It’s amazing….

So life is constantly changing for us.  I’ve wanted to blog about it and yet things feel too personal, too close, too painful really.  2013 was our hope for a swing at “normal”, even messed up “normal” but it wasn’t.  It was anything but, we couldn’t even say close to normal. 

The year started out with Steve out of work.  Money was tight, patience was tight, and we struggled but God got us through.  In May Steve got a job with Faith Today, a Christian evangelical magazine as associate editor.  Fantastic, things were looking up only that was the beginning of a very difficult rest of the year really.

Steve started to get sick in June while he was away at school and later in the month for training with the reserves.  He wasn’t just sick with a cold, there were many times I thought my husband was dying.  I watched him wither away week by week as the weight fell off, as he refused food and began walking with a cane.  The cancer word was brought to the table and we panicked.  Thankfully after a few months, cancer was ruled out but something else come up on our radar, something we’ve never heard of before.  Sarcoidosis.  A lifelong illness with seasons of flareups and remissions…something else that our family would have to learn to live with and cope through.

As Steve’s health scare began something else ran along side, the increasing behaviour and difficulty with our son Logan.  We were unable to cope, we didn’t have the skills or knowledge to help him through this.  He became more violent, more demanding and much stronger.  We had to reach out for help, by whatever means necessary.  The means was to seek help from Family and Children’s services, and on August 19th our boy went into temporary care. 

My heart now beats in two places outside my home, one in Guelph with my daughter Abby and now with Logan here in Cambridge.  Things are far from settled for my boy, as we navigate the funding and permanent placement for our boy, I’m reminded again that I need to be strong and advocate hard for my son, just as I did for my daughter.  Our government does not make it easy for families with children who have special needs.  They assume we will back down, rescind and say you know what, its ok we’ll somehow manage through this crisis…but I refuse.  My kids are not pawns in a game, they are not a dollar figure, they are children and they need help, and our family needs help.  So I advocate, I push, I make noise. 

My prayer is that as our funding request goes again to the committee on January 6th, that they will see our family.  They will see that we are tired and overwhelmed and not just looking for a quick fix to get past the “waitlists”.  Our family has worked hard over the past 12 years, to bring our kids up in the best way we know how.  We are not looking to rid our home of autism, rather we are looking for a better life for our son which unfortunately and painfully, isn’t in our home.  Not without putting the other children at risk of being hurt, neglected and forgotten because of the demands of our other children.

Please join us in prayer.  We have written letters to our MPP with no response from his office (clearly won’t be getting my vote next election), we’re in contact with a child advocate.  Many people have suggested that we go to the media or other outlets, but I cannot put our family through that.  I’m not opposed to going there if need be but I do need to make sure that I protect my family as well. 

I will not say that 2014 is our year, instead I will say that God is in control. Ultimately whatever happens happens,and will somehow bring us closer as a family to God and to our children and to each other.  Please be patient because God isn’t finished with us yet.  Image

 

 

 

Giving Up

This is the Lenten season in the church.  As a pentecostal kid, I grew up not practising the Lent season but a few years ago Steve and I decided to observe the season and have been ever since.  Some years are better than others.  

This year Facebook got the boot out of my life.  I have realized just how much time Facebook stole of my life.  I spend more time with my family and less time with a computer in front of me.  I talk to friends instead of relying only on Facebook messages.  Most importantly, I am able to see God’s hand in my life.  I’m not distracted by posts, friends status’ or the random creeping of other people’s Facebook pages….don’t get all high and mighty I know you do it too!!!

I’m believing this Lenten season that God’s presence will be more and more visible in our lives. That we will be on the other side of this limited employment time in our lives.  That I will be more healthy and without pain.  

I have seen many cool things over the past few weeks that I wouldn’t have noticed simply because I was distracted by things in my life.  I pray that once this lent season is over that I will stay slowed down so that I will continue to see God’s hand in our lives and not let the distractions over run that again.

 

 

Solitude and Sacred Places

Image

 

This past Sunday the pastor of the church I attend spoke about disciplines that will make us better people, better christians.  The first instalment of the series was on “Solitude” and the importance of getting alone with God without any distractions.  As I listened to him very passionately share his message, I realized that was something I was missing here in Cambridge, my solitude and scared place with God.  

Where we lived in Meaford there was this quiet little park across the street from us.  It was a pretty remote park and it’s only play equipment was a swing set.  And the beach.  It was my spot.  When I needed to get away from life, from the craziness of our family life and my emotional ups and downs, I often retreated to the park. I reunited myself with my inner child while I flew through the air on the swing.  The seats were high enough off the ground that I never worried about hitting the ground, I could pump my legs freely and close my eyes and connect with God.  

There was something about the freedom of the swing that put everything out of my mind.  The wind would clear my head in no time.  I found that I was left quieted and would reflect on my life as God spoke very clearly to me.  It was a sacred time and I treated as that, no distractions.  It was me and God.  

As I listened to my pastor this Sunday I realized it was important for me to find my sacred spot here in Cambridge.  A place in nature, away from the distraction of busy roads, busy family, busy minds where I can connect with my inner self and allow God to meet me where I am.  I need to be intentional in this and my spot to reconnect with my creator.

Thankful

 

Image

 

Today I am thankful.  It’s the random things in life that make me most aware of God’s provision in my life, today is a day full of that randomness and blessing.

I had a job interview today for a great company, Naturally Clean, a residential cleaning company that uses only natural and organic materials to clean people’s homes.  As I met with her, I was left feeling excited about a new opportunity.  

