank you for loving me' and fell into the most restful sleep I have had in a while.

November 21, 2011

Angel?

I remember growing up with a story of my Mom, Sister and Gran driving down the road when my sister (young at the time) started screaming hysterically to stop the car. My Mom stopped immediately and turned to my sister to see what could possibly be wrong with her. My sister, asked her 'didn't you see the man?' and when my Mom probed it would seem that my sister had seen a man standing in the road. My Mom and Gran never saw the man, but they always believed it had been an angel standing in the road that day. (This is a story I haven't heard in a while, I may have gotten a few details wrong but the gist of the story is the same as what happened).

Yesterday I was feeling pretty low, as you can see from my post yesterday. I spent time in prayer during the afternoon, praying for comfort, praying for hope, praying for something that I can't even name. In a sense I guess I was just doing what David would do in the Psalms and pouring my heart out in a hope that he would hear me.

When bed time came, as I was tucking Josh in and giving him his night time kiss he sat up in bed and pointed to the end of the bed and said 'man', not once but repeatedly. 'Man', over and over. Chills ran through me as I realized that this was not a word he had used before. Could it be that God had sent an angel to watch over my son? Could it be that he had given Josh the words to tell me about it to comfort me? Could it be that Josh saw an angel last night?

I don't know. I don't know what Josh saw or didn't see. I am unclear on angels and my belief in them but I can tell you this... the story from my sisters past came to mind and it eased my heart, the constriction that was holding it so tightly eased and I was able to breathe again. I tucked Josh in tight and said, 'if there is a man there Josh then it's your angel that God has sent to keep watch over you tonight, someone who will keep you safe and offer you rest.' After that Josh lay down, gave me a kiss and we didn't hear from him for the rest of the night.

Did he see an angel last night? Who knows, but whatever it was it was enough that I felt the comfort I was seeking yesterday. I still have no answers, I am still frustrated and sad, but I have been reminded that we are not alone. This is not a journey I need to walk without help, he is walking beside me and helping me. Maybe I don't need all the answers.

One of the comments yesterday came from a woman named Hope, and she reminded me that Job didn't know what the plan was, he didn't have the benefit of knowing the whole story. He knew only the suffering, he knew only the pain and the questions and yet he remained faithful, trusting and loving. I am not as strong and faithful as Job but I can strive to be. I can do my best to imitate him during these cloudy times.

November 20, 2011

Tell my heart!

I look back at the past few years and I can't believe we have made it... this sounds depressing but I am so tired, and really just frustrated today. I know that the news at Josh's last ECHO wasn't terrible, I understand that there is hope, but yet here I am, a few days later and it's begun to sink in that here we are yet again 'waiting and seeing' and I am tired of it. I know that God's hand is working, that he has blessed us and Josh, and I know I sound like a spoiled brat as I write this, but honestly I can't help but ask why they didn't just replace the valve if this was going to continue to be a problem... my brain says that there is a reason, it was dangerous and risky and the bigger he is the better... but let's be honest, repeat surgeries can't be much safer can they?

This being a new problem is another source of frustration for me. I can't help but asking 'what next?'. We are always given a new set of symptoms to look for, a new thing to worry over, a new problem with his heart and it leaves me wondering. What if they fix this and something else goes wrong? At what point is it unfixable? I mention this to someone and they feel the need to ease my mind, tell me not to worry about what if's, not to lose faith, not to doubt. They try to make me feel better, but the reality is that I need to say what's on my heart, I need to share my fears, speak them out loud because if not, then all those fears creep up like monsters under the bed in the dead of night.

My head knows the that I am blessed, my head knows there is hope, my head knows that God can do anything, my head knows that he's got a plan and that he is in control, my head knows that the doctors we are dealing with are some of the best, my head knows that surgery is not necessarily a sure thing, that Josh may well tolerate this new development for years to come, my head knows that when and if we have to deal with this surgically then we will find the strength, and the courage. My head knows that every day of 'waiting and seeing' is a day that Josh knows no suffering, that he can have as normal a child hood as possible. My head knows a lot it would seem, but my heart is not listening today. My heart is afraid and angry and frustrated and just plain exhausted today. My head needs to speak up and tell my heart what it knows...

