Thursday, February 28, 2008

Light Bulb Moments

I've been on a tumultuous journey the past several years in regards to my faith. My belief in God is solid. My relationship with Him is consistent despite those ebbs and flows that come with life. However, my adventures with church have been less than satisfying.

We've done a ton of "church shopping" as a result of our many moves over the years. It has been a long while since we have found a place of worship that we felt connected in. There are so many ideas of what "church" should be and so many rules about what makes one a good "christian". It is really hard to find a place of love, fellowship and worship. I know that is such a sad statement but unfortunately it is very true. I could go on with a long list of the negative things we have found in our search for a church home but I don't see how that would be productive to me or anyone reading this. We've taken a break of almost a year from this frustrating experience. Lately I've been feeling much guilt and condemnation about our lack of church attendance. Along with those feelings comes the dread of beginning that search again. It's exhausting, it's frustrating and it can be damaging to one's walk with God.

God works in amazing ways and gives you exactly what you need precisely when you are ready to receive it. This came to me in a profound post on Faith is Messy, a blog I recently added to my reader. Laura really gets it. She spoke to my heart in ways that I cannot begin to express. I'm so thankful that I found her blog and for the way that this particular post has ministered to me. Thank you Laura. I look forward to following your journey as I continue on mine.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Simple Joys

Inspired by today's post at Marriage Hacks I'm going to stop being grumpy ~cut me some slack AF is here~ and find 5 things that give me joy. I challenge you to do the same. The rules are it can't be kids or spouses. C'mon you can do it..... it's only 5. Please share your list with me.

Today my list would be:

1. a cup of really great coffee
2. my slippers fresh from the microwave ~ warm and filling my nose with the scent of lavendar
3. the flap of a hundred little wings as the birds drunkenly make their way from their feast of red berries to my rooftop. Spring... can it be on it's way??
4. the sigh of a contented dog curling up on her pillow
5. silence... the quiet of the house when my family is all tucked in bed at the end of a long day.


"The eagle may soar, but the weasel never gets sucked into a jet engine."
-- Tracy-Paul Warrington

Seems like the weasels are running amok in Hazzard County. Weasels only serve themselves and eventually that very master will lead to their demise. It's interesting to note that a pack of weasels is also known as a "confusion". The vision and the courage of the eagles will see them soar. Hang in there eagles, we know your hearts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Week the Women Went

Kodiak, La Diva and I were watching the reality show "The Week the Women Went" last night. Kodiak says "Can you imagine if that happened in our town?". I said "You guys would be fine." He then remembered when I went to California for a week and his Dad held down the fort without trouble. La Diva says "Everyone would be asking Dad to babysit." Kodiak says, "No kidding."

I'm glad they recognize that their Dad is one in a million. He has always been very hands on with them from the time they were born. He was barely a grown up himself but he jumped right in and did all he could to be involved with them. He has always wanted to give his children what was missing from his own life- a real father figure, a Dad that was there and cared about every part of their life. He has done that in spades. The hardest part for him is having to be away from his family. Where most men relish that time away, he counts the days til he is home again. We are blessed that it only happens for short periods of time now. It was hard on all of us when he worked 15 or more days away from us. He misses us and we miss him.

Once again, we are so blessed!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Watch your tongue.

I've been a little grouchy lately about the time that has been consumed by the Hero's work and volunteer activities. I've been grousing about the lack of things being accomplished on the "ToDo" list. I've even grumbled to a few friends about it. *blush* Something I really try not to ever do and I'm ashamed that I have. The thing is the "ToDo" list doesn't really bother me that much, it's not going anywhere and it will get done........ eventually. I've been missing the Hero and instead of that coming out in positive, loving ways I've been grumbling under my breath. He will say that he's here all the time (he works from home) and while he is in the physical sense his mind is going at warp factor 8 and conversations get interupted by the blasted crackberry or the phone. He's had 2 trips south this month. I'm feeling lonely and acting like a spoiled child.

