Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Staying in the fire---Update

Well, as was no surprise, there was a message awaiting us on the answering machine, from the lady who owned the lovely Cape Cod. She felt so badly that they couldn't afford to wait a month out for us, but could not, therefore had another couple moving into the place November 1st. I admit I was very disappointed. I had to fight not to grumble all the more as I shoved things into my overflowing kitchen cupboards, as I flushed the toilet & it overflowed yet again, as I heard the racket next door, as I wondered where I was going to fit my Christmas tree this year.....
I need to learn to be grateful for what I have. The other day I was grumbling about the toilet clogging again, and then I caught myself, repented, & started thanking God that I even had running water & plumbing. Really, it's something we take for granted here in North America.
So we are here for the winter. And ya know what? I'm okay with that. I'm going to be okay with that, because things always turn out far better when they are in God's timing. I admit I don't want to stay here beyond the Spring, but again, waiting on God's timing. So for now, drafty walls, noise & toilets overflowing...and in the midst of a toilet overflowing, I pray that I will learn to let my joy overflow as well and to realize that the cup of blessing is truly overflowing in my life. I have my family, I have a place to live and food to eat. I am in fairly good health. I am blessed.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jumping out of the fire

So here's the deal: There is a gorgeous, huge Cape Cod for rent at an excellent price in a prime location. My husband, son & I went to check it out last night & we just fell in love with it. Thing is, it's for rent November 1st & we should, out of respect & integrity, give our landlord a month's notice. Also, what a stressful rush to pack up everything & clean this place in 3 short weeks!!! Especially with a demanding 5 1/2 year old around.
Why such a desire to move? Well, where we live right now, at the month's end, we will have been here for 2 years, fulfilling our 2 year lease. When we moved into this side by side duplex, on the other side was our landlord, who was single & very quiet. See, there is nothing between our walls: No firewall, no nothing. So you can hear every single noise, including someone urinating in the bathroom. I like quiet. Yes, it's not something I get much of with an active little boy, but adding someone else's noise on top of his is almost too much for me.
About 7 months ago, our landlord had his buddy move in with him. Now, his buddy was nothing like him: He would get drunk regularly, smoke dope out on the back porch & curse & swear loudly, going off on anyone from the landlord to Bell Aliant on the phone. This went on for 6 months. Thankfully, this wasn't an every day thing, so I tolerated it. A month ago, he moved out. So I thought, finally peace & quiet again. Not to be.
Then the renovations began. Hardcore renos. Video cameras & alarm systems were being installed, as well as the kitchen being redone. Why? Because our landlord had decided to rent the other side out as a business of sorts. A teenage boy with severe Autism would be being prepped to go into a group home. They'd be teaching him things like washing dishes, cooking, etc. This goes on everyday, Mon-Friday, 10-3 (but people are in there longer some days, doing things). So daily now, starting this past week, I constantly hear people cheering loudly all day. I see numerous vehicles parked outside. People are in and out all day. It's like a mini circus. My landlord, did however, inform me that they wanted to do this from 8-6 and sometimes on weekends, & he'd refused. So if that is the case, I am very grateful for that! I am seldom awake at 8!
My husband was adamant about us renting the Cape Cod after we saw it, & set out to figure it all out, & try to see if our landlord would allow us to just pay him the extra for us leaving earlier than with a month's notice.
Bedtime came, & we both laid there in the dark. I was thinking & thinking, & then the Lord began to speak to me & remind me of some things. He made me see that the circumstances couldn't be of Him. First of all, the Lord would want us to have integrity & give a full month's notice. He wouldn't put us in a position of not honoring that. Secondly, the Lord wouldn't put us in a position of being rushed. Rushing breeds stress, & 3 mere weeks to pack up a lot of stuff & clean the place would be overwhelming for me. Not of God.
