Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tribute To My Man

The Man of My Dreams turned forty this week. He didn't want any big parties. We spent our money on a washer and dryer (greatly needed and appreciated by your's truly) and other home improvements (he is trying so hard to get our basement finished) instead of presents.

He wanted to do something with his "wifey" for his birthday, instead of 'the guys' *me grinning big*. We were given a night-stay away in a lovely hotel, in a little town, that was much more my style than his (forgot my camera). We had a peacefully blissful time though.

He received and loved home-made cards from his little one's and a goofy one from me -which he laughed at.
We even wrote a song for his big day - which I tried and tried to get my kids to sing and make cute video for him - here's one of our 'takes'... he laughed and enjoyed our endeavors anyway. :)

I tried making a spectacular birthday [ice cream] cake - I always end up trying to do spectacular things that usually result in spectacular stress on my part, why do I do this? - but the cake was tasty, even though it sat too long and when we cut into it the ice cream sort of squished out, which resulted in a pile of cake, rather then a piece of cake. *sigh*

Forty years is rather monumental isn't it? As the Good Wife, am I not supposed to arrange every little detail to make it a monumental occasion? Well, if so, I failed. But you know, he didn't seem to mind and appreciated every little thing we did do.

Why am I telling you all of this (I know he's gonna wonder, when he reads it)? Well, because I want the world to know my Hunny is simply the best...better than all the rest... (sing it with me now). Well, he is better than all the rest where I am concerned.

Whatever he does, he does for us; his family. He loves us with all his heart and it shows in so many ways - in our children's faces that shine and perk up when they hear the van coming home from work each day, the crawling all over him when they play on the floor with their Papa and the laughing and giggling that ensues whenever he's around.

It shows in the tender way he loves me, honors me and appreciates me; I feel secure, loved, pretty and favored.

It shows in the devoted way he cares for his parents and siblings - longing to do more for them, but not always able to do all he'd like to do.

It shows in the way he asks the Father for direction in the decision he needs to make.

It shows in the way he works so strenuously to "bring home the [turkey] bacon" (since we don't eat pork) and provide for all our needs plus, plus, plus so many 'perks'.

I love how he is such a manly-man, yet has the tenderest of heart's that brims with mercy so often... with the exception of his hockey team doing poorly... then we "take cover"!!

Without getting too sappy and sounding like a Shania Twain song (it's too late, I know), Hunny - I love every moment I have with you and I look forward to the forty years + that we get to be together. You truly are the Man of My Dreams. Thank You Lord for such a gift.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lonely Hearted Me

I don't know if I was born shy, but I certainly developed into that stereotype. As a child I remember clinging to my parents legs whenever we went to a social function.
Little girl alone, afraid, hiding, feeling sad photo
I remember trying to come up with any kind of excuse that would keep me in the truck as long as possible when we arrived at family reunions (oooh those were the worst, for some reason!).

I recall that terrifying feeling of having to be on a 'team' game of any kind - because that would mean my team was watching me perform and I was always self-conscious about everything so I would always do badly.

I remember hoping people would do the talking for me, so I wouldn't have to. I would hold back tears whenever I was put on the spot in front of people - just to answer a simple question - because I was so embarrassed to speak.

Still to this day, I feel my face fill with heat when I am put on the spot, am posed a question or tell a story - with everyone, not just strangers.

The inner-turmoil of an intimidated person is very frustrating. You feel like such a loser - you have no confidence in yourself, therefore you feel as though whatever you say will be the wrong thing and fear whatever you do will be seen as insignificant or wrong.

Then, as you get older, shyness is portrayed to most people as being "stuck-up" or haughty. Which is actually as far from the truth as you could get!

Being [this] shy is such a lonely place.

I am sure that homeschooling didn't help this predicament of mine, but in a lot of ways, it was my salvation. Yes, my social skills were completely lacking, I couldn't start a conversation with a stranger to save my life! (Still terrible at it!) But I am certain, had I gone to public school, I would have been the 'follower', the kid that changes into whatever person they need to be in order to receive the affirmation and acceptance of their peers. And boy, that is a scary thought.

Instead, my loneliness's and intimidation's led me to a very close relationship with my parents and a friendship/relationship with Yahshua (Jesus). I remember being around 15 or 16 years old, laying face down on my floor in my bedroom, crying out to the Lord to be my friend. I told Him He could have my hurting, lonely heart and cried out for Him to replace this overwhelming sorrow that made me feel so inadequate, stupid and unwanted.

When I got up off that floor, I felt different. I felt loved and I had an assuring peace, that it didn't really matter if I had any friends or not, I had Him. He was constant, He was true and He wanted me more than any other human being.

There really isn't any experience that I would exchange in lieu of that experience. I can say with all confidence that I am thankful for the lonely years of my childhood. I am so grateful for the relationship I have with my parents because of those years. They are the golden string that I held onto and which led me along in my path of life, along with my Friend - that sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

With every heart-aching experience I had throughout my life; the rejection of people, guy's I liked, leaders who let me down, friends and family, etc., I always knew Who to go to. A friend of mine once said, "with Stephenie, all roads lead to Jesus". I love that. I want that to be my legacy. I want to live that way.

