Sunday, 23 December 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Thought this was funny.....

To all my liberal friends -
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Canada great. Not to imply that Canada is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only great country in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To all my Conservative friends -
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

31 Days of Praying for your Husband

Day 1
Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord.
Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Day 2
Pray that your husband will use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly.
Gal 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Phil 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Day 3
Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

John 7:17-18 If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Day 4
Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character - persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc.

Romans 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Day 5
Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Day 6
Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Day 7
Pray that your husband will handle finances wisely, will have discrenment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord's work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family.

Proverbs 23:4-5
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Romans 12:13
Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you;never will I forsake you.

Day 8
Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ's love for the Church.

Proverbs 20:6
Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?

Genesis 2:24
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Day 9
Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil.

Proverbs 27:12
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

John 17:15
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Day 10
Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body - the temple of the Holy Spirit - for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy.

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 9:27
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Day 11
Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship - protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage.

Ephesians 5:25-29
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.

Colossians 3:19
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Day 12
Pray that your husband's relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord.

Proverbs 3:7
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Psalm 112:1
Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.

Day 13
Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that
your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love.

Proverbs 5:15, 18
Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. May your fountain be
blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

1 Corinthians 7:3
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

Song of Solomon 7:10
I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.

Day 14
Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others.

Proverbs 20:7
The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.

1 Timothy 1:5
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 3:7
He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

Ephesians 6:10-12
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Day 15
Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant's heart before the lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do Hi will.

Proverbs 15:33
The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

Ephesians 6:6
Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you.

Proverbs 6:23-26
For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

Romans 13:14
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Day 17
Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit's control.

1 Corinthians 6:12
"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

2 Timothy 2:4
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.

Day 18
Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress, find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord.

Nehemiah 8:10
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Psalm 16:11
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Day 19
Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength.

Ephesians 3:16
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being

1 Peter 2:21
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

1 Corinthians 10:11
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

Day 20
Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Hebrews 12:15
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.


Day 21
Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective - living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Ephesians 5:16
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Day 22
Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord.

Psalm 51:2-4
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Day 23
Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray taht his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home.

Ephesians 5:15-16
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

1 Corinthians 12:4,7
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Day 24
Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things
of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Day 25
Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses.

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Psalm 34:14
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Day 26
Pray that your husband will have a balanced life - that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church.

Luke 2:52
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Proverbs 13:15
Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.

Day 27
Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the trust. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan's attacks.

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Ephesians 6:13
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Day 28
Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray continually

Luke 22:46
"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Day 29
Pray that your husband yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography.

Proverbs 27:12
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Day 30
Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin.

Proverbs 13:20
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Day 31
Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God.

John 8:44
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge

I'm doing a 30 day Husband Encouragement Challenge and I challenge you all to do it with me!

For 30 days you need to only speak positively about your husband and to your husband. If you're happily married, unhappily married, taking a marriage break, reconciling or rekindling your marriage, thinking about getting married, or are engaged - this challenge is for you!

You can start whenever you like, but I'm going to start Jan 1st - what a great way to start the new year!!! Who would like to join me?

Here are the links to the information you need
30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge
Praying for Your Husband

This is similar to the 30 Day Honour your Husband challenge a lot of us did awhile back - but this is a lot more specific. Each day has a challenge as well as a prayer "topic" which I think is just a fabulous idea!

Starting Jan 1st I will try to post the daily challenges and we can "discuss" it together by commenting or linking to each other's blogs. (Considering our 4th baby's due date is Jan 20th this could be a challenge for me time-wise, but I'm sure going to try!)

Are you in?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Christmas Hoopla

My sister Andrea tagged me to do a Christmas Hoopla - here are the rules.

1. List 12 random things about yourself that has to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word
3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

OK, here we go - hopefully I can come up with 12 things!

1. I played piano for one of Nathan's cousins at Christmastime so I got to play all Christmas songs at the wedding.
2. My favorite Christmas "carol" is O Holy Night.
3. I recently downloaded (it's legal in Canada!) Josh Groban's Christmas CD Noel. It's great!!
4. We went to Mexico to visit relatives for Christmas one year - no snow - it was tragic. (No, not the resort areas of Mexico - 5hrs drive south of Texas - no beach in sight!)
5. We have an artificial tree and will always have an artificial tree, now and forevermore.
6. I'm teaching our oldest 2 girls piano and they are loving playing Christmas songs right now - Emma (6) is learning Jingle Bells and Sophia (4) is learning Away in a Manger.
7. Just like ValleyGirl our entire family got violently ill last Christmas. It started at a family gathering - what great timing! And lasted the whole way home - let's just say we had to stop at the side of the road a few times, and all night long. Oh, let there not be a repeat of that this Christmas!!
8. Favorite Christmas baking, to eat (not necessarily to bake!) - soft white cookies with lots of icing, cinnamon buns and raisin tarts.
9. To help teach our children the real meaning of Christmas we have given more gifts to those who truly need them this year including a larger Family gift for our sponsored child, Jonathan, from Compassion - I can't wait to find out what they used it for!
10. On my side of the family us "kids" take turns deciding what the Christmas meal will be, and what charity we will all sponsor instead of buying each other gifts. This year my brother choose Siloam Mission - an excellent choice!
11. I love to decorate early for Christmas - this year our Christmas tree was up by November 24th! Everything comes down as soon after New Year's as possible though. Once it's over, it's over.
12. I was totally scared the first time I saw The Christmas Story - when Santa pushed the poor kid down the slide with his boot!?! Scarred for life I am.

As far as who else is tagged, hmmmm, how bout my friends at Crosswalk, especially those addicted to the Pregnancy thread. I think Andrea already tagged everyone I know IRL.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Treasure the moment

One thing I really like about being pregnant this time is that I know it's my last one (unless an act of God overrules our plans :), and I am truly trying to treasure every moment. The fact that the Zofran (anti-nausea medication) worked during more than the first half of my pregnancy definitely helped this to be a realistic possibility! :)

Treasuring the moments has also made me realize how much I will miss being pregnant. No, this does not mean I want to have more kids, we are sure on having 4 and that our family will be complete after this child is here. But there are definitely so many things I will miss and never again experience.

