Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

April 29, 2012

Unbound


 Have you ever had one of those days where you hear something and it clicks... all the thoughts and feelings that you have been feeling but can't necessarily pin point as thoughts and feelings suddenly become clear and you can't believe it didn't hit you before? For me, today was one of those days. It's been a long few months, and you haven't heard much from me because I just haven't had much to say. I have been unable to pray lately, unable to really think or feel much beyond this moment, lack of sleep has certainly been a huge part of this, by the time the end of the day hits I flop on the couch and turn off my brain, and the days with two boys who need attention have also been contributing factors. I have caught thoughts forming but then I am distracted by a cry or a fight or a request for more juice and that seedling thought is lost in sea of life.

Today, as I sat in church and Barry spoke to us about a woman who threw herself at the feet of Jesus and begged him of behalf of her daughter for help (Mark 7:24-37), as he walked us through her interaction with Jesus I felt a release, an overwhelming clarity of my own life. For too long I have felt like I have been lying at the feet of Jesus begging for help on Joshua's behalf, and I have felt like Jesus was saying to me that others come first, that I wasn't worthy of his help. Today I realized that I have yet to really grasp that there is enough grace, enough mercy for even me. I also realized that this is NOT about me, it's about Josh, and I can't give up on begging on his behalf. I can't stop 'nagging with purpose' for God to heal Josh, for his heart, for his speech and for his development. I have not been angry at God, not really, I guess a part of me, the part I couldn't identify or clarify had given up. I had stopped bugging God to help him.

It's not about getting the answer we want, nor is it about getting the answer we think we need, it's about getting our deepest need met, and He's got enough grace, enough mercy, enough love to cover every person's need. Joshua's no different, I am no different. I am standing on the precipice of something, holding Josh's hand and we are being asked to step out in faith, to be open to be moved. It seems so clear now that I can't believe I actually thought he had forgotten us. I have not trusted Him as much as I had thought, I am being called to trust Him more. What greater trust can there be than to let go of Josh's hand and give him solely to Jesus. I have been here before, I have let go of his hand before, but always I take his hand back and hold him to myself, trying to regain control of the one thing I have no control over. Seeking answers that only God can answer.

My burden is lighter this afternoon. My heart less full of the worry that has been literally strangling me for the past few months. To say that I have felt like a burden is not fully expressing my deepest thoughts and fears. I would prefer to put on a front, to act like all is right in the world, because to share all my thoughts and fears makes me feel like a boring blogger, always saying the same thing, post after post. So I have gone dark, I have said little. What is there to say that is different than hundreds of posts before? Today I realize that in closing myself off to taking time to sort out the thoughts and feelings I have been stressing, has also caused my heart to go silent, my prayers to cease, my eyes to close and my fear and worry to fight their way out of the shadows, out of the nightmares and live beside me, binding me, holding me captive.

I had the bindings cut this morning. My rescue has been secured, the Victor has won me. There IS enough grace, there IS enough mercy. I will start up again with the nagging on Josh's behalf.

We sang The Victor this morning... 


You are the Victor, Your work is complete
Chains have been broken and laid at your feet
I stand up strong and receive the joy
You have prepared for me.

With comfort and joy you respond to our cries

Our peace is restored with one look in your eyes
Your enemies scatter as they see You rise
with healing in your wings
Your are the Victor...


With every good thing we are being satisfied
Our place at your table has not been denied
the doors of our prisons are thrown open wide
Before our coming King
You are the Victor...


With songs of deliverance Your people surround
Rekindle our passion for taking new ground
we dance on the chance that once held us bound
and this what we sing
You are the Victor...


You are the Victor, your work is complete
Chains have been broken and laid at your feet
I stand up strong and receive the joy
You have prepared for me.

Pray without ceasing!

