August 27, 2013

  • you don’t realize


    To the man who thanked my pastor for his excellent comparison of the sovereignty of God to a chorus director and his choir, I’m saying thank you.   This pastor gets tired.  He works hard all week and then preaches three Sundays out of four.  Speaking in public has always been a stretch for him, because he’s a man of few words and slow to formulate his thoughts.  He feels inadequate and sometimes uninspired, but quitting isn’t an option because He loves Jesus and His church. Words mean a lot to him, just like they do to all of us.  It takes so little time to say “I appreciated that.”  But most of us just don’t take the time to do it.

    To Michael, who gave his new school teacher a huge smile on the way out of church on his way to Sunday school class downstairs:  You’re awesome.  Your new teacher might look composed, but underneath he has a lot of doubts about this new community and a new school and new curriculum to teach.  You’re only 15, but a smile of acceptance means more than you’ll ever know.  We never get too old to need affirmation. 

    To the cute grandma in the checkout line at Walmart today:  You’re just pretty special.  You asked me who I get to do my hair and I stuttered a bit while my small Mennonite mind (that rarely thinks as far as hair salons) tried to wrap itself around what you were actually meaning.  Then I said that I do it myself and it’s naturally wavy and you  told me how lucky I am and how gorgeous my hair is.  And I thanked you and said that it’s sure getting grey fast and we commiserated and laughed together.  And I thought to myself as I gathered my bags that I want to be just like you when I’m 75.  Because I was feeling pretty dowdy and different on that particular trip to town, but all of a sudden I felt beautiful.

    To Tammy, who gave the fresh bread and offered to host the evangelist and his wife…

    To Titus, who said, “You guys are doing a good job of raising your kids” on that day when I knew we weren’t…

    To Laura, who cleans out the cluttered corners at church and hangs the curtain rods on the new windows…

    To the people who cried with me when I lost my brother and were happy with me when my sister moved nearby…

    To Andrew, who notices the 11 year old who’s feeling lonely and draws him out…

    Thank you.

    You don’t realize the power of our words. 

    You don’t realize how far small acts of service spread.

    You forget how deep a smile reaches to touch a soul.


    Life is good here, in case you were wondering.

    Most of you already know that my sister Linda, her husband Steve, and their family just moved all the way to Alberta from Missouri.  Let the good times begin! My heart feels stretched every which way over this whole deal.  I feel with them in the hard goodbyes and have butterflies in my stomach over all the changes ahead for them.  Mostly I’m just HAPPY. 

    No new blogs are happening here.  I’ve been up to my eyeballs in gardening and school cleanings and company and cooking.

    My glads are blooming and every day I gaze at them with wonder and amazement.  Their colors are phenomenal and they make my heart so very glad.

     (excuse the sideways photos.  Too rushed to fix.)

    Bryant’s latest wisecrack: “You’re not fat, Dad.  You’re just a little….overripe.” (used with Dan’s permission.  He is such a good sport in his battle with the bulge. happy)   

    School is around the corner and we’re not ready yet.

    My fridge needs to be cleaned very, very, very, very, berry badly.

    Here we are, looking all perfect like we aren’t.

    But I really do love this family.

     And on this first night in many that I could have gone to bed early, I sit up late writing. 

    Sweet discipline, how you elude me. 






July 30, 2013

  • the perfect name-and other stories


    Summer girl.  (Victoria is having fun with a new camera and her sisters love to pose.)

    Summer girl, who said the other day when she was feeling bored, “If it was winter, there would be something to DO.”  Granted, it was raining again and it’s probably easier to play outside in the snow than in the rain.  But still!! clueless

    Summer sisters.

     Andre is 6 now.  I love it that he still likes teddy bears. God gave me just the little boy I needed, even though finding out I was pregnant again when Natalia was only 6 months old was a hard surprise for me to accept at the time. He has such a kind heart and a whimsical way of expressing his often deep but slowly formulated views of life.  And I’m secretly so pleased that he hasn’t learned to say his r’s yet, though we’re working on it so his first grade teacher doesn’t have to.  The fact that he learned to ride bike on his 6th birthday brings him great, great happiness.  (I know.  Your son learned at age 3 and THAT is amazing!) 

