Friday, January 24, 2020

Typical Homeschool Day

I was recently asked to share at our homeschool co-op (CHAMP) about what a "typical" homeschool day looks like in our house. As any homeschooler knows there is no such thing as a "typical" homeschool day. I knew there was more I needed to share and so as I often do I asked God to give me the words He wanted me to speak. What follows is what I shared with the moms in attendance yesterday.

I am dedicating this post to my Mom. My example and inspiration.

I am a bit of an anomaly in many homeschool circles as I am an older Mom of one young child. That was not by my plan or my choosing but I can now see and have recently accepted that it is God’s beautiful design for our family. My daughter Emma has been coming to CHAMP for 3 years now, starting in the preschool class and now doing her second year in Level 1. She is 7.5 and in grade 3 but I chose to leave her in Level 1 this year so that she is with her friends. So technically I am in my 3rd year of homeschooling although I believe homeschooling begins to take place the moment your child comes home as a newborn.

When I was asked if I would share it actually made me stop and think more about our typical days than I ever really have. To think about why I do things the way I do. A little background on myself. I am a homeschool graduate. I attended public school for kindergarten but the next year my parents pulled my older brother and me from school. For the next couple of years we did various things like attended a private school for a very short time and did basically homeschool co-ops that were more like Christian schools but everyone was still homeschoolers. The summer I turned 10 we moved to a very small coal mining town and were on our own. Now you have to know that I was homeschooled in the 80s. A time when it was virtually unheard of and when we moved to this new town my Mom was truly on her own. No co-ops. No fellow homeschoolers. Really, no support. By this time my younger brother had joined us in being homeschooled as well. My Mom ran a tight ship. In many ways I think it was because there was so much scrutiny in the town we moved to that she wanted to be above reproach if anyone should ever question what we were doing. The requirement of being registered had not yet come into play and my younger brother graduated shortly before it became mandatory. That also meant no funding of any sort. Our typical days looked like this…We ate breakfast, got changed, made our beds etc. and were ready for school around 8:45 when we would meet for devotions and get going with our day. We knew that if we finished all of our school in the morning we would then have the rest of the day free to play or read or whatever we wanted to do. Because of this my brothers and I learned self-discipline and a strong work ethic that people throughout the years have noticed and commented on so often and which has carried my brothers far in their careers. I have always only wanted to be a wife and Mom and I always knew I would homeschool. It took a little longer to convince my husband who had never even really heard of homeschooling before he met me but he is fully on board and supportive of it now.

Our typical homeschool day is similar to what I grew up with. I learned early on the importance of working hard to get something done so that you can have time for other things and want to install that in Emma. We usually start school around 9:00am. We start with our Bible journaling, then do our devotions, then pray that God would be with us as we learn and focus. This is something we have always done but the rest of the day has changed and morphed over the years. I decided this past summer that we will be doing school year round. Emma is a very intelligent girl whose brain needs to be fed on an almost daily basis (which makes summer with no school incredibly long for this Momma) but along with that intelligence comes intensities or overexcitabilities and those have made it harder for me to figure out what to do and how to do it. I’m not going to expand on that right now as it could take up so much time but just know that it has been and is a big learning curve for me and there have been so many days of both of us being in tears and me feeling like I just can’t do it because I don’t understand my daughter and wondering why God figured I could do this when He blessed me with her. I remember one day that was one of the worst we had and Emma saying to me that she felt like we were the squares on a quilt and as mother and daughter we were the squares right next to each other but that as student and teacher we were the squares farthest away from each other. That really made me pause and reevaluate so many things. Homeschooling isn't supposed to drive you apart or harm your relationship but rather draw you closer together and bind your hearts to one another. Finally, very recently, we seem to have settled into something that works for us, although I am fully aware that it could change next week. 

On Sunday afternoon I sit down with Emma’s schoolwork and I write down what needs to get finished every day. We typically do school 4 days a week so I break it all down. On the days we do school, after we finish our devotions and praying, she then goes through the list of what needs to be accomplished for the day and numbers each subject according to the order she wants to do them. It changes every day. Giving her that little bit of ownership has made such a difference for us. She feels a little more organized and like she knows what to expect but also like she has a choice in it all and I am happy because she is getting done what needs to be done. We do math, language arts, handwriting, Bible and usually computer every day. Then we do history, science, geography and art one day a week each. In there we also schedule a break that really is just Emma sitting down with her reader and a snack and is only about 10 minutes long but she feels refreshed and ready to go again. This might sound like a lot to do every day but in reality from beginning to end it is pretty much never more than 2-2.5 hours. After that she has the rest of the day free. Except for things that have to get done like piano practice. In her free time she loves to create. I found one of those huge Costco dollhouses with all of the furniture second hand for an amazing price and that was her Christmas present this year. Using old kleenex boxes and tea boxes and paper and tape she has created more furniture and appliances for it. She has started sewing on her own and I love the things she designs and creates. Does she still need to learn technic and such? Yes. But I don't want to squelch her creativity by all of a sudden telling her it has to be done a certain way. She loves to create. It feeds her soul and makes her heart happy. Most of the time when she is creating she is singing softly to herself and I so love to hear that because I know it is bringing her joy. School is a priority for us and it always will be but it is also so important that she have the room and opportunity to be who she is and to do what she loves. It is my dream to one day have a bigger house that has a room that can be her creating room where she can just go and lose herself in doing what her passion is.