April 25, 2012

You're already amazing



You're Already Amazing! Great title to a good book! I was asked to read this and review it, and I have to tell you that I was late on the due date because it's a book that requires time, thought and in my case... even more thought. It's a hand book of sorts and it's given me lots of things to ponder and work to change. What sins drive you to believe you are less than amazing? Why do you live your life afraid to hear the truth of what God thinks of you? These are some of the tough questions you need to work through if you are ready to embark on this journey. Holley Gerth takes you through the stages of discovering who you are and walks with you as you discover who God created you to be. It's not always an easy path, as I myself have discovered. She asks some hard questions, like 'What hinders you' and then she takes you through the steps to discovering how to break free from the hold it has on you. I won't go into my hindrances, but let me assure you that I discovered many and though a book can't make me 'better' it has certainly opened my eyes to a possible life change.

This book is clear, it's well written and it will take proper time to really work it through. Written for women, it speaks to the issues we face as women of the world, and it offers the pieces to discover how truly amazing we are, and how amazing God thinks we are. Truly worth the time invested! She even offered a great recipe for some delicious chocolate oreo truffles that I found time to make last week that were FANTASTIC! Yummy stuff I promise!

So I propose this... if you are a woman, in need of encouragement and change, if you are longing to know yourself better, to find more fulfillment in your relationships, to discover what God has planned for you and to learn what your next step should be,  then get this book, make the truffles (page 50) and then sit back and dig in. You will not put this book down unchanged!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

April 19, 2012

thoughts


I spent the afternoon in a grave yard yesterday. You see, near Josh's school is a large cemetery so after dropping Josh off, Kaleb (who was on my back) and I went for a walk. I was hoping that he would nap while I walked so I chose the cemetery for it's quiet space. At the beginning of our walk Kaleb was excited, pointing to the trees and birds and yes, even the grave stones (rocks to him). As we walked on he finally fell asleep and I was left to wander around the cemetery alone with my thoughts. At first I simply read the inscription on the grave markers, but as I began to read them I began to think about who these people might have been, how they died, who they loved. Some of them had been killed years ago, with wives or husbands who still live today, some were children, some were young men who died at war, and some were old and ready to go. I couldn't help but feel the weight of the little one on my back, this is my next generation, this is my legacy. Long after my body has grown cold and I have gone home, these boys will be here on earth, living and breathing and all that they will have of me is what I have taught them now and in whatever time I have with them. What will they say of me, after I am gone?

This was not a morbid afternoon, it was quite beautiful really, the sun was warm on my shoulders, my son softly snoring on my back, the birds were singing and in a city that is too often filled with the sounds of sirens, car horns, train wheels screeching and the regular hustle and bustle the cemetery was quiet (I have the urge to say 'dead quiet' here... but won't). The chance to think, to have some quiet, was nice. I don't get a lot of 'quiet' with the boys in the house and thinking lately has been tough. However, yesterday as I contemplated my life, my kids lives, and the marks we would make on each other I also began to think about what come next. I was passing by the marker of one man who died at the age of 36, survived by his wife and two children, he will always be remembered. Clearly only tragedy takes someone so young, in the prime of life, illness or accident, or murder it doesn't matter, at 36 he was just too young to be gone. I was touched, and then I looked to the top of the stone, and there, above all the other inscriptions was this 'I know that my redeemer lives' and I smiled. Instead of guessing about how he died, or wondering about the mark he left in the lives of his loved one, I couldn't help but think 'what's he doing now?'.

I guess in spending a quiet afternoon in a grave yard I was reminded in a fresh new way how wonderful it is to know that nothing here is permanent, not the joy or the laughter but also not the pain and not the suffering, because our redeemer lives and we are on a journey home.  I think to the past, back when a family moved west to start a new life. When they said goodbye to their families it was final, they were not likely to meet up again, much like a death. Yet, they were going 'home'. Is this not what death is like for the children of God? We say goodbye to those we love and though painful it's also a wonderful adventure, heading home! Not a new thought, certainly an old idea but it came alive for me yesterday as I walked and thought about all these lives gone by. This is my moment to live, to love and to enjoy the moments I am given, but it's not going to last forever so I need to choose how those moments will look for the boys that will carry  my memory with them after I am gone. I need to choose what kind of mark I will leave now because after I am gone my chance is gone. I need to live today, like I want to be remembered tomorrow.


