Browsing the archives for the Churchy category.

Making Your Home a Haven – Week #2

Churchy, Kids, Marriage

In this post, I am participating in Making Your Home a Haven, and Marriage Mondays.

So far, I am really enjoying these challenges. Last week, I lit my candle every morning and remembered to say a little prayer for peace in our home and family every time it caught my eye. I found that having the candle there as a reminder, when I started feeling myself pulled in too many directions, I was able to collect myself there at the kitchen sink, turn to my children and say ‘mommy is doing ___ right now, I’d love to help you with ____ in a few minutes just as soon as I can.’ Amazingly, it worked and the wee one who needed me for something so very pressing (like changing a game in the wii or to hear them tattle on one another), stepped back like I made perfect sense and let me finish when I was doing. So that rocked. I will be keeping that going for sure.

This week’s challenge is to play soft music and focus on using peaceful words to maintain peaceful relationships. I’ve always listened to loud, angry music. I’m not a horribly angry person, I just really love Soundgarden. However, at the same time, I have also got a real soft spot for Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller – music my grandparents adored. So this week I will not listen to my 90s rock and will instead focus on that. Courtney also posted a sample of the music she likes the most, it’s a lovely wordless piano piece and it really does change the feel of the house. I think I will switch to that at supper and keep it on through bedtime. I also really love Point of Grace and listen to them quiet a bit throughout the day, which is poppy and borderlines on country, but is also churchy, so I think that fits too.

Once the music is playing, it’s time to focus on the more important aspect of this week – our own reactions to others. As humans in general, I think most of us are guilty of this. I know that as I sit here typing this, I have a clear head and a positive attitude about greeting my husband when he gets up later. However, I also know that when he gets up and he’s got his morning grumpy cloud over him it will be very hard not to react to that! Maintaining a calm voice and greeting him with a smile will be my top priority this afternoon, so far it has worked well this morning with the kids. Anything that keeps the peace around here makes me happy. šŸ™‚

We let the kids climb trees

Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada and as a family we all have so much to be thankful for it’s wonderful – and important to keep in mind when the little things in life are not going our way. We drove down to Toronto to see my parents, sister, aunt and uncles and had a great time with everyone. My father encouraged our two older kids to climb the tree in their yard and there was wee one #2, up in the tree in her stripey tights and jumper. So cute!! Sidebar: my father later climbed the same tree and broke a branch off! Really! He is 61 years old and still climbing trees!

We don't freak out when the grown ups try and break them

With this mindset, I have already broken up many sibling squabbles without raising my voice this morning. This is something I am aiming for in my daily life. One squabble at a time!


Making My Home a Haven ā€“ Week #1

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage

In this post, I am participating in Making Your Home a Haven, and Marriage Mondays.

I have been looking forward to this challenge!! When I mentioned it to my husband, we both thought how perfect a time it is for this challenge to enter our life, as we are just getting settled into our new house. We’ve been here for a month this weekend, and we’re all unpacked and solidifying our schedules and routines.

This week, we are to light an extra large candle and say a prayer for peace in our homes and families every time it catches our eye. I lit mine around 6:30 this morning, so I’ve already said a few prayers for peace. I have been pretty open on this blog about being a bit of a ‘self help junkie’ where I’m always pushing myself to be better, but it’s not that I ever think I’m perfect. So, so, so very far from it. I struggle with daily frustrations and obstacles. Maintaining my patience with my children when they are misbehaving and staying cheerful when my husband is feeling grumpy or stressed out are challenges I face daily. Those are two other things I will pray about when I see my kitchen candle throughout the day.

From an example on Courtney’s blog, I’m focusing on staying engaged with my family, smart in my time management, content with my life and to keep praying everyday. <3 These examples are some of the reasons we left the city for the woods!! It's only been a month, but I do feel that the slow down of our lives has helped our family already. Wish me luck with my patience this week!!

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Making Your Home a Haven

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage

This summer, I came across a blog called Women Living Well, and it quickly became one of my favourites. I have been striving to be a better than average wife and mother for the last five years and though there are a lot of lessons to learn along the way, it is clear that I am getting better all the time – and not from sitting on my butt hoping! šŸ˜‰ The first post on Women Living Well that I read was about her summer marriage challenge, which I fell in love with and participated in. I know my husband was thankful and I really enjoyed it. Even if the challenges were things I was already doing or working on, it was nice to have an entire community of women all doing the same things right along with me!

