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Posts Tagged ‘love’

Love Sick

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a two day doula workshop. It was hard for me to go. I fretted about being gone so much and it was the longest that I’ve been away from my one year old.

The course was scheduled for 9 hours on Saturday and Sunday and then I had 3 hours of driving on top of that both days.  I’m so thankful that I was able to go though. It was an incredible group of women and we shared both laughter and tears.

Apparently, William asked for me throughout the weekend and both he and Joel started up a chant at one point, “Mama, Mama, Mama!” 🙂 Oh, how sweet it was to come home and be surrounded by all their beautiful smiles. Kevin and I kept the little boys up a bit late on Saturday and we just snuggled and played on the floor together.

On Sunday, Kevin texted me a picture of William and Joel that he had taken that day. “The day in their lives that you missed!” my friend quipped, and I felt the sting of tears behind my eyes. “Two days!” I said with a pang. I longed to be home, but I also wanted to take the opportunity to visit some friends I don’t often get to see. I left their house at 8:00 pm and still had an hour drive before I got home. I tried not to drive too fast, but I was worried that the children would all be in bed.

I ran up to the house and joy flooded through me when I saw Joel quietly playing while Kevin played guitar. My baby… my sweet baby. “Joel,” I called to him softly. He turned and gave me a gentle smile. I gathered him into my arms and he just melted, his little body snuggling into my embrace. I danced around the room with him. He rarely cuddles now. There’s just so much to see and do! But that night he just wanted to be close. After a while I sat on the couch with him and he would jump into my arms and wriggle his little head into the nape of my neck and then jump up, laugh, and do it all over again.

Yes, absence does seem to make the heart grow fonder, or at least it makes us realize how precious our loved ones are. But, like taking too long of a break from exercise, I think that absence also weakens our stamina! I have found myself thinking, “Wow, six kids is a lot of kids!” But when I’m away… I know that there’s nowhere that I’d rather be than right here at home… surrounded by those that I love.

The day that I missed

The day that I missed

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Tonight was movie night. My husband tends to pick westerns and adventure films. I pick dramas and tear jerkers. It was my night to pick a movie. Yep, I’ve been crying.

We watched The Grace Card. It came across as somewhat low budget, but the acting was great and the story powerful. I won’t ruin the movie for you, but God took the repentance and forgiveness theme and brought it home to my heart.

“What’s wrong?” my husband asked as my tears made a damp spot on his jeans. “I just want to be a good mom,” I managed to sputter.

Really, I had no idea that being a mom would be this hard. I thought that “all we needed was love.” And now, 13 years into motherhood, I realize that I will never be “good enough.” I will make mistakes. I will fall short. I will hurt my children. And that… is why I was crying.

Wednesday I was exhausted and irritable. Thursday and today I was still feeling rundown and got caught up with homeschool and weight loss. In short, I’ve been a grumpy and distracted mom and my relationship with my children has suffered.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9

Is there anything as lovely as grace and forgiveness? Oh how sweet this is to me! I prayed, “Lord, please forgive me for hurting your little ones,” and He did, He does. Tomorrow, I will ask my precious children to forgive me. That’s the reset button… repentance.

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One thing that I am really ashamed of as a mother, are those seasons where I got into the habit of yelling at my children. It was so sad. I would see them retreating behind a shell. I would try to do better. I would fail again. There is nothing so disheartening as failure, especially failure in something so important.

My own efforts to overcome yelling failed. But do you know what worked? Regular time with God. When I am spending time reading God’s Word and praying every day, I find myself turning to God in times of frustration instead of being ruled by impatience.

The goal is high, impossibly high. I can become exhausted when I focus on how far I fall short of the Proverbs 31 woman who:

Opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
(Prov 31:26)

I can become discouraged when I think of my shortcomings compared to the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:4) But when I focus on God He reminds me that nothing is impossible for Him, that He is doing a work in me and that:

I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me!
(Phil 4:13)

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Never Too Much Love

My children collect Aunts and Uncles. You know, the kind that aren’t really related, but might as well be.