Thanks to Mrs. Fussy Fussypants over at Marriage Hacks and her posts of the last 3 days -

Testicles, Let Him Keep Them- part 1 and 2; and
The Secret to Marital Harmony

I've had a much needed slap upside the head with the very balls I cut off. ~yes I said balls and testicles, get over it~ In the grand scope of things I only had about 5 things on the quiz that I need to work on ~pats on back~ but I know better.

I've been pondering the many marriages around our town that are falling apart. I hear snippets of conversations when I'm waiting for school to get out, at the post office, a restaurant, getting my nails done, etc. We live in a tiny place, you see the same people every day, everywhere. The common thread throughout these conversations is disrespect. These people, sadly mostly women, talk as if their spouse is the most incapable, worthless human being on the planet. They gripe and moan constantly about all that their spouse is not and they do this everywhere, loudly, with no regard to the people around them.

I've let this negativity slip into my subconscious and come out of my mouth. I've complained about the Hero to two people in my tiny circle of friends. Silly stuff like Christmas lights not put away. I'm not those women and I'm ashamed that I've stooped to that level and allowed this kind of speech to fly from my mouth. I need to check my tongue. I am blessed with a husband who always speaks kindly about me and there are many times I do not deserve that. He builds me up to everyone. I've let him down and myself down by speaking as I have.

I am so incredibly thankful for the amazing husband, father and man that the Hero is. We've come such a long way from the selfish individuals we once were. We are a great team. He is truly my other half and I can't imagine life without him. He is a blessing to me every day, even when he is busy, when his mind is on other things, when he's stressed or grumpy, he's still my blessing. He loves me completely and I'm often undeserving of that. I'm flawed, far from perfect and I don't have it all figured out. Thankfully he shows me much grace and loves me in spite of my imperfections.

So thank you sweet Hero for being my man, loving me completely and without condition. I promise to watch my tongue and not use it as a tool to tear you down or to belittle myself, our marriage and our family.

Proverbs 18:21~ Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose.
- The Message Bible

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Catching my breath

This has been a crazy busy week and I feel like I've finally caught my breath.

The Hero had a big day on Tuesday with a spot on the local breakfast show promoting the Fire Within project that he has been involved in since the summer. Following that he had to rush to pick a up a colleague from the airport, meet me and then we all headed back to the city to attend the press conference. It was a great success with representatives from several fire departments, politicians, corporate sponsors and the all important media. They got a few moments on the 6 o'clock news which was no small feat considering we are in the midst of an election and that is the top story these days. It was awesome to see the organization get some recognition and see more people jump on board with such a worthwhile effort. Hopefully the exposure will parlay into more departments getting better equipment and PPE. I was very proud watching the Hero in his element and it was awesome to hear people sing his praises. He could care a less about the glory but I was glad to see him get some pats on the back after the months of hard work and juggling of all the hats he was wearing in this endeavour - as a corporate sponsor, as a volunteer with a VFD and assisting the organizers of the Fire Within.

Wednesday was Kodiak's day as Torch Bearer for the Winter Games. We cheered him on as he did his part in the run. He was so proud and excited about this once in a lifetime opportunity. He's such a great kid!! After the run the Hero was approached by a team doing a documentary on the games and they interviewed him as parent of a torch runner, as well as a volunteer doing medical with the VFD for one of the events. Later in the day the crew came on the bus and asked whose Dad was a firefighter and then interviewed Kodiak to tie the story together. The documentary will air this coming weekend. Kodiak is very excited about it.

Thursday night was the Opening Ceremonies for the games and Kodiak was involved with the rest of the torch bearers in the procession that led to the lighting of the flame and the official opening of the games. It was a long event but thankfully it wasn't too cold that night so we survived without frostbite.

