An Age of Beauty

This may surprise you. But I have been chosen many-a-time as the subject for portraits. I think it’s my daringly romantic life style. No perhaps my authentic charm? I clearly cannot be the judge in the matter, I fear my pride may be more outspoken than my humble imperturbable self.

But I say, let the art speak for me.

Upon hearing I, their star subject, was nearing a new age (er…hem, my birthday) I found myself (yet again) attracting fine Artists in the area.

The first portrait shows not only my exquisite choice in clothing and fashionable hair accessories, but my athletic abilities as well. Specificity my balance and natural climbing dexterity.

You will notice how the above artist portrayed my hair. It’s actually quite a common occurrence that artists relish in my roof top straight cocoa hair.

Look here

And here

Do I lie? Also here…

I think I’m most often penciled in my triangular wardrobe. It brings out my figure.

Although one artist choose to draw attention to my other superb fashion choice- my shoes. And so for clarity and accentuate-ability they forgo my clothing in order to draw the viewers eyes to my feet… and my shoe like nose.

This was titled “Wearing Shoes to the Garden” with my son also wearing… shoes. I think this one shows an aspect of true living, in that my morning hair has perhaps a bit less of its normal peak.

But I’m not drawn only for my famed beauty. I’m also quite a sight to behold in action (Were you even surprised?).

You may have difficulties spotting me as battle tactics required me to use caution in standing out from my fellow comrades. Allow my acclaimed hand at a canon and renowned aim be your clue.

And so dear reader, I leave it to you to be the judge as to the WHY of my appearance in so many Art pieces.

But I find myself truly honoured, to be so loved that I am drawn, that I’m quite unaffected by your opinion.

I write this to you, the evening of my birthday were upon I find my self so incredibly blessed.

Artists, Elise D, Samuel D, Silas D, Jonas D, Pearl C.

To the Cabin

The kids and I drove out last minute, after an appointment, right around dinner time, to meet my parents at our recently purchased family cabin. Only to stay one night and drive home the next evening. We concluded some time was better than none at all.

There was so much forest, as we drove deeper into it you could feel the worlds social grip sliding away. At the cabin there was no running water or electricity- which is deliciously rustic, and puts outdated candles in their glory. Wax dripping over the edge of bottles and candle light flickering on the wall. A lantern hanging over the kitchen table that we all played a game of dominoes under in its light. We were cozy and warm with the little pot belly stove burning bright in the middle of the main room. So warm we cracked open the porch door, and took turns dancing on the deck putting on a good show for the kitchen onlookers. The wind howled and it poured rain that night. Our only night. But we were as warm as toast, the boys even threw off their pj shirts and squirmed excitedly in the bunks. And I loved sleeping next to a fire.

The next day was full of simple adventures that were beautiful and relaxing. A burn pile, discoveries, walks, lunch on the dock, and naps. The kids adored the time with their Grandparents. So even tho it was quite a bit of driving for one night and one day- that in its self was completely worth it.

The lake was still frozen, but it’s shores roared with vibrant green coniferous trees, and the sun beat down. I could picture summer. I could hear the kids jumping off the dock and floating about in inner-tubes. I settled in my mind to try to swim the lake to the other side. Standing there with dreams of summer, I felt peace. Tinged with excitement for the days to come. I found the forest and vast spaces of the wilderness and lake gave me perspective. Sometimes I get caught up in all the conversations of life, the worries of friends, and all the things I’m trying to do. But then I get away, even for a day, where it’s so quite the groans and creaks of the bony old trees fill the woods with sound. Where everything is coming back alive after seemingly dead all winter. And I remember how powerful my God of hope is. How the caretaker of the wood and water thawing and coming to life is- GOOD. That his love for us is vast, wide and deep. More so than the heights of the treed mountains or the depths of the cool lakes floor.

He’s got this.

Everything.

Life.

