Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year to all! I hope and pray for peace in 2008.



artwork by david hayward

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The lonliest day of the year....

Why can't Christmas ever satisfy? I anticipate Christmas each and every year. I believe in the magic of christmas, I believe in the majesty of Christ's birth, yet, each and every year I find myself feeling sad, depressed, lonely, disappointed, tired, discouraged, aching for more, knowing I am missing out, knowing somehow I must be deficient because I do not feel privy to the magical feeling that so many people talk about.

I have come to the realization that christmas is a series of moments in amongst the hard work and worry. It is the intangible moments I live for...yet, my soul yearns for something deeper...I want to feel the enormity of God's great gift to mankind. Yet, in amongst the shopping, cleaning, cooking, bill paying, worries, world events, the suffering of so many, the general stuff of life, it gets lost.

I envy those with time...I want to be doing something real and tangible...I want to be amongst the needy rather than those who think they need...I'm tired of the whining of our generation. The grandiose talk and little to no action...and yes, I hold myself in that camp! I know that caring for my children, family and friends is important...especially my children...but the ache, the palatible urge to do more burns deep within.

Maybe 2008 will be my year for making a difference. Doing something meaningful, where I know that my efforts are appreciated, that I can bring a smile, a feeling of love and warmth to another human being...someone who truly is deserving....I am coming to the conclusion that I won't find Jesus in some of the places I have been spending time...they seem to be dead ends...I have a feeling I will meet Jesus on the street...am I ready, am I able?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Views of the Season...

Santa Claus Parade...a very chilly but fun night!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Don't see me...


I remember when I recently caught ella doing something she shouldn't...she said to me..."mummy, don't see me!"

I was moved by her request...so often when we make a mistake, we hope and pray that others do not see our sin...that others do not see our weakness, our failings....
When ella said that to me...I loved her all the more...she so wanted to not disappoint me...she knew immediately she had done wrong...what more did I need to say...

I believe the Father sees us this way...I pray he does...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hearing the Silence...

This photo was taken by my talented sister in-law Patricia....this is her morning views!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Saddest Song I've Got

I know I've posted this before...but everytime I play this it reminds me that we all need to pray for peace...there is so much suffering in this world.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Proud

So much energy radiates from this photo...he just is...no trying, no faking, he just exudes strength and conviction... I love this photo!

Redefining the line in the sand...

We all have it...that line in the sand that we do not cross...or a line we do not allow others to cross over as it is our boundary line. I have done this...many times and it helps to keep things clear for me, maintains boundaries or goals or values that I set for myself.

The line has blurred at times, or actually been stood on and trampled...but no more.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In the eye of the storm

All around, chaos reigns, friendships shattered, relationships damaged, love tested, friendships stretched, futures on hold, suffering all around.

I tell myself that within every storm there is a place where the sun still shines, where there is peace to be found that shelter can be found from the battering of hurt and tears....

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Psalm 103:2-5)

"Let me state something important. There is never a time during which Jesus is not speaking. Never. There is never a place in which Jesus is not present. Never." (p.91)
In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado

Monday, November 05, 2007

Taking religion seriously...

I just found the funniest blog which takes a tongue in cheek poke at all things religious! The blog is called Purgatorio and even though the owner is on hiatus....there is lots to read and laugh about. I'm not taking sides...I'm enjoying the silliness of it all and the reminder that both sides need to step back and lighten up!

Here is one post that pokes fun at the emergent/emerging movement...You Might Be Emerging If...I laughed so hard (except for his mention of Bono) that I had to share!

Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Canada, of all Countries, Has a Housing Crisis...

At the end of his visit to Canada last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing Miloon Kothari (an independent expert in an honorary position who reports annually to the UN Human Rights Council on the status of the realization of the right to adequate housing in the world), gave negative preliminary observations: “… Everywhere that I visited in Canada, I met people who are homeless and living in adequate and insecure housing conditions. I heard of hundreds who died as a direct result of Canada’s nation-wide housing crisis. In its most recent review of Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN used strong language to label housing and homelessness and inadequate housing as a “national emergency”.

…Studies show that women, especially single mothers are disproportionally affected by affordability or discrimination. ... I heard some very disturbing testimonies on women whose children were taken away because they were living in inadequate housing, an issue that particularly affects Aboriginal women. … Although women leaving abusive relationships have priority for social housing (except for in the 3 Territories), a woman with maximum priority to access housing… may still wait up to 3 years to get a home. (This) pushes women to stay with a violent partner or to return to violent relationship to avoid homelessness. In view of the current situation women face throughout the country, I was surprised to receive information on significant cuts to the budget and the modification the mandate of Status Women Canada, the only Federal agency focused on women. This might contradict the legal obligation of allocating maximum available resources and the non-retrogression with respect to human right that is mandated in the ICESCR. I am concerned that some women’s organizations have been defunded for their service provision to women, research and advocacy activities.

… Canada is one of the richest countries, which makes the prevalence of this crisis is all the more striking. … Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has had a large operating surplus – almost $1 billion this year. Canada’s successful social housing program, which created over half a million homes starting in 1973, no longer exists. Canada has one of the smallest social housing sectors among developed countries and relies almost entirely on the private market for new housing. In 2005 and 2006, the private sector created over a quarter of a million homes, but only 1 in 100 are affordable for low and moderate-income families...

- www.ohchr.org/english/issues/housing/index.htm

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's in the details...

Okay, this will be boring and I am writing this one more for myself...I'm sitting here, it is very windy, cold and raining hard. Andy has gone to the hockey game with his dad which is nice. The house is cosy because we have the woodstove on and it is lovely! Ella is finishing up some ice cream before bed dawdling before we move onto baths, teeth and pj's.

We had been snuggling together on the Fraser Crane chair and as I was about to get up to get her icecream, she reached up and cupped my face in her hands and told me she would go to bed for me once she was done eating...it was such a sweet gesture. It reminded me of the importance of kind gestures, kind words, and how the greatest gifts we give one another is tenderness.