La Diva kind of got the short end of things this week. Her birthday is Valentine's Day which usually means a party at school because it is her birthday but this year they were out of school due to the games. Add her big bro stealing her thunder by being a torch bearer for the games, the opening ceremonies having the nerve of being scheduled for Valentine's Day and you a Diva who was feeling a bit less than special on her national holiday. We did our best to make her day special and had a breakfast of chocolate waffles, pink whipped cream and berries. She opened presents after breakfast and was pleased with her loot. My 'rents came down in the afternoon for the ceremonies so she was showered with more gifts and we had Chocolate Wafer Cake. I lined a heart shaped cake pan with parchment, layered chocolate wafers, topped with pink whipped cream and repeated the layers until it was full. The next day I loosened the sides, warmed the bottom of the pan with a hot cloth and it came out onto the plate seamlessly. It has been ages since we had this cake. My Mom used to make in the style of a log per the recipe on the side of the Nabisco Chocolate Wafer Box. It was as delicious as I remembered and my Mom was impressed with my use of the heart pan. (no small feat to impress her).

La Diva and Iceman headed home with my 'rents after the ceremonies. They spent the rest of their holidays with them. They will be back tomorrow. Kodiak and Turtle had a good weekend together learning how to play the Wii. Yes we finally found one!! It was almost an act of God as the Hero and I crossed wires in our communication that morning. If that did not occur he would not have been at Wally world at that precise moment and snagged the last of the shipment that had came in that day. It was their first shipment since Christmas.

The Hero has been busy since Friday doing medical for the games. He has put in some long days. Kodiak, Turtle and I took in some of the ringette games on Friday. It is quite the sport. I think it requires more finesse and greater skating ability. Even Kodiak was impressed with the skills of those girls and I think a bit surprised at how vicious they can be. Yesterday we were lazy, catching up on emails, blogs, message boards, playing Wii and Webkinz, doing a bit of laundry but basically vegging. I read the best little book packed full of wisdom and hope to get a post compiled about it very soon. It really impacted me in a huge way. It was a lovely day!!

Tomorrow the whole crew will be back together again. I'm sure they had a great time but it is always nice to have all the bunnies back in the Hutch. Back to school and routine on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blog Envy

I recently stumbled onto Mrs Fussy Fussypants and her fabulous blogging friends. I've been reading many of the blogs by these remarkable women and suffering from blog envy. I'm awed by them. Not only are their blogs beautiful and fun to look at they are filled with faith, thought provoking bits, things that make you pee your pants laughing and of course every one of them seems to be more gorgeous than the next. With my blog envy has come a few moments of insecurity about how I must bore you all to tears with my sad attempts at blogging. However I've recovered from that and know that I will never be a professional blogger who is well known in the blogosphere. I will just be "me" boring you with my life, stories about the crew, gushes about the Hero, ramblings about life and faith. Hoping along the ride that I will inspire you, make you giggle or give you something to think about.

Friday, February 08, 2008

-45 Celsius

That would be -49 Fahrenheit for all my lovely American friends. I'm NOT joking. That is our windchill warning for tonight. Currently we are sitting at -36 C (-32 F). Could someone please remind me why I live here??? Anyone???

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Lovely Day

We have an extended long weekend with no school today and tomorrow. This morning we started our day by making goodies for breakfast. We took a can of crescent rolls, put spoonfuls of cherry jam on them, rolled them up, sprinkled with French Toast Sugar & Spice. Once they were baked we drizzled them with icing. The crew thought it was the best breakfast treat ever and it was made more complete with a YOP drink. Fortified by the breakfast they all pitched in to help clean the house.

Afterwards I realized it was Chinese New Year today. So we decided that we should do something to recognize the day for the only Chinese family in our town. La Diva and Kodiak are friends with two of the children from this family. The own the local Chinese restaurant that we frequent quite often. They are a lovely family and we appreciate them! So after some research we headed into town to find supplies to create our gift. We found a fabulous large square vase, some bamboo, oranges and tangerines and some red gerbera daisies. I filled the vase with the oranges and tangerines, centered the bamboo in the vase, put the daisies in water piks and arranged them amongst the oranges, added some bear grass and was quite pleased with the final product. La Diva made a card wishing them a Happy New Year.

