Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

June 30, 2012

I am second

A long time ago,  when I was a year into this Blog I went through a period of indecision about what to do. Should I continue it or stop writing it completely. Telling  Josh's story has been good for me, it's been helpful and encouraging, and at times it's been the only way to work through some of the complex emotions that I have been struggling with. However, it's putting my life out there for all to see, not just my life, my kids' lives and my husbands life. I don't take that lightly. So, during that time of indecision I began to pray. It seemed to me that the question wasn't really a question at all. As soon as I began to pray I began to receive emails from people who wanted to encourage me. I decided that I would continue writing the Blog, for His glory alone, and that I would never sell the blog (ie. sell ads on the blog to earn money from it).

This week, in all my excitement about being nominated for the top 25 I have also failed in my mission. This Blog is not for my glory, it's not about me the photographer, it's about me the Mom, it's about how God is using these two little boys to shape and change me, it's about how he is teaching me through them how much he loves me. It's about our heart breaks, our struggles, our laughter, our joy and our victories. It's not about being top 25 at all. It's about being second.

Let me explain.

I have begun reading  'I am second'.  by Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett. I won't go into the book as I will be reviewing it soon and don't wan to be a spoiler. What I will say is that it's about a bunch of people who have come to realize that they are not first, Christ is first, and they are second.  Somewhere along the line this week I made the mistake of getting caught up in being first.

I want people to read this blog, to be moved by this blog or encouraged by it and vote not because I begged them too but because they want to. I want this blog to return to being about HIS glory, and I want to apologize to each of you for making it about mine this week.

Being second... it's an awesome place to be!


June 29, 2012

Fallen behind

Hey friends... I am falling behind in my votes and have slipped from first. Please, share this blog with your friends, get them to share with their friends and help me get the votes! :) There is only 13 days left to vote and you can vote once a day for those 13 days... We can do this... but not without you. Please, vote? Then... and this is important. Get your friends to vote, and share on your twitter, facebook, path... whatever... just share! :) I would love it too if you would follow me, write to me, connect :)

Have a wonderful day!


I prefer the highway

As a photographer the one thing you learn early on is that to get 'the' shot, you need to show patience. As a parent... the first thing you learn early on is that you need to show patience... in fact, in any role you find yourself, you will probably be called upon to show patience. Father, Mother, Daughter, Son, Brother, Sister, Friend, Spouse, Boss, Employee... The list goes on.

The main problem with this... I SUCK AT PATIENCE! I mean, not just your everyday 'sucking'... I am talking about the kind of terrible that other people actually call out in you because it's THAT bad. I am the person who will go through the traffic jam on the 401 because I am too impatient to wait for stop lights... ?? Yes, I know how silly that sounds to the average ear!

My housemates in Austria used to tease me about it, telling me over and over how impatient I was, and I would usually agree. The problem was not that I was in denial but rather that I embraced it. If God made me impatient then he meant for me to impatient. I should be able to get what I want when I want it right? Why wait for 3 hours for the perfect shot? Why sit through stop lights when there is a highway close at hand? Why wait for online shopping when I can get the item in a store with a little driving? Why wait for a sale for that matter, I want it now! The problem... and I am learning that it's actually a bigger problem that I realized. Is that God doesn't want me to remain this way, he wants me to learn patience.

As I mentioned I have committed to read the Bible daily for at least a month. Guess what I heard... BE PATIENT... UGH. I know, this should be a beautiful thing, learning, growing, stretching... but have you ever stretched a stretchy material and seen the results of that poor toy/item.. not pretty. It looks painful. My question today, how the heck do you learn patience? I mean, I thought this whole thing with Josh had taught me alot about patience, I thought my new ability to wait for 6 months between appointments without going into cardiac arrest myself was a huge step forward. Now, however, I am learning that it was a baby step; a baby step that has taken almost 5 years to learn.  A drop in the bucket... again I say UGH. I don't know what I am being patient for. I don't know why the need to be patient needs to be so important (this is my 3 year old inner child coming out for a visit) but I thank God that He shows me patience while I learn about it.

Happy Friday guys and Happy Canada weekend!


June 28, 2012

sometimes it takes a kiss

As a Mom, have you ever thought about the things you used to hate when you were single? Sitting in the Doctors office, going to the ER and waiting for hours on end? Grocery shopping? Errands? How I hated those things. I wanted to be having fun, doing things I enjoy, spending time with friends or lounging on the couch with a good book. Planning my next adventure... Now, a trip to the Doctor (sans kids) means at least an hour wait that is all for ME! I can read... WOW. I can sit and people watch without worrying if my boys are wrestling on the floor over the one toy in the office, or chasing each other in circles and driving the other patients insane! It is unqualified ME time, and there is NO guilt because I have to be there, I have no choice in the matter. I remember once last year I got a really bad cut and I needed stitches, when I left to go to the ER to have it dealt with I was anxious. I knew it would take hours. What I found there was (and this will sound weird) peace. Even with all the craziness that happens in the ER, the drunk lady who wanted to go home, the homeless man who was fighting with the Medical staff, the nurse who was clearly having a bad night, or the old lady who was hitting the nurse for trying to get her to lie down. None of it interrupted my ME time. I was able to sit, read, watch people, and chat on the phone without being bugged for juice, entertainment, or in most cases to play referee in a fight or kiss an ouchie (resulting from said fight) better. Last night, I went grocery shopping. I hate shopping (food shopping - I should clarify that... I love shopping!). I always spend too much and I get grumpy with other shoppers who cut me off with their carts or stop mid isle to look at what they want to look at. Last night though, I sailed through those isles, grabbed up what we needed. There were no fist fights in the dual seats that I was pushing around, there was no pleads for cookies, no yelling that they wanted to hit the toy section. I could stop and peruse whatever I wanted and take as long as I wanted. BLISS. I realized last night how being a Mom, though the biggest blessing in my life, has taught me that I took a lot for granted about being single. I spent my single time wanting more, always looking at mothers and thinking 'one day', instead of just enjoying the wonder of being alone. There is something really wonderful about being single. Just as when the time was right, there is something wonderful about having kids. No, I can no longer be selfish and loaf around on the couch whenever I feel the urge, I can't go out with friends at the last minute, I have to go against the grain and plan things rather just living it. I guess what I am saying is that there are so many benefits to both stages of life, but too often we miss it with our wanting the ever sought after 'more'. The other day I had a headache of mammoth proportions. It got so bad that I honestly thought I would be sick. I had both boys home with me and all I could think about was the days I could sit on the couch and nurse my head without two boys jumping on me and screeching at me. Then, Kaleb asked me for some juice (in a very demanding tone) and I said 'Kaper, Mummy has a big ouchie in my head.. can you wait a minute'. He looked at me quizzically and said 'Mummy, ouchie?' I said yes and he scooted over on the couch and said 'doctor' and kissed my forehead, then he rubbed it gently and kissed it again. Blessings in disguise. A kiss really does help you know. L

June 27, 2012

I feel the love!

You guys are so great! I just wanted to say thanks! Voting continues for another 14 days so keep it up!! I can't tell you how amazed I am by all the love!