Lets rest in his capable care, and open our eyes to all the good things He’s doing. And even if it’s only an hour, (doesn’t have to be a day away!) maybe you can find some woods and get a fresh perspective.

Addicted to Homemade

I realized this morning (as I made two different pie fillings from scratch) what a struggle it is for me to get away from making things myself and to just buy it.

When I decide “I’m going to save myself the work this time and just buy the thing already made”, it somehow is never quite that straight forward. First of all, I have the homemade version coursing out of my taste buds and burning in my mind, so nothing on the store shelf looks, well, like it should. I start reading labels.

Note: If you are trying to make a transition from homemade to store bought NEVER read the labels!

But it can’t be helped. I’m already thinking things like how is there this much crap in here? I make this with like 4 ingredients. I could easily make this with half that amount of sugar! And what even is Acetylated Monoglycerides?

I’m drifting dangerously close to resolving to just go home and make it. I give my head a shake and scan the price of the item I’m holding. It burns me like a hot potato and I nearly drop it on the floor. What?! I could definitely make this for less… and my mind starts calculating the cost of real ingredients. Stop it! Your doing it!

And just like that, I’ve ditched the notion of buying the pre-made product and am I’m off buying the one or two ingredients I don’t already own at home. Feeling pretty stinking satisfied with myself that I’m not only going to be saving my family from evil 14 letter ingredients, but a few bucks as well. Somehow the time it was going to save me by purchasing it already made slips from my brain and is replaced with my familiar friend

Thrifty.

Closely related to Homemade.

But every now and then I survive all those steps, and just close my eyes and grasp what I need off the shelf. I try to numb the knowledge of the ingredients and prices by making it a quick grab and move right along.

This happened yesterday at the grocery store.

I’m making homemade danishes for an charity auction, and I really don’t need to make 3 pie fillings from scratch for their centres. I don’t love constant stirring over the stove, it’s too unimaginative.

Problem is- I must have literally had my eyes closed because when I got out the fillings last night it was followed by a groan. Both of the boxes not only needed things like separated eggs and milk (am I paying $4.99 for cornstarch and flavouring?), but they also came with long detailed time consuming instructions. With lots of stirring over the stove🙄! My eyes then spotted a coconut on my vanilla filling, and slid over to the products name. Coconut Pie filling. “Nooooooo!” Well, at least I have a lemon one. So why is their a lime on that box? Yep, Key Lime Pie. My husbands flipping the boxes around at the counter with a smirk and cheeky sparkle in his eye, “didn’t you even READ? It says the name right on the box…. Both of them.”

I snatch the boxes from him and mumble about them being in the vanilla section with all the other vanillas and the lime one right next to the lemon ones. And suddenly freak out wondering what on earth my canned “cherry” filling actually is. After unloading half my cupboard I’m convinced I never even put it in the cart, when I finally find it next to the beans. Thank God, It’s Cherry.

I need the other two fillings today.

So you see, even when I try to just buy pre-made, I’m busy making homemade. Because driving into town with 4 kids sounds like more work then sitting at the stove stirring (which apparently I’d be doing anyways).

Driving to get something I forgot or because I got the wrong thing is OFTEN my reason for discovering how to make something homemade and save myself a trip. (One year amid making homemade gingerbread houses, we ran right out of icing sugar to make icing, and it turns out icing sugar is just blended white sugar with cornstarch!)

And guess what?

I made lemon and blueberry filling in about an unfocused half hour and they were cheap and simple 😊

and so now

I’ll probably always have to make pie fillings, because of all above said reasons.

And they turned out pretty tasty too.