As far as actual curriculum and schoolwork itself we are doing a hodge podge of things right now. I am a very linear learner. I like things to be neat and orderly and I have always loved workbooks and lists etc. Language Arts was my strong suit. I could do math and science but they were not my strength. God in His sense of humour gave me a little girl who is my opposite in almost every way when it comes to academics. The only things we really seem to have in common are our stubbornness and strong wills so you can imagine how things turn out sometimes. Although we do both love books and nature. Our first year of doing curriculum was awful. We butted heads more often than not it seemed and school just didn't bring either of us joy. There were meltdowns and arguments and tears and apologizing and hugging and just affirming that we love each other no matter what. The next year when we registered and our facilitator came to see us I told her what we had been using (by the way, it was a curriculum that I would have loved as a child). I appreciate our facilitator so much. She is a lovely Christian lady who taught elementary school for years and then homeschooled her own children who are now grown. She looked at me and said “It isn't you. It isn't her. It’s the curriculum.” What a weight lifted off of me. To go from beating myself up because our days were so hard to realizing I just needed to change things was so freeing. So that year we changed things up and it helped so much. All of this time I was finally starting to learn how Emma learns, how her brain works, what might work for her and not work for her. She is not a linear learner at all. She is kind of all over the place. She has her math that she is working through plus she does supplemental worksheets of just addition, subtraction and most recently multiplication and she loves it but I remember one day last year she had to write a short poem about a kite flying in the sky. This girl of mine who has the most vivid and active imagination I have ever encountered could not think of one single solitary word for the poem. She was getting frustrated because she couldn't think of anything, I was getting frustrated because I didn't understand why she couldn't think of anything. So I finally sent her upstairs with her doll and told her to pretend that they were flying a kite. So she did. The next thing I knew she was yelling down all these words that had to do with flying a kite while I jotted them down for her and then she came back down and wrote a fun poem about it. I have learned that it isn't just that Language Arts isn't her strong subject but that it is a struggle for her and so we have started doing more things orally. If there is anything that Emma likes more than creating it is talking! Even doing it orally she still struggles a bit and she told me one day that when she has to write a paper on something or even write a sentence that the words are in the front of her brain when she is thinking about it but then when she goes to write it all down the words move to the back of her brain and can’t get out and that she can’t think of just the perfect word to start. While it sounds kind of silly to hear her explain it I always take things like that very seriously because it is a window into how her brain works and I take it into consideration for the next time.

I love homeschooling. I love the freedom it brings. I love that I can teach my daughter in the way that she needs to be taught. I love that because she is at home with me she is not being labeled like I know she would be in school because of her intensities and struggles. I love that if either one of us has a day where we just can’t do it we don't have to. We can snuggle on the couch and eat popcorn and watch a movie knowing that school will still be there tomorrow. I love that homeschooling isn't an event that happens but that rather it is a way of life every day. A constant learning and changing and growing and often that happens more in us as the parents and teachers than it does in our kids! I love that even though there may be hard days and arguments and tears those times can end in hugs and love and prayer and a deeper love for and understanding of each other. Yes, school is a priority for us but even more important to me is learning the heart of my child, tending and nurturing that heart which some days means the books don't open up or some days means school comes to a halt as we deal with matters of the heart. As a homeschool graduate I can tell you that one of the biggest blessings in being homeschooled wasn't the education I received (although that was fantastic) but rather the times spent working through life problems, praying together and just doing life together.

I know I have probably shared more than maybe I needed to but when asked about what our typical day is I can’t just break it down into steps or hours because to us it is just life. It is a constant intentionality on my part to not just teach Emma but to learn how to better teach her in the way that her brain and her heart need. 

I want to leave you with a few things before I close. I am by nature and gifting an exhorter and so I can’t close without sharing these things that God is nudging me to share.

Many of you probably have or will encounter opposition to homeschooling your children, my parents did, but keep doing what your heart is telling you to do. Do what you know is right for your children and know that as people observe you through the years they are going to see that you got it right and that your children are flourishing because of it.

Then there is this…My Mom once gave this bit of advice to a fellow homeschool Mom and it later came back to me through that same lady. The advice was this “Remember, you are not teaching the subject…you are teaching the child.” How true that is! When this journey we are all on comes to an end the most important thing will not be did we teach them how to do algebra or diagram a sentence but it will be did we nurture their hearts? We all have days when we wonder why God thought we could do this, why He thought we could mother these kids or homeschool them. For me as an adoptive Momma it is something I have struggled with because I know God intentionally placed Emma with for me a reason and I so often feel inadequate for the task. I recently read this quote that had me in tears and that confirmed what God has been whispering in my heart for so long…

”Don't give undue credence to the opinions you're continually faced with. Don't let anyone or anything shake your peace. Most of all, don't doubt the woman you are or the children you've been given. God knows what he's doing, and you're the best mom for the job.”

Finally, we have this verse hanging on the wall of our living room.

May the children that God has blessed us with be filled foremost with the wisdom that is from above when it comes time for them to face the world on their own and may we have that same wisdom in our hearts so that we can teach and nurture that understanding and knowledge in their hearts and lives. When the time comes for them to leave the nest may they take those nuggets of rare and beautiful treasures with them. If that is what we do I can assure you that they will feel the same way I do about having been homeschooled. So very thankful. So very blessed.