Then the Lord reminded me of a time around 4 1/2 years ago,where I was saying the same thing to him then, as I was now, when we were buying a house of our own in the "middle of nowhere". It was a nice looking spacious home. I remember several times saying to the Lord, "Lord, this seems too good to be true! Would You really get us this home?" My flesh wanted it so badly! At the time, we were living in a small 2 bedroom, paying a lot for it, with landlords that had crossed some lines that shouldn't have been crossed. We wanted OUT. So we ended up getting the house & the next 2 1/2 years were like HELL. That was NOT God's best for us. But we got impatient, & we wanted out of the trial we were going through. So we just went ahead, convincing ourselves God was in it. I mean, why would He want us to live there, paying someone else's mortgage & having landlords who had done things they shouldn't have, right? Wrong.
God is not concerned about our comfort. Did you hear that? He's not!! He is more concerned about our growth, and growth doesn't occur without trials & tribulations. And if we go through those trials & tribulations & wait upon the Lord to deliver us, then it will be worth the wait. We are essentially holding out for God's biggest blessings. But in the meantime...
...In the meantime, He wants us---He wants me---to learn how to be content in any & every situation. To be grateful for what I have (nice yard, clothesline,big windows, etc.), rather than desiring what I don't have (cupboard space, closet space, wood heat, etc.).
My husband, about 10 minutes after we'd been laying there supposedly "sleeping", he spoke, & he was having the same thoughts as I was. So we prayed in agreement, that if this was of the Lord, it would come to pass, otherwise, let another take the place.
Now, we, not being able to move any sooner than December 1st, if the woman who is renting that beautiful home somehow agrees to hold it for us (which would be nothing short of a miracle), then we will know the Lord is in it! So we meet with her tomorrow afternoon, to find out what's going on.
So whether I move or whether I stay here another winter, I will accept it. Yet I know God wants me to do far more than merely accept it. He wants me to be joyful & grateful in the meantime. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." That is God's will for me...and for you. He doesn't want us to jump out of the fire when it gets hot. He wants us to remain in it, so that we can be purged of all the impurities in our lives. And when we have persevered, there will be a greater blessing.
My husband & I have a habit of jumping out of the fire, & missing out on God's best. I pray this time that God will have HIS perfect will, & we won't just accept it, but rejoice in it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Facing Your Fear

This past year, I have suffered from 5 bouts of the dreaded stomach flu. Yes, FIVE BOUTS! The first was at the end of February. I managed to contain it to just myself, with the help of my trusty jug of bleach. The other 4 times were all in the span of a month & a half.
What's significant about this, other than that is an INSANE number of times to get stomach flu, is that one of my BIGGEST fears was getting stomach flu. I was so bad, that if someone so much as even said the words, "stomach flu", I would suffer from an anxiety attack! Fear would grip me. It was horrible. I would go out in public, ever conscious of germs that are lurking on anything from shopping carts, to doors, toilets to taps. I was equipped with my trusty hand sanitizer at all times, which I later found out, does NOT kill the stomach flu virus (Norovirus). So then, I went out & bought hand wipes that included an ingredient that may have helped kill the virus. No matter, it was better than nothing! I kept my boy away from cootie-infested McDonald's play places & play groups (which I always avoided, anyhow), & spent much more time at home when I would hear of stomach flu running rampant.
If I suspected I or my child had been exposed to the stomach flu, I would be on edge for 2 whole days after, waiting to see if we had caught it or not. Then sweet relief would overtake me when I saw that we hadn't. Seemed, the only time I could relax, was when I was safe at home, having not been in any public place for at least 2 days!
Where did this fear began? I was living with my husband & child, in the "middle of nowhere", which is fairly accurate. Every direction you looked out of our windows were trees. You couldn't see the nearest neighbors, & there was no amenities within walking distance. Nothing but the wildlife & lots of bugs to keep you company. We were extremely isolated, getting out maybe once a week for church. I began to be tormented. Too much time on my hands, left to myself. Probably some loneliness I didn't recognize as such (since I enjoy being alone).
I had that H1N1 (AKA "Swine Flu") & I'd have rather taken a week of that, then a few hours of stomach flu!
Fear is a nasty thing. Stress comes with it. Sickness & fatigue follow.