Happy voting! 

find the ant

As I write this Kaleb is playing outside in perfect little boy cuteness. He is wearing an army camouflage tank, oshkosh overall shorts and rubber boots that almost hit his knees and he's carrying his binoculars and seeking new treasures. How fun is he? He found ants, and sadly smooshed them, he found flowers, thankfully he didn't smoosh those, he found his dog, his brother and then his Mummy.

All this discovery got me to thinking about my confusion and murkiness surrounding things these days. While Kaleb is out there with binoculars seeking treasures, and new things, I am sitting here wondering where to look. Maybe I need to get some binoculars and pin point on an area and really seek something. In my case it's not as simple as finding an ant (and sparing it the smooshing), but maybe, rather that looking at the whole backyard seeking a tiny ant, I need to pull out the binoculars and zero in on an area that I know an ant will be hiding?

Just a thought.

waterlogged Bible

ah the world can be murky sometimes can't it? I wish I could get down into the swamps and shoot the underwater crud and zero visibility to properly, visually, express this feeling I have been struggling with today.

It started with a choice, a decision, a dream and the water went from crystal clear to murky brown in an unsettling amount of time. Now we can't see where we are going, and I can't hear God's reassuring voice guiding me. The only clear thing...

'Come, Follow me.' repeated over and over again in the gospels, to the unlikely, to the poor, to the fisherman, and tax collector, he's saying it to me now 'Come Laurie... Follow me'... but when I look at at the road he's pointing to there are two paths, and I can't see through the shadows of unclarity to see where he's asking me to follow him to.

I am usually fairly intuitive, I jump at change, I enjoy new and different things. Right now, I generally know what my next step will be, and I am spontaneous by nature so I don't even really have to worry over it... it's throwing me off, this vague uncertainty. Where has it come from? Who am I becoming that a decision is so unclear, so hard.

I feel like I am writing this in a dear Anne style letter... and that I should sign off saying ...

Needing Answers

Dear Needing Answer:

Thank you for your letter. I am certain that if you filter that murky water through the filter of the Word you would find the answers that you seek. Try it.


Dear Anne,

Thanks for the tip.


new owner of waterlogged Bible.

The truth of the matter is, I have always struggled with regular scripture reading time. I find it easier to talk to God and I have always been fairly clear on what he's saying to me, though I can't hear his voice really (I mentioned this in another post the other day) but I generally make the call, go for it, and find that if I was wrong God sets me back on track quickly enough. Reading the Bible (my latest challenge to myself) is just hard for me. I have a tendancy to say to God, 'Okay... I am opening my Bible, talk to me, and then I open it at a random place and hope that my eyes land on the sentence he wishes to say. (Yes, I am fully aware of how silly this is).

One such day, when Josh was just a baby facing his first surgery I approached the Bible this way. I closed it, prayed that God would use it to talk to me. I then allowed it to open to any page he saw fit. I landed on a page in Joshua (sounds promising right?) I looked at the chapter heading... it read 'Joshua dies'. I closed the Bible and figured God had taught me a valuable lesson about how NOT to ready my Bible.

I suppose that if (as my husband says) I were to approach the Bible like it's a chance to know God better, a chance to understand His will and his commandments, then I would grow in relationship with him, thus having a better clarity for the times like these that I struggle to know my next steps. (seems simple right? -but I really suck at taking time out to read my Bible).

All this to say that I am going to challenge myself to read every day, even if it's only a small portion. I will do this for one month, see how I do. Small baby steps. I have done this before, in fact I look back on when I felt closest to God and it was when I was daily reading, fasting, praying and listening to Him.

Since that is what I long for now, maybe it's time to head back to the basics of just knowing the God I love, who loves me so much more.

Trying to follow

June 26, 2012

For T

Sometimes in life we need someone to come along tell us why we think they are special, why we love them, why we think they are doing an amazing job. Sometimes in life, we need someone to encourage us. My husband is having one of those weeks.  I wanted to let him know, outside of me saying it (which I have also done), but I wanted him to read it, see it black and white, the truth of the man he is, the man I love, the Father he is, the Pastor...

One of the the most amazing things about my husband is how quickly he can forgive, how fast he is to apologize if he is wrong, and sometimes when he's not wrong but is sorry for his part in it. I learn from him in this area, it's not easy for me to forgive a wound. He has taught me the value of a humble apology, and he's taught me about grace through his quick and steady forgiveness. He has also helped me to understand that grace sometimes requires confrontation, that it's not about being a doormat, allowing yourself to walked all over, but it's about healthy conversational confrontation, mixed with apology and forgiveness. One of the things that I fell in love with him about him was that he is who he is. There is no pretense to be someone he's not, there is no two sides to this incredible man. He's Tim. Simple. When he is with our friends, he's Tim, when he's in church, he's Tim when he's with me, my family, work colleagues, he is still Tim. For all his faults and all his amazing qualities, he's steady, committed, and full of an integrity that I often envy.

I have never, not once had a moment in our marriage to Tim, where I wasn't extremely proud to say 'He's my husband'. He is smart (I mean really smart). If he decides he wants to learn something, he buys a book and teaches himself how to do it. From building a motor bike to rewiring our house. He's kind, he is fun, he's quiet and introsepctive, but his thoughts and feelings run deeper than you can imagine.

Does this man have faults... yes. :) Shock of shock he's not perfect (As his wife I can say truthfully that I am not in denial). However, I learn more from him every day about life and relationship than I do from anyone else.

As a pastor, I have watched his preaching grow, strengthen to become an impactful voice for God to use. His dedication to discipleship has won hearts for the Kingdom, and fills Tim with a sense of fulfillment. Walking with people, seeing them through the thick and thin spot of their lives, and their faith, allowing them to see him for all of his flaws and good qualities are what make him an amazing witness. He's one man, one man to them, one man to God and one man to me and our boys. He is a man of character and integrity and he's doing some amazing things for the Kingdom.

He needs to hear that today... He needs to know that regardless of how today goes, how next month goes, how next year turns out... I think he's someone to respect, someone to look up to, someone to turn to for wise advice, someone I am so very proud of. He needs to know that I think he's amazing, warts and all.

I love you T.


June 25, 2012


Austria... a lot of my story in faith sprouts back to those early days that I somehow found myself blessed enough, lucky enough, loved enough to be living in that castle on a hill. I talk about it often because it's where I truly met God, fell in love with him, and understood a tiny little bit of his love for me. It was where he he healed me, taught me about joy, showed me what community should look like, and made it so that every time I doubt myself, doubt him, doubt anything in my path I can look back on my time in that castle, and remember what God can do.

During one particular time when I was facing rejection, dealing with past rejection and aching with both anger, pain, sadness and a deep sense of failure. I began to talk to God. It was morning in early fall, with fog still hanging in the valley beneath me, and the chill in the air still crisp enough to need a fire in the kachelofen to warm the small room. I was working in the glasshouse, making key fobs with wood disks and a wood burner, It was a mind numbing job. Perfect for a person in need of soul searching.