     Saskatoons.  They’re berries on a tall bush that look kind of like huckleberries, but don’t taste as good.  They’re sort of bland and seedy, but they’re special when they’re fresh.  We grew up on them and folklore has it that the pioneers lived on moose meat, saskatoons, and rhubarb, all things which are plentiful in our region.

     I keep going into wordpress to sign up for a new blog, but then I get stumped when I need to put in a username.  Somewhere out there is a blog name that just FITS, but I haven’t found it yet.  When I used quiet_hearts on Xanga it was because I loved the words of Elisabeth Elliot’s book title, Keep a Quiet Heart.  But I don’t know if the name really fits me.  Though I long to keep a quiet heart, my own is often restless.

    The other night I was asking my family for blog name ideas, something that kind of encompasses both who I am and where we live.  Because where we live has a lot to do with who I am. 

    I am Mennonite and mom, lover of wide sky and prairie wind–gentle prairie wind.  (But I think I’d also like to live in the city with a tiny patio garden and fancy coffee shops within walking distance.)  My ideals are high, but the nitty gritty of life is teaching me to lower my expectations.  I garden big and sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it.  I live on a ridge from which we can see for miles, even into the next province.  Hence our farm and sawmill name, Borderview.  It’s a land of canola and poplar trees, oil rigs (ugh) and mud.  Our water comes from a pond, called a dugout here. I love people and I love Jesus, but I want to love both more.  My home is not Pinterest pretty.  I dream too much and act too seldom. 
    Anyway.  We laughed hard over name ideas.  Most of them were made in fun. Most of them are absolutely lame.  (Now there I am, using that word which Alec uses far too often.)


    parson’s partner

    prairie chick

    prairie maid/made

    canola fairy [he knows well my love the bright yellow (though sadly cabbage-smelling) fields]

    wide views (literal and figurative)-though my blog can feel pretty narrow sometimes 

    gone with the wind (ha!)

    just peachey (I used to be a Peachey by name.)

    alberta rose (not very orginal.  The wild rose is our provincial flower and everything around here is named after them.)


    rigs are rising

    myhairisfallingout  (I have been moaning loudly about thinning hair.)

    3 green doors (what our house has)


    weather grumbler (when I asked them for words that describe me best.  Ouch.)

    poplar princess


    peas past my knees

    thru an unsmudged window

    thoughts scrawled on sticky notes


     Natalia said the fantastic cook and Andre said farm of the john deeres

    I’ve been thinking of off the deep end, but that sounds cynicalGoosey Luci might workOr noble ideals/frazzled endsThoughtslikespaghettiwillowbythedugout


    Nothing works. 

    Maybe someone savvy out there can give me a good name.  Or why can’t I just be lucimartin and call it a day?  Why this search for meaning and identity? confusedsilly

     Embarrassed by my narcissism, I will close out this frivolous post.

    Dan bought a package of swiss cheese and is saving it in the fridge for our August anniversary outing.  We seldom buy swiss cheese.  I don’t know where we’ll go or what we’ll do for our 17th anniversary (and I don’t think he has a clue either) , but every time I see that package I feel loved.

    Thanks for reading here today. 




June 22, 2013

  • summer on the farm

    (Gah– I don’t like that title.  Any title I come up with just sounds cheesy.)

    It’s a wonderful warm day here in Alberta, the kind where the true northerners start complaining about the heat. But I just want to sit in the sun and say ahhhhhhhhh.

    I’m taking a break and eating some watermelon, trying to forget about supper and the messy kitchen and what’s for lunch tomorrow after church. 

    Since the rain is over I’ve been living down in the garden.  The other night I was down there with Dan at 10 p.m.  The children were playing and the sun was still high.  We were talking about life, inching along the carrot rows.  The carrots are ridiculous this year, just a carpet of weeds.  You basically have to lie down to get close enough to sort out the carrots and they’re in amongst a whole whack of camomile, which looks a lot like a carrot in its beginning stages.

    Anyway.  I thought that I would rather have a weeding carrot date than steak on the ocean front.  Puttering in the garden together is highly underrated. 

