Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You have worth!

A friend sent this to me via email back in November when I was really struggling. She had no idea how much I needed this encouragement that day…but God knew! Thank you Helen for listening to His leading & sending it!

I pray that it can be an encouragement to you too! God created you…He knows you…He loves you. You are a precious jewel to Him…You have worth!!!

One Flaw In Women
Women have strengths that amaze men...
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in...
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend..
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their
family and friends.
Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.

A Monday with Heidi

I'm thankful for…2 snow/cold days in 8 days! Last Monday it was super cold & the buses were cancelled…we were thrilled to have Benjamin home for a dayJ. It gave us a chance to really get Christmas baking & just hang out together without any pressure of anything planned for the weekend. I really miss having Benjamin at home…but he misses it just as much & talks about it often. He needs to have days when we just stay home & we all really enjoyed Monday. I was doubly thrilled to find out this morning that the buses were once again cancelled. As crazy as it is to hear it’s -42 outside…-56 with the wind chill…I don’t mind at all when it means Benj can stay homeJ. We had a blast decorating gingerbread cookies together…and Benjamin was thrilled to finish all his Christmas crafts & get them wrapped! God knew that I was disappointed to have no Fridays off in December so He gave me 2 Mondays insteadJ. Thank you Lord…it does my heart good to be reminded that You care about the little things in life!

I'm listening to…Christmas musicJ.

What’s happening with the kids? Let’s just say I’m still getting used to having 2 boys & how different they are from girlsJ. Growing up with only one brother who is much younger than me, I never really experienced what boys are like growing up. When we first had Benjamin I remember Ben talking about how boys play so differently & that it’s completely normal. I thought he was crazyJ. I know it sounds stupid…yes, I knew/know how different boys & girls are…but am I really supposed to let them wrestle like that?? Well some days it seems that’s all Benjamin & Kirby do. It’s almost all in fun…but can still get rough. Everything is bugging, poking, prodding, pushing…egging each other on. Sometimes I wonder how different life would be if we only had one of the boys…not that I would wish that in a million years…they just feed off each other so much. I think of Drew being the only boy…and other only boys I know…they seem so different! I know it has a lot to do with personality…but there is something about having more than one of them to feed off each other. Can someone please tell me I’m not crazy or imagining things? I’m not the only one dealing with this right? Anyway…wasn’t meaning to go on about thatJ. So what about Manda? She is loving more & more following me anywhere & everywhere…just chatting…helping…imitating. It’s rather daunting to know you’re always being watched…and knowing that I’m not being anywhere near a perfect example. Thank goodness that God can use me in Manda’s life despite my many imperfections! All that being said, I really have been enjoying this stage of life with the kids. They’re all old enough that we can do so much together and carry on conversations…although sometimes it’s those exact things (especially the second) that can drive me crazyJ.

What’s new with Ben & I? It’s been an interesting few weeks. About 3 weeks ago Ben mentioned to me that he thought one of his ribs was out. He was super busy that week & put off going to the chiropractor till the following week. The next week the chiro here told him just to wait till the muscles relaxed & the ribs would go in on their own. The next week it wasn’t getting better so he went to his chiro in Didsbury. She put the ribs back in & he went & played shinny hockey. 2 days later he could barely move. His back was spasming horribly & he was in a lot of pain. He’s been to the chiropractor 8 times now in the last 3 weeks…which really adds up (especially since Alberta Health no longer subsidizes it)…but we’re very thankful that he is on the mend. We know that we’re better off to deal with it properly now rather than having it continue plaguing him! Ben has missed 3 hockey games already & will miss at least 2 more this week, if not 3. That’s super hard for a man who doesn’t like to even miss one game in a year! He has his mobility back now & it is healing, but he has to be super careful not to reinjure it before it has a chance to completely heal. With Ben hurt, I’m kept super busy around home. I’ve also been working at doing Christmas baking & crafts with the kids.

What’s happening around the house? Lots of baking & crafts. About 4 years ago now I think, I started doing something each Christmas with the kids. That first year it was just Benjamin, but now each of them does a “bulk” craft that they can give. It allows them to participate in Christmas & give without having to buy something. This year I really wanted to find crafts that were simple enough for them to do, but allowed them to express themselves at the same time. I’m thrilled with how they’ve turned out…although Kirby’s doesn’t allow him to express himself as I’d like…but there’s always next year & he still had fun doing itJ. Stay tuned after Christmas & I’ll let you know what they are…I can’t give away the surprise now! The kids & I also love baking together. It’s so much more fun now that they can all be involved. I didn’t know how it would work this year with Benjamin at school, but having the 2 snow days allowed us time to do it so that’s been wonderful.

What's happening in my kitchen? Peppernuts, frosty date balls, no bakes, & gingerbread cookies. More to come…

I am missing…my sister Jodi. She’s the one in our family that I’ve seen the least of lately. We’ve always been close & I miss our talks. I’m looking forward to seeing her SOON!!

I am praying for…our kids. Although I’m thoroughly enjoying this stage with the kids, it has become very real to me in the last year, what a challenge it is to raise kids! Up until now it hasn’t seemed all that hard. Oh, it’s a lot of work, but the discipline & consequences are fairly simple…time out, say you’re sorry…extra chores…lost privilege…you get the idea. In the last 6 months that has suddenly changed. I have realized how much more aware they are of all the ins & outs. It’s not just a matter of telling them anymore…they want to know why…but what about this & that…and still stamp their foot. It’s scary. Lord give us wisdom. Help our kids to grow up to love You with all their hearts despite the fact that we are such imperfect parents! Thank you that your grace is sufficient to cover all of that!