I didn't hear a voice, there wasn't a visit from an angel, and there was no burning bush... but God spoke to me. Clearly. As I lamented my situation, vented my frustration, shared my hurt and anger and swore it would be the last time I let my heart get hurt... God said to me. You have done this a thousand times to me. You have rejected me repeatedly, you have hurt me, you have mocked me, you have abandoned my word, you have not loved me, you have not accepted my love... the list goes on. I sat back on my bench and I swear to you my mouth fell open. How I didn't see this connection before I don't know. It was true. Everything that I was experiencing and angry about, God had experienced and felt from me, only worse, for longer, and yet not once, not for a moment did he ever let go. He pursued me the way I had always longed to be pursued. He longed for me the way that I ached to be longed for, loved me the way I dreamed of being loved. Yet at every cross road he brought me to, I chose to walk away from him and pick the path that he wasn't on. Putting my back to Him and choosing to leave Him behind for a better life, seeking a better love. What I had never seen, what I would have seen if I had turned around, was that He was behind me the whole time, I never left Him on those paths, instead, He picked up the pursuit again.

What astounded me, was that after all I had done, after all the ways I had hurt Him, refused him, rejected Him. He loved me enough to bring me to Austria, He loved me enough to suffer my rejections, he loved me enough to honour my choices... and he loved me enough to welcome me with open arms that day in the glass house when I was brought to humility and faced with the pain I had caused Him.

Knowing his great love for me, has led me to a different life. It's taught me that nothing else matters. My identity of being loved for myself is secure, I am a woman worth loving, when I rest my dreams, my hopes, my desires, my heart into His hands I can rest. I no longer need to seek the love, the dream, the desires from anyone else because he's fulfilled that need. I am loved. Knowing that, it's enough.

I watched Kaleb playing today, and as I watched him I realized how free he is to just trust, to meet new people, to open his heart to new ideas, new people, new joys and dreams, because he knows he is loved by Tim and I. His identity as someone who is loved is secure. Therefore he can be fully himself. Is this not what God wants for us all? For us to look up and see His peaceful face, full of love, and have us know deep within our soul that we are loved, and then in that love, be able to live to our full potential as his children?

June 24, 2012


I was reminded today about the gift of laughter, the joy that can be found in play... even as an adult. Yesterday we attended a birthday party for a three year old, the backyard was filled with a bunch of young boys, a few girls thrown in for good measure and of course a bunch of adults. It was a hot afternoon, and the kids all had their slip and slide, the sprinkler and some squirt guns. As it turned out, the adults had more fun with those water guns than the kids, and a number of kids were the targets of water shots. Some, innocent bystanders who happened to be between the one adult being shot by another adult, and in some cases purposely shot at by their parents. It was fun, there was laughter, there were some marriage battles that I can only assume were very therapeutic to the marriages. One husband targetted his wife... with a full bucket of water! Fun times were had by all!

I posted the pictures on facebook and today at church I had many comments about them. It would seem that watching adults have some fun is more community building than any other activity. It made me think about 'play', and how sometimes we just don't 'play' enough.

Today, after church during our coffee time a few of us had a camera 'ninja' game going on... sneaking up on an unsuspecting person and shooting a shot of them. We laughed and giggled... it felt so good to not be taken so seriously, to not take life so seriously. It made me FEEL younger! My goal for this summer is to play more, and laugh as much as possible. The last few years I have grown old, I have stopped playing pranks, stopped laughing as much, and today I had time to stop and think about that.

What do I want my kids to remember of their childhoods? A Mom who was always serious, spouting rules and lessons, or a Mom who got dirty with them, who played with them, and who's parents played together. I want them to look back at this time in their lives and remember laughter. I want them to grow up and have kids and teach them how important laughter can be for the soul.

We were given another 6 months of breathing space with Josh, another six months to relax, another 6 months to live and love and laugh together. Not all of us take the time to live in this moment, I forget it many times myself. I spend time worrying about tomorrow, I worry about next week, next year, or 5 years from now. Where will I be, what will we be doing? Instead, I want to just be here right now, now just living to get by, but creating memories, creating moments.

I think one of the reasons that I love photography so much is that I can live a moment, really live it, and then capture it for the years when those moments are gone. I don't want to be a bystander, watching those memories unfold before me, I want to be in that moment, and I want to capture it so that the pictures can remind the boys about the laughter we shared together as a family. It's not always an easy balance. It is so easy sometimes to stand behind the camera, shooting the shots but not participating. My goal this summer is to learn how to do both. To know the right time to take the shot, and to also know the moment to put the camera down and just enjoy.

June 23, 2012

No more tears for days gone by

I mentioned yesterday that I had been at the cottage for a week, or a little less actually. While there I watched two things happen, Kaleb's breathing finally became normal, his ragged breaths became deep, the dark circles that had taken up permanent residence on his little face lightened and became puffy again. Oxygen flowed through his blood giving his cheeks some cozy redness. He was happier, he was sleeping better, he was eating... I hadn't realized how crappy Toronto air is until I saw him so healthy. It will be an interesting ride to figure out how to keep this little guy breathing well.

However, in the place of the grumpy sick child I am rediscovering my chatty, sweet, funny and sometimes stubborn youngest child.

Last year the thought of taking these two boys of mine to the beach... alone... struck fear into my heart. It just wasn't going to happen. This year? We had the greatest time collecting rocks, swimming. building castles, washing rocks, and at one time dodging an incoming thunder storm that had both boys screeching that dragons were coming!

I stopped lamenting the past this week... I stopped thinking about how much they have grown and been saddened by it, and I have moved into a celebration mode. My guys are growing and changing, they are fully enjoyable companions these days. I anticipate a WHOLE lotta fun in this house this summer!

June 22, 2012

let's try this again!

A week at the beach, swimming with the boys, dodging storms and listening for dragons... it was a fantastic week of enjoying what it means to be the Mom of two fantastic boys. I have some great photos to follow this week but in the mean time I came home to some fun news!

Apparently my non eco-friendly blog got enough votes that they wanted to nominate me for something... so as you will notice in the top right corner of the blog, the pink badge is back!! I am nominated for the Top 25 Photographer Moms :) NOW THAT IS FUN! Very exciting my friends! You were what helped me get the nomination, since it was you who voted last time. The deal is, you can vote daily, only once a day but every day! :) I would love the support! :)

Thank you so much my friends! I have loved writing for you and look forward to continuing the process and sharing with you how our summer is unfolding!

June 15, 2012

a bigger chair

Josh at 6 weeks

 Yesterday I dropped Josh off for his last day of school. It seems like I was just posting  to say that he had attended his first day of school... time does fly. Josh has had a lot of firsts this week, and as I watch him grow and learn I am also in a nostalgic head space. This little kid used to fit in one arm, at only four pounds when he was released from hospital he was all skin and no fat. I remember being excited with every pound he gained, and telling everyone who asked how big he was now. The first night we had Josh home from the hospital he slept in the bassinet we had set up in the living room, Tim and I were watching a show and he was so quiet that I actually said to Tim... 'it's like we don't have a baby, this baby thing is easy'. Now I look back on that blissful sleepy newborn and think that it's God's way of showing you what the eye of the hurricane looks like so that you don't need to chase down a storm and get hurt. I remember walking around the neighbourhood, him resting happily on my chest in the baby bjorn. As he grew and discovered his legs and would bounce until he fell asleep in the jolly jumper, or the sweet way he would use his whole hand to hang onto my pinky finger. He was just sweet. He's had bumps in the road, we all know that, but aside from that he has grown into a warm, friendly, happy and caring little man. He is a big brother who protects his brother from bullies, who if his brother is hurt will kiss the ouchie better. His heart is enlarged, but he's also got a huge heart. Two different things I assure you.

