Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'TwasThe Night Before Christmas - A Procrastinators Parody.

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Three creatures were snoring
Two kids and one spouse
The stockings were hung
By the chimney with care
And I stood in the midst
Of unwrapped gift despair

As family were nestled
All snug in their beds
A growing "to do" list
Danced round in my head
While they settled in
For a long winter nap
In panic and frenzy,
I started to wrap.

The noise of the paper
It made such a clatter
My husband awoke
To see what was the matter
Then back to his bed,
He flew with a flash
And I then resumed
My pre-dawn mad dash

Piled high on the carpet
In every tight space
The presents were lying
All over the place
I looked at gift mountain
As minutes ticked by
Saying over and over
"Oh Why Elaine why?"

Puzzled and perplexed
I just did not know
How I could envelop
The objects below
When what to my wondering
Eyes should appear
A box of old gift bags
I'd saved from last year

All sizes and shapes
One for every trick
I knew in a moment
I'd "wrap-up" real quick
More rapid than eagles
So wild and untamed
I threw out the "wrappers"
And called them by name

Now scissors, now paper
Now ribbons, now bow
I no longer need you
So out you must go
Back into the closet
The cupboard, the hall
Now dash away, dash away
Dash away all.

I tried to remember
So not to be crass
To regift a gift bag
Just shows you've no class
Then into the gift bags
The presents they flew
Toys, games, books and treats
And electronics too.

I worked through the night
Like a jolly old elf
And laughed when I'd finished
In spite of myself
Not speaking a word
I continued to work
And filled all the stockings
Then felt my head jerk

My eyelids grew heavy
And started to close
It's time to go upstairs
To bed I suppose
I yawned as I crawled
Into bed out of sight
"Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a goodnight"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 12

Day 12:???



I've been crying a little bit today. Off and on for the last 24hrs or so. In fact my keyboard
 got quite wet while I was trying to type. Hope it doesn't short circuit.


But these are happy tears. Tears of joy and gratitude. Because I'm thankful.


 Today I am excited to be picking up my Christmas Gift. I can hardly wait.


What is it?
 
 
Well, it's not a new gift. In fact, it's actually the oldest and one of the most valuable gifts I own
I received it on the day of my birth, May 27th 1966. And I treasure it now more than ever. I have enjoyed this gift every day of my life. Never grown tired of it. And I would say, I appreciate it more with each passing year (although as a teenager, I'm sure I may have taken it for granted) Like a good wine, this gift grows better and better with age. I cannot imagine my life without it.


So what is it???



The gift is... my parents,  They are coming to spend Christmas with me this year.
We haven't spent Christmas together in 24 years.



TWENTY FOUR!!!


I can hardly contain my joy. I feel like a kid at Christmas. I am their kid at Chistmas.
If there are no presents under the tree, I don't really mind.
Nothing can compare to this.


I love my parents. I'm thankful that they are mine.





I would love to spend more time blogging, but I'm sure their flight
 is going to begin its final approach soon. I really must go.


I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a blessed and very Merry Christmas.
Hold your loved ones tight in your arms and even tighter in your heart.
They are a gift.




Be thankful.


What's Playing:

In the Kitchen:
Cream of Leek and Potato Soup.

In the Music Player:
Thankful: Josh Groban
A Christmas to Remember: Amy Grant

In my Heart:
Proverbs 23 vs 22
"Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old"




And remember...




12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 11

Day 11: Grace.




Remember on Day 4 when I said that I'd always wanted a to have a little girl.
I forgot to tell you that I actually did get my prayer answered.



I have a Goddaughter. Her name is Grace.


And I am so thankful for her.


She is a daily reminder that God does indeed hear and answer prayer.






I prayed for her before she came into existance, and while she was in the womb.




I was present at her birth and held her when she was just minutes old.







I asked God to be merciful, when her mother contracted Chicken Pox in early pregnancy.
I prayed  that there would be no adverse effect and be no scarring .



She went on to win 1st Place in a baby show. No scars.





Just look at that face...




She could be the Gerber baby.



Grace is a blessing to everyone who has ever met her.





She is a gift of love and a constant source of joy





I will continue to pray for her daily that she will choose her steps
carefully, and follow the invisible footprints
of her maker.



Growing in grace.

And yes...I think she's  pretty amazing!