Monday, January 13, 2020

But It's Good For You!

Lemon water first thing in the morning. Or apple cider vinegar.
Hemp hearts. Magnesium. Kelp. Spinach. B12. Ashwagandha and other adaptogens.

Recognize this list? They are all things that are touted as being good for you and it is impressed upon us time and again that we must be doing them. As if every body is the same and so each person should be doing the same thing. Now, I am not saying that they aren't good or that they don't work because for some people they are amazing and have many health benefits. For me personally though all of those things I listed I have tried and have had a bad experience with. And I don't mean just a typical 'detox' or 'cleanse'. All of those things affect me negatively in some way. Whether it is my digestion or heart palpitations or feeling as if my body is being poisoned because I just get so sick. It frustrated me for years. I couldn't understand why all of these healthy things were making me sick.

Then I did the 23andMe test. I was curious about my heritage of course even though I was quite certain as to what it would come back as and none of it was a surprise. Lots of Irish, British, Scandinavian and some Metis. What I was most curious about was my genetics. So I took the raw data from the results of the test and plugged it into some websites that read it and gave me a reading of my genes and any variations I may have. That was when I discovered why some of these things don't work for me. For instance, one of my genetic variances is an MTHFR gene which in a nutshell means that my liver does not detox properly. What does that mean? Well, all of the toxins our bodies accumulate over time are detoxed and gotten rid of through our liver. The genetic variance I have means that my liver really struggles to do that. So look at those first two things I listed. The lemon water and apple cider vinegar. They are meant to detox our bodies. What happens when I take them? My liver gets overtaxed and all of the toxins it is trying to eliminate basically get backed up and make me really sick. So now I know why I can't do those things! I love answers!

I haven't figured everything else out on my list yet. I do know that my digestive acid is too low which is why I think spinach and kelp (and really all leafy greens) do a number on my stomach. They are not easy to digest in the first place so when your stomach acid is low it just makes it that much harder.

The B12 is a tricky one. I do know why I can't take it but it is hard to explain so I am not even going to try. It all has to do with my body methylating and the struggles it has with that which goes back to the MTHFR. I need to get it somehow because I am deficient in it and so I have been trying different things. The ashwagandha and other adaptogens I also don't quite get except that my body is super sensitive and so I have to be careful. The magnesium is a mystery to everyone. I have been to so many different naturopaths over the years and no one has been able to figure out why I can't take magnesium without getting sick. One blood test I had did show that my magnesium was at a normal level which was surprising because almost every health article I have ever read on magnesium says that "everyone" is deficient in magnesium. Apparently not. Maybe because my magnesium showed as normal on the good test I was just getting too much when I did take it. Also, neither of my parents can take magnesium so obviously there is something there.

On the flip side the one thing I have to take more of than most people is vitamin D. Everyone (including health practitioners) is surprised when I tell them how much I have to take to feel well. Again, the genetic results...I have a variance that means my body is not able to produce vitamin D the way it is supposed so I have to take large amounts of it year round and especially in the winter. I have had two different health practitioners confirm that after reading through my results and been told to keep taking large doses. I definitely feel better when I do. If I don't keep up with it in the winter I definitely deal with SAD in a major way.

Why do I share all of this with you? Well, perhaps you have tried these or other supposedly "must dos" when it comes to your health only to become discouraged because your body reacts negatively. Or perhaps you have started to figure things out but don't know where to turn now. Or maybe you have been wondering if doing a genetic test would be beneficial. Really, I just want to encourage you to listen to your body. To take the time to pay attention to what the things you are putting into your body are doing to you. To how you feel when you take them. Whether good or bad. To not do these things just because they are the latest fad or finding but to do what is right for you. I have learned the hard way to really pay attention and to do what I need to do or not do in order to feel well.

I'm not going to tell you what to do or take or even what my personal regime is. I am in no way shape or form a health practitioner and so it isn't my place to do so.  I will tell you that I deal with adrenal fatigue, hypothyroid, Hashimotos (although my antibodies are really low so it certainly isn't fullblown), imbalanced hormones and gallbladder issues (no gallstones), but because I have learned to listen to my body I have learned and am learning what I need to do and take and the way most of my days need to go so that I am feeling my best. I am much healthier now than I was a couple of years ago. Much healthier. I am so thankful and so don't want to fall back so will continue to do what I need to do. I am so thankful I did the genetic testing and while I could have used the results as excuses to not live my best life instead I have used the results to become healthier and not have excuses. It was such a relief to have answers!

If you would like to know more about my journey with these issues feel free to comment or send me a message. I don't mind sharing with you and maybe some part of my journey can help you. I may blog about it as time goes on but I don't want to lead anyone astray thinking that if they do the same as I do they will feel better. It is all so individual.

A sidenote: Did you know that citrus leaches chemicals from plastic? So if you are one of those people who does benefit from drinking lemon water perhaps don't put the water and lemon in a plastic water bottle. If you do you will be negating the whole point of drinking lemon water in the first place and then dealing with other things because of ingesting those leached chemicals.

Here are 2 photos that were taken a year apart. You can see how much my health has improved! In the photo on the left I was the heaviest I have ever been, I felt puffy and unwell. A year later I had lost almost 20lbs, did not feel puffy, had more energy and I was sleeping better. Sleep has been a huge struggle for me for years but I am now sleeping so much better!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Your Faithfulness

Happy New Year!