This journey is such a day to day thing... I can be full of hopes and possibility today and then crushed in defeat the tomorrow. I look back at the miracles we have seen so far, and I try to hang onto them, hold them close for moments like these when I have nothing to hold onto, but today I find no comfort in them. Today I look at them and I am forced to ask myself what the purpose was? Why were they able to fix the tricuspid last time in what we believed was a miracle when three months later it would again be causing grief because of that fix? Was God listening to all the voices that I know were praying for Josh? Did he not here the begging of masses to heal this little boy? Does he not listen to my daily cries for his healing? This again is not me trying to get you to answer me with pat answers, I don't need to be told 'yes he hears you...' because I do KNOW that he hears me... I just need to share honestly in the yucky thoughts too and not just always the positive faithful thoughts.

Tim preached today about the Holy Spirit (worth a listen if you have the time - go to St. Paul's website in a couple days to hear it). My only thought through the whole sermon is how desperately I miss feeling loved by my Father and Creator, how much I need his comfort and to hear him tell me that he is indeed in control of this. That he knows' what he's doing and not just playing with my son's heart.

November 17, 2011

what they do for me



In all my mothering moments, I have to admit that some of my favorites are the hugs, or the kisses that I receive from my youngest. He speaks my language and is sensitive to my moods. When I need love I can count on any number of un asked for hugs. He simply gives because he loves it, and me. The kisses that he gives are some of the sweetest kisses I have every received. Today, and yesterday I have been inundated with those shows of affection and I am feeling so incredibly loved.

Sometimes, in the midst of a busy week, when I am running all over the place trying to accomplish all the things that are required in a day, changing diapers, feeding the kids, cleaning up after them, keeping them from killing each other, kissing boo boos, doing their laundry or any of the other thousand tasks they require, I feel like it's one sided. I do a lot for them, and sometimes I forget how much they do for me.

Josh's smile makes my heart actually warm up 10 degrees, Kaleb's affection can swiftly change a mood. It's nice to take a moment to remember how much they actually do for me.

November 16, 2011

who knew it was a prayer?

From the old journals

I want to be needed, wanted, protected
I want to feel passion.
I want to love with my whole heart.
I want to know without doubt
that there is someone out there
who things I am the sunshine to all his rainy days.
I want to be held in safe arms
when it's dark and I am afraid.
I want strong fingers 
to wipe my tears when they fall.
When I am cold I want his heat,
When I am hurt I want his worry
When I laugh I want his joy
When I dream I want his faith.
I want his gentle fingers
to touch my cheek in the morning
with a smile in his eyes
I want him to wake me.
I want to be free
to be myself and to be loved anyway.
I want to know that despite it all
he will not leave.

I looked back on this particular poem and I can remember exactly where I was, what I was thinking about and how I was feeling. It's actually quite a beautiful memory. I was sitting in the glasshouse, high up on the castle wall, looking out over the Austrian Alps with snow capped mountains, a fire was going so I was nice and warm and I had a glass of nice red wine. I didn't know it then, but this poem was being heard as I wrote it. As it turns out, God heard me and he gave me everything I wanted, everything I dreamed of in this poem. I didn't know it then, but this was a prayer and he answered it. I serve a God who hears me even when I am not talking directly to him... :)

November 15, 2011

ECHO day

The word ECHO is now an every day part of our vocabulary. I hate the word, I hate the fear that it instills and I hate the days that mark ECHO on my calendar. Today was one such day. All the way to Sick Kids this morning I talked to Josh about the upcoming ECHO, and he said 'No' a number of times. When I told him 'no one will hurt you' he said (clearly) 'Sick Kids hurts'... my heart sank as I tried to explain that yes, sometimes it hurts to go there, sometimes it hurts to heal, but this time would be different, this time they wouldn't hurt him. After a little conversation he settled and seemed to understand that it was inevitable and he needed to 'man up'. When we got there and they tried to take his shirt off he lost it, showing his scar is not something he wants to do yet, and he fought hard against all the stickers and wires for the ECG and the ECHO. It was less than enjoyable, though if I were honest, it's never enjoyable and yet still better than when they would need to sedate him for the ECHO.

The results it would seem are both a blessings another huge question mark. The blessings, the valves seem to be holding well, there is no sign of rejection! This is good news! There will be no need for a shunt, this too is good news! The not so great news was that there is a narrowing in the inflow/outflow (of this I am still confirming details with the doctor) tract, which is not good. Though he is not 'acute' she worded it in such a way that made it clear that it would at some point become acute.