Probably the biggest one is the feeling of the baby moving inside me. This is the most amazing feeling in the world. Truly indescribable unless you've felt it yourself. And this baby is giving me numerous opportunities to treasure the kicking - when sitting or lying done it's practically constant it seems! (Right now included.) I love how it feels, and think it looks hilarious from the outside as well - sometimes you can see the baby practicing karate moves in there! The feeling of life is truly awe inspiring.

I also love looking pregnant. I can't stand the "fat" stage of pregnancy and am always happy to move into the "obviously pregnant" stage instead. This happened very quickly this time around - could it have anything to do with the fact that it's my 4th?! And, though I am under no illusions that I haven't gained any ... ahem... unnecessary weight, I do like the "swallowed a basketball" look that I seem to have going on. Though the basketball is getting pretty big.

Also, the amazing fact that I am a part of a miracle. And, truly, pregnancy is a miracle, despite the fact that it's very common. God is in the process of knitting together a unique and precious human being in my womb right now! I just can hardly get my mind around that - I am humbled and in awe at being a part of this amazing process. How God has designed our bodies is simply incredible.

Along with this amazing priviledge of being part of creation comes the awesome responsibility, yet again, of raising this child to become the man/woman God wants him/her to be. What a huge, huge responsibility. I need to be down on my knees more, and truly rely on Him for the wisdom needed for this monumental task.

The moment of birth is, of course, one of the most amazing experiences ever. The emotions of the moment are indescribable and overwhelming. The joy is uncontainable. And I can't wait to experience it one last time.

And, even once this pregnancy is over, there will be so many other "lasts" to treasure. The first smile (ok, I know it's just gas), the first time they grasp your finger in their tiny fists. The feeling of holding your newborn, so tiny & perfect. When you know that they KNOW you, the cooing, the laughing, the way they look at you while nursing, and all the numerous firsts to follow - rolling, sitting, standing, walking, getting teeth, talking, losing teeth, going to school, driving and getting married - ack!!

And so I will continue to treasure each moment.

Though my back may ache and my feet may pinch,
Though my belly may loom larger than life
Though my legs be restless and the nights be sleepless
Though the sight of my toes fades from memory
I will treasure this miracle in my womb, as it is to be my last.

20 Things to Remember

I did not make this up - just found it online. But I liked it so I thought I'd share (aren't I generous?)

1. Faith is the ability to not panic.
2. If you worry, you didn't pray. If you prayed, don't worry.
3. As a child of God, prayer is kinda like calling home every day.
4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
6. Do the math. Count your blessings.
7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
8. Dear God: I have a problem. It's me.
9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
10. Laugh every day - it's like inner jogging.
11. The most important things in your home are the people.
12. Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional. (Preach it!)
13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in.
14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
16. We do not remember days but moments. Life moves too fast so enjoy your precious moments.
17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it; otherwise it's just hearsay.
18. It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
19. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress
when it sticks out its neck.
20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. No matter the storm,
when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting. Leave gentle fingerprints on the soul of another for the angels to read. I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Friday, 7 December 2007

A real post - the meaning of Christmas

OK, even though today is a total record breaking posting day for me, I haven't really posted anything other than pictures. So, here's a real post.

How do we teach our children the true meaning of Christmas? Truly teach it to them. I think we thoroughly confuse them.

We teach them that the meaning of Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth - our Lord and Saviour.

We teach them that He left heaven and exchanged the glories there for a human body here on earth - born in a stable, born to die for the sins of the world, for my sins, for their sins.

We teach them that Santa is not real, he's just pretend - like Cinderella.

We teach them that gifts are not the meaning of Christmas. That gifts are just a fun part of the celebration. That they need to appreciate the gift and the meaning behind it, even if it's not exactly what they wanted to get. That they shouldn't ask for "more". That they shouldn't just tear through the presents and lay them aside after a hurried "thank you" looking for the next one.

And then after we've talked the talk we completely fail to walk it - and they end up opening 100 presents each from us, their aunts & uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents.

What exactly are they supposed to think?

Every year I look at all the "stuff" our kids have gotten and wonder where on earth to put it all.

What is this "stuff" really teaching our kids? How are we supposed to teach them not to be materialistic in the midst of it all?

And yet, it's so fun watching them open their gifts! I love to buy them things and watch them open it. But at what expense? Will the price be higher than we should be willing to pay?

Or is it no big deal? Maybe I'm overreacting/overthinking/overanalizing, I don't know.

We definitely do things to combat the materialism. We always do the Samaritan's purse Christmas shoe boxes, and they each help pack a box for a girl their age. We sponsor a child, provide an extra Christmas gift, as well as an extra Family gift once/year. They love to write Jonathan letters and draw pictures for him. We talk about how little he has and how he can't afford to do the same things we do - like go to restaurants or hotel trips, and that he doesn't even always have enough to eat. We sponsor missionaries in India and pray for them and Jonathan every day.

Is the Christmas gift overload cancelling out all of that? Or is it not really that bad?

I'd like to come up with more traditions that focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

I have heard of a great idea recently - to buy 3 (or 4) gifts per child and that's it. One thing they need (like clothes), one thing they want (toy) and a book and/or a game.

I think that's a great idea - until I see x in the store and know how much the girls would like it and cave and buy yet another present. Maybe next year.

I'm not meaning for this to sound so depressing. I LOVE Christmas. I love decorating (our tree went up November 25 already), I love listening to Christmas music, I love the lights, I love the Christmas programs and I love watching our kids open their gifts. Everything (especially when it comes to gifts) in moderation is the key I think.

My new nephew!

I tell ya, Maxen is a cutie that's for sure. Here's some pictures .....















7 Months and counting


Here's my latest belly picture. I'm finished my 7th month here. I've got less than 2 months to go - hopefully. :)

Our new house

Here are a few pictures of our new house.

