Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thoughts on Judgementalism

I have met a great many people whilst living on planet earth. Although there are many, many who I love, trust, and enjoy, there is not ONE with whom I agree whole heartedly. Being in relationship requires a certain amount of "majoring in the majors, and minoring in the minors", and at all times, making love your greatest aim. Does that mean that we should keep the peace at any cost and never risk confrontation? Not if we desire authenticity, and at times, not if we truly (with a heart full of love) want to warn a friend of heading into potentially dangerous territory.

Having said that, there are times when I have observed confrontation, and sensed the underlying attitude to be one of superiority, or fear. Fear that one's own belief system is being challenged. Fear that if we don't all think in the same way, that some of us will be horribly, dreadfully wrong- and that with dire consequences. There is a sense of urgency- that upon closer observation, appears to be clothed in impatience, irritation, and even anger.

Love, on the other hand, is patient and kind. Love withholds judgement. Love looks beyond the immediate, and searches for deeper meaning, different motivation. Love waits for an oppurtune time, a ripe moment when the Spirit whispers and one can speak into the life of the one you love, without the complication of a personal agenda. Love listens first, fully engaged, with both eyes and ears open. Love is just as interested in what the transgressor thinks and believes as they are passionate about their own belief.

A heart full of love breaks and aches at the thought of hurting another. Pain is not the intent, or the desire. There is no satisfaction in being right. There is humility in place of superiority.

When a person changes, or turns away from something destructive, I rarely hear of them commending the condemner, or crediting them with being the impetus for change. Again, I am not suggesting that we confront people, or urge them to pursue change so that we can later feel vindicated and appreciated. What I am suggesting is that true and lasting change instead grows from seeds of kindness, from a willingness to hear another as much as we desire to be heard, from a desire that was birthed out of a love that casts out fear.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Meeeeeeeee--OW !!!!!!!

Buttocks lift? Hopeless. Silicone implants? WAAAAAy too much loose skin to fill. Liposuction? Forgot to clean out our central vac system. How about we just punch a few holes?

I have had four epidurals, this should be a snap. After, I'll still be able to sleep through the night.

My new body piercing artist. (Like I've ever had one before!) Stacy Klassen; PussyCat Piercing (And no, I'm not kidding!)

(It was easier to hide the truth from you readers than it will be to hide the truth from my mother...)

Hmmmm Jane, how about for your eleventh birthday we get you this cute tattoo of a froggy? Or how about this one of a dead guy?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Like Tits On a Bull

I may as well move to Uganda with my big brother; that's about how useful I feel with this whole brother-dying-of-cancer ordeal that is constantly in my face.

It would FEEL so much better if I could reassure myself with thoughts of how helpful I'd been to Ken, or how many meaningful times and conversations we'd had as brother and sister, or how I'd taken care of his kids and bills so that he'd have more time to spend with his wife.

But, this is so very humbling. It just hurts, and there is no immediate balm to soothe the rawness.

There is no lack of love, no lack of true hope, of tears, and of good intentions.
But in my humanness, it just feels about as useful as tits on a bull.

Monday, August 28, 2006

What Did Me In

It wasn't :

*the 20 yards of sand tracked in from the sandbox
*the state of the kitchen and bathroom sinks (and floors,walls and towels) after millions of killer water balloons were manufactured
*the nerve of those who dared to utter those two EVIL words (I"M BORED)
*the diaper explosion that warranted a heavy duty gas mask
*the requests for clean, dry towels after exactly two minutes of pool use
*the amount of bird seed that was eaten by toddlers before our feeder craft was completed
*the tattling, the pettiness, or the volume

.....of the children that was my undoing.

It was mean-spiritedness that did me in this morning. Kids excluding others. Kids teasing in that awful sing song way. Kids racing to be first- which can only mean that someone else will come last, or not at all.