As I mentioned, a few things happened this week that have sent me into this time of memories. First, Josh began the process of learning to pee while standing (great for him but not my bathroom!) It's so fun to see his look of pride when he says he 'pees big boy Mummy'.  The second happened when he weighed in at the hospital this week and we discovered he was officially able to move to a booster seat and toss the car seat. He loves that new seat! He points to Kaleb's car seat and say's 'baby seat, Kaper' and then with pride he points to his own and says 'I sit big boy chair'. Looking at him in the rear view mirror and seeing him sitting there in his little seat, with a seat belt wrapped around him makes me wonder where the years went. He's getting so big so fast.

Then, after school finished for the final time of the year, Daddy picked up Josh for a Father/Son camping trip. Josh's first. They went 'Urban camping' which means they slept in a tent on the ground in a campground but first they had pizza in a restraunt and attempted a movie. Tim called last night to say goodnight and he put Josh on the phone... and the coolest thing happened! I had a conversation with my son! No kidding! He told me that they had gone for a walk 'in the jungle' which is Josh speak for the forest. Then he said he had pizza, went to the movie to which he added 'last too long' so I asked if the movie was boring and he said yes. Then he said he'd been to the park and then in sincere chivalry he said he was going to sleep and 'Mummy go sleep too'. It wasn't perfect sentences, there were words missing and some of the words I needed to ask him to repeat... but in all. I knew what my son was telling me about his day. We had no form of non verbal communication tools, he made me understand him with words alone. 

So my guy is growing up on me, and it's beautiful to watch. Every new achievement is something we celebrate, every new milestone both bitter sweet. I am blessed enough to still have Kaleb who is younger so I haven't totally let go of the toddler years yet but I guess the time will come when this post will be about him finishing school for the first time too. I will soon be missing his baby years the way I am now missing Josh's. Kaleb was a sweet baby, still is.

They may grow up on me, they may gain weight and find themselves in bigger chairs but even when they are old and grey they will be my babies.

Josh at 4.5

June 14, 2012

Love Does

I have posted about the book 'LOVE DOES' a number of times in the last few weeks, sometimes blatantly and other times the posts have come from something I read that inspired me, moved me to change, or made me wish for something bigger and better than the life I am living. I have talked about it with friends, written to the author because I had no choice but to tell him personally what his book has done in my life, and the amazing thing was... he wrote back!

I knew this book would be different when he begins by talking about his 'office' on Tom Sawyers Island in Disneyland. I know a lot of lawyers, but none who would work from Disney. My heart resonated with his style of living. His deep desire to find the whimsey in life and to act rather than plan. If you see something that needs change, or if you see someone who needs love... just do it (as NIKE likes to say).

Love does. It's an action, a motivation, a life journey that leads to change. You cannot love with action and not be changed as a result. His stories are fun, whimsical and engaging and they always come down to heart of who Jesus is, and who he longs for us to be. This book calls for action, not by telling you HOW to change, but by inviting you to be a part of the change... YOU, just you. It doesn't matter if you are a thriving business person, a waitress or a stay at home Mum. There are adventures waiting for all of us should we choose to make the one step forward that could change our lives and the lives of others.

My view of myself and my abilities has changed, my ideas of parenting have changed, my thoughts on God have changed and stretched and as I closed the book this final time I found myself sad for a moment to be leaving it behind. That is, until I realized how exciting it is that now I can make my own adventures, be my own change, take the first step to love in action in my own community and beyond. One step is all I need to make. One step that will lead to another.

I used to think I needed to know the destination, now I know I just need to know where my foot is landing next.

Bob Goff is a man unafraid of taking those first steps, and his rewards have been great, but the biggest change has happened for those he collides with in life. I collided with him and I am different as a result.

This was a FANTASTIC read! I highly reccomend it to anyone interested in LIVING their life with fun, adventure, joy and love. You don't need to be 'somebody'... He wants just you.

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

Another stab at the math problem...

Last night we looked at the topic of prayer in our small group, it's a huge topic so we didn't finish (I am not sure we will ever be 'finished') but we did touch on some interesting things. I was reminded of a post from long ago that I wrote about Tim and the boys and their relationship and how there is a relationship to prayer. As I re read that post in preparation for the talk and as we chatted about prayer I was struck by a few things, things I wanted to write here so that I can put my thoughts to words (selfishly so that I can better understand my own thoughts).

One of the things that we talked about was praying in faith, most of us know the part in the Bible that talks about having faith the size of a mustard seed that can move mountains, or maybe we have read that praying with expectation will see our prayers answered, or maybe we have heard the bits about seeking and finding, knocking and the door will opened to you... whatever part you have read about prayer it seems that the main concept is 'believe and he will answer'. So then, here's the thing. Why do some prayers seem like they never get an answer?

I have always worked under the concept that all prayers get answered, sometimes the answer is an immediate YES, sometimes it's a Yes, but wait, and then there are times when the answer is a simple NO. I still believe that is true. I believe that God hears ALL prayers, and that he answers ALL prayers but in his timing, or in ways we don't necessarily expect or even want, but always how we need.

My prayer life is a constant in my life, I pray all the time, through out the day for all things. I am an extrovert, it's how 'I roll'. I talk... I use words to share. However, when talking the thing I find most frustrating, whether it's talking to my friend, an acquaintance, family member or even God Himself, is when I don't get an answer, or if I get told to wait, or if they aren't listening. This happens alot with prayer. I ask, I ask again, and I get no response, or I vent and get shut down or find that I am not being listened too... I walk away from these encounters annoyed, let down and ultimately just frustrated with the entire episode.

What struck me last night was that maybe my approach to God is not correct, maybe, just maybe I am looking at this prayer thing all wrong.  This prayer thing, is something I have talked about a lot on this Blog. I have shared many times about my frustration with prayer, or how important it is, or how simple or how fulfilling, and yet I always come back to it. Like a math problem that I think I understand (I hate math by the way... I am terrible at it!) and then find that when I face the same problem just a few months later I need to re-understand it.

Last night as we talked the main thing that continued to come up was that prayer is TIME spent in God's presence. It's not sitting on Santa's knee once a year, or hitting the wishlist on our favorite shopping website. It's practicing being in His presence. It's talking... but more importantly it is listening. (I heard this from the introverts in our group and was struck by it.) I don't wait to hear an answer... I rattle off my prayers and go about the day feeling HOLY because I took the time to pray at all! If prayer is a a relationship building tool, as talking to your spouse should be, then why do I just say what I have to say and then walk away... ?

If Tim and I are having a conversation it's two way, I say something, he listens, he says something, I listen and then respond etc. (though admittedly... I have been known to rattle off at Tim as well) What about the times that Tim and I just sit in silence, enjoying being together but not needing words? Words are important yes, there are times when words are needed to share, to express ourselves, to seek help, and to understand (trust an extrovert on that).