"Unexpected Grace"
You are a precious gift
Of Unexpected Grace
I catch a glimpse of heaven
Just looking at your face
God placed you in my heaart
You swelled to fill this space
And every theory about love
You've tenderley replaced

This love cannot be measured
The distance is too far
And now that I've arrived here
You gently raised the bar
No one could call you average
You're so far above par
God's gift of Unexpected Grace,
Is simply who you are




What's Playing:

In the Kitchen:
Sugar Cookies


On the Music Player:
What Child is This: Point of Grace


In my Heart:
Psalm 127 vs 3




And remember:













Saturday, December 10, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 10

Day 10: Feet.


Okay, forget what I said before in a previous post about never showing a picture of my feet.
I've had to do a 360 on this one.


Since I'm doing a theme on Thankfulness, and today I'm giving thanks for my feet, it stands
to reason that I would take a picture of them doesn't it?
 Besides...today I have all my toenails!


So here they are.  My feet. And I'm so thankful for them.






Five years ago I began an incredible journey. It started the day I put on a pair of running shoes
 My life has never been the same. When I say a journey, I'm not talking about the
the places I have been to. The 5000 or so kilometres that I have logged
 have come mostly from running around my own neighbourhood 
No. This journey is about the people who I have met
 Each one of them is so very different.
 Yet we share one thing in common...
 Our feet.





Yesterday, I met two friends for coffee. We giggled like high school girls. As though we've known one another forever. It was such a sweet time. And it would never have happened if it wasn't
for running.

Running has helped me discover things about myself. Given me a lot more self confidence.
I'm more disciplined and focused. I'm more likely to try new things and take risks. And I
work at lot harder in all areas of my life. Running has made me feel as though there
 isn't anything I cannot achieve.



But perhaps most importantly, running has helped me manage my depression. I haven't had to
take "happy pills" since I started running. Sure, I still have down days, but I can
cope a lot better now. Guess you could call them "Happy Feet"!






Today, I put on my running shoes and a Santa Suit. I joined 4000 other pairs of happy feet.
I placed a race chip one foot,a jingle bell on the other, and then
ran through the streets of Burlington, Ontario.
Jingling all the way.

As runners, we're always concerned about time. Even when we say it isn't about time, it still is.
We want to be fast, faster, fastest. But today's race was really just about having a
good time (fun) as opposed to having a good time (being faster).





Feet, thank you for introducing me to some of the most inspiring people I could ever hope to meet.
You deserve a foot soak and a massage.
Coming right up!




*Footnote. And just so you know...I was faster. By 49 seconds. Happy Feet indeed!*
*Special thanks to Carey, Jean, Cathy and Elizabeth,
for running with me in person and in spirit*


What's Playing:


In the Kitchen:
Pizza Hut Delivery. Too tired from running and running around.


In the Music Player:
Jingle Bells: Diana Krall


In my Heart:
Hebrews 12 v1
"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..."

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 9


Day 9: Snow.



It snowed again last night.


And I'm thankful.


Waking up to fresh snow has to be one of my favourite things in the winter. Everything is so pure and clean.


I have to admit, I still like to rush ahead of the children, so I can be the one to make the first footprints in the virgin snow. And sometimes if  I'm up early enough, I get the walkway all to myself.



The walkway next to my home.


 Snow is perhaps the one thing that makes the winters in Ontario bearable. I mean think about it, who would want to wake up to the frigid -25 temperatures without something lovely to look at?
Winter is pretty dull and miserable without it.


 Under a layer of snow everything is beautiful. All of the imperfections and flaws of life are temporarily hidden underneath.



Sometimes the snow reminds me of the love and forgiveness of God. Pure and cleansing.
Covering over every mistake I've ever made and giving me 
the chance to begin again.
A  brand new start.




I'm thankful that God has given me a new page of life to write upon. A clean
slate. A fresh start. A second chance. A do over. This
is good news to wake up to every single day.
Not just on snow days.






What's Playing:


In the Kitchen:
Chilli ('cause it's cold outside)


On the Music Player:
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow: Ann Murray.


In my Heart:
Lamentations 3:22-24
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end,
They are new every morning"



And remember...











Thursday, December 8, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness: Day 8

Day 8: Garden.

I have a little garden and I'm thankful for it.

To call myself a gardener would be a bit of an overstatement, but I'd like to think I'm "growing" into one.

I've just finished putting my garden to bed for the winter. Something I've never done in the past. Something I never thought I had to do. I used to see people prepping their gardens in the wintertime, and thought they were just over zealous retirees with nothing better to do with their time. However, nine days in late August have caused me to have a change of heart.


Rewind to June 2007. We moved into our new home and inherited a huge garden with 3 large flowerbeds. I assumed that my husband would take on the garden project. I assumed wrong. My children were still small, and my house pretty big, so the garden was very low on my list of priorities.


