Saturday 31 July 2010


Today was one of THOSE days.

One of those days where the baby would. not. stop. crying.

Where the three year old held a special fondness for the word NO.

Where the hours draaaaagged by.

Where a family yard sale adventure was thwarted by an oddly low number of yard sales, where supper took longer than expected to prepare, and oh, did I mention? Where the baby would. not. stop. crying.

Finally I shrieked calmly stated, "OUT! OUT! GET SOME CLOTHES ON AND GET OUTSIDE!"

"But -"


I don't know what it is about the outdoors, but it is magical.

The baby stopped crying.


The three year old cheered up.

I got some reading done while sipping my favourite honey milk iced tea.

I felt relaxed, and I find this to be true every time I move our grumpy selves outdoors. Why do I always forget? On those days full of whining and arguing and crankiness, why do I always forget? Go outside. Just go outside, and all will be well.

I don't know what it is about the outdoors that makes it so darn magical...but boy, do I love it.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Torn asunder

It hurts to confess this.

Many times over the past three years, I have thought this would be easier on my own.

If I just took the boys and left, things would be easier. The bulk of the responsibilities would still lie on my shoulders, but no longer would there be someone in the other room to feel bitter and resentful towards. I would still have little time to pursue my own interests, but not because someone else filled up hours with his own. Things would be my responsibility and mine alone, by the simple fact of there being no one else. That, truly, would have to be easier to accept than this life I currently live, wouldn't it? Easier to be alone and wholly responsible, than to only feel that way?

I needn't share a list of my husband's supposed wrongdoings. I know the list of my own is at least as long. He could reconsider his priorities; I have horrendous communication skills. And we are, both of us, selfish and human.

I find I have far more patience for the immaturity of my children than I do for that of my husband. I also communicate far better with the kids than with him. I set boundaries with them better than I do with him. I don't tend towards either permissiveness or punitiveness with the kids, but too often with my husband I enable damaging behaviour because I don't want to be the nagging wife, and then I get angry and swing to the other extreme, punishing him with my silence and hostility. There are days when the neediness of children deeply wears on me, but more often than not it's the wife part that I really struggle with.

And I catch myself imagining what it would be like. What if I did just...leave? Take the kids and leave a note? A time apart to think, to consider priorities, to establish a set of healthy boundaries before coming together again? I could go back home, spend time with family...I could move near his own parents, a gesture to say I'm not gone forever...I could find my own way, just the boys and I, a small place, we could get by on my modest income from the work I do at home.

Bitterly, I think, that would teach him. He would lose us and then he'd realize, then he'd change.

Last night, I got my wish.

Praise God it was only a dream.

We were fighting - odd enough in itself; we never fight, not out loud - when he straight-out asked me if I wanted a divorce.

I hesitated for only the briefest of seconds before saying, yes.

He left. And when he came back, I had what I "wanted". I was on my own.

As he told me, casually, amicably, I first felt shock. It was over, just like that?

This was followed almost immediately with a feeling of bitterness. Of all the things to take initiative on, he chose this? All the times I had to remind him to do this, prepare everything so he could do that, or give in and just take care of things myself - this, this, he just went out and did on his own?

Finally, I felt a deep and abiding sadness. Loneliness beyond imagination. Ripped in two. We had torn asunder that which God had joined.

We spent, for whatever reason, the rest of the evening with his family. Everyone was so laid back, so friendly, so relaxed. As they talked together, I curled up in a chair, needing no blanket, wrapped in my own shock and loneliness. He was there - right there - and yet, no longer one, it felt as though he were a world away. I couldn't reach him, couldn't talk to him, couldn't claim him as my own, my husband, my darling, who had always been so kind and gentle and loving despite his tendency towards inattentiveness and solitude.

No longer would I be able to curl up against him, to rest my head on him, to be gathered into his strong and safe arms.

No longer would he be there to talk to, that man who had heard my deepest thoughts and shared my daily life.

No longer would he live with me, patiently enduring my own faults, loving me despite my own poor behaviour.

