Posts Tagged ‘joy’

The Joy of Screaming

Photo Credit: Betty Miller

Photo Credit: Betty Miller

I’m not sure if this is unique to my family, but the males in my home love to make me scream.

It’s often during a pause in a movie—while the house is dark and ominous. Kevin will find a door to hide behind or a corner to emerge from unexpectedly. I’ll scream or make guttural noises in my throat and flap my arms—and for a moment Kevin will look worried—but then I’ll see a hint of a smile that spreads all the way to his eyes, and soon we’re laughing until I’m wiping away tears.

There’s something exhilarating about a good scare and a neighbourhood-rousing scream. It’s better than coffee for revving up the senses.

Often, after I’ve been thoroughly terrified, I’ll hear the children giggling in their rooms. Somehow my screams boost the morale of the whole family. I’m just as confused at that as you are. But now the boys are getting in on scaring me too.

A few nights ago, I was walking with my friend Miriam on the driveway. It was getting dark. We were deep in conversation as we walked past my husband’s work truck. Suddenly, a dark figure leapt off the bumper, landed in front of us, and yelled.

I screamed…and I screamed. My legs went numb. And there was my son Owen, bouncing from one foot to the other in complete delight. The three of us laughed long and loud, and before long the feeling returned to my legs.

We went back to walking, and Owen went off to bed. Almost an hour later we were even deeper in conversation, it was darker, and an even larger figure jumped off the same bumper and scared us again. It was Kevin this time, and he didn’t even know that Owen had beat him to the scream.

My family knows not to tickle me—I’m much more likely to punch than laugh when tickled…But being scared? Yeah, I’m okay with that. 🙂

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There are few things more miserable than going to help a friend and then making things worse. And if there’s anyone who’s going to make that mistake, it’s going to be me. {Sigh.}

My misfortune happened at a work bee. I love work bees. The social gathering that’s more than just a gathering; we get to accomplish something together. I was there to help my friend move out of her trailer and get the trailer ready for her in-laws. We were cleaning and organizing and visiting and drinking tea. Is there a better way to spend a day?

“I’ve got a job for you, Rachel,” said Barb. “You can transfer my kids’ measurements from the wall to this height board. You like a challenge.” It’s true—I love a challenge, but my penmanship is sloppy and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be neat enough.

I used a ruler to keep my lines straight, and carefully transferred each mark. It didn’t take long to finish, and it didn’t look too bad.

Barb’s mom cocked her head to the side and examined the board. “I didn’t know the kids were that tall.”

A tingle climbed the back of my neck. Something was definitely wrong. The heights were all a foot out!

The ladies assured me that the foot-markings could be changed, but they were big and written in permanent ink. No matter what, it was going to be a mess. I didn’t want them to groan every time they looked at the board for the next several decades and think of me.

I wracked my brain for a solution, but it was Barb’s mom that came up with the idea of flipping the board and redoing it on the back. I was just grateful for a solution.

I snuck the board home and spent that evening redrawing the lines and numbers and then measuring and copying the heights from the other side. I prayed for Barb while I traced the numbers and marked off each line. I prayed for her pregnancy and the house they are building, and then I prayed for each child as I copied their names onto the wood.

God knows that I needed that lovely, relaxing evening of prayer and meditation. I needed to slow down and be thankful for good friends and to remember that sometimes even mistakes pave the way to peace and prayer.






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Photo Credit: Linder

Photo Credit: Linder

I had a request for a third chapter in this bizarre little series, and it just so happens that we had another crisis.

I was just drifting into sleep on Friday night when my phone rang. It was the camp where my daughters were at. This was not a good sign at 12:30 at night. I was informed that Melanie was having a asthma attack and was being taken into the hospital.

The weird thing about this was that Melanie doesn’t have asthma. I threw on my clothes and rushed to the hospital.

My stomach tightened when I saw a van—with the sliding door still opened—sitting in front of the hospital entrance. They must have been frightened for her to leave the door wide opened. Stay calm, I told myself.

The hospital had been recently renovated and it felt like I was dreaming as I rushed down unfamiliar corridors looking for my daughter.

I was led into emergency where I found Melanie grabbing her chest and gasping for air. Her wide eyes were filled with panic.

A mask was placed over Melanie’s face, and as she sucked in the steam and medication I felt her body begin to relax.

After the mask was removed Melanie’s eyes filled with tears, “I really missed you, Mom.”