Andy knows that a sure fire way to win a smile is to bring me home a coffee or a chocolate bar...the item is small but it is the thought behind it. When I was a kid in Ireland, my mum never, ever had much money. I recall an occassion when she was going to the grocery store. I asked her to bring me back a treat (echos of ella in my head)...she showed me her purse and it only had a few coins...however, when she returned, she gave me and brothers two mojos each...I love those candies...but what I remember more was feeling loved and knowing my mum was thinking about me and how much I appreciated her buying them...

It has been another crazy week...hockey is now in full swing which means lots of driving and sitting in cold rinks, Ella had a field trip to the museum, met with some friends, visited the doctor and my friend surprised us with tickets to see the Lipizzaner Stallions which Ella loved...me not so much! It was also the first time she drank some orange pop ever...she has never had it...she was supposed to get a slushie but instead she got a pop...she called it spicey!







My brother came for dinner which was wonderful because I haven't seen him for a while because he has been sooo busy building another house and driving a total of three hours per day to attend classes here in the city. Oh, and my splurge for the week was getting my eyebrows done! I love that!

In the picture below, it was sunny and fairly warm for the end of October...the boys and their friends were out on the road playing road hockey. Ella surprised them by dressing up in her cheerleading outfit and cheering them on....she was so confident singing away, even as strangers passed her by...smiling at this little spitfire of a four year old.

I finally bribed her with a hot chocolate to get her to come inside!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Response of the Church...

UNB Professor of Sociology Dr. Nancy Nason-Clark’s work on the RAVE (Religion and Violence e-learning) project is about dispelling “the holy hush that often permeates the faith community on the issue of domestic violence.” She tells a story about interviewing religious leaders throughout England. One evening, Nancy had an appointment in a pastor’s home. She caught the train then walked 40 minutes to the house. As she was walking, Nancy felt a little uneasy about the gathering dark and the rain that was beginning to fall. She was glad when she arrived safely at the pastor’s house. The pastor and his wife welcomed Dr. Nason-Clark and they had a great 90-minute interview. As it came time for Nancy to leave, she walked to the door, feeling uneasy about the walk back to the train station. Now it was completely dark and there was a downpour. As she was about to leave, the pastor said, “We are concerned about your safety in this dark and horrible weather.” Nancy was so relieved to hear these words! She came back into their home. The pastor said, “Before you walk to the train station, we want to have a prayer that God would keep you safe and that God would keep you dry.” Nancy left the pastor’s home to walk 40 minutes in darkness to the station feeling unsafe, cold and soaked to the bone. “How easy it is to see the need right under our noses and yet be completely oblivious about how to respond.”


- Sacred Silence, Holy Hush, 1 Nov 2006. www.meckmin.org/newsletter/20061101.pdf

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hitting the Road...

I was recently asked by my best friend of 20 years to go on a trip with her to Boston. A very close friend of hers is dying from cancer and she wants me to go along for moral support. When she asked me, I immediately felt I was supposed to go...but I wasn't sure my finances would let me. The reality is, finances will never be right, they never have been for us and it isn't changing anytime soon with four growing kids....long story short, I'm going! I couldn't imagine not being there for her!

So, during the Remembrance Day weekend, I am taking off for two nights three days. We are driving, yes driving...to Boston where she will meet up with her friend to say her painful goodbyes. In between that, we will talk, laugh, cry and drink lots of coffee!

This trip will be as much for me as it is for her... I need to get away and clear my head...hit the open road and in between conversations, I'll let my mind wander and think things through. Maybe I will come home more like myself...more balanced and clear headed...I want the old me back...not that I mind the me now...but I want more of a balance. I have a lot of decisions to make for the coming year...I need to pray more to be sure that I am doing the right thing as I move forward.

It sure is amazing what a difference a year makes...the fall is definitely a time of transition and hope for me...doors open and doors close...whatever the fall brings...I want to enjoy the many blessings in my life and not let things get me down. That is the old me that I miss!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Blogging Etiquette


Blogging is huge...we love the ease in which we can keep in touch with friends and family, how we can share our lives and meet new people, how we can express ourselves in writing knowing we would never share our stuff with people otherwise.

When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I absolutely loved knowing that no one knew me. I was, and to a large degree still am, a cautious blogger always aware of the strangers that surf the net. I never gave out my last name, never gave out my location, and certainly not my picture. If I posted photos of my kids I would use baby pictures, nothing to identify them.

That all changed a year ago when upon meeting new friends and having them for dinner, we learned that they had posted a video of our Thanksgiving dinner which included our full names, location, our children...everything was online for the world to see. When we found out, we were very uncomfortable with it and kinda freaked out by it...but we never said anything...in part because we hoped no one would ever see it or care! In hindsight, we do regret not asking them to remove it. My husband's co-workers found the video and it made the rounds at his work. He was razzed by them...he felt uncomfortable because he prefers to keep his home life private. I realize that with YouTube, Yahoo and Google video that to many it is no big deal...but it felt weird knowing we are out there in that way since we never would have chosen to do so.

Now every time you go to a dinner, a party, a sporting event, heck even church, people are taking photos...and from what I have been told, it is to be expected that your photo will probably be posted on someones blog for the world to see...or at the least, within your own little world/community. If you are uncomfortable with that or discover that you hate the photo posted of you....do you have the right to ask to have it removed...I've been told it may be considered offensive or controlling because your personal discomfort is infringing on the blog owners creative rights...

So, while blog surfing, I came across a post over at bloggerdygook about said issue and it was a very interesting discussion...plus there is another discussion now going on at Restyled Home, my sister's blog and the consensus on both was that you should be asked before a photo is published of a person or child...especially children. I have no problem with group photos being taken for blogs...but I hate, hate, hate closeups being taken of me no matter how many protests I make, some people ignore that...I have never enjoyed having my picture taken, I freeze and yes, I am my own worst critic! My thought is that the person in the picture should have a say in whether they want that photo of them out there....

