Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

September 26, 2012

Unending Love



Once again I realize that having kids is an amazing lesson in God's unending love for us. No matter what he we do or don't do, no matter how mistakes, no matter how many times we try and fail, no matter what temper tantrums we throw, no matter how many good things, no matter how smart, how strong, how funny, how perfect we try to be or how imperfect we actually are. He loves us. Just as I love my kids no matter what they do.

Last night Tim and I were talking about the boys. Josh has been so angry with me lately and I was sharing with Tim how it breaks my heart that we aren't as close as we were this summer. My guess is that he's mad at me for sending him to school but it could just be a stage. He doesn't want to talk to me, and when I ask him questions he just says 'stop talking Mummy'. Hugs are few and far between these days too and where once, if I sat on the couch with him he would slide over for a snuggle, he is now telling me to go sit at the table and read.

Tim said. These kids will break our hearts one day. Then he said, 'it makes me realize how much God loves us, that he brought us into the world, knowing how much we would break his heart but loving us enough to do it anyway.'

How true is that? To bring a child into the world, knowing that at least a few times in their lives they will break your heart. Truly break your heart. They will say 'I hate you' in moments of anger, they will make bad decisions that hurt themselves and ultimately you and yet no matter what they do we will love them regardless and never regret bringing them into the world. We will always look at them through the eyes of love, through the eyes of wonder and joy.

Having kids is a lesson in love, not just the love of a parent or child but a real lesson in how much we ourselves are loved by the God who created us and seeks to have a relationship with us, regardless of what we have done. A God who would do anything and everything to see us in his thrown room enjoying his eternal rest, a God whose heart we break daily, who cries for us and rejoices with us. A God who despite being rejected by us continues to pursue us.

September 24, 2012

Live to Give

I am not sure if you are like me at all... some of you may be and some maybe not. However, if you are like me then you will understand when I say sometimes I think that I am just got 'gifted enough' or 'too small' (that's figurative not literal) to do much for God. I would like to think I have many HUGE gifts and talents that God is going to use in GIANT ways to work for the Kingdom, but in the daily grind I find that my heart doesn't really buy it. I of course want to make an impact on the people around me, but I have no special calling, I am not (for example) my husband, who has a gift of preaching and disciplining people. Rather I am sort of insignificant in my own eyes.

Before you all start emailing me... and I know some of you will. Let me say this.

I was asked to review a book called 'Live to Give', and when I read the outline I jumped at the opportunity. To discover what hidden talents I might have that God could use would benefit me greatly right?! So I set about reading the book. It's an easy read and totally relevant in every day life. As I read this book I discovered that I do have gifts, I do have talents, and God uses small people, doing small things, to make HUGE impacts all the time!

One particular story stood out to me as particularly relevant. It was about the boy with the loaves and fish... You know the one right? The feeding of the 5000. Have you thought about the boy in the story? I know that I never have. I have looked at Jesus and how he meets the needs of the people, I have studied the reactions of the disciples but I have never wondered about the boy. The faith it took for him to pack a meager meal and walk for who knows how long to hear about Jesus. A young boy who had no seemingly BIG talents but merely a loaf of bread and a few fish. Yet, he was used to feed a multitude. This book covers a lot more about that boy then I have, but in a small post I don't have the time, and then it would be a spoiler and not a review. Instead I will tell you that it's worth the read. Pick it up!

So, while I may not have seen talents worthy of HUGE impact... I have no idea what God is planning next, no way of knowing what loaf of bread mine that he might use to feed a multitude. The only thing I need to do... the only thing the boy had to do... was get up and walk, follow Jesus and obey.

L


Monday doesn't always suck.



Monday tend to really suck these days... Josh and Kaleb both take it upon themselves to make me feel like the worst mother in the world for leaving them to fend for themselves in school and generally by the time I walk home again I am emotionally worn out. Today however, God have me two gifts. The first was small by comparison to the second... You see, Kaper's birthday present arrived! I am so excited to open it, to set it up for him and see his sweet face get all excited about it... but alas I have to again show patience (for those of you who read regularly you know this is NOT my strong character suit). Two weeks tomorrow is the big day that my baby officially leaves the toddler years behind and joins the world of 'child'. I can't believe it... really can't believe it.