This is a new problem, I have no research for it, I don't know what it all means... I can only tell you what she told me which wasn't much this time as it wasn't a proper clinic appointment but rather a quick 'favor' so that I didn't have to wait for the results. I am sure an email is forthcoming.

When we came out of surgery in September the doctor said '6 months to 7 years'... it's been three months, and by the time of the next ECHO appointment it will have been 9 months. This is something to be pleased about. The longer we have between surgeries the better for Josh, and for us.

So for now, we have to carefully monitor, make sure he isn't tiring to quickly during exercise and pray to God that it doesn't become even narrower!

(as an update to this post - the narrowing is happening in the inflow tract to the right ventricle, we have been given signs to look for to show that it's getting worse and the only way to fix this would be to finally replace that Tricuspid Valve...)

November 13, 2011

Share Ourselves



Pray for me
not just when I ask you
but everytime you think of me.
I will pray for you,
not just when you ask,
but everytime I think of you.
As me from time to time
in what way I need prayer
and then listen to what I have to say.
I will ask you from time to time
how I can pray for you,
and I will listen to what you have to say.
Let's grow together,
in good times and bad.
We are family, friends, community
we share one God,
one faith,
we share love,
now let's share ourselves.

November 12, 2011

What a woman!

This was to be posted on November 12th but for some reason there was a mistake and it's only being posted now... sorry.

I haven't really ever told you about my best friend, the woman who has helped shape me by being such a wonderful example of what being a Mother should look like, what being a wife means, and what being a friend is all about. This woman is strong, she has compassion and courage, she works hard and serves those around her with a cheerful heart. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. More importantly she is there whenever I have needed her, she has prayed for me when I was lost, she has wept with me, travelled thousands of miles to be by my side when my heart was hurting, she encouraged me, loved me, hoped for me, spoiled me, and has done her best to never let me down.

She has shown me great affection, she has allowed me to walk alone when I know it went against everything she believed in. She gave me the freedom to make the mistakes, she offered the grace to accept me home, she forgave me when I hurt her, sometimes I am sure at great cost to herself.

She has given, always given, everything she could if it meant more comfort for me, if it meant less pain for me and I have a feeling that if it were needed she would lay down her life for me. She has stood by me no matter what, whatever mistake I made, or choice that she wouldn't have made, she still stood beside me and either cheered me on or prayed me through.

When I have made her proud she has never been shy to say it, she has never let me go one day without knowing that I am loved by her, that she has loved being a part of my life.

One day it dawned on me, there is no other person in the world who knows me the way that she does, and she loves me still. There is such a pure intimacy to our friendship, that this post simply can't convey to you how much I love this woman. In every way, with all my heart, she is my best friend. She is my mentor, my role model and my Mother.

Happy Birthday Mom!

November 11, 2011

Remember

Here we are again, remembering the sacrifice of so many, over a broad amount of time. Blood shed for our freedom, for the freedom of the oppressed people in other countries. We wear our poppy, we stand in silence for a minute, we post pictures of soldiers on facebook, we share quotes... then on the 12th we go back to our normal lives and we don't think about it until the following November 11th. (Or at least not often).

As a mother of sons I can't help but think about them when I think of war... what would I do if I had to say goodbye to my husband, not knowing if he would return? What if one of my boys or worse both, came home and said to me 'we have signed up' or 'Im shipping out'. How do you do tolerate this? How do you wake up every day not knowing if this is the day your son or husband or daughter will die?

How do you live within the war itself, seeing the horrific things these men and women at arms have seen, friends blown apart, injured, dead? How do you live with this?

The sacrifice is so much more than we can ever know, and it's not just the soldiers but the ones left behind. I will not forget, I refuse to forget and I won't stop remembering tomorrow... We have men and women fighting even now, putting their lives on the line even as I write this, they need to be remembered in prayer daily.

November 10, 2011

treasures under the bed...