So, I am curious...am I off base for feeling this way? Since our family was put out there for all to see, I have relaxed a lot... and that has been a good thing. I enjoy posting photos of my kids, nieces and nephews on my blog...but I still have moments where I feel like to much is out there about myself and my family. Once the door is opened it is hard to close it shut, and in the scheme of things I know my little family is not that important in the big picture. However, I have never posted a photo where I questioned if the person would have any issues with the photo being published...either from personal privacy issues, or maybe it wasn't the most flattering, or maybe I think that they don't want their other friends or family seeing them in that picture....each person has their thing...

I liked what one photographer said on the issue from another article I read...

I know of no respected photographer who didn’t have respect for the subjects s/he photographs. And - even if you aren’t the best photographer in the world - showing respect will get you the respect you need to get a good start in the lion’s den that is Photography.

I think the same is true for blogging...but I could be wrong.

A Crisp Autumn Morning



So, today is one of those beautiful days that demands you get outside to enjoy the fresh air! I'm lucky, my kids don't need to much prodding...when I sat down to drink my morning coffee, I noticed two of them already outside playing basketball. After that, they moved to the back yard and started raking the mountain of leaves that is now covering our yard.

Technically, they should be doing their school work...but that is one of the perks of homeschooling...they can start their work after lunch feeling happy & invigorated and still finish their work for the day.

I have been working on their schedules...I am a bit late getting them done, but I was waiting on some new curriculum and I wanted to spend a lot of time on math and science to get them off to a strong start. Jack my youngest still moans and groans and will do anything to take a break or talk his way of out doing something! I scanned their schedules into the computer but I can't post them...hopefully I will figure out why and get them up.

Wednesday's are busy because Ella has dance lessons and pre-school which she loves! Everytime we head into the building she runs ahead of me...she is so eager to get inside. I love that she loves her new found independence!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Who am I.....


did you really know me...

did you really care

did you think about my feelings

or assume i'd just be there.


the winds they are a blowing

ripping cobwebs clean

i'll heal from this painful wounding

but the holes will remain

unseen.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blowing in the wind....



Today we went apple picking as a family. It was technically Ella's first time because she doesn't remember the last time we took her as she was around age two.
It was a beautiful, crisp fall day. We took the ferry over to the Kingston Peninsula and enjoyed all the pretty colours on our way to the farm.

We have been going there since the kids were in pre-school. I took Ben & Sam when Ben was maybe 4 or 5 when he was in Beavers. We used to go yearly and I have some amazing photos showing the kids from one year to the next. I used to organize homeschooling trips to the apple farm but after that ended, a new baby, a move, a sick mother, the falls moved to quickly to winter and we skipped it for a couple of years...maybe even three! So, going apple picking always makes me nostalgic for the times gone by.

So, today I found myself outside in the fresh air, picking apples, taking pictures, munching on apples that can only be described as exploding with pleasure in your mouth, picking pumpkins and the three oldest playing catch with an apple! It was all so idyllic...and it was except...

Except before that, to get there, I had to do soo many things to be ready. Andy slept till 1pm ish...I ran out to get gas in the van, buy cat food, get money, teach & mark math for two kids, go over science, make lunch, clean the kitchen and get a load of laundry on the line and another one started. Then I had to get all those darn recyclables sorted and into the mudroom so that hopefully Andy would get rid of them. I then doggy proofed the house so that maggie our shitty dog wouldn't leave presents in rooms that I didn't want her in.

I only bring this up because by the time we made it into the van, I was feeling cranky...Ben made a joke about it and I then blabbed off all that I had to do so that five other people could sail out the door oblivious. I just felt stupid & bad for complaining. I almost feel stupid for having so much responsibility, like it is something I have done to myself...if I was freer, or relaxed more I could do more for myself...but at this stage of my life "me" time is not readily available and I am fine with that...I am clear on where my priorities lie...and it is with my children and my hardworking hubbie.

Then fast forward to the evening. We went to my sil's to help my brother pull in the raft. After a nice visit we came home and everyone scatters. I had to bath ella...which is no big deal...except I wondered as I scrubbed the tub and washed away all those stray little hairs, does anyone really notice or care about such details...the fact that I do, does that make me nutty? The thought of Ella bathing in a tub that is not freshly scrubbed fills me with dread. Which then led me to think that if I wasn't here would Andy even know to do that...does he realize that it is important for little girls to have nice clean baths with bubbles....


Strange thoughts I know...but it is merely the musing of my little mind...but, it made me realize that I am so lucky, yes lucky to have these stresses, these irritations, when friends such as Stacey-Lynne prays that her little boy will not be afraid or in to much pain when he goes in for yet another painful surgery. Or maybe she worries that her little girls are not being washed in a super clean tub with just the right amount of bubbles...or maybe it is only mummy who can untangle their hair gently and she is far away in Montreal.

Anyways, I realize this post is all over the place...maybe I should be writing this to myself only...because even as I write it I am censoring myself because in reality, I can't say what is on my heart entirely...but so many people struggle. We all have our stuff...and to each of us...it can be heavy. So, I find myself wondering about people and where their at and how their doing or why things change the way they do...but things do change...we all do...and when the winds of change come rolling thru...you need to ride it out. If your lucky, it isn't to much or to painful...or maybe it is only enough to blow the dust off...but you can't stop the wind. So, as I blow about in the wind, I am praying for strength not only for myself but others that I care about...I hope we all have a soft landing when the dust settles.

Heard a great quote tonight..."life doesn't give a damn about our plans...but how we roll with it is what counts!" So true!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Red Whale Coffee Company

The other day after dropping our little girl off at pre-school, my husband and I decided to check out a new coffee shop that opened this summer called the Red Whale Coffee Company. You might be familiar with them as they used to be located in St. Andrews.

