Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Isaiah 43:3

"A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."

Isaiah 42:3

I am as thankful for this verse today as I was back in November when a dear friend shared it with me.

We were sitting together at Second Cup and all of my thoughts and fears about this surprise pregnancy and Ian's recent layoff were spilling out without really censoring myself, all the while knowing that she wasn't judging my heart. She understood it and I felt her love.

She told me that in the book of Isaiah it says that God will not break a bruised reed. I'd never heard that verse before, but it has brought me so much comfort.

I'm scared. I'm 40 years old and I'm pregnant. I wasn't in the best shape to begin with, but now I find myself so tired and so restricted. I have high blood pressure and I take medication to control it. So far, so good. I don't know how I will handle four children. I don't think I do that great of a job with the three I have now.

My husband continues to search for employment and has sent out hundreds of resumes. He has yet to hear back from anyone and that is so hard. His contacts are MIA and that frustrates me.

Yet, he doesn't give up. He continues to be positive while he searches, choosing to be joyful as he cares for the children and our home, lovingly takes care of me.

I pray constantly that God will provide a job for Ian. I pray that He will keep my husband strong and in good spirits. I pray that I stay clear of despair.

But I feel it close by.

I'm tired of people asking me how we're doing. I'm tired of smiling and saying everything is fine. I'm tired of feeling scared.

I know God has a plan for us. I do believe that. Bruised as we may be, I know that He won't break us.

I'm just tired and scared. And tired of being scared.

Tonight is one of the very, very few times I've allowed myself to let go and to just cry as I pray. Normally I just squish it down with prayer and positive thinking. I just can't tonight.

I'm sorry for being so low tonight. I just don't feel as though I can talk to anyone about this, and I needed a place to let it out.

Tomorrow is a new day.


Book Review: Promises To Keep

Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Illinois, to escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they are surprised to find the previous owner, Tillie Monroe, on their front porch reading the newspaper. Though her sons have sold the house and sent her to a facility for the aged, she is determined to die in the place she lived her life and somehow manages to find her way "home" day after day. Feeling sympathy for the elderly woman, Roz's mother allows Tillie to move back in.

Mara Nightingale becomes Roz's first friend in Mills River. In spite of their many differences, the girls discover they have something in common that binds them together--both are hiding secrets. So they make a promise--"cross my heart and hope to die"--never to tell anyone else.

When danger stalks the Anthonys, Tillie exhibits unimaginable courage and selfless love in her determination to protect the family she has adopted as her own.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

I found this book to be delightful from the get go with it's charming and realistic characters. Anne Tatlock is a new author for me, and I found her to be a wonderful storyteller.

Janis is a single mother, trying to start a new life with her children after escaping from an abusive marriage. Roz is an 11 year old girl unable to let go of missing her father. Tillie is an elderly woman who refuses to let go of the home she helped build with her husband.

I loved Tillie's spunk, Janis' strength, and Roz brought me back to my childhood.

A sweet, moving and powerful read told by the perspective of 11 year old Roz, I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good book to curl up with and lose yourself in.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Book Review: Larkspur Cove

Moses Lake was a constant place, on the surface. But you can't always tell by looking, what might be brewing underneath...

After surviving the worst year of her life, Andrea Henderson moves home to sleepy little Moses Lake, Texas, to recover her shattered faith and build a new life for herself and her son.

Game Warden Mart McClendon finds himself in Moses Lake for a different reason: to forget a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself.

But when a mysterious little girl is suddenly seen with the town recluse, these two unlikely allies are drawn together in a search for her identity. As wounded pasts collide, will their quest bring the redemption and hope they need--or consequences neither of them expected?

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

I found this book very difficult to get into. The first several chapters were very slow and I kept losing interest with all the plot and character set up that took place.

While I usually don't mind chapters being told by different character perspectives, I didn't enjoy the back and forth storytelling between the two main characters.