Some of the Things We Love Better Homemade:

  • Bread (for the most most part. Best dollar I’ve ever spent was my breadmaker at a thrift store. Fresh focaccia for about 10 mins of effort? Yes please.)
  • Jam (so easy to throw a little fruit in a pot- my kids even make it! We use chia seeds to thicken and only a couple Tbs sugar)
  • Muffins (we love extra fruit ones)
  • Lasagna (the more you make it the more efficient you get)
  • Cookies, cakes, pies, squares, pancakes (I do love baking, and it doesn’t have an after taste baked with pronounceable ingredients)
  • Cheese sauce ( 100s of dinners thank me for learning this)
  • Granola (not all recipes are the same, some are fantastically easy)
  • Pita pockets (entertainment for the kids, and soft and STRETCHY… not dry and crummy)
  • Dried fruit (ALWAYS better. Why are the stores coated in sugar!?)
  • Puddings and custards (a win for cornstarch)
  • Apple sauce (purée with the skins for fibre no one knows is there! Instead of sugar add cinnamon for a sweeter flavour)
  • Soup (raised on the stuff- keeping the tradition running strong)
  • Pizza ( breadmaker dough, and what-ever-our-hearts desire toppings. Yes even last nights stir fry)
  • Gravy (just the old fashioned good stuff… or organic bouillon paste)

And more.

Some things truly are easier/ better to just buy. And there is NO comparison to Campbells tomato soup. But what are some things you simply love homemade and can’t go back to bought? Do you also love some of my above list?

Blessings! And happy food making.

All About… Beans?

I buy beans, in dried form, in large bags. It’s one of those tricks you learn when you have a lot of kids and try to make food go a little further. It made me feel pretty super cooking my own beans.

If you follow the simple directions on the back of the package, your winning and things are simple and straight forward. Problem is- your suppose to soak those beans all night.

There’s really isn’t anything complicated about that. Beans, pot, LID (made that mistake once) and a lot of water (as they’re thirsty, dried up little buggers).

Except that I usually forget come night. I’m usually winding down from my shift of… using my brain.

My beans might sit dried in their store bought bags for a month as I nightly forget to soak them.

Turns out, there is a remedy to this problem. You just cook them oh-so-long and no one knows the difference.

K, well, except all who enter your home that day.

It’s like the fart that just wont quit. The kids keep entering the kitchen starting the question, “who let one?!….. oh, never mind…. BEANS.”

Yep.

Today Elise asked me if there wasn’t a perfume spray or something we could use.

I probably smelled like an armpit when I dropped and picked her up from her gymnastics class.

As well as forgetfulness, I often struggle with another problem that seems to arise whilst cooking beans. Its my Efficiency Expert Training. Or at least that’s what I call it on good days when it works well for me. Other days, like today, it appears in the form of Lazy Mans Poor Choice Shortcuts.

Have you ever read Cheaper by the Dozen? Well if you haven’t its a true story of a family with 12 kids. The Father has a JOB as an Efficiency Expert. He goes into businesses and helps them cut out useless tasks, and do things in an order that will help their business be more cost effective and efficient. Get stuff done, for less money and time. He also applies may of his skills at home with his dozen kids.

Sounding good eh?

My Mother was an Efficiency Expert. She did things like wash an army of muddy garden carrots in the washing machine. Or make a funnel out her window that went straight into her compost bin. She never sorted the cutlery, but stored it all face up in a vase so you knew what weapon your grabbing.

So I come by it honestly.

Some days it’s gloriously inventive. Impresses the socks of my impatient self. Others it’s darn right lazy and disastrous. And ends up being MORE work.

Right. Beans.

If you take the time to get out your colander, you just dump the cooked beans and boiling water into the colander in the sink. Or you scratch that step, grab your pot with large oven mitts, tilt it over the sink and pour your liquid through the perfect size slot you made by slightly sliding the lid ajar.

Then as your kid starts your vehicle for you so you can take her to gymnastics- you’ve got two minutes or you’re gonna be late. Suddenly you find yourself scooping an entire pot worth of beans out of your lunch dishes and the sink. Stupid oven mitts! Stupid sliding Not-So-Perfect crack! You draw a crowd of worried onlookers (teaching kids life lessons here) and focus on the fact everything was submerged in boiling water and is probably totally edible after a good rinse…. in the colander.