This challenge, which focuses on making your home a nice welcoming place to come home to, could not happen at a better time because (as I endlessly keep posting about), we have just moved to a sweet house in the middle of nowhere and I am here literally all of the time – hoping to make it a welcoming home for my family.

As with the last challenge, tips and ideas are posted every Monday to be applied the following week. I am still doing most of what we started doing during the marriage challenge, so hopefully whatever I pick up from this will stay with me as well! Great idea Courtney!!

Week 1 we are to light an extra large candle every day, and to say a prayer for peace in our homes every time it catches our eye. Courtney mentioned she’ll be placing hers in a high traffic area in her home so it will catch her eye often and I think that’s the best way to go about it.

Week 2 focuses on setting the tone of the home with peaceful music and to remind our families to avoid harsh words, tattling, and general back talk. I listen to a lot of loud and maybe if I’m totally honest, aggressive music. Since we moved to the country, I have been collecting more ‘fitting’ music, but so far the only switch I’ve made has been to classic rock because that’s the radio station that comes in the best and I have a thing for radio. I will make the change to Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby, both remind me of my grandparents. šŸ™‚

Week 3 turns attention to decluttering problem areas in our home and also in our spiritual lives. When we moved a few weeks ago, my husband had the genius idea to leave absolutely everything we do not use in a storage area in the basement, to avoid clutter in the living area. So far, so good.

Week 4 encourages us to keep up the activities of the first three weeks and to add in some tender family time and gives some ideas. Our family watches a lot of movies together, we go for walks to the shore a lot since moving to cottage country and baking has always been a serious family event around here. We are to ask our families what they think about this challenge so far during these tender times.

The last week of this challenge is to focus on the kitchen and cook meals that smell great, to involve the whole family in cooking. This one is very us as it is, lol. Anyone who reads this blog know my kids love to help in the kitchen and my husband is always around to lend a hand. In our new house his office is just around the corner from the kitchen so he passes through it all day!

I am really looking forward to this challenge. I’ve been reading Sugar Pie Farmhouse a lot. I love that site so much. The point that is always driven home on that site is to play some uplifting music, put on an apron and pop a pie in the oven. It’s all about creating a happy home, so I’m ready to jump into this with both feet!

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Good Morning Girls & My Wonderful, Sleeping Husband

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage, Small Town

In this post, Iā€™m participating in Marriage Mondays.

This morning I had what I often refer to as a ‘God moment’. To my non-Christian readers, I am not about to start thumping my Bible no worries, and to my Christian readers I’m not trying to play down a connection to God by being flippant about it. It’s just that as connected as I feel throughout the day, there are some moments when I just feel like he’s working overtime for me, you know?

In our new neighbourhood, garbage pickup is at 7am, and really most of the time it’s more like 6:45am. No one in this area can leave the garbage out the night before because the foxes will get to it and make an awful mess. So, everyone around here must drag their tired behinds out of bed in the dark to get the garbage out in time to be collected. Small price to pay for living somewhere so beautiful and peaceful.

Anyhoo, this morning as my alarm went off my husband nudged me to get up at 6:20, and I said (much grumpier than I should have) ‘I have another alarm going off in 10 minutes, I’ll get up then’. He replied that I should just get it over with and do it now. Very grumpily I sat up and was filled with contempt for my still sleeping, snuggled under the covers husband. I recognized the feeling and after seeking out (and finding!!) a Good Morning Girls group to be a part of- I could not let myself be annoyed with my dear, sweet husband. So I asked God to help me be thankful I woke up on time for the garbage truck, thankful that I have a healthy, wonderful husband in bed beside me, thankful I’d have time to read a bit in my Bible and reply to some Good Morning Girls and even hammer out his blog post. What a reminder for me on Marriage Monday!!

So why do I put out the garbage? Why doesn’t he do it? I’ve always been able to get by on less sleep and I have no idea how. When I was a teenager, I’d happily sleep for 12 hours if I didn’t have work or school! Now my usual is 5 or 6 hours a night with the occasional 8 hour night. Maybe in a different season of life when my kids are older I will get more sleep, but for now in order to do what I want to do (which includes spending time at night with my honey), that’s the sleep I get, and I’m happy to have it.

And right on cue, this little wee one has woken up and wants to start her day! I will do my best to keep this feeling of thankfulness in my heart today. Thank you Good Morning Girls!