The biggest, best, more amazing gift I got today was to learn that one of my best friends from my Austrian days, the friend who cried with me when I needed it, the friend who laughed with me and snowboarded with me, who helped me when I needed it, traveled with me when we needed an escape, the friend I held so dear... today I learned that she is moving to Toronto! I can not contain my excitement about it... just to think of having her so close at hand makes me smile from the inside out.

Monday isn't sucking as badly now as it was a few hours ago...

God is good.


L

September 17, 2012

Perspective



I don't know why, but I am always amazed by how my whole perspective can change in such a short time. Motherhood is filled with high highs and low lows and as Mums we feel every bump in the ride with all the emotion we are capable of.

Josh made a friend at school and it's changed not just his outlook on the school and it's potential fun levels but it's changed how I feel about leaving my little guy there. Watching him enjoy himself on the playground on Thursday and Friday last week made my heart smile (seriously - that's not just a flowery way of putting things into writing).

As we settle into a new and very busy rhythm I have run the gamut of emotions but this week I have found that things are stabilizing. Kaleb loves his school, Josh is getting used to his and I find myself with two mornings a week with a quiet house and I can't say I am complaining.

My morning routine is shot, no more lounging in my PJ's till 10am reheating the same coffee between cleaning the kitchen from breakfast, breaking up fights, arguing over who had the toy first, or trying to track down my hair elastic so that I can once again throw my hair in a pony tail to hide the fact that I didn't get to wash and style it. No, my mornings are different. Now I hop out of bed, rush through a bowl of yogurt (usually shared with by Kaleb who can't seem to just let me eat my own breakfast), down a few sips of coffee to get me through an hour, pack snacks and backpacks with the necessary items of the day, put the dog out, grab the quickest and easiest thing to wear for me and track down something clean for the boys to wear and then comes the heinous (again... not just a flowery saying... it's actually heinous) task of getting shoes on. Get Kaleb out the door to the school cab, fighting him into his car seat, listening to the endless tears as he pulls away from the curb, running back into the house, getting Josh's backpack on, fighting him over all the cars he feels should be allowed to go into the backpack, getting his shoes on (slightly less heinous than the task of getting them on his brother) and then running out the door in order to get him into his class line in a timely manner so as not to get into trouble by the waiting teachers (who knew they could still bring on fear long after we have left school behind us?), peel Josh off my arm and force him into the school and then just stand there staring at a closed door.

When that door closes I could sit down right there and not move for two hours but alas, the playground is not equipped with a coffee truck (though it should be, I would buy shares). Instead I make my way home slowly, and when I open the door of the house and the quiet descends on me I smile. I have HOT coffee, listen to MY music, and clean those places that haven't seen a rag or cleaner since I had kids.

Yeah, perspective is relative.

L

September 13, 2012

he's not you Laurie



My little guy Kaper (Kaleb). The handsome little man who brings so much laughter to our lives dropped his big brother at school and then all the way home he said good morning to every bird, dog, cat, and person we passed by. He chatted away the whole walk, communing with nature by squawking at  the birds and barking at the dogs and when we finally got home he smiled at me and said 'Mummy, playtime now?'. I had to smile, this guy is so hard to resist, so we got down on the floor and played cars. As we played I had to take a moment to look at the mess in the kitchen left over from our rushed breakfast and hasty exit to school. I didn't have time to play... I didn't have time to be chasing Thomas around the train tracks, nor did I have time to crash my car into his school bus. Then I looked back at Kaper who was smiling with the warmth of the sun and I thought 'how can I not have time to do this?'. So, the kitchen was put off a few minutes I smashed another car into the bus. When Kaper was done playing with me he moved onto other toys and I was able to move on to things that needed to be done and I thought about last night, about the time Tim and I carved out to begin the Alpha parenting course. How FUN is important to kids, how playing with them teaches them how to play with other kids, how giving them attention and showing them they are loved is the most important job we have as parents. Something clicked last night as we moved our way through section one of this course. These two little guys are individuals. They are different as the sun and the moon. Josh, more like his Dad and Kaper more like me. Josh, shy and quiet and introspective, Kaper is loud, likes to meet new people, not often shy and always ready to greet  you with a big HI or Good morning!

When Kaper goes to school everyone is his friend, he makes sure of it. At church he's the same way. Josh, prefers to stay on the side lines and play with people he knows well. Last night, I realized that I am trying to make Josh more like me. The things I love about my husband, the quiet, steady and wise man that he is, is exactly who Josh is growing into and in my haste to push him to make friends at school maybe I am trying to carve him into someone he's not? He is the one who will make friends slowly, but as Tim says, the friends he makes will be friends that he keeps for years. He will more than likely make wise decisions when making friends as Tim has done his whole life. I was so quickly making friends with anyone and everyone that sometimes I made poor choices in friends. So why am I trying to make him more like me? Why am I trying to put my fears onto my sweet son?