I don't have a picture of our master bedroom yet, because there's one wall I need to do a paint technique to yet - hopefully I'll get that done before the baby comes! Same thing with the baby room.

Anyway, here are some pictures of our main living area....




Here is a picture of Olivia's bedroom...

Here are pictures of Emma & Sophia's room downstairs....

And this is their bathroom - it's a Jack & Jill style bathroom (or rather, in our case, a Jill & Jill!) - the other bedroom is currently being used as a playroom.

Probably my favorite room in the house - our 1/2 bath downstairs (since guests can't use the Jill/Jill one). I've always wanted a pedastal sink, but that's not overly practical in girl bathrooms - way too much stuff you need storage for, not to mention counterspace. So, here was my chance to put one in! I love it.

And this is our master ensuite - the shower and toilet room/watercloset are to the right.

Flower Girls



Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures of the wedding because my camera batteries died! I did get some copies for my mom, but they're not digital. So, here's what I've got!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Finally

OK, finally a new post. I realize I've practically dropped off the face of the blogging earth lately. So, here's a quick update.

We moved at the end of October! Yes, our new house (5th one since 1998) was completely finished - upstairs and downstairs before we moved in. Moving was absolutely exhausting at 6 months pregnant - I felt like I was 10 months along instead! Thankfully my mom and mil both helped out - otherwise I don't know what I would've done! I think I'm recovered now though. :)

My brother got married! Most of you probably know this already, seeing as how Andrea had pictures posted either that evening or the next day. But they sure did have some cute flower girls!

We took the girls on a weekend trip to GF - the shopping was great, and they loved the swimming as usual.

Nathan and I took another trip, just this past weekend - this time we cheated on GF and went to F instead. :) And we went..... by ourselves! We wanted to go on one more trip together before the baby, so we figured we may as well go now and get our Christmas shopping done. Two birds with one stone and all that. We had a great time! So relaxing.

And, of course, my sister Michelle had her baby! (Also, probably already know that from Andrea's blog). The first boy on my side of the family - after 6 granddaughters I guess it was time! Maxen sure is a cutie! Jean-Guy was quick to inform me that the pressure was on to provide a boy playmate for Max. We shall see, we shall see! Ya never know I suppose, but I wouldn't count on it - not with our track record. :)

Oh, and we decorated for Christmas Saturday Nov 24th already! I love the Christmas season. I'm more than ready to take everything down Jan 1st - but beforehand, it can almost not be up too soon! We don't do a real tree, so that makes it easier of course, to start so soon.

I'll try to post some pictures of the wedding, Max, and our new house - but who knows when that'll be. :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas season!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Fetal Assessment

So, on Monday I went for another fetal assessment due to concerns about the baby's kidneys. And the tests all indicate that everything is now completely normal! Praise the Lord - what an answer to prayer! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us.

And I even got pictures - check it out.


Our baby's face! Can you see it?
Looks just like our other babies did.
Can you tell gender from a face?



Here's a hand - and the other part is a foot but the baby's kicking so it's hard to see that one.

Belly Pictures!

4 months pregnant



5 months pregnant



6 months pregnant





Here I am with my cousin Julie (left) and sister Michelle (middle).
Julie is due beginning of November.
Michelle is due end of November.
I am due end of January.
I think I'm the biggest!!! Ack!




Wednesday, 17 October 2007

100%

From a strictly Mathematical Viewpoint:

What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 101%? What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these Questions:

If:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1 9 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:

H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

And

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But,

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

AND, look how far the love of God will take you

L- O- V- E-O-F-G-O-D

12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:
While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Ultrasound results

So my dr called me with my ultrasound results this morning.

The results are still the same - there is a minor dilation in the kidney opening. She said I should not be concerned. That the majority of the time this will still become normal at some point during the pregnancy or even early on after birth. She said they will do a fetal assessment around 32 weeks, and possibly another one afterwards, in order to get a frame of reference as to the size of the opening so they can monitor if it's improving or not. If it is still there at the last fetal assessment they will do an ultrasound on the baby within the first 2 months. If it is still present at that time a minor surgical operation would have to be performed to fix it.

The fact that they wrote "minor" on the results is apparently significant. She is confident that the opening will become normal and is not expecting surgery to be necessary. Of course, she cannot guarantee anything, but that is her expectation.

I would appreciate your continued prayers that our baby would be healed so that the surgery would be unnecessary.

Thank you!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Still waiting

I don't think I mentioned this in any previous posts but I had to go in for a 2nd ultrasound due to a "potential" problem with the baby's kidneys. The opening is apparently dilated more than it should be, but it also apparently a very common problem at 20weeks gestation (at the time of my 1st ultrasound). My dr said that with all her other patients that have had the same "problem", it has cleared up, or registered as normal at the 2nd ultrasound. She said that even in a worse case scenario where it didn't not clear up, it would require a minor surgical procedure after birth and the problem would be fixed - so not a permanent condition or anything. She said if it was her own ultrasound she wouldn't be concerned, that they just wanted to do the 2nd ultrasound as a precaution basically.

So, I wasn't really worried, until I remembered that kidney problems do run in our family to some degree. My sister Andrea had a kidney operation as a baby, and one of my cousin's babies just recently had one as well. So, this has made me slightly nervous awaiting my test results.

I had the ultrasound on Thursday, but my doctor only works Tuesdays and Thursdays so I figured I wouldn't get the results until today. Well, today has come and gone and still no results. I called my dr and she was going to call me when she got the results. She didn't call, so at 4:30 I tried again. They said they hadn't gotten the results in yet. So I called the hospital and they said they did send the results. So I called my dr back and the receptionist double checked and saw that they had come in now and she would get the dr to call me back. Well, that didn't happen. So, I guess now I'm stuck waiting till Thursday. But I think I'll try calling the office tomorrow to see if a different dr can tell me the results - this is just such a long wait!

I haven't been too stressed about it, I just don't like the not knowing.