For five years I made a very inconsistent and half hearted attempt at gardening. I didn't have the time, knowledge, inspiration or the energy. Apart from the occasionl front lawn maintenance,
I pretty much neglected it.


Fast forward to summer 2011. My neighbour Tracey put her house on the market, and to give it more "curb appeal" she asked her friends (a couple of retired ladies called "The Garden Fairies") to plant a front garden. They came, and with the help of her son who did the heavy labour, they created a stunning garden. It was an overnight miracle. I should've taken before and after pictures.
 Yes, it was that dramatic.


You can imagine how sad my garden looked by comparison.
Nothing more than a bed full of weeds.


 The creation of Tracey's garden gave me the push that I needed to do something with my own
I asked my husband if we could perhaps get The Garden Fairies to help.
"You are the garden fairy..."  he replied.
 *Sigh*


 

Armed with only a pair of pink garden gloves, I threw myself into my gardening  project. The physical work was much harder than I expected.  Weeding, rooting, digging up the clay soil, replacing it with  triple mix, repositioning, researching, planning, buying and then finally planting new perennials  and ornamental grasses. 9 days, 15 wheelbarrow trips, 12 bags of soil, several trips to the garden centre, a serious spider bite (which resulted in an overnight hospital stay and an EpiPen)
and 3lbs of weight loss later, I had a garden.
My garden.




The front flower bed.




When I first started,  I hated absolutely everything about gardening. But very slowly, once I started to see some progress and some of the fruits of my labour, I began to feel different. I was no longer alarmed by the little bugs and spiders who crept around beneath the soil. I enjoyed the bees and butterflies who visited my new flowers. I was soothed by the beautiful birdsong. I was at peace.  Although the work was hard and challenging and I was so tired, I found that my garden
was where I most wanted to be. The garden had grown
And so had I.


Flower bed behind the house.


As a child, I remember  my dad would sometimes go into his garden late in the evenings when it was almost dark. He used to say that most growth takes place when the garden is at rest.
 That makes perfect sense. Human bodies grow, repair and heal
while they are at rest too.


 And so I put my garden to bed. I wrapped the shrubs in burlap to give them some protection from the harsh temperatures and heavy snowfall. Pruned the grasses back. Deadheaded the last of the perennials. Turned over the soil and removed the last of the weeds.
And  then I left the garden shivering under
a soft white blanket of snow.


I whispered two words...


"...Keep growing".


And I wasn't just talking to the plants.


What's Playing:

In the Kitchen:
Rum Balls
(with 67% Jamaican Rum...I'll rest tonight for sure)


On the Music Player:
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Kellylee Evans
(from the Gospel Christmas Project)


In my Heart:
Matthew 11:28
"Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest".


And remember



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 7


Day 7: Light.


Christmas Lights. They're everywhere.





I love walking through my neigbourhood at night during the Holdiday Season
Almost every home is covered in beautiful Christmas Lights
And I'm thankful for them.



I will stand shivering for hours just so I can look at the lights.
I hardly notice that it's cold when I'm standing next
to a soft warm glow.


 Last night I stood outside my neighbours house, trying to get a perfect
picture of his incredible lights for you to see, 'cause you really
 have to see it to believe it. However my photography skills are non existant
 and my camera is pretty cheap, so now you'll just have to imagine
how lovely they are
And they are.




I was out this morning for a run, and his lights were still on.
Yet somehow during the day, they didn't look like
 very much at all. In fact, I barely
even noticed them.


 
I guess you need the dark to appreciate the light.



Can you imagine a world without light?


 
We've all experienced a power outage and huddled
 around a candle, amazed that one flame
  can light up a whole room.






One flame.


There will always be darkness in this world.
There will always be dark times.
But if you carry the light inside
 who can put it out?



The seasonal lights remind me of what I need to be.
A bright and shining light.
Not just for a few weeks in December
but every single day



Shining not just through the good times,
but during the dark times too, for
that is when people will
really see the light.




I should be reflecting the light of God
 in my eyes, my smile, my words
my actions, my thoughts
and in my life.


I need to shine.



I am so thankful for the beautiful lights this Christmas Season.
but once they've gone, the light inside
 will still glow.




Shine...



...because "the light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has never put it out"



What's Playing:


In the Kitchen:
Butternut Squash Soup
(no cream...the light version)


On the Music Player:
Let there Be Light: Point of Grace
Light a Candle: Avalon


In my Heart:
Luke 8:16
"No one who has lit a lamp covers it or hides it under a bed, but
sets it upon a stand, that those who enter
may see the light"
















12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 6






Day 6: Writing:




I'm not sure, but I think I might just be a writer




And I'm thankful for that.




