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Stopping to Choose Joy … Again

I’ve pretty much stopped blogging, these last few years.  Mostly because life got a lot easier when I finally finished Bible school out east.  I didn’t need to make a conscious decision to “Choose Joy” anymore, because it came much easier.  I wasn’t homesick anymore.  I was starting a new life with my man, and loving it.  We were [FINALLY!] together.  No more long-distance torture.  No more aching heart.

Then I got pregnant and super-sick and kind of stopped living for a while.

Then we had a little girl who screamed a LOT and life was a blur.

Life is still a blur, but now I have a two year old.  She doesn’t scream herself to sleep anymore (I am SO thankful that is done!) but she does find many other reasons to scream.  Apparently little ones have a sin nature!  Who knew?!  Apparently their parents have a sin nature too, because there are a lot of days * I * feel like screaming!

And as I read this post by a friend the other day, I suddenly realized that I’ve lost perspective.  The strong will of my two year old firecracker, the tiredness, the stresses at work, the everyday trials of life, the extraordinary trials of life that always come — they are looming up and I am allowing them to too much time and space.

By focusing on those things, I’m missing out on the joy that our little firecracker brings.  I’m missing the happy fact that Jerry found more of my caffeine gum, which means I CAN be tired and still survive the day, with its help.  I’m missing the simple pleasure of just BEING there for the elderly people at work.  Someday, I want someone to genuinely care about me, when I’m that old and fragile.  Today, I can be that person to make their day brighter.

Sometimes I need to just stop.  And just breathe.  And look around for the good.  For the little things that make life special.  For the little blessings God sends each day.

Blessings like puppies, which people are willing pay money for, which in turn pays for another block of school for Jerry!  And the blessing of springtime puppies, which meant Elianna could spend hours outside loving on them!

Springtime puppies

Springtime puppies

2   15:03

 

 

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“Our” Christmas Day

The house is quiet, and I had words coming into my mind as I was cooking supper, so I’ll quickly write a bit before they leave!

Elianna’s having a short nap.  She slept in today and was an absolute ANGEL the rest of the day.  (Maybe she’s in competition with that angel teetering atop of our tree?!)

I made a tent for her under my computer desk and she spent HOURS today playing in it, calling it her house.  The last time she was this contented with something was waaaay back in the jolly jumper days!

Jerry’s gone to town for milk and parts for the pump that runs the aerator in our dugout.  It died a couple weeks ago, and by the time we came home after Christmas it smelled like someONE had died in our dugout!  Last night he hooked up the new one, trudged out back in the brutally cold weather, and connected it and by this morning already there was a big difference in the smell of the water!  So today I am VERY thankful for the blessing of running water, and water that usually smells pretty decent.

There is a ham baking in the oven with honey-mustard sauce dripping down over it.  Carrots swimming in the water at the bottom.  I LOVE carrots that have been cooked with ham, or in chicken-potatoes-carrots dish (Dad’s specialty).  Today’s been a lovely laid-back, relaxing day.  Jerry fixed the water cooler and it’s not leaking anymore.  Hallelujah!!!!!  I have missed having always-cold water at my fingertips.  And I will be so happy to have my counter space back and get rid of the great big jug of water at my sink!  The seal broke way back in …. August, I think?  Jerry tried to order a new one, but the cost of shipping would have been atrocious.  So then we took a load of stuff to the dump a while back he poked around in the broken water coolers section and found a seal that matched ours!  Yay!

Our smaller-than-normal tree is up and half decorated.  I think we’ll skip the balls and trinket decorations this year and stick with lights and garland.  It’s pretty even now, and I’d prefer not to hover over Elianna every time she’s near the tree!

The house is [relatively] clean after my rushed cleaning spree this morning.  I can’t function properly when it’s chaos.  And then I get grouchy.  My husband doesn’t appreciate a grouchy wife J  So I cleaned while he fixed and then we could both relax, with those taken care of.  We played a marathon Train Game after that.