I know I'll for sure find out Thursday - cause I have a dr appointment then.

Have patience, have patience...... sigh, not one of my virtues unfortunately.

A chance to win..

Click here for a chance to win a book called "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God".

Monday, 1 October 2007

Update on my Odd Day Flowers

I loved the flowers and the card my friend Candace gave me on what would've been the due date of the baby I most recently miscarried. Turns out there was some significance to them that I didn't catch on to, due to a mistake at the florists. She had given me 5 flowers - one yellow, 2 pink, 2 white. I didn't think too much of it. Well, my friend was over for lunch and after seeing the bouquet on my table said "please tell me the 3rd pink one died." I'm like - huh? What 3rd one? There was supposed to be 6 flowers.
3 pink ones - representing my 3 girls to love and hold
2 white ones - representing my 2 babies in heaven
1 yellow one - representing the baby in my womb

The flowers were sweet anyway, but the added significance to each flower is pretty special too. I'll try to add a picture soon (which I had to retake after I received the 3rd pink rose!)

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Did YOU know? Important ethical information

This is a sensitive area of discussion, but I'm willing to take the plunge! I hope I do not offend anyone - that is not my intent. My intent is to inform, to encourage your own research (don't just take my word for it!) and to decide what to do with this information (remember - doing nothing is also a decision). I have issued the challenge - are you prepared to take it?

Virtually everyone I have spoken to IRL has not been aware of this - for some reason this news is just not getting out. So, I'm doing my part to spread the word! I realize this is a long post - but please, bear with me and read it all - it's important!

So, I'm going to start by providing facts, then I will provide links to some research I have done, and then I will state my opinions - I bet you can't wait for that part! :)

The fact - one of the ways the birth control pill works is to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. Assuming you believe that life begins at conception (as most Christians do) - this is a chemically induced abortion - a fertilized egg is a baby.

The pill works in 3 ways
1) The main way it works is by preventing ovulation. No ovulation = no possibility of pregnancy. This is totally fine. However, this is not 100% effective. Especially nowadays with the lower dosage pills being common, this is not anywhere close to 100% effective - which means the other 2 mechanisms often come in to play.
2) The second way it works is by changing the cervical mucous to prevent sperm from reaching an egg should ovulation occur. This too, is totally fine. Prevent fertilization is not wrong. This mechanism also is not always effective. This is when the other mechanism comes into play.
3) The 3rd way it works is by thinning the lining of the uterus so that should fertilization occur, implantation would be unlikely and the fertilized egg (baby) would die.

Assuming that life begins at conception, this is a serious ethical problem.

So, that's it in a nutshell. This is also true with IUDs, Depo-Provera and Norplant (in fact in some of those the abortifacient effect is it's main mechanism)

Here is some research...

The most comprehensive and detailed research I've found was done by Randy Alcorn who actually set out to prove that the pill did NOT work in this way. If you click on this link you can find Randy's article (I think it's broken down into 9 parts) as well as a host of other articles on the topic. Randy Alcorn interviewed everyone from the pill manufacturers, their pharmacists and physicians as well as numerous other medical texts and references.

Here's a few quotes from his article....

On March 24, 1997, I had a lengthy and enlightening talk with Richard Hill, a pharmacist who works for Ortho-McNeil's product information department. (Ortho-McNeil and Searle are the largest birth control pill manufacturers.)

I then asked Hill if he was certain the Pill made implantation less likely. "Oh, yes," he replied. I said, "So you don't think this is just a theoretical effect of the Pill?" He said the following, as I took detailed notes:

Oh, no, it's not theoretical. It's observable. We know what an endometrium looks like when it's richest and most receptive to the fertilized egg. When a woman is taking the Pill you can clearly see the difference, based both on gross appearance -- as seen with the naked eye -- and under a microscope. At the time when the endometrium would normally accept a fertilized egg, if a woman is taking the Pill it is much less likely to do so.

I asked Hill one more time, "So you're saying this is an actual effect that happens, not just a theoretical one?" He said, "Sure -- you can actually see what it does to the endometrium and it's obvious it makes implantation less likely. The only thing that's theoretical is the numbers, because we just don't know that."

And how often does this third mechanism come into play? IOW, how many chemical abortions are there every year from the pill? The answer will likely astound you. First to have something to compare to - there are approx 1.5 million abortions a year in the US. (not chemical abortions, "regular" surgical abortions where there is deliberate terminating of a known pregnancy) It is impossible of course to give an exact number of how many chemical abortions happen due to taking the pill (it could be done, but the tests have not been performed) - however it is possible to scientifically predict the numbers. The numbers are shockingly high - between 834,000 and 4.17 million chemical abortions every year. See this article for details on how these numbers were calculated.

The most up to date page of information I could find about this can be found here. It contains a wealth of information and links to other research as well. Speaking of the IUD, Norplant and Depo-Provera this site says .....
With over 17 million American women using the Pill and other chemical abortifacients, it is estimated that breakthough ovulation and pregnany occurs so often . . . that between 7 to 12 million newly conceived children are killed by chemical abortions in the womb each year. And most of these women never even knew they were pregnant.

There are numerous other sites that state that this is how the pill works - everything from non-Christian organizations like Planned Parenthood (who recently revised their website to make it appear more theoretical), to Christian organizations like Crisis Pregnancy centre. All you have to do is google "abortifacient effect birth control pill" and tons of links will show up.

this site is the most recently updated one.


In your own research, don't just ask you dr and accept a quick "oh no, it's not an abortifacient" and think you've done your duty, even if your dr is a Christian. First of all, not all doctors are aware of this effect of the pill. If they dismiss your concerns, tell them about this research and ask them to perform their own and that you'd like to discuss it again. Secondly, not all drs (especially non-Christian ones) define life as beginning at fertilization. Some define it as beginning at implantation in which case they would not consider the pill abortifacient.