 I'm not a writer because I have a blog
Or even because I've written some poetry
Nor even because I written many Christmas Plays.


Those things don't make me a writer, any more than sleeping in a garage would make me a car.


 It's something way more simple than that.


Something that happened twice yesterday and once today.


Yesterday two friends asked what I would be writing about today. And one friend told me
she was enjoying my 12 Days of Thankfulness Series.


That's it.



Now I know to you it may not seem like much
But to me it's HUGE.




That someone is interested in what I have to say
And then waiting for what comes next
Is powerful




Truth be told, there wasn't going to be a Day 6.
Not because I'm not thankful.
I am.
But because I didn't think anyone was interested.
Without feedback you don't know what to think
I usually think the worst




I know people read my blog. There are stats to tell me how many people view my page.
But when you get 70 people who read it and no comments
It can be a little discouraging.



But what I say does matter to someone.
 It matters to my three friends.
It matters to God.



And so I'll keep letting my thoughts
Flow through my pen.







"Yesterday I had a thought
And pondered it for quite some time
I twisted words around inside
And tried so hard to make them rhyme

The words would not come easily
I worked with them both day and night
Because it means so much to me
That you might read, what I might write"

(Me)


I'm thankful that I can write...and that people care to read it.






What's Playing:


In the Kitchen:
Chicken Soup with Alphabet Pasta.


On the Music Player:
Go Tell it on the Mountain: Steven Curtis Chapman


In My Heart:
Colossions 4:6
"Let your words be full of grace, seasoned with salt"



And remember...







Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 5

Day 5: Facebook



I like facebook




Scratch that



love facebook



Just keeping it real.


I do love facebook and I'm thankful for it.



Can't imagine life without it now. And yet somehow I managed to exist for 41yrs bfb
(before facebook)


Don't get me wrong, I too, like many facebook users get a little bit frustrated with the constant
changes and some of the issues surrounding privacy, but on the whole I really enjoy using
it and it has become a part of my everyday life. I look forward to going online.


But I won't lie. I didn't always feel this way.




Facebook and I used to have what I would call a love/hate relationship.



It was an offline again online again thing.




I have seen things on facebook which have shocked, surprised, disappointed,
hurt and annoyed me. None more so than when these things have 
been done by people who I've called friends.


But I think I'm over that now.
I came up with an analogy to help me understand the behaviour of my friends
 and now I see facebook like this...


Take 308 people and put them on a  beach.
 (308 is the number of facebook friends I have today, although
 the number could change after they've read this)
A handful of those people will find a shady tree and sit beneath it, watching activities from a distance. Some may stoll along the boardwalk. A few will sit on deck chairs on the sand,
while others will go down to the waters edge.
 Many will paddle and get their ankles wet. A few will
go in up to their knees. And finally
there will be those who go deep into the water,
completely in over their heads, and loving it.
Everyone of those 308 people will have a different experience on the beach.
And everyone will still have a good time.


The same is true of facebook



You'll have those who use facebook from afar.  And those who are in over their head.





And there is nothing wrong with that. Facebook is as individual as the people who use it.


I used to get upset that my some of my friends don't  interact on facebook
the same way that I do.But not anymore.
Some friends will communicate with me. Some won't.
I'm okay with that.


Now, I just see facebook for what it is. A great tool for communication.
 Communicating is so much easier now.
And I'm thankful for anything
that makes for an easier life.





However, since facebook is always making changes, there is one change
that I'd like to make. The logo. I think it should be
PINK.




What's Playing: 


In the Kitchen:
 Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
(I found this recipe on my friend Naomi's Blog
you HAVE to bake these. Today!)

On the Music Player:
All I Want for Christmas is you: Mariah Carey


In my Heart
Hebrews 10:25
"Let us not give up the habit of meeting together"



And remember...











Sunday, December 4, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 4



Day 4: Motherhood

Boys Boys Boys.

I am the mother of two boys. And for that I'm thankful.

But it wasn't always that way.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I went along for the routine ultrasound which would tell me the sex of my baby. I waited for the the sonographer to tell me what I already knew.
 That I was having a baby girl.

"It's a boy" she exclaimed.

"A boy???"

I faked a smile.
Then cried all the way home.
I should've just been happy to be pregnant.  I should've been, but I wasn't. I really wanted a girl.