    On second thought, I’d take both dates.  Once the garden is clean (it will be a  while), I’d pick relaxing by the sea.  In a white dress.  With a good garden tan.  And him in khakis. Ahhhhhhh.  More realistically, Dan will be haying and I’ll be starting over on the weeding.


    On Saturday morning likes this one, when we have pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and sausages and we all sit down and it’s sunny and June, I get this sense of frantic pressure that says, “there’s got to be a way to share this goodness.  This food.  This family.” 

    And I feel ready to adopt about four more children.  I’m that ready to call an agency and get things started.  Because adoption is something that has always gotten to me and I can’t stand to read of all the needs and sit here and do nothing. 

    But then there were other moments this week where I knew that if we can make it through by the skin of our teeth with this whole parenting thing and the six God gave us, I will be overwhelmingly grateful.

    So this post is to let you all know that we’re doing fine up here.  I know you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for news.  There’s a lot of sticky tea on the floors and I guess I mentioned all the weeds already.  I get quite addicted to weeding and I’d be happy to just camp in the garden, but everyone still needs to eat and bathe and stuff.  The lilacs and peonies are blooming magnificently this year and it makes my cup of happiness overflow.  Our school walls got painted and the deep, warm, brown-orange that Vivian and I picked out looks wildly pumpkin.  Unsure of what else to do, we just cleaned up the mess and moved on.

    One day this week we were tourists in our own town, which was fun.  I took pictures and planned to blog about it, but I don’t know if I will.  Maybe if it rains.  The youth group and a few of the rest of us cleaned up the garden and lawn last night for neighbors who are gone on a trip.  It was a good evening and a fun way to spend the longest day of the year. 

    Liesl was playing nurse the other day and told me in sepulchral tones that she was performing a blood surgery.  Andre wishes he was a bumblebee so he wouldn’t have colds and allergies.  And I still haven’t changed blog sites or done anything about archiving my blog. 

    I’ve been thinking about popular people like Jen Hatmaker and I have this post about popularity and pride (my own) and jealousy (mine too) and other things that I want to write and I even keep finding good quotes from whoever writes Katie John and Donald Miller that I want to use.  But it will probably go the way of all the stellar posts that happen in my head in the garden.  Drowned in the reality of sticky floors and chickweed and church cleaning.  Xanga is so quiet these days.  I miss all of you who used to blog here. 

    Happy summertime! 






June 9, 2013

  • blogging in the rain

    Well–as usual I have a lot to say on a several subjects and it’s such a good, rainy, bloggy sort of day. 

    4 year old artwork does me right in.  I heart it.  The big circles on the long legs are knees.

    (Xanga is being contrary and keeps posting a perfectly good, upstanding picture sideways.)


    1)  I’ve been reading KP Yohannan’s books Revolution in World Missions and No Longer a Slumdog.

    He talks a lot about the Dalits of India, the untouchable class.

    I want to add about 30 kids to the faces we sponsor with Gospel for Asia.  I want to make vows to stop eating out and buying new sweaters. I want to pray with Indian missionaries and see demons fleeing.  I want to feed and rescue and teach and nurse.

    But here I am in Canada.  Blessed beyond what I know what to do with.  A freezer full of beef.  Offspring who turn up their precious noses over homemade salad dressings and cookies that get dried out.  My own self who skirts around the deer sausage in the freezer and reaches for the beef because it tastes better.  The self who eats too many cookies and can’t resist another pair of shoes. 

    The inconsistency of it all grates on me and makes me want to tear out my hair sometimes.  I so believe that God has different work for all of us and that we can be generous-hearted and caring even in this rich land where we live, but sometimes I don’t know what living it out daily looks like.

    2)  I talk to my mom in my head when I’m down fighting thistles and dandelions in the garden.

    Mom, how’d you do it?  How did you make good, healthy soups for lunch and cook good, healthy suppers 4 hours later?  How did you bake your own bread and hang out all that laundry and keep the garden clean?  How DID you make sure the whole house got a good cleaning every week?  (Like even the main drawers got a tidying and every week we wiped out the medicine cabinet?)  And speaking of cleaning, how did you spring and fall houseclean your house every year for 40 years and stay so sane?

