Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Aromas of Autumn

I love the fall. The cool fresh autumn mornings. The vibrant colours of the changing trees. The harvest of apples, pumpkins, squashes and other fabulous fall foods. And, the wonderful aromas associated with this time of year! Like mulled cider! We're headed to an apple/pumpkin farm tomorrow to celebrate the beginning of fall, and look forward to coming home with an arm load of apples, shoes full of hay (from the hay rides), and a pumpkin or two (my daughter included!).

It's Hot Mulled Cider Day. Try this recipe and enjoy the aromatic delight of all things fall!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In the stillness of the morning you call to me and I answer.
The aroma of your freshly brewed juices wrapping itself around me like a warm blanket.
I stumble toward you with anticipation;
mug ready to be filled with your dark goodness.
And then I stand, 
savouring the way the steam of your readiness delights my senses.
I feel my body come alive with that first sip.
Like a friend you welcome me. 
And I settle in for a long conversation.

Happy National Coffee Day!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

True Confessions

Ok, I'll admit it. I used to be one of those childless people who watched parents and their unruly children with judgement in my eyes. I used to mutter under my breath things like "Discipline. Ever heard of it?", and watched episodes of SuperNanny in utter amazement at how some parents could be so naive when it came to parenting. I prided myself in believeing that I knew exactly what I would do in their situation, and even quoted from books and well-known parenting experts to back up my beliefs. But then something remarkable happened...

... I became a parent. 

This week, I have eaten my words. I haven't blogged in just over a week now, because all hell has broken lose in our home. That haughty attitude I used to carry, has been replaced by the sheer humility and feeling of utter helplessness that comes from doing battle with a strong-willed, soon-to-be two-year-old. Almost as if overnight, our adorbaly cute, compliant and well-behaved baby has transformed into a self-absorbed, know-it-all, "I want it NOW!" toddler, and everything I thought I knew about parenting and discipline has gone out the window. I'm now the one sitting red-faced as passers-by stare at my child's demon like temper tantrum and roll their eyes at me. I'm the one crying into my pillow in my bedroom as I listen to the sounds of a full-blown temper tantrum take place outside the door. And I'm now the one desperately reading all the expert tips and taping episodes of SuperNanny

Bill Cosby was once quoted as saying, "Give me 200 active two-year-olds and I could conquer the world." I used to think that was funny -- even cute. Now I chuckle and sigh at the same time, and seriously consider putting my daughter up for adoption. "What have we gotten ourselves into?" has now replaced the "let's try and have another one" conversation with my husband. And instead of meeting for a hot date to rekindle the flame of our romance, we are finding ourselves collapsing into bed at the end of the day for an emergency meeting to hammer out new battle tactics! 

And so while the past week of celebrations has come in second to the joys and frustrations of parenthood, I resolve to find a way to celebrate in spite of it all. I promise to rejoice and celebrate the fact that I have a daughter, instead of complaining that her actions are driving me to drink. And, I pledge to celebrate the little moments when she's still and quiet, cute and adoring, and will cling to those memories in times when I'm pulling my hair out. 

Here's to celebrating the good, bad, happy and sad. Now...

... what's SuperNanny's number?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Love Served Here

Garlic wafts through the house like a welcome blanket of homey goodness. My once clean t-shirt, now stained red with tomato sauce, serves as a towel for my hands after washing brillantly green lettuce in the sink. And I smile as I listen to the sounds of my daughter and her daddy hard at play. Working up an appetite for what promises to be a feast for the senses.

I go back to my pot and stir. I stir and know that simmering on my stove is a pot full of love ... and linguine. It is linguine day, and we will soon sit and savour this italian delight and the joy of time together. A meal served with love from this grateful momma to her little family. And my heart is full.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just call me Martha...

Toast and peanut butter in hand (it is Peanut Day afterall), and a mug of freshly brewed coffee at my side, I sit. I sit and I breath. The silence calms my heart, clears my mind and allows me time to reflect and feed my soul.

I consider all that happened yesterday when we gathered for fellowship at The Life Centre. I allow the Spirit to wash over me and fill me with His joy, His peace, His presence. And as I sit, pondering how I can be used in this new faith community, my thoughts to turn to a pot of chili con carne. Yes. Chili con carne. 

Just call me Martha.

Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience spoke words the other day in her blog that fed my soul. Words that captured what my heart has always known... that I am a Martha, and that my ministry is in hospitality. On a recent trip to Guatemala, she penned the following words: 

"She asks to speak at the pulpit, to say a few words, her apron still on, her eyes love worn and lined with gentle strokes. Her name is Ruth. She's a woman ‘who makes her pots a holy thing’ (Zech. 14:21), who stirs eternity at the end of her spoon. The translator serves us Ruth's first words: ‘My mission is the kitchen.’ Many saints  have dishpan hands and I eat her words. They preach rich truth to me, that the kitchen with a plate is the place where the strangers at Emmaus and the starved of this earth meet the face of Christ. That the table can be a holy revelation." (Read more here...)
And so here I sit, chili con carne simmering, and brownies fresh from the oven. Food that will feed a team of people who are called to nourish the souls of our faith community. They nourish souls, while I nourish their bodies. I am filled with unspeakable joy. For in this, my "Martha calling," I commune with Him and am made whole.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Clearing the Cobwebs

I haven't posted in over a week, but that hasn't been for a lack of trying. Truth is, I've been staring at my blog for days trying to figure out what to write. This journey, of celebrating the random holidays as a way to remember to celebrate life each day, has been more of a challenge than I anticipated. Not because the random holidays have been difficult, but more because I haven't felt much like celebrating lately.