Why do I always feel like I accepted defeat when I use the colander? It feels like…… I lost and had to get a parent to come help me… sheesh maybe I need kitchen therapy.

Once your beautiful beans are cooked. Reserve what you need for the recipe (that I most likely am not going to follow, ) and then dump them on a cookie tray to freeze. They will break apart easily and can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer and poured into any other meals as you need them later.

No don’t just freeze them from warm in a bag.

Hammering the frozen bean cluster against the counter top only draws a crowd (kids again wondering what on earth your doing) and rips the bag in more ways you thought possible. Nobody can eat THAT many beans at once. So just take my word for it.

Freeze on a flat tray and transfer. Expert speaking here.

I hope this doesn’t make you NOT want to try cooking your own beans! Honestly they are a fantastic fiber, protein… or um whatever healthy thing they are. And you can cook so many more things with them on hand. Makes chilli a heck of a lot cheaper too.

To win you back, incase I chased you away from the idea,

Here is what I’m making for dinner tonight.

Of course I don’t really follow the recipe- but it’s nice to have a starting point. I make my own seasoning, add cilantro to everything I can, 2 extra cups of beans (I have them, I might as well put them to use) and just use marble cheese that I go ahead and shred myself.

Some how I wrote a whole post on beans.

Since I have them on hand, what’s your favourite bean dish? Or just one that fills the spot, isn’t too time consuming, and has a max of two dirty pots?

Yours truly,

Efficiency Expert (in Training )

Tracks

IMG_4203

We’d just finished a “Containers of Leftovers” buffet and were amid the kayos of trying to do the morning chores (that were abandoned for leaving for church early), unloading the groceries, cleaning up the lunch, finding the coat room, and as always putting those sneaky toys back where they belong. When Sam popped in from outside and asked, “you guys wanna go to Claymine?”

Aka snow wheeling through a pass near our place.

Somehow, like a puzzle- beginning in grand disorder but piece by piece transforming into a picture- the house returned (mostly) to the home we all know and love. The kids all had two mitts, matching boots and snow gear relatively fastened, and were loaded into the Toyota. I had time to grab a mug of tea, and joined them.

Turns out we had beat the family we were meeting, so we drove out to meet them at the pass itself. Parked at the start, we were just in time to see the golden sun sinking behind the horizon. I hopped out into the foot deep snow, tried to catch a couple shots of it’s disappearing glory with my canon, and breathed in the sharp winter air. The sun’s glow lit up the trees just right, and with the little snow drifts tucked near their feet- the forest looked friendly.

IMG_0008 (2)

I climbed back in the cab. The old rattle trap truck hummed and shook two kids asleep. Sam’s travel mug that rested in the curve of his steering wheel spun from the trucks vibrations, and the stick shifts numbers and letters blurred as they danced about in idle. My three year old breathed softly, asleep, cuddled against me.

And all 6 of us just sat. Together.

Our friends ended up coming and we enjoyed venturing (further than planned) with them. Even got out and rolled about in the snow with all the kids.

Back in the truck, we laughed at the chattering coming from our youngest

“There’s baby bearses in the fields”,

“I’ll tell you when I see the horses tiny feets in the snow, OK Dad?”

We kept a look out for tracks. We tried to guess the animals from their unique prints left in the perfect canvas of fresh snow. And laughed when the “probably a cow” tracks clearly WEREN’T- As they had started bounding.

As we bumped along together through a tangle of forest on a white fluffy carpet rolled out before us. I felt so wonderfully content. I reached over and squeezed Sam’s hand.

Then suddenly I found myself reflecting on something profound I had heard earlier that morning. That I had never heard before. From someone wise and has 43 some-odd-years of marriage under her belt.

That quality couple time for some couples can just be

Time together. Without even talking.

I realized sometimes I try to fit our relationship in with what I hear your supposed to do to have a great marriage. With what works for other marriages.