It’s been a lovely day, “our” Christmas.  There’s Christmas with his family, Christmas with my family, Christmas with Mom’s side of the family, and then after all the craziness dies down, we take a day for “our” Christmas.  Opening presents, reading to Elianna, playing games, relaxing, catching up…it’s soooo nice!  It’s been an extra-special Christmas this year, teaching Elianna about what Christmas is really about.  Reading her the Christmas story, singing her “Away in a Manger”, and hearing her talking to herself in her crib about “baby born…manger…Jesus!”  It’s special to see it through her eyes.

A peek into my day

Hearing:

* Trigger yapping outside, because he’s tied up.  He has a seriously pathetic bark for a male dog.  Sounds more like a puppy!  He’s tied up because he’s been running lately.  Our neighbour kindly brought him home for us once.  AFTER letting him into her house and feeding him and spoiling him rotten.  And then she wonders why he keeps coming back….  Seriously, some people!!!!  I think she actually wants him.  That’s how he came to us – kept running from his home, till they got sick and tired of coming to get him all the time!  Though we did NOT “wine & dine” him!

* Silence.  It’s beautiful.  The child went straight to sleep when I put her down for her nap.  It was lovely, really.

 

Tasting:

* water.  I love water.  Been drinking almost 2 L/day, usually.  That should make my sister-in-law LPN happy, I think!

 

Seeing:

* Beautiful sunshine and a bright blue sky outside.

* The sunshine makes the snow even brighter and whiter.  Winter is beautiful.  I think I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that winter is here to stay now.  It’s a little easier to stomach after our days in NB, where it was still hovering between -5 to 12 above and there’s no snow.  I feel like we had proper “fall” weather while we were there and it’s time for there to be snow now, especially since it’s December and Christmas is just over a week away.

* Toys scattered on the floor, along with books.  Elianna LOVES her books.

* A Merry Muscles jolly jumper hanging from the ceiling.  I love this jolly jumper, and would never buy any other kind.  It’s designed well, so the baby is sitting in it, not hanging, and supports the back and neck well enough that the baby can enjoy it at a much younger age than other jolly jumpers.

* My desk piled with receipts to be sorted, bills to be paid, letters to the CRA, and dog money.  We sold our last puppy yesterday, and it’s gone, HALLELUJAH!!!  Nice to be done with that, though the money was a nice bonus to all those puppies!  AND the fact that Measha is a MUCH calmer dog now.

 

Smelling:

* Burnt something….I think it’s the dried kidney bean Elianna stuck in the toaster yesterday.  I didn’t fish it out immediately, and now I’m paying for that!

 

Feeling:

* Like I really should get up and DO something – fold laundry, clean bathrooms, or sort through the piles on my desk – instead of sitting here.  What’s that saying – “Make hay while the sun shines?”  In my house it’s more like, “Accomplish lots while the child sleeps!”

 

Random Funny Saying I will leave you with:

“The woman who drives from the backseat is no worse than the man who cooks from the dining room table.”

Reflections…and the perfect end to 2011!

The house is quiet…Elianna is napping, and so is hubby.  I’m feeling quiet and contemplative.  Thoughts of “at this time last year” come frequently.  It’s been a crazy full year!

Elianna started off our year by being late.  VERY late!  Last Christmas I was super-pregnant, puking, close to the end of my rope, and NOT enjoying it!  I remember sitting on the couch with Jerry in the light of our tree one evening after Christmas, crying because it felt so much like someone was missing.  “Two” no longer felt complete.  It was time to be Three and I was soooo ready!  This year, I sat on the couch with Jerry in the light of our Christmas tree and cried again.  This time because I was so happy to be holding our beloved baby girl on my lap.  I felt complete, and so content and at peace.  Our little family of three had a WONDERFUL Christmas together!  Christmas is suddenly extra special when you see it through the wonder of a child’s eyes again.  The lights, the tree, the wrapped presents…  I love to watch Elianna and see her taking it all in and thinking and trying to figure it all out.  Everything is still so new.