    You are amazing, that’s all I can say.  I love you, but you haunt me.  You haunt me when I hang out my last load of clothes at 4 p.m. to catch the evening sunshine.  You haunt me when I wipe down a wall and realize that I haven’t ever washed that wall and we’ve lived in this house for 5 years now.  You’re in the back of my mind when I make frozen pizza for lunch.

    I know that you never hung around in your pajamas till 9 on a summer morning.

    You never wasted time doing silly things like finding your celebrity look-alike online. (Would you have if you’d have had the opportunity, I wonder?)

    I don’t think you ever went to McDonalds to buy yourself a vanilla chai frappe just because your friends were talking about how good they are.

    I know you sometimes read novels late at night and felt grouchy the next day, but that’s about the extent of any frivolousness in your life that I knew about.

    I know you’re mellow with age and you don’t condemn me for my lack of depth sometimes.

    But really Mom–How DID you do it?

    4)  We made doughnuts this week.  Greasy floors.  Stacks of dishes.  Happy family.  (Sorry if you saw this on facebook.)


     5)  Our computer shop in town charges $90 AN HOUR for their techs.  I’m thinking of going into computer technology.

    6)  All this talk of Xanga changing and all these friends changing blog sites makes me feel discomfited.  I have to get my head out of the sand and figure out a new site, I suppose.  But not today.  I have such a hard time keeping up with non-xangan blogs.  I have no idea where to move.  I’m sad to say goodbye to people that I may never get around to reading because we’re going to different places.  (sigh)

    7)  Sorry (again) if you saw this on Facebook, but here is the sunset at about 11 p.m. on June 5th.  Sun sets at about 10:35-ish right now.  You know you wished you lived here. silly


    8)  My babies in the tub still need me to wash their hair, so I’ll say goodbye.

     ~May your Sunday be graced with Jesus.~





May 30, 2013

  • ramble


    I want to write a post about my brothers someday.  I wrote here about my sisters.  And you know I’ve written about my brother who passed away.  But I have three other big, strong brothers who are worth writing about.

    One of them is Glen, who with his sons just raised $1600 for cancer.  I love his caring heart.

    Yesterday my girls and I went to Grande Prairie for a few appointments and shopping fun.  Grande Prairie is 1 and 1/2 hours away.  It’s a town of about 50,000 and it’s got a few more options than the town where we normally shop.

    We visited Dr. Kevin Kim Ming Wong to find out the results of Natalia’s MRI concerning her hearing loss.  Everything is good there.  So happy and grateful-PTL.  We sat in Dr. Wong’s office waiting for him to come in and read all his certificates and memorized his name.  I was bored and sang a bit.  Natalia wrinkled up her face and said, “Oh Mom–that just makes me feel SO uncomfortable!”  She was afraid someone could hear me.

    While shopping Liesl spotted a girl with a shirt that dropped off of her shoulder.  She said twice very loudly, “Look, her shirt is falling down.  Her Shirt is Falling Down!!”  Victoria nearly died of embarrassment.

    I am sad that my 8-lesson watercolor class is over.  It was really so much fun.  I don’t know if I’ve found my niche yet with it–or if I ever will.  But I love how it’s opened my eyes to observing nature more closely and noticing art.  Sometimes it just feels like I’m making a mess.  I’m sure the seasoned artist would say it’s tacky work.  But right now I don’t really mind.  I like the way watercolor is more loose than oil painting.  In class we did saskatoon berries and landscapes.

    And last night I was just dabbling around, then wrote my name hugely.

    Here is our little painting class, with our teacher Angela in black.   

    Angela is such a good teacher.  I recommend her highly.  She blogs here and below are a couple of my favorites of her works, which are many.  What makes her incredible is that she plays soccer and runs and cycles and gardens on top of painting and crafting.

    This aspen painting wants to stay small.  whatever.

    My sister Linda and I were born on the same day of March three years apart.  We were inseparable growing up, but marriage took her away to Missouri.  Then she and her husband moved to Romania for 7 years.  We talked on the phone and wrote letters over the years and saw each other only occasionally.   I have to pinch myself to believe that I’m actually writing these words, but it’s shaping up for Steve & Linda and their three children to move to Alberta this fall!  Steve is planning to teach at our church school and they will rent a place just a few miles from our house, God willing.  His work permit is underway and things are looking very hopeful.  I haven’t had a sister close by for lots of years, so I’m really, really excited.