I felt I would never be whole again.

As I woke from my dream, escaping what until then had been nearly a fantasy in my mind, I felt such relief and gratefulness. He's not perfect, and there will always be issues to work through together, but I am deeply blessed to have him in my life. He is patient, kind, loving, and gentle; he desires the best for me and for his family; he is an amazing father; he is accommodating, understanding, and compassionate towards me.

I have married a man. He has weaknesses, yes, just as he has strengths. Just as I, too, have both. We compliment each other well, our strengths accommodating the other's weaknesses. He is my closest friend and constant companion. I am grateful for his presence as we journey through our life together.

No more will I longingly and bitterly imagine my life without him. I am sorry that I ever did so, ashamed and repentant. I am grateful to have been given this glimpse into that reality, the deep sadness and loneliness that follows the tearing apart of two lives joined as one.

I must take my eyes off his weaknesses and look instead to my own. How can I better communicate with my husband? How can I let my needs be known? How can I support and encourage my husband? In what ways am I seeking fulfillment from a man instead of God, as it should be?

Pray for us, if you will. Pray that I will not hold to my self-righteous silence in place of honest communication. Pray that I will not sweep hurts and angers under the rug instead of striving to work through them. Pray that I will not forget the immense sadness and loneliness of having our marriage torn asunder - for I know that the reality of it would be no less painful than that of the dream.

Sunday 18 July 2010


Last night I went to bed feeling several pounds lighter than I had when I woke up that morning.

Yesterday, I finally sat down and sorted through my paper.

When all was said and done, I sorted through four boxes, two large accordian files, and two stacks of paper. I now have in my garage, waiting to be properly destroyed, three full boxes of paper I no longer need.

Clearly, I can't deny it - I am a paper hoarder. I had bills and bank statements going back several years. I had birthday cards from when my friends were too young to even spell my name. I had high school letters passed hand-to-hand during class. I had pages of song lyrics that I had printed out for one reason or another. Old plane tickets, bus passes, travel itineraries, movie ticket stubs - anything that I thought might in any way have some sort of meaning or importance, anything I might possibly want some day.

Yesterday, I let most of that go. It was beautifully freeing.

I now have one small half-full box of meaningful momentos. I have our tax records (finally!) sorted and organized in one accordian file and our other relevant bills and important documents in the other.

I don't know why I hold on to paper so tightly. Partly, I suppose, to remember. I feel I have so few memories over the years, and I'm afraid of forgetting the rest, so I cling to anything that might hold even the slightest meaning. A paper record of my life, of who I was, of who I knew, of what I did, of where I spent my money, of...of...of.

I have carried around this extra weight for so many years, dragging it from one house to another, adding to it as the months and years went on. And for what?

At some point, I had so much "meaningful" paper that it all ceased to have meaning. Paring it down has meant that the small box I have left has more meaning than the piles of paper I'd had hours earlier. A small box of cherished momentos to replace boxes and piles of stuff. freeing.

Monday 12 July 2010

Giveaway winner and author thank-you!

The winner of the Weight of Shadows book giveaway:

Adrian said...
Some how I missed this review. Sounds like a really great book. I'll have to add it to my list. :)

Congratulations! Adrian, I have no email address for you, so please contact me today so that I can get your new book to you!

The Weight of Shadows author Alison Strobel had a few words of thanks for you all:

Hey there! I just wanted to say thanks to my fine blog hostess and to her readers. I have been really excited to see how many people are thinking of picking up the book because of the reviews they read during the blog tour. And thank you to everyone who entered the contest! I'll be drawing a winner on July 18 and posting it on my blog. If you haven't stopped by my blog or website yet, I hope you'll pop over sometime and say hi in the comments or on the guest book. Also, if you're interested in hearing about my next releases and any other exciting news that happens to come up, please sign up to receive my announcements--the sign-up is on my website. I have another novel coming out in September, two more next year, and two children's books that my husband and I wrote (the first of which comes out August 1), so there will be plenty of news coming, and I try to host contests now and then on my blog, too.