While we were away I had pizza dough brewing in the bread machine for dinner tonight. It turned out so well that I have another batch on the go to throw in the freezer for a later day.

Pizza Crust from the Bread Machine

1 1/4 cup water
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. dry milk (I don't have this in my pantry so I just used a splash of regular milk)
1 1/2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. yeast

Set bread machine to dough setting. Once finished, remove dough and divide in half. Dredge dough in mixture of flour and cornmeal; spread on pizza pan. Top with your favorite toppings. Bake in 400 F oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Makes two 12 inch pizzas.

Can be made ahead and frozen.

The Hero is coming home a day early from his trip so it makes a good day all the more lovely.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Invasion of Webkinz

Webkinz have invaded our home. La Diva, Iceman and Turtle each have 3 pets. Some were gifts and others they saved their shekels for. They have such fun playing with their pets both on and off the computer. Turtle had designs on a high ticket item for one of his pets rooms so he enlisted my help to win him money in the arcade. I've now become a Cash Cow2 addict. I play it for hours in the evening and have raised hefty sums for each of them. Kodiak has joined in the game playing, helping the boys he claims. So if I disappear from the blog it is because I'm in Webkinz world... helping the boys. ;)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I wanna be a ROCKSTAR!

The Material Girl

Yesterday was air band at the elementary school. It was loooooooooooonnnnnnnggggggg with 25 entries that included many High School Musical numbers, a disturbing rendition of Barbie Girl by a bunch of grade 6 boys and an awesome version of GNR's Welcome to the Jungle starring Slash and Axel. Those not participating were asked to dress as a favorite rock star. One of Turtle's classmates came as Alice Cooper. It was classic!

La Diva and her girlfriends were performers in air band. The did "Material Girls" by Hilary and Haley Duff. I was reminded of how ancient I am when I asked them about the Madonna version and they said "Who is Madonna and why is she doing the Duff sisters song?" :S We have the performance on video but I need to check with the parents of the other girls before I post it. In the meantime you can enjoy these pictures of my "ROCKSTARS".

DJ "Diggy Dog" Turtle

Michael Buble

As you can probably guess, our crew likes a very eclectic mix of music. It includes pipes and drums, soccer cheer songs, Blue Man Group, Michael Buble, Nickelback, Aerosmith, Mikka, OK Go, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Beethoven, Diana Krall and Corb Lund to name a few.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Lucky Nail

The Hero had a house fire call on Wednesday. It was bitter cold and they were out in it from about 10:00 a.m. til 4:00 p.m. Yesterday he pulls this nail out of his pocket and tells me it's his lucky nail. This nail was once a part of that house. As one of his fellow firefighters was cutting something with a chainsaw so the Hero could get in with his axe the Hero felt this zing. He figured it was a piece of wood that had flown out. Later when he went to change out his air mask he discovers that it was not a piece of wood but this nail that had landed neatly between his helmet liner and the top of his ear. It was sitting there where you'd place a pencil with the point towards his head. Lucky nail!!??!!! Lucky Hero!!! His angels are doing overtime. You can see where the saw had sheared the head of the nail. I'm going to get a shadow box for it. A reminder of how one small thing can change the course of ones life forever.

He had a rough day but he came home safe. His PPE did the job and protected him, kept him warm until he had to go into the basement where a broken water main had left over a foot of water. He then discovered a hole in his boot and had water seeping in. Thankfully that was near quitting time. I snapped a picture of him when he came to get dry socks before heading back to the hall to clean up the equipment, restock the trucks, etc. He looks less than impressed. It was about -28 Celsius that day.

"Nothing can harm a good man, either in life or after death."
— Socrates