I was forced to think back to the time that I felt the closest to God, a time when I was so in tune with Him that there was no bad thing that could happen to me that could cause me to doubt, or allow the joy to leave. It was a time in life when there were huge decisions in front of me, life changing choices, and I knew what path I should take because I just seemed to know where God wanted me to go. So, last night as I thought about what the difference was, why He seemed so far away now, why the water was so murky and the decisions didn't seem to be as clear cut. What was I doing differently? The answer? I was spending time LISTENING to God. I was drenched in the scriptures, I was worshiping, I was actively praying, praising and just spending time in His presence. In a sense I was sitting at his dinner table just enjoying the silence.

Last night I was reminded of how important that aspect to prayer can be... in a two way relationship, TIME is the best element to knowing. I have been challenged to re-enter a time of listening, of seeking Him and knowing Him and just enjoying being in His presence.

For more one posts on prayer in this Blog see Not Santa?

June 13, 2012

Oh well...

I am blessed... you guys who voted for me rock! However, the person who nominated me accidentally nominated me under the Top Green Mommy blogs (they thought they were nominating me for the Top 25 Faith Mommy blogs... ) So... gone are my dreams of being the Top 25 for the moment... :) All is good though, I felt the love in every vote! I have to say... for a non Green Blog I got a lot of votes :D LOL.

ECHO fun?

ECHO days have never ever been fun... I can't remember ever having one that went well, or smoothly for that matter....

Today that changed! Josh's heart has made very little decline since his last ECHO six months ago, and his quality of life is still good... so we have another 6 month reprieve! I can't tell you what it feels like to hear the doctor come in, smiling and saying... see you in six months! What a blessing! Josh knew it too, he practically skipped out of the hospital!

We had lunch out afterwards and enjoyed having some one on one with him... it turned into a fun morning... ?? Seriously! An ECHO day turned into a fun morning! What a beautiful answer to prayers! Thank you all so much for all the prayers sent up on his behalf and ours. We are so blessed!


June 12, 2012

Show me some love?

Look for this picture when looking to vote

 A higher compliment I could not receive when I got an email today informing me that my Blog had been nominated by someone to be one of the the TOP 25 Mommy blogs at Circle of Moms. I believe the way it works is that the Blogs are broken down into category but since mine is still pending I don't know where I fit. However, you can still vote, even though it's only pending. The more votes I get the better my chances of being one of the top 25! How cool would THAT be?? (Pretty cool in case you were wondering). A friend of mine would say it would be 'epic' and I have to say that in this case... the word is ideal! So... you can help! Look up to your right... do you see the pink badge saying 'vote for me'? Well, all you have to do is click it... (go ahead, click it)... ok, now that you have clicked it you need to go to pending (of if you are reading this after it's no longer pending then you might need to scroll through the list)... anyway... once you see me (There is a pic) and my blog,  all you have to do is click the vote button. SIMPLE! :)

You guys rock. I totally love writing for you all and I love sharing this journey of life with you. Thank you, for reading, for praying and for encouraging me.


mishaps on the road

We just had a beautiful weekend, the weather was perfect, the kids were in the sprinkler for more hours than they were doing anything else, and though the grass is still soggy it has that 'lived in' look that lets you know that fun was had here. I had an old friend from my Austria days visiting, a woman I met one of my first days during my second stint in that beautiful castle on a hill. She was one of those people that when we met, we clicked instantly. We have been close ever since. She is from Southern Ontario as well, which helps when connecting in a foreign country. We had many adventures together, but as we walked around Toronto on Saturday night, it was one particular adventure that had us giggling for the longest time. It's a story e often rehash when we get together...

It starts with both of us facing a busy Christmas season at work, and both of us needing time away from our tiny town, feeling the freedom of choice that only a city can offer. We loved our small town, but at times, it's good to see new faces, to hear the hustle and bustle and let's be honest, it's good to be somewhere new. So, we set out on a weekend adventure to Innsbruck. That feeling, the feeling of freedom that came to us as we boarded our train was one that I can't quite define. Knowing that at 5am the next day I would still be sleeping in my warm bed, rather than climbing a mountain to get to work on time, or hitchhiking if I was late, was extraordinary! Knowing that there was an English movie theater we could go to if we chose, or a pub, or shops... it was bliss.

We got to our hostel and had a choice. We could stay in the 'hostel' section of the hostel and have a curfew, or we could stay in the student housing section and not have a curfew. We were wide awake, filled with the energy that only a city can bring, and that city had so many choices for us that we didn't want time to restrict us so we chose the student side. They gave us our key, told us how to enter the building through the back door and off we went.

Turns out that by 10 our energy was lagging. All those 5am wakes were taking a tole and we decided that we should head back to the hostel and see if there was anything happening in the lounge, then head to bed early so we could stay up the next night after a good rest. We went to our room, dropped our coats and bags, then headed down to the 'hostel side' to see what was happening.

Let me briefly describe this: There is an automatic door between the hostel side and the student side, when you go through the door you are in the entry way and there are two more automatic doors, one heading to the street and one heading into the hostel.

As we entered the lounge on the hostel side there was only person there, an Aussie that I still know today. We played cards and chatted about life, and made plans to all take in an English movie the following day before he finally said that he was tired and left us to continue our card game. Not long after he left we decided we could easily play cards in our room and we should head up there. We left the lounge and crossed to the automatic doors leading out the main door of the hostel and into the hall leading to the automatic doors to the student side.

It was here that we discovered a problem of mammoth proportions. It seems that the hostel worker, who had not seen us enter had locked all the doors. Including the side that led to our room. The automatic door could not be budged. No worries, there were surely doors, we had a key, it wasn't a big problem.

We walked to every floor, every door was locked, we tried every window but the only open ones were way high at the ceiling and opened 'in' rather than 'out' so I couldn't even climb up there and attempt a squeeze through. We looked at each other and laughed. Were we seriously locked in a hostel? Our own hostel? Did this happen to people?

Yes... I can assure you that it does indeed happen to people. Now, one thing you should be reminded of, is that we had left our things in our room. All we had was a deck of cards, no coats, no sweaters, and it was cold in that main room. We went to the desk (also locked) and attempted to find a number for emergencies, but we found none. Finally we found a phone booth, but it required change and our purses were in our room. Finally, in a desperate need for sleep and warmth we did the only thing we could think of to do, we called the only number that doesn't require change at a phone booth... we called Austria's equivalent to 911. When she asked what the emergency was and we told her that we were locked INSIDE our hostel she kindly explained that this was NOT an emergency and we should call either the manager or the local police. My friend, who was handling this call, explained that we didn't have change for the phone booth to call the police and we had no idea where the number for the manager was. She again kindly explained this number was for emergencies only. Then she hung up. My friend and I couldn't help but laugh... this was truly the silliest thing that had ever happened to us.

We set up camp near the door, hoping to see some people come through the student side that could let us in... we waited and waited, getting colder and colder... and then in the darkness we saw something that made embarrasement send us into fits of giggles... we saw the red lights of two police cars that were coming to a screaming halt at the doors of our hostel. We stood up, ready to face the music of calling 911 for a non-emergency. As the cops got out of the car, hands on holsters we could feel the burn of red fill our cheeks. This was truly beginning to turn into a night to remember.