What I did like, however, was the way Andrea's profession was portrayed. We tend to think of those in Social Services as being hard and cold, but Andrea was caring and gentle. It was nice to see her portrayed that way.

I found this book hard to get through and it didn't hold my interest. It's not a book I would recommend.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Book Review: If God, Why Evil?

Where Did Evil Come From? And Why Doesn't God Do Something About It?

The problem of evil is perhaps the most difficult question the Christian must face. If God is good and all-powerful, why is there suffering in the world? Can't God put an end to murder, rape, and starvation? What about earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis? Why couldn't a perfect God have made a perfect world?

In this concise but thorough book, Dr. Norman Geisler carefully answers these tough questions, using step-by-step explanations and compelling examples. He walks the reader through time-tested answers but also provides a new approach revolving around whether or not this world is the "best of all possible worlds." All this adds up to comforting news for believers: we can rest assured that God is both loving and all-powerful.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

I wish I had a dollar for every time a non-believing friend has asked me a variation of "If there truly is a God, why does He allow all these bad things to happen? Why are there starving children in the world?" And so on.

My standard answer is always, "I don't think we'll ever understand this side of Heaven."

While true, it's lacking. So when I had the opportunity to review this book I jumped at the chance. I thought that I'd be well armed with truthful and helpful responses.

I hate to say this, but I was disappointed in this book. It's certainly well written, however it's very intellectual and at times I found my mind wandering to other things and had to really force myself to concentrate on the subject matter.

I was hoping this book would have clear and simple answers to the question If God, Why Evil? It's not a book I could recommend to a non-believing friend, and that's really what I was hoping to get out of this book ~ the opportunity to pass it on to someone who could use it.

However, if you are a believer then you might very well enjoy the depth and theology in this book. It just wasn't for me.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Can't Think Of A Title

Today is Family Day here in Ontario and I've certainly been enjoying this long weekend. I love being at home with my family.

Saturday afternoon Jordan and I napped together. She waited for me to get all fixed with my pillows and then just melted against me and fell asleep. I think I fell even more in love with her. We slept like that for three hours! Everyone needs a 2 (almost 3!) year old!

I had my follow up ultrasound last Wednesday. I was so excited to see Little Dude one last time before his birthday. It was my luck that I got the Wicked Witch of the West as my technician who wouldn't tell me anything. I asked if she could confirm the gender and was told "I don't think Ivanna would have written it down if she wasn't completely sure" in this really snotty tone. I asked if she could bring Ian in at the end to see him and she said "Uhh... did he not come with you two weeks ago?" RAWR! She even gave me a hard time when I asked for a picture. "Nothing much has changed from two weeks ago, so you don't need one." At this point I told her that I did want it, and would be paying for it just as I did last time. She never took one, saying she couldn't get a good view.

I was so cross and disappointed I just wanted to cry. Or punch her. I did neither.

My dear friend at my temp placement quit her job on Wednesday. While I knew she wasn't happy there, I had no idea she was that close to leaving. She is going to a much better position so I'm happy for her, but I sure will miss her tomorrow. She is a Christian as well, and we've enjoyed several deep discussions and often pray for one another.

Her departure opened up a position for me to stay longer. Apparently the VP of Finance wanted to hire me on full-time which would require "buying" me from the agency, which would cost several thousand dollars. They aren't going to do that since I am pregnant, but he did ask if I would stay on until my mat leave. I felt very flattered and very grateful. I trained with my friend on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and I'm on my own tomorrow.

I've been a very boring blogger lately. I don't have a lot of energy or creativity to share these days. Maybe it's just life preparing me for the business of four children. I'm also struggling with a lot of different emotions of late but trying to figure out what is real and what is just made worse by hormones, and trying to pray through it all. I don't like being a downer or negative on my blog, and so I prefer to just wait until I have something of interest to share.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Mental Holiday

It's getting close to my I Hate Winter Mental Breakdown Day and I thought I'd re-post my mental holiday from last winter.