Truth be told, for the past few months I've been doing a lot of "faking." I despise people who aren't genuine, and yet here I am the biggest faker of all. I've been putting on a "happy face" and pretending to celebrate life, but in the spirit of true honesty and openness... I have felt like I've had nothing to celebrate. Note the way I phrased that... I have felt like I've had nothing to celebrate. It's not that I've had nothing to celebrate, but rather that I've been so preoccupied feeling sorry for myself and stuck in the rut of my daily stale routine, that I've felt like I've had nothing to celebrate.

However this past week God has been opening my eyes, and shining a rather harsh light on my life. What I've found when I pulled back the curtains hasn't been pretty. The light has revealed a life that has gotten stagnate, stuck in a rut, and without purpose. I've been so busy caring for my toddler, and getting my husband back on his feet, that I've neglected myself. I've neglected my relationship with God. I've put aside my own growth and passions for the sake of survival. And in so doing I've come dangerously close to the "grass is greener on the other side" temptations than I care to admit. 

But as I sit on the other side now, having seen the cobwebs and having begun the spring cleaning my soul needs, I am feeling a renewed desire to celebrate. And what I've been learning, through friends, a wonderful blog I've been following, and other surprising sources, has been like a breath of fresh air. I'm learning that I must cultivate a heart of gratitude. I'm putting aside my own pettiness and seeing how truly blessed I am. And I'm beginning to understand how important it is for there to be a purpose and a vision for everything -- even a marriage and family. 

So here I am, still blogging. Still trying to remember to celebrate life. Determined to cultivate a heart that is truly grateful (and working toward my own list of 1000 Gifts). Seeking the Lord's purpose, not just for me... but for my marriage and family. And using the random holidays to remind me how blessed life can be.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


I tuned in this week to Focus on the Family's broadcast with Steven and Mary Beth Chapman, and listened to them relay all that God has been teaching them since the death of their 5 year old daughter Maria in May of 2008. Their story breaks my heart me each time. I was 1/2 way through my pregnancy with Abbie when I tuned into the radio that day in May and learned of the Chapman's loss. After the announcement, the station played Steven's song "Cinderella." I sat on the bed, hand on my belly, and cried.

Now, over two years later, their broadcast this week was the gentle reminder I needed to stop worrying about naps, potty training, and battles of the will... and savour each moment with our own little Cinderella. She'll be two soon... and we are amazed at how fast those two years have gone.

Celebrating Simplicity

I haven't posted at all it the last couple days purely because the "random days" on the calendar have left me feeling very uninspired. I mean, who wants to celebrate eating outside ("Eat Outside Day" was Tuesday) in the middle of a torrential downpour? But that hasn't dampened my desire to celebrate life anyway, and in fact... it forced me to be creative. It also led me to the realization that the art of celebrating life doesn't have to be complicated. Often it's the simple things in life that should be the most celebrated. 

Monday was the first day of a new routine in our house with the fact that our 22 month year old finally went from two naps to one. So we celebrated (albeit with some reluctance from me, who frankly has enjoyed her delay to drop her 1st nap) the fact that our "baby" is growing up, by welcoming two new additions to our family -- two goldfish we named "Dorothy" and "Elmo." 

However the celebrations of Tuesday, as simple as they were, led way to some unexpected, and not necessarily "happy" celebrations on Tuesday. As stated above, Tuesday was a particularly rainy day, and that seemed appropriate since we also started the day off with the first of what likely will be many pet funerals in our family. "Dorothy" was found floating belly up that morning. A simple reminder, at least for my husband and I, that nothing lasts forever. That led me to celebrate the little moments with my daughter that afternoon...

Wednesday, despite the lack of rain, started off much the same way Tuesday did, with yet another funeral... this time for "Elmo." Again it got me thinking about the circle of life, and how precious each day is. That thought was reinforced when I read a note from a friend who was grieving the potential loss of data from her computer that contained pictures of her daughter's first year and a half of life. A good reminder to back things up, and treasure the simplicity of each cuddle, each giggle, each little moment. 

Today however is a day I can celebrate, for today (along with the return of our sunshine and warmth) is Blueberry Popsicle Day. When Abbie went down for her nap I savoured a blueberry/lemon popsicle in honour of the occassion. It was worth every slurp.

What have you done to celebrate life lately?

Tomorrow: Welsh Rarebit Day.