“I missed you too, Sweety.” I held her close to me, and felt the tears spill onto my own cheeks.

Melanie was soon released from the hospital and decided that she wanted to come home instead of going back to camp that night. The asthma attack remains a bit of a mystery but seems to have been triggered from extreme excitement and exertion as well as smoke in the air from forest fires. The panic made things worse.

I’m so thankful for the camp director who drove Melanie to the hospital and to the camp nurse (my dear friend Miriam) who stayed with Melanie and offered her comfort and love. Most of all, I’m thankful that Melanie is fine now.

The truth is, things can always get worse. My lesson in all of these trials is to count my blessings—to realize that in spite of the difficulties, embarrassments, disappointments, and fears . . . my cup overflows.


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Here is an excerpt from a story I wrote for tonihammer.com:


I can’t believe I said that! Why am I so stupid?

These used to be the words that I berated myself with every time I was in public. Is it any wonder that I suffered from chronic headaches and anxiety attacks? It took me a long time to realize that these self-deprecating thoughts were actually a symptom of selfishness. My focus was on me.

Though the key to overcoming my depression and anxiety was simple—it wasn’t easy. I needed to stop focusing on myself and live for others.

The ugly thoughts still came: You’re so fat! You’re just an accident waiting to happen! But instead of giving into those condemning words, I fought back with truth: You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. And then I would seek out someone to bless.

Click here to continue reading.


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I sat down with a photo album this morning to look for a picture for this week’s “glimpse.” It is the very first album I made and shows my marriage and pregnancy and my new little baby. Looking at the pictures vividly brought back the emotions of that time—my wonder, joy, fear.

What an intense time of discovery! It made me remember how hard those first years can be. I wanted to be a good mom more than anything, so I read every book on parenting that I could get my hands on. The “experts” disagreed on almost all points, and the more I read the more I doubted my ability to be the mother I longed to be.

Many people say that things get a lot easier with the third baby, but my third baby came with a twin brother! So my first six years as a mom were difficult, but as I look through the pictures I realize how sweet they were too.

Here is a picture taken during the first year of being a new mom. Has it really been thirteen years?


❤ Rachel


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As a mom with a large family, I’ve realized that I don’t get to be grumpy. At times it seems a little unfair; bad days just aren’t an option. When I’m irritable and snap at my kids, then they get irritable and snap at each other, and in no time at all, things are uglier than a hen missing half her feathers!

Just because bad days aren’t an option, doesn’t mean that they don’t happen from time to time. Yesterday was one of those days…

I had kept the kids inside the day before, because it didn’t really get above -20C. The kids had far too much energy from being cooped up inside, and I had far too little for the same reason. I snapped at the kids a couple times, so they went from happy-hyper kids to grumpy-hyper kids. You get the picture.

Then I had some technology frustrations. Oh yes, I felt like throwing all the computers and other technology out into the snow.

At the end of a rather frustrating day, I shut off the lights and and went upstairs in the dark. There is a large window at the top of the stairs and I caught a glimpse of a green glow breathing across the sky. I stood transfixed as the Northern Lights danced before me.

I was the audience as the Composer wove the luminescent threads into a visual symphony. Awe filled me, and I felt like I could almost hear the melody that the lights danced to.

My tension melted away in the presence of such beauty. There was a message for me in all of this. The Composer is also weaving the thread of my life—and yours—into his master symphony. There is a purpose and a plan in all that he does in our lives. The frustrations are there as harmonies to bring out the beauty of the joys, and to teach us to be thankful for our countless blessings.

Lord, teach me to be thankful for the waterfall of blessings that you pour over me. Help me to see your hand in my life, on the rough days, as well as the smooth ones. Shine through me, my God and my King.

Photo by Dyet. Thank you for sharing this stunning photograph!

Photo by Dyet. Thank you for sharing this stunning image!

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My Littles

I recently made up a little video for the grandparents who don’t get to see the children very often, and thought that I would share it here too. So here it is, my two youngest just having fun and enjoying each other. It’s just so precious how they light up when they’re together!

P.S. – if the video is low quality you can adjust it by clicking on the sprocket thingy. 🙂

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I’m writing this on the eve of my baby’s first birthday. Is it really a year since sweet baby Joel swept into our lives?

It feels like time has been playing tricks on me. It just doesn’t seem logical the way the days fly past like so many leaves in an autumn wind.