I had a 6 day bug that I shared with my boy who, then had it for 5 days. It seemed an endless month & a half of washing barfy bedding, scrubbing the bathroom, floors & doorknobs with bleach & hardcore hand washing, as well as isolation. It just didn't want to leave my house. No sooner I'd recovered the first time (from the 6 day bug), 3 days later, it hit me again! 2 weeks later, it got me again. 3 weeks later, again. Fortunately, I didn't share it the last few times (again, thanks to bleach!).
There is a worldly saying that says to overcome our fears, we need to face them, & I totally believe it. That is taking nothing away from God's perfect love that casts out all fear, because, ultimately, that is the cure-all for fear, period. However, I believe the Lord allowed this sickness to hit me again, & again & again...& again....& again....until I'd faced my fear enough times, that I would no longer be in bondage to it. Not a fun lesson to learn, but I tend to learn things best, the hard way!
Am I still weary of stomach flu? Weary, yes, terrified, no. Of course I will take precautions not to catch it, but it's not the same gripping fear. I am more nonchalant about it. Kind of like, if I get it, I get it. Big whoop.
Fear is never truly rational if we know the Lord. Jesus said many times, "Fear not!" He wouldn't say it if we had cause to fear. Fear puts us into bondage, which is exactly what Satan wants. I felt in such terrible bondage to this irrational fear!
All things work for good....Yes, all those barfing at both ends fits served to glorify God! Now that fear is under control.
We all have fears/phobias. God can deliver us from ALL of our fears, just like it says in the Psalms (& David knew what he was talking about! What a life!). We just gotta let Him.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hospital Blues

I admit it. I avoid hospitals, clinics & doctors (including my family doctor)like the plague! I have a great distrust for the "system" & for the over prescribing of unnecessary medicines & the use of unnecessary procedures. I also don't like that, when your child enters this system (is admitted into the hospital), he no longer becomes YOUR child, but THEIR child. You lose all rights, so that they can give him as many & as much drugs as they want, as well as keep him as long as they want. It's pretty scary for this overprotective Momma bear, I admit!
I've been a rebel for a long time when it comes to "the system". I have fought it, it seems, since my boy was born. I have scorned their stupid lists of "baby must do this by this age". I have scorned all those labels they so hastily place upon kids, with no regard for how that label can sometimes destroy a kid, or just hold them back, when in reality, they could soar!
I believe every child progresses differently, learns differently, acts differently. I believe that, generally speaking, doctors are too hasty to prescribe medicines to children, when they aren't really needed. I believe that there is much too much control and power given to those "in the system" (doctors, etc.).
This isn't to say all doctors or nurses or medicines are bad. Doctors save lives, & what would we do without all those hardworking nurses? And without antibiotics, people could die from things that they needn't die from! These things in themselves are not bad, there is just an abuse by and of them, at times, that isn't good.
My son sustained a VERY BAD fracture to his arm last Tuesday night, while playing with his daddy, so we had to go into emergency. It was a scary thing, for neither I, nor my husband had ever broken a bone before. My poor boy was in so much pain. It is an awful feeling to not be able to ease that pain for your child. He had to undergo surgery. Thank God, we had an amazing surgeon who was professional, yet very compassionate!
The next day, we were allowed to go home. I had to follow a strict schedule of administering Advil to my son every 6 hours. So I would set my alarm for 4AM to fight with him to take the medicine. What should have taken a minute ended up taking about 10 to do. Where my son has some comprehension challenges, I couldn't make him understand WHY he had to take them. I also had to ice his arm 4 times a day, which didn't always happen, I admit.
A week later, he wakes up with a snotty nose. No problem. He seldom gets colds, & when he does, it amounts to nothing. The next day, he was extremely wheezy. That night, he laid down to sleep & was fighting to breathe, & couldn't sleep. My husband decided (with me arguing about it) to take him to the hospital. So off to the emergency we went again.