We started out this year in a new house, trying to unpack and settle in and get things organized and fixed up.  Now, I have a light over my kitchen table that makes the room feel warm and cozy.  I have light covers in the bathroom which make my choice of a bright teal/green/blue color a little less shocking.  (slightly.  But not a whole lot.  But I still like it a lot!)  Elianna has covers on the electrical outlets in her room (that’s a GOOD thing!)  Jerry brought me home a pantry the other day, so the stacks of pails and tubs down the hallway are tucked away on shelves, and I even had extra space to unpack some of my china so we could set the table beautifully for our Christmas meal!  Jerry put up a laundry shelf for me so I would actually be able to see the top of my washer and dryer again if I would just take 5 solid minutes to clean them off!)  We still have an addition that looks like a tornado went through it, and paper trim on some walls in the kitchen, but you can’t do everything in one year, can you!?

We started last year with Jerry limping around gingerly, trying not to further injure his knee.  He had a CT scan in June, surgery in August, and after 6 weeks time off was back to work again in September, doing harvest for my uncle.  He tramped all over in the bush during hunting season, and is threatening to play hockey again in the New Year!  We are grateful that he didn’t have to wait till next year for surgery, and that his knee is fine and he can live an active normal life again.

We started off the year with a wrinkled up baby whose hands and feet looked like she was 80 instead of 8 minutes old and 2 weeks late.  Now she’s crawling, getting into everything, laughing, eating solid foods, and starting to walk and talk.  She said “grandma” during our Christmas in SK, and completely melted Grandma’s heart, I think!  She says mama and dada regularly and sometimes even graces the dog with a word.  We’re thankful she said mama and dada before she said “Measha”!  She is such a joy.  Her smiles and laughs brighten our days and lift our spirits and melt our hearts and we are unbelievably thankful for her.  God knew exactly what we needed — a little girl to be our ray of sunshine!

Jerry is ending this year with a new job — still an electrical apprentice, but getting much more hands on experience.  I was very concerned about him switching jobs, because he had a FANTASTIC boss.  But, God has once again provided another absolutely FANTASTIC boss!  Jerry’s surgery, time off, and harvest work was an excellent transition to this new job, and we are thankful for God’s hand in events.

We started off this year dogless and catless.  Then we were just dogless.  So we got a free dog from ½ hr away…and totaled our car when going to pick it up!  God provided another vehicle for us at the price we needed, and insurance came through enough to cover our costs and we were thankful.  And now had a cat AND a dog.  Then we were catless for a while, because the dog terrified the cat, so we gave the cat away.  Then we got two more cats who knew what a dog was, so now we have 2 cats, and sometimes 2 or 3 dogs, depending on whether the stray dogs are hanging around!

We ended 2010 by coming home early after the New Years’ Eve service because I was sick of the “WHAT?!  You’re STILL pregnant!?” and “Hey, have the baby on MY birthday, Jan ___!” and “Have you tried _____ to get the baby to come?!” comments.  We tried going out for supper for my birthday, but it was a royal failure because every place in our quiet little town was closed – other than A&W, and that’s not a very romantic spot for a New Years’/Birthday supper!  This year my husband took me out for lunch (much better plan!), we went to the Pastor’s house this evening for an impressive show of fireworks, visited for a while after, and then I came home to put Elianna to bed.  She ended my year perfectly by falling asleep in my arms in the light of the Christmas tree.  My unrockable-to-sleep baby.  The one who hasn’t been rocked to sleep since May.  The one who HAS to go scream in her crib before giving in to sleep.  My non-cuddly baby.

The baby I longed for as 2010 ended was the baby sleeping in my arms as 2011 ended.  Perfect!

Summer Update, Part II

A highlight of the trip was introducing Elianna to 2 sets of great-grandparents.  This child has THREE sets of great-grandparents.  Isn’t that crazy?  I was certainly never that lucky!  We took 4-generation shots, and marveled at how she can look so much like her great-grandpa.

Finally, it was time for the event that we flew east for — Kimberly got married!!!

The happy couple

The happy couple

Kimberly (formerly known as Sanderly, on my blog) married her airplane pilot in September, and they had a beautiful wedding, with just enough excitement thrown in to make it perfect!.  The best man came about 2 hairs away from fainting (thanks to the heat of the day), and kept us all on the edge of our seats for the remainder of the wedding!  Elianna did amazingly well, considering she made it through the day with one proper nap and 1 cat-nap in the car!  The newlyweds sneaked away during the closing prayer, much to everyone’s surprise!  (I overheard one elderly lady exclaiming, “When I was young, *I* was taught to keep my eye closed during prayer!”  I take it she wasn’t in favor of sneaking away from your wedding with your eyes open….)  We spent the evening folding tulle and tulle and more tulle and then some more tulle.