Frankly, I've been amazed and disappointed at the apathetic response I've gotten from many of the people I've talked to about this affect of the pill. The only reason I can think is that they feel like if they don't research themselves they don't have to act on the information. After all, the pill is a super convenient method of birth control. Unfortunately it is birth control, and not conception control. Another reason for the "head in the sand" response is the desire for it not to be true. Believe me - I understand that desire. We used the pill for 5 yrs, completely unaware of this affect. And it grieves me to think that I may have unknowingly caused the death of a child. But, how much more wrong would it be to continue to use it blindly, now that you know about the possibility of chemical abortion?

One thing I want to mention. There are many women that need to take the pill for medical reasons - having nothing to do with conception. I don't have a problem with this provided that an additional, alternative method of true conception control is used to negate the abortifacient effect of the pill.

So, what to use instead?

When done correctly, NFP (NOT the rhythm method) is even more effective than the pill. It does take work, and you need to educate yourself in order to do it correctly, but it's effective - over 99%.

Other options include barrier methods, spermicide, etc. And of course, for the truly paranoid, more than one option can be used at the same time! :)

So, my encouragement to you (should you believe in life at conception), is to cease using the pill (or use it in combination with another method) and research it yourself. I'm sure you will find that the risk is simply too high - especially when alternative methods of conception control are available that work and that have NO risk of causing an abortion. I know some of the other methods are not as convenient, but is convenience a valid reason to risk a life?

If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer any that I possibly can. Please feel free to forward this to everyone you know. The word needs to get out. As in any medical situation, people need to be informed - especially since lives are literally at stake.

(Edited to make slightly shorter)

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

An odd day

Today is an odd day.

Today is the original due date of the baby I miscarried in February.

I say it's odd because it's a sad day because I miss my baby. And yet, there is another baby growing in my womb - a baby that would not be here if I hadn't lost my other one. And I'm happy about this baby. And sad about the other one. Both at the same time.

It's hard to wrap my head around that one.

Olivia (our 3rd daughter) also would not exist had I not miscarried between her and Sophia. We would have a different baby - but it wouldn't be Olivia. And that is weird too. Because I love Olivia with all of my being, and I wouldn't trade her for the world.

And so it is an odd day. I rejoice for the baby I carry right now. And I long for the baby I lost that may have been born today. (Considering the fact that 2 of our 3 were actually due date babies, that would've been an actual possibility). So today is a day where joy and grief are mingled.

My best friend sent me flowers and a card today that said...

3 loveable ones to hug
2 in Jesus' arms today
1 in the womb growing, equals
6 blessings from God.

I think she summed it up quite well. Thank you Candace.

And, if it's possible, I pray ....

Jesus, please tell my babies I love them.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

L - missed one!

L is for Les
Can't believe I missed Les! That's the problem with naming family members during this A-Z thing. I didn't start off doing that - so my sister Andrea got missed in the A's. And now I forgot Les! Ack! Can I blame pregnancy brain for that too? OK, Les is my BIL and I do remember him occasionally. :) He's so easy going and generally just so easy to get along with. He seems to always be in a good mood, even though he has to put up with my sister 24/7. Hee hee. Yup, he's a great guy - sorry I forgot you Les!

Friday, 7 September 2007

An award!

Thanks to Tara for giving me the Nice Matters award! How sweet. Who doesn't like to be awarded right?! I'm pretty sure everyone I know in Blogland has already received this award, so I guess the buck stops here for now. Thanks again Tara!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

K, L, M

K is for Kids
I love my kids. I love being a SAHM. I love getting hugs for no reason. I love it when my kids say "Mom, you're the best mom I ever had!"

L is for Love
Love makes the world go round! Love is truly what binds us together. God is Love. And, other than living our lives for HIS glory, our primary purpose on this earth is to LOVE. Love our neighbour as ourselves. Love our enemies. Love the unloveables.

These 3 remain - faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

L is for Loss
Everyone has experienced loss. I've lost two babies (it's amazing how hard it is to even type that). I've lost my dad. I've lost 6 grandparents and 4 grandparents-in-law. And I know there are so many more losses yet to come. And, yet, as Christians, we have hope. This loss is not a permanent one. We will see our loved ones again, and they will be perfect. They/we will be free from all pain. We will rejoice with one another and worship our Lord together in perfect unity - free from all earthly distractions.

L is for Linsay
Linsay is my SIL. I love her sense of humour (pretty similar to Nathan's actually). We really enjoy getting together with her and Shaun.

M is for Moms
I've been blessed with 2 moms. My Mom and my MIL. All those MIL jokes - they so do not apply here. I couldn't have hand-picked a better MIL and I hope I am that type of MIL to my girls' husbands when that time comes (eventually and oh-so-soon at the same time!). Both my moms love me unconditionally and I know they pray for me every day. Not only can you not go wrong with prayer - but it's truly the best gift you can give. I know I (and all my immediate family) am lifted to the throne over and over. I am truly grateful for my Moms.

M is for Michelle & Malia
Michelle is my younger sister - younger by only 6 months! For some reason, we look nothing alike - I wonder why?! I remember all the good times we had sharing a room as kids - it was so fun that I picked that over getting my own room! Malia is currently my youngest niece. With her dark hair and complexion she looks a lot different than her sister Joelle. Her smile is adorable, she's such a cutie! And feisty too!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

How well do you know me?

If you know me in real life - I invite you to check out my quiz on Facebook - How well do you know me?

Friday, 24 August 2007

More A-Z

J is for Joking around
I forgot to put H is for Humour, so I figured I better get J is for Joking around in here! Humour is so important in a relationship. Laughing with each other and being able to laugh at yourself is truly cathartic. And I'm sure it must burn some calories too :) That's definitely one of the qualities that attracted me to Nathan. I think he's quite funny. Of course, I like to insist to him that I'm just as funny as he is - but I know that's not quite true. After I get in a particular good one he likes to add "You're not on a roll!" cause usually my jokes go downhill in quality after the first one. Hee hee.