What’s God been doing in my heart? I have been learning something about myself in the last year or so of our marriage...nothing amazing or life changing…just the simple art of being aware of what is making me feel a certain way. One specific time I notice this is after Ben has been sick or hurt. Almost without fail in the first few days after he starts to feel better, I get frustrated with life…and usually take it out on him. Sure enough…Ben’s ribs started to heal & I felt like I was being cheated. I had faithfully taken care of him…and now it was my turn…I wanted to be taken care of! Yikes Lord…am I really that selfish? I didn’t take care of him expecting anything in return…so why does my sinful nature pop up now? I am thankful that I am finally aware of this feeling so I can learn how to kick it out before it gets bad…and how to choose my responses carefully. Hun…I’m sorry. I thrive on being able to take care of you & the kids…I’m sorry for not always having a good attitude about it. I think I finally get it though. I know I still won’t always respond the right way…but I’m working on it. I love you so much.

Well, it’s technically Tuesday now, but oh well…I still started this on MondayJ. One last thought to leave you with. My sister Jenni posted something last week that really hit a chord. I feel like she was speaking from my heart. I just wanted to share (I hope you don’t mind Jen…I love you…and thank you for sharing your heart!)…http://riceandpeanutbutter.blogspot.com/2009/12/junkyard-art.html

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Weekend Away...

For our first anniversary my parents gave us a weekend away in Canmore. It was wonderful to get away…especially because Benjamin would be born a very short while later. It very quickly became a tradition that I don’t ever intend to changeJ. When the kids were little we would just go for one night, but now we go for 2 nights. Most times we go well after our anniversary because of work…but we always make it happen. So…even though our 9th anniversary was in September, we went away this last weekend to celebrate…with the way so many marriages fall apart nowadays every year is worth celebratingJ!

The majority of years we’ve stayed at one place…The Georgetown Inn…which I would highly recommend! This year, because money is so tight, we decided to try somewhere new. It was a beautiful inn & we had a wonderfully relaxing weekend! One thing we really enjoyed about the new place we went to was the steam room they had downstairs…so nice to sit in there in the evening! Ben also enjoyed beating me at ping pong in their game room…but make no mistake…I was closeJ!!

We arrived a bit later than we had hoped on Saturday, but got checked into the inn & headed out for supper. We went really fancy & headed to Boston PizzaJ. I guess it’s partly a tradition…partly we just like the food…and partly we go out so little that when we do, we’re excited about our favourites instead of trying something new. Other than some time in the steam room, the rest of the evening was spent relaxing in our room…reading, games…soak in the tub. The room was really neat…when you walk in it’s like a mini living room…couch, little fireplace, TV…the bedroom is upstairs in the loft with a huge skylight. It was really cool to lay in bed & see the stars.

On Sunday we slept through breakfast…that’s what holidays are for right? I had gotten into a book the night before & read while Ben slept some more…I probably should have joined him…J After grabbing a bite to eat we headed to Banff. We did a little walking downtown before heading up to the hot springs for our massage. We went to the spa at the Banff Upper Hot Springs…hoping to go for a soak before and/or after the massage. Unfortunately, they were closed for renovations…but we enjoyed the steam room at the spa & the massage! After our massage we headed to Tony Roma’s for supper (our all time favourite treatJ). After another steam…a game…and some reading, we watched the movie Fireproof. I’ve been wanting to see it since it came out…what a great movie!

We made it to breakfast Monday morning…kind of needed to…we were the only ones left at the inn by thenJ. After wandering through downtown Canmore, we decided to try somewhere new for lunch! The place we went to was gorgeous…the building & the view and the staff was great. We were a little disappointed with the food though…it wasn’t bad…just nothing really great or special about it. The one thing we both REALLY enjoyed though…which will come as a shock to any of you who know me very well…was the calamari. Ben loves anything seafood & in our married life has gotten me to try some of it…none of which I really enjoy. He had gotten calamari once earlier this year somewhere else & had me try it…it was OK, but not something I’d want to have more of. Well…his calamari came & as soon as I smelled it my mouth was watering! I couldn’t believe my own ears when I asked him if I could have a piece. Usually he has to majorly convince me to even try a bite. Not this time…I thoroughly enjoyed it! I know I wouldn’t enjoy calamari just anywhere…but at The Iron Goat they knew how to cook it right!! To end off our weekend we went for a very chilly walk along Cougar Creek & then headed home along Hwy 1A. After enjoying a sighting of some mountain sheep including a big ram & some little lambs (?), we were off.

For all you married couples out there (ESPECIALLY if you have kids) I have some advice…go away together with no kids at least once a year!!! Even if all you can do at first is one night in a hotel room in the town where you live…DO IT!!! It’s so important for our marriages to have that time to reconnect with no kids. To start you off, here’s my list of most important things to bring:

- CD player & CDs (music in the room does so much to create a mood…even if you’re just in a hotel room!

- Massage oil (give each other massages…way cheaperJ)

- Candles (and don’t forget some candle holders & matches or a lighter)

- Books (I like to bring separate books for each of us & something we might read together)

- Games for 2 (our favourites are battleship & boggle)

- Snacks/treats (we like to have sparkling juice & treats)

OK, that’s all I can think of for now…but you have a good start…so go do itJ!

Ben, thanks for taking me on these memory making weekends. I love you so much! Happy 9th Anniversary!!!