Thanks again! And if you do decide to pick up The Weight of Shadows and give it a read, please come tell me what you thought of it. I mean it. :)


Thank you to all who read the review and entered the giveaway, and congratulations again to our winner Adrian!

Sunday 11 July 2010

Happy birthday to me!

And what a great birthday it has been!

After getting to sleep in this morning, I got up to a very excited little boy who wanted me to open my birthday present now. He and my wonderful husband had picked out a pair of amazingly comfortable yoga pants from Lululemon. After that, the boy and I finished making some buckeyes that I had started last night. He had lots of fun dunking them in the melted chocolate, and I had lots of fun cutting up some apples and bananas and having chocolate fondue for lunch with the leftovers.

Hey, it's my birthday. I can have chocolate fondue for lunch if I want to.

The day continued to get better when I bought...a sewing machine! I'm so excited. After returning the sewing machine my mother-in-law had lent me while she was out of the country, I began searching for the perfect machine of my own. I wanted something older and sturdy (rather than the new plastic machines), something with decent functionality, and something that had been well-loved and taken care of by its previous owner. I'd passed up dozens of machines for one reason or another, waiting for the machine that was "the one" - though how I'd know it was the one, I wasn't entirely sure.

Then, yesterday, I saw it. Posted on Craigslist by someone who was sad to see it go, a beautiful old Singer that fit all of my criteria, with one added bonus - it's blue! Unfortunately, it was also twice what I had budgeted. But today, with birthday money from my dear mother-in-law and a nod from my husband, I went ahead and splurged. Happy birthday to me, indeed!

It was especially fun to discover that the woman selling the machine is a birth doula. "The Plan" for a while now has been to get my doula certification when the kiddos are older, do that for a while, then go back to school for midwifery when the kids are grown. Now's not the time for that, with a nursing babe at home, but it's something I'm looking forward to in the future. Anyway, she seemed like someone I'd like to be friends with, but alas, she's moving across the country - thus the selling of her beloved sewing machine. Hopefully I can I give it a home where it will be equally loved and used.

After all of that excitement - sleeping in, fondue for lunch, birthday presents, and a new sewing machine - I enjoyed a rare treat. I got to shower by myself! No little boy fighting me for the best spot under the hot water, no babe-in-arms slurping water off my shoulder. Just me and the hot water, alone together at last.


Then, it being my birthday and all, I got to drag my wonderfully tolerant husband to a small arts and craft show nearby. I treated myself to a lovely magnet, which I intend to use to hold our library slip in hopes of not having so many overdue books. (And after having worked at a library myself for seven years - shameful, I tell you!)

After browsing for a while, we headed to 7-11 for our free slurpee in celebration of 83 years in business! I'm a big fan of 7-11 stores (what with sharing a "birthday" and all) and slurpees (my favourite being Coke mixed with cream soda), so it was pretty sweet.

The only low point in the day was the outcome of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final - boo, Spain, you bunch of cheaters! Hup, Holland, hup!

Now I'm waiting in eager anticipation for (what smells like) the delicious supper my husband is cooking for me. Beef kabobs and coconut rice...mmm. Birthday cake will wait until tomorrow so that we can take it to our weekly Bible study with us. The man and the boy will be making my favourite - dirt cake! So much chocolatey goodness.

After supper I'll get the kiddos to bed and enjoy a nice evening with the husband. Since it's my birthday, I have to get to pick what we do. Right now I'm thinking we'll play our new favourite board game, Ticket to Ride, and watch a couple episodes of our new favourite series, How I Met Your Mother. Other than tidying up the supper dishes, I intend to enjoy the rest of my relaxing day - the housework can wait until tomorrow!

Saturday 10 July 2010

Just one more day!

Just one more day to enter your name for the giveaway of Alison Strobel's new book, The Weight of Shadows. I will be drawing for the book tomorrow (my birthday!). Good luck!

Contest closed! The winner is entry number six:
Adrian said...
Some how I missed this review. Sounds like a really great book. I'll have to add it to my list. :)

Congratulations, Adrian!