J is for Jesus
What a friend we have in Jesus (someone should use that in a song or something:). Truly He is all of the following (or some of the following - how many is up to you - free will and all that!)
Friend, Saviour, Lord (this one is truly an daily decision - who will be Lord of your life today Tammy, you or Jesus?), Comforter, Guide, Healer, Giver of all things good, Protector, Cheerleader (OK, that sounds irreverant I know - but truly no one is cheering you on more than He is!), Redeemer (He can take ANYTHING you've done or any circumstance in your life and redeem it), Creator and Almighty God!

J is for Jamie & Joelle & Jean-Guy
Jamie is my one and only brother. He's 5 yrs younger than me, and let's just say he sometimes take his joking around to extremes. Thankfully, as I was so much older (read bigger) than he was, he generally bugged Andrea to death instead of me. Michelle would just beat him up if he tried it on her. Thankfully, now that he's bigger than us, we have husbands to protect us. :) Love ya Jame.

Joelle is my first niece! I finally got to be an auntie when this cutie was born. Unfortunately, since I already had my own kids at the time, I'm not likely going to wear the title of favorite aunt (so much easier to capture that title when you're not running after your two, or three or soon to be four kids!). But, she's a sweetie none the less.

And, last but not least, Jean-Guy is my brother-in-law. He's a great guy - especially because he loves my sister Michelle and their beautiful curly-haired daughter Elliott the way he does. The fact that Nathan likes to talk sports with him doesn't hurt either. :) And maybe, he'll even produce a nephew for us come November - hey, stranger things have happened!

Monday, 20 August 2007

Movie Recommendation

In direct contrast to our last movie fiasco, we thoroughly enjoyed Saturday's dinner and a movie! We went to see The Bourne Ultimatum - and, as we expected, it was fantastic!! We went to Pasta La Vista for supper - but I have to say, we weren't overly impressed. We'll stick to Olive Garden for Italian food that's for sure! But we had a fabulous time!

We had a moment where we thought we might not be enjoying our movie so much - as a couple with a baby sat down in our aisle! A baby?! Didn't I get a babysitter to get away from babies? :) Thankfully the baby only cried a few times, and was pretty quiet. Whew!

More in the A-Z

F is for Future
I am one of those people that would love a glimpse into the future. Only good glimpses though! I often wonder - what will the girls look like when they're older? Who will their husbands be?

And, most important - will they be sharing heaven with me for all eternity?

Of course, I realize that that is their own personal decision - and, yet, as their parents, we have the most influence over their belief systems that anyone can ever have - a huge and daunting responsibility! So, one thing we have determined to do is to be as open and honest and communicative as is humanly possible. Nothing is off limits in discussion. Our relationship with Jesus needs to be talked about in everyday life - not just on Sundays and not even just at evening Bible Story and prayers. They need to see that this Relationship is wholly applicable to each and every part of our lives.

On a lighter note - F is also for Fingers. A classy restaurant I worked in during my one year at university. I first started as a Hostess, then as a Busser and then as a Server. The tips sure beat Chicken Chef's! Though I have to say, the work was probably easier. :)

G is for Gravy
I love gravy!

That is the one down side to GF holidays (G is also for GF - our regular "holiday" destination with the kids). They don't have gravy for french fries in the States. In fact, I don't think any of them have heard of poutines. Gasp - the horror!

Gravy on perogies, gravy on rice, gravy on noodles, gravy, gravy, gravy!

H is for Hugs
I love hugs. I especially love hugs from my girls and my man. Can you ever hug too much? No, there's no such thing.

I is for Induction
So far I've had to be induced for every labour. With both Emma & Sophia my water broke and nothing happened so I was induced - both were born exactly on their due dates. With Olivia I had a leak the day before her due date (totally my same MO!), but StB is a pain and wouldn't induce me - until I was 10 days overdue and at the fetal assessment they discovered I had very little amniotic fluid left. Hmmmm, I wonder why?! So, they induced me then too. The pain about being induced is that they have to monitor you constantly - so showering and walking and all the other methods of pain coping aren't even options. So, I am REALLY hoping not to have to be induced with this one - but that's probably a long shot because apparently my body doesn't know how to go into labour on it's own. :)

Monday, 13 August 2007

D and E in the A-Z of Me!

D is for Dinner & a Movie!
Dinner & a movie is pretty much our traditional date night. We love eating and we love movies! We usually go to either The Olive Garden, Tony Roma's or if we really want to splurge we go to The Keg. I love The Keg - hmmmm, the bread! I think I could eat a whole one myself! And of course, at The Olive Garden - it's their breadsticks that do me in! Tony Roma's is all about the ribs of course. I'm not exactly an adventurous restaurant orderer. I always gets the same thing - why mess with a good thing, right?! At the Olive Garden I get the lunch portion of Chicken Alfredo on whole wheat linguine. As though the whole wheat makes up for all that cream! With the pasta fagioli soup and about 3 breadsticks. Tony Roma's it's the Honey Garlic ribs. And at The Keg it's the Teriyaki Sirloin steak. Hmmmmmm, good! For movies - we always use our Airmiles for 2 tickets, one popcorn and 2 drinks - not that I need more food after all that bread! We're planning on seeing The Bourne Ultimatum this weekend - can't wait!


E is for Emma Marion
That was a no-brainer! Our firstborn came into the world on March 30th, 2001 - exactly ON HER DUE DATE! I know - pretty rare! My water broke the day before. And when I say broke, I mean broke. I do not mean trickle. We're talking another global flood. You could SEE the difference in my stomach afterwards! Anyway, we went to the hospital and nothing happened. No contractions, nada, nothing, zip, zilch. So, after waiting and walking, they induced me. And she was born sometime around 1am (I have a horrible memory and I'm not getting up to verify the time!). She was 8lb 1oz and the cutest baby ever (until a few years later when she was joined by Sophia & Olivia of course. It's currently a 3-way tie until January!)