I had this song going through my head this morning. A song that I haven’t heard in a long time. This morning. The first day of a new year. Not a coincidence. God often brings songs to my mind at specific times and I have learned to pay attention. May we all trust in His faithfulness as we begin this new year. Whether we are in the midst of a storm or standing on a mountaintop. He is the same every day and we can put our trust in Him.

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness

I don't know how or when I'll die
Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?
No, I don't know how much time is left
But in the end, I will know your faithfulness

When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts and storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful

Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

by Brian Doerksen

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Beginnings

In looking at my last post I see that it has been almost 3 years since I have written anything. So much has happened in those 3 years. In many ways they have been tough and in many ways they have been beautiful. I was hesitant to start writing again but felt the compulsion to do so and so here I am. 

I am by nature a very private person and so writing about my life can feel very intrusive when I think that it will be available for anyone and everyone to read. However, I have been reminded more than once recently that perhaps I can encourage and inspire others by sharing my life and the goings on and all that I am learning and so I am taking the leap. I am not sure what that will look like as far as blogging. Some posts will likely be raw and open, others educational, others just silly little things that I feel like writing about. Just the fact that I feel like writing again after so long though is a testament to having overcome many things, to healing in many ways, to being who God is calling me to be.

The last few years have held discoveries, victories, anxieties, joys, frustrations, lots of prayer, some tears and a whole lot of, in many ways, rediscovering myself. I have never felt like I "lost" myself but because of some health issues the person I am became buried. Those health issues affected me greatly in many ways and robbed me of the energy to do the things I love. Like writing. Unless writing is a big part of you and how you express yourself you can't understand that writing can take a lot of emotional energy and that was energy I just did not have. I am so incredibly thankful to say that I am healthier than I have been in some time and in my body healing I am finding that the sensitive, emotional and caring person I am is starting to emerge again. It has been a pleasant discovery!

When I first started this blog years ago I had a very distinct idea of what it was going to be like. Now I have no clue and so am just going to follow those prompts and nudges in my spirit to blog when I feel the urge, to share, to invite others in to what is really a very average life with some not so average twists and turns. In the next little while I will likely be giving updates on what has been going on. More details on my health journey and the things I have learned and am still learning. I might share recipes as well as tips and tricks I have learned along the way. We are in our 3rd year of homeschooling so I will be including posts about that and all that God has done and is doing. It is amazing the things you learn about yourself when you homeschool!

For now I will update you on the two things you likely most want to know about. First of all our Emma. She is 7.5 years old now! She is in grade 3 this year and is excelling academically. She has the most vivid and creative imagination I have ever seen. I am learning more about her all the time and am in awe always of the fact that God chose me to be her Momma and what all that really means (more about that in future blogs). Emma loves to love and to give and to bring joy to hearts and lives. She is a treasure and a gift and has taught me so very much in her short life. She is so quickly becoming more mature and many days I catch glimpses of the young woman she is going to be and it is a beautiful sight to behold.

The other thing I know you are probably wondering about is the status of us adopting again. Two years ago this past fall we had to update all of our info with the adoption agency and at that time Chad and I agreed that it would be the last time we would update. That if nothing happened in the two years before we had to update again then we would make the decision to come off the waiting list. Well the 2 years came and went with a couple of "almosts" but not really much other action on our profile and so as difficult as it was we made the decision to come off the waiting list. It was left until the very last possible moment "just in case" but we just knew it was time. We are both 46 years old and while many people our age have teens or older we just didn't feel like starting all over again with a newborn was what we were supposed to do. It was not an easy decision though nor one made lightly. It had always been my dream to be Momma to many but I can see in so many ways why God in His wisdom chose a different path for me. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt at times but it does mean that I can rest in Him. In many ways there was a peace and relief that came with coming off the list. A peace because we knew it was the right thing to do and a relief because that burden of waiting is no longer on us and we can just fully concentrate and devote our time and energy on being the family that we are. I love our little family and I love that our favourite thing is just simple being together. We are blessed, so very blessed.

Enough for now. I feel like I could just keep writing and writing but I will save more thoughts for future posts as I decide what to share and not share. I do want this blog to be a source of encouragement and strength for those who read it. God has taught me a lot in many different areas in the last few years and it is my prayer that those who read this will be blessed by it.

As we enter into another new year may we all learn to lean on the everlasting arms.

Happy New Year from my blessed family to yours!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Winter is Over!

You know it's been a long time since you last posted when you can't quite remember how to do a new post! I was very surprised to see that I haven't posted anything since December! Forgive me! It isn't that nothing has been happening and there hasn't been anything to write about. Time just flies by and I don't spend as much time online as I used to and life is busy. I have a few quiet moments today though so thought I would just do a newsy post.

First of all an update on the adoption. We are still waiting. We finally broke the top 10 and we are currently sitting at number 8 with one couple on hold ahead of us. Our profile was shown once last month. We have been waiting for so long that sometimes I feel like it is never going to happen and yet in the last short little while I have felt a new hope. Maybe it's just because it's spring or maybe it's because something really will happen soon. I don't know but I am going to encourage that hope because it sure is better than being down and discouraged. I updated our profile today for the agency because Emma has changed and grown so much since I last did it. It felt strange. I felt like I was trying to find the best wording to "sell" us to someone without coming across as pushy. Such a fine line. So hard when you realize that the person looking at it is trying to make what is likely the hardest decision of their lives. There is a new group starting in the city. It is called Surviving the Wait and it is being put on by the agency as just a get together for those who are waiting. I am hoping to go and see how it is. It can be pretty lonely sometimes not knowing anyone else who is going through and experiencing all of this.

