Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Being Human

I never used to worry about "saying the wrong thing".

But that's well before I said the wrong thing.
With disastrous consequences.

And now I worry.

I worry about saying too much and saying too little. Saying something or saying nothing at all.

I used to believe that it was the heart that counted. That because I meant well, and I wanted to be honest, and be a good friend, and seek authenticity; that the desire of my heart would cover the blunders of my mouth.

But that's before I knew firsthand what it's like for someone to take my heart, chop it up, and throw it at me in the shape of daggers.

I used to think that I said too little. That I was so afraid of rejection that I would smile and swallow instead of have my own out loud opinion. I began to think that it was cowardly and insecure of me to keep so much to myself.

Thing is- you have to be ready for rejection if you're ready to disagree.
You have to know the end of you and the beginning of them without getting confused.
You have to know yourself outside of how others perceive or define you.

So I've learned to speak up a little more. I've learned to stick up for myself when the situation warrants. At times I keep my opinions to myself and silently disagree. I know that no matter how much I love any one person in my life, I will never agree with everything they believe.

I want to be a good friend.
And not lose myself.
I want to live my life honestly and strive always to love my neighbour, my enemies, even my family. (we all know the challenges therein)

But I'm so aware that with the joys of relationship comes the pain. Severe pain for which there is no medication that would dull the ugly parts without robbing one of all the goodness.

We need connection.

It's what makes sense about the human condition.

And although I know that these things are true, I just wish it didn't hurt.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Work

Recently, I've been thinking about my chosen career as Daytime Mommy.

I've been thinking about what it keeps me close to- my home, my garden, my pets, my heart. My laughter, my home, my love for authenticity.

I love working at home.

I love having these little people show up at my door, full of expectation that we're going to have a lot of fun on this day.

I love their trusting little faces, their tender little hearts, their confidence that I can surely meet their every need.

I don't always have that same confidence. It's nice to see the trust shining in their eyes.

It's so good to remember the simple things in life.

It's so great to rush outdoors at the first sign of sun and never have to wait until recess or 5:00 pm, or holidays.

It's delightful not to have to sit at a desk with a phone to my ear.

To never wear high heels.

We spend our time on spontaneous picnics, walks to the flower shop, the thrift store, the playground.

Pre-school hilarity.
We never forget that there's really no food so delicious as toast and cheese. Except maybe toast and peanut butter, apples and cheese, or homemade oatmeal cookies.

And then there are those spontaneous moments that no substitute mommy could even dream up.

Sure, I spend a lot of time vacuuming. But there's a lot about my job that's pretty delightful.

How do you feel about yours?

Friday, May 13, 2011


I hadn't seen her in twenty years.
We first met in 1987 when we landed up on the same cross Canada musical tour that was the outcome of time well spent at Capernwray Harbour, Thetis Island, BC.

We drove our van-mates crazy. Constantly. All the way from Silberfeld Manitoba to Burnaby, BC. We laughed at all the same outrageous things. Behaved obnoxiously. Laughed some more.

When the tour ended, and the summer stretched before us, my new friend spoke of getting a job at a Bible camp for the summer. I said; sign me up too.

We spent the summer at Camp Arnes, driving more people crazy, learning a lot about how to live on no sleep in unreasonably hot conditions, and indulging in some more laughter.

With summer drawing to a close, I invited Donna to share a one bedroom apartment with my sister and me. Too bad I forgot to ask my sister first. (oops.)

I can't believe that I landed up spending almost every single day for five whole months with a girl I met in a cargo van along the long and dull prairies. But I did. And what we had in common at the time was that we both loved people, laughter, snack foods, and obnoxious behavior.

I saw Donna again a few years later when a friend and I backpacked around in Australia. Donna's life had taken a different course than mine at that point. She had married a pastor and was taking care of their chubby little baby boy when I spent a week in their home.

Fast forward twenty years. Donna's four kids were mostly grown up. My four were in the process. Donna flies to Canada to celebrate the sixteenth birthday of her youngest daughter who has taken a year to attend school in British Columbia. They want to come visit.

Of course, I wanted to see them! But I was nervous- not knowing who she would be after all these years. Wondering if she'd be disappointed in who I had become.

They should have e-mailed and told me how fabulous they are.
Then I wouldn't have had to worry.