3 days later, we were finally ALLOWED to leave. It was a long, boring, tiring & frustrating 3 days. I watched as they gave my son all sorts of stuff & I had to ask what they were giving him. When I asked, one time, the nurse seemed as if I was asking something inappropriate, which is ridiculous, considering I have a right to know, since he's my son. The poor kid was awoken throughout the night. I stayed until 4AM the first night, then left him with Daddy, spent the night the entire night, the next night, then Daddy spent the night the last night. I spent the entire days there, and it was hard! Thank God he wasn't on an IV, because he was all over the place in a little push car they had. He cruised the halls, & by day 3, was trying to escape via the elevators. Mommy was ready to lose it, she was so tired & didn't feel great. I was trying to keep my son occupied.
There were many things that happened that frustrated me, but not being allowed to take my son out of there when I wanted to was the worst. Feeling like someone else had control over my child was the worst feeling, ever!
They prescribed puffers & the such, & again, over medicating is going on! Thankfully, I can do what I wish now that we are home again, & he will only use the puffers if they are needed, & no more! My decision was reinforced by a nurse friend, who also let me know that he could get throat infections from overuse as well.
I guess, what it comes down to is I was, once again being tested. By whom? God. Yep. It's all about trusting Him. Fine, God, I trust You, but I don't trust THEM! Somehow that doesn't fly, I guess. Because if God is truly in control of every circumstance, then He must have been control at the hospital.
The third morning, when I was home having a quick breakfast, I opened the Bible to the Gospel of Matthew & my eyes fell upon the Scripture where Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary & heavy laden & I will give you rest." I remember thinking, 'Oh really, Lord? Where is it?' Yet we have to COME to Him FIRST to get that rest....& quite frankly, I wasn't doing that, at all.
Still, is it wrong to want to fight the system? The system is wrong in many things. Don't get me wrong: I'm grateful to live in a country where we all can have "free" healthcare, even to the poorest of us. But why do they think they have the right to control our children? Our bodies? Or is this merely the hospital I deal with????
No, I'm not a conspiracy theory gal, though I believe many of those theories have truth to them. Just because the masses believe something is true, doesn't make it so!
I will always do what I feel is best for my son, & if that means fighting the world system, so be it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nostalgia---A Jones Country Christmas

Every year as the Christmas season comes around, I find nostalgia overtaking me. Memories of Christmases long since passed flood my mind with warm & fuzzy feelings, and as hard as we try, once we are grown up, nothing can seem to completely recapture that feeling we would get as a little child, as we would attend the Christmas parties, concerts, church services, and, of course, wake up on Christmas morning to stockings & presents under the tree. Christmas becomes different; looks different, as we marry & have our own families & create our own traditions, often drawing from the very ones our parents held to.
Christmas on the Jones country farmstead always provokes feelings of joy within me. There were a few brown Christmases, but for the most part, our Christmases were white with snow, as they should be.
I remember my excitement would begin when they would light the first advent candle in the Baptist church I attended. THEN I knew that Christmas was only a month away! However, a month goes by a lot slower for a small child, than for an adult! With each passing Sunday, we'd get closer to the white center candle, which would be lit on Christmas eve.
There would be Christmas parties in the elementary school I attended. They were always fun, with gift exchanges (through drawing a name out of a hat) & lots of sweets & Christmas music! Best of all, no school work! That last day before Christmas vacation was so exciting! The school Christmas concert was wonderful, as well. I remember starring in one of the productions. I also remember singing traditional Christian songs, which, back then, were not yet forbidden. God was still allowed in schools.
There would be our church Christmas concert as well. Usually, there'd be a play of the Nativity. I remember one year, being an angel in an AWANAS Christmas concert. Because we were involved in so many church & youth group programs, there were no lack of parties & concerts. I also sang either a solo, or a duet with my mom at the Christmas eve services. I was always so nervous!
Every year, we would go Christmas caroling with the church. I immensely enjoyed that! We would visit shut ins & also the old folk's home. I remember we would visit with one lady in particular after wards, & I would sit & gaze at her beautiful artificial Christmas tree with all of the fancy ornaments on it.