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The City Mice Move to the Country

Churchy, Kids, Marriage, Small Town

Where have I been for the last six weeks? I was moving out of my cute old house in the city and into my lovely new house in the middle of nowhere. Well, not nowhere really – cottage country. Most of our new neighbours are seasonal, though there are a few other tough cookies who live here year round. ‘Cottage country’ in Ontario can mean different things, depending on where you are. In our little town (so small the population is actually added to the population of all the other towns that make up the county – and it’s still just about as many people as our old neighbourhood in Toronto), there are two pockets. One is very ‘small town’ where the houses all look the way you’d expect them to look in a 50s flick, you can walk to the post office, grocery and church. The other pocket (our pocket) is lake front, where all the snazzy cottages are, we are removed from the actual town by a nice long road no one would ever bother driving down.

I will post more photos in the coming days, but for now here is the outside of our sweet country house.

The feeling in this little pocket is very neighbourhoody, everyone is super polite and goes for bike rides in the afternoon and walks after dinner – really, so many people here do this! Our house specifically is surrounded by trees and off the main road by a tiny bit so it’s not even visible when driving by, but it’s easy to spot once you know it’s there. When we’re waiting for the school bus in the mornings, and when the littlest one and I are waiting for the other two to hop off the bus in the afternoons, we have to walk to the end of the driveway, and that’s when we see most of our neighbours. It’s so quaint it hardly even seems real somedays!

This week, I’m baking up this month’s Daring Baker challenge and I will bring some to a few of our closest neighbours to formally introduce ourselves. We haven’t even been to church yet!! When I deliver cookies on our street, I will take photos of the water and the view from our driveway!

We have, however, been to the Meet the Staff BBQ at the wee one’s school and it was a lot of fun. The entire school has 41 kids. Unless you’re from a town as tiny as this one, that number should be alarming. I am amazed at the way this school functions, I love it. First of all, it has a gym about a big as the one I grew up with and my school had 800 kids in it! The student population is divided into three ‘spirit teams’ and each member of each team racks up points by being a ‘good person’! I almost fell over when this was explained to me, essentially the staff at school ‘catches’ the kids being good and gives them points for it, (helping out a smaller kid without anyone asking you to, picking up after yourself, bringing in a litterless lunch…) The team with the most points each term gets a special treat, and the one with the most points overall wins a special class party in June. So sweet!

This is wee one #2’s class room. She is one of 6 students in this class (!), it’s a split JK/SK and her teacher is adorable! Hilariously, she reminds me of me because she’s silly but hyper organized. Remind you of anyone? šŸ˜‰

Wee one #1 has the biggest class in the whole school – 15 kids! I am extremely happy about this class size for him because the one on one time is unmatched! It’s the same as many standard tutoring places.

All that matters to me about the school really is that it’s safe, we all feel comfortable and the kids are happy – and boy are the kids happy. I feel so blessed that we went from what we all felt was a good school situation to an even better school situation! Phew! I was so nervous for them I could hardly think about anything else. I was nervous about getting involved with the parent council as well, since you never really know what the other moms are going to be like but they’re all so warm and inviting. I just have to get my criminal background check done this week and bring it in!

I’ve said this since our second or third day here – I feel certain that we are supposed to be here. Everything about this house feels right and while of course there are things for all of us to adjust to, those things are minor in comparison to all the good around us.

Sidebar; I’ve been sending letters and cards to my friends and (hooray) a few of them are being amazing at writing back! I think everyone knows how much I love mail (postcards, letters & packages, no bills please) so I’m very, very happy to the amassing a collection of letters and postcards (my friend Jade Van Rando went on a road trip across Canada this summer with her fiancee, and they sent me a postcard from every province and Gill & Andrew went to Ireland recently and sent a really cute one!) Soon, I will need a cute box to keep them all in. <3 I have also been looking for a group to join on Good Morning Girls, fingers crossed I found one this evening! Essentially, these groups are formed from like minded women to check in with each other about their Bible study and prayer. I am very fortunate that three very close girlfriends, my sister and I send group emails to each other all the time, but there are only two of us who are churchy and that sort of convo doesn’t come up much in our emails. šŸ˜› If you’d like to join / help form a group like this, let me know!

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Marriage Challenge #5

Churchy, Marriage

This week’s marriage challenge from Women Living Well is talking about time management in your marriage.

We were to make a list of (what we feel are) the top 5 things we do and ask our husband to prioritize them according to how important he feels they are.