    Last week I wrote after singing at the nursing home:

     Tonight we sang at Rotary Manor.  Bud with the hemorrhoids was in fine form tonight and Mae picked Amazing Grace like always. The lady in the front row was fussing with her slippers and fiddling with her pant legs and the lady next to her was so sweet and tried to help her get everything adjusted but nothing worked.  Fiddle and fuss she would, her spindly little legs showing.  The lady in the back yelled at Tim to speak up in the devotional and everyone loved Abide With Me.  There was an overpowering smell of urine for a while that went away as quickly as it came.  The flowers at the nurses’ desk were fresh and pretty and When We All Get to Heaven was started too high and left us all breathless.

    For Liesl’s birthday she wanted dilly bars at DQ instead of a cake.  We all went in and Dan made the big order for 8 of us.  Liesl was the only one who actually ordered a dilly bar.  Then when the icecream came she wanted my dipped cone and I gave in.  Guess who got the dilly bar?  We had to wait a long time and I was sitting there discreetly studying people.  This cute and fashionable Filippino girl who looked kind of sad around the eyes was in line and after she got two icecreams, she took them back to this 70-ish looking man who was waiting at a table and sat with him.  They ate in silence and then left together.  I wondered what their relationship was and if he helped her get here for a better life when his wife got tired of him and left.  Or maybe his wife died and she’s his new companion.  The age difference was really obvious.  I don’t like to be nosy and I’m not racist or anything, but it seems like you see that kind of match a lot in our little town.

    Dan saw his friend Randy* (not his real name) with schizophrenia and stopped to chat on the street.  Randy needed a ride home.  When he got in the suburban, he said, “Smells like beer in here.”  Oh dear.  He needs a job.  Could Dan give him work?  He’ll pick rocks if he has to.

    People are so interesting.  When my children all leave home maybe I’ll study psychology.

    It’s almost June and everything is blooming.  Iris buds are quite wonderful.  So are crab apple blossoms.

    I don’t know what this tree is called, but it’s out by the clothesline and smells heavenly.

    And summer clouds are pretty amazing.

    It’s a rainy morning and soooo highly tempting to let everyone sleep till noon and mosey around in this quiet house in my housecoat.

    But then at bedtime they’re all flying high.  So I take my undisciplined self in hand….

    Happy Thursday, people. 

    Worship.  Laugh.  Be still.  Say thanks.







May 22, 2013

  • remembering

    Bear with me.  I know I write of him often.  I hope it’s not in a sick, holding-on-to-the-past glorification kind of way.  I write because honestly….he was someone who so deserves to be remembered.

    Kevin would have been 33 years old today.

    I remember when he came home from the hospital, boy number 4 in a family of 10.

    My little sister Linda was 3 and I was 6.  As we crowded close to watch Mom change a BOY, he let loose and peed in Linda’s face.

    That was only the start of all the laughs he caused in our house.

    He was blond and brown-eyed and we thought he was perfect.  When he cried, Mom said that literally 6 girls ran to his crib.

    He had all the ingredients to become a spoiled brat, but he never was.

    He was funny and kind and friendly and artistic.

    Never a person of a lot of words, he was just a good guy to have around.

    The children swarmed around him because he played with them.

    He made the old people starry-eyed because he listened to their stories.

    He’d leave conversations that got too heavy and find the volleyball.

    His faith was simple and fresh.

    He’d hike the mountains and ride the trails and try out the mudholes because he loved God and nature.

    He worked hard, played hard, laughed hard, and loved a lot.

    Five years after his death, the hole he left is fuzzier at the edges, the ache not so sharp.

    But time seems to carve it deeper.

     I’d give a lot to sing Clementine with him and Linda again in 3 part harmony.

    Or feed him supper in his dirty work clothes.

    But it is not to be.

    So on this day

    I remember.


    Today was rainy, a soft rain so wonderful for new little seeds.

    We are sad here about Oklahoma–so far removed from us, yet so easy to imagine the devastation.