I know what it feels like to have that ugly meanness inside but it seems particularily cruel and painful that children come to this entirely on their own.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


grey haired preacher pair in matching lilac

people saying Jeeeee-susssssss, yesssssss Lord;
not bothering with embarrassment

bad sweaters on lumpy bodies

soft babies who crap their drawers in worship service

weird people

the foolish things of the world to shame the wise

the lowly and despised things nullify the things that are

Judging others and sitting in places of superiority will find the one judging to become poor-- the loss of oppurtunity to learn from and be enriched by such rich diversity.

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.*

(*Proverbs 13:10)

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Head aching.
Eyes burning.
Spreading cancer
careless words
splintering relationships
Hope deferred.

Surprising love.
Unexpected sources.
the broken
-offering tools for healing.

Real. Raw.
Baffling. Beautiful.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why I'm Ready for September

If I were as lovely as I sometimes pretend to be, I would be feeling sad about the change of season in the air, and the inevitability of school mornings to come. I would be dreading sending my beloved flock out the door when they'd rather be at home- blessing me with their presense, filling the air with song and laughter. I would be bemoaning the fact that my handsome life partner will get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and speed off down the road to impart wisdom to his eager classroom full of school children.

I would smile benevolently each morning as my wiser-beyond-their-years offspring roll out of bed with touselled hair, schlump past the daycare kids (who came tidily dressed and already fed, probably something nutritious) on their way to the kitchen. There, (somewhere between 8:00 and 10:00 am) they will ever so independently prepare their own breakfasts- (from the three food groups, namely: chocolate milk, bread and nutella). Being creative and artistic by nature, they will unashamedly leave interesting trails of crumbs and splashes in their wake. Sammy's current form of artistic expression involves driving various small toys through the leftover milk on the bottom of his cereal bowl, then testing to see how the milk tracks vary when the toys drive across the table top. The various cups, drinking straws, bowls and spoons that the older children tend to leave on horizontal spaces (not limited to the table) are then very effective for creating that bold splash of colour that we hear so much about on popular home decorating channels.

I would be so appreciative of the helpful tidbits that my husband gives me when he pops into the house from working hard all by himself in the garage all day. I would nod and smile at the notion that the silly baby is headed towards the toilet again because I just haven't been paying attention (must have had my nose in a book again.....) I would leap at the chance to help move some heavy furniture out of the garage- what a blessing to spend just a few moments with an adult! I wasn't doing much of anything anyhow- just chucking a roast into the slow cooker for dinner that no one will be surprised will be ready at suppertime, just sweeping up 50,000 fridge magnets that mysteriously fell onto the floor, just fetching the laundry off the line before it starts to rain, just preparing grilled cheese sandwhiches for a crowd, setting the table for lunch, pouring drinks, serving lunch, then throwing half of it into the trash can...

Gosh, when they are all off at school, who will ask the question, "MOM! What are we doing today? We're BORED!", while tripping over $50,000 worth of toys, and glancing unimpressed at the trampoline, sandbox, and pool in the backyard. What will I do with my time without 12 pool towels to wash, dry, and fold before the next half hour when they all decide to go swimming again? How will I keep my conflict management skills sharp without Hildebrand sibling rivalry to manage?

If I were as nice as I wish I were, I'd be wiping a tear or two off my face on September the sixth. I'd be walking my little angels back to school and smothering them with hugs and kisses right at the school entrance. I'd reinterview all the teaching staff to ensure their qualifications for shepherding my tender sheep. Home again, coffee in hand, the house would feel hollow and echoey, and I'd have to take some time to redefine my role in the universe.

But I'm really just not that nice.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

If you Build it, He Will Come

This afternoon, a couple of little kids are going to enjoy their dad's company in the comfort of their own home. That may not sound miraculous, but that's not the way I see it.

Thank you God, for all your goodness. You have given my brother the gift of more time. I cried out to you at times- reminding you of your sorrow when Lazarus' body ceased to function. You too have felt the pain of living on while someone you love dies. You heard us, and for that we are grateful.

And only You know where we will find gratitude and joy in the days to come, but in that , we trust You.