This was my list, ordered under the importance I thought he’d place on them. So here’s the list I thought he’d write:

1. A clean and tidy home/laundry up to date
2. A home cooked meal every night
3. Listening
4. Sex
5. Being mindful of money

I was off. This was the list he gave me:

1. Health, happiness and well-being of our family
2. Honesty and integrity
3. Being supportive and providing quality input
4. Household work (ie: cleanliness of house/yard, laundry, dishes)
5. Sticking to budgets, and saving money

Interesting list for a man to have written, yes? I really love this challenge because I love you all getting a little glimpse of my husband.

1. Health, happiness and well-being of our family
The first item on his list covers quite a bit. The health part includes healthy, well balanced meals every day, and being up to date on doctor, dentist and optometrist visits for all of us. Our family’s happiness includes things like daily outdoor play, trips to the playground and time with all of our friends. As far as well being goes, this is mainly me working on ensuring that everyone’s overall needs are met and being aware of not raising my voice at the children and ensuring things like sunscreen, hats and bicycle helmets are not forgotten.

2. Honesty and integrity
I LOVE that he put honesty and integrity on his list. In terms of honesty, aside from the obvious never lying to him and teaching the children the importance of honesty, things like always following through on promises, no matter who they are made to, fit in this category as well. To be known overall as an honest person, as that reflects back on our family. Also situations like enforcing house rules with friends (both kids and adults), to generally be on our best behavior and aim to be upstanding people.

3. Being supportive and providing quality input
My husband has big dreams, and that’s one of the things I love so much about him! He has clear ideas of how to get to where he wants to be, and while there are some stumbles along the way and occasionally a decision that forces us to take a few steps backwards, I trust him and his decisions. No one is perfect, and I respect that things are going to come up and then more than ever, I need to be supportive regardless of what choices are made. I have to work on providing quality input though – especially if it’s an area I’m unfamiliar with or an idea I’m a little resistant to. Even if I don’t necessarily agree with a decision doesn’t mean I shouldn’t help formulate a plan if he asks me.

4. Household work (ie: cleanliness of house/yard, laundry, dishes)
My husband is such a neat freak I thought for sure this would be at the top of his list. The overall sense of calm and order everyone gets from a clean and orderly home is one reason for this item, but he also says he wants that for his children. For all of them to know where all of their toys and books are, to be able to find whatever they happen to be looking for when they need it. It’s also a nice gift to myself to not ever have a pile of laundry or a whole sink full of dishes to do. We both love a tidy and well maintained yard, and really making sure the outside of your house doesn’t look like an eyesore is being a good neighbor.

5. Sticking to budgets, and saving money
This and cleaning were the only two out of five I got right! No matter how much money we have, there is always something else to pay for, and there is always something important to save for. Car emergencies, dental emergencies, vacations, holidays, birthday parties, and onto the serious, like a corner house with a huge driveway and a cute cottage in Wasaga. Or you know, our RRSPs and savings for the kids education and the girls’ weddings. We are tracking all of our money in jars, Till Debt Do Us Part style and that helps to keep both of us on track.

Please note that sex is not on it at all. If I had written this list for myself, sex would be on it, for sure. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and either assuming that he’s just being polite, or that I’m not being entirely honest. In the interest of full disclosure, I wish it was on his list! šŸ˜‰ Of course I asked him about it! He had two thoughts on the subject, the first was that he knows I’ll never say no to it so it doesn’t need to be on the list (blush), and (yes, I swear he said this) ‘there are other more important things in life, don’t you think?’

There are two benefits to this challenge. The first, of course, is knowing exactly what your husband is hoping for, in his own words! The second is the conversation that will end up happening as a result of asking for his input. <3


Marriage Challenge, Week #4

Churchy, Marriage

This week’s marriage challenge from Women Living Well was to list 10 things we admire about our husbands – and to show it to them. The premise is that while we may think our husbands know we admire them, we can’t really know for sure unless we actually tell them. I say all the time I’ve been with my husband for 11 years and I still have a major crush on him, so this list will be fun.

1. He is so smart it’s creepy. Obviously, he’s brilliant in his field and it’s amazing how often this sort of knowledge comes in handy, and I’d like to add here that he is 100% self taught! Aside from that, he’s got this overall level of awareness and smarts over the most random, and thankfully very useful, subjects!

2. He is a very goal oriented hard worker. Clearly, he works his butt off for his family and we are all very appreciative of that. He has since before we were even a family, when it was just the two of us before we got married. His work ethic and drive have brought us so far! Most couples do not recover financially to the place we are in after having their first child at 19 (and two more before 30)!