One of the “Aunties” recently came and stayed with us. She spent time visiting with me, but she also made sure to play with my children in their fort, and made princesses out of my daughters by decorating them with dandelion chains.

I have another friend that has kept all the books that she used to read to her own children. She put them on a low shelf so that the children that come to her home, can choose a story and bring it to her to read. I love to see my little ones snuggled in her lap for a story.

Others we rarely see, but my children remember them, because children don’t easily forget people that truly love them.

I am so thankful for the people that seed into my children’s life in this way. I know that my children will be immensely blessed, by the time and love that is being invested into them. There is a godly example being set for them. That example will stay with them as they grow and as they make life affecting decisions. It also gives them confidence, joy and a sense of value. And it blesses my heart to know that my children will have life-long, wise and godly people to seek counsel of as they mature.

You might be sighing and wishing that your children also had such loving mentors. There might be someone in your life right now, who only needs an invitation. One friend was concerned that she might be stepping on my toes, or on the Grandparent’s toes, by forming a deep relationship with my little ones. I assured her though, that children can never have too much love.

Maybe there is an older couple at church who’ve taken the time to remember all your children’s names, and whose own grandchildren live far away. Invite them to dinner and birthday parties, and let them know how much you appreciate the interest they’ve taken in your children.

There might be a college student who is missing parents and siblings who would enjoy spending Sunday afternoons with your family. And there are often empty nesters who can be blessed by having children in their lives.

Keep in mind, that this relationship will bless your children, but it will also bless the people who are investing time and love into their lives. Love is never wasted and the giver is always blessed as well.

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Now who here doesn’t love a treasure hunt? There’s something wonderfully exciting, about the thought of being the lone possessor of a tattered map leading to long lost treasure.

My mom sent us on a treasure hunt for my 9th birthday. I honestly can’t remember what the treasure was, but the memory of searching still makes me smile. Melanie just turned 9 recently, and her older sister, Myra, sent her on a treasure hunt that will never be forgotten.

Myra had been working on the project for over a month. I watched her busily work on gifts that she was making and at one point she mysteriously asked for lemon juice. She had done much more than I was aware of though, and we were all delightfully surprised at the result.

It all started with a clue, which led to others. The clues had Melanie running back and forth all over the house with the rest of us excitedly tagging along. The last clue led to a Treasure Map. Even I was surprised!The map was a drawing of our house. “You iron it,” said Myra with a beaming smile. (Thankfully we do actually own an iron, although I have never once used it to iron clothes with!) After ironing the map… a trail appeared, (hence the lemon juice!)

As Melanie followed the trail, she found gift after gift that Myra had lovingly made. There was a beautiful little cradle made of cardboard, with a handmade mattress and quilt. Under a chair, Melanie found a wonderful Jacob’s Ladder toy. Melanie also found a bag of candy necklaces, and two tiny purses that Myra had crafted.

All the work that Myra had done made Melanie’s birthday special, even extraordinary. Our children have plenty of quarrels, but more often than not, we see them growing in love. What more could a mom ask for?

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The Debt of Love

There is one thing that I am wonderfully rich in, and that is true friends. I never, never want to take for granted the beautiful people that grace my life. A true friend loves you in the good times and the bad. She draws near in times of sorrow. A true friend lasts a lifetime. A true friend is priceless.

There have been times, when I’ve felt so unworthy of the love I have received. At times it can almost hurt to be the recipient of such sacrificial love. As I was pondering this, Romans 8:13 came to mind, “Owe no one anything, except the debt of love…” That is exactly how I can feel, that there is a debt of love.

This debt of love is a beautiful thing. By it, I feel spurred on to be a better friend and a better person. In a sense, to be in debt is to be in slavery, and so… I am called to be a slave to love!

Sometimes, the love I have received from one is to be passed on to another. I have had friends come along side of me to offer comfort in the darkest hours of my life. I may never have the opportunity to love them in that same way, but maybe, I will be able to pass on that comfort to someone else as I walk through this life.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…

It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things

that give value to survival.”