The minute we entered we were thrilled! Delicious coffee plus free refills, sandwiches, deserts to drool over, muffins, coffee beans including fair trade beans all roasted on site plus comfy red leather couches to curl up in. Oh, and they assured me that they make wonderful cappuchinos...which I plan to try the next time. I find that with local coffee shops, consistency can be weak and I hope this won't be a problem.

Another thing that impressed me was the time they took to add in features that only a busy parent can appreciate when they try to venture out with their little ones. They have bean bag seats and tables for kids plus the newest little seats for babies that keep them upright. Oh, and the popcorn machine was a nice touch too!

So check it out and discover for yourself this lovely, local coffee shop!

Monday, September 24, 2007

An unexpected kindness

My niece Kristen surprised me late last week with a gift certificate to a hair salon! I could get my hair cut & styled, coloured, highlighted...whatever....I was flabbergasted, overwhelmed, embarrassed, and profoundly moved and appreciative of her amazingly kind and generous gift!

It has been well over a year since I got my hair done...I had been commenting on facebook howI kept meaning to get a haircut on payday...but as everyone knows, after bills, groceries, the needs of four kids, any socializing at all...comes with a cost. So, naturally, you put off doing things for yourself to the next paycheque, but the cycle begins again.

For her to notice that I needed to put myself first, to pamper myself...heck to maintain myself...made me realize that it has to be prioritized and it comes with a price! Somehow, I need to learn to put myself first on certain things...like the gym...going for a walk, eating healthy...rather than worrying that I'm needed somewhere else.

Even writing this I feel like I'm complaining or being ungrateful for my wonderful family and friends...boo hoo wendy is busy! Plus, I am blessed beyond measure to have my wonderful sister who has become my rock of late...and I have all my dearest friends nearby that I love dearly! But Kristen at the wise old age of 14 taught me a lesson. Not to mention, to hear some of the kind things she said about me, well it really touched me and I will cherish her kindness forever!

Thank you Kristen, I can only imagine you will become even more amazing as you transform into a young woman!

Re-making New Brunswick: The Business Agenda

At this point, I am neither for or against the planned proposals to change our universities into polytechnical schools...I do plan to learn about the issue and hopefully, it won't be decided by a powerful few...

This newspaper (NB Telegraph Journal) has given over much of its content in the past few days to the report of the commission on post-secondary education. Brunswick News, an Irving company, finds much favour with the report. ...Last week, days before the report was released, Derek Oland (of the NB Business Council) was heard on radio promoting the concept of a polytechnic in Saint John... The unfolding of the new agenda for post-secondary education looks an awful lot like the unfolding of the energy hub agenda. The business community lines up behind it, Premier Graham comes on side and the primary newspaper in the region dedicates an overwhelming amount of both news and editorial space to convincing us that this is the best thing since sliced bread. It is not an accident that the post-secondary commission recommendations follow many months of public hand-wringing about labour shortages anticipated as the energy hub agenda rolls out. The Premier's self-sufficiency agenda, largely reflecting the priorities of our handful of big businesses, provides the umbrella under which all of this fits. ... Premier Graham has tied his wagon to the Irving horse ...Troubling in all of this is the undercurrent ... that industry should dictate higher education priorities. ...

- Excerpts, Re-making N.B.: the business agenda, NB Telegraph-Journal, 19 Sept 2007, by columnist Janice Harvey, director of the Conservation Council of N.B.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dodged a bullet

I remember the struggle to have my first child. The seven years of infertility, the seven years of being told it wouldn't happen, the mourning of a child lost that never was....then fast forward to the moment holding that child for the first time...determined to do the best by this obvious gift from God. I remember sitting in the public health office surrounded by other mothers waiting my turn to vaccinate my child. He was two months old...eight weeks or 60 days...a blip on the screen of life.

I remember for the first time feeling fear...wondering was i doing the right thing....I for one, had not done any research into vaccines...and from my difficult pregnancy, I discovered you couldn't always trust doctors as all knowing and all caring.

I submitted to those vaccines. But I went home determined to know more for the next time...I read, I researched, I bought books on the subject and tried to wade through the hysteria on both sides. I came out of it believing that vaccines were neccessary but not at the ages recommended. I learned about thimerisol, i learned about the debates raging...

All I really cared about was how might my decisions affect my children. With my first child I delayed his vaccines, with my second son I delayed them even later and only allowed one at a time with no thimerisol, if any vaccine listed it on the insert, we avoided it. With my third we did not even begin them until he was two and I have followed the same routine with my fourth child and only started at age three. But, I made this choice weighing the risk and benefits which only a parent can do.

With my second son I truly believe that with him, I dodged a bullet. I believe in my heart, had I submitted to the recommended schedule that my son may have developed autism or some of the related disorders. With my second son, he did not read until much later...and it is also why I believe I was meant to homeschool...not so much because my first child didn't like school...but because it allowed me to prepare myself to teach my second son who would have been labelled within the public system...probably to never recover from the labelling. Now, he is a prolific reader who loves learning!

So, I suggest to all parents...don't accept things outright...challenge the status quo and make sure you are doing what is right for your child. How the medical community can belive that one vaccine fits all is beyond me...question all things!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nothing to say...

For a while now, I feel as though I have so much going on in my head but no way to express how I am thinking or feeling. I'm wading thru some stuff but feel lost to explain how I feel. In fact, I feel silenced. Therefore, I have nothing to write about because every time I try, I fail.

Music, poetry and my sister helps...because I hate feeling like this.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pre-school for ella...

Today was a big day for Ella...and me! I decided, after much thought and discussion with her dad to register her into a pre-school group. No big deal to many, but I have been homeschooling for 10 years now and if you are a homeschooler you barely give pre-school a thought as they just learn along side their siblings.