Emma has changed! There is no preschooler left in her really. She is a big girl now! I even heard her Daddy asking her the other day where his little girl has gone. They had a talk about it though and confirmed that she will always be Daddy's little girl. :) She is starting gymnastics again this month after taking the winter session off to instead take skating lessons. She is still doing music and is loving it and excelling at it. She is so excited that winter is over and today she talked so much about our gardens and all the work we have to do and what we should plant. She can practically make her own breakfast and still so loves to help with everything and have jobs to do. I cannot believe she is going to be 5 in just 2 short months! This age has proven to be one of the more challenging ones as she struggles to find her independence while still being obedient and respectful. Lots of learning and growing going on for all of us some days! She is an amazing girl and I am loving watching her grow up, even if it is happening much too quickly!

I am still thoroughly enjoying essential oils and all of their health benefits as well as sharing with others about how wonderful they are. I was nervous about teaching classes but find that because I am so passionate about the oils and all of the amazing things they do it is easy to talk about them and share them. Everyone should be using them! :) 

Chad is working as hard as ever and he will likely be starting to travel with work again this month. We have been blessed in that he actually hasn't really had to travel all winter. It's always tough for everyone when he has to be away but at least it doesn't happen very often.

We are all very excited that winter is finally over. It wasn't an awful winter and in fact it was quite a beautiful one except that our March made up for that! It will be so good to start spending our days outdoors and get our gardens ready and go exploring.

I so hope that my next post has wonderful news of a little one joining our family!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Year in Review and Looking Ahead

Where did 2016 go?! Looking back it feels like it went by so quickly and yet I am sure I had days when it felt like it was a long year.

We spent quite a bit of time out at the lake with my parents both in the winter and in the summer. It is such a treat to be able to go there. So relaxing and quiet and beautiful. Emma feels almost as at home there as she does in our own home and she is always so sad to leave. Such an adventure it is to stay out there and see wildlife and play in the lake and go for walks in the woods and do some fishing and boating and really just whatever we decide to do in the moment. I am so thankful for that place of refuge and for my parents' open arms.

I did gardens again this year but it just wasn't a great year for growing. So very wet sometimes that my plants wouldn't dry out and so dry sometimes that there just wasn't enough water. Still we had a fairly good harvest and Emma loved going out before supper to pick veggies to eat. Our one mighty little apple tree did have a bumper crop this year and we have so much applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple pies. Yum!

Emma turned 4 in June and now she is in the second half of that year already! So many changes for her. She definitely is not a toddler any longer although there are moments when Chad and I need to remind ourselves and each other that she is still only 4 because most of the time she seems so much older. She is reading now, short words of course and she has to sound them all out, but she is doing amazingly well with it and she loves it! We will be losing her to books soon I am sure. She loves to create whether it is pictures or stories or songs. She enjoys colouring once in a while but it seems to bore her because she has to 'stay in the lines'. She would so much rather create something from her vivid imagination and then sit and explain to you what she did and how she did it. Her stories are something else! She can go on and on and on and we are looking forward to the day when she can write so that she can record them all. She is musical, loved doing gymnastics this fall, has a great sense of humor, spreads joy wherever she goes, is as stubborn as ever and striving to be more independent while still clinging to Mommy's hand. We love her so and it is such a blessing and joy to watch her grow and bloom.

Chad kept busy at work as always. It's been a stressful couple of years for him with no hopes of it slowing down. While we are so thankful for the job security that he has it is tough sometimes to see the toll it is taking on him. We will be starting 2017 with trying to get him healthy and strong and more able to deal with the stress. We painted Emma's bedroom and closet in the fall and also redid all the trim which kept Chad busy for a number of weeks as he only had an hour or so a day to work on it all. He spends as much time as he can with Emma and it makes my heart smile to see how they love each other and how devoted he is to her. The man she ends up marrying is going to have an awful lot to live up to! His girls are so blessed to love him and be loved by him!

Not much has happened in regards to the adoption. We are still on the waiting list and have been for over 3 years now. Apparently the average wait is now up to 3-4 years so hopefully it will happen soon. I have moments of wondering if we should even still be on the list as I watch Emma grow and yet my heart knows that our family isn't finished yet and so I continue to wait and pray and at times shed a few tears. This Christmas was a hard one for me as I had so hoped your baby would be here. I was hanging the stockings up one day and the tears began to fall. I had so hoped to be hanging 4 instead of 3. Emma asks multiple times a week when I think the baby might come and she told me one day that she misses the baby and just wishes she could hold it. It is hard on our hearts to wait and yet the joy when the time comes will outshine it all and we will see God's hand in it yet again.