3. He is a very, very moral person. He always takes the high road – always. Sometimes it’s a little amazing, especially when a friend who doesn’t know him well sees it come out. I know how lucky I am to be with someone who ‘thinks with his big head’, you know? šŸ˜‰

4. He is outrageously silly! Sometimes, if he hears me coming, he’ll hide behind the kitchen counter, or under my desk and jump out and scare me. I love it. Or when I’m taking food photos for the blog, he’ll get in there and make it silly and fun. We’ll stay up into the wee hours of the morning watching back to back episodes of the Simpsons laughing our heads off.


5. He is also such a grown up. He’s miles ahead of me, he can look at serious grown up stuff, like mortgages and taxes and health insurance and calmly formulate a plan. Or call our financial planner, which is also a pretty grown up thing to do, yes?

6. He is a serious family guy. Given the money and time and space, I’m sure he’d want some TLC-style big family. He is a sucker for babies and is the most protective father of an infant I have ever seen – even on this third time! Whenever he plans a weekend or day trip, it’s geared for the wee ones and all the major decisions are made with them in mind.

7. He’s a great husband – he’s a great husband when it really matters. When I was terrified and in labor for the first time at 19, he really stepped up. He was amazing. Even more amazing 5 years later when we did it again, and by the third time around, we could have done it ourselves in a cabin in the woods – now that’s a partner. šŸ˜‰ And really, who gets a girl pregnant at 21 and actually marries her and lives happily ever after? He does! <3

8. He’s my biggest fan. šŸ˜› The ways he supports my efforts all across my life, my friendships and my hobbies inspires me to always be supportive! He holds me to an ever-higher standard, which just pushes me to get better at all the things I do.

9. He is a genuine person. He just is who he is all the time with no excuses and I loooooove that about him. From the silly things, like a real love for bad movies to lifestyle things like how we run our family.

10. He has big dreams – and the drive to go after them. He inspires me to set new goals for myself every time I achieve something.

I hope it doesn’t sound too cheesy, but he’s a rad guy so it’s all true! Now, off to show this to him. <3


Marriage Challenge #1-3

Churchy, Marriage

I’ve been participating in a challenge set out by Courtney at Women Living Well for a few weeks now, and I’ve yet to blog about it. Since I don’t tend to get too personal around here I was holding off but frankly I don’t want to deal with keeping up two blogs, and so much of the rest of my life is touched on in this blog – here we go.

Seeing as how I’ve missed a few posts on this topic already, I’m just going to touch on each week’s topic and what the participants should have written about. Essentially, Courtney created a challenge for like-minded women to put their marriages first and try to be the best they can be. I’m always down for trying to be the best me I can be, so let’s have at it. Plus it’s my blog. So there. šŸ˜›

The first week was an intro post, talking about what the challenge is about (done above), the second post was to be about remembering when we dated our husbands and the third was Monday, about praying for our husbands.

Here’s my intro: I’m doing this challenge because I’ve always been one of those sometimes annoying self-help book loving eager beavers. When I got pregnant for the first time, I read everything I could get my hands on and plunged in with both feet. That was 10 years ago and we have 3 kids now, but I’m still reading books and going to classes and workshops on how to be an even better mother. All along the way, I’ve been doing the same with my marriage, so this challenge makes perfect sense to me.

So, part 2: We met through mutual friends and spent a lot of time together in a large group, eventually we had fallen head over heels for each other, but we didn’t want to mess with the dynamic of our group of friends. So we just didn’t say anything to anyone – including each other. This went on for at least 6 months, until one day we were sitting around listening to music and we spent a night talking and talking about talking and finally admitting to each other how we felt. I was 18 and he was 20. We got married exactly a year after that conversation and had wee one #1 shortly after that.

Part 3: Prayer is a fantastically personal thing, but it can be done a sentence at a time over the course of a whole day. It can be lighthearted and down to earth, it doesn’t always have to be something you set aside a chunk of time for. Courtney suggests we use our wedding rings as reminders to pray for our husbands throughout the day. If you know there’s an issue your husband could use some help with, you already know what to pray for. Otherwise, his health and well being are always a good start. Every time I have noticed my wedding ring in the past couple of days, I’ve had a positive thought about my husband and said a little prayer for him. Life is all about the power of positive thinking, people! šŸ˜›

*Most people who are participating in this challenge posted photos of themselves with their husbands from their dating years. My husband is not fond of any of our early photos. I will put a recent one in the sidebar for you, but no dice on the wedding pics. šŸ˜›

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