But what this lady said was SO true for us. But I’d never heard was ok. Cause were not that “long walks and heart to heart talks” couple.

And I got thinking. Just as every person is different, so is every marriage. And so are the ways we show our love. Looking for love in a way it isn’t shown is frustrating and leaves hurt. But looking for loves footsteps, finding its tracks, recognizing its patterns- takes

time

and isn’t going to look like other people’s…

But it’s there. So beautifully there. And when not bombarded by the worlds comparisons-

You wouldn’t choose it any other way.

It can be easy to slip into wondering why your spouse doesn’t do what so and so’s does, and allow the question “does that mean they don’t love me as much?” slide to mind.

But ACK! Don’t.

Instead search for loves tracks, they’re probably in places you haven’t been looking. They might not be words, but actions. Or choices, or helps. Perhaps a look or touch. Maybe even a correction or a shove in a tricky direction. Sometimes maybe you hear it, sometimes maybe you see it, sometimes maybe you feel it, and other times you just need to know it. Remind yourself.

And while your looking for loves tracks on the canvas of a life together- leave some behind.

Small Town Rednecks

We were invited by friends to go see some fireworks Saturday night. There was an add with a little picture of stacked unlit firecrackers in a row, and a small blurb about the MacLeese fire department putting it on.

NOTHING led on to what we were about to see.

As we drove what turned out to be an hour out of town, I even wondered if these little town fireworks would be worth the drive.

Then from the dark stretch of highway we saw a line of vehicles pulling off onto a little dirt road. We followed. The road literally took us into what felt like the middle of no where. When the dust of all the cars we followed cleared, we saw what looked like a snake of vehicles heading to a lit bridge. Or so we thought. As we drew near we saw it was no bridge, but a road made of beacons, torches with flames leaping from them set out in a field. A firefighter with a boot for donations told us to be sure to park and get out to the fire pits “for the full experience.”

Crossing through harvested corn we reached a large crowd of people. The night was cat black and held a suspenseful slight breeze. I grew excited as I saw the size of the fire pits groups of people were standing around. This is crazy! I thought. But boy oh boy- I hadn’t seen anything yet.

With some loud cracks the fireworks began.

But then the cracks came from behind us. I whirled around as more came from my other side. Fireworks lit the sky in explosions- they were flying over head! We were surrounded! Through burst of light we could see people circling us in the field. We roared with excitement.

Then shouts and cheers alert us of a guy on the hill. He’s dousing a burning trail with gasoline. Big circles of golden flames burn in the grass… but he keeps walking closer. Not to us, but to a boat parked ontop of the hill. It’s filled with cardboard boxes. Like Santa’s water sleigh. The flames reach the boat, billowing and swelling, reaching for the trees. Everyone around us is simply ecstatic. I feel like a kid that sees their first crash- to- pass. I can’t stop saying what I’m seeing, “did you see that!?” As though everyone around me wasn’t watching the same thing. Then fireworks exploded from the boat and people behind it start having a war with Roman candles.

It’s pure madness.

How is this even allowed? My cheeks ached with all their grinning. And every time we thought it was over

it would start up again.

Then it grew quiet. But it was like that grand moment of suspense before the crescendo of the finale. Fingers began to point. “Look!”

Like the Trojan horse of the Romans there stood a massive towering statue of boxes. He was the height of a two story building looming in the darkness.

The BOX MAN.

“He’s like a robot!” One of my kids breathed.

“They’re lighting him on fire!”

Burning boxes broke off the statue and fell to the ground like chunks of a volcano.

The kids giggled as it looked like he was left in only his underwear.

With a sudden BANG! The Box Mans hands shot forth spears of light.

“He’s shooting lasers!” The boys shouted over the roaring crowds.

Then it was done. The Box Man’s head still burned and the boxes at his feet. We all talked at once. Awed and thrilled by the spectacular experience.

