Faith

Keeping my Family Together

These were my thoughts today as I reflected on the influence I have on my family:

The most sobering and shocking revelation that I’ve found in my home is that I am the heartbeat of it. When I isolate myself, when I’m upset or allow myself to become mean and uncontrolled, the rest of my family is sure to follow.

When I am in a room, the kids gather around, drinking in the conversation, the laughter, the stories I share.

When I leave, they scatter.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that I stay present.

My joy lights up the room. My sadness darkens it. It is as if I am able to control the very atmosphere of my home with my responses to those around me.

This may just be the greatest blessing or the greatest curse a parent can discover.

Authenticity · Self Worth

An Invisible Child

I grew up feeling invisible; always longing to be noticed. The truth was, I was good at almost everything I did. But I was never the best. Being good was just “normal.” Boring even. Being the best, that was valuable.

“Well who cares?” You may say, “There’s only one winner after all.” True enough.

For some, who are noticed all too often, it’s even seen as a curse. Or an annoyance. I remember a boy in my class who won literally every track and field event. The other kids watched in envy as he carried around the stack of red, first place ribbons. And he couldn’t have cared less about them. I remember him ripping those precious ribbons into tiny pieces of thread, as I watched with pain in my heart, wishing he would’ve dropped one accidentally so that I could have just one.

Just once.

And then there were those dreaded award ceremonies. There was never such a tight feeling in the pit of my stomach as at award ceremonies.

Breath in. Breath out. Hold that breath. Maybe this year…

“This award is for the child who has the highest mark in mathematics.”

Oh! I’m good at that. Maybe this time… Oh. Her again. 

“For the best female athlete…” Nope.

“For the most outgoing person…” Nope.

“For the most outstanding musician…” Nope.

“For the model student…” AAANND Nope. 

And we watch as Mr and Miss Popular/Smarty Pants go up again and again for three, four, five awards. Yet year after year the message comes ringing out loud and clear:

I am invisible.

Worthless.

My best is not enough.

I am not enough.

The hurt only compacted when the popularity lists came out in the yearbook: Best Eyes. Nope. Best Hair. Nope. Best Voice. Nope. Best Butt. Nope. Best Personality. Nope. 

Best Dressed. Oh, good heavens. Double Nope. With a capital N. Bolded and Underlined please.

Those lists, were actually a joke, as the same girl every guy had a crush on would be written down in every single category. As if she was the perfect woman.

Oh, there was that one year I won “Best Nose”. It was the big class joke because my nose was crooked. Everyone thought that one was hilarious.

Except me. 

But I laughed anyway to hide the pain inside.

The reality is, most of us grow up and we have already told ourselves a long time ago: “I will never be anything important. That girl will do great things. Not me.” And we carry this burden on our shoulders for most of our lives, believing we are nobody’s. That we are the sum of our talents which is obviously nothing at all.

But then I became a mother and my perception changed forever.

Because people, I thought my children were the best, because they are the best. But no one else saw it! Except for one child. One child wins the awards. One child seems to have all the talents. One child seems “most likely to succeed”. How interesting then, that this child’s value to me is the same as the four others. When I think about each single child I feel such love and pride for them that I think I may burst. Not because of what they can or can’t do, but because they are unique. They are one of a kind. Were one of them to die, they could never be replaced. There would be no one who could fill their exact shoes. Not because they win all the awards, but because they are who they are.

That is value.

Oh, if each of us would only see ourselves through the eyes of a Mother. There is so much value in each person. Incredible value. For being the one and only you, who no one else can be!

You are irreplaceable. 

I am irreplaceable. It took a long time to heal enough to say those words aloud. But, I finally believe them and I will continue to believe them, regardless of what awards I do or do not win. We are more than our abilities. We are more than our skin. We are more than our best features.

And thank heavens, I’m more than my “Best Nose”.

 

Authenticity · Faith · Vulnerability

Exterior Walls

We put up exteriors daily. As if we don’t care about what people think.

As if I don’t care.

As if I don’t notice the likes, the comments or the lack-there-of. As if I’m stronger than those who need to be told every day that they are valuable in someway. As if I don’t need to hear the words of people confirming me and the things I do.

Deep down we just want to be understood, desperately, pathetically.

Humanly.

Listen, as much as you fight it and act like you are above such longings, if you’re human, those feelings are there.

There’s nothing wrong with you.

To the world, you may look confident. Or you may look hopeless. You may look like someone who has it all together or you’re falling apart at every turn. You may even give a phony smile, and say some cliche things. Or you may spew every careless thought that comes from your mouth in hopes of being real and bold.

But whoever you are… you hate it. Because deep down, we all know that that’s not what it’s about, is it?

As if one kind of wrong is better than the other.

Thank God, you are worth more than than your feelings tell you.

Can I just say something here?

Maybe we are all more alike than we want to admit. Maybe I’m just like that too-faced, self-righteous, rich snob we all avoid. That hypocrite in the church pews. That political maniac who rants day and night on social media, believing that those who are on the other side are the enemy. Or the “tolerant” crowd who are tolerant of everyone… except for those who are intolerant.

Maybe, that drunk homeless man, who reeks of alcohol, sitting on the side of the road asking “food” money, is just like me inside.

In fact, I’m convinced of it.