    After supper I forced the children to sit down in the livingroom and read quietly for half an hour.  Most of them were actually game.  There was only minor eye rolling and minimal grumpy sighing. 

    We all chose a book, the two littlest had great stacks to look at.  It was cozy and quiet and I wanted to giggle a few times for some reason.  I’m reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.  It’s about a couple who bought a huge old house in Italy and restored it.  It’s a slow, delectable book, full of great foods and wines and quiet conversations.  I love it for the hot sunshine and the growing things and the subtle history in it.  It’s not the kind of book I’d normally go for, but give me the $$$$ and I’d be packing off to Italy. 

    Tonight I read this in it: “Where you are are is who you are.  The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it.”  And I thought about living here in the North and how it makes me who I am.

    While we read I thought about making my children journal regularly.  I think that’s such a good and wise and cool idea.  Half of my children would NOT be impressed.  And would it fall beside the way like so many of the stabs I make at helping this family become well rounded? confused

    For old time’s sake, I made a quick batch of scotch squares before bedtime.  We loved these things growing up.

    Melt together on stove:

           1 c. margarine

           1 c. brown sugar

           1 tsp. vanilla

    Remove from heat and add:

    2 cups oatmeal

    1 cup flour

    1 1/2 tsp. soda

    1/2 tsp. salt

    1 c. nuts (optional)

    Bake at 350 till golden brown.  I used a little bigger than 8 x 8 pan and they turned out well, but I think a 9 x13 would be okay too.

    Our Liesl-bit turns 4 tomorrow.  I can’t believe it.

    Love to you, friends.

May 20, 2013

  • May life

    When I first started blogging I decided I wouldn’t write unless I had something insightful to say.

    But I ran out of insight pretty fast.  So skip this post if you’re looking for inspiration.  Grandma and my sisters will like it, I hope.


    Friday evening, May 17

    I can’t explain what summer does for my soul.  And it’s not even summer yet. 

    It was Last Day at school.  We celebrated with games and hot dogs and softball.

    They had their (hand me down from auntie) dresses and hats and pink flip flops all laid out the night before for school picnic day. ^^^^

    egg and spoon race^^^^^^  Love their straight posture.

    piles of fun at human croquet ^^^^^^

    good sports at sack racing ^^^^^^

    Miss Janice was graceful as a deer ^^^^^^

    friends ^^^^^^

    stacking cups race ^^^^^

     conversation and hot dog roasting ^^^^^

    Homeschool facilitator wears Emma’s pink hat. Mr. Gary smothers a yawn.  Is Grandpa Arnold looking after Emma’s purse for her?


     Who can resist a man who loves the little ones?

    I haven’t been seeing much of Dan lately.  Wheat must be in the ground by the 20th of May, you see.  He works from dawn to dark.  And right now that means about 18 hours a day.  Then he will crash and in his words, we won’t get much out of him for a few days.

    His Sunday sermon is being formulated from the tractor seat.  He comes in late at night and eats cornflakes.    I take trips to the field and trips to town for parts.  Meals happen whenever they work out.  It’s fun.  But we’re all glad when it’s over.

    Having Tori home from school is kind of like having a live personal organizer around.  She says, “So what are we going to do today?” when she gets up in the morning and it doesn’t seem right to say, “Well I’ll be doing well if I get the laundry done and supper made.” It’s really good for me, but disconcerting too.

    Now it’s Monday morning, May 20.  The house is deliciously quiet for 8:30.  Jeans are in the washer.  I need to wake people, plant garden, sort through closets for garage sale items.  Liesl is cuddling with me on the couch.

    Victoria was experimenting with photography the other night.  These photos were taken after 9:00 p.m.

    And the sun sets at 10:15.

    Go here to read something good.

    “The soul must long for God in order to be set aflame by God’s love;

    but if the soul cannot yet feel this longing, then it must long for the longing.

    To long for the longing is also from God.”  Meister Eckhart




May 14, 2013

  • my own song

    Shari writes a beautiful song about mothers.

    And Beth’s attitude about motherhood always inspires.

    Sweet Shanda describes her job as a mom as FUN.

    Voskamp’s words catch me deep inside and make me cry.