Like the short circuits in a real robot, random fireworks wizzed sporadically from the box mans can head, and we could only guess there were some crackers buried in the tin of wax. The crowds began to pull away. With a few last glances, we headed towards the vehicles, where a snaking train of lights formed from vehicles winding their way back out.

Out from this place,

where guys dreams are a reality,

And somehow allowed to take place.

The kids excitedly talked in the back seat claiming the could have watched the show till morning and never even feel the least bit tired. “Box Man” and “boat” rolled off their lips… and then only the sound of tires on pavement could be heard.

I squeezed Sams hand, “guess they’re all asleep.” And we drove home.

Just off the Beaten Path

Wednesday of this week I dropped my daughter off at gymnastics and had time to spend with just the boys. After an errand, I told them we were going to go for a little walk on the river walk, just to the Medal Caterpillar and then back. It wasn’t far- so they were game. We parked where our town has a large medal steam shovel and the boys groaned and physically itched at the sign telling them not to play or climb on it. I’d ignore the sign, but that particular sign (on that side) was literally put there for us. A year ago my kids were all over the twelve foot structure, dangling from every limb when we drew the attention of a stressed city employee. I told the truth when I explained that I hadn’t see the sign on the other side of the structure…. and… well now there are two signs. One on each side. And I’m very aware of both.

It’s a deep loss for my kids and they grieve it upon every visit.

So after passing said grieving site, we came on the next medal structure- A pump and broiler. “It has no NO PLAY signs!” Sammy squealed. “Right?” He can’t read all the words but the one sign looked way friendlier and the sign was clearly up high. The “No play” signs tend to be down low. “Can we mom?!”

So while the boys climbed on the broiler, I gazed out at the river beyond the path I was on. I saw people down by the water in the distance. I called to the boys and we stepped off the path. We wandered down across a lawn and through some bushes to the rivers shore. We made our way along the rocks talking about all sorts of boy things and just enjoying the incredible fresh views.

We worked our way from the Frazer river shore over to the aqua waters of the Quesnel river where we noticed the river rock size changed.

We even made it in time to watch the train rumble it’s way over the tracks.

And all I could think of as we explored and were smitten with the beauty around us- is how many times I’ve walked that path and never done this.

Then today as we wound our way home along a path we often take through the woods, we took a deer path we’d tried, but oh so long ago, and found a old dump site. We’d looked down the wreckage of cars and dumped pails in that pit before- but today we followed Jonas and Sammy down into it. To explore.

Treasures are all in the eyes of the beholder. My kids excitedly brought each one they found to me for approval of its value. When they started pleading to bring their rusty treasures home, I directed their enthusiasm to building a drum kit that we could come play. Right here. In the woods. We could even bring our friends to show. And oddly enough I, the adult, was the only one who came out of there with a rusted treasure I wanted to bring home… an old lantern.

And then like a mix between Sound of Music and the Trashing the camp song from Tarzan- my babies were playing me beats. With good old fashioned imaginations and a pit of treasures.

To think if we hadn’t veered of the path yet again we would have missed it all. I struggle with just doing things thinking “because they worked good once, let’s just do it again.” Also with finding safety in what I know. But there is something in me keen for adventure, and every now and then it convinces the safe predictable side of me to step off the beaten path. To go somewhere on a whim, pull over on the side of the road and go see, try something tricky, or new, or listen to a crazy kid suggestion.

Adventure doesn’t always have to be something you have to save money for. Sometimes it’s just stepping out of normal.

Like who rides a sled down a sand hill?

Um we do.

The very top picture of this blog is a sign I managed to create for our kitchen this week. It’s a reminder to me to look for life’s adventures and say “yes” to them. And to trust that God’s got so much more for those willing to step off the beaten path and trust Him with all the unknowns.

Gus

Meet Gus Gus. Our new adorable kitten.