Last night I cleaned out under my bed... (without my Mum telling me to do it) and I found a few interesting things. Turns out that a whole bunch of purses were there, purses that I had thought were lost and gone forever in the move had actually been hiding under my bed in 'storage' for God knows how long. The whole thing started when I went through my bookshelf and found some cards and memories that were meant for my memory box which is also stored under the bed. So, I dug out the box and there hiding behind the box was the purses, and a pile of old journals. This is the purpose of the Blog post, not the purses, I was just so happy about my 'new' purses that I just had to share it!

The one journal I found was from my second stint in Austria, it contained mostly poetry that I had written while there, though I suppose they are more like short prayers and thoughts written into a book and made to look like poems. I would like to share some of them with you, they meant so much to me when I wrote them and as I look back on them I am touched once again by them, and reminded of where I was yes, but also where I am now. So if every once and a while you see a poem pop up, it's because I have been going through the journals and thought it one that would be good to share with you.


I can be weak
Sometimes I am strong,
I have dreams,
and some won't be realized.
I am a daughter,
I am a sister,
I am a friend,
I am loved.
I sometimes cry,
though quite often I laugh,
I can be fearless,
and sometimes I am afraid.
I am independant,
but at times I need someone.
I have been hurt,
but I have also inflicted pain.
My heart has been broken
but it's only because I have loved.
There have been times when I was proud,
and times that I cowered in shame.
I have cried,
I have laughed,
I have loved,
I have lived.


November 9, 2011

because of a little girl named 'S'...

There is nothing better than watching a smile light the face of the kids you love, because of something you have planned for them to do, a vacation, a holiday, a day out. To know that it's the time they are spending with you that matters, that they are enjoying your company, that they want to see you, want to have your full attention.

This weekend we had the pleasure of the boys' smiles as they discovered Niagara Falls, a magic show, play houses, a hot tub and meals out. They were so tired that they couldn't stand up, or walk straight but the smiles didn't let up.

When we arrived home yesterday Josh fell asleep on the couch, and stayed that way until it was time for school. Waking him was a treat let me tell you, that kid is worse than I am with no sleep and no coffee... he fell back asleep in the car and was again needing to be awakened when we arrived at school. I took him upstairs and he was okay until the teacher said hello, then he went into meltdown mode.

We were in a corner of the room and a little girl named 'S'(who has downs) came over to us, she looked me in the eye with such compassion, more than is right for her age, and she said 'Josh is crying', when I agreed with her she smiled and then slowly reached out and rubbed her hand along Josh's shoulder in the gentlest and sweetest way. Josh must have felt the love flowing through too because though he wouldn't turn away from my shoulder (where he was pressed tightly) he did stop crying and made the smallest of movements towards 'S's hand, towards her comfort. I had a lump in my throat to witness such sweet comfort from two kids who are so young. It was beautiful.

It didn't take much longer than that for Josh to calm down enough to go and find his seat and though it took me much longer to leave than normal I was happy to stay and watch him interact with his new friends. My heart now so much softer because of a little girl named 'S'.

November 5, 2011

no sick days

One of the worst parts of motherhood is when you fall sick and still need to report for duty in the morning, still need to find a way to gather everything you have to feed, snuggle, play referee, clean and appease your children.

This week I was totally taken out by strep throat, every ounce of energy I had was quickly used up before I had finished breakfast and there were moments of tears at the thought of making it through the day. It was so bad that I actually went two days without coffee simply because I couldn't swallow... now for those of you who follow this Blog you will know how serious that is! My amazing husband tried valiantly to help, but work calls too. As soon as the kids were in bed and sometimes thanks to Tim even before they were in bed I too had hit the pillow and buried myself under a mountain of blankets to ward off the chill. Whispering words of pray the entire time that tomorrow would be better, that somehow I would have enough energy to get through tomorrow.

The strange thing is, that I did find the energy I needed when I needed it, at one point I was so tired I needed to lie down, Josh was playing so I lay on the couch, a little while later I woke up (I had never intended to sleep) I was in a panic, had I really just slept while Josh was alone in the house?? What had he gotten into? Where was he? I jumped up and found him sitting quietly on the kitchen floor playing with the ipad. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanks. The next day while Josh was at school it was Kaleb and I alone in the house, I sat us both down on the couch and we snuggled and watched Curious George, both of us resting for the entire time that Josh was in school. They were small blessings, but real blessings.

Today, life resumes as normal and I thank God that I am now fully on the mend and I thank God for Tim and his help, and the boys and their compassion this week.