I was one of four girls. My mom has six sisters and one brother. My dad has five sisters.
I was surrounded by girls. Girl World.
What did I know about boys?
The only image I could conjure up in my head was based on the childhood rhyme I grew up with


"What are little girls made of...sugar and spice and all things nice
What are little boys made of...snakes and snails and puppy dog tails"


My mom said "God made pregnancy last 9 months for a reason,"
And she was right. It wasn't all about the physical changes to me my baby.
 It was also about letting go of my "expectations"



And so, on Dec 29th 1998 my son Elliot was born. A beautiful baby boy.
My heart did a 360, my head quickly followed.
Two years later he had a brother, Ethan


My world became  one of cars, trucks and trains. Grass stained pants with holes in the knees.
Odd socks and rocks that end up in my washing machine
And always, always a "little puppy smell"


I wouldn't change a thing. I'm a mother of two adventurous little boys. And I'm thankful.


Now excuse me, as much as would love to spend the day blogging about boys,
I have to prepare for a birthday party
I will be spending the afternoon shooting a bunch
of 13 year old boys at LaserQuest


I guess boys will be boys


What's Playing:

In the Kitchen:
Cake Pops (for Elliot's Birthday Party)

In the Music Player:
Mary's Boy Child: Boney M
What Child Is This?: Alana Bridgewater (Gospel Christmas Project)

In My Heart:
 Psalm 127: 3
Children (sons) are a heritage from the Lord, they are a reward from Him


And remember...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness: Day 3


Day 3: Joy



You'll see this three letter word a lot this season.
It's everywhere.
On Christmas Cards, gift wrap, in carols and songs.
Joy Joy Joy


The dictionary defines it as...
noun: 1. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness
2. A thing that causes joy



A feeling?



I hope it isn't just a feeling.



My feelings are up and down and all around.


I can't trust my feelings and certainly can't make decisions based on them.



I don't think of it as just a feeling of happiness either



I am seldom ever happy.


Chemical imbalances in my brain make me feel unhappy most ot the time.
It's called depression
I suffer from live with depression EVERY day


It's hard to feel happy. But I do have Joy
And for that I am thankful.




I have found the source of my Joy comes from within


It's more than just a feeling



Someone once said... Joy is Peace dancing
And Peace is Joy at rest.


Joy is something that is present ALL the time regardless of our circumstances or feelings


Joy is making a choice
And it's also a gift.
from God



btw...If you, like me choose Joy today, then you might want to avoid the mall.
All that driving around trying to find parking is sure to kill anyones Joy.

What's Playing

In the Kitchen:
Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
+ lot of dishes at the Christmas Banquet.

In the Music Player
Joy to the World: Mariah Carey
(even if you don't like Mariah...your toes'll be tapping to this one)
Joy to the World : Avalon

In my Heart
Nehemiah 8:10
"The Joy of the Lord is my strength"









Friday, December 2, 2011

12 Days of Thankfulness. Day 2.




Day 2: Music
"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy their bringing
Who could live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me
"



Do you know how much  I like music?

I think it would be more accurate to say I LOVE music.

I secretly wanted to be the blond girl in ABBA. Seriously. So now you know.

Do you know I also love Christmas Music.
and I have a few too many Christmas CD's

Here are some of them.

 There are also a few too many in my car. But lets not go there.

Christmas Music starts after Hallowe'en and ends once the snow has gone.
Yes, that would be in March!

I've always loved Christmas Music,
 But it has never meant more to me than it does right now.
My 13 yr old son has recently started playing the saxophone at school.
He's learning to play some Christmas Music.

He's actually quite good, perhaps even the best in his class.

But what makes this all the more special is that music has given him a voice.

My son Elliot stutters. Badly.
People often don't hear his voice, because it takes him so long to say what he wants to say.
No one has time to wait for him. They talk over and above him
They talk down to him.
They walk away.
They don't listen.

But people listen to his voice when he plays music.

The saxophone and piano have been a way for him to communicate, when words fail.


Music seems to come naturally to Elliot.
As natural as speaking should be
He has a beautiful gift. And a beautiful voice.
He fills my home and my heart with his music.
And I'm so very thankful that because of music, Elliot is finally heard.


"So I say Thank you for the music
for giving it to me..."


What's playing:

In the Kitchen:
 BBQ Chicken and Saute Vegetables

On the Music Player:
 The Music of Christmas: Steven Curtis Chapman
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Kenny G
Anything by Elliot

In my Heart:
Ephesians 5:19
"Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord"



And remember...