My wonderful husband, much to our dismay, really disliked cats. We were given one shortly after we were married in 2008 and for all the smiles it brought me, it WAS a rather odd cat. It was cow coloured, large and came with the name MOO. I called it once from the porch (in my pregnant state) “Moo! Moo! Moo!” And vowed I would never again call the cat that name. I would not have the neighbors thinking I was a cow. So I named it Lou, as it was close sounding. Without going into great detail, however, the cat earned the name Lucifer from my hubby. And after the birth of my first, we gave the cat away.

And so began 9 years of “No cat”.

Sam could not be moved. Not even in the direction of other pets. In desperation the kids and I found some solstice in naming and caring for our chickens. But loving food and producers of food in that way…. well can be pretty hard. And sad. We knew we shouldn’t give them names and pet them, watch and laugh at their crazy antics… love them. But the children’s little hearts desired so deeply to care for a pet, and I longed to let them care for one.

Well let me tell you something about desires. There is someone who hears them. Someone who specializes in heart changing, the impossible, and the hopeless causes. God.

Yes, the kids and I called in the Big guy. Our friend that hears and does what no pleading can ever do- change Dad’s heart. We started praying.

I had hope. I just didn’t think it could be SO good. I thought maybe God would bring a stray to our door, and maybe Sam would let us keep it if we promised it would stay outside and that it would be no bother- he would barely know it existed.

After a few months went by, on September 28th I read Psalm 37:4 before bed

” Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

The next morning when I begged Sam to tell me what he bought our daughter for her birthday the words

“A cat.”

came from his lips.

(I may have said “shut up” and hit him.)

But it was true. He laughed at me in my utter joy and shock.

No stray. He choose us a pet.

I love my Jesus. Listener of little desires and big. He’s no gene- he’s a loving, all-capable,  giver of the great.

And I love my husband. Everything’s about him is an adventure- even the ways he loves. He’s one of the best gifts God blessed me with. And is such an awesome Dad.

So here’s our PET. Gus. He plays and the kids still haven’t grown tired of it. He purs and cuddles and keeps our only daughter company at night.

And daily reminds us just how wonderful Gods gifts are.

 

Top left: Wonder where the cat is?

Two Big Questions

Ok so I’ve got two big questions for you.

Number one:

Is this not the cutest owl?

Don’t feel too bad, I had to be told it was an owl too. He might possibly have a hard time getting in his car… poor owl.

Number Two:

Don’t most siblings make ridiculously random competitions? Seriously, my husbands family (he has 7 siblings) STILL do this every time we hang out with them. And I have all brothers… 4 to be precise. Half our life’s adventures started with the sentence

“Bet you can’t do this!”

Here’s my kids the other night,

And yes, we eat lemon juice on our fish sticks.

And can you tell the bottle has been dropped? That’s the sacrifice one is willing to take when getting a 3-year-old to set the table.

(I also feel like justifying that we’re eating processed frozen food… but don’t we all have those days? Wait… don’t answer that or I’ll have to change my post to 3 big questions.)

Both these random questions originate from the normal ongoings of our household. My fridge sheds pictures like the autumn trees do leaves, and my children are often challenging eachother to perfectly useless uses of their skills. But every now and then I actually notice it.

I’ll look down at the art in my lap and not just say what I say to the million that pass through my hands. Or stop and film their crazy antics because one day dinner will be way too quiet and boring. And realize how full life is with little gifts if I just notice and remember to be thankful. It’s downright easy to fill my mind with annoyances, but my whole being fills with peace when I let all my blessings sink in. And the blessings are right there, always before me- if I only just look with eyes of gratefulness.

Happy Thanksgiving you crazy lot. Hope your eyes see more than turkey this weekend, and your filled with more than food.

Thankfulness is a choice,

and it’s worth seeing.

When the Well Ain’t so Well

I don’t think we even realize how much water we use in a day. I know I didn’t. And I didn’t find out by going on some Save-the-earth, Think-of-the-water, Minimalistic, “What would it be like??” kick.

