Friday, 23 January 2015

If You Listen

Waiting in the car with children is a rare privilege. Forced to sit with the small people, who are strapped down and always a hair's breadth away from melt down, you really have to give it everything.

You sing songs.

E; "Can we please sing that song about Tinkerbells around God's throne?"

"Do I know that one?"

E: "Yes! Pastor Cowan was talking about it at church!"

You tell stories. Which of course, revolve around fairies and a prince. Every. Time.

"So once there was a sad girl who worked at Sobeys. One day, she was sorting cucumbers and she heard a voice...."

E: "She turned around and saw her prince. Eating grapes."

You talk about books.

"Isn't one of the witches good, and one of them bad or something?"

T: "Witches!"

"And what does Dorothy do to the bad one?"

T: "Witches!"

"Were they scary?"

T: "Yeah. Witches!"

And of course we eat candy.

T: "Lollipop."

And the way she says it is cute enough to carry us all the way home.


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

First Things First

Firsts are scary. And terrific. And one of my very favourite things.

First time riding a ferry at night. First time riding a ferry through ice.

First time listening to an old man play accordion to a flock of tired commuters.

First time for riding a city bus, which is a challenge at the best of times...

A first time for sitting on the back of a toboggan that's flying down an ice chute.

Also the first time I thought my life would end by bouncing off and drowning in the St. Lawrence.

First time standing in mist at below freezing temperatures. Oh - so below freezing.

First time smiling through teeth chatter.

First time for buying art off the street, while the seller surrounds me in a puff of cigarette smoke.

First time for getting so excited about a fireplace in a deserted courtyard.

First time hearing the New Year's Countdown in French. That apartment balcony looked like fun.

First time being chased out of the Citadel by a grumpy soldier, tired of tourists.

First time eating Maple Syrup creme brulee.

First time meeting a friend for several days, and then parting ways in a city neither of us know.

Firsts were done. Memories made.

xo ~Liv

Friday, 9 January 2015

One Year Down...

The best way to bring in the New Year is with the moments from last.

We opened the Good Times box when I got back from away; marveling at how many slips of paper fell out from the longest of hard years.

Yet there it all is, in black and white, the goodness of our Lord.

In March, Trinity is recorded to say, "meow." Now she tells us long stories.

Three different people wrote to mark the occasion of Dad bringing roses. This was clearly a high point.

We talked about little girls smiling while they danced and Landon writing the "Pappy book." Caiah reading, reading, reading "The Spooky Old Tree." A themed dinner party or two,

Someone thanked God for the power being out.  Another for it coming on. We each are at different stages.

And none of it's big, but none of it's small. How did we get here? One moment at a time, which is all God asks.

 Mom dumped the bits of paper and napkin into a bag to stuff away and there the box sits again, empty.

Every year we wonder what we could ever find to fill it...but God always gives us enough.

Happy 2015, Friends!


Monday, 5 January 2015

Once Upon a Time

Last snowed in Sunday, we accidentally became reminiscent  over old homemade newspapers, paper dolls and a cassette tape.

The first were a study in early computer experimentation, complete with cut and paste clip art.

The paper dolls were more artistically creative, as well as a frightening look at how many children a ten year old considers realistic to birth.

And then there was the unmarked tape, which contains all seven scenes of "The Coughing Closet Case," plus an epilogue.

Of course, it is amusing. Our squeaky, little girl voices raised in giggles. The story is also a little alarming. At one point our 'mother' urges us to go back to sleep. Even if there is a spy in the closet, "the door is locked and you will be safe until morning."

It's also a mini-study in sibling dynamic. I was given to introducing far fetched story elements, or verbal tangents that included what dresses our characters would wear to school tomorrow. Abi had final word on the plot twists which survived and developed. Millie on the other hand, once feebly tried to introduce a mysterious floor creak, and was promptly brushed off by the rest of us. "You probably squeaked it yourself."

But things change and we change, and in the end, the only fact the held true was the end. After a conclusion which involved making a charitable donation to the army; we finished with the most churched of all touches. A warbling, poorly harmonized version of the three fold amen.

It's totally not normal. And for some reason, it felt just right.

xo ~Liv

Sunday, 28 December 2014

I'm Not Afraid

When I was littler, most of life was a fear dot-to-dot. It didn't take much. I was afraid of thunder storms. Santa Claus. Martyrdom. Drowning. Something hiding under my bed...or worse, creeping up the stairs.

Some fears, I have found, you conquer slowly through determination. Santa Claus for example, although I might admit I still haven't quite got over it. 

Other times, I've just realized one day that the thing doesn't terrify me anymore. Thunderstorms used to have me immobilized in the middle of the living room, but then suddenly, I was standing on the porch loving them. Go figure.

Either way, one of the delights of my grown up life so far, has been enough awareness to identify  and overcome fears. Afraid of planes, I can choose to get a grip and walk down the aisle to buckle up. Still scared of drowning, I can decide to put on a bathing suit, walk into the lake and trust it to float me. 

Or, I can learn to walk out side after dark.

First time was a restless night when I just meant to walk the orchard then go in. But the stillness of winter had me, so I went to the top of the hill and touched the tree line. I only stopped once, holding my breath in panic because I thought the thumping of my heart was something galloping across the field behind me.

Second time was when Millie and I built a snowman on Christmas Eve, while Dad blasted music through the window. It started to rain, strangely warm and we ran away from the house's lights to lie in the snow. 

Then once Dad and I tried to walk off dinner by a trip up to the old bonfire site. Windy and crunchy and cold, but still quiet. 

And like every other time fear goes, it leaves a present behind; this time the sight of night sky unblocked by house or trees or hill. 

What surprised me wasn't the moon or stars, but the fact that when they are clouded over, they still glow. No matter what, the horizon's a muddy streak with something trying to shine from behind. The moon's a vague light, just a fuzzy spot in the darkness; but always, there is enough to see by.

Make of that what you will, but I see the pictures of those after dark excursions clearly in my head. No matter how dark, there is always a light to come home in. 

And in that, a reason and hope to overcome fear. 


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

This December

Listening: to the Beach Boys Christmas album.

Eating: gingerbread men that the children decorated yesterday. They look like something from a
Sci-Fi movie.

Thinking: about a mini-road trip this weekend.

Deserving: nothing, but in Christ, receiving the world.

Cheered: by twinkle lights and coming home after dark.

Wondering: When the clouds will roll away so we can see the sun. For real!

Inspired: by the people around me.

Thankful: for every single breath.

Merry Christmas, friends!


Monday, 17 November 2014

V is for...

In the quest for authenticity, we sometimes go to the low points. To share the glory of the Gospel, we magnify our struggle.

Yet there are days when we must only preach victory. Not so we feel falsely secure in self strength, but to remind ourselves we are secure, for real. 

It is the ultimate truth, the final word, and in our tunnel visioned life of failing then praying for grace, we don't see it. We hope for squeaking by, when really, can we say victory enough?

And in the end it would seem, victory looks much like the nitty-gritty. It goes as low and "him exalting, self abasing, this is victory."

This is victory.