When it came to our Christmas tree, it was usually one that was off our farm; always real. We would put it up maybe a week before Christmas. Mom would put the lights on, her set of sentimental breakable ornaments on up high, & the star, then she would allow me & my brothers to decorate the rest. That's why our tree never looked professionally done. Oh, but it was done with love! Mom would hang the mistletoe over the doorway leading from the kitchen to the living room, & she also had these glittery silver bells she would hang. I loved playing with the Santa & reindeer decorations she had. The music of the season was Joan Baez, Evie & numerous others. Let's not forget Alvin & the Chipmunks!
I loved the candlelit service at church. We'd all hold a lit candle & sing "Silent Night". So magical!
Christmas eve would come, & we would attend church. I loved that part. We would sing traditional carols, hear a short sermon, then head home & pray the night would go fast & Christmas morning would come!
My brother, Chris, would usually sleep in my room, since I had a vent in my floor, which was just a hole with bars across it, about 6"x12". Right below it, Mom would hang out stockings on the mantel, & we would try to peek down the hole & see what was in our stockings! Kids, eh? My brother, Geoff always seemed to have a bit more restraint than us.
Christmas morning would arrive. We would dash down the stairs, still in our pajamas & go for our stockings. Mom would always put the 3 pack of mini cereals in our stockings, so we'd have a treat of "junk" cereal we never got any other time of the year, such as Fruit Loops & Corn Pops. We had to eat that before we could eat any of the other "junk".
Once we were all up, we'd gather around the Christmas tree, & Dad would start handing out the gifts. I would wait until I had them all, before opening them one by one. I also liked to stop and watch my family member's faces as they opened gifts from me. I would usually buy Mom bath beads & Dad, chocolates.
After unwrapping our gifts, with the many "oohs" and "ahhs" and "thank yous", my brothers & I would go off & play with our new toys. Mom would get ready for our Christmas dinner. It'd be a lazy relaxing afternoon. I would go up into my room & go off into another world with my new toys created by my vivid imagination.
Dinner would be turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing & vegetables. Mom would bring out the fancy plates & dishes. The kitchen would always be so toasty warm after Mom using the large stove's oven to cook the turkey (which I still remember was a real pain in the behind to use!).
That is the Christmases I grew up with. And this year, for the first time since 1995, I am going to spend Christmas on the Jones homestead with my family. I am excited! Christmas has never been the same for me since I moved out of my parent's house, but to see the joy on my child's face as he looks in awe at the Christmas lights, & the delight as he unwraps his gifts, I grow excited at the prospect of making Christmas as memorable & beautiful for him as my parents did for me.
Lest we forget what Christmas is about. All pagan roots aside, Christmas is an excellent reminder of Jesus & how God sent Him into the world to save it because He loved His creation so much. Christmas is about the most perfect gift of Love there ever was. So as I share my memories of my Christmas past, I am especially grateful & thankful that my parents shared with me the reason for the season: Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, August 13, 2010

PEI Getaway

Since my husband is self-employed, & hadn't any work lined up for a few days, we decided to take a weekend to visit Prince Edward Island, since it's only about an hour & a half to the Confederation bridge from our home. My husband has never had a vacation in his entire life, so this was especially nice for him.
I find the Confederation Bridge truly amazing. I'm in awe as I look at its long expanse & look out over the vast waters, with nothing seen on the horizon. I remember thinking, 'Wow! Nothing but water as far as the eye can see! Must have looked much like this after the flood of Noah's time.' I had been across the bridge a couple of times before, but it was still so amazing to me.
Upon crossing the bridge, there is a small community called "Bordon-Carleton", a quaint place with lots of small shops for tourists. However, we kept on going, heading to the B&B we would be staying at for a couple of nights.
The B&B was just a couple of rooms in someone's home; very nice & private. We discovered the woman who ran it is a Christian, just as we are, so we knew it was a God-ordained place to stay! It was nestled in the country, between Cavendish & Charlottetown---two spots I was especially interested in visiting.