My fears as a kid were that I wouldn't be accepted, in many ways that is still one of my deepest fears. I want people to like me. It's simple. What if, I were to just let Josh figure this out, without putting my fears onto him? What if I just allowed him to make his own choices?

Parenting... I am learning... is hardest, not when the baby isn't sleeping through the night, or demanding to be fed at awkward times but rather when the time comes when you need to ease up the grip and give them room to grow into their own person. The harder I want to cling, the more of a handicap I am giving him.

While I still pray that Josh will make friends, I am now praying that I will find the grace to let him choose who he wants to be his friend. I can help, I can guide, I can teach, but ultimately he is the one who has to spend the time with the kid. Today, as we walked to school, he ran ahead of me for the first time since day one (before he knew where he was going). He showed a little hesitation in the line going into the school but he went without too much complaint. Kaper, who was with me waved goodbye and Josh smiled. Josh might not know it now, or then maybe he does, but his best friend is sharing a bunk with him every night, playing with him everyday, and waiting for him to come home even now.

September 12, 2012

a handout



Today as I waited patiently outside Josh's school to pick him up I was randomly approached by a woman and given a flyer. My first inclination was to dismiss her and it, thinking it odd to be approached in a school yard and guessing it was either a sale of some kind for a local store or perhaps a handout about how the fire and brimstone will be my future if I do not repent. However, as I began to listen to her spiel I quickly heard some key words that got me very interested. This woman worked (s) for the City of Toronto, she is a Public Health nurse and there is a free screening clinic next week, they screen things like hearing, sight, speech and language... aha... now you see where I started to register what this woman was saying to me. As I tuned into what she was saying I told her a little about Josh, and my struggles to find him appropriate therapy. She told me that the school board should be the one to be taking on his care and that he was too old for the screening but as I reassured her that this would be the case, she said 'here's my card. call me. we will find something. We will get him some help'.

Isn't funny how dismissive we are of strangers sometimes, and if only we stopped for a moment and truly listened we might actually learn that they are little gifts from heaven wanting a moment of our time to bless us. How many of these moments have I missed because I have been too busy, distracted or caught up in my own 'stuff' to really pay too much attention, if any attention at all?

I don't know if this nurse can help, in fact my guess is that she probably won't be too much more help than we have already received and her advice will probably be things we have already tried or been denied. That isn't the point though is it? What I saw today is yet another display of how much God loves Josh, and how he longs to ease my fears. How he longs to talk to me and how sometimes I just need to shut up and listen. Instead of looking around for a way out I need to look these gifts in the eye and see them for what they are. Not a handout about my need to repent but rather one about His infinite love and grace.

L

September 11, 2012

a letter for my son

Dear Joshua,

I am SO proud of you, I am proud of the way you have come through adversity with a smile, I am proud of the way you laugh in the face of pain, there is no one who could be more proud of the gains you have made in your young life. You are stronger than anyone I know, braver than most people, and sweetheart you can't be brave if you are not afraid. There is nothing in this world that you can't do, don't say 'I can't', it limits what you can. You can't read this... not yet. I will read it to you, over and over again until you tell me to stop because I believe in you. I believe in your ability to rise up to any challenge. You CAN talk, maybe not as clearly as you would like right now but when you speak up you are a force to be reckoned with. You tell me everyday what you want, what you are saving your money for, what you need, and now in this past few weeks you have started to tell me how you feel. This is not a little thing luv, this is HUGE. Last year when you started school you wouldn't tell me your name, I worried that if you got lost you wouldn't be able to tell someone what your name is but look at you now! You can not only tell me your name but you can spell it too!

I know that starting a new school is difficult, I have done it myself. I know how hard it is to make new friends... that will never change. It will always be hard, especially when you are shy. Learn this now and it will serve you well in the years to come. As your Mum there is nothing I want more for you than your happiness, I will do all that I can to help you, not just now but always. You are my son and I love you. Change is hard, but it helps you to grow. School is hard but I KNOW you have the ability to nail this! You are smart, and funny, and open and warm. Show the kids in your school that side of you and you will be making friends in no time at all.