The cops approached, and when they got to the door and attempted to open it and found it locked we found ourselves having to scream through the thick glass to be heard. (Keep in mind here that this is not an English speaking country. The door was not our only barrier in this situation). We managed to explain, and be heard what had happened. We showed them the keys we had, but explained that doors were locked from the inside and that the keys didn't work from that lock. The cops decided to circle the building to try and find a window they could use to get our keys. We finally found one on the ground floor, but to throw our key through would be difficult since the window was high and as I mentioned, it opened at an angle facing in. We threw them up and after about 50 missed attempts we managed to get those key into the hands of our saviours. However, when they went through the locked door to the student side they only found that the automatic door was still a barrier and our key didn't work on that door. They stood there pondering what to do, we stood there with them, pondering what our night was going to look like.

Finally, in a flash of brilliance I asked him if I could push the fire alarm door. He smiled at me with the patience and benevolence of a man who was NOT freezing to death and said simply that we couldn't do that because it would bring the fire department and the fine for that would be HUGE. Then, his eyes lit up and he said 'I can shoot the door, just back up a little!' I looked at him with shock... you can shoot the door with people inside but you can't pull the fire alarm??? What country is this?? He turned and discussed it with his older partner who thankfully squashed the idea. (men and guns!!).

Just as we were about to give up, and as my friend and I began to imagine the manager finding our frozen bodies at the door  when she came to work the next morning the cops got a call through the dispatch. It seems that there were others working on our peril, and they had managed to discover the name and phone number of the manager. Though annoyed to be called in the middle of the night by the police about two 'stupid tourists' he agreed to make the trip across town to open the doors for us. Relief set in and we began to say our goodbyes to the cops who had so kindly helped us. Then we realized that they had our keys, so we make our way back to the  open window and after about 20 attempts keys came flying down at me. I grabbed them up... the cold must have affected the brains of those kind policemen too because when I opened my hand I found that I held not my room key, but the key to the police cruiser standing at the curb. The cop and I looked at each other, both realizing at the same time the mistake, and we both had no choice but to laugh at this comedy of errors. His keys, unlike mine were big, there must have been twenty keys on that ring, mine only held one key. There was no way we would be able to fit these new keys through the window. We tried, we really did. Throw after throw they came flying back at me as if to revel in my failure.

We all set in to wait for the manager to arrive (did I mention that the manager lives on the other side of the city?). They went to the cruiser and got some food, yummy looking food, and they stood at the window chatting with us and eating their food, finding it quite funny that our mouths were watering with  their every bite.

In all, the entire episode took about 2 hours to resolve, the manager came in, he was disgruntled and annoyed, the cops seemed jovial and happy to have 'saved the day'. My friend and I were frozen but happy to say goodnight to the police and crawl into our warm beds for some sleep.

There is something special about memories like these, adventures unasked for, things that happen along the way that make great stories, that bring people closer together and build lasting friendships. Life really is just like being locked in a hostel in a foreign country... we need a savior to get out. Sometimes we need to call in the troops and ask for help, and when the craziness of life smacks you in the face and you are staring at the mirror of your own absurd situation, sometimes the only thing to do is laugh. Some of the best stories come out the mishaps on the road.

June 9, 2012

Scared, all gone

Last year, or thereabouts, we were told that Josh would most likely be diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, we fought the diagnosis because our guts told us that this wasn't right, no one tried to rule out his history, instead they took everything we said and tried to make it fit the diagnosis. I was told that if it was discovered that it was NOT autism then it would certainly be global development delay; since I knew it wasn't the former I sort of adopted the latter. I knew he was delayed, I wasn't in any kind of denial, I just knew that he didn't display the classic symptoms of Autism. We took him back to Sick Kids for a second opinion and I had my fears eased, Autism was taken off the table but nothing else was said of the global development thing.

As you know, Josh just underwent his neuro-psychological testing, we got the results yesterday and I was surprised to learn a few things. Things that I wanted to share with you because 1) You have been following this story and deserve to hear it and 2) because I have had a lot of people asking how it went and figured this would be the fasted way to update people.

Josh is an average 4 year old in all ways except his language! He is SOLIDLY average (a good thing apparently!). He is however very limited in his fine motor skills and language (both falling within borderline and impaired). He is being labeled as 'language impaired' and being reffered to speech therapy, occupation therapy and of course physio therapy.

In March when Josh had his speech assesment he scored at an age of a two and half year old. Just 3 months later his test scores showed him at the 3.5 year level! His single word knowledge is what every four year old would have, his problem is grammar, and sentence structure and abstract concepts but his non-verbal communication is 'excellent' and 'well within his age range'.

Last night after the boys were in bed for the night I read over the report, and there clearly spelled out was that there was NO chance of Global Developemental delay, that his brain had been forming normally before the stroke, and that all his delays are consistent with the stroke and it's location.

The great news is that there is so much hope for kids who suffered a stroke at such a young age, the plasticity of the brain plus intensive therapy could see Joshua make a full recovery! My son, will one day talk to me, tell me his thoughts, share his dreams and hopes and tell me stories about his day!

Last night, as I tucked him into bed he looked at me and said 'Mummy, Josh no more scared.' I repeated him so that I was sure I knew what he was trying to say and discovered that he meant what he said, he wasn't scared at night anymore. Then he waved his arm around the room and said 'scared all gone' and I asked about the dragons, the 'monkey's and the other scary things that came each night to cause his sleep to be disturbed, and he repeated 'scared all gone.'

I gave him a kiss, we said our prayers, I sang him his song... and as I shut the door I couldn't help but think that my 'scared was gone too'.

God is good... even when we don't know he's being good. He loves us... even if we don't know he loves us. He is there for us... even when we can't see him.

the Play mode

When we were young pre-teens my sister and I would watch the movie Top Gun over and over again... repeatedly playing that *VHS movie so many times  that I am sure the tape finally got too thin to watch. We came to a point in our Top Gun phase that we knew that movie by heart, we could say the lines by rote and quote it when it seemed necessary. There came a point when certain scenes became boring, so we could fast forward through the boring scenes and skip ahead to our favorites. This is the in the days before you could go to scene selection or skip chapter by chapter. This was when you had to watch every scene in fast motion, or if you were rewinding you would get the joy of watching it move backward. Our favorite scene, the scene we ALWAYS fast fowarded to was the Volley ball scene. (All the women of the Top Gun generation know this particular scene!) This is the scene when Ice man (Val Kilmer) poses for the perfect 'bump' shirtless and beautiful. I can still see it in my minds eye. I can't tell you how often we skipped ahead to see Val with no shirt, but I can tell you that's probably the place in the tape that broke first. I mention this because life sometimes feels like I am a player in a movie that was being fast forwarded and paused at certain scenes. Today, we got up, ran through the motions of getting showered, dressed and fed, then Tim and I hopped on the motorbike and raced down to Sick Kids for a meeting with the Psychologist, (results were good - that's another post), then we raced home. I grabbed Kaleb and went running back out the door to make sure we had our shopping done for the week. We ran through the list in record time and I had him home in time for his nap, at which point I ran to the subway station and hopped the train to my next location. THE SPA! This is the point in the movie that everything returns to normal speed. I walked in and the motion stopped, the music slowed and as I lay down to receive a hot stone massage I felt the tension of the day melt away. After the massage my facial began, I was totally relaxed, barely conscious actually. The music was playing softly, every muscle relaxed, my face being treated to all the things that is great about being a woman... and then I hear the faintest whisper 'Laurie, what's your pain tolerance?'.. hear the screeching sound of the tape coming to a complete stop... listen closely and you might here the tape rip! My once relaxed muscles tightened and my closed eyes opened, bright light filled the room and ... I laughed. What? She covered my eyes again with the cloth and said 'it's time for the extraction, what is your pain tolerance.'