Our flight home was a few days later, and was MUCH better than our flight TO the east.  We were blessed with 3 seats to ourselves on both flights, which helped a certain grouchy little girl be slightly happier.  She’s a bit like her mommy…she needs her space!  I had been worrying about our Toronto layover because it was so short and I was afraid that because of the time, baby, and Jerry’s injured knee, we might miss our next flight.  Well, even though our plane arrived at the time our next plane was supposed to depart, they held it for us, AND our luggage, AND it was just the next gate over.  Thank-You, God! I could’ve kissed the ground when we landed in Edmonton.  It’s good to go away and visit family and friends, but still, “Home” has never been a sweeter word!

The week of coming home was filled with doctor appointments for Jerry and his knee, shots for Elianna, and then I came down with the worst flu of my LIFE.  No, I’m not pregnant.  (We talked about that in the Swagbucks/blogging failure post, remember?)

The Dr. sentenced Jerry to 2 weeks of light work before he could go back to his normal job, so he hopped on a tractor for my uncle.  That turned into 7 weeks or harvest work, and he never did go back to his normal job, actually.  Yesterday he started a new job, with a new electrician.  His old boss was heading into oilfield/mechanical work, not electrical, so it was time to move on.

So….thus ends our summer!

5 things that make me smile…

1.  The way Elianna shrieks and laughs when I get down on the floor and loudly thump the floor as I crawl toward her.  She laughs so hard she almost falls over!

2.  Time spent with my man — even if it’s on the truck while he’s trucking grain or canola back and forth and talking more on the radio than to me!  It’s still good just to BE with him.

3.  Elianna’s joy at seeing her daddy.

4.  A beautiful sunrise after seemingly endless days of rain.

5.  Having one of Elianna’s Aunties unexpectedly show up for a visit — all the way from New Brunswick!

Summer Updates, Part I

I was emailing a friend the other day, and looking back over the summer, trying to figure out what to put in and what to leave out and realized that a lot has happened this summer!

God has been very good to us.  He has answered some prayers and brought a settledness and peace that is a relief.  He didn’t answer other prayers, but through those things brought much needed rest and provided for us through it all.  Wow!

At Christmas, Jerry (a.k.a. the Angel Gabriel, but in a Westernized form, on a stick horse) jumped off the stage during the church play and injured his knee again.  Other times he’s been able to walk it off, but not this time! In March, he saw a specialist who recommended surgery and told us that if we choose to do it in summer, we could pretty much pick the date.

So at the end of July Jerry went in for surgery to fix a torn ACL (it’s a ligament in the knee that keeps it from going sideways) and torn cartilage.  This was followed up by 6 weeks of no work, and then another 2 of only light work.  God answered prayer in that Jerry did NOT go stir-crazy during those weeks, and He gave me the strength to look after him and Elianna.  I didn’t realize before how much I relied on Jerry!  Jerry was also able to rest and enjoy the time off work without feeling like he had to be out working or doing something or fixing something!  Sometimes, it’s good to have “resting” as your official job!

Since he had to take 6 weeks off work anyway, we decided to head east early for Kimberly’s wedding.  Because of that, we had time to go visit quite a few friends from school (wow, did we ever have fun with them!), and even go back up to school and visit friends AT school and on the way back from school (which led to us heading home so late all the gas stations were closed and we drove about 50 km after the gas light came on and were hoping and praying we’d make it home!).  It was wonderful to see everyone again, and we had some fantastic visits that were very timely and VERY needed!

What a crazy fun meal!

What a crazy fun meal!

Deanna!

Deanna!

How did we spend 4 days with Dave & Karrie-Anne and this is my only pic of them?!

How did we spend 4 days with Dave & Karrie-Anne and this is my only pic of them?!

Jocelyn & I and our babies

Jocelyn & I and our babies