Think of the friends you already have, the ones who absolutely LOVE you. They don't love you for any other reason than you are Josh and that makes you so special. There is no one like you. You are my favorite older son! Not just because you're my son but because of who you are.

Know this. Your Daddy and I think you are awesome. We think you are smart. We think you are special. We think you are heading somewhere big in life. We think you have what it takes! We are so so proud of you!

We will also be there every step of the way to help when we can, to do all that we can to make this as painless as possible, but I am afraid that sometimes there is pain. Sometimes, and you know this well luv, there is a place for suffering, stretching, growing pains and patience. Face this new struggle the way you have faced every struggle you have ever faced... with a fist in the air and ready to fight.

I love you,
Mummy.
xoxox

September 10, 2012

What was He thinking?



In a surprising development today Josh announced with a strange (not good) look on his face... 'I can't talk'...

I mentioned that he just talked to me... but he didn't seem convinced.

It leaves me to ponder.. is this why he is not enjoying school? Does he realize that the other kids express themselves differently? How do I combat this and reassure him?

He hasn't been himself since starting school, he's been sad and tired and struggling with anxiety. Is it because he thinks he can't talk? Is he struggling with making friends as a result? Does he think he's different?

Ah my baby... how in the world do I reach him? How in the world do I teach him self confidence and independence? Sometimes I just don't feel up to the task of raising this amazing little boy... sometimes I wonder what in the world God was thinking when he charged me with his care. My failures, his struggles... they make me ache.

Transitions

Big boy ready for school...

Josh supporting his little brother on his first day

The boys are home again...


So many changes are happening in our house this past few weeks. All good of course but with change comes a certain amount of anxiety. School is a big step for Josh, JK, though still for little guys is demanding more of Josh than his last school did, he needs to rise to that challenge but it's not easy to do sometimes is it? The first few days were very hard, he didn't want me to leave him there, constantly begged me to keep him home and held onto me as if his life depended on it. He's getting stronger, older, right before my eyes. Today, with only one little look of trepidation he followed his class through the doors and didn't look back. I am so proud of him, so proud of the little man he's becoming.

Kaleb started pre-school today and according to teachers he did AWESOME! I, however, had a rough morning. The house was quieter than it's ever been and though I tried to relish in it I couldn't help but look back at the years when they were both safe and sound and under my watchful eyes. Now, though well protected for the time being they are in a sense starting to see the world outside of our home, independently making steps into boyhood. The part of me that wants my babies back is a little sad that these years passed so quickly, and the part of me who has yearned for peace for a few hours a day is excited by this new stage. Motherhood is just stuffed full of contradictory feelings isn't?

As I watch them grow I realize how every single day is a moment I do not want to miss, how each new step they make is one that I want to celebrate with them (even if it causes me to ache a bit). Not too long ago I was holding babies in my arms, the time flew by just as this stage will pass all too quickly. By the end of August I was praying for the start of school, with two bored little boys on my hands I was tearing my hair out... now it strikes me that I should have just sat back and fully enjoyed the moment.

All this said though... I have a clean house and  refreshed soul from the time of listening to my music LOUDLY while cleaning. There is a part of me who could get used to this quickly!

September 4, 2012

New School...

September 4th... oh how quickly it has come upon us. Josh's first day of staggered entry to JK. It feels like yesterday when I was standing by his bed at Sick Kids, saying hello to him for the very first time. So much time has flown by and now my little boy is making his first steps into main stream school. His new backpack will be fitted to his back, over his rain coat and meeting his teacher that will guide him through the coming year. There is a part of me who is excited and a part of me who wants to keep him home where I know he's safe and sound, where I cuddle him when he needs it and kiss him if he gets hurt. I have said this before... but my guys are my heart walking and this week my heart will be walking alone through the halls of a new school with kids he doesn't know, kids who will be with him for the next number of years, kids who could be friend him or kids who will hurt him. My hope is that he will grow stronger, wiser, and better able to communicate. That his self confidence will grow daily and that these kids he meets this week will be open and warm to him but I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I am apprehensive about it.

Time will tell I suppose. Time will tell.

Father,

protect my sweet one, give him courage and strength of character to grow rather than wilt among these new friends. Give him the words he will need to make new friends and give him the wonder of adventure as he prepares for this new stage in life.

L

Mark 7:37 says "Everything He does is wonderful. He makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak."