Friday, 29 June 2007

Event#3 - my confusing family tree

Getting back to "events" that changed my life - a pretty big and obvious one would be the somewhat confusing story of my family tree. Most of you probably know this already but, here goes....

I was born in April 1977 to Glen & Helen. Girl #2 arrived in January '79 in the form of my sister Andrea. On Thanksgiving weekend, 1979 when I was 2 1/2 and Andrea only 9 months old, our dad died of a sudden heart attack - he was only 27. They didn't know that he had a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a genetic disease (usually early onset) which thickens the heart muscle. This disease does not skip generations and children have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene from their parent. They can now test specifically for this gene mutation, and by the grace of God, miraculously neither Andrea nor I have this gene - which also means none of our children can inherit it from us - praise God! However, at the time, this simple blood test was not available - so Andrea and I had to go in every 4 years for tests, which I'm sure was very stressful on our parents. Parents, you say? Ah yes, on to the rest of the story.

Another family: Peter & Helene had two children, Dallas and Michelle. Dallas and his mom Helene were both killed in a car accident. Peter had minor injuries and Michelle, only a baby at the time, was uninjured.

These 2 families were joined together in mutual grief and love when Peter (Michelle's dad) and Helen (my mom) were married in 1980. Michelle's birthday was October 77 - so there were now 3 girls in this family less than 2 yrs apart - apparently quite the fights ensued as we all got to know each other. Two years later the new couple gave birth to a boy - Jamie.

So, technically I have a mom, a step-dad, a sister, a step-sister and a half-brother. I think that just about covers all titles! I say technically because not once have I ever thought of my dad, sister or brother as step or half anything. This all happened at a young age so it was "normal" to us right from the start. And regardless, our love of God and each other bonded us into a "real" family.

Another miracle to the story: a couple years ago my dad was diagnosed with the same disease my first dad had. Unbelievable isn't it? Which meant that now Michelle and Jamie also had a 50/50 chance of inheriting the disease. And again, by the grace of God, neither of them have it either! And my dad's disease is not really progressing at this point, so he is doing well, praise God!

So, what are some ways I've been affected by these life-changing events? Here are some of them....

I am saddened that I have no memories of my 1st Dad. This bothered me even more when I became a parent and when my oldest was 2 1/2 I looked at her and realized that should I have died then, she would not remember me - regardless of how much I had loved her and cared for her and done for her these 1st years of her life. And that was hard to process. And so, it bothers me that I cannot remember my Dad doing those things for me. But I do have pictures, and they are wonderful.

But I am so thankful for my dad now. So thankful that I was able to grow up with such an excellent father figure. Thankful that he showed me, even subconsciously, how my future husband should treat me - with love, respect, honor, gentleness and more.

Due to the losses in our family, I also had to deal with an overwhelming and irrational fear that Nathan would also be taken from me at a young age. Most people do not really worry about losing their spouse early on - at least not as a fear issue. However, because it had happened to my family, I knew it was a possibility. And that really scared me. It took awhile for me to be able to release my husband and children into God's hand, with the knowledge that He was in control. This was, of course, no guarantee of old age death or protection from all harm - but it is a guarantee that nothing will happen outside His plan, and that no matter what, He will be there to see me through it. After dealing with this, I still struggled with it off and on, but not to the same degree. The one other time it bothered me more significantly was when our oldest 2 daughters were 2 1/2 and 6 months old, we had been married 5 yrs and were 26 & 27 yrs old - pretty much the exact same scenario as my family when my died dad. I was relieved when that year passed without incident! Though with God's help it was actually an easier year than I expected it to be.

Another thing I only realized after becoming a parent, was that my dad not only lost his wife, but his son as well. Now of course I had always known this, but I really only realized the impact of that when I became a mom. Just the thought of losing one of my precious children is almost more than I can bear. And I wept for my dad when I truly realized what he'd lost. Both of my parents have endured unimaginable pain and suffering and yet their faith in God did not waver and is, in all likelihood, stronger because of it.

I was also overjoyed to hear in recent years about the good that came out of my dad's death. We know the verse in Romans that God will work good out of every situation, but often we can't see that on this side of heaven. Like an upside down tapestry, we often just see all the tied off threads, the messy side of a piece of art that makes no sense until the other side is revealed. But this time I got to see the good - at least some of it. One of my aunts told me that many of my dad's cousins and friends became Christians as the result of his death. And that is a very good work! Numerous spiritual lives were saved when my dad lost his physical one to receive his eternal reward - and I know he was/is rejoicing in heaven with the angels for each and every one of those souls that have been redeemed! I am so thankful to God for allowing me a sneak peak at the beautiful side of the tapestry.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

We were at the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill concert the other day! Believe it or not, it's the first concert I've ever been at. I forgot to take my camera, but I took my phone so here's a pic from there - it's pretty bad I know! And yes, we were in the nosebleeds - 2nd row from the top!
It was a beautiful concert. The special effects were amazing. The stage was set up like this.
And it was LONG! After a 1/2 hr opening act, Tim and Faith were on stage for 3 hrs altogether! They sang together first, then Faith Hill by herself for about an hour, then together, then Tim McGraw for an hour, then together again. In the middle of Faith Hill's set she got really emotional from all the applause, stopped and gave glory to God and then she sang "It is Well With My Soul" acapella. It was beautiful.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Honor Your Husband Challenge

I have signed up to be part of a 30 Day Honor Your Husband Challenge. With 3 children and a 4th on the way - it's all too easy for the husband to get shifted to the back burner.

My goals for this week are
  • greet him at the door when he comes homes, instead of yelling "hi" from wherever I may be at the moment (unless I'm in the middle of a diaper change :)
  • pray for him daily, throughout the day
  • compliment him - speaking well of him both in public and in private (this is something I have always strived to do, but it's always a good thing to focus on)
Focusing on Nathan's good qualities is really not that hard because there are so many of them. So, here is some public praise.....

10 Things I love about Nathan
  • his sense of humour, even when it's at my expense :)
  • his commitment and priority to me and our girls
  • his desire to make our lives easier
  • the fact that he makes scrambled eggs for breakfast virtually every Sunday morning!
  • his desire to spend time with our girls, just him and them. He'll take them shopping, etc and give me a break!
  • his work ethic - he works so hard to make sure that I can be a SAHM
  • his spiritual leadership, especially with the girls - reading them bible stories and praying with them before bed every night
  • his ability to make me feel cherished and beautiful
  • his ability to communicate, a rarity among men! :)
  • the way he fathers our daughters - he plays with them, takes time to talk with them, truly enjoys being with them
The list could definitely go on!

So, if anyone else wants to join in on the challenge - feel free!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Official Announcement

Now that all immediate family members have been told, I can officially announce that we are expecting our 4th child in January! (The 20th or later quite likely) For some reason, we're kinda expecting a girl. :) I know it's a little on the early side to be telling people - however, if you've seen me lately, you know that it's now impossible to hide the fact anyhow! I've already got a baby bump going on.

And the exciting thing is I get to be pregnant with my sister Michelle again (she's expecting her 2nd in November) and my SIL Linsay is pregnant for the first time which is totally exciting! She is due January 1st - and let's just say she's not showing at all yet and I look like I'm a month or 2 ahead of her instead of 3 weeks behind. Oh well, it's my 4th right?!

Unfortunately I've been less than successful in my attempts to convince my other sister Andrea to have another child - so I guess I won't be able to be pregnant with both of my sisters again, (2 yrs ago all 3 of us were pregnant at the same time). Come on Andrea, don't you want to be able to do this pose over again?!

With having had 2 miscarriages, one as recently as this past February, I was quite nervous at first. But I had some tests that indicated everything was well - and I'm sick - isn't that great!?! (I've never gotten sick during the pregnancies I miscarried) And I'm super tired. So, all is well in babyland! Please pray that our baby will be born healthy. And that I can squeeze in my daily nap to survive each day. :)

Friday, 15 June 2007


Another event that changed my life was deciding to link my life forever with my beloved husband.

I'm sure some of you are thinking - yes, Tammy, you have a tremendous grasp of the obvious. Obviously marriage would be a fairly life changing event.

But, it didn't just change me regarding marriage/relationships, etc. My relationship with Nathan has changed me as a person. I am not the same person now that I was BN (before Nathan).

BN I was a much more timid person. Outgoing yes. But decisive ... not so much.

BN I was more of a people pleaser. Now, there are good sides to being a people pleaser of course! But I was more on the bad side of being a people pleaser - it was at the expense of being true to myself (OK, that sounded much more new-agey than it was supposed to). I was turning into a keep-the-peace-at-any-cost type of person. And frankly, peace at any cost is often too high a price to pay.

Confrontation can be a good thing. Does this mean I like confrontation now? NO WAY! I still don't like it. It makes me absolutely nervous. But is it sometimes necessary? Yes, I believe it is. Nathan has encouraged me to be a stronger person. He has encouraged me to realize that just because my opinion is different than someone else's (even his - gasp!), doesn't mean it's wrong, and it doesn't mean I have to change it to agree with the other person. Quite frankly, if everyone agreed on everything the world would be such a boring place! Being a "yes-man" (or woman in my case!) doesn't help anyone. Yes it can be flattering to people's egos, but it doesn't stretch anyone, it doesn't challenge anyone and it certainly doesn't change anyone. Not that it's my job to change anyone - but I believe that we are to challenge each other - especially as fellow Christians. Saying nothing, to keep the peace, can be the right thing to do, and it can also be the wrong thing to do. The key is knowing where that line is. Often it's much more convenient for us to place the line on the keeping the peace side of the fence. But I think more often than not, the line is on the other side, which means confrontation is inevitable.