Anyway, Emma is quite the character. Her imagination is incredible (she certainly does not get that from me). When she just turned 2 she was already pretending to take her stuffed animals to our local amusement park, setting up a big production in order to do so. She loves to put on shows for us - ballet, singing, you name it she loves it! And she is an excellent singer too. Her music teacher at school actually told us that she'd never heard a Kindergartener sing as well as she does. I could totally see her auditioning for Canadian Idol if they had one for her age. :) A little performer that one! I think I can take credit for her inheriting a love of music. I've been starting to teach her piano and she's taking to it very well. I've been far to lacsedaisical (sp?!) about that though, so I'm determined to be more regular with her lessons this year.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Movie Review - or rather, movie warning!!

Do not, under any circumstances, go see the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. You'd think the whole idea behind the movie would've clued me in. But the previews actually made it look pretty funny....like they were mocking the whole gay marriage thing. And the first half of the movie WAS like that, and it WAS funny. The second half, on the other hand, was complete gay propaganda. We went with my SIL and BIL - and all four of us were sorry we hadn't walk out.

I HAD read some Christian reviews on the movie. But, knowing that often Christian reviewers can be too conservative at times, I thought surely it couldn't be that bad. I was wrong. It was worse.

Crosswalk's reviewer very accurately states
Under the guise of comedy (and there are some funny lines) Universal Pictures and Director Dennis Dugan are now bringing audiences two hours and twenty minutes’ worth of gay party-line preaching.
Christianity Today gives the movie zero stars, and they don't rate the movie on it's morals, they rate it on it's entertainment value and how well done it was. From their site
Our star ratings are only assessments of the quality of filmmaking, acting, cinematography, screenwriting, etc. A high rating is neither an endorsement nor a gauge of the "moral acceptability" of the subject matter.
But they definitely comment on the moral acceptability factor in the body of their reviews - about this one they state
This so-called comedy doesn't bother trying to hide its ethical and political platforms under anything resembling humor. Thus, this isn't just a film that represents anti-biblical views on marriage and homosexuality; it aggressively forces these views upon us, and paints anyone who disagrees as an ignorant bigot. Devoid not only of truth but of any kind of craft, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry is the kind of pure-and-simple propaganda that doesn't lead to any kind of compassion or understanding; it only leads to anger and divisiveness. Of course, the movie's star power—the ads bill it as Sandler's long-awaited return to blockbuster comedy—ensures that it will make big bucks at the office, but responsible Christians would do well to simply pronounce this the most despicable marriage to ever be seen on the big screen.
I couldn't have said it better myself. In this case - the Christian reviews were not too conservative - they were dead on.

Do yourself a favor, save yourself some money and don't waste your time on this movie.

C is for...

C is for curls
I love the curls in my daughters' hair. They all have some. Emma has quite a few, Sophia basically just the ends, and Olivia's is looking like how Emma's looked at that age. They get it from their dad (not that you can tell since he always wears it shaved short - but if it is ever longish, it's curly!) and their aunties Deena & Linsay - their hair is almost African American curly. Isn't she cute?!

Monday, 6 August 2007

An Encyclopedia of Me

Got this idea from my sister Andrea's blog and thought it was a fun one. So, here we go.

A is for auntie.
After having the first kids on both sides of the family, it took awhile till I could say this. But I am an auntie! To 3 girls (Joelle & Malia, and Elliott) and counting on my side, and 2 boys (Colter & Baret) on Nathan's side.

B is for baby.
We're having another baby. I am 16 weeks along right now and our baby is approx 4 1/2" long. Some of her/him (who are we kidding - it'll likely be another girl!) more advanced body systems are working, including her circulatory system and urinary tract. Her heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, circulating her total blood volume through her body many times. The patterning of her scalp has begun, though her hair isn't recognizable yet. Although closed, her eyes are moving (slowly), and she's even started growing toenails. (Info courtesy of Babycenter.)

Stay tuned for the rest of the encyclopedia in days to come.

Contest

5 Minutes for Moms is giving away a 37" TV courtesy of Best Buy. Check it out here.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Blessed Be Your Name

Awhile back a men's gospel group came to our church (I can't remember what they were called anymore!) and one of the men shared part of his testimony and I thought I would share it here. I'm not 100% on the timeline details but you'll get the general gist. For the sake of "storytelling", we'll call the husband and wife Jim & Sue.

Jim & Sue had been married for over 10 years and had never been able to get pregnant. Jim's dad was sooo looking forward to being a Grandpa but unfortunately he passed away about 5 years into Jim & Sue's marriage. Finally after about 13 years of trying to conceive a miracle happened - they were pregnant! They were incredibly joyful, ecstatic and thrilled. Until they lost the baby when she was already about 5 months along. They were absolutely devastated. Why would God give them this miracle and then take it away? Why even give them the hope?

One night, Jim had a dream - a vision really. He dreamed of his dad up in heaven. His dad was rocking their baby - joyful, ecstatic and thrilled. And in the dream his dad said "Thank you Jim, for finally making me a Grandpa."

A few years later, Jim & Sue had a healthy baby girl.

I was in absolute tears in church when this man shared his story. It totally hit me because I too have a dad in heaven who is, right now, enjoying being a Grandpa to the 2 babies we never knew.

Blessed Be Your Name - Tree63

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be Your name

Monday, 30 July 2007

For Women Only

OK, in case any guys happen to read this blog, consider yourself forewarned - this post is for women only! But don't worry, as long as you don't follow the link below you won't be embarrassed.

Probably many of you have never heard of these - I found out about them about a year ago, and when necessary, this is absolutely the only thing I use or will ever use from now on. I LOVE it! I have the Diva and love it. Check out the following links for details.

DivaCup
Cup Comparisons and FAQ type answers.

The Diva is available in Winnipeg - see Store Locator on their website for details (that's why I bought that one).

I truly cannot recommend them too much. Fabulous, fabulous product!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Honour Your Husband Challenge

Well, this challenge officially ended on Monday, but I'm trying to make my goals habits. The one I need to work on the most is praying for Nathan. I need to work on my prayer life in general! I think I need an "Honour Jesus Challenge" - often our spiritual lives end up at the low end of the totem pole in our list of priorities.