I remember when I only had two little ones and the days were so long. I loved playing with my babies and being a mom, but, I always found PIC_1543myself looking ahead. “It will be easier when she is six months old, a year, three years…” I would think to myself. And in many ways it was, but now that my little girl is almost thirteen, I realize that those years are all to short and I can never have them back.

God has a beautiful lesson for us to learn in this season of busyness, that of dying to oneself. I am tempted to chafe at times when the children are sick and I am up out of bed umpteen times in the night, but then I remember that it is just a season and I can redeem those sleepless nights with prayer.

Sometimes it’s hard to see past the trials and hardship of fulltime motherhood, but there is so very much more if we choose to look for the moments of joy. There is nothing like the thrill I get when I slip into Joel’s room to get him after his nap. Sometimes he’s lying down playing with his fingers or sitting looking expectantly for me, and then our eyes meet and his whole face lights up with delight. {dreamy sigh}

Life with little ones is filled with the unexpected. Three year olds are so wonderfully witty and curious. Giggles abound. A simple walk outside is filled with wonder: a bug, a rock, a cloud.

I don’t say to myself anymore, It will be easier when…

Now I pray, Oh Lord, help me to make the most of this time.





P.S. I took most of these pictures on Tuesday. Yes, we still have that much snow! 🙂

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Loving the Sunflower

In a Christmas parcel from Gramma were 5 little cups containing soil and sunflower seeds, one for each child. The children waited until the snow had almost melted before I would let them push their seeds into the soft soil. Those little plants received far too much water, and yet they dared to arch up out of the earth to greet the sun.

William was not yet two, but he knew which plant was his and he was so very proud of it. I let him carry it around the house and sometimes he would just sit on the steps and look at it. I knew it’s chances of survival were slim, that the love of a toddler was just too much for the average plant to bear. He even got grumpy and threw that little sunflower on the floor a couple times, but still, it kept growing. I’m sure that most mothers are sensible enough to not allow a 1 year old to carry a plant around the house, but it made me smile to see how special it was to him.

Amazingly, the sunflower survived long enough to be planted in a row beside the other sunflowers. We started with Myra’s and planted them all in order from the oldest child’s all the way down to little William’s at the end. William knew which flower belonged to him. He would say, “Mine,” and give it an endearing little shake whenever he went past it. I was sure he was going to break the stem one day and just hoped that he didn’t damage any of the other children’s flowers while he was at it, but no, the stem grew thick and strong.

One day we noticed a flower head beginning to form. We would hold William up so he could see it closely. The flower bud was still tight, but we could see the tiniest bit of yellow peaking from inside. That sunflower, William’s sunflower opened long before anyone else’s and we all delighted in his joy.

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I’m sorry that I have neglected my blog for the past couple weeks. I
have a fairly decent excuse- our generator is getting some work done
on it, and we have very limited power at the moment. Even my little
laptop computer is a heavy draw on our portable battery packs. And
so, I have had a little vacation from writing.

I know that many think we are crazy to live like this, with
occasional power and no running water, and there are times when I
feel a little crazy too! But it doesn’t take much to remind me of the
blessings of living debt free. Sure, we have chosen to give up, or at
least postpone having much of what our society deems essential, but
I think that we have learned to enjoy what we have more. In learning
to be content with what we have, we have discovered that we are rich
in the things that truly matter, and in material things too.

I think that few people appreciate their pantry shelves as much as I
do, (after enduring a year of having everything piled on the floor!)
I love my dry-walled and painted walls, (after spending years looking
at dingy, pink insulation and having sheets as room separators.)  And
the sight of my newly sided home always gives me a little tinge of
satisfaction as we drive in the driveway. Who enjoys such simple
things as shelves, walls and siding? People who have lived without

We do what we can, a little at a time, and it gives us a chance to
enjoy what we have and to work towards our future here. One day, when
I can flick on a switch and be gratified with instant light, I’ll
enjoy that too. And when I can turn on a tap and hear the water
thundering into the tub, and when I can add a little more hot water
at the turn of a tap, well that, will be bliss!

It is easy to look around and see people who have more than us. It is
easy to be discontent. But when I am tempted to complain, I am
reminded that I have more in material wealth than 90% of the
population of the earth, and more then that, I am at peace with God,
surrounded by loved ones and I have true joy.

What more could a girl ask for? 🙂

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