April 18, 2012

My sleeping date

Nothing is better than an afternoon walk with a sleeping child snuggled close.

April 16, 2012

Days like this.


I believe that the sun was created for days like this... boys chasing each other in the backyard, dog lying in the sun and Mummy sitting sipping coffee and taking photos... It was a beautiful day!

We never knew



On Thursday Josh and I once again made the trek to Sick Kids, this time to visit with the stroke team and talk about Josh's stroke treatment plan. The appointment was to be at 10 am, plenty of time for us to get him to school with lunch thrown in for good measure. (Apparently boys like to eat regularly). Once in the clinic I realized how busy they were and I felt the doubts creep in, could they possibly get to us in time? As it turns out, no they couldn't. We sat and sat, Josh doing his best impression of a patient child with nothing in the world he likes better than sitting in the doctor's office. At 11am the nurse came in and called Josh's name, hope surged through me as I grabbed our stuff and we went with the nurse to get weighed and measured. She asked all the  hundreds of questions that they ask every visit and just when I thought she would say the doctor will be right in she instead said 'we don't have a room for you yet, you can go back to the waiting room'. My heart sunk, we were in for a long day! It was about 20 minutes later than we were taken to a room, where we were asked again to wait, only unlike the waiting room this room didn't have toys or TV... Josh's impression of patient child was beginning to fade in it's enthusiasm. Shortly after that we had the research doctor come in, (Josh is a part of a research project for kids who have suffered a stroke), she asked the same hundred odd questions that the nurse asked and then left us. We again sat down and began to feel the affects of pure boredom. A resident came in, asked the same hundred questions, looked at Josh and made him do a few things like kick and jump (very exciting indeed!) then, after giving him a sticker she too left. It was now after noon officially. Josh was hungry, he was thirsty, he was bored, he was beginning to melt down (as evidenced in the picture above).  Finally, the doctor showed up and we sat down to talk. Now, let me back up a little bit here and tell you that Josh was supposed to have an MRI done in September but in the end it was only one week after Josh's last surgery and I didn't want to traumatize him with yet another general and hospital stay, and I was under the impression that Josh's stroke was caused by a catheter procedure and a faulty heart. (The clot formed when they entered his groin with a catheter, it travelled up to his heart and instead of moving to his lungs it was shunted through the whole in his heart up into his brain - the hole was closed in another catheter procedure after his first open heart when he was six months old). Basically, I didn't think we had much need to worry that he would have another stroke because the hole was closed. Apparently I was wrong. I was told on Thursday that Josh had had a silent stroke after the first series of strokes, and we were never told about it. This blew my mind! How can he have had another stroke and I was never told? Was I just not listening? I called Tim but no, he'd never heard about this either. So our son is at risk for more strokes, and if he is still stroking it's only a matter of time before he has another catastrophic event. We were told under no uncertain terms that we could not miss another MRI, that we need to know if he is silently stroking, and in my head I felt like saying 'if I had known he  was still at risk I wouldn't have cancelled his last one! I even spoke with the nurse about it before I cancelled!! How could we not have had this information? (You can insert a sigh here).

I remember the night we were told he'd had the strokes, it was late and we had been in the ER for hours, I was so tired and when she showed us his MRI and explained the 'event' to us all we could do was stare in shocked amazement... babies don't have strokes do they? I thought it was only for old people. I had no idea that it would lead to a lifetime of questions for our little boy, and I thank God I didn't know it because I don't know how I would have lived with all those questions for that long. We still have questions, we still live with the affects of that stroke and we still apparently have things to worry about in regards to those strokes and now we have to hope and pray that we don't discover that he's had any more silent ones.