I never imagined that I would even contemplate putting her into public school, but in reality, she is a very outgoing little girl and wants little friends. My three sons had each other, but Ella does not have any siblings her age, nor does she have any little friends nearby since we moved here. Don't get me wrong, if I choose to homeschool her, it does not mean she won't have any friends or not be "socialized" but I want to make sure that if she does show a desire to go to school that she doesn't go in cold. Which brought me to this decision.

Homeschooling is a wonderful option and we have truly loved it! Not all of it, but I can't imagine my life any other way than how it has been with my kids close by these last 10 years. However, the boys are all showing an interest now in going to highschool in the fall and I have always said I would honour that request, should they decide.

I'm not interested in joining any homeschool groups and I certainly will never start or run one again...politics and overly sensitive people with issues has left me cold on that one...plus, my time is far to valuable and I no longer feel any desire to serve people in that way.

So, now I will struggle with my own personal issues with the public education system. I worry about the dumbing down of our children and the numbing of their minds to think freely or question much of anything beyond the latest hip hop or mtv music video. I will work along side my kids to insure they do well and hopefully, I may help out in some way to help with the staggering 49% illiteracy rate here in NB. Mainly, I fear that huge machine far more than anything else.

In these days of government running amuck, people spending their way into ruin, depressing world events, churches bickering amongst themselves, religious zealouts on all sides growing by the day, I just want my kids to be able to think on their feet, have a voice, be fearless to live out their life with honour and to question everything!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

ARE YOU PROUD? Canada one of few expected to vote against the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

On September 13, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly is scheduled
to consider adoption of the long awaited and much needed Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada is one of only a few countries
planning to vote against it. The Declaration would be a major step
towards eliminating the human rights violations suffered by 370 million
Indigenous people worldwide. The Native Women's Association of Canada is
marching in Montreal today Fri. Sept 7, 2007 alongside the Quebec Native
Women in support of the UN Declaration. Urge Prime Minister Harper to
support the Declaration.

Sign a global petition organized by Grand Council of the Crees and
Amnesty International Canada in support of the Declaration.
www.amnesty.ca/ip_un_petition/UN_indigenous_rights_petition.php

*******

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Private Health Care...do you care?

Hi,

On behalf of the New Brunswick Health Coalition, an organization made of various provincial associations, social groups and unions, we send this invitation to make your opinion known to the New Brunswick Minister of Health in reaction to plans to privatize our public health care system.

Myths and Facts:

"Private companies will help reduce health waiting list" - False! There is a shortage of doctors and nurses in New Brunswick. If doctors are permitted to work in private clinics, they will leave our public system, thus creating a shortage of doctors in the public system. Patients will have to wait longer for health care and waiting lists are going to increase. However, citizens who can afford i twill be able to jump the waiting lists by buying health services in private clinics.

"Hospital operating room rental will bring increased revenues for the province" - Who wil pay? Citizens needing an operation get the service free in the public health care system. Why impose fees on citizens of the province for these services? The minister mentioned the possibility of bringing American patients in the province who would pay for their operation. Surgeons who will operate these patients are going to come from the New Brunswick public system. By quitting the public health system, these surgeons will no longer be available to provide service to New Brunswick citizens, contributing to the downgrading of the current health services we are currently enjoying. While well to do foreign patients will get priority, we will have to wait before being operated and suffer the consequences of lack of care.

"The public system is unsustainable and costs are out of control" - False! Since about 1970, the amount we spend on hospital and physician services (i.e. Medicare) has remained stable at between 4% and 4.5% of GDP. The overall increases in health care are due to higher spending on prescription drugs and private care that are not controlled by the government. By controlling these two sectors, the government could bring its health costs down.

"Private insurance companies should participate in our health care system" - At what price for the citizens of this province? New Brunswick recently went through a crisis about insurance costs in the province. The US system demonstrates that private insurances companies are more concerned about their profit than the health of their customers. Are we willing to pay for health insurance when we are now have health care services which are free and accessible to all?

If you decide to write a letter to the minister, make it public by sending a copy to the media.

You can write to the minister at the following address:
Honourable Michael Murphy
Minister of Health
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton (New Brunswick)
E3B 5H1

If you need help to write your letter or if want more information about the government privatization plans, please contact:
New Brunswick Health Coalition
c/o Florian Levesque
Communications Coordinator
(506) 826-2648
levesflo@nb.sympatico.ca

More information on the health care system: www.healthcoalition.ca/mwte.pdf

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My husband's blog...

Finally, my husband has started a blog! For those who know him, we have all "enjoyed" some of his music choices more than others! He is opinionated, funny and sarcastic...I hope all that shows up in his blog!]

You should check it out!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Authenticity with Guidance




I am in favour of people trying to be as authentic as possible, but given all our personal demons, hurts, fears, wants, wishes and desires, we can't help but be silenced or schackled by people and circumstances.

However, with that said, I still crave the desire to be who I really am called to be minus all the baggage I bring with me. Where does a christian or non-christian go to figure this all out...where does a person like myself find the guidance or direction on how I might better live within the circumstances I find myself.

I would like to think that our churches offers that guidance, including spouse, friends, family, prayer, music, books, poetry, and the Bible...Scripture is a powerful tool...it is a weapon that slices open your wound, sears it, and then applies a salve for healing. Sadly, I don't think there are many churches using scripture as a tool to heal and release people from bondage versus churches that use it to condemn you further into our self-imposed prisons. Or equally bad, scripture used as sound bites to bolster personal idealogies, visions, money grabs or feel good, no accountability sermons. You need only to view what is on the so called "religious channels" to see samples of all of the above.

I think the call to be your "authentic self" can be a dangerous one, especially for the vunerable & weak. Yep, forgive me but I do! Your authentic self is one filled with ugly and nice, gaping, painfilled wounds that need a salve. When you share your uglier side, you better make sure that the person or church body is going to receive your "stuff" and honor your vunerability with the love, awe, honor and grace that it deserves. Watch that they don't shield their eyes, or turn away from your nakedness, do they try to redress it how they think it should look, do they look away in fear, can you take that chance?