Want to come along? Everyone's invited!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

It's that day today.

You know....that day. When it really and truly feels as though winter will go on forever and ever amen.

I hate winter. It affects my mood and I keep the blinds open all day long so I can get as much sunshine as possible and that helps a bit. But last night we got a lot of snow and looking at it just made me cry and I didn't want to get out of bed this morning.

So, rather than wallow in these lousy feelings, wanna know what we're going to do today?

We're going to take a mental vacation!

Better pack a bag!

We're leavin'...on a jet plane...don't know when we'll be back again...

Hope you don't mind, but I'm a window-seat kinda gal...

Hope someone is holding my hand...I hate to fly!

We're here!

Let's unpack later! All we need are our beach bags...

..and the beach!

Oh and one or two of these bad boys...

Oh yes. Feeling better already.

Maybe a bit of this...

Some of that...

One of these...

...and I'm good to go home :-)


Sometimes a mental break is all we need.

Have a great day everyone.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Not Too Exciting Update

Life is pretty quiet these days and I don't have much to report. I go to work, come home to eat dinner, and go to bed by 9pm each night. Ian takes care of everything else. What a saint that man is.

Little Dude has been getting more and more active every day. The reassurance is nice and I'm noticing that he is more active at certain times of the day, and I find myself looking forward to those times. I can't believe I'm already 21 weeks.

Jordan is chatting up a storm lately, and her words and expressions are becoming clearer and clearer. She now says 'thank you' and 'no thank you'. I love it. She greets me at the front door every night with a "HI MOMMY!" and carries my lunch bag to the kitchen. So sweet.

Julie's report card was fantastic and all the areas that she has been working hard on came back with great reports. Her French teacher says she's one of his best students! She's thriving this year, and I think it's because she's really connected with her teacher. He seems pretty great.

Sam has been having difficulty with a kid at school. Remember this post? Well that kid has been bothering Sam again, as well as another boy in his class. We've spoken to his teacher, to the vice-principal (again) and the principal and made it clear that they are to deal with this problem and put an end to it. He's now on a 2 week in school suspension. We'll see what happens when he's back in the classroom.

I'm done with Winter. I really, truly am. I can't take any more snow, any more cold... I just am so done with it. I'm ready for sunshine and green grass, flip flops and capris... come on Spring!

That's about all I have to talk about today... not terribly exciting, but comfortingly normal. Praise God for that.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

It's A Boy!

Today has been thrilling.

Our ultrasound was scheduled for 3:15 and the closer it came, the more nervous I felt. And excited! Oh sweet mercy, was I excited.

The ultrasound technicians aren't allowed to reveal the gender but I held out hope that if I was sweet enough, mine would talk.

I was right ;-)

She hadn't been looking for long before she sat back, spun the screen so I could see and laughed.

"Look at that!" she said.

I have never been very good at reading an ultrasound before. I need everything pointed out to me.

Not this time.

Imagine a little one, bent at the waist, legs apart showing off their parts.

Well, that was our son.

We didn't go into this hoping for one gender over the other. We knew we'd be happy with whatever God had for us.

Everything seemed to be ok, although the technician couldn't really go into details. I have to go back in two weeks because she couldn't see his heart clearly or his nose or lips.

He was flipping all over the place, hiding his face. But.... here is the best picture she could give me today.

Hopefully I'll have a nice profile pic to share with you in the next couple of weeks.

She called Ian and the children in to see him, and I was amazed at how clearly Sam could see things on the screen. He identified elbows from knees, arms from legs. At one point it looked like the baby was waving at us. :-)

The funniest part? His mouth got moving and I said, "Oh look at that mouth moving, he's definitely one of us!"

As soon as we left, the children wanted to know if I knew what the gender was. I teased them with "maybe I know... and maybe I don't...but maybe I do...unless I don't..."

They both wanted a brother so badly. Sam has been telling us that if he gets one more sister he's going to start listing them on ebay!

My heart is so full tonight.