As for me, well, there has been quite a bit going on. I found out recently, after some testing, that I have some genetic mutations that explain pretty much every physical struggle I have had all my life. It may even explain our inability to get pregnant. I will admit that when I first started finding out about it all I went into a bit of a tailspin for a couple of days. I had one weekend where I was very discouraged and emotional until Chad and I had a talk about it and I said the words I needed to say which were that I was so sorry that it might be me and that I was so sorry that I had never been able to give him a baby. Being the man my husband is he answered pretty much exactly as I knew he would and told me he had never thought of it like that, that if it hadn't been for our infertility we would not have Emma and that I didn't need to apologize. Our family is as it should be. Some of the implications can be serious in that I am at a higher risk for some things like certain types of cancer, Alzheimers and Parkinsons but the part that was the hardest to deal with was the thought that I could be infertile because of some of this. The genetic mutations I have are not serious in and of themselves. They mostly just explain a number of previously unexplainable things and what it all really boils down to is that my body does not detoxify properly and so I end up feeling sick and in me it manifests as depression, mood swings, weight gain, being achy all over etc. I am very sensitive to chemicals and my body can't get rid of the effects of them on my system so they build up in my body. It is the same with a number of foods and supplements. I end up feeling like I am being poisoned which in effect I am. It has been so good to finally have answers and to have a way to deal with it all (mostly certain supplements to help the detoxification, staying away from certain foods, using safe cleaning and personal products etc) and to know that it isn't all in my head or that I am just being paranoid. It really boils down to I just need to take care of myself in a more specific way and if/when people question my diet or lifestyle choices to not let it get to me but to know I am doing the right thing so that my quality of life can be better and Emma can have a happier and healthier Momma and Chad can have a healthier and happier wife. Which brings me to the next big thing going on for me.....

I have used essential oils for a number of years for different things like colds/flu, tummy issues, sleep issues, etc. and this past summer I signed up with Young Living Essential Oils initially just to use the oils myself but once I started using them I loved them and I am now pursuing a business through Young Living as a distributor and team leader. With the sensitivities I have to chemicals Young Living has been an answer to prayer for me. There are so many products out there that I cannot use and the ones I can are pricey. With Young Living I now have access to amazing products that are organic and chemical free and because the essential oils are so pure I can make my own laundry detergent, hand soap, skin care etc and know that it isn't going to harm me or make me feel sick. Even Emma is to the point that if she has a tummy ache or owie she comes to me and asks for oils to make it feel better. How I love being able to take care of my family with products that will only bring them health and not harm them! I recently did a 'business bootcamp' where for 6 weeks we were trained in getting started in the business and on personal development. Chad is working on a website for me. I already have a number of people on my team and a couple of them are also interested in pursuing the business. I love that I can work at it as I have time and without it taking away from family time. And I am learning so much! We will see where it all goes for me. Being able to help people care for themselves and their families in a healthy and safe way excites me! When my website is ready to launch I will post the link here. For now you can go to or my Facebook page

I think I am ready for 2017. How can one ever be ready though for what they don't know is ahead? How thankful I am for a God who knows and cares and that because I know Him I don't need to worry about what tomorrow or the next year holds. I am excited to see what He has in store for us as a family and for me as an individual!

A very Happy New Year to all of you! May the year ahead hold joy and peace and love and a certainty that the One who holds all of your tomorrows also holds you in the palm of His hand and loves you with an everlasting love. God bless.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


This month's update is a little more encouraging than the last few have been. 😊 We have moved up to number 11 on the list! The agency had a busy summer as they placed two sibling groups with a total of 6 kids. They are also working with a few birthmoms right now. Our profile hasn't been out recently but that's okay. At least we moved up!

I was out for a walk the other night and was thinking about the seasons changing and was wondering whether or not this new season will include growth in our family. Only God knows. While we continue to wait we will be busy. Emma started music class last week and starting this year she has homework and it is much more involved. She is also starting gymnastics next week plus homeschool preschool. We are both really looking forward to all of that and it will be wonderful to watch her grow and learn and have fun and make friends.

The weather has certainly changed. Fall is my favourite season and I am hoping for a nice long fall, and perhaps opening my home and heart to a new little one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Adoption Update as Promised

In my last post I talked about how things have been really slow in the adoption world whether due to birthmoms keeping their babies or to termination. I hope and pray it is the former. That slowness is reflected in the update I received from the agency today. We are currently at #14 (we haven't moved in a couple of months at least) with one couple on hold ahead of us and one couple matched. Our profile has not been viewed since February. The average wait is now 3 years and we will be at our 3 year mark this fall.

If I think about it for too long I get fairly discouraged and so I try not to think about it. I am thankful for busyness. Right now I am up to my elbows in apples from our tree, making apple butter, applesauce, apple crisp, apple pies and dried apples. This weekend Emma and I are heading to the lake for a week. I am starting to figure out curriculum and a schedule for school for Emma. Her music lessons and gymnastics start in September. I have a garden that will need to be harvested. It is good to be busy.

I told Emma her adoption story again today because she chose a book about adoption for her naptime story. When I told her how much Mommy and Daddy love her she said "Even more than salt water taffy?" 😊 She knows that is my favourite candy.

Your prayers and support are appreciated as we continue to wait. This is yet another time in my life when I wish I knew what God's plan is. I know it is better than anything I could have planned and that He knows what He is doing and so really there is nothing we can do but wait and trust. I remind myself often that even though things look discouraging we could still get "the call" at any moment.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

10 Years

"Now you're here and everything's changing. Suddenly life means so much. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and find out this promise is true. I will never have to go back to the day before you."

Those are lyrics from a song that is from our wedding day. July 22nd was our 10th anniversary! 10 years! Gone in the blink of an eye and yet sometimes it feels longer. I think that's because when we finally came into each other's lives we felt like we had just always known each other. As if "we" had just always been. When I look back at photos and see the joy in our faces and the love in our eyes I remember the "firsts" and the sweetness of it all.