And of course, confrontation must be done in love - which is very difficult to do without the other party becoming defensive. However, we are not accountable for their reactions. We are accountable for our actions and inactions!

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

needs to be balanced with....

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

Luke 6:42 How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

needs to be balanced with
Matthew 18:15 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

Nathan also has this wonderful habit of complimenting me on my looks (and other things too of course). After the thick goggle glasses, and brace-face smiles of the past, this was/is music to my ears. Now, I'm not thinking I'm model material or anything. But I know that I am beautiful to Nathan and to the One who created me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made!

I know our marriage has changed me in other ways too, but this is starting to get long, so we'll leave it at that!

I am blessed to be Nathan's wife and I pray that our love continues to grow and mature, and that we continue to change each other for the better, as we celebrate the adventure of life God has given us ..... together .... as one.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Events that have changed my life

I think it's amazing how God uses different events and/or people to change or shape our lives, pruning us into different and better individuals for His glory.

So, what are some things that have changed my life? I can think of a few, and in order for this not to take too long, maybe I'll only talk about one per blog!

So, I'm going to start with my Teen Missions trip. And I'll give you the short version. Nathan was lucky enough to get the long version on our first date, but that's a whole other story.

Wow! What an experience. I went on Teen Missions the summer between Grade 11 and Grade 12, 1994. (For those who are mathematically challenged, yes that makes me 30 now - gasp!) I read about it in Brio magazine. And, being the sun-lovin' gal that I am, I picked going to The Bahamas! Turns out it wasn't all fun in the sun.

In total I was gone for 8 weeks. The first 2 weeks were were an intensive Boot Camp training in the swamplands of Florida - let's just say we shared living space with wild hogs, water snakes and were on the constant look out for crocs - need I go on?). Then we were off to the Bahamas for 5 weeks, and then back to Florida for 1 week debriefing.

Boot Camp was horrid.

Yup, let me tell you, I wanted to turn around and go home. (In fact - this was an option at the end of the 2 weeks during a highly emotional candlelighting service.) I was dehydrated, I was sick, I was exhausted, I was in culture shock (no electricity, no toilets, no showers - what was I thinking?!). And I didn't exactly have the greatest attitude. But during mandatory devotions one day God got through to my thick skull. This trip was for HIM, not me. This was for His glory. I was not able to do this on my own. This was a big shocker to me - I've always been somewhat prideful of my ability to be independent, to be determined and to succeed. But this... this was beyond me. I had to totally rely on God for the first time in my life!

Plus, this was expensive, people had sponsored me, and my parents wouldn't be impressed if I quit and came home :)

In all seriousness though, my attitude did a 180 and things drastically improved after that.

Oh, and the Bahamas, as I'm sure most of you are aware, is a third world country outside of the resorts. The poverty is incredible.

Our team was a work team, and our job was to build a brick cabin for a Christian youth camp there. I think we had to mix cement by hand almost every day in that heat!

And tenting got old in a hurry, let me tell you! For some reason, I am not a huge fan of camping anymore. (Anymore?! Who am I kidding? I've never been a fan of camping - this just confirmed it). Scrubbing my own laundry by hand, digging our own outhouse, dumping a bucket of water over my head for a shower - nope, not fun in the sun. But great for character development!

And the culture shock coming home was even greater than it was going down there. Everything back home seemed so loud, so fast - and so materialistic. I felt guilt and yet, some sense of superiority for being above those who were so superficial - amazing how quickly sin can creep in! So, those issues needed dealing with as well.

But, yes - God took those 8 weeks and transformed me. Yes, I still like to be independent - but I started to (and continue to need to) rely on God instead of myself. No, things aren't all about me. Actually - that's another deep thought for a different post.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Joining the Blogging world

I may regret this, but I am joining the blogging world. I say regret, because I'm not sure how much I'm actually going to post on here. I've tried "real life" diaries before and that never lasts long. I'm notorious for starting projects and not finishing them - like my scrapbooking, some knitting and crocheting projects, but especially my scrapbooking. Let me put it this way - I'm caught up all the way to Emma's 1st birthday....and she's my oldest....and she's 6 already. I know, pathetic isn't it?

Course the other possible side effect is that this is going to completely sidetrack me from other stuff that I should be doing. The computer already has that effect on me (as though I have no control!).

But, either way, I have taken the plunge and we shall see how long it lasts!


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