I laugh now at the thought of being physically lonely - for, as a wife and mother every moment is completely surrounded. In fact, I would like to use the bathroom without another little body in there with me sometimes!

But still, my heart aches for those girl-friend, kindred-spirit's that I am grateful I had in my single days. I still have those dear one's, but they are many thousands of miles away. I have a kindred spirit in my husband for which I am overwhelmingly thankful. But there is just something about that female "bosom-friend" that is unmatched.
There is a loneliness for the times of worship with people who love Yahweh as well.

So even in adulthood, surrounded by the sweetness of family and love, a heart can still be lonely for something or someone. Yet, I have an assurance that will never crumble and that is in the depths of my 'knower'; I have a Friend and He is able to fill the lonely places of my heart and life.

"To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of JOY for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness." Isaiah 61:3

If He can do it for me, he can do it for anyone.

Now, to unplug the intimidation stuff... but that is another post.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

And Ode to Spring, An "O Dear" to Winter.

Let the celebration begin - for it is March, which is almost Spring, which is such a warm & fuzzy, beautiful, welcome, comforting thought.

In the mornings, when I poke my head out of the french doors in our kitchen, I can hear birds singing that lovely morning melody of dawn. Birds that I haven't heard all winter are starting to return and thank the Lord for the coming of Spring.

It smells different too - must be the scent of dormant life waking up from it's winter's snooze. It smells fresh and earthy, different from the wet scent of frosty, old snow.

Perhaps that is why I have such an acute fondness for birds! They get to go south for the winter! My "inner-bird" seems to shut-down and daydream of sweet summer days and the thankful-song that resides in my soul gets plugged up with... snow.

Instead, my "inner-bear" begins foraging and baking and eating cinnamon rolls, cookies and whatever else is around the house in preparation for the hibernation season. Oh lovely, winter weight gain. uugh.

There is something to be said about being thankful in all seasons, isn't there? I mean, if all I did was moan about the woeful days of wintry darkness, I would certainly be such a crank to be around... all. winter. long.

Hmm... come to think of it, I don't recollect having anything good to say about winter this year. My husband and I were both commiserating about how we don't enjoy winter like we used to. We say this as we begin the 28 minute, multiple coat, boot, thermal layering process of our children, just so we can drive a 1/4 mile down the road for a visit with the folks.

I am not a fan of being cold. I do not find happiness in my extremities feeling as though they might fall off if I stay outside in this frigid cold a second longer than necessary.

Our road is less than lovely for travelling in the winter and we don't have four-wheel drive, so several times throughout the winter we park the van, all pile out and walk up our hill; Jason and I trying to keep the kids from sliding on the ice which would induce further winter-trauma.

Then there's the Cabin Fever. Stuck. Stuck in the house. Snowy-isolation breeds insanity, I say. We should have installed a room with padded walls for the kids to bounce themselves off of in these wintry-stuck-times, because I'm not sure how much longer the house will handle the abuse.

Stuck - so I can commiserate with myself about how I don't. like. winter. And how it's always cloudy... and how I haven't seen the sun for 357 hours...

Yep, I was a cranky, cranky winter girl.

Yep, I missed the mark. I missed the rejoicing in all things-bit, or blessing the Lord oh my SOUL-bit. I chose not to see the beauty in all the things God has given. Of being thankful in EVERYTHING.

Sure, I had my little moments of "*humph* the snow-covered-everything is kinda pretty". Once, I enjoyed watching the snow fall and that deep peace that comes with it - when it feels like the entire world is silent and calm. Yes, I had my moments, but not deep inside where the stuff that comes out of my soul was, well, pleasant.

*deep, sorry, sigh*

Do I think the Lord is mad at me for missing this mark? No, but I do think He is disappointed by my lack of praise and gratefulness. Sad with my not grasping His promises that say I can have abundant life, joy in all things and the power to overcome my own thoughts and irksome will.

From where I sit and write this post, I can look out the window and see the mountains with their greyish frosty tops and the snow that is still lingering under the trees on the hills and the sky that is full of clouds and the day that is grey and weary.
Well, that's one way of looking at it anyway... let's try again.
I look out the window...
I see a big, strong evergreen tree, too tall to see the top. It stands erect and beautiful in every season, with every drop of rain, flake of snow, torrent of wind or beating sun. It is a safe place for birds to rest, squirrels to frolic and the occasional bear to climb. Sometimes it drops an old branch or two, a few old needles and pine cones - shedding the old to make way for the new. And it's always pointing up, arms outstretched to receive what comes and arms outstretched as though thankful and praising it's creator.

I think I have a few things to learn yet (ha!), a few more ways to be thankful and a whole lot more praising from my soul to do.

But, goodness, am I glad Spring is coming.

Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created; and Thou renewest the face of the earth

May the glory of the LORD endure for ever; let the LORD rejoice in His works!

Who looketh on the earth, and it trembleth; He toucheth the mountains, and they smoke.

I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have any being.

Let my musing be sweet unto Him; as for me, I will rejoice in the LORD.

Psalm 104:30-34