10 years and I am still in awe of the man God gave to me. Or perhaps I should say that I am in awe of how God answered my every hope and dream and yet even more abundantly. I was recently asked what makes our marriage so strong and I will admit that at first I had no idea what to say. What did come to mind though were two words. Grace and respect. I am thankful to say, and I pray it is always so, that our marriage has never really hit a rough patch. We have been through a lot in the 10 years but rather than our marriage taking a hit I think it has made it stronger. We have needed each other and supported each other through some emotionally and physically hard times and we are blessed to be a team. I think so much of that is because of the grace we extend each other and the respect we have for each other as partners and people. Neither one of us is perfect and we drive each other crazy at times. There are things we could each point out about the other person that we don't like or that irritates us or that we think needs to change but rather than dwelling on and harping on those things we have chosen to accept each other as we are, to extend grace rather than nitpick, to love rather than tear down. To recognize that neither one of us is perfect and that we both make mistakes. When we do make those mistakes they are talked about and discussed and we share our hearts but we don't dwell, we don't drag up past infractions. I respect my husband so much for the man of integrity that he is. I trust his judgment. I rely on his common sense and wisdom. I turn to him when I need council. He in turn does the same with me. We are best friends, a team. We most certainly don't have it all figured out and we never will but I so love the feeling of security that comes with knowing that we have each other's backs and that we won't uncover each other's faults or imperfections around others. That the relationship we have built means something and that we are faithful to each other.

I haven't loved every moment of the 10 years we have been married but I am thankful for each one. Thankful for the memories made and the lessons learned and the love shared and the strength we have been to each other. I am truly blessed to call Chad my husband, to be his wife.  I will cherish the last 10 years and look forward to so very many more!

Adoption Update:
I don't have much of an update on the adoption front. Chad told me recently about a news story where adoption was being talked about and how adoption rates are down and the average wait is now 3 years. The director from our agency was actually interviewed and she said there has been a huge downturn in adoptions. The hope of course is that more birth moms are choosing to keep their baby but it also means that more lives are likely being terminated. The news of the downturn is reflected in our waiting as when I last checked in there really hadn't been movement on the waiting list and our spot hadn't changed at all and our profile hadn't been out since February. We are almost at our 3 year wait. Some days, the ones where Emma talks about "the baby" as if the baby is coming tomorrow, are tough. There is nothing we can do though except to keep waiting. I will be checking in with the agency this coming week for another update as I do the first week of every month. I will post again once I heard from them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Moments in Time

In some ways it feels like we didn't even have winter this year. It was so very mild and not lots of snow. That means we have had a beautifully early spring but it also means we are in for a very dry summer. Time is flying by and I can't believe we are in the second half of April already!

There are times though when it doesn't seem like time is flying by and those are the moments when it hits me again how long we have been waiting this time for "the" phone call. Moments when I would just like to sit and have a good cry about it all because sometimes the waiting just hurts so much. For the most part life is filled with joy and love and little girl giggles and adventures and listening to an incredibly active imagination at play. But there are moments in time when I just want to sit and hold a baby again and experience all those firsts again. I am part of a moms group that meets every week and I have really been enjoying it. The girls in my group are all so great and I have made some sweet friendships and I appreciate them and am thankful I joined. There are moments there though too where it is just so hard. I am surrounded by beautiful women who have had or are having babies. There are announcements being made all the time and baby bumps all over the place. I am so happy for them and love seeing the toothless baby smiles but there are moments when it is almost more than I can take. Where it is another reminder that I am just waiting and there is nothing I can do about it.

This morning at the moms group there was a speaker who was sharing on grief. Most of it was centred around losing a loved one but of course things came up like broken marriages, loss of jobs, loss of health etc. I have know for a long time that I have and probably always will grieve my lack of fertility, the loss of a dream I had all my life of bearing lots of children. At times I even feel like less of a woman somehow because I haven't been able to conceive. Sometimes it hurts so much and yet I don't talk about it because there really aren't people in my life who would understand and because I don't easily share my heart with people. Don't want to bother others with my burdens but also don't want them to feel awkward in a situation that they don't understand. What happens then of course is I bottle it up and try to pretend it's not there. So today I decided to blog about it. I haven't written for so long and part of that is my way of bottling up. I don't want to just write shallow, flippant posts but it's also draining and hard for me to write what's really going on in my heart. It takes a lot out of me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not living in depression or any such thing. My life is so full right now. I have a beautiful little girl who is turning 4 in June (already!) who loves to give spontaneous hugs and kisses and sing me songs that she made up and help me with whatever I'm doing and who is learning what it means to be able to pray whenever and wherever she is. She is light and joy and she makes us laugh and I am so incredibly proud of the little person she is. I have a husband who is truly my constant. When it feels like things are falling apart or when I feel anxious about life he is there and he is constant and he loves me. I have a dog who is loyal and loving. I have a beautiful home and big yard and space for gardens. I am so incredibly, beautifully blessed! That is what gets me through those moments of sadness and grief. Counting my blessings and seeing what God has done and hoping and trusting in what He is going to do. It doesn't mean I don't still cry at times and in all honesty I just feel like I probably always will. Like it is my own silent grief that will always be there. I am coming to terms with that and learning to just live and let God be God and trust that He truly has my best interests in mind. You know, my life hasn't gone at all the way I always hoped and dreamed. For that I am thankful. I can look back and see how God has worked and moved and led and guided and protected and because of His faithfulness I can still trust. Some days it is so very hard to do so but still I cling to that unchanging hand and trust that He is always there.