Of coure you can...but choose wisely. Don't fall victim to the group mentality of letting it all hang out. There is comfort in sharing...I agree, but you have to weigh the morning after affect...can you live with the reality of sharing your innermost thougts and feelings? Instead, look around to the ones you love and care for. Give them a chance to be there for you. They aren't perfect, they have their stuff too! But, whatever you do, try to judge wisely because sharing your stuff and then not receiving the validation for your pain or suffering can damage you further.

So, for anyone who thinks you can feel safe "revealing" your stuff...I would suggest that you look around. Will those same people be there when you need them, have they been there for you in the past, do you really trust that you won't be discussed over tea...sometimes, our stuff is meant only for you and Jesus. He knows our dark side, he sees our sins...he loves us in spite of our failings. There is nothing we can hide from him...it is us/me who trys to hide from him.

This is part of my lament on authenticity. If we are going to preach it...then there is a responsibility within the church to guide us using scripture on how to live it, not just your own personal version or vision of what authenticity looks like! Using scripture, help us to grow, become accountable, inspired to go further in our lives with the freedom that comes through Jesus. Jesus not only healed people but He taught his people how to live, he never assumed anyone was a mature christian ready to take on the world. We need guidance on how to deal, accept or overcome the things that bind us? How do you reach married couples with real problems, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, spousal or child abuse, anxiety, debts, anger, self-doubt, sadness etc...how do you reach those people through scripture to encourage and inspire acceptance, growth and change within their given situation.

I for one believe it is out there...I see nuggets of it here and there, at my church, within the people of my church, my friends and family, I will struggle on, aching for scripture based guidance on how to be my authentic self without sacrificing others in the process or going down dead end roads searching for the path to freedom.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Struggling Along....


I struggle with church and religion. The self-absorbing nature of this institution often leads its body to be inwardly focused, distracting it from the huge world outside the four walls screaming for our attention. The ongoing discussion on what church is or should be is sounding hollow and self-indulgent to me, when the world around us seems to be spiralling out of control.

Change comes slowly....I believe that it is the small victories made by individuals that ultimately create the tide of change. I have seen little things that I have done connect with others who have been quietly or not so quietly doing the same thing join forces to create major change in areas where it was needed. I have seen some amazing people who quietly go about doing good works without ever being acknowledged...though they have inspired me to do more, care more, pray more, and build my faith.

Not all of us can be movers and shakers...not all of us will receive acknowledgement or appreciation for the times when we have pushed for change when the need was presented. Not everyone will know all the quiet things we may do in our own little world...but we do need to be reminded that they do count...they do make a difference....we do touch people and society in significant ways....take comfort in that.

Friday, July 27, 2007

We are family....

I have to say that I consider myself to be very blessed when it comes to my family and friends. I have a wonderful husband and four amazing kids that I honestly enjoy hanging out with 24/7...we are all pretty compatible when it comes to our likes and dislikes. We all enjoy our quiet time as much as we enjoy visiting with people. That has worked well for us because we homeschool...if my kids needed people each and every day it would not have worked.

I just returned from visiting my sister. We are all stiff and sore (sorry Linda) from crashing on the floor or on sofas, but it was definitely worth it. I try to get down there whenever I can because I really adore my sister! Her house is amazing and the kids had so much fun swimming in her pool. There were moments when I could have pulled my hair out...but Linda and I managed to squeeze in moments late at night or when we finally sneaked away for supper late one evening.

This has been such a good year in that my brother and sister in-law returned from living out west and have settled back here with their two beautiful kids Kristen and Mathew. I adore them and consider myself lucky to have this opportunity to get to know them. We didn't realize how much we had missed them all until they came back home!

Here is a video of ella dancing at my sister's house...I think she looks lovely!

INFACT Canada Lactation Management Courses



INFACT Canada is inviting registrations for our popular
Lactation Management Courses!


***** UPCOMING COURSES *****

Toronto, ON: September 11th - 13th, 2007

Summerside, PEI: September 24th - 26th, 2007

Charlottetown, PEI: September 27th - 29th, 2007


The courses are based on the WHO / UNICEF 20-hour Lactation Management Course, and is meant for any person wishing to understand the practice of and issues surrounding breastfeeding more fully. The goal of the INFACT Canada/IBFAN North America breastfeeding course is to facilitate the need to provide those working with mothers and their families the information required to adequately support breastfeeding.

As there are limited places available, please register as soon as possible to ensure a place in any of the courses.

For registration forms and more information, please contact us at:

inge@infactcanada.ca

or visit our website: Infact Canada

Ingeborg Roorda
INFACT Canada
6 Trinity Square
Toronto, ON M5G 1B1

Phone: (416) 595-9819
Fax: (416) 591-9355
Email: inge@infactcanada.ca
Web: www.infactcanada.ca

"Protecting Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding"

Monday, July 16, 2007

Another crazy morning...sorta


Somehow, I always find myself rushing...I'm constantly wondering how do I slow down...I'll probably hate it when my life finally does slow down, so that keeps me grounded! However, yesterday I woke up a bit late....just before 8am and had to wake Ben as we had to head to the beach as he was to start his life guard lessons.

Ben can not eat when he first wakes, so I tell him, "no problem we will get you a muffin at Tims!" As I drive up to Tim's, I see the line snaking around the building...so in a moment of brilliance I suggest we zip down to McPhee's Bakery to buy some muffins or a nice cinnamon bun. I run inside and lo and behold...no muffins, no buns, no nothing...only bread!!! Back out I go...