So the next question of course is 'what happens if he has been silently stoking?' Up until now I haven't even thought of that as a possibility but since it is then what do we do? Well, we put him on blood thinners, which is a needle twice a day, which he had for three months when he was little. Not fun I assure you! My hope of course is that this is all for naught, that he hasn't had anymore strokes and that the new MRI will prove that the old damage is the same, that new pathways have been formed and that there in no evidence of any repeats of his last 'infarct' (a word that caused us endless giggles at the time - probably given how tired and shocked we were).

I have asked you all to pray countless times for Josh and Kaleb, and you have all done so in a breathtaking display of love for us and for him. I would like to ask you to again pray for this little kid. Pray that this chapter in his life is closed and that we don't need to reread it, it wasn't a particularly good read the first time round I have no desire to reread it!

That said, after the appointment we headed down to the blood clinic where Josh flipped out at the sight of the room he knows too well, knowing what was coming all he could say was 'No, go home now!'. The poor kid was seriously distraught, but the nurse was so good that he didn't even know the needle was going in until it was actually in and she was so fast that it was out before he could even cry. All he said was 'owe, it hurts' and then it was over and they took him to the treasure box. (small mercies after a day like that). We then headed home, got Tim and Kaleb and made the trek to Niagara Falls for a fun night of Laser tag and hotel life!

April 11, 2012

April 11th



These shots are thanks to my iphone and a great new app that I found! Josh and I were entertaining each other by taking pictures... fun times at the Haughton House!


April 10th!

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday... and I am going to pass today on the daily photo month to tell you a little bit about this man who raised me. We are very alike in many ways, which is what makes me so cool!!

I can't count the hours that my Dad and I have spent chatting, the hours on the phone while I was in Europe, or the times when he would still be up when I got home and we would chat in the living room. He was the one who would seem to understand my rebellious ways and allowed me the freedom to grow up. He is fun, warm, talented and crazy in love with his two Grandsons!

I am so incredibly proud to call him Dad!

Dad cheering Josh after his last surgery...


Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you!

April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

There is nothing better than listening to the Hallelujah chorus on Easter Sunday morning... but it's really amazing when the choir director is clearly having the time of his life!

Saturday's Daily photo


Who needs paper?!?!

April 6, 2012

Beyond Exile


This photo is not a daily photo... I took it earlier in March while at the beach near my folks place. However, I had to post it for Good Friday because today I was reminded that the cross isn't something we should only contemplate over the Easter holidays, it's something we need to focus our lives on. That act of love and grace was 'costly' and done for me, planned for me, by a God who loves me wholly, and calls me to be Holy in return. I also learned that I have some things I need to lay down at the foot of the cross, and leave them there... it seems I always drop things at the cross only to turn around and pick them up again. Before Time began God had a plan for me, and he looked through history and knew me, and sent his son to die for me. I need to live a life worthy of that love, I need to live into the Holy life I was called to when I was asked to follow him. All the aching of this world, the pain of this life, is temporary. I won't escape life alive but when I do leave this world I will be leaving exile to return home, I have an eternity of joy and love and relationship with my maker. All this because God loved me enough to offer me grace, and to sacrifice his son to offer me redemption I do not deserve.

I serve a HUGE and LOVING God... I will sleep at peace tonight knowing that regardless of what comes tomorrow... this is not my home. This is merely exile. I am blessed beyond imagination!

Good Friday - daily photo


April 5, 2012

Cookie date - daily photo

While I hate that we need to go to speech every week, I can't deny that I love having a date with this guy every week!

April 4, 2012

Screwtape daily photo

Your affectionate uncle Screwtape,

Tonights' small group discussion is rocking so far!

April 3, 2012

Daily photo for April 3rd


There is nothing better than fun post days!! This is book four in a series my Mom got me hooked on... The last one got tossed across the room because I didn't like the ending... Lets hope this ends the way I'm hoping!!

Daily Photo for April 2nd



April 2nd proved a beautiful day of Spring weather that begged the boys to come out and play...

Another April

Last April I took the month to do daily photos... I loved it!! So, I am doing it again! This photo is from April 1st which was also Palm Sunday