Now, I have had a facial before, I know about this part of the facial, the part where they get all those nasty, tiny little white heads or  black heads that usually rest in the creases of the nose area. I have had this done before. However, never has it been called "THE EXTRACTION" before, and never have I had to worry about my pain tolerance? Was my face so awful that they were calling for new recruits to help with the terrifying OP?  She told me to relax and I smirked at her. Easy to say when your the one wielding a weapon on the poor unsuspecting victim on your table! I clenched my hands together, feeling very much like I might need to pay her when this was done for another hot stone massage to relax after this. She began the process, a couple sharp pushes near my nose and it was done... I kept waiting for her to start again, I mean, surly she wouldn't call it an extraction unless there was some serious crud to extract right? Asking a woman at the spa what her pain tolerance is (unless she's there to be waxed of course) is just not on... unless you plan to bring on the pain! Am I right?

The tape picked up again here, the skipping stopped and normal play resumed as continued to massage my face, my head and neck. After all was said I done she got me into the infrared sauna and there I sat for next 45 minutes to relax and shake off the 'toxins' of life. I spent the time in the sauna realizing that I don't ever relax, this is a new concept to me, sitting for three hours doing nothing but being rubbed down and treated to some general pampering (minus the war zone scene). Even in the sauna I had to actually force myself to sit and enjoy rather than check the time, my email, respond to voice mails. When did I become this woman who just doesn't relax? That's not me at all!

The sauna ended, I showered, opened the door to the main room in the salon and it's like someone had their finger resting just above the fast forward button again. I could hear the noise of the street, the faint and distant music at Dundas Square, the sirens to the west of us, and the general hustle and bustle of life outside this building. I payed the girl, said thank you and dared to turn on my phone which started alarming me about people who needed attention. I stopped just outside the building and looked around for a moment, (the person seems to have decided on one last moment before the fast forward gets hit). I feel different, rested, relaxed, seperate from the craziness for this last moment. I walk to the lights and the realize how late I am for dinner at my parents in-laws place, the kids and Tim are already there. I pick up the pace, weaving through people to get to the Eaton Center station, I pass by the musicians, I see the street preformers and smile at the Spiderman doing his poses, and couldn't help but wish that Josh was there to see this, I walked past the doors that hold the memorial to the shooting that happened there just one week ago.

Life is in fast forward... everyday is people moving around at absurd rates of speed, none stopping for too long to think about the time when the play button was actually being used. I miss the play button, I miss living the moment as it happens, not just remembering it, but living it. Days like today (or yesterday now) are rare and beautiful (despite the extractions) and it reminded me to try a little harder to live in the play mode, allowing the tape to play at it's normal pace, not trying to skip the boring scenes or the 'been there done that' scenes and not trying to rewind and pause at the 'volleyball scenes'. My guess is, all the fast forwarding and rewinding wrecks the tape faster than just letting it play through.

*VHS - an ancient form of movie that requires tape, is housed in a large rectangle, takes loads of space on the shelf, frequently unwinds, breaks or skips, and ALWAYS ages the person who actually admits to using it!

June 6, 2012

Kicking doors

As most of you know I have been thinking a lot about love in action these days.... why? I have been reading a book about it by Bob Goff! I LOVE THIS BOOK! I am not finished yet... this is merely a chapter review because it's just that good, to try and sum up the whole book into one post is going to be hard. This book is written like a blog, I love it! Have I said that yet? He's challenging me, he's making me giggle and in these last few weeks I am finding that each chapter is exactly what I have been needing to hear or be reminded of.

The chapter I am going to share with you right now... is a chapter that speaks directly into the previous blog post from today (yes... you will get two posts today). The chapter starts with a quote... one that I loved so much I just had to twitter it!!

'I used to think that God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know that sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down.' Bob Goff

How true is this? I have always waited for doors to open or close, and sometimes they get slammed right in my nose! As I read this chapter, and read about how Bob tried and failed to get into law school, despite a deep desire to become a lawyer, he didn't take no for an answer. Instead, he spoke with the Dean, and told the man that he had the power to make the decision to let him into school, that all he had to do was say 'go buy your books'. The dean smiled at him but didn't let him into school. So everyday he went and sat outside the deans office, and every time the dean passed him Bob would remind him 'All you have to say is 'go buy your books'. It took roughly two weeks, but one day the dean came to him, winked and said 'go buy your books'. He's now a lawyer.

I have been thinking about this... more because these days I am finding myself learning how to be a squeaky wheel when it comes to getting Josh the help he needs. I want to be a good advocate but I don't want to annoy people. However, what if this is a door I need to kick down?! (I would really find kicking a door in very therapeutic these days).

Where is the balance between letting God, and doing? I think of the widow in the Bible who had debtors who were threatening to take her sons...

In II Kings 4:1-7:

Verse 1: The wife of a man from the guild of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, is dead, and you know that he was devoted to God. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
Verse 2: Elisha replied to her, “What help can I be? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “I have nothing except a little oil.”
Verse 3: Elisha said, “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from everyone. Don’t ask for just a few.
Verse 4: Then come back home and close the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into every container you have, and as each is filled, set it to one side.”
Verse 5: The widow left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. Her boys brought the jars to her and she continued pouring in the oil.
Verse 6: When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Another jug, please.”
But he replied, “We’ve used all the containers.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
Verse 7: The widow went and told Elisha, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and take care of your debts. You and your sons can live on the money that remains”

This woman, about to lose her two boys, who had already lost her husband and had nothing but a small amount of oil got much more than she had bargained for, but first she had to act. First she had to 'do'. She didn't just sit by praying and hoping that God would do something to save her boys and herself. Instead she got up, and went seeking help.

Powerful reminder for this new season of life.

You will be hearing much more about my journey through this amazing book... but if you want to get your own copy and make the trip with me I would love to hear your thoughts!

For future reference...

As most of you know our youngest has a lot of allergies and asthma. when he was 6 months old he had a severe reaction to his vaccines, reactions that had me rushing him to Sunnybrook. The entire drive I had to listen to him gasping for air in the back seat. It was terrifying and the whole time I kept thinking... 'this is my healthy child God... why is this happening?'. The treated  him, and they released him. The whole event though had me pausing when it came to getting anymore vaccines. Then we had an episode that was similar but worse when he had a tiny taste of peanut butter the first time. The mad dash to the hospital, the difficulty with breathing, the scary way his entire face swelled beyond recognition. Needless to say we were finally given an allergist appointment and a process of discovering all the things he can and cannot eat or be exposed to began.