So, we head to the next Tim's with the double drive thru lanes....I note that one line is long but the second line had only one car...yeah...I zip into it and as usual, begin my long wait....I am the person who always, always picks the wrong line! When I finally get to the window, I'm feeling my pressure build as we are now definitely going to be late...but we grab the muffin and go....naturally, only to get behind one of the world's slowest drivers! Which was a good thing, because at this point I notice my gas light is on and it is below the last line on the guage....I tell Ben not to worry...we will make it to the beach! I then had the forsight to look at my cell phone and sure enough...it was down to one bar and near death...I quickly plug it in...just in case I have to wake up Andy at home who is finally getting to have a sleep in after working 14 hour shifts for the last 6 days.

Finally we make it to beach....but wait...no cars...no people, its all locked up....I'm beginning to panic because I think to myself...where did I go wrong? I don't have the best memory...but I was sure it was at this beach, at this time...so I called the town office to inquire about the lessons, which thankfully they answered before my phone died. They tell me that it had been cancelled on Friday and woops...we forgot to call you!!!! I was so frustrated at this point...feeling teary...but no way....I still have to make it to the gas station because I wasn't even sure I had enough gas to make it that far! No time for tears, we were on a mission!

So, all the way back to town, driving slowly and coasting down the hills, Ben tells me all about friction and some other heavy duty science/physics stuff that makes my brain curl....but in my mind I'm thinking how wonderful this is, listening to him and seeing him so animated about this subject. We discussed how we might still manage for him to take his life guard program in town. He immediately said not to worry...driving to Saint John everyday is expensive and time consuming...he was just so darn thoughtful! When we got to the gas station...and yes, I coasted on by the local Irving taking the chance I would make it to the next gas station...Ben then filled the van, paid and we were on our way back home!

So, I came back home, and made bacon, homemade pancakes and eggs for everyone. Then I headed to the park with Ella and her two little cousins and ended up visiting two parks and stopping at the beach to have a swim in our clothes because it was so hot! We ate hotdogs and headed home to get changed!

So what is my point...none really except it reminded me of how great my kids are...how precious this time is with them...I see the hints of the men they are to become and I feel good! They are so different from one another and so much fun...in between the bickering! I was touched this week when I finally had to tell them why I was such a basket case waiting to go to the doctor for test results....they each pitched in to help, showing their love and concern in ways unique to them! When I came home, my kitchen was spotless, kitty litter cleaned...thanks Sam! Ella, was cared for, played with, taken outside to the swing set and bedroom tidied...thanks Ben & Jack!

I'm so proud of each of my children, they are my life! I don't mean that in the way that without them I am nothing...or that they define who I am, but they are my focus! I look forward to seeing them grow into adults....having a beer with them, hanging out, whatever unfolds.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Believing in yourself....

This video gives me goosebumps and tears everytime I watch it...it is a good reminder to not lose hope, we are all here for a purpose, for some it just takes longer to figure it out or achieve it...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Our new Kitty....

Here is a quick video of our new kitty we called Callum...after Jack's cousin Callum who also named a kitten he got last year after....can you guess.... my Jack!





We love him!

A funny....

George Bush is visiting the Queen of England.
He asks her, "Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are
there any tips you can give me?"
"Well," says the Queen, "the most important thing is to surround yourself
with intelligent people."
Bush frowns. "But how do I know the people around me are really
intelligent?"
The Queen takes a sip of tea.
"Oh, that's easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligence riddle.
The Queen pushes a button on her intercom. "Please send The Prime Minister
in here, would you?"
Tony Blair walks into the room. "Your Majesty..."
The Queen smiles. "Answer me this, please, Tony. Your mother and father have
a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?"
Without pausing for a moment, Blair answers, "That would be me!"
"Yes! Very good!" says the Queen.
Back at the White House, Bush calls in his vice president, Dick Cheney.
"Dick, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's
not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?"
"I'm not sure," says the vice president. "Let me get back to you on that
one."
Dick Cheney goes to his advisers and asks every one, but none can give him
an answer.
Finally, he ends up in the men's room and recognizes Colin Powell's shoes in
the next stall.
Dick shouts, "Colin! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have
a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"
Colin Powell yells back, "That's easy. It's me!"
Dick Cheney smiles. "Thanks!"
Cheney goes back to the Oval Office and asks to speak with Bush.
"Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It's Colin
Powell."
Bush gets up, stomps over to Dick Cheney, and angrily yells into his face,
"No, you idiot! It's Tony Blair!"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canada Day....the fun side....

So, if you took the time to read through the history on Canada Day...give yourself a pat on the back! This evening I'm heading to my brother & sil's house to have a bbq. We are all bringing fire crackers, food, and drink....chocolate milk in case your curious!

The kids will swim since he is living on a lake, enjoy their trampoline and the "grownups" will drink something a bit better than chocolate milk. Happy Canada Day everyone!





































Canada Day...some history.....

On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.

The July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day.

There is no record of organized ceremonies after this first anniversary, except for the 50th anniversary of Confederation in 1917, at which time the new Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, under construction, was dedicated as a memorial to the Fathers of Confederation and to the valour of Canadians fighting in the First World War in Europe.

The next celebration was held in 1927 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation. It was highlighted by the laying of the cornerstone by the Governor General of the Confederation Building on Wellington Street and the inauguration of the Carillon in the Peace Tower.

Since 1958, the government has arranged for an annual observance of Canada's national day with the Secretary of State of Canada in charge of the coordination. The format provided for a Trooping the Colours ceremony on the lawn of Parliament Hill in the afternoon, a sunset ceremony in the evening followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display.

Another highlight was Canada's Centennial in 1967 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attended the celebrations with Parliament Hill again being the backdrop for a large scale official ceremony.

The format changed in 1968 with the addition of multicultural and professional concerts held on Parliament Hill including a nationally televised show. Up until 1975, the focus of the celebrations, under the name "Festival Canada", was held in the National Capital Region during the whole month of July and involved numerous cultural, artistic and sport activities, as well as municipalities and voluntary organizations. The celebration was cancelled in 1976 but was reactivated in 1977.