    I write here about my own venerable mother.

    My friend Christy celebrates motherhood with taking so many darling photos of her boys.

    I love the uniqueness of each one.

    Should I add my own thoughts to the wide world of words on mothering this May?

    Last week, out in the sunshine and wind with my hoe,

    I wondered again at how quickly I came to this place.

    I’m a mother of 6. 

    They have the most captivating brown eyes ever.

    All of them with long lashes like their dad’s.

    Some of them have deep voices and drive tractors.

    Some of them are so organized and fastidious that it scares me.

    Some of them listen incessantly to story tapes and eat copious amounts of cookies.

    Some of them still think I’m the most wonderful person ever.

    Sometimes I feel really fragile about my position.

    Like I’m still an adolescent, struggling to become a well-rounded person.

    Not that tower of strength that I want to be.

    Every day selfishness creeps closer than I wish it did.

    And impatience hangs around and stays too long. 

    Dear children of mine,

    If I teach you nothing else, may you learn from me to get up and try again after a failure.

    May you be grateful for these words about God like I am:

    You do not stay angry forever

         but delight to show mercy.

    You will again have compassion on us;

         you will tread our sins underfoot

    and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

    I’m so thankful for your dad and for God, who fill in the huge gaps I’ve caused in your little hearts.



    Mother’s Day was happy.

    I was brought breakfast in bed by 4 excited children.  Oatmeal muffins made by Dan.


     The flowers from the houseplant spilled over and made my feet wet.

    Three little children fought over sitting next to me while I drank my tea.

    The boys rolled their eyes over Mother’s Day photos before church.

    The photos were stiff and unpublishable. laughing

    In church I was handed the chewed gum that they didn’t know what to do with.

    And after church we tried some windy photos with the sun full in our faces.

    (I madly try to direct my brood into order below.)

    The crooked ones kind of sort of turned out.  Sorry if angled photos bug you.  I don’t know if they’re considered cool or terrible.

    At least the clouds are gorgeous.

    (is the small one picking her nose?)

    We went to the park and had a windy picnic.

    Dan grilled the meat, Victoria made deviled eggs, and I wasn’t supposed to lift a finger with packing up the picnic food.

    The pickle jar spilled and everything got covered with juice in the wind.

    The chips and cheese wrappers blew away.

    But I looked around at sun-browned faces and knew with certainty how blessed I am.

    Today the little girls fight over who gets to be the prettiest in the game they’re playing and who wears the favorite Indian outfit.

    I can’t get the boys out of bed this morning.

    I am pulled in 50 different directions.

    The towels on the clothesline blew off.

    There is a huge purple crocheted chain carefully laid out on our bed with a note on it for Dad & Mom.

    It’s a crazy life that we do together.

    It’s an incredible life.

April 30, 2013

  • clouds and sunflowers


    I have taken up water color.  (cough)


    I don’t know how to do it yet, but it’s ever so fun to try.

     Last week when our class started a landscape it got me thinking about clouds and ever since then I’ve been noticing them. 

    Clouds Are Awesome.

    They’re so volatile and beautiful and amazing.  I used to think that clouds were mostly white or grey, but there are a lot of blue ones too.  The blustery spring weather we’re enjoying putting up with gives me so many changing clouds to observe.


    Our watercolor class didn’t learn much yet about how to paint clouds, as you can see.  I tried to paint some last night and they didn’t turn out at.all.


    But studying them has been rich.  Not to mention that it helps me look above the brown and the mud and the trash.  

    Which reminds me of what Andrew said in church on Sunday about how we tend to look down at the mud, but he’d been watching his two year old son wandering around outside and 90% of the time he was looking up.  There are some good life lessons in that observation.

    And while we’re on life lessons and clouds, the wildest and most wonderful clouds usually surround snow or wind or rain or something turbulent. And while I love a cloudless day, it doesn’t create an unforgettable sunset. 


    ^^^^^^^^^^This is one thing I did today.  Cuh-razy lady with 24 tomato plants!! 

    I also cleaned up two huge spills of cranberry juice that happened back to back.  And I tried to referee a big bad argument over whether the imaginary game was to involve Laura, Mary, Carrie and Jack OR Almanzo, Laura, Rose and Shep.  I think that after the big fight was over they didn’t play either choice.