When you think of me please pray for me. For us. I told Emma her adoption story again recently and explained to her again that we are waiting for a baby to come and live with us. She asked me the other day when the baby is coming. In her own little way she is also waiting. She will tell me how she is going to help me and she will talk about being a sister. She is going to be such a wonderful big sister. We all hope the phone call comes soon but until that call comes your prayers are coveted and appreciated. We have been on and are on quite a journey.

As of the first of April we were number 16 on the waiting list with 2 couples on hold ahead of us. Our  profile was out once in March with a birth family but it sounded as though birth mom was deciding to keep the baby.

So we wait. We wait and we live and we love and we hope and when those moments of sadness or hurt come I let myself feel it and then I look up again, count my multitude of blessings and carry on. Life is too short to live in despair!

Here are a couple pictures of the joy of our lives. By far our biggest blessing! She is such a remarkable gift to us and to all who know her. How truly blessed we are!

"Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Teach me Lord to wait."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Quick Update

As promised here is a quick update from the adoption agency that I received today.

We are currently number 19 on the waiting list with 2 couples on hold ahead of us. Yay for being out of the 20s finally! Our profile hasn't been shown since September which is a little discouraging but now that we are in the teens the chances of it being shown go up quite a bit.

Hopefully it will be be soon...

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year Begins

Have I really not written anything since July?! There have been so many times that I thought about sitting down to write, so many things on my heart to write about, so much going on in my head but I just never did it. I thought that with it being the new year though I would sit down and write, give a little update, post a few pictures and hopefully get back into writing mode again. It's good for me to write rather than keep things all bottled up and I need to get back to it.

2015. It was an interesting year for me. It was a year full of much stress, which is evidenced by the grey hairs I seem to have to accumulated throughout the year. I won't go into the details of said stress because it would take much too much time and perhaps bore you! Suffice it to say that I have been learning so much about myself and my health and where I am with God and what I need to work on and what I need to accept and what I need to let go of. There was lots of good along with the stress as well like time spent out at the lake and Emma's birthday and a little family vacation we took this fall. Lots of love and laughter. 

I am looking forward to 2016. I don't have any resolutions because truthfully I know I won't keep them! Instead I am looking forward with hope and anticipation of what God has in store. I am so thankful that He knows what the new year holds because that means I don't have to worry about it. I can take things one day at a time. The days are flying by so swiftly and I need to slow down and appreciate them because before I know it Emma will be grown and gone. One of the many things I have thought about so much in the last few months is just how precious my time with her is. All too soon these days will be over and I so don't want to look back on them with regret for not having spent time with her or enjoying the time I do have with her enough. So I will leave the details of 2016 in the Lord's hands and just enjoy my little family and all of our many blessings.

Emma has grown and changed so much in this last year. We started doing homeschool preschool in the fall and she absolutely loves it! She can write her own name (and signed many Christmas cards this year!) and is starting to want to know how to spell other words. I have the feeling she will be reading early.

She is very much a kid now with no baby left in her except for when she is sick and needs her Mommy. She is quite the conversationalist and she loves music and singing and making up her own songs and stories. She is still taking music lessons and next week she starts ballet as well. She also loves trains and fast cars. She enjoys drawing and is getting to be quite good. She drew a picture of Minnie Mouse the other day.

 She loves wearing dresses and twirling around and hearing her Daddy tell her how beautiful she is.

She has been doing a great job lately of dressing herself and it's always fun to see what outfit she comes up with!

She is still always our little helper in everything we do. She has such a natural nurturing spirit, loves to take care of people and help whenever she can. Something I so want to encourage in her. She is as stubborn as ever but as sweet as ever too. Our amazing gift from above. We love her more than words could ever express and I am still often in awe that God entrusted her to me. I pray often that God would help me be the Momma she needs me to be. I fail so many times but God is faithful and I am learning to go to Him more and more for strength and wisdom.

My parents moved out to their lake house this fall. They put so many hours into building a home that is so peaceful and restful. A refuge from the city. We were able to spend a couple of nights with them this week and I didn't want to leave the peace and solitude. It's been an adjustment having them be a couple of hours away but it is so good to see them loving it out there and to see the peace that fills their hearts and is evident in their countenances. They need to be out there and I so understand that. It is a huge blessing for us to have a place to go to get away from the city and enjoy some down time. 

There isn't really much news to share on the adoption front. Last time I checked in we were number 20 on the list with some couples on hold ahead of us. I will admit I was truly hoping our baby would come home in 2015. In retrospect though I can see God's hand and timing in it all. He knows what we can handle and when and He knew last year was not the right time. I am feeling more ready and prepared and eager now and am hoping it isn't too much longer. Emma knows we are waiting and she talks often about "when the baby comes". It will be an exciting time to be sure. I will be getting another update next week as to where we are on the waiting list and I will post again to let you all know.

As you look ahead to the new year that lies before you I hope you have an anticipation for what God has in store. A trust that He is holding you and guiding you and will be with you no matter what comes your way. May 2016 be filled with joy and growth and hope.