Pride tells me I’m better than all of the above, but there’s one thing that tells me I’m not.

The Cross.

Because on that cross, Jesus gave his life as much for the hypocrite, as for the drunkard, as for the bitter-old-soul who can’t forgive.

Think you’re better? Then maybe the cross isn’t for you.

…Or maybe, it’s especially for you. Because, friends, the ground at the bottom of the cross is equal. And not one of us deserved it.

Pregnancy

Fourteen Years Ago

Fourteen years ago I was seventeen. I held a secret in my heart that only I knew.

Fourteen years ago I walked to the clinic all by myself and saw the doctor who gave me a test.

Positive. I had already known.

“Was this a good thing?” She asked. I slowly shook my head.

“Do you need help?” I did need help. Lots of it. But one long look in her eyes and I knew that I didn’t want the kind of help she was offering.

“I’ll be fine.” I said.

Fourteen years ago, I lowered my head as a guy in my classroom at school mocked teenage pregnancy… little did he know I was with child.

Fourteen years ago, I sat at a thanksgiving meal feeling oddly… thankful. Thankful for the little life that I was soon to be told would “ruin” mine.

Fourteen years ago I fought for the right to keep my own child.

“You’re too young.”

“You’ll throw away your future.”

“Just give it to a family who will actually want a baby.”

I did. I wanted you.

Fourteen years ago, I held my hand over my belly and sang a first lullaby of many. I danced with you. I ran with you. I spoke to you. I chose life. I chose you.

Fourteen years ago, I changed forever.

Because of you.

Now you’re thirteen, a charming young man. Funny. Selfless. Gentle. Nurturing. Wise beyond your years. And all I can think of is how thankful I am for the life I’ve gotten to raise, to know, and love. For the amazing journey you’ve brought me on that all began –

Fourteen years ago.

About Me · Family

Parties, Carrots and a Cute Little Pirate

I’ve been finding it hard to find time for WordPress these days. I do apologize for missing many of your wonderful posts. Hopefully when life slows down a bit, I can scroll back and read them.

“What’s so busy?” you may ask yourself.

First of all, our family celebrates two birthdays one day apart at the beginning of the month.

Our second youngest is now eight and requested a hot wheels themed cake. (I love making special cakes for my kids, another hobby of mine). I also planned a party for him with eight very rambunctious kids in the house.

Our only daughter turned 12 and went with an Aladdin themed cake to go with her movie night. She had five (much calmer) girls over, but it was a sleepover so it still took up half a weekend.

To top it off my eldest son had a tournament that same day. So we’ve been in recovery for the past week.

Also, I’ve been dealing with carrots.

A lot. Of. Carrots.

I’m trying to sneak them into pasta sauce, soups, casseroles, carrot cakes… our kids get them for snack.

And to be honest, I’m not even a fan of them. But they’re healthy and free… so… there’s that.

This is half of them:

I am currently shredding and freezing them. Hopefully I’m done by next spring. If there’s ever a world shortage of carrots, I will be a very wealthy person.

We are also running around in circles for Isaiah’s volleyball practises and games.

This lovely schedule will go right into November. But we love our kids and so we love investing in their interests.

I leave you with a picture of my cute little Pirate. Although he doesn’t look very frightening, don’t let that charming smile deceive you… those plastic knives really hurt when dropped from a balcony onto an unsuspecting mother.

Happy October Everyone!!

Canada · winter

Snow Day… in Fall?!?

I took this photo 4 days ago…

It’s October after all! The day was a dream October day… warm, beautiful fall colours starting to show. I was out in my tank top picking the last of my garden carrots.

Today, this is that same view…

Oh and, school is cancelled.

Canada’s snow days are not like snow days in many other places of the world. We LIVE in snow half the year after all. In our school division, it has to be -45°C with windchill for our school to close. Roads have to be impassible to shut down buses. Usually this happens in January or February.

But it’s OCTOBER!! This type of thing is unheard of… like a heat wave in January. Which, by the way, I won’t complain about. I already think winter feels long when it snows in November. It usually lasts until May.

I’m sure hoping that this means that summer vacation is coming in February.

Or I’m moving. Somewhere without snow…

You know of any good places?

Faith · Peace

I Choose Peace

For the past week, peace has evaded me. From morning until evening my life has been packed with schedules, work and routine.

It’s busy in the public school world.

I guess that’s why I always loved homeschooling, home life, and relaxed schedules. Because I believe rest and boredom are essential for our souls. The unrest this generation is facing is possibly as damaging as starvation to our souls.

We do not rest.

And I’m not used to this. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m going to get used to this. In fact, I refuse to get used to the chaos inside of me… Outside chaos can only be handled well with inside peace.

There has to be another way.

As I was meditating on Psalm 23 this morning, I heard God’s gentle rebuke:

“Heather, you are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed… choose what is better and it will not be taken from you.”

Friends, we get to choose.

Chaos or peace.

Fear or trust.

Striving or being.

It’s a daily choice. One that I have been forgetting. I choose peace. I choose trust. I choose living in each moment. I choose to stop and admire the beauty of the fall leaves. I choose to slow down and listen to what my kids are actually saying. I choose to make eye contact and respond.

I choose peace.

Peace – Hillsong