*Brian and two guys built that ramp- isn't he cute AND amazing?!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Need a Thesaurus

First clue:
Joyce: "Hey, look! there's a tractor!"
two year old: "Uh, Joyce.... that's a backhoe."

Second clue:
Joyce: "Are you okay?"
three year old: "AArrrgh!! My brother keeps 'tangonizing me, even though I tell him not to!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First Impressions

It's back to work around here, and we started out with a bang- well, with a sparkly candle actually. There is a sweet, chubby baby to add to the throng this year and on his very first day, we got to celebrate his birthday!

Jane and her friend rode their bikes to the grocery store to buy a cake mix and some blue icing, then whipped up this fine "marble" cake. (Okay, it was as HARD as a marble, and they mixed all the chocolate and vanilla up, then slopped most of it on the sides of the pan, but I was right proud of their independence and thoughtfulness...). We added some sparkly birthday sticks, decorated paper crowns with marker and foamy dinosaur stickers, then Jane and friend served up slabs of marble with ice cream for afternoon snack.
I think the little king was pleased.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Yup, That's Weird

Brian: "So he's going to have a blood transfusion, then you'll pick him up from the hospital and bring him home for his day pass? Doesn't that sound weird?"

Joyce: "Yeah, the whole thing is weird."

Micah: "What's a blood transfusion?"

Brian: "That's when they hook him up to a machine that sucks the blood out of him, cleans the blood, then returns it to his body."

Micah: "Oh! Kinda like a Brita!"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Near-Immersion Therapy

Spending lots of time with my family of origin has gelled my theories of rampant hereditary mental health issues. Few are affected sufficiently enough to be hospitalized, and no one has had the good fortune to experience electric shock therapy, although I must confess, I've done my best to achieve that goal, hoping that it would jar both sides of my brain into communicating with one another. Shy of that dramatic a treatment option, some family members have opted for a more conventional idea: therapy.

This is an approach that I heartily endorse, especially if you have bags of disposable income cluttering up your family room. However, if you find yourself and your wallet squeezed between your clamouring, hungry children and a cluttered house that insists on being paid for, then allow me to present to you a treatment option recently discovered by my big sister and I.

August long weekend is traditionally "Kehler" weekend at my brother's cabin in Lake of the Woods, Ontario. My brother is a mature professional who spends 11 months of the year solving real global problems, at times drawing on his original training as an accountant.

Then he goes to the lake.

Which brings me back to the idea of treatment options. While more sensible, better councelled, more medicated family members lounged responsibly and age-appropriately on the dock, my middle-aged sister and I boarded a speed boat with our brother at the helm. I say who needs shock therapy when you can let a repressed accountant let loose on his 5 weeks of holidays and blow about fifty bucks in fuel and three quarters of the ozone layer zooming around in circles on the lake then speeding recklessly over the ridges created by the wake.

Yes, indeedy. My sister screamed every offensive and anxiety provoking thought and feeling out of her bouncing body until we heard them ricochet off the surrounding woods. She laughed laughs never heard before this side of eternity. Every syndrome, disorder, and maligned thought pattern swiftly and succinctly healed by the catharsis evoked in that speed boat.

Near-immersion therapy.

Friday, August 04, 2006


It's been an unusual kind of summer. Having four children has kept me firmly planted in the land of the living- me: half-baked; and them: full-throttle. We've managed to enjoy a number of lakes between quick visits to the hospital. The "Florence Nightengale" dream of being super supportive sister has been nearly drowned out amongst the screaming needs of my own family. My mother keeps telling me to put my children first, and how they need me right now to be with them, and not to burden myself with unnecessary guilt for what I'm NOT doing these days.

I swear I'm trying to believe that.

It has been with mixed emotions that many glorious summer days have been spent with dear people during these unforgivingly hot summer days. Elaine and I go back since we were squalling babies in the church nursery, and "neighbors"- only two and a quarter country miles between our farms. There are few things as soothing as an authentic old friend's company when the familiar earth beneath our feet seems to shift unexpectedly.

It doesn't feel good. Still, I pray for healing. For him, for me, for us.