A new formula was developed in 1980 whereby the National Committee (the federal government organization charged with planning Canada's Birthday celebrations) stressed and sponsored the development of local celebrations all across Canada. "Seed money" was distributed to promote popular and amateur activities organized by volunteer groups in hundreds of local communities. The same approach was also followed for the 1981 celebrations with the addition of fireworks displays in 15 major cities across the nation.

On October 27, 1982, July 1st which was known as "Dominion Day" became "Canada Day".

Since 1985, Canada Day Committees are established in each province and territory to plan, organize and coordinate the Canada Day celebrations locally. Grants are provided by the Department to those committees.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lovely Tuesdays....

Monday was one of those days that crystallized to me how stressed out I am. Things that normally would roll of my back now weigh me down. However, with that said, today was a lovely day!



Shane & Alli dropped by and we had fun sitting around the kitchen table eating up all the left over breakfast food and deserts and drinking tea...well except for Alli, she had some pepsi as she needed caffeine...straight up...she is renovating...enough said! I had been missing them and the ease in which we could all just hang out when they were staying here! I miss the casual chats and laughs we'd have....but I also love how they have such a lovely new home where they are planting their roots for a great life here in Canada~


Then I went directly to my sil's new house to attend a church gathering being hosted next door at Jill's house. Jill was having a "school's out for summer" party and all the kids from church were invited. I have never attended one of these gatherings...mainly because I am such a slacker at remembering things and get frazzled trying to get ou the door.



It turned out to be a lot of fun and very relaxing. When I have those opportunities to just sit and chat with people from our church one on one versus on Sunday when it is so hectic, I am reminded how amazingly beautiful they are as individuals...not that I don't know that...it is one of the things that has kept me attending church...but having the opportunity to just sit in a relaxed setting is so nice. I enjoy their company!



I'm not one to walk up to a group and just start chatting....so at church I tend to skip coffee break. But, by attending the parties and gatherings you do get time to chat and get to know one another. I also realized that maybe it is important to not keep things to myself...maybe being part of a group of amazing woman and men allows you to share things you think you have to handle yourself. I was raised contrary to that and to keep a stiff upper lip....yet I have no expectations of that for anyone else but myself!



The day ended with another church event (don't I sound churchy) where a lady is raising money to go to Cambodia for one week. It was to be a night of music, food and a silent auction. Well, I am hoping I might have won one item from an amazing wood carver Edwin Russo who attends our church. I actually purchased one of his tall wood carvings of a woman carved out of a log many years ago now.... She has been a source of pleasure for me for the last five years! This photo shows you her amazing face. She greets you when you come to my front door!

The music was great except for the first lady. It isn't that she wasn't good...she was...but my niece Kristen had tagged along with me after I had told her she would like the music and that it would be fairly hip and young...well, this woman started off with this solemn song of the lord's prayer A-cappella. Ella my four year old, started giggling and then I find myself laughing inwardly and it only gets worse because the room was so quiet and I kept trying to distract ella and myself with her styrofoam cup. I carved pictures using my nail but everytime I looked up I could see certain people in our church with this funny look on their faces and I just knew they found it funny....so different from what we are accustomed to....I was so embarrassed, but I had to leave with ella! I wasn't sure what she was going to say next and I knew I was about to burst out loud laughing! I think after this past week, I kinda had a laughing breakdown!



So, just a ramble about my day and a reminder that every day is a new day filled with many opportunities for laughter and friendship.

Monday, June 25, 2007

MAKING BABIES OR MAKING MOTHERS


I cut this article from my weekly email from NB Women’s News. I often disagree with them, it is a 50/50 thing...but this was very interesting!

… Although child rearing is a job, which, if done properly, benefits the family and the nation, the bulk of the responsibility for undertaking it sits on a mother's shoulders. Even as we bemoan our plummeting birth rate … everything is designed to force women to choose between work and kids - and to penalize them if they choose kids. These days, it's not just a matter of a woman wanting children; it's a matter of wanting them at the expense of everything else she's worked for. To date, women have tried to cope with this impossible framework by (having) everything at once. But younger women are … focusing in their 20s on career and deferring family until well into their 30s (when) they'll have enough cash and job-related goodwill socked away to "opt out" of work for a few years. (But) a highly educated woman is less likely to take that route once she hits her 30s …

Faced with a … crisis in which the suppliers (women) have the capacity to meet demand (for babies) but are opting not to … about every country in the developed world has implemented some policy or incentives. … The most successful policies have one thing in common: they don't try to pay women to procreate. Rather, they facilitate the careers of mothers: the more value a society places on women's work inside and outside of the home, the more likely she is to want to contribute meaningfully in both spheres. Take some of the load off of her shoulders so that children become everybody's responsibility. Who would have thought that the most economically sound solution to a fertility crisis would be rooted in good old-fashioned feminism?

The most promising recent case study is that of France, where the government has successfully sparked a baby boom by implementing a series of generous incentives for parents. The more children a couple has, the more money they keep in their pockets; a monthly $400 allowance is bumped up when the child reaches 11; a state-run crèche system where parents can leave toddlers at a moment's notice. Families with 3 or more kids are eligible for zero income tax, subsidized rent and transportation, parental leaves can extend for years. In 2 years, France's fertility rate has gone from 1.8 to 2. Almost 80% of French women work. France is on track to become Europe's most powerful economy by 2035. …

The countries that have the worst work-life policies have falling fertility rates. The countries that are doing reasonably well have an attitude that it takes a community to raise a child. Our model in North America is, ‘You decided to have a child … don't expect us to help you.' But we extol family values …' The one exception is Québec …that has been trying to boost its population with progressive policies ($7/day child care, non-taxable child benefit, expanded employment insurance).

- Making moms, Lianne George, Macleans, 28 May 2007