~ C.S. Lewis

 

“For sunlit hours and visions clear,

For all remembered faces dear,

For comrades of a single day,

Who sent us stronger on our way,

For friends who shared the year’s long road,

And bore with us the common load,

For hours that levied heavy tolls,

But brought us nearer to our goals,

For insights won through toil and tears,

We thank the Keeper of our years.”

~ Clyde McGee

 

“Priceless little memories

are treasures without price,

And through the gateway of the heart

they lead to paradise.”

~William Wordsworth

 

“Blessed be the…God of all comfort, who

comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able

to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort

with which we ourselves are

comforted by God.”

~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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Last week, we got the message that my Grandfather had been air-lifted to the hospital, from his home on Cortes Island. News trickled in throughout the day, and it was later confirmed that he had had a heart attack. Today my Grandpa is safe at home and recovering from the ordeal.
I am truly thankful; the outcome could have been very different. I felt spurred on, to encourage others to cherish your loved ones while they are with you. Isn’t it true, that we often take for granted those who are dearest to us?
My Grandparents have always played a big role in my life. My brother, sister and I went to live with them for a time, when I was 8. They live in the same house now as they did then. I have fond memories of the paper bag lunches that I took to school; especially the ham and cheese sandwiches on home-made bread. Grandma loved to give us all the food that kids love; macaroni with cheese, and ice cream sundaes with chocolate sauce.
My Grandmother loves to fish. It was, and still is, her passion. I remember the early morning boat rides; the boat pounding on the waves, until we had found just the right spot. I would let my fingers stream through the water and lick the salt off of them after they had dried. Grandma would help me with the tackle and then I would trail my line expectantly in the water as we trolled.
Grandma’s excitement was infectious and we would both be grinning wildly, as my line bobbed and I reeled in my catch. Strange creatures would emerge from the depths. Sometimes it would be a codfish with bulging eyes and poisonous spines, that left my fingers stinging where I’d touched them. The fish that we caught, always tasted the best.
Grandma would read to us each night. I laugh now, as I think back to those nights. We would be right in the middle of an exciting passage of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and Grandma would nod off while she read. “Grandma!” my brother and I would call out, and she would start reading again. This scenario would be repeated several times each evening, until the chapter was finished and Grandma could have her much needed rest.
Grandpa loved to garden and bake. He made all the bread, pies and cookies. My favourite cookies were the oatmeal ones with a mound of jam in the centre of each. The mouth watering aroma would meet us even before we had opened the door. I would come in tired after a busy day at school, and be refreshed at the sight of all those cookies cooling. We would nimbly munch away, being careful not to burn our mouths on the hot jam in the center.
In grade 7, I fell behind in math. I felt lost and started to dread my class. Mom told me to go see Grandpa, and in one hour, all the concepts that had eluded me, fell into place. I have loved math ever since.
My grandparents live on one acre and there was always an assortment of animals. I remember with a smile, the old folk’s home that was there when I was a child. The old folk’s home was a shed, with an assortment of ducks and geese that were blind and crippled, and long past laying an egg. Those birds had a comfortable retirement.
My grandparents also owned several sheep. Each morning, my Grandfather would lead the sheep to the neighbour’s pasture and each evening, he would lead them home. I would sometimes be filled with wonder, as I watched the sheep follow my Grandfather along the road. I could never get near them; they always ran when my siblings and I tried to get too close, and yet, here they were, calmly following Grandpa.
Sadly, I never got to know my grandparents, on my Dad’s side very well. I just didn’t get to see them very often after my parents split up and my Grandpa died when I was about 11. I wrote to my Grandmother for the last few years of her life and I am thankful for the relationship that we developed. It had been many years, though, since I’d seen her, and I deeply regretted that after she died.
Regret is a very sad emotion and I’d like to encourage others to make that phone call, send a card or tell those who are dearest to you, that you love them. Cherish them while you can.

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