I am thrilled that I participated in this challenge, thanks to Christine for starting the challenge - I'm sure husbands everywhere thank you too!

Having concrete goals definitely helped me. As well as publishing them publicly - talk about being held accountable!

It just helped me realize once again how blessed I am. It made me realize that we (sadly) need to make an effort to show love to the ones we live with, instead of just giving our best to the stranger down the street or the friend on the phone.

Well, I hear my "baby" waking up now, so we'll leave it at that!

8 Interesting Things About Me

I have been tagged by Tara to do write "8 interesting things about me."

The Rules: “Each person posts the rules before their list, then they list 8 things about themselves. At the end of the post, that person tags and links to 8 other people and then visits those peoples’ sites and comments letting them know that they have been tagged, and to come read the post, so they know what they have to do.”

1. I have had 3 different last names. I was born with my first last name. After my first dad died, my mom remarried and I was adopted by my new dad and so I got my 2nd last name. And after I got married my last name changed again. For the last time!!!

2. I lived in a tent for 2 months during a Teen Missions trip - this partly explains why I now hate camping/tenting.

3. I have been pregnant 6 times. We have 3 children and 1 on the way. Again, the last one - at least that's OUR plan.

4. I won the Governor General's Bronze Medal in Grade 12.

5. I completely my ARCT (piano performance degree) the same year I graduated from high school.

6. I took 1 yr of University in the Faculty of Education - I was double majoring in Math and French. I wanted to teach high school. Then I dropped out of university to get married and have kids. OK, we waited almost 5 yrs to have kids, but still. :)

7. We bought a piano for our 2nd year anniversary - and Nathan surprised me with an additional gift - an anniversary ring to match his wedding band. Of course, now that I lost the diamond in my wedding ring, that anniversary ring is now being used as my wedding band.

8. My middle name is Michelle. And my sister's name is Michelle. And no, Michelle's middle name is NOT Tammy.

Well, since I think all the bloggy people I know have already been tagged, I guess I can't tag anyone. Unless you're randomly reading my blog - in which case, consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Honour Your Husband challenge - Update #2

Well, it's not Monday, but here's my update anyway - better late than never right?

#1 - Greeting Nathan at the door with a fairly clean house. Well, as long as "fairly" is in there, then I think I've done a good job at this one. :)

#2 - Praying for him - I've done better at this, but still have a ways to go. How come so many of us seem to be struggling with this one?

#3 - Complimenting him - check! But I don't think you can ever do this too much - so technically, still more to work on!

#4 - Being cheerful, in spite of being pregnant - I asked Nathan if he'd noticed if I'd been more cheerful this past week - and he had! So, I guess I've been doing a good job. This will however, need to be a daily priority in order to maintain. So, still gotta focus!

Hmmm, I think I should add another goal, seeing as I did that last week too.

#5 - Offering free massages - especially necessary working the hours he is now. Who doesn't appreciate a good backrub?!

I think the biggest thing I've "learned" or perhaps had reinforced since I do know it already, is that true love (insert romantic sigh here) is no fairy tale. It's thinking of the other person ahead of yourself. It's being selfless especially when you feel like being selfish. It's going the extra mile. It's looking for ways to express itself better all the time.

And that means going completely against the grain of what society is trying to sell us. And it's so easy to get sucked into this "me first" philosophy without even realizing it.

After all the Word says it best.

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
1st Corinthians 13 - The LOVE Chapter

A new goal perhaps? Strive to be able to insert our names instead of "love". What a world it would be!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Small Group Family Night





We joined a Small Group in our church just over a year ago and we've really been enjoying it. Yesterday we had a family night for the first time and it was awesome!!

There are 6 couples and it actually worked for all of us to be there. Each couple has exactly 3 children (though we're going to be spoiling that one!) and out of the 18 children a whopping 13 of them are girls! So, our girls had an absolute blast! And because there were a few older children in the group it was a blast for us as parents because it was almost like having free babysitters! :) And their backyard was awesome - complete with a pool, play structure and a huge hill the kids loved to run up and down. Maybe we should do this every Sunday!


Thursday, 12 July 2007

Child sponsorship

Child sponsorship and missionary sponsorship is something that I feel is so vitally important. Two organizations that I have the utmost respect for are Compassion and Gospel for Asia. Compassion is unashamedly a Christian organization and they promote a real relationship with your sponsored child. I think it's so important for our kids to realize how fortunate they/we are, and that with that blessing comes the responsibility to help others.

Our children love writing our sponsored child. They pray for him every single day and talk about him a lot. We have had the honor and privilege of receiving letters from him where he ends the letters signing "your son Jonathan" at the bottom. We have pictures he's drawn and he has artwork from our kids and pictures of us. We have had the joy of seeing the gifts he's received as a result of our investment in his life.

Some thoughts to ponder.....

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep you are richer than 75 percent of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace you are among the top 8 percent of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful you are blessed, because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them, or even touch them on the shoulder you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message you are more blessed than more than two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.


I highly suspect that everyone reading this meets the qualifications to be in the top 8% of the world's wealthy. We truly have soooo much. And with abundance comes responsibility to help those less fortunate, to share with those in need, to do something for the least of these.

And, quite frankly, I think we benefit from sponsorship even more if we have to sacrifice a bit ourselves in order to do so.

Gospel for Asia is another great organization. We sponsor 2 missionaries in India. With GFA, 100% of your donation goes directly to the missionary to support him/her first while they complete their training, and then while they are out on the mission field - a dangerous one at that. You can also purchase other items for any of their missionaries such as a bike, Bibles or even a church! I'd encourage you to request their free book - Revolution in World Missions - I've read it and it's an amazing read - I challenge you to read it too!

If you haven't yet, check out these organizations - it could change your life just as much (if not more) as those you are helping.

For interests sake - I added a poll to my blog today. Do you sponsor a child? (It doesn't have to be through Compassion).

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