    I’m taking a facebook break right now, but I still check my messages  (and will read what you comment on this post :)     Whenever I decide to stop doing facebook I feel free like a bird, even though I miss it.  I just have so little self-control with that network and sometimes a long break helps me get it back into perspective. 

    It is COLD, but warm weather is in the forecast.  It has been a long, slooooooooow spring.  Huge winds came.  The water is flowing, but the mud is pretty much dried up.  ((happiness))

    Forget spring and bring on full-fledged summer. 

    I pray that you will be committed to the One who is able to keep you from falling.

    Bye for now, comrades.



April 24, 2013

  • right now

    Right now our house seems to be overflowing with people who have loose teeth.  It’s like there’s a new one every other day.

    Right now the soft spring sunsets, first of the season’s line-dried towels, cosmos reaching for the sun in the plant room, spring wind drying up the mud, and happy voices of children playing on the swings almost make up for the brown of the grass and the trash on the roadsides.

    ALMOST, I say.

    Right not it’s the time of year when I know I’ve misssed my calling.  Snow melting everywhere and unearthing all kinds of ugliness, I know I should have been a trash-picker-upper.  Either that or a trash policeman.  Disguised in brown, I’d hide in the wide Alberta ditches. And WOE to You if You Litter!!!  Trash angers me deep inside.  It’s the pettest of all my peeves.

    Right now Natalia is 7.  She had an MRI in Grande Prairie the day before her birthday because she has near deafness in one ear and they want to make sure there’s not a tumor or something.  I haven’t been worrying much, but it’s kind of a strange hearing loss, without any obvious reason.  She loves her piano playing and I just pray that it never affects her musical ear.  After the MRI, we went to the toy store and she picked out Celeste, a princess doll with long blonde hair.  Long hair is a necessity when you are 7. 

    (The one spot where you can see the Rockies on the way home from Grande Prairie.)^^^^^

    Natalia’s favorite book right now is These Happy Golden Years.  I think Laura and Almanzo’s romance intrigues her.

    She learned in her Social Studies lightunit at school that when we pray we talk to God and when we read the Bible He talks to us.  She has taken this very seriously and is reading her Bible every night.  She has things to say about what she finds there.

    “Was David actually a good king?”

    Well yes.

    “But he killed SO many people!”

    Indeed he did.

    “MOM!  Did you know that Job had 3000 cattle and 7000 sheep?”

    The other night when I went down to the girls’ room to say prayers, she had a funny look on her face.

    “Mom, I read this whole page and it’s just SO weird!”

    It was Song of Solomon.

    She’s a little gap-toothed honey.

    Right now this could describe parenting for me.

    The best way I can describe it is: it’s awful, awful, awful, awful, and then
    something incredible happens. And then it’s awful, awful, awful, awful, awful,
    awful and then something incredible happens again. It’s like this all day every
    day. I feel like I’m drowning, like I’m gasping to get my old life back. And
    then, a small moment happens that’s perfect, that’s so magical, so
    life-affirming that it makes it all worth while. This will be the best thing you
    ever do.”  -random guy in a playground in a movie that I’m not proud that I watched-

    (edit: Ok…this is exaggerated a bit. Subtract a few awfuls. happy

    Right now there are new babies all around us.  There’s little great-niece Adalyn and my neighbor Joanna’s Gareth.  Everywhere I look there seems to be babies.  I feel the pain of childbirth with new moms.  And those agonizing afterpains.  It all ties together with death and life and spring and hope in a way I can’t really put into words.


    And there are baby calves too, a few of them brought into the garage in a spring snowstorm.  I love to watch Dan feeding the ones that have a slow start,  So big, yet so gentle with all babies.

    Right now this song keeps going through my mind,  the eyes and souls of all of us in the north starved for green and warmth. We had it on a record of The Messengers from eons ago.

    Lord, to my heart bring back the springtime.
    Take away the cold and dark of sin.
    Oh refill me now, sweet Holy Spirit:
    May I warm and tender be again.

     Right now I need to bake bars and make soup.  It’s too bad that blogging is so much fun but takes so much time.