That evening, we drove into Charlottetown & ate some of the world's best ice cream...that is their slogan, & I would easily believe it! I had plain chocolate, & it was udderly divine! Yum. My husband & son are both ice cream addicts, so they really enjoyed it as well.
It's never easy sleeping in a "strange" place, as well as having our son in our room. I had broken sleep, yet was raring to go by morning.
I'm an Anne of Green Gables fan, so I was extremely excited to go see Green Gables, & where Lucy Maude Montgomery was inspired to write the Anne series. It proved to be pretty cool! We got to walk the "lover's lane" & the "haunted wood" as mentioned in the books---fiction works, yet inspired by real places. We also saw the site of Lucy Maude's home & walked the short cut she used to take to church.
Of course we had to do the traditional "wearing of the Anne hat". I just prayed there was no cooties or lice in the much used hats. haha
As much as I enjoyed that, my favorite time was just walking the streets of downtown Charlottetown with my men; sight-seeing. No real destination. No hurry. There are so many historic buildings there, where it is where the Father's of Confederation met & Canada became a fact. Tourists filled the streets, as well as the occasional busker. Of course, we had to get more Cow's ice cream. I had hubby boost me up on the cow, and in front of a bunch of people who were there for a free concert, I posed like a fool on top of the cow. Did I mention I will never grow up?
Much of the vacation was simply spent relaxing. My husband cooked a wonderful meal, all on a barbecue! Shrimp, fresh veggies....
It was an amazing time had with my family. It's not something we have ever really gotten to do, & I can only imagine that my boy will look back on this & not soon forget it. I know I won't. PEI is a beautiful, friendly place, with twisty turny back roads, clay colored earth, & wonderfully fresh air.
It's hard returning back to "real life" after having a vacation. If only everyday were such an adventure. I guess it's all in one's perspective. I should probably be changing mine. :s
So if you ever have an opportunity to visit PEI, Canada, I totally recommend it! Even if you aren't an Anne fan, there is so much to do & see! Just bring a lot of money if you have kids!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fixin' to go home

This is my first post on this site. I wasn't sure what exactly I was going to do, but I think, instead of my usual way of blogging, I'd just simply share my life, with the hopes that some of the stuff I go through, will help others to know they aren't alone, & to know there's always "light at the end of the tunnel."
So I'm fixin' to head home to where I grew up tomorrow (Annapolis Valley, NS) . My mom is making the 6 hour drive today to bring me and my 4 year old son home with her, tomorrow, just in time for Dad's 70th birthday on Canada Day (the 1st). There's always a great excitement for this annual trip. I admit the nostalgia is rather nice. But there's a lot of sadness as well, because my hometown has changed so much since I grew up there. A military base closed when I was going into grade 8, which changed the area almost overnight. That old base has become something altogether different in look and feel. The place is "dead" except for in the summer, since it's a tourist hot spot, being the oldest established settlement in Canada, in 1605 (Annapolis Royal). Most of the people I grew up with are long since gone. Trees have grown up, and the forest thickened. I scarcely recognize the paths I used to traverse as a child. And the biggest sadness for me, as silly as it sounds, is the maple tree on the front lawn; the one my brothers & I used to play in---our dad & his siblings before us played in----It had to be cut down because it was dying. All that remains is a tall stump that my father has planted Clamatas around. It looks so different, and where it's in the front yard, it's an ever present reminder of how things change. Whether we like it or not, they change. Not always for the better.
We can't hold on to childhood forever. Part of growing up is seeing that things do change. It's a natural part of life....and death....
A friend of mine was killed in a car accident very recently. We hung around in high school. He was such a sweet & funny guy! I will visit the place where he was killed. I will remember him. Things change. It's sad when it's things like that.
So tomorrow I leave to return to my hometown. I know I will enjoy myself, yet there will be that ever present feeling of loss---loss of something I can't get back; time; the past. My son will only know Nanny & Grampy's place as it is now--not as his mother knew it. Only through pictures will he see it, and exclaim, "Wow! It used to look like THAT?" With tears in my eyes, I will nod....and he will not understand those tears in my eyes....