Their impeccable sense of style.

Their fondness of ten year old jeans patched in the most creative of ways.

The most amazing eye for handbags;)

The best sort of hobbies.

Times would find us each lost in our own worlds, twirling buckets of buttons around in our hands, altering ancient "Op Shop"* items, or searching for more treasure in any junk shop we could get our mitts on.

It was so good for the soul to see my dining room slowly be transformed into a button shop.

Sheer bliss.

*(Op Shop= oppurtunity shop. ie; thrift shop, second hand store. I absolutely adore this term, and have decided that we should all adopt it, immediately).

Enjoying our daughters.

what an unbelievable gift to watch the girls love on each other! Kindred souls, these beautiful young women. I enjoyed every moment of watching them all become friends.

We did nothing really well.

And its a good thing, because although I tried valiently to give them some tourist experiences, most of my ventures were hopeless at best. The weather was terrible, but I took them to The Forks to check out the water level and go snoop through the antiques market. It was closed.

Arianna had raved about a fudge place that we could maybe drown our sorrows in.
It was gone.

We also went to the worst movie ever produced in the history of the production of movies.

(Beastly. Our kids made us. We will make them pay.)

McDonalds wasn't closed, and it never disappoints.

The girls said they wanted to get nostalgic Happy Meals together, but when we got there, they realized that they were Big Girls now and too hungry to settle for a meal that comes with a toy.

So our big tourist meal in the city was McChucks.


Never mind that.

As if buttons weren't enough reason to cause bliss beyond reason- between Brian and Donna outdoing each other in the kitchen, I didn't cook for a solid week!

She also did dishes and laundry.

Gee I miss you doing all that housework your company, Donna.

We also took the kids out for bubble tea.

I think one of my favourite lines of our week together was hearing Donna admonish her daughter to "Finish your dessert!" She's not one for tapioca texture, as it turns out.

Nor was Micah.

Or Sam.

I'm not sure that Donna and Nik will be rushing back to Manitoba for our movies, antiques, bubble teas or fudge.

But it's just possible that some of us will work on rushing to Sydney to check out their attractions!

I love my friends. They are the biggest treasure that I have on this earth.

I did a lot of thinking during my week with Donna. I wondered at how our interests had evolved in such bizarrely similar patterns. I enjoyed her deep and cynic-free faith in God. I was amazed at how many parallels there were in the way we saw the world, our families, and our place in this life. I thought about how rich life is- how what you choose while you're twenty-young can come back in bushels when you're in your forties.

I was glad that we'd both taken chances- Both then and now.

And it makes me say-

Live your life with enthusiasm.
Embrace all sorts of people in your life.

Don't always choose what's straight forward- take some risks.

And imagine possibilities.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Mom

My mom does all her own stunts.

My mom isn't afraid of laughing out loud.

She does a lot of it and it's sheer joy to me.

My mom has been walking nearly every day since the 70's. While her peers wait in their geriatric rooms for meals on wheels, my mom marches down to the grocery store to purchase a few items for the soup she's brewing. Being the very Queen of All Things Thrifty, my mother would never purchase anything for full price if she could get it dented or bent or day-old. As luck would have it, the veggie bin contained the very things she needed- and for 50% off!

In line to pay for her discount goods, my mother got busy fumbling through her bag for the money she thought was in it. Lost in her panic, the man behind her meanwhile paid for her dented and wilty carrots. By the time my mother finished her fumble, the cashier was handing her some change and the transaction was complete. Flustered, my mother turned to the man behind her:

"Did you just pay for my groceries?"

"Ah, said the man, "I just threw in a looney".

Still flustered, and now embarrassed, my mother walked home to finish her soup, the stranger's change jangling in her pocket.

She still hasn't stopped laughing.

My mom.

I like her attitude.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Monday, May 02, 2011

In Amongst It All

Life is good.

So very, very good.

Here's a tiny bit of it:

Hosting an Aussie friend I've not seen in twenty years has made me pause and ask some pertinent and life altering questions:

What would you rather wear: a TANK TOP; or a singlet?
Would you rather hitchhike; or dink a ride?
Would you rather have BANGS or cut a fringe?
Have a green pepper, or enjoy some capsicum?

And there's more.
So much more.