Yesterday we had to take Kaleb to Sick Kids to have his vaccines in a safe environment. I was scared going in, imagining all sorts of trouble. We prayed like mad before hand and during. It was a long process, they do a skin test, then a small injection under the skin, and then finally a small dose of the medicine and if he tolerated that, another small dose... do you know how many needles that means for a kid who doesn't cope well with pain?!? After each needle we had to sit and wait and hope. We arrived at 9:45, and we were there until 2:45. The good news is of course that we had NO reactions to the medicines!! Kaleb is now all caught up on his vaccines!

To say that God answers the little prayers, and the big ones is an understatement! This month we have both boys going to some HUGE appointments at Sick Kids. This was two of 5 for us. Next big one is the ECHO and I have to say I will be really surprised if they tell us that his heart needs any intervention for a while. I feel confident that our last surgeon bought him more time!

As most of you know I have been stressing Josh's last results about the stroke and his speech. I have felt more overwhelmed than ever before when it comes to how to cope with getting him the therapy that he needs. I have worried about how to help him, what the next steps are, and I haven't stopped praying for God to intervene!

I got a call last week from the rehab hospital for kids, they wanted to see him but it wouldn't be until the end of August. I can't tell you how frustrated that made me, because at that point we go on another wait list for speech. I talked to the nurse, explained the situation and asked her to put me on a cancellation list for an appointment, and I asked her to put him on the wait list for speech, hoping that it might move the process along a little faster. The nurse couldn't help so I got off the phone and sat down to pray. Then I phoned her back, I left a message on her machine, again stressing how important early intervention was and how if we have to wait as long as they are talking Josh would be five years old, and just under 5 years post stroke. I explained that the doctors at Sick Kids told me he needed 'intensive therapy' etc. etc. Finally I hung up the phone after begging for her help. I prayed again and decided I had done all I could do, and I left it in God's hands.

She phoned back later that day and said she would advocate on my Joshua's behalf.

Yesterday I received our appointment. JULY 3RD!!! It's one step on a long road, but I am learning that God knows the timing... and he's not forgotten these kids of mine. He allowed Kaleb to sail through a horrible day, and he got Josh an earlier appointment. I may not know how to navigate the medical system yet, I may not be a specialist in child development or a health care worker. However, God is. I have help. It just took me a while to figure that out.

I can't promise that I won't struggle with overwhelming feelings again in the future, I can't say I won't be frustrated again... but I am writing this so that when I start to feel those feelings again I can read back again and know that 'God has this'.

Peace my friends.

June 4, 2012

a reminder from the past...

It's not often that I have the chance to sift through change and it makes me uncomfortable. I like change, I thrive on it, I enjoy the new adventures in life and if I don't have an adventure either just past, in the planning stages or about to happen I find myself seeking it. I remember when I lost a temp. job back in my younger days and I could sense change on the horizon. The excitement alleviated the stress of not having a job. I knew that there was nothing holding me back from leaving the city I was in, a city that offered no family and no jobs that could hold me back. A city that I was more than ready to leave in my rear view mirror, a place that held dark memories and a painful past. I was rediscovering my relationship with God at the time, and as I prayed for change I began to feel the excitement brewing.

One night I was sitting at my desk, and a pamphlet fell into my lap, I looked it over and my whole being started to plot and plan. This had to be of God... The pamphlet in my lap? An ad someone had given me a long time before about an orphanage in Africa, they were asking for money, but I decided that while I had none to give, there was nothing stopping me from going in person and giving my time, my skill, my sweat and tears. I emailed the contact person that night and for three days my excitement grew. I began to imagine life in Africa, working with these precious kids who had lost their families to Aids.

It was three days later that I got a phone call from the director of this organization, he wanted to meet me. I nearly cried I was so happy, here it was. My future was at hand, God was giving me a chance to change my life and turn it upside down and inside out! I met the man and what he proposed to me was my dream job. There was a project in the works, they were sending a team over who would be photographing, and writing stories about the work going on in the orphanages, the kids, who they were, who they lost and how they are doing now, the workers, where they were from and what they were doing, and how these kids were changing their lives. In my heart I knew that there would never be another opportunity like this for me. I wanted it so badly I could taste it. We decided to proceed.

As I began the process I quickly became discouraged. There was no positive feedback form anyone I knew. I was told I would be supported but there was none of the excitement that I had expected, and as the planning began I started to notice that there was no peace. I prayed and prayed but every door was quickly slammed in my face. Finally a pastor I have known my entire life said to me 'make a decision, pray about it, and see if there is peace'. So after weeks of no peace with going I finally got the courage to change my decision. I decided not to go... and peace settled in my heart finally. To say that I was discourage just didn't cover it. I was devastated. Not only was my dream job off the table but I didn't have ANY job! I was broke, had only rice and broth in my cupboards, my fridge was empty, my rent was due and every day the temp. agency would sadly tell me that they had nothing for me. It was a dark time, an I questioned 1) who God was, did he really have a plan? and 2) Did he think I was no 'good enough' to be a missionary.

To back up just a moment... when I was 19 I spent a year in Austria, working at a Christian Study/Conference centre. It was a place that I have often reffered to as a hosptial for the soul... I met people there that I still hold dear to my heart today. I loved that place, I loved that time in my life. So, for Christmas that  year (before my almost trip to Africa). My parents (at great sacrifice to themselves, knowing I needed to get away) gave me a trip to Austria. I was there for a week over the Christmas holidays and I was reminded of my love for that old castle and the people who walked those halls. Before I left, my one time boss said to me 'you always have a home here Laurie'. I remember smiling at the thought, but it seemed so out of reach at the time. In fact, it seemed absurd.

One night, I was out for a coffee with a friend and we were talking about what I was going to do. I still wanted to move but I knew that it wouldn't be an option any time soon. We got to talking about my time in Austria and I heard a whisper in my soul 'you always have a home here Laurie'. It was such a soft whisper, a quiet knowing in my heart that it was a 'home' I needed. A home far from the home I had always known, I place I could call my own, a place that I could start fresh and find some answers among a group of Christians who loved me. I needed a community. I felt an urge so strong to write that very night that I called off coffee and got home as quickly as possible. When I got home I wrote to this man and asked him if there was any opportunities to work there. His reply was quick. They had need for me, and they needed me soon. It was late march. I was to leave in June.

My time in Austria was filled with ups and downs, I was taught about community, friends, love and more than anything I was brought into God's embrace and shown how much I truly love him.

I don't know what Africa would have brought me, but I know this. Austria brought me peace, it brought me change, not just physical, it brought a life change. It brought healing.

Why am I talking about this today? I have been thinking a lot about God's plan. I remember walking home one night during my time in Austria, things were not going well in life but never have I felt closer to God than I did in those weeks of struggles. I felt and understood 'joy' for the first time in my life and I knew that if God was with me I could do anything. As I stared at the endless stars that night I whispered to God 'I can do this with you, bring it on!'

He brought it... I am living it. All the pain, all the suffering, all the joy and all the blessings and he still has more in store for me. So as I have been thinking about the decisions we make in life, the ones that change the course of our lives I am reminded about the trip to Africa that never was, and how I had to let go of what I wanted to discover what I really needed.