Truth be told, it makes me feel like a bit of a hypocrite because my house is not tidy, it’s clean but certainly not tidy.  I often say I feel like Mr. Incredible from the movie “The Incredibles”…”I just cleaned up this mess, can’t you keep it clean for 5 minutes?!”.  But I love a clean and tidy house.  When we lived in Meaford and our kids were younger, we had someone in to clean our house and I remember what a great feel it was to come home to the fresh clean smell and look of our home.  I love that I get to provide that for someone else.

Then later on Justus and I headed out to Walmart.  He needed his glasses fixed and we decided we’d grab a pizza for supper.  (Please remind me to NEVER go to Walmart at 4 PM on a Saturday.)  Thankfully the glasses were fixed in no time and we were headed off to grab the pizza.  Justus took the one he wanted off the shelf and we were off to wait in line, for a very long time, it was at least 20 minutes that we stood there and waited.  Can I just say it’s really unfair to kids (and parents) to have candy in the checkout aisles? I listened to Justus ask and ask for candy and tried best to explain that we just didn’t have the money for that this week.  I’m not against buying him something when he’s been as good as he had been at the store, but the truth is we don’t have the extra cash for much these days.  

The woman in front of us must’ve heard our conversations because as she was checking out she had taken a kinder surprise egg off the shelf and paid for it.  As she was leaving she turned around and handed it to Justus and commended him for being such a great well-behaved boy.  Ya I know, it’s a dollar but I got choked up none the less.  She showed such kindness and Justus knew it, she touched his soul.  He even shared his egg with the family and didn’t take it all for himself.  

The photo above is of my “Jar of Blessing”.  I saw the idea posted on Facebook from Pinterest.  I knew it was something I had to do.  I get so focused on what I think God isn’t doing for us that I lose sight of the “little” things and not so little things that God provides.  This jar has helped me focus and be more aware of the provisions in our life, to be thankful for all that has been provided for us.  

Here we are 5 days into the year and already my jar has a lot of papers inside, enough that I really don’t think that there will be enough room for the 360 days left in the year.  I’m already excited to look through them all next New Year’s Eve.  I can’t imagine how overwhelming and inspiring it will be.  I’m thinking of compiling them into some sort of project, whether it’s writing or some other sort of art type project but I know that I will want to acknowledge this year in some way.

Pinching Pennies

I have been thinking on this a lot lately, to say that things have been tight financially around here would be a fair assumption.  “Pinching pennies” is to be frugal with your money, to keep a tighter budget, to be careful with where your money goes.  But pinching is difficult, it hurts, it can take effort to hold on to the pennies. Pinch can be used in nautical terms to slow down a boat by either raising all the sails or dragging an oar or used as slang meaning to steal.

These days I’m pinching pennies, life circumstances have brought us to the place we are.  I had planned for this and life got in the way, life stole away my pennies, my nest egg, my comfort bubble.  Now we are in this unknown territory and we just got dropped off, I’m still learning my way.

Our spending was out of control, when I look back over our spending habits I shudder because I realize only now how far ahead we’d be if I’d just been more frugal then…but life pinched us, it slowed us down, it’s slowed our money down.  And it’s difficult to get used to the waters in which we find ourselves right now.

But God is faithful.  Slowing down has humbled my pride.  Slowing down has allowed me to see how much God has worked together for good.  I find myself strangely at peace through it all, a deep peace knowing God will take care of us.  Even though right now it seems impossible, I know God will provide for us in ways we do not see.

Someone reminded me lately that perhaps I just needed to learn how to trust and rely God more, then our pastor spoke one Sunday about importance vs urgency and the way we live our life and realized perhaps I do have a lesson to learn.

The greatest danger is allowing the urgent things to crowd out the important things.” Charles Hummel- The Tyranny of the Urgent

Image

I’ve realized that I’ve allowed all the urgent things in my life control in how I’ve spent my money.  I’ve realized just how much my pride had crept up and choked my life.  By focusing on the urgent things, I’ve forgotten to allow God into my life to be my provider, I’d allowed myself to think that I was ultimately in control. But focusing on the urgent I forgot what was most important, God.

So now I wait and see where these waters are flowing, to see which way I will go.  I’m trusting and relying on the important things in life, pinching pennies, letting go and letting God.

2013

New Years Day; a fresh year ahead of us with endless possibilities.  As a family we’ve entered the year in flux.  We’ve entered the year relying more on God than we ever have before in terms of meeting our immediate needs.  It’s is both humbling and difficult and yet very freeing as well.  As we rely more on God, our faith grows deeper every day, my faith grows deeper.  It’s not a particularly easy place to be and yet I’m at peace knowing that our lives are so much more meaningful and blessed when we allow God to direct us.

We come into 2013 feeling sure of things that we hope for.  As we seek God’s direction in our lives, we’re excited for the prospects and the things that we feel God is calling us to.  For Steve, it’s the start of “Hope’s Reason”, a ministry that is in its infancy stage.  For me, it may be another mission trip.  Steve will continue to work towards his doctorate, I hope to continue my studies beginning again in September.  It is a time to get to know each other again, to minister together again in some capacity, to allow our lives to shine the love of God to those around us.

Of course today becomes a day of resolutions and changes that we hope to aspire to for the new year.  I usually fail at those resolutions by noon on Jan 1st.  I’ve resolved to not make a resolution.  Instead I will continue on with my life, growing and changing into the woman God has created me to be.  I will strive to be a good steward with the blessings that God has given me: my life (physical, emotional and spiritual), my husband, my children, our finances, our home; and I will count my blessings and name them one by one.

My prayer is that God will bless your lives richly and that the Love of God will surround you and sustain you both in times of need and of abundance.

Image