Our property’s Well stopped working.

I was pleasantly surprised when our plummer friend, Rob, pulled up in the driveway shortly after I’d phoned Sam at work explaining the situation. That was fast…

Sadly though, it wasn’t gonna be a quick fix. He had to give me the report that nothing INSIDE was broken… meaning something deep down in the Well was.

A nearly 300 feet deep Well.

So while we waited for the Well guys to call us back, the kids and I carried water from the neighbors. The first few days. Till my kind neighbor suggested hooking our garden hoses together and basically saved my poor body from elongated arms.

Before said idea, however, (when we were still carrying/ pulling in the wagon buckets of water… ) I’d managed to carry two 5 gallon buckets down the road in one go and help the kids with theirs in the wagons. Then lifted all 5 pails and a Rubbermaid bin of water up onto the porch.

The kids had left a doozy in the toilet, so I slugged one pail through the house and into the washroom. I began pouring it quickly into the back of the toilet as my arms were really done. The satisfaction from a job well done however, drained from my face as I watched the water drain away…

the toilet handle was stuck down.

Really??

I dropped the pail to the floor and groaned… It’s bad enough ONE flush is half a bucket, but there goes a good two.

I instantly felt for people in less fortunate countries who carry water daily as a way of everyday life.

The other struggle I was faced with was when I reminded the kids to not flush for just pee as they’d head into the bathroom.
“I won’t!” They call as they pass you, crazed by your ridiculous reminding.

Then WOOSHhhhhhh!!!!!!

and a head pops out the door.
I squint- eyes narrowing.

“Oooopppppps! Sorry Mom! I didn’t mean too!”

And I slug in another bucket.
(It’s the years of drilling “did you flush?” into their little minds- it’s like an animal instinct now; right up there with migrating. Except for the youngest, of course, pretty much still just working on general AIM with that one.)

If my career as a Homeschool Mom doesn’t pan out- I could always take up Pun-comics right?

I recently came back from a 5 day camping trip, which I felt had prepared me for this situation. You know- stinking and living unhygienic.
No actually, for washing dishes in minimal amounts of water, using paper towels for grease, leaving things in the rain, and capitalizing on baby wipes (what? I told you it wasn’t a save-the-earth kick).

Things camping didn’t prepare me for, was cooking meals like homemade pizza and the insane amounts of dishes that dinner requires . Or two kids puking, a bed wetting, and having to see actual CLEAN people in my “camp” state.

Let me assure you though- things really didn’t go so bad. In fact, I never got to feeling “crazed”or “desperate”. My kind neighbors beside us we so compassionate, they graciously lent us buckets, hoses, a hand, and their water whenever we wanted. A friend a street over let me use her shower one night, while other friends prayed. And running water really wasn’t too life changing, where as electricity, or heat, would have been so much harder. SOooo thankful it didn’t happen in the winter too.

Also, 3 of our off-road friends came over Friday and Saturday to help Sam yard up the cables and pipe with his truck, winch, and engine hoist. Because those well guys Sam kept calling?- never had time. And as fun as camping is and not doing laundry for a week, the time had come.

Getting the pump above ground and back into it was stressful with just Sam and I. But actually pretty fun with friends. At one point Sams magnetic beer holder fell in the well and Sam’s head came up drinking the last of it. His friend Alex was also flung over the well when the hoist took a lunge from some tape getting wedged into the spinning spool. And when we reached really inconvenient knots in the rope being winched up, before we knew it Robs volunteered. He’s the tie-down supporting the whole works with his body while Sam un-clips, switches, ties new knots, and loops. Our friend Teela worked and rewound the winch, and her and I both drove the truck.

Of course the very best was the purr of that new motor,

and water reaching me “un-carried”.

And knowing God takes REALLY good care of us. Not just blessing us with running water, but with awesome friends and neighbors. And per usual

So many things to be thankful for.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of just how good we’ve got it.